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#503832 - 04/30/15 12:03 PM Today's Belize News: April 30, 2015
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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
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The San Pedro Sun

Tourism Statistics for January – March 2015
Tourism statistics for the first quarter of 2015 show that overnight arrivals remained steady while cruise arrivals grew significantly over the same period in 2014. There was a 1.1% increase in overnight arrivals in March 2015, representing an increase of 424 tourists over March 2014. This increase followed two months of decreases that were similarly small in magnitude, being 1.0% and 1.1% in January and February, respectively. The major factor influencing the results in the overnight sector was weather conditions. There were severe snow storms that took place frequently during this period, resulting in cancellation of flights that affected travel from Canada, as well as the Central and Eastern United States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York City – some originating destinations for visitors to Belize. Cruise arrivals in 2015 have seen major increases in January and March, with 16.6% and 15.8% increase, respectively. February 2015 saw a slight decrease of 2.7% which resulted from the cancellation of two ships due to adverse weather conditions that made it impossible for tendering to take place.

SPTC to launch free Wi-Fi at Central Park
Residents of San Pedro Town will soon be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi service at the Central Park courtesy of The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and the Government of Belize. That’s because Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) is fine-tuning final technical works to launch the free Wi-Fi internet service. The service is part of the government’s commitment to the residents of the island. Wi-Fi is the name of a wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed internet and network connections. According to Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the dialogue to install the free internet service at strategic public areas on the island started prior to the March 2015 municipal elections. “The project is a joint effort between the SPTC working along with the Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. We approached the Prime Minister, who agreed to assist us. We are the first municipality in the country that the Prime Minister approved this free internet service to,” explained Mayor Guerrero.

SP Sports Committee hosts another successful Football Marathon
The San Pedro Sports Committee hosted a fun filled football marathon on Sunday, April 26th for young athletes under the age of 14. The marathon was divided into two categories, Under 10 and Under 14, and saw boys from across San Pedro forming teams named after the top football clubs of the world. Family and friends of those participating came out from 11AM to show their support and cheer on the young footballers. Four teams registered in the Under 10 category. After a series of matches, teams Manchester United and Bayern Munich advanced to the finals. After 30 minutes of play time, neither team had scored so the match went into a penalty shootout. In the end, Manchester United emerged victorious over Bayern Munich with a 5 to 3 point game. Trophies were awarded to both the first and second place finishers. Individual trophies were also given to Mikey Stefan for Best Midfielder and Andy Perez for Best Defense.

Dog trainers on cruise ship visit SAGA in San Pedro
30 dog trainers and dog owners from the United States and Canada who were on board a cruise ship made a port call to Belize on Thursday April 23rd. While in the country, the group visited San Pedro Town’s SAGA Humane Society as part of a course called Education at Sea, featuring dog trainer specialist Heather Beck. The course gave the trainers and dog owners the opportunity to perform hands on work with SAGA, who operates a shelter for local dogs commonly referred to as “potlickers. The cruise took the animal lovers to places such as Roatan in Honduras, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico over the course of seven days. According to Beck, while on the boat, the dog trainers participated in courses within three specific areas. “We did a course called ‘Clients Conversation’ to teach trainers how to build their business communication and how to talk to their clients. Another area we covered was ‘Head Hunters” which is a tool used for dog training, and the third area was ‘Rehab Reality.’ That is an area I am specialized in and we look at ways to deal with training difficult dogs.”

Ambergris Today

Salpicon The Other Belizean Ceviche!
A great reunion begins with good family members or friends. And a perfect reunion or social gathering must have a delicious “boca” appetizer. This is what this succulent pork smoked salpicon is all about. Ingredients 1 Large Tomato 1 Large Onion 1 Large Lime Cilantro 1 Strip of Pork Shoulder Steak Seasonings Salt Black Pepper Pepper Sauce or Habaneros Directions

Has the seaweed gone FOREVER!?
We were surprised to see a sargasso-free beach this morning. Maybe the cold front and change of wind/tide had something to do with it. Either way, it is a sight for sore eyes.

Miss Chiquitita Pageant Annouces Contestants For 2015
Organizers for the Miss Chiquitita Pageant are pleased to present to you the five beautiful and talented young girls they are: *Seydi Medrano - 8-year-old – Wild Mangos, *Iansy Gordon - 9-year-old – Foreva Fancy, *Adriana Briceño - 8-year-old – Ashley's, *Killianie Sosa - 9-year-old – Gaby's Construction, *Alieah Moreira- 9-year-old – Lynn's Boutique. These lovely girls will take center stage on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the Old Football Field and will be judged in several categories which include swimsuit, talent and modeling and formal wear. The girls will also be delighting the crowd with dance presentations. Come and witness as one lucky girl is crowned Miss Chiquitita 2015. Prizes for Miss Amity and Miss Photogenic will be awarded as well as all contestants will receive great consolation prizes.

Tila Maria Comes to San Pedro for Night of Comedy and Entertainment
Tila Maria Sesto is a popular comedian from Merida. She appeals to a wide audience for her raw portrayal of the struggles that a Yucateca woman faces in a modern society where being true to the culture is perceived as odd behavior. The show is an adult show, due to explicit language, but it is important to note that this type of language is really part of the culture. This event is organized by Proud Mestizo Promotions in collaboration with the San Pedro House of Culture. Sponsors include Tropic Air Belize, San Pedro Sun and Ambergris Today.

Belize Tourism Statistics Show Steady Growth in First Quarter of 2015
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has released tourism statistics for the first quarter of 2015, which show that overnight arrivals remained steady, while cruise arrivals grew significantly over the same period in 2014. There was a 1.1% increase in overnight arrivals in March 2015, representing an increase of 424 tourists over March 2014. This increase followed two months of decreases that were similarly small in magnitude, being 1.0% and 1.1% in January and February, respectively. The major factor influencing the results in the overnight sector was weather conditions. There were severe snow storms that took place frequently during this period, resulting in cancellation of flights that affected travel from Canada, as well as the Central and Eastern United States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York City – some originating destinations for visitors to Belize.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Foreign Correspondent Banking Relationships
Several large American and European banks have recently decided to cut ties with select institutions in small developing countries, a decision that appears to be correlated with the imposition of heavy regulatory fines for infractions associated with the recent global financial crisis and violations of geo-political embargoes. The new strategy of these institutions involves a reduction in the scope of global operations to minimize the probability of incurring further sanctions and fines, a process known as “de-risking”. This is the context within which Belize Bank Limited and Belize Bank International Limited are losing foreign correspondent banking relationships. The public is informed that Belize’s other domestic banks (ScotiaBank Belize Ltd., Atlantic Bank Ltd., First Caribbean International Bank Ltd. and Heritage Bank Ltd.), all of which are authorized by the Central Bank of Belize to deal in foreign exchange, have not been affected. The Central Bank has been working closely with the Bankers Association to manage the situation and to ensure that international banking services to the general public are not unduly hindered. The public is therefore advised that the aforementioned banks will continue to conduct foreign exchange transactions (including wire transfers, bank drafts, letters of credit and bank guarantees) and that Belize Bank Ltd. will be making its reserves of foreign exchange available to the Central Bank to ensure that the needs of its customers and that of the rest of the domestic system will be served. Belize Bank Ltd. has also provided an assurance that all its other banking services (including credit card issuance and merchant acquiring services) will be continuing as usual while it continues to seek ties with other foreign correspondent institutions.

Commentary: The court ruling on the Maya land case in Belize will also impact Garifuna
By Wellington C. Ramos. Long before the Europeans came to the Caribbean, Americas and other parts of the world, people and nations were living in peace in their respective territories on this planet earth. History tells us that it was not only the Europeans that were roaming this planet committing atrocities against other people and nations in the beginning but several other nations as well. However, when we examine the nature of the atrocities that were committed against people and nations before the new world order was established in 1945, they are guilty of the most genocide and violations of human rights. Many of these occurred during the colonization of the world, when they went to all the continents and established their brutal rule by force with no regard to the indigenous people and nations. The establishment of the United Nations, World Court and other international institutions, gives people and nations the opportunity to seek redress and reparations for all the atrocities committed against their people and nation. Some of these indigenous people and nations have sought redress in national and international courts but have been denied justice.

Letter: The biggest hoax in Garifuna history!
By Joseph Guerrero. We are all familiar with the story, off the coast or Yurumein (St Vincent and the Grenadines) two slave ships crashed in the years 1635 and 1675 or thereabouts. According to no less than Henry Louis Gates Jr, who is the Alphonse Fletcher University professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University according to Wikipedia, this story has its origin in a report made by William Young in 1795. Gates does not mention the shipwreck of 1635; he mentions only the supposed shipwreck of 1675. Many Garifuna (adjective) intellectuals have picked up on this story and have spread this story deep into the Garifuna population. Many, this writer included, for a long time believed this story, depending on the veracity of the research of our intellectuals. Prior to learning of this historical “report”, all I knew of Garifuna origins, and I suspect many other Garinagu (plural of Garifuna singular), is that we were from Yurumein, now called St Vincent and the Grenadines. We were told the British brought us to Central America because we fought against them. Never had we been told we arrived to Yurumein (St Vincent and the Grenadines) by way of slave ships that crashed on the reefs near Yurumein. The rest of the story goes the Africans intermixed with the local inhabitants and formed a hybrid culture today called Garifuna.

Walk for a Green Belize 2015 Statistics
The Department of the Environment has released the statistics from this year's Walk for a Green Belize campaign The highway cleanup netted some 2,363 bags amounting to over 8 tons. Wow, time to stop littering! Great job, everyone! The DoE got some pictures from the event. "Volunteers collected 2,363 bages of garbage or 16,541 pounds of garbage off the George Price, Phillip Goldson and Hummingbird Highways... Belize, next year let's make it be less!"

Prime Minister’s Statement on PetroCaribe
"Now I want to say something about PetroCaribe in view of the continuing attack of those that are opposed and would wish legally and politically to stop the program. The decibel level of the anti-PetroCaribe campaign reached some quite extraordinary heights last week, with some of those against using some of the most unreasoning, incendiary language imaginable. I am not going to respond in kind. Indeed, I make a clear distinction between those critics that are pure haters, so to speak, and those that are genuinely concerned and unsettled. Whether through misunderstanding or out of, for them, legitimate disagreements with some aspects of PetroCaribe, that latter group must be engaged and answered. So today I speak to those well-intentioned Belizeans that might be experiencing some PetroCaribe disquiet, and not to the shrill and strident few. I want to remind that from the outset there was never anything remotely secret or opaque about the ‪#‎UDP‬ restart of PetroCaribe. We always saw the program as a huge potential aid in the development of Belize, but one that had gone dormant under the misuse of the PUP (who only ever operated the program for the befit of their cooperants down South). So after we signed the new Agreements with Venezuela and ‪#‎APBEL‬, we proudly trumpeted our achievement and made much of the tremendous windfall we expected to get and spend on the Belizean people.

YAM youth leaders visit the Independence Public Clinic
As part of the Belize Youth Leadership Initiative project, IVLP Alumni Kenny White, recently lead the YAM youth leaders and visited the Independence Public Clinic. The U.S. Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission, Bruce Matthews, and other U.S. Embassy staff joined Executive Director of the Belize Family Life Association and the youth leaders in this outreach program. The purpose of the visit was to conduct six video interviews with teen moms for the compilation of teen pregnancy video diaries entitled "This is my story." They also took the opportunity to chat two nurses and a gynecologist to gain perspective on teen pregnancy in the Independence community. The video diary will be posted on social media to promote awareness on teen pregnancy by inviting teen parents who watch the video to leave a comment or tell them "which one is their story.

