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#518395 - 10/19/16 12:08 PM Today's Belize News: October 19, 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


Ambergris Today

The Belize Barrier Reef is Being Held at Gun Point
Airguns, that’s what they call them! Our government is putting them in our waters without asking us Belizeans if it is okay. Airguns blast shock waves through the water that are powerful enough to penetrate the seafloor. For dolphins and whales, it can cause deafness, disturbs communication, and disrupts migration patterns. The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage strongly support the non use of seismic exploration. In a press release the organization stated that on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, the environmental community exposed the fact that seismic testing has been approved for offshore Belize; and more disturbingly that the survey would proceed without even the benefit of an Environmental Impact Assessment. The environmental community immediately asked the Cabinet to stay its decision to approve the seismic survey pending the submission of additional material and information regarding the impacts of seismic to marine environments and associated industries such as fishing and tourism.

Strike on Hold, Classes Resume Tomorrow
The Belize National Teacher Union (BNTU) wishes to inform the nation that the membership has decided to put the strike on hold and return to the classrooms on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, while keeping an eye over the execution of the agreements reached. The BNTU remains committed to our good governance and respect for the workers agenda and reserve its option to re-engage in industrial action if necessary. In a press release, the BNTU thanked the Almighty Father for his guidance and divine interventions throughout this process thus far. They also thanked the Belizean public, especially parents, who supported their action to address the list of good governance, transparency, accountability, and respect for the workers issues. "The activities they engaged in as part of the stand up for Belize campaign and industrial action could not have been as extensive and successful as they were without the tremendous support of parents, social partners, and friends of the BNTU from across the length and breadth of Belize and our regional body the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT). BNTU sincerely thanks everyone!"

Belize and UNICEF Work on Empowering Children With Disablilities
Belize’s Special Envoy for Women and Children and UNICEF hosted a two-day conference under the theme “Breaking Barriers for an Inclusive Society and Empowerment for Children with Disabilities” on October 13, 2016 and October 14, 2016 at Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, Belize City. In total, 36% of children aged 2 to 9 are at risk of having one or more disabilities whether physical, auditory, visual or learning. Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society. Facing daily discrimination in the form of negative attitudes, lack of adequate policies and legislation, they are effectively barred from realizing their rights to healthcare, education, and even survival. Their disabilities also place them at a higher risk of physical abuse, and often exclude them from receiving proper nutrition or humanitarian assistance in emergencies.

Six Belizeans Detained by Guatemalan Navy
The Government of Belize (GOB) wishes to inform the public that six Belizeans were detained earlier this afternoon by a Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel, while they were fishing in the Gulf of Honduras. The Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel intercepted the Belizeans in an area at sea at a point between the mouth of the Moho River, Toledo District, Belize and Punta de Manabique, Izabal, Guatemala. The Guatemalan Navy claimed that the Belizeans were illegally fishing in Guatemala.

Belize Teachers’ Strike Reaches 11th Day
As the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) moves into its 11th day of teachers strike on October 18, 2016, the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) has expressed in a press release that it is deeply concerned and regrets the plight that our children are currently facing as they are being deprived of one of their fundamental rights, which is explicitly stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; that of the right to a good quality education. Article 28 states that, “you have the right to a good quality education and be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.” In fact, article three of the convention states that when adults are making decisions that the child’s welfare should be the paramount consideration.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BTIA Belmopan Tourism Expo Announced
The 1st Annual Tourism Expo in Belmopan will be produced by the new chapter of BTIA Belmopan on Saturday, November 5 at the Blue Moon Event Center, located at the corner of Constitution Avenue and the Hummingbird Hwy. The goals are to provide a platform for business-to-business networking, highlight the variety of resorts and adventure experiences in Belize, as well as showcasing Belmopan as a tourist destination. The target markets are the business and tourism communities, individuals and groups looking for information about Belize and Belmopan and desirable transportation options to explore the country. “We are working to create an atmosphere of cooperation, introductions and promotion of our tourism and business community,” states Sally Thackery, chairperson of the Belmopan group. “It is our intention to expand the impressions of our capitol city to include the tourism market. Because Belmopan is located in the center of Belize, it is an ideal and convenient place to stay within an hour of many attractions.”

WWF Belize: The Government of Belize has approved seismic surveys in Belize
If it proceeds, this testing will occur just over one kilometer away from the fragile Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, which has been listed as in danger by UNESCO. Seismic testing involves using airguns to blast shock waves through the water that are powerful enough to penetrate the seafloor. For dolphins and whales, it can cause deafness, disturb communications, and disrupt migration patterns. Whales and whale sharks will be migrating through the area at the time of the survey. Additionally, such surveys have been shown to impact negatively catch rates for fishers, especially during testing periods. What could possibly be worth risking our marine life? What could justify robbing 190,000 Belizeans of their livelihoods? Is oil actually worth dead fish in a dead sea in a country robbed of it's most precious resources? If oil isn't worth it to you... let the Prime Minister know.

Government of Belize to Participate in Regional Seismic Survey
The Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum hereby informs the public that pursuant to the Petroleum Act the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum and the Geology and Petroleum Department, will be conducting a regional seismic survey in the deep offshore territory of Belize east of the barrier reef and in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), excluding all marine protected areas as well as all areas banned from petroleum exploration which includes the barrier reef, the atolls and all World Heritage Sites with a 1 kilometer buffer around all these areas. The survey will be done in deep water only and away from any major tourist activity, fishing areas or spawning sites. This survey is part of a larger regional geophysical survey currently being done by the United States Government and the Mexican Government in the US Gulf of Mexico, the Mexican Gulf of Mexico and east of the Yucatan Peninsula to gather new regional data to advance the knowledge of the geology and hydrocarbon systems of these geological provinces. Belize was invited to participate in this regional program and take advantage of the opportunity to acquire invaluable geological data over the deep waters of Belize where there is currently no data. Belize has taken the decision to participate in this regional program with the US and Mexico.

A mess in the lands department. Double titles sprouting up.
3 Double land titles at Bradley's Bank Santa Elena. photos and a video.

Hurricane Earl and Caldonia: A Feel good story...
On August 4th Hurricane Earl made landfall on Belize. This hurricane had a huge impact on several areas in Belize. Not only in San Pedro, Belize City and San Ignacio. There were and still are many more villages affected. One of them is Caledonia close to Orange Walk where the people make their living cutting sugar cane. We heard from this village since the family from one of our worker is living there. The hurricane destroyed the crops and the people have no work, no income, no money to buy food. When we talked about this to our family on our last trip to Germany. Claudia's Mom immediately decided to help. She used her birthday party as a fundraiser. Instead of getting any presents, she asked friends and family to donate some money. In the end she raised more than 3.300 BZ$. She gave us the money and we arranged everything here. We bought more than 1.800 lbs of rice, beans and flour, as well as coffee and for families with little children we bought milk and diapers. Yesterday we distributed everything to 45 families. Thanks to everybody who supported this little project and a special thanks to a wonderful person (Claudia's Mom) who was so generous starting this fundraiser.

