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#505716 - 07/07/15 11:34 AM Today's Belize News: July 7, 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

Government Primary School to come in 2016
Area Representative and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia is continuing his efforts to have a government school built on the island. Heredia announced in February 2015 that land and monies had been allocated for the construction of a government primary school. While he aimed to have the school inaugurated for the 2015/2016 school year, delays in the land acquisition have made that impossible. The goal is now set to have the school opened by the 2016/2017 school year before his third term in office expires. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, Heredia shed some light on the status of the construction of the government primary school which he announced on February 16, 2015. “From last year I have been lobbying for a government primary school to be built in San Pedro. The need is evident. The population is growing and there isn’t enough space for all the children in our schools. Cabinet has indicated to the Ministry of Education that the priority for a new school construction is on San Pedro. There are various school developments planned for across the country and if one has to be eliminated to accommodate the construction of a school in San Pedro then that’s what will have to be done,” said Heredia.

Ambergris Caye Starfish Summer Camp is set to go!
Now that school is over, summer camps are taking place across the island and for the second time, the extra-special Ambergris Caye Camp Starfish is back! The camp caters to children with disabilities both mental and physical. Dalia Alamilla, one of the camp organizers stated that everything is ready for the camp, which will start on Monday, July 27th and run for two weeks at the Lion’s Den. After an excellent turn-out and support at last year’s Camp Starfish, it was imperative to hold another this year. The main purpose of the camp is for children with special needs to have some fun.” Every summer we see people having summer camps for children and those with special needs, due to their disabilities are not able to participate. So we designed the camp to offer support to them, while also assessing the children with special needs on the island,” said Alamilla.

Announcing Belize Fashion Week 2015
The 3rd Annual Belize Fashion Week is set to take place from July 9-12 in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye and promises to bring nights of glamour, glitz and beauty. The event will feature Belizean models showcasing lines from local and international designers. But it’s not all about fashion, Belize Fashion Week will also have top of the line entertainment for a fabulous three-night extravaganza. The event will start on Thursday, July 9th with the Social Night at the Caprice Bar at Holiday Hotel. Guests will have the opportunity to meet and greet the designers and models during a fun cocktail party. On Friday, July 10th, the glamorous runway show takes place at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. The event will include giveaways and guest performance by Belizean Artist Denise Castillo. The runway show continues on Saturday, July 11th, followed by an epic after party with international award winning DJ Geraldo. Finally on Sunday, July 12th the event closes with the Trunk Expo Show taking place at the Central Park, where the general public will have the opportunity to purchase the designers’ products.

Ambergris Today

25 Years Ago: How Sanpedranos Lit Their Houses Without Electricity
How would you like to do your homework with the aid of a kerosene lantern? Is it possible to do some sewing or embroidery or even knitting under the light of one of these lanterns or candlelight? As for the men, would it be comfortable to weave a fish net at night using the light of a dim gas lantern? These are relevant questions we can ask today but in the 1950’s this kind of lighting was the order of the day. Here’s how it went. The first mode of lighting was the candle but eventually we got the “kinque” or kerosene lantern to brighten up the homes. Whenever night fell and there were some chores to do, we would light up the “kinque” and get down to business. To read or write your homework, you had to be at least three feet away from the light source. Mom could prepare the evening tea or supper with a lantern in the general area of the kitchen. At times dad would have a fish net, whether it was a cast net or seine, to complete and he would work several hours during the afternoon, but still had the need to work at night. Again, with the aid of the brilliant light of the gas lantern, he would progress in this chore quite comfortably. It was quite romantic passing by the small thatch huts along the street and watching the glow of light coming through the curtains of the windows of the homes. You knew that there was activity going on in the home because by eight or nine o’clock there would be total darkness.

Belize to Participate in Toronto 2015 Pan American Games
With just a few days to go for the opening of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Belize’s athletes are ready to represent in Athletics and Triathlon. The delegation will be headed by Chief of Mission Allan Sharp. The contingent consists of triathlete Amed Figueroa, Athletics delegate Deon Sutherland, Kaina Martinez and Mark Anderson who will both be doing the 100m. The Pan Am Games is set to take place in Toronto, Canada from July 10th (Opening Ceremony) - 26th, 2015 where 41 countries will be competing in 36 different sporting events. These Games are the world’s third largest international multi-sport games held every four years. Team Belize will travel to Toronto on Wednesday, July 8. Triathlon takes place from the 11th - 12th and Athletics the 21st - 25th.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

AMBERGRIS CAYE MARINE TURTLE PROGRAM
Sea turtles are increasingly characterized as keystone species in maintaining and structuring seagrass and coral reef communities. Although their importance to the ecosystem has been recognized and well documented their population is still under threat from both anthropogenic and natural sources. Their nesting habits is of prime concern since it is in conflict with human activities. Turtle nesting beaches are prime real estate for tourism development. The Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle program is an initiative to document and quantify nesting behavior on the beaches of Ambergris Caye, Northern Belize. This project has consistently compiled 5 years of data on sea turtle nesting activities on the island. A total of 77 nests were found throughout Ambergris Caye in 2014 and all were found on sandy beach ridges on the windward side of the Island. Nesting is concentrated on the northern beaches of Robles and Rocky Point. Robles Beach is approximately, 1000 meters long with the southern 200 meters having rocky intervals. Rocky Point is a smaller Beach approximately 100 meters in length. Nesting Results 2014: In 2014 there was a 20% decrease in the total number of nests when compared to the previous year. Rocky point had 21 nests, Robles Beach 49, Basil Jones 6 and one was recorded on WataView Resort on South Ambergris Caye.

Golf Carts and ATV Traffic Affect Turtle Nesting
Seven Loggerhead turtle nests have been found north of El Secreto in Ambergris Caye. The problems is that Golf Carts and ATV use this section of Beach as a road and damage the turtle nests. One of the main problems we have observed is that these vehicles compact the sand and make it impossilble for hatchling to come out of the nests. Five nests have been relocated in this area to prevent loss of the entire clutch.

It's a Boy...a Girl...and another Boy
Congratulations!! San Ignacio Resort Hotel celebrates the hatching of 36 rescued Green Iguana eggs at their Conservation Project.

JOB OPPORTUNITY
The Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) project, housed within the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development (MFFSD), is seeking a qualified individual to fill the post of Communications Officer. Note that the deadline for Statements of Capability is Monday, July 27th, 2015. The Communications Officer will be assigned to the Forest Department. MFFSD is seeking to recruit a suitable individual to fill the following position, the critical minimum requirements for the position is listed below; however, applicants are asked to view the detailed terms of reference: - At minimum, possession of a Bachelor’s Degree in mass communications, public relations, advertising, communication analysis & planning or related disciplines.

