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#512625 - 03/25/16 12:00 PM Today's Belize News: March 25, 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

National Puppy Day: Adoption is key!
Today is March 23rd; a date that celebrates some of the cutest creatures on earth: PUPPIES! National Puppy Day is a special day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. In its 10th anniversary of National Puppy Day, let’s not only celebrate but also be reminded of the thousands upon thousands of puppies that are born without a loving home and owner. Pups born on the streets or inadequate homes don’t get to feel the warmth and safety offered at a loving home. Today is a day to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills and strays.

Still no new First Deputy Party Leader after UDP Convention
Political fever invaded quiet Dangriga, Stann Creek District, when members and supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) met in the cultural capital for the party’s National Convention. Key members of the UDP were present at the important gathering, held on Sunday, March 20th, including Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow. However, his former right- hand man and First Deputy Party Leader, Gaspar Vega, were a no- show. In fact, his post remains vacant. Vega, who made history along with his party, the UDP, when they won for the third consecutive time in the General Elections in October of 2015, clearly had no intentions to become the leader of the country in the near future. This was revealed in a letter he sent to the Party, dated March 8th, wherein he stated his resignation and retirement from politics.

8-Ball Pool Tournament approaching semi-finals
Accompanied by a scenic lagoon view, the pre-season 8-Ball Pool Tournament continued this past weekend at Captain Iguanas. The fourth week of the competition saw games getting tight as the competition narrows. Female players stepped up their game as they challenged the boys in a no mercy fashion. During the heated games, pool fans showed support of their favourite teams as well. Organizers of the event once again thank everyone who is making the tournament possible. Special thanks go to The San Pedro Sun for their effort and support in getting the San Pedro Billiards Association recognized in the community.

ABC Preschool hosts Easter Show
A fun-filled occasion took place at Angel Nuñez Auditorium as ABC Preschool hosted their first ever “Easter Show” on Saturday, March 19th. Since Easter is right around the corner and schools have already closed for the holidays, ABC Preschool organized this fundraiser to treat youngsters and their parents to live entertainment featuring some beloved TV characters via actors from Mexico. Principal and teacher of ABC Preschool, Wilfredo Alamilla, explained the reason for the show. “This is our one of our biggest fundraisers and all the funds goes towards our different activities that we have in our school, including the renovation of our classrooms,” said Alamilla. With tickets being $5 (kids), $10 (adults) and VIP tickets, attendants got more than what they bargained for while still supporting a worthy cause.

Saga holds successful adoption drive
Every three months, the San Pedro Saga Humane Society tries to find homes for their sheltered dogs and cats. All those beautiful and friendly animals eagerly await to be placed in the perfect home that will give them the love and affection they long for. At such, members of Saga held an adoption drive on Saturday, March 19th in an attempt to find loving owners for adorable pets. The event was held from 2PM to 4PM next to Fairdale Plaza, facing the busy Coconut Drive. Saga members were out in full force trying to attract potential pet owners to adopt a pup or cat. Slowly as the day progressed, passers-by stopped by and met some of the various cute creatures available. “We are very happy to be here today doing our best to find homes for these well – deserving animals,” said Dawn LoCascio a member of Saga. “We will never stop caring for these beautiful creatures.”

San Pedro Town observes Earth Hour
On Saturday, March 19th, San Pedro Town joined over 7,000 communities around the world in observing Earth Hour. In an effort to bring awareness to how climate change is affecting our planet, several environmental organizations around the world, including in Belize, held candle- light vigil walks. The activity was a symbolical petition, asking everyone to turn off their electricity for one hour and contribute to the well-being of a planet that is slowly dying from the effects of climate change. The event was organized in San Pedro by Oceana in Belize, in collaboration with the San Pedro House of Culture and the Ministry of Youth Services.

San Pedro Roman Catholic Church Observes Holiest time of the Year
The Easter Holidays are here once again, and for the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church this is the most holy time of the year. The celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection was ushered in by the 40-day Lenten season which commenced on Ash Wednesday, February 10th. As such the Church has scheduled a series of events to celebrate the Holy Week. The Lenten Season culminated on Sunday, March 19th with the Palm Sunday possession. Observed as the day Jesus returns to Jerusalem, symbolic palm leaves, which according to the Bible were used to welcome Jesus to the holy city, are revered by the Catholics during this day. Here in San Pedro Town the procession started shortly after 3PM. Leading the procession were members of the congregation dressed up as the 12 Apostles and Jesus. The procession culminated with the Palm Sunday mass, where palm leaves were blessed and given to the congregation, which turns them into crosses as a token of their faith. The next scheduled event was held on Holy Thursday, March 24th. The traditional “Washing of the Feet” ceremony, which commemorated The Last Supper, took place at 7PM at the Roman Catholic Church, followed by the transfer of the Holy Eucharist to the Parish Hall at 10AM. The Adoration Vigil was then held at the Parish Hall until midnight, which is the time Judas betrayed Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, and is the beginning of Good Friday.

Solani Graniel is crowned SP Lions Queen 2016/2017
On the evening of Saturday, March 19th San Pedro Lions Club members and invited guests congregated at the Lions Den to celebrate an evening of gratitude and to crown their new queen. The night kicked off with a social hour where attendees enjoyed cocktails and mingling. SP Lion President Fatima Graniel then welcomed the guests, and issued certificates of appreciation to local businesses who have generously supported the organization over the years. Following the certificate presentation, San Pedro Lions Queen Marisha Thompson 2015/2016 took the opportunity to thank the San Pedro Lions Club for the amazing experience she had during her tenure. It was then announced that Miss Solani Graniel would be crowned San Pedro Lion Queen 2016/2017. Miss Thompson had the honors of sashing and crowning Miss Graniel, who told the audience she was very excited and honored to be their new queen.

Child Friendly Ceremony honors San Pedro Town’s youngsters
On Friday, March 18th, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) held their official “Child Friendly Acknowledgment Ceremony” at the town’s central park. The ceremony formally recognized San Pedro for its efforts at being a Sustainable and Child Friendly Municipality (SCFM), while sharing on their progress thus far. Being a SCFM guarantees the right of every child in San Pedro to: 1) influence decisions, 2) express opinions about needed improvements, 3) participate in family, community and social life 4) have access to necessities like health care, education and shelter, 5) receive safe water to drink and proper sanitation, 6) be protected from violence, abuse and exploitation, 7) walk safely on streets, 8) have a meeting place to play, 9) have agricultural space for planting and raising animals, 10) live in an unpolluted environment, 11) be able to participate in cultural and social events, and 12) be an equal citizen of their city with access to every service, regardless of ethnicity, origin, religion, income, gender or disability.

Ambergris Today

Give a New Spin to your Easter Break in San Pedro
Easter on Ambergris Caye is all about parties and this year is no exception. Fido’s is all geared up for "Island Invasion", Holiday Hotel’s "Easter Fest" is sure to draw a crowd with DJ Capone (all the way from Canada) and DJ Karlo and Luna Loca’s "Easter Loca Fest" will be on fire with many talented local DJs including DJ Lacelle, DJ Smallz, DJ Tracks, DJ Gracie Rock, Island Invasion DJs and my personal favorite DJ Karizma. Aside from all the party madness bringing spring breakers in by the boat load, I thought I’d come up with a few other suggestions of things you MUST DO if you’re spending Easter on Ambergris Caye.

Belize is the 52nd Happiest Country in the World
Back in 2012 Belize was fourth on the list of the Happiest Country in the World, but we stand at 52 in the 2016 report that was just released in March. What could be causing our diminishing happiness? We surely still are a happy nation by the Caribbean Sea, that enjoy freedom, sovereignty, unity, cultural diversity, peace and a country that is so magnificent that it is fast becoming a global tourist hot spot. The top ten happiest countries this year came up to be the same as those in the 2015 report, although the order in which they rank changed. Denmark ranks as happiest country in the world once again with a “happy index” score of 7.526, followed closely by Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.

Easter Break on Ambergris Caye is a Massive Undertaking
When visitors arrive to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, during Easter break all they think about is the fun in the sun, beach, sea, the concerts, parties, water activities and relaxing vacation. What they do not see is all the preparations the town has made in order for them to have an enjoyable break. Preparations for Easter/Spring break on the island are a massive undertaking as the San Pedro Town Council makes sure that everything is on point to ensure that our visitors have a fun and safe experience. The San Pedro Town Council ensures that all entities are working cohesively; making sure the island is kept clean, safe and beautiful for all to enjoy. Mayor Daniel stressed to all public service workers to practice courtesy and good public relations when dealing with the public. Good Friday is observed as a “dry Friday” with no sales of alcohol allowed from Holy Thursday at midnight to Saturday at 12:15a.m. Restaurants can sell alcoholic beverages to customers on Good Friday after 7p.m. and hotels will be allowed to sell alcohol to bona fide guests only.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BELIZE FISHING REPORT: March 14th – March 20th, 2016
A great permit week with some great folks at the lodge. What more could you ask for, good friends, good fishing and good beer! The bonefishing was no surprise with boats landing as many as 25 fish. Each day out. Barry, Jim. Bill, Buddy had their way with the bonefish although their true passion was permit. Long time guests, Scott, Gina & John (first bonefish ever honors for Gina this trip!) all had a blast, Lon and Jan returned again this year with Jan tanning like a champ on the boat and by the pool and Lon handling most of the fishing duties, Norm and Beth’s 18th visit to EL Pescador was an honor for us…

Intolerance!
There’s a battle of ideology Tolerance and discriminatory Whenever there is descending analysis We cry deportation and kill Scott Stirm has free will Is this Garinagu bigotry? I see this as an opportunity Garinagu have gotten lazy They’ve stop telling their story Stirm has given Okeke more validity Garinagu have settled for assimilation into Christianity I’m surprised by the response of the NGC To give credence to Stirm statement nationally These are the actions of a ‘cry baby’

Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow Departs the Country Today
Office of the Prime Minister informs the general public, that the Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow departs the country on personal leave during the Easter period 24th – 29th March, 2016. During the Prime Minister’s absence, the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development will act as Prime Minister.

Disposal of National Lands
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Immigration, through the Lands and Surveys Department, hereby reminds the general public that in accordance of Section 7 of the National Lands Act, DISPOSAL of national lands may only be authorized and granted by the Minister responsible for Lands upon application and on SUCH TERMS AND CONDITIONS as he thinks fit for such periods as to him may seem proper. The general public is hereby advised that in accordance to Section 9 (1) of the National Lands Act, every application for a lease of national land shall be made to the Commissioner of Lands and Surveys in the form of the First Schedule (Lease application). The Ministry, further advises that any person found disposing of national land and collecting monies for doing so, is guilty of an offence under the National Lands Act. The Ministry also clarifies that persons found in occupation of land as a consequence of the illegal disposal are also guilty of an offence and the development on the land will not constitute any rights over the lands.

Mayor Daniel Guerrero had a meeting with members of the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II in regards to the Easter Break
Present at the meeting were Nursing Supervisor, Nurse Marion Jones, Medical Coordinator, Dr. Larrinnaga and Medical Attendant, Mr. Enrique Alpuche. The Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic & the Health Department will be working closely with the other departments alongside the San Pedro Town Council to ensure a safe and harmonious Easter for everyone. The Dr. Otto Rodriguez will proceed with having its 24-Hours Emergency unit open and patients must present any type of identification when visiting the Emergency Unit.

Town Council Meeting for Easter
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Gary Greif and Councilors: Ruben Gonzalez, Hector Alamilla and Gabriel Nuñez had a meeting with the San Pedro Traffic Department, San Pedro Police Department, San Pedro Fire Department, Belize Port Authority, NEMO and the Belize Coast Guard in preparations for the Easter weekend. The San Pedro Town Council will be working closely with these various departments and organizations in order to have a safe Easter weekend bearing in mind the influx of people that will be visiting our island - both locals and tourists. As seen on the pictures, our Transport Department is well equipped and are more than prepared to tackle any traffic situation that may arise. Mayor Daniel Guerrero took advantage of the opportunity of the presence of Superintendent Sandra Bodden and presented her with the keys of a red pick-up truck which will come in handy for the San Pedro Police Department in their patrols. We strongly advise you to have your driver’s license and permits up to date and at all times. We also ask you to drive with precaution at all times and to avoid drinking while driving.

THE SP CHARIKANARI DANCERS PERFORM IN TENOSIQUE, MX
The San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Cultural Committee is proud of the attendance of The San Pedro Charikanari Dance Group at the Cultural Evening of Latin America – Music, Dance, Culture hosted by the Universidad Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco. The event took place at the town of Tenosique, Mexico and the participation of the Belizean contingency was made possible through the Honorary Consul Jorge Valencia and The San Pedro Town Council with the support of a few businesses on the island. The Belizean dancers shared the stage with groups from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico. “Participation such as these put our Belizean heritage on the world stage,” commented Honorary Consul General Jorge Valencia. The dance group brought on stage Garifuna cultural dances including paranda, punta and Charikanari, amongst others. As part of the cultural event, the Belizean group got the opportunity to tour the university’s facility that specializes in six areas including agriculture and aquaculture. The Belizean delegation was headed by Councilor Hector “Tito” Alamilla who is responsible for culture on the island.

San Pedro: Easter notice for Yard trash and sandwich boards

Letter: Belizeans, this is no time to be politically correct
Dear Sir: Belize is under siege, not only from outside, but also due to seemingly subversive elements from within. For those who disagree with me on this matter, I trust it is obvious that we must agree to disagree, because I shall not allow the fact that someone is a conscript in Belize's armed forces to influence my perspective on this matter of national security. Guatemala is advancing rapidly with its unfounded territorial claim by way of: (1) using strategic and cunning moves which are being woefully facilitated at every turn, by Belize’s elected representatives, (2) enhancing their physical presence and administration over sovereign Belizean territory via the use of its military apparatus, with no reprisal from the OAS and (3) using its diplomatic services to make its case to the international community. Meanwhile, Belize’s political directorate and their primary conscript, act as if Belizeans who are willing to stand up for all that is Belizean, that being our: territorial integrity, national patrimony, and sovereignty is tantamount to committing a crime!

Poets Corner: Next door!
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez. A few years ago in Punta Gorda Leo Sanchez organised a lecture With some heavy hitters At the time he was the president of cattle growers Dr Noguerra, John Carr and Theodore Aranda Who presented economic plans for Belize’s future Belize’s relationship with Guatemala Is like that of America and China We have to change from a consumer paradigm Create the engine and start to grind Their presentations left impression in my mind Belize is beholden due to its lack of production Though it’s at an advantage with its abundance of land But we’re not into production Our neighbour a starving for relation But Belize an refuse to supply their demand In cattle, bean, sugar and banana production Even when it comes to goods transportation Look at the Commerce Bight Port situation Opening the Commerce Bight Port was Theodore Aranda sugge

Corozal District Invites
Don’t forget the Sunday Easter Regatta in Sarteneja Village this March 27th and the grand Saturday Football Marathon in the Village of Copper Bank this March 26th. Let us not forget the purpose of the Easter Holiday and celebration. The Holidays are a time to celebrate, to give thanks and reflect, and the Easter holidays are no different. March 25th (Good Friday) - March 26th (Holy Saturday) - March 28th (Easter Monday) will be observed as Public and Bank Holidays. Corozal invites you to the many events being held here this weekend. The main event is the Easter Sunday Regatta in Sarteneja Village. Bring out your loved ones. Here is a list of the many restaurants and bars in Corozal Town that you can have a “bub” and non-chalantly mounds of “grub”. Let us all enjoy a safe and pleasant holiday weekend in Corozal. If we happened to miss your restaurant or bar please add it to the comment section.

Dawn Campbell Adderley was awarded by NICH
At the 11th Annual Outstanding Women Award Ceremony last night. She was one of the 15 women awarded by different organizations. Congratulations Dawn!!!

"Egg - citing" Easter celebration at the Cayo Welcome Center
Children from the twin towns of San Ignacio/ Santa Elena having an "egg - citing" Easter celebration at the Cayo Welcome Center courtesy of the BTB's Hospitality Team.

Easter with the cruise passengers
Easter is a happy time and the Belize Tourism Board celebrated it in fun colorful ways with the cruise passengers at the Fort Street Tourism Village. Both adults and children were treated to Easter candies and chocolates.

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
The Paradise Theater will be closed this weekend for the Holidays .. we will Reopen the following weekend with The Movie you all have been waiting for .... finally .. See you April 1st (Not an April fools day prank)

Discover A New Magical World of Aromas And Caribbean Spices
Just three days after graduating from Bayou Chicot High School, in Ville Platte, Louisiana, Libby Vidrine packed her bags and left home in search of new adventures in the Eastern Caribbean Islands. Besides traveling to many other countries in Asia, Europe and the South Pacific, Libby spent the next four years in the Eastern Caribbean, exploring the islands, discovering cultures and culinary practices, while employed at local restaurants, and spent her time off traveling around the different islands of the Eastern Caribbean, addicted to experiencing the diversity of the many island’s culture and cuisine. After four years in the Eastern Caribbean she decided to go west to the Caribbean Nation of Belize. Selling her first spice blend in an open bag on the beaches of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to a tourist, who then sent four more people to buy from me that same day, she recalls. Delighted with the epiphany, Libby launched her first restaurant in 2000 featuring the spice blend, Caribbean Creole Seasoned Sea Salt, and has never looked back. In the following 5 years, Libby became the proud owner of three restaurants on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize featuring her unique local spice blends.

