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#511459 - 02/07/16 11:30 AM Today's Belize News: February 7, 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

First blood drive of the year hosted by SP Red Cross
On Saturday, January 30th, the San Pedro Belize Red Cross (SPBRC) held its first blood drive of the year. It has been an ongoing collaboration with the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II and the Belize Blood Bank, as SPBRC strives to build the island’s blood supply. Even though the blood drive was not as successful in comparison to previous, a total of nine usable pints of blood were collected. A single pint of blood can save up to three lives, therefore it is important to come together as a community and provide this important resource. Eight volunteers along with several others behind the scenes showed up at the Polyclinic early to help with the endeavor. From 9:30AM to 3PM several text messages went out in call for support and even though many events took place simultaneously on Saturday, the SPBRC is pleased with the response they received. The blood collected was transported to Belize City for storage in order to keep a full supply on hand at the Belize Blood Bank available for anyone in San Pedro that may experience an emergency. Snacks and refreshments were provided to all those who donated blood.

Five-a-side Football Tournament’s latest results
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) and Island Citizen Sporting Club (ICSP) Five-a-side Football Tournament is in its sixth round of games and will soon be heading into its first eliminations. The last set of games was held on Saturday, January 30th and Sunday, January 31st at the Angel Nunez Auditorium. No matches will be played this coming weekend. Five-a-side action returns on Saturday, February 13th.

Long time volunteers return to Smile Dental Clinic
For 11 years, Dr. Alex Willis has been a volunteer at the Smile Dental Clinic at Holy Cross Anglican School, and from Monday, February 1st to Thursday, February 4th he was back at it again. This time Dr. Willis brought a friend, Dr. Steve Sudderth, and both provided free dental care to close to a hundred students at Holy Cross. Assisting the doctors in their four days of service were their wives, Dental Assistants Vickie Sudderth and Nancy Willis.

Over 100 bags of garbage collected from North Ambergris Caye
San Pedro Sagebrush Community Church organized a clean-up campaign for Northern Ambergris Caye which saw the collection of an astounding amount of garbage. Held on Saturday, January 30th, with close to 50 persons participating, the clean-up efforts saw the collection of more than 100 bags of garbage. The clean-up campaign was organized by the church’s Guest Services Team who are on mission here in San Pedro. Participants gathered in front of the Paradise Theater from 8PM. Equipped with 50-gallon garbage bags, the group collected garbage from both the road side and beach area from the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge up to Belizean Shores Resort. From there, the group drove up to the Secret Beach in the Grand Belize Estate Area where they continued to collect garbage. “This was probably where we got most of our trash, the area was filled with garbage,” indicated one of the clean-up participants.

Belize Bank implements new fees for cash transactions
Belize Bank Limited (BBL) has recently implemented new cash withdrawal fees and customers are not happy. The fee is $1 for direct cash withdrawal and $0.50 for ATM cash withdrawals. These charges came into effective on Thursday, January 28th and BBL costumers have raised several complaints on the new charges. “I recently went to withdraw money through the ATM and before discharging the money a pop up appeared asking me to confirm a 50¢ charge for withdrawal. This is getting ridiculous! Every time we go to the ATM they will be charging us 50¢. And then it is $1 when you go inside the bank and wait in line to use the teller to withdraw. We don’t even have free access to our own money now,” said a concerned citizen to The San Pedro Sun.

Doctor Love: Saddened and Last Chance
Dear Doctor Love, I am in my late thirties and divorced. I have been seeing a man for five months who is also divorced and has two children from his first marriage. We have reached the point where we are spending almost every week end together. Last week he told me he does not feel as strong for me as I do for him and we should probably see other people. I do feel very strong for him but I think his problem is that he got burned really badly when his wife left him and he can’t get over it. I would do anything to keep him but I don’t know how. Please help. /s/ Saddened

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

SUPER BOWL BIG SCREEN OIL WRESTLING, Kama Lounge San Pedro, Belize
Sunday, February 7at 4 PM - 11 PM. PRE PARTY OIL WRESTLING UNLIMITED LOCAL RUM DRINKS $50 during GAME Time ONLY

Taste Belize Tours visited Urban Gardens for Food Security and Peace
What an exciting week! Taste Belize Tours visited Urban Gardens for Food Security and Peace on 38 Zericote Street in Belize City. We are impressed and motivated to support positive grassroots initiatives like these across Belize. The garden is reaching out to local schools and at risk youth and producing delicious organic food. We will back and doing more to support and we hope others will join us!

Paint Party Events
Come join us this Thursday at the Crazy Canucks Bar where we will be painting the lovely "Stained Glass Mermaid". Please bring a sharpie marker along with you. Regular cost is $25 U.S. and there is a certainly discount for members. See you all there on Thursday! February 11, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Santa Rita Maya Wedding Re-enactment postponed
Oooops! Due to inclement rainy weather, the Santa Rita Maya Wedding Re-enactment scheduled for today Saturday, February 6th, has been POSTPONED until further notice. Please hold on to your tickets and look out for the new date via radio, TV and social media. Stay dry and safe!

Juan Carnaval 2016
Due to the wet weather we will be presenting Juan Carnaval 2016 today Sunday February 7th - same times ...same places...5pm caravan on the principal streets and 8pm stage presentation. See you out there!!

BEL continues repairs on substation transformer that supplies portion of Corozal District
Critical testing of equipment to be carried out following repairs. Power supply expected to be restored by 8:00 a.m., Sunday, Feb 7 to Pueblo Viejo, Saltillos, Copper Bank, Chunox, Orchid Bay, Sarteneja and Joseito & Dominguez Layouts.

Sawdust Tapestry Call
Benque is famous for its annual cultural event of making sawdust tapestries. If you want to create one, now is the time to sign up. "Sign up! Take ownership, select your area,be a part of the 2016 elaboration of Carpets!"

Belize Fishing Report January 24th – January 30th, 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. Dick was the tarpon guru to start the week and in an unusual event, Junior landed a tarpon right in front of the lodge! A few other bites, a bunch of follows and who knows how many shots were made. Keeping your cool while face to face with a tarpon takes some practice!

Unexpected death of Rene Dario
We are very saddened by the unexpected death of Rene Dario Ical, one of our Zipline guides. Our heartfelt condolences to Rene's family and to all those who's life he touched. He was very special and will be missed. He passed away while on his motorbike in an unfortunate accident. He lived life to the fullest and now he will rest in peace. We'll miss you Rene. Sad day today as I lose a close friend and fellow birder. My condolences to his Dad, Mr. Pedro Ical. I trained Rene Dario Ical at Bocawina Rainforest Resort, where we both did bird surveys in remote locations. The legacy he leaves behind? A strong spirit of adventure and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Those trails will never be the same without you..

