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#504257 - 05/15/15 11:57 AM Today's Belize News: May 15, 2015
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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

Reef Week Activities included a fair at the central park in San Pedro Town!

A hike to Victoria Peak, through the lens of Roni Martinez!
“Who has seen Victoria Peak has seen beauty. Who has climbed Victoria Peak can understand beauty. This was my first time to actually make it to the top, as my plans were cut short due to rain back in 2006. Such a hike really reconnects you with nature even if it has been decades apart. Here is a photo-story for birders, botanists, GIS-ists :) , and all those of you who love Belize for its natural wonders…” Roni Martinez is the Director of Field Operations for the Scarlet Six BioMonitoring Team. Scarlet Six is a registered Belizean Non-Governmental Organization protecting endangered species in their habitat. Roni is certainly one of the GOOD GUYS…and he has embraced his responsibilities as a champion for Belize’s forests wholeheartedly! We are thrilled to share his photo-story with you…reading the captions, it feels like we’re there (except we’re not :( ) How excited are YOU to take this hike?! I know we are! (runs an extra lap…)

Castillo’s announces 2015 Mother’s Day Raffle Winners
Congratulations are in order for Alcides Vasquez, Paulina Garcia and Deb Schafer on winning the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize (respectively) in the annual Castillo’s Hardware Ltd. Mother’s Day Raffle. Customers got a raffle ticket with each $50 purchase or payment towards their account at the hardware store. Each ticket was a chance to win a Microwave (1st), Slow Cooker (2nd) or a Deep Fryer (3rd). The winning tickets were drawn on Saturday, May 9th, one day before Mother’s Day, and lucky winners swung by to pick up their prizes bright and early on Monday!

SPRCS wins Primary School Football Tournament held in San Pedro
The National Sports Council held its annual Regional Primary School Football Tournament in San Pedro on Tuesday May 12th at the Ambergris Stadium. The tournament held for zone 5, San Pedro and Caye Caulker, saw the participation of male and female football teams from New Horizon Seventh Day Adventists Primary School (NHSDA), San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School (SPRCS) and Caye Caulker Roman Catholic Primary School. After a long morning of intense match ups, it was both the boys and girls of SPRCs that took the championship and the honor of representing zone 5 at the District Finals. The female team from SPRCs had to score five goals in their last match in order to qualify, since CCRC had previously beat NHSDA girls 4 -0. NHSDA team did not prove to be a hurdle for the SPRCs girls who not only scored the needed goals to qualify, but got an extra one just to brag. SPRCs girls qualified for the District Finals, leaving CCRC and the NHSDA girls out of the running.

Hands Across The Sand against Off Shore Exploration
On Saturday May 16th, residents of Ambergris Caye are cordially invited to attend a special event called “Hands Across the Sand”, which will commence at 12 midday on the beach in front of the San Pedro High School (Boca del Rio). It is a global event in solidarity against offshore oil drilling, and it consists of participants holding hands together for a short period of 15 minutes. According to Oceana Belize Field Coordinator for the Cayes Roxanne Perez Gentle, the message behind the event is to create a sense of awareness in the general public that we need to protect our environment. “We will hold hands to advocate for our natural resources, the water we drink, the air we breathe and our eco-systems. We need to stop depending on filthy fuel and look ahead to a productive clean energy future.” Gentle said via phone interview.

Belizean Fishermen being encouraged to comply with EU & US market standards
How many Belizean fishing boats have on-board toilet facilities? How many fishing cooperatives have stainless steel countertops where fisheries product is processed for export? These are some of the costly issues which Belizean fishermen must address if they wish to export to their product to the lucrative European Union (EU) market. Fishing cooperative representatives discussed these and other issues at a national consultation on sanitary and phytosanitary (sanitary with regard to pests and pathogens) (SPS) measures of fisheries and aquaculture, hosted by the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Fisheries Department at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Tuesday, May 5th. Fisheries consultant Christopher Hedley pointed out that the EU market is far more lucrative than the United States’ market to which the bulk of Belizean fisheries product is presently exported. Belizean conch presently fetches US6.35 per pound on the U.S. market; in comparison Jamaican conch producers who are getting prices double that for their conch exports to the French Caribbean island of Guadaloupe, which is a part of the Republic of France. Belize exported to the U.S. last year: 485,000lbs of lobster valued at Bze$13.59 million, 723,120lbs of conch valued at $8.87 million and 342,405lbs of bonefish valued at $8.25 million – total value: $30.71 million. Those exports could be earning double that if it were sold to the European Union.

Belize City No Limit forfeits match against San Pedro Tiger Sharks
Only one week remains in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL), and the San Pedro Tiger Sharks are already strategizing for the playoffs. With their playoff spot secured, the Tiger Sharks looked forward to a ‘no-pressure game against Belize City No Limit on Saturday, May 9th. However, since the Belize City No Limit had no hopes for a playoff spot, they forfeited their last game of the season versus the Tiger Sharks. While the Tiger Sharks are disappointed over the non-game, they are looking forward to the NEBL playoffs that will kick off on Friday, May 2nd. As for the other games scheduled over the weekend, The Belize Yellow Pages Hurricanes lost to the Belmopan Red Taigaz, while the Caye Western Ballaz narrowly defeated the Orange Walk Running Rebels. The remaining three games of the regular season will all be played on Saturday, May 16th starting at 9PM. The San Pedro Tiger Sharks will be travelling to Orange Walk where their will face off against the Orange Walk Running Rebels at the Multi-purpose Complex.

Ambergris Today

New Hot Spot In Town! Squirrel's Nest at Mata Rocks

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Foreign Minister has it wrong again says COLA
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) heavily condemns and scowls upon the recent comments of Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington concerning his intention, with the blessings of the current administration, to travel to Guatemala City in a few weeks to sign an amendment to the infamous Special Agreement, or Compromis, to allow for the Republic of Guatemala to host a referendum on going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ahead of Belize instead of honoring the Agreement’s original intention that both countries should hold the referendum simultaneously. Notwithstanding our dislike towards the Compromis, we stand utterly dismayed at the Foreign Minister’s assertion, via the interview with Channel 5, that the Belizean public should not be consulted on such a critical change to this Agreement.

Illegal Honduran fishermen convicted
Three Honduran fishermen: Ismael Dubon Banagas, Salvador Caballero Reyes and Luis Alfonso Dubon Banagas were today convicted in the Independence Magistrate Court of Fishing without a valid fisherman license, fishing without a valid boat license, and the immigration offence of illegal entry. The conviction stemmed from an incident at 9:20pm on May 5th, 2015 when a joint enforcement patrol team led by Southern Environmental Association (SEA’s) Rangers, supported by officers of the Placencia Police Formation and Belize Coast Guard, observed a skiff within the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve. All three fishermen had hand lines extended in the water, illegally fishing in the special snapper spawning zone of the marine protected area. They were caught in possession of various snappers and a small shark. The three Hondurans were charged fines amounting to $510.00 each for the Fisheries offences and $1005.00 each for the immigration offences.

BOLEDO DRAWING for Thursday, May 14, 2015: 61. ANTASY 5: 35 15 25 23 12 Q

Dia De San Pedro Fishing Rodeo June 2015

Mother's Day Extravaganza
Mother's Day was a hit at the Cayo Welcome Center. "The Full Moon Mothers Day Extravaganza 2015 was brought to you through the courtesy of Mayor Earl Trapp Jr & the San Ignacio Santa Elena Town Council, Cayo Welcome Center and SISE House Of Culture and was a great success. We extend our sincerest gratitude to the Business Community who were very receptive in contributing to the success of the event and also to those who made it possible to come out and celebrate with us. Happy Mothers Day!!! Special recognition goes to the Jaguars Scouts and Mrs. Cecilia Flowers and the Youths of the Benque Youth Academy Marimba Band, you have done an excellent job."

NELSON FULLER: BELIZE'S MOST RHYTHMIC DRUMMER OF ALL TIMES!
The 1970's Lord Rhaburn Combo's oustanding drummer, Nelson Fuller, could be dubbed as Belize's most rhythmic drummer of all times throughout the years of Belize's professional entertainment scene of the 1970's and 1980's. Not only was he a class act within his own musical spectrum, but he taught many upcoming Belizean drummers how to play all different genres of music----from R&B to the Funk, and from reggae to calypso. Fuller who was versed in all forms of music, was also respectd by American as well as Caribbean musicians who had come to play music in Belize in the 1970's and 80's. The legendary Belizean drummer who now has been living in Los Angeles for many years now, spoke with Belizean Legends about his brilliant career as a Belizean musician, and his life as a drummer of Belize's most populist band, the Lord Rahburn Combo.

