Recent Belize News
12/21/2012 to 12/31/2012
Click here to return to
Today's Belize News

December 31, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!! Waiting, Part VI
The rain hit the zinc roof in a soft rhythmic pattern, the drips from the corrugated metal pouring first into empty buckets always lined up to catch the sweet sky water. As the rain fell continuously, the buckets grew quiet, and the once-hollow sound became quiet splashes. The cool air that had once blown headily through the open windows had ceased, and in the calm that followed, falling water made the only sound. Celestino felt the cold in his bones, the damp air around spreading deep into the joints that became stiff as the years of hard work finally caught up with him. His mattress was comfortable most of the time, but when the cold and damp hit, no matter how many sheets and how soft his bed, the pain seeped in and settled for a long time.

Misc Belizean Sources

Creole Proverbs & Cayo boat

Izzie's Surgery Video
Feelgood news of the day. The video about Izzie the spider monkey, and the surgery she had to have to save her arm, is done. The Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic is making a big difference, one animal at a time. Thanks to all involved, and to Daniel Velazquez for another amazing video. "Izzie the baby spider monkey's surgery day video is ready! Check it out and share? Thanks to the countless helping hands to make it happen! Disclaimer: contains graphic bone surgery images."


One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor
There were one or two aspects of yesterday’s work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize that I didn’t cover because I thought I had written enough/included enough photos without making the edition overly long. So I decided that I would include them today. I had been wondering what would happen to rainwater when the water tank is full. Rose and I studied the plans but could see no sign of an overflow pipe and became mildly perplexed. Our anxiousness was cured yesterday when we wandered around the south side of the build. There projecting from the wall were two overflow pipes.

A Tale of Five Cities: Tulum Bike Ride
On our second and last full day in Tulum, we decided to rent cruiser bikes in town and ride to the beach. At first we thought we might be disappointed as the rental place requires that you leave a photo ID with them, and all I had was my passport, which I would not leave anywhere. I had not bothered to bring my North Carolina driver's license along on the trip as I had no plans to drive. Fortunately, Barry had his, and although he was reluctant to leave it, he ended up doing so so that our day's plans wouldn't be dashed. Yay Barry! Once suited up with our new steeds, we rode on the back roads over to the bike path that runs over to the beach. It is flat and nicely paved so a nice easy ride. Before we knew it, we were at the intersection with the beach road and hung a right to continue alongside the beach and the resorts along the coastline. We passed the excellent restaurant where we'd eaten lunch the day before, Puro Corazon, and were soon rewarded with some stunning views. Here is where we stopped to take photos.

International Sources

Zapatista March: The Deafening Silence of Resurgence
Only the resonating echo of rain pattering down on the cobblestone streets of Chiapas' colonial cities sounded as tourists from around the globe awaiting the end of the world in the center of the Mayan Civilization were surprised by the silent marches of more than 40,000 masked Mayan Zapatistas who descended on their apocalyptic misinterpretations of the Mayan 13 Ba´ktun. A faint sound of a baby's cry would occasionally emerge from a bundle beneath a plastic tarp on the back of a masked Zapatista in the endless lines of Mayan rebels who quietly held formation in the rain. They marched four file booted and bare-footed into the same cities they surprised on a cold new year's eve night 19 years ago, shouting their first YA BASTA! Yesterday's weapon, differing from the 1994 armed indigenous uprising, was the Zapatista silence, their moral authority, the echo of a unified and deafening silence that shouted YA BASTA! once again. A silence that in their massive presence in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Ocosingo, Altamirano, Las Margaritas and Palenque shouted without a word that the a new Mayan era has begun and the Zapatistas are present.

Local company has online gaming contract
Neil Rideout of New Waterford, owner of Saratoga Oceanic Development Group Inc., said his company has been awarded a contract worth almost $1 million to build an online gaming system for Lions Gaming Inc., a Belize-based company. “We are looking at creating ten programmer jobs in New Waterford to start. We just don’t have any place in the community here to house them right now,” he said. “We might have to relocate those off-island in the beginning, then relocate the jobs back here after we build up enough resources to house these jobs.” “We would need high-tech facilities to house these programmers.” Rideout said this project will be in full production in three weeks and completed in 90 days. “We feel confident we are going to be able to do this in 90 days because we are architecting it, making sure it is robust, stable, has a nice shell around it and that Lions Gaming will be first and foremost in online gaming in Belize.”

Newfoundland Firm Gets Contract for Belize Online Gambling
Cape Breton is in Newfoundland and Labrador Canada and jobs are as scarce as hen’s teeth. The only daily newspaper in Cape Breton recently reported that a local company Saratoga Oceanic Development Group New Waterford will be creating jobs. The owner of the firm Neil Rideout said that the firm has been awarded a contract worth almost $1 million to build an online gaming system for Lions Gaming Inc., a Belize based company. The project is expected to generate ten programming jobs immediately even though Rideout says, “We are looking at creating ten programmer jobs in New Waterford to start. We just don’t have any place in the community here to house them right now,” “We might have to relocate those off-island in the beginning, then relocate the jobs back here after we build up enough resources to house these jobs.” Rideout continued to explain, “We would need high-tech facilities to house these programmers.”

Belize is known for its beauty as well as the ancient cave systems that collapsed thousands of years ago leaving an intricate maze of deep abysses for you to explore. Though not for the novice cave-divers, The Great Blue Hole, part of the Lighthouse Reef System, offers unrivaled technical diving that will weave you through stalactites and stalagmites, as well as siphon you down mind-blowing vertical drops. This geographical wonder spans more than 300 ft across and is more than 412 feet deep, making a cave-diving experience of this magnitude not for the faint of heart. Jutting overhangs provide an exciting thrill as the cave opens up into a cavernous bowl. For novice or moderately experienced divers, the Silver Caves offer a unique and whimsical experience through a series of small caves. Will journeying through the deep you'll see an array of fish and crustaceans, including crabs, lobsters, Barracuda, and chubs. Sitting at only 20 to 130 feet in depth, the cave walls allow for novice divers to enjoy the rainbow of water-life while floating in this underwater paradise. As is the case with any outdoor adventure, be sure to prepare yourself. Research all dives extensively, know the suggested skill level, and take a guide if you don't feel completely competent.

Best Family Vacation Destinations for 2013
Belize: This often overlooked Central American gem is really heating up. With direct flights from many metro cities, Belize is a very accessible seaside destination. The perfect mix of family friendly and a great value for your dollar – makes this destination one to watch. On top of easy accessibility, the country is safe and inexpensive. Once in Belize, the breadth of activities and attractions to experience is endless. Spend half of your vacation on beautiful beaches, fishing and relaxing.

Become infatuated with Belize
Unspoiled, Belize beckons you to bask in its serenity and natural wonder. This mystical paradise filled with treasured delight promises to inspire each visitor who roams its rainforest canopies, explores its temples or strolls its sandy beaches. The culture of Belize is just as captivating as the country’s natural hideaways. Epic experiences entice and encourage travelers to explore, unwind and repeat.

Money Magazine: Best Bets for Overseas Living in 2013
Best Place to Pursue A Self-Sufficient Retirement: Belize Warm and welcoming, yet independent and private. Those four perhaps seemingly contradictory adjectives best describe both Belizeans and their country. Belize is also one of the safest countries in the world, despite what you may read about it. Outside Belize City, crime is nearly non-existent. Expats and retirees in this country like to joke that: The good news from Belize is no news from Belize. This is a sleepy Caribbean nation with just 330,000 people and three highways. Yet, Belize offers a whole lot of what many retirees and investors are looking for—a chance to start over on sandy, sunny shores. Ideal places for the beach life include Placencia, on the southern mainland coast, and Corozal, on the northern mainland coast. Inland, Belize’s Cayo District offers Mayan ruins, caves, rivers, waterfalls, and rain forest. In this frontier, self-sufficient communities are emerging and attracting like-minded folks interested in being “independent together.” Belize is a small country with a small population. You’ll enjoy it here if you like wide-open spaces and small town living where everyone knows everyone. You won’t like it here if you crave regular doses of culture or first world-style amenities and services. With the exception of Ambergris Caye, where the country’s biggest expat community is centered and services cater to foreign retirees, life in Belize is best described as back-to-basics.

December 30, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Two Belizeans Honoured by the Queen
Two prominent Belizeans were honoured by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. They are Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD; and Right Reverend Philip Wright B.A. (Hons) M.A. who were bestowed with the insignia of the Order of the British Empire. The Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young pinned the emblematic medals on them, reciting a short biography of each for the benefit of a number of distinguished invitees to the occasion. Bishop Wright currently sits on the Board of Governors of the University of Belize, is a member of the Council of Churches, and works with a number of NGO groups within the church in the Province of the West Indies; and now is the third most Senior Diocesan Bishop in the Province. Today Bishop Wright was honoured by the Queen for his outstanding services to Belize in the field of religion. Bishop Wright is married to Mrs. Carla Suite-Wright.

Misc Belizean Sources


Rotary Truck Winner
Congratulations, Mr. Shane Reyes, on winning the Rotary grand prize of a new Isuzu truck. Thanks also go out to Bravo Motors, Love FM, and RFG Insurance. "...And the Winner is... A heartfelt "thank you" to all who purchased raffle tickets in the support of Rotary Belize. Our projects are of great benefit and your generosity is greatly appreciated."

Lucky 5 Sports Bar & Grill
Live music by the World Culture Band last night and on New Year's Eve at Lucky 5 Sports Bar and Grill.


Armed robbery nets thieves close to 20 grand
Police are looking for one man pending investigations of a robbery last night in Belize City. A thirty three year old salesman reported to authorities that he collected nineteen thousand, five hundred and ninety eight dollars and thirteen cents from a business establishment on Central American Boulevard around seven thirty last night. The salesman says that he put the money in a carton box, exited the store and was getting onto his motorcycle when he was accosted by two men, one of whom carried a handgun. The alleged robbers relieved the salesman of the carton box containing the cash, and a knapsack containing business documents and an I-Pad. Police say they have since detained Patrick Bevans and are looking for Jermaine Matura pending investigations.

Ladyville man murdered; 4-year old grazed by bullet
Three days removed from the commencement of a New Year … the perennial problem that plagued Belize for the last twelve months continued last night in Ladyville village. The continuing crime wave has left another family mourning, and police searching for answers. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Brian Castillo report from Ladyville.

Report shows good cacao beans production for 2012
The Toledo Cacao Growers Association is reporting high cacao beans production for 2012. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Belizeans to pay more for electricity
It was almost a year ago that Belizeans began to enjoy cheaper electricity rates, but now, the Public Utilities Commission has decided to adjust those rates. In essence this means that come January, we will see a slight increase on our electricity bills. It came after BEL announced two weeks ago that it had been absorbing a loss since July due to increase in the cost of power from its Mexican provider, coupled with low rainfall levels at the dams in 2012. Today at a press briefing at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, PUC Chairman, John Avery, explained that this all came about due to low rainfall in 2012 and higher cost of power from our Mexican source. Avery said the PUC gave this scenario similarly to how it treated cost of power differences that were in favour of consumers when it last set rates in a rate review. But the PUC is optimistic that BEL will be able to purchase electricity from Mexico’s state owned electricity company, Comercial Federal Electricidad in the very near future. Meanwhile, consumers can still cut costs in electricity rates by plugging out electrical appliances that are not in use, using fans in air conditioned rooms, and ironing clothes in one session rather than on a daily basis.

Taiwan embassy hosts end of year luncheon
The Embassy of the Republic of China, Taiwan today hosted its 2012 end of year lunch at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel on Marine Parade in Belize City. The lunch was preceded by a ceremony which included a briefing on Taiwan’s latest development, as explained by Ambassador David Wu. This morning’s ceremony also included an introduction of a proposal made by Taiwan called the East China Sea Peace Initiative. Wu told Love News that the relationship with Belize and Taiwan is one that is truly cherished and they are working together with the country to bring it to further development.

New Ombudsman takes oath of office
A former teacher from the Toledo district now occupies the post of Belize’s newest appointed Ombudsman. Lionel Arzu was officially sworn in as Ombudsman during a brief ceremony this morning at Belize House in Belkmopan by Governor General, Sir Colville Young. According to a Government press release, Arzu leaves behind his post as teacher at the Julian Cho Technical High School in Toledo, where he lives. Before being a teacher, Arzu served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Belize’s Toledo Campus, Project Coordinator for the Mesoamerican Project and many other posts in the agricultural sector. Arzu also holds a Master of Science Degree in International Commerce and Policy from Valparaiso University, and a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts with Management and Computer Science Concentration from Knoxville College.


A Tale of Five Cities: Tulum Food, Part 1
We'd heard raves for Tulum's food (thanks Rebecca aka!) so came here with high expectations, and Tulum delivered. It's going to take two posts just to cover it all! Right after arriving in town and checking into the hotel, we stopped in at a little coffee shop on the main street. Rebecca had recommended their reasonably priced cappuccino, and I hadn't had one in ages, so it was on my brain. Yes, it was perfect at about $2 US and perked me right up after our morning of travel. Barry ordered a tropical fresh-fruit smoothie. Delish! On our first evening, we walked down to El Camello, recommended by Rebecca and Joshua (who owns the Secret Garden Hotel, where we were staying). Supposedly it had the freshest seafood in town at the best prices. Nothing fancy, just good, honest food. You know a place is good if it's packed, and El Camello was certainly busy, even at the early hour we like to eat. Many of the diners were locals, another good sign. We both had the grilled fish with refried beans, salad, fresh tortillas, chips, and a couple of Mexican beers apiece. We walked out of there for a grand total of $300MX or about $24 US, including tip. Wow! The next morning we tried a place for breakfast that had also been highly recommended by both Rebecca and Joshua -- Azafran. We arrived around 7:30 am and were surprised to find that they didn't open until 8, but they said we could sit down and they'd serve us coffee. They ended up taking our order after all, and we had an a delicious omelet breakfast with some wonderful grainy bread and the best coffee I've had in ages, all in a lovely garden setting that we had to ourselves. Service was excellent.

Let’s Get It On
I set off to see the concrete pour for the Ground Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize this morning at 6.45 am full of enthusiasm. We have been looking forward to the day when the floor was laid since we first appointed Daniel Camal to build our home for us. I arrived at the site around 7 am but the guys started at 6 am and I saw evidence of their early start as soon as I got there. They had already poured the concrete for the Ground Floor bedroom veranda and had started the pour for the bedroom and living room/kitchen area working from north to south.

Things could always be worse
Yesterday was a good reminder than things could always be worse. I was heading to a morning marketing meeting and when I arrived at Coastal Xpress the 9:30 boat I quickly learned that I had accidentally misread the water taxi schedule, I also learned that I had forgot my wallet and reading glasses. Luckily I had some bills stashed in that bag. Taking the 8:30 water taxi would have made me way too early as the meeting ended up starting on Belize time. I decided I would hitch a ride somewhere along the way and started walking and made it to the bridge in about 15 minutes. As I crossed over I saw a Tractor that had got 2 wheels stuck in the mangrove mud. That was my “things could always be worse moment.” Not long after I passed Felize Bar and Grill, my ride found me and it turned out to be that Chris from Pelican Properties was going to the same place

2012: From Guanaja to A State Fair to Medellin...Good Times, Part One
This year has been pretty cool. Taking a year to blab, to turn 39 (the joke age) and to look at Belize in a totally different way has been...well...awesome. I am no writer, definitely no photographer but I would recommend writing a blog to everyone. Looking for the beautiful, the interesting, the weird or funny in your world does actually make it better. Who knew? Here are some of the awesome things that I saw and did in 2012. February: This month is all about carnaval in San Pedro. Painting and getting painted. Which I did. Reluctantly... February: I went to Belize City to see the Jade Head of Altun Ha. It only comes out of the vaults every few years and it was well worth the trip. March: I met Prince Harry. Okay...MET is a strong word. But I stood right next to him and saw his sweaty armpits and his sweaty face. I watched him do a shot of rum. Good enough?

International Sources

Sailing into the future of global trade?
"We wanted to keep the energy that the producers had already put in the wine, and not break the chain. And, I'm telling you... this wine just tasted amazing." In 2008 a company called Compagnie de Transport Maritime à la Voile (CTMV) announced plans to ship French wine by sailing boat. Several shipments took place but the company folded in 2010. But this hasn't stopped other companies trying their luck. The Tres Hombres set sail in 2009 from Amsterdam and has been shipping cargo ever since. It also gives land-lubbers the chance to sign on as part of the crew for a fee. The wine shipment was planned with their business partners, the sailing freight transport company TransOceanic Wind Transport (TOWT). The company works with a small fleet of sailing ships, and provides buyers with a means of tracking the journey the goods take. "It's not some sort of adventurous poetic revival of 19th century technology, on the contrary it's something that is definitely addressing energy transition at sea," says TOWT founder Guillaume Le Grand. The maritime industry is estimated to produce 3%-5% of global carbon dioxide emissions - making sailing very attractive to the organic and eco-friendly sector. But as the price of oil rises, so does the cost of traditional cargo options. This has led to research into alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), and a slowdown in the speed at which cargo freighters move at - a practice known as slow steaming. "Until 10-12 years ago, most of the ships were crossing oceans at about 20 knots average speed. Now they're going down below 15 knots," he says. "[The Tres Hombres] crosses the ocean at 8 to 10 knots. It's not something that's ridiculous in terms of speed." There are other challenges. Arrival times are unpredictable, capacity is limited, and at the moment sail shipping is relatively expensive. "We are using solutions of the 19th century to speak to people of the 21st century," says Mr Le Grand.

Icarus Descending: The long, strange fall of software mogul John McAfee
Before John McAfee was the world's most prominent techno-fugitive, on the run from authorities in Belize for questioning in the fatal shooting of his neighbor and profiled in Wired (a ebook special) and the New York Times (front of the Sunday Business section and two solid pages inside), he was a minor celebrity in Rodeo, NM. This was, of course, after McAfee founded and sold — for $100 million — the antivirus-software company that still bears his name. What brought McAfee and some 200 fellow "Sky Gypsies," ages 11 to 84, to a remote corner of southwest New Mexico was "aerotrekking," zipping in and out of desert canyons in souped-up ultralight aircraft. "It's the dream that Icarus had — to fly like a bird," McAfee told me in the fall of 2007, when I interviewed him ("The Dream of Icarus," November 2007). That dream also had a deadly downside.

December 29, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Central Bank commissions commemorative Mayan coins
The Central Bank of Belize- December 27, 2012- The Central Bank of Belize, in commemoration of the sacred and historical milestone – Maya Mythical “End of the World” 21 December 2012, has commissioned The Royal Mint to strike a limited edition of gold and silver coins. The front of the coin displays drawings from the Hokeb Ha vase depicting the hero twins described in the Popol Vuh (Maya sacred book). The hero twins are in conversation, dressed simply in kilts, necklaces, ear flares and featured white cloth headdresses. The glyphs in the centre of the figures represent the Maya Mythical ‘End of the World’ date. This date, according to archaeologists, completes a ‘great cycle’ of 13 baktuns (periods of 144,000 days each) since the mythical creation date of the pre-Columbian Maya calendar. The back of the coins depicts the Jade Head discovered in a large tomb at Altun Ha, a Maya archaeological site. This tomb housed the remains of an elderly adult believed to be an elite ruler during his lifetime. For the Mayas, jade was the most prized of all stones. The Jade Head remains the largest single carved object yet discovered in the Mundo Maya (Maya World). This exquisite carving represents the Maya sun god, Kinich Ahau, one of the most important deities of the Maya pantheon. The Jade Head, which became known as the Crown Jewel of Belize weighs 9.75 pounds, stands almost 6 inches high, and is representative of an era between AD 600 and 650.

Ambergris Today

Santa Rita Maya Site to Become Official Maya Wedding Garden of Belize
The "Festival del Mestizaje" that was held at the Santa Rita Archaeological Park and Wedding Garden in Corozal Town on December 20, 2012 featured the re-enactment of the wedding between Tzazil-Ha, the Mayan Princess and Gonzalo Guerrero, the Spanish Conquistador. The festival was held at such a historic event of the Maya calendar to bolster awareness and raise funds for a project approved in January 2012 by NICH and the Institute of Archaeology (IOA). The project involved the development of the tourism potential of the Santa Rita Archaeological Park by transforming it into the "Official Mayan Wedding Garden of Belize." Historical information documents the Santa Rita Archaeological Park as the only place where a marriage took place between a Spanish Conquistador (Gonzalo Guerrero) and a Mayan Princess (Tzazil Ha). Hence, it is believed that the enhancement of this site will bring back the unique historical, cultural, social and the economic potential of this site. The revival of this center as an official Maya Wedding Garden will honor the culture and heritage and will greatly benefit the present and future generations of the area. The Santa Rita Archaeological Park and Wedding Garden Project is a comprehensive, cultural-based development. It engages in infrastructural and educational developments and very importantly, markets Corozal as a wedding destination.

Mama Vilma Family Home Faces Hard Times
Changes In Leadership For Mama Vilma’s Family Home - At the annual meeting of Mama Vilma’s Family Home, Vice President Eve Dirnback and Secretary/Treasurer Cheryl Bowen resigned from their offices and from the membership. In addition, Surendra and Carolyn Kumar resigned as members. Eve and Cheryl have been with the organization since its inception in February 2011. Mama Vilma’s Family Home was intended to be a safe haven for women, children and families. “Unfortunately, we did not learn until March 2012 that providing services to victims of domestic violence on the island was prohibitive,” stated a press release by Mama Vilma Family Home. “Several members attended the domestic violence seminar held at Fido’s, coming back to the group with this information. Since that time, the organization has been unable to define a focus. Shelly Huber, President of Mama Vilma’s Family Home stated at the annual meeting: ‘This home will be built…we will find a way.’” Cheryl told the group that she very much wanted to contribute in a positive way to the organization, but it is hard to be an integral part when the organization has done nothing except fundraising. In two (plus) years, even with the generosity of the community, the organization has not raised enough funds to purchase, build or maintain a facility.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Rough Road to Caracol Belize Archeological Site of Mayan

VIDEO: Travel Belize
Travel to a new destination. Travel to your next adventure. Travel to Central America and the Caribbean. Travel to Belize!

VIDEO: The Great Blue Hole (HD)
The Blue Hole in the Belize Barrier Reef, dove in December of 2012.

The End of the 13 B'aqtun Celebrations
One more image from the end of the 13 Ba'qtun celebrations in Santa Cruz Village. As the festivities started outside, everyone left the house except for this man. His job is to ensure that there is a constant supply of chicharron. Here he is dipping the finished pieces from the hot oil onto large plantain leaves to drain and cool. Just in front of him are large metal tubs full of the just butchered pigs. the pork will be cooked and feasted on throughout the night on into the morning.

VIDEO: Holiday Diving Belize, Christmas 2012
Join Guest Divers Sabrina, Ryan, Austin and Carmen as they dive Hol Chan Marine Reserve and snorkel Shark Ray Alley while celebrating family Christmas in Belize.

Channel 7

Electricity Rates Going Up By 17%
The PM said his Christmas Gift to Belize was the renegotiated Superbond - but the PUC's new year's gift is not quite as nice: it's a 17% increase in electricity rates! That's right, the rate that was reduced to 41.6 cents per-kilowatt-hour one year ago - is now going up to 48 cents per kilowatt hour! That's the upshot of an annual review proceeding which was concluded yesterday. Chairman of the PUC John Avery broke the bad news at a press conference this afternoon:.. John Avery, Chairman - PUC "The new approved electricity rate is now 48.86 cents which is approximate 16.87% above the existing 41.81 mean electricity rate." "Because this is a fairly big increase certainly it will put our productive and business sector at a disadvantage comparatively. It's not something we like to do and we try to minimize the impact on consumers while not putting any additional strain on the utility " And as Avery explained that strain on the utility is because of sharp, unforeseen increases in the cost of power coupled with very low rainfall leading to poor hydro-electric production. It got so bad that at some points BEL was forced to buy power for 32 cents more than they were selling it!:

Wild Shooting Results In Another Ladyville Murder
In 2012, Ladyville has emerged as the deadliest village in Belize - as it has recorded some of the most outrageous killings ever reported in Belize. Last night there was another wanton act of violence that injured 4 and killed one. 7news was on the scene and Monica Bodden found out more from one of the targets today:.. Monica Bodden reporting This quiet residential neighborhood known as the Milpa area in Ladyville was turned into a crime scene after 7:30 last night. Police officers responded after 5 persons - one of them a small child - were shot- one of their injuries proved to be fatal. Our news team arrived on the scene shortly after the shootout. Neighbors say they heard over a dozen gunshots ring out. Police officers stood guard at the entrance of the lane. While the police scenes of crime van rolled in from the City - Neighbors looked on from their verandahs and through the louvers of their windows as the police scenes of crimes team scoured the area for evidence for over two hours.

For the first time in a year, Belize has an Ombudsman. Lionel L. Arzu, was officially sworn in as the new Ombudsman this morning in Belmopan by Governor-General Sir Colville Young. Arzu is expected to be in office on the first day of January, 2013. According to an official release, the PG resident leaves behind his job teaching at Julian Cho Technical in Toledo. Arzu holds a Master of Science Degree in International Commerce and Policy from Valparaiso University and a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts with Management and Computer Science concentration from Knoxville College. Will he be able to withstand the rigors of being the champion of the down-trodden? We hope to ask him next week.

Swaso Says Hon Finnegan Bad-Mouthed Him
Last week we told you all about Goldbourne "Easy Glen" Adolphus and his alleged partner in crime James Swazo. Now we stress "alleged" because Easy Glen hasn't been charged for anything - but Housing Minister Michael Finnegan says that Swazo and Adolphus teamed up to hustle business-owners using his honourable name. Easy Glen has already declared his innocence - and he has plausible deniability; after all, he hasn't been charged. But James Swazo was charged with two counts of obtaining property by deception from two businesspersons in the amount of $1,500.00. So what's his defence? Well in court he pleaded not guilty but today when we met him on the streets, he said it was politics:.. James Swazo "They are trying to abstract us big time. They caught us in Orange Walk, brought us to Belize City, took us to Belmopan and held us there for two days and a night and then they brought us back to Belize City and tell us that they have a charge for us. They held us for 94 hours and then they charge us." Jules Vasquez "You think that he was fighting against you; that Mr. Finnegan started up this thing against Easy Glen and yourself because of this whole confusion over who is supporting Faber and who is supporting Gapi?"

The Sage Of "Horse" and Pam At Court
Yesterday, we told you about the drama which unfolded at the Belize City Magistrate's Court involving the arraignment of Jermaine "Horse" Garnett and his wife, Pamela Garnett. It happened late in the evening, and because of that there were some elements of the story which were understated in our yesterday's coverage. So, Daniel Ortiz revisits the story tonight in a recap: Daniel Ortiz reporting There are now 3 people, 2 of whom are believed to be affiliated with the Southside Gangsters, who are on remand for the murder. They are 23 year-old Cassian Bennett, his step-father, 30 year-old Jermaine "Horse Garnett, and 35 year-old Kenneth Barrow. But yesterday at the courthouse, their families and supporters, who believe them to be innocent, escalated the environment of what should have been a routine arraignment. The proceedings, however, were far from ordinary because the DPP herself appeared on behalf of the prosecution, a very rare occurrence to make sure that the court appreciated the gravity of what was at stake.

Salesman Robbed
Yesterday evening, a 33 year old Santiago Castillo salesman was robbed of almost twenty thousand dollars in cash. It happened at 6:20 at Tommy's Store on Central American Boulevard where the 33 year old had gone to pick up proceeds from a sale. He stuffed $19,598 dollars and 13 cents into a carton box and jumped on his motorcycle. That's when two men - one of them armed with a handgun - approached him and snatched the box and his knapsack. It would have been a bonanza for the robbers, but police have responding quickly by detaining one man while they look for another well known figure from the area. In other news, we understand that there was a robbery this evening in the downtown area of Belize City. According to reports, a magistrate court staffer was going to deposit court money at the Belize Bank when he was pounced upon, knocked out and robbed.

Taylor is Belizean
40 Year old David Taylor - the Placencia resident accused of outrageous acts of child sexual exploitation - remains in prison tonight - where we understand he is in protective custody. Taylor has not applied for bail yet - and may end up waiting out the 90 days before he does so. But who is Taylor? We've been reporting that he is a British National - and so he is. But what we didn't know is that Taylor is half Belizean. His now deceased mother was Carmela Montejo, sister of the also deceased former PUP Representative Remijio Montejo - who was David Taylor's uncle. As we understand it, Taylor gained his citizenship - as all children of Belizean citizens can - by affirmation in 2008. He has been living in Belize since then. His mother Carmela married a British Officer in the 70's and they had two children. She died in 1993 of cancer.