A contingent of Belizean musicians attends the World Music Expo
Thousands of musicians have gathered in Santiago de Compostela, Spain for WOMEX, and an official delegation from Belize is among them.The leading event of its kind in the world, WOMEX attracts more than 2,500 delegates from 90 countries. The event offers the opportunity to set up a booth at the Music trade Fair where there are more than 680 exhibiting companies from 54 countries and more than 270 stands for networking and forming new partnerships.The Belizean contingent will include:Jackie Castillo, NICH Representative. Ms. Castillo, a well-known singer and employee of NICH, will staff the Belize booth, where potential buyers of Belize music can meet with managers and promoters. It will also create a space to share the Belizean experience with the rest of the world and bring awareness to Belize.Troy “DJ Dalla” Flowers is arguably the most popular and influential DJ in Belize. Undoubtedly a tastemaker and influencer from Corozal to Belize city. Dalla has the top music video show and his own brand of rum.Tyfara Andazi Panton, One of the founding members of Flavaz Entertainment as well as Chairperson on the Interim Board for the Belize Association of Promoters and Producers (BAPS). Ms. Panton, along with the other members of her team, maintain the momentum of recognizing Belizean artists Belize Music Awards. Through this project Flavaz has been able to focus on recognizing Belizeans who choose to invest their energy in positive contributions to the Belizean Society through music.Clayton Williams aka "C Wills" is one of our most dynamic talents. Following the path of greats like Andy Palacio, C Wills is one the leading performers on the punta/paranda scene. He plays guitar, sings, writes and lights up the stage.

OCEANA Belize: Cabinet approves seismic testing for Belize's waters
Every year tens of thousands of visitors come to dive in Belize; the Great Blue Hole is one of the most popular tours. There's a special rush to diving amongst stalactites in a giant sinkhole at sea. But really, any dive in Belize is exciting. At its sitting on October 11th 2016, Belize's executive arm, the cabinet approved seismic testing for Belize's waters; see photo for coverage area. The Department of the Environment did not recommend an environmental impact assessment be done beforehand. Oceana believes that all Belizeans should be made aware of the potential short and long impacts of this technology before the first airgun is fired. Some studies suggest the airguns' blasts will travel for hundreds of miles underwater. Belizean waters are less than 300 miles from the apex of the Exclusive Economic Zone inwards. What's the rush? According to the Inspector of Petroleum, the survey has a tentative start date of October 20th.

Rayjon Eyeglass Team to Corozal
Rotary calls out on our community assistance for a great cause. Please help - "Back in 2011 the Rotary of Corozal hosted the Rayjon Eyeglass Team from Canada for a free eye testing and glasses clinic. While they did exams and fitted people with glasses volunteers greeted the villagers, signed them in and filled out the paperwork for those unable to do it themselves. Those of us that participated remember the smiles and the tears when someone realized all they had been missing because of poor eyesight? It made the work worthwhile. They are coming again and we could sure use your help. They arrive on the 5th of Nov. set up on the 6th and start the Clinic at 8AM Monday morning the 7th. They will try to see at least 100 people a day and will be here through Friday the 11th.

St. John's College Junior College Cultural Day

BELIZE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Opening night for this year's festival will feature two compelling indigenous language films: Yochi Film by Ilana Lapid and Ixcanul by Jayro Bustamante.

Wavemaker AGM 2016
On Saturday October 15th, 2016, men, women, and students from across the country gathered at the George Price Center in Belmopan City to partake in the Oceana Wavemaker Annual General Meeting (AGM). Since its inception in Belize in 2009, Oceana has been campaigning to protect Belize’s economically important marine resources from threats and risks involved in offshore oil activity, as well as indiscriminate gear, such as gillents. This year’s AGM came at a critical time in Oceana’s campaign against offshore oil activities given Cabinet’s recent approval of seismic airgun testing in Belizean waters without the benefit of an Environmental Impact Assessment. In her address to the attendees, Vice President of Oceana in Belize Janelle Chanona shared, “We know that seismic is a first step to other exploratory measures like drilling. Belizeans have already taken a very public and a very clear position on offshore oil already; offshore oil has national and permanent implications—it is an industry that all Belizeans, all of us, need to discuss and decide together what happens next. And that’s truly the thrust of all our campaigns, informed decision making.”

GOB RESPONDS TO OCEANA’S COMMENTS ON THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE’S DECISION TO CONDUCT AN OFFSHORE SEISMIC SURVEY
On October 12, 2016, Oceana published a press release titled “OCEANA SAYS ‘NO’ TO SEISMIC AIRGUN SURVEY IN BELIZE’S OFFSHORE AREA”. The Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum would like to take the opportunity to clarify several misleading statements made in Oceana’s press release. Oceana has claimed that “Seismic testing…is an extremely loud and dangerous process…”. Oceana also claims “… the magnitude of the proposed seismic activity is likely to have significant, long-lasting, and widespread environmental and economic impacts for Belize.” GOB refutes or disagrees with these statements. The planned offshore seismic survey will be carried out using an acoustic source as the energy source for the mapping of the subsea geology. This acoustic source is directed downward to the seafloor, the sound is short lived and it decreases rapidly in energy away from the acoustic source. While it may cause temporary disturbance to marine life within the immediate area, it has not been proven, from scientific studies, to cause any significant, long-lasting, widespread environmental and economic impact to the marine environment, as Oceana claims.

Tshirt Party for kids
Its that time of year again. Our 3rd annual Tshirt Party for kids ages 2 - 14. Adults MUST accompany kids and everyone MUST wear a Halloween Tshirt from Tshirt Factory. There will be a haunted passage by Confetti and face painting by Muse Salon. Rules, ticket price and additional info in flyer. See you there on Oct. 30th.

Ya'axche rangers
One of the many important roles that Ya'axche rangers do regularly is monitor and gather crucial information on threatened tree species that have limited information. Rangers are recording reproductive patterns (such as when trees produce flowers and seeds) of Dalbergia stevensonii, Mortoniella pittieri, Cymbopetalum mayanum, Pouteria amygdalina, Chiangiodendron mexicanum, Macrolobium sp. and Platymiscium dimorphandrum.

CAWS Chili Cook Off
The Cayo Animal Welfare Society is having their 2nd annual Chili Cook Off on October 29th. It'll be at the Bamboo Bar during the big Halloween party. "You got Chili game? Categories: Bean, No Bean, Vegetarian, and Best Theme- well it is tied to Bamboo Bar's Halloween Party! Please message to enter or email at cayoanimalwelfaresociety@gmail.com by October 19th to enter!"

BELIZE FISHING REPORT: October 9th – October 15th, 2016
It was our extreme pleasure to host the wedding of Tim and Ashley who are longtime friends of El Pescador. A beautiful group of almost 50 guests took part and a few went fishing, including the groom of course! The weather was not the best ever but not the worst and the fishing remained strong with more permit coming to hand than tarpon.

Splashers!
Join us this week at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar to paint!


FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

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 Belize Barrier Reef is Being Held at Gun Point
Airguns, that’s what they call them! Our government is putting them in our waters without asking us Belizeans if it is okay. Airguns blast shock waves through the water that are powerful enough to penetrate the seafloor. For dolphins and whales, it can cause deafness, disturbs communication, and disrupts migration patterns. The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage strongly support the non use of seismic exploration. In a press release the organization stated that on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, the environmental community exposed the fact that seismic testing has been approved for offshore Belize; and more disturbingly that the survey would proceed without even the benefit of an Environmental Impact Assessment. The environmental community immediately asked the Cabinet to stay its decision to approve the seismic survey pending the submission of additional material and information regarding the impacts of seismic to marine environments and associated industries such as fishing and tourism.

