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#511602 - 02/13/16 11:45 AM Today's Belize News: February 13, 2016
Marty Offline

I will be unable to do the daily news tomorrow, Sunday morning February 14. 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

San Pedro Police Department holds business watch meeting
The San Pedro Police formation held a business watch meeting on Tuesday, February 9th at the Lions Den. The purpose of the meeting was to have businesses of Southern Ambergris Caye sign up with the Police Department so they can be visited on a regular basis to help prevent and reduce crime. This will also enhance the level of security for the employees, residents and patrons of that area. Various members of the business community were invited to find out more about the program the police are doing for the island. Plans for the northern side of the island were also announced. Deputy Officer in Charge Henry Jemmott explained that so far the program has worked very well with the South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch, thus, they will like to expand the program in order to cover more area and have more businesses be a part of it. “By signing up to the program, we will have a more accurate monitoring of the areas we need to patrol. Again, we will increase the presence of police officers in these areas, which will guarantee the safety of everyone. Usually crime takes place when there is little or no police presence. But with these implementations, we are sure to thwart any possibilities of crime related incidents,” said Jemmott.

Belize welcomes Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government
Belize will host the 27th Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government on the 16 -17 February 2015. There will be an Opening Session on Monday 15 at which presentations will be made by host Prime Minister and incoming CARICOM Chairman Hon. Dean Barrow, outgoing CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados, Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart and the CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. The CARICOM Heads will deliberate on a number of critical issues to the Region, including the threat from the Zika Virus, handling Climate Change, and correspondent banking and security matters. Ahead of the meeting, this newspaper has teamed up with the CARICOM Secretariat to provide an overview of CARICOM and the benefits its operations provide to the people of the Community, including Belizeans…

UB and SJCJC Win National ATLIB Volleyball Tournament
On Sunday, February 7th, the San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) hosted the Association of Tertiary Level Institution in Belize (ATLIB) National Volleyball Tournament. Held at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium, the sporting event saw the participation of four tertiary schools which included University of Belize (UB), Sacred Heart Junior College (SHJC), Saint John’s College Junior College (SJCJC), and San Pedro Junior College (SPJC). At the end UB male team took first place while SJCJC took first place in the female division. UB and SJCJC battled it off for the male championship, while fans of both teams roared in support from the bleachers. Only one could walk away with the championship, and it was the UB team who overcame SJCJC for the top prize. Despite the loss, there is always another time and next year, SPJC will have their opportunity again to compete for the coveted championship.

SPSUN Facebook fans ‘LIKE’ our Valentine Poetry Winners
Beginning on Tuesday, February 9th The Sun began posting poems on our Facebook page and readers were asked to ‘Like’ their favorite poems. Likes equaled votes, and were considered up to 11:30am on Thursday, February 11th when they were tallied. In all, the four poems that received the most Likes were chosen as the top contest winners. “Dear Doctor Love” composed by /s/ Overwhelmed (Luis Joel Gamez) earned 55 Likes, making the poem looking for romantic advice the top winner. In second place was “My Love for You” by Mark Cabrera with 46 Likes. Third place went to Jaime Bautista’s “Come to my Island my Valentine” with 34 Likes. Fourth place was awarded to Byron Manzanero for “El Amor de Mi Vida” with 24 Likes/

SPHS Male Football Team are 2016 Northern Regional Champs
The San Pedro High School (SPHS) Male Football team captured the Northern Regional Championship on Saturday, February 6th during the Northern High Schools (NSTA) Sports Football Regional Tournament 2016. Hosted by Escuela Secondaria Tecnica Mexico (ESTM), the tournament saw the participation of male and female football teams from Corozal Community College (CCC), SPHS, ESTM, Orange Walk Technical High School (OWTHS) and New Hope High School (NHHS). Even though the SPHS girls finished in third place, the SPHS boys managed to claim first in their division earning the right to represent the north at the National Secondary School Sport Association (NSSSA) Football Nationals 2016.

FBI questions Amy Herbert for murder of Gregory Faull
Amy Herbet EmshwillerAmerican National, Amy Herbet Emshwiller, has been detained for questioning in the investigation of the murder of Gregory Faull. Emshwiller was detained by the San Pedro Police on Northern Ambergris Caye on Wednesday, February 10th by request of Belize Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). The CIB has been working along with the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), who are still investigating Faull’s murder, which occurred on November 13, 2012. Emshwiller was escorted to Precinct Three in Belize City to be questioned by both CIB and FBI personnel. It is not yet known what her connection to the case is and police are not disclosing any further information on her detainment.

Sirenalia’s Mermaids help raise funds for Ocean Academy
The tales of the mythical mermaids came true on Saturday, February 6th in the Caye Caulker Village. Residents and visitors got to meet some mermaids, and for a donation towards Ocean Academy, they had their photo taken with a mermaid by a professional photographer. The mermaids are here in Belize as part of Sirenalia’s Tropical Retreat. Sirenalia is a mermaid production company based in Austin, Texas USA, which specializes in creating customizable and realistic silicone mermaid tails and accessories.

Ambergris Today

Island of Caye Caulker Boasting New Beaches
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), through its community based initiatives and responding to its stake holder needs, in this case the Caye Caulker Village Council and tourism stakeholders, embarked on a strategy to improve the public beaches of Caye Caulker. As a result, an “Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development of Caye Caulker” was completed in September 2015 and identified beaches as one of the development objectives of infrastructure improvement. This enhancement project fits the product development objectives laid out in the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (NSTMP) 2010.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Empowering Present Generation for Belize’s Development Certification
Exercises for 15 Teachers in the northern district of Corozal who have successfully completed training in Early Childhood Education will be held at 10 a.m. at Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports District Education Centre on Friday February 12, 2016. This means that these teachers are now competent with the skills and knowledge to significantly contribute in making a positive educational impact in nurturing the development of three and four year old pre- school children. The aim of the teachers training project is to ensure pre-schoolers have the opportunity to develop a healthy holistic child development socially, culturally, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and intellectually.

