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#511171 - 01/29/16 05:54 AM Today's Belize News: January 29, 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

SPTC to revive Traffic Board
Guerrero admits that had proper planning been in place, traffic congestion could have been avoided. There were no preparations for what is happening now. “No one had a clue that this island would grow so fast,” he added. The SPTC will be issuing moratoriums when it comes to traffic conditions based on ideas and plans from the Town Board. The Mayor is willing to work with any institution that wants to contribute to the alleviation of the problem, as long as it is clear to them that the final decision is done by the SPTC. “We are an elected body, elected by the people to run their affairs. At the same time we appreciate everyone’s input towards the solution of a problem. But not because we welcome their recommendations does it means that we have to do what they are requesting. I agree with the BTIA in putting moratoriums on the golf cart rental businesses to not bring anymore carts to the island, on the luxurious vehicles and not issuing anymore permits for larger vehicles for taxi, I totally agree with that. But when it comes to personal golf carts, that will not stop, permits for personal golf carts I will never stop it,” stated Guerrero.

Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers Meet with OAS to Reactivate Joint Commission
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize and Guatemala along with the Special Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General met at the OAS office at the Adjacency Zone on Friday, 22 January 2016 to discuss the status of the bilateral agenda and reactivate the Belize – Guatemala Joint Commission as established under the Framework Agreement on Confidence Building Measures of 2005. The Ministers agreed that the work of the Joint Commission is important in promoting efforts at building confidence and enhancing relations between the two countries, even as the two countries strive to bring to an early and definitive end the dispute over Guatemalan claims in accordance with the Special Agreement between the two countries.

PC Oscar Ramirez freed of Extortion charge
A police constable formerly attached to the San Pedro Police Department has been freed of ‘Extortion’ charges well over a year after interdiction. 28-year-old PC #1139 Oscar Ramirez was charged for the crime of ‘Extortion’ on September 30, 2014, but charges were dropped in his latest court hearing on Wednesday, January 20th. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser dismissed the case after the complainant indicated that she did not want any further court action. While Ramirez may have been freed from the court proceeding, he will still face disciplinary measures from the Belize Police Department.

PM Barrow visits the USA to address issues within the banking sector
Prime Minister of Belize and Minister of Finance, Honorable Dean Barrow departed for Washington, DC, USA on Saturday, January 23rd to attended meetings with key senior officials of the United States Federal Government and of the US banking monitoring systems on the problems being faced by the Belizean banking sector. For over a year now, the Belize banking sector has been feeling the effects of the USA’s ‘de-risking’ strategy which has resulted in the loss of correspondent banking relationships. Even though the banking sector has not yet reached the crisis point, if a solution to this issue is not found soon, Belize’s economy will suffer from a break in financial transactions with the USA.

PUP Leadership debate canceled
After due consideration the planning and coordination committee has decided to cease all efforts to organize a debate between the three aspirants for the post of Party Leader, Peoples United Party. Two of the candidates failed to respond to formally inform the committee of their intention to appear as scheduled by the close of business late yesterday. The committee thanks the Hon. Francis Fonseca for his prompt and forthright declaration of his intention to participate.

Oceana launches ‘Fish Right, Eat Right’ program brand
On Tuesday, January 27th Oceana Belize launched a national program to highlight local establishments who are responsibly sourcing seafood. Government officials and private sector representatives convened in Belize City to launch a program brand and certification mark entitled ‘Fish Right, Eat Right.’ The program will be backed by an educational campaign providing incentives for fishers, retailers, restaurants, and consumers to promote and support the harvest, trade and consumption of sustainably and legally caught seafood. The main purpose of the initiative is to curb illegal fishing and promote best practices in fisheries by providing marketing incentives throughout the supply chain via the promotion of responsible seafood consumption. The program emphasized that those establishments that demonstrate knowledge of a compliance with the Fisheries Regulations will receive special recognition, and responsible fishers who comply with the Regulations will also have preferential access to these reliable markets.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BELIZE FISHING REPORT: Week of January 17th –23rd, 2016
A very solid week of fishing for everyone at the lodge. A group of doctors from Wilderness Medical joined us for a retreat/business trip. Good tarpon fishing this week with many guests encountering the sliver king. Anywhere from 10 to 60 pounds!! Congrats to John, Champ and Todd for getting theirs to the boat. If your tarpon happened to get off not so close to the boat – come back again, it will happen!

New Scuba Diving Standards for Belize
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is proud to announce that Belize now has a “Belize Standard Code of Practice for Recreational Scuba Diving Practices.” Effective January 20th, a three-month period commenced for tour operators, tour guides and any other party offering scuba diving tours to familiarize themselves with the standards and make any necessary changes in accordance with the minimum standard. Compliance of the same is expected once the standard is declared “COMPULSORY” in April, 2016. Drafting the minimum standards for scuba diving in Belize began in late 2013, in collaboration with technical committees, which comprised of key stakeholders. Under the Bureau of Standards, all processes mandated by the Standards Act were followed, along with consultations with key scuba destinations, including San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and Punta Gorda in 2014. The Public Comments stage had 28 pages of comments that were received and reviewed in order to enhance the final draft.

Reef Week 2016
Every year the Belizean conservation community celebrates the significant economic and cultural benefits of the Belize Barrier Reef to the country with a week-long calendar of national events. Reef Week 2016 is being organized under the theme, "Not just my reef, it's our way of life!" The activities, set to take place between March 6th through to March 13th, include the Healthy Reef for Healthy People's swim across the English Caye Channel, Oceana's "Ride to the Reef" from the capital city to the coast, as well as educational and awareness events by organizations including the Belize Audubon Society, TIDE, FAMRACC, BTIA, Blue Ventures, the Turneffe Atoll SA, WWF, KREM, Wildtracks, the Wildlife Conservation Society, UB's Environmental Research Institute and the Southern Enforcement Association. Partner entities for Reef Week 2016 also include the Belize Tourism Board, the Fisheries Department, the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute and the Belize City Council.

Belize Chairs Meeting with Caricom High Commissioners and Secretary General Designate of the Commonwealth

Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers Meet with OAS to Reactivate Joint Commission
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize and Guatemala along with the Special Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General met at the OAS office at the Adjacency Zone on Friday, 22 January 2016 to discuss the status of the bilateral agenda and reactivate the Belize – Guatemala Joint Commission as established under the Framework Agreement on Confidence Building Measures of 2005. The Ministers agreed that the work of the Joint Commission is important in promoting efforts at building confidence and enhancing relations between the two countries, even as the two countries strive to bring to an early and definitive end the dispute over Guatemalan claims in accordance with the Special Agreement between the two countries.

Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding
Corozal Invites! What is the Santa Rita Maya Re-enactment Wedding. Historical information documents the Santa Rita Archaeological Park as the only place where a marriage took place between a Spanish Conquistador and a Mayan Princess. Hence, it is believed that the enhancement of this site will bring back the unique historical, cultural, social and the economic potential of this site. The revival of this centre as an official Maya Wedding Garden will honour our culture and heritage and will greatly benefit our present and future generations. It is said that Guerrero became a great ally to the Maya in the struggle against the Spanish conquistadors in Belize. Historians generally accept the view that in the 16th century he served as a political and military advisor to Nachancan, the ruler of Old Chetumal (Chactemal) .(Santa Rita, Corozal was probably part of ancient Chactemal, the Maya capital of the area at the time of the first Spanish attempt to conquer the Yucatec Mayas in the early 16th century). Date: Saturday February 6th, 2016

Vacancy at Belize Electricity Limited
A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited for the post of Data Centre Technician I or II in the Information & Communication Systems Department.

Women in Art Fair 2016
Save the date. For Registration please contact SISE House of Culture, telephone 824 0783. Cayo Welcome Center. March 12, 2016. 9am - 3pm.

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
99 Homes, You Can't Re-Gift Family, Regression, Macbeth

Chef Juan's Kitchen & Pastries
New Take-Out restaurant in Caye Caulker, Belize serving local and american food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. GRAND OPENING, Monday, FEB 1st. 64 Crocodile Street Caye Caulker

San Pedro Liquor License Holders
A reminder to all Liquor License Holders: If you have paid for your license, kindly pick up your certificate at the San Pedro Town Council office as all 2015 licenses expire on the 1st of February of this year.

CDB launches education sector reform programme in Belize
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on Wednesday launched in Belize a programme that will build 35 new schools, benefitting 5,300 students at the pre-primary, primary and secondary education levels. The Belize education sector reform programme focuses on providing children across the country with equitable access to a quality basic education, with a goal of increasing enrolment in post-secondary and tertiary education. It is grounded in the government of Belize’s Basic Education Sector Strategy (2011-2016) and aligns with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, as outlined in its 2015-2019 Strategic Plan. “This programme exhibits the government of Belize’s understanding of the critical role of basic education in driving economic growth and development. CDB is pleased to partner with Belize as it embarks on this transformational journey,” said Deidre Clarendon, division chief, Social Sector Division, CDB, who delivered remarks at the launch event.

In our Belizean Legends documentary series this year 2016, we will be featuring the remarkable Belizean Beauty Queens that represented Belize abroad as ambassadors, and chronicling the stories that brought them to accomplish this most popular Belizean cultural title that continues to present the best qualities and intelligence in Belizean women today, and how it has advanced them to face the challenges of the western world in which they represented Belize. Today we commence our series with Christine M. Gibson. The 38th. Belize Queen of The Bay. The “Queen of the Bay” Pageant, the oldest and most prestigious contest in Belize, Central America, started in 1946 during the September Celebrations. Historically, the pageant was held at Edwards Park, now known as Rogers Stadium, and serves to commemorate our National Day – September 10th, the day our forefathers’ fought to preserve our heritage and delivered a victory over the Spaniards, during the Battle of St. George’s Caye in 1798.

