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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

Congratulations Faith Noel
Miss San Pedro High School 2016-17!

Forest Department to cease future parrot registrations
Effective October 31, 2016, the Forest Department will no longer be accepting applications for ownership of parrots as pets. The announcement was made on Monday, April 25th when personnel from the Forest Department visited Ambergris Caye and conducted an inspection on different households with parrots. The inspection also served to assess the conditions and housing of parrots kept as pets by island residents. The team from the Forest Department reported a successful inspection indicating that parrot owners were abiding by the rules and the birds were in good conditions. However, the need to put an end to the issuing of permits for parrots is crucial as this practice is dramatically affecting the wild parrots’ population in the country. Effective October 31, 2016, the Forest Department will no longer be accepting applications for ownership of parrots as pets. The announcement was made on Monday, April 25th when personnel from the Forest Department visited Ambergris Caye and conducted an inspection on different households with parrots.

Taiwan donates two Helicopters to Belize
The highly anticipated development of a Belize Air Force is showing signs of a positive start, as on Wednesday, April 27th, the Belize Defence Force (BDF) officially received two UH-1H helicopters from the Republic of China (Taiwan). The helicopters, better known as Hueys, are the most widely used military helicopters around the world, with a capacity of up to thirteen passengers. The helicopters will primarily be used to deploy and evacuate troops along the border, crack down on illegal drug and human trafficking, and assist civilians in emergency situations. The handing over of the aircrafts took place shortly after 10AM at the BDF headquarters in Ladyville. Present at the ceremony was Belize’s Minister of National Security Honourable John Saldivar, Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Benjamin Ho, BDF Commandant Brigadier General David Jones, along with high ranking military officials from both Belize and Taiwan.

PASA Belize Ltd cleans up spilled garbage
Reynaldo Hernandez, PASA’s Manager, visited Ambergris Caye after the incident to ensure certain mechanisms were in place to avoid a similar incident. During his visit, he spoke with The San Pedro Sun about the issue and what they are doing to be more effective in the future. “We have come up with a backup plan in order to respond more efficiently in the future,” said Hernandez. “The plan is to bring additional equipment from the mainland to have readily available if similar events like this occur. This will speed our response to any accidents that involve the threat of solid waste materials.” He added that the plan of action is in its development stage and once complete, the local municipal authorities will be notified about it. It is expected that the idea will also allow the involvement of local authorities in working together with PASA to assist them whenever it may be necessary.

BNTU launches “Stand Up for Belize” campaign
On Friday, April 15th, over a thousand teachers from the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) gathered in Benque Viejo Del Carmen to launch their “Stand Up for Belize” campaign. The main focus of this campaign was to spread awareness on the Belize/Guatemala territorial claim. BNTU national president Luke Palacio suggested that in reference to the dispute, the curriculum taught in Belizean schools should be changed. “We don’t want to hear that half of the Sarstoon doesn’t belong to us anymore. What is geography? Do you still have 8,867 square miles of area? Are we still located at longitude so-and-so? We need to get these things back into our classrooms if our Belizean children will learn to love and appreciate this country.”

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Wil Maheia and BTV stopped
Full contingent of battle ready Belizean troops and security personnel prevented Wil Maheia and BTV from advancing even to the pier in Barranco. Sarstoon off limits to any and all Belizeans. Our military must seek permission as well.

Help Save the Yellow-Headed Parrot
Want to help save a Globally Endangered Species? We have just the opportunity for you! If you know anyone that would like to help, please share.

Channel 7

GOB: Hell No Will Won't Go!
The Government of Belize has shut the door on the Sarstoon River tonight. It did so by hastily signing into law a very unusual regulation – one which makes it illegal for civilians to go into the Sarstoon River for a whole month! It's a statutory instrument under section 2 of The Public Safety Act, signed and put into effect today by the Governor General. Of course, the law is all about stopping Wil Maheia and the Territorial Volunteers from going down the Sarstoon tomorrow. Now, it's the first time we have seen a law, which seeks to restrict the movement of citizens, outside of a curfew. But here's what it says: "regulations made by the Governor-General, being satisfied that a state of civil commotion which threatens the public safety is likely to arise within the area prescribed by these regulations." And the area prescribed is the Sarstoon River. The law says that for one month, quote, "No person shall…without lawful authority, enter into, move within, or exit form the prescribed area or any part thereof. Operate any vehicle or vessel within that area, carry out or threaten to carry out any act of intimidation violence or other disorderly conduct within the prescribed area."

Will Still Set On Volunteers' Expedition
That's a pretty stiff deterrent to those dozens of folks planning to join Wil Maheia on his Sarstoon sojourn tomorrow. But, with the law in place, will the expedition still happen? That's what Daniel Ortiz asked him via telephone today:… Wil Maheia - Leader, BTV: "I'm stunned that such a law was put in place given the fact that Guatemalans continue to use that part of the river and our southern cayes to conduct illegal activities. So I am stunned that we a peaceful group, non-violent, no arms, nothing like that. We will take with us nothing like that so I'm stunned that the law could apply against us on peaceful move." Daniel Ortiz: "Is the trip still going?" Wil Maheia - Leader, BTV: "As of now the trip is still going sir." Still going, and he's not alone. Maheia says that supporters are heading down south by the busload to the launching point at Barranco.