Sales Were Slow Say Businesses
On Christmas Eve, 7News sampled public opinion on how the holidays were going. As you may have seen, many of the interviewees weren't particularly excited about the holiday because finance was low. And so what did businesses think? Well today, we went around to different business houses to ask them how the Christmas sales went. Again, we found out that the business community is facing a lot of challenges. Here's what a few owners told us: Shadheed Haulze, part time employee - A & R "I think that they were going to keep me here fulltime but business went bad, nothing is going on in the spot. People are not buying like one time. Look when the Mayor of Belize City choose to fix the streets when Christmas time, business went bad. I think that were going to keep me fulltime." Keith Slater - Managing Director - Unicomer "We had a very good Christmas to be honest with you. There were the usual challenges; late arrivals, some weather challenges around the country and here in Belize City we've had the challenge of the road being closed on the opposite side which has an impact on us but we had a pretty good Christmas, lots of customers coming in and I would say we are up from last year's figures. We have a lot of loyal customers that come back time and time again. We try to keep it exciting; this year we got a brand new D-Max car that we've got from Bravo Motors and this has created a lot of excitement at the Courts branches and that help to boost sales as well."

The Many Trials Of the "Chicken Dread"
For the man known as the "Chicken Dread" sales are the least of his problem. He's got plenty of that! What he can't seem to keep clear of is the law! This evening - during the news - the police came to shut him down again. That's because he went right back to the spot on the sidewalk in front of the Abdu Building where he had been sent form originally. Daniel Ortiz just came back from the mini melee on Albert Street. He was detained again by police and we'll follow up on Monday to see if this results in more charges being filed.

Channel 5

1 dead and 4 others, including a 4 year old, injured in shooting in Ladyville
While the guns were silent in Belize City on Thursday night, shots were ringing loudly in Ladyville.  At about seven-thirty p.m., five persons were shot in the village. A four year old child was among the wounded, but the man who was killed was shot over a dozen times. News Five’s Duane Moody was the [...]

Trade License Fees; a hot button issue within business community
The recent increase in trade license fees by the Belize City Council remains a hot-button issue within the business community. In some cases, business owners have seen a three hundred percent spike in charges, an upturn that many describe as “uncomfortable”.  On Thursday, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in an email forwarded to [...]

Electricity rates will go up by over 16% in 2013
The Christmas season normally means that a few pounds will be carried on the waists of Belizeans in the New Year, but it seems that your next electricity bill may also have quite a few dollars more added to it. Electricity rates are going up by sixteen point eight-seven percent. Residential rates will carry a [...]

But increase not quite what B.E.L. asked for
B.E.L. will get an increase in rates, but not quite the amount it asked for overall. In its December tenth submission, B.E.L. stated that the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) increased from point four-one-eight-one cents per kilowatt hour to point five-five-seven-eight cents per kilowatt hour. That would imply an increase of close to fourteen cents overall. [...]

UB students sign petition to prevent hike in semester fees in January 2013
Hundreds of students of the University of Belize are facing a significant hike in semester fees starting in January 2013 when the government says it will stop paying subsidies to the school. But in these tough financial times, that’s a blow that many of them are unable to handle and so the Student Government President, [...]

A $350 increase to be implemented
Amadi says the affected students would be paying upwards of three hundred and fifty dollars more on their school fees and there are many who would not be able to afford it if the government cuts off its subsidies.   Hope Amadi “If the government of the day would say to its people, I am [...]

Salesman robbed of $20,000
A Belize City salesman was robbed of almost twenty thousand dollars in cash on Thursday night. The Evergreen Street resident reported to police that at around twenty minutes after six o’clock he was leaving Tommy’s Store on Central American Boulevard with a carton box containing the cash he had just collected, an Apple iPad and [...]

Crashed Bert ambulance sends you to prison
A Police Street resident, who had a little too much to drink over the weekend, now has to find over four thousand dollars to pay the court and the Belize Emergency Response Team, (BERT) after he took an ambulance for a joyride then crashed it. The incident was reported by Riceño Pook Junior, who says [...]

Ladyville bus conductor convicted for Harm
A bus conductor from Ladyville was convicted today by Magistrate Adolph Lucas for harming a female friend. The charge against forty-three year old Alton Fidel Flores, also known as “Spaceman” followed an incident in the wee hours of April twenty-first when the victim had asked him for a ride to her daughter’s house after a [...]

Taiwan holds luncheon and discusses territorial dispute in China
Today, the Taiwanese Embassy held their annual end of year luncheon. The event was to express gratitude on behalf of Taiwan to the Belizean government and people for their support and continued collaboration over the years. Taiwan has been a substantive financier for several ministerial projects that target the youth as well as the illiterate [...]

New Ombudsman, Lionel Arzu, sworn in
A brief swearing-in ceremony was held in Belmopan earlier today during which forty-five year-old Lionel Arzu was inducted as the new ombudsman.  Arzu demits his post as an educator at Julian Cho Technical High School to succeed former ombudsman Cynthia Pitts.  The formalities took place this morning in the presence of Governor-General Sir Colville Young.  [...]

Limited edition gold and silver coins to commemorate the end of Mayan cycle
The Central Bank of Belize has commissioned the Royal Mint to strike a limited edition of gold and silver coins in commemoration of the end of the Mayan cycle of thirteen baktuns on December twenty-first. In a press release today, the Central Bank explains that the front of the coin displays drawings from the Hokeb [...]

Belize Barrier Reef: a travel destination for tourists escaping winter 2013
The Mesoamerican Reef System is a six hundred-mile stretch of marine biodiversity, which includes the Belize Barrier Reef. The Belize Barrier Reef has been chosen by the editors of National Geographic as one of several travel destinations for tourists wanting to escape the harsh winter of 2013.  The Jewel’s three coral atolls, Glover’s Reef, Lighthouse [...]

Taiwanese Government donates $120,000 to Ministry of Nat’l Security
Earlier in the newscast we told you about a luncheon held by the Taiwanese Embassy for several persons including government officials, former scholarship recipients, persons who had visited the mainland, as well as the media. But there was also a substantive donation presented to the C.E.O. in the Ministry of National Security, Retired Colonel George [...]


Toledo police say Christmas holiday was peaceful
The Christmas holidays were peaceful in the Toledo district this year. Correspondent Paul Mahung has a recap.

PUC makes initial decision on BEL application
The Public Utilities Commission today announced that the regulatory body has made its final draft of the 2012 annual review proceeding for Belize Electricity Limited. The government owned power company is asking the PUC to grant a thirteen cents increase in the mean electricity rate, which BEL says would assist the company in recovering additional cost of power this year, and an anticipated cost for the first six months of the new year. A press release issued this afternoon by the PUC says that its decision on the BEL submission made on December tenth, is that the increase it is approving is sixteen point eight seven percent to the mean electricity rate, to be applied during the period of January first to June thirtieth, 2013. The actual increase in the mean electricity rate takes it from forty one point eight one cents to forty eight point eight six cents. The final draft of the amendments to the 2012 ARP Final Decision is available for viewing at the PUC office on Gabourel Lane. Interested parties are being invited to offer comments on the draft of the amendments to the ARP by the close of business on Monday, January seventh.

Special Branch at work; makes drugs discovery and arrest
A shooting incident in Belize City on the morning of Boxing Day has left a man injured. Twenty year old Hugh Thomas was shot in the upper right leg just after one o’clock yesterday morning as he stood at the corner of West and King Streets. Police say that a man described as being of dark complexion and wearing a black shirt, came from the direction of West Street and fired a single shot at Thomas, injuring him. The Special Branch division of the police department continues to report drug seizures and arrests. On Monday afternoon, officers, assisted by the K-9 unit conducted a search of an abandoned lot on Faber’s Road Extension in Belize City, which led to the discovery of a large crocus sack containing six thousand and fifteen grams, or thirteen pounds of marijuana. No one was found in the immediate area and the drugs were deposited and labeled as found property. On Boxing Day, Special Branch, acting upon information received went to the home of thirty eight year old Curtis Alexander York. A search of the premises led to the discovery of one hundred and eighty seven grams of cannabis inside a Milk Can. As a result York was arrested and charged for the crime of drug trafficking.

Murder in Hopkins mars Christmas holidays
The Christmas holidays came to a tragic end for one family in Hopkins village last night. Our Stann Creek correspondent Harry Arzu reports.

Cayo family offers community support in Bullet Tree Falls
The spirit of community involvement in the policing of their village was amplified today when the Neighborhood Watch group in Bullet Tree Falls village in the Cayo district took receipt of a donated motor cycle. Mary Carriddi spearheaded the initiative, and she spoke with Love News via telephone this evening about the donation. Value of today’s donation in terms of dollar and cents is over five thousand dollars.

Regional actors and actresses to meet in Belize in January
The eight annual meeting of El Proyecto Lagartija Centroamerica is set to take place in Belmopan early next year. It will involve actors and accesses from all of Central America. Beverly Swasey is one of the participants and also am executive member of the organization. Swasey says that the three-week event which starts next weekend will also see the visiting actors and actresses going out into the community to share their talents. The delegates for the meeting are scheduled to start arriving on Saturday of next week.

Mahogany Heights without stable water supply
Water is a precious commodity in the sustenance of life. But for residents of Mahogany Heights, a community situated along the George Price Highway, they are facing a serious water shortage. Love TV’s Marion Ali and video journalist Brian Castillo went west to bring you the following story.

Woman charged for attempted suppression of evidence
It was high drama late this evening at the Magistrate’s Court when forty two year old Money Lender, Pamela Garnett, was denied bail and remanded into custody until January 11th, after she was charged with attempt suppression of evidence. Garnett fainted as she was being taken out of the court room and an ambulance was called to escort her to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. According to the allegations, on December 23rd, Garnett offered five thousand dollars to Marie Alvarez for her to refrain from giving evidence at a trial in which her husband, Jermaine Garnett, and her son, Cassian Bennett are charged with the murder of Raheem Requena. Garnett pled not guilty to the charge and the prosecution, represented by the Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, objected to bail on the grounds that if granted bail she will interfere with witnesses. Garnett’s attorney, Dickie Bradley submitted that she’s not a flight risk and that the offense is a misdemeanor and she should be granted bail, but after a ten minute break, Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart upheld the objection and remanded Garnett into custody. Garnett’s son, Mark Vernon, was also charged with attempt suppression of evidence. According to allegations, on December 23rd, he threatened Marie Alvarez to refrain from giving evidence at the same trial. He too was denied bail and remanded into custody until January 11th. Jermaine Garnett and Kenneth Barrow were charged with the murder of Raheem Requena. They were remanded into custody until January 30th. But there was also another twist to this story as special constable, Lisa Cayetano, was charged with allowing a prisoner to escape. This is in connection to an incident on 25th of December in which according to the allegations, Cayetano allowed Pamela Garnett to escape from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where Garnett was admitted to ward after she claimed that she was suffering from a heart attack. Cayetano was released on a bail of two thousand dollars and her case was adjourned until February 8th.


Shooting in Ladyville leaves one man dead and others injured
Last night, Thursday December 27th at around 7:40 pm, police in Ladyville visited the Milpa area of Ladyville, Beli...

Police seek man following chopping incident in Maya Mopan
Last night we told you about a Christmas day chopping incident which occurred in the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan. (...

Men charged for murder of 19 year old Raheem Requena
Police say they have arrested and charged 30 year old Jermaine Garnett, a Caretaker of #2 Ceasar Ridge Road, Belize...

The paving of Lim Ni Puni Street will be completed by March.
Belmopan residents who shop frequently on the Lim Ni Punit street have,over the last few weeks, been subjected to m...

Belmopan Deputy Mayor promises more streets to be paved
Lim ni Punit is not the only street that is being upgraded. Belmopan residents in the Mountainview area, also affec...

Last Worship Together for 2012 is a time of reflection
The year is coming to a rapid close, but one group that has been laying the spiritual groundwork for 2012 and the u...

Arrests made by Police for Attempted Suppression of Evidence
Marie Alvarez,a School Warden of Belize City, reported to Police that on Sunday at 7:30am, she was talking to a man...

Gunman steals cash from salesman in Belize City
Police in Belize City have detained one man, and are looking for another, as they investigate an armed robbery. A S...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Small commercial space available on Front Street, Caye Caulker – $400.00USD per month. Serious inquires only. Contact


Raheem Requeña, 19, was murdered on December 19, 2012 — shot eight times as he was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue around 8 p.m. He was a fourth form Excelsior student, and at the time no one could figure out why anyone would want him dead. Police have been investigating, and on Monday they announced that they had a killer. They charged Cassian Gentle, also known as Cassian Bennett, who is considered a member of the Southside gang. But Police say Gentle did not commit this murder alone. Late this evening in Belize City’s Magistrate Court they charged Gentle’s stepfather, the well-known street figure Jermaine “Horse” Garnett, 30, with the murder of Raheem Requeña. They also charged Kenneth Barrow, a resident of #4 Gill Street, with the same murder. Due to the nature of the offense none of the men were offered bail and they were remanded to the Hattieville Prison until January 30, 2013, when they are scheduled to reappear in court. But this was no ordinary murder case. That’s because just before Horse Garnett was charged, his wife, Pamela Garnett, 42, was arraigned inside the court of Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart, for the offense of attempting to suppress evidence in the murder of Raheem Requeña. Police say that on December 23, Pamela Garnett allegedly approached a person believed to be a crucial witness in the murder of Requeña, and offered to pay the person $5,000 for her not to testify.

The Government of Belize and its debt review team, led by Ambassador Mark Espat, have been trying since August to convince creditors who had subscribed to the US$544 million super bond back in 2007 to agree to a significant restructuring that would help put Belize back on the path of debt sustainability. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow and the debt review team held a press conference at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel last Friday evening to announce what Barrow described as a “pre-Christmas treat”—a breakthrough in the debt negotiations that began four months ago which could save Belize US$150 million. Amandala readers will recall that the Government of Belize released three indicative restructuring scenarios in early August and creditors finally responded with their counterproposals in November. However, the Government of Belize was not satisfied with the counteroffers, and it responded with new proposals shortly afterwards. The Government’s proposals have generally called for an interest rate lower than the 8.5% applied in August to the super bond under a step-up interest scheme, and Belize additionally proposed significant principal “haircuts” along with an extended repayment period. To date, the details of the counteroffer from creditors have not been disclosed, and neither have the details of the agreement Barrow said was reached in principle Friday afternoon, after direct talks he had with Ajata Mediratta, co-president of Greylock Capital Management and co-chair of the creditor committee. Barrow told local media that, “Belize has reached agreement in principle with its bond holders over the re-structuring of the super bond. This agreement is comprehensive, it is sustainable and it will provide well in excess of 150 million [US] dollars in relief to Belize.”

We were hoping to report that the Christmas holidays were relatively peaceful and that we have no murders to report, but we learnt early last night that murders take no holiday. A 17-year-old young man was killed in Hopkins last night sometime after 8. Luke Nunez’s death marks the 142nd murder for 2012 – 13 more than the previous record of 129 in 2010. 2012 has certainly been a year to forget, and we still have four more days to go before the year officially ends. January of 2012 was arguably our most peaceful month, and talks of the peace truce holding resonated everywhere. There were only 4 murders that month. But the number of murders quickly escalated to 10 in February, down to 8 in March, before almost tripling in April, the deadliest month of the year. 21 persons were murdered in April, including 4 in one 24-hour period on the weekend of April 20. In fact, at one point there were 14 murders in 15 days in April of 2012, including the murder of George Street boss, Shelton “Pinky” Tillett, triggering a virtual shutdown of businesses in the old capital and inspiring unparalleled fear in the hearts and minds of Belizeans at home and abroad. Pinky Tillett was violently shot at a gas station at Mile 2 on the then Northern Highway, while he sat in his white Ford Ranger pickup truck along with a female friend, 23-year-old Kamill Andrews. It is alleged that Pinky Tillett was killed by Pregnant Alley boss, Arthur Young, who was detained by Police two days later on Sunday, April 22, and who was shot and killed by Police as he struggled with a police officer for his handgun while in detention. That’s the official police version, while eyewitnesses countered that he was handcuffed while in the pan of the police mobile.

The old year, 2012, has been rough for many of us; but the New Year cometh, and with it, hope for a better year for all of us. There will also be high hopes among a gallant bunch of cycling athletes who will take up the challenge on January 1, 2013, to try and become the next champion of the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic. The Elite race (93 miles) starts at 9:00 a.m. from the Santa Elena border and finishes in Belize City at the intersection of Central American Boulevard and Mahogany Street. The Women and Junior races begin at 9:30 and 9:35 a.m., respectively, and both travel (55 miles) from the Town Hall in Orange Walk to the finish on Boulevard/Mahogany Street. It’s the second biggest race classic in the nation, behind only the Holy Saturday Cross Country, both in prestige as well as in lucrative prizes and station prizes. Last year’s Elite and Women winners were both first time Krem Classic champions. 2012 Krem Classic Elite Champion Geovanni Choto is also the reigning Cross Country Champion. The situation is the same for the Women, where the 2012 Krem Classic Women Champion, Kaya Cattouse, also went on to become the 2012 Women Cross Country Champion. Her challengers this year will include 3-time Krem Classic Champion Shalini Zabaneh. There is one other noteworthy observation where the race history is concerned: there has never been a back-to-back Elite champion of the Krem New Year’s Classic. Will 2013 be the year?

Premier League of Belize Commissioner Myito Perdomo phoned us tonight to inform our sports desk of the Individual Awards for the PLB 2012-2013 Opening Tournament regular season. He said he was at a league meeting, but their computer network was down, so he called to try and meet our printing deadline for this weekend’s issue of Amandala. Here are the awards: Best Goalkeeper – Woodrow West (Belmopan Bandits); Best Defense – Dalton Eiley (Placencia Assassins); Most Goals – Daniel Jimenez (Police United); Best Forward – Evan Mariano (Police United); Best Rookie – Edward Gongora (Verdes); Best Midfielder – David Trapp (Belmopan Bandits); Best Coach – Edmund Pandy, Sr. (Belmopan Bandits); Regular Season MVP – Woodrow West. The Playoff MVP will be announced at the end of the championship.

James “Chain Saw Man” Swaso, a known sidekick of Goldburn “Easy Glen” Adolphus, could not convince Police that he was innocent of accusations by Minister of Housing Michael Finnegan that he was one of the men using his name to hustle businesspersons. Swaso was arraigned in the Belmopan Magistrate Court today on charges of theft and obtaining property by deception. Police say that he is the one who has been scamming people in Minister Finnegan’s name. Police say that Tony Griffith, the owner of Belize Waste Control, located at Mile 2 ½ on the George Price Highway, Belize City, reported to them that at about 1:00 p.m. on November 30, someone who identified himself as Hon. Michael Finnegan called his office and requested financial assistance of $1,250 ”to be handed over to two of his boys.” Griffith agreed, and five minutes later two men came to his business. One mentioned that he was there on Mr. Finnegan’s behalf. A check for the value of $1,250 was written in the name of James Swaso. Three weeks later, say Police, on Thursday, December 20, the businessman discovered that Hon. Michael Finnegan had not requested or authorized anyone to collect any monies on his behalf.

Two elephants are fighting, and I am the grass getting trampled, says Adolphus... Last week five-time Mesopotamia representative Michael Finnegan made the media rounds blasting long-time UDP supporter Goldburn “Easy Glen” Adolphus for calling local businessmen and public sector departments, impersonating him, asking for donations, and in at least one instance actually receiving “some $2,000 plus” from Tony Griffith, the proprietor of Belize Waste Control. The Minister of Housing was absolutely sure that Easy Glen, and his sidekick, James Swaso, were the culprits, and he reported the matter to the Police Commissioner. Police, acting on the complaint, found Easy Glen and Swaso, also known as the Chain Saw Man, in Orange Walk on Tuesday, December 18, and they were detained, pending charges. Easy Glen on Monday, December 24, did his version of the media rounds to clear his name, starting with an extended call to the KREM WUB morning show. Adolphus told the KREM hosts, “If you listen to my voice, there is no way, no how that I can sound like Mr. Finnegan…I didn’t imitate anybody. I didn’t go and collect any money in anybody’s name.” An irate Easy Glen said he was detained for 94 hours, before being released on Saturday. “They took me from Orange Walk to Belize City to Belmopan back to Belize City, with no water, no food, and no communication to nobody. They run my wife like wahn dog out of the station,” said the popular Belize City street personality.

For the individual, it is very easy to have a new beginning: all that is needed is a change of heart. That is, if your heart is in darkness. If your heart is in the light, then you should shine brightly to lead your brethren to the light. For the state, a new beginning has to start at the top, at the seat of governance in the House of Representatives. They should set the good example for the rest of the nation. The House has two sides – members of the majority party, called the Government, and members of the minority party, called the Opposition. They are there jointly to serve the best interests of the nation. That is why they bear the title “Honorable.” They are our rulers but also, our servants. In the House of Representatives, all the members are equal, regardless of their position in the Executive. They have the same rights and privileges. Despite their differences, they should treat each other with high regard and respect. Members should always be referred to as the honorable member of the electoral division he/she represents, or the position held in the Executive, never by the use of personal pronouns. It will help to instill a high regard for the House amongst the populace if, when appropriate, members of your own side are referred to as “my honorable friend” and, of the other side as “the honorable gentleman.” To refer to a member of your own side as your colleague is improper. It would be a good beginning for the whole nation if civility and decorum reigned in the House of Representatives. To be elected to be a member of the House of Representatives is a great honor that the electors of the electoral division he represents bestow on him, along with their trust and their hopes for their future also, the power to act on their behalf.

As he was taking his last breaths, Luke Nunez, Jr. told his aunt: “Auntie, I love you. You take care of my mom because I’m getting weak and I’ll die.” A squabble turned deadly last night in Hopkins Village when 18-year-old Luke Nunez, Jr. was reportedly killed by Wilfred Garcia, 48, a Belizean driver of Hopkins Village. According to reports, Nunez, a laborer of Hopkins Village, got into a misunderstanding with Garcia in the north side of the village. That misunderstanding led to a fight, during which Nunez sustained cut wounds to the right side of the chest, center of the head, and the upper left side of the chest. Nunez succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment at the Southern Regional Hospital. According to Elta Augustine, it was frustration that led Garcia to kill her nephew. “He’s a drunk, always drinking and he doesn’t work,” she said. “It was frustration that got into him.” She said that Garcia asked Nunez to help move a car that was stuck. Nunez didn’t want to continue to help Garcia push the car, so Garcia told him: “I will kill you.” Augustine said that when she was informed of what had happened to her nephew, she immediately went over to the village health center where she found doctors trying to stabilize Nunez.

Company considers raising more debentures in 2013... The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) announced that it is closing the series 5 debenture offer for BZ$25 million, launched on November 15, 2012, eleven days early, because it has been fully subscribed. BEL reported that “as of today, these subscriptions are for over $14 million in excess of the $25 million offer.” The series 5 debenture offer, which pledges a fixed interest rate of 7% to mature in 12 years on December 31, 2024, is being sold in multiples of $100. The offer was not due to close until December 17. The Belize Social Security Board (SSB) is purchasing $5 million worth of debentures, in addition to $10 million in preference shares from the government-owned utility company. BEL, understandably, is happy about the outcome of the debenture offering. BEL’s Senior Manager Finance & Human Resources, Betty Tam, said in a statement, “We appreciate the high interest in our offer and thank all subscribers to the series 5 debentures. We stand on a strong record as we have consistently paid interest on time to holders of our series 1, 2, 3 and 4 debentures. Holders of our series 5 debentures can expect the same consistency from us going forward.” The proceeds of the series 5 debentures will come just in time for BEL to pay those who had subscribed to its first debentures, due at the end of December 2012.

It was billed as the best offense against the best defense; the leading goal scorer, Danny Jimenez of Police United vs the best goalkeeper, Woodrow West of Belmopan Bandits. The league and the media have more work to do to better familiarize paying fans with the players on the field. But where the big name stars are concerned, fans know them well, whether or not their numbers are printed large on their jerseys, or announcers are calling out their names when they trot onto the pitch. Danny led all strikers in scoring this year, drilling 12 of his team’s league leading 30 goals in regular season; and West was mean between the sticks all season long, yielding only 4 goals in their 14-game regular season. West and the Bandits had blanked Placencia Assassins in the semifinals, beating them 1-nil in Placencia and then ending 0-0 at home in Belmopan at the Isidoro. Danny was scoreless in the semifinals against BDF, with their game winner at the Norman Broaster coming from Trevor “Burger” Lennon in injury time (90+’). His teammate Evan Mariano, second on the goal scoring list, had tied it up before the intermission (33’) for Police, after Vallan Symms had gotten an early goal (11’) for BDF. And their return match was also scoreless, 0-0. But with the crowd jamming the Isidoro Beaton Stadium for the Finals game 1 yesterday under bright sunshine and a light, cool northerly air flow, goal hungry fans were given a treat approaching mid-way of the first half, when Danny Jimenez completed a long run from the left wing, cutting into the middle, avoiding a few attempted tackles, and culminating near the 18-yard line with a hard right foot grounder that caught West leaning the other way. Danny was guarded all the way by a defender, and West might have anticipated a pass to his teammate on the right side. But Danny must have glanced at an opening, for suddenly he pulled the trigger, and aimed right, which is what “prize strikers” do. 1-nil, Police.

The UBAD Education Foundation (UEF) celebrated the opening of Kwanzaa week at the UEF Library of African and Indian Studies yesterday evening, and the first principle was Unity (Umojaa in Kswahili). Shortly after, across the river and inside the Biltmore Hotel upstairs Riverhall room, Belizeans were united in their passion for boxing entertainment, and their support for Belizean boxers against visiting boxers from Chetumal, Mexico. James Adderley/Mahogany Productions promoted the fight card, and, according to ringside announcer Brian Mossiah, the sponsor was Belize Telecommunications Limited. Tickets were sold out before the first fight got under way around 7:00 p.m., but the crowd that jammed the lobby eventually made their way in, causing the perimeter corridor between the walls and chairs to be blocked with eager spectators, and the atmosphere to approach “oven” status, reminiscent of the infamous Civic Center. Nevertheless, it was an exciting night for approximately 400 to 500 boxing fans, who were just happy to witness a live boxing event, something that has been a scarce commodity for some time. It was a 7-fight amateur card, featuring boxers from Chetumal against Belizean opponents, from the Leopold Smart gym in Belize City and Clinton Tucker’s Lion’s Den gym in Ladyville. The bouts were scheduled as 4 rounds each, with 2 minutes per round. Referee in charge was Roberto Ordonez, and ringside physician was Dr. Michael Pitts.

For younger Belizeans, this Christmas/New Year’s holiday season is mostly a time of revelry, but for us older folk, the season is more a period of reflection. Out of my reflections so far, I sat down to pen the following thoughts. In my lifetime, there has emerged a dominant elite in Belize which we consider native, even though the patriarchs of some of these families may have been immigrant in origin. When the nationalist movement began here in 1950, there were no identifiably powerful families in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, apart from Perez-Schofield. There were no such families in the Toledo or Cayo Districts, although Wahib Habet was very big in the West. In the Stann Creek District, people like the Sharps and the Bowmans were big and becoming bigger in citrus, but this was taking place in the Pomona Valley, which was an exclusive, almost separatist enclave. In the capital city, the powerhouse was the Belize Estate and Produce Company, challenged by Bob Turton, and then you had the big stores – Brodies, Harley’s, and Nord’s. I was a toddler in 1950. The socio-economic picture of the colony, British Honduras, which I am presenting to you, is not based on academic research, and so I accept and welcome criticism and dissent. By a “powerful Belizean family” in the present day context, I would say this is a family which can “comfortably” owe the banks a hundred, two hundred, or three hundred million Belize dollars. I would say, as we approach the end of 2012, there would be several such families in every District of Belize, except perhaps Toledo, which is, ironically, the wealthiest District in Belize where natural resources are concerned. In my lifetime, a group which has become quietly and spectacularly wealthy is the Mennonites, the group which dominates food production in Belize. I have no idea how the Mennonites are structured. I assume there are families which are at the top of the Mennonite pyramid.

Grieving mother of victim says the accused was known to be a very mannerly young man. “But you look at people and you don’t know what kind of temper they have, what kind of things they are capable of doing.” The life of 23-year-old Robert Alexander Pinnock, Jr., was cut short on Saturday, December 22, 2012, when he was stabbed to death by his cousin, Glenford Chavez, in Dangriga. Amandala was told that both young men were socializing at a baby shower in the New Site Area of Dangriga when an altercation began between the two relatives. Witnesses said that they were not sure what triggered the argument, but they became fully aware of the squabble when it turned physical. Gloria Mejia, mother of the victim, told Amandala that she is not exactly sure what transpired but she knows that her son was invited to a baby shower by a friend who was hosting the shower. She said her understanding of what happened is based only what she was told. “They said that the young man told my son something, and my son punched him. The young man fell, but it seemed that my son didn’t pay any attention to him; he just turned his back and was talking again to the rest of friends,” she said. “And the next thing they saw, “ she went on to relate, “was when the boy came, not sure if it was a knife or what, and then it looked like he was punching my son.” The witnesses said that it looked like Chavez was punching Pinnock, but they didn’t know that he was actually stabbing him. It was only when Pinnock held his hand on his chest that witnesses saw blood on his clothes. According to witnesses, when Chavez finished stabbing Pinnock he fled the scene.

