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#516759 - 08/11/16 11:59 AM Today's Belize News: August 11, 2016
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For the latest on Tropical Storm Earl, click here


FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

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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

Interoffice Football Tournament continues
Four weeks remain in the 6-a-side Interoffice Football Tournament, and all teams continue their efforts to show off their sporting talents to secure a spot in the upcoming finals. Due to Hurricane Earl, games have been postponed until further notice. Here are the scores from last week’s games:

Two airlines adding direct flights to Belize
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announced on Monday, August 8th that WestJet will be offering flights between Canada and Belize. WestJet Airlines officially announced that the service will operate twice a week, starting on Saturday, October 29th. The airline will depart from the Toronto Pearson International Airport at 9:15AM and arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport at 11:59AM. The flight to return to Canada from Belize is scheduled to depart around 1PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays. After adding Houston, Texas to Belize flights in November of 2015, Southwest Airlines announced that they are adding a seasonal direct flight from Denver, Colorado to the Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize City. On Thursday, August 4th, Southwest indicated that the new service will be in effect next year from Saturday, March 11th and will run through Saturday, April 22nd.

HURRICANE EARL RELIEF OPERATIONS SITUATION REPORT #4
1. PEOPLE IN SHELTER: There are a total of 170 persons in Shelter as follows: 91 in Belize City: Unity Presbyterian has 16 persons, St. John’s Vianney has 31 persons, and St. Luke has 44 persons. In Cayo: Teakettle has 16 persons in shelter and St. Matthews has 31 persons. There 28 persons in the Hattievile Community Centre recently built by US Southern Command. Orange Walk has 4 persons in one shelter in San Carlos. 2. PEOPLE ASSISTED: approx. 1,580 household or about 8,000 people, as reported by the National Relief Supplies Committee/Ministry of Human Development. (1200 households assisted in Belize City proper: Belama, Vista Del Mar, Ladyville, Lords Bank and Sand Hill. Old Northern Highway communities: La Democracia, Gracie Rock, Hattieville, Western Pines and Freetown Sibun.

HURRICANE EARL RELIEF OPERATIONS SITUATION REPORT #3
. SITUATION. Immediate relief to the affected people and restoration of critical lifeline facilities continue as the country returns to normalcy less those severely impacted. NEMO and the Government providing assistance with help from the community. The Utility Companies operations are progressing at a steady pace enabling the country’s recovery. 2. PEOPLE IN SHELTER: There are a total of 170 persons in Shelter as follows: 91 in Belize City: Unity Presbyterian has 16 persons, St. John’s Vianney has 31 persons, and St. Luke has 44 persons. In Cayo: Teakettle has 16 persons in shelter and St. Matthews has 31 persons. There 28 persons in the Hattievile Community Centre recently built by US Southern Command. Orange Walk has 4 persons in one shelter in San Carlos.

Dianira Rivera to represent Ambergris Caye at Miss Belize Universe
Ambergris Caye will be proudly represented at the upcoming Miss Belize Universe pageant by 20-year-old Dianira Rivera. The pageant is taking place on September 10th at the Belize Bliss Institute, where delegates from across Belize will be competing for the coveted title of Miss Belize Universe. The winner will represent Belize at the Miss Universe pageant later this year. According to Enrique de Leon, one of the pageant’s organizers, the program has been dormant for the past seven years. Ambergris Caye representative Rivera is anxiously waiting for the pageant to take place. “There are no words to express how happy I feel for this opportunity. I have been into modeling for quite some time now, but this is the first time I get to represent San Pedro in a pageant like this. I feel very privileged and I will do all my best to represent the island well,” said Rivera. She added that she currently is training and working as she prepares for the big event.

Ambergris Today

Town Council Advises on Rebuilding of Piers/Docks After Hurricane Earl
The San Pedro Town Council hereby advises all dock/pier owners that they must re-apply for their dock/pier permit before re-building or making any repairs. The Council asks for pier owners to visit the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority at the San Pedro Town Council offices for more details in regards to this matter. On August 3rd, Hurricane Earl made landfall in the country of Belize causing major damages in the mainland and in the cayes of Belize. Fortunately, the damages were only of material items and not a loss of human lives was reported, which we are extremely grateful. Ambergris Caye was one of the cayes majorly affected by this hurricane, since many piers/docks washed ashore due to the high and powerful waves that came with the hurricane. According to Mayor Daniel, the collections of dock fees totals to at least $1 million dollars every year, monies that he hopes to gain jurisdiction for the island municipality. Currently, all the fees collected go directly into the general revenue of Central Government and distributed evenly countrywide; it does not come back directly to Ambergris Caye.

San Pedro Fire Victims Receive Funds
What could possibly be deemed one of the biggest fundraising efforts ever in the history of Ambergris Caye came to an end on Tuesday, August 8, 2016, as the disbursements of funds for the San Pedro Fire Victims was carried out at the San Pedro Lions Club. Fundraising efforts for fire victims of San Pedro was managed by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) from its inception with monies collected placed into the accounts of the Belize Red Cross and the San Pedro Lions Club. When NEMO took control there were about 15 to 20 organizations all working together to collect funds and donations for the fire victims; their efforts worked tremendously well. Assessments that were carried out have concluded that the total loss from the fire amounted to $2.1MIL. Fundraising efforts, assessments and collection ended on July 31 with a total contribution of $247,778.77. There are two pending donations that will bring the total well over the $260K expected.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

SBDC Introduction to Marketing Plan Workshop
Presented by: Mrs. Vicky Heredia, Business Advisor, SBDCBelize. Date of Workshop: August 18th, 2016. Time: 9am - 12 noon. PRICE: $30.00. Location: La Inmaculda Credit Union's Training Room, 5 Park Street, Orange Walk Town, Belize. The objectives of this workshop is to improve your knowledge of the market planning process, give you a set of tools which will help you design, implement and track your marketing plan, give you a better understanding of marketing communications and how to use it in supporting you marketing plan. You will learn how to write an actionable targeted marketing plan, how to develop your expenses and sales budgets and how to develop your marketing communications strategy and marketing communications mix.

