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2/16/2012 to 2/29/2012
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Today's Belize News

February 29, 2012

The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!! Quince, Part 3...
He wore his favorite cowboy hat, with the brim wreathing his features in shadows. He had an air of severity about him, seen in the thin, firm line of his lips as he stood, concentrating on the task at hand. Next to him, working side by side, were his four sons. Benjamin, Julian and Mauricio chose to stay home and work the land and animals with their father. They were joined by Antonio, and all together they made progress on the pibil. Two whole pigs had been buried underground, wrapped in layers and layers of plantain leaves. The deliciously spiced pork was being slowly pulled out of the hole where it had lain slowly roasting over its underground furnace. Using the metal hooks that came in handy for just such occasions, they pulled out the entire grate, slowly and methodically, ensuring the precious cargo would eventually land safely in the waiting containers.

Have Your Hotel Listed On The Belize Tourism Board’s Website!
The Belize Tourism Board is excited to announce the launch of its brand new website. You can be part of the website. Receive direct leads to your business with The Belize Vacation Planner, a feature of the site that assists interested travelers to plan their vacation online. When a traveler shows interests that matches your business or offering, you are notified via email so that you can take further advantage of this lead. Send your Hotel Information to Maynor Larrieu ( ): - Name of your Hotel - Owner’s Name - Total amount of Units you have - Phone number including a 1 800 if you have - Fax number - Email address - Website - Mail address - Price range (US$) - Setting (Location) - Facility type - Summary - Images (are optional / Max. 3) Be part of their website!

The San Pedro Sun

VOTE 2012 – Belize CARICOM YOUTH Ambassador Campaign
The CARICOM Youth Ambassadors’ Program (CYAP) is represented in Belize by Dylan Williams and Kera Bowen both CARICOM Youth Ambassadors. In keeping with its mandate to “Ensure that youth have a voice in the decisions that affect them” Belize’s CARICOM Youth Ambassadors have developed a communication strategy to encourage youth to exercise their right to vote and participate in Belize’s democracy. The CARICOM Youth Ambassadors recognize that youth of Belize constitute almost half of Belize’s population and their participation in the general and municipal elections is crucial in influencing the future of Belize. The CYAs also recognize that it is your constitutional right to participate in your country’s governance and democratic process. The CYA therefore challenge youth and the citizenry to participate in an apolitical manner and vote.

Technical Assistance Workshop on Logistics for Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) of Belize
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in collaboration with the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), and Scotia Bank of Belize, is facilitating a Technical Assistance (TA) workshop, on logistics as part of our commitment to develop and enhance the export capacity and competiveness of SMEs in Belize. It will be held at the Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) conference room, 4792 Coney Drive, Belize City, on February 29th to March 1st 2012 starting at 8:30am. IIC has developed the FINPYME Program (Innovative Financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)) as a diagnostic tool for SMEs; intended to help them improve their competiveness and facilitate their access to potential sources of financing. Phase 1 of this program was launched in 2009, whereby thirteen (13) companies were examined to assess their competitiveness which was conducted by Belizean consultants. Phase 2 of this program is the Group Technical Assistance workshops with the continued objective of enhancing their competiveness.

How to Vote in The People’s Referendum
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 is the day when all registered voters of Belize will be able to go to the polls to vote on the issue of offshore oil exploration and drilling as the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage will be carrying out a national People’s Referendum allowing all registered Belizeans to vote on the issue. The Coalition is aiming at capturing the opinion of at least 10% of the registered voters. The People’s Referendum gives voice to the thousands of Belizeans who never got a chance to vote when the offshore referendum triggered under the Referendum Act and was derailed on the basis of unverifiable signatures. The unverified signatures were largely based on inconsistencies between signatures on the record cards at the Election and Boundaries Office and the signatures on the petition.

Ambergris Today

University Of Belize on the Roll in San Pedro
The University of Belize (UB) is now on the roll in San Pedro Town thanks to a partnership in education between San Pedro Junior College and UB. The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed by President of the University Dr. Cary Frazer and Mrs. Martha Guerrero, Chairperson of San Pedro Junior College on Friday, February 17, 2012. Present to witness the signing were Minister of Tourism Hon. Manuel Heredia; Dean of UB, Dr. Vincent Palacio; Chair of the Dept. Ms. Sharrett Yearwood; Dean of SPJC, Mr. Gustavo Ellis; and President of SPJC Mr. Angel Nuñez. The objective of the program is to enhance the continuous development of the human resources within the tourism sector.

Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Belizeans
What you weighed yourself lately? Have you been eating healthy or exercising daily? If you haven’t well its time you do so! But why, you might ask. Well did you know that more than 60% of the adult population in Belize is over weight?! That’s right and because of that the Ministry of Health has recently released a dietary guideline as a preventative approach for good nutrition practices.


Guatemala Cruise Day 3, Part 2: A long day in Rio Dulce (continued...)
When you last left our intrepid crew, we had just left our morning tour of the Castillo de San Felipe. After that, it was time to venture into town for more exploring. Simon had advised us to catch one of the vans that rides through the area picking up passengers to go to town. This area is not populated enough to support full-size buses, I guess, so the vans stood in, and it was amazing how many people they managed to pack into these utilitarian vehicles. We were able to catch one fairly quickly and hop aboard along with several locals. More stops were made to pick up additional locals along the way as well. The ride to town was approximately 10 minutes and cost 35 Quetzales for the five of us (just under $5 total).

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Cayo Belize
Visiting Mountain Pine Ridge Forest by Henry (Zac) Zacharias A long time friend from Canada came for several weeks and we plan to go to Mexico for a week together but first, a trip to the main land to explore the Pine Ridge Forest and learn a bit about how Belizeans live (or party) on the mainland. We left San Pedro Saturday morning and made our way to San Ignacio. We took the boat that stopped in Caye Caulker before going to Belize City, shared a taxi to the bus station and packed ourselves into the 1“chicken” bus to San Ignacio. At first it was kind of fun to watch and engage with the locals getting on and off with their bags, boxes and 5 gallon pails. It was getting dark as we pulled into San Ignacio and our butts had long since had enough of sitting on the hard seats at the back of the bus. A taxi took us to the top of the hill to our hotel, Cahal Pech where we checked in and had our first meal since breakfast in San Pedro.

Tropic Ferry: A New Way to Travel From Belize International Airport to San Pedro
While sailing up north on the Rum Punch 2 a few days ago, I noticed a boat I've never seen before, the Tropic Ferry. More investigation and I found out this: it is the newest way to travel to and from the International Airport outside of Belize City to Ambergris Caye. And they drop off customers all along the island. At your home or resort's dock. When you arrive at the International Airport, you will be met by someone with a sign with your name on it. You will take a short 3-5 minute shuttle ride to a restaurant called The Oar House in Ladyville where you will board the boat on the river. The boats are 40 person water taxi type boats. On the trip, you enjoy free refreshments and rum punch and a little music. An hour and 15 minutes - 45 minutes later (depending on your location) you are dropped off on your dock. The price is $75USD one way or $125USD round trip. According to management, the boat is getting more and more popular with people that are staying far south (maybe at a private house) or farther north. It would also be useful if you are travelling with a larger pet. They are going 1-2 times a day right now and 5 days a week but it is all reservation driven.

Swimming with the sharks can be good.
I have a metaphorical fear of sharks. I have grown up hearing phrases like, “Get out of the pool with the sharks!” in reference to keeping your finances in order, and staying away from predatory lending/creditors – or in fact, staying away from bad business in general. Sharks are the anthropomorphic bad dudes; beings who care nothing for your soul, who only want to take, take, take. Being called a ‘shark’ is being labeled all that is greedy and predatory in man. I watched live sharks circling, during one of my many junior club visits to the Baltimore Aquarium. I stood, pressed against the thick plexiglass, looking into their staring, dilated eyes, pre-teen-eeewwing over what looked like hamburger meat coming from the gill slits on the sides of their heads.(It was in reality, part of their gill structure.) As a result, I was scared and disdainful of the them. When it came to actual live shark behavior, I knew very little. That was until today.

Getting Painted at Carnaval in Ambergris Caye, Belize
This past weekend was the annual Carnaval celebration on Ambergris Caye in Belize. I had been planning a “work” trip down in February, which coincidentally just happens to be my favorite spot in the world. What I didn’t initially realize was that my trip coincided with Carnaval so I was eager to learn what made up their local version of our Mardi Gras style celebration. I heard a lot of stories and read a lot of articles, but only two things really stuck out in my head. Rotten eggs and paint. I was warned that people bury eggs in the ground for several weeks and then lob them at passersby throughout the three-day celebration. Are you kidding me? And then there was the paint. After the rotten eggs description, I was not sure I wanted to know more about the paint aspect. As I figured, festival-goers wind up being the canvas as children and adults transform each other into a walking rainbow of water-based paint colors. At this point, all I am still thinking is rotten eggs + paint = destroyed DSLR equipment.

Channel 7

Yolanda Schakron Says She Is Renouncing
Yolanda Schakron is no longer a PUP Candidate - she was disqualified because of her dual citizenship on nomination day. But, by our reckoning, she's still a public figure - as she has said that a vote for her brother Martin, is a vote for her. And so, we wondered, has she gone ahead with the process of renunciation? She initiated the process before the nomination - on the grounds that it was irrevocable - so even though she was still a US citizen at the point of nomination, she could argue that it would only be a matter of time before it was fully renounced. But, the logic didn't work; her candidacy was rejected, and so maybe there was some wiggle room in that "irrevocable process." But we couldn't find out from the US Embassy, because she has revoked the permission she gave them to speak about her case. So when we met her at a COLA press conference today, we asked her about it and here's what she said: Jules Vasquez "You have not - to my knowledge - made a formal complaint of burglary or theft about your passport."

Francis Smith Says PUP Voters Will Be Disenfranchised
And while Schakron is no longer running for Lake I - the PUP Candidate that is contesting the adjoining division is crying foul. Today, the constituency committee for Pickstock issued a slightly overheated press release accusing the Elections and Boundaries Office of colluding with the UDP candidate Wilfred Sedi Elrington. The committee points to the fact that Pickstock - which is spread out across both sides of the Belize River near the Belcan bridge - is the only division in the city with one polling station. It used to have two - one on the northside at the ITVET, and one on the Southside at the Civic Center. But now, there's only one polling station in the constituency and it is St. Luke's Methodist on Mahogany Street. Dr. Francis Smith says that puts him at a disadvantage because the PUP stronghold is on the northside and voters will be hard-pressed to trudge over to the southside to vote. He explained his protest to us today:

BEL Says Overheating Caused Outage
Last night a blackout forced a five hour power outage across most of Belize City. IT happened right at Primetime- and for the first time in memory, it forced us to cancel our evening newscast. So, first off, to all our viewers who tuned in at 6:30 and then at 10:00, wondering what was up with the news - we do apologize, it was beyond our control and we are taking steps to make sure it does not happen again. But - it did happen last night - and that's why we aired Monday's news in our first ever morning newscast. A little confusing, but if you missed it, the entire newscast is now posted at But moving on from our problem to the problem about fifty thousand Belize City residents faced between 5 and 11 p.m. yesterday when they had to get by without electricity. BEL sent out a press release today which says that the unplanned power outage in Belize City was caused by faulty equipment at the Magazine Road Substation.

Homeless Man Dies, Police Have No Suspects
Three weeks ago on the 8th of February a homeless man, 40 year old Evan Jones was hit by a stray bullet in battlefield park. He appears to have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time - as the bullets appeared to have been meant for some young men who were fixing a flat tyre near the hot dog vendors. Jones was shot to the rib cage, and while the story faded from the headlines, he died from his injuries over the weekend. The case is now being treated as a homicide, but no one has been arrested.

Honduran 26 year-old Evelyn Solis, a Honduran National, who has been living in Belize for 3 years now, has been ordered by the courts to be deported back to her country of origin, even though she now has a Belizean child. Yesterday morning, at around 10, Solis was caught by immigration officials on a Hattieville bus heading to Belize. When she was asked to present her travel documents, she wasn't in possession of her passport or her visitor's permit. Immigration Officials took her into custody and it was determined she has been here since February 24, 2009. She entered Belize through the Big Creek Port, and was granted a valid permit to stay until March 11, 2010. As a result of her over-extended stay, she was charged with the offense of failure to comply with a visitor's permit, and she was brought before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today.

GSU Makes Multiple Arrests: Guns, Weed, Carnal Knowledge
This morning the Gang Supression Unit made multiple arrests at a Curassow Street address in Belize City. Between 8:40 a.m. and 12.00 p.m. a search was conducted at the Parham's yard which consists of 3 houses and three shacks. The first arrest was Kenroy Parham, an unemployed 23 year old man. He was sitting in front of his house when he was searched by the police, and a loaded black 9 mm Sig Sauer Brand pistol without serial number was found in the waist of his pants. The gun was loaded with 9 rounds of 9 mm ammunition, and as a result, Parham was arrested and charged with Kept Unlicensed Firearm and Ammunition.

COLA Scolds PM Over Superbond
There's only one week to go before the double election and for all those who want to rock the boat, send a message or get some free publicity - now is the time. We don't know quite where the COLA activist group fits into that free for all - but today they called a press conference basically to scold the Prime Minister for his outspoken statements on the Superbond. Now the COLA members are known to make some pretty outspoken statements themselves - but the group is more circumspect and measured on this one - and is urging the PM to do the same. They certainly got the attention of their fellow activists - it was like an Alphabet Soup of activist groups up in the audience at the Biltmore today, from the BFJ, to CIFOS, to BELIZECAN, to the Commoners, to the VIP and a couple others who may still be buying a few vowels. And before this sympathetic audience, COLA President Giovanni Brackett told the PM, hold it down:

Chetumal Citco Visits
Almost a year ago right after the newly elected Mayor of Chetumal, Carlos Mario Villanueva took office, Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya and a delegation travelled to the northern border city to meet with him. The trip was to renew old acquaintances and re-establish a sister city relationship that was once enjoyed by both coastal cities decades ago. Today, as part of the ongoing bilateral efforts to explore mutual areas of interest - especially in the areas of tourism and economic development - a group of 15 Chetumal city councilors met with their Belize City counterparts this morning at the Radisson Hotel. Jim McFadzean was there, and has this report.

Man Treated and Released After Being Shot
As we reported in our morning newscast, one man was shot during last night's blackout. Around 7:15, Kurlyn Hamilton, a 35 year old former policeman was standing on Gill Street when an unknown gunman rode past on a bicycle and fired two shots. He was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he was treated for the wound and was released. Hamilton's brother, Elvis was recently killed in a motorcycle accident.

Preparations Intensify For Prince Harry's Visit
Prince Harry arrives in Belize on Friday - the first stop in a Caribbean Tour. Preparations are in high gear - at the Tourism Board, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government Press Office. The visit is a big budget production - with very many moving parts - all of which have to move "just so." But it's not like the Queen is visiting - it's just her grandson, and his Press Officer told us he likes regular stuff. Here's his explanation: Miguel Head - Press Secretary, Prince Harry "He's heard a lot about the country from the queen when she visited before and also from his brother, he came privately a number of years ago. And for him, this is a wonderful opportunity to extend to queen's good wish to her people in Belize, on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee, but also for a chance to look around this beautiful country for himself. The prince is very informal guy. He is - during his normal working life - he's a captain in the army. And in that capacity, he's like any other officer - I mean he can dance; he can have a good time; and he can laugh with people. But at the same time, he also is a prince as well and he represents the dignity of the monarchy when he is here. So you will see a great mix of Prince Harry, both as a prince and the person as well when he's here. And I am sure he will have a normal fun, especially the Belizean lead him into the fun. I think that's the trick."

Senior Citizen Found Dead In Freetown Sibun
The body of an elderly man was found on the riverbank of the Sibun River in Freetown Sibun late this evening. It was identified as 73 year old Francisco Reyes - a resident of the village who was known to many as Pancho. According to villagers, Reyes had been missing since Sunday evening and on Monday a search team began looking for him. Late this evening his body was found near the riverbank hooked in some branches. 7news was there - and the village Chairlady spoke to Monica Bodden... Chairlady of Freetown Sibun "It is one of our senior citizens, and he left out from Sunday morning heading to Hattieville. And unfortunately, I don't know what happened. But he went down or he lose control, slipped in the river and drowned."

Terrifying Home Invasion Reported In Corozal
Tonight there are reports of a home invasion that happened on the Consejo Road in Corozal over the weekend. 56 year old Mark Anthony Ramirez reported to police that he along with his family left their home for about an hour and when they returned they noticed that their back door was opened. While entering the house, 3 masked men held up Ramirez, his wife and their three year old son hostage, tied up for almost 3 hours before the police were alerted. LOVE FM reports that When the police arrived at the home of Ramirez, it resulted in a shoot out between officers and the two men -who managed to escape from police. According to reports, the men made off with more than 10 thousand dollars in cash and another 10 thousand in jewelry.

Drilling in the Dark?
Tomorrow OCEANA and the Coalition will hold their so-called people's referendum. Organizers are calling on the public to come out and vote on whether they feel offshore oil drilling should be allowed in Belize. Now, it's not a real referendum in the formal sense of the word, in fact, it's a symbolic gesture timed - it seems - to nearly coincide with next week's election. But organizers hope the turnout is powerful enough to send a message to policy - makers in Belmopan - whoever they will be after March eighth. But beyond the timing and symbolism - the issue of offshore drilling is a rife one - it puts into play several complex issues, from conservation and long term benefits of coastal resources, to immediate tax revenues and medium term development. A complex interplay of issues, to be sure, but on this one, there's no middle ground, either you're for it or against. Tonight, special correspondent, Janelle Chanona examines both poles of the divisive issue. Here's her report on what one marine biologist calls, "Drilling In the Dark".

Other Acts Of Miscreancy And Lawlessness
In other acts of miscreancy and lawlessness from the weekend, a Roaring Creek infant was injured when several gunshots were fired at her father's vehicle. Reginald Ruiz, was driving his Mitsubishi Montero Sport Vehicle from the Another World Area, and a gunman opened fire on his vehicle when he slowed down for a culvert. The windshield shattered and his one year old daughter received scratches above her ear and bruises to her face. He identified the gunman by name and police are now looking for that person. And On Friday in Belize City, a Cosmetologist was assaulted then later intimidated by the same man. Denya Oviedo was walking on Raccoon Street when she was approached by a dark complexioned man on a bicycle. He punched her to the left side of her face hard enough to cause her nose and mouth to bleed.

Bar Assoc New President
The Bar Association held its Annual General Meeting last week Thursday - and - with all the timeliness of those slow judges they like to criticize - the Bar graced us with a press release yesterday. Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, was elected president - taking over from his wife Jackie Marshalleck who held the presidency before him. Magali Marin Young is Vice President, Edwin Flowers is treasurer and Agnes Segura-Gillett is Secretary. Denys Barrow, Darlene Vernon, and Andrew Bennett are Bar Committee Members. They were elected to serve for 1 year.

PM Leaves With Wife For Cancer Treatment
Earlier on in the news, you saw the Prime Minister speak about his meeting with bankers. That interview was conducted yesterday and Yesterday he leaves the country. According to an official release, he is leaving to accompany his wife for another round of cancer treatment. He will be gone for two days, returning on Thursday, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega will hold over in the interim.

Darts Is A Sport! You'll Know Why In July
You may think of darts as a bar-room past-time, but it is a serious sport, played on a lucrative, highly competitive level worldwide. And now a major regional event is coming to Belize. The Caribbean Cup of Darts will be played in Belize form July 20 to 30th, 2012. President of the Caribbean Darts Organization, Malcom Spicer, was in Belize over the weekend to scout out the country. He told us it will be a large and worthwhile event, with teams from over 16 countries participating - and he isnsited, Darts is a real sport:..

Executive Authority Caves To Banking Realities
Last week Wednesday at the launch of the UDP manifesto - the Prime Minister boldly announced that he would be meeting with bankers Yesterday to hammer out, quote "the kind of agreement that will see an immediate drop across the board in the lending rates in the banks of this country." Well, that heady prediction was tempered by the blunt force of reality when he did hold that meeting Yesterday. At around 10:00 the bosses of all the major banks went in to meet the PM at his Belize City Office - and when they left at 11:30, all sides were cordial, but it was clear that no agreement to instantaneously lower rates had been arrived at. The plan going forward is more measured than might have been expected:

Another Belmopan Killing
Belmopan has witnessed another murder. On Friday we told you about Benito Mendoza who was executed with a gunshot to the head, and tonight the story is about Edwardo Martinez who was stabbed to death. They happened in different parts of Belmopan - but it's unusual for the capital to have such a high frequency of killings. Monica Bodden went west to find out what this one was about:

Rodwell Williams Gives Emotional Testimony
The Belizean public has seen Attorney Rodwell Williams return to full health after his near-fatal shooting on May 31, 2010. Williams, who is the Prime Minister's law partner returned to work last year, but has not given any public accounts of the ordeal he faced on that night. Neither has he spoken about his road to recovery. Well, that silence was broken yesterday when the first trial without jury started in the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Taitt - Vidal indicated to the court that she intends to call 15 witnesses on behalf of the prosecution. She called 3 of those witnesses Yesterday, including Williams who laid down the foundation of the case, by presenting the details of the crime. Williams spoke almost clinically as he narrated the event from the time he left his office until when he was shot and slumped to the sidewalk. At the point where he spoke about the doctors at Belize Healthcare Partners trying to extract the bullet, however, he became emotional. He struggled with describing that procedure of the doctors having their hands in his body searching for it.

Grandmother Knocked Down And Killed in Biscayne
On Saturday evening, a grandmother was knocked down and killed in Biscayne Village at mile 21 on the Northern Highway. It happened around 6:45 as 67 year old Constance Andrewin was riding from Church to her home, which is nearby. And almost directly in front of her home, 45 year old David Zetina, was driving a pick-up truck towards Belize City and was blinded by the high beam of an oncoming vehicle. By the time he saw Andrewin, he was upon her, and could not stop; he hit her as he applied brakes. Yesterday her daughter, Jerrilyn Flowers told us that her mother always rides on the shoulder of the road, off the pavement:..

Cops Jacked A Hilux?
A pair of police officers have been implicated in the theft of a Toyota Hilux. It started early on Sunday morning when three men broke into a car lot at the back of the Texaco Gas Station at mile one on the northern highway. They got in by burrowing through the fence at the rear of the compound. Once inside, they broke into three vehicles, but managed to start only one of them - a green 2010 Toyota Hilux. They then broke the padlock on the fence and drove on out of the un-guarded compound. The vehicle was reported stolen - and so all police formations were put on alert. And lo' and behold, around 9:00 am on Sunday morning in Belmopan a police patrol on the Caribbean Investors Road came upon a green Hilux, driven by 30 year old Police Constable Virgil Perez, attached to the Patrol Branch and 23 year old Police Constable Dwayne Salgaro attached to the Mahogany Precinct.

Epic Evening Blackout Stops 7News
First off, we apologize to you, our viewers, for being unable to put on last night's news. That's the first time in memory that's happened to us at 7news, and it is due to an epic blackout that went from 10 minutes to five, right up to ten minutes to eleven. It caused an outage throughout most of Belize City - and power was only available beyond mile one on both western and northern highways. That left an estimated sixty thousand people - a fifth of the country without power - and that included our studio her eon Albert street. The cause was a fire at BEL's Magazine Road substation - which forced the outage and caused damage to an industrial transformer.

A Daylight Killing On Mahogany
Belize City residents will know that Mahogany Street is one of the busiest roads in the city. But this morning around 9:30, a 52 year old father of six was killed right on the sidewalk. It seems John Lamb got into a misunderstanding with a younger man who struck him. The force of the blow knocked him down and witnesses say he hit his head and never got up again. 7news was on the scene - and we spoke to his family:

Channel 5

Belize City in darkness
Our newscast was delayed on Monday night for about two hours due to a power outage. We are able to get back on air at about eight-thirty after we had worked out the kinks on Coney Drive as well as Regent Street where our transmitters are located. But the residents in the old capital endured ...

P.U.P. Pickstock mad about polling station change
P.U.P. Pickstock Standard Bearer, Dr. Francis Smith, expressed outrage earlier today over changes in polling stations in the constituency for the March seventh general elections. According to Smith, voters previously polled at the Belize Technical College, now the ITVET Building on Freetown Road and the Belize City Center. Following the conclusion of a national re-districting ...

Much Ado About Nothing…P.U.P. requested change
But there is good news for Smith; late this evening Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, told News Five that the Central Christian School on the compound of Central Assembly of God will now be used as the second polling station for the Pickstock constituency. When we spoke to Alberto August, chairman of the Elections & ...

Drunken machete to neck murder in Bladen
A man known to enjoy his liquor was murdered in the south of the country. Early Monday morning forty-five year old Felix Cucul and his sister Carmen Cucul were socializing at a bus stop at Bladen Village in Punta Gorda. The drinking resumed in the night and they were joined by Dion Foreman around eight-thirty. ...

Place your bets; Who will win 2012 Elections?
Tonight’s question is: Who do you think will win the 2012 elections; P.U.P., U.D.P. or others? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to

COLA chides PM for Superbond Comment
The super bond and the thirteenth senator are hot button issues for a number of NGOs. At least eight of them that range from a one man show to the more established, took a consolidated position that is contrary to the government’s. At the launch of the U.D.P. manifesto last week, the Prime Minister had ...

PM joins wife on medical visit
When the NGOs were making a statement, the Prime Minister was departing Belize for Miami. His wife, Kim Simpliss Barrow, will be undergoing another round of chemotherapy treatment for cancer. It will put the PM away for two days. He is scheduled to return on Thursday.

SATIIM blames US Capital Energy for Fire in Reserve
There has been long standing friction between US Capital Energy and the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM). That’s because the oil company is conducting seismic testing and has plans to drill in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, which SATIIM co-manages. Well, over the weekend it went from friction to fire in the protected ...

Belize Can President on nationalization
Not much has been publicized about the movement called Belize Can. Its president Patrick Menzies has been very active during the 2011 unrest which was incited by bus owners who felt that restructured road service permits would have crippled their businesses. During the COLA press conference this morning at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, ...

New Bar Association President
There are changes in the leadership of the Bar Association. At its annual general meeting at the Radisson this past Thursday, a new executive committee was elected. The baton was passed from Jackie Marshalleck to Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck as president while Attorney Magali Marin Young was elected as Vice President. Edwin Flowers is the ...

Succotz Village Council feels slighted by Royal Visit
Prince Harry, the younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, is coming to visit Belize at the end of the week as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Channel Five will be having live broadcasts of the event and a number of US networks and agencies will cover the event. But the official visit ...

Undocumented Salvadorans and Peruvian busted
Four Honduran nationals, who were caught in Belize without proper documents were each fined a thousand dollars last week and are currently awaiting expulsion. Another group of illegal immigrants had a similar fate when they appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer late Monday evening. Salvadoran nationals Melvin Omar Gonzalez Ramos and Manuel Gonzalez as well ...

Where is Julissa Westby who accused cops?
A phone and assorted jewelry that were allegedly stolen from the police exhibit room last March resulted in two police women being placed on interdiction and charged with Theft. Back then, the outraged complainant, Julissa Westby, took her plight to the media but today she was nowhere to be found for the case to get ...

P.U.P. Rally reigns over Cayo
The opposition People’s United Party picked up momentum in the west over the past weekend. The west has traditionally been considered a U.D.P. stronghold, but with the thousands that turned up on Sunday, the opposition is upbeat. There are five constituencies at stake so the P.U.P. machinery geared up for the event. News Five’s Delahnie ...

A visit from neighboring Quintana Roo
Among the last guests that the current city council will receive before the Municipal Elections is a thirteen member team from the town of Othon P. Blanco in neighboring Quintana Roo. The courtesy call from the visiting delegation was to discuss ongoing projects between the sister cities. The representatives of the two cities say that ...

Mayor Moya moving on
With just a week before the March seventh Municipal Elections, a new mayor is expected to take over city hall. Today, News Five caught up with two-time Mayor Zenaida Moya, who is winding down her duties. Moya ascended quickly to fame and fell from grace just as quickly when she became the first sitting mayor ...

Scotiabank donates to Living Hope
Living Hope Preparatory School, which offers a second chance to primary and high school dropouts, relocated to Maskall Street last September after the Atlantic Bank donated a building to them. And today, another bank is providing a major boost to the non-profit organization. Through its Brighter Future initiative, Scotiabank handed over a cheque for twenty ...

Muy Caliente KTV Latino
It’s Tuesday and that means the Bliss is the place to be for a night packed with entertainment. So get ready for another round of performances in KTV Latino season three. Tonight the Group A singers will be stepping up to the mic and you get to decide if they have what it takes to ...


The Belize City council held a ceremony at the Radisson Fort George Hotel as part of the Belize City-Othon P. Blanco Sister City Official Visit. Visiting from Othon P. Blanco in Quintana Roo Mexico were councilors of the municipality of the municipality, with the exception of the mayor, Carlos Mario Villanueva, who couldn’t attend. The ceremony consisted of a meet and greet session with the mayor and councilors followed by open discussions by elected officials and technical staff. Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya told us more about this special occasion. Mayor Zenaida Moya “We don’t have land to be doing agriculture and all that so one of the areas we are looking at has to do with tourism, the financial sector, services are what Belize City can really push. The historical and the cultural aspect of Belize City are such that we have a lot that we can put forth to Othon P. Blanco, to Mexico. They have a population I believe of over 150 million people; I hope my statistics is correct. They have a lot that we can gain from in terms of their residents visiting our municipality, visiting the country. We have less than a million people and by them coming over and sharing with us, I think it can help the livelihoods of so many families.”

A shooting incident last night in Belize City has left one man injured. Thirty five year old Kurlyn Hamilton was shot in the in right foot as he stood in front of a yard on Gill Street. The shooting happened around seven fifteen last night. Police say their investigation so far reveals that a man rode by on a bicycle and fired two shots, one of which caught Hamilton who was with another man. Neither Hamilton of the other man was able to recognize the shooter. Police investigations continue.

Corozal Police are looking for two men following a brazen home invasion in Corozal this past weekend. On Saturday, 56 year old, Mark Anthony Ramirez and his family left their home on the Consejo Road and when they returned an hour later they realized that someone else was in the house. Two masked men had made their entry through the back door and held up Ramirez, his wife and their three year old son inside the house. The men held the family hostage for almost three hours before police became aware of the situation. When the police quick response team descended on the area a shootout ensued and by the time police reinforcement arrived on the scene the men had fled into the dark. The men made good their escape with more than ten thousand US dollars in cash and another 10 thousand dollars in jewelry. Police are looking for two men in connection with this incident.

The political tension in the Toledo District has been heating up as general elections draw closer and over the past few weeks we have been receiving reports of politically motivated criminal acts. The latest incident reported is damage to the property of a businessman in Santa Elena in the Toledo District. Paul Mahung reporting... Three persons have been charged with damage to property of a business man in Santa Elena, Toledo District. Owner of the damaged property says that he strongly feels and he alleges that the attack on the building which accommodates his family home and grocery store is politically motivated. Santa Elena Village grocery owner Armando Choc in speaking to Love News expressed his disappointment in the incident and spoke of what happened. Armando Choc – Store owner “I am a businessman of Santa Elena Village in the Toledo District. On the 18th of February around 6:30 p.m., a pickup load of UDP campaigners for Juan Coy came, attacked my house and business place, throw stones and bottles damaging the roof and in front of my building. In the building at the time were some family members and customers who ran out of the building fearing for their lives. Villagers who heard the noise come to their rescue. I reported the matter to the police. I am totally disappointed and I want the nation to know that what Mr. Juan Coy campaigners are doing is wrong, I want Mr. Barrow to look into this matter. This is a bad example for people who are trying to lead our country.”

The government’s stance on issue of the thirteenth senator has triggered the Committee Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, to call a press conference. At his party’s launching of the UDP Manifesto last week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, said that his government would not install a thirteenth senator. This was in sharp contrast to the UDP’s 2008 manifesto promise that it would do so. And today while COLA’s disgust started off on that note, the organization’s President, Giovanni Brackett, also went on to include their position on the Prime Minister’s comments at last week’s manifesto launch when he said that the creditors of Belize’s super bond, would have to come to the negotiating table to agree to new, less burdensome interest rates. This was what Prime Minister Barrow said in part on the super bond, if his government is elected to power. Prime Minister Dean Barrow “This 8 ½% interest rate we will not suffer. Belize is a country that is a country of honor, we do not easily renege on commitments but if there are commitments that in effect represent a Jack Boot on the throat of the Belizean people, then unless those that are applying that Jack Boot are prepared to re-negotiate, they are going to see that the Belizean people are not going to take it, we won’t lie down so that anybody could take chance on us. The bottom line is Mr. bond holder come to the table and re-negotiate with Belizeans, you are obliged to give us a better deal and people of this country will accept no less.” Brackett said that the Prime Minister’s approach was a bit haughty.

Election Day is drawing near and there have been reports and allegations of wrongdoing back and forth between political candidates. Today the PUP Standard bearer for the Pickstock Division Dr. Francis Smith issued a release in which he states residents of the division are “outraged by the blatant collusion between the Elections and Boundaries Office and Mr. Wilfred “Sedi” Erlington to discourage voters in his constituency from coming forth to vote. Dr. Francis Smith – PUP Standard bearer, Pickstock “In the past the Pickstock Constituency has been divided into three polling areas, zone 6, 16A and 17 A. Zone 6 which is on the north side of Belize City would usually vote at the Belize Technical College and zones 16A and 17A would vote at the Civic Center, that has been changed now and there is only one polling station and that is at St. Luke’s Methodist on Mahogany Street. I have been around trying to inform the people but I find it alarming that most people they don’t seem to be aware of it and they are resisting, the north side constituents coming over to the south side and I think there is a deliberate attempt on the part of the Elections and Boundaries Department to discourage people on the north side and I feel that the north side has been a PUP stronghold and I believe it is for this reason. Politics apart I really think it is just common decency and courtesy to facilitate voters so if you look at all the other constituencies, Fort George, Freetown, Caribbean Shores you will see that there is more than one polling station and the reason is well you need to facilitate voters so it is extremely unfair for people who live on North Front Street or New Road or Victoria Street to walk all the way from there to Mahogany Street especially at this time where the level of skepticism is unprecedented and they are predicting a low voter turnout.

A near seven hour long blackout to parts of Belize City has been resolved, and the state-owned electricity provider has issued a statement explaining the power outage. Belize Electricity Limited, BEL says the extended blackout was due to a faulty vacuum switch on the capacitor Banks at the Magazine Road Substation. The BEL statement says that the faulty switch caused equipment at the substation to overheat, which necessitated the unplanned interruption of electricity supply to Belize City beginning at four fifty two yesterday evening. Technicians were able to isolate the faulty vacuum switch and capacitor banks just before eleven o’clock last night and power was restored to the entire Belize City. BEL says that technicians worked throughout the night to replace the faulty vacuum switch and there was another brief power outage just before six o’clock this morning to reconnect the capacitor banks and to fully restore the system.


Burglars Get Off With $15,000.00
In Yesterdays newscast we told you about the home invasion that took place on Saturday night in the outskirts of the Corozal District about a mile out on the Consejo road which resulted in a shoot out between the criminals and law enforcers. Last night details were still sketchy but tonight we got the full details. Twenty one year old Ysenia Oliva, her husband, 56 year old Mark Ramirez and their four year old son left home about 3:30 in the evening to run some errands. About an hour later when the family arrived home they were surprised by two masked men. One of the men was armed with handgun and wasted no time in pointing the weapon at the family and that is when, according to Oliva, her worst nightmare began.

PUP Orange Walk East Standard Bearer Says Take The Money And Vote Them Out!
Last night we passed an interview where two registered voters from Orange Walk East claimed that they had been paid a total of $150.00 to bring down their P.U.P flags and put up two UDP flags. In order to establish their case the men showed us two checks one for $60.00 written out to Carmelita Government School and the second for $90.00 written out to Trial Farm Government School. On Friday February 24th Israel Ocampo was at home when he was visited by campaigners of the UDP who questioned him about his necessities. Ocampo told them he had two children that needed to be transferred from one school to the next but due to lack of financing he was unable to do so. Of course taking advantage of the family’s necessity the UDP offered to pay for the transfers in exchange that Ocampo, who has always been a P.U.P supporter, bring down his party’s flag and replace it with two UDP flags.

BPA Says BAHA Is Not Playing Fair
The poultry business is one of the largest domestic businesses in Belize catering to empty plates all over the country. With such high demand it is important to maintain the country poultry disease free which is what has the Belize Poultry Association on high alert tonight. It is reported that the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, has issued a license to a producer in shipyard located in the Orange Walk District, for the importation of large quantities of poultry. And this is what has the Belize Poultry Association up in arms because all indications are that the ten thousand broiler chickens did not undergo necessary inspections by BAHA before entering the country. Victor Gongora, Veterinarian, Belize Poultry Association. “The concern is with the Belize Customs because whenever live animals are imported from a country they are a very high risk to bringing disease so under normal conditions before any country would issue a permit for live animals to come in then the diseases would need to be cleared up,

On The Campaign Trial With Doctor Mendez
With the double elections just a few days’ away politicians are hot on the campaign trail and today Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez once again hit the streets to gather support from residents of the Louisiana Area. Without a doubt all eyes will be on the East come March 7th because Area Representative Marcel Cardona has switched sides and is now campaigning for Mendez, leaving Landy Burns on the side. Janine Ayuso-Reporting Today the Louisiana Area in the Orange Walk District was patrolled by Dr. Mendez and his campaign team. The street was covered in blue as campaigners walked behind the doctor chanting and hollering his name, showing their full support for the man who will bring change to the east. Mendez personally went from house to house listening to the people’s cries and insuring them that healthy leadership was on its way. Without a doubt Dr. Mendez is making his voice heard and the people are responding to his protest against the blatant UDP.

Corozal Inaugurates House Of Culture
History and culture; combined they provide us with our own unique identity. With that in mind this past Friday Corozal residents inaugurated their house of culture. It was a well attended ceremony with over 700 people witnessing the cutting of the ribbon at the same time being the first ones to view the historical exhibits on display. Today, as we toured the house of culture, Debra Wilkes Gray, Visual Arts Coordinator for the Institute of Creative Arts told CTV3 News that the house of culture in Corozal was long overdue. Debra Wilkes Gray, Visual Arts Coordinator, Institute of Creative Arts (ICA) “This is to launch the inauguration we selected ten Corozal Artists, people who live and breathe the air here in Corozal daily, so we are looking at wood products, textiles, painting, photography as well as we open with two of eco’s programs, visual arts programs that we are doing one is the developmental art program a year long process that we have twelve students, they come in twice a month with an artist who is also an instructor here and we have at the back we have a village environmental art program that we initiated in November where we go out to the villages, different villages, six classes we are focusing on women teaching them how to use a thrown away items and turning them into art or saleable product.”

Belize City In Darkness for Six Hours
Yesterday just before the 5:00 o’clock rush hour in Belize City the electricity went off. The blackout, which pitched the old Capital into total darkness by nightfall, lasted for almost 6 hours. Across the City, shops and restaurants pulled down their shutters and closed their businesses unable to guarantee the security of employees and their patrons. In their shuttered homes children were forced to do homework by candle light. The security cameras across Belize City, which serve as a deterrent to crime and allow police to keep an eye on the hot spots in the city, went blank, and police officers had to rely on flash lights to conduct regular patrols. The Government owned and controlled Belize Electricity Limited who estimated that electricity would have been restored to Belize City much earlier than it did, blamed stated that the cause of the blackout was due faulty equipment at their Magazine Road Station, the largest in Belize City.


Mexican municipal officials on official visit to Belize
The Belize City council today hosted a delegation from Othon P. Blanco as part of its sister city relations. Visiting from Othon P. Blanco in Quintana Roo Mexico were councilors of the municipality, with the exception of Mayor Carlos Mario Villanueva, who couldn’t attend. The ceremony consisted of a meet and greet session with the mayor and councilors followed by open discussions by elected officials and technical staff. Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya told us more about the special occasion. The first councilor for the Municipality of Othon P. Blanco, Licenciada Miriam Osnaya Sanchez says that the councilors are here to countersign a fellowship project between Belize and Mexico. After lunch, the group was given a tour of Belize City.

Plans finalized for royal visit
It was in February 1994 that Queen Elizabeth the Second visited Belize for the second time, and now, eighteen years later, her grandson, Prince Henry, better known as Prince Harry, is scheduled to make an overnight stop in the jewel as part of a wider tour of the region. Today the media was briefed of the visit and our roles as we cover the Royal visit on Friday and Saturday of Prince Harry. Press Secretary to Prince harry, Miguel Head, days that the Prince is eagerly anticipating his visit with Belizeans. Prince Harry will arrive on Friday and, amidst strict security detail, will be chauffeured to designated locations in the country for planned events before leaving on Saturday for the Bahamas. The media will be afforded the opportunity to report on the Royal Visit and Love FM and Love Television will be there to bring you highlights.

New playground for Hopkins village in Children's Issues
A playground has been erected for the children of Hopkins Village in the Stann Creek District. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports.

PUP candidate complains about alleged irregularities
Election Day is drawing near and there have been reports and allegations of wrongdoing back and forth between political candidates. Today the PUP Standard bearer for the Pickstock Division Dr. Francis Smith issued a release in which he states residents of the division are “outraged by the blatant collusion between the Elections and Boundaries Office and Mr. Wilfred “Sedi” Erlington to discourage voters in his constituency from coming forth to vote. Smith has forwarded his concern to the media, the OAS observer mission in Belize and all international organizations in Belize. In speaking to Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai a couple minutes before news time this evening, she told Love News that there is no collusion as claimed by Dr. Smith. She says the reason for not having the polling station at the former Belize Technical College, now ITVET, is simply because it is located in the Freetown Division and as for the Belize City Center, the building is not functional at the time. She did say though that they have assigned Central Christian Assembly for the Polling Area Six voters and Polling area 16A and 17A will vote at St. Luke Methodist School.


Trial without jury begins!
Akeem Thurton is tried for the attempted murder of attorney Rodwell Williams... Akeem Thurton, 20, charged with the attempted murder of attorney Rodwell Williams, sat unrepresented and alone in the dock when he appeared this morning in the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin

“City without pity” suffers six-hour blackout!
“Overheated equipment” causes Magazine Road substation fire... Just before five this evening, Monday, a sudden fire outbreak at the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) substation on Magazine Road that powers Belize City led to an outage that paralyzed the Old Capital for six hours, from 4:52 to 10:56 p.m.

Belmopan double murders – 1 shot and 1 stabbed to death
Youth shot buying food, and a mangled body found on football field, stabbed in the chin, throat and chest... Belmopan police have two murders on their hands tonight, as young Hispanic men of the outlying communities around the Capital were murdered on Thursday night and early this morning, Monday.

Rene & Rene, Rick the Ruler, DFC and Cahal Pech for $1.3 million
Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall is set to hear the case of the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) against Rene Villanueva, Sr., proprietor of RSV Media Limited/Love FM, and his son Rene, Jr., on Monday, April 2, 2012, in a lawsuit to reclaim money which the businessmen allegedly borrowed for an entertainment enterprise in Cayo.

Monday morning murder on Mahogany
John Russell Lamb Myers, Jr., 52, of Oleander Street in Belize City, spent his last hours this morning on Mahogany Street wishing a teenage daughter (in high school) happy birthday.

Traffic accident claims the life of Biscayne woman
Vehicle hit her with so much force, her bicycle broke into pieces.... Losing a loved one would be very hard on anyone. If the person were sick for some time and deteriorating in health, the blow would somewhat be expected and therefore easier to accept.

Week 3 results in Premier League, Police still leads in south, San Pedro surprise in north
At the end of Week 3 in the Premier League of Belize 2012 opening tournament, pre-season favorite Police United remain undefeated to lead the south (S) zone; while San Pedro Seadogs, who were considered a questionable entrant in the tournament, are surprise leaders in the north (N), though tied in points along with San Felipe Barcelona and F.C. Belize.

Rumblings inside the BDFA, meeting Friday at MCC
Belize District Football Association (BDFA) executive member Sanja Pitts dropped by the sports desk this morning to voice his concern about the upcoming FFB Electoral Congress on March 15, and his BDFA executive’s apparent unpreparedness for this important event for the future of football.

A chat with veteran footballer Gerald “Speedy” Henry – Part 3
S: No. Mostly Cayo players… But, we played against “Mugga” (Louis Garbutt), “Palmer” Davis, you know… guys like those. And, as Rocking-R, we made a name for ourselves… Because, I remember, the song when we would arrive in town, you know… “Who will take out the Big-R?” (laughs)

Lynn Young’s can of worms
Lynn’s historic comparison between Amandala and BEL makes no sense. BEL was a protected state-owned monopoly that was privatized supposedly in the interest of the people to bring cheaper, reliable power; Kremandala is a privately formed and held entity in a highly competitive, tax paying industry. Kremandala delivered on its social compact to inform and educate; BEL failed to deliver the promised cheaper power.

KREM and Channel 7 have “The Verdict” on 2012 elections
For the fifth consecutive election cycle, Kremandala, Ltd. (Amandala, KREM Radio and KREM Television) and Tropical Vision Limited (Channel 7) have joined forces to provide comprehensive and informative coverage of the 2012 general and municipal elections due on March 7, 2012.

EDITORIAL: The Raiders
The core of the Kremandala Raiders consisted of four young men who had grown up from boyhood folding newspapers at Amandala Press on Partridge Street. These were Maurice Williams, Willie Gordon, Evan Garnett, and Raymond Gongora. The fifth Raider starter in the inaugural semi-pro basketball season of 1992, Travis Santos, had grown up just a couple blocks away from Partridge Street. Garnett and Santos were high school graduates. Gongora had to drop out of Wesley College because of financial problems. Williams and Gordon were primary school dropouts. Raiders were very popular in the streets, because, for a while, they were like a “rags to riches” story.

From The Publisher
A week or two before the Prime Minister actually called the 2012 general elections, I met on the Kremandala rooftop with all the employees of our member organizations. I believe that such a meeting may have been unprecedented. We have had various social events over the years which involved all our workers, but not a business meeting as such.

The Reporter

International Sources

Creating an oasis of learning on a Belize island
Victoria’s Joni Valencia Miller has learned that no woman is an island. In fact, her own deep connection to a tiny island off the coast of Belize changed the course of her life and led her to dedicate herself to helping children there succeed with her non-profit school, Caye Caulker Ocean Academy. Miller, a former Spanish and Global Perspectives teacher at Stelly’s Secondary School in Saanichton, first visited Belize as a tourist in 1999, almost by accident. She was in Guatemala studying Spanish when she realized her tourist visa was about to run out. She had to bus over the border to Belize to renew it. While she waited for her visa, she took a quick weekend jaunt to Caye Caulker to snorkel, on the advice of a local. That chance visit, Miller recalled, “unknowingly changed the direction of my life. After that brief snorkelling weekend, I returned to my language school in Guatemala and travelled throughout Central America, but that little island with it’s ‘go slow’ motto had entranced me.” She returned to B.C. to teach, but made a beeline for the tiny island every school holiday. She spent a year there while working on her Masters of Education thesis in 2005, and, enamoured of the country, she also led two two-week trips for her senior global perspectives students in 2004 and 2005 where they helped build a cancer treatment room in a San Ignacio clinic in Western Belize and created a community park and literacy camp for youth in the southern town of Hopkins.

Coral Reef Study Traces Indirect Effects of Overfishing
A study of the tropical coral reef system along the coastline of Kenya has found dramatic effects of overfishing that could threaten the long-term health of the reefs. Led by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study was published in the journal Coral Reefs. The researchers found that the loss of predatory fish leads to a cascade of effects throughout the reef ecosystem, starting with an explosion in sea urchin populations. Excessive grazing by sea urchins damages the reef structure and reduces the extent of a poorly studied but crucially important component of the reefs known as crustose coralline algae. Coralline algae deposit calcium carbonate in their cell walls and form a hard crust on the substrates where they grow, helping to build and stabilize reefs. They also play a crucial role in the life cycle of corals.

February 28, 2012

Valid: Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 until Monday, Mar. 5, 2012
Issued: 3:00 pm, Monday, February 27, 2012

The feature of interest this working week will be a persistent ridge of high pressure extending from the north-western Atlantic to the western Caribbean. This feature will keep a fresh and relatively unstable easterly airflow prevailing through Thursday, and will favour some showers, mostly over the sea and coast during the morning and inland during the afternoon hours.

A cold front will move SE across the Gulf of Mexico as we move into the weekend, but the models are predicting that the frontal boundary will become quasi-stationary over the SE Gulf and the Bay of Campeche by late Sunday and early Monday. The proximity of the frontal boundary to the NW Caribbean will result in a backing in the low level flow, with the winds shifting to the N and NE, and favouring some pre-frontal showers later on Sunday and Monday over Belize.

The weather will be seasonally fair with cloudy spells on Monday through Thursday. We can expect some showers mostly over the coastal zone during the morning hours and over some inland places during the afternoon and evening. Conditions will become drier and warmer on Friday through most of Sunday with little rainfall. Showers will increase once again during the afternoon and night on Sunday through Monday due to the proximity of the next frontal zone near the Yucatan peninsula.

Daily rainfall accumulations from Monday through Thursday of this week will range from 0.10-0.25 of-an-inch, decreasing later on Thursday through most of Sunday. Daily rainfall totals will increase later on Sunday through Monday, with totals ranging from 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch over central and northern coastal areas and over the sea. Elsewhere, rainfall totals on Sunday through Monday will be in the range of 0.10-0.25 of-an-inch.

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekend Weather Report

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro resident remains hospitalized following a stabbing
The San Pedro Police is investigating a stabbing incident that has left a man hospitalized and the alleged culprit on the run. The victim has been identified as 32-year-old Dean Staines of a Coconut Drive address in San Pedro Town. The incident occurred sometime before 4:45AM on Sunday February 26th. According to Police, sometime around 4:45AM, Staines was in the company of a female friend of the same address inside their premises when they were approached by male person. The person, who is known to police as Nolan Haylock also of a San Pedro Town address, allegedly walked up to Staines and proceeded to stab him in the neck. As a result of the incident, Staines was taken to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez Poly-Clinic II. According to Dr. Javier Zuniga, Staines received a deep wound which cut his jugular vein located on the left side of his neck. The injury cause massive bleeding since the vessel is one of two main blood vessels. According to Dr. Zuniga, although Staines was still conscious he lost about two to three liters of blood. Staines was subsequently rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) via an air ambulance where he remains in critical but stable condition.

Prime Minister to travel to Miami, Florida
rime Minister, the Hon. Dean O. Barrow, will leave the country tomorrow, Tuesday, 28th February. He is accompanying his wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, to Miami, Florida, U.S.A., where Mrs. Barrow will receive medical treatment. Prime Minister Barrow is scheduled to return to Belize on Thursday, 1st March. Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Gaspar Vega, will act as Prime Minister while the Prime Minister is out of the country.

Ambergris Today

Belize Prepares to Vote on Offshore Oil Exploration
Friday, February 25, 2012, the Belize Coalition and Oceana Belize held a conference in Belize City inviting all the nation’s media and councils in a training conference for voting day - “No to Offshore Drilling in Belize” to be held on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. Many invited guests and media gathered at the Radisson’s Hotel for a very important training conference to learn all the rules and regulations that every team from different district’s in Belize should follow to carry out on voting day; in order for all votes to be legal and fair. Mr. Danny Madrid, National President of Justice of the Peace & Association of the Supreme Court took the podium to explain all the rules and regulations that are supposed to be followed at every voting station around the country of Belize.

FLASHBACK: San Pedro Airstrip in the 80's
Everything in San Pedro has indeed come a long way and what we have today barely compares to what we had 50 years ago or even 25 years. Such is the case with sea transportation, land transportation and air transportation as well as with hotels, restaurants, shops and stores, residential buildings, business establishments, types of businesses, population, to mention a few. But one thing that has not changed is the casual and friendly atmosphere of the island. This flashback photo speaks for itself. Check the Tropic Air terminal building. Check the size of Tropic’s aircrafts, the residences, the street, the airstrip, the signs, the amount of luggage and the hustle and bustle on the street. It is living proof that San Pedro has come a long way.

25 Years Ago: Politics Comes To San Pedro
The people who founded San Pedro in 1848, Mestizos for the most part, lived on this island quite unaware of British rule for just over 100 years up to about 1950. At that time the people of Belize on a whole were poor, hungry, and depressed by their economic situation. However, San Pedro enjoyed a vibrant Mestizo community with sufficient jobs in the coconut industry and a vibrant subsistence fishing industry. But countrywide the question persisted: “Why should Britain get richer and the colony poorer?” was the general sentiment. The struggle of the workers led by Soberanis played an important part in the birth to the spirit that Belize should be governed by Belizeans. This gave rise to the Nationalist Movement and Belizeans began to question colonialism and think about their own rights. In 1950 the PUP was born under such leaders as George Price, Philip Goldson, and Leigh Richardson. People began to question what colonialism had done for Belize. They began to wonder why a country with so many resources, with such wealthy landowners and merchants, had so many poor people. The poor economic and social conditions in the 1950's also helped them begin to think about self-government and independence.

SIB Explains Unemployment Rates
The Statistical Institute of Belize, as the only official source of unemployment statistics for Belize, wishes to explain the difference in the last two unemployment rates that it has published which show a 12.5% rate in 2009 and a 23.2% rate in 2010. The reason for the difference is that labor force surveys provide only a snapshot of the unemployment situation at the time the survey is taken. As further explained below, the 12.5% rate was based on a labor force survey taken in September 2009 while the 23.2% rate was based on data collected during the 2010 Population & Housing Census. While the two studies asked the same questions to determine who was employed or unemployed, the difference in the time the surveys were taken accounts for much of the variation between the two rates. This result is similar to 2000 when the census produced a national unemployment rate of 20.3% while the two labor force surveys done in April of the two years preceding the census year, showed rates of 14.3% and 12.8%.


Guatemala Cruise Day 3, Part 1: A long day in Rio Dulce
Due to the large number of photos, this day is divided into two parts. Part 1 includes up through our morning trip to the Castillo de San Felipe, and Part 2 will cover our trip to town, lunch, and dinner. We got up early(ish) on this beautiful, bright Monday morning so that we could have breakfast, wash dishes, and be off the boat by 7 am as Simon had requested. It turned out that our space on the dock was a great place to watch the local boats come and go in the morning at the complex of buildings and boat ramp next door to the boat yard.

The Garifuna Collective Performs in San Pedro for the First Time Ever!
The late Andy Palacio's world famous group, the Garifuna Collective, played on Ambergris Caye for the first time yesterday at the re-opening of Sundiver. Sundiver is a resort about 5 miles north that closed a few years ago, was rented to a group for the years after and is now reopening as a resort. It's a pretty cool looking place. I've seen these guys once before at the Bliss Center fundraiser for Haiti. But...this close? It was fantastic. I've never seen a group having so much fun performing. Here is the crowd watching the amazing show.

CRITICAL Peoples' Referendum on February 29: Say NO To Offshore Drilling can say "yes" if that is your choice (I guess...) but get out and vote. Not only is it critical to have your opinion heard but we, in San Pedro and Caye Caulker, need to let the central Belize government know that it matters, REALLY matters, to all of the residents on this island. That this is one of the MOST important issues for island residents. We need to protect our barrier reef. You only need your voters ID card, your ID card and you can vote in the polling stations. You DO NOT need to be registered in San Pedro. YOU CAN BE ANY REGISTERED VOTER IN BELIZE. The polling station in San Pedro will be at Central Park. This is even important for non-voters to understand. Encourage your co-workers, employees, friends, parents and neighbors who are voters to GET TO THE POLLS on Wednesday, March 29th.

After an hour long drive and a forty minute hike we arrived at a place that might have been Eden. The entrance to Belize’s Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is submerged in a pool of water made ice blue by dissolved minerals. The morning sun flickered through the trees, illuminating the vibrant greens of the jungle trees and moss covered rocks. It was peaceful, lovely and alive. Appearances are deceiving, though. This wasn’t the entrance to paradise. It was the opening to Xibalba (”shi-ball-bah”), the underworld of the ancient Mayan people. The story told here is not one of creation, but of sadness, desperation, and decline. We went to Actun Tunichil Muknal to simply explore another cave system, the fifth of our recent travels. What we found instead was something unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Our descent into Xibalba began with a short swim, away from the leafy jungle and into diminishing light. From inside, the view was perhaps even more striking; the bright colors of the outside world rendered more vivid by the interior darkness.

Catamaran Beach Bar Sunday BBQ
Catamaran Beach Bar Weekly BBQ, Live Music, Ice Cold Belikin, Fun with Family and Friends. Best Sunday BBQ on the island; ribs, chicken, burgers. Caribbean Villas Hotel, Ambergris Caye, Belize, CA

Catamaran Bar Sunday BBQ (Part 2 of 2)
Catamaran Bar Weekly BBQ, Live Music, Ice Cold Belikin. Join us for fun on the beach at Caribbean Villas Hotel, Ambergris Caye, Belize, CA

Channel 5

Blackout in Belize City!
At about ten minutes to five o’clock this evening, the city lost power. According to the state owned Belize Electricity Limited, faulty equipment at the Magazine Road substation was the cause for the outage. At this time, electricity has not been restored and we have learnt that lights will not be turned on until after [...]

Construction worker killed in Belize City
Two men were killed today; one in the city and the other in Belmopan. In the city, a construction worker was found dead outside a small shop on Mahogany Street. It has not yet been determined if it is a case of murder or, alternatively manslaughter. But John Myers is believed to have died from [...]

Another Murder in the West; 29 year old Reggie Martinez found stabbed to death
In the capital, police are investigating a gruesome murder that took place in the outskirts of Belmopan. Police say they have little to go by and the family of twenty-nine year old Reggie Martinez, a resident of Maya Mopan, was too shocked to appear on camera. Shortly before two-thirty this morning a team of officers [...]

Was stolen vehicle linked in murder of Benito Mendoza in Belmopan?
The police department has busted two of its own members with a stolen vehicle, which may be linked to a murder in Belmopan. On February twenty-sixth 2012, while patrolling the Caribbean Investors Road in Belmopan City, they stopped a green Toyota Hilux, being driven by Police Constable Virgil Perez and Constable Dwayne Salgaro. Perez, thirty [...]

2 security guards stabbed over old beef in Benque
Further west, in Benque Viejo del Carmen, two men were hospitalized and are in stable condition. The two were involved in a brawl at Otis Night Club early on Sunday morning. The injured men are security guards at the club who were assaulted by a group of five men reportedly over an old beef. According [...]

Fatal Traffic Accident takes the life of retired woman
An elderly Biscayne woman was knocked down and killed as she rode a bicycle on the Northern Highway on Saturday evening. The driver, forty-five year old David Zetina, was heading towards Belize City and claims that he was blinded by the high beam of a vehicle heading in the opposite direction. When he spotted sixty-seven [...]

Belize Poultry Association incensed over license give to import Poultry
There is a report tonight that a license has been issued for the importation of a huge amount of poultry. It has the Belize Poultry Association up in arms because of the health risks involved in the importation of the poultry from Mexico. The license was issued by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority to a [...]

Trial begins for Attempted Murder of Rodwell Williams
With the murder of Ricky Valencia last Wednesday, Akeem Thurton now stands alone on trial for the Attempted Murder of Attorney Rodwell Williams, the law partner of the prime minister. It’s the first trial without jury and after delays over legal representation, it finally started today before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. Williams was called to [...]

