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#512094 - 03/02/16 06:16 AM Today's Belize News: March 2, 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

Ambergris Today

Belize at 35, Independence Anniversary Exhibit at Art Museum of the Americas
Belize 35 A big banner illustrating a sculpted faithful man, Belize’s Founding Father, George Cadle Price sitting on top of the symbolic national tapir carved by Sculptor Santiago Cal and the signature colorful letters that reads “Belize 35” is what boasts the entrance at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C. With this beautiful banner it is enough to lure you inside the room that hosts an extensive amount of pictures that hang from the very white pristine walls with such charm and pride. Once you make your way in you will find yourself indulged in the sequence of events that occurred that very historical day on September 21, 1981 captured by fellow Belizean Photojournalist Karl E. Villanueva, as well as beautiful pieces of wood-work carved by Sculptor Santiago Cal.

Child Stimulation Month 2016
March signals the commencement of Child Stimulation Month. Pre Schools around the country prepare a month-full of activities that are geared at stimulating the children's minds to their upmost potential. Today, all pre schools on the island joined in a parade that kicked off Child Stimulation Month.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

First Friday Of March Trash Pick Up: Paradise Theater / Tres Cocos Area
Friday, March 4at 9 AM - 11 AM. Please join us Friday, March 4th, 9 am at the Paradise Theatre (just north of the bridge) as we conduct our monthly road and beach clean up. Locals, expats and tourists are all invited to help out and show some Isla Love! Please be there by 9:00 am :-)

The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in collaboration with infoDev, a World Bank Group, hosted a one day workshop with stakeholders to chart a way to foster an innovative entrepreneurship ecosystem in Belize. This workshop, which was held at the ITVET Dining room in Belize City on Monday February 29th, brought together incubator managers, entrepreneurs, academics, government officials, the media, donors and investors to facilitate the development of a collaborative approach to building a sustainable ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation. The workshop, entitled ‘Accelerate Caribbean’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development’, is part of the Accelerate Caribbean Project, which forms part of a seven-year, $20M Entrepreneurship Program of Innovation in the Caribbean, (EPIC). The objective of this project is to strengthen entrepreneurship and boost job creation across 14 CARICOM countries, including Belize. The project is designed by InfoDev and implemented by IMC Worldwide.

To further improve the conservation, management and sustainable use of the Sea cucumber, the Belize Fisheries Department is implementing a new policy to strengthen the process for the issuing of export licenses. The new policy requires eligible organizations and individuals wishing to obtain a 2016 Sea cucumber export license to fill out and submit an application form along with a project proposal with details of the operation to the Fisheries Administrator. Eligibility: An organization or individual is eligible to submit an application for a 2016 Sea cucumber export license if he has a processing facility that is currently certified by Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA). Applicants will be required to provide evidence of a valid BAHA certificate. Guidelines for preparation of project proposal: An organization or individual wishing to submit an application for a 2016 Sea cucumber export license is required to contact the Fisheries Department for a Sea cucumber export license application form and a Sea cucumber project proposal submission form. All information requested in the application form and project proposal submission form must be provided.

Quotas for Conch and Sea Cucumbers, 2016
In accordance with the Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations under Statutory Instrument number 54 of 2012 (Regulation 24A.1) the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development hereby informs fishermen and the general public of the following: 1. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) / Catch limit for the Conch season 2015/2016 has been set at 800,000 pounds. 2. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) / Catch limit for the Sea Cucumber has been set at 300,000 pounds. The Sea Cucumber season will open from May 1st to June 31st, 2016. Note: Once the catch quota for any of the aforementioned fisheries is realized, even if is before June 31st 2016 then the fishing season will be officially declared closed. For any further information, kindly contact the Belize Fisheries Department at 224-4552 or 223-2187.

Corozal Youth Council Elections
Congratulations to President Damari Dammy Tesecum. It is about winning but most important it is about participating, engaging in the process and working together as one people. Congratulations to all winners and participants of the Corozal Youth Council Elections. Official Results for Corozal District! President - Damari Dammy Tesucun, Vice President - Dominique Vellos, Secretary - Immer Campos, Treasurer - ( We have a tie between two candidates Herman Sanchez & Phillip Wade Jr.), Public Relations Officer - Digna Ramirez.

PATTERN MAKING CLASS at the San Pedro House of Culture
March 5. 4pm. Learn how to make custom-fit patterns designs. Professional instructor from Germany. Free classes. Only one day in San Pedro. Limited space available. Register with Brenda at the San Pedro House of Culture

BTL To Launch "Full Nationwide" 4G LTE In Belize With Huawei
Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), under the banner of its DigiCell Mobile brand, and its telecommunications vendor-partner Huawei Technologies, today announced the roll-out of its nationwide 4G LTE network, expected for launch in December of this year. The installation of DigiCell's brand new 4G LTE mobile network throughout Belize will position BTL to be the first and only telecommunications provider to have this high speed mobile service throughout the country – and at speeds and quality that will ultimately be superior to that of any provider within the country, or elsewhere throughout the Caribbean & Central American region. The term "4G LTE" refers to the Fourth Generation, Long Term Evolution mobile technology that allows for data speed bursts surpassing 100 Megabytes per second (Mbps), alongside reduced latency and improved stability and capacity. Huawei Technologies, also present at the today's press conference, has been selected as the vendor for the LTE network. Huawei is a global leader in mobile technology with over 240 4G LTE deployments worldwide. Overall, Huawei wireless networks are used by more than 500 mobile operators worldwide, serving more than 2 billion customers.

Paint Party Events
Join us this Thursday to paint "Hut on the Beach". We will be having a delightful time with this masterpiece! The price is $25 U.S. For regular and a discount for members. Don't miss it and see you there! March 3, 2016 2:00 PM

Ministry of Health Clean Up Campaign in Belize City
March 5th and 6th!

Northern Softball Regionals 2016
Don't miss the Northern Softball Regionals 2016, taking place on Friday, March 4, and Saturday, March 5 at the Hon. Louis Sylvestre. Only $2 admission. There will be food and soft drinks on sale. Friday, March 4th - starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5th - starting at 9 a.m.

Belizean Boil Up
This is a Belizean Kriol recipe. Kriols descend from the African slaves of the English and Scottish woodcutters that settled in Belize in the 17th century, and this dish has strong African elements, from the vegetables used to the practice of combining ingredients in a stew.

Belize Police Dept: Easter Holidays
Message from Inspector Dehanne Augustine.

Ministry will contact OAS and Guatemala on blockage of Sarstoon
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that Belize's security forces witnessed on Saturday, 27th February, 2016 an increased state of alertness by the Guatemalan Armed Forces in the Sarstoon River who appeared intent on blocking entry of Belizean civilians into the Sarstoon River from the Bay of Honduras. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will raise its concern with the Republic of Guatemala and the Organization of American States on this matter, and will continue to actively seek the adoption of confidence building measures for the area, pending a definitive resolution of the dispute arising from Guatemala's claims.

Meet Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Clyde Williams
Upon his appointment Williams says " I must say that I am very pleased to have been promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police. I remained the officer Commanding South side Belize City and pledge to continue to do my best in preserving law and order on this side of the city, with a view to make the citizenry feel safe in their respective neighbourhoods. I thank the minister of National Security Mr John Saldivar and the commissioner of police Mr Allen Whylie for entrusting me with the responsibility I currently have and for my long deserved promotion."

BEL Opens $27.5 Million Series 7 Debenture Offer
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) today opens its $27,500 million Series 7 Debenture Offer, which will earn a highly competitive interest rate of 6% per annum for twelve years, through to 2028. The subscription cost per debenture is $100 for a minimum of one debenture. Proceeds from this debenture offer are being used to refinance the Company’s Series 2 and 4 Debentures and also to redeem existing debentures held by Debenture holders who choose not to invest in the new offering. The public is advised that first preference to subscriptions for Series 7 Debentures will be given to holders of Series 2 and 4 Debentures through to March 11. Thereafter, any remaining Debentures, will be made available for subscription by the public until March 31, 2016 when the offer closes.