"Proyecto Luz Amarilla" (Project Yellow Light)
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) partners with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to launch the Second Edition of "Proyecto Luz Amarilla" (Project Yellow Light), founded by Julie Garner, an American who lost her 17-year-old son in an automobile accident in 2007. Young persons living in CDB and IDB member countries, who are between 18-30 years of age, are invited to participate. The top three finalists will win a trip to Mexico in October 2015 to present their work and attend the Formula 1 Gran Prix, while the fourth- and fifth-place finishers will receive iPad Mini’s. Entries should be 25 or 55 seconds in length and be submitted by September 21, 2015.

Green Iguanas Galore
Feelgood news of the day. They have 27 newly hatched green iguanas at the Green Iguana Conservation Project. The eggs were rescued last month from the Belize City area, and most of them hatched. Now's a great time to go pay them a visit, get some pictures with them, and welcome them to the world. "Remember the story of the 36 rescued Green Iguana eggs that we blogged about last month? Well, these beautiful baby Green Iguanas have hatched...27 to be exact! So be sure to visit the Green Iguana Conservation Project and meet the newest addition to our family! They’re so adorable, check them out!"

Channel 7

The Cruel Killing Of Kareem
In last week Friday's Amandala, Kareem Clarke wrote the headline story - tomorrow his murder will probably be the headline. That's the depressing bottom line after the promising young journalist was brutally gunned down early this morning. 27-year-old Kareem Clarke had left a female's house on his bicycle at around 1:00 this morning when he was ambushed and gunned down at the corner of Lake View and Vernon Street - a gang infested area. The killing was deliberate and cruel: He was shot twice to the head, and three times to the body. But why would anyone want to kill this well-known reporter with such dramatic finality. Today his mother told Courtney Weatherburne that he left out at 8:00 last night: Courtney Weatherburne reporting This morning close relatives and friends of Kareem Clarke gathered on the street side on Freetown Road - openly mourning the loss of a son, a brother, uncle, and friend.

Cops Don't Know Who Killed Kareem
And while Clarke's family and media colleagues have many questions surrounding his murder- the police have very few answers so far in the case. No motive has been established and no one has been detained. But what is known is that a police patrol is set up a few hundred feet away from where Clarke was murdered. So should the police presence have been more effective as a deterrent against fatal violence - after all this is the second murder in this very same area in two weeks. This is what we asked the police today. Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., CIB, Belize City Police "No, we don't have a motive. We know he came from that general area. He went to visit someone there and then he was targeted when he was riding near to the bridge." Jules Vasquez "Sir, this is the same area where that teenager was shot and killed - subsequently die about two weeks ago. From all indications the youth was just targeted - to send message. Might Mr. Clarke have been involved in the same kind of situation?"

Senior Shakeup In Eastern Division Makes Chester The New Southside Sherriff
And to grapple with crime in the city that's reeling out of control - the Police have changed their game plan completely. The Eastern Division structure that has stood for decades, is no more. Eastern used to be basically all of the Belize District - with its major crime hotspots of Belize City, San Pedro and Ladyville. Well, now, it is broken up into Eastern division Southside, Eastern Division Northside and Eastern Division rural. The news is that the former Commander of all of Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner Dezeree Phillips is now in charge of Eastern Division Northside and San Pedro - while Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, recently returned from Law School takes over the hottest seat in the country, southside Belize City - which may also be the most murderous urban area per square mile in the world. A staggering statistic, but real talk, and today Williams says he embraces the challenge:.. Sr. Supt Chester Williams, Commander Eastern Division South "It is the hot seat and I must say that I am proud to be in the hot seat. I would not be have been contented being in a seat where it is not hot, because I like to see that things is being done and as the commander of this division, I can assure the people on the Southside Belize City that myself and my team will do whatever is necessary to ensure that we reduce the murder rate on Southside Belize City. Currently, we are on a path to surpass where we were last year. It is my hope that that will not happen. We will be looking at different policing strategies. Today is my first day in office and I am meeting with my senior managers, I am doing consultations, because at the end of day what I will do, I will devise a strategy that we will employ to ensure that we put in place the right mechanisms to reduce crime on Southside Belize City. It's not a matter of whether or not it will happen - we will reduce crime on Southside Belize City."

Williams Will change Ghost Town Policing Strategy
And one area where he plans to change things up immediately is the gang-ridden zone between Lakeview Street and Vernon Streets. It's the site of an ongoing gang war between neighbors who life just a few dozen feet from each other - and as we told you earlier - in the last two weeks two people who are not known to be gang affiliated - Kareem Clarke and second former, Tyrique Thompson have been killed in this area - while another teenager, Ruben Leslie was fatally shot on Magazine Road which is in the same general area. All this while an active police checkpoint dominates the area. Williams says changing the policing strategy at this location is his highest priority:... Sr. Supt Chester Williams, Commander Eastern Division South "Yes the area is policed, but I do not think that is well policed and with my commanders this morning, had a discussion about the area and we are re-strategizing in that area. I am not going to say what our strategy will be, but we are re-strategizing in that area to ensure that we are going to address any future situation like this. Our objective will be to prevent crime before it happens. One of the things that I intended to do and had discussed this morning with my commanders, is to look at how we deploy our human resources, because I believe that if you have one hundred men and you cannot use them effectively, you would not get the result you would get from ten men if you deploy them effectively."

Belize Bank Customer Robbed of Big Bucks While Walking Out
Downtown Albert Street in Belize City was very busy this afternoon, as it usually is on the weekday. But that didn't stop a robber from snatching a large amount of cash right from the hands of a Belize Bank Customer. The victim, a Chinese business man, had only just finishing his banking inside, and while he was walking to the parking area, a thief ran by, grabbed his manila envelope and ran away with it. We understand that he may have gotten away with as much as $70,000 dollars. Police say they'll have details tomorrow.

Dead Before 22: Rivas Fatally Shot on Day Before Birthday
At the top of the news, we told you how 27 year-old Kareem Clarke, the young journalist from the Amandala Press, was gunned down last night. Well, he was only the last victim of a weekend filled with violence. The first victims were 22 year-old David Steven Rivas and a minor who were shot on Friday night. Rivas was walking his girlfriend home on Roaches Street when he was stopped by 3 friends who wanted to wish him happy birthday in advance. In a few hours he would have celebrated his 22nd birthday. It became tragic because, just that moment, a gunman appeared from out of the darkness and fired several gunshots at them. He was hit multiple times, but reports say that his assailant made sure to finished the job by then turning him over and shooting him a few more times before leaving the scene. He and the minor were rushed to the KHMH but at around 1:19 a.m. on Saturday, his birthday, he passed away. In a press briefing today, police told us what they know so far:

Elderly Man Attacked, Dumped In River To His Death
Around 5:15 on Sunday morning the lifeless body of an elderly man was discovered floating along the river bank located behind Village Kitchen on North Front Street. He was identified as 65-year-old Michael Cain. Cain was retrieved from the water where multiple apparent wounds were seen to his face. According to police, Cain was at the back of Village Kitchen when he was allegedly attacked by 3 men and a woman who then threw him into the river. Here's what his brother told us about his cruel end:.. Frank Cain - Brother of Deceased "More or less that he was beaten up by several persons and was left there. He has really bad bruises, abrasions over the face and eye, and was pushed into the river. He doesn't really interfere with anybody, he usually kept to himself. Again too, knowing the environment he socializes in, that he chooses to be in, I wouldn't say I was expecting it, but it happened." Monica Bodden "When you say environment...." Frank Cain - Brother of Deceased "When I say environment, well, the type of people that hangs out in those areas and such."

