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#503421 - 04/17/15 11:57 AM Today's Belize News: April 17, 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

Letter to the Editor: Randy and Jody Edwards
We have vacationed on Ambergris Caye for several years. We really enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the island and the friendliness of the people of San Pedro. To us the one of the most appealing aspects of the island is the absence of large resort hotels and tall buildings. Restricting development would allow San Pedro to remain an attractive destination for tourists who can perhaps pay a little more rather than becoming a low cost, high volume budget vacation destination. Over the last several years San Pedro has developed from a back-packer destination to a destination that attracts a variety of middle class tourists. We are part of that group and fortunate enough to be regular repeat visitors. Positive headlines about the island shown up in International Press and as a result more and more people are becoming aware of this island paradise. As a result higher income tourists have also started to make the island their regular vacation destination. It would be hoped with this influx of vacationers that the island would continue to develop in a reasonable manner with smaller reasonably sized boutique type developments. San Pedro atmosphere used to be clean, attractive, safe and full of charming locals. We have always felt appreciated and very welcome here but are concerned that things are changing. We had hopes that town would be able to deal with the issues that come with growth. However based on our recent visit I am not confident that this is the case. The most glaring example is the town’s increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic. At times we felt unsafe.

NEMO officials inspect shelters in Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye
While there are no official hurricane shelters on either Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) conducted inspections of buildings that can be used in a case of emergency. The inspections took place on April 8th and 9th in San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village. The annual event was carried out by members of NEMO on both islands ahead of the hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th. According to NEMO Coordinator Jeromey Timrose Augustine-Cayetano, the inspection is an important part of the organization’s responsibility to ensure that residents have a place in case of an emergency. “Even though we have no official center, NEMO still has to prepare in the eventuality of a threat. We must plan for those people who will not evacuate the islands and will need a safer place other than their home to shelter during an emergency,” stated Augustine Cayetano.

Belmopan Comprehensive High School wins 4th Annual San Pedro Softball Cup
For the fourth year in a row, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) hosted the San Pedro Softball Cup among three male high school softball teams. The two-day tournament was held at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Arena and saw the participation of San Pedro High School (SPHS), Gwen Lizaraga High School (GLHS) and Belmopan Comprehensive High School (BCHS). At the end of the competition BCHS rose as the winners, taking home the championship cup from defending champions SPHS. The tournament kicked off on Friday, April 10th at 1PM. The teams competed in a three game double elimination. By the end of the day GLHS and BCHS advanced into the finals, leaving SPHS in third place and out of the tournament. The championship match was played on the morning Saturday, April 11th. The two teams took to the pitch ready for a good game. It was a tight match but BCHS took the win, while GLHS settling for second place.

Burn victims responding positively to medical treatment
Because of the nature of the burns, Katerin was taken to the specialized burn center at Shriners. Katerin’s grandmother said that while she has not physically seen her, indications are that the young girl is also responding well to the medications. “Katerin has spoken twice to her mother. It is obvious that she misses her mom because she gets emotional but Katerin is strong. She is still critical, but is reacting well to the treatment. She is being attended by some of the best doctors, but she has a long way to recovery,” indicated Meza. Katerin was flown to Shriners via the assistance of Yvette Burks from the Burn Victim Mercy Fund in Belize City. At home, friends and neighbors of the family, as well as concerned residents of the island hosted a fundraiser to assist the family financially. By all indications, the food sale and beach party on Sunday April 12 was a huge success. Organizers say that they are still trying to collect pledges and they are expected to make an announcement as to how much money was raised very soon.

Ambergris Today


Belize’s Hol Chan Marine Reserve is always full of surprises and your experience is never the same each and every time you visit the national park. There are times you will catch a glimpse of the rare Green Moray Eel or the elusive Spotted Eagle Ray, while at time you will interact with a baby Loggerhead Sea Turtle, but would you every think of having an encounter with a mermaid? Well, they were not ‘real’ mermaids, but close enough to the real thing. Jason Darling and Maria Russo of Sirenalia, an Austin-based mermaid production company that promotes their “mermaids are real” slogan by making silicone mermaid tails and event performances, came to Belize so that their Mermaids could take a dip in our crystal clear waters and frolic along with the marine life at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. “Last Winter Sirenalia and Flashpool Productions went on a retreat to our favorite island in Belize, to snap some pictures and see the sights and start setting up a mermaid retreat to paradise,” commented Sirenalia Mermaid Retreat in their Facebook Page.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

PUERTO AZUL INTERNATIONAL HOLDING CORP PRESS RELEASE
Puerto Azul International Holding Corp. signed a purchase agreement with Northern Two Cayes Company Ltd. and Lighthouse Reef Resort Ltd, who are the legitimate owners of the Northern Two Cayes at Lighthouse Atoll. All encumbrances on the property are scheduled to be paid from closing proceeds by escrow agent Barrow & Williams. Mr. Mills is aware of this as it was settled through legal arbitration. Puerto Azul has complied with the terms of reference provided by the Environmental Subcommittee, and environmental studies are being conducted to determine the appropriate development for the Northern Two Cayes. The final project proposal will depend on the outcome of these studies.

Streetz Socialism
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. It’s official, no need to be sentimental Ghost’s burial was indeed ceremonial Killa was betrayed by his garrison boss This was a tragic loss; it came at a hefty cost Many of the youths lost From the science judge had passed on the young street boss Who wasn’t selfish he laid the foundation Fi Kraal Road to become first Division Football Champions McKenzie's murder was more crucial After being shot twice he did not react like a criminal For the streets in a whole he was critical Bring the gangs together through sports Giving books and council to youths that need support All we know is what we heard from news reports But our views they’ve succeeded to distort

Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL) apologizes to customers for erroneous statement
"Kindly note that our email sent out yesterday regarding your April billing erroneously stated double billing in referring to the two lines on the bill as explained further in the email. We apologize for the error on our part. Please note that BWS takes great care in ensuring that reading and billing is accurate and fair to all our customers Notice to Customers New Tariffs effective April 01, 2015 Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) informs customers that, effective April 1st, 2015, new tariffs as approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) have come into effect. Customer bills issued in April 2015 covers consumption which spans March through to April and will therefore have the old and new tariffs applied on a pro-rata basis.

Tourist paid over $ 1,000 US for bogus tour
On 15.04.15 at about 4:00 p.m. a 52-year-old American woman visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that on 12.03.15, she contacted one Gerson Cordon via email and whom made her to believe that he was the Manager of tour company located in San Pedro Town and booked a tour to Guatemala scheduled for 15.04.15. As a result Gerson Cordon made charges to her credit card which amounted to $1008.60 US for tour package to Tikal. On 15.04.15 she visited the tour company’s office located on the beach front San Pedro Town, where she was informed that Gerson Cordon is not employed by the company.

OmniRootZ Theater at Soul Project
OmniRootZ had their live theater production at the Soul Project. It was a packed house. The place for culture in Cayo.

Tiburon Rum Wins Double Gold
Tiburon, one of the newer rums produced in Belize, won big at the WSWA. It won double gold. Congratulations, Tiburon! One Barrel won gold too. "Tiburon rum takes the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of American competition by surprise by winning double gold best in class award and One barrel takes Gold !!! A very big day for Belize !!!"

Lights, camera, action!!!!
Belize's Love FM journalist and cameraman arrived in Atlanta yesterday to begin filming their documentary series on study in the U.S. Today they met with officials and students from Emory University and Agnes Scott College to discuss admissions, campus life, etc. at these two schools. This is the beginning of a two week tour throughout the U.S. Focused on different types of schools. Their next stop is in Chicago. Upon return from filming Love FM will air the documentary series: Destination Study USA so everyone in Belize can watch and see what options are available to them.

WUHS Health Fair/Polyclinic Pap Smear Campaign
Free services include: HIV testing, Pap smear, health/nutrition info. Saturday, April 18, 8 AM to noon. Dr. Otto Rodriguez, San Pedro Polyclinic II, Manta Ray Street, San Pedro

BTEC Job Readiness Training ( Dangriga)
Since January of 2015 BTEC has taken its Job Preparedness Training on the road starting first in Belmopan and now completing our second cohort in beautiful Dangriga. BTEC extends its gratitude to its partners Ecumenical Junior College, Department of Youth Services, POWA, Women’s Department and the Ignacio Cacho Library for their unwavering support and contributions in making this training a reality. A total of 51 individuals from a wide cross-section of Dangriga’s residents completed the Pre-test in basic English, Computer and Typing of which 20 participants remained focused and actively engaged in order to graduate the three week job readiness program on April 8th 2015. As the name implies, the Job Readiness program seeks to impart professional and career development expertise that will strengthen their employability skills. The program offers soft skills training along with front line telephone etiquette, customer service, and sales basics that can translate to individuals entering the Call Centres. Important to note is that 5 individuals have already obtained gainful employment and we expect the numbers to grow exponentially as we assist these individuals in attaining entry level employment and commencing their careers.