Strike on Hold, Classes Resume Tomorrow
The Belize National Teacher Union (BNTU) wishes to inform the nation that the membership has decided to put the strike on hold and return to the classrooms on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, while keeping an eye over the execution of the agreements reached. The BNTU remains committed to our good governance and respect for the workers agenda and reserve its option to re-engage in industrial action if necessary. In a press release, the BNTU thanked the Almighty Father for his guidance and divine interventions throughout this process thus far. They also thanked the Belizean public, especially parents, who supported their action to address the list of good governance, transparency, accountability, and respect for the workers issues. "The activities they engaged in as part of the stand up for Belize campaign and industrial action could not have been as extensive and successful as they were without the tremendous support of parents, social partners, and friends of the BNTU from across the length and breadth of Belize and our regional body the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT). BNTU sincerely thanks everyone!"

Belize and UNICEF Work on Empowering Children With Disablilities
Belize’s Special Envoy for Women and Children and UNICEF hosted a two-day conference under the theme “Breaking Barriers for an Inclusive Society and Empowerment for Children with Disabilities” on October 13, 2016 and October 14, 2016 at Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, Belize City. In total, 36% of children aged 2 to 9 are at risk of having one or more disabilities whether physical, auditory, visual or learning. Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups in society. Facing daily discrimination in the form of negative attitudes, lack of adequate policies and legislation, they are effectively barred from realizing their rights to healthcare, education, and even survival. Their disabilities also place them at a higher risk of physical abuse, and often exclude them from receiving proper nutrition or humanitarian assistance in emergencies.

Six Belizeans Detained by Guatemalan Navy
The Government of Belize (GOB) wishes to inform the public that six Belizeans were detained earlier this afternoon by a Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel, while they were fishing in the Gulf of Honduras. The Guatemalan coastal patrol vessel intercepted the Belizeans in an area at sea at a point between the mouth of the Moho River, Toledo District, Belize and Punta de Manabique, Izabal, Guatemala. The Guatemalan Navy claimed that the Belizeans were illegally fishing in Guatemala.

Belize Teachers’ Strike Reaches 11th Day
As the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) moves into its 11th day of teachers strike on October 18, 2016, the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) has expressed in a press release that it is deeply concerned and regrets the plight that our children are currently facing as they are being deprived of one of their fundamental rights, which is explicitly stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; that of the right to a good quality education. Article 28 states that, “you have the right to a good quality education and be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.” In fact, article three of the convention states that when adults are making decisions that the child’s welfare should be the paramount consideration.

Channel 7

Teachers' Strike Over, Lasted 11 School Days - Longest In Memory
Kids, you'd better pack those schoolbags tonight - because the teachers' strike is over, and tomorrow, classes resume as normal at schools across the country. It's been a long break - the strike went for 11 school days - which is the longest teachers strike in memory; in 2005, it lasted for 10 days. But this afternoon, after meetings at all the district branches, the National teachers Union announced that they are putting the strike on hold and returning to the classroom tomorrow. It's a huge relief for teachers and parents, but it's not over - because the teachers say they will keep a watchful eye over things. Today, the BNTU National President, Luke Palacio, flanked by other leaders within the union, held a press briefing to announce that the strike is on hold. He gave us sort a report card grading of the Prime Minister's compromise on each of their demands that were contentious. Here's why the teachers have voted to return to the classroom:...

PM Sends Saldivar Home, Pending Legal Review Of Partnership With Danny Mason
Last night, we told you all about John Saldvivar's latest imbroglio. A document from the company's registry shows that in August of 2015, he and accused murderer William Danny Mason became business partners in a business named Belmopan Bandits Sporting Club Limited. Now, this is after Saldivar had denied being Mason's business partner. In his defence, Saldivar says he cut off all relations with Mason one month after that business was incorporated and says the company is now defunct. But, the Prime Mister had said it would be another story if he found out that Mason and Saldivar were business partners - as had been claimed.

Senior Counsel Michael Young's Death By Gunshot, Suicide Suspected
At 1:00 this afternoon, the legal community and the wider society was shocked when news went out that prominent Belizean Senior Counsel, Michael Young had been found dead in his home in Bella Vista, Belize City. Media reports say that his wife found him in the master bathroom dead at around 1:00. Reports say a gunshot was heard an hour earlier at around noon in the quiet Bella Vista area. Police found Young's licensed firearm on the ground beside him. He had a single gunshot to the head. No suicide note was found. According to reports, the 61-year-old Young showed up to work as usual this morning, and left the office early at around 11:00. It is presumed that he went straight home where, reports say, Young took his own life. This is not confirmed and police would not confirm it. In fact, they wouldn't even confirm that young is dead, that is even after we saw medical examiner Dr. Mario Estradaban leaving Young's home, and a covered body in the back of a police pickup leaving the residence. Senior Superintendent Linden Flowers, still denied that Young's injuries were fatal. Here's what he told the media...

UDP's Belmopan Mayor Says His Own Councilor Forged Signature
Prime Minister Dean Barrow's Cabinet is going through all kinds of upheaval this week - but another UDP leader - this one at the municipal level is also going through changes. The UDP Mayor of Belmopan Khalid Belisle has had to make a criminal complaint against one of his own councilors. A release from the Belmopan City Council reports that the councilor, Gene Briceno Lopez has been detained by Belmopan police. In his complaint, Belisle alleges that councilor Briceno Lopez forged his signature and illegally used the council's official stamp. The mayor learned this when he was today presented with a document bearing that forged signature and unauthorized stamp. Now usually these matters are dealt with internally, but Mayor Belisle made the report to police immediately and Councilor Briceno has been relieved of her portfolio pending the outcome of the investigation.

Two Men Charged For Vicious Police Beatdown
The 2 men who allegedly put a savage beat down on a Camalote cop have been charged. Belhem Guzman and Sanjay Casey were charged today with attempted murder, Dangerous harm, Aggravated assault and use of deadly means of harm. They will be arraigned tomorrow. PC Mark Rodriguez was at Serenita Bar on Sunday night when Guzman and Casey allegedly attacked and viciously beat him. Reports are that the men thought that Rodriguez had called the cops on them for smoking weed at the bar. But Rodriguez's wife had told us that it was a big misunderstanding because Rodriguez was texting her, not the cops. We will keep following Rodriguez's condition.

Belizeans Who Were Detained And Released Tell Story
As we told you last night, the Guatemalan Coast Guard detained 6 Belizeans in the Gulf of Honduras. They were out fishing in 3 separate boats when they were intercepted "between the mouth of the Moho River in Belize and Punta de Manabique, Izabal, Guatemala. Government's press release didn't give much details but today we spoke to one of the men who was detained, Yemeri Grove Villager Winston Thompson. He told us via phone what happened on this fishing trip with his wife and friends. And we also have an interview with another one of the men courtesy PG TV: VOICE OF: Winston Thompson, Fisherman" "We were out fishing and they had this big Guatemalan coast guard boat with a big gun covered in the front and a big gun in the back. This boat was about 60 to 75 feet long, a huge boat and there was another skiff, this one was about 30 feet long, and it had a 250 horse power out board motor at the back and this had 3 people on board, one of which was armed with a machine gun, I'm not familiar with them, I think it is a machine gun and they drove up to me and they asked me for my documents...."

Celebrated Cyclist Takes Plea For Causing Friend's Death In Accident
In May of 2011, elite cyclist Marlon Castillo was behind the wheel when he crashed and his friend and cycling buddy Ariel Rosado was killed in the passenger seat. He still had to face criminal charges for causing his friend's death. Today, after two days in court, the now 29 year old Castillo, acting on the advice of his attorney Dickie Bradley, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless conduct. Castillo made a mitigation plea this morning saying, quote, "Ariel Rosado and I grew up together. We rode the cross country...on the same team. I am truly and very sorry for what happened. Something like this has never happened to me before and I am so sorry." His attorney asked the court to render justice with mercy and to not send Castillo to jail. Justice Lucas who accepted Castillo's guilty plea told him that while he will reserve his sentencing for this Friday. Justice Lucas warned Castillo that he better return on Friday with money to put down a payment as he will be imposing a fine.