Matura Shepherd Battles Contempt
Almost 11 weeks ago, we told you how attorney and trade union leader Audrey Matura-Shepherd was to face contempt of court proceedings. Well, that happened today, but it appears that the Government's attorney, who's pushing this issue, would like her to be sanctioned by the court with an order that she must pay court costs. As we told you, the case that this contempt accusation comes from the is BGYEA case. Viewers may remember that the grassroots organization, and its leader, Nigel Petillo, were being sued by the Government for road reserve that they wanted to use to plant corn. The case was instead to be settled via mediation, but according to the complaints from the Government, Matura-Shepherd revealed the terms of the settlement. Reports are that there was supposed to be a gag order until the case was properly resolved, and so the Government attorney submitted today that she violated the terms of the mediation. He's pressing the court to order her to pay costs of the litigation, which would mean lawyer fees on both sides, as well as whatever legal fees were incurred to get to this point. This court proceeding took place in the chambers of Justice Courtney Abel, and when Matura-Shepherd's attorneys exited, we asked them to explain their defence against the "contempt" accusation. Here's how they did:

Sr. Supt Williams Says Quality Of Life Crackdown Wasting Police Time
Earlier in the news you heard from the new commander of Eastern Division Southside, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams. He spoke candidly about the changes he wants to make in the policing strategy in the Ghost Town area. But that's not all he wants to change: Williams says that the crackdown on bicycle bells is making criminals of law abiding citizens and wasting police man hours:.. Sr. Supt Chester Williams, Commander Eastern Division South "The quality of life crimes are in the books, and they are there to enforce. But like you rightly said, I do not believe that we are to arrest everybody for each and every minor infraction in law. so what I intend to do, I will write to the commissioner of police and I will propose to the commissioner to propose to the mayor to probably do some kind of bi-law where we can now address quality of life crime through a ticketing system. So just like how you give a ticket for a traffic violation, those like riding bicycle without bell, we do have it, the city council can issue it. But we want the power to be given to the police as well, because when the police has to leave his area of patrol to come to the police station to process a man, for riding a bicycle up one way street or without a bell, it takes about 2 hours from his patrol time at the station when he could be out there being very productive. It is not my intention to make criminals good citizens because at times people do mistakenly commit infractions of these minor offenses. So would that occur then, I think the police should be reasonable, should use their discretion and see how best we could work with people. And if we do that we'll find that more people will be on our side than against us."

Was Eastern Division Broken?
So now that Senior Superintendent Williams has a new vision of policing for Eastern Division - are we to conclude that the previous structure of the Eastern Division was flawed? That's what we asked Williams today: Jules Vasquez "They say that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. So then, the fact that there is now a reconfiguration. Is this an admission that something was broke in the eastern division structure and this is an attempt to fix it?" Sr. Supt Chester Williams, Commander Eastern Division South "I will not venture to say that something was broken. But what I can tell you is that this was a strategy devise by the commissioner of police to ensure that there is more accountability on the ground and to ensure that one commander is not tasked with too much of a burden in policing. We are hoping that with this strategy, we will be able to reduce crime, because the commanders in the different divisions will have less responsibility, they will have more supervision - more time to supervise the personnel under their command and we should yield some very fruitful results from that."

Was ACP Phillips Effectively Demoted?
So then the new Eastern Division structure is as follows, Williams and his Deputy superintendent Alden Dawson will run the crime ridden southside. Former Eastern Division boss Assistant Commissioner Dezeree Phillips and her deputy Senior Superintendent Alford Grinage will run the northside and San Pedro/Caye Caulker, while Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster will run the Rural areas of Belize District. IT's a big change - especially for Assistant Commissioner Phillips - she was in charge all of Eastern Division with more than 500 police officers across the big bad Eastern division under her command - now she's only in charge of a few hundred in the much calmer northside. So did she get dissed? We asked Williams that today: Sr. Supt Chester Williams, Commander Eastern Division South "I would not say that it is a demotion for Ms. Phillips. Ms. Phillips maintained her rank of assistant commissioner and the post of the divisional commanders is an ACP post. So it's not like she's been placed in a post that is below the rank that she currently holds. So to say that it's a demotion, I think is also an understatement. it's just a matter like a said before that we are re-strategizing to ensure that commanders are not burden too much with the task of policing a huge city which is exploding population wise."

Sr Supt Williams, The Attorney, Frowns On His Past Tactics
So, now that he is a trained attorney, does Senior Superintendent Williams look back on his years as a tough street cop with regret or shame. Surprisingly to us, today he acknowledged that he knows better now:... Jules Vasquez "Sir you are now a trained attorney. How does that knowledge of the law both theoretical and practical, how will that apply to your work now and specifically as it addresses one of the issues that has "dog" you throughout your career. Maybe they don't say it to your face but they certainly say it behind your back that, "Chester, will get you arrest but it's a statistical arrest."" Sr. Supt Chester Williams, Commander Eastern Division South "Jules, I will say that I am no saint. In the past, yes I used to do things in a certain way that probably it could have been done better, having now been trained legally I am more familiar with the way how the law operates and I intend to used my legal knowledge to make this division more effective and I will tell you, I do not believe in statistical arrest, because last year over the summer, I happened to do internship at the Solicitor General's Ministry and the amount of money I see the Government of Belize paying out for police brutality and different police misconduct, it is appalling. And if the Government could save those money, we could get ourselves some resources. So I have a zero tolerance on police brutality. We will police with common sense and not by force."

What Kind of P is Sr. Supt Chester?
And while his professional outlook has changed - what about his political one? Early into the Barrow administration's first term back in 2008 - Williams was labeled a PUP supporter - and that's kind of what drove him to law school, because, under the UDP he had kind of hit a glass ceiling here in Belize. So what P is he now? He told us today:.. Sr. Supt Chester Williams, Commander Eastern Division South "The only "P" I am is police. And I will continue to be that "P." I work for the government of the day. I have a duty to serve this country under which ever government exists. I am not a politician and I do not intend to be a politician. So, if that was said, where it came from I don't know. But that is not an issue to me. I am here to work and if I work to the satisfaction to be powers that be and they see they need to give me a promotion, then so be it. I welcome it and if I am not promoted, so be it. I continue to be a police."

