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#511944 - 02/26/16 11:48 AM Today's Belize News: February 26, 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

Mayor’s and Minister’s approaching finals
After seven weeks of football action, the Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup is nearing the finals. With just four weeks away from the championship game, these are the results from the games played this past weekend: Friday – Belize Pro Divers 2-1 Peace Makers, Progresso Boys 4-2 Searious Warriors, Saturday – Sky Energy 3-2 San Pedro Junior College, Veterans 2-2 Jokers F.C, Sunday – Ambergris Divers 16-0 PSG, Catrachos 6-0 San Mateo. Games continue this weekend, starting on Thursday at 7PM sharp at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex.

Second blood drive of 2016 a success
A total of fifteen usable pints of blood were collected during a blood drive that took place at the Washington University of Health and Science in San Pedro Town. The event took place on Saturday, February 20th and saw blood donors making their way to the University campus, where they donated the vital red fluid. The event was a collaborative effort of Projects Abroad, The San Pedro Belize Red Cross (SPBRC), and the Belize Blood Bank. Organizers were pleased with its success. After the first blood drive of the year held in late January, Projects Abroad in Belize requested an additional one due to the poor turnout. The SPBRC was happy to accommodate such request which was outside of their usual three-month time frame. Volunteers from the SPBRC, the Belize Blood Bank, Projects Abroad and even from the hosting University showed up early to welcome the generous donors. From 9AM to 3PM, people pulled up to the medical school to contribute to the worthy cause. At the end of the day, the blood collected was transported to Belize City for storage in an effort to increase the supply at the Belize Blood Bank. This blood can then be available for anyone in San Pedro that may have an emergency. Snacks and refreshments were provided to all donors.

SP Police Constables undergo training
Several police constables from the island were part of a refresher course aimed at improving the service they provide to the community. The training was held from Thursday, February 18th to Saturday, February 20th, and was led by inspector Dehanne Augustine, who is attached to the Caye Caulker Police formation. Officers were educated on how to effectively respond to certain situations, and they even received training in properly recording data. According to Inspector Augustine, the training is very important as it serves to polish officers’ skills so they can carry on with their daily duties in a more efficient manner. “The training once again reminds police officers of the proper procedures they should execute when encountering any situation. It is very important for them to know the procedures when dealing with minors, people with mental illnesses and also know how to record each detail of any investigation from the moment it happens. This will enhance a proper filing of data and as well keep the police on safe grounds when dealing with cases that may have judiciary intervention,” said Augustine during the presentation. The training also touched on proper police behavior and ways to deal with criminal incidents.

CARDI continues to work in Belize’s Coconut Industry
Belize’s Coconut Industry continues to grow with the assistance of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and financing from the European Union (EU). Most recently, a workshop was held on Thursday, February 25th with CARDI scientists training coconut stakeholders in the “Production of Quality Coconut Planting Material”. These initiatives are being organized under the EU’s “Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean” through the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers. According to CARDI representatives in Belize, stakeholders have welcomed this initiative for its “potential to improve income and employment opportunities, food security, and the overall development of the Caribbean coconut sector.” The project creates cooperation between national and regional programs, improving access to advisory services for improved coconut production. Throughout 2016, scientists will also be interacting with key stakeholders in the coconut industry of all participating countries conducting activities related to mapping and characterization of local coconut plantations, strengthening producer and processing groups and developing appropriate technological packages for intercropping vegetables and fruits and rearing cattle and small ruminants under coconut trees.

San Pedro Tiger Sharks net another home win
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) 2016 Season is heating up and hometown team the San Pedro Tiger Sharks are aiming for their third consecutive championship. With only one loss under their belt, our team remains steadfast in second place in the tournament. This past weekend, the Tiger Sharks showed their tenacity, claiming yet another big home win. Facing off were our Tiger Sharks who hosted the Belize City No Limit at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. At the end of the first quarter, San Pedro Tiger Sharks had a 17 – 15 lead, which they increased to 37 – 27 at the second quarter. Belize City No Limit was able to shrink the lead to 7 points going into the fourth quarter, but the home team was able to secure the win, 83 – 70. San Pedro Tiger Sharks was led by Caleb Sutton who had a game high of 30 points, while grabbing 8 rebounds. Ashton Edwards netted 15 points while Andrew “Bynum” Ortiz scored 13 points while grabbing 8 rebounds and Gene Myvett finished with 12 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. With this latest win, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks now have five victories in the 2016 NEBL Season.

Ambergris Today

Commuting students in San Pedro
Students of the San Pedro Roman Catholic School commute back to classes from RC Church after attending morning mass

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Cliff Wilson one of American Sailing Association's 2015 Instructors of the Year!
Congrats to our own Captain Cliff for receiving the high distinction of being one of American Sailing Association's 2015 Instructors of the Year! This means that he is in the top rated 1.5% of the over 2,000 ASA certified instructors in the world. Way to go, Cliff!

Three story tall double billboard in San Pedro
So I will admit... faced with seemingly unrelenting development, at times I've worried about the overall "aesthetic" of our Isla Bonita. This morning those fears were quelled... Tropical? Quaint? Serene? I think they've nailed it. Nothing says "Welcome to our island" better than a three story tall double billboard... What's is it going to say? "The food was AWESOME - Stan from Dubuque" Sigh...

Humpback whale sighting off Placencia
A very rare sighting of 30+ft long humpback whale just a couple of miles offshore from Placencia. Possibly the whale became disorientated and lost, finding its way into the deep water channel leading to Big Creek port. It will be important to monitor its location and see if it is able to find its way back out to deep water and outside the reef.

U.S. Embassy's Political and Economic Chief J. Nathan Bland visited Valley of Peace
The U.S. Embassy's Political and Economic Chief J. Nathan Bland visited Valley of Peace recently along with representatives from UNHCR and Help for Progress. Valley of Peace, formed out of a collaboration between the Government of Belize, UNHCR, and the Mennonites, became a place of refuge in Belize in the 1980’s for over a thousand people fleeing the civil war in El Salvador. Today it is a thriving community and an impressive example of a successful resettlement community.

Postponed until further notice, power interruptions previously scheduled for Orange Walk & Corozal Districts
7:00am to 7:15am & 4:45pm to 5:00pm, Saturday, February 27 & Sunday, February 28.

BEL Restores Power Supply following Countrywide Power Interruption
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) restored power supply to the country this morning, following an unplanned power interruption at 6:41am, due to a damaged insulator on the transmission system, near the Petville Area in the Orange Walk District. By 7:12 a.m. most of southern Belize had been restored using local generation sources. The North and West were restored between 7:38 a.m. and 7:52 a.m. while the Belize District, South and remaining areas were restored by 8:14 a.m. On Wednesday, February 24, portions of San Pedro Town and a portion of the Belize District also experienced unplanned power interruptions ranging two to three hours, as a result of weather conditions. In San Pedro, the power interruption was due to downed guy wires and in the Belize District, several high voltage lines were downed. BEL crews were promptly dispatched to assess and conduct repairs. A branch was also removed from high voltage lines, near Mile 3 on the George Price Highway.

2016 Belize Bike Rally
The Harleys are rolling in as 2016 Belize Bike Rally "Meet in the Middle III" 25-27 Feb 2016 kicks off today. Bikers will be in San Pedro on Saturday at Fido's Beach Bash. See you there!!

2016 Belize Bike Rally "Meet in the Middle III" 25-27 Feb
The 3rd Annual 2016 BELIZE BIKE RALLY "MEET IN THE MIDDLE" will be held in Belize City and San Pedro, Belize, Central America on 25, 26 & 27 February 2016.

Kitchen, Dining Hall and Garden Opened at the San Francisco de Jeronimo R.C. School
On Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development Hon. Gaspar Vega travelled to Pueblo Viejo Village in the Toledo District for the opening of a new kitchen, dining hall and garden at the San Francisco de Jeronimo Roman Catholic School. In his keynote address, Minister Vega noted the importance of the facilities in addressing the issue of childhood malnutrition, which is the highest in the Toledo District. He also made mention of his hope for more development in the area of health in Belize. Also in attendance at the opening was Mexican Ambassador to Belize H.E. Carlos Quesnel Melendez who congratulated the Ministry on its efforts to improve the conditions of child health and nutrition. The facilities were officially opened with a ribbon cutting done by Minister Vega and the Principal of San Francisco de Jeronimo R.C.School Mr. Stephen Sho. Minister Vega also toured the facilities along with the other officials from the Ministry and the primary school.

Lou Bob Hodge and Dennis Mitchell TO APPEAR ONCAYE CAULKER
Habanero's is proud to present the dynamic duo of Lou Bob Hodge and Dennis Mitchell Saturday Night!!! Reservations for dinner highly recommended. Come see two very talented musicians jammin on our deck!!!! Call 626-4911 to reserve!!! Walk ins always welcome if there's space!!! One of Dennis's last gigs so don't miss out!!!

Harley Davidson Bikers
While I was stranded at the Chetumal/Belize border earlier today,in the middle of a hightened protest, I took the opportunity to introduce myself and promote Belize to a bunch of Harley Davidson Bikers who are heading to Belize City for the Annual Belize Harley Davidson Bike Rally. The group of bikers are visiting from Cancun, Distrito Federal and other states in Mexico. They will be continuing their journey to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye with their bikes on board one of the local barges. I hope they enjoy the camaraderie ,our people and may they have a safe journey to the island. I know they will be looking out for the photos and article on the Corozal Daily so here it is! Welcome to Belize amigos Mexicanos!

Corozal's District Youth Council Elections
Let your voices be heard. This coming Monday February 29th is Corozal's District Youth Council Elections. Polling Areas will be all Department of Youth Services' Offices country wide. Please see flyer for the address of your DYS District Office.Corozal's office is located on the 2nd floor of Corozal Farmers Supplies and Dave's Photo studio. Polls will open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m.

Wine House Wine Tasting
The Wine House is having a special J.P. Chenet wine tasting FRIDAY night. It'll be their 1st true wine tasting, and it starts at 7:00pm. They'll also have the icewine available.

JGBB EAST COAST & MIDWEST ROAD SHOW 2016
Belize Tourism Board

Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T) instructors
Yesterday, Ambassador Moreno helped to welcome the 35 newest Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T) instructors in Belize!!! To date a total of 125 police officers are already certified as GREAT Instructors in addition to the 35 officers being certified this week. A total of over 9,500 children have completed the program from primary schools countrywide. The G.R.E.A.T program seeks to assist youth to identify and avoid gang membership, prevent violence and criminal activity, and develop a positive relationship with law enforcement. This is accomplished by using a skills-based approach that addresses three domains of learning: cognitive, behavioral, and affective. The G.R.E.A.T program produces attitudinal and behavioral changes through a unique combination of skills training, cooperative learning, discussion, and role playing. Students are provided with many opportunities to model and practice relevant life skills. Once students have rehearsed these skills, they will be more likely to use them in real-life situations.

