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#498936 - 12/12/14 04:46 AM Today's Belize News: December 12, 2014
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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

The wonderfully decorative Christmas Tree Worm!
Have no fear tree decorators, you won’t find any Christmas Tree Worms squirming among your lights and candy canes! Christmas Tree Worms (Spirobranchus giganteus) are actually ocean-dwelling worms that resemble tiny Christmas trees because of their shape and brilliantly hued tentacles. These tubular, segmented worms aren’t very big, averaging about 1.5 inches in length, and they dwell in coral reefs in tropical waters all over the world. The Christmas Tree Worm’s name is derived from the brightly colored, tiered spiral radioles (feather-like tentacles) that protrude from its body, giving it the appearance of a tiny fir tree. The radioles typically span a little over an inch long, and come in a wide variety of colors including blue, orange, yellow, white, red and pink. It’s these colorful radioles that dot the surfaces of live coral and grab the attention of scuba divers and snorkelers.

SPRCS brings the holidays to life at Annual Christmas Show
On Friday December 5th the San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School held its annual Christmas Fair. The night included presentations of dance, song and poetry by students to the captive audience who came out to the school grounds. Draped in bright cloths of holiday greens and reds, the stage set the tone for the acts that came one after the other. From festive Christmas themed poetry and carols to modern dance remixes that got the whole crowd bumping, there was certainly something for everyone. Being one of the schools most anticipated fundraising events, entertainment and catering kept the audience happy. With yummy plates of rice and beans, tamales, and plenty of sweets on sale, show time munchies were available for the picking.

Caye Chapel sold to Mexican investors
Belize’s island golf resort Caye Chapel has been sold to a Mexican hotel development group. That was the confirmation that came from The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) on Monday December 9th. The mega luxury resort has been on the selling block for some time, following its closure a few years ago. While BELTRAIDE would not disclose the name of the Mexican luxury hotel development group that purchased Caye Chapel, it says that the investors own other developments in Mexico City, Cancun and Acapulco. It also stated that the group plans to partner with another global luxury hotel brand, indicating that the new tourism project is expected to commence in early 2015.

Little Angels enjoy a fun Christmas Bazaar
On Sunday December 7th, Little Angels Preschool held their annual Christmas Bazaar at the San Pedro Lions Den. Organized by Principal Marina Kay and staff, the fair serves as one of the largest fundraising events for the school, and offers the pre-schoolers a chance to get into the holiday spirit with tons of fun games and prizes. The evening saw a turnout of students and parents who came out to enjoy all the evening offered. With plenty of food, snacks and refreshments on sale, there was much to keep the little ones and parents energized for an evening of fun games. The little party –goers had a great time as they took chances on games such as ring toss, dice throw, and basketball.

San Pedro Cadets and Santa take to the streets to spread Christmas Cheer
Sometimes, Santa Claus needs a little help in spreading Christmas Cheer. On Saturday, December 6th, that help came from San Pedro Cadet Corps and John and Dawn Kennedy. The cadets along with Santa riding on his decked out golf cart, paraded down Pescador Drive handing out candies to passing children. The event brought much Christmas cheer to the streets of San Pedro, as the Cadets happily served their community and reveled in the spirit of the season.

Surprise! Pro Divers Football Club win Mayor’s Cup!
The Mayor’s Cup Five-a-side Football Tournament came to an end on Sunday, December 7th, and in a surprising turn of events, Pro Divers FC won the championship! After last week’s thrilling first leg of the semifinals, the four top teams faced off once again on Saturday, December 6th in hopes of earning a spot in the championship match held on Sunday, December 7th. Dorados FC led the entire tournament, but in they end, it was Green House FC and Pro Divers FC facing off for the championship. After 45 minutes of pure adrenaline, Pro Divers took the victory in a most unexpected finale. The semifinals were a surprise too, and should have predicted an unexpected finals. The Green House FC, FC Aluminum Fabricators, Pro Divers FC and Dorados FC battled once more in the second leg of the semifinals on Saturday, December 6th. Both Pro Divers FC and Green House FC had won their first match in the semifinals in a 3-1 point game, leaving GC Aluminum Fabricators and Dorados with little hopes of making it to the finals.

Ambergris Today

Friendly donations to the San Pedro Traffic Department courtesy of Wings Department Store.
On Tuesday, December 9th, Mr. Prakash "PK" and Mr. Kamal from Wings stopped by at the San Pedro Town Council to present the San Pedro Transport Department with the following items: 6 Traffic Cones 4 Lighted Pole Signals 3 Triangle Reflectors 11 Orange Reflecting Vests 11 Yellow Reflecting Vests We would like to thank Mr. Prakash & Mr. Kamal from Wings for their interest in promoting safety in San Pedro! These items are really helpful in keeping our streets safe.

Southwest Airlines to Begin Nonstop Service To Belize
The Belize Tourism Board announced today, December 11, 2014, on a press release that they are excited to report on the new Southwest Airlines international flights to/from Belize. “As the tourism numbers continue to grow, international airlines have recognized the demand for increased airlifts to Belize,” stated the release. Southwest Airlines announced that they have filed applications to begin service to six new destinations, including Belize. This will provide Belize with nonstop service from William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas commencing October 2015. This service to Belize’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport adds a second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city in the Southwest route map.

British High Commission Holds Consular Night Social in San Pedro
The British High Commission invited British expats/residents of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize and special guests to a social 'Consular Night' that was part of the Commissions outreach to the British Community in San Pedro. The Commission hosted special invited guest Orlando Ames-Lewis, Consular Regional Operatios Manager, British Embassy, Mexico City. Mr. Lewis, along with Grace Chun Deputy British High Commissioner, were invited to meet with the British communit to discuss matters of interest to them and were answering/clarifying any consular-related matters. It was a special evening of socializing and enjoying a wonderful evening at Ramon's Village hosted by James Janmohamed OBE, British Consular Agent and Mr. Grant Crimmins, Deputy Consular Agent.

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, 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 could mean a decrease in the electricity rate for Belizeans. 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.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Immigration and Nationality Services Public Advisory
The Department of Immigration and Nationality Services hereby advises the general public of a temporary interruption in the passport application and processing services, due to technical difficulties with the computerized passport system. The department assures the public that it's technicians are working diligently to resolve this matter. No applications for passports will be accepted or processed countrywide, until the system is restored. It is expected that normal operations will resume on Monday December 15 2014. The department apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

LAS VEGAS HOTEL & CASINO in COROZAL offers career opportunities
The prestigious Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, now expending – Located on the Belize/Mexico Border (opposite the Corozal Free Zone Entrance) is seeking qualified, motivated, and professional individuals: RESTAURANT WAITERS: COOKS: SECURITY SUPERVISOR: RESERVATIONS PERSONNEL: BEAUTY SALON STYLIST: HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER: MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL: KITCHEN EXPEDITOR:

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.

Missing Youth
15 year old Manuel De Jesus Ortega is missing. No photo has been provided for identifying him. However, Deybi Lissette Ortega, a Salvadoran national who lives in Maskal Village, Belize District, reported to police that at 5:00 p.m. on December 6th, she went to church along with her two sons. A female sat beside Manuel during the service which finished at 6:00 p.m. Manuel escorted the female home at Lucky Strike Village, and he has not returned since the 6th of December. That same night Manuel's mother visited the female's house at 11:00 p.m. but she was told he left as soon as he dropped her home. He was last seen wearing a light blue T-shirt with dark blue long pants and a black tennis shoe.

GOB 2014 Residential Mortgage Payment Program
This Notice revises some of the criteria set out in the Ministry of Finance Notice of December 2, 2014. The revision allows for more borrowers to qualify for the Program. In particular, (a) borrowers from Insurance Companies, (b) mortgages for purchasing existing residential homes and, (c) residential mortgages with some element of refinancing are also now available to qualify under the Program. Mortgages solely for home improvement will not qualify. In his September 21, 2014, Independence Day Address to the Nation, the Hon. Prime Minister announced that the Government of Belize would assist middle class Belizeans by meeting the interest and principal payments for the month of December 2014 on all residential mortgages with an original value of up to One Hundred Thousand Dollars.

Notice of Office Renovation
The UNDP Management & Staff wish to inform our partners that our Office located on the 3rd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building, Ring Road, Belmopan will be undergoing renovations starting Monday, December 15th 2014. We anticipate that the renovations will be completed by Friday, January 30th 2015 and we aim to resume normal operations from this location on Monday, February 2nd 2015. During the renovations staff will be working from different locations and as required from a temporary Office in PAHO/WHO located at No. 4792 Coney Drive, 3rd Floor, Whitfield Tower, Belize City. Staff will be able to be contacted by: Tel + 501-822-2688 and their email addresses. Kindly always copy email: undp.belize@undp.org

The Belize Music Festival
Belize City Dec 14, Belmopan Dec 17

On Wednesday, December 10, and Thursday, December 11, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Councilors, and Deputy Mayor Gabriel Nuñez dressed as Santa Claus, visited all the Schools in San Pedro to spread the Christmas cheer by giving them a toy. All the children shouted "Santa! Santa! Santa!" as they saw Santa Clause approach their classroom. They were all excited to see Santa Clause at school, and even more excited when they got their gift! Season's Greetings everyone!

