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#499869 - 01/13/15 05:03 AM Today's Belize News: January 13, 2015
Marty Offline


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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

A Fish Fabulous Day on Ambergris Caye
How much fun can you have spending a day fishing? Well, A LOT! What's more fun than catching a mess of fish on AmbergrisCaye, followed by a catch-of-the-day BBQ and a snorkel to cap off the day? Nothin' I tell ya!

Island Students benefit from Reading Program
Reading is essential to a child’s proper mental growth and development, and as such it is important to read to children from a very young age. Doctor Judy Raiford Pantelides is on Ambergris Caye implementing a reading program for preschool children and on Friday, January 9th the first reading was done at Holy Cross Anglican Primary School. 14 students listened attentively as community member and Vice-principal of San Pedro High School (SPHS), Conchita Flota read “Lola Loves Stories” to them. Dr. Pantelides is originally from Virginia, USA, where she carries out a reading program similar to the one being implemented here in San Pedro Town. She has worked as an adjunct professor at Christopher Newport University (CNU) for the past nine years since retiring from the public school system. Dr. Pantelides believes that reading to children stimulates their ability to learn and focus more in school. “I have worked together with a group of Kiwanis in Newport News to begin a Mayor’s Book Club where over 1600 preschool children have about 35 community readers read special books to them each month. For 4-5 months out of the school year, a book is given to every preschool child to take home. Our goal is to provide a diversity of community leaders to share the joy and excitement of reading with the children,” said Dr. Pantelides.

Ambergris Today

Meet Julian – San Pedro’s First Baby of the New Year
The population of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize is not big enough yet to have a baby born on New Year’s Day, but every year Ambergris Today searches for the FIRST baby to be born in the new year and shower him/her with an array of gifts donated by the business community. After some hunting we finally found our first baby of the New Year. Meet Julian Jacob Pinelo. Baby Pinelo was born on January 2, 2015 at 2:30a.m. to Jamilet Juan and Roberto Pinelo weighing in at 6 pounds 10 ounces. After Julian and his parents were settled back home the staff of Ambergris Today made it to their home to present him with all his new gifts. Julian was wide awake and happy to receive his gifts.

Make Tepache - Fresh Homemade Pineapple Juice
Tepache is a popular drink in the mestizo community of Belize. It is made from pineapple peels which are fermented to produce a tangy refreshing drink. Tepache is also healthy and great for the body because fermented foods aid in digestion and supports the immune system. It aids in the breakdown of our food, helping the body absorb the important nutrients we rely on to stay healthy! So drink up and enjoy this local favorite. Ingredients 1 Ripe Pineapple (we will be using only the peels) 1 Half a Cup of Brown Sugar 2 Sticks of Cinnamon 1 ½ of Distilled Water

Letters To The Editor: Searching for My Family
I am writing as I am looking for any family that I may have in Belize. My name is Raymond Willis Oliver. I live in England and was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, to a woman named Dorothy Willis who was born on 2nd Feb 1941. She had a daughter named Lorraine in 1961 who died and another 2 daughters born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, one born 4th June 1967 named Tanya. At the time Dorothy was known as Dorothy Willis, formerly Bishop and the father was from Belize. His name was Thaddeus Rexford Gillett. The other daughter was born on 2nd April 1962 named Juanita, same father and mother but at that time Dorothy was known as Dorothy Gillett. Dorothy Willis and Joseph Gillett married at the civic centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England on 15th June 1968. I heard that Dorothy, Thaddeus, Juanita and Tanya went to Belize in 1968.

Celebrity Spotting: American Idol Singer Honeymoons in San Pedro, Belize
American Idol fans might have recognized her while she vacationed in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Former American Idol contestant Kimberly Caldwell just recently celebrated her marriage to professional soccer player Jordan Harvey with a honeymoon in La Isla Bonita. The celebrity couple got married bringing in the New Year and then immediately came to Belize for their honeymoon. “And it begins! Honeymoon at the #MatachicaResort in Belize”, commented Kimberly on her first honeymoon post on her personal Instagram account on January 3, 2015.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Consejo Village Library- Morning Coffee Cafe January 18th
Enjoy a hearty slice of homemade pie or cake, coupled with a bottomless cup of brewed coffee or tea for only $5 BZD. Happy New Year To Everyone! To start 2015 off right, we are offering our four most popular pies at the November MCC. The test cakes were received so well, so we are expanding with additional cakes and some surprise desserts. Pies: Chocolate Cream, Banana Cream, Peanut Butter,Toasted Coconut Cream Cakes: Fresh Banana Cake w/Caramel Cream Topping, German Chocolate Layer Cake w/ Coconut Pecan Topping Additional Cakes and Desserts: They are a surprise. Again, come chat with friends and learn more about CVL, its services, and resources. This is an informal, friendly gathering in a cafe style atmosphere with a “come and leave when you want” style of service. No meeting nor solicitation will be surprised upon you.

Commentary: The persistence of Belize's '4A Policy' involving Guatemala's unfounded claim
By Frank Edward Paco Smith, Jr. (JP). Much ado has been made as a result of the government of Belize’s recent signing of 13 bilateral agreements with the Republic of Guatemala, the only nation which summarily rejects Belize’s territorial integrity. This purportedly “momentous” occurrence took place during the SICA heads of state summit on 17th December 2014 on the Placencia Peninsula in Belize. In effect, the government of Belize (GOB) endeavoured to sign agreements with our aggressive neighbour to the west that span a variety of topics, in what I can only discern to be yet another hare-brained determination, in a long line of irresponsible and incompetent discernments, as it relates to Guatemala. A full list of these “agreements” can be accessed here. Needless to say, amid the hullaballoo of what summarily amounts to a slap in the face of the Belizean people as well as the basic tenets that accompany being a sovereign nation, with its territory intact, as detailed by our constitution via Part I and Schedule 1 of the Belize Constitution, I dare say that I am not impressed.

The newly-elected Member of the House of Representatives, HON. OMAR FIGUEROA, was today sworn in as a Minister of State by His Excellency Sir Colville Young, the Governor General of Belize, at Belize House in Belmopan.

Cop Wanted for questioning about Sex with a Minor
PC #860 Patrick O' brien is being sought by Independence Police after a16 year old female was seen naked in a photograph that surfaced on Facebook a week ago. The teen visited the Police Station along with her mother and reported that in June of 2014 while she was still 15 yrs old, the policeman had sexual intercourse with her. Charges are expected to be levied against O'Brien for Unlawful Sexual Intercouse. If his name sounds familiar that is because he was one of several officers implicated in a logwood robbery several weeks ago. He was one of 4 police officers that Alexander Chiac accused of assisting a U.S. National Charlie Sellars, of confiscating and stealing his logwood. No charges have been levied as yet against any of the officers.