BOLEDO DRAWING for Thursday, April 16, 2016: 63. FANTASY 5: 31 32 23 30 21 A

Playwriting Workshop at Benque HoC
It's been a month full of artistry. Riti Sachdeva from OmniRootZ hosted a playwriting workshop at the Benque House of Culture. Thanks, Riti! "Imagine this...Yesterday we were amazed by her mythopolitical approach where global issues are told through mythological lenses. Heartful thanks to OmniRootZ Theatre Produkshunz for their support and many thanks to each participant. Images courtesy to Ms Cindy Castellanos."

UB Earth Day Celebration
The University of Belize is having their annual Earth Day Celebration next Wednesday, April 22nd. There will be loads of food, fun, activities, and informational booths.

Public outreach among communities in the Municipality of Melchor de Mencos
Thanks to the financing from the British Embassy, FCD’s educator in Peten, Guatemala finalized a year of public outreach among communities in the Municipality of Melchor de Mencos. This year’s work centered around the importance of the Chiquibul Maya Mountains Biosphere Reserve. A total of 28 rural communities and 10 barrios of Melchor de Mencos were visited.

Channel 7

Hon. Castillo Steps Aside For Mayor Bradley In Caribbean Shores
Another UDP Area Representative has stepped down to make way for a new candidate. Santiago Castillo Jr - who was just elected three years ago - held a press conference today to say he wouldn't go to a convention against Mayor Darrell Bradley on June 7th. Instead, he is endorsing Bradley and returning to his family business when his term is ended. The announcement didn't come as a surprise to political insiders; they knew that Castillo had not been active in his division and would have faced an uphill battle against a Mayor whose popular at the polls. And, so, it was basically pride of place that was keeping him in the game - but pride can be an expensive indulgence - and today Castillo told the media that he didn't want to further tax his sole political financier, who is his mother, millionaire matriarch of the Santiago Castillo business empire, Ady Castillo. The Prime Minister made it official at UDP Headquarters this morning:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, UDP Party Leader "Minister Castillo, after a long and anxious consideration, has decided that he does not wish to go forward." Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores "I've had long and hard nights thinking about this decision. Something that I discussed with my family in details, especially this past weekend and it's a decision that took me a long time to make. In fact, as the Prime Minister indicated, it was solely my decision. When I looked at everything that was on the board, the main reason I made this decision is because as he said, a convention in Caribbean Shores, and I had a personal meeting with the Mayor this morning and I feel and still feel that that would have been like a Manny Pacquiao/Mayweather fight.

Brutality Victim, Andres Rodriguez, Speaks
28 year old driver Andres Rodriguez was beaten by police at his home in front of his wife and son on Sunday night. The video that his wife captured went viral on Facebook and made the news. As we told you one of the officers has been charged for wounding while the others have been will face disciplinary action. Well, Rodriguez came to Belize City today to tell us that outcome is not enough, far from it. He visited our studios today and gave us his personal account of the horrifying incident and told us why he thinks these officers should be sent home. His narrative of the event begins after the police officers approached him in his vehicle and broke his glass window as he drove off. Andres Rodriguez "Says he was beaten for no reason. When I was reaching near to where I live, I realized the police was following me and I stopped in the middle of the road. I didn't even park the car in the garage where I should have park it… and so that is when I stopped and came out of the car and suddenly the police started to hit me without saying anything…they told me nothing. When they started to beat me my only reaction was to get into my house because my house was close by.

Half A Million Stolen From Treasury
Almost half a million dollars has been fleeced from the government treasury - and according to the Prime Minister, it was done by officials playing games with account numbers. He told the media today what is known so far about the scam: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "There is some official or officials who ran some sort of scam in terms of legitimate payments for particular accounts changing account numbers while perhaps retaining the name. It seems initially the bank's only concern that the account number that was given, did in fact exist. What the FS (Financial Secretary) told me was that basically it was the bank or one of the banks that eventually realize that there was a mismatch between the particular name and the particular account number. When the Financial Secretary spoke to me, he did say that it appeared that it could be as high as half a million dollars. The police feel that there is more evidence they need, at least up to Tuesday, before arrests or an arrest would take place."

Upgraded Criminal Charge For Dr. Marco Tulio
PUP Orange Walk East Area Representative Marco Tulio Mendez will face more serious charges of child molestation after the DPP reviewed the file. Months after Mendez was arraigned, the investigation file was finally sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal. After going over the evidence, she found evidence for another charge that the officers did not lay against Mendez. This afternoon, DPP Vidal told us that the investigators charged him with indecent assault based on the claim that he allegedly touched these girls in a sexual manner. That's an aggravated assault, but DPP Vidal told us that one of the teenagers reported details more serious than that. She told us that there is evidence from one of the complainants which suggests that Mendez was trying to have intercourse with her. Legally, the offence of attempting to commit carnal knowledge is more serious than aggravated assault. That means that now the case definitely has to go to the Supreme Court - previously it would have been heard at the Magistrate's level. So, that means more bad news for Mendez, who confidently declared on Monday that he will be acquitted when his day in court comes. Here are those comments again:

Making Internet Bandwidth More Affordable
Did you know that even when you are sending an email to your neighbor right across the street - it has to first be routed through Miami? It's nothing sinister, that's just how the bandwidth traffic is routed. But now, a new internet exchange point will be set up in Belize - and all local internet traffic will be routed locally - at no cost to internet service providers like BTL and SMART. It's going through a hub at the UB Belize City Campus in West Landivar - and, in a minor modern miracle, all the major internet service providers have signed unto the initiative. It was spearheaded by a regional group called Packet Clearing House. Bevel Wooding explained that while it may sound technical, the local exchange point it will make a simple difference in your e-life:... Bevel Wooding, Packet Clearing House "Now that access to sites anywhere in the world is normally done through an exchange point. Up to this day, those exchange points that you connect to that, service providers have to connect to, have been outside of Belize. What the parties are agreeing to do today is to bring, to establish, to develop an internet exchange point within Belize. So that the first point of internet traffic exchange is going to happen locally before it happens internationally.

Puerto Azul: Who Owns The Cayes?
Puerto Azul, the name has been in the news for at least 8 months now. That's after it got roundly criticized by the conservation community and the Government for being too "fantastical" to be placed on the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The first details released on the project last year was that the Italian investors wanted to build a super exclusive eight star mega resort on North 2 and Sandbore Cayes. It got negative publicity because the conservationists say that environmentally, the size and scope of the project will affect the integrity of the natural elements of this World Heritage Site. Well, it appeared that the developers got the message, and they intended to scale it back. Fast-forward to this morning; one American businessman, who has financial interests in the island, decided to go public with his opinions of the project and the changes that the investors are now considering. First, there is a complex backstory to the ownership of the two cayes where the Puerto Azul investors want to put their resort. The cayes are jointly owned by two companies, known as Northern Two Cayes Company Limited, and the Lighthouse Reef Resort Limited. Those two companies are in court. On one side, there is American Jack Black who is being sued by his former business partners, 98 other Americans, who jointly bought the two islands. Then, there is businessman John Mills who bought a mortgage for the complex so that the existing Lighthouse Reef Resort could stay open. It was being foreclosed on by Scotia Bank. He's now a bondholder trying to get paid, and he has an encumbrance on the property in which the owners owe him over 3 million US dollars. So, for Puerto Azul Developers to buy the property from the two companies, he has to be paid first.

PM Discusses Effects Of The US Money Laundering Measures
On Tuesday we told you about what the Prime Minister said at the Summit of the America's about the perilous state of Belize and the Region's banking industry after draconian anti money laundering measures were enacted by the US Government. He said, quote, "there is a crisis in my own country....where the big US banks are 'de-risking' by terminating their correspondent relationships with our domestic banks." Now, if you don't know, that correspondent banking relationship is the bedrock of the international aspect of local banking - that's who the banks rely on to conduct all their international transactions, such as wire transfers. Simply put, these correspondent banks - mainly the bank of America in New York - make it possible to get money from one country to another - without them, international commerce becomes impossible. Today the Prime Minister walked back somewhat from his characterization of it as a crisis; he said no banks have yet lost their correspondent banking relationship.

PM Trying To Resolve Cruise Port Dispute
The Prime Minister is also dealing with another prickly local matter that has international implications. That's the matter of Belize's cruise future. As we have reported, the Fort Street Tourism Village and its competitor, Mike Feinstein's Stake Bank project are in court with the Government of Belize. There is a bevy of suits and countersuits - but the PM says, he's at least gotten both sides to the table to talk:... Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "The development is that, I had a discussion with Mr. Feinstein. Had a discussion with the Fort Street Tourism people, the two of them got together and so there is a little bit more clarity as to where we are, if not necessarily as to the way forward. Again, as to where that solution will come down - as to who the solution will favor - I don't want to be premature. I am trying to be extremely careful because any way you go, there is clearly going to be a degree of discontent. I don't want necessarily to lose FSTV. I certainly, I don't mind saying, would want to see Feinstein as the local, be able to proceed with the development of Stake bank." Of course, the case has already gone to court. Principally, Mike Feinstein is challenging the ability of the Fort Street Tourism Village to collect tax - since, only the government can tax - and all taxes must go into the consolidated revenue fund. The PM says they may have to go to parliament to fix that:...