Palm Sunday in Benque Viejo del Carmen
Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ's arrival in Jerusalem. Palm Sunday in Benque Viejo del Carmen,images courtesy of Ricky Cunil 2016

Mama's Pizza Anniversary Specials
Happy anniversary, Mama's Pizza! It's not too late to call Mama's Pizza tonight to order for tomorrow.

SHJC Wins ATLIB Football Nationals
Congratulations, Sacred Heart Junior College. The Sacred Scorpions won in both the male and female divisions at the ATLIB Football Nationals. The male team defeated SJC 8-0, and then Escuela de Mexico 4-2. The female team defeated Belize Adventist JC 7-1, and then UB(0-0 with penalty shots win of 3-2).

JUSTIN & COREY WILLIAMS: HOUSE OF THE MIGUEL BROTHERS DYNASTY
It is known for sure by now that the 2015 Belize Cross Country Cycling Champion, Justin Williams and his brother Corey Williams from the Belizean Community in Los Angeles, are Belizeans across the diaspora hope for Belize in winning the upcoming 2016 Belize Cross Country Race on Saturday 26, 2016. Belizeans both at home and abroad will be supporting their champions against the flood of foreign riders who will be coming in with some serious power to capture the Belize Cross Country garland of roses again. We here at Belizean Legends can feel the heat and the fever that is to come. But Belizeans across the Belizean diaspora will be shouting for their two champions, Justin and Corey Williams on Belize's Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic come Saturday. Blow the bugel, and bring it on!

TRIBUTE TO ASTON GILL: 1945 BELIZE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPION!
It is an honor for us here at Belizean Legends to pay respects to the 1945 Belize Cross Country Cycling Champion, Aston Gill, who is still alive today. We honor him for his relentless perseverance in life even after his great work on the bike as an athlete and Belizean with such tenacity. May you be blessed with many more years to come champ!

REMEMBERING PROF DRUMMOND: MR. SHOWTIME!
Its been some time now that the legendary Lord Rhaburn stylist singer, drummer, and artist, Prof Drummond passed away. We here at Belizean Legends will always remember the quality discussions we had and how he was able to discuss all matters openly and candidly about Belize and Belizeans. He was fun to be with, and shared so many memories that became education for those of us who were willing to listen and to learn. We will always miss Prof. Gone but never forgotten. Sing on Mr. Showtime.

THIS IS CROSS COUNTRY FEVER!
Two times Holy Saturday Belize Cross Country cycling champion, Rudy Miguel as he wins his first Cross Country in 1969! Rudy Miguel also won the Belize Cross Country in 1970.

THEY WON THE FIRST EVER GOLD MEDAL FOR BELIZE!
Belizean softball Queens are the champions of Belize first ever gold medal in sports in Belize in 1974 at the Central American & Caribbean Games in Santo Domingo in the Caribbean . A history making feat for Belize in the world!

BELIZEAN LEGENDS MEETS BELIZEAN BASKETBALL LEGEND CLINTON 'PULU' LIGHTBURN!
It was a very historic moment for me, yours truly, to meet personally for the first time, up and close up, the legendary Belizean basketball player, Clinton 'Pulu' Lightburn in 2013. My seeing this incredible Belizean basketball player and athlete play in the year of 1979 when he lead his outstanding team, the Happy Homebuilders to basketball championship was a history in the making for me. It was also a pleasure to meet him in discussion on Belize city's KREM TV when he hosted me as his guest on KREM's popular Sunday Review produced by Yaya Marin Coleman. Respect all the time Pulu. What a champion you were!

BELIZEAN CYCLING CHAMPIONS & THE CUIDAD DEL CARMEN CYCLING CLASSIC IN MEXICO!
When Belizeans dominated cycling in the whole of Central America, Belizean cyclists like two times Belize Cross Country Champion, Rudy Miguel, Noel 'Muscles' Gordon, Ferguson and many other Belizean outstanding sprinters seen here, would always win the Cuidad Del Carmen Cycling Classic in Mexico. The classic photograph was taken in Mexico during the cycling classic. Apart from the Cuidad del Carmen race, Belizean cyclists like Rudy Miguel and Noel Gordon would also competed in other cycling races in Mexico and win them. An important piece of cycling history from Belizean Legends.

BUCK BELISLE: LEGENDARY BELIZEAN ATHLETE, COACH & MENTOR!
Let's recall some legendary Belizean coaches and mentors! As the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Race approaches in full speed, the name Buck Belisle is ringing all over the globe where Belizean cycling enthusiasts are. Especially in Belize where he became a living icon because of his coaching brilliance of some of Belize's most outstanding and legendary cyclists like, Louis Peyrefitte, three times Cross Country cycling champion, Alpheus Williams, and two times Cross Country cycling champion, Anthony 'The Tank' Hutchinson. In his book, Sports, Sin & Subversion, Evan X Hyde, who is the nephew of Belisle, dedicated his book to his uncle. In the book Hyde wrote:

REMEMBERING A BELIZEAN NATIONAL HERO & COACH: CHARLES 'BIG CHARLES' ROGERS!
The week proceeding Belize recent national elections, one of its forgotten local hero died in virtual obscurity. Coach Charles Rogers and one of Belize legendary bodybuilder/community organizer/ youth advocate/ health & fitness guru had faded from the public eye as a result of failing health. And tragically as with most local heroes, we quickly develop an amnesia of his work and contribution to our advancement as a people and nation. I will try and highlight a few of coach Charles Rogers accomplishment in the next couple of paragraphs. Charles Rogers was one of Belize's dominant bodybuilders who competed against legends like Ben McCoy and Mike Christy among others. But (Big Charles) as he was popularly known, saw the need for strong mentor-ship among the young boys who were incarcerated at the hostel in Belize city. Long before Belize plunged into an urban killing field, Charles stepped forward and began volunteering his service of coaching the youths at the hostel in physical fitness and discipline.

Traffic Hints for Easter in San Pedro
Reminding you all that Barrier Reef Drive will be closed to all vehicle traffic and parking from 12 noon tomorrow Friday 25th and Pescador Drive will be closed from 5:00pm untill the procession has passed, NO PARKING during these times. Thank you and have a safe Easter.

Channel 7

US Cycling Team Plowed Down While Preparing For Cross Country
Tonight, on the cusp of the 88th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, the cycling community is shaken after one of the premier foreign teams, Team Starlight was plowed down en masse on the western highway. It happened at around 9:30 when a pickup, driven by 74 year old Denton Hendy, knocked all of them down. 6 American cyclists, 4 males and two females were injured. The most seriously hurt is Lory Harkey, wife of former Cross Country champion Chris Harkey - who received minor injury, along with Jacqueline Flynn, David Flynn, and perennial cross country contenders Scotty Weise, and John Delong. Emanuel Pech reports. The large crack that you see here on the windshield of this Toyota pickup, is where the head of Lory Harkey slammed into the vehicle. This morning Lory along with her husband Christopher Harkey, and four others, were mauled by a pickup as they were riding on the George Price Highway- their last practice ride before the upcoming cross country. President of the Cycling Association Dion Leslie was one of the first responders:

Car Wreck Near Crooked Tree
And there was another accident on the highway today - this one happened on the northern at mile 31, near the Crooked Tree junction. Three vehicles were involved in a very major collision. Two pickups were seen on the side of the road piled up on top of each other, and while another vehicle was overturned on its side on the other shoulder of the highway. Remarkably, no one was killed: police say one person was taken to the hospital while the other - who is believed ot have the blame fled the scene.

City Thieves Seize On Scotland Halfmoon
Scotland Halfmoon is one of the villages in the Belize River Valley. Home to a population of about 600, crime is a rare occurrence, and when it does happen it's usually petty theft, or a domestic issue. But, yesterday afternoon, there was a city style jacking in the tiny village. The criminals were daring, but the police were swift in catching up to them. I went to the village to find out more today: Courtney Weatherburne reporting: This 4 Runner taxi was the escape car for 2 city thieves. It was their ride to freedom after they robbed a Gas Station in the Belize River Valley area. But they never got to take that ride because Ladyville police apprehended them shortly after the holdup. It happened at 1 yesterday afternoon at the Scotland Half-moon Gas Station. It was a typical afternoon inside the store, the cashier Benjamin Schrock was behind the counter and he had just served a customer when 2 boys dressed in the Fort Point Security uniforms barged in through the back door and held everyone up. And it was all caught on the security camera

Urban Criminals Going Rural?
And while Rural Police are still trying to piece together the many strands of this criminal operation, they are also taking note that city thieves are now looking to the Belize River Valley as a new staging ground for their criminal exploits. Assistant Commissioner Broaster connected the dots: ACP Edward Broaster, O.C, Eastern Rural Division: "We had the robbery at Altun Ha, Sarkis Abou Nahra, Scotland Halfmoon. We are asking people to be more vigilant and if they see something, they say something and they might just have something. We are also looking to see if they have anything to do with the Altun Ha robbery. It is quite apparent that because of the defense dome that we have established within Ladyville proper, they are going out in the rural communities that do not see this type of crime and preying on these individuals."

Minors Carrying Out Major Crimes (Again)
And another element of this crime is the re-appearance of minors carrying out major crimes. The minor in the Scotland Half Moon robbery is 17 years old. Broaster acknowledged the problems and said that's why he supports the curfew:.. ACP Edward Broaster, O.C, Eastern Rural Division: "One of the reasons that we have analyzed why minors are being utilized to commit crime now is because the more seasoned criminals know that the police have out their patrol. We have effective patrol going, so they know the likelihood of being caught is higher. They set up these young people to go and commit the crime hoping that they escape and get away, but if they don't, they won't be going to the big prison, they'll be going to the Wagner's facility or the youth hostel. I want to join with the commander for south in advising the parents to keep their children close to them and monitoring their children because the gangs are utilizing them to commit these crimes because they can't go and do it themselves."

McFoy Charged
In our first segment we told you about 22 year old Trevor McFoy accused of being part of the gas station hold up in Scotland Half Moon - but we failed to show you his picture. Here he is now, charged for three counts of robbery. McFoy was additionally charged for keeping a firearm and ammunition, namely a nine millimeter CFZ pistol with 8 live rounds, without a gun license. Police say they found the weapon in a grey bag he was carrying - as he left cattle field in the village. Police had to rescue him from the cattle herd after he threw the knapsack into the herd.

Man Accuses Chinese Grocer Of Beating Him Up
Usually when Chinese business owners make the evening news, it's because they are the victims of crimes. But, 2 weeks ago, 53 year-old complainant Harrison Bruce, went to police and accused 4 Chinese men of jumping him in Hattieville and putting a beatdown on him. Those 4 men, 28 year old Wei Lin Huang, 25 year old Wei Feng Xu, 35 year old Da Hong Jiang and 27 year old Xing Hua Zhang, are out on bail tonight. According to Bruce, the incident happened on March 10 in front of the Everyday Supermarket. Bruce told police that he was standing in front of the store selling his CDs when he got into a quarrel with Wei Lin Huang. He told police that he punched Huang, but he fell to the group when he lost his footing. He said that all 4 men then jumped him.

PM Winds Up Debate Around 8:00
Last night at around 8:00, after almost 12 hours of budget debate, Prime Minister Dean Barrow wound it up with his response. At the beginning of his presentation, the Prime Minister proposed to the House that the standing orders be amended to limit the speeches from each member to an hour maximum. He freely conceded that his colleagues from both sides have a pattern of being long-winded. He then gave his 27-minute rebuttal of all the arguments that the Opposition made his "stability" budget. Here's a snapshot of what he had to say to his critics: Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "I wish to thank all for their contribution and single out of course the public officers including those at the Ministry of Finance." "Now among the half-truths, untruths, falsifications and misrepresentations from the Opposition, one stood out. That was the charge that the Petrocaribe projects being implemented by BIL, had contracts awarded on the basis of cronyism. Mr. Speaker, that's why we put representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Chamber of Commerce on the BIL board of directors, to make absolutely sure of transparency, to guard completely against any possibility of HP as your station called it "hanky panky." And those representatives will tell you that all these contracts were awarded on the basis of fair and open bidding. You talk about the civic center? The outfit that won, went up against Kee Chanona from Trinidad and Tobago. First class regional reputation and the local outfit that won which is a partnership, came in some 6 million dollars under Kee Chanona. Thats why they won the contract and as you can see work has already started and is proceeding apace."

PM: On Kareem And Kant
At the start of his presentation, Opposition Leader John Briceno had implored his colleagues from both sides to keep a level of civility and respect. Briceno told the House that his consultation with the public had revealed that there is dislike for the house debates when they devolve into name-calling and scandalous accusations flung across the aisle. Well, the gloves came off when first term representative, Kareem Musa, openly accused the Prime Minister yesterday of overpaying his brother, Denys Barrow, his niece Naima Barrow, and his ex-wife Lois Young-Barrow, a cumulative figure of about 40 million dollars in legal fees. In his opening remarks last night, the PM had a few choice words for Kareem Musa, and his father, Said Musa. He suggested that the younger Musa would inherit his father's stained legacy:

Pm To Julius: Distaff Disparagement?
And in the very same breath, The Prime Minister responded to Cayo South Area Rep. Julius Espat's presentation. Now, Barrow and Espat have clashed many times before in the house, but last night, the Prime Minister made a veiled reference to a touchy subject: "The minister for Mesop warnings applied equally to that other vulgarian, the member for Cayo South. His definition of small B Barrow, taken from old English was first employed by Glen Godfrey at the Belize Times. You remember Glen came with that? Now the member for Cayo South does resembles Mr. Godfrey in a number of unwholesome ways, but Glen at least had facility with language, some style, some width. The member for Cayo South crudity is unredeemed. In other words Mr. Speaker, not even lipstick on that pig. His crassness is unreeled and so I certainly had come to expect nothing but utter ugly boorishness from this money-grooving parvenu, whom even those in his own party find distasteful. As to castration, maybe he should inquire from some of those sitting not too far from him whether castration is not the cause of a certain wondering abroad from his distaff side. If I seem to be talking in riddles Mr. Speaker, it is because some art of concealment, camouflage is necessary. If I am to comport with the ruled on the House and public boundaries, but slauder he is. He will figure it out and that's all that I require."

PM Barrow Sefue Para Santa Semana
And after all that parliamentary jousting, the Prime Minister left for his Easter break. He flew out of the country today on personal leave until Tuesday, 29th March. While he is away, trusty Deputy Gaspar Vega will hold over as Prime Minister.

The Curfew And The Law
Yesterday we told you about the pushback on the Southside kids curfew imposed by police commander Chester Williams. There are concerns in the social services and child support sector that the result will be kids detained by police, a formula which is known to trigger its own adverse consequences. It also contravenes the Convention on the Rights of the Child - to which Belize is a signatory. But, Williams says he's simply enforcing the law. Now we've already told you about the Section 116 subsection 1 under the Families and Children act, which makes provision to place children under emergency protection for a period of no more than 48 hours. But ACP Williams also pointed out a law from 1999, which imposes a standing curfew for children in Belize City. It says "any person who, being the parent or guardian of a child, allows or suffers such child to loiter, wander or be in in a street park or other public place in Belize City between the hours of 8:00 pm and 6:00 am, unaccompanied by a parent or guardian commits an offence."

Hon. Wilfred: A Brief History Of Land Cession Proposals
In last night's news, we showed you excerpts of Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington's presentation on Belize Guatemala relations while he was contributing to the budget debate. He minced no words when he lambasted the local press for the coverage of the flash points related to the territorial dispute. Well, he also went after the Opposition PUP, and their allegations that he's ceded the Sarstoon River to Guatemala during his 8 year tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Elrington dug deep into the history books to revisit proposals that the PUP administration's of the distant and recent past had to discuss about handing over Belizean territory to settle the dispute: Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "The most recent myth is that the Sarstoon is gone. That Prime Minister and myself have given away the Sarstoon. Night and day I was accused of giving away to Guatemala parts of Belize and the Sarstoon. To the point where I went on the street, people looked at me and curse me. Nothing was further from the truth, but I never responded and I never responded because this issue is too important to bengaline it, and trivialized it and to make it a political football - it's too important."