Photos of the CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque's Visit to the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City

CARNAVAL 2016 - BURNING OF DON JUAN CARNAVAL
Every year the burning of Don Juan Carnaval takes place at Central Park after the 7:00 p.m. mass. Before burning Don Juan Carnaval, his will is read where he leaves all his riches and advise to the town of San Pedro. Don Juan Carnaval was a very wealthy man in San Pedro. Apart from being popular for his money, he was also popular for being the life of the party and a ladies man. Legend has it, that if Don Juan Carnaval does not get burnt, the town will be cursed with a year of bad luck. What do you think?

Power interruption 7:00am to 4:00pm, Sunday, February 14, portion Corozal Town
1st St N, 2nd St N, 1st St S, 2nd St S, 3rd St S, 4th St S, 5th St S, 7th St S, 8th St S, 1st Ave S, 5th Ave S, 6th Ave S, G St S, A St S, 8th Avenue, 9th Avenue, E St S, F St S, C St S, B St S, 9th St S, and 10th St S, Corozal Community College Road, Venezuela Site, Hermelinda Layout and Hall’s Layout. BEL to re-route high voltage lines in Corozal Town.

SAN PEDRO Carnaval 2016

Belize Red Cross Games Day Fundraiser
Join us on Saturday, February 13th for a fun filled day of games, BBQ and fun, all while supporting the Red Cross! Saturday, February 13 at 12 PM, Coco Loco's Beach Bar On the beach, north of the bridge, 1st Bar North of the Bridge. We will be holding a special Cribbage tournament for Games Day. Instead of the usual double elimination tournament we hold every Monday which can take hours, we're holding a single elimination tournament. The buy-in is $20BZ and the winner will split the pot with the Red Cross! Sign up starts at noon with the tournament starting at 1:30pm.

Secretary General’s Visit to Leo Bradley Library
The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat Ambassador Irwin LaRocque visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 to officially unveil software, donated by the CARICOM Secretariat, for the visually-impaired. In 2015, the CARICOM Secretariat donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize National Library Service that would be available to the public. The Library located on Princess Margret Drive in Belize City was identified as the ideal location because of its proximity to several high schools, university and technical vocational institutions. It is also near to the Stella Maris School which caters to students with special needs.

SPHS CAREER WEEK 2016 CLOSURE
Miss Alexis Guerrero, counselor at San Pedro High School, organized Career Week for the school, where the students had the opportunity to listen to various speakers from our community. On Friday, the last day of Career Week, each class had to decorate their classroom and the students had to dress themselves of a career of their choice which was later on judged for extra points. After judging took place, all students gathered at the auditorium for a quick assembly. At the assembly, Miss Alexis welcomed everyone and expressed her gratitude to the speakers for their participation and everyone who was a part of it from the beginning to the end. Following Miss Alexis' address, Pastor Clive Welsh fromt he Lighthouse Christian Radio, introduced the guest speaker for the event, visiting all the way from Los Angelas, USA, Mr. Eddie Kaulukukui, who is currently an actor, writer and producer in the US. Mr. Eddie was the star actor for Disneyland's Aladdin the Musical in LA. During his speech, Mr. Eddie shared a few personal experiences on how he achieved being successful in his career after having to go through many obstacles. Mr. Eddie concluded by rephrasing the theme of this year's career week, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams", and he stated, to achieve one's dream one must believe in them.

Corozal - BIG Youth Rally & Parade
Friday, February 19th, 2016. Parade will start at 8:00 a.m. from Central Park and will end with a big Rally at the Andres Campos Civic Center. Meet your District Youth Council Candidates that day! Live performances by Andidre Di Artist, Missy B Versatile and presentations by Ultimate Saphire Dance Group! Everyone is invited to parade with us and join us at the rally!!!

Ascenthium at Bamboo Bar
It's been a week since Ascenthium rocked Bamboo Bar. Everyone is ready for more. "Ascenthium rocked the house on Friday night. The Bamboo Bar was the place to be for some great rock and roll. They played 3 of their new songs too."

Have a great idea for a TV or Web series set in Belize?
Prepare your best pitch and submit it to fmau@nichbelize.org We want to help you make it a reality.

Consular Officer Jennifer Klarman stops by Seine Bight Community Center Library
Consular Officer Jennifer Klarman recently had the opportunity to stop by the library at the Seine Bight Community Center and donate a few books on behalf of Ambassador Moreno and his wife. The last time we visited the library they were just getting setup, but now they have things up and running nicely. The community center is a great resource for the local children in the area, and we applaud their efforts to promote education and access to learning through the library. Keep up the great work!

Flores de Carnaval

Channel 7

Santander to SSB: "Keep Yu Money!"
The 12 million dollar loan from the Social Security Board to the Santander group - it's become a political piñata this week -with everyone taking a swing at the controversial investment. Well - the doubters won out, and Santander backed out, announcing today: "thanks, but no thanks" - they won't be taking the loan because of the political controversy. Chief Financial Officer Andres Ayau explained his company's aversion to political controversy at a Press Conference at the Biltmore this morning:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "It's sad enough to say that this issue was politicized and it's been a negative connotation and due to this negative media coverage we decided to actually use another lender, an international lender to cover that participation. That being said, we would like to leave the door open for Social Security Board and we are announcing here that we are doing and additional investment around this project for expansion of the factory and the sugarcane fields of 15 million US dollars and we continue our invitation to Social Security to participate in that's transaction. We hope that these issues can go beyond the politics around it and that we can see that these are safe and sound transactions. We will apply again for those funds. Like I say, we remain committed to offering these returns. I think it's a sound investment. I think it's something that the public and Social Security should take a very close look at."

