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#518417 - 10/20/16 11:36 AM Today's Belize News: October 20, 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

Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage calls for EIA for Offshore Seismic Survey
The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage has called on the Government of Belize (GOB) to first conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a proposed multi-beam and seismic line survey for hydrocarbon seepage in Belize’s deep seas outside the Barrier Reef. Members of the Coalition voiced their concerns about the proposed survey and the haste with which GOB is commencing the survey at a press conference at BAS headquarters in Belize City on Wednesday morning, October 19. Oceana Belize Vice president Janelle Chanona criticized the haste with which GOB is proceeding to commence the survey; which she sees as the first step towards offshore oil drilling, which would threaten Belize’s tourism and fisheries industries. Chanona said the Belizean public should first be made fully aware of the survey, the way how it will be done, the potential impacts on the environment, and the potential, probable uses for the information gathered by the survey.

Leaked documents confirm business relationship between John Saldivar and Danny Mason
After the controversy involving William “Danny” Mason, and the beheading of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas in July 2016, the Government of Belize (GOB) has been accused of having ties with Mason. Despite much denial from several government officials, a leaked document released on October 17th revealed the business relationship between Minister of Defense John Saldivar and Mason, the accused murderer. In a press release issued on Tuesday, October 18th, the Barrow Administration announced that Saldivar was placed on a one-week leave of absence. Saldivar previously reported that he had accepted $50,000 from Mason as a contribution to his Belmopan Bandits football team. He stated that was the extent of their business relationship and claimed that he has disassociated himself with Mason since September 2015 after learning of Mason’s “unsavory” past.

Gaspar Vega resigns from Cabinet following land scandal
Gaspar VegaAfter the recent land scam revelation involving Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Gaspar Vega, has resigned from Cabinet. In a meeting held in Belize City on Monday, October 17th, Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow confirmed and accepted Vega’s resignation. Last week, evidence surfaced showing that Vega, who was the Minister of Lands at the time, authorized the sale of a 2.75 acre, seafront prime property near Mile 5 on the Philip Goldson Highway land. In 2011, Attorney Sharon Pitts applied for permission to survey the entire parcel, but it was discovered that the land had been privately owned since 1988. Through a directive from Minister Gaspar Vega, who was previously informed that the land was private property, Pitts was granted a title for 1.626 acres of that private property, and paid $10,569. In January 2013, the remaining 1.057 acres was then given by Minister Gaspar Vega to his business associate, Hilmar Alamilla, who only paid $2,500. However, in December 2013, Alamilla sold the parcel of land for $15,000 to Minister Vega’s son Andre Antonio Vega, and he became the titleholder of that parcel of land.

Ambergris Today

Wavemakers of the Year Awarded to iTravel Belize and The Phoenix Belize
On Saturday October 15, 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). At the meeting, Oceana recognized two 2016 Wavemakers of Year, both from the island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The family of travel bloggers: Dorian, Amber, and Madison, which make up the iTravel Belize team was awarded for their dedication to discovering and boasting about Belize’s richly rewarding experiences that make it unlike any country on the planet. The Phoenix Belize was also awarded for their continuous community efforts involving toy drives, donations, scholarships, fundraising for different causes and charities, and of course their weekly beach clean-ups helping to protect and preserve Belize’s marine resources. During the event, several Wavemakers were awarded certificates of appreciation for their sensational support for Oceana’s campaigns and initiatives over the past year.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Dog needing home on Caye Caulker
Gizmo is a 6-month old pitt bull mix who was rescued after the hurricane and is now ready to find his forever home. He loves to play! His favorite activities are playing fetch in the ocean, playing with toys, children and other dogs and then taking long naps. He is healthy, happy, loving and smart. Great with children and other dogs. Doesn't know cats but is easily trained so could learn to respect them. Is house and leash trained and knows several commands. Would be great in a home with children and/or other dogs. He will have all shots updated and be neutered before adoption. If you can provide a loving home, please call 635-1786

Help Save Belize’s endangered reef
Make a difference; Let your voice be heard. Please take time to send a message to our Prime Minister. We don't want seismic surveys or oil exploration in Belize. We care about our environment. It takes seconds to fill out and send.

Belize and the Caribbean Public Health Agency Launches Tourism and Health Program
The Ministries of Health and Tourism in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) are pleased to announce the launch of a national initiative to enhance the health and well-being of its visitors and locals while promoting sustainable and profitable tourism. Belize is one of six Caribbean countries that will benefit from this project funded by a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The project will be implemented from 2016-2018 by CARPHA, through its regional tourism and health program, in collaboration with Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) along with Private-Public Teams in each country. Along with the Chief Medical Officers or Permanent Secretaries of Tourism in each country, these organizations will comprise the Regional Project Steering Committee.

Miss Divali Nagar Queen Pageant
Asia Gilharry represents Belize at the Miss Divali Nagar Queen Pageant in Trinidad and TobagoUnder the patronage of the Corozal Organization of East Indian Cultural Heritage (COEICH), Miss Asia Gilharry was crowned Miss East Indian, Belize 2016 – 2017 by outgoing Miss East Indian queen, Miss Namita Balani. She will be representing Belize in the upcoming Miss Divali Nagar Queen Pageant hosted by the National Council of Indian Culture in Trinidad and Tobago on October 27, 2016. The daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Froylan Gilharry, she is a fourth form student at the Corozal Community College where she is majoring in Academic Sciences. Asia has been an active member of the COEICH organization and has participated in leading roles in traditional Indian dances during cultural festivals and pageants. She is now a Belizean Beauty and Cultural Ambassador who believes in the retrieval of the East Indian culture before it is completely lost. Being an active member of the peer helpers, student council, and a dancer in the Corozal Community College marching band has given her the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to her community. She aspires to become a successful lawyer in order to defend the rights of people.You can show your support for Miss Asia Gilharry by voting for her as Miss Photogenic by1. Visiting https://www.facebook.com/NCICTT/ 2. “Like” NCIC’s Facebook page3. “Like” Miss Asia Gilharry’s photo You must “like” both NCIC’s Facebook page and Miss Asia Gilharry’s photo for the vote to count. Voting will begin on Tuesday October 18th at 8:00 a.m. and will end on Wednesday 26 th October, 2016 at11:59 p.m.