Channel 7

Three Charged For Home Invasion/Murder At Doctor's House
3 men have been charged in connection with yesterday's home invasion in the city. They are 18-year-old Windell Thurton of Freetown Road, 21-year-old Max Orosco of New Road and 19-year-old Byron Flowers of Consuelo Street. All 3 men have been charged with Murder, Aggravated Burglary, Attempt Murder, Dangerous Harm and Use of Deadly Means of Harm. As we told you, 44 year old Dr. Marcos Rugama was at his home on Simon Lamb Street with his friend 32 year old Ian Blair. Rugama went outside to pick in clothes around 1:40 yesterday morning and when he returned, he saw 2 men attacking Blair - one of them had a knife. Rugama intervened and there was a struggle. Both Rugama and Blair were stabbed but Blair didn't make it. All 3 men appear in court tomorrow morning.

More Problems For Paumen
American tour operator Bradley Paumen was taken back to court today, this time in Belmopan Magistrate's court where he was charged for the perversion of justice and the conspiracy to pervert justice. Three persons were charged along with him. They are mechanic Lisburn Anderson, who was charged previously, and two new faces. They are businessman Jahan Abadi of Belmopan, and Korean American Hyang Choing Park. She is the former common law wife of Michael Modiri - and she is now accused of being part of the wider plot to set up her ex. All four of them appeared in Belmopan Magistrate's Court today where Paumen and Anderson were charged for planting a .22 rifle and 150 live rounds in Michael Modiri's vehicle in April, 2015. Park was charged with enlisting policeman Solomon Mas in February of 2015 - who was allegedly hired as the hitman. Abadi is also accused of facilitating a key to get into Modiri's vehicle so the weapon could be planted. Court finished just an hour ago - and here's what the Paumen's attorney Hebert Panton:

Alleged Indian Church Killer Caught
Ten days ago, we told you about the murder of 51 year-old Guatemalan Francisco Arevalo, the Vice Chairman of the remote Orange Walk Village of Indian Church, who's nude body was found near an unfinished concrete house. Police had been been looking for their main suspect, 58 year-old Salvadoran Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez, who they suspected had fled the country. Well, Lopez Gutierrez, who is better known as "Chile", is wanted no more. He was caught in a joint operation by Belize and Mexican law enforcement authorities in a Mexican community known as Allende in Quintana Roo. This town is located along the Rio Hondo River, and authorities say that's where he was hiding out. We understand that he is currently in the custody of the Mexicans in Chetumal, and papers are being processed so that he can be handed over to Belize police as early as tomorrow. If police have gathered the evidence required, he could be facing a murder charge.

Piper Plane Has Problems In PG
There was an incident at the Punta Gorda airstrip this afternoon around 3:30. We do not have all the details at this time but what we know is that a Piper PA32 experienced mechanical difficulties while landing. There are varying reports as to what caused the mechanical failure but authorities are still investigating and could not confirm what went wrong at this point. Reports so far are that no one was injured. We will have more details on this incident tomorrow.

Confusion with Charges For Paumen's Mechanic
At the top of the news we told you about Bradley Paumen - the American tour operator who could get his bail revoked because he's facing new charges in connection with the Michael Modiri case. Paumen was charged earlier this month for abetment to murder for allegedly hiring a hit on Modiri - so he was on bail for that. But his mechanic Lisburn Anderson is charged along with him. Anderson is alleged to have conspired with Paumen to plant an unlicensed .22 rifle and 150 live rounds in Modiri's car - so that he would get stopped at a police checkpoint, and arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm. That was in in April of 2015. That is why today he was charged for the perversion of justice and conspiring to pervert justice. But the charge was read before one magistrate this afternoon where he pleaded not guilty - and that's when the Prosecutor indicated that he would like the matter tried on indictment. That's when things got topsy turvy and the matter ended up before another magistrate this afternoon - who read him the charges all over again. Here's how his attorney Rachel Montejo explained what she said is a fatal procedural error:..

GOB: Don't Close Door On Open Vote Workers
Today, the Government of Belize had to appear in court to defend against a lawsuit brought against them by the one of their former employees. Melissa Tucker, worked for the Ministry of Education for 17 years from 1995 to 2013. That's when her supervisors at the Ministry sent her home for what she claims was a frivolous complaint. She gave much of her adult life to the service of the Government, but with the stroke of the pen, she was sent home with a letter of termination and without any opportunity to offer a defense of her actions while on duty. The problem is that she didn't have security of tenure because she was an open vote worker, so she wasn't appointed to her post by the Public Services Commission. That's the body which hears all complaints against appointed Government employees, and has to give all of them due process. Bottom line? It's very, very hard to get an established public officer fired.

Judge Deliberates In Murder Trial Without Jury
Justice Adolph Lucas has reserved judgment in the case where accused murderer Daniel Anderson stood trial without jury. He is accused of killing 19 year-old Joycelyn Mitchell back on June 17, 2010. Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell prosecuted the case in which evidence was presented that the victim, Mitchell, was shot and killed shortly after 6 that evening. This happened while she was sitting on the trunk of her sister's car, which was parked in front of their home on Sibun Street. A lone gunman rode up on a bicycle from the direction of Vernon Street Bridge and fired several shots at a group of persons that were in front of Mitchell's house. One bullet entered one side of Mitchell's head and exited through the other side, killing her instantly.

Weighing The Weed
Yesterday, we reported on the 4 parcels of marijuana that a joint law enforcement patrol seized near the Village of Consejo in the Corozal District. According to the BDF Commander, it's a hotspot for the trans-shipment of drugs, and today, the Coast Guard High Command briefed the media about this and other drug seizures that they made this month in their step-up joint patrols. Here's Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis, the commander of the Coast Guard's First Fleet, discussing the details of the successful operations: Lt. Gregory Soberanis - Commander, 1st Fleet: "There were 3 marijuana seizures throughout the month of January 2016; the first was in San Pedro, where Coast Guard patrol was conducting a stake out, when they observed a small vessel behaving in a suspicious manner. The patrol proceeded to intercept the vessel which sped off throwing a small package overboard.

Not Handling The Candle Caused Fire
There was a fire last night on Freedom Street which destroyed a man's home and all of his possessions. Allan Lucario, a resident of #3722 Freedom Street, was sleeping in the upper flat of his house when he woke up with fire all around him. He told 7News that he fell asleep with a candle burning, and when he woke up he found the couch he was sleeping in on fire. He burnt his hands trying to shove it through his front door to prevent the fire from spreading. Lucario told us that the sofa was just too heavy for him to get out of the house in time.

Knock Head Or Gunshot in Bus?
Police have released the official version of that incident in Esperanza Village in which a bus passenger may have either shot another passenger, or, more likely, clubbed him over the head with the gun with 60 other passengers on the bus. Around 2:30 yesterday, police received information of someone being shot on a West Line Bus heading from San Ignacio to Belmopan. They responded and met Conrad Thomas unconscious and being helped by a woman. They saw that he was suffering from a small cut wound to the upper right side of his head. Thomas and his wife were traveling to Camalote and in San Ignacio he exchanged words with a man who was seated two seats in front of them. The bus continued on its way and in Esperanza village, his wife saw the same man coming from the back.

Cyclist Recovering
Yesterday we told you about the bus which knocked down a cyclist near mile 6 on the George Price Highway. We've since learnt that he's a junior cyclist by the name of Shaquir Tillett, and our information is that he's recovering at the KHMH. As we reported, it happened sometime after 10 yesterday morning. A bus was heading in to Benque when the driver suddenly came upon the 2 cyclists. There were vehicles coming the opposite direction, and so, he couldn't swerve into the left lane to avoid them. Shaquir Tillett was struck by the bus and then flung into his companion's lane where they had an ugly spill. The Cycling Federation of Belize is urging motorists to be mindful that the Belize to Hattieville stretch of the George Price Highway will be busy with cyclists who are training for the major races which are upcoming.

A Good Day To Go To Dark Night
For weeks we've been trying to get a comment from NICH on their partnership with Dark Night Tours, owned by Bradley Paumen. And while the NICH President shunned us, she and Director of Archeology John Morris did appear yesterday on Channel 5's "Open Your Eyes" where they did discuss Dark Night. And they NICH President Diane Haylock did indicate that the Dark Night caves are accessible to the general public. Today we decided to try our luck. Emanuel Pech reports. CHUKKA's country manager affirms that they have approached personnel from NICH requesting more boots on the ground to further level the playing field. However she concedes that there does not seem to be much movement on the part of the authorities in this regard.

Man Pleads Guilty To School Burglary
Yesterday we told you about the burglary of the Edward P. Yorke HIGH where someone helped themselves to the cafeteria's snacks and school supplies. Well, Julian Cowling told the Magistrate's Court that he committed the crime ON JANUARY 27TH. The items that were stolen included school supplies, food and beverages and they amounted to $957 dollars in value. Police charged Julian Cowling with burglary and handling stolen goods. He was arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers where he wasted no time and pleaded guilty to Burglary, but not handling stolen goods. The Magistrate handed him a fine of $800 which he must pay the court by April 15, or he will face 4 months in jail. He was additionally ordered to pay E. P. Yorke compensation of $305.

A Strategy For Keeping Wildlife Safe
Protecting Belize's wildlife: that was the main message at today's Forestry workshop in Belmopan. Organizers say the public needs to recognize the importance of Belize's resources and why it must be preserved. Today the Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido told the media about a new strategy that will engage the public in this process and address some major pressures affecting wildlife. 17 organizations from across the country participated in today's workshop.

