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#511210 - 01/30/16 11:48 AM Today's Belize News: January 30, 2016
Marty Offline

I will be unable to do the daily news tomorrow, Sunday morning Jan 31. I will return on Monday morning.


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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

Cheers to the New Year!
It’s the New Year! Yup, we survived 2015 and to celebrate such an achievement we are toasting to the closing of a spectacular chapter and the beginning of a new one on La Isla Bonita. In classic San Pedro style, we will not be toasting with champagne but rather with a few iconic cocktails from some of our island’s fabulous bars. From creamy and sweet, to sweet and sour, we’ve compiled a list that will surely please any palate. Our first stop in the must-do 2016 booze tour is the Truck Stop. The talented bartender at the newly inaugurated shipping container food park and beer garden, Orville, fixed us up one of their best sellers: the VIP. This drink consisted of vodka infused pineapple juice and fresh soursop juice. Doesn’t that just sound heavenly?

Artisans optimistic about new location
Tourism is the main industry of the island, with San Pedro as one of the top generators of the country’s tourism revenue. Residents on Ambergris Caye depend on tourism for their daily livelihood and the artisans are no exception. They were initially not in favor of relocating from Central Park where they had been operating for years. However, during a meeting held at the San Pedro Town Council conference room on January 6th, the Town Council and artisans reached an agreement on the Artisans Market Operational Guideline that includes 21 regulations. The guidelines are in place to ensure safety, accountability and cohesion, and includes clauses on professionalism, proper attire, alcohol and drug use to mention a few. Violation of the rules could mean revoking trade licenses. The vendors do report feeling much safer in their new location, claiming that previously, the possibility of a traffic accident was high when at Central Park. Now they are far from the street and vehicles no longer a concern. However, there are still lingering concerns by a few vendors. According to some, the current booths are too small, and there is not enough space for them to work. Not being able to display everything to their patrons because of the lack of space is a big issue, they claim. Another concern is that young children are not allowed at the different stands. The artisans who are single mothers don’t believe this is appropriate, as they don’t want to leave their young ones at home. They would prefer to have their children at their temporary booth, where they can be safe with them. With all the signs and banners informing visitors of the new location, the artisans have hopes that everything will soon bet back to normal.San Pedro Artisans New Location Saca Chispas-5

Minister’s and Mayor’s Cup Tournament: One Month In
Last weekend, the Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup advanced into their fourth week of football on the island. The games took place from Friday, January 22nd to Sunday January 24th and despite a cold front blowing, fans came out to support their favorite teams. The results of the six matches played are as follow: Friday – Belize Pro Divers 6- 3 PSG, San Mateo 4 Diamonds 4-2 Veterans, Saturday- Catrachos 6-1 Sky Energy, Ambergris Divers 7-1 Progresso Boys, Sunday- Peace Makers 6-1 Jokers F.C, Serious Warriors 6-4 San Pedro Junior College. The action continues this weekend.

Caye Caulker preparing for Village Council Elections
Even though the Elections and Boundaries Department has not issued an official date for the 2016 Village Council Elections, they did indicate that rural level elections will take place sometime between May and June of 2016. As such, residents of La Isla Cariñosa, Caye Caulker, are getting ready to head to the polls and elect a new Village Council in the upcoming village council elections. A number of different people are expected to declare their intention to run as candidates, but so far only one Hicaceña has actually come forward and officially announced her candidacy for chairperson. Early in January, born and raised Caye Caulker resident Tracie Young declared her intentions of running for chairperson via an encouraging message posted on her social media account. “If you know me, you know that I think outside the box; I don’t follow the same pattern as others, I use the resources I have to make magic. I smile a lot and I try to lighten the mood, I love making people smile and I find unique ways of doing things, the world isn’t flat so we don’t treat everything the same way!” she wrote.

BTB implements Belize Standard Code of Practice for Recreational Scuba Diving Practices
In the past three years, The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has been working on creating a set of guidelines and regulations specific to scuba diving in Belize. These guidelines and regulations have been completed and Belize now has a “Belize Standard Code of Practice for Recreational Scuba Diving Practices.” The standard specifies the minimum requirements for the effective and operational safety of scuba diving in Belize. As of Wednesday, January 20th the standards came in to effect, but tour operators, tour guides and other parties offering scuba diving tours are being given a three month period to familiarize themselves with the document and make any necessary changes in accordance with the minimum standard. The standards will become a compulsory instrument under the laws of Belize in April of 2016 and any establishment not meeting the guidelines and regulations will be sanctioned.

Ambergris Today

Digicel Lowers Text Rates as System Experiences Significant Issues
In a press release by the telecommunications company indicates that while all mobile customers have still been able to call, text, use data and all other PrePaid services without issue, the mechanism that allows for customers to use a short code to check credit balances or buy text bundles, 2G data plan and other special promo services has since been operating at less than 40% capacity. This has meant that many customers have not been able to get through to check their balances or buy a PrePaid plan. 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.

Kelly McGuire Concerts to Raise Funds for unBELIZEable II 2016 Wheelchair Distribution
Award-winning songwriter and recording artist Kelly McGuire will be giving several concerts on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, this coming week. At four of his concerts, Kelly is teaming with the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross and the Wheelchair Foundation to raise money to provide wheelchairs to needy Belizeans living on Ambergris Caye. Red Cross volunteers will be at the following concerts to collect donations for this good cause: - Saturday, Jan. 30, at Island Time Bar & Grill, 2 - 5 p.m. - Sunday, Jan. 31, at The Dive Bar (across bridge north of the Cloisters), 2 – 5 p.m. - Wednesday, Feb. 3, at Captain Morgan’s, 2 – 5 p.m. - Monday, Feb. 8, at Island Time Bar & Grill, 2 - 5 p.m.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Caye Caulker Flee Market
Several people have recently asked me about yard sales. We've had a couple of great ones and Araceli August is organizing another one. Do you have odds and ends you don't need or want anymore but not enough to do your own sale? Do you need stuff some new stuff? Come on out and join the party! Sell your stuff! Buy other people's stuff! It's fun and profitable!

Island Academy Career Day
the Island Academy highlighted Career Day with special guest and past graduate Almita Pinelo (LTJG of the Belize Coast Guard). Mrs. Pinelo was honored to be invited to her Alma Mater to share experiences in her career with the student body. Almita also presented school founder Ms. Dixie Bowen with a small gift of appreciation.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT INFLUENZA (SEASONAL FLU)
The Ministry of Health would like to remind the public that we are still in the flu season. Persons at risk for serious flu complications include young children; pregnant women; people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and HIV; and people 65 years and older. The Ministry of Health encourages those who are at risk for serious flu complications to take a flu vaccine since it is the best way to prevent the flu. The vaccine is available free of cost at all public health centers. If the signs and symptoms of the flu do not go away after 10 days or if they become worse, visit your nearest health center immediately.

FCD conducts a final report on the combat against illegal logging
Supported by the EU FAO/FLEGT Program. Presentations were made by FCD and Asociacion Balam.

First Caribbean says goodbye...
From FCIB...

Over 500 Residents in the Southern Rural Community of Santa Anna, Toledo Now Have Easy Access to Quality Potable Water
This means 91 households, schools, churches and the village health post will now enjoy the continuous supply of quality potable water to meet their daily needs such as drinking, washing, bathing and cooking thanks to the Government of Belize who financed the expansion and upgrade of the water project at a cost of $565,686.16 through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. Equally important, the completion of the new water system project will also reduce the vulnerability of residents to water-borne diseases, thus; making critical achievements in improving the quality of life and health of the people of Santa Anna Village, and by extension, the people of Belize. The construction of the water project also demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the Government of Belize to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals, otherwise known as the Global Goals, building on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as it relates to water; which is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

Consular Tip: We di work fast!
The Consular Section is reducing the time you have to spend at the Embassy when you apply for a visa. Our new, staggered interview times mean less waiting around. Please arrive at the time your interview is scheduled (arriving early won’t get you an earlier appointment, it will only increase the time you have to wait) – we’ll have you in and out record time. - U.S. Embassy Belize

Rescuing a stranded manatee
We are now working with the Forest Department to transport the manatee to Belmopan, where it will be collected by Wildtracks this evening and transported to their rehabilitation center in Sarteneja. Great work to all the organizations collaborating in this rescue and thanks for coming together to make sure this animal gets the help it needs! We are wishing this manatee the best of luck and a speedy recovery so it can return to its home in the wild!