PUP Pillories Government For Sarstoon Law
But the PUP is not convinced. The Party issued a release today condemning the new law – which marks a change of course for the party after it had been taking a bi-partisan approach to Belize-Guatemala affairs. But, according to a statement from the PUP today, Opposition Leader John Briceno told the Prime Minister Dean Barrow, quote, “that the PUP does not support this draconian measure.” The statement says the party is appalled at the new law, which it calls, “retrograde and highly prejudicial.” The party warns, quote, “preventing Belizeans from entering Belize’s portion of (the Sarstoon)…may be viewed in law as acquiescence by Belize to Guatemala’s assertion of sovereignty over the entire Sarstoon.” It adds, quote, “the regulation only serves to embolden Guatemala and harden its resolve to assert sovereignty over the entire Sarstoon.” End quote.

Baroness Scotland Met With PM About Commonwealth's Standing Ministerial Committee on Belize
And as we told you last night, the newly elected Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, is in country. It's her first stop on a tour of the Commonwealth Caribbean. She's had a very busy itinerary of activities while in Belize, headlined by a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Apart from exchanging courtesies, the Prime Minister used the visit to advance Belize's cause. The PM wants Scotland to convene a meeting of the Commonwealth's Standing Ministerial Committee on Belize. About 2 and a half hours ago, the Secretary General fit a quick press briefing into her schedule, and she discussed a bit of today's conversation with PM. Here's what she had to say: Baroness Patricia Scotland - Secretary General, Commonwealth: "I have had a long and in-depth very fruitful conversation with the Prime Minister. I am going to relay what is happening here in Belize to the other members of the Commonwealth. As you know there is a committee which has been created to deal particularly with this matter between Belize and Guatemala and there is an opportunity to call a committee meeting before September and I have indicated to the Prime Minister that I am willing to do that, particularly as a result of the details that I have now been able to call from this visit but also from what I've seen for myself. And so when I go back, I will be asking the committee to reform."

Cayo District Records Third Murder in 10 Hours
Right now, Belmopan Police are investigating the early morning murder of 55 year-old Jelion De Leon, a Naturalized Belizean from Camalote who was killed about a mile away from his home. His body was discovered just after midnight last night front of the Cedar Hill Ranch. We have been reliably informed that he left his house yesterday evening, and about 8 hours later, the watchman of this farm heard the guard dogs barking. Shortly after that, he heard several gunshots. When he looked out, he saw a white pickup parked at the entrance here. The police were called in, and they found De Leon's body, here, at the corner of the fence. He had what appeared to be a large cut wound to the neck, and gunshot wounds to head and left shoulder. The white vehicle, a Dodge Dakota extra-cab, which the watchman saw before the gunshots, was also found parked next to the body. Today, we spoke to his family who told us that they are unable to grant any interviews to the press because it is too emotional for them at this time. We've learned that De Leon was originally from El Salvador.

Police Confirm Double Murder Victims Were Guats
And that was the third murder in the Cayo district in 10 hours. At 2:00 pm, two Guatemalan men were executed outside San Ignacio. They are 52 year old Santos Ramon Gonzalez Gomez and 37 year old Orlando Antonio Garcia Calletel. As we told you yesterday, police found their bodies on a feeder road between miles 69 & 70 on the George Price Highway. Both men were shot to the back of the head. Police believe they were killed as a result of drug transaction gone bad. Police also told us that one of the men is a known drug trafficker from Peten who regularly smuggles drugs into Belize. In fact, this same feeder road is a known drug drop off spot. Police also suspect that these 2 men were the ones they busted a month ago with 135 pounds of weed and a pump action shotgun –but they escaped that time, leaving police with the drugs and weapon.

Police Arrest Coro Killer
Police in the north have arrested and charged 22 year old Angel Cahueque for the murder of Gilberto Najarro. Earlier in the week we told you about 43 year old Gilberto Najarro, a farmer of Paraiso Village, Corozal who was shot and killed while working at a cane field. It happened on Monday morning but the dispute that led to the murder began unfolding on Sunday. Two men had approached Najarro at a farm in Pariaso and accused him of stealing their bicycles. They threatened to hurt him, and it seems one of them kept his word, because the very next day one of those men returned and shot Najarro dead. 4 days later police have charged the suspected shooter. Today Angel Cahueque appeared before Magistrate Hamilton in Orange walk where he was arraigned for three charges. They are: murder, aggravated assault, and possession of controlled drugs. Police say that Cahueque had been hiding at his sister's home in Corozal. His sister was cautioned but was not charged for aiding and abetting. Cahueque has since been remanded to prison and will remain there until October when he is to return to court.

Are Guatemalan Officials Undermining Confidence Building Measures?
Since last week, we've been closely following the spike in tensions between Belize and Guatemala. That happened shortly after the BDF shot and killed 13 year-old Guatemalan Julio Alvarado Ruano in the Chiquibul on last Wednesday evening. The BDF soldiers say that they came under fire in the darkness, half a kilometre inside Belize; they were forced to return fire to defend themselves. Guatemala has condemned the fatal shooting as "murder" – and suggested that it was somehow a calculated act. Now, so the OAS will have to investigate and determine who is at fault. But, one element of the tensions, which we've not explored, yet is the strong language that the Guatemalan leaders have used in their comments to their Guatemalan press. It's the strongest language we've seen in a long time, but did they go too far? Today, Daniel Ortiz took a closer look at the rules of the Confidence Building Measures which Guatemala's officials appear to have violated with their emotive language:

Loggerhead Goes Long Distance For Turtle Telephone Directory
BTL's 2016 telephone directory was released today – and this year Oceana snagged the cover page for an endangered turtle species, in this case, a logger head turtle. The media was invited for the big reveal at the BTL Office on Church Street today: Cindy Blanco - Senior PR, BTL: "This new directory is very exciting; it's one like never before. We've joined OCEANA this year in raising awareness of Belize's endangered species." Jannelle Chanona - VP, OCEANA Belize: "As we all know these books will be used in about every home, office, hotel room and schools in Belize; possibly some cars and boats along the way too. Our hope is that when you see the image about to be unveiled, you'll be inspired to do whatever you can; ask questions, get informed. OCEANA is especially grateful that this year's book includes additional material about Belize's endangered species in the all about Belize section. Speak up for those species, speak up for yourself."

