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#499344 - 12/25/14 10:10 AM Today's Belize News: December 25, 2014
Marty Offline


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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

ABC Preschool Christmas Show a huge success
It was a night of pure child entertainment on Saturday, December 13th as ABC Preschool hosted its annual extravaganza at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. This year’s event was Christmas themed and saw artists from Merida, Yucatan, Mexico imitating some of the most beloved animated characters. The children enjoyed performances by the cast of Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club House, Frozen, and event Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty the Snow Man! The ABC Preschool would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone that made the ABC Christmas Presentation a huge success. Big thanks to all our grand sponsors: Moncho’s Rentals, TMM Bareboat Vacations, Portofino Resort, Xanadu Island Resort, Coco Cabana Pool Bar, Mata Chica Resort, Unbelizable Golfcart Rentals, Captain Morgan’s Retreat San Pedro Town Council. Special thanks to the media: The San Pedro Sun, Reef Radio, Ambergris Today, Coral Cable Vision and to the various friends of ABC Preschool: Fido’s, Holiday Hotel, El Fogon, Wild Mangoes, Annie’s Pastries, Lily’s Treasure Chest, Victoria House, Elvis Kitchen, Blue Water Grill, Caramba Restaurant, Neri’s Tacos, Pirate’s Pizza.

Amigos del Mar Responds to Allegations
Anyone familiar with diving in Belize knows the name Amigos del Mar, fondly known as simply ‘Amigos’. For over twenty five years Amigos have operated one of the premiere diving companies in Belize and as such have played an essential role in building the reputation of Ambergris Caye and Belize as a top dive destination. Amigos is well known for having the highest standards for safety and divers return year after year to dive with them. This has been good for resorts and for tourism. There is a saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ and now it’s Amigos’ turn to get going. In May of this year there was an allegation of sexual assault made against Gerson Cordon, who was studying to be a Dive Master under the tutelage of independent Diving Instructor Marciano Mendez.

44th SICA Summit comes to a close
Belize has passed on the Pro-Tempore Presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA) to Guatemala, as the 44th SICA Summit came to its conclusion on Wednesday, December 17th. Held in Placencia, Stann Creek District, the final meeting of the SICA Summit saw heads of state from six of the eight participating countries attending. Presidents/Prime Ministers from Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Dominican Republic converged to discuss on the social and economic development of the region. Present at the meeting was President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina, President of the Dominican Republic Danilo Medina, President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez, President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela and President of El Salvador Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

Ambergris Today

Congratulation to all Christmas Raffle Winners!
Caribeña Fuels Winners: 1st Rojel Sanchez - 1 40 inch LCD Flat Screen TV. 2nd Killianie Azueta - 1 Home Theater System 3rd Mike Coleman - Cellular Phone 4th Tony Nuñez - 1 Ham and Turkey 5th Severo Guerrero - 3 Month Gallons of Gas Coral Cable Vision Winners: 1st Felipe Anocona - 1 40 inch LCD Flat Screen TV. 2nd Michael Hancock - 1 Home Theater System 3rd Lisa Forman - 1 Ham and Turkey 4th Vernica Trejo - 3 Months Free Cable

Liberty Children's Home Hosts Successful Fundraiser in San Pedro
Liberty Children’s Home hosted their first annual Holiday Pig Roast and Bake Sale Fundraiser this past Sunday, with a joint-venture between both newly-acquired businesses Kama Lounge and Coco Loco’s Beach Bar in the Tres Cocos area. AMBERGRIS CAYE - December 21, 2014 - With the support and help of organizers Monica Davis, Luis Velasquez (Owner, Kama Lounge), Carmen Arenal (Owner, Coco Loco’s Beach Bar), Joe Chung, and Grant Ice, the first annual Holiday Pig Roast and Bake Sale for Liberty Children’s Home was a great success. Liberty Children’s Home is a sanctuary for children in need, providing in a natural environment, love, nurturing, and a high standard of education. Situated in Ladyville, on the outskirts of Belize City, Liberty Children’s Home is unique in its commitment to child-centered care and education.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BLACK FRUIT CAKE
Stew all fruit with 1 lb brown sugar and rum; cook until liquid becomes a thick syrup. Let fruits cool overnight. In large mixing bowl, cream butter with 2 lbs brown sugar, and add eggs one at a time. Add flour, baking powder and spice alternately with stout and coloring. Finally, fold the stewed fruit into the mixture. Line cake pans with brown paper.Fill about 3/4 baking pan. Bake in very slow oven(270° F) for about 3 hours. ENJOY!!

CLASSIC HERB STUFFING
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. 2. Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add celery mixture and broth; toss gently until well mixed. Spoon into lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish. 3. Bake 35 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned.

Government of Belize Press Office
From Our Press Office Family to Yours ... MERRY CHRISTMAS! Wishing you a safe and blessed one!