Update from the BTB re: Zika Virus
The Belize Tourism Board continues to receive updates from the Ministry of Heath regarding the Zika virus. Getting you updated information as it becomes available is a top priority. In the meantime, below you will find: 1. Key Message for you to utilize in communicating with your visitors and guests. 2. Update from the Ministry of Health 3. General information about the virus as well as general questions you or your visitors may have about its impact. KEY MESSAGE: At this time, it is important to note that the Zika virus has not spread to Belize. As a precaution for visitors traveling to the Belize, you are encouraged to wear long sleeves and long pants and/or liberally apply insect repellent when appropriate. We remain in contact with the Ministry of Health and the Belize Tourism Board regarding the Zika virus and will continue to share information as it becomes available.

La Isla Bonita Elementary School Culture Day
La Isla Bonita Elementary School hosted Culture Day today Friday January 29th. Joining the students and members of the community was Councillor Hector Alamilla, who has the responsibility of Culture on the Island. Councillor Alamilla visited the various booths, listened and interacted with the students and engaged the students on the history of the various ethnic groups in Belize. The students took time out to express their gratitude to the councilor for being at their event. Thank You Isla Bonita Elementary School for inviting us.

Cayo Movie Night: Tsosti
Cayo Movie Nights are starting back up. Next Friday, February 4th, at the Soul Project, starting at 6:30pm. "Movie Night at the Soul Project February 4th at 6:30PM In this World..... Redemption just comes once"

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

Channel 7

Three Charged For Stabbing Doctor, Murdering Friend
Byron Flowers, Max Orosco and Windell Thurton were today charged for killing 32 year old Ian Robert Blair in Dr. Marcus Rugama's house. They were each arraigned on a charge of murder for that killing, and additionally, the trio was charged with aggravated burglary, the attempted murder of 44 year old Dr. Rugama, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. There's no bail for murder so all three were remanded until March 30. We should note that Max Orosco has diminished mental capacity. On Wednesday morning at 1:40 am, the trio - armed with a knife - allegedly went into Dr. Rugama's home as he was picking clothes from the line. They attacked Blair - and Rugama intervened. Both Rugama and Blair were stabbed in the struggle, but Blair didn't make it. Rugama is expected to make a full recovery.

First Caribbean signs Off With Workers
The First Caribbean International Bank ceased operations in Belize today. It's the end of an era - because First Caribbean took over from Barclay's which was established in Belize in the mid 1900's. That circle is closed now as all their assets have been sold to the Heritage Bank. But what about their employees? Well, as of today, the 60 plus workers are out of a job. Now for months we've been reporting on labour agitation as these employees protested - demanding a fair exit package for their years of service. But, since December, the labour agitation went quiet, and that's because according to Country Manager Glenn Smith, the bank management and the employees finally agreed on a suitable exit package. They signed a Memorandum of Agreement one week ago on Friday January 22nd and they also agreed on the terms of the outstanding Collective Bargaining Agreement for the period 2014 to 2016. Today when the bank gave its final round of charitable donations, we asked Smith about this settlement of the dispute:

After 67 Years, First Caribbean's/Barclay's Farewell
But while Matura may disagree about the status of the labour matters, as far as First Caribbean is concerned, the agreement has been duly signed and that's that. So at 5:00 pm today, First Caribbean formally closed the curtains on its commercial operations in Belize. And now, behind the scenes computer systems administrators will be working furiously over the next 48 hours to transfer all operations to Hertiage Bank so that thousands of account holders can have a seamless transition - one where they will retain the same account numbers. They have also been given new bank and credit cards for Heritage. And, as of Sunday January 31st, the transition to Heritage should be completed. Today, country manager Glen Smith told us that even though they are saying goodbye - they won't leave their workers out in the cold. He discussed the job opportunities for workers abroad.

Bradley Paumen's Case Compounds With Confusion
Last night, we told you about the additional charges that American Tour Operator Bradley Paumen was jailed for when he re-appeared in Belmopan Magistrate's Court yesterday. Well, this morning, his attorneys went to the court seeking to get him an expedited bail hearing at the Supreme Court. Paumen, Lisburn Anderson, businessman Jahan Abadi of Belmopan, and Korean American Hyang Choing Park were charged with the perversion of justice and the conspiracy to pervert justice. 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. It's not the type of thing that happens very often, but today, the DPP's Office was blindsided with a very late notice that they must appear in court to present the state's position as to why Paumen should not be granted bail. A Supreme Court judge did grant them an audience, but the Crown Counsel from the DPP's Office informed the court that they were not given adequate time to prepare their grounds for objecting to Paumen getting bail.

Man Charged For Murder After Mexico Run
Today, murder suspect, 58 year-old Salvadoran Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez, was taken to Orange Walk Magistrate's Court. He was remanded until his next court date, which is March second. Lopez is accused of killing 51 year-old Guatemalan Francisco Arevalo, the Vice Chairman of Indian Church in Orange Walk. His nude body was found near an unfinished concrete house after he'd had a rendezvous with a woman. Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez was the other side of the love triangle, and he fled the country. Mexican police found him hiding out in a small village on the Mexican side of the Rio Hondo called Allende. He was caught by Mexican police and handed over to Belize police earlier today.

PUP At A 3 Way Crossroads
On Sunday in Belmopan, close to three thousand delegates will decide who will be the next leader of the PUP. The campaign teams for current leader Francis Fonseca, Former Leader John Briceno, and former Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde have been on intensive national campaigns for the past four weeks. We say intensive because they had 30 days to visit these thousands of delegates in 31 constituencies, and in quite a few constituencies that meant finding the delegates. That's because in some constituencies where the candidates or chairmen have pledged support to either one of the candidates - they offer no help in finding the delegates, so the candidates literally have to search them out which can take days. It's a time consuming and taxing pursuit - but all part of the campaign process for a leadership convention which will be the most inclusive in Belize's political history. It is also the first three way race. Voting at Belmopan comprehensive begins at 9:00 am, where delegates will cast their ballots in 5 polling stations within the school. Polling ends at 3:00 pm, and counting will start immediately after.

Four Die From Flu Related Influenza Respiratory Distress
Is Belize on the brink of an Influenza epidemic? That's what people are asking after 4 people died at the KHMH supposedly from respiratory distress -commonly associated with Pneumonia. Health professionals are investigating these cases and trying to establish a link with previous cases last year. We spoke to Health CEO Dr. Ramon Figueroa over the phone and he told us that there is no cause for concern. He told us it's just the flu season and that mostly young children and older persons are vulnerable to catching this virus. But still, the Ministry of Health is not taking these 4 deaths lightly. He explained what the situation is right now and what is being done to gather more information. Dr. Ramon Figueroa, CEO - Ministry of Health: "One of the things that has drawn our attention has been a number of cases of apparent respiratory distress disorder syndrome. People dying from severe respiratory distress and that started last year. I think October/November last year we were called in by KHMH to look at some 3 cases that we had last year of young people who died from respiratory distress. They had probably diarrhea as one of the symptoms, but diarrhea was a symptom of the underlying caused..."

BDF, 80 New Soldiers
Today at Price Barracks in Ladyville, the BDF celebrated its 38th year anniversary and also passed out recruit intake number 61. After 16 weeks of intense physical training, these 80 men and women now join the ranks of the BDF. Minister of National Security John Saldivar presented the keynote address to the new recruits. Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security: "Give them a round of applause for their survival. Recruit training by design and by intention is tough both mentally and physically and only the strongest will survive. In October 2015, when these recruits assemble here in Price Barracks, they were immediately introduced to the routine of military life and other requirements of being a soldier. The following morning no doubt was perhaps their biggest revelation as that morning and every morning thereafter started at 4:30am and lasted until 11pm in the night. A 19 hour day of training is not unusual in the life of a recruit as they are expected to work long hours after they become trained soldiers."

Sarstoon Forward Base Coming Along
38 years ago, the Belize Defense force was created from an amalgamation of the Belize Volunteer Force and the Police Special Force. Since then Belize's army has grown and continues to grow - in numbers and in strategy. The past couple of years have seen several mile stones achieved in BDF history including the strategic development of outposts to safeguard our borders. One of them is the Forward Operating Base at the mouth of Sarstoon River. Brigadier General David Jones gave us an update on the construction of this much-disputed post and others along the Western Border. Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "There is the one at the Sarstoon which work has started already. I haven't seen it yet. But work has started. As soon as that in completed, should be within 2 months or so. Soldiers from the special boat unit and subsequently the coast guard will be attached to that unit and then we will work from there. The one in Sebada and Caballo, it is dependent on a road being constructed there. So that is two CPs in that area that needs to be constructed and then in the future we anticipate one in Consejo and one in Blue Creek. So we are anticipating another 4 CPs at a minimum to be constructed to have that tight control over what is happening along the western border, along the northern border with Mexico and along the southern border along the Sarstoon with Guatemala."

