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#516936 - 08/18/16 06:47 AM Today's Belize News: August 18, 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

Police Polaris destroyed by unexplained fire
A routine patrol by members of the San Pedro Police Formation did not end well, as their Polaris vehicle suddenly became engulfed in flames. The incident took place around 9AM on Wednesday, August 17th in the Alta Mira Area of San Pedro Town. The Fire Department was notified and they quickly responded to the scene where they put out the fire. Little could be done to save the Polaris, and it was completely destroyed.

National Song Competition kicks off September Celebrations!
To kick off the 2016 September celebrations, the National Celebrations Commission along with the Institute of Creative Arts, hosted the annual National Song Competition. The event took place on Saturday, August 13th at the Fort George Memorial Park in Belize City, highlighting talented Belizean vocalist, much creativity, showcasing Belize’s diversity and national pride. This year, 19 competitors took on the challenge in two categories –National Song, and Carnival Song. After a long night of spectacular performances, Cecil Jenkins A.K.A ‘Cocono Bwai’ with his song ‘Border to Border,’ song took home first place in the National Song Competition 2016.

San Pedro to get $12 Million Internet SEUL by BTL
Sanpedranos will soon have twice faster Internet and access to light-speed bandwidth by July 2017, with the installation of the SEUL (Strategic Evolution Underwater Link) – a fibre-optic cable by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, through a Bze$12 Million contract signed by Belize Telemedia (BTL) at the Renaissance Tower in Belize City on Monday afternoon, August 15th. BTL has heard San Pedro customers and visitors requests for faster internet speeds and bandwidth, and Anwar Barrow and the company’s immediate response is to double the speed of the existing system by microwave transmission from a dish on the tower at Esquivel Telecom Center in Belize City, to a dish in San Pedro. Barrow said the present speed of 1.4 Gigabytes per second will be increased to 3.0 Gb/s within a month. This is nowhere enough to offer the speeds of 10Mb/s to 150Mb/s which visitors have become accustomed to at home in Europe and the United States, requiring the 32 Terabytes/second speed that a fiber-optic cable can offer. Barrow said this will meet Isla Bonita’s broadband needs for the next 15 – 20 years, allowing Sanpedranos to have all the Internet broadband width they could want or need. He said BTL is already beginning the underwater surveys for where the cable will be laid on the seabed, so that they can get any required environmental permits. Huawei’s Ma Yanfeng said the fibre-optic system will have a total capacity of 32 Terabytes/second, which will be more than a 10,000 times the 3.0 Gb/s capacity of the microwave link after it is expanded next month.

Ambergris Caye to be represented at National Belikin Pool Tournament
After winning the qualifying match in a local pool tournament on the island, Team “One Shot-One Kill,’ will be representing Ambergris Caye at the National Belikin 8-Ball Pool Tournament. The event will be held on Saturday, August 20th and Sunday, August 21st in Orange Walk Town, and will have teams from all over the country competing for the national championship. Team One Shot-One Kill, Team Amigos and Team Krush, were the favorites of the evening. Each team had seven players whose task was to win the best out of five games, and the team with the most wins would walk away with the victory. As the evening went by, Team Krush was soon left behind in third place, and Team Amigos, led by Jose Perez and Team One Shot-One Kill, coached by Talal Harmouch faced each other for the final match. It was a tight game, making the match longer and more exciting for the fans who cheered on their favorite team. However, only one could claim the championship, and with a clean shot, by Nestor Villanueva, the 8-ball sinking in, giving One Shot-One Kill the win. Team Amigos had to settle for the second place.

BTB extends invitation to Olympic Gymnast Simone Biles
Since the Rio Olympic Games commenced, US Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles has been the talk of the world. In Belize, the 19 year-old holds a special place in the hearts of Belizeans, as her mother is from Belize. The excitement grew more when the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) scored more than gold when they extended Biles, along with her teammates, an invitation to vacation in Belize, and they accepted. BTB tweeted on Thursday, August 11th: “Congrats @simone_biles! Belize is so proud of you. We’d love to host you and the entire #FinalFive on a vacation once you’re ready to relax.” Biles, who is no stranger to Belize, responded, “My second home, you betta belize we’re coming.” BTB’s offer is to host Biles and the US gymnast team for a five-day, all-expense trip to Belize.

Ambergris Today

Two Free Arts Camp by Augustana University!
A group of college students from Augustana university in Sioux Falls South Dakota will be offering a free arts camp on August 18th & 19th at Boco Del Rio Park and at Central Park on August 23rd & 24th. Activities include percussion classes, crafts, dancing, drawing, singing and games will be offered from 10a.m. - 12p.m. and 1p.m. - 4p.m. / Ages 5-14. The group offering these workshops are five amazing university students from a liberal arts college called, Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. They wanted to combine their love and expertise in the arts with their love of children.

San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize Celebrates 40 years of Family Hospitality
San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the longest standing hotel in San Ignacio Town celebrates its 40th anniversary, having officially opened to guests on August 17, 1976. To commemorate the event, the Hotel will launch several activities highlighting and celebrating its importance as a pioneer in the Belize hospitality industry. Built on 17 acres of lush Belizean rainforest, the 26 room Resort forever changed the landscape of the hospitality scene in San Ignacio over the years. The San Ignacio Resort Hotel has set the precedent for premier hospitality services and standards, and continues to lead the industry 40 years later. The anniversary also honors the vision and legacy of the founders, Mr. and Mrs. Escander and Paulita Bedran.

