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#510977 - 01/23/16 12:12 PM Today's Belize News: January 23, 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

San Pedro Police honored during Annual Appreciation Party
On Saturday, January 16th, San Pedro Police officers were celebrated during their annual Staff Appreciation Party. Held at the Lions Den from 7PM, the party was dedicated to the hardworking police officers who ensure the community’s safety year round. In addition to celebrating the officers, this year, members of the island community who constantly assist the Police Department were also invited. Everyone at the event enjoyed a delicious meal, refreshing cocktails, and, of course music and dancing. Before the true party started, a short ceremony was held to present Certificates of Appreciation to six persons who always offer a helping hand to the San Pedro Police Department. The six awardees included Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., President of Tropic Air John Grief III, Owner of SuperBuy Enrique Staines, Police Constable William Reyes and Caribbean Queen. “These awards are to show our gratitude and appreciation. These are key people in our operation, we are constantly seeking their assistance and they never fail to assist us,” said Deputy Coastal Executive Officer, Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott.

San Pedro Cancer Society introduces new board
The San Pedro Cancer Society (SPCS) held their annual general meeting on Thursday, January 14th, and during this meeting, a new board of directors was elected. The organization’s new board members are Gonzalo Muñoz, President, Miguel Perez, Vice-President, Roceli Muñoz, Secretary and Pamela Zetina as the Treasurer. The new board members have pledged to make 2016 another successful year. Former president Miguel Perez served three terms as head of the organization, and was kind enough to share with The Sun accomplishments and experiences he had as president. “There is a lot to recall in the last three years. We managed to help out a lot of patients and we served as a support group that guided them through their entire ordeal. We have been a real helpful source where patients can come and find guidance as to where to go and what to expect,” said Perez. He indicated that when the organization is able, they also help in coordinating fundraising events and also provide financial assistance whenever they can. “We lost some patients but we did get some into remission as well. Cancer is so scary that we rarely celebrate our victories or focus on our losses,” added Perez.

PUP leadership candidates agree to debate
Plans are underway for a debate between the three People’s United Party (PUP) leadership candidates, Honorable Cordel Hyde, Honorable Francis Fonseca and Honorable Johnny Briceño. Well known Belizean writer and activist Glenn Tillett is organizing the debate with the assistance of local stakeholders. The debate is scheduled for Thursday, January 28th, starting at 7:30pm at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. According to Tillett, Hon. Cordel Hyde has confirmed his participation, providing he has no objection(s) to the logistical and infrastructural conditions, in respect to the leadership election for the Peoples United Party. Hon. Francis Fonseca was also quick to agree to participate, with Hon. John Briceño being the last to accept the invitation on January 20th.

NEBL season tips off: NEBL Champions do not play in opening game
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) 2016 Season tipped off on Saturday, January 16th with three games. Originally, two-time defending champions, The San Pedro Tiger Shark, were scheduled to open the season against the Orange Walk Running Rebels on Friday, January 15th at the Orange Walk Town Multi-Purpose Complex. But on Wednesday, January 13th it was announced that the Running Rebels had withdrawn from the tournament, resulting in the match being canceled and the opening game to be moved to Saturday, January 16th. Instead the opening ceremonies took place at the University of Belize (UB) gymnasium, followed by the home team, the Belmopan Bandits hosting Smart Belize Hurricanes for the first game of the NEBL Season. All games can be followed live on the NEBL website at nebl.sportingpulse.net, with real time box scores while the game is being played. The website also has all game scores, box scores, players and teams’ statistics, along with standings for the season.

Belize banking sector still suffering over ‘de-risking’ strategy: Scotiabank and Atlantic Bank retain US correspondence
But it’s not only the local business that is feeling the effects. Belize’s real estate market is also taking a hit. “This is turning very frustrating and time consuming. The banking system is harming everyone in the country from the top to bottom. We have lost many sales over the fact that corresponding banking has been a big confusion. Banking laws have become so stringent and tight and are constantly changing that it is affecting business,” said Amanda Syme of Sunrise Realty. She indicated that potential buyers to the country are facing so many obstacles that act as an incentive to not invest in Belize. “A lot people are refusing to work with us because of all the extra things they have to do just to buy a property. We can see that these potential customers get frustrated over the poor banking system and they eventually just give up and don’t buy. It takes so long to process their funds that eventually we lose their business. Most of my buyers are from USA and Canada and they want to be assured that their money is safe, right now we cannot assure them that because of the loss of correspondence,” said Syme.

Ambergris Today

ACES Career Day Inspires Students
The student body of Ambergris Caye Elementary (ACES) was excited to have some special guests visit the school on Career Day, Friday, January 22, 2016. Students were all dressed up as their favorite career personas and got the chance to meet and ask questions to their invited guests - Almita Pinelo (LTJG of the Belize Coast Guard), Raul Alamilla (Pilot of Tropic Air), Mr. Angel Nuñez (Author of the book 25 Years Ago), Christina Potvin (Accountant) and Mr. Chuky Choc & Ms. Young from the San Pedro Police Department. Teacher Sara Freudenberg of ACES stated. "It's so important to send the message to work hard, stay in school and inspire the youth to work toward their dream professions."

Belize Hotels Among the Top of TripAdvisor’s Best Hotels 2016
As Belize keeps gaining international recognition and tourism arrivals keep showing record-breaking increases, the world traveler has great thing to say about Belize. Ambergris Caye boasts being on the list of the top hotels in Central America with four hotels, Coco Beach, Victoria House, Grand Caribe Belize and Las Terrazas being voted among the best. Costa Rica is a top contender in Central America with the most hotels on the list, which also include hotels from Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras. Elsewhere around the country, hotels in the districts of Cayo and Stann Creek received the most recognition with Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort at #22 in the list of Top 25 Hotels for Service in the World and #3 in the Top 25 Hotels for Service Central America and #1 for Service in Belize. Coco Plum Island Resort is #22 in the Best Small Hotels in the Word list, #3 in Central America and #1 in Belize under that same list. Colinda Cabanas in Caye Caulker made the #9 spot on the Top 25 Bargain Hotels Central America and #1 Top 10 Bargain Hotels Belize. The Inns at Twin Palms in Belmopan, Cayo is listed at #1 in both the Top 25 B&Bs and Inns Central America and Top 10 B& Bs and Inns Belize

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

First Friday of February Trash Pick Up
Friday, February 5at 9 AM - 11 AM, Tres Cocos, San Pedro, Belize. The good news is that there's way less trash out there than before our January pick up. BUT, we still need your help with our monthly roadside and beach clean up! We meet on February 5th at the Paradise Theatre (just north of the bridge) . Locals, expats and tourists are all invited to help out and show some Isla Love! Please be there by 9:00 am :-)

Power interruption 6:30am to 8:30am, Saturday, January 23, San Ignacio Town
Savannah Street, portion of Burns Avenue, Far West Street between Bullet Tree Road and Eve Street, Bullet Tree Road between Burns Avenue and Maya Street and Blancaneaux Street. BEL to facilitate movement of heavy equipment in area, for installation of power supply.

Galvez Stadium 2.0
The new Galvez Stadium really looks nice. Well done! New courts, new kid's playground, new gates, and great drainage for when the rains come.

Corozal Full Moon Concert
Tonight Saturday Jan.23rd, 2016, it's all about Corozal House of Culture (NICH)'s first Full Moon Concert of 2016 featuring the dynamic Super Furia Band from Orange Walk! You are kindly invited to our first Full Moon Concert of 2016 featuring Orange Walks' Super Furia Band. Don't miss out on a great night of musical entertainment this Saturday beginning at 7:30 pm.

BTL tells us that we were sending messages "unconsciously" on our data plan
We noticed on our post paid bill that there were a huge number of charges to numbers on the UK. We called BTL and a rather unhelpful rep tried to tell us that we were sending the messages "unconsciously" on our data plan (even though most were sent at night when the phone was connected to WiFi). BTL admitted that they have been aware of the problem for months. They haven't told anyone though and they continue to bill post paid users for the texts. They say that pre-paid phones aren't being charged. Check your post paid bills and if you don't get a copy get one back to at least October when the problem started. Take your bills to BTL and demand a refund for the charges. It's a worldwide thing. The messages are to the UK apparently no matter where you are as noted in the article. It appears so far that the only way to stop it is to turn off iMessage. In our case it was well over 100 messages. SEE NEXT STORY BELOW.

iPhone users unkowingly charged for Facetime & iMessage SMS
iPhone Facetime & iMessage SMS use up call credit when roaming. iPhone and iPad users who use Facetime and iMessage are being charged for SMS when roaming. Facetime and iMessage try to continually activate by sending SMS to various UK mobile numbers. This often happens when an iPhone user inserts a roaming sim card or 3rd party SIM into their handset. iPhone users report that they receive multiple SMS containing random characters similar to the example below: Typically, if the user is roaming, additional charges for sending SMS are made by the network. iPhone and iPad users are recommended to switch off Facetime and iMessage when roaming so as to avoid additional unknown charges and depletion of credit without their knowledge. Deactivating iMessage and Facetime should also prevent the re receipt of the strange activation SMS.

