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#505070 - 06/10/15 11:14 AM Today's Belize News: June 10, 2015
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

Lobster Cravings!
Oh how I love the sweet succulent splendor that is the Caribbean Spiny Lobster! Four months out of the year, I face the terrible sacrifice of going without my favorite lobster dishes. Of course, this is done to allow our Crustacean friends time to replenish their population and continue feeding our love for all that is lobster….so I suffer silently. With only a couple weeks until the lobster season opens, I am already planning the myriad of delectable eats I am going to have! We all love the classics: grilled lobster, lobster kebabs, lobster dip, lobster sliders and so much more, but when you grow up in an island community, and your step-dad is a fisherman and your mom is a restaurant cook, the tasty treats you get to sample are like no other.

Caye Caulker incident
Our Reporters are in Caye Caulker following up on the story over the death of Hilberto Sotz. As reported before, two officers have been detained pending investigations. The San Pedro Sun spoke to Noel Leal, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Head of the Professional Standards Branch who has been tasked with the investigation into the matter. According to Leal, the postmortem examinations results, which should be available by the end of the day, will determine whether the two Caye Caulker Police officers will be prosecuted or released. "Investigations are well under way. We are currently reviewing every bit of information that is available to ensure that at no point the investigation is jeopardized. No rock will be left un-turned when it comes to figuring what really happened within the confines of the Caye Caulker Police Station

Island Watercolor Group launches exhibit at the San Pedro House of Culture
A benefit art show and sale is ongoing at the San Pedro House of Culture (SPHC), featuring watercolor works from six talented women. Organized in collaboration with the Island Watercolor Group, the event kicked off on Sunday, June 7th at 5PM. The colorful and unique pieces are all on sale, with proceeds benefiting a worthy cause: “Women in Need”. Featured artists of the exhibit are Linda Kirk, Rose Escalante, Judy Sheinbaum, Susan Lala, Donna Richmond and Carolyn Price. Monies raised from the sale of the painting will go towards assisting women in need from across Ambergris Caye. The exhibit will be open for a couple of weeks, and everyone is invited to stop by for viewing or to purchase a piece. Those interested in viewing or purchasing the paintings can visit the SPHC on Angel Coral Street from 8AM to 5PM, on Monday to Friday.

Pedro’s celebrated 60th birthday with a fundraising party
Peter “Pedro” Lawrence celebrated his 60th birthday by hosting a fundraising benefit on Sunday, June 7th at Amber Beach Bar & Grill located on the grounds of Caribbean Villas. The event saw a day of fun activities for the whole family, while raising funds for the San Pedro Sailing Club and the San Pedro Animal Foundation. After kicking off at 11:30AM, the celebration want well into the late evening, making the fundraiser was a huge success. Patrons arrived early to enjoy the musical vibes from The Mighty Cool J’s, as well as partaking ofthe delicious eats available. Many indulged in the event’s signature pig roast, while enjoying drink specials. There were lots of games and activities for the children, including free sailing lessons. Throughout the event, those in attendance had the opportunity to win great prizes through raffles and 50/50 draws. The highlight of the event was the silent auction, with close to 40 fabulous items up for bid.

Tiger Sharks are back-to-back NEBL Champions!
For the second year in a row, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks have claimed the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) championship. The Tiger Sharks defeated the Cayo Western Ballaz in flawless best-out-of-three finals. In its two -year history of the NEBL, this is the biggest rivalry in the league; a clasico if you will! The San Pedro Tiger Sharks swept the 3-game series by winning the first two games and becoming the NEBL champions for this year’s season. They remained with a perfect record at home with 19-0, and are back-to-back champions. The MVP honors went to Darwin “Puppy” Leslie, who averaged 22.5 points/game, 4.5 rebound, and 3 steals per game.

The Belize Police Department responds to Incident in Caye Caulker
The Belize Police Department extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends grieving the loss of Mr. Hilberto Sotz who was detained by the police in Caye Caulker and subsequently died unexpectedly. The Commissioner of Police takes this opportunity to assure the family as well as the citizenry that an expeditious, thorough and transparent criminal, as well as internal investigation is presently underway and any evidence of wrong doing will be promptly dealt with. The outcome of those investigations will be made public at the earliest. Information gathered to date is that on Monday June 8, 2015 at 11:50 am, 18-year-old Hilberto Sotz of Bahia Puesto Del Sol, Caye Caulker Village was detained at Caye Caulker police station pending investigation into a series of burglaries. Sometime around 5:00pm, while being interviewed, he reportedly started complaining of chest pain and had difficulty breathing. He was rushed to the poly clinic for medical treatment where he passed away. Unfortunately, this situation led to concern villagers who surrounded the Poly clinic and the Police Station where some of those persons present threw missiles, causing minimal damage to the building and its contents. The movement of the police and others working within both buildings were impeded by the gathering. Warning shots were fired in the air in an effort to ward off those persons. A golf cart loaned to the police valued at some $13,000 was stolen while parked at the Poly clinic and was recovered in the early morning of Tuesday June 9, 2015.

More Rainy Days
Belize has two seasons rainy and dry. Rainy season is scattered across the months of June to November, and it seems that the rains have come on cue this season.

Ambergris Today

Pic of the Week - Hunting for Fresh Fish in Ambergris Caye
You may think that fresh fish is easily accessible for purchase in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, but sometimes you cannot find any!! By now the fishing village of San Pedro has 'almost' completely transformed into a tourist-centic destination. Fishermen cater to the resorts and restaurants, and locals have to keep an keen eye out for fresh fish. This Pic of the Week show how local fishermen clean their catch of the day right on the beach as they return from their fishing trip. If you get to know (roughly) what days and what times they are on the beach, you can get your fresh fish - whole or fillet.

Plane Crash Survivor Gives His Accounts on Belize Rescue
Passenger aboard Tropic Air flight 9N2300 from Belize City to Roatan, Honduras, submits his accounts on what happened after the plane he was traveling in had to make an emergency crash landing offshore in the waters between Turneffe and Lighthouse Reef atolls. He hopes to clarify erroneous information given to the Belize media.

Peace in Caye Caulker Disrupted by Rioting Residents Against Police
The Belize Riot Squat, members of the Belize Coast Guard and additional police support from San Pedro had to be deployed to the island of Caye Caulker late Monday evening, June 8, 2015, as a mob of angry residents set to riot after the death of a 17-year old male in police custody. It is being reported that islanders believe that members of the Caye Caulker Police brutalized Gilbert Sotz while in their custody after he was caught red handed breaking into a residence. Sotz was allegedly severely beaten by police officers and died while being treated at the island clinic. Outraged by the actions of the island’s police officers, calling out police brutality, the villagers started to protest outside the clinic where Sotz was treated. The Caye Caulker Police Station was also in lockdown as furious residents started throwing bottles and acid bombs at the building, according to eyewitness reports. It was reported that the CC Police fired several warning shots towards the direction of the mobbing crowd in an attempt to disperse it.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY!!!
Interested persons meeting the qualifications as outlined can now apply for the Ministry of Education/ Ministry of Health Nursing Scholarship 2015. To access a copy of the application form visit the Ministry of Health website at link: http://health.gov.bz/…/belize-…/855-nursing-scholarship-2015. Applications are to be submitted to the Ministry of Health office in Belmopan no later than July 15th, 2015.

Largest Food Drive in San Pedro History
On Saturday, June 6th, 2015, a food drive event between San Pedro Food Bank, Sperro, Saga Humane Society and San Pedro Belize Red Cross who came together and demonstrated teamwork at it's finest. The San Pedro Food bank, started by a group of community members in 2014, exists to help feed struggling families on the island. To be a recipient of the food bank, families must consist of at least one working parent with children, an average income of $75-$100 bz a week, and have expenses including utilities and school costs. It is important to note, many of these recipients are single mothers. Currently the food bank supports 22 families (120 people) with a waiting list of 40 families (200 people). The San Pedro Food Bank appreciates that the San Pedro Belize Red Cross reached out to work together and help benefit those that need it most. Sperro is a not for profit organization made up of 18-35 year old young adults who share a desire to serve the community and meet other young adults. Sperros leader of 26 volunteers from Ontario Canada contacted tacogirl.com of the San Pedro Belize Red Cross after coming off a volunteer stint in Orange Walk to further expand their community work in the country and work with the Red Cross in San Pedro.

The San Pedro Town Council receives a Land Rover vehicle
on behalf of the team at Mahogany Bay Village/Caribbean Homes & Exports. Ms. Beth Clifford (CEO of CH&E) and her enthusiastic team were all present to hand over "Rocky" to Deputy Mayor Gary Greif. The Land Rover will be officially handed over to the San Pedro Police Department on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., in an effort to help in fighting crime in San Pedro. Thank you Mahogany Bay VIllage! This donation is greatly appreciated and needed.

Cayo Marketing Strategy Meeting
The SISE Town Council is having a Business Opportunities and Marketing Strategies meeting. They have a tourism services marketing plan, and are asking for the community's help. The meeting will be Thursday, June 11th, at 2:00pm, at the Cahal Pech Village Resort. A documentary about all the amazing sites Cayo has is being planned so it can be shown on Belize's new tourism channel.

