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#510613 - 01/13/16 05:55 AM Today's Belize News: January 13, 2016
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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

The wild wonder of Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Reserve
Have you ever wondered how Alice felt when she fell down the rabbit hole in the “Alice in Wonderland” fairytale? In the story, Alice is enchanted by the unknown, and such is the mesmerizing spell the jungle of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Reserve in the Stann Creek District casts upon those who venture into her canopied burrow. Enveloped by dense forest alive with bird song and the buzz of busy bugs, your imagination is sure to run as wild as your surroundings. Chances are you won’t spot the elusive jaguar while exploring the wilderness, but it’s not hard to imagine one softly padding through the jungle, nothing but a shimmer of dappled color within the dense undergrowth of the forest. ‘Perhaps a wild cat has steady eyes on me right now,’ my mind races…or maybe I will surprise one right around the next corner, my heart skipping a beat at the thought! You don’t have to be a seasoned survivalist to venture into this magical sanctuary, and options for exploring are endless, offering hiking and biking trails for all abilities and levels. Upon arriving at the main entrance of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary there is an inviting welcome area complete with a picnic area, open grounds, visitor center, a small museum and even bikes to rent. With detailed signage informing you of your hiking and biking options, you can easily determine what route is best for you.

Two charged for Matthiew Klinck’s murder: Memorial Service and Candle Light Vigil held in his honor
Residents of San Ignacio Town in the Cayo District, including friends from neighboring communities and other parts of Belize held a memorial service to celebrate the life of Klinck on Saturday, January 9th. The memorial service took place at the Fountain of Life Church in the farming community of Spanish Lookout. The service started at 2PM and saw several testimonials from different people whose life Klinck touched greatly. His parents and brother were present, sharing memories of their beloved to a mourning audience. Before the services wrapped up, a presentation featuring two of Klinck’s favorite songs, along with photographs of him from his childhood to his last days in Belize were featured. “It was an overwhelming event, full of many memories that will last a lifetime,” said The San Pedro Sun staff reporter and friend of Klinck, Dion Vansen who was in attendance. “There were no dry eyes in the room.”

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Western Ballaz Host Thunderbolts
The NEBL starts back up on Saturday, and the Western Ballaz host the Independence Thunderbolts. There'll be loads of prizes, along with Mistah Geeh providing the sounds. The game starts at 8:00pm. Go Ballaz!

Book: Insights Into Gang Culture in Belize: Essays on Youth, Crime, and Violence
by Mr Nuri Muhammad. $15us. This book offers a comprehensive study of the culture of gangs in Belize. Drawing on over thirty years of working directly with this sector of the population, Muhammad provides an unprecedented look inside the fascinating and little understood world of gangs in Belize. He shows that the popular accepted notion that gangs are confined only to the static definition of Crips and Bloods represents only a small part of the big picture. In fact, many youth are drawn to the attraction of the gang culture while not being involved in any sort of criminal activity. Muhammad takes us through the socio-economic and psycho-spiritual factors that influence the development and spread of this phenomenon. He looks at the antecedents of the problem of youth, crime and violence in Belize and its evolving crisis and the various approaches taken by government and non-government agencies to combating it over the last twenty five years. Having been personally involved with all the major initiatives in Belize over the last twenty five years, Muhammad writes from a vantage point of reality and not theory. Accessibly written, filled with gripping first-hand testimony of one who was on the front line, this book will be the best available guide to the beliefs and culture of street organizations in Belize.

The Belize Hotel Association , will be at the 12th Annual Chicago Travel and Adventure Show
On January 23 and January 24, 2016. The event will take place at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. BHA members will be represented by directors, Ms. Julie Kee and Ms. Rebecca Rath at this event. The Travel and Adventure Show series is recognized as the premier Consumer Marketing platform in the travel industry. It is the ONLY travel show in the Chicago Area and it is the place where travelers flock annually to dream, plan and book their next vacation. Since 2004, the Travel & Adventure shows have helped over 1.1 million vacationers book their trips, by connecting quality clients with top tourism providers from around the world. Visitors get travel inspiration, expert information and fun cultural interaction by speaking directly to reputable travel experts in the industry. In addition attendees and exhibitors can receive expert travel advice and tips from the 2016 Keynote speakers: Rick Steves: Travel Writer, Host of Rick Steves Europe and Travel with Rick Steves, Europe Through the Back Door Pauline Frommer: Editorial Director of Frommer Guides and Publisher of Frommers.com Peter Greenberg: Emmy Award-Winning Investigative Reporter and Producer and CBS News Travel Editor Colleen Kelly: Host, Co-Creator and Executive Producer, National Public Television Series Family Travel with Colleen Kelly

BHA will be at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show
in February 2016

Missing dog
Has anyone seen Benny in Caye Caulker? His owner is devasted! Please look for him! Staci Allison is offering a reward of $400 to anyone who find Benny, her dog.

Attorney General’s Ministry
The Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs, Honorable Vanessa Retreage, with responsibility for the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission, officially appointed the Members of the Commission on January 11, 2016. The Office of the Commission will be located at the Attorney General’s Ministry in Belmopan City. The Commission is comprised of the following members: 1. Ms. Lisel Alamilla – Chairman 2. Mrs. P. Noreen Fairweather – Member 3. Mr. Randall Sheppard (Crown Counsel from within the Attorney General’s Ministry) - Member The Ministry has also engaged Mr. Anthony Ross, a highly regarded attorney with substantial experience in Indigenous Affairs, as expert Consultant to the Commission.

GOB & the Fort Street Tourism Village
Cabinet at its meeting today, 12th January, 2016 considered a request from Michael Feinstein, principal of the proposed State Bank Development Project requesting consideration by the Government of Belize for a 25 year exclusive contract for the Stake Bank Project. Cabinet in its consideration recalled that in 2004, under the Musa administration, the Government of Belize had signed an agreement with the Fort Street Tourism Village (FSTV), giving the port exclusivity in the Belize District. Mr. Michael Feinstein was the main investor in FSTV at the time. Years later when Michael Feinstein sought to develop the Stake Bank Project which would be an additional port in Belize City, he ran into difficulties resulting from this 2004 agreement. Mr. Feinstein took the matter to the Supreme Court and in October 2015, the Court ruled that those four provisions on exclusivity in the agreement were unlawful. In the face of the Court’s decision which found “the clause contained in the agreement between FSTV and GOB which prevented GOB from soliciting, endorsing, assisting, facilitating or permitting the construction or operation of any other tourism village and/or cruise ship terminal in the Belize District apart from FSTV’s operation by the Company was unlawful, unenforceable and incompatible with the proper discharge of GOB’s responsibilities; and are ultra vires the powers of the Executive to make,” Cabinet cannot entertain Mr. Feinstein’s request for exclusivity. Mr. Feinstein has stated that if he cannot be granted exclusivity, he may have to withdraw the project.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES in the fastest growing tourist destination in Belize
Do you have a skill...Sandy Point Resort is having a Job Fair on Friday, January 15th, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Southwind Properties Building on Barrier Reef Drive. — in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Corozal in-front of Caribbean Tires, beginning at 8:00 A.M. on Wednesday January 20th. Come and talk to our specialist about prices and terms! Big discounts will be offered to those who are our first customers during the ROAD SHOW!!! Don't miss out!

BAY Lounge Grand Opening
The Belmopan Active Youths are having the grand opening of the BAY Lounge on Thursday, January 14th, from noon to 10:00pm. Congratulations, BAY! "BAY invites you to the grand opening on January 14th 12pm-10pm to one of the first social enterprise in Belmopan, our BAY LOUNGE! This is a huge milestone for our organization and we very much hope that you will attend! We are grateful to all our partners and volunteers that have contributed in any way to make this possible! Special thanks to the US Embassy through their support under the BAY Job Creation and Entrepreneurship Development Project, the Belmopan City Council, YWCA for training in the culinary arts, our BAY Lounge Committee for their countless hours in planning and execution, the BAY Members/volunteers and our many other partners!"

Belizean athlete and marathon runner, Joseph Carr who passed away a few days ago in Belize City.