Pablo Collado at Il Baretto wine bar on Caye Caulker
Pablo Collado will be playing tonight January 23rd from 7.00 to 9.00 pm at Il Baretto wine bar @ Oasi Apartment on back street. Come and listen at his magic music with our tasty bruschette.

Free Meditation Workshop
Sunday, January 24at 10 AM - 12 PM at Ak'bol Yoga Retreat and Eco Resort North San Pedro Town, San Pedro, Belize. Peace Revolution is a worldwide peace network that was born in 2008 in Thailand. They promote a culture of peace through personal transformation using meditation as the main tool. Peace Revolution is creating a new paradigm with the intention of shifting our priorities by changing our focus on an external search into an internal one. Their mission: to make people happier. Our meditation workshop is called: Basic Principles of Meditation. This meditation workshop is created with the purpose of sharing with the participants a basic meditation practice.

FITUR INTERNATIONAL TOURISM FAIR CELEBRATES ITS 36TH EDITION FROM 20 TO 24 JANUARY 2016.
FITUR is the global meeting point for tourism professionals which focuses on responsive and fair source markets of Latin America.

Channel 7

Belizean Student Shot In Guyana
31 year old Glenfield Dennison, a Belizean law student of the University of Guyana, was shot several times late last night on the East Coast of Demerara. Reports from Guyana say that Dennison had just dropped off his girlfriend, also a student of the university, and was about to ride off when a gunman approached, firing three shots at him. Two of the shots caught him, one on his stomach and one on his left arm. Dennison was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Hospital. The shot to the stomach reportedly punctured lungs, and grazed his liver, so he has been placed in an induced coma and is on a ventilator. Tonight, his family in Belize is desperate for answers. Meanwhile police in Guyana are investigating the second shooting of a Belizean in the past couple of years. Authorities say they have ruled out robbery as a motive for the attack since Dennison was found with all his possessions.

Hon. Vega Denies Giving Acquisition Order To Acquire Modiri Land
Since last week Thursday, it's been making national headlines that American Bradley Paumen, one of the biggest tour operators in Belize, has been accused of orchestrating a plot to kill 4 persons, principally his neighbour in Frank's Eddy Michael Modiri, two of his employees, and his attorney. The entire dispute centers over a piece of land that Modiri owns, but which Puamen needs to access the caves that his guests tour. Government acquired the land for Paumen - but the Supreme Court quashed that because land can only be acquired for a public purpose. Justice Sonya Young was very stern in her condemnation of the Government's actions saying, quote, "the defendants (government)…acted neither fairly nor justly." She declared, "...that the compulsory acquisition was not for a public purpose as it was not taken in the general interest of the community, but rather solely for the interests of an individual entity." That individual is Bradley Paumen.

Bail for Paumen's Employees
But that land lawsuit is just the prelude to a murder conspiracy, which is the real news tonight. As we reported, two of Bradley Paumen's employees, mechanic Lizburn Anderson and accountant Ian Skeen were charged with abetment to commit murder. They are accused of making arrangements for the alleged hit on Michael Modiri and another man on behalf of their boss. They have been in jail on remand all week, and today the pair appeared before Justice Antoinette Moore were granted bail of $20 thousand dollars each. In the case of Anderson and Skeen, the application for bail was not met with heated objection on the part of the prosecution unlike in the case of Paumen - who is an American. Ian Skeen was represented by attorney Oswald Twist, and Lizburn Anderson was represented by attorney Dickey Bradley. At the end of the bail application Bradley spoke to us about some of the arguments he submitted as to why his client should be granted bail.

PM Says Titan 8.8 Million dollar Judgment Will Be Appealed
Another major case that the Government lost recently was the lawsuit brought against them by the owners of Titan Securities Limited. Justice Courtney Abel has ordered the government to pay Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leech 8.8 million dollars in damages. That's in compensation for the unlawful and excessive search and seizures of documents and properties done by the Anti Drug Unit back in September 2014. They were attempting to comply with the US Government's request in their attempt to get the men extradited to stand trial for securities fraud, but the judge said that they went too far in that nine hour raid, which cleaned out their office and forced the shutdown of their business. So, what does the Prime Minister think of the court's judgment? Well, today when we asked about it, he said that his Government will appeal that case: Reporter: "I understand that the judgement for the Titan case has come up and government has been ordered to pay in the region of 9 million dollars." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "We will appeal, we will appeal. Absolutely we will appeal. We don't think that judgment can stand. We will appeal."

PUP Leadership Debate - Is It a Debate In Earnest?
So, the PUP Leadership Debate is set for next week Thursday - or is it? John Briceno has emailed the organizers saying he has a previous commitment for that night. The organizers are hoping they can find a workaround - but the truth is with 9 days to go before the convention - the candidates are still scrambling around the country to try and meet close to three thousand delegates. But, the organizers are undaunted - they're moving ahead with plans, confident that the platform they're offering is so publicly irresistible, that the leadership candidates will have to come around. Today, they held a press briefing at Spoonaz Cafe where they outlined the proposal:... Glenn Tillet: "As of yesterday all 3 participants had indicated that they would be present and they would participate. This morning the Hon. John Briceno said that he may have a schedule in conflict and he is giving it some consideration and we should know by the end of the day whether or not he may or may not withdraw. We are soliciting questions from the general public, from organizations. Mrs. Sandiford is in charge of that and these questions will be given advance to the candidates before their purview."

PM Supports "Cubanos Libres"
But, other than Briceno's absence, it was a full house in Belmopan - where we got to ask the Prime Minister about the decision to let 32 Cubans out of jail. Yesterday Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse told us it's a humanitarian move - after they have already served their time for illegal entry. Now, they will apply for refugee status, and from there, presumably, work their way unto the USA. The Prime Minister said he supports the decision by the Immigration Minister:... Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "I know that there were Cubans in prison who were here illegally. Again, I saw in reading the internet version of the news this morning that the Minister has taken an action as he put it freedom from prison. That is as it should be. You don't want to be keeping people incarcerated for longer than is necessary and they've been as it is locked up for far too long. So it didn't come up in Tuesday in cabinet ad I was not therefore aware beforehand the step that the minister proposed to take. But as I said, it seems to me that he did what was required in the circumstances."

Hon. Musa Says His Affluent Constituents Worried About Correspondent Banking Relations
And while we spoke to the PM outside the House - inside, first term PUP Representative Kareem Musa spoke on the adjournment about the crisis in the banking sector with correspondent banks. Musa represents Caribbean Shores, where many of the captains of commerce and industry reside - and for those folks, a functioning banking apparatus with ready availability of foreign exchange is critical to their businesses. Musa characterized the situation as urgent:... Hon. Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores: "And I am speaking in particular about the loss of correspondent banking relations. Mr. Speaker it's no doubt an issue that affects business men and business women not only from my constituency of Caribbean Shores, but from all our constituencies. It is in fact a very crippling effect it has had on our economy, debilitating to the point where it is no longer possible to do business and I am speaking in particular the purchase of goods from the United States and elsewhere and I am speaking about the use of credit cards. I am speaking about remittances that come home to our Belizean families from abroad. That is the effect that it has had on our economy."

De-Risking By Tier One Banks: A Vicious Cycle
So, while the Prime Minister and a team of Banking technocrats are scheduled to visit Washington DC, how exactly does he intend to convince the US officials to intervene with the de-risking problems? Well, he told us after the House Debate that it's a very complex problem with a vicious cycle. As viewers are aware, the reason that the Tier 1 banks have cut that corresponding banking relationship with Belize and other Caribbean Nations is that it will cost them much more money to comply with the stiffer regulations which are in place to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. When compared to the revenue that they will make to do business with Belizean banks, they end up losing. Finance Minister Barrow told us that if the US bankers and Financial regulators cannot come to an agreement, the Belizean banks will have to start fostering corresponding banking relationships with smaller American banks:

Making Mexico "Feliz"
Earlier this week, we showed you the comments of the Mexican Ambassador to Belize, discussing the escape of international fugitive David Nanes Schnitzer. The Mexican Government requested his extradition to stand trial for a multimillion dollar fraud case, due to a technicality, the Government of Belize failed to deliver him even though there was an extradition treaty between both countries. Well, today, the Government tabled and passed a bill to bring that treaty into full force by harmonizing it with Belizean laws. Here's that moment when the Minister of Foreign Affairs introduced it to the House Sitting: Hon. Wilfred Elrington " "Mr. Speaker I rise to introduce the extradition amendment bill 2016. This a bill for an act to amend the extradition act chapter 112 of the substantive laws of Belize revised edition 2011. To make provision for the extradition of fugitive criminals between Belize and the United Mexican states and provide for matters there with or incendiary dare to... Mr. Speaker I just like to explain very briefly that this is in relation to an extradition treaty that was signed in August of 1988 here in Belize. It was actually signed and ratified but for some reason it was never incorporated into the domestic law and for the treaty to have efficacy when we have request for extradition from Mexico, it is necessary for the treaty to be part of our domestic law. So we are now trying to get this bill pass. So that it becomes a part of the domestic law so that in the future when we get request for extradition from Mexico we will be able to give effect it."