MCC Going Through Changes
The BDF FC faces the Belmopan Bandits this Sunday in Premier League play. But they need a pitch. For the past 2 weeks the National Sports council has been rushing to fix the field of the MCC grounds before this weekend's game. The last time we reported on the football pitch at the MCC, BDF soldiers were filling in the ditch around the field. Well, today when we visited, civil works were underway to level the pitch. We spoke with the director of National Sports Council Rithcel Dominguez who told us more about the ongoing works. Ritchell Dominguez - Director of the National Sports Council: "Well like I told you we should have had the field up and ready by this weekend for the game between BDF and Bandits. We are doing that, but we have been lucky for someone to saw us on the TV and said they want to partner with us. Mr. Chanona has decided that he will give us a hand in getting the field up and running and getting is tilt so that we can get it up to a standard where it's more and more up to where we want to get it. It will be grass planting for now. We will be getting the grass in and try to get it up to where the field is covered with grass and from there then we go into getting the lights up. We should be having the lights working with BEL to get that up and running at least by next week to see where we are with that. The next time BDF is playing a home game, it should be ready for the home game."

Dog Causes Plane Landing Gear To Buckle
"The dog did it". That's what Civil Aviation Investigators have concluded in the case of the Piper 32-300 which buckled on the PG Runway yesterday. The plane is air ambulance form BERT, and it was headed to PG to pick up a patient with the pilot and a nurse on board. But when the plane was touching down, the landing gear stuck a dog, and as a result, the lending gear broke off the aircraft. No one was hurt.

DPP Disputes Facts
Earlier in the news, we told you about the case of the bail hearing of businessman Jahan Abadi of Belmopan and Korean Hyang Choing Park which happened before Magistrate Albert Hoare. Well, the DPP called us to say that she was not hospitalized, she simply had to go to the hospital for medication for her voice because she is hoarse. She added that defense attorney Arthurs was disingenuous to suggest that her office is cooperating to get these two defendants bail. She said that the prosecution is objecting to Hyan Choing Park getting bail because she is a flight risk, and in relation to Jahan Abadi, she told us that her office has not been served with documents for his bail.

Anne Swaney Investigation Update
On Monday, we told you that one of police's main suspects, 24 year-old Guatemalan Victor Manuel Franco Menjivar was set free. He was one of the persons that Benque police were investigating for the murder of American tourist Anne Swaney. He had been found in the same general area as Swaney's body, and he was supposed to be spending 6 months in prison after pleading guilty to illegal entry. Now, Magistrates usually order accused illegal immigrants to pay their fine forthwith, or else they will be jailed. What usually happens is that the Immigration Department allows these defendants a small amount of time to pay and if they can, then they are released. Victor Menjivar did just that, and he was then taken to the Western Border and then released into Guatemala. Today, we asked the Acting Commander of the Western Police Region if that substantially hurt their ability to investigate this crime, and here's what he had to say:

Cayo Cops Call On Us
Today, the top brass at the San Ignacio Police chose its Officers of the Month from among the junior officers assigned to that station. Now, we're not for self-promotion, but the media-friendly commanders obliged us to inspect the police parade and choose which of the officers we thought was wearing the uniform with the most polish and neatness. In keeping with being good sports, they asked our Daniel Ortiz to hand out the certificates to the 3 officers who had been chosen as the Officers of the month. Afterwards, we spoke with all 3. Here's what they told us: Today, we got to see that community policing criteria in action when officers from San Ignacio went out to buy groceries for needy residents with money they collected from amongst themselves. One officer discussed this generous donation and the reason that the officers decided to come up out of their own pockets for these recipients:

A Last Gush Of Goodwill
As we told you at the top of the news, First Caribbean has ended its commercial operations in Belize effective 5:00 pm today. And, with the closure, it had one last gush of goodwill. 9 organizations including 7 schools received donations this evening. Country Manager Glenn Smith told us it's all about social assistance. The donations totaled $15,000.

BDF Examines Future
Earlier on, we showed you the new intake of BDF soldiers. But more than just more boots on the ground, the BDF is changing the way it operates. Today Brigadier General David Jones spoke to us about their Strategic Development Plan. Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF "The BDF is in the process now of developing and finalizing their strategic defence review. This is a document that is chartering the way for the BDF vision in the next 5 years. So its going to look at the tasks that the government wants the BDF to achieve. How they are going to achieve it and then to put together those resources that they need to achieve it. So with the help of the Canadian government we are finalizing that document. Myself and members of the BDF along with our CEO from the Ministry of National Security will be flying to Canada next month to finalize that review. Subsequently the rest of the review will be completed here in Belize. When that document signed off, that charters the way for the next 5 years at a minimum for the Belize Defence Force."

Soundclash "Rings the Alarm"
Belize is having its first international soundclash this weekend. A sound clash is a musical battle between two DJ's to see who can do a better job at moving the crowd. This sound clash called "ring the Alarm" is between Black Chiney from Jamaica and "Dynamq" (Dynamic) from South Sudan. That's both intercontinental and international - and "Dynamq" (Dynamic) told us more about it:… The sound clash takes place tomorrow at 9:00 pm at the Pickwick Club.

Help For Seniors
LIFE - Living Independently in Full Existence: that is the name of the new organization that will cater to the senior citizens of the Southside. They officially opened this morning at # 11 Casuarina Street in Lake Independence. But the opening wasn't the only good news - they also got a brand new elderly-friendly van. Today at the ceremony, LIFE Administrator Sister Carlette Gentle told us more about the organization and how important it is to look after our elderly. Of course, when we think about caring and protecting our elderly, we immediately think of 93 year old Patrick Grant and 61 year old Orle Savala - elderly men who were both recently beaten up. LIFE says it si aware of those types of situations and will also be reaching out to those in especially adverse circumstances:..

The Missionary Move
A group of missionary Christians is trying to enlist 10 Belizean pastors to take them to Johannesburg South Africa for a 10 day trip. Victoria Baltazar, who is the sister of famed and recently deceased dancer Rosita Baltazar told us more about it:... Those wishing to participate should be at Sunset Park at mile 8 on Sunday at 10:00 am or you can call 637-3106.

Muslim Evangelists?
If you're not a practitioner of the religion of Islam, you probably don't know the Ahmadiyya Muslim jama?at, but this organization is one of Islamic church groups with branches all over the World. Well, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Belize has been here for the last 2 years, and with their steady growth in fellowship and the expansion of their mosque, they want to introduce themselves to the Belizean public. Today, they invited us into their prayer hall and the leader of the church told us that everyone is welcomed to visit and learn about their religion: Tune in next week when we'll take you back inside the Ahmadiyya Muslim jama?at for a look at how they practice their religion.


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#511211 - 01/30/16 11:49 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 30, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

CIBC Closes Its Doors in Belize
CIBC First Caribbean International Bank officially exited Belize today. All its branches across the country also closed and banking transactions are shutting down as of tonight to make way for [...]

CWU President Says MOU Was Not Authorized
But according to CWU president Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the union did not authorize the signing of the MOA. In a text sent to News Five, Matura-Shepherd asserts that she was “shocked [...]

No Bail for Jahan Abadi and Haung Chong Park
The strange legal tangles of US national Bradley Paumen, the owner of Dark Knight et al remain very fluid tonight. In a nutshell, three persons were formally arraigned on Thursday [...]

Paumen Gets Supreme Court Bail Hearing Hours After Remand
But back to Bradley Paumen….He’s a millionaire investor, owner of Dark Night Tours and a resort in Hopkins, but is tonight behind bars at the Belize Central Prison. On Thursday [...]

3 Men Arraigned for Murder of Ian Blair
It was not until after two p.m. today that eighteen-year-old Windell Thurton, twenty-one-year-old Max Orosco and nineteen-year-old Byron Flowers, all of Belize City, were arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers for [...]

No Update in Swaney Murder Investigation
On Thursday, January fourteenth, ABC7 Chicago Executive Producer Anne Swaney was murdered on the grounds of the Nabitunich Resort in San Jose Succotz. Her senseless and brutal killing created shockwaves [...]

DHS Confirms Unexplained Deaths At the K.H.M.H.
There are far more questions than answers available tonight from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where various persons have died in the past four months due to an unknown illness.  [...]