REBUILDING OF PIER/DOCKS AFTER HURRICANE EARL
On August 3rd, Hurricane Earl made landfall in the country of Belize causing major damages in the mainland and in the cayes of Belize. Fortunately, the damages were only of material items and not a loss of human lives was reported, which we are extremely grateful. Ambergris Caye was one of the cayes majorly affected by this hurricane, since many piers/docks washed ashore due to the high and powerful waves that came with the hurricane. The San Pedro Town Council hereby advises all dock/pier owners that they must re-apply for their dock/pier permit before re-building or making any repairs. Kindly visit the Ambergris Caye Local Building Authority at the San Pedro Town Council offices for more details in regards to this matter.

First Friday Of August Roadside and Beach Trash Pick Up
We still have our work cut out for us....this Friday, be there if you can. Thank you! We're at it again, and need your help! Please join us and our friends at Grand Caribe Belize, on Friday, August 5th, as we do our part to keep our Isla Bonita clean! We meet at the Paradise Theatre, just north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge at 9 am. We provide bags, gloves, trash pickers and water; all you have to do is bring your community spirit and enthusiasm!

Belikin National Tournament Darts, Games, Raffles
Sunday August 14, 3pm-9pm

Belizeans attending young leaders of Americas Conference
Andrew Munnings is one of the 3 Belizeans selected to represent Belize in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative hosted in Washington D.C by President Obama. They will be in Washington from October 4th to November 12th.

COrozal "Identity" Youth Art Exhibit
You are kindly invited to a night of artistic appreciation honouring our young visual artists. Please join us Friday August 12th beginning at 7pm.

San Joaquin Fiesta
FIESTA! The San Joaquin Fiesta is underway, with major events from Aug. 12 through 16. There are Novenas daily at San Joaquin Catholic Church (check with the church for times) AND Miss San Joaquin Fiesta 2016, cultural presentations, fireworks, a public dance and mechanical rides.

The Belize Zoo: Day 6 of our clean-up campaign
The Zoo officially re-opened yesterday with clear pathways, while restoration efforts continue "behind the scenes." Despite the damage we suffered, we are fortunate it was not worse. Our thoughts are with our fellow Belizeans who did not fare as well with the passing of Earl. In solidarity with their plight, TBZ will be donating towards the recovery efforts being undertaken in Belize City. Entrance fees collected on Friday August 10th will be put toward this donation. We encourage all our local supporters, tour guides, tour operators etc to spread the word. Guests coming to the Zoo this week that also wish to make monetary or in-kind donations towards these efforts are welcome to drop them off at our front desk. All donations will be taken to the Belize Red Cross (Belize City Branch). Spread the word!

Corn Leaf Doll Making Workshop
August 15-19. Want to finish the summer with a big bang?? Well, join us at Banquitas for the final Summer Program being offered. We have the privilege to host Mrs. Raquelin Pacheco from Mexico to teach us how to make beautiful dolls out of corn husk. Don't miss out on this opportunity and give us a call to register.

Splashers
Post Party today! Whoop whopp! Yeah yeah. Come one come all. Crazy Canucks 2p.m

HURRICANE EARL RELIEF OPERATIONS SITUATION REPORT #5

Utilization of the Seabed and of 66 Feet Reserve
The Lands and Surveys Department, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, advises the general public that in Pursuant to Section 2 of the National Lands Act, National Land includes the seabed and the 66 feet reserve, which may include riparian forests, beaches, littoral forests and shoals. The general public is also advised that the Lands and Surveys Department, by powers of the National Lands Act (Revised Edition 2003), has jurisdiction over the 66 feet reserve and the seabed (National Land). Although the use of the seabed and the 66 feet reserve are regulated under the National Lands Act, Section 6 Clause 1, the construction of over-water structures on the seabed falls under the Belize Building Act, Chapter 131 of the Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2003, which is implemented by the Central Building Authority. The Minister responsible for lands must, therefore, issue approval in writing prior to occupation or use of the 66ft. reserve and erection/construction or placement of any permanent or semi-permanent structures on the seabed.

Palapa Bar and Grill is on the mend...and with the help of many they soon will be back, good as new!
Picking through the final piles of debris, Reynold Chee found one more Palapa Bar and Grill shirt, which he raised as a flag over the beach yesterday afternoon. We are so grateful for all the assistance from our staff and other community members who have worked countless hours in the massive clean up efforts during the last week. We couldn't have done it without you!

International Costa Maya Festival
Although Hurricane Earl forced the annual International Costa Maya Festival to be cancelled last week, Belize still managed to show our charming hospitality to the lovely contestants who were here to participate in La Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant. Even though they never had the chance to take to the stage, it looks like they still managed to have some fun!

