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#500941 - 02/11/15 11:10 AM Today's Belize News: February 11, 2015
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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

San Pedro Cancer Society Lights the Night for Awareness
Hundreds of island residents came out to show support in the fight against cancer at the annual “Light the Night” awareness walk on Wednesday, February 4th. Hosted by the San Pedro Cancer Society (SPCS), the walk is held in commemoration of World Cancer Awareness Day. Supporters gathered at the Central Park shortly after 6:30PM with candles in hand, ready to illuminate the night for a good cause. SPCS President, Miguel Perez, also took the time to address the crowd giving a short briefing on the activities of the organization. “We would like to thank the community for an even greater turnout at this year’s walk. We have seen many of our local businesses group together to show their support. It is our sincerest hope that this display of human concern may encourage others to learn more about cancer and begin to take preventative measures. The San Pedro Cancer Society is really pleased with the community’s response and that alone will fuel us to serve them in 2015,” said Perez.

The VIP introduces three councilor candidates
Also flanking Lopez was Amalio Requeña, better known as “Tua.” As a resident of the San Pedro for the past 14 years, Requeña highlighted the challenges to access land for first time landowners, people getting sick without adequate facilities, garbage mounting everywhere, the lack of decent playground for the children and the growing crime problems on the island. “The people have to make a change, because the PUP and the UDP keep promising and we still haven’t seen any progress,” explained Requeña. Meanwhile, the third person to be introduced was Bill Henkis. A born Sanpedrano and a fisherman by trade, Henkis shared his disheartening view at the changes San Pedro went through at the cost of the environment. “We cannot continue to damage our environment, the very source of our livelihood,” said a passionate Henkis. He explained that while San Mateo is a community built on mangrove swamp land, garbage is not the most environmental friendly way to fill the area. “There is a better way that can cause far less damage to our eco-system,” he outlined.

Silvia Patricia Lopez is the 2015 Reina del Carnaval!
It was a night of beauty and entertainment as five lovely ladies competed for the title of Reina del Carnaval 2015. For the second year in a row, Flora Ancona’s Comparsa group organized the pageant to raise funds for the group’s carnaval activities. 49-year-old Rose Marie Linarez, 51-year-old Silvia Patricia Lopez, 48-year-old Nerie Itzab, 42-year-old Sinia Catalina Cruz and 44-year-old Zeida Alamilla competed in three segments in aimed of taking the crown and the coveted title. The pageant is a relatively new part of the traditional island carnival, but its quickly making its mark by opening the Carnaval celebrations before the Lenten season.2015

Ambergris Today

Can’t Stop the Finger Licking at Estel’s BBQ Competition
“It’s too much pressure being on top, so I am very glad to hand off the title to another great grill chef,” commented Charles. “This is so much fun and I thank all those who came to enjoy a great day by the beach and enjoying the great food prepared by these great guys.”

Tropic Air Launches Codeshare Connection To Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Effective, February 17th, 2015, Tropic Air has entered into a partnership with CM Airlines of Honduras to offer same day travel between Belize City and Tegucigalpa, Honduras via both airlines’ flights to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. This service will eliminate costly overnights when travelling between Belize City and Tegucigalpa, and will serve to stimulate tourism and trade between the two countries. “Today, in partnership with CM Airlines, we are pleased to add Tegucigalpa, Honduras to our route network” says John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Our passengers have been asking for this service for some time, and today we are pleased to make it happen”.

Defending BBQ grilling Champ Charles Worthington
Doing his thing at Estel's 4th annual BBQ Competition taking place now!!

Pic of the Week-: Catching A Goliath Grouper in Belize
Back in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize once again for their vacation, Erik Winning and Susan Michnay went out for a fun-filled day of fishing for the first time around the Turneffe Atolls. They, along with a couple friends, had an amazing experience provided to them by Suya Tours. The group was amazed when their guide, Carlos Alejos, managed to catch one HUGE grouper. Below is what Erik had to say about his exciting trip: Erik Winning – “This is a Goliath Grouper that our guide caught while spear fishing, we dropped him and another guy off in the middle of the Caribbean and went snorkeling about an hour and half, later we went looking for them and this is one of the many fish that they speared. When I say looking for them, I mean we were just driving around searching the open sea. Can you say Bad Asses!”

San Pedro High School Kicks off Career Week
San Pedro High School kicked off Career Week, Monday, February 9, by inviting a guest speaker from Kingston, Jamaica to talk to the student body on how to become successful in their future careers. This year’s Career Week theme reads, “Get excited get involved & plan for your future". It is exactly what guest speaker Diana Shaw talked about during her inspiring presentation. School Counselor Mrs. Alexis Guerrero stated that Ms. Shaw is an attorney of law from Kingston Jamaica and now residing in Belize City; she is the chairperson of Child Development Fund Belize and advocates awareness for her work on the publication Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Belize.

San Pedro Belize Red Cross Host Successful First AID/CPR Training and Blood Drive
The San Pedro Belize Red Cross (SPBRC) recently appointed Sue Barkhouse and Joann Reilly as co-leaders of the Health Committee. Sue is in charge of quarterly blood drives and Joann will be handling the First Aid/CPR training program and monthly courses. Both Ladies had the opportunity to jump right into their new positions as the San Pedro Red Cross hosted the first events of 2015 in both areas. Sue and Joann did a wonderful job from start to finish and the SPBRC is pleased to have them volunteering in lead positions within the organization.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BELIZE FISHING REPORT: Week of February 1st – February 7th, 2015
It was a pretty quiet week here at the lodge with only a couple boats going out each day. Congratulations to Marty our most improved caster this week, she came out to the casting clinic 3 days in a row, determined to cast well enough to get her bonefish pin. Sure enough first day she got it! Steve teamed up with Captain Emir and Gordy for the only slam of the week. It was Steve’s last day and after landing 3 permit earlier in his trip he and his guide decided to get up early and get it done. It paid of big time. Leaving the dock at 5:30 they ventured through the dark arriving at a calm channel hoping to see some rolling tarpon. Sure enough a few fish did roll but still no bites...

International Partners Visiting Shipstern
This week for us at CSFI was a very delightful one. We were honored with the visit of Mr. Caspar and the Professors Jaboury Ghazoul and Claude Garcia. This year just like previous ones Mr. Caspar brought us new and creative ideas and filled our staff with joy and good vibes. It was quite a refreshing experience and we would like extend our gratitude to him and the professors .We hope that they had as much of a great time with us as we did with them. For now we say goodbye but we will be waiting for your return with our arms wide open.

Northern Highway paved at Sandhill junction
If your travel bug takes you anywhere around Altun Ha, Maruba or Maskal on the old Northern Highway, note that at the junction from Sandhill, the old northern highway is now paved. Safe travels and enjoy Belize!

Aubrey Matura meets Ashcroft
On February 7, 2015 Robert Tillett posted this picture in the group page Se La vee.... with the caption "the new opposition..." We have monitored this picture and the thread that subsequently exploded with speculation as to Audrey Matura's meeting with, mainly, the infamous Michael Ashcroft. However, out of all the speculation as to why Audrey Matura was meeting with Ashcroft, we did not notice anyone pointing out the fact that if this picture was not taken and exposed on Facebook, the public would have never known that Ashcroft was in Belize. And we are confident that he has not only met with Audrey. We believe that Audrey, intentionally or not, put herself in a situation where her enemies would want to make her look compromised, however, in our view this incident drew the public's attention to the fact that the politically manipulative Ashcroft - puppeteering Belize via the PUDP for decades - is in town...and meeting with influential people.

Commentary: It is high time for these court hearings in Belize to end
By Wellington C. Ramos. It seems as if Mr Michael Ashcroft will not stop pursuing the people and government of Belize for this $33.5 million that he claims he is owed. I have heard our Prime Minister Dean Barrow say over and over again that, in his opinion, the then prime minister, Said Musa, and his attorney general, Francis Fonseca, now the leader of the People's United Party (PUP), acted illegally by approving the loan without the approval of the Belize's National Assembly. Now, it is clear that the Supreme Court judge is in agreement with their line of argument. Knowing them, they will never be satisfied with this judge's ruling because they think that, because they have money, we in Belize must succumb to them. Our country cannot afford to pay this kind of money to anybody. Especially, when most of our people did not benefit from the use of Universal Health Services. Even up to today, the average Belizean citizen cannot afford the cost of the healthcare this institution provides. Also, within the PUP Cabinet at the time there were ministers of government who were opposed to the government paying this money but Said Musa and his attorney general Francis Fonseca went ahead and paid it anyway.