Channel 7

Farmers Inch Toward A Sugar Crop
Tonight, both sides in the sugar industry standoff have inched closer to a compromise – but they have not agreed. The eighteen directors of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association met this morning in Orange Walk to consider the updated proposal from BSI. The proposal was crafted with the words of the farmers – after BSI caved in and omitted all references to the Harvest and Delivery Control Unit. So, did the Directors accept it? Well, the short version of that story is that they didn’t – but it seems that they are inclined to pending a small change. They have sent back the document to their attorney for one small amendment on that same clause 2.3. It seems the most recent draft still seems to suggest that the Sugar Cane Production Committee, known as the SCPC would not have the final say on what cane gets accepted by the factory. The farmers want that to be unequivocally fair in the final agreement and so have sent it back again.

Nat'l Security Ministry Want To Keep Murder Rate Under Control For Holidays
Last night we told you that, so far for 2014, the number of murders has increased by 22% - going up from 99 total last year, to 121 as of Monday of this week. That’s a sharp increase, but also 24 less than the all time high, which was realised in 2012. That puts Belize’s murder rate at 33.6 – which is expected to place us in the global top ten, again. But it’s still not final – the long holiday could increase the number of homicides - we surely hope not, but with so much alcohol being consumed it’s a distinct possibility. Today in Belmopan, CEO in the ministry of national security Lovell discussed the murder rate so far, and their best hopes for it:… Rt. Col George Lovell - CEO, Ministry of National Security "The figures that we currently see, while it's at a 121 or 122 is one of the lower figures in the last 5 years. It is the 2nd lowest to last year's figure and when we did our analysis, my analysis showed me that when you do projections because we were looking at this how it will be up to 2020. Our plans at the ministry of national security is to bring the homicide rate per capita to about 8 per 100 thousand."

Man Found Dead In The South; Is It Murder?
And that number of 121 murders may already be increasing. That’s after a man was found dead on the Southern Highway this morning. On Tuesday morning, 20-year-old Juan Daniel Young Menjivar from Independence village was found between miles 42 and 43 on the Southern Highway near the Monkey River Junction in a pool of blood. Police say he had a head injury – but they can’t say that it’s foul play because around 1:00a.m. he was seen walking on the Southern Highway in Bella vista Village with another man and both appeared to be drunk. A postmortem examination certified the cause of death to be “Severe Head Injury due to Massive Skull Fracture”. Today CEO Lovell said it could be murder number 122:… Rt. Col George Lovell - CEO, Ministry of National Security "With that recent body that was found on the southern highway between Bella Vista and Independence. Because, while from the looks of it appeared to be a hit and run or a vehicular road accident. According to the doctors, they have been signs that are consistent with chop wombs, so we need to look at that to see precisely where that is.”

Arabian Millionaire In Belizean Waters
For most of today, Belize Coast Guard vessels were escorting a VIP from the Kingdom of Qatar in the Middle East. The sheikh arrived in his multimillion dollar luxury yacht, noted on the internet as being one of the largest in the world. His name is Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad Al Thani, and he is the former Prime Minister and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. Internet reports say that he’s one of the richest men in his country. His 436 foot mega yacht, Al Mirqab was built in 2008, and is valued between 200 and 300 million US dollars. It has a crew of 60 and can accommodate up to 60 guests.

Man Knocked Down By Vehicle With Guatemalan Diplomatic Plates
Around 12 this afternoon, a 26 year old man was knocked down on Princess Margaret Drive. Messenger David Gonzalez was traveling on his motorcycle on Princess Margret Drive when a Toyota Hilux with diplomatic license plates belonging to the Guatemala Embassy- came out of A Street unto Princess Margret drive and knocked Gonzalez off his bike. He received abrasions to multiple parts of his body and also a broken leg. Tonight he is hospitalized at the KHMH and will need a surgery for his leg. This afternoon 7 news caught up with his wife at the hospital. Blanca Jimenez – Common-law-wife of David Gonzalez "Well I received a call round 12 o'clock this afternoon. His boss called me and she said she has bad news for me. Then I asked her what is it, she told me that David got knocked down, she said the nearly died and I so frightened. He said he was coming from work towards his boss' house then he said when he bend the lane, he just see a car coming in speed and knocked him down and they took him in the ambulance. He was in a lot of pain because his knee broke and right now its swollen, his belly is scratched, foot and everything. His boss said he was under the vehicle."

US Embassy Increases Donation To GOB
Earlier we told you about Belize’s murder rate of 33.6. IT will likely be in the top ten of the world, closer to ten than one. But, likely to be at the very top of the list is Honduras, close to that we should see El Salvador, and right in the middle we’re likely to see Guatemala. It’s called the central American Triangle, the most murderous zone on earth – and many of those murders are a consequence of the drug trade – where cocaine heads from south America to North America. And to try and compensate for that, the US set up the Central American Regional Security Initiative, CARSI. It was introduced in Belize in 2008. Since then the Americans have allotted about 16 million dollars for various security programs in Belize. That ahs been used to train 305 persons, acquire 38 vehicles, retain specialized security advisors and establish of the Mobile Interdiction Team. Well, today the American delivered four million more. CEO Lovell read from the Diplomatic note what is included:…