Bze-Guat Meet OAS In The A-Z
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reporting tonight that a delegation of Belizean and Guatemalan Government officials met with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States at the OAS office in the Adjacency zone on last week Friday. Wilfred Elrington, was accompanied by Lawrence Sylvester, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Alexis Rosado, Ambassador to Guatemala and Belize's Commissioner on the Belize - Guatemala Joint Commission; Stuart Leslie, of Referendum Commission; Said Guerra and Alfonso Gahona, Director of International Affairs; and Luis Verde, Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They met with their counterparts and an agreement was reached that the work of the Joint Commission is important in promoting efforts at building confidence and enhancing relations between the two country.

Prepaid BTL Di Bav?
BTL is admitting a major fail tonight, and it's not like everyone didn't know already. A release says, quote, "On Sunday, January 24, the systems which allow its DigiCell customers to check their PrePaid balances and purchase PrePaid services - known as the PrePaid Short Codes - began experiencing service degradation due to issues with both the system's primary and backup servers." The bad news is, quote, "Despite the best efforts of BTL technicians, the company anticipates that it may take up to three to four weeks before a full solution can be put in place to address the issues." And so to make up, "DigiCell has temporarily lowered the local text rates from 25 cents to 4 cents per text plus tax to help out customers who cannot purchase text bundles via the short codes."

Rover In River
Today a Suzuki XL-7 took a dip in the canal near Partridge Street. It happened sometime around 8:00 am. No one was hurt.

New Labour Senator Sworn
And finally tonight, we note that Elena Smith has been sworn in as the new senator for labour and civil society. She was sworn in yesterday at the senate meeting.

Channel 5

Paumen & Alleged Accomplices Back in Court
As we said…Today, in an amazingly protracted and confounding Courtroom drama, it took two Magistrates, the D.P.P., a Police prosecutor and five defense attorneys eight hours and two separate courtrooms [...]

Paumen and Anderson Denied Bail
Businessman Jahan Abadi and Haung Chong Park were arraigned for conspiracy to the crime of perverting the course of justice. They allegedly solicited the services of Solomon Moss to plant [...]

Coast Guard Seize High Grade Weed Near Consejo
A joint law enforcement operation in the vicinity of Consejo, in the Corozal District, has resulted in the seizure of a quantity of high-grade marijuana believed to have been smuggled [...]

Enforcement Arms Plan Multi-Agency Anti-Narcotics Approach
The area of Consejo has been designated by the Belize Defense Force and the National Coast Guard as a hotspot for the transshipment of drugs and other contraband.  Despite ramping [...]

3 Charged for the Murder of Ian Blair
Late this evening the Eastern Division North Police levied charges against a trio of men for the stabbing murder of thirty-seven year old Ian Blair. Eighteen-year-old Windell Thurton of Freetown [...]

Suspect in Gruesome Chopping Murder Captured in Mexico
The hunt for fifty-nine year old Juan Carlos Gutierrez has come to an end. The Salvadoran national, who was wanted by Orange Walk Police for the cold-blooded murder of Indian [...]

Belize Bank Awaits Positive News on Correspondent Banking Relationships
And from crime to the financial sector…Prime Minister Dean Barrow is away on an official visit to Washington where he is attending a series of high-level meetings with officials from [...]

Southside Resident Loses Everything in Fire
A candle is believed to have sparked a fire in the upper flat of a house in the south side of Belize City. The fire victim, Allan Locario lived alone [...]

Investigation into Free Zone Fire Ongoing
Meanwhile, fire officials continue to investigate the cause of a fire up north, inside the Commercial Free Zone in Corozal. Around three p.m. on Tuesday, a seventy-five by seventy-five foot [...]

Looking for Signs of Depression
Suicides are not reported in our newscasts as a matter of policy, except in rare cases. Recently, there have been two cases of a pair of young girls in the [...]

Sentencing Deferred in Anderson Murder Trial
After more than a week, the murder case of Belize City Daniel Anderson, accused with the 2011 murder of Joyce Mitchell came to an end. Mitchell was gunned down in [...]

Edward P. Yorke Cafeteria Burglar Identified
Tonight, the man accused of burglarizing the Cafeteria at Edward P. Yorke High School has been identified as Julian Edward Cowling.  Cowling, a resident of Belize City was arraigned this [...]

Belize Bank Opens New Branch Offices in San Ignacio
The Belize Bank inaugurated its new branch offices in San Ignacio on Wednesday night offering its customers a more spacious and comfortable location to conduct banking business.  The need for [...]

Annual B.D.F. Day Will Be Bigger and Better This Year
This Saturday at Price Barracks in Ladyville, the Belize Defense Force will host its annual B.D.F. Day in celebration of its thirty-eighth anniversary. The event allows for the public, as [...]

Belize Kidney Association Releases Latest Stats
According to data from the Belize Kidney Association, they have recorded to date that one hundred and twenty-two persons have passed away due to kidney failure. There are currently one [...]

First Sound Clash Kicks Off This Weekend
You’ve heard about the Forty-five shootout and now a battle of international disc jockeys will take place for the first time in Belize. It’s all happening this weekend at the [...]

B.T.L. Explains Network Difficulties
And this news, if you have been experiencing problems with the B.T.L. service, the company confirmed today that its prepaid short code system is facing significant issues. B.T.L. says the [...]

Healthy Living Looks at Mental Health
Two cases this week have highlighted the plight of persons with mental health problems. In both, the persons were kept within their environment, but were they receiving appropriate treatment?  Family [...]


Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez Captured In Quintana Roo, Mexico
Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez, 59 year old Salvadoran National wanted for the murder of 55 year old Francisco Arevalo, Guatemalan National from the Village of Indian Church in the Orange Walk District, was captured this afternoon in the community of Allende in Quintana Roo, Mexico, during a joint operation carried out by Mexican and Belizean Authorities. Gutierrez is accused of killing Arevalo sometime in the night of Saturday January 16th. Arevalo’s nude mutilated body was found early in the morning of January 17th, beside an unfinished concert house located in the outskirts of Indian Church. Investigations reveled that Arevalo was at home in the company of two visitors when he received a phone call at around 9:00p.m. All indications are that the person on the other side of the line, believed to be a woman, lured him to the area where his body was found. After investigations police detained a woman with whom Arevalo had a relationship with in the past. She was found in possession of Arevalo’s phone and it is believed that the man she was living with killed Arevalo.

Corozal Police Detains Two Persons In Massam Murder Case
Corozal Police have detained two persons believed to be able to assist in the murder of Corozal resident Paul Massam. The two individuals were detained based on information gathered by the Crime Investigation Branch. Their names however, are being retained since the investigator is still in its early stage. As mentioned last night, at around 8:30 yesterday morning Massam became the first murder victim for 2016 for the Corozal District. The 28 year old was sitting on the stairs of his girlfriend’s house located in the Skelton Town Area of Corozal when he was approached by a lone gunman who shot him three times at close range. Massam became the 12th murder victim for 2016.

IDB Donates Grant For Caribbean Countries To Fight Zika Virus
And sticking to the subject of the Zika Virus, The Inter-American Development Bank, (IDB), has decided to grant a total of $800.000 to six different countries within the Caribbean in order for them to develop and implement a system of health information and response at regional level aimed at strengthening the tourism sector. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago issued a statement earlier today assuring that they, along with Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Jamaica will all benefit from this grant that will allow them the opportunity to adopt sanitary as well as environmental practices. The Government stated that the Caribbean region is the most dependent when it comes to tourism and that the recent epidemics that the Caribbean has seen throughout the years such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2000, the Influenza A H1N1 in 2009, Chikingunya in 2013 and now the Zika virus, have all increased the need for close observation and response to these pandemics that are obtained due to travelling.

ZIKA Sends WHO Into Emergency Meeting
The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting to discuss the explosive spread of the Zika Virus and its possible link to thousands of birth defects in Latin America. Today at the committee meeting, the WHO Director General, Margret Chan, expressed the organizations high level of concern and outlined four main reasons for alarm when it comes to the Zika VIRUS. Since the arrival of the virus has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with Microcephaly, or born with abnormally small heads, it has prompted governments across the world to advise pregnant women against going to the areas where the virus has been detected. Also discussed at the meeting was the possible increase in the populations of vector carrying mosquitos due weather patterns that are expected to be warmer.


