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#510131 - 12/23/15 11:56 AM Today's Belize News: December 23, 2015
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Specials and Events

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


The San Pedro Sun

Belize’s Hyperbaric Chamber: Providing International standards of treatment on Ambergris Caye
Belize tourism industry continues to flourish, with most visitors engaged in recreational diving and snorkeling activities in our tropical waters. In San Pedro Ambergris Caye, the Sub-aquatics of Belize Limited has been offering hyperbaric medical treatment to the country’s visiting and diving community for over 25 years. At an appreciation Christmas dinner held at Elvis Kitchen restaurant on Monday, December 14th, the San Pedro Hyperbaric Chamber’s CEO Mauricio Moreno spoke to The San Pedro Sun about the origins and services of the ‘Recompression Chamber Network’ on the island, as well as praised the works of his invaluable staff. The chamber is a member of the 12 Sub-Aquatic Safety Service (SSS) Network which has similar facilities in every continent. Some of these places include Mexico, Africa, Ecuador, USA, Bahamas and even Thailand. This attests to the facility’s high standards and experience in hyperbaric medicine. The idea of having a Hyperbaric Chamber Clinic on the island came after Belize became a potential diving destination.

Belize shaken after an earthquake in Chiapas, Mexico
Here in Belize, residents from the Belize and Cayo districts report to have felt the strongest tremor. In an interview with Channel 5 News, Belize National Metrological Service Forecaster, Francisca Wellington explained more on the occurrence. “We have a program here at the met service that as soon as there is an earthquake, it’s registered. It pops up on our screen and it’s able to tell us the exact location of the epicenter, the magnitude of the earthquake and how far it was from Belize,” said Wellington. She also explained why these distant tremors are felt in Belize. ““What we feel are the tremors from the epicenters of earthquakes that happen close to us; for example in regions such as Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras and in the Caribbean as well. So we wouldn’t feel the direct impact of an earthquake, but we will feel the tremors. If the epicenter is close enough to Belize, it will feel very strong, intimidating and even frightening.”

2015 Holiday Lighted Boat Parade Decorates our Caribbean Coast
Taking the first place prize was Captain Rick Sutherland of ‘Miss Zetti’, sponsored by Ramon’s Village Resort. Taking second place was Captain Wayne McRae of ‘Way-Lin-Eh sponsored by Coco Loco’s and Caye Coffee, while third place went to Captain Ben Popik of ‘Mojo Rising’ sponsored by Palapa Tours and Truck Stop. An award was also given to Best Small Boat which went to Captain Erik Henkis of ‘Uprising’ sponsored by The Phoenix. Honorable mentions also went out to ACES Charity Boat ‘Miss Ness’ sponsored by 12 Belize and Belize Diving Adventures, Captain Ben Robinson of ‘Baby Boy’ sponsored by Marbucks and Palapa Tours, Captain Jose Luis Zapata of ‘Gaven’ sponsored by Jose Luis Zapata Studios and Captain Kevin Smith of ‘YOLO’ sponsored by Kevin and Heather Smith.

BAHA not allowing Guyanese Rice into Belizean Market
In early December 2015, business man Jack Charles (Jitendra Chawla) announced that he would be importing Guyanese rice into the Belizean market. This imported rice would be relatively cheaper than the local rice grown in Belize and as such cause much controversy with industry partners. While the Government of Belize (GOB) and Belizean rice growers expressed disapproval on the importation of rice, Charles still proceeded with the process. On Thursday, December 17th, 75 tons of Guyanese rice belonging to Charles arrived at the Big Creek Port in Independence Village, Stann Creek District. However, Charles was unable to receive it as the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) denied clearance for the release of the three containers of rice. With his product on hold and no confirmation whether GOB will the allow importation of the Guyanese rice, Charles is anything but happy. He claims that he understands GOB’s concerns on the importation, but his intentions are not to damage the rice growers. “My objective is to import only 20% of the total rice consumed in the country… [I] certainly don’t have any interest in creating an import monopoly… This will give consumers a choice on the shelf and easier access for this basic grain and will also serve as a check and balance on the price of rice in the local market,” said Charles in a release. His intentions are to offer consumers Grade A (premium quality rice) rice at around $0.69 per pound.

Adopt a bear brings Christmas joy to island children
176 children of San Pedro Ambergris Caye will have their wish list come true on this festive Christmas season. This will be possible thanks to the ‘Adopt a Bear’ project created by a group of individuals on the island set to ensure that the island’s less fortunate children receive a gift from Santa! The project gives the opportunity to anyone to give a Christmas present to one child who may otherwise not receive one. The project was a tremendous success, and well over a hundred children represented by the adopted bears received their gifts on the morning of Wednesday, December 23rd from 9AM to 1PM at the Lions Den. Following the distribution of gifts, the children were treated to a hearty lunch.

Ambergris Today

Christmas Lights at Sea Brighten San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade
Ramon’s Village brought it’s A-Game to the 9th Annual San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade with an brilliant show of lights that had Santa Claus riding his sleigh filled with Christmas Trees, a parrot, shark, dive flag and two giant pineapples being pulled by sea turtles. The top boat of the evening dazzled onlookers with its show of color and cheer. After being picked up by a new committee of volunteers headed by Dee Regis Vasquez of Wayo’s Beach Bar & Aqua Vista Beachfront Suites and Britney O’Daniel of Sandbar Beachfront Hostel & Restaurant the Holiday Boat Parade was back in action after it was cancelled for 2015. The new team rushed to find sponsors and made a great effort in gathering participants for the parade. On parade day, Monday, December 21, 2015, fifteen boats lined up for the fun and hundreds of residents and visitors crammed onto piers, beach areas and viewing stations to enjoy the spectacle of lights on the water. There was a crab chasing an angel, Santa riding a train, Christmas trees, a giant truck and plenty hundreds more lights that decorated the evening shoreline. The San Pedro Holiday boat parade was deemed an even bigger success this year.

Ambergris Caye Boasts Unique Holiday Boat Parade
It has become a yearly attraction in Ambergris Caye, Belize, the San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade, now in its ninth year is an impressive show of talent, lights, creativity and holiday cheer! Visitors from abroad are now booking their vacations around the lighted boat parade celebrations that highlight the season’s celebrations in Belize. Businesses, private boats and charity/non-profit organizations run wild with their imaginations and strings of lights to create masterpieces that shine bright and cheerful at sea. The Holiday Boat Parade is one of its kind in the region and is promising to attract even more participants from neighboring countries. A panel of judges set up their viewing station at the end of a dock and prepare for the parade of lights that brighten up the town. Spectators gather along the docks, Central Park and various viewing stations at establishments who prepare for the grand event.

Another Successful Fashion Show for Boxes of Joy
It was a full house at the Angel Nuñez Auditorim on Friday, December 18, 2015 for the annual Boxes of Joy fashion show; themed "The Future is Gold". The show kicked off with a beautiful christmas introduction skit by Vellie Del Valle leading to the commencement of the cutest children strutting down the runway wearing the latest trends for the holidays. Founder of Boxes of Joy Shantel Pascasio and Francisco Mendez mentioned that this was indeed another successful show and are even happier because they have broken their record of 800 gifts and can now provide many more toys to the children this christmas. Mrs. Pascasio also mentioned that she had some extra gifts which she gave to the Cornerstone Foundation in San Ignacio. Huge Thanks to thank Leo's for helping out during the show and Salinas Family for donating $800 worth of toys.

No Foul Play Suspected in Discovery of Dead Body in San Pedro
The San Pedro Police Department does not suspect any foul play in the discovery of a dead body found at the south entrance of the San Pablo Area about 1.5 miles south of San Pedro Town, today Tuesday, December 22, 2015. The body of 72-year-old Elijio Lino, was discovered today after a foul smell was noticed coming from a property just behind Ambergris Lake Villas. Police suspect that Lino died of natural causes and the body will be inspected by medical officers on the island before it will be buried, due to the advanced state of decomposition. Passersby and residents of the area immediately expressed their sympathy for the senior citizen who could be seen sitting by the side of the road daily.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Passing of Mrs. Manuela Guerrero
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Guerrero family & friends on the passing of Mrs. Manuela Guerrero. There was a wake, Tuesday, December 22, at her residence in the evening. Funeral services will be today, December 23 - time is yet to be confirmed.