Auditor General Reports On Government Finances
And while the Prime Minister is playing doctor in the case, the examining physician when it comes to government's finances is the Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley. And her recently completed report for the fiscal year 2001 to 2012 gives a poor bill of health. Bradley has registered an adverse opinion, saying that the audit, quote, "does not give a true and fair view of the government's financial position as at March 31, 2012...": The reason for that is 23 commercial bank accounts which were not reconciled. Today the Prime Minister registered only mild concern:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "I'm concerned that we still don't completely have our house in order, but things like a lack of reconciliation, I'm not blaming public officers. But that's hardly the sort of thing that the political directorate can ensure will take place. In terms of contracts being done after works have been performed, that's perhaps a little more problematic, in fact I would say it's a little more problematic. But again there are exceptional circumstances where you shouldn't, but you do move quickly because you feel there's a special urgency to the case. I repeat, they ought not to happen, but look, you're not talking about any case of fraud. You're not talking about any case of any politician or any public servant having made off with monies. I will be very happy that that's not the case."

PM Barrow Discusses Labour Senator's Predicament
We also asked the Prime Minister to weigh in on embattled Senator Ray Davis. Davis is Barrow's former classmate from his high school days at Saint Michael's - and the PM holds him in high regard. He says he too was disappointed in Davis's abstention - since he wanted the Senator to vote "yes" to the Petrocaribe Loan Motion, The union wanted him to vote "no" - but never made that clear to Davis - and the PM says it would be unfair to banish him for that:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "I can't understand why some people in the NTUCB, in particular, the vice president would be going after him in this fashion, especially because he seems to be able to show that he did not receive specific instructions. If you don't instruct the man, in effect you're leaving it up to him to make his individual determination. How then are you going to fault him for the determination that he did make. It is my sense that he certainly didn't vote for the bill, but it is my sense that Ray bore well in mind the fact that public officers and teachers have benefited so handsomely from Petrocaribe. They have a seat on the National Bank through which they are benefiting. They have a seat on BIL, so that largest infrastructure projects, they are able to provide oversight for. And that while the argument is that they are 'quarrelling' with the legislation rather than with the program, in a sense the lines are blurred. And so it doesn't strike me as at all surprising that, left to his own devices, Davis didn't feel that this was something he should vote no on. I'm a little disappointed he didn't actually vote yes, but as I said, that apart he's an outstanding fellow and I would hope for the sake of the NTUCB that they don't let go of, really, a person who's a stellar performer."

The Struggles Of the Fisherman
The Belize Federation of Fishers today launched a unique documentary about Belizean fishermen. The over 1 hour production delves into the life of 7 Belizean Fishermen, highlighting their internal struggles as fisher folk on the sea as well as external issues affecting their livelihood. We spoke with some of the starring fishermen this afternoon at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium about what this documentary means to them. They held an AGM this morning where they got to voice their concerns to Minister Lisel Alamilla. Some of those issues include limited funding, strengthening the cooperative and establishing a mechanism to regulate fin fish in Belize among others. The federation is working on selling the documentary in DVD format.

UB Student Research Applied To Real Problems
Today a group of University students presented their findings on a number of interesting research topics. They were presented at the University of Belize's Faculty of Management and Social Sciences 5th Annual Research Symposium at the Radisson. About 7 students gave a 20 minute presentation and engaged other students and lecturers in a discussion. Now, it may sound like a puffed up version of class presentations, but according to the Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, it's not just for show; it focuses on how these students can devise solutions to national issues and present new ideas. We met with some of these young researchers this morning and they discussed the extent of their research. Vincent Palacio, Dean, UB Faculty of FMASS "As the national university, it is our responsibility to do investigative work, research. To be able to answer questions of national significance. So, we have all of our students in the business program, before they graduate, they either have to do an internship or they do a thesis, which is a research. In the past we use to have thesis defense at the university where only the faculty members would listen to. When I came on as dean, I felt it was so rich that we should open it up for the entire country. So we decided to have this conference. Five years in going, the topics are very, exciting and interesting. We added the poster component so we have posters all around that you'll see."

PROFILE
Tonight we have another installment in the "I am Belize" Profile Series. This time, the profile is focusing on mediation counseling - and Claudia Groutsche tells the profile, how, by counseling others, she stumbled upon the central conflict in her own life: the conflict with her mother:..

The Telecommunications Blackout of 05
So, this week we are observing the ten-year anniversary of the Troubles of 2005. The country came to a standstill on April 15, 2005 - when the national phone system went down: no land lines, no cellular, no internet, no text. At the same time, there were intermittent blackouts and water service outages. For a while there it was like Belize had turned into basketcase. The whole uproar was about the Musa Administration - public funds used to cover private debts for cronies without any public knowledge or disclosure. Things really started to heat up on April 15, which is when the phone system went down. That's when government swooped in to BTL to take it over by force. Last night we showed you how that weekend ended on April 17th, with Sunday night mayhem in front of BTL headquarters. Tonight, we'll show you how it started on Friday night with Police moving in to take over the utility:... Again, that was ten years ago, in April of 2005. Last night we mixed it up and said March, 2005 - slight confusion created by the fact that our internet archive for those dates are blank - why? Because there was no internet due to the telecommunication shutdown.

Channel 5

Santi Concedes to Darrell Bradley and Steps Down As U.D.P. Caribbean Shores Candidate
Mayor Darrell Bradley has been anointed the U.D.P. candidate in Caribbean Shores, no messy convention, no nasty mudslinging, no big spending and no bloodshed – just…well for lack of a [...]

Was Santi Induced Into Back Down from Squaring Off with Darrell Bradley?
The sudden departure of Castillo raises eyebrows, since when last we spoke to him he was very critical of Bradley, and very confident of victory in any convention. He claimed [...]

Darrell Bradley Lays Out Campaign Roadmap for Caribbean Shores
So on June seventh, there will be a convention, but it will be an endorsement of the U.D.P.’s crown prince Darrell Bradley. It’ll be the Mayor’s first time in the [...]

Half-A-Million Dollars Missing from Treasury!
Following his political announcement, the PM spoke to the media on a myriad of issues, including one very recent and serious discovery. Auditors and the police have been called into [...]

Who Owns the Islands That Puerto Azul Will Be Built On?
Puerto Azul, arguably the largest foreign direct investment in tourism in Belize, should it become a reality, was the subject of a press conference earlier today by a debt holder [...]

PM on Status of Tourism Developments
The government hasn’t been having much luck where mega-million dollar tourism investment in Belize is concerned. The interest is there, and perhaps so is the real intent, but the projects [...]

What’s the P.M.’s Two Cents on the Ray Davis/N.T.U.C.B. Situation?
N.T.U.C.B. Second Vice-President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd has called for the head of Senator Ray Davis because he abstained when asked to vote on the controversial Petrocaribe Bill. Matura has gone so [...]

P.M. Responds to the Auditor General’s Reports
Barrow also spoke on the recent report of the Auditor-General, who reports that she could not get a clear picture of government finances because a number of accounts were not [...]

Quality Internet Services; Stakeholders Sign M.O.U. for local Internet Exchange Point
For the past five years, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union together with Pocket Clearing House has been promoting the establishment of Internet Exchange Points throughout the Caribbean. Exchange Points are essentially [...]

…What Will It Mean for Internet Users?
The installation of the local infrastructure will see a better increase in the services provided to consumers—gaming operations, voice over internet protocols, substantial increases in local bandwidth and local internet [...]

Fisher Folks Meet to Discuss State of Fisheries in Belize
The Belize Federation of Fishers held its first annual general meeting at the Belize Elementary School Gymnasium in Belize City today. The federation started back in 2011, but got incorporated [...]

Minister of Fisheries Weighs in on Belize Fisheries Federation AGM
And if it is recognition from government that the B.F.F. needs, they got it today at its A.G.M. Minister of Fisheries, Lisel Alamilla, attended the event. After a brief presentation, [...]

OW Cops Guilty of Beating Up Andres Rodriguez
Tonight, the officers involved in the vicious beating of Andres Rodriguez in Orange Walk Town on Sunday have been found guilty of excessive use of force.  That is the outcome [...]

Saul Geovanni Ortiz Arraigned for Murder of Coastguard Officer in San Ignacio
A third San Ignacio resident was formally arrested and charged today for the murder of twenty-three-year-old Belizean coastguard officer, Aurelio Montero Junior. On Tuesday, twenty-three year old Saul Geovanni Ortiz, [...]

Glenford Baine Sentenced to Five Years for Gun Possession
Eight months ago, on August fourth, 2014, twenty-five-year-old Belize City resident Glenford Baine Junior was seen hiding a nine millimeter pistol loaded with nine live rounds of ammunitions into a [...]