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
The Big Short, Krampus, Open Season Scared Silly, Carol.

Channel 7

Police Identify Body Found In Lamanai Lagoon
Yesterday we told you about the unidentified body which was discovered in the Lamanai Lagoon, in the remote Orange Walk District Village of Indian Church. Well, police report that they were informed about it just before 11 o'clock yesterday morning. When they arrived, they found the body of a man floating in the water. When they retrieved it, they observed that the hands and feet were tied up, and that there were bruises on the head. Tonight, police are no closer to identifying him, and because the body was in an advanced state of decomposition, it had to be buried after an on-sight autopsy. This evening, the Deputy Commander of Orange Walk Police, Inspector Nicholas Palomo, told our colleagues from CTV 3 News that his investigators only just learned the identity of the deceased to be 51 year-old Honduran Guido Urbina, a resident of Indian Church. Insp. Nicholas Palomo, Deputy OC - Orange Walk Police: "The body that was found floating on the Lamanai lagoon on yesterday's date was found to be that of one Mr. Guido Urbina. A Honduran national, age 51 and a resident of Indian Church Village. He was last seen alive on Saturday drinking along with three fellows from the village at a local village bar. All we know is that the body was found floating in the lagoon. However, a post mortem was conducted yesterday and at the conclusion of the post mortem, it was found that one bullet wound on the forehead of the person. There was an entry wound about 1 inch above the left eye and an exit wound right above the left ears. So the cause of death was a result of gunshot. Due to the advanced stage of decomposition, the body was buried at the Indian Church cemetery."

Unidentified Youth Still Not Found; Presumed Down
The Coast Guard Team which has been diving in the New River in Orange Walk has suspended their search for the retrieval of the body of the second young man who went missing after going swimming on Monday afternoon. The body of his friend, 21 year-old Carlos Reyes, was found on Tuesday after an intensive search. Right now, however, there is concern that this other young man may never be found and given the difficulty that the Coast Guard are having. We've been informed that because the Coast Guard's first 2 days have been met with no success, they've temporarily suspended their diving searches. We understand that the authorities are waiting for the body to surface on it's own, since it has been submerged for over 48 hours now. The Deputy Commander of Orange Walk tells the press that they have not given up on finding this still unidentified young man.

Briceno's (2nd) First National Exec Meeting As Leader
Today, John Briceno held his first meeting with the PUP New National Executive after been elected as party leader at the national convention 3 weeks ago. He's the new boss, and that means he's coming with his own agenda for what direction the party should be heading. As we told you, we had received credible reports that Briceno had created a senior position for Cordel Hyde within his Executive. That along with Briceno's first 100-day plan were discussed, and after the meeting, re-elected Party Chairman Henry Charles Usher briefed the awaiting press on a few items from the morning talks: "This morning we had our first meeting of the new national executive this morning. It was a very brief meeting, we had one main item on the agenda and that is the party leader's hundred day plan which he presented to the national executive for their approval and support. As part of that plan, the party leader listed a number of issues, including the reorganization of the secretariat. The reorganization and the restructuring and strengthening of the national executive and also his tour that he hopes to get done in all thirty-one constituencies within the first hundred days. Those were the main three items that he brought up and the national executive supported those positions and supported his plan."

GSU Shot A Disabled Man
Villagers in the West are up arms against the GSU for the alleged unjustified shooting of crippled vendor of Bullet Tree Village Roberto Chan. The incident occurred yesterday around 7 in the evening. Roberto was driving his wife and two children back home after visiting a friend in the Calla Creek Area, Cayo District. They were driving north towards Bullet Tree with their 6 year old daughter sleeping in the back seat and their 8 months old son sleeping on his mother's lap in the front passenger seat. But upon reaching an area they know to them as La Linea, they heard two gunshots and realized that Roberto was shot. The bullet came from back, went through the back of the drivers seat and hit Roberto in the right arm. Now what the GSU are saying is that they were conducting vehicular check points in that area when a Toyota 4 Runner, driven by Roberto Chan almost ran over one of their team members. However the family of Roberto Chan has an entirely different story. Here is what they said occurred. Roberto Chan, Claims unjustified GSU shooting: "I screamed and felt the shot. I told my wife to check the baby; my 6 year old and my 8 months children. I feel bad right now. My baby cry too much."

PUP Says Corruption Between BTL/Mek Mi Rich
On Tuesday, we told you how business man Curtis Swasey won his lawsuit against BTL and the owners of the Mek Mi Rich Lottery game. Justice Courtney Abel has ruled that the platform of lottery texting, which is what makes Mek Mi Rich profitable, was a concept stolen from Swasey, and that BTL leaked it to the directors of MMR Belize, Sunjay Hotchandani, and Andre Vega. Well, the Opposition People's United Party has come out swinging against both the Government controlled company and the Mek Mi Rich game owners. A statement from the PUP says, quote, "The People's United Party registers serious concern at what amounts to no less than a conviction of BTL, or persons acting on behalf of BTL, on charges of corruption. We are further concerned that no principal of BTL has come forward to announce an immediate investigation into the matter…Those at BTL responsible for stealing a concept and peddling it should be called out. At the very least, heads should roll." End Quote. The PUP then point to what they see as a clear political connection between BTL and Mek Mi Rich which they believe caused the breech in confidentiality that the judge has inferred.

CDB's Take On De-Risking
In the past few weeks you've been hearing a whole lot in the news about so called de-risking - where regional banks are ending their correspondent relationships with indigenous banks in the Caribbean. It's a legitimate crisis with far reaching implications for the business and banking sectors and yesterday at the CDB Annual Press Conference in Barbados, the Bank's senior brass said it will seriously affect economic growth:... Dr. Justin Ram - Director of Economics, CDB: "It's going to be a well-stifle uneconomic activity. Today, imagine private sectors trying to operate within the Caribbean and they can't actually get paid, or they can't actually get their funds out of the region? That's going to be a well hindrance to economic growth eventually. Either something that I believe we need to work on right now - we need to have a solution. We cannot wait." Dr. William Warren Smith - President, CDB: "This is a major threat hanging over our heads. Even at a time when we are saying that the solution for our countries as far as economic development is concerned is deeper integration and penetration into international markets. How do you do that if you can't move money back and forth from our countries to trading partners and vice versa?" Jules Vasquez: "Has anyone figured out who's the guy to talk to? I know Latin American leaders spoke to Obama himself at a summit. But has anyone figured out okay he is the guy we need to talk to?"

CDB: Belize's 2015 Growth Above Average
But despite the threat that de-risking poses to economic growth - the growth outlook for Belize in 2017 is above average. The CDB projects it at 2.7% - which is higher than the regional average - and higher than last year's anemic 2%. The Director of economics explained why:... Jules Vasquez: "Tell me why this relatively optimistic outlook for Belize in an otherwise down year?" Dr. Justin Ram - Director of Economics, CDB: "Well for Belize, you have to remember that last year they would have experienced some difficulty with respect to its agriculture sector. We don't see, we are hoping that some of those difficulties would not happen again this year. There is also significant investment in the public sector taking place. We see Belize making significant progress there. Driven as well by economic activity with respect to capital expenditure. We expect the agriculture sector as I said earlier to recover as well within Belize and that should be good. However, we do know that there are some risk. Remember the days of forecast and there are risk on the horizon. Most of all is respect to corresponding banking. For Belize this is real risk."

Is Superbond Payment + BTL Compensation A Ticking Bomb?
But the CDB report also mentions Belize's debt. At 80% of GDP, it is well above the 60% benchmark for sustainability. The report notes that in 2015 Debt/GDP ratios increased in The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Belize. Now this comes before the entire compensation payment for the BTL acquisition, So we asked Dr. Ram, with the super bond step up and the BTL payout, is Belize facing a debt bomb in the coming years. Jules Vasquez: "Is it facing a sort of debt bomb probably in maybe 2017, 2018?" Dr. Justin Ram - Director of Economics, CDB: "I don't think that there is a debt bomb on the way for Belize, but in this current environment governments need to be prudent examine their overall revenue streams to ensure that they are sustainable. But even more importantly, that be prudent in the way it spends money to ensure that expenditure is actually giving the government and the people of Belize the highest economic returns possible." The step-up in bond payments begins in 2017.

American Investers Claim Land Deal Con
Owning your own piece of land - that's every Belizean's dream - and it's pretty much the same for those immigrants who want a piece of the jewel. But a group of Americans have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths and that empty feeling in their bankbooks after they say a developer bilked them of their life savings and never gave them title for the property they bought. On Saturday we met six investors who paid Darin Smith of Biospharms forty thousand US dollars for a title in his sub-development - only to find out it was never subdivided. And because of that they could never get title. Now, they're suing him, but decided to go public because they say the situation is going from bad to worse. We met 6 of these disgruntled landowners at their attorneys office on Saturday:.. Ellen Tan, Disgruntled Land Owner "Well I think Larry was the one who was on the website and we've been looking for a community that's involved like living on solar and fresh water and healthy living, organic farming. So we found Biospharms on the internet and then we were writing to them and Darren Smith was the one who was emailing us and invited us to come down. In October 2003 we came down to look at the farm here. This was our life savings. Our retirement that were trying to get away from the US, so we could have a simpler life here and we put all our money in here."

Assad Shoman's Take On Sarstoon Dispute
Border advocate Wil Maheia has been planning another trip down the Sarstoon River, which is to take place this weekend, but once again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is imploring him not to do it. Maheia and the Belize Territorial Volunteers want to visit the trip to the Gracias a Dios border marker, and that will once again put him and the other Belizeans who take the trip in the crosshairs of the Guatemalan navy, who keep a very watchful eye of the River. A release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cautions, "while there are no public areas in Belize where Belizeans are not permitted to visit, there are areas in the proximity of our western and southern borders which are prone to generate tensions between the citizens of the two countries, and, in the circumstances, the Ministry maintains its view that it is imprudent and potentially dangerous for the organizers of excursions of this type to expose innocent Belizeans to the risk of inadvertently coming into conflict with Guatemalans be they civilians or officials."