Santander Soon Ready To Crush Cane
And they want that second look taken because they say the project will soon prove its value. Ayau says they will be ready to start crushing cane by early March:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "At this point our project is ready. We are already in the commissioning phase of the project and we expect to begin crushing sugar cane within the next 3 weeks. That being said any participant to this loan at this point in time sees their risk significantly reduced. We expect if the weather allows for us to begin the crushing season within the next 3 weeks, the cane fields are there." "This year we have a partial harvest that serves simply to test the factory and to make sure that we can process correctly. Next year we will have full harvest and we expect to crush 800,000 tons of sugar cane - produce about 80,000 tons of sugar and about 50,000 tons of molasses and put energy into the grid."

Santander Still Courting Social Security
The total investment is 150 million US dollars - and Ayau says one third is financed locally, one third is financed internationally, and the other third is an equity investment. He explains why they turned to Social Security to be part of the financing equation:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "We thought it would be a good thing effort to invite Social Security Board to participate. Why? Because Social Security have returns for it invertors we can do and 3% currently and this loan offers a return of 7% which is more than twice what you are currently getting and exceeds inflation cost which are not being covered by the current returns you are getting. There was a really strict due diligence done on this project. We had international consulting companies come and do technical financial and environmental and social reports for the loan and all consultants recommended this investments to the banks and to the entities that were reviewing this. It's a world class consultants that come all the way from the Unites States and from England that review this project and determined it as a safe investment. So we would like to make clear that a lot of money from outside has come in and that its customary in these type of transactions to bring in local lenders to provide sort of local validation to the project in this type of transactions."

Santander Not Guatemalan Says CFO
But one of the reasons for the public pushback against the Social Security investment in Santander is because Santander is seen publicly as a Guatemalan company. Ayau says yes there are Guatemalan principals, but that is among many others:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "Yes there are some Guatemalan investors. We have people from Spain. We have people from the United States. We have people from Dominican Republic and I think we really need to get over this. Our commitment is firm with this country. We've been here for 4 years. Some of the investors actually live in Belize. We believe we are putting our money in a good place. We believe there is a lot of good things to come and if we just work together, there is great things we can accomplished."

Don't Confuse The Cane Company And The European Bank
And one more public misperception is that this Santander Group is synonymous with, or a subsidiary of the European Santander Bank. Ayau says there's no relationship:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "The Santander Sugar Group is in no way affiliated or related to the Santander Financial Group from Spain. None of our investors and none of our workers have any relation to the Santander Financial Group. These are separate entities and the reason for the name of Santander Sugar is because the investors, some of the investors are originally are from the Santander region in Spain and that's why they name the group this way."

Zika Samples Still Not Returned
The results of the 2 remaining Zika tests haven't been sent back to Belize as yet. On Tuesday at the Zika awareness meeting Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero told us they have sent 3 samples to CARPHA - 1 has returned negative for Zika, and the other two were expected back today. But it didn't come back yet, and Manzanero told us that they hope to get the results on Monday because CARPHA, The Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad is overwhelmed with work. We will keep following up.

The Chamber Versus Charles
The rice war rages on tonight, but right now it's more like a war of words. The Chamber of Commerce today blasted Jack Charles for alleging aflatoxin contamination in a press release, which says, quote: "Issuing such an inflammatory report on the rice industry is irresponsible and clearly intended to force an opening for rice importation." The Chamber adds, quote, "the tests…carried out on Belizean rice samples found aflatoxins to be well within (safe) limits and therefore safe for consumption." And here's where they wound up on Charles, saying, quote: "These accusations are clearly without merit, and obviously meant to cause consumer panic without any care for potential damage to the Belizean economy, the reputation of the rice industry or BAHA's institutional reputation…Belizean producers who contribute to our economy should not find themselves disparaged by spurious allegations made purely for competitive gain." Now, we should note that the rice producers are leading members of the Chamber.

Another Accused of Being A Tourist Terrorizing Pirate
One month ago, a group of tourists were terrorized when pirates boarded their catamaran and robbed and assaulted them. One man, Bradwick Lino was already charged, and now police have charged another. He is 20 year old Jason Emmanuel Cortez whose fingerprints were allegedly found which link him to the high seas heist. Both he and Lino were today charged for aggravated burglary. The allegation is that on January 13, 2016, the Catamaran was anchored near Middle Long Caye when he and Lino boarded the vessel armed with a gun and stole a whole bunch of stuff, including a $10,000 US dollar pearl necklace, 15 bank and credit cards, passports, assorted electronics and personal items, two thousand dollars in US currency, and even the ice chest with beers and the outboard engine. Cortez pleaded not guilty before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Fraser. He told the court that his friend Bradwick Lino had already pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods for the pair of binoculars and the hard drives found at Cortez's home. He said he was at work when he learned that his home was searched by police.

The Craft Of Customs
Today the Customs and Excise Department held a closing ceremony after a week-long training. The main focus of the training was to re-evaluate the entire customs structure at all levels and develop a strategic plan. This plan will address human resource constraints and other issues in the organization. The coordinators told us how this training will improve the effectiveness of customs officers which will in turn enhance trade and border protection. Another major issue addressed at the workshop is contraband and illegal cross border trade. We report countless times on contraband products being smuggled into Belize through Mexico, not to mention the lucrative trade in drugs between Mexico and Belize. Comptroller of Customs and Excise Victor Recinos told us how challenging it is to track and monitor these types of illegal trade. He also discussed the need to bring on more officers to deal with this issue. The new plan will run from 2016 -2019. During this time there will be a number of workshops and training sessions for all 200 employees in the organization.