Petition to Bring Back Deon McCauley
Following a congress of the Football Federation of Belize on Saturday, President Ruperto Vicente reiterated that the organization will not be sponsoring striker Deon McCauley’s return to the country for [...]

What’s the Quota Needed to Return Striker to Belize for World Cup Qualifiers?
That brainstorming led to the realization of a five thousand dollar quota, the total needed to defray McCauley’s travel expenses, as well as a weekly stipend while in Belize training. [...]

CTV3

O/W East Area Rep. To Face More Charges
There seems to be more trouble brewing for the embattled P.U.P Orange Walk East Area Representative, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez tonight. That is because information from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sheryl Lyn Vidal indicates that Mendez will be additionally charged for the attempt to commit Carnal Knowledge. Our friends at Channel 7 spoke to Vidal today who confirmed to them that months after Mendez was arraigned, the investigation file was finally sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. After her perusal, she found evidence for another charge that the officers did not lay against Mendez. Vidal said and we quote “one of the teenagers reported details more serious than that. The file shows that there is evidence for the attempt to commit Carnal Knowledge charge. The incident allegedly dates back to 2009. We tried on many attempts to contact his Attorney Dickie Bradley today to confirm this information but our efforts have been futile up to news time. For context, 2 teenaged girls have accused him of inappropriate sexual contact which happened years before the age of consent. Since the report, Mendez has been charged with several counts of Aggravated Assault of an indecent nature.

Santiago Castillo Jr. No Longer To Contest Convention For Caribbean Shores
The convention for UDP Standard Bearer for Caribbean Shores in Belize City was set for June 7th but instead of an electoral battle between current UDP Area Representative for Caribbean Shores Santiago Castillo Junior and current Mayor for Belize City Darrel Bradley, the people of Caribbean Shores will witness an endorsement convention. And it’s not Darrell Bradley that backed down. This morning Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development Santiago Castillo Junior announced that he will not contest the convention and was leaving the road free for Darrel Bradley. The announcement was made during a press conference held at the UDP Office in Belize City and we are sure that it caught many by surprise especially the constituents of Caribbean Shores since they were informed about Castillo’s decision as recently as last night via text message. “So as to keep it from the Press, I did not informed my committee until after the news last night by text, it would have been impossible to call each and every one and it would have been up to right now so I send them a text informing them of my decision that is how I did it because the Prime Minister and I have discussed that I didn’t want news to get out prior to right now.”

Guinea Grass Village In Dire Need Of Police Officers
Residents of Guinea Grass have for years been clamouring for a stationed 24/7 police officer for the growing village but their cries have always fallen on deaf ears. If in the event of an emergency, the Chairman says he relies on his own resources to get help for his people. “The lack of police officer in the village it is an issue because there are sometimes that we have emergencies and we do not have an officer, I would not say it is the officers fault because they are under a command and if they are called out of the village to work on the Orange Walk Station well is not their fault so.” Maria Novelo – Reporter “Hypothetically speaking suppose an emergency comes up and how do you guys goes to get help?” JOSE HERNANDEZ – Chairman, Guinea Grass “Normally when situations like arises, I go in my vehicle as the Chairman and I try to pacify whatever problem is going on.” It is of note that the village does have a small police station outpost but rarely is an officer seen or found there when needed and so the residents of the community rely on the Orange Walk authorities for help.

O/W Police Investigates Traffic Mishap Involving Customs Officers
Yesterday we told you about a Customs vehicle that was mangled and wrecked after it overturned and flipped in a drain off the San Lorenzo Road. When we left you, police had vague information on the report since it happened late in the afternoon. Well today we got the names of the driver and his passengers and an account of what transpired through the Orange Walk Police. “Orange Walk police visited the San Lorenzo road an area about half a mile away from San Lorenzo Housing Site when traveling from the San Roman road when upon arrival it was observed that a red Mitsubishi four door pickup which is the property of the government of Belize attached to the Customs Department and as seen on the right hand side of the road while travelling on the San Roman road overturned with the four wheels on the air; Aaron A. Sheppard 34 years Customs Officer reported he was driving the said motor vehicle in direction of San Roman road to San Lorenzo road whilst reaching about half a mile from the San Lorenzo Housing Site he was approached by another vehicle on the opposite direction which lifted a heavy cloud of dust which blinded him and run off the road and causing him to over turned, travelling with Sheppard was Brian Gill 26 years old and one Williams PC#701 attached to special patrol unit, Sheppard complaint of a pain to his left foot and Williams complain of chest pain and Gill complain of back and shoulder.”

CSCPA Seeks Fair Trade Certification
As we reported in the second segment of the newscast by all accounts, the sugar crop is going well, and the new associations have been working well together. Well, we can say this is certain for the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association. We spoke with the Chairman of the CSCPA, Elvis Canul who says that they are enjoying a good working relationship with the other associations and BSI. The association has come far as they have held their first annual general meeting on April 12th. Canul says it was necessary to take that step to secure the association’s future. At the meeting the membership elected its official board of directors, were presented the bylaws, a strategic plan and budget. The membership also elected a surveillance committee that comprises of three members. So far the association has 342 registered members from Patchakan, Corozal Town, Louisville, Concepcion, Libertad, Progresso and San Narciso with a total of 91, 429 tons of sugar cane. Canul says they have been receiving favorable recognition within the industry and the communities. “We have been contacted by the government officials, we have been contacted by the different agricultural suppliers, they know that we are a new organization, and they want to work along with us, we have SIRDI, we have the ACPC at all different levels that have been very collaborative and sharing information so that we could get on board and have a good road to where we want to go.”

Guinea Grass Village To Construct Fence On Football Field
And while we had the opportunity to speak with the Chairman of Guinea Grass Village, we felt compelled to ask about the well fare and affairs of the community. With an ever increasing village population that keeps growing, the community has its fair share of difficulties. And despite not having any help from Central Government, the tightly –knit community bands together to make projects come to fruition for the village and residents. JOSE HERNANDEZ – Chairman, Guinea Grass “There is a lot of issues here in the village that needs attention and this village is big and as you might know the lack of resources or the finances we do not have that but thanks to the people that sponsors us and help us that they give a little here and a little there and that is how we carry our projects. This coming week we are going to start fencing our football field and as you can see it it is damaged because vehicles usually crossed the field but we want to start off fencing the football field, I already ordered the post and by next week we should be starting.” It is of note that the Guinea Grass Village has an approximate population of over 4,000 residents.

Belize Chamber Of Commerce Calls For Accountability And Transparency
The controversial Petro Caribe Loans Act is back in the news tonight and this is after the Belize Chamber of Commerce issued a release this afternoon stating their stance on the issue at the same time calling for accountability and transparency. After careful review of the Alba Petro Caribe Bill the Chamber has taken the position that the bill undermines the spirit and intent of the revised Finance and Audit Act of 2005. The Chamber believes that this new Act undermines and effectively reverses all efforts made by the Chamber and the unions in 2005 toward greater accountability and transparency in the handling of public funds. According to the Belize Chamber of Commerce transparency and accountability should be given greater prominence by the Government of Belize particularly due to the absence of a fully functional Public Accounts Committee to report on Government Expenditure. And, according to the chamber, it is for this reason that the organization endorses the Business Sector Senator’s vote against the Petro Caribe Act in the Senate.


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PlusTV

Keyren Tzib meets bail on attempted murder charge
After a delay to consider the merits of her case, Supreme Court Justice Herbert Lord today set bail of $10,000 for Coast Guard seaman Keyren Tzib, 24, charged with the attempted murder by shooting of Petty Officer Kurt Hyde on Easter Monday, April 6, aboard a Coast Guard vessel docking at the headqu...

Final decision on Albert Vaughan loitering charge in May
This afternoon Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart heard final submissions from both parties in the case against 55 year old activist of the People’s United Party (PUP) Albert Vaughan, who faces a charge of loitering in a public place stemming from the events of August 4 when workers from Belize Maintena...

Belizeans organized to “bring Deon home”
The furore over the fate of superstar footballer Deon McCaulay continues to rage, but according to the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) it is out of their hands: unless Belize’s top goal scorer can pay his way home, he may not make it on to the national team to play in the second round of the reg...

Another disgruntled PUP takes to social media
An explosive article written by former PUP Standard bearer Collet Montejo that criticizes his party’s leadership is making its rounds in social media since it was published in the Amandala yesterday. The article states that quote, "The current leadership of the PUP can see that with names such as Fo...

Measures to quell perception of corruption
Last week plus news reported that a senior worker at the Belmopan City Council Javier Novelowas dismissed from office...

World English Experience for Belmopan Baptist High students
On March 27,11 students and one teacher from the Belmopan Baptist High School travelled to London to participate in the World English Experience, an annual event held at one of the most prestigious boarding schools in London...

Woman critically injured in drive by shooting
A woman was critically injured in a drive by shooting last night, Tuesday April 14. According to reports, sometime about 9:15 p.m., 37-year-old Stephanie Bood of Belize City was shot to the right hand and the buttocks...