Churchill Bernard Needs Financial Help
On Monday we told you about the fatal motorcycle collision on the Phillip Goldson Highway that took the life of 27 year old Kareem Arnold. The other victim in the incident was 21 year old Churchill Bernard who received extensive injuries during the crash but survived- just barely. He continues to be closely monitored at the KHMH. The reports had it that Bernard was overtaking a van when he ran head on into Arnold. Investigators said Arnold's headlights were not working which, they say, could have been cause of the accident. But while of the victims died on the spot the other continues to fight for his life. Today the mother gave us an update on his condition. Joleen Burgess, Mother of RTA Victim: "Well, he was in an accident Saturday night. He was coming from church, dropped off his little cousin and was going back to my mother for his helmet and his slippers, because he was going to play football at the church, after they have an all-day church, they usually have little games after that and then he was coming back home when I got the message that he was in an accident." Emanuel Pech: "Talk to us about the feeling the family had when they found out about it?" Joleen Burgess, Mother of RTA Victim: "Hmm, I don't wish that on anyone. Because that's a terrible feeling - you just spoke to your son and a little bit after someone calls and tell you that your son is in an accident. Words I can't really explain it."

Bailey Jailed For Weapon
38 year old Eugene Bailey, a resident of 45 Holy Emmanuel Street, at the Belize Central Prison tonight after being taken to court for an unlicensed handgun. Police say that on that Bailey was on Santa Barbara Street standing next to a black Saturn car yesterday. That's when they approached him and informed that a search would be conducted on him. This search, said police, resulted in the discovery of a .38 special revolver with 4 rounds of ammunition in its chambers. Bailey was unable to produce a license for the firearm, so he was arrested and charged it. He was arraigned today on charges of keeping an unlicensed firearm and keeping unlicensed ammunition ammunition before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. Bailey pled not guilty to the charge, but he couldn't be granted bail. He was remanded into custody until April 25.

Belizeans Stranded Because Of Mexico Riot
Several Belizeans got stranded across the border in Mexico last night as a result of a heated protest at Subteniente Lopez, Quintaroo. Reports from the Mexican press said that more than 100 people blockaded the highway in front of the Secretaria de Marina - or the Navy office. The blockade lasted for about 4 and a half hours until about 8 pm Belizean time. The protest was sparked by a recent move by authorities to establish a rigorous checkpoint- a measure that was taken to combat drug trafficking and the trafficking of firearms. However the checkpoint, residents of that area said, was causing long unnecessary traffic delays- a major deterrent for visitors coming to the area. This in turn, protestors said, was causing the community significant financial loss. Up to 8:30 last night, a few Belizeans were still stuck across the border. Fortunately everyone made it safely back home. Political authorities promised to meet with the angry residents later this month. Only then the crowd slowly dispersed.

Bel Outage
BEL is reporting tonight that there was a black out that affected majority of the country this morning. A press release from the company says that there was "an unplanned power interruption (this morning) at 6:41am, due to a damaged insulator on the transmission system, near the Petville Area in the Orange Walk District. By 7:12 a.m. most of southern Belize had been restored using local generation sources. The North and West were restored between 7:38 a.m. and 7:52 a.m. while the Belize District, South and remaining areas were restored by 8:14 a.m." Areas of San Pedro and the Belize District still had power failure until BEL technicians were able to fix downed wires on the island, and make other repairs on the mainland.

Accused Drug Traffickers Arraigned
Two days ago we told you about the weed bust at the boom junction. According to police reports the MIT unit was conducting vehicle checkpoints when they saw a vehicle make a U turn, throw something out of the bag and head back to the direction they came from. Police set chase and brought the men inside the vehicle to the area where they threw the object. A quick search resulted in the discovery of 4261 grams of weed. Two men were arrested for the offence of Drug Trafficking: Kareem Flowers, and Elwin Evans. However when the men appeared before the courts later that day Evans told the magistrate that he was puzzled as to why he and Flowers would be charged for the same offence when bought men were in two separate vehicles. Magistrate Carlon Mendoza informed him that to prove his case he would need to retain an attorney. Both men were granted bail in the sum of $4,500 plus surety of the same amount. They are due back in court on April 25th when they are to receive full disclosure.

Jerson Grinage Arraigned Again
On Monday, we told you about 22 year-old Jerson Grinage, who was stabbed in the head, but who did want to press charges against his alleged attacker. We'll, it appears that the man who is believed to have been his attacker is actually his cousin, Ervin Fitzgibbon. Both men, residents of Mahogany Heights Village, ended up in a fight this weekend. Grinage allegedly pulled a bottle opener and tried to stab him with it. Police say that Fitzgibbon answered back with a pint bottle which cut Grinage across the head. Neither men wanted to press charge, but police eventually charged both with aggravated assault. They were arraigned earlier this week and they told the Magistrate that they don't know why police would press the case when neither of them wanted a court action. They've both pleaded not guilty, and they've been released on bail of $800.

FIFA Elections: A New Football King
Right now, football executives from all countries around the world are in Zurich, Switzerland. They're preparing for tomorrow's 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress when they'll vote to elect a new President. They're trying to decide on a suitable replacement for Joseph Sepp Blatter, the embattled President who resigned in the wake of the biggest corruption scandal in the football world. He's been banned from taking part in any FIFA activities for 6 years by the organization's ethics committee, and right now, the football nations are trying to put the unpleasant and embarrassing event behind them. 5 senior football executives have emerged as candidates who want Blatters job now that it's vacant. The international news organization, BBC put together this story examining each of the candidates: We'll have more from the FIFA elections tomorrow.

The Upgrade Of A Pueblo Viejo School
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, travelled to the village of Pueblo Viejo in the Toledo District. While there, he, the Mexican Ambassador, and other Belize Government officials opened a new kitchen, dining hall and Garden at the San Francisco de Jeronimo RC School. Here's an excerpt of his keynote speech to the participants gathered: The Deputy Prime Minister also used the platform to note the upgrades that the Government have made possible to improve the lives of residents living in the remote areas of the Toledo District:

Having Fun With Children's Rights
While those children who attend San Francisco de Jeronimo will benefit from those upgrades at their school, Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simpliss-Barrow wants to make sure that all children know about their rights. She launched a new book today with the help of UNICEF Belize called "Having Fun with Rights: A Children's Rights Activity Book". She told the gathering today at the Bliss that the publication is fun, engaging and informative: The book targets children aged 8-11 years old and is designed to make the teaching of children's rights more interactive and enjoyable.

Ladyville Tech's Pageant
Tomorrow the Ladyville Technical High School is hosting its 2nd ever female pageant. 7 female students will compete against one another in areas of grace, posture, charisma, intellect, talent and beauty of course. Teacher Janine Carballo is coordinator this year's pageant. She says that the event could not have been timelier as they are currently celebrating the month of self-esteem. For the past few weeks the ladies have been running around trying to get their last minute preparations before the big pageant tomorrow at 7. This is also the first time that the school is intimately involving the community of Ladyville as the pageant is being held in a public park to make more accessible.

Placencia Community Policing
Officers from Placencia went out on a community policing effort, where they visited a family in Seine Bight Village. That house belongs the visually impaired resident, 67 year-old Martin Moreira, and 69 year-old brother, Paul. In an effort to help the elder gentlemen, the officers cleaned up their yard and home and donated a box of groceries. The team of officers were led by Inspector Dennis Miles, and they were supported by Southern Regional Commander Sr. Superintendent Ralph Moody. Also assisting the officers were members of the Seine Bight Village council and students from St Alphonsus Primary school also in that community. Placencia Police intend to make another surprise visit soon.

Channel 5

Cayo Police Investigate Shooting by G.S.U.
There is an incredible story coming out of the West tonight, in which a man from Bullet Tree was shot by an officer of the Gang Suppression Unit. It happened [...]

Who Stole Equipment from a BDF Base in PG?
There was a serious breach of security at Fairweather Camp sometime overnight on Tuesday which resulted in the theft of various military uniforms and boots. On Wednesday morning, the Quarter [...]

Lamanai Lagoon Floater Identified
The partially decomposed body of a Honduran national was fished out of the Lamanai lagoon by Orange Walk police on Wednesday afternoon.  The severed remains had what appeared to be [...]

M.F.A. Warns B.T.V. to Keep Away from the Sarstoon
Almost exactly one year ago, thirty-seven Belizeans maneuvering the Sarstoon were detained by Guatemalan military, taken under tow and escorted to Livingston. In fact, this Saturday will be the anniversary [...]

Will Cordel Hyde be New PUP National Deputy Leader?
Since returning to Independence Hall as leader of the People’s United Party on February first, John Briceño called his first meeting of the national executive this morning. The upper echelon [...]

Party’s Finances under Review by Executive
While new opposition senators are yet to be named, a parliamentary caucus has been arranged for Monday during which it is expected that names will be fielded. The opposition can [...]

Is There Bad Blood in the PUP South?
Is there bad blood lingering among supporters of previous party leader, Francis Fonseca post the January thirty-first national convention?  Since Fonseca’s defeat, Toledo East Area Representative, Mike Espat has reportedly [...]

Fishermen Given a Jail Pass for Illegal Fishing
Two fishermen from Chunox, Corozal District, appeared for the second time in court for illegally fishing inside a natural monument. Marvin Patt, and his cousin Edison Patt were charged with [...]

Eugene Bailey on Remand for Firearm Charges
But thirty-eight-year old Eugene Bailey is on remand at the Belize Central Prison following arraignment in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on two gun related offenses on Wednesday. Police found [...]

OWTC Distances Itself from Fake Drivers’ Licenses
Fake cops and fake driver’s licenses; while the Belize Police Department grapples with the issue of impersonators perpetrating crimes in the name of the law, the Orange Walk Town Council [...]

Belizean Students Speak About Life & School in Barbados
More than seventy Belizeans are in Barbados studying at the UWI Cave Hill Campus. They are among thousands from the rest of the Caribbean and other countries.  Now, student life [...]

Children’s Rights Activity Book Launched
The Bliss Center in Belize City was over flowing this morning with children from various primary schools. The event was the launch of an activity book that will teach them [...]

CTV3

Body Of Swimmer Lost In The New River Still Not Found
Tonight marks three days since the disappearance of an unidentified male individual in the New River.On Monday evening at around 5:30, 21 one year old Carlos Reyes along with a second unidentified male jumped into the New River but never reappeared.Following efforts by the Belize Coast Guard and local divers, the body of Reyes was recovered on Tuesday at around 11:00 in the morning. But despite many hours of incessant searching by the Belize Coast Guard, the body of the second individual was not found.Today when we spoke to Inspector Nicholas Palomo, second in command at the Orange Walk Police Formation, he told us that the identity of the second individual still remains a mystery and while the Coast Guard has called off the search, local divers are still working on locating the second body.