Channel 7

Castro Cross Examination Reveals His Office Facilitated Visa Hustle
After months of case management, Belize Rural North Area Representative Edmond Castro finally got his first serious day in court before Justice Courtney Abel. He's suing Channel 5 and immigration agent turned whistleblower Alvarine Burgess for defamation. Viewers may remember that in an interview, which was aired in October and November 2013, Burgess alleged that she approached Edmond Castro to sign 200 visa recommendations for which she paid him $2,000 dollars each. That was right around the time when the Elvin Penner Immigration Scandal was raging. Castro asserted that this allegation was false, and that it hurt his reputation. He demanded a retraction and an apology, neither of which were given, and so he sued them to try to clear his name. His attorney, Rodwell Williams, opened today's hearing by submitting to Justice Abel that the defendants cannot prove that Castro was involved in any visa hustle, and so, Castro's reputation has suffered unnecessarily for it. Alvarine Burgess's defence is that what she said was the truth, and she can justify the accusations she made. Channel 5 has different platforms of defense against the claim. The first is that indeed Burgess' comments are true. Secondly, they also claim absolute privilege due to the integrity in public life laws, which governs the conduct of public officials. Finally, Channel 5 claims qualified privilege, common law afforded to the media and the press as fair comment.

PM: Change in Special Agreement Won't Hurt Belize
In 11 days, on May 25th, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington travels to Guatemala City where he will sign an amendment to the special agreement between Belize and Guatemala. The agreement was signed in December, 2008 - and it agreed - among other things - that both Guatemala and Belize would have simultaneous referendums on whether we should settle the territorial dispute at the ICJ. Amandala broke the news on Tuesday morning that article 7.2 would be changed with this amendment - meaning that Guatemala would go ahead with its referendum, in November of this year - while Belize would go sometime after that. Today, the Prime Minister held a press briefing right after he returned from an official trip to Miami. He said despite the objections of some - he doesn't see how the change hurts Belize; in fact, he thinks it helps:...

PM Says Sedi Deviated From Agreed Script on Special Agreement Modification
The pressure should be on Guatemala - but instead, it's on Barrow's government. And that's because of how the information was put out there. Apparently, it was mishandled by the foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. He gave the scoop to Amandala and Channel 5 when the Prime Minister instructed him to send out a press release - one that would have first gotten the approval of the opposition. And that's because the Prime Minister had already been in discussion with the leader of the opposition - who said he had gotten his party's approval. And so it should have proceeded from there, but Elringotn departed from the script when the timeline for the signing changed: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "And I imagine the Foreign Minister - because he was not going to go that following Monday - delayed issuing the press release. I didn't follow up. Next thing I know I saw on the news that the Foreign Minister had a one on one with you and presumably that's how he informed the nation of the proposed change. I would have preferred if as we had agreed in cabinet, a press release would have preceded that and I certainly would have preferred as I had ask be done that I would have preferred the Opposition to have been sent a draft of the press release. Which is what I had in fact committed to the Opposition Leader. I don't know that he ask me. I offered and I did say in cabinet and we agreed. I am just back and I have to find out from the Foreign Minister why it didn't proceed in that fashion. Why there was never a press release issued and why therefore as it turned out since he never issued a press release - there is nothing to send to the Leader of the Opposition. So, I regret that sort of confusion, but I repeat, the Leader of the Opposition had immediately told me a time of our first conversation, it was not a problem for him and 5 or so days later call me to say it was not a problem for his party."

Barrow Says PUP Dancing On Diplomacy
And an "advantage" is just what the PUP was trying to get when they declared last week that they would not support a yes vote to taking the Belize Guatemala Dispute to the ICJ - certainly not while Wilfred Elrington is foreign minister. The PM said today they are playing cute: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "I see now the Opposition trying to get cute with the issue. I see the Leader of the Opposition doing a kind of two-step, a dance that certainly doesn't impress me. I see his one-time foreign minister, who I check the Channel 7 archives, appeared at a public forum at Wesley Church with Fred Martinez and I don't recollect who else and I see where he had said 'look if you want to be saddled with this thing forever, the do nothing. But if we want a resolution as a country, the only way to get a resolution is to go to the ICJ.' And now see him do a complete about face and I see the Leader of the Opposition suggesting that, well we are ready for the referendum now and the only reason I say, as I have said to the Guatemalans "no sir, not this year, possible next year, perhaps second half of next year" - Leader of the Opposition says 'well that is because I am trying to ensure that there is no linkage between the referendum and the next general elections.' Exactly. These are two separate things and I don't care what he says, there will be no linkage."

Bernarda, The Big UDP
One thing the Prime Minister could not address today in a 70-minute press briefing was the issue of the Lake Independence squatters. For the past two days, you've been hearing the back and forth between them and Area Representative Mark King. Well, it continues tonight - except the squatters have changed their tack. They say that while King labels them PUP's they are in fact UDP's, or no kind of "P" at all: Bernarda Riviera, Gungulung Squatter "As a group, we are fighting for our piece of land that we are now living on that was promised to us by the minister, Mark King. For the record, we were moved and relocated to this present location by Minister King, natural resources with the assistance of CISCO, as well. I can recall my first registration was in the Collet division with Minister Patrick Faber personally taking me in to register as one of his supporters. When Minister King came in, that was when he personally took me to transfer to Lake Independence about two years ago. So for the record, most of the so-called aliens, my family and friends I have known are U.D.P. supporters and have been voting U.D.P. in this country. I have attended committee meetings; I have worked with councilor Edwards in the last city council elections; that speaks for itself. I just don't agree with what the minister is doing with the people in the Gungulung area. I believe that we believe better."

Hon. King Holds His Position
He has left it to area representative Mark King. Last night you heard him explain that he cannot prioritize the squatters because others have been waiting for land in Lake Independence much longer than they have. Tonight we have part two of that interview when we asked him if those at the top of the list are his staff, and campaign workers:... Jules Vasquez "These people have said that these names; Jason Edwards, City Councilor (former driver), Robert Edwards, Melissa Williams (who is your secretary), Julia Jimenez (who is your committee member), that they have been recommended by you as lease holders for the land they are on. How do you respond to that?" Hon. Mark King - Area Representative, Lake I "I was very opened to you at the beginning of the interview that I made when the first land came out - I made 5 recommendations, not thinking it is where anyone of these squatters are right now. But I have also indicated to you that whether it is my people and the people in Lake I that applied for these lands that have not have lands for years.

Barrow Met With Royal Caribbean, Feinstein Next
As we told you earlier, the Prime Minister returned from Miami today. He went there to meet with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the co-owners of the Fort Street Tourism village. He's still trying to find a way forward for the cruise future of Belize District. On one side, there's Mike Feinstein who has a plan to build the Stake Bank project. On the other is Royal Caribbean cruise line and Diamonds International which owns the Fort Street Tourism village. They have been guaranteed a certain amount of head tax right through to the year 2028. The Prime Minister has been doing some shuttle diplomacy trying to find common ground. Today he suggested that things may be budging in the right direction:... Jules Vasquez "Is there any clarity on the way forward?" Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Well, the talks were instructive and certain proposals were discussed, but I don't want to say too much really because I have a meeting set for tomorrow at 3 with Mr. Feinstein."

Norwegian Cruise Lines Double Talk?
And so the PM meets with Feinstein tomorrow - looking for that possible partnership. But, one cruise corporation that could probably care less is Norweigan Cruise Line. That's because they are building their own cruise port in the south - and moving all their calls there. That was supposed to start happening in October - but construction delays have forced that date to sometime in 2016. Still, it's going to happen - which was not the deal they made with the PM and the public:.. Jules Vasquez "You had said it would not affect the traffic into the Belize District port but, yet when we see their schedule though now, they had to change it up due to construction delays. Norwegian intends to send everything towards Harvest Caye." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Well you're perfectly correct, I had indeed said so and we had a memorandum of understanding that made that clear." Jules Vasquez "Sir, I know you wouldn't lie to us, so did they misrepresent to you?"

Cricketer Mykelt Stable, Recovering
Last night we gave you a brief update on 32 year old Mykelt Anthony's condition. He is the well-known cricket player that was shot on Gill Street in broad daylight on Monday. Well tonight there is good news to report. According to family members, he is stable and recovering from a surgery yesterday that was done to remove a bullet near his spinal cord. And while he is still being monitored closely, they are optimistic about his improvements. Here's what his aunt told us today:... Aunt of Mykelt Anthony "He is recovering slowly yes." Monica Bodden "He was shot to which part of his body?" Aunt of Mykelt Anthony "The spine and the lungs yes. They are to take an x-ray which will tell us everything that is happening but I don't know when they will do it. He can move, and talk but very slow." Monica Bodden "So you guys are still monitoring him?" Aunt of Mykelt Anthony "Yes, we have to. I don't know him as a bad guy, I know he loves cricket. He would talk about that all day and all night, but I don't know him as a street boy."