US Funds Can't Be Used For Hunting Caye FOB
And while the US money will go to making some less imperious decals, the money can’t be used to complete the Caost Guard’s forward operating base on Hunting Caye. As we told you, the American dropped that multi million dollar project when the Government of Belize objected to the Guatemalan contractor. At that point the Americans basically said, “fine, but you’ll have to build it yourself.” It’s still two million Belize dollars away from completion but this 8.2 million Belize dollars in CARSAI funding can’t be used to fill that shortfall. Rt. Col George Lovell - CEO, Ministry of National Security "Go have that discussion with our friends in the US embassy.” Bruce Matthews - U.S. Chargé d’affaires "We use the words, non commingling of funds. Each fund is air marked for a reason or each programme and there's very strict rules about avoiding commingling of funds. We have to make sure they go to CARSI programme to opposed military assisting programmes."

Lovell On Pisshouse...¦
And Lovell says the funds can but won’t be used to fix up the police department’s substandard, often sub-human detention cells. The issue has been the center of grassroots activist Yaya Marin Coleman’s ongoing protest and while she has focused on the city, Lovell said he went to the Belmopan cell, and it was nothing nice:… Rt. Col George Lovell - CEO, Ministry of National Security "I had an opportunity to visit the one in Belmopan and when I went there the stench, the odour you have in there. Then you have our police officers working in there and I had to go and ask if there is anything we can do in the interim because we have to try and fix what we have right now before we can the purposely designed cells that are well ventilated and away from where we have our constant day to day movements of people and those who administrate the police station. So certainly we need to look at those areas and we will be looking at them but I cannot make any promises it will happen any time soon even though yes the monies can be used for that. I think it's the government of Belize and my ministry's responsibility to ensure that we provide using our own resources if we can. I don't mind having them contributing to it but if if we can, we need to address these things.”

Is Bze Still Fighting An Imaginary War Against Marijuana
And while the CARSI funding is one thing, outside of that funding regime, the US also assists Belize with marijuana eradication efforts. At least four times since 2013, the US has lent helicopter support to the BDF and police to go on major drug destruction campaigns in the remote areas of Belize. The exercises produced record numbers of fields destroyed, but, many ask, to what end? That’s because three states in the US and the seat of the federal government, Washington DC have voted to legalize recreational marijuana. So where does that put Belize, which is still fighting a sort of make believe drug war against weed? We asked the senior US official that question pointedly today and he said it is an evolving issue:… Bruce Matthews - U.S. Chargé d’affaires "It’s an issue that’s evolving for us. You have to keep in mind that those states might have legalised use of marijuana, it's still a federal crime. So from a federal stand point, it's still an illegal drug, so it's different for us in that regard, it brings up issue sand problems were going to have to work through and how to make it all work. In terms of our foreign policy, from a federal standpoint it's still an illegal drug. Going to the front of your question and asking if it's the right thing to do, is it productive? It's not something we're going to exclude at this point but I think we do recognise that's not the sole thing we should be doing, it's not the sole avenue for solving this problem, it's a long term problem and there is going to be a long term solution."

Is Lovell Being Replaced As Nat'l Security Ministry CEO
And in one more security issue tonight – we asked CEO Lovell if it is true that Commissioner Allen WHYLIE is on the move – possibly to his office. Lovell was cagey on that one:… Rt. Col George Lovell - CEO, Ministry of National Security "I've been hearing all sot of rumours and I wouldn't even want to repeat them because I don't want people to go off with ideas." Reporter "So it's not to your knowledge?" Rt. Col George Lovell "Not to my knowledge.” Whylie was formerly the CEO of Immigration and National about 5 years ago.

Bradley to Schakron: Tell Me How You'll Improve Bze City
Mayor Darrell Bradley – last Friday you heard him speak about his decision to seek another term as Mayor. Well, we also asked him about his opponent Yolanda Schakron – and he said he hopes that she challenges him:… Darrell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City "What I want from Ms. Shakron is that she brings to the table a critical debate and discussion in relation to a vision and direction and an action plan as to how it related to how she will move Belize city forward. I have that and one of the things I don't appreciate from our political campaigns is the level of it and the depth of it is, vote for me because that one theif. That's all we talk about, so what I want for this municipal election and the general elections we talk really about issues. I have no problem is people don't like me, I have no problem is people don't vote for me. But I will tell you squarely what Darrell Bradley is about, what values we stand for in terms of our council, our emphasis on areas of moving Belize City forward and I am very confident we are about principle and we have a clear vision.”

Smuggling Wah Lee Christmas Weed?
Prison Officers say that 24 year-old Rufus Castillo tried to smuggle Christmas weed into the Belize Central Prison for his inmate cousin, and tonight, he’s facing a fine which he must pay or else, he will be jailed. The incident happened yesterday when Castillo took a plastic bag to the entrance of the prison. An officer searched the bag and realized that 21 grams – or 0.74 ounces – of marijuana was craftily hidden under the bottom of a deodorant cover. He called police who arrested and charged Castillo with possession of controlled drugs. He was arraigned today before the Senior Magistrate, where he pleaded guilty and explained that his cousin’s girlfriend did not explain that drugs were inside the deodorant. Senior Magistrate Frazer sentenced him to pay a fine of $500, by February 28, 2015.

