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#505536 - 06/27/15 12:04 PM Today's Belize News: June 27, 2015
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The news will be a bit brief for the next week or so due to time constraints


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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

Office Wear at the second annual Public Service Fashion Show
An enthusiastic crowd made its presence heard at the second Public Service Fashion Show that took place on Saturday, June 20th at Señor Marlin’s Beach Bar. The event kicked off Public Service Week 2015, with the showcasing of public officers’ dress codes and styles. The show featured what is appropriate and what is not. The DJ kept pumping the music as the models walked down the runway showcasing the different uniforms from several government offices. The second segment of the show was a bit more glamorous, as Foreva Fancy dressed the ladies up for fashion outside the office. MCs for the night were Kristina Romero from the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) and Miriam Codd from the Ministry of Education. Public servants present were treated to snacks and drinks courtesy of the San Pedro Town Council during the event. Near the end of the show, the crowd was treated to a Carnival themed dance show by the models.

Michael Dudikoff (A.K.A) American Ninja Vacations in San Pedro
American actor Michael Dudikoff, well known for his lead roles in the American Ninja series between 1985-1990 recently spent some time in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Dudikoff began his career in the entertainment industry as a model, and worked in the high fashion world for the likes of Calvin Klein and GQ among other clients. He quickly rose to international print modeling after high fashion, and continuously traveled New York, Los Angeles and Milan in Italy. Acting was the next step and he starred in several commercials for companies such as Coppertone, Coca-Cola for Japan, Army Reserve and even Stridex. Following this his acting career in movies kicked off and among all the films he was involved there was one production that exposed him the most. He was widely recognized for playing the character of Private Joe Armstrong in the American Ninja series which began in 1985 and comprised of five movies. In an interview in 2012, Dudikoff expressed his desire to be in The Expendables 3 and also hinted a possible sequel to American Ninja and Avenging Force.

Kicking off summer with five-a-side football tournament
The Island Citizens Sporting Club (ICSC), in collaboration with the San Pedro High School (SPHS), will be hosting a five-a-side football tournament commencing on Thursday, July 9th. The tournament will bring football action to the Angel Nuñez Auditorium for male and female athletes of all ages. Prior to the tournament kick-off, an all-day football marathon will be held on Sunday, June 28th to showcase the skills of the participating teams. The five-a-side football tournament is divided into several categories to accommodate athletes fairly: little league (under 13), junior, female and senior teams. So far, confirmed teams include: 16 senior teams, four female teams, 12 little league teams. Organizers inform that only three more senior teams will be allowed to register, but that female, little league or junior teams are welcomed to register. No unregistered team will be allowed to participate.

Public Service Officers awarded at 10th annual Public Service Day Awards
On Tuesday, June 23rd, Belize celebrated the United Nation’s Public Service Day under the theme “Belize Public Service: Commitment, Empowerment and Industrious – Cultivating an Ethos of selfless service to all Belizeans”. In commemoration of the day, the Ministry of Public Service and Elections and Boundaries held its 10th Annual Belize Public Service Awards for the first time in San Pedro. 76 public officers were awarded for being devoted to the government for 25 years or more. The ceremony started at 10:30AM at the Blue Water Grill and saw the presence of His Excellency Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young, His Worship Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Gary Greif, San Pedro Town Councilors, Minister of the Public Service and Elections and Boundaries Honorable Charles Gibson, among other invited guests. After protocol was established, Mayor Daniel Guerrero greeted those in attendance. “Today we commemorate the commitment, sacrifice and the unselfish dedication of the many public officers across the entire country. The theme for this year’s highlights the very essence of our responsibilities of what is expected of us as public officers,” said Guerrero who also commented on San Pedro’s nurse, Shawmela Kelly. “She has given many years of service to the island and we encourage many other public officers to follow her path. We are proud of all public officers that will be awarded on the island today and I do hope you all enjoyed your stay at La Isla Bonita,” ended Guerrero.

Ambergris Today

First Ever Invest in Belize Seminar Held in the Republic of China (Taiwan)
The Ambassador of Belize to the Republic of China (Taiwan) H.E. Cherie Nisbet hosted the 2015 Invest in Belize: Investment Seminar at the Palais de Chine Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, on June 15, 2015. The event was the first of its kind and was held with the aim of attracting Taiwanese investment to Belize. A small delegation from Belize was invited by the Embassy of Belize to attend: Mr. Lincoln Blake, Director of the Policy and Investment Unit of the Ministry of Trade; Mr. Brian Lin, Manager of BelizeINVEST, BELTRAIDE; and Mr. Hero Balani, Investment Associate of BELTRAIDE. The seminar was attended by approximately 40 potential Taiwanese investors. The presentation focused on the areas of key interest for Belize: Tourism and Leisure, Medical Tourism, Offshore Outsourcing, Agri-Business and Agro-Processing, Aquaculture and Mariculture, Renewable Energy, and Investment in the Free Zone.

Grounding of Mexican Navy Vessel near Blackadore Caye
Commandant Rear Admiral John Borland of the Belize Coast Guard reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that in the wee hours of this morning June 26, 2015, that a 55 ft. Mexican Navy Vessel, a "Polaris - Intercepter" experienced a “soft grounding”, on the mud flats and shoals just south of Blackadore Caye, adjacent to Ambergris Caye. Mexican Navy vessels customarily transit from their Chetumal Bay base on a routinely scheduled basis through that area with the knowledge and permission of the Government of Belize to access their southern most outpost at Xcalac. The Belize Coast Guard immediately responded from their Forward Operating Base at San Pedro Ambergris Caye. They are in communication with the Mexican Navy and are cooperating on a response to this incident. The Belize Coast Guard along with the Belize Port Authority, the Department of the Environment, and the Fisheries Department are coordinating an assessment of the impact of the grounding of the Mexican Navy Vessel.

Celebrity Spotting - WWE Wrestler The Undertaker Vacations in San Pedro, Belize
Word got out the international superstar wrestler The Undertaker and his wife had arrived in Belize on Monday, June 22, and everybody started wondering in what part of the country he would be vacationing after the couple was spotted at Belize’s Phillip Goldson International Airport. Ambergris Today set out its drones and secret spy gear and found out that Mark William Calaway (The Undertaker) and wife Michelle McCool-Calaway had made it to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to spend a few days on vacation. Having stayed at the ultra-private, luxury celebrity resort of Cayo Espant, there was no way of tracking the wrestler down until he was making his way out of the island. Ambergris Today caught The Undertaker at the Maya Island Air terminal today, Friday, June 26, 2015, as his vacation ended in paradise. Mark William Calaway better known by his ring name The Undertaker, is an American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he has worked since 1990, making him WWE's longest-tenured performer.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Graduación 2015
Las niñas y niños de la Escuela Primaria La Inmaculada celebraron hoy su graduacion.

Prescription reading glasses available on Caye Caulker
Had a visit from these 6 lovely ladies from Oklahoma, bringing free reading glasses! If you see them at Lobsterfest this weekend, say HI! It really brightened my day today. So, I have free reading glasses in all prescriptions available.