GOB Blasts Back At OCEAN Over Seismic
For the last week OCEANA and other organizations in the environmental community have been calling on the Government to address the recently commissioned seismic surveys off the coast of Belize. Well today, they got their response. The Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum issued a press release today responding to and refuting many of the challenges OCEANA made in its letter last week. According to the release, the seismic surveys will not have any long standing effects on the marine life in the surrounding area, and note that acoustic sound used in surveys will not affect a large area. The release also claims that many of the other serious claims made by OCEANA were not backed up by accurate scientific evidence. The Ministry insists that careful research on seismic operations was done in order to present accurate information for Cabinet's approval. The release also maintains that the Government has taken necessary steps to ensure the safety of the fishing and tourism industries by banning petroleum exploration near the barrier reef, the three atolls, and other World Heritage Sites.

Family Loses Everything On Raccoon Ext.
A Raccoon street family lost everything in a late night blaze. Shantia Gill and her kids were out at the time of the fire but only returned to find the charred frame of their house. Today we spoke to a neighbor who was awakened by the flames. George Willoughby, Neighbor: "About a couple minutes to 12:00, I was asleep and the flame woke me up and the heat woke me up and when I came out I saw the house on fire. When the fire truck came and they took long to out the fire and it kept on burning while they took out the fire. I was afraid, when I got up, I was afraid, I didn't know what to do, I ran out of my house, the flames almost spread to my house because of the big blaze." Courtney Weatherburne, 7News: "But your house wasn't damaged at all?" George Willoughby, Neighbor: No my house wasn't damaged. It can't be any electrical problem because no one was home. I am so sorry for them, look how their house burnt, I don't know what they will do."

Cayo Land Mix Up Causes Commotion
Since the Vega scandal broke, more questionable land deals have been popping up. In fact, there is an ongoing dispute over the Bradley's Bank Estate in Santa Elena that erupted this morning. Police reported that the title owner, businessman Santiago Mendoza went to the 20 acre estate this morning and threatened to bulldoze all the houses off his property because government hasn't paid him compensation. When we spoke to Mendoza this evening he told us that he never sold the land to government and that they just took it over. Mendoza has been trying to get compensation from the government for 6 years but he says, they simply won't budge. Mendoza also told us he did not threaten anyone on the property. All he wants is compensation from government, not to move anyone from the land. Of course, the other side to this story is that - sources tell us that as many as 60 lots in this area are controlled by political kingpins, allegedly titled using names of persons who do not even know their names were used.

PM's Many Challenges
This is a hint of the can of worms that lies buried inside the files at the Lands Department. Now, even the PM admitted years ago that it is a hotbed of corruption, but now that bed is on fire, in public view. But, is that why the Prime Minister moved former minister Gaspar Vega after the last general election in November of last year? That's what we asked him yesterday:… And while the PM didn't want to tackle that one head on, he also had to play it carefully with another question, this one about his sons - and whether they had benefitted from any kind of land deal: And so now, while the land issue is looming, and the Prime Minister's Cabinet is going through serious changes, tonight at least he doesn't have the teachers strike to worry about. That ended today and teachers return to school tomorrow.

Waiting For DNA Results
In December of last year, the home of Lebanese diplomat, Sarkis Abou Nehra, was broken into and almost cleaned out. Several guns and ammunition, pieces of jewelry and other items were taken from the residence. Abou Nehra was not in the country at the time, but his caretaker and his wife and child were. During the invasion the family was attacked, and the wife was raped. 18 people were initially charged for an assortment of crimes ranging from aggravated assault to rape. But charges against most of them have been dropped. Apparently, authorities have been unable to link several of the accused to the invasion of Abou Nehra's home. Ladyvile police commented on this yesterday:… Charges for aggravated burglary against Gerson Grinage and Randolph Coleman were withdrawn, leaving only Brandon Baptist, Tyrone Meighan, and brothers, John and Sheldon Grinage to stand trial.

Northside Cops Get Props
Today at the Queen Street Police station in Belize City, two police officers were given awards for outstanding performance during the months of August and September. Constable Andrews and Special Constable Bevans were given certificates and plaques to commemorate their achievements, and they spoke to the media about what the awards mean to them... SC Hpesoj Bevans - Officer of the Month, September: "I love meeting people, dealing with people, helping people because in this line of duty we are supposed to protect and preserve life and property. And I take that very seriously as I got about my beat every day. And it takes determination, dedication, desire and discipline to do all these things. Like the Apostle Paul says, I have fought the good fight, I have kept my faith, I have kept my course, what it thought for me is the crown of righteousness which the lord my God has prepared for me. For you to win the prize, you must run the race, and that's exactly what I do every day in my work. I work so that one day my boss can recognize my good work like that they did today and I really appreciate it, it makes me want to strive and work harder, that one day maybe if God permits I might be wearing stripes on my shoulder."

Channel 5

Belize National Teacher’s Union Votes to Put Strike on Hold
The overwhelming number of branches of the Belize National Teachers’ has agreed to end their eleven-day industrial action as of this evening and return to classes on Wednesday morning. This [...]

Teachers’ Union Reviews 8 Points, Says They Got Most of What They Asked For
The Union says that its eight-point agenda, the three percent salary adjustment deferral and Social Security coverage to and from work were just about fulfilled.  There was no agreement on [...]

Union Pleads With School Managers Not to Dock Salaries
As the teachers and students return to class, there is concern about possible punitive measures including withholding of salaries for the eleven days of absences by teachers. The B.N.T.U. has [...]

Teachers Say Thanks with Final Rally on Saturday, But Say Fight Will Continue for Good Governance
The B.N.T.U. picked up many endorsements from the wider society, but in terms of major support, both financial and in muscle on the street, was it enough to have pushed [...]

Michael Young is Dead at 61; Acclaimed Senior Counsel Suspected to Have Committed Suicide
Senior Counsel Michael Young, a well-known and brilliant legal mind is dead at age sixty-one.  He is the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The shocking news of his untimely [...]

Dickie Bradley Reflects on Life of his Relative
Late this evening, News Five spoke with attorney Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, a relative of Senior Counsel Young.  He shared with us a brief reflection on the personal and professional life [...]

Defence Minister John Saldivar Sent on Leave in Wake of Fresh Danny Mason investigation
On Monday, the P.M. announced that Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega had resigned from cabinet, but not as area rep. Today, there is another move that will affect cabinet, but [...]

Belmopan City Councilor Detained by Police after Forgery Report
The office of Mayor of Belmopan Khalid Belisle has confirmed this evening that Belmopan Police have detained City Councilor Gene Briceño Lopez based on a report of alleged forgery. Mayor [...]

Should Minister Gapi Vega Remain in G.O.B.?
And our question for tonight is: Having resigned from Cabinet, do you think Minister Gapi Vega should remain in G.O.B.? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to [...]

Who Owns Bradley’s Bank Land; Development Company or Santa Elena Residents?
Land scandals are popping up everywhere. Earlier today, in Santa Elena residents of the Bradley Bank area were up in arms because the property to which they had titles for [...]

Prime Minister Faces Up to “Wrongdoing” in Government
Monday’s bombshell announcement was that former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega had tendered his resignation as a member of Cabinet with immediate effect.  His departure from government follows information revealing [...]