Course on Primate Ecology and Conservation
Interested in being active in primate conservation in Belize? A course on Primate Ecology and Conservation: An Introduction to Field Research is being offered by C.E.L.A. Belize in December / January. It is supported by a grant from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) entitled “Population and Health Assessment of Howler Monkeys at the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Belize” and is designed for undergraduate or veterinary students with an interest in primates from biology or conservation perspective. The work is focusing on the Community Baboon Sanctuary, which traditionally has had the highest density of endangered Yucatan black howler monkeys in the world. However, this is also an area affected by the recent Hurricane Earl, and there are concerns over the status of the population. Want to make a difference? Why not check out this opportunity! Limited places are available.

Miss World Belize 2016
The Miss World Belize pageant is being held this Saturday, October 22nd, at the Log Cab-Inns, here in Cayo. The winner will represent Belize at the Miss World pageant in Washington D.C. in December. Panerrifix will be performing during the show. The after party is at Thirsty Thursdays, and there's a pool party on Sunday. Call 607-2954 for more information and tickets.

Representing the Yucatec Maya of the north
The most rewarding thing in life is the experiences and the memories we create. I was more than honored to represent the Yucatec Maya of the north through Banquitas House of Culture. I was given the privilege to give His Excellency Sir. Colville Young Governor General of Belize a tour of the displays put together by our fellows friends of Banquitas HOC. I express my sincere appreciation to everyone that made this possible I especially thank the Embajada de la Rep. Bolivariana de Venezuela en Belice for all the support and collaboration to make this possible. In this journey I reconnect with friends and make new friends. Que Viva nuestra Cultura.

Track the seismic ship the Northern Explorer here:

Oceana Belize: We want to hear from YOU!
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage is holding consultations to meaningfully engage with the Belizeans on the latest developments on offshore oil exploration. Wednesday, October 19th 2016, 6:30 pm, Lion’s Den, San Pedro Town. Thursday, October 20th 2016, 8:30 am, Caye Caulker Community Center, Caye Caulker. Thursday, October 20th 2016, 6:30 pm, Community Center, Placencia.

HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO COME OUT AND PRESSURE THE GOVERNMENT TO STOP PUTTING OUR REEF AND MARINE ENVIRONMENT IN DANGER.
Regional Seismic Survey The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) hereby invites you to an informative session on the Regional Seismic Survey. Date: Thursday, October 20, 2016 Time: 10:00 am Venue: Sunbreeze Hotel Conference Room, San Pedro Based on questions and concerns raised by tourism stakeholders, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has arranged for an Information Session on the Seismic Survey planned for Belize. The following representatives from the Department of Environment (DOE) and from the Geology & Petroleum Department will be there to address you on this very important topic. CEO Dr. Colin Young CEO Yvonne Hyde Martin Allegria - Chief Environmental Officer Andre Cho - Director of Geology & Petroleum Department The representatives will explain details of the Seismic survey and will be able to clarify and respond to your questions and concerns.

Poets Corner: Republic of Belize
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. Extra, extra, read all about it You have to be in it to win it The way forward is clear, but we have kick bad habit The Republic of Belize We need to start talking about it The universities should researching this topic At UWI and Galen this should be the topic of their thesis A ten-member Cabinet A fifty-member appointed senate A new GG will be elected president We need to make up our minds who gwen represent Sir Colville Young will be placed on retirement Extra extra read all about it You have to be in it to win it You don't have to like a man to work for mutual benefit The Republic of Belize We need fi discuss it Two elected senators from each district Our Diaspora brothers and sister must be in it Chicago, New York, Los Angeles must be represented on it

SMCU Credit Union Day 2016
Saint Martin's Credit Union is celebrating International Credit Union Day tomorrow, October 20th. Stop by at learn about credit unions, and why they are a much better choice. "We're all ready for the big day tomorrow. Join us as we celebrate ICUD 2016 at SMCU Belize."

Channel 7

Barrow Shuffles Cabinet For The Second Time In 7 Weeks
There has been a major shuffle in the Barrow Cabinet – the second one in just 7 weeks. This time it's to fill the vacuum created by Gaspar Vega who resigned from Cabinet under pressure from a lands compensation scandal involving his son. So, Godwin Hulse has been assigned to take over the Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development portfolio – which he has an affinity for since he has been an industrial farmer for most of his life. This also dovetails neatly with one of the teachers' governance demands. But that means Hulse must leave behind the newly created Ministry of Home Affairs – which the Prime Minister now takes over – meaning that for the second time in 7 weeks, the all important police department will have a new ministry. So the Prime Minister is now Minister of Home Affairs and Finance – but he'll delegate most of the police matters to former Deputy Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, who now steps in as Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs. Presumably, the portfolio for Youth, Sports and Culture which he managed day to day now goes completely to his former substantive minister Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber.

PUP Says Saldivar Must Leave Cabinet
Of course, there could be even more changes ahead pending the finding of a legal opinion that the Prime Minister has sought on the situation with Defence Minister John Saldivar. He's on a week's leave of absence right now after it was revealed that he and accused murderer William Danny Mason were named shareholders in a company in August 2015. The Prime Minister says the legal opinion is to determine whether the steps he took to sever the business relationship were enough. Opposition leader John Briceno says the Prime Minister doesn't need any legal opinion, he just need to follow his own advice:.. Hon. John Briceno - PUP Party Leader: "Well I think that John Saldivar is in quite a pickle and why so I say that? Well because the prime minister has said that if evidence were to ever surface that John Saldivar is in business with Mr. Mason that he would fire John Saldivar from the Cabinet. Now a document have surfaced showing - company documents that Mr. Saldivar was in business with Mr. Mason, that Mr. Mason owned 30% of the Bandits football team. Mr. Saldivar now quickly took out a release and probably he was not properly advised because in that release now he is saying that yes I may have this thing with this man and yes he gave me 50 thousand; we don't know if it is 50 thousand Belize or 50 thousand US. He said then but I set up another company so I move the football team from this company to the next company."

