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#513095 - 04/15/16 06:52 AM Today's Belize News: April 15, 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

SP Hyperbaric chamber offers refresher course
A refresher course on hyperbaric medicine saw dive shop staff learning principles of accident management training relating to diving injuries. As the diving season continues, the need for dive guides to respond quickly in the event of an emergency is crucial to saving a customer’s life. The informational session took place on Monday, April 11th, at the Lions Den shortly after 7PM, and was led by the Sub-aquatics of Belize Ltd. This entity is a member of the 12 Sub-Aquatic Safety Service (SSS) Network which has similar facilities in other parts of the world and has been providing the island with Hyperbaric services for over 25 years. Speaking to the attendees was Executive Assistant Paul Cunliffe who reiterated that SSS is in Belize to help support the community.

The United States and Belize sign agreement on international Narcotics Law
Belize is once again benefiting from the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). The country has received over $US35 million in programs and grants from the initiative since 2008. On Thursday, April 7th, United States Ambassador to Belize His Excellency Carlos Moreno, and the Right Honorable Prime Minister Dean Barrow, signed the 16th Amendment to the Letter of Agreement implementing the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) program. The signing of the document, which will also provide Belize with $US1.4 million to the ‘Justice Sector Reform,’ took place at the Cabinet Room. This new stream of financial aid, to be disbursed over a period of five years, has the aim to take a holistic approach on the justice system in Belize. According to Ambassador Moreno, the particular amendment dealing with the Belizean justice sector is designed to enhance the country’s capacity to fairly and effectively investigate, as well as process criminal cases in a timely manner. “We hope that this will build Belize’s capacity to investigate and prosecute illicit drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other crime,” said Moreno. “This project will also assist the justice system to review, draft, and implement, as well as enforce new and current legislation and regulations.”

Free dental services for children and adults at polyclinic
The staff from the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II would like to inform the public that dental volunteers will be providing free dental services such as cleaning, fillings and fluoride applications for both children and adults. The service commences on Monday, April 18th and runs to Friday, April 22nd at the Polyclinic. Hours are: from 8AM to 11:45AM and 1 to 5 PM. The polyclinic encourages the public to take advantage of this special offer as they accommodated their services to fit schedules of the community.

First ever Land Rover Car Show held in Orange Walk
Classic car enthusiasts were drawn to the northern side of the country for the first ever Land Rover Car Show. On Sunday, April 10th, the Maracas Bar and Grill, Orange Walk, was the location where these sturdy, legendary vehicles were featured. At the end of the show, trophies were given in the category of ‘people’s pick,’ and for the oldest Rolling Rover as well. Given that the event was the first of its kind, organizers were pleased at the turnout. Plans are in store for annual events in different areas of the country, and as the fun evolves, the idea is to provide more sponsorship opportunities, tables for vendors, and fundraising for selected charitable organizations. The Land Rover has long been part of the Belizean car era, as it was the vehicle of choice of the late Rt. Hon. George Price. The vehicle was also widely used by the government in the 1990’s and it is the favourite of the Belize Defence Force, while conducting their border patrols in the Chiquibul Area of the Cayo District.

Ambergris Today

New Regulations on Downtown Deliveries Don’t Sit Well with Businesses
It has been a hard pill to swallow for business owners in downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. The San Pedro Town Council is limiting delivery of goods to stores/businesses from 2a.m. to 7a.m. and pushing business owners to make rush adjustments in their operational scheduling and hiring of new staff that could lead to a potential increase in the prices of goods and services for their customers. The abrupt actions of the San Pedro Town Council in implementing these new regulations has led to confusion and local businesses to organize a group to address the many issues that have come up from these new regulations. At a meeting held last night, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, a group that represents a broad spectrum of businesses (that include delivery/cargo service, supermarkets, grocery stores, produce shops, hardware stores) was formed in order write an official letter to and meet with Mayor Daniel Guerrero expressing the concerns of the larger business sector.

Flashbacks - Remember When there was No Bridge Over Boca del Rio?
How did we ever manage without a bridge over Boca del Rio!? Remember when there was only this tiny floating platform that used to barge people back and forth from North Ambergris Caye? It was operated by a couple guys who used to manually pull the platform with a rope across the Boca del Rio cut. At times it was loaded with as much as six golf carts and countless bicycles - scary, come to think of it!! It might have toppled over a couple times, can't remember. It took about 15 minutes to do a complete cross over and back, but business was SLOW in North Ambergris and access to the area was not in high demand back then. It's been ten years since the bridge was built in order to accommodate the development in the north and the crossing is one of the busiest areas on the island. Hundreds of vehicles, golf carts, bicycles and pedestrian use the bridge on a daily basis to get to their homes, businesses and access the pristine areas/beaches/resorts that line the coast of North Ambergris Caye. It's an entirely new destiniation up north; go have a look!!

Arcadia Visit to Belize Generates Global Outreach Initiative
ix Arcadia faculty members from the College of Health Sciences, School of Education as well as the Dean of the School of Global Business visited the town of San Pedro, on Ambergris Caye, off the mainland of Belize from February 27 through February 28, 2016. All who attended were there to evaluate opportunities for community outreach, student research and education for all three colleges/schools. Arcadia University has a history of global outreach and global social responsibility that has and will continue to pave the way to inspire growth in small communities internationally. Currently, Arcadia is working with leaders from the emerging community of the island of San Pedro, Belize. Through this partnership, Arcadia will assess, evaluate, and provide assistance in various areas of expertise, including health services, education, and business. This is the first of what will hopefully become several global outreach initiatives.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Responsible Reporting & BEST interest of the Child is Key!
Belize became the fifth country to ratify the UN convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). This CRC document has since become the most widely ratified convention and human rights instrument in the world. It is testament to our country’s recognition of the importance of caring for our children and nurturing them to be responsible and productive citizens. A commitment that obligated our Government to enact laws and policies that creates the enabling environment for children to flourish and reach their full potential. One of the obligations to our children is to protect them from all forms of exploitation, abuse and neglect. Article 19 of the CRC states that, “Children should be protected from being hurt and mistreated in body or mind”. Keeping this in mind, the recent article, “Girl, 13, said “yes” to 4 men” published in the Amandala newspaper is beyond startling and heartbreaking. According to the article, “Two of four men have been arrested and charged with unlawful sexual intercourse and harm after they engaged a 13 year old girl in sex.” NCFC finds this extremely troubling and is deeply concerned about the welfare of children in general; especially since THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD IS KEY.

LAGUNA SECA FERRY (Copper Bank/Chunox) will be closed on Monday April 18th to Friday April 22nd from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
For necessary repairs. By Order of the Chief Engineer Ministry of Works. AVISO al publico en general. El transbordador Laguna Seca estará fuera de servicio comenzando el dia Lunes Abril 18 hasta Viernes Abril 22 desde las 9:00 A.M. a las 4:00 P.M. para poder llevar acabo reparaciones necesarias.

Banquitas House of Culture (NICH)'s Full Moon Concert
Look for Banquitas House of Culture (NICH)'s Full Moon Concert featuring the 'Paranda Blues Band' on Saturday April 23rd, 2016 in Orange Walk.

YWCA's Pageant in Belize City
On Saturday, April 2nd, a meeting was held with the Belize YWCA ladies from the mainland, at San Pedro House of Culture. This year San Pedro will be represented in the YWCA's Pageant in Belize City on May 14th. Stay tuned for more details about our delegate, who has graciously acepted to represent the island.

Clarification about the regulations established for deliveries.
In an effort to solve the traffic issue that San Pedro, Ambergris Caye has been experiencing, the following guidelines are being implemented: (i) Towards this objective, the San Pedro Town Council is strongly encouraging the business community in the downsizing of vehicles by using smaller vehicles; such as, Carry-All golf carts and motorized tricycles, to perform their daily delivery tasks in town. (ii) The areas that are now to be affected are from Tarpon Street to the San Juan Roundabout. This includes Barrier Reef Drive and Pescador Drive. The recommended time for delivery is from 2:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. The only vehicles that will be allowed to deliver after 7:00 a.m. are Carry-All golf carts and motorized tricycles, as mentioned above.

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, representatives of the Belize Water Services (BWS) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) visited the community of San Mateo where they hosted a community consultation at the Holy Cross Anglican School. Mr. Roy Young from the CDB mentioned that the CDB has allocated a grant for the proper installation of a sewer system in San Mateo conducted by the BWS; but prior to this, they are reaching out to the community of San Mateo for their feedback in order to have a better understanding of the problems being faced in the community. The objective of the consultation was to get a first hand knowledge of the living conditions that the residents of San Mateo are experiencing on a daily basis and what are their priorities and vulnerabilities when it comes to their surroundings so that they can further mitigate them for the well-being and quality of life of the San Mateo community. Some of the risks and vulnerabilities that were highlighted during the consultation were: Health, Water, Sanitation and Housing concerns.

DYS Visions of the Future Competitions
The Department of Youth Services is having an essay and an arts competition. The theme is 'My Belize @49," and both have a 2st, 2nd, and 3rd place cash prizes. "NCFC Visions of the Future Expressive Arts Competition!!! 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place prizes for each of the following categories: MUSIC, RECORDED DRAMA, POETRY and PAINTING/ DRAWING (4'X6')"

Impressions from Turneffe Atoll
The Jelly-fish like thing is a "Portuguese Man of War". I have only ever seen a couple of those

Paradise Theater playing this weekend:
Mr. Right Ride Along 2 Norm of the North The Invitation

Channel 7

Immigration Again!?
Tonight, 7News has learned that there's another bogus passport scandal brewing at the Immigration and Nationality Department. It involves two passports issued to Chinese nationals: Nina Huang and William Wan. Reports to our newsroom suggest that they acquired their passports with suspect documents, and it is not even known if they ever entered the country. Minister of State with responsibility for Immigration Beverly Castillo has confirmed via text message, quote, "there is some research being carried out to review the validity of those passports," end quote. She did not answer our question via text message as to whether the nationality files were in the system. In the past, bogus passports are often accompanied by missing nationality files.

PUP Considers Sarstoon Peacekeeping Proposals
On Tuesday's newscast, we showed you the proposals that the Belize Delegation of diplomats and military leaders made to the Guatemala delegation on a protocol for the Sarstoon River. That happened on last week Friday's meeting at the OAS. It's in the hands of the Guatemalan Government right now, but today the PUP National Executive met to discuss them at Independence Hall. It was a two-hour meeting where the members made comments, asked questions, and the Opposition Leaders Advisors explained the finer points That took almost 2 hours this afternoon, and at the end of the meeting, we spoke with the Party Chairman and one of those advisors this evening. Here's what they told us about the meeting: Daniel Ortiz: "What is the nature of the discussion sir?" Eamon Courtenay, Advisor, Belize/Guatemala Relations - PUP: "An update on the Sartsoon, Belize/Guatemala generally, the role of the party in process. As you know we are so far going along with the government in trying to resolve this on a national basis and party members have some concerns about that. We discussed it. But what I am emphasizing was information is that the national executive and the national party council is going to set the policies and the decisions of the party. So it was getting information in order to be able to make decisions."

Credit Card Questions From Ministry for General Jones
There was a few tense moments recently between the BDF and the Ministry of National Security - and it's all about an audit of the BDF, where credit card charges were flagged by the accountant general's office. The credit card, as we understand it, is issued to the office of the BDF Commander, in this case, General David Jones. Reports to us say that CEO Lovell sent a query to the General Jones asking him to respond to an internal inquiry about some specific charges on the card. Lovell told us it's a normal administrative matter, but the letter was leaked out to the press to suggest that there had been some accusation of wrongdoing, which is not the case. General Jones says that the charges were made from a fund which the BDF manages directly, and it is used to purchase urgently needed items which the government can't authorize immediately. He says that this has been clarified with the Ministry, and adds that whoever leaked the memo to media were simply doing it to make mischief.

Three Men Charged For Roaring Creek Attack
3 men were charged today for robbery and attempted murder in connection with the weekend's Roaring Creek attack. Those men are Roaring Creek residents 38 year old Sherman Thomas, 22 year old Kimahl Dawson and Cotton Tree resident 19 year old Devon Brooks. As we have reported, Luis Ortiz and a friend were hanging out at La Cabana on Sunday April 10th. They left the night club at around 3 in the morning but another friend asked for a ride, and that's when 3 other acquaintances also hopped in the back seat. Now as Ortiz reached the Roaring Creek cemetery, one of the 3 men struck Ortiz's friend in the head, beat him up and dashed him in the cemetery. He survived but Ortiz was driven to the riverside near the Agripino Cawich Bridge, bludgeoned and both he and his car were dumped in the river. Now, we told you at the top of this story that those 3 men were charged for attempted murder so why not for Ortiz's murder?