Belize International Film Festival 2015
Join us for some exciting days of film, filmmakers and networking in beautiful Placencia, be sure to mark your calendars, book your tickets, reserve your rooms and come ready to have a blast while you network! It is the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Belize International Film Festival 2015! Save the date...

Indigenous Community leaders Belize-Guatemala met this week in Poptun
To develop a declaration for the protection of Mother Earth, particularly the Chiquibul-Maya Mountains. Participating from Belize were indigenous leaders from the Toledo District.


On Saturday, 6 June 2015, Oceana Belize, the CJC Eagles Club, and other environmentalists celebrated World Ocean Day with a Clean-Up. This cleanup was sponsored by Oceana Belize and the CJC Eagles Environmental Club. We did a lot of cleaning at Miami Beach in Corozal Town. A few of us also did some cleaning at Mangrove Park.

House of Culture Opens Men at Work Exhibit
The Corozal House of Culture opened its Men at Work exhibit on Saturday, 6 June 2015. The 2015 “Men at Work” exhibit opened at the Corozal House of Culture on 6 June 2015, featuring several of our excellent male artisans of the Corozal District. On this page we have some information about those men and most of their works that were on display.

New Maya Discovery in Belize Brings Tourism and Archaeology Together
An exciting new Maya archaeological find in Belize highlights the successful coexistence between tourism and archaeology in the little Central American country, according to the Lodge at Chaa Creek’s Belize Natural History Centre. Brion Young, a Mayanist and the Natural History Centre’s assistant manager, said that the discovery of a priceless jade pendant at Nim Li Punit, in Belize’s Toledo District, the second largest Maya jade artefact ever found in Belize and perhaps anywhere, is creating a buzz in both scientific and travel circles. “Everyone here is excited about the news, and since the discovery we’ve been fielding enquiries from research colleagues as well as tourism stakeholders. Word has been quickly travelling around the world and people want to know more. It’s a real boon for both science and Belize’s cultural and Maya tourism sectors,” he said.

BOLEDO DRAWING for Tuesday, June 9, 2015: 22. FANTASY 5: 11 27 33 28 14 Y

Development by 5 Blues Lake, by St. Margarets Village
Your latest Protected Area to bite the dust, courtesy of Wicked Progress. Does it look large scale like Yalbac? around those lines... this was the one PA to connect the southern PAs to the Central Corridor. No management for years and there you go. Is the clearing taking place within the boundary or up to it? A contact I had for Five Blues is Mario Perez, 635-3183, but I am not sure what his position is/was... but he might be able to provide more info. at the boundary and into the park now. I stopped at Mario's place to inform him.

Channel 7

Detainee Dies In Police Custody; Angry, Caye Caulker Riots
Last night, we told you about the riot that broke out on Caye Caulker following the news that 18 year-old Hilberto Sotz died while in police custody inside the island's Police station. Public order was seriously threatened as a man of over 200 gathered, Island police called in the Eastern Division strike team from Belize City. Residents say police fired live rounds to drive away the mob - an event which has stirred even more outrage at the police. Order was restored by 10:30 and the crowd dissipated by 11:00. There was no major property damage. When our news team visited La Isla Carinosa today we found a community bruised by serial police abuses and galvanized in anger by what they say is the murder of an innocent teen. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Caye Caulker looked calm today but events from yesterday left destruction and property damage to this clinic, broken glass on the window sill where pint bottles were hurled in rage, a tense police presence to ensure no recurrence, a dead teenager known as

Professional Standards Comments On Sotz's Death In Police Custody
Very early in the morning, we tried to get a comment from Inspector Henry Jemmott, the Officer Commanding the Department, Coastal Executive Unit. He's in charge of police operations in both Caye Caulker and San Pedro. When we approached him he told us that police bosses at Eastern Division told him that the Police Press Officer, Raphael Martinez would handle any interviews or inquiry in relation to this case. When our colleagues contacted Martinez, he informed them that orders higher up were that a press release would be sent. It appeared that no one wanted to bite the bullet and face the tough questions of the press in relation to Hilberto Sotz's death. That's until we got a chance to speak with Assistant Police Commissioner Noel Leal, the officer commanding the Professional Standards Branch, which is known also as internal affairs. Here's how that conversation went with the lead investigator in this case: ACP Noel Leal, Commander, Professional Standards Branch "We are running a parallel investigation; a criminal investigation and an internal investigation. But the presence of the police on a whole generally is also to maintain law and order and to ensure the safety of everyone here on the island."

Sotz's Family Says That Island Police Has Extorted Them
If you think that police brutality and the unlawful killing of their son is the only complaint that the Sotz family has against Caye Caulker Police, you'd be surprised to find out that they have more. While discussing the death of their son in police hands, Hilberto's parents shared their account of a police encounter in which his father went to make a compliant and ended up detained, and that his mother had to pay a bribe to get him released. Here's that accusation in their own words: Santorino Sotz "The other day I was taking care of hostel, because the guy went to the States. So now, I left my son in the place to sleep. Someone went into the back and stole a box. So now I went and report to the police that somebody went into the place and stole a box. You know what they did, instead of they investigate and go check where it is, they locked me up. They locked me up and I am taking care of the place. They locked me up for two days and my wife had to pay $75 to pay the police for them to release me."

PUP Meets; Considers Not Participating In Griga Bi-Election
Last night, the biggest news of the weekend was that Dangriga Area Representative Ivan Ramos formally resigned as Area Representative. Well that has triggered a bi-election which will be held in a month from now, but the PUP are considering their options, one of which is to boycott it, and not participate. Very credible sources told us that going into this meeting, one of the most senior members of the party was proposing a boycott of the bi-election. However, word is that majority of the members at this evening's meeting, voted in favor of the party to fight and contest the Bi-Election. Our information says that many are of the view that boycotting and not contesting is a viable that the party can afford to take. The Party Leader, we were informed, decided instead that team should go to Dangriga and assess which of the two options should be taken. Coming out of the meeting, half an hour to go, the Party Leader, who is usually open to take any questions from the press, just abruptly ended the conversation:

Swazo: Ivan Ramos Must Keep His Promise To Griga Voters
So now it is left to the stalwart PUP's of Dangriga to revive their party's hopes in Dangriga. Former PUP Mayor Gilbert Swazo is one of them. Yesterday he took what we assume will be the party line: he took Ivan Ramos to task for failing to do his duty. But what really is the duty of an elected representative who has reached the end of the line? That's what we asked Swaso: Gilbert Swazo, Former Mayor - Dangriga "Essentially democracy has been punished in my view and certainly the people of Dangriga will continue to be the victims of such resignation." Jules Vasquez "Isn't a new representative much better than a lame duck representative, because he had step down as standard bearer under whatever circumstances but then he became somebody who's a dead man walking because he had no interest in the job, the community voted. He had no interest to share that out if you're a lame duck representative. But isn't it preferable then that you say, we'll let us have a real election, replace this lame duck and bring in a real representative who wants to be in this job of politics?"

Maurice Felix Remanded For Murder... Again...
Twenty-nine year old Emory Felix, the brother of 30 year old Maurice Felix, who was arraigned last week on 2 counts of attempted murder, was charged today with the murder of Mark Gentle and the attempted murder of Gentle's mother, Pamela Cumberbatch. Emory was arraigned on the charges before Magistrate Herbert Panton. He was remanded into custody until September 8. The charges are in connection with a shooting incident which occurred at the residence of Pamela Cumberbatch, located 0n Caesar Ridge Road. Pamela and her son were sitting on the steps of her house when a vehicle stopped in front of their gate and two men got out and fired a barrage of shots. Pamela was unhurt but Mark sustained injuries which he succumbed to a week later. Maurice Felix is wanted by the police for his charge of attempted murder to be upgraded to murder in respect to Mark Gentle. Today 7news spoke to Felix's mother who told us that her sons has been continuously threaten by police and these charges against them are bogus.

Unannounced Changes In The FSTV? Tour Operators Complain
Today the doors at Terminal 1 in the Tourism Village were closed and two disgruntled tour operators say it cut their daily earnings significantly. At around 9 this morning a security guard closed the doors at terminal 1 - preventing visitors from exiting through that terminal. Instead, they were guided to terminal 2. Now, one of the tour operators we spoke to today says he has no idea why this action was taken and that no one notified them of this move. All he knows is that he lost out on a number of booked tours for today. We met with both tour operators today and they told us just how much this diversion of tourists impacted their business. Courtney Weatherburne "Sir I understand that the schedule shifted or there was a rift in the usual schedule this morning. Along what time did that happen and what exactly did you observe?" John Pollard - Owner, Big John's Tour and Taxi Company "About 9 o'clock this morning the flow was pretty easy at this terminal here which is terminal 1. People were coming out to the different tour companies that they came to. Inside we saw the security talking to a guy. The guy he was talking to was one of the managers from inside, a Turkish looking a guy.

Meet The New Justices Of Appeal
Two new Justices have been appointed to serve as judges of Belize Court of Appeal. They are 65 year old Justice Murrio ducille and 65 year old Justice Franz Parke, both of them Jamaican nationals. They were sworn in yesterday by the Governor General, his Excellency Sir Colville Young. Justice Ducille, an attorney, is a member of the Jamaica Bar, the Bar of the Bahamas and the Bar of Dominica. He has served as a Clerk of Court, a State prosecutor, Acting Solicitor General, a chief prosecutor and Attorney General in Bahamas, a Chief magistrate in Antigua and Barbuda and Director of Public Prosecutions in Dominica. He began his private practice in 1977. Justice Parke's appointment is only temporary. He is also an attorney and he has been admitted to practice law in both Jamaica and the United States.