Belize's Role In The Commonwealth
Earlier in the news, we showed you the press conference hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland. As we told you, she's in Belize until next week Monday, and during that that time, she has a packed schedule of activities. So, what's the importance of her visit? That's what we asked, and she told us what role she sees for Belize in the Commonwealth at this time: Baroness Patricia Scotland - Secretary General, Commonwealth: "As you know Belize is a very valued member of the Commonwealth and I promised myself that as soon as I became Secretary General, Belize would be one of the first places that I would come. Belize has a proud history of in support of the Commonwealth and has been a very active member; and of course I'm very grateful for all the support that Belize has given both the Commonwealth and myself.

The Jazzfest Jones Continues
So you saw all the engaging and exciting performances from our Belizean musicians at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, last night you also saw the cultural demonstrators and their art displays. But what is happening back stage? What’s the first time experience in New Orleans like for these bands? That’s what we captured last weekend – here’s the story:… And tune in next week to see the final parts of the New Orleans feature series.

Mayflower Colors Belize In a Riot Of Pink
And in our last newscast for April, we celebrate the riot of pink that the Mayflower gives us at this time of year. Yes, the tree scientifically known as Tabebuia Rosea, and its wonderfully intense flowering period in April and May colours the Belizean landscape in varying tones from pink to purple, even fuschia sometimes. And it's hard not to notice in the city where the otherwise dreary urban landscape is punctuated by this proliferation of pink. And part of the beauty, is that it'll all be gone in a few weeks, and that evanescence makes Mayflower-power even more special to behold. So to indulge a little more in our Friday muse, we sought the professional view of Lascelle Tillett. He owns one of the longest established tour operating companies in Belize and he has learnt a lot about the majestic and surprisingly mysterious May-flower. Lascelle Tillet - Owner, S&L Tours: "The genus name is Bignoniaceae and the Tabebuia rosea commonly called Mayflower. It originated in South America but now it's very common in Central America and the West Indies. Its grows a lot for shade and the rare thing about it is most of the hardwood trees they drop all their leaves to save water so it can germinate and in the rainy season when its ready but this guy drops it leaves and put flowers out which is very rare because it should be de-seeding but it has flowers. It has a first blooming around February which is like a falls bloom and then end of April and May that's the highest bloom it has."


Sarstoon River, here we come!
Since Prime Minister Dean Barrow called off a Belize Coast Guard reconnaissance mission from Sarstoon Island last May, he has been faced with the pressing urgency of the Sarstoon River flashpoint, where Guatemala has been exercising de facto sovereignty by its military presence in Belizean territory. Guatemala’s military presence on the Sarstoon River and threats made that it would enforce its “ownership” of the island and river has hardly been a deterent to the nationalist Wil Maheia, founder and leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV). On Monday, no less than Prime Minister Barrow warned Maheia and his territorial volunteers not to venture onto the Sarstoon—not until some protocols are worked out, he pleaded. Today, Belize government officials; the Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, Rear Admiral John Borland; Belize Defence Force Commander, Brigadier General David Jones; and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Sylvester, met with Maheia in Punta Gorda, the home of the BTV.

Crown loses $291,000 Treasury theft case
Three women walked out of the Supreme Court today free of the indictments for theft and handling stolen goods in respect of $291,022.36 that had gone missing from the government pension fund of the Treasury Department between September 2007 and May 2009. Monica Escarpeta, 31, a second class clerk at the Treasury Department; her mother, Yvonne Bevans, 60; and Rhea Pennill, 34, were initially arraigned on theft and handling stolen goods charges in July 2009, and in November 2010, after a preliminary inquiry at the Magistrate’s Court. In a Supreme Court trial which has been going on for over two months now, the government’s case against the three accused women came to a screeching halt when Supreme Court Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez upheld a no case to answer submission from defense attorney Anthony Sylvestre, Jr., and instructed the 9-member jury to return formal not guilty verdicts this morning. Escarpeta, a second class clerk at the Treasury Department, was charged with the theft of $291,022.36; Bevans was booked on a charge of handling stolen goods in respect of $12, 472.30 of the missing Treasury Department pension money, and Pennill was also charged with handling stolen goods for $151,967.

Life in prison for the murder of a young mother
Osmar Sabido, 28, of Orange Walk Town, who was on trial in the Supreme Court for killing his girlfriend, Christy Carrasco, 22, was yesterday found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Herbert Lord. Sabido, who was on remand for the murder since 2011, was returned to his cell at the Belize Central Prison, where he will serve his lifetime sentence. Sabido’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, told the media that it was Christy who pulled the knife and tried to stab Sabido after they had a quarrel. Sabido claimed that she stabbed herself while trying to stab him during a struggle between them. Justice Lord did not buy the self-defense story, however, and found Sabido guilty of murder. However, Selgado said that Sabido has grounds for an appeal.