Cayo Youth Council Results
Congratulations to the new Cayo District Youth Council. Best of luck! Ricky Cunil - President, Raven Galvez - Vice President, Josselyn Balona - General Secretary, Chantae Guy- Treasurer, Shantel Jacobs - Public Relations Officer.

The legendary Belizean musician, artist, cyclist, and promoter, Patrick Barrow relayed to yours truly these classic and historic photographs of Belize's most celebrated sporting arena, the MCC Grounds. This was MCC in the 1960's when cycling races around the track use to take place, and aspiring Belizean cyclist, like Barrow himself were part of the team of riders that competed against each other in the historic sporting arena. Apart from football, softball, cricket, and Track & Field that once brought Belizean fans to their feet in roaring applause for their Belizean star athletes, The Garden, as it was called is a priceless piece of real estate that by no means should be abandoned and sold off into private hands. If that is the case, we Belizeans at home and abroad should feel insulted that Belize's best sporting facility that once produced some of the best athletes in the world, that beat some of the best in the world, that defeated some of the best in the Caribbean, Central America and the United States, should be put up for a price.

Channel 7

Woman Constable Shot In Head By Robbers
Last night four shots rang out in the heart of downtown Belize City - in front of Scotiabank, not far from Brodies. It happened at 10 minutes to eight when police rolled up on 2 men who were in the act of robbing a security guard. What happened next was a shocker: instead of fleeing, the armed robber opened fire on police at close range - hitting a female officer in the head. It happened just down the street from our studio and 7News was first on the scene - same time as police who swarmed the area. Jules Vasquez has the story:... Last night at 7:50, three police constables, a male and two females were inside this police mobile was on patrol on Albert Street when the three officers inside pulled up on a robbery in progress outside Scotiabank. A gunman had accosted a man making a night deposit - and was trying to rob him on the ground. The robbers didn't expect the police to appear and opened fire - you can see the two bullet holes in the windshield, and the shattered glass on the street is from the drivers' side window.

Foreign Minister Says "Definitely Maybe" To Guatemalan Incursion
Last night, we brought you the Sarstoon Showdown on Saturday in which 5 Guatemalan navy vessels formed a blockade and prevented border Activist Wil Maheia from entering the Mouth of the Sarstoon. Maheia says the Guatemalan military entered Belizean territorial waters, and enforced their control, which is a violation of International law. He's joined by members of his Belize Progressive Party, and from the Opposition, PUP in denouncing actions of the Guatemalans. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government aren't so quick to condemn Guatemala, and Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington told the press yesterday that the BDF report is that only 1 Guatemalan military vessel may have entered into Belizean territory. Since there are no confidence building measures in the Sarstoon, there can be no official verification if the Guatemalan's actually incurred in Belizean waters. Elrington told us that Belize will be sending a diplomatic note of protest to the Government of Guatemalan.

Wil Vs. Wilfred
As you've heard, since last year August, the Government has pointed fingers at Wil Maheia and the Territorial Volunteers as the cause of all the tension over the Sarstoon River. The Prime Minister has gone on record acknowledging their well-intentioned show of nationalism, but he's also asked them to cease and desist because it does more harm than good. Well, at a press conference hosted by his Belize Progressive Partytoday, Maheia reiterated that he and other like-minded nationalists are not going to stop, despite this latest showdown: Wil Maheia - Leader, Belize Territorial Volunteers: "I have absolutely no dislike for my neighbors. But my neighbors have got to play by the rules. They have got to respect our borders. My neighbor who lives next to me, I like him, but he cannot come into my yard and cut down what tree he wants. That is the bottom-line." Wil Maheia - Leader, Belize Territorial Volunteers: "It's about to get hotter. Because we will not be deterred and combative? I don't think we are combative. No weapons, not even a machete was in out boat when we went. So I don't think we go there in a combative mode. We go there because as Belizeans I believe that every Belizean have the right to move in every part of this country and our borderline, according to the 1859 treaty states that our border is at the midpoint, deepest point of the Sarstoon River including the Sarstoon Island. So I don't think that we are combative and I don't think that we are the type of organization that promote violence. I have never ever taken any weapon with me on any of our expeditions."

Diplomatic Note, Will It Be Direct?
So, as you heard, the Foreign Minister repeated once again that Belize will be sending a strong note of diplomatic protest to Guatemala. Now, that was the promise made the public last year August when the first showdown happened between the Territorial Volunteers the Guatemalan Navy. A month later, PUP Senator Lisa Shoman revealed that protest note which she described as "weak kneed", and stressed that Guatemala's response was much more forceful. So, today, we asked Elrington just exactly what will be in this new protest note: Daniel Ortiz: "What is forceful in diplomacy in specifically writing these diplomatic notes?" Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "The language of diplomacy is normally referred to as the gentleman's language you know and the language is very different from that type of language that you hear being used in the streets and in the bars and when people have quarrel. You can say in a very forceful way using very nice language what you have in mind. And the diplomats have a particular way of crafting these messages which conveys quite forcefully although people who are not necessarily acquainted with the legalese as it were of diplomatic language or the formality of diplomatic language or think that they may not be forceful enough. These documents are crafted by the officials in the ministry of foreign affairs who have copious years dealing with this kind of thing. They are the experts on it and I don't seek to second guess them."

Is Adjacency Office Closing?
Last year, Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media that his government would work to convince their Guatemalan counterparts of a need for confidence building measures in the Sarstoon. That's so that the Organization of American States' Benque Office in the Adjacency Zone could be called on to verify whenever there are confrontations on the Sarstoon, such as the 2 which have happened between the Guatemalan Navy and the Belize Territorial Volunteers. But, instead of increasing vigilance, the OAS Adjacency Zone Office may end up having none at all! That's if the office is forced to close due to a lack of funding from the international community who are committed to seeing Belize and Guatemala reach a peaceful resolution to the territorial claim. Yesterday, Former PUP Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay told the media that the office might to be in peril if certain actions are not taken in time:

BTL: 40 Mil For 4GLTE
BTL 4G - for many phone users saying that name is almost like a curse word - and that's because of the system's unreliability, its slowness and the overall congestion. Well the antidote to all that is 4G LTE - that LTE means long term evolution and it promises speeds of anywhere between 50 MEGS and 100 MEGS - that's at least 20 times faster than the speeds you are currently getting on 4G. But, don't get all hyped up yet - the service won't roll out until the end of the year. Today BTL held a press conference at the Hour Bar to announce the deal with Chinese telecom giant Huawei to purchase the 4g LTE switch. Chairman of the Executive Committee Anwar Barrow says they want to BTL to go from the second slowest to the third fastest bandwidth provider in the region: Anwar Barrow, Chairman, Exec. Committee - BTL: "What we are doing with LTE is really launching a round-year plan to bring the country into a more competitive standpoint and our objectives is to be top three within the region by 2020. Right now we are as a country at number 25 out of 27 and our ambition is to be within the top 3 by 2020."

Caribbean Growth Forum
Yesterday you heard us talk about the efforts on the part of BELTRAIDE to foster a healthy business environment in the country. Well the efforts are not only being made locally but also regionally. Today members of the Caribbean Growth Forum met at Radisson, in Belize City, to start part 2 of this initiative that is focused on developing a proper investment climate. Emanuel Pech reports. Today's conference was part of a three day forum to take stock of key lessons learned from the reform actions implemented as part of the Caribbean Growth Forum over the past three years.