MOH Says No Cause for Alarm
The cause of death of three persons this month remains unknown and the ministry says samples have been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA, and that at this [...]

P.U.P. Leadership Convention to Be Held on Sunday
Turning to political news…The People’s United Party will be holding a historic national leadership convention this weekend. As you know, three candidates are offering themselves for the top job of [...]

Heritage Bank Anticipates Smooth Transition
Earlier you heard the farewell from FCIB’s Country Manager, Glen Smith. At the close of business a few hours ago, the official transfer of assets from FCIB to Heritage Bank [...]

Credit and Debit Cards Must Be Activated by Monday
While Heritage Bank is embarking on an automation process to ensure that the changeover is easy, customers of FCIB are being asked to make certain that their new credit and [...]

Heritage to Assume Control of FCIB Buildings Countrywide
So what will become of FCIB’s infrastructures in the various districts.  According to Duncan, a majority of those buildings will be used to expand Heritage’s operations where necessary, including the [...]

Cayo Police Provide Clarity on Reported Bus Shooting
On Wednesday, San Ignacio Police swarmed Esperanza in response to reports that a man had been shot in the head on a Westline Bus. Conrad Thomas, bleeding profusely and unconscious, [...]

B.D.F. Passes Out 80 New Soldiers
The various arms that provide national security to the country keep growing in numbers and in strength. This afternoon, eighty new soldiers joined the ranks of the Belize Defense Force [...]

Minister of National Security Says Work Has Commenced at Sarstoon FOB
Since breaking ground for a new forward operating base near the mouth of the Sarstoon River in December 2015, the much talked about military installation has seemingly taken a backseat [...]

CIBC Makes Final Donation to Belizean Organizations
CIBC First Caribbean International Bank in its final act of social responsibility, made a contribution of fifteen thousand five hundred dollars to nine organizations in the city. Today at its [...]

Spreading Zika Virus Raises Global Alarm
There is global concern tonight about the ZIKA virus which is spreading quickly throughout the region. Last week, we spoke with Doctor Marvin Manzanero of the Ministry of Health about [...]

Cayo Police Go Into Schools to Deal With Youth Issues
There have been two suicides in the West recently, young persons who took their own lives. There are organizations which deal with depression and other related factors, but as we [...]

Cayo COPP in Full Effect
Across the country, Community Policing has taken root, and it has become the rule rather than the exception. Just around Christmas time the San Ignacio Police Formation received twenty-four new [...]

LOVE FM

Willows Bank Villagers Need Access to Water
A resident of Willow’s Bank Village in the Belize District has come to the media in the hopes that the challenges the villagers currently face would be addressed. Rose Perriot has a house in Willows Bank along with five other families but they have been living without access to potable water and the only well […]

Trio Arraigned in Home Invasion Case that Claimed Ian Blair
Three young men were arraigned on a charge of murder for the death of Ian Robert Blair when they appeared today before Magistrate Deborah Rogers. The accused murderers are 19 year old Byron Flowers, 21 year old Max Orosco and 18 year old Windell Thurton. The trio was also charged with aggravated burglary, attempted murder […]

Paumen Associates Arraigned in Court
The case involving American Investor and owner of Dark Knight, Bradley Paumen continued today in the court room of Magistrate Albert Hoare in San Ignacio. Paumen stands accused of plotting the murder of Michael Modiri. He allegedly did so with other persons including Jahangi Abadi and Haung Chong Park who have been charged for Abetment […]

Deaths During Flu Season Urges Investigation at KHMH
A post on social media stirred up some talking today about a number of deaths that had occurred at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital. The post referred to those deaths as an undiagnosed illness. Tonight Love News can confirm that the deaths at the KHMH are six deaths being investigated between the span of last […]

Briceno Says He Is Ready for Leadership Convention
The People’s United Party will be holding their national convention on Sunday in Belmopan. One of the men vying for leadership of the party is Orange Walk Central’s area representative, John Briceno. Earlier today we caught up with Briceno to get his views heading into Sunday’s convention. We asked Briceno what are some of […]

Belize Makes 1st Draft Report on Civil and Political Rights
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a validation workshop on Belize’s draft report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. On hand was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington. This is Belize’s first draft report and will encompasses only up to 2014. In his address Minister Elrington spoke of a number of […]

First Caribbean Officially Closes Its Doors in Belize
The Christian Workers Union and CIBC First Caribbean International Bank have signed a memorandum of agreement, MOA. A release from the bank says that both bodies were able to reach an agreement on an exit package for its employees. The MOA was signed last week Friday and today was the bank’s final day of operations […]

City Council Takes Heed to the Children
A document that seeks to add to the initiatives of the Sustainable and Child Friendly Municipalities was signed yesterday at City Hall in Belize City. Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar, who is the councillor responsible for women and children at the Belize City Council, spoke on how this signing will add to the initiative. Councillor Latchman-Cuellar told […]

The Taiwanese Are Coming for the BDF
We have been hearing of the addition to the military air wing by way of helicopters and planes for quite some time. Today we got an update from the Brigadier General, David Jones as to the status of this expansion as well as training for the pilots and technicians. As Commander Jones mentioned, a team […]

61st Intake for Belize Defense Force
The 61st Intake for the Belize Defense Force had their graduation ceremony this afternoon at Price Barracks in Ladyville Village, Belize District. Brigadier General David Jones spoke of this intake and how crucial the additional numbers are to the force. Love News asked the BDF Commander to comment on the training curriculum for the recruits […]

PlusTV

Man on the run after chopping up wife captured
A murder suspect accused of chopping his common law wife to death and fleeing the scene has finally been captured. He was captured by civilians who recognized him and handed him over to police. Our Dangriga correspondent Hary Arzu has the story. ...

Professional cyclist knocked down by bus
A young professional cyclists was knocked down by a bus yesterday, Wednesday January 27. 16-year-old Shakille Tillett of Camalote Village ,professionally for cycling team WKC Strikers and was onthe road on his bicycle sometime around 10 o’clock yesterday morning. When he approached mile 11 on ...

Was bus Passenger hit or shot?
Yesterday, we reported on the bus incident where one passenger was injured by another passenger on an afternoon bus headed from Benque to Belize city. As we told you at the time of the newscast, the information we had was still sketchy, though eyewitnesses told us on and off camera that the victim,...

Three persons charged in Ian Blair murder
Yesterday we told you about the murder that occurred in Belize City on Simon Lamb street. 44-year-old Dr. Marcos Christopher Rugama Miranda, who lives at the house on Simon Lamb street, was stabbed to the center of his chest while 37-year-old Ian Robert Blair of Belize City was stabbed to the u...

Suicide Pact in Cayo???
Plusnews has received disturbing reports coming out of the Cayo District regarding recent suicide incidents that claimed the lives of two teenagers in separate incidents recently and another suicide attempt reported two nights ago. Now, Plusnews does not normally report on suicides and we avoid rev...

Vehicle in Belize City Canal
How did a vehicle end up in the Haulover Creek in the Lake Independence area of Belize City last night? The report we got is that 36-year-old Anthony Young was stabbed to the head while inside the vehicle, causing him to lose control while driving on Partridge Street. We do not know if he was stabbe...

NTUCB looks forward to permanent representative in Senate
On Wednesday 27th January, we saw for the first time since this new Administration, a representative for the Unions seated in the Senate meeting. Mind you, it is only temporary. PlusNews introduced the nation to Educator and long-standing union activist Elena Smith as she took the oath at the start...