2 Guats found dead in drug deal gone bad
Two men were found dead this afternoon on a dirt road between the community of San Francisco, in Belize, located 15 kilometers from the border with Melchor de Mencos, Petén, and Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District. The men were Guatemalans, and one was identified as Santos Ramon Gonzalez Gomez, 59, of Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. The other man has not yet been identified. Reports are that Gomez had been shot in the head and body, while the other man was shot multiple times in the body. Belize police were called to the area at about 2:00 this afternoon. Superintendent Richard Rosado, Commander of San Ignacio police, said that they are confident that the deaths were drug-related — the result of a drug deal that went wrong.

Chief Justice will decide if Guardian witchcraft article libeled Iris Myrtle Palacio
The attorneys in the libel claim brought by Iris Myrtle Palacio, the former Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) Secretary General, against Alfonso Noble and the Guardian newspaper, the official organ of the governing United Democratic Party (UDP), made their final oral submissions in the Supreme Court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this afternoon. Palacio is claiming that an article, which was captioned “PUP Secretary General endorses the use of witchcraft in politics,” along with an accompanying cartoon, captioned “PUP election preparation,” which depicts Palacio chopping off the head of a chicken, published in the Guardian December, 2014, had defamed her character. Chief Justice Benjamin has indicated to the parties that he will issue his ruling on June 29. When the case first came up and both the defendant and the claimant took the witness stand to tell their side of the story, the defense had played for the court a segment of the PUP Positive Vibes television talk show on which Palacio was a guest and had uttered certain comments that the defense pounced upon as fair comment.

HIV-related deaths peak at 110
For the first time in at least 4 years, HIV-related deaths in Belize have hit a triple-digit high, with 110 such deaths reported for 2015, according to a report recently released by the Ministry of Health. By comparison, 119 lives were claimed in Belize due to murder that same year, and just as murder strikes at the heart of Belize’s productive male population, so too does HIV. Health authorities hope, though, that more men could be engaged in early testing and treatment to reduce the incidences of death from the virus. Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, told Amandala that the ministry hopes to be able to engage more men in prevention and treatment initiatives and find more creative ways of reaching them after traditional work hours, perhaps meeting them at recreation spots. Manzanero also underscored the need for early detection. He said that people are showing up with the virus in later stages of infection, which makes it hard to battle.

High School Cycling Series, Week 1 results
The C-Ray Cycling Club’s High School Series kick-started last Thursday, April 21, inside the Marion Jones Sports Complex with eight participating high schools from the Belize District: SJC, E.P. Yorke, Sadie Vernon, Excelsior, Wesley College, ACC, Maud Williams and Gwen Lizarraga. Each school was allowed to register 18 student athletes – 9 female and 9 male. A total of 104 student athletes registered to compete in the races – 37 female and 67 male. These races came about in an effort to encourage higher female participation in the sport of cycling. Currently, the female field is very small and, hopefully, by introducing cycling as a high school sport, the numbers will grow, and the field will eventually become significantly bigger. The C-Ray Cycling Club provides road bikes for all participants who do not have one to race on, as well as helmets. There are three categories: Female Category; Male Category “A” – all students who are currently riding in junior races; and Male Category “B” – students who are not riding junior races. The male student athletes were divided so as to promote healthy competition between students who have never raced before, and not have them going up against seasoned junior cyclists.

Flashback 1975-76! High drama at the MCC!!
Amandala sports desk “inducts” Cristobal Mayen and Raymond Alvarez into its Amandala-Belize Football Hall of Fame. Appearing as a guest on KREM WUB this morning with host Nuri Muhammad was one Armando “Mandy” Gomez, who presently heads the Orange Walk ITVET, a model of educational excellence in its own right. It was an interesting and informative show, focusing on the upcoming Open Day tomorrow, Friday, at the Orange Walk ITVET. But what sparked some flashbacks in my football memories, was the name Mandy Gomez. That name, along with one of the most renowned football superstars of his day, Raymond “El Toro” Alvarez, is forever etched in my mind on a moment in time and space that has to be one of the most dramatic happenings in the heyday of football’s glory days at the MCC Grounds, then aptly dubbed “The Garden” by Amandala in deference to its beautifully manicured green turf, the special responsibility of full time groundskeeper Terrence “T.J.” Jones, who restricted all traffic and activity during the week except for nurturing and trimming the grass, or occasionally rolling the turf to keep the surface smooth and welcoming to the passes of football stars come Sunday and another offering of “Fire on the Barracks”.

Central Zone tops medals count at NSSSA Track & Field Championships
The Central Zone won the most medals, 56, when the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) held its athletics championships, hosted by Independence High School in Independence Village on Saturday, April 23. Central won 22 gold, 22 silver and 14 bronze medals, while the Southern Zone was 2nd with 45 medals – 17 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze. The Northern Zone was 3rd with 24 medals – 5 gold, 9 silver and 10 bronze. The Western Zone was 4th with 23 medals – 5 gold, 8 silver and 10 bronze. Central Zone: Maud Williams High’s Hillary Gladden won 3 golds – in the junior 100 meters in 13.89 seconds; the junior 200m in 29.91 seconds; and she was part of the Central girls team (including Brianna Gillett, SCA’s Allyssa Ellis and Nicole Neal) who won the junior 4x100m relay in 1:01.48. Anglican Cathedral College’s Shala Smith also won 3 golds – in the junior 800m in 3:23.42; in the junior 1500m in 6:49.97; and in the 4x400m junior relay.

