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#517072 - 08/24/16 06:33 AM Today's Belize News: August 24, 2016
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I will be unable to do the daily news tomorrow, Thursday morning August 25. I will return on Friday morning.


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

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

Tropic Air donates to Rotary Club of Placencia
Tropic Air, The Airline of Belize, has announced the July results of its 2016 nationwide #TropicGivesBack fundraising campaign. For every ticket bought at the month’s selected station, $1 is donated to an organization chosen by our staff stationed in that community. July was the chosen month for Placencia, with Belize City Municipal coming in August. As part of the airline’s largest charitable fundraiser of the year, Tropic Air business partners, staff and Customers joined efforts and raised $450 for “Seniors Sitting Together”, a program of the Rotary Club of Placencia. A check was presented to Jim Weller, Acting President of the Club on Tuesday, August 16th.

Ambergris Today

NEMO Issues Flood Advisory for Southern Belize
While central and northern Belize is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Earl, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) yesterday issued a flood advisory for Southern Belize. NEMO informs that Southern Belize, in particular the Toledo District, is experiencing flooding. Jacintoville is currently under flood conditions. Aguactae village is inaccessible and water is 15ft above the bridge. Other villages along the Moho River must closely monitor the flood situation and take the necessary precautions. Other villages in the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts must be on alert for flooding.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

National Evangelical Association of Belize convene a protest
Scenes from the assembled crowd outside the Assembly Building in Belmopan as Evangelical leaders protest the recent decision on Section 53.

Firefighters cross-training with the Puerto Rico National Guard
Last week Ambassador Moreno joined more than 60 firefighters from across Belize in Ladyville to witness cross-training with the Puerto Rico National Guard. During the exchange firefighters utilized the almost BZ$1.2 million dollars’ worth of fire fighter equipment that was donated by the US Southern Command through the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) last year. Over 200 pieces of personal protective gear, 80 breathing apparatus replacement cylinders, 12 heavy Duty Rescue saws, 14 combustible gas detectors, 6 vehicle stabilization kits, 5 transportable pumps and 40 hand held radios were provided to the Belize National Fire Service. Last week’s exchange represented the second phase of that firefighter project where members of the Puerto Rican National Guard were able to provide their expertise on best practices and procedures to use the equipment with Belizean firefighters from every fire station in Belize. The information exchange allowed the local fire departments to improve their ability to respond to large scale fires, fire threats, and road traffic accidents.

Banana Bank Horse Camp 2016
Banana Bank Lodge has finished another successful Summer Horse Camp. The kids, and the horses, had a fun time. Thanks, Banana Bank! "Every year we have a Family Horse Camp and this year was no exception to the fun-filled adventures at Horse Camp. This year we held camp from July 27th - August 1st and the weather could not have been better - ehem fortunately missing hurricane Earl that started 3 days later."

Zack & Kiki's First Big Adventure at Belize Bird Rescue
62 copies of Zack & Kiki's First Big Adventure: The Great Escape have just arrived at BBR! We are so excited to finally have them on hand in Belize, many people who have visited wished they could buy one and have it signed and had to "make do" with Amazon instead. A great story for all ages about two baby Red-Lored Amazons in the Belize wild. Get your copy when you visit or buy it on Amazon now! Available now at BBR and Corkers Restaurant in Belmopan for $30 ($15 US) and more outlets soon to be. Signed copies by request.

American Sex Offender George Stephen Cunningham in Belize Police Custody
George Stephen Cunningham, 51, American from Delaware, Ohio was arrested on Friday night in Belize City after his boat ran aground off the City's coast. Coast guard came to his rescue and took him into custody after they learnt his identity and background. A warrant has been issued by his home state for his return. No word on when Cunningham arrived in Belize and whether he violated anyone there. He was convicted in Delaware for "Gross Sexual Imposition, Victim Under 13, (attempted)sexual Motivation Conviction Date:15 September 2015"

BELIZE FISHING REPORT: August 14th – 20th, 2016
Adam Marton and this tarpon tagging expedition has become an annual event here at El Pescador. Adam brings a skilled group of Anglers to Belize each summer to satellite tag adult migratory tarpon (fish that are 80 pounds or more are sure to be sexually mature) This is in an effort to save tarpon throughout the world and especially Belize. We do not have any idea where our migratory tarpon are migrating to or from! Tarpon are in decline worldwide and Adam has taken on the cause full force. I personally thank him for this efforts and I am humbled by the time and energy he donates to this cause. The Silver Kings TV show also took up residence here for a few days of permit and tarpon fishing. Look for a couple episodes coming your way soon!

Chosen to Carry the Canadian Host organization's Flag, young Belizean Girl Sailor Excels in International Regatta
In a gracious salute to Belize for participating in Canadian Regattas for the very first time, the host organization (CORK - Canadian Olympic Regattas, Kingston) chose Blanca Velasquez, 16, a Laser sailor from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, (Belize) to be its standard bearer at the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Sail Canada International Youth Championship Regattas in Kingston, Ontario, August 14th (PHOTO 1). Arrangements for Blanca and another San Pedrana, Sarah White, 16, to enter the regatta were made by San Pedro's Belize Sailing School. In the regatta itself, Blanca (PHOTO 2) fought her way through the qualifiers to become one of only 7 girls out of the 38 girls entered to advance to the Gold fleet (the top third of 146 international entrants). And she was the only foreigner among the Gold fleet girls; the others were all Canadians desperate to show that they are worthy of selection to the highly competitive Canadian international team and qualify for Worlds.