Cross Country On the Doping Ropes?
Last week you heard from champion cyclist Byron Pope, who won't be riding in the Cross country because a blood test showed banned substances in his body. And while Pope came forward and made a public disclosure, another elite cyclist who also tested positive after the New Year's Classic has not. But he also won't be riding on Holy Saturday because of his positive test. Today we spoke with the president of the Cycling Association and a cycling lifer who weighed in on the specter of doping that hangs over the 88th Cross Country. Deon Leslie, President of the Cycling Association: "The truth is, it's a process that when major races do happen and anti-doping is done, the federation we only request the anti-doping. Once it's done, it's the national anti-doping organization who take it from there. All the federation is done, we're informed whether the tests come back positive or whether it comes back negative, we're just formally informed by NADO. we don't really have any say even in the suspension if that rider is found with a substance in their body, we don't have anything about that, all we do is enforce a suspension handed down from the national body and from the regional body being WADA."

What Will Saturday Bring?
So, two top cyclists have been suspended for banned substances, and as we told you earlier, there was a scary accident this morning where 6 American cyclists were plowed down by a 74 year old driver. Those situations have slightly fouled the air heading into the 88th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. But, Cross Country has its own energy, it's own history, and Belizeans from all walks of life have a deathless love affair with the drama of the race. So what are the expectations for the Cross Country race this Saturday? We stopped by today around 4:30 this evening to see the annual cycling parade - a teaser to this Saturday's race. This is the 88th annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. The event starts at 6 am and will see hundreds of cyclists, mostly local and some foreign, face off for the garland and a bevy of prizes. Channel 7 will team up with KREM TV for live coverage of the race of Saturday. IT starts at 5:00 am, so tune in then.

Police Say Easter Requires Vigilance
And while some will stay home to see the cross country, and others will be traveling to their Easter getaways, who will be watching your home? Regrettably, in some cases, thieves will, and that's why the South side's deputy commander Senior Superintendent Alden Dawson, reminds the public, particularly in the south-side, to be cautious when they leave home during easter.

Good Friday Fish Finders, 2016
Christmas may be in December but for fisher folk, you could say their Christmas comes during Easter. That's because they cash in on the crowds clamouring for barracuda, jack, mackerel, snapper, grunt and other popular varieties of fish. Indeed, for Good Friday, most Belizeans will eat fish which both as a religious observance and a cultural practice. And fisher folk know that if you have to eat fish, you're probably willing to pay above market value for it. This year's prices range from $8, to $14 dollars per pound; depending on what you are buying. Today we stopped by the Conchshell Bay Fish Market to take a look at the favorite fish selections, the pounds that are being bought, and of course the price. Some Fishermen told us the Northern winds that brought a brief cold front over the past couple of days lessened their general supply of fish.

Vega Says Blame Monchi, Not Barrow
Finally, tonight, 15 days after he penned an unexpected letter of resignation as UDP Deputy Leader, Gaspar Vega spoke to the press. The media caught him outside the House Meeting in Belmopan where he had just supported the Barrow Budget and spoken up for his constituency of Orange Walk North. You’ll hear those remarks later, but first to the burning question: why did he resign?. Here’s his explanation: Mike Rudon - Channel 5 News: "Let's start first of all with the thought that went into your decision to resign as first deputy leader." Hon. Gaspar Vega - Former UDP Deputy Party Leader: "A long thought difficult decision, one of the most difficult ones I've done in my life but I knew that I would never be area representative forever, the time had to come. I thought that it was the best thing to do so that I could give the people of Belize both most importantly the people in Orange Walk North; those that whole heartedly supported me to give them enough time so that together we can search for the most appropriate candidate to take over my position. I think it would have been and it’s not within my character to mislead the people that I'll be running next general election and 6 months prior to elections; so I thought this was the most appropriate and most decent and mature thing to do."

Canal Side Killing In City
In 2012 Victor Garnett got off a drug related double murder, escaping the possibility of life imprisonment. But today he did not escape from the verdict of the streets. He was shot and killed at the corner of St. Jude and Sibun Street inside a known gang area. It happened just a few minutes after two which is when our cameras got there. Police say that Garnett had gone to that area and parked his vehicle to the side of the road. Police say he was either waiting for someone or had stopped to talk to someone when he was shot. Residents report hearing, at the most, 5 distinctive shots and at least one of those shots caught him in the head. And here is another telling fact that the investigation is revealing so far- it was a teenager who pulled the trigger. Southside commander ACP Chester Williams told us what they know so far.

Rejected In Panama, Ghost Town Boss Goes Off At PGIA
Notorious Ghost Town leader Roger Anthony: whenever we hear his name the first thing that comes to mind is some gang warfare. But tonight he is in the news for something else completely: how about disorderly conduct at the PGIA? Here’s what happened: Anthony and his wife were heading to Panama over the past weekend. He claims that he was going to get medical treatment for his severe back pain, but Panamanian airport authorities sent him back to Belize saying they don’t accept persons with a criminal record. So they sent Anthony and his wife back through Salvador. The trouble started when he arrived here yesterday after customs tried to search his wife – Anthony was with two children and shouting obscenities left and right – the police say. Assistant Commissioner of Police Edward Broaster told us that eventually 3 officers had to subdue him. ACP Edward Broaster - O.C, Eastern Rural Division: "There was an incident at the Phillip Goldson International Airport yesterday where one Roger Anthony who was refuse to land in Panama over the weekend, his wife arrived at the PGIA and was subjected to search and he entered the arrival lounge acting boisterous and disorderly and he was escorted outside where he had to be subdued by 3 of our officers and he's now being faced charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrests, assaulting police officers and threat of death to 2 of our officers."

Fatal Stabbing Was Murder Not Suicide or Self-Harm
Last week we told you about Oscar Gomez – who, had allegedly stabbed himself in the throat. But, it wasn’t suicide – the police had their suspicions and would only call it a fatal stabbing. Well, tonight, it is now a murder investigation: 41 year old Oscar Gomez was allegedly murdered by his own friend. Today police told us they have ruled out suicide because the post mortem results show that Gomez had 8 stab wounds to his throat – and they say there is no way that Gomez could have done that to himself. ACP Edward Broaster - O.C, Eastern Rural Division: "After the post-mortem was conducted, we learned Mr. Gomez had 8 stab wounds to the throat; 4 of which went 2 and a half inches deep and another one that went 3 and half inches in depth. And for that reason we're not investigating that matter as a murder and we have the prime suspect in custody who is the witness that originally reported to us that Mr. Gomez had committed suicide."

No Charges For Fat Cat Killing
Ladyville police also had an update on that clear case of murder – the one that happenedon Friday night involving Rene “Fat Cat” Chavarria. No one has been charged for the murder but police are investigating a man for the shooting of the 13 year old boy. The boy was just standing outside of his house when the two men opened fire on Chavarria. He was hit to the leg. The incident happened on Friday night when Chavarria was riding along Marage Road. 2 gunmen came up behind him and shot at him - hitting the minor as well. Chavarria tried to escape but the men followed him and finished him off with shots to the back of his head and back. Today police gave us an update on this case. ACP Edward Broaster - O.C, Eastern Rural Division: "As it pertains to Chavarria's murder we had one suspect in custody, he was identified by the minor and he will be charged for aggravated assault and using deadly means of harm. As it pertains to the murder of Chavarria, we don't have any evidence as yet to tie anyone to that particular murder but the investigation continues and we're working on that as we speak."

Report: Child Curfew Getting Blowback From Social Services Sector
Last week you heard Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams talk about his hurry-come-up South-side Child Curfew. In a society often gripped by panic, Williams had popular support, but child rights advocates weren’t so sure. Reliable information reaching our news room is that several key stake holders in the social services sector are not on-board with the program – because it victimizes children for the failings of their parents, and flies in the face of the convention on the rights of the child. But according to Williams, he has not heard any of this negative feedback. ACP Chester Williams - OC, Eastern Division South: "I have not heard any negative blow back from UNICEF or the Human Services Department and as it related to that, I will say no more, other than to say that after the Easter break, we will be seeing how best we can get together with all the social partners to see how we go with this new initiative and that is all I will say at this time."

Debate Day Two Is Feisty
The budget debate rolled on today in Belmopan – in fact at this hour, it is still going into the night. And why not – it’s the only parliamentary session when Members of the House are given wide latitude to speak on almost any matter of national interest – once they can sort of tie it into the budget. That budget is called "Stability in a Time of Change”, but not surprisingly, the Opposition’s representatives rejected any notion of stability. Here’s a few excerpts of the presentations made by members on both sides: Hon. Julius Espat - Area Rep., Cayo South: "It is a very sad situation Mr. Speaker but it seems that once again we will be forced to lead on the judiciary to seek a judgement of the unlawful practices that the prime minister continues to adhere to. Meaning we will take him to court again. It seems that this is the only avenue left to us Mr. Speaker." Hon. Omar Figueroa - Area Rep., Cayo North: "This budged while scrupulous demonstrates yet again that this United Democratic Party government is driven at its core by fiscal prudence. Therefore Mr. Speaker this budget does indeed provide stability in a time of change as such even as we prepare to face uncertainties in the source of revenues from Petrocaribe and our own petroleum industry, this budget preserves hallmark programmes of this administration."

Foreign Minister Takes On BDF Report
And while that will end the day late in the night, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington started it off this morning at 9:00 speaking on Belize Guatemala relations, and the recent flare up in the Sarstoon River. Last week, during his press conference on the Bilateral Talks with Guatemala in Washington DC, we asked him about the BDF Threat Assessment Report which outlines the 10 years of aggressive encounters with the Guatemalan military in the Sarstoon. He said then that he hadn’t read the report, but it appears that over the weekend took the opportunity to review it. Today, he took another bite at the cherry and made a 1-hour, 10 minute presentation on the territorial claim. Here’s his explanation of the context that these aggressive incidents should be taken in:

Minister Maligns Media
As you heard in those comments, Elrington is not happy with the media. And you can kind of understand why…in his 8 year sin the job, he’s been repeatedly pilloried in the press. In Friday’s newscast, you saw our examination of the diplomatic double speak on Belize/Guatemala relations that has been a feature of the discussions about controversial incidents at the border. Well, while he had everyone’s attention this morning, Elrington confronted the press squarely: "I find it so incomprehensible Mr. Speaker that we have so many knowledgeable people about the Guatemalan issue and whenever the issue comes up, especially involving the Sarstoon, the most prominent media find the least informed person to interview ad nauseam. People who they interview can't even talk, can't even articulate their views properly but the media invariably seek them out. What are you trying to do with your population, in my view it’s an injustice, you're doing a disservice to your population."

First Termer Feeling For Feinstein Or Singing For Supper?
First term Representative Kareem Musa used his first opportunity on the national stage to ask the Barrow Government to reconsider its position on Belizean Developer Mike Feinstein’s Stakebank Cruise Port project. The government has already passed the law for this project to act as a port of entry, but it’s been one delay after another to get to the construction phase. The latest hurdle, according to Government, is that Feinstein wants an exclusivity guarantee that his Cruise Port will be the only berthing facility in Belize City that can accommodate the Oasis Class Cruise Ships. Well, Musa told his fellow parliamentarians that Prime Minister Barrow didn’t tell the whole story. Here’s how he put it today in the House:


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#512626 - 03/25/16 12:01 PM Re: Today's Belize News: March 25, 2016 [Re: Marty]
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Fighting Over Fees
Another topic that Musa took on are the legal fees that the Barrow Administration is paying the Prime Minister’s relatives: brother Denys Barrow, neice Naima Barrow, and ex-wife Lois Young Barrow. Now, you might want to call this a case of political double jeopardy since this was a centerpiece of the PUP campaign in the November 2015 general elections – which the PUP lost. But, Kareem Musa, himself an attorney, brought it back to the house today – following his father who did so yesterday. But this time, UDP Party whip Michael Finnegan – ever a defender of the Prime Minister – didn’t let him go unscathed. Here’s what they both had to say: Hon. Kareem Musa - Area Rep., Caribbean Shores: "And you want to know how much money the Prime Minister and as the Minister of Finance gave to his family members and friends in legal fees? If you turn to page 46 of the budget Mr. Speaker, at 41.10 you will see that over the last 3 years, the Prime Minister as the Minister of Finance has paid out a whopping 14 million; this isn't monopoly money by the way, this is real money, 14,895,432 dollars to his friends and family in legal fees but that is only one line item, 14 million plus...

Frank Pawpa Mena Tells Scott Stirm To Fly Away
And finally from the house today…in last night’s news, we showed you Pastor Scott Stirm saying that the revered Garifuna Dugu Ceremony is “witchcraft.” Today Dangriga Representative Frank “Pawpa” Mena, who represents the Garifuna stronghold of “Dangriga” responded. He said that Stirm is free to leave the country at any time: "I need a couple of seconds to address the presentation made by the Eurocentric pastor who's obvious skin colour seems like its entitlement to ethnocentrism. Garifuna spirituality is what it is, it is Garifuna spirituality. It is part and parcel of a rich heritage called Garifuna Dugu. Much of the black and indigenous cultural practices were destroyed by the forceful introduction of those Eurocentric believes as early as the 15th century. Those days are gone Mr. Speaker, the pastor's utterances are obvious signs of the time; if you can't respect a great people in culture and country then there are daily flights out of Belize on a regular basis. We are a people of faith, courage and resilience and we normally say in Garifuna god in front of us and we follow."

Children Threatened In Biospharms Dispute
In February, we told you about the case of the Biospharms subdivision in the Cayo District. Americans who bought into the project, say that the owner, American Developer Darin Smith had taken their money and jilted them out of a title. Well, on Monday in court, one of the disgruntled Biospharms owners, Cyndi Carson won a case against Smith on the title dispute. But the news is what happened on Tuesday morning in Los Tambos village where the Biospharms subdivision is located. This sign threatening the life Jeremiah Allen’s children by name appeared at the entrance to the village. Allen has been one of the most outspoken critics of Darin Smith and Biospharms.

Cocaine On A Plane?
The GSU found cocaine on a Tropic Air plane. On Monday evening after 5 the Gang Suppression Unit searched a Tropic Air flight at the Municipal airstrip which was heading to PG. They found a black hand bag with 528 grams or 1.2 pounds of suspected Cocaine. The plane made a stop at Placencia and information suggests that the cocaine was to have been dropped off there but no one was there to pick it up. From drugs on a plane to ammunition on a boat. At 1 On Monday afternoon GSU searched a skiff on East Collett Canal in the Conch Shell Bay area. They found (10) ten live 9mm rounds of ammunition. The rounds were labeled as Found Property. And more drugs were found on Monday morning at 11 , this time on Saint Jude Street. The GSU found 440 grams of weed – about one pound - hidden in a tree in an abandoned lot. No one was in the area so the drugs were again labeled as Found Property. The drugs are believed to be for a known drug peddler living in the area.

Taking On TB
“I Am Stopping TB,” that is the theme adopted for this year’s World Tuberculosis awareness day – which is observed on March 24th. That’s tomorrow, but to make use of the down town foot traffic today, the Ministry of Health held its annual TB Awareness Fair at the Battle Field Park. We spoke to with nurse Annette Uhser-Welcome one of the organizers of the event, who told us about the local fight against Tuberculosis. Last year, the Chest clinic in Belize City recorded a total of 35 cases of Tuberculosis. 35% of those cases were cured.

Police Reach Out To Faber's Road
It’s Wednesday – so that must mean it’s time for police meet and greet. Today South Side Police were in the Faber’s Road extension area. Commander Chester Williams says this community interaction has yielded measurable results. And while we’ve heard a lot about the kids curfew, to take Kids off the streets, another avenue that police are using to reach out to youths is, of course, their weekly meet and greet sessions in south side neighbourhoods.

Channel 5

RED Police Capture Armed Robbers in River Valley
There have been a string of violent robberies of late in the Belize District and with the Easter holidays upon us, the police are asking residents to be careful. The [...]

Motorist Mows Down American Cyclists Training for Cross Country
A group of US cyclists training on the George Price Highway this morning was hit by a vehicle near mile thirteen driven by a seventy-four year old Denton Hendy. All [...]

Regular & Diesel Pump Prices Go Up Again
The domestic cost of fuel went up again earlier this week with the cost per gallon of regular inching closer toward the nine dollar cap.  While the cost per gallon [...]

Coast Guard Graduates 46
The eighth class of recruits of the Belize National Coast Guard graduated this morning at the Williamson Compound in Ladyville. The intake of forty-six trained for three months to prepare [...]

Papa Mena Takes on Pastor Stirm in the House
Well-known Pastor Scott Stirm has come under some fire in the wake of the release of a video which has gone viral. In the edited video, Stirm is speaking to [...]

Barrow Uses Debate to Slam Caribbean Shores Rep
The debate on the 2016/2017 budget ran the full two days allocated in the House, and was closed with the Prime Minister’s presentation at around eight on Wednesday night. For [...]

PM Says Cayo South Rep Is a Pig Without Lipstick
But the PM reserved special insult for Cayo South Representative Julius Espat. In his presentation Espat played on the Old English definition of barrow which he claimed referred to a [...]

Prime Minister Claims Opposition’s Debate is Full of Untruths and Half-Truths
And then to the budget for the fiscal year 2016/2017! Starting with the leader of the Opposition, members on that side of the gallery claimed that based on all relevant [...]