Father Leslie And The Vote
Last week, we told you about how the senate debate over the Petrocaribe Loans Amendment Act was extensive, and fiery, and quite the opposite of the House Debate on the bill where the PUP walked out. One issue which has been cause for some raised eyebrows is the vote that Father Noel Leslie, the Senator Representing the Churches casted in favor of the General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bills approving Petrocaribe spending which were passed by The House of Representatives. In the debate, we showed you the PUP accused the Government of wasting public funds in a wanton manner, and so, quite a few observers thought that the Church Senator would vote no once again. But, instead, he voted in favour. But, this weekend, the Catholic Church sent out a release saying that they voted one way, but felt another. Now it's not quite as high as Simon Peter's three acts of denial - but it is an odd turn. The release says that he and the Roman Catholic Church and its Senator would have wanted to vote no to everything connected to the Petrocaribe Loans Act, but the other members of the Council of Churches, who are the majority, have now begun supporting the law since the amended changes.

Shooting In Northside Park Laves Man Seriously Shot
There was another city shooting this weekend. This one wasn't fatal - but it was unusual because it happened on the northside, in a park not far from the Prime Minister's house. On Friday night at 10:10p.m., police 24-year-old Jerome Smith was in the Buttonwood Bay Park sitting on top of the bleachers when he was shot by a man who walked from beneath the bleachers to open fire. Police told us more:.. Supt. Hilberto Romero, O.C., CIB, Belize City Police "Police responded to that area around 10:10p.m. where they found Jerome Smith with gunshot injuries to the chest and to the legs. He was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he is in a stable condition." Smith received a gunshot wound to the back of the neck, one to his chest, and to his arms. The shooter escaped in a grey car that was waiting by the park. He is currently listed in a stable condition.

The Media Remembers "Reemo"
As we told you earlier in the newscast - 27 year old Amandala reporter Kareem Clarke was gunned down in the city this morning. His murder has left his family and media colleagues grappling with the loss of this rare talent. Today, 10 of his media colleagues took time out to remember Kareem Clarke and how much he meant to them. The Amandala sent out a statement on Clarke's murder today. It states that "The Kremandala family deeply regrets the loss of our outstanding colleague, journalist and friend, Kareem Clarke…we are still in disbelief over the tragic loss of this very promising and ambitious young journalist. It continues by saying that "on a day like today, Kareem would have been hard at work, juggling several stories for publication in the mid-week edition of the Amandala newspaper. His murder has left a vacuum that will be very hard to fill." According to the release Kareem began working at Amandala two years ago, in July of 2013.

A Vigil Against Violence
And while we mourn Kareem Clarke - his name is now added to the dozens that have been senselessly murdered in 2015. In their memory - and especially the teenagers among them - a candlelight vigil for victims of violent crimes will be held tomorrow evening at the Battlefield Park. It is hosted by a group of youths belonging to the organization called Guide Light Productions. The vigil is to honor victims of crime while alerting the public to the realities of crime, and express hope for a less violent future. The vigil starts at 6pm tomorrow evening.

Extending The Sugar Crop
Tomorrow was supposed to be the end of the 2014-2015 cane crop, but thousands of tonnes of sugar cane would have been left sitting in the field, which would have caused some farmers to risk financial ruin due to their bank commitments. So, after a number of pleas to the Sugar Industries Control Board and the Ministry of Agriculture, the Government representatives collaborated with the factory owners to delay the close of the season. The Deputy Prime Minister told the press this morning in Orange Walk that this should allow farmers with cane in their fields an opportunity deliver and collect on their investment: When the season does actually close, we'll will tell you all about it.

COPS CAUGHT CUBANS
19 Cubans are facing charges of illegal entry into the country and failing to present a visitors permit. 6 of those Cubans were caught on Friday morning around 11 in Orange Walk. Police were conducting patrols near the bypass in Orange Walk when they saw a Toyota Van and a group of people acting suspicious. When police approached, they saw several people hiding in the drain nearby and when asked about what they were doing, they could not provide an answer. All 6 Cubans along with a Belizean driver were charged: The Cubans were all charged with illegal entry by the Immigration Department and as for the Belizean driver who was with them - Lucilo Mesh - he was charged for aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. Mesh met bail and was released. Now that same evening, 13 more were intercepted in Orange Walk, this time at a bus terminal. Police approached the 13 on Dunn Street boarding the bus and when police asked them for their visitors permit they could not provide any. All thirteen were arraigned and fined one thousand and five Belize dollars each. It has to be paid forthwith and if they fail to comply they will serve 6 months in prison. Immigration Department also requested through the court a removal order from the country and for the Cubans to be deported to their home country.

Channel 5

A Life Cut Short, Promising Young Journalist Killed In Early Morning Assault
All day, today there has been an outpouring of both love and sympathy for media colleague, Kareem Clarke.  The tragic news spread quickly this morning that the young and gifted [...]

Media Colleagues Pay Homage to the Literary Talent that was Kareem Clarke
The Amandala Newspaper has issued a statement on the senseless murder of Kareem Clarke saying, “We are still in disbelief over the tragic loss of this very promising and ambitious [...]

Was Foiled Gang Recruitment Motive for Weekend Murder?
There were three other murders over the weekend. The violence started on Friday night with the homicide of a Belize City welder. David Rivas was shot and died just hours [...]

Elderly Watchman Murdered and Tossed Into Haulover Creek
The third murder occurred before dawn on Sunday also in the city. Sixty-five year old Emmerson Cain was assaulted by at least three persons behind Village Kitchen Restaurant on North [...]

A Pair of Belize City Men Acquitted of Double Homicide Charges
While the murder rate continues to increase, two men went to court this morning and even before their trial started, they were freed. Twenty-four year old Charles Young Junior along [...]

Church Senator Breaks Silence on Endorsing Petrocaribe Amendment Act
The Roman Catholic Church has broken ranks with the Council of Churches. Reverend Noel Leslie, who represents the Council in the Senate, was one of seven parliamentarians to vote in [...]

Roman Catholic Bishop Objects to Controversial Legislation
According to Father Leslie, he is equally obligated to support the position of his bishop, despite having voted in favor of the majority in the council.   Rev. Father Noel [...]

Did Council of Churches Yield to G.O.B.’s Petrocaribe Carrot?
But is the ecumenical chapel that is to be constructed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital the sugared pill for the change of heart? Father Leslie said that the topic [...]

Anthony Sabal Hits Campaign Trail Ahead of Dangriga Bye-election
As we do just before any major election, over the weekend News Five went to the scene of the scheduled bye-election in Dangriga to get a last minute feel from [...]