Seventeen (17) New Persons now Equipped to Take Care of the Elderly
The Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC), a unit of BELTRAIDE, is Belize’s leading centre for industry specific workforce development, providing effective, demand driven, user-friendly and value based programs that will develop, deliver and sustain a quality work force. Its’ mission is to develop a cadre of well-trained, marketable and self-sufficient individuals able to confidently compete in the marketplace. In keeping with its mandate, seventeen persons, who are employed or seeking employment as caregivers in homes of the elderly or in assisted living facilities, were certified by BTEC on August 23, 2016. The brief ceremony, which was held at the Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC) on the ITVET Compound, Freetown Road, Belize City; signalled the end of 5 weeks of training and internship. Training began on 18th July 2016 and was conducted by BTEC in collaboration with PAHO/WHO, the Ministry of Health, the National Council on Ageing, and with Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly.

The National Celebrations Commission is pleased to announce that the winner of the competition to select the September theme received her prize today, August 23. Mrs. Argelia Mendoza Ken is a teacher and counselor at the Belize High School of Agriculture in the Orange Walk District. Hon. Elodio Aragon, Jr., Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, will acknowledge her contribution and award her a check for $1,000. This award usually takes place at St. George’s Caye during the official September Celebrations Launch ceremony. However, due to damages from Hurricane Earl, that ceremony will not take place this year. Instead, Minister Aragon made an address, which will be broadcast nationwide.

The Belize Defence Force hereby informs the general public and in particular Pistol Clubs, that its Annual Pistol Competition will be held on Saturday 3rd September 2016, at the Hattieville Range next to the Kolbe Foundation. Registration for the competition will commence at 0700 hrs and conclude at 0800 hrs, however pre-registration can be done by contacting Major Ismael Romero at ismael.romero@bdf.mil.bz, fhqops@bdf.mil.bz or by cell 620-5510 or office 225-4889. Members of the media are invited to cover this Competition. For further information contact Lt Col Louis Sutherland, Chief of Staff at 634-7226 or 225-3584

Ground-breaking Ceremony to officially commence the construction of a new Grace Primary School Extension in Belize City
Was held at the new school’s site on Fabers Road, Collet Division on Wednesday August 17, 2016. The Government of Belize in recognition of the critical role of education for social, economic, cultural, environmental and political development by way of empowering future leaders with knowledge, skills and values to enhance Belize’s socio-economic development; is funding the construction of a new Grace Primary School Extension at an estimated cost of $562,300.00 courtesy of a loan from Caribbean Development Bank with counterpart funding from Government. Belize Social Investment Fund is an implementing agency of the Government of Belize and is collaborating with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports for the implementation of this school project as part of its mandate to work in line with the Government’s strategy to address the basic needs of Belizeans in the areas of education, water, sanitation, health, human development and social transformation etc.

Rotaract School Bag Drive
The Rotaract Club of Belmopan had a very successful first School Bag Drive. Thanks, Rotaract! "The Rotaract Club of Belmopan completed their first annually bag drive project. Thanking our sponsor Social Security Board for their kind and generous donations! "

Benque September Celebrations Calendar Launch
Benque is having their September Celebrations Calendar Launch next Saturday, September 3rd, at the Benque Market Plaza. "September celebrations is around the corner! Join us for our official launch on September 3rd! "

Channel 7

General: 13 Year Old Was Not Killed By BDF Weapon. General Says OAS Report Will Vindicate His Army
Last night, we told you that the independent OAS team of experts has completed their investigation into the fatal shooting of 13 year-old Guatemalan Julio Ruano. That's the shooting which happened in April of this year inside the Cebada area of the Chiquibul Forest, which caused the Guatemalan President and his senior diplomats to accuse the BDF soldiers of murder and human rights violations. A press release from the Government of Belize said that the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, would be making a statement on it, but up to news time this tonight, no such comment has been forthcoming. They did tweet these photographs of a meeting between Almagro, OAS Adjacency Zone official Magdalena Talamas (prounounced Tala Mas), the Belizean delegation; Ambassadors Pat Andrews and Alexis Rosado; the Guatemalan delegation, and representatives of the International Group of Friendly Countries. So, tonight, we still don't know what the investigation from the forensics experts says, but BDF Commander David Jones told us this evening, that he confident that it will vindicate his soldiers who came under fire that night in the Chiquibul. Here's what he had to say about his suspicions of where the fatal gunshot came from:

Christians March Against Section 53 Judgment, GOB Non-Appeal
Last night, we told you about how the evangelists were preparing to stage a protest on the steps of the National Assembly Building. They're trying to bring public pressure against the Barrow Government to force them to re-consider their decision not to appeal the Chief Justice's ruling to decriminalize gay sex. It happened today, and our 7News team was right there to watch it all unfold. Daniel Ortiz was also there to challenge them on their continued attempts to resist the ruling. Here's his report: Daniel Ortiz reporting: Hundreds of Evangelists assembled at the foot of the National Assembly Building to show what they claim is just a breath of the full might of their discontent. There were moments which resembled the religious leaders delivering powerful sermons from the pulpit, and at times, it looked like a church crusade had taken up residence on Independence Hill.