Channel 7

Cane Farmers Get Ready To Sign Compromise Agreement; Will BSCFA Survive?
Tonight, the cane crisis continues, but things are beginning to take shape - and all sides are moving closer to signing an agreement. The Cane Farmers Association - fighting for its very survival - is right in the mix. But, tonight, there are credible shows of alternate grower groups, possibly large enough to supply the BSI mill without the cane farmers association. Still, it's too early to say definitively which model will emerge - but today at a PUP press conference, one of the champions of the Cane Farmers Association, the PUP's representative for Orange Walk South, Jose Mai told the media that the branches have met and are willing to sign with BSI:.. Hon. Jose Mai, OW South "Jules, as we speak today there are a number of meetings held in the different branches. I attended one of them yesterday. Actually, the agenda was one thing, to get the farmers to sign, to commit that they will accept that they were willing to begin the crop, given the agreements of BSI.

PUP Says Barrow Administration Abandoned BSCFA
And while Mai sees the farmers ultimately sticking with their association - the situation remains very fluid tonight - there are multiple credible reports which show things going in other directions. But as of news time - we can confirm this: no farmer or group has yet signed with ASR/BSI. As Mai said, they are expected to do so in the next few days - but we still aren't sure what configuration will take precedence in the end. But, contrary to what Mai said today, the BSCFA may actually be in last place. That's because we are told ASR/BSI has indicated that until the association can present a resolution nullifying its last resolution not to sign - then, ASR/BSI cannot enter a contract with them. As we reported on Friday, 15 Branch Directors met to consider just this point: whether they should convene another special general meeting just to determine whether they want to go back to the agreement - but they decided instead to have branch meetings where members would vote and report back to the BSCFA. That report will be tabled before the committee of management tomorrow. But, reports to us suggest that ASR/BSI want a firm resolution from a General Assembly - not the results of a survey.

Party Leaders Disagree On How to Deal With ASR
And so the leaders of the nation's two mass parties have very different views on ASR/BSI. Now, that's not surprising - they disagree on just about everything. In fact, last year the only thing they seemed to agree on was the Christmas Cheer program! But, in this case it's notable, because foreign direct investment is the sacred cow of developing countries. Fonseca says he respects that, but only to a certain point - while Barrow had a very different take. We juxtapose these two views tonight:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "These are people who can afford to absorb the loss and walk away from Belize and I am telling you it is quite clear to me that they would do precisely that, if any effort were to be made to compel them."

Supreme Court Opens; Hemorrhages Identified
Today, as is the tradition, the Supreme Court held it's Ceremonial re-opening as it usually does on the second Monday of January every year. This is third opening that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin presided over as the Chief Justice of Belize. It's an opportunity for the Judiciary to report to the general public on how its handling civil and criminal cases filed in the court system. Today's report was filled with the usual tales of woe, but also an outline of possible fixes for a justice system riddled with inefficiencies. Our News Team was there for the ceremony, and Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting The Judiciary, Legal Fraternity, and several VIP's all gathered at the Wesley Methodist Church for the 1 hour service.

Technology; The Fix Supreme Court Flaws?
So, now that the Judiciary knows what is wrong with the system, what IS being done to fix it? Well, a Criminal Justice Board has been formed to handle all the problems with the number of backlogged cases. The idea is to set up a guideline for judges in called the Criminal Procedure Rules, which would allow judges and magistrates to dismiss cases with prolonged delays or a glaring lack of evidence. This means that the police investigators will have to ensure that the case files for all accused persons are complete, or else the charge will be thrown out, rather than face an endless stream of adjournments: Justice Kenneth Benjamin - Chief Justice of Belize "The most significant step has been the drafting of criminal procedure rules. These rules prescribe time limits for the disposition of criminal cases incorporating the principle of active case management by the courts themselves. Under the rules, no person should await trial in Supreme Court for more than 2 years, which shorter time limits being applied to persons in custody and remand and to magistrate court matters tried summarily.

CCJ President Coming To Belize
And a last bit of news coming out of today's ceremonial opening is that the president of the highest court in Belize is coming here for two days. Viewers may only have heard the name Dennis Byron, but he is the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, headquartered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He arrives on Thursday as a guest of the Bar Association of Belize, and will speak at the Law Conference 2015. The Bar President announced it today: Eamon Courtenay - President of the Bar Association "The executive of the association, my lord, takes great pride, in having the signal honor of welcome to Belize on Thursday of this week Sir Dennis Byron, the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice. He will be coming to Belize as a guest of the association and will deliver a keynote address at the lunch, at the conference on Friday. We will, during the course of his visit, be having courtesy calls with persons whom he had ask us to arrange."

Fatal Accident On Old Northern Highway
Full of rolling curves and one way passes, The Old Northern Highway remains one of the most dangerous roads in the country. But that wasn't what caused a fatal accident this weekend near Altun Ha. It happened after 6:00 on Saturday evening, at mile 30, by the Altun Ha Junction at Lucky Strike Village. A red Chevy Suburban driven by 65-year-old David Hill, of Rock Stone Pond, lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road. As a result of the impact, Hill lost consciousness; and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. His wife, was treated and released. Police say he didn't hit anything, he appeared to have caught a heart attack and that caused him to lose control on the road.

Police Seized 3 Guns; Arrested 3 Persons
Police say they have taken four guns off Belize City streets since the start of 2015. They include1 .38 Smith & Wesson revolver with four live rounds found near Vernon Street, One .357 Astra Brand revolver and six rounds found in the vicinity of Zericote and Ebony Streets, One 9mm Glock Pistol with 11 rounds found at Brides Alley, and the one we told you about on Friday, a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol with 7 rounds found on Faber's Road Extension. Two were labelled "Found Property", while 3 persons were arrested for Kept Firearm and Ammunition without a Gun License in the two other weapons.

A Great Community Police Program
Today 36 police officers attended the Gang Resistance Education and Training program at the Biltmore. We reported on the 145 primary and high school students who graduated from the 13 week program in June of last year. But today the main focus was on the police officers - further training them to impact the lives of more Belizean youth. Coordinator of the training Ron Doyle explained the dual benefits of this program today. Courtney Weatherburne reporting Many at risk youths grow up with scenes like these as their defining image of police in the community. But as part of the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program, these police officers are trying to change that. Although they are dressed in their uniforms they are not here in the capacity of police officers - but as educators.

