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#512457 - 03/17/16 06:45 AM Today's Belize News: March 17, 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

Caye Caulker has a new beach!
The white sandy beaches that were becoming a thing of the past in Caye Caulker have been revived via a successful beach reclamation project. Over 2,000 linear feet of beach have been restored to La Isla Cariñosa, and since then, tourists have been flocking to the new beach. Officially inaugurated on Saturday, March 12th, the project was well- executed, but a few concerned residents of Caye Caulker believe that the beach will be a temporary one. Attending the inauguration ceremony were Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr, Caye Caulker Village Council Chairman Wayne Miller, representatives from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and residents of the island. However, a few residents believe that not enough planning was done on the rehabilitation of the beach. According to them, the project was rushed and no sort of proper protective structure was built around the beach in order to prevent erosion from reoccurring. Despite these observations, the local residents committed to take care of the beach and look after its well-being. The project was financed by the BTB along with the Ministry of Tourism. The total investment was $500,000, which also included marketing of the beach.

2016 Women’s Empowerment Rally: 20000 Strong – Imagine a Belize without Women
The second annual 20,000 Strong Women’s Rally took place on Friday, March 12th in Belize City, with close to 700 Belizean women coming out to support female empowerment under the theme “20,000 Strong – Imagine a Belize without Women”. While the rally did not obtain its desired number of participants, this year saw a far greater turn out than the 2015 rally. Led by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow, the 20,000 Strong Women’s Rally is a great avenue to voice women related issues in hopes of achieving gender equality across the country. Participants gathered at the Memorial Park in Belize City dressed in orange T-shirts for the rally, which started shortly after 9:30AM. From teachers to students, public officers and entrepreneurs, women from all walks of life made it out to show their support to the cause. The rally ended at Marion Jones Stadium where official remarks were delivered. “I am happy to say that this is a much bigger crowd than the last 20,000 strong. Obviously the message got out that the 20,000 strong is a movement, it’s a movement; to create change. Change in our society of how we view women, how we treat our women and that is very important. This struggle is about all of us. This struggle is about the future of your children, the betterment of society and our world,” said Simplis Barrow at the event.

Confrontation in the Sarstoon: Belize-Guatemala tensions escalate
While Belizeans were enjoying their weekend and going about their businesses on Saturday, March 12th, a confrontation between the armed forces of Belize and Guatemala was set to unravel at the Sarstoon area in Southern Belize. The Government of Belize (GOB) confirmed the incident via a press release on Sunday, March 13th, stating that it would take the issue to the Organization of American States (OAS) on Tuesday, March 14th in Washington, USA. According to the press release, the incident arose on Saturday evening, when members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) were approached by the Guatemalan Navy. They told the BDF that they should not be at the Sarstoon, and that they could only move about the Sarstoon River with Guatemalan permission.

Peaceful vigil held in honor of Edwin Ixpatac
The memory of Edwin Ixpatac was honored during a vigil candle walk held in San Pedro Town on Saturday, March 12th. The event was organized by friends and family members of the late Ixpatac who succumbed to injuries sustained from apparent police brutality. A small group of island residents dressed in white and carrying candles gathered at the Central Park where the walk started. Also present at the event were Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. “We at The San Pedro Town Council, we try our best to keep the peace and try working with everybody, but yet remember that it takes every resident to develop the island in a peaceful manner,” said Guerrero. “The Council is trying its best in all angles when it comes to safety but sometimes it goes beyond us.” He took the opportunity to tell all residents that their cooperation with the law is vital when it comes to ensuring the safety of everyone. He ended by offering his condolences to the Ixpatac family and continued to encourage everyone to trust in the local law enforcement and to work together with them in order to deter crime activities.

Charges yet to be laid on Alida Barrientos de Catzim over the murder of her husband
According to police investigation, the couple was known to constantly have disputes. Barrientos de Catzim claims that Catzim showed violence against her during these disputes. “Due to the circumstances of what the investigation revealed, we compiled the file and sent it over to the DPP. So far she has directed that no charges be levelled against the wife of the deceased at this time. Domestic matters are always matters of a sensitive nature, but whenever issues of self-defense arise, we must ensure that the file is sent to the DPP and she is the one who decides whether charges will be laid or not while the investigation continues,” explained Regional Commander of the Eastern North Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Dezerie Philips. And while Barrientos de Catzim is out free, she remains under investigation and the key person of interest. Until the investigation concludes, Barriento de Catzim, who is a Guatemalan national, is not to travel out of the country. The couple had two children together and had been living on the island for quite some years. Police have also indicated that the Barrientos de Catzim stabbed her husband in the presence of their 7-year-old son.

Ambergris Today

Belize Folklore Documentary of Tata Duende Airs in Canada
Award winning video program producers CMJ Productions II Inc., show video content around the world by broadcasters such as the Discovery networks (US, Canada and International), and have completed two entire seasons of their documentary TV series titled “Boogeymen” that investigates legendary monsters and its history. For the final episode of the second season, CMJ productions II Inc. joined with GrisDismation, Belizean artists, animators and authors, GrissyG and Dismas, to find evidence and document the mysterious and terrifying gnome called Tata Duende, who is said to have strange powers over the jungles and animals of Belize in Central America. The “Boogeymen” TV series, episode 213, "Tata Duende" documentary aired on the Travel and Escape channel in Canada on March 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th 2016. The documentary was filmed in beautiful Belize, Central America and investigations for the Tata Duende was a three day journey filmed in Belize city and the Cayo District where stories and sightings have been reported and told by the residents, historians, and skeptics.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Heavy load of conch and shells
At the end of Municipal Pier, just off Central Park in San Pedro, Belize. Fishermen arrived early this morning with a heavy load of conch and shells galore.

The Belize Zoo is calling all schools and organizations in Belize with active reading program for children to take note. Through the wonderful support of Better World Books, we have a supply of nature themed children's books to help empower literacy efforts in Belize. A mixture of storybooks, fun facts, natural history guides, and classroom science guides are available. Quite a number of boxes have already found good homes, but there are more to go! Message us or email education@belizezoo.org for more details.

Conservation genetics in jaguars, pumas, and ocelot
A Comparative Analysis of Genetic Diversity and Structure in Jaguars (Panthera onca), Pumas (Puma concolor), and Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in Fragmented Landscapes of a Critical Mesoamerican Linkage Zone. With increasing anthropogenic impact and landscape change, terrestrial carnivore populations are becoming more fragmented. Thus, it is crucial to genetically monitor wild carnivores and quantify changes in genetic diversity and gene flow in response to these threats. This study combined the use of scat detector dogs and molecular scatology to conduct the first genetic study on wild populations of multiple Neotropical felids coexisting across a fragmented landscape in Belize, Central America. We analyzed data from 14 polymorphic microsatellite loci in 1053 scat samples collected from wild jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor), and ocelots (Leopardus pardalis). We assessed levels of genetic diversity, defined potential genetic clusters, and examined gene flow for the three target species on a countrywide scale using a combination of individual- and population-based analyses.