They Topped The PSE For 2015
Last night we gave you a breakdown of the PSE results and also spoke to the top finisher: Bernice Yorke student Gabriel Hope. Well, as we told you he wasn't the only one with an outstanding record. There is a list of 26 top performers and today we spoke to 7 of them on how intense their preparation process was for this exam and the road ahead. We start off with 3 students from Belize Elementary School, then move on to 2 9th place finishers from Bernice York and end off with the 3 top finishers from Hummingbird Elementary. Courtney Weatherburne "Tell us about your level of preparation. How intense was it for you preparing for the PSE?" Sahil Hotchandani - 3rd Place from BES "I studied hard. I didn't study from last minute I studied from September I started studying. Every weekend I would study an hour maybe two hours and my parents pushed me really hard. They motivated me they kept me updated with everything that was going on and I guess that hard work was paid off. I found out yesterday and I was surprise. I knew I was going to do well, that was my goal. My goal was to do good and to come in top 25 but it was still such a shock for me and I was so happy." Megan Williams - 4th Place, BES "It was amazing because, see I just got here this year so it was amazing to find out that I got in fourth out of the whole country."

Wesley High School Changes Graduation Requirements
Several 4th formers from Wesley College might not be able to graduate tomorrow. This is because the graduation requirements were changed last minute and were only disclosed to parents at a parent-teacher meeting in January. The change has to do with the grade point average. Under the revised requirement, the student must get a GPA of at least 2.0 instead of the long-standing 1.0. In a letter sent to Wesley's Chairman of the Board of Directors, it states that this sudden change is like QUOTE :"moving the goal post while a game is in its final quarter." The letter continues by saying that "the decision appears arbitrary and unconscionable" and that this new GPA requirement should be implemented the following year - when new students are entering the school system. It continues by saying "This subsequent change in the conditions required for graduation is a breach of the 1.0 GPA requirement…" Another issue that is addressed in the letter is the lack of consultation between Wesley College and the Ministry of Education to ensure that proper protocol was followed in this change. The letter ends off by saying "The implementation of this change appears unfair and irrational on outgoing 4th formers whose grades were already between a GPA range of 1.0 to 2.0…" END QUOTE. We will keep following this story.

The Jaguars To DR!
Right now, the contingent of players and coaching staff for the Belize National Team are on a flight to the Dominican Republic which left Miami a short while ago. They are ready after preparing just over 3 months to take on that country's national team, and as you may well know, Belize's Premier Striker, Deon McCauley is with them. Just before they boarded the flight to leave the PGIA, we spoke with them about the mood of the entire team going into game one against the Dominican Republic. Here's what they told us: Deon McCauley - Member, Belize National Team "Everybody prepared. I think the coach and staff did a good job in preparing the team. Physically, its only left to the players to go out there mentally prepared, focus and ready for the game on Thursday." Reporter "Alright, you are known as one of Belize's most prolific strikers, but even the best strikers need support. Do you feel that you have that with this team that had been put together?"

Desmond Ramirez Teaches In Seine Bight
Before we go tonight, have one small correction to make. We told you last night about the arrest and criminal charging of 30 year-old Desmond Ramirez. He's a teacher who's been accused by a 15 year-old of having unlawful sexual intercourse with her. We told you that he was a teacher from Placencia, but that is an error. He's actually a teacher in the Seine Bight Village.

Channel 5

Mayhem on La Isla Carinosa, Residents Riot Following Death of Teenager
All hell broke loose on Caye Caulker on Monday night after word spread across the island that a young man had died while in police custody. Protesters took the streets [...]

Will the P.U.P. Contest Upcoming Bye-election in Dangriga?
The grand old party, that once supremely powerful political entity, is on the verge of a decision to not contest the Dangriga bye-election set for July eighth, following the resignation [...]

Criminal and Internal Investigation of Arresting Officer Underway in Caye Caulker
While dozens of officers have descended on the otherwise quiet village of Caye Caulker, among their ranks is Assistant Commissioner of Police Noel Leal.  He is heading an internal investigation [...]

…Residents Say GSU Responded Forcefully
Personnel from the Gang Suppression Unit have been deployed to Caye Caulker where they have remained stationed since Monday night.  The GSU was summoned to the island during a heightened [...]

Former Party Leader Comments on Ramos Debacle
So it is very likely that the P.U.P. will bow out of the bye-election set for one month from today. That means the party would give up, voluntarily, another seat, [...]

Toledo West Area Rep Says Macca Wasn’t Getting the Job Done in Dangriga
Today, one of Ramos’ closer colleagues, Toledo West Area Representative Oscar Requeña, reiterated the Party’s position that in the end the choice to step down was made by Ramos. And [...]

Should the P.U.P. contest the upcoming Dangriga bye-elections?
And our question for tonight is: Should the P.U.P. contest the upcoming Dangriga bye-elections? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on [...]

And the Top Scorers in 2015 PSE Are…
Thirteen year old Gabriel Hope bested the P.S.E. this year through hard work and determination. He is one of seven students from the Bernice Yorke Institute of Learning who placed [...]

Director of Examinations Discusses PSE Results
This year, the number of students sitting the P.S.E. decreased by three percent when compared to 2014. A total of one hundred and sixteen registered candidates did not turn up [...]

Are Private Schools Providing Better Education to Primary School Students?
For some years now, private institutions have been yielding the top performers. This year’s P.S.E. Results would prove that sixty-eight percent of the students in the top twenty-five were from [...]

Ivan Ramos Says He Didn’t Go Against P.U.P. When He Accepted Petrocaribe Cheer
The resignation of Ivan Ramos, the area representative of Dangriga, has spawned a number of allegations and left the P.U.P. scrambling. Well, at the centre of all the controversy and [...]

Former P.U.P. Area Rep Goes Candid on Election Readiness
As we told you on Monday, Ramos said he believes he was dropped for a more “viable” candidate that the P.U.P. seems to think will be a better match for [...]

New Justices of Court of Appeal Sworn In
When the June session of the Court of Appeal opens, there will be two new Justices of Appeal: they are Justices Murrio Ducille and Franz Parke.  Justice Ducille has practiced [...]

Third Victim in Motorcycle Crash in the South Succumbs
The third person who was involved in a motorcycle accident last week has died. Twenty-six year old Lucita Chun, who received a large cut to the forehead, was hospitalized in [...]

Emory Felix Charged with Murder of Mark Gentle
One of two brothers who police believe shot and killed Mark Gentle on May twenty-fifth, 2015, was arrested and arraigned this afternoon in court. He is twenty-nine year old Emory [...]

G.O.B. Withdraws Appeal of Supreme Court Decision in Favor of OCEANA
Just over a week ago, it was announced that Barrow and Company, the attorneys acting on behalf of the Government of Belize, had withdrawn an appeal against the April 2011 [...]

Belize Jaguars Leave for Away Game in Dominican Republic
Belize’s national team, the Jaguars, left the country just after midday today en route to the Dominican Republic. On Thursday, they face the A-selection from that country for the first [...]

Another Case of Police Brutality, Ibrahim Cadogan Badly Beaten
A mother says that her son, twenty-one year old Ibrahim Cadogan was brutalized whilst in police custody. Vidalia Cadogan visited News Five today to tell her story. She says police [...]

American Airlines Direct from LA to Belize
Belizeans as well as visitors can now take advantage of a direct flight from Belize to Los Angeles, U.S.A.  American Airlines will be servicing the new route with two weekend [...]

CTV3

Big Sanch Donates To Cancer Group Of Orange Walk
Popular Disk Jockey and promoter Fernando Sanchez, better known as “Big Sanch” has made a donation to the Orange Walk Cancer Support Group. Following the eighties and nineties dance organized by Sanchez, he bought a self-powered speaker and handed it over to the cancer group. Today the president of the group, Badra Coleman said the donation goes a long way in assisting the group in achieving its goals. Badra Coleman- President Orange Walk Cancer Support Group “Whenever we have functions with workshops that are educational or church services or things that we want to inform a group we usually have to rent the system so this will be able for us to have our own and save that money and I am grateful to Fernando Sanchez and all those who supported that dance because it will benefit us greatly. What happens is that one of our goals is to educate the community on early detection so we usually hold workshops at different areas and we have to borrow a system.”

MOE Uses Petro Caribe Money To Fund Family Day
Honorable Patrick Faber, he did not think twice before boasting on the podium that a handful of Petro Caribe money was used to finance a family day trip to Corozal for residents of his constituency and tonight this same revelation has placed him and his government under public scrutiny. Faber made the announcement on Sunday as he addressed the crowd during the endorsement convention for newly appointed U.D.P Standard Bearer for Caribbean Shores Darrel Bradley. Now why this is making headlines is because the Petro Caribe monies should be used for infrastructural and social programs. But apparently GOB is taking its eyes away from the ball and the monies are being spent otherwise in some occasions thus causing public outcry and a call for accountability and transparency. For context here is a portion of the Minister of Education’s address. Honorable Patrick Faber- Minister of Education:“I want to start off this afternoon by thanking our government and thanking our Prime Minister who will be with us shortly for Petrocaribe funds. I am just back…I had to rush back cause I promised Darrel I would be back in time to speak at this convention, but my friends we were able in the Collet constituency to roll twenty-two loaded buses to Corozal Town today and we had a wonderful family day courtesy of Petrocaribe and our Prime Minister the Hon. Dean Barrow. We danced to Jorge Ernesto Babb and the Caribbean roots band. ...”