One More For San Pedro Taximan Murder
Last week Monday, we told you about the three young men who were charged with the murder of San Pedro Taxi man, Jose Beltran. Well tonight, Alfredo Trapp, a fourth resident of San Pedro, has joined them on remand at the Belize Central Prison. He was arraigned today before, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on the charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Due to the nature of the offences, no plea was taken and he was remanded to prison until June 30. On last week Monday, 23 year-old Luis "Sito" Campos, 19 year-old Mark Arzu, and 18 year-old Santos Garcia were all arraigned in the San Pedro Magistrate's Court on these very same charges. 42 year-old Jose Beltran, was found inside his taxi van on the Island at around 10 a.m. on April 28. It is believed that he was murdered because the assailants wanted to use his vehicle in the commission of a crime.

Southwest Sets Date For First Flight
In February we told you about Southwest Airline's new daily non-stop service from Belize to Houston. Those flights will begin on October 15th and flights to Jamaica and Liberia will begin on November 1st. This was announced at a press conference held on Wednesday in Houston to announce the launching of that service and also the daily, direct flights to Belize, Mexico and Costa Rica. A BTB delegation attended the press conference. You can start purchasing your tickets for these flights at Southwest's website - since no country office will be set up.

Fishermen Fined For Conch
4 fishermen from Chunox (Shunush) village in the Corozal District must come up with a total of $20,000 dollars in fines after they were taken to court for a large amount of undersized conch. They were busted on last week Thursday, when a fisheries officer went to Northern fishermen Cooperative. They managed to fish the illegal catch and bring it to the mainland, and when the officer inspected their landed product, he found that each conch they caught were undersized, weighing less than 2 and three quarter ounces. 53 year old Leandro Rangel was then charged for 195 undersized conch. He was joined by 39 year-old Isidro Pott, who allegedly had 265 undersized conch, and 38 year-old Mike Rangel, who allegedly had 98 undersized conchs.

The Otherworldly Power of Mayan Antiquities
When we left you last night, the climate controlled 18 wheeler carrying 250 of Belize's most prized Mayan antiquities was on the move from Boston, Massachusetts to San Diego, California. The truck has two drivers and is on a non-stop three thousand mile haul. When it gets to California on Friday, NICH staff will be waiting to open the special seals with bolt cutters to make sure all is in order. That first truck will be followed by eight more which carry the rest of the show. When we travelled to Boston on Saturday of last week we found out how they pack thousands of square feet of exhibits into eight foot wide trailers:.. Jules Vasquez reporting It's spring in Boston - and bright skies and blossoms colour the city, but inside the Boston Science Museum, the crew is packing up after a tough winter. It's the end of a 7 month stand at the Museum - and now a team of 14 have the job of packing up a show that was a world unto itself - into parts that are no more than eight feet wide for cross-country transit.

Former Customs Boss To Take Over Zone
There's change afoot in the Corozal Free Zone. David Akierman who has been Chairman of the Zone since 2008 - is stepping aside. The Prime Minister told the media today that it was a mutually agreed decision when they met last week Friday:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Yes, Dave and I met I think last Friday before I went away and we agreed that he would exit. He had in fact, from last year, said to me that he had some health challenges and he did not want to be renewed. At that time I was able to persuade him to stay on. And so by mutual understanding, he will not seek to renew. The replacement is likely to be, I haven't yet signed a contract, this has move very quickly, but the replacement is likely to be the ex-controller of customs, Mr. Greg Gibson. Dave Akierman was, I think, outstanding, both in terms of competence and probity but I feel that we have chosen a worthy replacement."

Pat Andrews, From Banking To Diplomacy
And - in his not so brief press briefing - the Prime Minister disclosed another major appointment today. This one is in Washington where Belize's long time Ambassador Nestor Mendez is taking up the prestigious post of Deputy Secretary General of the OAS. PM Barrow told us who will take his place:... Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Remember he doesn't leave until July and his replacement will be both for the OAS and the US. There's a whole lot of procedures to go through but I don't think we'll do any harm by saying that the person we propose to appoint is Mr. Pat Andrews, the retiring CEO from Scotia Bank."

Altun Ha Visitor Center Took Ten Years
Today a new visitor's center and male restroom was officially opened at the Altun Ha Archaeological site. While a center and a bathroom don't seem like substantial additions, the coordinators of the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites Project say that they are. They say these new facilities will attract more visitors - both tourists and locals. Today we went to Altun Ha for the inauguration to find out what makes these new additions special to the reserve. The overall cost of the project at Altun Ha is $400,000 dollars. It took about 10 years to complete the visitor's center. Why so long? Well funding was a major setback. But it is functional and ready for use. Similar works under the project have been done at other archaeological sites such as Nim Li Punit.

Salvation for Southside School
Today a cheque for thirty five thousand dollars was handed over to the Salvation Army Primary School by Courts Unicomer. It's a much needed donation for the students of one of the city's poorest schools. The funds will afford them a year of free school tuition, books, lunch and other necessities. Today 7news was invited to the handing over ceremony. A total of 40 students will benefit.

PM Makes Changes To Petrocaribe Loan Motion
Mother's day has come and gone - and UDP representatives were rolling Petro-bucks like nobody's business. But, turns out, it wasn't only representatives; a few select standard bearers got their share as well, and even a few village councils. That's what we learned from the Prime Minister today:.... Reporter "As it relates to the standard bearer for the UDP getting a mother's day cheer..." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "No man, go ask, I'm trying to remember who..." Reporter "But he has now confirmed that the financial secretary has in fact confirmed that UDP standard bearers did get assigned mother's day cheer monies..." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "I was going to tell you to go ask Mr. Espejo, Mr. Cowo and Mr. Ralph Huang and all these people, they didn't get." Reporter "But the financial secretary is saying that some standard bearers for the UDP were in fact assigned..."

Channel 5

P.M. Barrow Says Belize Is At An Advantage Should Guatemala Hold Referendum First
The Special Agreement signed between Belize and Guatemala in December 2008, will be amended later this month to allow Guatemala to proceed solo with a referendum on whether the longstanding [...]

Did Foreign Minister Jump the Gun in Compromis Interview?
Contrary to what the Leader of the Opposition told the media, the P.M. claims that Fonseca was indeed informed of the proposed changes to the Special Agreement.  He maintains that [...]

Referendum Won’t Coincide With Next General Election
All that said, when will a referendum be held in Belize?  The Prime Minister says the poll would only be held after the next general elections.   Prime Minister Dean [...]

Clear the Land Versus Alvarene Burgess Commences in Supreme Court
In 2013, Minister of State Edmond Castro was accused of large scale and lucrative facilitation of visas for Chinese nationals. The person making those accusations was Alvarene Burgess, who alleged [...]

Clear the Land Castro Testifies in Court
Today’s courtroom session will no doubt go down as one of Edmond Castro’s most uncomfortable and uneasy appearances. He was forced into excruciating detail on the circumstances which led to [...]

P.M. Meets with Royal Caribbean on Stake Bank Project
The purpose of his trip to Miami was to meet with executives from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the majority shareholder in the Fort Street Tourism Village. The discussions centered around [...]

P.M. Barrow: No Ultimatum on RCCL/Stake Bank in Sight
Now government has often amended legislation or gone to court to settle disputes. But at this time negotiations remain fluid and, according to the prime minister, government is far from [...]

Patrick Andrews is O.A.S. Ambassador Designate
Career banker Patrick Andrews is heading to Washington in a couple of weeks. Today, the Prime Minister announced that the now retired banker will be serving in the capacity of [...]

Will the P.M. Appeal Should Supreme Court Rule in Favor of 13th Senator Enforcement?
A number of other pressing issues came out of the prime minister’s press conference. As you know, Prime Minister Dean Barrow is being sued by the People’s United Party for [...]

Petrocaribe Amendments to be Presented at Next House Meeting
The prime minister has made it abundantly clear that the controversial Petrocaribe Act will not be repealed.  What he will do is make specific amendments to clarify perceived grey areas [...]

Mark King vs. Gungulung Squatters, the Saga Continues
On Wednesday, Lake Independence Area Representative Mark King gave his side of the squatting story to a select media house. King, who has come under fire from settlers in the [...]

Squatters Say They Voted for King in Last General Elections
Politicians through the ages have maintained the tradition of categorizing anyone who questions, criticizes or dares to oppose them as supporting the other Party. As we showed you earlier in [...]

Ministry of Energy C.E.O. Says Not So Fast to Offshore Oil Exploration
Has Offshore Oil exploration been given the green light by G.O.B.? Well, not so fast, says C.E.O. Colin Young in the Ministry of Energy. On Tuesday, we told you about [...]

Honduran Fishermen Busted for Fishing Illegally in Belizean Waters
Three Honduran fishermen caught fishing illegally within a protected area in the south were convicted today in the Independence Magistrate Court. They are Ismael Dubon Banagas, Salvador Caballero Reyes and [...]

Chunox Family Arraigned for Undersized Conch
But a Belizean family caught with undersized conch was heavily fined. This afternoon, four members of the Rangel family, all fishermen living in Chunox Corozal Village, were arraigned in the [...]