Holiday hours for San Pedro Town Council
The San Pedro Town Council offices will be closing on: -Thursday, December 24, 2015 at 12:00 noon, and resuming to regular working hours on Monday, December 28, 2015. -Thursday, December 31, 2015 at 12:00 noon, and resuming to regular working hours on Monday, January 4, 2016. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

New years eve Caye Caulker (West Bay Beach club)

A Politically Correct Christmas Poem..
Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck... How to live in a world that's politically correct? His workers no longer would answer to "Elves", "Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves. And labor conditions at the North Pole, were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul. Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety, released to the wilds, by the Humane Society. And equal employment had made it quite clear, that Santa had better not use just reindeer. So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid, were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

Safeguarding the Living Heritage of Belize, Jamaica and T&T
This booklet was prepared by the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, and provides the highlights of a three year project for safeguarding living heritage realised in Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago through the support of the UNESCO/JAPAN Funds-in-Trust.

11 year old Aidan Peterson fundraises for FCD
FCD is honoured and grateful to 11 year old Aidan Peterson of Seven Arrows Elementary School of Los Angeles who conducted a fundraising drive to help protect wildlife of Chiquibul. At your young age, Aidan – you are already a Champion of the Chiquibul. We are proud of You!!!

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT: Communications Coordinator, WCS Belize Program
Position Title: Communications Coordinator Status: Full-time Reports To: WCS Belize Program, Assistant Country Director Office: WCS Belize Program, Belize City, Belize The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a non-profit organization, saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. The WCS Belize Program is seeking to recruit a suitable individual to fill the position of Communications Coordinator. The Communications Coordinator will be responsible for the day-to-day coordination of the communications component of this program. S/he will serve as the primary communications focal point for collaboration with NGO, creative teams, and government agency partners. The communications component aims to raise awareness about key conservation issues and inspire target audiences to engage in conservation action in Belize and the region. In particular, this position will support the implementation of a Belize Replenishment Zones Expansion Communications and Outreach Strategy, which includes the design, production, and distribution of an Entertainment-Education radio drama, and community engagement activities and campaigns.

The Museum of Belize (NICH) donates to the Krem Christmas Toy Drive 2015!
Yesterday the Museum of Belize (NICH) was able to spread some Christmas Cheer with a donation of a box of toys to the KREM FM 96.5, 91.1, 101.1, Krem Television Christmas Toy Drive 2015. We were proud to be a part of this eight (8) year strong initiative in giving back to the kids within the community.

Wanted. Full time cook. Habaneros on Caye Caulker
Some experience is a plus but we train in house. Preference given to applicants from Caye Caulker. Non-Legal Residents will not even be considered. Start date this week. Wage dependent on previous experience but will be a live able wage regardless. Call Darren at 626-4911 between noon and midnight or stop by the restaurant before 6:00pm and after 9:00pm.

International Costa Maya Festival sets dates for 2016
August 4.5.6 2016

AUCD
By: Abdulmajeed K. Nunez. What is a Belizean artist worth? Who is ensuring that they are getting what they are worth? Imagine NICH does not even have pension fund! What about a Sagicore pay in plan? What is stopping a Quasi Government Organization to set an employee trust found? Imagine the premier arts institution without a pension found Is this is the faith or our artisans? Will they all die like paupers like Mr. Peters and the Boom and Shine Band? In case an artist wants to premier their work? Yes there is the option of the Belisle Gallery How will NICH promote feature stage opportunities for youth to perform? How do they promote new writers without having the platform? Youth have access to the Youth Department to record a song They will still need physical personnel to help turn it into a production Where will they get the jump start capital to do their personal project? To tell artist all the need to have is the drive Is clearly not enough in this business for them to thrive? They are handicapped from the get go, it’s just a feel good

Education USA Reference Center
Come visit the Education USA Reference Center at the Leo Bradley Library Princess Margaret Drive, Belize City. With out book collection that can help you prepare for your SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE etc. Practice makes perfect and the Education USA Reference Center in Belize City has all the study resources you need to get into the school of your choice in the United States!!!

Channel 7

Port CEO Says Stevedores Not The "Small Man", Not Moneywise At Least
On Friday, government amended the labour law making it so that stevedoring is now an essential service. That means that under the law they can no longer spontaneously strike like they did a few weeks ago - crippling the Port of Belize in the process. Yesterday, the Christian Workers Union lashed out at GOB - saying it had sided with the big money interests against the small stevedores - especially notable since many of those stevedores are UDP supporters from their southside strongholds. President of the CWU Audrey Matura Shepherd said her members had gotten, quote, "a royal Christmas bukkut." Well, not surprisingly, the Port of Belize had a very different take on that today. Port CEO Arturo Tux Vasquez said Matura went too far, and he responded today by going further than he's ever gone before: he told us how much stevedores make annually - and suggested that there's no reason they should be complaining:... "To be honest I actually had to sit and take notes, looking at the news to make sure that I cover everything because I think that perhaps this time the interviews have gone too far. I go to a quotation she said about poor workers with less benefits. On an average a stevedore works around 40-70 days for the year and earns approximately an average of $35,000 per annum.

CWU President Says First Caribbean Showing (More) Bad Faith
Yesterday the CIBC First Caribbean International Bank sent out a release announcing that as of January 29th , 2016, it would be "hasta la vista, Belize!" As of that date, Heritage Bank would take control of all their assets - but there's no such guarantee for staff. And so, the Christian Worker's Union, who represents over 60 of the employees of First Caribbean is not at all pleased. Months of back and forth between both sides could not settle their labour differences, principally for an exit package deal for the 60-odd workers. That matter is still pending but FCIB is already singing sayonara. Today, CWU President Audrey Matura Shepherd told us that this is yet another show of bad faith on the part of the bank. "What happened is that strangely despite the bank not having any dialogue with us, they were insisting to have a meeting and we were unable to attend that meeting before, because we are completing negotiations with other entities. So the Mr. Smith from the bank insisted that if he could only visit the office to talk to Mr. Neal which he did yesterday. The reason that was important for them to have done is because the legislation and the CBA clearly said that whatever decision that will affect the workers, they had to first inform the bank, then they could implement it.

BUS ACCIDENT...
Two Ladyville buses collided head on at the southern foot of the Haulover Bridge this morning. It happened at around 7:30 am - the height of the rush hour - causing a major traffic jam stretching for miles. Sometime after 8:00 this morning a Haylock Bus rammed into the back of a Ramos Bus. The always forthcoming Bert Ramos, the owner of Ramos Bus Company, told us what happened. Bert Ramos, Owner - Ramos Bus Company "Actually what happened I was coming from Belize City and I had 4 passengers in my bus going up and while on the approach of the bridge one of those big trucks that have a long trailer was coming from the opposite side of the bridge, but it give the space. So I already see that it wasn't giving the space. So I just stop to let it pass because I didn't want it to break my mirror because my bus is new. I just got this bus about a month and change ago. I decide to stop to give the truck way to pass and couple seconds I feel bang in back of my bus. That is all what went on."

Can There Be a Dual Rice Price Regime?
Right now is day number 6 for Belize City importer Jack Charles. He continues to wait for the Government authorities to give him written reasons as to why it has seized 3 containers of Guyanese rice at the Port of Big Creek. The Government has stated clearly that it will not allow him to sell his Guyanese Rice in Belize because it will threaten the local rice producing industry. But, Charles is undeterred. He says this is just a setback and continues to advertise his 69 cent rice as "coming soon". He's asking for a dual price regime: one for his Guaynese Rice which will only take up 20% of the local market - and keep the producers honets, and another regime for locally produced rice. Here's what Jack Charles and the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture both had to say on that issue: Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture "What will happen right now is that we have an importer who is saying that he will voluntarily restrict his imports to 20% and I have yet to see one operating that way - that fashion in Belize. And secondly that he can only guarantee the price for two years. Now that says to me that what we may very well have here in addition to the subsidies issue is a question of dumping."