Man sentenced to 38 years for Carnal Knowledge Conviction
Late Friday evening a forty year old man was convicted of sexually abusing an eight year old girl. Dangriga resident, Newellyn Nicholas, was on trial for three counts of Carnal Knowledge and one count of Aggravated Assault of an Indecent Nature for having sex with the child on three occasions between 2009 and 2010 as [...]

People’s Referendum set and ready for Wednesday
Voting takes place this Wednesday on offshore drilling. Across the country, forty-six polling stations are being set up for the People’s Referendum which will determine whether registered voters support or reject drilling in Belize’s waters. B.T.I.A. and the Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage are involved in the national referendum, which is being organized after [...]

All that’s good in Sports with James Adderley
Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. Week three in the PLB brought a monster showdown inside the Isidro Beaton Stadium Saturday night as the Belmopan Bandits hosted the front running team in Zone B, Police United in what promised to be a keen contest. The Bandits came in ready fort the [...]


Belize was in the spotlight recently when an international game of Poker featured a well known Belizean showing his talent at an otherwise overlooked sport. This time Darts, a sport that has been somewhat dormant in the country will be in the spotlight as Belize hosts an international Dart competition. Jose Mora is the president of the Belize Dart Federation. Jose Mora – President, Belize Dart Foundation “Every two years the Caribbean games are held and last year we were in Bahamas and we were blessed with the countries voting for Belize to host this tournament. It is the 19th Caribbean Cup and the 6th Americas Cup. The Biltmore has been very helpful in getting the arena set; Mr. Spicer is visiting us to sanction the tournament, to see the location and to get the media involved to let them know it is a big tournament, it can bring about 200 to 300 players out of the Caribbean.” Acting President of the Caribbean Dart Organization, Malcolm Spicer, is in Belize inspecting the venue and making sure everything works out as plans for this grand tournament. The competition will take place in the month of July.

The Bar Association of Belize held its annual general meeting last Thursday. Elections were held for a new Executive to serve a one year period. President is E. Andrew Marschalleck Senior Counsel, Vice President Magali Marin Young, Treasurer Edwin Flowers Senior Counsel, Secretary Agnes Segura Gillett and Committee members Denys Barrow Senior Council, Darlene Vernon and Andrew Bennett.

Two policemen have been detained on suspicion of stealing a motor vehicle. Authorities say they were on patrol on Caribbean Investors Road in Belmopan on Sunday when they stopped a green Toyota Hilux pickup truck. Driving the vehicle at the time was thirty year old constable Virgil Perez who is currently attached to the Patrol Branch. Perez’ passenger was twenty three year old Dwayne Salguero who is attached to the Mahogany police substation. Police say that when officers inspected the pickup truck, they observed that the right rear passenger side glass window was completely shattered. Officers also noticed that the ignition was damaged and parts of the ignition were scattered on the floor of the vehicle. Both policemen were detained pending the outcome of an official investigation.

Belize City police are looking for a man who is reported to have assaulted a woman with a gun on Friday. Denya Oviedo says her attacker first punched her in the face as she walked on Racoon Street on Friday. Later the same day, the man, described as being of dark complexion, accosted Oviedo as she walked with her three children on Neal Pen road. The man reported pointed a handgun in her face. The woman says that she told her children to run into the nearby bushes and that she saw her attacked riding up Neal Pen Road. Police say they are now looking for thirty year old Denroy Williams who they believe will be able to assist them in their investigation.

The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage is preparing to hold its people referendum on Wednesday. Last week the organization held a press conference to update the public on their progress and over the weekend a training session was conducted. Francis Gegg is the national campaign coordinator. Francis Gegg – National campaign coordinator “We’re having a meeting of the entire national network of team leaders who have come from all over the country; we have been able to put together a national team to the point where we will be having polling stations in actually 50 locations across the country. We have brought the team leader and part of their team into Belize to go through a training process because some of them have experience in conducting elections and others do not so we’re bring them up to steam very quickly on the process of a plebiscite or an election. We are trying to have people who are respected throughout this country be present at the polling booth to monitor the whole process, to validate the whole process so we can avoid any chance or opportunity that someone might want to indict the process.”

Police in Belize City are investigating three separate cases of robbery over the weekend. In the first incident, Winston Lord and Melanie Cruz were robbed at gunpoint as the stood at the talking at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Vernon Street. The duo told police that they were approached by a couple of dark complexion men, one of who carried a handgun. Cruz was robbed of her cell phone while Lord was relieved of his wallet containing cash and other personal documents. After the armed robbery, the assailants made good their escape by running across the street into a nearby yard. The second incident happened on Cemetery Road. Bedalia Lopez was robbed of her purse as she walked with her brother and his wife. As in the case of the first incident, the victims describe their attackers as two men of dark complexion, one of whom pointed a black handgun at them. The men escaped with Lopez’ wallet containing her passport and personal documents. The third robbery happened on Friday at the Black Pearl/Harley Davidson Store on Cemetery Road. Shannon Martinez told police that while at her workplace, she was accosted by a man of dark complexion who carried a firearm. The gunman reportedly robbed Martinez of her laptop computer and cell phone. Before making good his escape, police say the gunman tied up Martinez in one of the rooms at the back of the building. Police investigation of all three robberies continues.

One Peruvian and two Salvadorans who entered Belize illegally from its western border with Guatemala, were charged with failure to produce their visitor’s permit when they appeared in Court today. They are forty-four year old Peruvian painter Miguel Angel Oviedo, thirty one year old Salvadoran National, Manuel de Jesus Arevalo Gonzalez and twenty two year old Salvadoran National Melvin Omar Gonzalez Ramos. They pleaded not guilty to the charge. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser fined each of them one thousand dollars. If they default on payment, they will serve six months. Senior Magistrate Fraser also ordered that they be deported to their country of origin after they have paid the fine or served the time. The incident occurred on February 25. The trio was travelling in a passenger bus heading for Belize City when the bus was stopped at a police check point on Mile four on the Western Highway. When the police checked the trio was unable to produce their visitor’s permit.

A jury of six women and three men deliberated for about three hours today in the court of Justice Herbert Lord before it found twenty six year old Cecil Castillo a.k.a “Sadiki”, not guilty of the attempted murder of twenty three year old Darwin Phillips a.k.a “Hamu” who was stabbed seven to eight times on December 22, 2009. Another man, Michael “Ham” Young, was charged jointly with Castillo, but Young was shot during a robbery in Belmopan last year. Phillips was unable to testify because he was fatally stabbed on February 13, 2011, but a statement he gave to the police in which he said that it was Castillo and Young who stabbed him was admitted as evidence. One witness for the prosecution, Leon Soberanis, was treated as a hostile witness because he gave testimony that was contrary to a statement he gave to the police. Castillo testified and said that at the time of the incident, he was with his girlfriend, Leonora Rhaburn at their house on Rectory Lane. Rhaburn testified and corroborated his alibi testimony. Castillo was not represented by an attorney. Crown Counsel Christopher Rodriguez represented the prosecution.

An elderly woman was knocked down and killed on Saturday night on the Northern Highway in Biscayne village. The victim has been identified as sixty seven year old Constance Andrewin. Andrewin was knocked down as she rode her bicycle on the road just after six o’clock on Saturday night by a pickup truck, driven at the time by forty five year old David Zetina. According to police reports, Zetina was heading towards Belize City and claims that he was blinded by the high beams of a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. Zetina says that he saw Andrewin riding her bicycle and applied brakes but could not avoid a collision with the cyclist. Andrewin was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Police say they have taken a urine sample from Zetina and have issued him with a notice of intended prosecution. Investigations continue.

Meanwhile in Belize City, a man is dead and Police are looking for answers. Reports are that sometime after nine o’clock this morning Police were called out to an area on Mahogany Street. Fifty two year old resident of Oleander Street, John Myers known to many as “Lamb” was seen in a sitting position, apparently dead in front of S&S fast food. His sister Ivonne Little told Love News Myers frequented the area and she has seen him earlier in the morning. According to a witness, Myers was arguing with another male person. During the argument the younger man reportedly punched Myers causing him to fall on the ground and apparently knock his head on the sidewalk. The witness says that a man and his son who reside in the upstairs part of a nearby shop moved Myers and threw some water on him to try and revive him, but to no avail. His family is at a loss as to who might have committed the act. John Myers leaves to mourn his family including his two sons and four daughters.

Belmopan Police are investigating what appears to be yet another murder which occurred early this morning. Fem Cruz reporting... “Sometime around 2:20 a.m. acting upon information received of a fight in progress where four male persons were beating up on another male person at a football field in the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan, Belmopan Police visited the area where a feet away from the main street by the field, the motionless body of an unknown Hispanic male person was seen lying on his back with multiple stab wounds on his chin, throat and chest which was covered in blood. The person was dressed in a red tee shirt, red short pants and not too far, a black slippers and a beach cruiser bicycle was seen. The body was later transported to the Western Regional Hospital where it was pronounced dead on arrival. The body was later identified by a family member as 31-year-old Eduardo David Martinez better known as Wallo of Maya Mopan.”


Aikman Academy to conduct second poll on March 7th elections
Derek Aikman of Aikman and Aikman conducted a telephone poll two weeks ago and released the findings indicating a w...

The Coalition's mock referendum slated for Wednesday
This Wednesday, the Belize Coalition will be hosting a mock referendum giving voters the opportunity to vote on whe...

State of the art tennis table donated to St. Joseph Primary School
The Belize table tennis donated a professional table tennis table to St. Joseph Primary School. Since February 2008...

Man stabbed to death in Maya Mopan
On Friday we reported on the murder of Benito Mendoza who was shot and killed at the Junction in the city of Belmop...

Belize City man found dead in a sitting position
This morning, a crowd of people swarmed the Mahogany Street police station area. Police responded to the scene wher...

Vehicle stolen in Belmopan then set on fire
We have yet another incident to report on from the City of Belmopan. A Belmopan business was burglarized over the w...

Shooting in Roaring Creek Village, one year old injured
There was a shooting in Roaring Creek on Friday night and a one year old was injured by shattered glass. Reginald R...

Officers arrested in connection to vehicle theft
Again in Belmopan, two police officers were arrested in connection to a stolen vehicle. Belmopan Police were doing ...

Road accident claims the life 67 year old woman
A traffic accident over the weekend has claimed the life of one person. It happened on Saturday in Biscayne Village...

Belize prepares for Prince Harry's visit
Preparations are on the way for the visit of Prince Henry of Wales. In four days, the Prince will visit Belize on b...

International Sources

Stolen Ancient Mayan Artifacts Being Returned To Guatemala
It didn’t take Indiana Jones to crack the case, but what federal agents recovered would have been right up his alley. Alex DeMetrick reports ancient Mayan artifacts were returned Friday to their rightful owner. Some go back a thousand years, all fashioned by Mayan craftsmen well before Columbus. All are going home. “We are eager to take these artifacts back to Guatemala and display them properly in our nation, and through them provide a glimpse into the Mayan civilization,” Harold Caballeros, the Guatemalan foreign minister, said. The eight artifacts were recovered by U.S. immigrations and customs agents. Six of the artifacts were discovered after they were flown into Houston, Texas and then abandoned when customs agents started asking questions. The other two made their way to an auction house in Boston, Mass. that cooperated with agents after import documents were not found. Friday, they made their way to the Guatemalan Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Prince Harry's Caribbean getaway
Globe-trotting Prince Harry was the ace of nightclubs in Vegas, and what happened there didn't stay there. The party-loving prince hit hotspots at Encore and Wynn Las Vegas and flirted with local lovelies. This week, he's headed for another party destination: the Caribbean and Bahamas. He is due in Belize Friday, where stops include the Mayan pyramid of Xunatunic, and then he'll visit Nassau. He's due for a longer stay (March 5-8) in Jamaica, but not for reggae or romance. Harry is on official business commemorating the 6oth anniversary of grandmother Queen Elizabeth's coronation.

February 27, 2012


Hip Hip Hooray: San Pedro Rallies for Mel Paz 4 Mayor
Last night, citizens of San Pedro gathered to support our Independent candidate for mayor, Mel Paz. Speeches, trampolines for the kids, food, free purple t-shirts and $2 beers (the hallmark of a solid San Pedro political rally), a good crowd had gathered by the end of the night. I put on my purple "Mel Paz for Mayor" and went to Central Park a bit early. Mel was there helping set up. I'm surprised she is standing...and smiling...this campaigning business is HARD WORK. The stage was set. The kids (I mean future voters) were busy bouncing in the trampolines. The DJs set up with the music (DJs for some reason never smile)... I love when they mix in lyrics about the candidate or little bits of her speeches into dancehall or reggae music. Good stuff. We handed out LOTS of t-shirts and beads. Hundreds. Mary Gonzalez of the San Pedro Sun Newspaper was the first to speak. She introduced Ms. Paz and gave her endorsement. The bottom line with every one's speech was that the Blue and Red parties have had their chances and things are not getting better, in fact in many ways they are getting worse. It is time for change. It is time to break out of thoughtless familial connection to one or the other party and time to open our ears and really think about what the candidates are saying. No more empty promises, think about who is going to serve you and your town best.

Guatemala Cruise Day 2, Part 2: Boatyard Days in Rio Dulce, Guatemala
When we left off last time, we were just about to arrive at Abelle's boatyard on the Rio Dulce (and near the town of Fronteras, also known as Rio Dulce), Guatemala. And whaddaya know? Here it is, our ultimate destination straight ahead! We arrived there just a little after noon. We docked right next to some buildings and homes (top of photo above), and locals were bathing and washing dishes in the water very close to our boat. Barry and I decided to take a walk to check out the boatyard and local area. Before we'd even gotten off the dock, we met a friendly couple cruising on s/v Mistral, the large catamaran on the far left in the photo below, and had a nice chat with them before they took off in their dinghy for a late lunch. They had been stuck at Abelle's waiting for a part for longer than they expected and were more than ready to continue their cruise up to Belize as soon as possible. We also noted that the well-known buyboat Winnie Estelle was at the yard having repairs. We had no idea of this boat's illustrious history until we got home and did some googling, but it is quite fascinating. We later got to meet her owner, Captain Robert(o), who told us that he has sold her and will be delivering her to Key West later in the season. Sounds like she will eventually be taken back home to Annapolis, where she was built in 1920, as these folks were hoping. What a great story!

The happiest and kindest can be found in diving.
“It was 2008 and I was 15-years old. My dad said, ‘Go right ahead.’ so I joined up. Patty has a program where kids from Belize can learn how to dive, no matter if they can pay or not. She loves diving and she decided to make it a part of her business to help train young people to learn to love the sea.” said Supaul. A natural in the water, Supaul began fishing and ocean swimming with his father, uncles and cousins, when he was young. “We would go out every weekend. Its part of what we do here. Its a lot of fun for me.” With Splash, students begin by attending weekend classes, learning the basics of diving through the PADI open water course. “Patty has a special way of explaining things that people can understand. We go step by step.” said Marco. The course continues for 5 weeks, finishing with the dives required to meet Open Water Certification. “Patty looks for understanding and a reassurance that we can handle ourselves. ” said Marco. Students can continue on for further certification, and Splash offers dives to the program’s students, when they have group tours.

Travel Time with Ellie: The Belize Zoo
This is my slideshow of the Belize Zoo. Click on the photo to start show. By Ellie Simmons. Hi there. It’s me Ellie. We went to the Zoo in Belize and saw many animals I have never seen before. Here is my slideshow. I took most of the pictures with also help from my mom and dad and Ava. Look for my movie of the ocelot. She was so sweet and was like my cat Curry the way she rubbed up on the cage. She kept meowing and I really wanted to touch her but my mom and dad said she was still a wild animal. The tapirs are neat and funny. They eat two buckets of fruit each morning. Their favorite zoo food is cucumbers. The spider monkeys thought we were the zookeepers with food. That’s why they stood up in the trees for us.

Banana milkshake fund for Duke the Manatee
Duke came into the Wildtracks ManateeRehabilitation Centre almost six weeks ago - a near weaning, sub-adult,emaciated manatee weighing only half of what he should. This manatee has ataste for the Wildtracks special of banana and water hyacinth leafsoy-based milk shakes, blended to perfection, with the added zing of taurine,vitamins and probiotics!Found on his own in a canal near DukeMarine he was rescued by Jamal, Nicole, Gordon and the rest of the fantasticrescue crew, and transported to Wildtracks, but has been hard to stabilize. Hiscondition has been going up and down, but over time, he has started eatingseagrass, and taking more food.......and more food. As he is regainingweight and improving in condition, the very significant food consumptionis draining financial resources disturbingly fast - he is currently takingapprox US$15 worth of the banana / water hyacinth milk shake daily!Can you spare the cost of a Wildtracks milkshake? Or two? Or a weeks worth? We are estimating that within two months hewill be entirely on seagrass and on his way back to the wild...but until then,we could do with some help to meet his dining costs!!

Homeroom University of Wisconsin-Stout: Field study of Belize ecosystem reveals 'amazing diversity'
Zip lining, snorkeling and hiking in the tropics - not a bad way to earn college credits. But while University of Wisconsin-Stout students say their adventure in Belize last month was a welcome change from a Midwestern winter, the trip was wasn't just fun in the sun. "I learned a lot more than I would have learned in any classroom," said Theresa Olson, a UW-Stout junior studying biotechnology. Olson was one of 17 students who made the trip to Central America as part of a new UW-Stout course, Natural History of the Neotropics. The winter session class focused on the ecosystems of Belize and the rest of the neotropics - the tropical areas of the Americas. "These areas harbor some of the most prominent hot spots of biodiversity," said UW-Stout assistant biology professor Michael Bessert, who developed the course and accompanied students. The biodiversity of Belize quickly was apparent to students, he added. Students were instructed to identify 50 species of flora or fauna, a task they imagined would be something of a challenge, Bessert said. It was anything but - students discovered 50 species on their first day in the country. "That was by design," Bessert said. "I did that to demonstrate the amazing diversity there." Belize's abundance of life came as a surprise to Olson, who called the variety of plant and animal life on land and water "mind-blowing."

Portsmouth teacher brings donation, love of chess to Belize
Although they speak different languages, elementary school students in Belize and Portsmouth are gaining exposure to one common subject because of a local teacher— the game of chess. Steve Schulten, a physical education teacher at the Little Harbour Elementary School, helped to start the first chess club at Little Harbour in 1994. As the team coach, he meets weekly with an enthusiastic group of students. They all meet in the art room to take on chess puzzles before competing in the nearby cafeteria area. Five years ago, Schulten participated in an international teaching program organized by the University of New Hampshire, which brought him to Belize during the week of February vacation. There, he met several chess enthusiasts who taught the game in elementary schools, but with limited resources. When Schulten returned to the United States, he began raising money from local chess enthusiasts to support the elementary school chess program in Belize. Schulten has returned to Belize each year since then, and the veteran teacher departed again on Saturday for his latest sojourn to the small Central American country.

February 26, 2012

The February 23rd, 2012 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Victory in the Air! UDP Launches Manifesto - Throws Gigantic Rally
  • Patriotism versus Politics
  • Elections and Boundaries Department - Public Service Announcement
  • Great Things Achieved - Greater Things Coming: PM Dean Barrow’s Speech at Orange Walk East Rally
  • PHOTOS: The Prime Minister’s Tour Continued in Orange Walk East Sunday February 19
  • World Day of Social Justice: Message by Secretary General of United Nations, Mr. Ban-Ki-Moon
  • Manifesto Launch - Public Rally
  • Faith Lift: Roll Out The Justice, Please!

The San Pedro Sun

Wild Productions films ACES for Animal Planet Series
UK based Wild Productions Limited arrived in San Pedro on February 7th for a two-week filming session with Vince Rose and Cherie Chenot-Rose of American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES). The footage will be used for an episode on Wildlife SOS a Discovery Channel series that is now in its 15th year and 10th series. The popular series focuses on capturing the most challenging situations that wildlife rehabbers face around the world, including animal cruelty, illegal captivity, habitat destruction, and the illegal poaching and sale of protected animals and their parts. The renowned program is regarded as one of the longest-running animal rescue TV series. Wildlife SOS founder, host, writer and managing director Simon Cowell, MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) has been filming wildlife for the past 30 years, with an emphasis on education and getting people to care about animals. “When they grow to care about the animal, they then have a reason to conserve,” stated Cowell in an interview with The San Pedro Sun. Cowell, who sports a mischievous grin, also founded The Wildlife Aid Foundation and emanates an infectious passion for wildlife. The foundation’s Wild Aid Hospital, located in Leatherhead, Surrey, UK cares for thousands of rescued wild animals each year; where they are treated, rehabilitated and more often than not returned to the wild.


What Is All Over our Beaches?
You may have noticed a serious amount of seaweed covering the beach and even the shallow water for the past month. It is worse than I have seen since I've been here. What's going on? Where is it coming from? Why does it smell so bad in the morning? A neighbor gave me an excellent tip to find out more...

Guatemala cruise Day 2, Part 1: Placencia, Belize to Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Because of the length of this day and the large number of photos, it is split it into two parts. Part 1 documents our midnight departure from Placencia and cruise down the Rio Dulce, prior to arriving at Abelle's boatyard in Guatemala, near Fronteras on the map below (near the bottom). Part 2 will document the afternoon and evening hours spent on land after arriving at the dock.

Posing as Guinea Pigs in an Experiment of Human Behavior - Ambergris Caye, Belize
Relaxing on a lounge chair, my Kindle in hand, my children splash and play in the pool which overlooks the turquoise ocean touching the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. A small smile curls my lips, contented with the peaceful way in which my children are getting along. There are a few disagreements here and there, but for the most part, their play is happy and under control. I’m aware of the older couples lounging at one end of the pool, but certain that the splashing and noise level are within reason for pool time play in mid-day, I return to my reading. Atlas is toddling around the pool side, and Greg follows him close by to catch him should he topple in. Ahhhh. All is right in my world. I serenely read the words of Charlotte Mason, who says, “the more [the children] run, and shout, and toss their arms, the more healthful is their play,” when out of the corner of my eye I notice one of the women from the far end of the pool walking in our direction. Without looking up from my reading, I hear her say to Greg, in a voice of feigned tolerance, “You know, we don’t have a problem with the kids, but the noise level… really. Can’t you control your kids?” I’m the first to admit that there have been times when my kids have been pretty wild and rowdy, disobedient, defiant, and downright loud. But this is not one of those times. They are, however, being children.

PAULINE FISK: On Writing the Gap Year Novel
'The gap year novel has arrived, hot from Belize and Pauline Fisk's capable pen.' The Irish Times I was going to write about heroes this time, in particular Hans Christian Andersen, who influenced me much as a child. But after last month’s post I was left with the strongest sense of a story only half told, so I’m leaving Hans Christian Andersen for next time and heading back to Belize. As some of you may know, in 2008 I went on a research trip to Belize. My son, Idris, had returned from that country several years before, utterly changed by the experience of gap year volunteering. I’d waved goodbye to a white-faced youth incapable of even locating his vaccinations certificate, let alone surviving in the jungle and upon return had greeted a great hulking man who inhabited the same body as if landing from another planet. I’m an author, so I know a story when I see one. Did gap year volunteering make as much difference to other people as it had done to Idris? And, if so, how? And how important were the projects these young people worked on? According to the press, gap years were the province of privileged young people working on cosmetic projects sandwiched together by beach-partying. But how true was that?

Fun Nerdy Stuff

Behind the Google Goggles, Virtual Reality
Later this year, Google is expected to start selling eyeglasses that will project information, entertainment and, this being a Google product, advertisements onto the lenses. The glasses are not being designed to be worn constantly — although Google engineers expect some users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed, with the lenses serving as a kind of see-through computer monitor. “It will look very strange to onlookers when people are wearing these glasses,” said William Brinkman, graduate director of the computer science and software engineering department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “You obviously won’t see what they can from the behind the glasses. As a result, you will see bizarre body language as people duck or dodge around virtual things.” Mr. Brinkman, whose work focuses on augmented reality or the projection of a layer of information over physical objects, said his students had experimented on their own with virtual games and obstacle courses. “It looks really weird to outsiders when you watch people navigate these spaces,” he said.

Windows on the iPad, and Speedy
You’re probably paying something like $60 a month for high-speed Internet. I’m paying $5 a month, and my connection is 1,000 times faster. Your iPad can’t play Flash videos on the Web. Mine can. Your copy of Windows needs constant updating and patching and protection against viruses and spyware. Mine is always clean and always up-to-date. No, I’m not some kind of smug techno-elitist; you can have all of that, too. All you have to do is sign up for a radical iPad service called OnLive Desktop Plus. It’s a tiny app — about 5 megabytes. When you open it, you see a standard Windows 7 desktop, right there on your iPad. The full, latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer and Adobe Reader are set up and ready to use — no installation, no serial numbers, no pop-up balloons nagging you to update this or that. It may be the least annoying version of Windows you’ve ever used.

The Reporter

Ricky Valencia executed
Ricky Valencia, 28, the man accused of trying to kill the Prime Minister’s law partner, Rodwell Williams, in 2010, was shot dead near the Wilton Cumberbatch Park in the Yarborough area of Belize City on Wednesday night, February 22. Neighbors heard between four and five gun shots shortly before 9:00 p.m, and the police arrived to find Valencia seated in a pool of blood behind the steering wheel of his white Toyota Corolla. The front passenger door was open, and Valencia had gunshot wounds to his right and left temple areas, and his right and left shoulders.

GG’s ex-driver charged with theft
Police Constable #564 Rayond Martinez, a former driver of the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, is out on $10,000 bail after he pleaded not guilty to 12 charges of theft before Magistrate Adolph Lucas Jr. in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, February 21. Martinez has been interdicted from the Police Department, and was arrested and charged after Belize’s First Lady, Norma Young, reported to the Belmopan Police that there had been 12 unauthorized withdrawals from her Scotiabank account using her Automated Teller Machine card. The transactions totaling $7,450.00 had occurred between August 12 and December 2, 2011.

HRCB launches Education Outreach
Not all Belizeans are fully aware of what are their civil rights under Belizean and international conventions, a fact the Human Rights Commission of Belize recognized when it launched its new education outreach program at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. Founding member attorney Simeon Sampson explained that a grant from the Oak Foundation is helping to finance the education campaign, which seeks to educate Belizeans about their human rights and responsibilities, and to galvanize them to promote and defend human rights in their communities around the country.

UB student held for two marijuana fields
Jason Gilharry, 20, a second year student of the University of Belize, was released on $8,000 bail after he pleaded not guilty to two charges of drug trafficking before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer in the Belize City Magistrate’s court on Monday, Febraury 20 Members of the Orange Walk Police Anti-Drug Unit arrested Gilharry when they found him near two fields of marijuana plants in Corozalito Village on the old Northern Highway on Sunday, February 19. The plants were six feet tall, mature and ready for harvesting, and many measured in excess of eight feet. In court, it was said that 2,000 plants were found in one lot and 300 in the other.

Sudden death for Schakon candidacy! Brother Martin will now run in her place
A ruling by Justice, Oswell Legall in the Supreme Court last Friday afternoon, February 17 brought finality, and tears to the eyes of Yolanda Shackron, PUP standard bearer for Lake Independence constituency. Schakron was disqualified from the nomination process by the Returning Officer, Mrs. Fairweather because of her American citizenship. Justice Legal ruled to uphold the authority and decision of the Returning Officer who rejected Schakron’s credentials. On Thursday, February 16, the Government Press Office, issued an advisory saying that a registered voter in the Lake Independence constituency had registered an objection with the Returning Officer, against the candidacy of Yolanda Schakron.

Taiwan builds Horticultural Training Hub and donates it to agriculture in Belize
Agriculture students from Mopan Technical High School in Benque Viejo and Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School in Santa Elena are assured of excellent technical support from the Ministry of Agriculture when they leave the classroom to work in the fields, thanks to a spanking new Horticulture Training Center at Central Farm financed and built by the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Carlos Diaz joins the fray in Lake I. Predicts "smooth sailing" as indy
Mr. Carlos Diaz, a former PUP minister of government and Lake Independence area representative, has registered himself as an independent candidate for the Lake I. Constituency. Diaz has not departed from his PUP credentials and said he only re-entered the race because he wants to see democracy prevail in the area.

Ziprider wins Boom-to-Belize City canoe race
Defending Ruta Maya champions, the Ziprider team of Jerry Rhaburn, Efrain and Felix Cruz, paddled across the finish line by the Riverside Tavern in Belize City in two hours 36 minutes and two seconds to win the Burrell Boom to Belize City canoe race organized by the Belize Canoe Association and sponsored by Guinness Stout on Saturday, February 18. The Ziprider team took home a $300 first prize and a trophy. Their perennial rivals, the Belize Bank team of Daniel, Erwin and Amado Cruz were five seconds behind to win the $100 second prize and a trophy.

University of Belize men win ATLIB basketball championship.
The University of Belize Black Jaguars men’s basketball team won the National Basketball Championships organized by the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) and hosted by Galen University at the Falcon Field in San Ignacio on Saturday, February 18. Farron Louriano hit a 3-pointer as he led the UB men with 15 pts to a 66-38 victory over the men of Wesley Junior College in the championship finals. Alfred Bainton had scored UB’s first basket and also hit a 3-pointer as he added nine points. Winston Pratt added 12 pts, and UB men led 31-22 at intermission. Oliver Solis hit two 3-pointers as he responded for the Wesley men with 14 pts, while Jaleel Arnold also drained in two long 3-pointers to add 8pts. Paul Swasey added eight points, while Stafford Young and Kenyon Tillett each hit a 3-pointer. Dwayen Saldano added a basket.

University of Belize girls win ATLIB Basketball Championship.
The UB Black Jaguar girls basketball team of the University of Belize won the National Basketball Championship organized by the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) and hosted by Galen University at the Falcon Field in San Ignacio on Saturday, February 18. Most Valuable Player Glenda Torres scored nine points as she led the UB girls to a 15-8 lead over the girls of Ecumenical Junior College at intermission in the championship finals. Torres would add another seven points in the second half to finish with a game high of 16 pts.

There are not many legal barriers to prevent a Belizean from running for public office. He or she must be 18 years or older, and reside in Belize for at least twelve months. He or she must be of sound mind. He or she cannot be serving a prison sentence at the time of his/ her candidacy. He or she must not be a declared bankrupt. He or she must not owe allegiance to a foreign country. Those who aspire to public office should be aware of these qualifications, but if they are not, the party supporting their candidacy should know and should vet each candidate before putting him/ her forward for voter approval. Mrs. Yolanda Shackron should have known that her US citizenship would have caused her candidacy to be disallowed. But the bigger blame must be laid at the feet of the leaders of the PUP who sponsored her candidacy. Surely they must know the rules!

February 25, 2012

Valid: Friday-Monday, Feb. 24 - 27, 2012 Issued: 3:00 pm, Friday, February 24, 2012

A cold front will drift slowly east south-eastwards across the Gulf of Mexico during the next 24 to 48 hours, stalling over the central Gulf and the Bay of Campeche on Sunday, then dissipating later on Monday. The approaching cold front will however, induce some showers and/or afternoon thunderstorms inland over Belize and Yucatan on Sunday afternoon and evening. The unstable airflow will favour a few showers on Monday, especially over central and northern districts of Belize.

Otherwise, the weather across the nation will continue seasonally dry and warm today through most of the weekend and Monday.

Daily rainfall totals will range from 0.01-0.10 of-an-inch on Friday and Saturday, increasing later on Saturday and Sunday, with daily accumulations ranging from 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch, especially over central and northern districts. Daily rainfall totals will decrease over all places during Monday through Tuesday of next week.

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekend Weather Report

Polling Stations, Links, Contact Information, and more!

UK Children's Advocate visits Liberty Children's Home
Mark arrived at Liberty just as the kids were coming in from School. He is very impressed with the campus and related how many people were waving and honking at him as he came into town.

Harvest cassava!
This is what we did Wednesday when the children had half day from school. Harvest cassava! Cassava is used in boil up, a popular Belizean dish; its used to make cassava bread, cassava cake, and even cassava chips! Today we killed 25 of our broilers chicken we bought in January. Six weeks and they are ready! Jesse our volunteer helped with killing them. Fi we pickni deh da fi we fucha! Our children are our future!

The February 26th, 2012 issue of The Independent is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Lived by the Gun: Ricky Valencia executed before historic first bench trial
  • Rhett Fuller Denied Bail
  • Detainee found dead in police custody! Family does not buy police story
  • SSB: Merlene Bailey resigned!
  • Editorial: Sycophants and criminals
  • Toledo is still the Forgotten District
  • Rhett Fuller - is this really his swan song? And is he Belize’s quid pro quo?
  • Impartial View: Internationally instantaneously impactful
  • BLUE NOTES: Leadership vs Leadership
  • Financial Sense: Coping with Job Loss
  • ADDRESS TO BELIZE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PUP LEADER FRANCIS FONSECA: Back to Basics: Thinking Differently About Governance
  • State of the Arts: Youth Voices Ring Out
  • San Pedro Politics
  • San Pedro Beat
  • The People's Referendum
  • GG police driver stole First Lady’s ATM card and withdrew thousands from account!

German Shepherd puppies for sale
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The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Seadogs head to 2012 Premiere League of Belize Football Competition
The 2012 Premiere League of Belize (PLB) Football Competition, originally scheduled to commence on Sunday, February 5th was postponed and commenced one week later on Feb. 12th. Two games into the competition, the San Pedro Seadogs are going strong with one draw and one win. On Feb. 12th, the Seadogs travelled to the Cayo District where they went up against the Belize Defense Force (BDF) at the Norman Broaster Stadium. In this game, the boys played fearlessly and emerged with a draw. In the 12th minute of the game, Jesse Smith placed the Seadogs score board with the first goal. With Kenny Witzill scoring the second goal in the 22nd minute, Seadogs were confident of their win. This was, until Brian Waight managed to put the BDF on the scoring board in the 43rd minute of the game. In the 90+2 minute of the game, Harrison Tasher managed to score a second goal for the BDF, bringing the game to a tie.

Celebrating Carnaval 2012!
Following the dance presentations, it was time for the crowning of Miss Carnaval 2012-2013. With initially three young ladies vying for the title – the competition was cut when two stepped down, leaving one individual representing. Miss Carnaval 2012-2013, Miss Miriam Rodriguez Shortly after 9PM, reigning Miss Carnaval 2011-2012, Miss Ileny Aguilar, took to the stage for the official crowning of Miss Carnaval 2012-2013, Miss Miriam Rodriguez. As part of the block party celebration, booths also competed for three categories: best decorated, best Carnaval platter and best Carnaval drink. In the category for the best decorated booth; Bayside Bar and Grill took the prize, with their Carnaval theme and colorful decorations. Best Carnaval platter went to the Blue Hole Restaurant for their Pork Pibil and best Carnaval drink went to Nicti-Ha, with their concoction, dubbed the “Blue Sacrifice”, a delicious combination of Vodka, lime, sugar and Gatorade.

Standard Bearers Debate Q&A: Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker residents say the feel forgotten, neglected and only remembered at elections time. Do you think this is true and how do you intend to change this perception?

Electorates to vote in People’s Referendum on offshore oil drilling in Belize
Belizean electorates across the country will have the opportunity to vote on the issue of offshore oil drilling in Belize in a People’s Referendum. The referendum date is set for Wednesday, February 29th and according to the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, it will be held in all 31 constituencies including Belize Rural South. There will be polling stations in every electoral division and for Ambergris Caye the polling stations will be at Central Park.Speaking on behalf of the Coalition, the Vice President of Oceana-Belize Audrey Matura Shepherd explained to The San Pedro Sun that the People’s Referendum is in response to the call of the public. That call of the public is that action must be taken despite the disqualification of 8,000 of the 20,000 petition signatures initially collected from citizens requesting a referendum on oil exploration on offshore Belize.

Ambergris Today

AIDS Presentation by Std. V & VI Students of IBES
The Topic of AIDS/HIV is very difficult to discuss it is a subject that most rather not talk about because it has been tagged as a taboo subject. But the students of Isla Bonita Elementary School are not afraid to talk about this world wide pandemic, they have been educated about the subject and on Thursday, February, 23, 2012, Standard V & VI students held an open presentation at the school grounds to educate others about AIDS/HIV. Mrs. Sharon Hazel, teacher of IBES, explained to Ambergris Today that students are taught about sexuality and introduced to the topic of AIDS at the end of the third term at the class of Standard IV. The topic is then discussed at a more advanced level once they are in Standard V and VI.

BWS Clarifies Information on San Pedro Water Supply
Earlier this month Ambergris Today reported that the island might face water shortage during its busy season. The reported stated that according to the Consolidated Water Belize Limited (Water Company that sells water to Belize Water Services Limited who then distributes to consumers all over the island) the demand of water supply was barely being met and that water conservation was essential in order not to face water shortage during high tourist season. The manager of CWBL explained that it was essential to practice water conservation on the island until a new water production facility is placed on the island. In response to these allegations and information brought up by CWBL to the San Pedro Business Association and the public in general the Belize Water Services (BWS) sent the following Press Release in regards to the water supply situation on the island. - Belize Water Services (BWS) has recently been made aware of media coverage from San Pedro indicating a concern of a possible water shortage on the island during times of peak demand. BWS is committed by a contract agreement to purchase all water for distribution in San Pedro from Consolidated Water Belize Limited (CWBL). BWS has been requesting CWBL since 2005 to increase its capacity to adequately deliver water to the island based on growth projections.

Tropic Air Announces New Non-Stop Service Between Belize City And San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Tropic Air announced on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, that it will be inaugurating three times weekly non-stop Cessna Caravan service between Belize City International Airport and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on March 12th, 2012. With the launching of this service and the opening of its new station there, Tropic Air will be the only airline to operate non-stop flights between the two countries. This service is a direct response to requests from its valued customers, and carries through on the airline’s stated commitment to the people of Belize. It will not only serve to make travel between Belize and Honduras easier, but will allow for the expansion of trade and tourism between the two countries.


A GORGEOUS Day Sailing on the Rum Punch 2
Yesterday could not have been more perfect for sailing. Blue cloudless skies, warm and breezy, we set sail at about noon yesterday on the Rum Punch 2, a refurbished traditional Belizean sail boat. While waiting to board, I ran into this gentleman. Belizean Melody's newly relocated art gallery has certainly found a catchy new way to advertise. The Rum Punch motored up to the dock to pick us up. We started sailing north for a bit of snorkeling at Mexico Rocks. Not a bad view from the front of the boat.

a spectacular welcome to belize (“this is happiness”)
I arrived in Belize in the late afternoon of February 6, in the lull between day and night. In the seaside town of San Pedro, dive shops closed up on the long, wooden piers and the last few boats zipped back to shore. High schoolers ended their soccer game on the beach, where frayed rope marked the goalposts. The orange sunset lit up sandy streets and wooden buildings painted in shades of pink, yellow and turquoise. As beautiful as it was, this isn’t what sticks out in my mind when I think of Belize.

VIDEO: Hidden beauty on the reef, San Pedro
These are just a few things I love that we overlook while diving- Hope you enjoy as much as me. Marty O'Farrell

VIDEO: Japanese Commercial Shot In Belize
Richard Foster and Marty O'Farrell shot this commercial for iichiko last year. Very famous in Japan:) Catchy little tune. Underwater shots from Belize Barrier in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Belize

VIDEO: Wreck Diving Belize
Sunk In 1946, found again in 1999. The Myron L is a 120 foot cargo freighter sitting upright fully intact in 145 feet of water. This is a short 10 minute documentary to introduce the world to the first real shipwreck dive in Belize. Watch and then come dive it in person. It is an absolutely beautiful wreck.

Belizean artist Gerry Badillo ft Lucio Nunez with Ya No Quiero Verte Mas
Up and coming Belizean artist Gerry Badillo released his first music video today for "Ya No Quiero Verte Mas," featuring another local recording artist, Lucio Nunez, the vocalist behind the popular band, Beneath the Lies. This addicting track was produced and recorded by Derrick Banos from Absolute Rip'd Records and is a Spanish version of Joe Jonas' smash hit, "See No More." San Ignacio based fashion designer Joris Hendrik provided the dress for the model in the video-- a unique and edgy design made with film tape reel, a tie in to the video itself. Hendrik's designs are some of the most bold and expressive designs to come out of Belize, utilizing his love of Caribbean culture and a background in architecture.

Guatemala cruise Day 1: San Pedro to Placencia, Belize
On Day 1, we departed from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in northern Belize, and sailed down to Placencia in southern Belize The twin engines roared into life promptly at 4:30 (also known as o-dark-thirty) for our scheduled 5 am departure from the TMM dock in San Pedro. We had one of the two aft (rearward) cabins, situated on the port side of s/v Hope, and our bed pretty much sat right over (or beside) one of the 55 hp diesels. An alarm clock unlike any other! Struggling out of our comfy berth in total darkness, our excitement over what was to come quickly overtook thoughts of sleep. There would be plenty of time to nap later.

Notes from a Lobster Fishing Boat in Belize
A spiny lobster lurches out of the Caribbean, flies ten feet through the air, and lands with a sickening crunch into a pile of slowly suffocating crustaceans at my feet. It’s opening day of lobster season on Ambergris Caye. For weeks I’ve been happily swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking off the coast of Belize’s most-visited island without realizing the ocean floor is littered with lobster death traps. Now, I’m sitting in a tiny fishing boat with two seasoned fishermen on the biggest money-making day of their year. I’m pretty sure lobsters can bite. Raul and Garcia picked me up from the dock at dawn. I had packed my camera, sandwiches, and sunscreen. They had packed beer, spears, and snorkeling gear. Usually, when I’m nervous, I talk too much. Today was no exception. Raul revved the engine and we roared out towards Belize’s Barrier Reef. Somehow, the guys knew exactly where in the wide waters their hundreds of lobster shades rested. In Belize, lobsters aren’t trapped. Instead, fishermen construct handmade boxes, called shades, out of mangrove wood, and sink them to the bottom of the ocean. Lobsters are attracted to the shades as a source of protection from the sun and predators. Poor, stupid lobsters. Lobster diving requires at least two people: one person to drive the boat and one person to jump into the water, hold their breath, dive down to the lobster shades, pick up the lobster by hand, swim it to the surface, and chuck the terrified lobster into the bottom of the boat. Then repeat. Hundreds of times. Occasionally, Raul uses a spear hook, not his hand to grab the spiky delicacies. Lobster diving doesn’t require I do anything but stay out of the way. On his first dive Raul comes up empty-handed.

Red Cross Belize
The Belize Red Cross (BRC) does a huge range of things across the country and are mostly known for their response in a disaster. However there’s lots of other things that they do when there isn’t an emergency going on: DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE Disaster Management involves preparation, response and recovery/rehabilitation. This is the largest field of work that the Belize Red Cross engages in throughout the year. The National Society assists the Government in all humanitarian aspects of disasters. As I’m sure you know flooding and hurricanes are the main disaster threat throughout the country. HIV/AIDS OUTREACH Belize has the highest prevalence rate of HIV in Central America. “Together We Can” is a regional methodology that has been adapted by the Belize Red Cross since January of 2004 and employs face to face peer education while providing young people with access to information and education. In gaining knowledge youth are in a position to develop life skills required to reduce their risk of contracting STIs and unplanned pregnancies.

Tales of a Maya Shaman
On Monday, Dr. Rosita Arvigo delivered a compelling presentation to more than 25 Chaa Creek Guests on her apprenticeship with Don Elijio Panti – Belize’s last Maya Shaman. During her apprenticeship with Don Elijio, Dr. Arvigo learned an ancient Maya system of healing that employs medicinal plants, massage, acupuncture, herbal and sweat baths and prayers to effect cures on a wide range of maladies. Dr. Arvigo stated that Don Elijio studied under Maya curers in the jungles of Guatemala and Belize when he was a chiclero collecting sapodilla tree resin (the base for chewing gum) for companies such as Wrigley’s and received international recognition for his vast body of knowledge and service to humanity with awards such as “Distinguished Contribution to Science” (The New York Botanical Gardens), and was made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Traveling from Belize to Mexico by Boat and Bus
Budget-traveling from Belize to Mexico is an eight-hour affair, and whether it’s worth doing it that way also depends on your patience, your ability to stomach choppy seas, and the weather. The three ways to get to Mexico from Belize are: by plane by overnight bus from Belize City to Cancun, with the Mexican bus line “ADO” leaving from the Queen Square Market I’m told (which lands you in Playa del Carmen at 4 a.m. or Cancun at about 6 a.m.); or if you’re leaving from one of the Cayes, first by water taxi to Chetumal (2 hours), followed by a five-to-seven hour ADO bus ride, depending on your final destination in Mexico. For example, it’s 4.5 hours from Chetumal to Playa del Carmen. Buying the Water Taxi Ticket to Chetumal The day before leaving for Mexico, the lady at the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi office in Caye Caulker warned me. The boat leaves at 7 o’clock sharp, so make sure you show up on time, she said. I purchased my round trip ticket to Chetumal and lucky for me I knew my passport number by heart. You’re supposed to bring your passport along when you get your ticket, so you can >> be registered on the SPBE’s log of folks leaving Belize. The round trip ticket (and next time I’m only getting a one-way – see later in the story) cost me US $ 65 or $130 Belizean Dollars. Then I had to pay a separate US $5 (BZD $10) docking fee. Oh, and then I was told to expect another US $ 3.75 (or BZD $7.50) fee when going through immigration in San Pedro – a mandatory stop when heading to Mexico from the Cayes. Total so far: US $73.75 or BZD $147.5 from Caye Caulker.

Experience Belize Events like a Local
In Belize, there is no shortage of local events and if any traveller desires to fit in perfectly, they must pass the Eat like a Belize local test. Do you think you can pass it?

brain soup lust: The Entrance to the Mayan Underworld
Actun Tunichil Muknal cave in Belize is where the Mayan's made ceramic, stoneware, and human sacrifices to honor and appease their gods. They believed that it was the entrance to the Underworld, and would wade through it's chest-deep waters for almost two miles, sometimes under the influence of hallucinogenic plants, to reach the summit of dry cave bed where they would make their sacrifices.

VIDEO: A Good Day with The Sea Turtle
The Turtle is an Ancient Symbol, Representing Order, Creation, Endurance, Strength, Stability, Longevity, Fertility, and a Gentle Innocence. The Turtle also Offers Protection, Good Fortune , and Can Bring Forth Happiness and Good Omens.

Travels to Belize: Punta Gorda
My trusty wristwatch alarm started chirping at 5:45 AM. The rain hadn't let up one bit since the beginning of the night. Our river taxi was supposed to pick us up at 6 AM to take us upstream to a town called Livingston where a ferry departs only twice a week to Belize. Assuming the heavy rainfall would hinder these plans, I left Whitney to continue dreaming, and figured I'd go check to see if anyone was in the lobby anyway. I grabbed the flashlight to light my way, as Finca Titan only taps into their diesel supply for electricity a few hours a day, and made my way toward the river. To my surprise, a Guatemalan man in a poncho came walking up through the lobby leaving a trail of water in his path. It quickly became evident that nature is no match for a determined Guatemalan work ethic. Five minutes later, Whitney and I were packed and settling up our tab with Gaby. Most hostels we have come across, thus far, operate on a bit of a trust system. Throughout your stay, you are trusted to keep an ongoing tally of how many drinks you have taken, kayaks you have helped yourself too, meals you have ordered, etc

Channel 7

A Killing In the Capital
On Wednesday night - a notorious street figure - was executed in Belize City - and last night in Belmopan, a man was similarly shot to the head. But 25 year old Benito Mendoza was not any kind of notorious figure - in fact he was known to be an easy going person. So then why was she shot to the head as he was buying food last night? Monica Bodden went looking for answers: It happened outside this nightclub called The Junction situated at the junction of the Hummingbird Highway and Constitution Drive in Belmopan. The heap of sand in the parking lot covers the pool of blood where 25 year old Benito Mendoza fell after he was shot to the left side of his temple.

Police Minister Claims Cops Did No Wrong In Two Incidents
31 year old Miguel Martinez died in police custody on Monday - and yesterday a post mortem confirmed that the cause of death was lung failure, due to excessive alcohol and drug consumption. The long and short of that is that the police pathologist is saying that the police were not to blame for his death in the San Pedro holding cell. Police Minister Doug Singh told LOVE TV as much yesterday. Here's a portion of that interview. "The particular individual that died in custody in San Pedro was detained by police prior to that event because of complaints of him exposing himself in public, and other things that he was doing and he appeared to have been on something. The following week, there was a report that he was - I think - using a machete and banging on someone's house. When the police went there, he was nowhere to be seen; police went back and the hotel next door to that house called the police afterwards saying that he had a machete - this is the Phoenix hotel; this is the hotel that is ranked on trip advisors as the number 1 hotel in the world.

Business Owner Had Two Guns Put To His Head
This afternoon, at around 1:30, Auto Zone - the vehicle accessory store on cemetery Road in Belize City was robbed. Now, Auto Zone doesn't have a customary storefront - with a door - it's wide open. And two gunmen strode right in and when the owner Nigel Espat came from the back where he was having lunch - he ran straight into the barrel of a loaded weapon. He told us what happened next: Nigel Espat - Owner Robbed At Gunpoint "When I walked out of my office and got to the front of the store, there were 2 guys standing in here; one of them was pointing a gun in my face. The one pointing the gun held it to my head while the other one pulled behind the counter and he took what I had on me, took my chain, my phone, watch, wallet, some cash that was in my pocket, then he proceeded to take me back into my office, where the guy that had the gun initially - he went over on the other side of the building where black world Harley Davidson is and he pulled the employee that was sitting over there at the counter, brought her through the back door into my office as well, where they tied us up in the office, put us to lay on the ground tied us up, and robbed us everything that we had in there too - all the cash that was in the cash register, the laptops, they took my firearm, and we were left there, could have been maybe 10 minutes, at which point they left and I got up an managed to untie myself and untie the employee."

The Ice Cream Man Got Jacked
On Monday, two gunmen weren't so restrained with the driver of an ice cream truck. Patrick Ottley, a Blades Ice cream truck driver was with his common-law wife on Tigris street returning to the company compound. As he was reversing the truck into the yard, two men approached him. Then, one of the men hit him over the head with what appeared to be a firearm while the other stole the cash pan. It is unclear how much money the robbers got away with, but they ran down Dean St. The police are continuing their investigation.

Man Goes To Jail For A Year For Assaulting Child
In the last 4 weeks, we've reported on cases of men either charged with or found guilty of indecent assault. Tonight, we add another report to the growing list. This one involves 37 year-old Salvadoran National Jose Cortez, a resident of Lovely Lane, who was convicted in Magistrate's Court and sentenced to 1 year imprisonment. He was accused of assaulting a 10 year-old girl. According to the child, who testified in closed court, in August, she was at a home on Baghdad Street where she had gone to buy boiled corn. She went behind the house and encountered Cortez - who, she says exposed himself and was attempting to open her legs, when she screamed for help. There were adults who were nearby, and they came to her rescue. Cortez was then arrested by police and charged.

Another Accused Of An Indecent Assault
And while Jose Cortez will tonight spend the first night of his year in prison, another new case of indecent assault came to court today also. 46 year-old Dwayne Young, a stevedore residing in Mahogany Heights was arraigned for allegedly assaulting a 22 year-old woman. Young concealed his face at all the opportunities when he was outside of the courtroom. According to the police report, on Monday at Mahogany Heights, Young allegedly made unwanted advances toward the 22 year-old, who is a neighbor. He reportedly kissed her and touched her privates against her will.

Another Caught Smuggling Ganja Into Gaol
Last night, we told you about Justin Richards who was remanded for allegedly trying to smuggle weed into the Belize Central Prison. Today, another man is accused of trying to do the exact same thing; he is 28 year-old Clarence Grant, a laborer of Mahogany Heights. Police say that at around 3 p.m. yesterday, Grant was detained at the prison while the authorities searched 2 foam containers in his possession, which according him, contained only food. Officers eventually found about 2.96 ounces of marijuana in several small, clear plastic bags inside these containers. As a result, he was arrested, charged, and brought to court today.

How The Double Election Will Work
The double election is now only a week and a half away - and all over the country, all over the news - election campaigning is at a fever pitch. But on March 7th., the noise will stop when the voter gets into that booth for their secret, sacred transaction between the citizen and the ballot paper. In the general election, 178,054 (one-hundred and seventy-eight thousand and fifty-four thousand) registered voters are registered to vote for 74 Candidates in 31 constituencies at 315 polling stations. In the municipals, 97,979 voters will vote for 170 candidates at 168 of those polling stations. But for those in towns who wish to vote in two elections, how will it be done? Well, today Chief Elections Office Josephine Tamai explained the process in detail to 7news:

Lands Dept. Will Open On Saturday For Harmonyville Peeps
Tomorrow, the Ministry of Natural Resources will be opened to facilitate the residents of Harmonyville. That's right they'll be open on a Saturday to facilitate a special interest groups: specifically 367 residents who can get their land documents for a thousand dollars, and another 300 or so who will be signing their land leases. It's a special group being handled at a special time - but Petillo says the public interest and the common good demand it: Nigel Petillo - President, BGYEAH via Telephone "We have been aggressive. We have been behind the minister and the Government as far as when it comes to Harmonyville. When it comes to the Saturday event, yes, you know its not normal working hours but we had to dialog with the Government and the Minister of Natural Resources and see if they have time that they can put aside. And, the Ministry said right away, 'We don't mind open a Saturday Morning to facilitate you guys, providing that you have your numbers out there already, your people registered to do it one day.'

Street Art Festival Returns
Last year's first Street Art Festival was such a success, that NICH decided to make it an annual event. And so, back by popular demand, the festival that was "created to build a national forum for artists" will be staged tomorrow in downtown Belize City. According to Karen Vernon of the Institute of Creative Arts, the fest gives artists of all types an opportunity to showcase their talent and artwork while providing meaningful entertainment for the whole family. Karen Vernon - Theatre Director, NICH "Booths will be lined from Belize Bank all the way down just before Prince Street. we will have a stage which will be our first stage where entertainment will be from 2 until 7p.m on that stage. Another stage will be in the central park area and entertainment there will start from 7 and will go on until 10. We have all different sorts of artist in the booths: painters, sculptors, people doing jewelry, tattoo artists, make-up artists. People will be down there with that type of stuff, so you will be able to walk down Albert Street and see all the different stuff that the artists have to offer. There will also be, what we call street entertainment, which will be the Jan Canoe dancers moving through the crowd.

Channel 5

Murder in Capital City
There was a murder in the capital early this morning. It is the first in Belmopan since the beginning of the year and the community is in shock. The Roaring Creek resident and two others were purchasing food in front of a night club when he was shot and killed. An eyewitness says the suspect ...

2 elections one day; voter process explained
The 2012 elections are twelve days away and campaign gear can be seen on the streets and on the television. The songs, ads, speeches, and hundreds of promises in party manifestos will disappear along with most politicians the day after the March seventh double elections. The first double election was in 2003 and ...

Media regulations for March 7th
Earlier today Tamai met with stakeholders and the media setting down guidelines for coverage. Tamai says that tallying of votes will take place at the same time in the different constituencies to expedite the results. At least three thousand public officers will be working on the double elections. Jose Sanchez “How many registered voters are ...

Viewer poll not keen on U.D.P. 2nd term
Do you believe the current government deserves a second term in office? That was our question of the week and the results were fast and furious. Almost four thousand persons voted on our e-poll; the vast majority of them were against the Barrow administration. Ninety-two percent voted no to a second term in office for ...

Julius and Ramon in Cayo South Campaign
Over seven thousand voters are registered in the Cayo South division where both political parties have flooded the area with party colors and flags. First time aspirant who is also the national campaign manager for the P.U.P., Julius Espat, is hoping to unseat the incumbent, Ramon Witz. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was in Roaring Creek ...

New Belize Ambassador to Mexico
There’s a new Belize ambassador to Mexico. With the departure from Mexico of Rosendo Urbina Senior who is now running for office, Oliver del Cid today presented credentials to President Felipe Calderon at the National Palace in the Mexican capital. Del Cid was born in Belize City, but grew up in Orange Walk Town. He ...

Post Mortem results on man who died in police custody
Ricky Valencia, one of the most feared street figures in the city, was killed on Wednesday night as he drove his vehicle on Caesar Ridge Road. Tonight, Belize City police are tonight no closer to solving the murder of twenty-eight year old Valencia. Despite interviewing several residents in the area of the Cumberbatch Field following ...

Robbers intended to tie up a Priest
Saint Martin De Porres Parish was burglarized on February sixteenth. The incident was not reported previously, but it was the third recorded burglary at the compound since September 2011. The parish is led by members of the Jesuit community, who also occupy the living quarters to the rear of the church. In what can be ...

Salvadoran National assaulted 10 year old
A Salvadoran national was convicted today of Aggravated Assault of an Indecent Nature and he’s going to jail for a year. The trial against thirty-seven year old Jose Cortez concluded just before noon in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. He was found guilty following the testimony of the victim, a ten year ...

John Mariano arraigned for Obtaining Property by Deception
An ex-cop who was accused of swindling a doctor out of thousands of dollars got some good news in court today. The report was made back in August 2011 and after almost six months; forty-five year old John Mariano finally showed up in court to be arraigned for obtaining property by deception. In court this ...

Belize Elementary School goes green
Recycling efforts among primary school students are reaping big dividends. The go green program started a few years ago and has mushroomed into a campaign that has exceeded expectations at the Belize Elementary School where students are also learning the importance of conservation. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. Isani Cayetano, Reporting Friendly competition amongst the ...

Is Elizabeth Gamez being forced to vote for the U.D.P.?
The date of the elections is drawing near and each day the requests for interviews and the topics become more unusual. Late this evening News Five received a call from a Cayo resident who alleges politics is splitting up her family. A relative apparently called social services to take away her child. Elizabeth Gamez admits ...

Quad Bike and Fundraising for Children’s Home
Eleven Countries, One Goal… Make a Difference; it’s the theme that is the driving force behind an ambitious project by British resident Marc Noonan. Using a quad bike, Noonan is moving through the region to raise awareness and funds for orphanages or related charities. His journey started in Mexico and he has reached the Liberty ...


Today is Universal Birth Registration Day and according to UNICEF this is the first right of a child. Today the emphasis is on sending out the message about how crucial birth registration is for a child. Adolescent Development officer for UNICEF, Shirleen Tablada explained that UNICEF along with the Government of Belize and other organizations have been on a campaign for over a year. Shirleen Tablada – Adolescent Development Officer “We’ve met much success and in 2011 in particular we’ve managed to register over ten thousand children in particular, in three District, in Corozal in Stann Creek and in Toledo District. Basically we find that up to ten to fifteen percent in some areas of children are unregistered. There are many many documents why children are not registered. In many instances, for example in Toledo, the issue has to do with distance. The system is literally centralized still, and so main registration points are found primarily in urban areas and so you find in districts where there are many rural communities a big issue with distance to actually come register children. Another problem which is now alleviated was cost. There was a cost to actually completing a late registration and so a lot of parents couldn’t find the money sometimes, up to fifty-six dollars, and therefore parents didn’t come out to register their children.

Twenty-eight year old Clarence Grant, a laborer of Mahogany Heights who allegedly tried to smuggle eighty four grams of cannabis into Belize Central Prison, was charged with drug trafficking when he appeared today in Magistrate’s Court. Grant pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was denied bail and he was remanded into custody until February 29. The incident occurred around three p.m. yesterday. Prison Officer Silvano Cal reported that when he searched two foam plates with food that Grand had, he found three transparent plastic bags with cannabis in each plate. TH ecannabis amounted to eighty four grams. Cal called the police in Hattieville and handed over Grant to Police Constable Sandro McDougal.