COLA Says Sedi Done Gone Rogue
An interview with the Foreign Minister has prompted the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, into action. The organization is once again calling for the removal of Wilfred Elrington [...]

Outstanding Teachers Honored
The Ministry of Education today recognized the best of the best at its seventh annual “Outstanding Teachers and School Leaders of the Year Awards.” Teachers from across the country gathered [...]

Unicomer Donates to Salvation Army
Thousands of students are going to school without the basic supplies and food to carry them through classes. But all that is about to change for a group of forty [...]

Healthy Living: Therapy – the Best Approach to Control Emotion
In our day to day lives, we experience a wide range of emotions. Some of us have very strong support systems to deal with challenging times; but some try hard [...]

LOVE FM

Executive Chairman for CFZ Leaves Post on June 30
Last week Love News confirmed that David Aikerman’s will no longer be the Executive Chairman of the Corozal Free Zone. After so many years, Aikerman’s contribution to the development of the Free Zone is undisputable. So today, we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow why was Aikerman’s contract not renews and who will replace him. DEAN […]

PetroCaribe Monies – An Indirect Benefit for Teachers and Public Officers
Last week, President of the Belize National Teachers’ Union, Luke Palacio told the media that the Prime Minister misled the nation in saying that the teachers and public officers are benefiting from Petro Caribe. Barrow explained to the media how the teachers and public officers are either directly or indirectly benefiting. DEAN BARROW “When I […]

Amendments to PetroCaribe Bill Announced by PM
“Petro Caribe Roll it”- that’s the new catch phrase that this United Democratic Government has been singing ever since the bill went through all its stages in the House of Representatives. The Alba Petro Caribe Act has received criticism from the unions and from the opposition, People’s United Party. So much so that in order […]

PM Says General Elections and Referendum Will Not Be Simultaneous
Fonseca believes that the Prime Minister’s plan is to hold a general elections and a referendum simultaneously in Belize. Barrow says that could not be further from the truth. DEAN BARROW “I see now the opposition is trying to get cute with the issue. I see the Leader of the Opposition doing a kind of […]

Prime Minister Defends Foreign Minister
Earlier in our newscast we told you of some amendments being made to the Special Agreement of 2008 between Belize and Guatemala. Reportedly, the amendments were to be made public via a press release that the Foreign Minister was directed to issue to the media and the Leader of the Opposition …… but that order […]

PM Says Revision of Special Agreement with Guatemala is in Belize’s Favor
Earlier this week, Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, told Love News that he had been notified that the Government of Belize would be signing an agreement with the Guatemalan Government to amend the Special Agreement which both countries signed back in 2008. The amendment was the idea of the Guatemala Government asking Belize to […]

PUP Removes Ivan Ramos As Standard Bearer
Last week via a press conference held by the People’s United Party, there were talks about changes coming about within the organization reportedly geared at strengthening the blue and white camp … and following in accordance with that announcement, change has come for the Dangriga constituency as elected official, Ivan Ramos is stepping aside to […]

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NTV are at it again! This time to Garbutts Falls
The Northern Territorial Volunteers plan to go on their 7th expedition on Sunday May 17th, this time to the border monument at Garbutt Falls, near Benque Veijo Del Carmen...

Mark King addresses squatters’ concerns
Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development and area representative for Lake Independence Hon. Mark King has been caught in the middle of a maelstrom concerning the ongoing squatters’ camps in western Lake Independence division, at the Chetumal Street/Lake I Boulevard project site...

Dangriga Has New PUP Candidate
A fifth member of the current House of Representatives has decided not to run again in the upcoming general elections. Dangriga’s first-term area representative Hon. Ivan Ramos is stepping aside for his compatriot, retired educator Anthony Sabal...

Stephen Okeke Will Lose his Home
Sculpture Stephen Okeke has created several busts of key figures of Belizean culture including the Right Honorable George Price, which sits at the George Price Center in Belmopan, the father of the nation Phillip Goldson, which sits at the entrance of the Phillip Goldson Highway in Belize City and t...

Scenes of Crime investigators graduate from forensic course
Beginning last June, 27 members of the Police Department’s Scenes of Crime Unit began training with Hayden Baldwin, veteran crime scene investigator and president of the international association of crime scene personnel. Baldwin’s participation was funded by the U.S...

Crooked Tree receives new Police Station
The village of Crooked Tree in Belize District is located inland on the lagoon. It is quiet and sleepy and probably best known for the annual cashew festival coming up this weekend. But one of its long-standing issues has been the need for a Police Station...

Graduating Christian Counselors
On Saturday May 9th, the Belize Bible Center, a Christian Counseling Center in Roaring Creek, Belmopan, graduated eight Christian counselors from their two year curriculum. Since the two year program was first launched in 2011, the Belize Bible Center has graduated a total of sixteen counselors...


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#504258 - 05/15/15 11:57 AM Re: Today's Belize News: May 15, 2015 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Guardian

Out with the young in with the old - PUP
A couple of weeks ago, the Guardian broke the news that Ivan Ramos was on his way out and on Wednesday May 13, the PUP confirmed what we had reported on. The PUP Area Representative for Dangriga, Ivan Ramos, was unceremoniously booted from contesting the next general elections despite a pact which the PUP hierarchy had designed that mandated that sitting area representatives could not be challenged or replaced in conventions. Well it seems that the mandate only applies to a select few as Ramos was given the boot and replaced by a retired school teacher - Anthony Sabal. Now we all know that Ramos really was less than a dead beat, he could hardly hold his own financial life in order (most of his properties are up for auction) so we could not expect that he could handle a constituency. But for him to be booted in this manner especially after the guarantee he had was really a low blow to him by his party. What is now making matters worse is that he is being replaced by an old man, though he may be a fast talker, we really don't expect this Sabal fellow to do any better than Ramos.

Is Guatemalan Presidential Candidate a Belizean?
Former first lady of Guatemala, Sandra Julieta Torres Casanova wife of former Guatemalan president Alvaro Colom Caballeros finds herself disputing being a Belizean. Torres Casanova is a presidential candidate for the upcoming elections in Guatemala but her candidacy is being challenged after a Belizean birth certificate was produced which shows that Casanova was born in Benque Viejo del Carmen on October 5, 1955. Casanova is denying the certificate and is claiming her identity on a Guatemalan birth certificate where she is said to have been born in neighboring Melchor de Mencos in Peten on the same date as the Belizean certificate. Casanova is up for a major battle as the Guatemalan constitution prohibits anyone not being Guatemalan by birth to run for presidential elections in that country. Casanova has strong ties to Belize after having studied at Sacred Heart College in Cayo and having at least one family member who is a prominent Belizean in the form of Narda Garcia.

$21 Million for More Loans at D.F.C.
The Development Finance Corporation (D.F.C.) announced on Tuesday, May 12, that it has received an additional $21 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (C.D.B.) to provide loans for the productive sector, students and aspiring home owners. Natalie Goff, General Manager of the D.F.C., says eight to ten million dollars will be used for the productive sector; preferably the agriculture, tourism and other job creating sectors. Five million dollars will be used for mortgage financing. Five million dollars will be used for student loans. Diedra Clarendon, CDB representative, says that one million out of the five million dollars for student loans must be directed to “fund students from financially disadvantaged households who have the academic capability and qualifications, but are constrained by low and irregular income and the inability to meet security requirements for the loan”. The D.F.C. is introducing a new portfolio with an allocation of one million dollars for renewable energy projects.

Police station for Crooked Tree Village
Crooked Tree is one of the oldest villages in the Belize District, rich with history and full of adventure. This village is a generally peaceful village, and it is because of this that perhaps the absence of a police station was not such a big deal. The old police station which was built in the 70’s stood strong for a while but time and the elements took its toll until it was no longer safe for use. Although Crooked Tree always had a police officer to maintain law and order, since the early 2000’s he did not have a proper place to call a police station. The structure became dilapidated and unsafe to operate as a police station. The police officer responsible for Crooked Tree, who is a Crooked Tree native himself, used to operate from his residence. This posed several challenges, one of which was the detention of prisoners. There are stories of him handcuffing offenders to cashew trees until officers from Ladyville arrived and escorted them to Belize City. When Edmund Castro became the area representative for Belize Rural North in which Crooked Tree falls, he promised that he will lobby for the police station to be repaired. However in 2012, the old police station was mysteriously burnt down. The game plan changed and Mr. Castro then lobbied for a new police station to be built in Crooked Tree Village. Funds were made available by the Prime Minister through the Petro Caribe initiative and in 2014 construction started on a state of the art police station and living quarters.