Bill Collector Claims Robbery, Cops Say Scam
A woman claiming she was the victim of an aggravated robbery is today facing charges for theft and allegedly deceiving authorities. According to Police, 45 year old Sharon Burgess of Neal's Pen Road Belize City, a collector for Channel Broadcasting Cable, reported that she was robbed of almost four thousand dollars by two dark skinned young men. She claimed that one of the men showed her an ice pick and demanded money, which she claims she handed over. But, there were inconsistencies in her story, and police didn't buy it. CIB personnel concluded that the report was false. As a result Sharon Burgess was today arrested and charged for theft and mischievous act. Burgess has reported being robbed before.

A Soldier and A Lawyer
This morning, the court room of Justice Courtney Abel was crowded with Belize Defence Force Soldiers. They were there with their commander, General David Jones, to see one of their own, Lt. Lionel Olivera, take the oath of a practicing attorney in Belize. Olivera is the first soldier in the BDF's history to become a trained attorney at law, and after the ceremony, we spoke to him about this important milestone in his carrier: Lt. Lionel Olivera, Esq. First Soldier Called to the Bar "In the practice of law as an attorney at law and according to the best of my knowledge, skill and ability in accordance with the laws of Belize so help me God." "Today for me is an overwhelming experience. A very prideful day of course. I am humbled by it. It's a 5 year journey that has finally ended. I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Initially the reason why I actually decide to go and study law was because we had an incident in the Belize Defence Force where one of our soldiers had shot someone and he ended up was charged by the court by manslaughter. And I believe that the BDF could have done more in terms of assisting him. So that struck a chord in me and I said why we didn't do much more. So I decided I will send in my application and I was successful at that and here I am now."

Can BDF Keep Up With Cops?
So, while the BDF gets its first trained attorney, does it have enough frontline soldiers? The police recently passed the two thousand mark - so what about the BDF. The commander told us that a strategic defense review is being conducted which will determine how many more personnel and assets will be needed for the next 10 years: Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander - BDF "We are currently working on a strategic defense review for the force. Which means that we are looking at the BDF in the next 10 years ahead. We are discussing all the issues that the force is required to conduct which includes the retention and security and control of what is happening along the border, which means we going to have to look at the man power, the strength, the resources, the equipment and the size that the force needs to grow. So all that is being taken into consideration and it is being done now, should conclude before the middle of next year and that document will entailed all the necessary resources, equipment and the size that the BDF will grow. It is intended for the BDF to grow and that final number will be decided after the review is done."

Are Independent Operators Being Crowded Out At FSTV?
Last night we told you about the concerns of the independent tour operators at Fort Street Tourism Village. Now, this is certainly not the first time we've heard discontent around and about the Fort Street Tourism Village. Earlier this year the freelance tour operators outside the gates were complaining that they are not getting a fair share of the business and that the system is set up to deliberately cut them out of the picture. Well, the independent tour operators on the inside - are the ones now saying that management is trying to run them out of business through various strategies, including increasing their passenger insurance requirement. Our reports say that now the FSTV Management is requiring a major increase in insurance coverage for passengers; from two hundred thousand per guest, to 2 million! That would send insurance premiums through the roof - and that kind of insurance police would have to be purchased from international vendors in US dollars - it's not available locally. Today, the BTB's Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives Valdemar Andrade told us he is not aware of any insurance increase and that the BTB wouldn't implement of approve any regulation that would alienate these operators.

Harvest Caye: Not Gonn' Be Ready
February 16th 2016: That was when the 100 million dollar Harvest Caye Project was to be completed, but today Andrade told us that they are off schedule and he isn't sure when it will be completed. Still, Andrade gave us an update as to where the project is right now and how the operations will be set up when it is finished. Valdemar Andrade - Director, Destination Planning & Cruise, BTB "The southern cruise port at Harvest Caye basically at this time from my knowledge is that it will be delayed. I don't know the exact timing of it. What I do know is that they have informed me that they will have a press release soon to know the exact timing of what that will be. It was scheduled to officially be opened on February 2016. But it will be delayed." Reporter "Did they give you reasons as to why the delay?" Valdemar Andrade - Director, Destination Planning & Cruise, BTB "Not as yet. I don't have any reasons as to why the delay. Basically as soon as we know that, we will inform you. The tour that we had was to look at where it was in terms of timing, in terms of what's on there, especially and from what we see they are following the guidelines to what we know. In terms of the environmental guidelines, you would have to ask the department of the environment to speak with respect to those. But from our perspective it is coming along well and we are now expecting what that date will be so that when the southern cruise port will be open."

Stake That To The Bank
The Stake Bank Project: as we reported in October, the legal battle between the Feinstein Group, the Government, and the Fort Street Tourism Village is over - and Feinstein won - which should put Stake Bank on the fast track. Except we haven't heard much new about the project and so we asked Andrade about it today and he told us they are in dire need of this docking facility - which is somewhere on the event horizon: Valdemar Andrade - Director, Destination Planning & Cruise, BTB "As far as I know there is no closure and I don't know the exact state of play of Stake Bank until all the relevant documents and everything are in place then I will be able to say where Stake Bank is going. That docking facility is needed as I've always say and I continue to say. There is definitely a need for a docking facility, because of the size of the ships that are coming in the future. The way the cruise industry is moving, we do have a need for Belize to have a docking facility to be able to go to oasis class ships or beyond oasis class ships and so I would say that there is a need and even an urgency at this time to ensure that we have a port in place."

City Teenager Caught Coming From Benque With Gun
Last night we told you about the prohibited firearm that was confiscated at the Belize-Guatemala border. It's a .45 handgun, banned in several countries including Belize, because it is so deadly. Police in Benque Viejo have since arrested and charged 19 year old Kyle Carter for the possession of this illegal weapon. We spoke to Superintendent Daniel Arzu via telephone today who gave us the full story. "Sometime around 3pm on Sunday 20th December, officers who were assigned at the Belize Western Border observed 3 male persons entering the entry point for the customs area from Guatemala. Those were 3 dark male persons. They seemed to be acting quite suspiciously and one of them took out an object and threw it out a window. Police went to the immediate area where the item was thrown and while going around the building, a male person also from the 3 was also going to the exact area and upon seeing the police the person remained at where he was and the officer retrieved the items thrown which revealed to be a .45 pistol."

Another Blow For Faith Nazarene
It's been a tough year for Faith Nazarene Primary School in San Ignacio. The school year started late because teachers and parents were in open rebellion against the Principals - and now, someone made it even worse by raiding the school and stealing all their high tech gadgets. On Monday night, someone burglarized Faith Nazarene by breaking in through the door of the principal's office. That's where they scooped up 27 Galaxy tablets and 2 speakers. It's a terrible loss to the school according to General Manager Raymond Shepherd. The tablets, which were donated by the rotary club from Tabasco Canada a few years ago, were used by the students daily during computer classes. No one has been arrested for the burglary but we understand that one suspect is being sought. And it's not the first time; earlier this year, around the summer break, the school was burglarized and that's when the first set of tablets were stolen. Then, not more than two months ago they broke into the principal's office again and stole her laptop. These successive cases of theft, have led the school management to conclude that the perpetrators know the school very well.

Unexpected Christmas Come-Up For Commuters
If you had a hundred dollars extra this Christmas week - what would you do with it? That's what 20 bus commuters heading past Airport Junction have the luxury of thinking about tonight - after Ladyville police gave them a blue note. But they had to earn it! Not by doing hard labour - but by getting "punked" by the Commander of Eastern Division Rural, Edward Broaster. In the media, we know well enough that Senior Superintendent Broaster has a flair for the dramatic, but today he gave it a comical twist . We'll let Daniel Ortiz describe what happened: In total, Ladyville police gave away $2,000 dollars cash.