Weekend Cycling
C-Ray Cycling Club, in conjunction with Smart, held a race on Sunday, April 24. The race started and finished at Leslie’s Imports at Mile 2 on the George Price Highway. The Elite race started at 8:00 a.m. 30 cyclists travelled to Mile 35 and back. Juniors, Female and Masters raced together; 13 cyclists started at 8:05 a.m. and travelled to La Democracia and back. The results (including prizes) are as follows: Elite – 1st place Giovanni Lovell (Digicell, $350.); 2nd Henry Moreira (Smart, $250.); 3rd Tarique Flowers (Benny’s, $150.); 4th Phillip Leslie (Benny’s, $100.); 5th David Henderson (Benny’s, $75.); 6th Joel Borland (Digicell); 7th Erwin Middleton (Digicell); 8th Quinton Hamilton (Unattached); 9th Angel Tzib (Becol); 10th Mark Staine (Smart).

Thirty Eight (38) junior tennis players competed this weekend at the Pickwick Club Tennis Courts, but this time in the red, orange and lime green categories, respectively. In the lime green category, Blake Lee played Alex Musa, and Jared Mena played Nisani Mendez in the semifinals, having scored four highest in the round robin. Jared Mena and Blake Lee made it to the finals, with Mena taking the victory over Lee, 4-2. In the orange category, Daniel Musa and Ryan Usher topped the round robin, and in the finals, Musa defeated Usher, 15-9, to take the victory. The red category had twenty (20) kids, hailing from St. Mary’s Primary School, Horizon Academy, Hummingbird Elementary School and Belize Elementary School.
Thirty Eight (38) junior tennis players competed this weekend at the Pickwick Club Tennis Courts, but this time in the red, orange and lime green categories, respectively. In the lime green category, Blake Lee played Alex Musa, and Jared Mena played Nisani Mendez in the semifinals, having scored four highest in the round robin. Jared Mena and Blake Lee made it to the finals, with Mena taking the victory over Lee, 4-2. In the orange category, Daniel Musa and Ryan Usher topped the round robin, and in the finals, Musa defeated Usher, 15-9, to take the victory. The red category had twenty (20) kids, hailing from St. Mary’s Primary School, Horizon Academy, Hummingbird Elementary School and Belize Elementary School.

A battle for Belize
We had said to Belizeans in the United States a few weeks ago that they were in a mighty strategic location to assist the cause of Belize, because they were in a position to influence public opinion in the United States of America, planet earth’s superpower. The great majority of Belizeans in America are where they very much wanted to be, and where most of them would like to stay. It is in the nature of a sacrifice for Belizeans in America to get involved in the affairs of Belize, so when Belizeans in Los Angeles demonstrate this Saturday morning, April 30, in front of the Guatemalan Embassy there, we Belizeans at home must appreciate this gesture and their sacrifice. The Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs has embassies and consular offices in the major cities in the United States, and has been in the best position of any local institution to alert Belizeans in the diaspora to incidents of increasing Guatemalan aggression. When the Guatemalan president, Jimmy Morales, began a troop buildup on his nation’s border with Belize and threatened to discipline Belize because of an incident less than 24 hours before in which a 13 year old Guatemalan from the Peten was slain by Belize Defence Force (BDF) bullets, the nation of Belize went into shock because of the suddenness and ferocity of the Guatemalan president’s threats.

From the Publisher
One of the ways you can know when politicians are going great guns, as we would say, is when they can get away with accusing their opponent/enemy of crimes of which they themselves are guilty. The Guatemalan government scored such a great regional and international propaganda victory the last few days of last week that their President, their Foreign Minister, and their recalled Ambassador to Belize were all accusing Belize of being a human rights violator, and they were getting away with it. Imagine. More than that, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister was sailing on such a fair wind that he could become patronizing, and actually suggest that the Belize army (the Belize Defence Force) needed training from the British and the Americans. One of the big reasons Belize achieved independence in September of 1981 was precisely because Guatemala, a racist, genocidal Central American republic, had been exposed early in 1980 for what she was when the Guatemalan army and police bombed and burned the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City with forty or fifty Spanish officials, Indigenous protesters, and university students inside.

Letter to the Editor: Shoulder to shoulder!
Dear Editor, Belize last faced a major military threat from Guatemala in 1977, when approximately 8,000 to 10, 000 troops amassed on the border in preparation for an impending invasion. The British troops stationed in Belize at the time and the Belize Volunteer Guard started to prepare defensive positions in order to block this invasion. Fortunately, this invasion did not materialize and an uncertain peace returned to Belize. This year, 39 years after the last major Guatemalan offensive, we are once again threatened with the buildup of troops on the Western and Southern borders of Belize. Although the numbers are not those seen in 1977, the alleged troop movement is still significant enough to cause concern among Belizeans. The only organizations that stand between the Guatemalan military and the people of Belize are the brave soldiers of the Belize Defence Force and the brave sailors of the Belize Coast Guard. These young warriors maintain vigilance on the borders every day of the year and stand prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for us, the Belizean people.

Letter to the Editor: Eggs and tomatoes
Dear Sir, Throwing eggs or tomatoes at politicians perceived as having behaved badly is Britain’s most traditional form of political protest. In Belize, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is our nation’s Head of State, and her representative is the Governor-General, Sir Colville Young. Belize also emulates Britain by practicing the Westminster model of government, and its parliamentary form. The list of British politicians who have either been egged or tomatoed, or both, by the British people, include Prime Minister David Cameron, his predecessors Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher (she was daffodil-ed), John Major and Tony Blair, as well as Blair’s Deputy, John Prescott. Other notable political figures incurring the wrath of the British people and subjected to similar treatment include cabinet ministers such as Michael Heseltine, Norman Tebbit, Nick Brown and Ruth Kelly. Even party leaders such as Labour’s Ed Milliband, the BNP’s Nick Griffin and UKIP’s Nigel Farage, as well as the Labour grandee, Peter Mandelson, and the politician, George Galloway, have not been immune from this very practical and eloquent form of protest.