Convicted of Sexual Assault, Man Tells The Court He Was Drunk
41 year-old Honduran Carlos Perez Sanchez is spending the first night of a 3 year sentence because touched a mother and daughter inappropriately. The incident happened on Monday, and according to a 39 year-old Mother, she and her 11 year-old daughter were walking on Cemetery Road. They were heading toward Albert Street, when they encountered Sanchez. The mother told police that Sanchez came up close and slapped them both on the buttocks. Sanchez was immediately picked up and charged with two counts of sexual assault. He was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, and he pleaded guilty to both charges. He explained that he was just released from police custody and that he was drunk.

Those Diligent Christmas Workers
Our first story is about all those who are working tomorrow. Think of the police, the security guards, the doctors and nurses, the media workers and, of course, those in the tourism sector. That’s right, Christmas is prime time for tourism, and today about 14,000 cruise visitors arrived in the city on cruise ships. That might not mean much to you all but for the tour operators at terminal 1, that means more work and more money. And it continues tomorrow. So while you all will be enjoying the family gatherings and the Christmas dinner, these tour operators will be busy at work. Seems quite depressing right? Well it surely isn't for these tour operators. They say the sacrifice is all worth it in the end.

How Is The X-Mas Sales?
And, like the tour operators, storeowners also don't mind the extra flow of people passing through. Now they won’t be open tomorrow, but tonight, most stores will be keep the lights on until the shelves are bare! And why not? After all who wants to buy a gift next week? According to downtown businesses like Mikado's and Hofius, that flow of Christmas shoppers starts to pour in from early and mid October right up to Christmas eve. So has this been a successful year on the business end? The managers of these long established stores were very upbeat when we asked them today. Neena told us that over 400 people shopped at Mikado's daily during this season.

How Di Christmas Di Cohn?
And our Christmas Eve newscast would not be complete without the word from the street. It’s a tradition here at 7News to go out unto Albert street and sample public opinion on that deathless question: “how di Christmas di cohn?” As usual, it’s a mixed bag, but most folks we spoke to seemed to be doing ok with their shopping, while also keeping it real about what Christmas is really about. Courtney Weatherburne did the questioning:…

Channel 5

B.S.C.F.A. Directors Call Emergency Meeting, Agreement Remains Unsigned
The final proposal for a purchasing agreement between the B.S.C.F.A. and B.S.I. remains to be endorsed, despite an amendment to a controversial term in a previous draft.  Earlier this week, [...]

B.S.I. Addresses N.T.U.C.B.’s Involvement in Negotiations
As we mentioned earlier, the N.T.U.C.B.’s role in the current process has been met with questions from B.S.I. concerning its agenda.  While he did not speak openly, Carballo alluded to [...]

G.O.B. to Receive an Additional Four Million in CARSI Funding
CARSI, the Central American Regional Security Initiative, is a program particularly designed to help create a more responsive police force, enhance public police cooperation, improve the judicial sector, modernize correctional [...]

Crime Stats 2014, Are the Numbers Up This Year?
The crime statistics for 2014 are out – well, not exactly because 2014 isn’t done yet and all those figures are subject to change. But at the request of the [...]

Homicides On the Rise in Cayo District
At least by our unofficial stats, murders in Belize City have gone way down, which is good news. But murders in the districts have gone up, which is bad news. [...]

Traffic Accident Leaves Home Protector Employee Badly Injured
There was a traffic accident just before eleven this morning on Princess Margaret Drive near its intersection with A Street in the King’s Park Area. Twenty-five year old David Gonzalez, [...]

Was Juan Menjivar a Victim of Foul Play?
On Tuesday morning, shortly before three o’clock, the body of twenty-year-old Juan Menjivar was discovered by police in an area between miles forty-two and forty-three on the Southern Highway, in [...]

Belize City Fisherman Loses Boat and Fishing Equipment to Thieves
Belize City fisherman Giovanni Murrillo is tonight without a boat, following a theft on Tuesday during which his fishing vessel and equipment were stolen.  Sometime during the evening, Twista, which [...]

Will Conditions at Queen Street Precinct ‘[#%!]’ House Ever Improve?
We’ve all heard the derogatory but very accurate description of the holding cells at the Queen Street Police Station, and truth be told, the others across the country aren’t in [...]

Housing Situation for Cops on Caye Caulker Ignored
And while the Ministry is looking at the holding cells, it has also looked at the living conditions of Police Officers stationed in Caye Caulker. A few months ago News [...]

American Researcher Booted from Belize for Immigration Offense
A removal ordered requested by the Belize Immigration Department was granted for the expulsion of thirty-two-year-old Timothy Joseph Eales from Belize.  On Friday, December nineteenth, Eales was picked up by [...]

Carlos Sanchez Gets Eighteen Months in Jail For Sexual Assault
A Honduran national is convicted of two counts of sexual assault upon a mother and her eleven year old daughter. Carlos Perez Sanchez, who is originally from Dangriga but was [...]