Diverse Christmas Party
The young, the old, and the differently abled, were hosted at a two hour Christmas party held today at the Mental Health Welcome Center in Belize City. The event was hosted by the Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities and it catered to 150 people. This event is one of the many initiatives being headed by the new board of BAPDA since being elected into office in November earlier this year. Eva Middleton one of the volunteer managers spoke to us about the importance of hosting such an event. One of the primary projects on their agenda for next year according to Marin is to increase their lobbying efforts to get the government to pass more stringent laws to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Capital Cops Caught Sensaemilla Santa
Today Belmopan Police took 55 pounds of weed off the street. This morning at around 8;30 police stopped Santa Elena resident Walter Hans Rodriguez in Belmopan near the new roundabout. He was in a white Toyota Corolla car and as soon as he saw the police approaching his car he tried to make a run for it but, police quickly caught him. Police suspect Rodriguez got the drugs from Arenal and was heading to Belize City. Rodriguez was charged with drug trafficking and his case was adjourned until January 29th.

Belize's First 4g LTE
4g LTE is here - that's what SMART announced today. The phone company says it has rolled out the Service in Belize City today. Over the next few days it will be activated in the other districts, then San Pedro and Caye Caulker. According to a SMART Press Release, the Company has invested over $9 million Belize dollars in the service.

Woodrow West Is Home
Last night we told you about Woodrow West - whose Honduran team El Progreso won the top league championship in that country on Saturday. The team was established in 1965 and it's the first time they've won it - and Woodrow was their only international player - so, it's not far fetched to say that as the main man in the goal - West was a big part of the success. He came home today - fresh off a victory party last night in Progreso, Honduras. He told us he's happy to be home for Christmas: Woodrow West: "Thank God that I am back home for the Christmas and I am safe, healthy and strong. It has been a hard challenge for me. The good part about it is that I was crown champion and that's a lot of pressure off me. The fans in Progresso expected that and they are so happy and that made me contended that I know I did a good over there and my team, my coach, everybody is contented and my fans here in Belize as well. That makes me feel good with all the sacrifices that I've made and with all the years that I have been playing here, I have achieved something internationality now." Reporter: "From the ideas that you had, at that moment that you were leaving. How did they compare to what you saw on the real grounds?" Woodrow West: "Like I said it's a challenge, because the training especially is different. For couple of months I took a lot of licks physically. I actually almost gave up and come back home, but I stood it out and as the days went by I eventually got stronger and stronger and I enjoyed the training and stuff and I got to know my teammates more, I get to talk to them more and after that I got settled with the team and from there I took off."

BTB Says IT's OK Steve
He made one of the biggest mistakes in…the universe, but, today, the Belize Tourism Board sent out a tweet inviting him to come and host Costa Maya 2015. The BTB' tweet says "Dear @IAMSteveHarvey, we all make mistakes. You handled yours with class. Would you host our next pageant? @costamayafest?" The cleaver tweet has picked up traction in the real media and has been picked up by many news outlets in the US and England. As host of the Miss Universe on Sunday night, Harvey now famously flubbed the winner's name - and gave the crown instead to the first runner up.

Channel 5

Owner of Mystery Plane at Municipal Airstrip Comes Forward
An American has come forward to claim the mystery plane which landed at the Municipal Airstrip on October twenty-seventh and was abandoned there. The plane is a US registered Piper [...]

…But Where is the Pilot, Mr. Clapman?
Police had reported, based on the findings of a very preliminary investigation right after the aircraft landed, a flight plan had been filed. That plan had the Piper Seneca routed [...]

Belize’s First Military Attorney Joins the Bar
The courtroom of Justice Courtenay Abel was overflowing this morning for a special ceremony. The occasion marked the admission to the bar of the first B.D.F. soldier. The proud moment [...]

Strategic Review of B.D.F. Recruitment Underway
Is there a growing disparity in the recent number of police and B.D.F. intakes?  It would seem as though there are presently more recruits enlisting in the police department than [...]

Are You Better Off This Christmas Than Last Year?
And tonight’s question is: Are you better off this Christmas than you were last year? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote [...]

Tux Fires Back at Audrey about Stevedores Benefits
On Monday, CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd came out swinging in the wake of an amendment to the Essential Services Act.  The revised legislation now includes stevedoring as part of services [...]

CIBC to Close Doors in January, No Word of Exit Package for Staffers
Negotiations between the Christian Workers Union and the country management of CIBC FirstCaribbean are once again at a standstill.  On Monday, CIBC issued a release stating that it is officially [...]

Importer Jack Charles Responds to Government Officials on Guyanese Rice
While a consignment of imported rice from Guyana languishes at the port in Big Creek, the back and forth between businessman Jack Charles and the Government of Belize continues.  On [...]

Buses Collide in Separate Road Traffic Accidents
Today seemed to have been a day for accidents involving buses and the resulting traffic jam which made already congested roads unbearable. Early this morning it was a collision just [...]

Is Missing Canadian Toddler in Belize?
News Five has received correspondence from an organization called the Missing Children Society of Canada seeking the help of the public in locating a child. According to investigator Lori Mantle, [...]

Harvest Caye Tourism Project Meets Bumps in the Road
The last we heard about the Norwegian Cruise Line’s cruise ship port at Harvest Caye in southern Belize was earlier this year when environmentalists expressed concerns that boulders were being [...]

Tour Operators Prepare for Influx of Visitors to Harvest Caye
Supporters of the project cited job opportunities and economic benefits to residents and villages in the immediate area as sound reasons to support the mega tourism project.  Director Andrade says [...]

What’s the Future of Stake Bank?
There is another proposed docking facility which has gone under the radar. It is at Stake Bank located just seven miles off the coast of Belize City.   For over a [...]

Ladyville Police Kick Off Operation REDSS
Call it Community Policing, Christmas spirit or a combination of both – but whatever it is, it brought smiles to the faces of commuters pulled at random off rural buses [...]

Comedian Steve Harvey, He’s Hosting 2016 Costa Maya Pageant
If you thought that after Sunday’s blunder at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, Steve Harvey won’t get to emcee another beauty pageant, well think again. Millions watched as [...]

A Christmas Party for Kids in Placencia
For the first time, the children in the peninsula have been hosted to a grand Christmas party. As you know, Norwegian Cruise Lines is investing heavily in a tourism port [...]


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#510132 - 12/23/15 11:56 AM Re: Today's Belize News: December 23, 2015 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

CTV3

Traffic Accident Leaves Orange Walkeno In Critical Conditions
Another traffic accident has left a forty five year old man in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. At around 3:20 Saturday morning, Marcus Cuellar, a resident of Belize Corozal Road Orange Walk Town, was out socializing with some friends when he was knocked down by a grey Toyota Ford Runner right in front of Butchys Lounge. To make matters worse, instead of stopping to render aid, the driver of the vehicle immediately fled the scene. Solany Cuellar - niece of the victim: “Early morning of Saturday we were called that he suffered an accident and we went to the hospital and enquire about it and indeed he was at the hospital and he was in a very bad state ad at this point he is at Belize City because he is in a very critical condition, the doctors are not giving good news about him and he has already lost a lot of blood and then we are trying to get more blood for him.”

Castillo Alley Neighborhood Watch Group Makes Wonderful Donation To Society
The Christmas season is officially here and since it is a special time for giving, the Castillo Alley Neighborhood Watch Group gathered this morning to give out gifts and provisions to the needy families within their community. The event took place around 8 a.m. and it was the second Christmas activity that the group has organized to give back to the public. Lourdes Zaldivar: “We got some provisions from Belize City Precisely Belize Aggressor Three where my husband works and where we got two hundred dollars’ worth, the group has a little more than a year that we have organized and last year we went to a family at Black Water Creek and we donated different items. The purpose of the group is to offer families an opportunity to celebrate the true meaning of the season.

Contraband Into Mexico A Critical Problem And On The Rise
The contraband of goods from the Corozal Free Zone into Chetumal has become a serious problem for Mexican authorities. According to a report from Mexican news, La Palabra, the federal police have reported that dozens of boxes filled with contraband from the Free Zone is being introduced into Mexico through a big hole in the fence that extends over the perimeter fence of the Chetumal Bridge. This big hole, measuring about 2 meters wide and 40 centimeters high, is used by smugglers to introduce goods, including perfumes, alcohol, cigarettes, clothing, and footwear, among many other products into Chetumal. According to Mexican officials, this is only one of many methods used to smuggle goods through the vast boarder that Belize and Chetumal share. Mexican authorities say that although they are aware of the problem and working on stopping it has become a hard task.

