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#517226 - 08/31/16 12:03 PM Today's Belize News: August 31, 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

BNCF awards over 75k in terrestrial biodiversity research and protected areas management
The Belize Nature Conservation Foundation (BNCF) awarded two grants in the furtherance of conservation efforts in Belize’s protected areas. The ceremony to award the recipients was held at the Programme for Belize office at 1 Eyre Street, Belize City. Ya’axche Conservation Trust and the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) were the successful applicants. Ya’axche received a total of thirty seven thousand, eight hundred and eighty eight dollars (BZ$37,888). APAMO, received thirty eight thousand (BZ$38,000). This marks the BNCF’s tenth grants award ceremony. On this occasion, the BNCF’s Chair, Mr. Edilberto Romero, remarked that the grants given out today will help to “support the conservation of our forests and the management of protected areas”. Ya’axche, for its project entitled, “Strengthening Conservation through Community Participation in Biodiversity Research” seeks to collect baseline biodiversity data in key biodiversity areas throughout the Maya Golden Landscape. Through the collection of this data they hope to increase community awareness of the importance of biodiversity and biodiversity monitoring techniques towards the understanding and management of our natural environment.

Miss Belize Universe delegates gear up for online voting & fashion show
The 11 delegates for the Miss Belize Universe Pageant will shine in the golden spotlight at Midas Belize Resort in a pre-­‐pageant fashion show on Saturday, Sept. 3. The resort, located at Branch Mouth Road in San Ignacio, will host the event in the lead-­‐up to the pageant itself, which is Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts. At the fashion show, a panel of judges will score the delegates, and those scores will be taken into account on pageant night.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Updated Cabinet & CEO list
Three unelected persons have been given top ministerial appointments in the Barrow Administration. But why have the elected representative been pushed aside? Following today’s cabinet meeting, the Press Office issued an updated list of Cabinet Ministers and Chief Executive Officers.

BELTRAIDE PARTICIPATES IN SECOND ANNUAL BTIA OW EXPO
In its continuous quest to inform the general public about its role of attracting and facilitating new investment for Belize, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), through its Small Business Development Service (SBDC), actively participated in the second annual BTIA OW Expo held on Saturday, 27th August at the Queen Elizabeth Park in downtown Orange Walk Town. A large number of Expo goers visited the event. Those visiting the SBDC booth had an opportunity to sample and buy products from Fibber’s sauces, K & K’s Beauty Products, Northern Heat pepper sauces and enjoy the delicious bread from Rosita’s Capricho N Bon. Visitors also obtained the latest information on BELTRAIDE’s projects as well as information on the work of its various units. Numerous brochures, INVEST BELIZE Magazine were on display. There were also numerous give-aways on BELTRAIDE’s promotional items. The Orange Walk Tourism Expo was developed to highlight Orange Walk Town as a tourist destination with the aim to attract more Belizeans and international tourists.

The Department of the Environment - DOE is having a Theme Competition and you can win $500.00!
In the context of the 25th Anniversary of the Department of the Environment(DOE), which will be on October 14, 2017, the DOE of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development is organizing a theme competition for the celebration of DOE’s 25th Anniversary. The guidelines and other relevant details pertaining to the competition are as follows:1.The theme should be in English, typewritten in double space with a font size of at least 12, and consist of no more than 10 words. 2.Submit to the Chief Environmental Officer, Department of the Environment, Market Square, Belmopan, RE: 25th Anniversary Theme no later than 12:00 pm on Friday, September 23rd, 2016.

Miss San Pedro 2016 Pageant
The San Pedro Town Council proudly presents the Miss San Pedro 2016 Pageant. This Saturday, September 3rd at the Hon. Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and Show starts at 8:00 p.m. SHARP! Performing at the pageant, All the way from El Salvador, Grupo Crash! Get your reserved tickets! Exclusively sold at the San Pedro Town Council offices.

The Government of Belize has published the Special Audit on the Immigration and Nationality Department on their website.

Forty police officers joined the ranks of the GREAT( Gang Resistance Education and Training) program
Following a graduation ceremony held last week in Belize City. Guest speaker Ambassador Moreno congratulated the graduates and mentioned that the GREAT program is a revamped strategy toward community policing that has made officers closer to the communities which they protect and serve. The Officers will be visiting various schools throughout Belize to teach students how to resist gangs and gang activities in their schools and communities. Congratulations to the GREAT graduates!

The U.S. Government donated additional assistance to Belize’s recovery from damage from Hurricane Earl
The U.S. government will make available funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) Ambassador’s Emergency Relief Fund. This support builds on the Embassy’s long-term disaster assistance from the U.S. government to Belize since 2006 to strengthen and supplement local response and recovery efforts. Last week the Ambassador Moreno along with the Belize Red Cross donated mattresses and linens to several Belizean families recovering from damage to their homes during the storm.

The Official Fashion Show and Beauty for Miss Belize 2016
Dianira Rivera is representing San Pedro at Miss Belize! Come cheer her on at this preliminary fashion show on Sept. 3 and then attend the pageant at Bliss Center for Performing Arts on September 10!

It's International Whale Shark Day!
This day celebrates these remarkable gentle giants. Whale sharks can grow to 45 feet and weigh in at 24,000 pounds. Belize is blessed to have these seasonal visitors visit us! Photos by Tony Rath Photography and Tour Guide Harry Neal

Clouds over Caye Caulker last night
And not a drop of rain

Caye Caulker Ocean Academy
We warmly welcome our new Form 1 Ocean Academy students and are looking forward to a wonderful school year together.

FARMERS MARKET on Caye Caulker
HERE WE COME.. this Sunday, September 4th, 2016…the FarmHouse Deli will be holding its FARMERS MARKET in Caye Caulker from 11 am to 2 pm at DREADED GRAPE wine and cheese bar. Come enjoy over 12 types of deli fresh baked artisan breads, deli smoked & cured meats and over 14 types of Artisan cheeses from our Caves Branch cheese house. Pro biotic deli brewed drinks including Kambucha, Kvoss, Water Kefir, Dairy Kefir, Coconut Water & Coconut Milk Kefir. BEST QUALITY fresh handpick organically grown farm vegetables from our FARMacy at Barton Creek. Guaranteed freshest entire country.

Splashers
It's almost Thursday and you know what that means! The Splashers will be stroking...tapping... and getting their Happy on Canvas! :) Join us at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar and get your Happy on too!

D Stock Burger Relocates
D'Stock Burger has moved into the old Treatery location at the CAYO Welcome Center. Basically, they shifted 100 meters over. One of the best burgers around, and well priced too.