Stirm: Church Leading, Not Misleading
While we had the opportunity today, we asked Pastor Scott Stirm about the suggestion that leaders within the church are misleading their congregations to create a false sense of urgency that the ruling is the first step toward same-sex marriage. Last week, the Prime Minister himself took a few questions from the pastors who challenged him that indeed the ruling paves the way in that direction, which conservatives say is the final plan in the LGBT agenda. The Prime Minister firmly rejected that, and when we asked the Attorney General that question once again yesterday she maintained the same position. So, today we asked Stirm if he and the other church leaders who insist that the ruling opens the door to other gay rights challenges are simply misrepresenting the facts. He told us that the leaders of the National Evangelical Association of Belize has gotten numerous legal opinions to back their assertion, and so they firmly believe that they are not misinforming anyone:

The Auditor General's Report: The Visa Hustle
The Citizen Kim scandal broke three years ago in September of 2013, and since then we have learnt many despairing details about how the Immigration and Nationality Department was run like a flea market by public officers, politicians, party cronies, and passport and visa peddlers of all types and backgrounds. Well, tonight, the wider picture is just becoming apparent, and it's like a horror movie, that's so scary, you just can't look away. The long delayed Auditor General Special Audits into the issuances of passports and visas between 2011 and 2013 will be tabled in the House of Representatives on Friday and members received copies last week. It's two documents, the first on passports is well over 200 pages, and the other on visas is about 150 pages. We've been poring over the documents all day, and tonight we can share a few initial details.

Aragon: Tough Time For UDP
So, right now, with all this breaking, it's a tough time to be a member of the ruling UDP, especially for those young politicians who are at the beginning of their career. The Barrow Administration is lurching from one scandal to the next, having only being given a small ease from the William Danny Mason saga. So, what does what Orange Walk East Representative think about the Auditor General's reports? That's what we asked him today, and here's how he responded: Daniel Ortiz: "It would be a very tough time to be affiliated with the UDP Government. Are you prepared for that?" Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State, Youth, Culture & Sports: "First and foremost I am a representative of the people of Orange Walk East Division and I've been given this opportunity to serve them as a representative in the House of Representatives and thus a part of the United Democratic Party in government and I will continue to do that. I don't see any issues that are there. I was not there in terms of that, so I don't see it as an issue. Of course there are issues out there and I think those are being addressed as best as they can by the government."

Workshop On Inner City Violence
In June we told you about the launch of Dr. Herbert Gayle's book entitled "Like Bush Fire". The book explores the topic of violence and what fuels it among young people. Well, Dr. Gayle wants the youth advocates, counselors and leaders to put the content of this book and his research to practice. Today was the start of a 3 day training that focuses on a number of relevant topics dealing with crime and violence in Belize. Dr. Gayle explained why this training is crucial to the future of Belizean youth and those who interact with them: The workshop ends on Thursday.

Educating Caregivers For The Elderly
Today 17 persons graduated from a 5 week care giving course. The main objective was to train those who are interested in caring for the elderly. It was about ensuring these care givers understand what to do with an elderly, how to meet their basic needs and why it is important to properly care for them. We spoke to the coordinator and she told us more about the course. 17 people graduated today.

Investing In Chiquibul
The Chiquibul Forest, its 423 thousand acres make up almost 8% of Belize's territory - but as we've shown you many times on this newscast - it's abundant protected areas are almost a magnet for Guatemalan farmers who have run out of arable land in their own country, and for Guatemalan poachers who press into`the Chiquibul to steal Xate, timber, gold and wildlife. Well now the effort to protect the Chiquibul is getting a major boost form the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development. It's called the Chiquibul Forests Investment Initiative - which was launched this afternoon at the Biltmore. Minister Omar Figueroa outlined the broad strokes of the effort:.. The two and a half hour launch finished this evening - and we'll tell you more about the details in tomorrow's news.

September Theme-Maker Honoured
The September CELEBRAITON SEASON is starting, and this year, theme is "Sovereign and Strong - Together as one!". The person who penned that theme and handed it over to NICH is Argelia Mendoza Ken, who's a teacher and counselor at the Belize High School of Agriculture in the Orange Walk District. So, to make sure that she does not go down as just a footnote in the September Celebrations, NICH and Minister of Culture Elodio Aragon, awardED her with a cheque for $1,000 and an opportunity to meet the press. Today, Aragon told us that he was happy to recognize her public, especially because she is a fellow Suga City resident: This year is also Aragon's first time as co-chair of the September Celebrations Commission, and told us what Belizeans can look forward to on this year's calendar:

Eric Chang Worked Hard For Citizen Kim
Eric Chang - he's the former Belize City Councillor who seemed to have been the intermediary between Wong Hong Kim, or Citizen Kim and former Minister of State Elvin Penner. Penner got the passport fast tracked in Belize, and Chang - it seems - was the man who was to grease the wheels for Kim in Taiwan. At the time, Kim was in a Taiwanese jail - awaiting - and desperately trying to avoid - extradition to South Korea. He wanted the entirely fraudulent Belizean passport to use as a sort of get out of jail card. Now, the auditor general's report on passport irregularities shows the extent of Chang's machinations to get Citizen Kim freed. The report details this in an email from the then Belize Ambassador to Taiwan Cherie Nisbet who says that she got an urgent call from Chang in mid-September 2013. Chang reportedly told her he needed two urgent visas to Belize for two South Korean nationals who needed to go to Belize the next day. Nisbet said she needed all the details before she could help anyone. Chang - she claims - could not explain the emergency and said he may have to call a minister in Belize to issue visas upon arrival.