Thirty-seven year old Salvadoran National Jose Cortez, charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a ten year old girl, was sentenced to one year today by the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. The incident occurred around one ten p.m. on August seventh, 2011 in a yard at number one Baghdad Street. The child, a primary school student, testified in camera that she went to the yard to buy boiled corn and while she was waiting for the corn to finish boiling, Cortez threw her down on her back and took out and exposed himself. The child said she screamed and some other persons who were in the yard came to her rescue. Cortez testified and denied he committed the offence. He said he was drunk and he was urinating against a fence. He claimed that when he turned around and was pulling up the zipper of his pants he saw the child in front of him.

Forty-six year old Dwayne Young, a stevedore of Mahogany Heights who allegedly committed a sexual assault on a twenty two year old woman, was charged with aggravated assault when he appeared today in the number two Magistrate’s Court. Young pleaded not guilty to the charge. Senior magistrate Sharon Fraser offered him a bail of two thousand five hundred dollars and adjourned his case until April twenty fifth. The incident occurred on Monday, February twentieth at Mahogany Heights. The woman reported to the police that during the day whilst she was in her yard, young kissed her and fondled her private parts.

Patrick Jones reporting... “Hundreds of students from Primary School to University took to the streets of San Ignacio and Santa Elena this morning. The purpose of the peaceful demonstration was to draw attention to the community’s intolerance of crime here, especially the sexual abuse of underage girls. The parade started from the Sacred Heart College Compound. Led by a marching band and with music blaring from loud speakers, the children carried placards that said: Stop abusing children; criminals should be in jail, protect children; stop children trafficking before it’s too late; and I have a right to be safe. Organizers of today’s demonstration are hoping that it will ignite the push to address this scourge on the Cayo community head on. While the size of the demonstration numbered in the hundreds of students, many more stood by the parade route in solidarity. Organizers say they expected a larger turn out; but still they believe that their message came across loud and clear today. And as the vice president of the student government Gilbert Andrews said at the end of the demonstration, if they need to do a hundred more to effect the necessary change, then so be it."

Over the past week there have been at least three different incidents involving police officers. One of them included the sudden death of thirty-two year old Miguel Martinez, a San Pedro resident who died earlier this week in the San Pedro Police Station holding cell. Love News spoke with Minister of Police, Doug Singh, about it. He said that there is no evidence to suggest that the police were at fault. Doug Singh – Minister of Police “I spoke with the officer in charge, Dennis Arnold, when the incident was reported and he assured me that there were no abuses to the individual and he gave me a history on it. The particular individual that died in custody in San Pedro was detained by police prior to that event because of complaints of him exposing himself in public and other things that he was doing and he appeared to be on something. He was issued medication by the hospital to calm him down and we held him for a while and released him. The following week there was a report that he was using a machete and banging on somebody’s house, when Police went there he was nowhere to be seen. Police went back and the hotel next door to that house called the police afterwards saying that he had a machete and he was out there chopping at trees.

Fem Cruz reporting... “A shooting incident in Belmopan has left one person dead and a suspect on the run. We spoke to an eye witness who told Love News that sometime around 2:15 this morning, he was standing outside Piccini Night Club speaking with the person who was shot. He said the person walked about 35 feet from him when he heard the sound gunshot. He said he ran to the area and he saw the person lying on the ground face up in a pool of blood. About 15 seconds later he saw a car speed off from the area. Two police officers that were on duty at the time saw what happened and pursued the vehicle and the suspect fired several shots at the police. The suspect then escaped. The body was transported to the Western Regional Hospital. The person received a single gunshot to the left side of the temple. He was later identified as 23-year-old Benito Alberto Sosa, a resident of Roaring Creek Village.”


Traffic Accident Claims The Life Of A Mennonite Man
A Mennonite man of the Ship Yard Community is tonight dead after he was involved in a traffic accident last night while heading back home. Reports are that around 8:30 last night, 38 year old Cornelio Elias of Camp 3 in the community of Ship Yard, was heading back home when he lost control of his brown Toyota Corolla car while traveling somewhere along camp one. As a result the vehicle overturned several times landing on its four wheels. Elias, we understand, was flung out of the vehicle and landed approximately 8 feet away from the vehicle. Elias sustained sever head and body injuries and died on the spot. The body of the 38 year old Cornelio Elias was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Gushanie Wagner Detained By Orange Walk Police
Yesterday the only thing that was known about the murder of 21 year old Abel Arturo Robinson is that police for looking for Gushanie Wagner aka Suga and Victor Anthony Luna aka Torrito who police believed would be able to assist in their investigations. Strong rumours were that Wagner was on the run and he was nowhere to be found in Orange Walk. But this morning around 10:00 the 22 year old was captured by police in Belize City somewhere around Taylors Alley. By the time Wagner was brought to Orange Walk Town it was highly rumoured that police had their main suspect in the murder of Robinson in custody. Reports are that on Friday morning Robinson left his home located on Crickstock Street in the company of Wagner and that was the last time his family saw him alive.

BNTU Disagrees With Governments Proposal For Salary Increase
This afternoon the Belize National Teachers Union Orange Walk Branch, held a meeting with its members at the Gala Lounge where the main topic of discussion was the Collective Bargaining Agreement which includes a salary increase. For the past four years B.N.T.U has been negotiating a teacher’s salary increase with the present Government but has been unable to come to an agreement due to a number of reasons. The last time teachers received a salary increment was back in 2007 under the People’s United Party. Today when we spoke to President of BNTU Orange Walk Branch, Otilio Munoz, he told us that BNTU has reached the end of the road and there will be no more negotiations. According to Munoz a recent proposal was made to BNTU by the Government of Belize but teacher’s country wide are not in support of the proposal.

Students of Concepcion Presbyterian School Back in Class
On Monday the Concepcion Presbyterian School in the Corozal District heard the roar of concerned parents who were in protest of the school board’s recommendation to demote Esther Mendez from her post as principal. As part of their protest, parents opted not to send their children to school. But late yesterday evening when we spoke to President of BNTU Corozal Rural Branch Mario Mesh, he told us that the children were back at school and that Principal Mendez had not been demoted from her post, at least for the time being. As mentioned on Monday, the schools Board of Directors headed by Ismael Vallejo, issued a letter to the Ministry of Education requesting that Mendez be demoted by the 31st of January on the grounds of insubordination, orchestrating the ousting of the board, lack of proper financial management, promoting division among staff members and obstructing the work of the board.

PUP Orange Walk Town Council Candidates Meet With Residents Of The Louisiana Area
With fourteen days before the Municipal and General Elections the PUP Town Council Candidates in the Orange Walk division are hard at work ensuring that the message of change reaches all registered voters of the community. That message is being spread through neighborhood meetings held in various areas across town. Last night the PUP 7 Team, headed by Mayoral Candidate Kevin Bernard, met with residents of Liberty Avenue and surrounding areas. For Bernard and the rest of the candidates it was an opportune moment to discuss the PUP Town Council Manifesto and at the same time make it clear that the PUP 7 team is ready to work hand in hand with the people.

PUP Corozal Town Council Slate Launches Manifesto
And while the PUP launched their National Manifesto yesterday, on Monday February 20th, the Corozal PUP Town Council slate launched their Manifesto for 2012 to 2015 entitled “PUP Delivers: New Life for Corozal”. The manifesto entails various important factors that contribute to the positive development of Corozal Town. One of those major factors has to do with financing, which undoubtedly is needed to ultimately run the affairs of the town. Like many councils across the country, the finances and operations of Corozal Town Council have not been managed in an open, transparent and accountable manner. To solve that issue, the PUP Corozal Slate will among other things practice openness, inclusiveness and accountability by ensuring that the Council’s financial records are publicly available.

Ash Wednesday Marks The Beginning Of The Lenten Season
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. It is a season of Penance, reflection and fasting which prepares Christians for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which redemption is attained. For those who might not be aware of the Catholic Church’s practice on this holy day we took the opportunity to bring light to the matter.

PUP National Manifesto In Honor of Honorable George Cadle Price
verance For Belize, that’s the title of the Peoples United Party Manifesto 2012/2016 launched yesterday in Belize City at the party’s headquarters. The six page contract with the people of Belize is dedicated to the memory of the P.U.P’s founder and Father of the Nation the Right Honorable George Cadle Price.


Mennonite farmer dies in RTA
A Mennonite farmer from the Orange Walk district was killed in a road traffic accident in Shipyard earlier this week. Thirty eighty year old Cornelio Elias lost his life when his Toyota Camry car went out of control and overturned while travelling along Camp One in the settlement. Love News understands that Elias was flung from the overturning vehicle and landed about 8 feet away from the wreckage. Elias sustained severe head and body injuries and died on the spot.

Autopsy on dead detainee released
The story made headlines earlier this week when a man detained at the San Pedro police station on Monday night turned up dead the following morning. Thirty one year old Miguel Martinez, a resident of the San Pedrito area of the town was found dead inside his cell around five thirty on Tuesday morning. Today, the police department released the results of the post mortem examination conducted on Martinez body. The police pathologist certified that Martinez died as a result of acute lungs failure brought on by high alcohol consumption and high drug consumption. In a moment, the Minister of Police and Public Safety Douglas Singh will comment on the case.

Santa Elena man hit with firearm charges
San Ignacio police have levied charges against one man in connection with the aggravated robbery of the home of former government minister Ainslie Leslie in that wester municipality earlier this week. Thirty four year old Owen Parham, a labourer with residence in Santa Elena, Cayo, has been charged for the offences of keeping a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. The aggravated burglary happened on Tuesday afternoon in the Kontiki area of San Ignacio Town. Love News understands that other charges may be pending against Parham who has been remanded to the Hattieville prison until his next court appearance.

Salvadoran national guilty of indescent assault; gets jail sentence
Thirty-seven year old Salvadoran National Jose Cortez, charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a ten year old girl, was sentenced to one year today by the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. The incident occurred around one ten p.m. on August seventh, 2011 in a yard at number one Baghdad Street. The child, a primary school student, testified in camera that she went to the yard to buy boiled corn and while she was waiting for the corn to finish boiling, Cortez threw her down on her back and took out his penis and spread her legs. The child said she screamed and some other persons who were in the yard came to her rescue. Cortez testified and denied he committed the offence. He said he was drunk and he was urinating against a fence. He claimed that when he turned around and was pulling up the zipper of his pants he saw the child in front of him.


Man shot and killed outside Belmopan nightclub
A shooting incident in the City of Belmopan has left one person dead and many persons shocked. It's not often that ...

Decomposed body of Guinea Grass resident found in canefield
Reports reaching plus news is that the body of an 85 year old man from the village of Guinea Grass was found decomp...

Julius Espat hits the campaign trail in Roaring Creek
Julius Espat, the People's United Party Candidate for Cayo South, was also on the campaign trail this morning in th...

Ramon Witz on Cayo South campaign
Municipal and General elections are exactly twelve days away and candidates who are running for political office ar...

More concerns raised over change in Belmopan electoral process
As we reported earlier this week, Peoples United Party Candidate for the Belmopan Constituency, Dr. Amin Hegar, Ind...

MS-13 affiliate deported from Belize
A member of the notorious central American gang called MS-13, was deported from Belize yesterday. 26 year old Elmer...

Another man busted trying to smuggle weed into jail
Just yesterday, we reported on an incident where a visitor to the Belize Central prison was caught trying to smuggl...

New health centre inaugurated in Libertad
A new health centre was inaugurated this afternoon in Libertad Village. The new centre will serve the villages of L...

Armed robbers hold up Blades ice cream truck
Blades ice cream truck was robbed in Belize City. The driver for Blades Ice Cream reported that he was reversing th...

Salvadoran convicted of aggravated assault of an indecent nature
37-year-old Salvadoran national, Jose Cortez, was found guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a 1...


Burglar attacks priest in bed
The thief took rope and duct tape into the room... St. Martin De Porres burglarized for the third time since September, 2011l.... St. Martin De Porres Primary School was burglarized last week Thursday, but this news somehow didn’t reach our newsroom until today.

Governor General’s driver charged with theft
Corporal Rayon Martinez helped Lady Young withdraw money from her account, then allegedly helped himself to $7,450 out of her account using the missing ATM card

Miguel Martinez’s mystery death while in police custody
Miguel Martinez, 31, of San Pedro Town, died while in the custody of San Pedro police. At around 5:00 this morning, he was seen lying motionless on the floor in the holding cell.

Siblings beat murder charge
David Uk, 43, and Seidi Salazar, 32, acquitted of murder of Mario Chi, 40... Brother and sister, David Uk, 43, and Seidi Salazar, 32, have been acquitted of a charge of murder in the death of Mario Chi, 40, in Santa Elena Town in 2009.

Bert Vasquez to be tried for abducting minor, 16
Belize City businessman Bert Vasquez, 28, will stand trial for the alleged forcible abduction of a female minor, 16, in May of 2011 on Cemetery Road near the Pound Yard Bridge.

As Ricky lived, so did Ricky die!
Valencia was fatally wounded after he was shot multiple times last night around 9:30 while driving a car on Queen Charlotte Street. The attack took place not far from his home on Caesar Ridge Road, and both streets are in the vicinity of Cumberbatch Field.

Bredda leads Yabra to CYDP Peace Cup Championship 2011-2012
The 3rd Annual CYDP Peace Cup Tournament 2011-2012 concluded near midnight last night at the MCC Grounds, where a first half goal from a corner kick by Gilroy “Bredda” Thurton was enough to give Yabra a 1-nil victory, and the championship, over Fort George United. On Monday of this week, Yabra had won game 1 in the best-of-3 games championship series by a similar 1-nil score.

A chat with veteran footballer Gerald “Speedy” Henry – Part 2
Amandala (A): Oh, yes! (laughs) Now, you said the word!... I remember that name… from the annual track meet at the MCC Grounds. I remember “di Fly.” (Lloyd Henry)

“Joe North” too strong for Buttonwood Bay Regatta, Baron Bliss Regatta is March 11 at BTL Park
Some 18 young sailors from the San Pedro (Ambergris) Sailing Club and 24 from the Belize Optimist Dinghy Association, comprised of sailors from Liberty Children Home, Hummingbird School and the Sea Scouts, gathered at the Seashore Restaurant on the Buttonwood Bay Belize City. With enthusiasm they readied their craft in anticipation of an exciting race day, one that would determine their first individual standings in the race to be a finalist in the National standings.

Cycling News - C-Ray’s Full Throttle Saturday Race
The C-Ray Cycling Team held its weekly “C-Ray’s Full Throttle Saturday Race” last Saturday, February 18, with the following results: Junior Category: 1st - Riis Cattouse (C-Ray), 2nd - Brandon Morgan (C-Ray), 3rd - Eldon Simmons (M&M’s), 4th - Delawn Abraham (Unattached). Category 4/5: 1st - Ernest Meighan (Santino’s), 2nd - Kenroy Gladden (Horizon), 3rd - Omar Gomez (Depredadores). Female/Youth Category: 1st - Delawn Abraham (Unattached), 2nd - Alejandro Manrique (Depredadores), 3rd - Kerah Eiley (C-Ray). Over 50yrs: 1st - Raymond “Ray Catt” Cattouse (C-Ray), 2nd - Santino “The Chief” Castillo (Santino’s). Elite: 1st - Darnell Barrow (Santino’s), 2nd - Gregory Lovell (Santino’s), 3rd - Christian McNish (C-Ray), 4th - Brandon Cattouse (C-Ray), 5th - Byron Pope (Benny’s Megabytes), 6th - Nissan Arana (C-Ray), 7th - Jairo Campus (Santino’s), 8th - Peter Choto (Gallen Eagles Western Spirit), 9th - Ernest Meighan (Santino’s), 10th - Kenroy “Smokes” Gladden (Horizon).

A tale of two manifestos
A tale of two manifestos... The main political parties, the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) and Opposition People’s United Party (PUP), this week released fairly similar action plans for the next four (or five)-year term of office, which they hope to implement if elected in the majority .

The SSB mortgage mix-up
Merlene Bailey-Martinez resigned as SSB’s CEO—but did the board urge her to do so? What went wrong with the SSB-GOB loan write-off program? “the list that went to the House is not clean” “…we were in that process of determining what was the best option when this whole barrage of adverts came up where she was depicted as the devil and so on and so forth,” said deputy chair Dennis Jones.

Oil referendum next Wednesday – JP Association to observe
Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage calls out the public to vote... The year 2012 is proving to be a very interesting year for the Belizean electorate. Initially, only the municipal elections were billed to be called this year; however, the Barrow administration has called early general elections to coincide with the municipal elections.

Ideas and Opinions - Juvenile Delinquency
That is the name given to juvenile crime, which has been on the ascendancy for a long time and, will continue to increase. This is so because, most of these crimes are unreported. The general attitude of those who suffer losses, is that it is not worth the trouble to inform the police for two reasons. One, the police has more than its hands full of dealing in dealing with serious crimes and, two, a successful outcome of police action would not satisfy the offended parties.

EDITORIAL: Oil, conservation and votes
In an interview with Adele Trapp aired Tuesday night on her KREM Radio/TV show, former United Democratic Party (UDP) Leader and a UDP Cabinet Minister from 1984-1989, Dean Russell Lindo, suggested that the UDP could well be returned to office with a greater seat majority than the 25-6 they won in 2008. Mr. Lindo’s is a very highly respected political mind, and it must be the case that he is seeing indicators from his UDP perspective which lead him to such a speculation.

From The Publisher
Some people say that the greatness of the late jazz pianist, Thelonius Monk, derived as much from the notes he didn’t play as from the ones that he did. They are exaggerating, I think, but you get the idea. When our post-World War II generation was growing up in British Honduras, we learned early that silence was a virtue. Every serious trip, by sea or by road, was always a matter of hours upon hours. If there were several people on the trip, sometimes there would be conversational fun and games. But, overall, Belizeans were less garrulous back then. We started out in life as children in a society which explicitly declared that “children should be seen and not heard.” They didn’t have to tell you this if you were a child travelling with an elder from somewhere to somewhere, or perhaps going on a fishing trip with an elder. Elders didn’t hold conversations with children when I was a child. If you wanted to be in good standing, you made yourself active/useful, and you shut your mouth. And, you were grateful for your role. Because of my childhood, I believe it is possible to communicate without running your mouth, but sometimes you have to say things just to make absolutely sure your message is received. Last year when I began to do a KREM Radio/TV show called Senior Moments, Gustavo Torres, a baker and boxing aficionado from San Ignacio who was a strong supporter of Assad Shoman’s during the latter’s Cayo North election runs from 1974 to 1984, called me to say he wanted Pappy Smith to be a guest on the show. Albert “Pappy” Smith is a Cayo football legend who also supported Assad Shoman, but he had been a part of something in 1972 and 1973 which was more significant and memorable for me personally. Here’s the story.

International Sources

PHOTO: A snorkeler comes face-to-fin with sharks and other fish in Belize's vibrant Ambergris Caye.
A little bit of paradise is found 15 minutes from the mainland by plane, 30 minutes by water taxi. Caye Caulker, five miles long and a half mile wide, is a place of swaying palms, white sandy beaches (unusual for Belize), and warm waters. In 1961 Hurricane Hattie expanded a previously narrow cut in the land. Now known as the split, the watery passageway divides the sparsely populated north side of the island from the built-up south, which remains quieter than Ambergris Caye. Manatee tours leave from the split, and speaking of watery denizens, this is where you'll find the annual Caulker Caye Lobster Festival, usually held in mid-June.

How a modest drop in rainfall 'led to the collapse' of Maya civilisation 1,100 years ago
The collapse of the classic Maya civilisation was caused by only a 'modest' drop in rainfall, researchers claimed today. Archaeologists studying the ancient civilisation centred on present day Mexico and Guatemala claim rainfall reductions of just 25 per cent were enough to cause 'the disintegration of a well-established civilisation'. Theories about the collapse of Maya civilisation in 950AD have blamed social unrest, disease and extreme drought. But the study has calculated for the first time just how much rain was lost and discovered that only a 25 to 40 per cent drop was enough to help lead to the collapse of the sophisticated society of accomplished architects and mathematicians that flourished for around 600 years. The research was led by Professors Martin Medina-Elizalde of the Yucatan Centre for Scientific Research in Mexico and Eelco Rohling of the University of Southampton.

Belize Government Tries To Explain High Unemployment Figures
The record high unemployment figures have become a factor in the political campaign leading up to the 7 March Belize General Elections. The government’s Statistics Institute has today issued a press release attempting to reframe the figures that show that one out of four Belizeans is out of work: The Statistical Institute of Belize, as the only official source of unemployment statistics for Belize, wishes to explain the difference in the last two unemployment rates that it has published which show a 12.5% rate in 2009 and a 23.2% rate in 2010. The reason for the difference is that labour force surveys provide only a snapshot of the unemployment situation at the time the survey is taken. As further explained below, the 12.5% rate was based on a labour force survey taken in September 2009 while the 23.2% rate was based on data collected during the 2010 Population & Housing Census. While the two studies asked the same questions to determine who was employed or unemployed, the difference in the time the surveys were taken accounts for much of the variation between the two rates. This result is similar to 2000 when the census produced a national unemployment rate of 20.3% while the two labour force surveys done in April of the two years preceding the census year, showed rates of 14.3% and 12.8%.

What caused collapse of Mayan civilization?
The collapse of the ancient Mayan civilization may have been linked to relatively modest dry spells, researchers now say. The ancient Mayan empire once stretched across an area about the size of Texas, with cities and fields occupying what is now southern Mexico and northern Central America, including the countries of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The height of the Mayan empire, known as the Classic period, reached from approximately A.D. 250 to at least A.D. 900. The ancient Maya had what was arguably the most advanced civilization in the Americas. For instance, they made dramatic breakthroughs in astronomy that helped them very accurately predict where the moon and other planets would be in the sky centuries in the future. They also left behind many books and stone inscriptions regarding the stories of their gods and the history of their divine kings and queens.

Maya collapse coincided with drought
The mysterious Maya collapse more than a millennium ago came amid a long-term drop in rainfall, confirms a study. The Classic Maya kings erected pyramid-dominated cities throughout Central America from roughly 300 AD to 900 AD, concluding in abandonment of most centers that has left the region littered with mysterious ruins. Archeologists have pointed to warfare, depleted soil and drought as factors, among many others, in the "collapse." Looking at lake and cave sediments to gauge past rainfall, the Science journal study led by Martín Medina-Elizalde and Eelco Rohling finds that a 40% drop in rainfall marked the Maya region in Belize, Guatemala and the Yucatan from about 800 to 1,000 AD. In particular, the drop would have been reflected in fewer tropical storms and heavy rainfalls, needed to water crops. Although the Maya cities, such as Tikal, appear abandoned in Guatemala and Belize after 900 A.D., there was a fluorescence of some sites in Mexico's Yucatan region after the collapse era.

February 24, 2012

Sunday Free Concert in San Pedro - Garifuna Collective & Umalali Singers

The San Pedro Sun

Old Spice’s Fresh Collection now offering the scent on Belize
American based company Old Spice has named a few of their collective products “Old Spice – Belize”, now available in the US market. The new collection of products includes deodorants, antiperspirants, body wash and body spray. The company’s website indicates that the product hit the US market January 23rd, 2012. Old Spice’s Belize products are already on the shelves of stores in the US, including Wal-Mart and Target. So what’s so special about the products? Well, they prominently feature the country with a Mayan temple, the world famous Great Blue Hole in the open sea embodied in the background depicting the mountains. In describing the products on the website, Old Spice says that depicts the smell of Belize, “Smells like fresh air, guitar solos, and triumph” appealing to its customers to “inhale the adventure.”

Standard Bearers Debate Q&A: Campaigning
On Wednesday, February 15th, 2012, the first ever Belize Rural South Standard Bearers debate was held in San Pedro at the Sunbreeze Hotel Conference Room. Candidates Mike Campbell, Patty Arceo, Bobby Lopez and Manuel Heredia Jr. squared off on topics ranging from crime and corruption to education and tourism. Over the next few days we will be presenting a verbatim transcript of all the questions, answers and rebuttals by each candidate for you to view, read and discuss in detail. We now get to our second topic… Campaigning

San Pedro Holiday Hotel undergoes a Facelift
One of Ambergris Caye oldest hotel, The Holiday Hotel, is undergoing major renovation. The facelift will however, keep the old colonial looks and charm envisioned since its construction in the mid 1960’s. The San Pedro Holiday Hotel opened its doors on June 15, 1965. As San Pedro’s first hotel, it had five small rooms, one cold water shower, one bathroom with plumbing and four full hours of electricity. At $10US, you would get accommodations, three meals a day and your laundry done. Running her hotel under the fundamental principle of marketing: “Good marketing requires you to first identify your clients’ needs before you can appeal, attract and satisfy those needs and in the process profit from it.” Celi McCorkle has been able to run a continuously successful business for over 45 years. Now Celi is passing down most of the reigns of management to her daughter, Lisa McCorkle Guerrero. Lisa is a successful businesswoman in her own right: Oasis Del Caribe and Train Station Fitness Center being two of her business accomplishments. With the new responsibility of an island icon in her hands, she has undertaken the task of renovating and breathing new life into the Holiday Hotel. The San Pedro Sun spoke with Lisa to get some insight on the changes.

Ambergris Today

Old Spice Captures Belize Scent in Fresh Collection Deodorant
What does Belize Smell Like? Get this! Old Spice has captured the scent of Belize in their new line of Fresh Collection Products which include deodorants, antiperspirants, body wash and body spray. Would you agree with them when they say Belize smells like fresh air, guitar solos, and triumph? That is how Old Spice describes Belize smelling like – “Fresh Collection is where freshness smells from. Inhale the adventure,” states Old Spice and on the label of Belize Old Spice products are the images of a Maya ruin and the Great Blue Hole. It’s the Freshest Places on Earth in Armpit Form which include other smells like Cyprus, Denali, Fiji, Komodo and Matterhorn.

Preventing Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Tourism
The BTIA hosts focus group on the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in tourism - Belize City, Belize (February 14, 2012) - The Belize Tourism Industry Association, the recognized voice of tourism in Belize, hosted a focus group at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina to introduce a draft program aimed at the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, with a focus on ethics and corporate social responsibility in tourism, through the national Chambers of tourism in Central America (FEDECATUR) and UNICEF. The draft program consists of the formulation and implementation of a plan of action. The project's objective is the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation in main tourist areas of the region. The event also hosted the regional technical coordinator of the program, Mrs. Lucy Valenti, who was hired by SITCA to execute the project as well as her assistant, Mrs. Judith Acevedo. At the focus group, Mrs. Valenti gave an introduction on SITCA's draft proposal on the program with focus on corporate social responsibility for the tourism chambers in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Panama. Brief presentations on similar successful programs being driven in Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua and Colombia were also done to emphasize how widespread the issues are and how they are being addressed.

Letters to the Editor: Police Neglect
On Monday, February 6, 2012, and about 12:30 pm I just returned from town and heard our neighbor known only to me as Carl yelling profanities and and as soon as he caught my eye he proceeded to climb over the two fences separating our yards. My husband told me to get into the house, and we locked the doors and closed the windows. Carl was definitely under the influence of something but seemed extremely agitated, calling out my husband so he can beat him and threatened our lives. We placed the first call to the San Pedro Police at 12:40 pm asking for help, told them that he was not only in our yard but on our porch banging at our windows. He continued to curse and bang at our windows and threatening us. A neighbor’s son came over to tell us that his Mom also had called the police. We continued to place multiple calls asking for help. We felt the situation was getting worse. Still nobody came. I called and was hung up on. I called and asked to speak to the officer in charge and was told "there's no one" and again was hung up on. After about an hour and a half of being in the house, my husband held a machete and I a rubber mallet for self defense.


No Opportunity Wasted
We were offered yet another chance to travel off the beaten path recently, and embracing it was as easy a decision as we've ever had to make. We still can't believe our amazingly good luck. We were riding our bikes down to Maria's fruit stand and chose to take the back, unpaved road rather than the main cobblestone road on this particular day. We just happened to run into friends Chunky and Ruthie riding their bikes in the opposite direction. We were in town later than normal because Barry got into a long poolside conversation with a tourist staying in our building that morning; otherwise, we would have been long gone by the time they were riding on that particular one block of road! So we figure our chance meeting with them was meant to be. Seeing us triggered Ruthie to recall that we enjoyed sailing, and she filled us in on an opportunity to jump aboard a large charter catamaran for a run down to Rio Dulce, Guatemala. The boat needed to be hauled out to replace the transducer (depth sounder), and this was the boatyard that the charter company (TMM) used. TMM had offered up the extra berths to people who would like to join them for the ride down and back, with the only costs being immigration fees and food for the trip. Chunky and Ruthie had already committed to the trip, along with one other person, but there was one double cabin left. Once we determined that the offer was legit, we were quick to jump right in. Barry had heard about the beauty of the Rio Dulce ("Sweet River") and had added it to our list of destinations to visit in Central America. Not to mention that the trip would give us the opportunity to visit another new country. The boat we would be traveling on was s/v (sailing vessel) Hope, a 46-foot Leopard catamaran, and the most expensive boat in TMM's fleet to charter. Say what??? Did I mention how lucky we felt!?

SAGA February 2012 Cook-Off: All Italian at the X Lounge
Last night the SAGA Humane Society hosted their February 2012 Charity Cook-off and the theme was Italian Food. Location? Well...that's hard to pin down exactly. Last week, we were invited to DiCaprio's Restaurant on the beach but by the time the arrived, it had been renamed the X Lounge. Since I've been on the island the location's had 5 different names. First it was Cannibals and then Playa Lounge, Bar 1755 and then Di Caprio's and now the X Lounge. I wish them luck. Some of the old signs still remain.

Travels to Belize
My trusty wristwatch alarm started chirping at 5:45 AM. The rain hadn't let up one bit since the beginning of the night. Our river taxi was supposed to pick us up at 6 AM to take us upstream to a town called Livingston where a ferry departs only twice a week to Belize. Assuming the heavy rainfall would hinder these plans, I left Whitney to continue dreaming, and figured I'd go check to see if anyone was in the lobby anyway. I grabbed the flashlight to light my way, as Finca Titan only taps into their diesel supply for electricity a few hours a day, and made my way toward the river. To my surprise, a Guatemalan man in a poncho came walking up through the lobby leaving a trail of water in his path. It quickly became evident that nature is no match for a determined Guatemalan work ethic. Five minutes later, Whitney and I were packed and settling up our tab with Gaby. Most hostels we have come across, thus far, operate on a bit of a trust system. Throughout your stay, you are trusted to keep an ongoing tally of how many drinks you have taken, kayaks you have helped yourself too, meals you have ordered, etc

Traveling to the Luxurious Wilderness in Belize
Driving deep into the woods on dirt roads with Ben in a jeep, we arrived at The Lodge at Chaa Creek's Macal River Camp. These little houses are called casitas. Accompanied by the noises of birds, insects and the occasional dripping of water from the wet leaves, the owner of Chaa Creek made every effort to create a jungle experience for visitors without abandoning comfort and safety. Imagine listening to the howling of monkeys and panthers as you rest in this open air casitas…without electricity, alarm clocks or the noise of air conditioners. Once before, the inhabitants were Mayans, and visitors today still have access to the Macal River and the Medicinal Trail of Belize. Go canoeing on the Macal River or mountain biking or hiking into the woods with a knowledgeable guide. Every part of the place in its natural state.

Paddling through Paradise: Sea Kayak the Belize Reef
Second only to Australia's Great Barrier, the active attractions of the 180-mile reef system off Belize's Caribbean coast are self-evident: crystal-clear waters, a massive array of tropical fish, and vibrant coral formations all make up a near-unexplored, magical undersea world. For sea kayakers, the presence of the Belize Reef has an added benefit: It transforms what would be choppy waters into a smooth-as-glass paddler's playground that extends up to 35 miles off the coast, affording unobscured views of the aquatic wildlife and access to your pick of deserted cayes. The Glover Reef Marine Reserve, some 20 miles off the coast, is one of the best places to experience Belize's complex and varied underwater ecosystem. Just don a mask and peer below the surface to see elkhorn and brain coral, feather plumes and sea fans, angelfish and parrotfish, and countless other vibrant distractions.

Channel 7

The Streets Most Wanted, Dead
Ricky Valencia is dead. The notorious street figure was killed last night, executed in front of his old haunt near the base of the Southside gangsters on Caesar Ridge Road. If you don't know Valencia it means you probably don't watch the news much. Most famously, he is one of the two men accused of the attempted murder of the Prime Minister's law partner, Rodwell Williams. But before - and after that - he'd been accused of a battery of crimes, from murder, bank robbery and armed robbery, right down to petty crimes such as theft and handling. He had multiple cases pending before the court. But those were or are only accusations - to our knowledge - he was never convicted: Valencia got off every time. But last night, he couldn't get away from a shooter who had him marked for death. The shooter waylaid him close to his old stomping grounds on Caesar Ridge road. The harsh circumstances of his murder ended weeks of reports that he had been marked for death on the streets.

GG's Driver Stole From Lady Young
As Belize's head of State, Governor General Sir Colville Young should have his pick of the finest police officers as his driver - but, that's not how it works, the police assign drivers to him, and recently he's had the worst luck with those cops. In November of 2010 - the GG's driver at the time Nelson Middleton was accused of landing a drug plane - and he was along with his previous driver, Rennel Grant. And now his current driver is accused of stealing from Sir Colville's wife, 78 year old Lady Norma Young! Here's how it is alleged to have occurred: Lady's Young's daughter noticed that there had been some unauthorized withdrawals from her Scotia Bank Account. She checked with her mother who had last used the account in July of 2011 at Scotia's Belmopan Branch.

Jorge Celis Needs To Go To Guat To Save His Eye
Last night we showed you Jorge Celis - the Orange Walk resident whose eye was injured when a policeman fired a shot - and the lead fragment penetrated his eye. Well, he still can't see out of that eye - and today he told us that he now has to go to Guatemala to see if his vision can be restored. Today he told us that he was discharged from the KHMH still unable to see anything out of his injured eye and tomorrow he has to go to Guatemala City to see if they can mend the eye. Doctors here have told him that the procedure is complicated and may require them to insert a thin layer of silicone in the eye. He told us he does stand the risk of a permanent loss of vision in that eye.

UDP Manifesto Meeting Draws Thousands
Yesterday we showed you the UDP's manifesto launch. Well, that event was for the press; the launch for the mass party's supporters was held last night in a public meeting in front of the UDP headquarters on Youth For The Future Drive. The event drew a massive crowd - well into the thousands - but hard to estimate numerically because it spanned from the bridge's southern approach - right up to the BelChina Texaco gas station. The crowd was massive but we note that it was not strictly a Belize city effort - all the national candidates were presented at the meeting and many of them bussed in their own supporters.

Statistical Institute Clarifies Unemployment Rate
And one of the campaign issues that the PUP has been harping in its district public meetings so far is unemployment. The census figures released in 2011 - showed that figure at 23% - which has been the source of much politicking and public discourse since. But the census survey is different from the labour force survey. And today, no doubt in response to all the political points that have been scored using the 23% figure - the Statistical Institute of Belize issued a release clarifying that difference. The release explains that the labour force survey in 2009 showed a 12.5% unemployment rate in 2009 - much lower than the census. And that's because the survey is done in September when seasonal employment is high - and students are back in school. The census on the other hand goes on for seven months mostly during the period when seasonal employment is low. The disparity between the 2000 census - which showed unemployment of 20% and the labor force survey in 1999 - which showed unemployment of 12.7% was similar.

MS-13 Member Shipped Out Under Tight Security
There was heightened security this afternoon at the PGIA, after the GSU transported a member of the infamous Central American gang MS-13, from the Belize Prison, to execute a deportation order. 26 year old Elmer Antonio Cadiz Galdamez, a Salvadoran national who resided on New Road in Belize City, and worked as a taxi driver, was deported back to his native El Salvador this afternoon, where he is wanted for questioning there by both Interpol and the FBI. Cadiz was detained by Police in November of last year along with two other reputed members of the MS-13 gang, after they were busted at a home directly in front of the Racoon Street Police Headquarters, for the "Possession of Controlled Drugs".

Four Hondurans Caught At Bus Station Without Papers
And while Cadiz was escorted out under guard,4 Hondurans found without papers probably won't get quite that same sendoff. They are currently in the custody of the Immigration Department waiting to be deported at the soonest possible convenience. They were found guilty in the of illegal entry into Belize. They are 18 year-old Yenifer Alejandra Erazo Izaguirre, 29 year-old Fary Carias Izaguirre, 18 year-old Kevin Ramirez Allamirano, and 23 year-old Karen Josaline Meraz Lopez. According to the immigration authorities, it was determined that the 4 were smuggled in along the Mopan River in the Cayo District on Tuesday, and they had intentions of travelling to the United States.

Meighan Remanded For Assaulting Woman With Firearm
18 year-old Tyrone Meighan, a laborer of Banak Street, and who is no stranger to the police, was remanded into custody today after he was arraigned in the courtroom of Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart for aggravated assault with a firearm. According to police on February 20, he allegedly committed the assault against Mellissa Jones. In court, Meighan pleaded not guilty to the charge, and Magistrate Stuart informed him that he was not eligible for bail at the Magistrate's level due to the nature of the offense. He was remanded, and he is to return to court on March 27.

Conductors Held Up During Breakfast, Robbed
A bus driver for Morales Transport was held up as he had breakfast at a city eatery yesterday. Cristino Guadalupe Pena, a resident of Corozal District was having breakfast at Tropical Fast Food on Euphrates Avenue along with two Conductors, when a dark skinned man walked up and pointed a black handgun at them and demanded money. Fearing for their lives, Chan handed over (1) black waist bag containing approximately $470 dollars, Valladarez handed over (1) black purse containing $500 dollar and Pena handed over (1) black wallet with one hundred dollars in it. The man then ran towards King Street. Police investigation continues.

VIP's Manifesto, Substance Not Hype
In the past week, you've seen the mass parties launch their national and municipal manifestos with much fanfare. Well today, the VIP Belize City slate had it's turn at the Radisson - and while the party is fledgling and has only seven people on its slate - at least it did better than the PUP - which couldn't even manage a launch in an air conditioned room. Their candidates were plain spoke and to the point - here's what they said:

Man Caught Smuggling Weed Blames Mystery Woman
24 year-old Justin Richards, a barber residing at Flamboyant Street, will spend the next 6 days on remand while Magistrate Robert Ordonez decides if he should be granted bail According to the authorities, yesterday at around 3:30, he was caught trying to smuggle 5.68 ounces of marijuana into the facility with the intent to sell. The weed was hidden in food, and it was to be delivered to an inmate. The prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds of the prevalence of the crime, and that fact that the prison is a rehabilitation facility and offenses committed by persons like Richards does not help the inmates. Richards pleaded not guilty, and in his defense, told the court that he was visiting an inmate with a young lady. He said that when prison authorities detained him, he tried to explain to them that the drugs belonged to the female. But by the time he tried to point her out, she had already left the prison, leaving him behind to deal with the consequences. Magistrate Ordonez suspended his decision to grant bail, and remanded him until February 29.

BFLA Gets A Bank's Boost
The travails of the Belize Family Life Association have been well documented. In October, the organization was almost forced to close its doors because it ran out of funding to meet recurrent expenses. Still, it has just barely managed to keep those doors open, while making a grudging concession to close its Belmopan clinic. But now with an infusion of support from the First Caribbean Bank, the BFLA will be able to launch an important public health initiative. The FCIB held a fundraising effort where its credit card users contributed to the organization with every sale they made. Today Director Joan Burke told the media how the money will be used:

He Rented A Vehicle And She Bought It!
A Belize City Sales Accountant thought she had bought a new 2010 SUV only to find out that the man she had bought it from did not own it. 25 year old Mark Rosales, a resident of San Ign

Profile Of A Priest
It takes a strong person to be an effective leader - especially a spiritual one. No one knows this better than Bishop Philip Wright. As the youngest of 7 siblings, it was easy to get lost among the faces, but this man of the cloth has risen steadily through the ranks, and in tonight's profile, he talks about the source of this strength and resolve. The profile series is the joint effort of this station, Fultec System, NICH and Restore Belize.

A Support Website For Persons With HIV
Today at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel, the Pan American Social Marketing Organization,( PASMO), launched a new interactive website designed to provide information and support for people living with HIV, their families and friends in Belize. President of C-NET Plus, Eric Castellanos says the website named: 'and what now', makes reference to the moment in which a person receives the results of an HIV test and many times doesn't know what to do, or where to get help. Eric Castellanos - President, C-NET+ "This website was created thinking of the necessities and the many questions we face when we are diagnosed with HIV. We know our health system - how it works, and the doctors have to attend to many clients, and they have very little time. So they have a few minutes to answer your questions. And many times you leave out from the clinic with more questions than when you arrived. So, this website is a space where you can find answers to those types of questions. It is also a space where you can chat with other peers, and you can learn from each other's experiences. And your family members - your friends - can learn about HIV, and in that way..."

Channel 5

MS-13 Gang Member deported again
A high profile street figure was killed on Wednesday night in the city. We’ll come to that shortly, but a member of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13 gang was deported for the second time from Belize this evening. Thirty year old Elmer Antonio Cadiz Gandamez was taken after two o’clock this afternoon to the ...

Accused in High Profile Crimes; Ricky Valencia Murdered
Ricky Valencia, the notorious street figure accused in the Heritage Bank robbery and the attempted murder of attorney Rowell Williams, was killed on Wednesday night and there is now trepidation that retaliation may follow. Two weeks ago, he was in court for Williams’ attempted murder; but the case was adjourned since he was unable to ...

Stabbing Victim clings to life
Aside from the murder of Ricky Valencia, there was a stabbing in the city on Wednesday night and a former court security guard is in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Reports are that between eight-thirty and nine o’clock on Wednesday night, Loren Lennan was with friends on Bocotora Street when he was ...

Not a Manifesto? VIP’s Commitment Sheet
Both major political parties launched lofty party manifestos earlier this week at events that were brimming with supporters to show political muscle. This morning, the much smaller Vision Inspired by the People followed suit with its election platform for the Belize City Council. In terms of campaign financing, the VIP’s coffers are not known to ...

Cop assigned to G.G. cleans G.G. Wife’s account
The bank account of the governor general’s wife has been pilfered and the suspected perpetrator is the GG’s former driver, Police Corporal Rayon Martinez. According to seventy-eight year old Lady Norma Young, on December fifth, her daughter alerted her to a series of ATM withdrawals from her Scotiabank account. While doing her own inquiry ...

Woman buys KIA, but it was a Rental
A Cayo resident is in police custody for renting a vehicle and then selling it. The scam allegedly carried out by twenty-five year old Mark Rosales was reported by a Belize City accountant who purchased the vehicle from him. The woman claims that on February eleventh, she bought a 2010 Kia Sportage during a trip ...

Hondurans busted for no passports
Four Honduran nationals believed to have been making their way to the US through Belize have been stopped in their tracks. According to Immigration Personnel, they visited the Belize City Bus Terminal on Wednesday and came across Fany Carias Izaguirre, Karen Meral Lopez, Yenifer Alejandra Erazo Izaguirre and Kevin Ramirez Allamirano. All four were detained ...

Street Festival takes over Downtown Belize City
A popular street art festival returns to the heart of Belize City this coming weekend. It is the second time that NICH is staging the festival to showcase the works and crafts of artists from all over the country. Entertainers will also be performing at Saturday’s event, which is expected to transform downtown Belize City. ...

First Caribbean donates to BFLA
It was revealed last October that the Belize Family Life Association was in a financial bind and on the verge of closing down. But the healthcare facility has managed to keep its doors open with fundraising and the help of donors. Today, the BFLA received a boost from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, which handed over ...

Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Belizeans
With more than sixty percent of the population being either overweight or clinically obese, there is an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. That is why the Ministry of Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization have come up with a set of food based dietary guidelines. We reported on the ...


The annual circuit assembly of Jehovah Witnesses will be held at the weekend in Punta Gorda town. Paul Mahung reporting... “The circuit assembly news service overseer Stephen Ulmer says that the event will be held under the Theme “Let God’s name be sanctified” based on the Lord’s Prayer. On Saturday February 25th the main presentation highlighting the topic-“Why God’s name must be sanctified” will help Christian ministers carry out their respective ministry meaningful. Additionally the discourses entitled: “Beware of bringing reproach on Jehovah’s name and do not take up Jehovah’s name in vain” will consider the seriousness of bearing and using God’s name. Ulmer also confirmed that on Sunday February 26th the public address and main presentation will highlight the topic-“ Jehovah will sanctify his great name at Armageddon” and other talks will highlight how we can sanctify God’s name by our thoughts, speech, decisions and conduct. Jehovah Witnesses from the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts will attend the weekend event to be held at the Toledo Sports Complex and organizers of the annual Circuit Assembly of Jehovah Witnesses extend a cordial invitation to other inhabitants of the two Southern Districts to attend the very special occasion and free sessions beginning at 9:40 am on Saturday and Sunday and at 1:20 in the afternoons.”

The Pan American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) has been providing its services in Belize since 1999 with its main office in Belize City and operations throughout the country. The organization works in HIV/AIDS prevention by using a social marketing approach and today they reached what they consider a great milestone with the launching of their “And What Now” website. Natalie Novelo reporting… “The “And What Now” website was launched this afternoon at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza Hotel on the Northern Highway. The website is a collaborative effort between the PASMO and USAID Combination Prevention Program for HIV in Central America and Mexico with the support of many other organizations like C-Net. Behavior Change Communication Coordinator for PASMO Belize, Keron Cacho says the interactive website is being launched after much qualitative research. The launch featured the welcome address by PASMO Belize Country Manager Guadalupe Huitron. Guadalupe Huitron, Country Manager, PASMO Belize “Pasmo Belize strives to direct its resources where they are most needed by locating At risk and vulnerable populations and developing tailored strategies to reach each of these groups.” Other speeches were shared by Sussy Lungo the Chief of party for the USAID combination Prevention Program for HIV in Central American and Mexico, and Executive Director of the National AIDS Commission Dr. Martin Cuellar who stated that this year is important on national response to HIV.

The Belize Family Life Association has been serving the Belizean public, especially women for over twenty years. Last year they were the spotlight on the news when they unfortunately ran into tight constraints with funds and had to close down their branches in Belmopan and Punta Gorda. Today however was a joyful day for the BFLA family, since CIBC First Caribbean Bank donated a healthy cheque to the non-governmental Organization. Customer Service Manager for CIBC, Gena Castillo, informed Love News about the origins of the cheque. Gena Castillo – Customer Service Manager, CIBC “During the months of November and December 2011 we reached out to our card holders and we asked them to use their card and for the usage of the card we took a percentage of the amount that was used over that two months and that was the amount we donated to the BFLA today. We chose BFLA because it is an essential service, it is a worthwhile group in Belize and they offer wonderful services to Belizeans all across the country at really low rates and so we thought that if we could assist them in any way, I know they were struggling last year and we thought what better opportunity than for us to reach out to our community through BFLA.

There are reports of a boating incident in the Stann Creek district which left several students in the water … literally. According to reports to the RSV Media Centre, students from Independence village who were heading to school in Placencia village, were thrown overboard, reportedly when the vessel they were about to travel on was hit by a wave. Errol Pandy is a boat operator in the area, who assisted in rescuing the students from the water and took them to their destination. When he spoke with Love FM’s Patrick Jones via telephone this morning, Pandy told Love News what happened. Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Tuesday morning I was going to Placencia and on my way I saw the boat captain giving me sign, but the boat was still up when I saw some kids were in the water and I went there and put them in my boat and took them to Placencia back.” Patrick Jones - Reporter As far as you were able to tell did the boat experience any problems? Errol Pandy – Boat operator “No problems. I think what happened, the boat captain said that a wave was coming and all the students went on one side and that is what happened to make the boat capsize.” Patrick Jones - Reporter The children that were in the water, apart from getting wet did anybody get hurt? Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Nobody got hurt. I made sure everybody was well. I asked them if anybody was left and they said that was the crowd and I went back to Placencia with them.” Patrick Jones - Reporter Do you recall how many children you took to school? Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Probably about 10 and the boat captain.” Patrick Jones - Reporter So the boat captain accompanied them to go to Placencia. Errol Pandy – Boat operator “Yes”. Love News understand that the Ministry of Education has been made aware of the incident and they are carrying out an investigation.

A teenager from Cotton Tree Village has been reported missing. Carlota Geron told Police that her nephew 15-year-old Deber Montero left home to an unknown destination and has not returned. Geron stated that she made checks with his father in Ontario Village and with his friend in Cotton Tree Village but to no avail. Deber Montero is of East Indian descent, brown complexion, slim built and stands about six feet in height.

A bus driver and two conductors from the Corozal District were robbed in Belize City on Wednesday. Cristino Guadalupe Pena told Police that on Wednesday he and conductors Israel Valladarez and Alex Chan were having breakfast at a fast food shop on Euphrates Avenue when they were approached by a dark complexion man who pointed a black handgun at them and demanded money. Fearing for their lives Chan handed over a black waist bag containing approximately 470 dollars, Valladarez handed over a black purse containing 500 dollars and Pena handed over a black wallet containing 42 Belize dollars, 29 US dollars 110 pesos and personal documents. The man then ran towards King Street. Police investigation continues.

The Statistical Institute of Belize has issued a press release clarifying differences in the last two sets of unemployment figures. The figures for 2009 show a 12.5% rate of unemployment; while the statistics for 2010 show a dramatic increase with the rate standing at twenty three point two percent. According to the official explanation the 2009 statistics, that is the twelve point five percent unemployment rate, is based on a labor force survey that was taken in 2009. The higher rate or twenty three point two percent, according SIB, was based on data collected during 2010. The official statement says that while the two studies asked the same questions to determine who was employed or unemployed, the difference in the time the surveys were taken accounts for much of the variation between the two rates. SIB says that data collected in the 2009 labor force survey was done in September with the results referring only to that month. Data collection for the census on the other hand covered a seven month period from May to November of 2010. The latter period covered a time when the Institute says that vacationing students would have been able to join the workforce, accounting for a sizeable increase in the labor force. The dramatic increase noticeable in the data starting in September, according to SIB reasoning, would have reflected the fact that many of the vacationing students had gone back to classes. The official statement ends by saying that given the significant variations in the unemployment rate of the course of a year, and from one year to another, the Institute plans to resume conducting labor force survey in April and September to give a fuller assessment of the country’s unemployment situation.

Marion Ali reporting… “Today it was the Vision Inspired by the People, or the VIP’s turn to present what it calls its commitment sheet to the voting public. Its Mayoral hopeful, Paco Smith, said that his slate offers the Belize City electorate an alternative for real change. And by change, he said, it starts with ensuring that his team walks the straight and narrow, if elected. The one leaf manifesto bears a list of pledges that the movement hopes to fulfill if its members are elected to City Hall, including providing high school scholarships, establish a municipal recycling enterprise for solid organic waste management, introduce tolls for foreign tour operators and large tanker trucks, and obtain corporate and community sponsorship for parks and playgrounds. Paco Smith says that a Council made up of his slate will find new ways and means of generating funds. Under Smith as Mayoral candidate, the VIP slate consists of Robert Ferguson, Myrnamae Reynolds, Jude Lopez, Leslie Martinez, Felipe Martinez and Shan Ferguson as councilor hopefuls.”

A Belizean national identified as thirty seven year old Bernard Talbert is facing the possibility of spending two decades in jail in the United States. Talbert was convicted this week of trying to illegally re-enter the United States after deportation. The story, first reported in the Brownsville Herald Newspaper, is that Talbert, claiming to be a Belizean diplomat, tried to enter the United States using what has been described as a world passport, reportedly issued by a non-profit organization called the World Service Authority in Washington. The online report is that the “passport” was rejected by Custom and Border Protection officers at the Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville. Talbert was convicted in a one-day bench trial on Tuesday of the crime of trying to illegally re-enter the United States after deportation. According to the Brownsville Herald, Talbert, who has a criminal record, told officers he was traveling to Washington to speak with President Barack Obama about what he considered to be genocide in Belize. Talbert, according to US court records, has had felony convictions for drug trafficking and immigration crimes. At his trial, Talbert said he thought he had a legitimate visa to enter the United States. He will be sentenced in May. Punishment for illegal re-entry ranges up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to two hundred and fifty thousand US dollars.

Police have detained 25-year-old Mark Rosales of San Ignacio Town for obtaining property by deception. A woman from Belize City reported to Police that while in Corozal earlier this month she bought a white 2010 Kia Sportage SUV from Rosales. She said she paid Rosales $7,000.00 in cash and signed an agreement to pay the balance of 18 thousand dollars in monthly installments. The woman said on Tuesday she was at her workplace when she was approached by Mark Hepburn who inquired about the vehicle. Hepburn told her the vehicle is the property of Euphrates Auto Rental and Sales and Rosales had rented the vehicle from the company and had no authority to sell it. The woman handed over the vehicle to Hepburn after he showed proof of ownership. Police detained Rosales pending their investigation.

A Police Officer has been charged with 12 counts of theft. On Tuesday PC Rayon Martinez was arraigned in Belmopan Magistrate Court where he was offered and met bail. According to Police reports Martinez was charged following a report by Lady Norma Young, wife of the Governor General. Mrs. Young reported to Police that in December last year her daughter alerted her of unauthorized withdrawal of funds from her account using the automated teller machine. Mrs. Young said she made her own inquires and recalled the last time she used her ATM card was on July 28 last year at the Belmopan branch of the Bank. At the time she made the withdrawal with the assistance of PC Rayon Martinez who was the Governor General’s driver at the time. Mrs. Young reported that a total of twelve withdrawals were made without her consent between August 12 And December 2, 2011 amounting to $7,450.00. During the investigation a vehicle belonging to PC Martinez was searched and the ATM card was found. Martinez was arrested on Tuesday and taken to court. The matter has been adjourned to March 30.

He has a long list of charges, including the attempted murder of Rodwell Williams, the law partner of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and the brazen mid-afternoon robbery of Heritage Bank in Orange Walk Town. But today the news is that the man behind those alleged deeds is dead. Twenty eight year old Ricky Valencia was shot to death at around nine on Wednesday night inside a white Toyota four-door Camry. Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Police, Raphael Martinez, told the media what they have so far on this murder. Raphael Martinez – Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Police “Police visited the Queen Charlotte Street area in front of Wilt Place in the Yabra region where they saw a four door white Toyota Corolla parked on the left side of the road heading towards to the Belize port area. Inside that vehicle they saw the motionless body of Ricky Valencia, 28 years old of a Queen Charlotte Street address suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the body. Initial investigations reveal that last night while he was driving towards the Port of Belize area several gunshots were heard that caused his fatal injuries. Police have since interviewed quite a few residents in that area but so far no one has been detained.” Valencia, who resided on Queen Charlotte Street up to late last year, reportedly moved in with his girlfriend on Jane Usher Boulevard after he began receiving threats on his life. He was the first person to go on trial under the new law of trial without a jury for the May thirtieth, 2010 shooting of Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams as he was leaving his Barrow and Williams law office. Valencia and others was also facing trial for the April fifth 2011 heist of Heritage Bank in Orange Walk Town when 202 thousand dollars was stolen.


The notorious Ricky Valencia gunned down in Belize City
Ricky Valencia was gunned down in Belize City. 28 year old Ricky Valencia is no stranger to law enforcement. He was...

VIP release its manifesto for Belize City
So far this week, we have seen the PUP and UDP manifestos launched. Today, Vision Inspired by the People launched w...

Works halted a second time due to discovery of Mayan artifacts
We reported late last month that works on the infrastructure project in San Ignacio were halted because while diggi...

PlusTV to host debate with Belmopan Standard Bearers
PlusTV is gearing up for another live debate for the Capital City. Earlier this month, PlusTV hosted and aired a ma...

BFLA receives bailout First Caribbean International Bank
The Belize Family Life Association - BFLA- was on the verge of closing down in late October last year, indicating t...

Resident of the Ship Yard Community killed in horrific car accident
A traffic accident has claimed the life of a Mennonite man of the Ship Yard Community. The accident happened last n...

Man arrested for selling rental car
A Belizean sales accountant of Belize City reported that on Saturday February 11th while in Corozal Town, she bough...

Belmopan hit with power outage as BEL conducts maintenance
The City of Belmopan was without electricity for all of this morning and part of this afternoon. Residents of centr...

Belizean national convicted for illegal entry into the US
Belizean national 37 year old Bernard Talbert has been convicted for illegal entry into the United States. Talbert’...

Stabbing incident leaves man hospitalized
Former court security guard and Ready Call employee, Loren Lennan was stabbed in the neck last night. It is not cer...


Bus employees jacked while having breakfast
Three employees of a bus service from Corozal were jacked in Belize City on Wednesday. The driver and two conductors of Morales Transport were having breakfast at an establishment on Euphrates Avenue when a man of dark complexion walked up brandishing a hand gun. The gunman demanded money and the three bus line employees complied by handing over what they had. The bus driver handed over his wallet with BZ$42, US$29 and $110 pesos. The two conductors each handed over their money bags, one containing $470 and the other containing $500. After the jacking, the gunman ran off towards King Street and made his getaway. Police investigations continue.

Scam artist sells rental to would be car owner
Police have detained 25-year-old Mark Rosales of San Ignacio Town on suspicion of obtaining property by deception. A Belize City woman reported to Police that while in Corozal earlier this month she bought a white 2010 Kia Sportage SUV from Rosales. The woman says that she paid Rosales $7,000.00 in cash and signed an agreement to pay the balance of 18 thousand dollars in monthly installments. On Tuesday, however, the woman was at her workplace when she was approached by Mark Hepburn who inquired about the vehicle. Hepburn told her the vehicle is the property of Euphrates Auto Rental and Sales and Rosales had rented the vehicle from the company and had no authority to sell it. The jilted car owner handed over the vehicle to Hepburn after he showed proof of ownership. Police detained Rosales pending their investigation.

Policeman accused of pilfering the bank account of Lady Norma Young
She is the wife of the head of state … but these days criminals don’t give two hoots who they victimize. Lady Norman Young recently discovered that seven thousand, four hundred and fifty dollars was taken out of her bank account without her permission. And the person accused of doing it is someone who was held in the highest of confidence: a policeman assigned as the official driver of her husband, the Governor General. Police Constable Rayon Martinez was arraigned in Belmopan Magistrate Court this week where he was offered and met bail. According to Police reports PC Martinez was charged following a report by Lady Norma Young, wife of the Governor General. Mrs. Young reported to Police that in December last year her daughter alerted her of unauthorized withdrawal of funds from her account using the automated teller machine. Mrs. Young said she made her own inquires and recalled the last time she used her ATM card was on July 28 last year at the Belmopan branch of the Bank. At the time she made the withdrawal with the assistance of PC Rayon Martinez who was the Governor General’s driver at the time. Mrs. Young reported that a total of twelve withdrawals were made without her consent between August 12 And December 2, 2011 amounting to $7,450.00. During the investigation a vehicle belonging to PC Martinez was searched and the ATM card was found. Martinez was arrested on Tuesday and taken to court. The matter has been adjourned to March 30. For context, we note that our records show that this is the fifth driver assigned to the Governor General that has been accused of alleged misdeeds, including two who are awaiting trial in connection with the landing of the drug plane on the Southern Highway in 2010.

Ricky Valencia executed in Belize City
A well known street figure was the victim of an execution style killing last night on the deadly streets of the commercial capital. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Myles Gillett have our lead story tonight from the crime beat.