The Reporter

BDF has 80 new soldiers
The Belize Defence Force (BDF) conducted a passing out ceremony at its Price Barracks headquarters in Ladyville on Friday evening for 80 recruits who have now joined the ranks of Belize’s military. The recruits started their rigorous training in October 2015, in disciplines ranging from: […]

KHMH investigates seven unexpected patient deaths
By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) is investigating the circumstances leading to seven unexpected patient deaths since last October. Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero told the media on Friday that the patients, who all suffered from respiratory and flu-like symptoms and abdominal problems. […]

Potable water coming to Santa Anna, Toledo
Over 500 residents in Santa Anna village, Toledo will soon have potable water as the Government invests over half a million dollars for a potable water system in their community. The government’s press office says some 91 households, schools, churches and the village health post […]

Joint task force operation conducts drug bust on the Rio Hondo
The Coast Guard, Belize Defense Force (BDF) and Customs Department conducted a joint operation, this week, that led to the confiscation of 6.8 pounds of high grade marijuana.  Security agents on patrol spotted a small boat in an area on the Rio Hondo river near […]

Belize “domesticates” extradition treaty with Mexico, but after Schnitzer’s escape
Belize’s law governing extradition is now in tandem with an Extradition Treaty it signed in August, 1988 with Mexico, which permits the extradition of any individual wanted in any of the two countries for trial. The law needed to be “domesticated” as described by Prime […]

BTB explains tourism rates
Although the first quarter of 2015 was off to a slow start, the next seven months, and particularly the last four months recorded spectacular tourism figures. This is according to officials at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). Javier Paredes, director of business development and registrar […]

National Sports council begin country wide rehab sweep of facilities
The National Sports Council, this week, under its new directorship, began a country wide mission to rehabilitate sporting facilities. On Monday, newly appointed Director, Ritchel Dominguez, explained that works have already started at the MCC Grounds on Princess Margaret Drive, which will coincide with several […]

Airlines offering refunds to passengers traveling to Zika affected countries
Some airlines have began offering refunds to travelers bound for destinations that have confirmed cases of the Zika virus for the safety of passengers. British Airways, American Airlines, and United Airlines have all began rolling out options for passengers, particularly pregnant ones, to avoid visiting destinations with […]

EU gives UNICEF more than $100,000 US to fight child abuse
The European Union, this week, made a $100,000 donation to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to fight child abuse in the Belize. EU Ambassador to Belize, Paolo Amadei, in her last undertaking in that role, was on hand for the donation. Sexual abuse statistics […]

Vega denies allegations of land repossession in Paumen case
In another twist to the ongoing developments of the Bradley Paumen/Michael Modiri property feud, Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Natural Resources (Lands), Gaspar Vega, has denied instructing the Lands Department to compulsorily repossess land from Modiri to accommodate Paumen. In an interview with […]

PM leads technical team to Washington to negotiate de-risking measures
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left Belize on Monday for Washington, D.C., where he is leading a technical team from Belize in discussions with senior officials of the US Federal Government and US banking monitoring systems over the ‘de-risking’ situation affecting financial institutions in the region. […]

Seven homeless after house fire, arsonist will not be charged
The Laws of Belize prohibit the Police Department from charging 21-year-old John Dawson for burning down a house and leaving seven people homeless. According to the department, Dawson is a certified mental illness patient and is therefore not fit to be charged for destroying the home of […]

BTB says Swaney murder hasn’t hurt tourism, yet
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), this week, said it is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of tourists while mitigating the negative impact of Anne Swaney’s murder last week. Noriko Gamero, BTB Marketing and Public Relations manager said the industry has not seen […]

No charge for woman who killed son-in-law
The Belize Police Department will not press any charges against 62-year-old Moszetta Reyes for the chopping death of 54-year-old Arthur wade. The police explained on Thursday that after the Director Of Public Prosecutions (DPP) considered the evidence in the case, she decided not to proceed with any […]

Toledo Rice
In the forties and fifties Toledo was called the “bread basket” of Belize. Rice was grown in abundance in Toledo and pigs were raised and shipped to Belize City on the MV. Heron H. and MV. Maya Prince. The colonial government erected a rice-mil and a warehouse […]

Falkland Islands raises awareness on sovereignty dispute
Most people who know of the Falkland Islands may have linked the name to the Falkland War, which occurred in 1982. The truth is most people don’t know much of the tiny nation struggling to establish its identity and are only aware that the war was ignited by Argentina’s claim […]

Chawla’s rice heads back to Guyana
Jack Charles’ three containers of imported Guyanese rice, which the Courts ruled had to leave Belize, are on their way back to Guyana. The re-exportation is barely within the Wednesday deadline granted by the Supreme Court for the grain to leave, or consequently be taken […]

Editorial
Supporters of the UDP government were surprised and shocked to learn that a Minister of this administration had tried to dispossess a land-owner of a portion of his land on Ambergris Caye. This is the kind of dirty trick which used to characterize the work of the PUP, which would […]

Back to jail without bail
In yet another twist to the ongoing murder plot investigation involving Bradley Paumen, additional charges were brought against him, one of his employees and two others on Thursday. At 5:20 p.m. Thursday, friends of Paumen sat inside the courtroom of Magistrate Albert Hoare as Dark Night employees gathered outside and […]

Free Zone warehouse burns twice
P & P Home Depot, a three-story warehouse which stored children’s bicycles, clothing and toys at the Corozal Free Zone, made news this week for catching fire, twice! The original blaze started at around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Three fire trucks responded, according to […]

Corozal’s first murder is 12th of the year
The Corozal district recorded its first murder of the year this week, becoming the last of the six districts to see a murder, in what has turned out to be a bloody January, with 12 murders already on record. On Wednesday morning 29-year-old Paul Messam […]

Home invasion leaves one man dead; one critical
A home invasion in Belize City on Wednesday left one man dead and another – a well-known doctor, in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH). Dr. Marcus Rugama, urologist, was admitted to ward on Wednesday with a single stab wound to […]

Mexican and Orange Walk police capture wanted murderer
A joint operation between the Mexican police of Chetumal, Quintana Roo and Belizean police of Orange Walk town has led to the capture of the man wanted for the murder of the Vice Chairman of Indian Church village, Orange Walk. 59 year-old Juan Carlos Lopez […]

The Belize Times

PUP holds Leadership Convention on Sunday
On Sunday, January 31st, 2016 over 2,900 delegates of the People’s United Party will gather at the Belmopan Comprehensive School in the capital city of Belmopan to participate in a historic Leadership Convention that will elect a leader for the Party and members of the national executive. The candidates for leadership, Hon. Francis Fonseca, Hon. John Briceño and Hon. Cordel Hyde have been canvassing the entire country, meeting the delegates and offering their plans and ideas to move the Party forward. The national executive posts that will be up for elections are Deputy Leader North, Deputy Leader South, Party Chairman and Communications Director. The candidates for those positions are Corozal South East Area Representative Hon. Florencio Marin Jr. and Orange Walk South Area Representative Hon. Jose Mai for Deputy Leader North; Toledo East Area Representative Hon. Michael Espat and Stann Creek West Area Representative Hon. Rodwell Ferguson for Deputy Leader South; Toledo West Area Representative Hon. Oscar Requena and Henry Usher for Party Chairman; and Dolores Balderamos Garcia and Anthony Mahler for Communications Director. The campaign has been colourful and energetic, both on the ground and on social media, with supporters from the different camps rooting for their candidate.

PUP holds Leadership Convention on Sunday
On Sunday, January 31st, 2016 over 2,900 delegates of the People’s United Party will gather at the Belmopan Comprehensive School in the capital city of Belmopan to participate in a historic Leadership Convention that will elect a leader for the Party and members of the national executive. The candidates for leadership, Hon. Francis Fonseca, Hon. John Briceño and Hon. Cordel Hyde have been canvassing the entire country, meeting the delegates and offering their plans and ideas to move the Party forward. The national executive posts that will be up for elections are Deputy Leader North, Deputy Leader South, Party Chairman and Communications Director. The candidates for those positions are Corozal South East Area Representative Hon. Florencio Marin Jr. and Orange Walk South Area Representative Hon. Jose Mai for Deputy Leader North; Toledo East Area Representative Hon. Michael Espat and Stann Creek West Area Representative Hon. Rodwell Ferguson for Deputy Leader South; Toledo West Area Representative Hon. Oscar Requena and Henry Usher for Party Chairman; and Dolores Balderamos Garcia and Anthony Mahler for Communications Director.

Gapi Knows a Hitman
The next leader of the United Democratic Party, Gaspar Vega, who is currently the Deputy Prime Minister and at times Acting Prime Minister, has tried unsuccessfully to wiggle himself out of another horrible political controversy involving murder plots. Vega, in defending himself before news reporters last week Friday, even went as far as to suggest that his former employee, the embattled Lands Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos is a liar, accusing him of making an untrue statement before a Supreme Court Judge, which is tantamount to contempt of court. The murder plots involve two wealthy Americans, Michael Modiri and Bradley Paumen, who own large tracts of land in the Mountain Pine Ridge Area. Since early 2013, the businessmen have been clashing over the use of each other’s land to access their property. That year, while Modiri was away, the Ministry of Lands acquired a portion of his land, allowing Paumen to utilise it and access his property. Upon returning to Belize, Modiri was startled when he found a road through his property and applied to the Court for an injunction against Paumen. During the court proceedings, he learnt that the land had actually been acquired by the Government. He then launched a successful legal challenge to the Government’s actions. This was most embarrassing to the Lands Ministry which was accused of acting unlawfully, unreasonably and arbitrarily, and then ordered to pay $15,000 as compensation to Modiri.