Parents' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Bill
The Ministry of Education in Belize is currently consulting with stakeholders on, amongst other changes in education legislation, a new Parents' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. "ALL PARENTS HAVE THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS:...... ....Parents have the right to:......d) have their child receive courtesy and respect from (sic) regardless of actual or perceived race, colour, religion, age, creed, ethnicity, national origin, alienage, citizenship status, special needs or weight:...... 3 b) be treated with courtesy and respect by all school personnel, and to be accorded all rights without regard to race, colour, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, ethnicity, alienage/citizenship status or disability"

Cayo District Spelling Bee
Congratulations, Benita Caal, for taking 1st place at the Cayo District Spelling Bee. Have fun in Corozal,and study hard. "Benita Caal of Kuxlin Ha was 1st and will represent the Cayo District at the National Contest to be held in Corozal in June"

April 19 - April 25 2015 Belize Fishing Report
Despite the wind the permit fishing was on fire! More permit this week than I have seen in a long time. Saltwater anglers have a love - hate relationship with wind. They hate casting in it, but they love the way it camouflages their presence. With lots of wave action and wave noise it is easier to get closer to a permit than the calm day we all hope for. An ideal wind here is 8-10 mph out of the east, it is a perfect compromise of having enough wind to hide your approach and not so much wind that you can't cast or the guide can't handle the boat

Status of ‪Petrocaribe‬ Financing

Channel 7

Despite Public Criticism: PM Not Dissuaded On Petrocaribe Loan Act
The Petrocaribe Loan Act – it’s already law – but the public debate about it continues – and opponents in the opposition and the say they are gaining steam. Well, today Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference to try and cool them off, and create his own momentum for the Petrocaribe funded programme of government spending. He did this at the Biltmore before the largest press conference crowd we’ve seen in years: about 110 people crowded into a conference room for an exceptionally long two hours 16 minute press conference. But while PM Barrow made the case for Petrocaribe inside, outside the opposition struck with a quickly organised protest. Tonight you’ll hear both sides of the story. But we start inside the press conference where the PM took a break from his usual swagger and appeared almost contrite when he explained why his administration never took the Petrocaribe borrowing to the House in the first place:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Hindsight is always twenty twenty, the move that completes now is that we never went to parliament right at the time we signed the restart. If a house wife is given credit by the shopkeeper for the groceries she receives.

Petrocaribe Funds Will Be Used To Buy Portions of Superbond Back
And to make what the UDP insists is a wholesome spending programme seem downright virtuous, the Barrow Administration is now going to use Petrocaribe funds for more than just lavish public spending on infrastructure: the PM wants to buy back Belize’s debt. Here’s how he explained it:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Petrocaribe last long enough, we fully intend to use it to buy back as much of the super bond as we can. Thus saving Belizeans very many millions in debt servicing. Let me go further, I commit today, that every penny collected from petrocaribe as of April 1st 2015, the start of this financial year through to March 31st 2016 will be left in the central bank. And there after, starting April 1st 2017 - and we fully expect the UDP to be here at that time; starting April 1st 2017, not less than half of every dollar to be collected from petrocaibe will be marked for the super bond buy back.”

PUP Protests Petrocaribe Press Conference
And while buying back Belize’s expensive commercial debt, with concessionary debt is a proposition that is hard to argue with, he’s not about to win over the opposition. They disagree fundamentally with the way the borrowing bypasses parliament – and today, while Barrow was praising Petrocaribe inside, outside, the PUP was pouring scorn on it with a hastily organised protest. They went to work in front of the Biltmore – and 7News was there: Daniel Ortiz Reporting…. Police officers restricted traffic on the road in front of the Biltmore Plaza Hotel by setting up a checkpoint and a barrier. The Biltmore compound was also secured by officers who restricted access to the hotel. They were responding to intelligence which said that the PUP intended to stage a protest outside the Prime Minister’s press conference. UDP supporters and contract officers were granted entrance without much difficulty while everyone else, well… They had to prove that they had a legitimate purpose to enter the compound, or else, they would be barred. Police were determined to keep order and didn’t want agitators or persons who would disrupt the press conference to go in.

Land Minister Discusses Caye Caulker Beachfront Dispute
And while Petro-talk dominated today’s very long and very news-heavy press conference, we did get to ask the Minister of Natural Resources about those parcels of land on Northern Caye Caulker. As we reported last week, two British retirees and the former chairman of Caye Caulker are among a group of at least 14 landowners who had beachfront property – only to find that new lots had been created on the beach and seabed in front of their properties. Those 14 landowners had retained an attorney – but after two years with no progress – they called in the media. Well, seems the matter was resolved faster than you can say “election di cohn!” Today at the prime minister’s press conference Lands Minister Gaspar Vega said that as many as 15 leases for beach land and seabed had been cancelled:… Hon. Gaspar Vega - Minister of Lands "There's 100 of people being affected by this act. This is something that started from 2004. So far, the people on the television complaining about they being disenfranchised of their beach front. That was not so, just that they did not come visit us, they either went to the media before they came to us. Because that was a case that was brought to us I think in 2011 and immediately the permission to survey was cancelled. They were some leases issued. I think they brought 7 cases to us and they were all cancelled - the leases.

Police Minister's Take On Bze City Murder Spike
And we return to the story I told you about before the break. That is the spate of murders in the Belize District between Saturday night andMonday morning. Today, the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar said that to curb the spree, it will take increased patrols and more importantly “social intervention.” Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of Police "Well, we know the spikes have become a routine every now and then we get an increase in the amount of murders and each time we do - we try to re-strategise. We look at the particular areas that are being effected, the particular gangs that are involved. We try to talk to them, council them but we also try to reconfigure our patrols and our strategies in those areas and that's best as we can do now. We must recognise thought that a lot of these murders are really confined to certain elements within the city and the police department itself I believe cannot be expected to know each and every time that these people are going to commit a murder. We don't have a police on every street corner. We just got to keep working with it in terms of our patrols. I believe that more social interventions and speaking with these people to see how they can resolve their conflicts differently."

Mr. Rigo's Suspected Killer In Detention?
Last night, we told you about the 42 year-old San Pedro taxi driver Jose Beltran who was found dead in his van with a gunshot in the head. Well tonight, more details are known since police have released the official details today. As we reported, police received information of an abandoned taxi van which was in a bushy section of the San Juan Area of San Pedro. The engine was still running and police found the well-known and well-liked taximan’s body inside. He had been shot into the head, his shirt was off, he was gagged and blindfolded, and his hands and feet were taped together.Beltran, knowna s Mr. Rigo – who was a law-abiding citizen – was most likely killed so that his assailants could use his vehicle in the commission of a crime. What investigators have been able to piece together is that shortly before his body was discovered, residents saw his van speeding to that area, and it appears that the person who was behind the wheel crashed it and left it there. Two men were seen exiting the van, and eyewitnesses observed when they jumped into a waiting vessel with other men inside.

San Pedro Police Caught Guns and Bulletproof Vest
San Pedro police also made a seizure of 2 handguns and a cache of ammunition yesterday. Acting on Special Branch intelligence, a team of police officers visited a section of the San Mateo area at around 5:30. They conducted a sweep and ended up finding a red and black string bag. Inside it, the officers found a 9mm pistol with an extended magazine, and another .45 pistol with a magazine of its own. Another black plastic bag was found with 40 live rounds of 9mm ammunition, and 11 live rounds of .45 ammunition. The officers also found a black bullet proof vest.

Police Minister Discusses Controversial Seaman, Keyren Tzib
Earlier this month we reported on the shocking shooting incident at the Coast Guard headquarters. Coast Guard Keyren Tzib shot her colleague Kurt Hyde to the back and the bullet exited his cheek. Apparently she has a history of violent encounters with colleagues and as a result of this, coast guard officials sent in a disciplinary file to the Security Commission years ago but nothing was done about it and she remained in the rank of SEAMAN at the coast guard. Now could the shooting have been avoided if the commission had acted promptly? We asked Minister of National Security, John Saldivar today and here is what he had to say. Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of Police "I think first of all, we've got to acknowledge that the coast guard, the management of the coast guard did all that it could within it's power to deal with the situation prior to this. They took the matter to the commission but the commission made the decision that they made. We're currently reviewing what was done in terms of the placement of Ms. Tzib to keep her out of these sort of situation.

PM's Resolution for US Bank De-risking
At the top of the newscast, we told you about today’s press conference where much of the talk was about Petrocaribe. But the event last almost two and a half hours, and the Prime Minister spent the first 70 minutes going through a number of issues of public interest. Foremost among them is the Belize Bank – and the recent loss of its correspondent banking relationship with the Bank of America. That was the subject of a meeting the Prime Minister held with Bank officials in Miami this weekend – and today he told the media that the message coming out of those meetings is that the rest of the banking sector is stable:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "A part from the Belize Bank, there is none of those local banks which is in any danger of having Bank of America withdraw in corresponding banking relationship them. That was absolutely confirmed to me by all the officials with whom I met. There is not any sort of looming storm cloud in the horizon. I want to make clear, that Bank of America insists that it is nothing that the Belize Bank has done wrong.

How To Resolve FSTV/Feinstein Dispute Out Of Court?
The other issued discussed in Miami was the future of cruise tourism in the Belize District. The Fort Street Tourism Village has a contractually guaranteed exclusive until for the next decade or more, while Mike Feinstein has parliamentary approval for his Stake Bank project. In the middle of all this is Carnival Cruise line which brings in the most cruise ships to Belize annually. So whose side are they on? They told the Prime Minister they are good with Stake Bank:.. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Carnival then, in essence is saying - by all means get the new cruise port built, we will encourage that, we're not saying to you if you can't, we stop coming. And secondly they are saying, in terms of who builds it, that's for the government and Mr. Feinstein and FSTV to work out. I have said to the FSTV principals just last week before I went to Miami - that there thought, that they could build the cruise port at stake bank is not going to fly. Mr. Feinstein has made plain that he's not going to sell his island. He doesn't mind their partnering with him but in a minority role. And in any case as they have made clear to me, even if they had the island and they could raise the financing to construct the facilities - they would require a government guarantee of some 80 ode million US dollars.

Gov't Does Not Accept Communal Rights Concept; Accepts Mayan Human Rights
And another issue of urgent public interest is Mayan Communal Land Rights. Last week, when the Caribbean Court of Justice met in Belize, Government agreed to respect those rights. The Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes’ Association took this as a victory – but today the Prime Minister qualified the government’s position:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "That consent order does not find or establish that the Maya have indigenous title. As I understand it, indigenous title is a term that carries a particular meaning in international law and practice. In effect, if the Maya had indigenous title, that would mean they would be entitled to communal land ownership. The consent order does not establish that. What we considered was that, there claim for property rights, there entitlement - we can see there is an entitlement to property rights.