The Guardian

Love for the People: -DFC Write offs next
The United Democratic Party launched its Action Plan for the term 2012-2017 on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 and the pledges that the party is making demonstrates that it will continue to be all and always for the people. This launching was done in front of a room packed with supporters at the Biltmore Plaza. Before the pledges were revealed, Hon. Patrick Faber, UDP Chairman, shared some of the accomplishments of this government in its first four years. In just four years, the United Democratic Party Government paved the Placencia Road and completed the Southern Highway. The Corozal and Dangriga Airstrips were rebuilt. Over 26,000 new land leases were issued with almost 20,000 going to first time landowners. 5,412 housing grants were issued to deserving homeowners. Mortgages for 10,374 Belizeans were written off. DFC was revived and its lending program restarted. Interest rates for mortgages at the commercial banks decreased from 14% to 8%. 7,500 new jobs were created and thousands more saved. More than $10 million was provided to save the sugar industry from collapse. Over 5,500 more Belizeans are exempted from income tax as the threshold was raised to $26,000 a year. Hundreds of items are sold free of taxes. Agriculture is on the rebound as stakeholders are receiving better prices for crops and the country has seen significant increase in vegetable production as a result of investment in irrigation and greenhouses. The Healthcare system has improved tremendously. 2011 saw zero maternal deaths for the first time in our country’s history. National Emergency Response is as organized and effective as ever. Relief was provided to thousands of residents and farmers following major weather events. The education system has seen the greatest transformation. Over 16,000 students receive a $300 educational grant annually. That has resulted in a record enrollment in school and better grades. Examination results have improved remarkably. The most recognized accomplishments nationally were the reacquisition of BTL and BEL. The government enshrined in the Constitution that utility companies should always remain in the hands of the people. National ownership of the utility companies has led to a 6.14% reduction in electricity rates, a 7.2% reduction in water rates and an even greater reduction in telephone rates. While national ownership of utilities may have been the most recognized accomplishment, in Belize City the gang truce holds the number one slot. Since the inking of the gang truce, the murder rate has decreased by 47%. An even greater reduction has been seen in gang violence and the sense of security is the highest it has been in this century.

Screw the Rating Agencies!!!
This week, I want to share with you my impressions about a particularly interesting TV program I viewed on Channel Fox on Monday night, which was hosted by former Queen Square PUP Standard Bearer, Dickie Bradley. But before I introduce you to this intriguing talk show episode, please allow me a short commentary on the present political environment as it relates to talk show programs. If you analyze what is out there on the various radio frequencies and TV satellites signals, the UDP Government directly influences only one national radio station and one newspaper outlet in promoting its policies and achievements, while the Opposition PUP has several, which constantly thrash the government at every single opportunity, but especially so in the evenings. With that said, after the regular evening newscasts have been ventilated, these days it becomes grating for me to continue watching the local channels since it is common knowledge that Fox and CTV3 will take over the stage and lambast Hon. Barrow and the UDP ad nauseam. Even our supposedly neutral friends at Love FM have begun airing a political talk show hosting three zealous anti-UDP proponents joined by a single UDP crusader, who herself at times is not very supportive of the UDP. Let me not say the three PUP names, but one is a known gold digger, the other is being paid in gold, and the third was bought out with gold by Fonseca some years ago. So as I continued scanning the channels on Monday night, I stopped briefly on the Dickie Bradley show where I saw Shakron, Sandiford and Sylvester form the PUP around a table, with the host on the nearer end. My first reaction was, let me not waste electricity on this show since it will be another long, blue, boring hour, with all of them patting each other’s back and blabbing on how wonderful the PUP was between 1998-2008, and how much better they will be this time around, given the opportunity.

Screw the Rating Agencies!!!
The Prime Minister of Belize has not and will not shy away from his comments that prompted S&P’s decision to downgrade Belize’s credit rating. It was no slip of the tongue. PM Barrow is asking the people of Belize for a clear mandate on what to do about the Superbond. PM Barrow said that it is not government’s intention to stop servicing the bond but the bond holders cannot expect us to continue paying at the rates we are paying now. Upon being elected back to office, government will immediately appoint a committee to gauge the wishes of the Belizean people and go to the bondholders to renegotiate the terms of the Superbond. Our stand will be simple. We will not continue to pay at these rates!

PUP standard Bearer house for sale
The Amandala and Reporter newspapers for Sunday, February 19th are advertising a house for sale located at 14 Cedar Street in Dangriga Town. While an advertisement of a house being sold is not out of the ordinary, what makes the sale worth watching is that the house belongs to Ivan Ramos. The name may not ring a bell for most people since Ramos is a nobody. For the people of Dangriga however, Ramos is the PUP Standard Bearer for that constituency and who is seeking office at the National Assembly Level. The house was mortgaged at Scotia Bank and after being unable to service his debt with that institution Ramos’ house is now being put up for sale. The auction will take place on Saturday February 25th. How is it that a person who is unable to pay a bill as basic as mortgage be allowed to run for office is anyone’s guess. For those who are interested however, the explanation can come by way of the political party that Ramos is running for. He, unable to manage his personal affairs, was allowed to run for the PUP because that is the caliber of people that that party attracts. They will take on anyone even Ramos, who are dishonest, people who are unable to pay their bills, liars and even thieves. For the people of Dangriga, beware of the PUP candidate! If Ramos is unable to pay his mortgage at this point in time, you need to ask yourself what is motivating him to run for the General Elections.

Training Workshops for Teachers and Pare...
A total of 29 early childhood teachers representing twelve pre and primary schools have received training to upgrade their teaching skills and better prepare their classroom for student learning in Independence Village. The workshops, which were held at the Independence High School and Junior College from February 13 to 17 for teachers and parents from surrounding communities of the Banana Belt are part of the Primary Education project which was launched by the University of Belize (UB) in June 2010 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth. The project is funded by a grant of BZ$1.2 million from the European Union Commission (EU) and is aimed at poverty alleviation through education and training for teachers, school administrators and parents in the Banana Belt communities of southern Belize. Facilitators included Dr. Jennifer Obidah and Dr. Kim Archung of the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Humanities and Education, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.

A SOVEREIGN Belize UNDER the UDP or a SUPERBONDED Belize under the PUP…
“The answer to the SUPERBOND is to grow the economy. We have said that to Mr. Barrow a long time ago. Stop whining about the SUPERBOND, and get to work growing the Belizean economy.”- Francis Fonseca, Leader of the PUP. “So I don’t give a damn about the rating agencies. What I am doing is telling them, ‘You know what? I am serving you all notice. Look out and get ready because Belize is coming. We are coming.’” There is no doubt that the People’s United Party, in terms of this SUPERBOND, did a horrible thing to the people of Belize. But, I know from a long time that a wise man said it eons ago, ‘You can’t have a bad borrower, if you don’t have a bad lender.’ So all of you all out there, who were happy to lend the PUP this money, and burden us until thy kingdom come, with this SUPERBOND, well hear this, we are coming back to you, and we are telling you that you will re-negotiate that. You will take down that interest rate, and you will spread the majority period out over a far longer time. We will stop paying that 8.5% and 80+ million dollars a year because we need that money to spend on the development of Belize for the people of this country. So you will hear that the first thing that we do after being re-elected is to announce an appointment of a team to go and re-negotiate that SUPERBOND to give us better rates - far better rates because we aren’t taking it anymore.” - Dean Barrow, Leader of the UDP. Belizeans, the quotes above show a PUP leader who makes statements, which do not require much thought and is devoid of substance. Grow the economy, he says, but does not say how he or his party plans to grow the economy. On the other hand, the leader of the UDP, Dean Barrow has expressed fortitude in every which way, by stating categorically that the present and future payments of the ill-begotten SUPERBOND is an albatross that has to be exorcised so that there is a concentrated focus on economic growth. This growth will stimulate small business growth, increase access to education, jobs creation and growth, health sector development, and focus on our productive industries.

Lisa and the PUP were Bitten by their own Hate
My dear readers, do you remember the three blind mice? I always say that if one does not know history, one is destined to repeat past 'stupid' mistakes. This article is about phrases like: "What goes around, comes around." ''Don't spit in the well, you might one day need a drink of water." "Don't burn your bridges." "GOD doesn't like ugly.''...and so before I go any further, please recall that it was none order than the Motor Mouth of Belize, Miss $3.34 Million Giveaway Lisa who THREATENED that she would be the first in line to fight AGAINST the UDP Government (possibly encourage a revolt) if it tried to amend the Belize Constitution in favor of allowing her own fellow Belizeans with dual citizenships to qualify for national office. Then the Mighty Cordel, who gave up the Lake I seat, had his say. Ms Kreole Udz, who was not happy her own birth name, also spoke out against her fellow Belizeans. If you think that only those three participated in that hateful fight, you would be surely wrong! Friday, we saw Motor Mouth, as she always does, running back and forth to Court, trying to get her own way. The sheer arrogance of some of these lawyers, misusing the Courts! (Yes, I am a little peeved as I am typing). Her behavior reminds me of Aschroft suing everyone on his radar screen; fortunately for us Belizeans, he now finds himself under the scrutiny of Scotland Yard's microscope. He has so much hanging over his head that he cannot fund the crooked PUP. Please allow me to go back to Lisa. She needs to LEARN that the laws and the courts were not created for her personal indulgence. They are for the PEOPLE; I guess that in the same callous way that she gave away the PEOPLE’S $3.34 Million, she wants to have her way in Court. I submit that if the very wise King Solomon was on our bench, Lisa, Ralph, Said, David, Carolyn and many others in the lying, thieving PUP would not be out free today! Motor Mouth and Crew did not want BORN BELIZEANS with dual citizenships to run for national office, BUT on Friday, I saw them fighting to nominate a BORN Guatemalan with Belize and US passports for national office. Now, if that is not crazy, then I do not know crazy when I see it! I am sure that Hubert won't object if we call them ''Crazies Glues!"

Transfer of the Horticulture Crop Training and Development Center
On Friday, February17, 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture Central Farm Station held an Open Day to commemorate the transfer of the Horticulture Crop Training and Development Center to the Ministry by the Taiwan Technical Mission. The project is one of the first to be transfered between the Republic of China Taiwan and the Ministry of Agriculture. The Taiwan Technical Mission will continue to promote the project until August 2012, when the transfer procedure is fully completed. The Horticulture Crop Training Development Center in Central Farm has about 3 acres with vegetable and fruit cultivation as well as covered structures, demonstration and organic sections. This center has focused on carrying out demonstration trials and training to offer more knowledge and information to technicians, small farmers and farmers groups. The transfer doesn’t mean that the Taiwan Technical Mission will cease their cooperation but instead will focus on assisting more Belizean.

OAS Election observer mission
The Organization of American States has accepted an invitation by the Government of Belize to observe the Municipal and General Elections that will take place on Wednesday March 7th. The team of observers is expected to arrive in the country on Thursday February 23rd. On their arrival, the team will hold meetings with the Elections and Boundaries Commission. During the meeting the team will sign an agreement with the Electoral Observer mission.

Belize City Council Manifesto Launch
With its conference room packed to capacity with candidates, members of the party hierarchy and supporters, the United Democratic Party launched its municipal manifesto in Belize City on Thursday, February 16, 2012. Perhaps one of the most important milestones for the party in this election season, the Manifesto is seen a comprehensive list of plans that the team, led by Darrell Bradley, will implement for the next three years.

Accused of Chain Snatching again
Former policeman Michael Diaz, 26, appeared in Magistrate’s Court on February 20th accused once again for snatching a woman’s gold chain from around her neck. Diaz appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Roberto Ordonez in Court #2 where he was read a single charge of theft. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. The court prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that he has a previous conviction for a similar offense and that he also has a similar charge pending trial before the court. He was asked in court to give a good reason why the court should grant him bail and that’s when Diaz told the court that he is presently working. Its a job he says he recently got and he didn’t want to lose it. He is the father of two children. He also told the court that he had begged the police for an identification parade but they refused to give him one since the victim clams she know him. He was then granted bail in the sum of 2 thousand dollars. It’s reported that on Wednesday, February 15, Diaz snatched a $1,500 gold chain from around the neck of Natasha Nicholson. He was in court on Friday, February 17 on another matter where that case was adjourned for a later date. That’s when police arrested him and took him into custody on this latest theft charge.

Student busted with over 20,000 cannabis...
Jason Gilharry, 20 a resident of Corozalito Village in the Belize District, appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Monday Febraury 20th where he was charged with unlawful cultivation of 23,000 plants. He appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer where he was granted bail in the sum of 8 thousand dollars plus two sureties of 4 thousand dollars each, which he met. He is due back in court on April 17th . On Sunday Februray 19th, police conducted an anti-drug operation in the village of Corozalito where they found 23 thousand cannabis plants. Police report that Gilharry and two others were harvesting these cannabis plants. The two other individuals, who were along with Gilharry, managed to escape but Gilharry was caught still cutting the cannabis plants. A total of 20,000 cannabis plants were found at the farm. While police were destroying, the fields Gilharry took them to another farm where they were shown 3,000 more cannabis plants. In court, there was no objection to bail by the prosecutor. Gilharry’s attorney, Arthur Saldivar submitted on his behalf that the court should be mindful that his client, who is a UB student, has no record before the court for any offenses and that he is a farmer, living in a community with a lot of cultivation going on.

Businessman guilty of failure to file GS...
On Tuesday February 12th, a businessman was ordered to pay hefty sums to the GST Department after being found guilty of failing to file GST returns. Businessman, Phillip Waight, of CSVW Engineering and Construction Company, was found guilty of 11 counts. His case came up before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer in Court #2 where he was found guilty of the eleven counts. She imposed half of the minimum fines of $500 each for every count. She ordered that he must pay the fines by April 30. If he defaults he will spend a month on each count. The sentences are to run consecutively. Waight owed the outstanding amount to General Sales Tax (GST) for the period of December 2010 and October 2011. Waight was sentenced in absentia. A GST representative, testified thats she made visits to Waight’s office and he was not present. From time to time, the GST officers made numerous visits to his establishment when it was noted that they are not filing returns.Another GST matter was also dealt with on Tuesday that for Theresa Parkey who was also not present in court. But Parkey had no reason to be there because GST personnel withdrew the matter against her Hugh Parkey/Belize Dive Connection that owed GST in the amount of $309,022.98. This amount was after it was noted that they owed a total of $218,816.43 in taxes when interest was added and penalty fees accured. This was for the period of January and February 2009, July to October 2009, December 2009 and January to November 2010, March to April 2011 and June to July 2011. The withdrawal came after Parkey and GST made an agreement to settle the matter out of court after a significant amount of debt was paid recently.

Child molester sentence to two years
On Tuesday February 21, 61 year old Taxi driver, Godfrey Mortis was found guilty of molesting and 8-year-old child. Mortis was found guilty of a single count of aggravated assault of an indecent nature when he appeared in court. He took the bible and gave a sworn testimony in his trial denying the allegations made by the child. The Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith was not convinced and sentenced him to two years imprisonment for the crime. The maximum penalty for the crime of indecent assault done summarily at the Magistrate’s Court is 3 years. The child who is now 9, testified “in camera” saying that on the day of the incident Mortis task her to buy water for him. She offered to do him the favor and according to the child, when she returned he grabbed her and bit her twice on both sides of her neck and then touched her on her private parts. The child’s mother also testified that she and her daughter had gone to the home of a friend who lived in the same yard. She said that she saw when her daughter went to buy for Mortis but never saw when she came back. It was not until the next day that she saw the bite marks on her daughter’s neck. It was when tyhe child was questioned about them the girl told her mother that it was Mortis who put the marks on her neck. Prosecutor in the case was Inspector Carol Tucker while Mortis was unrepresented in his trial.

Nigerian national charged with rape of 16-year-old
A 16-yer-old high school girl of Belize City reported to police that she was raped whilst at a home in the King’s Park area. As a result of the report police arrested and charged 18 year-old Oyinkro Akpobodor, a Nigerian-Belizean who is a student of the University of Belize. Akpobodor appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer along with his attorney, Arthur Saldivar on Monday February 20th where he was read a single charge of rape. The 16-year-old student says that on Sunday, January 29, she was at a home in the King’s Park area of Belize City where she was raped by Akpobodor. In court, the Senior Magistrate took no plea from Akpobodor and she explained to him that the charge of rape is an indictable offense which will be dealt with on indictment. While there was no objection to bail, his attorney Arthur Saldivar submitted that his client is a UB student with no criminal record and that he is to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. He also urged that the court to take into consideration that his client will abide by any conditions set out by the court and that bail should be set at a reasonable figure so that his client can meet it when granted. The Senior Magistrate offered bail of $6,000 plus two sureties of $3,000 each, which he was able to meet. Akpobodor is due back in Court #2 on April 12.

Razzle Dazzle sentence to five years
On Monday February 20th Anthony Stevens, known Razzle Dazzle was sentenced to 5 years in prison after being busted with a cartridge for a 16-gauge shot gun. Stevens was busted by police on Friday, February 17 on Amara Avenue with the ammunition in his pocket. When he appeared before Magistrate Roberto Ordonez in Court #4, Stevens was read a single charged of keeing ammunition without a gun license. When he appeared in court he wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the charge. He further explained that he had just found the round and he tried to turn it in but the police searched his pocket and found the ammunition. Cops did not believe his story. Due to the nature of the offense, Magistrate Ordonez explained to Stevens that the penalty for having ammunition carries a jail term. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the crime. Reports are that at about 3:30 p.m. on that day police officers on motorcycle patrol on Euphrates Avenue, spotted Stevens acting suspiciously. When he saw the officers he began to run away. The officer set chase after him and caught up with him on Amara Avenue. A search was conducted on him which led to the discovery of the cartridge in his right back pocket. Stevens has no previous conviction for any offense of this nature but this is not his first time before the court. During the arraignment, Magistrate Ordonez indicated that he recognized the defendant, who was in the court before using a different name, Anthony Lopez. It is not certain if Stevens will be charged additionally for committing a mischievous act if his real name turns out to be Anthony Lopez.

Abel Robinson Found Dead in Palmar Village
The body of 21-year-old Abel Robinson was found in some bushes in San Jose Palmar Village on Sunday, February 19. Robinson was missing since Friday, February 17. His family last saw him on Friday morning when he left home with some friends. They started worrying when he did not return home and rumours started to surface that he had been killed. Robinson had been missing for more than 48 hours when a search team discovered his decomposing body shortly before 3 p.m. on Sunday. The body was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head. No one has been arrested thus far in connection with the murder and police investigation continues.

Boat Captain convicted of fondling 13-year-old girl
Patrick August, 45, must serve 6 years for aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a teenaged girl. August, a Belize City boat man, who claimed he was framed by a teenager, was found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and one count of threatening words. He was sentence to 9 years imprisonment on Wednesday Febraury 15th. Two of the counts are to run concurrently with each other while the third is to run consecutive to the other two. In the end, he is to serve 6 years in jail.

High Schools Softball Competition rolls on at the Rogers Stadium
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition continued in both the female and male categories. On Monday February 20, in the female game played, Wesley College defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 14-13. The winning pitcher was Briana Ara and the losing pitcher was Leanne Davis. In the male game, Anglican Cathedral College won via the forfeit route over Wesley College. On Saturday February 18, in the first of two female games played, Ladyville Technical High School defeated St. Catherine Academy by the score of 22-11. The winning pitcher was Rebecca Nicholson and the losing pitcher was Erin Brackett. In game two, Gwen Lizarraga High School won over Wesley College by the score of 17-7. The winning pitcher was Roslyn Smith and the losing pitcher was Kaylyn Williams. In the first male game played, Anglican Cathedral College won over Excelsior High School via the default route. In game two, Gwen Lizarraga High School defeated Wesley College by the score of 16-6. The winning pitcher was Shaquille Moody and the losing pitcher was Eugene Rowley.

Police United wins two in a row
The Premier League of Belize Football Competition continued over the last week of play with 6 games on the schedule. On Saturday February 18, 2012 at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the Belize Defence Force blanked Juventus by the score of 2 - 0. The goals for the Belize Defence Force were scored by Marlon Meza in the 85th minute of play and Richard Jimenez in the 87th minute of play. On Sunday February 19, there were four games on the schedule. At the MCC Grounds, it was the San Pedro Seadogs winning over World FC by the score of 4-2. The goals for San Pedro Seadogs were scored by Kenny Witze l in the 49th minute of play and the 57th minute of play via a penalty kick; Francisco Mejia in the 73rd minute of play and Jesse Smith in the 90th minute of play. Meanwhile, the goals for World FC were scored by Onri Meza in the 71th minute of play via a penalty kick, and Carlos Vasquez in the 85th minute of play. At the San Felipe Football Field in San Felipe Village, the home team San Felipe Barcelona and FC Belize played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for San Felipe Barcelona was scored by Oscar Acevedo in the 62nd minute of play, while Jeromy James scored for FC Belize in the 66th minute of play.

$5.5 Million Facelift for Tourism Zone
On Wednesday, February 22, the Belize Tourism Board broke ground on the Fort Point Pedestrian Walk project. The project is the third of four that will be executed under the Sustainable Tourism Project, which is financed by the Government of Belize through an IDB loan. Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, delivered the keynote address at the launching. Minister Heredia said that the project will cost $5.47 million and will take approximately 16 months to complete. The project will include the rehabilitation of Memorial Park and infrastructural development of the tourism zone. According to Christine Maestre, STP Director, “Memorial Park will be transformed into a multi-functional public space for special events, recreation and leisure activities.” It will include the renovation of the war memorial and inclusion of plaques of honour and ceremonial features. The landscape will be improved with 1 acre of green space. The bandstand will be renovated and a shaded walkway will be constructed around the park. 15 day-vending structures will be constructed along with 30 permanent vending structures. Public restrooms will be implemented for male, female and handicapped users. An amphitheater will be constructed with a stage and seating for 200 people plus a spectators’ lawn. The facility will have space for tour operators and residential parking. The Memorial Park will also house the largest Belize flag in the country.

Orange Walk East Red and Ready for Landy
Prime Minister Dean Barrow continued his national tour on Sunday, February 19, with a trip to Nuevo San Jose Palmar Village in Orange Walk East. The Prime Minister arrived in Carmelita Village shortly after 2:30 p.m. and was greeted by residents of the different villages in Orange Walk East. He was then escorted to Nuevo San Jose Palmar in the largest motorcade of the tour thus far. The motorcade went through Chan Pine Ridge and surrounding villages before making a final stop at the community park in Noevo San Jose Palmar Village. There were no seats available at the community park for the hundreds of people that took part in the motorcade because the seats were already occupied by residents of Palmar. The official ceremony was opened by Mrs. Antonette Young, who prayed for the leaders of the country and asked God’s blessings for the people of Belize. She said that we must not forget the significance of the East because all great journeys begin there - “The sun and the moon rise in the east.” Carlos Perera, Chairman of Orange Walk East Committee, then welcomed the Prime Minister, other members of Cabinet and leaders of the United Democratic Party to the constituency. Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Party Leader, Hon. Gaspar Vega addressed the crowd and proclaimed that the UDP will deliver all four seats out in the Orange Walk District on March 7 and all eight in the north of the country. Sharing that sentiment from Orange Walk was Ivan Leiva, UDP Mayoral Candidate for Orange Walk Town. Leiva congratulated Phillip de la Fuente, Mayor of Orange Walk, for the excellent job that he has been doing and pledged to continue the progress with his new energetic team.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Lobster Fest dates announced!!
The Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Committee, a not for profit Organization, would like to inform that the dates for the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest will be June 29, June 30 and July 1, 2012!! More information/updates on the festivities will be shared as they become available!! Save the dates and come on out to enjoy the original Lobster Fest since 1996!!

International Sources

At Least He Didn't Try to Sneak In
A Belizean faces up to 20 years in federal prison for trying to re-enter the United States after being deported. Bernard Talbert, 37, was convicted in a 1-day bench trial this week, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. He didn't exactly try to sneak in. Talbert presented a phony passport at an international bridge in Brownsville in August 2011, and "asked for a non-immigrant visa so he could travel to Washington D.C. to speak with President Obama about what he considered to be genocide in Belize," according to the prosecutors' statement. Talbert's "passport" was "a World Passport issued by a private organization known as the World Service Authority in Washington D.C.," prosecutors said. Finding the "passport" invalid, Customs officers sent him to secondary inspection, where officers found he had been deported several times and had been convicted of felony drug trafficking and immigration crimes, prosecutors said. Talbert told his trial judge he thought the passport was legitimate. He will be sentenced on May 21.

Video: What Lies Beneath: Using Mangrove Peat to Study Ancient Coastal Environments and Sea-Level Rise
This video describes how scientists study past changes in sea-level and coastal environments by analyzing mangrove peat. Mangrove islands located off the coast of Belize are underlain by deep deposits of peat (organic soil), which retain a record of past sea level, vegetation, and climate. By studying past changes in sea level and how intertidal ecosystems, such as mangroves, have responded to these changes, we can better predict what will happen in the future as sea levels increase. The information generated by such research is critical to geophysical modeling efforts as well as to management and conservation of coastal ecosystems.

Belize Scuba Diving
DESTINATION OVERVIEW As the saying goes, big things sometimes come in small packages. With Belize—the second smallest and least populated nation in Central America—this couldn't be any more true as it packs a hemisphere’s worth of adventure within its borders. Divers obviously come for the prime oceanfront real estate along the second longest barrier reef in the world, but there’s so much more to see and do here. That means it's an ideal holiday location for nondiving family or significant others. If your idea of rest and relaxation includes beaches, rainforests, hiking, mountains, cave tubing, wildlife and touring Mayan ruins, you’re in luck. Book your ticket for Belize now.

From Missouri to Belize: Journalism Education Without Boundaries
Former Professor, Alumni Empower Belizean Youth with Communication Skills. The room buzzed with the sound of excited campers. The 25 youths whispered and giggled as they waited for their turn to show the public service announcements they created. The young filmmakers were campers at Youth Media Belize, a group backed by the United Nations Children's Fund. The camp was intended to give youth, ages 13 to 20, communication and journalism knowledge. The director of the program is Belizean native Holly Edgell, a former Missouri School of Journalism professor. Edgell, who works as a regional editor for Patch, recruited two of her former students to join the Youth Media Belize team - Geraldine Cols, BJ '06, a producer of a local Hispanic news station, and Maral Usefi, BJ '04, a senior broadcast producer for CNN's Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien. "Our mission is to empower these youth with communication skills, to help them realize their voices can and should be heard," Usefi says, "especially those children who may not have similar opportunities otherwise."

February 23, 2012

The San Pedro Sun

Ambergris Caye “may face water shortage” during the High Season
There is a high possibility that islanders “may face a water shortage” during the high season come Easter. That’s the message communicated to the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA) by Dee Dillon, General Manager of Consolidated Water Belize Limited (CWBL) who is asking that a water conservation initiative be conducted. In his letter dated December 27, 2011 to SPBA, Dillon wrote, “[...] you can imagine my concern when I learned that we can only make enough water to barely cover demands.” The demands are those currently being used by water consumers. With the expectation of an influx of tourists arriving at Easter, it is expected that consumption will go up, causing more demand for water on the island. “For at least the last four years this island has been walking the razor’s edge and I don’t want to be a Pollyanna (raise alarm) but when production = demand there is a serious water capacity problem by 50% -100%,” explained Dillon.

Tropic Air announces New Non-Stop Service between Belize City and San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Tropic Air announced today that it will be inaugurating three times weekly non-stop Cessna Caravan service between Belize City International Airport and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on March 12th, 2012. With the launching of this service and the opening of its new station there, Tropic Air will be the only airline to operate non-stop flights between the two countries. This service is a direct response to requests from its valued customers, and carries through on the airline’s stated commitment to the people of Belize. It will not only serve to make travel between Belize and Honduras easier, but will allow for the expansion of trade and tourism between the two countries.

SPJC places fourth in ATLIB National Basketball Competition
The San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) basketball team travelled to San Ignacio to represent the Northern Region in 2012’s Association of Tertiary Level Institution of Belize (ATLIB) basketball Nationals. The team, along with teachers and fans travelled on Friday, February 17th for games at the Falcon Field and on Saturday, February 18th at the end of the tournament, the boys came in fourth. There were eight teams that made it to the Nationals; four in the female category and four in the male category. Representing the northern region in the female category were St. Johns Junior College Junior College (SJCJC) and Wesley Junior College (WJC); while competing in the male category were San Pedro Junior College and Wesley Junior College. Representing the southern region in the female division were University of Belize (UB) and Ecumenical Junior College while competing in the male division were Galen University (GU) and University of Belize.

People’s Referendum will be officially launched at ceremonies in Belize City
The plan of action of the Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage will be unveiled today as we are one week away from the actual Referendum Day on Wednesday 29th February, 2012. The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage calls on Belizeans to give of their time and resources to ensure that The People’s Referendum remains an initiative that is people driven. Operations bringing together the logistics of the first ever People’s Referendum is being headquartered at Oceana’s office at the corner of Regent and Dean Streets is Belize City. The Coalition which has embarked on this initiative to guarantee the voters of this country a voice on whether or not there should be oil exploration and drilling in our waters says that it is the people’s power that will make the leaders and decision-makers take heed on the wishes of the people on this issue.

UB and SPJC sign MOU to provide tertiary level of education in San Pedro
On Friday, February 17th the University of Belize (UB) and the San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the aim to meet the needs of Belize’s development and tourism sector. The signing occurred in the Dean’s office at SPJC. Signing the MOU were Mrs. Martha Guerrero, Chairlady for the SPJC and Dr. Gary Fraser, President of UB. The MOU was signed to ensure the delivery of UB’s Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management Program at the SPJC.

Ambergris Today

UFC/MMA Trainer Rob Radford Shows Interest in San Pedro
He hangs amongst the top boxers and UFC fighters in the world, but in San Pedro he loves to hang with the boys at The Rum House. This is where Ambergris Today bumped into Rob Radford, a certified USA-ABF coach, cornerman, referee and trainer. Rob was chilling with Saul sipping on some fresh brewed coffee and having a good time in San Pedro. “This is where it’s all at; nothing more, nothing less,” commented Rob to Ambergris Today. He has fallen in love with San Pedro and one day plans to live on the island and even open a boxing training center for the youth, teenagers and adults. He is a very laid back and cool guy. We had the opportunity to chat for a while and sip some coffee at The Rum House, even sampled some tasty coffee, chocolate and cream rum! “I have not turned on my cell phone for 14 days since I came here; I’m loving it,” Rob told us. He surely is taking in the island life and especially having a great time during the Carnaval celebrations. “I got painted by a couple of kids, it was fun.”

Coca Cola Spelling Bee Zone 5 Elimination
The 18th Annual Coca Cola National Spelling Bee Zone Elimination took place at the San Pedro Lions Den on Tuesday, February 21, 2012. Participating schools included Holy Cross Anglican School, New Horizons Adventist School, San Pedro R.C. School, Isla Bonita Elementary School, Ambergris Caye Elementary School, Island Academy and Caye Caulker RC School. Judges for the event were Cindy Reinhart, Julie Babcock, Tamara Disselkoen and the pronouncer was Mrs. Joy Elliot. Scorers were Jules Nolan and Sarah Ebson, Timekeeper was Susan Ayers and Runners were Olivia Oldham, Lily Hayden and Renita Dellaca. Mr. Lucien Pollard was the representative present for Bowen & Bowen.

Carnaval 2012 Day 3: Dancing and Painting to the Max!
EL Gran Carnaval de San Pedro has come to end, for this year that is! Carnaval painters and dancers hit the streets of San Pedro early to enjoy the last day of Carnaval on Tuesday, February 22, 2012. The painting and dancing was at its max! Music and dancing by the comparsa groups livened up the streets of San Pedro and let us not forget the herd of Carnaval revelers running up and down the streets painting each other. Oh the fun of one of San Pedro’s most loved tradition! The following is a short description of the comparsas that were out on the last day of Carnaval and lots of pictures to enjoy!


Belize Charity Organization updates
Over $3,000 raised at Saga Valentines Benefit hosted by Captain Morgans Casino ‘Fur-ever Love’ was flying through the air on Valentine’s night at Captain’s Casino! All the ladies were treated to a glass of champagne and a rose from our hosts, Karen Riley and Ernie Olmstead, the gracious owners and directors of Captain Morgan’s Resort and the Captain’s Casino. Saga Humane Society is very happy to report that just over $3,000BZ was raised from the event. Saga H.S. would like to send heartfelt Thanks to Karen and Ernie for extending Saga the stupendous generosity that made this benefit event possible, including all the items donated by the Resort for raffle prizes that made the night great fun for our guests! A big “Thank You” also goes out to the wonderful staff at the Resort and Casino that were simply stellar in their service and hospitality; they are outstanding! Saga HS would also like to thank Jose Luis and Perlita Zapata of Jose Luis Zapata Photography for capturing the evening’s couples and the event; Ambergris Brewing Company, Premium Wines & Liquors, Wine De Vine, Bruce Pickering, and Coleen Creeden for their contributions and donations to the Raffle Prizes, and to Gecko Graphics, San Pedro Sun and Quicksilver for contributions to the event’s marketing efforts, Thank You!

The Last Night of Carnaval in San Pedro: More Dancing and Even MORE Paint
I went into town for the first day of Carnival (Lots of Dancing and Lots of Paint) and decided to brave Day 3 - historically the craziest day of painting. Here is one of my favorite pictures from the festival. How often do you see a painted (because he lost a bet) Mennonite gentleman watching cross dressing dancers while his family sits in a sports bar? How vainglorious! Only in Belize. I saw a few comparsas groups dancing, singing and raising money for good causes. The first one for me was a small group from Ambergris Caye Elementary dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? The 2012 Bowen & Bowen National Spelling Bee
Am I smarter than a 5th grader? Hmmm...I wasn't sure when I left the 2012 Coca-Cola Local Spelling Bee. I had never even heard of some of these words. For example, gilgai. Origin: a native Australian language. Meaning: a natural watering hole. Gilgai. GILGAI? But let's back up a bit. Two winners from each primary school lined up nervously on the stage at the Lion's Den in San Pedro at 9am, Tuesday morning. The kids need to be full attending students from Standards 4, 5 or 6 (approximately ages: 10-13). The represented school were: Caye Caulker RC School, St. Peters, Isla Bonita Elementary, New Horizon, Ambergris Caye Elementary, San Pedro RC School, Holy Cross School and The Island Academy. The judges readied themselves with the extensive rules and the word lists. The time keeper had her rules, her score sheet, her timer and her bell. When the word was given, each child repeated the word to make sure she understood and had 15 seconds to try to spell it. You can try as many times as you can before the bell rings.

Snorkeling with Sharks, Sting Rays and Manatees in Belize
No trip to Belize is complete without a visit to at least one of its Northern Cayes in the Caribbean – either Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker (or both if you have enough time!). Being the second largest reef system in the world, it’s no surprise that snorkeling and scuba diving the Belize Barrier Reef is the top attraction for visitors to the chilled out islands. The most popular snorkeling excursion in the Belize northern cayes is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. We were fortunate to have teamed up with Tsunami Adventures prior to our arrival to Caye Caulker. As you can see in the short video, our snorkeling trip was filled with marine wildlife and colourful soft coral reef. After an unsuccessful attempt at swimming with whale sharks in Placencia, we were pretty excited to have witnessed a pair of manatees swimming in their natural habitat.

EXTREME RESEARCH - An Author's Guide to finding the next book
In 2008 I went on a research trip to Belize. I’d long been aware that there were no novels about gap year volunteering for young people who might one day want to do it. Yet it was an important rite of passage which I knew from experience was capable of changing lives. When my son, Idris, returned from his gap year in Belize I didn't recognize him. Five months earlier I’d seen off a white-faced youth incapable of even locating his vaccinations certificate let alone surviving in the jungle. Now a great hulking man walked towards me, his whole way of inhabited his body totally changed. It was if he had arrived at last - and not only at Heathrow Airport. I’m an author, so I know a story when I see one. Did gap year volunteering make as much difference to other young people as it had done to Idris? And, if so, how? And how important were the projects these volunteers worked on? According to the press, gap years were the province of privileged young people working on cosmetic projects sandwiched together by beach-partying. But how true was that?

Channel 7

UDP Launch Their 2012 - 2017 Manifesto
Elections are two weeks away - and the UDP launched its manifesto today. Unlike the PUP, which departed from its own tradition and used its air-cooled headquarters for the launch - the UDP - as is the custom - had its launch at a big hotel conference room, "under ice." But just like Independence Hall, it was standing room only - as party supporters filled the venue. What they got was a manifesto that looked good but didn't promise too much. Party Leader Dean Barrow filled in the blanks well enough for them though - with a few special treats he kept in the bag - here's how his "big reveal" went:

UDP Proposals On High Interest Rates From Financial Institutions
And one issue that should factor into those elections is interest rates at the banks. Lending rates may be inching down, but saving rates are down even more - meaning - that the banks continue to profit nicely off the spread in those rates. Well, Barrow said his government is determined to do something about it - and it would be a manifesto promise, except he wants to make something happen before this term finishes. And that's why he's meeting with the bankers next week:

Police Shooting Victim Speaks
Last night we told you about Jorge Celis - the Orange Walk resident who is at the KHMH recovering after a policeman fired a gunshot - which left two lead fragments in his eye. The official story that police put out is that Sergeant Roberto Novelo - who was off duty - and armed with his licensed 9 millimeter pistol visited an Orange Walk bar and had an altercation with three men - including celis - who had been drinking. Police said that the men tried to take his weapon - which is when the gun accidentally went off - and Celis was injured with a bullet fragment. But while that is the official police story - Celis has a different account - and he gave it to Monica Bodden from his hospital bed this morning:

Robbers Got Away With $70K
Two days ago we told you about a brazen broad daylight jacking in the heart of downtown - on the swing bridge, actually. At 10:00 on Monday morning, Customs Broker and Office Assistant for Gonzalo Quinto and Sons, Eric Gordon, was attacked by a pair of robbers and stabbed. He was forced to let go of a yellow manila envelope which he was leaving the bank with. Today, police confirmed that the robbers stole the envelope with containing $70,000 dollars in Belizean currency. No one has been arrested...

Man Found Dead In The South
A farmer in southern Belize has been found dead. 41 year old Ignacio Ical, a famer of the Stann Creek district went missing on Wednesday of last week. His sister Maria Ical told police that her brother left home in search of Pacay Fruits in the nearby bushes and didn't return home. Police found his body in an area about 4 1/2 miles south-west of Alta Vista Village. It was in an advanced state of decomposition.

Remanded For Allegedly Molesting A 14 Year-Old
Today in Magistrate's Court, Alrick August, a 20 year-old employee of Ready Call Center, was remanded after he was arraigned for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 14 year-old minor on two separate occasions. According to Police, the minor and her mother to the police station and reported that sometime between December 1 and 31, 2011, she accompanied August - who she knew well - to his Diego Street residence at his invitation. The minor said while at his house, he had sexual intercourse with her. She also said that sometime between the 1st and 31st of last month, it happened again. Police arrested and charged August with two counts of the same offense. August pleaded not guilty.

Human Rights Of Belize
The Human Rights Commission of Belize officially launched its new education outreach program today. The campaign is timed to coincide with the HRCB's celebration of 25 years of service to Belize as an NGO. Today two of its champions spoke to us about the universality of human rights: Simeon Sampson - Started Human Rights Movement in Belize "Human rights issues are with us every day of our lives, except that is it sensationalized by UNIBAM, the death penalty, and so on. But human rights involve the right to health, the right to education, the right to work, the right to legal representation by the impoverished defendant, the right to jury trial - all sorts of rights as to intertwine. they're indivisible, and they're with us at all times every day of our lives."

Oceana Calls For Nationwide Voting In People's Referendum
Another Organization on a mission is OCEANA. They are organizing for what they call a People's Referendum - which is now set for next week Wednesday - not Friday as had been originally announced. This afternoon Oceana launched its effort unveiling their plan of action by keeping it as an initiative that is people driven. Vice president of Oceania explained how, to 7news. Audrey Matura - Shepherd - Vice President, Oceana "What happened is that we had the official launching of our "The People's Referendum", which is the initiative of the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. What really we are doing there is to make people know that today, marking one week from now; we're going to have a national referendum, countrywide. That means next week Wednesday, on the 29 of February, we are calling people to come out to the polls. The polls will be opened from 6 in the morning until 8 in the evening. Every district will have their own polling area - more than one polling areas, and we'll be publicizing those in the Friday newspaper, And we want people to go out an vote; it's not to go out and sign, because some people think it's to go and sign. No, we're not collecting signatures anymore we want people to vote.

Missing Girl Found
Last night Lisa Bradley was pleading for her 15 year old daughter's safe return. Well, Lianie Baptist has since been found. She was seen in Belmopan today, and after contacting her parents, she was picked up from the bus station. She was in the same clothes she had left with on Saturday, and last we heard she was with her mother at the police station.

BTB Launches Fort Point Facelift Project
The 11.7 million US dollar sustainable tourism project is one of the most important tourism initiatives currently underway in Belize. The project is about enhancing key destinations to encourage longer visitor stays by the overnight tourists. It is targeting civil works for major tourism areas in San Ignacio, Placencia, Belize city and San Pedro. Work in san Ignacio is already underway in the downtown area, and Belize City's project component saw its groundbreaking today. As we found out, the project will re-fashion much of the north side of the downtown area. Here's how it will all come together:

UK Children's Advocate To Pass Through Belize and 10 Countries in Americas
Imagine travelling over four thousand miles through 11 countries - now imagine doing that on a quad bike. Mark Noonan, a resident of the UK, is making just such a journey through 11 Central and South American countries to raise funds for neglected and disadvantaged children. He will be making his second stop in his journey tomorrow at Liberty Foundation's Children home to spend time with the kids and volunteer. He will be staying for 1-2 weeks at the children's home before moving on to another country. All the proceeds of the journey will be split between the 11 charities that he will be visiting.

Channel 5

PM says Superbond is Jack Boot on throat of Belizeans
The super bond slid into the election campaign when the prime minister announced the date for early general elections. He said he was going back to the people for instructions to do something about the super bond. The result was a prompt downgrade to junk territory of Belize’s credit ratings from agencies such as Standard ...

People’s Referendum on Offshore Drilling begins
In the week ahead, volunteers from across the country will be manning telephones to get the pulse of voters on a referendum on offshore oil exploration. Voting is already underway by phone and next Wednesday, voters can register their views at numerous booths that are being placed strategically in the districts. At the launch of ...

U.D.P. Election Manifesto Promises
The referendum didn’t figure into the United Democratic Party’s manifesto launch this afternoon. The glossy red and white document is in two parts; the first section deals with the U.D.P.’s pledges for 2012 to 2017 and the second part lists its accomplishments in the last four years. With a room full of standard bearers and ...

On the Campaign Trail with Dr. Francis Smith
The Pickstock constituency is one of the smallest in the City. At the last election the P.U.P. stronghold went red in the tidal wave that swept across the country. But Doctor Francis Smith hopes to change that and return the division to the blue corner. He is a first time candidate who we feature tonight ...

U.D.P. Manifestos flip flop on 13th Senator
In its 2008 manifesto, United Democratic Party promised to increase the twelve member senate to thirteen members. The additional seat would include a representative from a non-governmental organization and Greg Ch’oc was selected by the NGOs. But when it took office in 2008, the U.D.P. did not enforce the appointment of the thirteenth senator. The ...

3rd component of Sustainable Tourism Project launched
With elections two weeks away, a number of projects are being unveiled. This afternoon, the third component of the Sustainable Tourism Project for Belize City was launched. It is called the Fort Point Pedestrian Walk and while it is not an actual pedestrian walk, the project contemplates the transformation of the Memorial Park Area. The ...

Fire Victim needs help
An apartment in the Yarborough area that was occupied by thirty-five year old Claudia Blanco and her children was destroyed by fire on the morning of January sixth. Blanco lost everything and her family has since been temporarily taken in by a friend on Dean Street. But the single mother doesn’t want to overstay her ...

Bert Vasquez to stand trial for Forcible Abduction
Businessman Bert Vasquez has been in and of court since May 2011 when a sixteen year old minor alleged that he kidnapped, sexually assaulted and pistol whipped her. Well, today at the end of a preliminary inquiry, Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart committed Vasquez to stand trial at the Supreme Court for Forcible Abduction. The victim ...

Mother of alleged carnal knowledge attacker faints
Also in court, an arraignment for a sexual offense today landed a Belize City resident in prison and his mother in the hospital. Twenty year old Alrick August was charged with two counts of Carnal Knowledge following a report by a fourteen year old minor, who claims they had a sex in December 2010 and ...

Former B.E.L. C.E.O. responds to Editorial
Lynn Young; he’s a prominent Belizean who was the head of Belize Electricity Limited before its nationalization. Young has dared to speak up on government’s takeover of the utility company without paying compensation. Since returning from a business trip to Washington organized by Friends of Belize a few days ago, Young has found himself the ...

KTV Latino; caliente music
On the entertainment scene, the competition in KTV Latino is now in full swing. So get your Smart phones ready because it’s time to start voting for your favorite Group B performers. The second round of live competition took place at the Bliss on Tuesday and it’s already clear that’s there will be ...


At Tuesday’s manifesto launch of the People’s United Party, the party leader, Francis Fonseca also answered questions on other topics of concern. One of the subjects had to do with Oil exploration offshore and within protected areas. This was what Fonseca has to say on this issue. Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition “We would have to follow the law in reaching the conclusion of the process and arriving at a referendum but certainly our objective would be to work with the Coalition. We believe it is critically important to hear from the Belizean people on this issue, it is an issue of national importance. We have stated our position very clearly for some time now that we are in support of the referendum; we believe we should hear from the people. We have also have said that as a party we are in support of a moratorium on offshore drilling, we believe that we need to find out a lot more about the risks involved with respect to offshore drilling before we make any determination as a government on that matter. But certainly we would be prepared right away after March 7 to sit with the Coalition and to determine how best we can get this referendum done.” Fonseca also dealt with the matter of the super bond, saying that the reason why the super bond has become burdensome is because Belize’s economy has become stagnant. Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition “The reason has become a burden on the backs of the Government and a burden on the Belizean people is because of the fact that the economy has not grown under this UDP Government. For four years we have had a stagnant economy, in 2009 we had negative growth, in that context indeed the super bond becomes burdensome. Let’s be very clear the super bond can be dealt with in the context of a growing economy, we are absolutely committed to growing the economy. We believe that a PUP government will restore investor confidence, create new jobs for people and in fact grow this Belizean economy and in that context the super bond will not be a problem for a future PUP government.”

This weekend, the downtown area of Belize City will be filled with artists of all fields as they showcase their talents at the Second Annual Street Art Festival. The event takes place this coming Saturday and Theatre Director at the Bliss Centre for Performing Arts, Karen Vernon, told Love News what the public can expect from the event. Karen Vernon – Theatre Director “Albert Street and the Central Park, it starts at 2 p.m. and it goes until10 p.m. We have booths for artists, all different types of artists, we have people selling jewelry, we have embassies doing different displays, we have a tattoo artist, which is new and a makeup artist that is new, and they will be displaying what they do and doing live art out there as well. There will be entertainment on two stages, the first stage will be at the corner of Bishop Street and they will be entertaining from two until seven and then at six o’clock the Central Park stage opens and we have live music playing, dancing, acting, it will be a fun filled day.” Vernon says that this type of event has a two-fold approach, to entertain the public and to give the artists a chance to earn their keep. Karen Vernon – Theatre Director “Apart from the exposure and people getting to know them and what they do, they have an opportunity to sell what they have so it is an opportunity for them to make money which in these times are very good. I would like to encourage you to take some time out from all the politics and come and have a day of fun with arts and culture at the street art festival this Saturday.” The event runs from two in the afternoon until seven in the night in front of the Battlefield Park on Albert Street.

Christians worldwide mark the start of the 40 days of Lent today. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Lent is a time when Christians examine their faith, and deepen the commitment to live the Christian life. During mass today the faithful will receive the ashes in the form of a cross on their forehead reminding them that from dust you came and to dust you will return. The distribution of ashes reminds Christians of their mortality and calls them to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance. The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.

Last week over sixty persons were recognized by the Mental Health Program of the Ministry of Health at an employee recognition luncheon for present and past employees of the program. They were recognized for their outstanding and dedicated service to the delivery of Mental Health care in Belize. Most of the recipients worked at Rockview Center which is now the Belmopan Halfway House for chronic mental challenged patients. Keynote speaker at the recognition luncheon was Matron Augustina Elijio of the Ministry of Health. The recognition ceremony was made possible through a donation of the Barney Isaacs Trust. Funds were provided from the trust to the Mental Health Program of Belize after Mr. Isaacs passed away. It also provided sufficient funds to do minor upgrades to the mental health clinics across the country including the construction of a utility room at Port Loyola Mental Health Center and outfitting of clothes for the homeless across the country.

Two men from the Cayo District have been charged with drug offences. Police say while they were crossing the wooden bridge in San Ignacio Town their attention was drawn to two men sitting on the bank of the Macal River. Police say they conducted a search on the men which led to the discovery of two point nine grams of suspected cannabis on 30-year-old Abner Swift and a transparent bag containing 61 grams of suspected cannabis on Joseph Hammerly. Swift has been charged with possession of controlled drugs while Hammerly was charged with drug trafficking.

On Monday we reported of a stabbing incident that occurred on the Swing Bridge in Belize City. Eric Gordon, an office assistant for Gonzalo Quinto and Sons was robbed in the incident. Police reports that Gordon was robbed of a manila envelope containing 70 thousand dollars. Investigations continue into the incident.

On Monday a caller to Love FM’s morning show called in to say that there was problem at the school in Boom Creek Village. He said teachers were not going to school because of the bad road conditions. Today the principal of the school spoke with our correspondent Paul Mahung and explained the situation. Paul Mahung reporting… “The Living Word Primary School is located in Boom Creek Village partly located along the banks of the Moho River, some seven miles out of Punta Gorda. Principal of the School, Ruth Coleman contacted Love News to explain that contrary to information out, the school was and is not closed. Ruth Coleman - Principal "As principal of Living Word Primary School I want to clear the rumors that have been spreading around. Living Word Primary School situated in Boom Creek Village was never closed. We have a staff of five teachers, three of these teachers live in village and classes were going on. I tried many times to go to the school but I had to go back home because the truck could not pass or it got stuck in the mud.

20-year-old Alrick August, a customer care representative at Ready Call Center who resides on Diego Street was charged with two counts of unlawful carnal knowledge when he appeared in court today. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser explained to him that she will not take a plea because the offences are indictable. She also explained to him that the court cannot offer him bail because of the nature of the offences. She remanded him into custody until April 13. The first incident occurred between December 1 and December 31, 2011. The second incident occurred between January 1 and January 31, 2012. The complainant a girl 14 years and three months old reported to the police that on both occasions August had sex with her.

Many developments are taking place throughout the country of Belize, especially in the area of Tourism, which is one of the biggest money earning industries for the jewel. This morning yet another development plan came to a start as the Construction Launch and Ground Breaking ceremony of the Belize City Fort Point Pedestrian Walk, took place at the Memorial Park, a endeavor in collaboration with the Sustainable Tourism Program, Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, the Belize Tourism Board and the Belize City Council. The project includes the rehabilitating the Memorial park and improve Park Street, Cork Street, Fort Street to the Tourist Village entrance and North Front Street to the foot of the Swing Bridge. Christy Mastre the Project Coordinator for Sustainable Tourism Program presented of the final design. Christy Maestre- Project Coordinator “The project itself is the rehabilitation of over two acres of the Memorial Park which we are standing in today, over an acre of hardscape and an acre of softscape, the renovation of the band stand which historically sits behind us today, a trellis walkway that will offer shading and access from the tourism gate all the way out to the waterfront which will now be a drop off for passengers at the end of the day for the bus lines as well as the taxi and tour operators, permanent and temporary vending stands, public restrooms, an amphitheater which will be created around the renovation of a new stage to accommodate over 200 plus seated and up to a thousand plus standing for events within the park, tour operator parking especially to accommodate the mini vans which surround us here so dedicated at the top of the park, the drop off zone ad turnaround at the head of the park, dedicated resident parking, one of the largest Belize flags which we will be replacing on the flag pole there, so we will be enlarging that as well. Basically those are some of the main ideas within the park, and then the streetscape improvements extend to over 10,000 linear feet of covered sidewalks that we will be improving, over 5,000 feet of cobblestone roadbed that will start at the foot of the Swing Bridge all the way up North Front Street surrounding North and South Park Street and the rest of Cork Street so that will be the infrastructure development or the fingers that extend into the city.”

The UDP Manifesto, bearing the motto “Always for the People”, serves as a booklet of accomplishments and a plan of action for the next five years. The party’s chairman, Patrick Faber, presented the achievements during their four years in office after which the UDP’s standard bearer for Corozal North, Hugo Patt, presented their plan for infrastructural projects ahead. These include a new boulevard and a bridge on Chetumal Street, sporting complex, an administration building and a bus terminal. Patt revealed that there was a plan to improve a portion of the Northern Highway and new hospital for two municipalities. Hugo Patt, UDP Standard Bearer, Czl North “We will also be rebuilding the Northern highway from Haulover Bridge to Boom Junction, a new drainage project from Belama Extension and Northern Highway and we will also be constructing new public hospitals in San Pedro and Punta Gorda.” If they are re-elected, the UDP’s yearly school assistance for students of $300 will be increased by $50. The party’s Toledo East Standard Bearer, Eden Martinez, said that the additional $50 is uniform and book allowance. Additionally, polyclinics will be opened for 12 hours and for people who are still hoping to own a piece of land or are looking forward to free Voice over Internet, the party has promising news.

Last week Ignacio Ical of Alta Vista Village in the Stann Creek went hunting in an area called Canada Hills and did not return home. His family reported him missing and yesterday the family’s worst fears where confirmed when his body was recovered. Love News spoke with a family member who gave us the details. Family member “Four of us brothers came together to look for him. It looked like he went in the area and someone was waiting for him. When my brother left he told my father that he would be back in three hours and so he did not take any flashlight or anything. It looks like they took away his machete and took him further into the hills, we found him under a tree. It looks like they hit him in the back of the head, it looks like a gunshot wound. He received a number of threats because he is a hunter.” A post mortem examination has certified that Ical received nine chop wounds to the head.

A prime suspect in the murder of 21 year old Abel Robinson was caught today in Taylor's Alley, Belize City. 22 year old Gushani "Suga" Wagner was believed to have been on the run following strong rumors of the murder of Robinson over the weekend. He was captured by police sometime around 10 o'clock this morning. By 2 this afternoon he had been brought to the Orange Walk police station where he is being questioned about the incident. Abel Robinson was last seen around 9am on Friday when he left his home on Cristock Street in the company of Wagner. The family , fearing the worst , decided to organize a search party on Monday and it was shortly after noon when Robinson's older brother , Reynaldo Rivero, accompanied by other relatives and friends made the discovery. Robinson's body was found with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head and a laceration to the throat lying face up under a tree in some bushes off a remote Palmar road. The body was already decomposing and a burial had to be done on the spot following an autopsy on Tuesday. While the police have not released any information on the motive of this homicide, Love News understands that this incident is the result of a misunderstanding over and unlicensed firearm that was loaned to one of Robinson's friend and which was not returned to its owner. So far, no one has been charged with this murder.


Traffic Accident Claims The Life Of A Mennonite Man
A Mennonite man of the Ship Yard Community is tonight dead after he was involved in a traffic accident last night while heading back home. Reports are that around 8:30 last night, 38 year old Cornelio Elias of Camp 3 in the community of Ship Yard, was heading back home when he lost control of his brown Toyota Corolla car while traveling somewhere along camp one. As a result the vehicle overturned several times landing on its four wheels. Elias, we understand, was flung out of the vehicle and landed approximately 8 feet away from the vehicle. Elias sustained sever head and body injuries and died on the spot. The body of the 38 year old Cornelio Elias was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Gushanie Wagner Detained By Orange Walk Police
Yesterday the only thing that was known about the murder of 21 year old Abel Arturo Robinson is that police for looking for Gushanie Wagner aka Suga and Victor Anthony Luna aka Torrito who police believed would be able to assist in their investigations. Strong rumours were that Wagner was on the run and he was nowhere to be found in Orange Walk. But this morning around 10:00 the 22 year old was captured by police in Belize City somewhere around Taylors Alley. By the time Wagner was brought to Orange Walk Town it was highly rumoured that police had their main suspect in the murder of Robinson in custody. Reports are that on Friday morning Robinson left his home located on Crickstock Street in the company of Wagner and that was the last time his family saw him alive.

Students of Concepcion Presbyterian School Back in Class
On Monday the Concepcion Presbyterian School in the Corozal District heard the roar of concerned parents who were in protest of the school board’s recommendation to demote Esther Mendez from her post as principal. As part of their protest, parents opted not to send their children to school. But late yesterday evening when we spoke to President of BNTU Corozal Rural Branch Mario Mesh, he told us that the children were back at school and that Principal Mendez had not been demoted from her post, at least for the time being. As mentioned on Monday, the schools Board of Directors headed by Ismael Vallejo, issued a letter to the Ministry of Education requesting that Mendez be demoted by the 31st of January on the grounds of insubordination, orchestrating the ousting of the board, lack of proper financial management, promoting division among staff members and obstructing the work of the board.

BNTU Disagrees With Governments Proposal For Salary Increase
This afternoon the Belize National Teachers Union Orange Walk Branch, held a meeting with its members at the Gala Lounge where the main topic of discussion was the Collective Bargaining Agreement which includes a salary increase. For the past four years B.N.T.U has been negotiating a teacher’s salary increase with the present Government but has been unable to come to an agreement due to a number of reasons. The last time teachers received a salary increment was back in 2007 under the People’s United Party. Today when we spoke to President of BNTU Orange Walk Branch, Otilio Munoz, he told us that BNTU has reached the end of the road and there will be no more negotiations. According to Munoz a recent proposal was made to BNTU by the Government of Belize but teacher’s country wide are not in support of the proposal.

PUP Corozal Town Council Slate Launches Manifesto
And while the PUP launched their National Manifesto yesterday, on Monday February 20th, the Corozal PUP Town Council slate launched their Manifesto for 2012 to 2015 entitled “PUP Delivers: New Life for Corozal”. The manifesto entails various important factors that contribute to the positive development of Corozal Town. One of those major factors has to do with financing, which undoubtedly is needed to ultimately run the affairs of the town. Like many councils across the country, the finances and operations of Corozal Town Council have not been managed in an open, transparent and accountable manner. To solve that issue, the PUP Corozal Slate will among other things practice openness, inclusiveness and accountability by ensuring that the Council’s financial records are publicly available. In that same arena, the PUP Corozal Slate will ensure the efficient and effective collection and use of taxes by implementing an effective collection system that will oversee the proper administration and efficient collection of both current and back taxes.

PUP Orange Walk Town Council Candidates Meet With Residents Of The Louisiana Area
With fourteen days before the Municipal and General Elections the PUP Town Council Candidates in the Orange Walk division are hard at work ensuring that the message of change reaches all registered voters of the community. That message is being spread through neighborhood meetings held in various areas across town. Last night the PUP 7 Team, headed by Mayoral Candidate Kevin Bernard, met with residents of Liberty Avenue and surrounding areas. For Bernard and the rest of the candidates it was an opportune moment to discuss the PUP Town Council Manifesto and at the same time make it clear that the PUP 7 team is ready to work hand in hand with the people.