Toledo police make arrest in fatal hit and run accident
Earlier this week we told you about a fatal hit and run accident in Big Falls Toledo. Today, police have arrested the person believed to be responsible for the death of  Jose Aldana on Monday of this week...

Dead shrimp floating in shrimp farm pond
Marine products make up a significant part of Belize’s domestic exports; valuing some 112 million dollars in the year 2013.  The shrimp industry is a part of that sector and has had its ups and downs in Belize with a contracting and then rebounding of the market over the years...

Robbery at Dangriga Gas station
There was a robbery at a Dangriga  gas station on Tuesday afternoon. According to the  25-year-old pump attendant at UNO Gas Station on George Price Drive in Dangriga, he was accosted by two men, one armed with what appeared to be a handgun. The men robbed him of his Smart SAMSUNG phone and $706...

13 years for gun possession and weed
Twenty-two-year-old Darrington Lauriano Jr. was sentenced to thirteen years in prison starting yesterday Tuesday April 14...

Belize City men on island with drugs
A group of Belize City men from the Victoria Street Area were found on the Island of Ambergris Caye with cocaine. Police special operations on San Pedro led to the discovery and subsequent arrest of the  5 men...

The Guardian

National Bank issues 842 loans to public officers and teachers - Do Matura and Mora want this to stop?
The President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, Marvin Mora, has latched sides with the Vice President, Audrey Matura in what appears to be an all out campaign to either declare the Petro Caribe bill either illegal or immoral. And as they go about their campaign they have forgotten two crucial things about Petro Caribe, or maybe it is that they are so consumed by their anti-Petro Caribe rhetoric that it is obfuscating what they should know. What Matura and Mora should know is that Petro Caribe is funding the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) which is the government operated company which is implementing sporting facilities across the country. BIL is headed by a board of directors one of whom is a member of the NTUCB. If it is transparency and accountability that Matura and Mora are chiding the Petro Caribe bill for, all they need to do is to ask their representative on BIL to appraise them of how the money is being spent. BIL goes through some tedious processes to ensure accountability and we are sure that the union representative there is aware of these. Mora and Matura, please check your representative to see how the money is being spent. What they also need to check is that the National Bank was originally capitalized with 20 million dollars from Petro Caribe and later 10 million dollars was infused to ensure, that most of all, public officers and teachers are able to access finances to make their lives better.

Ambassador Nestor Mendez says he’ll be professional if he deals with Guatemala-Belize negotiations
H.E. Nestor Mendez is the newly elected deputy Secretary General of the Organization of American States. He was elected with a 24-10 margin giving him what Mendez says is a significant mandate. Mendez will hold tenure for five years from July 13 2015 to July 2020. On Wednesday April 15 he appeared on Wave Radio's 'Fus ting da mawnin' where he told the hosts Joe Bradley and Alfonso Noble as much. During the course of the half hour interview Mendez explained that the entire process of getting him elected started in March 2013. During that process the campaign had to convince the membership that Belize has a role to play in the organization and convincing the member states that Belize has a better candidate to offer. At the end of the day Mendez explained that he received a strong mandate where the membership expects him to be a manager for the implementation and offer guidance in the organization to implement what the membership has decided on. Asked what role he will play in the Belize-Guatemala negotiations, he explained that the Secretary General is yet to determine that but "I can assure everyone that I will treat this issue with the highest degree of professionalism, seriousness and respect that this matter deserves." As for now however he was quick to point out that he does not know what role he will be assigned at the OAS but explained that the current Sec. Gen. has expressed that his role will be one of more being a co-secretary general than a deputy.

Hon. Dean Barrow’s Remarks at the Second CEO Summit of the Americas
Bridging the Americas: Productive Integration for Inclusive Development The topic we are dealing with is a large one. But the organizers have tried to be helpful by identifying the sub-areas on which they want to focus. These have been described as "opportunities for promoting investment, facilitating trade and fostering development, in particular in agribusiness, finance, information technology and public infrastructural sectors, as well as active participation of the private sector in the social development of our nations". Now that is a mouthful. And I am not sure that it does not in fact further expand rather than compress the subject. I shall nevertheless try both to follow its markers and remain within the allotted time. But to do that I have had to further distill the theme. I will therefore be concentrating principally on the modalities and strategies necessary to optimize our efforts at the level of regional economic groupings, which groupings are the precursor to Hemispheric integration. I take it as a given that our current stratification into so-called Regional Economic Communities (RECs)-NAFTA, CARICOM, SICA, MERCOSUR, UNASUR-is accepted as the best way of proceeding towards the ultimate goal of hemispheric free trade. Indeed, this very Summit had its genesis in the integration process launched by the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative (EAI) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). But proceeding from that premise, I believe we need to examine and strengthen the operational effectiveness of our current RECs in order to achieve true pan-American complementarity.

Mark King intervenes on behalf of Lake I Squatters
Almost a dozen families from the Lake Independence area were about to be thrown unto the street when the Area Representative, Hon. Mark King, intervened on their behalf. Property in the Lake Independence Area is turning into prime real estate as a result of Government’s Belize City transformation master plan. The area now being developed as Lake Independence Boulevard will be home to world class sporting and recreation facilities, a national bus terminal, national police headquarters and National Bank of Belize’s Belize City headquarters. Due to this remarkable development, landowners who have long neglected their undeveloped properties in the area are now coming forward to present papers of ownership and demand the removal of squatters. Two weeks ago, the attorney for one such property owner issued eviction notices to squatters in the area which would ultimately cause the uprooting of eleven families from the place they call home. Just before their structures were destroyed and they were thrown out unto the street, Hon. Mark King called the attorney to request a stay of execution on the eviction notices until he can find some place for the people to move.

148 voters determine who is new BNTU president
The presidency of the Belize National Teacher’s Union, perhaps the most powerful union in the country, was contested on Wednesday of last week. It is interesting that while the union is the largest in the country, a total of 333 members were the ones to decide who the president would be. The general meeting to make such a crucial decision for the union came without much fanfare. There are some who say they were not even aware that the meeting would take place and much less that there would be an election to determine who the president would be. Nonetheless the meeting took place in Benque Viejo del Carmen and high on the agenda was the election. There were three persons who had expressed interest in the position, these persons include incumbent Luke Palacio, Belmopan Branch President Frances Avella and Orange Walk Branch president Otilio Muñoz. At the end of the elections Luke Palacio received 148 votes, Frances Avella received 98 votes and Otilio Munoz received 87 votes.

BNTU holds convention in Cayo
The Belize National Teachers Union held its 45th Annual Convention in Benque Viejo del Carmen on April 8th and 9th of 2015 at the Mount Carmel High School. It was a special time for teachers from across Belize to set an agenda for the coming years. During the second day, Luke Palacio was re-elected for the third consecutive time as president of the BNTU. On April the 9th, two resolutions were presented to improve both the Union and teacher’s welfare and are as follows: Whereas the BNTU constitution was revised and approved in 2011, and whereas the Standing Order was not revised; be it resolved that a Constitution Committee be formed to revise the Constitution, Bye Laws and Standing Order. Be it further resolved that it is presented at Convention 2016 for approval. Whereas the revolving loan scheme charges 8% interest on loans, except for professional development loans, which charge 5% interest, be it resolved that medical emergency loans for the members and their immediate family be given at 5% interest upon presentation of proper medical documentation, be it further resolved that any loan made by a retired teacher be charged at 5% interest, be it further resolved that a through accrual study be made before implementation of this resolution.

Bail for Keyren Tzib
Coast Guard Seaman Keyren Tzib has been accused of shooting fellow officer Curt Hyde on Easter Monday. On Wednesday, April 15, eight days after being remanded to the Belize Central Prison she was released on bail. She will have to stand trial at some point on charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm, and use of deadly means of harm. Her attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, applied to the Supreme Court for an expedited bail hearing on Friday, April April 10. She did so by invoking the amendment to the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act. The premise of the new law is that an accused person can forgo the 2 week waiting period if he/she can show the court that prior to being charged with the current offence, that person was of good character and without a criminal record. Matura-Shepherd submitted arguments before Justice Herbert Lord that Tzib fits this exception perfectly. Senior Crown Counsel Linsbert Willis asked the judge for an adjournment so that he could verify what the prognosis for Petty Officer Kurt Hyde is. After consideration, he granted that adjournment but ordered that a psychiatric evaluation must be done on Tzib to determine her mental health.

Mortgage Securitization - theft of the People’s money

Prime Minister Barrow Leads Belize Delegation at VII Summit of the Americas in Panama
On Saturday, April 11th, 35 Head of State and Government of the Western Hemisphere participated in the historic VII Summit of the Americas held in Panama City, Panama under the theme “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas”. Prime Minister Dean Barrow led the Belize delegation to this three day event. This is the first time that all 35 countries of the hemisphere have participated in a session of the Summit of the Americas, which included the Republic of Cuba, headed by President Raul Castro. Activities came to a close on Saturday, April 11th, after the conclusion of the main plenary session where Foreign Minister Elrington spoke on behalf of Belize. Prior to the plenary, Prime Minister Barrow participated in a Business Forum where he presented on the theme of regional competitiveness. Prime Minister Barrow also participated in a meeting of Heads of Governments of SICA and President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. This followed a meeting held prior to the Summit in Kingston, Jamaica between President Obama and CARICOM Heads of Government.