Faber Committed To Youth Elections
The results for the National Youth Council elections are in. But before we get into the results, we spoke to Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Patrick Faber today about the elections and he expressed his deep connection with this idea of youth participation. Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education: "From what I've been hearing apparently we had a very good process and I wish to point out that this entire process in fact was conceived, delivered by the young people. I want to salute the Department of Youth Services because what they've done is phenomenal and it is because if proper planning. So some years ago we decided we are going to put together the policy, we are going to put together the registration process where groups can register and be a part of the activities and we are going to empower the young people so that they themselves can take the lead in terms of youth work in this country and I will tell you, I have been absolutely bubbling over with pleasure to see how the young people themselves have taken this opportunity given to them by the government and how they've been able to run with it. It is phenomenal. I know that it is not going to be a perfect road, that there are going to be hiccups. In fact you see that we have a tie here in the Belize District for the presidency. I am told that there will be a bi-election in that regard and there was a tie at one of the other posts out district as well. But this is solely their initiatives. They are being guided by the department and of course by those who are trained in youth work from the region. We are grateful for that assistance, but I am ecstatic that the young people themselves are leading that charge."

Youth Leaders Chosen
In the Corozal District Damari Tesucum has been elected for President, while Dominique Vellos has won the seat for Vice President. Immer Campos was chosen for Secretary, and Digna Ramirez has been chosen for Public Relations Officer. The Treasurer's seat has ended in a tie between Phillip Wade Jr. and Herman Sanchez. In the Orange Walk District Joshua Carrillo has been chosen as President, and he will be joined Joslin Alvarez who was endorsed as the Vice President, since there was no one else who ran against her. Katy Magana was elected as Secretary, along with Delia Toledano, who was the only person who ran for Treasurer. Makeda Anderson has been chosen as the Corozal Public Relations Officer. In the Cayo District, Ricky Cunil was chosen as President, and he had to outdo 6 other presidential candidates. Raven Galvez had to defeat 7 other opponents for the Vice President's seat, while Josselyn Balona was elected as the General Secretary. Chantae Guy was chosen as the Treasurer, and Shantel Jacobs became the 5 member of the Cayo Chapter to be elected as Public Relations Officer.

Faber Says Youth Election Does Need Tweaking
So now that the elections are (almost) over what will be done to improve the process the next time around? We asked Faber about the criticism that only a very small percentage of the youth population actually voted in this year's election - as few as 94 persons in the Belize district. Well Faber told us that is something they will have to address. Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "What the department did was asked for the registration of youth groups and that was something that was new. So I was very pleased at the youth awards to see how many groups exist now as compared to year or two years ago. So it's a growth process and yes while in this registration process we might still not have captured all groups that are having young membership. Next year we hope that that number will grow. As we go on that it can truly be a representation of all the young people in this country."

Work Begins On Major Road Project
The northern highway between the Haulover Bridge and the airport - It is one of the most trafficked and one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the country. But, very shortly, work will commence on the 3.5 mile stretch of road with the purpose of making it 'safe.' The contract for those works was signed last year with CISCO Construction Limited at some $13.5 million dollars. That works out to almost 4 million dollars per mile, and, so, with works scheduled to start as early next week, we spoke to the Contract Manager for CISCO Construction who gave us an overview of what all the works will include. Arsenio Burgos, Contracts Manager - CISCO: "What the objective of the road rehabilitation is basically 3 parts: one of them is the safety component and the safety basically is being achieved by widening the road. The road is being widened from 7 meters which is roughly 24 feet wide to 34 feet wide. An example of what that is, if you get off on the airport access road, when you get off from the highway into the airport access road, you see that wide road that's there? That is the new width that this road will be. The second thing that's being done is if there is protection of the road itself, there is quite a bit of what they called river revetment work being done on this job.."

Chester Missed The Memo
In September of 2014, after a very violent 24-hour span which saw 4 murders, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference where he said that he didn't see why police were always running to the DPP for advice. He urged police to lay charges when they had evidence to speed things along. And that wasn't just any old urging; he is, after all, the Prime Minister, a former Attorney General and a ranking Senior Counsel. And so six days later, the police senior command sent out a directive telling commanders, quote: "The Practice of consulting the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as to whether to charge a person for murder or any other crime must cease forthwith." Well, newly promoted Assistant Commissioner of police and trained attorney Chester Williams said he never got the memo and he consults with the DPP religiously:... ACP Chester Williams, OC - Southside ED: "Even though I am an attorney I consult with the DPP on many issues. I just spoke to her this morning before you arrived on an issue. Myself and the DPP have a very cordial and respectful relationship. We communicate every so often when the need arises. I don't know about the memo. I have not seen it. I don't know if it happened before I came. I don't know. But like I said I have a respectful relationship with the DPP. Her office is one that is constitutionally created. She has certain responsibilities as the DPP and as an officer of the Court I respect her constitutional duties and authority and I am not going to do anything to circumvent those responsibilities."

Confessors On Camera
But, now Williams is a leading light of Police Minister Saldivar's anti crime drive - and also a major defender of Police Commissioner Allen Whylie. "The Commissioner's Rules" replaced "The Judge's Rules" at the start of this year and those rules lay out to police very clearly what can and cannot be done with suspects and detainees. One of the new rules is that statements - especially confessions - must be recorded with the utmost care - so that they are not thrown out in court. That could mean recording them on camera. Williams explained:.. ACP Chester Williams, OC - Southside ED: "There is a video recording room at Queen Street Police Station where all confessions are recorded and the reason for that is to show the court with a view to satisfy the court that any confession obtained from an accused person, was obtained freely and without the use of force, threat or oppression. So we believe that that in itself will reduce the amount of allegations or if I may say reduce the amount of confessions that are being thrown out the courts, because the court believe that the confessions were obtained either by the use to force or oppression. So we welcomed that new vision."

Zika Clean Up
There was an extensive cleanup campaign in the city over the weekend. As we reported health officials met with the Belize City Council in early February to discuss the threats of the Zika Virus and what the council's role is in keeping Belize Zika free. Now while there are no confirmed cases of Zika in Belize, the team must still protect against other diseases such as Dengue. So both the Central Health Region and the City Council assumed their roles by organizing a cleanup campaign in areas known as high risk for transmission of Dengue. Those areas include Central American Boulevard area, Mahogany Street, Tibruce Street and Haulover Creek. After the two days of cleanup, the team pulled away 16 truckloads of waste from these areas. They plan on organizing another cleanup campaign for next weekend.

ACES Want Damages
Two years ago, we told you how the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling from the Supreme Court that the Government had to pay damages to the American Couple, Vice and Cherie Rose, for the destruction of their ACES Facility just outside of Punta Gorda Town. That's after Villagers from San Marcos formed a Mob and torched their home and the American Crocodile Sanctuary. Those Mayan villagers believed that the couple had somehow hidden the missing children Benjamin and Onelia Rash on the ACES compound. It was a big win in court for the ACES co-founders win because a higher court has ruled that the Security Forces should have done more to stop the mob from torching the Rose Property. Well, it's been almost 2 more years since that Court of Appeal ruling, and just over 5 years since the arson of the Crocodile Education Sanctuary, and still the Rose couple has not been paid that compensation for their losses.

Man Jailed For Sexual Assault of 8 Year Old
25 year-old Randy Dominguez, a resident of Biscayne Village, is spending the first night of a 3 year sentence after he was convicted of 2 counts of sexual assault on an 8 year-old girl. The child testified that in June 2014, Dominguez fondled her. She also recounted to the Chief Magistrate that on another occasion, she was using the bathroom when Dominguez came into the bathroom and assaulted her. Another witness testified to the court that she heard the child cry out, and when she went to investigate, she saw child sitting on the bed exposed with Dominguez in the room. In his defence, Dominguez gave an unsworn statement in which he denies committing the offence. After considering all the evidence, the Chief Magistrate found Dominguez guilty, and sentenced him to spend 3 years in jail for each count of sexual assault. Both sentences are to run concurrently, and so, he will spend a total of 3 years.