Audrey Matura-Shepherd Back in Court for Contempt in BGYEA/G.O.B. Mediation
Attorney and activist Audrey Matura-Shepherd was called into the chambers of Justice Courtney Abel today. The application for sanction was brought in relation to the G.O.B. versus BGYEA Court ordered [...]

BGYEA on Outcome of Mediation
As we told you, the contempt application was brought in relation to Court-ordered mediation which has now come to a close. The dispute was over the use of a buffer-zone [...]

Domestic Dispute Lands Taxi Man Behind Bars
A domestic dispute has landed forty-six year old taxi man, Mark Anthony Lord Senior at the Belize Central Prison. He is facing two criminal offenses, allegedly committing against his common-law [...]

Sugar Crop Extended Amid Record Year
Following a request by all cane farmers associations for an extension of the 2015 crop, B.S.I. stated late last week that it would not consider extending the crop for a [...]

Reshuffling the Scope of the Belize Police Department
There are major changes to the top brass of the police department in the City. First, there is no more Eastern Division. That was revealed today at a press briefing [...]

Chester Williams is Back to Tackle Crime in the City
Williams is taken on an area that is spiraling with criminal activity. Over the weekend, there have been three murders in Belize City and in the past two weeks, a [...]

Jerome Smith Survives Near Fatal Attack at Buttonwood Bay Park
Earlier in the newscast, we told you about four murders that occurred over the weekend. But there was another act of gun violence in the city, a shooting on Friday [...]

Guidelight to Hold Vigil for Slain Youths
The murder of two young students in the past week stunned the country. Fifteen year old Tarique Thompson and sixteen year old Ruben Leslie were mercilessly gunned down in separate [...]

Sport Stats with James Adderley
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The Smart 13 and Under Football Tournament presented the semi-final round Saturday at the MCC Grounds. In a closely [...]


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#505717 - 07/07/15 11:34 AM Re: Today's Belize News: July 7, 2015 [Re: Marty]
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2014/2015 Crop Season Extended
The sugar crop 2014/2015 has been extended to five more days following requests from farmers. The crop was scheduled to close on July seventh and after continued requests from the associations, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources & Agriculture Gaspar Vega says he stepped in to lobby in favor of the famers. He announced the extension today in a short press conference at the Sugar Industry Control Board building. “There were several cane farmers who had not been able to deliver not even a piece of sugar cane and that is when I more than ever, that very same concern and thought that everyone should get an opportunity to deliver at least a percentage of their quota. We spoke over the telephone several times to Mr. McLachlan and we were in communication for a couple days and with Mr. Celestino Ruiz and we finally get to extend the crop for five more days and so they did compromise and they said that the best they could do is to extend the crop by five more days.” So far the crop continues to be a record breaking one and as of midnight last night, the factory is reported to have milled 1.137 million tons of sugar cane. Given the five days extension, the factory aims at milling some 1.175 million tons, which will be about thirty thousand tons less than the last crop. But even though less sugar cane is being milled for this season, more sugar has been produced this time around. In the last crop, 120, 000 tons of sugar was produced while this year, since this weekend, 141,000 tons of sugar has been produced. This is 21,000 tons or fifteen percent more produced with less sugar cane.

Works At BSI To Undergo Repairs As Soon As Crop Is Over
With the new extension in the sugar crop, the stakeholders hope for good weather to meet their goal. Belizario Carballo says that they have agreed on five more days taking into consideration the time needed to conduct maintenance at the mill and other matters they want to carry out during the out of crop period. “The reason why we had agreed on the 7th of July is a combination of factors which from the factory perspective clearly has to take into account the time we need for repair and maintenance and the mill has worked to produce 141,000 tons this year and it is a record production and it is also reflect how hard the mill has worked this crop and we need to have a proper repair and maintenance and it is indicative of a good crop which needs a proper repair and maintenance and we also have a number of capital project that we have plan for the out of crop period and next crop, we have a new cane dumper that we want to put in, we have modification in the cane yard that we need to do to accommodate the additional cane dumper, we have additional juice heaters that we want to put in and we have a new bagging line that we want to install and we have some automation in the yard that we have to complete and overall we have significant plan for this out of crop and very conscious that we want to bring back this crop into cycle and for those reasons we are approaching the end of the crop but we are very pleased that we were able to extend to the 12th of July at six o’clock.”

Catholic Diocese Calls For Repeal Of Petro Caribe Act
Apart from defending the constitutionality of Section 53 of Belize’s Criminal Code, the Roman Catholic Diocese is stirring up much opposition against the Government’s elusive Petrocaribe Program. A release from Reverend Father Noel Leslie of the Diocese revealed that in their senate meeting on July 1st, Leslie on behalf of the churches voted in favour of the General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill and the General Supplementary Appropriation and the Amendments to the Petrocaribe Loans Act 2015. The release says and we quote, “As a senator nominated by the Council of Churches, I am obligated to vote in accordance with the majority decision of that body and which I represent in the senate. The release continues to state, “The roman catholic church of Belize which shepherds 40% of the Belizean population respectfully holds a different position from the one I (Leslie) presented in the Senate on July 1st”. In the release Father Leslie goes on to state and we quote “The bishop of Belize and Belmopan His Excellency Bishop Dorick Wright joins me in calling for a repeal of the Petrocaribe Loans Act 2015 and its amendments and for the return to the adherence to the principals outlined in the finance and audit reform act 2005.” end quote. So what does all this mean? Simply put, the Church feels that the Petrocaribe Loans Act was derived to correct transgressions in the borrowing and spending of public funds and encourages greater transparency and accountability of the public purse.

Traffic Accidents Recorded In The Northern Districts
A road traffic accident in Orange Walk left a pedestrian suffering from severe injuries to the head and body. Around 8:00 on Friday night, police visited the Northern Regional Hospital where they saw 44 year old Florencio Patt, a resident of San Jose Village, suffering from a large wound to the back of the head, a broken nose and a broken left foot and in an unconscious state. Initial investigations revealed that Patt was walking on the side of the highway in San Jose Village apparently under the influence of alcohol when he was knocked down by a grey car that was coming from the direction of Corozal heading towards Orange Walk Town. Patt was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital and later to the K.H.M.H. where he was admitted in a critical condition. So far, no one has been detained but according to police, they know who they are seeking for questioning. The second traffic mishap occurred in the Corozal District and six persons are lucky to be alive after the driver of the vehicle lost control. According to authorities, on Sunday night around 8:06, police responded to report of a traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway where they saw a Silver tracker off the side of the road facing in the direction of San Joaquin Village. Initial investigation revealed that 37 year old Lilian Judith Flores of San Jose Village was driving her silver Tracker from Corozal Town heading towards San Jose Village along with five other passengers when she lost control of the vehicle. Flores reported to police that upon reaching between miles 81 and 82 on the Phillip Goldson Highway she lost control of the tracker and ran off the road colliding into a cement lamppost. The passengers were later identified as 43 year old Amir Gonzalez ,40 year old Juan Carrillo, 18 year old Edson Chuc, 33 year old Teresa Suarez all of San Jose Village and 27 year old Gallardo Campos of San Narciso Village, Corozal District. The individuals received varying degrees of injuries and were transported to the Corozal Hospital with the exception of Gallardo Campos who was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital in a critical condition.