Should DCP Segura Slide Into The Sunset?
Yesterday Government settled with the family of Yolanda Valencia. She was the victim of a fatal traffic accident involving Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura. Government settled for $70 thousand dollars. But, by doing that, is Government admitting liability, and by extension Segura's guilt? We asked the man who is still Deputy Segura's boss, Police commissioner Allen Whylie:... Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police : "Well I don't think it's a matter of the deputy settling with the family. The matter was settled by the government of Belize. The government of Belize was being sued and I guess in their wisdom of the legal persons, a settlement was arrived at." Emanuel Pech: "Many have disputed that this is in turn somewhat of a guilty statement on the part of the government that we were at fault."

Still No Charges For Post Office Embezzler
In December, we told you about the second case of theft from the Post Office where over $20,000 had been embezzled by an employee who's name has still not been revealed. Well, today, the police department finally released the details of the report which says that on between the months of July and December, $20,610 was stolen from the Post office Express Mail section. The cashier reportedly did not hand in all the monies collected during a normal working day. They suspected that this same employee produced a fraudulent spread sheet to cover the shortages, so that the numbers appeared to match up.

Tourism By The Numbers
Tourism figures continue to climb. That's according to BTB's quarterly report released earlier today. It shows that Belize had an increase in overnight visitors this year in months of January, February and March when compared to 2015 by 24%, 18.5% and 10% respectively. March specifically was an extraordinary month for tourism as it saw over 43 thousand overnight visitors- a first for Belize, since the most a single month has ever recorded is 40 thousand visitors. Cruise arrivals for the first quarter also saw a positive uptick with the exception of January which saw a 19.5% downturn. BTB said this was as a result of 13 fewer cruise calls in comparison to 2015. But the following months of February and March saw an increases of 3.7% and 4.1% respectively. Overall there was a 4.5% decrease in cruise arrivals however BTV remains hopeful that the numbers for cruise arrivals will continue to grow throughout the remainder of the year- and even hope to reach their 1 million passenger mark for 2016.

No Charge For Suchite Driver
Police have not brought charges in the fatal accident that killed 19 year old Dangriga resident Sara Suchite. They are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the collision. As we reported, she was crossing the Stann Creek Valley road at mile one and a half when she was knocked down by an oncoming SUV driven by Elroy Coleman. The impact launched the teenager into the air, and she landed a distance away. She died on the spot. Her brother told us that she was already across the street when the fast moving SUV struck her on the shoulder of the road. But, police say he was not there to see what happened, and they cannot accept hearsay. They continue to gather statements.

Cops Need Help With Anwar Vernon's Identity
A week has passed since Anwar Vernon was discovered badly injured in a drain on Raccoon Street Extension. One whole week and police are still no closer to solving the case. Vernon died 2 days ago, and police never got to talk to him about what happened. A postmortem is yet to be concluded on the body of Vernon but in the meantime police are appealing to the public to assist them in any information about what lead to Vernon's injuries and his ultimate death. ACP Chester Williams - OC, Eastern Division South: "We always say to people if you have any information pertains to any investigation that we have ongoing to please feel free, come forward. If you don't want to come to us, you can always use the 0-800-922-TIPS number and give your information. You will remain anonymous and the information comes to us and we move from there."

Abused Teenager's Strange Death In Dangriga
An 18 year old girl is dead and Dangriga police can't say if she was murdered or if it was a sudden death. Police told us today that the teenager from Sarawee Village died yesterday but it could be either the result of an abusive relationship with her 48-year-old common law husband, or as a result of kidney failure. Now how do these 2 elements factor into this case? Well, reports are that the common law husband had beat her up on Saturday April 9th leaving bruises on her face, neck and chest. She was hospitalized but police can't confirm if it was as a result of the beating or her acute kidney disease. Police say that she had a long history of health problems and that she had been suffering with kidney disease from the age of 10. They told us that they have tried to speak to the doctors to get more information on her medical history but they were a bit reluctant because of the patient - doctor confidentiality agreement.

Southside Crime Down, Mostly
Very regularly on the news, we report about different high-profile crimes, but if taken out of context, it could be perceived that major crime continues unabated. Well, today, Southside Commander Chester Williams told us the press that the crime statistics, except in 2 categories are down when compared to last year's quarterly report. ACP Chester Williams - OC, Eastern Division South: "For the most part we are below where we were last year with the exception of burglaries. We have had a serious issue with burglaries, particularly in the month of February and March and the burglaries were plaguing us in the St. Martin's De Porres area. And as a result of that we have reconfigured our patrols in the St. Martin's are with a view to see how we can alleviate that issue and we are hoping that with the new strategy we are now employed in that area, that we will see a decrease in burglaries for the coming month. For this month that we are in the month of April. Other than burglaries, the other area of increase would have been unlawful sexual intercourse and again, we have no control over that. Those are what you would call the non-preventable. To look at our statistics comparing to last year I think that we are doing quite well. We are not above where we were except in the area of burglaries."

Woman Says Cops Barged In, Caught Her Exposed
Police barged in to her house while she slept naked. That is what one City woman is alleging. The incident occurred sometime around 9:30 this morning and Denise Dougal a tenant at 48 South Street says that she was resting inside her room. She lives there with her husband and daughter but was alone at that time, when three male police officers forced their way into her house. When we got to the scene special branch officers were still combing the yard. Dougal told us that in her 7 years of living there, she has never been subjected to that sort of disrespect by police officers. Dougal remains adamant that no one at that house is involved in anything illicit. We understand that the operation was being carried out by the Special Branch Unit from Belmopan. We don't know if anything was found but what we can tell you is that the officers were searching from 10 am up until 2:30 this afternoon.

Weed Gets High On A Plane
Caye Caulker Police are reporting tonight that they intercepted marijuana at a local airline company. They've not specified if the drugs were intended to be flown out by airmail, or if someone sent it from the mainland to Caye Caulker, but they're now in possession of these 5 parcels of marijuana. The police say that Customs and BAHA personnel were conducting checks for uncustomed goods and illegal items. When they checked the airline's cargo, they found this white ice box on a shelf. They opened it and found these 5 packages which were emitting the strong aroma of cannabis. The drugs were handed over to the police who are trying to find out the identity of the sender and the intended receiver.

Emerging Writer Launches Ambitious First Book
Love, lust, tragedy and inner darkness: those are some of themes that Belizean writer Kesha Peyrefitte explores in her new book entitled "What if…I Love Her and other Stories". For many writers, especially Belizean - it is challenging and even intimidating to find one's voice and unique style in the expanse of Art. But today at her book launch at the National Heritage Library in Belmopan, Peyrefitte told us that she found and embraced her voice and calling at a young age. Courtney Weatherburne has the story. Courtney Weatherburne reporting: That song of admiration led the launch of Belize's most recent literary piece "What if...I love her and other Stories" by Kesha Peyrefitte. Emil Pulido, Author Presenter: "First Ms. Keisha waxes sweet and figurative with lines like "your fairy wings leave their dust at night." or the charming truly Belizean simile "her body is hills and valleys like the Maya mountains of down south." or the personification "I hate that our roofs cries when it rains and there are cardboard pieces over the wall to stop her tears.""

JB Putting Out Fires In OW North
On Monday we told you about the letter from the PUP Orange Walk North committee to PUP Leader John Briceno. They complained about the unconstitutional removal of their candidate Monchie Cervantez from the party executive. Well, Party Leader John Briceno has had to go put out that fire. Reports say that he met with members of the Orange Walk North committee over the weekend, to put them at ease. They are also concerned that Briceno who does not see Monchie Cervantez, as an ally, wants to replace him as standard bearers in a seat that is now very much in play since Gaspar Vega stepped down. And while that is the local picture, we know that nationally, Deputy Party Leader Julius Espat has not been happy with Briceno's decision to purge the executive of those who did not support him in the leadership convention.

Cops Congratulated
Earlier we spoke to you about police complaints in the City and supposed bad cops. And while it may be true that among the ranks of the police department there are some that are considered "bad cops", it's not true for the majority of cops. In that spirit today South Side police held a short ceremony where they honored some 22 "good" officers and one civilian staff for their outstanding performance within the department. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie gave the remarks. The 22 officers and one civilian were awarded with a certificate and a small monitory gift.

Doping suspensions have shaken up the local cycling scene. The first and second place finisher in the KREM New Year's Cycling Classic have been stripped of their places and prizes. Greg Lovell who came in first and Byron Pope who came in second have been removed from the race's final classification, and replaced with third place finisher Joel Borland, who is now first, Justin Williams who goes from fourth to second, and Johnny Valencia, who is now third.

Channel 5

An Audit of the B.D.F.’s Account; How are Military Finances Being Spent?
Why is the Belize Defense Force the subject of an intensive investigation commissioned by the Ministry of National Security? And why is the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General and [...]

Deputy ComPol Segura Remains on Interdiction Following Fatal RTA
Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura remains on interdiction with half pay, following a fatal road traffic accident along the George Price Highway on August sixteenth, 2014.  The deadly head-on [...]

$26,000 Embezzled from Post Office by Cashier
In December of 2015, we reported on the embezzlement of over ten thousand dollars in cash from the Post Office in Belize City. Second-grade cashier from Orange Walk, Sergio Patt, [...]

3 Men are Charged with Attempted Murder of Jose Gonzales
Three persons were formally charged late this evening in Belmopan for the attempted murder of Jose Gonzales. Gonzales was along with Maya Mopan resident, Luis Ortiz on Sunday morning just [...]

Is There Another Passport Scandal Brewing at the Immigration Department?
Is there another Pennergate? There is an unconfirmed report that an investigation is taking place at the Immigration Department where two Belize passports were reportedly issued to Chinese nationals who [...]

Criminal Minds Belize Episode wasn’t Really Shot in Belize
We’re pretty willing to bet that a lot of viewers tuned into CBS Wednesday night for the first airing of this week’s Criminal Minds. It’s a popular show featuring a [...]

Huong Chong Park Returns to Court for Her Passport
On February fifth, 2016 Korean Huong Chong Park received Supreme Court bail after more than a week in jail. Park was charged for the little known crime of Abetment of [...]

Taxi Driver Javier Saragossa Convicted for Reckless Driving
Forty-four-year old Javier Saragossa, a Belize City taxi man, picked up a conviction for reckless driving but he must go to trial for the offense of failure to provide a [...]

5 Parcels of Marijuana Confiscated at Caye Caulker Airstrip
It’s relatively common knowledge that high-quality marijuana is being systematically brought in from Mexico and distributed to local areas heavily trafficked by tourists – like San Pedro and Caye Caulker [...]

A Home Invasion in Camalote Nets Thieves Firearm and Jewelry
There was a home invasion in the Camalote Village, Cayo District, where burglars got away with a gun and jewelry valued at over five thousand dollars. On Tuesday, Roaring Creek [...]

Human Rights Report Indicates that Police Abuse is Rampant
The United States Embassy in Belize has released its 2015 Human Rights Report.  The comprehensive study which looks at human rights violations highlights excessive use of force by the police, [...]

B.T.B. Says Quarterly Tourist Arrivals are Up in 2016
The B.T.B. is forecasting that it will be reaching the million mark number of cruise tourism visitors to the jewel this year. It has already contracted the Brighter Group firm [...]

Helicopters Gifted to B.D.F. are Being Assembled at Price Barracks
In January 2015, the Government of Taiwan publicly announced that it will be gifting the Government two helicopters that are required to expand Belize’s military training program. That announcement was [...]

Taiwanese Ambassador Speaks on Helicopter Donation
According to Ambassador Ho, the helicopters will be used for emergency evacuations and to crack down on illegal drug trafficking or illegal human trafficking.   Benjamin Ho, Taiwanese Ambassador to [...]

Police Officers Awarded for Outstanding Performance
The top brass of the police was present today for an award ceremony recognizing its finest officers who performed impressively in the first quarter of this year. More than twenty [...]

Ministry of Health Continues to Probe for ZIKA in Belize
The Ministry of Health is working overtime in southern Belize where samples are being collected by personnel to be sent for testing at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) laboratory [...]

Healthy Living Looks at a New Physical Education Program
An interesting and totally rewarding program is taking place in our neighborhood. The House of Shotokan has teamed up with Nazarene High School to develop a physical education program as [...]