Ash Wednesday Marks The Beginning Of The Lenten Season
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. It is a season of Penance, reflection and fasting which prepares Christians for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which redemption is attained. For those who might not be aware of the Catholic Church’s practice on this holy day we took the opportunity to bring light to the matter. Father Amelio Chi- La Inmaculada Catholic Church “The ashes is sign of repentance, for example there is the story of Jonah going to the Nenevites, they were sinful city and Jonah was asked by God to go and preach the word to go and convert or else they would change everybody, the king declare a day of fasting, of penance and part of that conversion is to where Zack law and ashes so they repented and we continue with that and again it is visible reminder that unless we do not repent we will die out of grace and so that’s why we have the ashes remembering that you are from dust and to dust you will return. The message would be no other than the gospel, open yourself to God, God loves you and let him work and work with God.”

PUP National Manifesto In Honor of Honorable George Cadle Price
Deliverance For Belize, that’s the title of the Peoples United Party Manifesto 2012/2016 launched yesterday in Belize City at the party’s headquarters. The six page contract with the people of Belize is dedicated to the memory of the P.U.P’s founder and Father of the Nation the Right Honorable George Cadle Price. Honorable Francis Fonseca- Leader of the Opposition “This manifesto represents the framework for our PUP plan to deliver Belize from social and economic crisis; it reflects our party’s vision for and commitment to a Belize with a growing economy, new and innovative job opportunities lower cost of living, social stability and an ever improving quality of life. It is fitting that we dedicate this manifest to the memory and legacy of the Rt. Honorable George Price. Our great leader and father of the nation reflect our reaffirmation as a party to the philosophy and principles of George Price and our deep and unwavering commitment to serve our Belizean people.”


Memorial Park to be rehabilitated in Tourism
Many developments are taking place throughout the country of Belize, especially in the area of Tourism, which is one of the biggest money earning industries for the jewel. This morning yet another development plan came to a start as the Construction Launch and Ground Breaking ceremony of the Belize City Fort Point Pedestrian Walk, took place at the Memorial Park, a endeavor in collaboration with the Sustainable Tourism Program, Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, the Belize Tourism Board and the Belize City Council. The project includes the rehabilitating the Memorial park and improve Park Street, Cork Street, Fort Street to the Tourist Village entrance and North Front Street to the foot of the Swing bridge. Christy Mastry the Project Coordinator for Sustainable Tourism Program presented of the final design.

El Gran Carnaval comes to San Pedro
It’s the start of the Lenten season; but for residents of San Pedro it also means that it is time for El Gran Carnival. Love TV’s Maria Novelo reports.

UDP launches its manifesto
The United Democratic Party is seeking a second consecutive term in office and today the red machine put forward its plans for the nation should the electorate give them the nod on March seventh. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Myles Gillett attended the manifesto launch this afternoon and bring you the following report from the Biltmore.

School principal clarifies talk show caller concerns
On Monday of this week a caller to the Love FM Morning Show complained of a problem at the school in Boom Creek Village in the Toledo district. The caller reported that teachers were not going to school because of the bad road conditions. Today the principal of the school spoke with our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung and explained the situation.


Ground Breaking Ceremony for Point Pedestrian Walk Project
And in Belize City, groundbreaking ceremonies were held this morning for the Belize City Point Pedestrian Walk Proj...

PUP manifesto promises youth projects and tourism development
Yesterday, the People’s United Party released its manifesto as well. We looked at some of the pledges included in t...

BTNU Orange Walk branch holds meeting
The National Teacher’s union has been negotiating with Government to get time off on the last Friday of every month...

Credit Union embarks on rural financing program
The Belize Rural Finance Programme was launched to improve the quality of life of the poor in Belize. It aims to th...

Mexican Embassy presents "Punto y Croma" art exhibition
The Mexican Embassy launched a painting exhibition entitled “Punto y Croma” by nine Mexican artists at the George P...

Boat transporting students overturn
Every morning, school kids from Placencia make their way across the Placencia lagoon by boat to Mango Creek where they attend high school. Yesterday morning, while the vessel was heading to Malacate, it overturned, allegedly because the vessel was overcrowded. While no one was harmed in that incident, which could have proven fatal, many parents are raising concerns over the situation as the students lost their books and other school supplies were damaged and destroyed. We understand that the school had been demanding additional and able boats from the Ministry of Education for some time now, but has not received a favourable response. We called the police in Mango Creek for further information but we were told they have no information on the incident.

Rhett Fuller denied bail
40 year old Rhett Fuller was denied bail yesterday at the Supreme Court. Fuller has been fighting deportation to th...

Man stabbed, robbed of $70,000
We have reported on the stabbing incident that happened on the swing bridge on Monday morning. Police have just rel...

Parents protest endorsement to dismiss principal
Concepcion Presbyterian School in the Corozal District was recently placed under the management of the Ministry of ...

Mental Health Program hosts Employee Recognition Luncheon
The Mental Health Program of the Ministry of Health hosted an Employee Recognition Luncheon for present and past em...

International Sources

Local doctors oppose medical tourism plans for Belize
There is growing controversy over the potential development of medical tourism in Belize. The policies are currently being drafted and could open up the market to new medical facilities that may offer health care exclusively to foreigners. The problem is that the government is working with investors, but refusing to include local medical professionals in any debate or discussion. Medical tourism could hurt the pockets of local doctors, as it seems that American medical professionals will provide exclusive health services that are already being offered by locals. In a radio interview, Joel Cervantes, president of the Belize Medical and Dental Association said that removal of medical tourism services offered by local doctors could seriously affect the viability of well-established institutions,“ What is very important to realize is that medical tourism, at this point for Belize, poses a threat as there are a lot of interest both inside Belize—powerful businessmen, very politically aligned—and also foreign interests with a lot of money and they are interested in opening up medical tourism. In fact, there are a lot of advanced plans; we know that there is a place in the Free Zone; we know that there are plans for something to go on in San Pedro, and also down in Placencia. The only problem, in our view is that medical tourism should first and foremost be a national industry whereby we, as Belizeans, local doctors, dentists, nurses and all health allied personnel, should be the ones that are leading. But we have been left out of the picture.” Most available medical procedures are cheaper in Belize than in the USA, but many residents head north into Mexico for treatment, where costs are lower, facilities are better and more procedures are available. Facilities, equipment and doctors in Belize are in extremely short supply, so the range of available treatments is limited.

Wildwood locals premier documentary at Stockton
Frank Weiss, of Wildwood Crest and student at Stockton College, arrived in Belize last year with a camera and a mission to show how the modern world impacts the local tribes. In less than a week, he left with more than 1,000 gigabytes of video footage. Weiss will debut the final product, “The Road is Coming,” at the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton College, 733 Lake Road in Oceanville in Atlantic County at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. The junior visual communications major said he got the inspiration for the project from a Wildwood Catholic High School classmate, Grace Boswell, who went to Belize with the Peace Corps. Boswell worked with the Ketchi Maya people in Laguna Village for more than two years, 2009 through 2011, as an elementary education teacher trainer. After obtaining a grant and getting sponsorship from the Noyes Museum, Weiss said he researched the country and the local tribes and planned to shoot his footage in five days. Ultimately, he said, he decided that the majority of the film should be shot in the Laguna Village of about 340 Kekchi Maya people. “It was a mix of dirt roads and cell towers,” Weiss said of the local people’s struggle to preserve their history as the modern world encroaches. He said that the film take viewers on a journey through the jungles and inside the thatched-roof homes to reveal the lifestyle, food, work, and leisure of the local people. “Belize is developing,” Weiss said. “But the film talks about sustainability and doing it the right way.” Weiss said that he learned that the younger people in the village don’t want to become farmers like their parents and grandparents. Instead, they want to move out of the area and pursue jobs in tourism. Weiss, a self-proclaimed visual adventurer, said he didn’t think twice about doing whatever it took to “get the shot.” He said he would wade into rivers to take photos of natives washing dishes and attract a crowd of children and curious adults whenever he was filming.

February 22, 2012

Valid Time: Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 until Monday, Feb. 27, 2012

It will be a seasonally dry and breezy week. Evidence of the 2012 Dry Season is noticeable across Belize. The Dry Season could become more intense later in March, April and early May.

The feature of interest this working week will be a seasonally drier and stable East to South-easterly airflow over the NW Caribbean and Belize, generated by a weakening Atlantic High Pressure system and a broad, frontal low pressure system moving over and to the north of Texas during the next 24 to 48 hours.

A cold front will make its way slowly south-eastward across the Gulf of Mexico by early Friday, reaching a position from the Florida Keys to southern Yucatan by Saturday evening. The approach of this front could trigger off some localized thunderstorms over inland Belize on Saturday afternoon and evening. This frontal zone is likely to become diffused over Belize on Sunday, and will then dissipate.

The weather will be seasonally sunny and dry during most of this working week, with a fresh East to South-easterly breeze prevailing. The proximity of the cold front on Saturday evening and Sunday could provoke some afternoon and evening thunderstorms especially in the interior and north. Some showers and rain could affect most districts and coastal waters on Sunday. The rains will die away later on Monday and Tuesday.

Daily rainfall accumulations will be minimal from Monday through Saturday morning, ranging from a mere 0.01 to 0.10 of-an-inch. Daily rainfall totals will increase later on Saturday through Monday, with totals ranging from 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch over most districts and coastal waters.

Click here for the full report.

The San Pedro Sun

Vive Y Goze La Tradicion – San Pedro Carnaval 2012
The annual celebration of San Juan Carnaval, under the theme “Vive y Goze la Tradicion”, commenced on Saturday night, February 18th. The festival commenced with a block party at Central park with various dance presentations by the San Pedro Dance Company. Following the dance presentations, it was time for the crowning of Miss Carnaval 2012-2013. With initially three young ladies vying for the title – the competition was cut when two stepped down, leaving one individual representing. Shortly after 9PM, reigning Miss Carnaval 2011-2012, Miss Ileny Aguilar, took to the stage for the official crowning of Miss Carnaval 2012-2013, Miss Miriam Rodriguez. Bayside Bar and Gril - Best Decorated Booth at Carnaval 2012 As part of the block party celebration, booths also competed for three categories: best decorated, best carnaval platter and best carnaval drink. In the category for the best decorated booth; Bayside Bar and Grill took the prize, with their carnaval theme and colorful decorations. Best Carnaval platter went to the Blue Hole Restaurant for their Pork Pibil and best carnaval drink went to Nicti-Ha, with their concoction, dubbed the “Blue Sacrifice”, a delicious combination of Vodka, lime, sugar and Gatorade.

Inmate dies in SP Police Custody
Sometime around 11pm Monday night, acting upon complaints received, SP Police detained one Miguel Martinez, 32, of a San Pedrito Area address. Martinez was detained and brought to the SP Police Station and placed in a cell with four other inmates. According to reports, Martinez was acting disorderly and apparently under the influence of alcohol. When Police made checks sometime around 5am Tuesday, they observed what appeared to be the motionless body of Martinez on the floor of the cell. After attempts at reviving him, and receiving no response, Dr. Javier Zuniga was called. Zuniga certified him dead shortly after. San Pedro Police is conducting an investigation following the death of a detainee at the police station. While there has been no official release, the department confirmed to The San Pedro Sun that sometime around 8:00AM on Tuesday February 21st, 32 year old Miguel Martinez was found dead inside his cell. He was found by an on duty officer after he was alerted by other detainees that Martinez was motionless. In speaking to stepfather of the deceased, Emmanuel Diego, The San Pedro Sun found out that Martinez was detained on the beach following a report. “According to Police he was detained after he was walking with a machete in his hand. The police got a call from a hotel saying that Martinez was with a machete on the beach giving trouble. The security guys from the hotel handcuff him and handed him over to the police; that was around one in the morning. They brought him here (at the station) and according to the police, they put him in a cell along with other inmates that were in there. According to them [Police], it seems that Martinez was giving trouble and was put in another cell by himself. By this morning, he [Martinez] was dead.”

Tourists injured in boat accident
There was a boat accident near San Pedro Town sometime around 3:10PM today, Tuesday, February 21st. The Belize Port Authority (BPA) has confirmed that the two vessels, namely Thanks A lot Two owned by a local dive company and another vessel 18 Degrees North owned by Robert Shiltz collided at sea in front of the San Pedro Belize Tourism Board office. While the extent of damage to the boats is unknown at this time, the collision injured two of the four American tourists on board 18 Degrees North. The injured people were taken to the Los Pinos Clinic for medical attention. According to the BPA, one female passenger sustained injuries to the face and three of her teeth were knocked out as a result of the impact. Her husband, on the other hand, received injuries to the knee and hip. When The San Pedro Sun arrived at the clinic, the injured woman was seen wearing a neck brace when leaving the clinic.

Ambergris Today

SPJC Places 4th at ATLIB Basketball Nationals
On Saturday, February 18, 2012, the ATLIB Basketball Nationals took place in San Ignacio at Falcon Field. There were four male teams and four female teams. The two Female teams from the Northern Region were St. Johns Junior College and Wesley Junior College and the two male teams were San Pedro Junior College and Wesley Junior College. The two female teams in the Southern Region were University of Belize and Ecumenical Junior College and male teams were Galen University and University of Belize.
If there is any indication of how crazy Carnaval will be tonight, it has to be the crazy amount of painting that was taking place yesterday, the second day of the San Pedro Carnaval Festivities. Herds of Carnaval revelers took to the street to enjoy painting each other and there was paint and eggs flying all around the place. What was great to see last night was the amount of Comparsas that took to street dancing; there were actually seven groups that livened up the town with their great musical compositions and dance routines. Coming out with Comparsa groups on Tuesday, February 20, 2012, were: * The San Pedro AIDS Commission: with a rendition of the Belizean Mennonites and their produce * Doña Flora's Group: that dressed up as the Belizean Garifuna and celebrated their culture with authentic dresses, headbands and accessories * Pablo's Girls: always entertaining with a tribute to Don Juan Carnaval * Isla Bonita Elementary School: had their version of Don Juan Carnaval dancing with his bevy of beautiful girls * Isla Bonita Elementary School: (Group 2) danced to “Hey Mickey” to raise funds for the Miss Isla Bonita Elementary Pageant *Ambergris Caye Elementary School: (ACES) stepped out with a comparsa dancing to Lambada and Shakira’s Waka Waka * The Dynamic Dancers: performed a comparsa of “Los Negritos”

Inmate’s Death at SP Police Station Raises Concerns
There was quite a commotion at the San Pedro Police Station as an inmate was found dead this morning, Tuesday, February 21, 2012. Friends and relatives of the deceased gathered outside the Police Station waiting to see their loved one and to get some questions answered in regards to his death. According the Belize Public Relations Officer, Mr. Rafael Martinez, San Pedro Police received a call from the Phoenix Resort stating that a male person with a machete was acting in a disorderly manner and disrupting the peace in the area. The male person, Miguel Martinez, was apprehended by the resorts security guards and then handed over the San Pedro Police Station on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at about 5:00a.m.


Belize Birding: Chance To See Over 540 Bird Species
Belize is a sanctuary for over 540 bird species and a popular destination for bird-watchers from all over the world. It is possible to see as many as 400 different birds on a single guided bird-watching tour through the beautiful land of Belize. Due to the dedication and hard work of many people throughout the years, Belize has managed to become a premier destination for those who love birds and want to see the colors and interactions of these fine creatures in their natural habitat. Protected as part of Belize’s heritage, conservation efforts have preserved the land, area and birds themselves. The Belize National Parks System Act (1981) initiated the establishment of protected areas that have long been maintained for the preservation of the birds, wildlife, land, and heritage. From colorful parrots to tiny hummingbirds, Belize has a diversity in birds that is unique from anywhere else in the world, and below you will find some info on a handful of the birds you can expect to see while visiting Belize.

Sunday Afternoons Mean BBQ and Live Music in San Pedro
The town is hopping right now. With Presidents Day and schools' spring breaks, these next few weeks tend to be some of the busiest of the year. Sunday afternoon in San Pedro is always a great day to go out, have a few cold beers and listen to some music. Last Sunday, I stopped by a few on my way into town. It was a beautiful day. My first stop was the Catamaran Bar at Caribbean Villas Resort. They have a full bar, a BBQ going, live music by Tull starting at around 2:30pm and sailing races all morning. There were lots of people sitting and eating.

Vandalism or Just Good, Traditional Fun? Carnaval In San Pedro, Belize
Yesterday, I posted the fun side of Carnaval. Like this picture... But a local businessman posted something this morning that made me go out and take a second look. He wrote (allow me to paraphrase a bit): "Carnaval...promotes the destruction and defacing of private property and makes our town look like a dump" and "Anyone who is for the continuation of this vandalism is simply not affected by the vandalism of their property. I would be happy to come over to your house and pour 5 gallons of paint in your yard and your vehicles..." and "hanging people in the town square was also something people did some time ago and yet most civil societies have decided that it now makes no sense". When I was out Sunday night there were certainly not police or parents supervising any of the painting. Many business owners and even the town put up plastic tarps to protect their property from paint and eggs. But was it enough? Is this teaching kids that defacing property is "something fun" and should have no consequences? Here are the pictures that I took this morning. This is what is left over from days one and three (today) is just getting started and day three is usually the one that brings the most paint. Should this holiday practise continue? Is it a charming island tradition or just destruction? You be the judge.

Photo Blog: A week on Tobacco Caye
There are about 450 sandy islands on the Belize Barrier Reef off the caribbean coast of Belize. Belizeans call them ‘cayes’. We have a steady relationship with the two big ones, and I’d say that we’re on Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker almost every other week. While those two are our steady cayes, we had a one week fling with another one – Tobacco Caye – last christmas. And we loved it. Watching the sunset from the bar - click to enlarge Tobacco Caye is tiny, at a size of only 400 by 200 feet you can walk around it in 5 minutes and across in a lot less. It’s intimate with about 20 permanent residents and 5 little lodges with 3-10 rooms each. The daily routines are mainly dictated by food (you eat at your lodge and at a given time when the bell or triangle calls you to the communal picnic tables) and the generator (there’s light usually until 9 or 10 – then it’s you and your headlamp). When we got to Tobacco Caye, I was worried that I was looking at going out of my OCD workaholic mind within hours. I had a list of projects lined up before I even set foot on this oasis of nothingness. I didn’t do any of them. Handing over daily routines to the meal bell, the hammock and falling asleep whenever you felt like it became our life for the duration of our stay and I left Tobacco Caye so utterly relaxed that I couldn’t even remember when I had last been this grounded and recharged.

Photo blog: Flying through the Air in Belize
Belize has a multitude of little sand islands, called cayes along its coast. The smaller cayes are nothing more than a pile of sand on some coral while the biggest one (Ambergris Caye) spans 40 by 1.6 km in size. Ambergris Caye is the most developed tourism destination in Belize with a big expat community enjoying fishing, scuba diving and hanging out at the pool. Last week, I was fortunate enough to have to attend a training on Ambergris Caye. One of the perks of working in tourism is that you get to visit a lot of tourism destinations and nifty hotels. On the way back (flying in a 9 seat Cessna) I took a couple of pictures of my commute from work:

Photo: Paul Nabor
One of the highlights of my trip to Belize was spending some time with local guitar legend and Garifuna spiritual healer, Paul Nabor. At 80 years old, he’s no longer a world traveler, but still plays guitar most days. I was lucky enough to be an audience of one for a private concert. To watch the video and hear it yourself, check out the piece I wrote for Big World Magazine. Oh, and if you find yourself in Punta Gorda, remember that Mr. Nabor prefers his beer warm.

Dukunu recipe – Mayan tamales!
One of the wonderful things (among many) about having an island resort in Belize is discovering the food of Belize. Many years ago I discovered a wonderful Belizean dish: Dukunu. We don’t serve it on the island because it is too labor intensive : ( But at a locals Belize City restaurant, like Ceni’s, you can sometimes find it. Dukunu is a fabulous dish! And you can make these marvelous corn packets at home using this recipe. Residents of New Mexico will be particularly interested as it is similar to, but also very different from tamales, a staple in New Mexico. Dukunu is usually vegetarian, which is one of the reasons I love them since I don’t eat meat. It is not made of masa, but of roasted and ground corn kernals. Also, it uses coconut milk. This corn mixture steamed in corn husks was a favorite of the ancient Mayans of Belize.

Adventure, food and fun in Belize
Adventure, food and fun are all to be found in the Central American country of Belize… at least according to today’s interviewees. We speak with Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons and Lebawit Lily Girma about the time they’ve spent in what seems to be a marvelous country. Lily Girma set out to try every adventure sport and adventure tour in Belize over three months, and reckon’s she’s failed! That’s a whole lot of adventure for what many people imagine is a small country given over to diving. It’s true that Belize has one of the world’s largest ocean reefs, and diving abounds, but she also discovered lush forests; caving, canyoning and rapelling treks; and an ability to tie this into Mayan and Garifuna culture.

VIDEO: Altun Ha Maya Ruin in Belize
This is the location where the prized jewel of Belize and famous Maya Jade Head of the Maya Sun God, Kinich Ahau originated from.

VIDEO: "Sweet Gial" Awaits Your Arrival
Guest Services Team aboard "Sweet Gial" headed to San Pedo to greet and transport arriving guest back to their villa at La Perla Del Caribe. Ambergris Caye, Belize, CA

Channel 7

Man Dies In Custody Of San Pedro Police
The police department is under pressure tonight after a police officer shot a man in the face last night and then today a young man died in custody. We headline tonight's news with

Police Sergeant Shoots A Man In OW Bar
Last night just before ten, an ambulance rushed into the city from Orange Walk Town. Inside, Orange Walk resident, Jorge Celis was hoping he didn't lose his eye after he had been shot by

PUP's Manifesto Promises "Deliverance" But Not Much Else
And turning now from crime to politics – the PUP launched its 2012 to 2016 manifesto today. Now, you might be saying 2012 – 2016? But that's only four years – why not to

A Tale Of Two Leaders And One Superbond
And whoever has the manifesto that appeals more strongly to voters will form the next government – and one of the first things they'll have to deal with is the Superbond. A 33.5 milli

Merlene Resigned
Merlene Bailey-Martinez has resigned as CEO of the Social Security Board. After weeks of stony silence, the Social Security Board today issued a release saying that she resigned on

Rhett fuller Denied Bail
One of the last attempts to get 40 year old Rhett Fuller a breath of fresh air, was rejected outright today by the Supreme Court. Fuller who is fighting deportation to the United St

Alleged Armed Robber Remanded
22 year-old Mark Ramdas, who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, has been remanded for allegedly committing armed robbery after he appeared in Magistrates Court. According to police, t

Senior Citizen Jailed For Fondling
61 year-old Godfrey Mortis, a taxi driver of Amara Avenue, has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for fondling an 8 year-old female child. According to the child, who testified in came

Mother Pleads For Missing Teen To Return Home
Tonight, the Mother of another missing teenager is pleading for her safe return. Lisa Bradley, the mother of 15 year old Wesley College student, Lianie Baptist, says her daughter left

What A Lot Of Weed!
Last night we told you about Jason Gilharry, a 20 year-old UB student charged with Unlawful Cultivation of Marijuana Plants. Well tonight we have the pictures to accompany the story,

Police Descend On Hopkins For Drugs
Last week Friday, the Anti drug unit descended on Hopkins Village. They searched several houses in the area, and as a result, arrested 9 people for charges ranging from drug trafficking to

Junior Jaguar's Birthday Bash
He turned 5 today, and keeping with tradition, the World's Best Little Zoo threw a lavish party befitting one of their most celebrated attractions. Junior Buddy was the Jaguar cub b...

Channel 5

S.S.B. C.E.O. Merlene Bailey Martinez resigns
Merlene Bailey-Martinez has resigned as C.E.O. of the Social Security weeks after reports of insider trading became public. The Social Security Board decided since early last week to terminate Bailey-Martinez so when she turned up to work on Monday, it raised a number of questions. Bailey-Martinez had been placed on administrative leave since January eleventh, ...

Fuel prices go up again before elections
There was another hike in fuel prices over the weekend, the second in two weeks. The price increase for premium gasoline was the smallest, going up by five cents to eleven dollars and sixty-three cents. Regular, however, is up eighteen cents and is now selling for eleven dollars and thirty cents per gallon. The biggest ...

P.U.P. Manifesto of Price, Peace and Revolution
On Monday, the People’s United Party released its manifesto for the Belize City Council elections. This afternoon, it launched its platform for the general elections. The manifesto is dedicated to the memory of George Price, who passed away last September, and is entitled Deliverance for Belize. As a matter of priority, the P.U.P. promises job ...

Facing extradition: Rhett Fuller denied bail
In the United States, Rhett Fuller is wanted in connection with the murder of US National Larry Miller. Fuller moved back to Belize following the incident and for over a decade, he has been in and out of court fighting extradition to the US. The Minister of Foreign Affairs on September twentieth, 2011 decided to ...

Do you believe government deserves a 2nd term?
Tonight’s question is: Would you believe the current government deserves a second term in office? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to

Found dead in San Pedro Prison Cell
There are three deaths to report tonight. We start first with the baffling death of a San Pedro resident, who died this morning in a holding cell at the island’s police station. On Monday night Miguel Martinez, who was recently released from prison, was taken into custody. The family is suspicious because Martinez was only ...

Missing Stann Creek man was murdered
While the circumstances of Martinez’ death are suspicious, the demise of forty-one year old Ignacio Ical is conclusive. Seven days ago, Ical went into the jungle in the Canada Hill Area in the Stann Creek District to harvest a fruit called ‘pakaia’. His family grew concerned when he didn’t return home because Ical frequented that ...

Orange Walk’s Abel Robinson murdered
In the north, another missing man was found murdered. Days after he disappeared, a search party on Monday discovered the body of twenty-one year old Abel Robinson from Orange Walk Town. The badly decomposed body was lying under a tree off a picado road in the Palmar area. Abel left home on Friday and when ...

Cop detained after shooting incident at Picame Bar
There’s another incident in Orange Walk Town where a police sergeant shot Jorge Celis in the eye and it is under investigation. The police version is that on Monday Sergeant Roberto Novelo, who is attached to the Belize City Crimes Investigations Branch, and his brother, Moises Novelo were at the Picame Bar in Orange Walk ...

B.T.I.A. supports People’s Referendum
A people’s referendum will be held next week Wednesday. The Belize Tourism Industry Association, which chairs the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage called on member organizations to support the referendum. After almost eight thousand signatures were rejected, preventing a referendum, the Coalition decided to execute an independent poll. So next week, country-wide people ...

2 escaped convicts recaptured
Last Friday two inmates escaped from the Belize Central Prison in Hattieville. Security at the facility managed by the Kolbe Foundation was breached in daylight by Luis Urbina, a high profile and dangerous convict along with David Burgos. Burgos was believed to be heading north to see his wife in the Finca Solana area of ...

Cab driver, accused of fondling and biting minor, convicted
A Belize City taxi driver, who has been in prison for the past seven months, was today convicted of Aggravated Assault of an Indecent Nature. The victim was only eight years old when sixty-one year old Godfrey Mortis molested her at his house. In court, Mortis denied the allegations, during the trial which ended this ...

Move over GSU, GST Unit busts tax dodgers
A businessman was also found guilty this morning, but for unpaid general sales tax. Phillip Waight of CSVW Engineering and Construction Company was to appear before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer on eleven counts of Failure to File GST Returns for the period of December 2010 to October 2011. But Waight was not present this morning ...

Marijuana fields go up in smoke
An operation by the Anti-Drug Unit led to the discovery and destruction of two marijuana plantations over the weekend. Twenty year old Jason Gilharry was arrested on Sunday when the ADU caught him on a farm with twenty-three thousand marijuana plants in Corozalito Village near Maskall. The ADU first came across a field with twenty ...

Unemployed man now an entrepreneur
Unemployment is hovering at twenty-three point five percent; that puts a large number of bread winners out of the work force. Meet Bryant Peters, who has discovered that there are opportunities if you can foster an entrepreneurial spirit. Along with a group of other jobless persons, he has started a business. News Five’s Jose Sanchez ...

KTV Latino; Live, Lustrous and Only on 5
The results are in for last week’s singers and first elimination by votes for KTV Latino will be announced tonight. Group A had its debut performances last Tuesday and now it’s time for the performers in Group B to show what they can do in the second round of live competition at the Bliss. Latin ...


Marion Ali reporting… “The eight-page document, dubbed “Deliverance for Belize” is dedicated, says the PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca, to the memory of the party’s legendary icon, George Price. Francis Fonseca, Leader, PUP “Every page of this manifesto reflects our reaffirmation as a party to the philosophy and principles of George Price and our deep and unwavering commitment to serve the Belizean people.” And with that, the party’s standard bearers, eleven of them, read through the pledges that the PUP hopes to deliver between 2012 and 2016 if they are elected on March seventh. The PUP also pledges to “establish an Andy Palacio Annual Prize for music, establish a George Gabb Annual Prize for visual art and establish a Beverly Smith Lopez Annual prize for performing arts”. And for people who play games of chances, the PUP also proposes to end the monopoly control of the lottery and boledo business and to open up the sale of lottery and boledo to more people.

61-year-old taxi driver Godfrey Mortis, charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon an eight year old girl, was sentenced to two years today by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, after he was found guilty of the charge. The child testified in camera that shortly after nine p.m. on June 5, 2011, Mortis asked her to buy water and she went to a Chinese shop and purchased the water. She said when she returned Mortis grabbed her and put bite marks on both sides of her neck then touched her on her private parts. The girl’s mother who was with her daughter at the house of a friend who is Mortis’ neighbour testified that she saw when her daughter went to buy the water but she did not see her daughter return. The mother also testified that the following day she saw the love bites on her daughter’s neck and when she asked her daughter who did it her daughter told her it was Mortis. As a result, the mother said she took her daughter to the police station and a report was made. Mortis testified and denied he committed the offence but Chief Magistrate Smith did not believe him and she found him guilty.

18-year-old Keron Swasey a construction worker of Kraal Road was charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of handling stolen goods when he appeared in court today. Swasey pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was denied bail and was remanded into custody until March 29. The first burglary occurred on February 13. The complainant, Cyril McFoy a resident of Faber’s Road reported to the Police that his home was burglarized and the items that were stolen included four aluminium windows, one washing machine, one double door refrigerator, a metal table with three chairs and a dog cage. The second burglary occurred on February 17 at the house of Emily Stanley. Stanley reported that the items that were stolen included six aluminum windows and one bathroom basin. The police reported that they recovered all the stolen items from Stanley.

An application for bail for Belize City businessman Rhett Fuller who is to be extradited to the U.S. for a charge of murder was denied today by Justice Adolph Lucas. Justice Lucas said he denied the appeal because Fuller has exhausted all his legal appeals and there is the possibility that he might flee. Fuller’s attorney, Eamon Courtenay said that Fuller is appealing the decision of Justice Awich who had dismissed his challenge and he is asking Belize Court of Appeal to being the matter to an end. Fuller’s final court of appeal is the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Maria Novelo reporting… “The motionless body of 27-year-old Miguel Martinez, a resident of San Pedro Town was discovered sometime after five thirty this morning in a prison cell in which he was detained by officers in the San Pedro Police Station. Officials here have been tight-lipped about the incident; but area representative Manuel Heredia was briefed by officer commanding the police station. Heredia spoke to Love News shortly after and informed us of the incident. Manuel Heredia – Area Representative “Early this morning Mr. Arceo called about five this morning that this guy was with a machete giving trouble in the area and the Police went over there and the buy had left and right in front of Phoenix and Ecological Divers the two security, one from each one detained the guy with the machete, called the police and he was escorted to the station whereby when they checked later on the guy was dead. They called the doctor and the doctor pronounced that he was dead. According to the police they have allowed the family to look at the body that there is no physical sign of brutality or so.” Dr. Javier Zuniga pronounced him dead around eight thirty this morning. Zuniga says Martinez was seen lying down with handcuffs in the cell with no apparent wound. Zuniga mentioned that Martinez showed signs of psychotic behaviour when he was admitted sometime last week. Manuel Heredia – Area Representative “They called from the Poly Clinic that this guy was behaving in a disrespectful manner, even getting naked. They locked him up, the doctor gave him a injection that day. I don’t know if it was tranquilizer but he did cool off, wake up in a normal manner and was released.” Just after midday, Martinez' body was removed from the cell and transported via boat to the KHMH. Family members who spoke with Love News, say they are baffled at the news of the death of their loved one. They mentioned however that while Martinez was not an angel, he was not known to have had any illnesses. In addition, police reported that no visible signs of physical abuse was seen on the body and are looking at several angles into this incident.

Dalila Ical reporting… “A police sergeant has been arrested pending investigations into a brawl at a bar in Orange Walk Town which ended in bloodshed. The incident played out shortly after six last night at Picame Bar where according to police reports a fight broke out among thirty-six year old Sergeant Roberto Novelo, one Jorge Celiz, and a third person. It was during the altercation that three shots were fired from a weapon belonging to Sergeant Novelo. One of the bullets found its mark on Celiz’ left eye. Thirty two year old Jorge Celiz was rushed to the Northern Regional Hospital where he was later transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. In the meantime, police detained Sergeant Novelo. However, shortly after the incident a member of Celiz’s family told Love News that she was dissatisfied at the way the police handled the situation. Family member “We went to the Police Station to find out what has happened with the Police, the Police Officer is right out there like nothing happened, he is under the influence of liquor. We are demanding that they do a blood test and they refused but I believe that justice should be served, let them find out what happened and then deal with the matter but he is out there like nothing.” Officer Commanding the Orange Walk Police formation, Superintendent Joseph Myvett says that all procedures were followed during Sergeants Novelo’s arrest. Joseph Myvett – Officer in Charge, Orange Walk “At this point in time we are still continuing our investigation, the officer in question is being questioned and is detained as we speak. All the necessary procedures were followed, the weapon was taken in and he was taken to the hospital where a blood sample was extracted.” According to Superintendent Myvett, police recovered a nine millimeter pistol which is Sergeant Novelo’s personal licensed firearm. According to police, Sergeant Novelo, who is attached to the Belize City police was off duty at the time and was socializing with his brother. Police investigations also show that the firearm was not directly pointed at Celiz when he was injured. Joseph Myvett – Officer in Charge, Orange Walk “According to the officers’ report, while struggling for his firearm, three shots were discharged into the ground, at no time did he point his firearm to him.” Love News understands that Celiz is listed in a critical but stable condition at the KHMH.

The embattled Chief Executive Officer of the Belize Social Security Board Merlene Bailey Martinez employment with SSB is over. According to a statement from the Board, Bailey Martinez tendered her resignation on Monday. The official statement says that the reason for Bailey Martinez’s decision to resign was due to negative public criticism and its impact to her family and her Christian community as well as to protect the SSB from negative publicity. Bailey Martinez and internal auditor Denise Mahler were placed on suspension to facilitate a special investigation into whether or not there was any wrong doing committed in the government’s housing mortgage debt write off scheme. The investigation, carried out by the accounting firm of Panel Kerr Foster Belize certified that no member of management and staff who made additional payments to reduce their housing mortgage balance below the fifty thousand dollars threshold after September thirtieth, 2011 benefitted from the SSB Housing Loans write off. The PKF-Belize investigators emphasized that the Internal Auditor is responsible to the Board of Directors and not to the CEO, hence the suspension of Denise Mahler, who manages SSB’s internal audit services was lifted and she returned to work on Monday. With the departure of Merlene Bailey Martinez, Leticia Vega continues to act as Chief Executive Officer of the Belize Social Security Board.


Orange Walk South Shows Massive Support For Abelardo Mai
On March 7th residents of Orange Walk South will go to the polls and vote for Jose Abelardo Mai. That’s the message that resounded on Saturday night during a rally held in the village of San Felipe once considered a strong hold of the U.D.P. But all indications are that after four years of oppression residents of San Felipe and other constituents of Orange Walk South, including the Blue Creek Community, are ready to make a positive change. During Saturday nights massive rally the support for Jose Mai was more than obvious as residents of the south took over the rostrum and expressed their discontent with the Dean Barrow Administration. For the farmers of Blue Creek it was their first time on the podium but that did not stop them from speaking out against an administration who they say will take the country to ruins if given another five years to govern Belize.

Thomas Robinson Laid To Rest Today
Yesterday afternoon the badly decomposed body of 21 year old Abel Arturo Robinson was found in some bushes in the Palmar Area. Due to the advance state of decomposition the body could not be moved and subsequently remained on site up until this morning when a post mortem examination was conducted by Doctor Mario Estradaban. The post mortem reveled that Robinson received a gunshot wound to the head and his throat was slashed. This morning as family members prepared to lay their loved one to rest; our news team went back to the scene of the incident and filed the following report. Early this morning family members returned to the scene where 21 year old Abel Arturo Robinson was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head and a laceration to the throat. As the scenes of crime personnel combed the area for evidence that would lead them to Robinson’s murderer his family watched as his body was placed in a casket ready for burial.

CIB Sergeant Accused Of Shooting Civilian On The Right Eye Detained By Police
Tonight a member of the Belize Police Department attached to the CIB Branch in Belize City is in the hot seat after being accused of shooting a civilian on the right eye. Yesterday between the hours of 5:00pm and 6:00pm, the ecstasy that filled the atmosphere inside “Picame Bar” was overshadowed by screams, shouts and three gunshots! Reports suggest that 32 year old Jorge Celiz was at the bar drinking with some friends when 36 year old Sergeant Roberto Novelo, who was off duty at the time, entered the establishment accompanied by a friend. A short while after an altercation ensued between Celiz and Novelo which ended up with Celiz being shot on the eye by a bullet fired from Novelo’s licensed 9mm pistol.

Fire In August Pine Ridge Leaves Family of Four Homeless
A fire in Village of August Pine Ridge has left a family of four homeless after their house was completely burnt down. The incident happened at around 8:00 yesterday morning while the family was not at home. Reporter Janine Ayuso and Cameraman Kenric Simpson traveled to the village of August Pine Ridge this morning and filed the following report. This is what was left of the two bedroom concrete house belonging to the Cordova family after it was devoured by flames. At the time of the incident Manuel Cordova, his wife and two children were not at home. The first to witness the tragedy was the family’s neighbor Darleny Cordova. Thinking that Manuel and his family were inside the burning home, Cordova quickly alerted the neighbors who came to family’s aid. But there was little that neighbors could do to save the house.

Merlene Bailey Martinez No Longer CEO Of SSB
Merlene Bailey Martinez sat high on her throne as the CEO of the Social Security Board. But Bailey’s days of reign are over because tonight news is that the resigned from her post as CEO. Martinez was thrown into hot water after allegations surfaced that she was part of an insider trading scheme whereby workers would have benefited from the government mortgage write off program. In mid January, due to intense media pressure, Bailey and Internal Auditor Denise Mahler were placed on administrative leave. Immediately after; an internal audit was initiated by the Panel Kerr Foster Accounting firm. After reviewing the results, representatives of both the Union and Private Sector on the SSB’s board and at least one of four government representatives voted for Bailey’s termination.

Rotary Donates Wheel Chairs To Much Needy Orange Walkenos
With over 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries, Rotary International has been able to reach out to people across the globe assisting them in various ways and forms; from contribution for polio eradication to scholarships and emergency aid. In Orange Walk, the Rotary Club has for many years been accomplishing their goal which is to, “Serve the Community”. And this past Saturday the club continued assisting the community as they donated 18 wheel chairs to disabled residents of Orange Walk Town.

PUP O/W Town Council Candidates Launch Manifesto
On Friday February 17th the P.U.P Orange Walk Town Council Candidates launched their manifesto 2012/2015 titled Change Is Here on the Despierta Belice Show. According to Mayoral Candidate Kevin Bernard, the Manifesto, which serves as a social contract to the people, is fixated on solutions and not promises. "It is a manifesto not of promises mainly a contract of solutions and what we are highlighting there are several key things that we want to address for the people of Orange Walk, imminently in terms of the manifesto we want to start off with the key thing which is financial management, we need to bring stability to our town’s finances in order for us to do the other plans that we have which are streets and infrastructure, parks and play grounds, youth and sport activities, the other areas of our cemetery, women affairs and also the entire social aspect of our manifesto partnership with the people, working with the police department, the citizen on patrol and these things that we want to do will require that us be able to manage the affairs and put back finances in the way it needs to be done, I think we have a team that is committed to work on these areas and I am very confident that the manifesto, the people will take a look at it, read it and will see that we are not making any promise out of the sky but it is real solution that we are offering the people of Orange Walk.”

The New Life Presbyterian School Promotes Environmental Awareness
Today the standard one, two and three students of the New Life Presbyterian School in the Orange Walk District were roaming around town with the aim of creating an environmental awareness in the community. The idea was derived from current issues affecting Belize. In an attempt to further educate the students the school’s management contacted the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO) to assist them in passing on the message to the enthused students. “Today we call it Environmental Awareness Day whereby we are studying this unit on conservation and to culminate this unit we are taking the middle division of our school on a nature walk where we are sensitizing the community on environmental issues affecting our society and our country as a whole even globally, what we are doing today is that children have made bird feeders so that they could attract bird to come in because we have seen that there is a scarcity of wildlife and the more trees we plant the more birds will come and it is just this sense of creating a good environment for our animals as well as for our people and most importantly is keeping our environment clean so we can see the children with garbage bags also they are picking up garbage in their way and also they have their placards there that says pollution the causes and effects our land, our air and our waters, so that’s basically what we are portraying.”


Political parties express concerns over revised voting process in Belmopan
The Peoples United Party Candidate for the Belmopan Constituency, Dr. Amin Hegar, along with independent candidate ...

People's United Party launches party manifesto
The Peoples United Party launched its Manifesto today. With over a hundred pledges, leader of the peoples united pa...

Cayo Northeast nominations for General Elections
Nomination for General Elections took place on Friday of last week; the country was abuzz with political parties an...

31 year old found dead in police holding cell
An investigation is ongoing in San Pedro after 31 year old Miguel Martinez was found dead inside the holding ell of...

PUP’s Lake I Executive Committee steps down
The PUP’s Lake Independence Executive Committee says it will not be working with the new standard bearer Martin Gal...

Skiing accident takes the life of young businessman Andrew Blades
33 year old businessman Andrew Blades - of Blades Ice-cream Parlor- died of accident related injuries. Blades ...

UB student charged with cultivating marijuana
20 year-old Jason Gilharry, A UB student of Corozalito Village, was arraigned in court yesterday for unlawful culti...

SSB's Merlene Bailey hands in letter of resignation
News coming out of the social security last week was that the Board of Directors had voted to terminate CEO of SSB ...

Investigations continue into Orange Walk murder
There was a murder in orange Walk Town. 21 year old Abel Arturo Robinson was shot to the head and his body dumped i...

No arrest made in mid-morning stabbing
There was a mid morning stabbing incident in Belize city yesterday.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker R. C. School makes us all proud by winning the Zone 5 Spelling Bee
The Caye Caulker R. C. School wins the Zone 5 Spelling Bee competition for the first time in 17 years. The two spellers from CCRCS placed first and fourth. The entire school came out to the boat upon their arrival to celebrate their victory. Congratulations to the spellers Blayd Vernon and Chelsey Rodriguez. Great JOB, Team Caye Caulker!!


Merlene Bailey-Martinez: is she in, or out?
The CEO was terminated by the SSB board, but reports are that she nevertheless returned to work on Monday... At press time tonight, the board of directors of the Social Security Board (SSB) was meeting at its Belize City office, amid reports that Chief Executive Officer Merlene Bailey-Martinez, who had been put on administrative leave last month, had returned to work today, despite a board decision last week that she should be terminated.

Andrew Blades, 33, succumbs to jet-ski accident
Blades was not wearing a life jacket, and due to his limited swimming skills, he ingested volumes of salt water, while struggling to stay afloat and alive.

Alexander Montero, 52, found murdered in his taxi
Taxicab operator – one of Belize’s most dangerous occupations... Today, the family of Alexander Montero, 52, a taxi operator and the father of 6 children, is grieving over his murder. Montero was stabbed multiple times on Saturday, February 18, and was found in his vehicle, a Honda, in an empty lot off La Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence area.

74 nominated for 2012 general elections
A total of 74 nominations were accepted today by the various returning officers for Belize’s 31 constituencies to contest the 2012 general elections called for March 7, 2012.

Aikman poll too “close to call!”
UDP appear to have enough seats for Government, but many still undecided... However, it started at 11:00 a.m. rather than 7:00 a.m. as was scheduled, because voters called Aikman asking him to hold off until the main business of nomination day was completed.

Schakron loses Supreme Court battle to secure nomination for general elections
She vows to continue renunciation of US citizenship... In a landmark ruling on Friday afternoon, February 17, Supreme Court Justice Oswell Legall refused the application of Yolanda Schakron, the Opposition People’s United Party’s aspirant for the Lake I electoral division, and Moses Sulph (one of those who nominated her), seeking an injunction against Lake I Returning Officer Noreen Fairweather, to stop her from rejecting Schakron’s nomination on the basis of her dual nationality.

Premier League Week 2 results, schedule
Police perfect in the South; 3-way tie in the North... In the only Saturday night game over the weekend, in Week 2 of the first Premier League of Belize (PLB) football tournament of 2012, home standing Belize Defence Force grabbed their first victory of the tournament, a 2-0 shutout of Orange Walk’s Juventus at the Norman Broaster Stadium, courtesy of late second half strikes from Marlon “Matador” Meza (85 min) and Richard “Cheety” Jimenez (87 min).

A chat with veteran footballer Gerald “Speedy” Henry
We lost our bag with the recorded interview on January 20, and, praise God and our beautiful Belizean people, we got it back on February 13. There has been a new development since we did the interview. Ruperto Vicente now heads one of the slates challenging Bertie Chimilio, replacing Sergio Chuc, who will contest for a vice-president post. Both Ruperto and Sergio are very familiar to present day footballers; not so Speedy, which is why we did the interview. Some areas of the tape are difficult to decipher because of noise interference, but we have done our best to reproduce our conversation as it happened:-

Lynn Young – friend of whom?
Corporations are a unique and impressive feature of “savage” capitalism, and, in fact, they dominate the Western world’s financial landscape. Corporations are accumulations of investment capital to which millions and millions of individuals can contribute, in order to own shares/equity on a permanent basis and receive dividends from time to time. Corporations are governed by laws which limit the legal responsibility (“limited liability”) of all the people involved with their operations, and, as a result, corporations can afford to be reckless and irresponsible in their profit-driven raids. Corporations, largely because of limited liability, have no heart and no soul. They are like sharks, perfect machines attacking across national borders in order to make money for their shareholders, and the best corporations are the best attackers: they make the most money, and declare the most regular and sizeable dividends, thus always prompting more and more people to invest their money with them.

From The Publisher
Around 1990 or so, I began making inquiries about Glenn Tillett, who had left Amandala around 1983 to migrate to New York City. I thought if I needed to give up the editorship of Amandala, and at the time I was concerned about the fledgling, struggling KREM Radio, then he was the only guy that would be reasonably satisfactory to me.

International Sources

What Fortis brings to the table
Come next year, one of Canada’s largest energy companies may own and operate Poughkeepsie-based utility CH Energy Group, ending a five-year search for a way into the U.S. regulated market. Fortis Inc., based in Newfoundland, has about 2 million customers, $14.5 billion in assets and 7,100 employees, Chief Financial Officer Barry Perry said Tuesday at a news conference. The conference was held in Poughkeepsie to announce the $1.5 billion acquisition deal with CH Energy, which is pending the approval of the Public Service Commission.

OAS to Observe Belize Elections
The Organization of American States has signed an agreement with Belize to monitor the country’s elections March 7, according to OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza. The OAS signed the pact with Belize today that establishes the conditions for the Electoral Observation Mission that will accompany Belize’s general and municipal elections. “Throughout the Americas, indeed throughout the world, it is widely known that the election observer missions of the OAS are a hallmark of this institution, and that the presence of the missions has evolved into an acceptable imprimatur of a free, fair and transparent exercise of democracy in the countries of the Americas,” said Ambassador Nestor Mendez, Belize’s Permanent Representative to the OAS. Mendez called the agreement “an important step in the formalization of the process for the observation mission to take place.”

OAS and Belize Signed Agreement for Mission to Observe General and Municipal Elections
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Permanent Representative of Belize to the hemispheric organization, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, today signed an agreement that establishes the conditions for the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) that will accompany the general and municipal elections in the Central-American country on March 7. The Secretary General stressed that this is the first EOM the OAS will deploy in Belize, which "follows the trend of the Caribbean countries to strengthen their electoral systems through electoral observation." He further recalled that 2012 is the fiftieth anniversary of the OAS Electoral Observation Missions and was pleased to "celebrate this important anniversary serving a democracy in the young and vibrant republic that is Belize.” At the ceremony, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, Ambassador Mendez explained that the signing of the agreement on the privileges and immunities "is an important step in the formalization of the process for the observation mission to take place,” and added that it is also “a clear demonstration of Belize’s commitment to full participation in the Inter-American System, and to the values that anchor such a system." "Throughout the Americas, indeed throughout the world, it is widely known that the election observer missions of the OAS are a hallmark of this institution, and that the presence of the missions has evolved into an acceptable imprimatur of a free, fair, and transparent exercise of democracy in the countries of the Americas," Ambassador Mendez affirmed.

Belize real estate and also owning property in Belize even buying homes in Belize
Purchasing a property is always a hard process and can be more stressful when you are planning to buy in the foreign country. Belize is one part of British prosperity with the authorized method that shares the systems with British widespread law like Canada and U.S. You should consider some points when you are thinking to buy house in Belize. Any foreigner can own house in Belize and includes the related rights like a Belizean resident to hold the property possession freely. The alien landholding act was destroyed in the year 2001 there are not permits, licenses, condition or any special permissions for an individual who lives in foreign country to get a title to hold the house in Belize. It is also good to take some experts advice legally when you are buying property.

February 21, 2012

Weekly Fishing Report
Just a great week for tailing bones in the lee! And some dandies in the 4 – 6 lb. range caught on both fly and spin. Weedguards needed for those turtle grass flats on your bonefish flies. (Seems I always get stuck with not enough flies with weedguards in my box!). With the morning and late afternoon rising tides, we have good fishing both in the lagoon as well as the front up the beach.

The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!! Quince, Part 2...
The sharp, pungent smell of smoke woke Sara from her deep sleep. Her nose twitched, and she sneezed, once, twice, three times. Rubbing her bleary eyes, she finally opened them well enough to take in the thin film of smoke pouring through the open window. She heard shouting from somewhere outside, and when she drew close to the window, she saw the sun shining fiercely down on two men clad in shorts and long-sleeved work shirts. Between them, they carried a rack of meat that they placed over a waiting grate. Sara drew in a deep, smoke-filled breath, filling her lungs, closing her eyes and smiling widely. The big day was here.

The San Pedro Sun

Standard Bearers Debate Q&A: Education
On Wednesday, February 15th, 2012, the first ever Belize Rural South Standard Bearers debate was held in San Pedro at the Sunbreeze Hotel Conference Room. Candidates Mike Campbell, Patty Arceo, Bobby Lopez and Manuel Heredia Jr. squared off on topics ranging from crime and corruption to education and tourism. Over the next few days we will be presenting a verbatim transcript of all the questions, answers and rebuttals by each candidate for you to view, read and discuss in detail. We now get to our first topic… Education

BTB presents Tourism Arrivals for 2011
The Belize Tourism Board held its annual meeting to issue the Official Announcement of 2011 Tourist Arrivals, in San Pedro Town in the form of a Press Conference, on Wednesday February 15th at The Phoenix resort at 10:45AM. Presenting at the conference were: Javier Paredez, Interim Director of BTB; Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture; Miss Yanick Dalhouse, Director of Marketing and Laura Esquivel, Director of Quality Assurance and Destination Outlook. Offering the welcome and opening remarks was Mr. Paredez, who stated that the overnight and cruise arrivals for the fourth quarter reached historic proportions this year. Following this, Hon. Heredia took the floor to present on the Tourist Arrivals in Belize for 2011. There were 57, 964 visitors in the 4th quarter in 2011, representing a 6.5% increase from the same period in 2010. This marked a continuous increase from 2008-2011. With a total of 12,093 visitors, October saw a 1.4% increase over last year from 11,931 in 2010. This was followed by an 8.3% increase in November at 18,908, compared to 17,451 in 2010. December’s arrivals of 26,945 in 2011 marked a 7.6% increase compared to December 2010.

Belize Coalition: New Date for People’s Referendum
The People’s Referendum is now going to held at the end of the month, Wednesday, February 29th. Remember this date. It only comes every four years. Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Resources calls on all registered voters of Belize to come to the polls to vote on the issue of offshore oil exploration and drilling. The People’s Referendum gives voice to the thousands of Belizeans denied the chance to vote on the issue of offshore oil exploration and drilling. This resulted when the Elections & Boundaries Department, solely on the basis that the petition signatures were inconsistent with those on the record cards the Department held. In announcing the new date for the People’s Referendum, the Coalition reiterates its invitation to all Belizeans to support this historic and unprecedented effort, recalling the words of Belizean Hero the late Hon. Philip Goldson, “The time to save Belize is before we lose it!”

San Pedro RC School’s Annual Cultural Day 2012
The San Pedro Roman Catholic School held its annual Culture Day on Friday February 17th. The event, celebrating the various cultures that make up our beautiful country, takes place yearly on the Friday prior to the celebration of San Juan Carnaval. The day is celebrated with groups of students from every class showcasing group projects that best depict their assigned cultures. Represented were: the Chinese, East Indian, Mestizos, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonite, Mayas and even North Americans. Each booth displayed cultural food and methods of preparation while students explained the history of the various cultures as well as their contribution to the country. From cultural music, dance presentations to chickens in coops and a darling baby milking a (cardboard) cow; the presentations were quite creative as well as entertaining.

Approval of Production Sharing Agreements
The General Public is hereby notified that on January 24, 2012 Cabinet reviewed production sharing agreement applications made by petroleum companies to the Government of Belize for exploration blocks in the Corozal District. After reviewing the applications Cabinet has awarded these exploration blocks to Manti Exploration and Production Company Ltd. Cabinet advises that the General Public has ten (10) days from the date of this release to make representation and offer any objections to the award. Should members of the public have objections to this award they may submit their objections in writing to the Geology and Petroleum Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Market Square, Belmopan City or via fax 802-3538 or email no later than February 29, 2012. The General Public is advised that they are welcome to visit the Geology and Petroleum Department to obtain general information on the applications.

Ambergris Today

To the Polls to Vote on Offshore Oil Exploration
The People’s Referendum – the People will go to the Polls to vote on Offshore Oil Exploration - Press Release, Belize City, Belize, February 14 - On Wednesday, February 29 2012, all registered voters of Belize will be able to go to the polls to vote on the issue of offshore oil exploration and drilling as the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage will be carrying out a national People’s Referendum which will allow all registered Belizeans to vote on the issue. The Coalition is aiming at capturing the opinion of at least 10% of the registered voters.

Flashbacks: The Ever Popular "Las Chinitas"!
So what is your favorite Carnival Group or theme ? Could it be Doña Fora’s, Feliz’s, or Cholo’s Dance Gang? They are all good. Back in time, the favorite groups which showed up dancing on the streets every year were Los Negritos, El Torito and Las Chinitas. Every boy and girl wanted to be a part of these three comparsas.

Who is Don Juan Carnabal?
Carnival has been celebrated since the 1930’s in the humble village of San Pedro and the idea has always been the same - to continue the festive spirit that Don Juan Carnabal once founded. Supposedly he was a rich personality who used to break many women’s hearts and had dozens of girlfriends and concubines. Prior to the commencement of lent, on “Sabado de Bando”, there was a big festival in San Pedro featuring music, dancing, food and bacchanalia. The festive spirit continued for three days of Carnival from Sunday to Tuesday and on Wednesday the period of lent with fasting and sacrifice commenced. Legend tells us that after Don Juan Carnabal died, the village continued the celebration in his honor. Now they made an effigy of Don Juan carving a face from a coconut and stuffing the clothing with grass. At the end of the festival at Central park there was a re-enactment of Don Juan’s wedding where his concubines lamented that he was getting married.

Belize Rural South General Elections Nominations 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012 marked the nominations for standard bearers running for the General Elections which will be held the same day as Municipal Elections, March 7, 2012. The San Pedro Town Council Nominations were held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, and today, Belize Rural South Standard Bearers were nominated. The People’s United Party Blue Wave was the first political party to hit the streets of San Pedro Town at 10:30 a.m. At the end of the day all three political parties and their supporters will have headed to the Town Council to officially nominate their candidate who will be running for seat at the General Elections on March 7, 2012. Officiating the nominations were members of the Election and Boundaries office.

SPRCS Open Day: A Cultural Experience
Belize is a melting pot of cultures - there are the Mestizos, Maya, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonites, Chinese, and East Indians. All these ethnic groups were highlighted during San Pedro RC School’s Open Day on Friday, February 17, 2012. There were booths depicting the ethnic groups’ life style, religion and beliefs, food, history and much more. Students from the SPRCS dressed up the part and some even danced to popular songs of each ethnic group. It was a day filled with lots of educational displays and fun for all to enjoy. Below are some pictures for you to enjoy the rich and diverse cultures that make up our beautiful Belize.

San Pedro Carnaval 2012 Kick-Off Party
The San Pedro Carnaval celebrations were kick started with a party at Central Park on Saturday, February 18, 2012, with plenty of dances, food, drinks, a short skit and the crowning of the new Miss Carnaval 2012. The San Pedro Town Council put on a lively show with dance presentations provided by the San Pedro Dance Group that provided entertainment of modern lively Carnaval music and the Dynamic Dancers that reenacted the traditional old Carnaval comparsa dances. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of “Los Enmascarados” (Masked Men) who traditionally took to the streets before Carnaval to scare the children of the village. Los Enmascarados took to the stage in full costume and entertained the audience. Doña Flora’s comparsa dancers also provided a show of the traditional street dancing presentations on stage.

Mennonites and ‘Nacas’ Ruled Carnaval Day One
The painting and street dancing (comparsas) were in full swing on the first day of Carnaval in San Pedro, Belize as the traditional celebrations commenced on Sunday, February 19, 2012. Carnaval revelers took to the streets of downtown to enjoy in the painting while other residents came out to see the fun and entertaining comparsas (street dancers). The San Pedro AIDS Commission was fun bunch with their interpretation of “Las Nacas” and doña Flora’s group dressed up as Mennonites and took to the streets with their lively song and traditional Carnaval dancing. Students from the Ambergris Caye Elementary also joined in the fun with their own comparsa. More painting and dancing continue until Tuesday, February 21, 2012. Enjoy the pictures and videos that Ambergris Today has prepared.


Carnaval in San Pedro: Dancing and Lots & Lots of Paint
Why let New Orleans and Rio De Janeiro have all the fun? San Pedro, Belize has been celebrating Mardi Gras for as long as anyone can remember. It is three days of dancing, partying and lots and lots of paint. Yesterday, Sunday, was day one. And we saw the first comparsas...I think a uniquely San Pedro event. From what I can tell "comparsa" is a word used to describe a Latin American carnival-like parade of dancing and costumes. Our twist? Men dress like women and women like men. Why? Who knows?'s just fun. Day One also means lots of kids out with a mix of paint and water. Day Three brings out the older kids and adults with the paints. The clock tower was covered in huge tarp, smartly. There is no doubt that it would have been covered in multi-colored hand prints.

Featured Fruit: Sapodilla (kriol we say sapadilli)
This delicious, sweet fruit is about the size of a tomato. It is one of Belize's little super fruits I like to call them. Tiny delicious snacks that are jam packed with all kinds of good stuff for your body. I had to research what this little fruit is good for and I am amazed. I found this amazing fruit is good for fighting Colon Cancer, hemorroids, constipation, hemoraging, strengthens bones, improves eye quality, and get this ladies it helps our skin look younger. :) This fruit has the texture of a necterine and kinda taste like a cinnamon apple, brown sugar mix and for the most part this fruit isn't seedy. It has 1 maybe 2 or 3 seeds in it, well that i have ever seen. One website said that it has 13 seeds per fruit but I dunno about that one, all the times i've eaten this fruit i've found maybe 3 the most in it. the seeds are black and shiny and are easy to plant. Some more fun facts about Sapadilli is that the latex that comes out of the bark as used by the Aztecs as a base for chicle. And there is another species of Sapadilli that the latex is used to make "Balata" which is then used to make rubber boots, mechanical belts and other industrial rubber products, Crazy!!!