Landmark Legislation for Protected Areas to be introduced to the House of Representatives
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development is pleased to announce that the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) Bill and the Amendments to the ProtectedAreas Conservation Trust (PACT) are being introduced to the House of Representatives today. These Bills are as a result of over a decade of assessments and consultations, and more importantly stems from the National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan (2005) which was endorsed by the Government in 2006 and was reaffirmed in 2010. The National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan recognized that it is vital to strengthen and modernize the laws regarding the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) in order to guarantee its financial future, increase sustainable economic investment, and greatly improve the way it is managed. The National Protected Areas System Bill will formally establish the national system of protected areas along with a comprehensive framework for the management of the NPAS. The proposed amendments to the Protected Areas Conservation Trust Act will assist in closing the financial gap of the National Protected Areas System as well as enable PACT to monitor and report on the investments across the NPAS, ensuring greater transparency and accountability.

SAN PEDRO FISHING RODEO
ATTENTION FISHERMEN! DIA DE SAN PEDRO FISHING RODEO BRIEFING

Power interruption 8:00am to 10:00am, Saturday, June 27, Stann Creek:
Silk Grass, Hopkins, Sittee River, Maya Center, Kendal & Riversdale. BEL to energize new high voltage line extension and repair static ground wire in the area.

Belize Going Green
Belize has joined the Ten Island Challenge, a consortium of Caribbean countries that aim to get all their electricity from green sources. "The government of Belize has signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to join the Ten Island Challenge, a partnership initiative between Carbon War Room (CWR) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The move signals the Caribbean country’s commitment to transition its transportation sector and outlying islands off of fossil fuel use."

Humor Therapy
Ozzy the clown, along with a clown car full of friends, will be going around Belize for another Humor Therapy tour. They'll be in Belmopan on Monday the 29th. Thanks, Ozzy! "Hey Belize, Remember these days for Humor Therapy. Laughter have no Borders (RISA SIN FRONTERAS) 4 more days left, don't be left out!!!"

Channel 7

Biggest Day On Parliamentary Calendar - PUP Walks Out Of House Meeting
So today was the biggest day on the Parliamentary Calendar for the year so far - the much hyped Amended Petrocaribe Loan Amendment Bill was taken to the house. This issue has galvanized all those organizations opposed to the government for months - principally for the PUP which has made it the central focus of all discussion and political activity. So today surely they would have rained down a mighty debate to push back against and expose the government. Well, that's what we thought....but, this one never happened. And that's because very early into the House Meeting the opposition walked out. They did it in support of their senator Patrick Andrews who was in the gallery as an observer. Now, the Senator is a member of Parliament so he has special privileges - but speaker Michael Peyreffitte told had cautioned him earlier - and then during a Patrick Faber presentation - he ordered him removed! We pick it up about a minute after the speaker called the police - and Andrews refused to move - that's when UDP's Michael Finnegan brought the situation tot the speakers attention.. We air it moistly unedited from there:..

PUP Blames It On Barrow
We followed him outside - where he linked up with his fellow PUP Parliamentarians - and the Senator blamed it all on Barrow:.. Jules Vasquez "Senator, you've been thrown out of the House of Representatives. What's you initial reaction?" Hon. Patrick Andrews - PUP Senator "I wasn't thrown out. I decide to walk on my own. What happened here today is nothing new in this country. We have a prime minister and a UDP government that feel like they are above the law. I was in this same house, the last house meeting when Alberto August. That man was talking and insulting our party leader and our PUP representatives and when that same House Speaker ask for him to be taken out, no one could have taken him out. Now, I am a Senator and I have immunity in this House. Now two things: I want then to how me what I was doing or saying to have the House Speaker feel as if though he could have taken me out of the House. Yes, there was people behind me saying things, but man, we live in a democratic society and so, he had no reasons or conditions on why. That's why I refused to have stepped out."

Did the PUP Walk Off The Job?
And while he says the PM is shutting down freedom of speech, on this day, it's the PUP that gave up the right to debate when they walked off the job. So, was it the right decision? Well, judging by the body language of some of the members - it's clear they had prepared for the day and didn't want to go. We asked the leader of the opposition if it was worth it:.. Jules Vasquez "We know that todays a very important day in the House and Opposition certainly needed to be there to discuss particularly the Petrocaribe legislation. Why did you al take the decision to walk out?" Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "You're absolutely right, Jules. It's very important matters and we had had very important contributions to make, but we think events over took that."

PM Says Opposition Walkout is Shameful
And while the Leader of the Opposition walked out on principle, the PM says the PUP it all wrong: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Precisely, they've made all this noise about Petrocaribe. This is the opportunity to make a last stand on their part and they manufacture an excuse to walk out. I don't know if it is sea breeze and Pelican they figured to dodge this lick that's coming because we were ready for them on this side of the House. But in any case what on earth Mr. Speaker is happening to the constitutional opposition in this country? First, they didn't want to contest a bi-election. Second, petrocaribe that they claim - is the most fundamental issue in this country today. When you get a chance to debate it, you walk out. It is a gross dereliction of duty. They will walk out and leave the nation and those that support them and those that are interested in democracy and debate - hanging. Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House say, shame."

A Media Manufactured Debate
Of course, a discussion with the media is not quite a house meeting - in fact, it's kind of like preparing for a Turkey dinner - and then ending up eating fried chicken and water ideal! Still, we did our best to piece together a debate on the main points of contention for the Petrocaribe Loans Amendment Bill: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "It is now a requirement of law that we come to the House every quarter to report on all spending under Petrocaribe for the quarter that would have proceeded the meeting and we also have to forecast for the quarter to come. When we go to the House for the three months in view what the proposed spending will be." Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "The bottom-line with the Petrocaribe loan motion is - we are not interested in any amendments. The resounding cry and call from the Belizean people. It was come from the Chamber of Commerce, it has come from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, it has come from APAMO - all of these entities have called for the repeal of this act. This Petrocaribe loans act. Not amendment. Not fixing it. Repealing it. This is law that cannot be fixed. It is a law that must go, it must be repealed."

Teenaged Shooting Victim Succumbs
15 year old Tyrique Thompson succumbed to his injuries at midday today. The second form student of Canaan High School was shot in the head on Monday night on Lake View Street. After fighting for his life for almost 4 days, Thompson's heart stopped beating this afternoon. We spoke to his grieving mother shortly after. Mother of Tyrique Thompson "It's sad. Nobody can believe, not even myself as the mother can believe Tyrique, the sweetest, lovingness, kindest, and friendliest person. He has lots of manners, yes ma'am, yes sir, no sir - that's my baby. I never thought a day would come that they would kill one of children, but someone out there just took a gun and give my baby one shot to his head. For what? And for why? And I know who shot him, my baby didn't do anything to." Monica Bodden "Could you recall the night that you heard those gun shots? Tyrique was shot only a few yards away from his home."