“…malicious, stinking UDP hand” targets outspoken Yhonie Rosado
The UDP Government is like a mob. Anyone who offers criticism or attempts dissension is dealt with a heavy blow. This week, businessman Yhonie Rosado felt just how petty and vindictive the Government is when officials of the UDP Belize City Council swarmed his business premises on the Phillip Goldson Highway, demanding that it be shut down. The CitCo officials told Rosado that his business does not have a trade license therefore it shouldn’t be operating. “I don’t know what they say really, but you can see that obviously, it is just a pure malicious, stinking UDP hand,” commented Rosado. Rosado’s small business, a used tire shop named “Econo Tires”, has been operating for the last eight months. He does not have a trade license, but not for the fault of his. Rosado did apply for a trade license. In December, he paid the required $90 inspection fee and was told that he would be getting his official trade license certificate in about two weeks. He never got it.

Prepare for worse under the UDP
Where oh where has Petrocaribe gone…oh where oh where can it be? Mr. Barrow is singing the Petrocaribe blues in 2016 and it sounds like a funeral march. You see…in 2015 Mr. Barrow and his UDP were riding high and fancy thanks to hundreds of millions in Petrocaribe millions. There was no wrong they couldn’t correct, nothing and no election they couldn’t fix, nobody they couldn’t entice. But now it’s all done and karma is paying the PM a little visit. Old people will tell you that the true measure of a man is how he handles adversity, not how pretty he looks with bulging coffers. Now, with empty pocket syndrome, Mr. Barrow is being measured and he’s not looking too great.

Think About It
Belize’s leading newspaper has written a damning Editorial exposing a frightening fact that Belize has lost half of the Sarstoon River to Guatemala, including the Sarstoon Island. First, let us say we are the first ones to have carefully considered the facts that emerged last year August and came to this inescapable conclusion. The Editor of the BELIZE TIMES was among over one hundred citizens who went to Barranco Village and loaded a small flotilla led by Wil Maheia and the Territorial Volunteers. It was a shocking experience to see, with our own eyes, the determined behavior of the Guatemalan armed forces and naval boats in jealousy, guarding what they claimed was their territorial waters inside our section of the Sarstoon River. Up to that time the Belize government had been mocking and cursing the minor efforts of Wil Maheia to expose the behavior of Guatemala and the non-behavior of our government. Remember the Prime Minister’s blatant refusal to even offer a comment.

Strange Tale
When the Honourable Madam Justice Sonya Young, in delivering her learned judgement, declared that “This is a strange tale…” she could not have possibly imagined how truly strange that said tale would eventually turn out to be. The case was between two foreigners who were fighting over some valuable real estate in Belize. Seems both men had been able to acquire prime land in the historically rich area near the foot of the fabled Maya Mountains. The area is rich with flora, fauna and an intricate network of caves, some full with relics of the long gone Mayan civilization. The business website for the company of one of the men proudly boasts: “Also located on the property are numerous caves treasured with centuries-old Mayan artifacts, which not only underscore the historical importance of the area, but also provide visitors with a valuable insight on the underworld life of the early inhabitants of these caves. We have found evidence dating back 3,000- 5,000 B.C. to the Paleo-Indians who hunted the wooly mammoth & giant sloths. We have discovered an abundance of potteries and Lowe & clevis points (Maya spear point) dating to 600-900 A.D.”

The writing on the wall…
Political observers have already begun to brainstorm how the political landscape will be changing for both political parties over the next few months. These observers are expecting seismic shifts where the PUP will begin to rise and the UDP will prepare for a heavy fall after eight years (three short terms) of rule. The political pundits have concluded that despite the PUP’s present testy leadership race with a three-way competition and fiery supporters and campaigns from each camp, the Party will only come out stronger and more united. The truth is that no matter who wins on Sunday, the PUP needs Francis, Johnny and Cordel to be on the same page and on the same mission, united, to rid Belize of the UDP. The supporters of the PUP deserve no less of the men seeking their support. Unity has evaded the PUP for too long, causing the Party to enter elections fragmented, under-resourced and not fully prepared. A house divided will not stand. The UDP, or at least Dean Barrow and his close political mercenary, Mark Espat, who has been fattened by taxpayers’ dollars, know how to exploit those weaknesses well.

ACC & Wesley tied for No. 1 spot
The undefeated Anglican Cathedral College boys and Wesley College boys have four wins apiece to lead the high school football competition. ACC posted a 2-1 win on Monday over the Gwen Lizarraga High School boys with two goals by Christian Ancona and Akeem Sutherland. Hakeem Smith scored a consolation goal for Gwen Liz, but Gwen Liz’s top striker Naim “Nemo” Wilson will have to miss the next game, after he was sent off with a red card. Wesley College boys posted a 6-0 win over the Belize High School boys on Saturday. Deandre “Dee-dee” Pitters scored a hat trick, blasting in the 1st goal and adding the 5th and 6th goals in the 2nd half. Devin Pablo scored the 2nd goal, Kermit Sutherland drove in the 3rd goal, and Shemar Thompson added a 4th goal.

Team Koop Sheet Metal wins Haulover-Boom canoe race
Team Koop Sheet Metal won the Haulover Bridge to Burrell Boom canoe race held by the Belize Canoe Association on Sunday morning. The Belize Canoe Association organized the race to prepare paddlers for the grueling 4-day annual Ruta Maya River Challenge on the Baron Bliss Day weekend. The 3rd race in the series will be the Boom to Riverside Tavern race in February. Race Results: 1st – Koop Sheet Metal- Jerry Rhaburn, Jerry Cante, Hener Cruz (2:08:53), 2nd – Belize Bank Bulldogs: Armin Lopez, Amado Lopez, Byron Cruz (2:09:07), 3rd – Team N.I.C.H.: Felix, Efrain and Alex Cruz (2:09:11), 4th – Programme for Belize: Chris Guydis, Wilberto Daniels, Kenrick Daniels (2:09:25), 5th – Westrac Nitro: Oscar Cordon, Erwin Cruz, Daniel Cruz – 2:09:30.

City Boys vs. Riverside Boys in U-15 football finals
The City Boys will take on the Hattieville River Side Boys in the upcoming Belize District Football Association’s (BDFA) under-15 championship final at the MCC Garden on Sunday morning, January 31; after both squads won big in the semifinals last Sunday. City Boys are the No.1 seed with no losses. They blew away Face of Belize 3-0 with 3 goals in the 2nd half. Richard Hines scored first, Jaylen Babb booted in a 2nd goal and Kenny Linarez drilled in the 3rd goal.

Hon. Julius Espat calls out Ministry of Land’s foot-dragging
Cayo South Area Representative, Hon. Julius Espat, has called out the Ministry of Lands for foot-dragging and delaying the conclusion of amicable negotiations between the new sugar factory owners in the Cayo District, Santander, and 31 Valley of Peace farmers and their families for the transfer of lands. The issue dates back to March 2014, when Santander, then known as Green Tropics, carried out spraying flights on their property which damaged the farmers’ nearby crops. The farmers have been utilising the land for many years, but Green Tropics claimed that they were illegally encroaching. The dispute could have gotten very ugly, and it appeared to be heading in that direction, but Santander’s human compassion prevailed and they offered to assist the farmers by relocating them and providing land titles. Santander has done the necessary procedures to effect the land transfers, but the Ministry of Lands seems to care little for the poor farmers. If the Ministry was catering to rich investors the work would likely have been completed much faster, but this is not the case.

Dangriga vendors to challenge Mayor Humphreys in Court
Vendors in Dangriga Town who have been negatively affected by the Town Council’s decision to declare an area on privately-owned land as a “No Vending Zone”, say they will challenge the Mayor and Council’s in Court. The vendors, mostly hard working mothers, are furious after the UDP-elected Council prohibited their use of an area on North Stann Creek Riverside Street for vending of fruits, vegetables and other small items. They have been doing business there for over four years, and the current Mayor and Town Council even collected peddler’s fees from them. The vendors said that Mayor Francis Humphreys suddenly turned on them, informing them that he doesn’t want them to sell in the area anymore, so they were forced to leave. Humphreys met with the vendors and promised that he would build stalls for them elsewhere if they agreed to move. The vendors accepted, but say that the Mayor hasn’t kept his promise.