Heart And Hands Mission To Conduct Free Medical Surgery
Many are the medical missions who have visited Belize over the past years. In fact, just last year our jewel saw its share of visits when New Horizon, Mission Project for Belize, Partners for Belize, and Medical Mission for Belize came to render assistance to the community who have hard time paying for medical attention or even constructing buildings. Today CTV3 was made to understand that another medical mission is head to Belize to carry our works specifically in the Northern Region. Hands and Hearts Medical Mission will be arriving in Belize on Sunday the 17th to do general surgeries and their team will be comprised of 35 Medical personnel, says Chief of Staff at the Corozal Community Hospital, Doctor Jorge Sajia. Dr. Jorge Sajia –Chief of Staff Corozal Community Hospital: “We are having the Heart and Hands Mission coming in April 17th to do general surgeries for the Northern part specifically. The mission is bringing a total of 35 staff members; this includes anesthesia, surgeons, nursing, pharmacist for the Corozal community Hospital and Orange Walk Northern Regional Hospital.”

BTB Releases First Quarter Statistics For 2016
The Belize Tourism Board which is dedicated to building and developing tourism in the most economically and environmentally sustainable manner released the first quarter statistics for the months of January through March of this year 2016 which calculates to about a 16.9% growth in overnight arrivals of tourists in Belize. In January, a total of 38, 274 tourists visited the country and stayed overnight while 37,624 tourists arrived in the month of February resulting in an increase of 24% and 18.5% respectively as opposed to last year in which a sum of 30,858 tourists visited the country in January and 31,754 arrived in February. This marks the very first time that the total amount of overnight arrivals to Belize has surpassed 75,000 visits within the first two months of a specific year. In comparison to last year, there were only 39,136 visitors in the month of March and this year, however, there were a total of 43,063 overnight tourist visitors making it an increase of 10% highlighting the high tourism season in our country. BTB also adds that this is the first time in history that the total amount of arrivals exceeds 40,000 in a single month.


CEO Asks BDF Commander For Answers on Queries from Audit Team
There are some troubles in the administration at the Belize Defense Force headquarters as the Commander is being asked to respond to some queries brought about by an internal audit team over what has been deemed as irregularities. Love News understands that an internal audit was ordered by the higher ups in the Ministry of […]

Human Rights Report Highlights Infractions and Challenges in Belize
The 2015 Human Rights Report has been released and has highlighted several infractions and challenges experienced particularly in the area of law enforcement and prosecution in Belize. The 23-page document goes into detail on certain reports and incidents and states in its Executive Summary that the most important human rights abuses were done via excessive […]

UNICEF Speaks on Recent Cases of Abuse Against Children; NCFC Condemns Media Report
There have been two recent incidents involving minors who were sexually abused by adults. There was the child in southern Belize who alleges that she was molested by her stepfather and then there was the 13-year-old girl who was raped by four men. These are only two of several reported and unreported cases where children […]

Was Settlement an Admission of Guilt in GOB vs Valencia Family?
In August 2014, Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura was involved in a fatal road traffic accident that claimed the life of fifty five year old Yolanda Valencia. Her family took the Government to court seeking compensation since according to them, Yolanda was the breadwinner for the family. Yesterday, Government agreed to settle the matter […]

Tourism Figures on an Upward Trend for Belize
Good news is coming from the Belize Tourism Board. Today BTB shared with the media their latest figures for the first quarter of the year, which includes January, February and March. Belize continues to see an increase in the figures. The cruise industry had a small decline due to thirteen missed calls from cruise ships […]

Work Begins on Making Belize a Leading Sustainable Destination
We recently told you about a new Marketing and Public Relations company that had adopted Belize. The Brighter Group is one of the biggest independent travel tourism public relations and marketing consultancies in the United Kingdom. The goals for marketing will be the United Kingdom, France and Germany since most tourist arrivals to Belize are […]

PUP Establishes Committee for Village Council Elections
The upcoming village council elections were also tabled at last week’s meeting as the Chairman explained. HENRY USHER “We’ve put together a national campaign team and that team is the one charged with looking at the village councils and making decisions as to the way forward. The campaign team once it’s finished with that assessment […]

Removal of ‘Munchi’ as PUP Treasurer Not Unconstitutional
As your may have heard in our newscast last week, the PUP held a National Executive meeting where the issue surrounding Cervantes and his removal as Treasurer came up. While the National Party Council is yet to ratify such a move, the Executive Committee of the Orange Walk North in a letter to the Chairman […]

Ambassador Shoman Updates PUP on Differendum
Today there was a meeting at the PUP’s headquarters in Belize City; only it was not to discuss internal politics but rather it was an informational session where former Foreign Minister Assad Shoman was apprising the party on the recent meetings held with Guatemala as they relate to the Belize – Guatemala differendum. At the […]

What Killed Jennifer Nunez Andino? Health Issues or Domestic Abuse?
A woman from the Stann Creek District is dead and her family is looking for answers. Correspondent Harry Arzu has more in this report. HARRY ARZU “Dangriga Police have one man detained as they investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of 18-year-old, Jennifer Andino. Reports are that Andino who was a 4th form student at […]

The Guardian

Teenager dies after being knocked down in Dangriga
Police are investigating a traffic mishap on the Southern Highway that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Sara Suchite on Tuesday, April 12. According to police reports, around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Suchite was knocked down at mile 1 ½ on the Southern Highway just after exiting a taxi. According to eyewitnesses, she exited a taxi and was trying to run across the highway when a black SUV was approaching from the direction of the hospital. The vehicle was being driven at the time by ambulance driver, Elroy Coleman, 36, of Silk Grass Village. Suchite was not able to make it across the road in time and Coleman was not able to avoid hitting her. She received numerous head and body injuries. Suchite died shortly after impact.

Belize’s Eleven Point Proposal to decrease tensions in Sarstoon river
The escalation of tension in the Sarstoon River between the Guatemalan military and civilian and military personnel of Belize has forced the highest officials of both countries to the discussion table to come up with rules of engagement for the area. A meeting was held on Friday, April 8, with the foreign ministers, ambassadors and generals of both countries. The Organization of American States was present to observe what they hope is the formation of a modus vivendi. A modus vivendi is an agreement that allows conflicting parties to coexist peacefully until a final settlement can be reached. Representatives of the Barrow Administration, the Belize Defense Force and the Opposition met to draft proposals that were presented to Guatemala on Friday. Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said, “Our team’s overall aims for the negotiations over the Sarstoon were to reach an agreement with Guatemala as early as possible - the implementation of which will not be delayed by Guatemalan administrative procedures or legislative requirements; to ensure that any agreement reached would protect Belize’s position and maintain peace and stability in the area until such time as Guatemala’s claim is resolved; and to ensure that the OAS has a role in helping the two countries in maintaining peace and stability in the area.”

PM Barrow and U.S. ambassador sign agreement for 6.45million dollars to aid law enforcement
On Friday, April 8, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and H.E. Carlos Moreno, the US Ambassador to Belize, signed the 16 amendment to the Letter of Agreement, which implements the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). This program is funded under the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). Since 2008, the US Government has provided over 35 million dollars in programs and grants to Belize, and with this amendment, the US agreed to provide yet another 6.45 million US dollars. Both the Prime Minister and the Ambassador have agreed that the funding will be used on projects, namely, improvements in border inspection, Vetted Units, Capacity Enhancement, Justice Sector reform, and Community Policing. Each of these programs are important to the country’s continued security concerns but of important note is the justice sector reform.

All roads leading to the National Agricultural and Trade Show in Belmopan
The National Agricultural and Trade Show (NATS) occurs once a year and it is the largest show of its kind anywhere in Belize, which brings agricultural enthusiasts, farmers, students and others unto one place. Plans for the NATS event continues apace with much fervor. The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development has announced that the dates for the National Agriculture & Trade Show will be on April 29th, 30th and May 1, 2016. This year the upgrades to the grounds are concentrated in the “agriculture zone”. A new garden for year round demonstration and training for schools is being established. New barns are being constructed for livestock display that have been designed and built by Ministry of Agriculture personnel. “We are expecting a record turn out again…,” says Roberto Harrison, who is Belize’s Chief Agricultural officer and the Chairman of the National Agricultural Show Committee.

New Belize sign unveiled in Belize City
In September of 2014, a first of its kind Belize sign was constructed and placed at the Buttonwood Bay park in Belize City. The idea to build and place the sign came from attorney at law Steve Perera. It was a great success and now the idea is being replicated in other parts of the city. Through sponsorship from businessman Hysam Diab, on Saturday April 9th a new sign was installed near the Baron Bliss lighthouse in the Fort George Division. Over the course of this week the sign was painted and on Wednesday it was officially inaugurated by the Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley and the Belize City Council as well as Perera.

Myrtle sues Guardian: claims she was insulted
Albert Vaughn: Call, we got a call. Caller: I just mi wah get teh name ah di man mek I report ah to the creator Myrtle Palacio: No, No, Just light wah candle over eh head, baby, eh name Marcello Windsor, you could check the register of electors fi eh birth date and light dah damn candle over eh head. We have to do that. You understand, I wah tell you later weh color fi use. (All Laugh) Myrtle Palacio: “Dah that you have to do with dah kind. you know what I mean Albert? Hmmm, O.K. you know. No confidence in that, no confidence. He should ah hang his head in shame. Marcello Windsor”. Those were the words uttered by Myrtle Palacio, on the Positive Vibez talk show on January 23, 2014. These utterances were the culmination of a protracted discourse between herself and talk show hosts Albert Vaughn and Marshall Nunez in which the Returning Officer for the Cayo North bi-elections, Marcello Windsor was berated and his competence was called into question.

Myrtle’s flame burns out
Just a few days after the November 4th election and after Francis had stepped down , it was reported that the then PUP Secretary General Mrs. Myrtle Palacio had also stepped down. The reports at the time were that she was about to write another book. From what we heard at the time it was to be a Biography. However that resignation was short lived because like her former boss Francis she too must have gotten a dream and had a change of heart and once again returned to be the Secretary General. Readers may recall the UGLY spectacle that was played out on tv when Henry Charles claimed that he was the defacto PUP Leader who was in charge of the party and as such was also in charge of the party’s electoral process. At the time Henry Charles appeared to be on the losing side since he was supporting Johnny who seemed to have been the underdog. So Myrtle was quick to put Henry Charles in his place, scolding him like a little schoolboy, letting him know that she was in charge.

GOB settles with Valencia family after accident involving Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura
In August of 2014, Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura was involved in a traffic accident in which 54 year-old Yolanda Valencia lost her life and Yanie Cu was seriously injured. At the time Segura was driving his police issued vehicle when he slammed head on into a taxi being driven by Cu who had Valencia as his passenger. The accident happened between miles 70 and 71 on the outskirts of Succotz Village in the Cayo District at around 5:35 a.m., on Saturday, August 16. 54 year-old Succotz Resident Yolanda Consuelo Valencia was in a blue Toyota Corolla taxi, which was being driven by her close relative, 28 year-old Yanie Evan Cu. They were heading to the San Ignacio market for Valencia to sell her vegetables. They had a head-on collision with Deputy Commissioner Segura, who was driving a government issued Nissan Pathfinder. He was heading back to his home in Benque Viejo Town, after a night in San Ignacio.

Special Olympics held around Belize
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture in collaboration with Special Olympics Belize has announced that it is pleased to be a part of this year’s Fun Run event countrywide! The Ministry through its Special Education Program and the involvement of our Education Itinerant Officers (EIOs) continue to support Special Olympics Belize in an effort to provide year–round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic–type sports for children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Importantly, these activities allow the participation of the community (police, teachers, families, church, civilians, and public officers) to become a part of the change that is needed to promote acceptance and inclusion.

UDP Leaders
The resignation of Honorable Gaspar Vega as the 1st Deputy leader of the great United Democratic Party set in motion a series of events including but not limited to the announcement of two dynamic leaders interested to fill the vacant post. Both candidates set out of the starting gate at an accelerated pace. What makes this competition an interesting one is the fact that both candidates are fully equipped for the job at hand, both men possess the necessary skills, qualification and leadership qualities needed to carry on with the legacy of our great leader, the Honorable Dean Oliver Barrow. It is commendable that both men have been behaving in singular gentleman-like manner and none has been attacking the character of the other. The campaign has been kept very positive and no mudslinging is evidenced… not that there is any mud that can be slung. Also notable is the fact that both men are long time colleagues but more than this they are longtime friends.

Dead man found in Rio Hondo river in Corozal
The body of 51 year-old Gregory Espinosa, a farmer from the Corozal District, was found on Friday, April 8 on the Banks of the Rio Hondo. He had been shot and left on the banks of the river. Corozal police found him on the river side, which is a part of the Village of Santa Rosa, the northernmost village of the country. The officers observed pellet wounds to the right side of the chest, and a large hole to his lower rib cage, which appeared to have been inflicted by a bullet. His loader and pick-up truck were found a short distance away from where Espinosa’s body was found.