Zoo Education team visits St. John’s Anglican School
City kids seldom have the opportunity to get to know the wildlife which calls Belize home. Their days are marked by urban activities, and this is far away from the magical arena which includes, Tapirs, Jaguars and lots more beguiling beasts. When the Zoo Education team visited St. John’s Anglican School to talk about jaguars recently, Education Officer Johanna did some readings for the students, as well. This is just the start of an innovative Zoo program aimed at taking animal and nature books into schools throughout the country. However, the focus schools will be in urban areas where kids are prone to be affected by negative urban issues. Bringing animal stories into classrooms and igniting the young imagination, is the goal. What a fun and exciting way to learn! Definitely, a very big PAWS UP

Ride to the Reef!
Join us at the steps of the National Assembly on March 15th for a 50 mile ride to BTL park in Belize City. Celebrate our heritage. Protect our future. Belief in the reef!

Belizean Artist of the YEAR -2014- A star studded event
Its going to be Big Big BIG............. Congratulations to all Awardees. If you love BELIZE and Belizean/Caribbean music /Artists this Award & Show has it all. Save the date April 18th at The Alpine Village Center in Torrance Ca. If you live out of State book your Airline Tickets and hotel fast.. It's set to be big big massive LINEUP. Coming all the way from the Bahamas, please join us on April 18th @ The Alpine Village as we give thanks and recognition to the one & only, Mr. Clinton Crawford ( Juni Crawford).

Sexual Abuse against Children is a no no
Press Release - Government of Belize Press Office.

BOLEDO DRAWING for Tuesday, February 10, 2015: 12, FANTASY 5: 36 29 20 37 25 D

Comparsas groups
We are asking all Comparsas group to contact the San Pedro Town Council to confirm their participation in order to be taken into consideration for judging. Deadline: Friday, February 13, 2015. If you have registered, you may disregard this message.

Come out to support the NICH Canoe Team!
Belize Canoe Association 2015 Schedule. The list of races and events below is a tentative schedule for 2015, please be advised that dates can change and events can be canceled.

Channel 7

Roaring Creek Senior Citizen Shot In Head
When we left you last night, it was with the news that a Roaring Creek resident had been killed. Well, it turns out that the victim John Alexander Smith was 61 years old. At around 6:55, he was heading home when he was fatally shot to the left side of his face. His murder has shocked his family and members of the village because he was a well-known handy man - and no considered a threat or a trouble to anyone. So why was he killed? Our news team traveled to Belmopan today for answers. Courtney Weatherburne reporting This is where John Smith slept every night. Right beside his favorite bottle of cologne and colonial cigarettes. But he never got to take his midnight smoke on his mattress last night. Because he was shot and killed about 50 yards away from his green wooden house. His family members were at the house waiting for his return.

Gapi Vs. Monchi In Supreme Court
It made national headlines when the explosive allegation emerged that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega somehow had a hand in the murder of Ramon Cervantes Sr., father of PUP Standard Bearer Ramon Monchie Cervantes. Vega categorically denied that claim, and now, he's suing Monchie Cervantes for libel in the Supreme Court. Viewers may remember that the Cervantes's family released a phone call from a man claiming to be wanted murder mastermind Manuel Castillo. In that phone call, he accused DPM Vega of organizing a political assassination which ended with Ramon Cervantes Sr. being brutally killed. That phone call, in Spanish, was played on Love FM during a live broadcast of the family's memorial ceremony for the patriarch. Vega immediately released a statement, denied the allegation, and demanded that Monchie Cervantes retract all comments made. He didn't do that and so, Vega instructed his attorney, Rodwell Williams, to commence a libel suit, which had its first hearing today before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.

Eagan Shot At Again In San Pedro - this Time They Caught Him
Last night at around 8:15, a man was shot in the San Pedrito area of San Pedro Town. 32-year-old Kareem Eagan of was shot to his right foot just above the ankle. Two Hispanic men wearing dark clothing and hooded jackets, ran into the yard of his Apartments building and fired several shots at Eagan who was sitting in room. Police have detained two minors. Police say that this isn't the first time Eagan has been shot at - and they believe it is drug related - the product a beef with a local drug running crew.

A Prospective Purchaser For The Port?
Three weeks ago the CEO of the Port of Belize, Arturo Vasquez told 7News that the Port of Belize is for sale. He explained that it's not being actively shopped around, but as receiver for the Port, he is entertaining offers from prospective buyers. And one local investor emerged. He is Lawrence Ellis, the owner of BML - which up until a month ago was cleaning up the city. Ellis has been seeking financing in Mexico, and today a delegation of investors came from the state of Monterrey. Ellis and one of the would-be financiers told us why he is the right man to own the port of Belize:.. Lawrence Ellis, Interested in Buying Port "We made formal letter of interest to the receiver. We presented our case to them and we are waiting for them to respond to us."

Mexican Investor Interested in Tourism
Ellis was having lunch at Chon Saan Palace with a high-powered group of Mexican investors - led by Luis Carlos Urzua of the Merca Sol Group. His promoters say he is one of the first developers to get into Cancun and Cabo in the 80's and that he currently runs a human resources first which handles payroll for twenty thousand workers. And now he's interested in investing in tourism in Belize. Francisco Turu-eno and Urzua told us what they see in Belize:.. Francisco Turueno, Organizing Mex Investor Group "We have detected that there are several fields that we can cooperate within the two countries, getting entrepreneurs from Mexico and Belize. We feel that right now it's the precise moment to look for opportunities within your country."

Man Claims BTL Gave Away His Idea To Make Someone Else Rich!
Intellectual property rights is something we don't hear too much about in Belize - but it's in the law - and now, one Belizean entrepreneur is claiming BTL, broke it when the company gave away his idea - to make someone else rich! Dale Curtis Swasey claims that he signed a non-disclosure agreement in the form of an Information Exchange Agreement, after which he pitched them the idea of lottery texting as a form of gambling. It was supposed to be seamless and easy for the owner of the lottery game, BTL, and phone users playing the game. He further claims that for almost 2 years he helped BTL develop the platform and mechanism in their network to enable lottery texting, with the understanding that he would be allowed to sell such a lottery game using their service. He says that the company abruptly ended that relationship and a few weeks later, the popular new game show, Mek Mi Rich, emerged with the very same idea that he helped BTL to develop.

Cop Thought He Got Shot; He Was Stoned
Last night at 7:30 news went out that a police officer had been shot in the head. It's an explosive report, but we waited around for confirmation - and were relieved to learn that it was inaccurate. But it was based very loosely on the truth. Here's what happened: Special Constable Jerome Flowers got stoned - not shot - in the head on Pelican Street. But, an x-ray was taken to determine the extent of his injury - which was only a burst head. Police feared that he may have been shot with a pen gun.

The Split Saga Has Another Twist; And The Lazy Lizard Moves On
The last time we told you about the Lazy Lizard Bar, the iconic business located at the Caye Caulker's Split, it was with the news that bar owner Immer Perez won a minor victory against his landlord who was trying to get him evicted from that property. Well, yesterday, he lost his case in the Supreme Court, and he must vacate within a month's time. As we told you the last time, the property owner said he found a buyers, but Perez said that he couldn't because there was a caution on the land. Well, yesterday in court, Naima Barrow, attorney for the landlord, proved to Justice Courtney Abel that a sale has been arranged, and that it is legal and binding. Barrow also proved that she has the money for the sale of the land in escrow while this dispute is being resolved.

Dr. Dionne Departs, Abruptly
BTL's Chief Customer Service officer, Dr. Dionne Miranda resigned abruptly yesterday. Miranda is one of the top five senior managers in the company who reports directly to the Executive Committee - so her sudden departure comes as a surprise. Miranda had been with BTL for the past six years, and received the very senior posting in a corporate re-organization last year. She says she is moving on to her own pursuits and to grow her business. And although that's her story, insiders tell us that she had her differences with Chairman Anwar Barrow. Miranda's last day is Friday.