Consular Night
On Wednesday, December 10, Mr. Orlando Ames Lewis, Consular Regional Operations Managers, Ms. Pauline Richardson, Head of Corporate Consular Services and Ms. Grace Chun, Deputy High Commissioner, were in San Pedro as a courtesy visit from the British High Commission. On Tuesday, December 9, they had a "Consular Night" where British expats residing in San Pedro were invited as well as some other honored guests.

Channel 7

Sugar Standoff Continues, ASR Execs Meet With PM, No Breakthrough Announced
Today American Sugar Refinery, known as ASR, executives flew into the country to meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow at his Belize City office on Coney Drive. They were there to discuss the latest proposals for compromise put forward by the Cane Farmers Association. The meeting started at 2:30 and lasted about an hour and half - which is when senior ASR executives Mac McLachlan and Celestino Ruiz left without comment to the press - and looking none too pleased. The Prime Minister and Deputy Gaspar Vega stayed back and left another twenty minutes later - also without comment. And all sides may be guarded in their comments because there was no breakthrough - from what we are told. But there is hope, as tomorrow the Prime Minister is bringing both the cane farmers and ASR/BSI to the table in a joint meeting - also in Belize City.

They Killed The DJ
Last night when our newscast started, San Ignacio Police were processing the scene of a murder in Esperanza Village, just outside the Twin Towns. 24 year-old Samir Fernandez, a resident of Santa Elena, was found 3 miles away in a secluded area. There were signs that he had been clubbed in the head and left there to die. But, who would want to kill him and why? That's what Daniel Ortiz went to Esperanza Village to try to find out today. Here's his report: Daniel Ortiz reporting The body of 24 year-old Samir Fernandez was found here in this picado road just off this unpaved street in Esperanza Village. Based on police information they don't believe that he had been dead for an extended period of time before he was found. He had two injuries to the head, apparently inflicted by a blunt object.

Grenade Recovered In City
Another grenade has been taken off the Belize City streets. This one was found last night on Faber's road extension in an overgrown lot. The area was at the very far end of Faber's Road near the Western Highway not in any known gang turf; police believe it is a stash spot for a criminal or criminal group. The grenade was wrapped in a plastic bag and stuffed inside a knapsack. The flyoff lever was held down with electrical tape. It is an American made type m26 grenade - identical to one found on September the eighth on Banak Street - in gang controlled territory. This one - like that - is rusty - but still very dangerous.

Jailed South Korean Exec Says Citizen Kim Set Him Up
Kim Won-Hong, we call him Citizen Kim and in 2013 his became the epicenter of political agitation in Belize - after he was corruptly issued with a Belize passport while he was in a Taiwanese jail. Today his name was being called in Seoul, South Korea by the former chairman of a wealthy company called SK Group. Chey Tae-won lost his appeal in that country's courts. He claimed that Won Hong Kim was the main culprit behind the embezzlement of 45 million US dollars. Won-hong, who was a former advisor to the company was found guilty as an accomplice to embezzlement.

Discount Carrier Southwest Opening Up a Houston - Belize Route
Another major US air carrier has added Belize to its list of destination, and industry observers say it could drive down prices because it's a discount carrier. Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service out of Houston's Hobby airport to Belize starting October 2015. Southwest today announced that it has filed applications to begin service to six new destinations, four in Mexico and two in Central America: Belize and Costa Rica.

Caye Chapel Investment Explained
Two days ago, we told you about the closing of the deal to sell Caye Chapel which had been on the block for at least three years. The new owner is a Mexican group - which already has a significant tourism investments in Belize in addition to others in Cancun, Mexico City and Acapulco. But who are they? That's what we asked the CEO in the Ministry of Investment Mike Singh today. He started by explaining why the deal is a major relief for the Belize Bank:.. Mike Singh, CEO- Ministry of Trade "That investment will be very large. It will be a significant inflow of foreign capital. Caye Chapel has been in receivership for the past 4-5 years with the Belize Bank. Mr. Larry Addington who was the owner had borrowed money from the Belize Bank, he didn't repay, so the bank took it on in exchange for the debt. The bank did a sort of a swap on their balance sheet where they actually acquired the asset. It caused a little of a problem because it's a non performing asset as they say in the banking world. So, it was not part of their liquid assets. So the need to sell that by the bank was fairly important. So the owners of El Secreto, a part of the investment group and they have brought in some additional Mexican investors that are very large in developments in Acapulco, Mexico City and Cancun. So the potential for this group is very high."

No New Passports
Those who went in to the Immigration Department today to apply for new or renewed passports were turned away. That's because of a countrywide system failure of the network database that the Immigration Department uses. Until it is repaired, no passports will be accepted or processed. This computerized passport system is so integrated in the Immigration Department that even the Belizean Embassies and Diplomatic Missions around the world are all interconnected. Today, the Minister of Immigration told us that all those embassies will also be unable to process any passport until the system is repaired: Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "I want to apologize to the good people of Belize for the inconvenience, but yesterday our system went down and we have a contract with 3M, its process through their network, it's a very secure system so far.

How Petrocaribe Fuel Is Priced
The price of all grades of fuel: premium, regular and diesel has been trending down - in response to falling world prices of oil. But while world oil prices are at a five year low - critics say that kind of downward trend is not being adequately reflected at the gas pump in Belize. Yesterday in our conversation with the man we call the fuel czar, John Mencias we asked him about the price formula and the apparent lag between world and local prices:.. Jules Vasquez "Diesel is selling at about over $6.50 for gallon of diesel in Honduras and that's the same PetroCaribe fuel. When will the fuel price in Belize reflect the plummeting world price of oil." John Mencias, Dep. Chmn - APBEL (Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited) "But it is already affecting it. Diesel is down to $8.69, regular and premium are under $10 now and I think they will fall even more. It doesn't follow - as soon as the price of crude oil drops, the price of diesel will drop, no. There is sometimes a delay and it also supply on supply and demand for the individual refine product. It's not so straightforward. Between the 13th - 19th November, which is the date range over which we received our last shipment, look at crude oil prices. This is what it was; average of US$74.96 per barrel.

GOB Explores Export Options For Petrocaribe Debt
What he calls the finance portion is the amount Belize borrows from Venezuela - about 50 to 60% of the purchase price that we defer and use as a low interest loan. Belize has already started paying back in for credit it got in the first try at the programme back in 2006 - and payments for the second, ongoing version will start in September of next year. But, the deal with the Venezuelans is that the finance portion can also be paid in kind - that means, instead of paying cash we can send them products of equivalent value: from rice and beans to what Guyana pays with, jeans - as in jeans pants. Those options have not been fully explored for Belize yet - but a Venezuelan mission is coming on the 17th to explore these options. They'll meet with the Ministry of trade among others and today Mike Singh discussed the goods and services that are being looked at:..

Making The Perfect Pitch
Before the break we told you about Finpyme (FIN-PI-MEH) Export Plus, a programme where producers get to pitch their product before a panel of prospective money lenders. The idea is to get financing for products that can break into the CARICOM market. If it sounds familiar, it should; it's like the TV show shark tank:.. Mike Singh, CEO- Ministry of Trade "Think about it - you know the show the "Shark Tank" - it's along the line of where they come up, present their project, talk about what they are looking to do and they get feedback and advice and possibility of financing as well." Shahera McKoy, Export Belize - BELTRAIDE "The idea was to take the idea that the companies had to look at a specific project that they wanted to develop that would lead to them accessing export markets or developing systems in place to make them more export ready."

Arguments Continue At CCJ
Today in Port of Spain Trinidad arguments continued in the raft of appeals in the nationalization of BEL and BTL. The cases combine a number of issues, not least of which is the British Caribbean Bank which claims that BTL owes 50 million US dollars for an outstanding mortgage debenture. This was acquired in the first nationalization - government has maintained that the loan was unlawfully undertaken by the former Ashcroft Alliance company directors. But the bank maintains it is still owed the money - and yesterday afternoon attorney for the Bank Eamon Courtenay made that argument to the panel of judges:.. Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney – British Caribbean Bank "In the absence of a rational connection. In the absence of evidence. In the absence of an explanation of justification, this is a paradigm example of an arbitrary acquisition and we say this, this court has no evidence before it on which this court can rely to point to justification for the taking of the bank's property. The compulsory acquisition order issued by the minister stands naked before this court. Fully exposed as rank arbitrariness. Anywhere else in the world, anywhere else in a true democracy, that would have been the end of the day. But no, we have the 8th amendment, but this court is now call upon to frontally confront the 8th amendment."

Doing It For Themselves On Ivor Street
We hear complaints about the conditions of city streets all too often but members of one community decided to fix the problem themselves. Ivor Street residents are trying to raise funds to fill the holes on the street with sand. They have organized several clean up campaigns and fund raising initiatives to help needy families in the area. Sash Eiley tell us more about this community project. Sasha Eiley, Ivor Street Resident "This particular campaign we are having is to buy a load of sand just to patch our street and the City Council can get to us. So, it's just to buy a load of sand to throw in the holes that are there until they can reach us." Jacqueline Meighan, Ivor Street Resident "The flee market will be held this Saturday at the Battlefield Park. The last one was held in Battlefield Park as well. This Saturday 13th December, starting from 8am-3pm we will have household items, you name it, we will have it there and very cheap. Items starting from 25 cents to 25 dollars. We won't have anything more than 25 dollars for sale."