Guatemalan Victor Sagastume busted with crack cocaine
Guatemalan national, Victor Sagastume, is in the Belize Central Prison for several offenses after he was busted with crack cocaine on Sunday, April 10. Police were on mobile patrol in the Taylor’s Alley area on Sunday when their attention was drawn towards Sagastume. The officers approached and informed him that a search would be conducted on him. As police tried to search him, Sagastume began to act disorderly. Officers subdued him and found a green du-rag which was opened in front of him. The du-rag contained a white substance which proved to be crack cocaine. He was arrested and taken to Precinct One Police Station. Sagastume escaped shortly after arriving at the station but was captured just up the street. He bit the finger of a police officer who was trying to arrest him.

Shakeem Humes to stand trial for attempted murder
Shakeem Humes, 23, will have to stand trial in the June session of the Supreme Court after a Preliminary Inquiry concluded on Thursday, April 7, proved that there is sufficient evidence for him to face charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and others. Humes is facing charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, dangerous harm and wounding upon woman police corporal, Christine Avila, and her boyfriend, Joseph Debride. At around 9:40 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, 2015, police responded to a shooting incident on Curassow Street where they found Debride suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. Avila reported to responding officers that a man they know well approached them and told them he was armed.

Jack Charles accuses employees of stealing triple A batteries
Businessman Jitendra Chawla, better known as Jack Charles, surely needs advice on how to convince the public that his love for Belizeans is genuine. The wealthy grocer is back in the news and this time it is because he is accusing three employees of theft. Chawla went to police on Friday, April 8, and reported that at around 4 p.m. three of his employees stole a pack of triple A batteries valued at $208. The employees accused of theft by Chawla are deaf/mute Oliver Flowers, 29, of Periwinkle Street, David Fuller, 20, of Eve Street, and Jose Moralez, 29, of Orange Walk Town.

Daughter attacks father with axe in Sandhill
A daughter hacked her 84-year-old father in the head with an axe after a domestic dispute in Sandhill Village on Sunday, April 10. According to police report, sometime between 9 and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nicholas Ozaeta, 84, opened his house door and walked onto his veranda to relax with a cup of coffee. As he was looking towards the highway, he suddenly heard a loud noise and realized that he had been hit in the head. He then fell over his veranda railing and went unconscious. Ozaeta said when he woke up he saw an axe lying on the ground next to him. He didn’t see who hit him but said he remembers that it was his son who picked him up and took him to the hospital. Ozaeta told police he suspects that it was his daughter because only he and his daughter Lily were at home at the time. He told police that two years ago Lily had choked his wife and threatened to burn down their house.

Belmopan Bandits eliminate Cayo Western Ballaz from any playoffs
The National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last weekend with a number of games across the country. On Friday 8 April, 2016, at the UB Gymnasium in the City of Belmopan, the Belmopan Bandits eliminated the Cayo Western Ballaz from any chance of making the post season this year when it defeated them by the score of 73-57. The top scorers for the Belmopan Bandits were Jarrel Velasquez with 21 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal; Nick Brown with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals and Kyle Pascascio with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. For the Cayo Western Ballaz, the top scorers were Brandon Flowers with 22 points and 9 rebounds; and Jamal Harris 11 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals.

In the month of February Honorable Elodio Aragon, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, travelled to Costa Rica to pen an agreement to host the CODICADER games in Belize. CODICADER (Consejo del Istmo Centroamericano de Deportes y Recreacion) is the The Central American Council of Sports & Recreation Games and is an organ of the Central American Integration System (SICA) whose goal is to contribute to the strengthening of integration, solidarity and peace between our peoples of member countries. For years Belize has been sending its young athletes to compete in various disciplines and we have been bringing championship medals consistently in sports such as track and field, softball and basketball. These games have been played in all the member countries including Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. This year is Belize’s turn to host the games. These games will host student athletes between the ages of 6 to12 years. They will participate in table tennis, football, basketball and volleyball.The competition will be held across the country simultaneously in Orange Walk, San Ignacio, Belmopan and Belize City.

#513096 - 04/15/16 06:54 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 15, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Police United and the Belmopan Bandits move closer to the finals
The Premier League of Belize Closing Season Tournament commenced its Playoff round on Saturday 9th April, 2016, with two games on the schedule. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in the City of Belmopan, the Belmopan Bandits successfully defended its home turf when it edged out the Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-1. The Belmopan Bandits were the first to get onto the scoreboard when Kervin Johnson scored the 1st goal of the game in the 17th minute of play to give the Belmopan Bandits a 1-0 lead. The lead was further extended when Ian Gaynair scored his team’s 2nd goal of the game in the 22nd minute of play for a 2-0 lead. The first half of the game ended in a 2-0 in favour of the Belmopan Bandits. It was not until well into the second half of the game that the Belize Defence Force was able to make it onto the scoreboard when Ricky Ricketts scored his team’s only goal of the game in the 73rd minute of play to cut his team’s deficit to 1 goal. However, at the sound of the long whistle in was indeed a 2-1 victory for the Belmopan Bandits.

Calvary Temple boys are undefeated in Belize City Primary Schools softball competition
The Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition continued on Tuesday 12 April, 2016, with four games on the schedule. In the girls’ competition, Central Christian School defeated Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School by the score of 22-9. The winning pitcher was Leoneli Sedacy and the losing pitcher was Varania Wilson. In the second game in the girls’ competition, St. John Vianney School won over the previously unbeaten St. Luke Methodist School by the score of 12-4. The winning pitcher was Shantae Williams and the losing pitcher was Samantha Foreman. In the first of two games in the boys’ competition, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene won over Central Christian School by the score of 12-9. The winning pitcher was James Guevara and the losing pitcher was Travis Stevens.

Road being made safer for students in Cayo
Students and residents will soon be benefiting from a cemented section of Bullet Tree Falls Road in the Cayo District. A section of dirt road at the entrance of the Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio Town was being cemented on Wednesday by workers from the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council. Some 150 feet of dirt road had formerly been troublesome with dust to both students and residents; especially during the dry season. With revenues from property tax and trade licenses, the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council has now seen it fit to allocate ten thousand dollars to cement that section of road in front of Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio Town. At the same time, a pedestrian crossing will be constructed for the safety of the Sacred Heart Primary School students and other pedestrians.

New market for Corozal Town opens
Corozal Town now has a wonderful new market that will provide vendors opportunities to foster and enhance their livelihoods while residents benefit from a centralized location to shop and socialize. The rehabilitated Corozal Town Market Annex and surrounding streets built by the Government of Belize were inaugurated on Friday, April 8. The market covers an area of over 220 square meters. It consists of 15 spacious stalls with all necessary hygienic amenities. To improve the visitors’ experience, surrounding streets were upgraded as well. First Street and Sixth Streets were paved so pedestrians and motorists are now benefiting from smooth road surfaces. Traffic flows easier in the area due to the upgrades. Residents are extremely pleased.

City Councillors start community service at Grace Primary School
Over the weekend, Councilors Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar and Jason Edwards led a team of volunteers from the Child Advisory Body and the Works Department of the Belize City Council on a community service mission to Grace Primary School. According to Councilor Latchman-Cuellar, she was approached by Councilor Jason Edwards for them to do something positive at Grace Primary School. Edwards attended Grace Primary in his childhood and always tries to give back. After consulting with Mayor Darrell Bradley and other councilors, a decision was made to start with the painting of two classrooms. The two councilors worked along with employees of the Council and children from the Child Advisory Body to paint the two Standard Five Classrooms, Augustine and Hernandez. On Saturday and Sunday they painted the walls, ceiling and doors. The colours chosen by the children from the classrooms were blue and yellow.

Johnny throws PUP Constitution and National Executives out the window
We have seen over the past few days how Johnny Briceno has been throwing out duly elected members of the PUP’s National Executive, (Vaughn Gill - Deputy Communications Director- Western Caucus; Anthony Sylvester - Legal Advisor; and Ramon ‘Monchie’ Cervantes -Treasurer). He in effect is throwing out most of those members that did not support him in the Leadership convention and is only keeping disregard those who did not support him, Julius and Kareem. We presume that if Johnny stays true to form even their days as members are numbered. Already he has installed a 5th deputy to the PUP in the form of Cordel Hyde, in effect diminishing the powers of the aforementioned two. PUP observers are saying that what he is doing is going totally against the PUP’s constitution. However to make sure we got our facts straight as to how the PUP selects officers, we had to go their constitution. According to article 13 (1) There shall be a National Executive of the party which shall be ELECTED by the National Convention and which shall be responsible to the National Party Council. It then goes on to list who those members should be.

New mar‘Griga’s New and Improved St. Vincent Street Re-opensket for Corozal Town opens
A few months ago the UDP Dangriga Town Council noticed the terrible and deteriorating state of Saint Vincent Street and chose to do something about it. The council didn’t just think about fixing the street as previous councils have done; but chose to make it permanent with concrete to the tune of close to $73,000.00. Keeping in mind, that had the work been contracted out, it could have cost the council $71,000.00 to complete half of the street project. However, the council in its wisdom decided to utilize its own staff to accomplish the building of the entire project within the $71,000.00 budgetary constraints, in comparison $142,000.00 through a private contractor. Today being Garifuna Survivals day the Dangriga town council couldn’t have chosen a better and more appropriate day to re-open Saint Vincent Street to vehicular traffic. After all, Saint Vincent is the ancestral homeland of the Garinagu and the street was indeed dedicated to honor the homeland – Saint Vincent. For quite some time now, the street had been closed to complete the rebuilding of the major artery through the commercial center of the Culture Capital.

Police to compensate Allyson Major for wrongful imprisonment
Allyson Major, a Belize City resident who was aggrieved by the application of the current gun laws, has won a judgment against the Government of Belize and the Police Department. During the case management phase, it was touted as the first constitutional challenge to the Firearms Amendment Act of 2010, but the judge has not pronounced against the law, merely the application of the law in that particular instance. Major was arrested and charged in April of 2012. Officers of the Gang Suppression Unit conducted a raid of a Peter Seco street home and found a .410 gauge double barrel, and a 16-gauge shotgun, both of which were stolen from a licensed firearm holder. Arrested at the time were Errol Lynch, Kent Lynch, Leroy Gomez, Woodrow Reyes and Virginie Alvarez.

American busted at airport with weed
American salesman Russell Selvin Reid, 33, of Los Angeles missed his plane on Wednesday, April 13, because he was detained at the Phillip Goldson International Airport for being in possession of marijuana. According to a police report, at around 9 a.m. Reid was stopped at the scanning machine by officials of the Belize Airport Authorities because of a suspicious substance inside his bag. Officers were called to the airport and a search was executed. Inside Reid’s black travelling bag was a black plastic bag which contained a green leafy material that proved to be marijuana. The officers arrested Reid and escorted him to the Ladyville Police Station where he was formally charged with possession of a controlled drug.

Daniel Bradley walks from charge of unlawful sexual intercourse
Junior college student, Daniel Bradley, 19, is free from a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old minor. Allegation made against Bradley is that on Monday, June 8, 2015, he had sexual intercourse with the girl at a home in Ladyville. In court, Bradley was represented by attorney Ellis Arnold. On Wednesday, April 13, the charge was dismissed against Bradley after the child and her mother visited the police station to make a further statement saying they do not wish to proceed with the matter. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser informed Bradley that he was free of the charge.

Twelve year old crushed by truck in Cayo
A 12 year student from Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio Town has succumbed to his injuries after being crushed by a large truck on Thursday of last week. Dressed in uniform, Emil August was knocked down in central San Ignacio Town by a truck belonging to Bahadur & Sons Trucking. The young boy received injuries to his head and chest area and was then taken to the San Ignacio Town Hospital. The driver of the truck has been served with a notice of intended prosecution and the file will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution.

Guatemalan Victor Sagastume busted with crack cocaine
Guatemalan national, Victor Sagastume, is in the Belize Central Prison for several offenses after he was busted with crack cocaine on Sunday, April 10. Police were on mobile patrol in the Taylor’s Alley area on Sunday when their attention was drawn towards Sagastume. The officers approached and informed him that a search would be conducted on him. As police tried to search him, Sagastume began to act disorderly. Officers subdued him and found a green du-rag which was opened in front of him. The du-rag contained a white substance which proved to be crack cocaine. He was arrested and taken to Precinct One Police Station. Sagastume escaped shortly after arriving at the station but was captured just up the street. He bit the finger of a police officer who was trying to arrest him.