LOVE FM

BDF Lieutenant Gets Called to the Bar
For the first time in the history of the Belize Defense Force, a serving officer has been called to the Bar. Reporter Hipolito Novelo was in the courtroom of Justice Courtney Abel and has the story. LT. LIONEL OLIVERA “Well today for me is an overwhelming experience. I’m humbled by it, it’s a five year […]

Jack Charles Says Legal Recourse, Last Resort
It is expected that the attorney for importer Jack Charles, Leeroy Banner, will file a claim in the courts that will engage the government of Belize in a legal war over seventy five tons of Guyanese rice. That rice is still in three twenty foot containers sitting at the Port of Big Creek in Independence […]

Woman Says She Was Raped In Police Custody
A police officer attached to the San Ignacio Police Station has been detained after an allegation was made against him by a Cayo resident who was detained at the station. Reports are that the 25-year-old woman who was in police custody has made a statement saying that on Sunday, December 20 whilst in one of […]

Audrey Laments Approval from Central Bank for CIBC Sale
Yesterday CIBC First Caribbean International Bank sent out a release advising its customers that formal approval has been received from the Central Bank of Belize for the sale of CIBC First Caribbean’s assets in Belize to Heritage Bank Limited. The date for completion of the transition to Heritage Bank is January 31, 2016. This means […]

Bus Accident Causes Traffic Congestion on the PG Hwy
At around seven thirty this morning, motorists traveling on the Philip Goldson Highway just beyond the Haulover Bridge on both sides were caught in traffic congestion following an accident involving two passenger buses. In the incident, the both the Haylock and the Ramos bus were traveling north when the Haylock bus rear-ended the Ramos bus […]

School Bus and Cargo Truck Collide on Western Road
Another accident was reported, this time on the Benque Viejo Road. According to reports, the incident occurred around four thirty this evening and involved a school bus and a cargo truck that was loaded with goods. The school bus was empty heading to San Ignacio and the truck was heading to Benque Viejo. Reports are […]

Canadian Authorities Believe Abducted Child May be in Belize
A child is missing and Missing Children Society of Canada believes he was brought to Belize by his mother. According to the organization, Treyson Trockstad Greenway has been missing since January 5, 2014 and was taken out of Canada by his mother, Robin Leanne Trockstad Greenway during a custody dispute. According to the report, the […]

Stop and Search Yields 50+ Pounds of Marijuana
A stop and search this morning resulted in the discovery of over 55 pounds of Marijuana. Our Belmopan correspondent Fem Cruz reports. FEM CRUZ “Belmopan Police continue their Christmas anti crime patrols within Belmopan and surrounding villages. As a result this morning December 22 some time around 8:30 they conducted a stop and search at […]

West Comes Home for the Holidays
30-year-old, Woodrow West began making a name for himself here in Belize as he had become known as a top goalkeeper in the football arena along with Shane Moody-Orio. In July 2015, West was faced with a decision to quit playing in the local leagues and move out to Honduras to play with the Honduras […]

Legislation for Medical Tourism – A Priority for 2016
For some time now the Belize Coalition of Service Providers has been promoting medical tourism as well as the Spa and Wellness sector in Belize. They have been to several trade and expo shows around the country and after all that effort they today informed the media that this sector has been placed on the […]

PlusTV

CWU slams GOB on change to essential services law
The Christian Workers Union, as expected, is not in agreement that stevedores provide an essential service to the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) with their unloading and loading of cargo.The move to make them so, primarily to require 21 days’ notice of industrial action – which to be fair ...

Why have marketing board not paid rice farmers in Toledo?
Belize Marketing and Development Corporation, BMDC is the statutory body responsible for the regulation and distribution of rice countrywide. The staple for the Belizean consumer is purchased from local rice growers up north and in Toledo. Today, among the rice debate on whether an importer should b...

Belize is not in trade with Guyana, says Government (AUDIO)
As part of his argument for the importation of cheaper Guyanese rice to Belize, importer Jack Charles and his advisors argue that their venture is buttressed by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the document establishing the Caribbean Community. However, Government disagrees, as explained by Dr. Le...

Prisoner on the run
A prisoner is on the run and Benque Police are on the lookout for him. He is Rudy Torres. According to police oOn Thursday 17th December atabout 11:15 a.m. Rudy Torres was on remand for Burglary but made good his escape from the Benque Viejo Magistrate court. Police are asking the public’s assistan...

Glenford Baptist to serve additional time in prison for murder
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today told prisoner Glenford Baptist that he will continue to spend time in prison for the 2000 murder of Azrin White in Belize City. However, he no longer faces either death or life in prison. The Chief Justice decided on a term of 25 years’ imprisonment to beg...

Man knocked down and killed in Ladyville
A Ladyville resident lost his life on Saturday night while trying to cross the busy Philip Goldson Highway near the Shell Gas Station. With more on what happened to 37 year old Robert Stephen Simplis, here is Officer Commanding Eastern Division (Rural), Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster. ...

Prisoner accused of Abou-Nehra home invasion involvement attempts to kill self
Police in the Eastern Division (Rural) were kept quite busy over the weekend following their arrest and capture of 25 year old Lane Grinage, facing multiple charges in the home invasion of Lebanese diplomat Sarkis Abou-Nehra. Sometime on Saturday after he was brought to Ladyville from Seine Bight wh...

Cordel, Francis & Johnny vie for PUP Leadership – National Convention to be held on January 31st, 2016
Three well-known, highly-respected and formidable leaders will be contesting the convention for leadership of the People’s United Party on January 31st, 2016. Former leader Hon. John Briceño, a six-time area representative for the Orange Walk Central constituency; Hon. Cordel Hyde, a three-time area representative for the Lake Independence constituency; and Hon. Francis Fonseca, the incumbent leader and four-time area representative for the Freetown Division, were nominated by various units of the Party by the close of the nomination on Tuesday, December 15th. The leader will be elected through a democratic process which will see over 2,790 delegates gather and cast their votes. A venue for the convention had not been announced previously since the National Executive is of the view that it must be a location that is neutral to all parties, and the candidates were not known until this week.

BEL wants 11% rate increase
The Government of Belize’s Christmas gift to Belizeans is the announcement that their electricity bills could go up by 11% in a few weeks. Belize Electricity Limited, which is Government-owned, has asked the regulatory body, the Public Utilities Commission, whose Chairman is appointed by the Government, to grant them an 11% raise. BEL, who several months ago, was boasting of $30 million profits, and who in May of this year agreed to a 10% cut in its rates, is now claiming that they need to increase rates to sustain operations. It appears that all the company’s chest-beating earlier this year was purely election gimmick and manipulation by the Government of Belize.

Rice War! – How the UDP is destroying the local industry
The future of Belize’s rice industry is bleak. Yes, the same can be said about the citrus, fishing and sugar industries, which are facing tough challenges ahead, but the state of affairs with the common staple that can be found on almost every Belizean kitchen table daily is grimmer. The difference is that for several years, political agents in the Barrow Administration have been disrupting the agriculture industries for their own gain, and rice just seems to be the easier kill. Today, a shipment of 75 tonnes of rice from Guyana in South America was imported by rich businessman Jitendra “Jack Charles” Chawla. Chawla is no ordinary businessman. He is a known financier of the UDP, who uses his connections in Government whenever he needs to get what he wants. Most of the cases have been very controversial. For example, in 2009 Chawla acquired 9 acres of land in a reserve (protected area) in the outskirts of Belize City known as Krooman Lagoon. Chawla, the ever wily businessman, always disguises his actions with some kind of “conscientious” agenda. In the case of the land grab, he claimed he would open a chips factory and create employment.

Man Charged for Fatal Stabbing in Corozal
Corozal Police have arrested and charged 29 year old Adan Meza for the murder of 22 year old Alberto Briceno. Briceno, a resident of Paraiso Village in Corozal, was at a dance in the village of Paraiso on Saturday, December 12th, night when he was attacked and stabbed multiple times. According to witnesses, Meza approached Briceno and stabbed him to the chest and abdomen. Reports are that the assault could have been avoided, had Meza not misread Briceno’s physical interaction with Raul Meza, the accused’s younger brother. Witnesses say that Briceno had given Meza a friendly push, but when the accused saw this, he believed his brother was being aggressed.