Carnaval Photographic Exhibition
The San Pedro House of Culture opened their Carnaval Photographic Exhibition on Friday, Feb. 5th. Unfortunately, due to the weather not many were able to attend but the HOC went all out to showcase costumes, songs and photos of the Good Old Carnaval de San Pedro. Here we see Mr. Guillermo "Mito" Paz as Don Juan, welcoming those who attended.

Amandala

De-risking could substantially hurt Belize economy: Moody’s
Since early last year, the alarm was sounded that the decision taken by US banks to cut off their relations with Belize banks could have dire consequences, and that was underscored in a report recently released by Moody’s Investor Service, a well-known international agency. Dubbed “Loss of Correspondent Bank Services Compounds Existing Economic and Fiscal Challenges,” the report, authored by a team of Moody’s analysts: Jaime Reusche, VP-Senior Analyst; Mauro Leos, VP-Sr. Credit Officer; and Anna Snyder, Associate Analyst, warns that although de-risking would not likely lead to a trade collapse, it could, nevertheless, have a major impact on Belize’s economy. It added that, “Of the five domestic banks in Belize, only two smaller banks, Scotiabank and Atlantic – would retain correspondence with other top-tier banks for US dollar transactions, including wire transfers, bank drafts, letters of credit, bank guarantees, and credit card transactions.” “The loss of correspondent banking services initially only affected Belize’s (Caa2 stable) offshore banks but has spilled over into the domestic banking sector and could have a strong negative impact on tourism, trade flows and overall economic activity,” the report said. Significant disruptions could consequently impact Belize’s tourism, trade and cross-border investment flows, Moody’s detailed.

No judgment yet for Gapi and Monchie!
This morning, the Chief Justice of Belize, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin, was scheduled to hand down his ruling in the slander case brought by Orange Walk North area rep and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar “Gapi” Vega, against Ramon “Monchie” Cervantes, his rival and PUP standard bearer during the November 4 general elections, but when representatives from the city’s media houses arrived at the Supreme Court shortly before 9:00 a.m., the usual kind of activity associated with the case was absent from around the court building. There were no signs of Vega’s supporters, who have been making the trip to Belize City in support of him, and neither were there any Opposition People’s United Party supporters for Cervantes. The final submissions in the case were made on November 22, 2015, and Chief Justice Benjamin had indicated that he would have handed down his ruling on December 22, 2015. The ruling, however, was pushed back to today, Thursday, February 4.

Two Lake I men survive gun attack
Benua Andrews, 26, and Tyrone Myers, also 26, both of the Lake Independence area, survived a murderous barrage of gunshots at about 7:30 last night, Wednesday. Andrews and Myers told police that they were standing in a yard at the corner of Marigold Lane and Jasmine Street when a lone gunman came up and fired about 10 shots at them. The gunman then ran into Marigold Lane and disappeared. Police say that Andrews was shot in the chest and Myers was shot in the left knee, right thigh, and left elbow. The men were rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by a BERT ambulance, and were admitted in a critical but stable condition.

Belize asks Venezuela for 1.5 million barrels of fuel for 2016
Belizean consumers used almost 50 million gallons of fuel in 2015, with the bulk of that being sourced from Venezuela under the PetroCaribe accord. Despite a change in political administration in Venezuela last year, Belize has not suffered any cutbacks. This is according to John Mencias, deputy chairman of APBEL, the joint partnership between Belize and Venezuela which handles fuel purchases for Belize. “The fuel keeps coming,” Mencias said. Whereas the country imported 1,043,658 barrels of fuel from Venezuela in 2015, it has asked for 40% more fuel for 2016 – a total of 1,464,000 barrels, Mencias informed. The projection is that Belize will need to import 510,000 gallons of regular gasoline, 810,000 barrels of diesel, and 144,000 barrels of “jet A” grade kerosene over the 12-month period. The last shipment arrived late January and a new shipment is due to arrive tomorrow, Friday, February 5, said Hernan Herrera, commerce and supply manager of APBEL. It is expected that once that fuel reaches the pumps, the price per gallon will be even lower than the price on the last shipment, as world market prices have continued to fall. The price of regular gasoline in Belize City is $7.68 on the gallon, down from $8.20. The December price for premium gasoline, imported from the US market, continues to hold at $9.30 a gallon.

PetroCaribe account down to $15 mil
Financial Secretary Joseph Waight disclosed to the press this week that PetroCaribe funds are down to BZ$15 million, a drastic reduction following a decline in world market prices by about half, plus major expenditures which the Government made from the funds last year. In his New Year’s Message, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow, said that among the challenges that would confront his administration in 2016, the most pronounced would be the reduction in PetroCaribe flows. “With the dizzying fall in oil prices, we expect to get much less from these Venezuela loan funds than we did in 2015. And already 2015’s intake was only half of 2014,” Barrow said. Today, an official source in the Ministry of Finance indicated that whereas the Government had received around US$2 million monthly last year, this year, it is down to US$1 million monthly. The money is received under an arrangement which allows the Government to defer half of the payments for fuel imported from Venezuela under a 25-year financing agreement and instead keep the portion of revenues from local fuel sales to finance its programs. The other portion has to be paid within 90 days.

PUP leader John Briceño and his new National Executive sworn in
In the wake of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) convention on Sunday, January 31, this morning, the party’s headquarters at Independence Hall came alive with supporters and parliamentarians who gathered for a swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected PUP leader, Hon. John Briceño, and his team of national executives. The new PUP executive is made up of four Deputy Leaders — Hon. Kareem Musa, for the East, Hon. Julius Espat for the West, Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai for the North and Hon. Rodwell Ferguson for the South. There were no contested conventions for Musa and Espat, while Mai and Ferguson won their position in Sunday’s national convention, on Briceño’s slate. Mai defeated Hon. Florencio Marin Jr., the powerful area representative for Corozal South East, and Ferguson defeated Hon. Mike Espat, the area representative for Toledo West. The post of National Campaign Manager is filled by Victor Espat, who was unchallenged at Sunday’s convention. Ramon Cervantes, Jr., is the new treasurer; he was also unchallenged for his post.

Lady Jaguars (female) and Jaguars (male) are Belize National Volleyball Champions
After 23 competitive matches over two days at the OW Multipurpose Complex, champions were determined. After round robin play on Saturday, defending men’s champion, Toledo King Scorpions, and the previous champion, Belmopan Blingz were ranked top in their pool and won the bye directly to the semi-final on Sunday. In the quarter final, Jaguars won over SQ Dragons, and home team, OW Bad News, won over Corozal Massives, to play against Toledo and Belmopan, respectively. After completing the women’s first round, the semi-finals were set with defending champions Moen Stars (1st seed), who went undefeated, vs OW Servivors, and Lady Jaguars vs Belmopan Bandits. On Sunday morning, the men’s semi-finals featured Toledo Scorpions vs Jaguars in a highly anticipated male match. Jaguars overcame Toledo, 25-19, 25-23, to advance to the final against OW Bad News, who had pulled it off in the deciding set over Belmopan Blingz, 25-18, 14-25, 15-12. In the women’s division semi-finals, Moen Stars won over OW Servivors, 25-6, 25-8, and Lady Jaguars won over Belmopan Bandits, 25-16, 25-17, to set up the perpetual final between Lady Jaguars and Moen Stars.