Murder inmate busted with weed in prison
Murder inmate, John Martinez, 27, was busted inside his prison cell with 17.6 grams of marijuana on Tuesday, April 5. According to authorities, Prison Officer Jaime Umana conducted a search on Martinez sometime around 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, just after he returned to prison from court in Belize City. Martinez was strip search at the entrance but he seemed to be walking funny while heading to his cell. Umana decided to conduct a further searched on him. As Martinez took off his right tennis shoe a grey object fell out. Umana picked up the object and noticed it was a bundle which contained green leafy substance inside that proved to be marijuana. The find was weighed and amounted to 17.6 grams, which is not much. However, in prison the charge for possession of marijuana in the rehabilitation institution is drug trafficking. Hattieville police was called in and Martinez was arrested and charged.

Daniel Meighan beats firearm and ammunition charges
Daniel Meighan, 33, is a free man after he was acquitted of firearm and ammunition charges in the Belize City Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, April 7. Police caught Meighan with a 16 gauge shotgun in Rockville Village in August of last year. Meighan had no license for the weapon but explained to police that he was carrying it home for his father-in-law whom he had just left. Meighan’s father-in-law suffers from arthritis and was not feeling well so he asked Meighan to take home the shotgun for him. This explanation was not enough to prevent the officers from locking him up and filing charges against Meighan. He was booked for charges of keeping firearm without a gun license and keeping ammunition without a license.

No compassion on Compassion lane in Ladyville Merkel Pitts dies after being shot
After clinging to life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for several hours, 18 year-old Merkel Pitts, a ladyville resident, died after being shot by a man in the near vicinity of his house. The incident happened on Thursday, April 7, at around 7:30 p.m. in an open yard, off Compassion Lane in Ladyville. It was a favorite hang out spot for Pitts and his friends, but on that night, a lone assailant sprayed the area with gunfire. He was injured twice in the stomach, and once to the arm, and residents believe he tried to flee. Sometime during the incident, he unfortunately broke his right foot. Police found him about 8 minutes later bleeding out, and they rushed him to the KHMH. The doctors at the hospital tried to save his life, and he was placed on life support, but several hours later, he passed away from his injuries. Police are investigating the motive of his street-slaying, but residents of Ladyville strongly suspect that he was killed as an act of retaliation.

Bus driver charged for fatal traffic accident
Jason Robinson, 33, was riding his bicycle towards Belize City on the George Price Highway when he met his untimely death at mile 16 on Friday, March 18. According to reports, Robinson was approaching mile 16 at around 7:45 p.m. when a Shaw’s bus was heading in the same direction. The area was not well lit and the bus clipped Robinson’s bicycle and dragged him for a while. He suffered from numerous head and body injuries: head trauma, two lungs crushed, a punctured kidney and a broken shoulder. Robinson was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries hours later. Franco Audinett, 37, the driver of the bus was served with a notice of intended prosecution.

Clayton White remanded for machete attack
Clayton White, 45, of #36 Quam Street City is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was arraigned on Monday, April 11, for three indictable offenses of attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. Allegations being made against White by Douglas Flores Jr. is that on Saturday, April 9, he tried to kill him when he was attacked with a machete. In court on Monday, White appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. He tried to explain what happened at the time of the incident but Fraser told him that she will only be reading the charges at this time. No plea was taken since the matters are being dealt with on indictment. Due to the nature of the offenses, bail was denied and White was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until May 27, 2016.

Unitedville Rebels United halts Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy
The Raymond Garbutt Cayo Senior Female Softball Competition continued on Sunday 10th April, 2016, at the Joan Garbutt Stadium in Esperanza Village with three games. In the first game played, Camalote United blasted Belmopan Capital City in three innings by the score of 16 – 1. The winning pitcher was Kenisha Sutherland and the losing pitcher was Leonelle Aldana. In game two, Untedville Rebels United blanked the defending champions the Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy by the score of 2-0. The winning pitcher Nikita Perez and the losing pitcher was Leandra Guy. And in the final game of the day, Belmopan Bandits won over the Esperanza Wolverines by the score of 11-5. The winning pitcher was Laniesha Jones and the losing pitcher was Shareenie Soberanis.

The Belize Times

Gapi – the reason Patrick Faber will lose
The race for first deputy leader has deteriorated into heavy infighting inside the United Democratic Party as the two candidates rush to secure support from among the thirty one constituency representatives. Patrick Faber has employed loudmouth tactics in the race. This was predictable. Faber has become candidate and UDP spokesman, it seems, as UDP Chairman Alberto August is nowhere to present the official version of the upcoming convention. A wily Faber pointed to a “tight race” between him and Saldivar in interviews outside the UDP headquarters. He claimed that Saldivar has a narrow lead with sixteen constituencies supporting him. But the reality is that Faber is far behind than he would want to admit in the critical numbers game.

Supreme Court says GOB’s gun law is unconstitutional
The Government’s Firearms Amendment Act has been rebuked by Supreme Court Judge Michelle Arana in a case brought by Allyson Major and his attorney Anthony Sylvestre Jr. Justice Arana ruled that the legislation introduced by Minister of National Security John Saldivar to give Police wide powers to arrest and charge persons for illegal guns and ammunition found in premises, denies bail and imposes prison remand, is “unreasonable, arbitrary and excessive, and as a consequence, unconstitutional”. Major fell victim to the draconian legislation in April 2012 when the Police found firearms inside a house on Peter Seco Street which he would visit regularly. The Police said that they received intelligence that Major live in the house, therefore, they arrested him along with six other persons. Major did not live in the house, however.

UDP Women Dis Faber!
The most powerful women currently in the United Democratic Party, Belize Rural Central’s Beverly Castillo, Albert’s Tracy Taegar and Standard Bearer Carla Barnett have served woman fum fum to Patrick Faber, in announcing that they are supporting John Saldivar in the May 29th convention for Deputy Leader. Faber has little support among women in the UDP and it is not hard to figure out why. Faber’s personal life has been marred by scandals involving allegations of abuse of women. His marriage with a humble, educated woman professional fell apart and ended violently when he chose to stalk his wife after she sought refuge at her mother’s house. When Faber could not get his wife’s attention, he allegedly broke her vehicle’s windshield with a cement brick. Faber’s single lifestyle seemed to only fuel the controversies in his personal life like a raging wild fire. In September 2014, Faber made headline news when reports surfaced that a 25 year old woman, his new girlfriend and employee at the Ministry of Education, accused him of violently assaulting her during her birthday party at his house in Lord’s Bank. A report was made to the Police, but it was never investigated.

The Fleecing of the “People’s Company”?
BTL is not the people’s company. It became a special interest company led by the Government ever since the Barrow Administration took it over in 2009. Everything Barrow touches takes a strange turn. The BELIZE TIMES has for several years exposed how the telecoms company has been used to fatten up well-connected UDPs. We have shown the evidence of millions of dollars funnelled to special companies owned by known UDP personalities. This week we at the BELIZE TIMES expose more fishy business. We have obtained copies of BTL payment invoices which show the company buying used cars from a certain car dealership in Belize City. Used cars at almost new-car prices. One invoice, attached to this article, show that BTL purchased two used 2014 Ford F-250 for $251,100. That’s over quarter million dollars for a used car. Many questions must arise from this transaction. Was there a proper screening of the purchase? Is the used vehicle value for money? Or is it just another UDP whap on BTL?

6 men questioned in Belmopan kidnapping/murder case
Six men have been detained for questioning by Belmopan Police in their investigation into the weekend’s kidnapping and murder in the capital. Victims 41 year old Jose Gonzales and 39 year old Luis Ortiz were targeted by a group of four men with vicious plans. Gonzales and Ortiz were socialising at La Cabaña night club on Saturday night, April 9th. They decided to leave when they were approached by a male person considered an associate of Gonzales who asked for a lift. As Gonzales agreed, three other men jumped in the car. This is where things turned ugly for the men. Gonzales, who is the only one to survive the attack, said that as Ortiz drove into Roaring Creek near the cemetery to drop off the men, they came under attack.

Hard Knocks
Ain’t nobody going to accuse Old Father Christmas of being the sharpest tool in the shed. Sedi wasn’t too impressive to start with, and it’s been all downhill since. Hell, he’s got this Guatemala thing so messed up and sideways that you’ve just got to say glory hallelujah that the People’s United Party is back in the mix. If it was up to Sedi alone we’d all be drinking Gallo beer and learning the Guatemalan anthem. Every single time Sedi goes to Guatemala to hold discussions, we lose a piece of territory LOL. What a goof! Thanks to the PUP, Belizeans can now sleep easier knowing that the wannabe Guatemalan Wilfredo is under control. There is NO WAY the PUP will allow Guatemala to continue making a fool of Belize. We don’t play that. We said not one blade of grass and we mean not one blade of grass. So here’s where we are with that. Guatemala has one week to get its act together and to realize that we’re not backing down in the Sarstoon. We may be small but we are mighty and we don’t play with our territory. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t politics because when it comes to Guatemala we push politics aside. This is about a man who hasn’t got what it takes to deal with Guatemala. Sedi really noh ready!

Belize suspects three Zika cases
On Friday, April 8, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued an advisory warning U.S. citizens that travelling to Belize could expose them to the Zika virus. The CDC reported that a U.S. national who visited Belize from the March 14th to 19th, returned to the United States and began having fever and rash on the 23rd of March. Further tests carried out showed that the virus was not contracted through sexual transmission. The travel advisory on Belize has threatened the nation’s fragile tourism industry. The CDC’s alert gets international attention and could easily turn away tourists from Belize. The Ministry of Health launched an investigation over the weekend although local officials have expressed doubt that the Zika case originated in Belize. They sought information about the U.S. national’s visit to Belize to examine if there may be other cases of the virus spreading. So far, what is known is that the location under review is in Southern Belize.

Saldivar Squeals Foul – Says UDP special convention rules are flawed
John Saldivar has accused his Party of not following their Constitution in the upcoming contest for first deputy leader. Saldivar had to swallow a bitter pill on Saturday when the UDP National Party Council met on Saturday April 9th to decide what rules will apply for the special convention. The NPC ruled that the same delegates who were selected to attend the “national convention” held in March in Dangriga to endorse Dean Barrow as leader will be the ones to vote in the race for deputy. Saldivar objected, saying that it was unconstitutional since the selection of delegates for the March convention did not abide by the proper rules. A statement by Saldivar’s team released today explained that the March selection of delegates was not based on the Party’s rules but allowed then because the convention was non-competitive. The upcoming convention is a different case, however, with two candidates, and possibly more by the April 29th deadline.

Supreme Court says GOB’s gun law is unconstitutional
The Government’s Firearms Amendment Act has been rebuked by Supreme Court Judge Michelle Arana in a case brought by Allyson Major and his attorney Anthony Sylvestre Jr. Justice Arana ruled that the legislation introduced by Minister of National Security John Saldivar to give Police wide powers to arrest and charge persons for illegal guns and ammunition found in premises, denies bail and imposes prison remand, is “unreasonable, arbitrary and excessive, and as a consequence, unconstitutional”. Major fell victim to the draconian legislation in April 2012 when the Police found firearms inside a house on Peter Seco Street which he would visit regularly. The Police said that they received intelligence that Major live in the house, therefore, they arrested him along with six other persons. Major did not live in the house, however.

For years Belizeans have cried out against the vicious application of the firearms laws passed by the government. One of the many injustices of the UDP law is the taking away of the authority of magistrates to grant bail. This has resulted in every person charged, rightly or wrongly, with a firearm offense, having to go to jail. Such persons have to find money to get bail if they can; or stay in jail until their trial. Many innocent Belizeans have spent months in jail unable to get bail. Anthony Sylvestre, one of the few lawyers who practice at the criminal courts challenged a section of the firearms law, and won. Briefly, this is what happened. In April 2012, the worthless and notorious GSU which have no respect for the citizens of Belize, rushed into a yard in Belize City and roughed up four men. They proceeded to search two houses and claimed they found two guns. Persons who lived in one of the houses were not at home. GSU still went for them and charged them.

It’s time to Protect Whistleblowers
In November of last year, the government of Trinidad and Tobago tabled a bill in their Parliament designed to tackle corruption by introducing fines and jail-time for persons who seek to hinder others from coming forward to report criminal activities. This bill drew widespread approval from citizens and in support of the bill, Attorney General of the twin islands Faris Al Rawi had this to say, “Far too often this nation is riddled with very public allegation resembling certainty of crime, corruption, murder and mayhem. Everyone suspects who is guilty but no one steps forward to testify to guilt bearing evidence. The reason is clear. The fear of victimization and reprisal for honest exposure is not only perceived but real. Witness protection is a mere platitude in reality. Corruption occurs blatantly in public institutions and state enterprises and yet no trace can be testified to by a single living soul.” Al Rawi went on to state, “Madam Speaker the dominant feature of the proposed Bill is the protection and immunity from civil and criminal suit for those so termed Whistleblowers; who may want to disclose forms of “improper conduct” within their places of employment – be it in the public or private sector.” Here is a country obviously serious about tackling the scourge of corruption that has plagued the entire world, but in particular the Caribbean and Latin American countries.