Storm Throws Seaman To His Death
For most of today, divers from the Belize National Coast Guard were in the waters around the Port of Belize Facility in Port Loyola, Belize City. They were looking for elderly seaman Leobihildo (Leo-bildo) Varela who went overboard last night. He's the owner of the Varela Tug Boat which transports merchandise and supplies from Belize City to San Pedro Town. Last night he was on his way to the Port of Belize, but he went overboard during a thunderstorm. All accounts to us are that he and his crew were pulling his barge, "San Vicente" into the waters near port of Belize last night. The crew was caught in a squall which dumped heavy rains and strong winds on them suddenly. It pushed them off-course from the usual barge docking area, and sent them in the direction of the bridge of the Port's pier, where they certainly would have crashed. The crew opted to try to release the barge before they were tipped over, but the tugboat and the barge collided with Varela on deck. That sent him overboard, and it is believed that he may have been injured. Since then, he's not resurfaced, and everyone involved is fearing the worst. The CEO of the Port of Belize, Arturo "Tux" Vasquez, spoke with 7News about the incident this afternoon, and here's what he had to say:

Now A Mexican Boat Gets Grounded in Belize
As we reported last night, the official claim of compensation for damages on the reef is in the process of being finalized and sent to the Guatemalan authorities. Well, it seems that if not a claim of compensation, then at least a ticket for poor navigation might have to drafted and sent to Mexico. That's because this morning at around 8:00, a 55 foot Mexican Navy Patrol Boat - known as a "Polaris Intercepter" ran aground on mud flats and shoals 7 miles North West of San Pedro - which is near the Coast Guards Operating Base on the island. According to our sources, the Mexican Navy vessel was traveling from Chetumal heading towards Isla Mujeres when it veered off course and ran aground on shoals which are merely sandbanks or platforms elevated above the surface of the water. It was the Mexican Navy who called Belizean authorities to inform them of the incident and that's when the Coast Guard responded. Fortunately, the boat was removed this evening at 4:30 and according to the CEO in the Ministry OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS Lawrence Sylvester, no marine life or ecosystem was damaged and there was no oil spill or spill of any contaminants from the boat.

Santa Cruz, Toledo: UDP and PUP See Race and Village Politics Differently
Santa Cruz, Toledo - that small village in southwestern Belize has become a flashpoint for racial discord between Mayas and creole Belizeans. Today, the unprecedented and divisive matter went to the House of Representatives - where both sides put in positions over who was wrong: was it the Mayas or was it Rupert Myles? Again, it is a debate that should have happened in the House - but, after the PUP walkout, we had to stitch together another media-manufactured back and forth. Here are both sides, starting with the statement made by the Prime Minister at the opening of the sitting:.. The Prime Minister says that the Mayas have called for a meeting with him next week and he is hopeful that common ground can be found…

Garifuna Community Alleges Discrimination By BWSL
Earlier we told you heard both political sides of the dispute about Creole Belizean Rupert Myles and the Mayas of Santa Cruz village. But earlier this week, a group of Garifuna residents turned up on our radar. These are about 100 to 200 Garifuna living in the community of Punta Gorda Town known as the St. Vincent Block. It is being erroneously referred to as 960+ acres of Garifuna Communal Lands, but our research says that it is a private property being held in a trust by a few leaders of the community. After a long struggle, in 1923, a group of Garinagu living in PG put together the required money to buy the land from the colonial government of the day. Since then, the ownership has been held in a trust, and, since then, their descendants have been living on the land. That history is important because the community is complaining that Belize Water Services Limited has not been providing them with the service they need. A continuing dispute between the company and the community is that wells were dug in their in their property and the water from those wells is being used by BWS to supply water to the rest of PG and the surrounding communities for years. They believe that natural resources from their property are being exploited, but they receive no compensation for it. They are only provided with one community pipe which must supply 100+ persons. One of the members grabbed us shortly after the Arraignment of the Santa Cruz 13 in Punta Gorda. Here's how he explained it:

The Factory At 20
Over the past two decades, we have reported on numerous art exhibits and events at the Image Factory. But today the walls, ceiling and floor at the Factory weren't adorned with a singular narrative or just one artist's vision - instead it was coloured with landmarks and landings that the factory crew have made in the last 20 years. In a press conference this morning, the Director of the Image Factory along with several artists told us that today is not so much of a reflection but more a realization that there is so much more to be done for Art in Belize. A celebration is being held at the Factory right now. There will be a documentary exhibit, a photo booth and poetry presentations.

Chamber Against Amendments
At the top of the newscast, we told you about today's House Meeting where the Barrow Administration pressed and passed the amendment bill to the Petrocaribe Loans Act. As we've shown you, the Opposition believes that it needs to be repealed, and in principle the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry agrees with them. President of the Chamber Tux Vasquez told us that the changes are cosmetic, and that this law wasn't needed in the first place: Arturo "Tux" Vasquez, CEO - Port of Belize Limited "The chamber is certainly not against the initiative of the Petrocaribe funds. We are not against the borrowing the 1% interest is a great advantage for us. We are also a bit concern as to the spending, how it was being done. We have been requesting more details and then after the recommendation of the amendments were made, we also look at that with our legal people and we also believe those amendments are also not really necessary. At the end of the day the chambers' position is again I emphasize, not against the Petrocaribe initiative and not against the borrowing at that very minimal rate but we are certainly concerned about the transparency. we are of the opinion that they was no need for an act like that, that this loan could have been handled within the Finance of Audit Reform Act of 2005 and the amendments made in 2010 and also were the constitution is concerned that this loan could have been handled within the controls already provided under that and that's where we stand with it and saying there is no need for a new act."

PM Says Chamber Never Asked The Right Way
And while that's the Chamber position, not surprisingly, the Prime Minister isn't moved one bit. He says they are not serious, and while he claims government is open to suggestion on the Petrocaribe Law, the suggestion box is about to close:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "While nobody wants to shut off the debate about Petrocaribe, nobody wants to close down their campaign and the campaign of those in alliance with them. I need to tell them there's a point at which the Government certainly will say, fine you continue to talk, we're not going to entertain you any further and I fear we've reached that point." Jules Vasquez "However, there is the Chamber of Commerce which says that the Government has in fact not even responded, that you have not responded to their request to speak about the legislation." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Man, but that's it. I will send you a copy of the last letter they sent to me. They said in that letter that they appreciated my general invitation to all social partners and everyone else in deed to dialogue. They never in that meeting said, so we want to take you up on that offer and we're asking you for that meeting. The invitation that went to them, went to the NTUCB. NTUCB quite properly wrote to me and said fine. Therefore can we have a meeting and we agreed a date. The Chamber never asked that. How can they say I did not give them the opportunity? They had to say to me, yes we accept your invitation can we fix a date. They never did that. I also think they were playing the fool."