Earth Hour
On March 19, 2016 at 8:30 pm, millions of people around the world will turn out their lights to demand action on climate change. Join us. Turn out. Take action. Join us for a Candle Light Vigil commencing at the Central Park to the San Pedro House of Culture. Live music, campfire, storytelling, fire dancer show and refreshments. Turn out your lights for one hour! Have a candle light dinner! Save the Earth!

Contraband cigarettes and whiskey confiscated
According to Roger Gomez Heredia of San Benito Peten Guatemala,Guatemalan authorities in the village of Sabanetas Dolores Petén intercepted a tow head truck with license plate C.878 BLH. After a thorough inspection of its container load, they found nine million nine hundred and forty thousand cigarettes and forty eight bottles of contraband whisky originating from Belize. 31 year old Henry Noe Garcia Urizar was arrested and faces criminal charges for the offence and the contraband goods with a value of approximately $2,500,000.00 Belize Dollars were also confiscated.

Belize Fishing Report: March 6th - March 13th, 2016
Despite the windy weather our guests were able to accomplish some pretty solid results! There was more wading than normal since the most sheltered areas were very close to shore on west facing flats.

Seatrade Cruise Global 2016
with Manuel Heredia Jr.

Mr. Ma Ying-jeou Welcoming Address
President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Mr. Ma Ying-jeou's address given at the Welcoming Luncheon held today at the Belize Biltmore Plaza.

Manatee around Caye Caulker
Calling on the right authorities, I assume wildlife and conservation in protecting manatees that live behind Caye Caulker. I've anchored in this spot behind the island the last couple years and they're 3 manatees that call this place home. Yesterday I witness about six boats from San Pedro and Caye Caulker chasing after them with engines turned on. I got to admit that some boats were smart enough to anchor outside the hole, whilst others chase them around. I hope maybe the fisheries can try to get a " no wake" sign around the hole to avoid injuries to the endangered mammals.

Population survey of the Morelet’s crocodile
FCD seeks to partner with the Crocodile Research Coalition and the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic this year to perform a population survey of the Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in the Chiquibul Forest.

Have you partcipated in a State Department Exchange Program?
Did you know that if you participated in a State Department/ U.S. Embassy sponsored exchange program then you are an ALUMNI! Some of these programs include the International Leadership Visitor's Program (IVLP), Youth Ambassadors Program, Humphrey Fellowship, Fulbright, Sports Exchanges, SUSI, Community College Initiative Program, and many others! If you did participate you were chosen to be part of a U.S. Embassy exchange program because you were identified as a future leader of Belize. The time is NOW, let’s get together to discuss how we can help our communities. As a member of the Belize Alumni Association not only will you have the opportunity to use your leadership skills to give back to your community in Belize, but you also will have countless resources available such as the ability to apply for an alumni grant and other opportunities. Check out the link: https://alumni.state.gov/ to get a better idea of what you can accomplish and what other alumni associations around the world have accomplished.

Channel 7

UDP and PUP Will Issue Joint Statement on Guatemala
Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington returned home today after emergency meetings yesterday in Washington with his Guatemalan counterparts. They met under the auspices of the OAS, to discuss the tense confrontation between the Guatemalan Armed Forces and the Belize Defence Force Soldiers who are stationed at the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base. So, how did the meeting go? And, what was the outcome? That’s what we wanted to ask Foreign Minister Elrington when he landed at the PGIA today. But, he flatly refused, saying that both he and the Representative for the PUP, Assad Shoman, would give a joint statement tomorrow. The BDF reports that late on Saturday evening, 8 Guatemalan soldiers approached the BDF soldiers at their base on the Belize side of the Sarstoon. A government release says they “behaved in an extremely hostile and threatening manner”, insisting that Belize’s military shouldn’t be at the Sarstoon. With the rapid intervention of the General and the Prime Minister, the confrontation ended without incident.

Presidents Descend on Belize
Foreign Minister Elrington also had to rush back to Belize to welcome a slew of international guests. 4 heads of government flew into Belize for a flurry of activity. The Prime Ministers of St. Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris, and Ralph Gonsalves were the first to arrive at the airport. St. Lucia’s PM Dr. Kenny Anthony, arrived in the afternoon, and they all came to Belize to meet with the outgoing Taiwanese President, Ma Ying-jeou. It’s his second visit to Belize, as he prepares to leave office. Daniel Ortiz was the airport when he arrived:.. That’s the delighted greeting that outgoing Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou was treated to when he landed at the PGIA this morning. Members of the Taiwanese community living in Belize were excited to greet the leader of their native country. Though there was red tape set up to preserve the safety protocols of airport, the President was more than happy to get up close and press flesh with his country men and women who waited for a few hours to see him.

BDF Remains on High Alert In Sarstoon
Now back to Belize- Guatemala military relations after Saturday’s frightening flare-up. With the heightened level of tension at the Sarstoon, how are military operations, like the changeover at Cadenas, being managed? Well according to Brigadier General Jones, nothing will change, although they remain on high alert: Brig. Gen. David Jones - Commander, BDF: "On the ground we have the soldiers giving conflicting orders that can lead to conflict and that’s the concern that I discussed with the Guatemalan General that we've both been given opposing directives and because of the opposing directives there could be conflict in the area. But as military professionals we want to avoid that. We discussed that there needs to be a definitive solution or a protocol at least until both countries decide what they want to achieve but in the interim and a matter of urgency we need to have a protocol in the Sarstoon between Belize and Guatemala because absence of that there, there could be some serious incident at the Sarstoon area." Emanuel Pech: "One of the things that has been confusing is that Guatemala says that there is a protocol (status quo). What is that they were referring to?"

Harvest Caye Opening Slated For November
Harvest Caye, it was supposed to open in March of this year, but delays in construction pushed that date back. And now, it has been announced that the first call to the Harvest Caye Cruise Port will be on November 15, 2016, and there will be four calls per week. Norwegian made the announcement at a cruise industry event called Seatrade Cruise Global – the world’s largest cruise industry event. Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia and the Tourism Director Karen Bevans, were there for the announcement. According to a press release, Senior Vice President of Destination and Port Operations, Colin Murphy boasted that his company had used up to 200 Belizeans on a regular basis during construction, and that after they start up, they will employ around four to five hundred persons. The island will feature a seven acre beach, a 15,000 square foot pool, 15 canopy pool cabanas a 130 ft. tall Flighthouse for zip lining and free fall jumps. The release adds that to further conservations efforts, 10,000 new mangroves have been planted throughout the island.