FCD: Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Update
Although the scarlet macaw breeding season started late in 2015 compared to previous years, a total of 15 chicks were able to integrate themselves into the wild population. Seven of these chicks were raised by their parents in the wild, while 8 were raised by research field staff in an in-situ laboratory and finally soft released. For the first time in 5 years, no chick was poached from the nests being monitored, although there were 6 poaching attempts. Poaching was reduced to zero because of two reasons, namely due to an increase in law enforcement patrols and constant human presence to deter poachers, and due to the extraction of at risk chicks and raised in a field laboratory. Two months after the soft release, chicks have been constantly observed feeding on wild fruits and socializing with wild adult macaws. Since the start of the breeding season, illegal activities were consistent in the area but concentrated more so around xate extraction. During the month of May, all 6 poaching attempts were recorded. Poachers managed to climb three cavities but on two of these, the chicks had already been extracted by the FCD Research Team and taken to in-situ laboratory, while the other had eggs. During one poaching attempt, FCD Park Rangers were stationed close to a tree cavity in an attempt to apprehend the poachers but they managed to escape. For the two other poaching attempts, poachers only made machete marks on the tree trunks but did not climb the tree. Poachers also killed a Tapir and set the banks of the Raspaculo River on fire. A camp was also discovered that had an enclosed trap indicating that potentially a wild animal was kept there. Poachers did not poach any macaw chicks from the monitored nests due to the constant human presence and the increase of patrols conducted by FCD Park Rangers.

Channel 7

Pregnant Woman Is Shot In Stomach: Baby Survives
A pregnant woman and her mother were shot last night at their home on Dolphin Street. At around nine, 18 year old Shenelle Roland was inside her home with her mom when 4 men came up to the house. One of the men opened fire hitting Roland and her mother. Today we found out just how lucky Rolland and her baby are to be alive. Shenelle Rolland is 6 months pregnant. She is expecting in April. She doesn't know what she is having and she wants it to be a surprise. Still, she has a few articles of clothes picked out for when the baby arrives. That dream was almost snatched from her last night when a bullet grazed her belly. She was making supper for her older brother when she heard the gunshots outside. Her brother and his friends were hanging out on these steps when the 2 gunmen came from the back of the house and opened fire. They quickly ran inside. Shenelle and her mother 42 year old Stephanie Smith then ran to the front door to shut it but that's when they faced one of the gunmen who was standing here - the gunman shot Shenelle and her mother before they could close the door.

GOB To Jack Charles: "Haul Yu Rice!"
The fight over the importation of Guyanese Rice is over, and it appears that business man Jack Charles has thrown in the towel, at least for the time being. The Government is giving him 2 weeks to make arrangements to export his 3 containers of rice out of Belize. As viewers will remember, a week ago Charles' attorneys had to scramble to the Supreme Court for an interim injunction - to stop customs from destroying the 75 tonnes of rice. That was done after customs got an order of forfeiture from the Magistrate's Court. Today, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin scheduled a hearing to review the lawfulness of the Forfeiture Order from the Magistrate's Court. All sides showed up to court ready to do legal battle, but, the case was never called up. About 2 hours after the parties had an audience before the Chief Justice - they agreed on a compromise: Government would allow Charles 14 days to make arrangements to get the rice out of Belize. We understand that Customs made this proposal to him late last week, but at that time, they were offering him only 7 days to remove the rice. Our information is that he responded saying he would need a month.

GOB Says Feinstein Wanted Exclusivity For Stake Bank
On Friday, we told you about the Stake Bank Project - that developer Mike Feinstein was giving up on - after it became clear in a meeting with the Prime Minister that government would not give him the kind of assurances that he needed to attract finance and move forward. Well, today government disclosed that what Feinstein wants is exclusivity - and it's not going to give that. A cabinet release which is about as common as a hurricane in January - was issued today sating plainly, quote, "Cabinet cannot entertain Mr. Feinstein's request for exclusivity. Mr. Feinstein has stated that if he cannot be granted exclusivity, he may have to withdraw the project." It adds, quote, "Cabinet…is reviewing numerous studies that have been done over the past two decades which identifies the Port of Belize as a viable facility. The government has recently received expressions of interest to develop the Port of Belize from two companies so far. One is the company that currently controls the receivership, Ports Investment Limited, and Hertzog International Incorporated." End quote. We note that Ports Investment Limited is the Ashcroft Alliance.

PM Comments On Banking Sector Under Pressure
Belize's banks continue to be under major pressure, and now it's affecting the business sector. The pressure is rising because presently there is only one bank with a correspondent banking relationship, and that's Scotiabank. So any business which needs to pay an international creditor, or receive payment by foreign currency cheque or wire transfer has to leave their regular bank and funnel it through Scotia. It's sure to cause a bottleneck, and Scotia has its own international standards and corporate culture, which isn't a match for every business - it does not, for example, have a good track record in the productive sector. And then there's the free zone, where all business has to be transacted in US dollars - but now, both the Belize Bank and the Atlantic Bank are being forced to shutter their operations in the zone - because they have lost their correspondent banking relationships. So with only one bank in the entire country which can freely do international transactions - it's a precarious position - and the entire economy is held in the balance. Today, we asked the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance about this near crisis situation:... Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "I've met with the US Ambassador, our Ambassador in Washington is trying to secure me appointments with the state department, with the US Treasury, with the World Bank - with two regulators; the FDIC and the Office of the Controller of the Currency. One of our difficulties is that a part from the tier one banks, smaller banks, community banks, state banks. In the case of credit card settlements, it's a community bank that has agreed to do that for Belize Bank and for Heritage after the corresponding banking relationship was cut off by Bank of America."

Murder Attempt In Broad Daylight
Gang warfare flared up in the streets of Belize City today - and two men were almost killed when they were cornered inside a business establishment. It happened on Barrack Road at a few minutes to 10:00 when a group of men were hanging out on the corner in front of their home. A car affiliated with the Pink's Alley gang pulled up and a gunman got out and started chasing the three men. They ran for cover inside a car wash - and the gunman followed, firing at least five shots. They ran into a tool shed and he fired two shots at close range but missed. The gunman then jumped into the waiting car, which had stopped traffic and sped off. Police have detained a suspect - and believe it is a product of ongoing rivalry between the Victoria Street and Pink's Alley gangs. The business owner told us that the men just ran inside his property - and he and his workers had to take cover.

Police Make Arrest For On Capital Cabbie Killing
Police are still investigating the murders of 2 taxi drivers in Belmopan. As we told you, 28 year old Isidro Suar was shot and killed in the Piccini area of Belmopan. His body was found thrown in the bushes near Chon Saan Restaurant on Friday night. But police were able to catch the culprits with the weapons in Ontario shortly after. Police have charged Lincoln Bejerano and a 17 year old female minor for Kept ammunition without a gun license, kept firearm with a gun license, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. Both Bejerano and the female minor have been remanded to prison until March 11th. Police told us they are both known to police - Lincoln has a record of gang related offenses as well as robbery. The taxi drivers we spoke to yesterday say they all know Bejerano as well.

Police Still Searching In Maas Murder
In the 2nd murder, police still have no one detained. 24 year old Yoni Maas went missing on Thursday night during his late shift at the terminal. His body was found on Sunday morning in Mount Pleasant. He was also shot to death. Police say they still haven't recovered Maas' taxi. The only link the police might have had with the killer was over the phone. Maas' sister told us yesterday that one of Maas' friends called his cell number and someone on the other end picked up but didn't say a word for about 15 minutes, then hung up. So police still have a lot of leads to follow up on and they still can't say for sure if these two murders are related.

Who Killed Tush, Cops Wanna Know
Police continue to investigate the case involving the deadly shooting of Cleon Tush Smith, a man who escaped death row in the 90's. He was murdered on Sunday night in the Hattieville village. Smith was sitting under a shed at one of his usual hang out spots when two gun men, gaining access through an empty lot, approached Tush from behind and shot him several times. 48 hours have passed since he was slain, and police say that 3 persons have been brought in for questioning but still they have yet to detain any suspects. Tush was known to be a member of the Ghost town Crips as a young man but it is believed he had given up that life style and settled in Hattieville. Police question whether he had given up the gang life completely as they continue to investigate his murder.

Ministry Rebuffs Siera Hodgson
There is still no closure for Siera Hodgson and her family. Siera's mom Mary Castillo was a patient at the Palm Center in Belmopan. But Castillo went missing on October 2nd 2014 and Siera - who is her only living relative - had no idea. She found out 17 days ago when she came to visit on Boxing Day. 20-year-old Siera told us she was shocked and angry because no one informed her or tried to get in touch with her. Well today the Ministry of Health sent out an official release saying they did try to contact Siera. It says "The then administration from Palm Center made several attempts to contact Ms. Castillo's daughter Ms. Siera Hodgson." It continues "the institution didn't and still doesn't have a telephone contact on our records for Ms. Siera. As a result, a message was sent via Facebook to both Siera Hodgson and Susan Hodgson on October 6th and October 22nd and there was no reply." It ends by saying quote, "the staff worked and sought the adequate avenues available to them in trying to pass the information in due fashion."