Belize Canoe Association Brings Silver And Bronze Medals From Puerto Olympic Cup
On June 6th and 7th, 2015, four Belizean paddlers Chris Guydis, Wilberto Daniels, Bayron Cruz and Amado Cruz - from the Belize Canoe Association competed in the Puerto Rico Olympic Cup hosted by the Puerto Rico Canoe/Kayak Association. The event incorporates Kayak Sprint Races of distances of 200M, 500M, and 1000M in K1, K2 and K4 Categories. This year was the first year Belize participated in the event along with Guatemala, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. While the team Belize struggled to master the art of the kayaks, after only 2 days of practice, all four men raced and even though they did not medal in the K1 or K2 events, they managed to place 2nd in the K4 1000 m and 3rd in the K4 200 m events. Working together, the team managed to bring home silver and bronze medals from the event. Of note is that Amado Cruz also placed 9th overall in the 5000 M race with a time of 26 minutes 16 seconds. The top time was 22 minutes, 30 seconds.

FLOCERT Audits BSCFA
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is being audited by FLOCERT, the global certification and verification body for Fairtrade. The Association had fallen under serious noncompliance earlier this year when, by the mandate of its general assembly, decided to share out over six million dollars to all its members. The Association had even received a letter from Fairtrade representatives warning them of the repercussions for taking such a decision. Auditors are now in Belize and begun their work today. We spoke with Ezekiel Cansino, Chair of the Committee of Management who told us that they having been working hard to ensure that they pass this year’s audit. “Los auditors van a estar revisando los papeles del uso del premio y también las minutas de la juntas que se han llevado acabo, sea a nivel del Assembly, de Branch, de division and committee y todo eso se revisa por los auditores. Nosotros tenemos la esperanza de que quedemos siempre certificados y estamos desde Enero después de que ocurrió todo los que paso nosotros hemos estado trabajando para ver como remediar ciertos problemas que tenemos aquí a dentro y de tratar de hacer las cosas antes de que el auditor venga y nos diga pues están mal y nosotros estamos tratando de estar adelantados de todo ellos pero si tenemos la confianza de que vamos a seguir certificados.”

BYM Demands Justice For Dead Teen
The death of eighteen year old Hilberto Sotz has sparked the ire of islander on Caye Caulker and has also brought the police department under more scrutiny. In response to the event that have unfolded, the Belize Youth Movement, the youth arm of the People’s United Party, has issued a press release condemning the events that led to the death of the teenager. BYM states that it stands in solidarity with the Caye Caulker community, calling for an objective and thorough investigation into the unexplained death of the youth. The release goes on and we quote, ‘The Police’s account of what occurred does not hold when compared with the accounts of the local residents. The Police’s account makes no mention of alleged bruises on the teenager’s body, and while authorities claim that the young man died after experiencing respiratory problems, his family vouches that he had no such medical complication. Furthermore, the official’s report that the teenager passed away at the local health center have been disputed by witnesses who saw the lifeless body moved from the Police Station to the health centre on Monday evening’, end of quote.

BCCI Lashes Out At MOE
And sticking to the subject of Petro Caribe spending, today the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry came out swinging at Faber. In a release the chamber condemned and we quote “The confessed blatant misuse of the Petro Caribe Loan Funds as confirmed by the Minister of Education Patrick Faber and aired by multiple media houses on newscasts of June 8th 2015. The Belize Chamber of Commerce states that spending loan funds on a picnic can in no way be seen as investing in our people's future, and this activity underscores the need for procedures that uphold the principles of accountability, transparency and responsible spending, particularly in the use of loan funds. The BCCI remains firm in its resolve to uphold the principle of good governance and calls on the Minister of Finance and on the Government of Belize to act responsibly in its use of those public funds which every single Belizean must repay.

Free Clinics Offered By US Medical Students
A group of premedical students are assisting Belizean doctors provide general health care to residents in at least five villages in the North Carolina State University, North Carolina, USA. The group is in Belize through the International Service Learning, a private organization run by foreign medical investors. The twenty-four students are assisting doctors from the Northern Regional Hospital providing general health care and today were working at San Lazaro and Santa Martha Villages. We caught up with the group in San Lazaro Village where Alexa Stout told us more about the work they are doing. Alexa Stout – Pre-medical Student “We all set up and help the doctors to visit us many people in the community as we can and we take vitals and we give back the prescription that the doctors say, we just try to touch every family that we can her that means help.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “So this is the second year that you are here, what is the routine, you guys visit different villages?” Alexa Stout – Pre-medical Student “Yes we try to visit at least five villages but we give appointments and we give half visits and try to see how many families have sick people and then we set up the clinic here most of the day and we try to keep it a good flow and everything and try them to see the doctors as much as they can.”

PSE Preliminary Results Are Out
Yesterday the Ministry of Education released the preliminary results of the 2015 Primary School Examination. Among the top performers for this year were six students from the north. Tonight we take a look at the results of each individual subject and note that there were improvements in the results of Mathematics and Social Studies. When it comes to the subject of English the report released by the Ministry of Education shows that 73% of the students scored at the Adequate Level of Performance or better. This is about the same as in 2014, when 74% scored at the Adequate Level. The mean score for 2015 is in the adequate range at 57.2. In 2014 the average was 58.4.


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#505071 - 06/10/15 11:15 AM Re: Today's Belize News: June 10, 2015 [Re: Marty]
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LOVE FM

Is PUP Looking to Boycott Upcoming Bi-Elections?
As stated yesterday by the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, the powers that be in the People’s United Party would be meeting today to further discuss the matters surrounding the now vacant Dangriga seat in the House of Representatives and how they would be moving forward. The media camped outside Independence Hall this afternoon […]

Exams Director Gives Preliminary Report on PSE Results
The results of the Primary School Examination 2015, sat by seven thousand two hundred and twenty three students from around the country have been released and are currently being reviewed by teachers and principals of the various schools as they currently have a two week window to submit any queries they may have regarding their […]

Parents of Hilberto Sotz Want Justice for His Death
The Belize Police Department issued an official release on the incident. The release says that Sotz was detained by Caye Caulker Police yesterday morning at around 11:50 pending investigation into a series of burglaries. He was in police custody for five hours because according to the release quote, “Sometime around 5:00 pm, while being interviewed, […]

Villagers Enraged At Teenager’s Death Allegedly by the Hands of the Police
Caye Caulker Village is known to be idyllic and laid back, however late yesterday evening into late last night, it was anything but. Word began circulating sometime after five o’clock that a teenager who had been in Police custody had died. Villagers gathered in front of the health center and police station to demonstrate their […]

Two New Judges Appointed to Belize’s Court of Appeals
Two new Justices have been appointed to serve as judges for the Belize Court of Appeal. 65-year-old, Justice Murrio Ducille and 65-year-old, Justice Franz Parke, both Jamaican nationals, were sworn in yesterday by the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville Young. Justice Ducille, an attorney, is a member of the Jamaica Bar, the Bar of […]

Belize Jaguars Head to the DR for World Cup Qualifiers
The National A Team of Belize, the Belize Jaguars, headed out today to represent Belize in the second round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against the Dominican Republic Football Team. The match is scheduled for this Thursday, June 11. Charlie Slusher, assistant coach for the Belize Jaguars, says that the team is well […]

13 Days Later: PUP Comments on Incident at Sarstoon Island
It has been almost two weeks since there was a confrontation between members of the Belize Coast Guard and the Guatemalan Naval officers on the Sarstoon Island in southern Belize. There have been responses from the Ministry of National Security, the Belize Coast Guard as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the Opposition […]

Body Retrieved from Mopan River
The body of a man was retrieved from the Mopan River earlier today. Correspondent Elaine Berry has the story. ELAINE BERRY “Benque Viejo Police were informed of a body seen floating in the Mopan River this morning in the area of the bus terminal. Upon arrival they saw the lifeless body of a male person […]

Felix Brothers Face Upgraded Charge of Murder
Twenty-nine year old Emory Felix, the brother of 30-year-old, Maurice Felix, who was arraigned last week on two counts of attempted murder, was charged today with the murder of Mark Gentle and the attempted murder of Gentle’s mother, Pamela Cumberbatch. Emory was arraigned on the charges before Magistrate Herbert Panton. He was remanded into custody […]

PlusTV

Ramos Resigns, Did he Sell Out?
Clerk to the National Assembly Eddie Webster has today received the resignation of the Honorable Ivan Michael Ramos, area representative for Dangriga, as of this morning and it has been accepted by Speaker Michael Peyrefitte...

Ivan Ramos Side of things!
That is one side of the story, but what does Ivan Ramos have to say about the entire ordeal? The media caught up with him on Sunday June 7th at his Petro Caribe sponsored mother’s and Father’s Day event held in Dangriga where he categorically denied being paid off by UDP in exchange for his resignat...