Hon Omar: State Minister
The UDP's newest area representative was sworn in as a Minister of State today. This afternoon at 4:00 in Belmopan, Dr. Omar Figueroa, appeared before the Governor General to take the oath of office. Figueroa who is a jaguar expert and has a Ph.D. in Ecology takes up the deliberately vague post as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister. This modest elevation is seen as a nod to his credentials, and also the fact that he garnered 66% of the vote in a recent Cayo North by-election - the largest margin in that area in half a century. His appointment becomes effective immediately and Figueroa is expected to be invited to attend Cabinet's regular Tuesday meeting tomorrow. Strictly speaking, Ministers of State are not members of Cabinet, but can be invited in for meetings.

Channel 5

B.S.C.F.A. Branches Signing On…
There is some movement, though little happiness, in the sugar industry tonight which has been in crisis for months now resulting in a delay of the 2014 sugar crop.  News [...]

…And Branching Off from the B.S.C.F.A.
As Cansino mentioned, there are branches who have decided to disassociate themselves completely from the B.S.C.F.A.  Now can they legally do that? Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that they can, [...]

Disbursement of Fairtrade Monies Commences
And that brings us to the Fairtrade disbursement of four million dollars. Up to Friday, we understood that following warnings from that certifying body, Finance Committee Chairman, Javier Keme, had [...]

P.U.P. Condemns G.O.B. for Destroying the Association
As has become apparent, the backs of farmers have been broken by a combination of ASR/B.S.I.’s inflexible stance, and G.O.B.’s deliberate withdrawal from the equation at a critical juncture. In [...]

…Says U.D.P. Fell Asleep At the Wheel
According to Fonseca, the signs of today’s sugar cane debacle were foretold when the government refused to allow cane farmers to purchase controlling shares in B.S.I.  He claims that a [...]

Will the B.S.C.F.A. Survive the Crisis?
Even as the Opposition has its say, and expresses full solidarity with and support for the cane farmers of Belize, the fact is that at this point cane farmers have [...]

Supreme Court Opens With New Optimism
The traditional opening of the Supreme Court was held this morning in Belize City with all the usual pageantry and ceremony that are attached to the event. After a service [...]

Bar Association Addresses Concerns at Kolbe
The treatment and conditions of inmates at the Belize Central Prison are serious concerns which the Bar Association has been busy addressing.  In November, leading Human Rights Attorney, Joseph Middleton, [...]

AG Promises Bigger Budget for Judiciary
In January 2014, during his presentation at the last opening of the Supreme Court session, Attorney General Wilfred Elrington openly admitted that funding for the judiciary was rather inadequate.  While [...]

Bar Association Presidents Calls for Unity
The revised Legal Profession Act caused some stir among members of the Bar Association in September when the amendment resulted in the discontinuation of compulsory attendance.  In retrospect, the move [...]

Belizean Nurse Charged with Bronx Homicide
A forty-one year old nurse aide originally from Belize, who worked at the University Nursing Home in New York, has been charged for the killing of a resident of the [...]

Belize City Man Fined for Domestic Dispute
Following the opening of the Supreme Court, a number of cases were dealt with. Forty-five year old Alvin Jones, who had been in police custody since last week Thursday, the [...]

Anti-Social Behaviour Order Under Attack
In this newscast, you’ve heard of charges for Displaying Gang Membership and Associating with a Criminal Gang, but did you know that under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act [...]

George McKenzie Jr. Served with Unusual Order
Although the order was issued December fifteenth 2014 for the period of one year, it was not until after two this afternoon that McKenzie Junior was taken into police custody [...]

New Officers Receive GREAT Instruction
Belize has received top marks among countries in Central America for its success in the GREAT Program of the Central America Regional Security Initiative to curb crime in the region. [...]

Omar Figueroa Sworn In
Cayo North Area Representative Omar Figueroa has been sworn in as Minister of State in the Barrow administration after soundly defeating P.U.P. opponent Richard Harrison at the polls a week [...]

Sporting highlights with James Adderley
Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   As the mighty La Ruta Maya approaches its 2015 edition, the pre-season is rife with the expected vigorous preparation [...]


BSCFA On Life Support As Some Cane Farmers Opt To Move Away From The Association
Controversy continues to stir within the sugar industry as the negotiation between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR seems to have been permanently placed in the freezer. Today, while the BSCFA begun issuing checks to farmers and braces for an uncertain future; sugar cane farmers are also worried about their future in the industry. In the immediate future, farmers must brace for yet another loss in their investments as the crop has yet to start. Amid the process for application for a Writ of Mandamus by Lucilo Teck and a handful of other interested parties, farmers face a difficult choice, and as most see it, the only one available given the delicacy of the situation in the sugar industry. Farmers have voted for officials of the BSCFA to not sign the agreement with BSI, but following the Press Conference by the Prime Minister there was a distinct shift in the farmers’ confidence in that vote.

Two New Associations In Town
The news tonight is that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association could possibly see a reduction in its membership as there is now two new associations, Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the United Can Farmers Association. The organizations made the official announcement today at the same time inviting interested cane farmers to join the group. According to Chairman of the Corozal Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Elvis Canul, they are a registered and certified association, a move they finalized following the blessing of the Prime Minister last week. Here is what he told us in an over the phone interview with him this afternoon. “Tenemos nuestra certificación que estamos registrados como una compañía y estamos preparados para tomar negociaciones como una asociación en esta situación que se encuentra la industria. Tenemos comunicación con United Cane Farmers asi es que y juntamente estamos viendo que nuestros derechos y son reconocidos por la conferencia que dio el Primer Ministro que otorgo que estamos en nuestro derecho de hacer nuestras asociaciones y eso es el algo que CSCFA y UCFA pues ya tienen anos que estaba peleando por eso. Como una asociación tenemos nuestro comité que ha estado atento de todo lo que ha estado pasando con las negociaciones y estamos preparados para negociar directamente con BSI para que nos reconozcan como una asociación. Estamos conscientes del agreement y nosotros estamos dispuestos a firmar hasta cierto nivel nuestra intención nunca fue de que piensen que ay división dentro de los caneros pero ya con esta situación que se ah avanzando pues vamos a air firme como una nueva asociación separado del presente.”

Fourth Minor Charged for Possession Of Controlled Drug
Another police search yielded success as on Saturday around 8:35pm, police searched a man while conducting mobile patrol on Lover's Lane and inside a small pocket on his right foot, police found (4) four small pieces of white buff substance suspected to be crack cocaine. The minor and the suspected drugs were transported to the Orange Walk Police Station where in the presence his father, the suspected drug was weighed amounting to 0.2 grams of crack cocaine. Police have since arrested and charged the 16-year-old male of Palmar Village for the offense of Possession of Controlled Drug.

