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#513850 - 05/20/16 06:13 AM Today's Belize News: May 20, 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

MOH confirms positive Zika case in Belize
On Monday, May 16th, the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed the first documented case of Zika in Belize. The confirmation came from one of the samples which had been sent for testing to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) about a month ago. This isolated case has led MOH to believe there may be more positive case of Zika in Belize and as such has heightened surveillance efforts across the country.

Fundraiser held for the Almendarez Family
In honor of Melvin “Catracho” Almendarez, a popular footballer who was recently murdered, a football marathon was organized to benefit his bereaved family on Sunday, May 15th. The all-day event took place at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Complex, with hundreds of people coming out to support the cause, while enjoying Almendarez’ and the island’s favorite sport, football. A total of nine teams registered for the tournament: Galaxy FC, La Plebe, Vince, San Mateo, Legends, Peace Makers, United FC, Jokers, and the Catrachos. Under the fierce heat of the sun, teams still managed to put on a good ball game! The games were played in knockout rounds, and since nine is not an even number, the games were raffled in a box, where team captains selected a number. The person who received number nine was the Catrachos and they automatically advanced to the second round. All the remaining teams with even numbers were consecutively matched with odd numbers, and after the matches were over, four teams were eliminated. After four teams played in the second round, two teams were eliminated, and Galaxy FC won the raffle to advance into the third round. In the last and final rounds, Galaxy FC won the raffle again, for a spot in the final, championship match. Jokers took a striking victory to meet Galaxy FC.

Record Funds raised during Red Cross Blood Drive
SPBRC’s New Coordinator Heidi Simmons tackled all duties smoothly throughout the blood drive. Simmons stresses to the public that donating blood is a simple process that can save lives and encourages the public to think Red when preparing to donate blood. “Anyone willing to donate blood should rest well by getting a good night’s sleep, eat a good and high iron-based breakfast, and drink plenty of healthy fluids before the blood donation,” said Simmons. The Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch would like to thank Dr. Giovanni Solorzano for allowing the SPBRC to set up at his clinic, Marbucks for the sweet nibbles, The Greenhouse for the juicy fruit bites, Mark’s for dishware, Tropic Air for safely transporting the Blood Bank employees, Belize Blood Services for taking the time to come to our island, Projects Abroad for providing volunteers, to Estel’s for providing lunch, to Grant Bill Guy for promoting the event, The San Pedro Sun for its consistent coverage, and Dion Vansen for donating his rare blood type. Also, the SPBRC thanks all of their continued supporters and many other volunteers along the way.

Hol Chan conducts sport fish tagging program
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve conducted a fish tagging program for bonefish, permit and tarpon as a part of their Research and Monitoring Program. The first field tagging expedition was held on May 1st through 7th, with about 164 bonefish, and four permits being tagged. The tag is inserted in the fish’s muscle, with the purpose to study and collect scientific data necessary to identify growth rates, migration areas, breeding locations, and determine levels of sustainable fishing.

Government of Belize weighs in on Refugee/Amnesty program
The news of an amnesty/refugee program for irregular migrants and persons with illegal immigration status has come to light. The program has flown under the radar since November of 2015. According to sources within the immigration department, the system has been manipulated in a manner that there is little to no vetting of the applications, and approval is basically guaranteed. Given the recent sightings of hundreds of immigrants in Belmopan seeking legal status in Belize, the country could soon see its population dramatically increase if such immigration statuses are approved.

Ambergris Today

Reef Week Fair Bringing Smiles to Community
Packed with so much information in such a small space, the Reef Fair held today, Thursday, May 19, 2016, in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, shows the great effort of Hol Chan Marine Reserve in creating awareness for the protection of the Belize Reef. The fair is part of the Reef Week activities taking place this week on the island. Information and activity booths open to the public included a live touch tank to interact with star fish, information from MarAlliance, Oceana Belize, Blackadore Caye, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize Fisheries Department, Department of Environment and even Saga Humane Society. Island Schools, in particular, took advantage of the Reef Fair to send their students to learn more about the reef and how to protect it. Also taking advantage of Reef Week is the San Pedro House of Culture that has dedicated an exhibit to local fishermen and the importance of the reef to the development of Ambergris Caye.

New Heights Reached by Red Cross in San Pedro
The Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch stated this week that it is pleased with the outcome of their Blood Drive that took place this past Saturday, May 14, 2016; the community opened its hearts and wallets and generously donated a record total of $1,208.62, as well as 13 pints of crimson-colored, life-saving gold; 1 of which could save up to 3 lives! The blood drive was held form 9a.m. to 3p.m. at the San Carlos Medical Clinic. The Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch extends thanks Dr. Giovanni Solorzano for allowing them to set up shop at his clinic, to Marbucks for the sweet nibbles, to Tropic Air for safely transporting the Blood Bank employees, to Projects Abroad for providing volunteers, to Estelle's for a delicious lunch, to Grant Bill Guy for promotion, to The Greenhouse for the juicy fruit bites, to Marks for dish-ware and, of course, Belize Blood Services for taking the time to come to San Pedro.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BELTRAIDE makes presentation at National Women’s Forum hosted by Women’s Department
On May 19th 2016, Ms. Lejia Melanie Gideon, General Manager, Enterprise and Innovation Division, Beltraide, presented to a roomful of women from all over the country on the role of the Small Business Development Centre (SBDCBelize), Beltraide, in creating economic prosperity through entrepreneurial development, business innovation and competitiveness. Ms. Gideon shared an inspiring analogy, describing the process of opening a business to being similar to that of childbirth. She shared that in the same way an expecting mother awaits the birth of her child with eager anticipation and most times,worry, a new business owner worries over the success of his or her business. She explained that just as how family and friends offer guidance with the care of the new child, Business Advisors at SBDCBelize assist business owners to nurture and grow their businesses.

The CEO Caucus of the Government of Belize takes this opportunity to express its sincerest gratitude to the general public, donors and members of the cycling community who participated in “ The CEO Caucus Challenge 2016: Cancer Awareness Ride” which took place on Saturday 7th May 2016. The CEO Caucus announces that to date this initiative raised over $77,000. The beneficiaries include the Belize Cancer Society, the Belmopan Cancer Society and the Cancer Treatment Center of Dangriga. Both the Belize Cancer Society and the Belmopan Cancer Society will each receive $20,000 while the Cancer Treatment Center of Dangriga, the only treatment facility in the country, will receive $37,000. We extend our thanks to all those who contributed to our successful ride. Special thanks to all our donors, riders, volunteers, all the professional cyclists of the Cycling Federation of Belize, the officers of the Belize Coast Guard, Police Department, Department of Transport – Highway Patrol, and the Ministry of Health’s – Emergency Team for their assistance with logistics and coordination. A beautiful day combined with over one hundred and seventy five enthusiastic riders and many hard working volunteers made for a fun and worthwhile event.

Water out in Big Falls
The Department of Rural Development, hereby informs residents of Big Falls in the Toledo District that we are currently experiencing mechanical problems and therefore there is no water in the village. However, we are working towards having water being restored. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.

BEL Statement on Independent Expert’s Recommendation
On March 7, 2016, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued its Initial Decision for the current 2016 – 2020 Full Tariff Review to increase the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) to $0.364 per kilowatt hour (kWh). BEL objected to the decision, which proposed a $57 million reduction in the Company’s projected revenue requirement over the next four years. As per the law, a suitably qualified Independent Expert reviewed BEL’s submission and the PUC’s decision and recommended an MER of $0.3864/kWh for the period July 2016 to June 2020. BEL has carefully reviewed and accepts the recommendations of the Independent Expert for the following reasons: 1. Prior to the start of the independent review, BEL had indicated that it accepts the Independent Expert selected by the PUC as suitably qualified. 2. BEL is satisfied that the expert complied with the guidelines established by the PUC for the review.

U.S. Embassy staff attended the Fire Fighters Passing Out Ceremony
The Belize Fire Department graduated 24 Fire Fighters increasing their force by over 25%. This was made possible in part by the donation that the U.S. Security Cooperation Office provided at the end of last year. The Security Cooperation Office donated 200 fire suits plus some firefighter equipment. During the graduation, the fire fighters demonstrated the use of that new equipment.

Apply today!
The U.S. Embassy and Peace Corps are accepting applications for an electrician technician and a backup medical provider. Click for more information!