UDP Politics as Usual…
In terms of this crime thing, can we realistically expect 2011 to be any different from 2010? Can we expect a decrease in murders, in home invasions, in assaults, in robberies and shootings and thefts? The government has offered nothing different from 2010 – no new initiatives, no new agenda, no new plans, no bold, visionary ideas. There is nothing new coming out of the Ministry of Police, nothing new coming out of the Police Department. Operating Restore Belize is still putt-putting merrily along on the wings of a song. Poverty is increasing apace, as is unemployment. Frustration and desperation are heading on up. There have been no social programs offered and no move to address the school dropout rate. There is still no state of the art forensic/DNA lab which Mr. Barrow promised something like three years ago. He continues to promise the lab periodically but still nothing. That’s all we’ve gotten from this government – NOTHING. The Minister of Police did his media thing the other day but while he may be cute (or not) we were given NOTHING concrete, nothing to base our hopes for better on. So far 2011 isn’t looking all that great…

O.W. Juniors Football tournament kicks off
The Orange Walk Junior football tournament organized by Deputy Mayor Ladrick “Mad Bull” Shephard and the Orange Walk Sports committee continued at the Orange Walk Technical High School field on Saturday, with Blackwater, Young School I and Young School II posting big wins in the under-13 division, while the Corozal Rising Stars U-15 and Orange Walk Central Stars B won in the under-15 division.

Camalote United & Unitedville Rebels win in Raymond Garbutt softball
The Camalote United, Unitedville Rebels and the Belmopan Bandits each enjoyed wins in the 2016 Raymond Garbutt Cayo senior women’ softball competition which continued at the Joan Garbutt Stadium in Esperanza Village on Sunday. Winning pitcher Keneshia Sutherland return home to lead Camalote United to a 16-1 win by mercy rule in the 3rd inning over the Belmopan Capital City Emeralds. The Camalote women scored 16 runs off Leonelle Aldana’s pitching.

Latrell Solis, Amiri Hoare & Kevin Chen win table tennis champs
Latrell Solis won the A Division, Amiri Hoare won the B-Division, and Kevin Chen won the C division of the annual RF&G table tennis ranking tournament organized the Belize Table Tennis Association at the Belize Elementary Auditorium on Sunday. Some 50 table tennis players ranging from ages 10 to 65 participated in this national ranking tournament. The division rating requirements had changed this year with the A Division now including players with a rating between 1000 to 1499 points, while the B Division admitted players with 700 to 999 points, and C Division included players whose rating was below 700 points. This has allowed several players to move into a higher division.

Cane farmer’s murder remains a mystery
The murder of 51 year old cane farmer Gregorio Abel Espinoza, a resident of Santa Rosa Village, remains a mystery to Police authorities in the Corozal District. Espinoza’s lifeless body was found floating in the Rio Hondo River bordering Mexico, some three miles from his cane field. Espinoza’s body had gunshot wounds to his shoulder and body. His family told the Police that he left home to do work on his field but his cane truck experienced mechanical problems. As a result, he chose to remain on his cane field to guard his truck, and it appears that he was attacked by armed bandits.

Pastor Scott Stirm of the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) has really stirred up a huge ants nest recently. I am still shaking my head at the arrogance, intolerance, cultural and religious imperialism, neo-colonialism, and, yes, racism in this entire sorry melee. How come in this day and age do we still have the level of ignorance and disregard for others that has been manifested by this incident? I am not at all surprised that the present controversy has grown long legs. My understanding is that Garifuna leaders met over the weekend in Dangriga and have prepared a strong statement for April 12, Garifuna Survival Day. Mr. Stirm has veritably been heedless and uncaring. As a Belizean I feel hurt and disappointed, and I can surely imagine the outrage felt by Garifuna Belizeans at such heedlessness. What do we call it? One journalist asked Mr. Stirm if this was his version of expressed religious supremacy, to which the reply uttered was an inane defense of being attacked because of his firm stance against LGBT rights and other conservative positions he has taken. I look at the press conference held by NEAB on April 1st, and this was no All Fools Day at all in their staunch support of Mr. Stirm. President of NEAB Pastor Lance Lewis, whom I have always respected, unfortunately continued to call Garifuna spiritualism and the Dugu ceremony witchcraft in quoting from the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible that no witchcraft should be practiced.

Mr. Speaker; scandal and libel won’t answer this!
Mr. Speaker a charge has been laid in this Honourable House today on the member from Queen Square Dean Oliver Barrow that he took 40 million of tax dollars out of the public funds to pay his brother, ex-wife and other family members. Barrow claims it’s for legal fees. My first issue with this charge Mr. Speaker is this: did the member from Queen Square guilty as accused? My second issue, Mr. Speaker is: was it lawful? And third, Mr. Speaker is: was it a break of the high moral ground and fiduciary duty we all are sworn to keep while in office. Mr. Speaker, the voters of Caribbean Shores need to have an answer. Their area representative is demanding such for them.

Remembering Rotten Ray
Toledo District received an unexpected visit from the United States Embassy on March 22nd. The Embassy sent Major Brett Cable to honor Punta Gorda resident Raymond S. Wood, an Oregon, US native and US Army Veteran, who died on February 14th and was being held in the morgue in Belize City with no clear plans for his internment. Wood’s wife, Janice Wood, was buried in Jacintoville in 2006 after a fall in their Jacintoville house, which Ray Wood had built himself. However, after his wife’s death, Wood could no longer bear to be in their home and he sold it to friends, Hank and Ana Baldizon. After selling his house, he moved to PG Town and rented a room on Front Street.

GOB and Segura to PAY!
The Supreme Court has ordered Deputy Commissioner Miguel Segura and the Government of Belize to pay $70,000 to the family of Yolanda Valencia, killed instantly in a deadly collision in August 2014. One year after the accident a claim for damages was filed by Valencia’s family brought against Segura and GOB, since the Deputy Commissioner was driving a government-issued Nissan Pathfinder when he allegedly caused the fatal crash. The images of that morning are seared into the memory of many Belizeans. Captured by amateur video, Segura was seen just after the incident apparently intoxicated, smoking a cigarette and buttoning his uniform pants while feet away Valencia lay dead in a taxi, with driver Yanie Cu screaming out in pain.

New Sarstoon Protocols Presented
Representatives of the Government of the Republic of Guatemala have been presented with a set of 11 proposals setting a structure in place for movement in the Sarstoon. Those protocols were handed over to Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales and Chief of Defence Staff General Carlos Eduardo Estrada Perez at a special session last Friday at OAS headquarters at the Adjacency Zone. Chief among those protocols is an undertaking that the channels of the Sarstoon will be freely navigable by vessels of either country without interference or trailing, as well as an agreement by military of both countries to desist from threatening words or unfriendly behavior towards the other in and around the Sarstoon.

Belize suspects three Zika cases
On Friday, April 8, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued an advisory warning U.S. citizens that travelling to Belize could expose them to the Zika virus. The CDC reported that a U.S. national who visited Belize from the March 14th to 19th, returned to the United States and began having fever and rash on the 23rd of March. Further tests carried out showed that the virus was not contracted through sexual transmission. The travel advisory on Belize has threatened the nation’s fragile tourism industry. The CDC’s alert gets international attention and could easily turn away tourists from Belize. The Ministry of Health launched an investigation over the weekend although local officials have expressed doubt that the Zika case originated in Belize. They sought information about the U.S. national’s visit to Belize to examine if there may be other cases of the virus spreading. So far, what is known is that the location under review is in Southern Belize.

6 men questioned in Belmopan kidnapping/murder case
Six men have been detained for questioning by Belmopan Police in their investigation into the weekend’s kidnapping and murder in the capital. Victims 41 year old Jose Gonzales and 39 year old Luis Ortiz were targeted by a group of four men with vicious plans. Gonzales and Ortiz were socialising at La Cabaña night club on Saturday night, April 9th. They decided to leave when they were approached by a male person considered an associate of Gonzales who asked for a lift. As Gonzales agreed, three other men jumped in the car. This is where things turned ugly for the men.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Jewelry and gun stolen in armed burglary
A truck driver of Camalote Village, Cayo District, reported to police on Tuesday that his home was burglarized and his maid held at gunpoint while he was away at his ranch. 33-year-old Gladwin Penner told officers that he received a call from his maid […]

Missing boy returns home safe
In reference to a missing person report made on Monday by Martina Cal, the 16-year-old boy has returned home safely. Martina told police that her son, Nelson Cal, left home on Sunday and had not returned up to the time of her making a […]

Benque resident charged for drug trafficking
Jorge Castellanos, 37, a resident of More Tomorrow Village in the Cayo District, was arrested and charged yesterday evening for the offense of ‘drug trafficking’. While conducting patrol in the Hills of Promise area in Benque Viejo at around 5:30 p.m., office on mobile […]

CXC to introduce electronic testing
The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) will soon allow students to take their examinations electronically device. This information was published on the Council’s website on March 31st. Announcing plans for a pilot during the week of April 24, CXC said the move towards electronic testing […]

The Family of Yolanda Valencia Wins Civil Suit Against Deputy ComPol Segura
Vendor of San Jose Succotz, Yolanda Valencia, died in August of 2014 when her taxi driven by Yanie Cu was involved in a collision with the vehicle belonging to Deputy Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura. Segura was drunk and his behavior at the scene […]

City police find weed in two locations
While conducting operations on Ebony and St. Jude Streets in Belize City yesterday, the Special Branch Tactical Response Squad found a total of 221 grams of cannabis. The team visited an abandoned house on Ebony Street where 163 grams of the drug was found […]

Over $20,000 stolen from Belize Postal Service
Belize City Police are seeking a postal service cashier for investigation in the disappearance of over $20,000 from the express mail section. The money was reported missing on February 24th, by a supervisor at the postal service who told officers that sometime between the […]