Pressing The Penner Matter
For months we haven't reported on Elvin Penner - but the passport allegations have not gone away - even thought he was acquitted in Magistrate's Court. The private prosecutors, Geovannie Brackett and Nedal McLaren, have still kept the case going in the background. We've not heard of many Magistrate's Court cases being appealed at the Supreme Court, but attorney for the private prosecutors, Kareem Musa, has convinced Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to hear the case. Since this case turned on the ruling of the sitting Magistrate, Aretha Ford, Chief Justice Benjamin will have to decide if she took the right interpretation of the law. Here's what Musa had to say about the pending appeal:

An Abundance Of Undersized Conch
Tonight five Belize City men are faced with charges of possession of undersized conch. They were caught by officers of the Fisheries Department late this afternoon with eleven hundred and fifty two undersized conch. Also a container was found in the area with two hundred and fifty conch. The men were detained and the conch are now in the possession on the department. We got to see the undersized catch today:.. Michael Sabal -Supervisor, Fisheries Department "What is happening, due to the increase amount of small seafood products coming in, we have launched a countrywide operation because illegal sea food coming in from the fishermen. So, we have officers at strategic locations and this afternoon we manage to intersect a sailboat as they were delivering at the Northern Fisherman Cooperative, and that's where 5 fishermen were busted with a total of 1,152 undersized conch.

Man Gets 7 Years For Fratricide
54 year-old Jeremiah Pott, a resident of Bermudian Landing, is spending his first night of a 7 year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to killing his brother. The incident occurred around 11 a.m. on March 21, 2011 at Bermudian Landing. Jeremiah and his brother, Fidencio Pott, went to the house of a friend and they were drinking "red top" extra strong rum when they began to quarrel over a bottle. Fidencio, who was 57 at the time, pulled Jeremiah outside, and that's when Jeremiah pulled a shovel and stuck Fidencio in his head. When Fidencio fell to the ground, Jeremiah didn't stop there, he then stood over his brother and continued to bludgeon him with the shovel. Fidencio Pott succumbed to his injuries 5 days later, and on September 6, 2013, Jeremiah was indicted on a charge of murder. Six months later, the charge was substituted with manslaughter because there was evidence provocation.

A Movement Towards Technology
Performance. Image. Exposure Data: That is the name of the newly launched youth organization. PIEDATA offers youth from Belize as well as the Caribbean - the opportunity to pitch their business ideas and connect with investors in the Caribbean. The two areas of advancement are technology and business. Vice President of the youth development sector of PIEDATA, William Mahler, told us how he and his team plan to realize this advancement. The organization was launched in August of last year. The team will also be traveling to Miami in July for another youth conference.

Channel 5

Gunman Executes Elderly Roaring Creek Man
In Monday’s newscast, we broke the news of the second murder in twenty days in Roaring Creek, just outside Belmopan. The details tonight are that an elderly man, John Smith, [...]

Alleged Drug Peddler Shot in San Pedro
There was another shooting on Monday night. It happened in San Pedro where a well-known alleged drug peddler, was shot to the foot. Kareem Eagan is no stranger to the [...]

Vega/Cervantes Libel Suit Gets Underway
Today was the first day of a case which will draw much national scrutiny. Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega is suing Ramon Cervantes Junior for libel. In November, the Cervantes [...]

B.T.L./MMR Taken To Court
B.T.L. and MMR Belize Limited, the company that owns the game-show Mek Mi Rich, are currently being taken to Court. It’s a highly technical case, but in a nutshell – [...]

Swasey Says ‘Mek Mi Rich’ Was HIS Idea
According to Musa, the non-disclosure agreement between B.T.L. and Swasey specifically says that no information can be shared within two years of the termination of the agreement. The relationship between [...]

Case Due Back in Court March 10th
Curtis Swasey was present today, but declined comment. Still, the case in which he is suing for damages is based primarily on his expectations after more than two years of [...]

Should Marijuana Be Legalized in Belize?
And tonight’s question is: should the use of marijuana be legalized in Belize? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our [...]

N.T.U.C.B. meets with Prime Minister on S.S.B. Director’s Nomination
About a week ago we spoke with the new president of the N.T.U.C.B., Marvin Mora; he told us that they were confident that the Prime Minister would be reasonable in [...]

Internal Rumblings in the B.S.C.F.A.
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, established over fifty-five years ago, has existed as a recognized body representing the interests of eighteen branches. But that was until mid-January when government [...]

An Update on 2015 Sugar Cane Crop
In other developments in the sugar belt…Since opening on January twenty-sixth, the 2014-2015 sugar crop has been off to a slightly rocky start with milling coming to a grinding halt [...]

Mayor Bradley Clarifies $1.3M Legal Fees
Today Mayor Darrell Bradley vigorously defended reports that his Council paid out over one point three million dollars in legal fees between 2013 and 2014. In fact, he took great [...]

Bradley Still Has Eyes on Caribbean Shores
But while vigorously defending himself and the Council, the Mayor was noticeably warmer towards, in his own words, his political brother Santino Castillo. In an interview done with Castillo a [...]

Signs of Life In Memorial Park
There is sign of activity at the Memorial Park, finally. Belizeans probably remember the joyous ceremony well over a year ago when the newly upgraded, multi-million dollar upgraded park was [...]

Mexican Investors in the City
A large contingent of Mexican entrepreneurs is in Belize conducting high level meetings with government officials and local business owners. While conducting meetings, the team is also scouting Belize and [...]

Murder Charge Reduced to Manslaughter
Today, fifty year old Jeremiah Pott pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter of his brother, fifty seven year old Fidencio Pott. Jeremiah was sentenced to twelve years in prison, [...]

Belize City Men Freed on Attempted Murder Charge
Two Belize City men, Albert Clother and Tareef Westby, were freed of attempted murder after Samuel Halliday, who is currently incarcerated, decided he wanted no further court action. The matters [...]

Elections Run-up in Orange Walk
There is a total of nine town councils nationwide; the opposition party controls three. Up north, the People’s United Party hopes to retain the Orange Walk Town Council in the [...]

8 Year Old Cancer Patient Needs Your Help
An eight year old Roaring Creek student, Al-Dane Moro, and his mother, Latoya Lennon, are tonight asking for help.  Moro was diagnosed back in August of 2014 with stage three [...]

Veterans Lay Wreath at Memorial Park Monument
Today a visiting delegation of war veterans from the Royal Canadian Legion were in the country to pay respects to Belizean veterans of the World Wars. In a brief ceremony [...]

CTV3

BSCFA Navigating In Trouble Waters
Last night we told you about the developing story within the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association which was reportedly being registered as a company. Today, officials at the association met with the organization’s attorney Christopher Coye to clear the matter. Chair of the Committee of Management Ezequiel Cansino told the media late this evening that they received the information from their attorney. Today the clarification is that the organization is not being registered, or we should say was not registered as a company but as an association under the companies act. The process however, is reported to be riddled with errors but despite this, the move by what we understand is again a small fraction of the association is of grave concern to the association.

Annual Coca Cola Spelling Competition Kicks Off
The Coca Cola Spelling Bee Competition is back and is on its 21st anniversary. The competition kicked off in Orange Walk Town today with the first zone eliminations held at the Crystal Palace Auditorium. Students were focused this morning as the first rounds were being carried out. As part of the yearly process, contestants were joined by teachers and other schoolmates who cheered them on. The annual competition by now has become a popular part of the yearly activities for almost all primary institutions across the country. Credit Control Manager at Bowen and Bowen Nicholas Pollard Junior, who also doubles as the Manager of the competition, says they now see the full participation of all schools in the country, which includes well over two hundred. Today he told us that they are proud to say that schools have met up to the constant increase in the difficulty of the competition in each year.

Belize Represented At 3rd Central American & Caribbean Capital Project Infrastructure Summit
The 3rd Central American and Caribbean Capital Projects and Infrastructure Summit took place on the 4TH and 5TH of February in Panama City, Panama and Representing Belize was the Executive Director of the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF), Mr. William Lamb Jr. The summit saw the gathering of the largest project developers, concessionaires, construction companies, operators, investors and government leaders who discussed opportunities about a wide variety of sectors including: roads & highway networks, canals and ports, airports, railways, mining infrastructure, telecom infrastructure, oil and gas, real state, mass transportation systems, water sanitation and sewage and technology.

Centaur Win Inter Office Five a Side Competition
We have some good fun news to share with our viewers tonight as Centaur’s very own football team has, for the first time, won the inter-office five a side competition over the weekend. The annual event has been played for several years. The competition commenced in October of 2014 and seven companies registered for the competition. The games were played weekly at the People’s Stadium and at the finals held this weekend, the Centaur boys won on a penalty shoot-out, two to three. One of the team members, Ladrick Shepard told us more about the event. “It was quite an excited game, Yazir Campos scored the first goal for Centaru early inside the second half and then Nelson scored the second goal to draw the game we had to go to penalty shootout. One of the twins Nelson missed the penalty and we end up managing to win the tournament in penalty shootouts 3-2, we must congratulate the champions because this is the first time that Centaur won a championship after trying four times.