Schools Back In Session!
Today kids countrywide had to shake off that vacation vibe that they had settled into for the past 2 weeks. It was back to school as usual and it was a completely different scene at city schools, instead of those chained gates and empty fields, kids were pouring into the school grounds across the city. For them, it was just another fun day at school, reuniting with their friends and completing their class assignments. But, it is not that simple for the principals or teachers. Sure, most of them are happy to be back in the classrooms but there are still several unresolved issues hovering. Principal at Wesley Upper School, Nicole Welch Middleton, told us more about those concerns. We also spoke to Lureen Ciego, the Principal at St. Ignatius School and she told us how the post- strike school day went.

Teachers Say GOB Should Not Dock Pay
And, as you heard from the Wesley Principal, the teachers are willing to make up the time, but not if the Ministry will dock their pay. As we showed you last night, the Chief Education Officer, Dr. Carol Babb, sent a memorandum to the school managers all across the country which says, quote, "The Government of Belize… will be withholding its contribution toward the salaries for individual teachers for the days when those teachers were on strike." The BNTU is not simply letting that one go unchallenged. They released a statement today saying quote, "We wish to advise and reassure our members/teachers that the BNTU is currently seeking legal advice on this latest attack by the Government Belize and the Ministry of Education to determine how to deal with the implications of this memo." End Quote.

PUP Backs Teachers
And, not surprisingly, the PUP supports the teachers. The party sent out a statement saying as much this evening, and Party Leader John Briceno held a press briefing after a special National executive Meeting. He says after all the teachers fought for in the public's name, Government is morally obligated not to dock their pay: Hon. John Briceno - PUP Party Leader: "We are very concerned, dismayed that after having such a long drawn out negotiations with the government that the government now has decided that they are not going to pay the teachers for the period that they were in strike. In the 2005 strike I think the unions they went to court and the Chief Justice was very clear as I have been told that if they were to take industrial actions that then the government is required to pay their salaries and that is why the teachers did not bring up that issue whilst they were negotiating with the prime minister and his officials. We are urging the government to do the right thing, to pay the teachers, to pay then what they rightly deserve and we expect that on the 31st of October all teachers are going to get 100% of their salaries and if they don't we in the PUP are going to be urging everyone including the private sector and the other unions to join the teachers to go to the streets to ensure that they full compensated as mandated by the law."

Senate Committee Names Chair, Finally
This morning at the National Assembly, the members of the Senate Select Committee held their second meeting in two weeks. They were trying to select a Senator who will chair the investigation into the special audits on the Immigration Department. The Government was hoping that one of the 3 social partner senators would be prepared to lead the Committee, but Church Senator Ashley Rocke is refusing for security reasons, and both the labour and business senators, Elena Smith and Mark Lizarraga, have been instructed by their constituents to stand down from the leadership. They share the concerns of the PUP that the committee is not independent, and that the terms of reference does not sufficiently empower the Committee to do its job properly. So, today, the Two UDP Senators showed up for the meeting, along with the Church Senator and the Labour Senator; Business Senator Lizarraga couldn't attend today for personal reasons. After those who showed up indicated their continued refusal of the chairmanship, UDP Senator Aldo Salazar was forced to take up the position. Here is that moment in the meeting when he was nominated by UDP Senator Dr. Carla Barnett and seconded by Senator Rocke:

PUP Will Join Senate Probe - Hopes to Carry Majority
And after boycotting the first two meetings, the PUP today announced that it will be joining the committee full force. And why is that? Well, it has become clear that the social partners and the opposition could control the majority vote! Briceno gave the party's position today:…. Hon. John Briceno - PUP Party Leader: "We early have decided that we were not going to participate; but now that we have been informed by the other Senators in the social partners and by the clerk of the national assembly that the chairperson of that special senate select committee does not have a vote. Aldo Salazar has been elected as the chair, our party decided this morning that it is very important for us to participate again provided the other two senators from the social partners be the unions and the private sector participate. So we are going to be participating, I am going to be meeting with the three senators for us to decide who is going to represent us in that committee. But we're also appealing to the government and to the senate that we still believe that this senate select committee must have an adequate budget so that they can do the work properly."

Revealing Some Of The Mystery Of Michael Young's Sudden Death
Today, a wide cross section of Belizean society is still trying to figure out what could have led prominent attorney Michael Young to commit suicide. What we know so far is that the 61 year old Young left his office at Young's Law Firm at around 11:00, went to buy lunch from his usual place, ate lunch with his wife at their Bella Vista home, and then retired to his bedroom at 12:45. At around 1:00, his wife found him dead in the bathroom. The door had been locked and he was found inside with a gunshot to the left side of the temple, and beside his body lay a black and silver Ruger 9 mm pistol loaded with (1) one live round in the chamber and (14) live rounds inside the magazine. One 9mm expended shell was found inside the bathtub.