Wings of Hope Pilot Dodges Dog and Crash Lands
Two persons escaped safely from a BERT air ambulance that had an accident this afternoon while landing at the Punta Gorda airstrip. PAUL MAHUNG “Reports here indicated that the BERT air ambulance was landing at about 2:50 am on the air strip when the accident happened as explained by pilot (James Mallet)” PILOT “I was […]

San Ignacio Police Updates on Bus Shooting
Last night we reported that one Conrad Thomas had been shot at, with the bullet grazing the side of his head. Today, San Ignacio police sent out the official police report in which it states that Thomas was in fact hit to the head with a firearm. He is in a stable condition. Deputy Commander […]

Wanted Man Captured in Southern Belize
Independence Police have captured a man who was wanted in connection with a murder in Bella Vista Village. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports. HARRY ARZU “24-year-old, Maria Garcia, a Honduran national who was living in Bella Vista Village in the Toledo District was murdered on Monday January 18th while she and her companion Earlyn McGuire were […]

Belize/Guatemala Joint Commission to Be Reactivated
Last week Friday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, met with Guatemala’s Foreign Affairs Minister, along with a Special Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General at the OAS office at the Adjacency Zone. According to a government press release, the meeting was to discuss the status of the bilateral agenda and […]

Jack Charles’ Rice is Gone
The controversial seventy five tons of Guyanese Rice is out of the country. Love News has confirmed with Xtra House Importer, Jack Charles that the rice was exported out of the country on Tuesday night from the Port of Big Creek in Independence Village to Santo Thomas in Guatemala. From there, the rejected Guyanese rice […]

3 Drug Seizures by BCG for January 2016
The Belize Coast Guard has been a part of several joint operations involving the Belize Police Department, Customs Department and Fisheries Department among other agencies. As we approach the end of January, the Belize Coast Guard has made three marijuana seizures in various areas of the country. At a briefing this morning at the Coast […]

500 Pounds of Contraband Flour Confiscated
Almost two sacks of contraband flour were intercepted by the Belize Coast Guard and the Customs Department. Lieutenant Greg Soberanis tells us more. GREG SOBERANIS “Early this morning, another joint patrol with the Customs unit in Consejo yielded a discovery of uncustomed goods of twenty 20-pound bags of flour and one 100 bag of flour. […]

Package Destined for San Pedro Had High Grade Weed
A package taken to a water taxi in Belize City was found to be compressed marijuana. Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis of the Belize Coast Guard told us of the find. GREGORY SOBERANIS “Yesterday Coast Guard Marine Patrol, this is a joint patrol with the Police and the Port Authority inspected a small package that was delivered […]

Fire Destroys Upper Flat on Freedom Street
Sometime around ten o’clock last night a fire destroyed the home of Allan Locario of 3722 Freedom Street. His home is situated upstairs of a closed meat shop. Locario was inside his home when the blaze started. He said a candle started the fire when he fell asleep after reading. He spoke to Love News […]

Cause of Fire at the Zone Still Undetermined
On Tuesday we told you about the fire at the Corozal Free Zone. The building was reported to be a warehouse. It began at around three thirty on Tuesday afternoon. Fire Chief, Ted Smith gave an update of the fire and says they have not determined a cause of the fire as yet. The P […]

Senate passes bills and motions after much debate
The Senate’s first session of 2016 considered, debated, and approved four bills brought from Friday’s session of the House of Representatives, as well as three motions. The motions concerned a line of credit for 8 million euros from the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the re-appointm...

Elena Smith is new Unions Senator, but for how long?
Educator and long-standing union activist Elena Smith was this morning sworn in as the twelfth member of the Senate, representing the trade unions and civil society. Here was the moment she took the oath at the start of today’s meeting in Belmopan. Smith’s appointment eases, but does not end a stand...

Lifeline donates to 6 organizations to benefit children
The Lifeline Foundation today handed over $42,600 in donations to boost the efforts of several institutions working for the benefit of Belize’s Children. The grants were made possible through funds raised through the Lebanese Night Gala hosted by the Lifeline Foundation and the Shakespeare’s Globe T...

#511172 - 01/29/16 05:54 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 29, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Guardian

The Custom's department foiled an attempt to import into Belize a large quantity of t-shirts bearing the image of Johnny Briceno who is an aspirant who wants to be leader of the People's United Party. Our information suggests that the Customs department was alerted to a vehicle which was parked near to one of the casinos in the Commercial Free Zone area in Corozal sometime around 11:30 last night. This is of course outside of all regular working hours and the information suggests that the vehicle was sitting there with a driver well before 5 p.m. and no attempt was made to cross the border at the customs check point during normal working hours. Having waited out for over six and a half hours, officers of the department moved in on the vehicle and conducted a search of it where they found 1,258 t-shirts bearing the image of John Briceno. Ordinarily this volume of shirts would be deemed to be cargo and would only be processed at the cargo section of the border. Why the vehicle did not do so is anyone's guess.

500 New lots for Dangrigans
Land reforms, especially assets for those without land, are fundamental to poverty alleviation. Which is why Dangriga Representative the Honorable Frank “Papa” Mena, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities is taking on the daunting task of trying to make poverty an obsolete matter in his constituency. While public debate decries corruption and all sorts of malfeasance to make the ruling UDP Government appear to be mired in wrong doing, that’s the furthest thing from the truth here in Dangriga. Belize has 8,867 square miles and of those square miles, in the past it seemed as if though only the “haves” were getting and the “have nots” were being left behind. That may soon become an issue of the very distant past for Grigalizeans. In his campaign for political office, Dangriga Representative Hon. Frank “Papa” Mena, said “Poverty is the biggest injustice to anyone. Is it a bad thing to own a piece of land?”

Guyanese rice out of Belize
We are not certain what the final destination will be but we are reliably informed that the Guyanese rice which was sitting at the Big Creek port in Independence Village was loaded on to barges with destination to Puerto Santo Tomas in Guatemala. The rice left Belizean shores on Wednesday morning but the final destination is still unknown. The rice was originally intended to enter the Belizean market however it was brought into the country without first getting permits and the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegally in Belize. The government of Belize since then went into negotiations with the importer which finally came to an agreement that the rice would be shipped out of Belize as soon as possible. Jack Charles had stated that the 75 tonnes of rice were to have been retailing for 69 cents per pound in direct competition with locally grown and produced rice in Belize which would have had the local rice industry at a disadvantage which has a controlled price of rice at 90 cents per pound.

Debunk the debate
No sooner had we heard of the plans for a PUP Leadership Debate than we became convinced that it was not going to happen. The idea of a debate amongst persons vying for high office is a great one, but the concept and organization of such debates must come from and be done by persons with visible credibility and not by persons whose credibility may be called into question. For avoidance of any doubt we will present the resumes of the persons who were in charge of the now scuttled debate. Alberto Vellos who writes that rag called Belize Times, was the person whose idea was to have the debate. We know of the outlandish things that the Belize Times has published since he has been it’s Editor. The organizers were Glenn Tillett who is friendly with Jack Daniels. Glenn was the very same person who came up with the poll that showed PUP winning the last General Election. He was joined by another friend of Jack Daniels, he is Jose Coye who is known as the Land Hog. That is a name he earned during the Put Put land scandal and was conferred when his name came up in the UB Land scandal. Another organizer is Carolyn Trench-Sandiford. She is the person who promised to build us a Satellite City but instead gave us a village at the cost of almost 100 million dollars. The final organizer was Major Lloyd Jones, who was once a member of the G-11 but later on he changed sides. In the military such a person is declared a TRAITOR, right Major? Readers you can draw your own conclusion on the characters of those persons.

MCC in a state of play
The MCC is almost ready for the playing of football on it to be possible, this after the Minister responsible for Youth Sports and Culture, Hon. Elodio Aragon responded to complaints that there was a trench that had been dug around it made play on the field hazardous to players. The response was immediate after he received the complaint and on Monday January 25 work crews were on the ground to alleviate the conditions. According to Ritchel Dominguez who is now the director of the National Sports Council and under who’s responsibility the upkeep of the grounds falls, work is being done on the field. Dominguez says that the work is being done in collaboration with the Belize Defence Force which provided the manpower and expertise to lay pipes in the trenches that were around the field. The partnership is as a result of a request by the BDF who wanted to use the field for practice and they offered to assist in making it safe for play.

Tourism Association meets in Cayo
Tourism is a major source of revenue for many in the Cayo District and as such members from this industry meet regularly to chart a way forward. As a result, the Cayo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association BTIA hosted a meeting at the Cahal Pech Resort in San Ignacio last Thursday, where much was achieved during the meeting. President of the Cayo Chapter of the BTIA Judy DuPlooy gave the welcome address. She was joined by special guest, Javier Paredez, Registrar from the Belize Tourism Board, who gave a PowerPoint on the laws and regulations relating to resorts, hotels, guest houses and tour guides. According to Judy DuPlooys the Cayo Chapter (BTIA) intends to meet on the third Thursday of every month at the Cahal Petch Resort in San Ignacio Town. DuPlooy believes that as a group, the Cayo Chapter (BTIA) will have more lobbying strength and as such invites anyone associated with tourism to become part of her group.

Belize City plans to be a child friendly municipality
After Mayor Darrell Bradley signed unto the Sustainable and Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative back in 2013 that initiative has seen many positive changes for Belize City. In mid last year, Mayor Bradley tasked the Councilor with responsibility for Women and Children Councilor Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar to chair the Technical steering Committee of the Child Care Friendly Initiative for Belize City. Since then Councilor Cuellar has met with the Child Advisory Body also known as (CAB) which consist of youngsters from Primary and High schools throughout Belize City. Councilor Cuellar reiterated in an interview that “It is very important for us as leaders to hear our children as they too have voices and they will be tomorrow’s future leaders.” She added: I am astounded when I sit along with members of CAB and our Technical Steering Committee and hear our city’s children speak so resonant on issues affecting their city and about their future plans for Belize City.”

Plan to build 35 new schools highlights launch of Education Sector Reform Project
A highlight of phase two is the execution of plans to increasing access to education across the country. The Government of Belize has entered into a loan agreement with the Caribbean Development Bank for the construction of 35 new school buildings across the country. The loan is for a total of US$35 million and was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 2, 2015. Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, explained that the Ministry has looked at communities across the country where the population has grown significantly to determine necessary locations for new schools. There will be 22 new schools for early childhood education (preschools). These schools will be built in Valley of Peace, Buena Vista, Billy White, Duck Run, St. Margaret’s, San Pablo (O.W.), San Jose (O.W.), Douglas, San Juan (O.W.), San Antonio (O.W.), Santa Cruz (O.W.), Trial Farm, Cowpen, Caye Caulker, Belmopan, Bella Vista, San Ignacio, Santa Elena, Independence, Pomona, Punta Gorda, San Pedro, Corozal Town and Dangriga. There will also be five new 8-classroom buildings for primary schools; including one in the Gungulung area of Lake Independence, and eight for secondary schools. In total, 5,300 extra spaces for students will be created in 148 new classrooms. Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, says the Government is now in the process of identifying property where they can build these schools.