Mexicans On A Mission
Last year, Government was on a fast track to get as many infrastructural projects off the ground, many of them in time for elections. So, with an appetite for construction, the Mexican embassy thought it just right to host a trade mission at the Mexican institute in Belie City specifically catering to those with an interest in hardware materials. Over 30 different local construction companies attended the event that lasted up until midday today. The Mexican Embassy says it will continue to host these trade mission events to strengthen business relationships and build new ones between the Mexican and Belizean private sectors.

Child Stimulation A Major Part OF Education
"The wheels on the bus" and "Humpty Dumpy" those are just 2 of the many favorite nursery rhymes. But they are more than just fun songs to entertain kids - these jingles are an integral part of a child's early development. And, to celebrate early childhood development month, an opening ceremony was held at the Memorial Park this morning followed by a parade through the city streets. After singing along with the kids on stage, Minister of Education Patrick Faber told us about the importance of parent and teacher involvement in early childhood development. Now in order for kids to be engaged and enthused at that early age, they must have trained and fully equipped teachers to guide them. Faber also discussed the teacher licensing and how it contributes to improved education for these kids.

GSU Gets 1 Ki Of Gang Weed
The Gang Suppression Unit Conducted an operation yesterday that, all told, led to the seizure of nearly a kilo of weed - more than two pounds. The first discovery was made around 10 in the morning when the GSU conducted an operation on St. Jude Street in Belize City. They searched an open lot and discovered 871 grams of cannabis hidden among some plantain trees. No one was around the immediate area but authorities suspected that the drugs to belonged to members of the Backa Town Gang. Later that same day, around 7:30 pm to be exact, members of the GSU led another operation, this time in Linda Vista Street, Belize City. There they searched another opened lot and discovered about 124 grams of Cannabis underneath a fence. Just like before, no one was in the vicinity when the search was conducted and the drugs were labeled as found property. However authorities suspected that the drugs belonged to the BLC gang that controls that area.

With You In Roswell
Tonight Assistant Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams was all over the news - at the start, in the middle, and now at the end. But you probably hadn't seen him on here for like a month before that - and that's because Williams along with nine other police officers and a magistrate were in Roswell, New Mexico for an FBI Training. No, he didn't learn about those aliens in area 51 - but he did learn about leadership. Williams explained:... Police from St. Kitts and Antigua also attended.

BEL's Big Money Debenture Draw
The Banks are flush with money - what's called excess liquidity - and they don't want depositors money. That's caused low interest rates on savings - so money managers might want to look at BEL to put their money. The power company today opened its series 7 Debenture Offer. They are offering 27.5 million dollars in debentures at an interest rate of 6% per annum for twelve years. The minimum buy-in? It's set at $100 dollars for a minimum of one debenture. BEL says it will use the proceeds from this debenture to refinance the Company's Series 2 and 4 Debentures. The offer is opened now, and closes on March 31, 2016.

Channel 5

A Woman Police Constable is Shot in the Line of Duty
Woman Police Constable Sheneah Caliz is alive tonight after being shot in the head by a robber caught in the act. Caliz and two other officers were on routine patrol [...]

Would-be Robber Turns Weapon on WPC Caliz
Jamal Jackson is no stranger to the Police. He was charged for the 2010 stabbing murder of a security guard at the Belize Biltmore Plaza but was acquitted in 2015 [...]

Assistant ComPol Chester Williams Comments on Conviction Rate
Jackson is only one of many persons who have been charged for murder and then acquitted. While the conviction rate in Belize is not a matter of public record, the [...]

Will Charges be Brought Against Mother of Aborted Fetus?
A criminal investigation conducted by Dangriga police, following the gruesome discovery of a fetus on Thursday, will likely give rise to charges being levied against a minor, as well as [...]

BPP Says Government is Spineless When it Comes to Guatemala
The Belize Progressive Party, formed last year just before general elections, continues to maintain that it is a feasible option to the two mass parties which have dominated electoral politics [...]

Do you think Belize has lost the Sarstoon to Guatemala?
And our question for tonight is: Do you think Belize has lost the Sarstoon to Guatemala? Yes or No? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 [...]

How Many Guatemalan Vessels Were There in Belizean Waters?
The blockage on Saturday by the Guatemalan navy of the B.T.V. expedition continues to cause public outrage because there is a growing sentiment that Belize has lost the Sarstoon. Almost [...]

Foreign Minister Says Relationship with Guatemala Remains Cordial
Visits to the various border points, particularly in the area of the Sarstoon River, according to Elrington, only serve to arouse Guatemala’s hostility.  The entire issue of the impact of [...]

Suspected Fake Cops Released Without Charge, Police Vigilance is Up
One week ago three persons were detained by Police on suspicion of being involved in a fake cop racket. Perpetrators actually managed to get guns off two security guards in [...]

BPP Secures Lease for New Headquarters
The B.P.P. did not do spectacularly well in the 2015 general elections, but the Party was present and accounted for. According to leader Patrick Rogers, it is all part of [...]

Feasibility Study for Belize City Cruise Port is Underway
In mid-January, Prime Minister Dean Barrow went on record, during an exclusive interview with News Five, to say that he was giving serious thought to the idea of a major [...]

Randy Dominguez is Convicted of Sexual Assault of Minor
There were three cases of sexual abuse, one ended in a conviction. A resident of Biscayne, Belize District, is serving his first night of a three-year sentence imposed upon him [...]

Communications Specialist Shares His 2 Cents on State of Local Media
We have aired various reports from Barbados where media personnel from across the Caribbean converged for a two-day media law seminar last week. The seminar was a component in the [...]

Julius Gittens Says Media Must Be Inclusive When it Comes to Social Issues
Gittens also spoke of the influence of the media as it relates to social issues. His recommendation is that the media must be accessible to everyone. The media, he says, [...]

Mexican Trade Mission Introduces Construction Material to Belizean Market
A mission from Chetumal is in Belize promoting its goods, services and ideas in the area of construction. Today they met with Belizean contractors and businessmen who may be interested [...]

Belize Joins 11 CARICOM Countries in Advancing Pro-growth Agenda
Even though there are economic differences, ministers from Caribbean countries have signed on to a development agenda. The agreement was signed today during a Caribbean Growth Forum held at the [...]

Evangelical Association Says No to Marijuana Decriminalization
The decriminalization of marijuana, specific quantities of the drug, is a topic that is once again at the forefront of public discourse.  The issue was raised on Monday by the [...]

NEAB Says Alcohol is also a Serious Issue Facing Youths
According to President Lance Lewis, while alcoholism is an issue youths are facing, it was not discussed at today’s gathering.  The concern with decriminalizing marijuana, says Lewis, is a more [...]

#512095 - 03/02/16 06:16 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 2, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


Police Detains Three Persons Of Interest In Murder Of Honduran National
Last week, on February 24th to be specific, Orange Walk recorded its fourth murder for 2016. Police were called out to the Lamanai Lagoon located in the Village of Indian Church, where the body of an unidentified male person was found floating in the water. The body which had several visible injuries was later identified as that of fifty one year old Guido Urbina, Honduran national that was residing in Indian Church. Investigations in the case later revealed that Urbina was last seen alive in the company of three men who were all socializing at a local bar.