Mas "Mextradition"? Pronto!
So, after this bill passes will the problem with the extradition treaty be fixed? That's what we asked the Prime Minister this afternoon, and he told us that it will. In his words, the treaty will be "domesticated" and will have full effect if and when there are future requests for extraditions by the Mexican Government: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "We sign the treaty and the treaty is valid as between the two countries, but in terms of being able to implement its provisions in this country, something more needed to be done. We had to domesticate as it were that treaty. We had to incorporate it into municipal law and that is what the bill was about." Daniel Ortiz: "Is it a concern that it took an embarrassment for us to discover that this issue arose and that was the reason why the treaty was not viable in Belize?" Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "Obviously this was something that fell through the cracks, in terms of not domesticating the international treaty - happens from time to time. So we move on." That bill, and others, goes to the Senate on Next week Wednesday.

Norwegian Cruise Lines, Tax Breaks For A Fortune 500 Company?
Another bill which passed today was the Belize Island Holdings Facility Development Bill of 2015. That's a bill which confirms and puts into law that the Government will give Norwegian Cruise Line tax and duty exemptions for their Harvest Caye Cruise Port, which they are trying finish up by the end of 2016. Well, at the adjournment of the House Debate, even though the "yea's" had it, Toledo East Area Representative Mike Espat rose and registered his disapproval of the bill. He made it clear that he had a problem with the tax breaks and the exclusivity clause given to NCL, guaranteeing them to be the only cruise port in the south for the next 25 years. That sparked a back and forth between him and the Prime Minister. Here's how it went:

PM Acknowledges Court's Directive on EIA
And, as viewers would remember, the Government - specifically, the Department of Environment and the National Appraisal Committee - lost a case brought against it by the Belize Tourism Industry Association. Justice Courtney Abel found that the Government's Environmental specialists cut corners when they were giving the project the green light. We asked the Prime Minister for his reaction to that judgment, and he was very curt in his appraisal of the judge's findings: Daniel Ortiz: "A court has ruled that your government in its zeal to get the project underway, the department of the environment and the NEAC took short cuts to environmental regulations..." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "There will no doubt - that a lesson that they will learn and hopefully next time around, those mistakes won't be made." The Government, and the Developer, NCL, are ordered to pay $50,000 in costs incurred by the BTIA in bringing this lawsuit.

NEAC Member disputes "Slap-On-The-Wrist" Interpretation
And while the Prime Minister has the executive perspective in the Harvest Caye ruling, at the technical level, NEAC says the ruling on the Harvest Caye EIA isn't a slap on the wrist. The court said they cut corners on the public consultations. And while the ruling is viewed as a scolding from the court, today, one of the members of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee, Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade, told us it's not. She sees it as just an opportunity for them to improve on their assessment framework. As we told you, the $100 million project will not be completed by February 16th -as had been projected.

PM Supports Port Loyola Cruise Port
And keeping with the subject of potential cruise ports, while Mike Espat was making his point against the Norwegian tax and duties exemptions, he commented on the Barrow Government's sudden interest to work with Lord Michael Ashcroft to build a Belize City Cruise port in the Port Loyola area. Again, that led to political jousting from both sides: The Prime Minister says that the next step will be to assess whether Port Loyola is viable for the two hundred foot high Oasis Class Cruise Ships. Critics of the location say that an enormous amount of dredging will be required to make that location accessible by the giant ships.

Di Caprio's Blackadore Resort At EIA Stage
Another major tourism project in the making - not for cruise, but for the overnight sector - is "Blackadore Caye: A Restorative Island". Hollywood star Leonardo Dicaprio first proposed this project in 2005 but he confirmed his plans in the New York Times in April of last year. Dicaprio told the Times that Blackadore Caye has suffered from "overfishing, an eroding coastline and the mangrove deforestation," and that he and the developer will fix it. While it sounds well and good, San Pedranos aren't convinced. A public consultation on the EIA held in the town held last week drew concerns from residents because of the over the water structures that developers propose to put on the island which is within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Today, Fisheries Director Wade spoke about what the vision is for this resort. Wade said the project might begin as early as next year. The 1.75 million dollar Caye itself is 104 acres located between the Belize District Coastline and Ambergris Caye.

PUP Rep Rails Against Fuel Prices
World oil prices have been on a sharp and steady decline for a month now - but critics say they're not seeing that reflected at the pump here in Belize. Today, the PUP Representative for Toledo West, Oscar Requena raised that matter when he spoke on the adjournment:... Hon. Oscar Requena, Area Rep., Toledo East: "Some time around mid-December, Belizeans woke up to find substantial increases in the prices of fuel at the pump. Mr. Speaker, this is in the context of the prices of fuel per barrel going down on the word market, not gong up - going down. But yet in Belize the prices of fuel have gone up. It's just the reverse. Belizean are very concern, they are very outraged that this government has seen it fit to continue to tax, to gouge the taxes on Belizeans. They are very much concerned and they are saying how it could be when you look at the world market as I said before the prices have gone done significantly. If you look at our neighbors in Guatemala, in Mexico and other countries, prices are going down substantially. But yet in Belize it is the reverse. Why it is that government does not see it fit to reduce the price of fuel, because price of fuel have gone down, to ensure that our bus people can survive and make a little bit more money. This is important. The productive sector depends upon fuel, whether it is bananas, whether it is citrus, whether it is other forms agriculture dependent upon fuel. Man, if you lower the price of fuel it is an incentive for other people to invest in agriculture."

Teaching Them How To Fish Forever
The Fisheries Department is revitalizing its approach to fisheries management. A part of that approach is to educate and engage local fisher folk on the importance of sustainability and proper management of marine resources. This shift is focused on a more organized and accurate management system where data from fisher folk is recorded and tracked. Today at the Biltmore, 3 people were awarded for participating in a Fisheries Pride Campaign. They went out into the community to speak to fisher folk about this new approach. This morning at the ceremony we spoke with Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade and she told us how impactful this new system will be for fisher folk and the entire sector - including the fish in the sea! We also spoke to the 3 graduates about their experience in the training. The Belize Fisheries Department partnered with RARE to conduct this training. RARE is a non-profit conservation organization based in Washington DC.

Are There Still More Fish In the Sea?
Another problem this new Fisheries system will address what is called IUU - Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing. An online article featured on Caribbean 360 states that studies are showing a grave disparity between seafood catch and fisheries stock. It states, quote "the global catch between 1950 and 2010…was 30 per cent higher than what countries have been reporting to the Food and Agriculture Organization…since 1950." It also mentions that "IN the Caribbean islands, the catch was more than twice as large as previously reported and declining at a rate 60 per cent faster than the official rate." Today we asked Wade about this and how it ties into the Belizean context.

EU Supports The South
The New Year's brought a new market for the residents of Punta Gorda Town. The "Maura Lopez Market" - named after an outstanding woman from PG - cost just under one million, funded jointly by Government and the European Union. It was officially inaugurated at a ceremony yesterday by the European Ambassador Paula Amadei, and Minister of Works Rene Montero. They also christened the new road to Hopkins - four and a half miles at a cost of 7 million dollars. Here's how both the market and the road look:.. The road will be a boost for tourism in the area, while residents and students will be able to commute much more easily - including students who attend Holy Family Primary School.

PM, Is He Down With King?
Back to politics now - the UDP is preparing for a national convention in March. And everyone had more or less agreed that with the party about to face its most dramatic shakeup in 20 years when Leader Dean Barrow steps down - there would be no challenges at this year's convention, since some VERY major challenges are expected at the next one in two years' time. But, enter Mark King. The soundly defeated former Lake I Representative wants to challenge Alberto August for Party Chairman. Today we asked Party Leader Barrow if this throws a wrench into the works:... Reporter: "I notice that Mark King has indicated that he will aspire of the chairman post." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "This is official or?" Reporter: "His Facebook is official yes." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "Well he is perfectly free to do that. I just wasn't sure that that was in fact the case. The deadline for submission for applications I believe is next Friday. I don't know whose actually formally applied, who has not. What's up for re-election: party leadership, deputy party leaderships, first and second, chairman and vice chairman. I am really not aware at this point of who all may have applied and of course there is still a week to go so. Even if I knew what names have been submitted so far, that soundly be conclusive because as I said you still have a full 7 days more."