Cricket Corner – Marathon in Lemonal
Under the auspices of the National Cricket Association, the Harrison Parks Cricket Competition 2016 kicks off with a Marathon to be held in the village of Lemonal on Saturday, February 6, and Sunday, February 7, starting at 10:00 a.m. sharp on both days. Captains are asked to register their teams on those days. Failure to do so will prevent them from playing in the regular season that is expected to start on Saturday, February 13. As this year’s season begins, I must mention that last year there were a lot of misunderstandings between players, fans and officials of games. It would be greatly appreciated if players conduct themselves in such ways that their family and friends could follow suit. This game is played in these areas to allow us to meet friends or find new ones. Let your conduct speak for you.

C-Ray Saturday Race Series 2016 – Week 3 results
On Saturday morning, January 30, the C-Ray Cycling Club Saturday Race Series continued with the third race of the series. The field continues to grow every week. Alliance Cycling Team and the Choto brothers of C-Ray Cycling Team, all the way from Cayo, were present at the start line. A total of fifty cyclists lined up in six different categories: 28 Elite, 1 Female, 5 Category 4/5, 12 Juniors, 3 40-years+, and 1 50-years+. The course changed slightly this week. The race started, as usual, in front of Ready Call, turned at the Hattieville round-about, turned again at the junction with Philip Goldson Highway, and finished in front of CDS Gas Station. This week was definitely the fastest of the three weeks, clocking 28 minutes at the Hattieville round-about, and 54 minutes at the other end. Averaging 26.4 miles per hour, the race clocked a total time of 59 minutes 40 seconds.

Editorial: Power inside the PUP
A lot of things happened inside the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) between late October and November of 2011. First, the PUP Leader chosen by a leadership convention in March of 2008 to replace the reigned Rt. Hon. Said Musa (Fort George), Hon. John Briceño (Orange Walk Central), himself resigned. Briceño was replaced on an Interim Leader basis by Hon. Mark Espat (Albert); Espat was subsequently endorsed for the substantive post of PUP Leader by 30 of the 31 electoral constituencies, the only nay vote coming from Arthur Saldivar of Belize Rural North. Espat, after an 11-day period as Interim Leader, then withdrew himself from leadership candidacy, and the said Saldivar, Mike Espat (Toledo East), and Julius Espat (Cayo South) offered themselves as leadership candidates. Finally, behind closed doors, an unknown executive cartel of the PUP which did not present itself to the party or the Belizean public, announced that the Hon. Francis Fonseca (Freetown) had been chosen as the new PUP Leader. Francis Fonseca quickly retooled the national party executive, replacing Mark Espat and Hon. Cordel Hyde (Lake Independence), the two Senior Deputy Leaders who had supported Briceño at the March 2008 leadership convention and had been appointed by him to those executive positions, with a “five pack” of Deputy Leaders which included Mike Espat, Julius Espat, Hon. Florencio Marin, Jr. (Corozal Southeast), Dolores Balderamos-Garcia (Belize Rural Central), and Carolyn Trench-Sandiford (Collet). At that point in time, late 2011, the PUP had only six area representatives, elected in 2008, in the House. These were Francis Fonseca, John Briceño, Said Musa, Mark Espat, Cordel Hyde, and Florencio Marin, Jr.

From the Publisher
In a sense, the neoliberal capitalist philosophy begins from the premise that man is a basically selfish creature. If we accept this premise, it follows that any social, political, and economic system which is based on a denial of this fundamental aspect of the human being, will be less successful than a system which accepts man as he is and allows, yea encourages, him to operate instinctively, or as his nature prescribes. In the neoliberal world, the individual is exalted, and the operative, concomitant system of so-called free market democracy assumes that once individuals are allowed and encouraged to operate without a lot of social or governmental restrictions, then such a system will produce wealth, in the form of goods and services, and such wealth will inevitably spread to the masses of the people, thus benefiting them. An antithesis to the individualistic, capitalist thesis developed over the centuries which declared that the state, or the government, had the responsibility to protect the masses of the people from excessively “gifted” or greedy individuals, in order to ensure that the wealth of the nation-state was available for the sustenance of the masses.

Drought to shift from northern to southern Belize
Last year, the drought concern was mostly for northern Belize, but in the months ahead, a portion of southern Belize should be on the alert . Cumberbatch said that there is no drought concern for Belize up to April 2016, but the extended 12-month forecast anticipates a drought watch for the southwestern and central coastal areas of Belize during the latter part of the year. She said that a national climate forum was held last year with representatives from the agriculture, tourism and health sectors, to warn them of the anticipated drought—which was intended to help with putting in place interventions to mitigate the drought’s impacts. “Because of the excessive rainfall that occurred in October and November of 2015 the drought situation has eased off over the entire country through to March of 2016. In the long-term, there is still concern for drought in south of the country during the end of June 2016,” said the Met Service, in an online summary.

National 2016 budget to be drafted this month
There is a lot of curiosity over what the 2016 budget will look like, as the new financial year begins to appear on the horizon. The national budget now exceeds a billion dollars, with the bulk of the funds going towards recurrent spending such as salaries. Of note is that the new budget for 2016-2017—originally forecasted at BZ$1.04 billion, a shade smaller than the $1.07 billion approved last year for 2015-2016—should include the third and final tier of salary adjustments the Government promised to teachers and public officers. In 2014, teachers and public officers got a 6% raise and last year, they received another 8%. The third adjustment will be worked out after the budget year ends on March 31, when the Government will know how much, if any, excess revenue it earned that it can split with workers, under a 50-50 arrangement. In the days ahead, the Ministry of Finance will accelerate work to put together the budget. It is currently awaiting final submissions from the various government ministries, which it hopes to receive by the end of the week.

Despite spike in homicides for January, Belize can become a safer place in 2016
With 12 murders reported by the Police Department for the month of January 2016, including the stabbing murder of Mariano Castillo reported over the weekend, the year is off to a very bad start. In fact, the month’s murder tally is the third highest ever recorded in Belize for that specific month. Although January 2005 saw a record 14 murders, the year 2005 saw far less murders than had been reported in Belize over the past 10 years, with a total tally of 81. This makes the point that a bad start to the year does not have to equate with a bad finish. When 13 murders were reported in January 2013, the year finished with 99, breaking the triple-digit trend which began in 2010. The year before, 2012, had actually seen a record-high 145 homicides—but only 4 of those had occurred in January.