U.S. Embassy Comments on American Flag on Belize Police Cars
Earlier in the newscast, we showed you the presentation of a diplomatic note through the CARSI initiative, to the tune of four point one million dollars U.S. This program has [...]

What Belizeans Want This Christmas
Downtown Belize City is bustling with residents doing last-minute shopping for one of the most exciting seasons of the year. Although Christmas is all about the traditional trimmings of turkey, [...]

Greetings From Belizeans Near and Far
In the spirit of sharing the love for Christmas, residents also sent heartfelt greetings to friends and family here in Belize and the Diaspora.   {Christmas Greeting from residents…}


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#499345 - 12/25/14 10:10 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 25, 2014 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

More News: Scroll up from here

CTV3

Fuel Prices Goes Down For Second Time
Motorists who utilize Premium gasoline as their choice of fuel will see another dip in prices per gallon the next time you visit your fuel service provider. The price per gallon of premium gasoline will go from $9.70 to $8.85, dipping 85 cents. Regular Gasoline remains at $8.45, Diesel fuel is still under the eight dollar mark and selling at $7.95. The price of world oil is plunging to its lowest level in years and this is translating to lower prices at the pump, bringing much relief to motorists and vehicle owners. The new premium price will become effective at midnight tonight.

BSI/ASR In Hot Water With BWU
American Sugar Refinery and the Belize Sugar Cane Industry are in hot water again as they are in a rather similar situation with the Belize Workers Union as they are with the sugar cane farmers. The BWU has been working towards signing a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the company but that has proved to be a work in progress. According to the union representatives through a press release issued by the umbrella organization, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, since May 12 2012, BSI/ASR had written to the then president of the BWU, Ian Leiva, that it had no intentions of changing the existent agreement between both parties, especially as it relates to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the company and BWU. According to the now president of the BWU, Audrey Matura Sheppard, such an agreement should be respected as required by the laws of Belize.

National Rate Of Inflation Decreases
The National inflation rate went down from 0.7% in October to 0.2 percent in November and according to the latest statistics published by the Statistical Institute of Belize this is contributed by the fall of food and fuel prices. The All-Items consumer price index stood at 103.8 in November 2014, up only 0.2 percent from in the same month last year. Lower prices in the Transport category and food items were the main factors holding inflation low this month, offsetting increases in rent, insurance and medical services. Inflation for the first eleven months of 2014 was 1.2 percent.

Onion Farmers Meet To Plan 2014/2015 Crop
Onion Farmers from across the Northern region today gathered at the ITVET conference room in Corozal Town for an important meeting with members of the Ministry of Agriculture. In an interview with District Coordinator of the Ministry, Barry Palacio, one of the main aspects discussed was the planning of the 2014-2015 onion crop season. MBarry Palacio - Coordinator MOA “The main objective of this meeting is to plan the 2014/2015 Onion crop in that all stakeholders, Farmers and Agriculture Department along with Belize Marketing and Development Corporation we join hands on what will be the 2014/2015 Onion crop especially when it will begin so that it gives BMDC time to plan as to when will be the cut off time for the importation of Onions by doing so imported Onions will not compete with locally produce Onions, farmers will have the opportunity to market their produce without competition from imported Onions.”

Orange Walk Town Council Celebrated Children Christmas Party
Approximately 2000 children and youngsters from Orange Walk Town and surrounding villages were treated with goodies from the Orange Walk Town Council Today. The Fort Cairns was jam packed and buzzing with activity to keep the attendees entertained. Lots of giveaways and treats were given and according to Mayor Kevin Bernard, while their funds were limited they incorporate Christmas cheer as a yearly tradition. Kevin Bernard – Mayor of Orange Walk Town Council “The Council cannot let the Christmas time pass without us giving back to the little kids, we put together our yearly Christmas program, we are giving out our goodies bag and in those goodies bag some kids will benefit with some toys...

Corozal Bay Area Rep. Celebrates Christmas
Residents from the Corozal Bay Constituency in the north were enlightened yesterday with a visit from their PUP Standard bearer Gregorio Papas Garcia. But Garcia’s visit was no ordinary one; he stopped by into homes with a Christmas Hamper in hand. The Christmas initiative is one organized by team papas for several years now and when we spoke to him yesterday, Garcia told us more on his gesture to give back to his constituency. Gregorio Papas Garcia – PUP Std. Bearer Corozal Bay “Well it’s a Team Papas Christmas Cheer as you see we are not in a position to collect Petro Caribe funds but we try our best to keep everyone happy and we look for our supporters, we look for people that are needy and we try to give them something for the Christmas and this is what we have been doing for the four to five years at this time so.”