PM Resisting Compensation To Mayans
But, the issue of compensation is also – by government’s argument – impermissible. Government has argued before the court that they don’t wish to pay such compensation and today the Prime Minister explained why:… Adele Ramos – Amandala Newspaer “Why is it that the Government resisted the Maya’s claim for damages? I understand that they aren’t asking for that much. It’s about 1.5 million. Can You explain?” Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “Because, Adele, it is not, to my mind, a claim rooted in law, and I believe, what I am told. The Judges of the CCJ who might have been inclined to be sympathetic sort of said to our attorney, ‘Well, maybe they haven’t made out a legal case for it, but in the spirit of reconciliation.’ Well, if I started doing that, when will I give to the Garifuna Council damages? When will I give the Kriol organisation damages? We are all historically oppressed people, you know.”

Petrocaribe Mother's Day Cheer For All Area Reps'
But oppression is not the word that comes to mind when the Prime Minister starts to boast about the largesse of the Petrocaribe funds. That will be on full display when Mother’s day rolls around in a few weeks and UDP area representatives will be sharing out fifty thousand dollars worth of cheer among their favoured female constituents. The PUP representatives – who have shared in cheer before – have taken the position that they will no longer do so on principle. But the PM today said at least one of them was looking to abandon that hardline:.. Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize May I tell you that I’ve been approached by a PUP representative asking for a share of the Mother’s Day Christmas Cheer?” Crowd “Which one?” Hon. Dean Barrow “I’m not calling any names. I’m not calling the man’s name. I told him, I can give you, but I have to make it public. Let me offer to all of them $25,000 each, as part of – Man, even though they are quarrelling with us, everybody must enjoy Petrocaribe, and their constituents, they have mothers too. They can get $25,000 for each representative, but they need to work that out with Francis and Julius.”

Petrocaribe Funds Will Prop Up Citrus Industry
And there’s also some largesse to go around in the citrus industry where Petrocaribe funds are making three million dollars – and possibly more available to tide farmers over until their final payment comes in. The Prime Minister explained:.. Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “Government, out of Petrocaribe Funds – and the farmers at CPBL were told this – will provide a 2 million dollar working capital facility so that the farmers can get paid now what they are due. They actually need 4 million. We have gone – I have gone to Heritage Bank, and Heritage Bank says it will put up to the other 2. I believe Steve is a man – he has to go to his Board. But, if that doesn’t happen, we will give them the entire 4 million dollars. When I say give, they are not asking. It’s – CPBL will pay us back.”

Petrocaribe Funds Indirectly Pays For Teachers/Public Officer Increment
And the PM also made it clear that those same Petrocaribe loan funds – which the Trade Union Congress has said is being legitimized by dubious legislation – is also indirectly making it possible for teachers and public officers to get a 4% increment this year. He explained that while they are not being paid with Petrocaribe, Petrocaribe is creating the fiscal room for them to get their raise:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "The plain truth is that without the flexibility for government to tap into petrocaribe for capital finances and other non recurring investments, we would have not been able to commit the portion of incremental revenue for salary adjustments that we have committed. Joe Waight, the financial secretary will tell you, that we're about to spend another 20-25 million dollars on further salary increases for the teachers and public officers this year. When do we do it Joe? July retrospective to April 1st. Petrocaribe directly enables us to be able to do that sort of thing.”

Petrocaribe Will Roll In Rural Areas
And Government as also recently signed off on contracts which will extend Petrocaribe spending on infrastructure form strictly urban to rural areas. The Prime Minister outlined the areas that will be getting attention:… Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “The rollout to the rural areas begins now. Mr. Gentle, the CEO of Works, is here to tell you about the contracts that we have just gotten through signing. There are these contracts signed for Petrocaribe projects in Belize Rural Central, Toledo East, Stann Creek West, Corozal Southwest, Cayo Northeast, Cayo North, Orange Walk East, and Orange Walk North. So Petrocaribe is coming to Trial Farm, Ladyville, San Narcisco, Bella Vista, Succotz, Independence, Esperanza, Bullet Tree, and Carmelita, and it I will not stop until every village constituency – not every village – every village constituency in the entire country would have received its fair share of Petrocaribe.” A fair share for villages, and even a Petrocaribe prayer for the churches. That’s one more petro powered initiative the PM discussed today:… Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “I’m happy to see Pastor Howell Longsworth in the audience because I have a letter from Bishop Phillip Wright on Anglican Diocese of Belize Stationary, but writing on behalf of both the Belize Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association, as a follow up to our conversation - the conversation between him and myself – regarding the support of your administration for the construction of an Ecumenical Chapel on the grounds of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. That’s a consummation devoutly to be wished. The Government will finance the entirety of the construction out of Petrocaribe Funds. And the Churches know the source of the funding, and are comfortable.”

Why Police Haven't Taken Action For DJ Vintage's Alleged Assault
Last night we told you about Edison Usher, better known as DJ Vintage. HE says that a man pointed a gun at him at the Romy Badillo fundraising event that took place earlier this month. He has made an official police report but says the police aren’t doing anything about it. Today we asked Commissioner Whylie for his comment. Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police "I can tell you that I first became aware of that situation I believe on Friday, when I had a call from the common law wife of the DJ. I spoke to the OCED, she gave me certain information in terms of the course of action that was being taken. My instructions to her was to get in the gentleman that made the complaint and to brief him in terms of where they are in the investigation and why is it that they have not reached the decision to charge Mr. Marin. And that is what I will respond to - but I'll definitely have OCED explain to you why is it - because I don't think the complainant is being forthright as he should be."

A Tornedo-Like Storm In Toledo?
In 2011, we told you about a storm which behaved like a tornado and tore up homes in Crooked Tree Village. Then another similar storm tore up homes in Maskall Village. In both instances, the National Met Service told us that these storms, though the behaved like tornadoes, are not that type of weather system, which are native to the US Midwest. Well yesterday, another very similar tornado-like swept through southern Belize and caused damages. We haven’t been able to confirm the number of communities affected, but our information says that a number of families had their thatch roofs blown off in San Antonio Toledo. Then, in PG Town, itself, a family’s house room was torn off last night. Then, this tree, which is over a hundred years old, was uprooted. We’ve been trying to reach NEMO personnel in Toledo, but we were unsuccessful. We did reach NEMO minister Godwin Hulse, who is currently abroad, and he told us that his ministry is aware of the situation.

Police Training Academy Get New Facilities
In 2010, the then police Minister Doug Singh famously commented on the senior police officers with some senior pot bellies. Well, now the police department is doing something about getting its officers in shape. They’ve put together a gym and a track – and I found out more when I visited today:… Everything was funded through contributions from the business community, members of the Police Department and canteen funds at a total cost of Fifty-Two Thousand Dollars.

Poultry Industry's Continued Crisis
A week ago, we told you about the difficult situation facing poultry farmers of Spanish Lookout who had to kill off 60,000 of their birds which were infected with avian influenza. They agreed to basically dump 3 million dollars’ worth of investment out of an abundance of caution because they agreed that the general public shouldn’t be exposed to a potential public health risk. Well, that action has put a financial hurting on those farmers, and while we were in Spanish Lookout, we approached several farmers to speak with us about the difficulties of that decision to comply. They all directed us to the designated spokesperson, Orlando Habet, who up until a few days ago, was out of the country. Well, we finally got an opportunity to speak with Habet today at the PUP’s Petrocaribe protest, and he described to us the farmers’ perspective of this crisis they are trying to recover from:

No Helicopter Any Time Soon?
But one thing Petrocaribe isn’t paying for is the new helicopter that government announced 6 months ago. It still hasn’t appeared – and today we asked the Prime Minister about it – which led to a cold exchange:…

Channel 5

Derisking is Minor Setback to Belize’s Banking Sector
The Prime Minister took on a number of issues this morning at a press conference that started at ten and continued until about twelve-twenty. P.M. Dean Barrow spoke on a [...]

Belize Bank Fully Supported by G.O.B. and Central Bank Through Derisking Hiccup
Now for policy matters, the Bank of America has withdrawn as corresponding bank to the Belize Bank. The PM explained that there has been nothing awry and that the government [...]

Executive Chairman Says It’s Business As Usual for Belize Bank
In past three or four years, the large U.S. Banks and some European Banks have been facing some of the largest fines in the history of banking. Those fines, according [...]

P.M. Addresses Legalities of Petrocaribe Loan Act
At least half an hour of the two-hour long press conference this morning was dedicated to Petrocaribe, the controversial project which spawned the controversial Loans Act and Bill. The Opposition [...]

“Petrocaribe is Here to Stay” – P.M. Barrow
The matter of the illegality is still before the courts, but where the outcry from the Opposition, VIP, church, business sector and unions is concerned, the Prime Minister isn’t at [...]

Petrocaribe Rolls Out Countrywide…
Amidst all that was said about Petrocaribe this morning, there were only a couple things we hadn’t heard before. One is that those glorious monies will be rolling down south [...]

Citrus Farmers Receive Boost With… You Guessed It, Petrocaribe Funds
As we mentioned earlier, Petrocaribe monies will be used to bail out C.P.B.L.  It’s not the first time the company is being assisted, so to speak, by government. In fact [...]

…What Else Will It Be Spent On?
As you’ve noticed, where the government is concerned, Petrocaribe is the biggest thing, bar none. Politically, it’s been a game-changer for the United Democratic Party, especially since with the passing [...]

Does Petrocaribe Cover Health and Education Too?
As you can see, it’s a long list of projects which span the country, and it’s mainly infrastructure – from sporting complexes to the City Centre to million dollar roundabouts [...]

P.U.P. Protests Outside P.M.’s Press Conference
As early as six-thirty this morning, Police were on high alert at the Biltmore Plaza, putting up barricade and roping off a section of the parking lot. All that activity [...]

Details of P.M.’s Carnival Meeting Disclosed
The prime minister’s recent trip to Miami where he met with senior executives from the Bank of America, also included a meeting with Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Lines.  [...]

Carnival’s Two Cents on Stake Bank Development
During the meeting with the Carnival executive, several benefits, including distance and safety, were also outlined from use of the proposed Stake Bank project.  The issue of a causeway connecting [...]

What’s the P.M.’s Take on CCJ’s Maya Land Rights Ruling?
The Caribbean Court of Justice issued a milestone decision on the issue of Maya land rights a week ago.  Since then the ruling, as well as the consent order, has [...]

Upcoming Mother’s Day Cheer Extended to P.U.P. Area Reps
Today, the Prime Minister announced that all U.D.P. Area Representatives will be receiving fifty-thousand dollars to give out for the now annual Petrocaribe-funded Mother’s Day Cheer program. The P.U.P. has [...]

ComPol Whylie on Spike in Crime in Belize City
Our records show that in the first four months of the year, there have been forty-three murders; that is twelve more than in the same period in 2014. Our stats [...]

Carlos Cassanova Jr. Charged With Corozal Murder
Mark Edward Massam was hacked to death on December ninth, 2014 on College Road in Corozal Town allegedly by Carlos Cassanova Junior who was in turn shot by police.  He [...]

Police Training Academy Inaugurates Gym
A ribbon cutting ceremony for a newly constructed running track and gym at the National Police Training Academy was held today at its compound in the Capital. The facilities will [...]

Police Officers Transferred
Several transfers are in the pipeline for senior officers in the Police Department, says Commissioner Allen Whylie. The transfers are part of an annual process and effective July of this [...]

U.S. Embassy Recognizes Local Youth Groups
The U.S. Embassy recognized four youth groups for doing outstanding work in their communities. Today, the youth presented on the projects which included works to rehabilitate a center to provide [...]