Home sweet home, after lockup in Mexico
Two Belizean men are home free after they were released from a jail in Chetumal, Mexico, where they have been since February 2013, on charges of drug trafficking. Police said that yesterday, Ermilindo Vasquez and Hugo Casanova, after being released from jail yesterday, were taken by Mexican police to the Belize northern border today, where they were handed over to the Belize police, who, after doing checks to ensure that the two men were not wanted for any offenses in the Belize, were released from custody. Casanova went home to be reunited with his family in Corozal, and Vasquez went to his family in Orange Walk Town. Mexican police say that on February 7, 2013, the two men were busted during a sting operation at the home of a well known drug dealer in Chetumal and southern Mexico.

Daniel Anderson, 31, walks from murder charge
Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas this morning ruled to acquit accused murderer Daniel Anderson, 31, of the June 2010 murder of Joyce Mitchell, 19, who was shot in the head as she sat on her sister’s car in front of their home on Sibun Street. The trial was without a jury. In acquitting Anderson, Justice Lucas said that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against him. “The Crown did not discharge the burden (of identification) to the requisite standard. I have no other recourse but to find the accused not guilty of murder,” Justice Lucas said at the conclusion of his judgment. Justice Lucas ordered Anderson to stand up. “I find you not guilty of murder. Go and try to sin no more,” he said.

Two teens shot to death in Orange Walk Town
Two Cristock Street, Orange Walk Town teenagers were shot and killed at about 4:30 Monday afternoon — their bodies left sprawled on the road in front of one of their homes. Erlindo Matura, 19, was shot in the upper left side of his chest and back, and died almost immediately, while his friend, Rene Acevedo, Jr., 16, was shot in the back of the head. Their friend, another minor, managed to escape the killer. Orange Walk police told Amandala today, Thursday, that they know who they are searching for, but have not found him yet. Matura and Acevedo were transported to the Northern Regional Hospital, where they were pronounced dead on arrival. The three friends were at Acevedo’s home, when a man rode up on a bicycle to the yard and called for Matura. Matura came out of the house onto the road to talk to the man. His two friends, Acevedo and the minor, followed him to see what the man wanted.

Ladyville residents “happy with Serrano’s Bus Service”
Hernan Serrano has been given a permit since January 15 to operate two buses between Belize City and Ladyville; his two buses don’t go all the way to Lord’s Bank as do the other bus lines, Haylock Bus Service and Ramos Bus Service, however. Serrano’s Bus Service run is apparently very much welcomed by the residents of Ladyville, who said that prior to the Serrano runs their needs were not being met. Amandala spoke with a few of the passengers; a man who was on crutches said, “This is the transport I use now,” and noted that it is very convenient, since the villagers don’t have to walk to the highway to wait for a bus. Another passenger told Amandala that having another bus on the road alleviates the congestion (which necessitates that a lot of passengers be standees) that occurs on the buses, and this new run allows them to ride “comfortably”.

The Reporter

Another tourist mishap
Belize has recorded another unfortunate incident involving a tourist suffering harm, this time at the Altun Ha archaeological site. Reports are that a cruise passenger, American national Bryan Goeders, had to be flown out of the country for further treatment on Saturday, after falling from the Altun Ha Mays temple on Friday. Goeders, who had only been in country for a few hours, was booked on a tour of the site with Chukka, and declined to climb the site. After his group of over 40 people had gone ahead, however, Goeders decided to climb the temple, but lost his balance trying to pick up his sunglasses, which had dropped from him. He fell 35 feet and landed face-first, causing a crushed liver, abrasions to the forehead, dizziness, nose bleeding, throat pains, a broken jaw, bruised lungs, and bleeding to the brain. Chukka Tours Director Valerie Woods, maintains he was not on a sanctioned climb, and that the other tourists were in no danger.

BPP calls for proper garbage disposal in Toledo
The Belize Progressive Part (BPP) is calling on the Government of Belize and the residents of the Toledo district to address an ongoing problem with garbage disposal, which mars the beauty of the jungle. Robert Lopez, campaign manager for the BPP, in a report compiled from an ongoing countrywide, said that the roadsides in Toledo were littered with everything from garbage to dead animals. He said that it was a Punta Gorda garbage truck responsible for dumping the trash in the area. “This is the most pristine of the districts of Belize with a thriving jungle,” Lopez said. “Belizeans we have to do better than this.” He called on the government to establish a proper waste disposal site in the area, to avoid the unsightly incident. Lopez, on his tour also questioned the government’s decision to place a Belize flag monument two kilometres inside Belize’s territory at the village of Jalacte, instead of at the established border point between Belize and Guatemala.

FECTAB takes issue with NICH
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB), held a press conference on Saturday morning to publicly voice its discontent with the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH). FECTAB representatives met at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, to address several concerns, including: seemingly preferential treatment to foreign-owned tour companies, the need for more meaningful infrastructure at the Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Site, and what they feel is disrespect by public officials. FECTAB said that NICH imposes rules on their operators that other companies, such as Chukka and Dark Knight Cave Tubing are exempt from. These include the eight-persons-per-tour-guide rule. They also added that the government has changed the name of an entire cave system to accommodate a foreign operator. “They changed the name now from whatever it was called before to Dark Knight Cave System,” FECTAB said.“

Quake shakes Taiwan
A magnitude-6.4 earthquake shook southern Taiwan early Saturday, the United States Geological Survey said. At least 126 people were rescued from a 17-story residential building that collapsed in Tainan, the media office of the Tainan municipal disaster response center told CNN. A total of 26 people were hospitalized. Seven people at a market were also transported to hospitals. The building has 60 apartments and it was unclear how many people were trapped inside, Li Bomin, an official from Tainan City Fire Department, told CNN earlier. More than 100 rescuers were at the scene, he said.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

When it Comes to Corruption, Why Can’t Belize be more like Denmark?
Year after year, Denmark is ranked among the least corrupt countries in the world. This year is no different. Transparency International has once again ranked Denmark as the world’s least corrupt country over the last year. In contrast, Belize is absent from the list […]

San Pedro boat owners recover stolen vessel
The owners of a boat that was reported stolen yesterday from Grand Colony Dock near San Pedro Town, contacted Belize Media Group a short while ago to extend their gratitude for an article written, as the boat was found at the south side of […]

National unity needed
There are some issues that require national unity and transcend partisan politics. It’s long been agreed that the Belize-Guatemalan territorial dispute and efforts to resolve it, is one such issue as it threatens the very existence of our nation as we know it. ‘De-risking’ […]

Rotary Duck Race under way
The Rotary Club’s annual Duck Race officially got under way about half an hour ago when hundreds of rubber ducks were thrown into the Macal River. Each duck is marked and the owner of the one that crosses the finish line first, with the […]

BSI/ASR demonstrates mechanical harvesting to farmers
The Belize Sugar Industry, BSI/ASR in collaboration with the Sugar industry Research and Development Institute, (SIRDI) held a session with sugar cane farmers to demonstrate mechanical harvesting. While stakeholders in the industry agree that this harvesting system is definitely a part of the future, […]