PACT Bill Passes, NGO Groups Applaud
And while the Petrocaribe Loans, the PUP Walkout and Santa Cruz village dominated the discourse today in and around parliament, some other very important pieces of legislation were passed. First among them is the PACT Amendment Bill - which had gotten considerable pushback from the conservation community. That's why we were surprised to see the galleries full with members of the conservation community - dozens of them - all there not to bash, but to support the legislation. They even cheered when the Prime Minister presented it! It's a coup for the Minister of Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and today she took nor prisoners when she described the naysing organizations as blue koncas.: Today APAMO sent out a release saying, quote, "The Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO) would like to clarify that decisions are taken through a democratic process and a decision only becomes an organizational position when supported by majority of its members. Majority of APAMO's members support the decision to express our concerns to the Prime Minister to express the organizations' concerns regarding the National Protected Areas System Bill and amendments to the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) Act." APAMO's concerns are based on the premise that the proposed Bill can further be improved"

Head Tax Law and the Possibilities of Case in Court
The Cruise Ship Passenger Tax and Validation Bill was also passed through all its stages today. Now, this is a bill to validate the head tax - which as you may recall is being argued in the Supreme court this very week. So how does the legislation interact with the ongoing proceedings in court? Well, it's interesting - because of the possibilities that the lawsuit raises:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "What is does, is of course, it ensures that there can be no disruption in terms of the cruise industry. If Mr. Feinstein have succeeded in getting a court adjudication that the head tax is invalid, until we could have corrected that we couldn't pay FSTV and they would no doubt close that village. So we wanted to avoid that and once this passes we'll achieve that result, but that's not the end of the case. Apart from the question of wanting to have collection of the Head Tax declared illegal as well as I understood Feinstein is also arguing that the entire contract between the Government of Belize and FSTV is illegal and that in fact we do want to see play out and quite frankly I don't want in fact appear to be looking to take on FSTV but if the court rule in favor of Mr. Feinstein, that would certainly allow us to see our way far more clearly."

Hulse Still Has a home in The UDP
And finally from the Prime Minister tonight - what does he think of his suddenly departed candidate Melvin Hulse? He was exposed in a recording on Monday making all sorts of claims about the Prime Minister - and by yesterday Hulse had resigned - and publicly retracted everything he said. So what now for Hulse - who has been a ranking UDP for decades? The PM said there is still a place for him in the UDP:..

A Feast For Fisherfolk
"The Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy: breaking the cycle of poverty in fishing communities." That is the theme for this year's Caribbean Fisherfolk Day. It will be celebrated on Monday June 29th and there will be number of activities and awards for fisher folk in Belize. For those who simply don't appreciate life on the sea or know the daily struggle of a fisherman - this observance may not be inspiring but for Belizean fisher folk - this day means that their passion, hard work and sacrifice matters. On Monday morning, the series of events starts off with the blessing of the boats at the Commercial Center in Belize City. Thereafter, the official opening ceremony will be held at 9:00 Monday morning at the Coastal Zone Training Room.

Belize's First Mall?
Belize City's first mall was opened today. Well at least that's what many Belizeans are calling it. Businessman Dinesh Bhojwani has been planning brainstorming and planning out this concept for about 10 years and today his plans were realized. The business is called The Northern Shops and when we got there for the opening people were already sampling what the mall has to offer. But Bhojwani says that it's more than just a shopping mall, today he told us about the broader vision he has for this idea. There will also be a second phase which entails opening a theater and other stores. There are 18 stores in the mall.

Channel 5

Opposition Storms Out of House Meeting Following Ejection of P.U.P. Senator
Tonight, we have extensive coverage of a House meeting in which four significant bills were passed through their stages. But we start with certainly the most significant single event of [...]

Promise of Heated Debate Dashed By P.U.P. Walkout
The walk-out came as a complete surprise, and even some members on the Opposition side were unsure to leave the chambers. There was the promise of a heated debate today [...]

P.U.P. Issues Release on Legislative Assembly Powers and Privileges Act
Late this evening, the P.U.P. issued a statement on the walk out. According to the Opposition, the standing orders of the House makes it clear that a Speaker can only [...]

PM Barrow Sets Out Details of Petrocaribe Expenditure
As we mentioned earlier, the amended Petrocaribe Loan Motion was pushed through its stages today, obviously without debate from the absent Opposition. Earlier in the day, before that perhaps knee-jerk [...]

Despite Amendment, Opposition Sticks to its Guns, Petrocaribe Must be Repealed!
The Opposition doesn’t want to hear about supplementary appropriations where Petrocaribe is concerned. They maintain that the government is being less than transparent and accountable where the spending of those [...]

PM Reiterates: No Alcalde System Can Supersede Laws of Belize
Also before the Opposition walkout, another sensitive and critical issue was ventilated by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. On Monday the PM took a hard line against the Mayans of Santa [...]

Opposition Leader Says PM is Flaring Up Ethnic Tension Following Santa Cruz Fiasco
That stance has been criticized in various sectors as premature and one-sided, and today the Opposition finally weighed in, from outside the House. According to P.U.P. Leader, the position expressed [...]

Well-known San Pedro Businessman Believed Drowned Near Belize City Port
Tonight, the family of San Pedro businessman Leovijildo Varela is bracing for the worse. On Thursday night, Varela and his crew were transporting three butane trucks on a tugboat from [...]

Tarique Thompson Succumbs to Gunshot Injuries After Monday Night Shooting
Tarique Thompson has succumbed to gunshot injuries he sustained on Monday night in Belize City. Around twelve noon today, the fifteen year old second form student of Canaan High School [...]

Another Minor Remains on Life Support After Being Shot Two Days Later
Meanwhile, in Wednesday night’s shooting of another minor, sixteen year old Reuben Leslie remains brain dead at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The student of a George Price Highway address [...]

Mexican Naval Vessel Runs Aground Near Blackadore Caye
Exactly two weeks after a Guatemalan gunboat ran aground in Belizean waters near Glovers Reef, another maritime vessel has beached in shallow waters south of Blackadore Caye.  This time, a [...]

PM on 8% Salary Increase for Teachers and Public Servants
Back to the House Meeting…just before the Opposition walked out and with government coffers overflowing with Petrocaribe money, PM Barrow announced that it was honouring an eight percent salary increase [...]

Toledo West Area Rep Weighs In On Santa Cruz Debacle
Earlier in our newscast you heard PM Dean Barrow speaking about what he called excessive force being used by Mayans to unlawfully detain a black Creole Belizean. Much has been [...]

Was Rupert Myles Aggressive in Santa Cruz?
Requeña says that Saturday’s events were precipitated by the very aggressive behaviour of Rupert Myles when he attended a meeting following months of being invited to speak to village leaders. [...]

Francis Says Flippin’ Is Right About Dean O.
On Thursday, the media received a rather embarrassing resignation letter from three decade politician, former U.D.P. Minister and now former Standard Bearer of Stann Creek West Melvin Hulse. The letter, [...]

What’s Up With the PACT Bill?
Today Minister of Fisheries, Forests and Sustainable Development Lisel Alamilla was in the House of Representatives, surrounded by invited representatives of various conservation N.G.O.s. They were there for the passage [...]

Collet Area Rep Defends Petrocaribe Pibil Party
Tacos, pibil, BBQ, sand, sea, unlimited liquor and dancing to a live band….that’s how Collet Area Representative Patrick Faber does it, thanks to Petrocaribe! The politician has taken some hits [...]

U.S. Supreme Court Recognizes Right to Same-sex Marriage…
The United States Supreme Court ruled earlier today that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right throughout the U.S.; it is considered a historic victory for gay rights advocates.  The decision, [...]

UNIBAM’s Caleb Orozco Weighs In
According to the executive director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, while a legal decision is one thing, it does not necessarily deal with the issue of living with [...]

Image Factory Turns Twenty
The image factory turned twenty years today and it was a perfect opportunity for the founders of the art gallery to celebrate its contributions and achievements in the art world. [...]