LOVE TV

PM Returns From Business Trip in the US
As we mentioned earlier, the Prime Minister returned home today after travelling to the United States on Saturday to attend meetings with the Carnival cruise lines and members of the financial sector who are engaged in business with our local banks. We were at the airport when PM Barrow arrived and while he would not ...

Fonseca Sends Strong Letter to PM …. PM Says No Turning Back with PetroCaribe
The PetroCaribe Bill has stirred reaction from various corners of the country but more dominantly by the Opposition Party, particularly, Cayo South Area Representative, Julius Espat. Espat is supported by his party, the PUP and today, the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca told the media that he would be sending a letter to the ...

A Look At Internal Affairs of the Belize Police
The Professional Standards Branch is an arm of the Belize Police Department that is tasked with weeding out the corrupt officers and bringing disciplinary actions against police officers when reports of abuse, extortion, or any other offenses are made against an officer. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Noel Leal is the officer heading that unit. Love ...

Wayne Rock Killed on Reggae Street
A shooting incident after seven o’clock last night claimed the life of 29-year-old Wayne Rock of a Jane Usher Boulevard address in Belize City. Rock was reportedly sitting in a van on Reggae Street when he was approached by a gunman who shot him multiple times. Superintendent Hilberto Romero spoke on this recent homicide. One ...

Engineer Killed While Socializing in Bar
Reports of a stabbing incident came to Love News just before ten o’clock on Saturday night where an engineer was stabbed to death, allegedly and ironically by a person who was hired at the location to maintain law and order. Superintendent Hilberto Romero briefed the media on the incident. Love News understands that Cisneros and ...

Man Shot Dead on His Way To Work
Violence claimed four lives over the last three days, all four murders recorded in the Belize District. The last murder was reported in Mahogany Heights this morning. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the story.

April Murders 12 and 13: Mark Medina and Tyrone Neal
The weekend murders in the Belize District have taken the body count for the month of April to about fourteen. Renee Trujillo followed the two city murders that occurred this past Sunday

PlusTV

Latest murder in Belize City claims life of 29 year old
The murder carnage in Belize City continues as gunshots were heard again in the Southside. This time it took place on Reggae Street around 7:20 Monday night and the target was a resident of Jane Usher Boulevard...

Shot taxi driver succumbs to injuries
He was shot on Sunday morning after dropping off a fare on Iguana Street. On Monday night, 55 year old taxi operator Egbert Hemmans of Central American Boulevard succumbed to his injuries in hospital...

PUP ready for street action over Petrocaribe
Elements of the opposition to the Petrocaribe Loan Act 2015 are prepared to take their frustration to the streets, a favorite tactic of dissent...

P.M. says hell no to Petrocaribe repeal
He is expected to address it further at Wednesday’s press conference but on the heels of the announcement by the Leader of the Opposition this morning Prime Minister Dean Barrow said not only no, but hell no to the prospect of any repeal of the Petrocaribe Loan Act, 2015. He explains why. Hon...

PUP file claim on 13th Senator
The United Democratic Party (UDP) made it a major plank of their campaign in 2008: the legislation to implement a thirteenth seat in the Senate for the non-governmental organization (NGO) community...

Guatemalan charged for unlawful Xate cultivation
In March 19th earlier this year, 18 young men joined the ranks of the Friends for conservation’s park rangers...

Gaspar Vega begs out of testimony in libel case
He was quick to demand an apology when it aired and even quicker to sue when he did not get one. But Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, who claims to have been libeled by a broadcast bought and paid for by the family of the late Ramon Cervantes, Sr., of Orange Walk Town last Novemberappears not a...

Partnering to address climate change issues
Today’s temperature in Belmopan was forecasted at 102 degrees Fahrenheit at its highest but weahter.com says it really will feel like 111 degrees in the capital...

Performance by Square Peg Players
The square peg players, a renowned performing group in Belmopan, formed in 1973, fell dormant after the group went through several leadership changes...

Blue House security guard charged with murder
Police have laid murder charges against one of the two security guards who stabbed 41 year old Wilmer Cisneros of Western Paradise to death on Saturday night at the Blue House Bar in Ladyville. He is Diarron Hamilton, also known as Percy...

Home owner chops man attempting break in
Andre Alvarez, a construction worker of Police Street, is accused of attempting to break into the Linda Vista residence of Steven Swasey, only to be met by the homeowner with a machete in hand...

Cold Front in April?
There will be a dramatic change in weather conditions this week. According to Accuweather.com while much of april is generally associated with dry weather conditions, this year temperatures soared well above normal...


Top
#503833 - 04/30/15 12:04 PM Re: Today's Belize News: April 30, 2015 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Guardian

Health Hookup
It is Hot Outside I will make this week’s health article very simple. It is HOT outside, drink water! For the past two days in Belize City the “feels like temperature” has exceeded 100F and there doesn’t appear to be any indication that the rest of the summer will be less forgiving. I covered this topic last week but I will state it again, it is hot which means you are more susceptible to dehydration, especially people over the age of 60 and young children. Some of the symptoms of mild dehydration are: • Dry lips and mouth • Dizziness • Headaches Unless you are in an air conditioned environment all day, you will need to increase your daily fluid intake (water, not beer) to help prevent dehydration. To help with this it is advisable to keep a glass/jug/bottle of water within reach to serve as a reminder of the need to drink more fluids. For those who don’t like the taste of water, you can get creative by adding fruits to flavor your water or brew a jug of iced tea. If you will be in the sun for extended periods you should take other precautionary measures such as wearing sunblock, hat and sunglasses.

Anti Petro Caribe lobby going around the media Mulberry bush
The anti-Petro Caribe lobby took on a fever pitch between last week and this week with the same suspects taking their arguments to all talk shows in mulberry bush fashion. Each of the suspects took time out to make appearances early in the morning on all radio and television stations which would allow them the time. Those suspects include Audrey Matura, Dickie Bradley, Mark Lizarraga, Julius Espat and Francis Fonseca. Round and round they have gone for two consecutive weeks taking turns at repeating their rhetoric almost like the nursery rhyme in the hopes that Belizeans would somehow, due to repetition, get on board with their agenda. They have gone to great lengths to try to say to Belizeans that the Petro Caribe bill is the worst thing to hit Belize since Hurricane Hattie. As they are going about each of the suspects are carrying along with an identical argument, almost a rehearsed argument as to why there should be no support for the bill. They say it is illegal, they say it is immoral.

Ministry holds consultation on Education Sector Strategy
The Ministry of Education launched the Belize Education Sector Reform Project on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 and key officials are now meeting with relevant stakeholders to review the implementation strategy of that reform project. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, David Leacock, says the project has three main objectives: improving governance in the education sector with emphasis on improved student achievement; increasing access and equity at all levels of education and; enhancing quality and relevance throughout the education system. These goals will only be accomplished with a strong partnership between Government, educators and parents. Therefore, the Ministry will be holding consultations with these stakeholders to go over the key components of the education sector strategy. Leacock says with the focus on improving governance, there will be the implementation of accountability systems to strengthen leadership in schools and throughout the education sector. There will also be continued investment in human resource development as well as the strengthening of management and evaluation systems. The effort to improve governance has already seen the passing of amendments to the Education and Training Act. Such amendments strengthen the accountability system of the education sector by transferring power from the executive to stakeholders as seen in the Teaching Services Commission.

National Agriculture Show starts this Friday in Belmopan
Thousands of Belizeans from both at home and abroad are now gearing up to visit the National Agriculture and Trade Show NATS, this coming Friday, which conveniently is Labor Day, while the show has also been scheduled to continue on both Saturday and Sunday of this coming weekend. Almost complete, the Agriculture Show Grounds is a well managed area under the auspices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and is located by Roaring Creek Village and the Guanacaste Park, within walking distance from the main entrance to Belmopan City. The theme for this year’s show is “Stimulating Prosperity in Agriculture and Food Production through Renewed Public Private Partnership.” To bring in the crowds, the entrance to the Agriculture Show grounds will be free on Friday to honor our hard working Belizeans and their families. A concert will start right after the official opening ceremonies at around 2:30 pm this Friday at the Creek Side Entertainment Stage. Entrance fees for Saturday and Sunday are $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children within the age range of 12 to 5 year old. To facilitate the crowd’s access to the show grounds there will be three entrances. The ‘main gate’ remains a pedestrian entrance while the ‘4H Gate doubles as a pedestrian and vehicular entrance. The ‘Roaring Creek Bridge Gate’ remains the vehicle exit gate, but a new pedestrian visitor center is being built and pedestrians can now enter there.

Making Santa Elena Town in Cayo Central into a ‘Little Miami’
Work continues within the Cayo Central Division to increase job opportunities for young people; to give them a broader horizon. These projects to create employment in Cayo Central vary from infrastructural works to investments in education. One mega project within Cayo Central that has been boosting the employment numbers is the pre-planning work for the bye-pass that will connect San Ignacio to Santa Elena Town. While the contract for this future bridge has been signed, the design plans had to be redone to accommodate measures to use local materials and equipment rather than use imported ones. Plans are also now on the drawing board to convert Santa Elena Town into a ‘Little Miami.’ These plans envisage street lights along the highway from Red Creek to the Hawkesworth Bridge. There will also be sidewalks along from Red Creek to the Hawkesworth Bridge to improve the safety margins for pedestrians. Traffic lights will also be placed by Alwin’s Store in Santa Elena, given that the current intersection in that area becomes very busy with motorists at times.

Ten Years and 4 Months Ago
On Tuesday March 10th 2015 the Nation was stunned by the revelations made by Orange Walk Central Representative and former PUP Deputy Party Leader John Briceño via a recorded conversation he had with fellow PUP Julian Chell. Several misgivings of the 1998-2008 Musa/Fonseca Administration were chronicled including the Yen Swap, Galleria Maya, BTL and Intelco. The wheeling and dealing of the leaders of that era has become legendary. It is a fact that we Belizeans have a very short term memory so those of us who are old enough to have witnessed these acts of corruption have probably archived these events somewhere in the darkest recesses of our minds. Then there are those who were too young to have been able to comprehend what was taking place at the time. The following which was taken from Channel 7 News’ archives is for the benefit of both groups…lest we forgot. Musa Comes Clean on BTL/ICC/Intelco/Prosser. On the 10th of December, 2004 the National Assembly met to conduct important government business including the passage of the finance and audit reform bill, the cruise ship port development project bill, and the mutual legal assistance in criminal matters bill. But perhaps one of the most interesting moments came when the Prime Minister finally revealed and unveiled the long obscured inner-workings of the Jeffrey Prosser/BTL deal. We first go to his response to a question by the leader of the Opposition.

Despite Bad Weather Tourist Arrivals Increase
Tourist arrivals increased in the first quarter of 2015 by 7.75 percent despite numerous weather impacted cancellations. 457,072 tourists arrived in Belize over the first three months of 2015, which is 32,873 more than the same period in 2014. The Belize Tourism Board reports that there were severe snow storms that took place during the months of January to March of 2015 which resulted in cancellation of flights from premiere disembarkation points such as Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York in the United States as well as major cities in Canada. Despite numerous flight and subsequent accommodation cancellations, overnight tourist arrivals only decreased in the first quarter of 2015 by 0.2 percent. 101,981 visitors spent at least one night in Belize in 2014. This number decreased to 101,747 in 2015. When the snow storms were most severe, January and February, overnight arrivals decreased by 1.0 and 1.1 percent respectively for an overall decrease of 1.04 percent in January and February 2015. As the weather improved, overnight arrivals did as well with a 1.1 increase in arrivals for the month of March 2015.