Nationalization of BSI Is Still An Option For The P.U.P
With the nationalization of the Belize Electricity Limited and Belize Telemedia Limited by the Barrow Administration, there are those who believe that Governments next move should be to nationalize BSI/ASR in order to save the Sugar Industry. Now, the Prime Minister has stated that it’s easier said than done since they are not in a position to change the constitution and GOB does not have the requisite majority in the house. But for the PUP the nationalization of the factory is not something that should be put to rest just yet. “We hope that that is not an option that has to be explored but we can’t take it off the table. The cane farmers are not, let’s be clear because some people seem to be a little confused, cane farmers are not employees of BSI/ASR, they don’t work for BSI/ASR they are partners with them in the sugar industry and I think that is fundamental difference in understanding between us in the People’s United Party and the present government under Mr. Barrow, he thinks that these are employees of BSI/ASR who are behaving bad and need to be scolded and they should get inline and sign the agreement these are partners in the industry, these people are on equal footing with anybody from ASR/BSI and they must be protected.”

Three Minors Charged For Kept Firearm
Over the weekend Orange walk police made two arrests for violations of drug and illegal firearm possession. On Friday around midday, police searched a house on Mahogany Street, Orange Walk, where they found a pen gun mini flare pistol attached with a min flare cap which is consistent with a .22mm calibre firearm. Police then arrested and charged 22 year old Braulio Sebastian Acosta and three male minors all of Mahogany Street, Trial Farm Village, for Kept Prohibited Firearm.

P.U.P Says GOB Was Out To Destroy BSCFA
As cane farmers prepare to sign the seven years Commercial Agreement with BSI/ASR, there is the sense of feeling that they are making the wrong move, hence they are signing under protest, well at least those who plan to remain under the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association as there is already talk of the formation of two other associations who are currently seeking more membership, the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the United Cane Farmers Association. If the majority of cane farmers move away from the BSCFA, which has been in existence for more than 50 years, this could mean the demise of the association which is presently on life support. Already the BSCFA is under pressure with the disbursement of the four million dollars in Fair Trade funds. Without the four million dollars they basically have no money to operate and already 16 employees working under Fair Trade projects have been let go. To make matters worse, the BSCFA now faces a suspension and even a possible de-certification from Fair Trade due to the disbursement of the fund.

Omar Figueroa Sworn In As Minister Of State
Today at the Belize House in Belmopan, newly elected member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Omar Figueroa was sworn in as Minister of State by his Excellency Sir Colville Young, the Governor General of Belize. The follows his victory in Cayo North over his opponent Richard Harrison on January 5th to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of PUP’s Joseph Mahmud in November of last year. According to the release from the Government of Belize, Figueroa’s appointment is immediately in effect.

How The P.U.P Would Deal With Sugar Crisis
Now the question is, if the manufacturer, in this case BSI/ASR packs up and leaves, what next? While the talk is good cane farmers want to see action. So, today Fonseca was asked how he would deal with the sugar crisis, if he would be in the shoes of the Prime Minister. From all accounts he would not be in bed with BSI/ASR. “We know that the farmers had a very credible plan and all they needed was the support of the government and that was not forthcoming so it depend on how far you want to go back because if we had a PUP government at that time we would have been there for the cane farmers, we would have made sure that every opportunity was provided by the cane farmers for them to own BSI, I really think that the government has not really been engaged in this crisis that has been building over time it has taken over the headlines in the recent months but this has been building up over time, the farmers for a very long time has been calling for the SICB to get engaged in this impasse that exist between them and AS/BSI so the government has not been engaged...

P.U.P Says Barrow Forcing Cane Farmers To Sign Agreement
The current state of the Sugar Industry was widely discussed today during the opposition’s press conference. From the economic impact to political mileage, Leader of the Opposition, Honorable Francis Fonseca, fielded a number of questions from the media. All in all, the message was clear; the P.U.P is in full support of the cane farmers. The Party Leader also had a strong message for the Government of the day as he stated that while the Dean Barrow Administration knows fully well that signing an agreement, as is with BSI/ASR, will be a hard pill for cane farmers to swallow, he is shoving it down their throats. “The crisis in the sugar industry for us in not an issue which we seek to exploit for any political advantage, our party condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by Prime Minister Barrow and his UDP government to destroy this long establish partnership in the industry, Barrow and the UDP have abandoned the caneros and the Belizean people’s interest and have decidedly sided with the multinational ASR...

Cane Farmers To Sign Commercial Agreement Under Duress
Without the support of the Prime Minister of Belize, cane farmers feel they have been left alone navigating in turbulent waters. About to drown, they have decided to sign the commercial agreement with BSI/ASR under protest. Today the People’s United Party held a press conference in Belize City to discuss the current sugar crisis. During the media briefing, Orange Walk South Area Representative, Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai, stated that with 1.5 million tons of cane out in the fields, cane farmers have no other choice but to throw in the towel and sign the agreement. “The farmers I believe in their own wisdom have decided to sign the agreement and to stay with the Belize Cane Farmers Association, of course under force measures, it I with a heavy heart that you go and sign your name as a matter of fact I almost signed yesterday but after doing some reflection I said no, I will sign but after I made my statement very clear, I am unhappy and I share this feeling for many farmers and if we have to sign it is with a heavy heart.

#499870 - 01/13/15 05:03 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 13, 2015 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


Matute Family Receives Portion of Payment
In the latter part of last year we brought you the story of Janae Matute and her mother Georgia Matute. Janea is now 14 years old and was born with cerebral palsy. Janae was born pre-mature by way of a c-section performed by Dr. Raju Meenvalli. The case was taken to the courts of Belize where the ruling was in favor of the Matute’s. The case was appealed all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice and that ruling was in favor of the Matute’s. The Matute’s were awarded more than two million dollars in damages which after months complained that they did not received. However, last week, they got a cheque of three hundred thousand dollars as explained by their attorney, Fred Lumor. ATTORNEY FRED LUMOR “I think it was last week that the government sent through the attorney general’s ministry a cheque for $300,000 which is part payment of the monies owed to the Matute family. The government has indicated that they will submit to us proposals for scheduled payment of the balance and we are supposed to work that out for the payment of the remaining balance”.