Resignation Versus Termination: Prime Minister Discusses the Difference
The new Minister of Natural Resources, Vanessa Retreage presented PM Barrow with overwhelming proof that there was, at the very least, a questionable land transaction involving Vega’s son. In many [...]

Was Prime Minister Giving ex-Deputy the Easy Way Out?
So, did PM Barrow smell a whiff of corruption in the Ministry of Natural Resources prior to the November fourth general election and waited until afterwards to reshuffle his Cabinet? [...]

Vega’s Rival Monchi Cervantes Ready for Bye-Election in Constituency
Still on Vega….his political opponent in Orange Walk North is P.U.P. standard bearer Ramon ‘Monchi’ Cervantes Junior.  Both politicians have a history of enmity which includes a lawsuit filed against [...]

Fire Wipes Out Family Home in Belize City
A fire destroyed a home shortly after eleven last night in Belize City.  Shantel Gill wasn’t at home on Iguana Street Extension when fire engulfed the wooden house and completely [...]

Mother of Arson Victim Pleads for Help Solving Mystery
Caroline Hamilton, the mother of eleven year old eleven year old Aaron Gabourel who was killed in a fire on October fifth, is pleading with those who have information on [...]

Marlon Castillo Pleads Guilty in Ariel Rosado Accident Death
Twenty-nine year old Marlon Castillo, a prominent cycling champion and butcher by trade, today pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless conduct in the death of childhood [...]

Department of Environment Clarifies Seismic Testing in Belizean Waters
For the past two weeks, we have been telling you about the proposed multi- beam and seismic testing that will be taking place in Belize’s offshore. Last week, G.O.B. issued [...]

Testing Methodology Will Not Affect Marine Environment
Chief Environmental Officer Alegria gave a little bit of details about the methodology being employed. He explained that it is an acceptable form used across the world. Alegria said it [...]

Belize City Council is Preparing to Introduce Long-Awaited Trade License Reform
The Belize City Council is preparing to introduce long-awaited trade license reform in the commercial capital which should see business owners getting some relief in the area of trade licenses.  [...]

Eastern Division North Names August and September’s Top Cops
Two good cops were today recognized for their work and commitment to the Belize Police Department. Every month, the Department awards an officer with the “Officer of the Month” award. [...]


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#518396 - 10/19/16 12:08 PM Re: Today's Belize News: October 19, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

CTV3

BNTU Puts Strike On Hold, Classes To Resume Tomorrow
11 days ago the Belize National Teachers Union embarked on nationwide strike action in pursuance good governance and labor related issues. It has been well over two weeks that over 95% of the nation’s schools have been closed as parents and even students stood behind teachers mandate for a better Belize, but what we can tell you today is that the strike action has been called off and classes resume tomorrow countrywide. National president Luke Palacio addressed the media this afternoon after receiving the decisions taken by each of the 10 branches. Palacio says the majority voted in favor of putting the strike on hold. President Luke Palacio – Belize National Teacher’s Union: “Having polled our membership we have determined that we have made sufficient progress as it relates to our eight demands to the government of Belize that was sent to them in a letter dated September 12th.”

Vega Approves One Million Dollars As Land Compensation
As the saying goes, when it rains it pours and it appears that the skies have opened on the scandals of this Government, and the Ministry of Natural Resources in particular. In yesterday’s newscast, we began telling you about the 2012 land transaction that will have your head spinning by the time we’re finished. It involves a company called Ron J Limited and the Government of Belize. In January 19 2012, Ron J Limited bought 1.6 acres of land in the Placencia area from the Government for $6,540. It is identified by these land papers as Block 36, Parcel 3438. On August 06, 2013, he was issued a land title certificate signed by then Minister Gaspar Vega. However, on July 14, 2015, under very strange circumstances, Ron J turned around and sold back the same property to the Government. But it wasn’t for the $6,000 plus Ron J bought it for. These documents seen here, showing the sale agreement between Ron J’s director Jude Nagendran and the Ministry of Natural Resources, show that Ron J Limited got paid $1,000,000 for the same land.

Well Known Attorney Found Dead Inside His Home
The family of high-ranking attorney Michael Clarence Edward Young is tonight in bereavement after the news broke earlier this afternoon that Young had taken away his own life while at his residence located in the Bella Vista Area in Belize City. Reports indicate that Young’s body was discovered in his bathroom with his licensed fire arm lying beside him. Reliable sources informed the media that Young had been acting in an unusual manner over the past few days. During an interview with the media taken at the time during the processing of the scene, Superintendent of Police, Linden Flowers stated that though details surrounding Young’s untimely death are still sketchy, police are currently looking into the matter in an effort to investigate what really transpired today.

LOVE FM

Teachers’ Union Calls Off Strike; Classrooms to Reopen
The strike has been placed on hold as classes are scheduled to resume tomorrow countrywide. The announcement was made today by the President of the Belize National Teachers Union, Luke Palacio, who was flanked by members of the union including Keesha Young, the Executive Secretary. According to Palacio, majority of the district branches decided that […]

Prominent UDP Attorney Dies in His Home
Just after one o’clock this afternoon, reports reached our news centre of a shooting incident in the Bella Vista residential community just off the Philip Goldson Highway. Considering the fact that it is somewhat of a gated community, the first thought was that perhaps it was a home invasion or robbery but minutes after the […]

PM to Probe Into the Bandits, Saldivar and Mason; Saldivar Placed on Leave
Events unfolding over the last twenty four hours have brought a dark cloud over the Barrow administration and by extension, the United Democratic Party. Within one day, a Cabinet Minister was asked to resign on the heels of a land scandal; a prominent UDP attorney has died and a Belmopan City Councillor has been detained […]

Belmopan Mayor Reports Councillor to Police for Forgery
A Belmopan City Councilor has been detained by police pending investigations. The City Councilor is Gene Briceno Lopez and she is being accused of forging the signature of Belmopan Mayor Khalid Belisle and illegally using the city council’s official stamp. Belisle was the one who reported the matter to Belmopan Police. Belisle was presented with […]

Fisherman Gives Account of Being Taken by the GAF
Residents of the Toledo District have expressed concerns after six Belizean fishers were taken yesterday into Guatemalan waters by Guatemalan Marina military personnel yesterday. Correspondent Paul Mahung spoke with one of the fishermen. PAUL MAHUNG “

Bradley Says Reform Is Necessary But Must Be Strategic
Gaspar Vega has resigned from his ministerial seat after reports surfaced and confirmed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, that Vega’s son, Andre Vega was involved in a land scandal. Vega had acquired a parcel of land at two thousand five hundred dollars then later flipped for four hundred thousand dollars which the Government of Belize […]

Elrington Says Belize Is Not Unique to Land Scandals and Corruption
Based on the feedback and comments being made on social media regarding the land scandal involving former Cabinet Minister Gaspar Vega and his son, Andre, the sentiments are that of anger and upset. As it relates to the explanation by the panelists at yesterday’s press conference, the sentiment is that of disbelief that something of […]

Parents Protest in Northern and Western Belize
As we mentioned earlier, teachers will return to the classrooms tomorrow. In the days leading up to the teachers’ decision, some parents had expressed concern on the prolonged strike. Yesterday about twenty parents staged a demonstration in Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District. Their demonstration led them in front of Santa Elena Roman Catholic […]

PM Explains How Land Compensations Went Under the Radar
Yesterday after the Attorney General had laid out the facts surrounding the parcel of land near the Haulover Bridge that costed the Government eight hundred thousand dollars in compensation payments, we asked the Prime Minister who also holds the Finance portfolio to kindly explain how such a payment could have gone under the radar and […]

Outstanding Police Officers for August and September
Being a law enforcement officer may be deemed by many as just another form of employment and while the Belize Police Department has been stained with cases of police abuse and corruption, there are many passionate and efficient officers who take pride in what they do. Today, Love News encountered two of them as the […]

Amandala

BNTU balks, but PSU, APSSM say yes to Barrow
Teachers will not report to classes tomorrow, Tuesday, as the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) heads into its eleventh day of protest. Today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with the BNTU, the Public Service Union (PSU) and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM,) offering two new proposals. Firstly, in exchange for their unanimous acceptance of the three percent deferral of their salary adjustment until next April, the Prime Minister announced that government would pay the unions an interest of 5% on the sum of the deferral, which hovers at around $600,000. He also proposed that he would table legislation to amend Section 13 of the Social Security Act, allowing for coverage of employees who travel to and from work in vehicles other than those owned by their employers.