Channel 5

Christian Pastors Protest Section 53 Change on Independence Hill
Independence Hill on Belmopan felt the wrath and fury of the evangelical movement this morning. About a thousand strong, protesters from all over the country came out against the recent [...]

COLA: “Government Has Washed its Hands like Pontius Pilate”
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, shares the same position that the Church has taken where it concerns the preservation of Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code.  While the [...]

COLA President Demands That Maya People Be Respected Too
Interestingly, Brackett makes the comparison that government has moved with haste to state that it will not appeal the Section Fifty-three judgment, while it has gone to great pains in [...]

1000 Marched; But Was Anybody Listening?
There was no weekly Cabinet meeting today since Prime Minister Barrow is presently out of the country.  In fact, all was quiet on Independence Hill this morning, save for a [...]

Do You Believe the Ruling on Section 53 Should Be Appealed?
And tonight’s question is: Do you believe the ruling on Section Fifty-three should be appealed? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote [...]

News Five’s First Look at the Special Audit Report on Nationality
The Special Audit Report on Nationality at the Immigration and Nationality Department, 2011-2013, to be laid at the House of Representatives this coming Friday. The audit was concluded three years [...]

Immigration Officials Got Sloppy with Passport Documents
In the following report, News Five Duane Moody zeros in on specific cases of persons provided with passports without the requirements. It is a sorry state of affairs that stinks [...]

No Word As Yet on Independent Investigation of Shooting Death in Chiquibul
The report from the O.A.S. on the shooting death of Julio Rene Alvarado Ruano is highly anticipated and up to news time, the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, [...]

American Sex Offender Captured off Belize Coast
There’s another revolting report…Police made a significant arrest last Friday which has landed U.S. Sex Offender George Stephen Cunningham in police custody. Fifty-one year old Cunningham, from Delaware, Ohio was [...]

Minister of State for Culture Comments on Immigration Audit Reports
We have been reporting on the Auditor General’s trio of reports on the Immigration and Nationality Service between April of 2011 and September of 2013. They contain hard-to-swallow truths about [...]

Nearly $16 Million to be Spent on Chiquibul Forest
Nearly sixteen million dollars will be spent over the next two years in what the Government is calling its most significant investment to date in the endangered Chiquibul forest and [...]

F.C.D. Has Ambitious Plans for its Portion
Rafael Manzanero, the executive director of F.C.D., welcomes the resources as his organization and its Guatemalan partner, Asociacion BALAM continue to fight illegal Guatemalan incursions for land and natural resources. [...]

Dr. Herbert Gayle Trains Frontline Workers in Fighting Violence
Anthropologist Doctor Herbert Gayle is currently in the country. Along with a team, he is providing training to youths to equip them with the skills to effectively fight and reduce [...]

Caregivers for Older Persons Graduate Training
A caregiver provides three levels of care: preventative, assistive and educational care. They are the bridge between older persons and society and often times recommend interventions to make life better [...]

Argelia Ken Collects Prize for September Celebrations Theme
This afternoon, the National Institute of Culture and History presented the winner of the theme competition for the September Celebrations with a cheque for one thousand dollars. Orange Walk teacher [...]

Why Theme is Appropriate, According to Culture Minister
Co-Chair of the National Celebrations Commission and Culture Minister Elodio Aragon Junior, like Ken, hails from Orange Walk. He told us the theme is apt for this year’s festivities.   [...]


OAS Allegedly Rules BDF Not Responsible For The Death Of Guatemalan National
During an interview with the media last week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the independent investigation into the death of 13 year old Guatemalan, Julio Alvarado, who was shot and killed in the Cebada area of the Chiquibul forest reserve, allegedly by members of the BDF, was about to conclude. Following the incident Guatemala’s president, Jimmy Morales and Foreign Minister, Raul Carlos Morales launched an aggressive campaign against the BDF in which they accused them of behaving inhumane and unprofessional. We can report tonight that the investigation has been concluded and unofficial reports reaching our news station is that the findings of the probe vindicates our soldiers. While the report has not become available there are very credible reports that point out that the BDF are not responsible for the death of the Guatemalan minor. We are awaiting the official release from the OAS which reportedly should have been released today.

Sex Offender Caught In Belize
Fifty one year old US national and resident of Delaware, Ohio, George Stephen Cunningham, is tonight in custody of authorities from the Belize Police Department after his boat ran aground off the city’s coast on Friday night. Reports indicate that at the time of the incident, members of the Belize Coast Guard responded to his aid but after learning Cunningham’s identity he was handed over to police where he was detained thereafter. Back in his hometown, Cunningham had been indicted November 10th, 2014 on four counts of first degree rape charges against a nine year old minor which he pleaded not guilty to all charges. However, in October of 2015, Cunningham returned to court where he pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted gross sexual imposition so as to avoid facing a jury trial on the previous four rape charges, and a result was sentenced to eighteen months in prison.