Farmers Say Yes to Signing of Agreement
The Area Representative for Orange Walk South, Jose Abelardo Mai made an announcement today at a PUP Press Conference that the farmers will be signing the Sugar Commercial Agreement in order to get the crop started. The decision to sign, as Mai told the media, is one being made with much reservations and a move deemed necessary for the livelihoods of the sugar cane farmers. JOSE ABERLARDO MAI “The point we make is that there are no other cane farmer organizations out there with a very effective cane harvesting and delivery system in place. As is the case with Belize Sugar Cane Farmers there is a mechanism in place. Why fix it if it works the less reliance on small farmers the greater its efficiency of profit making by the company. This economic philosophy is the driver behind the actions of the government and the miller and what we have seen so far leaves little doubt about whose interest the government really serves. It is an unfortunate state of affairs that if left unchecked will ramp up the already high levels of poverty in Northern Belize. As we speak farmers are presently in a state of disarray and confusion caused by no less than the threat issued by the Prime Minister on behalf of ASR that sugar cane would be accepted only from farmers and their alliance that were prepared to sign commercial agreements with the company. There are a number of meetings being held in the different branches, I attended one of them yesterday, actually the agenda was one thing and that was to get the farmers to sign, to commit that they will accept and they were willing to begin the crop given the agreements of BSI. In order to avoid the members from going over to associations that will be defunct any way the farmers I believe in their own wisdom have decided to sign the agreement and to stay with the BSCFA, of course under forced measures.”

Mai Blames GOB And ASR For Bankruptcy
The impasse and the uncertainty that loomed over the industry and the cane farmers in the past weeks have placed them in an unfortunate situation when it comes to their financial wellbeing. So much so that in their last General Assembly Meeting, they had agreed to draw down four million dollars from the Fairtrade Funds despite the possible consequence of decertification. Following the press conference today, Mai told Love News that while he understands the financial plight of many of the cane farmers, he was one of the persons who opposed the use of the Fairtrade Funds. JOSE ABERLARDO MAI “I am very concerned about that because I am not entirely convinced that that was the wisest thing to do, to vote for the money to be given to the farmers but I understand the farmer. I do not fully agree with it but I understand why the farmer is asking for it and I will put the blame squarely at the feet of government and ASR they have put us in this very compromising and poor position that we have no money. The only source of income that many people have is sugar cane and the proceeds that come from sugar cane. Some people have no money so what is expected? They will ask for it so it puts us in a bad spot economically with the association but I understand why the farmers are asking for it.”

Medical Physicians Conduct Two Weeks Training
Two week training is underway at the Belize Emergency Respond Team at #1675 Sunrise Avenue, Coral Grove Vicinity. Conducting the training is Dr. Maura Bruce, Urgent Care Physician, and Dr. Mark Bruce, American College of Emergency Physician Ambassador to Belize. Dr. Mark Bruce spoke to Love News about the training and the work the team performs. DR. MARK BRUCE “Our first team was here one year ago at this time and it was the inaugural team for this process and since that time there has been two other teams from Wisconsin that have come down here and one team from Belize that has gone up Milwaukee and we are already starting to see some significant changes in a very good way with the whole A&E and the systems based approach of emergency medicine which includes and is a big part of it that is BERT so it is not just about the doctors and nurses it is about the entire team of emergency services which starts with the first time the person calls for help, the dispatch, when BERT arrives...

Farmers Signs Agreement; Writ of Mandamus Useless
Last Friday, we told that the cane farmer, Lucilo Teck, through his attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd was granted leave for judicial review as it pertains to a writ of Mandamus against the Sugar Industry Control Board. It was a small victory for the cane farmers as they sought intervention from the courts to have the SICB set a date for the opening of the sugar crop. But the celebration of that victory was short lived as over the weekend, the majority of farmers came to a consensus to sign the Sugar Commercial Agreement. Such a decision can only be attributed to the fact that the next court date for the writ of Mandamus would be in 45 days thus having the season further delayed. Love News asked Mai if the decision to sign now leaves the writ of Mandamus useless. JOSE ABERLARDO MAI “I think it is exercising every legal right the cane farmer has and I think that we should continue with the process because we are a country of laws and we have to uphold laws we live by laws, we believe in the legal system.” RENEE TRUJILLO “With some of the farmers singing to the agreement to get the crop started does this make the application for judicial review moot?”

Weekend RTA Leaves One Dead
Police visited the scene of a road traffic accident on January 09, 2015 near Altun Ha Junction at Lucky Strike Village, Belize District, 30.5 miles on the Old Northern Highway where they saw a red Chevy 1500 Suburban with license plates BC-C-38791off the road with damages to the right side of the windshield. Initial investigation revealed that 65-year-old David Hill, American businessman of Rock Stone Pond, Belize District was driving the red Chevy Suburban on the Old Northern Highway from Sand Hill Village towards Rock Stone Pond and upon reaching miles 30 ½ on the Old Northern Highway in the Lucky Strike Village he lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road. Travelling with him at the time was his common-law wife Eleanor Arana of Rock Stone Pond. David Hill lost consciousness which caused the accident and both were transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Upon arrival, David Hill was pronounced dead at 7:47pm. Eleanor was treated and was later released. The body now awaits a postmortem examination and police investigation continues.

Weapons And Ammunition Retrieved From Streets of Belize
The Belize City police continue to target specific areas within the city and have since retrieved weapons and ammunition from off the streets of Belize: In the vicinity of Vernon Street, a .38 Smith & Wesson Revolver with Serial Number 6982 and four .38mm special rounds. Near the vicinity of Zericote and Ebony Street, one .357 Astra Brand Revolver and six rounds of .38mm. A 9mm Glock Pistol with 11 rounds in a magazine in Brides Alley. In the Faber’s Road Extension Vicinity, one 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol with seven round. A total of four firearms and twenty-eight rounds of ammunition were found with two of these being found property. The possession of the two kept firearm and ammunition without a Gun License lead to the arrest of three individuals. Police operations continue in their effort to remove weapons off the streets of Belize City

Sugar Industry: What If Fonseca Was in Government?
As the party in opposition, Fonseca was asked what his moves would be had he been the Government. FRANCIS FONSECA “We can go as far back as when the cane farmers themselves made it absolutely clear that they wanted to own this industry and had a very credible plan and package, I know the Prime Minister and government has dismissed that package and plan but we have farmers here with us who are representatives, Ramon Cervantes Jr was a member of the team that participated in the negotiation of that package so we know that the farmers had a very credible plan. All that was lacking was the support of the government and that was not forthcoming. So it depends on how far you want to go back because if we had a PUP government at that time we would have been there for the cane farmers, we would have made sure that every opportunity was provided to the cane farmers for them to own BSI. I really think that the government has not been engaged in this crisis.