Producers Of make Me Rich Taken To Court
The producers of the television game show “Mek Mi Rich are tonight in the hot seat as they are being taken to court. Curtis Dale Swasey, a computer programmer and former employee of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority is suing Belize Telemedia Limited and MMR Belize Limited managed by Andre Vega son of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega under the grounds that in 2012 he developed the concept of lottery texting, whereby a fee is paid to buy numbers via telephone and a live prize draw is conducted.

BSCFA Working On Recovery Stage
And the BSCFA is dealing with the situation at a time when they are still trying to recover from previous missteps. In that regard, Cansino says they are still working on their recovery and are still conducting an inventory of the association’s assets. Ezequiel Cansino – Chair, CoM, BSCFA: “We are evaluating all the vehicles that are in good conditions and that need to repair and how much it would cost and if it is beneficial for us to repair them or for selling them and by doing this we believe that by next week we will be having a complete report on all of this and then we can say in what position the BSCFA will be, right now we are signing the contracts with the employees that were rehired and by Friday we will be finishing with this and by next week we will be having a complete report on how the Association stands.”

Ramon Cervantez Jr, Before the Supreme Court To Face Suit Filed For Defamation Of Character Of DPM
Today the case filed by Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega against P.U.P Orange Walk North Standard Bearer Ramon Monchie Cervantes Junior began Judicial process today at the Belize City Supreme Court. As you might recall the Deputy Prime Minister is suing Cervantes Junior for defamation of character after the Cervantes family released a recording of a phone call allegedly made to them by Manuel Castillo the man believed to be the mastermind behind the murder of Ramon Cervantes Senior who was kidnapped on July 2nd and murdered the following day. During the conversation the man purporting to be Castillo, claimed that Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega was involved in the murder of Cervantes. The DPM refuted those allegations and right after preceded with the lawsuit against Cervantes Junior after his request for a full and unequivocal public retraction was not met by Cervantes Junior. After the case management was held before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin Cervantes Junior and his attorney, Senior Counsel Said Musa, spoke to the press.


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#500942 - 02/11/15 11:10 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 11, 2015 [Re: Marty]
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LOVE FM

Sugar Rumblings: Who Is Behind It? Ortega Claims Innocence
Yesterday we told you about a major development within the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association that had caused concern to its directors and membership. The issue on the table is that on January 27, the existing association was registered as a company limited by guarantees. But what was of major concern was the articles of association, article two specifically. Articles two explains that on the day the association was registered as a company, an interim committee of management takes over. This was received with grave concern by the directors because they got word that the five subscribers who petitioned the changed in organization status were planning to take over the administration of the BSCFA. When we spoke yesterday with BSCFA’s chairman Esequiel Cansino, he said they were investigating the matter. Today Cansino us told based on their investigation, the committee of management believes former chairman of the association Alfredo Fred Ortega is behind it. In a late evening interview, Ortega defended the accusations when he spoke with Love News.

Mek Mi Rich Game: Whose Idea Was It?
There is controversy brewing in relation to the recently created game show, “Mek Mi Rich.” Curtis Dale Swasey has filed a lawsuit against Belize Telemedia Limited and MMR Productions Limited. According to Swasey’s attorney, Kareem Musa, Swasey, developed the idea of a lottery game show involving cell phone texting. Swasey says he took his idea to BTL, worked with them for two years; teaching the technicians the ropes of the software and other highly technical matter. In August 2014, he received a letter from BTL informing him that his idea was not in line with the company’s goals and as such, was rejected. A few months after, the game show “Mek Mi Rich” premiered on national television. Musa told the media that Swasey had signed a non disclosure agreement with BTL on January 13, 2012 referred to as the Information Exchange Agreement.

Private Prosecution Against Penner on Life Support
In July of last year, the private prosecution brought against former Minister of State, Elvin Penner, was thrown out by Belmopan Magistrate, Aretha Ford. The private prosecution was brought by Citizen Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, in the persons of Geovanni Bracket and Nedal McLaren. Penner was being accused of facilitating a passport for South Korean criminal boss, Wong Hong Kim. However, the case was struck out on the basis that the prosecution did not have first hand evidence. However the decision of Magistrate Ford was appealed and case is schedule before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Friday. It has now been close to 7 months since the case was dismissed but COLA’s attorney, Kareem Musa, says that the ship has not sail on this matter.

Bradley Responds to Schakron’s Questions on Legal Expenditure
Yesterday we told you that the People’s United Party had launched their manifesto this past Saturday for the Belize City slate. During the launch, the aspiring Belize City Mayor, Yolanda Schakron, spoke on and questioned the legal expenditure of the Belize City Council for the year 2013/2014. Today, Mayor Bradley responded to Schakron’s concerns and broke down how the one point three million dollars were spent as stated in the audit. MAYOR DARRELL BRADLEY “Let me be abundantly clear, the City council has never spent 1.3 million dollars on legal fees. What I did was, I asked our Financial Director to print me a report which shows how that line entry in the audit report was expended and essentially what it was, was 1.2 million dollars for the judgment that was paid to Waste Control. It was listed under legal fees because it was paid through Young’s Law Firm, which we did not pay. The City Council has never paid Young’s Law Firm any legal services but it’s listed as legal fees because the payment to Waste Control went from us to Young’s Law Firm to Fred Lumor who is the Attorney for Waste Control to satisfy the million dollar judgment.

More Lawsuits: Deputy PM vs OW North Area Rep
On November 5, a damning and sensational allegation was made on national airwaves against Deputy Prime Minister and Area Representative of Orange Walk North, Gaspar Vega. We will not repeat the allegations but we will say that it had to do with the Cervantes family in Orange Walk, a tape recording and the alleged mastermind of the kidnapping and murder of Ramon Cervantes Sr. ….Vega quickly released a statement denouncing the allegations and demanding a retraction and apology from the Cervantes family. Neither the retraction nor the apologies was forthcoming and so Vega instructed his attorney, Rodwell Williams, to file a lawsuit against Cervantes Jr. The case management of the case was held this morning and the media spoke with Cervantes Jr., and his attorney, Said Musa. SAID MUSA “The court made what they call Case Management Orders for disclosure by all the parties and for witness statements to be filed on both sides, actually on three sides because there is a third party involved as well; a radio station.”

PlusTV

“Mek Mi Rich” producers sued in court
On Monday evening,  PLUS News  broke the story of the lawsuit in the Supreme Court against MMR Belize Limited, producers of the popular television game show “Mek Mi Rich”, and Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) by computer programmer and former BAHA quarantine inspector Curtis Swasey. Two years ago, M...

Ramon Cervantes Jr. begins defense of Gaspar Vega libel suit
In the aftermath of the kidnapping and  brutal murder of Orange Walk resident Ramon Cervantes Sr. in July of 2014, questions arose as to why anyone would target the older man...

COLA back in court for Penner appeal
On Friday Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin is to hear a rare Inferior Court Appeal between Geovannie Brackett, president of Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), and advisor Nedal ‘Jihad’ McLaren, and Cayo Northeast area representative and former Minister of State for Immigration and N...

Jeremiah Pott given seven years for manslaughter
A labourer of Bermudian Landing, Belize District, accused of murder pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the lesser charge of manslaughter and was handed a sentence of twelve years’ imprisonment, but will actually serve seven years on the order of Justice Adolph Lucas. Jeremiah Pott, 54, was accused of caus...

Minors detained in San Pedro Shooting
Two minors have been detained in connection to a shooting incident that occurred on Monday night on the island of Ambergris Caye.  According to police reports, on February 9, sometime around 8:30p.m., 32-year-old  Kareem Eagan of San Pedrito Area, San Pedro Town, was shot to the foot...

Missing persons from Toledo
A 16 year old boy has been reported missing by his father. On Sunday February 8, 53-year-old Pedro Ical, a Belizean farmer of Jalacte Village, Toledo District, reported that on Wednesday February 4, he was at home with his son 16-year-old  Juan Ical...

Punta Gorda man arrested for drug trafficking
On February 7, police was conducting a search at the residence of 18-year-old Denroy Nicholas on Toucan Street, Punta Gorda, when Denroy ran out of a wooden structure holding a camouflage jacket and a back pack. He was pursued, caught and escorted to his residence, where police searched the camoufla...

Special Envoy for Women and Children address Area Representative’s charges for sexual assault of minors
In light of the grave allegations made against Orange Walk East Area Representative, Dr. Tulio Mendez, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, issued a statement in which she urges “all persons involved to ensure that this highly sensitive issue is handled with the best interests of the affected children as the priority.” The release also says that “ This is an opportunity to rise above political lines and raise awareness on a serious issue that continues to be seen as taboo.”