The Mysterious Death Of "Alexander" Still Unexplained
At the top of our newscast, we told you how San Ignacio police are investigating the murder of Samir Fernandez. Well, the investigators have been looking into the death of a Hispanic man believed to be Salvadoran, who his friends knows only as "Alexander". He was found bleeding from the head at a house on Awe Street in San Ignacio on Sunday morning. Dennis Guzman, the man who has been allowed him to stay at that house, discovered him clinging to life, and he rushed Alexander to the San Ignacio Hospital. His head injury claimed his life half an hour later. Police don't suspect foul-play at this time, but that does not mean that they have not placed some level of priority on it. The Commander explained what they have been able to find out so far: Supt. Dinsdale Thompson "A Honduran individual, Mr. Alex - we are still following up on that investigation in relating to his true identity. That's one of the things that are holding us up in relation to identifying if this Alex is indeed the Alex who the individual know his as.

Salvation Army Saves It All For The Kids
And the Christmas fever continues to spread in the city. The Salvation Army threw a Christmas party today for 700 students from 19 primary schools at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. They had the usual Christmas treats and gifts for the kids but Joliker Leandre Regional Commander for the Salvation Army says it's not only about tangibles- it's about highlighting the 'Christ' in Christmas. But of course, the kids had a slightly different take on it. The Salvation Army will also organize parties for children in San Ignacio. A total of 2,500 kids will benefit from the Christmas party initiative.

Aurelio Comes "Home" For "Landini" Launch
Aurelio Martinez released his new album "Landini" in the US and the UK in September - and since then it has soared to the top spot on the world music charts. Right now it's holding at number three and it is already making many international top ten lists for one the best world music albums of the year. It's another smashing success for this album recorded and produced right in Benque Viejo. The album had it's Central American Launch in Belize today and Aurelio Martinez visited our studios right after flying in for a launch concert tomorrow. He told us why h had to come to the place he calls home for the launch:.. Tomorrow we'll have more from that interview with Martinez as he discusses his mother, who was the inspiration for his new album..

The Practical Side of Cleaning Up Oil Spills
Today coordinators of the National Oil Spill workshop held the practical session at the Belize Coast Guard Headquarters. The main objective of this session was to educate first responders and on scene commanders on how to effectively assess and contain an oil spill. You could call it a drill or simulation but according to Environmental Officer Maxine Monsanto, it will enhance the country's oil spill response system. Representatives from NEMO, the fire service and Port Authority among others were present today.

Teenager Missing In Maskall
A 15 year old boy went missing after a church service in Maskall Village. Manuel De Jesus Ortega went to church along with his mother and brother on Saturday evening. After the church service ended at 6, Ortega gave a female - who was sitting beside him during mass- a ride to Lucky Strike Village in Belize and since then he has not returned home. Ortega's mother 35-year-old Deybi Lissette Ortega and her husband traveled to the female's house later that night around 11:00 but she told them that Ortega simply dropped her off and left. He was last seen wearing a light blue T-shirt with dark blue long pants and a black tennis shoe. The family is imploring the public to call the nearest police station if he is found.

Red Cross Cares
Over 80 elderly and homeless people received food and gifts yesterday. The Red Cross prepared a Christmas Luncheon for the elderly and homeless on Universal Human Rights Day. Program Coordinator for the Youth Agents for Change Tina Gill says no one should be left out. The Red Cross Soup Kitchen caters to over 80 people every Wednesday.

Channel 5

Breaking News: Shooting in Mahogany Heights
There is breaking news of a shooting in the Mahogany Heights community at mile thirty on the George Price Highway. News Five has confirmed that one Joel Sewell was shot [...]

ASR Officials Meet with P.M. Barrow, Sugar Impasse Unresolved
At two-thirty today, officials from A.S.R. and B.S.I. met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega at the PM’s office at Whitfield Tower in Belize City. [...]

Live Lemon Grenade Recovered Near Fabers Road Extension
The Belize Defense Force Bomb Expert was called in on Fabers Road on Wednesday night where another deadly grenade was discovered. The active explosive device was safely removed off the [...]

Popular Disc Jockey Murdered in Esperanza
Well-known disc jockey, Samir Fernandez, known in the clubbing and music scene as DJ Kid, was discovered dead on Wednesday in the village of Esperanza. Fernandez, a resident of Santa [...]

Accident Victim Kiran Moguel Taken Off Life Support
At two-fifteen today, eight year old Kiran Moguel was taken off life support at the K.H.M.H. and pronounced dead. The student from Orange Walk sustained massive head and body injuries [...]

Details of Caye Chapel Sale Revealed
On Tuesday, the Government of Belize, through BELTRAIDE, announced the completion of the sale of Caye Chapel to a group of Mexican investors, who own El Secreto in San Pedro.  [...]

B.T.L./B.E.L. Nationalization Matter Continues Before CCJ
Arguments continued today at the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port of Spain where Dean Boyce, the B.T.L. Employees Trust, British Caribbean Bank and Fortis are challenging the government acquisition [...]

Unlawful Termination Case Against BWS Wraps Up In Supreme Court
Justice Michelle Arana is expected to make her decision on the case of Mark Menzies, Don Gillett, Michael Novelo, Journett McKoy, Charlette Barnett and Colin Morrison sometime next year after [...]

Stake Bank Tourism Development Remains in Limbo
Last Thursday, the Belize Tourism Industry Association held its twenty-third annual general meeting where its membership was updated on developments within the travel sector, including a pending suit in the [...]

C.E.O. Mike Singh Gives Update on Harvest Caye Development
The Stake Bank tourism project remains on hold indefinitely while developer Mike Feinstein and FSTV are entangled in a lawsuit regarding the proposed project.  Prime Minister Barrow has since gone [...]

Southwest Airlines to Fly Direct to Belize
Earlier this week there was grim news from Yahoo Travel that Belize is among the countries with the worst ports of call. Well, tonight there is positive information for the [...]

Can Mayor Bradley Extend BML’s Sanitation Contract?
On Thursday, we showed you at length the difficult position in which Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley finds himself. Municipal elections are in three months, and all the workers [...]

Discussions on Assimilation of BML Workers Continue
And finally, it all boils down to the fate of one hundred and sixty workers post-January fifteenth, when BML’s contract expires. The reality is that Mayor Darrell Bradley has no [...]

Bradley’s Two Cents on Cruise Tourism
As we said earlier, an article on Yahoo Travel earlier this week named Belize City as one of the five worst ports of calls for cruise ships in the Caribbean. [...]

Fundraising Effort for Dara’s Feeding Program
Dara Robinson is known for his humanitarianism, specifically his feeding program to help underprivileged youths and families in poverty stricken areas across the city. For the second consecutive year, Robinson [...]

Belizean Businesses Prepare to Export to Caribbean Market
Five local companies are being given the opportunity to expand their reach to the Caribbean market through an initiative by BELTRAIDE. Included in the group is the popular Hot Mama’s [...]

Healthy Living Breaks Down the Christmas Blues
If you listen to all the Christmas songs that have been blaring on the airwaves or even in your home; you’re probably convinced that all days leading to Christmas are [...]


St. Francis Xavier Credit Union Offers Special Loan To Cane Farmers
With Christmas around the corner and no sight of an agreement between cane farmers and BSI, there is no doubt that the economy of the north is being affected. In order to bring some alleviation to the economic effect and to cane farmers who have been unable to deliver their cane due to the current impasse, Saint Francis Xavier Credit Union has come up with a plan that benefits cane farmers. It is a loan promotion that has seen the allocation of $600,000 which is available for cane farmers to borrow from. PMRafael Dominquez- Gen. Manager “These farmers at this present situation with the negotiation with BSCFA and ASR/BSI where there seems to be an endless solution and yet we are seeing that tie is passing as proposed that the crop should start the 8th of December and knowing the fact that in the spirit of Christmas the farmers are tied up, they are broke and it is a pity for us to just say well we will not put any interest on that, well the management and directors saw the need that we need to help our farmers and this is what the spirit of Credit Union movement is whereby we are involved directly with the members, we listening to what is happening so while a battle is going on out there St. Francis is making a Union with the farmers in trying to have them in the spirit of Christmas and because of this situation that the farmers are eager to start the crop so the directive and management decided that we need to help the farmers and we need to give them a small Christmas loan.”

Culture And History Comes Alive In San Lazaro
Preserving culture is important for many ethnic groups in Belize and here in Orange Walk a number of groups have been formed to do just that. This is what has driven one community to take it upon themselves to promote their culture and heritage with others. Hugo Carrillo and other members of the San Lazaro Village community have for the third year organized the Festival del Pueblo, or community festival to be held this Sunday at 2:30 in San Lazaro Village. Carrillo told us more about the event. Hugo Carrillo “Es un festival adonde estamos promoviendo la cultura tangible y intangible, es un evento donde vamos a tener comida típica, desfile, ropa de la cultura, vamos a tener juegos tradicionales de los niños como los niños jugaban antes y esta vez vamos a incluir historia de la guerra de castas, un documental que su servidor lo hizo y vamos a tener la historia de San Lazaro y de la cruz para adelante, además vamos a tener comedia policía y tenemos un grupo invitado de aquí del país vecino Mexico so estudiantes integrantes de la Universidad de Quintana Roo y el grupo van a estar presentando su música hispánica de los Mayas, fue una idea, fue un génesis pero es más la participación del pueblo, de los niños, de los vecinos, de los padres de familia, uno siempre llega y le pide un favor y ellos ya están dispuestos entonces el mérito es el pueblo.”