Bar room fight turns deadly in Ladyville, security guard charged for murder
The weekend between, Friday April 25, and early Monday evening April 27, passed with 6 people being killed in the Belize District. The first happened on Saturday night, at the Blue House Bar in Ladyville Village on Saturday at around 9:30 p.m. A group of Hispanic men went to socialize at the bar, and among the patrons were 30 year-old Roger Jimenez, a Nicaraguan construction worker, and 41 year-old Wilmer Antonio Cisneros, a supervisor for Matus and Matus Engineering. From what police have been able to gather so far, the security guards, who were on duty at the time, approached the men and asked them to pay the fee to be inside the bar, which is a usual occurrence. It appears that the men did not want to pay, and so, some sort of misunderstanding took place, which then erupted into a fight. Sometime in the course of that fight, both Cisneros and Jimenez were stabbed by one of the security guards. Cisneros’ injuries to the chest and abdomen were grievous, and resulted in his death right inside the bar.

Busted with 134 grams of weed
Anne Andrews, 52, is out on bail after she pleaded not guilty to a charge of drug trafficking on Monday, April 27. Police searched Andrews’ home at #3 Castle Street, Belize City on Friday, April 24, and found two bags of weed. One amounted to 69.4 grams and the other was 64.5 grams. Andrews was the only person home at the time of the search, therefore, she was charged with drug trafficking. When she appeared in court on Monday, April 27, Andrews was read two counts of drug trafficking. Magistrate Herbert Panton asked the prosecutor, Cpl. Kennard Clark, why was Andrews facing two counts when the matter arose from the same discovery. Prosecutor Clark took the Magistrate comments into consideration and added the amount of weed together to file one charge. Andrews pleaded not guilty to one count of drug trafficking. There was no objection to bail which was offered in the sum of $3,000 plus one surety of the same amount.

CCJ to hear criminal case appeal
Last week the Caribbean Court of Justice decided that it will hear the first criminal appeal coming out of Belize. That appellant will be 28 year-old Gregory August, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the May 2009 murder of 73 year-old Alvin Robinson. Eamon Courtenay, the former President of the Bar Association told the press back in January that the reason why no criminal appeals have been taken to the Caribbean Court of Justice before August’s case is because the convicted appellants do not have the finances required to get their case before the tribunal. Courtenay has now taken on August’s case and on Monday, April 20, they applied to the court for special leave to be heard as a poor person. After careful consideration the Caribbean Court of Justice granted him permission to bring his case, but they believe that his case should go back to the Court of Appeal, where the court will decide on the new grounds of appeal brought forward.

Monday Night’s murder #6 in Belize City in three days
Wayne Rocke, a 29 year-old resident of Jane Usher Boulevard, became the 6th person who was gunned down in the period of 3 days between Saturday, April 25 and Monday April 27. He was fatally injured by a gunman who came in the darkness of night. It happened on Monday April 27, just after 7 p.m. at the residence of #7213 Reggae Street. Rocke was sitting in a van doing some mechanic work. He had a light hung up nearby, so that he could see what he was doing. Unfortunately, that gave his killer the perfect opportunity to approach nearby, and shoot him from out of the darkness. Only the sound of the gunshots signaled to residents that a street-style execution was taking place. No one saw anything, and when the gunfire ceased, Rocke was found on the ground, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He had succumbed to his injuries.

Tattoo “Ninfar” and wrist band “Anibal” only clues to John Doe’s Identity
Police are asking the public’s assistance to determine the identity of a man found dead near mile 6 on the Phillip Goldson Highway. On Thursday, April 23, police were called to an area just before mile 6 of the Phillip Goldson Highway where they found the body of a Caucasian male floating in the mangroves. According to police, a caretaker of the area saw some vultures flying in the area and went to check what they were circling. It was then that he saw what appeared to be a human corpse floating near the mangroves. The caretaker then called the police to report the discovery. Police found the body dressed in a khaki short pants and black T-Shirt. The body was decomposing. There were no physical signs of injuries to the body and due to the state of decomposition the cause of death was undetermined. The only identifiable mark on the body was a tattoo “Ninfar” on his right arm. He also had a black and red wrist band on his left arm marked “Anibal”.

Fisherman in prison for old fines
A fisherman of Sarteneja Village, Sanasermo Torres, 48, is in jail serving the first few days of a four year jail term after he appeared in court on Friday, April, 24, for undersized conch. Fisheries Officer, Hector Cunningham, found Torres in possession of 95 undersized conch at the Northern Fisherman Cooperative on North Front Street on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Torres appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Monday, April 20, and was remanded until Friday, April 24. On Friday he appeared in court with attorney Simeon Sampson. Chief Magistrate Smith dismissed the charges against him. Unfortunately for Torres, court records show that he owes the court $3,965 for four old convictions stemming all the way back to 2003. Chief Magistrate Smith ordered that he pay the fine immediately or serve four years imprisonment in default. Torres begged for leniency and asked for an extension. However, the Chief Magistrate said he had ample time to pay the fines.

Friends for Conservation detain Xatero in Chiquibul
At 5:00 p.m. on Sunday April 26 2015, whilst conducting a reconnaissance patrol at an area known as Cristina in the Chiquibul Forest, FCD rangers intercepted and detained David Alvisures Cheche who is originally from La Rejoya, Peten, Guatemala. This person was found 14.7 kilometers inside Belizean territory. With him he had 720 fish tail xate leaves. He was escorted to Tapir Camp then subsequently to the San Ignacio Police Station where he was charged for unlawful possession of forest produce by the Forest Department and for illegal entry by the Immigration Department. Xate is known to be exported from Guatemala to the United States and Europe for floral arrangements. David reported that he would take his product to Santa Elena, Peten where another intermediary person would buy it from him. The 720 leaves would be worth 180 quetzales or Bz $53.00. It is not certain if the person in Santa Elena has a permit from el Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas to buy and sell xate, however, it is known that persons who possess xate permits would usually get engaged on xate laundering, meaning that they put in illegal xate along with the certified xate.

Dangriga Warriors upset the league leading Western Ballaz
The National Elite League Basketball Competition continued last weekend with three games across the country. On Friday 24 April, 2015, out at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town, the visiting Dangriga Warriors pulled off an upset when it upended the league’s leading Cayo Western Ballaz by the score of 57-56. The upset win came as a result of a three pointer that was taken by the Dangriga Warriors’ Edgar Mitchell with only 4.3 seconds left in the game. The top scorers for the Dangriga Warriors were Daniel Nolberto who scored 17 points, had 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 6 steals; Brandon Flowers with 14 points and 4 rebounds and Edgar Mitchell with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. For the league leading Cayo Western Ballaz, the top scorers were Keith Acosta with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and an assist; Akeem Watters with 9 points, 12 rebounds, and an assist and Emerson King with 8 points, 1 assist and a steal. On Saturday 25 April, out at the UB Gymnasium out in Belmopan, the host team Belmopan Red Taigaz edged out the Belize City No Limit Team by the score of 99-96. The top scorers for the Belmopan Red Taigaz were Jarrel Velasquez with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals; Farron Louriano with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, and Travis Lennan with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.

Youth Talks
We live in a world where there is a drastic imbalance between negativity and positivity. It is a serious struggle for us as youths to understand our worth and know our abilities. Youths have an awesome power to make a change but; unfortunately, only we can utilize our gifts to make a difference. Youths have the potential to make Belize a brighter place where hopes and dreams develop and transform into shining realities and a productive garden is reaped. We have the opportunities to lead and be examples so others may follow and take heed of our walk to positivity. Often times, we as youths lose track of where we are and what we want in our future life. All sectors must play an integral role in developing and building our youth sector, but the ultimate power remains in the hands of our youths. We are the ones who must maximize on the information and education provisioned and zoom in on the resources available. We live in a small country and in my opinion, this makes it easier for us to partner and cooperate amongst each other. Young people must be able to share their ideas and talents in order for growth and sustainability in the youth sector.

The Belize Book Industry Association holds Book Fair in Cayo
A book fair in celebration of books, which was organized by the Belize Book Industry Association BBIA, was held on both April 24 and 25th at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town. BBIA’s celebration was also a tribute to April 23rd which is recognized as World Book and Copyright Day, where the work of authors and illustrators are given special notice. Since 2009, the BBIA has been celebrating Belizean literature, and both Friday and Saturday were no exception, where several Belizean book sellers came out to promote their products. Retired public servant Erlington Cayetano took the occasion last Friday to promote a variety of his own colorful books dedicated to pre-school and lower division children. The covers for his books are highly decorated and have a Belizean flavor. Erlington Cayetano comes from Dangriga and orders for his books can be made at 665-3387. His work on children’s books started in 2007 and he has produced all books with his own funds. For this year, the National Institute of Culture and History NICH continued to sponsor BBIA’s book fair. The Belize National Library Service and Information System BNLIS also participated this year with a book exchange program at the Cayo Welcome Center and also provided an enabling learning environment for young book readers.

Citizen on Patrol Training conducted in San Ignacio Town
Sixteen trainees under the Citizen on Patrol COP Training received their certificates this past Sunday at the San Ignacio Police Station. The three day training, which was held on the 24th, 25th and 26th of April, was conducted by Rudolf Orio, retired Superintendent of Police and coordinator from the Police Auxiliary Unit. The intensive course covered beat and patrol, patrol techniques, description of property and person, constitutional law, traffic offenses and other basic matters relating to policing. In a short ceremony, Dinsdale Thompson, Officer Commanding of the San Ignacio Police Formation welcomed the COP trainees and informed that the Police department is working towards a better relationship with the community. He also said that the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, highly appreciates the trainees’ intent to be part of the Belize Police Force and serve Belize. All COP participants raised their right hands and made an oath of allegiance to be faithful and have true allegiance to Belize. The trainees also made an affirmation to obey all reasonable orders relevant to the Police Department’s Citizen on Patrol Program.

The Rotary Club of San Ignacio holds Voice of the West
High School students from some 13 high schools in Belize participated in the Voice of the West contest at the Hode’s Place in San Ignacio Town on Thursday night of last week. Organized by the Rotary Club of San Ignacio, the contest brings together High School luminaries to exercise their talent in various categories. Coming in first in the persuasive speech category was Keanna Hulse, Fourth Form student at the Belize Christian Academy, and who is following a long family tradition in doing well in public speaking. Keanna Hulse spoke about the role of voluntary community development work in Belize and how such work could pave a brighter future for Belize. Coming in first in published poems was Lucia Tesecum third form student form Sacred Heart College. In the original poems, Isabel Lanza from the Belmopan Comprehensive High School also came in first. In the impromptu speech category, Michael Paredes from the Our Lady of Guadalupe High School was a clear winner and as the rest of his colleagues, who came in first, received a cash prize of $300.00.

Monchie Cervantez goes to court for defaming Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega
Readers may remember Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega’s defamation lawsuit against his political opponent, PUP’s Ramon Cervantez Jr. The DPM is suing Cervantez for releasing a phone call publicly on the evening news and on national radio. In that phone call, a man who claimed to be the wanted murder mastermind, Manuel Castillo, made the unbelievable allegation. He named the DPM Vega as the mastermind behind the murder of Cervantez’s father, the late Ramon Cervantez Sr, who was killed in 2014. The Deputy Prime Minister gave Cervantez adequate time to retract and apologize, but he refused to do so. That forced the DPM to take action by way of a lawsuit. That claim was filed in late November 2014, and it’s first hearing happened in February 2015. Since then, the case has been going through pre-trial hearings and case management conference in the chambers of the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.