BPP Response To Minister Of Foreign Affairs
During a press conference this morning, the Belize Progressive Party addressed the latest incident involving the Belize Territorial Volunteers who were denied entry into the Sarstoon River by Guatemalan military over the weekend. Deputy BPP Leader, Will Mejia, who is also BTV leader, responded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs request for the maintenance of Belize’s sovereignty to be left to the professionals. He also addressed what is next for the Belize Territorial Volunteers. Will Mejia - Deputy Leader Belize Progressive Party: “Let’s define professionals because if they are professionals to handling it they have been handling this for so long and in my opinion they have continued to mishandle the situation, as long as what we have here 8866 square miles which encompasses the total territorial area of Belize, we will never be told where we can go and where we can’t go, my neighbors had got to play by the rules, the had got to respect our borders, my neighbor who lives next to me I like him but he can’t come in my yard and cut down what tree he want ok and that is the bottom line.”

Pre-Schoolers Celebrate Childhood Simulation Month In Corozal
An early education is an early investment in the future, and educators take that very seriously. Today marked the kickoff of Child Stimulation month celebrated every year in March. This year the month is being celebrated under the theme “Early Childhood Development, the Foundation for a Brighter Belize.” In Corozal Town 30 out of 37 preschools within the Corozal District participated in the first activity of the month as pre-schoolers…accompanied by their teachers and parents marched along the main streets of Corozal. Similar to educators here in Orange and across the country, teachers in Corozal Town will be kept busy throughout the month of March says childhood education officer for Corozal, Maria Correa.

Corozal And Orange Walk Has New District Council
Yesterday country wide the Department of Youth Services held elections for District Youth Council. Up for grabs was a seat for President, Vice President, Secretary, Public Relations Officer and Treasurer.The voting commenced at 9:00 in the morning and closed at 6:00 in the evening and today the results were revealed. For president a total of 66 votes were cast naming Damari Tesucum as the new president for the District Youth Council with 29 votes, trailing behind was Benigno Lizama with 22 votes and Theotisha Hall with 13 votes.Dominique Vellos was named Vice President with 30 votes, the other two candidates Mikael E Gilharry and Ginelly Novelo got 20 votes and 14 votes respectively.

President Of IDB Advise To Finance Ministers To Take Advantage Of Low Oil Prices
Yesterday we told you about the trip that Prime Minister Dean Barrow took to Washington to attend the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Thirtieth Governors’ Meeting of the Central American Isthmus and the Dominican Republic Constituency. Today Honduran news page ‘La Tribuna’ reported that president of the Inter -American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, yesterday urged finance ministers of the region to take advantage of positive situations that offers the drop in oil prices to improve productivity and increase fiscal efficiency, which many of the countries present are not doing. Moreno advised ministers present about the opportunities to take advantage of the low oil prices, saying quote “We must use this environment to forge policies to achieve growth, stability, employment and equity in the medium and long term” end quote

CZL Town Council Messenger Robbed Of Undisclosed Amount Of Cash
Details are still sketchy but CTV3 News has been able to confirm with Corozal Police that yesterday while making a routine deposit at the bank, the messenger of the Corozal Town Council was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash. While reports to CTV3 News indicate that some $15,000 was in the bag when it was grabbed form the hands of the messenger, police would only tell us that the money stolen is somewhere between $7,000 to $15,000. We understand that Mayor Hilberto Campos is out of the country. We’ll have more on this story in tomorrow’s newscast.

Man Who Plunged Into The New River Still Missing
One week has passed since 21 one year old Carlos Reyes along with a second unidentified male plunged into the New River and never resurfaced. Today Orange Walk police are still uncertain of the identity of the second man believed to have drowned. According to Orange Walk police while the search has been suspended, they are no closer to discovering his identity as no one has come forward to place a missing person report. After so many days in the water police believe that the body may never be discovered. Since the incident occurred on Monday of last week there have been many assumptions as to the truth behind the occurrence. Many believe that there was never a second body to be found but police say they are following statements and evidence in the case that indicate that there was in fact a second individual who jumped into the river.

BPP Experince Problems As To Resister As A Political Party
For some time now the Belize Progressive Party has been trying to register the BPP as an official party but they have been encountering a number of obstacles. Today the party’s leader, Patrick Rogers, spoke about the difficulties they have been facing in their quest. “Right now as we are speaking we cannot even register the name BPP because our laws do not govern political parties so we’ve opted to go the route of a cooperative we will be registering as a cooperative the first that sits over there will come into the cooperative the least agreement is going to fall into the cooperative hands and in this way is not about Patrick owning the assets it is about a cooperative called the BPP because there is not laws to register as a political party and they want us to register as a friendly society which we are not a friendly society so we opted to do our due diligence to ensure that when we register as a cooperative that they will give us our name Belize Progressive Party because there is not law that says we can’t use Party in our name.”


BTV blocked by Guatemalan army boats in Belizean waters
The Belize Territorial Volunteers, despite disapproval from Ministry of Foreign affairs, ventured to the apparently controversial Belizean territory on the Sarstoon on Saturday February 27. The plan was to travel to the Gracias Adios Border Marker as a commemoration to last year’s event when t...

NEAB Holds historic first meeting
The National Evangelical Association of Belize held its first AGM after officially formulating the new association late last year. This was after the Belize Evangelical Association suspended all non Belize City pastors, leaving behind a handful of Belize City pastors under that banner. Most of those...

Camalote Accident
About 7pm Friday, 26 February our news team was called out to the scene of a traffic accident on the George price Highway in Camalote Village, Cayo District. When we arrived police had already cordoned off about 200 yards of the highway, blocking traffic on both sides , and debris from several vehic...

Murder in Dangriga
On Friday the 26th of February, we reported on the stabbing incident that left 52 year old Harrison Bowers in a critical condition. On the 22nd of February, Bowers, a Belizean Business man succumbed to his injuries. He was suffering from cut wounds to the fingers, chest and the abdomen. Police have ...

Arson case in San Ignacio
A shop in Billy White Village San Ignacio was completely destroyed by fire. On Sunday the 28th of February at 1:37 a.m. San Ignacio Police responded to a house fire in Billy White Village where a yellow wooden structure with zinc roof was completely destroyed by fire. The wooden structure was the pr...

Constable convicted of manslaughter set free on appeal
The Court of Appeal has freed Police Constable Alpheus Parham, found guilty a year ago of a charge of manslaughter in the shooting death of Alex Goff, who he shot to death in a detention cell at the Caye Caulker Police Station on May 9, 2010. Justices President Manuel Sosa, Murillo Ducille and Minne...

OCEANA People’s Referendum
On Monday February 29th, OCEANA held its 4th anniversary of the ‘People’s Referendum’. More than twenty nine thousand Belizeans voted on the issue of whether or not they wanted offshore drilling activities to be conducted in Belizean waters and when the count was in, over 96% of ...


Guatemala annexes the Sarstoon!
Armed Guatemalan military stopped Belizeans on Saturday morning from even entering the Sarstoon River—an act which is being described by the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) as a “provocative and illegal act by the Guatemalan Navy.” Wil Maheia, founder of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), reported that at about 10:00 a.m. while traveling in very cool weather through choppy seas, a group of Belizeans who were planning on taking an educational excursion to the Gracias a Dios border marker in southwestern Belize were forced to abandon their mission when they saw armed Guatemala military approaching them. “Guatemala has embarked on a dangerous and confrontational course; we reject it,” said Opposition Leader Johnny Briceño. In recounting what transpired on Saturday, Maheia told Amandala that between 15 to 20 Belizeans, including media personnel, went on the expedition, but the furthest they got was north of the Belize forward operating base (FOB) and somewhat south of the Temash River, where, he said, Guatemalan gunboats moved to cut them off.