Jazz Festival details!
It will be a weekend filled with music and culture! FRIDAY (through Tuesday): San Joaquin Fiesta: San Joaquin Village, Corozal FRIDAY: Belize International Jazz Festival Welcome Show and Jam Session Bliss Center for Performing Arts SATURDAY: Belize National Song Competition finals at Memorial Park [Hear the songs and vote! www.mynationalsong.bz] SATURDAY: Dinner and Jazz at Best Western Biltmore Belize AND jazz concert at Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, Belize SUNDAY: Jazz Brunch at Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, Belize AND Belize International Jazz Festival Opening Concert CAYO Welcome Center

Making waves--and baskets!
The Summer Art Wave 2016's Basketry Workshop is well underway with two days of peeling vines, today our participants began the weaving process.

Channel 7

UNIBAM Grand Slam: Gay Sex Law Struck Out
Tonight Belize's LBGT community is rejoicing – after Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin struck down the law criminalizing sodomy. It's the end of more than 3 years of waiting for gay rights activist Caleb Orozco who challenged the constitutionality of Section 53 of the country's Criminal Code in May of 2013. That law reads, "every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years." Orozco told the court that the law criminalizes intimacy between gay men who are consenting adults, and it violates their rights.

UNIBAM: And Justice For All..
So, as you saw in our story, Caleb Orozco and his legal team asked us to attend a press conference at the UWI Open Campus. That's the Belize home-away-from-home for the UWI Rights Advocacy Project known as U-RAP's Faculty of Law which was pivotal in getting this case to the Supreme Court on behalf of Orozco and UNIBAM. Today, Orozco's legal team sat down and explained the significance of the ruling, and the fact the churches cannot force an appeal. That appeal will have to come from the Attorney General and the Government of Belize, and they have only a short window to file it: Westim James, SC - Attorney for Caleb: "We found that Caleb's rights to human dignity, privacy, equality before the law, equal protection of the law and freedom of expression were breached. The court then read down the legislation to exclude consensual same sex intimacy in private."

Mason's Wife Melissa Ferguson Remanded For Conspiracy
Melissa Ferguson - she's Danny Mason's wife – who turned herself into police two days ago. Well today after her 48 hours expired, the 56 year old was taken to Belmopan Magistrate's Court and charged for one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping pastor Llewelyn Lucas and David Dodd. The case went before Magistrate Emerita Anderson this afternoon with Richard Dickie Bradley appearing for Ferguson. It turned out to be a mine-fiasco police when the charge sheet had to be amended because the five-page document never once said who she conspired to kidnap. That forced an hour long adjournment to amend the document, after which Richard Dickie Bradley tried to get bail for his client. He said that his client – who had been in Belize for 3 years - was not a flight risk because she had business interests here.

Mason Will Go Back To Court For Kidnapping Friessen
But police are taking the big guns to Belmopan Magistrate's Court tomorrow. Assistant Commissioner Chester Williams will go to Belmopan tomorrow to arraign William Danny Mason and his associates for conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping for Lloyd Friessen. This is a new charge – relating to the event that may have eventually lead to Pastor Lu's beheading. Friessen – who is a large grain producer in Spanish Lookout - alleges that Mason conned him out of three hundred thousand dollars by promising a corn shipment from Argentina which never arrived. When he pressed Mason for the return of the cash – he alleged that he and his wife were abducted form his home on Intelco Hill and taken to Mason's Ranch where they were threatened/ all messages to and form Mason were also deleted from their phones, and he was allegedly told to pay Mason 2,500 dollars weekly to avoid further violence. Friessen fled the country weeks later, then recently returned after the Mason arrest to make his statement, and left again fearing for his safety.

Mason Makes Sly Suggestions On Pawpa Mena Contributions
And while Mason will be back in court tomorrow talking to the judge, earlier this week he was talking to the Amandala. Tonight, we have just a little bit more from that phone conversation. We showed you his bold but questionable claims from behind the prison walls of his supposed interactions with Top Cop Edward Broaster who categorically denies any such thing. The Amandala's Micah Goodin also took that opportunity last week to question him about UDP Dangriga Area Rep. Frank Pawpa Mena. As you would remember, the Prime Minister disclosed that Mena took a contribution of $10,000 from Mason for the Dangriga By-Election. Mena has said that he will return it. So, when Goodin asked him to confirm if the amount was indeed $10,000, Mason suggested that it was a bit more:

EU Gives Hurricane Earl Relief
The European Union has announced that it will give Belize 50,000 Euros in humanitarian funding to assist the storm affected populations in the wake of Hurricane Earl. The EU funding will be earmarked for the Belize Red Cross, to deliver safe water, sanitation services and hygiene promotion, reduction of risks for vector and waterborne diseases, non-food items and livelihood asset replacements for the most vulnerable families. A release says the humanitarian aid will directly benefit 2,200 persons who had their homes damaged and are currently without water or electricity.

Chiquibul From Above
We usually bring you stories of our 7news team inside the Chiquibul, trekking through the thick jungle landscape. Well, today we got to see the Chiquibul from up above .The manager of the national park invited us to accompany the Friends for Conservation and Development on their aerial tour and here is a short excerpt from the story highlighting the importance of this forest fly over Derick Chan - Manager, Chiquibul National Park: "Well what is important about this flight is because we want to create awareness to the people of Belize, to the government of Belize, to everyone that indeed we continue to have these agriculture incursions and there is a lot being done and there is a lot more that can be done but it is important because creating awareness it helps us generate support from people and also to really start to get cracking down on this problem that we have had for the past 30 years."