Belize’s prospects in the agriculture sector continue to look good
Belize continues to enjoy a vibrant agriculture sector thanks to strategic and good management by its leaders. Belize’s agriculture is on the rise, with an output now averaging around 620 million Belize dollars per annum. In the last decade, this represents a 21% increase in exports as there has been a sizeable increase in domestic production by 32%. Those are the conclusions of Belize’s Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture the Hon. Gaspar Vega during a discourse with some of Belize’s top farmers at the recently concluded National Agriculture and Trade Show in Belmopan. “Tremendous investment in sugar cane, grains, pulses, coconuts, vegetables and livestock continues to gather pace and this Government, our Government is committed to facilitate further investments in this sector,” said Hon. Vega. For Belize, agriculture and food export is gradually increasing especially in the non-traditional markets for non-traditional products. As examples, Belize now exports corn, beans, shrimps and livestock to various countries in Central American; with corn meal going to Jamaica and corn to Trinidad and Guyana. The prospects for cattle and its products continue to grow as both Mexico and Guatemala have opened their markets to Belize, given that it is now widely known that our herds are free of Brucellosis and Tuberculosis.

Northern Caye Caulker Update
Upon conclusion of investigation on the Northern Caye Caulker beach reserve, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture has determined that the parcels in question for the individuals who made the complaint is non-existent because the surveys relating to those parcels have been cancelled since the Government of Belize learned about these cases in 2012. The Ministry would like to note that several other large parcels of land affecting other properties were issued prior to 2008 and as such, it will be challenging to address and regularize these, considering the fact that most of these parcels are now free hold titles that have changed hands among multiple owners over the years. Since 2008, the Ministry issued permission to purchase for two parcels, however no titles for these were issued and those parcels in question have been cancelled. There are two Titles that were issued and the Ministry will commence discussions with the individuals affected with a view to keep in accordance with the legislation that governs National Land which seeks to ensure the beach reserve is maintained for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public.

The Christian Workers Union cover up
The Annual General Meeting of the Christian Workers Union (CWU) held on February 28th 2015 was sneaked in on the general public like a thief passing through in the dark. The interested public who rallied behind the stevedores to see justice done were left unaware. There seemed to have been very little or no media coverage for the historic first year of activity under the rule of the all meddling self appointed saviour of the workers, Matura. How so ironic that the media hungry, publicity greedy President Matura did not make it a media event. On closer scrutiny one can now see why. The President passed off on an apparently unsuspecting membership what can only be classified as worthless and total rubbish, a hurriedly prepared Income Statement. A statement, that to the eye, cannot withstand scrutiny by any accounting standards. Imagine the publics’ surprise at this rubbish of a statement from an individual who is a stickler for accountability and transparency! How can the queen of transparency hopeful ever think that she can get away with such a stunt?

Luke Palacio picks up anti Petro Caribe agenda
The usual suspects who were making the rounds against Petro Caribe have realized that they can no longer maintain the interest of the Belizean public in their nonsense and they are trying to pass on the responsibility to someone else. That someone else is no other than Luke Palacio. He has now taken to the airwaves attempting to poison the minds of Belizeans against Petro Caribe. We need not say it, but his efforts have been completely pointless and it has proven that in terms of brain power, he surely has a lot to be desired. Palacio has gone on the local news and on morning shows to say two things: the first is that the Prime Minister never told them that the Petro Caribe funds would be used to finance the salary increase for public officers and secondly that the Prime Minister forced the unions to be a part of the board of directors of the National Bank.

Wellington Ramos not happy about the ousting of Ivan Ramos
For the Leader of the PUP opposition Francis Fonseca to tell my relative Ivan “Maca” Ramos that he needs to step down to be replaced by Anthony Sabal, that action is in violation of the Peoples United Party Constitution. Not only is this in violation of the People’s United Party Constitution but this action taken by him is dictatorial, undemocratic and disrespectful to us the Garifuna and other people who reside in Dangriga. Ivan Ramos won a convention to represent his political party and then went into an election which he won. He is our Representative for five years unless he decides to step down. If they are not satisfied with the job he is doing, then let them have a convention for the members of the People’s United Party in Dangriga to decide on who should replace him.

Health of the Great Reef Improving
The health of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) continues to improve as Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras have passed legislations to better protect the region's most important natural resource. When the Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI) released its first report card on the health of the Mesoamerican Reef in 2007 the Reef Health Index (RHI) was 2.3 out of 5, which is poor. The health of the reef improved to 2.5 in the 2012 report, which is better but also poor. On Tuesday, May 12, the Healthy Reef Initiative released its 2015 report card and the health of the reef is now considered to be “fair” at 2.8 out of 5. The HRI team monitors 248 reef sites across the region to conduct its healthy reefs survey. Those include 86 in Mexico, 94 in Belize, 8 in Guatemala and 60 in Honduras. The HRI team monitors four populations for its survey: coral cover, fleshy macroalgae, herbivorous fish and commercial fish. RHI score for Mexico is 3.0. The RHI score for Belize is 2.5. The RHI score for Guatemala is 2.5 and the RHI score for Honduras is 3.3. According to HRI, "Belize’s reefs were in poor condition due to high levels of fleshy macroalgae cover and low commercial fish biomass. Coral cover and herbivorous fish biomass scored fair, suggesting these reefs may improve with increased management.”

Belize Rural North almost fully complete with potable water systems
Water – how many times have we heard the saying “Water is Life”? To most Belizeans it’s just a trite statement, since in this day and age water should be accessible to all, and in most cases is, especially drinking and potable water. However there are some areas in this country which had been without potable and drinking water for decades and some still are. Some things which most people take for granted like taking a bath under a shower head or washing dishes in a sink under running water are still novelties to some people. This was the case for the people of the area known as Belize Rural North which consists of some 27 villages in the Belize District. When the United Democratic Party won the elections in 2008, only four villages had potable water, Sand Hill, Burrell Boom, Maskall and Lucky Strike/Rockstone Pond, a mediocre service at that. Burrell Boom which was the first village to get potable water did so in the 60’s when Louis Sylvester was the Area representative under the PUP. Burrell Boom at the time fell under the Belize Rural South Constituency. Sam Rhaburn became Area Representative for Belize Rural North when the UDP won elections in 1984. It was during his tenure that Maskall Village got its water system. When Max Samuels became the area representative for Belize Rural North in 1993, he got potable water for Sand Hill Village and Luck Strike/Rockstone Pond Villages.

We have to tighten our belt for the Bond says Belize’s Financial Secretary
Belize’s obligations to a few investors and external banks for the super bond is a reality, but while there is some relief at this time, more payments will have to be made in a few years time. More precisely, while the interest payments that Belize makes towards the Superbond is currently at 5%, there is going to be a “stepping up” with re-payments to begin by 2019. “We have an ease at the beginning and then it goes up in a few years, so we have to tighten our belt and provide for that, right now it is good,” says Belize’s Financial Secretary Joseph Waight. “We know it is going to increase and therefore we have to provide, we have to bear in mind, generate the savings that is necessary to make the payment…with careful management, we should be able to make the payment without a problem.” But how did Belize come to a position where the super bond has become an amalgamation of a number of debts? According to Joseph Waight, a lot of the bond has come over the years as a result of interest. “We used to borrow to repay, borrow to repay, capitalize the interest, add the interest in and therefore if we look at the components of the first bond, a lot of it was interest, because we were deferring payment, in fact it was not money spent on tangible things,” he also said.

Belizean serving in British army accused of multiple rapes
28 year-old Dangriga Town Native turned British Soldier, Lee Busano, is on trial in the Crown Court at Prestone Lancashire, in Britain, because 2 women have accused him for raping them, and another has accused him of sexually assaulting her. The court’s jury heard testimony from the first victim, a 29 year-old student who said that Busano went to her house in March of 2014. She allowed him to enter, and sometime later, Busano tried to kiss her. She says that she turned down his advances and explained that she is in a relationship with someone else. Busano then allegedly went up the stairs toward the bed room, where he made another attempt to kiss her, which she turned down once again. The victim told the jury that this was the time when Busano reached under her dress, pulled down her underwear, and raped her. Via video testimony she said, quote, ‘He is a lot stronger than me. I kept saying, “No means no”. He was trying to push himself on me. I tried to strangle him. I really tried to squeeze as much as I could … I headbutted him. He just laughed, he thinks it’s funny. I was crying as well. I said, “It’s rape if you do this. If you keep trying to do this it’s rape.”’ According to the victim, Busano just remorselessly laughed at her, and had his way with her against her consent, and he then went to the gym.

In trouble for taking police mobile on a Joy ride
Licoln Miguel, 42, a Belize City taxi man has been ordered to undertake a psychiatric examination after he appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith for taking a police truck on a joy ride. According to police, on April 24, 2014, Cpl. Vidal Cajun parked a police truck at the Raccoon Street Police Station with a detainee inside the vehicle. A Woman Police Constable, Myers, says that she then saw Miguel, who she knows well, enter the compound and asked if it was possible for him to have a meeting with all the police officers. She told him only if it was an emergency or he must leave the compound. Myers says she took her eyes off Miguel for five seconds and when she looked back he had disappeared. She then heard the start of a vehicle engine and saw Miguel behind the driver’s seat of the police truck. He reversed the vehicle out of the compound and Myers ran after him. Another officer, PC Cruz, assisted Myers and they were able to detain Miguel just outside of the Raccoon Street Station compound. Miguel was charged for taking a conveyance belonging to the Government of Belize without authority.