Fisherfolk Honored
On June twenty-ninth International Fishermen’s Day will be celebrated in Belize, as well as the wider Caribbean region. The Fisheries Department and several other organizations concerned with fisheries will be [...]

LOVE FM

Amendments to Petro Caribe bill debated
As we mentioned, very important bills were read today in the House of Representatives and one of them was the Petro Caribe Loans Amendment Bill. The amendments were drafted after several sectors of society expressed concern about the wording of the bill. But the amendments are not satisfactory to several bodies including the People’s United […]

Elderly man goes overboard, search for his body underway
The search continues for the body of 80-year-old Leobihildo Pablo Varela, a boat captain from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Varela was on a barge making its routine journey from San Pedro to the Port of Belize last night. Somehow there was a mishap which ended up with the elderly man going overboard. Love News spoke […]

Senator kicked out of the House of Representatives, Opposition walks out
Today the Sitting of the House was held in Belmopan where three important Bills went through all their readings. The National Protected Areas System Bills, the Petro Caribe Loans Amendment Bill and the Cruise Ship Passenger Tax and Validation Bill all passed through their third readings. It was expected that the debate, specifically in regards […]


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#505537 - 06/27/15 12:04 PM Re: Today's Belize News: June 27, 2015 [Re: Marty]
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Amandala

GOB raids Santa Cruz Maya!
The mood was tense outside the Punta Gorda Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Wednesday, as eleven residents of Santa Cruz Village, Toledo, along with the mouthpiece of the Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) and the Toledo Alcaldes Association (TAA), Cristina Coc, were formally arraigned for what authorities have termed as the unlawful assault and detention of Rupert Myles, 37, a Creole man who was almost evicted from the said village for allegedly violating the community’s regulations regarding the occupation of their communal lands. Today, Thursday, the 1st (head) alcalde, Manuel Pop, handed himself in to police and has been detained pending charges. The villagers were rounded up during a pre-dawn raid that took place at around 4:00 a.m. yesterday when four truckloads of police officers descended upon the village, literally dragged the ones they wanted out of their beds, refused to let them dress properly, and whisked them off to the Punta Gorda Police Station, some without shoes and shirts, where they were collectively charged based on a police report that was lodged by Myles in the wake of the incident, which has attracted national attention due to the circumstances surrounding his detention.

Racial discrimination or Mayan justice?
The alcalde (mayor) system, which has been accepted as a form of local government, exists in certain Kekchí and Mopán Maya villages in Belize, and was designed so that an elder, a respectable citizen of the community, could serve as a village leader and role model. Since there is no police presence in many of those villages, the alcalde – who has the right to judge disputes over land and crop damage – would be called to settle a dispute or even a fight, and in minor cases, the alcalde has the authority to try, and punish offenders. That system, however, has now come under fire from critics who argue that oftentimes, it is exploited to racially discriminate against Belizeans of other ethnicities who venture to take up residence within those indigenous communities. Such was the case last Saturday, June 20, when Rupert Myles, 37, a Black Belizean who had recently moved to Santa Cruz, Toledo District, with his Mayan common-law wife, Maria Cal, was handcuffed and bound with a rope after a confrontation with the residents of that community.

Patrick Dean Tillett, 39, shot dead on Cairo Street
The seemingly never-ending gun violence in Belize City has claimed yet another life, this time, that of a well-known taxicab driver Patrick Dean Tillett, 39, of Hattieville, also known as “Nally,” who was sitting in front of a house on Cairo Street, a dangerous area in the city’s south side, last night at about 9:30. Tillett was shot multiple times by an unknown gunman. Police reports are that Tillett was sitting on his car, which was parked in front of the house, when an unknown man came up from through an alley connecting Cairo Street to Far West Street, and fired about five shots at Tillett. Police, who quickly went to the scene of the shooting, found Tillett lying on his car. He had been shot in the head, chest, left upper arm and in the left armpit. He was declared dead on the scene. Police are looking for a man who is known to them in connection with the murder.

Melvin “Flipping” Hulse’s strange resignation!
On Monday, an audio recording of an extended rant by United Democratic Party (UDP) standard bearer for the Stann Creek West constituency, Melvin Hulse, also known as “The Flipping Minister” during his time as a Minister, surfaced in the public arena. In the almost half-an-hour-long recording, done surreptitiously by some trusted person who was listening to him, Hulse attacked his Leader and Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, in a relaxed manner, severely criticizing him about bye-elections spending and other matters that were described as libelous by Barrow, who threatened the media with a lawsuit if they reproduced or repeated Hulse’s more sensational allegations, especially the reason for the spending of what has been presumed by some to be Petrocaribe money. Late Monday evening, however, Hulse “sort of apologized” to his Party Leader when he gave an exclusive interview to Love FM news. We say “sort of apologized” because Hulse did not retract his explosive comments, but rather, castigated the “someone” who made his comments public, and the other individuals who made his recording “go viral” on social media. This evening, however, three days later, a 189-word release from the UDP Secretariat announced that Melvin Hulse had resigned as the UDP standard bearer for the Stann Creek West constituency.

Rodwell Williams asks court to dismiss Feinstein claim against FSTV
Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel continued to hear arguments this Wednesday and Thursday into the challenge filed by Belizean businessman Michael Feinstein against the Government of Belize and Fort Street Tourism Village (FSTV), in which the business calls into question the legality of the US$7 head tax being collected by the Government, of which US$4 goes to the FSTV. In response to the ongoing litigation, the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) hopes to introduce a new law in the House of Representatives tomorrow, Friday, to retrospectively validate the head tax, covering the 15-year period starting in the year 2000. The legislation does not name any other cruise port, such as the Stake Bank port which is proposed for construction and for which Parliament approved a bill last year, which has yet to be brought into force. While he had not yet seen a copy of the proposed bill to regularize the head tax when we spoke with him on Wednesday, Andrew Marshalleck, SC, Feinstein’s attorney, told Amandala that it is “duplicitous” for the Government to be arguing in court that what they had been doing in collecting the head tax and apportioning it in the manner that they have been is fine.

FBI arrests US-Canadian, Gregg R. Mulholland, 45, for fraud scheme which allegedly used Belize to launder hundreds of millions of dollars
Last July, news broke that a company trading under Cynk Technology on the US stock exchange had been stopped from trading after the worth of the penny stock company mysteriously ballooned to US$6.4 billion. At the time, Belizean Javier Romero, who once worked as a Fisheries official in Belize but who had since migrated to the United States, was named as the president, chief executive officer, chief finance officer and main shareholder of Cynk, which was purportedly set up to develop a social network online, featuring a ‘Black Book’ of many notable figures, including Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lawrence, and claiming to hold the key to contacting some of the most sought-after celebrities. Romero had denied involvement in the company. The Cynk controversy soon faded off the radar—until this week, that is, when US law enforcement officials announced the arrest of Gregg R. Mulholland, 45, a dual US and Canadian citizen, also known as “Stamps” and “Charlie Wolf,” on charges of securities fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy for fraudulently manipulating the stocks of numerous U.S. publicly-traded companies and then laundering approximately US$300 million in profits through at least five offshore law firms.