Murder Trial Ends, Verdict Next
Today, after hearing closing addresses from counsels for the defense and the prosecution, Justice John Gonzalez, in the trial of 21 year old Kurtis Lamb. He's charged with the murder of Justin Roches, which happened back on August 3, 2011. The Crown, represented by Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith, alleged that Lamb and Michael Meighan had an altercation in which Lamb was beaten by Meighan. He then left with the intention of settling the dispute with a gun. When he returned with a with that weapon, he fired upon Meighan, but he missed. Police investigation shows that he then turned the weapon on Roches who was at the basketball court at the time, and that's when Lamb gunned him down. Those injuries he suffered were fatal. Meighan, who was the prosecution's lead witness, testified that he saw Lamb fire the shots.

Framing The Gay Rights Issue
And so the judgment on the Caleb Orozco/Unimbam case is in and the LBGT community won. But, it’s not as simple as that, and 5 years ago, Janelle Chanona looked at the multifarious and complex issues guiding this case:.. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, May 13th 2011: "I would limit myself to saying that the government as a government has taken the position that it needs to argue for the constitutionality of the law that is in place that's being challenged and so I would not go beyond that official position. I am not prepared to comment on my own physiological conviction or lack thereof. That is the official position of the government. This is one time when it might be wise for me to say nothing more." Pastor Scott Stirm, Jubilee Ministries, Belmopan: "By natural law they cannot reproduce. Therefore they must recruit and I want to say this in the strongest terms possible. That's what this is all about. This is their evangelistic campaign."

Belize's Olympians
And finally tonight we have a few words from Belize's Olympic team in Rio. The 3 athletes are Renick James who competed in Judo today, along with Katy Sealy who competes in the 100 meter hurdles, and Brandon Jones in the 200 meter. All three are foreign born, raised and resident. Yesterday they spoke to our broadcast partner Canoc Broadcasting Inc about what it feels like to be in Rio:… Renick James lost in the round of 32 today. You can keep watching coverage of the Belizean and Caribbean athletes right here on Channel 7.

San Ignacio Wooden Bridge Destroyed By Floods
And before we go tonight – a few notes on flooding IN THE WEST. WATER HAS RECEDED ON THE IGUANA CREEK BRIDGE AND TRAFFIC IS MOVING AS NORMALLY. NO SUCH LUCK FOR THE TMEPORARY BRIDGE IN CAYO WHICH – A SYOU CAN SEE HERE WAS OCMPLETELY DESTROYED BY THE FLOODS IN THE MACAL RIVER LAST WEEK. PRESENTLY ONLY THE HAWKESWORTH BRIDGE IS OPERATIONAL AND DRIVERS ARE ASKED TO HAVE PATIENCE WHEN MOVING OVER INTO SAN IGNACIO BECAUSE IT IS A LONG QUEUE TO GET THROUGH. In other news from NEMO, there are a total of 119 persons still in Shelters countrywide. NEMO says it has assisted about 8,000 people. They say that Housing material and relief operations with very preliminary roll out is being planned for Thursday morning for self-help cases.

Channel 5

Supreme Court Strikes Down Section 53
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin delivered a highly anticipated decision this morning in the Supreme Court.  On July 2010, Caleb Orosco, president of UNIBAM took the government to court challenging Section [...]

Ruling Elicits Mixed Reaction
The groundbreaking decision handed down by the Supreme Court earlier today has been met with mixed reception.  Immediately following the ruling, Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow, [...]

NEAB Displeased With Ruling
The National Evangelical Association of Belize has been vocal in its objection to the challenge ever since it was filed six years ago.  This morning, outside of the Supreme Court [...]

UNIBAM Celebrates Legal Victory
UNIBAM President Simone Hill says that the legal victory, aside from being a significant human rights achievement in Belize, was the result of a collective effort which included input from [...]

Melissa Ferguson Arraigned for Conspiracy
At around four-thirty this evening Melissa Ferguson was formally arraigned on one single count of Conspiracy to Kidnap two persons – Pastor Llewellyn Lucas and one other. No single step [...]

Attorney Dickie Bradley Proclaims Ferguson’s Innocence
Bradley maintains that his client, Ferguson, could and would have left the country if she was guilty of the crime for which she has been charged or for the murder [...]

Bradley Says Police Evidence is Non-Existent
He maintains that it’s all about optics – pointing out that while Ferguson has been charged for conspiring to kidnap Pastor Lucas and another man, she has not been charged [...]

Dangriga Home Invaders Remanded to Hattieville Prison
On Tuesday, we showed you the video footage of a home invasion – shocking footage of three women storming into the home of Brimimie Martinez, tearing off her blouse and [...]

Are Police Investigating Ministers’ Involvement with William Mason?
As we showed you earlier in our newscast, Melissa Ferguson has been sent to the Belize Central Prison on remand, another chapter in the William Danny Mason saga which continues [...]

How Did William Mason Acquire Property in Belize?
Questions have also been raised about the properties held by William Mason – notably the mansion on Intelco Hill in Belmopan and the sprawling Outback Ranch at mile thirty-one on [...]

Bradley Has Information on Ministers, but Won’t Share Yet
And then there’s the evidence we keep hearing about – all that evidence which supposedly incriminates those high-ranking politicos and policemen who used to be fixtures at Masons house. Mason [...]

Caribbean Internet Governance Forum Hosted in Belize City
Today, day one of the twelfth annual Caribbean Internet Governance Forum was held at the Radisson in Belize City. Hosted by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union in collaboration with the Public [...]