OW South Rep Says Budget Has Nothing for Agro-Productive Sector
A major plank of the Opposition’s debate in the House was agriculture. They pointed to situations in the papaya, shrimp, citrus, sugar and banana and put the blame squarely on [...]

PM Rebuts Mai – Says His Administration is All for Agriculture
Prime Minister Barrow says that criticism is unfair based on the many factors which are completely out of government’s control. Additionally, he states that any claim that his administration has [...]

Opposition Leader Praised by U.D.P. Mesopotamia Rep
We close tonight’s coverage of the 2016/2017 budget debate with something we’ve hardly before been privileged to witness. The sessions in the House are always confrontational and testy, often hostile [...]

Fisheries Officer Charged for Crazy Sexual Assault
An allegation of sexual assault has been lodged against a Fisheries Officer by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her at the corner of Regent Street West and the [...]

4 Chinese and Male Vendor in Hattieville Charged for Altercation
The Manager of Everyday Supermarket in Hattieville and three employees were arraigned on Wednesday for wounding entertainer Harrison Bruce fourteen days ago.  Wei Lin Huang, Manager of the supermarket, and [...]

ACP Broaster Supports Implementation of Curfew for Minors
As we’ve reported, the suspects in many of the recent crimes in the Belize District are minors and the three regional commanders of the Eastern Division are actively looking at [...]

Canon Leroy Flowers Reflects on the Meaning of Easter
Easter, like Christmas, is a special time of year.  While many celebrate the birth of Christ on December twenty-fifth, they also mourn his death on Good Friday and honor his [...]

Coast Guard Issues Boating Advisory for Easter Season
The exodus from mainland to the cayes began earlier today, with dozens of private vessels heading out to San Pedro, Caye Caulker and other secluded locations.  While Belizeans take to [...]

Gapi Vega Explains His Abrupt Departure
Day-two of the budget debate started promptly at nine this morning. All eyes have been on the representative for Orange Walk North, Gaspar Vega. In the biggest political news of [...]

Vega Says He’ll Remain Active in Orange Walk North
There has been rampant speculation that Vega’s resignation is a result of the Ministry of Lands being removed from him after general elections of November fourth, 2015. One very popular [...]

Sedi Addresses Issue of Sarstoon Incident in Debate
Today’s session in the House of Representatives, the second day of the new budget for the fiscal year beginning April first, was led by Area Representative for Pickstock Wilfred Elrington. [...]

Elrington Says Belizeans Are Provoking Guatemalans at the Sarstoon
The head of this country, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, has condemned the aggressive actions of the Guatemalans at the Sarstoon, not only in the wake of this last incident but [...]

Guatemala Responds to CARICOM Release on Sarstoon Incident
Still on the issue of the Sarstoon, Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded fast and furious to a release from the CARICOM Secretariat in which the region expresses support [...]

Mid-Afternoon Murder – Victor Garnett is Executed on Sibun Street
There is more bloodshed in the Old Capital and there appears to be a pattern. In today’s murder, as in three recent homicides, the suspected gunmen are all minors.  This [...]

Oscar Gomez Did Not Commit Suicide; He Was Murdered
The post mortem results are in and all indications are that forty-one-year-old Salvadoran national Oscar Gomez did not take his own life.  The Ladyville resident bled to death after being [...]

Who murdered ‘Fat Cat’ in Ladyville last Friday?
Who murdered ‘Fat Cat’ in Ladyville last Friday?  That’s what investigators want to know.  Despite an open inquiry into the weekend murder of Rene Chavarria, police are no closer to [...]

Roger Anthony Before the Court Following an Encounter with Officers
Well-known street figure Roger Anthony is back in the news tonight, following a scuffle with security personnel at the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Tuesday.  Anthony accompanied his wife to [...]

Millions of Dollars in Legal Fees Paid to Barrow’s Family and Friends
Representative for Caribbean Shores Kareem Musa had one of the longest and one of the most passionate presentations of day-two of the budget debate. In his first budget presentation, Musa [...]

Is B.T.L. Actually BPL – Barrow Pinata Limited?
Musa also turned up the heat on Belize Telemedia Limited, nationalized by the government in 2009. While the government touts this acquisition in consecutive budgets as one of the stellar [...]

The Staggering Debt to GDP Ratio
During the first day of the budget debate, which broke Tuesday evening at around six o’clock, Opposition members in the gallery condemned the budget as pure rhetoric, and claimed that [...]

Fonseca Reiterates that Belize is in Recession
According to Fonseca, while our debt continues to grow, the economy is stagnant, and that is a recipe for disaster. He toed the Opposition line and assertion that whether it [...]

Julius Espat Rejects Budget; Speaks on Supplementary Appropriations
Julius Espat, Area Representative of Cayo South and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, joined his colleagues in rejecting the budget presented by the Prime Minister. His focus was on [...]

Julius Espat Takes A Swipe at the PM
Espat concluded his presentation by taking a swipe at the Prime Minister, who in a prior session has used the privilege granted by the House to refer to Espat as [...]

Sedi Takes Aim at the Media
And after complaining that Belizeans travelling to the Sarstoon as stalkers, and suggesting that those Belizeans are provoking Guatemalans, Elrington turned his attention to the media. He announced that he [...]

World Water Day – Water and Jobs
This Tuesday was celebrated across the globe as World Water Day. In Belize, the activities since last week with a two-day water symposium held at the Biltmore Plaza. The symposium [...]

Women in the Port and Maritime Sectors
A group of women, a majority of whom are stakeholders in the local maritime industry, met this evening at a forum organized by the Belize Ports Authority and Women in [...]

Police Officers Out on the Streets Meeting Faber’s Road Residents
Eastern Division South police officers were back on the beat today in the south side of Belize City for its weekly meet and greet with residents. Faber’s Road Extension has [...]

LOVE FM

Five Cyclist Injured on Highway in Western Belize
Four cyclists from the United States who were scheduled to participate in this weekend’s annual cross country cycling classic were involved in a road traffic accident this morning on the George Price Highway. The four men along with two women were between mile 13 and 14 in the Village of Hattieville when the incident occurred. […]

Two Armed Robbery Within One Week in Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda Police are looking to the public for assistance following a second armed robbery in that municipality within a one week period. We hear more in this report from correspondent Paul Mahung.

Security Guard Imposters Rob Gas Station in Rural Belize
Yesterday, Belize River Valley Supplies Gas station in Scotland Half Moon Village was robbed. Two males dressed in Fort Point Security uniforms entered the vicinity and demanded money from the cashier at gunpoint. A total of eleven hundred dollars cash in different denominations were stolen, along with a number of outdoor products from the shelf […]

PetroCaribe and the Budget for 2016/2017
Prime Minister Dean Barrow wrapped up the budget debate last night inside the National Assembly building. One of the first criticisms that Barrow answered from the Opposition, People’s United Party had to do with the PetroCaribe funds and contracts awarded for infrastructural works. In his presentation, John Briceno, the Leader of the Opposition […]

8 Injured in Holy Thursday Accident
A road traffic accident occurred on the Phillip Goldson Highway just after three o’clock this afternoon. It occurred at mile thirty one near the Crooked Tree Junction and involved three vehicles, a grey Hyundai, a white four door pick up and a maroon ford expedition. Police on the scene could not say what caused the […]

Riders Ready for Cross Country 2016
The annual cross country cycling classic is the biggest event on the cycling calendar and one of the hallmarks of the Easter weekend. Cyclists covet the title and the chance to wear the garland. President of the Cycling Federation of Belize, Dion Leslie spoke to Love news about the upcoming race. A number […]

2016 Budget Debate Review
The 2016 Budget debate continued yesterday inside the National Assembly Building and despite having started an hour earlier, it finished after sunset. Each Area Representatives had their turn to speak on the budget and voice the concerns of the constituency they are representing. Here are a few of those comments. Prime Minister Dean Barrow […]

Shopping for Fish on Holy Thursday
One of the traditions upheld for years for Good Friday, is the consumption of fish. With today being Holy Thursday, we ventured out to the Vernon Street Fish Market to see what the last minute shoppers are getting and what they are paying. Several boats were docked at the market when we got there just […]

Easter Plans 2016
The long holiday Easter weekend has begun for many and as is tradition for most families, it is a weekend to get away from the norm. It is a weekend that also requires some extra monies. Today, while many have already left their homes for the weekend vacation, many were still in the city and […]

Vega Speaks on His Resignation
The news of Gaspar Vega’s decision to resign from the post of First Deputy Leader of the United Democratic Party came as a shock to many. In a letter sent to the Chairman of the UDP, Vega also stated that will not seek re-election in the next general elections. The three term UDP minister says […]

Elrington Insists on the ICJ
During his budget speech, Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington, spoke on Guatemala’s claim on Belize as he was expected to. Minister Elrington spoke specifically about the situation surround the Sarstoon River and Sarstoon Island. During his address, Elrington reiterated the government’s position in taking the issue to the International Court of Justice. WILFRED ELRINGTON “ […]

Foreign Minister Chastises Media on Belize/Guatemala Reports
While he was speaking on Guatemala’s territorial claim on Belize, Minister of Foreign Affairs turned his attention to the media of Belize. Minister Wilfred Elrington criticized the media for offering a disservice to the public stating that media houses, twist and turn his words to make him look bad and incite hate. However, with that […]

Murder on St Jude Street
A mid-afternoon shooting in Belize City has left one man dead. When Police responded to the scene on St. Jude Street, just before two o’clock this afternoon, they found the body of Victor Garnett with a gunshot wound to the head. Garnett is no stranger to Police. He has been charged for a number of […]

Minor Suspected of Killing Fat Cat
Rene “Fat Cat” Chavarria, allegedly a gang leader of the Rocky Road gang was murdered last Friday night. Chavarria was riding his bicycle along Marage Road in Ladyville when he was shot. During the gun fire, a minor was also injured. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Edward Broaster, Officer in Command in the Rural Eastern Division […]

Police Says It Was Murder not Suicide
The death of forty one year old Oscar Gomez has been ruled as murder. Last week Thursday, Gomez was found bleeding from his neck in Lords Bank. While police are unsure of what took place, they were told by eyewitness Alex Williams that his friend, Gomez had stabbed himself in the neck. Following the autopsy […]

Roger Anthony Barges in Airport After Wife Subjected to A Search
Well known street figure, Roger Anthony, is facing a number of charges for acting unruly at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. Yesterday, Anthony went to airport to pick up his wife who was travelling from Panama. Reports are that when Anthony heard that his wife was being searched by security inside Anthony became irrational. Assistant […]

Philip Goldson’s Predictions of the Belize/Guatemala Dispute
While the matter is one being dealt primarily by the National Security and Foreign Affairs ministries, we did ask Cabinet Minister, Anthony Boots Martinez, what his weigh-in is on the matter. ANTHONY BOOTS MARTINEZ “As Cabinet we operate collectively and so the discussion has been intensive and I think that government is working hard to […]

Guatemala Tells CARICOM Sarstoon River Is Theirs
There has been much concern regarding the Belize/Guatemala matter over the years but as of recent, those concerns have increased especially since the Saturday, March 12 incident at the Sarstoon. Since then we have been reporting on matters arising out of that incident including a statement from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) expressing its solidarity with […]

Pier One Bar and A Child Friendly Municipality
Last week the Belize City Council presented the Child Advisory Board for Belize City that is made up of twelve children and established under the UN’s program to make municipalities child-friendly. These children are being given the opportunity to speak on behalf of other children on issues that pose as obstacles in reaching the targets […]

The Guardian

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow endorsed as UDP leader one last time
Sunday March 20th marked the United Democratic Party’s National Convention. Filled with energy and vigor, the UDP family gathered to pass two amendments to the party’s constitution as well as to recognize those who have contributed greatly to the accomplishments of the UDP (see page 3) The day began with a presentation by special guest speaker, Dr. Arlie Petters who congratulated the party on the accomplishments of national development and in particular singled the UDP as the only party who has done so much for the people of his hometown Dangriga. He went on to explain that true development comes when people are empowered and valued as well as ensuring that their standard of living are improved starting from the street level. After a mix of entertainment presentations from artists the convention ratified two changes to the constitution which was presented by Senior Counsel Michael Young. The amendments will see the Secretary General of the party allowed to vote at the Central Executive of the party and the second amendment will see the national convention be suspended for 4 years only allowing it to be held no earlier than January 2020. In the second amendment there are provisions for special conventions to fill vacant posts in the leadership only in the case of a resignation or a death.

Scott Stirm calls Garifuna Dugu withcraft
Over the past weekend, a presentation that was streamed on the web via a webcast (http://static.xpmedia.com/video/15973) which features Scott Stirm, went viral after he stated that, “we have a reasonable, pretty good amount of withcraft that still takes place in Belize”. According to Stirm, that witchcraft is practiced by the Garifuna. If his statement seems outlandish it is! We have taken the liberty to transcribe his rant and here is what he stated: There is a people group that’s called the Garifuna in Belize and they are the closest descendants to the African slaves that came over. They fought and resisted slavery so they never submitted to the colonial rule and in that people group two of our adopted sons are from that people group and so. But I got to know a wonderful, wonderful lady in the southern part of Belize, amazing on fire woman of God; leading people to the Lord praying for healing and signs and wonders. And what happened is her, one of her family members was an extremely, extremely powerful witch and also a multi-millionaire off of her witchcraft and what happened is, this is a real story. This lady told me, she said, “I was invited to come to a family reunion.” She said, “when I got there I realized that it was not a family reunion. I realized that it was what was called a Dugu, which is the ancestors are upset! This witchlady said: with you , you and you...”

UDP Deputy Leadership void to be filled soon...John Saldivar
The United Democratic Party held its National Convention on Sunday March 20 during which Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow declared that Hon. Gaspar Vega, in his not opting to be endorsed as the first Deputy Party Leader of the UDP a vacuum was left however he noted that "holes are made to be filled and the United Democratic Party will fill the hole. No sooner had the convention concluded than when Collett Area Representative and Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber called a press conference in which he declared via a press conference that he will be contesting for the position. Almost simultaneously Hon. John Saldivar also came out with a statement declaring that he too will be contesting the position. Hon. Faber is going into the election with the slogan "Patrick Faber - the path to the future" while Hon. John Saldivar's slogan being "Unity, Maturity, Continuity!"

UDP has renewed commitment to Women and Youth development
The United Democratic Party renewed its commitment to women and youth development at its national convention in Dangriga on Sunday, March 20. Normally there are a number of policy statements on national issues introduced at the party’s national convention but this time the sole focus was on providing opportunities for women to be better represented at the national decision making level and recruiting and developing young leaders across the country. Diane Haylock, President of the United Democratic Party’s National Organization of Women (UDP-NOW), delivered the policy statement on women. The United Democratic Party commits to assist women in achieving their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious gender bias; strive for gender-balanced leadership at all levels; value women and men’s contributions equally and demonstrate zero tolerance for discrimination and violence against women. Haylock pointed out that Belize has joined the international community in the signing of international conventions with commitments to strive for gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment. “In this context, we committed, at the very least, to achieve a minimum 30% representation of Women at the highest levels of decision-making. We committed to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. We committed to parity in education and employment. We committed to end gender-based violence.”

PUP guilty of Shakron mathematics
When the new Leader of the Opposition rose to speak on the 2016 Budget Appropriation Debate on Tuesday March 22nd, one was tricked into thinking, wow a new approach. But that feeling did not last for long. He soon sank into the traditional high pitched tone of blame and finger pointing. Unfortunately for the lonesome Leader, he got not even a whisper of inspirational support from his flock. The lone ranger Leader put up a good front trying to be objective, by suggesting that he held consultation with the Agricultural sector. Soon however the Leader drifted into that abyss where only his memories reside. For, the truth be told only a crippled mind can or would want to hold on to projects such as MaxBoro, Mahogany Heights, Fresh Pond, and an incomplete Southern Highway as measures of success. Mr. Briceno, however while slow in thought is not lacking for brevity. This man in the mirror soon spoke on the issue of corruption, a topic for which his past government became known as the leading architect. The poor leader seems to have forgotten that Wikileaks has fingered him as accepting cable companies in return for certain favors. He has also forgotten those claims of payments made in his direction by one Allen Sam for PSA’. By the way Channel 7 news is still awaiting that promised disclosure of source of financing for those cable companies.

“Riding for Belize” - Honourable Elodio Aragon, Jr. Minister of State – Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture
The Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic is an iconic sport in Belize. This annual race forms a part of our history and is embedded in our culture. As the race takes off on Holy Saturday, Belizeans at home and abroad are filled with excitement as they tune in to follow this national sporting event. This race is testament to the fact that the Cycling Classic is not only a demonstration of our strength, endurance and skill; it is also one of the most powerful uniting forces for Belize. So as our male and female cyclists make their way across our western hills and valleys, we hail their talents and celebrate them as our sporting heroes and heroines. In the midst of this 2016 race, I invite you to see sports as a key element in nation building. Sports remains pivotal to breaking down racial and ethnic barriers, engaging youth, promoting diversity, ensuring gender equity and equality, and fostering community cohesion and community mindedness. In this sense, the Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic is a ride for Belize, a ride that says to the world that while we are a part of the regional and international community, we also remain a sovereign nation.