Set for marriage but jailed for sexual assault instead
Jamil Seguro, 21, resident of Burrell Boom Village, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl during a swim on April 23. Seguro was to get married to the victim’s relative this past weekend but instead spent the time waiting on another court date at the Belize Central Prison. According to the minor, she got home from school early on April 23 and was to go back but Seguro, who is a close friend of her family, took her to the river in the village for a swim. The minor says that while they were swimming he squeezed her vagina. The girl later told her mother and a report was made to police.

Steven Arnold and Roger Hilton on Remand for Attempted Robbery
Steven Arnold, 27, and Roger Ronald Hilton, 27, are on remand at the Belize Central Prison for allegedly beating and stabbing Ian Holland in Ladyville on Sunday, May 10. In a report to police, Holland said that at about 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, he was at Brothers Shop in Ladyville when Arnold and Hilton approached him and asked for money. When he refused, Hilton punched him in the face then Arnold followed with a punch of his own. Holland said both men continued to beat him up and when he was trying to run Hilton stabbed him in his chest with a scissors. Police responded quickly to the scene and arrested the two men shortly after the incident. Hilton was found in possession of a scissors when he was detained by police.

Man killed for picking mangoes
On Monday May 11 a well known Ladyville resident was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of another Ladyville resident which occurred on Saturday May 9 in Ladyville. 47 year old Hilberto Rolando Perez, a resident of Perez Road appeared unrepresented before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith where he was read a single charge of manslaughter in the shooting death of 60 year old Daniel Alexander Trapp. Trapp was shot in the chest with a firearm, believe to be a rifle and not a pellet gun as had been reported in the news. Relatives say he was seen with at least one shot to the chest area, near his left nipple. The incident occurred at around 9.30 a.m. at Perez' home. Reports are that Trapp got a senseless death as he was shot for picking up mangoes from inside Perez' yard. Allegations are that when Trapp was shot, he was walking out of the yard.

Olympic Day Run is set for May 30, 2015
The Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association is pleased to announce that the 2015 Edition of its Annual Olympic Day Run is set for Sunday 31st May, commencing at 6:30 am from in front of James Brodie on Regent Street in Belize City. The run is being held under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee and the Belize Olympic Committee, and also under the management of the Belize Athletic Association. The first 100 participants registered on the morning of the run will receive a Commemorative T-shirt and also a certificate in recognition of their performances will be given out to all. Medals and ribbons will be distributed to the winners at the end of the race

Easy Does It wins in Belize Rural competition
The Belize Rural Softball Competition continued on Sunday 10th May, 2015, at the softball field in Flowers Bank. In the first of three games played, Orchid Girls defeated Willows Bank by the score of 9-2. The winning pitcher was Arneek Baptist and the losing pitcher was Shana Avilez. In game two, Double Head Cabbage won over UB Jaguars by the score of 8-7. The winning pitcher was Herlet Clarke and the losing pitcher was Karlene Williams. And in the final game of the day, Easy Does it of Flowers Bank blasted Country Rose by the score of 17-2. The winning pitcher was Dian Baldwin and the losing pitcher was Angie Tucker.

Kenisha Sutherland spun 1 hit shut out
The 2015 Belize City Senior Female Softball Competition continued on Monday 11 May, at Rogers Stadium between the defending champions Belize Bank Bulldogs and the league’s leading BTL. BTL lead by its ace pitcher Kenisha Sutherland gave up a 1st inning double to shortstop Sharette Vernon and from that point did not surrender another hit to the Belize Bank Bulldogs. Sutherland tossed zeroes the entire night against her opponents. Meanwhile, BTL scored 2 runs in the 1st inning, added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning, 1 in the 4th inning and 1 in the 5th inning for the win.

National Sports Council sponsored training in Jump Rope for teachers
The National Sports Council of Belize in collaboration with the Caribbean Sport and Development Agency and the Australian Government through its Sports Commission sponsored a training workshop for teachers in Jump Rope for Health from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May, 2015. Jump Rope for Health originated in the United States of America and it is now being implemented in 11 territories across the region, which includes Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, and St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The goals and objectives of the Jump Rope for Health Programme include the facilitation and development of healthy habits among primary school aged children. To reduced the non-communicable diseases risk factors among primary school age children. To increase the parental and teacher support towards the promotion of healthy habits within school environments. To inspire the development of a healthy lifestyle school policy/guide.

The Christian Workers Union cover up
The Annual General Meeting of the Christian Workers Union (CWU) held on February 28th 2015 was sneaked in on the general public like a thief passing through in the dark. The interested public who rallied behind the stevedores to see justice done were left unaware. There seemed to have been very little or no media coverage for the historic first year of activity under the rule of the all meddling self appointed saviour of the workers, Matura. How so ironic that the media hungry, publicity greedy President Matura did not make it a media event. On closer scrutiny one can now see why. The President passed off on an apparently unsuspecting membership what can only be classified as worthless and total rubbish, a hurriedly prepared Income Statement. A statement, that to the eye, cannot withstand scrutiny by any accounting standards. Imagine the publics’ surprise at this rubbish of a statement from an individual who is a stickler for accountability and transparency! How can the queen of transparency hopeful ever think that she can get away with such a stunt?

Minister of Foreign Affairs to travel to Guatemala for amendment to Special Agreement
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Sedi Elrington will travel to Guatemala to sign an amendment to the Special Agreement which was signed between the two countries. The amendment will be done in order for Guatemala to be able to hold a referendum on whether to take or not to take the Belize/Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at a different time than Belize. Under the current agreement both countries must have the referendum at the same time. The amendment for which the foreign minister will travel to Guatemala on the 24th of this month will allow for a variation of the agreement. Hon. Elrington says that the request came from Guatemala some two months ago and it was taken to cabinet and there was agreement for this to be done. Additionally the leader of the opposition was duly notified and he had no objection to the request by Guatemala. According to Elrington, “we were approached perhaps two months ago by the Guatemalan foreign minister who indicated to us, first through Ambassador Alexis Rosado, that they would wish to have their referendum hopefully by the month of November 2015.

“Major Jones Needs GPS in Rural North” - PUP Endorsed Outsider
The people of Belize Rural North are not happy with the People’s United Party for “stuffing an outsider” down their throats. Lloyd Armstrong Jones, the recently endorsed PUP Standard Bearer, is a constituent of Belize Rural Central and resident of #19 Ladyville, Price Barracks. One resident of Maskall Village says, “It is a good thing [Jones] was a BDF soldier because he will need a GPS in Rural North.” The people of Rural North don’t know anything about Jones; in fact, the only people excited about Jones’ endorsement are the committee members of Edmond Castro and Dwight Tillett because they see him as a much less formidable opponent than Arthur Saldivar, who had been working the division for over five years. Even the PUP supporters are disappointed in the candidacy of Jones. On Friday, May 8, PUP supporters from Belize Rural North issued a statement to the press saying:

Update on squatting in the Lake I area
The Minister of State, Hon. Mark King uses this medium to provide an update in efforts to alleviate the squatting situation in the Lake Independence constituency. As it relates to all squatters in the Chetumal Street and Lake I Boulevard Project areas, the Minister reiterates that efforts have resulted in the relocating of 10 families behind the project line, 8 families to Cotton Tree. The Minister wishes to inform residents that squatters must prepare to be relocated as the Government, through the Lands Department maintains a zero tolerance policy for squatting. These Belizeans will be given land elsewhere under the Lake I Land Amnesty Program to ensure that they own a piece of the jewel. The application process is underway to find land to assist these residents to a safe haven as was done in the Cotton Tree cases.

Mother’s Day Celebrations in Cayo
A number of events to celebrate mothers were held last Friday and over the weekend in the Cayo District. Many mothers came out for the various functions to be entertained by various musical groups and receive gifts in appreciation for their tireless labor of love. Some 350 mothers came to interact with the 27 residents at the Octavia Waight Center this past Sunday. Entertainment at the Convention Center was provided by the ‘Collegeria Petenera’ marimba group. Deputy Mayor Bernadette Fernandez was present at the Octavia Waight Convention Center to distribute gifts to mothers. Mrs. Bernadette Fernandez told us she would like to thank the community for their support towards the yearly Mother’s Day party at the Octavia Waight Center. Representative for the Cayo North Division the Hon. Omar Figueroa contributed to this year’s Mother’s Day at the Octavia Waight Center. Also contributing to the party were the Belize Bank, the Saint Martin’s Credit Union and the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council.