How Does Belize Rate in the Caribbean?
Packet Clearing House is an internet nonprofit service organization that focuses on internet economy and helps developing nations and other countries to strengthen their internet capacity. Although this year an [...]

Forum Discusses Cyber-Security
The forum also saw the participation of ICT Manager Sean Fouché, from the implementation agency for crime and security with CARICOM Impacts. Cyber security, specifically when it comes to money [...]

Belize City Woman in Court for False S.S.B. Claims
Social Security took a woman to court this evening for making false claims to collect benefits during a period of eight months last year.  Mildred Vassel, an employee of Ready [...]

New York Times in Belize Exploring Simone Biles’ Links to the Jewel
For Belizeans following the Olympics, the name Simone Biles may have popped up a number of times by now.  The nineteen year old gymnast has already won several world championships [...]

Belize Makes Appearance in Judo Match in Rio
In Rio today, Belize’s own Renick James went up against Ovini Uera of Nauru; a tiny island nation northeast of Australia, in the men’s ninety kilograms Judo event.  With Judo’s [...]


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#516760 - 08/11/16 11:59 AM Re: Today's Belize News: August 11, 2016 [Re: Marty]
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CTV3

Clean Up Continues After Hurricane Earl
A week has gone by since Hurricane Earl made its way into Belize creating devastating and lamentable effects in areas of Belize City, Ladyville, San Pedro and Caye Caulker. While residents in other areas across the country suffered immensely as a result of Earl, here in Orange Walk we were quite fortunate to have been spared from the unexpected and underestimated hurricane as majority of the damages included fallen trees as well as debris that were lying around town during the aftermath. Yesterday during an interview with the media, Mayor of Orange Walk Town, Kevin Bernard, told us about the clean-up campaign that is currently being carried out by the Council in partnership with BSI/ASR in order to restore the town back to its normalcy.

Orange Walkeno To Participate In Program Hosted By US President
Twenty six year old Hernan Urbina, a young Belizean entrepreneur from Orange Walk Town, is one of the three talented and young Belizeans chosen to participate in this year’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, (YLAI), a program hosted by US President Barack Obama. The program is geared at increasing the development of young entrepreneurial skills, to assist young people in Latin America and the Caribbean to become financially stable and enhance their economic opportunity. Urbina, who has been managing his family’s business for the past four years, was chosen from a total of four thousand applicants from over thirty six countries from Central America and the Caribbean. Today when our news team paid him a visit, he spoke to us about the work he put into receiving this fellowship.

LOVE FM

UNIBAM Holds Conference to Discuss Chief Justice’s Ruling
After the favorable ruling given this morning by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to amend section 53 of the Criminal Code of Belize 1981, to exclude consensual sex between adults in private, UNIBAM held a press conference. Senior Legal Counsel, Lisa Showman and Wesmin James, spoke about the ruling. Executive Director of UNIBAM, LGBTQI activist Caleb […]

Police Maintained Presence at Supreme Court for Chief Justice’s Ruling
A notable number of law enforcement members were present at the Supreme Court this morning while Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was handing down the ruling for the Caleb Orozco case. We asked assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams about the security personnel and his opinion on the ruling. CHESTER WILLIAMS “We know that there are […]

Melissa Ferguson Charged for Conspiracy to Kidnapping
On Monday, August 8, we told you of Melissa Ferguson handing herself into the Belmopan Police Station in the company of her lawyer, Richard Dickie Bradley. After extensive questioning by the police, Ferguson was detained by the investigators. She spent the entire Tuesday in detention and this afternoon, she was spotted going into court to […]

William Mason Says His Wife Knows Nothing About Anything
While Melissa Ferguson will be spending some time at the Belize Central Prison, her husband, William Mason is outraged of the situation as he explained to Love News via telephone this afternoon. WILLIAM MASON “Me and my wife need a lot of help right now. We have been detained for wrong reasons, because of the […]

Melissa Ferguson Shocked at Police’s Charges Against Her
Melissa Ferguson will spend her first night in prison tonight and her future is now unknown. According to her attorney, Richard Dickie Bradley, it was not her expectation that she would have been charged as it was not the idea she had gotten in conversations held prior to her handing herself over to the authorities. […]

Attorney General Retreage Says the Mason Horse Has Been Flogged
So, tonight’s update is that Melissa Ferguson is now on remand at the Belize Central Prison; William Mason is looking to face additional charges. So, is the media flogging a dead horse by following up on the allegations and the speculations in the Mason saga? Today, we asked the Attorney General, Vanessa Retreage to comment […]

AG Says Registrar Pushed for Investigation Into Mason’s Birth Document
The issuance of a birth certificate to William Mason stating that he was born in Crooked Tree Village, Belize District was another revelation that came out following the discovery of the head of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas. Who facilitated him with that official document? As we noted in a previous newscast, the matter had been handed […]

New Lands Minister Says She Will Maintain Her No-Nonsense Approach
In a recent press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that among the changes made to his Cabinet, he would be handing the Lands Department and its ministry to Attorney General, Vanessa Retreage. Retreage has not been a public figure and has yet to speak on what she brings to the table in the Lands […]

Attorney General Says Work Has Begun In Combatting Cyber Crimes
Today was the start of an internet governance forum. One of the issues coming up in the discussions is cyber security. Anyone who uses the internet would be able to attest to the obscene content that is being put up by several users with no thought of privacy, dignity or discretion. Bevil Wooding whose work […]