Watch as Fire Engulfs San Pedro Police Vehicle
Personal video footage of Alta Mar resident Kerian Azueta in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, shows how the San Pedro Police Department’s polaris is being destroyed by fire as the vehicle bursts into flames during a patrol of the neighborhood early this morning, August 17, 2016. According to reports, four police officers jumped off the polaris after noticing smoke coming from the vehicle. Soon after the entire polaris was engulfed in flames. The San Pedro Fire Department arrived at the scene and was able to extinguish the flames, but not before the vehicle was completely destroyed. The incident occurred around 9a.m.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Food Safety & Mosquito Transmitted Disease Presentation
Notice to the PUBLIC: The Caye Caulker Village Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Health is hereby inviting the entire community of Caye Caulker and business community to attend a presentation that will be done on Food Safety and Mosquito Transmitted Diseases. When: Wednesday 17th August 2016 at 7:00 pm sharp at the Community Center. Please make all efforts to attend this very important presentation! Feel free to spread the word!

Belizean Dies in Mexico
Rene August, also known as Willy B. was part of a caravan of Belizeans driving down vehicles from the United States. He and others were in Veracruz, Mexico when a tragic accident occurred taking August's life on Tuesday, August 16th. The municpal aurthorities have said that at 6:45 pm, August 16, 2016, on Autopista Teami Veracruz – Córdoba, a la altura del km. 74+110 in the municipality of Jamapa, Veracruz a traffic accident occurred in which, Rene August, 50 years, a Belizean driver, died. He was traveling in the company of Juan Rudon, 67, who emerged unharmed. The two Belizeans were traveling in a red Ford Escape, driven by the deceased Rene August, with a black Jeep Patriot in tow bearing Texas license plates BY8N033. The driver lost control causing the vehicle to overturn.

San Ignacio Resort Hotel 40th Anniversary
Happy 40th anniversary to the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The SIRH opened their doors on August 17th, 1976, and has been providing quality service ever since. They have a great video to commemorate the occasion. Keep up the great work. Here's to many more. "Attended the Jazz Fest in San Ignacio & stayed at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Great place, great service. The resort is celebrating it"

Yoga in the Jungle at Macaw Jungle Lodge
We are planning a fun yoga session on the new yoga deck at Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge. The owners of the lodge are hoping to get a few photos for thier website and have offered not only to allow us to use their deck under the jungle canopy but will also provide us with a vegetarian lunch after, plus the use of their tubes (river and weather permitting). I will not be charging any extra for this class so you can use your class card, otherwise it's $20bz (same as any other single class). I will ask for a small donation from anyone riding in my truck to cover gas and I have room for three people inside the cab and lots more in the truckbed :) Please sign up no later than Monday Aug 29th so that both Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge and myself can prepare for this fun day.

Miss Belize pageant
Lazy Lizard invites all our friends to attend the Miss Belize pageant, September 10th at the Bliss Center and support our very own delegate Miss Neidy Rodriguez, representing Belize City.

Guatemala's attempt to annex any part of Belize will bring serious consequences
By Wellington C. Ramos. Our September 10th and independence celebrations will be coming up next month and this is how I feel about my beloved country Belize. The government of Guatemala is trying to see how the government of Belize and its people will respond to the annexation of the Sarstoon and other parts of our country. Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History We must let Guatemala and the world know that Belize is our country that was accepted by the nations of the world on September 21, 1981, with all of its territory and maritime areas intact. Subtracting one inch from this total is unacceptable to all Belizeans living in Belize, the United States and the rest of the world because it will no longer be Belize. We the people, who are citizens of Belize living in Belize, the United States and abroad, will never grant consent to any political party now and in the future of our country to negotiate our territory with Guatemala or any other nation of this world.

Palapa Bar will be back!
To all of our friends and family, our beloved Palapa Bar and Grill was completely demolished by Hurricane Earl in August of 2016. But don't worry! We are currently rebuilding a bigger and badder Palapa Bar for your enjoyment and pleasure! As of late August, the cleanup phase has finished, and we are now working on the rebuilding phase.

Illegal Wildlife and Timber Trafficking in Mesoamerica
Panel discussion, August 22 at 1pm at the Ramada Princess

Channel 7

GOB Will Not Appeal CJ Decision On Sodomy Law, Here's Why:
Last night we broke the news that the government of Belize would not appeal the Chief Justice's decision to legalize gay sex between consenting adults. Well, today that was confirmed in a press conference where the Attorney General Vanessa Retreage explained why the government will not appeal:… Hon. Vanessa Retreage - Attorney General: "The government has closely considered the option of appealing and has sought legal advice as to the possible merits and benefits of appealing. In this regard it is noted that there were 7 interested organisations which argued the case a part from the claimant and the government with no less than 15 attorneys representing them. Government is therefore satisfied that the case was properly argued and does not see any aspect of the decision that would benefit from further argument and as such has taken the decision not to appeal."

PM Says Churches Should Appeal
And while Cabinet goes on the strict legalities – as the attorney General says, the churches can freely pursue an appeal. They were only interested parties in the case, and have been advised that they cannot appeal – that's the sole prerogative of the respondent, which is the government of Belize. Today the Prime Minister and the Attorney General insisted that the churches can in fact proceed with their own appeal:… Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "No sir you are perfectly free to apply to court to be given leave to appeal. As I understand it you need not even been an interested party to be able to get leave to appeal as long as you can show that the decision of the court affects you; you are entitled for a leave to appeal. In this case because you were interested parties it strikes me that you are almost immediately and automatically there." Luis Wade - Plus TV: "Would any of you sight a legal precedence that we could follow on to ensure that this kind of appeal is permitted?"