Two Accused of Beating Camalote Cop
Last night, we told you about the 2 men, charged for badly beating Police Constable Mark Rodriguez. Those men, Camalote residents Belhem Guzman and Sanjay Casey, are at the Belize Central Prison. They were arraigned today in Belmopan Magistrate's Court on charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm, use of deadly means of harm, aggravated assault, damage to property and common assault. According to police, the two men wielded a pint bottle and a wooden chair to which they used to savagely beat Constable Rodriguez. After the arraignment, Superintendent Howell Gillett, in whose jurisdiction the case falls, granted us an interview. He's been to visit Constable Rodriguez, who is regularly assigned to the Belmopan Magistrate's Court. Today, Gillett told us that the officer remains hospitalized at the KHMH for severe injuries he suffered to the head and face:

Belmopan Councilor Accused of Land Squiggle
We also asked the Belmopan Police Commander about that report which Belmopan Mayor Khalid Belisle made against his city councillor, Gene Briceno Lopez. The City Council released a statement explaining the complaint. Belisle alleged that councillor Briceno Lopez forged his signature and illegally used the council's official stamp. When asked Superintendent Gillett, he told us that it concerned a piece of land in Belmopan: Supt. Howell Gillet - OC, Belmopan Police: "The investigation is too young at this stage, just yesterday the mayor of Belmopan made a report, we need document proof to substantiate these allegations and that is yet to forth come. Ms. Gene Briceno is not in our custody at the time because we need more time to investigate before we reach that point where she would be arrested but I want to say that it has to come that the mayor's office or some representative from the mayor's office has to request court actions so that we could proceed."

OCEANA Back and Forth With GOB
The back and forth between OCEANA and the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum continues. Yesterday we told you about the government's response to claims that they were conducting seismic surveys without considering the research about the negative effects of the tests. In that press release, the Ministry of Petroleum refuted claims that its research was lacking and instead turned the finger at the environmental community, claiming that it was they who did not have all the information. Today, the environmental community, including organizations like OCEANA, WWF, the Belize Audubon Society and BTIA held a press conference to clarify their views on the subject of seismic surveys and why they are so concerned. Here's what they said… Janelle Chanona – Vice President of OCEANA Belize: "Throughout all of this we were applying or requesting formally, in person and by email for copies off all the contracts, materials, data related to this. Following the October 11th session we wrote to the department of the environment saying can you please share with us the written submission that you made to Cabinet that they're basing this approval without EIA on? We have not gotten that."

CDB Approves 200 Million US For Belize
On Monday, the Caribbean Development Bank approved a motion to supply Belize with US$200.5 million over the course of the next four years. According to the CDB, the funds are meant to help solve some of the social, environmental and economic challenges the country faces. The CDB has also developed a strategy for addressing these issues which looks to increase competitiveness and productivity, improve quality and access to education and training, as well as governance and development planning. The plan also covers enhancing environmental management and reducing vulnerability to natural disasters.

Michael Young, A Leading Legal Light and A Public Advocate
When Michael Young apparently ended his own life yesterday – it sent shockwaves across the society – partly because he was so well known, but also because so many thought a man of his bearing and means couldn't have any problem so bad that it would force him to take such a drastic measure. Today his friends commented on the initial shock, the realization and the reflection:… Rodwell Williams - SC - Michael's Friend: "Profound shock, disbelief and grief; I would never had thought and even when I learn more I resisted the notion this could be true so I was profoundly shocked and broken by it." Denys Barrow, S.C. - Michael's Colleague: "There was of course the immediate shock the obvious what - bwai but I quickly settled into a philosophical stance - I could only wonder what took place and why it took place. Recognise that there will be so many things unanswered and it is a source of comfort for me to think that Michael made a decision; one doesn't know what his emotional state was etc. but I am content in accepting that Michael made a massive contribution. He leaves a behind a lot of high regard; warmth and love and I think he lived a good and full life. And bwai I'm just happy that he was my friend and that gave so much to Belize and to Belizeans and I'm content to live with that memory."

PUP Wants Lands Dept Audit
Going back now to politics, the PUP says it wants one more audit done – and this one would be of the lands department from 2008 to 2016. Of course, the news has been hot with reports of shady deals done for well-connected friends of the UDP. Well, John Briceno says the public needs to know what happened at “Lands” under Gaspar Vega;s tenure:…

Briceno Sympathizes With Vega
And while Briceno seems hardly concerned about his tenure, he wasn’t quick to celebrate the demise of a political adversary. Briceno said he wishes Vega well:…

Belizeans At WOMEX
The World Music Expo, also known as WOMEX is a five day event that brings together everyone involved in the music industry. WOMEX is an international platform for musicians, performers and producers to show off their works and sample the creations of other artists. It also awards musicians for their achievements in the field. In 2007, Andy Palacio and Ivan Duran won the WOMEX Award for their accomplishments on the Watina album. WOMEX 2016 started today in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and 8 Belizeans joined more than 2,500 delegates from 90 countries for the festivities. Among them are Shyne Barrow, Belize's Music Ambassador, well-known singer Jackie Castillo, Troy "DJ Dalla" Flowers, Tyfara Panton of Flavaz Entertainment, and 5 time Garifuna Music Awards winner Clayton Williams, known for his hit song, Bibagari. And while that is the official delegation, Ivan Duran form Stonetree Records is also there with Al Ovando and James Sanker from MIAB

Doug Denies Facebook Falsehoods
And before we close tonight, we can report that despite facebook rumours which said that Doug Singh’s business headquarters on Mapp street had been raided by the FIU sometime last night or this morning, we spoke to Singh and he told us it is completely false. Rumours persist at this hour but we just checked and the office is closed.


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#518418 - 10/20/16 11:36 AM Re: Today's Belize News: October 20, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Channel 5

Cabinet Reshuffles for Second Time This Year; Godwin Grabs Agriculture, P.M. takes Police
The resignation from Cabinet of Minister of Agriculture, Gaspar Vega, has sent things in a tailspin in Belmopan. This afternoon, the Office the Prime Minister announced who succeeds Vega along [...]

Ministry of Education Says: No Services, No Salary!
Late Tuesday evening, a memo from the Ministry of Education, titled “Withholding of Contributions towards Salaries for Teachers on Strike,” was released.  According to the document, signed by Chief Education [...]

Teachers’ Union Looks at Legalities of Ministry’s Move
The memo from the Ministry of Education has obviously not been well received by the B.N.T.U.  This afternoon, the B.N.T.U. executive met on the matter which could lead to further [...]

B.N.T.U. Accuses Ministry of Trying to Bully and Intimidate
According to the B.N.T.U., the salary deductions for the days on strike, is another form of attack against teachers. Palacio says that it is the school management that determines the [...]