To tell the truth, we had almost no interest in this Patrick Faber challenge to Gapi Vega for Deputy UDP Leader/Deputy Prime Minister until Easy Glen entered the picture. Easy Glen entered the picture because Michael Finnegan, who appears to be supporting Faber, called him out naked on national television last week, the police picked up Easy Glen, and after holding him for 94 hours, according to Easy Glen, they released him without charge. Easy Glen then counter-attacked on the KREM WUB talk show and the Channel 7 newscast last Friday. You may not know this, but Easy Glen is a popular man in the city streets. This is because he is friendly with everybody, and he has lyrics. Michael Finnegan is a big man on the city streets because he has won Mesopotamia five straight times, and by bigger and bigger margins. When these two meet in the UDP national convention in February of 2013, everybody will want to see the action, because Easy Glen will be Gapi’s general in the city constituencies. The reason we had no interest in the Faber challenge to Gapi is because there are no general elections due here for four years, and no matter how much wrangling and political bloodshedding goes on, it will be an internal matter of the ruling UDP. That’s all. No matter how small the victory margin of one of the two major political parties over the other, and in the case 0f 2012 it was only 17-14 in favor of the UDP, once the Governor General swears in the Prime Minister, that means Buckingham Palace is staying, story done. In the British Commonwealth, the election process is sacrosanct. If you lose, no matter how narrowly, don’t be moaning and groaning. No one cares.

There is an attitude in the city on the part of some roots that they are owed something for the Christmas holidays. This is an attitude engendered and encouraged by the PUDP politicians, but such an attitude has now spread to the point where it introduces seasonal sourness into the relationships between some haves and some have nots. The politico-economic system we have in this country is free market democratic capitalism. It essentially guarantees inequality, to the point of oppression. This is what Christianity, it appears, brought to the table, and almost all Belizeans say they are Christians. It is intrinsic to the politico-economic system we have implemented that some accumulate more, do better, than others. But, a mindset has developed in some Belizeans that the system owes them Christmas, and if their more fortunate neighbor does not cater to that mindset, then the vibes become bitter. Overall, it is sad how we live in this community nowadays. There is something fundamentally wrong here. Most Belizeans, rich and poor, are obsessed with shopping in Chetumal. The vibes are not bitter in Chetumal. Why are the vibes in Belize City and Chetumal so different? What is the difference between Belizean nationalism and Mexican nationalism? Why do we Belizeans scorn ourselves and our city while the people of Chetumal love and cherish their municipality?

A PUDP 2013
We make a conscious effort not to disrespect Belize’s major political parties, but we adult Belizeans of sound mind and body are sure that a change from the UDP to the PUP would not necessarily solve our problems overnight. By the same token, we enter the New Year 2013 with the consciousness that the UDP is becoming more of a problem than a solution. This is parliamentary democracy – PUDP. From we are children, they have told us that this is the best thing to happen since Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. It ain’t so, Joe. This is ring-a-ring-a-roses. This is just piti pat: fu you, fu me, fu you, fu me … And, there is nothing to be done about it, because the churches say this is what God wants for us. Since we are all so deathly afraid of not believing in God, we reply like the sycophants that we are – hip, hip, hurray. There’s not that much that’s going to be happy about 2013 at the public sector, political party level. That’s why it is so important for you and me to keep the vibes curry and nice between us. Reach out and touch somebody’s heart. That’s the freedom we have left. Sing a song for me, and I will dance the punta for you. Share the love. Power in the struggle.


A Tale of Five Cities: Tulum Maya Site and the Beautiful Beach
On our first full day in Tulum, we caught an inexpensive collectivo from the main street through town to the Maya ruins and beach nearby. This is the number one tourist destination in Tulum, and it is well worth a visit. Although you can take a private taxi for just a bit more ($50 MX, or about $4 US), collectivos run every few minutes and cost just $40 MX for the two of us (approximately $3.20 US). Just ask them to take you to the"ruinas" since many of the drivers don't speak English. Be forewarned, however; the collectivo dropped us on the main road about a quarter-mile from the entrance to the park, so we had to hike in the rest of the way. A taxi will presumably take you right up to the entrance. We'd been warned to get to the ruins early as the tour buses would start to arrive around 10 am, but unfortunately, we arrived right about that time. And one of the most striking things about the entire day was how many people there were, everywhere. After getting used to visiting Maya ruins and national parks in Belize, where we sometimes had the place to ourselves, or were among just a handful of others, this was a real shock! Since these ruins are just south of Cancun and Playa del Carmen -- and with end of the Mayan calendar just days away -- it seemed that everyone and his brother, aunt, and cousin wanted to see the ruins and the gorgeous Tulum beaches on this day. I recognized a lot of French being spoken in particular, but there were certainly people from all over the world visiting the well-manicured site overlooking the beach on dramatic cliffs. We heard almost no English being spoken in the park.

Nat Geo Names Belize Top Ten Winter Trip
The December 2012 online edition of National Geographic has listed the Belize Barrier Reef as one of the world’s “Best Winter Trips” for 2013, Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator Larry Waight announced today. “This is very timely in light of the new Tropic Air services linking Chaa Creek to the Belize Barrier Reef, and gives us even more reason to look forward to 2013” Mr Waight said. In the introduction to the feature, National Geographic advises readers to “Get ready to infuse the long winter months with color, carnivals, and adventure. Chosen by our editors, this year’s best winter trips span the globe and transcend the season.” The feature article goes on to list National Geographic’s ten top picks for 2013 winter holidays, which includes diverse exotic destinations such as Alaska’s Chena River State Recreation Area, the Ruaha National Park in Tanzania, Salzburg, Austria and the Harbin Ice Festival in China. Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, also known as the Mesoamerican Reef is described as offering “exceptional beginner-to-expert sea kayaking and snorkeling along shallow reefs, plus secluded white-sand beaches and unspoiled nature reserves.”

5 Maya ruins to explore in Belize
When I thought of the great ruins of the Maya empire, I never gave Belize a second thought. Sure, I knew Central America was the heart of the Maya empire, but I didn’t really know much more. Although I’m certainly no expert on the Maya, I knew of the famous ruins of Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Calakmul in Mexico and the great city of Tikal in Guatemala. But Belize? What ruins were there? And were they even worth visiting? But as we began planning for our trip to Belize this summer, I began to learn so many interesting things about this country that I never knew before — including the important role it played in the Maya empire. Much to my surprise, I learned Belize contains the greatest concentration of Maya sites in the entire region (supposedly more than 1,400!). Unfortunately, most of these sites remained covered in dense jungle and have not been excavated. Nonetheless, Belize has several partially excavated Maya sites that are well worth taking the time to visit. They impress not only because of the architectural prowess of the Maya, but also because of their spectacular settings along rivers and nestled deep in seemingly impenetrable jungle. Because they’re less well-known than sites like Tikal and Chichen Itza, they’re also less crowded, offering a much more serene environment in which to immerse yourself in the life of the Maya. If you’re planning a trip to Belize, here are five ruins you’ll want to take time to explore:

What a Diff’rence a Day Makes
In yesterday’s edition (‘Take it Easy’) I apologised for the lateness of publishing and explained that we suffered a sudden and protracted loss of the Internet. So this morning after having breakfast I went to the Coral Cable office to report the fault. The Internet speed, as anyone living on or visiting Ambergris Caye will know, is slow. The same cannot be said, however, for the engineers. Why? Well I reported the fault at 10.10 am and at 11.05 am the engineers arrived and within 10 minutes of arrival they had identified the fault and corrected it. A first class service. With access to Internet again Rose and I set off for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize shortly after 1 pm so that we arrived after the guys had returned from their lunch break ( they normally break for lunch at noon for an hour) . On arrival at the site we couldn’t believe our eyes. There were workers everywhere. A quick body count informed us that the workforce today comprised fourteen people. Yesterday there were four. What a difference a day makes!

International Sources

A decoy and a rainy border crossing: Eccentric fugitive software developer John McAfee details his escape from Belize into neighboring Guatemala
The McAfee saga continues. Eccentric fugitive software mogul, John McAfee, who spent weeks on the run from Belizean authorities, recently revealed the ins and outs of his escape from the small Central American country, roughly the size of Vermont, into neighboring Guatemala, which deported him back to the U.S. The escape from Belize to Guatemala started with an undercover arrival in Belize City, McAfee wrote on his blog the day after Christmas. In order to dodge ‘multiple checkpoints set up along every highway exiting Belize,’ the 67-year-old says a look-alike he has known for over 30 years and who years ago changed his name to ‘John McAfee’ got himself arrested in Mexico, north of Belize, in order to convince Belizean authorities that they could stop their search for him. While the look-alike diversion was reportedly taking place in the north, McAfee and several friends, including two Vice journalists, climbed into an SUV and followed another friend, who was driving one of McAfee's trucks in the opposite direction. The idea was for the lead truck to act as another decoy - this time to confuse security checkpoints along the route. ‘If they stopped the truck, I knew the checkpoint officers would be swarming all over it. Subsequent traffic would be likely to be waved through,’ McAfee wrote. That, he says, was a backup plan in case his real plan failed. ‘In Belize, no checkpoint officers will ever stop a car in the rain,’ McAfee wrote.

A Fish With Nowhere to Hide
Luiz Rocha, the curator of ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences, writes from Belize, where he conducts research on the social wrasse, one of the world’s most endangered fish. The weather is much better, and we were able to do several dives and get a good grasp on just how bad the lionfish invasion in Belize really is. They are everywhere. We saw and collected them in all habitats we visited, including coral reef, sea grass and mangrove. Finding them in the last two is especially disheartening, as they are nursery habitats for many coral reef species. Lionfish are eating young reef fish before they can even get there. In the morning we dove along the barrier reef to estimate lionfish abundance there. During a 45-minute dive, we counted more than 20 of them. For perspective, we were a group of five divers, swimming slowly over the edge of the barrier reef. Collectively we would see a lionfish on average every two minutes.

December 28, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro celebrates the end of the Mayan Calendar
San Pedro residents and visitors came together on December 20, 2012 to bring in the 14th B’ak’tun by observing and celebrating the close of the 13th Pik cycle in the ancient Maya calendar known as the Long Count. December 21, 2012 was a highly anticipated date that came 1,872,000 days after the beginning of the current Maya era that, according to ancient hieroglyphic texts, came about via a mythical creation. The 21-12-12 date is based on archaeologists’ and researchers’ findings on a monument in Tabasco, Mexico in the 1960s, and it brought with it, many speculations on what would occur on this day. Being part of the Mundo Maya, Belize was no exception when it came to celebrating this historic date, while nodding to the rich history and culture of the Maya people whose awe-inspiring civilization is still being studied and has brought much attention to the countries they spanned during the height of their reign. In San Pedro Town, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) held an all-night event at the Central Park with live music, dance presentations, Maya ritual presentations, food and drinks, and even fire works for the crowds to enjoy. The event started a little after eight and went straight on till the wee hours of the morning. Speaking to the public about the Mayas and the impact they had on the country was Angel Nuñez, Mayor of San Pedro, Daniel Guerrero, and Minister of Tourism Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. Entertainment included Lucio and the New Generation band and Rompe Raja. The Corozal Community College (CCC) presented traditional Mayan dances with elaborate costumes depicting fire dances and the deer dance. The night was full of excitement and great talent. The event could not have had a better end than the performance at sunrise of an Ancient Mayan Ritual on the beach in honor of the end of the 13th B’ak’tun.

Marco Gonzalez Maya Site receives donation of Bze$17,000
December 18, 2012 – Jan Brown, Chairman of the Board, Marco Gonzalez Maya Site Project is proud to announce the receipt of a $7,000 USD donation from the Frederick S. Upton Foundation. They have been very supportive through the efforts of Board Member Matt Fowler, now residing in the US. Along with this came another donation of $1500 USD from an anonymous donor. These funds will be used in the upgrading of the grounds at the entrance of the Archaeological Reserve. Use of the monies are being considered to raise the level of the surrounding land and build a palapa with picnic tables for guests to enjoy their experience even more. Also, upgrade of the current boardwalk is high on the priority list. Another consideration is the establishment of a pier for guests to arrive by boat. Recent donations from the Foundation and guests have included the Fee Collection Booth, a two-section restroom, work on the boardwalk, maintenance equipment for site improvement and installation of interpretive signage throughout the site. Accepting the donation was Jan Brown, Chairman, and Peter Nolan, President of the Project Board of Directors. These donations truly make for a Happy Holiday spirit at Marco Gonzalez.

Our wild honeymoon
On our honey moon to Belize I didn’t want my wife, Stacia, and I to have a typical Belizean experience. Instead I set out in a search for wilder activities. Our passion for the wilder side of life led us to Vince and Cherie, the founders of American Crocodile Education Center (ACES). The excitement started on our first night in San Pedro when we were invited to join Vince, Cherie and Evan on a mission to set a crocodile trap for a troublesome and large crocodile. The night did not end there; we followed by heading to relocate a crocodile that had previously been captured. The excitement of capturing a crocodile in an enclosure and then having to relocate it further up north to an area not inhabited was exhilarating, not to mention that we had a croc lying on our laps. On our way to the area they choose to relocate the croc the cart broke down. Thankfully Carts Belize came to our rescue and we are absolutely grateful to them for that.

Ambergris Today

Mayor Guerrero Discusses Issues with San Pedro Police
At the meeting, Robinson commented that one of her primary concerns is that residents are not reporting these incidents enough for her department to conduct investigations. She stated that she has heard and read about lots of incidents, cases and issues but because there are no official reports in her department, she cannot conduct proper investigations; they are all ‘rumors’ to the SP Police Department. Robinson urges island residents to file reports so that investigations can be carried out. She said that most of the time these issues are blown up in the social media and chat sites and there is nothing she and her department can do if there are no official reports made. Mayor Guerrero agreed with her and urges residents to exercise calmness to avoid building more tension. He has committed to work closely with the police to find solutions to these issues.

Belize Reaches Agreement with Bond Creditors
Belize has reached an agreement in principle with creditors to restructure about half of its unpaid debt after "long and arduous" talks, allowing the country to avoid default, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said on Friday. Barrow told a press conference that he would release details of the restructuring of the $544 million bond at a later date. "The agreement is comprehensive and it is sustainable," he said. Mark Espat, leader of Belize's negotiating team on the debt restructuring, explained that details of the deal could not be made public until they were explained to all of Belize's creditors.

Misc Belizean Sources

McAfee house for sale
Incredible beachfront home on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Only 4.5 miles from San Pedro town in a very desireable area surrounded by other upscale homes. Great sandy beach, large living areas with private bedroom villas. Mature landscaping with coconut trees. Offered exclusively by RE/MAX Islands Real Estate.

Immigration puts 40 small business photographers out of business nationwide
Nationwide, the BELIZE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT has put out of business about 40 private sector passport photo photographer shops NATIONWIDE in the last month with a new photo MONOPOLY. Wife went last week for the fourth trip to put in my application for renewal of expired passport. All the way to Belmopan. New rule, the photographs were invalid as the IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT NOW REQUIRE YOU TO TAKE YOUR PASSPORT PHOTO in their Belmopan office, by their monopoly! Trip before that, a month earlier they rejected my renewal application on the grounds that the it had to be witnessed by a JP in my community, who knew me. Could not use Belmopan JP's. Don't know any J.P.s personally. But got it witnessed here in San Ignacio.

Channel 7

Minor Murdered In Hopkins Boxing Day Melee
The Christmas Holidays were mostly peaceful across Belize - particularly in the city where only one non-fatal shooting was reported. And we might have gotten through Christmas and Boxing day without a murder were it not for a crazy event last night in Hopkins. It resulted in the killing of a minor, a 17 year old who was caught up in a misunderstanding with a much older man. Daniel Ortiz found out about the demise of Luke Dayton Nunez, Jr:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting While the rest of the country was enjoying the end of Boxing Day, the family of 17 year-old Luke Nunez Jr. was mourning his untimely death. When we caught up with them today, their grief was still fresh; they couldn't accept that he was no longer with them. Police say that his alleged killer has since been picked up. Sgt. Wilfredo Ferrufino - OIC Dangriga CIB "On the 26th Dangriga Police visited the Emergency Room at the Southern Regional where they observed a male individual suffering from stab wounds to the right side of his chest and his head. The victim was Luke Nunez Jr. of Hopkins Village. He succumbed to his injuries whilst undergoing treatment." "The Investigations revealed that he and one Wilfred Garcia was in altercation earlier that day in Hopkins Village when Garcia Inflicted injuries to him." Immediately after the stabbing took place, Nunez alerted his family of the dire condition he was in.

Cousin Accused Of Sunday's Stabbing In Griga
And Nunez's murder became the second stabbing death in the Stann Creek district in three days. As we reported, on Sunday night 23 year old Robert Alexander Pinnock was stabbed to death in Dangriga Town. The man who allegedly did it has since been arrested and charged, but to Pinnock's family, it's no compensation for his loss, especially because the accused is his very close cousin. 7News caught up with his father today, and he became very emotional when he told us that he personally questioned the accused: Sgt. Wilfredo Ferrufino - OIC Dangriga CIB "On the 22nd December Police visited the Emergency Room of the Southern Regional Hospital where they saw one, Mr. Pinnock suffering with a stab wound to the left side of his chest. He was undergoing treatment and succumbs to his injuries about 10:52pm that same night. Investigations have revealed that Mr. Pinnock was at a private function in the New Site area of Dangriga when he got into an altercation with Glenford Chavez who inflicted the injuries to him." Daniel Ortiz "Tell us what's the situation with Mr. Chavez, has he since been charged?"

Hugh Thomas Jr Shot Not Far From Where His Dad Was Shot 10 Years Earlier
And while those murders happened in Stann Creek, as we said at the opening of the news, thankfully, Belize City was relatively peaceful this weekend. There was one shooting though. It happened on the early morning of the 26th and it involved 20 year old Hugh "Angel" Thomas Jr who was shot at the corner of West and King Streets. Police say Thomas was standing at the corner of West and King Streets when at 1:10 am when a dark skinned male came from West Street and shot him in the leg. Thomas was taken to the KHMH, but has since been released. It is of note that more than ten years ago, in May of 2002, the then 27 year old Hugh Thomas Sr, also known as Angel was shot at the corner of King and Far West Streets. In that case, Thomas Sr was riddled with bullets in a daylight shooting and did not survive.

"Chicken Dread" Back In Court
Today Paul Ferguson better known to the public as Chicken Dread was back in court again. This time though, it was Municipal Court on two counts of selling fry chicken and fries on Albert Street without a trade license. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and his case was adjourned until the 31st of January. Today 7news caught up with him as he was leaving Municipal Court. He told us what his next step is going to be:.. Paul Ferguson - Fry Chicken vendor "I went to court for the two charges that Mr. Butler brought against me for selling fry chicken on the sidewalk. The status right now is that they adjourn it until the 31st January." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "From the last time you spoke with the Mayor, is there anything different because I think you were told that it was okay for you to be out there. What are you being charged for and what is the next step from here?" Paul Ferguson - Fry Chicken vendor "We will continue going to court, I am not going to back down. I am still going to sell my fry chicken - that's the only means I can get money to pay my bills. We will fight them - it is something that is petty as I have said before. They want me to get a trade license, I am on my way to the City Council right now to see if I can get a peddlers license - which I know they will deny me because of the ongoing battle in court. I am not going to back down. If they don't give me a peddler license, we will see how we can acquire a peddler license from through my mom or my sister or somebody else. I am not going to back down, I am still going to sell my fry chicken - If I go to jail, that's what's going to happen because this is something I am doing for years. If they want me to get a trade license - everybody on Albert Street got to get a trade license. As you all can see it's something real petty - we are going to fight."

Special Branch Busts
The Special Branch continues to turn out those Marijuana busts - so much so that we might be tempted to say that weed is going out of style, except we know it's not. But the supply chain for is definitely being affected with busts like this one. 13 pounds found in one of those famous abandoned lots on Fabers Road Extension. Dogs from the K-9 Unit searched out a large crocus sack stuffed with 53 plastic bags. And then on Boxing Day, Special Branch information led police to the residence of 38 year old Curtis Alexander YORK, on Flamboyant Street. They found that the electrician had a milk-pan with 187 grams of cannabis inside. CURTIS was charged for "Drug Trafficking".

GSU Gets Stolen Gun
And the Special Branch weren't the only ones busy during the holidays; the GSU with whom they seem to be developing a healthy rivalry for high value busts was also making the rounds. On Monday afternoon, they intercepted a 1995 Toyota Camry car in front of the Princess Hotel and Casino. They searched the driver, 34 year old Belmopan resident Jason WILLIAMS, and found a Ruger 9 mm pistol with a magazine containing 14 live rounds hidden in his the crotch of his pants. He was arrested and charged for kept unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Interestingly, that same firearm was reported stolen from a vehicle in Orange Walk Town, in February, 2012. So, WILLIAMS will be additionally charged for handling stolen goods. The GSU reports that WILLIAMS was deported from the USA for conspiracy to drug trafficking in 2009.

Jamaican LBGT Advocate Wont Travel To Belize Because OF Restrictive anti-Gay Immig Law
Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican attorney and HIV activist who has traveled to all parts of the Caribbean giving presentations about the impact of homophobia on the HIV response - was invited to Belize by UNIBAM to conduct training and sensitization sessions in Belize City on the 14th to the 16th of January. But he says he can't come because he is unwilling to break the law to conduct these sessions. The Immigration law of Belize states that prohibited immigrants include, quote "Any prostitute or homosexual who may have been living off or receiving proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior," end quote. Belize and Trinidad are the only two countries in the Western Hemisphere to have such a ban and Tomlinson considers it a violation of his right to freedom of movement within the Caribbean Community. He has initiated a challenge to Belize's Immigration Act before the highest court in the region, the Caribbean Court of Justice -CCJ. Hi would - be host, Caleb Orosco told us more:.. Caleb Orosco "At this point he is going through a process where invitations were sent out, he decline those invitations because of existing, in his mind discriminatory laws between two countries; Trinidad and Tobago and from there he is calling his government to take charge of the issue otherwise he would do it himself. There is a specific timeline which he intends to give his government to respond to his request before he proceeds."

Drama At Magistrate's Court With Pam And Horse
There was major drama which unfolded at Belize City Magistrate's Court after some well-known personalities of the Southside Gangsters were arraigned in connection with murder about an hour before news time. On Monday, 7News told you about 23 year-old Cassian Bennette, a reputed personality from SSG who was arraigned and remanded for the murder of 19 year-old Raheem Requena, who was gunned down on Kuth Avenue on December 19. Well today, 30 year-old Jermaine "Horse" Garnett, a reputedly well-known figure in SSG and Kenneth Barrow were arraigned today before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart for the very same murder of Requena. They were remanded to prison January 30, 2013. But the case is getting more tangled because according to police 42 year-old Pamela Garnett, the wife of Jermaine Garnett, along with her son, 24 year-old Mark Vernon, aka Mark Gentle, were arraigned before Magistrate Stuart for attempting to suppress evidence.

Putting The Boxing Back In Boxing Day
Last night, Mahogany Productions and BTL put the "boxing" back in Boxing Day with an amateur boxing card at the Biltmore Best Western. The fights pitted Belizeans against a visiting contingent from Chetumal. Channel 7 aired it live, and Jules Vasquez has a recap:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The River Hall at the Biltmore Best Western was filled to capacity with a crowd of eager and sociable boxing fans. And they got a show: There were scintillating exchanges, devastating combinations, some showboating - entourage of young girls and One fighter even had an entourage. One epic low blow which led to Anderson Pitillo declaring victory from a stretcher and of course, there was the home court advantage, animated fans and nonstop cheering. At the end of the night, the Belizean fighters won three of the seven bouts, but two of those wins were by technical knockout, spectacular, dominant performances by Alex Neal and Max Pain Williams: Alex Neal, WINNER BY TKO "After when I saw that I was faster than him, I decided to turn it up on him because the punches that he was throwing want hurting me so I just turn it up on him. I get up from 4:30 in the morning, run and do my skip; I do running for over an hour then I do my sit-ups, pushups and from there my trainer puts me in the gym - that is from Sunday to Sunday for 4 months."

Salima Barrow's Effort Continues
We've already told you about the PM's youngest daughter, 7 year old Salima Barrow and her lemonade stand initiative which raised thousands of dollars for children living with cancer. On Sunday she took it to the Belize Zoo which teamed up with her Children Helping Children with Cancer Fund. On Sunday the Zoo donated half the proceeds from their gate receipts to the Fund. Richard and Carol Foster captured video of the event and shared it with us:

Tonight's profile is about Joel McDougal - a fitness trainer. He explains how he gained an interest in fitness training after dropping out of sixth form:..

Channel 5

VIDEO: Channel 5's Christmas Spectacular 2012

Boxing Day murder in Hopkins

There was less violence recorded over the Christmas holiday. As expected, several burglaries occurred and fights, but so far only one man has died as a result of the injuries he received. News Five’s Duane Moody travelled to the idyllic tourist destination, Hopkins Village where a social event on Boxing Day, ended in tragedy.   [...]

Belize City resident narrowly escapes being murdered

A Belize City man was also injured over the weekend, and he is lucky to be alive. Twenty year old Hugh Thomas, a resident of West and Bishop Streets, escaped grave injury in the early hours of Boxing Day after being assaulted an armed assailant.  At around one-thirty on Wednesday morning, police visited the trauma room [...]

Violent chopping incident with 18th Street Gang member

Belmopan Police are investigating a chopping incident that has left one of its residents hospitalized. On Christmas Day, twenty-eight year old Amancio Ico, who is allegedly part of the Eighteenth Street gang, got into a fight with another group of persons, reportedly from a rival gang. According to police, Ico’s machete was taken away and [...]

Burglaries and thefts across the Christmas holidays

Forty-one year old businessman Luis Castillo left his home on Electric Avenue sometime after seven o’clock on Christmas Day to visit family and friends in the Eight Mile community.  When the mechanic returned several hours later, he discovered that his residence had been burglarized.  The fence at the rear of the premises was breached and [...]

Police recover drugs in Belize City

On Monday afternoon, at about three o’clock, a team of Special Branch officers, assisted by the K-9 Unit, came across a large crocus sack containing over thirteen pounds of cannabis in an abandoned lot on Faber’s Road Extension.  The drugs were concealed inside fifty-three individual plastic bags.  No one was found in the immediate vicinity [...]

Entire family; including Horse, arrested on murder related charges

It’s not uncommon to see two members of the same family appear in the Magistrates Court, but today an entire family was hauled before the court and remanded to prison on charges related to the murder of nineteen year old Raheem Requeña, who was gunned down on December nineteenth. Thirty year old Jermaine Garnett, also [...]

Woman says cop helped her escape from the law

Pamela Garnett may soon be facing additional charges for allegedly threatening Marie Alvarez. She was arrested on Christmas Day for that offence, but today it was the police officer who was on duty while Garnett was detained that appeared in court to face charges. That’s because Garnett managed to escape from custody and when she [...]

Chamber gives its views on renegotiated bond

The government announced on December twenty-first that an agreement in principle was reached in the restructuring of the superbond. Once finalized, the new terms would provide a hundred and fifty million U.S. dollar debt relief for Belize. It’s welcomed news for the economy and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has issued its [...]

BCCI tells Government to keep debt sustainable

Young also spoke on the benefits of the debt relief to Belize’s business sector and he says the current goal should be to ensure that the country does not fall back into unmanageable debt.   Alberto Young “Well, first of all, from a risk stand point, it places Belize at a lower risk. First of [...]

Pauly goes to court for frying without a license

In just over a week, Paul Ferguson has been charged for insulting a Special Constable, relocated from his usual spot in front of Femina Store on Albert Street to the Battlefield Park and then ordered to stop selling his fried chicken since he doesn’t have trade license. Well, today Paul Ferguson’s battle with the Belize [...]

Sweet Sugar Crop says B.S.I.

While life at the court continues to be dreary, farmers who live near Sugar City are forecasting a bright start to 2013. Sugar production at the Belize Sugar Industry’s Tower Hill Factory has increased considerably when compared to last year’s crop.  The current yield, according to factory manager John Gillett, is exceptional, resulting in a [...]

McAfee explains how he “escaped” questioning in Belize

Now, for the man who jumped out of the frying pan and landed in the fire, or rather a detention cell in Guatemala. John McAfee, the American national who police wanted to question about the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull, is back in the United States, following a creative and entertaining time on the [...]