Dangriga Town Council upgrading Wagaerale
Residents of the Wagaerale Area of Dangriga are overjoyed with the tremendous amount of street works that is going on in their community. Streets are being graded, potholes are being filled, and new streets are being pushed to join and open up the community. The transformation of Dangriga continues one street at a time and this Dangriga Town Council is getting the job done. As soon as street fill material is identified you can be sure that street rehabilitation work will happen and Mayor Humphreys along with the Town Administrator, Councilors and staff of the Dangriga Town Council is working hard every day to get the job done.

The Milk of Human Kindness…….Overflowing!!!
It is a simple yet positive story; the likes of which we need to listen to more often. It began with a group of concerned youths and some adults who wanted to make a positive difference in their village and who identified the Feed the Elderly Initiative as the way forward. Action was swift and the cooperation from the community at large was incredible. At the end of the day on Sunday April 26, more than 70 elderly and needy people from the village of Trial Farm had been fed with typical Sunday Belizean fare -Rice & Beans, Stewed Chicken and Vegetable Salad along with Juices and biscuits. It was pure exuberance as they shared the love with these elderly and needy people. Congratulations are well in order and hats off to Angela Gentle, Deborah Martinez, Duffy Urbina, Jennifer Jimenez, David Lopez, Joslyn Martinez, Morris Cocom, Shantel Casimiro for their hard work and personal involvement in making this a success. To the Hon Gaspar Vega, our gratitude for your wholehearted moral and financial support. God Bless You All.

PUP appoints another Ashcroft Boy as Standard Bearer
Another puppet of Lord Michael Ashcroft has been handpicked as Standard Bearer for the People’s United Party. Retired BDF soldier, Lloyd Jones, is expected to be nominated uncontested as the Standard Bearer for the Belize Rural North Constituency. | Members of the PUP Rural North Committee are peeved at this pending appointment. They see Jones as a yes man for the Ashcroft Alliance controlled section of the PUP. One Belize Rural North PUP supporter says he is “a brown nosed [sucker] who has been like a shovel all his life”, meaning he is always under someone’s control when operational. Others know Jones as a slick town B. eSSer. His words cannot be taken to the bank and his sincerity is always in question. Attorney Fred Lumour says, “He is a chameleon, he changes his skin anytime.”

Bar room fight turns deadly in Ladyville, security guard charged for murder
The weekend between, Friday April 25, and early Monday evening April 27, passed with 6 people being killed in the Belize District. The first happened on Saturday night, at the Blue House Bar in Ladyville Village on Saturday at around 9:30 p.m. A group of Hispanic men went to socialize at the bar, and among the patrons were 30 year-old Roger Jimenez, a Nicaraguan construction worker, and 41 year-old Wilmer Antonio Cisneros, a supervisor for Matus and Matus Engineering. From what police have been able to gather so far, the security guards, who were on duty at the time, approached the men and asked them to pay the fee to be inside the bar, which is a usual occurrence. It appears that the men did not want to pay, and so, some sort of misunderstanding took place, which then erupted into a fight. Sometime in the course of that fight, both Cisneros and Jimenez were stabbed by one of the security guards. Cisneros’ injuries to the chest and abdomen were grievous, and resulted in his death right inside the bar.

Busted with 134 grams of weed
Anne Andrews, 52, is out on bail after she pleaded not guilty to a charge of drug trafficking on Monday, April 27. Police searched Andrews’ home at #3 Castle Street, Belize City on Friday, April 24, and found two bags of weed. One amounted to 69.4 grams and the other was 64.5 grams. Andrews was the only person home at the time of the search, therefore, she was charged with drug trafficking. When she appeared in court on Monday, April 27, Andrews was read two counts of drug trafficking.

Remanded for $500,000 Treasury Heist
David Elroy Enriquez, 28, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for allegedly redirecting almost $500,000 in Government subvention for the Toledo Community College to a private account. Enriquez was escorted by police to the Belize City Magistrates Court on Friday, April 24, where he appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith and was read three charges of theft. Due to the nature of the offense, the charges will be dealt with on indictment. Therefore, no plea was taken. Prosecutor in the case, Inspector Daniel Itch, objected to bail on the grounds of the sensitivity of the case and that Enriquez may try to interfere with witnesses. Itch also pointed out that Enriquez may be a flight risk. Enriquez’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, asked the court to take into consideration his client’s constitutional right to be deemed innocent until proven guilty. Selgado pointed out that his client has no previous arrest record and is a career man with a family. He suggested that the court hold Enriquez’s passport but grant him bail. Despite Selgado’s submissions, Chief Magistrate Smith ordered that Enriquez be held on remand at the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on June 4, 2015. Enriquez’s attorney has started the process to file for bail at the Supreme Court.

Kevin Flowers gunned down in Mahogany Heights
Police are investigating the murder of Kevin Flowers, 40, who was shot to the back of the head just after 7 a.m. on Monday, April 27, near the Mahogany Heights Community. Flowers was heading to work at the Fein Catch Tilapia Farm in La Democracia through an off road short cut between Mahogany Heights and the George Price Highway when he was ambushed. People in the area reported to police that they heard the sound of a single gunshot. A few minutes later, Flowers’ friend discovered his lifeless body. He was found in a kneeling position slumped over with a gunshot wound to the back of the head. His bicycle was found a little distance away which suggests that he was either running from his attacker(s) or he was taken to his place of execution.

Street figure gunned down on Iguana Street
The weekend’s second murder was a brazen broad daylight slaying, which happened Sunday morning, April 26, just before 10 a.m. The victim was one of the most feared men of recent times, who once associated with the George Street Gang. 31 year-old Mark Medina was killed in what looks to be a well-planned hit. It appears that he was lured to his death by one of his former associates with the promise to complete a business transaction. What the press has been able to put together so far is that Medina received a call from a man to retrieve what was owed to him. That’s when he took a taxi, which was being driven by 55 year-old Egbert Hemmans, who – from all appearances – was an honest hardworking taxi driver for years. When Medina arrived at #19 Iguana Street there appeared to be no one home. Eyewitnesses say that he was just getting out of the vehicle and was on his phone when a gunman ran out of the yard where he was to retrieve his money from.

Tyrone Neal killed on Kraal Road
34 year-old Tyrone Neal, a resident of Fabers Road, became murder victim number 3 on Sunday, April 26, less than 4 hours after Mark Medina was killed on Iguana Street (see story on page 24). According to information from police and residents, Neal was playing dominoes with a group of friends in a yard on Kraal Road when he was attacked by an unknown gunman. Reports are that the assailant crept into the yard and hid long enough to catch everyone off-guard. He shot Neal several times in different sections of the body. Neal collapsed and he was quickly rushed to the KHMH, shortly after the gunman fled. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Bus driver beats ex-girlfriend unconscious then attempts suicide
Driver of Ramos Bus Company, Conrad Roches, 28, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for allegedly beating his ex-girlfriend until she passed out on Saturday night, April 25. Roches appeared before Magistrate Herbert Panton on Monday, April 27, where he was read a single charge of attempted murder upon Sherima Graham. Due to the nature of the offense, no plea was taken during the arraignment. A preliminary inquiry will be scheduled to determine if there is sufficient evidence to commit the matter to trial at the Supreme Court. Since the matter is an indictable offense, bail could not be granted at the Magistrates Court. According to reports, at around midnight on Saturday, Roches managed to stretch his arms inside Graham’s Lords Bank home and get a key to the house. He then entered and beat Graham until she went unconscious. We are told that after he beat Graham, he called a friend and told them what he did. We are also told that Roches tried to hang himself as he had already placed a piece of extension cord on a beam inside the house when police arrived.

Belize Softball Federation to hold Open Tryouts on Saturday
The Belize Softball Federation will be holding Open Tryouts for female softball players 19 years and under on Saturday 2 May, 2015, at Rogers Stadium commencing at 10:00 am. The Open Tryouts for the male softball players 19 years and under will also take place on Saturday 2 May, 2015, at 1:00 pm at Rogers Stadium The National Training Team will be conducting the Open Tryouts for both the junior girls and junior boys. The Belize Softball Federation is asking all players to bring along an identification that can be used for age verifications. The National Junior Female and National Junior Male teams will represent Belize at the Central American Junior Championships in El Salvador and Nicaragua respectively.

Police United and the Belmopan Bandits win
The Premier League of Belize Opening Season Tournament Playoff round continued on Sunday 26th April, 2015, with two games on the schedule. In the game played at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan, the host team Police United edged the Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-1 to take over the lead in the playoff round. The visiting Belize Defence Force was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Harrison Tasher scored his team goal to give them a 1-0 lead. However, the lead was short lived when Harrison Roches scored the equalising goal for the Police United in the 28th minute of play. The first half of the game ended in a 1-1 draw. In the second half of the game, the host team Police United took the lead for good when Devon Makin scored his team 2nd and final goal of the game in the 58th minute of play for the win. The defence of the Police United team was able to keep the big bombs of the Belize Defence Force in check for the remaining part of the game.

10th Annual Pablo Marin Cycling Classic set for Labour Day
The Northern Zone of the Cycling Federation of Belize and the Hon. Pablo Marin will be holding the 10th Annual Pablo Marin Labour Day Cycling Classic on Friday 1 May, 2015. The Weekend Warriors A/B riders will start at 9:00 am from Corozal Town to San Jose Village and back to Corozal Town for a total distance of 40 miles. The first rider to cross the finish line in this event will receive $300.00 and a trophy, the second place finisher will receive $200 and a trophy and the 3rd place finisher will receive $100.00 and a trophy. The Female, juniors and Youth riders will commence their event at 9:05 am from Corozal Town to San Jose Village and back to Corozal Town for a total distance of 40 miles. In the female category, the first rider to cross the finish line will receive $300.00 and a trophy; the second place finisher will receive $200.00 and a trophy while the third place finisher will receive $100.00 and a trophy.

Smart 13 and U competition continues at the MCC Grounds
The 2nd week of the SMART 13 and U Football Competition continued on Saturday 25th April, 2015, at the MCC Grounds with six games on the schedule. In the first game played, London Strikers won over Ladyville Jaguars by the score of 2-0. The goals for London Strikers were scored by Jose Castellanos and Keffer Perteau. In game two, it was Young Warriors winning over 3rd Word by the score of 3-0. The goals for Young Warriors were scored by Joshawn Flowers (2) and Jose Garcia. In the third game of the day saw Hattieville Youth and Charlston to a 1-1 draw. The goal for the Hattieville Youth was scored by Christian Caceras and Kenrick Gonzales for Charlston.

Amandala

Mark Medina, 31, executed in “Crenshaw”
The second of two men who suffered gunshot wounds unfortunately lost the fight for his life at about 8:20 p.m. yesterday, Monday, less than 48 hours after the incident. The victim, Belize City taxi operator, Egbert Hemmans, 55, had been admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical condition on Sunday morning after being shot twice—once in the chest and then in the abdomen while sitting in his vehicle. The incident occurred shortly after 10:00 a.m. this past Sunday, April 26, in the area known as “Crenshaw” on Iguana Street in Belize City, when Hemmans had taken Mark Medina, 31, a known gang affiliate who was apparently marked for death, to recover some items from a house that is located on that street.