Ministry of Education responds to suicides in teens in Cayo
Over the past two weeks there have been two suicides and one attempt in the Cayo district. These have claimed the life of two teenaged girls and affected a third. As a result of this seeming spike in these actions that claim the life of young girls, the Ministry of Education is responding to prevent further loss of lives. Dr. Candy Armstrong, director Education Support Services within the Ministry of Education says that the problem of suicides among female teenaged populations in schools is not new but the issue of trying to harmonize the collaboration between counseling arms in the ministry and in schools is. She says that the ministry is working to partner with counselors in primary and secondary schools to support with intervention plans as well as capacity building for teachers. Additionally the ministry offers training for counselors to be able to identify at-risk behavior in students. They are also helping students come up with their own systems to manage issues in teens as well as work with the ministry of health with referral of cases where problems that present themselves and counselors at the school level cannot be handled are referred to higher specialists in the ministry of health.

Mobility for Sports Coordinators countrywide
Ever since taking the position of Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. has been actively seeking ways in which he can improve on the infrastructure and the well being of those within his ministry. Another clear indication of this came on Wednesday January 27 when he along with the substantive Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Patrick Faber handed over the keys to 7 new motorcycles to sports coordinators across the country. The value of the cycles is 17,500 which was financed by the Ministry of Sports. Speaking to the Guardian, Hon. Aragon says he has been on a quest to improve the conditions of the sports council and the entire Ministry of Sports. The motorcycles are one way in which that can be achieved in improving the mobility capacity of the sports coordinators in the districts. These personnel are at the forefront of implementing sporting goals and their ability to move within the district they work in is crucial says Aragon.

Oceana starts branding campaign, what about the small fisherfolk
Oceana Belize has partnered with numerous conservation groups and tourism industry stakeholders to launch a best practice initiative for fishers and seafood sellers called “Fish Right, Eat Right”. The initiative is aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the fisheries industry for generations to come. It is applauded by all players in the sector but small fishers have raised concern about the prospect of being disenfranchised. Alyssa Carnegie, Director of Communications at Oceana Belize, says, “[Fish Right, Eat Right] is a concept that came up in terms of having local chefs, local cooks, local restaurants express their concerns over the type of seafood that they were being sold. And also from fishermen who have been asking for increased or stronger regulations and laws that would pertain and that would ensure sustainability of fisheries for generations to come.” She says, “You should think that seafood has been sustainably caught, meaning using means that limits bycatch. Some people still use gillnets even though it is a regulated type of fishing in Belize and many times you have charismatic species like dolphins, turtles, sharks that are caught in gillnets. Our protected species like bonefish and tarpon that are just basically left for dead because nobody really consumes those. So looking at fish that has been sustainably caught, that’s in accordance with the law, that follows seasons; it is not a juvenile.”

U.S. De-risking moves threatens Belize’s and region’s economic security
The United States has thrown stones and is now hiding its hand after the missile has struck Belize squarely in the head. The Belizean economy is in deep trouble now that banks in the US are terrified of engaging in correspondent relations with financial institutions of this jurisdiction. While the US government says it is discouraging their institutions from ending relations with Belize and other countries in the region, their actions make it irresponsible for any profit based enterprise to continue such practice. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has raised the issue both with President Barrack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden. The two most senior official of the current administration have assured Prime Minister Barrow that they will address the matter. Knowing how slow things move in Washington and the urgency of the situation, Prime Minister Barrow organized an A Team of financial experts attached to the Ministry of Finance for a mission to hold meetings with financial regulatory agencies in Washington D.C. The conversation with those agencies will not be one new to them but it will be one with the greatest urgency since adopting a much more stringent policy towards international financial institutions under the Obama Administration. Numerous CARICOM Heads of State have raised concern to President Obama and other senior officials. Bruce Zagaris, international criminal law and tax controversy expert, detailed a history of this crisis in an October 25 publication of the Cayman Financial Review. Zagaris pointed out that despite the fact that Belize significantly improved its Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework Bank of America still ended correspondent relations with the country’s largest bank, Belize Bank, in 2015.

No more repackaging of rice at the grocery store
Belizeans have become accustomed to purchasing rice at their neighborhood grocery story which had been repackaged by the grocer at their establishment. That practice has opened for all manner of advantages to be taken of the consumer; not least among them were giving the consumer less rice than they paid for and also having them pay a higher price for a lower grade rice. That practice is now ending. As of last week, a statutory instrument which was passed in December came into effect. That instrument basically states that all packaging of rice would be done strictly by the producer. That means that the distribution of rice in hundred pound bags has come to an end. The producers are now only allowed to sell rice in a maximum weight of 20 pound bags. They are also to package rice in bags of one pound to five pounds. These packages should be clearly marked as to the weight and the grade of the rice.

No charges yet on woman who killed son in law
Ladyville police are waiting for instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether or not they should take criminal action against 62 year-old Biscayne Resident Moszetta Reyes. She fatally injured her daughter’s boyfriend, 54 year-old Arthur Wade, with a machete, which she claims happened in self-defence. The incident happened on Friday, January 22, at around 9:35 p.m., and Reyes has since recounted her version of the incident to the press. She said that she was at home with her daughter, Alva Reyes, who is an adult suffering from an acute mental illness for which she started showing signs later in her life. Moszetta said that her daughter’s illness was in full swing, and as she and her family always does, they locked her away to protect her and others from any danger she might inflict others.

Young man in Cotton Tree injured
A young man has been injured in Cotton Tree Village. Jordana Frusto, 34, Belizean Director of Vista Del Mar, Ladyville Village, Belize District, recently reported that her son Jonathan Zetina ,18, Belizean Laborer of the same address had gone missing. But whilst giving the report, her son exited a blue pickup truck, which was driven at the time by John Olivera, who reported that he had picked up Jonathan in Cotton Tree Village.

Father,45, pleads guilty to beating his daughter, 16
Alexander Garcia, 45, is lucky to be a free man after he pleaded guilty to beating up his 16-year-old daughter in a drunken rage. Allegations made by the minor is that around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 21, she was at home in bed sleeping when her father came and woke her up to ask the whereabouts of her mother who was not at home. The child said she told her father that she didn’t know where her mother was and that was when he slapped her to the right side of her face with two books he had in his hand. The father then grabbed her by the neck and began to choke her. The minor’s uncle intervened and encouraged her to report the matter to police. Garcia was arrested and charged for his actions.

Glenfield Dennison recovers, needs financial assistance
On Thursday January 21, 31 year old Belizean law student, Glenfield Dennison was shot in Guyana. Reports are that he had just dropped off his girlfriend in an area on the East Coast of Demerara when he was approached by a gunman as he was about to ride off. The assailant shot at him three times hitting him once to the stomach and his left arm. The gunshots punctured his lungs and injured his liver and he was rushed to the Georgetown hospital where he was treated and is now recuperating.

Gun violence claims man’s life in Corozal
Paul Massam, a 28 year-old resident of Corozal Town, was gunned down and killed on Wednesday, January 30. Police don’t have a motive for this crime at this time, but Massam had a number of run-in with the law before the last 12 months. At around 8:30 a.m., officers responded to a home in area of Corozal called Skeleton Town, where they found signs of the crime in the form of blood on a verandah. The officers were told that Massam was rushed to the Corozal Community Hospital. They deployed to that location and they found Massam’s lifeless body; he had been pronounced dead on arrival. Police observed that he had suffered 3 gunshot wounds, one to the right side of the head, one to the lower cheek, and one to his palm.

The Railers
It seems that some people believe that in Belize the only way to get across a point is to do the pantomime while railing up on TV. The masters of these regular theatrics are Y. Rosado, Gabb, Matura, Brackett and Greenwood. I tell you, these guys (and girl) are good. Traffic Torres and the Silva make up a distant second; this is because their voices are nauseating, and they turn people off when they yak off endlessly over the airwaves. Before I continue, and if you probably haven’t deduced by now, let me tell you that I have been a supporter of the United Democratic Party for umpteen years. Not only because of the Party’s open frown on corruption, but also because I think that the UDP’s commitment to develop our country has always been on the forefront. When they have resources available, they apply these resources, for the most part, into making Belize and its citizens better off.

Two fifteen year olds from San Ignacio Town commit suicide within two weeks
Experts from the Ministry of Health consider it purely coincidental that two female students from San Ignacio Town have committed suicide in exactly two weeks from each other. Investigators are still perplexed, but sometime early on Monday of this week, 15 year old Meisy Amada Polanco, a third form student from Sacred Heart College decided to take her own life. Her mother 35 year old Andrea Claudia Polanco had woken up and did not find her inside the room, so she and her son began to make checks inside the house located in the Cahal Pech area. The last time that Andrea Polanco had seen her daughter alive was at 1:40 am when she had gotten up to use the bathroom. After continuous search, to their shock they discovered her hanging on the branch of an avocado tree about seven feet from off the ground. Both mother and her 12 year old son immediately brought down the body of Meisy Polanco, but she had already passed away. A search in the immediate area by investigators, led them to a fragmented note that had to be pieced together to obtain coherence. Andrea Polanco had suspected Meisy to have had a relationship, but was unaware on whether the relationship was rocky. Andrea Polanco had slapped and scolded Meisy Polanco on January 8, 2016.