See Yah Vega! The Party Moving on
Who will be the next Deputy Party Leader of the UDP? That is the question on everyone’s mind after Gaspar Vega resigned a week ago. As we have reported, one of the reasons Vega stepped down is because he felt disrespected after he was stripped as the Minister of Natural Resources. Now regardless of the chatter or speculation surrounding Vega’s abrupt decision, the reality is: Vega is gone and a new Deputy Party leader will be elected. Today at another event we spoke with aspiring Deputy Party Leader/DPL Patrick Faber and he said the same thing – sure Vega will be missed but the party must move on. Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education: "The intention of Mr. Vega to say that he is not any longer pursuing the first deputy leadership position did catch us a bit by surprise; but as you know we're a mass party, we are the most successful party in this country since certainly Independence and so we continue. We're not short of leaders in our party contrary to what the opposition might want to tell you and so where Mr. Vega puts it down there's other of us who want to pick it up."

Faber: Not Backing down from DPL Post This Time Around
And Faber is certainly one who wants to ‘pick it up’ and become the new UDP’s Deputy Party Leader. He told us today that he is best suited for this position and that his record speaks for itself. Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education: "Many have said that the work that I have done here in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports has been very successful and so it is on that premise; of course I also have a record in terms of serving the party as party chairman and I did a lot of organizational work so that there can be no question about my background, my suitability if you will for this position and I look forward to a great challenge with whoever decided to put their name in that hat when it is called."

Faber Unfazed By “Winchy’s” Candidacy
But the road to the UDP’s number two seat is not that straightforward. Long – time second Deputy Erwin Contreras is reportedly interested in the post. And While Faber talks about his record in the Ministry of Education, Contreras has his own in the UDP - serving as 2 nd Deputy for over a decade. We asked Faber if this presents any concerns for him. He said no, but conceded that it does raise the question of ethnicity. Courtney Weatherburne: "Dynamics have changed in terms of Erwin Contreras. He has expressed his interest in this position, given that he is the second deputy; he has experience, seniority as well. Does that present somewhat of a threat for you?" Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education: "Well I wouldn't say a threat but I would that if Mr. Contreras enters the race the age old argument of course has been pulled out before comes a factor. Mr. Saldivar and I are both of Creole descent if you will and Mr. Contreras is a Hispanic and so as people know in Belize we are still not quite at that stage where it doesn't matter what your skin colour is. And so we have traditionally in the UDP try to balance the power, both ethnically and geographically and so yes his entrance would put that as a factor in the convention."

Faber says : "If I Iose, no hard feelings"
Now it is that same balance in ethnicity in the UDP that dictated the outcome of the 2013 race for the FIRST Deputy Party Leader Post. You all may remember that Faber tried to unseat Gaspar Vega in 2013 but lost. Another important element to that story is that Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced publicly that he did not support Faber. Now, how confident is Faber this time around that he will get the Prime Minister’s support and come out victorious as the new DPL? Well he told us he is very confident but that if he doesn’t win, he will accept that too and move on. "I turn 38 on Monday. I am a very young man, in fact I continue to be one of the youngest in the Cabinet and I've been the youngest up until Hugo Patt came actually and so I am not contemplating to lose as you pointed out so rightly; but if it is not my time for it to happen and if the people of the party given the mechanism that we have right now say Faber it’s not your time, then it’s not my time.

General: No Politics On River
So tomorrow, for the first time in a very long while – we expect a joint statement on the Belize Guatemala issue from Foreign Minister Elrington and Opposition Representative Assad Shoman. That is what Elrington told us would be forthcoming but there has been no further confirmation. Still, it sounds about right to General Jones, whose soldiers are on the frontline. He says politicizing a situation like this does more harm than good. "I had a meeting with the leader of the opposition Eamon Courtney, it was in regards to the incident that took place in the Sarstoon Saturday. So I discussed the details with him, most of it is sensitive that I am not going to disclose but the important thing is I was happy that he came for the meeting because it shows that the country is taking a nonpartisan approach. The best way forward for we with the issue with Guatemala is to unite as a country and for the political parties to unit as a team and then come up with a strategy to decide what Belize wants, what we would like to achieve at the end and then work out a road map on how to reach there and to tackle the issue with Guatemala head but from a national perspective and not from a political or partisan perspective."

BDF Intel Report Reveals History of Aggression On Sarstoon
Yesterday, we showed you the first half our extensive look into a internal report from the Belize Defence Force. It’s a threat assessment put together in October 2015, to compile hostile encounters which happened as far back as 2006. Where we left off last night is at 2007, when the then commander of the BDF, realizing the dangers of leaving the Sarstoon encounters unaddressed, engaged his Guatemalan counterpart. They signed a Gentleman’s Agreement on how the militaries of the 2 countries would conduct themselves in the Sarstoon. This agreement took effect in June 11, 2007, and stipulated that both approaches of the River, the Northern and Southern Channels, would be used by the BDF. The Guat Armed Forces would also conduct a joint patrol with BDF soldiers as a confidence building measure for the people living in the area. Both sides agreed additionally that they would share intelligence of any illegal activities spotted in the Sarstoon area. But most importantly, it was agreed that there would be no more "blocking of the Sarstoon or belligerent actions"

Sargassum Steals Sagicor Challenge
5 schools across the country participated in this year’s Sagicor Visionaries Challenge. The schools presented 12 projects and they were all on display in the King’s Room at the Princess Hotel. To some, this event might look like just another exhibit – another educational activity for students. But coordinator Marlin Chin says that’s not so, these innovations can contribute to our survival. Marlin Chin - Communication Manager, Sagicor: "The more exciting part of this year's challenge would be the recognition in terms of the prize structure. We've increased in terms of the types of prizes, we've gone very much digital age; so it’s a lot of digital type prizes but more importantly we are recognising entrepreneurship as one of the prizes. You would have heard the minister just quoted and appreciated that we are recognising entrepreneurship in these programmes. It also reinforced the need for the call to the Chambre of Commerce and its members to fund some of these projects and bring them to fruition. It's really through an investment in our youth and ensuring that our youth ensures our future and that would be through the discipline of stem; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, ensuring as we highlighted this morning the need for our own sustainable future. Impacts like climate change are having a negative impact on our ability to survive. And so Sagicor saw it fit to invest in a programme like the Sagicor visionary challenge."

Law Enforcement To Nevada For 125 Mile Relay
The Belize Protectors! That is what they call themselves. A team of 25 athletes, who are also law enforcement personnel, who will be competing this weekend in the B2V footrace- a one hundred and twenty five mile relay from Baker City, in Oregon USA, to Las Vegas Nevada. After months of strenuous training, the Belize protectors- made up of personnel from the BDF, Coast Guard, Police Department, and the Customs Department- will travel to Las Vegas today to settle in, before the big race on the weekend. CEO in the Ministry of National Security Col. George Lovell, heads the delegation to Las Vegas as the chairman of the team committee. The Belize Protectors Committee had earmarked 100 thousand dollars to fund this trip, but unfortunately they fell short of 27 thousand dollars. However the committee told us that their fundraising efforts continue. The team left for Cancun this evening and will then board a connecting flight to Las Vegas. The race begins on Saturday March 19th.