Special Branch Makes Several Arrests
The Police’s Special Branch was busy this past weekend and their efforts resulted is several arrests. In the first instance, on Saturday afternoon, three youths have been arrested on drug related charges. Police say that on Saturday, the visited the home of twenty five year...

Retired Belizean Loses Home In Fire
About one hundred and sixty thousand dollars were lost to a house fire in Orange Walk Town. The cement house which was situated on Dangriga Street belonged to seventy two year old retired Belizean Thomas Arzu. Arzu reported that around 7:15 on Friday night, he was at home w...

Mahogany Heights Residents Complain of Water Shortage
Residents of Mahogany Heights have been taking to the airwaves complaining about a shortage of water in their community. Reporter Marion Ali has the story. “Maybe in the Freetown Division and in Freetown Sibun there is water to take care of the daily human ne...

City Council Employee Poses as Minister to Get Donations for Christmas
Thirty-eight year old James Swazo, a supervisor at Belize City Council, was charged with two counts of obtaining property by deception when he appeared in court on Monday. Swazo pleaded not guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser offered him a bail of $3,000.00, wh...

Police News
A shooting incident in Belize City on the morning of Boxing Day has left a man injured. Twenty year old Hugh Thomas was shot in the upper right leg just after one o’clock yesterday morning as he stood at the corner of West and King Streets. Police say that a man descr...

Final Draft on Annual Review Proceeding for BEL Completed
The Public Utilities Commission today announced that the regulatory body has made its final draft of the 2012 annual review proceeding for Belize Electricity Limited. The government owned Power Company is asking the PUC to grant a thirteen cents increase in the mean electricity r...

Chamber of Commerce Commends Prime Minister on Super Bond Negotiation
Last Friday Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the Government and bondholders had reached an agreement. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has commended the Prime Minister and his team. The Chamber says it looks forward to receiving specific details of the renegotiated t...


Burglars Have Thier Way In Corozal As A String Of Burglaries Are Recorded
Christmas has come and gone and luckily the north was free of major incidences. Nonetheless, various residents in the Corozal District, fell victim to the hands of burglars. The first report was made by 40 year old businessman of #1 North Street Corozal Town, Alvaro Sosa. Sosa reported to police that between 5:00am on December 24th and 10:00am on December 26th his house was burglarized and stolen there from was U.S$600.00, BZ$1,500.00, one Laptop valued at $1,500.00, several pieces of jewellery valued at $500.00, two wrist watches valued at $400.00 each and one Wii Game Console valued at $500.00. All stolen items totaled a value of $10,500.00. Police continue their investigation. As for 55 year old Rosendo Perez, Belizean Musician of #2 A- Street North, Corozal Town, his house was burglarized between 8:00pm on Christmas night and 12:30am on December 26th. Stolen from Perez’s residence was one black laptop valued at $1,300.00, one blue Road Master ladies bicycle valued at $200.00 and one bottle of rum.

Trio Charged For Stealing Two Vessels and Outboard Engines
In the Corozal District two boats went missing in a matter of days. On the 23rd of December 53 year old Edilberto Escalante, cane farmer of Consejo Village in the Corozal District was at home when he was informed that someone had stolen his twenty three feet white fiber glass boat valued at $12, 000 along with its sixty horse power Yamaha outboard engine valued at $6, 000. According to reports the boat was docked at the landing in Consejo Village when it went missing. Escalante immediately organized a search party and in the wee hours of December 24th both the missing vessel and engine were located about 500 feet from Warrie Bight Village in the Corozal District. But Escalante’s missing vessel was not the only one found. Moored near his boat was a white fiber glass boat with a 60 horse power Yamaha engine. The boat, which also went missing on December 23rd, belongs to 43 year old Alejandro Arana, a cane farmer of Consejo Village. The boat is valued at $3,300 while the outboard engine is valued at $6,000. Four nets valued at $1,500 were also found in the boat along with the three men who are suspected of stealing both vessels.

More Than $8,000 In Items Stolen From Residence
And on December 23rd the home of 30 year old Orlando Iglesias, Belizean manager of Port Saul Area in Corozal Town was burglarized between the hours of 4:00pm and 10:00pm. Stolen was one black I-Phone wireless with keypad valued at $2,500, one white Sony Lap-top valued at $1,000, one PSP valued at $500.00, one cell phone valued at $300.00 and one knapsack valued at $60.00. The total value of stolen items amounted to $4,360.00. Police investigations continue. While Corozal police have their plate full investigating a series of burglaries, Orange Walk Police is investigating a burglary that left an Orange Walk businessman out of more than $8,000 in stolen items. The 36 year old economist of San Martin Street here in Orange Walk Town reported to police that on December 22nd between the hours of 6:00am and 8:00pm someone entered his house and stole an assortment of jewelry and electronic items amounting to a total value of $8,439.00. So far no one has been detained.

Deportee Charged For Kept Unlicensed Firearm And Ammunition
On the eve of Christmas thirty four year old Jason Joseph Williams, clothes vendor of #5 Sosa Street Belmopan City was arrested and charged for kept unlicensed firearm and ammunition after members of the Gang Suppression Unit intercepted his gold in color 1995 Toyota Camry Car bearing license plate BC-43398. Reports are that Williams was travelling on Barrack road in front of the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City when the GSU searched his vehicle. Nothing incriminating was found inside the car but when officers searched Williams they hit the jackpot as a silver and black Ruger 9mm pistol with a magazine containing 14 live rounds was found hidden in his pants. Police have verified that the firearm belongs to a businessman from Orange Walk Town. The weapon was stolen from his vehicle in February, 2012. Williams has been charged for kept unlicensed firearm and ammunition. It is expected that he will also be charged for handling stolen goods. In 2009 Williams was deported from the U.S for conspiracy to drug trafficking.

2012 Proves To Be A Deadly Year With 142 Murders
With only four days before the 2012 year ends, Belize remains a high-crime country largely due to the extremely high murder rate per capita standing as the sixth most dangerous country in the entire world with an average of just over 39 homicides per 100,000 residents. This year the murder statistics are soaring with an elevated record of one hundred and forty-two homicides to date. At the start of the year, in the month of January, four murders were recorded while in February alone there were 10 murders. March decreased by two as compared to February with a count of eight homicides recorded. However, the blood bath had just begun as April proved to be the deadliest month in 2012 with twenty-one murders. Fifteen murders were recorded in the months of May and June respectively while in July there were thirteen murders. August and September each had ten killings. Murders recorded in October mounted to thirteen while November accounts for eleven. With four days to closing December, twelve murders are recorded to date. The 141 homicides account for ten minors and fourteen females.


Police press officer updates the medai on weekend crimes
As we told you earlier, there were two reported murders over the weekend, one in the Cayo District and another in Dangriga, but the police press office had no information forthcoming about those two incidents. Instead, at its last regular press briefing for 2012, Press Officer, Raphael Martinez, did shed light on a few other incidents that happened. One of those was a shooting shortly after seven last Friday night which has left 28 year old Keyron Ysaguirre with a gunshot wound to the left eye. There was also a fatal road traffic accident on the George Price Highway on Saturday morning. Police have since taken urine samples and a caution statement from Dougal and they have served him with a notice of intended prosecution. And while Belize may not yet be able to boast of having a witness protection program, with help from the US government, we will soon have a witness support unit. Assistant Commissioner, Elodio Aragon, Junior is the officer commanding Eastern Division. Last week it was reported that two men were using the name of a serving Member of the House of Representatives to collect money and items to benefit themselves. This week, police have arrested one of the men whose name was called. The other, Goldburn Adolphus, has been released based on lack of evidence. Meanwhile, with reference to three murders that occurred over the past few weeks, police have made some inroads and made some arrests. Senior Superintendent, Alden Dawson gave us the details.

Charges pending in Dangriga murder case
A Dangriga man is awaiting charges in connection with a Saturday night murder that that municipality. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details.

Santa Elena man found murdered in his home
Police in San Ignacio town are investigating a weekend murder in the twin-town of Santa Elena. The body of thirty six year old Rene Vera, an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Livestock section in Central Farm, was found inside his home on Saturday afternoon. Sources tell Love News that Vera’s body, which was found on the bedroom floor had as many as nine stab wounds to the chest and neck. Vera’s body is now awaiting a post mortem examination at the San Ignacio community hospital.

House destroyed by fire in Orange Walk
About one hundred and sixty thousand dollars were lost to a house fire in Orange Walk Town. The cement house which was situated on Dangriga Street belonged to seventy two year old retired Belizean Thomas Arzu. Arzu reported that around 7:15 on Friday night, he was at home with his family when he smelled and saw smoke coming from a back room. The family exited the building and no one was injured. All the household items valued at about ten thousand dollars were burnt. The house is estimated to be valued at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Police continue to investigate this incident in which arson is suspected.

Concerns linger in the death of a Toledo man
Members of the family of a man who died, reportedly after an encounter with a police officer have expressed concerns about the ongoing police investigation. The chief investigator of the incident has also been talking with Love News about the incident. Correspondent Paul Mahung has that story in the following report.

Drug bust, ammunition find and burglary make it to the crime blotter
The Police’s Special Branch was busy this past weekend and their efforts resulted is several arrests. In the first instance, on Saturday afternoon, three youths have been arrested on drug related charges. Police say that on Saturday, the visited the home of twenty five year old Michael Hulse in Belize City, where they found a bag with two hundred and twenty three grams of marijuana. Present at the time of the discovery were twenty year old Lester Vergo and twenty one year old Melchizedek Silva. All three persons have been arrested and charged for the crimes of drug trafficking and the possession of controlled drugs. Later on Saturday evening, police say a search of an abandoned lot in the St. Martin de Porres area of Belize City resulted in the discovery of a plastic bag containing seven 9 millimeter rounds of ammunition. Also on Saturday night Special Branch personnel conducted a search in an abandon lot in the Caesar Ridge Road area near to the beach side, which led to the discovery of a plastic bottle containing 33 point thirty eight live rounds of ammunition; 28 Aguila Brand Live Rounds; 4 S&B Brand Live rounds, and one Winchester Brand Live Round. No one was found in the area the items was label as found.

Rotaract Club hands out Christmas hampers
The Rotaract Club of Belize this morning brightened up the Christmas holidays for a group of Belize City women. Giselle Waight is the President of the Rotaract Club of Belize. Waight says exciting things are on the horizon for the Rotaract Club of Belize. The handing over was done this morning at the Women’s Department office in Belize City.

Community Police unit holds Christmas party for children
‘Tis the season and today, the Belize Police Department spread Christmas cheer to 200 children from across the city’s most needy zones. The children received food, drinks, gifts from Santa Claus and danced and played games. Acting Officer Commanding the Community Policing Unit, W Corporal Hortense Hernandez, says this is done to uplift their spirits and show them that someone cares. The Police Christmas party for children is held every year.

Christmas parade lights up Punta Gorda
In Punta Gorda town the streets came alive with the first of what is anticipated to be an annual Christmas Parade. Our Toledo correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

CITCO: Belize City open for business
It is winding down to Christmas Day but the Belize City Council is in full swing in conducting business and today it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Belize Business Bureau. The initiative bears the slogan “Open for Business” and aims to trigger economic development and rebrand Belize City as the nation’s commercial hub. City Hall is so serious about this latest venture, that Mayor Darrell Bradley says that for the next two years of its reign, the Belize City Council will bear the theme: “Belize City – Open for Business.” Over the next two years, BBB’s President, Arturo Lizarraga says that the Council and the Bureau will, through a newly created Economic Development Commission, initiate dialogue with the private sector and try to tap into the Mexican tourist market to attract better business in Belize City. Mayor Bradley said that if there were more opportunities in Belize City, the crime rate would not be as high. Lizarraga believes that if Belize City can also develop its existing empty spaces and have attractive architecture, it can attract much more visitors. One of the first tasks of the Economic Development Commission is to review the current Trade License concerns and objections raised by some businesspersons. The Council and the Bureau plan to get discussions off the grounds early in the New Year in order that tangible outcomes can be realized within the next few months.

Long prison sentence for convicted pedophile
He was convicted of having sexual intercourse with an underage girl; and today Supreme Court judge, Justice Troadio Gonzalez threw the book at fifty five year old Winston Dennison. At a sentencing hearing today, Justice Gonzalez sentenced Dennison to a total of eighteen years in prison. According to court documents, Dennison was sentenced to five years in jail on the first count of carnal knowledge; six years in jail for the second count and seven years behind bars for the third count. Justice Gonzalez stipulated that the sentences are to run consecutively, so Dennison will serve 18 years. Dennison was on parole for a conviction of manslaughter for which the sentence was 25 years. He was granted parole after he had served 10 years, so he will have to serve the remainder of that sentence. Dennison did not have any character witness testify on his behalf, nor did he say anything by way of mitigation. He was not represented by any attorney. Crown Counsel Thalia-Megan Francis represented the prosecution. Dennison committed the offences in April and August of 2010. The complainant was 14 years and 9 months old at the time.

Agreement reached in super bond renegotiation
The best Christmas news for the country of Belize came four days before the big day. At a late-evening press conference in Belize City, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the much talked about haircut has been achieved. Meaning that … the country’s foreign debt, also known as the super bond, has been successfully renegotiated. Under the new terms, Prime Minister Barrow said the new deal will save Belize well over one hundred and fifty million US dollars in debt relief as a result of the new terms. Our News team is just back from the press conference and we will have a full report shortly.

Cooperatives Department observes end of year celebration
The United Nations designated the year 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives and as a result, the Department of Cooperatives today held an event in celebration of the end of the year. The purpose of year of cooperatives was to raise awareness as to the potential of cooperatives as it relates to poverty alleviation and employment generation. Love News met with the Registrar of the Department of Cooperatives at the Princess Hotel where the event was taking place and he told us more about the occasion. Love News also spoke with some of the groups that were displaying their products this morning. Murillo says the main goal of the Department of Cooperatives is to regulate and administer cooperatives, however they also provide mentoring and training to the groups.

Gifford family offers scholarships to Toledo students
The Gifford family of the United States is assisting with educational opportunities for students at the Toledo Community College. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Policeman brings Christmas to Seine Bight children
Children from Siene Bight village were the beneficiaries of a Christmas treat on Thursday in that southern community. The effort was put together by the officer stationed in the village, police constable Jeremy Middleton. Love News spoke with the veteran officer today about the event. P.C. Middleton who has been with the police department for the last eleven years, has been the community police officer in Seine Bight village since August of this year.

From Los Angeles with love for Christmas
Officials of United Belizeans Incorporated of Los Angeles, USA yesterday distributed Christmas gifts to children in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

SMART spreads Christmas cheer
SMART in living up to their business motto of “Bringing people together,” today wend about the business centre of the old capital spreading the Christmas cheer. A number of persons out doing their Christmas shopping or just window shopping were surprised by the staff of the telephone company who was out bearing gifts. Ian Courtenay is the public relations officer for SMART. SMART wishes all, a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Compol says additional resources will ensure a safe Christmas
And while Belize City police have their hands full in solving Wednesday night’s three murders, they also have the task of keeping the peace on the crime-ridden streets. But Commissioner David Henderson assured that the Department is using all its available resources to make Belize city safe over the Christmas holidays.

Police boss investigates allegations of police brutality
Regarding a recent cases in San Pedro and Caye Caulker when police on the islands were accused of using excessive force upon citizens recently, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Elodio Aragon said that the matters are being dealt with. Meanwhile, PC 6, Ack, who was reportedly caught sleeping on duty, allegedly under the influence at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital about a week ago has been charged.

Hold-up on the Hummingbird Highway
Police in the Stann Creek district are investigating a report that two employees of Belize Food Processors Limited were the victims of an armed robbery on the Hummingbird Highway. The incident reportedly happened in Middlesex village on Tuesday evening of last week. Thirty seven year old Pedro Tzalam and a minor were reportedly held up at the speed bump in Middlesex village around five-forty-five last Tuesday evening by four masked men who exited an orange orchard. The robbers reportedly took away fifty dollars from the minor and three thousand dollars in cash from the driver before making good their escape. Two men and a woman were charged with firearm and ammunition offences when they appeared in court today. They are Dario Cruickshank, Elvis Mitchell and Martha Sabio. Cruickshank alone was charged with possession of an undetermined amount of cannabis. They pled not guilty to the charges. Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser explained to them that the court cannot offer them bail because of the nature of the offences. She remanded them into custody until February 7, 2013. The bust occurred around 5:30 this morning. The police, members of the Gang Suppression Unit, reported that when they executed a search warrant at a oaaaaan Mamie Road in Ladyville, they found a nine millimetre pistol with 11 rounds of nine millimetre caliber ammunition in its magazine. The firearm and ammunition were in the attic. The police also reported that when they searched Cruickshank they found the cannabis in the pocket of his pants. Cruickshank was recently released from prison after having served time for a firearm offence.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Giant Cave exploration with Belize Diving Services
One main history on Caye Caulker is its cave system which is located under our houses. There have been many stories with this cave starting with 2 persons dying in there up to how far the cave system goes and where it connects among other stories. The entrance of the cave system is located on the west side of the island called by some Tarpon View where tarpons have their home. I was told by some one that Belize Diving Services was exploring the cave beneath us and mentioned how far they got. I, as a diver was interested but would be too chicken to even try such a dive.


A Tale of Five Cities: Travel day to Tulum, Mexico
After our first day trip to Mexico and the problems we had leaving the country, I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to return, but time has a way of mellowing out our memories, and we knew that there were many wonderful things about our neighbor country that we really wanted to see. It's just too close to Belize not to check out, and we'd been studying Spanish (via Pimsleur audio course) off and on over the past year, and wanted to have a chance to try out our rudimentary skills. Plus, by staying over a week, we knew the exit fee was expected and not a scam. So, we planned a bus trip that would have us staying in five different cities over a two-week period and venturing west from the Yucatan Peninsula up into the dry highlands of Chiapas. We'd hoped to make it to Oaxaca as well, but the long bus rides there and back would have lengthened our trip by too much, so we'll have to save that one for another time. We'd bought our tickets for the 8 am ferry to Chetumal and taken Paisley to the Pampered Paws for boarding the day before, as we wouldn't be able to get her there before the ferry departed. We had to catch a very early Coastal Express water taxi from the Grand Caribe dock the day of our travels, which left us plenty of time to walk over to Water Jets International and to wait for them to officially open so that we could go through immigration to check out of Belize. Fortunately, the security guy let us wait on this bench on the lagoon side of the island by the dock. We were the first ones there. In addition to the usual $7.50 BZ Belize port fee, there is a new $30 BZ ($15 US) exit tax that must be paid by all non-residents when leaving Belize by boat since the last time we went to Chetumal. Grumble.

Belize Navidad and boxing day fun
We got to having too much fun on Boxing day that I did not even want to look at the Christmas pictures, I knew there were way to many and my camera was behaving badly that day so I held off till this morning. As usual we had a great time at the Christmas party, the food keeps getting better every year and Pedro’s staff always does an amazing job. Although only 15 out of 60 or so of us decided to play, the gift game was super fun and lots of stealing action went on. Among the hot stolen items were, a case Belikin Beer, Patron, Kakaw Chocolate body products, blender, bread maker and Croc pot. I ended up with one of the 2 irons and got Paul to steal the crock-pot for Cindy, it was her first year not playing due to baby. Luckily she only missed the game and not the party as she was due at Christmas, but Tinker wanted to be a 12 12 12 baby instead. We went to go visit the Milner – Vigna family yesterday and drop off the last presents that would not make it on the ATV from the Simple Shower. Since part of the plan involved food and the beers had run out we decided to venture across the road so Cindy and Cheri could walk the dogs on the beach. Andy, Paul Tinker and I stayed at Felize restaurant, Andy opted for a Belikin lunch, tacoboy and I had paninis and chip cut fries yum. While there we ended uo enjoying some unexpected gaming, first came Daily Roll and did not win, you pay a couple bucks to get 5 of a kind in one or 2 rolls and can only enter once or twice a day. Then Bingo where Cheryl and Newell tag teamed and came out the big winners of the 3 games we played.

A Beautiful Day and One of the Island's Best Ceviches
The weather right now is gorgeous...warm and sunny with a good cool breeze. And what may be even more gorgeous? We can expect sunny clear skies for...oh...maybe the next 4 to 6 months. Not every single day. But pretty close. I took a walk up to the humane society and passed Banyan Bay. And a man looking to net catch some fish...he can see him south of town pretty much every day of the week. Good tan. When I returned home it was getting a bit late in the afternoon and, as usual, my kitchen contains very few edible items. Yesterday might have been an all time low. For all of you who have watched the cooking show "Chopped", I challenge you to design a meal with these items: dry oats, black olives, protein powder and 14 liters of Sprite Zero. Get back to me on that one. I am pretty lucky to have some great local restaurants (all within 5 minutes walking distance) Robin's Kitchen? Jerk chicken wouldn't be ready for an hour. El Divino at Banana Beach? No ocean view. Aha! Victoria House.

End of the World? Not for the Maya of Belize
Much has been made about December 21, 2012 by doomsday prophets, busily proclaiming that the end of the world is upon us. But archaeologists and scholars of Maya culture explain that the mystical date of 12.21.12 will not be the catalyst for apocalypse. The Maya’s long-form calendar will end, but not the world itself, which will simply enter a new period. In Belize, the end-of-the-world hype is being used as an opportunity to offer experiences that give visitors a more accurate understanding of Maya culture. The most significant of these is a once-in-a-lifetime event held at Caracol, one of Belize’s most important Maya archaeological sites. The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) held the last of four overnight camping trips at Caracol on the “end of the world” date. The trip was led by the NICH’s most prominent archaeologist, Dr. Jaime Awe, and is limited to 200 participants, who need to bring their own camping gear. The $150 cost includes a traditional Maya dinner and fire ceremony. Members of Belize’s roughly 40,000-strong Mayan community prepared the meal, built the fire and led the prayers and chants.

13 B’aktun Roundup: Maya calendar cycle celebrated throughout Central America
It’s been exciting yet tranquilo here in my little corner of the Maya world. You can see me in the blue shirt in the photo above, atop Caana, Sky Temple (PHOTO BY JOSH BROWN). Celebrations are continuing throughout the region. Here is a quick round-up of reports by yours truly and a few friends: GlobalPost: “Maya calendar cycle celebrated throughout Central America” by Joshua Berman: This week, across the “Mundo Maya” — swaths of territory once ruled by the indigenous group in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras — modern Maya villages, as well as the archaeological sites are awash in celebration and ceremony…. Snarky Tofu: “One Era Ends, Another Begins (Apocalypse No Show)” by Joshua Brown (Lonely Planet Superstar): Maya were present, and holy people led both the opening and closing ceremonies. I saw from my vantage point on the ground great leaping bonfires being lit, and heard bursts of sacred music throughout the long night [be sure to watch the videos]…. I’ve been doing many radio interviews. Here is one: The Jiggy Jaguar show. Here is one more on WGVU Public Radio.

‘Tis the Season for Rompopo
Whether you’re rich or poor, Mestizo or Creole, there’s one thing that is never missing in Belizean homes during Christmas time. I’m talking about Rompopo, Belize‘s “winter holidays” drink equivalent to everyone else’s eggnog. The holidays just ain’t the same without it! Rompopo is far better that your regular eggnog, though. I’m being totally biased but please understand me, I can’t help myself. I grew up drinking it religiously for Christmas and New Years, and apart from it being absolutely delicious, the flavors spark countless fond memories. Since it’s the season of giving, I’ll be sharing my family’s not-so-secret Rompopo recipe. You will now be able to make your own at home and have the same experience as most Belizeans have during the holidays. I hope you’re excited!

Belizean Fudge
This recipe is a little bit different than the one my mom does which is already at the site. It's called Rosalee's Belizean Fudge. A sweet treat that does not include any chocolate at all, Belizean Fudge is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

International Sources

The World's Top 10 Retirement Havens For 2013, Part 1
#3: Ambergris Caye, Belize Monthly budget: $2,000 Monthly rent: $800 Warm and welcoming, independent and private. Those four perhaps seemingly contradictory adjectives best describe both Belizeans and their country. Belize is also one of the safest countries in the world, despite what you may read about it. In some neighborhoods of Belize City, gang members and drug dealers do the things that gang members and drug dealers do, but those are small, contained areas. In most of the rest of the country outside Belize City, crime is nearly non-existent. Belize was a colony of Britain until 1981, meaning the people here speak English. They also value their freedom, as it's relatively new. In the nearly 30 years that I've been spending time in this country, I've joked that "the good news from Belize is no news from Belize." This is a sleepy Caribbean nation with but 330,000 people and three highways. On the other hand, little Belize offers a whole lot of what many retirees are looking for -- a chance to start over on sandy, sunny shores. Prices for a bit of sand on Ambergris, the most developed of Belize's islands, are not cheap but cheaper than elsewhere in the Caribbean, and it is this island, home to the country's biggest expat community, with the services to cater to it, that I would recommend to any retiree dreaming of retirement on the Caribbean Sea this New Year. Legal residency is easy to obtain in Belize, and foreign residents pay no tax in Belize on non-Belize income. I would not recommend Belize if you have a serious health concern or existing medical condition. Health care facilities and standards are improving but limited.

John McAfee Tells World How He Fooled Cops and Escaped Belize
One of the reporters who snuck out of Belize with John McAfee earlier this month said the adventure was “dangerous, amazing, touching, and many other adjectives that I cannot remember right now.” Turns out that the words that eluded him were “rainy” and “lucky.” On the day after Christmas, McAfee posted a long blog post describing how he gave Belizean authorities the slip and snuck out of the country to avoid questioning (and in his estimation, wrongful prosecution) following the murder of his neighbor, Greg Faull. “It’s visually interesting and it is mostly a happy story — in line with most Christmas stories,” he wrote. The former software executive describes an operation that was heavy in advance planning and trickery. He says he planted a lookalike (“my double — a man I have known for over 30 years and who years ago legally changed his name to John McAfee”) and had him picked up by authorities in the northern Belize-Mexico border, while he and a group of friends and reporters loaded up a truck and headed in the opposite direction, to a southern town called Punta Gorda. With the news that he’d been arrested broadcasting on a local news station, McAfee figured that checkpoint security would relax. McAfee followed another friend who was driving one of his pickup trucks to avoid checkpoints on the highway. This was another decoy, McAfee said. “If they stopped the truck, I knew the checkpoint officers would be swarming all over it. Subsequent traffic would be likely to be waved through.” But then, he also had a secret weapon: the weather. McAfee made sure that his dash happened on a rainy day. “In Belize, no checkpoint officers will ever stop a car in the rain,” he wrote. He says he blew through all three highway checkpoints on that early December day without ever being stopped. From Punta Gorda, he and his 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha Vanegas and two Vice reporters sailed into Livingston, Guatemala.

Belize finally reaches agreement with creditors
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has announced that the country has reached an agreement in principle with creditors to restructure about half of its unpaid debt after “long and arduous” talks. Barrow told a recent press conference that details of the restructuring of the US$548.3 million bond would be released at a later date but he described the agreement as “comprehensive” and “sustainable”. Belize missed an August 20 US$23 million coupon payment on its US dollar step-up bonds due 2029 and earned itself a sovereign credit ratings downgrade from Standard & Poor’s, which deemed the Caribbean country to be in default on its debt. In September Belize made an US$11.7 million interest payment, although not within the 30-day grace period given by bondholders it still earned it a 60-day reprieve from bondholders. Major creditors agreed to refrain from taking legal remedies against Belize to allow restructuring negotiations on the US$550 million superbond to continue. During that period Belize released two restructuring proposals on November 29 that asked creditors to forgive 33 per cent of what they are owed, or allow the country to delay debt payments for ten years but both proposals were rejected by creditors at the time.

Pinpoint Climate Study Flags Trouble for Mexican Farms
A growing body of scientific evidence ranks Mexico and its southern neighbors near the top of the list of countries most vulnerable to global warming, and advances in micro-forecasting foresee a grim future in alarming detail. According to two new studies, a deadly combination of warmer weather and less rainfall in the years ahead will devastate yields of traditional crops like corn and beans, as well as the region's market-critical coffee harvest. The ultra-local projections with shorter time horizons - as soon as the 2020s - include color-coded maps that for the first time provide virtually farm-specific climate change predictions, an innovation scientists hope will convince local stakeholders to plan suitably. That could mean switching to new seeds, shifting to hardier crops, or even abandoning long-established family farms. The new research dissects the region that gave birth to modern corn and today produces a fifth of the world's high-end Arabica coffee beans, offering predictions at a level of detail of less than one square mile, a leap in precision. "There's a lot of potential here," said Jerry Meehl, a climate change scientist who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize won by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former US Vice President Al Gore. "What you want at the end of the day is information people can use."