Gus Gets Back Home After Detention In Honduras
After six days of being held in Honduras under suspicion of Money Laundering, Belizean Business man August Tabony, better known as Gus, is home tonight, clear of all charges. News broke last week Tuesday that Tabony was held up at the airport in Roatan, Honduras because he was found with $16,490 US dollars - which he failed to declare. This morning Tabony arrived back in Belize, and our news team was at the airport to ask him about his ordeal. Emanuel Pech reports. His plane landed at the Phillip Goldson International airport about 8:30 this morning where an elated Gus Tabony disembarked the morning flight from Roatan Honduras. He was happy to be back in Belize and glad to be out of Honduras. We met him outside the airport where he recounted the incident. Yesterday he cleared his name in the Honduran court and today he hoped to do the same in Belize's court of public opinion. August Tabony - Cleared of Money Laundering: "The situation in Roatan was a disaster for me. I made a mistake. it could have been cleaned up in about 30 minutes but the prosecutor tried to make a much bigger thing about it and under the laws that they charged me, I had to prove that my money was not from drug trafficking or something like that and we had no problem proving it but then it took 6 days to have the hearing and as soon as we had the hearing, the judge released us. I have no reason to hang my head in shame. "

BTL's Short Term Plan For LTE
At the end of November, we told you about you about BTL's announcement that it intended to upgrade it's mobile data network to 4G LTE. The transition ahs been fast tracked to give some relief to customers who are bombarding the present 4g switch - which is overloaded. But in the race to roll out the service, SMART has beaten them to it. Just before Christmas, SMART announced that their 4G LTE service was here, while BTL customers are waiting for what's been derogatorily called "Slow G" to improve. BTL's Chairman of the Executive Committee Anwar Barrow, today implored those BTL 4G customers to wait just a little while longer while the company works to roll out 4G LTE as soon as possible. Here's that back and forth: Anwar Barrow - Exec. Chair., BTL Board: "I'm glad you asked that question because we put our some information on that. there have been areas where there have been challenges in terms of the experience and that has simply been because of the growth it's not that anything has been changed in the system or there is something wrong in the background, it's just because the traffic has grown so much over the last 10 months the traffic has grown by 800%.

Bowen Brewery Invests 40 Million
Back in September and December, Bowen & Bowen customers surely noticed that there was a shortage plastic bottle soft drinks and Belikin Beers. Those 2 months, especially December, that kind of thing is more than an inconvenience because the consumption of those products increases drastically. Well, today, Bowen and Bowen launched it's new Bottling Plant, a 40 million dollar investment to ensure that shortages like what happened last year will be a thing of the past. It was an event where major Government Representatives were present for it's unveiling. Today, we spoke with the President and CEO of Bowen and Bowen about the new plant: Michael Bowen - President/CEO, Bowen & Bowen LTD: "This represents 4 yrs. ago we made a plan, an integrated investment plan as I made reference to in my speech and this is coming to the end of our investment plan by the middle of this year. This represents a major monetary investment as well as time and capital as well as thinking and process for all of our consumers for making sure we always satisfy demand." Daniel Ortiz: "Sir, so what does this facility do for you all and what is the value of it? What does it cost you all to be at this point where it's now mass producing?" Michael Bowen - President/CEO, Bowen & Bowen LTD: "To me this represents more than just a capacity to bottle more beverages. It also adds the stability to order more portfolios to our products. the investment overall in this facility is we had a budget of 40 million dollars for this facility but its only part of our greater investment products or overall production for not only Coca Cola but for Crystal Water, Belikin Beer and for all of our products from Bowen & Bowen."

Gentle Says GSU Were Harsh
Last night we told you about the stash the GSU found on Lacroix street: a new gun, a pound of weed and a police radio. It was found in an open overgrown lot, but a press release from the GSU linked it to the Tyrone Gentle, who lives across form the open lot. But what the release didn't talk about is the beat-down they put on Gentle when they tried to get into his phone. He came by our newsroom this evening to tell us about it:... Tyrone Gentle, Beaten by GSU: "Just for the pin number from my phone they beat me up. Because one of the female officers that were there asked for the pin number." Jules Vasquez: "Your phone was locked?" Tyrone Gentle, Beaten by GSU: "Yes my phone was locked and they ask for the number and because I told them that I didn't remember the number, they start to beat me for the number. They beat me until they got it out of me. They handcuffed me on the ground and continue to beat me until they got it from me. I would have to give them it because one of them have their foot around my neck - like I was losing my breath, they kicked me in my stomach, in my back. They stand on my back, kick me on my ankle - they chanced me. They outright chance me."

GSU Gets Gun and Weed
The GSU continues undeterred. The unit says it picked up less than an ounce of Marijuana at the home of 25 year old Elvis ALDANA on Rivero Street, in Belize City yesterday. Four persons were present and all of them were arrested and charged for Possession of Controlled Drugs. One of the persons in the house is Joseph LOPEZ known as STUNNA who was charged in January 2014 for the crimes of Attempted murder, Dangerous harm, and Use of deadly means of harm as a result of a shooting incident and in October of 2014 he was charged for the Robbery at A&R on the Phillip Goldson Highway. And also last night at about 7:45pm, on Plues Street, the GSU searched an abandoned garage where they found a .380 pistol which was loaded with six (6) live .380 hollow point rounds. Police Firearm records revealed that the handgun is the property of Bradley PAUMEN of Belmopan - last licensed in 2011, but never reported stolen. PAUMEN is currently on remand for an Abetment to Murder charge.

BTL Teams Up With SJC To Create Technology Culture
A memorandum of understanding was signed today between the Chairman of BTL'S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, Anwar Barrow and the President of SJC Allis Peralta, to cement a partnership between the two institutions. They are teaming up for an enhanced Associate's Degree Program in Computer Networking with an emphasis in IP Technology. The signing was accompanied by the unveiling of the newly refurbished computer and diagnostics lab. The facility that will be used for practical instruction in the enhanced Associate's Degree Program. The Ceremony took place at the St. John's College West Landivar Campus in Belize City earlier today - and we were there. Allis Peralta - President, SJC: "It is in this spirit that we accept to submit a proposal addressed to BTL's needs for an academic program design to train its employees in the area of computer networking whilst at the same time obtaining the benefit of a fully equip computer lab for our students to be known as the BTL technology lab. We strongly believe that this program and the BTL technology lab will have a significant impact on the future of both employees of BTL and the students of St. Johns College. It is clear that technology is an essential component of the modern work place and it is thus imperative that as an educational institution we are able to train not only the current work force but also the future work force of this nation."

Let's Take A Long Walk
The Belize Law enforcement agency has been invited to participate in one of the largest law enforcement events in the world - the B2V. It is a relay foot race held every year in the US. The race covers 120 miles from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada and it involves over 8 thousand participants. The organizers have invited 25 members - 20 men and 5 females- of the Belize law enforcement departments to participate this year. It is a strenuous race, one that mandates the body to be in top physical form. So, can our law enforcement personnel handle this rigorous challenge? Raymond Arnold, one of the organizers of the "Belize Protectors Team" seems to think so. He stopped by our studios today to talk about their qualifying race to be held this Saturday. The Law enforcement departments have joined forces with the Belize Olympic Association in this relay challenge. But of course getting invited is the easy part, getting there is quite another. The group organizing the team says their estimated costs for participating in the event is $100 thousand dollars. As a result they are now turning to the public for support.

New Rides For Forestry
We hear about vehicle donations to the BDF and the police department all the time, but today the Department of the Environment got 6 new vehicles to enhance their environmental health programs. Today a handing over ceremony was held in Belmopan and the Minister of State responsible for the environment and climate change, Omar Figueroa told the media today how the department will benefit from this donation. As you heard, there is also a grant of 6 million US dollars that will assist with other programs.