Churches Say they Cannot Appeal, GOB Must
A press release from the National Evangelical Association of Belize says that over 132 pastors countrywide are calling on the government to launch the appeal. But now that PM Barrow has said they must because he will not – what will the churches do next? That's what we asked NEAB President Pastor Lance Lewis today: Jules Vasquez: "Prime Minister had said that you all are free to appeal on your own. He's given his knowledge and interpretation of the law; will you all now pursue that appeal?" Pastor Lance Lewis - NEAB President: "I think we should and I think we will but we need to do it in conjunction with all the church bodies. It's going to cost something I don't what yet we have to look at all the factors but I think we should do the appeal. It will be so funny for us not to do it when we are against what was done." Jules Vasquez: "Now you all sent out a release exhorting the government, asking the government please pursue this appeal. Are you disappointed in the prime minister, the government...."

GOB Will Meet With Churches
So, the churches clearly aren't impressed with Cabinet's decision – and government surely has to do some serious fence mending with this important demographic. That's why the Prime Minister announced today that government will meet with the churches to try and convince them that the judgement is confined to private activity between consenting adults.:… Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "It is government's job to sit with you and to try to persuade you that the ruling does not mean what you seem to fear that it means. That has to continue or that has to take place regardless of an appeal that you will no doubt lodge. I hope for your sakes that you will but that has to continue because... I don't know you all I thought was represented by senior council I don't know why they haven't explained to you what the limitations of the ruling are but any way is our job to respect you to understand that you feel absolutely strongly about this issue that in so far as you are concerned it is the voice of god speaking through you. We must therefore try our best to say to you while we can't change of you feel about the ruling could we agree that the ruling means only this and not that?"

Caleb From UNIBAM Says PM Moving In The Right Direction
And while the PM will reach out to the churches – it won't do the same for UNIBAM. As the claimant in the case, that gay rights organization got just what it wanted. And that winning streak continued today with the Government's announcement that it will not launch an appeal. Caleb Orozco who attended the press conference said it's the right course of action:… Caleb Orozco - UNIBAM: "He simply reacted constructively and responsibly as a government should to the need of its citizens; no more, no less." Jules Vasquez: "Now in so far as the process not being finished are you all prepared to go another round should the churches and they have given every indication they will if they can; are you all prepared for another round of legal battles and everything that entails?" Caleb Orozco - UNIBAM: "Church leaders must remember that as long as you don't pay taxes or they are not elected to government they don't have a handle on my fundamental rights as a citizen of this country. I stand my ground, I do not, do not believe that they are the ones governing this country and I have every right to challenge any position that they have in court."

PM Says Judgment Is Not Greenlight To Gay Marriage
And while the not-so-veiled references to "closets" is one thing – gay marriage is what all of this is really about. After the decriminalization of anal sex between consenting adults – is the next step going to be the push to legalize gay marriage? That's the primary concern of the various church groups but the Prime Minister said that he doesn't accept that interpretation one bit:.. Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "I don't agree that that's an inevitable or even necessary consequence of the chief justice's ruling. In fact I hold the opposite view and cabinet is also convinced that this does not open the door for gay marriage. Nothing can stop the people who believe in that from agitating, from taking legal action but it is not fair to the chief justice's ruling in my view to suggest that ruling in any way opens the door to that. This was a matter of striking down or reading down a section of the criminal code that imposed criminal sanctions on what was even on actions that were consensual."

PM Says Incestuous Sodomy Case Highlights Misconceptions About Judgment
And while the PM earned applause on that declaration – he wasn't clapping for all the misunderstanding that has sprung up in the wake of that ugly case of sodomy we've been reporting on. On Friday night an 11 year old in Santa Elena was allegedly sodomised by his 16 year old brother. Police have been investigating and we'll tell you about that shortly, but today it came up when the Prime Minister addressed all the misunderstandings that have resulted from this case. First, it was reported by Plus TV's Luis Wade that the 16 year old told his younger sibling that he can't be prosecuted for it because of the Chief Justice's decision. If he did say that, it would be wrong, since, the Chief Justice's decision only refers to consenting acts between adults. Today the Prime Minister addressed the many misunderstandings that have resulted from the judgment:..

Belizean Car Dealer Died In Accident In Mexico
A Belizean was killed in a traffic accident in Mexico yesterday. He's 50 year-old Rene August, and the accident happened in the municipality of Jamapa, Veracruz. August was driving a red Ford Escape car, and 67 year-old Belizean Juan Rudon was in the vehicle with him at the time. Mexican police say that the Ford Escape had no license plates but they were towing another vehicle, a Black Jeep Patriot with Texas plates. It is uncertain what caused the accident, but August, who was driving lost control of the vehicle, and it flipped. August suffered serious injuries, and died. Rescue teams took hours to cut him out of the vehicle. His passenger, Rudon, escaped unharmed. The local authorities were on scene shortly after, and the Belize Embassy Personnel in Mexico, including Ambassador Oliver Del Cid, and his Deputy Chief of Mission have been working hard to get August's body back home. August had been driving vehicles down through Mexico for over 15 years.

11 Year Old Boy Commits Suicide in OW
An 11 year-old boy from Orange Walk Town was found dead last night at around 8:30 and it appears that he took his own life. The child, whose name we will not reveal at this time, was found with injuries around the neck, and a belt was found in his house, which police think he used to hang himself from the ceiling. Today, Orange Walk investigators briefed the press about the details they have at this time: Insp. Jose Mendez - OW Police: "Police visited the Northern Regional Hospital where they found the lifeless body of an 11 year old in the emergency room section who had already been pronounced dead upon arrival by Dr. Osorio. This minor had some type of injury around his neck. Police commenced an investigation into the matter where a 20 year old reported that upon arrival at his house at about some time about 6:45 pm or so he was informed that his nephew the 11 year old minor has committed suicide. Police visited the area where they found a belt where it is alleged that the deceased hung himself off the ceiling"

Father Laments His Son Beatdown From Police, Hopes For Recovery
Last night we told you about the alleged case of Punta Gorda Police brutality. The report is that 4 officers rode up to a store in San Marcos and started beating up a man who was near the store. Mario Makin was inside with his friend and he came out to see what was happening. That is when police allegedly grabbed Makin and started to beat him. Makin ended up in the PG hospital and just this morning had to be transferred to the KHMH due to the seriousness of his injury. Today Makin's father gave us more details about the alleged attack and about his son's condition. We also spoke to Makin's close friend who is pleading for justice. Andres Makin - Father: "He still in critical problem right now with his feeling; during the night he could hardly catch breath that's why he is in critical problem right now." Courtney Weatherburne: "He has undergone several surgeries, 2 surgeries I believe?" Andres Makin - Father: "2 surgeries; 1 from Dangriga and 1 from Belmopan."