Help Save The Endangered Belize Jaguars!
I found paradise in Belize! The Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort is an eco-sensitive, luxurious resort secluded on 300 acres in Southern Belize, and displays a beautiful 1,300 foot private, palm-fringed sandy beach. The Mayan calendar wasn’t correct when predicting “the end of time” on December 21st - but the 25 individual, spacious, thatched-roof cabanas replicating the ancient Maya culture with luxurious touches at Kanantik is spot on! Kanantik Resort also hosts the only wood burning pizza oven in the entire country – love my pizza wherever I go. Kanantik’s surrounding tropical nature and amazing variety of wildlife makes you feel as though you are in the middle of the jungle minus modern mainstay technology like the television. Believe it or not, I haven’t discovered one poisonous spider amongst the paradise backdrop either! Jungle myth has it that Sebastian the crocodile that roams the Kanantik canal considers dog a delicacy. Good thing I didn’t bring Baby Hope along for the ride, Belize is not the best place for dogs, but certainly is the destination for breathtaking nature.

A Night on Sky Temple: Honoring the Long Count at Caracol
Journalist Joshua Berman's firsthand account of any thinking traveler's dream: sleeping under the stars on top of a Maya temple in the middle of one of Central America’s largest tropical forests on the last day of the Long Count calendar.

December 27, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

United FC and Los Catrachos move onto final rounds of FFB’s Inter District San Pedro league
The Ambergris Stadium was packed with cheering fans this past Sunday, December 16th as four teams battled it out to see who would move onto the finals for the FFB’s (Football Federation of Belize) Inter District San Pedro League. Squaring off in the second leg of the home and away semifinals tournament was: Suga Boys United, United FC, Los Catrachos and Captain Shark’s Veterans. In the first game played at 1:30PM, United FC gave Suga Boyz a whopping 4-0 game, garnering them a shot at the finals. The second game around 3:30PM was a bit tighter, with the Veterans giving Los Catrachos a run for their money in a game that ended in a score of 3 – 2 in favor of Los Catrachos. This means that Catrachos and United FC will square off in two weeks of competition on January 6th and January 13, 2013. The games will be played in a home and away format where the winner must win both games or in the case that that doesn’t happen – a goal point average will be taken to choose the winner.

Scotia Bank brings joy to the children of San Mateo
The staff of Scotia Bank in San Pedro was out and about in the area of San Mateo in San Pedro sharing Christmas joy to the children. Over 400 gifts were taken into the area on Thursday December 20th and children were happy to see the bankers bearing gifts. All the youngsters of all ages got a gift that was as a result of weeks of fundraising efforts. The Officer in Charge of the Branch Roannie Badillo explained that this marks the second year that the bank’s branch in San Pedro has been bringing joy to the kids of San Mateo. “What we try to do is that the staff tries to raise as much funds as we can throughout a two months period leading up to now and we purchase gifts for the kids. We ask our business customer and our retail customers and we ask the community, whoever wants to donate to give to this causes,” said Badillo who explained that going into San Mateo was a random selection that the staff who felt that area was more in need than others. Badillo took the opportunity to thank all those who assisted in making their second annual toy drive possible. The San Pedro Town Council assisted in transporting the gifts into the area.

San Pedro unites to bring Christmas joy to the Duran family
It was show of community love and support on Saturday afternoon and evening, December 15th when a fundraiser was organized to assist the family of the late Hector “Chapin” Duran. Since November a group of residents of San Pedro have been planning the Christmas benefit to assist Duran’s five children who were left without a father after a tragic, fatal accident claimed his life on October 6, 2012. The support was massive, yielding over $5,000 in a single day’s event. Held on the beach at Wayo’s Bar in Boca del Rio, attendees were invited to participate in the various raffles and auctions with chances to win great prizes, while giving to a greater cause. The silent auctions included 12 items ranging from scuba dives to fishing trips, overnight stays at resorts and even chances to win dining opportunities at various places on the island. Then there were “envelope draws.” For $5, one received the opportunity to randomly select tickets, some of which were winning tickets with over 70 different prizes including restaurant and bar tabs, bottles of rum, gift sets, full body massages, scuba dives and golf cart rentals. Jan Brown conducted her ever popular “Chinese Auction” for dozens of prizes where a secret time-limit was allotted for each of the prizes to be raffled.

Misc Belizean Sources

Tikal Damaged By Drunken Punks & Wackos
from a friend.... Gabriella Moretti of the El Sombrero Ecolodge at Yaxha National Park also told me of another controversy at Tikal. It seems that at the last minute Guatemalan President Molina showed up with a crew of friends for a big dinner party. They disrupted and displaced a bunch of people and there was no advance warning about their fiesta... From combined dispatches: The largest ancient pre-Columbian Mayan archeological site in the world, Guatemala's UNESCO World Heritage site at Tikal, sustained "irreparable" damage from tourists throwing doomsday tourism parties last week. Some of the 7,000 revelers—hopped up on a combination of liquor and self-entitlement—scaled the steps of the site's ancient Temple of the Mask pyramid. Tourists are explicitly forbidden from scaling the steps of Tikal's Temple II, as the pyramid is technically known, due to fears that they'll damage the structure. The rest of the story proceeds predictably.

The Belize Times

Ugly Incident at La Isla Bonita – Residents claim brutality
San Pedro Police are back in the news and once more it isn’t for anything pretty. Three police officials are accused of viciously assaulting three residents of the island. The three officers, PC Mark Young, WPC Sherifa Young and a third person only identified as “Mr. Belisle”, are under investigation following a report of brutality. Despite the investigation, the officers continue on active duty. The alleged victims of the brutality, Ricky Jurado, Viannie Perez and her partner, Elder Mauricio have been charged by Police. Reports are that early Monday morning, between 12:30am and 1:30am December 17th, Jurado and his fiancé Janina Graniel were socialising inside Tackle Box, a local club. While inside, Jurado noticed when a certain male individual went to his girlfriend and placed his hands on her waist, in an attempt to get her to dance with him. Jurado said he went to the male person and told him to show respect for his girlfriend. Jurado said that upon exiting the club, he was confronted by the same male individual who was accompanied by others. A physical confrontation erupted, followed by the male person drawing out a gun and pointing it at Jurado’s face. What reportedly happened next is nothing less than terrifying.

144 Murders in 2012
Even with Christmas Day just a few days away, the streets of Belize are not safer. In fact, the deadliness of Belize City leaked unto the quiet community in Lord’s Bank this past weekend with two murders. Victims #139 and #140 of our unofficial count were both from Lord’s Bank. 69 year old Otto Jorgen Petterson was shot dead inside his shop on Saturday, December 15th. He was shot in the chest by two male persons, who ambushed the store. A day later, the victim was a youth whose life was cut short. 15 year old Dayne Bodden Jr., a student of Ladyville Technical, was shot while riding his bicycle towards his home. Reports are Bodden was mistaken for someone else. Bodden was murdered ruthlessly. He was shot in the left ear, the chest and on the right knee. Belize City recorded four more murders over the past days, three of them on Wednesday night. The unofficial murder count is now 144. 16 year old Allan Gladden, who would have turned 17 on Christmas Day, was gunned down on Patridge Street around 6:30pm on Wednesday night. He was shot by a gunman on a bicycle twice on the head.

Faber blasts Barrow’s record
It comes as no surprise that convention delegates of Queen Square division, the Prime Minister’s constituency, boycotted Patrick Faber’s Deputy Leader campaign event held on Friday, December 14th. Three days earlier, on Tuesday December 11th, Faber was the guest on a live-aired morning show, on UDP Leader Dean Barrow’s privately-owned radio, when he launched an attack on the UDP leadership. Barrow would say only a fool or knave would attempt such a thing. Well it must have been Faber the fool, and in full form. According to Faber, the United Democratic Party’s record on advancing the women’s agenda and youth inclusion has been a miserable failure, and he laid the blame squarely on the UDP leadership. Barrow has been wearing the crown since 1998, following Manuel Esquivel’s resignation. Faber spoke condemningly of the UDP’s track record, claiming the ruling Party seemed to have a problem with stick-to-itiveness. “We have passed many resolutions, on women, on youth, but we never keep them,” vented Faber. He then wondered aloud what the root of the problem was, saying “we haven’t been keeping our commitments, and you know where the problem is, it is with the leadership and that’s all I will say for now”.

Minister’s brother totals GOB vehicle
Paul Faber Sr., who is the younger brother of Minister of Education Patrick Faber, refused to give a urine sample to Police authorities following a traffic accident which resulted in the destruction of a brand new Government-owned Isuzu D-Max pickup. The accident occurred around 4am on Saturday December 15th 2012. The use of Government vehicles is prohibited during weekends, as they are a way of wasting tax payer’s money. According to reports the vehicle, which was driven by Faber at the time, slammed into a bridge and then flipped over several times before landing on the road side, at the corner of Faber’s Road and the George Price Highway. Residents say the vehicle had been speeding. Following the accident, Faber and the injured occupants left the scene, taking the license plate marked BMP-0043 with them and leaving behind the totalled pickup truck.

End of the world?
By G. Michael Reid “In the final days of misfortune, in the final days of tying up the bundle of the thirteen (baktuns) on 4 Ahau, then the end of the world shall come and the katun of our fathers will ascend on high.” ~ The Book of Chilam Balam of Tizimin (Makemson) Well folks, this is it; the final week of the world as we know it! On Friday December 21th, all the Tuns, Katuns and Baktuns will run out of wheels, cycles and revolutions. The curtains will close, the lights shall go out and all matters material will reach their final culmination. I don’t know about you but I am starting to get downright nervous! Let me see if I can explain, in as few words as possible, a bit about this predicament presently presenting itself to us. I use this information also, as a backdrop to what I am really trying to say. One of the reasons that Belize became known as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret” was because of our rich Mayan legacy. The Mayas themselves might have been the best kept secret of modern times. It is fully acknowledged now that the Mayas were an extremely advanced and intelligent civilization; brilliant mathematicians, architects and astrologers. Interestingly enough, while much was made of Greeks, Romans and Egyptians of old, very little was discussed about the Mayans, until recently. In school, we learned about the Greek temples, Rome’s conquests and the pyramids of Egypt. The Mayans, like their temples only recently excavated, were pretty much buried in history. Somehow now though, the Mayan Calendar has become the most significant topic of discussion. The Mayans counted time by cycles of Baktun and Katun, in what was known as the Short Count and the Long Count Calendars respectively. Sometime around 1000 AD, when the Itzá and Mexican influences took hold of the Mayan world, the Mayan priests for some inexplicable reason, shifted from marking time by the Long Count Calendar (cycles of 13 Baktuns) to the Short Count of Calendar (cycles of 13 Katuns). The Mayans did not consider the number 13 as being bad luck but instead, considered it a very sacred number. Of course, it doesn’t really matter which Count we go by, both Long and Short expire this coming Friday. December 21st, which also happens to be the Winter Solstice after which the modern Christmas holiday is fashioned, will also this year mark the sacred day of Ahau, which according to the ancient Maya is the end of all time.

The maxim: “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” will not form part of the caroling on Albert Street this year. However, wise men will be humming the tune in satirical resolve. The irony of this morbid adage is that it is a conflation of two biblical sayings: “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry” in Ecclesiastes 15 and “Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die” in Isaiah 13. Over the years there have been a number of jocular variants but surely there is no better summary of the rollercoaster which has become the commercialized Christmas in Belize. This is the thirty fourth yuletide celebration in Belize’s history. The spirit of excess is suppressed but stubbornly alive. That Belizean spirit is timidly peeking out from every home within this eight thousand eight hundred and eight seven square miles between the Sarstoon and Rio Hondo. Very few wish to be bothered by the deteriorating reality that was once British Honduras. We, as Belizeans, are for the most part conservative optimists. Slow to anger, trusting and, some would dare say, uncomplicated. At this time of year dowse us with spirits, ham, family and a healthy slice of black cake and you are forgiven – at least until “los Navidades” have morphed into the larvae of “maga-season”. Belizeans are single minded in our joys and prone to be pathologically sentimental. Our dimming sense of community still flickers in this part of December with a noticeably relaxed sense of self during these few days. The issues which depressed and stressed us for the previous fifty one weeks are all set aside for that one twenty four hours when we look at our children gleefully tearing apart gift wrapping. In those fleeting moments, we are lulled off into the bliss of our childhood Christmases.

Compre boys defeat Ecumenical in basketball nationals
The Belmopan Comprehensive School are the 2012 national male high school basketball champs, after ploughing past the Ecumenical High School boys 62-49 in the finals. Compre led 13-10 in the 1st quarter. Akeem Watters topscored for Compre with 17 points, while Kevin Brown added 15 points and Nelson Middleton scored 8 points. Compre inceased their lead to 29-19 at the half. Quinton Bowen led Ecumenical with 24 points, but Compre was hellbent on not giving the slightest chance to erode the lead. The game was 45-30 in the 3rd quarter. Despite Ecumenical’s Leslie Williams’ 10 points and Brandon Castillo’s 9 points, Compre kept their dominance until the final whiste.

Unstoppable SCA! – City champs win high school basketball nationals
The St. Catherine’s Academy girls repeated as the high school basketball champs when the Independence High School hosted the national secondary school tournament at their brand new auditorium over the weekend. In the finals on Saturday afternoon, SCA outlasted Delille Academy 23-21. Gilda Estrada led SCA with14 points in the game while Indie Dixon tossed in 5 points. SCA led 11-3 in the 1st quarter and 13-7 at the half. Delille’s Shayana Caliz scored 7 points and Moesha Enriquez added 8 points, but SCA maintained the lead 17-11 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Delille tied the score 21-21, but their hopes of getting the lead fizzled when Gilda Estrada scored SCA’s winning basket giving them the two point lead up to the final buzzer. IHS principal, Omar Longsworth, presented the champs the 2nd and 3rd place winners with team trophies and individual medals. The Most Valuable Player award went to SCA’s Gilda Estrada who averaged 14 points per game. How they won? SCA vs. Belmopan Comprehensive – 31-22 Delille Academy vs. New Hope High School – 22-12 Compre girls vs. New Hope High – 16-14 (3rd place)

Bandits vs. Police in Premier League finals
The Isidoro Beaton Stadium will turn into a battleground on Sunday, December 23rd, as Game 1 of the Premier League of Belize football finals comes up. The contenders are the Belmopan Bandits and Police United FC. Both teams won their semi-final matches the week before. Both teams braced their defensive Game 2 of each series ended in a nil zip draw at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium over the weekend. The Police is riding the sweeter victory crest into the finals. They defeated the Belize Defense Force 2-1 in Game 1 at the Norman Broaster Stadium on Sunday, December 9. BDF’s sweeper Vallan Symns drew blood first when he scored in the 11th minute, but the Police’s Evan Mariano equalized in the 33rd minute and Trevor Lennon delivered the game winner for the Police in the 90th minute.

MCC in a Mess! – BTL Corporate Greed Knows No Bounds
Despite warning from football officials that the holding of a dancehall concert at Belize City’s premier football field, MCC Garden, could cause serious damage to the pitch, Belize Telemedia Limited arrogantly went ahead with their plans. Hours after the show, the football officials had been vindicated. The MCC Grounds were left in a total mess! The pitch, which has hosted a few international friendlies, looked like a pig sty, muddy and in no condition for play. Garbage was scattered all over. Outside the grounds, a group of protesters led by social activist YaYa Marin-Coleman and the President of the Football Federation of Belize, Vicente Ruperto, were wrapping up their overnight protest. They had braved the chilly night outside the MCC with protest banners, while the concert was being held inside and the MCC grounds trampled. On the banners, they had messages to the persons responsible for the disaster declaring “Minister look what you’ve done 2 MCC Grounds”, “Who owns the MCC” and “You are destroying it from our youth. Save the MCC”.

The Doctor’s Orders – Killer Heels
Many women are sold on high-heeled shoes because of the perception that it enhances professional appearance, creating a classic poise and walk. In high-heeled shoes, posture changes so that the back is arched with the buttocks sticking out provocatively, the pelvis and chest are thrust forward, and the calf and thigh muscles tighten, giving a firmer and more youthful look. But high-heeled shoes and aging are the biggest factors leading to foot problems in women. Aging affects your feet With aging your feet spreads gradually, becoming wider and longer because of the years of standing. Your arches fall or flatten, joints on your feet and ankle become stiff and the natural padding under your heel and forefoot becomes thinner. You may feel like you are walking on pebbles. High heels damage your feet High heels are shoes with a heel 2 inches or higher. In high heels your foot slides forward in your shoe, redistributing your weight mostly under the metatarsal heads (ball of the foot), creating unnatural pressure points and causing abnormal standing posture. The Achilles tendon or heel chord shortens, there is gradual flexion contracture of your knees and an increase in the lordotic curve of the lumbar spine (lower back). Shoes that are too narrow or short, especially the pointy-toed styles will most likely lead to corns and calluses, hallux valgus (bunions), and claw, hammer or mallet toes. High heels can also cause overworked or injured leg muscles, degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee, low back pain and you may lose your balance and fall off your heels, fracturing your ankle, giving the orthopaedic surgeon some business. It can also cause corns and calluses, toenail problems, hammer, mallet or claw toes, bunions, tight heel chords, pump bumps (growth of a bony area on the back of the heel), pain in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia), Morton neuromas and stress fractures. Advice for buying good footwear

Adults, Children, Christmas and Belize
Christmas is quickly approaching and many look forward to this pleasant time of the year. We can see houses lit up, snowmen smiling on roof tops, reindeers, and even Santa Claus appearing in people’s yards! This is one of the most anticipated times of celebration, especially for the children, who are anxiously waiting for Santa to bring that exact gift that they have on their wish list. Well, there is also the adult’s view on Christmas. They enjoy the season as much as the kids due to the fact that it brings back many joyful memories! But for adults there is also a clear understanding that the children are expecting these gifts from Santa. They know that Santa doesn’t exist and someone has to purchase these gifts for the children! So for parents there are a couple of other preparations that go into the season. So, here is the pattern: the children expect gifts, and the adults purchase the gifts. But after a while we all grow up and become adults, and the receiving of gifts begin to slow down as the adult now transforms into the giver of gifts. This is where I would like to take off in this article and address our country Belize. I am concerned about the fact that our country is still suffering from a mendicant mentality and so we consistently want to borrow from our neighbors! We have over thirty years of independence, meaning we are long time adults and should be working for our wages rather than borrowing them. We cannot continue to function as children during the Christmas season without a clear sense of responsibility and just keep looking for hand me downs. We cannot continue to blame a super-bond, or crime, or lack of job opportunities for the situation Belize finds herself in. It is time to grow up Belize. It is time to start our own business and cease to depend solely on grants from abroad.

The Nativity in Art
Perhaps one of the most timeless images of western culture is that of the Nativity. In Christian Art it has been a key subject since the early 4th century. Most of the artistic depictions of the Nativity are based on narratives from the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Every year during the season of advent many people construct a version of the Nativity to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There are five Nativity scenes by different artists over time that I consider my all time favorites. In 1999 Pen Cayetano painted “Silent Night” (illustration # 2). According to the artist “the painting shows a transformation of the original birthplace in Bethlehem to Hopkins Village in Belize. Christ is born in a dorey at the seaside of Hopkins, father and mother Garifuna. Mosquitos are singing around instead of angels. Christ was born poor, but he is a Messiah.” Cayetano draws us to the drama with his use of intense light near the baby. His gestural style of painting elaborates on the spectacle being revealed. This picture is one of the best Nativity scenes I’ve seen.

UB Faculty & Staff Association calls for UB probe
The BELIZE TIMES has obtained a copy of a letter from the Interim-President of the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association, Allison Crawford, sent to the Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister of Education Patrick Faber, calling for an investigation into the University. In the letter, Crawford, who sits on the UB Board of Trustees, also writes complaining of what she calls “irregularities under the same Chairmanship of the Board”. The Chair is held by Imani Fairweather-Morrison. “The faculty and staff feel that they have tolerated too much from the Board of Trustees, and are fed up with the way the Board is operating. The Association believe that the Chairperson is abusing her authority and is micromanaging the University which is in violation of the Board Code of Ethics and the UB Act that trustees must avoid interference with personnel and administrative matters. The Board members are ineffective and clearly do not know their functions in adhering to protocol and procedures…”, charged Crawford. The Interim-President challenges the Education Minister to intervene in the matter and also called on the Prime Minister to appoint an Independent Commission to investigate the UB Payroll Audit Report.

Home Economics – Tomato-based Industry – A Belizean Dream
Tomato is a vegetable-fruit that can be grown year-round in Belize. Belize can produce a large surplus of tomato, using a fraction of the land used to produce corn, however it would have to develop green-house tomato production and/or expand irrigated systems production to make this happen. In 2007, the US imported ONE MILLION metric tons of tomato, amounting to about US$1 billion. In that year, the US consumed around US$1.3 billion of fresh tomato, and about US$1.2 billion of processing tomato. In 2007, Mexico exported around ONE MILLION metric tons of tomato, earning around US$1.2 billion, supplying close to 90% of US imports. That same year, it imported around 48,000 metric tons, at a cost of around US$48 million. That same year, Trinidad & Tobago, which supplies much of the CARICOM market for tomato-based sauces, imported around 2000 tons of tomato paste. Barbados imported around US$1.3 million of tomato ketchup, mostly from Trinidad. Tomato is approximately 50% water, so that two pounds of fresh processing tomato can theoretically yield about one pound of industrial tomato solids. If Trinidad used fresh tomato to substitute all its imported tomato paste, it would need about 8 million pounds of tomato. Belize currently produces about 10% of the tomato-based sauces that it consumes, and imports the rest from CARICOM (Grace Kennedy), USA (Hunts, DelMonte, Heinz, Kraft), Guatemala (Regia, Crilla, Grace), Mexico (La Costeña, La Anita), and a few smaller quantities from other destinations. The total consumption is estimated at around BZ$1.5 million per annum. In short, tomato can be big business for Belize, both domestically and regionally.

Christmas cheer in OW East
Hundreds of children gathered at Nature Park in Orange Walk Town to share the joy of the season at a Christmas Party hosted by PUP Orange Walk East Area Representative Hon. Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez on Sunday December 16 2012. The children participated in friendly games before collecting treats, snacks and then formed a queue to collect Christmas gifts from Hon. Mendez and Santa Claus. The sharing of gifts was also assisted by Orange Town Mayor Kevin Bernard and Deputy Mayor Josue Carballo and Councillor Ian Cal. .

Christmas Message from The Rev. Roosvelt Papouloute
District President – Belize/Honduras District of the Methodist Church Isaiah 7: 14 – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Matthew 1:23 – Look the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us. I invite you to read Isaiah chapter 7 in order that you may have a broader sense of the context of the sign promised by God in this prophecy. At the time referred to, the kingdom of Judah, under the government of Ahaz, was reduced very low. People were being killed in Judea, and carried away captives, including women and children, together with much spoil. A fortified city of Judah and his inhabitants were carried away captive to Damascus. In this critical conjuncture, need we wonder that Ahaz was afraid that the enemies who were now united against him must prevail, destroy Jerusalem, and the kingdom of Judah, and annihilate the family of David. For Ahaz and the people of Judah It was a moment of sorrow and pain, of great fear and anxiety. To meet and remove this great fear, apparently well grounded, Isaiah is sent from the Lord to Ahaz in order to assure him that his enemies should not stand. To encourage Ahaz, he commands him to ask a sign or miracle, which should be a pledge in hand, that God should, in due time, fulfil the predictions of his servant. On Ahaz refusing to ask any sign, Isaiah 7:14 tell us; therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. The other place in the bible where this prophecy is also recorded is Matthew 1:23 “Look the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us”. In both contexts these words are rightly applied to the Virgin Mary and her son Jesus, for of no other can they be referred to. And only Jesus, our Saviour represents that message of hope and assurance of this prophecy.

Christmas Message by Anglican Bishop Phillip Wright
John, author of the Book of Revelation, says in chapter 1, verse 4 and following: “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” The creator of the universe is also the king of the universe. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. His dominion stresses as far as the East is from the West, and into the deepest universe. He has authority over the entire created order. So for Jesus, who spoke much about the kingdom; who demonstrated, through word and deed, an authority consistent with the values of the kingdom: then it is only reasonable to conclude that he himself is the king. The Season of Advent, each year, reminds us of the need to prepare to receive Christ into our hearts – anew and refresh. Yet, we also know that we are no longer expecting a baby in a manger, but a king to return who will rule in our hearts and in the universe.

Peace On Earth
The Christmas Season is rapidly approaching. We hear the very familiar carols and we see our people hustling and bustling on the streets as they go shopping for the things they think they will need. In the midst of all this we hear the story of the birth of Christ. How Jesus was born and because Mary and Joseph had no place to put him he was placed in a manger. The evangelist tells us that the angels were heard singing, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of goodwill.” Peace is perhaps one of the most used words in our vocabulary. Because of the present situation in our country, with all the violence and killing, we all want peace. Belize is no longer the peaceful country we once knew. No longer can we talk over our differences and be willing to forgive each other. I sometimes find it hard to understand how long some people can hold on to enmity. Not only do they hold on to enmity for a long time, but they never forget and when the opportunity presents itself to break even they are anxious to do the same. Many of our problems stem from this attitude. Jesus, whose birthday we are celebrating, taught us to forgive. He told Peter to forgive seventy times seven times. In the prayer he taught us we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others.

CitCo Pawned BTL Park!!
A recent audit carried out on the Belize City Council doing the worst financial period ever has revealed that the UDP Council under former Mayor Zenaida Moya and six current-Councillors was so strapped for cash that it even pawned out BTL Park, located on Princess Margaret Drive. According to the audit, carried out by Castillo Sanchez & Burrell, the BTL Park was used to secure a $3,695,444 loan taken out at the Heritage Bank Limited. This revelation is shocking. Until now, no member of the public was ever aware that the extent of the financial shenanigans of the Council was that it had used BTL Park, a public recreational facility, as collateral for a loan. This was kept secret from the public, both by the past Mayor and Councillors. Even Central Government was aware, but they chose to protect the Council’s already battered image, rather than be transparent to the public. Apparently the Council’s financial worthiness was at junk status, and in addition to pawning out the city’s park, the Government had to gamble taxpayers’ money by providing a guarantee of $3,900,000, to obtain the funds from the bank. Of the Councillors who served under Moya, six were re-elected in the March 2012 municipal election: Dion Leslie, Roger Espejo, Phillip Willoughby, Dean Samuels, Eric Chang and Kevin Singh. These Councillors, who served during the council’s most disgraceful record, were likely aware of the pawning of BTL Park, yet they hid the truth from city residents.

Corozal Bay Executive – Hard At Work
One of the duties of a Constituency Executive Committee as stated in Article 6 Section 9 part (e) of the Constitution and Regulations of the People’s United Party is “to hold functions whether of a social or cultural nature with the dual purpose of serving the people and of raising funds to carry out the PUP’s work”. An example of such duties occurred on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at the PUP Office on College Road, Corozal Town by means of a Bar-B-Q fundraiser. Members of the Executive Committee supported by friends and supporters gathered at the PUP grounds to get the job done. The event was very successful. Funds generated will be used to help finance the highly anticipated Children’s Christmas Party in Corozal Bay that will take place on Sunday, December 23rd at the PUP Office. The sole purpose of this event is to “Serve the People” and in extension create a moment of happiness to the less fortunate. Corozaleños are invited to join hands with the Executive Committee in order to offer a moment of joy, happiness and laughter to the children of Corozal Town.

PUP Belmopan Holds Christmas Concert
Residents of Belmopan, particularly children, had the joyous opportunity to enjoy a Christmas Concert organized by the PUP Belmopan Executive Committee. The concert was held on Sunday December 9th 2013 at the Civic Center. Talented individuals sang and danced to a wonderful audience. During the event the children participated in a number of games and were visited by Santa Clause. They each received soft-drinks and a party bag. Also in attendance were parents, and many of them took the opportunity to encourage the PUP Executive-Committee to continue the work of enhancing the image of the Party in Belmopan. The Christmas Concert was a tremendous success. That was only possible due to the generous contribution of residents of the Division, members of the business community and services rendered by Party supporters. Deep gratitude is expressed to all those who helped to make the Christmas Concert a success.

PUP Marshals on the move!
The People’s United Party Marshal’s Service Corps has had a challenging year, with the loss of lives of several of its members this year. Despite the struggles, Marshal’s President Steve Latchman has worked tirelessly to keep the party unit together and active. One of those events, to conclude the year, was a Joint Meeting/Social Activity held on Sunday, December 9th, 2012. The event held at the Log Cabins, which is located at Mile 68 George Price Highway in San Ignacio, was an exchange gathering for members of the Eastern Caucus and Western Caucus, with the support of various PUP leaders. Over fifty members attended, taking part in a day of positive social activities.