Think About It
We are all so very proud of Nisa Sanchez, the top student in the country based on her CXC performance. Nisa is the daughter of humble parents who are immigrants from Honduras. Nisa achieved the extraordinary results of passing SIXTEEN subjects. Fifteen of those at grade one and one at grade two. This is awesome. She is awesome. And she is only 16 years old. Nisa told Plus TV that she prepared physically, mentally and spiritually. She says she and her family believe in Jehovah God and “I pray and read my Bible because it would always make me feel a whole lot better before and after doing my work”. Nisa gets a full scholarship to pursue Sixth Form at St. John’s College where she will pursue Maths and Physics. She is planning on a career as a civil engineer but says her first love is the arts and one if her dreams is to open an art school.

An Exercise in Futility
In 1963, the British Honduras Constitution was established and what was then a Legislative Assembly gave way to our current National Assembly. With the change came the birth to our bicameral system where the legislative branch of government is divided into two houses; the Senate supposedly being the Upper House and the House of Representatives being the lower. This is obviously a misnomer because as it stands, the Senate is for all intents and purposes way below and effectively, toothless. The biggest joke is that in the United States, from whence we derived the labels, there is no de facto “upper” or “lower” Houses per se. The term is simply colloquial and refers to location in a two-story building that houses the two chambers; one on the upper and the other on the lower flat. The idea on which bicameralism is based can be traced as far back as ancient Greece and the Roman Empire but our system is based on institutions first used in Medieval Europe. This system was handed down to our colonial masters who had their own reasons for implementing such. In England, the two Houses were to represent the nobles in one and the commoners in the other; hence, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

PUT CHRIST BACK IN CHRISTMAS
Christmas could not come any sooner to Belize. The disturbing reality that out country is facing looming crisis after crisis needed the message that Christmas brings. The message of Christmas is always one of hope and love. It is a message of peace and a message of joy. The Christmas story is a message of fascination and meaning. A child born out of wedlock to a young virgin. The father had to be visited by an extra-terrestrial being to explain the great mystery. This child, the angel told Joseph, is no ordinary child. The Creator of the entire universe, with all things in it, is the father. There is a purpose for bringing the child into the world. The child will grow to be a man and will save us from our sinful selves. That child, that very special and unique child was not born in a maternity ward in a hospital. He did not enter the world in the comfort of a home or on a bed. He was born in a barn. In a stable, a manger. A place of shelter for animals. This was as God wanted it to be. This too is a message, as would be so any other matters surrounding the life and work of the child turned man.

City Boys rule BDFA U-15 football
Undefeated City Boys posted their 5th win in the Belize District Football Association (BDFA) Under-15 tournament at the MCC garden on Sunday, where Face of Belize, Hattieville Riverside Boys and Ladyville Rising Stars also enjoyed wins. The City Boys drilled the Collet Strikers 3-1 when they took the field with only 9 players. Denroy “Bobo” Lopez scored City Boys’ 1st goal, Kenny Linares score a 2nd goal and Jalen Babb a 3rd goal. Collet’s Wayne Ford scored a consolation goal before the half time break, and so it went to the final whistle. The Ladyville Rising Stars won 2-1 against Carlston United, with Glensdale Nunez scoring 2 goals, while only Alex Estelle scored for Carlston.

Julian Cho Tech boys are basketball champs
The Julian Cho Technical High School boys trampled over the Northern Zone champs, the Muffles College boys 59-44 to win the high school basketball national championship, at the Andres Campos Civic Center in Corozal Town over the weekend. The Julian Cho boys were led by Arick Nicholas with 25 points while Muffles’ Dwayne Avila top-scored with 18pts. For 3rd place, the Western Zone champs, the Sacred Heart College boys won 69-59 against Central Regional champions, Gwen Liz. SHC were led by Afrie Black and Kyron Molina with 14pts apiece.

Verdes & Police United clash in Premier League finals
Verdes FC of Benque Viejo and Police United will clash in the Premier League of Belize football finals Game 1 of the finals kicks off at 4pm at Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio on Sunday, December 20. Verdes FC is leading the League with 4pts, while Police are No.2 with 3pts from a 2-0 win against the Placencia Assassins at the FFB Stadium on Sunday. Orlando “Leechy” Jimenez came off the Police bench in the 2nd half to head in 2 goals in the 73rd and 88th minutes for Police United’s 2-0 win over the Assassins. This allowed the Police to advance by a 3-2 aggregate score; despite their 2-1 loss to Placencia Assassins in Game 1 of the playoffs.

Police Christmas Season’s Safety Tips
If you have a vehicle, always try to park in well-lit area, especially in night times. Immediately change all locks when house keys are lost or stolen. Never leave your personal belongings un-attended, especially in crowed places like bus terminals, markets and shopping centers. Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you especially if you are alone or in the dark. Never carry large amount of monies in your wallet or shoulder bags when going shopping or to a party. It’s best to take only what you will need and secure it in a trouser pocket where possible. When you are out for the evening, leave a light/radio on in a room with closed curtains. Always inform a trusted neighbour when you are out. Do not leave your children at home without a trusted adult. Always leave a phone number or address where they can get contact with you.

2015 Christmas Message by Mayor Kevin Bernard & Orange Walk Town Council
The months have flown past and here we are again, preparing to celebrate another Christmas. Then that too will be gone and a New Year of hope, opportunities and yes, challenges will be upon us. Where has the time gone? It seems that only yesterday we were all getting ready for 2015 and in the blink of an eye it passed us by. But it didn’t pass by without impact. We are different. Our families are different. Our community is different. We welcomed new life to many of our homes, and many of us lost loved ones. As individuals perhaps we can boast of personal achievements – new relationships, new jobs or a promotion, goals set and reached. Or maybe we lost ground and for some reason did not accomplish what we set out to do. In this past year alone we have seen two significant elections – municipal and general – which have shaken up things. For some of us the results are just what we hoped. For others maybe not!

MY PERSPECTIVE – Election Observation
My thoughts recently turned to the process of observing elections. Various Election Observation Missions from different world and regional organizations have observed election processes on being invited to do so by the country or countries involved. Most recently the Organization of American States sent an Observer Mission for our general elections in November, and the Commonwealth had a two-person observer team, among other missions, present in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for their December poll only a few days ago. I learned a great deal from my participation in Election Observation Missions with the Commonwealth in two African countries in 2005 and 2008, first in Tanzania and later in Sierra Leone. I have to point out that Election Observation is just that. Observer Missions and their members cannot involve themselves or interfere in any way with the election processes. They may only meet with all stakeholders, visit with officials who conduct the polls, do their research, listen to concerns, complaints, etc. and generally be present at as many polling stations as possible during the elections. They then meet to compile observations and recommendations about the full experience before, during and after the holding of the election. In both African countries it was patently clear the huge advantage enjoyed by incumbents.

More Questions than Answers
There’s been no arrest in the shooting in Belmopan on election night…the one where a personal friend of Minister of National Security John Saldivar shot a weapon into the air in front of hundreds of witnesses including Police Officers. Suddenly the Police can’t detain the guy or even question him because they somehow can’t get anybody to give a statement. That’s disappointing, but hardly surprising, since we know there are a different set of laws for different people depending on your level of political connection. The Police say they have written the shooter a letter scolding him though, and we are supposed to be happy with that. Any normal Belizean who did the exact same would be locked down promptly. Hell, normal Belizeans are locked down on mere suspicion of doing wrongdoing. But you know…this thing goes beyond the Ministers. We tend to blame Ministers for everything because they give the instructions. But what do we expect? As Ministers they are unapologetically political, unapologetically arrogant and so very many of them are blatantly corrupt. The problem is this, though, so many of our public officers in high positions are also corrupt…or spineless and have no moral strength, integrity or principle. And that is why Ministers are able to get away with so much.