Budget debate day 1
With the New PUP Leader promising that under his leadership there would be a new approach to the way the opposition makes their presentations on matters before the National Assembly , being that the content of their presentations would be about substance rather than political grandstanding, our hopes were high and we were awaiting day one of the debate on the 2016/2017 Budget Estimates. However all hopes and expectations were squashed as soon as the Opposition Leader got up and started to speak. His presentation was full of the usual PUP political rhetoric. There was no change as he had promised. He was speaking but saying nothing as usual. His presentation must have been the cue for the other members on that side of the house to follow in his footsteps because his Super Deputy Cordel got up and made a mockery of himself . There is another word that we would have liked to use to describe him but because this is a public space, common decency prevents us from so doing.

Internet access for Belizeans is a priority
Internet access continues to be a priority for all Belizeans, considering the tremendous technological advances that have been sweeping across the World. Only decades ago, a main frame computer occupied an entire room, in contrast with today, where speeds of microprocessors have not only increased, but gone down in size; making it possible for internet ready computers to fit in the palm of our hands. As a result of increased speed in microprocessors, computer units have also been able to perform multitasking with greater efficiency; speeding up communications in real time from anywhere on Earth. All this has led to the rise of data rich mediums such as Facebook, Viber, Windows Live, WhatsApp, Skype and others that are now changing the business models of internet providers and at the same time giving endless joy to tech savvy consumers. In 2015, some 43% of the World’s population was connected to the internet, with a share of the population covered by mobile broadband networks. Also in 2015, there were still 4.1 billion people without internet access and 1.6 billion without mobile broadband coverage. As a result, the United Nations General Assembly and the International Telecom Union ITU recently called on the International Community to provide universal access to affordable internet by 2020. This was partially prompted by studies, which suggest that a 10% increase in broadband penetration in developing countries is correlated with a 1.35% increase in Gross Domestic Product GDP.

Man dies on the George Price Highway in Cayo
Another man has died as a result of a traffic accident in the Cayo District. The accident occurred at about noon on Monday of this week in front of Windy Hill Resort on the George Price Highway. A visit by San Ignacio Police revealed that a blue Ford Escort was extensively damaged on the right hand side of the George Price Highway. It was also observed that a Hispanic male person was trapped under the car and motionless. The body was identified as Orlando Neri Madrid, a Belizean Driver of Cristo Rey Village, Cayo District. The body showed injuries to his face and chest area. Initial investigation revealed that Orlando Madrid was driving alone in his car coming from the direction of Benque Viejo Town to San Ignacio Town and upon arrival in front of the Windy Hill Resort, lost control of the car. The 32 year old subsequently ran off the road and overturned.

Fatal traffic accident in Spanish Lookout
There was fatal traffic accident in Spanish Lookout last week. Police received information of a road traffic accident on Wednesday 16th March 2016, about 11:30 a.m. in Spanish lookout. Police subsequently visited the scene where it was processed. Initial investigation revealed that Mr. Felix Sandoval of a Duck Run 1 address was reversing his vehicle from the Esso Gas Station compound on the Center Road in Spanish Lookout when the accident happened. Police were later able to identify the accident victim as Mr. Alejandro Padillo from Duck Run 2. The elderly man was transported to the Western Regional Hospital and subsequently to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. A Notice of intended Prosecution has since been served to Mr. Felix Sandoval and statements have been recorded. Upon completion of the case file, relating to this accident, it will be forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution for advice.

Fatal traffic accident
Thirty three year-old Hattieville Resident Jason Robinson was knocked down and killed by a bus on Friday night, March 18, 2016. According to police, just before 8 p.m., Robinson was on his bicycle heading toward Belize City. He was approaching mile 16 when a Shaw Bus, heading in the same direction, hit him from behind. The bus ran him over, crushed his body and completely wrecked his bike. The driver of the bus has reported to police that it was dark, and while he was on the George Price Highway, there was a portion of the road near mile 16 that isn’t well-lit. The driver said that by the time he spotted Robinson on the bike, there wasn't enough time to react and avoid the accident.

Church brother charged for slapping the Devil out of a child
An eleven-year-old boy reported to police that William Linarez, 20, who he knows from church, slapped him across the face because he was allegedly possessed by a demon at the time. On Wednesday afternoon, March 16, the boy’s 44-year-old mother took him to the police station to report the incident. The boy claims that he was at Mel’s Restaurant on Albert Street with his brother when Linarez walked up to him, told him that he was possessed and being used by powerful demons and slapped him to the left side of the face. Linarez, a resident of #38 Racecourse Street, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court and charged with common assault. Linarez pleaded not guilty to the charge before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza. Since there was no objection to bail, Linarez was released on bail in the sum of $500 plus one surety of the same amount which he met. The prosecutor asked that conditions be set to his bail and as a result Linarez is not to come within 100 yards of the victim.

Boom farmer busted with unlicensed shotgun
Burrell Boom Village farmer, Carl Charley, 42, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was busted with a shot gun on Thursday, March 17. The bust occurred at 2:15 a.m. at a police checkpoint set up between Miles 13 and 14 on the Phillip Goldson Highway. According to police, officers of the Mobile Interdiction Team (MIT) were conducting a checkpoint in the Sandhill area when their attention was drawn to a vehicle which was heading towards them. The vehicle suddenly made a U-turn and police set chase behind it. During the chase, officers saw when the driver of the vehicle threw an object out the window. One officer exited the vehicle and picked up the object while another officer continued the pursuit. The officer eventually intercepted the vehicle and ordered the driver to exit. He complied and a search was conducted. Nothing incriminating was found and that is when police took him back to the area where the object was thrown. There they found a green crocus sac with a shotgun inside.

Rene Chavarria hunted down and killed in Ladyville
Twenty five year-old Ladyville Resident Rene Chavarria was shot and killed on Friday night, March 18, 2016. Chavarria, also known as “Fat Cat”, had developed a sort of reputation for the street life, and a few years ago, he was facing attempted murder charges. It appears that his enemies hunted him down and executed him. According to police investigation, at around 9:10 p.m. on Friday, Chavarria was riding his bicycle on Mirage Road. He was heading home in the Milpa area of Ladyville, and that’s when 2 men rode up on him on bikes and opened fire at him. Chavarria tried to get away, and he jumped a drain. He was trying to take cover near the Caribbean Shrimp Farm area, but before getting there, he collapsed in the nearby bushes and took his last breath. He had been shot in the back of the head, the upper right shoulder, and the center of the back.

Robbery on the Bullet Tree Road in Cayo
A taxi driver has been robbed en route to Bullet Tree Falls in Cayo. Belizean taxi driver, Albino Itzab from San Ignacio Town reported that about 1:45pm on Wednesday of last week, he was travelling with his wife in his 2002 grey Toyota Corolla taxi, when he was robbed on the Bullet Tree Road. The 61 year old Albino Itza had unsuspectingly allowed entry into his four door taxi, two males in their early twenties and a female in her fifties. They did so from in front of the Caoba Restaurant in San Ignacio Town, and all are of Hispanic descent. The unassuming passengers had asked for a taxi ride to Calla Creek and after being about 500 yards from a farm on the Santa Rosa area, one of the males took out a knife and began behaving in a threatening manner. He pointed his knife to the neck area of Albino Itzab and asked him to render all possessions.

U.S National found dead in Cayo
A U.S National has been found dead in the Cayo District. San Ignacio Police visited a two storey concrete house at the corner of Minerva and Quarry Hill on Friday of last week, whereupon a male Caucasian was discovered hanging from an orange electric cord that was tied from a post at the top of the second floor. He was identified as fifty eight year old Robert William Carter. No signs of physical violence were observed on the U.S National. His body was taken down and transported to the San Ignacio Hospital, after which he was pronounced dead. The body awaits a post mortem examination and the U.S Embassy has been informed--in keeping with the Police Department’s protocol.

Kaydine Pinello is the 17th Junior Cross Country Champion
The Cycling Federation of Belize in partnership with Belize Electricity Limited sponsored its 17th Annual Junior Male Cross Country Cycling Classic on Sunday 20th March, 2016. The event started at the Succotz Ferry and concluded at Leslie’s Imports at Mile 2 on the George Price Highway. The 70 miles event attracted some 38 riders in the junior and youth categories which saw 22 riders completing the course. At the end of 3:12:10, it was Kaydine Pinello of SMART Junior Cycling Team that crossed the finish line first to capture the Junior Cross Country Title. The second rider to cross the finish line was Brian Sutherland of Cabral/Marin Cycling Team and he was followed by Darien Anderson of WKC Strikers, and he was followed by Andre Belisle of Cabral/Marin Cycling Team and then by Gian Lino also of Cabral/Marin Cycling Team to round off the top five finishers in the event.

Dangriga Warriors dish out second defeat to Smart Belize Hurricanes
The National Elite Basketball League competition continued last Friday 18th March, 2016, with three games on the schedule. At the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School Auditorium in Dangriga Town, the home team Dangriga Warriors upended the highly regarded and competition’s favourite the Smart Belize Hurricanes by the score of 72-54. The top scorers for the Dangriga Warriors were James Ewing with 20 points, 6 rebounds and a steal; Edgar Mitchell with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals and Macario Augustine with 10 points, 17 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals. For the Smart Belize Hurricanes were Farron Louriano with 15 points, 5 rebounds and a steal; Akeem Watters with 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals and Darwin Leslie with 9 points, 2 rebounds and 4 steals.

WORDS OF LIFE
On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, to fulfill prophesy. The people were looking for a political or military deliverer, but Jesus came as our spiritual leader and Savior. During the last week of his earthly ministry, which we call Holy Week, Jesus taught about the Kingdom of Heaven and future events. He also predicted his betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection. After his final meal with his disciples, they all went to the Garden of Gethsemane for prayer. It was here that Jesus was betrayed and arrested. This was Thursday evening, and after being brought before a night court of the Jewish religious officials, he was sentenced to death. The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, was the only one who could carry out this sentence, and it would be by crucifixion. It was the Chief Priests and elders of the people who wanted Jesus to be executed, for the crime of blasphemy. This was because he claimed to be the Son Of God. Despite all the evidence and fulfillment of prophecies, they did not recognize that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah.

Gapi’s Departure
The central topic in many gatherings these days here in OW is the abrupt resignation of Hon. Gaspar “Gapi” Vega as Deputy Party Leader of the United Democratic Party, and the consequential relinquishing of his substantive post as Deputy Prime Minister. Fuel to these weekend parleys was heightened when the Hon. Vega was not present at the budget presentation, nor did he attend the UDP convention in Dangriga on March 20. From what I have heard on the ground, there is little doubt that Gapi’s departure from electoral politics has, in the short term at least, significantly affected the Party’s strength in the North. He was the leader, coordinator and organizer for the UDP here in the OW and Corozal Districts. He will leave a vacuum that will take some time to fill, both in terms of financing and in matching his charismatic nature in dealing with people. Two mitigating factors related to this unexpected development are that there is, in the first instance, sufficient time to identify a suitable substitute for Vega before the next Generals and, secondly, the PUP is not poised to take immediate advantage of this sudden drawback facing the UDP. The PUP has its own internal anxieties to deal with and simply cannot make any strategic move up North due to the existing hostile temperament within their Executive.

Desperation Squared
I make it a point to steer clear from commenting on the different practices and traditions of the several religious denominations that exist in Belize today. This is because many scholars hold firm the opinion that religious intolerance between differing faiths has sparked the most appalling conflicts in our world’s civilized history; several of these deadly conflicts continue without abate even to this day. That said, and I say this tongue in cheek, I will risk one comment here on a ritual which I thought was pretty uncommon and bizarre, especially coming from a nationally recognized organization who participated in this ceremony. Last week Wednesday January 15 the leadership of the People’s United Party went to sing “happy birthday” songs at the tombstone of the late Rt. Hon. George C. Price, and then later went on to sponsor a press conference at Independence Hall, evoking the former PUP leader’s name several times during the in-house political rally. In my view, the entire episode, but especially the part in front of the grave, came across as superficial since the PUP leaders were without question exploiting the departed gentleman’s legacy for political profit in promoting their so called “new and improved” social justice agenda.

Pittsology 101
Oreo Cookies and people I used to DISGUST eating Oreo Cookies! However, I now realize that it’s just the cream filling that’s nasty (to me); the actual cookie tastes like heaven! Similarly, countless humans are the same in that just a few of their qualities are actually disgusting. If you are able to pardon, adjust and/or work around the ‘turn-offs’, you may end up experiencing greatness in some of the people you normally block out impulsively. You end up meeting, appreciating and loving much more people as well!

Rado’s unintelligible speech
We all know that Rado is not the sharpest tool in the citrus grove and that was again proven as he stood to make presentations in the budget once again. He was reading words that he could not pronounce he quoted figures that he is unable to understand and gave suggestions that were not his. The question then needs to be asked, who is it that wrote what Rado read? Some have speculated that he did not write the budget speech but say that it was actually one Canton who came up with what was presented in the house. It was as if it were the very hand that was stuck behind Rado’s neck as he went about the motion of reading the speech. It was like we could see the ventriloquist at work quoting figures and giving suggestions. We know that this Canton is a power broker in the citrus industry and it is unfair for him to have done this to Rado and the industry. He would have been better served if he had actually made the presentation himself since what Rado read was barely intelligible.

World Tuberculosis Day
World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed every year on March 24th as a means of creating public awareness about TB. This year’s theme is “Unite to end TB”. TB remains a public health concern and is still responsible for 1.5 million global deaths every year. Tuberculosis is a curable and preventable disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (which generally affects the lungs). When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. TB is transmitted from the infected person to another weak person through the droplets formed in the throat or lungs. In 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top five causes of death among women aged 15 to 44. Tuberculosis is a leading entity in terms of mortality of HIV-positive people: in 2015, one in three HIV deaths was related to TB.

Truth revealed
Last Friday night our attention was drawn to a Facebook post of a video recording of a man purported to be one Scott Stirm. We in Belize know only one person by that name and that is one Pastor Scott Stirm. He is a gentleman who sometimes Co-hosts Plus TV's Rise & Shine Morning Show, along with Louis Wade. Stirm purports to be a man of the cloth (A PASTOR) . This man has been a very public figure in Belize for some time now. He has been busy pointing out perceived wrong doings and the sins of the government and the nation, breathing BRIMSTONE and FIRE whenever he saw what he viewed as those sinful deeds of the government and the nation. In other word this man has placed himself in the position as the man who sees all wrongs, sort of Mr Man Without Sin. However what we saw and heard on that recording paints a whole different picture of him . What we concluded after viewing the recording was that the person who was on that recording was a vile and hateful individual. He certainly did not sound like the Scott Stirm we know . The way this man attacked not only Belizeans but also all people in the Caribbean, was like he had a hate factory in his heart.

Marcos Garcia charged for armed robbery
On Friday afternoon, March 18, a gunman walked into Super Pollo Express at #8 Central American Boulevard, pointed the gun at a minor who was working as cashier and ordered him to hand over all the money. Fearing for his life, the minor handed over what was inside the cash register. In total, the robber made off with $800 and ran off. His escape was not properly thought up; however, as police managed to catch up with him a couple hours after the crime was committed. He was identified as 21-year-old Marcos Daniel Garcia, a stevedore and resident of Ebony Street. According to police, one hour after the robbery at Super Pollo Express was reported, officers were on mobile patrol at the corner of Vernon Street and Central American Boulevard when they spotted a man fitting the description of the robbery suspect. They approached him and conducted a search which led to the discovery of a firearm clip containing 4 rounds of .25 ammunition. Garcia was detained and escorted to the police station.

Guatemalan charged for drug trafficking
A Guatemalan male has been charged by Benque Viejo Police for drug trafficking. A group of officers belonging to the Special Patrol Unit (SPU) were on special operations in Arenal Village, near Benque Viejo, when their attention was drawn to a red and white car coming from Guatemala into Arenal Belize. As a result, members of the SPU intercepted the Toyota Corolla car at the Arenal Bus stop. The car was occupied at the time by three Hispanic male persons. They were asked to step out of the vehicle and were informed that a search would be conducted. A search on one of the male persons carrying a knapsack, revealed a green leafy vegetable substance suspected to be cannabis. He was immediately informed of the offence committed, placed under arrest and cautioned. The male person was escorted to the Benque Viejo Police Station and his name was learnt to be Joel Baltazar Pedro, of Barrios, Guatemala. At the Benque Police Station the suspected cannabis was weighed in the presence of the 25 year old, which amounted to 284 grams. Joel Pedro was subsequently arrested and charged for the offence of drug trafficking.