‘Celebration” in Ambergris Caye,Belize
In the previous edition I advised that I would not be publishing again until Friday 28 December. Well, I changed my mind. I am the publisher after all! I decided that I would let you know just a bit about what our first Christmas Day on Ambergris Caye was like. Which is nothing to do with the raison d’tre for this blog i.e. our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but … Got up early – I always do – with the need to wrap up the presents I had bought for Rose on Christmas Eve.The Christmas shopping experience on Ambergris Caye is nothing at all like it was in England (no surprise there really). When we lived in the UK I would normally head off to the West End hitting the shops in Regent Street and Oxford Street where the high end stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis, Debenhams, Liberty, Jaeger, Hermes,etc are located. The journey there – on an underground train – was normally unpleasant because the train was so full and the shopping experience was not much better. Shops full of pushing and shoving people who had obviously left their manners at home. The upside though was that as long as I had a credit or debit card, or both, with me getting presents for Rose was relatively easy. Not so when living in Ambergris Caye, Belize. No packed underground . No underground in fact. No high end shops . No really packed shops. Not the same range of choice. But for me a much more pleasant shopping experience and one that, given the limited choice, I had to give far more thought to. What could I buy for Rose that is easily available and – and this is the really important factor – are things that she would like and make use of ? I elected to buy things that she could hopefully make use of for her interest in handicraft.

A Perfect Christmas Potluck
We attended Bob and Helaine's (which I probably spelled wrong -- my apologies) annual Christmas potluck yesterday afternoon, and it was a great time! I had gone last year as well, but Barry had a bad cold and had to stay home. I was glad that he could attend this year and enjoy the food, friends, and festivities. I transported the casserole I'd made down the beach in my bike basket. It was a fun way to get to a party on a warm, breezy Christmas Day on the island. There was a great crowd and lots of new people (and several pooches!) to meet, plus some familiar faces. The second floor porch catches wonderful breezes and is a great place to hang out and chat. The chicken wing I'm chowing down on here was made by Cheri of Lazy Croc, so you know it had to be good! There were plenty of appetizers to munch on while the final dinner preparations were being made indoors. I was saving my appetite for the meal so only tried the one chicken wing.

Snorkeling More of the Belize Barrier Reef
We left Caye Caulker with Raggamuffin Tours around 1030am. While probably some of the most commercial part of the Belize Barrier Reef, Coral Gardens/Shark Ray Alley/Hol Chan, are very impressive in my opinion. They plan the order in which you arrive at each stop in perfect sequence…as each stop arrives, the sites get more and more exciting. Coral Gardens Last time I visited these sites, Coral Gardens was a little ho-hum, but not today…there were a ton of smaller fish at Coral Gardens today. Here are some of the most colorful. Stop two was Shark Ray Alley. Going here is a must do in Belize. They not only coaxed the Nurse Sharks and Caribbean Sting Rays to the boat with a little food, we also got in and swam around with them. The Captain, Jahlee, was catching a Sting Ray for everyone to touch and I was a bit too close for my comfort. I think I even let out a little squeal as the Sting Rays tail came within inches of my face. I didn’t know I could snorkel backwards so fast…taking people out as I went. I touched both the Nurse Shark (which has sandpaper like skin) and the Sting Ray (which has slimy skin) last year, so I let others do it this time. We were also joined by A LOT of Jack Fish…and, I mean A LOT. I think my Mom really enjoyed the Sharks and Rays…who wouldn’t? Below are some photos of the Nurse Sharks from the boat and then both the Nurse Sharks and the Sting Rays from the water. Our final stop was Hol Chan. Last time I was here there was a fairly strong current that we had to swim against on the way out…luckily that meant we could just float back to the boat. Today there was absolutely no current which made it much easier. In either case it’s not a problem because the guides will always help you along. Hol Chan is a reserve, so there is no snorkeling on your own. All snorkelers must stay with a guide at all times. I don’t have a problem with this at all since I tend to see many more fish with their keen eyes helping spot them. So, what did we see right off the bat? A Green Moray Eel. It was such a treat because he was right out in the open moving around. I find them to be extremely beautiful and a bit scary all at once. There were also some massive Groupers right near the boat. Hol Chan is an open channel in the reef, so unlike most of the areas near this reef it is around thirty feet deep. The sheer number of fish in this channel is amazing. Aside from all the brightly colored fish, we also saw several Tarpin which can get up to eight feet long and weigh over 250 pounds. Our guide says they put up quite a fight when you get one on the line. It’s legal to fish for them (outside the reserve), but they are strictly catch and release. We attempted to track down a Sea Turtle, but they hid from us all day (I got to see one last time…so cool). I could go on and one, but the best way to explain Hol Chan is to include some of my favorite photos.

International Sources

Gay Activist Vows To Fight Belize's Immigration Law
Jamaican gay-rights activist Maurice Tomlinson and the group Aids-Free World have added Belize's "offensive" immigration law as one of the fights they will champion into 2013. "Only two countries in the Western Hemisphere, Belize and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, arbitrarily ban the entry of homosexuals as a 'prohibited class'. AIDS-Free World is working to bring that to an end," the group has stated. Tomlinson, a member of the Jamaican lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) community and an HIV-activist, signalled his intention in a media release, stating that he travels to all parts of the Caribbean and, as a gay man, he is legally barred from entering Belize and Trinidad. Tomlinson, who has been invited to conduct training and sensitisation sessions in Belize City from January 14-16, said despite the invaluable contribution he can make to Belize's HIV response, as an attorney-at-law, he is unwilling to break the law to conduct these sessions. He was invited to Belize by the United Belize Advocacy Movement, Belize's only civil-society group working exclusively to promote the health and human rights of LGBT/men who have sex with men citizens. According to the ardent gay activist, he considers the ban on his entry into Belize to be a violation of his right to freedom of movement within the Caribbean Community. Hence, a refusal of the invitation and, with the support of AIDS-Free World, he has initiated a challenge to Belize's Immigration Act before the highest court in the region, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Commentary: Challenges and uncertainties of CARICOM states will continue in 2013
As 2012 comes to an end, many political analysts and observers have predicted that the social, economic and political challenges faced by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations in 2012 will likely continue in 2013. As the observation train makes it way through the region, a perfect starting point will be from our northern CARICOM nation of Jamaica. The recent return of the People's National Party (PNP) to power has no doubt generated great expectations especially amongst the poor and suffering. Unfortunately, the PNP's JEEP development strategy was sidelined by Hurricane Sandy, which resulted in the destruction of roads, homes and public service utilities. Although Sandy diverted many positive initiatives, the lively debate about Jamaica's membership in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) brought two distinct views on Jamaica's entry into this regional institution. The government of Jamaica’s position seems to suggest that a referendum was not necessary and there are other devised mechanisms that can be applied to proceed to membership. The opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has clearly indicated that a national referendum is necessary before considering membership in the court.

Featured Traveler: Joshua Berman
If you’re reading this, the world hasn’t ended, and travel writer Joshua Berman is relaxing tranquilo-style in Belize, celebrating the perpetuation of the world as we know it. You can read more about what tranquilo-style means on his blog, The Tranquilo Traveler. As you’ll see, he’s an expert on Belize and Nicaragua, and a trusty source for recommendations—just take a look at the Wanderlist he created on, “The Mundo Maya of Belize.” If we all have only a short time left on this earth, reading Josh’s in-depth research on the proclamations (or not) of the end of the world according to the Maya calendar might not be priority one. But since we’re all still here, read it. It’ll give you some good cocktail-party chatter for the coming week—and might make you want to book a flight to Belize to join Josh. And check out his pretty funny responses to our travel questionnaire, below. Right now I’m on the RTD Sky-Ride bus to Denver International Airport. Though I would much prefer to be in bed, it’s really early. And dark. And cold. Occupation: Spanish teacher, travel writer My next trip is to Belize!

Luna di miele nel Belize
Nell’anno dei Maya (2012), potete anche decidere che, alla fine, il mondo non finirà e prepararvi tranquillamente al vostro matrimonio per l’anno prossimo,. E se sceglieste proprio la terra dei famosi indios: il Belize. Era la terra dei Maya, prima dell’arrivo dei primi europei. Divenne poi il cosiddetto Honduras Britannico e oggi è una ex colonia inglese. Se le leggende sui Maya, propagate in modo un poco maldestro negli ultimi tempi, vi hanno incuriosito e volete andare in un luogo dove troverete molte testimonianze della loro esistenza e molti reperti, potreste essere incuriositi dal Belize. Ecco una destinazione nozze che, nonostante il modo bizzarro in cui i suoi primi abitanti sono assurti agli onori delle cronache, potrà lasciarvi ricordi indimenticabili come viaggio che una coppia di neo sposi intraprende per la prima volta. Sono innumerevoli gli spunti che si possono trarre dalle varie proposte di viaggio nei depliant delle agenzie specializzate, noi ve ne proponiamo alcuni un po’ particolari e decisamente orientati al tipo di vacanze solidali, ovvero eco-friendly.

Sisters in Belize!
During the years 1963-64, our mother Mary Anne taught high school girls in Belize as part of the Papal Volunteer Corps. She never got to go back before she got sick, though I think she very much wanted to. That's part of why, when I was planning a trip to Central America in 2011, I chose to visit Belize. I thought it would be a nice pilgrimage-ish detour before getting to the more famous Costa Rica. I turned out have it backwards. Not only did I fall in love with Belize---Cayo, the western district, in particular---but when I got back to Durham, I hadn't even unpacked before I started looking up flights to go back. (I wrote about that journey starting here.) I stayed in the States long enough to put up one play, act in another, and see that Obama got reelected. Now I've been back in San Ignacio, the capital of Cayo, for a month; and will be for two more! One of the greatest pleasures has been sharing Cayo with my sisters, Clare and Julie, who came to visit for five days. They traced the path I'd originally taken---first landing in Belize City and staying at Belcove, where Haulover Creek laps right under the windows; then taking the bus into Cayo, where I met them at the bus depot just uphill from the Macal River. We had many adventures, of which I'll let them tell tale, if they want :) Above is a picture of Clare and Julie by the Macal at DuPlooy's Jungle Lodge, not far from where I'm living. Meanwhile, here is the ongoing album of pictures I've taken since being in Belize this time around. Enjoy!

3 Easy Places to “Reside” Overseas
Some countries not only welcome full-time foreign retirees, but compete for their attention, offering special benefits and discounts for those who qualify packaged in what are typically referred to as pensionado programs. Countries on this list include Panama, Belize, Uruguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Malaysia (the only country in Asia where foreign retirees are formally sought-after). While, again, I wouldn’t choose where to retire based on residency options, if you’re geographically flexible, the countries working hard to attract foreign retirees would be good places to start your retire-overseas search. In Panama, Belize, and Uruguay, for example, three of the most foreign retiree-friendly places in the world, the process has been formalized and simplified, and the path is well-worn. That is, lots of other foreign retirees have already done what you’re thinking about doing, meaning you’ll have lots of support. The requirements for qualifying for residency status vary country to country, and some countries offer a number of different options (Panama offers more than a dozen, for example). In this case, when the country where you’re thinking you’d like to retire offers more than one choice for becoming a full-time resident, you want to understand all the options to be sure you’re choosing the one that provides the greatest benefit for you.

December 26, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Letters to Santa!!
« Older: Merry Christmas from The San Pedro Sun! Letters to Santa!! Tuesday, December 25th, 2012 Dear Santa: I promise I have been very, very, VERY good!! The letters below are just a few of the adorable letters we get annually to send to the big guy. Sure hope he made room for all those shoe requests!!

Merry Christmas from The San Pedro Sun!
The San Pedro Sun team put together their sentiments to paper this year. As 2012 draws to a close, we wish all our readers a most fantastic holiday and may 2013 be filled with hope, joy and blessings!! Merry Christmas!! c

Misc Belizean Sources

Mennonite Robbed On Citee’s Meun Streets
Armed robbers made off with almos $1500 cash aftr robbin' bof a deelivery truck and a tertilla shop n' Belize Citee. T' incident occurred roun 10:30 thishere mornin on La Croix Boulevard n' Lake Independence wen three gunme helt up a deelivery truck drif' by Mennonite Bernardo Bladz. Thay st'le $1000 frum t'36-year old drivr along with $225 frum 17-year old sidemun Petr Peters. But that wasn‘t enough fer t'greedy gunme who also targeted a neerby tertilla shop owned by Salvaderun woomin, Merna Saravia, steelin $250. Pleece have detained acoupla suspects who were foun n' t'area.

Merry Christmas 2012!
Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year filled with love and hop

Maya Flats and Tropic Air
Tropic Air has been flying to Maya Flats airstrip, which is located halfway between Cayo and Benque, for 2 weeks now. The terminal is very nice, as is the new service from one of Tropic Air's 12 planes. The San Pedro Sun said it well: "This new flight brings the best of both worlds together; it is the surf and turf of Belize. The plane lands on an unpaved run way, and as you step out of the plane, you are met with a most beautiful landscape that leaves you breathless. Cayo District is considered to be one of the top beauties of the country – and she boasts greenery and mountainous regions that hide all manner of wonderful places to explore. It is no wonder that Tropic Air has ventured deeper into the territory to make traveling and exploring easier for Belizeans and visitors alike!"

Jingle Bum Rock at Barrio Fino
Barrio Fino had their Jingle Bum Rock, and Danny Chung was there to capture all the festivities. Looks like Mistah Geeh and the gang rocked Belmopan. News Exchange Magazine sponsored the event.

Fried Christmas Turkey
In this video, Joe shows us how to fry a turkey in the oi-less turkey fryer. I prefer this pot to make fry turkey over the one that uses oil because it's healthier and safer. The turkey was moist and tender and cooked a little bit more quickly than if it were baked.

Channel 7

Was Relative Responsible for Cayo Killing?
This weekend, the 140th and 141st murders for the year occurred outside the city. The first occurred in San Ignacio, the second in Dangriga. Monica Bodden found out why Rene Vera's relatives say he was killed by one of his own kin. Here's her story from San Ignacio: Monica Bodden Reporting 36 year old Rene Vera was found dead inside his home in Santa Elena Town-His body was discovered by one of his room-mates on Saturday morning. He was lying in a pool of blood inside one of the bedrooms with 9 stab wounds to multiple parts of his body. Erin Gillett - Niece of Deceased "When I found out about my Uncle, I was in Orange Walk, and we found out Saturday evening when one of the roommates got home. He texted everybody and we got a text saying Uncle Rene died. We didn't believe it, so we called and confirmed it. We rushed down, and on the way there, they told us that they found him in the next room - not his room - and he was on the floor in a pool of blood." But what took place inside Vera's house is still left to be determined by police. Cups were found on his dining table, which may indicate that Vera had company over. Speculations are going around town that Vera was murdered by one of his family members. We understand that the man was detained for questioning yesterday by San Ignacio police.

Another Stabbing Death: Griga
And while that is believed to have happened sometime Friday night - by Saturday night in Dangriga another man had been killed - and he was also stabbed to death. His name is 23 year old Robert Alexander Pinnock Jr. The Lakeland area resident allegedly got into a misunderstanding with Glenford Chavez who stabbed him in the chest. Pinnock was rushed to the hospital, but died while receiving treatment. Chavez has been detained pending charges.

Shooting Victim Will Lose Eye
When we left you on Friday night it was with the news that a Belize City tradesman had been shot in the eye. Well tonight, the good news is that he is in stable condition and is expected to survive. 38 Year old Keyron Ysaguirre was shot at 7:15 pm as he was riding his bicycle on Mex Avenue. A man in a black shirt started to chase him and fired several shots hitting him in the eye. Reports are that Ysaguirre - who is a well-known plumber - will lose his eye, but he will survive. His family declined comment. Reports are that Ysaguirre - who is not known to be involved in any gang rivalry - may have been the victim of mistaken identity - but police are not commenting on that. Neither do they have anyone detained. Who over opened fire was serious, as six Expended 9mm shells were recovered from the area.

Man Rear Ends Bus, Dies
On Saturday morning the perils of random bus stops and early morning partying were brought into sharp, tragic focus when a 23 year old lost his life in a massive rear end collision. At around 5:30 am before sunrise, Patrick Escalante, Jr was travelling in his Nissan Pathfinder just a half mile from his home at mile 4 on the Western Highway when he crashed into a Westline Bus - which was parked on the edge of the road, but not off the road. No one in the bus was hurt, but Escalante suffered major trauma. The police explain that they arrived at the scene and found his body on the ground: Raphael Martinez - Police Press Officer "This happened at approximately 5:30 in the morning. Police visited the scene on the George Highway between miles 4 and 5. Upon arrival, they saw a Green and White International Bus L/P# SI-D-00235 on the extreme right side of the highway. It was parked facing Belmopan. The bus received extensive damages to its entire rear portion, and also seen was a Grey Nissan Pathfinder SUV L/P# BZ-C-32315 directly behind the bus facing the same direction.

Police Arrest One For Raheem, One Wanted
Just last week we were suggesting that police were "clueless" about the current crime spree. Well, today they came back strong, charging four persons for four murders. In first and most recent case, 23 year-old Cassian Bennett, aka Cassian Gentle, is on remand after he was taken to court for the murder of 19 year-old Raheem Requena. As we reported, Requena, who was a 4th form student at Excelsior High School, was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue at around 8:10 p.m. on December 19. He was on his way to his grandmother's house when a gunman ambushed him and shot him 8 times. He was rushed to the KHMH, but he died during treatment. Police say Bennett - who is linked with the Southside Gangsters and another man from Casar Ridge road are responsible for the killing. Bennett was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, and remanded to prison until January 30, 2013, his next court date. But his family is upset because according to them, police manufactured evidence against him, and they refuse to look at concrete evidence which clear his name in relation to this murder.

Duo Charged Double Murder
You may vaguely remember the double murder which occurred at the dockyard on North Front Street on October 25, which left 43 year-old Robert Young and 35 year-old Frank James dead. Well, 20 year-old Ernest Thurton Jr. and 22 year-old Jasper Brannon are at prison tonight in relation to those murders. As we reported, both Young and James were at the dockyard, and at around 11 p.m., they were ambushed by gunmen. Young was shot twice to the head, and died on the spot. Police believe that James realized what was happening, and he tried to escape, but another gunman ambushed him and killed him on the street. Well, police conducted a two month investigation, and this weekend, they charged both Thurton and Brannon. They were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith who remanded them to prison until January 31, 2013.

Month Old Murder Solved
And in relation to the final case for which police have made arrests, 20 year-old Ibrahim Smith is on remand for the murder of 22 year-old Williams Felix Francis. One month ago, Francis was at his brother's house on Mahogany Street when a gunman shot him twice in the left hand, once to the left side of his chest, once the back of his neck, and once in the right eye. He died on the spot. Police investigated for a month, and over the weekend they charged 20 year-old Ibrahim Smith. He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, who remanded him until January 31, 2012. If the name Ibrahim Smith seems familiar to you, it should. Viewers may remember that he was charged with attempted murder in April 2012 for the shooting of Desmond Gonzalez. He was also charged in November of 2010 with manslaughter for the shot gun killing of 17 year-old Shenelle Reyes.

Easy Glen Escapes Charges, Says Politics As Usual
Easy Glen and his alleged partner in crime James Swazo, the Chainsaw man, were the hottest names in news last week. UDP Senior Minister Michael Finnegan accused the Port Loyola pair of hustling money in his name. Finnegan alleged that Easy Glenn was allegedly calling heads of Government Departments and business establishments imitating him and asking for financial assistance - which Swazo and another man would go and pick up. They were detained in Orange Walk last week and today James Swazo was charged for two separate counts of obtaining property by deception. The first is from Tony Griffith on the 30th November. Griffith is the owner of Belize Waste Control someone pretending to be Michael Finnegan instructed him to make out a check for $1,250 in the name of James Swazo. He found out three weeks later that Finnegan had made no such request. And then one week ago on the 17th of December 2012 about 1:30pm, someone pretending to be Michael Finnegan called his business and requested financial assistance of $450.00bcy to hold a party for some workers who painted the Albert Street. Salvador Habet Jr. assisted with only $300.00 dollars and arrangements were made that James Suazo would pick up the money. So Suazo as the bagman was charged, but Easy Glenn is out of detention, and police explained why... Supt. Alden Dawson "From what we have here in Belize City, there is absolutely nothing against Mr. Adolphus. They've been picked up by Orange Walk Police, and he's since been released by CIB."

Young Girl Kills Tommy Goff
Tonight 12 year old Latisha Gonzalez of Cotton Tree Village -is lucky to be alive - after she and her family claim she was bitten by one of the world's deadliest snakes: a fer de lance snake which is known locally as the yellow jawed or Tommy Goff. Now, we know that the byte from a Tommy Goff can cause death, but on Wednesday evening Gonzalez fought back. She says she was walking home and was bitten twice by the snake, which is when she picked up a stick and killed it, then took it home. Now, we could not see the snake, because it is long gone but her family - which has some experience in such matters confirm that it was a Tommy Goff. Gonzalez was rushed to the Belmopan hospital and today 5 days after her incident, she told 7news what happened. Latisha Gonzalez - Bitten By Snake "My aunt asked me to paint, and I went to help her. Her little son was out here on the street. She sent me to go get him, and I was walking in the middle of the road. I didn't the snake, and I just stepped on it. It bit me. My aunt's little son was coming close by the snake, and I warned him not to come closer. I grabbed a stick and hit it about 10 times. My brother came, picked up the dead snake with a stick, and showed my aunt. My aunt told us to get to safety because that snake is a dangerous one. My mother and a friend took me to the hospital." Monica Bodden "So now, I understand that it was a yellow-jawed 'tommy goff' which bit you. Did you feel any sickness or weakness after?" Latisha Gonzalez "No, ma'am, and I wasn't really scared. I wasn't really sure what type of snake bit me." The fer de lance is considered especially dangerous because its bite causes hemorrhaging. It is the most dangerous snake in Central America.

Weed/Ammo Found
The GSU and the Special Branch continue to compete to see who can make the bigger busts more consistently. Recently the Special Branch ahs been coming on strong and continued its streak today with marijuana and ammunition discoveries. The first happened on Saturday afternoon, when police searched 25 year old Micheal house's home in Coral Grove, and found 223 grams of cannabis - about half a pound parceled off into 20 bags. Also present were 20 year old Lester VERGO, and 21 year old Melchizedek SILVA a student. All three were charged for "Drug Trafficking". And then on Saturday evening, at 6:45pm Special Branch led police to an abandoned lot in the Martin's area, which led to the discovery of a white plastic bag contain: (7) .9mm live rounds of Ammunition. Half hour later, Special Branch again led Police to another abandoned lot in the Yabra area near to the beach side, which turned up a Water Bottle with 65 live rounds.

From Belize To Sandy Hook
If you've been following the news in the US, you probably know about the mass shooting which occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut which, according to reports, left 28 people dead, 20 of whom were school children. Well, on Saturday night, the Jasmine Alert, which was set up in Belize to sound the alarm for missing children, held a candle light vigil in solidarity with those victims, and in memoriam to all the people lost to violence in Belize, including children. These ceremonies were held in all over the country including Belize City, where 7News attended. We spoke to the coordinator, who told us about its importance: Pastor Henry Brown Sr. - Coordinator, Belize City "The purpose of this vigil is to bring to the forefront the many murders which have been happening in Belize City, especially among our young people. Our biggest concern right now is about the children of Belize, because we're seeing how many of them are being abused and violated. We want parents and all relevant authorities to take note and take up their responsibility to protect and preserve the lives of our children because they are the future of this nation." The ceremonies were held for one hour starting at 6 p.m. in designated parks in Corozal, Orange Walk Town, Belize City, Belmopan, San Ignacio, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Placencia and San Pedro.

Giving Purpose To "Boxing Day"
Boxing day is on Wednesday. The term originated centuries ago in England where it is believed to have referred to a custom of the wealthy putting donations in boxes for their less privileged employee. In Belize though, there actually used to be boxing matches on Boxing Day. Like the sport of Boxing in Belize that custom has faded away but one promoter wants to bring it back. James Adderly has organized a ticket of international boxing bouts at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel for Wednesday, Boxing Day. A delegation from Mexico is coming to Belize to square off with the athletes from the Leopold Smart Boxing Gym. We caught up with James Adderly, the organizer, beside the ring as they were making final preparations for the show tomorrow. Here's what he told us about the event: James Adderly - Organizer "We have a big show planned. Belize vs. Mexico has always brought a lot of interest from the Belizean public, and we want to deliver the same excitement every time. So, you'll meet us here. That's our ring behind us. It has certainly cost a lot of money, and it has taken a lot of money and effort.

Police Show Love In The Hood
And while the GSU and the Special Branch may do the high profile police work, perhaps even more important is the Community Policing Unit. Every year, the build overcomes the Department's Goodwill deficit by giving back to needy sections of the community with Christmas Hampers for deserving families. 7News caught up with them while they were making their rounds on Saturday in Lake Indpedendence, and they told us that due to funding, they've had to cut their donations in half, only reaching out to 60 families. Here's what one of the coordinators told us about its importance, evena s they fight to keep the effort going: WCpl Hortence Hernandez - Community Policing "This is an annual event where Community Policing comes out, and we give food hampers to very needy families. We target familes such as single mothers with children at the back here who are presently unemployed." Giovannie Brackett "About how many donations are you distributing this year." WCpl Hortence Hernandez "Well, this year, we're doing 60 compact food hampers."

Street Sentiment Mixed At Christmas
Word on the street used to be that "things dread this year." But that was in about 2007; in 2012, "dread" is the new normal - and - as they say - to explain is to complain, so most folks just push on through. But with so many years of hard times - we wondered today "how di Christmas di cohn" this year. Our associate, Giovanni Brackett, hit streets to sample public opinion about what it's been like. Interviewee "Well the Christmas is coming fair enough. I see a lot of Belizeans on the sidewalk, so it has to be a Merry Christmas for Belizeans this year." Giovannie Brackett "How will you spend the Christmas tomorrow?" Interviewee "Well hopefully, I spend it with my family, and have things to eat. That's what Christmas isall about." Giovannie Brackett "How is the Christmas coming for you?" Interviewee "It's going good; I can't complain. I am doing a little bit of work; I'm trying to give the people a little bit of music." Giovannie Brackett "How will you spend the Christmas tomorrow?" Interviewee "Tomorrow, I have to say family; I'm a family man. So, I have to keep it with family and friends."

All Of The Lights
And so we end this Christmas Eve newscast... From our 7news family to yours, we hope you have a blessed, safe and fun Christmas and that the warmth of family and good cheer of the season find you wherever you are. We leave you tonight with images of those folks in the city who love Christmas so much - that they don't care how high their light bill goes in this festive season. Those light shows make us all feel a little more Christmassy and we pay homage to a few that caught our eye this weekend... We also have footage from Corozal's Municipal Christmas Parade which happened this weekend with pageantry and the rhythm from the country's best marching bands...


A Surprise Gift!
This Christmas morning there was a knock on our door. A Grand Caribe worker stood at the door with an envelope marked "B & E". I thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas, wondering what this mystery envelope could possibly be. An invitation? A note from someone? When I opened it, this is what I found inside:

Christmas in Belize
Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you are all having a great holiday celebration what ever you are doing. So far my Christmas morning has been spent puttering chatting on the coconut phone, Linked In group Belize Life, facebook, Ambergris Caye Message Board, texting Lara & Leisa, chatting with family, drinking instant ice coffee and listening to the Christmas Eve Special 2012 on Coast to Coast am radio. George Noory was joined by Santa Claus aka Sal Lizard in the first hour. Lizard He who has been playing Santa Claus professionally for over 20 years and shared some of his favorite memories, as well as observations. He’s found that the true meaning of Christmas has to do with the spirit of generosity, where in some cases people make anonymous donations or gifts in the mode of a “Secret Santa.” The rest of the show featured Open Lines, with callers telling memorable Christmas stories, as well as holiday miracles – perfect Christmas morning entertainment.

Christmas Eve Party At Royal Palms
In San Pedro, Belize, Christmas Day was beautiful. Gorgeous weather. Warm and sunny with a nice cooling breeze. In the afternoon, my condo community had a little get-together. Everyone brought way too much food and there was even live music. Here are some pictures. A super Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. It's been a great year. Let's hope 2013 is more of the same for everyone. Roger with the jello shots. These things were no he had enough for an army. Pistachio pudding shots with Malibu quickly followed. I was up all night baking...or at least that is my story. And I'm sticking with it. Plenty of food. PLENTY.