Uprising Strikers FC champions of the Peace Cup Competition
The Conscious Youth Development Programme Peace Cup Football competition came to an end on Sunday 24th January, 2016, at the MCC Grounds with the third place game and the championship game played. In the championship game between Uprising Strikers FC and the previously unbeaten Kraal Road FC ended 0-0 in regulation time and as a result had to go into overtime to determined the winner. In the overtime, Uprising Strikers proved to be the better team when Germaine Foster scored the only goal of the game that gave his team the 1-0 victory and the championship. In the third place game played between Tut Bay FC and Kelly Street FC that game also went into overtime in which Kelly Street FC prevailed over Tut Bay FC by the score of 4-3. The goals for Kelly Street FC were scored by Steven Baizar, Wilfred Fisher and Francis Andrews (2). For Tut Bay FC, the goals were scored by Brian Martinez, Kevin Alvarez and Delroy Flores.

St. Martin De Porres girls and boys win in primary school basketball competition
The Belize City Primary Schools Basketball competition continues at Bird’s Isle here in the city. On Tuesday 26th January, in the first of two games played in the girls’ competition, Bethel Primary School won over Holy Redeemer School by the score of 4-1. The top scorers for Bethel Primary were Jaysha Jones and Sherria Barrow with 2 points each. In the second game, Belize Elementary School won over Wesley Upper School by the score of 8-4. The top scorers for Belize Elementary School were Aaliyah Herbert with 3 points, while Kelly Liu and Michaelen Hyde scored 2 points each. For Wesley Upper School, the top scorer was Jada Gillett with 4 points each. In the first of three games played in the boys’ competition, Holy Redeemer School won over Bethel Primary by the score of 40-10. The top scorers for Holy Redeemer School were Izid Lopez with 18 points, Lyzel Thompson with 8 points and Carlisle Clark and Anthony Usher with 4 points each. For Bethel Primary, the top scorers were Delhart Dominguez with 6 points and D’Andre Palacio with 4 points.

Belize to host CADICA Championship in February
The Belize Athletics Association informs the general public that the Belize Athletics Association will be hosting the 10th Central American Cross Country Championship in Athletics. The championship is being sponsored by the Central American Track and Field Organisation (CADICA). The championship is scheduled for Saturday 20th February, 2016, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo District. It is anticipated that the championship will bring together some 125 cross country athletes and officials from all seven Central American countries. The Belize Athletics Association will be holding a national competition on Saturday 30th January 2016 to select the athletes that will represent the country. The Competition will be held at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village.

Bridging the gap between law and technology
A new attorney has been called to the Bar in Belize. Rene Amin Montero was admitted to the Belize Bar on Friday of last week, before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. A petition for admission was made on behalf of Montero by Senior Counsel Michael Young, and supported by attorneys at law Senator Aldo Salazar and Agnes Segura-Gillett. Montero graduated from Norman Manley Law School in September 2015 where he was awarded the Pitts and Elrington Award. He also graduated from the University of the West Indies in July of 2013 with Upper Second Class Honors. Montero has always demonstrated discipline and excellence as he also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Physics from Texas Southern University where he graduated with Honors, along with a Master’s Degree in Management and Information System from the University of Manchester where he graduated with Merit. The Bar Association of Belize is comprised of Attorneys-at-Law, judges and magistrates who have been admitted and licensed to practice law within the boundaries of Belize. In his address to Montero, the Chief justice stated that given his merits in Information Technology he will be sought to bridge the gap between information technology and law.

Road to Hopkins is officially open
Driving on the old road to Hopkins Village was not a pleasurable journey but thousands of visitors did so each year. The warm greetings, polite service, delicious food and peaceful atmosphere would soon distant any memory of the terrible drive into the village. Hopkins’ reputation as the most relaxing vacation spot in beautiful Belize has spread wildly over the last decade. It is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Belize and that will increase exponentially with the opening of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye site. Therefore, a road worthy for a trip to paradise was needed and on April 12, 2013, the Government of Belize and the European Union launched the Hopkins Road Upgrade Project under the Belize Rural Development Project II.

Lifeline donates to five schools and Pandemonium Steel Band
The Lifeline Foundation today handed over $42,600 in donations to boost the efforts of several institutions working for the benefit of Belize’s Children. The grants were made possible through funds raised through the Lebanese Night Gala hosted by the Lifeline Foundation and the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre presentation of Hamlet, which was held in collaboration with the British High Commission. Representatives from 5 Schools, and 1 Music Program received the donations on behalf of Wesley College – $6,000; Grace Primary School - $6,000; St. Luke Methodist School - $6,000, St. John’s Anglican School Feeding Program - $10,628.57; St. Agnes Anglican School Feeding Program - $7,971.43 and Pandemonium Steel Band - $6,000.

Marcel Cardona’s accuser sent to jail
A European man, who claims that his name is Martin Musikant, was jailed by the Orange Walk Magistrate until Belizean law enforcement can determine if he is or isn’t an international fugitive who is wanted by Interpol and by the USA. If indeed he is a fugitive, it may end up being beneficial to attorney Marcel Cardona, since the very embarrassing ethical complaint against him to the General Legal Council involved this man. Orange Walk police reportedly picked him up on the Belize Corozal Road after he was acting suspicious. The officers immediately tried to find out who he was, and because of his unusual accent, they reportedly asked him to produce his passport or any other immigration documents. When he couldn’t they detained him, and police and the Immigration Department started to investigate him.

5 Million more to complete Marion Jones Stadium says sports minister
Minister with responsibility for Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. has pledged that under his watch he will see the completion of the Marion Jones sports complex in Belize City. The Work on the complex began in August of 2009 with the construction of the perimeter fence, since then there has been ongoing work on the facility, ever so slowly it has been taking shape and now it is looking more and more like it will be completed. Hon. Aragon explains that he has done a walk through of the facility and has been appraised of the work that has already been done and what needs to be done to complete the works. He says that at this point to complete the work it will cost in the region of 5 million dollars. “It is a priority for us to complete it,” he stated.

No more repackaging of rice at the grocery store
Belizeans have become accustomed to purchasing rice at their neighborhood grocery story which had been repackaged by the grocer at their establishment. That practice has opened for all manner of advantages to be taken of the consumer; not least among them were giving the consumer less rice than they paid for and also having them pay a higher price for a lower grade rice. That practice is now ending. As of last week, a statutory instrument which was passed in December came into effect. That instrument basically states that all packaging of rice would be done strictly by the producer. That means that the distribution of rice in hundred pound bags has come to an end. The producers are now only allowed to sell rice in a maximum weight of 20 pound bags. They are also to package rice in bags of one pound to five pounds. These packages should be clearly marked as to the weight and the grade of the rice.

La llorona Yhonny
People have begun to dub, Yhonny Rosado as la Llorona. Any Belizean who knows the folkloric figure of la Llorona knows that this is a woman who is found at night crying near a body of water, her actions follow after she had drowned her children and is supposedly mourning their loss. The mythical figure's call to fame is that she is always crying after having done wrong hence the name La Llorona which translated from Spanish means the crying woman. Well that is an appropriate description for Yhonny. There have been at least two occasions on television where he has been recorded on local news crying his eyes out. On every occasion it has been because he was complaining about some of his competitors and how he was being unfairly treated. Instead of taking care of his business, Rosado minds other people's business and then when his business is unsuccessful he calls on the media and complains and cries- la Llorona. Here is where La Llorona finds himself again, last week he was again attacking his competitor, Dark Night tours which operates a cave tubing operation similar to what Rosado operates. In fairness he did not cry when he appeared on the news this time around when he ranted and raged about Dark Night. Rosado instead of taking care of his business and seeing that everything was in order chose to mind the operations of Dark Night and carried on and on about how the business should not be allowed to operate. Low and behold on Tuesday, of this week, special constables, the enforcement arm of the Belize City Council visited another of Rosado's businesses on the Phillip Goldson highway at mile 2 and a half miles where they informed Rosado that Econo Tires was operating illegally.

Doctor’s home invaded by thieves- one man is killed
Dr. Marcos Christopher Rugama Miranda, a 44 year-old Urologist who works for the Private Hospital, Belize Medical Associates, is recovering at the KHMH from stab wounds he suffered in a home invasion. His friend, 37 year-old Ian Robert Blair, was not so fortunate, and he was killed in that crime. It happened on Wednesday morning, January 27, at Rugama Miranda’s home on Simon Lamb Street. Initial police investigation is that at around 1:40 a.m., the doctor was outside on his back verandah, picking in freshly laundered clothes. He returned inside, and that’s when he found 2 dark-skinned men, one armed with gun, the other with a knife, and they were assaulting his friend. The doctor reportedly grabbed a piece of furniture and other appliances, and he started to throw it at both men, in an attempt to rescue his friend. Blair managed to use the distraction to his advantage, and he ran into the bedroom.

Arson leaves family of 7 homeless
A family of 7 from Scotland Halfmoon Village became homeless after a fire which was believed to have been set by a man certified to be mentally ill. 33 year-old Denise Lodge told investigators that on Saturday, January 23, at around 6:45 p.m., she left her home, a wooden bungalow house, to go visit her sister-in-law, who lives in the same village. She returned less than half hour later and found her home completely engulfed in flames. The Fire Department did everything they could to put the fire out, but by that time, the house was in the free-burn stage. When the fire was gotten completely under control, Lodge’s family of 7, including her 4 children, had lost everything in the blaze.