Channel 7

Christians Protest In Belmopan, To No Great Effect
Last night, we told you that Patrick Menzies and the leadership of the Spanish arm of the Evangelical Churches, the "Alliance of Ministers and Leaders," would be making a second demonstration in Belmopan today to follow up on Friday's protest outside the House meeting. That's the protest which got out of hand when the Belize City based agitators hijacked the church protest and broke the police barrier to rush the Assembly building - the cops had to fire a shot to stop them from storming into the House. Well as we told you last night, the police did not want to grant them any permits to protest today, and so they instead staged a church service on the National Assembly Steps. It didn't have the numbers from Friday; the crowd shrank from 16 hundred persons to only one hundred and sixty. Today, we were in Belmopan to speak with their leader, Patrick Menzies, who told us that they Cabinet must concede to the 10 demands they made public yesterday:

UDP Minister Discuss The Ugly Ejection
While we were in Belmopan, we waited for the Cabinet Ministers to exit today's meeting to discuss the topic on everybody's mind, the ugly ejection of PUP Cayo South Representative Julius Espat. Not many of those Ministers were in the mood to grant a press encounter, but Michael Finnegan, Elodio Aragon, and Wilfred Elrington did stop to give us an interview. Finnegan told us that in his opinion as a senior parliamentarian, it shouldn't have gotten to that point: Hon. Michael Finnegan, Minister of Housing: "It was unfortunate, disrespectful and disgraceful. That's all I have to say." Reporter: "At one point you even got up to speak on behalf of Mr. Espat and also cross the floor to speak with them. What was your perspective at that specific point in time?" Hon. Michael Finnegan, Minister of Housing: "I didn't talk on behalf of Mr. Espat. That is a wrong interpretation. I got up and was concerned about civility in the house and I believe that a member must be allowed to make his/her point. But a member must act within the framework and the guidelines of the law. You cannot get up and say the speaker is mercenary, the speaker is being paid to stop you from making your presentation, that members of the other side of the house are thieves. Man that is uncalled for. That was totally uncalled for. But the member, I will repeat again, have all right to make his/her presentation within the guidelines."

Vega's Notable Absence on Friday
We didn't get to speak to him, but former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega was in Cabinet today - but he wasn't in the House of Representatives last Friday. Sources tell us Vega - who was in country - may have been staging a quiet sit out in protest of his government's position on the Section 53 judgment - which Vega staunchly opposes. And he was missed in the house on Friday because every other UDP member was there, and also because he was supposed to present a report. Here's the slightly awkward moment when the speaker had to kind of gloss over his absence while new Deputy PM Faber dived in for a save:... Hon. Mike Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House: "I recognized the Honorable Minister of. I recognized in his stead the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister."

PM Discusses Vega And State of Cabinet
It's a small moment that most would have missed, but we caught it - and on Friday when we spoke to the Prime Minister via telephone we asked him about Vega's unexcused absence on Friday, and the wider implications for a division in cabinet. The PM indicated that indeed Vega did oppose the government position on the section 53 judgment. Here's the phone interview from Friday evening:... Rt., Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "He wasn't in cabinet when the decision was taken not to appeal and he has indicated that if he'd been there he would have voted against that position. So that much is clear. But I spoke to him yesterday and he gave me no impression that he's not coming to the house meeting as consequence of his dissatisfaction. So, I'm afraid you have to chase him down to find out the reason for his absence. He has not been in touch to say that I wasn't there and here is why. So I really can't go beyond that."

Cabinet's Tweaks
And coming out of today's Cabinet meeting there's the announcement of minor tweaks and changes to portfolios and Chief Executive Officers. The new listing shows that the Minister of State for Finance is Dr. Carla Barnett and her CEO is Joseph Waight. The CEO for John Saldivar's newly reconstituted Ministry of Defence is Felix Enriquez while George Lovell picks up as CEO for the Police Ministry. Today UDP Party Whip Michael Finnegan explained why government keeps making these changes: Hon. Michael Finnegan, Minister of Housing: "This started way back with Leader Emeritus Hon. George Price. He first started it. George Price who we all love started way back with JW MacMillan, Assad Shoman, Dickie Bradley lost twice, was made minister and I can go on and on. There is nothing wrong with any government whether it's the UDP government or otherwise utilizing the intellectual capacity of people outside parliament. There is nothing wrong with that and there is no powerful ministry more than the other one. We all have equal say in cabinet. We get the same salary."

Cork Street Assault In Tourism Zone Doesn't Surprise Hotelier
This morning there was a stabbing on Cork Street - that's in the heart of a Tourist Zone, right down the street from the Radisson and a street over from the Tourism Village. But, the victim wasn't a tourist - it was a Radisson employee on his way to work. He may have been targeted by gang players from nearby Majestic Alley because he's from a southside neighborhood that's part of the ongoing gang warfare. We found out more when we reviewed the security footage:.. At five to 7:00 this morning, Kendale Green was riding to work at the Radisson Fort George on Cork Street when two men charged out of an alley and tackled him off his bike and then started stabbing him. In the grainy security footage, right in the margins of the time stamp, you can see them hauling him to the middle of the street and stabbing him repeatedly.

Household Survey Finds Punished Children, Happy People
The Statistical Institute of Belize has completed what's known as the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey or MICS report. It is compiled in conjunction with UNICEF and it is designed to gather information on the state of women and children through large scale household surveys. In this case more than 5,200 households were sampled. It shows that 92 percent of those households have access to electricity, while 96 percent reported using improved sources of drinking water. About 87 percent of households had improved sanitation facilities. The average household size was 3.8 persons, and on average the number of persons per each room used for sleeping was just under two. While that's the good news, to bad news is that of all children under five years old, 4.6 percent were found to be underweight, while 15 percent were considered to be stunted, or below the normal height for their age as per World Health Organization standards. 12 percent of infants weighed less than five and a half pounds at birth.

Mike Espat, Mason And Campaign Cash
William Danny Mason is still in jail - and since his name has slipped from the headlines recently, he may be missing the attention. But he's not quite forgotten yet because his name did come up in the House of Representatives on Friday. That's when a member from the PUP asked the Prime Minister about the possibility of appointing an independent investigator for the Danny Mason case. That's when the PM produced the minutes of a most curious political fundraising meeting:... Rt., Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "He is known to have entertained and perhaps made contributions to several persons in public life, including according to the minutes of a meeting held among a number of persons and I'll tell you who were in attendance on February 20th 2014, Mr. Paddy Franks, Mr. Danny Mason, Mr. Arturo Saldivar, Mr. Michael Espat, Mr Ricardo and one Mr. Elvin Pener. Topic of meeting to discuss actions required to prepare for elections. Funds for campaign expense will be provided by Mr. Danny Mason, entrepreneur. The minutes were signed off all the people who attended you know. Here is Michael Espat's signature. So you should have put that in when you talk about the people that the man entertained."

PUP Leader Says Mike Espat/Mason Meeting Not That Bad
Yesterday we did ask the PUP LEADER about Mike Espat's name in the Mason minutes. John Briceno - who had previously come down hard on UDP politicians who met with Mason - was more forgiving with his representative for Toledo West:... Jules Vasquez, 7News: "The Prime Minister raised the minutes of some meeting that he has minutes of that shows that Mike Espat had been in meetings with Mr. Mason. Mr. Mike is not at the head table, but if this could be addressed one way or the other." Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition: "Let me address it right now." Hon. Mike Espat: "I haven't gotten one dollar from...."