PUP Says Barrow Is Out to Destroy the BSCFA
As we mentioned earlier, Mai’s announcement came out of a media briefing called by the People’s United Party at its headquarters on Queen Street in Belize City in which the Opposition Leader, Francis Fonseca was the first to address the press. Fonseca spoke of the decision made by Prime Minister Barrow, which he referred to as the abandonment of the cane farmers. FRANCIS FONSECA “The crisis in the sugar industry for us is not an issue which we seek to exploit for any political advantage. The reality is that the great majority of these cane farmers and their families are already supporters of our party whom we represent in the national assembly. We have a deep commitment to them, we care deeply about our cane farmers, their families and their livelihood and that is what is at stake today. The sugar industry is the life blood of the north and its survival and success is vital to our national economy. This industry as you all know very well has had a long history of growth and development based on a working tripartite relationship.

Sugar Cane Farmers Will Sign Agreement Under Duress
The Area Representative for Orange Walk South, Jose Abelardo Mai made an announcement today at a PUP Press Conference that the farmers will be signing the Sugar Commercial Agreement in order to get the crop started. The decision to sign, as Mai told the media, is one being made with much reservations and a move deemed necessary for the livelihoods of the sugar cane farmers. JOSE ABELARDO MAI “It is with a very heavy heart that you go and sign your name. As a matter of fact I almost signed yesterday but after doing some reflection I said, ‘No I will sign but after I have made my statement very clear, I am unhappy and I share this feeling with many farmers and if we have to sign it is with a heavy heart that we have to sign’. I don’t see the signing process being complete by five days and I don’t see the crop starting within the next ten days given if the weather improves. I don’t know what the future holds for us I wish that we could at some point continue the negotiations to see if the farmers can derive their equitable benefits but it is difficult to say at this point. I think the important thing right now is to start the crop and to allow the farmers to deliver their cane, there is 1.4 million tons of cane and I don’t see how it can be delivered given the short time and the time we have wasted.”

Hulse Says It’s Not Cane Farmer vs BSI But Rather Cane Farmer vs Cane Farmer
Minister Godwin Hulse today weighed in on the ongoing controversy in the sugar industry. Minister Hulse said contrary to the popular narrative, it is not cane farmers squaring off against BSI/ASR but rather a division within the BSCFA. MINISTER GODWIN HULSE “The cane farmers association needs to come to a consensus. Everything I am hearing in the media sounds as though its cane farmers v. BSI, it’s not. Its cane farmer v. cane farmer with an agreement that some agreed to and some don’t agree to. That is the real debate and that is what has to be fixed so they can get back on board. You don’t have a unified association right now saying ‘oh none of us agree or yes all of us agree” the quarrel is there.

Writ of Mandamus – Is it A Moot Point Now?
Last Friday, we told that the cane farmer, Lucilo Teck, through his attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd was granted leave for judicial review as it pertains to a writ of Mandamus against the Sugar Industry Control Board. It was a small victory for the cane farmers as they sought intervention from the courts to have the SICB set a date for the opening of the sugar crop. But the celebration of that victory was short lived as over the weekend, the majority of farmers came to a consensus to sign the Sugar Commercial Agreement. Such a decision can only be attributed to the fact that the next court date for the writ of Mandamus would be in 45 days thus having the season further delayed. Love News asked Mai if the decision to sign now leaves the writ of Mandamus useless. JOSE ABELARDO MAI “I think it is exercising every legal right the cane farmer has and I think that we should continue with the process because we are a country of laws and we have to uphold laws. We live by laws, we believe in the legal system. “

Dr. Figueroa Sworn In As A Minister of State
With just seven days behind us since the historic bi-election was held for the Cayo North division, Dr. Omar Figueroa went before the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville Young at the Belize House in Belmopan, Cayo District, to be sworn in as the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister. Dr Omar Figueroa 4The announcement of Figueroa’s appointment to Cabinet came last Friday following a meeting of the elected representatives for the United Democratic Party including Prime Minister, Dean Barrow. Figueroa made it to the House of Representatives after Joseph Mahmud tendered his resignation as a sitting member of the house under the People’s United Party in November 2014 thus leaving the seat vacant. Figueroa went up against Richard Harrison and garnered 66.4% of the votes cast in the bi-election. Figueroa is an ecologist by profession and was accompanied today at the Belize House by family, friends and supporters.

Chief Justice Cites Problems in Judiciary
The pageantry and ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court was the highlight of downtown Belize City earlier today. Legal practitioners such as Justices, Magistrates and attorneys at law convened at Wesley Methodist Church for an ecumenical service. Thereafter, the pump and circumstance was on full display on Regent Street as members of Belize’s legal system marched in to the Chief Justice’s Court room. There, Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin gave the opening remarks in which he addressed several issues. Hipolito Novelo was present and here is that report. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING “Belize’s legal minds marched on Regent Street in Belize City after a celebratory mass at the Wesley Methodist Church. After a guard of honor inspection by the Chief Justice of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin, Justices, Magistrates along with attorneys and others of the legal fraternity filled the court room of the Chief Justice. According to CJ Benjamin, in 2014, 778 new matters were filed while 786 cases were disposed of; adding that the disposal rate remains unsatisfactory.” CHIEF JUSTICE KENNETH BENJAMIN “The disposal rate of cases continues to be unsatisfactory largely due to lengthy trials punctuated by voire dire inquiries into the admissibility of admissions and confessions. The systemic problems remain and are the subject of reform. In the capital cases, the assignment of counsel for unrepresented accused continue to be a challenge.”


DOE meets with owners of illegal dams at Barton Creek
For over the past few weeks we have been reporting on the construction of an apparently illegal micro hydro or water mills in the Barton Creek Area, very close to the Barton Creek Cave. We took the information to the Department of the Environment who sent at team there to investigate the reports. After that, the department had discussions with the two owners, Mike Bougart and Ian Anderson, to listen to their side of the story. At the conclusion of their preliminary inquiries, here is what is what the Department has gathered. “At this point we’ve determined that they cannot show any proof that they have permission from any Government agencies for these structures. We’ll be conducting a joint inspection this week, and then when we come back we’ll sit as a group and decide what we will do, and we’ll look at these type of issues.