Opposition Leader Presents Hundred Days Plan To Executive
This morning the newly elected National Executive of the People’s United Party held their first meeting at the party’s headquarters in Belize City. According to party chairman Henry Charles Usher, the main item on today’s agenda was the one hundred day plan presented by Party Leader John Briceno to the executive for approval. Also included in the discussion was the restructuring of the national secretariat, the National Executive and a position for Cordel Hyde who contested the leadership position at the National Convention on January 31st.Henry Charles – PUP Party Chairman:“As part of that plan the Party Leader listed a number of issues including the reorganization of the Secretariat and the reorganization and the restructuring and strengthening of the National Executive and his tour that he hopes to get done in all 31 constituencies within the first hundred days, those were the main three items that he brought up and the National Executive supported those positions and supported his plan.”

BTV Plans Commemoration Trip To Gracias A Dios
This coming weekend will mark one year since over 30 Belizeans were detained by Guatemalan Military while on an expedition on the south of our country.Many of you may recall that on Saturday February 28th 2015, a group from the Belize Territorial Volunteers, while on a mission trip to place a plaque at the Gracias a Dios monument, was detained by Guatemalan Military. The group consisting of near 40 Belizeans mainly from Orange Walk were taken first to a Guatemalan outpost and later taken to Livingston, Guatemala. Although the group was returned safely back to Belize, the reason for their detention is still unknown.In commemoration of the event, the BTV planned another mission trip to the Sarstoon this coming weekend, but the news of the trip did not come as good news to the Ministry of Foreign affairs and the CEO of the Ministry has advised the group to desist from making their way to the Gracias a Dios monument. Today our news team received a video from the President of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, Will Mejia, where he is expressing his disappointment in the Government of Belize.

Consumer Price Index Up By 0.4 Percent
The prices of goods and services purchased by Belizean households increased marginally, by an average of 0.4 percent, during the month of January 2016, according to the latest release issued by the Statistical Institute of Belize.SIB’s latest statistics show that the all items Consumer Price Index stood at 103.2, up from 102.7 in January 2015. If we look at the Transport category, the report shows prices dropped by 3.3 percent despite an increase in the sub-category of Fuel.The average price of premium gasoline was up by 15.4 percent when compared to the same month last year, while regular was 7.7 percent higher. Diesel however, saw a decrease in its average price per gallon, declining by 9 percent during the period.Within the “Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages” category, the prices of food items saw an overall increase of 1.8 percent for January 2016. Higher prices were observed across all types of meats, eggs, fresh fruits, sugar and vegetables. Prices for Red Kidney beans, however, remained well below what they were in January of 2015, decreasing by 24.3 percent.

Owners Of Bushy Lots Are Advised To Clean It Up
As we speak the Orange Walk Town Council along with representatives from the Ministry of Health are carrying out a meeting at the Philip Alvarez Park with residents of Orange Walk Town.The meeting will serve two purposes, one…for residents to voice out their concerns to the council and two….for the public to get a better understanding of the Zika Virus which has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization. To date Belize remains without any confirmed cases of the virus and the Ministry of Health and town council intend to keep it that.If we talk about the efforts the council is carrying out to keep the community Zika free, Mayor Kevin Bernard says they are advising property owners of busy lots to clear their land……or else.“It is not the onus of the Council to maintain people’s private properties; you have a property, you bought a property, it is your responsibility to maintain that property, it must be kept clean and it must be kept chopped and so I appeal to all those residence that have over grown lots, vacant lots, please go in and maintain your property, it is a health hazard, it creates a lot of rodents...”

Fourth Murder Victim In Orange Walk Identified
Orange Walk Police have identified the fourth murder victim for the district. This particular murder marked the second to occur in the village of Indian Church.As we told you yesterday authorities were informed of a body that was floating in the lagoon. When they arrived at the scene, they observed that the body was in half after apparently being eaten by crocodiles. The victim was seen with his hands bound and it is suspected that the he was tortured.Today we can tell you that fifty one year old Guido Urbina, Honduran national was shot to the head and he was last seen alive on Saturday in the company of three men from the Village of Indian Church. Reports are that the men were all drinking at a local bar. Inspector of Police, Nicholas Palomo, spoke to us about the results of the post mortem that was conducted late yesterday evening.

Increase In Fuel Price Indication Of A Broke Government
Last night we told you about the increase in fuel prices announced by Government despite that sharp decrease in price per barrel of crude oil in the global market. Based on GOB calculations, due to the increase on import duties on fuel the price for a gallon of regular gasoline saw an increase of thirty seven cents and now sells for eight dollars and five cents. Diesel saw a hike of one dollar and now goes for seven dollars and sixty cents per gallon. As for Premium that saw a reduction of thirty one cents and the gallon now sells for nine dollars and seven cents.But compared to the amount Belizeans need to pay now for regular and diesel fuel….the 31 cents reduction in Premium fuel seems insignificant. So why is GOB increasing the price of fuel when the barrel of crude in the world market is at an all-time low? That is a sign of cash strapped Government, says Leader of the Opposition John Briceno.Honorable John Briceno – Leader of the Opposition PUP:“One of the easiest way for them to increase taxes is to increase tax on the fuel, if all of us have to buy fuel we can’t do better and that is what it has been happening to us, the government is desperate for money and they are going to find any which way to be able to get that monies to satisfy their appetite for the Belizean tax dollars.”

Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Against Trip To Gracias A Dios
Late this evening the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a release in which they expressed concern in the inherent danger faced by the Belize Territorial Volunteers in their planned excursion on the Sarstoon River.According to the release, the Government of Belize is geared toward a peaceful resolution to Guatemala’s claim and trips to areas such as the Gracias a Dios Monument can generate tension between the citizens of both countries which the Ministry is intent in preventing.And while the Ministry reiterates that there are no public areas in Belize where Belizeans are not permitted to visit, they say there are areas in the proximity of our western and southern borders which are prone to generate tensions between the two countries. The Ministry stresses its view that it is irresponsible and potentially dangerous for the organizers of expeditions of this type to expose innocent Belizeans to the risk of coming into conflict with Guatemalans.

LOVE FM

Humpback Whale Spotted in Southern Belize
Recent newscasts have included the slaying of sharks and other marine life when it comes to the use of gill nets. It is viewed by many as being cruel and insensitive to our ecosystem and there is currently a petition circulating to ban the use of gill nets and long lines. Tonight, however, we bring […]

Having Fun with Rights; Special Envoy Launches Book #2
Having Fun with Rights: A Children’s Rights Activity Book – it is the name of a publication that was launched this morning at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts in Belize City. Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis-Barrow is behind this publication that came following consultations with elementary students from Hummingbird School […]

Military Uniforms Go Missing in Southern Belize
Since last week we have been reporting of various incidents where individuals have been posing as police officers in an attempt to get firearms. In more bad news for security personnel, thief or thieves have made off with an assortment of BDF boots and uniforms from a storeroom at Fairweather Camp in Punta Gorda. According […]

Body Found in Lamanai Lagoon
The body of a man was found floating in the Lamanai Lagoon in Indian Church Village in Orange Walk, yesterday morning. The body was found by a villager who called the police. Police arrived at the scene and found fifty one year old Honduran national Guido Urbina. Love News spoke to Inspector Nicolas Palomo, Deputy […]

Foreign Affairs Frowns Upon BTV’s Planned Trip to Gracias a Dios
On Saturday, Wil Maheia, of the Belize Territorial Volunteers plans to make an expedition to the Gracias a Dios monument in commemoration of the fateful day when Belizeans were detained by Guatemalan Military a year ago. Today, we learnt that the CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sylvestre Lawrence called Maheia in an attempt to […]

GSU Shooter Investigated By Police
A man was shot by GSU officers last night; he has been identified as 28 year old Roberto Chan. According to members of the GSU, they were conducting a vehicle check point in an area known as La Linea when a Toyota almost ran over one of the officers and so they fired at the […]

Goods and Services Go Up with Dangriga Recording Highest Rate of Inflation
The cost of goods and services increased marginally, by an average of point four percent, during last month. This is according to the Statistical Institute of Belize, SIB, which further informed that its latest figures show that All-Items Consumer Price Index stood at 103.2, up from 102.7 when compared to January 2015. The price within […]

Deaf Chorus Debuts at Arts Festival 2016
The annual Street Arts Festival is set for this coming weekend in downtown Belize City. While there will be arts in various forms on display, we spoke with Joseph Stamp Romero who highlighted the theatrical presentation that will take place on Saturday evening near the intersection with Dean Street. According to Romero, it is a […]

Sugar Production Lower than 2015
The 2016 Sugar Cane Season is in its 12th week and last week the factory at BSI managed to grind fifty one thousand two hundred and ninety three tons of cane. This produced four thousand eight hundred and thirty six tons of sugar. Two and a half thousand tons of mud was extracted from the […]

Theatre Arts in Belize
Arts come in various forms ranging from painting to dance to music and poetry; there is also theatre art that has not taken much popularity in our country. Joseph Stamp-Romero has been known to be one of the key players in the theatre arts when it comes to writing scripts and directing stage plays. Romero […]


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#511945 - 02/26/16 11:48 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 26, 2016 [Re: Marty]
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The Guardian

Dan of all Dans! - Cordel jumps elected PUP deputies to be National Deputy
It may go down as the strangest thing amongst the strange things the PUP has done over the years, just to appease a special interest, but with the PUP they seem to be rewriting the script whenever we hear from them. However this latest move appears to be straight out of a Mafia Movie or out of Fool School. On 31st January this year they had a convention and Cordel the man who ran dead last of all eleven persons who contested the convention is now being touted by Johnny the Former New Leader to be his Senior Deputy Leader a.k.a. National Deputy Leader. In plain English, Johnny wants Cordel to be his second in command. In other words Johnny wants to place Cordel over all the other deputies who got more votes than even Johnny himself at the convention. If anyone were to be made Senior Deputy it should be Rodwell. He got the most votes at the convention and of all the deputies he has won the most elections. Rodwell is a THREE TERM REPRESENTATIVE. Now what signal is that sending to those persons who opposed him and whom he said he was extending the olive branch to? Much more, what is it saying to the general membership of the party from which the majority of the convention delegates came? We always knew Johnny was dense, but we never knew him to be this dense or has he taken leave of his senses and taken residence at the funny farm or maybe it could be that he is looking for a reason to resign as leader again so that he can have the distinction of being the only person to say he is two time FORMER LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION and the person who served the shortest term as leader of any political party anywhere in the world.