Julius May Have Met Mason, But Nothing To It
So, while that's the PUP's response to the Prime Minister's assertion that Mike Espat was meeting with accused murderer William Danny Mason, Julius Espat, the Deputy of the PUP's Western Caucus says he has not done any business transactions with him. On Friday, before he was dragged out of the House, he granted an interview outside in which we asked him if he had gone to Intelco Hill, and he said that he did not. Here's that conversation with him: Daniel Ortiz, 7News: "Sir, did you ever had any personal meetings or discussions with William Mason when no one knew that he was involved in the type of things he is accused of?" Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative: "I don't remember the gentleman that well. I may have had an encounter with him, but it's not somebody that I remembered. I am a businessman and I meet a lot of people and I don't recall everybody. So I can't say that I have or I haven't, but the possibility is there that we have met somewhere. I mean he was around, there were restaurants that probably you met somebody like that, there were social events that probably you met."

Briceno Pounces on PM
But what the PUP won't forget anytime soon is the appearance of the Prime Minister's name in the audit of nationality documents. He vouched for his wife's brother in law, Peter Dahlstrom who is Swedish. He's been married to the PM's sister in law for decades but the PUP leader outlined what the audit report said about his nationality... Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition - PUP: "He and his wife recommended their brother-in-law for Belizean nationality whilst he has been married to a Belizean for more than 20 years. You need to be resident in Belize for a full year to be able to qualify and the investigations have shown that his brother-in-law has never resided in Belize for a full year. So he did not qualify and the Prime Minister recommended his brother-in-law for that nationality and based on that recommendation his brother-in-law did received his Belizean nationality."

PM Brushes Off Untoward Suggestion
And here's how the Prime Minister explained it when we spoke to him via telephone on Friday: Rt., Hon. Dean Barrow Prime Minister, Prime Minister: "If he's saying that I wrote some sort of a letter asking that he be given his nationality, I do not recollect any such thing and I would believe that that is absolute nonsense. And in terms of the substance of his charge, my wife's brother in law maintains a residence in Belize, you can argue about what is enough to satisfy the requirements of the law, that's a matter between him and the immigration officials." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "But, Sir, were you aware that your name and your wife's name is in the nationality report?" Rt., Hon. Dean Barrow Prime Minister, Prime Minister: "No, I was not, I was not."

Briceno Bristles When PM Comparison Made
And just now you heard how the PM bristled when we suggested that he had been painted however slightly with the same brush as other sin the report. Well, John Bricneo who's also in the report - similarly bristled when we suggested the same to him:... Jules Vasquez, 7News: "Did she go on and get her passport?" Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition - PUP: "I have no idea." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "Because then if she did, you would have been involved in the approval of a passport just like the Prime Minister which did not meet all the requirements." Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition - PUP: "No, no, hold on. There is a big difference Jules. You are stretching this. Let us make this very clear. First of all, if I did not put the stamp, somehow I forgot to put the stamp, then it is then the responsibility of the immigration office to say that you didn't stamp the passport, so you need to take this back to get it stamp. Now the difference with me and the Prime Minister, is that the Prime Minister knew that his brother-in-law has not live a full year."

PUP Can Have a Field Day With Audit
Briceno was more comfortable speaking about other aspects of the audit - which he did yesterday:... Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition - PUP: "In one case, Rumila Shengila from Leningrad USSR, received the okay for a visa on November 12, 2012, but that person got a passport on March 2, 2012. A full 8 months before the VISA was granted. The back dating of VISA stamps, dates of arrival, temporary employment permits and fraudulent nationality certificates were so pervasive and so frequent. In one case. If it weren't outrageous and sad, it's funny, in one case they put the name of a PUP minister of immigration on a nationality certificate dated August 12, 1998. As you would know PUP did not win the general elections until August 27th, 1998."

Finnegan Casts Doubt On Auditor General
Today we asked the UDP's Michael Finnegan about the Audit reports. It names senior members in his party, but nowhere in the 3 documents is Finnegan named. He told us today that he's reviewed it, and he thinks that there are other errors which he thinks Auditor General Dorothy Bradley made. Here's what he had to say: In the weeks to come, we'll be carefully reviewing the document, and we'll tell you what we find.

BNTU Wants Their Money
In the last 2 weeks, you've heard the Prime Minister; and Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, who is the Minister of Education, both ask the teachers and public officers to hold off on the last 3% raise that they are due. It was to have taken effect in April, but the Government finds itself strapped for cash with the Hurricane Earl relief efforts. Damages for the storm is now calculated at 183.6 million dollars. But, the teachers may not want to wait, and though the Union hasn't completed canvassing all its branches countrywide, those that they have consulted with have demanded that their union's leaders reject the Prime Minister's request. We met up with the BNTU National President Luke Palacio on Friday, and asked him to explain:

Hon. Julius Was Punching A Face On The Wall
On Friday PUP Cayo South Representative made the worst kind of history when he was forcibly ejected from the House of Representatives. He left with a broken finger, and a torn shirt. He can blame the cops for his shirt, but, as you saw, he has only himself to blame for his broken finger. Yesterday we asked him how he's doing:... Jules Vasquez, 7News: "How is your health?" Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative: "It's pretty good. It couldn't been better." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "Sir and the incident with the wall. Do you regret punching the wall?" Hon. Julius Espat - Cayo South Representative: "Never. I have very vivid pictures on that wall." Jules Vasquez, 7News: "Thank you."

The Appropriation For BTL Will Go Down As Unopposed
And while that house meeting continued, Friday's was cut short. But that's not why the PUP missed out on the debate of the Supplementary Appropriation for 2016/2017. That's when they should have debated the additional monies being raised to pay the BTL compensation. But, the party seems to have slipped up - and the speaker said that when he looked around, no opposition member was ready to debate. And then, the opposition left before anyone could speak on the adjournment. So that controversial matter went down in the records without opposition. Today, Michael Finnegan told us that the Opposition missed a golden opportunity for debate because of the Julius fiasco: Hon. Michael Finnegan: "I was amazed when the opposition made that slip them by in parliament. I was totally taken aback, because the matter should have been debated. But they did not get up to debate the matter. So the matter lay there and died there and if the matter was debated, every member of parliament would have been given the opportunity to say something about that motion. So for them to say that the leader of the Opposition was going to speak on it on the debate, so why no use the opportunity."

OAS Will Investigate Conorquie
In last night's news, we told you about Saturday afternoon's quick briefing from the OAS Secretary General's Special Representative. She also mentioned that those same experts who investigated the Ruano shooting, will investigate the fatal shooting of Special Constable Conorquie and BDF Staff Sergeant Richard Lambey. Here's what she had to say on that: Danny Conorquie was killed inside the Caracol Site in September 2014, and Staff Sergeant Richard Lambey was shot in March of this year. Both incidents are suspected, but not confirmed, to have been committed by Guatemalan cross-border bandits.

Re-registration Soon, But Not Now
And our last three stories tonight, are catch up events from last week which we didn't have the chance to air because our last two newscasts were totaled a combined four hours. The first has to do with news of re registration form Friday's house sitting. There hasn't been a re registration exercise since 1996 - and there should be one every ten years. The Prime Minister now has a new timeline which will make it slightly more than 20 years. Here's how he put it on Friday:..