PUC & CTU Team Up for 12th Internet Governance Forum
The 12th annual conference focusing on internet governance in the Caribbean is underway at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. It is a conference aimed at improving the way the Caribbean accesses the internet and to look at the various forms of economic development and entrepreneurship benefits that can be had. Bevil Wooding […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Man goes missing during fishing trip
A team is presently out searching for Tedford Augustine, 36, who reportedly went missing during a fishing trip. Gilbert Paulino, 23, reported to police that yesterday August 9, sometime around 1:30 p.m. both men from the village of Seine Bight went fishing some four […]

Stann Creek man investigated for assault
A 21-year-old resident from Seine Bight Village in the Stann Creek District is currently in police custody pending investigation for an aggravated assault. According to a 17-year-old on Saturday August 6, around 7:00 p.m. while riding his bicycle he was pushed off causing him […]

Don’t appeal ruling, Orozco urges Government – respect LGBT!
After today’s historic judgment in the Supreme Court, executive director of UNIBAM Caleb Orozco says the next step is to make sure LGBT persons are treated with the same respect as everyone else. In that regard, he stated that the Constitution “is not toilet […]

Two men charged for shooting at Belize Festival in Chicago
Two men have been arrested and charged for the shooting in a crowd of about 2,000 people at the Belize Cultural Festival at the Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Illinois USA. Jermaine R. James, 34, of Evanston, was charged with unlawful possession of a […]

Claimants pleased, Evangelicals gnash teeth following Section 53 decision
Attorney for Caleb Orozco, Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman, pronounced herself, her client and their supporters pleased with today’s ruling by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, having won on every point raised. A small contingent of pro-LGBT individuals countered the much larger – though not by […]

Construction to start for two new polyclinics in the Corozal District
Approximately 18,000 people will soon have access to polyclinics to be constructed at Chunox and San Narciso Villages in the Corozal District. Ground will be broken today at both villages. The building in Chunox Village is being funded by Government to the tune of […]

Supreme Court rules Section 53 unconstitutional
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today found that Section 53 of the Criminal Code which criminalizes consenting intercourse between adults of the same sex contravenes the right granted by the Constitution of Belize to no interference with a person’s dignity and personal privacy, as well […]

Section 53 Judgement being handed down this morning
At 10:00 this morning Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will hand down his official ruling on the challenge brought by Caleb Orozco against Section 53 of the Criminal Code, which outlaws homosexuality. Orozco and his attorney for the case Lisa Shoman will be present when […]

European Union provides 50,000 Euros to Belize for Hurricane Relief
The European Union has provided 50,000 Euros, or a little over US $55,000 to Belize to assist the Belize Red Cross in providing relief to about 440 families who have been severely affected by the passing of Hurricane Earl last week. These would include […]

Blogs

Pre-Earl: The Road (the Path and the Quarry) North on Ambergris Caye – WAY NORTH
About a week and a half ago, after trying to hitch a boat ride up to Camp Basil Jones, it was suggested to me that I just drive north. DRIVE 14 MILES NORTH!?!?!! Just a few years ago, one or two miles north of town was considered my “far north”. Even a few miles over the bridge was a full day event that needed much advance planning. We now have a bridge (for those who haven’t been to San Pedro in about 11 years) AND A ROAD. Paved in 2015 as far north as 3 miles (or Belizean Shores Resort) and then hard packed and graded to almost 11 miles north – or just behind luxe El Secreto. Once you get up there, you need to take a turn towards the beach. Here’s what I saw on my drive just over a week ago. CAN YOU BELIEVE EARL WAS LESS THAN ONE WEEK AGO? I can hardly…I am again amazed at how quickly this community can rebound.

Dear Belize Traveler: Before You Visit, Please Read These Tips!
If you’re like most North Americans getting ready for a tropical paradise escape, deciding what to see can send you scurrying for the aspirin bottle. We don’t blame you. It’s wise to consider all manner of Belize experiences (since this nation has more choices than most) so you wind up with an itinerary that balances down time and leisure with adventures that have no rival in the Caribbean. To help you plan the perfect trip, we are delighted to share nine facts that can help morph your Belize visit from great to sublime. You will want to thank us for the following advice, but don’t bother. Our reward is bestowed when you find yourself planning your next Belize trip on your return flight home!

Relief effort begins to rebuild San Mateo homes hit by Hurricane Earl
San Mateo was hit harder than we imagined by Hurricane Earl. According to San Pedro Food Bank co-founder Brittney O’Daniel, 49 familes are affected, in leveled or “half-destroyed” homes. The local social activist has set a goal of $20,000 BZD to fund the cost of plywood, zinc roofing, hammers, nails and other building supplies to rebuild the homes. Says O’Daniel, “Alright San Pedro, we need to rebuild a few homes in San Mateo that were destroyed by the hurricane! Which means we need money for plywood, zinc, lumber, nails, etc! We’re looking for donations as well as people to come help rebuild! If you have a few dollars you can spare let us know! Let’s not leave 49 families in half destroyed homes! Let’s help them rebuild! It will take almost 20k to get all of the materials needed!!” Alexandria Boiton forwarded these pictures to me, from Brittney. “We are working together bringing awareness on the damages,” said Alexandria. Brittney “is scouting for volunteers to rebuild and I’m trying to organize fundraisers to buy supplies needed.”