58 thousand dollar fine for human trafficking - Special Envoy upset with freedom of convicted human trafficker
Belize, like all Central American countries, has been struggling to combat the lucrative business of human trafficking. International treaties have been signed, laws have been changed and policies adopted to strengthen the country’s anti-human trafficking strategy. Unfortunately, this has done little to slow down the illicit and inhumane trading of vulnerable people. This is why the case against Honduran national, Estella Gonzalez, was so important to human rights activists in Belize and this is why they were so frustrated when a Supreme Court Justice released her with a fine after she was convicted of forcing a 15-year-old immigrant to perform sexual services for money. Naturalized Belizean Estella Gonzalez, 64, was convicted of the trafficking of a minor on February 10, 2016. She employed a 15-year-old undocumented female at her establishment on the George Price Highway, Temptation Bar. The minor told authorities that Gonzalez housed her at a residence in the Mile 8 community on the George Price Highway for the purpose of exploiting her as a prostitute. The conviction carries a sentence of eight years.

Youths set to elect national leaders
A number of active youth will be making their way to designated polling stations across the country on Monday, February 29, to elect their District Youth Councils, from which a Belize National Youth Council will be selected. Young men and women in the 18 to 26 age group are vying for posts of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations Officer of their respective District Councils. The campaigns are spirited and modernized with social media being the most accessed platform to reach voters. Voters are selected by youth groups registered with the Department of Youth Services. Each registered youth group was allowed to select two members as delegates for the district elections. The names had to be submitted by February 12 to allow candidates to have a two week window to make their pitch directly to voters. As mentioned earlier, most of the campaigning is being done on social media platforms. However, the Department of Youth Services is organizing youth rallies countrywide to give candidates an opportunity to address delegates in person. In Belize City, a parade and rally was held on Friday, February 19. The parade started in front of St. John’s College on Princess Margaret Drive, proceeded through the principal streets of the city and ended at the Battlefield Park for a rally. After a brief musical interlude, the candidates were given two minutes each to make their pitch to delegates in attendance.

Equipment donated to improve data collection and analysis on violence against women and human trafficking
The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), provided data gathering equipment valued at approximately BZ$184,000.00 to relevant government departments, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Security. The official handing over of the equipment took place on February 19, 2016 at the Raccoon Street Police Station in Belize City. The purpose of the equipment is to strengthen the capacity of those government units in charge of collecting and analyzing data on violence against women and human trafficking and ensure improved access to reliable data for programme planning and decision-making in this area. The hand-over of equipment takes place under the BA1 Project: Prevention of Violence Against Women, Human Trafficking and Femicide in Belize that falls under the Central American Security Strategy (ESCA,) which seeks to address at local, national and regional levels, risk factors of violence and protection mechanisms, focusing on violence affecting youth, armed violence, gender-based violence, smuggling of migrants and trafficking, drug use, and climate change.

FFB madness again?
In Belize we always hear the phrase “one step forward, two steps backward” and in football that seems to be the norm. About four years ago many Belizeans thought that Belizean Football had taken a turn for the better, but like many other things it seems it was not to be. A friend of ours who was maybe the most prolific goal scorer from the 1970’s and early to mid 1980’, told us that he hoped the present FFB President would prove him wrong and not become like the Former President, but now he is seeing history repeating itself in the FFB. Once again a storm appears to be brewing in football. It reminds us of the same storm that took place during the era under the Former President. Elections are due or should we say overdue for the FFB and the same games that kept the Former President in power for over ten (10) years appears to be at play again. The voting in the FFB according to the FFB statues are done by delegates. These delegates in a way are very much like the Senators appointed by the Churches, Business community and Unions. They should vote as per instructions of the people who appointed them. In effect it is like holding a proxy. Before an election those delegates should seek directions from the membership of the bodies they represent. For example the delegate or delegates representing the Belize District Football Association should convene a General Membership, where it’s membership will be asked to vote on who they would like their delegate or delegates to vote for at an FFB General Assembly. They would also elect the person or persons they would want to serve on their association.

Fake Cop arrested
Cameron Jerryson Slusher, 26, is at the Belize Central Prison on remand for aggravated assault upon a security guard who claims he was robbed by men pretending to be police officers. In a report to police, Security Guard Elmore Spencer, 26, said that at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 17, he was performing security duties at Moon Superstore on Coney Drive when he was approached by three male persons who came in a black Toyota car. Spencer was standing in front of the store when two of the men exited the vehicle; one wearing a camouflage pants similar to that of the GSU along with a plain white t-shirt and a clipboard in his hand. The other man was wearing a black t-shirt with a combat pants and boots. He had a chrome shotgun in his hand. The men informed him that they were police officers and asked him if he had a security license for the firearm. Spencer told them that they would have to go to the office if they wanted to know that. According to Spencer, when he refused to co-operate the third man opened the door and said something to the man holding the gun. That was when they got into the car and sped off. Spencer was able to see the faces of the three men.

Mahogany Heights men are charged with aggravated assault
Two Mahogany Heights men who were engaged in a fight in their village were arraigned on Monday February 22 on separate charges of aggravated assault with a dangerous instrument. The first to be arraigned was Ervin Fitzgibbon who was charged with one count of aggravated assault upon Jerson Grinage for allegedly assaulting him with a bottle opener. The second person to be arraigned was Jerson Grinage, who was charged with the same offense of aggravated assault upon Ervin Fitzgibbon, allegedly with a dangerous instrument, being a broken pint bottle. In court, both men pleaded not guilty to the charge. They told Magistrate, Carlon Mendoza that neither of them wanted any court action so they don’t understand why the police charged them. They nonetheless pleaded not guilty were and were offered bail in the sum of $800 each plus one surety of the same. They were granted bail and are due back in court on April 22, 2015.

Ryan Cole Takes Rap for Weed Found at Home
Three people were cleared of drug charges on Tuesday, February 23, when Ryan Michael Cole, 21, took the rap for 156.9 grams of marijuana found at their Tibruce Street home. Acting upon information received, police searched a residence at #1108 Tibruce Street on Saturday, February 20, and found 156.9 grams of marijuana. As a result, the occupants present at the time were all arrested. They are Ryan Michael Cole, Conrad Lewis Cole, 24, Alex Thyler Broaster, 20, and Derrick Pineda, 25. The group appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Tuesday to face a charge of drug trafficking. In court, Ryan Cole chose to take the rap for the weed.

Jorge Velasquez, to stand trial for rape of 12 year old girl
Jorge Velasquez, 35, who was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl back in September of 2014, is behind bars on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he could not post bail granted by the Chief Magistrate on Wednesday, February 24. A preliminary inquiry (PI) took place before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith to determine if there is sufficient evidence to commit the case to trial. In court, Velasquez was represented by attorney Bryan Neal. Prosecutor in the case, Cpl. Christopher Smith, is relying on the statements of the victim, the child’s doctor and other witnesses.

4 men busted with out of season lobsters
The Belize Coast Guard on patrol on Crayfish Caye, Turneffe Atoll made a bust on Friday February 19. As a result of the bust they handed over three men and 243 lobsters to the Fisheries Department who promptly took the men over to the Magistrate's Court where they were charged. Fisheries prosecutor, Hampton Gamboa, escorted the three men, identified as 53 year old George Marin, a resident of #2807 Jesus Ken Street, Belama Phase 2 area; 24 year old Angel Tun, a resident and Electrician of Peter Ashdown Street, Belama Phase 2 along with 30 year old Raymond Petzold, a resident of #351 Belama Phase 2 area; where they appeared before Magistrate Deborah Rogers being jointly charged with one count of possession of lobster in the closed season. Initially all three men pleaded not guilty to the charge and bail was offered to them in the sum of $1,000 each plus one surety of the same amount.

Another murder in San Pedro
Police are investigating the killing of Frank Edwards Jr., 27 year-old fisherman from the San Mateo Area of San Pedro Town. Sometime around 9 last night a group of men arrived at his house one of whom had a shotgun and shot him. As he fell back into his house other men came up to him and opened fire on the injured Edwards. Reports are that he may have been shot as many as 40 times. The killers quickly ran off and made their getaway in a boat that was nearby. Police have so far detained two men in the killing and are looking for others in this recent homicide in San Pedro. Frank Edwards Jr. has a colorful past with numerous run-ins with the police where he was charged with numerous crimes including murder. Back in 2011 he was charged but acquitted in May of 2012 for the 2009 double murder of James Swan and Edward Gutierrez in San Pedro.

Guatemalan welder found guilty of trafficking drugs
On Friday February 19, Guatemalan national, Odilio Gutierrez was sentenced to 6 years in jail after he was found guilty of drug trafficking. The 29-year-old resident of the Jane Usher Boulevard area of Belize City was unrepresented when he appeared before Magistrate, Carlon Mendoza. There he wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offenses of possession of a controlled drug with the intent to supply to another person or persons for the purpose of drug trafficking. For the offense he was fined 10 thousand dollars and remanded to prison for 3 years. If he fails to pay the 10 thousand dollar fine he will serve an additional 3 years in jail.

Progress continues in Belmopan
Belmopan, the capital city of Belize, continues to develop at a rapid pace and the City Council is doing an admirable job of keeping up the pace of infrastructure development with the pace of the municipality’s growth. The working relation forged between the four time sitting Area Representative and the first term Mayor has resulted in a merger of local and national resources which has galvanized the city’s infrastructure drive. Residents of Guatemala Street and surrounding areas are enjoying a newly paved street that received its second coating on February 20. Motorists and pedestrians can now forget the days of potholes and frustrating puddles. It could have been easy to forget about a street like Guatemala Street. Not because of the name, but because it is not in a population center. However, the Mayor and Area Representative promised residents both in Belmopan Central and rural that the city’s resources will stretch across the municipality. Residents of Nicaragua and Venezuela Street are also benefiting from that pledge.

To Educate Attorneys
Dear Editor: On Friday, February 19, 2016 Jacqueline Marshalleck, President of the Bar Association of Belize told Channel 7 News: "The conference is essentially to educate attorneys on the issue of the Belize/Guatemala dispute. I think there is an assumption because we are attorneys we are all comfortable and knowledgeable on international laws and the details of this dispute. There is an expectation I do believe by the public, since the dispute touches on legal affairs, that we will be able to advocate and explain and I think that that is a fair expectation of us as an association and as advocates. But in order to do that properly we need to have that information and we need to be properly educated ourselves, so that when we go out to assist perhaps in explaining or educating things to the general public, to our family, to our friends - that we make sure we don't provide wrong information or we miscommunicate something. Because we are picking it up from sources or places that may not necessarily be proper. So the idea is to put our attorneys in a position where they have access to persons who know about this topic in detail and in depth and hopefully they will learn from this experience and then be able to assist others."