Crop Extended But Cane Will Stay In The Field
And while farmers are hoping to be able to deliver a bit more sugar cane to the factory given the extension, there will still be some loss incurred by farmers. We spoke with representatives of all three associations this morning who were present at the announcement and while they were all optimistic about the extension, their hope is that each farmer can get a fair opportunity to deliver some of their cane to the mill. Ezekiel Cansino – BSCFA “Ya habíamos sumado que hasta el quince íbamos a venir logrando hasta el 80% de lo que es la primera estimación que se dio o sea basado en las toneladas y hasta el 15 íbamos a estar llegando a ese 80% así de esa manera todos lo caneros que están en ceros íbamos a ver que ellos quiebren ese cero y si nos va a ayudar bastante a reducir la caña que ya está por quedarse en el campo.” Elvis Canul – Chair, CSCPA “Nuestra Asociación tiene registrado 91000 toneladas y esto nos ayuda, estos cinco días no ayuda aproximadamente 2000 toneladas más que íbamos a traer en la fábrica.” Cosme Hernandez – General Manager, PSCPA “Nosotros comenzamos con 979 miembros con una cantidad de 279000 toneladas de caña.” Dalila Ical – Reporter CTV3 “La zafra se iba a cerrar mañana, que tan significante iban hacer la perdidas y con esta extensión de cinco días como les ayuda?”

Mexican National Dissapears On Belizean Territory
Authorities in the north are investigating the bizarre disappearance of a Mexican farmer. According to a report made by 30 year old Luis Arturo Tapia, Mexican farmer of Ejido Pioneros Del Rio, Quintana Roo, Mexico, around 8:30p.m.on July 1st, his 27-year-old brother Carlos Tapia, Mexican farmer of the same address informed him that he was going on a hunting trip along with two other individuals namely Regino Garcia and Noe Garcia of the same village. About 11:30p.m. on the same night, Noe Garcia returned to Tapias residence and informed him that he along with Regino and Carlos Tapia had gone hunting in an area known as Pine Ridge which is on Belizean territory near the Belize/Mexico border at approximately 10 kilometers north of Tres Banderas monument. Garcia reports that while they were hunting in the area he heard several gun shots and he got afraid and fled the area. Luis Tapia further stated that the following day, upon noticing that his brother had not returned home, organized a search party and visited the area where Carlos Tapia had gone hunting and recovered 2 Aguila brand 20-guage cartridges and a black rechargeable flashlight which he recognized as his brother belongings. The items were found approximately 800 to 900 yards from the border in Belizean territory. The entire surrounding area was searched but Carlos was nowhere to be found. Up to the time that the report was made Carlos has not returned home.

More Cubans Detained For Illegal Entry
On Friday we reported that six Cubans along with a Belizean Driver were intercepted by Orange Walk police as they made their way on the Bypass in a blue Toyota Van. The six Cubans have been arraigned in court and charged for illegal entry by the Immigration Department. But there is more to this story. On Friday evening, based on intelligence police descended to the temporary Bus terminal on Dunn Street here in Orange Walk where they met 13 Cuban Nationals boarding the bus. Upon further checks, police detained the group of thirteen men and women on the basis that they could not provide any visitors permit. This afternoon all thirteen were arraigned including: 26 year old professor Eduardo Rodriguez, 27 year old technician Dilio Ochoa, 22 year old construction worker Geovannie Sanchez Obedo, 29 year old baker Yanzel Perrera, 28 year old teacher Erosuel Perrera, 32 year old housewife Yarisleidy Vega, 27 year old dirver Jorge Manuel Aries Guevarra, 30 year old security Jordan Ramos, 43 year old fisherman Jorge Rodriguez Moralez, 43 year old construction worker Marco Antonio Biltre, 32 year old pharmacist Eliel Espinoza Reyes and 22 year old fisherman Darrel Diaz Torres. They were all fined One thousand and five Belize dollars each; to be paid forthwith failure to comply will result in 6 months imprisonment. Immigration Department also requested through the court a removal order from the country, to be deported back to Cuba. It is of note that the Belizean driver in Friday’s incident has since been identified as Lucilo Mesh. He was charged for aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. Mesh met bail and was released.

Le'Mars Burglarized, Surveillance Camera Captures Burglary
Orange Walk police is seeking one male person in connection to a burglary that occurred at Le’Mars Emporium on Dunn Street in the wee hours of Saturday morning. We have been able to retrieve some surveillance footage which shows that around 1:40am, the opportunistic thief made his way inside the building by prying open the shutter and then breaking the store’s glass front door. The footage does not reveal the entire ordeal since the first thing on the criminal’s agenda was to cut the wires of the surveillance cameras. And that is when the camera captured the male person who was wearing a sweater type hoodie. Obviously the individual was in search of cash and he found some and of course helped himself to it, more than $600.00. He also made away with a stereo worth US$150.00. Employees made the discovery the following morning when they arrived to work and saw the glass door broken. We understand that the perpetrator cut himself as he pried open the shutter and left his hand prints on one of the walls of the store. Anyone that can assist the police with identifying the perpetrator is asked to call the Orange Walk Police Station.

Orange Walkeno Alledges Police Brutality
Tonight, there is another report of police abusing their authority and this time, the victim claims his innocence by filing for court action. According to Javier Patt, a resident of Tower Hill in Orange Walk, on Saturday he went to visit his aunt in the village of San Jose also located in Orange Walk. Patt alleges that went to purchase some flour from the local store when on his way, he was approached aggressively by the officer commanding the Douglas Village substation. The officer says Patt, ordered him to stand still and placed him under arrest. Patt alleges that the officer, who reeked of alcohol, came off his motorbike and insisted that he was the person who stole a bicycle from within the village. Patt says the entire ordeal has left him in physical pain since the officer fired a shot at him at close range to try to get him to confess. He came to our studios this morning and gave us an account on what he describes as unjust treatment. “You mussi di mistake me I told him and he say no, no, no and give me your hand and then he put handcuff on me and then he grab me from my throat in front of all the people who were by the street and then he was choking me and he was asking me where is the bike and I told him officer I did not take any bike please don’t hurt and then when he let me go he punched me hard and I dropped and all the people saw me there and then he told me well you no want to talk then I will make you talk right now he told me and then he called Orange Walk station that he is detaining me and that he is talking me to Douglas and he will lock me up because of thieving a bike and then he come and he pulled his gun and then he pointed the gun at my head and he told me that he could just kill me up like a dog and nobody will know he told me and then I told him well you could go ahead and kill me because I am with God and he know I did not do anything and I am innocent I told him."