Fresh Face At FIU
But, while those two officials have kept their jobs, Eric Eusey is no longer the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit. He's been replaced by Joy Grant, the Former Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, and Public Utilities. Today we asked the Prime Minister if the controversial and costly Titan Securities case, for which the Government has been ordered to pay 8.8 million dollars in damages, played a role in Eusey's departure: Daniel Ortiz: "We note that there is a new FIU Director sir. Can you discuss that with us why the change?" Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "Because the contract of the old FIU Director came to an end." Daniel Ortiz: "Was that Titan issue ever a consideration as to why his contract was not renewed?" Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "No man. His contract came to an end the end of December well before the judgement in this case and we had to give notice before the contract actually ended as to whether we would renew or not and we did indicate I am sure as early as mid-December or early December that we were going to have a change."

Bashing The Ombudsman
Today the Government's majority in the House of Representative renewed the contract for Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu. He'll serve in that office for one more year after today's extension, but before it was passed, Opposition Party Leader Francis Fonseca noted that his side of the house could not support Arzu being returned to the office. Here's the debate on that issue: The Contractor General's contract was also extended at today's house meeting.

Channel 5

What Does Gapi Vega Have to do with Paumen/Modiri Land Dispute?
The very curious tale of Dark Night owner and alleged murder contractor Bradley Paumen continues to dominate local headlines. The American investor has been charged for putting a hit on [...]

Supreme Court Grants Bail to Two of Paumen’s Associates
As the Paumen story continues to unravel, two of his employees were granted bail after appearing before Justice Antoinette Moore this morning in the Supreme Court.  Ian Skeen and Linzburn [...]

An Extradition Amendment Bill, Is it Practice After Race?
In November the Government of Belize was humiliated after Mexican-American fugitive David Nanes Schnitzer slipped out of its grasp with the greatest of ease. Nanes had been formally requested by [...]

‘Dickie’ Bradley Humbly Disagrees with U.S. Ambassador’s Nanes Opinion
Nanes was found in possession of a number of illegal Belizean documents including a fraudulent passport, was remanded in custody and then got bail despite an extradition request by Mexican [...]

Correspondent Banking Crisis – Opposition Says G.O.B. Should Act Immediately
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has called the loss of correspondent bank relationships an existential threat and a potentially huge crisis. And undoubtedly, if not resolved the implications are many and [...]

P.M. Says De-risking is not a Result of Problems in Belize
Even as the Prime Minister continues to arrange a round of intensive meetings and lobbying sessions in the international forum, he told News Five that it is important that it [...]

Belizean Law Student Shot in Guyana
A Belizean law student is clinging to life tonight after being shot to the chest and arm in Georgetown, Guyana on Thursday night.  Thirty-one-year-old Glenfield Dennison, a resident of Cummings [...]

Will Titanic Supreme Court Ruling be Appealed by G.O.B.?
In a judgment which must have given Prime Minister Dean Barrow a world-class migraine, the Government of Belize has been ordered to pay Titan Securities eight point nine million dollars. [...]

Port Loyola Cruise Port Debated in Belmopan
There is new interest in revisiting an ill-fated and never realized project in Belize, the Carnival Cruise Ship Terminal in Port Loyola. The news came two weeks ago from Prime [...]

P.M. Says No Exclusivity for Stake Bank Developer
Talk of a cruise port in Belize received new life after Stake Bank developer Mike Feinstein indicated that he would be pulling out. Feinstein told News Five that he would [...]

A Political Debate for P.U.P. Leadership, Will it Happen?
Next week Sunday, a new leader will be elected for the People’s United Party. Candidates Francis Fonseca, John Briceño and Cordel Hyde continue with their countrywide campaigns ahead of the [...]

Debate Organizers Say Public Can Submit Questions
With the debate scheduled for January twenty-eight, there are a number of questions concerning the planning and moderation of the event.  Tillett says it is an open process where the [...]

2 Students Offered Bail for Possession of Stolen Firearm
After three nights on remand for a stolen firearm from the police, two students were granted Supreme Court bail. Stradni Cassasola, a resident of Faber’s Road Extension, along with his [...]

A Father is Charged for Beating Up His Teen Daughter
Forty-five year old Alexander Garcia, a father and resident of Belize City, appeared in court today on a charge of harm upon his sixteen-year-old daughter. According to the minor, her [...]

U.D.P. Convention, Will Status Quo Remain?
While all eyes are on the P.U.P.’s leadership race, set for January thirty-first, there’s another looming political event. The U.D.P. will have its own National Convention on March twentieth, and [...]

Where is Christopher Guild?
Where is Christopher Guild? The thirty-two year old unemployed of a Barrack Road address has not been seen or heard from since January tenth and the family is fearing that [...]

Sustainable Fishing Program Completed in Belize
A program for sustainable fishing has successful completed. Pride Campaign for Managed Access was launched back in July of 2013 and after thirty months of groundwork and research in fishing [...]

CTV3

Orange Walk Police Detains Two Mexican Nationals For Drug Trafficking
Two Mexican Nationals are tonight spending their first night at the Kolbe Correctional Facility after they were detained by Orange Walk Police for drug and ammunition offences. Yesterday at about 4:30 in the afternoon authorities were on investigation at the Cuatro Leguas Area, bordering Mexico, when they came upon farm. At the center of the farm police observed a grey tent housing 50 year old Pedro Cordova Perez and Juan Manuel Pacheco, both Mexican Nationals of la Union Village in Quintana Roo Mexico. Police conducted a search on Perez and found in his possession a zip lock bag containing a piece of compressed suspected Cannabis. A further search in a bag of clothing led authorities to two live maroon 16 gauge, AGUILA brand cartridges for which both Mexicans had no license. As cops continued searching the immediate area they discovered plastic bottle containing two Cannabis plants about 3 inches in height. As a result of the findings both Perez and Pacheco were arrested and charged for the offence of drug trafficking, cultivation of cannabis and kept unlicensed ammunition.

US Embassy Clarifies Advisory Sent Out By US State Department
Yesterday we reported that the United States Department issued a travel advisory alerting US citizens to be cautious when travelling to Belize due to the recent murder of American National Anne Swaney and the country’s high murder and crime rate. Today we can tell you that the US Embassy became aware of the advisory that was sent out, however, they have made it clear that neither they nor the United States Department issued such notice with regards to the death of Anne Swaney. The notice was in fact retrieved from a travel site that hosts press releases from shareholders within in the tourism sector, known as Travel Wires. The Embassy’s clarification has brought comfort to the tourism sector despite the tragedy that had occurred at the Nabitunich Resort where Anne Swaney lost her life.

BTB Pledges To Protect Tourist After Murder Of American National
While the death of Anne Elizabeth Swaney continues to make headlines both locally and internationally, The Belize Tourism Board expressed their sympathy to the family of Swaney and believe that both the family as well as the community deserve justice. In a release yesterday, the BTB also stated that they have committed themselves to working in partnership with the Belize Police Department in an effort to offer a helping hand so as to bring closure to this murder case. They have decided to request for the police department to increase patrols in order to guarantee the safety and security for all citizens and visitors in Belize. The BTB and industry partners are also forming an alliance with the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation to implement plans and strategies that offer protection and minimize the chances of being at risk when it comes to crime. The BTB concluded by saying that if anyone wants to offer any suggestions or plan; their ideas can be submitted to the BTB and will be reviewed. As mentioned last night, the FBI is currently in the country assisting in the murder investigation of the U.S journalist.

Wanted Man Absconds To Mexico
On Monday we reported on the gruesome murder of 55 year old Francisco Arevalo, Guatemalan Farmer of Indian Church Village whose mutilated nude body was found early on Sunday morning near an unfinished concrete house in the outskirts of Indian Church. Police suspect that the murder was as a result of a love triangle gone wrong as investigations have revealed that Arevalo was lured out of his house at around 9:00 on Saturday night by a woman he knew. Reports suggest that this woman’s common-law husband is the one that attacked and murdered Arevalo. He is no other than 58 year old Salvadoran National, Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez who police have placed on their wanted list. But while police have Gutierrez’s common-law-wife detained as they found her in possession of Arevalo’s phone, they are yet to detain Lopez. Today our sources within the police department told us it is highly suspected that Gutierrez he has made his was across the border into Mexico and based on that fact authorities are working with their Mexican counterparts in capturing Gutierrez and bring him to justice.