Channel 7

PUP Ready For The River
At the beginning of the month, the PUP said that it would go to the Sarstoon River to challenge the Government's 30 day ban. Since then, the party had been quietly making their preparations, and with the days going by, it was starting to look like merely like political hard-talk, with no action to back it up. Well, the news tonight the PUP's National Party Council has finalized their plans and on Saturday, they are heading to the Sarstoon. Party Leader John Briceño spoke with the media today about his party's plans: Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "We have been in consultations with the leadership of the party, by that I mean members of the national executive and parliamentarians and the best time that we could have from the majority of the group to go down south is going to be this Saturday." Mike Rudon, Ch 5: "You have maintain a cordial relationship with the Prime Minister. Have you informed him of that decision?" Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "The Prime Minister is aware that we are going to travel to the Sarstoon. I have said it publicly, we've said it in our releases and just last week Friday when we went to support the teachers in their march to stand up for Belize - I also made it clear once again that we are going to go and visit the Sarstoon."

PUP Leader Says Too Much Focus On Border Dispute
But in the meantime, has there been too much focus of the Belize Guatemala Territorial Dispute to the exclusion of other equally pressing, national issues? Earlier this week, we told you how the Guatemalan Archbishop Oscar Julio Vian Morales, accused his Government of using the territorial claim as a distraction from the real problems facing that country. Well today, the press asked Opposition Leader John Briceño about the possibility that the territorial dispute is distracting the Belizean public in a similar way. He told us that he certainly thinks so: Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "You can make the case that, I am not suggesting in any way that the government is happy for what's taking place there, but it certainly has afforded them an opportunity to divert attention from the real, the other pressing problems that we have in this country and we in the Opposition have not forgotten those issues. We bring it up in the Belize Times, we bring it up in our talk show and pretty soon we are going to have a full press conference where we are going to talk about these issues."

Man Pleads Down To Soldier Slaughter
Former BDF Champion Recruit Jason Pott was killed with a stab wound to the heart in March 2011. And today Devaughn Goodger pleaded guilty to killing him. The 22 year old Goodger - who's been on remand since he was 17 - took a plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years. But, since he has been on remand for 5 years already, he will only spend 6 years and 10 months in prison. Justice Adolph Lucas considered several factors in this case, including the fact that Goodger was only 17 when he stabbed Pott, that he had no criminal record prior to this incident and that Goodger pleaded guilty to manslaughter and showed remorse for what he had done. But the Judge also had to look at the circumstances surrounding the attack. The information is that Goodger threatened Pott earlier on the day of the stabbing.

Alrick Smith: Accused turned Victim, His Shooter Charged
A man has been charged for shooting notorious street figure Alrick Smith. Today in the Magistrate's court, Shane Bahadur was charged with attempted murder and wounding. No plea was taken because the offences will be tried on indictment. Neither could the court offer Bahadur bail because of the nature of the offences. He was remanded into custody until July 18. The shooting happened on May 6th in Ladyville. Smith was shot to his leg on Aricari Street in Ladyville. Smith has been on our news before for drug trafficking and even attempted murder. Right now police are looking at this shooting in connection with the recent Ladyville shootout at the Lozano's Marage Road residence.

Runaway Hostel Girls Safe and Sound
All 11 youth hostel girls have been found. The girls were scattered all across the country - 4 were found in Benque, another girl was found in Belmopan while others were trying to make it down South. But with help from the police, all the girls were returned to the youth hostel. The girls escaped on Sunday evening around 6:00. 3 of them jumped the fence while the others walked right out the front gate. By the time the security guard came back to his post, the girls were already over the fence. Director of the Community Rehabilitation Department Maureen Williams said there was a breakdown in procedures. The front gate should have been locked and the police officer should have been on guard. Williams told us that there will be disciplinary actions against staff members. As we told you, this is not the first time hostel protocols were breached, that was also the case in the November 2015 hostel fire that claimed the life of 3 girls - who had just been returned from running away.

PUP Leader Says GOB Has To Deal With Plett Case
Since the beginning of the week, we've been giving you a blow by blow account of Mennonite Farmer Roger Plett's story. He has given a detailed account of how he was abducted in Belizean territory, and detained in Guatemala. Last night, we also showed you the Government's response and how the police department is handling, or mishandling, the investigation into the cross border incident. Today Opposition Leader John Briceño told us that he hopes that the Police and the Foreign Affairs Ministry will not bury the report simply because it may be inconvenient for the Belize Government to have to accuse Guatemala:

Plett, Ayala vs. Sylvestre, Lovell
So, we know which side the opposition leader is on, but who do you think is right and who's wrong? For the past three nights we've featured this story extensively - and both sides have gotten ample airtime to put their story out. Tonight, in a sort of extended mega-mix we have the claims, counter-claims and clarifications from both sides - so you can be the judge. Here goes:... Roger Plett, Farmer Detained by Guatemalans: "There was 10 military persons and about 5 people in civilian clothing, they came running out of the forest and the military surrounded the tractor." H.E Lawrence Sylvester - CEO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "We were given every assurance that there was no Belizean detained and that the Guatemalan armed forces were not on any patrol near the area adjacent to the Mennonite property on that day."

Refugees: The Real Deal
Last night, we showed you our interview with Beverly Castillo, the Minister of State responsible for Immigration. She was discussing the Government's change in position regarding the NGO, Help For Progress. Government doesn't want their help in processing the hundreds of applications for refugee status in Belize. As we showed you, there was a sudden rush to apply for the refugee status, mostly from people who have been living illegally in Belize for some time. The Minister did concede that the Refugee Eligibility Committee has received applications from such persons, which automatically disqualifies them. That's because to qualify as a refugee, interested persons have to submit their application less than 14 days after entering the country. So, given this sudden frenzy for refugee status, and the fact that Government only publicized it after the press got a hold of the story, we asked Castillo what's making the application process so attractive:

Cop Who Caused Carmelita Crash Still Critical
Yesterday we told you about the fatal accident near Carmelita that claimed the life of well-known Orange Walk businessman, 49 year old Richard Orellana. There are no charges because the man who allegedly caused the accident Police Officer Roberto Tec remains at the KHMH in a critical condition. Meanwhile, the blood sample taken from Tec to test for alcohol content has not been returned from the forensics lab. As we told you yesterday Roberto Tec and Richard Orellana collided head on somewhere between miles 41 and 42 on the Phillip Goldson Highway.

Robinson behind bars for gun and ammo offenses
A man took a guilty plea today to get his friends off firearm charges. 29 year old Anthony Robinson, pleaded guilty so that Deshane Mena, Richard Flores and Leith Bermudez could go free. The GSU says that all four are known to be members of the PIV Gang. They were were busted with a loaded .38 revolver in February. The GSU searched the Toyota Camry they were in and found a loaded 38 revolver. Today in the Magistrate's court, 29 year old Anthony Robinson pleaded guilty to the charges of Kept firearm and ammunition without a license. Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith gave him two and a half years each, but the sentences are to run concurrently, he will only serve the 30 months.

Maim Victim Perseveres
Imagine going to your favourite Fried Chicken spot for a late night snack, but to end up in the hospital, without one leg. That's what happened to Francis Gill in 2014. On a Friday night, he went to Key Ley Fried CHICKEN on Freetown Road - and in the hustle and bustle of the late night rush, he had some hard words with another customer. Little did he know that the man he was beefing with, 36 year old Devon Jones would jump into his truck, ram into gill, and crush his leg against the wall of the restaurant. He still has to provide for himself and his family, which is now a difficult task because of the disability. But, he's not willowing in self-pity and depression. Instead, he's been trying to walk again, and today, he sat down with us to discuss what it has been like for him. Daniel Ortiz has that story: Standing up without help, and walking around freely… It's a luxury that most of us take for granted. There are some who prefer to be driven everywhere, but the ability to walk is what Francis Gill has been fighting to regain.

Students Will Learn About The Bze-Guat Dispute
Belize - Guatemala relations, it's been dominating the news recently - and soon, it'll be coming to a classroom near you! The Ministry of Education is reviewing the Primary School Social Studies Curriculum and wants to beef up the Belizean History component, specifically the part that deals with the Belize-Guatemala dispute. CEO in the Ministry of Education told us more about that today. A press release says the ministry hopes to have the material printed and disseminated by the end of the summer, for voluntary use in the 2016-17 school year. Mandatory use will commence in the 2017-18 school year. At the secondary school level the Ministry plans to mass-produce modules developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Hooked On B-Z Phonics
Today the Ministry of Education launched the first book in the "B-Z Phonics" collection. It's a work book that the Ministry plans to introduce into the infant division for the upcoming school year. Now, it may sound like a kids' book only a principal would be interested in, but curriculum planners are hoping this book can make your child a better reader. The book has been about 10 years in the making and today we stopped by at the Biltmore Plaza for the launch: The book is free and the Ministry plans to make it available for all schoolchildren at the infant 1 level for the upcoming school year.