LOVE FM

Belize prepares for regional Under 19 softball competition
Belize will be represented at the under nineteen junior softball championship which comes up July 3 to August 3 in El Salvador. Nelbert Flowers is the coach of the team. Nelbert Flowers, Coach “Well the ladies that are out here are from all over the country. We have about six from Cayo, ten from Belize […]

Belize Olympic Committee donates to Belize Athletics Association
The Belize Olympic Committee handed over equipment to the Belize Athletic Association today. Handing over the donation was the Vice President of the committee, Owen Meighan and receiving it was Deon Sutherland, the President of the Belize Athletic Association. Owen Meighan – Vice president, BOC “We have starting blocks, shot put, discusses, we’ve got javelins […]

Man shot while at Belize City Park
Belize City police are trying to figure out who shot 24 year old Jerome Smith. According to reports, just after ten o’clock last night, police responded to a shooting incident at Buttonwood Bay Park located at Corner Seashore Drive and Bay Street where they saw sitting on the top of the bleachers, bleeding. He reported […]

Changes at Police Eastern Division
There has been a shakeup of Eastern Division of the Police Department. Senior Superintendent Chester Williams shared the details with the media. Sr. Supt. Chester Williams “Eastern Division as we have traditionally know it to be, no longer exists. Eastern Division has now been divided into three divisions. We have Eastern Division south, Eastern Division […]

Youths organize candlelight vigil
Much has been said of the gun violence on the streets, especially in Belize City. A youth organization, Guide Light Productions, has organized a candlelight vigil to get more people, especially the youths involved in the fight against crime. Andrew Munnings is the Executive Director of Guide Light Productions. Andrew Munnings – Executive Director, Guide […]

Silk Grass villagers up in arms over water situation
Harry Arzu reporting… “Residents of Silk Grass village in the Stann Creek village are up in arms over an electricity bill amounting to over $5,000 that they say was incurred by their water board. They further complained during a meeting that was held on Sunday June 5th at their community center about low water pressure […]

Case against attorney for contempt goes before the court
In late May attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd was charged with contempt of court. Matura is the attorney for the grassroots organization, BYGEA in their fight against the Government of Belize, specifically the Ministry of Natural Resources. Both parties agreed to go to mediation, a confidential process, however Matura Shepherd was cited for comments she made […]

Mediation process over buffer zone at Harmonyville ends
The grassroots organization, BYGEA has been in court with the Government over the right to plant within the buffer area of Harmonyville. Both sides agreed to take the matter to mediation. That process concluded today. David Barnett an executive of BYGEA spoke with the media. David Barnett – Executive member, BYEA “Certain agreement we’ve come […]

No suspects in Friday night murder
Belize City Police are also investigating the murder of 22 year old David Steven Rivas of La Croix Boulevard. According to police reports, at about 10 o’clock on Friday night, they were called out to Roaches Street and when they arrived there they saw Rivas suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was shot to the […]

Body of elderly man retrieved from river
Early yesterday morning the body of 65-year-old Michael Emmerson Cain was found floating in the river on North Front Street in Belize City. According to Superintendent Hilberto Romero, Cain was seen with multiple wounds to the forehead and chin. Superintendent Hilberto Romero – Head, Criminal Investigations Branch “On Sunday the 5th day of July around […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

We Hear Your Pain
Why so many parents are failing and it is a direct contributing factor as to why our evening news is plastered with the destruction of our most valuable resource, ever – young, strong, healthy adults who ought to be building Belize – however, instead, they are destroying each […]

BGYEA completes Harmonyville mediation process with Government; attorney charged with breaching confidentiality of process
Back in February, the government of Belize and the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association, headed by President Nigel Petillo, reached agreement by mediation on a majority of issues concerning their case in the Supreme Court. The government had sued to stop the implementation of a planned project in […]

Media colleagues remember Kareem Clarke; police clueless
Belize City police continue to investigate the senseless murder of 27 year old Amandala journalist Kareem Clarke, who was shot to death around 1:00 this morning while riding his bicycle toward the Vernon Street/Lakeview Canal bridge. Supt. Hilberto Romero of Eastern Division says they have neither motive nor […]

Police reorganize Eastern Division
On the heels of a triple murder weekend in Belize City, the Police Department this afternoon announced an already planned reorganization of the entire Eastern Division which essentially is all of the Belize District. It involves a return to command for a former star of City policing that […]

Murder at Village Kitchen Restaurant
Over the weekend, the lifeless body of 65 year old Michael Emmerson Cain, a Belize City resident of 13 Water Lane was found floating along the river bank behind Village Kitchen Restaurant on North Front Street in Belize City. According to authorities, they were called to the restaurant at around 5:15 […]

Intoxicated Guatemalan man chops his whole family with a machete
San Ignacio police visited a residence in the Camino del Rio area around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 5th, where they saw 24 year old Guatemalan National, David Coc suffering from a large chop wound to the head. Initial investigation revealed that Coc, while under the influence of alcohol physically […]

Accident on Phillip Goldson Highway lands several in the emergency room
A traffic accident between miles 81 and 82 on the Phillip Goldson Highway on Sunday, July 5th, injured five persons and left another in critical condition. The incident occurred around 8:06 p.m when a Silver tracker being driven by 37 year old San Jose Village resident, Lilian Judith Flores, ran […]

Opposition declares political war with UDP
The People’s United Party held its quarterly National Party Council Meeting in Dangriga on Saturday, July 4th, where two resolutions were ratified: No to the International Court of Justice and supporting the Cervantes family in bringing justice for Don Ramon Cervantes Sr. Another major item on the agenda […]

Mainly fair conditions to prevail over the country
Weather conditions for the Country over the next few days are expected to remain fair. The National Meteorological Service of Belize predicts sunny skies with cloudy spells today and partly cloudy skies tonight. Thunderstorms or showers will be isolated. For the remainder of the week, current weather conditions are expected […]

New closing date for the Sugar Cane Crop season 2014-2015
There’s good news for cane farmers up in the north. This morning Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Gaspar Vega announced on a press briefing that the Sugar cane crop season for 2014 – 2015 will be extended one more week. New closing date is […]

Blogs

The what makes the best kind of party?
The best kind of party is one that is fun, entertaining and has people talking about it long after it is done. The 1st annual 4th of July party at Caribbean Villas is definitely going to be one of those parties. Leave it to a Brit in Belize to bring on the best fireworks for the biggest U.S. 4th of July party. Earlier in the day I had texted Paul to see when the fireworks were due to go on, and he replied 7:30. A few of us at the party us knew they would end up on Belize time. We were jokingly comparing the 3 different times everyone had heard and that the reason for delay was they had to locate the barge captain. It was totally worth waiting for and, for many the show will be an unforgettable fireworks on the beach experience. Several people I spoke to the next day said the fireworks rivaled anything they would have seen if they were back home doing a Stateside 4th party. That is one thing about Pedro; he is a go big or go home kind of guy and this time “all in” meant traveling to Guatemala to get the wow factor.