Paul Massam murdered in Corozal – His brother, Mark, was chopped to death one year ago
Police are investigating the shooting murder of 29 year old Paul Massam which occurred in Corozal Town on the morning of Wednesday, January 27th. Massam, according to reports, was sitting on the steps of a verandah at a house located on V Street North, when a man armed with a gun approached him and fired several shots at him. He received gunshot wounds to the left and right side of his face and on his left hand. It is not known what Massam was doing at the address at the time, since he resides on Bocotora Street in Corozal Town.

A Good Leader
The PUP will elect a leader on January 31st, to take it into the months and years ahead. It’s therefore opportune to look at some of the things that made persons such as George Price, Norman Manley, Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Kennedy successful leaders in their respective countries. A leader outlines practical plans to the people to enable them to enjoy a better life. He is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo in which the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. A good leader is therefore committed to addressing the needs of the people for jobs, land, proper housing, a better education, security, and twenty-four hours access to utilities such as water, telephone and electricity among other needs. A leader is resourceful. He knows how to make maximize use of the human and material resources that are available to him. He does not sit around and wait for things to happen. If he doesn’t have the funds to get essential things done, he exhausts every possible way of raising funds for the just cause. A leader also knows how to utilise the media, public meetings, and street protests to pursue the best interest of the people, and he knows how to work with the trade unions and other Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) to advance the cause of the masses.

Guatemalan woman reports husband missing in Cayo
Police are asking the public for assistance in locating a Guatemalan national believed to have gone missing in Belize. On Wednesday, 27th January, 2016 35-year-old Clementa Hernandez Vasquez, a Guatemalan national of Melchor, reported to Police that her husband, 37-year-old Mynor Salvador Bala, was missing. Vasquez reported that on Sunday, 24th January, at 8:00a.m., her husband left home in Melchor De Mencos enroute to Cayo to sell Avon products and since making her report he has not returned. Bala is described as weighing approximately 145pounds, being 5ft 7ins in height, having brown skin, low black hair, and a tattoo on the left arm of a snake.

Malfeasance in Belize: Only taxpayers suffer
To be, or not to be? That is the question—whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them? (William Shakespeare). In the recent past several damning comments have been uttered regarding the Lands Department of Belize: of it being a “cesspool of corruption”; that “only God can clean up the corruption”, and I am sure you will be able to plug your perception or experience in this regard. Malfeasance speaks to the wilful, illegal, dishonest activity of a public official in the discharge of his public duty. Lawsuits against the Government of Belize have become a common occurrence. Regrettably the end result is also common, where, high-powered attorneys become richer and taxpayers are held accountable to pay for damages. Malfeasance is synonymous with the more derogatory term “corruption”. While I celebrate the fortitude of the wealthy to challenge the injustices of the State, I also recognize the helplessness of the poverty-stricken who remain without a “David”, without a champion.

Burglary turns deadly for victim
One city resident is dead, while another is hospitalised after an armed burglary at a residence on Simon Lamb Street turned violent and fatal on the wee hours of Wednesday morning. 44 year old Dr. Marcos Rugama Miranda is hospitalised and receiving treatment for stabbing injuries he received yesterday as two men attempted to burglarise his house. Miranda’s friend, 37 year old Ian Robert Blair, was fatally stabbed in the chest during the assault. According to Miranda, he went on his backyard to pick in clothes and upon returning inside his home, he noticed that two men of dark complexion were inside, with what appeared to be a firearm and knife, attacking Blair inside the bedroom.

Ombudsman turned blind eye to Castro, Penner scandals
The Opposition People’s United Party did not support a motion presented by Prime Minister Dean Barrow before the House of Representatives last week Friday, January 22nd, 2016, seeking approval for the re-appointment of Lionel Arzu as Ombudsman for another year. Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca raised concerns about Arzu’s effectiveness as Ombudsman. “This is not a motion that we can support on this side of the House. Over the past few years that Mr. Arzu has served as Ombudsman, our colleagues have complained of the level of inactivity and ineffectiveness of his office. Our sense is that he does not enjoy, as Ombudsman, the level of trust and confidence that his predecessors enjoyed,” stated Hon. Fonseca. PM Barrow disagreed, of course, and the UDP’s majority side proceeded to approve the re-appointment. The UDP media, Channel 7, spread the propaganda that the Opposition was “bashing” the Ombudsman. But Channel 7 made no effort to look into the concerns raised by the Opposition Leader. Those concerns are very valid.

Santander says dealing with Ministry of Lands is “a battle”
Dear Hon. Julius Espat, Greetings to you from the Santander Group. Please accept our wishes for a Happy, Productive and Prosperous New Year! I am taking this opportunity to write you so as to share the many challenges we are facing in relation to the transfer of lands to the Valley of Peace Farmers Association. As you probably know, this process is very cumbersome and needless to say without proper and comprehensive guidance as to the full process by the Ministry. We have engaged the Lands Department and its officials to expedite the process shortly after we came to an agreement with the association in late 2014. To date, it is still an ongoing battle. Since April of 2015, we completed what we thought were all the documentation required and made submission to the Department to subdivide/mutate the parcel of land that we had agreed in principle to be gifted to the Association. With months of back and forth and misplaced documentations (applications forms, surveys, zero balance tax statements, etc.) provided to the Land Department, we were finally granted the Final Approval to Subdivide in October 2015.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Brandon Smith accuses police of hindering his free movement
Yesterday the notorious Brandon “Battery” Smith accused Eastern Division (North) police of attempting to hinder his free movement because they believe his presence puts residents of the Northside in danger. Officer Commanding Eastern Division (North), Assistant Commissioner of Police Dezerie Philips, hit back during a “Meet and Greet” […]

Fired Santander employee hits back at former employers
Electrician Michael Lindo had been working for Green Tropics Limited for the last 13 months, but he was abruptly fired a couple days ago. But that is only the start of his grievances with the company, which he complains has been “shorting” workers’ pay due […]

Trio charged for Simon Lamb Street murder
Three young men were arraigned on a charge of murder for the death of Ian Robert Blair when they appeared today before Magistrate Deborah Rogers. They are Byron Flowers, Max Orosco and Windell Thurton. They were also charged with aggravated burglary, the attempted murder of […]

Two prisoners busted inside prison with weed charged with drug trafficking
Inmates of the Belize Central Prison were arraigned before the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on separate drug trafficking charges after they were each busted with marijuana inside the prison. They are 26 year old Emmanuel Willoughby Jr. and 28 year old Troy Dean Hyde, brother […]

Kareem Smith charged for Castle Street assault
Kareem Smith, alleged associate of the PIV gang and younger brother to Brandon “Battery” Smith, appeared in court today on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm. Smith is accused of attempting to shoot Corey Sebastian on Castle Street on Sunday, January 24, chasing him […]

Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital issues health advisory
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) has released a flu season advisory, encouraging the general public to practice vigilance by washing hands, having cough etiquette and getting flu shots to avoid illness or prevent the spread of it. According to the hospital, during the […]

Fair, cool and dry conditions exist
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting variable cloudy and cool weather with no rainfall. Winds will be blowing from the Northwest at 10-20 knots with occasional higher gusts and the sea state will be moderate, becoming rough. A small craft caution is […]

Santa Anna water system to be inaugurated
An inauguration ceremony will be held at 3:00 this afternoon in Santa Anna Village, Toledo District, located 14 miles West of Punta Gorda (PG) town where a rehabilitated water system will be officially opened in the presence of dignitaries such as Ministers Erwin Contreras […]

Murder suspect captured by Orange Walk Police
Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez was captured by Orange Walk Police during a joint operation with Mexican police on Thursday afternoon. Gutierrez is expected to be charged this morning for the murder of 55-year-old Francisco Arevalo and appear in court this afternoon. Gutierrez has been in […]

Orange Walk police seek arson suspect
Orange Walk Police are seeking one man suspected of lighting a fire that destroyed a wooden house on Thursday. According to a report made to police13 Thursday morning from a friend […]

Progresso resident charged for drugs and ammo
A Progresso man has been charged for possession of controlled drug and keeping ammunition without a gun license. Raul Pech, from the Corozal district, is today facing the long arm of the law after police busted him sometime after 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday January 27th. […]

10 things Belize needs to do to become competitive in the 21st century
Over the past few years there has been so much development in fields ranging from technology to medicine and agriculture, the world has become intensely competitive. In many industries, machine has replaced man in an effort to maximize profits and efficiency but human resources will […]


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#511212 - 01/30/16 11:49 AM Re: Today's Belize News: January 30, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Blogs

Songs for Wheelchairs
It’s that time of year again. Award-winning songwriter and recording artist Kelly McGuire is back on the island for his birthday celebration, and his many fans are ready. Kelly has been coming and playing annually in San Pedro for years. Tonight Kelly will be starting his San Pedro “Tour” playing at a private party down south. If you want to catch him you will have a few chances and the opportunity to help a great cause at the same time. He will be giving several concerts on the Island this coming week. At four of his concerts, Kelly is teaming with the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross and the Wheelchair Foundation to raise money to provide wheelchairs to needy Belizeans living on Ambergris Caye.