PUP leader discusses Marco Tulio Mendez and John Briceno
Last week saw back to back appearances in court of prominent politicians for the People’s United Party in Orange Walk. Former leader John Briceno, area representative for Orange Walk Central, faces three traffic offense charges related to an alleged run-in with Christopher Hendricks, the driver for Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. PUP leader Francis Fonseca dismissed the allegations against Mr Briceno as political mischief. r “ That’s complete absolute nonsense. It’s absolutely political mischief by Mr. Vega and his driver, acting on his instructions. That’s not even worth discussing, really. We know what it is. The Belizean people see it for what it is.

Anthony Sylvestre named Queen’s Square Standard Bearer
Senator and legal adviser for the People’s United Party, Anthony Sylvestre, is challenging Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his stronghold of Queen’s Square for the third time. He was endorsed on Saturday during the launch of the Manifesto. Anthony Sylvestre has twice lost by heavy margins, but he tells us that things will be different this time because he plans to highlight a major imbalance between the representative and his constituents. “One of the certain points in terms of representation of the people is that every single person counts, and so that the situation in Queen Square [that] has evolved over the years, where it is quite clear particularly those who physically live in the division that the current Area Representative clearly has no regard for them, and is not properly representing them.

PUP launches Belize City Municipal Manifesto
The People’s United Party (PUP) released its manifesto for Belize City on Saturday afternoon. The manifesto comes after weeks of campaigning on the ground and meeting with residents who have addressed to them a number of concerns, mostly centering around the neglect of poorer areas of Belize City by the current City Council led by Mayor Darrell Bradley who is seeking a second term. Mayoral candidate Yolanda Schakron describes the chief concerns “The two main concerns that we have heard is the drainage problem. Many people who have gotten cement streets, because of the drainage problems. their houses have become flooded. In the Southside, people don’t have good streets. The streets are in terrible condition. [In] the Southside of Belize City, we have heard a lot about the playgrounds. There are no playgrounds and no sporting facilities. That’s the main problem in the Southside.

Trial date set for Julius Espat PetroCaribe suit
Last year member of the House of Representatives for Cayo South, Honorable Julius Espat, sued Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his capacity as Minister of Finance and Economic Development, for deciding to delay a bill authorizing the spending of funds, including monies gained through the PetroCaribe program. Julius Espat, who also chairs the House’s Public Accounts Committee, says that the agreement entered into by Government in with ALBA PetroCaribe Belize Energy Limited is not enforceable as approval was not sought from the National Assembly, and without such approval any loans gained cannot be paid from the public purse.

Training youth to train youth on Road Safety
The Belize Youth and Road Safety Capacity Building Project known as YOURS saw 19 young men and women graduate in June 2014 from a two week training program. Since then these youths have been reaching out to other youths in the country through sensitization workshops on road safety strategies. This week the director of Youths for Road Safety, Floor Lieshout, is in the country to evaluate their progress and joined their workshop at the police training academy today. “In June 2014, we trained 19 youth leaders from Belize to design and to implement Road Safely Workshops with their peers. Since then they have trained over a thousand young people in the communities of Belize.

Teenager charged with burglary
Nineteen year old Gregory shepherd, an auto mechanic of Belize City, allegedly entered as a trespasser the dwelling house of his aunt and stole several household items. He was subsequently charged with burglary when he appeared on Monday before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser, where he pled not guilty to the charge. He was offered a bail of $5,000 and his case adjourned until April 20. The incident occurred on January 30, 2015. Gregory Shepherd’s aunt, Jolie Sanchez, reported to police that she left her home and she went to work. She said that when she arrived at her work , she realized that she had forgotten something and went back home. That is when she found her nephew in her house.

Ammunition removed from Belize City streets
Police have removed ammunition form the streets in Belize City. On January 8, police visited an area by the corner of Lakeview and Vernon Street behind the Lodge Building, and found a black plastic bag containing 12 live rounds of .9mm ammunition. The following day, they also searched visited an area on Pregnant Alley, and found a Plastic bag containing 15 live rounds of .9mm ammunition.

Watch out for counterfeit bills!
Business owners and vendors are being advised to be on the lookout for counterfeit currency. On Friday February 6, police visited the Michael Finnegan Market located at the Corner of Cemetery Road and West Collet Canal, and spoke to several fruit vendors who handed over seven 20 dollar bills having the same serial number. Also, on Monday February 9, police visited the Belize Bank located on Albert Street, Belize, where the teller handed over a counterfeit $50.00 bill. All notes have been confirmed to be counterfeit.

Amandala

Laborer, 38, crushed by steel plate in Spanish Lookout
A laborer who had recently been employed by a steel company in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District, met a bizarre and untimely death today after being crushed to death by a 4,000-pound metal plate while on the job. Officer Commanding San Ignacio Police, Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson, told Amandala that the tragedy occurred at about 9:45 this morning at Midwest Steel Company in the Spanish Lookout community. According to Superintendent Thompson, Roman Ku, 38, of August Pine Ridge, Orange Walk District, was standing on top of some 8’x20’metal plates that were being conveyed on a forklift when he suddenly fell of the plates, after which one of the plates also fell, and landed on his upper chest area.

Ralphie’s $37 million “nonsense”: Ralph Fonseca
Former PUP Minister of Home Affairs and Budget Planning, Ralph Fonseca, told Amandala this evening that remarks aired in an interview with Eugene “Fatback” Webster, a former employee of his son, the late Ralph “Ralphie” Fonseca, Jr., were “ridiculous and pure fabrication.” Webster, more popularly known as “Fatback,” who worked as personal bodyguard to Fonseca, Jr., up to the time of his death in a freak accident, gave an interview to talk show host Alfonso Noble for his Fus Ting Da Morning show aired this morning, Monday, on WAVE Radio and Television. The interview, however, which was obviously pre-recorded, was posted on Noble’s Facebook page yesterday, Sunday.

Belize Musicians Past and Present celebrates 20th anniversary
Belize Musicians Past and Present, a show aired on KREM Radio that features music produced by local musicians, is celebrating its 20th anniversary today, Monday, February 9. The show is produced to promote Belizean artists nationally and internationally, and provides a medium for artists to tell their story, and get media exposure. The show was first aired on February 9, 1995, and is produced by Tony Wright assisted by JC Arzu, both of KREM Radio. In an interview with Amandala, Wright said that prior to the airing of Belize Musicians Past and Present, there was no other show, or outlet, besides the Amandala, by means of which artists could go and tell their stories, and demonstrate their art.

2 killed in early morning Hummingbird accident
Two men died in an early morning road traffic accident involving a motorcycle and a car, which occurred on the Hummingbird Highway near Belmopan in the early hours of this past Saturday morning. Police said that at about 1:50 a.m. on Saturday, February 7, Leonardo Ramos, 26, of #15 Calle Las America Street, Salvapan, Belmopan, and Rigoberto Leon Cabrera, 18, of Saint Andrew’s Street, San Martin, Belmopan, were traveling on a blue SKYGO motorcycle between Miles 54 and 55 on the Hummingbird Highway when they collided with a black Mitsubishi Galant car driven by Daniel Cunil, 24, of #22 Nargusta Street, Belmopan, that was going in the opposite direction.

Beware: new batch of counterfeit dollars
Police warn the public to be on the lookout for counterfeit Belize currency notes that are being circulated in Belize City. So far, seven $20 notes have been recovered, along with a $50 note. Six of the $20 notes which have been recovered bear the same serial number, DL 287655, while a seventh $20 note bore the serial number DL183156. Also at about 1:00 p.m. today, police went to the Belize Bank on Albert Street, where a teller handed over a $50 note with serial number DJ792434. All notes have been confirmed to be counterfeit.

Shane Bennett, 28, charged with abduction, rape, aggravated assault and robbery
The search for Shane Bennett, 28, of Dangriga, whom police were seeking in connection with the raping of a woman and the robbery of a vehicle belonging to her male friend, ended, after he was on the run for ten days — since January 25. Police believe that it was the pressure of the manhunt and the stress on the fugitive that flushed him out of hiding. On Wednesday, February 4, Bennett went to the Independence Police Station and surrendered himself. He was then taken to the Dangriga Police Station, where he was formally arrested and charged with robbery, 2 counts of abduction, 2 counts of aggravated assault and rape.