Battle for Sarstoon, Battle for Belize – a test of will
Everybody knows that Guatemala can overrun Belize militarily anytime it wishes. At a cost, no doubt, both in casualties (BDF soldiers will not just lie down and surrender, and they are known sharpshooters) and in their international image, where the stark violation of international law and code of conduct in the League of Nations is concerned. Its pariah status would be effectively confirmed and broadcast to the world. But so is the image of Israel, a very close ally of Guatemala, and they seem not to be bothered by that. They still have the support of the USA. But there is something else, which has heretofore not been brought up; so said C.B. Hyde today. At the time Belize became independent, it almost immediately became a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. So that, although we say we are “independent,” the Queen of England is still our official “Head of State,” represented in Belize by the Governor General.

We Told You So!
In my last article to the Amandala on January 3 of this year entitled TENSION AT THE SARSTOON, I quoted from a report by Professor Paul W. Kahan who teaches constitutional law at several Ivy League universities in the U.S.A. and is considered an esteemed tutor in law. The quote was: “A state that will no longer assert power to defend its border is unlikely to continue as a state. The enemy penetrates its border.” There is no evidence that I know of to suggest that the present behavior of the Republic of Guatemala is a direct result of Belizeans who have exercised their right to move about freely within our territorial limits. However, there are an abundance of examples that this is the modus operandi of that Republic; especially when there is a change of government. Guatemala has insulted, embarrassed and humiliated Belize and Belizeans for many decades. They have issued stamps, maps, passports claiming our country as part of theirs. They have forced our diplomats out of regional meetings as they did with Belize’s High Commissioner to the U.K., Viscountess Ursula Barrow-Waverley, daughter of the late Raymond Barrow, whom the Guatemalans “forced” the Greek government to disallow Her Excellency to attend a European Union meeting of the San Jose X held in Athens 28 & 29 March 1994.

Armed attacks upon BDF led to 10 fatal shootings of Guatemalans: Commander David Jones
On Friday, Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement listing the names of 10 Guatemalans who had reportedly lost their lives “at the hands of the Belize Defence Force” over the past 17 years—five of the deaths occurred between 1999 and 2001 and the other five between 2012 and 2016. Belize Defence Force (BDF) Commander, Brigadier General David Jones, said at a press conference held in Belize City this morning that on every occasion, the shooting deaths were acts of self-defense. Belizean soldiers had only responded after coming under attack from Guatemalans, Jones asserted. Of note is that most of the incidents happened inside the Chiquibul, in the Cayo District—Belize’s most prized forest where Guatemalans, who enter the country illegally, are regularly caught setting up illegal dwellings, panning for gold, extracting hardwoods such as cedar and mahogany, hunting wildlife, poaching the protected scarlet macaw, and extracting xaté palm leaves—pillaging resources to the tune of millions of dollars each year for which Belize has received no compensation.

CARICOM bloc signs and 5 member states ratify historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change
Fourteen CARICOM nations, with only the exclusion of Montserrat, a British overseas territory, have joined 160 countries and the European Union in signing the historic Paris Agreement on Friday, April 22, according to a listing of the signing ceremony published by the United Nations. The participation of 175 signatories far exceeded the historical record for first-day signatures to an international agreement, a UN report said. “The world will have met the requirement needed for the Paris Agreement to enter into force,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “if all 175 Parties that have signed today take the next step at the national level and join the Agreement.” “Fifteen countries submitted their ratifications during the signing ceremony including small island developing countries that are on the frontlines of climate impacts,” the report added.

Guatemalan wanted BDF Sergeant Lambey dead: OAS unofficial report
On March 26, 2016, BDF Staff Sergeant Richard Lambey was shot three times as he led a patrol to a water source near Valentin Camp in the Chiquibul forest, in Belizean territory. A report dated March 31, 2016, by the BDF to the Ministry of National Security, claimed that the patrol was ambushed by 7 armed men believed to be Guatemalan nationals. On April 20, 2016, seven BDF soldiers and seven FCD rangers were destroying farms within Belizean territory in the Cebada area when they came under fire. The patrol returned fire and, unfortunately, a 13-year-old Guatemalan minor was killed. Yesterday, Wednesday, with regards to the death of the Guatemalan minor, the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, announced in a press release that, “he will proceed immediately with the identification and deployment of the appropriate experts to carry out the investigation as soon as possible.”

Money movements by travellers to and from Belize subject to new laws
Over the past two months, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) wrapped up two court cases in which a total of four persons were fined for attempting to leave the country with a huge stash of cash without making the necessary declarations to Belizean authorities. In the first instance, Manish Perswani had BZ$37,000 seized from him after pleading guilty on March 8, 2016, to trying to leave Belize with US$47,100, according to an official source. Perswani had declared that he was leaving Belize with more than BZ$10,000 but still violated the ban Belize has had on travellers taking more than BZ$20,000 in cash out of the country. Police reportedly nabbed him at the Philip Goldson International Airport after finding him with the money, along with smaller amounts of cash in other currencies. In the second instance, Maria Jose del Valle Rosado was nabbed along with Nair Balam and Wilfredo Catzim, before their flight out of Belize. Rosado allegedly had on her US$137,130, while Balam had on him US$9,900 and Catzim US$9,800. Initially, they pled not guilty to failure to declare their cash but returned to court on April 15, 2016 with a guilty plea.