April 13, 2016 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • The Race for Deputy is On! Caretakers Support Saldivar - Faber Counting on Delegates:
    It has been one of the dominant stories for the past month and will certainly remain so for the next six weeks. It’s the contest to fill the post of Deputy Leader for the United Democratic Party. The post was left vacant by Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega when he announced his decision not to seek re-endorsement as the Party’s Deputy at its National Convention in Dangriga on Sunday, March 20, 2016. The day after that national convention, Monday March 21, 2016, two aspiring candidates publicly confirmed their intentions of seeking to fill the position. Collet Area Representative Hon. Patrick Faber did so in at a press conference; Hon. John Saldivar made his via a televised announcement aired nationally. But the date was yet to be set for the special convention to decide who would become the new UDP Deputy Leader, and that would have to occur at a National Party Council meeting which the party announced would not happen until shortly after the Easter Holidays. That meeting occurred this past Saturday, April 9, 2016 at the UDP Headquarters in Belize City.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Endorses Aspiring Deputy:
    The Post of UDP Deputy Leader was made vacant by his voluntary resignation a month ago; and now he is making it known who he wants to succeed him as Deputy Leader of the Party. In a press release issued by the Saldivar campaign late Tuesday night states, “Deputy Prime Minister and Orange Walk North Area Representative Hon. Gaspar Vega is endorsing Hon. John Saldivar for First Deputy Leader of the United Democratic Party, a position which Vega recently relinquished voluntarily. In so doing, Hon. Vega joins 12 other Cabinet Colleagues and a total of approximately 20 Standard-Bearers countrywide in their support for Saldivar to become the UDP’s next Deputy Party Leader.
  • The Travails of Transition:
    In our editorial a few weeks ago, we characterized the dramatic developments surrounding the leadership of both major political parties (the PUP and UDP), though seemingly earth-shattering, as being part of the normal course of political transition in a dynamic democracy. True, change is, for the most part, a desirable and inevitable thing, but it also, much too often, a messy, divisive and tumultuous undertaking. Whatever the case, across Belize’s political landscape, change is certainly in the air. For the United Democratic Party (UDP), the first round of change features a spirited race to fill the position of Deputy Party Leader left vacant by the voluntary stepping aside of the three-time Deputy Prime Minister. But everyone knows, and the Prime Minister himself has indicated, there are deeper and wider implications for the highest position, as he prepares to retire sometime before the next General Elections which must occur by 2020.
  • Economic Development in the South, Norwegian’s Harvest Caye Cruise-Port Ready for Business:
    Belize’s Tourism Industry should receive a major boost as a massive multi-million dollar project nears completion. The project involves the construction of a new cruise tourism port at Harvest Caye in Southern Belize just off the Placencia Peninsula. The new cruise tourism port with alongside docking facility is set to go into full operation when the new cruise tourism high-season opens in November of this year. Last week, the owners of the project, Norwegian Cruise Lines, invited the Belizean media for a local launch of the facility and updated them on the status of the project. Head of Destination & Port Operations, NCL’s Senior Vice President Colin Murphy, stated, “So, this is the beach and the beach look fabulous I gotta say. More trees and more shade; but the beach came out extremely well and we are very happy with the outcome.
  • enviTransformation in the North, Corozal Rehabilitated Town Market Annex & Streets:
    The newly rehabilitated Corozal Town Market Annex and surrounding streets, built by the Government of Belize at an estimated cost of $298,757.30 and $390,543.00 respectively, through a loan from the World Bank under the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) with counter-part funding of three-per cent by the Corozal Town Council, was officially inaugurated on Friday April 8, 2016. The market facility occupies over 220 square meters. This will create opportunities for vendors to foster and enhance their livelihoods, serve as a central meeting point for the people of Corozal and surrounding communities to exchange goods, produce, ideas, interact and create meaningful opportunities in the pursuit of continued socio-economic development. Vendors and shoppers will also enjoy the convenience of 15 market stalls due to the ambiance of a more spacious, pleasant and safer environment for all.
  • Transformation in the South, Fresh Images of Maura Lopez Market in Punta Gorda:
    The inauguration of the Rehabilitated Market in the northernmost Town of Corozal comes less than three months after another upgraded municipal market in the southernmost Town of Punta Gorda was officially inaugurated. Renamed the MAURA LOPEZ MARKET, tribute to one of the outstanding women of Punta Gorda, it was refurbished at a cost of almost a Million Dollars with financing from the European Union and the Government of Belize. That project included the refurbishment of the old structure to accommodate 11 new individual stalls and reconstruction of the Civic Centre with 12 new stalls and bathrooms for Fruit & Vegetable vendors. Another outstanding feature of the market project is that the design of the existing layout was improved to accommodate Arts & Craft and Food vendors.
  • Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Development Program Holds Meeting in Belize:
    There are seventeen Sustainable Development Goals named by the United Nations Development Program, and this week, Monday April 11, 2016, the UNDP convened a meeting to discuss Belize’s drive to fulfill them. These Sustainable Development Goals (The Path to 2030) constitute the natural progression from the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) which were used by nations around the world to chart a path to development in areas such as Education, Health, Economic Growth and Gender Equality. Karen Barnard, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP, explained, “Fifteen years later we are able to say what we have accomplished, or what we haven’t accomplished with those goals in each country; and Belize has successes...But now, with that whole process concluded in some way – the millennium development goals – we have a bigger project, a bigger framework called sustainable development goals...It gives us something to work towards. Belize has to decide which of these
  • Transformation in the West, Led by Minister of Works & Cayo Central Representative:
    The physical transformation of the nation’s infrastructure network has been evident under the Dean Barrow administration, particularly during its last term (2012-2015). It is on the strength of this physical transformation and the promise that “The Best is yet to Come” that the Administration secured a historic third term in the November 2015 General Elections. Putting this into perspective, Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow proclaimed in his recent budget presentation on March 8, 2016, “It is because of all this that we premised last year’s election drive on the theme “The Best is yet to Come”. So it was not just a campaign slogan, but a call to arms based on past performance and future promise. It was a declaration of confidence. It was an expression of resolve.
  • Peace Process Progresses, Belize Guatemala Discussions Filicitated by OAS:
    In the face of increasing tensions near the western and southern borders, Belize and Guatemalan diplomats at the highest levels continue to push forward with their efforts towards peaceful co-existence and a lasting solution to the age-old territorial dispute. On the diplomatic front, despite the challenging border incidents, such as the recent shooting of a Belize soldier, presumably by Guatemalan civilians, much progress appears to have been made in the peace process this past week as very cordial bilateral meetings took place between high-level teams from both countries under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS). The teams were led by foreign Ministers of both countries; for Belize, Hon. Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington; for Guatemala, Carlos Raul Morales.
  • Fighting Crime & Narco-Trafficking:
    United States Ambassador to Belize H.E. Carlos Moreno and the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow signed the 16th Amendment to the Letter of Agreement (LOA) implementing the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) program through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) on Thursday, April 7, 2016. The U.S. Government has provided over $35 million in programs and grants to Belize through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) since 2008. The current agreement provides USD $6,450,000 in funding to be used for the following projects: Improved Border Inspection, Vetted Units, Capacity Enhancement, Justice Sector Reform, and Community Policing.
    Four ambassadors presented their credentials to the Governor General of Belize H.E. Sir Colville Young on Monday, April 11, 2016 at Belize House in the City of Belmopan. H.E. Aitzaz Ahmed, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, H.E. Yusra Khan, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Ibrahim Obeidat, Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and H.E. Mohamed Saadat, Ambassador of Palestine, all expressed their pleasure in being a representative of their countries in Belize and extended warm greetings to Belize from their respective governments. Each ambassador conveyed his country’s intention to continue to develop and maintain strong associations with Belize.
  • CODICADER comes to BELIZE:
    It’s a big deal, indeed, that Belize is this year hosting the CODICADER (Central American Council of Sports & Recreation) Games. The games themselves will be held from July 6 to 11, 2016, but the official launch took place this past Friday, April 8 at the Marion Jones Sports Complex in Belize City. CODICADER is an organ of the Central American Integration System (SICA) whose goal is to contribute to the strengthening of integration, solidarity and peace between our peoples of member countries which include Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize. The Games will host student athletes between the ages of 6 to 12 years, and the sporting disciplines will be table tennis, football, basketball and volleyball. The competitions will be held across the country simultaneously in Orange Walk, San Ignacio, Belmopan and Belize City.
  • Youth and Community Transformation Project:
    The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, the executing agency for the Youth and Community Transformation (YCT) Project, hosted a ground-breaking ceremony on Monday, April 4, 2016 at the site on Chetumal Street Extension in Belize City for the much anticipated Lake Independence Resource Center (LIRC). Speaking with Channel Five News, Minister of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez stated, “It is a welcomed initiative, in my view. I think that I support it wholly because, by extension, this project is not only for Lake Independence, you know; it is for the south-side. Fortunately enough, Lake Independence had the land space and the infrastructural project running through it, and so it is very welcomed.” In her address at the ground-breaking ceremony, Melissa Miralda, Human Development Coordinator at the Community Rehabilitation Department, remarked, “This is an occasion whose time has come after years of planning and aspirations towards the commencement of this essential facility. I can attest that this dream has been shared by our director, Miss Bradley, for some time now. We dreamt of a space that is protected and safe, that is owned by the community, and where the germination of programs such as sports, arts and culture, literacy and life skills can be honed and shared.”
  • Belize Joins ‘Mesoamerica Without Hunger’:
    In order to strengthen national and local institutional frameworks for food security and family farming, Belize officially joined the ‘Mesoamerica without Hunger’ program. Mesoamerica without Hunger is a South-South cooperation agreement that runs on the Central American countries, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, with the support of FAO and the Government of Mexico, through the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID). In Belize, Mesoamerica without Hunger is oriented in a first phase for the design and development of a pilot experience of sustainable schools in the Toledo district, whose young population is mostly indigenous. coordinates efforts with several Belizean institutions, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. The participation of local farmers as a key role in providing safe and quality food has special emphasis in this process.
  • Major International Recognition for Career Belizean Woman Immigration Officer:
    Belizean Debra Baptist-Estrada was named one of 14 Women of Courage award winners for 2016, the US Department of State reports. Baptist-Estrada was commended by the State Department for her refusal of bribery. In a summary of her biography, the State Department stated, “In an institution largely dominated by men, 20-year Belize Department of Immigration veteran Debra Baptist-Estrada has consistently refused bribes and other incentives to look the other way.” As Port Commander of Belize’s only international airport, Ms. Estrada worked with US officials last spring to crack open a drug and human smuggling operation to the US and Europe.
  • Police Minister Tours Out-District Formations:
    As Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar is currently on a nationwide tour of Police Formations to re-assess and re-evaluate the effectiveness of the Police and explore ways of improving the work of the Department in its fight against crime and its function of increasing safety and security throughout our communities. On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Hon. Saldivar visited the Toledo Formation headquartered in Punta Gorda. He was accompanied by Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie and Southern Region Commander Senior Superintendent Ralph Moody. He inspected a guard of honour and held indoor discussions with local commanders and members of that formation.
  • BELTRAIDE SHOWCASES ITS WORK At Corozal Community College Expo:
    Over 1,000 visitors to the Annual Corozal Junior College (CJC) Business Expo held on Friday 8, 2016 on the school campus in Corozal Town had lots of fun, but they also learnt how BELTRAIDE works in attracting trade investment, as well as trade promotion and facilitation in Belize. Some 31 companies from the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts displayed their wares and information on their products which ranged from candles, food and drinks, arts and crafts, financial, agricultural services and motorcycles among many others. BELTRAIDE was among those exhibiting companies and its booth showcased numerous brochures on the work of its various units.


San Pedro, Belize’s LobsterFest 2016 Is Stacking UP to be HUGE!
On Ambergris Caye, Belize, this is going to be the biggest Lobster Festival on record! In more ways than one… 11 days of events. For the 10th Annual San Pedro LobsterFest. The calendar is already full…as in previous years, a passport will be issued and the more events that you attend? The better chance that you have to win THE GRAND PRIZE. “One lucky participant will win a vacation package for 2 to attend the San Pedro Lobster Festival 2017!!” Not only will it be the longest event of all…but there are some very cool features The Block Party is on the Saturday the 25th and is the biggest event BY FAR. This year there will be VIP seating, so that you can reserve a table for an hour or more. The festival is making all attempts to GO GREEN! Biodegradeable bags and plates are requested from all booths. The clean-up crew is recruiting (as always) – and special LobsterFest T-shirts will be made for the crew. Who wouldn’t want a t-shirt that says San Pedro Lobstah Clean-Up on the back? Or maybe Lobster Clean-Up and Security. I might have to sign up! As always, it will be a full week of fun, music, sun and lots and lots of lobster. The season officially opens June 15th. Here are some pictures from previous years…just to give you a taste.

Gourmet Huevos Rancheros
Heat the tortillas by toasting them one at a time in a dry cast-iron skillet or directly over a gas flame until lightly toasted; Place on a baking sheet, spread each tortilla with ¼ cup of refried beans, and cover to keep warm. Working in batches as needed, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot but not smoking and the foaming has subsided; Crack the eggs directly into the hot butter and reduce the heat to medium-low or low; Fry the eggs, shaking the pan occasionally to keep the eggs from sticking; Season the eggs with salt and pepper; Fry to the desired doneness, about 2 minutes for "sunny-side up," 3 minutes for medium yolks, and 4 minutes for hard yolks; Or, once the whites are just opaque, turn the eggs and cook for 30 seconds more for "over easy," 1 minute more for "over medium," or 2 minutes more for "over hard.".

8 All Inclusive Belize Resorts to Stay in This Summer
Located on the Central American Isthmus between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize has a long coastline along the Caribbean Sea. This tropical nation is a popular visitor destination thanks to its exotic Mayan ruins, vibrant jungles, excellent snorkeling and many other reasons. Read on for information about eight all inclusive resorts to stay at during your summer vacation in Belize!

“Criminal Minds” episode in Belize? It was just criminal
My first inkling that the CBS series “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” dabbles in geographic bullshit was the network press release last week that touted Wednesday’s episode “Love Interrupted” taking place on the island of Belize. It seems an American couple honeymooning on this mythical island is abducted and the FBI’s highly specialized foreign troubleshooting and extraction team drives to Ambergris Caye from the International Airport to rescue them. Yeah, you read that right. Drives to Ambergris Caye. They also rent full-size vehicles here and drive past the rolling hills of AC — on superbly paved roads. One agonized viewer mentioned cannibalism. Anyone know anything about that? Here’s an unintentionally hilarious recap of the episode. Spoiler alert: Includes Aztec warrior methodologies. I’ve got to be honest here. I didn’t watch the episode. We opted to watch the reality-based superhero movie “Deadpool” (with Korean subtitles!) under the stars at The Truck Stop. I’m sure I learned more about super heroes watching “Dead Pool” than anyone learned about Belize while watching that “Criminal Minds” thing. That name, by the way, I’m pretty sure it is has a lot to do with how the show’ perceives its audience’s intelligence.

Simple. Beautiful. Wonderful. Wedding at Grand Caribe and Rain Restaurant, Belize
Last year I photographed one of the most beautiful proposals ever… and I was eagerly waiting for their beautiful wedding… and this past weekend, I captured beautiful moments, full of love and laughter! Surrounded by an intimate group of family and friends, Margo and Larry said “I do” with their feet in sand, and had a day they’ll never forget. Enjoy!