Will B.N.T.U. Resume Strike Action? Prime Minister Called on to Intervene
The memo requests information on the number of striking teachers to be delivered within hours earlier today. The B.N.T.U. believes that this latest missive is not an act of good [...]

P.U.P. Leader Says Teachers Must Be Paid
This afternoon the People’s United Party was quick to respond to the plight of the teachers. In a press conference today, Leader of the Opposition John Briceño demanded that the [...]

It’s Back to School After Eleven Days Off for Students
While the Ministry of Education and Belize National Teachers’ Union have not made up yet, the teachers were back in school in full force today. A check of schools across [...]

Aldo Salazar Chairs Senate Committee, Says Voting Will Not Be Focus
The Senate Select Committee on immigration proceeded with its sitting this morning in Belmopan.  Government Senator Aldo Salazar was appointed chairman of the Senate Select Committee to investigate the immigration [...]

Unions and Possibly Business Senator Change Their Minds on Inquiry
Senator Aldo Salazar’s appointment as chair comes after both Senator Elena Smith and Senator Ashley Rocke declined the chairmanship. Senator Rocke had previously stated that he and his family were [...]

Inquiry Chair Promises Fairness and Natural Justice for Participants
Senator Aldo Salazar has the task of shepherding the inquiry through to its conclusion. He was appointed by the Government and today he was questioned about whether he could remain [...]

P.U.P. About-Face: Opposition Will Name Last Member of Senate Committee
When the immigration inquiry resumes, the P.U.P. will be back as part of the select senate committee. The Opposition withdrew over the composition and terms of reference of the committee. [...]

United Democratic Party Remembers Michael Young, S.C.
The untimely death of prominent attorney, Michael Young, continues to rattle the community. A man, highly respected and well liked, took his life on Tuesday after having lunch at his [...]

How Does Leave of Absence Affects Embattled John Saldivar?
Minister of Defence John Saldivar has been placed on leave of absence for one week as of Tuesday. A press release issued on the same day stated that legal advice is [...]

John Briceño Wants Government to “Can” the Belmopan Rep
But the Leader of the Opposition John Briceño says that John Saldivar should be canned! Briceño says that with the documents presented and based on the P.M.’s statement months ago, [...]

Will P.U.P. Force Recall of Gaspar Vega in Orange Walk North?
What does the resignation of former DPM Gaspar Vega mean for politics in the north? It is considered a blow for the U.D.P., but others see it as a gain [...]

Environmental Organizations Continue to Sound Alarm on Seismic Testing
Seismic testing in offshore Belize starts on Thursday. On Tuesday night you heard Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria say that the testing is a part of a regional initiative. The [...]

Court Action a Possibility to Stop Testing
But with all the back and forth between D.O.E. and the marine conservation community, seismic testing is a done deal. It is scheduled to start on Thursday. But, not so [...]

Police Charge Cayo Men for Beating Up a Cop
Sanjay Casey and Belhem Guzman, both of Camalote village, Cayo District, were today read charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm, use of deadly means of harm, and aggravated assault. Casey was [...]

Belmopan Councilor Released, But Faces Forgery Investigation
Gene Lopez, elected to the Belmopan City Council last year, is under suspicion of forgery of a land document using official property of the Council – the stamp and signature [...]

Accused Cops in Hilberto Sotz Death to be Tried for Manslaughter
Two police officers, who were initially charged with the murder of Hilberto Sotz while he was in a holding cell in San Pedro, will stand trial for manslaughter in the [...]

CTV3

Dean Barrow Reshuffles Cabinet
The sudden resignation of Gaspar Vega from Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s Cabinet has left more than a political vacuum for his administration. His resignation as Minister of Agriculture left a space for someone to take up that portfolio. While we expected a simple release indicating who that would be, today we learnt that Prime Minister Dean Barrow opted for a major Cabinet shake-up. A release from the Prime Minister’s office indicates that the Ministry of Agriculture will be taken up, by no other than Hon. Godwin Hulse. We wouldn’t be surprised if you had already guessed that, because Hulse, apparently, is the PM’s go to man. He was introduced in Cabinet to take over the Ministry of Immigration, following the Penner Scandal. Then he picked up the Ministry of Natural Resources after Vega was booted from there. Later on he became the Minister of Police following the Danny Mason debacle. It appears Hulse is this Government’s Clean Up Minister. But how much can he clean up if he only spends months in a Ministry?

MOE To Deduct Salaries From Teachers
Less than one day after the BNTU put their strike action on pause after 11 days of being out of the classrooms, there is concern about possibility of teacher’s pay being docked for the days absent from school. The B.N.T.U. has pledged to stand up for its teachers on this point, but the decision lies in the hands of school managements. During the BNTU press conference yesterday national President Luke Palacio made an urgent appeal to school managers to consider the facts of why they walked off the job and reiterated that the teachers will make up the time lost.

Teachers To Fight Salary Deduction
So will the teachers loose a percentage of their pay check for the month of October for being in support of the industrial action taken by BNTU? And what is BNTU’s take on the Ministry’s treat? Today we spoke to President of BNTU Orange Walk, Otilio Munoz, who reiterated that the ruling passed down by Chief Justice Conte back in 2005, when teachers staged strike action for 10 days, which indicated that the government could not instruct managements to deduct for strike action, still applies today. According to Munoz the BNTU is at the time, arduously working with the different school Managers to ensure that teacher’s salary does not see a deduction.

PUP Condemns MOE Actions Against Teachers
Since news broke out that teachers who participated in the 11 days strike run the risk of not receiving their full salary at the end of the month, the public outcry has been tremendous, after all teachers were fighting for Belize. Joining the group of Belizeans who are against teacher’s salary deduction is the People’s United Party who condemned Government’s decision today. According to Leader of the Opposition, Honorable John Briceno, the stance of the BNTU was a just and principled one, and teachers across this country stood for what every Belizean should demand – good governance and no corruption. With no malice in the actions by the teachers, they should get their full salary says Briceno.