Faber Tells Teachers To Hold On
Moving on to education, teachers and public officers have been waiting patiently for their 3 % salary increase. It was to have taken effect in April but government is pleading hard times and asking for their understanding. Today Education Minister Patrick Faber assured the teachers that they will be getting their increase, and the delay has nothing to do with the state of the economy but rather with Hurricane Earl. Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education: "The delay that is being sought by the prime minister to the unions is not necessarily because of the economic situation. In fact you will remember that the unions and the financial secretary shook hands and signed off on what the payment would be. And so that was intended to have been payed; enters Earl and of course you know the difficulty we saw there."

PM Met With Unions
Today, the Prime Minister amplified that explanation when he said that he recently called in all the unions for a meeting to explain to them what is the situation after hurricane Earl:… Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "We did have a meeting, it's not just the teachers it's with the heads of the 3 unions, the APSSM, the PSU and the BNTU and I as I said shared the latest damage assessment report I had with them and indicated that were asking as it appeared were entitled to at least ask under the framework which I had for the collective bargaining agreement. It did say that if there was a change in material circumstances we could reopen the issue of the salary adjustment. So I've asked them if they would be good enough as part of the national solidarity and the fact that government had to find all this money now to try to help put things back together for a number of people including some of their members; if they would be good enough to agree to a deferral of the salary increase until next April; the start of the budget year. It's something they clearly have to consult on so I am awaiting their response."

Will GOB Be Forced To Increase GST?
Initial assessments from hurricane Earl put the cost of damages at about 105 million dollars. Add that to an already contracting economy, and the sharp increase in the debt burden with the BTL arbitration award, and then factor in the set up in superbond payments which is coming next year – and you've got a government whose finances are hanging by a thin thread. So does that mean that we can expect further increases in taxes – like maybe a GST increase? That's what we asked the PM today:.. Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "There will be no tax increases before certainly the next budget year. I'm not saying there will be tax increases then but if tax increases have to come they can't come until then. Especially it was not in my contemplation in any event but especially now with hurricane Earl. You don't respond to a disaster where lives have been shattered by increasing taxes on people."

Faber Says No Answers Yet On Stolen Prado
And so, if government is really that pressed for cash – it brings into even sharper focus the possible loss of Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber's 2013 Toyota Prado – because a new one like that will cost about 140 thousand dollars. As we reported, the vehicle was stolen on Sunday night, and today we asked Faber for an update but he directed us to the police. Courtney Weatherburne: "Sir could you kindly give us an update on the vehicle; do the police know who the car thief is?" Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education: "Well as I mentioned to you I have no update and so the fitting person for you to ask or the entity for you to ask would be the police."

PM Says Faber's Stewardship Of Gov't Asset Not Optimal
And while we got no comment form the police, we did get one from Faber's boss today. Here's what the Prime Minister said:… Jules Vasquez: "Sir with the admitted that he left the key with a friend, that the friend subsequently left the key in the vehicle; is that optimal stewardship of public assets? A very expensive asset as well." Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "I think you put that question to him and he confessed that it wasn't." Jules Vasquez: "You're his boss should he..." Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister: "Who am I to disagree with that?"

Grace Gets New Space
About 475 kids will be rushing through the gates and cramming into classrooms at the Grace Primary School on Amara avenue in September. That's a lot students and it is becoming more of a challenge to cater to all these kids in a cramped urban environment. Well, there will be some relief for the next school year because 4 more classrooms will be built on Faber's Road, as an extension the school. We found out more about the project at the ground breaking ceremony this morning. Brenda Lee Hyde - Vice Principal, Grace Primary: "SIF is giving us 4 classrooms so initially we might just bring over the upper division; we have not cemented all that yet but that's our plan." Courtney Weatherburne: "So right now it's only going to be 4 classrooms to be built here on this lot?" Brenda Lee Hyde - Vice Principal, Grace Primary: "Yes 4 classrooms."

Some Teachers Will Stay Home
While those Grace Primary students have something to look forward to for next school year, some teachers can't even look that far ahead, because at the beginning of this school year, they will be out of a job. As we told you in early February, Minister of Education Patrick Faber announced that those teachers without a full license will be dismissed and replaced. Well, since that announcement many teachers have been scrambling to get their full license, but today Faber reiterated that time is up for those teachers who did not budge to get fully licensed and he makes no apology for it. Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education: "There were some who felt that their case was not properly heard or the committee might have missed something and there was a process for them to make that appeal to the same committee to review it and so on; and that process as I understand is being completed."