Jamel Webster free of accusation of stealing gun from BSAG
Jamel Webster, 24, a BDF Soldier who was accused of burglarizing the Belize Special Assignment Group’s (BSAG) office at Price Barracks, was freed from a charge of burglary on Thursday, March 17. Allegations are that on Thursday, April 30, 2015, Webster, then a BDF soldier, broke into the room of the BSAG, located at Price Barracks in Ladyville, and stole one 9 mm Beretta pistol. His case was set for trial on Thursday but that was when the Prosecutor in the case, Cpl. Christopher Smith, informed the court that he was withdrawing the charge against him. We were reliably informed that the withdrawal was as result of insufficient evidence against Webster.

Minors, 14 and 15, charged for Godfrey Hemsley’s murder
Two minors, age 14 and 15, are on remand at the Belize Youth Hostel after they were charged for the murder of 31-year-old Godfrey Hemsley. Hemsley was shot to death on Wednesday, March 16, as he was socializing on the bleachers after playing basketball on the Yarborough Green court. His attackers crept up on him from behind and fired numerous shots, leaving Hemsley for dead. He succumbed to the injuries while enroute to the Karl Heusner Memorial. On Monday afternoon, March 21, CIB personnel escorted the minors to the Belize Family Court where they were arraigned before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, Director of the Belize Family Court. Relatives of the minors were present. Due to the nature of the offense of murder, no plea was taken and bail could not be granted. They were both remanded to the Belize Youth Hostel until their next court appearance on May 15, 2016.

Ronalph Ramsey Jr. cleared of murder charge in absence of case file
After ten months on remand for the murder of Kenroy Parham, 25, Ronalph Ramsey Jr., 20, is a free man because no case file is available. No disclosure had been provided to Ramsey since he was arrested in May of 2015 and on Friday, March 18, 2016, Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser asked Prosecuting Inspector Hector Rodriguez for the disclosure. He told her that there is still no case file at the moment. According to Rodriguez, when he made checks for the case file at the DPP’s office he was informed that the case file had not even reached the office as yet. With that, Senior Magistrate Fraser struck out the case against Ramsey. In May of 2015 police arrested Ramsey for the murder of Kenroy Parham who was shot and killed in the Mahogany Heights Community on Friday, November 28, 2014. Ramsey told the court that the police officer who charged him with murder is “punking” him because he was held for 24 hours without any evidence and he did not get to make a phone call. The Chief Magistrate made a note of Ramsey’s statement and the case was turned over to the court room of Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser.

Belize Defence Force new leaders in Closing Season tournament
The Premier League of Belize Closing Season Tournament is fast coming to a close with just about two weeks left in the competition. On Sunday 20th March, 2016, at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, the host team and the new leaders in the competition, the Belize Defence Force blanked the visiting Wagiya FC by the score of 3-0. The Belize Defence Force made it onto the scoreboard when Mark Arzu scored his team’s 1st goal of the game in the 32nd minute of play that gave his team a 1-0 lead. The lead was further extended when Ricky Ricketts scored the Belize Defence Force 2nd goal of the game in the 38th minute of play for a 2-0 lead. That lead was further extended when Osmar Duran scored his team’s 3rd and final goal of the game in the 41st minute of play for a 3-0 lead and the victory.


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#512627 - 03/25/16 12:02 PM Re: Today's Belize News: March 25, 2016 [Re: Marty]
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Caye Caulker Chronicles

Gilligan’s Island, Belize
Saturday morning was upon us and twenty or so of us headed from all directions to our gathering point on the Ocean ferry dock. “Twenty or so” is an accurate number in these parts and anyone that thinks differently should, maybe, kinda, possibly change their mentality and embrace the vague, fuzzy, indistinct mannerisms of our happy community. A day trip had been planned by Boston Mike to the idyllic destination of Goff’s Caye, a tiny island located a good boat journey south from Caye Caulker. If you’ve never been there and somebody says, “Desert island” to you, whatever you are picturing in your head is pretty much spot on. It’s in the Caribbean, azure waters surround it, it’s on a barrier reef and there are palm trees intermittently dispersed to break up the white sand and create shade for would-be castaways. I’m sure Robert Louis Stevenson had something like this in mind when he wrote Treasure Island. 8am was the time we were due to cast of and start our adventure, so, on true Caye Caulker style, we all arrived early and left on time (please refer to paragraph 1 for the definition of local accuracy). We all climbed aboard our vessel, got comfortable and prepared for a day of sun and fun. Breakfast was served cold… thankfully. I mean, who in their right mind wants warm rum punch or beer? Ropes were untied and we were under way promptly at 8:40am. Our lady of the seas for the day was the SS Minnow and being the only Brit on this trip, that meant nothing to me amongst a boat full of Americans and Canadians who all laughed and joked about its name. I honestly thought that they were laughing about the word “Minnow”, because rather than being small; this was a big old bus of a boat. Oh how innocently ignorant and wrong I was.

Amandala

Disturbing edited video of Pastor Stirm goes viral
The video entitled “Scott Stirm insults the Garifuna and admits his real agenda!” has raked up almost 2,500 views on YouTube since it was posted on Friday, March 18. The video, posted by an account named Belize Freedom, is 6 minutes and 14 seconds in length. Belize Freedom’s edited version of the original “Holy Covenant” video shared on the XP Ministries website 8 months ago has gone viral because of the disturbing claims made by Stirm against the Black nation of Haiti and a reference to a Garinagu spiritual leader as a “witch-lady,” at a gathering in Arizona by XP Ministries, whose president is Patricia King. In the description section of the YouTube video the video editor Belize Freedom makes the statement: “You can watch the full video from XP Ministries to see that NOTHING was edited or taken out of context. Stirm starts at about 40 minutes,” and the original video link is shared. Truthfully, the video has been edited; background music is added at times, large sections are cut out (Pastor Stirm speaks for a full 30 minutes in the original) and the editor adds written commentary between clips.

16-year-old murdered over a horse
A minor, 16, died after he was attacked and stabbed in the chest by a young man who became angry because a horse was not lent to him by the boy’s brother, 18. The minor was rushed to the Independence Village Polyclinic, but he was declared dead on arrival. Cheston Arzu, 18, of Independence, was arrested and charged with murder, and taken to the Dangriga Magistrate’s Court today, where he was arraigned and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May 16. The incident occurred at about 8:00 last night, in Independence. Police reported that the boy, his brother and a friend were in their yard when Cheston Arzu, who is known to them, approached them and requested to borrow their horse. The minor’s brother refused to lend him the horse, however.

Miscarried 19-week fetus missing from hospital; mother was planning a funeral
Shameka Flowers, a young expectant mother, is devastated after having had a miscarriage this week and learning, when she returned to the hospital with a white casket to bury her unborn child, that the fetus was nowhere to be found. The Crooked Tree resident, who is seeking legal advice, said that friends and relatives in her village were waiting for her to return for a funeral. She was bereaved that she would have to return with an empty casket and no answers. Flowers was nearly 5 months pregnant. She said that her baby was due this August, but she suffered a miscarriage on Friday, March 18, at the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk Town. Flowers told Amandala that on Friday at 10:30 a.m., she went to the hospital because she was experiencing complications.

Briceño blasts Barrow’s budget
Four political heavyweights—Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Johnny Briceño, and four-term People’s United Party area representative for Lake Independence, Hon. Cordel Hyde, on one side of Parliament, and the two men contending for the deputyship of the ruling United Democratic Party: Patrick Faber, UDP member for Collet, and John Saldivar, member for Belmopan, on the other side—opened the national budget debate this morning with arguments over whether Government spending had really been improving the lives of Belizeans. Spending on national security, economic growth, joblessness, and PetroCaribe spending were some of the topics discussed. There was much debate over the Marion Jones Sporting Complex—which Hyde described as “the mother of all public fleecing.” That project is still incomplete 12 years after it was initiated and its tab is to the tune of $25 million, according to the Opposition.

Verdes can still make PLB playoffs; Police United can clinch Champions League berth
The Premier League of Belize (PLB) Closing Season 2016 is fast winding down its regular season, and the playoff picture is still uncertain after Week 9 games this past weekend. Three teams are sure of a playoff spot – BDF, Bandits and Police; but presently fourth ranked Placencia Assassins is facing a challenge from Verdes FC, who still have a chance to wrest the last playoff spot from the Assassins. (See standings below.) At the MCC Grounds in Belize City yesterday, home standing BDF FC seized first place in the standings with their 3-0 win over a short-staffed Wagiya FC, some of whose players were reportedly otherwise occupied at the ATLIB (Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize) football championships. Wagiya could only field 10 men, but BDF couldn’t find their focus until the field was equalized with the red-card ejection of their right midfielder Paul Nunez at the 27th minute. The army promptly responded with a flurry of goals, from Mark Arzu (32’), Ricky Ricketts (38’) and Osmar Duran (41’), for a 3-0 lead, which they never relinquished. Second half was nevertheless competitive, with the highlight for Wagiya being two spectacular long range missiles from left defender Aaron Lopez, one sailing inches over the crossbar, the other just into the side of the net that gave BDF goalkeeper Tevin Gamboa some anxious moments. The tall and wiry Lopez displayed a lethal left foot reminiscent of the legendary Dean Lewis from the 1970’s Stann Creek Selection.

C-Ray Saturday Race Series 2016 – prizes issued
The C-Ray Cycling Club issued prizes to the winners of the Saturday Race Series on Friday night, March 18, at the Bliss Center during a fundraiser event held for Dorren August (the light technician at the Bliss, who needs to go undergo brain surgery in Merida.) This idea brought out more people to support the fundraiser, as well as to expose our cyclists to an even larger fan base than we already have. The series started on January 18 and concluded on March 5, racing on six Saturdays between those dates. A total of 65 cyclists participated throughout the duration of the 6 races – 14 “Junior,” 1 “Female,” 10 “Category 4/5,” 8 “40 Years & Over,” 2 “50 Years & Over,” and 30 “Elite.” The idea was to race weekly to gain the most possible points each week; and at the end of the series, the person with the most points would be the overall winner. Weekly prizes, not including the points given, were mainly tires and tubes paired with gift certificates from various places in Belize City – The Stationery House Retail Outlet, Freetown Drug Store, Ordonez Bike Shop, Da Bizz BBQ, Simmons BBQ, and Milky Way Restaurant...

Ashton Edwards drops 45 down south, including 30 from down town
Cayo Western Ballaz stunned by Belize City No Limit On Friday night, Belize City No Limit hosted Cayo Western Ballaz at Bird’s Isle in Belize City. The home team jumped out to an early 20-16 first quarter lead, which they extended to 36-27 by intermission. In the second half, the lead was extended to 26 points, which Belize City No Limit never relinquished, easily winning the game, 85-61. Belize City No Limit (4-5) was led by Michael Babbles, who had the game high of 24 pts, to go with 6 assists, 4 steals and 3 rebounds. Jamal Augustine had the best game of his career, with 19 pts and 6 rebs, while Gregory “Chippy” Rudon scored 18 pts to go with 4 rebs, 2 assists and 2 steals. Keith “Superman” Acosta finished the game with 18 pts and 9 rebs. The top scorer for Cayo Western Ballaz (6-5) was Winston Pratt with 17 pts, 5 rebs, 4 steals and 3 dimes. The only other scorer in double digits for the visiting team was James Milton with 16 pts and 8 rebs, while Brandon Flowers finished with 8 pts and 9 rebs.

Editorial: Schizo Sedi
Well now, here come the Easter holidays, and for sure Belizeans, especially younger ones, will be drinking and drugging and partying. We wish, nevertheless, that you take time out this week and weekend to read the following editorial, and that you do so carefully. Our country is in danger. Over the near 47 years of its existence, this newspaper has fought, from time to time, with every single government administration, from those of Mr. Price through those of Dr. Esquivel and those of Mr. Musa to the present ones of Mr. Barrow. When our political leaders are under attack, they make emotional appeals to their party members and supporters in order to inflame them, to turn them against the sources of the attacks. Political leaders will seek to convince their party faithful that the attacks on themselves are personal in nature. In fact, the counterattacks they will launch on their critics are invariably personal in nature. This is politics in Belize. It is very, very difficult for the major party faithful to be fair to anyone who is criticizing their leaders, but if the faithful of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) were to be fair, they would agree that this newspaper has not commented that much on the controversial performance of Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington.

From the Publisher
Younger readers will not be aware of all the drama which surrounded Belize’s attainment of political independence in 1981. Once British Honduras achieved the status of a self-governing colony in January of 1964, it had seemed that we Belizean people were on our way forward and upward. As the saying goes, forward ever, backward never. This was the vibes. None of us at the time could have foreseen what is happening today, where almost thirty-five years after we achieved our goal of independence, which had been the Holy Grail of those before us, we Belizeans would be staring dismemberment of our beloved Jewel straight in the face. When Belize became self-governing, I was sixteen years old, and had just graduated from the high school section of St. John’s College, in December of 1963. My political views, mostly influenced by my mother, were those of Hon. Philip Goldson’s National Independence Party (NIP), in the sense that Guatemala’s President Ydigoras Fuentes and his threats to “recover Belice” had intimidated me, and I wanted a strong rejection of the Guatemalan claim.

CARICOM expresses “grave concern” over Guat aggression against Belize military at Sarstoon
Last week, the Government of Belize issued a statement saying that tensions between Belize’s and Guatemala’s military at the Sarstoon are at an all-time high, after reports of hostile behavior by the Guatemalans near the Forward Operating Base which Belize is constructing on the northern bank of the Sarstoon River. Today, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) issued a statement expressing “grave concern” over the incident. “Although the incident ended peacefully following contact at the highest level between military and political leaders on both sides, CARICOM notes with grave concern the tension caused as a result of the incident,” its statement said. “The Caribbean Community restates the importance it places on respect for international law and the sanctity of treaties and deeply regrets any actions of the [Guatemalan Armed Forces – GAF] which violate the sovereignty of Belize and attempt to change the status quo prior to the submission of the Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the Special Agreement ratified by both parties,” the statement added.

Wil explains the genesis of the BTV
The Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) has been taking some heat from the Government on allegations that the group’s expeditions to the Sarstoon area have been causing a backlash from the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF), leading to an escalation in tensions between that military and the Belize Defence Force (BDF). In essence, the BTV and its supporters have been accused of putting the BDF at risk by their “well-meaning” activities to express Belizean sovereignty at the Sarstoon – Belize’s southern boundary with Guatemala. However, BTV founder, Wil Maheia, told Amandala that the BTV was formed back in 2009 in response to incursions by Guatemalan civilians inside the Columbia River Forest Reserve in southern Belize, because these unchecked incursions have posed a clear and present threat to Belizeans. Maheia said that around 2008 the idea was birthed after he attempted to establish an eco-tourism, adventure travel enterprise from San Jose Village to Caracol, across the Mayan divide for tourists seeking extreme adventure. The idea, he said, also was to provide supplementary income for Maya villagers who were being asked to stop their traditional slash and burn farming for environmental purposes. The “green” alternative was to create the trail, which would enable tourists who would be up to the challenge to take a 7-day hike or almost 50 miles through very steep terrain.

Municipalities across Belize “recognize and honor our children”
Municipalities across the country held ceremonies throughout this week, vowing to be “sustainable and child-friendly municipalities.” Today, it was Belize City’s turn to make such a vow and to recognize and honor our children. Usually, these official ceremonies don’t focus on children, but this one was especially was for these younger ones among us. It outlined the need for our children to have a voice in the community, of which they are a part. Present at the launch were Mayor Darrell Bradley; Karen Bernard, UNDP (United Nations Development Program) Representative; Ivan Yerovi, UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund) Representative; Hon. Hugo Patt, Minister of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development; and other stakeholders. Children from Grace Primary School and St. Mary’s Primary School also made presentations.

Illegal Guatemalan farmer detained for farming inside “Adjacency Zone”
Asuncion Garcia, 57, of San Jose, Petén, Guatemala, was detained earlier this week, while a second illegal farmer escaped after they were found with horses transporting three sacks of corn, harvested from an illegal plantation in the Chiquibul Forest, and inside the “adjacency zone” – which spans a kilometer on either side of the Belize-Guatemala border, and is subject to a special bilateral regime under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS). Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) reported that on Wednesday, March 16, rangers who were monitoring for illegal farming activities in an area known as Cohune Ridge in the Chiquibul National Park, intercepted two males pulling two saddled horses, loaded with corn. The farmers were approximately 310 meters from the Belize-Guatemala border, inside a clearing comprised of about 5 acres of corn plantation and another 5 acres of forest which had been freshly slashed and burnt, the FCD reported.

Belize among CRFM states seeking to strengthen the links between Fisheries and Tourism
Four member states of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM)—Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize and Grenada—are participating in a project which is exploring the synergies between the fisheries and tourism sectors. Belize is among the most sought-after Caribbean jurisdictions known for its “sea, sun and sand” ambiance but also for its array of sumptuous seafood! Through tourism, which brings almost 30 million visitors to the Caribbean’s shores each year and which contributes nearly $50 billion to the regional economy, the potential exists to catalyze the socio-economic impact which fisheries has across the region. The two multi-billion-dollar sectors are intricately intertwined, and even as tourism is the backbone of the region’s economy, so too is fisheries.