Prime Minister Weighs On the Matter ASR/BSI/BSCFA
The start of the Sugar Cane Crop season is still pending since a compromise has not been met, but today the Prime Minister who returned from his personal leave yesterday, met with reporters from the City to give his sentiments on the sugar impasse. As it stands currently, having removed the offending or controversial sentence in clause 2.3 determining cane quality, BSI is waiting to hear an approval from the American Sugar Refinery. And while there is more wait for all stakeholders, the PM suggested that after speaking with officials at BSI, they are closer to coming to a resolution. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize "Need to go back for a second vote on precisely the draft... on precisely the points that would now have been resolved in favor of the farmers in accordance with the position taken by the farmers.

LOVE FM

Lovell Speaks on Funding From USA Government
Today, CEO George Lovell made it categorically clear that the additional four million US dollars provided by the Government of the U.S.A under the CARSI initiative will not be use to completed the forward operating base on Hunting Caye. GEORGE LOVELL “No it is two different sorts of funding and we cannot because there are strict rules and guidelines as to how the CARCI funds can be used and certainly we cannot just go and use them having said that I do know that we do give monies for regional maritime interdiction and so there are CARCI funds being used for that. If you look at the current 4.1 million dollars, on that document it speaks to regional maritime and land interdiction but to go and complete a project I don’t think it is something we would want to go and have those discussions with our friends in the US embassy. We use the term ‘none comingling of funds’ each fund is ear marked for certain reasons or each program and there is very strict rules about avoiding co-mingling of those funds.

Dorms In Deporable State; Budget Drafted For Refurbishing
The Caye Caulker police dorms are in a deplorable state. The dorm houses several officers attached to the Caye Caulker Police Station for free of cost. It is believed that the facility is owned by the Caye Caulker Village Council, and CEO George Lovell says that he has instructed Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, to draft up a budget so that the Ministry can pay for the refurbishing of the facility. GEORGE LOVELL “I personally with the commissioner of police visited the Caye Caulker dorms facilities in September I think it was of this year and when I went there like yourself I was appalled by the conditions under which the facilities are in and right away I have instructed the commissioner for us to get the estimates and we will get the work done and I had hoped that by now I would have been able to say that the works had commenced because this has been now for over a month since I have last been there.

Latest Crime Statistics Released; Lovell Speaks on 2014 Record
Yesterday the Belize Police Department released its latest crime statistics for the year 2014. Overall there was an increase in crimes throughout the country. However, there was a decrease in murder as 2014, up to tonight, has recorded 121 murders; an increase of 22 so far. But the year has not ended and today, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security, Retired Lieutenant Colonel, and George Lovell spoke to the media. GEORGE LOVELL “We had 145 or so in terms of 2012, 99 as you mentioned in 2013, we are now at a 121 possible 122 with that recent body that was found on the Southern Highway because while from the looks of it it appeared to be a hit and run vehicular road accident according to the doctors there have been signs consistent with chop wounds so we need to look at that to see precisely where that is but that in itself with bring us to 122.

Matthews Speaks on USA Preventions on Drugs
In the past year, some of the murders have been linked to drugs- not the local trading of drugs, but the regional transshipment of drugs mostly cocaine. As you may already know, international drug traffickers, use Belize as a transit point to transport the drugs from Central and South America to the United States of America. And with the deadly trade comes deaths, many of them, especially if a deal goes terribly wrong. While the US Embassy Chargé d’affaires, Bruce Matthews, was on hand for today’s signing, he was asked about the US responsibility in curbing and preventing such underworld practices. BRUCE MATTHEWS “I’d say it is a shared responsibility, a shared issue and concern the end users many if not most are in the United States but cartels don’t necessarily play by the rules of fair commerce, they drive their products they want their products sold so a distributer isn’t likely to say ‘well I guess this year is not the right market year’ they are going to keep pushing the drugs as well as the users once they are hooked they are going to keep using the drugs so we are dealing with entities that defy your normal economic standards of transparency and sales and marketing so its a much harsher environment so in that regard it’s a shared problem you have the suppliers that are pushing the product and you have the user wanting the product.”

US Embassy And GOB Signs Agreement
The Government of Belize and the United States Embassy in Belmopan are further strengthening their relations via an agreement that was signed this morning the headquarters of the Ministry of National Security. The agreement is geared at assisting Belize in creating a more responsive police force; improve the judicial sector while modernizing the correctional facility while working with at-risk youths. The agreement comes under the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the initiative, Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) which seeks to help countries in the region in combating the root causes of crimes and improve security. The amount being funded by the United States is US $4.1 million dollars for 2014-15. Signing on behalf the U.S. Embassy was Chargé d’ Affaires, Bruce Matthews while George Lovell signed on behalf of the Government of Belize.

Messenger Charged For Smuggling Cannabis
Twenty-four year old Rufus Castillo, a messenger who attempted to smuggle 21 grams of cannabis in the bottom of a Gillette deodorant into Belize Central Prison, was fined five hundred dollars today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug. Castillo was given until February 28, 2015, to pay the fine. If he defaults on payment he will serve five months. Castillo said that he did not know that cannabis was in the package his cousin’s girlfriend gave him to take to his cousin who is an inmate at Belize Central Prison. Senior Magistrate Fraser explained to him that he should have searched the package to know exactly what he was taking to prison and the law deems that he is responsible for what was in the package. The incident occurred yesterday. A prison officer reported to the police that when he searched a package in a plastic bag that Castillo brought with him, he found the cannabis at the bottom of the deodorant.