Cheerful for one, and tearful for the next
Under the auspices of the Belize National Cricket Association, the 2015 Harrison Parks Cricket Competition continued over the weekend with some very heart breaking results. Again, my opinions are solely mine. You have any questions, then I’m the one to direct them to. The first to mention is between Sunrise and Western Eagles at Lords Bank. It was an easy game for Sunrise, who defeated Eagles, 70 to 69, with 6 wickets to spare. In that game, the Eagles batted 69 runs. This is a very small score in any playoff game, if their bowling is not strong. For that inning, Conway Young top scored with 24 runs, and Dirk Sutherland, 14 runs for the Eagles; while Zaggi and Gilbert Seguro took 4 wickets each for Sunrise. After lunch break, the Eagles went on the field to try and defend their score, but, try as they did, at the fall of 4 wickets, Sunrise surpassed the score. In that inning, Conway Jones and Michael Sobers scored 21 and 14, respectively, for the home team; while Kevi Flowers took 4 wickets for Western Eagles. Sunrise now travels to Rancho to play the second game. Before the game, I overheard someone telling Eagles team “be careful of Zaggi and Seguro. They are very good bowlers.” Whether they took the warning or not, these two bowlers damaged them.

Veterans play at Hostel field to honor two legends – “Canalete” and “Winty-J”
Regretfully, we could not be there on Sunday, but reliable reports are that football veterans came out in numbers at the old Hostel field to share the vibes and some to participate in the veterans game, following some youth games, to honor two legends in our football life – All Belize goalkeeper of the early 1970’s, Rupert “Canalete” Anderson, who starred with Spurs, Landivar and White Label; and football/music/culture icon Vincent “Winty-J” Johnson, who emerged on the football scene from under the wings of his idol, Louis “the Mugga” Garbutt, while “Lee Mugga,” as fans called him then, was also a member of the original and legendary Messengers combo of the 1960’s. According to Lilly White (Edward Charles Rubio), it was a fine day of football, which culminated with an Under-50 selection defeating an Over-50 squad, which included 66 year old Winty-J, by a 3-2 score. After the game, the brothers all got together and shared in a big pot of soup as well as some watermelon, etc. In the coming weeks, we will dedicate a column to take a closer look at the football careers of Canalete and Winty-J.

Belizean athletes attend Central American Senior Championships
A delegation of Belizean athletes and officials of the Belize Athletic Association (BAA) will be representing the Jewel at the Central American Senior Championships in Managua, Nicaragua, this week Friday to Sunday, June 26-28. Below are the names of athletes and their respective events, and officials accompanying, them. Athletes – Brandon Jones (200m, triple jump, long jump); Mark Anderson (100m, 200m); Linsford Avila (100m, 200m); Kenneth Brackett (long jump, triple jump); James Bregal (100m, 200m); Ajahnie Requena (400m); Card Hance (400m); Raheem Arzu (800m); Benjamin Fairweather (400m); Alexander Alvarado (800m/ 1500m); Ernest Villafranco (1500m, 5000m); Kaina Martinez (100m, 200m); Katy Sealy (heptathlon, shotput); Shanicka Augustine (100m, triple jump, long jump); Alexia Neal (100m, 400m hurdles); Ashontie Carr (400m, 800m); Ashantie Carr (long jump, shotput); Tricia Flores (long jump).

Editorial: A Belizean crisis in Toledo
A terrible situation has developed in the Toledo District which may have become a national crisis for Belize. An attempt last Saturday morning by the Maya village of Santa Cruz to discipline a newcomer who is black, one Rupert Myles, was videotaped, and the images went viral. At the same time that the video of Myles, handcuffed, his hands tied with a rope, and being paraded in Santa Cruz by Maya villagers, evoked traumatic images of slavery for black Belizeans, Myles himself told the media that he was a victim of racism. He quoted racist remarks he claimed were made by the Santa Cruz village chairman. If we are to judge by the inflammatory comments of Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Monday afternoon in Dangriga and the nature of the WAVE Radio morning shows between Monday and Wednesday, we would have to say that the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) has encouraged an ethnic backlash to the Rupert Myles incident which is truly a slippery slope in this young, multi-ethnic nation-state. For most of this twenty first century, the accepted leader of the Toledo Maya in their struggle for customary land rights in various villages in Toledo and their protective custody of the Sarstoon/Temash national park, was Greg Ch’oc. Last year it became clear that Ch’oc had been superseded in authority by a small group which was heavily influenced by evangelical religion. Greg Ch’oc, a secular leader by contrast to the new evangelical group, decided to begin the study of law at the University of the West Indies in Barbados. So that, when a monumental court victory for the Maya in the matter of customary land rights was announced earlier this year, it was this small religious group which led the celebrations.

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). Smart people sometimes do dumb things, we all know that, and it now appears that the adjacency zone decision some years ago was a bad idea. What that adjacency zone business essentially did was create a third millennium vagueness where there had previously been historical precision – in the matter of the border between Guatemala and Belize.

http://amandala.com.bz/news/request-politicians/
Dear Editor, As time goes by, we are seeing that our government is becoming more corrupt, backstabbing, and cutthroat. You can clearly see that they don’t have any integrity or interest in pushing Belize towards success. They are only interested in money. And we Belizeans allow them to be in office because we sell our votes for a mere $75, a piece of land, or a month’s worth of rent. There is the passport scandal, the Guatemalan situation, and now the Melvin Hulse recordings confirming that the UDP government is corruptly using Petrocaribe funds to trigger resignations by members of the House of Representatives leading to “buy-elections.” The general election is coming soon and I’m sure that there will be people who will sell their votes for a couple of bills. To all politicians regardless of what party you belong. I challenge you to do the following: 1. HAVE INTEGRITY. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. I cannot stress how important this is. If you give us your word, keep it! If you say something, keep it truthful and don’t try to spin it. We the people elected you because we trust that you will lead this country to success. Success will come and go but integrity is forever. Do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be.

Commercial prices in Dangriga rise, contrary to fall in national average
The latest report issued by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) states that nationwide, the inflation rate was down in May, although the municipality of Dangriga stands out as the only municipality in the country that saw a rise in inflation, meaning that consumer prices were 1.8% higher there this May, compared to the same time last year. This contrasts sharply against the national inflation rate of -0.9%, which means that nationally, consumer prices were on average almost a full percentage point lower than they were twelve months ago. The greatest price ease was seen in the “transport” category, which fell by 7.4%, driven by falling fuel prices. The SIB said that “…the average price per gallon of premium gasoline, regular gasoline, and diesel fuel all fell by more than $2.50, or well over 20 percent, in comparison to the same month last year.” Furthermore, international airfares were significantly lower, declining by almost one fourth compared to last May. Cooking fuel, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), was also substantially cheaper in May, with the average price per 100-pound cylinder falling from almost $120 last May to $111 this year.

BTEC trainees graduate from Job Readiness Program
Much-needed employment skills were the focus of a job readiness training program which was administered over the last three weeks under the auspices of the Belize Training and Employment Center (BTEC), which is a unit of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE). After covering courses in career management, personal development, work ethics, communication skills, customer service, among others, a group of 29 trainees were visibly delighted to attend their graduation ceremony which was held at the ITVET compound in Belize City today. When it concluded, Amandala spoke with Vanessa Johnston, the Training and Recruitment Officer for BTEC, who explained the mission of the organization and the components of the training. She said, “BTEC is aimed at providing demand-driven training for [various] industries’ specific needs; the first one in particular is the BPO industry which comprises of the different call centers, so that was the technical part of this session.”