Police On The Hot Seat Again
An American National and business owner of a Pizza Place in Caye Caulker is claiming police brutality by the hands of officers at the Caye Caulker Police formation. The incident he claims occurred over the weekend and alleges that the officer he placed a complaint against tortured him and pepper sprayed him. We spoke to the complainant via telephone and he claims the abuse stems from the officer having a personal gripe against him. The pictures provided to us may be graphic for our younger audience, so viewer discretion is advised. Caye Caulker Businessman “Essentially I was terrorized and brutalized in the most scenic possible you can imagine, they poured acid on me and I can’t take it off my body and it is now eating my flesh and with a lot of pain but I am trying to get to the bottom of this and I was abuse in the most terrific way you can imagine.”

Another Grenade Found In Belize City
Police in Belize City have come up on yet another hand grenade and safely removed the explosive device from off the streets. According to a release sent out by the Police Press Officer, the grenade which was wrapped in a black plastic bag and inside of an old knapsack was found in an overgrown area in the Fabers Road Extension area around 6:40 pm on Wednesday. Police say the bomb expert from the Belize Defence Force was called in where the device was identified to be “an M26 American origin high explosive grenade.” No one was in the area and so the grenade is considered “found property” as their investigation continues. The hand grenade has been removed from the area and taken for disposal.

Eight Year Old Kiran Passes After Family Pulls The Plug
We have been following the unfortunate case of eight year old Kiran Moguel who was severely injured in a traffic accident in Chetumal on Monday evening. The child was along with his mother Esther Moguel when the incident happened. It is with deep regret that we report tonight that eight year old Kiran did not make it. His mother was faced with the most difficult choice of turning off his life support since doctors had declared him brain dead. Today, Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Mendez spoke with us on the incident. Mendez worked closely with Esther Moguel who is employed in his east constituency office.

Dr. Mendez Spreads The Christmas Cheers
Area Representatives continue to spread the Christmas Cheer with children all over Orange Walk and tonight we highlight the visits of Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez. This year Dr. Mendez and his team are visiting each of the schools in the Orange Walk East constituency issuing presents and treats to the students. They started their tour in Carmelita Village on Tuesday and yesterday they were at Solomon’s Seven Day Adventist School. Dr. Mendez says that the team is providing gifts to students in preschool up to standard two. Everyone, however, gets a goody bag. But they do not stop there; the team is also providing gifts to the top three performers in their class.

Allegations Of Corruption Made Against Senior Fisheries Officer
Tonight a senior fisheries officer is being accused of framing a cane farmer from Corozal Town. In a letter sent to the Senior Fisheries officer by the law firm of Sabido’s and Company, Pedro Guerra is asking the Fisheries officer for a re-imbursement of sixty four thousand dollars plus damages amounting to nine thousand six hundred dollars. According to the letter, the issue dates back to the month of July of this year where, the officer made several inducements to the farmer, on how he could earn an export license within three days. The letter reveals that the officer stated that through his connections at the department, he would be able to obtain a fish Exporter’ License to buy and export frozen sea cucumber.

O/W South Area Rep. Spreads The Christmas Cheers
As is customary in Orange Walk South, today Area Representative Abeladro Mai visited schools in communities within the area sharing a drop of Christmas joy with the children. As he does annually, Mai and his team of elves, Santa included, prepared goodies bags for children. Today he visited ten communities to share these treats with students. We caught up with him at Guinea Grass where he told us more about his reasons for the initiative. abiHonorable Abelardo Mai – Orange Walk South Area Representative “It is important to know and understand that there are children in Orange Walk in my constituency that do not have the opportunity to get an apple for Christmas, it is a sad but true thing, I come from humble beginnings, my family are still humble and I know what it is to be marginalized or poor, I visit villages on a regular basis and you see the level of poverty so when you see we are celebrating in our home with ham and turkey and all the drinks galore, there are people there are children who do not know what it is to receive a toy or an apple for Christmas so we take things for granted...

Belize Celebrate "Human Rights 365"
Today marks Human Rights Day, observed annually on 10 December, to highlight the fundamental rights that all people are entitled to as a global community. The day marks the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. The day was first formed in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all member states and other organisations to celebrate. The theme for 2014, "Human Rights 365", is a reminder that everyone is entitled to basic rights with the same ideals and values - all year round."

Police detained Two Robbery, In Search For Third Suspect
Tonight a teenager from the Corozal District is recuperating from a frightful ordeal after he was ambushed by three male persons; one of them was carrying a gun. On the night of Friday December 5th, at around 7:30, seventeen year old Amilcar Correa, Belizean laborer of Xaibe was walking along an unnamed street within the village when he was approached by three male persons riding separate bicycles. The individuals were dressed in full black and wore nothing to hide their identity as their faces were uncovered. According to Correa, one of the men walked up to him, pointed what appeared to be a chrome hand gun at him and told him quote "Buay give me your money". Fearing for his life Correa began shouting for help and that is when the individuals got on their bicycles and rode off into the direction of San Roque Area and Ranchito Villages.

Sanker Being Sought For Robbery
Apart from attempt robbery we told you about earlier, Jermaine Sanker, who is no stranger to the law, is also being sought by Corozal Police for the crime of robbery after a cell phone was stolen from a resident of Calcutta Village, in the Corozal District. The incident played out in the following manner. On Friday night at around 7:00pm, Jerson Chan, 20 year old Belizean construction worker was exiting Community Super Market Chinese Shop located in Calcutta when he saw three men, all dressed in dark clothing and with their face covered, entering the store.

Teacher Improve Skills To Improve Curriculum
Teaching and learning have evolved over the years and only keep evolving. Teachers have adopted new teaching strategies to meet the ever changing needs of students at all levels. Today, a group of teachers were working on improving their skills and their curriculums to ensure that they obtain the best results from students in primary schools. Dalila has the story. Dalila Ical – Reporting Over the last two years officers at the District Education Center in Orange Walk have been providing necessary support to teachers in curriculum development. Today, under the guidance of Education Officer Two, Lisa Carrillo who is responsible for math, science and technology, teachers from six schools worked on strengthening their math and science curriculum.

Customs Department Holds Annual Christmas Party
Over 120 children were engaged in the joy and cheer of the Christmas season as the Custom and Excise Department hosted its 7th Annual Children’s Party at Dreams in Corozal Town. Emelda Hyde is a custom clerk who elaborated on the event. Emelda Hyde’s - custom clerk one “We now are celebrating our 7th annual Christmas party and it was started by one of our deputy comptroller of customs, Mr. Recinos and it started out with just some of the under privilege children from the school and they decided to change it and we now do it every year with children with Special needs. Today we started by having them sit down and have eat some snacks but this year we have the clowns that were invited from Mexico so they have a two hour entertainment for the kids after which we also have one of the child who is blind and she is going to be singing and playing the piano for us and we also be having one of our officer doing two songs for us and thereafter we just going to be doing little activities to keep them entertained until about two o’clock.”

#498937 - 12/12/14 04:46 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 12, 2014 [Re: Marty]
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More News: Scroll up from here


Alex X’s death still not ruled a murder
San Ignacio Police are still baffled over the identity of a person only known as Alex, who was found clinging to life inside a house on Coyoc street, San Ignacio, at around 4:00 am on Sunday December 7th. On Tuesday Plus News spoke to 22 year old Dennis Guzman who told us that he had known Alex for ...

Strike team takes grenade, firearms, drugs off the street
An Eastern Division strike team took multiple items off the street in operations conducted earlier this week. The most dangerous was a M26 American high-explosive grenade found in an overgrown lot in the Fabers Road Extension area of Belize City, around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday...

“Peter Tosh” given bail for grievious harm charge
Earlier this week 61 year old Tony Anthony, also known as “Peter Tosh,” was read a charge of grievous harm which authorities indicated may be upgraded to maim. Anthony, a former police officer, was charged on Monday and remanded for the injury to Wayne Anthony, with whom he got into a confrontations...

Ex-employees of BWS back in court
The trial of Mark Menzies, Don Gillett, and four other workers claiming termination from Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) resumed after a six-month break before Justice Michelle Arana. Former president of the Belize Water Services Workers’ Union Lorelei Westby, BWS CEO Alvan Haynes, and Human Res...

Repairs for Twin Towns’ Bridge
The low lying bridge that joins twin towns Santa Elena and San Ignacio will be closed for the next five days to undergo needed repairs. The bridge is usually motorists’ one way access to enter San Ignacio from Santa Elena, while the Hawksworth bridge is usually the one way access out of San Ignacio ...

Fatal Chopping in Corozal
A Corozal man of Hispanic descent was caught by police in the act of chopping another individual of Creole decent. According to police, at around 9:15 pm on Tuesday, December 9th, Corozal police responded to a chopping incident on College road, Corozal Town. Upon arriving at the scene, police observed 29 year old Carlos Cassanova, of Coro Street, inflicting several chop wounds to 29 year old Mark Massam Jr., of Bocotora Street, who was lying on the ground inside an open yard. Police reportedly ordered Cassanova to drop his machete but he refused and continued to chop Massam all over his head and upper body. Several warning shots were fired but still Cassanova continued his carnage. Police then fired several shots at Cassanova which caught him on the thigh and leg. As a result, Carlos Cassanova dropped the machete and police managed to subdue him.