Fruta Bomba and Belize Food Packers fire 123 employees
Brooks Tropicals the parent company for Fruta Bomba & Belize Food Packers Ltd., which is the sole papaya exporter from Belize, has terminated the services of 123 employees. The announcement was made on Friday February 19 and is part of the companies winding down of operations in Belize. The company had over 250 employees and over the next 6 months those will all be terminated. In a release from the Ministry of Labor and Local Government it states that, “The Ministry of Labour, is currently working closely with the management of the company and the affected employees, to ensure that the legal requirements under redundancy are complied with and most importantly that the wages and terminal benefits due to all employees by law are paid.” Earlier this month on February 9th, the companies began to lay off workers and the ministry says that it had already been engaged with workers to offer them advice to verify their payments.

Belize Elementary’s Ethan Quan Wins Coastal Awareness Quiz Competition
The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute is hosting a series of activities across the country in celebration of Coastal Awareness Week, which was launched at Old Belize on Monday, February 22, under the theme “The Coast is ours… Let’s climate proof it!”. The first activity held for the week of February 22 to 27 was a primary school quiz competition. Students from across Belize City gathered at the Bliss Center to cheer on their schoolmates on Tuesday, February 23. The competition featured questions on the importance of the Belize reef system and its coastal zone; including three atolls, several coastal lagoons, mangrove forests, and over 300 cayes. There were also some general environmental questions included. At the end of the competition, Ethan Quan from Belize Elemenatry School proved that he was clearly more knowledgeable of the Coastal areas of Belize than his peers. Quan received $500 cash and a tablet for his victory.

Government endorses the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan
The Honorable Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development has announced the recent decision made by the government of Belize on February 9th 2016 to endorse Belize’s first National Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (“the Plan”). This announcement was made during the Deputy Prime Minister’s keynote address delivered at the Official Opening Ceremony for Coastal Awareness Week 2016 being implemented by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute under the theme, “The Coast is Ours…Let’s Climate Proof-It!”

Coastal Management now has Integrated Management Plan
The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) opened Coastal Awareness Week on Monday, February 22, with the announcement that Cabinet has approved and is ready to push forward the National Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan. Belize has the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching approximately 280 kilometer from the northern to southern borders of the country and those who depend on the reef system for their livelihood have been pushing for a comprehensive management plan since 1989. The Government of Belize has taken steps to protect and regulate the reef system and activities since stakeholders made their voices heard. Government passed the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Act in 1998 to address issues such as rapid development, overfishing, and population growth. That act gave the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute the responsibility to develop an integrated management plan for the sustainable use of coastal resources. Designing this comprehensive plan has been an extremely tedious exercise and Government abandoned it from 2003 to 2008. A new administration revived the project in 2010 but by then much of the data had been lost and the dynamics in the industry had changed. The CZMAI had to start almost from scratch by holding a series of consultations with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, industry guardians, private sector representatives from business and tourism, community groups and indigenous communities.

Hon. Frank Mena addresses D.Y.S. candidates
Unfortunately, the youth of today has been blacklisted when it is only a minority of young people who are creating social disruption. Most youths are motivated and long to do well in everything they do, which means they could play a very important role in politics. To begin with, young people have different perceptions and a host of different ideas. By allowing them to voice their opinion, doors could be opened in propelling the Belizean political world forward. This is not only good for the Belizean society, but necessary for society on a whole. Which brings us to the National Youth Council, a youth governance body that aims to speak on behalf of the youths of Belize. Today rallies were held across the country in preparation for election of District Youth Presidents, Vice Presidents, Treasurers, Secretaries and Public Relations Officers come Monday February 29th, 2016. Here in Dangriga, it all started off with a march from the Drums of Our Fathers Monument to BTL Princess Royal Park. Stann Creek West UDP Standard Bearer Walter Garbutt, one of the three keynote speakers, was first in addressing the crowd and the 21 potential candidates. Garbutt said, “Youths are indeed the future. It’s not just a cliché, you are indeed the future and for those who are looking for a leadership role, look around you. Look in your community and you will identify some great leaders. To be a good leader you need to have patience.”

Dangriga’s second phase of development
Over the next 9 months Dangriga Town will see an increase in activity with the paving of a number of streets as well as the installation of drains across the town. The work comes as a result of Phase 2 of the Dangriga Municipal Development Project which is well under way. The work scope will include the paving of Gadsby Ramos Street and Trucking Boulevard from its intersection of Gadsby Ramos Street to George Price Drive. These highly trafficked streets will be paved with double chip and seal paving and at each intersections it will be triple chip and seal paving. Both streets will have drains, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and speed bumps. Upon its completion it is expected that the drainage problem that plagues the area during the rainy season will be alleviated.

Change in Import Duties and prices for fuel products
Yesterday, the Ministry of Finance apprised the Cabinet of the continued, significant decrease in domestic crude oil production and the attendant slump in tax revenues and royalties, and made recommendations for immediate compensatory adjustments to the duties levied upon imported fuel products. Consequently, Cabinet approved the following adjustments, effective February 25, 2016, to the import duties: Increase of 40 cents per US Gallon on Premium Gasoline to $3.36 per US Gallon Increase of 30 cents per US Gallon on Regular Gasoline to $3.03 per US Gallon Increase of 80 cents per US Gallon on Diesel Oil to $2.72 per US Gallon The combined effect of this change, along with the downward change in the CIF prices of this recent fuel shipment, will result in new pump prices per US gallon (in Belize City) as follows: Premium Gasoline -$8.99 per US gallon Regular Gasoline - $7.98 per US gallon Diesel Oil - $7.52 per US gallon

Newlyweds charged for celebratory marijuana
A BDF Corporal and his wife were busted with 40.4 grams of marijuana in their Fabers Road home on Saturday, February 20, and charged with possession of a controlled drug. Corporal William Swan and Carmelita Games appeared in the Belize City Magistrates Court on Tuesday, February 23, where Games took the wrap for the drugs. According to police, based on information received they visited the couple’s home at #36 Faber’s Road Extension at around 5:10 a.m. on Saturday. The team of officers was from the Special Operation Unit, Strike Team and Canine Unit dog, Basco. The canine officer pointed the team to the couple’s bed. There the officers found a LALA Yogurt container which contained six parcels of marijuana. As a result, Swan and Games were arrested and charged.

7 years for woman who plead guilty to burglary and theft
Margarita Pech/Noralez, a 35 year old mother of a one month old baby pleaded guilty to burglary and theft on Monday February 22. As a result of her guilty plea she was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Noralez appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Fraser, where she was charged with burglarizing the home of Kelsey Musa. She was additionally charged for stealing from Dr. Martha Habet, a doctor employed with the KHMH. In court Noralez opted to plead guilty to both crimes and as a result was sentenced to 6 years in prison for burglary and a year for theft. On Monday February 15, 2016 Noralez was charged and arraigned for theft for which she was remanded to prison. On Monday February 22 she was brought down on a warrant for a burglary charge she picked up in 2015. That matter was set for trial.

Daniel Rios to stand trial for carnal knowledge of 9 year old girl
Twenty seven year old Daniel Rios, who is accused of having sex with a 9 year old child remains in custody at the Belize Central Prison after a preliminary inquiry against him concluded and his case was committed for trial at the Supreme Court on Friday February 19. Rios a resident of #276 Star Fish Crescent, Belama Phase 1 is accused of having sex with the 9 year old child on April 28, 2015. His Preliminary Inquiry took place on Thursday April 18 before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith where there was no challenge to the police’s evidence. With that, Chief Magistrate Smith sent up the matter for trial at the Supreme Court in the April session. Prosecutor in the case, Cpl. Christopher Smith is relying on statements of as many as 9 persons including the minor and her mother who gave consent for her to be examined by a doctor.

Roy Jones arrested for murder of American in PG
Police have arrested and charged 48 year old Roy Jones for the murder of Thomas Paul Rockowski. The 69 year old American naturalized Belizean was killed in his home on Saturday 6th February in Hopeville village in Punta Gorda Rockowski was at home when he was attacked by three persons who forced their way into his home and stabbed him to the neck and chest. He managed to call the police and when they arrived they took him to the Punta Gorda hospital and later transferred to the KHMH where he died. Police have now arrested Roy Jones and they believe jealousy was the motive behind the killing. Two other persons who had been detained by police have since been released.

Convicted of stealing a TV from his boss
Twenty three year old Rocky Road resident, Kermick Adolphus Shabazz was sentenced to one year in prison after he pleaded guilty to theft and handling stolen goods. As a result Magistrate Carlon Mendoza imposed on him the one year prison term. Shabazz was accused of stealing a $225.00 LCD Panasonic TV and a remote valued $50.00,from his employer businesswoman, Pawan Thadani. In a report to police, Thadani, who owns a shop on the Phillip Goldson Highway reported to police that on February 18, 2016, at around 9:00 p.m., upon her arrival at her store noticed that her television was missing from her business. A statement was recorded and police investigation led to the arrest of Shabazz who at the time was an employee who took police to his home where they recovered the TV. Thadani positively identified the television to police as hers.

Mar Alliance expresses concern over overfishing of sharks in Belize
A shark conservation NGO, Mar Alliance this week posted pictures on Facebook raising an alarm over a large number of sharks which were being processed for meat near the Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye. The pictures posted show fisher folk cleaning 3 shark species including hammerhead and Caribbean Reef sharks at the Sandbore Caye and Hat Caye Lighthouse. According to the post there were at least 50 sharks landed at the sites. In Belize it is not illegal to fish for these marine animals however Oceana Belize’s Vice President, Janelle Chanona has expressed concern over the quantity of sharks which were being processed and the possibility that longlines and gill nets may have been used in capturing the sharks.