Ruperto Not Bitter At Failed Exec. Coup
A few weeks ago we told you about the internal power struggle within the Football Federation of Belize. Three of the executive members - Cruz Gamez, Marlon Kuylen, and Sergio Chuc tried to have president Ruperto Vicente suspended. They accused him of making poor administrative decisions that were not in the best interest of the sport and of manipulating the elections of the district associations- a plot to ensure his re-election. If this sounds like déjà vu, it is because former President Dr. Bertie Chimilio went down under these same accusations. But, not so easy with Vicente. The attempt to suspend him failed due to a technicality. In an interview with him yesterday he told us that he holds no grudges, against these three executive members, but that, at the same time, he doesn't blame them for wanting to be like him- making an allusion to the belief that those three execs were after his president's seat. Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB: "I never glory in people's failure; I don't take pride in that. I continue to be the garden of football in this country and I will not allow myself to be distracted. It's gone and the football work continues and I must be pay attention to that. I cannot allow myself to be distracted so I hold nothing against anybody because that is not my responsibility. I believe that every time we have an experience, it is because god wants us to go through this and god is teaching me a lesson. God allows it so that I could become a better person in life and more specifically for football and for that I am very grateful."

Christie Case Correction
Last night on the news we told you about the defence testimony accused murderer Osmar Sabido, the man who is currently on trial for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend death in Orange Walk Town, back in 2011. He told the court that he did not kill her; she attacked him, and in the process of trying to fend off the knife she was trying to stab him with, she fatally injured herself in their struggle. We told you about the testimony of prosecution witness, Dr. Mario Estradabran. We reported that he referred to the fatal injury, which punctured to her heart and lung, as a defensive wound. That’s an error. He was referring to another injury, the one she suffered to her thumb, not the injury to the chest. The case continues tomorrow, where Sabido will be cross-examined, and after that, both the prosecution and the defence will wrap up their cases.

An Association for Museums
28 collectors, and representatives of local museums took part today in a full day workshop at the Government House in Belize City. They want to discuss the establishment of an association. And why an association? Well for starters, the association creates an avenue for sourcing funds as a body instead of small individual museums. As it currently stands, one of the biggest challenges these small museum owners face is the lack of funding. Here’s what they spoke about today: 18 different museums and independent collectors are involved in the startup of the association. Organizers hope to see the first association of museums established by June 2016.

Channel 5

Taiwanese President Arrives in Belize on Farewell Tour
Outgoing Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou touched down in Belize shortly before eleven o’clock this morning, following the arrivals of the prime ministers of St. Kitts, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.  [...]

B.D.F. Commander Says Sarstoon Problem is Result of Inconsistent Political Directives
Following the National Security Meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow credited the defusing of the situation at the Sarstoon on Sunday to Brigadier-General David Jones – more specifically, the [...]

Will B.D.F. Changeover at Cadenas Continue Unimpeded?
The Belize Defense Force is shortly due to make its weekly shift-change run to Cadenas via the Sarstoon, or is it? Has that strongly worded note from the Guatemalan Foreign [...]

5 Years Later, Is Belize Retrogressing in Sarstoon?
Just a few years ago, Belizeans were able to use the Sarstoon and there was no question that half of that meandering river was ours. Today, Guatemalans say the entire [...]

Brigadier General Jones Meet with Oppossition Following Latest Sarstoon Incident
In tri-lateral meetings conducted at OAS headquarters in Washington DC on Tuesday, the Opposition was represented by former Foreign Minister Assad Shoman. Even in its release issued over the weekend, [...]

Minister of Education Weighs in on Sarstoon Flare Up
One government official who is known not to mince words is Minister of Education Patrick Faber. He weighed in on the Sarstoon incident, telling the media today that Belizeans should [...]

What’s the Pulse of the People on Belize/Guatemala Situation?
In light of the recent flare up at the Sarstoon River, we took to the streets of Belize City to get public opinion on the incident, as well as the [...]

Aspiring Deputy Leader John Saldivar Comments on Vega’s Departure
The unanticipated letter of resignation from Deputy Party Leader Gaspar Vega, relinquishing his post as second-in-command of the ruling United Democratic Party, has created a leadership vacuum within the hierarchy [...]

…What Does Patrick Faber Think?
The resignation of Vega also came as a surprise to Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, who contested the deputy leadership back in 2013, but lost to Vega. Faber says despite [...]

Patrick Faber – No Indications of Discontent Followed Gapi’s Change of Portfolio
It is highly speculated that Vega stepped down after the portfolio for the Ministry of Natural Resources was given to an unelected minister, Godwin Hulse. But was this what triggered [...]

Patrick Faber’s Gives His Two Cents on U.D.P. Leadership
Collet Area Rep Patrick Faber has not been bashful about his intent to become U.D.P. party leader. He believes that acquiring deputy party leadership is a stepping stone to his [...]

Did a Minor Kill Mario Trotman?
There were two murders in three days in Belize City. A thirty-four-year-old mother of two teenage boys was killed as she traveled in a taxi with friends on Faber’s Road. [...]

Police Officers Meet and Greet in North Creek
Earlier in the newscast, Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams gave an update on the recent homicides in Belize City. News Five caught up with him during the department’s weekly [...]

High School Students Take on Sagicor Visionaries Challenge
The biennial Sagicor Visionaries Challenge took place today at the Ramada Belize City Princess. A dozen entries were submitted by five schools from across Belize District. The projects focus innovative [...]

Belize Protectors are off to Vegas for Challenge Cup Relay
Twenty-five members of Belize’s armed forces are heading to Las Vegas, Nevada where twenty of them will participate in the Challenge Cup Relay – Baker to Vegas Race. The one [...]

C-Wills Cleans Up at Garifuna Music Awards
Garifuna parandero C-Wills has won a total of five awards at the recently held Garifuna Music Awards in New York.  The ceremony was held on Saturday at the Hostos Center [...]

#512458 - 03/17/16 06:45 AM Re: Today's Belize News: March 17, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


Parents Share Classrooms For Family Day
For many years the everyday reality of working parents and their children has been captured in notions of ‘quality time’ versus ‘quantity time’. On one hand it is suggested that what families need is ‘more time’ for parents to spend together with their children and less time working. The challenge though is, how to juggle our family responsibilities with our highly demanding jobs. The Ranchito Government School in the Corozal District seem to have found a solution to this problem, by organizing a Family Day. Sergio Magana: “Today is an activity that was planned through the Principal and we had Mrs. Rahburn that was assigned to the school and planned to have a family fun day where parents, students and teachers would do things together so that they can bond with the parents and teachers and the staff and the children. The objective for today is to bring in the parents as stakeholders in their children’s education so we want them to be much more involve and to be aware of what is happening here at school and so in the end we want to have much more community participation, parents participation so that they would feel that they are part of the school and the school being part of the community.”