A Government Commission For Maya Rights
The court mandated it, and the government has set up a Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission - complete with a full time Chairman and an office. Former Minister, Lisel Alamilla will be the Chairman and the Office will be at the Attorney General's Ministry in Belmopan City. Alamilla is joined by members Noreen Fairweather and Randall Sheppard who is a Crown Counsel in the Attorney General's Ministry. Anthony Ross, an attorney with expertise in Indigenous Affairs, is also an expert Consultant to the Commission. A release says that The Commission's job is to to implement the Consent Order of the Caribbean Court of Justice, which requires Government to adopt affirmative measures to identify and protect the rights arising from Maya customary land tenure. This Commission will establish collaborative consultation and participation of key stakeholders, mainly focusing on the twenty three villages, including Conejo and Santa Cruz, the Maya Leaders Alliance, and the Toledo Alcalde Association.

Water for Aguacate
In other news from the south - the village of Agaucate will get a water system valued at 337 thousand dollars. It's CDB funding through the social investment fund - and Senator Macario Cal underscored the importance:..

Channel 5

2 Women Shot After Gunmen Unleash a Hail of Lead
A barrage of gunshots was unleashed before nine o’clock on Dolphin Street, Belize City on Monday night. Gunmen fired as many as fifteen shots at two men sitting on the [...]

Gunshots Ring Out on Barrack Road as Gang Tensions Escalate
While a mother and child were injured in the Dolphin Street shooting, a pair of Belize City men is fortunate to have escaped unscathed from a mid-morning shooting near Newtown [...]

Belmopan Taxi Operators Anxious After Two of Their Own Were Executed
The communities of Salvapan and Maya Mopan are still reeling from the brutal murders of two young taxi-men from those communities. The body of Isidro Suar was discovered late Friday [...]

Importer Jack Charles Given Two Weeks to Export Rice
Now turning to the issue of the Guyanese rice….Businessman Jack Charles has until January twenty-seventh to re-export three containers of the rice from Belize.  That is the result of an [...]

PM Barrow Says Jack Charles Did Not Follow Procedures
This afternoon, we managed to speak to Prime Minister Dean Barrow for his take on the Guyana rice situation. He told us that where it’s at right now is that [...]

Derisking Poses Huge Threat to Belize, Says PM
The PM touched on a number of hot-buttoned issues this afternoon. The issue of the loss of U.S. correspondent banking relationships due to de-risking is poses as an existential threat [...]

G.O.B. Taking All Steps to Find a Solution
Barrow says that while we are not quite there yet, the potential impact on Belize is real and huge. That is what has forced G.O.B. to be galvanized into action [...]

Barrow Says Feinstein Will Not Get Exclusivity
Today, Cabinet sent out a release on an application by Stake Bank developer Mike Feinstein for exclusivity under a twenty-five year contract where that project is concerned. Last week, Feinstein [...]

News 5 Travels to Guatemala for Presidential Inauguration
This Thursday, a new president will be sworn into office in Guatemala and News Five will be there to bring you coverage of the event in both our newscasts as [...]

GSU on City Anti-Drug Operations
The Gang Suppression Unit was involved in four anti-drugs operations in various areas of the City on Monday. At noon the Unit searched the house of alleged drug peddler Elvis [...]

John Briceño Speaks on Candidacy for P.U.P. Leader
John Briceño…he’s a candidate for a position he held from 2008 to 2011, Party Leader of the People’s United Party. On January thirty-first, he will face immediate past Party Leader [...]

Briceño Says That This Time Undermining Will Not Be Tolerated
When Briceño stepped down in 2011, a major factor was allegedly the turmoil in the Party which could not be quelled. Briceño was unable to gain the support of those [...]

Belizean Businessman Freed After 6 Days in Detention
After spending six days in detention at a jail in Roatan, Honduras, Belizean businessman August Tabony is back home. The sixty-five year old businessman was detained at the Juan Manuel [...]

August Tabony Says He is Reconsidering His Investments in Honduras
Tabony is the proprietor of several gift stores in Belize and has also invested in Roatan for decades. He told the media today that the incident has left a bad [...]

Mayan Land Rights Commission Named
The Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission has been named.  Before we get to the names, the scope of work of the Commission is the implementation of the Consent Order of [...]

B.T.L. Signs Memorandum of Understanding With SJCJC
After sending out the call to several education institutions to make the bid, today, Belize Telemedia Limited signed a memorandum of understanding with Saint John’s College Junior College. The MOU [...]

B.T.L. Chairman Anwar Barrow Claims That Revenues Will Increase
The media also took the opportunity to ask Chairman Barrow about several issues including the drop in profits at the government-owned telecommunications company. Barrow says that while the financials have [...]

Chairman Barrow Explains Hiccups in 4G Service
But that is little or no consolation to Telemedia customers who for months now have been experiencing dropped calls, interruptions in data services despite the stabilization of the 4G service [...]

Meet the New Children’s Rights Ambassadors
In 1990, Belize signed on to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Twenty-six years later, government through the National Committee for Families and Children has established a [...]

Mark your calendars & be sure not to miss the debut of Channel 5's newest show: GREAT BELIZE COOKING! The Chef Sean Kuylen takes us on a culinary journey all over Belize to discover the tradition and production process of the our favorite cultural foods and ingredients. Great Belize Cooking premieres January 26, 2016 at 8:00pm on Channel 5!


Principals Of The Corozal District Meets T Discuss Challenges In The Education Sector
With the aim of discussing obstacles that are presently hampering the delivery of a proper primary school curriculum, primary school principals in the Corozal District hold monthly meetings at the Education Department. The first meeting for the New Year was held a few days ago and many issues were laid on the table including the PSE requisite correspondence and capacity building. Jahmore Lopez Education Centre Manager: “Today we are meeting with our School principals, it our monthly meeting, we usually bring in our principals for capacity building sessions as educators we have to remain current there are so many changes and since it is the start of the new year, its January and we invited them for a meeting to bring them up to speed with what is happening believe it or not 2016 is almost finish and the school year will be ending very shortly can’t believe it ash Wednesday is next month and then it is Easter and before your know it school is closed and school year ends and another one is about to begin so we trying to ensure that we have our eye dotted and our T’s cross and so we’ve invited them sharing pertinent information as you know we have the PSA exam that we normally do and that is coming up the first sitting is actually Monday March 14th roughly two months away and so we need to deal with final preparation in terms of ensuring that students are properly registered, that their names is spelled correctly etc. and we deal with the requisite correspondence, the second sitting is actually going to be on Tuesday because May 1st I think it is a Sunday and then the Monday will be the holiday which is May 2nd and so the second sitting of the PSE will be on the Tuesday May 3rd, so the first sitting is English and Science and the second sitting is math and Social Studies.”

Jack Charles given Fourteen Days To Re-export Rice
The hearing at the Supreme Court in the matter of Jack Charles against the customs department to determine whether or not the Order of Forfeiture granted to Customs by Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer was lawful or not was called off after an agreement was reached to re-export the three containers of Guyanese rice that Charles attempted to import in December. GOB informed Charles on Friday that under section 133 of the importation laws of Belize he will have seven days to re-export the rice. Charles attempted to negotiate for a one month period but in the end, agreed to the 14 day time limit given to him by the Ministry of Finance and Prime Minister Dean Borrow.

Ministry Of Health Weighs In On Case Of Mary Castillo
Earlier this year the baffling story of Mary Castillo was brought to light by her daughter Sierra Hodgson. Mary Castillo was a patient at the Palm Center and had been an inpatient since August 2006 until October 2nd 2014 when she disappeared from the institution. Siera Hodgson - who lives in the UK - had no idea of the disappearance of her mother. Hodgson found out a couple weeks ago on Boxing Day when she came to Belize to visit her mom. When she got to the center is when she learned her mom was missing and could be dead. Information coming from the Palm center was that at the time of Castillo’s disappearance they exhausted all possible means to get in contact with Hodgson and were unable to do so but Siera kept that she did not receive any information from the center about her mother’s disappearance.