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: White Chili
Ingredients: 1 pound Greet Nerthern white beens, rinsed and pickt ovr 2 pounds chicke breests (2 large half breests air about 2 pounds) 1 Tablespoon Vegetabull Earl 2 cups onyuns, chopped 4 medium garlic cloves, minced 2 – 4oz. cans chopped mild gree chiles 2 tbsp. chili powdr 1-1/2 tsp. each uf cumin, and dride oregano leeves 1/2 tsp. garlic powdr 1/4 tsp. cayenne salt and peppr t'aste 8 cups chicke st'ck 3 cups Monterey Jack cheez shredded and divided sour creem salsa

December 25, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Castillo’s Hardware donates to San Pedro Cancer Society
Founder of the San Pedro Cancer Society (SPCS) Monica Prevett is happy to report a successful 2012, with two success stories during the group’s efforts. Monica extends her gratitude to the San Pedro community for supporting the society during fundraisers and special events. The San Pedro Cancer Society is the youngest and most active cancer group in the country. In the coming year SPCS seeks to educate people on taking treatment in the country at the Dangriga Cancer Center rather than abroad. Not only is it easier to communicate, but treatment available locally is less costly as opposed to abroad. When patients choose to go abroad, they have to take into account the cost of travel, the expense of the hospitals in the countries they get treated in, and the cost to stay as well. As an added bonus, the Dangriga Cancer Center gives free second opinions on a patient’s health status. The SPCS encourages people to consider taking the opportunity given by the center. The Dangriga Cancer Center has recently made available a pediatric wing so that children don’t have to go abroad for treatment as well. This is definitely an added bonus, for parents who are tasked with seeking help for their children, and cannot afford to travel. With all these opportunities available at home, SPCS asks residents of San Pedro to seek aid and not be silent, and explore their local medical options.

Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow speaks on McAfee’s erratic behavior
John McAfee, the antivirus mogul, continues to make international news after he was expelled from Guatemala to the United States. The 67-year-old McAfee has been on the run avoiding investigators of the Belize Police Department who want to question him as part of a murder investigation into the death of his neighbor Gregory Faull, a 52-year-old expatriate and businessman. Authorities claim that Faull’s death has left several unanswered questions, which McAfee could provide answers to. However, McAfee claims he is running from authorities in Belize because they want him dead. Both local and international media have been trying to find answers as it relates to the murder investigation and if the Belizean Government will be requesting an extradition for McAfee from the US. In so doing, NBC Dateline had attempted to speak with Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow and with the help of The San Pedro Sun was able to do so on Friday December 14th. PM Barrow told NBC Dateline that while there is an extradition agreement between Belize and the US, the only way McAfee could be extradited to the country is if charges are laid against him – which is not the case since he is just wanted for questioning. “My recollection of the way the treaty works is that we would have to have charges waiting for McAfee before we can seek his extradition. In other words you can’t seek to extradite somebody merely because that person is of interest; merely because the person is needed for questioning. I believe extradition can only kick in where there are charges that have been levied against the person you seek to extradite,” said Barrow, who is also a well respected attorney in Belize.

Annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest celebrates unique Belizean homes
It was a holly jolly night as merry judges Rebecca Coutant, Charlene Woods and Rene Guzman, along with The San Pedro Sun staff and their guests rode around town on Saturday, December 15th taking in the sights of the island’s festively decorated houses. Riding on golf carts adorned for the Christmas season, the judges inspected and noted every lit up house and business around town. As the mini parade drove around each neighborhood, children flocked at the sight of the Christmas ‘sleighs’ and in the spirit of holiday sharing, were treated to handfuls of candies. The houses were truly amazing; displaying creative forms of decorations, each one unique in its own little special way. It was an arduous task for the judges as they searched for houses that best portrayed the ten different categories.

Ambergris Today

Belize Silences Peoples’ Voice on Offshore Oil Drilling Referendum
In a move to ensure that the issue of whether or not 8,047 signatures were improperly disallowed by the Chief Elections Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Department, the Government of Belize (GOB) sought to strike out the case (Claim No. 225 for 2012) brought earlier this year by Audrey Marie Bradley, Thomas Greenwood and Oceana in Belize. Permission for the case to proceed was granted June 5, 2012 by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana GOB applied to strike out the case based on whether the 14 days to file the full application for judicial review started on the date the oral permission was granted or when the written order was perfected by the court. Justice Arana, in striking out the referendum judicial reviews case, said she agreed with GOB Attorney Denys Barrow that the 14 days started to run June 20th. This ruling brings to an end any legal attempt to hold the Government accountable for denying the Belizean people a choice to voice on whether or not there should be offshore oil drilling in Belizeans waters.

PIC OF THE WEEK: San Pedro Dance Academy Christmas Spectacular
The San Pedro Dance Academy shined on stage for their annual Christmas Show at the R. Angel Nuñez on Saturday, December 22, 2012. All dancers looked amazing in their costumes during their spectacular performances. Pictured here is the Señor group just before their performance of Drummer Boy.

Christmas Raffles in San Pedro
It’s the season of giving and that is exactly what many businesses have been doing this Holiday Season in San Pedro. There were many fantastic Christmas raffles and give-aways that businesses on the island conducted as a show of appreciation to their customers. Last week and over the weekend Miss San Pedro Naiely Puc had the honor of picking out the lucky winners at three businesses which have already held their raffles. Congratulations to all the winners and to all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friends of Holy Cross Spread Christmas Joy
Holy Cross Anglican School surely has angels (or elves)! Krista Mohr and Jodie Harnish, for the second year in a row, have played Santa's elves by collecting, purchasing and wrapping gifts for all of our 420 darling students at Holy Cross Anglican School. There would be no Christmas for these kids if not for them! Krista even organized a toy drive for them at Wayo's Beach Bar. The turnout was fabulous! Every child received an individually wrapped present with their name on it from Santa. Kudos to Krista and Jodie for spreading the christmas joy once again at the Holy Cross Anglican School.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize reaches agreement with bond creditors
Belize has reached an agreement in principle with creditors to restructure about half of its unpaid debt after "long and arduous" talks, allowing the country to avoid default, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said on Friday. Barrow told a press conference that he would release details of the restructuring of the $544 million bond at a later date. "The agreement is comprehensive and it is sustainable," he said. Mark Espat, leader of Belize's negotiating team on the debt restructuring, explained that details of the deal could not be made public until they were explained to all of Belize's creditors. Belize missed an August 20, 2012, US$23 million coupon payment on the country’s US dollar Step-Up Bonds due 2029, although in September it made an $11.7 million interest payment, which was only about half of what it owed but enough to avoid full-blown default. The Step-Up Bond represents approximately one-half of Belize’s total recorded public indebtedness.

Jingle Bum Rock at Barrio Fino
Barrio Fino had their Jingle Bum Rock, and Danny Chung was there to capture all the festivities. Looks like Mistah Geeh and the gang rocked Belmopan.

SHC's Elocution Contest
Sacred Heart College had their annual Elocution contest. Lots of talent was showcased.

The New Era of Maya Culture at SIRH
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel ushered in the new era with an all day celebration of the Maya culture.

Christmas Toy Drive
Rotaract had their Christmas Toy Drive at Meluchi's. Santa was there, and the event was a huge success.

Channel 5

Rene Vega killed in his Santa Elena house
The one hundred and fortieth murder victim for 2012 is from the Cayo District. And though many of the previous murders are gang related, this particular crime is not. Police have detained a relative of the victim, Rene Vera, for questioning regarding the stabbing. News Five’s Duane Moody headed west this morning and tried to [...]

Police know nothing of 2 weekend murders and Colombian drug bust
The postmortem examination on Vera’s body was conducted today at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. During this morning’s police briefing, there was no mention of Vera’s murder. Apparently even though it occurred sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, it was not reported. Then there is murder number one hundred and forty-one which occurred in [...]

Shooting victim lucky to be alive after shot in the eye.
What the police did have information on is a shooting that occurred in the city on Friday night. The victim received a bullet to the eye but was lucky to survive the attempt on his life. According to Police Press Officer, Raphael Martinez, Keyron Ysaguirre was on Mex Avenue when a lone gunman opened fire [...]

Arrests made in connection with 3 murders in Old Capital
While the cops have two new homicides and a shooting on their hands, progress has been made in three previous murders. Two persons have been charged for the October twenty-fifth double murder of Frank James and Robert Young who were gunned down on North Front Street. Also, one person was charged for the murder of [...]

Fatal traffic accident on George Price Highway
Though two persons were murdered over the weekend, a third individual lost his life on the outskirts of Belize City. It is not known if alcohol was involved in the incident but an SUV crashed into the rear of a bus resulting in one fatality. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.   Isani Cayetano, Reporting A [...]

Record high murder stats; 141 murders so far in 2012
2012 is winding down and the murder statistics are running up with a record high of one hundred and forty-one homicides so far. The year started slow with only four murders in January, but the numbers quickly started rising. In February ten persons were killed while eight homicides were recorded in March. Then the mayhem [...]

Witness Protection Program to be introduced in 2013
While murder statistics are at an all time high, convictions are extremely low, but a new unit at the Police Department might change that. According to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Elodio Aragon, they are preparing to launch a Witness Support Unit in early 2013, which will provide assistance and protection for persons cooperating in major [...]

Vega on the Campaign trail to remain as Deputy Party Leader of U.D.P.
One person who has witnessed a lot of support in recent days is Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. Vega is also deputy leader of the United Democratic Party (U.D.P.) and is being challenged by Education Minister Patrick Faber for the second highest post in the party. News Five had previously spoken to Faber who says [...]

Pilot survives plane crash down south
A tragedy was averted today in what some may say was a miracle no one was killed. A plane went down in the Cowpen area in Stann Creek at eight a.m. on Sunday. The pilot, Frank Hiebert was spraying a banana plantation in what should have been a routine flight. However, a yellow indicator light [...]

House gutted by flames in Orange Walk
While that pilot can walk home to his house following the incident, twelve persons in Orange Walk have no home to return to, following their moment with disaster. A fire on Dangriga Street in Orange Walk Town totally destroyed the Arzu family home. According to a neighbor, Indora Armstrong, the community came out to assist [...]

No evidence against Easy Glenn, but James Suazo Guilty of scam
Minister Michael Finnegan spoke to the media last week about a scam in which his name was allegedly being used to solicit funds from various businesses and the Ministry of Works. Police soon arrested the accused men, Goldburn “Easy Glenn” Adolphus and James Suazo, but due to a lack of evidence, Adolphus was released. Suazo, [...]

Special Branch sting operations yield drugs and ammo
A series of sting operations by the Special Branch of the Police Department has led to the seizure of drugs and ammunition. On Saturday around three p.m., a search conducted at the residence of twenty-five year old Michael Hulse led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing twenty-nine transparent ziplock bags with two [...]

Police anti-crime campaign in full force
Business is brisk during the Christmas season as gifts, decorations and groceries are bought for the big day. Unfortunately, at this time of year, there is also a marked increase in crimes such as robberies and burglaries. To balance it all out, the Police Department has followed suit and boosted the number of officers on [...]

Lord’s Bank Christmas Party by Belizean American
Verna Young Clement, a Belizean living in the US started an initiative in 2011, hosting a Christmas party for seventy-five children in Lords Bank and surrounding communities. Clement returned for her second annual Christmas party held over the weekend and this time she catered to over a hundred kids as well as almost eighty parents. [...]

Christmas shout outs from the public to your homes
Downtown Belize City has been alive with last-minute shoppers looking for deals since eight o’clock this morning when stores opened their doors to the public.  The atmosphere on Albert Street is festive, as musicians and food vendors line the sidewalks playing carols and hawking fast food.  News Five hit the streets this morning to get [...]

The Meaning of Christmas
Across the country people have been out in droves, shopping for gifts. While stores are serving an increase in consumers, that also means that there are more than the usual amount of motor vehicles on the streets. In Belize City, bumper to bumper traffic has increased a short drive across the city to about half [...]

James Adderley’s and the weekend sports
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Game I of the Championship series in this PLB Football Competition got off to a roaring start inside a jammed packed Isidoro Stadium yesterday as the 2 Belmopan teams—Police United and Belmopan Bandits—looked to grab game I of the home and away format. We [...]


Early Christmas Gift for Belize - Super Bond Successfully Renegotiated
The best Christmas news for the country of Belize came four days before the big day. At a late-evening press conference in Belize City, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the much talked about haircut has been achieved. Meaning that … the country’s foreign deb...

SMART Shares Christmas Spirit With Free Phones and Credit Countrywide
SMART in living up to their motto of “Bringing people together” today felt very generous and headed out to Albert Street to reward lucky passersby. Public Relations officer for SMART, Ian Courtenay, told us more about this initiative. “It’s just SMART ...

Rotary Prepares To Raffle New Vehicle
The Rotary Club of Belize will be holding its big raffle of a brand new vehicle on Saturday night. The raffle is part of the organization’s fund raising drive to support its many programs which benefits hundreds of Belizeans throughout the year. Cisco Woods, the co-ch...

International Day of Cooperatives Observed
An expo featuring the works of cooperatives from around the country took place today in Belize City. Close to three dozen groups from all over Belize gathered at the Princess Hotel to mark the end of the International Year of Cooperatives. Gareth Murrillo is the registrar of coop...

18 Years for Carnal Knowledge
Fifty-five year old Winston Dennison, a woodcarver who was convicted of three counts of carnal knowledge on Monday, was sentenced to a total of 18 years today by Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Justice Gonzalez sentenced him to five years for the first count, six6 years for the second count ...


36 year old Rene Vera is stabbed to death
Christmas Day is tomorrow but there are some Belizean families who are mourning instead of celebrating. That's beca...

Stabbing murder in Dangriga
There was another weekend murder when a man was stabbed and killed in Dangriga Town on Saturday night. Harry Arzu h...

Bicycle rider shot Friday evening
There was a shooting incident on Friday evening in Belize City. 28 year old Keyron Ysaguirre was riding his bicycle...

Bus involved in fatal traffic accident
There was a fatal traffic accident on Saturday December 22. It happened on the George Price Highway between miles 4...

Witness tells of Road Traffic Collision on Valley of Peace Road
Last week PlusNews reported on a road traffic accident which Police say occurred on the George Price Highway just o...

James Swazo charged for obtaining property by deception
Police say they have officially arrested and charged James Swazo for obtaining property by deception. Suazo, along ...

Construction workers robbed at Marion Jones Stadium
The Marion Jones Stadium is under construction and on Saturday, those in charge of the construction project were ro...

Three charged for drug offences
Police have charged three person for drug offences following a weekend raid in Belize City. On Saturday at about 3:...

Twelve year old girl survives poisonous snake bite
A twelve year old girl is lucky to be alive after she was bitten by a poisonous snake. Natisha Gonzalez, a student ...

Jasmin Alert committee holds a nationwide candle light vigil
The Jasmin Alert committee held a nationwide candle light vigil on Saturday. It was done in the memory of those chi...

The Belize Police Community Department shares hampers and gifts
t's the season for sharing and in keeping with their annual tradition of spreading a little love, the Belize City P...

Belmopan area residents share their thoughts on Christmas.
Tomorrow, Belizeans and a great part of the world will stop to celebrate the Chrisitian holiday, Christmas 2012. Ch...

Police make arrests for several murders
A not so recent murder which occurred on October 25th, has just seen an arrest. Frank James and Robert Young were k...

Man stabbed in Maya Mopan
A Belmopan man was stabbed while standing on the street. Belmopan police say that on Sunday at 12:30am, they visite...


Merry Xmas Everybody
Before I forget I just wanted to let you know that the Christmas Charity Concert held on Saturday 15 December raised BZ$7,000 for the five surviving children of Hector ‘Chapin’ Duran. A tremendous BZ$2,000, or 40%, more than the target the fund organisers set for themselves. A fantastic achievement that should make things that little bit better at Christmas for the children. Whilst on the subject of remembering things I am now able to answer the question posed by a number of readers – “Are they going to remove the plywood after the concrete pour for the roof of the water tank?” I put the question to Anhill this morning and was pleased, but not overly surprised, to be told that it will be removed via the hole left for the manhole cover. All of the plywood boards have been cut to go through this aperture . Simple really isn’t it.

Happy Holidays!
Taking a little time out from blogging to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! From our home to yours, Emily, Barry, and Paisley

Christmas Vacation? I wish.
I wish I could explain my absence in blogging and say I have been away on a wonderful Christmas vacation but unfortunately not, been so busy with other work that I have not had time to blog. Was glad to get a bit of Sunday funday downtime yesterday after 6 solid hours chained to my desk. We ended up doing bbq ribs for lunch with Leisa at Catamaran beach bar at Caribbean Villas Hotel. Both Lesia and I were in carnivore mode and agreed we could have had double order of ribs and no sides Afterward then headed to Rico’s restaurant at Banyan Bay to see baby Tinker, Cindy Andy and Cheri. She is much tinier in person than she is on facebook pictures. Getting ready for the annual Sad Bastards Christmas party at Pedro’s bar tomorrow, which means walking to town and scouting out some presents for the gift game. The limit is 70 BZD and there are always lots of things worth stealing.

Chaa Creek Unveils “Historic” 2012 Maya Stela
The carved stone Maya stela unveiled in Belize at The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s 2012 Winter Solstice ceremonies on December 22 2012 is a continuation of thousands of years of Maya history, according to the Chaa Creek Natural History Centre. As anthropologist Joe Awe explained to the guests who attended the unveiling ceremony held at Chaa Creek, the ancient Maya used the carved stone monuments to record important dates and events in their various city-states spread across the vast Maya empire, which covered all of Belize and parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. “It is very fortunate for us that the Maya used the stelae to carve important information into stone for future generations to see. Otherwise, since the Spanish Conquistadors destroyed the Maya’s huge libraries, artwork and books, we’d have hardly any information at all to piece together their rich history,” he said. “Now, with this new stela, we’ve recorded our own presence during the Winter Solstice of 2012, and it will be interesting to see who reads this thousands of years down the track,” he added.

International Sources

Farm to Table in Belize
Yes. In Belize people are concerned about eating locally. Part of that may be the price of food and how much imported food costs. While bicycling a couple of days ago, we came upon a lovely garden. A huge, lovely garden. Too curious, we hopped off our bikes and trespassed, asking a gardener when we saw him if we could look. Turns out this is a chef’s garden, nestled up right next to the Turtle Inn. Haven’t heard of it? You’ve undoubtedly heard of the owner. Francis Ford Coppola. The garden that supplies this resort and restauarant includes herbs, greens, vegetables, and yes, even the chaya plant that we had been wanting to see in real life. And, from talking to local chefs, part of being a locavore is just pragmatic. The chef next door to us, who is opening a new restaurant in Belize called the Sea Glass, is planning an opening on New Year’s Day. One of his menu items in pepper garlic seared tuna canapés. “I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get any from local fishermen. I may have to go out fishing myself.” Another chef, Sol from Hidden Falls Café, has a farm about an hour and a half away from Placencia. He grows food for his restaurant and supplies others around. “Do you grow chaya?” we asked him. Yep. In fact, he supplies Martha’s Restaurant in San Ignacio, where we first were introduced to chaya. And today, he went out with a spear gun and nabbed a few red snapper. Guess we know what’s on the menu tonight at his restaurant. And how fresh it will be!

CARICOM to speed up tax evasion talks with United States next year
Saying there is no question that regional financial institutions will comply, Caribbean trade bloc governments this week welcomed the postponement of the January 2013 deadline for compliance with new American overseas tax laws, pointing out that they now have more time to negotiate a proper agreement with the U.S. Governments, commercial banks and other agencies had been racing against time to comply with the original Jan. 1, 2013, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA), but the new 2014 deadline will allow the region to follow the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland and other Western nations in negotiating a complete intergovernmental agreement with the U.S. on the issue. The bloc’s Guyana-based secretariat said efforts to have formal talks with U.S. Treasury officials failed this year in part because of the distractions associated with the November presidential elections, but the extension will give the CARICOM countries more leeway for negotiations in the new year—even though most commercial banks, trust companies and offshore destinations were ready to meet the original deadline anyway. The regulations will force Caribbean and other international banks to report to the United States Internal Revenue Service about the assets of U.S. citizens, legal residents and even some categories of visitors if they have funds exceeding $50,000 at any point during a fiscal year. This will also apply to foreign sportsmen and entertainers who spend significant amounts of time earning money in American cities even though they are non-citizens or are not green card holders.

Belize to Soon Reach Final Pact With Creditors on Debt Restructuring -Official
Belize and its creditors will soon have a final agreement to restructure the country's debt, a government official said Monday. The small Central American country and its creditors on Friday reached a tentative pact to restructure the country's debt. The two sides have been negotiating a debt restructuring ever since the country defaulted in September, a month after it failed to make a payment on its $548.3 million debt. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed on Friday, though a term sheet is expected to be released in the near future, according to Mark Espat, leader of Belize's negotiating team on the debt restructuring. "There is an in-principle agreement with the Creditor Steering Committee but details will be ironed out in the coming days," said Mr. Espat. Negotiating with Belize is a creditors' committee comprised of Greylock Capital Management, Steadfast Insurance Co., Capital Markets Financial Services and the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corp., as well as an ad hoc group consisting of 20 institutional members. Together, the committee and ad hoc group represent over $338 million of the more than $540 million of bonds outstanding.

McAfee Headed To England If U.S. Won’t Grant Visas For His Two Girlfriends
Silicon Valley software guru-turned-fugitive John McAfee may have left Miami for England, where he was born. McAfee, 67, who has acknowledged lying to the media and frequently playing hoaxes for kicks, told Britain’s The Sun newspaper that he wants to start his life over in England with his Belizean girlfriends, Sam Vanegas, 20 and a 17 year old that The Sun identified as Amy Emshwiller. On his blog,, McAfee posted a cryptic Christmas Eve message on Monday in which he wrote, “I am safe now, in the country in which I grew up, went to school, got married and had children. It is a country of laws and due process.” McAfee has dual citizenship with the United States and England. He founded the anti-piracy software company that bears his name in Santa Clara. He ended up in Belize, where police identified him as a “person of interest” in the death of his neighbor, Gregory Viant Faull, which led McAfee to flee to neighboring Guatemala with Vanegas in tow. But McAfee was then sent to Miami without his two girlfriends. The Sun said that it had a “bizarre interview” with McAfee in which he said he wants to start a new life with both women in Southampton. “McAfee, who was born in Sling, Gloucestershire, hatched the plan after becoming frustrated with the US authorities, who are refusing to give the women visas so they can join him in the States,” The Sun reported. The Sun quoted McAfee as saying, “I feel just as much British as I do American. My mother, Joan Williams, was British and met my father Donald McAfee while he was stationed in England during the Second World War.

The December 23rd, 2012 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Police Commissioner’s Son Busted With Western Weed:
    The eldest son of an Assistant Commissioner of the Belize Police Department is currently on remand behind bars on a drug trafficking charge. The report coming out of Beque police informs that it was shortly after 1 o’clock on the evening of Thursday, December 13, 2012, at about 1:15 pm when the attention of a team of policemen on mobile patrol in the Calla Creek Road area of the jurisdiction, was drawn to a suspicious grey Ford F 150 pickup, with a camper, traveling out of the village towards the George Price Highway. In complying with police instructions the driver halted and exited the vehicle. Nothing incriminating was found inside the cab of the vehicle. The search then proceeded to the back of the vehicle where the police came upon two rimless tires which when searched were found to contain a dozen black plastic bags tightly wrapped with transparent plastic tape which when opened in the presence of the driver was found to contain suspected marijuana.
  • The New Rene Montero, Hon. Rene Montero Inspecting One Of The Many Works Currently Underway In Cayo Central:
    The first term in office was a learning experience for Cayo Central’s Area Representative/ Minister of Works and Transport, Hon. Rene Montero. When he was put to the test in the March 7, 2012 general elections; he received a narrow passing mark and was almost defeated by a new comer on the political scene. Subsequent to that narrow victory, a new Rene Montero has emerged. He has shed himself of the political baggage and negative vibes from political hangers-on who did him major political damage throughout his first five-year term in office. The new Rene Montero has hit the ground running after the experience of March 7. The new Rene Montero is now focused on putting his shoulders to the wheel in immediately addressing the needs of his constituents. He has publicly committed that he will not wait until an election year or in the months leading up to the next test at the polls to do what has to be done for residents of Cayo Central.
  • Brady Busted By Benque Police:
    The ever vigilant police team in Benque Viejo town has scored yet another drug bust as the importation of Guatemalan weed seeks to make the eastward transit into Belize. It was shortly before 5:30 pm on Monday, December 17, when a team of alert policemen from Benque Viejo Town, on motorcycle patrol, spotted a pair of suspicious male persons walking on Churchill Street, in the center of the town. One of them had a small, red, white and blue plastic sack slung over the shoulder. They were stopped and searched. The search resulted in the discovery of two parcels tightly wrapped in black plastic and bound with transparent tape. When the parcels were opened, they were found to contain suspected marijuana.
  • Let There Be Light In Bradley’s Bank:
    A rural electrification project, which will benefit more than 200 residents in the Bradley’s Bank Area of Santa Elena Cayo District, was launched this Sunday afternoon. The project, to be financed by the Government of Belize through the Social Investment Fund and will be implemented by the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) at a cost of $211,567 with funds coming by way of the Commonwealth Debt Initiative (CDI). The project includes the extension of overhead electrical lines to approximately 157 lots with the installation of seven transformers, almost 80 polls and almost 15 thousand feet of power lines. In his keynote address, Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Works and Transportation and Area Representative for Cayo Central, spoke about the significance of the project and the great conveniences it would bring to the residents of Bradley’s Bank. He told the gathering that he remains committed imporving the lives of the people of his constituency.
  • Child of Faith:
    Mrs. Diana Azueta was the 2nd of five (5) children born to Mr. & Mrs. John Swift. Diana grew up in St. Mary’s literally where by the time she was born her mother Sylvia Swift was already a teacher at the school and an active member of the church. Mrs. Sylvia Swift later became an outstanding principal in the chain of exemplary teachers and principals of St. Mary’s school, like Basil Coleman, Mrs. Hinkson and Mrs. Marcella Weatherburne. In 1968 Diana entered Wesley College and graduated and then advanced to 6th form. She married Alfonso Azueta, an Auditor in the Government Service. The union produced one child, a beautiful daughter Nyani. Alfonso is now deceased.
  • Welcome Home Dr. Tisha L. Spence:
    As a tribute to the late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Spence from Santa Elena, Cayo District, the family is proud to announce that the Spence granddaughter, Dr. Tisha L. Spence is visting Belize. Dr. Spence, the daughter of Mrs. Selma Spence-Jackson, is celebrating the memories of her late grandparents, during her stay in Belize. She is a Pediatrician and graduate of Southern Illinois School of Medicine, Springfield, USA.. She is currently in her second year of residency, at the Morehouse University in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Spence is now pursuing her Pediatric Fellowship in Neonatal Medicine (Neonatology).
  • Inmates And Guards Killed In Mexico Jailbreak Attempt:
    At least 17 people have been killed during an attempted jailbreak in Mexico, officials say. Eleven inmates and six guards died in a shootout in the city of Gomez Palacio as the prisoners tried to escape through tunnels. Gang violence is an endemic problem in the Mexican penal system. The incident happened a day after President Enrique Pena Nieto announced the creation of a national police force to help tackle crime and violence.
  • Crime - A Social Problems Of A Developing Country:
    Crime is defined as the breaking of laws set by the governing body of a country. It may come in many forms from as little as lying to even killing. This is one of the social problems most affecting the developing world. There are obviously many troubles that come along with having this problem in a society, and we see it everyday. And we always try to cure this problem by attacking it from that angle, but why not look at it from another? Why not try to find out what are causing these problems, and furthermore, find out what we need to do to fix them? What Causes people to murder? This question gives rise to an array of answers, and they are all are correct, even if in the pettiest of ways. One of the most influential though, is the pessimistic relationship between poverty and education. Globally, poverty is at a high, and because of that, there are many people who do not have the opportunity to afford secondary schooling, much less tertiary.
  • STAR Humor
  • Editorial:
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices

December 24, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Doctor Love: No bachelor party for MY fiance!
Dear Doctor, My fiancé is planning his bachelor party and it is making me very uneasy. He told me about the last bachelor party he went to and I thought that the things that went on were absolutely disgusting. Last week I told him that I want his party to be one where any of [...]

Recognizing and Healing Dangerousness
Adam, who recently committed mass killings at the elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, USA lived in two worlds, one real and the other make-believe. His mind, a rather brilliant mind, switched back and forth making him believe that he belonged fully to neither world. He distanced himself. He believed and cared for no one. Fantasy was rich. Adam spent an inordinate amount of time playing video games. He had a factious relationship with his mother and often pictured her dead. She was a gun enthusiast, had introduced him to guns, and provided him easy access to firearms. So, she was the first person he shot and killed. Then, he went to school. He had already made a premeditated decision to kill en masse. Determined and obsessive, he shot and killed more than two dozen people, mostly children. His conscience was clear. There was no sense of guilt, remorse or shame, and certainly no compassion. His heart of stone was moved as much as if he were swatting flies, but the high was infectious, a dizzying thrill, like that of an arsonist watching his fire. When the police closed in on him, the fog in his brain began to lift. He, suddenly, felt self-conscious and overwhelming self-pity. Cornered, he was in a different world, too real for comfort. Reality testing flickered through his mind and told him that he will pay dearly for these killings. At that moment, Adam was very frightened. He felt a chill rush through his spine. “There is one way to escape this reality,” he thought. So, Adam shot himself, bringing the total number of deaths to twenty-eight.