Belize and Guatemala Foreign Ministers reassure that ICJ is the answer, and ask for millions in OAS funds
On Tuesday, March 15, at the Organization of American States (OAS) office building located in Washington, D.C., a meeting was convened for the central purpose of appealing for funds to keep open the OAS office in the adjacency zone along the Belize-Guatemala terrestrial border. The annual cost to keep the office open is at least 2.5million US dollars. At the head table, from left to right, sat HE Patrick Andrews, Belize’s permanent representative* to the OAS; HE Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington; the Chief of the OAS Peace Fund Magdalena Talamás; HE Minister of Foreign Affairs for Guatemala, Carlos Raul Morales Moscoso*, and HE Ambassador of Guatemala to Belize, Manuel Roldan Barillas. The audience at the meeting, as described by OAS staff, included 22 “Friends” (those countries that give money and political capital to the OAS Peace Fund) and of these 14 were member states; the “Group of Friends” were seated at the central table and included vocal representation from Mexico, Spain, the European Union and others.

Santander mills first sugar
Santander Sugar announced this week that it has milled its first batch of sugar at its Belize facility. As we reported last month, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Andres Ayau, had indicated that the company would commence grinding this month. Although Santander does not go into full operation until 2017, when it plans to grind 800,000 tons of sugar cane to produce sugar and molasses, mostly for the European market, it does plan to produce on a smaller scale over the coming months. Santander has also said that it intends to supply biomass-based energy to the national grid. According to Ayau, the company’s current investment is US$150 million, with 60% coming from local and foreign lenders and a third from Belize banks.

Shaw bus driver blames bad lighting for fatal traffic accident
On Friday, March 18, the George Price Highway was the scene of yet another traffic accident, this time involving a Shaw bus and a cyclist. On Friday night, a Shaw bus, with license plate 3746, left Novelo’s Bus Station in Belize City at approximately 7:00 p.m., en route to Hattieville. Upon reaching between Miles 16 and 17, however, at approximately 7:45 p.m., the bus knocked down a cyclist, which brought the traffic on the George Price Highway to a standstill, backing it up for at least half a mile. Edward Broaster, Superintendent of Police and Commanding Officer of Eastern Division Rural, said that the cyclist, Jason Robinson, 33, a Hattieville cook, suffered head and body injuries and was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where he succumbed to his injuries the following day.

“One ring” cell phone scam – beware, Belizeans!
Smart and Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) have issued alerts, warning customers not to be duped by calls coming from a foreign number with the +8-818 prefix. The phone companies say that it is a credit scam being perpetrated on unsuspecting customers; and if customers answer a missed call from this number, their phone credit is wiped out. The US Federal Trade Commission, in warning against such scams, explains that, “Scammers let the phone ring once — just enough for a missed call message to pop up. “The scammers hope you’ll call back, either because you believe a legitimate call was cut off, or you will be curious about who called. If you do, chances are you’ll hear something like, ‘Hello. You’ve reached the operator, please hold.’ “All the while, you’re getting slammed with some hefty charges — a per-minute charge on top of an international rate.”

Ruling imminent in multi-million-dollar arbitration dispute over BTL nationalization
Amandala has been informed by a member of the Government of Belize’s legal team that a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), based in The Hague, Netherlands, could come any time now, in the litigation between Dunkeld International Investment Limited of the Turks and Caicos and the Government of Belize, following the challenge made by the Ashcroft group to the 2009 nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) by the Government of Belize. The PCA tribunal was initiated to settle the dispute arising in the context of a 1982 investment treaty between Belize and the UK, which the Government was accused of violating when it nationalized BTL. The arbitration proceedings began in December 2009 and last September, the Government announced a partial settlement, including the payment of $97 million to British Caribbean Bank, for the $45 million loan which the Government had acquired when it nationalized the phone company. The Government had also announced that it would make a down-payment amounting to 32.5 million Belize dollars for the shares which it had acquired through nationalization, at the rate estimated by its consultants, NERA Economic Consulting, at 72 cents a share.

Faber and Saldivar contend for Vega’s position on the heels of UDP’s Dangriga convention
Social media was abuzz on Monday, March 21, after both Patrick Faber, United Democratic Party area representative for Collet, and John Saldivar, UDP area representative for Belmopan, formally announced that they would be seeking election as the party’s deputy leader. Their announcements were made immediately after the UDP’s national convention held at the Ecumenical College in Dangriga on Sunday, March 20, and just days after Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, UDP stalwart in the north, announced that he would demit his position as UDP deputy leader. At Sunday’s event, four UDP leaders were endorsed to continue in their existing posts: party leader Dean Barrow, chairman Alberto August, second deputy leader Erwin Contreras, and deputy chairman Fern Gutierrez.

Guatemala responds to CARICOM – the Sarstoon is ours
Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a formal response to a recent statement from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) after the Saturday, March 12, 2016, incident in which Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF), according to the Government of Belize account, entered Belizean territorial waters and “behaved in an extremely hostile and threatening manner,” while insisting that Belizean soldiers should not be at the Sarstoon. CARICOM issued a strong statement on Friday, March 18, calling out GAF for entering “Belizean internal waters” and acting in an intimidating manner towards members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) who were at Belize’s Forward Operating Base, which is under construction on Belize’s mainland at the mouth of the Sarstoon River. CARICOM said that while the GAF claimed that the River belonged to them, the mid-channel of the River was the settled and agreed border between the Republic of Guatemala and the United Kingdom long before Belize’s independence in 1981.

The Reporter

Six American riders knocked down while training for Cross Country race
Six American cyclists who were training for the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic were knocked down this morning on the George Price Highway. Former Cross Country champions, Chris Harkey and Scottie Weiss were training along with John Delong and David Flynn, Flynn’s wife […]

Gaspar Vega says he resigned for family reasons
Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega has said the primary reason for his resignation as his party’s deputy leader is his family. Vega told reporters on Wednesday that his political career has started to affect his personal life for more than a year. “The last year […]

UWI says region needs to address math and science scores
The University of the West Indies is calling on Caribbean countries to employ innovative strategies to help high school students perform better in science and math. At the recent mathematics symposium entitled ‘Dare to be Different: Revitalizing Mathematics,’ Dean in the Faculty of Science and Technology at […]

CARICOM backs Belize after latest incident with Guatemala
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) this week issued a statement supporting Belize in its continued conflict with Guatemala. CARICOM called for Guatemala to respect Belize’s sovereignty, after the March 12 confrontation between the Belize Defense Force (BDF) and the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF). CARICOM, in a statement released […]

Santander produces first sugar harvest
The Santander sugar group in Valley of Peace, Cayo, formerly Green Tropics Limited, produced its first harvest late last week, after the factory started milling sugarcane earlier in the month. Santander, which set up shop in 2012, will not give any official details of its […]

Grief-stricken woman says hospital dumped baby she miscarried
Crooked Tree resident, Shamika Flowers, 22, has accused Northern Regional Hospital (NRH) personnel of discarding her five month-old fetus, after she had a miscarriage. Flowers, who is hypertensive, suffered the miscarriage last Friday. The mother told the media that she signed a form agreeing to […]

Another ranger patrol in Chiquibul results in a Guatemalan”s arrest
Rangers patrolling the Chiquibul National Park last Wednesday apprehended another Guatemalan for illegally harvesting corn in Belize. The encounter happened 310 meters on the Belize side of the border, in an area called Cuhune Ridge, in two corn plantations, each measuring roughly five acres. The […]

Police Easter stop & search operations will be conducted professionally
Assistant Commissioner of Police and Eastern Division Rural Commander, Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster said, this week, that while his division will be increasing security measures over the Easter weekend, officers will act with the utmost professionalism. Broaster this week acknowledged that increased police activity has often resulted […]

Rise in fuel taxes dullness competitive edge Senator Mark Lizarraga reports
Government’s decision in late December to increase fuel taxes does little to no good for Belize’s competitive industries, declared Senator Mark Lizarraga. At the budget presentation, Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained that the increase levied on the fuel should earn government at least an additional […]

Is witness protection feasible?
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Edward Broaster gave his expert opinion on establishing an effective Witness Protection Program in Belize. The lack of witnesses has been admitted as a major influencing factor for criminals walking free. Witnesses, on the other hand, are intimidated by fear instigated […]

GST tax collection shows significant improvement
One of the areas in the national budget that has shown improvement in government’s performance is revenue collection, says Business Senator Mark Lizarraga. The Senator pointed out to the Reporter this week that government’s revenues from General Sales Tax (GST) went from $756 million to […]/p>

Editorial
As he came near to the end of his ministry, Jesus began to speak openly about his divinity. Before the final days he was meticulous about keeping this awesome secret among his close friends. But as his final days drew nearer Jesus began to proclaim himself the Messiah with unrelenting […]

Saldivar vs Faber; gunning for Top Spot!
Patrick Faber and John Saldivar both launched their campaigns to run for First Deputy Party Leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) on the same day this week. Both candidates made their official announcements on Monday, each being endorsed by several colleagues within the party. […]

“Fat Cat” Chavarilla gunned -down in Ladyville
Ladyville’s first murder for the year occurred last Friday after 9:00 p.m. when 25 year-¬old Rene “Fat Cat” Chavarria was shot several times. He died on the spot. Chavarria, a well¬known Belize City gang member, was found by a fisherman in the Milpa area of […]

UDP ‘Dream’ Budget makes PUP unhappy
The government and opposition gathered in the House of Representatives on Tuesday morning for day one of the two-day National Budget debate. Members of both sides were eager to voice their opinions and criticisms of the budget. United Democratic Party (UDP) hopefuls vying to fill […]

Happening now: Day 2 of the Budget Debate underway in the National Assembly building in Belmopan.
Day two of the Budget Debate is underway in the National Assembly in Belmopan. The first member to speak today was Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. He spoke of the importance for Belize and Guatemala to resolve our territorial claim. He also spoke about the history […]

The Belize Times

“Haad Time Budget” – PUP lashes out at 2016 Budget
The proposed Budget for the year 2016/2017 fiscal year went under the microscope today as the debate of the Government’s revenues and spending commenced before the House of Representatives. The Opposition Leader Hon. John Briceño opened the debate with a forceful speech, lashing out at the Budget. He referred to it as a “haad time” budget, as it will not provide any alleviation to the increasing poverty, rising cost of living and high unemployment but deliver another year of pain and sorrow. “The priorities set out in this budget, if any, are not the priorities of the Belizean people, they are recycled initiatives and programmes put in place by an administration that lacks the competence to find real solutions to the serious problems that face our generation. “This budget will not make us safer; it will not provide those much-needed jobs that will grow our economy; it will not encourage any new growth in the business sector; it will not expand education for our young people who are out of school and it is not reflecting the fairness we need if we are to lift up all Belizeans,” remarked Hon. Briceño.

Minister of Health goes to Chetumal for health services
While Belizeans are forced to settle for Belize’s crippled and costly health care system, Health Minister Pablo Marin uses tax dollars to access higher standard health services in neighbouring Chetumal, Quintana Roo Mexico. A few weeks ago, in February, Marin was spotted attending the “Hospital General” in Chetumal for unknown treatment. Our sources are currently investigating the specific medical reasons Marin was attending the hospital across the border. While Belizeans struggle to meet the rising cost of healthcare in Belize, Marin takes tax monies outside the country to access the best primary healthcare available.

Belize imports Vietnamese Catfish for Easter!
With the long Easter holiday weekend here the demand for traditional Easter foods is on the rise. Here in Belize, hot cross buns and fish are two special features. While the source of the hot cross buns are likely local fire hearths and kitchens, an important question Belizeans need to ask themselves is where is your fish coming from? The BELIZE TIMES has confirmed that for Easter, Belize imports Basa fish all the way from Vietnam. Tons of Basa fish will make it into the Belizean market and onto dinner plates this week as the local fishing industry is unable to meet the growing demand. Basa fish is slowly taking over the local fish market triggering concerns among local fishermen. It is becoming a popular sea food item at supermarkets because it is cheaper and tastes like regular catfish, but do we know what we are consuming?

Barrow throws Gapi under the bus!
Inquiring minds would like to know the real reason why Gapi Vega, the second most powerful man in Belize as Deputy Prime Minister and next in line to lead the UDP, would out of the “red” resign. Some speculate that it had to do with some kind of outside pressure but Gapi has faced those issues for years and he withstood those pressures all along. For those in the inner circle, Gapi’s resignation is a direct result of any ongoing problem between him and Dean, who cited the resignation as a personal hit. He must have meant a hit on his arrogance and dictatorship. The truth is that Gapi has slowly seen no way forward in a Party that holds no democratic events, that holds secret meetings for a select few to make decisions, and that fixes conventions against non-favorites like Delroy Cuthkelvin in Stann Creek and David Constanza in Orange Walk. Gapi, a man of great ambition, had no choice but to resign.

Think About It
Lord Rhaburn is the greatest song writer and performer in the history of Belize. He is also the most prolific writer of songs. Prolific means he has written the most songs and lyrics in Belize. In short, Lord Rhaburn is a musical genius. His musical career has spanned a whole generation, if not two such generations. From the 1960s, Lord Rhaburn has been burning a musical trail which is unprecedented and unparalleled in our history. No amount of praise can be too much to bestow on this musical and lyrical giant. We who write this know so little about the man, where he came from and what awful inspiration beckoned and propelled him from one fantastic song to the other, to the other and on and on through the years. Who among us can forget when the tenth of September parades were throbbing through the streets of Belize City with Lord Rhaburn and his band and the huge number of fans and followers revelling to his beats? Who can forget getting ready in Los Angeles or New York or Miami for him to arrive and give one of his unforgettable performances?

PUP Offers Hope!
It is a great disservice to our people that an important aspect of our governance such as the Budget debate is carried out in these times when most Belizeans are anxious to get away to spend an enjoyable holiday. Perhaps it is intentional. We are hoping that despite the hype that the long Easter holiday brings, our Belizean people have taken the time to listen to the Budget debate. It is not difficult to discern between the UDP’s rhetoric and propaganda spinning versus the PUP’s real talk and attempts to bring to light the monumental shortcomings of the budget. PUP Leader Hon. John Briceno kept things real in his presentation, shedding light on the Barrow Administration’s failure to build a Belize that provides equal opportunities for all. Hon. Cordel Hyde returned to the debate table, providing his insight into the poor administration by the UDP Government. Hon. Hyde said that in his view the Budget should be a weapon of mass alleviation for poverty, but the budget presented by the Prime Minister caters more to get rich schemes than anti-poverty measures.

Independence High girls win NSSSA softball champs
The Independence High School girls won the National Secondary Schools softball championships hosted by the Belmopan Comprehensive School at the Elston Galvez field in Roaring Creek over the weekend. The Independence girls defeated Ladyville Tech 6-1. Winning pitcher Camryn Linarez struck out 6 batters and conceded only one run. The IHS girls got 3 hits off Elma Wade’s pitching, and even though Wade struck out 6 batters, she also walked 4 batters and the diamond made 6 errors.

Sacred Heart wins ATLIB football champs
The Sacred Heart Junior College male and female football teams won their first ever Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) national football championships at the Sacred Heart College football field on Sunday. Sacred Heart outgunned the University of Belize 3-2 in a penalty shootout, after regulation and 10 minutes of overtime ended in a nil-zip draw. Naomi Gamboa, Shamera Wade and MVP goalie Jasmine Armstrong scored for Sacred Heart; while Armstrong also blocked 2 penalties and only Delmi Cornelio and Tracy Chi scored for UB.

Kaydine Pinelo wins 2016 Junior Cross Country
Team SMART’s Kaydine Pinelo won the 17th annual BEL Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic, setting a new record of 3:12:10 on the 70-mile ride from the San Jose Succotz Village ferry to the finish at Leslie’s Imports on the George Price Highway in Belize City on Sunday.

THE BEDS ARE BURNING!!
There is an Australian rock music group called Midnight Oil, and they have a famous song with an intriguing lyric that goes: “How do you sleep while the beds are burning?” That is exactly what Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Minister Sedi Elrington and the entire UDP administration have been doing in relation to the Sarstoon River issue which has dominated the news recently. This is a very serious, even dangerous situation that we find ourselves in, and it will take gargantuan efforts to extricate ourselves from this one. Don Hector Silva, who never tires of giving his insightful views, has called the recent reaction of Rt. Hon. Barrow and his Government as “going from the sublime to the ridiculous.” And it surely has. Much continues to be said and written about Minister Sedi. I call him the Great Appeaser, but of course the buck stops with his boss the Prime Minister. And boy, have they failed us!! I decry in the strongest terms the lame and lily-livered attempts by the Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister to lay blame at the feet of the Belize Territorial Volunteers for the escalation of tensions and the worsening situation at the Sarstoon. This is Guatemalan naked aggression, and it has become worse not due to the BTVs but because of the terrible neglect, negligence and lack of proper response from the Government of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Barrow.