Murder at ’69 Bar’ in Teakettle
After contacting the Belmopan Police Department, Belize Media Group was able to confirm that a man was murdered and a woman shot to the leg at ‘69 Bar’ in Teakettle Village this morning but details of the incident are still not being released as […]

Tourist in recovery after fall from Altun Ha temple
American tourist Brian Gooders has been flown out of Belize for further treatment but appears to be out of danger after an incident at the Altun Ha Mayan site on Thursday in the Belize District. The 36-year-old had to be hospitalized after he lost balance […]

Blogs

Ambergris Caye: Best Spring Break Destination in Belize
Located just a quick hours by air from the United States, the gorgeous tropical nation of Belize is a unique destination for people wanting to experience the ultimate spring break. One destination in particular, the island of Ambergris Caye, has all the ingredients for a wonderful spring break vacation. Spring break opportunities on Ambergris Caye include both exciting activities on land and in the sea as well as plenty of delicious food, sunny beaches, and lovely cocktails made from local rum and fresh tropical juices. The largest island in Belize, Ambergris Caye (pronounced “key”) is the country’s premiere vacation destination. With close access to the majestic Belize Barrier Reef, there’s plenty of sailing, swimming, snorkeling and diving opportunities. The mainland is only a hopper flight or a boat ride away, and you can take an adventure tour in a day and be back to enjoy the island’s many restaurants, bars, and live music to relax the night away.

Visiting Ambergris Caye in February? Do not miss the Fiesta De Carnaval
February is a fantastic time to visit Ambergris Caye in Belize as the island ushers in the season of Lent with exuberant Carnaval festivities. The streets of San Pedro fill with parades, music, and locals competing in special group dances called comparsas. One particularly fun local tradition involves flour fights and body painting. The main streets in town are closed so locals can have fun painting one another in brightly colored water-soluble paint. The multi-day festival also hosts art exhibitions, and locals and visitors alike can compete in several different categories for best watercolor painting. Another popular tradition is the Mardi Gras-type parades where locals march through the streets singing silly and raucous songs to the beat of live music. Carnaval in San Pedro is a great place to let your freak flag fly as lots of men take advantage of the festivities to dress up in wildly colorful women’s outfits. For children, there’s also a special pinata party. Live entertainers sing silly songs including parodies of popular favorites. Carnaval ends with a huge celebration that includes a comical ceremony known as Juan Carnaval. For more than 100 years, locals read out the purported will of the apocryphal figure of Juan Carnaval and then burn him in effigy in order to ward off bad luck for the following year.

Issue #30 of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online here!

Homemade Health – Essential Oils
Last summer I had the privilege of staying with a friend who is particularly gifted in the nursing healing arts and complementary therapies. I know a little about aromatherapy but she practices it every day. Her favorite method is to add essential oils to coconut oil (cold-pressed) and use it for massage oil. I found her massage oil to be very helpful for swollen joints, so much so that I became intrigued and decided to learn more. Pure essential oils have been pressed or distilled from the leaves, bark, roots, and other aromatic portions of a plant, yielding highly concentrated compounds. What I didn’t realize is that they can be used with therapeutic benefit for a great number of illnesses and diseases. Digging deeper I learned that essential oils are used for not only treatment of stress and anxiety; they are being used with success in the treatment of cancer, pain, and for many other problems. Here are a few significant findings. *“Cancer starts when the DNA code within the cell’s nucleus becomes corrupted,” says Immunologist Mahmoud Suhail. It seems some essential oils have a re-set function, correcting the DNA code.

To The Editor
Did you know that minimum wage in Mexico is close to 1/3 of minimum wage in Belize? This fact is the key to understanding the challenges that farmers face in Belize. Imported produce grown more cheaply in countries with a lower minimum wage competes unfairly with produce grown locally. Farmers in Belize suffer the same consequence in competition with imports from Mexico. The great appeal of agro-chemical farming is largely due to the savings in labour. Farmers can simply spray rather than pay more workers to do the job by hand. In this way they can somewhat compete in both the world and local market by cutting the cost of production. This is where local organic farmers peel away the endemic veneer of false economy that oppresses growers the world over. The organic farmer uses labour rather than cheap agro-chemicals, which are specifically priced to target and entice farmers according to their local economy, making “agri-business” chemical farming the most economical choice. These chemicals, and the corporations that produce them, most often have their roots in chemical warfare applications from way back in the 1940’s. As wartime dissipated in the 1950’s and 60’s these corporations had to find new applications for their products, and locked on to food production as a more stable market, introducing everything from preservatives to chemical farming applications, and everything in between, in the process of profit. Now we can rarely read a food label that does not contain unpronounceable ingredients about which we have little information, and no education. So how does all this affect our local market here in Belize? Belizean farmers must compete directly with the cost of Mexican imported produce, which is generally as much as 70% cheaper, and represents approximately 50% or more of the fresh fruit and vegetables in the fresh food open air markets in Belize.

Stormy Weather
Where were you late afternoon on 28 September? Do you know the reason for that tremendous thunder storm that dumped 55 mm (over 2 inches) of rain in just 45 minutes around Belmopan? Don Thompson’s Weather Analysis web site, www.weathertricity.blogspot.com, explains that the earth was hit by an intense burst of radiation from the sun. Belize was on the outer edge of this strike. The graphic on his web site shows the extent of the hit; South America was hit the hardest although it extended west to Africa and north to the Caribbean. He further explained, “There was a high pressure ridge down the east coast of the Yucatan into Central America. It looks like a line of cells got trapped under the ridge. The one over northern Belize at 5PM local, suddenly exploded and within minutes became a violent thunderstorm directly over Belmopan. The city power was interrupted 3 times. By 8 PM the whole storm system was gone.

Young Grove Management Under Huanglongbing (HLB) Scenario In Belize
The challenge facing citrus growers today is how to bring into production young citrus trees under the heavy infestation of Huanglongbing (HLB) and Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). As infected orchards become unproductive, the decision to replace them with new ones is challenging. It is now six years since HLB was detected in Belize and there is an accumulated experience with the disease. The following are important guide lines on how to protect the new groves and minimize the infection rate with HLB. The first priority for citrus growers is to join the coordinated Area-wide Integrated Management System (AIMS) to suppress the Asian citrus psyllid population. A combined effort by everyone is more effective than individual control at the farm level. Participating in AIMS ensures the use of selected insecticides which are applied in March/April and October/November within a three week interval by all citrus growers to suppress the population of the psyllid throughout the industry. This will help to reduce the psyllid population to a low level and in the long term will allow new plantings to come into production and thus maintain low incidence of HLB. The second guideline is high density plantings: a higher number of plants per acre in the first four years. This will contribute significantly to early accumulated yields, reduce the time for recovery of investment and reduce the rate of infection.