Former Fire Fighter Found Dead Inside Fiery Four Door Vehicle
Authorities in Dangriga believe they have discovered the charred remains of a former officer of the fire department when they responded to reports of an engulfed four door vehicle on the Commerce Bight Road. Correspondent Harry Arzu has more in this report.

Patrick Faber sponsors constituency trip from Petrocaribe?
The endorsement of Darrell Bradley as UDP Caribbean Shores standard bearer was held on Sunday in Belize City and featured multiple guest speakers including Minister of Education and Collet representative Patrick Faber...

Marcel Cardona Defends His Name
On Thursday it was reported that the General Legal Council had made a decision to suspend Marcel Cardona from  legal practice for a year. The decision was based on an allegation made by a Czechoslovakian woman Hana Belickova, the mother of Martin Muzikant, a former client of Cardona’s...

Bi-Election date set
As we told you, Ivan Ramos’ official resignation was handed in just today and, apparently not caught by surprise,  GOB has already set the date for bi-election. A Writ of Election for Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee , the Stann Creek East Constituency, was issued today by the Governor General...

Pastor dies in a traffic accident
A fatal traffic accident claimed the life of one man. On June 6, Oscar Chacon of Burrel Boom was the victim of an accident. Investigations reveal that Kayir Benavidez was driving his car towards Orange walk Town...

Trafffic accident takes life of one and injures another
Another fatal traffic accident leaves one dead and another injured, but this time in the South of the Country...

Man shot in both arms
A man was shot in both arms this weekend in Belize City. On June 6 Saturday, 29 year old Abraham Leslie of LadyVille was shot to both arms...

Unidentified man found chopped up
A man was found with chop wounds and an amputated arm. On June 7th at about 2:20a.m, Police found a male person of Hispanic decent lying on the floor with his left arm amputated along with several chop wounds covering his body in the Long Bank Community area...

Brother charged for brother’s manslaughter death
They were two brothers who lived together in a house on Guerrero Street in Belize City, but one allegedly pushed the other to his death during a fight. Today, 42 year old Michael Rowland, a laborer from Sandhill village, was read charges of manslaughter before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith...

Two new Justices of Appeal sworn in
Two new Justices of Appeal were sworn-in today by the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville Young, at the Belize House in Belmopan. They are Justice Murrio Ducille and Justice Franz Parke...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Belize Police Department Issues Press Release Relating to The Death of the Youth on Caye Caulker
The Belize Police Department extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends grieving the loss of Mr. Hilberto Sotz who was detained by the police in Caye Caulker and subsequently died unexpectedly. The Commissioner of Police takes this opportunity to assure the family as well as the citizenry that an expeditious, thorough and transparent criminal, as well as internal investigation is presently underway and any evidence of wrong doing will be promptly dealt with. The outcome of those investigations will be made public at the earliest. Information gathered to date is that on Monday June 8, 2015 at 11:50 am, 18-year-old Hilberto Sotz of Bahia Puesto Del Sol, Caye Caulker Village was detained at Caye Caulker police station pending investigation into a series of burglaries. Sometime around 5:00pm, while being interviewed, he reportedly started complaining of chest pain and had difficulty breathing. He was rushed to the poly clinic for medical treatment where he passed away.

Amandala

BYI’s Gabriel Hope, 13, tops PSE with 96.5%
Gabriel Hope, 13, of the Bernice Yorke Institute of Learning (BYI), was roused from his sleep at about 4:30 this morning with the news that he had placed first in the 2015 Primary School Examinations (PSE) with 386 of a possible 400 points, or 96.5%. According to preliminary results issued this evening by the Ministry of Education, Hope was followed by Carrel Moralez of San Narciso, Corozal, who received 380 points, or 95%; and Sahil Hotchandani of Belize Elementary School, who received 379 points, 94.75%. Hope told Amandala that he was sleeping when his sister woke him up and said his mom, Zoila, was on the phone. It was his mother who broke the news to him. Hope told us that he was shocked, and it took a while for it to settle in. Hope attributes his success to hard work and preparation. He told us that when he sat the exam, he prayed and made an effort to remember as much as possible.

Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee by-election July 8!
The Speaker of the House of Representatives this morning received and accepted the resignation of Dangriga area representative Hon. Ivan Ramos. Ramos, of the Opposition PUP, resigned his House seat “with immediate effect.” Then late this evening, the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, wrote the Returning Officer for the Electoral Division of Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee, to say that nomination day was June 22, and that the election would be held on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. The Opposition People’s United Party received the bad news yesterday, Sunday, when the Hon. Ivan Ramos, who was recently replaced as the Party’s standard bearer, announced at his Mother’s Day/Father’s Day event that he would be resigning his seat in the House of Representatives.

Hon. Faber squanders Petrocaribe money!
Of recent, discussions in the public domain have centered to a great extent on the use, or as some have alleged, misuse – by the Barrow administration – of the bountiful Petrocaribe monies, courtesy of the Government of Venezuela, which were supposed to have been set aside for development and infrastructure programs. The government’s critics have heavily criticized some of the ways in which the money has so far been spent, even as the Government of Belize (GOB) has made every effort to justify its utilization of those funds for varied purposes. Those critics were considerably more annoyed after Minister of Education and Collet area representative, Hon. Patrick Faber, while speaking at an endorsement convention for newly installed Caribbean Shores standard bearer, Mayor Darrell Bradley, yesterday, Sunday, announced that Petrocaribe money was used to take 22 busloads of voters from the Collet division some 80 miles from Belize City on a retreat to the Corozal Bay to ‘eat tacos and bathe in the sea.’ Faber said, “I just got back, because I promised Darrell that I will be back [here in Belize City] in time to speak at this convention, but my friends, we were able, in the Collet constituency, to roll 22 loaded buses to Corozal Town today, and we had a wonderful family day, courtesy of Petrocaribe and our Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow.”

Boy, 17, dies after half-hour in police custody
A young Caye Caulker resident, Gilbert Sutz, 17, also known as “Ketchi,” died while in police custody, and villagers are claiming police brutality. Police reported that Sutz was picked up by Caye Caulker police for investigation for burglary and was charged with burglary, but while in police custody, he was taken to the Caye Caulker Clinic, and died shortly after. An autopsy will reportedly be conducted on the boy tomorrow at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital to certify the cause of his death, but preliminary reports are that trauma and respiratory problems were the cause of his demise. Reports to Amandala from witnesses, via text and phone calls, indicate that at about 5:00 this evening, the boy and his father were riding on a golf cart when they were approached by police and the boy was taken away to the Caye Caulker Police Station; by 5:30 – just half an hour later – he was dead at the Caye Caulker Clinic. Many residents of Caye Caulker are adamant that it was a case of police brutality, and a number of villagers who are angered by the boy’s death gathered in front of the Caye Caulker Police Station to demonstrate.

Guats had 3 navy vessels at Sarstoon, not 2
Vice Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, Elton Bennett, told the media last week that the Belize Coast Guard officers—10 of whom were decorated with medals for bravery on Friday—had been “extracted” from Sarstoon island on Friday, May 29, rather than withdrawing in a cowardly manner after Guatemalan naval officers insisted that the Coast Guard officers vacate Sarstoon Island, which is squarely inside Belize. Although we were initially told that two of Guatemala’s naval vessels had gone to the island on Thursday, May 28, to demand that the officers leave the island, subsequent reports to our newspaper are that on Friday, May 29, three Guatemalan naval vessels were seen, and one of them appeared to have headed back into Belizean waters, close to Sarstoon Island, as if advancing on the Belize Coast Guard officers. Last week, we tried to get official information on who was actually leading the Coast Guard operation but at the time, we were told that the information could not be disclosed. We have since learned that it was Bennett, the Coast Guard’s second-in-command, who headed that Sarstoon Island operation.

Belize team takes Silver in Taiwan
Last year, there was a football tournament held here in Taiwan called the Copa Centro Americana (Central American Cup). There were a couple Belizeans playing for different countries. This year, we assembled our own team of 23 Belizeans and 2 from Argentina. It’s something similar to the Marathons we often have in Belize, but you can only use people of your own nationality with 2 possible reinforcements who have to be Latinos (we had 2 who both were Argentinian/Taiwanese). The participating countries were: Honduras (Champion), Belize (Sub-Champion), El Salvador (Third Place), Mexico-Colombia (Invited, Fourth Place), Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala & Paraguay (Invited). The tournament was held over 2 Sundays, May 17 and June 7. Each game lasted 40 minutes (20 minutes each half) with 10 minutes break. Groups: (A) Honduras, Guatemala, Panama (Last Year Champion) & Belize; (B) El Salvador, Paraguay (Last Year Sub-Champions), Mexico-Colombia( Mixed) & Nicaragua. Belize captain – Enoc Hercules; sub-captain – Wani Morgan.