President Of Taiwan Arrives In Belize
The President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), His Excellency Ma Ying-Jeou, today arrived at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. His visit is part of a seven-day farewell tour with high-ranking officers from Taiwan. The President is in Belize for a two-day state visit, that will include meetings with the Caribbean and Central American leaders including the Prime Ministers of St. Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; and St. Kitts and Nevis, Honorable Timothy Harris. President Ma was greeted by Belize’s executive leader, Governor-General Sir Colville Young, and a cheering band from the Taiwanese community. Taiwanese locals Jason Chang and Orin Wu, the latter of whom publishes the Chinese Journal for the community here and in Taiwan, spoke about their excitement for President Ma’s visit to Belize, and being able to have met him: During his speech at the welcome ceremony that took place at the airport, President Ma took the time out to thank the people of the Caribbean for their support following the February 6 earthquake in the South of Taiwan. He also spoke of exchanging views on matters of mutual concern and renewing friendships with Belize and the leaders from the Eastern Caribbean, as well as leaders of the Taiwanese Community in Belize. He stated, quote, “In doing so, my delegation and I can see for ourselves first-hand the outcomes and achievement of our viable diplomacy, further consolidate the partnership and friendship between our respective allies, and meet face-to-face with our diplomats and their families who have made tremendous contributions to our bilateral relations with the Caribbean allies.” End quote.

Truck Carrying Contraband Cigarettes Confiscated In Guatemala
A report issued by the Guatemalan news “Agencia Guatemalteca de Noticias” states that Guatemalan police intercepted a truck yesterday near the village of Poptun in the town of Peten, Guatemala, carrying a total of nine million nine hundred and forty cigarettes and 48 bottles of Whiskey that were believed to have been coming from Belize. The truck that was being driven at the time by 31 year old Guatemalan National, Henry Noe Garcia Urizar. The contraband goods were confiscated by Guatemalan police.

Race For UDP First Deputy Leader Is On
A few days ago via a letter sent to the Party Secretariat and copied to the Prime Minister of Belize, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega informed the United Democratic Party that he would not seek re-election as the Area Representative for Orange Walk North in the next General Elections. In his letter Vega also stated that he did not want to be endorsed as the First Deputy Leader of the party in the upcoming convention set for Sunday March 20. Vegas early retirement from politics took many by surprise and while there are many speculations surrounding his decision, they remain as that…just speculations since Vega nor the Prime Minister Dean Barrow has spoken about issue. But while the two main men of the UDP are not talking, there are those in the party who are not keeping quite. And one of those persons is Minister of Education Patrick Faber. CTV3 News was the first to speak to Faber on the issue of Vega’s retirement last week Friday during the inauguration of a new school building at the Belize High School of Agriculture.

Farber Blames BTV For Increase Aggressiveness
There is no doubt that the latest encounter between Guatemalan armed forces and Belizean Authorities has given much to talk about, with several leaders and organizations voicing their opinion on the situation including Prime Minister Dean Barrow who attributed the recent hostility from the Guatemalans to visits from the Belize Territorial Volunteers.But yesterday we told you about a leaked confidential report from the Belize Defense Force that shows “military-to-military” tension at the Sarstoon started flaring up over a decade ago and it is not just recently that the Guatemalan Army has insisted that the BDF should not be on the Sarstoon River.Today Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Patrick Faber, shared his input on the situation saying that he believes that there are proper ways to advance in the territorial dispute with Guatemala and that includes the meeting in Washington that took place yesterday.During the interview Faber also concurred with Prime Minister Barrow in saying that the Belize Territorial Volunteers carry much of the blame when it comes to the aggressions suffered by the BDF as their excursions to the Sarstoon does nothing but aggravate the tension between both countries.

Cabinet Discusses Vega's Retirement
At the top of the newscast you heard Minister of Education Patrick Faber expand on his interest for the position of First Deputy Leader of the UDP. With Honorable Gaspar Vega out of the way the UDP is looking at electing a new First Deputy Leader. But what prompted Vega to retire from politics? Today Faber told us that while Vegas retirement was discussed in Cabinet on Tuesday, the three term Area Representative did not go into much detail about the decision he took. Honorable Patrick Faber- Minister Education Youth and Sports “It was just a matter of him, well firstly the Prime Minister stating the position and of course telling us how we would move forward and then of course Mr. Vega had a chance to address the Cabinet and told us of his position and didn’t get too much into the details other than he thought as I said before that he should give the position to a person who of course better be able to lead the party...


VIP to PM; stop blaming patriotic Belizeans for Guatemalan actions
We haven’t heard from Vision Inspired by the People for quite a while, as the third party did not even participate in the last General elections. However, the VIP issued a statement today on the illegal incursion into Belize by the Guatemalan armed forces. According to the VIP, “It is abundantly c...

New beach inaugurated in Caye Caulker
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and Caye Caulker Village Council on Saturday afternoon inaugurated new public beaches on the island as part of the Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development of Caye Caulker. The Board says that a total of 1,883 linear feet of the beach was reclaimed in areas betw...

Ground Breaking Ceremony at Kuxlin Ha Government School
Today, Tuesday March the 15th, a ground breaking ceremony was held at Kuxlin Ha Government School. The school is located in the Maya Mopan Area of Belmopan and is one of the largest growing primary schools in the community. At the ground breaking ceremony were Hon John Saldivar, Minister of National...

Missing youth found dead
A missing Belize City youth was found dead just after ten this morning behind the Fabers’ Road Extension, in the “Dike” area, so-called as the home of the sewers built by Belize Water Services Limited (BWS). We get the details from Head of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Easter...

Dean Parks and Son Shot
A Belize man and his 13 year old son are the latest victims of gun violence in the old capital. Forty seven year old Dean Parks and his son were at a residence on Ebony Street when gunfire was heard. Parks was shot once to the right side of the jaw and once to the right shoulder and his son was also...

Forward Operating Base construction remains on target
With the recent aggression of the Guatemalan Armed Forces near the Forward Operating Base under Construction in the Sarstoon area, questions about the progress of that construction and the deadline goals have been raised. Today, the media caught up with Minister of National Security John Saldivar wh...

Wil Mehia responds to PM’s comments about cause of Guatemalan aggression
On Monday in an interview with the Media, PM Barrow says that he is absolutely convinced that it is Belizeans visiting the Sarstoon area that precipitated Saturday’s standoff between the GAF and the BDF. We caught up with Wil Mehia via phone today for his response to the PM’s comments after th...

Eyes on Gaspar Vega’s soon to be vacant post
Hon. Gaspar Vega, last Tuesday March 8th, tendered his resignation from the post of 1st Deputy Party Leader for the UDP, saying that he has no intentions to pursue another term of office after he finishes serving this current term. In light of that decision, Vega says he decided to step down and wi...


Tsunami warning simulation: are Belize and the rest of the Caribbean up to the mark?
The 7.1 magnitude earthquake of May 2009 which struck off the coast of Honduras sparked a tsunami alert for Belize and neighboring countries. Thankfully, we were spared! Tsunamis can be just as devastating, or even more devastating, than the earthquakes which trigger them, and the Caribbean region wants to make sure that it is ready should a tsunami threat emerge again in 2016. Chief Meteorological Officer, Dennis Gonguez, told Amandala that Belize will participate in a region-wide test this Thursday, March 17, to ensure that the channels via which regional alerts and bulletins are issued to individual countries are up to the mark. The exercise, to be undertaken under the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS), under the auspices of the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Caribbean Regional Stakeholders (CEPREDENAC, CDEMA, and EMIZ) will firstly simulate response to an 8.4 magnitude earthquake off Venezuela, in the southern Caribbean Sea.