Shane Bennett hands himself in to police
On Sunday night, January 25, a woman lived her worst nightmare when she was abducted, tied up, raped and sodomized by two men. The woman had been heading to her home in the Benguche area of Dangriga Town in a car being driven by her friend at about 8:00 that night when they were held up by two men who were armed with a knife and a gun. The woman was tied up in the vehicle and a knife was put at her neck, while her friend was ordered at gunpoint to drive the vehicle to the beach near the cemetery. At the beach, the assailants tied up the driver, then took turns raping and sodomizing the woman. When they were done, they evicted both their victims from the vehicle, and drove away in the car. The man and the woman managed to free themselves from the knots that restrained them and went to the police, where they made a report.

3’s run wild in Week 2 of PLB Closing Season 2014-2015
Verdes FC is the only team with a perfect (2-0) record at Week 2 of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2014-2015 Closing Season, with only 1 game, Saturday night’s, producing a draw this past weekend, while 3 others on Sunday ended in decisive victory margins. In the only Saturday night game, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, home standing Police United FC led 3-2 late in second half until the veteran Norman “Tilliman” Nunez unleashed a right foot blast from 25 yards out that tightened the net in the left pigeon hole to knot things up at 3-3 for his visiting Placencia Texmar Assassins. After two early take-downs inside the Police eighteen, referee Amir Castillas signaled the penalty spot, and Placencia’s Luis “Baaka” Torres drilled it to the left of Keith Allen, who got only a finger tip on it. But Police came roaring back a few minutes later, as Devon Makin’s center from the right side saw advancing Harrison “Cafu” Roches in perfect position for the close range side-volley, to tie the score at 1 apiece.

Cricket Corner – Excellence, winner of the T/20
The T/20 finals were held over the weekend, with Excellence as the winner in the first game. Western Eagles defeated Easy Does It with 101 all out to 102 with 8 wickets to spare. Easy Does It went to bat first and batted 101. Warren Anthony top scored with 44 runs, followed by Sherman Smith with 22. Western Eagles made 102 with 8 spare wickets. Conway Young top scored for Western Eagles with 51 runs, followed by Andrew Banner with 27. In second and final game, Western Eagles lost to Excellence 137 to 55 all out. Excellence took to bat first and scored 137 runs. Keenan Flowers top scored with 39 runs and Orson Flowers 21. Kevi Flowers and Jermaine Look took 5 and 3 wickets, respectively for Western Eagles. For Western Eagles, they scored 55 runs only. Dirk Sutherland top scored with 19 runs. Percy Flowers took 3 wickets for Excellence.

Orange Walk 5-A-Side semifinals results
The semifinals date had finally arrived, with the top seeded teams from the Interoffice and Open Divisions looking to qualify to the finals. Congratulations to all teams who made it so far, as they surely provided the fans an evening full of 5-A-Side football excitement on Tuesday, February 3, at the People’s Stadium. The officiating team was Freddie Gonzalez and Percival Gideon. 1st Game (Interoffice) – Odette’s 4:2 Cuello’s. The newcomers Odette’s Home Center came out with a game plan and quickly got on the score board, as Nelson Estrada (1) found the back of the net. The undefeated Cuello’s team quickly responded with a goal by Robbie Cuello (1). However, Mauricio Estrada (3) then registered his hat trick for the game, shocking the Cuello’s Team. A late goal by Cuello’s Leo Corado (1) was not enough, and it was the first upset of the night, as the #1 seeded team will have to witness the finals from the bleachers.

Editorial: Matura’s mistake
Less than a week after being elected second vice-president of the powerful National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), activist attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd decided, on her own, to accept an invitation to breakfast Friday morning at the Radisson Hotel with the British billionaire, Lord Michael Ashcroft. In this age of instant electronic communications, word of the sensational breakfast meet was quickly sent to the radio and television stations of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) which were broadcasting their Friday morning propaganda talk show with Joe Bradley and Alfonso Noble as hosts, and UDP chairman Alberto August as their guest. Noble immediately broke the news to the WAVE Radio and TV audiences, and alerted his television viewers to look out for a photograph to follow shortly. According to Matura-Shepherd, who appeared on KREM Radio/TV’s Sunday Morning Review to expand on the damage control she had initiated on Friday afternoon with an explanatory letter to the NTUCB leadership, the photograph of herself, Lord Ashcroft, and one of her sons which made a stunning appearance on WAVE TV was taken by Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow. But on Friday morning going for 9:30, it didn’t matter to Belizeans who took the photo: the great Matura-Shepherd appeared to be in a compromising situation.

From the Publisher
The family of Galento X Neal asked me to say a few words at his funeral services, held on Friday afternoon at the masjid of the Islamic Mission of Belize. I spoke briefly on three subjects – gender, religion, and racism, with respect to my late, great, beloved brother’s life. In this column I will consider the matter of gender. Time brings increased insight to a man, and I had come to realize how important Galento’s sisters were for him – especially his oldest sister, the one we called “Rofel.” In Belize City, which was an African-based culture when I was growing up, it seemed to me that women were the powerhouses, but they ran things in a discreet manner. Men were allowed to puff up their chests and “show themselves” in different ways, but the real power belonged to Belizean ladies.

Puzzling Placencia fish kill
Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria told Amandala today that the Department of the Environment (DOE) will continue to investigate the cause of a fish kill reported in Placencia last week. The DOE says that on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, it received reports of a fish kill occurring in the Placencia Lagoon, Stann Creek District, and it also received pictures of the fish kill showing the dead fish and numerous birds in the area. The DOE reported, however, that it visited the area in question but did not observe any evidence of the fish kill, and it added that its officers conducted onsite water quality assessments, which determined that the water quality of the marshland was normal. DOE personnel collected water samples to conduct testing on the nutrients level of the marshland waters, since higher levels of certain nutrients could lower the amount of oxygen available to organisms, thus resulting in a fish kill. The results of those tests are pending.

Fake red potatoes found across Belize
Chief Agricultural Officer, Roberto Harrison, told Amandala today that the Agriculture Department has been confiscating supplies of fake red potatoes from major vendors across the country, and these potatoes, imported from Mexico but dyed to look like local red potatoes, have been found in all locations except the northern districts. Harrison said that the dyed potatoes may have been in those districts at smaller mom and pop establishments which they would not have visited, and so they may still be on the market in those districts. Last week, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture issued a warning, advising consumers not to purchase the brightly-colored potatoes, since they are not genuine red potatoes and they may pose a health risk.

BSCFA re-registered; directors up in arms
Tensions are brewing once again within the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) after it was revealed that the 55-year-old association had recently been re-registered at the Belize Companies Registry as a “private company limited by guarantee”, reportedly without the knowledge of its Committee of Management (CoM). The apparently secretive move was reportedly carried out two weeks ago on Tuesday, January 27 – one day after the delayed 2014/2015 sugarcane crop season was declared open following the signing of a hotly-debated new commercial purchasing agreement between the sugar millers, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR), and the three cane farmers associations, two of which were recently incorporated into the sugar industry. Although information regarding the new development has so far been sketchy, Amandala understands that the change was initiated by five members of the BSCFA, and may have been led by individuals from the same faction that had previously opposed the signing of the present agreement, citing what they termed as partiality in its terms.

US Capital Energy closing shop?
US Capital Energy has packed up its drill rig and shipped it back to Mexico, but Alistair King, the representative of US Capital Energy in Belize, told Amandala today that “it’s not over until it’s over!” and they intend to import other equipment that would allow them to drill a bit further, as well as perform the kind of appraisal tests they wish to undertake in the months ahead. US Capital Energy commenced drilling in the latter half of 2014, but to date it has not declared a commercial oil find. Director of Geology and Petroleum, Andre Cho, told our newspaper today that US Capital wants to go deeper to check out the geological formations, and that they are being allowed to bring in new equipment from Mexico to undertake further exploratory works.