Buh-Bye BRC?
Now while these books are slated to be introduced into the primary school curriculum later this year, what about the BRC phonic books which are currently in use? Well, there was a huge falling out between the Government of Belize and BRC printing last year, which landed them both before the courts. The issue stemmed from a fight of "who's way is the best way." The Ministry of Education wanted to change certain things, but BRC was resistant. The matter was finally resolved through court ordered mediation. But when we asked the Ministry of Education today about the relation between these new phonic books and those thousands of BRC readers currently in circulation, they could not give us a straight answer.

Where Are The Schools?
We also got an opportunity to speak with CEO David Leacock on the of $18 million dollar CDB project to construct 35 new schools all over the country. The project - known as Phase Two of the Education Sector Reform Project was launched earlier this year - but has work started? Today we asked CEO Leacock for an update:

BEL Sides With Indep. Expert, Urges PUC to Do The Same
For a few months now, BEL and the Public Utilities Commission have been back and forth about the electricity rate: BEL asked to 39 cents per kilowatt hour, PUC only approved a rate of 36 cents. So, BEL asked for a review by an independent expert and that report came out three weeks ago. The expert recommended a mean electricity rate of 38 cents, which is closer to what BEL asked for. With that, today BEL sent out a press release saying it "accepts the recommendation of the Independent Expert (and) trusts that the PUC will adapt and implement the recommendations in the best interest of customers."

Logging Threats
The National Protected areas of Belize are under constant threat from illegal logging. But although Guatemalan's pose the biggest threat in the Chiquibul rainforest, they are not the only ones that wreaking havoc in our forests. Yesterday two men, living in Belize, were caught rend handed in an illegal logging operation inside the Mayflower Bocawina National Park- that's in the Stann Creek District. The Park Rangers of the Mayflower Bocawina Environmental Development Group, were conducting regular patrols in the area when they heard the distinctive sounds of a chain saw. The Executive Director of APAMO works closely with the Bocawina conservation group and he was in fact the one that alerted the authorities about the situation. Jose Perez - Executive Director. APAMO: "Yesterday, the rangers of the Mayflower Bocawina National Park, this park is located down 6 miles off the southern highway and this park has been plagued for a while now like many other parks in Belize with illegal extraction of timber."

Channel 5

The Opposition Will Be Represented at Istanbul Talks
Very high level delegations from Belize and Guatemala will be meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday to discuss the Sarstoon. That’s the venue slated for the talks surrounding what has [...]

Will the P.U.P. Reach the Sarstoon this Saturday?
The talks are critical for another more local, political reason. The unpopular and controversial SI passed by G.O.B. prohibiting civilians from entering the Sarstoon expires six days from Saturday. Prime [...]

P.U.P. Leader Lashes Out at PM Barrow for Arbitration Award
All eyes may be to the South and West as the Belize/Guatemala issue percolates. But there’s a financial storm brewing – with wind gusts of just over half of a [...]

Briceño Says Guatemala Issue is a Distraction from Other Crises
Earlier, Briceño spoke about Guatemala using its unfounded claim to distract from the crises affecting its people. But here’s the thing – he says that to some extent that’s the [...]

Santander Exports First Shipment of Raw Sugar
The Santander Group celebrated a milestone today with the exportation of its first shipment of raw sugar.  A quota of fourteen thousand tons of unrefined grain is being trucked to [...]

No Plans for a Refinery Just Yet
While projections are being made for increased production in subsequent crops, there are no plans as yet for the construction of a refinery.  As it stands, Santander is wholesaling unprocessed [...]

Illegal Loggers at Mayflower Bocawina National Park Caught in the Act
We have reported on illegal activities within the expansive Chiquibul National Park many times, in fact within the last week after three Guatemalans were detained while panning for gold near [...]

P.U.P. Leader Says G.O.B. Cannot Sweep Plett Issue under the Rug
Since the start of this week News Five has been bringing you the remarkable story of an alleged cross-border kidnapping, albeit a short-lived one. We’ve spoken at length with Roger [...]

Did Police Manipulate Plett Statement?
That investigation is the focal point of the allegation, and any official diplomatic action which may or may not occur as a result of it. Officialdom weighed in on Wednesday [...]

UNHCR Will Still Feature in Refugee Program
As we reported on Thursday, Government has been forced to do a complete about-turn on a local refugee program which has come under intense and sustained scrutiny. Help for Progress, [...]

Goodger Sentenced for Manslaughter
At the age of seventeen, Devaughan Goodger was charged for the stabbing murder of Jason Pott which occurred on Cleghorn Street, Belize City on March fifth, 2011.  After being on [...]

Robinson Will Serve Jail time for Illegal Firearm
One of four men busted inside a car on February fifteenth, 2016 for firearm offenses will serve only two years and a half behind bars instead of a minimum of [...]

Bahadur on Remand for Attempted Murder of the Notorious Alrick Smith
Ladyville resident, Shane Bahadur, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for the May sixth attempted murder and wounding of Alrick Smith.  This evening Bahadur, in the presence of [...]

All You Need to Know About ZIKA
There is a first confirmed case of Zika in Belize and it involves a woman in the north side of City. The Ministry of Health is carrying out surveillance in [...]

QUADS Introduces My BZ Phonics
The Ministry of Education, through the Quality Assurance Development Service, is rolling out a new program to assist primary school children at the beginner level with reading.  This morning, QUADS [...]

Program Embraces Interactive Learning
The ushering in of the new program and accompanying textbook should see a more interactive approach to reading inside the classroom.  Newport says the objective is to engage children in [...]

5th Belize Park Fest to Be Held on Sunday
Daily, between six and nine p.m., at the Memorial Park in Belize City, a small scale concert would end the day’s workshop for Belize Music Week, which is ongoing. Belizeans [...]

60 Minutes’ Morley Safer Dies
Morley Safer is one of the most recognized faces in broadcast journalism. His reports on CBS’s Sixty Minutes on Sundays attracted millions across the world for his distinctive style. As [...]


PUP Will Go to Sarstoon on May 21
Earlier this week we reported on the upcoming trip to the Sarstoon being led by the Opposition, Peoples United Party. Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno spoke to the media today on the trip which is slated for Saturday, May 21. JOHN BRICENO “Two weeks ago at the National Party Council meeting that we had […]

Senator Eamon Courtenay to Join Delegation to Istanbul, Turkey
And while the PUP is planning their trip to the Sarstoon for Saturday, officials are traveling to Istanbul, Turkey for a meeting set to discuss the Sarstoon protocols. As we told you yesterday, the opposition has once again been embraced by the Government of Belize to be a part of the discussions as they relate […]

Cautious Optimism on Recent Belize/Guatemala Talks
During the now-famous press conference where the media challenged the Prime Minister in bringing nothing new to the forefront regarding the Belize/Guatemala issue, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke of being cautiously optimistic following the recent talks between Wilfred Sedi Elrington and Carlos Raul Morales. Those talks held between both Foreign Affairs leader was the meeting […]

PUP Leader Says Guatemalans Need to Stop Coming Onto Our Land at Their Own Will
Earlier this week the People’s United Party had sent out a release demanding that the Government of Belize take the kidnapping of 21-year-old, Roger Plett seriously and to launch a serious investigation into the incident. The incident reportedly occurred on Thursday, May 12 in the Green Hills area just outside Spanish Lookout. Six days later, […]

Is Belize/Guat Issue Overshadowing Other Social Ills
In a news story brought to you some weeks ago, we spoke of Guatemala’s intentional focus on their territorial claim to Belize in an effort to side-track the attention of its citizens from the other social ills that plagues Guatemala. While this sentiment has been echoed by various international agencies, when we take a look […]

JB Says Outcome on BTL Is No Victory for Belizeans
When the Prime Minister returned home last week, he told Love News that should the initial ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the BTL issue, it could be deemed as a victory for Belize since the Ashcroft Alliance was valuing each share at ten dollars while the courts have estimated it at fifty […]

Opposition Leader Applauds the Media
The media has been cited as problematic particularly when it comes to foreign affairs and national security issues. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington has become known to lay blame at the feet of the media when it comes to their news reports on the Belize/Guatemala issue. The Opposition Leader, John Briceno has conceded […]

The Effects of the Sarstoon Regulation on Belizeans in the Area
The Chairman of Barranco Village, Dr. Joseph Palacio addressed some of the unexpected implications the new Sarstoon Regulations have had on the community. Implications that might have gone unnoticed in other parts of the country,drastically affected the lives of the Garifuna community in Barranco Village and other Southern Coastal Communities who depend on the Sarstoon […]

Barranco’s Role in the Belize/Guatemala Issue
Another issue Dr. Joseph Palacio touched on was the substantive role that the local government of Barranco could take in the ongoing tensions between Belize and Guatemala. Given that the village is at the forefront in the interplay of powers and decisions taken by both governments that drastically impact the local community, Dr. Palacio elaborated […]

Garifuna Communities Urged to Unite as Indigenous Group
Yesterday was the anniversary of the United Nation’s ratification of the Garifuna Community. Today Dr. Palacio spoke about a release sent by a group of Garifuna elders urging the unification of the Garifuna community as an Indigenous Community. DR JOSEPH PALACIO “The press release came from a group of concerned Garifuna elders and it had […]


Ministry of National Security briefing on detention of Belizean farmers by Guatemalans
Today the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a joint press conference to explain their perspective on the Plett and Ayala abduction to Guatemala by Guatemalan Military. This incident which happened last week Thursday, has been brought to the public’s attention by ...