Corn That Says “No” To GMO
In the modern world where large agriculture companies are gaining ground with GM (genetically modified) corn seeds, non-GM growers have been in an increasingly difficult situation from GM pollen drift. This pollen can drift over four miles in the wind and once it lands in a non-GM field, that corn becomes tainted with the GM variety. Once contaminated, the farmer typically gets a lower price, and for specialty food grade and organic corn the price can be as little as half what it would have been. However, one bright spot is that a few plant breeders have found a way to develop non-GM corn varieties that “say no” to the GM pollen when it comes blowing its way. Blue River Hybrids in Ames, Iowa U.S.A., is the leading company that offers this type of seed, known as PuraMaize, for Midwest U.S. farmers. Blue River describes PuraMaize as a natural gene system which impedes pollination from GMO traited and blue corn pollen. It is naturally bred into Blue River corn hybrids, giving organic farmers a powerful tool to combat contamination from neighboring fields. Corn hybrids that contain the PuraMaize gene complex have the ability to recognize and favor pollen that also contains the PuraMaize gene complex. During pollination, the pollen grains move down the silk channel trying to fertilize the potential kernel. A PuraMaize corn plant will quickly accept like pollen from other PuraMaize plants and slow the pollen of a foreign plant, like GMO or blue corn. The foreign pollen can’t win the race down the silk channel and is unable to contaminate the PuraMaize plant.

Energetic Agriculture – Pesticides & Healthy Crops
Late last year a farmer from Blue Creek in Orange Walk asked me how to effectively deal with aphids and mites in his crops. This was a hard question to answer. It took me several months of research to find the answer. The answer is so simple it spins the mind. I knew part of the problem, but not the entire solution. From my previous research and 3 years of experiments, nutrition appeared to be part of the cause of this pest problem for farmers. I had also known that nitrogen was also part of the problem. Nitrogen in two forms is used in agriculture — ammonia and nitrate depending upon the stage of growth of the plant. All plants need nitrogen for their development but a major problem in agriculture is the mind-set of farmers. If a crop needs say 100 lbs./acre of ammonia, most farmers will put more than 100 lbs. because they believe that more is better. Biology, chemistry and physics are precise. Nitrogen should not be needed in quantities of more than 40 lbs./acre for corn crops in Belize if the other minerals are in balance.

Soil Inoculants – Nutrient Uptake, Water Use, Disease Resistance
Understanding soil biology is important for keeping agricultural systems healthy and productive. Living soil is complex and includes creatures that cannot be seen with the naked eye, such as bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, protozoa and nematodes, as well as familiar creatures such as insects and earthworms. One teaspoon of a healthy soil can contain billions of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms. This community of organisms is bound together in a food web that affects the chemical and physical properties of soils. We care about these properties because they also affect plant growth and health. Practices such as adding manures or composts to soil, planting cover crops and rotating crops are all aimed at rebuilding and maintaining soil organic matter, recycling and retaining nutrients, and controlling soil disease and pest levels. These practices are usually associated with increased beneficial soil microbial diversity and abundance. While there are examples of soil inoculants that successfully improve plant growth and crop yields (Table 1), their commercial production and use are still in their infancy. The success of a particular inoculant depends on direct and indirect effects on the desired plant species and interactions of the inoculants with the entire exiting soil biota land. Variation in soil physical and chemical properties, such as texture and acidity, also affect the success of inoculants.

Beyond The Backyard – Tropical Pioneers
Two trees that could be confused at a distance and have a lot in common are the trumpet tree and the balsa tree. Both arrived in my garden uninvited but the more I study them my respect increases.They are both fast growing indigenous jungle plants that play a very important role in the eco system. Cecropia named after the mythical first king of Athens Cecrops may have about 25 species in Belize of the family Urticaceae. Perhaps the most common is Cecropia peltata called the umbrella tree, embauba, trumpet tree, guarmo, yarumo and kooche as it is everywhere you look. It has been a seriously studied jungle weed due to its interdependency with biting Azteca ants who colonize its hollow stalks and feed exclusively on the muellerian food it provides. In Central America the leaves are also important food to howler monkeys, tapir, deer, sloths, birds,and bats plus a nesting place for chachalacas and an egg depository for the Cecropian Orion or stinking leaf wing butterfly. When the leaves are salted cattle will eat with gusto.

Why Sulfur?
Although elements, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, usually referred to as NPK, are the major considerations for fertile soil by farmers, sulfur should be considered the fourth major nutrient in terms of the amount required. Most crops use between 40 to 90% as much sulfur as phosphate. Corn, sorghum and rice use around 35% as much sulfur as phosphate; citrus and sugarcane, about 50%, but cabbage and onions, 90 to 110%. There is a difference between sulfur and sulfate. Sulfur is an element, S; sulfate is sulfur combined with oxygen, SO4. When you compare phosphate, P2O5, with sulfur you should use the sulfate form of the element to obtain an accurate comparison. Although soils are tested for the elements, it is the sulfate form broken down in the soil that the plant uses. And the higher the phosphate level the more sulfur is needed because phosphate is more stable than sulfate in soil; it doesn’t leach away as sulfate does and is more readily absorbed.

The Soils Of Belize By District/Region – The Belize District – East To West
My last article introduced the soils of the Belize District along and from the sea coast. This article is a further exploration of these soils extending westwards into the Cayo District as these soils are related to the course of the main agents of formation, the southern Belize and Sibun Rivers. We go from swamps to elevations of about 200 ft that have been formed by the Belize River in the north and the Sibun River, including the Caves Branch tributary, in the south. A major characteristic is the presence of relatively large and minor lagoons, creeks and streams. As the elevation rises the containing lowland pine ridge gives way to broken ridges interspersed with areas of broadleaf forest on undulating lands going to the west. Phosphorous is generally deficient. These soils of the lower Belize River Valley, on the eastern seaboard, are mangrove swamps and do not have a true coastline. The soils are mucky and in many areas are impacted by a high water table that has saline intrusions.

Both Soils & Crops Need Boron
More often than not, the soils we receive to be analyzed for growing all types of crops are deficient in several micronutrients, but the one that requires constant vigilance to assure the greatest success is boron. Like nitrogen and sulfur, boron can be leached from the soil. So just as is true concerning sulfur, it is necessary to test for boron content and generally expect it to be required to correct the soil accordingly from year to year. Although it should be, boron is not usually considered as a necessary addition for growing most crops including corn, soybeans, wheat, vegetables and even pasture. Without adequate boron more nitrogen is needed in order to produce the same amount of growth. Consequently, it needs to be present in sufficient amounts as plants begin to grow and throughout the growing season. Apply boron to your land based on need as established by a reliable soil test, not by guessing whether it is or is not needed.