Police Issues Official Report On Death Of Prominent Attorney
Last night we reported on the death of high-ranking attorney and legal advisor for the United Democratic Party, Michael Clarence Edward Young and how he reportedly ended his own life sometime around 12:45 yesterday afternoon. Shortly after the shocking incident transpired, police were called out to the residence located in the Bella Vista area in Belize City where the lifeless body of Young was found with an apparent gunshot wound to the right side of the temple along with and exit wound to the left side. According to official police reports, after having lunch Young went upstairs to his bedroom and was later discovered by his wife at about 1:00 p.m. apparently dead inside the restroom.

LOVE FM

Godwin Hulse Reshuffled Again in Cabinet
Senator Godwin Hulse is making history tonight as having served the shortest term in Government as the Minister of Home Affairs. Hulse was recently moved from Natural Resources ministry to Home Affairs eighty days ago; and tonight he is once again being moved as the Office of Prime Minister has announced a change in Cabinet […]

Education Ministry Speaks of Teachers’ Wages
Tonight the answer to the question as to whether teachers will be paid for their time absent from the classrooms was made clear via a memorandum sent from the Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr Carol Babb to the General Managers of the schools dated Tuesday, October 18. The two paragraph document […]

Opposition Wants the Teachers to Get Paid
During a press conference yesterday, the President of the Belize National Trade Union, Luke Palacio told the media that it is the decision of the management of the schools to decide whether or not teachers who participated in the strike would be receiving their full salary. The teachers were on strike for eleven days which […]

Senator Aldo Salazar Named Chairman of SSSC
Senator Aldo Salazar was selected as the Chairman for the Senate Special Select Committee that has been tasked to probe into the Auditor General’s Report on Immigration and Nationality Departments. This is the second sitting of the special committee with the first facing issues in naming a Chairman. Subsequent to being named Chairman, Senator Salazar […]

PUP Will Join Senate Select Committee
The Executive Council of the People’s United Party met this morning at its headquarters in Belize City. One of the topics discussed was the Senate Select Committee and the investigation into the special reports of the Auditor General. As we mentioned, the Committee held its second meeting today and once again an opposition senator was […]

Former Lands Minister Says Lands Department Should Be Investigated As Far Back As 2008
Opposition Leader Briceno spoke about the latest scandal emanating from the Lands Department. That scandal resulted in the resignation of one of the UDP’s most influential political players, Gaspar Vega. Vega resigned as Minister but is still the elected Area Representative for Orange Walk North. Briceno says that it is the people of Orange Walk […]

LOO Says Saldivar Is in Quite a Pickle
As we reported yesterday, Minister of Defence, John Saldivar is suspended from Cabinet. We cannot say if his suspension is with or without pay but it will be for one week. The decision to suspend Minister Saldivar was made by Prime Minister Dean Barrow after documents surfaced regarding a business relationship with the infamous Danny […]

Bar Association Mourns Death of Senior Counsel Michael Young
The Bar Association of Belize has extended its condolences to the family of Senior Counsel Michael Young. Young was admitted to the bar in Belize in 1977 and was elevated to the status of Senior Counsel in 1996 in recognition of his excellence in the practice of the law. A statement from the Bar Association […]

Seismic Testing is a No-No Says Environmental Sector
The environmental community is up in arms over Cabinet’s approval for seismic testing to be conducted in the offshore area of Belize’s territory. The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage, Oceana Belize, World Wildlife Fund, Healthy Reefs Initiative, the Belize Audubon Society and the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy are of the […]

Two Different Accounts of Why Mark Rodriguez Was Assaulted
Two men were brought before Magistrate Emerita Anderson to answer to multiple charges following the assault of Police Constable Mark Rodriguez which occurred on Sunday evening at Outback Ranch in Camalote Village, Cayo District. The charges against the men, Belhem Guzman and Sanjay Casey, are attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, dangerous harm […]

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

PUP condemns GOB withholding teachers salaries; They have teachers back
The opposition, People’s United Party today issued a press release to condemn the government’s decision to withhold teachers salaries for participating in strike. In a memo sent out yesterday the Ministry of Education informed school managers, principals and boards that GOB will be “withholding […]

Will PM Barrow fire Saldivar from Cabinet? More questions than answers in the ongoing Mason’s saga!
Yesterday the Press Office issued a release indicating that the Prime Minister placed Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Defense, on one week’s leave of absence. PM Barrow, being an attorney himself, is aware that Saldivar’s claim to have severed all business relationship with […]

Office of the Prime Minister announces Cabinet Changes
The Office of the Prime Minister has issued a press release announcing changes in the Cabinet. According to the release, the following Cabinet changes have been made: The Sen. Hon. Godwin Hulse becomes the new Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable […]

Senate Special Select Committee selects chairman
Senator Aldo Salazar, a government appointed senator, has officially been elected as the new chairman of the Senate Special Select Committee today at a Senate meeting held in Belmopan. The Senate Special Select Committee has been appointed by the Senate to investigate into the […]

A business belonging to a prominent Belize City businessman has been raided by authorities
BBN has received reliable reports that a business located on Mapp Street in the Northside of Belize City belonging to a high ranking UDP official was raided by police and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The raid happened sometime between late last night and […]

Government will withhold salaries for teachers on strike
Yesterday, a memo from the Ministry of Education was sent to all general managers of government and government aided primary schools and Boards of Deans of government and government aided colleges to request the attendance of school teachers during the strike. The memo states: […]

Drive by shooting in Stann Creek
According to police reports, Yesseni Trap, 28, of mile 10 on the Stann Creek Valley Road was at home around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, when she heard a vehicle stop outside on the street and a single gunshot was fired. Trapp says that she saw […]