A group of professionals from within Belize's export and trade sector concluded a workshop on exporting today. This one was not about the export of goods such as agricultural produce, but the exportation of skilled labour which included Creative and Cultural Industries, Management Consultants, ICT providers, Marketing and Communications, Business Process Outsourcing, Professional Services, Business Services, Construction related, and Health and Wellness Tourism. The experts at the Belize Coalition of Service Providers say that there is a growing need for such a trade interaction, and today, we stopped by to talk with the coordinators. They told us that though it's an intangible asset, it is just as valuable as any other exported item:

RESTORE Scholarships
This evening, 32 high school students attended an award ceremony hosted by Restore Belize. They are receiving scholarships after being chosen through a rigorous selection process. We attended the ceremony and found out that these students were chosen because of their potential for excellence, but also because without the funding, they would not be able to attend school. The coordinator told us more today:

Can PM Help Mount Carmel Accountholders?
And finally tonight, we have an update on Mount Carmel Credit Union in Benque Viejo. As we told you three weeks ago, the Credit Union is bankrupt and is going to be closed down. The hundreds of members who had money in there will just lose their deposits – simple as that. Today we asked the Prime Minister if he can do anything as Minister of Finance to save them – and he didn’t seem very hopeful:…

#516937 - 08/18/16 06:47 AM Re: Today's Belize News: August 18, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

Government Will Not Appeal Section 53 Decision; A.G. Cites Legal Advice
The Government of Belize has announced that it will not appeal the landmark decision of the Supreme Court in respect of Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code.  That statement comes [...]

P.M. says Cabinet Split on Support for LGBT Rights
According to Prime Minister Barrow, government’s decision was equally the result of a lively discussion among senior members of Cabinet who advise on policy.    Prime Minister Dean Barrow “The [...]

Barrow Says Churches Can Appeal Section 53 Decision
As we’ve mentioned, Bishops Dorick Wright and Christopher Glancy, on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, wrote to Prime Minister Barrow urging government to appeal the decision of the Supreme [...]

Gay Marriage Coming? P.M. Says Section 53 Decision Won’t Cause It
Does the reading down of Section Fifty-three open the figurative door to gay marriage?  It’s a widely held belief among many, including the Roman Catholic Church.  In fact, its premise [...]

Evangelicals Will Seek Support for Appeal
Following the prime minister’s press conference, we got a reaction from the National Evangelical Association of Belize on government’s position on Section Fifty-three.  Needless to say, the organization is disappointed [...]

Caleb Orozco Warns Churches Over Morality
The protagonist at the center of the UNIBAM Challenge is gay rights activist Caleb Orozco.  Over the years, he has been the subject of scorn and disdain, as much as [...]

Department of Human Services to Take Custody of Sodomy Victim
As we reported on Tuesday, an eleven-year-old boy from Santa Elena Town, Cayo District was allegedly sodomized by his sixteen-year-old brother as he slept in his room early Friday morning.  [...]

The Safety of the Child Remains Paramount
We asked C.E.O. Alpuche whether their role has been simplified in handling cases under the now-amended Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code. She told us that their role remains much [...]

New Police Minister Says “Crime Will Never Pay”
The new Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Senator Godwin Hulse, has met with the brass of the Police Department. As you heard Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams say [...]

Can Regulation Help Police Avoid Entanglements with Unsavoury Characters?
And while the police are certain to double down on efforts to stop crime, the recent William Mason case shows that sometimes, the alleged criminal element is well-disguised. While senior [...]

Hurricane Relief Funds Coming In Slowly for Government
Today marks the second week since Hurricane Earl ravaged parts of the Belize District.  In the wake of the disaster, relief efforts have included generous donations from various organizations to [...]

P.M. Says Deputy’s Prado Story Will Be Scrutinized By Police
Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber’s assigned ministerial vehicle was plunged in the drink near Marine Parade on Sunday night as he socialized at Old Belize following, an outing to the [...]

Grace Primary School to Build Extension in Faber’s Road Area
A ground-breaking ceremony was held today on a three-acre plot of land on Faber’s Road extension. It is the construction site for an extension of Grace Primary School that will [...]

Hundreds of Teachers Cut Due to Not Having Proper Training
There are several schools for which the new academic year has already started, but most primary schools across the country won’t start classes until September fifth. Most of the education [...]

Public Officers to Face Delay in Salary Increase
At the last press conference held in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke briefly about having a discussion with the unions in terms of having a [...]

Caregivers Trained to Handle Needs of Senior Citizens
A team from the University of Indianapolis in Indiana is in Belize working with caregivers for senior citizens through HelpAge Belize and the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly.  We [...]

Belizeans Asked to be More Understanding of Our Seniors
How does one help a senior citizen, who is used to being independent, get used to having others do things with and for them? Volunteer chairman of the Board of [...]


GOB Will Not Appeal New Sodomy Law
This afternoon, exactly one week after the landmark ruling was handed down inside the Supreme Court in Belize City by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, which amended Section 53 of the Criminal Code, the government of Belize for the first time since the ruling provided its much awaited position on the matter. Among members of the Evangelical community, members of Government and a large group of the LGBT community, Attorney General, Minister Vanessa Retreage, announced Governments decision to refrain from appealing the controversial ruling.

NEAB Disappointed With GOB On Not Appealing Section 53
In the same room with Orosco this afternoon, were members of the National Evangelical Association of Belize who were also present at today’s press conference and without a doubt the news that GOB will not appeal Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s ruling did not sit too well with them. Even before the Prime Minister’s announcement today NEAB wrote to the PM requesting that the ruling be appealed. For NEAB the points used by the Chief Justice to carry out the controversial decision, violate fundamental beliefs and convictions of the religious community in Belize. Today we spoke with President of NEAB, Pastor Lance Lewis who expressed disappointment in the decision taken by GOB on the ruling.

Salary Increase Delayed For Public Officers
The Belize National Teachers Union have been in negotiation with the Government for weeks now as it relates to the third and final portion of the salary increase that teachers are expected to receive. However, as a result of Hurricane Earl which made landfall in Belize two weeks ago, it was publicly announced that the increase would be delayed until further notice. During An interview with the media earlier today, the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Patrick Faber stated that in order to shed some light into the matter, the Prime Minister met with the BNTU on Monday for the continued discussion. Honorable Patrick Farber – Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education: “As far as I know the delay that is being sought by the Prime Minister to the Unions is not necessarily because of the economic situation in fact you will recall that the Unions and the financial secretary shook hands and signed off on what the payment would be and so that was intended to have been paid, enters Earl and of course you know the difficulty we saw there...”