Hon Beverly Castillo, Minister of State, Immigration clarifies refugee status
After Plus News broke the story regarding hundreds of refugees lining up at the Help for Progress Building in Belmopan to fill out applications for refugee status, Belizeans became concerned about the lack of transparency in the process as well as the lack of information. Government then issued its ...

Belize City woman shot
A woman was shot last night in Belize City. On Tuesday May 17 at around 8:10 p.m., shots were fired at the corner of Freetown and Barrack Road, Belize City and 19-year-old Chiaoma Williams of a Belize City address, was shot to her right buttock area and grazed by a bullet on her left hip. Police sa...

2 months for inappropriate touching
He “patted” a 10 year old child on her buttocks and told her not to say anything to anyone so he would not get into trouble with the law. But 26 year old Ashton Lambey will spend 60 days in jail after the child immediately told her sister, who told her mother, who reported the matter to police. On S...

Marage Road shooters charged
19 year old Darwin Prado and 18 year old Egbert Baldwin, accused of the armed assault early on Saturday at the home of Cynthia Lozano on Marage Road in Ladyville, were charged with 3 counts of attempted murder when they appeared today before Magistrate Emerita Anderson. They were also charged with 3...

Belize City men see drugs charges dismissed
On New Year’s Eve, 2015, police escorted two men to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where they were jointly charged with supplying a controlled drug, to wit, methamphetamine or heroin to Ervin Teck contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act; and possession of 24 and a half pounds of diamorphine or heroi...

The Guardian

Pickstock honours Belizean patriot Leigh Richardson
In the prime of his youth, Leigh Richardon served time in prison doing hard labour because of his love for this country and desire to see us become masters of our own destiny. Right Honourable Sir Manuel Esquivel refers to him and Hon. Phillip Goldson as Belize’s first political prisoners. The two patriots were convicted of Sedition in 1951 and sentenced to 18 months hard labour in jail for their anti-colonial/pro-independence campaign. Richardson was a founding and executive member of the People’s United Party in 1950. He left the PUP in 1956, after George Price’s takeover, and joined Goldson to form the Honduran Independence Party (HIP). The HIP later merged with the National Party to form the National Independence Party (NIP), which is one of the cornerstones of today’s United Democratic Party (UDP). His immeasurable contribution to Belizean independence and democracy is unquestionable, yet he is just a footnote in the written Belizean history. Hon. Wilfred Elrington and the Pickstock Development Association hope to reintroduce Richardson’s name in national conversations about Belize’s History by naming their flagship after him. On Saturday, May 14, the Pickstock Development Association opened a massive new resource center named the Leigh Richardson Knowledge Center.

Handing over of donation from the Government of Japan
A brief handing over ceremony was held at the new Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital this morning. A generous donation of approximately US$120,000 was gifted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital through the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow by the Government of Japan, through its Grassroots Human Security Project in 2014 to purchase equipment for the new unit. The funds were used to purchase vital items such as a heavy duty backup generator, an incubator, 3 cerebral oximeters, 1 EKG Machine, 2 Headwall systems, 2 I-stat machines and syringe infusion pumps. Ambassador of Japan to Belize, His Excellency Mr. Masanori Nakano, was in Belize and formally handed over the donation to Dr. Adrian Coye, Chief Executive Officer of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

Belizeans travel to Taiwan for 2016 Taipei International Tourism Expo
Two prominent Belizean professionals in the tourism industry, Ms. Karen Pike and Mr. Ian Anderson, will travel to Taiwan to represent and promote Belize in the upcoming “2016 Taipei International Tourism Expo” from May 20-23, 2016. Ms Karen Pike has been the Director of Marketing and Industry Relations at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) since December of 2014. She manages and oversees the operations of five units – Travel Trade, Hospitality, Marketing Intelligence, Digital Marketing and Marketing & PR. The Belize Tourism Board is a strategic partner in marketing the Belize tourism product, developing tourism initiatives and programs, and implementing tourism policies, to address the changing needs of visitors and stakeholders, therefore her role is extremely important to the BTB. Karen holds an MBA where she focused on management. She also completed a Certification course in Tourism Management from the University of the West Indies, Belize Campus. She is currently working on a Certification in Marketing Strategy from Cornell University.

Preparing for the Hurricane Season in Cayo
Public works are now continuing in both the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena as well as the Cayo Central Division in preparation for the rainy season. While we are now in the midst of high temperatures and dry season, it makes good sense to now attend to improving infrastructure. In preparation for the upcoming Hurricane Season, the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council is now clearing drains and culverts to mitigate the flooding that occurs on private lots; especially during heavy showers. New culverts have been built in Santa Elena Town in flood prone areas by the Santa Elena football field, while drains are also now being cleared behind the Sacred Heart High School, to allow for the free flow of water. While much grass has grown on the large drain, behind Sacred Heart High School, this has to be cleared by heavy machinery about once a year. This drain was being widened by heavy machinery on Monday to ensure the free flow of water. Failing to do this results in the accumulation of water that goes into people’s yards in the neighborhood of Sacred Heart College. There are now attempts to secure funding for the permanent concreting of this large drain behind Sacred Heart College. Mayor Earl Trapp tells us that this will save the Council a lot of funds from having to repeatedly work on that particular drainage.

Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize
The Commonwealth Ministerial Committee on Belize, chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator the Hon. Maxine McClean, and comprising Barbados, Canada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria and Tanzania, as well as Belize and United Kingdom as observers, met on Monday, 16 May 2016, to discuss the recent events taking place in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize, Hon Wilfred Elrington briefed the Committee on recent developments, including discussions between the governments of the two countries. The Committee reiterated and endorsed the firm support of the Commonwealth for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize, as expressed consistently and most recently in the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Communiqué. The Committee encouraged all concerned to work towards a peaceful and final resolution of the longstanding disagreements concerning the border between Belize and Guatemala.

Maya Land Rights Commission responds to Alcalde Association
The Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission is obligated to ensure that the Maya people do not become voiceless in the process of implementing the CCJ order as it relates to Maya customary land rights. The Order did not cede the autonomy of villages to any group. The Commission is therefore disappointed by the statements made by the Toledo Alcalde Association as it relates to a meeting held on Monday, May, 16, 2016. The planned meeting was held and present were 32 of the 36 village leaders, the participants were very engaged and welcomed the opportunity to commence dialogue with the Commission. What was not allowed was an interruption to the planned meeting, but an offer was made to meet with the Steering Committee at a mutually convenient time. The Commission will proceed with its consultations with elected leaders of all villages in the Toledo District and Punta Gorda Town. The Commission has a very clear Terms of Reference and will not be distracted with actions that undermine a process that is transparent and inclusive.

#513851 - 05/20/16 06:13 AM Re: Today's Belize News: May 20, 2016 [Re: Marty]
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Start studded lineup for Music Week
A decade from now the Belize Music Week will be drawing spectators and participants from across the globe but what we have now at the inaugural event is high quality Belizean entertainment for the entire family to enjoy. After Tuesday’s show, it is safe to say that the first annual Belize Music Week is off with a bang! The artists scheduled to perform during Music Week include international, regional and national award winners. There are legends, musical prodigies and the undiscovered. Genres include Bruk Down, Soca, Calypso, Hip Hop, R and B, Paranda, Punta and some crossover beats. To kick off the event on Tuesday, May 17, the Pandemonium Steel Pan showed why many now consider them to be the best steel band in the land. Members of Pandemonium had the opportunity to attend Panorama in Trinidad and Tobago in February of this year. Panorama is the largest gathering of steel pan bands in the world. There the members of Pandemonium had the opportunity to learn from some of the most accomplished steel pan masters and got to play in bands participating in the much heralded competition.