Court Says Baby Nina Must Go With Guatemalan Father
After three months of intense legal battling before the Belize Family Court to maintain the custody of Baby Nina, today family court magistrate Dale Cayetano ruled that the transportation of the 2 year old child from Guatemala to Belize was illegal and as a result she will have to be taken back to Guatemala. After an eight hour session that lasted all day, the mother of the child Ana Liz Guitterrez came out distraught by the ruling today. She spoke to us in tears- her worst fears now a reality. Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez- Mother: "Basically the resolution made today was that Nina would be returned." Mike Rudon, Ch5: "I know this is the last thing you wanted to hear." Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez- Mother: "Of course; I mean it's been three months of battle and ultimately we provided a very strong case. I must admit that my lawyer did a very good job at the end. At the end, it was the judge who needed to use his discretion and he believed that the removal was wrongful and so as a result, made the decision to have her returned. At this point, I've spoken to Nina's father and we are trying to do things now in good grounds for the best thing for Nina."

Accused Of Biting A Cop
A 28 year old woman was taken before the judge today because she was caught with weed - but also because she is accused of biting police during the search. Tanisha McKoy was arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers in Court #3 where she pleaded not guilty to possession of controlled drugs, and wounding a policeman. PC Cruz Garcia says that McKoy bit him on the finger during a search. She was granted bail of $800 dollars which she met by noon today. She is due back in Court #3 on May 13, 2016. Possession is considered a minor offence, but not so for wounding which carries a sentence of 7 years.

Tertiary Level Schools Up For Debate
The Social Security debate series travelled to Saint John's Juniour College today. The regional debate competition is going all across the country - and today it featured the UWI Open Campus students against the SJC Sixth Formers. They debated the subject of whether "birthright citizenship" in the US should be abandoned. Social Security's Communications Officer told us more:... Gayle Ozaeta, Communications Officer, SSB: "The debate is a part of our social and cooperate responsibility and this debate came about as a result of engaging our communities which is a part of our transformation plan and we thought of using this sector of society who are young and we want to cultivate brighter minds and make an informed Belize." Martha Mejia, Speakers: "The debate topic was about birthright citizenship. The topic was be it resolve that birthright citizenship be abolished in the United States of America. So you could either agree or disagree with that. They don't tell us what topic you get to choose. You find out in the mornings. So we got the negative stands - that it should not be abolished. We researched a lot and just yesterday we were in the chapel, we were rebutting the rebuttals - we try to find every single hole in every single argument. It was a lot of work. But I love my team and I believe we worked hard. It's very important, because it gives awareness to everyone and before probably people dent think about things like these, but they do affect society and they do affect Belize. They do affect other countries and to actually participate in a debate to find out different stances that someone can take on a topic - it's great."

Two New Lawyers
Today, UDP Minister Anthony "Boots" Martinez was at Court. No… he's not suing any one, and neither is he being sued. He was there to see his daughter, Stacy Martinez, sworn in as a new attorney before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. As you would expect, it is a moment of great pride for the Martinez family, and we spoke with the father and daughter outside of court, right after Stacy Martinez was allowed to put on her attorney's robes for the first time. Here's what they told us: Also called to the bar today was Orson Elrington, better known as "O. J. If you've been watching the UDP friendly Talk Show, "Lik Road", which airs right here on Wednesday nights, you may have noticed that Elrington has joined as a sort of regular co-host. Today, after he took the oath of his profession, we spoke with him about the launch of his new career. Here's what he told us about being called to the Bar:

Yapp comes Back To Belize To Come Clean
The British High Commissioner - unless you move in diplomatic circles - you probably don't even know who the current one is. But, if you know any one high commissioner, it's probably John Yapp. And that's because he was accused of touching a high society woman's backside while he was serving as High Commissioner in 2008. That allegation destroyed the career diplomat's professional reputation - and he ended up suing the British Foreign Service, basically for believing the spurious complaint. This week he is back in Belize and for the first time he's talking about the bogus allegation against him. You'll see the full interview on Monday - but here's a brief preview of what he told Jules Vasquez: John Yapp, Former British High Commissioner to Belize "And so I have been completely vindicated of all the allegations - all the charges. My name, which is what I set out to do, my name has been cleared and that I think is really what I wanted and it says everything I believe that needs to be said about this whole sorry episode."


Top
#511603 - 02/13/16 11:45 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 13, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

Santander Walks Away from S.S.B. Loan
There was a huge outcry from the public, the unions, the People’s United Party, the Belize Progressive Party about a loan of twelve million dollars to the foreign owned Santander [...]

C.F.O. Says Investment is Low-Risk…High-Return
Ayau spent the first part of the conference outlining the investor structure of the loan, and also the reasons why he says any investment in the project is a sure [...]

Ayau Claims Santander Has Already Pumped Millions into Belizean Economy
Ayau says that the Santander Group has already made a significant, concrete on the ground investment in Belize – in money spent, in taxes paid, in employment and also in [...]

Has the Santander Loan Issue Been Unfairly Politicized?
Ayau says the press conference was deemed necessary because of the public outcry, much of which he says has been based on inaccurate information. The Santander Rep felt that the [...]

Jack Charles Fires Back at Bureau of Standards
The Bureau of Standards responded this week to rice importer Jack Charles who announced that he has tested three types of local rice at a U.S. laboratory and results show [...]