The Question of Candelaria
The Prime Minister was also questioned about the case of Candelaria Saldivar. She;s the senior public officer and ministerial sister who is on administrative leave with benefits and pay, for whom government can't seem to find a place. The PM explained the quandary:..

US Embassy Gave Hurricane Relief
The US Embassy donated mattresses, pillows and other bedding materials to the Red Cross on Friday. At a brief handing over ceremony Ambassador Carlos Moreno spoke about the Embassy's various donations to the hurricane Earl Relief efforts. The Director General for the Red Cross Lilly Bowman then spoke to us about how significant this donation is. The Red Cross has assessed 1,008 families so far and they continue reaching out to those storm survivors.

Cops Give Southside Students Schoolbags
And, finally tonight, the Police Department has been giving away schools bags like they're going out of style! They've been going through different southside neighborhoods, and yesterday it was the precinct two area:... Today the Southside Police did the same in the Jane Usher area.


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#517227 - 08/31/16 12:03 PM Re: Today's Belize News: August 31, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

Minister Sedi Elrington on Why He “Named” Julius Espat
The Prime Minister slipped the media today following a cabinet meeting, but his ministers were out to do damage control on Friday’s outrageous House Meeting.  Pickstock Area Representative Wilfred ‘Sedi’ [...]

Veteran Parliamentarian Michael Finnegan Calls Friday’s Events “Unfortunate”
During the fiasco on Friday, the presentation by Espat on the damming Special Audit, which exposes corruption at the Immigration between 2011 and 2013, was muzzled when Espat was physically [...]

Finnegan Tells Why He Is Not in Special Audit Report and Defends Fellow Ministers
The Special Audit conducted by Auditor General Dorothy Bradley into the issuance of Belizean passports and visas during a two-year period spanning 2011 and 2013 still has currency and is [...]

Foreign Minister Says Guat Counterparts’ Comments Will Not Change Situation
Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales has made very unbecoming comments following the release of the O.A.S. report on the fatal shooting of fourteen-year-old Julio Rene Alvarado Ruano in April.  [...]

An Updated List of Ministers and C.E.O.’s is Released
Three unelected persons have been given top ministerial appointments in the Barrow Administration. But why have the elected representative been pushed aside?  Following today’s cabinet meeting, the Press Office issued [...]

Senior Minister Finnegan Dishes on Introduction of Unelected Ministers to Cabinet
This afternoon, senior parliamentarian Michael Finnegan shared his thoughts on the new ministerial appointments.   Isani Cayetano “It would seem as if though two of the most powerful portfolios within [...]

Patrick Menzies and Church Leaders Back in Belmopan for Protest
This morning, the Hispanic arm of the Evangelical Church, led by Patrick Menzies, was back on Independence Hill where they marched against government’s decision not to appeal the Supreme Court [...]

Former Open Vote Worker Wins Case in Court over Termination
In February of this year, the Supreme Court heard the case of Melissa Belezaire Tucker, a former Ministry of Education employee who served in the Public Service for seventeen years, [...]

Youth Accused of Murder and Freed is Hospitalized in Stabbing Incident
A Belize City youth is tonight hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was stabbed multiple times near the Radisson Hotel in the Fort George area. Twenty-three year [...]

Callum Sutherland Pleads Guilty for Cannabis Stash
A Belize City man is in debt of ten thousand dollars to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court for the trafficking of four hundred and twenty-eighth grams of marijuana on June [...]

San Pedro Man Claims Police Brutality; He is Rival with Policeman for a Girl
A thirty-two year old San Pedro resident is claiming police brutality. Allen Delroy Martinez says that he was beaten before being locked down at the police station for two days [...]

Is Zika on the Rise? Cases Reported in Caye Caulker, Benque and Succotz
It’s been a while since we’ve reported on Zika. In mid June, the first confirmed case of zika was recorded in Belize in the west. Since then, there have been [...]

Ministry of Health Concentrates on Pregnant Women at Risk for Zika
Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services “There is a package that has been developed to be given to pregnant women to try to minimize their risk. The package usually [...]

Results of Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey a Mixed Bag
Findings of a survey called the Belize Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Five were released today. The survey was held to identify key indicators to formulate policies and programs and to [...]

Michael Finnegan Surprised that P.U.P. Did Not Speak on B.T.L. Settlement
Litigation in respect of the compensation award, following government’s acquisition of B.T.L. in 2009 is ongoing.  The latest round of legal battle is presently before the Caribbean Court of Justice; [...]

Opposition Leader Blames Speaker for B.T.L. Settlement Not Being Debated
During Monday’s press conference, People’s United Party leader John Briceño explained that the B.T.L. settlement did not make it into Friday’s debate because of the ruckus that ended the House [...]

Elodio Aragon Junior Calls Out Julius Espat for “Tantrum”
During the spectacle in the House on Friday, Junior Minister Elodio Aragon remained in his seat and observed the entire drama involving Julius Espat as it unfolded.  Today, he expressed [...]

Environment and Reality Meet on New Channel Five Show, Enviroconnect
A new show starts tonight right here on Channel Five, following the news package. Enviro-Connect Belize is a reality television show by the Department of Environment to highlight the various [...]

CTV3

Opposition Leader To Set Up Pressure At Tomorrow's Senate Meeting
The Opposition People’s United Party’s bolstered campaign to force the Barrow Administration to resign or call fresh elections starts tomorrow when the Senate meets in Belmopan. The Opposition Senators are expected to ramp up the pressure and introduce a motion to investigate the findings contained in Auditor General’s special audit into the scandals at the Immigration Department. Now, if it feels like de ja vu, it is because back in November 2013 the Opposition had also introduced a similar motion following the Penner scandal. That attempt was unsuccessful however because the then Immigration Minister, Senator Godwin Hulse refused to step away from the Senate meeting despite the conflict of interest in his participation; enabling the Government’s majority members to vote against the motion. At tomorrow’s Senate meeting, Senator Hulse who is now the Police Minister, will be there once more. Yesterday the Opposition Leader indicated that Hulse will be asked to recuse himself when it’s voting time.

PUP Senators To demand Sign On To UN Convention On Corruption
At Wednesday’s Senate Meeting the Opposition Senators will also call on the Government to sign the United Nation’s Convention on Corruption. The Opposition People’s United Party has announced that it plans to push the ruling UDP to a breaking point with the ultimate goal being fresh elections. Honorable John Briceno - Opposition Leader People’s United Party: “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is clear that this UDP administration has lost the confidence of the Belizean people, the Central Bank governor has confirmed in black and white what we the people of this country feel every day that they have wrecked the Belizean economy with a poverty rate of almost over 43%, almost one in two Belizeans are poor and we continue to get poorer by the day, the government has reneged on their promise to the teachers and public officers, they have not provided opportunities for gainful employment and as a result more and more of our young people have become frustrated since they cannot find work...”