Hundreds Demonstrates In Belmopan Against Section 53
Earlier today some 800 hundred religious leaders and members of the National Evangelical Association of Belize convened a protest at the foot of the National Assembly Building in Belmopan, demonstrating against the recent decision taken by the Supreme Court to strike down Section 53 of Belize's criminal code and the Government of Belize’s decision not to appeal. Concern Citizens - Demonstrators: “I came out here to support the church and stand by what the bible says and no turning back.” Reporter: “So you are one of those persons who would like to see the ruling of the Chief Justice appealed?” Concern Citizens - Demonstrators: “Yeah for sure, 100%”

PUP Southern Caucus Joins NEAB In Demonstration
As previously mentioned, members of the PUP Southern caucus were present in this morning’s protest in Belmopan, which was carried out by members of the Evangelical community in demonstration of the Section 53 ruling which overturned Belize’s sodomy law. But this stance is in contrary to previous statements made by the Opposition Leader, Honorable John Briceño in which he accepted the Court’s decision. In an official release, the party leader had gone as far as to say that it supports the Church’s decision to appeal but he did not call on the Government to appeal the order of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Ministers who were present during the protest today were questioned about the official stand of the party. Honorable Mike Espat – Southern Caucus Representative: “The Party Leader has its own opinion just like everybody else and they are free to share their opinion and that is the way they feel we are just telling you that the Southern caucus is present her today is not supporting this we all members of the People’s United Party and I believe that we can put our heads together and think this out properly.”

Explosive Findings In Auditors General' Report
Explosive – that’s how we can best describe the findings in the three-part special audit carried out by the Auditor General’s office into the Immigration and Nationality Departments. We continue to carry out our own thorough review of the document, and tonight we can report on something else that has caught our eyes. According to Auditor General Dorothy Bradley, while the audit was initially supposed to have been carried out on the Visa Section only, due to the mountain of irregularities the investigation was expanded to cover the National and Passport Sections. And apparently, there is more than enough reason for this decision. According to one of the findings, there were 55,579 cases of approved passports that did not have the required biometric checks during the period August 2011 to September 2013. This is the finger-print and eye scan which are now requirements of passport applications.

#517073 - 08/24/16 06:33 AM Re: Today's Belize News: August 24, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy


Auditor General report says ministers’ interference in visa application illegal
At Friday’s House Meeting, the Prime Minister is expected to table four special audit reports. Three of them are about the Immigration and Nationality Department. Our colleagues at KREM News report that they have obtained a copy of the audit for the period 2011 to 2013 of the Visa Section. Plusnews ...

NTUCB calls for independent investigation into murder of Pastor Lucas
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize has issued a statement in which it calls for an independent investigation into the murder of Pastor Llewelyn Lucas. NTUCB says; “The NTUCB has been and continues to be in disgust, by how Pastor Lucas met his demise. NTUCB wishes to state, for the record; ...

Man shot on Rivero Street, Belize City
A Belize City man was shot twice on Saturday 20th August, in Belize City. Sometime before 7 p.m., 35 year old Clive Arnold, a Stevedore of a Rivero Street address, was shot once to the upper right abdomen and once to the right hand. Police say Arnold was walking on Rivero Street, heading towards B...

Attempted murder of Belize City man in his home
There was another attempt on another Belize City man’s life on Saturday. 50 year old Adolfo McKoy reported that about 11:00 p.m., he opened the house door for one Adajjha Gonguez and went back to his bedroom. He said moments later, he was approached by one Linsford Acosta who had a chrome revolver i...

Car accident near Cotton Tree Village
There was an early morning traffic accident near Cotton Tree Village on the George Price Highway at mile 42 and 43. The incident involved a car and a blue bird passenger bus. The driver of the passenger bus was Omar Barahona, a resident of Cotton Tree Village. Sometime around 7 o’clock on Monday mo...

BSI launched internal investigation into employee’s death
On Friday we told you about the employee of BSI/ASR who died as a result of injuries received on the job site. 41 year old Ismael Jimenez, a father of 5, had been a mechanic with the company but on Friday he was somehow pinned while was using heavy machinery. He was rushed to the Northern Regional ...

Mental Health Association says pushing for a referendum on S53 will increase hate speech
The Mental Health Association has applauded the Chief Justice’s ruling saying that it was made from a base of knowledge rather than emotion. The Mental Health Association of Belize, whose president is Jenny Lovell, says that the right to privacy in consensual sexual activity in adults is long overd...


Churches to protest against Section 53 ruling
Although they have not formally said that they will appeal the recent decision by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to overturn Belize’s sodomy law, the churches are meeting and mobilizing not just to strategize on their next actions—but also to tell the Barrow administration just how displeased they are with its decision not to appeal the Supreme Court ruling. The National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB), which says it represents 280 churches in Belize, is mobilizing its troops for what it dubs “a prayer patrol” around the National Assembly and government administration buildings in Belmopan from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, August 23. Amandala understands that the demonstration was originally to coincide with the meeting of Cabinet usually held on Tuesdays, but organizers later learned that the Prime Minister had departed the country and is not due to return until Friday. They decided to press ahead nonetheless. Reports to our newspaper tonight indicate that at least 20 buses may be headed to Belmopan for the protest.