Separation of Powers
The Separation of Powers doctrine is meaningful and vital to the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries. This doctrine mandates that the three arms of Government namely, the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary are kept separate and free from influences by each other. In other words, no arm of Government has power over the other. The legislature within these Countries is elected by their people. The Legislature's role is to make laws, the Executive is empowered to make appointments and execute the laws made by the legislature, while the Judiciary is to interpret the law. In Belize, elections are held every five years. Belize is comprised of two major Political parties, the United Democratic Party and the People’s United Party. From 1998 to 2008 the People’s United Party had served two terms, regrettably it could be argued that during this time, some outrageous atrocities were committed against Belize by the then Government. The Caribbean Court of Justice once referred to members of the People’s United Party as “malignant tumours” and there are basis for that statement. The case of BCB Holdings v AG of Belize fully supports this point. Involved in that case were the Attorney General of Belize who is presently the Leader of the Opposition party (People’s United Party) and the Minister of Finance of Belize, both members of the Executive arm of Government at the time. They secretly gave tax relief to BCB Holdings without informing the Belizean People nor the National Assembly, which was a breach of Separation of Powers.

State of the Art San Narciso - San Victor Road Inaugurated
The extremely important 9.53 kilometer stretch of road from San Narciso to San Victor and the 3 kilometer stretch from the Old Northern Highway to BSI Junction have been paved. The Government of Belize held an inauguration ceremony to mark the conclusion of the project at Mother’s Park in San Narciso Village on Wednesday, April 15. Residents of the area came out for the 10 a.m. ceremony to hear from the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadeiand Hon. Hugo Patt. Also in attendance at the ceremony were members of the San Narciso Village Council, the Sugar Industry Control Board; Representatives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSCPA) and Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association (PSCPA).

Arthur Saldivar at it again
Failed PUP politician Arthur Saldivar, who is a well-known criminal attorney, will be facing criminal charges of his own that is in relation to some sort of domestic situation with the mother of his 2 sons. She has gone to police to report that Saldivar trespassed on her property on Monday, April 13, took her phone and scrolled through her text messages, which she did not give him authority to do. Belmopan Police have confirmed that due to the report they received, Saldivar will be charged with burglary and trespassing on Thursday April 16. Saldivar’s version of events to the press is that the allegations are untrue, nonsense, and a waste of the police and court’s time. He claims that he was outside of the property, and that he only went through the phone because his son brought it to him.

Third Sibling Charged for Murder of Denver Villafranco
BDF volunteer soldier, Denver Villafranco, was ambushed on Complex Avenue and beaten to death sometime around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17, 2015. Police detained three men initially for the incident but eventually only charged brothers, Orlando, 38, and Phil Tyrone Staine, 41, for the murder. Almost three months later, police have now charged a third brother, Kareem Staine, 33, for his part in the brutal murder. Kareem appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on Monday, April 13, where he was arraigned for the murder of Denver Villafranco. In court, no plea was taken and Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith informed him that due to the nature of the offense bail could not be offered. He will be remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May 27, 2015 when he will appear in court along with his brothers to face the charge together. Staine’s relatives say they were provoked prior to the murder. One cousin told us that from December of 2014, Villafranco and his friends, whom he was with the night of his death, had been interfering with the Staine brothers. She told us that prior to the murder two of the Staine brothers had been beaten up badly on the Friday night, January 16, by Villafranco and his friends. She said that when the other brothers came home that weekend and saw their brothers badly beaten with their eyes swollen, they became upset and acted out violently.

Two men ambushed in Roaring Creek, one dies
Best friends, Allan Garbutt and Jermaine “Cheese” Welcome, who are both 24 year-old residents of Roaring Creek Village in the Cayo District, were socializing early on Saturday, April 11, when a gunman ambushed them and shot them without warning. Both young men were seriously injured, Jermaine Welcome passed away from his injuries. According to the information provided to the media, both young men were about to have a quesadilla snack on a verandah of Garbutt’s home in Roaring Creek village. Just before 1:30 a.m. that early Saturday morning, an armed assailant snuck up on them and fired several shots from the yard’s fence. Garbutt was injured on the right hip and shoulder, while Welcome was shot in the lower back. With the same swiftness as he had arrived, the killer escaped back into the darkness of the early morning hours. The family and friends of both men then rushed them to the Western Regional Hospital for emergency medical attention. Garbutt was successfully treated by the doctors on duty, but Welcome was not so fortunate. The doctors tried everything to save Welcome, but about half an hour after they started to operate, he succumbed to the gunshot injury and the resulting damage to his internal organs.

San Pedro Tigersharks halt Western Ballaz in its track
The National Elite Basketball League competition continued on Saturday 11 April, 2015, with three games across the country. At the San Pedro Roman Catholic School in San Pedro Town, the defending champions the San Pedro Tigersharks handed the league’s leading Cayo Western Ballaz its first defeat of the 2015 campaign by the score of 79-75. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tigersharks were Darwin Leslie with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals, James Milton with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal and Ashton Edwards with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 steals. Meanwhile, for the Cayo Western Ballaz, the top scorers were Richard Troyer with 33 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals; Akeem Watters with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist. Out at the Orange Walk Multi-Purpose Complex in Orange Walk Town the visiting Dangriga Warriors won handily over the home team Orange Walk Running Rebels by the score of 70-55. The top scorers for the Dangriga Warriors were Daniel Nolberto with 25 points, 1 rebound and 1 steal; Edgar Mitchell with 13 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and a steal.

Police United is the number one seed into the playoff
The Premier League of Belize Closing Tournament regular season came to an end on Sunday 12 April, 2015 with three games across the country. At the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the number one seed into the playoffs the Police United defeated the San Ignacio United Team by the score of 6-1. The visiting Police United Team scored the 1st goal of the game when Marlon Mesa scored the 1st of his 2 goals in the 23rd minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The Police lead was extended when Harrison Roaches scored his 1st of three goals in the 30th minute of play for a 2-0 lead. At the end of the first half of the game the score was 2-0 in favour of the Police United Squad. In the second half of the game, the Police United Team picked up right where it left off when Harrison Roaches scored his 2nd and 3rd goals in the 50th and 56th minutes of play for a 4-0 lead. The lead continued to expand when Clifton West scored in the 68th minute of play for a 5-1 lead.

Musa’s Rant
On Monday night I saw a portion of the Dickie Bradley show where the guest was Y. Musa and the topic of discussion was the Belize City House of Culture and Downtown Rejuvenation Project. Musa was embarrassingly emotional in his condemnation of the project; pointing out that this will take us back to the “wretched” days of colonialism and slavery. Some of the anti-colonial sentiments he expressed were too obsessive and he came across as being more political rather than dispassionate. I used my clicker to move on to another program at the second outburst. Musa’s standpoint is not new for the People’s United Party. They seem to want Belizeans to believe that our country’s chronicles began in 1950 with the formation of the PUP and that there is no meaningful history to our country before that year. While no one will ever deny the role Hon. Price played in the achievement of self-government and later nationhood, people actually lived in and loved Belize for centuries before 1981. We cannot refute this fact, and we must accept it gracefully.

YouthTalks
Freedom. Such a simple word, yet the picture it paints in our minds and hearts is great and deep. A small but cherished word. A word that an entire country was founded on. A word that symbolizes one of the most treasured concepts in the world. What did the British fight the Spaniards for? Freedom. Why do governments stand up for its people? Freedom. Why do we hold such pride for our country? Freedom. Why do we fight for justice? For human rights? Freedom. It is a vital part of humanity, one of the most guarded and precious principles of mankind. Everyone wishes to have freedom. This country was created to preserve it in all its forms: freedom of religion, speech, expression, belief – freedom to live the way we wish. Some say, “all men are equal”. If all are equal, why should a person’s right to freedom depend on appearance? What does it matter whether one is black, white, pink, yellow, brown, or olive? Whether one is male or female, short or tall, old or young, fat or thin? We all have the same needs and wants. We all laugh, fight, and work. We all must eat. We all cry salty tears, and when we bleed, it’s always red.

Youth Talks
Growing Up Too Fast Do you remember how old you were the first Christmas morning you woke up and wanted to go back to sleep? If you were like me, you knew what was coming. There was no mystery about whether there would be presents under the tree, or if Santa had written a note and eaten the cookies, like in the stories that were told. Knowing what to expect, it was just another day of vacation. Sleep seems hard to come by as you get older. With homework, more responsibility and even a job, if there's no alarm buzzing, no bus, no teachers, just the satisfaction of lying still for a moment, you give in no matter what. My parents used to do this on Christmas morning, and I never understood why. Now I do. This is one of those defining moments when you know you are losing your childhood innocence. It seems children want to grow out of their childhood; they dream of being adults.