Tiger Sharks back-to-back NEBL Champions
SAN IGNACIO TOWN, Sun. June 7, 2015–The NEBL witnessed the finals rematch, from last year, as the defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks took on the Cayo Western Ballaz. This season, Cayo was the #1 seed going into the playoffs, while last year San Pedro Tiger Sharks had the home court advantage in the finals. The league was treated to a great series, as this is surely the biggest rivalry in the league over its two year history. On Friday night, the NEBL Finals tipped off at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio, as the home team, Cayo Western Ballaz (2-1) tried to avenge its loss from last year’s finals; while the visiting team, San Pedro Tiger Sharks (3-1) was seeking to be the first back-to-back champions in the league. The stadium was filled to capacity, with standing room only, as the energy of the fans was very tangible in the arena. The Tiger Sharks jumped out to an early 10-5 lead, but at the half, the Western Ballaz was up 35-28. The visitors had a 55-53 lead going into the fourth quarter, after which they transitioned to a man-to-man defense. Cayo was unable to make the necessary adjustments, their offense unable to get into any rhythm, and the visitors were able to capitalize, where San Pedro stole game 1, winning 77-64.

Smart 13 & Under Football Tournament Week 8
With playoffs near, the Week 8 games on Saturday were keenly contested, and the race to the top 4 team playoffs remains hot indeed. (See the standings below.) In game 1 on Saturday, Brown Bombers remained undefeated and maintained their unprecedented shutout streak, as they blanked City Boys, 3-0, with a goal apiece from Jaylen White, Nigel Matus and Jaheem Gillett. Game 2 saw two tough rivals, Hattieville Youth FC and Collet Strikers playing to a 1-1 draw. Austin Shal shook the net for Hattieville, while Troy Gentle tallied for Collet. In a mild upset in game 3, second ranked Young Warriors were held to a 1-1 draw by tenth ranked Heights FC. Adrian Usher scored for Young Warriors, and Joshawn Flowers got the goal for Heights. Game 4 saw bright prospect D’Jon Canelo netting a hat trick (3 goals) to lead Ladyville Jaguars to a 3-0 victory over winless Charlston FC. Game 5 was a 0-0 draw between last place Third World and sixth ranked Rising Stars, as Third World gained their first point of the tournament. And in game 6 to end the day, it was London Strikers, 2-0, over Face of Belize, courtesy of a goal each from Eduardo Humes and Dexter Belisle.

Lackluster showing by National “A” Team
It was free for all to enter the MCC Grounds yesterday at 4:00 p.m. for a poorly advertised and unexpected training match between our Belize National “A” Team and the Melchor football selection; and it was just as well, for the performance of the national team was anything but inspiring, eking out a 1-nil victory, on a Deon McCaulay goal, against an obviously lower level opponent, and prompting some skeptical fans to question the $50.00 being asked to see the team perform against the Dominican Republic this coming Sunday at the FFB Stadium. According to assistant coach Charlie Slusher, the venue for the national team’s last training match before travelling on Tuesday had to be changed from the FFB Stadium on short notice, because the FFB Stadium was to undergo inspection by CONCACAF officials to certify if it is acceptable for this year’s Champions League tournament games. And they were intentionally employing a defensive posture, in preparation for the away game on Thursday against Dominican Republic. If we can find comfort in anything, it is that none of our players were injured on the treacherous MCC pitch, which no doubt aided in the depressing performance.

Editorial: Sarstoon post-mortem
We have listened carefully to an interview which Belize Foreign Minister, Hon. Wilfred Elrington, gave to Channel 5’s Mike Rudon on Sunday, May 31, at the Belize Rural North convention of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) at Sandhill. And we have read carefully the comments of the Chief Executive Officer in the Belize National Security Ministry, Col. George Lovell (Re’td.), in an interview he gave to the Assistant Editor of Amandala, Adele Ramos, on Monday, June 1. As far as we know, Mr. Elrington’s comments were the first official comment on an incident which had occurred more than forty eight hours before at the mouth of the Sarstoon River in which armed elements of the Belize Coast Guard were confronted by armed elements of the Guatemalan Navy. Col. Lovell’s comments would have been given roughly seventy two hours after that faceoff. In the issue of the ruling UDP’s newspaper, The Guardian, published on Thursday morning, June 4, there was no mention of the Sarstoon River incidents of Thursday, May 28, and Friday, May 29. In the issue of The Reporter published on Friday morning, June 5, there was no mention of the incidents.

From the Publisher
It is clear that there was an organized attempt at the highest levels of the Government of Belize to downplay the incident at the Sarstoon River Island which took place between Thursday, May 28, and Friday morning, May 29, when armed elements of the Belize Coast Guard and armed elements of the Guatemalan navy confronted each other. At the time of an incident, exactly three months before this May 28/29 incident, when armed elements of the said Guatemalan Navy kidnapped 37 Belizeans who were under the banner of Belize’s Northern Territorial Volunteers (NTV) from the same location in the Sarstoon River mouth and forced them to go to the Guatemalan port of Livingston, the response of the various Cabinet Ministers of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) had been inappropriate. One high-ranking leader of the Belize Government actually referred to the NTV mission as “misguided patriotism.” In the House of Representatives, the Toledo East area representative of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), it should be noted, took a similar line, when he criticized the NTV and similar groupings for behavior which he said would provoke violence from “those people” (the Guatemalans).

Ya da fu we Belize!
“Ya da fu we Belize! From Benque to Belize City, from Punta Gorda to Corozal… from Rio Hondo to the Sarstoon… We pledge to defend our country and exploitation we’re going to fight… Independence. (Now!) No land cession…” These lyrics—originally penned in Spanish and performed by Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy with his band the Mancotal of Nicaragua when they attended Belize’s inaugural Independence celebrations as guests to show solidarity with our nation—have not faded from the minds of Belizeans who have heard them replayed in the English rendition by Bamika Bandula and Belizean artists who continue to keep those lyrics alive. But they are more than just words; they enshrine an important declaration affirmed by the international community. When Belize celebrated its Independence on September 21, 1981, it did so with the comfort of a United Nations Resolution which called on all states to respect the right of Belizeans to be an independent nation, with all its territory intact. The “inviolability and territorial integrity of Belize” was declared in a preceding UN resolution of 1975, which means that our territory should never be broken, infringed, or dishonored. Belize’s territory, as depicted on international maps, as well as on Google Earth imagery, includes the Sarstoon Island, which spans over 150 acres—a substantial mass of insular territory to which Guatemala has recently staked a claim.

Bradley sworn in for Caribbean Shores
About 400 United Democratic Party (UDP) supporters, government officials and standard bearers from various constituencies braved the threat of rains this afternoon and came out to Lopez Mateos Park for the endorsement convention of Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, who was sworn in as the party’s Caribbean Shores, standard bearer. The first speaker to take to the podium was the area representative for the Collet Division, Hon. Patrick Faber Minister of Education, who said he had to rush back from Corozal Town, where he had taken residents in his constituency on a “Collet Family Day”. Faber said he took 22 buses loaded with constituents to Corozal Town, where, he said, they “had a wonderful family day, courtesy the Petrocaribe funds and our Prime Minister, the Hon. Dean Barrow.” “There is no stopping that money,” Faber said. Turning to the business at hand, the endorsement of Mayor Bradley, Faber said, “The people of Caribbean Shores can hold onto a leader as their stalwart, as their champion. As you know UDP will be in power many, many more years, the way the PUP dem di tumble.”

Mark Gentle, 27, succumbs
Just a few hours after one of his alleged shooters was granted bail in the Belize City Supreme Court last Friday, June 5, Mark “Pele” Gentle, 27, also known as Mark Vernon – who received multiple gunshot wounds when his house was sprayed with gunfire exactly two weeks ago, on May 25 – passed away at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) as a result of his injuries. At around 7:20 on that fateful night, Gentle was reportedly sitting on the steps of his house on Caesar Ridge, Belize City, along with his stepfather, Calvin Cumberbatch, 34, when a vehicle approached the men and two of the occupants of the vehicle fired a barrage of shots, allegedly with high-powered weapons, in their direction and sped off. Both Gentle and Cumberbatch received multiple gunshot wounds to the body. Gentle was admitted to the KHMH in a critical condition, but Cumberbatch’s injuries were not life-threatening and he was therefore treated and released.