#510614 - 01/13/16 05:56 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 13, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy


PM Barrow Seeks Solution to Banking Sector Woes
In May 2015 the Bank of America had severed ties with Belize Bank Limited thus creating a void and some serious inconveniences for importers, business persons and the public in general who conduct overseas transactions. It is a serious issue and as was mentioned by CARICOM’s Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, Belize is not the only […]

PM Says No Exclusivity for Mike Feinstein or Stake Bank
In 2004, the Government of Belize had signed onto an agreement with the Fort Street Tourism Village, giving the port exclusivity in the Belize District. Some years later when Michael Feinstein sought to develop the Stake Bank Project which would be another port in Belize City, there were obstacles due to this agreement. The matter […]

Regional Heads of CARICOM To Discuss Key Issues in Belize
Interim Chair for the Caribbean Community is Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Last week CARICOM’s Secretary General Irwin LaRocque was in the country meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss his role as the Chair. In February the heads of the CARICOM member states will meet on the Placencia peninsula for a Heads of Government […]

Customs Pursues Contrabandista in High Speed Chase
Custom officers in Belize City were engaged in a high speed chase on the south side of the old capital just after nine o’clock this morning. Love News understands that a Custom officer had received a tip of a white van in the Queen’s Square Market area carrying uncustomed goods. A team of Customs officers […]

John Briceno Ready for Another Run at PUP Leadership
John Briceno has served as Deputy Prime Minister of Belize and is a former party leader for the People’s United Party. Briceno is now seeking the post of leadership again for the blue and white camp and today we asked him why. JOHN BRICENO “I am doing that because I love the PUP and I […]

A Commission for Toledo Maya Land Rights
Attorney General Vanessa Retreage has appointed the members of the Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission. The Chairman of the Commission is Lisel Alamilla while Noreen Fairweather and Randall Shepherd are the members. Attorney Anthony Ross, who has experience in Indigenous Affairs, has been retained as expert consultant to the Commission. The primary responsibility of the […]

Jack Charles Gets Second Chance with Guyanese Rice
The 75 tons of Guyanese rice that Extra House Importer Jack Charles brought into the country late last year is still being housed in three containers inside the Port of Big Creek in Independence. After Justice Sonya Young, rejected Charles’ application for judicial review, rumors of the Customs Department wanting to destroy the rice, prompted […]

Mom and Pregnant Daughter Caught in Gunfire
A mother and daughter were getting ready for bed last night just after eight o’clock when they were shot at the entrance of their home by two gunmen. 42-year-old, Stephanie Smith remains in the hospital after she received a gunshot wound to her stomach; while her pregnant 18-year-old daughter, Shennelle Rowland was released from the […]

GSU Carries Out Operations on South Side of the City
Yesterday, at around midday, the GSU searched the home of twenty five year old Elvis Aldana on Rivero Street in Belize City. With Aldana at the time were, Marco Zelaya, an eighteen year old computer technician of Reggae Street, twenty year old Joseph Lopez, an electrician of Mahogany Street and a 17 year old female […]

BTL Partners with SJC for Computer Networking Program
Today the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Belize Telemedia Limited, Anwar Barrow and President of SJCJC, Mirtha Peralta, signed a memorandum of understanding for an Associate Degree Program in Computer networking. The program will focus on Internet Protocol Technology. According to both, Peralta and Barrow, this joint venture represents a new and innovative method […]


Belmopan Taxi man shot and killed on Friday night
At around 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday night , January 8, residents living near the Picinni area in Belmopan say they heard at least 5 distinct gunshots in the distance coming from the George Price Boulevard. Police were called out to the area and immediately responded to find a person face down o...

Decomposed Body of another taximan found
That first murder occurred on Friday night but there is a second murder to report. The wife of 24 year old Yoni Maas reported to Police that her common-law husband had not returned to their home in Salvapan, as is usual after running taxi, and she feared that something was wrong. Friends and family ...

Former street figure murdered in Hattieville
Was Cleon “Tush” Smith targeted over drugs, old conflicts or something else? Police have no shortage of leads in the Sunday night murder, which took place as he sat behind a gated residence on Sylvester Boulevard in Hattieville Village. With the details here is Senior Superintendent of P...

Stabbed up body found in PG well
A decomposed body was found in Punta Gorda. At about 8:30 a.m. on Sunday the 10th of January, the decomposed body of 19 year old Jarrel Edward Pop was found. The body was found inside a well in the New City area of Punta Gorda. An onsite post mortem was conducted and the cause of death was certified...

Several Fires set in Punta Gorda
On the 10th of January, four fires were reported in Punta Gorda, all suspected to be linked to one another, and all suspected to be arson. At about 1:25 a.m., a vehicle was set on fire at Cayetano Street in Punta Gorda. The red 2005 Chevy Colorado, 4- door pick up truck was seen with fire coming fro...

Woman raped at junction
A 48-year-old woman has reported being raped. On Saturday the 9th of January, a 48 year old woman visited the Dangriga Police Station and reported that she had been sexually assaulted. She told police that she came off a bus at the 6 miles Hummingbird junction alone, and while she was at the junctio...

Teenage girl missing
15 year old Seily Jozeline Aguilar has been reported missing. On January the 6th at about 6:20a.m., 15-year-old Seily Aguilar left her home in her Belmopan Comprehensive High School uniform and has not returned home since. Seily is stands about 5ft in height, is slim built, weighs about 110lbs, has ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Messages From Inspector Dehanne Augustine
Caye Caulker Sub–Formation would like to thank the community members for their participation in assisting the police in the recovery of items that were stolen during burglaries in the village. Over the past months our village has and is being plagued with burglaries. We are therefore asking our community members to refrain from purchasing these islands, as it is against the law to buy or handle stolen items. Remember! You are helping the criminals when you buy or handle these stolen items. Once again, thank you. Together, let's keep our island safe!!


6 murdered in 10 days
Ten days into the New Year, police are already recording six murders, four of which happened between last Thursday and this Sunday night in the Belize, Cayo and Toledo Districts. The sudden spike in homicides this weekend is statistically significant, since Belize recorded 7 murders for the month of January 2015, down from 10 in January 2014. The weekend bloodbath claimed the lives of Isidro Suar, 28, of Belmopan; Jarrel Edward Pop, 19, of Punta Gorda; Yoni Maas, 24, of Belmopan; and Cleon Smith, aka “Tush”, 41, of Hattieville. The murders follow the slaying of Canadian filmmaker, Matthiew Klinck, 37, last weekend, for which two teenagers of Santa Elena were charged last Friday. On New Year’s Day, Kieron Moss, 21, was gunned down in Belize City. Although there were reports that police had detained a suspect for questioning, as far as we are aware, no one has yet been charged for the Moss murder.

New Guat regime takes office Thursday
A team of new government officials will be sworn in this Thursday, January 14, in Guatemala as that country’s recently elected president, Jimmy Morales, takes office, along with new members of Congress and Cabinet. Chief Executive Officer in Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Sylvestre, told Amandala today that Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow will be attending the inauguration, and he will be supported by the Belize Embassy in Guatemala City, through which, he said, the Prime Minister will be well served. Sylvestre won’t attend, as he will be accompanying Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington to Georgetown, Guyana, for the Friday, January 15, 2016 meeting of the CARICOM Council of Ministers. Belize’s resident ambassador to Guatemala, H.E. Alexis Rosado, explained, in speaking with Amandala today, that there will be a series of ceremonies held in Guatemala City on Thursday. A new Congress will be sworn in on Thursday morning and in the afternoon, Morales and the new vice president of Guatemala will be sworn in.

Two Belmopan taxi men gunned down
Two taxi men from the nation’s capital, Belmopan, have been murdered, and police are investigating whether their murders are related. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., on Friday, January 8, police were called to the Piccini area of Belmopan, where they found the body of Isidro Suar, 28, a taxi driver of Peru Street, Salvapan, in Belmopan. Suar suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his head, the side of his body and his back. His body was transported to the Western Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 1:11 a.m. on Saturday, January 9. Stephanie Grinage, Inspector of Police, Deputy Commander, Belmopan Police, told Amandala today that police were able to detain two persons for the homicide: Lincoln Bejerano, 25, of Tijuana, Mexico, and a 17-year-old female, both living in Belmopan. As we report in a separate article appearing in this edition of Amandala, police had set up a checkpoint in the Ontario Village area, and the two were detained after the maroon Toyota Rav 4 they were in sped past the checkpoint.

Arsonist goes wild in PG
Punta Gorda police have detained an alleged serial arsonist who they say was responsible for causing a series of fires in Punta Gorda Town—setting ablaze two vehicles, a home and a restaurant between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on Sunday. The first fire was reported at about 1:25 Sunday morning. According to police, a vehicle parked on Cayetano Street, Punta Gorda, was engulfed in flames. The Punta Gorda Fire Service quickly extinguished the blaze. However, the 2005 Chevy Colorado, 4-door pickup truck, belonging to Merida Chan, of # 5 Cayetano Street, was completely destroyed. Chan told police, that around 10:00 o’clock on Saturday night, she and her boyfriend made sure that the vehicle was securely locked before retiring for the night. They went to bed, but at about 1:20 a.m., she woke up and saw that the front of the vehicle was engulfed in flames. Then, about an hour later, at 2:34 a.m., someone tried to burn down Victor Caliz’s house, on Vernon Street, Punta Gorda. He found that a chair on his verandah was on fire, but he quickly put out the blaze—averting what could have been a major disaster.