Police issue official report on death of Micheal Young
According to the official police report, yesterday around 1:45 p.m. officers responded to reports in the Bella vista area at the residence of attorney Michael Clarence E. Young, 61, where he was seen with a gunshot wound to the right side of temple and […]

Danger Subsides – Challenge Remains
These are difficult and defining days for our UDP Government, and the fact that the immediate danger appears to have subsided is no reason for complacency or any return to business as usual. Evidently, all is not well in Belmopan, and it would be unwise, […]

GOB to sign SI for appointment of 13th senator
Tomorrow, Thursday, the Government of Belize (GoB) will sign a Statutory Instrument for the appointment of the long awaited 13th Senator. At a press conference following a meeting with the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) last Thursday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow committed to signing […]

Belmopan City Councilor busted in fraud scheme
Belmopan City Councilor Gene Briceno Lopez was detained by Belmopan police on accusations of forgery. Lopez, a firm supporter of controversial Belmopan Area Rep, John Saldivar, allegedly forged Mayor Khalid Belisle’s signature on fraudulent documents. According to further allegations, she illegally used his official […]

Belize: The Barrow Government Cannot Fix The Economy
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow’s government was elected to its third term in office almost one year ago, so he theoretically has four more years to serve out the constitutional 5-year term. His government first came to power in 2008, on a wave of […]

Prominent UDP lawyer passes
Police, yesterday, confirmed that prominent attorney Michael Clarence Edward Young, 61, is dead. He was inside his Bella Vista home when a single shot was heard. When police arrived on the scene he was found with gunshot injuries to the head. While speculations that […]

Blogs

The Drums of our Fathers Monument in Dangriga Belize
Designed by local sculptor Steve Okeke, the Drums of Our Fathers monument is a visual masterpiece that showcases the importance of drumming and music to the Garifuna culture. The monument features three ritual dugu drums and two sisiras (maracas), musical instruments that are emblematic of Garifuna music. Although they compose just 4% of Belize’s population, the Garifuna people are a unique culture that are well-known for their unique musical influences, including drumming. Formed from an intermarriage of African slaves and native islanders of the Caribbean, the Garifuna arrived in Belize more than 200 years ago after being exiled by the British. The town of Dangriga where the monument is located is the epicenter of Belize’s Garifuna culture, and the monument is a visually-imposing tribute to the rich musical heritage of the Garifuna. The three large dugu drums in the monument represent the past, present, and the future. The center drum is known as a lanigi garawound or “heart drum”, representing the present and the lead drum that calls the rhythm for the other two. The sisira or maracas are used in Garifuna music as a “spirit helper” to bridge the gap between the ordinary world and the spirit world. The monument is located in the primary traffic circle on the main road that enters the town of Dangriga from the south in Stann Creek District, Belize.

Buying a Dream Home in Belize: 7 Steps to Follow
Our Beloved Belize, “Land of the free by the Caribbean Sea” is one of the most desired destinations for vacation and retirement. Owning your dream home in Belize was once a dream but now it can become a reality with Atlantic International Bank Ltd. (AIBL). Let us partner with you in bringing your dreams to life and finance your dream home. In contrast to what many credit applicants may believe the process of achieving a home loan does not start by an Application Letter. The process of qualifying for a home loan begins with the creation of your credit history. Your credit history is a record of your credit behaviour and it is only one part of the determining factors of your ability to get a loan. Take care of your credit report.

International Sourcesizz

Climate Prediction Center’s Central America Hazards Outlook October 20 – October 26, 2016
Widespread heavy rainfall is forecasted for Nicaragua, Southern Honduras and El Salvador during the upcoming week. A varied pattern over the last 7 days brought localized above-average precipitation to parts of the region, but continuing dryer-than-normal conditions across many other areas, especially in the interior. The greatest rainfall, as observed by TRMM, was located over southeastern Nicaragua and southern Guatemala where over 150mm fell. Other areas, including El Salvador and the Petén department of Guatemala, received well in excess of 100mm. Flooding was reported in Poptún, Petén department. The story was different for parts of central Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, which received light and well below normal rainfall. Many of the mountainous areas of south-central Guatemala exhibit deficits of 50-100mm for the week. The ‘Postrera’ season has generally been dryer than normal for the majority of Central America. The largest and most consistent deficits for the period are located in Guatemala.

The World’s Second Largest Reef Is in Danger
The Belize government has announced that its barrier reef system is a potential site for oil mining. Last week, a preliminary obituary for the Great Barrier Reef went viral. This week brings the news that the world’s second largest reef system, located off the shores of Belize, will be the new site for seismic oil exploration, and ultimately, drilling. In a country known for its natural beauty and eco-tourism, this could irreparably change local lives and the future of tourism. Because of its natural beauty and biodiversity, Belize attracts a tremendous amount of ecotourism. Yet this controversial method of oil exploration has the ability to send shockwaves thousands of miles, causing irreparable damage to marine wildlife like whales, dolphins, and manatees, while reducing the catch rate in fishing, a major source of income for many of the nation’s people. It is estimated that 190,000 out of Belize’s total population of 332,000 will have their jobs negatively affected by the exploration.

Caribbean National Insurance Schemes Looking Shaky
Caribbean countries beware! The National Insurance Schemes (NIS) in the region might not be as safe and sound as previously thought. That warning has come in an International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper published by Koffie Nassar, Joel Okwuokei, Mike Li, Timothy Robinson and Saji Thomas. The paper – which the IMF stressed was a result of research done by the authors and did not necessarily represent the Washington-based institution’s views – advised territories in the region to pay close attention to the schemes which were projected to “run substantial deficits and deplete their assets in the next decades, raising the prospects of government intervention”. “The schemes appear relatively sound until about 2017. Thereafter, they are projected to incur substantial deficits and eventually run down their assets, raising the prospects that the government would have to bear a share of the promised pension benefits,” the researchers wrote.