Belize security forces ready for relay race from California to Las Vegas
A contingency of Belize security forces, led by Belize Defence Force Brigadier General, David Jones, visited St. John’s Cathedral this morning for a special service before they depart the country on Wednesday, March 16, to participate in a 120-mile California to Las Vegas marathon relay race in the United States, where they will complete with security forces from other jurisdictions. The 25-member team of runners, representing the different branches of Belize’s security forces — the BDF, Belize Police Department, and the Belize Coast Guard, has been under intensive training since Saturday, January 16, when they ran the 8-mile qualifying time trial race. This morning, General Jones explained to Amandala that the Belize team of runners, who are being coached by marathon runner Ian Gray, went to St. John’s Church so that they could pray together, with the folks who are supporting the team. General Jones said that on Wednesday, the team will travel by bus to Cancun, Mexico, and the following morning they will fly to Los Angeles, California.

The Reporter

Taiwanese President visits Belize
Taiwanese President, Ma Ying-Jeou arrived in Belize at 10:50 this morning on an official visit. President Ma is visiting Belize as part of a farewell tour. The first country he visited was Guatemala, and now Belize. When he departs on Thursday, President Ma’s last stop will be the US. The Reporter will have more details on the visit of President Ma in our printed edition on Thursday.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Group of 4 see sex charges dropped by DPP
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Cheryl-Lynn Vidal has directed the courts to withdraw charges of unlawful sexual intercourse against 4 males, 3 minors and an adult male identified as 22 year old Wilfred Ramirez. The group of four were accused of all having sexual […]

Five beat burglary charge
For want of prosecution, five Belize City residents including a female teenager saw charges of burglary dating back to June of 2015 dropped this morning. Released are 30 year old Brandon Errol Smith, aka “Battery;” 30 year old Devon Delon Smith, a Security Officer; […]

Hopkins parandero makes history!
Belizean paranda artist Clayton “C-Wills” Williams has swept five top awards at the Garifuna Music Awards held over the weekend in the Bronx, New York City, New York. Williams’ debut album “Garifuna Nuguya” took top honors for Song of the Year, Album of the […]

Harvest Caye opens in November
At an event abroad, representatives of Belize’s tourism industry and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) jointly announced plans for the first call to Harvest Caye off Placencia. Beginning on November 15, 2016, the cruise port at the caye will receive 4 calls per week. President […]

Early Childhood Education Expo in Orange Walk
Activities continue across the country for Child Stimulation Month as the Ministry of Education continues to promote early childhood education nationwide. Part of the activities this week include an education expo held across the country. Hector Moralez, officer in charge of Early Childhood Education […]

Taiwan President Ma, Eastern Caribbean leaders in Belize
Outgoing President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), His Excellency Ma Ying-jeou, has arrived in Belize for a two-day state visit. He was greeted by Governor General Sir Colville Young and a band of his countrymen this morning at the Philip Goldson International Airport, […]

Early childhood expo held in Belize City
BTL Park in Belize City played host to an Early Childhood Expo presented by that department of the Ministry of Education. Acting Manager, Nadira Ross, described the event as bringing the pre-school classroom to the outdoors, featuring displays of music, language, math and other […]

Dry weather expected to continue
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly sunny skies today and partly cloudy skies tonight with little or no rainfall expected. Winds will be blowing from the East-Southeast at 10-20 knots with occasional higher gusts and the sea state will be moderate […]

Progresso FC beats Bandits
Last night inside the Isidoro Beaton Stadium fans from all over the country gathered to watch the game between the Belmopan Bandits and Progresso FC from Honduras. The Bandits dominated the first half of the match, trying to score against goalkeeper Woodrow West, formerly […]


What A Glorious March Day on Ambergris Caye. Period.
Yesterday’s post got a bit heavier than expected so today I’ll just keep it to the GLORIOUS WEATHER. Beautiful sparkly, breezy but not too breezy, low seaweed/sargasso perfection. The view through San Pedro’s largest church – the Roman Catholic Church on Front Street. I was having lunch at Fido’s and as I cut through Central Park, I saw the fishermen out on the municipal pier. Back from conch fishing (the season ends June 1st – but often earlier if the quota is filled) and displaying the empty shells. Can’t walk right past that. And then just the gorgeous shells. I asked where they were finding these big conch. I know that the shores of Ambergris Caye are pretty much (sadly) picked clean. They go out to Turneffe Atoll and beyond. The entrance from the beach to Fido’s…a look out at their dock AND where I will be subwinging tomorrow.

Trading a 90-Mile Commute for a Bike Ride in Belize
by Tamara Sniffin. Even after living on Ambergris Caye in Belize for a dozen years, it still sounds like magic to my ears when I tell people my home is a tropical island. From the Caribbean coast and our stunning Meso-American Barrier Reef, to the mountains, Maya sites, and charming communities of the mainland…we have the best of worlds. When we grow tired of white, sandy-beach views we head to the jungle to hang out with the monkeys. For around $100 a night you can stay in a quaint jungle cottage with meals included, or forget the budget and splurge at a posh resort that caters to your every need. My husband, Ron, shares my passion for Belize and when—in 2004—we had the opportunity to purchase the island newspaper, The San Pedro Sun, we both knew this was our chance to live in a country we had grown to love. We pulled up stakes in Wyoming and permanently moved to San Pedro town with our teenage son. Although we both enjoyed our busy jobs—Ron as a PR and communications director for a national teachers union, and myself a campaign manager for a national health organization—we knew that there was more to life than the comforts of home. Living in the snow had lost its appeal. We quit our well-paying professions, rented our family home, held several garage sales, bought a house sight-unseen on the island and—with twelve trunks, our golden retriever, and a cat—we moved to the island in less than three months.

Paddleboarding, Kayaking, and a Perfect Income in Belize
Sue and Carlos Vasquez grew up in the harsh winters of Chicago and Wisconsin…and, eventually, they had enough of them. When their son reached adulthood, and the economy went south in the U.S., they decided to head south themselves. That was five years ago and they have no regrets about making their new home in Belize. ”We dreamed for years about living in the Caribbean. We pinch ourselves every day that we are actually doing it,” says Sue. “I walk out my front door every morning to watch the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start my day.” Sue, 49, and Carlos, 50, have taken up paddleboarding and kayaking in their tropical, paradise home. “In a typical week I find myself on the paddleboard several times for a 15 minute paddle out to Placencia Caye. I get to snorkel among beautiful coral and tropical fish,” says Sue, who recently found herself paddleboarding next to a manatee. Last week, they posted pictures online of dolphins near their shore. When they first landed in Belize, Sue and Carlos stayed in Ambergris Caye, an island in northern Belize that is very popular with expats. They found it an easy place to network. Their dream job was to manage a beachfront resort and, after spending their first year managing a pool supply store, they found the opportunity they were looking for. They relocated to Placencia, further south, to manage a thriving, beachfront, boutique resort.