Teachers Parade instead of Teacher’s Day?
Instead of going to Placencia Village and enjoying their Teachers Day as was the plan, several hundred teachers decided to march through the streets of Belize City and hold a rally against the Sarstoon SI. As readers are aware, the purpose of the Statutory Instrument was to prevent persons, such as the Belize Territorial Volunteers, from jeopardizing the very fragile negotiations for a peace keeping protocol between the militaries of Belize and Guatemala in that southern river. The leadership of Belize National Teacher Union, very much like the umbrella union, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, had called for the Government to repeal the law. The Barrow Administration has not acceded to their request, and so these teachers decided that a demonstration, called the Stand Up for Belize Rally, would send the message loud and clear that large numbers of the teachers who form part of the BNTU, also don’t support the Sarstoon SI. But, at the most, only one-fifth or one-sixth of that population showed up in solidarity with their union.

Zika Not Expected to Have Major Impact on Tourism
Last week Belize received its first positive result for the Zika virus from test samples sent to CARPHA. That sample came from the Belize district. According to the Ministry of Health, measures are already in place to deal with the disease but still in a release it states taht “the Ministry will continue to be actively engaged with the community to minimize impact and we continue to ask the community to do everything possible to assist that Ministry and our partners to reduce mosquito breeding sites such as discarding buckets, old tires and other containers that may hold water.” While from the local front Zika is something that has to be dealt with by those who live in country, since the news was released on Monday, many individuals who depend directly on tourism for income have been wondering how it will affect the industry. The answer from industry guardians is “not really much”.

Cop arrested for molesting a child
Police Constable Darren Evan Martinez, 21, is in serious trouble with the law after he was arraigned on a single charge of sexual assault upon a child under the age of 16. Martinez is being accused of penetrating the vagina of an 8-year-old girl with his finger on February 21, 2016. Martinez appeared before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Monday, May 16. He is being represented by attorney Oswald Twist. Since the matter is an indictable offense, no plea was taken. Court prosecutor, Cpl. Kennard Clark, objected to bail on the grounds of the prevalence and serious nature of the offense. Twist was concerned about possible harm that could come to his client while on remand at the Belize Central Prison.

Witness refuses to testify - Akeem Humes set free from murder charge
Akeem Hubert Humes, 26, is free from a murder charge after Prosecutor Shanice Lovell informed Justice Adolph Lucas on Friday, May 13, that the crown will not move forward with the case. She informed the court of the nolle prosequi without any official reason. However, Lovell did say that the evidence on file would have been enough to proceed with the matter if the crown’s main witness was cooperating. Police arrested and charged Akeem Hubert Humes for the murder of 45-year-old Orlando Sylvestre Williams. At about 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 1, 2013, Williams was near his home at the corner of Dean Street and West Canal having a conversation with a friend, when a light complexion man came walking on Dean Street from the direction of Plues Street and fired several shots at him. Williams was struck multiple times and died on the spot. Police retrieved seven 9 mm expended shells, one slug and one copper jacket from the scene. Police arrested and charged Humes for murder on Friday, January 4, 2013. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was remanded to the Hattieville Prison.

Ladyville shootout ends in murder
The Marage Road area, of Ladyville Village, which has been the location of a sudden spike in crime, was the scene of another violent murder. This one happened just after midnight on Friday, May 13, and it ended in the shooting death of 21 year-old Lionel Rhamdas, a mechanic of Eagle Street. Police investigation is that on that Friday night, 23 year-old Casey Lozano, his brother and 2 other friends were socializing inside the yard of Lozano’s Family home on Marage Road. Three gunmen then approached them and opened fire on the group. One of the four hanging out at the Lozano home immediately fired back, and in the aftermath, a total of about 20 shots went off. When the violence ended, Lionel Rhamdas fell dead with a weapon near him.

Two months for patting 10 year old girl on the buttocks
Ashton Lambey, 26, was sentenced to 2 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to patting a 10 year old girl on her buttocks. Lambey appeared in court before Chief Magistrate Anna Marie Smith on Wednesday, May 18, where he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault upon the girl. The incident occurred on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at the yard of the 10 year old girl. She told police that at about 4:40 p.m., she was at home doing homework, when her 26 year old sister told her to go downstairs to get the broom for her. Whilst downstairs, the child met Lambey who had the broom she needed to take for her sister. The minor asked Lambey for the broom which he handed her and as the child turned away from him to walk back upstairs, Lambey pat her on her buttocks. The child said Lambey told her, “Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.”

Boyd Lopez accepts plea deal for manslaughter
Boyd Lopez, 20, went on a joy ride without a drivers license on the afternoon of February 18, 2015 and ran over 70-year-old Marie Knowles on Baghdad Street in Belize City. Knowles was walking on the side walk when Lopez came in a Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle and ran over her. According to witnesses, the vehicle dragged her body a few yards before it was able to stop. Knowles sustained several injuries to the head and body; including, a broken rib and broken leg. She later succumbed to her injuries with the official cause of death listed as “traumatic shock”.

Salvadoran national, arraigned for sex with girl, 15
Salvadoran national, Anderson Steve Raffles Portillo, 25, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for allegedly having sexual intercourse with his 15-year-old “girlfriend” twice. Portillo appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Thursday, May 12, where he was read two sexual assault charges. The minor went to the police station with her mother and said that she had sexual intercourse with her “boyfriend”, Anderson Portillo, on February 26 and May 7, 2016. A medical examination conducted on the minor by Dr. Mauricio Navarette certified that the minor has been carnally known.

Stann Creek Softball Competition opens this coming Sunday
The Stann Creek Softball Association 2016 Senior Female competition will open on Sunday 22nd May, with two games on the schedule out at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, Stann Creek District. The competition will feature the participation of four teams in this year’s competition. The competing teams are Sittee River, Seine Bight, Independence Pals and Independence United. In the first game scheduled for 1:30 pm Sittee River will go up against Seine Bight and in the second game at 3:30 pm Independence United will see action against Independence Pals. The Stann Creek Softball Association is under the leadership of Mrs. Elizabeth Zabaneh, the Commissioner for Softball in the area.

Ebenezer Methodist School and St. John Vianney School boys won by big margins in primary schools football competition
The Belize City Primary Schools Football Competition continued on Monday 16th May, 2016, at the MCC Grounds with four games on the schedule. In the first of three games played in the boys’ competition, Ebenezer Methodist School blasted Muslim Community School by the score of 9-0. The goals for Ebenezer Methodist School were scored by Jalen Whyte (2), Hector Reyes (2), Keemar James, Calvin Young, Santi Bol, Sydney Wade and Jaymion Cacho. In game two, St. John Vainney School blanked its sister school St. Ignatius School by the score of 5-0. The goals for St. John Vianney School were scored by Michael Palacio (2), Ken Galvez (2) and Christian Caceres. In game three, Holy Redeemer School and All Saints Primary School played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for Holy Redeemer School was scored by Anthony Usher while the goal for All Saints Primary School by Holden Bradley.

Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy and Unitedville Rebels United co- leaders in Cayo Softball Competition
The Raymond Garbutt Cayo Senior Female Competition which is being sponsored by the Hon. John Saldivar continued on Sunday 15th May, 2016, with three games on the schedule out at the Raymond Garbutt Field in Roaring Creek Village. The competition will continue this coming Sunday 22nd May, 2016, with three more games on the schedule out at the Mae Gordon Sports Field in the City of Belmopan. In the first game scheduled for 12:00 p.m., Esperanza Wolverines will go up against Camalote. In game two, Unitedville Rebels United will see action against the Belmopan Bandits and in the final game of the day it will be Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy against the Belmopan Capital City Emeralds.

Belize Softball Federation to hold Umpires Training
The Belize Softball Federation has announced that it will be holding an Umpires Training for intermediate and advance umpires from August 4-8, 2016. The Training will be conducted by the Chief Umpire of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Softball Division Robert Stanton and will include both theoretical and practical work. The federation envision that this will be the spring board for umpires who have been involved in the game at the advance level for the past five years to move towards the International Certification for Umpires. The umpires who successfully completes the course will be invited to participate in the XIII Central American Junior Female Softball Championship as part of the umpiring crew.

Piggy Back
It is my understanding that the protest rally of last Friday May 13, organized under the patronage of the leadership of the Belize National Teacher’s Union, garnered, at its peak, about 800 participants. Most of this number was made up of partakers from various Opposition political parties, including the People’s United Party, and a couple of NGO’s with personal agendas and private axes against the UDP Government. It seems that our political system has done an about-turn as it relates to the term “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”, whereby the main Opposition Party has now relegated itself to the position of piggy-backer. The PUP, which is now being considered as the Party of bad ideas, is now hopping onto passing bandwagons, no matter that these carts are being pulled along by mules instead of stallions. I would want readers to consider my observations as being critical instead of offensive, analytical instead of derogatory; more intended to facilitate reflection rather than to crush ideals. But the PUP at this stage is simply bouncing from one blunder to the other. They had no business out there that day with teachers; there is no urgent national issue to protest against, and the rally was solely designed to assuage Palacio’s monumental ego, and Smith’s new found love for the camera. As to Maheia, Matura and Mora, best I hold my peace, so to speak.