Orozco Ready For Second Round If Churches Would Appeal
And in response to NEAB’s possibility of appeal on the amendment of section 53 of Belize’s criminal code, Caleb Orosco, who was the complainant in the case is of the belief that he has the fundamental right to fight his case in court. Caleb Orozco: “The church will try to appeal that is fine, I stand my ground that the church is not entitled to be guardian of my fundamental rights, I also stand my ground that the church must look in their own closet for their moral concerns and remember that their closet is as wide open as mine when they talk about moral grounds.”

Eleven Year Old Commits Suicide
Tonight the Orange Walk community remains in shock and disbelief as a family prepares to bury their eleven year old loved one who was found dead in his room with a belt wrapped around his neck sometime around 6:45 yesterday evening. The minor’s body was discovered by his uncle who reportedly tried to save his life, but all efforts proved futile. Since news broke last night about the death of the 11 year old several reports have surfaced as to what actually transpired and one indication is that the child and his four year old brother were allegedly home alone when the incident occurred. Today when we spoke to Inspector of Police, Jose Mendez, he told us what the investigations have revealed so far.


Government of Belize Will Not Appeal the Amendment to Section 53
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has announced that the Government of Belize will not be appealing the decision of the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin as it relates to Section 53 of the Constitution. Chief Justice Benjamin rendered his decision on Wednesday, August 10 declaring Section 53 unconstitutional as it finds it criminal for consenting adults to […]

Prime Minister Says No to Same Sex Marriages
One of the arguments or fears of several pockets of society is whether or not this ruling is the start of other freedoms for the homosexual group including but not limited to same sex marriages. Prime Minister Dean Barrow gave assurances that it is will not be the case. DEAN BARROW ” In response to […]

PM Encourages Church to Appeal; Pastor Stirm Says They Can’t
Interested parties in the ruling of Section 53 have until the end of the month to submit an application for appeal of the Chief Justice’s ruling. Prime Minister Dean Barrow shared two correspondences from the churches’ association asking that he appeal on their behalf. Prime Minster reiterated their decision not to appeal but explained the […]

AG and Acting Solicitor General to Make Media Rounds on Section 53
During today’s press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained particularly to the religious community who have been in opposition of the ruling that the Government will be embarking on an education campaign aimed at clarifying several points that have been misconstrued in the entire discussion of Section 53 and the court’s ruling. DEAN BARROW ” […]

PM Satisfied with Faber’s Explanation on the Stolen SUV
Yesterday we brought you the story of Senior Superintendent Lynden Flowers appealing to the public with information on the Government SUV that was stolen on Sunday evening. Following today’s press conference, we asked Prime Minister Dean Barrow to weigh in on the incident. DEAN BARROW ” The vehicle was driven into the Caribbean Sea on […]

Prime Minister Meets with Union to Delay Salary Increase
In his last press conference held on August 5, 2016, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke of the possibility of having the implementation of the agreed salary increases for teachers and public officers. The thought was shared following the damages that Hurricane Earl left behind when it made landfall in the Belize District. Today, the Prime […]

Ground Breaks for New School Building (GPS)
For years the management of Grace Primary School has been working on plans to have an extension to their school built on a 3-acre parcel of land on Faber’s Road in Belize City. To date the school has just under five hundred students enrolled and each year they have had to turn down applications due […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Senior citizen caregivers in training
This afternoon in Belize City, persons entrusted with caring for senior citizens were trained by a group of university professors and students from the University of Indianapolis. We spoke to professor Tammy Simmons who stated that caregivers must be careful not to take […]

New Police Minister meets with top brass
This week Senator Godwin Hulse, who succeeds John Saldivar as Minister of Home Affairs with responsibility for the Police Department, met with more than 100 senior officials to chart a way forward. This afternoon, he told us that there will be a renewed sense […]

Minor in sodomy case to be guarded by State
The Department of Human Services is intervening in the case of the 11 year old boy who accuses his 16 year old older brother of anally assaulting him in his sleep last Friday. While Police investigations continue, the Department, after speaking with the boy’s […]

Belize says “no” to gay marriage
With decriminalization of consensual acts “against the order of nature” complete, could gay marriage be next? Opponents believe yes, and are ready to fight it to the highest courts in the land. Government, on the other hand, does not believe that the effect of […]

GOB: Churches can appeal Section 53 but we won’t
The Government of Belize has declined to appeal last Wednesday’s ruling by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in respect of Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code. Caleb Orozco successfully challenged the constitutionality of that piece of legislation. This afternoon, Attorney General Vanessa Retreage conceded that […]

Post mortem for 11-year-old concluded; conflicting reports surrounding his death arise
The 11-year-old child who was reportedly found hanging from a rope in his room died as a result of “asphyxiation by hanging” police reports. While it appears to be a suicide, Orange Walk police say they are not ruling out other possibilities and the […]

PACT joins relief efforts in Belize
The Board of Directors of the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) have agreed to make “a significant donation” towards hurricane relief efforts in Belize. While the amount was not mentioned, PACT issued a release stating that “PACT is aware that among the many segments […]

11-year-old found hanging from rope in his room
Orange Walk police have launched an investigation into the death of an 11-year-old that was found hanging in his room on Tuesday night. The boy’s uncle told police that he had left the child along with his four-year-old brother at home and went out. […]