Dog on prowl finds fetus
At about 4:30 Thursday evening a dog prowling the Benguche area of Dangriga Town was seen with a human fetus dangling in its mouth. The fetus was later reported to be about 7 months. People who saw the dog carrying the fetus shouted at it, causing the dog to drop the grisly find on the street. It then ran away. Police were quickly called and they took the fetus to the Southern Regional Hospital for a post-mortem examination to be conducted by Dr. Mario Estradabran and his team for more details and information on the baby. Police investigation led to a woman who has been detained and put in the custody of the Human Services Department pending directives to be made by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The dog’s owner told police that one of his dogs escaped out of his yard and was roaming in the neighborhood when the neighbors saw it pull something out of the bushes. The horrified neighbours saw a baby’s foot dangling out of the dog’s mouth and shouted at the animal. They then rushed to see what it was, and saw that it was a human fetus wrapped in a white cloth.

Female cop dodges death from robber’s bullet
A Woman Police Officer escaped death at about 8:00 tonight on Albert Street when a bullet fired by a robber grazed her head. The gunman fired at her as she came out of a police mobile unit to check with two security guards who had stopped them in front of Scotiabank on Albert Street. The robber was about to jack a deposit bag from the two security guards, who had come on a motorcycle to make a deposit into the deposit box. After firing at the police mobile unit, the gunman then ran from the area empty-handed. The WPC was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where she is being treated for the gunshot injury. Police are looking for the gunman.

Homeless man found dead in pickup on Cemetery Road
A homeless man known as Danny, who hangs out at the corner of Cemetery Road and Euphrates Avenue, was found lifeless in the cab of a pickup in which he usually sleeps and which is usually parked on Cemetery Road in front of Kevin’s Store. Danny, 60, originally from Trinidad, was found by his friend, Eric Pandy, at about 1:00 this afternoon. Eric awaits the post-mortem exam to certify the cause of death. Pandy told Amandala this afternoon that at about 10:00 last night, Danny was drinking the rum known as “Red top,” and he was drunk and falling down. Pandy helped Danny cross the street in front of the store at the corner of Euphrates and Cemetery Road, and helped him into the pickup cab so that he could go to sleep. After making sure that he was OK, Pandy went home.

Nuri provides insights into gang culture in Belize
Inter-gang warfare continues to be a problem in the old capital, Belize City, despite attempts to get rival factions to enter into a truce. The first such truce was called on February 18, 1995, when 14 Belize City gangs entered a peace agreement called the Bird’s Isle Gang Truce, which was organized by the Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP). Nuri Muhammad, KREM TV manager, has published a new book, Insights into the Gang Culture in Belize. Speaking at the launch of his book at the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City on Friday morning, Muhammad said that the problem is deeply entrenched, but had we caught the problem 25, 30 years ago, when we started to see this new trend, things would have been different today. Back in the early 80s, Belize’s jail had about 50 people but by the mid-80s the jail was so filled up that authorities were thinking of moving it from Gabourel Lane in Belize City to Hattieville, because the old jail could not hold the amount of males the new gang culture was generating.

Court of Appeal frees cop convicted of manslaughter
The Court of Appeal opened its first session for the year this morning and heard the first criminal appeal, that of Alpheus Parham v The Queen. Parham, a police special constable, was indicted for murder in the Supreme Court, but a jury of 6 men and 6 women had found him not guilty of murder but guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter in the death of Alex Goff, 31, who died from a gunshot to the forehead while he was detained in the Caye Caulker Police Station on May 9, 2010. Following his manslaughter conviction last February, Parham was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Supreme Court Justice John Troadio Gonzalez. It is against that conviction and consequent sentence that Parham’s attorney, Simeon Sampson, SC, had filed his appeal. As the hearing came to an end after almost two hours, the President of the Court, Hon. Mr. Justice Manuel Sosa, announced that the court was setting aside Parham’s conviction. Justice Sosa then told Parham that he was free to go home.

WW/Chief Sunday Race results for February 14, 21 and 28
February 14: This Weekend Warrior (WW)/Chief Sunday Race started at 8:00 a.m. from Leslie’s Imports to Northern Highway via Boom Junction and back, for 50 miles. Top finishers were: 1st place – Dean Belisle (Bel-Cal, 2:15.11); 2nd Kareem Flowers (Santino’s, st); 3rd Warren Coye (Santino’s); 4th Preston Martinez (Kulture Megabytes); 5th Kirk Sutherland (Digicell-4G); 6th Gilroy Robinson (Santino’s); 7th Dean Boyce (FT Williams, 1stt “B” rider); 8th Santino Castillo (Santino’s); 9th Manuel Esquiliano (Truckers Posse); 10th Jeff Montzingo (Invitee); 11th Jack Sutherland (Digicell-4G); 12th Andrew Brown (Megabytes); and 13th Daniel Cano (Santino’s). 6 riders did not finish. Race #3 of the current WW series of 5 races went from Rockville junction to Busman Arnold Hill, for 40 miles, for the “A” & “B” riders, which started at 8:30 a.m.; while the “C” riders rode from Democracia junction.

Winners of the 35th Annual Belmopan Cycling Classic
For the first time ever, the Belmopan Cycling Classic, now in its 35th year of running, actually finished where it started in the capital city of Belmopan. After taking the 50 mile journey to the old capital yesterday morning, the Elites, Under 23 and Masters categories traversed Central American Boulevard, over the Belcan Bridge, and circled the flag monument roundabout under overcast skies and drizzling north rain, before retracing their path back onto the George Price Highway, and back to Belmopan, to complete the 100 mile journey. The Juniors/Youth and Females went only as far as Gracie Rock, before returning to Belmopan, for a 60 mile trek. In the big Elite/U-23/Masters race, 48 started and 41 finished, with Joel Vanegas (Digicell-4G) taking top honors, followed by teammate Giovanni Lovell (Digicell-4g), both clocking 3:53.03. They were followed 36 seconds later by a group of 10.

Last undefeated team falls in NEBL tournament
Belmopan Bandits stuns Smart in the Hurricane Shelter: On Friday night, Smart Belize Hurricanes hosted Belmopan Bandits at the Belize Elementary School gym, in a rematch of a thrilling season opener. The home team jumped out to an early 20-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter; and at the half, Smart Belize Hurricanes was able to extend that lead to 12 points, going into the fourth quarter with a 63-58 lead. Belmopan Bandits was able to cut the lead to 2 points midway through the fourth quarter, and with great end-of-game execution, secured a huge win for their team, claiming the 85-83 victory. American import Nick Brown was the top scorer for Belmopan Bandits (3-4) with 24 pts to go with 6 boards and 3 steals. Jarrel “Bird” Velasquez tallied 17 pts, 6 rebs and 3 assists, while Kurt “Chengo” Burgess finished with a double-double with 15 pts and 10 rebs, with 4 assists and 2 steals. Stephen “Muerte” Williams and Kyle Pascascio chipped in with 12 and 11 pts, respectively. Dangriga Warriors hosted Belize City No Limit on Saturday night at the Ecumenical College in Dangriga Town, in an attempt to even their regular season meetings. The Warriors jumped out to an early 21-14 first quarter lead, which they never relinquished, maintaining a double digit lead most of the game, to seal the 81-67 victory.

City Boys/Kraal Road visit Caye Caulker in Poor & Famous youth football exchange program
As part of our club’s efforts to make a difference in our youths’ lives in regards to our football program, the next team lined up for the Caye Caulker U-17 program was City Boys/Kraal Road, who traveled to Caye Caulker for a football exchange on Sunday, February 21, in a game that was 40-40 (40 minute halves) against the Caye Caulker/Tsunami Adventures U-17 squad. We had a better turnout from the village fans to see their youths perform, and the game ended up 2-1 in favor of Caye Caulker/Tsunami Adventures U-17 over City Boys/Kraal Road U-17. Fabian Tush put Caye Caulker in front at the 8th minute, before Keron Sutherland scored a beautiful “chilenas” off a throw-in to tie things up, 1-1, at the 28th minute. The game remained tied until 3 minutes before the long whistle, when Enrique Ramos got the game winner for Caye Caulker.