Sydney “Mackis” Thompson, of Kremandala Raiders, dies
A basketball player of the legendary basketball team, Kremandala Raiders, the most successful team in Belize’s semi-pro basketball history, has died. Sydney “Mackis” Thompson, 52, died on Friday night at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after a long bout of illness. He had been suffering from an incurable disease. After the glory days of Kremandala Raiders, Mackis, who was also a tumbler for the Tumblers, became a car washer and cleaner at the Save U car stand at the Belcan Bridge area of the city, where he cleaned cars daily. However, a friend of his at that stand told us that something went wrong and Mackis became homeless, and sometimes slept under the Belcan Bridge. Mackis had told his friend that doctors had given up on him due to the disease.

Homosexual lover charged with assaulting his partner
On Wednesday, August 10, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled that Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, which makes sodomy an offense, is unconstitutional. The ruling has been hailed as a victory for the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexual and Transgender) community. Today, a man who shares living quarters with another man in what appears to be a homosexual relationship was charged with common assault against his partner. Justin Arnold, 23, appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza and pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault against Noel Garcia, 39, his partner of six months. Arnold allegedly slapped Garcia, and Garcia went to the police station and made a report about the incident.

Faster banking promised with new national payment system
New banking sector reforms are due to be tabled in Parliament on Friday which are intended to modernize money transactions, cutting down the waiting period for customers to receive credit from check deposits and enabling the kind of networking that will allow customers to transfer funds in just minutes from an account at their bank to a party at another bank in Belize. “You can be home in the night and make a credit transfer to somebody in Dangriga at any time of the night—as long as they have a bank account… I can’t wait for it…” said Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, Deputy Governor – Operations at the Central Bank of Belize, who explained the developments in the context of the establishment of a national payment system (NPS) for Belize. The go-live target date is September. She told Amandala that the changes should reduce operating costs for commercial banks, and the Central Bank expects that the reduction will be passed on to customers.

Conductress flung out of bus after it was hit by car
–A conductress was flung from a Baizar bus as a result of the impact of an early morning road traffic accident on the George Price Highway. Mamsie Caliz, 42, a conductress for two years, was thrown onto the street when a black car leaving Belmopan ran into the front side of her father’s bus at around 7 a.m. today, Monday. The bus, which was at the time driven by Omar Barajona, was heading to Belmopan; however, it slowed down near a road bump in Cotton Tree, and at that point a vehicle, allegedly driven at high speed by an unidentified woman, swerved out of its lane and hit the bus.

Tropical wave over Belize causes flooding in southern Belize
NEMO is advising residents of southern Belize, particularly those who reside in the Toledo and Stann Creek districts, to take extra precaution in light of a flood advisory which has been issued in response to a tropical wave that is passing over Belize. According to the Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez, a tropical wave is passing through the country today, Monday, and is expected to pass by tomorrow, Tuesday. The tropical wave, he said, is not widespread, but localized in southern Belize. A statement released by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) advises, “People who live along rivers, creeks, water ways and low-lying areas and whose home is likely to flood are cautioned to move to a high and safe building with friends, family or in the community shelter before nightfall. Drivers are asked to slow down and put on their hazard lights when driving through the rain and flooded areas.”

Semipro football is back; PLB Opening Season 21016-2017 under way
Belize City fans will have to wait a few more weeks before semipro football returns to the MCC, but the new Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season kicked off in four other venues over the past weekend. There are 9 teams participating in this Opening Season, and Police United was excused from Week 1 action, as they just returned from their opening Champions League encounter with Olimpia, which they lost, 4-0, in Honduras on Tuesday, and were making their way to Mexico City for their match with Mexican champion Pachuca tomorrow, Tuesday. Two games each were played on Saturday, August 20, and Sunday, August 21, in Week 1 of the PLB Opening Season 2016-2017. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan on Saturday night, defending champion Belmopan Bandits FC was held to a 0-0 draw by visiting FC Belize, who returned to action after sitting out last year’s competition. Meanwhile, down south at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence, home standing sub-champion Placencia Assassins FC welcomed Freedom Fighters FC back to the PLB competition (after a year lay-off) with a 3-0 put down, courtesy of first half goals from Ashton Torres (15’), Delone Torres (19’) and Justin Linarez (29’).

BDBA Firms Basketball Semi-finals and Finals this weekend
Quarterfinal games were played in the Belize District Basketball Association (BDBA) Firms 2016 Basketball Tournament last Friday and Saturday at the BES gym, setting the stage for the semi-finals and the first game of the finals this weekend. In quarterfinal action on Friday night, August 19, Belize Bank Bulldogs clipped BWSL, 83-78; and Belize City Council Dragons crushed Heritage Bank Heatz, 78-56. And in the other quarterfinals on Saturday, it was BTL edging Mayan Man Warriors, 85-82; and Infotel blowing out Atlantic Bank, 84-56. The semi-finals, which will be played this Friday at BES gym, are “knockout” rounds, with the two winning teams advancing to a “best-of-three” finals series.