GOB will not appeal Section 53 decision
Attorney General Vanessa Retreage announced this afternoon at a press conference in Belize City that GOB will not appeal the Section 53 decision, but interested parties may. “GOB will not tolerate hate speech or actions against other people due to differences,” the Attorney General […]

Weather forecasters keep an eye on potential Tropical Storm Fiona
Tropical depression six, which is currently in the central Atlantic Ocean, is expected to become Tropical Storm Fiona by the end of the day. The system has maximum sustained winds near 35 miles per hour, with higher gusts, and the National Hurricane Centre in Miami […]

SMART announces unlimited broadband
SMART, via press release this morning, announced the launch of its new Broadband Unlimited Internet Service, which offers high quality, wireless Internet to Belizean homes and businesses. The company says it began rolling out its new service on August 1. According to the company, […]

Innocent Police United loses in CONCACAF Champions League Debut
Last night, Police United FC participated in their first CONCACAF Champions League match, and the first in their history. The night didn’t start well for the team, 90 percent of which is made up of local police officers. The first minute of the match […]

Belizean man dies in fatal traffic accident in Mexico
BBN has received reliable reports that Rene August, also known as “Willie B”, a man from Santa Elena, Cayo District died last night in a fatal traffic accident in Mexico. According to reports, August was driving down from the US to Belize and was […]


Belize’s Only Floating KiteSurfing Operation: Ambergris Caye’s PassionKite
I have heard it from kitesurfers and kiteboarders** (including Jill who wrote this kite guide to Ambergris Caye for me) – that the conditions on Ambergris Caye can be AWESOME for the sport. Good wind during much of the year, shallow WARM waters – no wet suits needed here – and the scenery – gorgeous barrier reef. So why, even at the windiest times, do we only see a handful (if that) of kites along our shores? Well a few reasons. It’s a relatively new sport, just developed in the 1990s and still growing. In Spain, California, Brazil, it is HUGELY popular. Belize has a few shops and is slowly getting on the radar. Also, the docks that line our island can make learning very tricky for beginners. Docks can be the perfect launching point for those with more expertise but it’s best for those just learning to have wide open, waist deep water to practice in. AND THAT IS WHY THIS NEW BUSINESS IS PERFECT. MJ Leslie and his two friends/employees/fellow kiters, built a transportable kite shop. PassionKite. And I’ve seen the pictures on Facebook for the last few weeks. But when I saw it being towed to the leeward side of the island, to Belize’s largest sandbar, to the knee to waist deep, sandy bottomed waters, I knew that I needed to visit.

International Sourcesizz

Here’s a Tropical Depression We Could Be Calling Fiona by the End of the Day
Tropical Depression Six formed in the Eastern Atlantic late last night, but forecasters say that by the end of the day we may have to refer to it as Tropical Storm Fiona. The system has maximum sustained winds near 35 miles per hour, with higher gusts, and the National Hurricane Centre in Miami said this morning that “slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is likely to become a tropical storm today”. At 11 a.m., the centre of Tropical Depression Six was located 840 miles west of the Cabo Verde islands and was moving toward the west-northwest near 15 miles per hour. There is no threat to land at the moment, as the system is expected to remain over the open waters of the tropical Atlantic over the next few days.

NOAA Outlook for Central America August 18 – 24, 2016
Average to below-average rainfall expected to continue over Central America during the next week. From August 9-15, heavy rain fell over Guatemala, El Salvador and southwestern Honduras. This has helped reduce thirty-day rainfall deficits over many local areas of the dry portions of the region. Farther south, torrential rain was observed over the Southern Caribbean. Meanwhile, light to moderate rainfall was recorded over the interior of Honduras and western Nicaragua. Since mid-July to present, negative rainfall anomalies, with deficits exceeding 100 mm, have been observed over portions of southwestern and northeastern Guatemala, east-central Honduras, and much of Nicaragua.

Francis Ford Coppola unveils private island hideaway in Belize
If you really fancy getting away from it all, consider heading to this private island paradise off the coast of Belize. 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 13 kilometres off the coast of Placencia, Belize, that's only two acres, meaning a stroll around the perimeter would only take about five minutes. Groups of up to 12 can indulge their Huckleberry Finn fantasies with a stay at the island's two wooden-clad cottages.

UNHCR distributes relief aid to Belize hurricane displaced
The UN Refugee Agency and its partners are to provide relief and reconstruction assistance to the victims of Hurricane Earl, including asylum-seekers from the Northern Triangle. orge pulls the phone from his pocket and plays a brief video showing flooded marshland and the barely visible rooftop of his home in the distance, all but submerged under the surrounding expanse of water. “It’s all gone,” he says, staring blankly at the others who had gathered at a local office of a Belize NGO, Help for Progress, on the outskirts of the capital, Belmopan, seeking help to rebuild their lives in the wake of Hurricane Earl. “Everything we had is already gone,” says Jorge, 42, who is one of around 10,000 people in the tiny Central American nation whose lives were devastated by Earl, which churned ashore on August 4, dumping up to 30 centimetres of rain and causing widespread flooding.

Belize sodomy ruling could have sweeping impact in Caribbean
Activists across the English-speaking Caribbean say last week’s Belize Supreme Court ruling that found the country’s sodomy law could have implications throughout the region. Donnya Piggott, director of Barbados Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination, described the ruling to the Washington Blade as “groundbreaking and extremely promising.” Barbados is among the countries in the English-speaking Caribbean in which consensual same-sex sexual conduct remains criminalized. Piggott told the Blade that authorities earlier this year used the island’s sodomy law to charge a man who allegedly had sex with a 15-years-old. The colonial-era statute is rarely enforced, but the man could face life in prison if he is convicted. “No change comes without initial backlash,” Piggott told the Blade, referring to the impact that the Belize Supreme Court ruling could have in Barbados. “So we have to brace ourselves for a stronger right-wing opposition, but apart from that I see (sodomy laws) tumbling like dominoes in the Caribbean.”