Mexicans Attacks Revenue Agencies At Santa Elena Border
Media reports from neighboring Chetumal, Quintana Roo, are that yesterday a group of irate citizens attempted an act of civil disobedience when they attacked a vehicle assigned to the Tax Administrative Service, one of Mexico’s government revenue agencies whose office is located near the old Subteniente Lopez bridge near the Belize-Mexico border point. Reports are that the attack was triggered when one of the agency oficials attempted to stop a taxi motorcycle for inspection for contraband, but ended up colliding into it. Other taxi motorcycle drivers saw the incident and became furious. Reports are that one of them threw gasoline at the vehicle and was about to light it on fire, but the vehicle was whisked away to safety. The group of irate Mexicans then picked up stones and stoned the agency’s office. The Police had to intervene to restore calm.

Canada Armed Forces Supports BDF
The Independent investigation carried out in to the death of thirteen year old Guatemalan National Julio Rene Alvarado revealed that Belize’s armed forces did not cause the death of the minor during a crossfire between the BDF and Guatemalan civilians back in the month of April at the Chiquibul Forest. The end results of the investigation is not being accepted by the Guatemalan Government which is causing tension to rise once more between both countries. And as this happens Canada is currently assisting Belize in order to determine its defense policy. Back in the month of February, high ranking military officers from Belize travelled to Ottawa with the sole purpose of attending meetings and to receive advice from the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces with regards to defense tactics.

Statistics Indicates Findings Out Of The MICS5
The Statistical Institute of Belize, in collaboration with the Government of Belize and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), today presented the Key Findings coming out of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5 (MICS5). The survey which was carried out in late 2015 is part of UNICEF’s global MICS program, designed to collect valuable and internationally comparable data on the situation of women and children by means of large scale household surveys. During the study more than five thousand two hundred households across the country of Belize were sampled and for the first time, data was collected not only on women and children but also on men. The survey revealed that of the households surveyed, almost 92 percent have access to electricity, while 96 percent reported using improved sources of drinking water. About 87 percent of households had improved sanitation facilities, or facilities that adequately separate human waste from human contact.

PUP Wants Appointment Of Integrity Commission, PM Says That Is Not Possible
One of the reform issues which the Opposition will be demanding is the appointment of the Integrity Commission. While the law calls for the appointment and functioning of this important check and balance body, it has not functioned for the entire life of the Barrow Administration. At last week Friday’s House Meeting, Prime Minister Dean Barrow claimed that there was little he could do about it. Rt. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize: “We had appointed a full Integrity Commission or designated the full membership of the Integrity Commission and then when some of those we had designated found out that membership of the Integrity Commission involved being a politically exposed person, a pet in the language employed in the International Community, the refused to proceed, when you are a pep and I am sure the member knows, you are oblige no only to make full disclosure to any commercial institutions, you are prevent from opening bank accounts abroad, your designation once that status is applied to you it is made clear that your entire generation also become peps...”

New Operating Theatre For NRH
Orange Walkenos will soon be able to enjoy and benefit from a new and improved Operating Theatre at the Orange Walk Northern Regional Hospital before the end of this year. Yesterday afternoon, the Minister and Minister of State in the Ministry of Health Hon. Pablo Marin and Hon. Dr. Angel Campos, along with CEO Dr. Ramon Figueroa signed contracts between the Government of Belize and various contractors for works and repairs to the facility. According to a release by the Ministry of Health, the works are scheduled to commence immediately and should conclude at the end of November.

Special Audits' Report Cited PM In Fraudulent Nationality Scheme
The Special Audit names almost every member of the current UDP Cabinet and others who have retired from electoral politics as alleged participants in various schemes. Even Prime Minister Dean Barrow is cited in the audit report for allegedly facilitating the issuance of Belizean nationality for his wife’s brother. Honorable John Briceno - Opposition Leader People’s United Party: “The auditor general’s report provides proof on the hypocrisy of Prime Minister Barrow who promised to chop off head of corruption with a special machete, he did not do it to Penner, he did not chopped off Castros’ head, they are still Cabinet colleagues, now that his personal involvement had been exposed, the Prime Minister has completely lost the moral authority to discipline any of his ministers, now if he opens his mouth on corruption or immigration illegality they will simply say to him, no watch me, watch yourself, this is why we here in the PUP say that the recommendations of the Auditor General must be followed including but not limited to the cancellation forthwith of all nationality certificates, passports and VISAS fraudulently issued, including to the one issued to the Prime Minister’s brother-in-law.”

PlusTV

Minister of Foreign Affairs sees no need for Guats to apologize
On Friday, we told you about the drama that occurred outside the National Assembly Building with protestors and the drama that occurred inside the National Assembly Building with Area Representative Julius Espat. Those stories dominated the news but there were other topics of interest on Friday, an...

Guatemalan Foreign Minister criticizes Belizeans, PM, and OAS following investigation results
Well even if some Belizeans were still hopeful for an apology from the Guatemalans, they better think again. Instead of an apology, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Morales was extremely critical of the OAS, the findings of the report, and the Belizean people and Prime Minister of Belize. He ...

DPM Faber will buy his own vehicle
On Friday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said in the House that GOB would be financing the repairs of the damaged vehicle or purchasing a new vehicle for the Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber. This is after Faber’s Government vehicle somehow ended up in the Caribbean Sea aft...

Early Morning Murder in Orange Walk
There was a murder in Orange Walk on Sunday morning. The victim has been identified as Kevin Flowers. According to police, on August 29 at about 5 o’clock that morning, 28-year-old Kevin Albert Flowers was shot multiple times in front of his home on Smithsonia Street, Orange Walk Town. Police say ...

GSU goes to Mayflower Street, Tyrone Meighan detained, Shaquille Meighan shot
Early Sunday morning on Mayflower Street in Belize City, just after 1 a.m., elements of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), following the killing of Junie Balls McKenzie, visited the area as part of their investigation. According to residents, as GSU came onto the street, shots were fired and they tur...

Cayo man beaten in Benque succumbs to injuries
A man from the Cayo District has succumbed to injuries he received during a beat down in July of this year..36 year old Michael Pagett, a resident of San Ignacio Town was badly beaten by two men in Benque Viejo Del Carmen on July 31st 2016. Pagett was in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Mem...

Body of a female found hanging at an abandoned building in San Ignacio
The decomposing body of a woman was found hanging in a house in San Ignacio on Sunday morning. According to reports, a foul smell coming from an abandoned concrete building on Church street led to the discovery. An onsite post mortem was conducted due to the advanced state of decomposition. The woma...

Queen of the Bay crowned
The 71st Queen of the Bay Pageant was held this past Saturday. Stann Creek’s Cristalyn Castillo won the coveted title of Queen of the Bay 2016. First runner-up went to Toledo’s Aliesha Vernon; second runner-up to Lashania Crawford of Belize City; third runner-up to Aldeesha Castillo of Corozal; a...

Amandala

Junie Balls’ son, 21, killed early Sunday morning
The son of legendary Belizean gangster, George “Junie Balls” McKenzie, met his death shortly after 2 o’clock Sunday morning. George Mckenzie, Jr., 21, like his father, was listed as a main suspect in several criminal incidents being investigated by police, and was even remanded in 2014 for attempted murder. However, unlike his father, this student of Wesley sixth form, athlete and father to one daughter was never convicted of anything. His father, George “Junie Balls” McKenzie, was slain on August 27, 2007, and hours after the 9th anniversary of his death, McKenzie, Jr., also lost his life. McKenzie, Jr., and his girlfriend, Shereffa Jex; his brother, Kiffer McKenzie and friend Michael “Pancho” Usher, all from the Majestic Alley area, had gone to a soca concert held at the ITVET compound in Belize City on Saturday night.