Luke Palacio picks up anti Petro Caribe agenda
The usual suspects who were making the rounds against Petro Caribe have realized that they can no longer maintain the interest of the Belizean public in their nonsense and they are trying to pass on the responsibility to someone else. That someone else is no other than Luke Palacio. He has now taken to the airwaves attempting to poison the minds of Belizeans against Petro Caribe. We need not say it, but his efforts have been completely pointless and it has proven that in terms of brain power, he surely has a lot to be desired. Palacio has gone on the local news and on morning shows to say two things: the first is that the Prime Minister never told them that the Petro Caribe funds would be used to finance the salary increase for public officers and secondly that the Prime Minister forced the unions to be a part of the board of directors of the National Bank.

New water system for Santa Anna in Toledo
The Government of Belize, steadfast in its continued commitment to address the basic needs of Belizeans, in the areas of water, sanitation and health; will expand and upgrade the Santa Anna Rudimentary Water System for residents of Santa Anna Village, Toledo District. In this regard, ground-breaking ceremonies to kick-off the water project were held in Santa Anna Village at 2:00 p.m. May 8, 2015. According to Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Santino Castillo, the project is being financed after tireless lobbying by UDP Standard Bearer, Peter Eden Martinez. He added that Martinez's perseverance was key in the implementation as there are long queues of projects that have been requested to be financed by the Social Investment Fund. The water project is financed by the Government of Belize at a cost of $762,110.00 through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank; so that residents of Santa Anna are provided with continuous supply of reliable potable water to meet their daily needs such as drinking, washing, bathing and cooking.

Dixon Montero for Attempted Murder at New Asia
Honduras national Dixon Montero, 20, is at the Belize Central Prison on remand for the attempted murder of New Asia’s security guard, Victor Hendy, 31. Montero was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on Thursday, May 8, for one count of attempted murder, one count of dangerous harm and one count of use of deadly means of harm with a firearm. Due to the nature of the offenses, no plea was taken and he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison. Just before 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, Victor Hendy was on duty at New Asia Restaurant, located on Vernon Street, when he responded to a commotion inside. Hendy saw two men, one with a handgun, attempting to rob the Chinese business woman.

Body of male person found in Mopan River
The body of a male person was given a constant watch by Police Officers from Benque Viejo del Carmen overnight as it was found at about midday this past Sunday in the Mopan River. Swimmers at the Mopan River discovered the body floating in the water near San Jose Succotz Village at about 1:00 pm Sunday. A police truck from Benque Viejo Police was deployed to the area to start the recovery process of the body. However; a decision was made to leave the body in the river to await the arrival of a forensic examiner until Monday. A post mortem conducted by a medical officer on the body certified that he died of asphyxia due to drowning. His body remains unidentified at this time and has been buried at the Benque Viejo del Carmen Cemetery. Meanwhile; Benque Viejo Police has made several attempts to contact their counterparts in Guatemala, including the PNC and the Consulate, where there has not yet been reports of any missing person.

Remanded for discharging firearm in public
Head of sales for Travellers Liquors, Reymundo Chan, 42, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for allegedly getting drunk and discharging his firearm at the Barrel Bar on Saturday, May 9. According to police, patrol units responded to reports of shots being fired at the Barrell Bar located at Miles 2 1/2 on the Phillip Goldson Highway at about 1 a.m. on Saturday. Upon their arrival, they were directed to the back of the compound where they say Reymundo Chan. He was found in possession of a brown CZ 9 mm pistol with five live rounds. Police say they could smell alcohol on his breath and he was acting drunk. He was detained by police and taken to the station. Chan presented a license for the firearm; therefore he was not charged for the weapon. However, he was charged for discharging it in public and one count of possession while under the influence of alcohol.

Killed while sitting at a street corner
Kjiel Nicholas Young, a 19 year-old resident of Partridge Street Extension, was shot and killed on Saturday night, May 9, right in front of his aunt’s house at #45 Vernon Street. The attack happened at around 9:30 when Young was sitting on a chair in the yard with his back to the street. He was reportedly rolling up marijuana for a smoke when he was approached from behind by a gunman. That assailant shot Young multiple times before he could react, and he was injured all over the body by 5 or 6 of those bullets. Shortly after, a few persons from the immediate vicinity tried to rush him to the KHMH for medical treatment, but he died on the way there. His family have no suspicions they can share with the press as to what would motivate a killer to violently take Young’s life the way he did. He recently graduated from the Gwen Lizarraga High School, and he was doing construction work. His family asserts that he did have a few friends, but no one gang related, no one they suspected would put his life at risk.

Belmopan Bandits one step closer to another title
The Premier League of Belize Closing Season Tournament is one game away from its completion. On Thursday 7th May, 2015, at the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Stadium in Belmopan, the national defending champions the Belmopan Bandits drew a step closer to realising its goal of winning yet another national title when it defeated Verdes FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Edmund Pandy Jr. in the 86th minute of play to give the Belmopan Bandits the win. The second and final game of the championship series is scheduled for Sunday 17 May, 2015, at 4:00 pm at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town.

BTL leads the Senior Belize City Female Softball Competition
The 2015 Belize City Senior Female Competition opened on 29th April, at Rogers Stadium. In the game that was played between the defending champions the Belize Bank Bulldogs and BTL, it was BTL that defeated the Belize Bank Bulldogs by the score of 14-10. The Belize Bank Bulldogs batting in the bottom of the 4th inning scored 4 runs to cut the deficit to 6 runs. It added a single run in the 5th and 4 more runs in the 4th and a single run in the 7th inning. Meanwhile, BTL pitcher Kenisha Sutherland gave up 10 hits in the game while striking out 6 batters in leading her team to the win. On Monday May 4, the Belize Bank Bulldogs rallied from an early 5-1 deficit to upend the Beacon by the score of 13-5. The Belize Bank Bulldogs scored 12 runs in the top of the 5th inning when it collected 8 hits with the Beacon defence making 4 errors.

Belize Elementary School boys lead primary schools football competition
The Belize City Primary Schools Football competition continued on Tuesday 12th May, 2015, at the MCC Grounds with three more games. In the girls’ competition, Belize Elementary School and St. Mary’s Primary played to a 0-0 draw. In the first of two games in the boys’ competition, Belize Elementary School edged out St. Mary’s Primary School by the score of 2-1. The goals for Belize Elementary School were scored by Ajani Vaughn and Sergio Pech, while the goal for St. Mary’s Primary was scored by Jezer Neal. In the second game in the boys’ competition, James Garbutt and Wesley Upper School played to a 0-0 draw. The competition continued on Friday 8th May, 2015, with three more games on the schedule. In the first of two games in the boys’ competition, Holy Redeemer School defeated St. Mary’s Primary by the score of 3-0. The goals for Holy Redeemer School were scored by Ryan Woods (2) and Dereck Brown.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Public Service driver busted with drugs while driving GOB vehicle
Information reaching our news desk is that early this morning, a public service driver was busted with drugs in Belmopan while driving a GOB vehicle. This is a developing story and we will be updating it shortly.

Rawell Pelayo steps down as Vice President of the FFB
Following his deportation back into the country on April 7th, 2015 the faith of Rawell Pelayo was in jeopardy as the Vice President of the Football Federation of Belize. Well, this fate is no longer in limbo since confirmation of his resignation was issued in an FFB release yesterday. The releases […]

Minister Castro lashes against opponent Dwight Tillett
Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Representative for the Belize Rural North area, seems to be confident about the upcoming UDP convention in which he will be facing Dwight Tillett, a former campaign manager of Castro and a former CEO in his Ministry. Castro has been thrash talking about his opponent and […]

Minister Castro vs Alvarene Burgess and Great Belize Production in Supreme Court
The case between Minister of State, Edmond Castro and Alvarene Burgess as first defendant and Great Belize production as second defendant has begun at the Supreme Court. Castro gave a testimony on the allegations of his character being defamed by statements given by Burgess which were broadcast and published by […]

Belizean student Dian Vasquez in the spot light at the Australian National University
24 year old Dian Vasquez is a resident of Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District. Dian graduated with honors from Sacred Heart College and moved on to complete a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Management at Galen University where she graduated with honors. Currently, Dian holds a Graduate […]

Crooked Tree receives new police station
The village of Crooked Tree has had a long-standing issue with its police station. It has been several years in the making to replace the decrepit older building and today it was opened. Area representative Edmond Castro admitted that he begged until Prime Minister Dean Barrow got tired […]

Dangriga area rep Ivan Ramos steps down
Dangriga’s first-term area representative Hon. Ivan Ramos of the People’s United Party (PUP) is the sixth area representative in less than two years to either step down or be deselected by his party, after announcing on Wednesday that he was stepping aside for his compatriot, retired educator Anthony […]

5th Annual Belize GIS Conference held
Belize has been making great strides in the use of geographic information systems (GIS), which was only introduced a few years ago. Promoters of GIS in Belize have been preaching the gospel of making better decisions using the data available and created in GIS systems. On Wednesday’s 5th annual […]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Clarifies Information Circulating in the Media Regarding Belize Ambassador’s Residence in Guatemala
Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release to clarify the information circulating in the sections of the news media that claimed that the residence of Belize’s Ambassador in Guatemala City was recently raided and searched by Guatemalan law enforcement authorities. According to the press release, the reports are wholly incorrect and Minister Elrington never said that the property was even raided or searched nor that he believes that it is one of Mrs. Baldetti’s properties. The release goes on to say that even though certain sections of Guatemala’s law enforcement made the attempt to search the Ambassador’s residence, at no time did they enter the property or a search was ever done.