San Pedro town ‘fathers’ deliver stern lectures to fire victims before disbursing relief funds
Yesterday morning I answered the San Pedro Food Bank’s call for volunteers to help sort donated clothing for distribution to Hurricane Earl victims. By the time I got to the Lion’s Den in San Pedro, shortly after 9 a.m., the sorting process was well under way. This is a pretty experienced group. Only a bit more than a month ago, 88 San Pedranos, businesses and property owners were left homeless by a downtown fire and the local Red Cross, Lions Club and Food Bank seemed to click together in bringing relief to fire victims. Including clothing distribution. Now they were doing it all over again. Fortunately, the overwhelming response to the fire left the local service groups with plenty of boxes and bags of clothing donations that never got sorted and distributed — and frankly didn’t need to. They were ready and waiting for Hurricane Earl’s victims. Which is why the Food Bank was urging only donations of non-perishable food and bedding this time. (Still needed, by the way.)

Today, The Supreme Court of Belize Made a Historic Judgement For Equality
Up until this morning, it was illegal to be a homosexual man in Belize. Today at 10am, the justice at the Belize Supreme court, after deliberating for…years…turned that around. Acceptance rather than rejection? Love rather than hate? Belize just got more beautiful for me today. I asked my friend Colette Kase, who flew to Belize City this morning to be there for the historic and IN NO WAY guaranteed verdict to write something for me. And she did. Please don’t wince at her British spelling habits. And as my friend Ali just put it beautifully “after the rain comes a rainbow”. Hurray! If you’ve never been to Belize, you probably wouldn’t know, but until recently, very recently, Belize was one of approximately 76 countries that criminalised consenting sexual acts between homosexual men. Even if you’ve been to Belize, it’s likely that this fact wasn’t even on your radar, but the truth is that many of the people who provided you with the amazing experience you had here were LGBT Belizeans and many were forced to hide their sexuality from their families, communities and even their employers.

HURRICANE EARL'S AFTERMATH
A week ago, On August 3rd, Hurricane Earl made landfall in the country of Belize causing major damages in the mainland and in the cayes of Belize. Fortunately, the damages were only of material items and not a loss of human lives was reported, which we are extremely grateful. Ambergris Caye was one of the cayes majorly affected by this hurricane, since many piers washed ashore due to the high and powerful waves that came with the hurricane, and a few establishments had minor damages. The entire island of Ambergris Caye is now fully restored with the main utilities, which include, electricity, water and telephone/internet. Thanks to the unity of the entire community of San Pedro Town, we are all back in business and ready to cater to all our locals and visitors. Although many dive shops lost their piers, they did not lose their boats or their spirit to share with our friendly visitors the beauty of Belize. And let’s not talk about the restaurants – they are fully equipped and ready to serve everyone with their exotic and exquisite Belizean cuisine.

FOOD AND DRINK IN BELIZE
Many visitors to Belize are pleasant surprised by the wide range of foods and drinks available with something for everyone’s palate. Belize is a true melting pot of different cultural influences, resulting in a delicious melange of dishes with British, Spanish, Chinese, American, Creole, Maya, Caribbean and Garifuna influences.

International Sourcesizz

Belize’s Supreme Court Just Struck Down A Law That Made Homosexuality Illegal
The country is the first former British colony in the Caribbean to strike down its colonial-era sodomy law, and it could boost LGBT rights throughout the region. The Belize Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a law punishing homosexuality was unconstitutional. The decision was announced on the LGBT rights group Unibam’s Twitter account soon after the ruling was made. Unibam which first brought the challenge against the law back in 2010. Caleb Orozco, the main plaintiff in the case, told BuzzFeed News in an email that the Supreme Court ruled in his favor on privacy grounds, as well as under protections of “dignity, equality, and freedom of expression.” He added that the court also decided that protections in the Belizean constitution surrounding sex extend to sexual orientation.

Archaeologists just uncovered one of the biggest Mayan tombs ever
An international team of archaeologists working in Belize has uncovered one of the biggest royal Maya tombs ever, containing a male corpse, animal bones, obsidian blades, and hieroglyphic panels that offer new insights into the legendary 'snake dynasty'. The team uncovered the tomb in Xunantunich, an ancient city in Western Belize that once served as a ceremonial centre for the Maya, under the stairway of a temple. "In other words, it appears that the temple was purposely erected for the primary purpose of enclosing the tomb," team leader Jaime Awe from Northern Arizona University told Alan Yuhas from The Guardian. "Except for a very few rare cases, this is not very typical in ancient Maya architecture." According to the team, the tomb was built for a 20- to 30-year-old muscular man, who must have been of some importance, though they're still trying to figure out more information about his life.

Climate Prediction Center’s Central America Hazards Outlook August 11 – 17, 2016
Tropical Storm “Earl” led to flooding in Belize, relief to dryness over neighboring areas in northern Central America. In the last seven days, the inception and passage of Tropical Storm “Earl” brought significantly heavy rainfall across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Honduras region as it made landfall over the Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula. During the next week, moderate to heavy rainfall amounts are forecast many anomalously dry parts of Honduras, as well as throughout southern Guatemala. The enhanced rainfall is expected to help alleviate short-term and long-term moisture deficits in the Gulf of Fonseca region and throughout Honduras. Many Atlantic facing departments are forecast to receive average to below-average rainfall. No tropical cyclone activity is expected for the outlook period.