The Reporter

Authorities detain boat captains in BTV excursion to Sarstoon
Belizean law enforcement authorities have detained three boat captains who were about to take an excursion to Sarstoon Island on Saturday morning. The Belize Coast Guard detained the boat captains on grounds that they did not possess proper documentation to operate a boat. After their trip was halted, a few of the civilians who were on the excursion started to walk in the Sarstoon River towards Sarstoon Island. They returned about an hour later with a canoe, presumably used by Guatemalans to fish illegally in our waters.

Man shot dead on CA Blvd
Unofficial but reliabe reports reaching the Weekend Reporter Online indicate a man was shot dead on the Central American Boulevard in Belize City. The information is that the incident happened shortly after 6:00 p.m., and the victim is Keon “Gambis” Williams, a member of the Supaul Street gang.

COLA calls for national shutdown following GOB’s ban against Belizeans in the Sarstoon
The group, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) has condemned the government’s new legislation, banning Belizeans from visiting the Sarstoon. The group has called for a national shutdown, describing the new legislation “a ‘knee jerk’ law” and “a gross act of cowardice.” COLA views GOB’s latest action as a “lack of priority” over our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Instead of ensuring that illegal encroachments come to [a] halt, the government seeks to muzzle its citizens’ right to free movement in their own country,” COLA exclaimed in a press release. In its call for a national shutdown, COLA argued, “for far too long Belize has lacked true leadership as it relates to this issue and it is time for the citizens of Belize to rise up and demand better.”

Police identify murdered Guatemalans
Police have identified the two Guatemalans murdered on Thursday afternoon near San Ignacio, Cayo. The victims are 52-year-old Santos Ramon Gonzalez Gomez of Champerico Retalhuleu Melchor de Mencos Peten, Guatemala and 37-year-old Orlando Antonio Garcia Calletal of Barrio La Torre Melchor, Guatemala. They were shot in the back of their heads on the San Francisco farm road between miles 69 and 70 off the George Price Highway. Their bodies were found at around 2:00 p.m. that afternoon. Beside the bodies lay a weight scale, four expended 9 millimeter Luger brand casings, and a broken Guatemalan identification card on Gonzalez Gomez.

GOB enacts temporary law banning civilian visits to the Sarstoon
Effective Friday afternoon, the Government passed a temporary law under Section Two of the Public Safety Act, banning anyone from entering Belize’s portion of the Sarstoon River without lawful authority. The new law will remain in force for a month and “has become necessary in order to prevent any commotion or threat to public safety that might arise in consequence of the continuing tense and dangerous standoff between Belize and Guatemala over the Sarstoon,” a government release states. Governor General Sir Colville Young, acting in his capacity as representative of the Head of State, signed the new legislation on Friday. It comes following the Belize Territorial Volunteers’ (BTV) plan to visit Sarstoon Island, despite governmental and military dissuasion.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Gambis killed in Belize City
One man was killed around 6:00 this evening on the Central American Boulevard. Police are still processing the scene and details are sketchy at this point but best information reaching BBN is that the victim is Keon “Gambis” Williams. Williams is known to be […]

Double Murder in Santa Elena
Reports reaching our newsroom are that there was a double murder in Santa Elena, Cayo District a short while ago. According to reports, a security guard shot two women inside Betty’s Salon and then attempted to kill himself but he didn’t die. The security guard […]

CitCo to unveil bust of George Price on Tuesday
The Belize City Council is scheduled to unveil a bust of former Prime Minister of Belize Right Honourable George Cadle Price at the entrance to the highway now named after him on Tuesday. The bust is sculpted by Stephen Okeke, who had previously done […]

Indigenous People’s Conference held in Belize City
The Caribbean region’s first ever Indigenous People’s Conference took place this week in Belize City. Hosted by the Canadian-funded IMPACT Justice Program, it brought together indigenous people’s organizations from Belize in the west to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the east, as well […]

1,500 refugees and counting working to settle in Belize: report
Reports say there is a refugee asylum registration process on going in Belize, administered by the foreign organization Help for Progress. According to unconfirmed reports in local media, some 1,500 persons have registered since January. On Friday and for several weeks now, there have […]

Commonwealth Secretary General expresses support for Belize in tour
The Commonwealth’s position on the integrity and sovereignty of Belize remains absolutely unchanged, said Secretary General of the Commonwealth Baroness Patricia Scotland to local media on Friday as she continues a four-day visit. Baroness Scotland took over her post in April and Belize is her […]

Farmers of the Year honored at NATS 2016
The 46th National Agriculture and Trade Show is ongoing this weekend in Belmopan. While this May Day weekend tradition is typically dominated by the art of the deal, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development through the Agriculture Department earlier […]

Breaking Belize News reaches 1 million visitors in 2016
Breaking Belize News (BBN) has already reached over 1 million people as of April 2016! BBN deliver more news to more people everywhere! BBN has already seen 1,016,940 visitors to for the year. From the 1,016,940 visitors, 409,564 were unique (repeat visitors) and […]

Police arrest boat captains helping BTV and block pier
Local media have confirmed that one captain and other persons were detained near Orange Point, a mile out of Punta Gorda. Reports from the area say that there is heavy police presence in the vicinity of the entrance to the village of Barranco, which […]

Belize authorities detain 3 boat captains from the Belize Territorial Volunteers
Reports reaching our newsroom are that Belize authorities in Punta Gorda have detained three boat captains from the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV) who were preparing to take members of the group to the Sarstoon area today. According to reports, the BTV boat captains have […]

Trip to the Sarstoon blocked
A planned trip to the Sarstoon River today by Belize Territorial Volunteers and the group's supporters did not happen after all. Security forces deployed early this morning prevented dozens of Belizeans from boarding boats destined for the area which was placed under a temporary restriction on Friday by the Government of Belize.