Confusing Street Names in Salvapan
Before Belmopan became the capital, Salvapan and the other surrounding communities that were managed separately by their own community chairs. In those days the community residents only knew their address by their lot number. Then between 2000 and 2005 under the tenure of the first Mayor of Belmopan, Anthony Chanona, and with the assistance of the community chairpersons, the streets were given names. However today in the second decade of the twentieth century community the residents of Salvapan are uncertain about their real street names. A trifle matter, but it has been causing a great deal of confusion in the community. Not only that, it is also confusing important correspondences like electricity bills. Francisco Hernandez, who was the chairman of Salvapan before the communities became a part of the capital, shed some light into the street situation in the community. Francisco Hernandez – Former Chairman of Salvapan [Translated] “The problem that has happened with some of the street names is that the young people, some young people, through a lack of responsibility, or a lack of understanding, tore down the street names, or the street signs, that labeled the streets. For example, in the case of Costa Rica Street, it is not the street that passes in front of the football field, beside the Chinese shop. No, that is not Costa Rica Street. It has that name because they tore the street sign to confuse the people. Sometimes they would put the street signs on a post to say ‘this is Calle Las Americas,’ and the Costa Rica Street sign, they would put it somewhere else.”

Sugar farmers risk FairTrade decertification
Former chairman of the BSCFA and current director Alfredo Ortega was also called on to respond to the matter of a request of over $4 million in monies offered by Fairtrade to farmers for projects related to their work in the fields which they want to tide them over until the season starts. But Ortega was one of the four directors who voted against it on Thursday during a directors’ meeting. He explained why. “A vote was taken and the majority voted in favour that that money be dispersed. It will be used. It will be dispersed to the farmers. Four of us didn’t sign the paper, but the majority rules. We have eighteen directors. Fourteen of them have signed the paper, and it will go through.” But the cheques have not been disbursed as the Association continues to wrangle internally.

Should Prime Minister do more for cane farmers?
The current division in the sugar industry has as much to do with its future as it does with the role of the Government, which has so far tried to avoid using a heavy hand. But disaffected cane farmer Alfredo Ortega, who was singled out for personal criticism by Prime Minister Dean Barrow during Thursday’s press conference, is not taking it personally. He brought the matter around to how much more the P.M. can do on the ground, by meeting with the farmers and hearing their concerns. Alfredo Ortega – Chairman of the Orange Walk BSCFA “As the Prime Minister mentioned my name and other names that were agitating. I think that if the Prime Minister has a very good advisor, and the Prime Minister would go down North and talk one to one to the farmer, he will get to know what the situation is, what is the plea of the farmers, and it seems to be that he is not prepared to listen to the cry of the farmers. He is not prepared to see what is the suffering of the farmers. We are not agitating any badness. We are not agitating anything that would create an unruly situation within the cane farming community. All what we’re looking for is that the farmers get benefits out of sacrifices that they are doing within the production sector. But it seems to be that our Prime Minister is not prepared to do so, in ngetting more benefits for the Belizean people.”

Patrick JonesPJ

Police investigate robberies in San Ignacio and Santa Familia
Police in San Ignacio are investigating two reports of robbery this past weekend. The first is reported to have happened around 10: 30 pm on Saturday on the Branch Mouth Road. A twenty six year old man and his girlfriend reported that they were held up and […]

PUP chides Government over handling of cane farmers
The People’s United Party (PUP) has hit out at the Government for its stance in the ongoing crisis in the sugar industry in the North, accusing it of abandoning cane farmers in favor of Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) and partner American Sugar Refining Inc. (ASR). The PUP […]

Governor General swears in a new Minister of State
A ceremony was held this morning at Belize House in Belmopan for the swearing in of Cayo North area representative Omar Figueroa as a Minister of State by Governor General Sir Colville Young. Witnessing the swearing in was Figueroa’s family, friends and supporters. Figueroa has been posted […]

Policeman sought for questioning
Tonight a police constable is on the wanted list by his peers. Patrick O’Brien, a constable stationed in Independence village is being sought pending investigations of an allegation of sexual misconduct by the officer. PC O’Brien is named in an allegation by a sixteen year old girl […]

Porfilio Rodriguez gets Supreme Court bail
He was behind bars for the Christmas season but Porfilio Rodriguez, otherwise known as ‘Vanessa Champagne Paris’, was released on bail of $10,000 last week Friday. Rodriguez successfully sought bail before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. As part of his bail stipulation, Rodriguez must report to the Independence Village Police […]

More than 1,500 prisoners in jail
Before the official start of the 2015 session of the Supreme Court, the 2014 session was brought to its official close with the jail delivery report. That report was presented by prison officer Jarette Twist, who is in charge of the Processing Unit at the Belize Central Prison […]

2015: a year of reform in the Judiciary
Belize’s legal leaders have promised a year of reform designed to correct longstanding abuses and difficulties in the judicial process. According to Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, a number of initiatives is in process to address such issues as juvenile justice, the conditions of the court, the lengthy time of remand for criminal cases, practice of attorneys in both civil and criminal jurisdiction among other things. Chief among these is the planned implementation of new Criminal Procedure Rules which will both assist the courts in creating conditions suitable to obtain justice while also respecting the rights and freedoms of persons under its jurisdiction.

Ceremonial opening of Supreme Court held in Belize City
Belize’s Judiciary marked the ceremonial opening of the 2015 legal year this morning. The pomp and ceremony started with a church service at Wesley Methodist Church followed by the procession of attorneys, Judges and Magistrates to their place of work. The ceremonial tradition of presentation of the members of the Court and inspection of the Guard of Honor by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was held on Albert Street in front of the Supreme Court building.


What is Sustainability – Part 2
The dictionary states sustainability means the ability to sustain or capacity to endure, implying a relationship among generations. The noun, sustainability, represents the outcome of actions of sustainable development that are successful. In discussing possible working definitions of sustainable development often people will refer to the Brundtland Commission’s activities in 1987, part of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The Brundtland Commission, a meeting of world heads of state led by Gro Brundtland the Prime Minister of Norway, recognized two over-arching world situations: (1) natural resources and the environment were being degraded at alarming rates, and (2) human poverty was rampant throughout the world. The Commission effectively reduced most discussions to “sustainable development” in addressing these issues, stressing that sustainable actions are those directed at “meeting the needs of future generations” in our daily living – the basic necessities of life, such as clean air, clean water, viable forests, fertile soil, oceans, and so on. Unfortunately, we really have no way of knowing what the “needs of future generations” might be, as we can’t predict what kinds of technology they might possess, which has left the Brundtland definition fairly useless from an operational perspective. The relationship among generations, however, is such that the activities of people in the present to meet their wants and needs must not destroy or close off vital and treasured choices for people in future generations. When, therefore, a community recognizes the need to craft a shared vision of social-environmental responsibility in the form of a desirable future condition, it is simultaneously affecting the world for its children’s children.