Chamber Condemns Charles’ Actions
In the ongoing saga, rice producers have said that Jack Charles has it all wrong. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry today took a stand, and a very strong [...]

Baby Nina Will Return to Guatemala
This morning, there was heavy Police presence at the Family Court, with senior officers, Special Branch personnel and uniformed cops manning the perimeter of the building. It’s the type of [...]

Former Girlfriend of John McAfee Detained For Questioning in Faull Murder
U.S. national Gregory Faull was murdered at his home in San Pedro, back in 2012. His neighbour John McAfee, the US anti-virus founder millionaire, was considered a person of interest [...]

Darrel Mayen Awaits Sentencing in Attempted Murder Conviction
Twenty-one year old Darrel Mayen is awaiting sentencing for attempted murder after he was found guilty of the charge in a trial by judge alone. Justice Troadio Gonzalez has deferred [...]

Jason Cortez Charged for Aggravated Burglary
After more than a month of intensive investigating and various visits to a catamaran that was robbed and burglarized on Middle Caye back in mid January of this year, police have [...]

High Level Discussions on Climate Change Continue
Climate change experts from around the Caribbean region continued a two-day conference in Belize City today. At the heart of the discussions was the COP 21 Agreement reached in Paris [...]

Harpy Employee Recounts Ordeal at Hands of Fake Policeman
On Thursday, Police issued an advisory warning the public to be aware of persons purporting to be Police officers. That advisory is a result of two incidents on Tuesday. In [...]

Evonne Hendy Was Fired by Harpy Security
While Hendy was held with a knife at her throat, her family was threatened. But she has been forced to suffer another indignity. On Thursday, she was called into the [...]

Senior Customs Officers Plan Human Resource Development
Last week Wednesday, the Customs Department and the Financial Intelligence Unit signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen domestic cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorism. It allows [...]

Customs Lacks Resources to Adequately Tackle Contraband Smuggling
According to Customs Comptroller Victor Recinos, the mandate of the Customs Department is wide and with proper investment and structures in place, the department and its officers will be more [...]

What Are Your Plans for Valentine Day?
Love and romance are in the air as this Sunday will be celebrated as Valentine’s Day.  Today, we took to the streets to get a sense of how Belizeans will [...]

LOVE FM

Santander Pulls Loan Application from SSB
This morning the Chief Financial Officer for the Santander Sugar Group, Andres Ayau (A-YO) announced that Santander is no longer interested in the twelve million dollar loan from the Social Security Board. Since Love News broke the story that SSB had agreed to lend Santander the twelve million dollars million at an interest rate of […]

Santander Prepares to Export Sugar in EU
In less than a month, Santander Sugar Group is expected to officially commence the production of sugar for export as explained by the company’s CFO, Andres Ayau. Ayau told the media they already have orders to exports sugars to the European market.

Finance Officer at Santander Says Loan Risk was Minimal
As we mentioned, since the news broke that SSB will be facilitated Santander with a twelve million dollar loan, several entities voiced their displeasure. The National Trade Union Congress of Belize, NTUCB, The People’s United Party, and the Belize Progressive party among others have all said no to the loan citing several reasons. One of […]

Chamber Says Chawla’s Allegations are Without Merit
Up until Wednesday there was a lull in the rice saga involving businessman, Jitandra Chawla. That silence came after the courts ruled in favor of the local rice producers and ordered that he return his containers of Guyanese rice thus taking it out of the country. Chawla’s silence, however, was not a sign of resignation […]

Chawla Challenges Belize Bureau of Standards
For his part Chawla has kept up the fight. He fired yet another release in response to the Belize Bureau of Standards. He says, in part, quote, “With reference to the press release from the Belize Bureau of Standards: Since rice is a staple food for majority of Belizeans, occurrence of aflatoxins as contaminants should […]

COP21 Outcomes Discussed in Regional Meeting in Belize
A two day regional meeting concluded today in Belize where CARICOM Ministers responsible for climate change discussed, reviewed and analyzed the outcomes of the 21st Conference of the Parties that produced the Paris Agreement. In the Paris Agreement, countries such as Belize agreed to limit global warming to as far as two degrees Celsius in […]

New Lead in 2012 Murder of Gregory Faull?
US National, Gregory Faull, was murdered on Ambergris Caye in November of 2012. His murder then took a sensational turn when businessman, John McAfee was accused of the crime. McAfee was never detained by Belize Police as he fled the country. Since then, no one has been arrested for Faul’s murder. News coming out from […]

World Customs Ends Working Mission with Belize
Customs experts from the World Customs Organization have been in Belize since Monday on a working mission to assist the Customs and Excise department with creating a human resource strategy. According to Comptroller of Customs and Excise, Victor Recinos, for the entire week, Customs top management have been participating in the workshop to identify key […]

High School Student Injured in Road Accident
A high school student is hospitalized after being knocked down in western Belize. Fem Cruz has the story.

CARICOM’s Sec Gen Unveils Software for Visually Impaired in Belize
As Belize prepares to host the Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads on the Placencia Peninsula, the Secretary General of CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has been doing his rounds at various points in the country. One of his recent visits was to the Belize National Library Service yesterday. During that visit Ambassador LaRocque officially unveiled […]

PlusTV

Robbers dressed as cops hit businesses in Belize City
There have been two disturbing reports of robberies in Belize City. While, robberies are common enough in Belize City, these ones are particularly disturbing, prompting police to issue a public advisory for business establishments to be careful. That’s because, within the last 24 hours, there have b...

Man found guilty of attempted murder
Twenty-one year old Darrel Mayen, charged with attempted murder, was found guilty of the charge today by Justice John Gonzalez in a trial that was without jury. Justice Gonzalez has deferred sentencing until Friday, February 19, in order to give Mayen’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, time to prepare...