Patrick JonesPJ

One woman dies in road traffic accident in Corozal
One person died in a road traffic accident tonight on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Corozal. The name of the victim has not yet been confirmed, but we can say that a 23 year old woman perished in the crash involving a pickup truck and a car. It happened around […]

Jeremiah Pott given seven years in jail for manslaughter
A labourer of Bermudian Landing, Belize District, accused of murder pleaded guilty today to the lesser charge of manslaughter and was handed a sentence of twelve years’ imprisonment, but will actually serve seven years on the order of Justice Adolph Lucas. Jeremiah Pott, 54, was accused of causing […]

COLA appeal of Penner case in court Friday
On Friday Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin is to hear a rare Inferior Court Appeal between Geovannie Brackett, president of Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and advisor Nedal ‘Jihad’ McLaren, and Cayo Northeast area representative and former Minister of State for Immigration and Nationality Elvin Penner. In […]

Mek Mi Rich and BTL sued over creation of game show
On Monday afternoon a case management conference took place between Curtis Dale Swasey, a computer programmer and former employee of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA), and Belize Telemedia Limited and MMR Belize Limited, producers of the television game show “Mek Mi Rich.” Swasey claims that in 2012 […]

Ramon Cervantes, Jr. defends libel suit brought by Gaspar Vega
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega has filed a lawsuit charging libel against his political rival in Orange Walk North, Ramon Cervantes, Jr., and RSV Media Centre, proprietors of radio station LOVE FM. The claim against the radio station is that the airing of a […]

Toledo man dies, reportedly after drinking herbicide
A family from San Antonio village in the Toledo district is mourning the death of their loved one. On Sunday morning, Primetico Coc, 63, was found in his yard gasping for air. Police say Coc was found by his daughter when she arrived at their home around 9:30 am on Sunday. Police say a bottle of Gramaxzone was found beside Coc and his daughter believes that he may have swallowed the herbicide.

Roaring Creek man murdered on his way home
A man was shot and killed on Monday night in Roaring Creek village, Cayo. The victim has been identified as 61 year old John Alexander Smith. Police say Smith was walking towards his Young Street home around 6:55 pm when he was accosted by a lone gunman. A single shot was fired at Smith, fatally wounding him to the left side of the face.

Blogs

CAN’T YOU SMELL THAT SMELL?
Well, one thing is for sure! You’ll never run out of food choices on this island! Every where you turn, there are insurmountable options for a very satisfying meal. There are several fantastic restaurants, local street food vendors and a plethora of local recipes to be made at home with ingredients that I’ve never heard of before. (We will elaborate on all of these different food options from time to time during the year.) As we headed out for our morning walk, the smells around town were torturous! Barbecue was in the air! You will find stands like this one all over the island, however, this guy (I think his name is Tino) is about 45 steps from our house. He grills up chicken, pork and sausage and serves it with baked beans and coleslaw. Sounds and smells amazing! Is this a good or bad thing having him within such close proximity? Not sure yet. Look at the line he has going here! We assume, at this point, that he has some really good barbecue. But, we trod on and kept walking, hoping to achieve the feeling of looser fitting clothes. Soon!

SETTIN’ UP SHOP AND GETTIN’ SOME GRUB!
After we successfully unpacked our 400+lbs of luggage, we took inventory of what, if anything, was missing from our new home that would make it more “suitable” for living and cooking. I had packed my favorite cookware items, housewares, knives, etc. that I use on a regular basis and, after inspection, found that our landlord’s kitchen was pretty well equipped. The only thing missing was FOOD! (And basic spices to make it taste better!) Off to the market! It was a beautiful day to go shopping! We haven’t decided on whether or not to purchase/rent a golf cart yet, so we are hoofin’ it everywhere. We walked the 2 blocks into town and discovered that we are close to everything we need! Little did we know that shopping for one meal would include visits to several different markets! First stop, Richie’s Supermarket! Simply put, this place is a very organized “mess”. More emphasis on “organized” than “mess”.

Secrets of Success in San Pedro
We all know event planning can be a total crap shoot in San Pedro and no matter where you live. You just never know what speed bumps will pop up along the way or who will show no matter how much you get the word out and where. I always say the right people show up at the party :) Recently appointed Sue Barkhouse and Joann Reilly as co-leaders of the San Pedro Red Cross Health Committee rolled with the punches as they organized their first events for 2015 and survived baptism by fire ha ha. Both Sue and Joann did a wonderful job from start to finish. Sue is in charge of our quarterly blood drives and Joann will be handling the First Aid/CPR training program and monthly courses. The San Pedro Red Cross, especially Shirlee and I are very excited to have them volunteering in lead positions – it is a big step forward for our organization.

Monday On The GORGEOUS Leeward Side of Ambergris Caye
Everyone who visits Ambergris Caye sees the barrier reef that lines the eastern side of the island. And the BEAUTIFUL sea… Over 25 miles long and about 5 miles wide, the opposite side of the caye is a whole different and very sparsely populated world. Just getting across the caye is an adventure – the road to Grand Belizean estates (5 miles up) is the only non-boat thoroughfare. And there is a not so “secret beach” up there that people love. Especially on Sunday. This side of the island is gorgeous…and yesterday, I got a pick up and was taken to one of the sand bars that form on the southern end of the many cayes back there. Note: It’s not only gorgeous but a very delicate environment…this whole inner lagoon and its surroundings were set to be part of the larger national protected area of Hol Chan Marine reserve until it died on someone’s desk. Most are still hoping, with fingers crossed, that the years of efforts finally pay off and this area get the protection it deserves.

Vacation Planner Alert – Belize Whale Sharks
Whale sharks, those tranquil behemoths of the sea, are already planning their annual migration to Belize. And if you’re looking for a truly remarkable adventure, you should consider joining them. It only happens once a year, and only in a handful of lucky spots on Earth, with Belize, for our money, being at the top of a very exclusive list. Sure, you can see whale sharks in Madagascar, South Africa, Australia, Mozambique, Indonesia and the Yucatan, but Belize’s Gladden Spit is an amazingly accessible and stunningly beautiful spot to see and even swim and snorkel with these incredible creatures. Measuring over 40 feet (or over 12 metres) and weighing in at more than 79,000 lb (some 36 tonnes) these guys are the world’s largest fish, and indeed some of the biggest animals to ever inhabit the planet. They’re also some of the oldest, having remained relatively unchanged over the last 60 million years.

New finding at Caracol
“Everyone moved into the various huts and situated themselves while Diane and I went to the top of Structure A13 and photographed the new monument with an elaborate flash setting. The resultant photograph was remarkably crisp and revealed a lot of detail on the new altar. The iconographic scene is one of two seated individuals facing each other, with the one on the right making a gesture of submission or alliance; both are named in the accompanying hieroglyphic text.” PhD Arlen Chase The story coming in of this new finding at the ancient site of Caracol is still very vague and downright sketchy if you ask me but I tell you as I heard it. We know that the BDF Belize Defense Force are situated at the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve and the Chiquibul National Park specifically in Douglas Da Silva Forestation and Tapir camp. Everyday or whenever they have a working vehicle members of the BDF will accompany tour groups heading to Caracol. One one such day a member of the BDF had climbed on top of structure A13 possibly to get a higher vantage point such tactics can also me observed at the site of Xunantunich. While also cleaning in the same area a caretaker of the site climbed to the top of A13 and noticed that the BDF was observing an exposed stone the caretaker later commented that he had always climbed above to clean and had never given the stone any importance.

Grill of my dreams: Bring on those ribs!
The fourth annual BBQ Cookoff at Estel’s Dine by the Sea is history and 120 rib-loving customers have spoken: Rick Saager of Oregon — a frequent visitor to Ambergris Caye — is the People’s Choice among the six talented barbecue chefs. For those of you keeping score, Rick’s ribs were the ones with the orange stick in them. There were six chefs in all. The cook-off is a fundraiser for the two-year-old Sunshine Scholarship Foundation which is dedicated to giving the island’s neediest children a fighting chance at an education. This past year, six children were helped and Isla Bonita School got 20 portable computers according to Eve Dirnback, co-founder of the organization with Joy Flowers. Last year, fresh to the island, Rose and I stumbled upon the cook-off. Too late to buy tickets we none-the-less had a great time soaking in the atmosphere and listening to a pick-up band of some of the island’s finest musicians. This year, we were ready for the ribs.

International Sourcesizz

Has The Great 20-40 Year Flip In The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) Occurred Or Is It An Anomaly?
The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) which is the long duration changes in sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic Ocean. The AMO cycle goes through natural 20-40 year warm and cold phases. The AMO is important in terms of tropical cyclones as it in part regulates active and inactive periods of activity across the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. When there is a warm cycle of the AMO, there is normally a 20-40 year period of increased tropical cyclone activity. On the opposite end, when the AMO cycle in a cold phase, the activity across the Atlantic goes through a 20-40 year period of near average to below average activity. Since about 1995, the AMO has been in a warm cycle which has led to a marked increase in tropical cyclone activity across the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. Now, the latest data indicates that the AMO is at its lowest levels since the period between 1983 and 1994 when we had the last cold cycle. So, this raises the question, has the AMO flipped to a cold phase which if true would last for the next 20 to 40 years or is this negative AMO index just a anomaly. To be honest, I’m not sure as there is conflicting data that suggests either scenario is possible, although my initial thoughts are that it is an anomaly.