Editorial: Dr. Esquivel’s legacy: Mr. Barrow’s party
At this newspaper, we remember the two administrations (1984-89, and 1993-1998) of the first United Democratic Party (UDP) Prime Minister, Dr. Manuel Esquivel, for three things. One was the spraying of Belize’s marijuana fields with the deadly herbicide called paraquat; the second was the sale of the southern half of the “common grounds” we once called the Newtown Barracks for the building of the Ramada Hotel, which later became the Princess Hotel and Casino; the third Esquivel memory we have is the vindictive smashing of the largest industry to emerge in the last quarter century on Belize City’s Southside – semi-professional basketball. When Dr. Esquivel made all these decisions which have impacted so negatively on the roots black community in Belize City, he was surrounded by a large amount of people in Cabinet who looked like roots black. At all material times, Dr. Esquivel’s Cabinet featured the Hon. Dean Barrow, Belize’s now three-time Prime Minister, who is the eight-time area representative for the Southside’s Queen’s Square. Both of Dr. Esquivel’s Cabinets included the Hon. Hubert Elrington, who represented the Southside’s Lake Independence. All of Mr. Barrow’s three Cabinets have included Hubert’s younger brother, Wilfred, who also served time briefly in the second Esquivel Cabinet (1993-1998). The Hon. Michael Finnegan, who is the UDP’s six-time area representative for the Southside’s Mesopotamia constituency, has served in all three Barrow Cabinets. Hon. Patrick Faber is a four-time UDP area rep in the Southside’s Collet division, and Hon. Boots Martinez is the four-time UDP area rep for Port Loyola. Both Mr. Faber and Mr. Martinez have served in all three Barrow Cabinets.

From the Publisher
Since the change of government from People’s United Party (PUP) to United Democratic Party (UDP) in February of 2008, I’ve been careful, sparing, in analysis and criticism of the Opposition PUP. One of the reasons for my relative caution was my experience in the period between late 2003 and early 2004. The then Opposition UDP was quite weak at the time, and I remember offering some analysis/criticism, it being the case that our political system benefits from a strong Opposition. A ranking UDP area representative, now Cabinet Minister since 2008, wrote in the UDP newspaper in scathing rebuke of my comments, essentially saying their party didn’t need any advice from me and did not appreciate any offered. That UDP leader was right. Belize’s two major political parties are each much more powerful than the country’s leading newspaper in every respect you can think of, except that of credibility. We Belizeans cherish our constitutional democracy, flawed as it is, and the two major political parties, national and organized, are the two most important structural elements of that democracy. The free press/media adds a valuable icing to the cake of constitutional democracy, but the electoral politicians and the two major parties are bigger players in the game.

Belizean serving in Botswana
Dear Editor, Few Belizeans have the privilege to visit the continent of Africa. Christophe Engleton, a 31-year-old son of The Jewel is blessed to be in Botswana working for the Peace Corps in Botswana as a Local Government Volunteer with the Government of Botswana for two years to help fight the HIV epidemic in Africa. His mother, Lucia Ellis from Unitedville, and his extended family of San Ignacio, Belize are excited for his experience, which began in August 2015. Christophe was working at St. Ignatius Evening Division, Santa Elena-San Ignacio, as the Information Technology teacher prior to his move to Botswana. In preparation for the work he and the other participants underwent rigorous training in Botswana culture and language. The country experiences winter during the months of May–August and summer in November–February. Christophe says that living conditions are comfortable and volunteers must live within the means provided by the Peace Corps. He is one of the few born Belizeans who have served in the Peace Corps.

IMPACT allowed journalists an opportunity to sharpen their skills and strengthen their ties
A two-day seminar which sought to educate the regional media on legal matters, held at the Radisson Hotel, came to an end on Wednesday, February 24. The seminar was an initiative of Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean, IMPACT Justice, which is based at the Faculty of Law Institute at the University of the West Indies, Cavehill Campus in Barbados. At the end of the seminar, students were given certificates for their participation. The certificates were presented by Walter Bernyck, Head of the Cooperation, Government of Canada. He said, “The rights and responsibilities that the media have, continue to evolve even now, further into the digital platform. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that the media understand their role and the responsibility which come along with it, especially with information traveling faster now than ever before, since 70% of the world’s adult population has a smart phone.” Velma Newton, Regional Project Director of Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean, IMPACT Justice, told Amandala “It started in 2014 and is funded by the Canadian government to a total of CAN $19.2 million, and the object is to improve access to justice for the citizens of the Caribbean Region, and the project will last for five years.”

Amid shark fishery debate, fishers oppose “cold turkey” ban of gill nets
During the Lenten season, Catholics traditionally eat fish as a substitute for meat on Fridays, and the demand for fish to satisfy this religious tradition in neighboring countries, particularly in Guatemala, is blamed for increased pressure on the shark fishery in Belize at this time of the year. On Monday, a Facebook post showing 17 images of sharks being butchered went viral, and the post by MarAlliance was followed by a petition calling for a ban on the preferential gears used to snag sharks in Belizean waters. The matter has sparked a fierce debate, with local fishermen cautioning that any hasty action could cost them their livelihoods. Speaking with the media on Tuesday, Fisheries Administrator Beverly Wade explained that the local shark fishery is a very small fishery. Wade said that for the last three years an average 60 fishers, the majority of them from Belize City, Dangriga and the Independence area, have been licensed, and production has been stable at around 25,000 pounds of shark. “What I think is unfortunate about this situation is when you actually take the fishermen’s information and parade them on social media like they are common criminals when they are not,” Wade said.

Friday’s UEF Open House
On February 26th at the Library of African and Indian and Studies located at 3304 Partridge Street on the Kremandala Compound, the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF) hosted a 6 hour-long celebration of the 47th anniversary of the inception of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD), the 16th year anniversary of the opening of the Library, and the end of Black History Month. From 1:00pm to 7:00pm the organizers opened the door to the public to share the space, UEF programming, the history of UBAD and UEF and to facilitate discussion. Participants included community members from educational and from activist backgrounds. In attendance were students from local schools; recently graduated youth; former UBAD officer and breast-feeding consultant Penelope Casasola; Principal Librarian Joy Ysaguirre from the National Belize Library Services; Felene Cayetano, who heads the National Heritage Library in Belmopan; members of the Belize Coalition for the Human Rights of African Descendants (BCHAD); wise elders including Myrna Pandy, Sandra Kebeh Felix; visiting U.S. educators Phil and Remel Moore; social and environmental activists Candy and George Gonzalez; leadership from Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center; Amandala assistant editor Adele Ramos; Sean Taegar, poet and younger son of Dr. Leroy Taegar, for whom the Library’s Institute of Learning is named; Tracey Flores from RESTORE Belize; media partners and others. Assata Marin, a volunteer at the Library, helped with preparations for the day.