Jury convicts grandmother of trafficking a 15 year old girl
A nine-member jury needed just under an hour and a half on Wednesday night to convict 64 year old Estella Gonzalez of Mile 10, George Price Highway, of one count of trafficking in persons. Now, the owner of Temptation Bar could face anywhere from a fine to jail time when Supreme Court Justice Adolph...

Two men arrested for large quantity of drugs
Yesterday we told you about the huge drug bust police made while conducting a checkpoint in Camalote Village. Today, police say they have officially arrested and charged the two men involved. They are 21-year-old Travis Sutherland of Georgeville and 48-year-old Anthony August of Santa Elena. Yeste...

Police investigate murder of man found in orchard
Police in the south are investigating the murder of 30 year old Jose Pedro Menjivar Murcia . Murcia was found in an orchard near miles 15 and 16 on the Southern Highway January 29th. He was unconscious at the time and it appeared that he was hit several times in the head with some blunt instrument. ...

PUP comments on Santender SSB loan proposal
There has been much discussion regarding Guatemalan company Santender’s request to borrow some 12 million dollars from the Belizean Social Security Board. It has caused quite a heated discussion on the talk show circuits and today, the People’s United Party joined its voice of concern saying that “...

Jack Charles says Belizeans should demand test results
Yesterday we told you about Jack Charles’ press release where copies of lab test reports were furnished the media. Those lab reports indicated, the Aflatoxin levels of local rice which Charles says indicated levels higher than the standards set by the Bureau of Standards. The Belize Bureau of Standa...

The Reporter

CARICOM Sec. Gen. unveils equipment donated to Leo Bradley library
The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, on Thursday, officially unveiled equipment which the CARICOM Secretariat had previously donated to the Belize National Library Service for the visually-impaired. The CARICOM Secretariat had donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize […]

Santander withdraws loan application from SSB
The Santander sugar group, which had sought a $12 million loan from the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) has withdrawn that loan application and has sought getting the loan from an international bank. This follows objections from the opposition Peoples United Party (PUP) and other […]

“De-risking”: a global phenomenon (Part 1)
There are few issues that one could say register on the economic Richter scale more significantly than one that could potentially cripple or disable a country’s ability to process payments across international borders. Fundamentally, any open economy, including Belize, needs to be able to send or receive money from abroad […]

Expectant mother and child survive traffic accident
A Hattiville resident, who is nine months pregnant, survived a road traffic accident on the Haulover Bridge this week. Paramedics took 37-year-old Raquel Burke to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) on Wednesday evening, after her red Nissan X Terra SUV, crashed head first into a dump […]

Ministry of Health on Zika prevention drive
Top ranking officials in the Ministry of Health met this week to discuss a national action plan for preventing and minimizing Zika virus infections in Belize. The officials met at the inspiration Center on Tuesday to discuss the roles of each arm of the ministry in the […]

KHMH to increase clinic fees
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) announced this week that patients wishing to access elective clinic services will have to pay more as of February 15. Norman Augustine Jr., director of finance of the KHMH, explained on Wednesday that the new fee will increase elective […]

World Bank lowers 2016 forecast for crude prices
The price of crude oil in 2016 will fall significantly, based on a forecast by the World Bank, which places these prices at around US $37 per barrel in its latest Commodity Markets Outlook report. This represents a sharp fall from its October 2015 projection, […]

Sale of unlabeled local rice for more than 90 cents is illegal, says BBS official
The sale of unlabeled, retail rice is illegal and should be something of the past, says Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards, Jose Trejo, despite reports to the contrary. Reports are that some merchants and market vendors are still selling locally produced rice in […]

Credentials for Haitian President
Ambassador of Belize to Mexico, Oliver Del Cid, presented his letter of credence to the President of the Republic of Haiti at the National Palace this week. Del Cid met with Haitian President, Michel Martelly to present his credentials in a ceremony that took place […]

Honduran busted with weed pleaded guilty, regional gang related
A Honduran national, Orbin Lenin Reyes, 25, was busted this weekend by Ladyville police with more than 16 pounds of Oaxaca marijuana at a bus shed on the Philip Goldson highway. According to police, Reyes was detained around 11:43 a.m. at mile 10 on the […]

Chinese businessman murdered in Teakettle
Belmopan police have detained one suspect and are seeking another in connection with the nation’s 16th murder, which occurred after 1:00 a.m. on Saturday at a bar in Teakettle, Cayo and claimed the life of a Chinese businessman. The incident took place at 69 Bar, […]

2 tourists robbed at gun point, one man shot; one remanded
Two Canadian tourists, Steven Temple, 75, and Cynthia Fredrick, 65, were robbed at gun point while one man was shot at the Tropical Education Center on mile 29 of the George Price Highway last Sunday. Adolphus Palacio, 21, has since been charged and remanded to the […]

Woman reported missing found dead
A Guatemalan woman reported missing by her son on January 18 was found dead in Dangriga on Tuesday. Dangriga police are asking public assistance to solve the mysterious case leading to the death of Lydia Garcia Giron, 39, who had been missing for almost a […]

SSB bombarded over $12M loan to Santander Group
Social Security Board (SSB) Chairman Doug Singh has been quick to point out that while the SSB approved a loan of BZD $12 million to the Santander Group on January 28th, the money has not been disbursed just yet. That may be a good thing, since public outcry against the […]

Test result confirms death by H3N2 influenza
One of three test results from samples sent abroad for in- depth analysis after several patients died unexpectedly from flu-like symptoms, has confirmed that one victim died from complications associated with the H3N2 strain of influenza (flu). The test result, which was sent to the […]