Annual Diabetic Run 2016 and Wellness Expo
On Sunday May 22nd 2016 at 6:30 am Wellness Ambassadors in collaboration with the Belize Diabetic Association Belmopan Branch and Coordinator of Honor Students of Our Lady of Guadalupe High School and Marathon runner Emil Pulido will lead a momentous twenty three (23) miles run to create an awareness about the danger of Diabetes in an effort to contribute to the prevention and elimination of this deadly disease which is a leading killer and culprit of lost body parts of several Belizeans and people across the globe. “Diabetic Run Sunday May 22nd 2016; under the theme Diabetes Nah a Ketch Mi ” will assemble and depart from the nation’s capital Belmopan Market Square at 6:30 am in route to Palacios Mountain Retreat Mile 31 Hummingbird Highway St. Margaret’s Village. Expected time of arrival at the Retreat is 11:30 am.

House of Culture in San Ignacio observes International Museum Day
An open day on the El Pilar Maya Forest Gardens was held at the National Institute of Culture and History building on Buena Vista Street in San Ignacio Town on Wednesday of this week. The event coincides with the International Museum Day 2016, which celebrates museums and cultural landscapes around the World. At the opening of the El Pilar Maya Forest Gardens was the El Pilar Team, composed of El Pilar Project Director Dr. Anabel Ford, Belizean contributor to the El Pilar Forest Garden Initiative Cynthia Ellis Topsey as well as principal forest gardeners Alfonzo Tzul and Narcisso Torres. In an interview with the Guardian, Cynthia Ellis Topsey said that it is important that Belizeans be involved and embrace El Pilar, “…that the efforts be handed to the children, the young generation and that we be more actively involved in embracing the work.” El Pilar is the largest Maya site of the Belize River Area. The entire reserve covers over 2000 hectares in both Belize and Guatemala. El Pilar has a causeway that connects the site to the NE Peten of Guatemala. Cynthia Ellis tells us that El Pilar is an important avenue of confidence building between Belize and Guatemala.

Independence residents begging Village Council to ease garbage tax
Residents of Independence Village are waiting axiously for village council elections to be called so they can rid themselves Tony Zabaneh’s council. Immediately after showing Zabaneh overwhelming support in the election for Village Chairman, he turned around and dropped the bukut on Independence residents with a garbage tax hike. The Tony Zabaneh led council decided to raise the garbage collection tax by 100%. Residents previously paid $7 for garbage collection fee. This was already a topic of controversy because the garbage trucks are old and the garbage is carried in an opened back bed. Residents say this is hazardous to their health because garbage and liquid waste always falls from the truck as it goes through the community. No attempt has been made to improve the garbage collection system or buy new trucks yet the Village Council has informed residents that residential fees will increase from $7 to $14 effective immediately.

Lake Independence Boulevard nears completion
The first half of the Lake Independence boulevard has been completed. Work by contractor RJB construction was completed on one of the carriageways on Saturday May 14. The left lane on the southern approach to the Chetumal Street bridge was opened on Monday and work commenced on the right lane. Contractor in charge of the project Romel Berges told the Guardian that the work on the second half will be completed within the next month or so. Both carriageways will be paved with hotmix asphalt which is being done by RODLA construction company. Also speaking to the Guardian was Christy Mastry, director of Belize Infrastructure Limited who is overseeing the civil works. She explained that along with the paving of the carriageways there is a focus on ensuring that there is proper drainage of the area as well as the implementation of a ‘green’ area which will be worked into the final scope of works in the Lake Independence development area.

Mayor Earl Trapp hand delivers cash to deserving mothers
Five deserving mothers from the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena have been awarded with cash prizes by Mayor Earl Trapp Junior. These mothers were recently awarded in recognition of Mother’s Day events and comes thanks to a contribution by Atlantic International Bank, which has a branch based at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town. Amalia Quiroz, the Manager of the San Ignacio Branch of Atlantic International Bank was on hand for these cash distributions. The mothers receiving the cash awards were Daphnie Middleton, Aminda Pinelo, Rosa Aldana, Rosa Enriquez and Olivia Tate. According to Melanie Danilczyh, Human Resources Manager at the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town Council, all mothers were very appreciative of the corporate gifts.

Help for Progress has no right to process refugee applications
On Tuesday, May 17, Cabinet announced that “there exists NO formal, nor legal, agreement between the Government of Belize and the NGO, Help for Progress that authorizes Help for Progress personnel accepting application for refugees status in Belize, and to further conduct interviews and determine which applicant has a legitimate case or not.” The announcement follows after the NGO had appeared a couple of weeks ago as having some involvement in the processing of applications for refugees. Cabinet’s announcement further states that any entity that is processing refugee paperworks to cease and desist. It goes on to state that “all applications and the processing for recognition of refugee status, must be presented to the recently reactivated Refugee Eligibility Committee. During the few years of inactivity of the Refugee Eligibility Committee, no entity was empowered to conduct interviews to determine whether refugee applicants for refugee status had a legitimate case for consideration.”

3 car accident claims life of Belizean Businessman
Well known Orange Walk Businessman Richard Orellana was killed on Tuesday night, May 18, in a 3 vehicle traffic accident, in Carmelita Village, Orange Walk. It happened at around 6 p.m. when Orellana was driving his Ford Explorer SUV and he slammed almost head-on into a silver Kia Sorrento, which was being driven by police officer Roberto Teck. The impact then sent Orellana’s SUV careening into a blue Kia Sorento, which was parked on the right shoulder of the highway. It is believed that Orellana died on impact, or shortly after. His body was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital morgue. Teck, who is attached to the Belmopan Police Station, survived the collision, and he was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital, and later to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. The driver of the Blue Sorento was completely unhurt by the accident.

Accused murderers walk due to missing case files
Tarique Nathaniel Gillett, 19, and Lyson James Cacho, 21, both of the St. Martins area of Belize City, are free from charges of murder and attempted murder after their case files could not be presented in court. The men appeared before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Friday, May 13. Allegations are that on Sunday, March 1, 2015, Michael Welch and Kingsley Morrison, two disc jockeys, were socializing at a residence on Periwinkle Street when two gunmen rode up on bicycles and opened fired on them. Welch was shot multiple times and died within minutes, while Morrison was shot once to the upper right shoulder, and was rushed to the KHMH where he was treated for his injuries and later released.

Guatemalan gold panners caught in Belize, one shot
Three Guatemalan gold panners, caught in the Chiquibul Forest, have been arrested and charged for that illegal activity. Their detention only happened after another BDF shooting, but although this one was non-fatal, the Guatemalan Government is once again accusing the Belize Military of using excessive force. The Ministry of National Security released a statement, on Saturday, May 14, which explains in detail what happened from the perspective of the Belizean lawmen. A joint patrol of officers from the Police Department, the Belize Defence Force, and rangers from the Friends for Conservation and Development were conducting operations in the Ceibo Chico area of the Chiquibul on Friday, May 13. At around 7:45 p.m., the patrol encountered a group of Guatemalans, about 10 to 15 of them at a location approximately 7.9 kilometers east of the border. They had crossed over into Belizean territory, and they were gold panning inside the Chiquibul. That’s a criminal offence, and so the patrol detained 3 of the men from the group who were later identified as 23 year-old Carlos Roberto Perez Hernandez, 17 year-old Edin Alexander Escobar Garcia, and 21 year-old Solomon Martinez Pasqual.

Men plead guilty to handling policeman’s stolen motorcycle
Lloyd Neal, 29, and Joseph Muhammad Ali, 25, are lucky to be out of jail after they received non-custodial sentences for pleading guilty to being in possession of police officer James Jones’ stolen motorcycle. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser fined them $1,000 each for the offense. Jones reported to police that his black Meilun motorcycle, valued at $3,500, was stolen from Wesley College compound on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Neal and Ali were stopped by police when they were reportedly at a shop buying food. They were approached for license and insurance when it was discovered that the cycle was stolen. Neal and Ali were detained for the cycle and charged with handling stolen goods.