Ex-BDF soldier charged for pushing woman into the sea
Former Belize Defense Force soldier, Rennick Baizer, 32, is out on bail after he was accused of pushing his ex-common-law-wife into the sea on Newton Barracks. The fall caused the woman to sustain injuries to her body which a doctor classified as wounding. In a report to police, Shawna Gillett, 28, said that she was sitting by the sea side with some friends in front of Elements Night Club on Sunday, January 24, when Rennick Baizer approached her and the two got into an argument. The quarrel escalated and Baizer pushed her over the sea wall and she fell into the water. She suffered from abrasions to her left hand and other parts of the body. Gillett reported the matter to police and Baizer was arrested and charged.

Belmopan Quick Response Team finds gun
The Belmopan Quick Response Team conducted operations in Roaring Creek village in the Cayo District last Friday, and upon arrival on the Christian Refuge road conducted a search at the outskirt of the feeder road. At that location they discovered a 12 gauge pump action shot gun without serial numbers, hidden under some bushes. The pump action weapon was observed to have a wooden handle wrapped with a black rubber and a corroded metal barrel with five (5) twelve gauge cartridges. The potentially lethal weapon was deposited by police as found property.

Central prison inmates busted with weed
Sergio Martinez, 25, is at the Belize Central Prison serving a ten year sentence for burglary and Jarold Lamb Arthurs, 28, is on remand for murder but now both men have received time added to their sentence for drug charges. A prison officer reported to Hattieville Police that while he was conducting routine patrol in Tango 11 of the prison at around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 24, he saw Sergio Martinez throw a small black plastic bag over a fence to Jarold Lamb Arthurs who quickly picked it up and tried to conceal it. The prison officer said that he quickly grabbed the bag from Arthurs and opened it. He saw that it contained some green leaf like substance suspected to be cannabis. Martinez and Arthurs were therefore charged for drug trafficking.

Drugs found in San Ignacio
Members of the Special Branch Tactical Response Squad conducted anti-drug operations in San Ignacio Town last Friday where they came upon drugs hidden in a bushy lot. This special squad went to an abandoned lot on Dalia Street, which resulted in the discovery of a black plastic bag hidden under dry coconut palms among garbage containing loose green leafy vegetable substances suspect to be cannabis. The drugs were weighed, which amounted to 139 grams. No one was found in the immediate area. It was labeled and handed in as found property.

Wesley Junior College students charged with gun theft from police
Wesley Junior College students Stradni Alvert Cassasola, 19, and his classmate Demrey Emaury Lewis, 19, are out on bail after spending three nights on remand for offenses of keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition which turned out to have been stolen from the Belize Police Department. The Fabers Road Extension residents were granted Supreme Court bail by Justice Antoinette Moore on Friday, January 22. The men first appeared in court on Tuesday, January 19, before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer and were denied bail due to the nature of the offenses. Police claim that on Monday, Janaury 18, they met the duo inside a vehicle on Gibson Street and conducted a search on them and the vehicle. Inside a bag they found a loaded Taurus brand 9 millimeter pistol. Cassasola told the court that he is working with the police department as an employee of the Ministry of National Security and he took the gun home by mistake.

Teenagers remanded for jacking boy’s Nike slippers
It is one of the most prevelant crimes of this era and two teenagers are now behind bars on remand for taking away a little boy’s name brand slippers. Ulide Allen, 18, and Norton Lorenzo Tun are on remand at the Belize Central Prison for a charge of robbery. A fourteen-year-old boy reported to police that sometime around 9 p.m. on Friday, January 22, he was getting a ride on a bicycle with a friend on Vernon Street when they were approached by three males riding on separate bicycles. One of the men, who he knows well and identified as Allen, rode beside them and said, “Mek ah get that slippers.” The boy told him, “You can’t get this.” This was when the others used their bicycles to crash into him and his friend. This caused them to fall to the ground. While he was on the ground, Allen and his friends held him down and removed his slippers from his feet. The men then rode off.

Two Mennonites and two Americans busted with weed
A group of four persons from Spanish Lookout, two Americans and two Mennonites, were busted with marijuana on Sunday, January 24, at the junction of Burrell Boom Road and the Phillip Goldson Highway. According to police report, at about 12 noon on Sunday a grey Toyota 4 Runner truck approached a vehicular checkpoint set up by officers of the Mobile Interdiction Team at the junction of the Burrell Boom Road and the Phillip Goldson Highway. Four persons were inside and the driver was asked for his license. When the he lowered his glass the officer smelt marijuana inside the vehicle. He immediately informed the driver that a search would be done on them and the vehicle for illegal firearms, ammunitions and drugs. During the search, nothing incrimination was found on the occupants of the vehicle; however, a black school bag containing a glass jar with green leaf like substance was found inside the vehicle. All four persons were detained and escorted to the Ladyville Police Station where they were charged with possession of 12.4 grams of marijuana.

Premier League of Belize Football Closing Season opens
The Premier League of Belize Football Competition Closing Season for 2016 officially opened on Saturday 23 January, 2016, with one game on the schedule. In the only game that was played between the Belmopan Bandits and the defending national football champions the Police United at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan, the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The host team the Belmopan Bandits was the first to get onto the scoreboard when Elroy Smith scored the only goal for his team in the 28th minute of play via a penalty. The first half of the game ended in favour of the Belmopan Bandits.

San Pedro Tigersharks begins defence of back-to-back basketball title
The National Elite Basketball League competition continued last weekend with three games on the schedule. On Saturday 23rd January, at the Independence High School Auditorium in Independence Village, the Belize City No Limit Team won its 2nd game of this year’s senior campaign when it edged out the new entrant in the league the Independence Thunderbolts by the score of 74-73. The top scorers for the Belize City No Limit team were Gregory Rudon with 19points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals; Earl Johnson with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals and Lennox Bowman with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. For the Independence Thunderbolts, the top scorers were Hyram Augustine with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 6 steals; Alroy Foreman with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals and Zane Burgess with 12 points, 16 rebounds and 2 steals.

Wesley College boys maintains lead in high school football competition
The Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition continues at the MCC Grounds with a number of games played over this week and the last one. On Tuesday 26 January in the male competition game played, St. John’s College and Ladyville Technical High School played to a 0-0 draw. On Monday 25 January, Anglican Cathedral College males defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 2-1. The goals for Anglican Cathedral College were scored by Christian Ancona and Akeem Sutherland. Meanwhile, the only goal of the game for Gwen Lizarraga High School was scored by Hakeem Smith. Naim Wilson of Gwen Lizarraga High School was issued with a red card. The competition continued on Saturday 23 January with three games on the schedule and all in the male competition.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Zika can affect up to four million people; vaccine in development
Health officials continue to monitor Zika in the Americas as the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that about four million people can be infected with the virus. The situation has prompted the need for swift action by WHO and the US National Institute of Health […]

More charges for Paumen; now accused of planting firearm in enemy’s vehicle
Businessman Bradley Paumen returned today to Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on more charges related to his ongoing battle with Michael Modiri. Paumen, already accused of abetment to commit murder, is now accused of planting a firearm in Modiri’s vehicle. In May of 2015, police were tipped […]

Man pleads guilty to handling stolen goods in school burglary
Julian Cowling, an employee of Cisco Construction who allegedly entered the cafeteria of Edward P. Yorke High School as a trespasser and stole several items, was charged with burglary and handling stolen goods when he appeared today before Magistrate Deborah Rogers. Cowling pled not guilty […]

Murder trial of Daniel Anderson concludes
At the conclusion of the murder trial of Daniel Anderson today, Justice Adolph Lucas, who was both judge and jury, announced that he will give his decision on Tuesday, February 2. Anderson is charged with the murder of 19 year old Joyce Mitchell, who was shot […]

Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) records lower exports and prices, higher imports for 2015
It was a down year for Belize’s trade balance, which according to the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) widened as Belize imported more and exported less. Meanwhile, Belizeans continue to pay slightly less for the cost of living as at the end of 2015. Merchandise […]

Ex-MOE “open vote worker” sues GOB for termination
The Supreme Court today began hearing a case that could have impact on the employment of so-called “open vote workers”, those who do work for Government, but not under formal contract. The official definition, according to the Government (Open Vote) Workers Regulations (1992), Statutory Instrument […]

Mental Health Association comments on recent incidents
This week we have been reporting on two matters involving persons with reported mental health issues. According to the Mental Health Association, the public needs to be aware that there is assistance available through the Ministry of Health. In the case of Arthur Wade, shot […]

Placencia Police Meet and Greet Seine Bight Villagers
Led by their Commanding Officer, Inspector Dennis Miles, members of Placencia’s Police Formation set out on their “Meet and Greet” in Seine Bight Village where they visited homes to hear concerns from the general public earlier today. This was part of a relatively new […]

T.A.L.K to a Teacher
Over the past two weeks we have been mourning the deaths of our children. Children who have barely even tasted of the greatness this life has to offer. They had reasons some of us may never understand but we can no longer sit back relax […]

Small aircraft experiences mechanical failure in Punta Gorda
A small aircraft known as the “Wings of Hope” which is use to transport patients in critical medical conditions from small treatment centers around the country to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, almost had a terrible crash landing at the Punta […]

Paul Massam killed in Corozal
The sounds of gunshot broke the silence in Corozal Town on Wednesday morning in the vicinity of V Street North. As a result, 29-year-old Paul Vincent Massam was fatally injured as he sat on a verandah at the house he was at. According to […]

Cold front to cross country this evening
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly cloudy skies and cool weather with a few light showers or periods of rain mainly inland and north at first, then spreading to southern coastal areas this evening and early tonight. Winds will be blowing […]