Belize’s Yellow Heliconia Caribaea
The Yellow Heliconia Caribaea which is a member of the plant family, Heliconiacaea. This tropical flower is native to Central and South America and is abundantly found in Belize, the Amazon rainforest, and some islands in the South Pacific. The flowers of this species are highly modified leaves in the shape of lobster claws with two arcs of air canals in its leaf axis, five fertile stamens, lateral stamens of inner and outer whorls fertile and no perisperm. It grows to a height between 9 to15 inches and its foliage is banana like with waxy white coating on stems and lower midrib.

Photo of the Day: God of Fertility
I spent the morning in Belmopan, Belize, exploring a river cave that the ancient Mayans believed was a gateway to the underworld. The partially underwater cave was used by the ancient Mayans for bloodletting, fertility rituals, and human sacrifice. By the light of my headlamp and with the help of my guide, Esperanza, I saw artifacts dating from 400 AD that are still in the cave, including this sculpture of a fertility God, one of only three known images in Central America.

A whole-food nation and other truths
Six weeks have passed since the start of my food exploring in Belize. I have just melted the tip of the iceberg, scratched the surface, and digested my appetizer course. I have found that three things weave themselves through the collective eating vocabulary of this country: the types of ingredients, the source of kitchen skills, and the ripe enthusiasm for food that bursts in any conversation that starts with, “So what do you like to eat?” 1.) Belize is is a wholefood nation. Before the surge in popularity of organic foods and the accompanying camps of the health conscious, the self-righteous, and the diet bewildered who are just trying to do their best, Belizeans had the farm-to-table phenomenon down pat.

Channel 7

Merlene Bailey Martinez Returns To SSB... But Wasn't She Fired?
On Friday we reported that Merlene Bailey Martinez had been terminated. That's what the Amandala reported based on a conversation with Chairman Lois Young - who is out of the country. Tod...

Yolanda and Martin, Brother and Sister Co-Candidates?
As everyone should know by now, on Friday, Yolanda Schakron's nomination as a candidate for the PUP in Lake Independence was rejected and, at the last minute, her brother Martin stepped in...

PUP Lake I Committee Steps Down
And while Glavez and his sister are confident - their campaign took a major, consequential hit this afternoon. The Lake Independence Executive Committee that had gotten Cordel Hyde...

PUP CITCO Slate Launches Manifesto
And so there's bad news for the PUP again tonight, but the party soldiers on - today presenting its city council manifesto. Lead by Karen Bodden, the team said they are about solution...

Another Taxi Man Murdered
Driving a taxi is probably one of the most dangerous professions in the country. Between 2011 and the few weeks that have gone in 2012 so far, our count shows that eight taxi men have ...

Man Stabbed, Robbed Swing Bridge
And there was a crazy broad daylight stabbing in the downtown area of Belize City today. It happened - at of all places - on the swing bridge at 10:20 amidst the regular hustle and bu...

21 Year Old Murdered In OW
And there was also a brutal murder in Orange Walk Town. The body of 21 year old, Abel Arturo Robinson was found today with a gunshot to the head. His body had been deposited in some bus...

City Man Dies In Jet-Ski Accident
This morning 33 year old businessman Andrew Blades - of Blades Ice-cream Parlor- passed away at the Belize Healthcare Partners Limited - after he was involved in a Jet Ski accident. Th...

Dave Habet Injured In Accident
Well-known Businessman Dave Habet was injured in a serious accident last night on the western highway. IT happened around 7:30 near the Burdon Canal bridge when - according to police -...

City Shooting Leaves Two Injured
On Friday night two Belize City men were shot while socializing near the intersection of North Front Street and Pinks Alley. The incident happened around 9:45. The men told police that a pi...

Coalition Reveals Dramatic Anti-Offshore Poll
And turning now from crime, if you watch the news or any current affairs programming, you'll know that OCEANA and the Coalition may have lost their effort to trigger a referendum - but a...

Aikman Poll Gives UDP Edge
And another public opinion survey of note was held on Friday. As we had told you Derek Aikman staged his call - in mock election where he called a sample of voters from each division and as...

Five Years For One Round
47 year-old Anthony Stevens, also known as Anthony Lopez, or "Razzle Dazzle", will spend 5 years in jail for possession of a single round of ammunition. On February 17 at around 3:30 p...

Cops: Gilharry Grew Grass
20 year-old Jason Gilharry, A UB student of Corozalito Village, has been accused by police of cultivating 2,300 marijuana plants. Gilharry was arraigned in the courtroom of the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer, today. He has to answer to 2 counts of unlawful cultivation of marijuana plants, 1 for 2000 and the other count for an additional 300. According to police, acting upon intelligence gathered, on February 19, the Anti-Drug Unit conducted a search in an open area in the Corozalito Village on the old Northern Highway. They found two lots with 2000 plants and a second area with 300 more. Police also say that they discovered Gilharry in the area at the time of the search, and as a result, he was arrested and charged. Gilharry pleaded not guilty to charges, and he was granted bail by Senior Magistrate Frazer after his Attorney, Arthur Saldivar, made submissions that he is a student seeking higher learning, and that he has no history to suggest that the allegation against him is solid. His bail came in the amount of $8,000 plus two sureties. He is to return to court April 17.

Shiney Acquitted Of GSU Charge
Last week, we told you about the acquittal of Gerald "Shiney" Tillett in the courtroom of Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer for an alleged confrontation with members of the Gang Suppression Unit a year ago. Well, He was again acquitted today of a charge made by an officer of the GSU. This one is of note because it was allegedly committed on August 26, 2011, that fateful Friday evening when the GSU rained down upon George Street's base. His acquittal is very significant when placed into context. The GSU charged Tillett for issuing a death threat against one of their officers, Elmer Nah. They also charged Carlos "Zimbab" Abraham with using obscene language, for which he was acquitted on December 30 of last year. GSU also said that one of the residents threw a projectile at their vehicle. The police department used all these alleged occurrences, and others, as reasons why GSU had to use necessary force to subdue the residents of George Street. When the matter was called up again before Magistrate Robert Ordonez, Officer Nah did not show up to testify, and as a result, Magistrate Ordonez dismissed the charge. This is the second charge brought against Shiney, which did not stick. Tillett was represented by attorney Kareem Musa.

Governing Body Investigates Belize Track And Field
With all the political fanfare and controversy of last week Friday, we shorted you a story, even though the newscast was lengthy. That story involves the Belize Amateur Athletic Association or BAAA as it is better known. From as early as September of last year, the BAAA had been having some internal turmoil at the executive level of management. The duly elected President, Ian Gray, was at odds with 6 members of the committee of management, whom he suspended for 6 months. This suspension came after he was accused of financial misconduct, usurping the authority of the members and making decisions without their notice or approval. They then sought to remove Grey from office.

Channel 5

Cordel’s Lake I Committee says goodbye
It’s less than three weeks to the general elections and another bombshell was dropped in Lake Independence this afternoon. Last Friday, the nomination of Yolanda Schakron, who looked like a sure winner, was rejected when government through a resident of the area, put forward an objection. Well, earlier today the Cordel Hyde Committee, announced it [...]

Schakron and Galvez; Bro and Sis for Lake I
As we said, we caught up with businessman Martin Galvez, when he addressed an audience of party supporters at Independence Hall. Galvez, the proprietor of Royal Wholesale, is a last-minute addition to the roster succeeding Yolanda Schakron. At the launch of the P.U.P. City Council manifesto today, he publicly declared that he won’t be haunted [...]

Cab driver stabbed over a dozen times
Now to crime news; a taxi operator was viciously murdered inside his cab over the weekend. Before mid-night on Saturday, he was found with close to fifteen stab wounds inside his vehicle in the vicinity of Lacroix Boulevard. Police still haven’t been able to determine a cause for the latest homicide, although it doesn’t appear [...]

Merlene Bailey Martinez resigned or terminated?
Last week, we reported that the Social Security Board decided to terminate Merlene Bailey Martinez as C.E.O. for insider trading at the S.S.B. We also reported that chairman Lois Young is opposed to the termination. Young is out of the country for health reasons so the acting chair is Dennis Jones. The board’s decision was [...]

P.U.P. City Council announces Manifesto
At Independence Hall this afternoon, the People’s United Party launched its City Council manifesto for the March seventh elections. It’s a blueprint of forty six solutions that the P.U.P. is putting forward to advance the quality of life in the City. The team of eleven, headed by mayoral candidate Karen Bodden, says it wants solutions [...]

P.U.P. Standard Bearers bring head in Corozal
In Belize City, the opposition party is outing constant fires, but in the north, the People’s United Party drew thousands at a mammoth rally held on Sunday in Corozal Town. By any measure, it was a gigantic crowd that was energized as the four standard bearers seized the moment to tackle their opponents and advance [...]

On the Campaign Trail in U.D.P. Pickstock
In our campaign trail series, tonight we feature the Pickstock U.D.P. candidate and sitting area representative, Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington. Elrington’s contender is Dr. Francis Smith, who we will follow on Tuesday. In the division, Elrington showed us one of his proudest achievements, the Samuel Haynes Institute, which was inaugurated in March 2009 and for which [...]

Oceana’s Poll says Bring the Referendum
A week ago, the government announced that it will not be holding a referendum on oil exploration. Still, one of the driving forces of the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage has commissioned a poll to measure people’s perception on oil exploration and drilling in offshore and protected areas of the country. Oceana Belize along [...]

Legal Action a possibility without offshore referendum
Oceana Belize has taken the brunt of the Prime Minister’s sting over the lost referendum. However, Audrey Matura Shepherd says it will go forward with its own nonbinding Referendum on February twenty-ninth. When asked, the Oceana VP says that court action would come rather than a demonstration. Audrey Matura Shepherd, VP, Oceana Belize “We were [...]

Oil Company to get concession for Corozal
There’s more news on oil exploration; the government announced today that a concession for exploration blocks in the Corozal District has been awarded to Manti Exploration and Production Company Limited. It is headquartered in Texas and also has operations in Louisiana, Canada and the South Pacific. The company, which has twenty years in the oil [...]

2 bodies found—1 in Orange Walk and the other in Stann Creek
Earlier in the newscast, we reported on the murder of taxi driver, Alexander Montero. Up north, twenty-one year old Abel Robinson was found dead in the Palmar Area of Orange Walk. The cause of death is unknown because of the advanced state of decomposition. Police are not ruling out murder, but a post mortem is [...]

2 Acquitted of Murder
Thirty-two year old Seidi Salazar and her forty-three year old brother, David Uk have been acquitted of the murder of thirty-year old Mario Chi. Chi, who was living with Uk’s wife, Ana, was at home on October twenty-fifth in 2009, when someone walked in and fatally shot him. The following day, San Ignacio police arrested [...]

Rape charge for Oyinkro Akpododor
A university student may have to trade in the classroom for a prison cell if he is convicted on a charge of rape levied against him today. The accused student is eighteen year old Oyinkro Akpobodor, a naturalized Belizean who is originally from Nigeria. A sixteen year old minor has alleged that Akpobodor raped her [...]

Weekend of crime and shooting
And while there is at least one confirmed murder, there were other violent incidents that took place in the city in the last three days. Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Police and Public Safety, Raphael Martinez, briefed the media on the crime stories as well as two accidents, one of which turned fatal [...]

The World of Sports with James Adderley
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and we’re certainly glad to be with you for this portion of Sports Monday. Week 2 in the PLB brought with it a full slate of 6 matches spread across the nation so we journeyed north to San Felipe where FC San Felipe Barcelona hosted FC Belize in a battle [...]


A charge of threat of death against 32-year-old Gerald Tillett of George Street was struck out today when the virtual complainant detective constable Elmer Nah failed to appear. It was alleged that on August 26, 2011, Tillett told Nah that he will be the first from the GSU to be killed. Tillett was also charged with damage to property and throwing missiles. The allegation is that on August 26, 2011 Tillett threw missiles at a police pickup truck and damaged the back glass valued at $600.00. Those two charges still stand, the trial for them was adjourned until March 28. Tillett was represented by attorney Kareem Musa.

47-year-old Anthony Stevens also known as Razzle Dazzle a resident of Euphrates Avenue charged with kept ammunition without a gun licence was sentenced to five years after he pleaded guilty to the charge. Magistrate Roberto Ordonez who imposed the sentence explained to Stevens that the Magistrate does not have any discretion to exercise because the offence carries a mandatory sentence of five years. Stevens said he has no conviction but Magistrate Ordonez recalled him coming to court for possession of pipe using the name Anthony Lopez. The incident occurred around two p.m. on Friday, February 17. A police officer was a motorcycle patrol on Euphrates Avenue and when Stevens saw him Stevens began to act suspicious. Stevens ran when the officer approached him and the officers pursued him and caught him. When the officer searched Stevens he found one Aguila brand 16 gauge cartridge in the right back pocket of Steven’s pants. Stevens said he found the cartridge but he did not get a chance to turn it in.

20-year-old student Jason Gilharry was charged with two counts of unlawful cultivation of cannabis when he appeared in court today. Gilharry pleaded not guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser offered him a bail of $8,000.00 which he met. His case was adjourned until April 17. The bust occurred yesterday in Corozalito Village in the Belize District. The police, members of the Anti Drug Unit reported that when they searched an area in Corozalito they found two plantations, one containing 20,000 cannabis plants measuring five to eight feet and the other containing 3,000 cannabis plants five eight feet long. According to the police, Gilharry and two other persons were in the area but they only managed to apprehend Gilharry. The others escaped.

18-year-old University student Oyinkro Akpobodor, a naturalized Belizean originally from Nigeria, was charged with the rape of a 16-year-old high school student when he appeared in court today. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser explained to Akpobodor that she will not take a plea because the offence is indictable. She offered him a bail of $6,000.00 and adjourned his case until April 12. The incident occurred on January 29. The girl reported to the police that she went with Akpobodor, to a house in King’s Park and Akpobodor had sex with her without her consent. As a result, police detained Akpobodor and charged him with rape.

Manuela Ayuso Cantun reporting… “The body of 21 year old Abel Robinson was found lying face up under a tree in a heavily vegetated area off a remote road in Palmar Village. The discovery was made by his family who had organized a search party early this morning. The last time he was seen was on Friday. Robinson’s long time friend, Jay Arnold says Robinson had been preparing for a job interview which should have taken place today. Robinson’s family say they made a missing person report over the weekend since they kept hearing rumors that Abel had been abducted and killed. It was his brother, Reynaldo Rivero, who discovered the body just as they had decided that Palmar would be the last area to search for the day. Family and friends were distraught at the discovery. And while they have gotten the closure they had been looking for all weekend the family is not pleased with the police. Police are looking for two Orange Walk men who they believe can assist with their investigation. Love News understands that this killing was over an unreturned unlicensed firearm that was loaned to one of Robinson’s friend.”

Belize City Police are investigating a stabbing incident that claimed the life of a taxi driver. Marion Ali reporting… “La Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence Area was where Police recovered a blue Civic Honda taxi car driven by Alexander Montero. Inside, the mutilated body of the 53 year-old lay awash in his own blood. It appeared that Montero either ran off the street after suffering the stab wounds or was forced off by his killer and was then stabbed at the location. But neighbours told Love News that they saw or heard nothing strange prior to the incident and were only awaken when the police came later in the night to secure the crime scene. Montero shifted gear in 2011 from the public service and became self-employed as a taxi driver. He operated from the Farmer’s Market area. But sources tell Love News that just a few hours before his body was discovered, Montero left the Karl Heusner Memorial compound at around ten on Saturday night, presumably on a job. Police have impounded the taxi car which Alexander Montero was renting to conduct his business.”

The results of a poll on offshore oil drilling were released today in Belize City. Commissioned by Oceana-Belize, the poll was conducted last week by independent pollster Yasmin Andrews. Audrey Matura-Shepherd is the vice president of Oceana-Belize. Audrey Matura Shepherd – Vice President Oceana Belize “After we’ve been asking the government to give us the 8,000 signatures that have been rejected, the name of the people and all that we can follow it up, we have not gotten any response. I recall seeing Ms. Yasmin Andrews on different shows and I saw that she did polls and so Oceana hired her and commissioned a poll because we wanted to know two things, we wanted to know what would have been the vote by our people that we collected signatures from, but many people say that would have been skewed because those are the people who signed the petition anyway but why we wanted to do is to show that there were people who signed those petition who would not have necessarily voted for a ban on offshore oil. We didn’t stop there, as part of the bigger package we also commissioned the second poll with her again with the same questions and everything but in this instance what we wanted the poll to do was to look at the entire country excluding our data base and to compare to see if the sample we got with the database of the persons who signed is comparative to the nation, are they a reflection of it.”

The PUP team eleven, this afternoon launched its 2012-2015 manifesto at Independence Hall. The venue was packed to capacity as Mayoral Candidate for the PUP introduced the manifesto which is made up of twenty six pledges, which Bodden referred to as solutions to take Belize City back to what she referred to as better days. Bodden also referred to the manifesto as a supermarket and categorized the solutions as pertaining to the supermarket’s isles. Karen Bodden – PUP Mayoral Candidate “This afternoon we are proud to present to you 46 basic items that Belize City has been lacking for the past six years and these are the things that will make for the banquet that will come after March 7. Residents of Belize City are being invited to be a part of that banquet because it is time for all of us to be given the basics, we deserve it. Just be merit of being members of the human family we deserve to live with dignity. Our children deserve to grow up in a Belize City like the one I can so fondly recall; where they could walk down any street without being afraid, where families could sit in our parks because they are clean and they have family time and social evenings, where our families can meet and greet each other, where our streets no longer causes frustrations but rather it is a pleasure.

A fourteen year old boy is today recovering from injuries he sustained in a hit and run incident on the Western Highway last night. The victim has been identified as David Gillett, a resident of Camalote village. According to reports reaching the RSV Media Centre, the incident happened just past the WesStar gas station and the driver did not stop to render aid. The boy’s mother Dolores Torres told Love News this morning that the driver just kept on going leaving her son injured on the roadside. Torres says she has spoken to the police about the incident but has not made a formal report as she is waiting for some crucial information which she believes will assist the police in their investigation.

The PUP Lake Independence Executive Committee has announced that it is officially standing down. A release from the Committee says that immediately following the announcement by three time area representative Cordel Hyde that he was not seeking re-election the Committee should have stepped down. The release goes on to say that the Committee opted as good PUPs to support the Standard Bearer Designate, a candidate that was proposed entirely by the Party's leadership however in the wake of the disqualification of the proposed candidate, and the Party's selection of a replacement, it felt the need to reconsider the position. The Committee says it will continue to maintain its commitment to its social justice values and the advancement of the constituency.

Paul Mahung reporting... "Investigation continues into two cases of house fire in San Pedro Columbia Village in the Toledo District. Police report here confirmed that the first of both fire incidences happened last Thursday at about 4:30 am when a 25 by 30 feet wooden thatched roof building was destroyed by fire. The owner Armando Sho was not at home and Police investigation continues. Police also confirmed the second fire incident happened about 8 pm on Saturday when the thatched roof of a 16 by 25 feet concrete building and contents within were destroyed by fire. The owner of the house Andres Salam was not at home since he is employed out the Toledo District but his father Cypriano Salam is the immediate caretaker. Additional caretakers are his wife Saturina and other family members who live in a nearby building. Cypriano was also not at home at the time of the fire incident but his wife Saturina was at home next door. Saturina also confirmed that the roof of the building was totally destroyed along with a quantity of construction materials and family clothing that were kept within and she expressed the need for help in rebuilding the roof and replacing the materials lost. Anyone who wants to kindly assist in anyway can contact the family at phone # 630-1990 or 627-0738. Although the names were not released Police here confirmed that three villagers of San Pedro Columbia are in Punta Gorda Police custody pending investigation."




PUP introduces manifesto for Belize City Council
The People's United Party has launched its manifesto for Belize City Council. The pup team of eleven launched their...

Stann Creek family searches for missing man
Stann Creek Police are investigating a missing person's report. Our Dangriga Correspondent James Valerio filed the ...

OCEANA administrates poll on offshore drilling
Oceana commissioned a poll that selected 4000 participants countrywide who had signed the petition for a referendum...

BUA donates portable breathalyzers to the Belmopan Police Dep.
Belize Unity Alliance has made a donation to the Belmopan police Department. BUA member and standard bearer for Bel...

Taxi man found dead in cab
There was a murder in Belize City. It happened on Saturday night in the old capital on Daly Street. 52 year old tax...

OAS to observe upcoming Municipal and General Elections
The Organization of American States (OAS) will have an observer mission in Belize for the March 7th Municipal and G...

Aikman Academy poll predicts a UDP win
Dereck Aikman of Aikman and Aikman conducted a telephone poll last week and have released the findings. According t...

Two injured in drive-by shooting
There was a shooting incident on Friday night; also in Belize City. At around 9:30 Friday night, 55 year old Norris...

Child recovering after hit and run
A 14 year old boy was knocked down on Sunday night and is now recovering from his injuries. It happened in Camalote...

18 year old Oyinkro Akpobodor charged with rape
A 16-year-old high school minor of Belize City has reported that she was raped while at a home in the King’s Park a...

The Guardian

Caye Caulker Chronicles


The Reporter

International Sources

Lots of awesome pics... ACES, American Crocodile Educational Sanctuary, Animal Planet Production Team and Photojournalist Michael Davis Animal Planet film work featuring Vince and Cherie working with the crocs here in Belize

Ivory Coast to Belize — tale of two frontiers
One has already defaulted on its debt and the other is at risk of doing so, but Ivory Coast bonds are wildly outperforming those of Belize in JPMorgan’s new NEXGEM frontier bond index. The index contains the debt of 18 frontier markets, and Ivory Coast was the best performing in January, after the borrower said at a roadshow in London last month that it hoped to resume making coupon payments on its debt this year. Ivory Coast stopped paying coupons on its debt in Jan 2011, when it was in the throes of unrest following a disputed presidential election. But the only way is up, now, it seems, for the $2.3 billion bond, which has made returns of 21 percent in January, according to JPMorgan. It’s the best performing debt in the NEXGEM index, which overall slightly outperformed JPMorgan’s closely-watched and broader EMBI-Global Diversified index in January. Belize, meanwhile, looks in danger of spiralling into default after Prime Minister Dean Barrow raised questions a few weeks ago about the government’s willingness to service a “super bond” totalling nearly $550 million. The next flashpoint for the bond is today, when a $23 million coupon is due (though today’s U.S. holiday may complicate things), and Belize is the worst performer in the index, with losses of 26 percent. However, JPMorgan, which remains marketweight (neutral) on the index overall, is still upbeat about Belize, which faces elections in March. Their analysts say: We have a bias to add Belize following the elections as we do not believe that a default is likely… Aside from the near-term noise, the economic news is relatively good, with growth holding steady in the 2.5-3.0% range, the fiscal deficit narrowing, and the public debt burden declining over the past couple of years.

Management of Eco-tourism and its Perception: A Case Study of Belize
Authored by Mr Kevin Griffiths Authored with Kapil Kathuria 'Ecotourism' plays a significant role in the economic sustainability of the Belizean economy. It is the understanding and perceptions of the tourist and tourism service providers towards 'Ecotourism' that will facilitate the continuation of the successful expansion of this market sector. This paper shows that there is a distinct lack of understanding regarding the definition of the term 'Ecotourism" and the variance in perceptions between service user and service provider. This variance and differing understanding stems from a wide range of definitions around the term 'Ecotourism' and the 'greening' of operations that would not readily fit into the ethos of 'Ecotourism' but use its messages to help promote commercial gains. This 'greenwashing' clouds the perceptions of the service user and fosters mistrust in operations that claim to offer 'Ecotourism' experiences. The consumer requires clear boundaries in terms of definition in order to make decisions as to which destination and experience to choose. This paper shows the wide range of understanding of the terminology and shows that attitudes to the sector are acceptable but in need of development and enhancement to fully capitalise on the potential of this market. Messages by service providers need to encourage education and awareness of the facilities and benefits of 'Ecotourism'. This awareness promotion should be matched with a system of independent verification of published standards. Without clearly defining the ethos of 'Ecotourism' the consumer will find it harder to accept messages that are not measurable and independently verifiable. The research here has identified areas of harmonisation between service users and service providers, it has also established areas for further development in order to sustain effect management of the sectors promotion and development. Publication Date: Feb 08 2012

February 20, 2012

The February 19th, 2012 issue of The Independent is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • The Shakron Sideshow
  • OCEANA to open “I Love My Reef” educational exhibit
  • State Of The Arts:The Imaginary Black Meets the Black Presence
  • Kaya Cattouse: multi-sport star dominating 2012 female cycling circuit
  • Stephen “DJ Scorpio” Hall dies in motorcycle accident
  • SSB Board tells Merlene Martinez to stay home
  • Standard Six student raped in Cayo primary school bathroom
  • Ghetto cupid shoots two on Valentine’s Day
  • EDITORIAL: The Shakron Sideshow
  • Government Concedes to Conejo’s Demands
  • Pretty promises, pointless pledges
  • VOIP: a political football and an economic dilemma
  • Impartial View: Belize City residents are intelligent voters
  • The voters are right – IT IS THE ECONOMY
  • A Sustainable Development Plan for Belize
  • UK minister to visit Falklands amid Argentina tensions
  • BTB: 4th quarter overnight and cruise arrival figures make history
  • Mystery kidney failure epidemic devastates Central American region
  • With roots in Carib the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble moves into new musical range
  • Financial Sense: The Greatest Love of All!!!
  • What to do with Belize’s superbond
  • Grenada/Taiwan debt dispute threatens island airport
  • San Pedro Beat
  • San Pedro Politics
  • The Law Is Running Out of Gas in Belize
  • Capital police investigate two cases of carnal knowledge
  • Thirteen year old sexually assaulted in Billy White Village

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Belize Express Football Tournament in Full Swing
The San Pedro Belize Express sponsored football tournament commenced on February 1, 2012. The competition, organized by Mr. Ernildo Jones, football player and long time resident of San Pedro, sees the participation of eleven teams. The competing teams are as follows: Club Latino, Joker Boys, Juventus, Shalom, Tuff E Nuff, Freelance FC, Blablazo Mechanics, Tropic Air, Arsenal, Caye Caulker and Haramouch. Gammes are being played weekly on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Salvadoran Community Celebrates 11 Years of Existence
The Salvadoran Community held its 11th anniversary gathering at Lily’s Treasure Chest on Saturday February 11, 2012. The gathering was well attended with special guests: Salvadoran Ambassador to Belize, Ambassador Milton Parada; Miss Comunidad Salvadoreña Jessica Aguilar, and a host of Salvadoran Nationals living on the island. Music was provided by Rompe Raja and Belize’s “El Buki Mayor”. During the celebration, special awards of recognition were issued. The Otto Awards have been given out for three years now, in recognition of Dr. Otto Rodriguez and his many years of service to San Pedro.


Hotel Review: Changes in Latitudes Bed and Delicious Breakfast
I will admit it. I have a very soft place in my heart for this bed and breakfast. When I first visited in 2006 with a friend, we stayed with Cindy and Renita of Changes in Latitudes for a week. And when I left, I wanted to return immediately. In fact, as soon as I got back to NYC, I booked another solo trip returning just one month later. Screw getting a job! I wanted to go back to Belize. Five years later, the bed and breakfast is just as cute. Located about a quarter mile south of town, you have probably seen the bright blue wall and the sign. But have you looked inside?

Experience San Antonio Rio Hondo, Orange Walk District, Belize
A chance to experience the real Belize, and to asssit the villagers of the Northern District of the country. "...San Antonio Rio Hondo is for down to earth people who don't need bars, nightclubs, crowded beaches, but instead wish to stay comfortably at very reasonable costs in a small village to absorb the culture, have rewarding experiences, and enjoy the natural history, archeology, and the tantalizing Rio Hondo. San Antonio is off the tourist path. It is quiet and safe..."

Coastal highway from Monkey Bay to Dangriga?
Current information about one of the major unpaved roads in Belize. I do disagree with one of hte posters, the Coastal Road can be quite scenic. "...The road isn't bad except for two things. One, when it rains hard it can be pretty mucky and occasionally a wooden bridge washes out. If so, usually there will be a warning as you turn on the road..." Just happens that my friend and I drove up to Gales Point Manatee [coming in from the south off of Hummingbird Hwy] this past Thurs Feb 9th. It was quite the adventure as it had been raining in that area most of the day, and it was 6pm dark. Driving a Pontiac Torrent. [A 4X4 woulda felt a lot better!!] Didn't get 5 miles and the water was already rolling over the road. Should of been the 1st clue, but, it IS a solid [for the most part] hard packed road. [and, we had driven/or been on it several times before] Stopped a few times, walking in front of the rig to check the depth of the water..which never did get much higher than half way up the tires. Water poured over the road at Mullin's Creek Bridge. A pickup truck was stopped past the bridge, and a bigger truck was towing a yet smaller pick-up and they were stopped on the bridge. When they decided to move forward, we did as well. Scared the snot outta me as we came up out of the water on to that bridge! Not long later the lead pickup was in the mud ditch, we slowed to help, but the 3 guys waved us on. Lots more water over the road in places. We laughed when a water bird refused to budge from its prime fishing spot in the middle of the road. A couple spots of greasy mud were more of a concern than the water. Our friends in Gales Point were happy we made it in. Next day out, I was amazed at how fast the water had subsided.

The Reporter

Schakron’s nomination may be in trouble!
People’s United Party Lake Independence standard bearer, Yolanda Schakron, has been delivered, a press release from the government announced on Thursday, February 16th, 2012. The release came just one day before Schakron is expected to be nominated as a candidate for the March 7th General Elections. It explained that the objection was “delivered to the Returning Officer, Mrs. P. Noreen Fairweather, by an elector of the Lake Independence Electoral Division.”

BTB reports record highs
The number of overnight tourist arrivals in Belize has hit a record high. More than 58,000 visitors arrived in the 4th quarter of 2011. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announced the exciting news at its press conference held at the Phoenix Hotel in San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye on Wednesday, February 15. According to the BTB’s Fourth Quarter Report, the numbers represent a 6.5% increase over the 4th quarter of the previous year, signalling a resurgence of tourism inflows to Belize.

32 candidates nominated for Belize City Council elections
Nomination Day for the March 7th Municipal Election, which will take place alongside the General Elections, was held across the country in all municipalities on Wednesday, February 15. In Belize City, a total of 32 candidates were nominated to contest the Municipal Elections for the next Belize City Council administration that will preside over the affairs of Belize City for the next three years.

George Street affiliates are suing government over alleged GSU abuse
George Street affiliates, who were allegedly beaten by the Gang Suppression Unit last week, will sue the Government of Belize. Attorney Phillip Palacio, who spoke to the media at a street-side press conference held near the Eastern Division Police Station on Monday, February 13, said that he is bringing the law suit on some of the victim’s behalf. The GSU commander, Police Superintendent Marco Vidal, has denied that members of his unit were involved in the early morning assault on a rooming house at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets.

Boat capt. goes to jail for fondling girl, 13
A Belize City man has been sentenced to six years in jail, after he was convicted of fondling a 13-year-old girl on three separate occasions. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith found Patrick August, 45, a Belize City boat captain, guilty on three counts of indecent assault on Tuesday, February 14. The girl reported that August had fondled her in December 2010, and again in January and April 2011. Chief Magistrate Smith sentenced him to three consecutive years for the December 2010 and April 2011 incidents. He received another 3 years for the January 2011 offence. His sentences will run concurrently.

Independence High girls win national football championships
The girls of Independence High School won the championship finals of the National High Football Tournament organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by Nazarene High School at M.C.C. garden on Friday and Saturday, February 10 -11. The Independence girls came to the nationals as the Southern regional champions, and triumphed 3-1 over the northern regional champions, the girls of Orange Walk Technical High School, in a penalty shootout after the game remained a scoreless draw in regulation and overtime.

Mopan Tech boys win national football champs
The boys of Mopan Technical High School from Benque Viejo won the championship finals of the National High Schools Football tournament organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by Nazarene High School at the M.C.C. Garden on Friday and Saturday, February 10 -11. The Mopan boys reached the nationals as the Western regional champions, and triumphed 2-0 over the southern regional champions, the boys of Stann Creek Ecumenical College in the championship finals last Saturday morning.

Byron Pope, Kaya Cattouse & Deezan Spence win annual Valentine’s Day classic
Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes team won the annual Valentine Day cycling Classic, while Kaya Cattouse of the C-Ray team won the women’s race, Deezan Spence of D&E Cycling team won the junior race and Luigi Urbina of Team Typhoon from Orange Walk won the Masters’s category. Byron Pope completed the 80-mile ride from Leslie’s Imports on the Western Highway to Ready Call at the Burrell Boom junction on the Northern Highway, returning to Hattieville and on to La Democracia before returning to the finish line in Belize City in three hours 20 minutes and 23 seconds to win the $150 first prize, a trophy and a Digicell package.

Get out and stay off Conejo’s lands! GOB orders exploration company.
The Department of Geology and Petroleum is to order U.S. Capital Energy to halt all seismic work on Conejo’s communal lands, remove all seismic markers from the trail the company has cut through the reserve lands of this Maya Indian village. Director of Geology and Petroleum, Andre Cho, made the commitment to Conejo’s Alcalde, Eufemio Makin; Conejo’s village Chairman, Enrique Makin and four other Conejo village councillors when they met in Conejo on February 9.

Belize City Master Plan: Taiwan sends experts to assist
A technical team from Taiwan’s International Cooperation Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF), with expertise in urban planning, heritage management, community-based project development, and eco-museum project development, has concluded a workshop for Belizean planners, professionals and academics at the House of Culture in Belize City. The four-day workshop ended on Thursday, February 16. It was a prelude to implementing the $11 million Belize City Master Plan Project proposed for downtown Belize City. The Belize City Master Plan came out of an urban development study of Belize City conducted by the Government of Belize with a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank in 2010.

Study finds 60 percent of Belizeans overweight! Urgent changes needed to improve diet.
The alarming statistic that more than 60% of adult Belizeans are either overweight or clinically obese has prompted the Ministry of Health to launch a number of food-based dietary guidelines, which the ministry’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Peter Allen introduced at the House of Culture in Belize City last Friday, February 10. Weight problems can cause a number of chronic non-communicable diseases, even fatal health conditions such as diabetes, and arteriosclerosis. Weight problems also cause spinal injuries and even some forms of cancer. All of these can be prevented simply through proper diet and exercise.

August Pine Ridge gets new School
More than 400 students of the August Pine Ridge RC School, located in the Orange Walk District, are now benefiting from a newly rehabilitated school building and a sanitary block inaugurated on Friday, February 10. The Social Investment Fund implemented the project at a total cost of $298,000, which the Caribbean Development Bank financed under its Basic Needs Trust Fund 5. The BNTF is a program promoting poverty reduction through socio-economic initiatives and community empowerment and is jointly financed by the Caribbean Development Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency and nine beneficiary governments, including Belize.

St Joseph’s School gets new cafeteria
The students of St Joseph’s RC primary School in Belize City can now enjoy proper nutrition and well cooked meals, thanks to a new cafeteria building donated by the Rotary Club of Belize to the St. Vincent de Paul Society which runs the school’s cafeteria. Belize City businessman Francis Woods presented the new building to Ms Marion Marsden, President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and its other members on Friday morning, February 3. The new all-steel structure was built at a cost of some $16,000 and replaces the previous cafeteria, a wooden structure which had fallen into disrepair. It has a cooking and food sales area, as well as a well-ventilated eating area with wooden picnic tables and benches.

PUP’s Yolanda Schakron has dual citizenship!
Yolanda Schakron, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP)’s new Lake Independence standard bearer, is a dual citizen and should not be eligible for public office. News of Schakron’s dual nationality began to surface last week. It was revealed that apart from being a Belizean, Schakron, who was born in Guatemala, also holds a United States passport. The matter creates quite the dilemma for the PUP, because Section 58 of the Constitution of Belize expressly forbids persons with dual citizenship from sitting in the House of Representative. In order to qualify, the individual would have to give up the foreign nationality.

Belize gearing up for Tilapia bonanza, thanks to generous help from Taiwan.
In the future, Belizeans living in rural areas should have an ample supply of fish protein from tilapia in their diet, thanks to a five-year aquaculture development project being undertaken by the government of Belize with technical support from the Republic of China on Taiwan. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. René Montero signed an agreement to implement the project with the Republic of China’s Ambassador in Belize, H.E. David Wu, at the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize City on Monday, February 13. The project will make small-scale tilapia farming a recognized and permanent feature of the agriculture sector in Belize. The agreement calls for a tilapia hatchery center to be built at Central Farm, to be completed this year.

PUP launches Women’s Agenda 2012
The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP)’s women’s group launched its Women’s Agenda 2012. The Women’s Agenda 2012 is about, “Forging Partnerships, Impacting Lives,” the Group’s President Wendy Castillo said at a press conference held at the party’s Independence Hall headquarters on Monday, February 13. Castillo said the agenda addresses the issues that impact women and their families, ranging from equality in the workplace and economic equity to international development. It also looks at affirmative action and women’s role in parliament, education, and sports. It also addresses health issues that women face.

International Sources

Belize gets Support from Taiwan for Tilapia Project
In the future, Belizeans living in rural areas should have an ample supply of fish protein from tilapia in their diet, thanks to a five-year aquaculture development project being undertaken by the government of Belize with technical support from Taiwan. The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, René Montero, signed an agreement to implement the project with the Republic of China’s Ambassador in Belize, H.E. David Wu, at the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize City on Monday, February 13. The project will make small-scale tilapia farming a recognised and permanent feature of the agriculture sector in Belize. The agreement calls for a tilapia hatchery center to be built at Central Farm, to be completed this year. This initial phase of the project will increase production of tilapia fingerlings from 110,000 to one million units by the end of the five-year project period. It will produce 200,000 fingerlings in 2012; 300,000 fingerlings in 2013; 500,000 fingerlings in 2014; 700,000 fingerlings in 2015 and finally achieve one million fingerlings by 2016. This should also reduce the price farmers pay for the fingerlings by at least 20 per cent – from US$0.75 to US$ 0.60 a pound by the end of the five years. The second phase of the project will focus on increasing tilapia production throughout the country. The third phase will improve the marketing of tilapia.

February 19, 2012

The San Pedro Sun

Murder trial for Harrison ‘Bin’ Jacobs begins
Inquiry into the case of Harrison Jacobs, 22-year-old San Pedro resident was held on Tuesday, February 14th at the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court. Jacobs appeared with his attorney in front of Magistrate Sharon Flowers where his case was committed to the April 19th session of the Supreme Court for hearing. On Thursday February 17th, 2011, Jacobs aka “Bin” appeared in the Magistrate’s court in Belize City to answer to charges of murder for the death of 20 year old Francis Alexander Figuerroa Cardenas, which occurred on November 28, 2010. Official reports were that: “Sometime before 5:40AM on Sunday, November 28th, police were called to the corner of Seaweed and Sand Piper Streets in the San Juan area of San Pedro Town. There, Police observed a dark skinned person of Creole descent, leaning in a sitting position on a blue concrete fence with what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the head. The man who was known to police as Bejon Wade was later identified as 20 year old Francis Alexander Figuerroa Cardenas. Mr. Cardenas is of a Belize City address, but was reportedly working on Ambergris Caye.”

Preparing for the arrival of Prince Harry to Belize
The Government of Belize, through various departments, is making final preparation for The Royal Visit of Prince Harry. The visit is scheduled to take place on the 2nd and 3rd of March and the ‘Happy Prince’ is expected to be on Belizean soil for about a total of 23 ½ hours as a part of the celebration to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. Queen Elizabeth chose the countries each member of The Royal Family would visit during her Diamond Jubilee Celebration. Prince Harry is known for his humanitarian heart and adventurous spirit, and Belize is perhaps the best destination. During his visit Prince Harry will be actively engaged with the Belizean populace, and focusing less on ceremonial activities. As part of his itinerary, Prince Harry will visit one of Belize’s most frequented Maya Temples – Xunantunich, enjoy cultural activities, host a luncheon with children, attend a street party open to the Belizean public, visit the OAS Adjacency Zone in Western Belize and visit with both BATSUB and Belize Defense Force Soldiers before leaving.


Getting Ready for Carnaval: Friday Night in San Pedro, Belize
Wine De Vine always has a very popular Friday night event where people get together, sip (or guzzle) wine and eat cheese, pate and other goodies. Yesterday, it was a full blown Mardi Gras party with free masks and beads... And, if you wore green, purple or yellow, you received a free glass of wine. I think Maureen (on the right) won best dressed. Her dress was the perfect combination of all three. There was live music and a local dance troupe did a short cultural performance. They were really good and very festive. Carnaval in town starts tonight. Saturday, Feb 18th - the 3rd annual Carnaval Fiesta at Central Park with the Miss Carnaval Popularity Contest, Local Dances and Surprises and the band, Rompe Raja. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be the comparsas and the painting. Get ready for it.

Walking in the Steps of Mayans at ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal)
Today was my second and my Mom’s first visit to ATM. It was tied for my favorite things to do in Belize when I visited in December 2010. Today I wasn’t sure what to expect…would it be exactly the same?…would it be completely different?…what would be different? I was definitely not let down. We had an absolutely amazing day with Francisco from Pacz Tours. The hike there was EXCELLENT. It was pouring rain and I just love playing in the mud. The best part was we saw Jaguar tracks!!! One of the things I’ve been dying to see in Belize is a Jaguar in the wild. I know that my chances are slim to none given that many people have lived here their entire lives and not seen one in the wild (our guide included), but a girl can have dreams…right? To me seeing the tracks was the next best thing. Francisco wasn’t too surprised because he had seen a dog up in the area the day before and assumed that the Jaguar was hunting.

Channel 7

Yolanda Schakron's Candidacy Rejected
All across Belize today, the ground shook as the major mass parties rolled out for nomination day. In Belize City, they rolled hardest because 10 divisions are concentrated in the cit...

Schakron's Attorneys Argue In Court
And our next news team was at court where a parallel action was being heard. Attorney Lisa Shoman's application for an injunction was based on the ground that there is a threat, via ...

Barrow Responds to Schakron
And so, after all that, the short-lived candidacy of Yolanda Schakron is finished. She was the PUP's Lake I Candidate for 11 fiery days. As you heard in her scathing exit interview, Y...

And Who's Out Of The Blue For The Lake?
But the important question right now - particularly for Lake Independence voters - is who will run for the PUP in that division that has gone from a sure seat to a veritable jack in the box....

PUP's Nomination Day Parade, Better, But Not The Best
After being outdone in terms of numbers, energy and mass appeal on the city council nomination day - the PUP had the pressure on them to make a recovery today for the general election ...

UDP Marched "Like A Tremendous Machine"
And while Musa is still willing to take the blame, UDP Party Leader Dean Barrow is ready to take all the credit for an unprecedentedly large showing by his party today. In terms o...

Man Says He Was Chopped Because Of Domestic Issues
23 year old Albert Nunez, a resident of Kelly Street, is tonight hospitalized at the KHMH after he was allegedly attacked with a machete by his girlfriend's baby's daddy. The incident...

Hideous Gang Rape Of Child Reported In San Ignacio
Tonight there is very disturbing news coming out of San Ignacio Town - about a 12 year old minor who was gang raped by 3 men. It happened around 4 yesterday afternoon. The child was ass...

Marlene Bailey Martinez Terminated For Insider Trading At SSB
Reports have been swirling since Tuesday that Merlene Bailey Martinez, the CEO of Social Security Board, was terminated. Today the Amandala confirmed that chairman Lois young has conf...

Castro Says He Gave His Green Card A Red Light
According to reports, today an objection was filed against Edmund Castro's candidacy in Belize Rural North - presumably on the basis that he is a dual national. But is he? Well, you heard...

"Rapidito" Bail For Remanded Cop
Last night we told you about Special Branch Corporal Gino Peck who, after a 3 week tug-and-war within the police department, was arraigned for illegal ammunition, which was found in a raid...

Insect Found For the First Time In Belize
In Belize we always knew we held hidden wonders, however small. One such wonder was found in the tropical rainforests of southern Belize. Scientists from the University of Illinois recentl...

River Race, A Warm Up for Ruta Maya
The lead-up to the upcoming double Elections of 2012 scheduled for March 7th is already becoming a spectacle. But there's no greater spectacle than the event that's scheduled only a couple ...


Orlando Burns Nomination In Question
Does Orlando Burns the U.D.P Standard Bearer for Orange Walk East Standard Bearer hold a dual citizenship? We’ll reports are that he does and based on that information Sylvia Gillett a registered voter of Orange Walk East objected to Burn’s nomination today. Now, this is certainly a bomb for the U.D.P who has been criticizing Yolanda Shakron all along. At 2:00 this afternoon Gillett visited the Sandy Hunter Library where she handed over the objection letter to the returning officer for the Orange Walk East Electoral Division. The objection letter states and we quote “I hereby object to the nomination of Orlando Landy Burns for nomination as a candidate for the United Democratic Party for the Orange Walk East Electoral Division for the General Elections to be held on March 7th 2012, on the ground that the said Orlando Landy Burns does not qualify as a candidate because I am informed and I verily believe that he is, by virtue of his own act, a citizen of a foreign state.” End of quote.

Shakron's Nomination Reject But Another Shakron Nominated For Lake I
In Belize City, Nomination Day started with Yolanda Galvez-Shakron and her attorney Lisa Shoman learning officially that her nomination as the PUP standard bearer for the Lake Independence Division was objected to by the UDP and that the Returning Officer Mrs. Noreen Fairweather could not enter her name as a candidate. By the end of Nomination Day however, another Galvez emerged as the PUP Candidate for Lake I, Shakron’s brother Martin Galvez. Yolanda Shakron, Belizean activist and PUP supporter, offered herself as a candidate for the PUP Lake Independence division after long time PUP representative Cordel Hyde resigned as the Party’s Standard Bearer. Shakron, whose candidacy was announced at a PUP Press Conference on Monday February 6TH, immediately started her campaign in the Lake Independence Division. Many Party insiders felt that Shakron was a strong candidate and with the support of the Lake I executive committee would win the division. But shortly after Shakron started her work in Lake I it was revealed that in addition to being a Belizean, she also was a US Citizen.

PUP Corozal Standard Bearers Officially Nominated For General Elections
Further in the North, Corozalenos put up with the heat of the sun as they wore their blue and white t-shirts in support to the People’s United Party and their four Standard Bearers. We first take a look at how nomination day went for P.U.P Standard Bearer for Corozal North Valdemar Castillo and P.U.P Standard bearer for Corozal Bay Gregorio Papas Garcia. Reporter Hipolito Novelo and Cameraman Kenric Simpson filed the following report. Party supporters were definitely not afraid to express their support for Corozal North P.U.P Standard Bearer Valdemar Castillo. As the seasoned politician, along with voters of Corozal North, marched towards the Corozal Community College, where he would be officially nominated, the blue and white flags waved in the air. At CCC Castillo, as is required by the law, was nominated by six registered voters. And after the process was completed Castillo walked out of the CCC building where he was greeted with the ever famous P.U.P all the way. Just as his supporters Castillo was excited about his nomination.

PUP Standard Bearer Offers Free Clinic
Back in the days when the economy was striving, seeing a doctor was not that expensive but with today’s frightening economic times seeing a doctor has become nearly financially impossible. With that in mind CTV3 News that on Sunday Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez along with other medical doctors will be offering free medical services to residents of Orange Walk East. The free clinic will be held at the Evangelical Church located at the corner of Savannah Street in the Louisiana Area. Specialist will include a gynecologist, pediatrician, radiologist, general surgeon and internist. All residents of Orange Walk East and surrounding areas are asked to take advantage of the free medical clinic.

PUP Orange Walk Candidates Officially Nominated
Today was nomination day for General Elections across the jewel. It was the day that political nominees of every colour and affiliation formally register as candidates for the 31 available seats in the House of Representatives. The actual nomination of a candidate is a pretty straightforward process but the day on the other hand has taken on a life of its own. It is now more about a show of numbers - and an opportunity for the mass parties to flex their muscle and machinery. And that is just what happened today in Orange Walk. The first set of candidates to be registered this morning was those of the People’s United Party. And of course with the political momentum already on their side the P.U.P once again proved this morning that the wind of change is blowing in their direction. Just as the heat of the scourging sun, supporters of the Peoples Untied Party were fired up this morning as they gathered in front of the offices of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. The P.U.P brought out hundreds of supporters from Orange Walk East, North, South and Central. And among the wave of blue were the four P.U.P standard Bearers who would soon become the official candidates for the March 7th General Elections.

CWU Advises SSB Workers Not To Sign Petition
The fate of suspended Chief Executive Officer of the Social Security Board, Merlene Bailey-Martinez and Internal Auditor, Denise Mahler has drawn major controversy. And while the board of directors wants Bailey to be dismissed, the Chair Louise Young has opposing feelings. After a meeting on Tuesday with Bailey, CTV3 News understands that managers were persuaded to advise staff members to sign a petition advocating that Bailey be retained. While some staff members have signed the petition in fear of losing their job, others are strongly resisting. Today, the Christian Workers Union fired off a press release in which it expresses its utmost dismay and dissatisfaction with the maneuvering of managers and other entities coercing their members to sign the petition. The President of Christian Worker’s Union, Antonio Gonzalez, says that the union has no problem when it comes to Bailey’s dismissal.

Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage To Hold a People's Referendum
Oceana gave it their all in order for a national referendum to ban off shore drilling to take place on March 7th, the same day that Municipal and General Elections will be held. Over twenty thousand signatures were collected and over eight thousand were rejected by the Elections and Boundaries Department! But according to the Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage the fight is not over and plan B has been set into motion. The Coalition, we understand, will be holding a People’s Referendum on February 24th in order to give registered voters and opportunity to express their view when it comes to offshore drilling. "On the 24th of February, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage will be holding a national referendum which we are dubbing the people’s referendum, it is going to give all registered voters the opportunity to vote on one issue and that issue is whether or not we should have oil exploration or drilling in Belize offshore.”

February 18, 2012

Valid: Friday-Monday, Feb. 17 - 20, 2012
Issued: 3:00 pm, Friday, February 17, 2012

A cold front will become better organized over the northern Gulf of Mexico during the next 24 hours. A continental high pressure system will intensify behind the cold front and will push the front south-eastward across the Gulf. This front will reach the SE Gulf of Mexico and southern Yucatan by Monday morning. A pre-frontal trough ahead of the cold front will move over Yucatan and into the NW Caribbean by Sunday evening, generating some outbreaks of showers and some thunderstorms over most districts.

The southern portion of the cold front will become diffused over Belize and the NW Caribbean later on Monday, as the continental high pressure system moves offshore the Carolinas, and cause the North and Northeast wind flow over the western Caribbean to swing back to the east by early Tuesday.

The weather will continue fair and mild on Friday and Saturday, with lots of sunshine and little in the form of rainfall. Expect an increase in showers with some thunderstorms on Sunday through Monday, but decreasing on Tuesday.

Daily rainfall totals will range from 0.01-0.10 of-an-inch on Friday and Saturday, increasing on Sunday through Monday; with daily accumulations ranging from 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch, especially over central and northern districts at first, and then shifting over southern districts and southern waters on later Monday.

CLICK HERE for the Full Report

The San Pedro Sun

Water main breaks in San Pedro
Residents in downtown San Pedro woke this morning (Friday, February 17, 2012) to find that there was no running water. The San Pedro Sun has received information that indicates that San Pedro needs to be aware of serious issues regarding water supply. Dee Dillon, P.E. – General Manager of Consolidated Water Belize Limited sent out a notice to the San Pedro Business Association with regards to concerns about providing water to the community. “Since 2008, at least, the Reverse Osmosis plant has run full time during high season and just barely met demands. If we have a high season with as little as 5%-10% increase in demand over any of the last 4 years, we will in all likely not be able to meet that demand.”

Independent BRS Candidates Nominated
Two candidates were officially nominated this afternoon. Independent candidate William “Mike” Campbell and Vision Inspired by the People Robert “Bobby” Lopez will officially be on the ballot come March 7th. First to make it to the Town Council’s office was Campbell. Despite delays which included an issue with his dual nationality, Campbell went through the necessary process and was nominated. Campbell was nominated by Fitzgerald Brown, Steven Bowen, Hector Trejo, Orlando Guerrero, Patrick Stiley and Allan Halliday. Campbell, who only showed up with his six-person entourage stated, “My supporters are afraid of coming out while some are working.” Campbell said that he remains focused and believes that he will be victorious on Election’s Day. Shortly after 1:00PM, VIP’s Lopez showed up with some supporters.

UDP BRS candidate nominated
The United Democratic Party Belize Rural South Standard Bearer was duly nominated this afternoon at the San Pedro Town Council. Heredia was accompanied by a sea of red supporters that came out to show support to the two-term Area Representative. Moving from in front of the San Pedro Town Council shortly after 2PM, the large multitude slowly made its way through the main streets of San Pedro Town. Blowing horns, blasting loud music and chanting, the jubilant crowd of supporters walked Heredia to the council. Once at the council, Heredia walked up the council’s office and was duly nominated before the Election’s Day returning officer Allan Gennity. Heredia was nominated by Joseph Elijio, Claudio Azueta, Maria Elsa Paz, Lisa McCorkle, Erico Novelo Jr. and Fernando Sosa.

PUP BRS candidate nominated
One of four candidates expected to contest the Belize Rural South Constituency has been duly nominated. People’s United Party Ana Patricia Arceo visited the San Pedro Town Council office along with a crowd of supporters shortly around 11AM before Election Day returning officer Allan Genitty and Election clerk Carla Acosta. With a jubilant and energetic crowd, Arceo departed from the PUP Headquarters and led a parade through the major streets of San Pedro Town. Along with loud speakers blasting political songs, the crowd eventually assembled at the foot of the Town Council’s office cheering for Arceo as she was being formally nominated. Arceo was nominated by six electors; Oscar Aguilar, George Dunn, Dona Badillo, Baldemar Graniel, Earl Smith and Jose Milo Paz Jr.

Ambergris Today

Prince Harry Coming to Belize, His Itinerary Released
Prince Harry will set foot in Belize on March 2, 2012 and will be in the country just short of a full day – 23 ½ hours to be precise. But according to the Foreign Affairs protocol office, it should be the best stop he makes on his Caribbean Tour of the Bahamas, Jamaica and Belize in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. He is the second child of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and he is visiting Belmopan and San Ignacio during his whirlwind visit to Belize which his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II has set up for him; she picked Belize for Harry because of his free and adventurous spirit and humanitarian heart. So the government of Belize, along with the Belize Tourism Board, is organizing a packed schedule for the Prince to maximize his visit to the country. The good part is that the visit will be a less formal one which will engage him much more with the people of Belize and focusing less on a state level visit with more official ceremonial activities.

National Treasure of Belize: Maya Jade Head in Exhibit
The Museum of Belize was officially inaugurated 10 years ago on February 5th, 2002. The building itself was once used as “Her Majesty’s Prison”, and contained a total of 102 cells. In 1998, the Government handed the old prison to NICH and for the next two years the building was refurbished and converted into the Museum. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Museum hosted a 10-day celebration. Activities included special guest lectures, book presentations, art workshops and special exhibition featuring the Jade Head. The priceless object which had not been on display for quite a few years was particularly displayed for primary school students. According to Sheryline Jones, Director of the Museum of Belize, the last time the exhibit was out for public display was in 2009. She continued by stating that students were given basic information about the Jade Head like its size, weight, where and when it was found among other important details.

Belize Rural South General Elections Nominations 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012 marked the nominations for standard bearers running for the General Elections which will be held the same day as Municipal Elections, March 7, 2012. The San Pedro Town Council Nominations were held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, and today, Belize Rural South Standard Bearers were nominated. PUP Standard Bearer: *Ana Patricia “Patty” Arceo Nominators: - Baldemar Graniel - Oscar Aguilar - Dona Maria Badillo - Earl Smith - Albert Dunin - Aljemiro “Milo” Paz


ATM Cave Adventure in Belize
One of the greatest known ceremonial caves in the entire world, ATM Cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal), is unquestionably the hottest spot for Western Belize tourism today. In fact, National Geographic Magazine recently dubbed ATM Cave the #1 sacred cave to visit in the world! ATM Cave is also known as Cave of the Stone Sepulcher (burial vault) because of the 14 known partial skeletal remains found inside. Nearly 1-km beyond the entrance of the cave sits the main attraction, a fully intact skeleton of a teenage girl, with fully calcified bones that sparkle from the light of your headlamp. Dubbed “The Crystal Maiden”, the bones have preserved for 1,400 years due to the the same processes (water dripping through the limestone) that forms the many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites to be seen and photographed inside ATM cave on the tour.

An Afternoon in Belize City...It's Really Growing on Me
Each time I go to Belize City for the day, I like it more and more. Particularly the food. Yesterday, I took the Caye Caulker Water Taxi to meet a friend and to see the Jade Head at the Museum of Belize. With three huge cruise ships in the harbor and the sun shining, the city was bustling with happy tourists and hundreds of tour guides. The horse carriages were lined up to take visitors on tours. I can't go to Belize anymore without stopping in for the best johnny cake I've ever eaten. La Petit Cafe (you are right...the name does not scream johnny cakes) is in the Radisson annex and does a ton of breakfast business. For $1.80bzd, you get a ridiculously good jalapeno johnny cake warm with ham and cheese. Jalapeno should be a standard flavor. I had to have two.

The small island off the coast of Belize is exactly what we needed. Colorful. Laidback. Easy. We couldn’t have picked a better spot to coast into our journey. Caye Caulker, in its present form, exists to serve travelers and we are glad for it. The island is touristy but in a subdued kind of way. The dirt roads (and they’re all dirt roads) are lined with restaurants, bars, guest houses and dive shops. As a traveler, it has most everything you want, and none of what you don’t. Noticeably absent are the litany of t-shirt shops and boardwalk stores hawking junk that normally crowd out all sense of character in many tourist destinations. Caye Caulker has grown from its origins as a fishing village into something else entirely, but has done so in a way that preserved its island charm and avoided most of the pitfalls that sometimes consume other popular destinations. And yet the traveler-friendly nature of Caye Caulker comes at a cost. I get the impression that if the tourist boat didn’t arrive, most of the island’s inhabitants would simply go away. There really is no other reason for this place to exist. Tourism is the only sign of life on the island.

Belize: Government Concedes To Conejo’s Demands
The Department of Geology and Petroleum will order US Capital Energy to halt its illegal seismic work on Conejo’s communal lands, and remove all seismic markers from the seismic trail it cut through Conejo. The promise follows a meeting in Conejo on 9 February between Andre Cho (Director of Geology and Petroleum Department), Pedro Cho, Mandela Wade (both of Geology and Petroleum Department), Marcelo Windsor (Forest Department), Anthony Mai (Environment Department), Eufemio Makin (Alcalde of Conejo), Enrique Makin (Chairperson of Conejo), four councilors of Conejo, and Martin Choco (Permitting Officer, US Capital Energy). The company sacked the entire workforce from the community (23 men) last Thursday because the village did not immediately give US Capital Energy permission to operate the illegal line. During Conejo’s subsequent village meeting on Sunday 5 February US Capital Energy’s Martin Choco presented to villagers a letter drafted by the company, granting US Capital Energy freedom to conduct seismic work throughout Conejo, and condemning the community’s leadership for objecting to the seismic line. Choco forcefully sought signatures from villagers, telling them they could then return to work.