San Pedro High School’s 2016 Science Fair Totally ROCKS!
I have no personal experience with science fairs…I’m not sure that Ridgewood High School, NJ even hosted one. But I feel like I’ve been to a bunch…”Saved by the Bell” and “The Wonder Years”, the bubbling volcano on “The Brady Bunch” and “The Simpsons”. Here’s something I didn’t know…the science fair at San Pedro, Belize High School is a HUGE DEAL! A day off from school…seriously decorated booths and a theme. This year: plants. Groups of six high schoolers with a hypothesis, testing and then results and presented to the public in a catchy, engaging way. I was invited by High Schooler Becca Barkhouse (whose booth happened to win!) and was AMAZED by what I saw. A team tapping into the recently touted healing abilities of the soursop leaves.

Why You Have to Visit Placencia Belize on Your Vacation
Described by locals as “barefoot perfect”, Placencia is a small 16-mile long narrow peninsula in southeastern Belize with gorgeous beaches on the Caribbean side and a lovely mangrove-lined lagoons on the western side. Located just a few miles from the Belize Barrier Reef, Placencia is one of the country’s premiere spots for diving, fishing, cruising, and snorkeling vacations. Nearby on the mainland are several Garifuna villages, Maya ruins, and one of the country’s largest nature preserves complete with indigenous jaguars. With fantastic weather all-year round and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, just about any time is a good time to visit Placencia, keeping in mind that the rainy season runs from approximately June to November. Every year in February, the village hosts a Sidewalk Arts and Music Festival with plenty of entertainment options for the whole family. And every year in June, Placencia holds a Lobsterfest to celebrate the opening of lobster season. From Belize City, Placencia is about a 3 and a half hour drive south with well-marked signs along the Southern Highway. Domestic air carriers Maya Island Air and Tropic Air have flights connecting Placencia Village and Belize City.

This is Belize: Each dancing on a different breeze
Another walk up north, along the shore of Ambergris Caye today. Stiff breezes and high tide made some parts of the beach simply disappear. The island feels deserted. I may have run into four or five people at most, not counting resort staffs which were raking up the turtle grass and tying down the canopies and hammocks. This pavilion stood alone and empty, although a sign out front offers a boggling array of pleasures for the body and soul. Each hanging cloth was dancing its own dance in the wind. Some seem to take on shapes, fleeting sculptures of intense detail, like the prostrate one on the upper right which seems to be offering up a jug of wine? I tried to capture them all but I must go back again, when the breezes calm a bit and the dances become more balletic and less like whirling dervishes.

International Sourcesizz

"Guatemala is a big bully"
Walking the talk in NYC today

A most impressive group of some forty-five Los Angeles Belizeans from the Los Angeles Belizean community across the state of California came out today in Los Angeles to protest the Guatemalan military oligarchy's invasion, annexation, and aggression of Belize Sarstoon River and Island at the Guatemalan Consulate in Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard at the busy downtown cross section of the Wilshire District in Los Angeles. The group carried banners and posters that read, "Stop Guatemalan Aggression Against Belize", "Stop the Annexation of Belize's Sarstoon", "Tell The Guatemalan Military To Leave Belize Alone", "Guatemala Stop Being A Bully", "Belizean Lives Matter: Justice for Danny Conorquie & Staff Sergeant Lambey", and "Belize Is For Belizeans". They also shouted slogans like, "Belize is For Belizeans", "We No Want No Guatemala", and "Guatemala Get Out of Belize".


  • Belizeans in Los Angeles protest the aggression of Guatemala towards Belize., 1min.

  • Travel in Central America - oOverblaze is Backpacking (Winter 2015), 2.5min. Deux semaines en sac à dos entre le Mexique, Belize et Guatemala. Plongé en plein cœur de la civilisation Maya ou encore au long de la barrière de corail, les paysages qu'ont à offrir cette région sont à couper le souffle!

  • Belize 2016 002 Spotted Eagle Rays, Sharks and Bone Fish, 5.5min. A short video of Spotted Eagle Rays, Sharks and Bone Fish off the coast of Belize 04/2016.

  • Dive 6B - The Aquarium, Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize, 7min. The continuation of aborted Dive 6. After surfacing, they immediately exchanged my gear and tank and I got right back in the water to rendezvous with the group. I think a couple of divers were surprised to see me. Some nice shots of a turtle snacking on coral, a little swim through, a beautiful school of blue fish, and tiny jellyfish on the ascent.

  • Belize 2016 Snorkeling out on the barrier reef, 4min.

  • Entering the Caves - Cave tubing in Belize, 1min. A quick clip as we float down the river, entering the caves in Belize.

  • Belize Artists-Mali, Ingrid and Ibo Cayetano in Dangriga, 15min. Belize Talk Radio takes you to meet this ever so talented family from Dangriga Belize. This video takes place inside their art studio, that has some ancient history !

  • Feeding a Stingray in Belize, 1min. Ambergris Caye Belize.