6 Belize Islands you must visit in 2016!
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of scaling ancient Maya temples, exploring ancient cave systems, trekking into the Maya mountains, swimming in various waterfalls and rivers, and taking in the local culture when planning a trip to Belize. While all this sounds like loads of fun (oh and trust me it is!) Belize also boasts over 130 islands along its 322 km coastline and let’s face it; who doesn’t like a day at the beach? So here are six Belize islands you simply must visit if you happen to vacation in our little jewel. 1. Ambergris Caye 2. Caye Caulker 3. South Water Caye 4. St Georges 5. Goff’s Caye 6. Sapodilla Cayes

A BROKEN BEACH CABIN IN BELIZE
As we casually strolled along the sandy shores of Caye Caulker locals would occasionally call out to us to ‘slow down’, reminding us that we were on Caye Caulker, so what was the big rush? Going slow is less of an attitude, and more of a lifestyle here. Nothing happens quickly, and why should it? If you are living in paradise, why should you be in a hurry to get anywhere else? Caye Caulker is only about five miles in length, and for its size boasts myriad of different accommodation options. As always, if you want to spend big money on high end apartment style residences, there are numerous people here willing to take your cash. However, what is becoming increasing hard to find are reasonably low cost or budget options. As we were backpacking, we didn’t have the disposable funds to splash out on apartments offering marble-floors, Egyptian cotton towels and Nespresso machines, so we had to look for other, more affordable solutions. Our first night was spent in the Paradise Too, Hotel. (That by the way, is not a typo, but how they refer to themselves.) Its location is superb! It is sea facing, along the main strip and a short stroll to the famous ‘Split’ at the northern end of the island. Our room was ensuite and spacious, if a little tired looking. Each room had a nice balcony and seating area to watch the sunrise from, or to just sit back and admire the islands colourful characters wander by. There are several bars and restaurants just a stones’ throw away, and should you need any recommendations we found the staff to be very friendly and helpful.

Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge -Belize’s most exciting competition
Belize has the perfect event for adventure enthusiasts from all around the world. The 2016 Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge in Belize is an epic competition and is as fierce as the Belizean jungles in which the four-day race takes place. Belize provides the perfect setting for an action adventure race. Set in the Maya mountains in the lush tropical jungles of Belize, co-ed groups of four compete for 3 days and 3 nights traversing more than 220 miles of the Maya mountains. Competitors will spend the three days Mountain biking, trekking, orienteering, canoeing, rappelling and spelunking. The epic race starts and ends in San Ignacio Town, nestled in the foothills of the Maya mountains, serving as the gateway to adventure. The competition showcases the very best of what Belize has to offer nature and adventure enthusiasts all over the world. Sprawling valleys, exotic wildlife, fresh pure rivers, breath-taking scenery, ancient Mayan ruins, off-beaten trails and untouched cave systems become the backdrop for the epic race to the finish.

International Sourcesizz

Diver turns lionfish hunter in the waters of Belize
A school of shimmering silver jack had just glided by overhead as I crested the reef, where a trio of tall orange sponges rose toward an outcropping of coral and a pair of purple sea fans framed the opening of a dark nook. My heart raced and my breath quickened, a rush of bubbles streaming upward as I caught sight of my prey. The billowy fins, the showy spikes shooting from its spine, the majestic stripes flowing into the distinctive mane. The lionfish. It hovered carelessly in the pristine, bath-warm waters, this sea creature of local legend. I raised an arm, stretched a small piece of elastic cord and sent a spear through the back of its head. Success! Death at 60 feet below the surface. I was now more than just a scuba diver. I was a trained killer. Diving, in its common form, is a gentle adventure. I've heard many experienced divers liken it to an underwater hike or safari, a pretty good description of what I have found in my decade-plus of exploring the oceans. Thrills come from spotting a rare fish, marveling at a soaring ray or spying a reef shark as it slips by. But one of the main tenets of scuba diving is that you are to look and not touch. Leave the ocean and all its inhabitants as you found them. Visit and admire their world, let them live in it. That is, except for the lionfish. On a recent visit to a stunning atoll about 35 miles east of Belize City, the divemasters - and the national government - all but implored us to kill this magnificent monster. Although the lionfish is a beauty, they'll tell you, it is an invader to the Caribbean Sea, a scourge on the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world.

Watson College of Education Professor Susan Catapano Selected as Fulbright Scholar
Susan Catapano, director of international programs and former chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at the Watson College of Education, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, the U.S. Embassy in Belize announced Jan. 21. Catapano will spend the spring semester teaching and conducting research in Belize in the area of early childhood development. She will work with the University of Belize to support early childhood and early primary teachers in earning teacher certification in the Cayo, Corozal and Toledo districts. “Being a Fulbright Scholar is a great honor and I am really pleased to be selected. I am the first Fulbright Scholar to Belize in 10 years,” said Catapano. “I am here several times a year with students. This time I will concentrate on sharing my area of expertise while learning more about education at all levels.” While in Belize, Catapano will write three courses for a new online associate’s degree in early childhood education and will train 21 University of Belize faculty members on how to develop the courses online. She will also work with the on-campus pre-school program at the university to help them become a model pre-school program, which includes helping prepare their teachers.

The 21 Best Dive Resorts in the Caribbean
We have long said that “you don’t need a dive resort to go diving in the Caribbean.” But it sure helps. A great dive resort is not the same for everyone; some want luxury; some want function; some want value. Some people are looking for adventure and some are looking for relaxation, while some demand a beach. And then there are those that just want it all. You’ll know you made the right choice as the dive boat leaves the hotel dock and you look back to see the perfect combination of dive specificity, hotel amenities and resort features. These are the best dive resorts in the Caribbean. Turneffe Island Resort, Belize: This private-island resort in Belize offers access to more than 70 dive sites, and the property’s dive program includes 15 dives per week. Hamanasi, Belize: This resort is all about adventure, and the diving arm offers unique access to some of Belize’s most scenic dive sites, from the Turneffe Islands Atoll to the Southern Barrier Reef — along with top-quality instruction.

Videos

  • Belize 2015 Part 4 of 5: Between Jungle and Caves, 7min. Belize 2015 Part 4 of 5: Arriving at Jungle Yaxche Camp, exploring the jungle and caving in Crystal Cave.

  • Belize 2015 Part 5 of 5: Deep into the Jungle with Yaxche Jungle Camp., 9min. Belize 2015 Part 5 of 5: Four days into the Jungle with Yaxche Jungle Camp in Survival expedition. What an amazing experience, with a great eco friendly Guide. One of the best trip of my life!

  • Belize Diving Adventure, 10min. ws Description Snorkeling on a small island in Belize called Goffs Caye.

  • Belize Mayan History, 3min.

  • Hammerhead Shark vs. Eagle Ray in Belize, 1min.

  • Amigos Diving Victoria and Boco Del Rio Canyons, 5min. Featuring Guest Divers Walt Livingston and Wendell Young from Philadelphia, PA. Thanks for choosing Belize and Amigos Del Mar. Produced by PADI PRO Divemaster Videographer Michael Davis

  • Tobacco Caye, Belize, 17min. Awesome day at Tobacco Caye, Belize.

  • MUFFLES HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE AND BUSINESS FAIR 2016, 4.5min. The Muffles College Science and Business biennial fair was held earlier today at the school’s auditorium where all students were given the opportunity to showcase a portion of what they have learnt throughout the semester of the school year. Today as the fair was opened to the public, our news team visited the high school where we saw many energetic and vibrant faces that filled the school grounds.

  • Validation Workshop, 15min. Minister Elrington's Remarks at today's Validation Workshop on Belize's Draft Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

  • Belize Diving 2016, 23min. Diving off Ambergris Caye, Belize.

  • proxima estacion indefinida - Estacion 3 : Belize, 3.5min.

  • Vehicle in Belize City Canal, 1min.

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