4 dead, 3 injured in four road accidents
Four people are dead and three seriously injured after they were involved in four separate road traffic collisions. The persons who lost their lives as a result of these collisions are David McPherson, 32, of Sittee River; William Triguero, 28, of Sarawee, in the Stann Creek District; Isidoro “Charlie Card” Galvez, 73, of Hicattee, Toledo District; and Oscar Chacon, 57, of Burrell Boom, Belize District. The common-law wife of one of the fatally injured men, Isidoro Galvez – Margarita Cal, 42, suffered injuries to her knees and is presently being treated at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Also in the KHMH is Lucita Chun, 26, of Hope Creek, Stann Creek District, who is recovering from a large cut wound to the head, and Marcos Coc, 35, of Big Falls, Toledo District, who is recovering at the Punta Gorda Hospital from head and body injuries. The first tragic collision occurred when two motorcycles slammed into each other head-on at about 8:30 Thursday night. The incident occurred in an area between Miles 5 and 6 on the Stann Creek Valley Road.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Justices appointed to Court of Appeal
Two new Justices have been appointed to serve as judges of Belize Court of Appeal. They are 65 year old Justice Murrio ducille and 65 year old Justice Franz Parke, both of them Jamaican nationals. They were sworn in yesterday by the Governor General, his Excellency Sir Colville […]

PUP divided and undecided over Dangriga by-election
Will the People’s United Party contest the Dangriga by-election in a month’s time? A ‘Yes’ answer is not as cut-and-dry as suggested, as following the results of a meeting of the party’s national executive and standard bearers at Independence Hall this evening, there was no clear consensus. Belize […]

Police Brutality: Bad Eggs Left to Fester
By Charles Leslie Jr. On April 13, 2008 at the location that the famous Barefoot Beach Bar in Placencia was birthed, now the location of the Tipsy Tuna Beach Bar, I was assaulted by an infamous police sergeant known for police brutality, and a police constable. I will not call names […]

Court lifts stay of injunction in OCEANA case
At the end of May, OCEANA in Belize announced that the Government of Belize had withdrawn its appeal in the Court of Appeal against the April 2011 decision of then-Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall to make the six challenged production sharing agreements (PSAs) null and void because no […]

Commissioner of Police launches internal investigation after teenager dies in police custody
Arrangements are currently being made for a Post Mortem examination to be conducted on the body of Hilberto Sotz who died in police custody yesterday, June 8th. Two police officers are presently detained pending the outcome of investigation of this incident which prompted a riot in Caye Caulker […]

Bernice York’s Gabriel Hope is PSE top scorer
The Primary School Examination (PSE) is sat every year by thousands of 8th grade students across Belize and is a measurement of how much they learned during their time at the primary level. PSE is usually broken into two separate occasions and with the second part being completed […]

PUP’s breakdown has PM Barrow thinking about calling early elections
Party politics action has been at an extreme high over the past few weeks and as the People’s United Party continues to disintegrate, Prime Minister Barrow and the United Democratic Party are seeing an opportunity to creep in and steal an easy general election victory. As the governing […]

Faber throws extravagant retreat for Collet courtesy of PetroCaribe Funds
Supporters of the United Democratic Party seem to have no problem with the use of the PetroCaribe Funds but the oppositions, whether to gain political leverage or because of genuine concern, have bitterly protested against the use of these funds since the time Venezuela granted it to Belize. […]

Police Brutality: Bad Eggs Left to Fester
By Charles Leslie Jr. On April 13, 2008 at the location that the famous Barefoot Beach Bar in Placencia was birthed, now the location of the Tipsy Tuna Beach Bar, I was assaulted by an infamous police sergeant known for police brutality, and a police constable. I will not call names […]

Court lifts stay of injunction in OCEANA case
At the end of May, OCEANA in Belize announced that the Government of Belize had withdrawn its appeal in the Court of Appeal against the April 2011 decision of then-Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall to make the six challenged production sharing agreements (PSAs) null and void because no […]

Commissioner of Police launches internal investigation after teenager dies in police custody
Arrangements are currently being made for a Post Mortem examination to be conducted on the body of Hilberto Sotz who died in police custody yesterday, June 8th. Two police officers are presently detained pending the outcome of investigation of this incident which prompted a riot in Caye Caulker […]

Bernice York’s Gabriel Hope is PSE top scorer
The Primary School Examination (PSE) is sat every year by thousands of 8th grade students across Belize and is a measurement of how much they learned during their time at the primary level. PSE is usually broken into two separate occasions and with the second part being completed […]

PUP’s breakdown has PM Barrow thinking about calling early elections
Party politics action has been at an extreme high over the past few weeks and as the People’s United Party continues to disintegrate, Prime Minister Barrow and the United Democratic Party are seeing an opportunity to creep in and steal an easy general election victory. As the governing […]

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A Hopkins, Belize Wrap-Up, Part One: Food, What’s New And Well…Just About Everything Else
I had such a great time in Hopkins last weekend for the 2015 Mango Festival. The festival came back bigger and better – everything was fantastic…from the music to the people and the food. But Hopkins is so much more than 1000000 mango trees… I stayed two nights at Beaches & Dreams Resort – with a great beach, dock, SUPER restaurant and a new six unit hotel addition with a pool. The mango tasting menu from their restaurant – Barracuda. It was delicious. I could eat mango layered cheesecake and mango glazed ribs all day and all night. We walked north a bit on the beach…just about 10 minutes to Hamanasi Resort. One that I’ve stayed at and LOVED. They have put in a new second floor on the main house with a dining room and patio…and ONE GORGEOUS CEILING.

Retired in Our 40s and Homesteading in Belize
Caprice Parkes and Joe Singh’s rustic lifestyle is very different to the life they left behind…and they love it. The couple lives in Chan Chen Village, in Belize’s northern Corozal District, abutting Mexico. Young “retirees” at only 43 and 45, Caprice and Joe actively work a 22-acre homestead, and are largely self-sufficient. “We grow our own greens, spinach, lettuces, okra, beans of different sorts, herbs, cassava, sweet potato, onions, and fruit trees,” says Caprice. “Joe goes fishing and hunting with the locals from our village. We can pretty much eat for free most days. We raise chickens and turkeys and will shortly start raising pigs.” Caprice hails from the small town of Holberg, British Columbia. Her husband Joe comes originally from Fiji, but migrated to Canada in 1996. Before they moved to Belize, they lived in Vancouver where they both worked in the frenetic industry of logistics/freight forwarding. So how did this 180-degree transformation occur? Caprice learned about Belize through her mother and stepfather, master scuba divers who were both diving Belize’s reefs before it became so well known and popular. It was the first she’d ever heard of this tiny country. Caprice recalls there was “no internet then—I had to look it up on a world map.” The seed of interest was planted.

A Walk through Fireburn with Michael Starkey
Chirp! Click. Click. Click. Zzzzzip! The bats have come home to rest in the eves of the field base. I peer out from my hammock and look past the expansive, screened window that borders the field base. Sunlight has begun to peek over the forest canopy and the shadows of night fade back into the forest. One world ends and another begins. As the sun continues to rise, the birds become alive. From every direction a cacophony of songs blast from the undergrowth. Warblers. Tanagers. Creepers. All different shapes, sizes, and colors dip and dart as they make their way through the dense vegetation. The deep bellow of a curassow can be heard in the distance. Coffee. Breakfast. Boots. Now I’m out the door. It’s time to go to work. Walking now. The morning air is still, but cool and fresh. The sun dapples my path and a splash of green slides quickly away from my approaching feet. The speckled racer turns its head and looks at me with distain as I disturbed its opportunity to bask in the morning light. Good days usually start with a beautiful snake crossing my path. As I continue my trek, a burst of commotion erupts from the forest as an agouti is interrupted from her mid-morning snack. She warns the forest of my presence with a loud, shrill bark and bounds off into the undergrowth. A forest is never quiet. Between the rustling leaves in the canopy to the constant drone of insects searching for a potential mate, you are always present to the marvelous symphony of the jungle.

Falling in love at Wildtracks - a hazard of the job
I came to Wildtracks without any experience in either primate or manatee rehabilitation, and really didn't have any idea what I was going to be doing. I had traveled a fair bit in my young 25 years, and really enjoyed Belize in the past, so when I stumbled upon Wildtracks' website, it seemed like one more exciting adventure that I could cross off my list. I am a self-proclaimed independent woman who has never wanted to settle down and never felt a connection that has ever made me want to stay in one place. But, after Wildtracks, that all changed. Like all wonderful moments in life, it's the moments that we don't account for, or expect, that make an everlasting impact on our lives - I am no exception to that human law and, naturally, as all typical love stories begin, I didn't expect it. I didn't plan on adopting the persona of a young mother, but I did, and did it without even realizing it. I spent many days feeling sick with worry over the scratches and missed milk feeds because a monkey was being bullied in her troop, or crying over the weight gains of the baby manatees as we helped them go from struggling to thriving. I didn't plan on spending time in a lagoon with a manatee learning to be wild and feeling like a proud mother when he left my side to explore, and frustrated and annoyed when he didn't do as expected. I didn't plan on stressing out about the cold and waking up multiple times in the night hoping that the person scheduled for fire duty had also woken up and put logs on the fire to keep little Khaleesi manatee warm. I didn't plan on loving these animals so much, that I'd carve a little place out for them in my heart, making them as important as any child of my own would be. All I had planned on was learning. I planned on finding direction in my own life through helping animals and I planned on meeting amazing people. But, like most things, I got more than I bargained for.

San Pedro Belize to benefit from study of at risk populations and food drive
The San Pedro neighborhood of San Mateo on Ambergris Caye, Belize has been identified as at risk by the Belize Red Cross Society. Flooding caused by tropical storms and hurricanes coupled with insufficient water and electric infrastructure has resulted in increased risk of fire and spread of disease. Belize Red Cross Director General, Lily Bowman suggested the area as the focus of a June 13-21, 2015 survey and research project, being made possible by Florida State University Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program (FSU EMHS). FSU EMHS in partnership with the local Red Cross Society is seeking to measure the water and sanitation situation of the San Mateo community and to assess storm vulnerabilities. The research project will include a site survey of the San Pedro neighborhood. The FSU team, which includes six researchers / graduate students plus faculty and staff, will travel June 13-21, 2015 to provide research survey technical assistance.