Thinking Out Loud
As I write this it’s less than two weeks to Christmas and nobody’s heard anything about that wonderful thing called Christmas Cheer. Mr. Barrow says that things are a little dread with all sorts of payments due all over the place, so those few UDPs who usually benefit from this program can expect less this year. But you know what – you’re getting nothing for Christmas, because Santa Barrow and the UDP have practically bankrupted the country. If you didn’t know that the economy is in shambles, now you know. The UDP spent so much money in the short term buying elections and giving hand outs that they didn’t look at the bigger picture. There was no medium-term or long-term plan. It was all about politicking, all about glitter and no substance, all about ensuring Mr. Barrow’s success. But at what cost to the country? The UDP literally paid millions and millions of dollars to select ‘family’ attorneys in costly litigation over BTL and BEL. And in the end Mr. Barrow still had to pay almost $200M for his stupid, wrongheaded decision to nationalize those companies. Of course, he doesn’t care because it’s not his money. He didn’t lose a cent, and in the process his brother, ex-wife and best friend got millions.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Women battle in bar; one charged with wounding
Marlenie Gavarette, 29, a Honduran national, has been charged with wounding another female whom she says started it. Gavarette, who has Belizean residency, appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer in Court #2 to answer to a charge of wounding to Leanna Caceres on Wednesday, December […]

Teen spared jail after beating up girlfriend
18 year old construction worker Ezmir Garrido can consider himself lucky to avoid jail time after pleading guilty to attacking his girlfriend, who is also mother of his child. The West Collet Canal resident during an argument hit the woman in the face, then grabbed […]

Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) unable to agree on First Caribbean International Bank exit as time running out
CIBC First Caribbean International Bank is leaving Belize at the end of January, 2016. It has sold its assets to the locally owned Heritage Bank. 60 unionized employees belonging to the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) were not a part of the deal and would therefore […]

BDF plans strategic review of forces
Belize’s uniformed services, particularly the Belize Police Department, have been growing by leaps and bounds for the last several years, especially due to a commitment of the Government to increase manpower. The Belize Defence Force has seen its share of that growth, and there is […]

Bus collides with truck on George Price Highway
A little after 5 p.m., BMG’s newsroom was informed of a traffic accident on the George Price Highway. We were made to understand that a bus and a truck were involved in a collision near Benque Viejo Town. According to our sources, police are currently […]

Cahal Pech Village Resort offers to host Steve Harvey if he accepts BTB offer
The Cahal Pech Village Resort, following up on the Belize Tourism Board’s (BTB) offer for Steve Harvey to host the 2016 Costa Maya pageant, has welcomed the famous comedian and offered to host him if he decides to accept the offer. “If Steve Harvey […]

Belize Tourism Board invites Steve Harvey to host Costa Maya
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has invited popular host Steve Harvey to host the 2016 Costa Maya pageant. “Dear @IAMSteveHarvey, we all make mistakes. You handled yours with class. Would you host our next pageant? @CostaMayaFest #MissUniverse2015,” the BTB tweeted. BTB made the pitch to […]

Ladyville police play “Silent Santa”
This afternoon police from Eastern Division (Rural) were out on the Philip Goldson Highway conducting random stops of buses travelling to Belize City, but not for the usual reason. They were handing out 100 dollar bills to passengers from the Rural area as part of […]

Bus passenger found with over a pound of weed
While conducting a vehicular checkpoint at mile 69 on the George Price highway yesterday afternoon, police searched a passenger bus traveling towards San Ignacio, in which a large amount of cannabis was found. Officers opened a black school bag that was in the possession […]

Belmopan resident’s cycle stolen
A resident of the Maya Mopan area in Belmopan, 19-year-old Limner Odanis, reported to police that his 200cc Meilun motorcycle, valued at $3,200, was stolen from his mother’s house sometime during Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Odanis told police that he parked and […]

Lionel Olivera is called to the Bar; first Belize Defense Force soldier admitted
With his fellows cheering him on, Lionel Olivera today became the first serving member of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) to join the Bar of Belize after completing legal studies at the University of the West Indies and Norman Manley Law School. He will […]

Rains causing some losses for sugar cane farmers
Rains over the last days have triggered several challenges for sugar cane farmers and the factory. Dampened, some saturated, fields and sugar roads have made if difficult and for some farmers impossible to harvest their crop. These challenges have translated into delays in deliveries to […]

Costa Rica withdraws from SICA over Cuban migrants
The government of Costa Rica has withdrawn from the Central American Integration System (SICA) and refuses to participate in any further discussion with the body until the Cuban immigrant crisis is resolved. Honduran Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales, confirmed to the SICA body that Costa Rica’s […]

Blogs

San Pedro’s Christmas Lighted Boat Parade Rises Again – BIGGER AND BETTER!
After an official cancellation in late November, a new group taking the reins and a Saturday night weather postponement, San Pedro’s Holiday Lighted Boat Parade lined up last night and was…freaking awesome. I arrived early…as always and stopped by Sandbar Hostel/Bar & Restaurant first to add my gift to the growing pile and to admire 176 boxes, bags, bikes and presents, all going to Ambergris kids in need.

Belize in January
When the cold winter winds blow, dumping snow and ice on North America, the best place to be in January is Belize. With clear skies, and lovely balmy temperatures, you can swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean or simply sun yourself on one of the sugar sand beaches. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, you can explore the tropical rain forests, cruise up jungle rivers to spot birds, or go snorkeling off the biggest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere. Belize is also a great place to ring in the New Year, giving your soul, mind, and body a chance to rejuvenate and start off fresh. Belize Events and Festivals in January New Year’s Day – Every country celebrates the first day of the year, but Belizeans do it in style, with dancing, parties, parades, and plenty of live music. Krem New Year’s Cycling Classic – The largest bicycle race in the country kicks off with in Corozal Town, heading south towards the finish line in Belize about 4 hours later. Hundreds of participants, including cyclists from Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, and elsewhere eagerly follow the action, with a huge party in Belize City afterwards. January 18 – The country honors the legacy of Martin Luther King, Junior.

Christmas Traditions in Belize
You can shop, cook and wrap like crazy and enjoy two days of festivities at the end of December, or come to Belize where the entire month of December is one long holiday. We suggest finding one place to lodge during your visit—a festive destination like Cahal Pech Village Resort where Christmas spirit is reflected in the resort’s décor, enthusiasm and holiday cheer, exemplifying all that is splendid about a tropical yuletide. Your choice. A few days or weeks of celebrating? Here’s what you’ll miss if you stay home. The Christmas Bram consists of celebrants singing, dancing and playing instruments as revelers snake through neighborhoods. The Christmas Bram harkens back to Belize’s Kriol culture, so part of the nation’s holiday tradition is a style of caroling that’s unique. Sing along if you’re familiar with Brukdong music, or just dance to the energetic beat. If you can’t get to Belize City, Gales Point Manatee stages a Christmas Bram, too.

MONKEY RIVER MUD PIE
Mix coffee granules into the rum until they are dissolved, set aside. Beat yolks with the condensed milk until light and fluffy. Stir in the icing sugar and the rum and coffee mixture. Pour into the pie crust and put into a preheated oven, 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites, adding the cream of tartar, beat about 20 seconds. When the egg whites are starting to form soft peaks, gradually add the 1/2 cup of caster or granulated sugar. Continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks. When your pie has had 30 minutes in the oven, take it out, turn up the temperature to 400 degrees. Spread or pipe the egg white mixture over the top, bake for five minutes. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for three to four hours.

SPICY GINGER RUM SHRIMP by Miss Daisy
Heat olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Add ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook for about one minute over medium heat until ginger and garlic brown slightly. Add shrimp, rum, fish sauce, and honey and turn heat to high. Stir and toss constantly until liquid has almost gone and ginger and garlic stick to shrimp; be careful not to overcook shrimp. Serve with coconut rice and fresh garden salad.

Rum Mango Chicken
2 grilled chicken breasts, salted to taste MANGO GLAZE 1 c. mango juice concentrate (squash) 1-1/2 shots One Barrel Rum 1 Tbsp. corn starch, dissolved in very little water Put mango squash to boil. Add One Barrel, and add corn starch to get a thick glaze. Pour over grilled chicken breast. Garnish with cilantro and sliced mangos.