Belize 5th on Gallup’s personal well-being index, but low on financial well-being
Belize has ranked fifth among 145 countries in the 2014 Country Well-Being Rankings by Gallup, an American research-based, global performance-management consulting company, which indicates, based on Gallup surveys, that 38.9% of Belizeans are thriving in at least three of five elements: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. For the second year, Panama leads all other countries in well-being, with 53% of its residents thriving in three or more elements, while Afghanistan ranks last with 0% of Afghans thriving in three or more elements. Gallup said that its research included more than 146,000 surveys in 145 countries and areas, and captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives. The Five Elements of Well-Being Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goalsSocial: Having supportive relationships and love in your lifeFinancial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase securityCommunity: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your communityPhysical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

PetroCaribe Loan amendment and Cruise Ship tax go to Parliament
When the House of Representatives meets this Friday, June 26, a bill to amend the Petrocaribe Loans Act, along with two supplementary appropriation bills to cover roughly $70 million in unbudgeted spending for fiscal year 2014/2015 and fiscal year 2015/2016, will be tabled for passage at that sitting. There are three major provisions in the proposed amendment. The first addresses criticism over the spending of Petrocaribe funds, and whether such spending complies with financial regulations that govern the use of public funds. The new provision says that, “The money borrowed from APBEL [Alba Petrocaribe Belize Limited] shall be kept in a fund at the Central Bank of Belize, which fund shall form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Belize, and may be withdrawn from time to time as the need arises.

Sibun Street youth, 15, critical after being shot in the head
The prospects of summer vacation have been dashed for a 2nd form student of Canaan High School who was shot in the head and neck while walking on Lakeview Street in Belize City last night. According to police, Tarique Thompson, 15, was approached from behind by a lone gunman, wearing a fisherman’s hat, who fired several shots at him as he headed in the direction of Vernon Street, just one block away from his home on Sibun Street, at around 8:30 p.m. yesterday, Monday. The teenager was hit twice, once in the chin and once in the neck, and was later rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he has been admitted in a serious condition, and is clinging to life.

Race for Dangriga seat in high gear
Political activity was rife in the “Culture Capital”, Dangriga Town, today as the candidates for the upcoming bye-election in that community, scheduled for July 8, officially threw their proverbial hats into the ring. The atmosphere was quite lively as officials and supporters of both major political parties flooded the municipality to endorse their respective candidates in what has become a heated race to garner the support of the constituents of Dangriga, Hope Creek and Sarawee, which together comprise 6,275 registered voters. The People’s United Party (PUP) started it off this morning with a spirited group of almost 300 party loyalists who rallied behind their newly installed Dangriga standard bearer, Anthony Sabal. Sabal is a retired teacher who recently came on the political scene as the replacement for former PUP Dangriga area representative, Ivan Ramos, who exited the party under controversial circumstances in mid-May, and later abruptly resigned from his post two weeks ago, prompting the unanticipated bye-election.

Rodwell Williams asks court to dismiss Feinstein claim against FSTV
Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel continued to hear arguments this Wednesday and Thursday into the challenge filed by Belizean businessman Michael Feinstein against the Government of Belize and Fort Street Tourism Village (FSTV), in which the business calls into question the legality of the US$7 head tax being collected by the Government, of which US$4 goes to the FSTV. In response to the ongoing litigation, the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) hopes to introduce a new law in the House of Representatives tomorrow, Friday, to retrospectively validate the head tax, covering the 15-year period starting in the year 2000. The legislation does not name any other cruise port, such as the Stake Bank port which is proposed for construction and for which Parliament approved a bill last year, which has yet to be brought into force. While he had not yet seen a copy of the proposed bill to regularize the head tax when we spoke with him on Wednesday, Andrew Marshalleck, SC, Feinstein’s attorney, told Amandala that it is “duplicitous” for the Government to be arguing in court that what they had been doing in collecting the head tax and apportioning it in the manner that they have been is fine.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

BDF soldier attempts to commit suicide
Reports reaching our news desk is that an off duty Belize Defense Force soldier attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the Bridge in Big Falls Village which is located about 21 miles outside of Punta Gorda Town in the Toledo District. It is believed that the bridge is approximately […]

Suicide in Xaibe Village
Belize Media Group has received reliable information about a suicide in Xaibe Village in the Corozal District. We are currently getting more information on this incident and will be updating this story as more information becomes available.

House passes Petrocaribe, cruise bills
Following suspension of the House of Representatives after noon in Belmopan, the Committees of Finance and Economic Development and Natural Resources and Environment met to discuss multiple bills including amendments to the Petrocaribe (Loans) Act and Cruise Ship Passenger Tax and Validation Bill, 2015. With the Opposition People’s […]

Guatemala not “hostile” to Belize, says Foreign Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington has been battling public perception of being soft and appeasing after repeated run-ins between Belize and Guatemala in recent weeks. There was the encounter between Coast Guard personnel on reconnaissance on Sarstoon Island with their Guatemalan counterparts, where rumors persist that the […]

Mexican Navy vessel grounds near Blackadore Caye
The Belize National Coast Guard has reported what it calls a “soft grounding” of a Mexican naval vessel just south of Blackadore Caye in the Belize District. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which received its report from Commandant of the Guard Rear Admiral John Borland, the […]

Image Factory marks 20 years
The Image Factory Art Foundation has established itself at the forefront of the conversation about art and culture in Belize, but after twenty wild and wacky years they will be the first to tell you that their business is not to pay tribute. Indeed, with such statements as […]

Belize to Celebrate Fisherfolk Day
Internationally, many nations celebrate Fisherman’s day and on a smaller scale, June 29th of every year is celebrated in our region and in our country as ‘Caribbean Fisherfolk Day’. A consortium of organizations along with the Belize Fisheries Department organized a series of events to acknowledge our Belizean fishers and […]

Mexican Navy Vessel Runs Aground Belize’s Territorial Waters
A Government of Belize statement is asserting that in the wee hours of this morning, June 26th 2015, a 55ft. Mexican Navy Vessel, a “Polaris-Intercepter” experienced a soft grounding on the mud flats and shoals just south of Blackadore Caye. “Mexican Navy vessels customarily transit from their Chetumal Bay base […]

Well known San Pedro cargo boat owner missing at sea
It has been reported that a popular Cargo boat owner of San Pedro has gone missing at sea and a search is currently being conducted to try and locate him. Mr. Leoli Varela was allegedly flung from his boat last night, Thursday June 25th, as he was approaching the Port […]

Opposition bows out of House during supplementary debate
Members of the parliamentary Opposition left the House of Representatives this morning following a disturbance in the gallery during a meeting of the House in Belmopan. Following an intervention by PUP Senator Patrick Andrews during the debate over the first supplementary presentation concerning Petrocaribe funds from the 2014-15 fiscal year, […]

Blogs

Green Reef Receives PACT Environmental Support Grant for Summer Youth Camp
Green Reef, a marine conservation NGO, was awarded a PACT Environmental Support Grant to undertake a four week summer camp at at Basil Jones on North Ambergris Caye adjacent to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. The Summer Youth Camps is being spearheaded by Green Reef in collaboration with Oceana, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Marine Education Research & Rehabilitation Institute (MEER), Tranquility Bay Resort, The San Pedro Sun, the Department of Youth Services and the San Pedro House of Culture (NICH) with financial support from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT). One hundred campers will have the unique opportunity to participate in this fun-filled adventure and experience the thrill of a lifetime at a week-long summer camp. Campers will pack their bags and head to an idyllic beach-side retreat, where they will indulge in over-the-top competitions inspired by classic camp games, learn about Belize’s marine natural resources and create unique art & rafts from sustainable materials.