Court says ‘MEK MI RICH’ was Curtis Swasey’s idea
Corozal Businessman Curtis Swasey has won his fight against BTL and the proprietors of the Mek Mi Rich Lottery Game. The Supreme Court has ruled that lottery texting in Belize was his idea, and that Mek Mi Rich stole it. After weeks of hearings and back and forth trips to the court, Swasey made his case before Justice Courtney Abel that he signed a confidentiality agreement with Belize Telemedia Limited. Then, over the course of 2 years, he started to explain his concept of lottery texting. He wanted to use BTL’s SMS service to allow for the average Belizean to buy tickets with their credit for his game called Super Slam Sunday. He claimed that BTL had no idea of how it would work, and so he had to walk them through it step by step. He submitted email correspondences back and forth between himself and the technicians of BTL, in which they had an unending list of questions on what to do. Then, in 2014 the company terminated their business relationship with him, and then a few months later Mek Mi Rich was launched with his very same concept.

Western Ballaz stops Belmopan Bandits in its track
The National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last weekend with five games on the schedule. On Friday February 19, at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium in San Ignacio Town, Kurt Burgess, who played the first two years of the NEBL was making his first appearance as a visitor to the auditorium with his new team the Belmopan Bandits to take on the Cayo Western Ballaz. At the end of the game, the home team Cayo Western Ballaz prevailed with a 67-60 win over Kurt Burgess and the visiting Belmopan Bandits. The top scorers for the Cayo Western Ballaz were Elvis Usher Jr. with 17 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 3 steals; James Milton with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal and Brandon Flowers with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal. For the visiting Belmopan Bandits, the top scorers were Jarrel Velasquez with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists; Nick Brown with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals; Kyle Pascascio with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals and Kurt Burgess who scored 5 points, grabed 13 rebounds, dished out 2 assists and a steal.

Alberto Gonzalez Mindez and Rosa Elizabeth Del Toro Amaya win CADICA 10 Km Cross Country event
The Belize Athletics Association in collaboration with the Central American Cross Country championship in Athletics (CADICA) hosted the X Central American Cross Country championship on Saturday February 20, 2016, at the Roaring River Gulf Course in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo District. In the 10 Km Open event in the male category, which saw the participation of 14 competitors, first place went to Alberto Gonzalez Mindez of Guatemala in a time of 31.51. The second athlete to cross the finish line was Mario Arturo Santizo Lara also of Guatemala in a time of 32.25. The third athlete to cross the line was David Alexander Escobar Castillo of El Salvador in a time of 33.04 and he was followed by Williams Alexander Sanchez Rivera also of El Salvador in a time of 33.43 and he was followed by Jose Enrique Calvo Solano of Costa Rica in a time of 34.06. Belize’s best finished came in the person of Ervin Hamilton who placed eight in a time of 40.50. The other Belizean competitors placed from ninth through fourteenth place. In the 10Km Open female category, first place went to Rosa Elizabeth Del Toro Amaya of El Salvador in a time of 37.52. The second runner to cross the finish line was Aldy Jimena Gonzalez Zuniga of Honduras in a time of 39.26, the third runner to cross the finish line was Monica Viviana Vargas Chaves of Costa Rica in a time of 41.27.

27 thousand pounds of rice taken off the market
The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) is reporting that on the 11th of February it removed 27,571 pounds of rice from a business outlet in Belize City. The release states that a Notice of Detention was served on a rice producer because he was not complying with the proper packaging and labelling requirements for rice. While the release does not identify the producer, the Guardian has learnt this person to be Jacob Wahl from Ship Yard who was given several warnings as to the proper packaging of rice. He was given his final warning last week. The rice which was detained was packed in 100 pound bags which is in contravention of the regulations which specify that the maximum amount in which rice can be packaged is 20 pound bags.

Ombudsman and Contractor General Sworn-In for New Terms in Office
In a brief ceremony held on Monday, February 22 at the Belize House in Belmopan, Mr. Lionel Arzu and Mr. Godwin Arzu were sworn-in for their new terms as Ombudsman and Contractor General respectively, following the Prime Minister’s announcement of their re-appointments at the January 22nd Sitting of the House of Representatives. This marks Mr. Lionel Arzu’s second term as Ombudsman and Mr. Godwin Arzu’s third term as Contractor General. Both men were joined by their families as they took the oath of allegiance before the Governor General H.E. Sir Colville Young.

Traffic wardens enhance their skill sets in Belmopan
With much infrastructural work on the Nation’s Capital already underway, the Traffic Department within the Belmopan City Council is now enhancing the skill sets of its traffic wardens. These specially designated personnel, who ensure the smooth flow of traffic in Belmopan, have undergone two days of training at the Police Training Academy on both Saturday and Sunday of this past weekend. Lecturers for the two day course included Mr. Kevin Jones (Traffic Manager), who discussed the standard operating procedures of the Traffic Department, while Ms. Lucia Ellis addressed the wardens with a motivational talk. Mr. Emil Pulido based his talk on professional Development. A discourse on Public Relations and Road safety was given by Ms. Pamela Scott and Shantel Jacobs from the Belize Road Safety Project. Other lectures to the wardens were given by members of the Police Training Academy, which included topics on motor vehicles and road traffic, licenses & insurance, report writing, justifiable force and harm and the types of evidence acceptable by the court. The Belmopan City Council would like to extend congratulations to all the 12 traffic wardens who willingly attended the training.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Dismembered remains of a premature infant found in Dangriga
Breaking Belize News has received disturbing information of the discovery of dismembered remains of a premature infant found on one of the streets of Dangriga earlier today. Information is sketchy but BBN was reliably informed that Dangriga police are currently investigating the matter. This […]

Coast Guards call off search for missing person
After three days of intense search, the Belize Coast Guard have called off the search for a second missing person who allegedly plunged into the New River late Monday evening. After several attempts of both surface and under water search, the coast guards were unsuccessful in […]

Police help elderly men in Placencia
Most of the time police officers are only featured in the news for allegations of brutality or for making arrests but a new strategy the Placencia Police are implementing, may change the public’s perception of law enforcement officers. In an effort to build community relations on […]

Orange Walk Police identify body found in Lamanai Lagoon
Police have identified the body found on Wednesday across the Lamanai lagoon in Indian Church Village as 51 year old Guido Urbina, an Honduran national who lived in the village. Police investigations so far have indicated that Urbina was fatally shot to the forehead. He […]

Protestors in Chetumal briefly delay travelers again
Up to midday today, Belizeans and travelers headed to Belize were once again stranded at the Subteniente Lopez area in Chetumal as community members in the area blocked the highway. Breaking Belize News understands that Belizeans and several bikers who were on their way to […]

Who is behind fake Orange Walk Town drivers’ licenses?
This week San Pedro police revealed that several persons approached the Town Council for the routine renewal of their drivers’ licenses from Orange Walk. Unfortunately for them, the documents turned out not to be genuine. Police have begun an investigation and narrowed their focus on […]

Special Envoy releases kids’ activity book on children’s rights
Our children are supposed to be innocent, but in modern times they have had to grow up far faster than they should. One aspect of that growth is becoming aware of the basic rights they have and are entitled to, as well as their responsibilities […]

Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) to Sarstoon again, despite warning from Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Belize Territorial Volunteers have planned another trip to the Sarstoon River for this coming Saturday. The expedition is in commemoration of their trip to the Gracias a Dios border monument along the Sarstoon river last year. At that time, they were detained by Guatemalan military and […]

Packed sports schedule for this weekend
In the National Elite Basketball League this weekend, the first game on Friday night will see the undefeated Belize Hurricanes taking on Belmopan’s Bandits at Elementary Gym 9:00 p.m. and on Saturday in Dangriga, its Warriors will go up against Belize City’s No Limits at Ecumenical Auditorium 8:00 p.m. Also starting at 8:00 Saturday night, […]

City Cops find weed and ammo
The Southside Strike Team 3, Special Branch and K-9 Unit, all attached to the Belize City Police Department, conducted searches on Queen Charlotte Street yesterday morning, resulting in the discovery of weed and ammunition. In an abandoned lot on that street, officers found a […]

People’s United Party seeks place for Cordel on National Executive following meeting
The People’s United Party’s first National Executive meeting since January’s Special National Convention elections took place today in Belize City. While he was not in attendance, former candidate for party leadership Cordel Hyde is expected to be integrated at the senior level of the […]

Belize Defense Force storeroom burglarized in Punta Gorda
The Quarter Master in charge of equipment and storage at Belize Defense Force’s (BDF) Fairweather Camp in Punta Gorda (PG), reported to police yesterday that there was a burglary at the camp’s storeroom, sometime between 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday […]

Cool and windy conditions prevail
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting variably cloudy and cool weather with light rain along the coast this morning, then decreasing this afternoon. Winds will be blowing from the North-Northwest at 15-25 knots with higher gusts and the sea state will be […]

Is Belize’s vote in FIFA Congress valid?
Football Federation of Belize President, Ruperto Vicente, votes in tomorrow’s FIFA election in Zurich, even though he has been suspended according to his Executive Committee, although he claims the suspension is not legal. FIFA and CONCACAF are yet to rule on the matter. As reported by […]

Basketball and Football action continues
Over the past weekend, starting on Friday night, games continued across the country as part of National Elite Basketball League’s season, which has already reached its halfway point with Belize Hurricanes dominating thus far. Western Ballaz secured a victory against Belmopan’s Bandits with a […]

Blogs

Light lunch and interesting conversation at Cocoblanca
I was recently invited to attend the Belize Humane Symposium hosted by Saga Humane Society at CocoBlanca the Coco Beach restaurant. Since my mom is here on a one week visit and willing to do what ever was on my schedule that she was interested in, she was happy to join me. After Pilates class we got cleaned up and headed north to Coco Beach Resort. There were many new and also many familiar faces at the event. The groups came together to brainstorm, and share best practices on how they can all work smarter not harder. Importing and sharing of medication came up, as sometimes one group may be out of a particular medication and a different one has a surplus. Another interesting comment shared by the Cayo Humane Society is that they use high tech pet ID tags to help track dogs and get their info out to the public.

Bacon-Wrapped Chili Shrimp
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Melt the butter with the chili powder in a small pan, stirring to combine. Divide the chili butter between 2 separate bowls. Wrap each shrimp in a half piece of bacon and skewer with a small skewer or large toothpick. Arrange the shrimp on the wire rack and brush with half of the chili butter (1 of the bowls). Bake until the bacon is cooked, 5 to 10 minutes. With a clean brush, brush on more chili butter from the second bowl. Serve on a big platter and sprinkle with sliced green onions. These can be taken out of the oven up to 1 hour before serving and kept warm. Brush on the second portion of chili butter right before serving.