Chief Justice Benjamin highlights need for criminal justice reform
The traditional opening of the Supreme Court began this morning with a church ceremony at the Holy Redeemer Cathedral. Following the service, the traditional march of members of the judiciary and the legal profession passed through the downtown area, ending in front of the main Supreme Court building, where Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin inspected a police guard of honor, before he addressed the bench and bar in his packed courtroom. The Chief Justice underscored the dire need for criminal justice reform, noting that the situation worsened in 2015. “As of December 31, 2015, there are 403 persons on remand at the Belize Central Prison. That is an increase over the remand population at the end of 2014. Of that number, 118 are awaiting trial at the Supreme Court, predominantly for the offense of murder,” Benjamin said, adding that 27 persons have been on remand for over 5 years. In the Civil Division of the Supreme Court, there were a total of 806 cases filed in 2015, while 334 divorce petitions were received for filing and 309 defended and undefended divorce decrees were granted.

Contrabandistas blamed for carrot crisis
Orange Walk carrot producers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars because their locally grown produce is being boxed out of the market by imported carrots, which have flooded stalls and stores around the country, allegedly due to oversupply caused by contrabandistas. Roberto Harrison, Chief Agriculture Officer, who conceded that there could be an increase in contraband carrots on the Belize market, told our newspaper that the last permit for the importation of carrots was given in the latter part of December—but that was only for 3,000 pounds of carrots and so there should not be an oversupply of imported carrots on the market. Media reports indicate that $30,000 worth of carrots could be lost and two-thirds ($20,000 worth) is already rotting in the fields. CTV3 in Orange Walk reported last week that 15 farmers of San Carlos Village, Orange Walk District, have been unable to sell their carrots. According to 7News, 10 acres of carrots worth $20,000 dollars are wasting in the fields.

Belize to host C.A. Cross Country Championship
Belize will be hosting the 10th Central American Cross Country Championship in Athletics. This event is sponsored by CADICA, the Central American Track and Field Organization. The event is set to take place on Saturday, February 20, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo. Runners from all countries in Central America will converge into Belize for this event. Approximately 125 persons will be hosted in Belize for the meet. Belize hosted this event some years ago, but this is the first under this new executive. We hope to make a good showing, with the participation and sponsorship of a number of business sponsors and the Ministry of Sports. The Belize Athletics Association (BAA) will be having a national competition on Saturday, January 30, to select athletes to represent at the event in February. Any and all interested persons should contact the BAA as early as possible to register. Contact can be made on our facebook account or email belizeathleticassociation@gmail.com.

BAA mourns the loss of outstanding athlete, Joseph Carr
The executive and membership of the Belize Athletic Association (BAA) joins the Carr family in mourning the loss of a husband, father and outstanding athlete, Mr. Joseph Carr. Mr. Carr was a decorated long distance athlete for Belize and the Athletic Association. He recently ran and won the New Year’s Day 5K run organized by the Belize Athletic Association. The Executive and membership of the BAA express condolences to the Carr family, and pray God’s comfort and peace now and in the days ahead.

Playoff spots will be decided this Sunday in BDFA U-15
Another set of back matches was played yesterday in the BDFA Interim Committee U-15 football tournament at the MCC Grounds. In game 1, Smart Brown Bombers won, 5-3, over Face of Belize. Tyreek Mushcamp struck twice, and Eshaq King, Maynor Hernandez and Michael Deshield scored a goal apiece for the Bombers, while Ajani Vaughn got 2 goals and Sergio Andrade scored the other for Face of Belize. In game 2, Hattieville Riverside Boys and Berger United played to a nil-nil draw. Game 3 saw Ladyville Jaguars emerging 2-1 winners over Ladyville Rising Stars. Allen Anderson and D’Jon Canelo hit the target for the Jaguars, while Camryn Lozano scored for Rising Stars. In the scheduled game 4, Carlston Strikers won by default over Collet Strikers.

Editorial: An important inauguration
December 1975 was a busy month in a busy year for Henry Kissinger. Just about ten days after okaying Suharto’s assault on East Timor, Kissinger met with Iraq’s foreign minister, Sa’dun Hammadi. Hoping to turn Baghdad against Moscow, Kissinger promised Hammadi that in exchange for toning down Iraq’s Baathist radicalism and moving away from the Soviet Union, Ford (U.S. President, Gerald Ford) would bring Israel to heel and force it to give up its occupied territories. “Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world,” Kissinger said to Iraq’s foreign minister. “We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel, but we can reduce its size to historical proportions.” Notwithstanding what he had told Hammadi, Kissinger was not going to reduce Israel to “historical proportions.” But he did have a more expendable people he could offer up and keep his word: the Kurds. Just three years earlier, he had schemed with Iran to destabilize Baathist Iraq by supporting the Kurds, providing them with weapons (supplied by Israel so as not to alert the State Department) to wage an insurgent war for independence in northern Iraq. Kissinger didn’t expect the Kurds to triumph. He often complained about the unworkable size of the United Nations and the last thing he wanted was yet another member state (Bangladesh was bad enough). He just needed the Kurdish insurgency to provide enough pressure on Baghdad to give him leverage.

From the Publisher
More than a month ago, I wrote a column about a tragedy which had occurred in New York City in which the victim had been the young Belizean bride in a wedding I attended during the summer of 1966 in New York City. All I knew of Mrs. Junior Reneau was that her first name was Carlota, that she was light-skinned, and beautiful, and that her mother was dark-skinned. Well, the lady Gertrude Smith Flowers (the former Radio Belize star) filled in some blank spaces when she flew home from New York last month for her dad’s funeral in Rancho Dolores. Gertrude, who has been a loyal friend of mine for many, many years, made a visit to the newspaper to do some business after the funeral, and she tied up several loose ends after nearly fifty years of questions on my side. Gertrude told us in the newspaper office that Carlota Moss was in the class ahead of hers at Pallotti High School. She remembers that Carlota was beautiful, yes, that she had come to Belize from Honduras, and that she likely left Belize, British Honduras, in 1964, perhaps before graduating.

Fisheries consultations look at realignment of protected areas zones
The Belize Fisheries Department is planning a series of consultations to be held next week in southern Belize for commercial fishermen in the South, and particularly those who use the South Water Caye Marine Reserve and Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. James Azueta, Ecosystems Management Unit Coordinator at the Belize Fisheries Department, said that they hope that through the upcoming consultations, they will get valuable feedback on possible realignments within the two protected fishing zones. According to an official release from the Department, the purpose of the consultations is “…to discuss the readjustment, the possible expansion and creation of zones within the two targeted protected areas.” The specific objectives of the consultations are to get feedback on the existing boundaries of the protected areas, and to realign those boundaries and create new zones if necessary to address the livelihoods of the stakeholders and at the same time protect the existing habitats and ecosystems. They also aim to gather data to develop spatial maps reflecting the outcome of the consultations.

Sargassum: from bane to boon
Across the Caribbean, the mysterious invasion of the Sargassum seaweed has for the past 4 years had disruptive impacts on both fisheries and tourism, but the phenomenon which was first seen as a bane because of its adverse impacts has, conversely, fueled a boon for enterprising persons who have found innovative ways to exploit the explosion of the weed. “The Sargassum situation is a challenge for all of us in the region. We first had a massive inundation of Sargassum seaweed in 2011. For 2012, 2013 we did not have much. 2014 we had a little more and last year it was a major problem throughout the Caribbean region—massive problem,” Milton Haughton, executive director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), told the media on Thursday. In explaining the origin of the seaweed which has inundated the Caribbean, Haughton said: “…based on the scientific information that we and our partners have been able to gather, we know that the Sargassum is coming from, not the Sargasso Sea as was initially thought, but an area in the Atlantic, just in the southern Atlantic.”