Lands Department’s $800,000 scandal
Two persons highly connected with the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) walked away with a total of almost a million dollars from the Lands Department in the wake of a shady land transaction scheme. Attorney Sharon Pitts, a UDP insider, and Andre Vega, son of former Deputy Prime Minister and UDP Deputy Party Leader Gaspar “Gapi” Vega, each netted $400,000 of taxpayers’ money, and Pitts was additionally given .62 acres of land. Both individuals were the recipients from the ruling administration of privately-owned land at Mile 5 on the Northern Highway, in Belize City. Despite evidence presented to government officials at the Ministry of Lands that the land was already owned, Lands officials vacated the original title and parceled the land between Pitts and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega’s campaign manager, Hilmar Alamilla. The Lands Department sold Alamilla 1.124 acres of land for $2,500, and Pitts applied to lease 2.75 acres of land around the Northern Highway in Belize City and obtained permission to survey 1.5 acres of land for $10,569.

Guatemala military grabs 6 Punta Gorda residents
Six Belizeans were held by the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) today after they allegedly invaded Belizean waters and towed the petrified Belizeans for hours in southern waters, warning them that the GAF would begin to assert themselves in waters which the fishermen know to be their traditional fishing grounds. Whereas the Guatemalans are claiming that the Belizeans were found in Guatemalan waters, Eric “Ricky” Foster, 33, a fisherman and farmer of Punta Gorda, Toledo, told Amandala tonight that he was well inside Belizean territory. He told us that other residents of Punta Gorda saw the Guatemalan vessels nearby as well. Foster said that he was abducted near Moho Caye, north of Punta Gorda, by Guatemalan military traveling in a Columbian skiff and a Guatemala-flagged gunboat, which had two other confiscated Belizean fishing vessels in tow.

Gapi bolts from Cabinet
Hon. Gaspar “Gapi” Vega, former Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Party Leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Sunday. At a press conference held today, Monday, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City, PM Barrow announced that Vega’s resignation had been accepted. Vega is the first Cabinet Minister to resign from Cabinet since the Barrow administration took office in 2008. His resignation comes almost seven days after his son, Andre Vega, was named in a questionable land transaction in which he was reimbursed by Government with $400,000, for land for which he had paid only a pittance. The land, which he had bought from his father’s campaign manager, who himself had bought it from Government for a pittance, was actually owned by a businessman, Carlton Russell.

GOB pays Ashcroft US$67.3 mil
Amandala is reliably informed that on Friday, October 14, 2016, the Government of Belize paid US$67.3 million, in the specified US currency, to the former shareholders of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL)—Dunkeld International Investments Ltd. and BTL Employees Trust, two companies controlled by British billionaire Michael Ashcroft—following a ruling which the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Belize’s final appellate court, handed down on Thursday, September 29, 2016. Eamon Courtenay, SC, attorney for the Ashcroft companies, told Amandala that his clients were paid by the Government on Friday, in line with what was stated in court, with interest paid up to October 14, 2016. The final amount (50% of the total arbitration award and interest) is due on the anniversary of the decision issued by a foreign arbitration panel in June, in a legal dispute over the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited that dates back to 2009.

PUP demands immediate criminal investigation
The People’s United Party welcomes the news of the resignation of Gaspar Vega from Cabinet, but yet this is not enough. This news was expected after revelations of the rank corruption in the Ministry of Natural Resources, which resulted in the fraudulent enrichment of his son, Andre Vega. In fact, the Prime Minister, in his press conference this afternoon, repeatedly called what has occurred a “mistake,” as if the son of the Minister was just erroneously given $400,000 of taxpayer dollars as a result of a “slight” glitch or miscommunication in the Ministry. The documents leaked from the Ministry have revealed that not only Andre Vega but Sharon Pitts benefitted from no less than institutionalized corruption in the Ministry, a process whereby persons are granted title to land which is already privately owned.

Orange Walk nearly upset BDF
Police United was resting, and the FC Belize home game against Belmopan Bandits FC was postponed due to a number of Bandits players traveling with the national “A” team over the weekend to Valladolid, Mexico; so only three games were played yesterday, Sunday, in Week 10 of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2016-2017. And for a while, it looked like one of those would be a major upset. There were no surprises in reports from down south, where Placencia Assassins visited Freedom Fighters FC at the Victor Sanchez Union Field in Punta Gorda, and game away with a 2-0 victory with goal from Dellon Torres (15’) and Justin Linarez 66’). Most fans kind of expected the result, though by a bigger margin, from out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium, where home standing Verdes FC got the 2-1 win over Wagiya FC. Verdes got on the score card first with a Wagiya own goal by Erwin Middleton (17’), and Jarret Davis (24’) increased the lead to 2-0, before Evan Mariano (80’) cut the lead in half for Wagiya.

CYDP Peace Cup Tournament at the MCC
The CYDP Peace Cup Tournament 2017 continued over the weekend with 2 games each on Saturday and Sunday at the MCC. In the opener on Saturday, October 15, game 1 saw Ladyville FC and Ebony Lake FC playing to a 1-1 draw. Shawn Young shook the net for Ladyville, while Travyon Martinez scored for Ebony Lake. In game 2, Coast Guard FC continued on their winning ways with a 7-1 shellacking of Survivors FC. Steven Martinez had a hat trick (3 goals), Addier Duran scored 2, and Edward “Bull” Lawrence and Adgar Adderly added 1 apiece for Coast Guard.

SSBA Basketball Tournament moves into second half of season
The basketball tournament that is presently being hosted by the San Ignacio & Santa Elena Basketball Association (SSBA) has reached it midway point, as 9 games were played this past weekend at the Victor Galvez Stadium in San Ignacio Town. On Friday night, the girls of Belmopan Shock finally got the upper hand on the defending champs, Western Queens, defeating them for the first time in two seasons, 39-35. Belmopan Shock was led by Kaylani Reid and Enid Dakers who netted 11 and 8 points, respectively. Western Queens’ top scorers were Jesika Prom with 16 pts and Shirley Codd with 10 pts. In game 2, Tuff Enuff defeated Sergeant Peppers Savages, 53-43, in the Under 23 division. Douglas Valley was the top scorer for the game with 25 pts, including 6 three-pointers, while Brian White chipped in with 9 pts. Kyron “Tut” Molina scored 20 pts for Sergeant Peppers Savages, including 5 three-pointers, while Elvert Ariola netted 9 pts.