Coast Guard suspends search for missing New River swimmer
After 4 days of an intense search and recover operation carried out by Orange Walk Police, the Belize Coast Guard, and volunteers to find the body of an unknown man who had jumped into the crocodile-infested waters of the New River near Orange Walk Town on Monday evening and had disappeared, the search was ended today. The operation was halted by the Coast Guard because the search mission was proving to be fruitless. Inspector Nicolas Palomo, Deputy Commander of Orange Walk Police, reported that three days had elapsed without them finding the body. Volunteers and policemen are on a river watch to retrieve the body if and when it floats to the surface. It is strongly believed, however, that the body will not be found because it had been devoured by the crocodiles. Palomo said that no one has made a missing person report to police, so the identity of the man remains unknown.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

BEL opens offer of $27.5 MM Series 7 Debenture
The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) today announced its opening of a $27.5 million Series 7 Debenture offer at a subscription cost of $100 each to earn a six percent interest rate for 12 years through to 2028. Interested persons are being advised though that […]

Orange Walk preschools kick off Child Stimulation Month
This morning hundreds of children, accompanied by their parents paraded the main streets of Orange Walk Town as they kicked off activities in observation of Child Stimulation Month held every year in March. Under the theme “Early Childhood Development, The Foundation of for a Brighter […]

Cleanup effort successful in Belize City
A cleanup campaign in the areas of Central American Boulevard, Mahogany Street, Tribuce Street and Haulover Creek this weekend, which are all in Sanitary Zone 4 of Belize City, resulted in the removal of over 16 truckloads of waste material. It was a joint effort […]

BTL goes LTE
2017 will see Belize – all of Belize – covered by a 4G LTE network from the state-owned company, Belize Telemedia Limited. At its official kickoff today at the Hour Bar Conference Room, BTL’s executives announced not only better speeds and coverage but a commitment […]

Randy Dominguez sentenced to 3 years for sexual assault on 8 year old child
Randy Dominguez, 26, a Biscayne resident will serve three years in prison on two counts of sexual assault. He was caught with his zipper down, pants half way down, and an erection while his young victim was found with her underwear and pants half way […]

Two games played in football league over the weekend
Two games were played in the Premier Football League this weekend since the match between Verdes FC and BDF FC had to be postponed due to rain on Sunday. The first game saw Placencia’s Assassins defeating Wagiya on Saturday night in a 1-0 ballgame […]

Hurricanes handed their first loss over the weekend
There was an upset in the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) on Friday night when the seemingly unbeatable Smart Belize Hurricanes, lost to Belmopan’s Bandits on their home court in Belize City by two points. That game ended with a final score of 85-83, […]

Daniel ‘Danny’ Jimenez is our player of the week
Born in the town of San Ignacio in the Cayo District, 27-year-old Daniel Jimenez has grown to become one of the most recognized football players in Belize today, playing for the Police United FC currently and the country’s national team, the Jaguars, from he was […]

Lady officer shot to the head, one detained
Twenty-seven-year-old Woman Police Constable Sheneah Caliz attached to the Traffic Support Unit at Precinct Three in Belize City is listed in stable condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after receiving a gunshot to the head and one to the left palm last night. […]

Phase two of CGF opens with renewed commitment to sustainable growth
12 Caribbean countries have endorsed a commitment to sustainable growth during the first day of the Caribbean Growth Forum, being held in Belize City. Representing Belize at the Forum is Minister of State for Economic Development, Investment, Trade, Commerce and Petroleum Tracey Taegar-Panton; Prime […]

Orange Walk preschoolers celebrate stimulation month
Students from 24 preschools in Orange Walk District marched around town this morning as part of the opening ceremony for a month filled with activities in commemoration of this year’s stimulation month. This years the theme is, “Early Childhood Education, the Foundation for a Brighter […]

Fair weather expected for the next 24 hours
Mainly fair weather is expected over the next 24 hours or so followed by a slight increase in moisture. The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly sunny skies today and partly cloudy skies tonight with only isolated showers. Winds will be blowing […]


Lobsterfest in Belize
This annual seafood bacchanal is no ordinary celebration. Lobsterfest is an official summer kickoff event coinciding with the first lobster harvests that continue through February 15th. The wildly popular nationwide event turns Belize into one big homage to crustaceans celebrated in three areas: Caye Caulker, San Pedro and Placencia. Bring your appetite. Is it possible to grow weary of eating this delicacy? No way. With winter a passing memory, Belize’s tourist influx has slowed down so there’s plenty of room to spread out and relax, fork in hand. Chefs at restaurants, resorts and small cafes roll out signature lobster dishes and the vast array of recipe twists will impress you. Grab your share of beach time and make new friends at any of the festivals. If you long to escape stress, lobster-themed street fests, parties, concerts and “gastronomic debauchery” will put an end to any winter blues still lingering in your head. San Pedro holds a week-long event (June 15th to 26th) that starts with a kick-off party and ends with a huge fiesta. Throughout the week, eat, drink and show up at as many bars and eateries as your constitution can handle. The Caye Caulker Lobsterfest is scheduled to take place between July 1st and 3rd, so if you’ve only got a short time to indulge, prioritize these dates. Placencia Peninsula’s Lobsterfest is also a weekend affair to be staged between June 24th and 26th. Placencia’s legendary mega-beach party is the biggest draw of all. Can’t decide which one’s for you? Take them all in. How else can you decide which satisfies your appetite so much you’ll return in 2017 and beyond?

International Sourcesizz

Program on Belize set for March 14 at the Bridgewater Library
Somerset Naturalists: will present "New World Tropics – Belize," on Monday, March 14, from 7:30-9 p.m. Becky and Phil Witt will present a nature-oriented travelogue of one of their favorite areas in the New World Tropics--Belize. Situated a relatively short flight away on the east coast of Central America, Belize serves as a meeting spot for species from both North and South America. Visitors in winter can see both the North America warblers there for the winter and South American species, such as toucans, all in the same day. See images of tropical rainforests, Mayan ruins, and birds. Guests are welcome. The program is free.

Venezuela to print - much - larger denomination bills as inflation soars past 180%
Venezuela's government will begin printing larger-denominated bank notes sometime this year, a top finance official said, as runaway inflation has eroded the value of the nation's biggest bill to less than a U.S. dime on the black market. Central Bank President Nelson Merentes' comments in an interview Monday with The Associated Press were the first confirmation that Venezuela is preparing to print larger bills, something that had been rumored for months. Market economists have said bigger bills will only accelerate inflation that last year hit 181 percent — the highest in the world. Merentes, who has helped steer the economy for more than a decade as finance minister and then as head of the central bank, disagreed. He said that far from generating panic among inflation-wary Venezuelans the new bills will reduce price pressures "because you're going to have less bills circulating."


  • Spider Monkey Encounter - Belize, 2min. This happened to us on a trail at Chan Chich Belize.

  • Creating Economic Opportunities in Northern Belize, 3min. Last year, the Belize Red Cross and the American Red Cross provided initial support to 38 beneficiaries, in order to help them diversify their income sources. We went back to the communities 8 months later to interview program participants. Here is what a few of them told us...

  • Making a Fishy Friend While Diving in Ambergris Caye, Belize, 1min. We're used to curious fish, while scuba diving. But, this little guy was so friendly! I think he wanted to come home with us!!

  • Belize 2016, 54min. Ambergris Caye/Belize City/Orange Walk February 2016.

  • Dolphin Play Belize, 2min. A large pod of spinner dolphins decided to honor us with a visit on our way back to Ramon's Village after our dive day at the Blue Hole in Belize. Estimated at over 100 strong, they played off of the bow and wake of the boat for over 15 min.

  • Second Edition of Belmopan Weekly!!, 32min.

  • Countdown to the Ruta Maya River Challenge!, 1min. Counting down to the big race...The Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2016- March 4 to 7.

  • Belize Field Trip, 5min. from Jason Turley

  • Belize Parasail, 5.5min. Fido's Dock, San Pedro

  • Snorkeling in Belize | The Gabe Show, 3min. Here's a short film of snorkeling in Belize. We found a sea urchin, sand dollar, sea star, lion fish, stingray and a bunch of coral reefs. Belize is the second largest barrier reef in the world!

  • Scuba Diving Belize, 7min. Highlights of scuba diving Believe from the Aggressor Fleet's Sun Dancer II. 27 dives on Lighthouse Reef, Turneffe Atol, Half moon Caye and other dive sites. Highlights compressed into a 6 minute video.

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