Belize economy forecast to grow at 2.5% in 2016: World Bank
A new World Bank report titled, Global Economic Prospects, January 2016: Spillovers amid Weak Growth, reports that the Belize economy grew at an estimated rate of 3% in 2015, down from a rate of 3.6% in 2014. It reports that Belize’s forecasted GDP growth for 2016 will be lower – at 2.5%, which would represent the third consecutive year of GDP decline for Belize. The world economic forecast was also positive, according to the report, which said that, “…global growth is poised to recover modestly, by 2.9 percent in 2016, after (once again) falling short of expectations at 2.4 percent in 2015, held back by weak capital flows to emerging and developing countries, weak trade and low commodity prices.” It raises expectations that “….China will steer its economy to a more consumption and services-led growth and the monetary policy tightening cycle in the United States will proceed without undue turbulence; as a consequence, global growth will see a modest upturn.”

A new home for Shermaine Flowers and family
Shermaine Flowers, 37, her husband and seven children, who live in Unitedville, are the recipients of a brand new pine lumber home with mahogany doors through the generosity of Pastor Ron Braaten of Oasis Ministry, located in Unitedville. Flowers said that she had gotten notice to evacuate the home she had been occupying, but just before Christmas, she received good news that she would receive a brand new four-bedroom home on January 2, 2016. Flowers told Amandala, overjoyed, that she would finally have a home of her own. Braaten said that Oasis has been working in Belize for 17 years, and for the past 10 years they have been offering housing assistance to families. Flowers’ home is the 94th they have awarded, and it is an “amazing journey to be a part of,” Braaten said.

Cordel Hyde hits the ground running ahead of Jan. 31 PUP leadership convention
The Opposition People’s United Party held a meeting of its National Party Council on Saturday morning to work out the operational ground rules for its January 31 national convention. All candidates aspiring to fill the party’s vacant executive posts, including the three men campaigning for the position of party leader, converged at their Independence Hall headquarters with an estimated 200 out of the 3,000 delegates who will cast their ballots at the upcoming convention. Francis Fonseca—the PUP leader who resigned and announced that he would not seek another term as area representative for the Freetown Division, but who was apparently coaxed into running for the leadership post—declined our request for comments, saying, “The chairman will speak.” John Briceño also declined to comment on how his bid to return to the leadership position is taking shape and bid us, “Happy New Year!” before he walked away. PUP chairman, Henry Charles Usher, said that the meeting was a very straightforward meeting.

180 Cubans to begin pilot exodus via Central America on Tuesday
Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 12, the International Office for Migration (IOM) will facilitate the exodus of 180 Cubans from Costa Rica, as a part of a pilot transfer of nearly 10,000 persons currently stranded in Central America, according to a statement issued last Wednesday by Costa Rica’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. The Cubans are flocking to the US to take advantage of that country’s wet-foot, dry-foot policy—which provides special privileges for Cubans to legitimize their status in the US, even if they arrive without papers, but which turns them back to Cuba if they are detained at sea. They are scrambling because they fear that the policy—which sister countries in the region say has been unfairly preferential to Cubans—will be rescinded now that the US has normalized relations with Cuba. The Government of Costa Rica announced last week that the pilot flight, capable of transporting 180 Cubans, is supported by various businesses. They are expected to depart from Costa Rica’s Aeropuerto Internacional Daniel Oduber, in Guanacaste, and transported to El Salvador. From there, they will travel by bus to Guatemala and then to Mexico.

Two Santa Elena teens, 19 and 16, remanded for Klinck murder after confession: police
Two teenagers of Santa Elena – Brandon Anderson, 19, and another young male, 16, have been remanded to the Belize Central Prison on joint charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the vicious stabbing death of Canadian filmmaker, Matthiew Klinck, 37, who was found dead Sunday night, January 3, in Selena Village, Cayo, near Spanish Lookout. Anderson and the minor, who were known to Klinck, were arraigned in the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court on Friday afternoon and remanded until their next court appearance on April 12, 2016. The arrest of the two accused killers came after five days of intense investigation into the murder of Klinck, whose decomposing body was found in his yard about 15 feet from his house, in Selena, at about 8:30 Sunday night. According to police, he had been stabbed about 14 times in his upper body, and his house and vehicle were open and had been ransacked. The lead investigator in the case, Inspector Reymundo Reyes, Deputy Commander of the San Ignacio Police, told reporters that robbery was the motive of the murder.

Reports carried by Breaking News Belize are that reliable sources had said that Pop had been decapitated, and his head found at the bottom of the well, but police would not confirm or deny those reports.
Allen Nunez, a man of the New City area of Punta Gorda Town, got a big surprise when he went to his well to get water on Sunday morning, but instead found the decomposing body of a man inside. He immediately alerted his neighbor, and police were called to the scene. Police investigations revealed that the body discovered at around 8:30 that morning was that of Jarrel Edward Pop, 19, a laborer of Queen Street, Punta Gorda. His body was retrieved from the well and an onsite post-mortem was conducted, at about 4:30 yesterday evening. The autopsy certified the cause of death as multiple sharp and blunt force injuries, consistent with chop and stab wounds to the neck, back, cervical region and lower abdomen, police said. Reports carried by Breaking News Belize are that reliable sources had said that Pop had been decapitated, and his head found at the bottom of the well, but police would not confirm or deny those reports.

Feinstein throws in the towel on US$100 mil Stake Bank project
The US$100 million mega-tourism enterprise which was supposed to include a cruise port and an expansive shopping zone offshore Belize City, could be abandoned after a short meeting between the developer, Michael Feinstein, and Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Friday. Amandala readers will recall that the Feinstein project had gotten rare bipartisan support when a bill to grant exemptions on the payment of taxes and duties was taken to Parliament early 2014. “All the Prime Minister was to do was to sign the statutory instrument and we would be set to go…” Feinstein told us today. “The only way I would revisit [the Stake Bank project], is if Government guarantees the loan,” he said. After the latest revelation that the Government has been entertaining other potential cruise port investors, Feinstein said that he has no guarantee that others won’t be brought in to the sector, which would make it hard for him to secure the returns he needs to have on the investment to make it viable. “The fact that Prime Minister could actually entertain that when I am about to start a project makes it impossible. It makes no business sense to go down that road,” the developer told us.

Former death row inmate, Cleon “Tush” Smith, gunned down in Hattieville

Family car jacked at Armenia speedbump
Melonie Popper Coc, 38, of Ladyville, Belize District, and her family were robbed at gunpoint while travelling from Belmopan to Dangriga, Stann Creek, by two armed bandits, when she stopped briefly in Armenia Village to make a phone call. The unmasked bandits stole the vehicle Popper Coc was driving – a silver blue Isuzu D-Max belonging to Puma Energy – and made off with a range of items, together valued at almost $17,000. According to police, Popper Coc was travelling with her mother and 4 children when the incident occurred at about 7:15 Saturday night, between a vegetable stall and a bus stop near the second speed bump on the highway in Armenia. Popper Coc had pulled over to the side of the highway and exited the vehicle to make a phone call and within about two minutes, an armed Hispanic man came up to her and took away her phone and proceeded to remove her mother and children from the vehicle. Meanwhile, a second male quickly got into the driver’s seat and both men drove off towards Belmopan.

Chief Justice Benjamin highlights need for criminal justice reform
The traditional opening of the Supreme Court began this morning with a church ceremony at the Holy Redeemer Cathedral. Following the service, the traditional march of members of the judiciary and the legal profession passed through the downtown area, ending in front of the main Supreme Court building, where Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin inspected a police guard of honor, before he addressed the bench and bar in his packed courtroom. The Chief Justice underscored the dire need for criminal justice reform, noting that the situation worsened in 2015. “As of December 31, 2015, there are 403 persons on remand at the Belize Central Prison. That is an increase over the remand population at the end of 2014. Of that number, 118 are awaiting trial at the Supreme Court, predominantly for the offense of murder,” Benjamin said, adding that 27 persons have been on remand for over 5 years. In the Civil Division of the Supreme Court, there were a total of 806 cases filed in 2015, while 334 divorce petitions were received for filing and 309 defended and undefended divorce decrees were granted.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Belize Telemedia Limited to partner with Saint John’s College Junior College on computer program
Belize Telemedia Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding with St. John’s College Junior College to introduce an Associate-level program in Computer Networking emphasizing IP Technology. The Catholic institution also received a newly refurbished computer and diagnostic lab funded by the state-run telephone company, […]

Two arrested for Belmopan murder of Isidro Suar
Twenty-five-year-old Lincoln Bejerano of Venezuela Street and a 17-year-old waitress of Guatemala Street, both in Belmopan City, have been jointly charged for the offenses of ‘robbery’ and ‘conspiracy to commit robbery’, in connection to the murder of Isidro Suar who was killed on January […]