SSBA Basketball Tournament moves into second half of season
A release today from the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) says that Belize has been selected in Group A for the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship Bahamas 2017, which was determined in a draw today, Monday, in Florida. Other Group A members are Bahamas, Jamaica and Guyana. Group B includes Mexico, Guatemala, Canada and Guadeloupe; Group C – USA, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua & Barbuda, and US Virgin Islands; and Group D – El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Turks & Caicos. Belize’s Group A schedule consists of games against Jamaica on Monday, February 20; Bahamas on Tuesday, February 21, and Guyana on Wednesday, February 22 of 2017.

Editorial: Pharisees, publicans, and propaganda
When United Democratic Party (UDP) Cabinet Ministers, Hon. Michael Finnegan (Mesopotamia) and Hon. Tracy Panton (Albert), held an urgent press conference on Friday afternoon, October 14, it was less than 24 hours after the leaders of the striking teachers of Belize had met, for the second time in two weeks, with the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Belize, Dean O. Barrow (Queen’s Square) and his team of advisors. Hon. Finnegan was able to appeal to his audience (the press conference was televised live on the UDP’s WAVE television station and its major segments were broadcast in the nation’s various radio and television news packages that evening) for public support for the UDP government against the striking teachers on the grounds that the Prime Minister had given the teachers almost everything they wanted during the Thursday afternoon meeting of October 13. While it has been established during their recent industrial action that the teachers represent the vanguard of national probity where Belizean governance is concerned, the teachers are not a professional political organization, and they were badly outmaneuvered by the Prime Minister on Thursday.

Teachers’ social activism and education
Dear Editor, So the Peaceful Constructive Belizean Revolution continues. This maturing-adult nation is finding out that democratic governments can be as corrupt as corrupt can be. If change cannot come from the top, then it has to come from the nation’s citizens. Not surprisingly, the majority of the teachers have re-awakened from their social justice hibernation after eleven years. After all, there is no other non-political organization that can lead the charge against government corruption but the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU). The schism first came to the nation’s attention when the government did not honor a 3% salary adjustment in July 2016. This meant that the teachers walked out of the banks empty- handed, which made teachers ask each other if it was a mistake.

Kent Clare is new head of FIU
Former Income Tax Commissioner, Kent Clare, is the new head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the chief function of which is to counteract financial crimes. The FIU is also tasked with sharing information and cooperating with foreign financial intelligence units in the fight against financial crimes. Information reaching our newspaper is that Clare assumes the position as head of the FIU following the departure of Joy Grant, who moved over to the Central Bank earlier this month. Grant replaced Glenford Ysaguirre as Governor of the Central Bank. Clare has worked for decades at the Income Tax Department, and he was appointed as Commissioner of the department, effective January 1, 2011.

PUP demands immediate criminal investigation
The People’s United Party welcomes the news of the resignation of Gaspar Vega from Cabinet, but yet this is not enough. This news was expected after revelations of the rank corruption in the Ministry of Natural Resources, which resulted in the fraudulent enrichment of his son, Andre Vega. In fact, the Prime Minister, in his press conference this afternoon, repeatedly called what has occurred a “mistake,” as if the son of the Minister was just erroneously given $400,000 of taxpayer dollars as a result of a “slight” glitch or miscommunication in the Ministry. The documents leaked from the Ministry have revealed that not only Andre Vega but Sharon Pitts benefitted from no less than institutionalized corruption in the Ministry, a process whereby persons are granted title to land which is already privately owned.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

John Saldivar on Leave of Absence Pending Legal Opinion
“The Office of the Prime Minister announces that Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Defence, has been put on one week’s leave of absence,” according to a Government of Belize press release. “Hon. Saldivar has said that he took steps after September 2015 to put […]

BNTU members to return to the classroom
The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) has issued a press release informing the nation that the membership has decided to put the strike on hold and return to the classroom on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. “The BNTU remains committed to our Good Governance and […]

Prominent Attorney commits suicide
There are reports that prominent attorney Michael Young Sr. committed suicide today. According to a senior police officer, the incident happened this afternoon at his home in Ladyville. BBN has confirmed that Young shot himself to the head with his own weapon. Young was a […]

Businessman and Government tangle in Santa Elena; Bradley’s bank residents caught in the crossfire
Residents in the Bradley’s Bank area of Santa Elena in the Cayo District are outraged as yesterday, businessman and real estate developer, Santiago ‘Shang’ Mendoza, informed residents that the 20 acres of land that they reside on belongs to him. He produced two original […]

Government to participate in Regional seismic survey
The Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum sent out a release to inform the public that pursuant to the Petroleum Act, the Government of Belize will be conducting a regional seismic survey in the deep offshore territory of Belize east of the barrier reef […]

Man charged with uncle’s murder
It made the news when Lincoln Robinson, 42, was slain on the island of San Pedro last Saturday. Robinson, a Belize City south side figure, had left his volatile community and relocated to San Pedro for some time in pursuit of a better life. […]

Is the P.M. Manager or Magistrate?
A manager is hired to manage….management has four functions….to plan, organize, lead and control….the end result expected are happy shareholders, customers, employees and community. A magistrate sits behind a desk….wait for cases and evidence to be brought before him….listens to the arguments […]

Blogs

Belize Approves Offshore Oil Exploration Starting This Week: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Oil exploration. Near our reef. The reef that supports the livelihood of every single person on Ambergris Caye directly or indirectly. And a large percentage of the country of Belize. “They” plan to use seismic testing – a method that sends compressed air streams and/or sonic waves to the ocean floor to gauge the geological resources that might lay within. (Who is actually doing the testing and how much was the contract sold for?) It is an EXTREMELY controversial method since these sonic waves can travel thousands of miles – causing species, at the best, to migrate away and at the worst, deafness and/or death to animals like whales, dolphins, sharks and more. One might wonder: This sounds incredibly foolish and short sighted. In fact, how is this possible? Surely it can’t be happening. Belize has a system in place called the Environmental Impact Assessment. The Department of the Environment says: “An environmental Impact Assessment, otherwise called an EIA, is a planning tool that promotes environmentally sound development practices. It examines both the adverse and the beneficial environmental consequences of a project design on human health and the natural and cultural environment and insures the development of mitigative measures to address these consequences during project development”.

A Howler-ween Affair at Caves Branch
Spotting roaming Howler Monkeys while staying in one of our jungle accommodations can be a welcoming treat for visitors to our Lodge…and if you never heard the thunderous bellows of a Howler Monkey, your first time will be very special as you learn about these primates unique call in the wild. INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT HOWLER MONKEYS: Their calls are said to be the loudest noise produced by any animal. Male howler monkeys use the calls to assess neighbouring troops. These dark, chunky-bodied monkeys with black faces travel in troops of up to ten. These lethargic mammals gorge on leaves, fruits, and flowers. The males’ deep, resounding howls sound like lions roar, but actually serve as communication among and between troops. Remember- it’s not an everyday occurrence that you are able to catch a glimpse these agile tree acrobats in their most natural habitats

Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area in Northern Belize
Measuring more than 360 square miles and comprising approximately 4% of Belize’s total land surface, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area is the largest nature park. Rio Bravo is composed of different habitats, including pine forests, freshwater lagoons, broadleaf forests, and marshes. Once an area that was heavily logged for mahogany and other hardwoods, Rio Bravo is now an important contributor to the environmental health of not just Belize but also neighboring Mexico and Guatemala. With approximately 400 species of birds and 70 mammal species calling the reserve home, Rio Bravo is one of the best places in Belize to see wildlife at its finest. Some of the birds and animals include endangered species like the Morelet’s crocodile, the Central American river turtle, and the Yellow-headed Parrot. Rio Bravo is located in the northwest part of Belize and borders both Mexico and Guatemala. Rio Bravo lies within the boundaries of Belize’s Orange Walk District. The reserve can be entered at a number of points, but the most popular way to experience Rio Bravo is at the La Milpa Field Station located three miles from the La Milpa Maya ruins. There is another field station at Hill Bank on the south shore of the New River Lagoon. Both field stations have rustic accommodations for overnight visitors.