House Speaker kicks out Julius Espat!
The culture of disrespect in the House of Representatives has been around for a long time, but it has never resulted in police being ordered to eject a member of the House who was named by the Speaker in post-independent Belize until today when House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte suspended the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) Cayo South area representative Hon. Julius Espat after the Pickstock area representative and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, presented the motion to name him. Hon. Espat, however, refused to leave his seat. Police, in carrying out the order of the Speaker, first cleared the galleries of the House—even putting out members of the media, before they literally dragged Espat out the Chamber of the House of Representatives, with him resisting every inch of the way, as the other members of his party walked out in solidarity, ending the sitting of the House in a controversial way.

PUP call for Speaker Peyrefitte’s head!
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) called a press conference this afternoon at their Independence Hall headquarters, where Party Leader, Hon. John Briceño, briefed the media on the party’s plan following last Friday’s spectacle at the House of Representatives meeting, when all PUP parliamentarians walked out in solidarity with the Cayo South area representative, Hon. Julius Espat, who was named and suspended by House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte. Briceño said that the Opposition has lost confidence in the Speaker and demanded that he be removed, “because he has disgraced the office of the Speaker and brought the House into disrepute.” Apart from calling for the removal of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Briceño also made several other demands of the Barrow government, among them that the government should call new elections.

Shocker: Candelaria Saldivar paid $60,000 a year for 15 months to do nothing!
Candelaria Saldivar-Morter, sister of Defense Minister John Saldivar, has strangely been on administrative leave on full benefits—including monthly allowances—for a year and three months, with no news of when exactly she would be re-assigned, according to revelations made in Parliament on Friday. Last May, it was announced that Saldivar-Morter, who was part of the team which led an internal investigation into the Elvin Penner passport scandal as the Chief Executive Officer responsible for Immigration, had been put on administrative leave until Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who has the portfolio for the public service, can re-assign her, which he has apparently been unable to do for over a year now. A high-ranking government official had reportedly complained about Saldivar’s “management style.” Saldivar’s boss, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse, had said that Saldivar was moved to preserve harmony.

“I want my country back!!”
“I want my country back,” “leave 53,” and “Barrow have to go,” were among the statements being chanted by the approximately 2,000 protesters who turned up this morning at the footsteps of the National Assembly building during today’s House of Representatives meeting/ The protest was the result of a collaboration between the churches and unions, as well as the activist group Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), the “I want my country back” movement and the Poor People Organization for a Healthy and Righteous Society (PPOHRS), who say they are not in support of the Chief Justice’s recent ruling on Section 53 of the criminal code and the corruption highlighted in the recent Auditor General’s report. Commenting on that ruling, Giovanni Brackett of COLA said, “We do not support the changing of the sodomy laws in Belize. We don’t believe that the government should allow one percent of our society to dictate the morals of an entire nation; this government is not a government of the majority, but of the minority.”

Police manhandle the media in the House of Representatives!
The meeting of the House of Representatives on Friday will go down as unprecedented in the history of this country because of the chaos that followed both outside and inside of the House, when an Opposition People’s United Party parliamentarian was dragged out of the House by Belmopan police, who disgraced themselves by manhandling the media for no good reason. Police manhandled some members of the media and dragged Channel 7’s news director, Jules Vasquez out of the gallery from where he was recording the House’s proceedings. Who gave the order for the police to drag media representatives out of the gallery? The media was only doing its work, after all. “On Friday, when you cleared out the gallery in the House of Representatives, under whose authority were you acting?” Amandala asked Howell Gillett, the Officer commanding the Belmopan Police formation.

Police United goalie Keith Allen chosen “Goalkeeper of the Week”
In its “Official weekly recap of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League” for “Week 3, August 23-25, 2016,” Belize goalie Keith Allen of Police United has been chosen “Goalkeeper of the Week,” for his splendid performance against Pachuca of Mexico on Tuesday, August 23, where Pachuca defeated Police United, 3-0, in a game that could have seen a much bigger score, if not for the stellar performance in goal by Allen. According to the concacaf.com report, Keith Allen received 18 shots on goal, stopped 15 of them, while allowing 3 goals by Pachuca. On account of his performance, Allen was also selected as goalkeeper in the “Best XI, Group Stage Week 3” in Champions League.

Placencia perfect at Week 2
The double round-robin regular competition of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017 has just completed Week 2, and only one team, Placencia Assassins FC, sports a perfect record so far, with two lopsided wins and no goals allowed, to lead all 9 teams. (See standings below.) There was only one night game this past weekend, and it was at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan on Saturday night, where Police United, fresh from their first two CONCACAF Champions League outings (both losses, 4-0 and 3-0), were greeted by their Belizean hosts, defending PLB champions Belmopan Bandits, with another defeat, this one by a 2-1 score. Danny Jimenez gave Police the early lead at the 14th minute, but the Bandits came back with goals from Brazilian import Aloisio Teixeira (25’) and Frank Lopez (68’) to register their first win of the tournament.

Infotel takes Game 1 in BDFA Firms Basketball
The Belize District Basketball Association’s (BDBA) Firms Basketball Tournament 2016 tipped off Game 1 in the best-of-three games championship series on Saturday night at the Belize Elementary School (BES) gym, and it was Infotel eking out the 99-97 victory over Belize Bank Bulldogs. Leading Infotel were Earl Johnson 36 pts 10 rebs, Eyan Rene 18 pts 14 rebs 12 assts, Darwin Elijio 15 pts, Stafford Young 13 pts and Elton Anderson 10 pts; while the Bulldogs were led by Brian White 30 pts 19 rebs, captain Roscoe Rhys 20 pts, Marcel Orosco 16 pts 6 rebs and Lincey Lopez 10 pts 8 assts. According to the BDBA schedule, the championship will be decided this coming weekend as follows:

Agitation and hysteria
In recent years in Belize, a growing number of self-appointed experts have emerged, both in the professional print/electronic media and in amateur social media, who have been confidently expressing their opinions on our society’s plethora of heated socio-political issues. Unlike the case in most other democratic countries, however, in Belize our trained academics with reputations to protect almost never participate in the relevant conversations at the public level. Conversations in Belize feature too much imprecision and indiscipline, but you have to understand that there are powerful special interests here which are always seeking to muddy the waters. The two major political parties, the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), both of which own their own party newspapers and radio and television stations, in addition to the fact that several of their leaders own their own radio and television stations in District constituencies, are dominant in the conversations. Lord Michael Ashcroft, who is like a political party unto himself, owns his own television station in the media capital and uses his various advertising budgets to influence the conversations in the other media outlets.