International Sourcesizz

World Happiness Report 2016 update shows significantly more inequality in Caribbean
The World Happiness Report 2016 Update, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, was released on Wednesday in Rome in advance of UN World Happiness Day, March 20, and shows that two regions – the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America and Caribbean – have significantly more inequality of life assessments within their regions than is true for the world population as a whole. The widespread interest in the World Happiness Reports, of which this is the fourth, reflects growing global interest in using happiness and subjective well-being as primary indicators of the quality of human development. Because of this growing interest, many governments, communities and organizations are using happiness data, and the results of subjective well-being research, to enable policies that support better lives. In the Ranking of Happiness 2013-2015, Latin and Central American countries in the region are generally ranked higher than English-speaking island nations, the top one being Trinidad and Tobago at number 43:

Norwegian's port in Belize to have ziplines, freefall jump
Norwegian Cruise Line divulged details of its upgraded Harvest Caye private port, scheduled to open in Belize in mid-November. The port will have a pier where Norwegian ships can tie up, a seven-acre sand beach, a marina that will serve as a departure point for excursions, and a 130-foot-tall lighthouse structure that will anchor a pair of ziplines, a freefall jump attraction and several observation platforms. “We think this is going to be a very, very popular feature," Norwegian President Andy Stuart said in a presentation at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference here. In addition to the beach, there will be a 15,000-square-foot pool with a swim-up bar, cascading waterfall and canopy style cabanas available for rent. There will also be 11 deluxe air-conditioned beachfront cabanas that will have hammocks, private bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers and other premium features. Pricing has not been decided, Stuart said.

Harvest Caye to Feature Cruise Ship Pier, Seven-Acre Beach, Adventure Activities & More
Norwegian Cruise Line's new private island port in Belize, Harvest Caye, will have its own cruise ship port, making it the only port in the Central American country where passengers will walk off the ship rather than tender to land. The port will also boast a seven-acre sand beach, 15,000-square-foot pool, zip lining, suspensions bridges and free fall jumps, and five dining and beverage venues. Passengers seeking an exclusive beach experience can rent one of the Harvest Caye's 11 beach villas, each of which can accommodate up to 10 people. The villas are equipped with air conditioning, a dedicated lounge and dining room, a private bathroom, indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks and exclusive dining and beverage options with dedicated concierge service so passengers never have to leave the beach to get food or a drink. For those who prefer pool fun to beach fun, Harvest Caye will offer a 15,000-square-foot pool featuring swim-up bar with stools and lounge tables in the water. The pool will be encircled by lounge chairs and umbrellas, along with 15 canopy pool cabanas available for rent. In the cabanas, you'll find upscale lounge furniture, privacy drapes and beverage service.

New threat to financial services
The financial services sector faces a new threat that could thwart the island’s economic development and impact negatively on the local banking sector if quick action is not taken to address it. Banks in the region are beginning to lose access to correspondent banks abroad, after they have been warned that their systems and procedures regarding money laundering were inadequate, inappropriate and much too risky. A correspondent bank is a financial institution that conducts business transactions, accept deposits and gathers documents on behalf of another financial institution. Local officials explain that relatively new international regulations intended to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism required international banks to be satisfied that their correspondent banks in other countries were undertaking the relevant due diligence and that they knew their customers. Participating in the debate on the Appropriations Bill 2016 in the House of Assembly this week former Prime Minister Owen Arthur described the issue as “a very, very serious matter” that, if not fended off, could threaten the future of the Barbados economy. “I am not going to point fingers at anybody, but the Caribbean will not escape. It is the image that the Caribbean is soft on perpetrators of financial crimes. We have some interesting and well-written legislation in respect of combating money laundering and combating financial crime,” Arthur said.

Tracking The Rise And Plummet Of Shyne 15 Years After His Conviction
As hip-hop moves forward, significant markers of its past become more clear. The day Dr. Dre heard Eminem’s demo in Jimmy Iovine’s garage, Ol’ Dirty Bastard running from the law for a month, and, obviously, the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. are pretty easy to pinpoint. On the flipside, there are plenty of lesser known moments that could’ve completely changed hip-hop’s trajectory if they’d gone the other way, such as Method Man almost being shot in a drive-by and Kanye checking his ego and not nixing the best verse on all of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Nicki Minaj on “Monster.” But a moment that’s been covered in the dust of time, that easily could’ve sent shockwaves through the culture, happened 15 years ago today. On March, 16, 2001, a jury acquitted Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs of multiple weapons charges and allegedly bribing his driver to take the fall after a shooting in a Manhattan night club. [Johnnie Cochran strikes again.] In the same trial, Jamaal “Shyne” Barrow was convicted on two counts of assault and counts of reckless endangerment and gun possession after allegedly shooting into the crowd. He’d later be sentenced to and serve 10 years in prison and the two men went on to have vastly different lives for the next decade and a half. What came next for Diddy is common knowledge. He went on to become an even larger hip-hop mogul with the success of the Sean John clothing line, stakes in multiple beverages – both athletic and alcoholic – and launching Revolt TV all while keeping his name relevant enough in music with occasional Bad Boys Records releases. In 2015, Forbes claimed he had a net worth of $735 million. His career could’ve been vastly different, or halted, if the tables had turned.

Misonix Supports Belize Spine Surgery Mission
Misonix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSON), an international surgical device company that designs, manufactures and markets innovative therapeutic ultrasonic products for spine surgery, neurosurgery, wound debridement, laparoscopic surgery and other surgical applications, has donated a Bone Scalpel® unit to Spine Overseas for mission work at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize. "We are thankful for the donation made by Misonix, allowing us to better treat individuals in need to allow them to return to a healthy and productive life. I am a big fan of the Bone Scalpel from Misonix, and promote its use everywhere I go. I feel it is among the top 2-3 innovations introduced into spine surgery over the past decade," said Peter Gabos, M.D., from Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. "The relationship with the Belize mission is an on-going commitment, and one that I anticipate will be highly visible," notes Dr. Gabos. "The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is fast becoming a center of excellence in spine surgery, and there is a huge training and education component for many South American spinal surgeons."

Ma meets premiers of four Taiwan diplomatic allies in Belize
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeo met in Belize Wednesday with government leaders of Belize and three of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, all of whom expressed hope that Ma's successor will continue to push bilateral relations with their countries. Ma arrived in Belize earlier that day on the second stop of his last overseas trip before leaving office in May, and met with Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow. During the meeting, Ma invited Barrow to attend President-elect Tsai Ing-wen's inauguration May 20, when Ma will conclude his maximum two-term tenure as president. Tsai was elected in January. In response, Barrow expressed hope that Ma's successor will continue to enhance relations with Belize based on the existing foundation and that the two countries will carry out more exchanges.