Minister of National Security says Crime is down by 33%
Thursday, May 14th, 2015. BMG: Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security told the media yesterday in Crooked Tree Village that major crimes in Belize are down by 33%. However, according to news reports, there have been 45 murders in 2015 compared to 34 during the same period in 2014. The Minister also lashed out at the media for reporting the murders and not the other crime statistics which show that his ministry is making progress. Hon. Saldivar told the media in an interview and we quote: “We are working hard at the Ministry of National Security and at the Police Department to combat the rise in crime. I can tell you that even though on the news we sensationalize all the murders that have been taking place, I can tell you that since 2012 when I took over as the Minister of National Security, we have seen a thirty percent decrease in major crimes in this country, but that goes unnoticed because the media prefers to cover the murders and not the other crime statistics which show that we are making great progress. We continue to make great strides.”

Blogs

Pineapple Salsa
This salsa is refreshing and very healthy. It's very easy to make and uses very few ingredients. In about 5 minutes you will have a very unique dish.

The Top 15 Honeymoon Resorts in Belize
Picture yourself as a child, standing in front of a bakery display case after being told to choose just one treat. Perusing honeymoon resort destinations online can render you just as helpless, which is why we have narrowed down your choices to Belize’s top 15. See which strikes a romantic chord with you and your honey.

Sports Day
For the past weeks we have seen children from different schools visiting marketplaces, factories, sanctuaries and many tourist destinations, all part of the Education Week here in Belize. This week in particular is Education week, all leading up to Friday, which is Teachers Day, a day teachers are given a break from regular classes and participate in activities planned for them either at national, branch or school level. It applies to all teachers from primary school and secondary schools and normally they use this day to go on a day or weekend trip organized by themselves or their school administration. Teachers work very hard on the days leading up to Teachers day, planning trips, writing end of year exams, but today is Sports Day at least for the children of Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio. Being there made me remember the sports day I had as a child. I must say I had forgotten all about the games we played, so I really enjoyed being out there. I was really good at the 100 yard dash and lime and spoon. For some reason, I was always placed at the end of the rope on tug o’ war game probably due to my height. In a very similar fashion, as we were in our days, the kids today were color coded with blue, green, red and orange, each color had boys and girls teams. Today’s events started about the same time as regular school hours. They all met at the school grounds then the standard 3, 4, 5 and 6 levels walked to the Norman Broaster Stadium in downtown San Ignacio, while the younger levels went to the basketball court in Falcon Field.

International Sourcesizz

A Rare Mid-Year El Niño Event Is Strengthening
The robust El Niño event anticipated for more than a year is finally coming to fruition, according to the latest observations and forecasts. NOAA's latest monthly analysis, issued on Thursday morning, continues the El Niño Advisory already in effect and calls for a 90% chance of El Niño conditions persisting through the summer, with a greater-than-80% chance they will continue through the end of 2015. These are the highest probabilities yet for the current event, and a sign of increased forecaster confidence--despite the fact that we're in northern spring, the very time when El Niño outlooks are most uncertain. Forecasters and computer models alike have been confounded by this event. In a classic El Niño, the ocean and atmosphere are synchronized in a mutually reinforcing pattern that pushes warm sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) and thunderstorm activity along the equator eastward for thousands of miles, from Indonesia toward South America (see Figure 1).

Belize: A New Destination for Offshore Banking
Recently the government of Belize has run TV commercials in the U.S. promoting what is indeed an idyllic Caribbean vacation spot. I often have been asked about Belize; is it a suitable haven for offshore banking, asset protection and residence? I’ve visited twice, and although folks there are very friendly, Belize qualifies as a third world country in many respects, unfortunately in regards to some offshore financial matters. Fresh proof of my view on Belize’s third-world status was supplied on September 9. U.S. authorities disclosed civil and criminal charges against a major Belize-based offshore operation that allegedly allowed 100 or more U.S. investors to knowingly manipulate penny stocks, launder hundreds of millions of dollars back into the U.S., and evade U.S. taxes. Belize is a small country of only 341,000 souls in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico. Although Belize has the second highest per capita income ($8,700) in Central America, the average income figure masks a huge income disparity between rich and poor. In a sincere effort to bolster the economy in 1992, the Belize National Assembly enacted major legislation with the goal of making the country a competitive offshore banking and financial center. Drafters combed tax haven laws worldwide and came up with a series of minimal corporate and tax requirements, which — if you get the right honest advice — could well fit your offshore banking needs.

Chinese-language edition of Belizean book launched
The Chinese-language edition of a book written by the governor-general of Belize was launched in Taiwan yesterday to help Taiwanese learn more about the Central American country, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. The book, Pataki Full: Seven Belizean Short Stories, is a milestone, in that it is a book by a Central American writer published in Mandarin, Belize Governor-General Colville Young said at the book launch in Taipei, which was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It’s about the culture of Belize,” he said. The idea of a Chinese edition of the book was brought up in December last year. Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin said that when he visited Belize at that time, he received the English edition as a gift from Young.

B&B owner wins reprieve after son jumps the gun on New World Oil share issue
A Belize-focused oil exploration firm looks set to narrowly avoid the fate of having a 76-year-old B&B owner from Malvern unwittingly installed as its majority owner, after a botched trade by her son saw her take nearly 50 per cent of the firm. New World Oil suffered a major headache after the B&B owner’s son accidently purchased 48.8 per cent of the firm in her name – instead of 10 per cent as planned – after jumping the gun on a share issue. Yesterday it was announced the B&B owner’s holdings had been cut to 36 per cent – diminishing the chances of her being forced to bid for the remainder of the oil firm. Takeover panel rules can force investors owning at least 30 per cent of a company to make a formal takeover offer. People close to the company expressed severe frustration with the actions of the investor yesterday, saying it distracted from the company’s strategic aims.

C'bean fisheries ministers for Grenada confab
FISHERIES ministers from member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are expected to sign off on the Declaration on Spiny Lobster by way of a resolution, when they convene the 9th Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the CRFM today at Flamboyant Hotel in St George's, Grenada. The non-binding declaration establishes a road map for closer co-operation among the 17 Caribbean Community/CRFM states to ensure long-term conservation and sustainable use of the lobster resources. The Ministerial Council meeting is scheduled to open at 9:00 am. The feature address will be delivered by Roland Bhola, Grenada's minister of agriculture, lands, forestry, fisheries and the environment, who will assume the chairmanship of the council on the occasion of the meeting from Johnson Drigo, his Dominican counterpart.

High-level meeting of Caribbean Fisheries Ministers to be held in Grenada
“Our vision and long-term goal is to transform the region’s fisheries and aquaculture into sustainable systems, in order to optimize the sector’s contribution to food and nutritional security, improved livelihoods and wealth generation, through the application of science and technology, good governance, and inclusive, sustainable development strategies.” When they meet this Friday, the Caribbean Fisheries Ministers will be reviewing the progress being made in the implementation of existing policy instruments and programs. In charting the way forward, they will also make decisions on the next steps in the transformation process. High on their agenda will be the endorsement of the process now underway to develop the Plan of Action to facilitate the implementation of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP). The Fisheries Ministers will also discuss an initiative recently announced by the Government of the United States during the Caribbean Energy Summit on climate risk insurance for the Caribbean fisheries sector. This is in line with efforts to achieve Climate Smart Food Security (CSFS) using a Risk Insurance Facility (RIF).

Southwest Airlines releases prices for Belize
I just checked their website. Awesome fares starting mid-Oct from my area of the world. I think it priced less than $400 round trip. Plus 2 free checked bags. Can't beat that!

Videos

  • How To Get Rid Of People, 3min. Us doing a skit for a school project.

  • Cornerstone Foundation Belize 'Caring for People', 5min.

  • Global Living Room: Belize, 3min. Ivette Cob lives with her husband and four sons in Sarteneja, a village with a population of 2,000 in northeastern Belize. The village has been in existence since the time of the Mayas.

  • Belize Mission 2015, 3min. A group of rising 10th graders from Charlotte, NC will travel to Belize and take part in children's ministry, sports ministry and church and home repairs. They will leave behind the comforts of home and gain a better appreciation of what they have and what others do not. Mostly, they will experience the joy of helping others.

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