Caribbean Islands Urged To Ratify Paris Agreement
With the Marrakech climate change talks now only weeks away, the few CARICOM member states that have not yet ratified the Paris Agreement - Jamaica among them - have been urged to do so. The appeal has come from Dr James Fletcher, former head of the CARICOM Task Force on Sustainable Development. He predicted that the failure to ratify will see those islands running the risk of not having a say in the first meeting of the parties to the global deal next month. "Given that the Paris Agreement will enter into force in the Marrakech meeting ... if you haven't ratified the Paris Agreement, then really you cannot be at the table determining rules and procedures and everything else," he cautioned.

The Privy Council versus the CCJ - A question of conscience? Part 3
What states have adopted the CCJ as their final appellate court? They are: Barbados, Guyana, Belize and the Commonwealth of Dominica. Jamaica attempted to do so but the Labour government and certain interest groups challenged the legislation in the case of Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights Ltd v S. Marshall-Burnett and the AG of Jamaica. And finally the Privy Council ruled in 2005 that the method employed was unlawful and that to achieve such a change the government had to have a special majority in both houses of Parliament in favour of the change.

Precious corals bleached to death
The good news is that the current El Niño, a warm ocean current that drove temperatures up worldwide, is finally on its way out. But the bad news is that the unprecedented coral bleaching that El Niño triggered in 2014 shows little signs of slowing down. According to the October 3, 2016, update by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently in a neutral phase and is likely to remain so during the winters. NOAA’s four-month coral bleaching outlook, however, says reefs in the eastern side of the Indian Ocean, the western side of the Pacific and the Caribbean are likely to sustain bleaching until January 2017. Despite covering just 0.2-0.25 percent of the earth’s ocean area, coral reefs support up to 2 million species or a quarter of all marine life. For several island nations and tropical countries with long coastlines, corals provide protective services from severe tropical weather. Corals cushion the impact of tropical storms that would otherwise damage infrastructure close to the coast. It is estimated that for the Central American nation of Belize, the economic value of the infrastructure protected by coral reefs is equal to 10-15 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Reef structures also act as indispensable genetic libraries and are often described as rainforests of the sea for their richness.

Surprising Benefits Of Coconut Embryo
The mature coconuts are collected regularly for their milk. Usually you cracked coconut for lunch (stewed vegetables), but sometimes there was a strange formation inside. Apparently, this coconut was ready to shoot some leaves out, and this thing is called buwa or buha (Ilonggo)– is an edible, soft predecessor. This part is actually the coconut cotyledon, sometimes called the “coconut embryo” or “coconut apple”, is actually suspended in germination. It is eaten raw in the province. We all know that coconut water and meat are very nutritious so don’t underestimate this one. Top 10 Health Benefits of Coconut Embryo: 1.Supports immune system health: it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite. 2.Provides a natural source of quick energy and enhances physical and athletic performance. 3. Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals 4. Improves insulin secretion and symptoms associated with diabetes. 5. Helps protect the body from cancers due to insulin reduction, removal of free radicals that cause premature aging and degenerative disease. 6. Reduces risk of heart health and improves good cholesterol (HDL). 7. Restores and supports thyroid function. 8. Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infection. 9. Promotes weight loss. 10. Helps keep hair and skin healthy and youthful looking, prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, and provides sun protection

Britain's view of its history 'dangerous', says former museum director
Neil MacGregor, the former director of the British Museum, has bemoaned Britain’s narrow view of its own history, calling it “dangerous and regrettable” for focusing almost exclusively on the “sunny side”. Speaking before the Berlin opening of his highly popular exhibition Germany – Memories of a Nation, MacGregor expressed his admiration for Germany’s rigorous appraisal of its history which he said could not be more different to that of Britain. “In Britain we use our history in order to comfort us to make us feel stronger, to remind ourselves that we were always, always deep down, good people,” he said. “Maybe we mention a little bit of slave trade here and there, a few wars here and there, but the chapters we insist on are the sunny ones,” he said. MacGregor warned: “This sort of handling of history is dangerous as well as regrettable”.

Videos

  • Oceana meeting on seismic survey scheduled for Belize, 66min.

  • GOB Responses to BNTU Demands, 1.5min.

  • Maya Ruins of Xunantunich, Belize - 2010, 27min. We were lucky enough to tour the huge Maya ruin of Xunantunich in western Belize during December of 2010. Our Tour Guide was Golden and as you can see from this video, we learned and observed a lot about the Maya Civilization.

  • Belize, la splendeur des Mayas Documentaire 2016, 2.5hr.

  • Words Do Matter, 1min. Developed by Belize's Special Envoy for Women and Children in partnership with UNICEF Belize, this video highlights the importance of using language that respects people for who they are. Words are powerful. Words can hurt. Words do matter.

  • Big Chatz Program, 19min. on Open Your Eyes...

  • Seismic Study begins, 20sec. The San Pedro Sun was invited on an exclusive flyover of the site where a seismic survey in the deep offshore territory of Belize east of the Barrier Reef System is taking place. At the site, it was observed that the sonar sea deep survey is already under way and being carried out by a Panamanian registered vessel, The Northern Explorer. The vessel is located at approximately 17.28349 N / 87.70617 W, between the Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Turneffe Atoll and only 10 miles way from the Blue Hole. The vessel is conducting research on behalf of the Minister of Economic Development & Petroleum and the Geology & Petroleum Department as 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 the east of the Yucatan Peninsula. According to the Government of Belize, the purpose of this survey is to gather new regional data to advance the knowledge of the geology and hydrocarbon systems of these geological regions.

  • The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage and island community discuss seismic testing in Belize, 107min.

  • Leader of the Opposition John Briceño invited the media to a press briefing , 1.5min. To call on the Government to give the teachers their salaries & to announce that the Opposition has decided that they will participate on the Senate Select Committee. They are yet to say who will be representing the PUP.

  • Diving Belize Mexico, 4min. Fall of 2015 I traveled to Central America from Colorado with a good friend where we started in El Salvador surfing for two weeks.

  • 22nd BD vaca Belize Hopkins, 8min.

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