Six women charged for robbery
Six women; including a minor and mother to be, are out on bail after they appeared in the Belize City Magistrates’ Court to face charges of robbery and harm upon another woman. Lucretia Myvett, 29, Nashanti Martinez, 24, Khya Martinez, 18, Rayanna Gongora, 19, Kimberly Bowen, 28, who is pregnant, and a 15-year-old minor appeared before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Monday, May 16, and pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery and harm upon Sasha Richards. The incident allegedly occurred early Sunday morning, May 15, after the Project X event at Hour Bar on Princess Margaret Drive. Sasha Richards told police that at about 4:33 a.m. on Sunday she was just leaving the Project X event when she was attacked and robbed by six females who she knows well. The women beat her up and took away her gold chain valued at $250, gold earring valued at $150 and a Samsung Galaxy S5 cellphone valued at $800. Richards was examined by a doctor who treated her for a swolen lip and an abrasion over her eyebrow.

Men charged for Mark Vernon shooting and high speed chase
Four persons have been detained in connection with the shooting of Mark Vernon, which led to a high speed pursuit by Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams on Thursday, May 12. Of the four, three have been arraigned for a charge of use of deadly means of harm. Larry Wright, 44, of Jane Usher Boulevard, Justin Hyde, 21, of Curl Thompson Street and Devon Sankey, 22, of Unity Street appeared before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Monday, May 16. Allegations are that at about 8:53 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, Vernon was riding his bicycle on Cemetery Road when he noticed a black Mazda pickup truck following behind him. He decided to turn into Euphrates Avenue and upon reaching the intersection with Cairo Street the truck drove up beside him and several shots were fired in his direction from the passenger’s side of the pick-up. Vernon was hit twice to the lower back.

Steven Young arraigned for Lord’s Bank stabbing
Steven Young, 25, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was arraigned for the attempted murder of Lord’s Bank resident, Brandon Stevens, who was stabbed during an altercation inside Ruba’s Bar on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Young was arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Monday, May 16, for charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm upon Brandon Stevens. On Saturday afternoon, Stevens went to Ruba’s Bar and saw his common-law-wife sitting down with four men. He approached and asked her for their house key. This was when Steve Young, one of the four men in the group, said to him, “Some man just don’t know how to treat their woman.” Stevens then approached Steven Young and pushed him. They got into a fight which was quickly parted by Young’s friends. Young then left the bar and went across the street. He returned with a machete. Another fight broke out and Young stabbed Stevens in the chest with the machete.Brandon Stevens was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he is listed as being in a stable condition.

Smart Belize Hurricanes National Elite Basketball League champions
The 2016 National Elite Basketball League Season came to an end on Friday 13th May, 2016, at the Belize Elementary School Gymnasium where the third and final game in the championship series was played between the newly crowned champions the Smart Belize Hurricanes and the former two-times defending champions the San Pedro Tiger Sharks. The two-time defending champions, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks jumped out to an early 15-10 lead, which the Smart Belize Hurricanes was able to narrowed to a 24-22 lead at the end of the first quarter. The San Pedro Tiger Sharks maintained its composure during much of the second quarter of the game and at the half time break it was leading 47-45. It was not until mid-way through the third quarter of the game, that the budding champions the Smart Belize Hurricanes took a 60-58 lead, which they were able to increase to a 4 points, 72-68 at the end of the quarter. | In the fourth quarter of the game, there were a number of ties and lead changes. The Smart Belize Hurricanes held on to slim 3 point lead. But the inability of the Smart Belize Hurricanes players to scored free throws and the San Pedro Tiger Sharks ability to sink three points shots, kept the game close. The Smart Belize Hurricanes lead was cut to a 93-90 lead when 2 consecutive three pointers by the visiting San Pedro Tiger Sharks found their way into the basket. At the end of the game, the Smart Belize Hurricanes were able to survive the on-slaught of the San Pedro Tiger Sharks and held on to the 98-92 victory.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Peace at El Pilar?
Guatemalan Minister of Culture and Sports, Jose Luis Chea Urruela said this week that the Cultural Monument El Pilar, located within the adjacency zone between Guatemala and Belize has an important symbolism and can become a place of peace and be managed by both […]

Shane Bahadur arraigned for attempted murder of Alrick Smith
29 year old Shane Bahadur, a resident of Dove Street, Ladyville is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after being arraigned late this evening on two criminal and indictable offenses of attempted murder and wounding for the Friday, May 6, 2016 shooting of Ladyville […]

12 years for teenager Devaughan Goodger who fatally stabbed Jason Pott on March 5, 2011
A moment of madness will cost 22 year old Devaughn Goodger at least seven more years of his life behind bars. Goodger pleaded guilty to the manslaughter death by stabbing of Jason Pott on Cleghorn Street, Belize City 5 years ago, on March 5, […]

After plea change, court hands down shorter sentence for firearm possession
Recently, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down a critical decision which releases the hands of magistrates from handing down a mandatory minimum 5-year prison sentence in firearms-related cases. It is part of the fallout from the Allyson Major case where the law was found […]

Anglo-Guatemalan Treaty and Belizean history in schools
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports has confirmed plans to expand the social studies curriculum to include incidents of Belizean history. It was reported that the Ministry is preparing to mass-produce copies of the 1859 Anglo-Guatemalan Treaty which tried to offer a […]

Belize Electricity Limited accepts expert’s report on tariff review; will Belizeans’ light bills go up?
Belizeans are set for a slight increase on average in electricity rates, after an independent expert appointed by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) reviewed the submissions of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) for the 2016 to 2020 Full Tariff Review Proceeding (FTRP). BEL had asked […]

Venezuela in unrest as president threatens to make opposition-controlled legislature ‘disappear’
According to the L.A. Times, police and opponents of President Nicolas Maduro clashed on the streets of the capital Caracas after Maduro threatened to make the opposition-controlled National Assembly “disappear.” Maduro’s threats, scattered looting and growing protests over hyperinflation and food scarcities underscored the deepening […]

Toledo Chocolate Fest starts tomorrow!
Every year over the Commonwealth Holiday weekend, Toledo District in Southern Belize celebrates its superior cacao with a world renowned Chocolate Festival, which draws guests from across the country and globe. Typically falling in late May, the festival has become an annually anticipated event, […]

MOECYS launches new phonics series
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports has created a new series of phonics books for lower primary school called “My B-Z Phonics”. Chief Education Officer Dr. Carol Babb states that literacy is such an important component of life that it is as […]

Commonwealth Ministerial Committee reiterates support for Belize
The Commonwealth Ministerial Committee reiterated and endorsed its firm support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize at a meeting held on Monday May 16th. This meeting, the Committee said in a statement, was called to discuss the recent events taking place in the […]


Traveling from San Pedro, Belize to Cayo & My Fabulous Destination
Yesterday, I departed San Pedro at 8:30am to head west. From San Pedro to the Cayo District – the largest of them all and one that is so jam packed with things to do (caves, rivers, hiking, wildlife, Mayan sites), it’s almost too much. Start point green, end point red. 105 miles by my route.highways-belize This can be done quickly and with a higher cost via plane – Tropic Air flies from San Pedro to San Ignacio every few hours but I decided to “slow travel”. Aka budget travel. And I took the boat to the bus. And it was even cheaper than usual. There was already a decent size line waiting to board the 8:30 boat. And they had the smallest boats waiting…the ones that are half covered and half open. Tough for the hottest month of the year! But any complaining that was about to tumble from my mouth was quickly stifled. I went to the window with my “Membership Card” – the best thing $10bzd can buy – and found that my normal $48bzd RT ticket was free. FREE! Every 12th ride is free. Membership DOES have its privileges. This card also insures you the “local” price when you are taking the water taxi. Online the price from San Pedro to Belize City RT is listed as $35US or $70bzd. There’s no reason to book online. This card gets you the local rate of $48bzd. TOTALLY worth it and good for one year.

The struggle for Maya land, oil, and gold
After two very recent attacks on Maya community leaders in Guatemala, the challenges faced by the lawyers applying domestic law and international indigenous rights legislation to these conflicts are revealing, as legal concepts are reinterpreted by governments in indigenous communities across the Maya region of Central America. On the night of 12 June two men broke into the home of José Tavico Tzunun in Santa Cruz del Qiché, Western Guatemala, and murdered him. Tzunun was a member of the K’iche’ Peoples Council in Defense of Life, Mother Nature, Earth, and Indigenous Territory. He helped to organise the town’s referendum on establishing a moratorium on mining and dams. The following day anti-mining activist Yolanda Oquelí was shot while driving home from a barricade against a proposed gold mine in her community of San Jose del Golfo, north east of Guatemala City. She remains in a critical condition. Two attacks in two days. Tzunun had reported receiving threatening messages if he would “continue bringing the people together for meetings”. His efforts were part of a movement seeking to make the consent of local people a condition for the approval of development and mineral extraction projects on indigenous territory, and the referendum of Santa Cruz del Qiché was the forty-ninth of a growing number across the country.