LOVE FM

1000+ Marijuana Plant Uprooted in Southern Belize
Police operations in Toledo have resulted in the discovery of a quantity of prohibited drugs. Paul Mahung fills us in. PAUL MAHUNG “Officer in Command of the Toledo Police formation Superintendent Simeon Alvarez spoke of the drug operations.” SIMEON ALVAREZ “Yesterday the 21st of January 2016 Punta Gorda police conducted a drug operation in the […]

Extradition Treaty with Mexico Almost Complete
Earlier this week Mexican Ambassador Carlos Quesnel Melendez told the media they had done a lot of work to get David Nanes Schnitzer extradited to Mexico, however in the midst of the proceedings Nanes was granted bail. Since then Nanes who is wanted in Mexico has not been seen or heard from. Belizean authorities claimed […]

Unusually Cool Weather Forecast for the Weekend
Everyone has been talking about the weekend weather and the unusual low temperatures that are coming with it. It’s been said that temperatures will fall to about fifty degrees fahrenheit. With the unusual drop in temperatures, Love News spoke to the forecaster at the Belize Weather Burea, Francisca Wellington who told us that temperatures are […]

Village Chairman Charged with Arson
Following the fire that destroyed a gift shop in the Toledo District, police have charged a village Chairman with arson. Paul Mahung has the story. PAUL MAHUNG “Officer in Command of the Toledo Police Formation Superintendent Simeon Alvarez spoke to Love News.” SIMEON ALVAREZ “The arson that was committed on the 23rd of December 2015 […]

Opposition Leader Says Arzu Undeserving of Contract Renewal
One of the items on the agenda at today’s sitting was the reappointment of Lionel Arzu as Ombudsman. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca rose to object to the reappointment, citing Arzu’s ineffectiveness in the post. FRANCIS FONSECA “We regrettably … this is not a motion that we can support on this side of the house. We […]

Bills on Pension, Treasury Notes, Tax Exemptions Passed in House of Representatives
Today’s sitting of the House of Representatives saw four Bills going through their second and third readings. The first was the Private Pension Bill which is to make provision for the registration of private pensions and the supervision of private pensions to offer better protection to pensioners. This was passed with an amendment to say […]

Newcomer Musa Says De-Risking Needs to Be Addressed on World Stage; PM Barrow Agrees
Speaking on the adjournment of today’s House of Representatives meeting, Caribbean Shores Area Representative Kareem Musa addressed the problems faced by the de-risking of Belizean banks. KAREEM MUSA “Debilitating to the point where it is no longer possible to do business and I am speaking Mr. Speaker in particular to the purchase of goods and […]

Mike Espat Wants Level Playing Field for Local and Foreign Investors
For his part, Toledo East representative Mike Espat spoke on the need for Government to afford Belizean investors the same level of support given to foreign investors. MIKE ESPAT “We need to protect our Belizean people when it comes to investments in this country. Mr. Speaker the Prime Minister had a big fight with the […]

Espat Says Lands Department is Lax in Processing Papers for Cotton Tree Farmers
Area representative for Cayo South, Julius Espat spoke of the land issue in his division. Espat said last year they had worked out a settlement with the Santander Group and farmers in Cotton Tree however they have been unable to get Government to live up to their side of the agreement. JULIUS ESPAT “The land […]

Belizean Student Critical After Being Shot in Guyana
A Belizean student in Georgetown, Guyana is hospitalized and fighting for his life. According to K-News online, doctors at the Georgetown Hospital are battling to save the life of 30-year-old, Garfield Dennison. K-News is reporting that Dennison was shot two times, once to chest and once to the left hand by an unknown assailant in […]

PlusTV

18 year old maimed by his passengers; vehicle stolen
An 18 year old resident of Ladyville was maimed. On Wednesday January 20, at about 7:35pm, Jonathon Zetina’s mother was in the process of reporting him missing at the police station in Belmopan. While she was giving the report, her son Jonathan came out of a pickup truck whose driver said that he ...

Mexican Ambassador discusses trans border crimes
Trans-border crime was a major topic at yesterday’s press lunch held by the Mexican Ambassador, H.E. Carlos Quesnel Melendez at the Mexican Institute in Belize City. One area of headache for Mexican authorities is the issue of contraband cigarettes. PlusNews has reported on multiple stories wh...

PG Market upgrade inaugurated
The newly refurbished Punta Gorda market was officially inaugurated today, January 21, 2016. The new name of the market is “MAURA LOPEZ MARKET” renamed as a tribute to one of the outstanding women of Punta Gorda Town who was very much involved in the community as an advocate for education, culture a...

Inmates clear bushes by school
A group of inmates from the Kolbe Foundation in Hattieville were in Salvapan, Belmopan today, specifically beside the Kuchlin Ha Government School. The Belmopan police branch saw it fit to assist the school in clearing the bushes beside them to keep the children out of harm’s way. Police officer ove...

National Evangelical Association meets with Church Senator
In early December of 2015, the newly formed National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) poke to the press concerning the schism with the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches (BAEC) which began in September 2015. The new Association, which represents thousands of congregants in over 240 c...

Police continue meet and greet initiative in Cayo neighborhoods
The San Ignacio Police Formation held a meet and greet with residents in San Ignacio and Santa Elena over the weekend. The Meet and Greet was officially launched on Friday the 15th of January, and police say it was well received in the communities of the twin towns. The purpose of the meet and greet...

Another cold front headed our way
If you have put away your sweaters already because it has warmed up a bit after the cold front the country was experiencing over the past three days, you might want to think twice. That ‘s because, according to the National Met Service, another cold front is heading our way come Friday leading into ...


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#510978 - 01/23/16 12:13 PM Re: Today's Belize News: January 23, 2016 [Re: Marty]
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The Reporter

PM to meet with relevant parties in Washington over de-risking measures against Belize
A team of negotiators, led by Prime Minister Dean Barrow will leave Belize this weekend for Washington DC, USA, to hold negotiations with relevant parties over de-risking measures taken against Belize. In response to the concern raised in the House by Area Representative for Caribbean […]

Government “domesticates” international extradition treaty
Following the escape of wanted Mexican fugitive, David Nanes Schnitzer in late November, after he was granted bail, the government took steps on Friday to prevent that incident from recurring. During the House meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hubert Elrington introduced a to make adjustments […]

Mexican Ambassador comments on David Nanes Schnitzer
Mexican Ambassador Carlos Quesnel Melendez commented on the David Nanes Schnitzer fiasco this week and was not happy that Belize allowed the man wanted by Mexican authorities to escape. Schnitzer was wanted by Mexican authorities for his role in the ponzi pyramid scheme that defrauded […]

Regional legislators meet in Belize
The Forum of Presidents and Presidents of Parliaments of Central America and the Caribbean, (FOPREL) held a seminar this week to propose draft legislation to the Government of Belize. The organization, comprised of the speakers of the Houses of Parliament for member countries, made presentations […]

FBI Investigates Murder of American Journalist in Belize
ABC7 Chicago Executive Producer Anne Elizabeth Swaney, 39, came to Belize on a one-week dream vacation. She will be going home in a body bag. This week investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation processed the scene where Swaney was last seen alive…a wooden deck on the banks of the […]

Man ties up, gags 12 year-old stepdaughter; rapes her at knife-point
A 40 year-old Guatemalan man was remanded to the Hattieville Prison after being accused of tying up, gagging and viciously raping his own step-daughter with a knife to her throat, twice. Dangriga Magistrate, Patricia Arana denied him bail on Thursday on two counts of […]

PUP candidates agree to face-off in debate
With the People’s United Party (PUP) leadership convention around the corner, the three candidates vying for the party’s top spot: Cordel Hyde, Johnny Briceno, and Francis Fonseca, have agreed to take part in a public debate on January 28th. Organizer of the event, Glenn Tillett, […]

PAHO/WHO puts countries on Zika watch
The Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), this week, recommended that countries in Latin America and the Caribbean be on watch for occurrences of the Zika virus, currently rampant in the region. The warning came on Monday after epidemiological data showed that the number […]

Traffic officer charged with manslaughter for accident that killed his wife
Calvin Cumberbatch, 35, the Belize City Council traffic officer who is the only survivor of the January 2nd collision which claimed the life of Pamela Bennett Cumberbatch, 45, was arraigned before Magistrate Carlo Mendoza on Tuesday. On that day Cumberbatch was driving a D-Max pick-up […]

Police issue APB for man wanted for murder of village V Chairman
Orange Walk police have circulated an All Points Bulletin (APB) for the arrest of Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez, 58, a Salvadoran wanted for the chopping murder Indian Church village vice chairman, Francisco Arevalo, 51. Arevalo, who lived alone in the village, was found dead, nude […]

Teen dies in Ladyville RTA
A resident of Buena Vista has been detained by police pending charges for the death of a Lucky Strike teenager, following a fatal weekend traffic accident. On Saturday, January 16th, 47-year-old Jamaican accountant, Joan Crooks, collided head on into a black Millennium motorcycle, ridden at […]

10 murders, 2 arrests; 2016 off to bloody start
By Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Journalist Of the ten murders that have occurred since the start of 2016, police have only been able to make arrests in two of them. According to Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, the frequent incidents are occurring “despite our intervention efforts and patrols countrywide.” As of […]

Guatemalan president tones down language on claim to Belize
Jimmy Morales, 48, Guatemala’s newly-elected President, in his latest reference to Belize, was more diplomatic than when he first spoke of our country several months prior to being elected. In his lengthy inaugural speech late last Thursday at Guatemala’s Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center, […]