Belize is the Third Worst Caribbean Cruise Destination says Yahoo
Yahoo Travel, a highly rated travel blog, published an article on Tuesday entitled the Worst Caribbean Ports of Call for Cruises and Belize is listed as number three. The article highlights the fact that there is no Cruise port in Belize; and while the article does concede that there are things to do outside City bounds, it describes the old Capital as dreary with nothing to do. It also says that, “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.” and while that might be true, the Government, in January of this year, after receiving much heat from local activists, gave Fienstein’s Stake Bank Project the green light. The Prime Minister explained the bill presented in January 2014. He said that “The idea is to locate the new cruise port there [at State Bank] and in fact to build the causeway to Belize City. All relevant environmental impact assessments have been submitted and had been examined by the Department of the Environment. It appears that the developer has the financing lined up and so with the passage of this bill after we come back to the House on the next occasion – it appears that construction will start imminently.”

Will Mayor Bradley run again?
The Mayor’s issues both inside and outside the Council have led to speculation that he may step away from a second candidacy. While he did not exactly dispel the rumours, Mayor Bradley did indicate that he remains on the job. . Darrell Bradley – Mayor of Belize City “The position is that people have elected me to the office to solve problems. People have asked questions, ‘Mayor you seem frustrated.’ Mayor this. Mayor that. That’s not something that just has happened. I’ve had conversations with you privately and public in terms of some of the challenges that I face as mayor. I knew that this was going to be a difficult job and people elect you not to be popular or not to do things in a popularist way, but to make an impact. There are difficult questions that we have to face, but that is what leadership is about. It is about facing difficult questions in a mature way. And if there comes times where when I am saying to myself that this thing can’t work in terms of how the operation is, then I know what I have to do. But people elect me for a three year term to solve difficult problems and that is what I intend to do for the full term in office when I have been mayor.

Older persons honored on Human Rights Day
Wednesday was International Human Rights Day and there were activities held around the country. In Belize City at the Helpage Activity Center and Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly, multiple generations came together at a Christmas party which also doubled as a celebration of human rights for all, including older persons. We spoke with Chairman of Helpage Belize, Evan Dakers. Evan Dakers – Chair of Helpage Belize “We have a number of people, who basically live alone, and then we have those who have family members who comes around but very infrequent. So when you have an activity like this today, it gives them that measure of unity and togetherness. I believe an activity like today is one in which we try please our older persons.”

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 in the titular residential neighborhood, has a population of 223 and has had to scrap for what it can get. Principal Amelia Bencomo relates how this dream was realized. Amelia Bencomo – Principal of Buttonwood Bay Nazarine Primary School “It used to be a classroom, but became available after a missionary team donated to us an additional classroom building. This was one of our goals, to develop a resource room where a reading reinforcement program will be set in place, for students who can read and those who are still struggling, as well as for teachers who may want to conduct research to enhance their lessons.

St. Matthews Residents and Police Socialize
On Saturday November 8th, Belmopan Police took up the initiative to visit four areas in Belmopan in a meet and greet session,where they visited about 100 homes. This past weekend, Belmopan police hit the village of St. Matthews on the George Price Highway, where they met with residents and took note of their concerns. Inspector Stephanie Grinage, Deputy Officer Commanding Belmopan Police Formation, told us what were the general concerns of the people. Inspector Stephanie Grinage – Deputy Officer Commanding Belmopan Police Formation “On December 6th., that was Saturday, OC Belmopan, Mr Howell Gillett, along with myself and members of the Belmopan Police Formation wisited St Matthews village, and conducted a Meet and Greet in that area.

The Guardian

The Final Battle for BTL and BEL underway at the Caribbean Court of Justice
The first of three days to once and for all determine the legality of the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited began on Wednesday December 10 at the Caribbean Court of Justice. A battery of lawyers representing BTL, BEL and the Government of Belize are in Port of Spain Trinidad for the three days of arguments. Presenting on the first day of hearing before the 5 justices of the CCCJ was Peter Goldsmith who made presentations for 2 hours and forty five minutes. Also making presentations on behalf of British Caribbean Bank was Eamon Courtenay while Attorney Edward Fitgerald who is representing Fortis Energy also made a 1 hour presentation. He will continue arguments on Thursday after which Denys Barrow will present the Government of Belize’s position, responding to all three lawyers. The first presenters will then rebut and the case will be completed on Friday December 12. At the conclusion of the case justices Byron, Saunders, Wit , Hayton and Anderson will make a ruling to finally and definitively conclude litigation as it relates to the nationalization of BEL and BTL finally determining whether it was done legally or not.

4th Consecutive Electricity reduction!!!
On January 1, Belizeans will benefit from another reduction in electricity rates – Yes, light bill is going down again! This is the fourth consecutive tariff review procedure in which electricity rates will be reduced. On December 8, the Belize Electricity Limited submitted an application to the Public Utilities Commission requesting a reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of approximately 1.5 cent per kilowatt hour. That means that residential customers’ rates may decrease from 43.47 cents per kilowatt hour to 42 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity for the period January, 2015 to June, 2015. This reduction has become necessary in order to “to reflect the savings [the company] has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers (IPP),” according to BEL. A statement from the company states, “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.” The reduction represents a 3.4 percent decrease in the Mean Electricty Rate.

Richard Harrison - Born To Lose
Richard Harrison’s extemporaneous ingression into the political arena as a candidate for standard bearer for the People’s United Party in the Cayo North division has left many pundits with jaws agape. Richard Harrison’s life has been that of an accomplished disaster. Everything he has put his hands on has simply failed. His business ventures have been nothing more than disappointments for him and his family. All indications are that he is flat out broke or at the very least struggling to survive. He has responded to these criticisms that he owes no one. Of course he owes no one because those he owed opted to collect from him by garnishment or through his assets.

Why is Johnny Briceno denying his former driver’s wealth?
various bank accounts and that there is now a legal battle over who will control the estate. The only mention that the Guardian make of Johnny Briceno was that it was his former driver who had left the money behind. Lo and behold, Johnny appears on no less than the headline of the Amandala newspaper denying the article. There is an old Creole saying that goes: "the hog weh bawl, feel the lik." We wonder if we can apply this saying to Johnny? For him to come out and defend something he has absolutely nothing to do with is really strange.

Officer Accused of Sex with 14-Year-Old Out on Bail
Police Officer Rupert Thomas, 38, who is attached to the Independence Police Formation, is out on bail after his application was successful at the Supreme Court. Thomas was accused on November 14, 2014 of having sex with a 14-year-old girl and as a result he was charged with a single count of carnal knowledge. Thomas has been at the Belize Central prison on remand since the arraignment but his attorney, Oscar Selgado applied for bail on his behalf at the Supreme Court. On Friday, December 5, Thomas appeared before Justice Antoneitte Moore where his application was heard. There was no objection to bail by Crown Counsel, Kileru Awich.

Man chops another to death in front of cops
Corozal Police have a very disturbing murder to investigate after a man savagely chopped another to death in front of the cops who arrived and tried to keep the peace. It happened at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9, on College Road in Corozal Town. Officers responded to a report of a machete fight in progress, and when they got to the location, they reportedly saw 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr. standing over the body of 29 year-old Mark Massam Jr. with a machete in hand, hacking at him with no apparent intention to stop.

Major drug bust in Dangriga
A family of 4 from Dangriga Town continues to face drug trafficking charges after major amounts of marijuana were found in their house on Friday, December 5. Acting on intelligence from Special Branch in Dangriga, a team of police officers conducted a pre-dawn raid in the area of the community known as “Baka Town”. There, they searched the home of 38 year-old Delvorine Ramos, located on St. Vincent Street. She was present at the time along with 19 year-old Chelsey Ramos, 46 year-old Felix Alvarez, and a minor.

Salvadoran dies in Cayo under strange circumstances
On Sunday of last weekend at about 7:00 am, a man was observed at the San Ignacio Community Hospital under strange circumstances. He was at the emergency room suffering from a large cut wound to the right side of his head, a bruised eye and with abrasions to the left foot. While this man is known only by the name, Alexander, he was also known to be a Salvadoran laborer, residing on Coyoc Street in San Ignacio Town. Investigations have revealed that a day earlier, on Saturday of last weekend, Alexander was socializing at the residence of Obed Rivera on Awe Street in San Ignacio Town, consuming Caribbean Gold Rum with his friends. Alexander was along with Dennis Guzman, Wilson Sanchez, Charles Windsor, Obed Rivera and other friends; between the hours of 9:30 pm and 11:30 pm, after which they dispersed.

Alleged immigration scam mastermind now free of all Charges
Magistrate Dale Cayetano dismissed 38 charges against Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos and Alfredo Marcos for aiding and abeting individuals to use documents not entitled to. The case against Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos, the alleged mastermind of a massive immigration scheme, and her common-law husband, Alfredo Marcos, first started to break down on October 28 when they were both set free of ten immigration charges in relation to the use of documents they are not entitled to; including, voter’s identification card, Social Security card, nationality certificate and a temporary border crossing permit.

Inspiration Calendar and Agenda launched
Over the past 8 months since the Inspiration Center has been in operation the institution has made 144 assessments of children with special needs. Additionally personnel offer services to 260 children between the ages of 11 months and 16 years of age both at the institution itself or as clients they make visits to. The attention offered by the center includes medical attention, physical and speech therapy and community based services among others. That’s a lot of work being done in such a short space of time, but like everything, the work that is being done needs financial support and for the Inspiration Center, it means coming up with novel ideas to raise those funds. A couple of those ideas include the production of the Inspiration Calendar and the Inspiration Agenda. At ceremonies held at the center on Wednesday December 10th, both these publications were unveiled.