Cordel Hyde’s Negligence Costly for Lake I Squatters
Over 50 Belizean homeowners in the Lake Independence area will soon be forced to break down their houses and move away from the land they cleared and have called home for years. We all know squatting is illegal and such action should not be met with a reward. However, squatting is as much a part of our history as fighting for voting rights, self governance and even independence. People squat when they feel that there is no other alternative. It is then the responsibility of community organizers to work with these people to get them started and take them through the process of legally acquiring the land they have claimed or another parcel that is actually available. There is a shortage of community organizers in Belize; therefore, this type of responsibility falls on the shoulders of elected representatives. Lake Independence has had two elected representatives in the last 17 years. The recent crisis faced by the Lake I squatters brings into focus the type of representation the people in that area have received over these last 17 years. Blatant negligence by the individual elected to represent them throughout most of these years is proving very costly for these poor Belizeans.

Belize and the EU Hold Second “Article 8” Political Dialogue Session
The Second political dialogue session between the European Union and Belize took place in Belize City on Monday, 13 April 2015. The dialogue offers a platform for consultations over a broad range of issues, as well as an opportunity to take stock of progress made concerning ‘essential elements’ of the Cotonou Agreement, including respect for human rights, rule of law, democratic principles and good governance. The meeting focused on the current status of the Belize Guatemala Process, Energy, Climate Change, Security, the Post 2015 Development Agenda, Human Rights, Schengen Visa Waiver, Preparations for EU-CELAC Summit in June2015 and Updates on Regional Processes. Minister Wilfred Elrington led the discussion on the recent developments in the process to resolve the Guatemalan Claim to Belizean Territory. The EU expressed its continued support for the process through the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Facey Julius trying to take credit for Jaguar Paw Road
After going out of his way to try to derail the Petro Caribe initiative that is seeing the investment of millions of dollars into the infrastructure across the country, Julius Espat, now has the face of brass to take credit for the paving of the Franks Eddy road that leads to the Jaguar Paw cave system. If it seems incredulous, it did to us as well until we saw the Belize Slimes saying as much last week. They claim that it was as a result of Julius' lobbying that the road was being done. Compounding the bare-faced nature of Julius is that he is also circulating flyers in the village of Franks Eddy to take credit for the paving of the road. What Julius is not telling people is that under the People's United Party the road was paved only to be broken up within a couple of months of it being done. At the time the paving was done using the PUP's method of 'chip and steal' of course that method could not last very long as most of the money that was supposed to have been used in the paving of the road was actually diverted into the pockets of corrupt politicians. The contractor who then did the actual paving was left with almost nothing, delivering substandard work. That is the way the PUP operate.

Lead Acid Batteries pose environmental risks in Belize
The discussion of hazardous wastes is not a common one in Belize, and for the most part, warning signs such as “No Smoking” and “Toxic Risk” or a vision of the “skull and bones” sign are generally envisioned when the discussion arises. While this is the perception of hazardous wastes, the reality is far different. There are many useful items that only after being fully used are then classified as hazardous wastes, mostly due to their composition. One such item is Lead Acid Batteries. Used Lead Acid Batteriesare considered a hazardous waste and have the potential to affect human health and the environment if not disposed of properly. Used Lead Acid Batteries have three major components, two of which are very peculiar and require special attention when handling and disposing. These components are “lead” and “sulphuric acid”, which are held intact by the plastic cover. In light of the above the Department of the Environment (DOE) has been having discussions with importers and retailers of Lead-Acid Batteries, and with handlers and exporters of used lead-acid batteries, about the development of a Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Programme in Belize.

Teenager Charged for Killing “Ghost”
Shortly before 4 p.m. on Monday, April 13, Percival Alonzo Pilgrim, 18, resident of #34 Logwood Street was escorted to the Belize City Magistrates Court to be arraigned for the murder of Mayflower Street resident Edward Usher, 40, better known as Ghost. Around 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 11, Usher was walking inside his yard at #5 Mayflower Street when he was approached by a lone gunman who pointed a firearm at him and fired several shots. Police responded to the scene shortly after and saw the motionless Usher face down on the footsteps of a two-story wooden house with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Soon after the shooting, police detained Pilgrim in relation to the crime.

Honduran Women Pleads Guilty to Illegal Entry
Four Honduran women left their native country on March 23, 2015, enroute to seek employment opportunities on the island of San Pedro in Belize. They intended to work as waitresses or bartenders; however, their stay on the island was short because someone tipped police upon their arrival and the women who entered without proper immigration documents were arrested for illegal entry. Cindy Paola Pueto Reyes, 21, Nesly Osmara Lara Sarmiento, 32, Cindy Pahola Zelaya Duenas, 36 and Nodis Vacanado, 29, were arrested and charged with entering Belize illegally on March 29. They pleaded guilty to the charge before Magistrate Ladonna John and were each fined $1,000. They were ordered to pay forthwith or serve six months imprisonment. The women could not pay the fine; therefore, they will serve the time in prison. A removal order has also been issued.

Jealousy may have led to Leon Leslie’s death
Leon Leslie, a mechanic who was well-known in his housing community of Maxboro, was found decomposing in his house on Monday, April 13. He had suffered several stab wounds, and unfortunately, it was his two young sons who found his dead body after they arrived from school. It is believed that he had been killed and left inside his house about 2 or 3 days before his body was finally found. Police don’t have much to go on at this time, but they believed that on Saturday night, there were persons of questionable character who were hanging out with him. His family had seen him that same day. No one heard anything from him for the entire Sunday, and Monday. That wasn’t unusual because he is a diligent mechanic. It was not until his sons went to his house in Maxboro that it was discovered that he had been killed.

Two men ambushed in Roaring Creek, one dies
Best friends, Allan Garbutt and Jermaine “Cheese” Welcome, who are both 24 year-old residents of Roaring Creek Village in the Cayo District, were socializing early on Saturday, April 11, when a gunman ambushed them and shot them without warning. Both young men were seriously injured, Jermaine Welcome passed away from his injuries. According to the information provided to the media, both young men were about to have a quesadilla snack on a verandah of Garbutt’s home in Roaring Creek village. Just before 1:30 a.m. that early Saturday morning, an armed assailant snuck up on them and fired several shots from the yard’s fence. Garbutt was injured on the right hip and shoulder, while Welcome was shot in the lower back. With the same swiftness as he had arrived, the killer escaped back into the darkness of the early morning hours. The family and friends of both men then rushed them to the Western Regional Hospital for emergency medical attention. Garbutt was successfully treated by the doctors on duty, but Welcome was not so fortunate. The doctors tried everything to save Welcome, but about half an hour after they started to operate, he succumbed to the gunshot injury and the resulting damage to his internal organs.

Third Sibling Charged for Murder of Denver Villafranco
BDF volunteer soldier, Denver Villafranco, was ambushed on Complex Avenue and beaten to death sometime around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17, 2015. Police detained three men initially for the incident but eventually only charged brothers, Orlando, 38, and Phil Tyrone Staine, 41, for the murder. Almost three months later, police have now charged a third brother, Kareem Staine, 33, for his part in the brutal murder. Kareem appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on Monday, April 13, where he was arraigned for the murder of Denver Villafranco. In court, no plea was taken and Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith informed him that due to the nature of the offense bail could not be offered. He will be remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May 27, 2015 when he will appear in court along with his brothers to face the charge together. Staine’s relatives say they were provoked prior to the murder. One cousin told us that from December of 2014, Villafranco and his friends, whom he was with the night of his death, had been interfering with the Staine brothers. She told us that prior to the murder two of the Staine brothers had been beaten up badly on the Friday night, January 16, by Villafranco and his friends. She said that when the other brothers came home that weekend and saw their brothers badly beaten with their eyes swollen, they became upset and acted out violently.

Police United is the number one seed into the playoff
The Premier League of Belize Closing Tournament regular season came to an end on Sunday 12 April, 2015 with three games across the country. At the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the number one seed into the playoffs the Police United defeated the San Ignacio United Team by the score of 6-1. The visiting Police United Team scored the 1st goal of the game when Marlon Mesa scored the 1st of his 2 goals in the 23rd minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The Police lead was extended when Harrison Roaches scored his 1st of three goals in the 30th minute of play for a 2-0 lead. At the end of the first half of the game the score was 2-0 in favour of the Police United Squad. In the second half of the game, the Police United Team picked up right where it left off when Harrison Roaches scored his 2nd and 3rd goals in the 50th and 56th minutes of play for a 4-0 lead. The lead continued to expand when Clifton West scored in the 68th minute of play for a 5-1 lead.