Garifuna Groove: Hanging Out in Hopkins (photo essay & tips)
ome travel destinations are made for hanging out—for relaxing and finding your own rhythm/groove. And of course, for being in the moment. Hopkins Village, Belize, is one of those places. I could tell you why it’s great, but I’d rather just show you. Here’s a photo essay I created, which takes you on a groovy 1.5-minute tour of the town, its locals and the natural tropical beauty. You’ll hear the music of the Lebeha Drummers, meet the Garifuna locals and feel the warmth of the community. (Don’t miss Part 1 of this series, my story re: how the drumbeat took me into the heartbeat of the culture.) After the video, check out my tips on how to “hang out in Hopkins” if you happen to visit this special little town.

What to do with Belize's superbond - Reuters Blogs
This year’s renewed euphoria over emerging markets has bypassed some places. One such corner is Belize, a country sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala, which many fear is gearing up for a debt default. There is a chance this will happen as early as next week Belize is a small country with just 330,000 people but back in 2007, it issued a $550 million bond on international markets. Known locally as a superbond for its large size (relative to the country’s economy), the issue earned Belize a spot on JP Morgan’s EMBI Global index of emerging market bonds. As this index is used by 80 percent of fund managers who invest in emerging debt, many of them will have allocated some cash to hold the Belize bond in their portfolios. These folk will be waiting anxiously to see if Belize pays a $23 million coupon due on Feb. 20.

International Sources

When Did I Ever Refuse an Accommodation?
“Opening a hotel,” says Francis Ford Coppola, “is a lot like shooting a movie.” Francis Ford Coppola discusses opening his latest hotel. “A film needs a big idea. After that it’s a matter of incredible attention to detail,” he explains. “Here the concept is a 19th-century palazzo with a patina of age. But then there are a million details to get right if it’s to work as a 21st-century hotel. In a movie, the details are the things an audience will notice. In a hotel it’s everything the guests experience.”

Maya Author to Speak at Chaa Creek
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is hosting Tales of a Maya Shaman, a presentation by Dr Rosita Arvigo DN on 20 February 2012 as part of the Chaa Creek 2012 Maya lecture series. Dr Arvigo, the author of four books on Maya medical plants and hearing practices, will share stories and anecdotes about her thirteen year apprenticeship with Belize’s most famous Maya healer, Don Elijio Panti and be on hand to answer questions about this fascinating area of ancient Maya culture still practiced today in Maya communities throughout Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. Don Elijio Panti (1893 – 1996) gained international recognition as one of the last living links of an ancient Maya system of healing that employs medicinal plants, massage, acupuncture, herbal and sweat baths and prayers to effect cures on a wide range of maladies. Beginning as a chiclero collecting sapodilla tree resin (the base for chewing gum) for companies such as Wrigley’s, Don Elijio studied under Maya curers in the jungles of Guatemala and Belize. Although he never learned to read or write, he became recognised for his vast body of knowledge and service to humanity with awards such as "Distinguished Contribution to Science" (The New York Botanical Gardens), and was made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. His work continues to be studied by cancer researchers in the USA.

Prince Harry’s Belize Schedule Released
Prince Harry will set foot in Belize on March 2, 2012 and will be in the country just short of a full day – 23 ½ hours to be precise. But according to a press release from the Belize Foreign Affairs protocol office today, it should be the best stop he makes on his Caribbean Tour of the Bahamas, Jamaica and Belize in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. He is the second child of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and he is visiting Belmopan and San Ignacio during his whirlwind visit to Belize which his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II has set up for him; she picked Belize for Harry because of his free and adventurous spirit and humanitarian heart. So the government of Belize, along with the Belize Tourism Board, is organizing a packed schedule for the Prince to maximize his visit to the country. The good part is that the visit will be a less formal one which will engage him much more with the people of Belize and focusing less on a state level visit with more official ceremonial activities. Prince Harry is scheduled to arrive in Belize on Friday, March 2, 2012, at 4:25p.m. on board a private jet at the Phillip Goldson International Airport where he will be received with a salute from the Belize Defense Force and meet officials at the VIP Lounge, including the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca and British High Commissioner to Belize, Patrick Ashworth.

The February 16th, 2012 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Nomination Day: United and Strong in Belmopan!
  • Superbond Strikes Again!, Another 33 Million Gone!
  • Objection to Shakron Nomination
  • From the Desk of the Chairman: The Harder They Come The Harder They Fall !
  • Paved Placencia Road Inaugurated
  • Tourism Turns the Corner: BIG Increase in Overnight Visitors
  • Ignorant or Dishonest?: Noisemakers Badmouth Belize Economy
  • Faith Lift: Committed Marriages & Families - Critical Components for a Healthy Society
  • AGM in the Free Zone: Address by Executive Chairman, David Akerman
  • On Both Sides of the Issue: Shoman’s Dual Position on Dual Citizenship
  • PHOTOS: The Prime Minister’s Tour Continued in Toledo Last Sunday February 12, 2012
  • Safety and Comfort: SIF Project Refurbishes School Buildings in Cristo ReyFund
  • Safety and Comfort: School and Bathroom Block Inaugurated in August Pine Ridge
  • Taiwan Assisting Belize in Aquaculture
  • PHOTOS: Nomination Day In Belmopan City Wednesday February 15, 2012

Channel 5

Martin Galvez takes over P.U.P. Lake IToday was nomination day across the country for anyone who intended to hold political office at the national level. The nominations were routine, minus the Lake Independence situation with Yolanda Schakron, who lost a bid for Lake Independence. But the nominee who rushed into the race at the close of the day is Martin Galvez. ...

Yolanda Schakron’s nomination rejectedThe P.U.P. has won consecutive elections in the Lake I division and Yolanda Schakron looked like a winning candidate, but the government on Thursday objected to her nomination because of her dual citizenship. She was in the process of renouncing her US citizenship but in the end, the question was whether or not the registering ...

Attorney explains the essence of nomination caseIt was clearly an emotional day for Yolanda Schakron. The petition against the government was defended by Rodwell Williams of Barrow and Williams along with Michael Young of Young’s Law Firm. Young told News Five that the case was straightforward and the Returning Officer had a duty to uphold the objection of Schakron’s nomination. Michael ...

Prime Minister and Former Candidate on rejectionThe crowd outside the Charles Bartlett Hyde building waited in anticipation for a decision. Having lost the battle in the courts, Schakron emerged visibly shaken. For Prime Minister Dean Barrow, it was a matter of law but Schakron made an impassionate statement saying it is not over and that she will continue the good fight. ...

P.U.P. Nomination Day March in Belize CityWhile Yolanda Schakron was battling in the court, the nomination of other Belize City P.U.P. candidates was underway. The legendary P.U.P. machinery rolled into the Charles Bartlett Hyde complex in the morning. News Five’s Delahnie Bain captured the energy of the opposition leaders. Delahnie Bain, Reporting The blue machinery was in full force in Belize ...

U.D.P. Nomination Day March in Belize CityEarly in the afternoon, it was the turn of the governing party to get their candidates nominated. Prime Minister Dean Barrow led his party’s supporters to the nomination centre. Well financed and hyped, the wave of red and white washed through Mahogany Street heading to the Charles Bartlett Hyde building. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports. ...

Belize City’s independent Candidate hopefulSmack in the middle of the nominations for the major political parties was the sole independent candidate for Belize City. A former minister, Carlos Diaz says he is still a P.U.P. but he is taking a chance on the Lake Independence division as an independent. Diaz joined the race at this late stage because Yolanda ...

Orange Walk Nomination March with P.U.P.In Orange Walk Town, the presence of the two political parties was felt. The battle between the red and blue for every constituency is fierce. John Briceño and the three other standard bearers led the parade of P.U.P. supporters through the streets of Sugar City. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports. Andrea Polanco, Reporting Around ten ...

Orange Walk Nomination Day with U.D.P.The nominations continued into the afternoon for the United Democratic Party. With a huge crowd, music and banners, the four standard bearers made their way across town. While the energy was high and supporters were vocal about their candidates, the day’s event was peaceful. A single objection was filed against the U.D.P.’s Orange Walk East ...

Nomination Day in DangrigaIn Dangriga, nomination day also went smoothly. The atmosphere was charged both culturally and politically as the standard bearers headed to officially put their names down to contest the March seventh elections. The trend was for the opposition party to carry out nominations in the morning and the U.D.P. in the afternoon. News Five’s Isani ...

Moody’s Investors Service lowers Belize Credit RatingGoing into the election, the Superbond has become a major issue that both political parties are flogging. A few days ago, Standard and Poor’s, lowered the country credit rating to CCC plus. Tonight, another agency, Moody’s Investors Service lowered the credit rating one notch further into junk territory and there is a possibility that it ...

U.S. Chamber discuss economic growthWith the credit rating at an all time low, what does it mean for investment? Earlier this week, we sat one on one with representatives from the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC. Both Patrick Kilbride and Jose Perales gave us their perspectives on what investors are looking for before they put their put ...

Sick story of rapeIn other news, a twelve year old student from the Cayo District claims she has been gang raped. According to the minor, she left her school in San Ignacio at around four o’clock on Thursday. But before she could get home, she was attacked by a man dressed in black at an overgrown empty lot. ...

Capital City NominationIn the west, the People’s United Party is hoping to stage a comeback. This morning its supporters were out early for the nomination of Julius Espat for Cayo South and Amin Hegar for Belmopan. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. Isani Cayetano, Reporting Under the banner of the majestic blue and white a gathering of P.U.P. ...


A 15-year-old male minor, who is a resident of Biscayne Village, and a student of Nazarene High School in the company of his mother, reported a robbery to the Police. The minor reported that on the fifteenth of February around 3:30pm whilst sitting on the steps of the over pass next to Pallotti High School along with two friends, they were approached by two male persons, one of whom had what appeared to be a black hand gun. Fearing for his life the student handed over his Motorola L-6 cell phone valued one hundred and fifty dollars. Police are investigating the matter.

A chopping incident has left a man hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. According to police reports, acting upon information received they visited the KHMH at around 9:00 p.m, where they say twenty three year old Albert Nunez a Belize City resident of a Kelly Street address, suffering from apparent chop wounds. Nunez reported that on Thursday at approximately 8:30 in the morning, a person he knows as Darwin Hilton arrived at his home on Kelly Street and they got into an argument. Hilton left and later returned and entered Nunez’s yard armed with a machete and inflicted the injuries. Police are now looking for Darwin Hilton Jones in connection with the incident.

22-year-old Joel McGregor and 21-year-old Carlton Wade charged with the burglary of the home of Wendy Castillo in Hattieville were found guilty of the charge today. McGregor was sentenced to seven years by Magistrate Dorothy Flowers because he has one previous conviction for burglary and one for theft. Wade was sentenced to five years because it was his first conviction. The burglary occurred during the day on September 6, 2010. Castillo testified that she got a telephone call that her house was burglarized and when she arrived home she saw a big hole in the backdoor. She said when she checked she discovered that 16 thousand dollars worth of jewellery and a number of household items were stolen. Later that same day the police apprehended McGregor and he took the police to a spot in the bushes and he dug up some of the stolen items. Wade was apprehended the following day after Castillo saw him on Queen Street and called the police. The police recovered some of the stolen jewellery from a knapsack Wade had.

Karen Coote reporting… "In the Belize Rural North the PUP and UDP nominated their candidates but joining them was Independent candidate Rufus X. This morning the PUP’s Arthur Saldivar flank by his party supports walked to the Zion Protestant Methodist Primary School in Sandhill Village to be formally nominated. After a few minutes inside the nomination Mr. Saldivar along with his six signatories came out with a triumphant fist in the air and says he is ready for the March 7th general elections and he is ready to the people of the Belize Rural North. During this morning’s nomination process and letter objecting to the eligibility of the UDP’s Edmond Castro was presented to the Returning Officer by Marconi Prince Leal alleging that Mr. Castro is the holder of a US Green Card. The People’s United Party was allotted 10 am to 12 noon to nominated its candidate The Independent candidate Rufus X arrived at the nomination station a little before one o’clock without all the fanfare to have his name formally placed on the ballot for the March 7th General Elections. A little before three o’clock a sea of red travelling down the Northern Highway indicated the arrival of the UDP’s incumbent candidate Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro. His parade to the nomination station included hundreds of supporters along with dozens of vehicles and passenger buses and of course a music box blasting his campaign song. Mr. Castro who was in very high spirits said he is ready to continue serving the people of the constituency because it’s a process that started nine years ago and must be continued. After a few minutes inside the nomination station Mr. Castro came out with both hands in the air indicated its official, his name is number one on the ballot paper. After nomination Edmond Castro invited his supporters and the residents of Belize Rural North to a rally this evening. The Returning Officer for Belize Rural North is Kenroy Ellis."

Manuela Ayuso Cantun reporting... "Supporters of the People’s United Party rallied behind their four standard bearers today as they marched from in front of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association to the Immigration Office where Jose Abelardo Mai was the first to be nominated. The mood was festive as the principal streets of Orange Walk Town became flooded with the PUP’s blue and white. Police estimates the crowd at approximately 6 hundred though some would argue that head count to be more. John Briceno has represented Orange Walk Central for 19 years and today he was nominated again. Meanwhile newcomer George Briceno is the PUP’s Orange Walk North Area Representative. In Orange Walk East, Marco Tulio Mendez was nominated the PUP’s standard bearer for the second time. By afternoon, Queen Victoria Avenue had become a sea of red as the UDP supporters turned out in great numbers in support of their respective Standard Bearers. Orange Walk South Standard Bearer for the UDP, Rosendo Urbina had contested and lost to John Briceno in Orange Walk Central. This time, Urbina says will be different and says he is confident of a win. Orlando Landy Burns, despite an objection from the PUP for his nomination danced his way to the Sandy Hunter Library for his nomination. A member of the PUP East Committee formally presented an objection to Burn’s nomination to returning officer Weismer Patt at 2 this afternoon. The PUP were however unable to provide proof of their allegation that Burns posses dual nationality and holds a Canadian passport. Burns said that allegation is a lie. Denny Grijalva is the UDP’s candidate for Orange Walk Central. With the largest amount of supporters behind him, Orange Walk North UDP standard Bearer, Gaspar Vega walked from Trial Farm to the Magistrates Court making stops greeting people all along the way. Orange Walk Police estimates the UDP supporters at over 2000. There were no independent candidates nominated in Orange Walk."

Arturo Cantun reporting… “Once again supporters of the People’s United Party came out in full force in Corozal for nomination day, this time to nominate candidates for the electoral divisions. The first to be nominated around 10:30 this morning was Valdemar Castillo Sr. for the Corozal North constituency. Second to be nominated was Gregorio Garcia Jr. for the Corozal Bay constituency. Garcia and his party supporters left the Corozal Bay division office on College Rd. and marched to the Administration building in the center of town where he was nominated. In the afternoon it was the UDP turn to nominate its four candidates for the Corozal district. A motorcade which started from Buena Vista village grew to a mile long with supporters carrying UDP flags and banners of their respective candidate. The motorcade first stopped at the Libertad Methodist School and then at the San Joaquin RC School to make nominations for the Corozal South East and Corozal South West constituencies. The motorcade then proceeded to Corozal Town where Hugo Patt was nominated at Corozal Junior College as the candidate for Corozal North Constituency. At the same time, downtown Pablo Marin was being nominated at the administrative building. Pablo Marin is now the official UDP candidate for Corozal Bay Division. Another motorcade went through the principal streets of Corozal ending in the Altamira area of town where a UDP rally was held. There was no independent candidate that entered the race for either Corozal North or Corozal Bay constituencies. In general, nomination day proceeded without incident in the Corozal Bay and Corozal North divisions.”

Outside of the Yolanda Schakron saga, Nomination Day proceeded without a hitch for both major political parties. The People’s Untied Party were first to be nominated this morning and they arrived with huge motorcade that started from the Berger Field on Vernon Street. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca said he was grateful for the support. Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition “Now I feel very good about the support we are receiving today, obviously it is a very important day for us across the country, we are officially nominating our 31 candidates to represent the People’s United Party in the March 7 elections so it is a very encouraging day for all of us and we are very grateful to the thousands of persons across the country who have supported us with their prayers, their words of encouragement, so it is has been a tremendous and humbling experience.” When it came time for the United Democratic Party to get their candidates nominated the route to the Charles Hyde Building was transformed into a sea of red for the UDP nomination. Love News spoke with some of the candidates who are seeking to get the UDP returned to Belmopan. Anthony Martinez – Port Loyola UDP candidate “Yes I am happy, four years of hard work and determination will pay off in the next general elections.” Michael Finnegan – Mesopotamia UDP candidate “I am feeling extremely good and I can see victory in the year.”

The saga of the eligibility of Yolanda Schakron to run for elected office in the Lake Independence constituency ended today. Her nomination as the PUP standard bearer was rejected by returning officer Noreen Fairweather. Schakron’s eligibility to seek the nomination came under question when it was revealed that she is a dual citizen of the United States and Belize. Schakron fought to the bitter end to have her name included on the ballot paper, but in the end the full weight of the constitution was applied and she was turned back. The PUP even went to the Supreme Court to challenge the rejection; but that too was denied and in the end, Mrs. Schakron attempt to become the PUP Standard Bearer for Lake Independence ended. Her only public statement on Nomination Day was made on the steps of the Charles Hyde Building this morning, when Schakron tearfully lashed out at her opponents but vowed to continue the fight, even if not as an elected representative.

Police in San Ignacio are investigating reports the rape of a 12-year-old student. The minor accompanied by her mother, visited the Police Station and reported that on the sixteenth of February around 4:00pm, she left the school compound in San Ignacio Town and while walking pass an overgrown empty lot, she was attacked by a clear skinned male person dressed in black clothing. According to the girl, there were two dark skinned male persons along with him who were wearing masks on their faces. The clear skinned male person reportedly placed his hands over her mouth and pulled her into the bushes, where she was forced to walk in a creek and then into a concrete cement house which is under construction. At the house, she was tied up and raped by the three men. Two passersby later untied her and took her to the Western Regional Hospital for medical attention. Police have since detained a suspect for questioning.


UDP candidates get nominated
When it came time for the United Democratic Party to get their candidates nominated the route to the Charles Hyde Building was transformed into a sea of red for the UDP nomination. Love News spoke with some of the candidates who are seeking to get the UDP returned to Belmopan.

PUP Candidates are nominated in Belize City
Outside of the Yolanda Schakron saga, Nomination Day proceeded without a hitch for both major political parties. The People’s Untied Party were first to be nominated this morning and they arrived with huge motorcade that started from the Berger Field on Vernon Street. Inside the compound where the nominations were carried out, Love News spoke with a few of the PUP hopefuls.

Yolanda Schakron’s bid for Lake I ends
The saga of the eligibility of Yolanda Schakron to run for elected office in the Lake Independence constituency ended today. Her nomination as the PUP standard bearer was rejected by returning officer Noreen Fairweather. Schakron’s eligibility to seek the nomination came under question when it was revealed that she is a dual citizen of the United States and Belize. Schakron fought to the bitter end to have her name included on the ballot paper, but in the end the full weight of the constitution was applied and she was turned back. The PUP even went to the Supreme Court to challenge the rejection; but that too was denied and in the end, Mrs. Schakron attempt to become the PUP Standard Bearer for Lake Independence ended. Her only public statement on Nomination Day was made on the steps of the Charles Hyde Building this morning, when Schakron tearfully lashed out at her opponents but vowed to continue the fight, even if not as an elected representative.


Schakron's dual citizenship disqualifies her from contesting Lake I
Yolanda Shackron’s nomination as a candidate for Lake Independence was rejected today. Nomination day has come and ...

Barrow comments on Schakron's rejection
As you’ve heard from Ms. Schakron, she has laid the blame of her predicament at the feet of the Prime Minister, cal...

Former PUP joins electoral race as independent candidate
There is also another standard bearer for Lake I, an independent candidate, Carloz Diaz, who was also nominated tod...

Aikman's Academy conducts Political poll
While nominations were ongoing today, Derick Aikman of Aikman and Aikman was in the process of conducting a poll to...

12 year old girl gang raped in San Igancio
A 12 year old standard six student of San Ignacio was reportedly raped by three men. According to police reports, t...

Uncustomary bail granted for Police Corporal Gino Peck
Police Corporal Gino Peck and his wife were before the court just yesterday morning to answer to the charges of thr...

Two convicted in 2010 home burglary
On September 6, 2010, culprits made their way into the home of PUP Councilor, Linsford Castillo and his wife after ...

Altercation leads to stabbing in Belize City
A Belize City man was chopped multiple times. The incident happened yesterday Thursday February 16th. 23 year old A...

Gunman robs teen of cell phone
A student was robbed at gunpoint in Belize City. A15year old boy, a Student of Nazarene High School, told police th...

Police arrest man wanted for weed and ammunition offenses
Marvin Foreman was a wanted man after GSU raided an apartment on Louis Bevans street and found weed and ammunition ...


Nomination Day for municipal candidates
The official numbers are still not yet in, according to the chairman of the Election and Boundaries Commission, Alberto August, but the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) and incumbent United Democratic Party (UDP) yesterday, Wednesday, submitted full slates of 67 for all 9 municipalities – eleven prospective members for the Council in Belize City and seven for each of the other municipalities, including Belmopan City.

Akbar congratulates Godfrey
Allow me to comment on the newly publish bio of Belize’s first Prime Minister compiled by Godfrey Smith. Recently I was sent a copy of the Book “George Price: A LIFE REVEALED” by a close friend in Belize. I was eager to read the book for several reasons. Foremost among them was the fact that I know of no other biography that has been written and published about any of Belize’s icons past or present. Secondly, because even though George Price spent his entire life in public service, he had essentially remained an enigma.

Incurable “bad blood” between Dean and Audrey?
“This is not a fight between Dean Barrow and Audrey Matura” - Audrey Matura-Shepherd... It is no secret that there is a push for a referendum to be held through the Referendum Act on offshore drilling by NGOs such as Oceana and COLA. Recently, however, the movement by these NGOs hit a major obstacle when 8,000 of over 20,000 registered voters’ signatures were rejected by the Elections and Boundaries Department on the grounds that they were not legitimate, and so, Government was not bound to hold a referendum on the matter.

BTB announces “resurgence of tourism inflows”
Belize is reporting “a resurgence of tourism inflows” for the year 2011, with overnight tourist arrivals increasing 3.4%, but cruise tourist arrivals dropping 4.8% over 2010 figures. Still cruise tourism saw a record month last November, with 92,416 passengers visiting Belize, according to official data.

Derek Aikman announces pre-election telephone poll exercises
On Friday of this week, there is going to be an “election” – not the actual one, which is still two and a half weeks away, but the first of two pre-election polling exercises, by telephone, to be held simultaneously with the nomination of candidates for the general elections on Friday, February 17.

SSB board votes to terminate Merlene Bailey-Martinez
Chairman of the Social Security Board (SSB) Lois Young has confirmed to Amandala that the board of directors of the SSB has voted to terminate its Chief Executive Officer, Merlene Bailey-Martinez, following an external audit conducted by Pannell Kerr Forster, following allegations that she was involved in a staff scheme to benefit—using insider knowledge—from the recent government mortgage write-off program by paying down their debts to meet the ceiling of $50,000.

Yolanda under fire; Carlos resurrected!
Carlos Diaz says he will run as an independent, but if Yolanda Schakron fails, will Carlos run in Lake I for the PUP? Lake I’s People’s United Party standard bearer Yolanda Schakron—the replacement candidate for the current area representative Cordel Hyde, who resigned last week—is under fire, as a formal move has been made to block her nomination for general elections, because she is a US national born in Guatemala, although she is Belizean by descent, having described herself to be “as Belizean as rice and beans.”

Two visitors at MCC this Sunday in Wk 2 of Premier League
On Saturday night at the MCC, Police clipped visiting Placencia Assassin, 1-nil, on an early second half (48 min) penalty conversion by Orlando “Leechi” Jimenez. Placencia’s goalkeeper Elias Pelayo dived left to stop the shot, but Leechi followed up and slammed home the rebound for what turned out to be the game winner. In the other Saturday night game, out at the Norman Broaster Stadium, Belize Defence Force and San Pedro Seadogs played to a 2-2 draw. San Pedro jumped to a 2-nil first half lead with goals from Jesse Smith (10 min) and Kenny Witzil (23 min); but the army cut the lead in half before intermission with a strike from Byron Usher (43 min), and Harrison Tasher got the equalizer in injury time (92 min).

BTTA delivers table tennis equipment to primary schools
The Belize Table Tennis Association (BTTA) today delivered table tennis equipment to 3 Belize City primary schools, as a part of a project to develop the sport of table tennis in the schools.

Independence girls and Benque boys win NSSSA Football Tournament 2011-2012 at MCC
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) held its national football tournament on Friday and Saturday, February 10-11, at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, hosted by Nazarene High School. Games were 20 – 20 for the girls, with a 5-minute intermission; while the boys played 30 – 30 with 10 minutes of half-time break. The tournament followed a simple knockout format.

Prince Harry to visit Xunantunich on grand tour
Cohune Walk will be renamed in Queen Elizabeth’s honor... Officials of the Government of Belize this morning briefed the media on the upcoming tour of Prince Harry (born Henry Charles Albert David), scheduled to be undertaken in Belize from Friday, March 2, to Saturday, March 3, 2012.

Just as there are no restrictive guidelines in Belize where campaign financing is concerned, there are no rules which say what you can or can not do in political campaigning. Yes, there are overall societal laws which are on the books, but there are wild and wide open spaces in ethics, integrity, decency, and morality when it comes to what you should or should not do in electoral politics. The late Oakland Raiders’ coach and owner, Al Davis, distilled his thinking into three words: “Just win, baby.”

From The Publisher
“Israel has pointed the finger at Iran for the events in Bangkok (Tuesday) as well as Georgia and India on Monday, suggesting they are part of a wider campaign including attempted attacks on Azerbaijan. It has also promised ‘it will settle the score.’

February 17, 2012

The San Pedro Sun

Belize Rural South Standard Bearers square off in first ever debate
The Belize Rural South (BRS) Standard Bearers contesting the general election on March 7th squared off in the first ever BRS Standard Bearers’ debate, well attended by a crowd of close to one hundred guests. The debate was a joint effort between The San Pedro Sun Newspaper and The Reef Radio/Reef TV. The BRS Standard Bearers, Manuel Heredia, for the United Democratic Party, Ana Patricia Arceo for the People’s United Party, Robert “Bobby” Lopez for the Vision Inspired by the People and William “Mike” Campbell, Independent candidate, were all given a chance to respond and give opening and closing remarks with equally allotted time. A total of ten questions were asked and answered, ranging from topics such as education, tourism, Caye Caulker, crime, subvention, San Mateo and corruption.

Ambergris Today

Prospective Area Representatives Debate Issues
The Sunbreeze Conference Room was the perfect venue for the first debate among four prospective Area Representatives who battled it out on issues affecting the lives of all residents of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, on Wednesday, February 15, 2012. The ten questions presented were well worded and set three of the candidates pointing fingers at Hon. Manuel Heredia, the incumbent standard bearer. The Belize Rural South Standard Bearers include Manuel Heredia for the United Democratic Party, Ana Patricia Arceo for the People’s United Party, Robert “Bobby” Lopez for the Vision Inspired by the People and William “Mike” Campbell, Independent candidate. All four were given a chance to respond and give opening and closing remarks during equally allotted time. A total of ten questions were asked ranging from topics such as education, tourism, Caye Caulker, crime, subvention, San Mateo and corruption.


I Saw The Crown Jewel Of Belize - The Jade Head of Altun Ha
On February 15th 2012, for the 10 year anniversary of the Museum of Belize, the crown jewel of Belize was unlocked from its vault and put on display for ONE DAY ONLY. I had to take a trip to Belize City. The Mayan site of Altun Ha is located 31 miles north of Belize City and there, in 1968, an archaeologist from Canada made an amazing discovery. The Jade Head along with forty other objects, had been placed within a large tomb that was located below the stairs in one of the temples. The elderly adult male, probably an important ruler of the site during his lifetime, was buried with this jewel around 600 AD. And remained untouched for over 1300 years. This one day exhibition and opening of the second floor of the museum was well worth travelling to Belize City for... The museum is located in one of the colonial sections of the city in the old Belize City prison. School kids were out in droves to see the jade piece.

Belize Jade Head - The Maya Sun God - Kinich Ahau displayed for one day only at the Musuem of Belize
On February 15th, 2011, for one day only, The Museum of Belize (NICH) offered the general public a rare glimpse into the past by showcasing a magnificent and unique Maya Artifact that is near and dear to the nation of Belize and its people, the Jade Head of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau. The Belize Maya Jade Head of the Maya Sun God (Kinich Ahau) was removed from the vault and its casing from an undisclosed location to see the light of day once again in Belize. Many proud Belizeans including school children, as well as, cruise tour visitors lined up at the Museum of Belize to share a rare glimpse of this beautiful Maya Jade Head and Jewel of Belize.

Hard Hitting Questions Asked: San Pedro's First Standard Bearers' Debate
Last night, Reef Radio and the San Pedro Sun newspaper hosted the first ever Area Representative debate between the four candidates running in the March 7th election. A few weeks ago, the mayoral candidates had their first debate (see: History Made) but this meeting was better and more exciting in so many ways. The questions were shorter and to the point, the representatives were allowed time for rebuttal, all reps were very well spoken. Instead of just vague, lofty ideas and promises, real facts and action steps were discussed and for the most part (though not all of the time), the questions were actually answered. And the venue (the conference room at the Sunbreeze Hotel) was quieter, acoustically better and much more conducive to this sort of event. I think that there were lots of great points made by all and I hope voters were listening with open minds and not just think in party colors. As I stated in my post on the mayoral candidates, I will try to stay impartial (though we all know that is impossible). I love politics, I am fascinated by the inner workings of this town and this country and I do love the fact that each vote REALLY does make a difference.

Life After last Flight
The Scarlet Macaws remaining in Belize have shown a decline in number. Some of the birds return to the Upper Raspaculo River valley, however, they do not find the river they once knew or their nesting trees which grew alongside that river. The Scarlet Macaws find a lake, or a "mud-hole", as it has been referred to in the height of the dry season, due to the Chalillo Dam. They return in a vain effort to carry out their nesting regime. No successful nesting activity has been noted or reported. The attempts to place "nest boxes" in the area which the Macaws once used as a vibrant nesting region, and have these "new homes" replace the traditional nesting trees, have been a total failure.

Tasty and Interesting Foods I Ate in Belize
I never intended for my blog to be about food, but as I’ve said before I love food. And travel includes a lot of new and loved food experiences. I already told you about our lobster feasts and traditional Belizean Stewed Chicken yumminess, but I actually ate some other interesting and great tasting dishes in Belize…even some that might seem unexpected. Given the wide variety ethnicities in Belize, I think everything I ate was ‘Belizean’. Serendib in San Ignacio, Tina’s in Hopkins, Innie’s in Hopkins, Chinese Food in Hopkins, Don Corleone’s on Caye Caulker, Lily’s Treasure Chest in San Pedro Town, Fry Jacks at Sobre Las Ola’s and Hand 2 Mouth on Caye Caulker,

Coconut Bread Recipe – A Unique Belizean Treat
Method: combine all the ingredients and kneed well, if dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour, if it is too dry, add more coconut milk or warm water. Place dough in a mixing bowl covered with plastic film or a kitchen towel. Let it rise for an hour. Punch down dough with your hands and shape bread, grease a baking tray or place a non stick baking mat and arrange balls of breads separated one to another. Let the bread to rise again until double its size, bake at 350 C for a space of 30 min or until golden brown.

Travel Thirst Thursday – Ambergris Caye
Today begins the start of a new weekly blog posting called “Travel Thirst Thursday.” What better way to jump start the weekend than to spark some travel ideas! Each Thursday we will showcase one destination around the world with photos and some general information. If you have a place that you’d like to see featured, send us a quick message and we’ll feature it in a future post. For now, enjoy! The Islands – Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker Things to do: Belize Barrier Reef – check out the world’s second longest barrier reef in the world Bird Watch – check out the large variety of bird species that call Belize home Catch a big one – cast your line from the shore or go out with a guide Set sail – sail to a nearby caye and catch a magnificent sunset Explore the island – rent a golf cart for the day and start sightseeing Dance the night away – enjoy the lively island nightlife, including karaoke!

PHOTO ESSAY: Kids, How Was School Today? - Ambergris Caye, Belize
We had a great day at world-school today. Here’s a few of the things we did and ...

International Sources

Belize’s Credit Rating Cut One Level to Caa1 by Moody’s
Belize’s credit rating was cut by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. on “significant questions about the country’s willingness” to make debt payments. Moody’s cut Belize’s foreign-currency credit rating to Caa1, or seven steps below investment grade, from B3. The rating will remain on review for further downgrades, Moody’s said in a statement. The change reflects increased concerns the government will seek to restructure its debt after comments about such a move by the prime minister ahead of upcoming elections, Moody’s said. “Recent statements coming out of Belize suggests this administration may eventually contemplate modifying the original conditions,” Moody’s said.

Moody's Cuts Belize Ratings On Debt Restructuring Concerns
Moody's Investors Service lowered its credit rating on Belize one notch further into junk territory, citing increased concerns of another possible debt restructuring. Moody's lowered Belize's government bond rating to Caa1, which denotes highly speculative credit, from B3. The rating remains on review for a possible further downgrade. Moody's said recent comments from Belize suggest the administration may eventually modify the original conditions of its $547 million superbond, which is equivalent to half of the government debt and is the result of the country's 2007 distressed debt exchange. Superbond debt service has been rising due to coupon step-ups and will continue to increase once the debt begins amortizing in 2019. This will put further pressure on Belize's generally weak public finances, Moody's said. The coupon on Belize's superbond began at 4.25% and is scheduled to jump to 8.5% later this year. The ratings firm said managing increased debt service payments poses significant financial challenges for Belize, which already faces weak economic growth prospects and expectations of declining oil royalties--a key source of government revenue. Moody's downgrade comes a week after Standard & Poor's Ratings Service also pushed Belize's credit status a notch deeper into junk territory after comments from its prime minister signaled less political will to service its large debt.

Immigrants in Belize
BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war. More recently, North American sun-seekers and retired British soldiers have discovered its coast. Light- and dark-skinned men stand side by side on the country’s flag. The latest migration is from elsewhere in Central America. Thousands of Salvadoran refugees arrived in the 1980s. More recently, Guatemalans have come seeking land. Of Belize’s 300,000 people, 15% are foreign-born. Thanks to higher birth rates, mestizos have overtaken creoles (of mixed African ancestry) to become the biggest group, making up half the population. Belize now has more native speakers of Spanish than of English or its lilting cousin, Belizean Creole. English remains the lingua franca and the only official tongue. But Spanish is gaining ground: many posters for an election on March 7th are in Spanish and Dean Barrow, the (creole) prime minister, reads translations of some speeches. Naturalisation ceremonies are bilingual, and speaking English is not required for citizenship. Schools teach in English, but Spanish lessons are mandatory.

Treaty staying quiet after Belize row
Treaty Energy Corporation has said it will not make any further comment about its exploration efforts in Belize after a spat with the government over an oil discovery the local prime minister said did not exist. Andrew Reid, chief executive of the New Orleans and Houston-based explorer, told Upstream he was not able to comment about the company’s exploration activities in Belize, in a 50/50 joint venture with Princess Petroleum, owners of Belize’s Princess Casino. He would only say that “in the future we must have Government of Belize and Princess Petroleum approval prior to issuing any statements”. The government of Belize did not respond to two requests for comment from Upstream. The spat broke out after Treaty Energy announced an oil discovery on 30 January with its first well at the Princess Concession, the San Juan 2.

For One Bride-To-Be, Valentine's Day Turned South, Way South ... All The Way to Belize, Central America!
Belize 12/12/12 Maya Temple Wedding Winner Announced! SAN PEDRO, Belize and FRISCO, Texas, Feb. 15, 2012 -- Janelle Franklin and Abel Garcia, Jr. were surprised to learn that their Valentine's Day took a sudden southern turn yesterday. The couple, from a suburb of Dallas, were informed at a Press Conference in Frisco, TX, that they won the Grand Prize wedding and honeymoon package in a pretty extraordinary contest, the Maya Marriage of Many. The Grand Prize, worth $16,030, is one of only 12 coveted Bridal Packages for the Maya Marriage of Many that includes the exotic wedding ceremony and a honeymoon by Lara Goldman of Romantic Travel Belize, in conjunction with luxury wedding planner Lisa Light of Lisa Light Destination Bride and celebrity photographer, Terry Gruber, among others. "Janelle and Abel are an amazing couple and the perfect representatives of the Maya Marriage of Many. Janelle was born overseas, and they got engaged on the Eiffel Tower (they climbed it!), so their international flair is just perfect for this event. I could not have hand chosen a better couple to win this package. I look forward to spending the year with them," said Lara Goldman, owner of Romantic Travel Belize and contest organizer. "With the Big Reveal behind us and our cornerstone couple in place, now the attention shifts to the remaining 11 couples whose stories will be woven into the fabric of Mayan culture and tradition with this exclusive historical event."

Channel 7

UDP Objects to Schakron Candidacy
Tomorrow is nomination day for General Election candidates - but dual national and PUP Lake-I candidate Yolanda Schakron may be barred from offering herself for office because she is a U...

Shifting Sands In The Lake
Like sands shifting in an earthquake, the political landscape is changing very quickly in Lake Independence. Just during this newscast, we've received reports that with the difficulties b...

UDP Launch Citco Manifesto
And while all that is sure to come to a tremendous bubbling, boil tomorrow during the nomination day activities, there are other less contentious political matters - such as the laun...

Veteran Cop Remanded
7news has been closely following the case of the Special Branch Corporal, Gino Peck, who was busted on January 21 with an illegal ammunition cache at his Currasow Street residence by the...

Mother Of 7 Remanded For Stabbing
Hilda "Gobbler" Kelly, a 34 year-old mother of 7 residing on Fabers Road, is in prison tonight, remanded for the the attempted murder of 53 year-old Shirley Leslie, a resident of Saint Tho...

$300,000 Dollar Water Taxi Recovered
There's some good news tonight for the owner of San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi, who reported to Police that his 45 foot water taxi boat named Caribbean Star, was stolen sometime between...

GSU Still Making Busts
Despite taking heat from some the Prime Minister and his senior Minister Michael Finnegan, The Gang Suppression Unit has been keeping up the pressure on the city's crime hotspots. And...

Belize Updates Its Climate Change Position
Last April, Belize hosted a workshop for scientists from the region that are studying the effects of climate change on small island states. The purpose of that workshop was for scient...

The Coalition's Plan B
Last night we told you about the so-called national People's Referendum being organized by the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage. It's their Plan B after the formal referen...

A week ago, we promised you a profile on an accomplished Belizean music producer - who you'd probably never heard of, but had definitely heard his music. Well, it never got to air, because o...

Man Accused Of Stealing From A Bank, Acquitted
Earlier this evening, a Jury of 6 women and 3 men found 23 year-old William Stevens not guilty of 5 counts of theft in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas. It was alleged that he sto...

Channel 5

Objection to Yolanda Schakron’s nomination<
Nomination day for the March seventh general elections is this Friday. But will Yolanda Schakron make it on the ballot paper? There are last minute moves tonight to block her from running for general elections in Lake Independence. An objection to have her rejected this Friday is churning to crush her political ambitions. The government ...

Schakron says renunciation process is underway<
Before the news of the objection by a Lake Independence elector was made, News Five spoke to Schakron about her dual nationality and if all would be well by Friday. For clarity, Schakron at the time of the interview was not yet aware of the objection. When we spoke to her, she had just returned ...

Christian Workers Union tells S.S.B. employees; DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED<
The scandal at the Social Security Board over insider trading continues to spiral out of control. At the heart of it is the C.E.O. Merlene Bailey. On Monday, the Board of Directors combed through an audit by Pannel Kerr Foster and decided it was necessary to dismiss the C.E.O. Chair of the Board, ...

U.D.P. launches its Manifesto<
On Wednesday, nominations were held for mayoral and councilor candidates countrywide. The U.D.P. is fighting an uphill battle to remain at City Hall after a disastrous term in office which saw the outgoing mayor Zenaida Moya being expelled from her party. This afternoon, the governing party unveiled its manifesto. Central to its election platform is ...

Friends of Belize Forum<
Foreign direct investment has nosedived in the past years from one hundred and twenty million to thirty million dollars. This past Wednesday, a high level forum was held in Washington, DC, at the Rhaburn building of the US Capitol complex. The event attracted the participation of personalities from the state department, IMF, Heritage Foundation and ...

Charges dropped against wife; but cop locked up<
It was a very emotional morning for Corporal Gino Peck and his wife, Loretta Peck. The couple was busted on January twenty-first at their home and had been charged with firearm and ammunition offences. But this morning, when they returned to court, only the corporal was charged and his wife was freed. After she exited ...

Found NOT Guilty of $40,000 theft<
A jury today returned a not guilty on five counts of Theft against Belize City resident, twenty-four year old William Steven, an ex-employee of Caye Bank International Limited. Steven was accused of stealing forty-three thousand dollars from the bank. Prosecutor, Triennia Young, called as many as eight witnesses, including the Steven’s ex-girlfriend Neima Gomez, Joy ...

Students taken out of school for Nomination Day<
Wednesday was nomination day for the municipal elections and News Five had coverage from Belize City and Belmopan. But there were some sparks flying in Benque Viejo over the crowd that gathered for the United Democratic Party Nominations. According to P.U.P. Cayo West Standard Bearer, Oscar Sabido, the P.U.P. nominations were held from ten a.m. ...

On the Campaign Trail with P.U.P. Albert’s David Craig<
Our campaign trail today followed David Craig, the People’s United Party’s point man in Albert. Craig was placed on the ticket following the resignation of longtime area representative Mark Espat earlier this month. Despite the late start, Craig has hit the ground running and is knocking on as many doors in the constituency as time ...

Belize is vulnerable and heavily affected by Climate Change<
Climate change is a global issue that unfortunately affects developing nations more than the developed continents. Just one degree in temperature has serious economic implications for many nations including Belize. That is why stakeholders along with the Climate Change Center and the Ministry of Natural Resources gathered for the Belize Third National Communication to the ...

Family grieves loss, but gives advice to public<
Over the years we have carried numerous reports about the anemic services rendered to patients at public hospitals. A grieving family from Ladyville told us today that while they categorically wished not to bring disrepute to the KHMH, they feel that their loved one died prematurely under the care of nurses at the hospital. Daughter, ...

BELPO calls on GOB to help Conejo Villagers<
Twenty-three employees from Conejo Village in the south were fired by U.S Capital Energy last week. The problems started when the residents complained that a seismic testing line was running through the village. The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management believes that the firings were an act of spite because Capital Energy did not get ...

2012 Kinich Ahau Art Festival<
This coming Sunday, NICH and Kinich Ahau Art Committee will be holding another festival under the Maya 2012 calendar of activities. The Mayan temple of Altun Ha in the Village of Maskall is the venue to showcase the wood carving industry and the works of the carvers in the area. The artists will also participate ...


A jury of six women and three men is deliberating the fate of 26-year-old William Stevens today in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas on charges of five counts of theft for a total of $43,000.00. The thefts occurred between March 2007 and October 2007 at Caye International Bank in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye where Stevens worked in the customer care service. The crown, represented by Crown Counsel Trienna Young alleged that Stevens stole $5,000.00 on two separate occasions by depositing the money in Earett Cain’s account. The prosecution also alleged that Stevens stole $10,000.00 to purchase an Isuzu D Max from Bravo Motors, $17,000.00 to purchase land and $6,000.00 which he asked Cain to buy a car for him. The chief witness for the prosecution was Joy Flowers, the executive Vice President of Caye International Bank. Flowers testified that Stevens did not get a loan from the bank. Stevens gave a statement from the dock in which he denied he committed the thefts and that he got a loan from the bank. Stevens was represented by attorney Tricia Pitts Anderson. Story at

The weather doesn’t make the headlines on a regular day. But is the topic on the agenda today, or more so, the climate. It’s the Third National Communication and Workshop leading to the Caribbean Climate Change Project launch. It’s all aimed at setting certain goals to adjust to the changes in the climate. According to the Director of Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Paul Flowers, Belize falls within a specific category and has its own goals. Paul Flowers – Director of Policy and Planning “We are in a special category called uniquely vulnerable. We are uniquely vulnerable because of some very specific parameters that our country finds itself in. We are low lying, we have a lot of our population living along the coast, we experience extreme events and we are custodians of this Great Barrier Reef. So far from a climate change perspective, our lives, our livelihood and our position in the world can be significantly altered if we don’t adapt as a people to the effects that climate change is going to bring. Story at

34-year-old Hilda Kelly, a mother of seven who allegedly stabbed Shirley Leslie was charged with attempted murder when she appeared in court. Kelly was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. No plea was taken from her because the offences are indictable. Chief Magistrate Ana Marie Smith could not offer her bail because of the nature of the offences. Kelly was remanded into custody until March 20. The incident occurred yesterday in front of Payless Store on Jasmine Street. Leslie reported to the police that Kelly stabbed her in the neck. Leslie was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where she was admitted to ward. Story at

Marion Ali reporting... "UDP Mayoral candidate, Darrel Bradley and his councilor candidates presented their manifesto this afternoon at their party’s headquarters in the presence of party supporters. And while the present Council has been met by fierce criticism from the public, the new UDP slate, made up of a blend of present Councilors and new candidates, will, according to Bradley endeavour to set things right and that will start with a slew of must do’s that they plan to carry out within the first 100 days in office, including a code of conduct. Darrel Bradley, Mayoral Candidate, UDP “We are so serious about integrity, we are so serious about honesty in Government that I am willing to tell you that if I breach my oath of office, I want every single one of you, the UDP to be the first ones to challenge me in office and to go and have me recalled as Mayor because we are serious about what we say and we need to put it in the law. We will legislate mandatory provisions to require that there be independent auditing of all city council accounts, we will also put in the law to ensure that contracts over a certain amount must go to pubic tendering.” ” Story at

A man and his child remain hospitalized following a traffic accident on the Western Highway on Wednesday. Fem Cruz reporting... “A traffic accident yesterday evening has left a father in a critical condition. According to 38-year-old Ana Espat on Wednesday sometime around 6:40 p,m. she and her three year old daughter Hannah were travelling along with her husband, 53-year-old Kim Espat on a motorcylce heading from Belmopan enroute to Roaring Creek Village. Just before reaching M & J’s Supermarket in front of the Belmopan Showgrounds, she saw a van coming from the opposite direction which took a left turn into their lane to turn into a feeder road. She tried to alert her husband but it was too late. The motorcycle collided into the side of the van. All three persons, residents of Roaring Creek Village were transported to the Western Regional Hospital where Kim Espat was seen suffering from a broken right foot in several places, severe head and body injuries and might lose one eye and his right foot. He was later transferred to the KHMH in a critical condition along with his daughter who suffered two fractured leg. Ana Espat remains in a stable condition at Western Regional Hospital suffering from a large cut wound to the head and complained of pain to her right shoulder and hip. The police van was being driven at the time by 37-year-old Sergeant Alvin Neal Jr. who is stationed at the Belmopan Police Headquarters." Story at

Multiple sources have indicated that the Board of directors of the Belize Social Security Board has voted to terminate the services of Chief Executive Officer Merlene Bailey Martinez and internal Auditor Denise Mahler. The two senior executives of the SSB were place on suspension last month following allegations that they used privileged information to get staff to adjust their loans in order to take advantage of the government’s debt write off scheme for non-performing loans. An independent audit was carried out by the Panel Kerr Foster accounting firm, but the results of that audit have not been made public. Love News has been attempting to get information on the employment status of the suspended Martinez and Mahler; but we are told that the Chairman of SSB, attorney Lois Young is out of the country, and the acting CEO has been in meetings since yesterday. Multiple staff of Belize Social Security Board who contacted Love News indicates that a petition is being circulated for them to sign, claiming that they, the staff want the Board to reinstate Merlene Bailey Martinez and Denise Mahler. Story at

The case of Yolanda Schakron and her eligibility to contest the general election as the PUP standard bearer in Lake Independence has taken another twist. On the eve of nomination day, the government Press Office issued a press release saying that a formal objection to her nomination has been delivered to the Returning Officer for the Lake Independence Electoral Division. The objection, according to the government press release is based on Section fifty eight, subsection 1-A of the Belize Constitution which provides that, quote: “no person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Representatives who is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State,” end of quote. Late this evening, the Communication’s Director for the People’s United Party Lisa Shoman confirmed to Love News that the party is aware of the government press release; but that any objection to her eligibility to stand for election in Lake Independence should be lodged in the Supreme Court. In any event, Shoman says that the PUP has gone to the Supreme Court for a Constitutional Challenge to what she says is the government’s attempt to bar Mrs. Shackron from contesting the general elections. So as it stands, Yolanda Schakron will be going in to get nominated, as planned tomorrow morning. We will have more on this ongoing saga in our newscast tomorrow.


PUP Billboards Vandalized
This morning two P.U.P billboards, one of the Honorable John Briceno and the second of the P.U.P Town Council Team located on Price Avenue, were vandalized allegedly by members of the United Democratic Party. When we visited the area this morning we found Briceno’s billboard sliced in half while the billboard promoting the P.U.P 7 team was torn on two sides. When we spoke to residents of the area today we were informed that two individuals known as strong supporter of the U.D.P were seen tearing down the billboards. When their attention was called they immediately left the area leaving the remnants of the billboards behind.

88 Year Old Accuses Denny Grijalva Of Excavating On His Land Without Permision
In this heated political climate, certain politicians are willing to do almost anything to solicit votes; from making lavishing promises to giving away ham and turkeys. But in Orange Walk Central U.D.P Standard Bearer Denny Grijalva is being accused of going one step further. A man from the village of San Estevan is tonight accusing Grijalva of stealing white marl from his cane field and sharing it among party supporters. Today, after receiving a call from 88 year old Adolfo Vasquez, we headed to the village of San Estevan where we found the elderly man up in arms. Today 88 year old Adolfo Vasquez made serious accusations against U.D.P Orange Walk Central Standard Bearer Denny Grijalva. According to Vasquez on January 27th when he visited his cane field he witnessed when a man allegedly hired by Grijalva was excavating his property.

PUP And UDP Orange Walk Mayoral Candidates Appear On Open Your Eyes
The country’s mayoral candidates over the past weeks have appeared on Channel Five’s “Open Your Eyes” morning show co-hosted by Marlenie Cuellar and William Neal. Today the Orange Walk Town Mayoral Candidates the United Democratic Party’s Ivan Leiva and the People’s United Party’s Kevin Bernard were guests on the show. The first question that was asked to Leiva was what made him want to run for politics? In the case of Bernard his first question was what made him want to continue in political arena since he is presently a member of the Orange Walk Town Council? Here is there response.

UDP Accepts Mayoral Debate On Love FM
At the top of the newscast we showed you how both the P.U.P and the U.D.P Mayoral Candidate for the Orange Walk District handled the tough questions during the Open Your Eyes Show this morning. But that’s not the last time that you will see both men appearing on national television because on February 27th P.U.P Mayoral Candidate Kevin Bernard and U.D.P Mayoral Candidate Ivan Leiva will be the participants in the Love F.M Mayoral Debate. Viewers might recall that a few weeks ago Bernard informed CTV3 News that the Mayoral Debate series had been cancelled since the U.D.P did not respond to Love FM’s invitation. As a result, Bernard challenged Leiva to accept the debate. And it seems that the tactic worked because after much pressure from the media and Belizeans on a whole, the U.D.P decided to accept Love FM’s invitation. And from what we found out the debate between Leiva and Bernard will be an interesting one especially since Leiva has gone on record stating that he never said he did not want to take part in what Belizeans are calling a democratic process.


US Embassy gives update on Schakron's renunciation process
On Tuesday we reported that the People's United Party candidate for Lake Independence Yolanda Schakron was in Belmo...

PUP's Oscar Requena endorsed at rally in the south
The People’s United party also held a rally in the south in Mahbil Ha Village. Born and Raised in san pedro Colombi...

PM's campaign trail takes him to Punta Gorda
The Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow has been on the campaign trail. The PM’s political tour took him to Punta Gorda...

Atlantic Bank ATM robbery
A report of an armed robbery at a Belize City ATM was made. Police say that Raoul Berquin, a Haitian Security Guard...

Another political poll in the pipeworks
Several polls have been released recently – more so than in any other election. But Derrick Aikman, President of Ai...

Couple arrested on ammunition charges gets day in court
It was a very emotional morning outside the courtroom for the wife of Cpl Gino Peck. Both Peck and his wife were de...

Woman stabbed while socializing
A Belize City woman was stabbed in the neck last night. Police say 53 year old Shirley Leslie was socializing at Hi...

New school buildings eliminate asbestos crisis
Over 147 students of the Cristo Rey Roman Catholic School in the Corozal District are no longer exposed to the dang...

CWU expresses dissatisfaction over Social Secuirty petition
Last night we reported on a letter being circulated among management and staff members of Social security, petition...

400k water taxi stolen in Belize City
A water taxi valuing almost 400 thousand dollars was stolen from Belize City. Myron Marin, the owner of the San Ped...


Man walks free of theft charge
A jury of six women and three men is deliberating the fate of 26-year-old William Stevens today in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas on charges of five counts of theft for a total of $43,000.00. The thefts occurred between March 2007 and October 2007 at Caye International Bank in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye where Stevens worked in the customer care service. The crown, represented by Crown Counsel Trienna Young alleged that Stevens stole $5,000.00 on two separate occasions by depositing the money in Earett Cain’s account. The prosecution also alleged that Stevens stole $10,000.00 to purchase an Isuzu D Max from Bravo Motors, $17,000.00 to purchase land and $6,000.00 which he asked Cain to buy a car for him.

Woman remanded to prison for stabbing another
Thirty four year old Hilda Kelly, a mother of seven who allegedly stabbed Shirley Leslie was charged with attempted murder when she appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court today. Kelly was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. No plea was taken from her because the offences are indictable. Chief Magistrate Ana Marie Smith could not offer her bail because of the nature of the offences. Kelly was remanded into custody until March 20. The incident occurred on Wednesday in front of Payless Store on Jasmine Street. Leslie reported to the police that Kelly stabbed her in the neck. Leslie was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where she was admitted to ward.

Fate of SSB Chief Executive Officer still not decided
Multiple sources have indicated that the Board of directors of the Belize Social Security Board has voted to terminate the services of Chief Executive Officer Merlene Bailey Martinez and internal Auditor Denise Mahler. The two senior executives of the SSB were place on suspension last month following allegations that they used privileged information to get staff to adjust their loans in order to take advantage of the government’s debt write off scheme for non-performing loans. An independent audit was carried out by the Panel Kerr Foster accounting firm, but the results of that audit have not been made public. Love News has been attempting to get information on the employment status of the suspended Martinez and Mahler; but we are told that the Chairman of SSB, attorney Lois Young is out of the country, and the acting CEO has been in meetings since yesterday.

NICH plans Kinich Ahau Festival
On Sunday February nineteenth the grounds of Altun Ha Mayan Site will be the location for the Kinich Ahau Art Festival that is being sponsored by the National Institute of Culture and History through the Institute of Creative Arts and in conjunction with the Kinich Ahau Art Committee. It is also the second event held under the Maya 2012 Calendar.

February 16, 2012

San Pedro UDP 7 duly nominated
For its part the United Democratic Party town council team gathered in front of the San Pedro Town Council shortly around 2PM. Led by the Isla Bonita School Marching Band, the UDP 7 and their supporters they made their way through the principal streets of San Pedro and returned in front of the Town Council. One by one, each member of the UDP 7 walked up to the office of the Town Council to be nominated. UDP Mayoral Candidate Daniel Guerrero was nominated by Steven Schulte and Joseph Elijio. Councilor Candidates Henrick Brackett was nominated by Iriada Gonzalez and Efrain Guerrero Sr., Severo Guerrero Jr. was nominated by Ricardo Verde and Jose Alberto Nunez Jr., Carlos Barrientos was nominated by Flora Ancona and Catherine Paz, Gabriel “Gaby” Nunez was nominated by Raul Gonzalez and Phillip “Billy” Leslie and Yolanda Parham was nominated by Claudio Azueta and Elsa Paz.

San Pedro PUP 7 Nominated
Shortly before 10AM, the candidates of the People’s United Party for the upcoming municipal elections in San Pedro Town left from the PUP headquarters to be nominated. In a very festive celebration, the PUP 7 along with their supporters marched through the principal streets of San Pedro Town. Arriving at 11:30AM at the Town Council Office, all candidates where nominated in a span of about 50 minutes. The PUP 7 appeared before returning officer Ava Gene Swift. First to be nominated was PUP Mayoral Candidate Conchita Flota by Martha Guerrero and Merline Spain. The other candidates to be nominated were Gualberto “Wally” Nunez by Edwardo Vasquez and Carlos Rodriguez, Oscar “David” Aguilar by Paulino Pineda and Jesus Wiltshire, Viana “Vianie” Perez by Doroteo Acosta and Romelia Rivero, Raymundo “Mundo” Nunez by Hector Salazar and Alberto Guerrero, Marina Graniel by Ana Najaro and Andre Perez and Maribel Vasquez by Ronaldo Espat and Jason Nunez.

San Pedro Town Council Independent Candidates Nominated
Shortly before 1PM Independent Mayoral Candidate Melanie “Mel Paz” along with her core campaigners assembled on Laguna Drive and walked down the principal streets of San Pedro. Blowing horn and chanting, Paz and her group made their way to the Town Council where Paz was duly nominated. Maz was officially nominated by Priciliano Rigoberto Kumul and Miguel Alberto Perez. Following her nomination Paz explained that finally there is a choice other than the two political parties. “I have been waiting for this day for long and finally its here. I am confident that on Election Day, the people of San Pedro are going to vote wisely. They are going to vote for Mel Paz,” she explained.

Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival
The Placencia Belize Tourism Industry Association held it's 9th Annual Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival this past weekend, Saturday, February 11 to Sunday, February 12, 2012. It was a resounding success for the PBTIA as hundreds of tourist both local and international enjoyed all the arts on display. The Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival highlights all or as many of Belize’s visual and performing artists and is staged along Placencia’s famous sidewalk. Throughout the weekend, artists from across the country made their way to Placencia to set up and showcase their best artwork. Artists were also joined by food vendors as they lined the sidewalk making it a colorful representation of art, food and culture. Dozens of local and international tourists were entertained by DJ Dorian, Entourage Movements, Creole drumming by Emmeth Young and Talla Walla and Punta & Reggae music by Inner Vibrations.

SP Town Council Nominations 2012 Held Today
The following is the list of candidates and their nominators: PUP Mayoral candidate: *Conchita Valdez: Martha Guerrero, Mel Spain PUP Councilor candidates: *Raymundo Nuñez: Hector Salazar, Omar Guerrero *Wally Nuñez: Eduardo Vasquez, Carlos Rodriguez *Maribel Vasquez: Jason Nuñez, Rolando Espat *Viannie Perez: Romelia Rivero, Carlos Santos *David Aguilar: Jesus Wiltshire, Paulino Pineda *Marina Kay: Ana Najarro, Andre Perez

My Funky Valentine
We normally don't go out for Valentine's Day, but for our first one in Belize, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner out at the Funky Monkey, just a mile or so south. Actually, it was my idea, as most meals out are. Dale had posted about their Valentine's special meal on Facebook, and it sounded tasty -- and reasonable at only $40 BZD per person, including dessert, so it was a date. Of course we'd be riding our bikes. We left early while it was still plenty light.