The West or Leeward Side of Ambergris Caye…It’s Just Heaven
Let me give you a sense of perspective. We have Ambergris Caye, the largest caye in Belize, at 26 miles in length. We have the amazing glorious barrier reef along the east side. You can see the break on the reef below right off shore San Pedro town. We have San Pedro town at the southern end of the island. One the west side, the water is shallow and clear and dotted with large and small cayes. Many of which have shallow sandbars at their southern ends. We also have Blackadore Caye – or “Leonardo DiCaprio’s Caye” – that is already being surveyed for an amazing/over-the-top project. ‘The main focus is to do something that will change the world,’ said the Titanic actor. Can you set expectations any higher? Sigh…

Cheap Flights to Belize City from various US States!Other cheap airfare deals to Belize: $342 RT DALLAS(DFW) to BELIZE CITY(BZE) ON DELTA AIRLINES TRAVEL STARTING Mon, July 20, 2015 TRAVEL ENDING Thu, July 23, 2015 $465 RT CHARLOTTE(CLT) to BELIZE CITY(BZE) ON DELTA AIRLINES TRAVEL STARTING Sun, July 12, 2015 TRAVEL ENDING Mon, July 20, 2015
Fly nonstop from Houston to Belize City for $301 round-trip on Southwest. Date of travel: Sunday, October 18, returning from BZE on the following Sunday, October 25. Other dates are also available for travel from October 17 through March 7.

International Sourcesizz

KAMIKAZE CLOUDSEEDING
“The Oceanmaker,” a short animated film, brings hope to a world without rain. Imagine a world without rain, where lighthouses and ships sit atop sand dunes, where cloud pirates steal every droplet before it gets a chance to fall. This is the world that Austin-based filmmaker Lucas Martell and his fellow animators bring to life in The OceanMaker, a riveting 10-minute short released on Earth Day but screening later this month at the Belize International Film Festival. (I suggest watching it for free right here and right now.) The film mixes the excitement of World War I dogfights with Mad Max–esque aircraft towing bizarre water-robbing machines. There is one fighter pilot, however, who wants the rain to fall for all—and she is our hero. Her land is a fictional one, but as climate change exacerbates extreme weather patterns around the world, water wars are sure to get just as intense—though, they’ll hardly be as beautiful. In The OceanMaker, dramatic visual effects combine with an orchestral score that will keep you at the edge of your seat (or office chair).

What To Know Before Your First Visit To Central America
Central America: This bridge of land that connects Mexico and South America might appear tiny, but it’s jam-packed with rich cultures and exciting adventures. And with the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Pacific on the other, and ample jungle, volcanoes, valleys, and lakes in between, this slender slither of countries is a nature lover’s dream come true. If you’ve never traveled to Central America before, the stories can be intimidating. Though it’s a favorite spot for luxury travelers, family travelers, backpackers, solo female travelers, and everyone in between, many still recount tales of being robbed or feeling unsafe. But with a bit of planning and local knowledge, a visit to Central America can be the trip of a lifetime. Central America is made up of seven countries, including Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Each country has different cultures, different histories, different levels of commercialization, and different safety rates. For example, Costa Rica has had no standing army for over 65 years while, in contrast, Guatemala has endured Central America’s longest civil for 36 years.

Face of Defense: Army Nurse Sails High Seas on USNS Comfort
Even in the middle of the ocean, the ‘spirit of jointness’ is alive,” Army Capt. Rory Walton wrote from the high seas of the Caribbean. The operating room nurse assigned to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is one of 43 Walter Reed staffers aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort, deployed for the Continuing Promise 2015 humanitarian mission to Central America, the Caribbean and South America. The mission is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment focused on civil-military operations. It includes providing medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support, along with disaster response preparation, to partner nations.

Yucatán, USA?
“Surprising History in Yucatán” — Introduction to the Series. Justo Sierra O’Reilly found Washington a surprisingly unimpressive city, too small and “low class” to be the capital of a wealthy and powerful nation. The President’s residence was a modest house where anyone could go to the door, ring the bell, and be admitted. It was November 1847, and Sierra spent the next six months knocking on a lot of Washington’s doors. His work almost made Yucatán part of the United States. The governor of the independent Republic of Yucatán had dispatched Sierra as its special “commissioner and agent.” The United States and Mexico were at war, and although Yucatán had declared itself a nonbelligerent, the U.S. Navy was occupying the important seaport of Carmen and pocketing badly needed tariffs. Sierra’s assignment was to win relief from the trade restrictions.

Videos

  • Landing in Belize City, 1.5min.

  • Belize 2015, 8min.

  • LaQua Plantations 3 Year Video Review, 6min. Enjoy a 5 minute video review of hard work, passion, energy and finances coming together to build and grow paradise in Belize!

  • Belize Scuba Diving 2015, 3min. April 2015 scuba diving in the Belize Barrier Reef.... Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Blue Hole, Half Moon Wall, and The Aquarium. Video compiled by RiffReel.

  • VACATION VLOG!!!! Cozumel, Belize, and mahogany Bay Cruise!!!, 7min. We went on a cruise ship to the ports of Coumel, Belize, and Mahogany Bay and had a BLAST!!! I wasen't able to film my experience of swimming with dolphins and snorkling but I did that aswell!!

  • BELIZE MEDIA REMEMBERS JOURNALIST KAREEM CLARK, 8min.

  • Diving Belize, 4min. Diving in Belize, April 2015 - Silk Cayes, Half Moon Caye and the Great Blue Hole. We did try for the whale sharks at Gladden Spit, but they didn't show up that day :-(

  • Beautiful Belize City BZE Landing - Delta Flight 703 from Atlanta, 3min. Delta Flight 703 from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport ATL and landing at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City BZE on a beautiful Wednesday morning (June 17, 2015). Recorded on an iphone 6.

  • Ambergris Caye Belize 2015, 6min. This video takes place in Ambergris Caye Belize and the Belizean Jungle. On our trip we explored the island on golf carts, went fishing, snorkeling (highly recommend snorkeling at Mexico Rocks & Shark Ray Alley), and Hungout at casa Amarillo (very cute place). We also flew to the jungle and went cave tubing and went to the ATM cave (highlight of the trip).

  • Belize 2015, 5min.

  • Belizean Honeymoon 2013, 11min.

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