Crooked Tree Government School girls and boys are Belize District Primary Schools Softball Champions
The Belize District Primary Schools Softball Competition came to an end on Tuesday 14 April, 2015, at Rogers Stadium with the championship games. In the girls’ championship game, Crooked Tree Government School defeated Pancotto Primary School from Sandhill by the score of 7-1 to capture the 2014-2015 Belize District Primary Schools Softball Championship. The winning pitcher was Charisse Quiros and the losing pitcher was Shanta Williams. In the first game of the championship, Crooked Tree Government School defeated St. John Vianney School by the score of 10-2. The winning pitcher was Charisse Quiros and the losing pitcher was Shanta Williams. In game two, Pancotto Primary School defeated Central Christian School by the score of 10-7. The winning pitcher was Ashia Metzkin and the losing pitcher was Kelsie Fuentez.

National Elite Basketball All Star game this weekend
The National Elite Basketball League All Star Night is scheduled for Saturday 18 April, 2015, at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town with the tip off of the SMART All Star Game being at 8:00 pm. Opening ceremonies and the introduction of players will be at 7:45 pm. The All Star Game will be followed by the Scotia Bank Three Point Shootout, with the night ending with the much anticipated Mek Mi Rich Slam Dunk Contest.

Volleyball to hold open tryouts for junior programmes
The Belize Volleyball Association will be holding open tryouts for the U-18 and U-16 female national teams on Saturday 18 April and on Sunday 19 April at 10:30 am. According to the Belize Volleyball Association the U-16 players must be born in 2000 or after and the U-18 players must be born in 1998 or after. The open tryouts will be lead by Coach Reyes.

Patrick JonesPJ

Prime Minister addresses national issues
Fort Street Tourism Village and the Feinstein Group have gone to court over the agreements signed in the early 2000’s for the then-Belize Tourism Village that gave it exclusive rights to dock cruise ship passengers. Michael Feinstein is now preparing to build his own docking facility at Stake […]

Santino Castillo hands over to Darrell Bradley in Caribbean Shores
The United Democratic Party (UDP) today it called the press to its headquarters to announce another confirmed candidate for the next general election: Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley. Bradley was slated to contest the Caribbean Shores electoral division against incumbent Minister of State Hon. Santiago “Santino” Castillo Jr […]

UB hosts annual research conference
In pursuit of its mandate to assist national development by producing timely and innovative research on national issues, the University of Belize (UB) hosted its annual research conference in Belize City today. The annual conference originated with the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences five years ago as […]

Northern Two Cayes mortgage holder wants payment
John Mills, holder of the mortgage on Northern Two Cayes in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, today stepped forward to address concerns having to do with the legal status of the ownership of Northern Two Cayes, which is currently held by Northern Two Cayes Company Ltd. and Lighthouse Reef […]

Tourism pioneer passes away
It is with heavy hearts and tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of this well accomplished tourism magnate, Peter Tonti on April 16, 2015. Mr. Peter Tonti, has always had Belize close at heart since his arrival to Belizean shores in the 1970’s as a volunteer in the Peace […]

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte scheduled to visit the Republic of China
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte and Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Eddie Webster are scheduled to visit the Republic of China from April 19 to 23, 2015. Belize is the only country in our region which has simultaneously been a member of both SICA and […]

PG Police charge driver for fatal Hit and Run
In the early hours of Monday morning, Punta Gorda police discovered the semi-nude and lifeless body of 56 year old Jose Morales, a resident of Big Falls village in the Toledo District. Authorities say, Morales was walking on the Southern Highway, between Lindo Hill and Big Falls Village when he was hit by an unknown vehicle and left to die. Inspector Ernel Dominguez of the Punta Gorda Police Formation revealed that Morales was a Guatemalan National residing in the village at the time and that the intense investigation by the police lead to the arrest of the culpable driver.

Breaking News: Hon. Santiago Castillo to announce resignation at a press conference this morning
Belize Media Group has just been informed that Hon. Santiago Castillo will announce his resignation as standard bearer for the Caribbean Shores Division at a press conference in Belize City this morning. Hon. Castillo will remain as Minister until the end of his term; however he will not be contesting the Caribbean Shores seat again in the next general election. The Hon. Santiago Castillo is Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development.

Blogs

Five Reasons to Head to Hopkins, Belize for May’s MANGO FESTIVAL
Hopkins is a beach town in Southern Belize (population 1500) that has really held on to its roots as a Garifuna Village. Well maybe that’s the wrong way to say it…it hasn’t held onto anything. It is a tiny Garifuna Village. A friendly place on a long strip of beach that will have you thinking about buying a shack on the Caribbean sea, quitting your job and relocating. Unlike some other larger, more touristy areas in Belize, there has been little development in the village center – and it is full of rustic charm. Think the smell creole bread baking over an open fire or roosters and school kids walking by you on the unpaved street. Or fishing dories pulled up along the beach. That being said…on both the Northern and Southern edges of the village – there are hotels with as many or as few luxuries as you desire. And for such a small village, they have some AMAZING restaurants.

International Sourcesizz

The Best Caribbean Snorkeling Islands
Caribbean Journal lists BELIZE as one of the Best Caribbean Snorkeling Islands. Woo Hoo!! Belize : It’s located right on the Western Hemisphere’s longest reef system, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and that means superb spots for snorkeling, from the coast of Ambergris Caye to Lighthouse Reef.

SCV Man Producing Episode of ‘Naked And Afraid’ in Belize
Producer Jimmy Sprague of Santa Clarita is set to work on an episode of the Discovery Channel’s popular television show “Naked and Afraid” in Belize this month. While Sprague worked with a crew of about 90 people during his time producing the CW improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, only five people are expected to accompany him on his new endeavor. “Every show is a different challenge,” Sprague said. “On this particular show, ‘Naked and Afraid,’ we’re going to be out there for 21 days– assuming that the contestants make it all 21 days –as opposed to maybe shooting one episode a week like a scripted show.” With a brand new season set to premiere Sunday, April 19, on the Discovery Channel, each episode of “Naked and Afraid” leaves two complete strangers stranded in a remote location without food, water or clothing.

Ratings for Economic Growth for Central America
Belize came in at position seven although having strong numbers in other areas. Belize set a new record for tourist arrivals with a total of 1,207,386. Belize has a small, privatized enterprise economy that is based petroleum export, agriculture, and tourism. Belize 2.0(2015), 3.0(2016), 2.5(2017).

Videos

  • Belizean Embassy in Vienna, Austria, min. There's a Belizean Embassy in Vienna, Austria with a beautiful Belizean coat of arms plaque on the exterior of the building and a gold-plated plaque inside the building proudly proclaiming it is the Belize Embassy in Austria, but it is forever locked and gated. There are office hours posted outside, but the Embassy is never open. Belizean in Vienna have been trying to reach the Belizean Ambassador there for months and no luck. Queries to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have elicited the "opening hours" for the never-opened Embassy, but no contact email or phone number for the ghost Ambassador who supposedly runs it. Not even a name. Such a disgrace! Anyone have any information on who this ghost is or how to reach him or her?

  • Belize Sea Goddess, 3min. A fund raising film for our new living sculpture in the sea initiative in Belize with the Dangriga fisherfolk.

  • Armand & Marko - Main Talk - Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel, 58min.

  • Fire in Belize, 2.5min.

  • Underwater Diving in Belize, 1min. Military archives

  • BSI CROP REVIEW WEEK 11, 3.5min.

  • Creando Un Futuro Mejor newly constructed facility, Guinea Grass, 3.5min. Viewers may recall that last year we reported on a story from Guinea Grass Village where students from the Heritage University of Washington, were collaborating with the residents from the Village to jumpstart an entrepreneurial project that seeks to empower and shape the lives of villagers from the area. When we left you, the project was at its birth stages where the students worked along with the women by teaching them to become self-sufficient by learning a skill. Since then, these women have formed a cooperative, namely the Creando Un Futuro Mejor but the group lacked resources and a facility that could house the group’s efforts. Today, all that changed when a newly constructed facility was inaugurated in the Village thanks to the generous assistance from working partners ….Reporter Maria Novelo takes a look at the developments made thus far.

  • Introducing EXPORTBelize BELTRAIDE, 4.5min.

  • noble spirits distillery: belize, 2min. construction has begun! Daniel, the local architect and contract, just got us this awesome drone footage.

  • Diving with dolphins in Belize, 1min. Diving in San Pedro with the dolphins.

  • La Ruta Maya River Challenge | Belize 2015, 2min.

  • Easter weekend caye caulker island belize split, 1.5min.

  • Fisher Folks Meet To Discuss State Of Fisheries In Belize, 2.5min.

  • Cave Tubing Belize, 2min.

  • Touring SanPedro, Belize via Golf Cart, 2min. Touring SanPedro, Belize via Golf Cart Tuesday, April 8, 2015 Ramons to Palapa's Bar and Back

  • Our Norwegian Cruise Vacation|Belize, Chukka Zip Line & Crystal Cave Day 4, 11min. Hey loves! So sorry it is taking me so long! But here is Day 4 of our Norwegian cruise! This was by far one of my favorite days! CHUKKA was amazing and the zip line and crystal cave was so...

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