Honduran National Charged For Sexual Assault
Forty-one year old Honduran national Carlos Perez Sanchez, charged with committing sexual assault on a woman and her daughter, was sentenced to 18 months for each offense when he was arraigned yesterday by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser after he pled guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Fraser stipulated that the sentences are to run consecutively, so Sanchez will serve three years. Sanchez said he was just released from prison and he was drunk and he cannot remember anything. The incident occurred on December 22.

PlusTV

Belize receives grant assistance from Japan
On Tuesday, the Ambassador of Japan to Belize, His Excellency Yasuo Takase, signed off on a hundred million Japanese yen worth of assistance to the Government of Belize, as part of the Non-Project Grant Assistance for Industrial Products program, intended to assist with Belize’s economic and social development. That is approximately BZ$1.65 million, and while it may not seem much, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, the latter of whom negotiated the deal while visiting Japan earlier this year for a summit, are nonetheless grateful. Ambassador Takase spoke to us about how the project will work.

Why GOB is challenging Telemedia arbitration
Last week we told you of the Government of Belize’s intent to challenge a decision handed down on Friday by a panel of international arbitrators, based in Costa Rica, which ordered GOB to repay the British Caribbean Bank Limited US$41,773,096.04, the amount loaned plus interest to Belize Telemedia Limited in 2007 to buy back its own shares. The Government maintains that the loan was contracted for an illegal purpose, and BTL, since nationalized by the Government, now says it should not repay. Prime Minister Dean Barrow amplified the issue in speaking with reporters on Tuesday.

PM says Bilateral Agreements with Guatemala not unusual
Belize signed 13 special bilateral agreements with the Republic of Guatemala last week on the sidelines of the SICA Summit in Placencia, Stann Creek District. Such agreements, as Prime Minister Dean Barrow pointed out to reporters on Tuesday, happen all the time in international diplomacy. But this is Guatemala, and they are “not a normal country,” in the words of one reporter questioning why the Prime Minister believes the agreements were not worthy of wide dissemination before they were signed. Here is how he responded. Prime Minister Dean Barrow “ I will not quarrel with that. Those agreements were in fact agreements that were being worked on by our team. At some point, they had the oversight of the Referendum Commission.

2011 robbery accused convicted
On Tuesday, man and a minor, accused of the April 2011 robbery of a conductor for James Bus Service of Punta Gorda, were found guilty of the charge by Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. 25 year old Samuel Bevans was given a jail term of seven years, and his 15-year-old minor accomplice was sentenced to 5 years in absentia, despite having no previous convictions, because he was not showing up at court.

BDF soldier shot in Guyana
A Belize Defense Force soldier was shot during an armed robbery in Georgetown, Guyana. According to international reports, the shooting happened on Monday night at around 8:15. Belizean BDF soldier Emil Mendez and his girlfriend had gone out, and after he dropped her off, he was walking back to the military base, when an armed robber accosted him. Reports are that a struggle ensued, and in the process Mr Mendez was shot four times in the abdomen and thigh. The gunman escaped and Emil Mendez was taken to the hospital for treatment, where he remains hospitalized.

Patrick JonesPJ

Days of Healing scheduled for Boxing Day
Christmas Day is usually spent with family, but Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26, does not carry as much tradition. The Days of Healing Committee led by Perry “Sticks” Smith wants to bring residents of the Jane Usher Boulevard together for a community celebration. There will be the […]

Messenger convicted of attempting to smuggle weed into prison
Twenty-four year old Rufus Castillo, a messenger who attempted to smuggle 21 grams of cannabis into Belize Central Prison, was fined $500 today by Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Castillo pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug. Castillo was given until February 28, 2015, to […]

Honduran jailed for sexual assault of mother and daughter
41 year old Carlos Perez Sanchez, a Honduran laborer from the Belama Phase IV area, is spending these Christmas holidays and the next three years in jail after a lapse in judgment two nights ago. Though he claims not to remember what happened because he was intoxicated, police […]

Police detain one man in the investigation of Juan Young’s death
Police have classified the death of 20 year old Juan Young, which we first reported on Tuesday, as a “sudden death.” Authorities, however, have detained a 26 year old man pending investigation. Police today confirmed that the Independence village resident, whose full name is Juan Daniel Young Menjivar, was found in an unconscious state around 2:40 am on Tuesday near the Monkey River road junction with the Southern Highway.

Traffic accident reported on the Southern Highway
There are reports of an early morning road traffic accident on the Southern Highway. According to reports received, three people were taken to the Southern Regional hospital. The extent of their injuries is not yet known. Information received say that the incident happened sometime after 5 am today and involved a Ford Ranger pickup truck which was seen overturned in front of the George Town Technical High School compound.