Norwegian reveals amenities at its private port in Belize
Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private port in Belize, will have beach villas, a large pool area with cabanas, a variety of aerial activities including zip lining, water sports in the lagoon, wildlife programs and a shopping village. The cruise line on Wednesday revealed details about the port and recreational area it is building on two adjoining islands off the coast of Belize City. Harvest Caye, originally scheduled to open in mid-February, is now scheduled to open in November. The islands will have a cruise ship pier so that passengers can walk off the ship and onto land and won’t have to be tendered. It will also have a large marina, the departure point for certain shore excursions.

Belize and Guatemala military clash on southern border
Tensions between Belize and Guatemala at an “all-time high” following a military clash on Saturday (March 12) at the Sarstoon River on the southern Belizean border. A press statement from the Government of Belize Press Office, which was published on Facebook on March 13, says that on Saturday there was a confrontation on the Sarstoon River between the Belize Defence Force (BDF) and the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF). “The GAF approached the Belize’s Forward Operating Base (FOB), though they never actually attempted to come on to our land, and behaved in an extremely hostile and threatening manner, insisting that our troops should not be at the Sarstoon. The Belize Forces stood their ground and after some time the GAF withdrew. In the intervening period the BDF Commander General Jones had spoken to an opposite member in Guatemala and Prime Minister Dean Barrow had sent a message to President Jimmy Morales,” writes the Belize Press Office. The Belizean government said, however, that although the confrontation was resolved peacefully, “it is clear that tension with Guatemala over the Sarstoon and Belize’s insistence on its sovereignty rights in accordance with the 1859 Treaty Demarcation of the river, is at an all-time high”. Talks between Guatemala and Belize were due to take place on March 15 in Washington D.C. under the supervision of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Ecologists Can’t Beat Invasive Species, So They’re Joining Them
The path to Ohe’o Gulch, in Maui, meanders through a short section of forest, past mango trees and pockets of bamboo, then opens onto the ocean. Palm trees of all sizes and varieties line the Pacific coast, their trunks hunched over the sand, fronds waving picturesquely in the trade winds. Though they may seem perfectly at home, iconic to the landscape, most of these trees are outsiders. They hitched a ride long ago, with the Polynesians or Europeans, and not innocuously; they’ve been crowding out the native palm species that belong to the genus Pritchardia—in some cases, almost to the point of extinction. Which raises the question: Should ecologists care that the trees who were here first are being ousted, and do something to stop and reverse it? The ethical—or ideological—quandary is familiar to art conservationists, who argue how best to preserve a masterpiece: by letting its paint gracefully bear the effects of aging, or preventing them altogether to retain the work’s initial appearance. “For a long time,” said Donald Drake, a botanist and conservation biologist at the University of Hawaii, “one of the main strategies of conservation has been restoration: You take a place that’s been messed up, disturbed by people, and you try and put it back to what it was like 100 years ago, or before Europeans came. In a lot of places that’s just not realistic. We need to come to terms with things that are never going back.”

Instead of migrating, white storks are staying put for the winter and eating garbage
Birds just aren’t migrating the way they used to. And why should they? Climate change has made winters warmer, meaning they don’t need to travel as far in order to make it through the brutal temperatures. But it’s not just climate change that’s giving birds—particularly white storks—reason to stay. New research published in Movement Ecology this week suggests that land fills provide enough food for the birds to stick around throughout the year. What that means, though, is that they’re literally eating garbage. “It’s gross, actually,” Aldina Franco, an ecologist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England and lead author of the study, told Quartz. “When a truck arrives, they all congregate behind it. Sometimes they eat computer parts, but what they are really looking after are our leftovers.” Franco explained that ordinarily, white storks live all over Europe in the summer, breeding months, and migrate to either southern Europe or sub-Saharan Africa over the winter. They typically eat a diet of small insects or spiders, though they also have been known to eat crayfish in rice fields. Now, however, Franco says that of the population of about 14,000 white storks in Portugal, an increasing number are becoming residents of the areas near landfills. She and her team had been tracking the movements of over 50 of these storks in Portugal, and for this study looked at the movements of 17 birds they knew had set up colonies near the landfills. They found that even with their unusual new dietary patterns, storks that stayed over the winter had the advantage of starting to breed earlier in the season and raise more chicks per nest. “The good consequences of having extra food override the bad ones [of the diet],” she said. Franco added that in this particular study, she and her team didn’t look at the effects of consuming atypical food.

At the bottom of the Arabian Sea, a 500-year-old shipwreck from the fleet of Vasco da Gama
Standing atop the rugged, barren peak of Al-Hallaniyah Island, eyeing the blue-gray Arabian Sea as it lashed the rocky coast below, David Mearns tried to transport himself back 500 years. The sky was dark with storm clouds, the sea a raging, surging maelstrom. Two ships, heedlessly anchored on the exposed northern side of the island, were whipped about by the winds and waves, stretching their moorings to the breaking point. Once adrift, the wooden vessels were driven twoard shore and bashed against the rocks. One got close enough to the beach for its crew to escape before it broke apart completely. The other splintered and sank in deep water, dragging everyone onboard, including its captain, to the bottom of the sea. Mearns had spent half a year reading accounts of that disaster, which doomed part of a fleet led by the legendary Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. He’d internalized everything he could find about the weather, the vessels, the island, the perils of the Arabian Sea during the “Golden Age of Exploration” half a millennium ago. And he knew that at least one unparalleled example of a ship from that time lay somewhere within his reach. If only he could find it.


  • WIZING TIME MARCH 14, 2016, 5min.

  • UK and CDB launch the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure (UKCIF) Programme, 13min. Eight Caribbean countries and one British Overseas Territory are closer to accessing funding to build new roads, bridges, ports and other vital infrastructure as the United Kingdom’s Caribbean Infrastructure (UKCIF) Programme becomes operational. The UKCIF was ratified on March 9th by the Board of the Caribbean Development Bank, paving the way for implementation of the game changing programme. The Department for International Development will provide up to £300m in grant financing from January 2016 to March 2020 to Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines and Montserrat.

  • A World UnderWater: The Reefs of Belize,1 min. Underwater 360º Photography: Keith Ellenbogen - MIT CAST Visiting Artist / Assistant Professor Photography SUNY/FIT Allan Adams - MIT Dept of Physics

  • Life Uncommon 15th March, 2016 EPISODE 2, 65min.

  • Rise and Shine Part 1 GUESTS: David Gibson & Dr Herman Byrd (15th March, 2016), 51min. arstoon, Guatemala and ICJ

  • Rise and Shine Part 2 GUESTS: David Gibson & Dr Herman Byrd (15th March, 2016), 59min. Sarstoon island and river; Guatemala takes the Sarstoon... Road to the ICJ

  • Belize Trip 2015, 3.5min. Community service trip to Belize 2015 with IMG Academy (sophomore year of high school)

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    Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
    White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
    Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
    We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
    Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
    Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
    Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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