Police detain Belize Defense Force soldier for West Line bus incident
San Ignacio Police have detained a Belize Defense Force (BDF) officer and a second person for questioning regarding the incident on a West Line bus yesterday afternoon, which was initially reported as a shooting on a bus in Esperanza Village, Cayo District. Around 2:30 […]

Second Melchor resident missing in Belize
Another Melchor resident was reported missing in Belize00 a.m. on Sunday, en route to sell Avon products in the Cayo District and never returned. 35-year-old Guatemalan National, Clementa […]

Understanding the ‘de-risking’ crisis
For much of the past year there has been much talk of corresponding ties and ‘de-risking’, however, the problem is that many Belizeans don’t understand the situation and as a result don’t feel it has any direct impact on their daily lives. Of course, […]


The Great House Rises at Mahogany Bay Village, Ambergris Caye
Mahogany Bay Village is Ambergris Caye’s largest development. Almost 2 miles south of San Pedro town and tucked back behind a gate from the road, it is being built at break neck speed by a huge crew. During different phases there will be a hotel of 200ish rooms (Phase One, open this year and managed by Scout Hotels), residences, a village, a dive shop, concierge service, a gorgeous Miami style pool and a long beautiful beach club (in a location not yet announced to the public.) This is a serious undertaking. We were there to look at the Great House. Which is 3 floors, 22,000 square feet, will have an elevator, two bar (Shaken and Stirred) and now…a planned “speak-easy” or special club like area on the top floor. Amanda was there to take a look at the space and see how the design would go…

Green Spaghetti a la Mexicana
Boil the spaghetti in water with a little salt and a few drops of oil (to prevent sticking)- Once the pasta is cooked, put it in a colander to drain. Place poblano peppers on the fire to toast for a bit and put into a plastic bag so that you can peel them once they have soften. Once they are completely peeled and deveined you put them in the blender with cream and garlic and a little water (not much) and liquefy all together. Next place a frying pan on the fire and add butter to melt, then add the pasta and stir it to mix with the butter and add the liquefied miture without removing from the fire and add salt to taste. Once it is well blended remove it from the fire.

International Sourcesizz

Antigua-Barbuda PM warns of correspondent banking crisis
During a plenary debate on Wednesday at the fourth summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Ecuador, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne highlighted to his colleague heads of government the clear and present danger associated with the decline in correspondent banking relations among Caribbean countries. “The system is pernicious, destructive and callous,” Browne said. “If Caribbean financial institutions lose correspondent banking relations, the following will take place: first, remittances from our diaspora, which are important to the foreign exchange earnings and the welfare of the poor in our society, will be adversely affected. Second, businesses will not be able to pay for goods and services they import, which are necessary for human existence. And third, the tourism industry, upon which we depend, will be fatally injured when payments cannot be made and revenues received.” “Participation in CELAC puts us in a group that has international weight and influence,” he said, “and it is therefore an excellent vehicle for bringing our concerns and issues to the attention of global decision-makers.”

Regional fisheries bodies sign MOU to improve coordination for sustainable fisheries
Three regional fisheries bodies (RFBs): the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM); the Organization of the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector (OSPESCA); and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations - Western Central Atlantic Fisheries Commission (FAO-WECAFC) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate, support and strengthen the coordination of actions among the three RFBs to increase the sustainability of fisheries. This initiative to improve coordination for sustainable fisheries is supported through the UNDP/GEF-Catalysing Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of shared Living Marine Resources in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) Project. This five-year regional project seeks to support the implementation of a 10-year politically endorsed Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Shared Living Marine Resources of the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+ SAP); through the full implementation of ecosystem based management/an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EBM/EAF) within the CLME+ region.

Caribbean tourism sector to be enhanced by better health systems
Trinidad and Tobago is one of six Caribbean countries to benefit from a US$800,000 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) grant to develop and implement a regional tourism health information, monitoring and response system. The other Caribbean nations that are beneficiaries of the IDB grant, as disclosed at Wednesday morning’s grant signing ceremony, are The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Jamaica. The Caribbean region is the most tourism dependent region in the world and the recent pandemics – SARS in 2000, HINI in 2009, chikungunya in 2013 and now the zika virus – have accelerated the need to monitor and respond to travel related illnesses and support the tourism sector to adopt comprehensive and effective health and environmental sanitation practices. In welcoming this three-year regional tourism health initiative, Shamfa Cudjoe pledged the support of the ministry of tourism as “strengthening the public health system will strengthen our tourism product”.

Winners of the Central American eBirder of the Year Awards 2015
Belize: Roni Martínez, Jan Meerman, Dominique Lizama. As we announced last September, we will award outstanding eBirders in Central America with prizes such as two Zeiss binoculars and several eBird hats, to recognize their contributions to eBird during 2015. At eBird, we value all your observations, but we especially value observations from areas with few eBird checklists. We designed a competition last year to motivate visits to such under-birded areas: submit checklists from more departments or provinces in your country than other birders. But for a department to count, you would need to be in the top 10 list of eBirders (by checklists) for that department. Of course it was more difficult to get into the top 10 for areas that already have many eBirders submitting data, but for under-birded areas, it was not too difficult—sometimes just a few checklists from those data-deficient areas were enough!

Adventure twins in Belize: Mom and boys find fun in Caribbean paradise
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. So far, at least, the boys were holding up. Shay looked as queasy as I felt, but he was lying quietly on the cushioned bench. Van, by contrast, was standing up on the bench so he could see out the window, peering through his red plastic binoculars. “I already spotted three flying fish,” he boasted to anyone who would listen. Finally, he announced that he could see the island. And shortly thereafter, we were clamouring off the boat, breathing the salty air, and taking off our shoes so we could feel the sand between our toes. We had arrived, and it was indeed paradise.

​Matthiew Klinck's mother wants to open film school in his honour
Matthiew Klinck was living his dream as filmmaker in Belize when he was brutally killed at his home earlier this month — and now his mother hopes to open a film school for youth in his honour. ​"He was an extraordinary being," his mother Louise Dallaire, who lives in Gatineau, told Radio-Canada. "He always wanted to help youth realize their dreams. That was really him, completely." It was his desire to teach youth the art of film that led him to move to Belize four years ago, after meeting an aspiring teen filmmaker in a village while on vacation, Dallaire said. She said she hopes to raise enough money to open a film school in Canada in his name — and later in Belize, if possible. "He wanted to help young people who didn't have any hope," Dallaire said.

Commentary: De-risking or destruction? Neither is fair
“If there were any scheme designed to destroy the economies of several countries without a military war, then this is such a scheme. It is erroneous; it is pernicious; and it is vicious”. That was how Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne described the way in which US banks, under pressure from US regulatory agencies, are cutting off correspondent relations with Caribbean indigenous and offshore banks unilaterally and with very little notice. No wonder then that the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, who restricts travelling to the minimum because of spinal challenges, was in Washington DC for much of the week beginning January 25th to meet senior representatives of the US government and regulatory agencies. Of all the Caribbean countries, Belize has been the hardest hit by US banks terminating correspondent relations. But, other Caribbean countries are also feeling the squeeze of what is obscurely called “de-risking”. Indeed, the problem is so acute that no foot-dragging on the issue could be excused. The matter should be the highest priority for regional governments, diplomats and the entire private sector, not only banks for whom the issue has become one of immediacy.

#511173 - 01/29/16 05:55 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 29, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Leonardo DiCaprio and Pope Francis meet
Pope Francis received Leonardo DiCaprio at the Vatican on Thursday in a private audience. Like Pope Francis, the Hollywood film star is a passionate campaigner for environmental causes. He's also a UN Ambassador for Peace with a special emphasis on climate change. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CBS News that DiCaprio had requested the meeting because he recognized the "great moral and religious authority which the Holy Father has in this field," after the publication of his encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Sii." The controversial 190-page teaching document, published in June 2015 , said the Earth was "beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth." In it, Pope Francis supported evidence of global warming, and criticized those who were "delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen." He called on all individuals and world leaders -- especially those from rich countries -- to act immediately and emphatically to protect "our common home."

The World’s First Tropical Mermaid Retreat Will Take Place in Belize in February 2016
Sirenalia, an Austin, Texas based mermaid production company, is throwing a tropical mermaid retreat in Caye Caulker, Belize on February 4-9 of 2016. The all-inclusive, five-day retreat will feature professional underwater photography at the Belize Barrier Reef; mermaid-themed yoga classes and several nighttime mermaid events. Participants will be given the chance to visit with the local elementary school. All profits from the event will be donated to the Ocean Academy, a local nonprofit dedicated to assuring education to the island’s children. “Our company has been visiting Caye Caulker for several years now, and I’m so excited to open the trip up to everyone who wants to participate,” said Maria Russo, owner of Sirenalia. “I love the thought of swimming the Barrier Reef with other mermaids and mermaid performers!”

Japan and UNDP kick start US$15 million Caribbean climate change project
The government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean climate change partnership (J-CCCP) on Thursday, in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The launch follows a two-day meeting with more than 40 representatives from eight Caribbean countries, including government officials, technical advisors, NGO and UN partners to set out a roadmap to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with countries’ long-term strategies. The new initiative will help put in practice Caribbean countries’ actions and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, such as nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and national adaptation plans (NAPs). It will also boost access to sustainable energy and help reduce fossil fuel imports and dependence, setting the region on a low-emission development path, while addressing critical balance of payments constraints.

Zika: Brazil to deploy army in fight against virus
Brazil's government says it will deploy 220,000 soldiers in its fight against mosquitoes spreading the Zika virus. The soldiers will go from home to home handing out leaflets on how to avoid the spread of Zika, which has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.


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