The Tropic Rice Part Of “Rice And Beans”
The seeds of the rice plant are the grain that we eat in our rice and beans meal. Like most grains, the seeds have to be threshed to remove the hulls. In the old days this was done by swathing or bundling the stalks together and beating them in troughs manually. But not in Spanish Lookout where Tropic Rice uses the latest technology to mill rice. Paddy rice, as the grain coming to the mill is called, has to have only 12 – 13% moisture for milling. Sample paddy rice is tested for moisture and quality; the price to the farmer depends on both. The first stop in the mill is a holding bin. The rice is unloaded and from there it goes through a pre-cleaner, and then to a paddy husker where the rice husks are removed and discarded. Next is the paddy separator, which removes the kernels that didn’t husk from the brown rice. Rice to be made into white rice then goes through an abrasive whitener that removes the bran from off the kernel, after which it enters the polisher where the rice is brought to its natural whiteness using clean water and gently rubbing the kernels. Brown rice bypasses the whitening and polishing processes.

Silicon’s Role In Rice Production
Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element of the Earth’s crust after oxygen. It has long been neglected by ecologists, as it is not considered an essential nutrient for plants. However, research in recent years shows that it is beneficial for the growth of many plants, including important crops such as rice, wheat and barley. For instance, Si enhanced the resistance against pests, pathogens and abiotic stresses such as salts, drought and storms. Silicon might, thus, play a crucial role in the development of sustainable rice production systems with lower or zero input of harmful pesticides. Researchers from the interdisciplinary LEGATO project on sustainable rice production looked in more detail at the cycle of plant-available Si in contrasting regions of Vietnam and the Philippines to provide insights on the importance of this element in rice production.

Bird Watch – From My Perch
Chiquibul Adventures – Watershed Awareness, Solitaire Canyon River Expedition. With the aim of further exploring and understanding the Chiquibul National Park, the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) and Mountain Equestrian Trails (MET) completed another exploratory expedition on an un-explored river in the western jungles of the park during the month of August. Jim Bevis shares the essence of the team’s experience: We entered the crystal clear river with inflatable kayaks at a remote location on the western base of the Maya Mountain Massif. The purpose of the expedition was to explore the downstream and photograph points of interest in the 14 miles stretch for a period of five days. Soon after casting off from the north side of the river, we entered a rugged and beautiful steep walled limestone canyon, where in places the swift and turbulent floodwaters of many millennia had cut deep and smooth into the polished limestone walls. The upper part of this river was somewhat shallow in places and much of the first day was spent dragging our kayaks through and over basketball-sized “boulder gardens” to the next pool of deep water.

Reminiscing With Joe Friesen Sr., Cattleman Par Excellence
Of all the families who moved to Belize from Chihuahua, Mexico in 1958 one of the largest families was the Peter Friesen family. Joe, who is the second oldest of 11 children was 6 years old when his family moved from Manitoba, Canada to Mexico and 16 when they moved to Spanish Lookout.As a pioneer in the developing country Joe’s father, Peter Friesen,did lathe work and made his own machinery for whatever he needed. They settled in Spanish Lookout on lands along the Belize River. At the time, it was in bush with many cohune trees and much bamboo. Rather than bring cattle from the 7,000 ft elevation area they left in Mexico, they purchased Brahman-type cattle from local sources, such as Eduardo Juan, Trinidad Juan, Negroman {Ranch} and the Delafuentes. Beginning in 1964, Joe began marketing cattle, a trade he would carry on for over 40 years until 2004, when he would turn things over to his sons. In the mid 60’s, Joe sold 2 head per week, from his farm and from others in Spanish Lookout, for which the farmers received 11 cents/lb live wt for good cows, and 14 cents/lb live wt for the best steers – all local type Brahman.

What Do ppm & ppb Quantities Really Mean?
Descriptions of minute quantities, parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb), can be difficult to grasp. How can we practically relate to one part per million or one part per billion? One ppm is one part per 1,000,000, equivalent to one drop of substance diluted into 50 liters. In an analogy to time, one ppm is equivalent to 32 seconds of one year. One ppb is one part per 1,000,000,000, equivalent to one drop of substance diluted into 250 fifty-five gallon (200 l) drums – that is one drop into 13,750 gallons! In time, that would be 3 seconds out of a century. Many common synthetic-based pesticides’ Maximum Contamination Levels (MCL) are figured in single digits of parts per billion, ppb, which hints at their intense toxicities. Synthetic poisons are much more concentrated than “botanical” poisons (those derived from natural botanical substances). Charles Walters points out: “… it would take a tractor-trailer load of botanicals to disturb, say, a water main, whereas a quart of Paraquat would do maximum damage.”


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#511460 - 02/07/16 11:31 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 7, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Southern Pine Beetle Is Speaking To Us!
You would think that as an environmental advisor to the United Nations I would be a better steward of our planet, but alas I grew up in Texas where tree huggers are hard to find and in only the past ten years have I lightened my footprint on the world. No matter where you stand on global warming, you have to admit the planet is heating up. Whether this is a cycle in our globe’s very long history, which has become very warm and very cold many times, or this is the last big heat up created by man’s ignorance to his surroundings, I will leave to each of our readers. I will probably get a sigh of relief from many of you when I tell you this article is not about melting glaciers, but something much smaller…..The Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) (Dendroctonus frontalis). Dark brown to black in color, and approximately 1/8th inch long with a unique rounded rear end, the SPB belongs to the largest order of insects, Coleoptera, and family Scolytidae. It has a life cycle of 35-60 days; that’s six generations per year capability and has increased with the temperature. In natural forest situations, pine beetles prepare the way for ecological succession by selectively removing mature, stressed or damaged pines. Consequently pine beetle infestations often begin on damaged trees, but the beetles quickly reproduce and move to other surrounding trees. As beetles bore into bark, the tree tries to protect itself by exuding pitch, resulting in the formation of characteristic pitch tubes. Weakened trees may not be able to produce sufficient pitch flow to prevent colonization and when beetle populations are high, the number of beetles attacking trees may be so large that even healthy trees cannot withstand infestation.

Lemon Grass
The typical variety of lemon grass grown in Belize, Cymbopogan citratus, is commonly known as “fever grass” as a traditional remedy to reduce and alleviate symptoms of fever. Lemon grass is a perennial plant that grows in large clusters of long thin green leaves and produces a pleasant lemony, citrus aroma when crushed. It has a slightly pungent, but delicate lemony flavor with undertones of mint and ginger to season food, especially tea, soups, curries and salads. Stalks and bulbs of the plant are commonly used as an ingredient in Asian and Indian cuisine. As a gardening aid in tropical gardens it is used as a companion plant. Many Belizeans have lemon grass plants growing as an attractive decorative and useful plant in their home gardens. There are more than fifty varieties of lemon grass; not all are used for culinary, medicinal or agricultural purposes. Lemon grass is indigenous to India and tropical regions of the Asian continent, including Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. It is also commonly grown and used in Central America, Java, Madagascar, China, West Indian islands and Zambia and other warm tropical climates. It grows year-round in all tropical countries and can successfully be grown indoors in cold climates. Mature plants resemble common field or “cattle grass” and generally grow from about two to four feet in height. Plants do not flower or produce seeds; they are propagated with portions of the root of the plant. Once established, lemon grass usually grows wild via underground rhizomes. It is an easy plant to grow and requires little care beyond a sunny location and watering in the dry season.