Francisco Gomez, 38, remanded for sexual assault of girl, 10
A resident of Boston Village, Belize District, was remanded to the Belize Central Prison after he was arraigned on a single count of sexual assault this afternoon when he appeared before Magistrate Ladona John. Francisco “Indian” Gomez, 38, a laborer, pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault when Magistrate John read the charge to him. The court prosecutor objected to the granting of bail to him, citing the prevalence of the offense. He also objected to the granting of bail to Gomez on the ground that the virtual complainant is a 10-year-old child and if granted bail, Gomez might interfere with her. Magistrate John upheld the prosecutor’s objection and remanded Gomez to prison until his next court date on June 22.

“Rat Motel” at Western Regional Hospital!
Administrators at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan told the media today that measures have been put in place to manage a case of rat infestation that was recently uncovered in the hospital’s food pantry where groceries and food stuff for staff and patients are stored. The situation came to light last Friday, April 24, when the area was being cleaned out, and pictures that were taken at the time showed that there were multiple dead rats of all sizes and even a used condom inside the dilapidated room, amongst closed barrels containing flour, rice, beans and other food supplies. Hospital administrator Bernadette Sewer explained to the media today, that the situation came to light because recently, there has been a more “in-depth” cleaning of the hospital, since there was no house cleaning supervisor for some time.

The Blue House Bar security guard charged with murder
Sometime after 9:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 25, there was a brawl inside The Blue House Bar, located between Miles 8 and 9 on the Philip Goldson Highway in Ladyville, and by the time police arrived on the scene, a man was lying dead on the floor inside. After being in police custody since Saturday night, Darrington “Percy” Hamilton, a security guard employed at The Blue House Bar, was this morning escorted by police to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court, where he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, who arraigned him on a single count of murder for causing the death of Wilmer Antonio Cisneros, 41. No plea was taken from Hamilton and the Chief Magistrate remanded him to the Belize Central Prison until his next court date on July 22. Cisneros, a Honduran national who worked as a supervisor at M&M Engineering, was stabbed in his abdomen and chest during the brawl inside the club, where a fight had broken out between a group of men who were with Cisneros and two security guards of the establishment.

Barrow meets with Bank of America amid fears of financial crisis
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow returned to Belize from Miami, USA, this afternoon, after meeting with executives of Bank of America and Carnival Cruise Lines to discuss critical developments in both the banking and tourism sectors. Barrow flew to the US over the weekend after the Belize Bank confirmed that the Bank of America, the second largest bank in the US, had decided to sever correspondent banking relations with the Belize Bank, Belize’s largest commercial bank. Barrow was accompanied on his Miami mission by his economic advisor, Ambassador Mark Espat, and Central Bank Governor, Glen Ysaguirre, who, we understand, flew on to Washington, DC, for related meetings involving the banking sector of Belize. We’ve received credible information that Bank of America, which claims that the decision to cut off the Belize Bank was triggered by a change in its business model, has maintained its stance in its meetings with the Belize delegation. We understand, though, that bank executives gave assurances that no other commercial bank in Belize would be included in what is termed “de-risking” in the financial sector.

“Not a chance in hell!”
–This morning, Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca had an impromptu interview with the media on what his party, the People’s United Party, plans to do to pressure the Government to repeal the PetroCaribe Loans Act—a controversial piece of legislation which the Opposition has dubbed “scandalous” and “unconstitutional.” Upon his return from Miami today, Barrow was informed of Fonseca’s plan to send him a formal letter of request to repeal the law—a petition letter which the Opposition hopes will also be signed by the social partners, the unions, the business community and the churches, which have also denounced the legislation, amid assertions that it circumvents safeguards built into the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act. More than that, the Opposition has indicated that if Barrow does not repeal the bill within 21 days, it will take to the streets with a protest. Barrow, who said the PUP are pursuing a self-serving, political agenda, remains resolute on the law: “There is not a chance in hell that there will be any repeal of the PetroCaribe Loan [Act],” Barrow told the press today, adding later that, “I am absolutely certain that the Belizean people are with me on this…”

MCC turf is a disaster
Fans witnessing the games on Saturday at the Smart 13 & Under tournament voiced their discontent with the playing surface of the MCC, which erupted into clouds of black dust whenever the players got into close tackles or kicked the ball. After being shut down for renovations for approximately eight months last year, the MCC is worse, much worse than it was before the closure last June. Besides being very uneven, the whole of the playing area has a top layer of black, dusty material that is loose and easily airborne, although most of the field has some grass cover. The black dust, which looks like ashes from some burnt material, cannot be good for the health of the young players, or fans downwind who must inhale this possibly toxic dust. We need the MCC for tournament games, because the MCC is the best “demilitarized zone” for our young players from all across the city to converge and play with a feeling of relative safety. But something has to be done to the playing surface; a new layer of good material is needed.

Elston “Mr. Bes” Wade, Sr., a very rare cowboy
Before I go into the Harrison Parks Cricket Competition 2015, under the auspices of the Belize National Cricket Association, I need to mention a very good old friend of mine, hailing from the beautiful village of Bermudian Landing – Mr. Elston Wade, Sr., a.k.a. Mr. Bes (best). I have known this good gentleman from my young years. I have not seen him play the game of cricket, but he has a son that plays the game. That son is Jerome. I can testify that he is a strong follower of the game; not only a follower, but a promoter in years gone by. Anywhere he is seen, you will see him dressed in cowboy hat, checkered shirt, jeans pants and boots. He is a strong debating person, especially when it comes to horses or cows. Well, he is a rancher by profession. What he stands for is discipline and respect for all; more so with the underprivileged. Although he lives in Bermudian Landing, and he goes out to cheer for the home team, you could always hear him giving encouragement to the visiting team. He is not a problem maker, nor does he encourages, it. Because of the way he conducts himself, and the respect he gets, I asked him, “What’s the formula?” He said, “Mr. Young, once you respect yourself wherever you go, and whoever you’re with, respect will follow. Be careful of what you say, and to whom.”

Athletics past and present – Alexander Alvarado
They say we are a product of our environment, but Alexander Alvarado is living proof that that statement is not always true. Growing up in a neighbourhood which had a lot of crime and bad influences, he made a change. At the age of 17 he was going through some problems in his life, and he said he always told himself he wanted to be different than the youths in the area that were into gangs. It so happens that one of his good friends, Timothy Mena was involved with track and field, and told him to come out to run and train and you will like it. He decided to go, and there he met a coach, Mr. Morris. He started training, and in that same year, at the age of 17 in 2010, he ran his first race. It was the UWI 10k. It was held on the Marine Parade circuit, and he took first place. Thereafter, they had the Alpheus Williams 5k, and he also placed first. That was when he met legendary long distance runner, Joseph Carr, who he said taught him everything about running and trained him; and Joe’s wife, Shelly Carr also played an essential role in his running development.

Give some love to “the Hoggist”!
The things we used to do when we were young. Young men walking the streets today, and seeing that greying brother struggling to walk with the aid of two hand crutches, couldn’t begin to imagine the super athletic talent that he once was, a few short years ago. Youth is a passing thing, and the young often err in thinking that they have a claim on it. Like life, it is a gift, and we’re all only passing through. Enjoy, nurture, cherish the time and the blessing of youth. Hogman, the fighting spirit that he has, is determined to walk again, after suffering a stroke back in 2009 in L.A. He returned to Belize in June of last year to attend the funeral of his mother, and decided to remain in the Jewel, as the climate was considered better for his recovery. I recall a pre-season game playing for the Charger football team back in 1977. Though the game was officially still amateur, Charger’s sponsor/management had managed to lure Hogman over as our “big striker.” I played center midfield, and we were on a bus ride to Benque Viejo where we would play against a little Verdes team. This was a few years before Verdes became a power house with Erwin Contreras and company. Hogman was not on the bus with us when we left town that Sunday morning. He was coming from Dangriga, and he caught up with us somewhere between Belize City and Belmopan; and from the looks of things, he had spent a hectic Saturday night, towel across his shoulder, and all.

Conflict resolution – murderous violence
When citizens in civilized societies have a dispute between/among themselves, or enter a conflict on the landscape of the domestic society, they will usually call in the police or go to court, or both, to settle the dispute, resolve the conflict. Because the business of illegal drugs is just that, illegal, the principals in such a business cannot call in the police or go to court. They settle disputes and resolve conflicts by murdering each other. In the streets of Belize City, the business of drugs is relatively lucrative if you can control territory, and control of territory is derived from violent intimidation of those around you. For several decades now, we have seen that half our male children will drop out of school before they are 12 or 13, say, and they will not have the skills necessary to earn an honest living. They become cannon fodder for the drug dons. While one would expect that unskilled youth who are healthy would be able to do construction work, most Belize City employers in construction bring in workers from the other Districts of Belize to do the old capital’s construction work. The main reason for this, apparently, is that Belize City youth are said to refuse the low wages in construction.

From the Publisher
For you to understand how I view the matter of Maya customary land rights in Belize, you would have to know how I grew up, and how I think and feel. I don’t like skyscrapers, elevators, and planes. I don’t really like concrete and steel. I don’t like freeways. In fact, I don’t think I really like speed. I grew up in a time when life was slow in Belize. I grew up in sailboats, not speedboats. Perhaps I’m primitive. When I was about twelve years old, I read a book about the heroic chiefs of some Native American tribes leaders like Sitting Bull of the Sioux, Geronimo and Cochise of the Apache, the great Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, and others. I felt a kinship with these people. Part of that kinship may have been derived from a legend on my mother’s side of the family that we are descended from a Sioux Indian. Whatever the case, I liked the Native American way of life, and their philosophical/religious views of life, the earth, the heavens, and so on. At the age of eighteen in 1965, I flew to the United States to study in one of their universities. There, I met a young African from Malawi with whom I became very good friends.

A UDP apologist
Dear Editor, I read with interest your Editorial in the Amandala of Sunday, April 5, 2015 entitled “Pointing fingers and PUDP politics”. In this editorial you sought to equate the illegal action of the PUP in the past by totally ignoring and violating the law and the UDP who openly passed a law (as permitted by the constitution) to ensure that, if any doubt exists, procedurally everything was done correctly with respect to the PetroCaribe program. I also note the reprinting of a letter by Dr. Carla Barnett from January 9, 2008 that criticized the PUP for violating the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act. In her letter, she clearly states that in the absence of another permitting law, what the PUP did was illegal. In this present case with the UDP, that enabling law is the PetroCaribe bill that was recently passed.

Over 30,000 more cruise tourists visited Belize from January to March 2015
Whereas 234 less tourists came to spend an overnight in Belize during the first quarter, January to March 2015, as compared to the same period last year, the country welcomed 33,707 more cruise tourists during the same months. Contrasting with the nominal 0.2% fall in overnight tourist arrivals for the period, cruise tourist arrivals were up by 10.5%. The month of February actually registered a decline in cruise tourist arrivals by almost 3% or 2,673 visitors, but this was more than offset by increases of 16%-17% in cruise tourist arrivals (over 18,000 persons more than the previous year) for the months of January and March. According to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), which released official tourist arrival data today, “The major factor influencing the results in the overnight sector was weather conditions. There were severe snow storms that took place frequently during this period, resulting in cancellation of flights that affected travel from Canada, as well as the Central and Eastern United States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York City – some originating destinations for visitors to Belize.”