Escabeche
1. Wash hands 2. Cut up chicken and clean with lime or vinegar . Season with salt and pepper . 3. Put chicken in water and add garlic, oregano , spice seeds , cloves and jalapeno 4. Boil then simmer chicken until tender 5. Remove chicken from water 6.Place chicken on bakin sheet and Bake in oven to make crisp and brown

Habanero Pepper and Onion Sauce
Ingredients 2 cups onion minced 8 habanero peppers,sliced 10-12 all spice seeds 1 1/2 cups vinegar 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon salt Method Combine all ingredients and marinate for 2 hours or overnight . Will keep for several weeks in refrigerator

International Sourcesizz

Belize invites Steve Harvey to host beauty pageant after Miss Universe blunder
Steve Harvey flubbed hosting Miss Universe in Vegas, but he can redeem himself in Belize. The Central American hot spot’s tourism board was so impressed with how the embarrassed emcee took responsibility after announcing the wrong winner during Sunday night’s live broadcast that it is inviting him to host their biggest beauty pageant next summer. “Dear @IAMSteveHarvey, we all make mistakes. You handled yours with class. Would you host our next pageant?” the board tweeted on Tuesday.

The World’s Top Retirement Havens for 2016
Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

Enrich Your Life Abroad Through Volunteering
How do you see yourself spending your ideal retirement? Does it involve strolling the cobbled streets of an historic city in Europe? Or maybe you’d rather lounge, cocktail in hand, on a lounge chair by a tropical beach. If you’re like me, you’d prefer the abundant clean air and farm-fresh produce in an Ecuadorian mountain town, relaxing in the local expat hangout when you’re not exploring awe-inspiring valleys and colorful local markets.

A “Do Nothing” Lifestyle on the Caribbean
Feeling burned out by their busy careers, Clive and Janet Brewster made the big decision to leave the working world behind in October 2014. That’s when they embarked on a new life on the Belizean island of Ambergris Caye. Today you’ll find them living a life of leisure and luxury on this laidback Caribbean island.

Belize tilapia farm nabs ASC stamp
It is the first tilapia farm in the country to obtain certification.

Belize - 2016 crush underway
The 2015/16 crushing season commenced on December 7, according to local press reports. The season is projected to run for 27 weeks with the BSI factory forecast to mill 1.316 mln tonnes of cane during this time - its maximum capacity.

Archaeological Finds in El Salvador Tell a Whole Different Tale about Maya Society
Artifacts uncovered by the Cerén dig suggest Maya citizens enjoyed certain freedoms when trading and making societal decisions. For decades scientists thought that, in order to maintain a prosperous and powerful empire along the territories which make up what today is El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and the southwest of Mexico, the Mayan elite must have exerted strict control over the nation’s people, customs and economy. But new signs found at Cerén, an archaeological park located barely 35 kilometers west of San Salvador, tell a very different story of this civilization that emerged near 1,000 B.C. and developed until it collapsed in the sixteenth century. Nicknamed “The Pompeii of the Americas”, Cerén’s archaeological remains were discovered in 1976 by Payson Sheets, an anthropologist with Colorado University at Boulder. The ruins existed under a five-meter thick layer of ash, generated by an eruption of the Loma Caldera volcano approximately 1,400 years ago. Almost four decades after the find, a team of US and El Salvador archaeologists and anthropologists led by Sheets excavated the citadel and found hundreds of daily life objects preserved in excellent condition thanks to the protective ash cover. Scientists believe the volcano eruption was so strong that people were forced to abandon the city, leaving their belongings behind. “This makes Cerén one of the richest archaeological sites in the region,” Sheets says.

Top 10 Jaw-Dropping Celebrity Private Islands
The idea of owning tropical, private islands you can run off to at any given moment is something that appeals to almost everyone. Private islands are not just a status symbol of major wealth, but they can also be a secluded area where one can escape to in order to take a break from the mundane taste of normal life. Many of the world’s most famous actors, singers, entrepreneurs and celebrities have purchased private islands for these reasons. If you are looking for some inspiration, you have come to the right place. Here are the most beautiful private islands owned by celebrities. Number Ten: Blackadore Caye, Belize – Leonardo DiCaprio. Leonardo DiCaprio surely is one of the greatest actors of his generation. Since he is one of Hollywood’s top A-list actors, he’s got the big bucks to show for it. DiCaprio is a well-known environmental activist and purchased Blackadore Caye: 104 acres of isolated land off the coast of Belize, a country on the eastern coast of Central America. But he won’t be sipping drinks and getting massages when he visits; Leonardo is going to build an eco-conscious resort there. Officially open to guests in 2018, “Blackadore Caye, a Restorative Island” will have many of the amenities of luxury resorts, with lavish villas, infinity pools and gorgeous views of the sunset.

Caribbean countries warned to look for alternative sources of oil post-PetroCaribe
Caribbean countries are being warned about the possibility of having to look to alternative sources of oil, after the recently elected opposition coalition in Venezuela announced it will review agreements under the PetroCaribe energy agreement. These countries include the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) states, which obtain Venezuelan oil on concessionary terms. Prior to the recent parliamentary elections in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro during a trip to St Vincent and the Grenadines stressed that PetroCaribe was more than just an energy pact. "There should be no doubt in our minds that PetroCaribe today is the backbone of the energy, social and economic development of our region," he said. The Venezuelan president now has to contend with a parliamentary majority in Caracas intent on taking a critical look at PetroCaribe.

Videos

  • Belize is full of animators!!!!, 5min. The U.S. Ambassador's wife Christine Moreno recently used her skills as an artist and expert animator to create an animated work featuring the artwork of students in Belize. The animation uses over 7,200 images and sound, and took a month create. After reading to three groups of children of different age groups, each group created an original drawing. The drawings have been animated.

  • UNTOLD STORIES DECEMBER 17, 2015, 26min.

  • Royal Belize 2015, 3min.

  • Belize likes Christmas too, 1min. Youth band at Orange Gallery holiday sale.

  • Can You BELIZE IT - ROAD TOUR, 17min. This Road Tour was sponsored by Red Foxx and his family as we took a 3-day trip through Orange Walk to Belize City, and parts of Belmopan and the Cayo District. The occasion was his family reunion... ENJOY!

  • Biking in the Outskirts of Belmopan,Belize., 2min.

  • Goff's Caye Island - Belize, 9.5min.

  • Belize + Guatemala + Honduras, 6min.

  • San Pedro, Belize Holiday Boat Parade, 5min. Ramon’s Village brought it’s A-Game to the 9th Annual San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade with an brilliant show of lights that had Santa Claus riding his sleigh filled with Christmas Trees, a parrot, shark, dive flag and two giant pineapples being pulled by sea turtles. The top boat of the evening dazzled onlookers with its show of color and cheer.

  • BELIZEAN TWIN BROTHERS SENSATION: MICHAEL & MARK WAGNER!, 28min. It was a pleasure to have had the privilege of interviewing for Belizean Legends, the Belizean twin brothers sensation, Michael and Mark Wagner who performed on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at the Bombay Lounge at Little Belize in Inglewood, California. Graced by incredible humility, love and entertainment brilliance, the two brothers shared their entire entertainment life from their youth performances in Belize, to the empowerment of their father, the legendary Joe Wagner, and how they continued down separate paths in the entertainment industry in the United States after their migration from Belize. This long awaiting comeback and performance together has brought both Belizean artists to reflect on how much has changed for them, and how they were able to refine their brands once again. A long awaited feature, and delivered as promised to Belizean Legends fans and audience. Enjoy!

  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow and familiy!, 1.5min.

  • Snorkeling in Belize, 2.5min.

  • MEXICO - BELIZE - GUATEMALA - MEXICO : DEEL 2, 17min. Dag 4: Flores – Tikal – Flores (ca. 130 km). Dag 5: Flores – We rijden naar het grootste meer in Guatemala, Lago Izabel.

  • Ziplining at CHUKKA in Belize, 5.5min.

  • Belize - 9 days in 9 minutes, 9.5min.

  • Belize 2015, 7min. Some shots from our downtime while we were working in Belize last summer.

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