Londoner's Diary: Sugar coating for Belizeans’ own Brexiteer
A Brexit bonanza for Belize? Yesterday medal-winning cyclist Callum Skinner asked Leave.EU to remove footage of him from its campaign video, then the British Olympic Association told the Brexit group to stop using its logo. The Londoner spoke to Andy Wigmore, former communications director of Leave.EU, and stumbled across an interesting Central American story. Wigmore, who is half-Belizean, was in Rio as ambassador for the country’s Olympic team. He had been tipped to appear in the shooting competition but failed to qualify. Wigmore also works for the country’s high commission, promoting trade and investment into Belize. He has the right friends: Leave.EU’s major donor Arron Banks donated money after a recent hurricane. News outlet suggestions that Banks was to carry Belize’s flag at Rio’s opening ceremony were as wide of the mark as Wigmore’s shooting. The Brexit ties go deeper. Pro-Brexit Lord Ashcroft has large interests in the country, noted Wigmore, but started to expand on how he took Nigel Farage on a tour of Belize after last year’s general election. The ex-Ukip leader caught an eight-foot shark and found an unexpected fan. “A 70-year-old Rastafarian fisherman miles from anywhere almost wet himself when he met Nigel,” Wigmore told us. He “took him to meet his family and everything. He had watched Nigel for years and here was the man in his village — he couldn’t believe it.”

The 10 indisputably worst flags in the world
Flags are so hard to get right, you have to get the right blend of emblems and colours while still designing them in such a way that represents your country. Or someone else’s country if you’re an outside contractor on double time. But flags are really easy to get wrong. Really, really easy. Roman Mars, the man behind the incredible podcast 99% Invisible, did a fantastic TED talk on designing flags and I recommend you go and watch it. Maybe after you’ve read this article though. 3. Belize: If you’ve not watched the video of Roman Mars yet then *SPOILERS*, but if you have then you’ll know the main thing to avoid when creating a flag is a seal, or a coat of arms. Belize didn’t bother heeding that advice, and maybe they should be applauded for having a rebellious streak. But no, their rebellious streak caused this abomination to be created. ACTUAL FLAG FACT: The men on the coat of arms, along with their tools and mahogany, represent the logging industry. 2. United States of America:Food. Music. Netflix Originals. There’s some things the USA are great at. Flags aren’t one of them. It isn’t a bad flag per se, it’s more bad because of what it represents. Every film where the Americans come and save the day; Independence Day, Armageddon, Team America: World Police, the star spangled banner will be flying high and reminding you all how great America thinks it is. Stop pledging allegiance to this terrible flag, and pledge allegiance to BoJack Horseman instead. ACTUAL FLAG FACT: If a new state joins the Union, they must wait until the following July 4 for a representative star to be added to the flag.

Evictions by Armed Men Rattle a Mexican Tourist Paradise
TULUM, Mexico — By the time Renaud Jacquet arrived at his compound of rental beach villas, invaders were crawling all over the place. They were storming through the buildings, emptying out rooms and dumping furnishings and supplies in piles outside. One of the men was wandering around clutching a bottle of Mr. Jacquet’s wine. Similar scenes unfolded up and down the coveted stretch of Caribbean coastline in Tulum, Mexico, in June. Hundreds of men working for a security firm — carrying sticks, metal pipes and machetes, witnesses said — raided 17 properties, including hotels, private homes, boutiques and a beach club. They evicted everyone on the premises, including tourists, some of whom had been roused from their sleep. “It was like the mob,” Mr. Jacquet recalled. “It’s the French Revolution!” Yet the takeovers, which seemed to catch the property owners by surprise, were apparently legal, authorized by a judge’s order. Several police officers stood by and watched; they were there only, it seemed, to protect the court officers who had delivered the bad news. Continue reading the main story The evictions were the most recent, and by far the largest, in a series of court-ordered expropriations that have shaken this tourist town and stained its image as a laid-back, eco-chic retreat that has become wildly popular among tourists, particularly those from the United States and Western Europe.


  • Fire Engulfs San Pedro Police Vehicle, 1min.

  • San Ignacio Resort Hotel 40th Anniversary, 1.5min. Today the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the longest standing hotel in San Ignacio, Belize, celebrates its 40th anniversary having officially opened to guests on August 17, 1976.

  • Belize Destination Wedding, 3min. Leigh and Jeff tied the knot in beautiful Belize with their friends and family by their side. With white sand under their toes, and crisp Caribbean water as their backdrop, they day could not have been more beautiful!

  • Costa Maya Pageant Contestants at Acquafino Resort in Belize 2016, 8min. Photo shoot, fashion show and amazing party with the Costa Maya girls at the exclusive Acquafino Island Resort and Spa on Ambergris Caye, Belize. An amazing time was had by everyone and all proceeds went to charity. See the highlights here. Swimsuits by Char Tolentino, Fashions by Top Notch, Carts by Unbelizeable Golf Carts. Video by Paradise Guy Productions Thanks to Costa Maya for choosing Acquafino Resort for this special event.

  • Excavations in Belize, 3.5min.

  • We are live in Belize in Golden Girl Gymnast Simon Biles' family, 12min.

  • Belize 2016, 4min.

  • Sea Turtles | San Pedro, Belize | Scuba Diving, 4min. This video is about Sea Turtles I encountered off the coast of San Pedro in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Most of the video footage was captured at Coco Beach and Hol Chan dive sites.

  • Trip to Belize | Vlog 2 | Mayan Ruins | Itze De Jesus, 14min.

  • Coco Plum Island Resort, 1min. island aerial

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