EDITORIAL: Anti-Christs
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) lost a golden opportunity to increase the political discomfort of the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) when the PUP rushed to support the pro-LGBT ruling of the Belize Supreme Court on Wednesday, August 10, 2016. Played at its highest level, politics is not about the personal opinions or preferences of the principals. Politics is about establishing positions which the majority of the people (adult voters) support. Politics is always about numbers, majority numbers: 51 means power; 49 amounts to defeat. It is many years since the Belizean people have marched in numbers in the population center or the new capital. Yet, the explosive issues have come fast and furious – Elvin Penner, rosewood, Chiquibul, Sarstoon, Harmonyville, Petrocaribe, BTL, William Danny Mason, and now, issue of all issues – the homosexual law.

The genesis of the Section 53 challenge: Part 1
Caleb Orozco’s constitutional challenge against Section 53 of Belize’s Criminal Code represents a landmark ruling for Belize—but it is also an example of “strategic litigation,” designed to achieve broader aims across the wider Caribbean. According to Tracy Robinson, a Jamaican attorney, almost a decade ago, she worked with a doctoral degree student to conduct a desk review to find “whether there was a reasonable case to be made before a constitutional court regarding the laws criminalizing ‘same sex’ sex.” Robinson, who once chaired the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an organ of the Organization of American States, said that Belize was chosen because it was the optimal country to bring the case. “No other country has the constellation of factors, in law, which come together to make Belize the ideal location…” she said, in a video conference briefing held in July 2016, leading up to the ruling by Belize Justice Kenneth Benjamin on August 10.

Ruptured water main disrupts supply to 20,000 BWS customers
The Belize Water Services (BWS) dispatched roughly 20 workers and deployed a range of equipment in an effort to tackle the unexpected rupturing of its main on the Sandhill route, which left the company’s biggest customer base, totaling about 20,000 customers, without water for most of Sunday. The areas affected spanned Biscayne and Gardenia off the Philip Goldson Highway, and extended into Belize City as well as locations up to Mile 9 on the George Price Highway. The company informed us that a 24-inch pipe located near New Moon Restaurant in Ladyville broke. The BWS has yet to determine what caused it, but they have ruled out vandalism, since the pipe was located 10 feet underground.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Caribbean on watch for two tropical storms
Tropical Storm Gaston could be the first major hurricane for 2016 in the Atlantic, but a wave headed toward the northern Caribbean Sea could be more of a threat according to forecasters. Gaston has sustained winds of 65 miles per hour as of 11 […]

Minor accused in Queen Street shooting “under hit”
The 15 year old boy accused of the trying to kill a George Street associate a few months ago in front of the Queen Street Police Station missed his intended target and caught a police officer and three other innocent by-standers. He appeared today […]

SMART contributes to hurricane relief efforts
Belize’s leading innovator in telecommunications, SMART, presented a check for $5,000 to the Belize Red Cross. The Red Cross will use this donation to assist in their relief efforts as Belize recovers from the effects of Hurricane Earl. In presenting the check on August […]

Another road traffic accident on George Price Highway
Reports coming out from the west is that there is another traffic accident on the George Price Highway, this time in the village of Ontario. Information is yet sketchy but BBN was made to understand that police officers and paramedics are currently at the […]

Cyclist in afternoon accident passes away
Confirmed reports reaching our newsroom indicate that the cyclist who was knocked down off his bike by a pick-up truck earlier today has passed away. The incident happened in front of the Governor General’s residence in Belmopan. Belmopan police are currently investigating the details surrounding […]

Cyclist knocked down in Belmopan
Reports reaching our newsroom are that a cyclist was knocked down from his bike by a pickup truck just before noon today. The incident happened in front of the Governor General residence in Belmopan and the man has been rushed to the Western Regional […]

Government introduces Chiquibul Forest Investment Initiative
Two non-Governmental organizations and two Government departments are to receive grants in what has been described as an investment initiative by the Government of Belize. Rafael Manzanero’s Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) and the Ya’axche Conservation Trust along with the Forest Department and […]

Tourism industry prepares for biennal expo
The drumbeat is sounding for the 2017 Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) to be held at the Ramada Princess Hotel and Casino from May 3rd to 5th. Officially hosted by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) along with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), BETEX attracts approximately […]

Francis Fonseca calls for “meaningful investment” in sports
Former PUP leader and former minister of sport Francis Fonseca recently observed on Facebook that, “no government (PUP or UDP) has made serious meaningful investments in Sports…this has to change!” Attached to the post is a quote from Nelson Mandela, who during his time […]

Investigation at Vital Statistics on Mason’s fraudulent birth certificate now in hands of the police
Vanessa Retreage, Attorney General, has confirmed that the Vital Statistics Unit’s internal investigation into how accused murderer William Danny Mason got a fraudulent Belizean birth certificate is completed, and a report has been made to police. Earlier Prime Minister Dean Barrow had stated that […]

NTUCB condemns Pastor Lucas murder
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) has finally spoken out, condemning the murder of Pastor Llewelyn Lucas. In a press release, the NTUCB demanded than an external investigation be conducted into the horrific murder of Pastor Lucas. NTUCB President Marvin Mora […]

Lucky woman survives accident with passenger bus
Latoyah Meighan, 32, is recuperating from minor injuries after being involved in a traffic mishap yesterday morning on the George Price Highway within the village of St. Matthews. The incident took place a little after 7:00 while driving her black Chevy car towards Belize City. In […]