Yarborough renovation just in time for Ashcroft cruise port
Mayor Darrell Bradley stated this week that the renovations planned for the Yarborough area are in line with plans to build a cruise port in the area as outlined by the Belize City Master Plan.In an exclusive sit-down with the Reporter, Bradley said while the renovation project isn’t a pre-empting of Ashcroft’s project, the two are indirectly related because the Master Plan that was done years ago, and later adopted by CitCo, foresaw the need for a city cruise ship port.“I will make this point resounding…the Master Plan which was done six years ago mentioned an onshore port facility in exactly the same place it is,” he said. He added though that he has had no discussions with anyone, related to the proposed cruise facility at the Port of Belize. […]

Fruta Bomba closes shop; 250 workers laid off
After two decades of producing and packaging papayas for export, Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers are closing shop permanently. Chief Executive Officer of Brooks Tropicals, the parent company of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers, Greg L. Smith said via press release: “After 22 years operating in the Central […]

Rice gets no rest!
Round two of the rice war between businessman Jack Charles (Jitendra Chawla) and the Ministry of Agriculture took a different form on Wednesday afternoon when Charles issued a press release, charging that locally-produced rice was, in essence, unsafe for consumption. The release succeeded a letter, […]

Citco’s hands tied, says Mayor
Without approval from Central Government, the Belize City Council will not be able to complete many of its infrastructure projects during this term, Mayor Darrell Bradley told the Reporter this week. Bradley, in an exclusive sit-down with the Reporter, explained that a clause in the […]

Grans convicted of human trafficking! 15-year-old used as prostitute for profit
Promising work at a salon, 64-year-old Estella Gonzalez, escorted a 15-year-old female to Belize from Honduras in August of 2014. But instead of salon work, the minor found herself at Gonzalez’s mercy and working as an entertainer and prostitute at Temptation Bar. Gonzalez, currently detained […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Jason Cortez charged with Middle Long Caye burglary
Last month, 20 year old Jason Cortez and 22 year old Bradwick Lino were separately charged with handling stolen goods in relation to the aggravated burglary on Middle Long Caye, where a docked catamaran was broken into. Police have now directly linked the two young […]

GOB meets with Ports Investments; cruise port project may be dead
The Government of Belize has confirmed that it held what is being called “an exploratory conversation” between a group of representatives of the Government and representatives of Ports Investments Limited. In response to a text message, CEO in the Office of the Prime Minister Audrey […]

Male person found floating in the Mopan River
Police from Benque Viejo Del Carmen are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a male body floating in the Mopan River a little after 4:00 this afternoon. At this time the body has been identified but the name has not been released until […]

CARICOM SecGen visits Belize
Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday. The purpose of his visit was to officially unveil software that was donated by the CARICOM Secretariat to Belize that is to be used by visually impaired children […]

McAfee ex-girlfriend detained by police in Greg Faull murder investigation
Gregory Viant Faull, an American national, was killed more than three years ago on November 13, 2012. For most of the weeks immediately following his death, Belize Police focused their attention on anti-virus computer pioneer John McAfee, who was Faull’s neighbour, fled the country after […]

Traffic Mishap on the Yo Creek Road, Orange Walk
Information reaching our newsroom is that just before midday, Orange Walk Police responded to a traffic mishap on the San Antonio Road, also known as the Yo Creek Road in the municipality. Information indicates that the driver of the green Mazda pickup truck lost control […]

Santander Sugar Group withdraws loan request from SSB; project is “ready to go”
The Chief Financial Officer of the Santander Sugar Group, Andres Ayau, today addressed a press conference in which he announced that the group has formally withdrawn its offer for a $12 million loan from the Social Security Board (SSB). The Group, based in Guatemala […]

Corozal teachers receive early childhood training
Earlier today, 15 teachers in Corozal received Early Childhood Education certificates at that district’s Education Centre, after completing a training that will make them competent with skills and knowledge to positively impact three and four year old pre-schoolers. A press release from the Ministry […]

Showers increase over the weekend
A northeasterly airflow over the area will support relatively moist conditions today. The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly cloudy skies today with some periods of light rain mainly along the coast and in the South. Skies will be partly cloudy tonight […]

Blogs

Sweet Corn Bread Pudding
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Sweat onions with butter and herbs in an oven safe skillet until translucent. Combine corn, cream, eggs, baking powder, cornmeal, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add cubed bread and fold to combine. Pour batter into skillet, right on top of the onion mixture. Bake 50 minutes, or until set. Cool slightly before serving.

Sweet Potato Cornbread
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, buttermilk, honey and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into a cast-iron skillet; use a spatula to smooth to an even layer if needed. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Serve the cornbread in the skillet.

Atlantic CEO Outlook 2016
Over the past six months, Atlantic International Bank Ltd. has faced many challenges in the Banking Industry. With the onset of de-risking by the larger US Banks, AIBL faced significant correspondent banking challenges, but we persevered and we continue to make significant progress. We remain strong and resilient as we continue to effectively adjust to the new banking landscape. We now have the business acumen to overcome future difficulties with confidence and we will continue to hold on to the values that have made us who we are while instituting improved strategies for the growth and development of the company and its stakeholders. In 2015, AIBL embarked on a project to create a new 5 year strategic plan. We have been successful in creating our strategic plan and we are currently in the execution phase. Our goal is to not only empower our staff but also to improve our processes and services to become a better bank for you. Several key projects have begun, projects that will bring about changes within the second half of this year. These projects are just a few of the initiatives in our strategy plan that will help us meet our goal of being a great bank, different from the ordinary.