$183.6 mil in losses due to Hurricane Earl
The damage wrought by Hurricane Earl, which struck Belize on August 3 and 4, 2016, is now estimated at $183.6 million, according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who gave a report in Parliament on Friday. Barrow had previously told the press that individual property losses had been estimated at upwards of $15 million and losses to agriculture and tourism at over $100 million. In his presentation today, he said that losses to the utility companies—the Belize Telemedia Limited and the Belize Electricity Limited—amounted to an estimated $25 million. Meanwhile, damage to roads was estimated at $29.4 million. According to Barrow, 4,684 households were impacted, amounting to an estimated 17,000 persons in the Belize, Cayo, Orange Walk and Stann Creek Districts.

Morales accuses Barrow and Belizeans of cynicism
Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, Carlos Raúl Morales, has publicly accused Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and Belizeans in general, of being cynics, following a call from Barrow last week for a public apology from Guatemala, after the unveiling of an expert report detailing the circumstances of the April 20th shooting death of a Guatemalan minor inside the Chiquibul National Park. In response to the shooting incident, Guatemala had mobilized its elite troops to the Belize border and waged a public relations offensive, accusing Belize’s military of a “cowardly act of aggression” and claiming that there were 10 such incidents since 1999; but likewise not detailing the circumstances of the shooting incidents. The expert report, filed with the Organization of American States by Dr. James E. Hamby (of the USA) and Dr. Patricia Rosa Linda Trujillo Mariel (of Mexico), confirmed that the bullets which killed the minor did not come from the Belizean military’s weapon. It also documented that there were two bullet holes in trees at the location where the Belize enforcement patrol, and particularly rangers of the Friends for Conservation and Development, co-manager of the national park, said that they had come under fire from the Guatemalans, who, according to the patrol, came flashing lights intermittently and then opened fire at them.

Police were told to ignore leaked Immigration Department documents
The release of the Auditor General’s report on the Immigration Department scandal, which will be tabled at the House of Representatives meeting on Friday, has begun to refocus national attention on a number of illegalities stemming from corrupt practices during the period the report covers, between 2011 and 2013. A lot of high level efforts went into perverting the course of justice in the early part of the process of addressing the scandals at the Immigration Department. In regards to the Elvin Penner passport scandal, the government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow went on a mission to make sure that no one would be held criminally responsible for the illegal sale of a Belize passport by Penner to a man who had never set foot in Belize. The orders were given for the police’s investigative team to limit their investigation to the PUP attorney Arthur Saldivar, and how he managed to obtain Immigration Department documents, a retired senior police officer who called KREM’s Wake Up Belize Morning Vibes (WUB) confirmed yesterday, Monday morning.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Ex-open vote worker wins court case
In February of this year, the Supreme Court heard the case of Melissa Belezaire Tucker, a former Ministry of Education employee who served in the Public Service for seventeen years, from 1995 to 2013, when she was terminated. Tucker was first appointed as a […]

Belize tourism promotes “experiences”
A new series of ads for the Belize Tourism Board, created by the Olson agency, aims to re-define the Belizean experience for potential visitors. Long marketed as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret,” and later as a place to “Discover How to Be,” the new ads […]

Former Immigration C.E.O. Candelaria Saldivar Still on Government Payroll
C.E.O. Candelaria Saldivar, the sister of Minister John Saldivar, remains on administrative leave over a year after vacating her office in the Ministry of Immigration. That’s because she reportedly couldn’t get along with the Heads of Department. During this time, the senior public officer […]

Central Bank Governor contract up in September
Central Bank Governor Glen Ysaguirre’s contract will be expiring at the end of September. Ysaguirre will reportedly not be renewing his contract. Joy Grant has been named as Ysaguirre’s possible replacement, according to several unconfirmed reports. There were reports from the PUP that Ysaguirre […]

Resort keeper charged for murdering mentally ill woman
Donald Heredia, a 51-year-old grounds-keeper for a Caye Caulker resort, was arraigned and charged for murder on Monday. Heredia was charged for the murder of Jennifer Coleman, 51. Coleman was stabbed to death inside her apartment on August 23 on Aventura Street on the […]

Latin American music icon Juan Gabriel dead at 66
Latin American singer and music icon Juan Gabriel died on Sunday morning in his home in Santa Monica, California. Juan Gabriel, whose real name is Alberto Aguilera Valadez was 66 years old. He suffered a fatal heart attack in his home, a day after […]

Blogs

Going Bananas in Belize City Market
Limes the size of Oranges!! Oranges the size of Grapefruits!! Grapefruits the size of Cabbages!! Cabbages the size of Watermelons!! 5 Limes for $1 10 Bananas for $1 TEN, YES TEN!!! Sorry if I sound too excited or find it hard to believe the prices of produce in the mainland. We have been in the city for two weeks now and enjoying heading to the market to purchase veggies and fruits. Compared to prices in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, I don’t have to cut one arm and a leg to afford eating healthier. The Michael Finnegan Market is one of the best places in the city to get cheap veggies and fruits. Once they make their way to the supermarkets their prices soar, skyrocketing once they reach the islands. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday are the very best days when fresh produce arrives to the market from the farmers/producers in the mainland; and you better get up early to get your hands on the best and freshest products – 5a.m. early! If that is too early for you, getting there around 9a.m. or 10a.m. is not so bad.

Best Time to Visit Belize
Mother nature’s best kept secret see’s a surprising number of visitors for a “secret”, but with lush virgin jungles and cushiony white sand beaches it no wonder why. Despite all the adventurers who trek here, many people still find themselves wondering: When is the best time to visit Belize? The Best Time To Visit Belize Depends On What You Are Looking For! As any local will happily tell you, it’s always a good time for an unBelizable vacation, and that’s true. Depending on your tastes, however, there’s a good time (which is seriously always) and the best time for you to visit Belize. Here are the best times, for who, and why, to visit our slice of Caribbean paradise.

THE ESSENTRICS MOVEMENT AT GRAND CARIBE BELIZE!!
Resident owner at Grand Caribe Belize, Sheryl Hitchens, introduced us to the concept of Essentrics. She had been talking about it for a while and kept inviting us to experience it. Being that it’s now offered here at Grand Caribe I was excited to see exactly what it entailed. But, before immersing myself into anything, I figured it wouldn’t hurt doing a little Googling… and so I did. “ESSENTRICS is a unique program that rapidly changes the shape of your body through a dynamic and fluid combination of strengthening and stretching. The results come quickly – not over years, but in a matter of minutes. Increased flexibility is enjoyed instantly.” (Google 8.28.16) So, on a warm Thursday morning I joined the girls in the gym. Oh yeah, we have a full gym here at Grand Caribe Belize; but, this story isn’t about our fully air conditioned gym, with state of the art equipment. It’s about Essentrics.

It’s a Jungle Out There, You Won’t Want to Vacation Anywhere Else
When you’re asked to describe the most beautiful place on earth, are you tempted to invoke a cliché to get your point across? It’s easy to see why; hyperbole has become a powerful speaking aid, which is how our conversations become littered with “awesomes,” “amazings” and that doesn’t even take you out of the As! But we beg your indulgence as we insist that “a picture is worth more than a thousand words” when it is used to describe Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, a destination so breathtaking, guests often say they’re speechless the moment they visit the Caves Branch website to virtually step through the door of private accommodations that have no equal. This is a magical place. Secrets are shared. Nature is revered. Time speeds by too fast as guests learn how it feels to be one with nature. Allow us to tell you a little about how Caves Branch came to be one of Belize’s crown jewels and why you should visit. A great story deserves a great beginning: Once upon a time, Ian Anderson happened upon Belize long before it became a Caribbean hot spot. He carved out a bit of jungle and built a rustic camp with all of the necessities anyone seeking a primitive outdoor experience could desire. Campers settled into a true jungle adventure that included taking in one-of-a-kind natural sites not found elsewhere and they found all of the basics necessary to enjoy their time, including outhouses and river bathing. Guests returned. The lodge’s reputation grew.