International Sourcesizz

Write to Win a Free Trip to Belize
“The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.” That was my dad’s go-to correspondence while he was away on various business trips, taking him around the country. When my turn to travel the world came, I found myself in dodgy souvenir shops handing coins to a clerk in exchange for my favorite token of travel: a postcard. The love people have for postcards now comes largely from feelings of nostalgia. Recognizing this, the Belize Tourism Board has launched a project encouraging Americans to pick up their pens and write, rather than post on social media or email. The idea is for Americans to send a postcard from their hometown to the Belize Tourism Board with a short message, perhaps describing the town (according to the rules, kindly avoid rude and/or offensive messages). All postcards received by the Belize Tourism Board between now and November 9th will, in turn, receive a response from a local Belizean. One of these responses will name a winner for a free trip to Belize.

Belize to start blasting for oil near World Heritage site
Home to the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, Belize is a dream destination for many snowbirds. But the Central American country has recently announced plans to to begin offshore oil exploration through a large swath of its Caribbean Sea waters, putting its thriving marine wildlife in a dangerous situation. The country plans to conduct seismic tests for sub-sea oil reserves starting on Thursday, but the threats to marine life have yet to be assessed. Seismic testing, also known as seismic blasting, is a process that involves the use of air guns or cannons to blast deep beneath the ocean floor. It's an initial step in offshore drilling that helps locate oil deposits.

President hopeful for more trade, economic cooperation with Belize
President Tsai Ing-wen underscored Wednesday the importance she attaches to Taiwan-Belize relations and expressed hope that the two nations can seek increased trade and economic cooperation in the future. Tsai spelled out her expectations during a meeting with new Belize Ambassador to the Republic of China (Taiwan) Diane Haylock, who presented her credentials to the president that day. In the meeting, Tsai praised Belize for its participation in Central American and Caribbean forums, its calls for cooperation among island-states in tackling problems caused by climate change, and its concern about issues related to freedom and democracy, peace and stability, and prosperity and development.

Bahamas to face Jamaica, Belize and Guyana in the 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championships
The Bahamas National Beach Soccer Team will face Jamaica, Belize and Guyana at the upcoming regional beach soccer World Cup qualifier event set to kickoff on February 20 in Nassau. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW) today conducted the draw for the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship Bahamas 2017, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Doral, Florida, USA. The draw, which determined the groups and match schedule for the tournament, was opened with welcoming remarks from Philippe Moggio, CONCACAF General Secretary and Anton Sealey, President of the Bahamas Football Association (BFA). The event was conducted with the assistance of Bahamas National Team players Gavin Christie and Leslie St. Fleur.

Professor Helps Maya Artisans Rediscover Their Past, Build a Future
More than a decade ago, members of a small village tucked deep into the rainforests of Belize realized that the rich cultural history of their Maya ancestors could help them build a sustainable economic future. The San Antonio Women’s Collaborative was formed to create and sell pottery and other items produced in the manner of the Maya civilization, which collapsed more than 1,000 years ago. But there was a big problem: Although they kept many Maya cultural traditions alive, the people no longer knew how to make Maya ceramics. “We had been working so hard to teach ourselves how to make pottery and work with paints,” said Timotea Mesh, president of the women’s collaborative, describing a grueling, trial-and-error process in which it often took three weeks to produce a single piece of pottery. “We were about to quit, until Jeremiah [Donovan] reached our place as a visitor.” That visit by SUNY Cortland’s Jeremiah Donovan, a professor of ceramics in the Art and Art History Department, turned into a four-year quest to help the community unravel the lost secrets of the most advanced culture in pre-Columbian America.

Scots firm in fraudster link falsely using Tory peer's bank
The tax haven bank owned by billionaire Tory donor Lord Ashcroft is being used without permission as a base to set up dozens of Scottish firms linked to a fraudster. Amid growing concerns about the reliability of Britain's corporate register, it can be revealed that two Belize companies have been falsely using the address of the HQ of the former Conservative deputy chairman for at least six years. The secretive Belizean businesses - Sherbrook Assets and Whitmoore Solutions - have formed at least 70 Scottish entities, most of them registered at the Fife home of convicted fraudster Anzelika Young.

Commentary: The Privy Council versus the CCJ - A question of conscience? Part 2
Since 1970, Jamaica raised the issue of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) having a final appellate court for its members and, at long last, the Caribbean Court of Justice, the CCJ, was established by an agreement among CARICOM states dated 14 February 2001.Initially, ten members, among them Grenada, signed the agreement and subsequently on 15 Feb 2003 Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines did so. Therefore, of the 15 member states, three have still to sign. What are they waiting for? One can easily access the agreement on the internet. Its preamble bravely declares: “THE CONTRACTING PARTIES,CONVINCED that the Caribbean Court of Justice, (hereinafter referred to as “the Court”), will have a determinative role in the further development of Caribbean jurisprudence through the judicial process; CONVINCED ALSO of the desirability of entrenching the Court in their national Constitutions; AWARE that the establishment of the Court is a further step in the deepening of the regional integration process; RECOGNISING the sovereignty of Members of the Caribbean Community; HEREBY AGREE …” to establish the CCJ.

Videos

  • RiseNShine Morning Show, 135min. his is former CEO of Foreign Affairs ... highly commended David Gibson

  • A crying child's public support for Teachers., 2min. don't care about Politics, but I do care about Belize. I love and appreciate teachers

  • Officially released today! The trailer for Yochi, 1.5min. Yochi, a selectively mute 9-year old Mayan boy, guards a nest of endangered Yellow-Headed parrots in the pine savannah of Belize. When his beloved older brother Itza returns from the city, Yochi discovers he's in debt and has turned to poaching...

  • Crab Races at Crazy Canucks, 5min. Here is a fun Tuesday in San Pedro Belize were we pick a hermit crab, gamble, and watch them race. All in the name of charity of course. Of course when you give a crab a funny name, the announcer Rob spices it up a bit.

  • Belize Sunset on The New River, 1min.

  • INTERNATIONAL CREDIT UNION DAY 2016, 27min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Murder on San Pedro: “Old Beef” Killed Lincoln Robinson Senior, min.

  • Dolphins by our boat, 1min. This is Belize. Last weekend. Right off Turneffe. The vessels that will be conducting the seismic testing are already docked in Belize. What will we do to stop them? Do we want to continue having beautiful sights such as these dolphins for years to come? or are we okay with gambling and hoping nothing goes wrong? This will not sit well with most Belizeans.

  • Belize - Ambergris Caye 2016 (Sept), 3min.

  • Diving in Belize, 9min. Scuba diving in Belize. I got close to some Caribbean Reef Sharks. Water temps were great at 86 degrees.

  • Open Your Eyes, Channel 5 – UNICEF talks about disability in Belize, 29min. On Channel 5's popular morning show, UNICEF and the Special Envoy for Families and Children talk about the challenges faced by children with disabilities in Belize, progress made so far and what remains to be done to create a truly inclusive society. One step at a time.

  • Belize trip 2016, 4min.

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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
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    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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