Prickly port issues beg the question – Which port is best?
The future of cruise tourism took a surprise turn last week when Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced his intention to greenlight a cruise port to be located at the Port of Belize facility, currently owned by Lord Michael Ashcroft. The news caught the tourism industry off-guard and none more than […]

DiCaprio’s caye development plans draw concerns
A public consultation in San Pedro, late last week, over the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted on Blackadore Caye, the island which actor, Leonardo DiCaprio owns, drew objections from residents over wide-ranging reasons. The actor’s representatives have said he intends for the eco-luxury private island […]

Editorial
Reporting on the surging murder rate in Belize earlier this week Police Commissioner //// Whylie expressed some relief that the ten murders committed since the start of the year were not gang related. Small consolation! In a a sense it would have been more acceptable if they had been gang […]

No construction yet at Sarstoon; Guatemalans still fishing in Belize!
During a weekend visit to the Sarstoon base at the border with Guatemala, the Reporter has been able to ascertain that no construction has commenced on the Forward Operating Base (FOB) and there is no outpost established at the location. On December 9th, 2015 the government had a groundbreaking ceremony […]

Belize breaks tourism arrival record
Belize has broken its previous record, set last year, for most tourist arrivals to the country in a single year. This, of course, is welcomed news by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) after concerns early in 2015, that arrivals had dipped. According to the BTB, […]

Belizean family in jail in the US for fraud
Four Belizean relatives are spending time in a United States jail for defrauding the U.S. Government of almost US $300,000. Frederick Vernon Williams, 35; his sister Jacqueline Louisa Gentle, 27; his wife, Denise Allison Williams, 36; and his other sister, Carolyn Shelmadine Willis-Casey, 40, were […]

House Sitting held
The House of Representatives met today, Friday in Belmopan. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in responding to a concern raised on the de-risking of Belizean banks, said he was preparing to leave along with Ambassador Mark Espat and another advisor to meet with representatives there to […]

Police vehicle knocks down 2 police officers near precinct
Two members of the Belize Police Department are being treated at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), after a police pick-up truck knocked them off a police motorcycle they were driving on Friday morning. The incident happened at around 8:30 a.m. on Allenby Street, just […]

The Belize Times

12 year old accuses stepfather of rape
Stann Creek District Police have detained a man after he was accused by his 12 year old step-daughter of rape. The child, accompanied by her uncle, went to the Police on Monday, January 18th, and reported that she was raped twice by the alleged perpetrator. She reported that the first time was on Thursday January 14th. She said that after she came from school her stepfather pulled her into a bungalow house, tied her hands behind her back, covered her mouth and her eyes with a rag, and then placed a knife on her neck as he proceeded to rape her. The child said that the man repeated his abuse the following day, on Friday January 15th, while they were at home.

U.S. Wants Answers in Anne Swaney’s Murder – FBI arrives in Belize to lead forensics investigation
Friday, January 22nd, 2016 makes it one week since 39 year old Anne Swaney, a U.S. tourist, was murdered in western Belize. Swaney’s lifeless body was found floating in the Mopan River, near Nabitunich Resort, a remote tourist getaway outside of Benque Viejo del Carmen where she was vacationing. Swaney had been reported missing by resort patrons on Thursday morning, after a group she was supposed to have gone horseback riding with could not locate her. The Police was contacted and they swung into action, with a search team. Some of Swaney’s personal belongings were found that day on a platform where she would normally do yoga. But there were no signs of her. The search continued into the night but was discontinued because of the darkness. When it resumed the next morning, Swaney’s body was found floating face down in the river. Through a post mortem examination conducted on the body, the Police concluded the cause of death to be “asphyxia due to compression to the neck area, throttling (manual strangulation) and blunt force traumatic Injuries to the head and neck region”. This means Swaney was violently assaulted and choked to death.

BTL’s 4G Chokes!
BTL is looking like a joke these days with Anwar Barrow as CEO of the company. He’s the type of CEO who would approve new products and sales without apparent sufficient marketing analysis, causing the product to go haywire and put the entire sales in jeopardy. That’s what Barrow admitted to doing when he was asked to explain why BTL’s 4G network is faltering and failing miserably since its launching two months ago. Customers have complained of all sorts of problems with the system, from service malfunction to corporate stealing. Some customers say that their credit barely lasts a few seconds with BTL’s new 4G experience. So what’s really happening at BTL? CEO Barrow explained this week that the glitches are caused by “challenges in terms of the experience”. Barrow then concocted the explanation that the system has become overloaded by a surge of users who have signed up for the new service. But isn’t this why a company does an analysis of the market, before unveiling a new service? Wouldn’t BTL have expected that if the 4G service is so nice, it will attract many customers? Come on Mr. CEO? According to CEO Barrow’s mathematics, the traffic on BTL’s network has increased by 800% over the past 10 months. Of course, by his maths every Belizean now has a digicel phone enjoying the dropped calls and free credit-disappearing acts.

Mexican Gov’t disappointed over Schnitzer case
Mexico’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Carlos Quesnel Melendez, has placed on record his Government’s disappointment and deep concerns over the Belizean authorities’ mishandling of the David Miguel Nanes Schnitzer case in November last year. Nanes-Schnitzer, a Mexican national sought by Mexican authorities for alleged million dollar fraud and embezzlement crimes, was detained in Belize on November 3rd, 2015 following a sting operation involving U.S. Marshalls, Interpol officers and Belizean authorities on the tourist island of San Pedro. Nanes-Schnitzer had been living on the island for at least two years. During that time he obtained documents, including a social security card, driver’s license, boat license and even a voter’s ID and passport under the false name.

PUP honors “George C. Price Day”
Had the Father of the Nation and Leader Emeritus of the People’s United Party Rt. Hon. George C. Price been alive, Friday January 15th would have been celebrated as his 97th birthday. As he himself would have proudly pointed out, he would be starting his 98th year! Following Mr. Price’s passing on September 19th 2011, the People’s United Party committed to paying tribute to the legacy of the man whose life was dedicated to the PUP and Belize.

All eyes on Belize
Belize has taken center stage on the world scene as the investigation into the murder of U.S tourist, Anne Elizabeth Swaney, is monitored by the minute by a worldwide internet and television audience. In the background of all the reporting are regular mentions of Belize’s high crime rate and that Belize is the murder capital of the region. Yet to reach the international media’s ears is that one week before the Swaney killing, a group of tourists of unknown nationalities who were vacationing on a yacht moored near Middle Long Caye, came under attack by pirates. The passengers were held at gunpoint and robbed of their possessions. They no longer see Belize as the paradise they thought it to be. We condemn the Belizean authorities’ (Coast Guard, Police, Ministry of Tourism) decision to keep this incident from the media and the public, apparently in an attempt to avoid more bad press. Since the year begun there have been almost a dozen murders throughout the country. The U.S. has not issued a travel warning on Belize, but doing so at this time would be rhetorical. The comments and reactions on travel blogs, social networks and online media postings about Belize’s known high crime rate are sufficient warning to any reader.

Guatemalan woman reported missing
39 year old Lidia Janet Garcia Giron, a Guatemalan national and resident of Melchor de Mencos was reported missing yesterday by her 19 year old son, Alexander. Giron was last seen on Friday January 8th as she had left her home at about 5:00 a.m. and was headed to Banana Farm located in the Stann Creek District in order to meet up with a male person known as “El Nica”. Alexander told authorities that the last time he spoke to his mother was on the same day of her departure, only half an hour after her arrival in San Ignacio. Giron was last seen wearing a black blouse along with long jeans pants sky blue in color, a pair of black sandals and a ‘Winnie the Pooh’ bag, blue and yellow in color. Giron has a tattoo of the name “Humberto” on her leg.

LADYVILLE SENIORS CELEBRATE
Sunday, January 17th 2016 was an extremely special day for many senior citizens of Ladyville. The Ladyville Christian Senior Citizens Group was celebrating its Twenty-fifth Anniversary, and over forty seniors, as well as friends and invited guests, were on hand at the group’s Center. The small building was packed to capacity with a joyous gathering to keep up this signal occasion. Mr. John Diaz served as Master of Ceremonies, and he led all those present in the Opening Prayer, after which there was a lusty singing of the National Anthem. Longtime member Ms. Myrtle Myvett then delivered the Words of Welcome, along with a brief rememberance of by-gone good times of the Group. President Nurse Lillian August then asked for a moment’s silence in honor of members who have passed away. Past President Linda Lanza gave a history of the commencement of the group on December 27, 1990. Ms. Magdalena Young, better known as Ms. Maga, along with Ms. Josefina Martinez were the two persons who founded the group, which initially had only nine members, and meetings were rotated at various churches in Ladyville. The group offered support for needy seniors and assistance to families for burial of deceased members, and soon the group grew. Turkey dinner fundraisers and barbeques were held, and members also enjoyed trips and excursions to many parts of the country. The group also made use of the Ladyville Community Center for meetings and other activities.