Myrtle vex, Francis admits to being a hypocrite
Myrtle Palacio is not taking too kindly that the PUP’s Hypocricy has been exposed and she took to facebook this weekend to rant about how her letter in which she agreed to take the Petro Caribe money was printed in the Guardian. Well Myrtle can be as angry as a cat on a rainy day. That does not change the fact that they have been beating up on the use of the Petro Caribe money and then they turn around and take it without a shred of remorse. Hypocrites is what they are Myrtle, the Secretary General; Francis the party leader and the whole kit of them.

Education Ministry Endorses “Colour Me Belize” Book
Sapna Budhrani launched the first of a series of colouring books featuring objects relative to the Belizean experience on Monday, December 8, at the House of Culture. The book is called “Colour Me Belize” and has already been endorsed by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the National Institute for Culture and History. The colouring book includes most of the national symbols and other objects that represent the diverse ethnic population of Belize; such as drums, baskets and traditional aparrel. Bhudrani says, “My aim was to build national pride in some way; not realizing that in the end it actually helped build pride for myself.”

Belize City Council refurbishes Buttonwood Bay Nazarene’s computer lab
Students of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School are enjoying a much more learning friendly environment in the school’s resource center thanks to the Belize City Council and the Central Bank of Belize. Mayor Darrell Bradley was invited to speak to students of Buttonwod Bay Nazarene about a month ago. His message to them was “Be the change you want to see in the world. Be a catalyst for good and a force for positive impact in your community.” After the address he was led on a tour of the compound by the school’s management. He saw a clear need for an upgrade of the computer lab and made a commitment to the students that the Council will upgrade the facility.

Gas prices fall even more
Two weeks ago the prices of gas went down by 91 cents. On Friday morning, drivers were again happily surprised that the price of premium gas had gone down by 44 cents and the price of regular had gone down by 43 cents. The price of premium gas is now $9.57 while regular is $9.21. Diesel has also seen a decrease, on Tuesday November 25 it went down by 49 cents. Fuel prices are now at the lowest they have ever been in 3 years.

Hon. Rene Montero delivers house in Cayo
With the spirit of the Christmas Season upon us, a resident from Georgeville in the Cayo District is the new recipient of a brand new concrete building. A three bedroom house was gifted to Mrs. Agnes Gongora by the Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Transport and Public Works on Saturday of last weekend. The Hon. Rene Montero, who is also the Representative for the Cayo Central Division, was joined by Georgeville Village Councilors in giving the keys of the new home to Mrs. Agnes Gongora.

PUP Says Roll the Petro Caribe
The opposition People’s United Party has had a lot to say about the Government’s use of the Petrocaribe funds for the development of Belize and the betterment of its people. They have had an issue with the Prime Minister and this government because the money is being used in a very accountable manner, something they know nothing about. Well such was their discontent with the issue that they went to the extreme of taking the matter to court. They contend that the funds are being mismanaged and misspent and that the loan motion was not taken before the house. In the first week of November they filed suit against the government in the Supreme Court. The Government passed the motion in the National Assembly two weeks later on the 18th November and that was that.

Time for Smart Customers in the South to Make the Switch
After February 28, 2015 the Belize Telemedia Limited will no longer provide Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) Lines to Speednet; therefore, Smart customers in Southern Belize should start switching to the company owned by the Government and people of Belize. Speednet has been sourcing DTN connection from BTL since July of 2014, when it ended a service agreement with its original network support provider for Stann Creek and Toledo. Around the end of September, BTL informed Speednet that it would have to cut the service “due to increased demands on its [own network]”. In a statement to the press, the company said, “BTL can no longer provide the DTN Lines to Speednet while adequately satisfying its own demands and requirements in providing quality telecommunications services.” After a 30 day grace period had passed, BTL went on to cut the service from 16 megabits to 4 megabits in early November. This caused internet, voice and SMS services to deteriorate significantly for Smart customers from Independence to Punta Gorda.

UDP Dangriga goes to Battle! Boots on the Ground in New Site
The Red Machine was in full motion this past Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Dangriga. With all the good things happening under the leadership of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the UDP Government and Party is poised to win the upcoming Municipal Elections countrywide; but in Dangriga the UDP Campaign Team is leaving nothing to chance. They have been on the ground even before August 24 when the campaign was officially launched. This past weekend, we joined the campaign team, first on Ecumenical Drive where they celebrated the launch of the full cementing of that major artery. From there we moved into New Site where the team headed by Mayoral Candidate Francis Humphreys and Councilor Candidates Alex ‘Lexus’ Joseph, Yadira Diego, Earth Lopez, Herbert Nicasio, Cheryl Williams Molina and Gary Francisco greeted and conversed with voters at their homes. As Mr. Humphreys puts it, “Political campaigning is like conventional warfare; there’s no substitute for boots on the ground!”

National Forum Concludes 16 Days of Activism
“The Perpetrators of violence against men are other men and in most cases the victims and perpetrators are rivals. In the case of women, the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of violence against them are men in their lives, in their families – men with whom they have some sort of connection- men who are known to them.” – Hon. Mark King, Minister of State in Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation. Violence against women is one of the most complicated plagues of society to tackle. As pointed out by Hon. Mark King at a national forum on the eradication of violence against women, addressing the issue effectively requires a comprehensive plan and wide scale participation of relevant agencies. In an effort to regalvanize social partners committed to the eradication of violence against women, on Wednesday, 10 December, the Women’s Department of the Ministry of Human Development held a national forum under the theme “Belize’s commitment to Eradicate Violence against Women, Femicide and Human Trafficking”.

Junior male softballers to Central American championship
The National Junior male softball team of Belize left the country on Wednesday 10 December, 2014, to Guatemala City, Guatemala, where it will participate in the X Central American Junior Male Championship that will be held from 12-14 December, 2014. The X championship will feature the participation of Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the host country Guatemala in a Double Round Robin Format competition.

Walk the Walk
I try to read all of our country’s national newspapers each week in an effort to keep updated with current news and to analyze opinions in the editorials. Needless to say (but I will anyway) most of the newspapers are, in like manner of the talk shows on TV, noticeably slanted to the Blue, and unabashedly so too. There is one print edition in particular which, shrouded with professed neutrality, never hesitates to attack the UDP government at every opportunity. In addition to its patently biased opinions, this paper also has the practice of heaping flattery on personalities and organizations who attack the UDP; trying to promote them as champions so that they may continue their campaign against the Government with recharged enthusiasm.

NHI now available in 14 northern villages
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, had promised that NHI services will roll out to the Northern districts and on Friday December 5, the Ministry of Health signed on to a contract to commence NHI services in the Corozal District in January of next year. Under the contract, mobilization finances have been made available to retrofit the Corozal Community outpatient department of the hospital to be an NHI provider. Along with the Corozal Community Hospital an NGO operating out of Patchakan village has also been identified as a provider so far. The Hospital is expected to be in the region of 17,000 persons and the Patchakan NGO some 4000 persons. Under the program persons will be able to access services such as mamograms, pap smears, prostate exams, x-rays, pharmaceuticals and other services covered under the program.

Discovering Your Passion
Questions arise at every given time throughout our lives. In every relationship, in uncertainty, and in our career. Sometimes they are questions we may never be able to answer, and other times, we may simply be too occupied to find the answer. Certainly, we ask questions to know more about a situation or even ourselves, but most importantly to seek out our deepest passions. There have been many of us who have asked the question, "How do I determine my best career path?" Here, I will describe how I have answered that question in the past, and how I continue to answer that very important question today.

Tropic Air Flight lands in water
The local airline company, Tropic Air, continues to be the subject of an inquiry by the Department of Civil Aviation after one of its aircraft plunged into the waters surrounding the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. A prompt press release from the company said in its entirety, "On Tuesday, December 4, 2014 at approximately 2:20 PM flight #281 was going from San Pedro to Belize City Municipal Airport and upon landing went off the end of the runway into the water. There were 5 passengers and pilot and no injuries incurred." No official information as to the cause of plane's mishap has been provided as yet, but the press has learned that the pilot of the plane has reported to police that the engine died as soon after he landed. That meant that no reverse thrusters could have been applied to decelerate the aircraft before it ended up in the Caribbean Sea.

Ministers of Agriculture of Central America and Dominican Republic meet in Belize 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.

Preparing for Agriculture exports in Jalacte
The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA) are currently in the works of establishing an agriculture inspection point near Jalacte Village, Toledo. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources Hon. Gaspar Vega visited the site on Friday, December 5, 2014. The Deputy Prime Minister said that the purpose of the project is to assist and enhance the work of the farmers in the area: “We can come to this area and be able to assist the farmers in an easier manner than what we had done in the past. It’s an agriculture outreach where we would be having extension officers to be able to advise farmers on how they can derive more benefits from the efforts they’re putting in their agricultural programs.”