Offshore drilling moratorium remains, but for how long?
Oceana in Belize has written an 18-page letter to Senator Audrey Joy Grant, Minister of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities, requesting that her ministry withdraw a set of petroleum exploration guidelines drafted in 2013 – guidelines which include a proposed framework for petroleum exploration across various zones over the onshore and offshore territory of Belize. Oceana strongly objects to any notion of drilling offshore Belize, and its position was reiterated this week when it publicly reaffirmed that position and called on the public—which also rejected offshore drilling in a referendum held in 2012 by the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage—to remain engaged on the issue. In a March 2015 letter, Oceana’s Vice President in Belize, Janelle Chanona, said that, “Oceana in Belize urges the Ministry of Energy to immediately withdraw the Guidelines and conduct an impartial and comprehensive review (inclusive of representatives from the tourism and fishing sectors across Belize) to initiate a meaningful and dynamic policymaking process of the risks and benefits of offshore oil development in Belize. Such a review should be undertaken prior to any further action to authorize oil exploration in our invaluable marine environment.”

Two charged for embezzling $500,000 from Treasury Department
On April 7, 2015, Ministry of Finance officials discovered that approximately $500,000 had gone missing from the Treasury Department in Belize City. The announcement was made on Thursday, April 16, by no less than the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, who was briefed earlier that week on the case of the missing monies by Financial Secretary Joseph Waight. This morning police escorted Treasury Department second class clerk David Enriquez, 28, to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court to be arraigned on charges in connection with the missing money from the Government Treasury. Additionally, Dangriga resident Octaviana Lopez, 39, was charged with handling stolen goods. Enriquez appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, who arraigned him on three counts of theft.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Poultry producers hoping to avoid shortfall, raising prices
Some 75,000 birds, representing $3 million in investment, was lost in the last few weeks in the poultry industry in the Cayo District after the discovery of H5N2 avian influenza in the area detected earlier this year. It is fatal if allowed to mutate to high pathogenicity but […]

P.M. defends actions on Petrocaribe; PUP protest
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow gave the press a preview of his arguments to be presented today in defense of his actions with regard to the Petrocaribe Loan Program and the recent passage of the Petrocaribe Loan Act, 2015. Today he mounted that defense with the gusto […]

Prime Minister discusses national issues
This morning Prime Minister Dean Barrow hosted the press at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel to discuss a wide range of national issues. The following are highlights from that press conference. Banking sector stable As of April 30, 2015, the Belize Bank Limited will lose its correspondent banking relationship […]

Taxi Operator killed in San Pedro Town
The 43rd murder of this year was recorded yesterday in the premier tourist destination of San Pedro Town where a taxi operator was senselessly killed while on duty. According to island cops, they were alerted of 42 year old Jose Rigoberto Beltran’s motionless body inside his parked taxi in a […]

Man charged for shooting in Mahogany Heights
Twenty-one year old Adolphus Palacio, who allegedly fired shots at another person but missed, was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm when he appeared today before the Chief magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Palacio pled not guilty to the charge. He was remanded into custody until July 23. […]

Man charged for 2014 murder
A Corozal man has been formally charged for a murder in that northern town late in 2014. 23 year old Carlos Casanova, a block factory employee, spent the last four and a half months recovering from a gunshot wound sustained when he was taken in by police shortly […]

Significant increase in Cruise arrivals while overnight arrivals remain steady in Belize
Belize Tourism Board reports that during the first quarter of 2015 there was a significant growth in the number of cruise arrivals in Belize. The month of January had a major increase of 16.6% and during the month of March there was an increase of 15.8%. According to the BTB, […]

Delroy Cuthkelvin’s View of PetroCaribe
Let me preface my comments on the issue in question by stating that while I remain an active member of the United Democratic Party, I am currently not engaged as an employee of the Government of Belize, which means I am free to openly express my views on […]

Caribbean Tire to offer huge discounts for Agric Fair on Saturday
All roads lead to the National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds in Belmopan this weekend for the country’s biggest annual event. The action packed weekend will feature and highlight a diverse selection of products, crafts, and produce for all visitors. For those that will be traveling in their vehicles, Caribbean […]

Protest in Belize City
While Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Dean Barrow, hosts its press conference at the Best Western Biltmore conference room, over a hundred party supporters of the People’s United Party are currently conducting a peaceful demonstration outside of the premises. Our news team is attending the conference and we will […]

Cold Front Approaches according to AccuWeather.com
The extremely hot and humid weather will finally bring some reprieve as a cold front brings downpours and cooler air will take over parts of Mexico and Central America. According to AccuWeather.com, a cold front pushed across the Gulf of Mexico will cause rain and thunderstorms to soak southeast Mexico, […]

Oceana cleanup in PG
Over the weekend in Punta Gorda, OCEANA along with the PG Town Council, held a beach clean-up that saw the cleaning of over a mile of beach front. The cleanup crew consisted of representatives from OCEANA, Mayor Fern Gutierrez and more than 50 residents of PG who volunteered to help. […]


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#503834 - 04/30/15 12:04 PM Re: Today's Belize News: April 30, 2015 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Prime Minister to Host Press Conference This Morning in Belize City
Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow is hosting a press conference this morning in Belize City to update the public about the outcome of the meetings he had with senior officials of Bank of America and Carnival Cruise Lines in Miami last week. On an interview with Channel 7 […]

Blogs

“Dreadlock Holiday” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
I tried weeding the garden. This mind numbing task normally gets me thinking of loads of stuff just so I’m not thinking of how boring weeding actually is. But this failed to work too. And then I picked up on the news of the massive event that is taking place this Saturday night when Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather fights Manny Pacquaio for the WBO, WBC and WBA welterweight titles. Huge eh. Two guys putting so much at stake on the result of a boxing match. Mayweather and Pacquaio ? No, I mean Coconut Leo and Carlo Segura (THE Carlo of Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill). Leo and Carlo have taken betting on a boxing to hair raising heights. Why? Well the loser gets to have his head shaved! Now with Carlo (he is backing Pacquaio) we will hardly notice the difference. But Coconut Leo!!!! How will he be able to do a rendition of “No woman, No Cry” absent his dreads?

Here there and everywhere
One thing about living in Belize and particularly on Ambergris Caye is that you go through periods of heavy social traffic. By that I mean because San Pedro is a tourist destination, and we get frequent friends and family visits, we are often called on to go out more. This past weekend was a good example of that, with Colin, Laura, Scotty, Shannon and Jerri all in town at the same time. My 3 day marathon included: Crazy Canucks Beach Bar Red Cross Trivia night, Fido’s, Amber Beach Bar, Estel’s, ABC, Wayo’s, Amber Beach Bar, Island Time, Amber Beach Bar, Tropic Air, Walk/ Run for Autism Awareness, Sunday Jam at Crazy Canucks and Lola’s Pub. That list does not include bbq delivery or all the places I went shopping on my way to ABC. Amber made it on a few times because the girls and Scotty were staying at Caribbean Villas Hotel, Colin and Laura were next door at Coral Bay Villas beside Chunky and Ruthie. I’m always thankful when friends help support San Pedro Red Cross and this past Friday’s trivia night, many people came out to help raise$$. $145 came from team buy ins and auctioneer Rob did a super job of selling two boxes of thin mints at $100 and $150 a piece giving SPBRC a grand total of $395 :)

International Sourcesizz

This Sanctuary in Belize is Helping to Keep Black Howler Monkeys Hanging Around
The black howler monkey, known as the “baboon” in Belize, is in danger due to being hunted and having their habitat destroyed. Fortunately, efforts made by the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Belize have been made in hopes of preserving these creatures and provide them with sustainably protected surroundings. C.B.S. is an innovative project in the field of preservationand ecotourism that protects the monkeys’ habitats, allowing visitors to experience the rainforest while seeing these magnificent creatures in the wild. I got the opportunity to enjoy these monkeys in a very intimate setting and had the rare opportunity to film a newborn baby monkey. More than 200 private landowners in Belize have voluntarily pledged to conserve their land for the protection of the Black Howler Monkey whose population has grown from 840 (1985) to more than 5,000 (2015).

Belize to Establish its First IXP in Order to Offer Faster Internet
With broadband service slow and unavailable in much of the country, Belize is gearing up to build its first Internet exchange point (IXP) in a bid to persuade more people to sign up for superior service. According to the Trinidad Guardian, major telecom operators have reached an understanding to participate in the construction of the IXP, which eases the movement of data on the network and will thus reduce the average per-bit delivery cost of the service. An Internet exchange point is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) exchange traffic between their networks. IXPs avoid the need for data to travel to other countries to get from one network to another, thus reducing latency. Today, many ISPs in the region need to pass the data through networks in the United States before rerouting to their consumers in island nations.

Some Coral Reefs Managing to Recover
Coral reefs, true reservoirs of biodiversity, are seriously threatened by human activities and climate change. Consequently, their extinction has often been heralded. Now, researchers are painting a less gloomy picture: the planet’s reefs are not doomed to disappear. But they will be very different from the ones we presently know. A new coral fauna will emerge, coming from the species that are most resistant to temperature increases. Some reefs are recovering: Are coral reefs condemned to disappear? During the first decade of the 21st century, the intensification of cyclones, the phenomenon of coral bleaching due to ocean warming, outbreaks of a coral-eating starfish and coral diseases left us with this fear. But today, scientists are revising their pessimistic forecasts from the previous decade. In fact, recent research works show that, while numerous coral species have indeed been declining for more than 30 years, other are holding firm or even increasing in abundance. Consequently, some reefs have recently managed to recover. Expanding coral genera: During a vast international study over fifteen years, IRD researchers and their partners observed the ecological development of seven coral reefs throughout the world: two in the Caribbean, in Belize and in the American Virgin Islands, and five throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean in Kenya, Taiwan, Hawaii, Moorea and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Consequently, the scientists have shown the increase of certain genera, like the Porites reef corals, real reef builders that can resist temperature rises well.

Videos

  • Scuba Diving Belize 2015, 5min.

  • UnBelizeable - 2015, 6min. About a month ago my girlfriend took my GoPro and went on a Caribbean 4-day vacation to San Pedro, Belize. Just sunshine, bikinis, turquoise water, white sand beaches and her best friends. I'll be sure to tag along next time!

  • This Monkey Sanctuary in Belize is Helping to Preserve the Black Howler Baboon, 1.5min. The black howler monkey, known as the "baboon" in Belize, is in danger due to hunting and habitat destruction.

  • Plongée BELIZE avril 2015, 3min. SCUBA diving in Belize.

  • Diving BELIZE April 2015, 3min. SCUBA diving in Belize.

  • Dolphins at play in Belize, 8min. I'm convinced they appreciate fast swimming things like boats and skiers .These DPV's seem to fascinate them. Juan calls the site 'Captains Canyon' its just in front of the dive shop.Notice when she turns it off and holds out her hand they get board and go away, but she turns it back on and they come back.

  • BSI/ASR CROP REVIEW WEEK 13, 4min.

  • Basic History of Belize, 4min. Historia básica sobre el país Belice Mi ingles no es el mejor pero es lo máximo que he podido hacer

  • Belize: Spring Break 2015, 5min. One week trip to Belize.

  • Expatriation Made Easy: An Interview with Macarena Rose, 16min.

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