Crisis awaits the UDP
There is big trouble ahead for the UDP…both as the present government and as a political party. The days of the unlimited Petrocaribe bubby are done, so Mr. Barrow can’t go running for that security blanket anymore. The party of misfits will have a rocky road up that proverbial creek, no paddles in sight. What must worry us is that Belize will be floating right up that creek with this crowd of incompetents. You think the fight for leadership in the PUP is contentious? Wait until you see the rats scrabbling over the cheese in the UDP. They think the power they have will last forever. I feel sorry for Mr. Barrow, having to deal with a bad back and all the stupidity, arrogance and greed in his own Party. Worse than that, I figure the poor PM must have many sleepless nights when he thinks about who will take over when he departs. Can you imagine John Saldivar, Patrick Faber or Gapi Vega in a real leadership position? We know they lust after the “Acting” position. Can you imagine either of them as actual Prime Minister? REALLY!

Uprising Strikers & Kraal Road FC Clash in Peace Cup finals
The Uprising Strikers will take on Kraal Road FC in the 2016 Conscious Youth Development Programme (CYDP) Peace Cup football championship finals at the MCC Garden on Sunday afternoon, January 24, after both teams qualified by big wins in the CYDP semifinals on Sunday. Uprising Strikers eliminated the Kelly Street Bombers 2-1; when Francisco “Pancho” Briceno scored on Kelly Street’s goalie Stanley “Jordan” Reneau who had made many heroic saves in the 1st half. Steven “Bredds” Baizar equalized for Team Kareem – the Kelly Street Bombers, with a long lob that Uprising’s goalie Elden Linarez couldn’t handle. Red cards reduced both squads to 10 men when Kelly St.’s Oscar Usher and Uprising’s sweeper Christian Perez got sent off in separate incidents. The game went into overtime when Harold Thompson headed in Uprising’s 2nd winning goal.

No Limits, Hurricanes & Western Ballaz win NEBL basketball openers
No Limits, SMART Belize Hurricanes and Cayo Western Ballaz all posted big wins when the 2016 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) tournament got started on Saturday night. NEBL’s rookie Jason “Snake” Leslie drained a game high of 29 pts as he led the SMART Hurricanes to a 75-71 win over the Belmopan Bandits at the UB gym in Belmopan. Darwin “Puppy” Leslie, former MVP of defending champs, San Pedro Tigersharks, and Brian “Brybo” White scored 12pts apiece In Belize City at Birds’ Isle, No Limits pulled off an 80-73 win over the Dangriga Warriors. Greg “Chippy” Rudon scored a game high of 19pts while Lennox Bowman added 11pts. Upcoming Games: San Pedro Tiger Sharks vs. Running Rebels (Friday, O.W. Multi-Purpose Complex) Belmopan Bandits vs. Tigersharks (Saturday, San Pedro’s Angel Nunez Auditorium) O.W. Running Rebels vs. Dangriga Warriors (Ecumenical Auditorium) No Limit vs. Thunderbolts (Independence High School Gymnasium)

Hoare/Hernandez & Cabral/Sajia win in beach volleyball
The Belize Volleyball Association held the 4th stop of its national beach volleyball tour at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City on Sunday, where Emma Hoare and Leyla Hernandez won the female competition and Jason Cabral and Baydr Sajia won the men’s competition. The next stop of the tour will be in San Pedro on February 7.

Sea breeze pelicans
November 4th 2015 was a day when my emotions were as mixed as they have probably ever been as far as politics is concerned. I desperately wanted the People’s United Party to win because I sincerely believe them to be the better party to govern this country. They are more inclusive in their style of governance, more competent in their stewardship and more creative and effective in stimulating the economy. This is not to say that they are perfect but I believe the PUP to be more socially responsible and more concerned about the welfare of the country as a whole. The United Democratic Party seems merely concerned with addressing the needs of party stalwarts and sycophants and in feathering the nest of Ministers and their families. The Barrow family in particular, over just a few short years, has established themselves as the dominant elite of this country for generations to come. So while I wanted the PUP to win, I also intuitively understood that the better scenario would be for them to lose. In fact, except for the bottom feeders and blind supporters, I also believe that many even within the UDP also understood that a loss would have served them better. The handwriting was on the wall.

Belizean family convicted in U.S. benefits fraud case
A brother and sister have been convicted by a federal jury of multiple felony counts for using false identities to steal almost $300,000 in unemployment funds and other federal benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada. Two other family members were also convicted of fraud for their part in the scheme to unlawfully obtain unemployment compensation funds. Frederick Vernon Williams, 35, his sister Jacqueline Louisa Gentle, 27, his wife, Denise Allison Williams, 36, and his other sister, Carolyn Shelmadine Willis-Casey, 40, all of Belize, were convicted on Friday, Jan. 15. The trial lasted for 10 days and was presided over by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan.

Think About It
A young lady was raped inside the San Ignacio Police Station last month. Not a word from government, or the Minister, or the Commissioner. In fact after the report was made it took over a week for the Police to take action and they only did so because a family member called Channel 7 which promptly saw the sensational nature of the matter. Channel 7 even showed the young lady’s face, condemning her for the rest of her life as the “gial who police rape”. What a brave young lady. Her thirst for justice is strong. What a coward set of women in the various women’s organization who have said not a word. No calls to tighten up on Police procedures when dealing with females and children. Not a word. A female resident at the “mental hospital” in Belmopan was raped, not a word from the so-called National Children and Families Commission.

COLA calls on GOB to come clean over new port interests – “Is former opposition changing its tune on failed Carnival Cruise Port Project?”
Twelve years ago, there were plans to change the face of Southside Belize City by introducing a cruise port project in Port Loyola. That project, funded by businessman and developer Luke Espat and supported by Carnival Cruise Line and many others, failed to get off the ground and was eventually shelved, costing nearly $30 million for taxpayers. Now, it appears the current Government of Belize – then Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – is trying to revive a project that was thought to be dead on arrival. Then-Leader of the Opposition Dean Barrow spoke to News 5 on October 5, 2004, following the publication of the contract signed by then-Prime Minister Said Musa on April 29. He registered vocal opposition and dissent, pointing out the following: “What the agreement does is to exempt Carnival from the requirements of several of our laws; several of our statute laws in particular the Hotel and Tourist Accommodation Act… the Environmental Protection Act, the Public Health Act, the Housing and Planning Act and the contract says that those … are not to apply.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

PUP Leadership Debate is on!
The PUP leadership debate is on for next Thursday, January 28, although one candidate, John Briceno, may not participate due to a scheduling conflict. Nonetheless, the debate, organized by a committee consisting of former journalist Glenn Tillett; former area representative and Mayor of Belize […]

Steel band represents Belize in Trinidad Carnival
Representatives of Pandemonium Steel Band traveled to Trinidad and Tobago today to take part in the largest gathering of steelpan bands in the world, known as “Panorama”. Steel pan music has grown out of its origin as a so-called “low-class” form of music, and […]

Eunor’s Diner in Belize City robbed
An employee at Eunor’s Diner, located at #22 Farmers Market in Belize City, reported to police yesterday that she was robbed of cash and a phone, to a total value of $310 yesterday morning, by a male person of dark complexion who pretended to […]

Government of Belize’s rice woes, a delicious dilemma
The government of Belize has put itself in a delicate international matter regarding the importation of rice from Guyana. Recently, businessman Jitendra Chaula, better known as Jack Charles, was ordered to re-export the rice to Honduras then re-apply for a permit to import the […]

San Isidro resident badly injured in hit and run accident
Another road traffic accident, this time between miles 44 and 45 on the Southern Highway, has left a resident of San Isidro village in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), after being hit by a pickup truck traveling in the […]

Punta Gorda police burn weed plantation to the ground
More than 1,000 marijuana plants were destroyed in the Toledo District yesterday morning before daylight when Punta Gorda (PG) Police discovered a plantation in Columbia village with plants ranging from 6 inches to 3 feet in height. Around 4:00 a.m., officers working on information […]

Belizean Student shot in Guyana
30-year-old Belizean university student, Garfield Dennison, was shot Thursday night in Cummingslodge, East Coast Demerara, Guyana. According to press reports from that country, Dennison had dropped off his girlfriend around 9:30 when a lone gunman walked up to him and fired three shots. Two […]

Cayo police find 16 pounds of weed on bus
On Wednesday afternoon around 2:25 in Unitedville village, Cayo District, police searched a passenger bus that stopped at a vehicle checkpoint and found two knapsacks containing cannabis inside. One of the bags contained 8 parcels of cannabis, weighing 3,560 grams and the other contained […]

Blogs

Awesome Smile Clinic Enters 10th Year on Ambergris Caye Plus the AMAZING Holy Cross School
15 years ago, there were no dentists on the island. Dentistry, for the most part, was emergency rather than preventative and that meant yanking out an infected tooth that hurt. Bad. Like me as a child, like many of you, kids and adults despised the dentist. But Dr. Mark Johnson, a dentist in Minnesota and a home owner on Ambergris Caye, wanted to change all that. To teach kids about oral hygiene (about their “baby teeth” and adult teeth) and to take the fear out dentistry. Now his “Smile Clinic” has a full dental set-up for three dentists at the Holy Cross School, volunteers come down from the states and from San Pedro eight times a year, and kids are getting two check ups and cleanings a year – and loving it. REALLY. I saw it with my own eyes. Made me wish my dentist did puppet shows and gave out toys when I was a kid. These are the first two people I met when I walked in the door. This is PRE-appointment. Both are 8 and neither has been to the dentist before. Ever. What they are doing is AMAZING. I visited the Holy Cross School – the only FREE school on the island – all run from generosity and incredible devotion and hard work. In less than 10 years, it has gone from 62 students to over 420 – and from pre-school to pre-high school, this institution is another miracle. Well…rather shows what people can do when they set their minds to it.