Anthony: ‘What do you like best about living here?’ And there goes my day . . .
“What do you like best about living here?” My neighbor Anthony just pitched that question to me. And my answer was a swing-and-a-miss. “Well,” I fumbled around, stalling while my thought processes kicked into gear. If there is such a thing as a WD-40 for the brain, I needed me some. “That’s a really good question.” I started to say … the people. Reject! EVERYONE says “the people” and with good reason. People who live on a tropical island just tend to be nice, or nicer than elsewhere. They smile and wave and help each other out. They care. They sometimes have the time to listen to your windy anecdotes. I started to say … the weather. Reject! People who say the weather don’t live here year round. If they did, they would know that, like weather elsewhere, weather changes. It is good for a while — sunny, clear days with cooling breezes. And bad for a while — cloudy, rainy, damp, windy. Sometimes the rainy days can go on for weeks.

International Sourcesizz

Chetumal Airport Expansion
I am always asked, “when will an airport be built to service the Costa Maya/Mahahual area”, and my answer has always been, probably never! It just never seemed realistic, given that even if the entire town of Mahahual is filled, it still nowhere near the needed population to justify the cost of an airport. Over the years, we’ve heard lots of local chatter about an expansion or relocation of the Chetumal airport, but to be honest, I just put those discussions in the same file as the proposed bridge from Xcalak to Chetumal, a second cruise ship port in Mahahual, a light rail to Cancun and the legend of Big Foot. None seemed all that likely to really show up in my lifetime. Seems I was wrong though. No, they didn’t find Big Foot, but it does appear that Mexico has much bigger plans for Costa Maya, and all revolve around the Chetumal airport as a central hub for southern Quintana Roo tourism. It might be good to first define for some what the Costa Maya actually is. The state of Quintana Roo, Mexico’s only Caribbean state, is divided, for tourism purposes, into three zones. The northern zone is the Riviera Maya and extends from Cancun to Tulum. The central portion is called Zona Maya, and is home to archaeological sites and a mostly undeveloped, diamond in the rough bio reserve area called Sian Kaan. The southern third is the Costa Maya, 4-5 hours from the Cancun airport, and includes Mahahual, its cruise ship port Puerto Costa Maya, as well as the Bacalar jungle lagoon system, its own archaeological sites, the capital city of Chetumal and the entry into Belize. That is a lot of cool places!

Foxboro resident helping disabled children in Belize
Sarah Freudenberg has moved almost two thousand miles from her Foxboro home to help disabled special education children in Belize and create an environment where they can thrive. Shortly after arriving in the Central American country last August, she started working for Ambergris Caye Elementary School, a non-profit private elementary school in the Caribbean island town of San Pedro. There, she designed and phased in a special education program that works with children ages 3 to 14 with multiple disabilities. Its goal is to provide options for those children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school. "I have very high expectations for each of the students," said Freudenberg, 23. "I would like for teachers to gain experience from working with children with special needs and learn how to differentiate their instruction to cater to children who learn differently."

Ipswich Harriers’ Katy Sealy to represent Belize in Canada, Costa Rica and Nicaragua this summer
The former Farlingaye High School pupil represents Belize, her dad David’s birthplace, and finished ninth at last year’s Commonwealth Games. The 24-year-old defends her Central American Championship title in Nicaragua later this month, before competing at July’s Pan-Am Games in Canada, and finally August’s NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships) in Costa Rica. “I have already got a few personal bests this season and I want to increase my heptathlon points total. Depending on who I’m up against, that should put me in contention,” said Bawdsey-based Sealy. “I am defending my gold medal at the Central American Championships, doing the full heptathlon at the Pan-Am Games, before heading to Costa Rica where I will compete in two or three individual events. “The weather will be a bit different and I try and go out a few days before the competitions start to try and acclimatise and train in the heat, although we will be competing early morning in Nicaragua which is good.”

Making the Grade: Students learn to make an impact locally and beyond
Students from the International Relations program at North Cobb High combine a rigorous course of academic study with overseas trips and service projects. A recent trip to Belize included working on a local building project. The program goes beyond academic research by including real-world experiences as well. Students commit to one overseas trip that combines study with service. “We have one to Belize that ties in ecology and biology with the human geography class, as well as anthropology,” Stephenson said. “And we have a relationship with the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State, so we can take trips with them to China. Next year, our trip will be to Greece. It’s an historical tourism trip we offer each summer.”

6 tips for flying with babies and young children
My love of traveling developed long before I had children and I prided myself in my ability to fall asleep the moment the plane took off and wake up precisely at meal time. I also had perfected the process of packing. No matter if the destination was diving in Belize or touring Italy, I could squeeze everything I needed into a carry-on. To my family's chiding, I also did this with my wedding dress and two weeks worth of clothes for a destination wedding and honeymoon in Nicaragua. But traveling with kids requires a whole other set of skills -- ones that I have learned through (sometimes unfortunate) trial and error. I have flown with my oldest son, now 21/2, since he was months old, but a recent move overseas took the challenge to a whole new level. In the course of three months, my husband and I traveled with a toddler and infant from Washington to Indonesia, from Indonesia to California, from California to Texas, from Texas to California and then back to Indonesia. And here is, in part, how we survived.

Author to take community on a ghostly haunted trip
Get ready for a scary night of bizarre ghosts, strange flying objects, and deadly unknown beasts as the most unusual paranormal cases are in one creepy presentation for the Vinton Public Library on June 18th. As the author of numerous books on Iowa Folklore including The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations Chad Lews has combined all of his research into one supernatural program including the infamous Haunted Vinton Statue! For over two decades Chad Lewis has traveled the back roads of the world in search of the strange and unusual. From tracking vampires in Transylvania and searching for the elusive monster of Loch Ness to trailing the dangerous Tata Duende through remote villages of Belize and searching for ghosts in Ireland’s haunted castles, Chad has scoured the earth in search of the paranormal.

Caribbean Region Aims for Tighter Control of Guns
Caribbean Community members are looking to increase control on the manufacture, distribution and use of firearms to diminish crime and enhance public safety, CARICOM said Tuesday. Officials from the 15 member-states agreed upon a number of actions to be undertaken to “advance public safety and security at the national, bilateral and regional level,” CARICOM said in a statement. One initiative calls for activating the Regional Integrated Ballistic Information Network, designed to stop illicit gun trafficking in the region.

Videos

  • Caye Caulker Residents Protesting, 4min. A resident of Caye Caulker, a teen, 17 year old Hilbert Sots was detained by police and questioned about a burglary. He died in their custody. The people on the island heard that he had breathing problems related to his death. His body was taken to the clinic where it was pronounced dead. The businesses have locked down early because of the unrest that has developed against the officers of the law. The villagers began to gather and their anger grew as the crowds grew. More well armed police officers from San Pedro and the Belize Coastguard had been deployed on the island to quiet the residents who had began to protest. The station has also been locked down. Shots have been fired in the air by the cops. That didn't stop the island residents who kept shouting over the gunshots "We need justice. We need justice! Puta" Objects were hurled at some of the cops. One person commented that the national frustration regarding police abuse, unresolved murders and corruption has washed ashore on Caye Caulker. However, they aren't going to sit down and watch all they have worked for wash away until its gone. Information gathered to date is that on Monday June 8, 2015 at 11:50 am, 18-year-old Hilberto Sotz of Bahia Puesto Del Sol, Caye Caulker Village was detained at Caye Caulker police station pending investigation into a series of burglaries. Sometime around 5:00pm, while being interviewed, he reportedly started complaining of chest pain and had difficulty breathing. He was rushed to the poly clinic for medical treatment where he passed away.

  • Tech Trek Belize, 4min. A group of ten SoIC students traveled to Belize in May to help improve internet access and teach students basic computer skills at the Tumul K’in Center of Learning.

  • Riot in Caye Caulker Island Belize Central America, 4min. 8 th June police apprehend Hilbert and died on police custody.

  • Shark Ray Alley, Ambergris Caye Belize, 5min. Snorkel with sharks and horse eye jack.

  • Carnival Sunshine: Tender ride to Belize, 2min. Instructions from the guy on the tender.

  • 18 YEAR OLD DIES WHILE IN POLICE CUSTODY CAUSING A PROTEST IN CAYE CAULKER, 4min. “An expeditious, thorough and transparent criminal, as well as internal investigation is presently underway and any evidence of wrong doing will be promptly dealt with”, read the Police press release surrounding the detention and subsequent death of eighteen year old Hilberto Sotz of Caye Caulker Village. The teen died under suspicious circumstances while in police custody yesterday evening and was pronounced dead when he was transported to the local health clinic. His death sparked the immediate fury of islanders who staged a protest last night at the Community Center building where the health clinic is located. The entire situation started out as an investigation by police into a series of burglaries on the island. Since the events unfolded, videos surfaced on Youtube and social media where villagers are seen staging a riot after learning of Sotz’s death.

  • Caye Caulker Riot, 5min.

  • Not a bad start to the day., 1/2min. I shot this time lapse this morning from Parrot Cove in Hopkins, Belize on my iPhone 6

  • Heredia's view on Oil Drilling in Belize, 2min.

  • The Threats of Offshore Drilling to Belize's Marine Biodiversity, 10min.

  • Island Expeditions Belize - Coral Islands SUP, 3.5min. Island Expeditions has introduced the first ever SUP Journey from lodge to lodge along Belize's southern barrier reef.

  • BRFP Belize Rural Finance Program Infomercial, 11min.

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