“Love Is a Losing Game” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
In the previous edition I mentioned that Arsenal had an important Champions League game against Barcelona. I also mentioned that Rose and I get invited to join them when friends have a ‘no work today’ outing. And yesterday was one of those days. There’s a large number of Belizean’s on Ambergris Caye that avidly follow La Liga (the premier football league in Spain) . Predominantly though they are either Real Madrid or Barcelona fans with the majority (based upon my observations) supporting the latter. When Barca are playing the distinctive shirt is to be seen all over the island. So with so many Barca fans on the island I think they thought it would be good to have an Arsenal fan amongst them during the game to poke fun at and they saw me as ‘fit for purpose’ so I vitiated me to watch the game with them.

BLANCMANGE (MAJA BLANCO)
1 In a heavy-bottomed pot, it can be a pressure cooker, place milk and cinnamon sticks. 2 When it begins to boil remove 1/2 liter of the milk and cool. You can help to cool it by placing it on top of some ice. 3 In a blender place the cooled milk and cornstarch and flour and liquefy. 4 Boil the milk that was left in the pot once more and add the blended milk. 5 Stir mixture until you can see the bottom of the pot. 6 Pour into a plate or platter made of clay. 7 Once cooled sprinkle cinnamon powder on top and with a napkin pat it on. 8 Place on table with squared pieces cut out so it can be easily served.

International Sourcesizz

Belize's Vicente arrives in Zurich to vote but his exco claims he has been suspended
Football Federation of Belize President, Ruperto Vicente, voting in tomorrow's FIFA election in Zurich, has been suspended according to his Executive Committee, although he claims the suspension is not legal. FIFA and CONCACAF are yet to rule on the matter. A dispute between Vicente, who was elected FFB President in March 2012, and members of his Executive Committee has blown up over recent days with Vicente accused of disallowing candidates not loyal to him in upcoming district elections scheduled for March 13 and overstepping his authority in the decisions he and his General-Secretary Michael Blease, have been making. The dispute has gone legal with Vice President Sergio Chuc having called an executive committee meeting in order "to suspend (Vicente) as member and president of FFB." After some difficulties, the meeting was held with Vicente present and after a compromise could not be found the executive committee members claim Vicente was suspended due to his "ongoing documented history of engaging in and/or permitting improper activities in violation of FFB Statutes 2011," as well as the "improper manner in which District Association elections have been conducted in violation of numerous rules that govern the FFB and the FIFA Code of Ethics."

C OF I EXPERIENCES BELIZE: A STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE
Erika Scheibe, a sophomore biology major at The College of Idaho, gives a firsthand account of a recent C of I study abroad experience in Belize, where students accompanied Professors Chris Walser and Don Mansfield to learn about the subtropical ecosystems and culture of the vibrant Central American nation. I look out over a lush tropical landscape that I’ve only ever read about. In front of me in the thick Belizean air rolls an unceasing ocean of hills displaying every shade of green imaginable–lime, jungle, and emerald all enmeshed in one fluid landscape. A flock of rare, brightly hued scarlet macaws rest on their qualmwood tree above me, capturing my interest for hours. I spot a snowy egret flying by, its scintillating white feathers standing in sharp contrast against the dark greenery. In the distance, a black howler monkey bellows its evening call to neighboring troops. The fading sign that shepherds travelers towards the humid outdoors from the small Belize City airport describes Belize perfectly; “Welcome to Belize: Mother Nature’s best kept secret.” During Winter Term 2016, I had the opportunity to uncover these secrets by studying the ecology of Belize through guided jungle walks, snorkeling adventures, and my own independent research. After studying the ecology of Belize throughout fall semester, it was eye-opening to visit the small Central American country first-hand. Through The College of Idaho’s study abroad program, 15 students alongside biology professors Dr. Don Mansfield and Dr. Chris Walser had the opportunity to explore and learn about the vast jungle, savanna and cave ecosystems that make up Belize, as well as the coastal, reef, and mangrove ecosystems of the Caribbean.

Incredible Blue Holes of the World: 1. Great Blue Hole, Belize
Located off the coast of Belize, the Great Blue Hole lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef and is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The underwater sinkhole, which is over 400 feet deep, is a diver's dream—it's considered one of the top 10 diving sites in the world. Divers from all over the world travel here to dive in crystal-clear waters and see myriad species of marine life including, including Midnight Parrotfish and Caribbean reef shark, and spectacular coral formations.

Researchers Explore the Role of the Prehistoric Kayuko Mounds in Maya Royal Accession Ceremonies
Around the world and throughout history many rulers who’ve taken power have said their authority is ordained by God. In Europe it was called the divine right of kings and in China the mandate of heaven. Apparently people in the ancient Maya societies of Mesoamerica had a similar concept, though we don’t know what they may have called it. Some researchers working at a prehistoric site in Belize believe that a group of manmade mounds near a sacred cave were used in royal accession ceremonies by a king seeking approval of the deities. Archaeologists Holley Moyes , Mark Robinson, and Keith M. Prufer wrote in the February 2016 issue of the closed-access journal Antiquity: “The cave of Kayuko Naj Tunich is believed to have been the location of the accession ceremonies for the royal dynasty of the ancient Maya Uxbenká polity in southern Belize. Little is known, however, about the structures referred to as the Kayuko Mound Group that lie close to the cave. Excavations have now provided evidence for the date of this complex, and experimental research has estimated the labour costs involved in its construction. The results suggest that while both the mound group and the cave were involved in the celebration of royal accession, the former acted as a short-lived festival site in contrast to the enduring significance of Kayuko Naj Tunich.”

Taiwan President to visit two Central America nations
President Ma Ying-jeou is scheduled to visit two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America -- Guatemala and Belize -- in March, sources said Friday. On his March 13-19 trip, Ma will meet with Guatemala's new President Jimmy Morales, Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, and Saint Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, the sources said. Ma will also deliver a speech at the Central American Parliament, which is headquartered in Guatemala City, they said. Local press reports added that Ma will make transit stops in Houston and Los Angeles, but not in any citiy on the east coast of the United States.

CDB predicts slower economic growth for region
Caribbean governments have been urged to speed up legal and regulatory reform amid predictions of slower economic growth for the region, following last year’s mixed fortunes. The advice came yesterday from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) which said that overall growth remained sluggish. In its annual review of the performance of regional Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs), the Bank said the global economic difficulties of 2015, including the slowdown in China and its effect on markets elsewhere, had an overall negative impact on the region. The vulnerability caused by a heavy reliance on overseas markets, as well as the impact of natural disasters such as storms and drought particularly in Dominica and The Bahamas, stymied growth. In some BMCs, the reduction in Correspondent Banking Relationships (CBRs) threatened the financial systems and real economies. Recovery in the regional tourism market continued last year with most destinations seeing increases in visitor arrivals; and many reported higher numbers of the more lucrative stay-over visitors. Along with these positive trends, there was an uptick in tourism-related construction. As a result, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) each experienced growth of more than four per cent. For some of the larger countries, such as The Bahamas and Barbados, the positive tourism impact on growth was more modest.

Commentary: Would the real tax havens please stand
By Sir Ronald Sanders. “It is tantamount to an economic blockade”. That’s how Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, described the current withdrawal from Caribbean indigenous and offshore banks of correspondent relationships by US banks. His sentiments were echoed by Dean Barrow and Freundel Stuart, the prime ministers of Belize and Barbados respectively. The withdrawal of correspondent banking relations is the immediate cause for these strong observations made by the prime ministers, with the endorsement of all heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), but it is not the only reason. The region’s financial services sector has been threatened since the mid 1990s, when the powerful nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) introduced its so-called ‘harmful tax competition initiative (HTCI)’. The HTCI was premised on the erroneous belief that companies and persons, domiciled in some of the OECD countries, were stashing hundreds of millions of taxable money in small jurisdictions in the Caribbean, Pacific and the Indian Ocean where there was either low or no taxation.

UK expats – register to vote in the EU referendum
Attention UK Expats! Almost 106,000 overseas electors registered to vote - three times the numbers that were on the register ahead of the previous general election in 2010. While this is a real improvement, it is still a fraction of the 5.5 million UK citizens estimated to be living overseas, and potentially eligible to vote at the EU Referendum. This means millions of UK citizens living overseas could miss out on their chance take part in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union because they don’t know they are eligible to register to vote. That is why we are supporting the second ever Overseas Voter Registration Day to let UK residents overseas that many of them are eligible to vote and that it’s now easier than ever to take the first step by going online to register to vote. With the date of the referendum as yet unknown, we are advising UK expats to register sooner rather than later so you can be sure you are registered in time. Expats can now register online to vote in just a few minutes at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote In fact, thousands of expats have already taken advantage of the new system in order to register to vote.

Videos

  • Snorkeling Belize, 8min. Filmed just off the shores of Caye Caulker,Belize part of the second largest barrier reef in the world.

  • Cozumel & Belize 2016, 55min.

  • AMIGOS Diving The Blue Hole Belize, 4min. This Virtual Dive episode sponsored by Guest Divers Mario, Camila, Josefina Escudero and Carlos Huerta from Santiago Chile. Thanks for your support and for choosing Amigos Del Mar Belize as your dive vacation destination

  • Humpback whale sighting off Placencia, 1min. Okay, here it is. We saw this Humpback Whale inside the reef yesterday. Alfred Williams was guiding us and we spent an unbelievable 15 or 20 minutes with this gentle giant. A very rare sighting in these waters. Can't put into words how lucky we were.

  • Team Adventure Medical Kits - Day 3 Highlights MMAC Belize 2016, 1min.

  • Belize 2016, 5min. Fifteen of HHCA's upper school students and four leaders traveled to Belize for a mission trip with ROWKids. It was an amazing week and God transformed the lives of many of our students. The group spent time working at a local school doing construction, leading Bible studies, and loving students.

  • Shark Ray Alley Snorkeling in Belize, 3min. Saw lots of Nurse Sharks, Rays and Amberjacks while snorkeling over at Shark Ray Alley! The water was crystal clear! This video shot by a friend while I stayed in the boat with our kids because my son was bleeding after he put his hand in the water and got bit by a hungry Amberjack who mistook his finger for one of the sardines our guide was throwing in.

  • More snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley in Belize, 3min. 2nd half of the video with the nurse sharks, amberjacks, and rays while snorkeling shark ray alley off Ambergris Caye, Belize.

  • BELIZE. Blue Hole @ Long Caye Lighthouse Atoll, 3min. Belize, with pristine rainforest, rolling mountains and land steeped in ancient civilizations and modern cultures is protected offshore by an immense 190 mile long barrier reef: “The most remarkable reef in the West Indies” according to Darwin.

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