A Charter Flight Over The Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole…OH BELIZE!
Just a few weeks ago, Danielle Burruss and her husband stayed for one GORGEOUS week at Grand Caribe Resort. GORGEOUS week. I located some of her sunrise photos on Instagram (follow her – she’s still posting lots of gorgeous pictures of Belize!) and I’ve basically been Insta-stalking her ever since. Photography is her passion CLEARLY…and she visited so many spots on Ambergris Caye and took so many pictures…but the ones on a private charter flight with Tropic Air to the Blue Hole REALLY captured my attention.

International Sourcesizz

Rights of passage
A landmark ruling finally gives hope to indigenous peoples around the world fighting to reclaim their homelands. In the south of Belize lies the Sarstoon Temash National Park, home to 42,000 acres of broadleaf, wetland and mangrove forest. It was established by the government in 1994, which was a surprise to the indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’ and Mopan populations, whose ancestors had occupied the land since the early 1800s. Furthermore, in 2001, concessions were granted to energy company US Capital Energy to start exploring the park for oil – all without any consultation with the local communities. The ensuing legal wrangling between the Maya people, the government and US Capital Energy, as well as indigenous rights organisations such as Cultural Survival, finally came to a close last month when the Caribbean Court of Justice (the highest court in Belize) confirmed that the Maya people have the right to ownership of the land. This follows a similar 2010 ruling, in which the Supreme Court of Belize declared the government could not grant concessions on Maya land. The Belize government is now required to demarcate and register Maya village lands, to not allow any future interference to the Maya people, and to compensate them for the environmental damage already done.

Boise State students reflect on service-learning
There aren’t many portions of the college curriculum that give students room for personalized experiences. However, some classes offer students service-learning options that allow for a more customized experience and, in some cases, a hands-on approach to a selected major. Kylee Geffre, a health education and promotion major, took a whole class dedicated to the service-learning experience. “Our professors partnered with community members of a small town in Belize. The class had multiple projects going on from the requests of the community members,” Geffre said. “My specific project was to teach the children of a local elementary school physical education and why it is important.” Brandt’s experiences with service-learning the result of taking communication courses with adjunct communication professor Jerald Catt-Oliason. Catt-Oliason has implemented service-learning for about eight years.

Time for Caribbean countries to ditch fixed exchange rate to dollar
Is the fixed currency exchange rate between the US and some Caribbean countries affecting the latter’s international competitiveness? This is a question that deserves review as Caribbean countries struggle with difficult economic conditions caused, in part, by the rapid change in their terms of trade and the value of currencies in which such trade occurs. Nine of the 14 independent Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have currencies whose values are tied to a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. These countries are: The Bahamas, Belize, Barbados and the member states of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. There is no evidence to suggest that these nine countries are performing more competitively than other countries in CARICOM that have a floating exchange rate. Indeed, based on economic performance over the last decade, particularly as guaranteed markets for exports have disappeared and trade rules have changed significantly, the economies whose currencies are not fixed to the US dollar have performed better. Small states face real difficulty in competing with other countries across the world in the free trade environment that has developed since the 1960’s. While it was possible in previous decades to prop-up economies through import substitution protected by high tariff walls, those days are over. Businesses now have to stand on their own, competing with foreign businesses in their home market, and for a place in export markets. The issue of competitiveness is now central to the success of any small state in finding work for its people, including its annual school leavers.

Belize: Maya Leaders Arrested as they Peacefully Protect Sacred Site
Maya leaders of Southern Belize were arrested on Wednesday in a gross violation of their rights. On the early morning of June 24th, traditional leaders of the Maya people of Southern Belize were violently awoken in their homes by police on the charges of unlawful imprisionment. The charges were brought against 12 people, including the Village Chairman, and the Second Alcalde, elected by their communities according to traditional practices. Also arrested was Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) spokesperson, Cristina Coc, a peaceful and well-respected advisor to the traditional leaders and mother of two. At an arraignment that afternoon, bail was initially set at $8000 each. When one of the attorneys for the Maya defendants explained that this was beyond the means of Maya farmers, the Magistrate increased the amount to $10,000. According to local attorneys, bail for this level of offences is usually between $1000-$3000. Bail was posted by other Maya villagers from various communities and all were released. The group warrant was never presented to the attorneys or their clients. The case has been adjourned until July 28, 2015.​ The charges were filed by Mr. Rupert Myles, after he was handcuffed by local Maya police at a village meeting during which Mr. Myles became agitated and threatened to wield a firearm. The conflict arose because Mr. Myles has been illegally constructing a house on the grounds of an ancient sacred site of the Maya People, the Uxbenka temple. The laws of Belize prohibit building on or damaging any archeological site.

Videos

  • TENSIONS SOAR IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 6min. We have plenty to report on as it pertains to the sitting in the House of Representatives in Belmopan. And while there were many burning issues to be addressed in the sitting, we will present the unprecedented turn of events that occurred after the speaker of the House of Representative, Michael Peyrefitte decided to dismiss PUP Senator Patrick Andrews from the gallery…

  • Project Serve Belize 2015 - As It Happened, 73min. Get ready for an all access pass and watch the 2015 Project Serve Belize team in action. This raw and unaltered footage follows the team as they work on the construction project at the King's Children's Home, as the play with the kids at the YWAM base during Sunday Funday, and as they explore the local Belizean Market. Bonus features include short films from Cameo, the opening ceremony of the Canada vs Belize championship basketball game, and heart warming personal stories from each team member.

  • The Amazing Spotted Eagle Ray, 1.5min. This Spotted Eagle Ray did a double swim by at Victoria Canyon, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Beautiful creature.

  • Belize 2015- Wildtracks, 3min.

  • A Trip to Belize, 8min.

  • Belize Honeymoon - #HolleyAdventures, 8min. The Holleys go to Belize for their honeymoon!

  • Canival Cruise 2015 Tubeing in Belize, 15min.

  • Dancer in August Pine Ridge, Belize, 2min.

  • 77 years old Gilbert kitesurf Belize 2015 !, 2min.

  • Yossi's Scuba trip to Belize, 4min.

  • Caye Caulker, Belize Vacation, 9min. Rosene's vacation in Caye Caulker, Belize - June 2015.

  • BELIZE CAYO BUS, 11min.

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    Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
    White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
    Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
    We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
    Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
    Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
    Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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    Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
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