Dairy Products At Home: Mozzarella & Ricotta Cheese
The cheeses for this cheese-making workshop are mozzarella and ricotta. These are cheeses presumably invented in Italy but now prized all over the world, the second being a byproduct of the first. Mozzarella is the gooey topping for lasagna, pizza, and other Italian dishes which everyone likes so much. Here in Central America, mozzarella makes itself at home on enchiladas or quesadillas, with its famous melting quality. It’s not easy to fit into a new culture, but if we were all so friendly and likable, sacrificing ourselves for the benefit of others, it would be much easier, more like… melted cheese. Here is a simplified recipe which has evolved in my kitchen through the natural selection of shortcuts inherent to that environment. Recipes generally call to acidify sweet milk with citric acid, but milk that is naturally sour needs no acidification, so I just use a blend of sweet and sour milk. It may be whole or skimmed, or some of each. To make hard cheeses, you will need rennet, which can be purchased in liquid form from Western Dairies in Spanish Lookout. To make it easier to measure small amounts, I put mine in a dropper bottle. You need ¼ tsp to 4 gallons of milk, or 6 drops to a gallon. Stir in the rennet and let the milk set. In less than an hour, your milk will curdle, or become a solid rather than a liquid. The curd is ready to cut when you can cut into it with a knife and it makes a ‘clean break’, being of cutting rather than pudding consistency.

World Food Day At Mopan Technical High School In Benque Viejo
World Food Day was organized in 1979 and promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to combat poverty and eradicate hunger world-wide; it is now observed in almost every country of the world. October 16, 2015 was the date of forums held and attended by millions of people around the globe. Belize held the event one week later on October 23, 2015. The theme of the 2015 World Food Day was: “Soil Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”. Mopan Technical High School provided the venue and it was a showcase for the teachers and students of the school who provided tours of their healthy gardens and gave vibrant seedling plants to all who visited their booth.

Pro-Organic Belize On The Grow!
The seeds for Pro-Organic Belize (POB) group were planted at a symposium “Sourcing Healthy Food in Cayo” which was held at Maya Mountain Lodge in November 2014. Following this well-attended event, POB paired up with the San Antonio Cayo Organic Growers Association (SACOGA) to cultivate a growing relationship with the goal of having organic produce for sale at the San Ignacio open air market on Saturday mornings starting in December 2014. SACOGA now has a permanent booth at the market, run by Abdias Mesh, the founder and director of SACOGA and takes orders for fresh organic produce each week for pick-up on Saturday morning (see ad below). POB and SACOGA have developed a participatory guarantee system (PGS) of organic certification which is based on that of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM). The mission statement of POB is “To support and promote the San Antonio Cayo Organic Growers Association and other organic initiatives in Belize.”

Ag Briefs
Neal Kinsey will return to Belize to again deliver his Introductory Soil Fertility Course on February 8th, 9th ,10th, 2016 at UB Central Farm. There may be a soybean field day after the course. Second Annual Christmas Plant Sale to benefit the Belmopan Humane Society. Saturday December 5 –Blue Moon Restaurant @the roundabout in Bmp. 10am-4pm. For Sale: plants & cuttings, poinsettias, palm trees, Christmas decor. Enter the raffle to win a completely decorated tree ready to plug in and light up your home or business! Worms that eat styrofoam: A Beihang University professor and his doctoral student, and a Stanford University professor co-authored a study, just published in Environmental Science and Technology, showing that mealworms, the larval form of the darkling beetle, can digest Styrofoam and produce a biodegradable waste. What do you do when the supply of bananas exceeds the demand and the price to the grower gets reduced too low to pay laborers in the harvest period? Look for alternative ways to industrialize the raw material! How about banana flour? The initiative to produce banana flour is still in its experimental stage in Paraguay.

Agriculture Prices At A Glance

International Sourcesizz

Belize’s IFSC issues warning against Arab Gold Bank Ltd
Belize’s financial regulator. the International Financial Services Commission (or IFSC), has issued a warning regarding a retail investment firm called Arab Gold Bank Ltd operating from website https://arabgoldbank.co. Arab Gold Bank Ltd offers trading and investment schemes in commodities and forex. According to the IFSC, Arab Gold Bank Ltd holds itself out to be registered in Belize, even posting on its website a Belize Certificate of Incorporation (see above). However the IFSC notes that the Certificate is a complete forgery, and Arab Gold Bank Ltd is not licensed by the IFSC or any other competent authority in Belize.

New direct flight Mérida – Havana coming in May
It has been confirmed that on May 2016, Mexican air carrier Aeromar will reinstall a direct flight between Mérida, Yucatán and Havana, Cuba. This flight adds to the growing local air connectivity that now links “La Ciudad Blanca” with destinations such as Milán, Italiy; Toronto, Canada; Houston and Dallas Fort Worth, Texas; Miami, Florida and Belize City. The historic relation between Cuba and Yucatán goes back a long way. But in terms of air connectivity, the last time there was a direct flight, was back in the 1990s when extinct Mexicana de Aviación, used to have a Mexico City – Mérida – Havana flight, three times a week. Nowadays, if you want to travel from Mérida to Havana, you need to go to Mexico City and then take either an Aeromexico or Cubana de Aviación flight; despite the short distance between the peninsula and the island.

Videos

  • CARICOM YOUTH AMBASSADOR PROGRAM (Belize), 1min. Did you wonder how voting for the National Youth Council of Belize will be done? Here is Sabreena N Daly PR person for the Department of Youth Services Explaining how Voting on February 29th, 2016 will take place.

  • Cruise 2014, 4min. Probably should of made this waaay back but anyways surprise video. From Florida to Honduras, Belize, Conzumel and Costa Maya.

  • Where Wise Men Fish: Belize, 5min.

  • PMDG 737 takeoff and climb from MZBZ - Belize City, 4min.

  • You better Belize it!, 5min.

  • Fly Fishing Bonefish in Belize, 3min. Fishing with Ken Coc of Chasin' Tail guide service in Caye Caulker Belize. Working with the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust to collect data on the bonefish to help preserve the fishery.

  • Big Permit Fishing in Belize, 6min. Fishing with Chasin' Tail Guide Services for Permit Out of Caye Caulker, Belize

  • Belize Video, 8min.

  • Belize Creole Drumming, 5min.

  • Arrive in Belize, 9min. My holiday in Belize deep in the Jungle

  • Belize - Firsts adventures, 11min. have some fun in Belize.

  • MADE IN BELIZE BEACH PARTY, 1min. BRINGING BELIZEANS TOGETHER BY MUSIC . THE OFFICIAL AD FOR THE EVENT.

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