PM Barrow enters sugar negotiations
Executives from American Sugar Refinery (ASR), the major shareholder in Belize Sugar Industries, are set to meet as principals of the factory owners with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. This meeting is being held to try for the start of a crop before Christmas. The dispute between BSI and the cane farmers stands, but there are 3 points that both sides must agree to resolve before an agreement is signed. First, the cane farmers and the factory owners cannot agree on how long the agreement should be binding for. BSI wants a contract with a 7-year term, but the farmers are not willing to accept what they believe is an onerous and extended period of time. They have budged to 3 years, and they are willing to go all the way up the full term, with the condition that they can cancel it if they don’t like BSI’s development plan for the industry. BSI has not accepted a 3-year contract, and a contract with a termination clause is something they call “unrealistic”

What if Belize Has an Oil Spill?
Though oil production is at its lowest level since a commercial quantity was first discovered in 2006, the oil industry is the most active it has ever been in Belize. With more exploration being done and the likelihood of more oil being discovered, regulators of the industry have to prepare for everything; including, a worst case scenario. What if an oil spill occurs in Belize? Representatives from various protective agencies are currently in a workshop designed to prepare local responders for a potential oil spill in Belize. Claudine Tiercelin and Elliot Taylor of the International Maritime Organization presented on topics such as “Oil properties, behaviour and fate”, “Health and safety”, “Environmental sensitivity and impacts” and “Containment and recovery” among others.

Arms of Love Pre-School in Cayo gets building
“Studies have shown that students who attend pre-school have a greater advantage, which leads them to success in life.” That was the conclusion of Alma Fuller, Early Childhood Coordinator attached to the Ministry of Education, at the opening of a new building at the Arms of Love Pre-School in the Kontiki Area at the outskirts of San Ignacio Town on Friday of last week. Residents of Kontiki were joined by various development partners for the opening of a furnished 50 feet in length by 42 feet in width building that comes at a cost of $65,775.00 The Arms of Love Pre-School was built by the Government of Belize, through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. The Kontiki pre-school was implemented by the Social Investment Fund and comes after four other pre schools have recently been built around Belize, with one in Punta Gorda and Stann Creek and two others in the Cayo District.

Two murders out west
The family of 54 year-old Donatilo Canales, a resident of the Valley of Peace Village in Cayo, continue to suspect a police officer of being involved in his murder which happened on Saturday, December 6. Police investigations have revealed that at around 12:30 a.m., just after the midnight hour, he heard his dogs barking, and so he went to check on it. His wife was inside the house, and she heard 4 gunshots nearby. When he didn’t return a few minutes later, she became concerned, especially because the gunfire was close by. She alerted her neighbours, and by flashlight, they went searching for Canales. Shortly after their search began, they found his bullet-riddled body about a hundred yards or so from the backdoor of his house. He had been shot in the leg, the chest, the neck, and the head, and it appears that he bled out shortly after his assailant opened fire on him.

Busted with over 70 Pounds of Weed
Leon Grey, 26, and Wilbert Gentle, 22, are out on bail after they were charged with drug trafficking for over 70 pounds of weed. The Mobile Interdiction Team intercepted Grey and Gentle on the La Democracia road at about 10 p.m. on Thursday, December 4. The men are Belize City residents of the PIV area and police believe they were in the area solely to purchase marijuana. A search of their vehicle led to the discovery of 35,833 grams of marijuana. Both were arrested for drug trafficking.

St. Catherine Academy and St. John’s College are Central Region High School Basketball champions
The 2014-2015 Central Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition came to an end on Friday 5 December, 2014, at Bird’s Isle. In the female championship game, St. Catherine Academy defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 15-11. The top scorer for St. Catherine Academy was Indy Dixon with 6 points and the top scorer for Gwen Lizarraga High School was Kayla Bowden with 6 points. In the male championship game, St. John’s College defeated Sadie Vernon Technical High School by the score of 86-65. The top scorers for St. John’s College were Dudley Erskine with 21 points and Sydney Bradley with 16 points. For Sadie Vernon Technical High School, the top scorers were Glency Lopez with 33 points and Darnel Galvez with 13 points.

National High Schools Basketball championship at Bird’s Isle
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association and the Bowen and Bowen National Basketball Championship will be played on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 December, 2014, at Bird’s Isle. This year’s championship is being hosted by Excelsior High School. The schools that have earned the right to represent their respective regions are from Central in female St. Catherine Academy and male St. John’s College. From the West in both female and male Sacred Heart College, from the South female Delille Academy and male Julian Cho Technical High School and from the North female Muffles College and male San Pedro High School.

East Sports Committee to sponsor Aragon’s Basketball Tournament
The Orange Walk East Sports Committee is sponsoring the Aragon’s Basketball Tournament at the East Sports Centre that is scheduled to commence on Friday 12th December, 2014. Teams that are interested in participating in the tournament must have 10 players, 2 coaches and a manager. According to the organisers, teams must wear uniforms. The championship team will receive $1,000.00 cash, individual medals and a team trophy the 2nd place team will receive $500.00 cash, individual medals and a team trophy. Also there will be the individual awards which include MVP and Most Disciplined Team.

Verdes FC leads the Premier League Opening Season
The Premier League of Belize Opening Season Tournament continued over the last weekend with a number of games on the schedule. On Saturday 6 December, 2014, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town, the scheduled game between the visiting Police United and the host team FC Belize did not played as FC Belize could not field a team at game time. As a result of a no-show, Police United was awarded the game. Meanwhile, out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the defending national champions the Belmopan Bandits blasted the visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters by the score of 7-2. The goals for the Belmopan Bandits were scored by Elroy Kuylen in the 12th and 20th minutes of play, Jordy Polanco in the 34th minute of play, Jerome James in the 46th minute of play, Highking Roberts in the 52nd and 54th minutes of play and John King in the 83rd minute of play.

St. Ignatius wins in primary schools basketball competition
The 2014-2015 Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Competition continues at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. On Monday 8 December, in the girls’ game played, Holy Redeemer School won over St. John’s Primary School by the score of 4-2. The top scorer for Holy Redeemer School was Yu Ting Li with 4 points and for St. John’s Primary the top scorer was Taliyah Hyde with 2 points. In the first of three games played in the boys’ competition, St. Ignatius School defeated Belize Elementary School by the score of 18-5. The top scorer for St. Ignatius School was Tariq Pascascio with 10 points while the top scorer for Belize Elementary School was Alex Ariola with 4 points. In game two, Ephesus SDA School won over St. Martin De Porres School via the default route.

Junior male softballers to Central American championship
The National Junior male softball team of Belize left the country on Wednesday 10 December, 2014, to Guatemala City, Guatemala, where it will participate in the X Central American Junior Male Championship that will be held from 12-14 December, 2014. The X championship will feature the participation of Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the host country Guatemala in a Double Round Robin Format competition. The National Junior Male team is made up of the following players: Konrad Gonzalez, Alex Roache, Brandon Munguia, Rene Flowers, Keron Tillett, Bruce Hylton, Godsden Ferguson, Jerome Carr, Anfernee Brooks, Myric Marin, Christian Hernandez, Allen Audinett, Kristopher Majarrez, Nachor Howe, Lester Gamez, Damian Pollard, Dylon Snagg and Devontae Middleton.

Patrick JonesPJ

New air services make it easier to get to Belize
The San Pedro-based Tropic Air this week announced a new partnership with the leisure airline Condor. What does this new partnership mean? According to an online report issued in Frankfurt on Monday, it means that “Flights from Tropic Air can be booked via the existing destination Cancun […]

Strike team takes grenade, firearms, drugs off the street
An Eastern Division strike team took multiple items off the street in operations conducted earlier this week. The most dangerous was a M26 American high-explosive grenade found in an overgrown lot in the Fabers Road Extension area of Belize City around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday. The green grenade was […]

Ex-employees of BWS back in court
The trial of Mark Menzies, Don Gillett, and four other workers claiming termination from Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) resumed after a six-month break before Justice Michelle Arana. Former president of the Belize Water Services Workers’ Union Lorelei Westby; BWS CEO Alvan Haynes and Human Resource Officer Haydon […]

Caye Chapel developers plan five-star hotel
The island of Caye Chapel, covering 265 acres off the mainland of the Belize District, has been sold to a consortium from Mexico that includes Belizean investors. Its previous owner lost the land to receivership five years ago when he was unable to pay his loan with the […]

Belize Humane Society advisory about stray dogs eradication
The Belize City Council routinely does eradication of pest and stray dogs in the Old Capital and another such sweep began on Wednesday and continues today, Thursday. But it was not announced and the Belize Humane Society contacted the press this afternoon to issue a warning to owners to keep their pets confined. The full statement by S. Renee Wentz says: “The Belize Humane Society would like to alert all Belize City residents of the following: The Belize City Council has enacted a two night stray dog eradication in Belize City. It began last night, Wednesday and will continue tonight, Thursday. Please confine your pets safely. The Belize Humane Society encourages residents to share this information, but also share the message that all pet owners should keep their pets safely confined at ALL times. People should also spay/neuter their pets in order to decrease escape behavior of dogs and cats leaving the yard to breed. You can contact the Belize Humane Society and Animal Shelter on their Facebook page for more information.”

Lemonal village man gets bail for grievous harm charge
Earlier this week 61 year old Tony Anthony also known as “Peter Tosh” was read a charge of grievous harm which authorities indicated may be upgraded to maim. Anthony, a former police officer, was charged on Monday and remanded for the injury to Wayne Anthony, with whom he […]

Global report on violence prevention released
Belize is listed among countries in the Americas with the highest homicide rates behind Jamaica, Venezuela and Honduras. The Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014, which was released on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, shows that three-quarters of the homicides in the Americas are committed with firearms and occur in low and middle income countries. Data for the Report, published jointly by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, was gathered from 133 countries around the world.