Adventure Vacation Guide 2012: Belize
Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language. The small country, measuring 180 miles long and 68 miles wide, is a popular vacation destination for tourists whose native language is English. But Belize is good for much more than just lounging in white sand while watching the shimmering teal waves roll in and out while drinks, ordered in English, are replenished. Behind the luxurious resorts and relaxing vacation packages, Belize is an adventure destination.

If you are looking for a special experience in a Caribbean/Central American getaway, you should try Belize resorts. Great people, preserved ancient treasures, amazing views – relaxing time – all are offered by Belize. Hamanasi - Named Belize Hotel of the Year Kanantik – “Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort, an intimate, secluded, luxurious beachfront resort located in Southern Belize” Chaa Creek - Rated “Top Belize Resort & Hotel” by the Belize Tourism Board Robert’s Grove “a beautifully appointed Hacienda-style Belize beach resort nestled on 22 acres of the finest white sand beach in Placencia Belize” Glover’s Reef “called “one of the healthiest reefs in the region” and “a model of hope” for marine conservation”

Nomination Day In the City: Was It A Blue Tide Or a Sea Of Red?
Today was nomination day for municipal elections - meaning that in all 9 towns and cities, candidates went to elections and boundaries offices and presented themselves as candidates. It'...

UDP Shows Muscle, Machinery and Money
And those who didn't see the bills or the caricature - got to see the man himself this afternoon. UDP Leader Dean Barrow headed his party's procession through the streets. The challenge ...

Schakron Says She Is "In Process" Of Renouncing Passport
And while the rich political pageant dominated today's headlines - the issue of Yolanda Schakron's candidacy remains the burning issue. As we reported last night, Schakron did go to the ...

Barrow Says UDP Has Nothing To Do With Missing Passport
And while we can assure you that we have had no physical contact with Schakron's passport - and neither have we dealt with anyone who stole it - assuming indeed that it was stolen - Schakron...

City Shooting Mars Victoria Street Peace
On yesterday evening's news we showed you the inspiring community project on North Front Street that has been increasing the peace in the Victoria Street neighborhood. But, we may have s...

George Street Underboss Acquitted
Gerald "Shiney" Tillett, brother of the boss of George Street, Sheldon "Pinky" Tillett, was acquitted in Magistrate's Court of 3 charges in connection to a raid by the Gang Suppression Unit...

Acquittal For Accused Killer: Confession Was Forced
23 year-old Ian Haylock, a resident of Water Lane was acquitted in the courtroom of Justice Dennis Hannomansingh on Monday of the February 2008 murder of Eduardo Samos, a 50 year-old taxi dr...

Tourism Numbers Are Impressive
Whenever you hear about a press conference about statistics with just weeks to go before an election - you know that the numbers presented have to be good! And indeed they are for the BTB...

Nomination Day In San Pedro
Unlike the mainland, the island town of San Pedro with its large expatriate population, is known for its non-aligned voters who vote based on candidates, not parties. And that's what ma...

March 7th.: A Single Holiday For a Double Election
And with all the political combustion building up to the double election day - can you imagine what March seventh will be like!? Crazy, no doubt. And that's why many will be happy to ...

The Other Way Of Raising A Referendum
And the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage seems to have a similar idea. Although the Coalition failed in its effort to trigger a referendum, it will try again - this time by carr...

Derrick Aikman To Conduct Poll For Undecided Voters
And one man who's been on a political vacation is Derek Aikman. He flashed across the public stage in 2008 - and then after he claims that he was kidnapped, the former Freetown Area Represen...

Dancehall Up And Comer Charlie Black In Belize
Dancehall artist, Charlie Black, touched down this morning in Belize City. It is his second time in Belize and the hot newcomer to the dancehall scene - told us, he isn't just here to put on...

S.S.B. Board decides to fire; will it happen?
The Board of Directors of the Social Security met on Monday to deal with the audit of insider trading at S.S.B. It was a lengthy meeting that concluded at seven thirty p.m. The Panel Kerr Foster audit is not favorable and while fraud was not established, it was damning of the C.E.O. Merlene Bailey who ...

Bailey Bailout? S.S.B. staffers urged to save C.E.O.
News Five has just obtained a copy of that February fourteenth letter sent to the S.S.B. Chairman Lois Young. It says “We are anxiously anticipating the return of our C.E.O., Mrs. Merlene Martinez and our Internal Auditor, Miss Denise Mahler. Through this medium, we would like to express our fullest support for their reinstatement…With respect ...

Nomination Day fete in Belmopan
Across the country, a slew of red, blue and yellow shirts, a virtual color coat of arms of political parties were on the pavement for nomination day. News Five covered the march to nominate municipal candidates in both former and current capital. In Belmopan, four candidates were nominated to contest the Mayoral seat for the ...

Road march for Belize City Council Nomination
In Belize City nominations took place at the Complex or Charles Bartlett Hyde building on Mahogany Street. And though it was just another nomination for the parties, well, the mood was indicative of the Election Day buildup. News Five’s Isani Cayetano spoke to the Mayoral Candidates. Isani Cayetano, Reporting A sea of red, the tidal ...

Schakron admits giving up US Citizenship
Nomination Day for General Elections is on February seventeenth. And the only candidate that may have a glitch on that day is the P.U.P.’s Yolanda Schakron. Schakron’s Guatemalan birth is not the issue; it’s the fact that she is a sworn citizen of the United States. Schakron made her “as Belizean as Rice and Beans” ...

But PM thinks it’s too late for P.U.P. Lake I
No other than the Prime Minister has been following the situation of the novice politician, Yolanda Schakron. P.M. Dean Barrow told the media today that time may not be on Schakron’s side to renounce her U.S. Citizenship. According to the P.M., Schakron remains clueless as to who the perpetrator of the stolen document is since ...

Coalition will have Unsanctioned Offshore Referendum
The Coalition to Save Our National Heritage had been diligent in its collection of twenty thousand signatures that it hoped would trigger a referendum on the offshore drilling issue. Eight thousand signatures were rejected and by all accounts, it’s over. The process would have to start from scratch all over again. But the Coalition says ...

Former politician has his own national election/poll
While the coalition is organizing their private referendum, another social activist is organizing a trip to the poll. Former U.D.P. minister of government, Derek Aikman is joining the ranks of recent pollsters such as the Independent’s Glenn Tillett and Karim Berges along with economist Yasmin Andrews. Aikman’s poll on the election is by far the ...

B.T.B.’s stats show Tourist Arrivals up
The Belize Tourism Board today announced the statistics for tourist arrivals in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the figures are record breaking for overnight visitors. There were a total of fifty-seven thousand, nine hundred and sixty-four overnight visitors, which reflects a six point five percent increase when compared to the same period in 2010. ...

Jade head on display for students
The Museum of Belize is celebrating its ten year anniversary since it opened its doors. One of the hallmarks of the museum is its Maya exhibit. The exhibit was bolstered today with the inclusion of the Jade Head. The priceless object had not been on display in a few years; however, the museum’s director said ...

2 persons shot on New Road
While NICH and the Museum do their best to preserve our heritage, there are those on the streets who have little value for artifacts or even the preservation of life. On Tuesday night a lone assassin with a loaded nine-millimeter handgun was on the prowl; his targets were two men in the New Road area. ...

Interesting evidence, but murder trial flops
In the Corozal District, a four-year-old murder trial ended in the Supreme Court on Monday and the accused killer walked away a free man. Taxi driver, Eduardo Samos, was shot in the face and left to die in a cane field on February thirteenth, 2008. When police located his missing vehicle eight days later, it ...

Babysitter manslaughter case in Court
In the Belize District, a case of manslaughter against a Ladyville woman came to a sudden halt today when the jury, which had been hearing her case over the past two weeks, had to be discharged. Twenty-four year old Danna Banner was initially charged in 2008 following the death of a toddler in her care. ...

U.D.P. Benque Don Jorge switches party
Just last week, you saw Marcel Cardona on national TV endorsing the P.U.P.’s Marco Tulio Mendez for the Orange Walk East Constituency. Well, it seems there is another U.D.P. who is rallying behind the P.U.P. in the Western Town of Benque Viejo. Don Jorge Iglesias is a two-time elected U.D.P. Councilor but he is dissatisfied ...

On the Corozal Campaign Trail with “Papas”
Across the Corozal District, every post, tree and even some houses are decorated with political flags and banners. It’s a clear sign that the candidates for the March seventh elections are in the height of their campaigns. For the election season, News Five has embarked on a campaign trail series and Delahnie Bain was in ...

Letter on Rosewood from Toledo villager
Valentine’s Day has just passed and though the day should be about love, it has become commercialized very much like Christmas. A News Five viewer contacted our newsroom about a love letter of sorts that he wanted to share that came from one of his relatives. But instead of words found in a romance novel, ...

Still fresh the day after; KTV Latino!!
It’s three weeks into the new season of KTV Latino and we’ve brought you two rounds of pre-recorded auditions as well as last week’s live audition, which narrowed the talent pool down to fourteen contestants. But on Tuesday night, the competition really got started with debut performances from the seven hopefuls that make up Group ...

UDP Unable To Attract Supporters Yet Again
As we told you earlier, today’s Nomination Day was very important for the United Democratic Party here in Orange Walk since it was an opportunity for them to rebound from the shameful experience they had on February 5th when instead of marching towards the People’s Stadium as was the initial plan, they had to hold a motorcade due to the poor turnout of supporters.

PUP O/w Town Council Candidates Officially Nominated
With only 20 days away from two major elections today was Nomination Day for all candidates contesting the Municipal Elections on March 7th, 2012. For the P.U.P here in the Orange Walk District it was an opportunity to once again flex their muscle and show how much support their Town Council Candidates have. We say again because that support was shown during Sunday’s

The Future Of S.S.B.'s CEO Uncertain
On January 11th 2012 the CEO of Social Security Board, Merlene Bailey Martinez, was suspended after reports surfaced that there was insider trading among staff members of Social Security Board. Along with Bailey, internal auditor Denise Mahler was also suspended. As a result, the board decided that an independent audit should commence immediately in order to verify whether

Children With Special Needs Undergo Training For Special Olympics
The Olympics is an international sporting event where a multitude of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. Here in Belize we also have our own Olympics Competition, known as the Special Olympics. It’s a special branch of the Olympics, where disable children participate in different types of activities. This past Saturday, Peace Corp Volunteers held a training session at the Barracks Field here in Orange Walk Town in order to get participants ready for the upcoming Special Olympics. The National Director of Special Olympics in Belize, Elodia Bautista shared some details of what Special Olympics in Belize entails.

Two teen girls pregnant; grown men are responsible
Two teenage girls from Camalote village are the victims of sexual assault by grown men. In separate incidents on Tuesday morning, the two fifteen year old girls, in the company of their mothers, went to the Belmopan police station to report that they had had sexual intercourse with two men. The first teenager told police that on the second of October of last year, she had sexual intercourse with a man she identifies as Clifford Galvez. The girl is now twenty five weeks pregnant. About an hour after the first report was made, another fifteen year old went to the police station to report that on three separate occasions she had sexual intercourse with a man she identifies as Ralston Rodriguez. The girl is now eight weeks pregnant. Police are investigating both incidents.

Two men injured in overnight shooting incident
The Crime Beat Two men were injured in a shooting incident last night in Belize City. Police say just after seven o’clock last night they went to the Karl Heusner Memorial...

People’s referendum coming next week
Tanya Williams The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage has expressed their disappointment in the manner in which their quest to hold a referendum on offshore drilling has ended up. Coalition Coordinator...

PUP nominates candidates for the Municipal Elections
The People’s United Party brought out a crowd to the nomination of their municipal slate in Belize City.

Cop charged for drunk driving
A police officer who was recently promoted to Corporal was charged with two traffic offenses on Monday Febrary 13th after a traffic accident on Sunday, February 12 in the village of Lucky Strike. There was no fatality but the Belize Police Department has launched an investigation into the traffic accident to ascertain what could have caused Cpl. Luis Quixaj to lose control of his work vehicle and crash into a tree. Information is not forthcoming but police believe that the officer was under the influence of alcohol and as a result he was charged with two traffic offenses.

Mark King signs stolen; culprit appears in court
UDP Lake I Candidate, Mark King reported to police that 4 of his billboards were stolen on Sunday February 12th. As a result of the report, police arrested and charged Norris Leslie, known “cologne”. Leslie appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday February 14th before Magistrate Sherigne Rodrigurez where he was charged with theft and damage to property. He pleaded not guilty and was offered and met bail of $2,000 and is due back in court on March 24.

Special Constable and his wife busted with gun
Special constable Jose Adolfo Haylock Jr. 26, and his common-law-wife, Corrine Diana Martinez, 27, were remanded to jail until March 15 after being charged with possession of a unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Accused of stealing a Pit Bull
Roberto Montejo, 27, pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft when he appeared in Magistrate’s Court before Magistate Dorothy Flowers on Friday February 10th.

Man acquitted of fondling 8-year-old girl
On Friday February 10th, 53 year old Filodelfio Reneau was acquitted of aggravated assault of an indecent nature. Reneau had been charged after an 8-year-old girl reported to police that he had molested her. The girl told police that Reneau had befriended her and fondled her.

Convicted of Human Trafficking
On Friday February 10th, Yolanda Garcia, 41, was found guilty of trafficking in persons when she appeared in Magistrate’s Court on Friday February 10th. Garcia, who is a naturalized Belizean, was convicted of trafficking in persons after she was accused by a 17-year-old student of the Cayo District, who claimed that she was working at Serenita’s Bar located on Regent Street West in 2010. Whilst working there, Garcia told her that she also must have sex with the men as part of her duties.

What about the Superbond? - PM says Government will deal with it!
On Monday February 20th, the government of Belize will have to pay BZ$33,537,066.66 to service the Superbond. That means that taxpayers across the country will bear that brunt. In announcing the election date, Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the electorate that the UDP government is seeking a new mandate but more than that, the UDP is asking the people to do something about the Superbond. That announcement sent chills down the spine of those holding the bond so much so that there was speculation that the government may default on payments. The rating agency Standard & Poor’s took it so seriously that it downgraded Belize’s ratings from B- to CCC.

PUP Handing Out Counterfeit Money for Nomination Parade
If the United Democratic Party was not truly a party of the people, our democracy would be in trouble. The People’s United Party has plunged into the dimension of the obsoletes and undesirables. They are no longer a viable opposition and their inability to move a crowd is proof of that.

Belize City Council Manifesto launch
The United Democratic Party launches its Belize City Council Manifesto (2012-2015) on February 16, 2012, starting at 2:30 pm upstairs in the conference room of the UDP Secretariat on Youth for the Future Drive. (Press Release)

Party of Inclusion
The United Democratic Party is the true party of inclusion. The party takes on the issues concerning people of all ethnic groups in Belize and because of that it has garnered support from all corners of the country. That representation has attracted candidates from the Creole, Garinagu, Mayan, Mestizo, Mennonite and Chinese community. One group that has been neglected for years is the Indian Community-not under this administration. Herman Longsworth recently lobbied for land leases to be distributed to the Indian Community. As a result, 7 leases were recently distributed to the Indian Community. It is the first time that any Government has granted leases to the community and their members have expressed their gratitude for the gesture. The Indian Community makes significant contributions to the country and continues to be job creators.

OW Team 7 holds Football Tournament
The UDP team 7 in Orange Walk has not yet been elected to office but it has already been proving that it is ready to deliver for the people. They have been active in community activities as well as infrastructural development in the Town.

New Irrigation System for San Antonio Village
Through the collaboration of the Government of Venezuela and the Ministry of Agriculture, the Hon. Rene Montero accomplished another milestone on Wednesday February 15th in inaugurating a new water system for irrigation in the San Antonio village. The new water system is about two miles long providing water to 17 farms and will be used by 25 farmers from the village. The total cost for this project is $68,000.00 with a contribution of 10% from the farmers in digging trenches. The water source is about 5 miles away from the Mountain Pine Ridge, which provides an abundance of water using gravity flow. This project will help farmers in increasing their farm production of vegetables to lower cost and stabilize prices for consumers.

PROOF - Always for the People
Vibrant, and steadfast, the UDP is on the precipice of yet another term in the Town Halls and City Halls of this nation. If there was any doubt as to the outcome of the municipal elections on March 7, nomination day today sent the clearest and most succinct message that the United Democratic Party is going to once again sweep the entire country. From north to south, Mayor Hilberto Campos in Corozal, who marched to the Nominating station along with his Councilor candidates and hundreds of supporters, to Mayor Floyd Lino in Punta Gorda and his throng of supporters, across the country, the nation resounded with one voice; today, the United Democratic Party is strong, has delivered to all the City Councils and Town Councils in the country, and will continue to deliver after 7 March.

IDB Board of Governors Meet in San Pedro
The 26th Meeting of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Governors of Central America and the Dominican Republic was held last week in San Pedro Town. On Thursday, February 9, President of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno, spoke to the media about the meeting.

Election day declared a holiday
Municipal elections and General Elections have been set to be held on the same day, March 7th, 2011. Because of the strain that a dual election will be having on the public service, and since public officers are the ones who are the ones responsible for running the exercise, government has decided to declare March 7th a public and bank holiday. The decision serves two purposes: it allows for public officers to be deployed to their various posts without their absence having an effect on the various government ministries where they ordinarily work. It also allows for the public to come out and exercise their right to vote without having to report to work. Many times people work in areas outside of where they are registered to vote and this presents a problem for them having at times to miss an entire workday in order to be able to vote. The decision to declare election day a holiday will solve this problem.

Massive Infrastructure Project Commences
The United Democratic Party’s administrations are known for their commitment to infrastructural development. In four years, this administration did more to develop the infrastructure of the country than the PUP administrations have done since Independence. Numerous sugar roads have been rehabilitated in the North. Down South, the Placencia Road has finally been paved and the stretch from the dump at Jalacte to the Southern border is also being paved. That focus on infrastructural development has turned squarely to Belize City. On Monday, January 20, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, Minister of Works, signed three contracts under Phase II of the Belize City Southside Poverty Alleviation Project. Those contracts were for the dredging and lining of canals and the paving of Jane Usher Boulevard and Neal’s Pen Road.

Asbestos-Free Cristo Rey School
Over 147 students of the Cristo Rey Roman Catholic School in the Corozal District are no longer exposed to the dangers associated with asbestos thanks to a project, which included the rehabilitation of two main school buildings equipped with new computers, office furniture and other equipment. Spacious bathrooms were also constructed.

Rehabilitation of August Pine Ridge School
On Friday, February 10, a rehabilitated building along with a sanitary block wasinaugurated at the August Pine Ridge RC School in the Orange Walk District. Over 400 students will benefit from the project. The project included the replacement of the school’s asbestos roof with a new pre-painted roof. It also included the dismantling and disposal of existing walls, installation of plycem walls with metal backing, repairs to damaged columns and electrical rewiring of the building as well as installation of a new ceiling, doors and windows. The school measures 105 ft long by 37 ft wide and houses six classrooms, a computer lab and principal’s office. The project involved the supply of an AC Unit, electrical fans and 10 fully equipped computers, a photo copier, a projector with a screen, two digital cameras and school furniture.

Telemedia interoffice softball champions
Telemediaq, the 10th Annaul Belize City Interoffice Champions The 10th Annual Belize City Interoffice Softball Competition came to an end on Friday February 10, 2012, at Rogers Stadium with Telemedia besting Education in a slug fest to capture its very first interoffice title.

Belize plays host to Regional Anti-Doping Meeting and Training
The National Anti-Doping Organisation of Belize, in partnership with the Ministry of Sports, the National Sports Council, the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation and the World Anti-Doping Agency, is hosting the Annual Regional Anti-Doping Organisation’s Board Meeting and the Doping Control Officers Training at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel.

A Question of Trust
It’s all about trust. Yolanda Shakron’s decision to withhold information on her citizenship status both from her adopted party and from the Belizean people does not reflect well on her judgement and character. Everyone in Belize knows that our Belizean Constitution does not allow anyone holding dual nationality to vie for a seat in the National Assembly. Just two year ago there were fiery public consultations on the issue when a suggestion was made to change the Constitution to allow dual nationals to run for national office. The PUP was very active in opposing any change as were many other groups and individuals. In keeping with the wishes expressed during these national consultations by the overwhelming majority of participants, the decision was made to leave the Constitution unchanged. We can only assume therefore that the PUP leadership was not aware of Yolanda Shakron’s citizenship status when they invited her to replace Cordel Hyde as their candidate in the Lake I Division. We can further assume that Yolanda Shakron, like all Belizean adults, was fully aware of her Constitutional ineligibility but still offered herself as a candidate. The problem is not really about her citizenship or even where she was born. ...

We Apologize
We received a letter last week from the Law Firm of Musa and Balderamos acting on behalf of the Communications director for the People’s United Party PUP, Ms. Lisa Shoman complaining that our front page article titled, “PUP Peddling Pornography,” which carried a photograph of Ms. Shoman was a vile innuendo and outright defamation. After a careful perusal of the front page we agree that anyone who did not read the article and simply saw the title of the story along with Ms. Shoman’s picture could have linked her photograph to the title of the story and arrived at conclusions that the article was never intended to convey. This was never our intention and for this we must proffer our most profound apologies to Ms. Shoman.

PM tour hits Punta Gorda
The Prime Minister Dean Barrow continued his nationwide tour on Sunday February 12th when he visited the Toledo district. Hon. Juan Coy of the Toledo West Constituency and Hon. Peter Eden Martinez of the Toledo East Constituency prepared a reception for the PM like no other. It was such a great reception that Hon. Barrow had no other choice but to admit that the visit was by far the best reception he had received since he began his tour. He exclaimed that while he thought the warmth of the northern districts was great, that warmth which was given off in the south was even greater.

Shakron Can’t Run
The people of Belize - and more so the residents of Lake Independence - have only one thing to tell Yolanda Shackron; that is: “Give up your U.S. Citizenship if you want to represent us”. Apparently, though Shackron is unwilling to do so. On Friday February 10th, Channel 7 News disclosed that Yolanda Shackron is a U.S. Citizen and as such would be ineligible to run for the upcoming general elections unless she renounces her citizenship. By Monday February 13th, the matter was certified when the news channel proved that she was indeed a U.S. national by providing a copy of her passport. More than this, the passport showed that Shackron was born in Guatemala.

Front Row: Soccer Standout Takes Coaching Skills To Central America
Andrzejewski played soccer her whole life and has a slew of accolades to prove it, including training alongside Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and other U.S. women's national team players during her five years on youth national teams. She led her team in scoring for Maryland, and Loyola when she transferred there. She played with professional teams -- the Washington Freedom, Colorado Force and now the Maryland Capitols. What puts a smile on her face lately is remembering her trips to Nicaragua and Belize in January to teach the youth of the Central American countries about soccer and about life. This year was her fourth trip to Nicaragua. Her first as a junior in college was memorable, and she couldn't wait to return.

Former Government Minister Derek Aikman has been out of the headlines for some time but today Aikman called out the press to announce his company, Aikman and Aikman will be conducting an election on Friday. Aikman said the election will be conducted by a team from his Academy. Aikman stressed that in no way is he trying to discredit recent polls done to show the stance on elections, he says his team thought of this as a way of clarifying the many doubts voters are experiencing at this time nearing municipal and General Elections 2012. Derek Aikman – Chairman, Aikman and Aikman “On Friday which is nomination day for general elections Aikman and Aikman will be conducting an election on that day. We are going to conduct an election in 31 constituencies in this country. Polls will open at seven o’clock in the morning, polls will close at six o’clock in the evening and when the results are in, you can take the results of this election to the bank that when the final tally is made on Friday night, I would imagine somewhere around eight nine o’clock, we will have the result of an election just as had the election taken place on nomination day, this is the party or this is what would have formed the Government.

The Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage has expressed their disappointment in the manner in which their quest to hold a referendum on offshore drilling has ended up. Coalition Coordinator Tanya Williams told Love News they will be holding their own referendum called the people’s referendum on February twenty-fourth. Tanya Williams – Coalition Coordinator “The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage will be holding what we are calling the People’s Referendum on February 24. We are looking at having a national referendum where the people of Belize get the opportunity to vote on the issue of oil exploration in the offshore. As you all know we were trying to trigger a referendum under the Referendum Act and that was not successful but we know that we had so many thousands of people who wanted the opportunity to have their opinion known, their position known in terms of whether or not we should have oil exploration in the offshore and we see this as a very fitting opportunity to vote. We call it a people’s referendum because it is not going through the Referendum Act so it is not a referendum being triggered under the Referendum Act; it is a referendum being held by the Coalition for the people of Belize, for all those registered voters who want that opportunity to voice their opinion on this very important issue.

Two men were injured in a shooting incident last night in Belize City. Police say just after seven o’clock last night they went to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where they saw 38-year-old Reynard Grinage suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the right hand. Police say they went to Belize Medical Associated where they saw 49-year-old Michael Wade suffering from gunshot wounds to the right forearm, right shoulder and right side of the abdomen. Investigations reveal that Grinage and Wade were standing near the corner of New Road and Pitts Alley when an unidentified male person rode on New Road and fired several shots towards them causing the injuries.

The Belize Tourism Board announced the official statistics in the tourism arrivals for Belize in 2011 this morning at the Phoenix Resort in San Pedro Town. According to the officials, the tourism sector has seen an upward trend in tourist arrivals to our shores. Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation is Manuel Heredia Junior. Manuel Heredia Jr. – Minister of Tourism “I am happy to announce that for the first time in the history of Belize tourism we have attained the record overnight arrival in three of the twelve months of last year, namely January, July and December of 2011. As a result of these top performing months I am proud to say that 2011 will be recorded as only the second time in Belize’s history that we have exceeded the 250,000 overnight arrivals.” According to Minister Heredia since he took office in 2008, the numbers in tourism are better showing a twelve percent increase in overall arrivals including cruise and overnight arrivals. Major challenges were highlighted by Interim Director Javier Paredez.

Cabinet has agreed that Election Day, March 7 will be a public and bank holiday. This was decided on during its regular meeting on Tuesday. Today was nomination Day for candidates contesting the upcoming municipal elections. Arturo Cantun reporting... “Supporters from both major political parties also took to the streets in Corozal Town to nominate candidates for the upcoming municipal elections. The PUP was the first party to do so. Supporters like candidates gathered this morning at the PUP Corozal Bay office on College Rd. from where they paraded to the center of town to make nominations at the Corozal Magistrate court. A crowd of approximately 100 PUP supporters accompanied the PUP candidates in Corozal Town. Love News understands there was a short delay in the nomination process as the magistrate court was being used for sessions of the Supreme Court. The cases were adjourned for a later date to give way to the nomination process. PUP candidate for mayor of Corozal is Anwar Charaf and councilors candidates are Loraine Zuniga, Baldemar Pech, Ivan Castillo, Primitivo Vasquez, Ruben Cruz, and Maximo Sosa. In speaking briefly with Charaf, he told Love News that his slate hopes to win the municipal elections under the theme of better goveranace and accountability to the residents of Corozal Town. Nomination for the UDP slate in Corozal started promptly at two this afternoon leaving from the Corozal Bay UDP office and parading through some of the principal streets of Corozal. The nomination for UDP candidates proceeded without any set back. Nominated as mayoral candidate is Mayor Hilberto Campos, who seeks office for the third consecutive term. In speaking with Campos shortly after leaving the magistrate courts, he told Love News that his slate is campaigning under the theme of proven governance as he believes he and his team have done well and deserve to be brought back to town hall to continue the work. UDP councilor candidates are Daisy Marroquin, Stacy Armstrong Chi, Elva Perez, Guillermo Arana, Rafael Castillo and Jude Budna. After the nomination a UDP rally took place in front of the Corozal Town Hall where the slate launched its manifesto. To note is that unlike the two previous elections in Corozal, there was no independent candidate who entered the race for councilor or mayor.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Belize’s Atlantic Bank, CIDA, IFC Seek to Improve Banking Access for Small and Medium- Sized Enterprises
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Atlantic Bank of Belize, with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), are working to improve access to financial services for small and medium- sized enterprises (SME) in Belize. Whhe nature of the support is unspecified, IFC intends to help Atlantic Bank improve the products and services it offers and diversify its portfolio, with the aim of increasing the bank’s SME portfolio by 40 percent to about USD 15 million [1]. While financial details are not available on Atlantic Bank, it has 13 branches and is majority-held by Sociedad Nacional de Inversiones of Honduras. As of 2011, IFC has 182 member countries, total assets of USD 68.5 billion and total investment mobilization of USD 12.2 billion to 518 projects.

Live Blog: Globe Travel explores Belize by kayak (and smartphone)
The Globe's Amberly McAteer is in Belize, taking your questions and uploading live video and photos of her kayak adventure. Sacred caves, cabanas on the Caribbean, world class snorkeling, ancient Mayan ruins - it all sounds like a dream. Too good to be true. Unbelizeable, some might say.. I'm leaving in 3 days. Join me on the adventure - send your questions, suggestions, tips and advice - and I'll bring you along for the ride, uploading photos and videos at every stop. (Apologies in advance for the bad Belize puns..) I'm told to pack incredibly light (nine days away would usually mean a standard giant suitcase - but now it all has to fit in a kayak). What would you pack? What am I forgetting?

Tiny insect discovered in wilds of Belize
U.S. entomologists say they've discovered a tiny grasshopper-like insect in Belize and named it in commemoration of a Mayan people who once lived there. Researchers have dubbed the tiny hopper Ripipteryx mopana after the Mopan people, a Mayan group native to the Central American region. Scientists from the University of Illinois discovered the new species in the tropical rainforests of the Toledo District in southern Belize, which is bordered by Mexico and Guatemala. "Belize is famous for its biodiversity, although very little is known about the insect fauna of the southern part of the country. This is particularly true of the Orthoptera -- the grasshoppers, crickets and katydids," entomologist Sam Heads said in a university release Wednesday. The tiny black, white and orange colored grasshopper-like species -- less than a quarter inch long -- uses its large jumping hind legs to escape predators, the researchers said.

Tiny New Species Hops Around Belize Jennifer Welsh, Live
A newfound species of a tiny, grasshopperlike insect seems to be quite lonely, being the first of its family to be discovered in Belize, according to researchers. Scientists from the University of Illinois found the little hopper in the tropical rain forests of southern Belize and named it Ripipteryx mopana, after a tribe of Mayans native to the region known as the Mopan people. The grasshopperlike species uses its large jumping hind legs to escape predators. The tiny guy, measuring less than 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) in length is "the first representative of its family ever to be found in Belize," study researcher Sam Heads said in a statement. "Given the amount of high-quality habitats in the region, it isn't really surprising that new species still await discovery, especially in the less-explored areas." The family, called Ripipterygidae, also includes species of grasshoppers, crickets and katydids.

UDP candidates lead grand procession through Belize City
At 1pm today, the UDP machinery was up and going in the old Capital. Hundreds of UDP supporters gathered at the UDP...

Nomination day in Belmopan sees five Mayoral candidates
Municipal Nominations were held today countrywide. The Belmopan Civic Centre was the place of nomination for the Ci...

Third parties demonstrate confidence on nomination day
Vision Inspired by the People also had their supporters, flags and buses out today for nomination day. While the th...

Mass supporters of the PUP turn out for nominations in Belize City
In Belize City, the crowds were larger and we start off with the People’s United Party candidates in Belize City. T...

Petition to reinstate Social Security's CEO Merlene Bailey
Over the last couple of days, the Board of Directors of Social Security has been meeting daily to review the audit ...

Ian Haylock acquitted of murder in taxi man's death
23 year old Ian Haylock has been acquitted of the murder of Taxi man, Eduardo Samos- who shot once to the side of t...

Family injured in traffic accident
There has been an accident reported late this evening and three persons, including a child, are at the Western Regi...

Jury discharged in murder trial of toddler
A mother who was accused in the death of a 2 year-old toddler who she was babysitting in 2008, saw her case come to...

The Coalition goes to plan B - A People's Referendum
And Belize Coalition to save our natural heritage is putting together what it is calling the people’s referendum on...

Authorities seek motive in stabbing death of Corozal man
Corozal police are still trying to figure out the motive for the murder of 60 year old taximan Fernando Antonio Cow...

February 15, 2012

What to do with Belize’s superbond
This year’s renewed euphoria over emerging markets has bypassed some places. One such corner is Belize, a country sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala, which many fear is gearing up for a debt default. There is a chance this will happen as early as next week Belize is a small country with just 330,000 people but back in 2007, it issued a $550 million bond on international markets. Known locally as a superbond for its large size (relative to the country’s economy), the issue earned Belize a spot on JP Morgan’s EMBI Global index of emerging market bonds. As this index is used by 80 percent of fund managers who invest in emerging debt, many of them will have allocated some cash to hold the Belize bond in their portfolios. These folk will be waiting anxiously to see if Belize pays a $23 million coupon due on Feb. 20.

A Fundraising Night At Captain Morgan's Casino
Last night, Captain Morgan's hosted a Valentine's fundraiser for the SAGA Humane Society in San Pedro. It seemed like a pretty good deal...$20bzd donation for the fundraiser and you received a $10USD ticket to use at the casino, a rose and champagne, live music outside and free drinks while you were gambling. I am by no means a gambler, the idea of feeding money into slot machines sends me into a comatose state, but I'd never been to the casino and was a good time to get the scoop on the only good sized one on the island. My friend Bonnie was my Valentine's date and an avid casino fan we go.

Dental volunteers at the Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II
For the third straight year, volunteer dentists have arrived at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II offering free dental services to around 75 students from the San Pedro RC School and surrounding primary schools. The volunteers are from Ontario, Canada and are offering their services from Monday, February 13th through Wednesday, February 15, 2012. The Smile Center at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II is an extension of the Smile Center located at the Holy Cross Anglican School in San Mateo. The clinic came into existence some three years ago when retired medical practitioner Dr. Louis Lam saw students from the RC school for the first time. He then recommended that the volunteers at the PolyClinic II continue to focus on reaching the RC School students as he noticed a need for the service.

Meet your Candidates – Badillo, Nuñez & Nuñez
With the municipal elections right around the corner, The San Pedro Sun takes this opportunity to present the Councilor Candidates to the San Pedro public. Five questions were issued to twelve candidates from both parties (PUP/UDP) on Friday January 20th. It was requested that all responses to these questions be submitted by Thursday January 26th. At the due date, only eight responses were received. In our effort to be fair to all that submitted their responses in a timely manner, The San Pedro Sun regrets to inform that responses submitted after the deadline will not be printed.

A Beach Walk, Belize Port Authority, Dinner & The Bachelor at Lola's
Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day for a walk into town. As I walked past Caribbean Villas, I noticed the Belize Port Authority with hammers, nails and new signs. They are posting this sign on every dock down the beach. Good work guys! Maybe a bit over cautious but that is MUCH better than no sign at all. I stopped in to meet a friend at Sailaway Cafe and had a delicious cappucino (I haven't had one in ages). I wonder why I don't stop into this place more often...right in the center of town across the street from Fido's. It's a good spot to watch the town drive by.

Before and After in Belize: Testing a Marine Reserve
Help learn whether a key Caribbean species is being protected by recent changes in environmental management policies. As a participant on this project you'll have the rare opportunity to help Earthwatch scientists see if changes in ecosystem management based, in part, on their previous research are having the desired effect and protecting the habitat of the queen conch, a large sea snail. This second phase of research and assessment offers the opportunity to spend days snorkeling in turquoise Caribbean waters, often under sunny skies, to survey, monitor, and tag queen conchs in critical coral island (cayes) areas within the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. Note: If you want to take part in the diving parts of the research*, you MUST be scuba certified (PADI Advance or equivalent) and have at least 20 logged dives, and have recent diving experience. You will also be required to bring your dive logbook and all scuba/ snorkel kit with you, except for weights, which are provided on site.

New Zip Line in Stann Creek, Belize
Bocawina Adventures has just opened the longest zip line tour in Belize with over a mile of zip. The final run is long and quite the rush...and you do not have to worry about the cruise ship hoards! Check them out at

The skeleton of an eighteen year old girl lies legs akimbo on the cave floor, two of her vertebrae crushed. She is known as the Crystal Maiden, and after a thousand years, she has a new found celebrity. Discovered in 1989, this jungle cave in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve is accessible via an hours Jeep ride from San Ignacio, Belize and a walk for another hour across shallow rivers and through jungle. Here one arrives at the Actun Tunichil Muknal or "ATM" cave mouth. To gain access to the cave one must swim into the cave and then wade up the cave river for another kilometer. Walking a further kilometer and a half in the cave, past huge boulders and cavernous rooms (one known as "The Cathedral") to the back of the cave system, it is here one will find the skeletons of the ritual sacrifices made by the Maya to their Gods, more than a thousand years ago.

Most Romantic Hotels in Central America - Blancaneux Lodge in Cayo makes the list
Honeymoons, anniversaries, engagements, make-ups — there are plenty of reasons to be amorous. Find love in all the right places with this list of romantic destinations throughout Central America. Where: San Ignacio What's to Love: Francis Ford Coppola converted a gorgeous family vacation home in the Mayan mountains into a serene and romantic hideaway with waterfalls, magical walking trails, and a great spa. Good to Know: You'll be tempted not to leave, but do. The hotel can arrange horseback riding, canoeing in caves, and trips to the Tikal ruins.

Be Kind Belize at Holy Cross
Watch the amazing kids of Standard 2 as they show off their kindness in their graduation plays & awards ceremony

Monster humorous synopsis of Bachelor... A small propeller plane flies in over scenic waterfalls and ruins in Belize, and then Ben is touting the virtues of the island lifestyle in Ambergris Caye, as if what he's experiencing filming a television show where he's stringing along six women has anything to do with real life. He says it's crazy to think he's a week away from meeting some of these women's families. And now the women are flying in, and Nicki gets the eye-rolling job of telling us, as we are told at the beginning of the show each week from Week 2 on in, that this is the most crucial week they've had so far. All the women by this point are complaining about having to share Ben with other women, to which I'd like to point out that a) it's interesting that this becomes a bigger issue as the show moves along, when there are actually fewer and fewer women making out with him, so just health-wise, things are less risky than they've ever been, and b) YEAH THAT'S THE POINT OF THE SHOW.

Belize government pans word of oil discovery
The Belize Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has refuted the claim of an oil discovery by Treaty Energy Corp., New Orleans, at Treaty’s San Juan-2 exploratory well in southern Belize. The ministry termed “false and misleading” a press release the company issued on Jan. 30, 2012. The release said that drilling had “defined the producing zone to be 1,235-90 ft.” Treaty Energy said cuttings from San Juan-2, near Independence Village in the Stann Creek District and its first well in Belize, had “characteristics … similar to some of the great oil producing zones in Texas, specifically the Ellenburger Lime, Hope Lime, Caddo Lime, Edwards Lime, etc.” The company said it planned to cement 4-1/2-in. tubing, perforate, and bring the well on line. The ministry said, “An inspection conducted on the mudlog and rock cuttings from the well, by the Geology and Petroleum Department, confirmed only minute traces of tar which is commonly observed in rock formations in many wells previously drilled in Belize that were not commercial.” No live oil in large amounts was observed in the cuttings, the ministry said. “The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment assures the general public that all confirmation of oil discoveries will be declared by the Government of Belize after proper testing and appraisal. The government did not endorse the declaration by Treaty Energy and therefore its press release was unauthorized.” Independence Village is about 75 miles southeast of the Spanish Lookout area, where Belize Natural Energy Ltd. made the country’s first commercial oil discovery in 2006

Attention All Chocolate Lovers: Belize Is Calling
Mast Brothers Chocolate hosts the ultimate weeklong chocolate getaway in Belize. There is any number of reasons at any given time to book a trip to Belize. But right now, there is an amazing, totally irresistible, mouthwatering, and desperate reason to book a trip to Belize for April 14 to 21 — namely, the Mast Brothers Chocolate Week in Belize. (It is the kind of trip that makes people stop and say, "Are you kidding me?") Mast Brothers Chocolate is a Brooklyn-based chocolate company that produces high-quality dark chocolates mixed with delicious flavorings like dried cranberries, almonds and sea salt, and pecan maple in cool, delicately illustrated packaging. The company is fond of hosting special events, tastings, and factory tours, but this Belize trip takes things to the next level. This trip will do more than satisfy chocolate cravings — it also includes activities like farm tours followed by great dinners, and kayaking followed by snorkeling, horseback riding, and tours of Mayan ruins. People who can organize a week this fantastic are sure to make great travel buddies, too.

New Ownership for Five Sisters Lodge & Tours
Daniel Lighter, owner of Matachica Resort and Spa on Ambergris Caye, Belize is delighted to announce the acquisition of Five Sisters Lodge & Tours located in the stunning Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo District of southern central Belize. Set on the banks of the white-water Privassion River, Five Sisters Lodge offers sanctuary and peace in a remarkable setting surrounded by the five majestic waterfalls that inspired its name. Imposing mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to Mayan ruins, dense rainforest, stalactite caverns and some of the most diverse wildlife on earth. Five Sisters Lodge & Tours offers a wide range of activities including archeological tours of Mayan sites such as Caracol & Xunantunich, horseback jungle treks, Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave exploration (described by National Geographic Magazine as the most spectacular cave in this part of the world) and mountain biking, zip line and cave tubing, all at our doorstep.

LogicBoxes Partners with .BZ Registry
LogicBoxes, a Registrar software and consulting company, today announced that it has partnered with the .BZ Registry, University Management Ltd. to provide business automation solutions to its in-house Registrar arm, BelizeNic. .BZ is the country code top-level domain for Belize. Prior to partnering with LogicBoxes, BelizeNic was using a legacy system to sell .BZ domains. The Registry was looking to migrate to a stable and flexible platform that would allow it to expand its product suite and deliver better customer experience.

This afternoon the Samuel Haynes Institute of Excellence received a handsome donation of fifteen laptops. The good gesture came from the Potter’s House of the US, represented by Pastor Guynes, who is the Executive director of MegaCARE, which is a humanitarian organization formed by famous Bishop T D Jakes. According to Director of the Samuel Haynes Institute, Barbara Elrington, the gift will significantly aid the Institute in its role to educate its high school students. Elrington says that the Institute became beneficiaries of the gift following a visit last year. The Samuel Haynes Institute of Learning started out three years ago and depends on local and international communities to keep its doors open. Aside from the educational setting, the Institute also offers adult computer programs and a series of skills training for out-of-school people. Meanwhile, Pastor Guynes will also conduct a youth conference tonight at the Lake Independence Baptist Church on Mahogany Street to help the participants find their calling in life.

Belize is for the first time, hosting a regional anti-doping conference and training at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel. The meeting which is a joint effort between the ministry of sports, Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association features various regional representatives from across the Caribbean coming together to discuss anti-doping in the region. Acting Director of the National Sports Council and Director of the National Anti-doping Organization in Belize, Patrick Henry says that doping is the abuse of substance and in this case performance enhancing drugs in the sporting world. Patrick Henry – Acting Director, National Sports Council “This meeting as the yearly meetings are to discuss ways how as a region, in this case the Central American region, how we have implemented the world anti doping program. It is a historic meeting. Since last October we have been completely compliant, the government of Belize ratified UNESCO’s Convention so we are now numbered amongst 150 countries throughout the world that has ratified UNESCO’s Convention on anti doping in sports.

A family is left homeless following a fire that destroyed their three-bedroom house on Monday in Dangriga. The family is asking for your help to rebuild. Harry Arzu reporting… “According to Norma Valerio she and her five children were asleep when about three o’clock on Monday morning she was awakened by the smell of smoke inside the house. Valerio said the fire spread so quickly she could only save her five children. Norma Valerio – Fire victim "I was suddenly awakened by the smell of smoke in my house, me and my sister tried to out the fire with buckets of water but it was spreading rapidly we couldn’t out it. We were not able to save anything in the house.

Forty-five year old Patrick August, a boat captain residing at number five corner First Street and Saint Peter Street, was sentenced to six years today in the number one magistrates court after he was found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a female minor. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, who imposed the sentences, gave August three years for each count with the stipulation that the first and third count should run consecutive to each and concurrent to the second. August was also found guilty of using threatening words but he was reprimanded and discharged of that charged. The complainant, who was a thirteen year old primary school student at the time, testified in camera that August sexually assaulted her in December 2010, in January 2011 and in April 2011. August testified and denied he committed the offences. He claimed that he was framed. August was not represented by an attorney. August threatened the girl by telling her that if she told anybody, he will kill her.

A press release from the Ministry of Agriculture issued this afternoon in direct response to the story said that the Toledo Agriculture Department has consistently supported rice farmers of that district in land preparation and harvesting through it machinery division. The official release says that for the crop year 2011, the department assisted in land preparation of six hundred acres and followed by assistance in harvesting the same amount of acreage. The Ministry of Agriculture release goes on to say that the Agriculture department provided machinery service to rice farmed based upon request; but that the Rice, Corn and Beans Association, headed by Dennis Usher did not make any such request for machinery service from the Agriculture Department for the last crop season. As for allegations that government failed the rice farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture puts the blame for any losses suffered by the producers squarely on their doorsteps, saying that it was the rice farmers who over produced and exceeded the national demand. Statistics provided in the official government response notes that the national demand for rice is approximately sixteen million pounds; but the rice farmers actually produced twenty seven million pounds of rice during the 2009-20010 crop year. That is a surplus of eleven million pounds of rice. A further break down provided by the Ministry of Agriculture asserts that the Blue Creek Rice Farmers produced seventy eight percent of the total production for 2009 and 66% of the total production for the year 2010.

Rice farmers in the north and south have come out swinging against the Barrow administration. The two groups met recently in Punta Gorda town. Paul Mahung reporting… “During the meeting the well known local rice producers from Blue Creek Orange Walk famous Uncle John’s Rice was represented by owners John Peters and Peter Dyck who spoke of the meeting. Peter Dyck- Rice Producer “We just want to tell the nation of Belize that we stand in solidarity with the farmers in the South. This UDP Government has certainly failed all rice farmers in this country and we feel not only failed, but the whole country of Belize has been failed because rice is a staple in this country and we farmers have a conscience and a passion about growing rice and being misled and failed by a Government is a very serious thing. We are hoping that Government will be changing on March 7 and we are looking forward with optimism that things will change for the better and not for the worse.”

Whither Goest Thou, Merlene?
Last night the Social Security Board of Directors met until 7:30 to review and consider an audit of the of the mortgage write-off programme and - more immediately - to consider the positi

Schakron Loses Passport, Goes To US Embassy In Belmopan
And the other woman making headlines tonight is Yolanda Schakron. The PUP Candidate for Lake I has been thrust into the headlines after 7news broke the story that she is a Belizean who

Down With the King?
And in political news of far lesser significance, a man caught stealing political signs was taken to court today. In the political season, it's the kind of thing that happens all the ti

The GSU Not Afraid Of "Ghost"
Last week Thursday, we told you about the disturbing home invasion on Dean Street, where four badly beaten men alleged that members of the Gang Suppression Unit brutalized them with bats a

Man Goes To Jail For Fondling Child
45 year-old Patrick August, a Belize City boat captain, was convicted of indecent assault in the court room of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today. He was charged with 3 counts of inde

Joshua Abraham's Memory fuels Community Effort To Fix Up Park
September 21st. 2011 - all of us have our own memories of that day - but few remember it as the day when 9 year old Joshua Abraham was gunned down - one more child casualty of a war be

Prince Harry at Belmopan Streetfest
Prince Harry's visit to Belize is all set for March second and third. He will be n Belize for just 23 and a half hours - but according to the Foreign Affairs protocol office - it shou

Anti-Doping Experts Meet In Belize
The World Anti-Doping Agency oversees drug testing in sport all over the world, including Belize. As a matter of fact, Belize is fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code - and, t

Crocodile Sanctuary Feature Of US Documentary
When you hear our next story is going to be about Simon Cowell - your first thought would probably be that it's about Simon of American Idol fame. But no, this is another Simon Cowell.

The Craft Of Kite-Making
March is around the corner - and while all eyes are focused on the election - those of us who have taken wing with kites, and watched them soar and swing against a sky of cerulean bl

Taiwanese Experts Try To Wrap Their Head Around Belize City
A team of experts from Taiwan are in the country to carry out a 4 day workshop as a part of the Belize City Rejuvenation Project. In 2010, the Government of Belize received a grant from t

Table Tennis Makes Strides In City Schools
The Belize Table Tennis Association is trying to introduce table tennis - or what you might call "ping-pong" in Primary Schools. And making a great leap forward, today the Association delive

Mom Needs Help With Missing Girls
14 year old Alyiah Lanza is tonight being reported missing by her mother. The first form student of Anglican Cathedral Collage - left home on Saturday along with her 10 year old sister -to

Bachelor In Belize
Last night Belize made its primetime appearance on ABC's hit reality dating show "The Bachelor" which started filming in the country around October of last year. More than 10 million viewers tuned in to check out firsthand what is considered to be one of the world's most romantic destinations. Last night's show - which gave Belize's attractions prominent primetime placement. A repeat of the entire show will be airing on Channel 7 on Thursday.

Police brutality victims to sue ComPol and AG!
Dean Street residents say police invaded their homes and beat them in their beds... Four residents of an apartment complex at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets, reputedly in the heart of the territory of the George Street gang, are preparing to make a formal complaint to the Internal Affairs Division of the Belize Police Department, and say they will sue the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General over an apparent home invasion by masked men alleged to be members of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), early in the morning of Thursday, February 9, 2012.

Elmer “Vinny” Hamilton dead
In another fatal traffic accident, this one at Mile 42 on the Hummingbird Highway, Elmer Elvis “Vinny” Hamilton, 32, a father of six children and a boat captain of Belize City, lost his life about 10 hours after losing control of his motorcycle on the slippery road on Saturday evening, February 11.

O.W. taxi man found stabbed to death
The last time Antonio Cowo, 60, a taxi operator of Orange Walk Town, was seen alive by his family was on Friday, February 10, at around 12:00 noon when he came home for lunch.

Another human trafficking conviction; 12 months for Yolanda Garcia, 41
Honduran national Yolanda Garcia, 41, was convicted on Friday of trafficking in persons, the second such conviction in a span of two weeks following a verdict handed down on January 31 in San Ignacio Town against Santa Elena resident Narcisa Orellana, 54.

Rhett Fuller applies for bail ahead of Court of Appeal hearing
Government objects for first time, urging caution; decision February 21... This afternoon before Justice Adolph Lucas, businessman and murder suspect in the United States, Rhett Fuller, 42, appeared with attorney Eamon Courtenay, SC, seeking bail for the third time as he begins his 14th year fighting extradition to the U.S. to be tried for the murder of Larry Miller, which took place in Miami, Florida, in 1990.

Stephen “DJ Scorpio” Hall dies in cycle accident
Belizeans from near and far spread the shocking news, through different mediums, that Stephen Alex Hall, 35, also known due to his profession as a disc jockey as “DJ Scorpio,” had died as a result of a horrific 4-man motorcycle crash on the Boom Road, on Saturday, February 11, 2012, shortly after 8:00 a.m.

Ricardo Cak, on the run after brother’s shooting, turns self in
Punta Gorda Police have confirmed that Ricardo Cak, 25, wanted for questioning in the shooting death of his younger brother, Cesar Cak, 18, during an apparent hunting accident, turned himself in on New Year’s Eve, December 31.

Semipro football returns, Premier League kicks off Week 1
The Premier League of Belize opened its 2012 tournament over the weekend with two games on Saturday night and four on Sunday afternoon.

Byron Pope (Elite) and Kaya Cattouse (Women) win 17th Annual Valentine’s Digicell Classic
42 riders started, and 25 finished the 80-mile Elite category race on Sunday in the 2012 Valentine’s Digicell Classic, which started from Mile 2, Leslie’s Imports outside Belize City, travelled to the Northern Highway junction at Data Pro, then took the Boom-Hattieville road and on to Mile 30, La Democracia, returning to finish at Mile 2, Leslie’s Imports. Byron Pope (Benny’s Megabytes) won the two-man sprint to the finish, to take 1st place ahead of Edward Reyes (D&D Cycling), both clocking 3 hrs 20 minutes 23 seconds (3:20:23) for an average of 23.95 miles per hour. Two D&D Cycling teammates then followed, with 3rd place going to Kyne Gentle and 4th Richard Vera, both in 3:20:50. 5th was Luigi Urbina (C-Ray Masters) ahead of 6th place Gregory Lovell (Santino’s), both finishing in 3:22:11. A few minutes later, a group of 3 raced in, with 7th place going to Mark Staine (Benny’s Megabytes), 8th Quinton “The Baddest” Hamilton (Santino’s), and 9th George Abraham, Jr. (unattached), all in a time of 3:26:01. Rounding out the top 10 was Allen Castillo (Benny’s Megabytes) in 3:27:05.

IAAF reps arrive Tuesday to settle BAAA dispute
Mr. Deon Sutherland, Vice-President of the Belize Amateur Athletic Association (BAAA), forwarded a letter received from International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) regional representative Neville “Teddy” McCook, President of the North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) branch of the IAAF. BAAA President Ian Gray has been at odds with the rest of his executive for some months now, and the IAAF and NACAC will be looking to see the dispute settled. See the text of McCook’s letter, dated Thursday, February 9, to Sutherland below:

Machine politics
As a media industry, Kremandala is not in the business of dreams where electoral politics is concerned. We support the concepts and the personalities of the so-called independents, but we are not in a position to finance those political candidates who are independent of the PUDP. Such independents would have to raise serious financing in order to be successful, because electoral politics, when you enter the final few hours on election day, is all about the party machines.

S.S.B. Board meets suspended S.S.B. C.E.O. and Auditor
The situation with the Social Security Board (S.S.B.) senior team has already been used in advertisements against the Barrow administration. C.E.O. Merlene Bailey Martinez has been vilified in ads with horns and a hefty salary package. In mid January, the Board of Directors suspended the C.E.O. and SSB’s internal auditor Denise Mahler. The S.S.B. Board ...

US Citizen Schakron visits Uncle Sam
As Belizeans as rice and beans, that’s how Yolanda Schakron described herself at a People’s United Party (P.U.P.) Press Conference on Monday. Her Guatemalan birth was not of her own design, but her United States citizenship was as American as McDonalds. Section fifty-eight (one) of the constitution says, “No person shall be qualified to be ...

GSU’s door busters
Officers of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) allegedly beat up several residents of the Plues Street area last week. The GSU had refuted the claims, however, the attorney for the men say that they will sue the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General, Bernard Q. Pitts. The Prime Minister had indicated on Monday that ...

Prince coming to Belize
They say if you kiss a frog, it may turn into a prince. Belize has plenty frogs but so far none has elevated to a royal status. But in a few weeks, a bonafide member of the royal family will be in the Jewel. The second child of Prince Charles and Lady Diana is coming ...

Finnegan wakes to color Mesopotamia red
When looking at the percentages in the last General Elections, the best statistical win was by Mesopotamia Area Representative Michael Finnegan. Pundits believe that Finnegan has the safest seat in the country. But that doesn’t mean Finnegan is making any less effort to attain votes. Normally, politicians are caught on the campaign trail ...

Would you vote for Government with failed promises?
Tonight’s question is: Would you vote for the government if it has not kept the majority of its manifesto promises? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to

George Price Biography on Top 10 List
George Price: A Life Revealed, the autobiography of the Father of the Nation, has been launched locally and in London and has been well received. In the region, the publication has made it onto the long list of ten books up for the 2012 One Caribbean Media Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. The biography, authored ...

Croc Dundees get into rehab
The American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) has been under the lens of renowned U.K wildlife filmmaker, Simon Cowell, not the American Idol creator. Cowell, is a British television presenter who hosts the Animal Planet documentary series called Wildlife S.O.S. For a week now, the U.K. team has been working with ACES to highlight their work ...

$11 Million for IDB Rejuvenation Project
Crocodiles are getting a fresh start on life and some engineers intend to do the same for the paint deprived and pot holed, old capital. The Belize City Master Plan is an urban rejuvenation project, which boasts a complete infrastructural facelift for the country’s commercial hub. The idea is to incorporate existing buildings and open ...

My Refuge Radio’s Independent Candidate
Earlier in the newscast, you heard from the U.D.P.’s Michael Finnegan. In addition to the big red, the list of independent candidates making a bid in the upcoming general elections continues to grow and there’s another name being added today. He is Richard Smith, the Director of My Refuge Radio and he is no stranger ...

Cologne steals politician’s paraphernalia
And while independent candidate, Richard Smith is just getting started, in the Lake Independence Division, the U.D.P.’s Mark King has been campaigning for months. But his campaign suffered a setback when materials worth a thousand dollars were stolen and his billboards were damaged over the weekend. Political mischief is a part of every election, but ...

Captain landlocked 6 years for Assault
Meanwhile in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, a forty-five year old boat captain was convicted of molesting a thirteen-year-old girl. But Patrick August claims that the teenager framed him. The minor told the court that he touched her inappropriately on three occasions; in December 2010, June 2011 and April 2011. The minor ...

Dim robber pulls knife on karate teachers
And while that minor did not have the skills to defend herself, in the following case, it seems that an assailant found that his potential victims were too much for him to handle. The House of Shotokan is known for its competitions with other karate federations in Mexico. In addition to kata and kumite, it ...

Seasoned Hunter goes Independent in Rural North
Seasoned politician Fred Hunter Senior, who has served as a member of the House of Representatives under the leadership of the late George Cadle Price, has decided to toss his hat into the ring as an independent candidate for Belize Rural Central. Hunter, a resident of that constituency since the late 1940s, told News Five ...

Belize Table Tennis Association gives generously
Three of six Belize City primary schools were today the recipients of table tennis equipment including balls, rackets and tables as part of an initiative spearheaded by the Belize Table Tennis Association to introduce and develop the sport among children. This morning, handing over ceremonies were held at Wesley, Trinity Methodist and Saint Mary ...

On the Campaign Trail in Corozal South East
There are thirty-one constituencies, sixty-two candidates from the big blue and big red and about eight independent and third party candidates; that makes the final count no less than seventy individuals who intend to run for public office on nomination day. And though we are unable to feature all of them, our reporters are rocketing ...

Early morning fire destroys Dangriga home
An early morning fire in Dangriga Town yesterday, completely destroyed a wooden structure. The incident took place ...

Alleged victims of police brutality expected to file suit
The Gang Suppression Unit has been accused of yet another case of police brutality. This came after an alleged hous...

New church in Belize City extends public invitation
Harvest Ministries held its inaugural service this past Sunday at the Princess Hotel. It was their first service fo...

UB holds 8th annual Opportunities Fair
The University of Belize today held its annual opportunities fair at the university’s Central Campus Belmopan. The ...

Graduates complete BELTRAIDE program training
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) held its third graduation and presentation of certi...

Yolanda Schakron spotted at the US Embassy
It was reported in the media on Friday that Yolanda Schakron held dual nationality. Yesterday, we showed you clips ...

Nomination dates Municipal and General Elections announced
Elections will be held on March 7th; both elections: municipal and general. Nominations will not be held on the sam...

Patrick August sentenced to 6 years for child molestation
45 year old Patrick August has been sentenced to serve 6 of 9 years for aggravated assault of an indecent nature up...

DUI suspect in road accident granted bail
A police officer is out on bail after allegedly crashing a police mobile while he was under the influence of alcoho......

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