Marijuana in Jamaica: Possession of up to two ounces decriminalised on Bob Marley's birthday
Possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use has been decriminalised in Jamaica after a drugs law that was passed on Friday was debated by senators for five hours. Having up to two ounces (around 56 grams) will only be punishable by a fixed penalty ticket, instead of a criminal charge. The amendment of the law happens to have been passed on the birthday of reggae legend Bob Marley, who died of cancer aged 36 in 1981. He is well-known to have praised weed as “the healing of a nation.” The new penalty will cost, or if it would be a criminal offence to not pay the amount, is not yet known. The old Dangerous Drugs Act stipulated that possession of cannabis carried a sentence up to five years and a penalty fine of up to $100 (around £57) per ounce, or up to three years in prison and a fine.

Environment and development in coastal regions and in small islands
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT A case history: Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico By Peter V. Wiese, retired exploration geologist Executive Summary Before its development, Cancún Island was a barrier island, 17 km long and 100-400 m wide. It faced the Caribbean Sea and enclosed a shallow lagoon and was an important nesting site for seabirds and sea turtles. There were several openings to the mangrove lined lagoon in which there was a variety of marine life. In order to create a tax base for the newly created state of Quintana Roo (1973), it was decided to create an upscale resort for the wealthy. First, farmers were brought in from other states to set up the agricultural infrastructure on land to the west of the lagoon. However, poor soils resulted in these farmers becoming subsistence farmers, and most food is brought in from other parts of Mexico.

Mystery of Cynk Stock Jump Endures as SEC Sues Belize Brokerages
A U.S. probe into alleged penny-stock scams has again led to the Belize office building that was home to Cynk Technology Corp., the company that enthralled Wall Street last year by surging 36,000 percent. The Securities and Exchange Commission last week sued two Belize-based brokerages, as well as three firms in the Cayman Islands and Panama, saying they generated more than $75 million by dumping worthless shares of shell companies. While the case doesn’t mention Cynk, the SEC said one of the defendants, Clear Water Securities Inc., was run by Phil Kueber -- one of the people tied to Cynk, which said it planned to run a social network but had no assets, no revenue and, for one hour in July, a market value of more than $6 billion. The other Belize firm, Legacy Global Markets SA, lists its address as the fourth floor of Belize City’s Matalon building, which Cynk also called home.

John McAfee prepares for his 'last stand'
We were somewhere near the Georgia border, riding shotgun with John McAfee in a tricked-out monster truck along Interstate 85, when things got spectacularly weird. We'd been on the road since 5:30 a.m., subsisting on caffeine and cough drops, when the mercurial McAfee nonchalantly drops a bombshell. Days earlier, someone affixed a mysterious box near the gas tank of the truck that is hurtling down the highway at 85 mph. "Yes, I believe the device was an explosive meant to do me great harm," he says. "Oh, don't panic. It was removed from the vehicle and is being investigated by the FBI." The FBI had no comment. After spending the better part of 2014 on the run from, he says, assassins sent from Belize, McAfee and his wife, Janice, are living in plain sight in a house in Lexington, Tenn. He fled the country and initially moved to Portland, Ore., before settling in Tennessee. According to reports, his fortune, once more than $100 million, has dwindled to a few million dollars — possibly less. McAfee declined to discuss his personal finances. Along the way, McAfee's outsize ambitions — and tales — made for riveting entertainment. As mind-bending as they may be, the stories required a note of skepticism.

The Caribbean Reports Record Number of Tourists and Spending in 2014
A record 26.3 million people traveled to the Caribbean last year and spent an unprecedented amount of money in what is considered the world’s most tourism-dependent region, officials said Tuesday. It is the fifth consecutive year that the Caribbean has reported an increase in tourists following an economic crisis that forced resorts to shut down and caused a drop in visitors and spending. Hugh Riley, the Caribbean Tourism Organization‘s secretary general, said Caribbean tourism rose by 5.3 percent, while the worldwide tourism growth rate was 4.7 percent. Officials attributed the increase in part to improvements at airports around the region, the opening of new hotel chains and an increase in direct flights and airline seat capacity.

SUNY Cortland Study Abroad Scholarships Presented
SUNY Cortland recently awarded more than $54,000 in scholarships and exchange awards to help 64 students expand their educational horizons through study in Chile, Turkey, India, Germany and many other countries. Three winter 2015 OAP recipients traveled abroad for fieldwork related to a course in Belize: History, Arts and Culture: • Dylan Ferrier, a senior history major from Middletown, N.Y.; • Kelli Grossmann, a sophomore art and art history major from Miller Place, N.Y.; and, • Amanda Sacca, a junior speech and hearing science major from Latham, N.Y.

This is the Fastest-Growing Caribbean Destination for Europeans
No destination in the Caribbean saw more growth from the European source market than the Cayman Islands in 2014, according to data from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The British Overseas Territory received a total of 36,405 tourists from Europe last year, a 30.9 percent increase in European tourism compared to 2013. That was the fastest growth of any Caribbean destination, with Grenada coming in second with 21.5 percent growth from Europe and Belize at third with a 20.8 percent improvement.

Caribbean delegates discussing new climate change tools
A three-day workshop aimed at exposing senior Caribbean technocrats to a suite of tools developed under the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) project began here on Tuesday. The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) said the workshop is being supported by the Caribbean Weather Impact Group (CARIWIG) project involved in risk-based decision-making in the region. The delegates are being exposed to the Caribbean Assessment Regional Drought (CARiDRO) initiative that was designed to facilitate drought assessment in the context of the Caribbean and Central America. “It is a flexible system that should accommodate the requirements of different users. The online tool is composed of two main sections: a descriptive one where the user can find information on how to use the tool as well as terms and concepts that are useful,” the CCCCC said.

Caribbean enjoys fifth year of tourism growth
Tourism to the Caribbean saw its fifth year of growth in 2014 with a record number of visitors and spend. A new report from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) found there was a record 26.3 million tourists to the islands in 2014, up 1.3m on 2013. UK numbers were up 12%, helped by increased air routes to the region and more confidence in the economy. Overall European numbers to the region were up 4.6% to 5m, the first time numbers from the region surpassed the mark in six years. The growth is faster than the region had anticipated, and also came along with record spend of US$29.5 billion, up 5%.

Videos

  • 5 DAYS FOR THE PAINTING AND COMPARSAS TO BEGIN!, 5.5min.
  • Mount Carmel High School Video, 5min. Filmed in beautiful, Belize, Central America, this video reveals Mt. Carmel High School (MCHS) and its academic excellence. MCHS was founded and is served by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen. SOLT encourages young adults to apply for teaching or other staff positions at the school.
  • Belize to Honduras by Boat, 15min. I take the weekly boat from Placencia (Belize) across the Caribbean to Puerto Cortes (Honduras) and then share a taxi to San Pedro Sula Airport to fly to the USA SHOW MORE
  • MVNU M2540 Belize Student Scholarships, 3min. February is MVNU's M2540 Belize Student Scholarship month. During this month, we will raise support and awareness of the need of education in rural villages in Belize. $35 will pay for the school fees for a child for an entire year! Our goal is to scholarship 100 children.
  • Rapping Food wheel cart vendor in Belize, 1min.
  • KHMH Hosts Belize Spinal Team, 4min.
  • International Hot Sauce Taste Test, 2.5min. Check out Belize's very own Marie Sharp's "Belizean Heat" Pepper Sauce being compared to other international hot sauces in this fun video by BuzzFeed - Would you attempt this taste test?
  • Belize, 4min. Fishing, scuba diving
  • 2 weeks in Belize 2014 | GoPro 3, 5min. In June 2014, my 3 girlfriends and I stayed in Belize for two weeks. We rented a car and drove along the coast in that period, staying in a mix of hostels, cabanas and hotels. Here is footage from our adventures!
  • Anywhere With You: Belize 2014 - 2015, 15min.
  • Belize 2015 - Pete and Tanya engagement!, 5min. Pete proposed to Tanya on Friday, February 6, 2015, on the island of Caye Caulker in Belize.
  • Bike rally in Caye caulker, Belize 2015, 4min. Serucho dance contest. We gave $100 to the winner. Good job Kate! Good times.
  • Belize 2014, 4min. Our trip to Caye Caulker in Nov 2014!!
  • Belize (Trip the Light), 5min. Wedding adventure for Helena Lamb and Annie Weber.

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