PSU Belmopan branch to meet over salary adjustment delay
The Belmopan branch of the Public Service Union (PSU) has called for an urgent meeting today with general members at the Hilltop at 4:30 p.m. In a post published to its Facebook page, the PSU is urging that all members attend since important matters […]


Celebrate Independence Day in Belize
After several centuries as a British colony, Belize gained its independence from Great Britain on September 21, 1981. Today, the national holiday is the occasion for two weeks of partying, parades, and street exhibitions leading up to September 21 when every town comes alive with people waving the red, white and blue (the colors of the Belizean flag). Independence Day 2016 will be a special time in Belize as the country celebrates its 35th anniversary of gaining full sovereignty. The occasion will be marked with a number of amazing celebrations, parties, and activities. This year’s official theme is “Sovereign and Strong Together as One.” The issue of whether Spain or Britain would end up controlling Belize was decided in a colossal, week-long naval battle in 1798 off the coast of St. George’s Caye. The British emerged triumphant on September 10, now a national holiday in Belize celebrated by the playing of patriotic music and people dressed in the national colors. In 2016, the September holidays begin on August 28 and will continue right on up to Independence Day on September 21. Every town and village across the country will hold parades featuring marchers, bands, and floats. Be on the lookout for a sea of red, white and blue as Belizeans of all age celebrate the season with patriotic pride. The month of September is also when you can find live music concerts throughout the country. Some as small affairs held in local villages featuring indigenous music while others are big events that draw top-name acts and thousands of fans.

Everything You Need To Retire Or Invest In This Beautiful Caribbean Nation
For me, it was love at first sight. From the first morning I arrived in Belize, nearly 30 years ago, climbed down from the plane onto the runway, threw my backpack over my shoulder, pulled on my sunglasses, and walked across the tarmac in the direction of the one-room Belize City airport, I was smitten. It was nothing I could put my finger on at the time. Just a feeling, like falling in love. You know it when it hits. On that first visit, I met a handful of Belize expats with whom, over the years, I’ve developed friendships I treasure. Visit by visit, in the years to follow, they helped me to get to know this country founded by pirates and where independence and free thinking are prized above all else. These are qualities that I, too, value a great deal. Instinctively, I guess, putting my feet on the ground in this country for the first time, I knew that Belize and I were made for each other.

International Sourcesizz

Belize cashes in excess rainfall insurance
CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) paid US$261,073 to the Government of Belize under its excess rainfall insurance policy last Thursday, two weeks after heavy rains brought by Hurricane Earl drenched the country on August 4 and 5. The payout, CCRIF said, demonstrates its commitment to act within two weeks after a qualifying hazard event. Earl caused widespread flooding, damage to homes and businesses, interruptions of water and electricity services, and losses to the tourism and agriculture industries across Central America. “The CCRIF board and team are relieved that there was no loss of life – and we hope that the funds received from CCRIF will be useful to the Government of Belize in their recovery efforts. We wish the Government and people of Belize a rapid recovery,” CEO Isaac Anthony stated.

Guardians of the world’s ocean icons convene in Galapagos to chart sustainable future
From 27-31 August 2016, managers from the 49 marine sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List will convene in the Galapagos Islands to explore solutions to some of the world’s most pressing conservation challenges including climate adaptation strategies and market-based approaches to strengthen sustainable fisheries. Along with leading experts and ocean conservationists they will help chart a sustainable path forward for the world’s most iconic marine protected areas. Since the first marine site was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982, the marine network has grown into a global collection of sites that stretches across topical, temperate and polar zones. Today, World Heritage marine sites comprise 10% by surface area of all the world’s marine protected areas, and include icons such as the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize), Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines), Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati), and Everglades National Park (USA). They are home to the breeding grounds of the world’s last healthy population of grey whales, the highest density of ancestral polar-bear dens, the world’s most ancient fish and the inimitable marine iguanas.

IACHR report on historic Belize judgment: Worsening conditions for gays in T&T
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) says it welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court of Belize “that declared unconstitutional the criminalisation of consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex.” “With this historic decision, Belize becomes the second country in the English-speaking Caribbean to repeal laws that criminalise consensual sex between adults of the same sex that originate in the region’s colonial past,” a release issued on Monday stated. A recent report on violence against members of the LGBTI community in the Americas has, however, noted a gradual worsening of legislative conditions for them in T&T and the Commonwealth Caribbean. The English version of a report on “Violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons in the Americas” released last week was researched by the IACHR and initially published in Spanish last November. The report notes that T&T “maintains legislation criminalising adult same-sex intimacy” and that “the issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation remains a matter of concern.”


  • CNN special on Caye Caulker, Belize, 3.5min. Videography for CNN special on the island of Caye Caulker, Belize

  • Wildboyz Season 1 Episode 8 Belize, 22min.

  • Belize 2016, 6min. Trip to Hatchet Caye 2016.

  • Downtown Belize City, 1.5min.

  • Snorkeling in Half Moon Caye. Belize, 17min.

  • Blue Kamikaze on the rocks Belize Mixology style., 2.5min. Edward Alvarez creating a Blue Kamikaze at Belize Mixology's practical training segment at Rumors Resort in San Ignacio, Belize.

  • Belize 2016, 7.5min. Vacances au Belize.

  • Belize Creole Brokdong Project, 1min. Here are some of our participants in the Belize Creole Brokdong Project doing some vocal training.

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