Two women shot as hail of bullets rain on their home
Two Belize City females are today hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after they were shot last night00 p.m., where they […]

Cases of H1N1 and Zika are being monitored in Barbados
According to reports by Caribbean 360, health authorities in Barbados have sent samples of eight suspected cases of H1N1 and Zika for testing to the Caribbean Public Health Agency. Minister of Health John Boyce asked Barbadians not to panic and to take similar measures […]

Court hearing called off after Jack Charles and government reach agreement
The hearing at the Supreme Court in the matter of Jack Charles versus customs department was called off, as we are told an agreement is in place to re-export the three containers of Guyanese rice that he attempted to import in December. Our understanding […]

Moist and cool conditions over next 24 to 36 hours
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting variably cloudy and cool weather with a few showers or periods of light rain mostly over the sea and some coastal areas today, then increasing over most areas tonight. Winds will be blowing from the North-Northeast […]


Exploring Hopkins Village – Filled With Funky and Fascinating Spots and People
After a morning snorkel out to South Water Caye and the gorgeous barrier reef off of Hopkins, Belize, it was time to explore the village. It’s a walk along the beach (about 15-20), a quicker bike ride and quickest of all? Now they rent golfcarts at some of the resorts. I grabbed a key from the front desk at Jaguar Reef Resort and…was off. From SIttee RIver Point, where most of the resorts are located, down the road to the village. Passing first a beautiful new gym… Apparently some people had rented even cooler vehicles! I passed a new Stand Up Paddle board spot. I passed Jungle Jeanie’s…one of the funkier lodges in Belize. I stopped into visit Barbara, who runs a business and lives in her super cool bus. (Check out this post for lots of picture.) A bit of the artwork for sale. I walked out with two bottles of magical oils…I LOVE the moisturizing one. They are both fantastic…and the green label helped me with the early morning sandflies.

The Top 4 Countries in the World for Retiree Benefits in 2016
Imagine a place where sunshine is ubiquitous, a high-quality lifestyle won’t cost the earth, and as a retiree, you’re treated like a VIP…you’ll get a red-carpet welcome and be rewarded for your age and experience. Places like this exist…and they have claimed the top spots in the “Benefits and Discounts” category in International Living’s 2016 Global Retirement Index. Belize's QRP program is certainly the more advantageous, flexible program for expat retirees. An immediate benefit is that once you submit the QRP paperwork the process is quick. Expats have reported obtaining their QRP residence within a few months of submittal. However, if you opt to become a resident you won’t even be able to start the application process until you’ve spent a full year in Belize (with one two-week vacation outside of Belize allowed). Once you obtain your QRP card you will be able to come and go at will across Belize’s borders. You only need to spend one month per year in Belize to maintain your QRP residence. You‘ll save big, up front, as a QRP since you’ll be able to import all of your personal effects into Belize during your first year in Belize, free of any import duties or taxes. You can also import a personal car, boat, and plane duty-free and tax-free during your first year in Belize. Anyone over 45 is eligible to apply to become a QRP resident. And, once you become a QRP you won’t be taxed on your international income, or capital gains. Unlike expat residents, you will be allowed to maintain an international bank account in Belize, and an international business corporation. The QRP program isn’t for everyone, though. It is a “retirement” program, after all. That means you won’t be able to work in Belize. But as a QRP you can own a business, as long as you don’t work or pay yourself a salary in that business. Note that QRPs are required to move $24,000 a year into a Belize bank account, to either live on, or invest with. This is a yearly requirement in order to maintain QRP status.

Photo Journal: Adventure in Guatemala and Belize
Here’s a photographic summary of my adventures in Guatemala and Belize. Eight days is just enough time to experience the jungle landscapes inland as well as the small islands off the coast. With the closest Mayan ruins spread across several hundred miles in Belize and the neighboring Guatemala, I could not decide which of the cultural sites I wanted to explore. When I landed in Belize City, on a whim, I walked up to the Tropic Air counter and booked a flight on a 14-seat propeller plane to Flores, Guatemala. That’s the closest airport to Tikal, the largest and most significant Mayan city in the region. After a few hours sleep at a rustic lodge in Tikal National Park, I woke for a 4am hiking tour through the jungle to watch the sun rise from the top of Temple IV.

Cow Foot Soup
1. Boil Cow Foot in water to soften, in a large pot. Just til it starts turning a grey color 2. Chop up all your vegetables Potoatoes, coco, okro, carrots, onion, sweet peppers, cabbage & tomatoes into bite sizes. 3. Chop up your cilantro fine. Put all your vegetables and cilantro into the pot with the cow foot and boil together. Add in your complete seasoning, bbq seasoning and salt and black pepper and your whole habanero. Let it boil high for about 30-45 minutes. After that pop the habanero pepper so the heat from the pepper goes into the soup and let bout for another 15 minutes. Do not remove the pepper. Done.

International Sourcesizz

Norwegian Cruise Line Delays Harvest Caye in Belize Opening to November
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that Harvest Caye, the cruise line's new resort-style port of call in Belize, will now open in November 2016. Plans for the new development were announced back in August 2013, when Norwegian Cruise Line purchased approximately 75 acres in Southern Belize for the planned development of an eco-friendly cruise destination. The land, called Harvest Caye, is made up of two adjoining islands in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts that had previously been approved for a resort development with an air strip. At the time of its announcement plans called for a cruise destination consisting of two locations: an island destination with docking/tendering facilities and a mainland connection point for inland tours. Major components of the project are anticipated to include a floating pier, island village with open-air structures on raised platforms, marina, transportation hub for tours to the mainland, a lagoon for a variety of water sports and a beach area.

Juneau Audubon Society to host talk on 'Birds & Beasts of Belize'
The Juneau Audubon Society will host a public meeting Jan. 14 at 7 pm at the UAS rec center room 116. Ann and Alan Doty will present “Birds and Beasts of Belize.” According to a description of the talk, Alan and Ann Doty have recorded 245 bird species during their three visits to area, which have included exploration of five Mayan Sites in Belize, a tiny Central American country about the size of Rhode Island. The talk is free and open to the public.

U.N. to Help U.S. Screen Central American Migrants
The Obama administration is turning to the United Nations to help screen migrants fleeing violence in Central America, senior administration officials said Tuesday, and to help set up processing centers in several Latin American countries in the hopes of stemming a flood of families crossing the southern border illegally. Designed to head off migrants from three violence-torn countries in the region before they start traveling to the United States, the new refugee resettlement program will be announced by Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday in Washington. Under the plan, the United Nations refugee agency will work with the United States to set up processing centers in several nearby countries, where migrants would be temporarily out of danger. As it does in other places, the United Nations will determine if the migrants could be eligible for refugee status. The administration officials said thousands — perhaps as many as 9,000 — migrants each year from the three countries, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, could eventually settle in the United States. But some refugees would also be sent to other countries in the hemisphere, officials said.


  • Snorkeling in Belize, 6.5min Short video of our snorkeling trip in the waters of Belize, specifically the Hol Chan marine reserve and the Belize Barrier Reef. The footage includes a creepy barracuda (briefly), a large bossy loggerhead turtle, a nurse shark and sting ray feeding frenzy, eagle rays in the distance, a little bit of the reef, and random little fish.

  • BWO Mission Trip to Belize, 11min. San Pedro, Belize 2015.

  • Scuba diving in the Great Blue Hole and around, Belize, 9min.

  • Supreme Court opening, Judiciary discusses progress and problems, 8.5min. As is now traditional, on the second Monday in January each year, practitioners of law in Belize meet at their headquarters, the Supreme Court of Belize on Treasury Lane, to review the past legal year’s work and make plans for the new one. Following a multi-denominational service at Holy Redeemer Cathedral on North Front Street there was the usual parade to the Court and guard of honor inspected by the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin. In his main address, the Chief Justice spoke of many advances for the Judiciary in 2015, in everything from technology to court environment, despite the judiciary’s portion of the budget only going up slightly.

  • Belize Sunrise, 2.5min. First sunrise watched off of Calabash Caye.

  • Flying over The Blue Hole, Belize Barrier Reef, 2min. Buraco gigante no mar, em belize.

  • Belize Snorkeling, 3min. A montage of just a few of the snorkeling adventures while at the Calabash Caye Field Station in Belize.

  • Missionary to Belize Terry Castleberry, 45min.

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