UWI ready to support Belize following Hurricane Earl
At the peak of the hurricane season, The University of the West Indies (UWI) said it remains watchful and poised to lend support to its Caribbean neighbours. Outreach has begun for the recovery efforts in Belize after it was hard hit by Hurricane Earl. The storm, which made landfall south of Belize City just after being upgraded to a Category 1 Hurricane last Thursday, August 4, 2016, resulted in major flooding in the central and coastal areas of Belize. Belize City and surrounding villages were among the most affected areas with some major bridges rendered impassable. Inland areas including the Belize River Valley, Cayo District and Stann Creek District suffered tremendously and will feel the economic burden of lost banana, citrus and grain crops even as Belize picks up the pieces.

Now THAT'S a show-stopper! Francis Ford Coppola unveils a private island hideaway in Belize that's so small you can walk round it in five minutes
Film, wine and holiday resorts - is there no end to this man's talents? American screenwriter and film director Francis Ford Coppola has unveiled a new location in his hospitality portfolio, in the shape of a private island. Beach lovers can now castaway at Coral Caye, an idyll eight miles off the coast of Placencia, Belize, that's only two acres, meaning a stroll around the perimeter would only take about five minutes. The rustic two-acre retreat is a 20-minute boat ride from the Family Coppola Resort’s Turtle Inn, making it the only accommodation on the Belize mainland to also offer a private island. Groups of up to 12 can indulge their Huckleberry Finn fantasies with a stay at the island’s two wooden clad cottages. Or a couple can rent out the Apocalypse Now director's entire island as a romantic escape.

It takes a strong village to help Belizeans
Agoura High students Alex Bednar and Noah August are finding ways within their community to help Strong Villages, a local nonprofit that offers global volunteer travel opportunities and dental/medical trips to provide assistance to indigenous populations worldwide. The students set out to help fund the Tumul K’in Health Center in the rainforest of Belize, Central America. Noah, a member of the International Baccalaureate program, has worked for the past six months gathering donations from events held around the area. “ The goal is to provide everyone with the experience of self-reliance or better self-empowerment because the idea that you can give them something that makes them feel more secure is one of the greatest feelings in the world,” says Noah.

AMY MICHAEL: IT'S A WRAP!
Amy Michael earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from MSU in May. Her dissertation focused on the dental health of the prehispanic Maya of Central Belize. While a student, she was part of the Campus Archeology Program and was a contributor to the program blog. Here, she recaps her time at MSU as a student. In May, I graduated from MSU and was let loose into the world as a real, live anthropologist. I have been very fortunate to be employed as a graduate researcher with CAP since 2010. As a physical anthropologist, I entered graduate school thinking I’d just study old bones but I have found a real love for historic archaeology. I credit CAP and Dr. Lynne Goldstein with fostering this interest in me. Each year with CAP has taught me something new, so MSUToday editor Lisa Mulcrone suggested that I re-CAP (ha!) my time in my final blog post. In no particular order:

Videos

  • Belize: Through the Lens & Beyond, 1.5min. Photography & Herbal Workshop Steven Foster & Rebecca Wood February 12-19, 2017

  • Hurricane Earl batters Belize City, 8min.

  • Wildtracks Update: A small ray of Hope - Possibly the smallest manatee calf ever!, 2min. We have a new arrival at Wildtracks - possibly the smallest manatee calf ever! In August, 2016, Hurricane Earl made landfall near Belize City, bringing a tidal surge of 7 feet, sweeping ashore boats, wood from broken docks and buildings....and a manatee calf. The Category One hurricane must have separated her from her mother soon after birth, depositing her more than 250 meters inland - surprisingly un-scarred. She was discovered, alone, in shallow flood waters two days after the storm, and rescued by Jamal Galves (of Sea to Shore). He transported her to Orange Walk, where she was transferred to Wildtracks who, with the help of the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development, transported her the rest of the way to Sarteneja and Belize's Manatee Rehabilitation Center. A long trip for a baby manatee - the smallest rescued in Belize to date. The average weight of a new-born Antillean manatee is generally about 60lbs...this little calf weighs in at 24lbs, with a total length of 87cms, tip of nose to tip of tail. She is small - and beautiful! She has been named "Hope"...as Jamal so eloquently put it... "Hope doesn't always come as a knight in shining armor... it may come as a new born manatee washed ashore and found two days after a disastrous hurricane. A beckon of hope in a time of disaster."

  • Belize's own Renick James competing in the mens 90kg Judo competition at the Rio Olympics., 6min. Great effort, proud of his performance.

  • CFC Belize Missions Trip 2016, 6min.

  • SoCAL Belize Missions Team 2016, 2.5min. 18 people from 5 different churches in the SoCAL area went to Belize to serve, have fun and build relationship. July 28 - August 8, 2016.

  • Belize Trip 2016, 12min. Family in Christ mission trip to Belize.

  • Amazing Drone Footage of Belize (Ocean)! (Phantom 3 Standard),2.5 min. Here is some footage of the ocean off the coast of Hopkins, Belize! The shots were taken with the DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone.

  • Belize - Jaguar Reserve, 4min. Today I went to the Jaguar Reserve with Rick, who I had spent the last few days with, as well as Laura and Kelsey. To be quite frank, this is one of the days I enjoyed the least. Not only was I feeling like the old fart fourth wheel but I also ended up losing my phone floating down the river. I had so many great pictures and videos but at least I had my camera with me as well and was able to capture a good amount of the day. There is something to be said about being around people who know you when you are feeling low. The people you love have a way of lifting your spirits and I needed it today!

  • Samuel's Sanctuary in Santa Marta, Belize, 4min.

  • San Pedro Belize dancing, 3min.

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