Fundraising Hearts for San Pedro Red Cross
Coco Loco’s Beach Bar owner Carmen Arenal approached one of the Red Cross Volunteers to ask if she could do a fundraiser for the Branch. The request was answered with a resounding “yes of course” from the Branch Coordinator after consulting with the Branch Board. Tomorrow, February 13, 2016 is the first of 2 “Valentines” Fundraisers. It will be a “Games Day & BBQ” featuring Cribbage and Cornhole. BBQ Plate is $10.00 and will be available around noon. If having one establishment asking if they could do a fundraiser for The Red Cross wasn’t enough, Stella’s Smile asked me about doing one as well. Because the 13th was already booked we opted for Sunday, which is actually Valentines day. Between 8AM and 2PM Stella’s Smile will serve their famous crepe and bottomless mimosa brunch! For $2.00, DJ Matt Hoy will play your special love song, and Stella’s will match that amount for a contribution the Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch

International Sourcesizz

Why Belize Should Be Your Next Winter Getaway
“But where exactly is Belize?” This is one of the most common questions I receive when telling people about my recent adventure in Central America. Belize, a tiny but diverse country of 350,000 inhabitants, is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its population number is so low that it’s quite normal to be the only car on the road and to rarely even see a traffic light. One of the most fascinating aspects of Belize’s low head count is the diversity and rich cultural heritage of its citizens. While the official first language is English, Creole, Spanish, and even Mandarin are widely spoken. I was quickly corrected when greeting my driver with “hola, como estas?” He assertively said he was more comfortable with English. I knew in that moment that this was going to be an interesting ride. We embarked on a lively journey to Gaia Riverlodge, where I would be experiencing beautiful seclusion, tradition, and adventure the Belizean way. Gaia is completely off the grid, and although the three-hour ride may seem like a long stretch for some, you won’t feel the time pass. Yes, it does get bumpy, but seasoned travelers know that nothing really worth seeing comes that easily. Gaia’s drivers are knowledgeable and always keen to share their local history. I probably learned more on this ride than I did the whole time I was in school.

Belize Has a New Beach
Following the successful completion of a series of community-based initiatives, Caye Caulker has a new beach. After completing its Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development of Caye Caulker in September 2015, The Belize Tourism Board identified beaches as one of the development objectives of infrastructure improvement. A total of 1,883 linear feet of the beach was reclaimed, with widths varying from 70 to 118 feet in areas between Sobre las Olas to Rainbow Restaurant, and widths varying from 40 to 60 feet in area between Blue Island pier to Len’s Guest House. The reclamation works will soon be complemented by the establishment of an improved craft center for local artisans in Caye Caulker.

Waltham Voices: The power of crossing borders
This February school break, I will be leading a group of Brandeis University students on a service trip to Belize. Together with the help of Hand in Hand Ministries, we will build a home for a family in need. My most powerful and formative experiences in life – personally, spiritually, and vocationally – were times I crossed borders. Borders can be geographical, but also cultural, religious, ethnic, political, and economic. The most powerful border-crossing experience of my life was when I served as a Jesuit volunteer in Belize and Haiti between 2001 and 2004. The Jesuit Volunteers half-joke that those who enter into this immersion program of community, spirituality, simple-living, and justice-seeking (the four Jesuit Volunteer components) are “ruined for life.” In high school and college, I traveled annually to a work camp in West Virginia with the goal of making homes warm, safe, and dry. This camp opened my young, naive mind to new realities. One of my most powerful learning experiences in those young years was: “Wow, these people have so little, yet they are so grateful.”

Caribbean losing US tourists as Zika fears spread, poll reveals
The Zika virus is discouraging increasing numbers of Americans from travelling to the Caribbean and Latin America, with 41 percent of those aware of the disease saying they are less likely to take such a trip, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. The poll is the latest sign that the virus — which is thought to be linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with brain damage and unusually small heads — could negatively impact tourism in the Caribbean. Airlines and cruise ship operators have yet to report Zika-related drops in bookings, and analysts have downplayed the impact that pregnant women will have on the travel industry. But awareness of the mosquito-borne virus has surged to nearly two-thirds of Americans, according to the poll of 1,595 adults in the United States conducted February 1-5, CNBC reports. That compares with 45 percent who had heard of Zika in a Reuters/Ipsos poll from late last month. In the latest poll, of those aware of the virus, 41 percent said they were less likely to travel to Puerto Rico, Mexico or South America in the next 12 months because of Zika. Some 48 percent said Zika had not changed the likelihood of their visiting those destinations, while others did not know.

Videos

  • David Dyck (pioneer of Blue Creek, Belize), 3.5min.

  • Belize 2016, 6.5min. Diary of a Foreign Couple

  • Belize, 10min. Here is a recap of my trip to Belize with some good friends. If you have 10 min to spare check it out.

  • Morning Matters with Melinda, 60min.

  • Caye Caulker, Belize. 6min tour january 25.2016, 6min.

  • Official video by ceann ross tv producer- A day on Caye Caulker, Belize, Central America, 12min.

  • Swimsuit Contest - Placencia, Belize Easter 2016, 6min.

  • Caye Caulker, Belize - Trip part 1, 7.5min.

  • Caye Caulker Belize Bike Tour, 9min.

  • Tara Mitchell, Post-Belize Successes, 2min. Tara Mitchell, Georgia State University graduate student, talks about how Belize helped prepare her for fieldwork and a new internship with HUD!

  • Green Moray Eel in Belize 2, 1min. This is a green Moray Eel that was filmed on Wee Wee Caye in Belize.

  • Belize 2016, 5min.

  • Cayo Steelworks (Georgevile, Belize), 3min.

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