Best Ever French Toast
Cut the bread into 12 3/4" thick slices. Combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Dip bread slices in this mixture, wetting bot sides. Heat the butter and oil on a griddle or in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook uncovered until golden brown on both sides. Serve with fresh berries or fruit and syrup.

El Pilar Mayan Ruins of Belize
Consider El Pilar. This ancient city is distinct because it not only pays tribute to the past, but it’s being used as a conservation model for the future. Bring comfortable shoes for this adventure because the El Pilar site not only spans 120 acres but it’s home to 15 plazas, a ball court and hundreds of multi-purpose buildings. Some are exposed completely. Others peek out from the jungle, but you won’t find a better representation of Mayan architecture. Why aren’t all of these buildings out in the open? Because archaeologists eager to preserve as much as possible know that too much will be lost if they excavate everything, which is why only a house called Tzunu’un is completely exposed. It’s the single largest Belize River Valley site and was once home to a population of 20,000 during the Maya Classic Period, circa 800 BC, yet many of the large public buildings weren’t added to this settlement until around 250 BC. Another unique aspect of El Pilar is its proximity to water. Not all Mayan villages can make that claim, but it’s likely the reason the area was named Watering Basin. Gain access to this attraction by starting your journey in San Ignacio and then travel 7.5 miles north. You will wind up close to the Belize-Guatemala border, and since this massive reserve filled with flora and fauna actually straddles both countries, you may wish to take in Guatemala’s Peten District’s portion as well.

International Sourcesizz

TripAdvisor’s 2016 Traveler’s Choice Awards – Best Hotels 2016
Top 10 Hotels Belize 1 Coco Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 2 Victoria House, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 3 Grand Caribe Belize Resort & Condominiums, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 4 Las Terrazars Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 5 Ramon’s Village Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 6 Belize Ocean Club, Placencia, Stann Creek 7 Hopkins Bay Resort, Hopkins, Stann Creek 8 Sapphire Beach Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 9 Robert’s Grove Beach Resort, Placencia, Stann Creek 10 Villas at Banyan Bay, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Best Small Hotels World: 22 Coco Plum Island Resort, Coco Plum Caye, Belize Best Small Hotels Central America: 3 Coco Plum Island Resort, Coco Plum Caye, Belize 5 Belizean Dreams, Hopkins, Belize 6 Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, Hopkins 7 Sleeping Giant Lodge, Belmopan 9 The Phoenix Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 10 Mystic River Resort, San Ignacio, Cayo 15 Pelican Reef Villas Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye 17 Chabil Mar, Placencia, Stann Creek 22 Xanadu Island Resort, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

Belizean UG student shot, condition critical
Up to late last night, doctors at the Georgetown Hospital were battling to save the life of a Belizean national who was shot twice by a gunman in Cummingslodge, East Coast Demerara. Garfield Dennison, 30, who is studying at the University of Guyana, was reportedly shot in the chest and left hand at about 21:30 hours just after he had dropped off his girlfriend, who is also a student of the university. According to reports, Dennison was about to ride off when the gunman walked up to him and fired three shots, two of which hit him in the chest and hand. He was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Hospital where he was immediately admitted. Kaieteur News understands that Dennison’s condition is listed as critical. Police say they received a call from an unknown person who informed that there was shooting in the Cummingslodge area. When they got to the scene, they were subsequently informed that the victim was already at the hospital. They ruled out robbery as a motive for the attack since nothing was taken from the injured man.

Adventure Twins in Belize
My stomach roiled as the boat rocked and rolled along the Caribbean waves, and our two-hour journey stretched into three. The patchwork of emerald and azure waters was barely visible through the small windows of the boat’s interior cabin. The fresh sea air was not reaching us below deck. Our destination was an idyllic island off the coast of Belize, which would be delightful, I was sure. I was anxious. Not only was I on an adventure tour in this remote corner of the Caribbean, but I was travelling solo with my four-year-old twin sons. No dad, no grandparents, no babysitter — just me and my ever-lovable, energetic, opinionated, unpredictable, exhausting twins. Located 85 kilometres off the coast of Belize, Half Moon Caye is a stunner. It’s everything you imagine a tropical island to be — swaying palms fringing white-sand beaches and a vibrant coral reef lurking just below the surface of turquoise waters. The island is also a wildlife sanctuary, protecting a rookery of red-footed booby birds. And it is the site of a base camp for the Canadian adventure company Island Expeditions. I had been telling friends and family we were going to a resort. That was a misnomer. Our short orientation revealed that we would be sleeping in tents (heavy-duty tents with wooden floors and beds, but still … tents). We would be using composting toilets, showering outdoors and reading by kerosene lanterns.

INFLUENTIAL GARIFUNA ARTIST AURELIO MARTINEZ TO PERFORM AT DIMITRIOU’S JAZZ ALLEY IN SEATTLE
Garifuna guitarist and singer-songwriter Aurelio Martinez is set to perform on February 2 – 3, 2016 at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle. The lineup for the concert includes Aurelio Martinez on lead vocals and guitar, Benigno Guerrero on bass and vocals, Denton Figueroa on shaker and vocals, Charles Garcia on Garifuna drum and Philip Garcia on Garifuna drum. Aurelio Martinez is one of Central America’s most talented performers. Born in Honduras, Aurelio is a leading tradition-bearer of the Garifuna culture that draws from its African and Caribbean Indian roots. The original home of the Garifuna people is St. Vincent in the West Indies, from which they were deported in 1796 by the British government. They landed on Roatán Island, located in the Bay of Honduras and later migrated to the neighboring main lands of Central America. In 2004, Aurelio released his first solo album called Garifuna Soul backed by some of Belize and Honduras’ finest studio musicians.

OAS faces existential threat, says Permanent Council chair
Chairman of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Sir Ronald Sanders, said on Thursday that the organisation is now facing a “serious existential threat”. The Antigua and Barbuda ambassador, who was chairing the first meeting of the Permanent Council for 2016, said that he was “deeply concerned about the financial health of the Organisation” and “profoundly anxious about its capacity to continue to operate and to serve the interests of the people of its 34 member states”.

Videos

  • Belize handling fishing, 1.5min. Local fishing with handling on Caye Caulker.

  • Caye Caulker Belize, 1min. Day trip to Caye Caulker.

  • Belize Demo 1, 4min. Belize Drone Footage

  • Force Ripe Baby | Lisa Shoman | TEDxBelmopan, 32min. In this hard-hitting TEDx Talk, Attorney Lisa Shoman talks about the "force ripe baby" and women in leadership in Belize. An advocate and human rights activist, Shoman demands a change in the conversation among men and women in addressing these issues.

  • Pack a Pound Program at Chaa Creek, 3min. This Belize Travel Video Guide shows you the intimate experience you can contribute towards with our community outreach program; The Pack a Pound initiative allows you to give back to local rural schools, by donating school supplies, swapping one pound of your luggage for this good cause. Responsible tourism is now a way of life, a way of traveling. This video guide chronicles a day into the life of Belizean students at El Progresso Government School.

  • 2015 KREM Radio's New Years's Day race Corozal to Belize City, 31min.

  • Belize 360, 7min. Channel 23 Belize

  • Belize 2013, 4min. A November trip to San Pedro and Ambergris Caye.

  • Trip to Belize, 4.5min. Our 10 day sailing trip to Belize aboard Mango. We sailed from Laru Beya Marina in Placencia and sailed out to the barrier reef cays.

  • Trip to Belize, 7min. Our 10 day trip to Belize. We sailed from Laru Beya Marina Placenecia and sailed out to the barrier reef cays.

  • Mike and Tina Belize 2015, 8.5min.

  • Wilmers parrot in Belize, 1min. My mechanic friend Wilmer owns this beautiful parrot in Belize and he has it trained amazingly well, it even talks. I want one.

  • Snorkel Belize - Matthew Murray 1/6/16, 6.5min.

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