Police retrieve hand grenade in Belize City
Belize City police retrieved a hand grenade last night from an area on Fabers Road Extension. According to a release sent out by the Police Press Officer, the grande which was wrapped in a black plastic bag and inside of an old knapsack, was found in an overgrown area in the Fathers Road Extension area around 6:40 pm on Wednesday. Police say the the bomb expert from the Belize Defence Force was called in where the device was identified to be “an M26 American origin high explosive grenade.”

Police investigate murder of Santa Elena resident
Two persons are in police custody pending murder investigation. This follows the discovery of the body of 22 year old Santa Elena resident Samir Fernandez on Wednesday afternoon in Esperanza village, Cayo. Police say they found Fernandez’ body on a feeder road south of the village. At the time of the discovery, police say Fernandez’ body had several cut wounds on the head.


Placencia, Belize’s 3rd “End of the World” Marathon Just Gets Bigger and Better
Just a few days ago, Belize’s largest/only marathon took place in gorgeous (and I imagine blissfully flat for the runners) Placencia in Southern Belize. About 170 runners (and 120 volunteers!) took the the streets (I mean one road) of Maya Beach, Seine Beight and Placencia for the Third Annual END OF THE WORLD Marathon. The marathon was originally named “End of the World” for the end of the Maya Calendar on, supposedly, December 21, 2012. Although the world did not explode, the name has been kept – I mean come on! It’s a great t-shirt. This year’s event was held on Sunday, December 7th – and it was a gorgeous day. Here’s the marathon’s creator, Chip Lowell, at last weekend’s award ceremony. A part time Maya Beach resident and New Englander, Chip has run a bunch of marathons in the states. He has a passion for running and sports and for education. He is a professor at prestigious Williams College in Massachusetts and his ultimate dream is to have free education for all Belizeans.

“My Life” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Since publishing the last edition I’ve got up every morning fully intending to ‘knock out’ another one. Out on the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one on the first floor- with a mug of black, instant unsweetened coffee and the iPad. All ‘tooled up’ for a spot of writing (allow me my fanciful self indulgence). It may have been the turn in the weather – it’s been decidedly chilly (OK maybe not by your standards) and it’s rained most early mornings – but I just couldn’t conjure up the necessary enthusiasm. Now you may not have detected any signs of enthusiasm in what I put ‘out there’ but believe me it’s there. I don’t sit down with any preordained ideas (you’ve probably formed that opinion anyway if you’ve read a few editions), I just write what pops in to my head. Well sad (for me anyway) to say that this week nothing has popped in to my head. I must admit though that the longer the absence has gone on the harder it has got to think about what to write about. So why not let you know the problems I’ve had, I thought. Who knows some of you may sympathise. Some may even empathise. No? Oh well.

Some of the most fabulous and mind blowing cathedrals can be found and all over the modern world. Some of the oldest are found in Europe – the old continent. Within these amazing places for the believers, an electric connection with the universe exists; electricity that their souls demand and command, and they receive it each and every time. This has been the case in time immemorial. Every ancient culture has created some type of physical space to access the powerful energy that exists in the universe. The ancient Maya were not different. They too created spaces for incredible celebrations and spiritual journeys in the form of temples. There are a few kingdoms that went a tad more than the extra mile in the creation of such spaces. They could be large and small, such as in the case of Tikal and Xunantunich. The elite at these places created shrines other than temples to celebrate their ancestors, time and to unite their science with their spirituality. The elite or King at Xunantunich created one of these shrines at the base of an Eastern temple.

We Lit it Up!!
Who doesn't love a good parade?! Let me tell you - Belizeans love a parade. The first month I was here I think they paraded every weekend. Never before have I seen such anxious and happy paraders. In the interest of full disclosure; I myself am not much of a parade fan. Christmas lights, boats, water, and friends...I can handle that and heck - I'll even parade on it. Of course it helps to leave a winner too! An afternoon of stringing lights, a few hours putting around on a boat drinking Captain Beav's Famous Panty Ripphas with friends, and cruising down the coast line while the masses on the beach cheer and cheer, and we wave and wave. I suppose there is something fun about a parade. My inner parading Belizean is getting out a bit more I suppose. I successfully dodged most of the heavy lifting in the decorating game - "working" has its benefits! Actually I really was working, but work isn't work when you love what you do right. Anyway, after creating a nice batch of Captain Beav's Panty Ripphas it was time to decorate. So I headed over to the Ambergris Diver's dock (thanks for the boat chaps...mine will be in action next year) and strung lights for an hour or so - the crew had things well in hand prior to my arrival.

International Sourcesizz

Southwest Airlines to add Belize flights
Southwest Airlines today said it plans to begin flights to tropical Belize next fall as part of its continuing international expansion. The flights, which are subject to government approval, will be offered between Houston and Belize City. It will be Southwest's second destination in Central America, where the airline has already announced plans to fly to Costa Rica from Baltimore beginning in March.

Southwest Airlines expects to begin flights to Belize City next year as it expands international service. The airline said Thursday that it will fly to Belize from Houston beginning next October. Southwest said that it also plans to fly to four destinations in Mexico ? Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos ? and to San Jose, Costa Rica, from a new international concourse being built at Houston's Hobby Airport. Southwest needs federal government approval for the flights. The plan puts Southwest in head-to-head competition with United Airlines, which flies to all those locations from Houston's larger airport, Bush Intercontinental. Low-fare rival Spirit Airlines has announced that it will begin flying several of the same routes in May.

CARIBBEAN VIEW: Stronger US dollar and lower oil prices: Effects on the Caribbean
Caribbean countries whose value is fixed to the US dollar should benefit, at least in the short term, from the fall in oil prices and the strengthening of the American currency. Oil prices fell to below US$65 a barrel for the first time in 5 years, while the US dollar strengthened against every major currency, including China’s Yuan In a general sense, the reduction in the oil price will benefit all countries, particularly the developed nations whose working population will have more disposable income and will spend more on goods and services such as tourism. In turn, this will help to rejuvenate economies worldwide for as long as the oil price remains low. The further and specific benefits to countries whose currencies are linked to the US dollars should come in three important ways.

Belize, a country thriving on its natural and cultural richness
It’s been a privilege attending the UNESCO Foundation Course for Underwater Cultural Heritage. I’m even more thrilled to have represented my country, my little Belize, whose growth is slow but steady, even as it relates to underwater cultural heritage. There hasn’t been much research in the discipline in Belize, but the potential is there. We are a nation with a rich culture and history! A diverse group of individuals met on this tiny island of St. Eustatius. Strong characters with a profound passion for conservation: managers, biologists, archaeologists – a plethora of disciplines all under one roof who share a common goal. The dynamics of the past month, from theory to practical, set a platform on how to better manage underwater cultural heritage in our home countries with both government and public participation, especially the latter. Before the start of the course I pondered what attending the course would mean to me. Underwater cultural heritage for a marine biologist? Of course the “underwater” appealed to me, but I hadn’t realized that the two disciplines are integral in the grand scheme of underwater cultural heritage management. Especially for a country like Belize where our economy thrives on the natural environment and history.


Video: Orchid Bay Video Animation: Seafront Condominiums, 3min. Here at Orchid Bay we're getting ready to receive our first Seafront Condominium residents who will spend their holidays with their toes in the Bay. A few Phase One Seafront Condominiums are still available, which is why we're releasing this spectacular video animation. The Condominiums must be seen to be believed and this video gets pretty close.

Video: Do you know where you can experience feeding the Frigate Birds in San Pedro?, 10sec.

Video: Vanajeros Part 3 // Belize, Honduras and Guatemala, 6.5min. This chapter of the story marks the halfway point of the journey to Ecuador of the van named Sandy and her four increasingly road-tested & road-ready passengers—but not everything was making progress. Creative work is what we love, but this project that we’d fashioned was creating more questions than confidence. We had the brains, we had the gear. But what do you do when a project is not quite coming together like you thought it might?

Video: Tarantulas, Tapirs, Toucans & Turtles: Belize Expedition, 6min. We cashed in my frequent flyer miles and headed to beautiful Belize, Central America. We spent our first week in San Ignacio exploring Mayan ruins (Tikal, Xunantunich) with caving adventures for good measure (Actun Tunichil Muknal, Crystal Cave). Then we headed south to Glover's Reef Atoll for a week of island bliss. Before heading home we flew by Caye Caulker, where eels, turtles, sharks and rays cavort in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Whew! All just three hours from Atlanta, Georgia. We'll be back!


Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 4, 3min. Our last clinic day was spent at Double Head Cabbage in rural Belize. Not only did we perform physical exams but we prescribed medication to those in need of it. Locals suffering from everyday issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and infections that have been untreated were finally able to receive some medication for their health problem.

Video: Belize September Celebration 2014 Roxana Alcoser, 4min.

Video: Boxes of Joy Fashion Show Fundraiser kicked off with a bang, 1min.

Video: Batfish spotted in Caye Caulker, Belize!, 1min. An unusual fish, spotted at the beach in Caye Caulker, Belize!

Video: BATFISH! Caye Caulker, Belize, 2min.

Video: Northern Belize, 13min. Life in Northern Belize is as diverse as its amazing landscape. Over the years, locals and expats have built their homes and lives beside secluded tropical rivers, amid noble hardwood forests, upon bucolic traditional farms, within sleepy rural villages, and along breezy Caribbean seashores. They are attracted to a simple, friendly life in a place that is refreshingly off-the-radar. In this video Phil Hahn interviews Mick Webb from Cooked Tree Lodge on what life is like for an expat in Belize.

Video: Belize 2014, 4min.


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