Birthday Bar Hopping in San Pedro, Belize with Fin Kardashian
While I am away, my blog correspondent is making sure the serious news of Belize is being covered. And weathering, it seems, a bit of rain. Things seem to be clearing up in San Pedro but here is a report from my very own favorite, Fin Kardashian. Doing Ambergris Caye…with a bit of attitude. Here’s Fin: Hello WORLD, So Christmas has passed and we are now living in a NEW YEAR so FRESH like the bloody rain. Is it me or does mother nature need to get laid? Anyways…Want to thank every one that helped with the soup kitchen, THANK YOU sooo much! (Check out post on Fin K’s AMAZING Christmas “Soup Kitchen”. So I had my New Year resolution to have a Calvin Klein underwear body but JUSTIN BEIBER just RUINED it for me!

3 way sausage fest at Ray’s Big Dog
The plan was to meet at Ecologic Divers office so we could see our friends off on a Sunset cruise. While I knew it would be a great ride, I was not sorry I was missing the boat and was about to enjoy an evening equally as fun. Kendall, Karen and I headed down the beach towards the Ray’s Big Dog press and hospitality party. As we walked towards the tackle box dock, there was no mistaking it from the big dog statue (which you will see Cowboy Doug power napping on below). One of the first groups to arrive, perfect timing to chat with the owners Dawn and Ray. It was interesting to learn more about the new kids on the block and their adventures of making it thus far in the wide world of starting a Belize Business. We also toured the kitchen, met the crew, saw shrimp steaming and the big pile of dogs and sausages laid out for the party. Being there early had another advantage, best choice of seats and we opted for beach side and people watching.

International Sourcesizz

New WOLA report on Mexico's Southern Border
Mexico's Other Border: Security, Migration, and the Humanitarian Crisis at the line with Central America. In February 2014, WOLA investigators paid a 12-day visit to several points along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. This visit was part of a larger project, begun in the second half of 2013, to monitor border security conditions, migration trends, and recent policy changes affecting this region. Staff from WOLA’s Migration and Border Security Program have visited six sectors of Mexico’s 1,969-mile northern border with the United States since 2011, and we have reported from several of them. This is our first report on Mexico’s 714-mile southern border zone. It comes after several months of preparatory research—combing official documents, interviewing officials, and paying site visits—followed by our February research trip. On this trip, we found a border very different from the U.S.-Mexico line. This one is simple to cross: with an ID card at an official entry point, by wading a river between towns, or by stepping over an invisible line in the backcountry. Starting in 2012, the number of U.S.-bound Central Americans making this first crossing—among them tens of thousands of unaccompanied children—began a surge that continues to intensify. Once on the Mexican side, these migrants encounter a border security policy that is hard to define, at times contradictory, and unevenly implemented—but clearly toughening, often with U.S. backing.

El emporio de Los Mendoza Matta
Las empresas de los cuatro hermanos –originarios de Morales, Izabal– a quienes se les vincula con el crimen organizado, han obtenido contratos públicos por Q74.6 millones. Veinticinco empresas de los hermanos Mendoza Matta captaron Q74.6 millones en proveeduría a municipalidades y organizaciones del noroeste del país, durante una década. Así se resume una de las facetas de esta familia vinculada con el narcotráfico y crimen organizado en Izabal y Petén. El portafolio corporativo de las 25 empresas de los Mendoza Matta incluye constructoras, gasolineras, transportes, hoteles, restaurantes y distribuidoras de productos agrícolas, entre otras. El pujante desarrollo empresarial podría ser, en opinión de dos analistas, un mecanismo para blanquear dinero de origen ilícito. Un informe de la Oficina de Naciones Unidas contra las Drogas y el Delito (UNODC) ubica a los hermanos Walter Obdulio, Milton Oswaldo, Edwin Alfredo y Haroldo como los sucesores de un grupo vinculado con narcotraficantes mexicanos que opera en Izabal, un departamento fronterizo con Honduras. Haroldo, el menor de los Mendoza Matta, guarda prisión preventiva señalado como el cabecilla de una estructura criminal que realizaba patrullajes, controlaba la entrada y salida de personas, y cometía delitos como homicidios, quema de cosechas, robo y matanza de semovientes, allanamientos a domicilios, matanzas y desapariciones de personas, así como despojo de tierras en Izabal y Petén, según la Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG).

A New Lawmaker in Belize
Dr Omar Figueroa is the newest Member of the National Assembly in Belize. Figueroa emerged victorious in the latest by-election for the Cayo North constituency, following the resignation of former MP Joseph Mahmud in November. He defeated Richard Harrison in the election, which took place last week. Figueroa was officially sworn in on Monday by Belize Governor General Sir Colville Young. Figueroa was additionally appointed as a Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, the government announced.

Caribbean Real Estate Market Hotting Up
Property and tourism sectors in the Caribbean and Central America set to grow in 2015, according to the latest edition of The Caribbean Property Investor magazine. According to the most recent issue of 7th Heaven Properties' annual magazine The Caribbean Property Investor, the Caribbean real estate and tourism sectors are poised for growth in 2015. Analysis of trends in The Caribbean Property Investor magazine, indicates that the high quality of living, good value for money and stability offered by the Caribbean region has reinforced its appeal to property buyers and investors, particularly in the face of social, economic and political volatility in other regions.


Skydiving into the Blue Hole, Belize, 9min.
2014 - Belize, 9min. Our 3 year anniversary to Belize.
Our 3 year anniversary to Belize., 7min.
Cave tubing in Belize 2014, 12min. This was when we went cave tubing in Belize, this is unedited raw footage so at times the volume is low or its too dark.
Livin' Belize-y, 5min. Some GoPro footage from our trip to San Pedro, Belize. January, 2013.
Dolphins Off the Coast of Belize, 1min. A pod of about 50 dolphins plays around our boat on a return trip from Half Moon Caye. Shot near Lighthouse Reef, about 2.5 hours off the coast.
Beers Produced by the Belize Belikin Brewery, 2min. This is the Belikin Brewing Company's summer season, and is covered in a golden foil. The name 'verano' means summer in Spanish and the company says that this beer is a 'summer in a bottle.' It is a good-tasting beer and might be better compared to the regular lager, but it might be due to the aging of some of the flavor; it might have softened a bit while others came through more. This lager has some good but slight orange peel flavor and has a little spiciness to it, as well. The beer brings a small sweetness to it and also has a very light tang to it also. The brew is zesty while also very refreshing. You can conveniently see yourself crushing a few of these in the middle of the summer heat.


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