Budget Debate Statement by Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
Mr. Speaker, Fellow Citizens It is my honour to address this house and our nation in response to the budget presented by our Prime Minister on behalf of his UDP Administration. We in the PUP believe that the budget is the most significant part of our legislative agenda and the budget presentation and debate is a very important exercise. We take it very seriously and participate in this annual exercise in a sprit of patriotism and in fulfillment of our responsibilities as elected members of this Honourable House. As is our practice, we prepare not only through our work as a Parliamentary Caucus, but also by consulting with our Party Supporters, Private Sector Organizations, the unions, the churches and civil society. We do this so that our contribution, as best as possible reflects the will and concerns of the people. And so on behalf of all of us here on this side of the House I thank all those who assisted us and engaged with us during our consultations.

Nightmare at Northern Regional Hospital – Young Crooked Tree mother says hospital lost the fetus she delivered
The administration of Northern Regional Hospital is under heavy fire after a Crooked Tree young woman has accused them of losing the premature baby she delivered during a miscarriage. An empty coffin reminds Shameka Flowers of her painful tragedy. She bought the coffin so she could give her unborn child a proper burial, but it hasn’t been possible since the hospital where she delivered left the baby’s body has not been able to say where the body is. Flowers said that into her fifth month of pregnancy, she experienced complication which led to a devastating miscarriage on Friday. The body of the fetus was left at the hospital at the medical institution’s request. Flowers was told to sign a permission form which she left the hospital. She was told that her child’s body will be secured until she returns.

PUP Leader meets church leaders on 2016 budget
At a meeting that lasted over two hours, the country’s key religious leaders had an opportunity to discuss public spending in the 2016-2017 Budget with the Opposition Leader, Hon. John Briceno, and other officials of the People’s United Party. The religious leaders met with Hon. Briceno, PUP Chairman Henry C. Usher, Deputy Leader Kareem Musa and recently-appointed Secretary General Linsford Castillo at the Independence Hall on Queen Street on Monday morning. In attendance were the Anglican Bishop Rt. Rev. Philip Wright; Canon Rev’d Leroy Flowers; Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Belize City and Belmopan Most Reverend Christopher J. Glancy; and Methodist Rev. Roosevelt Papouloute, the President of the Belize Council of Churches.

Belize Rural South Traffic Concerns
Dear Editor, It is it with deep concern that we write to our local news media with regards to the rapid and unregulated traffic woes that are affecting our town in the most negative manner. At a time when traffic congestion is at an all-time high, importations of new golf carts, presumably for rental, are high while solutions and moratoriums are at an all-time low and the constant promise of less vehicle permits turn into a false reassurance to our community. On a weekly basis the issue of traffic has been a hot topic on the local media as well as public discussions among social gatherings, creating negative reviews from our visitors. Downtown traffic has reached a point where there is no parking space and residents find themselves circling around several times looking for a place to park. To make matters worse, the Council’s only solution so far has been to grant even more permits for the importation of several large vehicles and many more permits for golf cart rentals.

UB Going Nowhere, Fast!
Dear Editor, Over the past weeks I have read with great interest the articles being shard about the University of Belize. Please allow me some space in your newspaper to share my views on the current situation the University finds itself in; from the perspective of a faculty. The University has been its fair share of struggles over the years as has been borne out by the previous articles, but it is my studied opinion that nothing compares to the present state of stagnation, demoralization, frustration and cronyism currently being experienced by faculty and staff of the university. As a Faculty member at the University this is the first time that I can recall a contract has not been issued to any full-time Faculty. We are currently employed and have no clue if and when our services will be terminated because we have no contracts; our last contract signed ended July 31, 2015. The second semester will soon be over and we have heard nothing about or status within the University. This saddens me and all other faculty because we provide the best quality education to the students although our hearts are torn with the manner the University treats their most important asset.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Victor Garnett murdered in ambush on Lakeview
Yesterday, there was a murder in the afternoon in Belize City. Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, in charge of Eastern Division (South), identified the victim as Victor Garnett of San Pedro, who had just moved to Belize City. He was accused of three murders […]

Cyclists from U.S. in serious condition after colliding with vehicle
Six foreign cyclists, four of whom were preparing to ride in the biggest cycling event this coming Saturday were knocked down just before 10 this morning. The tragedy occurred between miles 13 and 14 on the George Price Highway and involved the US riders from the […]

Early indications of support for deputy leader candidates of UDP
This week saw the formal start of the race to the special convention to elect a first deputy leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP). The dust had only just begun to settle on the party’s national convention when two of its most senior members […]

Traffic accident on Philip Goldson Highway sends one to the hospital
A traffic mishap on the Philip Goldson Highway, has landed at least one person in the hospital. Information is limited at the moment but Breaking Belize News was made to understand that the incident played out a little after 2:00 this afternoon. Luckily there were […]

Prime Minister leaves country for Easter break
In a government press release issued earlier today, it was announced that Prime Minister Dean Barrow will be leaving the country today on personal leave and is returning on Tuesday, March 29 after the Easter period. During his absence, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega will […]

Guatemala responds to CARICOM statement on Sarstoon incident
In the wake of a CARICOM statement, defending Belize’s sovereignty over the Sarstoon following the March 12 incident involving Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) and Belize Defense Force (BDF) soldiers, Guatemala has lashed back dismissing CARICOM’s assertions. On Monday Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a […]

Premier League of Belize action heats up
The Premier League of Belize (PLB) will see a Thursday night football show down. Verdes will travel down South to take on Wagiya at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium. Then the Belmopan Bandits will host the Placenica Assassins as Police United FC will take on BDF FC at […]

Five Caribbean countries receive training to counter trafficking of persons
Belize joined four other Caribbean countries in a two day workshop geared at strengthening the coordination to counter trafficking in persons in the Caribbean region, organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). A press release quoted project manager Rukiya Brown as saying that […]

Cyclists knockdown on the George Price Highway
Reports reaching Breaking Belize News is that 6 cyclists were knocked down on the George Price Highway near Hattieville Village this afternoon. BBN reporters are currently following this report and will have more on it shortly. Picture Courtesy of Nathan choc. © 2016, […]

NGC demands apology from Pastor Stirm
The National Garifuna Council (NGC) has demanded a public apology from outspoken Evangelical Pastor Scott Sitrm over what it describes as “discriminatory and defamatory” characterizations of the Garifuna culture. Stirm, the head of the Jubilee Ministries in Roaring Creek, made the comments during a presentation […]

Lands Department warns about illegal disposal of land
A press release issued yesterday by the Lands and Surveys Department, stated that there is ongoing illegal disposal of national lands in the Cowpen, San Juan and Santa Cruz areas of Stann Creek District, which is an offense under the National Lands Act. According […]

Relatively warm and dry southeasterly airflow to continue
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly sunny skies today and partly cloudy skies tonight with little or no rainfall. Winds will be blowing from the East-Southeast at 10-20 knots and the sea state will be moderate. High temperatures today are expected around 86 degrees […]

Sixteen-year-old Guatemalan drowns in Mopan River
A 16-year-old resident of San Pancho Peten, Guatemala, drowned in the Mopan River yesterday, during a fishing trip with a 15-year-old friend. Sometime around 6:15 a.m., Benque Viejo Del Carmen police responded to a report of an apparent drowning. According to the 15-year-old Guatemalan national, Esbin […]

Gaspar Vega says he quit politics for his family
Gaspar Vega, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said his main reason for resigning his position in the United Democratic Party (UDP) and choosing not to run for election again is his family. Vega, in an interview with the media today, said that over […]

Blogs

An important cleaning tip, a party and a few Holiday reminders
Easter in Belize is the biggest party weekend and it is coming fast and furious. Ambergris Caye is rapidly filling with people, stores are super stocked with floaty toys for the holidays, and from what I have heard, many businesses have been well booked for a while. A few Easter weekend reminders Be safe and be smart while out celebrating. Get money from bank machines sooner than later – as you will see below the line ups have begun. Post office closed at noon till Tuesday. (I missed getting my package by minutes.) Town Council and Traffic department offices are also on holiday closure. Good Friday and Alcohol. All License Holders with Beer, Malt, Convenience Store, Publican’s Special, Publican’s General License must either conceal or completely remove all liquor products off the shelves. Restaurants can sell alcoholic beverages to customers on Good Friday (March 25, 2016) after 7:00 p.m. Night Club License Holders must close on Holy Thursday at midnight and may re-open on Saturday, March 26, at 12:15 a.m. Hotel License Holders can sell alcoholic beverages to guests only.

What to Expect from Easter in Belize 2016 Plus The Dress Code?
It’s Holy Thursday. The official beginning of Easter weekend – kids are off from school, San Pedro Town Council and many offices are closing at noon and THE BIGGEST PARTY WEEKEND OF THE YEAR COMMENCES. The water taxis are running in fleets and PACKED, the lower priced hotel rooms that sleep 2 now sleep 15 and it seems like the entire country heads to the beach. Placencia, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are all full. Every golf cart in town will be rented out and you can expect some serious traffic along with some serious police check points this weekend. If you do not enjoy crowds or loud music or just people watching, I’d steer clear of town. Even the Labour Department applies some heavy-duty overtime rules that give some businesses enough incentive to shut down for the whole weekend. Employees are paid double time on Easter Monday and Good Friday and 1.5x on both Saturday and Sunday.

My Week In Belize in Snapshots
The weather has been close to flawless since I returned from India. (It’s been 2 weeks now!) Hot and rainless with just a brief delicious “cold front” over the last few days. Over the next day or two we return to hot…it was hot for St. Patrick’s Day…

BELIZEAN LEMON MERINGUE PIE
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until coarse crumbs form. Add water, a little at a time, and stir until mixture forms a ball. May add more water or use less to get the dough to a rolling consistency. Roll dough on floured surface to approximately 10 inches and arrange in a 9" baking dish. Prick dough generously with a fork and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Set aside. Reduce oven to 325°F.

RELEASE YOUR FEARS – THE BLACK HOLE DROP EXPERIENCE!!!
The Hike to the Mother of All Caves (Actun Loch Tunich). There was a considerable amount of rainfall in the country just prior to our trip – so the terrain was quite adventurous. Time to pack your gear. The company provides back packs with a helmet and ropes. I was curious as to what the ropes were for but didn’t think to ask. They also provide you with water. I’d recommend taking about 3 liters – depending on how much water you consume. It could get pretty hot. Watch the first slope as you start. I must have slid about 8 inches before re-gaining my stance. This was the first of many. Expect a couple scratches – even the more fit – come out with some physical evidence of the journey. Thick jungle surrounds you as you make your way through the path. There is about 3-4 rest stops on your ascent. Bear in mind, you are going up hill and down-hill – some are so steep that it requires that you crawl. As expected, my fearless companion Tatiana and myself, were the first to brave the slope. Adrenaline increasing as I make my way to the edge of the cliff. Teeny steps, ….step by step – backwards – “don’t look back” – I keep repeating this to myself. As I reach to the edge and I was instructed to assume a 180 degree angle, the fear and adrenaline mounted. “The only thing keeping me from a 300 feet free fall plummet and a crap load of limestone is this tiny rope” (which I was assured collectively can carry over 10000 pounds) “and I’m only 100 plus pounds (smiling sarcastically). ” I thought to myself.

Drink more Belikin, fight potholes: A cap-ital idea
Ambergris Caye is famous for many things. Among the most famous, its pothole-filled streets. It is just the nature of island living. We are sitting on a fluid pile of sand, silt and rock that shifts and seeps and moves with the wind and the rain. Especially the rain. So, it is not unusual to see a town truck drop crushed rock on a badly pocked stretch of road, only to have the craters back in a matter of days. Which brings me to the absolutely brilliant idea I had this morning as I walked along Boca Del Rio. While grappling with sun stroke. Just kidding. No sunstroke. But really, it is a brilliant idea. In a word: bottlecaps. (Spellcheck tells me bottlecaps is two words. Not in my blog, Spellcheck. Back off, or I’ll break you up into “spell” and “check.”) Bear with me. While walking, I noticed an especially flat section of the road. Believe me, when you see a flat section of an unpaved road in the midst of undulations, crevices and craters then it behooves you to investigate.

Foodie Friday Infographic – Top 9 Belizean Eats!
Here’s an infographic showing Belize’s top 9 eats! One of your first happy discoveries about Belize will be how wonderful and varied the food is. Generally inexpensive, dining in Belize is a treat. There’s great variety, ingredients are fresh & organic, and hygiene is never a worry. I’ve dined with gusto from excellent resort kitchens to beach shacks and the humblest of street side vendors, and never had a rumble of tummy discontent. It’s usually real food made by real folks with a certain amount of Belize’s national ingredient – pride. Any selection of the Belizean culinary arts is by nature a multicultural melange, and here are my top favourites:


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#512628 - 03/25/16 12:02 PM Re: Today's Belize News: March 25, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

International Sourcesizz

UK billionaire discusses sargassum solutions with OECS ministers
Officials from the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda, along with leading scientists and experts from around the world, joined British billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson this week in the BVI to discuss the ongoing issue of sargassum seaweed, which is affecting the Caribbean and the very important tourism industry. It is a high stakes event involving the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), with expectations of immediate solutions to stem the problem to include making a business from sargassum. Branson is working with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to develop a regional strategy to be implemented locally by member states. The OECS is acting as the technical moderator for the conference along with BVI technicians and Branson's own team of environmentalists.

Errollyn Wallen: review – fine portrait of a wide-ranging artist
Music seemed to yank me towards it,” writes the Belize-born British composer Errollyn Wallen, and the unselfconscious plain-speak of her work chimes true with that statement. Her writing sounds instinctive. Moods are blatant, gestures are unambiguous, she pinches from baroque, jazz, film, romantic and minimalist idioms and wears those influences bright and proud on her sleeve. Some passages risk straight-up pastiche and the chugging rhythmic stuff wears thin when there isn’t enough else going on, but this album – the first devoted entirely to Wallen’s orchestral music – features vibrant performances from the ensemble she established to play her work. Overall, it’s a fine portrait of a wide-ranging artist. The Cello Concerto opens with a bold and nuanced soliloquy from cellist Matthew Sharp and in the touching final piece, In Earth, Wallen herself sings Dido’s Lament. Her voice is breathy, intimate and immediate while echoey rumbles from bass guitarist Tim Harries smudge the edges of Purcell’s melody.

Smithsonian scientist creating DNA database to track Caribbean conch and lobster
Smothered in tartar sauce and cheese it’s difficult to know just what species of fish lurks beneath the breaded surface of a fast-food fish sandwich. Likewise for much of the fish ordered at even the finest restaurants. Equally important to knowing the type of fish you are eating, says Nathan Truelove, postdoctoral fellow in the Marine Conservation Program at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Fl., is knowing just where it was caught. Tragically, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is one of the greatest threats to many commercial fish species around the world. Recently, Truelove has been using genetic sequencing to try and address this problem for two species from the Caribbean: spiny lobster and queen conch. Here we ask Truelove a few questions about his work to protect these animals from being taken illegally from the sea. After a lobster’s eggs hatch, ocean currents can carry their larvae for several months. This means that populations found in different regions of the Caribbean, even though separated by thousands of miles, can be closely related. For example, a lobster found off the coast of Honduras can be very closely related to a lobster from Belize. As there is so much interconnectivity between different populations of spiny lobster in the Caribbean, I realized I could not use this part of an animal’s genetic ID to determine where it was caught.

5 Caribbean Overwater Bungalow Hotels
You wake up with just the sound of the waves, in touch with the elements. It’s your own aquatic paradise. But the overwater bungalow fantasy isn’t limited the Pacific — there are a handful of tucked-away hotels in the Caribbean offering precisely that. All you have to do it look to the west and you’ll find such places in destinations like Belize, Panama and Honduras. Here are five worth considering. Thatch Caye, Belize: If you’re planning a honeymoon, consider this private-island all-inclusive. The idyllic setting is a 25-minute boat ride from the mainland but feels a world apart, with five cottages and a large villa perched on stilts above the turquoise water that washes Belize’s barrier reef.

Videos

  • BSI ASR WEEKLY CROP REVIEW 2016 WEEK 15, 3min.

  • Howler monkeys at Xunantunich in Belize, 1.5min. hey are LOUD and scary-sounding! They didn't care that we were standing right below them.

  • Diving Belize roughcut, 15min.

  • Largados e Pelados Belize, 42min.

  • How To Eat Cow Foot Soup, 1.5min. Try a local delicacy in Belize - Cow Foot Soup. Watch American kids try it for the first time.

  • Goff's Caye, Belize Snorkeling, 3min. Goff's Caye, an amazing and beautiful island in Belize. Wading in the crystal clear waters and snorkeling nearby. March 2016.

  • GIANNI GOES - San Pedro, Belize - PART 2, 4.5min.

  • Belize Boat Timelapse, 3min.

  • Belize Diving 2016, 4.5min.

  • Belize: New River and Lamanai Ruins, 8.5min. A trip on Friday 22 January 2016.

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