Jungle love
I was recently invited by Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch Jungle Lodge to come out and experience their adventure hideaway. I knew it would be fun, but had no idea just how much fun! My plus one, Aimee, and I immediately started planning the dates along with a flight from San Pedro to Belmopan. Caves Branch does offer a transfer service at a cost of $65 USD from anywhere in Belize City or the international airport, but as a benefit to living here, Aimee had a Belmopan connection and so we used Charles Galvez (669-9864) to make the 20 min trip from the Belmopan airport to the lodge. The property is 50,000 acres and simply stunning. Everywhere you turn there is something cool to look at or hear. They offer extensive plant life throughout, in addition to their Botanical Garden. The lodge also does some amazing conservation work, cataloging species, finding new ones and preserving the endangered ones. In addition to the daily buffets, one of the things I really enjoyed about Caves Branch was the people we met. The staff as well as the guests were friendly and down to earth. The Caves Branch crew consists of 104 employees with the longest hired approximately 22 years ago. They honor him with a placard above their buffet as the Employee of the Decade. While we were there, they also celebrated the employees who had their birthdays that month by allowing them to have dinner with us. I can totally see why the resort has so many long time dedicated employees. It is very apparent that the owners truly care.

7 things that will make Belize the next country on your bucket-list!
I don’t really need an excuse to travel and explore. I just suffer from a very bad case of wanderlust and the only cure is visiting more and more places. It would be easier for me to make a list of countries and places I don’t have a particular interest in seeing because pretty much any country catches my attention for some reason – whether it is fabulous nature, incredible beaches, interesting cities, millenary cultures, tasty food and kind people. Yet, Belize never was on my bucket list. That’s until I visited it on a work trip, and I fell so completely in love with it that I wish to go back as soon as possible. Belize is a tiny country. Imagine that only 350,000 people live there; the biggest city, Belize City, has less than 60,000 inhabitants and the capital Belmopan around 16,000. But, for as small as it is, Belize has literally everything to make it a special place to visit, perfect for any kind of traveller. So, here are seven things that will make Belize the next country on your bucket-list: 1. Beautiful nature, 2. Impressive archeological sites, 3. Superb beaches and coral reef, 4. Tasty food, 5. Kind people, 6. Good climate, 7. Chaa Creek Eco Lodge and the Macal River Camp.

International Sourcesizz

Lee College students exploring Belize
The Lee College Study Abroad program headed off this week to the Central American country of Belize for an 8-day exploration of Mayan ruins, the natural beauty of land and sea, and the unique relationship between place and identity. Study Abroad allows students to experience another country while also earning academic credit for their Lee College degrees. Students and faculty left for Belize on May 16 and will return to campus on May 23. The program was revived at the college last year with a trip to Great Britain, Ireland and Wales.

"En Belize quisimos juntar las ganas de entrar en la música por todos los ángulos"
Saben a café recién hecho. Huelen a libro nuevo y a tierra mojada. Frescos, los jóvenes Belize se lanzan al vacío con una brisa apta para oídos cálidos. Acunan su primer trabajo Belize (2015) acunados como la nueva apuesta de Warner. La voz templada de los hermanos Fuertes, Angel --que habla para EL PERIODICO EXTREMADURA-- y Ana, y las cuerdas y percusiones de Pablo García, María Fernández y Guillermo Fernández dan forma a la banda pamplonesa que se sube al cartel del SonoraCC (24 y 25 de junio). Los abonos están disponibles por 33 euros en la web oficial del festival cacereño. --Uno de los mayores miedos de un músico es perder su esencia. Belize pasa de ser un proyecto autogestionado a fichar por un sello como Warner en nada, ¿tenían miedo de que su ritmo cambiara para adaptarse a los requerimientos de una discográfica tan grande como esta?

Ten Amazing Places to Buy Real Estate In 2016
Belize is a popular overseas real estate purchasing location as it is affordable and beautiful. The second largest reef, the barrier reef, is near Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye is not overly developed, making it ideal for growing families. It is also a good transition for those whose first language is English, as that is the primary language spoken in the area. Purchasing real estate is a good investment in developing areas. These locations are also ideal for those wishing to purchase residential rental properties and vacation properties for additional income. Families may want to live in a particular city but are unable to afford purchasing a home there, so renting is often the best choice in those situations. Plan your real estate purchase by location very carefully taking into consideration its proximity to attractions, entertainment, schools and major highways.

Caribbean Nations With The Highest Unemployment
Joblessness continues to be a big problem in several Caribbean nations. In the Caribbean, youth unemployment rates are among the highest in the world, a recent Caribbean Development Bank report showed. Here are ten Caribbean nations with the highest unemployment rates overall according to latest data: Belize came in the ninth on the list with an unemployment rate of 14.2 percent as of 2013, the Statistical Institute of Belize says. Most of the unemployed on the island are women.

Police foil fuel smuggling in Belize
Speaking to Angop, the municipal police commander of Belize Corporation, superintendent Evaristo Congo Bote, said that the operation was took place in Minconje and Sanga Loango crossing border with Congo Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo, respectively. He explained that the fuel was transported illegally in reservoirs of more than thousand liters, with the help of five vans and two cars. Evaristo Bote said that the 23 alleged offenders were referred to the public prosecutor for hearing.

Total tranquillity and relaxation at El Gran Mestizo
My second visit to ‘Sugah City’ had been a long time coming. I had been looking forward to the bus ride north, peeking through the window. watching familiar grounds blur by. Orange Walk Town in Northern Belize was calling my name – and I was more than willing to answer. Now, when locals talk about Orange Walk, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘tacos’. Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly am a freak for tacos. This time however, I planned to enjoy them while at the scenic El Gran Mestizo Riverside Cabins. The property is located on the historic banks of the New River, a mere eight minutes from the town’s centre. The entrance to the property was stunning, its grounds sprawling beautifully riverside, a multitude of trees kissing the waters’ edge. I had been transported to a different world – one filled with so much natural beauty and tranquillity.

Possible human trials of Zika vaccine by September following breakthrough
Scientists have for the first time cloned the Zika virus, an important development towards fast-tracking a vaccine against the disease. The genetically engineered copy is a replica of the strain that is spreading across Latin America and the Caribbean, bringing an increase in microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains. Until now, researchers had known the structure of Zika, but they had not replicated it – at least not this strain, which is carried by mosquitoes but can also be sexually transmitted. A team from the The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston was able to genetically engineer Zika, so researchers can now make the virus in test tubes and on Petri dishes, according to a study published this week in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. According to lead author Pei-Yong Shi, his team’s manmade Zika means scientists can study and adapt the virus to develop a vaccine. It could also be used to test the efficacy of their own vaccines.

Can there be a positive black / brown relationship between the people of Belize and the people of Guatemala who have their history embedded in the historical context of two indigenous peoples of Central America, the African and the Mayan peoples who were the original peoples of that region long before the coming of Columbus, and the so-called European Conquistadores like Cortez and Bolboa? African-American professor of History, Professor Ron Wilkins, who saw the face of these two peoples in the former Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya, in his first visit to Belize in 2008 and who also has visited Guatemala and Mexico in his research on black and brown history, and has commented recently in relation to the growing bordering crisis between the two nations, that the people of Belize and the people of Guatemala must build bridges of positive relationship that is common to the two peoples as to resist the imperialistic onslaught that has been inflicted on the two people by colonial Britain and Spain.

Bert Tucker International, the engaging, educational, and moving documentary film by yours truly, Bilal Morris of Belizean Legends, will be screened at the 5th. Annual Garifuna International Film Festival on Friday May 27, 2016. The Belizean community and friends of Belize in Los Angeles are invited to come out to see this very powerful and moving story on Belize's late and legendary Ambassador of Trade, the Caribbean, and Africa, Adalbert Tucker. Please see the film festival information poster enclosed in this feature. SAVE THE DATE!


  • Rise and Shine Louis Javier Castellanos, 104min.

  • Belize Therapy Video, 2.5min.

  • Snorkeling With Sharks & Ray's // Caye Caulker, Belize, 3.5min. One of our favorite spots in Central America, the island of Caye Caulker brought some epic adventures! Join us as we head out to snorkel with some amazing sea life.

  • Taqueria Los Guapos TV Spot, 1min.

  • Belize 2014, 14min. Aboard the Belize Aggressor

  • Belize Barrier Reef, 6min. Barrier reef and Blue Hole.

  • Landing at Dangriga airport, Belize, 1min.

  • Sting Ray Belize Turneffe Atoll Scuba Diving, 3min.

  • Petting Nurse Shark Scuba Diving Belize Turneffe Atoll, 1min.

  • Belize Study Abroad, 7min. UF Study Abroad trip to Belize. Marine Ecology and Conservation.

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