#513097 - 04/15/16 06:54 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 15, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

5 Things You Should Know About Foreign Ownership of Property in Belize
Does the idea of buying and owning property in Belize excite you, but moving abroad feels overwhelming? Relax. By the time you finish this article, you’ll realize that the process of buying a home in Belize is no harder than moving across North America. Ex-pats tell us that it’s often easier thanks to Belize’s open-arms policies that are so inclusive, you may wonder what took you so long to make your move. Choose an established, safe, gated community like Orchid Bay for your new home and whether you buy a villa, a condo or build on a lot, find the good life without spending a fortune in this welcoming land. Here are 5 Things You Should Know About Foreign Ownership of Property in Belize: 1. It’s easier than you imagine to acquire residential property in Belize if you’re a citizen of another nation. There are no purchase restrictions, real estate transactions are conducted in English and even the paperwork is no big deal since Belize’s government is modeled after the British legal system, so you’ll understand every word of the contracts you sign. Ownership rights are exactly the same as they are for Belizean homeowners. 2. It’s more practical than you imagine to buy Belize residential property because new homeowners are entitled to multiple tax breaks when they buy. You’ll have no problem mastering the currency exchange rate ($1 USD to $2 BZD), down payments and deposits are affordable, miscellaneous transfer taxes and fees associated with your purchase are minimal and financing isn’t hard to obtain. Turn to a bank for a loan. If you prefer not to deal with banks, ask about multiple financing options available to you.

Dangerous storms of ignorance
In 2005 and 2006, when we were both Academic Directors at the Vermont-based School for International Training, Dr. Imani Tafari-Ama, a leading Jamaican social scientist, and I co- organized and co-directed a six-week international summer program entitled, “African Spirituality in the Caribbean”. The aim of the program was to engage U. S. university students in rigorous set of academic and experiential learning activities that would enable them to examine the roots, current practices, challenges, and impact of African-based religions in the context of Caribbean culture. A broader goal was to bridge cultural gaps, increase cross-cultural understanding through positive human interactions and diminish the dangerous storms of ignorance that have historically divided, controlled, oppressed and destroyed people of color. The course was born from our academic backgrounds and interests in sociology of religion, psychology of religion, U.S. and Caribbean history, culture and development. During the first three weeks of the course, students were based first at UWI campus in Kingston, Jamaica and then in different rural communities to observe, participate, reflect and analyze their experiences with Rastafarianism, Kumina and other African based spirituality there. In the final three weeks of their course, the student groups (of no more than fifteen each) were based in Dangriga.

Trying to decide between Belize and Panama? Read this to help you decide!
Belize and Panama are both top-rated places where North Americans tend to relocate. Although many places in the Caribbean (islands) are really popular for vacations, there are certain aspects of both Belize and Panama that make them attractive for actual long term living. I wanted to write a post about one person's (opinion) perspective about the pros and cons. **Note, this is not meant to be an extensive review and I did not see the whole country of Panama. This is just meant to be a brief summary of conclusions that one traveler had, after experiencing both places, just meant to give you enough info to see if it might be right for you! Visiting somewhere, you learn more than any history lecture ever could teach!

International Sourcesizz

Martinez Wins LSC Weekly Honors
Belizean athlete, Kaina Martinez, continues to star on the track while studying in the United States. Kaina Martinez receives the honor of Lone Star Conference athlete of the week for the second time this season. Martinez could not be beaten this weekend as she gathered three first place finishes in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and the women's 4x400 meter relay. Martinez ran top times of 11.63 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 24.13 seconds in the 200-meter dash. The senior served as the last leg of the 4x400 relay team and took first place with a time of 3:46.78. LaGae Brigance, Adriana Bonin, and Teandria Taylor were the other members of the relay team. The men are now ranked No. 2 and Texas A&M-Kingsville women are ranked No. 5 after the latest rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association. Both teams will head to Houston, Texas to compete in Rice Twilight Meet hosted by Rice University on April 13.

CSU Projects a Near-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2016
The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season started off with a surprising bang in early January, when Hurricane Alex formed in the far Eastern Atlantic. However, a near-average Atlantic hurricane season is likely in 2016, said the hurricane forecasting team from Colorado State University (CSU) in their latest seasonal forecast issued April 14. Led by Dr. Phil Klotzbach, with special contributions from Dr. Bill Gray, the CSU team is calling for an Atlantic hurricane season with 13 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 93 (these numbers all take Alex into account.) The long-term averages for the period 1971 - 2010 were 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes, and an ACE of 92. The CSU outlook also calls for a 50% chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S. in 2016, with a 30% chance for the East Coast and Florida Peninsula and a 29% chance for the Gulf Coast. The Caribbean is forecast to have a 40% chance of seeing at least one major hurricane. All of these probabilities are very close to the long-term numbers from the last century.

Armed Forces of Belize observe LANG's Vigilant Guard training at Camp Beauregard
Louisiana and the Caribbean country of Belize have worked together for years to trainand better each other. This week, as the Louisiana National Guard hosted the annual Vigilant Guard training, preparing itself for any natural disasters that may appear, Belize did the same in Pineville. Several days of the training went underway at Camp Beauregard's Joint Operations Command, or "JOC." "Scenario right now is Hurricane Zack,” said Willard Conley, Chief of Operations at the Joint Forces Headquarters. National guardsmen from all over Louisiana and the southeast acted out the exact plan of action for if a hurricane were to strike our state. "It's the optimum opportunity for us to be able to perfect what we need to do to be able to respond to the needs of the people of the state of Louisiana,” said Conley.

Shark Ray Alley
There is a lovely little spot in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve where the weather is warm, the waters are crystal clear, and the diving and snorkeling is unparalleled. That is, if you don't mind getting in the water with a hoard of sharks and rays, which you should. Known fittingly as Shark Ray Alley, this popular dive spot is a hotspot for largely harmless nurse sharks and smaller rays. The spot came to be not because of any feature of the environment, but because local fishermen used to come to the spot to clean their catches, filling the waters with morsels that were perfect for the bottom feeding nurse sharks and rays. Soon the animals recognized that they could come to the spot for a reliable meal and returned in droves. Then, in the perfect circle of life, the fishermen got the local dive masters to start coming to site, letting divers get up close and personal with the animals, and actively feeding them to keep them coming back. Nowadays the sharks and rays can actually hear the boats coming and swarm the area when their gravy trains approach. Divers and snorkelers get to jump into the teeming waters to swim alongside the animals, while dive-masters keep them in the area by feeding them. The four-five foot sharks are not really interested in making a meal out of any tourists, but they are sharks nonetheless, so a diving in the area is probably best reserved for those who are not afraid of the animals.

Last Best Place on Earth: Who Will Save the Caribbean’s Great Coral Reef?
Les Kaufman set me straight on the paradox that is Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a cluster of five islands some 50 miles off the coast of Belize in the emerald blue waters of the Caribbean. “Lighthouse Reef is the greatest missed opportunity in the tropical Atlantic for meaningful conservation of a marine site,” Kaufman told me. The Boston University marine biologist has been studying the remote Belizean coral reef since 1996. “It’s a place of drug runners, desperate fishermen and shark finners. It’s like the Wild West out there.” It’s also a wonder. For the second consecutive year, I was spending time at the atoll, snorkeling in deep and shallow waters. Its islands—a part of the Mesoamerican reef system, the world’s second largest — span 26 miles north to south. And at the atoll’s heart is the Blue Hole, a spectacular deep-blue, coral-ringed cavern and shark tank made famous by the French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. “Lighthouse Reef is a global asset for understanding the interplay between climate action and local human impacts,” Kaufman explained. “It’s a sort of regional climate observatory. You are far enough offshore where human impacts are sufficiently reduced, and you have a good chance of the coral community recovering [from periodic climate change-caused bleaching episodes] and becoming quite lush.”

Search for missing Isla Mujeres fishermen suspended
An extensive two-week search for five missing fishermen from Isla Mujeres continues to turn up empty-handed. As of Wednesday April 13, the search for the missing boat and its crew has been suspended, two weeks after they went missing. However, the Quintana Roo state congress has passed a resolution asking the Mexican Navy to restart and intensify the search efforts. The congressional effort, which also asks for help from Mexico’s Secretaría de Gobernación (Interior Secretary) and Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (Foreign Relations Secretary), is being led by Edgar Gasca Arceo, the delegate from Isla Mujeres. On March 30, a local fishing boat, Anastacia, left its dock at Isla Mujeres with five fishermen who set out shark fishing along the Yucatan Channel. The men, who were due to return that afternoon, have not been seen or heard from since. An extensive search has been underway since the morning of March 31 and has included planes, small private boats, large local passenger ferries as well as the US Coast Guard and Fifth Naval Region of the Mexican Navy.

US releases 2015 human rights report
On Wednesday, the US State Department released its 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which include a number of countries in the Caribbean region. Speaking to reporters Secretary of State John Kerry emphasised that the human rights standards referred to the reports are universal standards. “They are not something that we make up. They’re not some arbitrary standard of the United States, which we seek to impose on people. These are universal standards of human rights that have been adopted and accepted and are agreed to by most nations in the world, and even some nations that have agreed to them but violate them. These are the international standards,” he said. He pointed out that respecting human rights is not just a moral obligation; it’s an opportunity to harness the full energy of a country’s population in building a cohesive and prosperous society. Countries that suppress freedom of expression, for example, are less likely to have economies that innovate, diversify, and grow. Unsurprisingly, two regional countries – Cuba and Venezuela – were specifically highlighted in the report’s introduction.

Land tenure still a challenge for women in Latin America
Rural women in Latin America continue to face serious obstacles to land tenure, which leave them vulnerable, despite their growing importance in food production and food security. “Women are the most vulnerable group of people with respect to the question of land tenure,” Soledad Parada, a gender adviser in the regional office of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in the Chilean capital, told IPS. She added that “in general, the activities carried out to improve the land tenure situation have failed to take women into account.” As a result, “women have access to land through inheritance or because they were granted it by an agrarian reform programme, but they are always at a disadvantage,” she said.

How Ginger Destroys Colon, Prostate and Ovarian Cancer Better Than Chemotherapy
Ginger has been part of natural medicine for centuries. In fact, this powerful root has been used for treatment of many diseases owing to its numerous medicinal properties. Even modern science has recognized the health benefits ginger provides. Ginger contains gingerols, paradols, and shagaols, all of which are anticancer compounds, as found in a study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology. A number of other studies have also confirmed that ginger is extremely efficient in destroying cancer cells in prostate, ovarian, and colorectal cancer. Moreover, some believe that the anticancer properties of ginger may be even stronger than chemotherapy. An American study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that ginger extract (zingiber officinale Roscoe) can stop the development of prostate cancer cells in humans when ingested at a daily dose of 100mg per kg of body weight. The results showed that ginger extract reduced prostate cancer growth in about 56% of subjects. The researchers estimated that eating 100g fresh ginger a day will give the same results in an adult weighing 70kg.


  • Belizean partners discuss the UCF REU, 3min. Our Belizean partners, the University of Belize and the Pan American Development Foundation, discuss the power and potential for international collaboration in community GIS and citizen science!

  • DHOP Belize 2016, 3min. Dental Humanitarian Outreach Program DHOP Belize 2016 Music: A Beautiful Life by Tim McMorris.

  • Belize Trip 2016- Ready, Set, Rum!, 4min. UWRF Study Abroad Belize Trip March 8, 2016-March 20, 2016

  • 2th April, 2016 LIfe Uncommon, 68min.

  • 20,000 STRONG 2016, 6.5min. Wow! Great footage, some done with a drone, great music, and the best audio bites too. This is a must see video. Thank you, Special Envoy for Women and Children! "The second national 20,000 Women's Empowerment Rally held in Belize City on March 11th, 2016."

  • Belize May 2015, 3.5min. Mom and Jamie's trip to Belize

  • Belize Highlights, 3min.

  • NEF, 1.5min. Nelson Fuller Tribute song and slide--Internation Caribbean Style Red Carpet event April 2016

  • Shark Ray Alley - Hol Chan Marine Reserve - Ambergris Caye, Belize, 3min. Close up with the nurse sharks in Belize.

  • Crikozeen Belize 3 22 2016, 8min. Crikozeen on the Turneffe Atoll, with Belize Dive Connection.

  • Belize 2015, 3min. A collection of videos from my 5th year in Seine Bight

  • La Ruta Maya. Guatemala, Mexico & Belize - Travel Snapshots HD., 15min. Travel Snapshots of La Ruta Maya visiting Guatemala, Mexico & Belize.

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