Blogs

A Very Merry Belizean Christmas to you all!
With holiday love from Bob Hawkins and Rose Alcantara in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Long ago, Bob took off from San Diego in “Lucky Lady,” a Cessna 182, and began flying around the world. And now 10 years later — after three trips around the globe, numerous adventures, mishaps, a massive collection of new friends and profound acts of luck and good fortune — Bob was ready to come home. In a stroke of good luck on my part, I was assigned to hunt him down and interview him before he reached his home airport in El Cajon, a dusty city east of San Diego, now flying in his “Lucky Lady Too.”

Dulce De Leche Caramel Candy
Merry Christmas 2014! Dulce De Leche Salted Caramel is an easy sweet treat you can make for Christmas Day.

Mamita’s Black Caramel Rum Fruit Cake Recipe
Please allow us to introduce you to the grandmother of the Chief Cultural Evangelist of Nine. Her name is Sophia Simon Moreno, she is 87 years old and her children and grand children have been very lucky to have her as a mother and grandmother and the absolute best cook our family has ever had. She was also a baker and today we want to share a seasonal awesome idea in the Black Caramel Rum Fruit Cake with the world. This delicacy is presently in the many kitchens and dining rooms around the country of Belize. We are absolutely certain that they are all amazing and rich with rum!

Happy Holidays from Chaa Creek in Belize!
Even though we’re located in an idyllic tropical setting surrounded by pristine rainforest, Christmas is every bit as important in Belize as it is in the colder climes. And it’s celebrated just as enthusiastically, with much the same singing of carols, decorating of trees, exchanging of gifts and taking the time out to be together with family and friends that has marked this special day since that first Christmas so many years ago. Christmas in Belize is always a unique combination of the familiar and the exotic, with all the traditional yuletide treats our guests are familiar with, yet enjoyed with a multicultural tropical twist. Even though there’s no snow, the weather is wonderful and the colourful decorations hung throughout Belize compliment the birds, flowers and the many vibrant colours of our stunning natural world. It’s a wonderful time of year to be with those you care about.

Tropic Air adds Cessna Caravan
Tropic Air announced today the arrival and addition into scheduled service of a brand new Cessna Grand Caravan 208B-EX turbo prop aircraft (registration number V3-HHV). This latest addition to the fleet arrived over the weekend after a delivery flight from the Cessna production facility in Wichita, Kansas. It represents a BZ$5.2 million investment for the company, and our confidence in the strength of the Belize tourism product. Tropic Air is the first and only airline to fly this aircraft commercially in Belize. The Caravan EX features a more powerful engine, faster cruise speed, air conditioning, new LED lighting and the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit advanced avionics suite with radar. It also represents the latest in passenger comfort for our customers.

International Sourcesizz

Belize's Famous 'Blue Hole' Reveals Clues to the Maya's Demise
The ancient Mayan civilization collapsed due to a century-long drought, new research suggests. Minerals taken from Belize's famous underwater cave, known as the Blue Hole, as well as lagoons nearby, show that an extreme drought occurred between A.D. 800 and A.D. 900, right when the Mayan civilization disintegrated. After the rains returned, the Mayans moved north — but they disappeared again a few centuries later, and that disappearance occurred at the same time as another dry spell, the sediments reveal. [In Photos: Stunning Sinkholes] Although the findings aren't the first to tie a drought to the Mayan culture's demise, the new results strengthen the case that dry periods were indeed the culprit. That's because the data come from several spots in a region central to the Mayan heartland, said study co-author André Droxler, an Earth scientist at Rice University.

Improving lives in Central America
Brantford’s Wil and Karen Kamphuis have been all over the world doing missionary work. Now they are taking the lead in running their own outreach program to help an impoverished area in Central America. “We’ve seen enough of the Third World to know Armenia, Belize is a place of intense beauty and strong community where family members are treated with honour and respect,” Wil said. “On the other hand, we’ve seen systemic poverty not only financially but also in spirit.” The Kamphuises started In His Footprints Ministries following a couple of missionary trips to the area with high school students. Wil and Karen both have a teaching background and first visited the village of Armenia in 2006 with a group of students. The students were earning high school credits while volunteering at a local orphanage, high school and seniors’ home.

Videos

Good Maaning Miss Lady, 2min. Belizean Christmas Carol Dec 25th 2010 Familia Cruz

Blue Hole Belize, 2min.

Houston Cruise 2014, 9min. Cozumel, Belize and Trujillo (Honduras)

Belize avec Cuvos Mars 14, 3min.

Belize Wedding | Chels + Rob Highlights, 9min. Island Wedding at Ambergris Caye, Belize

Man vs Wild S05E06 Belize, 44min. Man vs Wild [01x02] Utah Le désert Moab.

Belize City the hidden side of Belize, 2min. The real Belize

Belize skydive, 4min. Gotta give the people what they want. And the people want video of skydiving in Belize!

Diving with Sharks near Blue Hole Belize, 9min.

Emerald Princess Day 5, Belize Dec 11 2014, 18min. Day 5 of 7 on a Western Caribbean Cruise. Another great day in paradise. Belize it or not.

Arriving in Belize, Central America, 4min. Belize became an independent country from the UK the United Kingdom on September 21st 1981


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