Ambergris Caye: This rolled in this afternoon
As I sat on the deck looking out to the reef, a remarkably chilly breeze swept in from behind me. I turned around and saw this. The chilly wind and the massing cloud formation kept on coming. So ominous, yet so beautiful. It reminded me of the scenes in “Independence Day” when the alien ships would suddenly drop down out of a thick roiling mass of cloud cover. But that didn’t happen. Here is a sequence of the cloud as it moved up from south San Pedro town and eventually skittered across the reef and out to sea. There was the rumble of thunder here and there and a tiny sprinkling of rain. Nothing to match the fierce appearance of this cloud!

International Sourcesizz

Meet the LGBT Activist Who Defeated Belize’s Anti-Sodomy Law
How does it feel, I asked Belize’s leading LGBT activist, to have finally prevailed in a six-year-long effort to have his country’s sodomy law declared unconstitutional? “Stressful,” he replied. At first, I laughed. I’ve known Caleb Orozco professionally for nearly 10 years, and he’s always cut to the quick, throwing shade on those who deserve it while remaining laser-focused on improving the lives of sexual and gender minorities in Belize and throughout Central America and the Caribbean. It didn’t surprise me that only two weeks after the landmark Supreme Court case was decided, he was already focused on the challenges ahead. But then he went into details. “Everybody thinks that because you win a court decision, the social concerns and threats of violence end,” Orozco told me. “They don’t.” As the sole named plaintiff in the case, Orozco is now somewhat famous in his small home country. I asked what it’s like to walk down the street. “I get lots of stares,” he said. “People act like they’ve never seen a gay man before—whispering, or an aggressive kind of silence. A smile or laughter that comes out of nowhere.”

Jungle Combat: Back To Belize
The Infantry Battle School has returned to Belize for the first time in five years. The training centre, which is based in Brecon, has spent the last three weeks in the jungle on 'Exercise Grim Warrior', the final part of its Platoon Commanders Battle Course. The exercise used to be a regular fixture in Belize but in 2011 the British Army Training and Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) was mothballed and it had to be moved elsewhere. The course switched to Cyprus, spent a short while in Kenya and then moved to Scotland but commanders have always hankered after its former home. In their eyes, Belize offers the ultimate test which takes soldiers out of their comfort zone.

Canada assisting Belize with defence policy amid tensions with Guatemala
Canada is assisting Belize with its defence policy as tensions between the Central American nation and neighbouring Guatemala continue to simmer over the killing of a 13-year-old boy by Belize soldiers. Feliz Enrique, CEO of the Belize defence ministry, said last week that the US and Britain are also being consulted. Belize is embroiled a border dispute with Guatemala, which deployed 3,000 troops in April to a disputed area between the two countries after the 13-year-old was shot dead. Guatemalan officials claimed the youth and his family were attacked as they planted crops near the border. But Belize’s government said security forces investigating illegal land clearing in a national park had detained a Guatemalan man.

Banking Regulators, Facing Criticism, Seek to Dispel Myths on Money-Laundering Rules
U.S. banking regulators sought Tuesday to “dispel certain myths” around anti-money-laundering rules that critics contend have inadvertently cut off access to the U.S. financial system for some countries, businesses and individuals. The Treasury Department, along with four bank regulators, published an unusual, four-page “fact sheet” along with a lengthy blog post to clarify regulatory expectations related to the rules. While the statements didn’t change the rules, they emphasized that the government doesn’t take a “zero-tolerance” approach to enforcing anti-money-laundering laws and reserves enforcement action for the most egregious instances of widespread or intentional wrongdoing, such as recent fines related to movement of drug-cartel money. Regulators resolve about 95% of compliance failures without penalties, three senior Treasury officials said in the blog post, in which they also said that banks don’t have to vet the customers of their foreign-bank customers.

Videos

  • Cycling the Americas on a Tandem Bicycle - The Random Way Down, 6min. Sam and Julie leave the state of Veracruz behind them and head south through Tabasco and Chiapas. Mechanical problems see them stuck in Palenque for 2 weeks before crossing the border into the hot and sweaty jungles of Guatemala. From there they head to Belize for some quality beach time and manatee spotting before heading back into Guatemala to conquer the highlands.

  • Belize, 8min. Christ's Church Whitewater

  • Belize, 26min. Group presentation about Belize. Presented by a group of scholars from Ecuador at the University of West Indies. Barbados-2016

  • Clapper Rail at Caye Caulker in Belize on 27 August 2016, 1/2min. An adult Clapper Rail walking through the mangroves at close range.

  • Gray-crowned Yellowthroat calling on a post in Belize, 1/2min. A juvenile (based on the tapered tips to the rectrices), on the road to Black Rock Lodge, 25 August 2016.

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

  • Magnificent Frigatebird soaring at Belize City waterfront, birds-eye view, 1.5min. A juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) riding the wind outside the Hotel Princess in Belize City, 21 August 2016.

  • Brown Pelican flying at Belize City waterfront (birds-eye view), 1/2min. A soaring Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) at Belize City, 21 August 2016, photographed from the 6th floor of the Belize Princess Hotel.

  • Culcha Jam, 4.5min. Belize da me country, Belize is me land, that da weh I come from!

  • Jungle Combat: Back To Belize, 5min. The Infantry Battle School has brought soldiers back to Belize for the first time in five years. The training team which is based in Brecon has spent the past three weeks in the country running the final exercise in the Platoon Commanders Battle Course.

  • Enviroconnect Belize, 69min. Catch our newest show: Enviroconnect Belize right after the News. Episodes air every Tuesday at 8:00 pm.

  • Belize/NY, 6min.

  • Baby shark becomes attached to diver, 1min. This baby nurse shark in Belize becomes curious about a diver and closely checks him out. He then swims under and around the diver before following him over the sea grass through the shallows. He acts more like a lost puppy than a shark. Nurse sharks occasionally follow divers but this one is exceptionally friendly and comfortable being right up close to people.

  • Belize Diving Caye Caulker and San Pedro, 3min.

  • Xunantunich Mayan Ruins in Belize!, 4min. Xunantunich Mayan Ruins tour 8/24/16! We enjoyed getting to see this beautiful area up close. We even climbed the main building which was over 130 feet tall and 690 feet above sea level!

  • The New path - Belize summer 2016, 4min. So happy i was able to go to this amazing country! Thank you everyone who made it one to remember.

  • Trip to San Pedro, Belize, 4min. Here is a compilation of videos we took in San Pedro on a family vacation. Devices used: DSLR T4i, DJI Phantom 3, and GoPro.

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    Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
    White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
    Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
    We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
    Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
    Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
    Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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