Wolfe’s Woofers: Cheap Hotel
“Where to, boss?” the taxi driver asked. “I just missed the last flight back to San Pedro,” I said. “I need to find a good hotel here in Corozal.” “That’s not going to happen,” he told me. “All the good hotels are full because of the holidays. I took some people around two hours ago [...]

Misc Belizean Sources

ACES Holiday Fundraiser for Wildlife
Happy Holidays, Glad we survived the "end of the world." Due to the current economic conditions, the Directors of BEEDFund have voted to dissolve the charity effective January 2013. Don't worry, We will be obtaining our own NGO status in Belize this January as well! So BEEDFund is having one last fundraiser to help "Save San Pedro's Wildlife." Our goal is $8,500 to complete a small wildlife refuge in San Mateo. The final goal is by 2014 to have a full time Belize Wildlife Officer stationed there. If you cannot donate at this time, please share with your family and friends. Maybe they know someone who can help the animals being displaced by development. May all you dreams come true this holiday season! Cherie & Vince CLICK HERE TO MAKE A SECURE ONLINE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION NOW! Cherie & Vince Rose Research Biologist & Wildlife Behaviorist ACES/American Crocodile Education Sanctuary

Modern Mayan villages awash in celebration as calendar cycle resets
Caana, or Sky Temple, at Caracol archaeological site in western Belize, is one of the largest, most impressive pyramids in the Maya world. Even more than a thousand years after it was built, it remains the tallest manmade structure in all of Belize, a tiny country in Central America with both ancient Maya ruins and modern Maya communities. Caracol is located at the end of a long, red-clay road near the Guatemalan border. On Dec. 21, 2012, the Belize Institute of Archaeology issued special camping permits and off-hours access to travelers. The reason? 13 b’aktun: the completion of the Maya Long Count calendar. “Feliz b’aktun!” That's how people in western Belize are greeting each other this week, wishing each other happiness and cheer as the Long Count completes a major cycle. Of the numerous ways that the ancient Maya measured time, the most complex, far-reaching is the Long Count, developed some 1500 years ago. It's a cycle of 13 b’aktuns — each b’aktun is 144,000 days. Thirteen of them equals 1,872,000 days, or 5,125 years. Most (but not all) Maya scholars acknowledge that the Maya Long Count does indeed have an end-date that correlates to Dec. 21, 2012. Except that it's not an “end-date” in a doomsday sort of way — the Maya never said anything about a 2012 apocalypse. So while the rest of the world joked and obsessed about “the end of the world,” the Maya region is still observing the cycle change. This week, across the "Mundo Maya" — swaths of territory once ruled by the indigenous group in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras — modern Maya villages, as well as the archaeological sites are awash in celebration and ceremony.

Belize reaches agreement with bond creditors
Belize has reached an agreement in principle with creditors to restructure about half of its unpaid debt after "long and arduous" talks, allowing the country to avoid default, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said on Friday. Prime Minister Dean Barrow Barrow told a press conference that he would release details of the restructuring of the $544 million bond at a later date. "The agreement is comprehensive and it is sustainable," he said. Mark Espat, leader of Belize's negotiating team on the debt restructuring, explained that details of the deal could not be made public until they were explained to all of Belize's creditors. Belize missed an August 20, 2012, US$23 million coupon payment on the country’s US dollar Step-Up Bonds due 2029, although in September it made an $11.7 million interest payment, which was only about half of what it owed but enough to avoid full-blown default. The Step-Up Bond represents approximately one-half of Belize’s total recorded public indebtedness.

VIDEO: Save Me (Acoustic)
Merv Douglas performed 'Save Me' at Mic Night in Belmopan

The Garifuna of Belize
VIDEO: Making Cassava VIDEO: A Quick History of the Garifuna VIDEO: Drum Making VIDEO: The Jankunu Dance

13 B’aktun Roundup: Maya calendar cycle celebrated throughout Central America
It’s been exciting yet tranquilo here in my little corner of the Maya world. You can see me in the blue shirt in the photo above, atop Caana, Sky Temple (PHOTO BY JOSH BROWN). Celebrations are continuing throughout the region. Here is a quick round-up of reports by yours truly and a few friends: GlobalPost: “Maya calendar cycle celebrated throughout Central America” by Joshua Berman: This week, across the “Mundo Maya” — swaths of territory once ruled by the indigenous group in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras — modern Maya villages, as well as the archaeological sites are awash in celebration and ceremony…. Snarky Tofu: “One Era Ends, Another Begins (Apocalypse No Show)” by Joshua Brown (Lonely Planet Superstar): Maya were present, and holy people led both the opening and closing ceremonies. I saw from my vantage point on the ground great leaping bonfires being lit, and heard bursts of sacred music throughout the long night [be sure to watch the videos]…. Grand Junction Free Press: “12.21.12: Welcoming a new age to Grand Junction & the world” by Caitlin Row, with numerous quotes and excerpts by Joshua Berman: the end-date of the Mayan calendar, arrived today in the cold, early morning of the Winter Solstice… The Great Snarky One: Josh Brown, Lonely Planet author and screenplay writer, pushes through the pain to witness the b’aktun:

Birdwatching Guide to Belize
With a turn of the dial on the binoculars, the magnificent red bird comes into focus: nearly three feet long (the glorious tail plumage more than half this length), with slender scarlet feathers tinged in royal blue, so bright they almost glow in the morning sun. Its cerulean and yellow-tipped plumes look like an artist took a paintbrush to them. This is the endangered scarlet macaw, only one of nearly 600 bird species to see while birdwatching in Belize. Belize is a hotbed of avian activity. For comparison’s sake, there are about 700 bird species in all of North America, while Belize (a country roughly the size of Massachusetts) has 560 feathered friends. Well-traveled birders visit Belize to see species they’ve been waiting for all their birdwatching lives. The protected rainforests of Belize provide safe homes for the world’s rarest birds such as the keel-billed motmot, a species commonly spotted in the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. Other exotic species frequently seen on birding tours in Belize include the great curassow, crested guan, jabiru stork, yellow-headed parrot, boat-billed heron, orange-breasted falcon, rufous-capped warbler, white-crowned pigeon, red-footed booby and the scarlet macaw. Everyone – from experienced birders to first-timers – can appreciate the unique songs and colorful plumage of the birds of Belize. Belize’s diverse landscape offers visitors tremendous variety in birdwatching locations, ranging from broadleaf forests to wetlands, pine forests to mangroves, and savannahs to rainforests. Home to 16 birds on the endangered species list, Belize protects these ecosystems in its numerous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. What’s good for the bird is good for the birdwatcher! We glanced through our binoculars at some of Belize’s protected areas to brief you on what to look for at the best birdwatching spots in Belize:

The Reporter

A special Christmas wish
There is no doubt that party politics play an important part in the way our country is structured and governed. The result is that political interference has virtually crippled every decision making process in this nation and rendered those who are supposed to rightfully make the decisions, powerless. As a people we have pretty much succumbed to the idea that the political establishments have total rule over most aspects of lives for the five years that they are in power. Yet we fail to realize that power can only be lost if a population is if forcefully or wilfully given up – so it is impossible for those who have harnessed all the power to be totally blamed. The people of Belize must be held equally accountable for the actions of their elected leaders, because we are the ones who allow them to behave in the manner that they do. Whenever we change our attitude from that of complaining to one of action, we will be able to get out of this deep sleep that we have fallen into. But unlike the case of Snow White who had a rescuer, there is no knight in shining armor to come to our rescue. The Public Service is the professional arm of the government and is tasked with the day to day affairs of the people and the nation of Belize in accordance with the mandate set by the ruling administration. Simply put, the administration in power sets a mandate and the people of Belize elect them based on the mandate that is set. The Public Service then steps in to execute this mandate within the scope of the constitution of the nation and the laws, rules and regulations which govern the Public Service. It must be noted however, that elected official and government ministers are not a part of the Public Service. However like any other democratically elected government, any ruling administration will have political appointees, whose task it is to work hand in hand with the Public Service in order to accomplish common goals and objectives.

BDF High Command denies talk of higher incidences of rape/sexual harassment on camp
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ortega is poised to be Second in Command of the Belize Defense Force next February when Brigadier General Dario Tapia retires, giving way to Colonel David Jones as the incoming General. Already, however, it appears that Lt. Col. Ortega will have a lot to address since the Force has been hit by a series of embarrassing reports of rape and sexual harassment occurring on the BDF campus at Price Barracks. An email circulated by one of the women soldiers alleges that she was a victim of sexual harassment. She provides names of the perpetrators and lists specific incidents. One of the incidents involves two senior officers, one of whom the e-mail states is known to be HIV positive. The victim of the rape has not reported to work in more than a month since the incident . It is a disturbing complaint that Lt. Col. Ortega, who is currently the BDF’s Chief of Staff, must deal with. This week, Ortega told Love FM/TV reporter, Marion Ali, that he is aware of only one case that goes back a couple years ago and which is now under police investigation. Ortega also said that as Force Adjutant, he is responsible for any report of sexual harassment or rape. He said he knew nothing of the allegations because no formal complaints have been made so far. He did say, however, that he knows “of the name of the person that is mention in there (referring to the e-mail) of being HIV positive. I know that person.”

Patrick Faber’s campaign for UDP Deputy Leader gathers momentum
United Democratic Party (UDP) Chairman Patrick Faber, the area representative for the Collet constituency of Belize City, who is also the Minister of Education, gathered momentum in his bid to become U.D.P. Deputy Party Leader when he hosted the delegates from all 13 Belize District constituencies at the House of Culture last Saturday night, December 15 The banquet was a massive success with a full turnout from 11 of the 13 constituencies; and Faber’s aunt, former Collet area representative 1993-98 Hon. Faith Babb, fully endorsed his candidacy when she addressed the gathering. UDP party whip, Mesopotamia area representative Michael Finnegan also threw the weight of his division behind Faber, and two-time former Prime Minister Sir Manuel Esquivel and the first UDP party leader Dean Lindo also added their support. The Port Loyola and Queen Square delegates were conspicuously absent. Faber said he had been unable to get the invitations out to the Queen Square delegates in time.

Court convicts man, 55, of carnal knowledge of girl, 14
Winston “Manan” Dennison, 55, a Belize City woodcarver charged with three counts of carnal knowledge, was found guilty on Monday, December 17, in the Supreme Court of Justice John Gonzalez. The jury of five men and four women deliberated for three hours and twenty minutes, before returning with an unanimous verdict of guilty on all three indictments

More care needed for older persons Doctors without Boundaries insist
Posted by admin on Dec 24, 2012 in Health | 0 comments Experts from the humanitarian organizations Doctors without Borders and Help Age International say emergency aid has failed to address the needs of older people in dire situations and are calling on donors and humanitarian agencies to ensure that this vulnerable group is included in any emergency response.

Belmopan Comprehensive boys win National Basketball Championship
The boys of Belmopan Comprehensive School won their first ever national high schools basketball championship, in the tournament organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by Independence High School at the new IHS auditorium on Friday and Saturday, December 14-15. MVP Akeem Watters led the Belmopan boys’ attack with 17 pts as they romped to a 62-49 victory over the Southern Regional champions, the boys of Stann Creek Ecumenical College, in the championship finals on Saturday afternoon. Nelson Middleton scored eight points as the Belmopan boys led 13-10 in the first quarter. With Kevin Brown hitting two 3-pointers to add 15 pts, they led 29-19 at intermission. Ecumenical’s Quinton Bowen top-scored the game with 24 pts, but Christopher Enriquez scored 12 pts for Belmopan, while Felix Requeña and Daine Hewlett scored four points each to lead 45-30 at the end of the third quarter. Ecumenical’s team captain Hubert Usher scored the first basket, and Leslie Williams added 10 pts, Brandon Castillo tossed in nine, while Frank Williams and D’andre Reynolds scored a basket each to keep them in the game. Belmopan qualified for the finals by a surprise upset of three-times defending national champions, the boys of Sadie Vernon Technical High School on Friday evening. The Sadie Vernon boys had repeated as the Central Division champions on Monday, December 10. Akeem Watters shot the highest individual score of the tournament: 28 pts, as he led the Belmopan boys to a 45-43 victory. The Sadie Vernon boys entered the game perhaps a bit overconfident as they dominated the first two quarters.

SCA girls win National Basketball Xhampionship
The girls of St Catherine’s Academy successfully defended their national title to repeat as national high schools basketball champions in the tournament organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by Independence High School at the new IHS auditorium on Friday and Saturday, December 14-15. SCA’s most valuable player, Gilda Estrada, scored 14 pts as she led her team to a 23-21 victory over the southern regional champions, the girls of Delille Academy of Dangriga, in the championship finals on Saturday afternoon. With Indie Dixon scoring two jump shots and a free throw for five points, the SCA girls led 11-3 in the first quarter. Shayana Caliz led the Delille Academy girls with seven points, but SCA led 13-7 at intermission, and with baskets from Halle Spence and Balika Meighan, SCA continued to lead 17-11 at the end of the third quarter. The Delille Academy out-scored SCA 10-6 in the fourth quarter; as Moesha Enriquez added eight points and Naomi Gamboa and Melanie Castillo scored a basket each to tie the score 21-21. Gilda Estrada scored the winning basket for SCA: 23-21. The St Catherine’s girls had romped to a 31-22 victory over the Western regional champions, the girls of Belmopan Comprehensive School, in the opening game of the tournament on Friday evening. Jada Jones scored SCA’s first basket and Gilda Estrada led the attack with 15 pts, as SCA led 8-5 in the first quarter and 10-7 at intermission.

Another newborn dies at the Northern Regional Hospital
There is another report of alleged inadequate treatment at the Northern Regional Hospital Maternity Ward which has resulted in the death of a newborn infant this past weekend. The hospital’s Maternity Ward has come under public scrutiny, since a number of medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed by women who have gone there to give birth, but have ended up scarred and traumatized. So far, at least nine maternity ward patients and their newborn babies have been affected by the hospital’s care. Four of the women have reportedly taken out lawsuits against the hospital. In the latest tragic news to come out of the hospital’s maternity ward, the infant died and its mother also suffered a severely damaged uterus. Headi Chable, 26, a resident of San Jose Village, went to deliver her baby at the hospital and was going through induced labor. According to Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, a drug, oxytoxin, was used to induce Chable’s labor pains. Dr. Mendez said that from what he has gathered about the case, Chable was overdosed through the IV administering of the drug.

High-handed UB Board of trustees? Faculty Association wants iinvestigation!
Discontent is once again brewing on the campus of the University of Belize, where the Faculty and Staff Association has expressed “grave concern” about certain members of the Board of Trustees who seem to have taken over the powers of the Board The F & Staff Association has listed nineteen decisions which were made not by the Board of Trustees meeting in regular sessions, but by individuals on the Board who decide among themselves. Among the complaints the association calls attention to are hiring practices, changes in the status of employment, the creation of new posts, changes in salary benefits for employees on approved study leave, board members over-staying their allotted time as trustees, arbitrary changes in sick leave policy and changes in tuition remission benefits. Association members also complain about unequal treatment, and conflicts of interest.

Oceana referendum case struck out!
Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana on Wednesday struck out Oceana’s application for judicial review. Oceana sought to indict Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai for rejecting 8,047 signatures on the NGO’s petition for an offshore oil drilling referendum. Justice Arana upheld a submission made by the government’s attorney, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, who argued that Oceana had filed its application after the 14-day deadline for such applications had expired. Barrow submitted that the NGO should have filed for judicial review no later than July 4; not days late. The time is based on when Arana gave her verbal permission on June 20, for the case to proceed. Oceana, however, began its count on June 26, the day when the court perfected the written order. Audrey Marie Bradley, Thomas Greenwood and Oceana in Belize had filed the case (Claim No. 225 for 2012) earlier this year, asking the Supreme Court for to review whether or not the signatures were improperly disallowed. According to a Wednesday afternoon Oceana press release, Arana’s decision “brings to an end any legal attempt to hold the Government accountable for denying the Belizean people a choice to voice on whether or not there should be offshore oil drilling in Belizeans waters.”

COLA says Belize should part ways with Organization of American States (OAS)
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) has taken it’s “No to ICJ” campaign to new frontiers when it released it’s position paper outlining possible resolutions for the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute, including severing ties with the Organization of American States (OAS). COLA has described the OAS as having “failed to adequately pursue a final solution agreeable to both our nations,” and calls for Belize to “end long-standing membership in the OAS forthwith…” In addition to leaving out the OAS as a part of the overall solution COLA recommends that Belize call upon the United Nations to reaffirm the resolution of 1980, and work with NGO’s and other neutral groups to increase and maintain a strong presence at the western boarder to prevent Guatemalan incursions. The Reporter spoke with COLA President Giovanni Brackett, who explained that while the educational campaign is ongoing COLA would be working to ensure that all information presented to the public is thoroughly scrutinized. Brackett also explained that COLA would be making full use of every possible medium to ensure that the relevant facts on the ICJ issue are presented to the Belizean people to explain why the ICJ is not a viable option for Belize. He went on to say that the position paper, which was launched on Sunday December 16, is the result of extensive research and legal consultation.

Obama taps Biden to craft new policies to curb gun violence in wake of shooting
President Obama on Wednesday tapped Vice President Biden to lead an administration-wide effort looking at gun control and other measures in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting last week. “The fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing,” Obama said. The move marks the first concrete step by the White House toward crafting new firearms restrictions. The president did not announce any major policy decision on Wednesday, but said the task force of Cabinet officials and outside organizations led by Biden would submit legislative proposals to him no later than January. Some lawmakers, in the wake of the tragedy, have called for a broad-based response, looking at everything from mental health to school security to American culture. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., in a call soon joined by others, proposed a national commission examining the entertainment industry and particularly video games. Obama and top administration officials suggest the response to the Newtown, Conn., mass murder could include a range of recommendations. But the focus, given the debate that has accelerated on Capitol Hill in recent days, is likely to be gun control. The president said Wednesday that he chose Biden to lead the task force in part because of his role in crafting the 1994 assault-weapons ban. Obama spoke favorably of the ban, as well as proposals to strengthen background checks and ban high-capacity magazines. The president tried to walk a line between assuring Americans that gun rights would largely be protected, while making the case for some new restrictions. “The fact is the vast majority of gun ow

EU plans tougher tobacco health warnings
Cigarette packs sold in the EU will have to have bigger health warnings in text and pictures, under new proposals from the EU Commission. The draft directive would require 75% of the packet to be covered – front and back – with the warnings. But company branding would not be banned. It would also ban strong flavours such as menthol or vanilla, which can mask the bitter tobacco taste. The revisions to the EU’s 2001 tobacco directive could become law in 2014. “Tobacco products should look and taste like tobacco products,” said EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg, presenting the proposals. The current requirement for health warnings on packets is 30% minimum coverage on one side and 40% on the other. The new packaging requirements would also apply to roll-your-own tobacco. The legislation would allow member states the option of plain, non-branded packaging “in duly justified cases”. Standard pack sizes Words like “light”, “mild” and “low tar” are deemed to be misleading and would be banned. The Commission says packets must be big enough to ensure full visibility for the health warnings, so the recommendation is at least 20 cigarettes per pack.


MELT Brings Some Seriously Delicious Comfort Food to San Pedro, Belize
Based on my possibly problematic addiction to the Food Network and the Travel Channel, it seems like that food-wise, the last few years have been all about fancifying classic American comfort food. Over-the-top sliders, gourmet hot dogs, craft peanut butter sandwich boutiques, upscale sausage places (I think they are called charcuteries now...they are that fancy)... Well now the trend has moved to San Pedro and an "artisan grilled cheese shop" just opened at Exotic Caye Resort called MELT. I stopped in on Friday for their "soft opening" and to try TONS of samples. Let me tell you this...they are not serving the Kraft singles and white bread versions that my mom used to make. These sandwiches are delicious. I tried so many slices that I became a bit cheese delirious so let me focus and try to get the details right. The inside and the back patio look totally cute. Completely refurbished since it was Miss Sarah's Kitchen and Monkey Bites before that... They opened up this whole back room... I sat down and had a cucumber water. I'm guessing it is quite simple to make. But who knew it was so good? Their menu will include salads, soups, breakfast and then...the grilled cheese.

When Sunday Comes
Been so busy writing about our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize that I had forgotten to mention that,in my opinion, Rose has a very creative side to her (apologies for going off subject but some of the women readers might find this of interest). She has a talent for turning what for someone else might be rubbish into something of use or beauty, or both. When our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize is completed the tools and materials that she uses for her various handicraft interests will join us but in the meantime she employs her creative mind to make do with what is available. She has already made a couple of blouses and skirts with cloths purchased relatively inexpensively on the trips we have made to Belize City when visiting for my dental treatment ( see earlier posts for the gory details). For these she used the sewing machine that I bought her as a present for her birthday in October. This week, however, she has turned her attention, and her creativity, to making jewellery predominantly with recycled material. Using paper, permanent marker pens and some clasps that she brought with her she has made what I think are some lovely pieces ( I know it makes a lot of sense for me to say this whatever they look like but I truly believe it).

International Sources

John McAfee’s Last Stand
“Maybe what happened didn’t actually happen,” John McAfee told Wired contributing editor Joshua Davis in Belize. Twelve weeks before the murder, John McAfee flicks open the cylinder of his Smith & Wesson revolver and empties the bullets, letting them clatter onto the table between us. A few tumble to the floor. McAfee is 66, lean and fit, with veins bulging out of his forearms. His hair is bleached blond in patches, like a cheetah, and tattoos wrap around his arms and shoulders. More than 25 years ago, he formed McAfee Associates, a maker of antivirus software that went on to become immensely popular and was acquired by Intel in 2010 for $7.68 billion. Now he’s holed up in a bungalow on his island estate, about 15 miles off the coast of mainland Belize. The shades are drawn so I can see only a sliver of the white sand beach and turquoise water outside. The table is piled with boxes of ammunition, fake IDs bearing his photo, Frontiersman bear deterrent, and a single blue baby pacifier.

Belize announces agreement with creditors
The Belize government says it has reached an agreement with its creditors on restructuring the country’s US$544m foreign debt, also known as the super bond. Prime Minister Dean Barrow told a news conference late Thursday night that while agreement has been reached “in principle,” the details of the agreement, including the payment schedule will be worked out in the coming weeks. He said he expect that the formal agreement will be presented in early January. “This agreement is comprehensive, it is sustainable, and it will provide well in excess of US$150 million in relief to Belize,” Barrow said, adding he could not give further details. Prime Minister Barrow thanked the speaker of the House of Representatives Michael Peyrifitte and the renegotiating team headed by Ambassador Mark Espat for the “tireless work” they put in to achieve the agreement. Earlier this month, bondholders rejected an offer from the small Central American country’s government on restructuring the debt and said they had hired lawyers after the expiry of a reprieve on legal action. Belize’s revised proposal includes a 40-year par bond with no principal reduction, a mortgage-style repayment, a ten-year grace period and a coupon that pays 2.75 per cent during the first five years and 4.5 per cent thereafter. Also on the table is a 30-year discount bond with a 33 per cent principal reduction, a mortgage-style repayment, a five-year grace period and a coupon that pays 4.5 per cent for the first five years and 6.75 per cent thereafter. In late November, the creditors urged Belize to reconsider its restructuring proposals, noting that the bondgholders had offered US$150m-plus in debt relief over the next ten years versus the existing 2029s and have provided the government with enough flexibility to refinance at a later stage.

New Rules Target Offshore Funds
Regulations are prompting some financial advisers to urge their clients to bring money back to the U.S. Owning a portfolio of offshore holdings is about to get much riskier, thanks to new U.S. tax-reporting rules, financial advisers say. As a result, some advisers are urging clients to shift money back to the U.S. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as Fatca, will require both U.S. citizens and foreigners living in the U.S. to make extensive disclosures about overseas holdings on their tax returns or risk harsh penalties. Foreign financial institutions also will be required to report more detailed information on income earned by their U.S. account holders, or face possible U.S. tax penalties. The rules start to take effect this year, with additional requirements set to be phased in over the next several years. The implementation of Fatca is one of the latest turns in a three-year campaign by Washington to combat offshore tax evasion. In a 2009 settlement, Swiss bank UBS AG agreed to turn over to the U.S. the names of more than 4,000 U.S. taxpayers with secret accounts.

December 23, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Lions host Annual Senior Citizens Christmas Party
With much Christmas cheer, The San Pedro Lions Club alongside the San Pedro Branch of The Belize Bank hosted the senior citizens of San Pedro to an annual Christmas Party. The gathering took place at the Lions’ Den on December 19th. The attendance was great, one of the largest Senior Citizen Parties of recent memory – but it was the happy faces of those present that made the night spectacular. The senior revelers enjoyed drinks and a three course meal, which included a most delicious turkey dinner with a dessert of flan. As expected, the annual event brought out the seniors of the community dressed in their season’s best, ready to party into the night. In speaking to the President of the San Pedro Lions Club Mel Spain, she explained that this is only one of the many ways the Lions Club gives back to the community. She also asks for the continued support of the public in attending the regular Friday Bingo Night which helps raise needed funds that the club use to finance their events such as the Senior Citizen Dinner and the annual Children’s Christmas Party. While the San Pedro Lions Club provided the food, drinks and entertainment, The Belize Bank staff members gave their time and also donated gift bags for the guests. San Pedro Branch Manager of the Belize Bank Maria Cervantes, said that the event livens up the spirits of the elderly and that it is something the seniors enjoy and are grateful for. Cervantes added that the Belize Bank Limited is glad to continue its annual partnership with the San Pedro Lions Club to bring seasonal joy to the community seniors. Cervantes also took the opportunity to highlight that in January the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Bank will be tackling a project geared at renovating the sidewalk near the San Pedro Roman Catholic School as a community project.

Mayors from across Belize convene in San Pedro
Present at the meeting were Mayor Anthony Fuentes of Punta Gorda Town, Mayor Gilbert Swaso of Dangriga, Mayor Simon Lopez of Belmopan City, Mayor John August Jr. of San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town, Mayor Miguel “Mike” Velasquez of Benque Viejo del Carmen, Mayor Kevin Bernard of Orange Walk Town, Mayor Hilberto Campos of Corozal Town and Mayor Daniel Guerrero of San Pedro Town. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley was absent but was represented by Deputy Mayor Deon Leslie. At the end of the meeting, each Mayor was presented with a small souvenir by the Mayor of San Pedro as a token of their visit to the island. The next meeting dated for the third week in January 2013 will be held in Benque Viejo Del Carmen Town. It was the first Mayor’s meeting hosted in San Pedro Town under the auspices of Mayor Guerrero.

Fine Island Dining at Black Orchid Restaurant
With an invitation to sample one of the island’s newest restaurants, three ladies piled into the purple love bug (aka golf cart) and headed out for an evening of delicious cuisine. We had no idea what to expect, other than the promise of a fine dining experience – tablecloth dining at that – the perfect outing for us girls on a Friday night! Judyann and Tom Horton took their time working on Black Orchid’s concept, perfecting the building, its offerings and a menu that will not overwhelm one with choices, but rather, guarantees that any dish ordered will satisfy. With a thatched roof, eclectic décor (there’s a faux ruin against one wall, plus a variety of ethnic masks and wood carvings), and even privacy nooks, Black Orchid has much to offer the discerning consumer. But, as most of our evenings start, we kicked things off with cocktails. Bartender Kenny brings out three signature cocktails for us to sample and decide on. The Black Orchid, named for its visual presentation: a mix of liquors/liqueurs that create an ‘orchid’ floating in the cocktail. It is not too sweet, but at once creamy and refreshing. The Fire Coral is a pretty blend of strawberry daiquiri and piña colada: fresh macerated strawberries are reduced to a syrupy consistency, and it blends in beautifully with the coconut/pineapple blend. Janelle, our newest reporter declared it her instant favorite. “It’s like sipping strawberry jam!” Indeed, each sip brought with it a hit of the fresh strawberries to mix with the creamy colada – super delicious, almost dessert-like. Yummy!

Misc Belizean Sources

Lucky 5 Poker Run Pictures
Pictures from Lucky 5's Poker Run. The day started out overcast, but ended up being the perfect day for the poker run. 6 different stops: Lucky 5, Snooty Fox, Remo's Roadhouse, Midas, Camp 6, Bamboo Bar, and then back to Lucky 5 to see who won the $450. There was even a stop at the new Soul Project to see some live music. Congratulations to the winner(s).

Jasmine Alert Candlelight Vigils
The Jasmine Alert Executive Body is organizing a Candlelight Vigil for this evening, Saturday December 22nd, from 6pm to 7pm, at designated parks all around Belize, including Belmopan and San Ignacio in Cayo. "Jasmine Alert Executive Body hereby invites all Belizeans Nationwide, to a Candlelight Vigil for the VICTIMS of the Massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut USA. We must share the pain and send our condolences to those that suffered such great loss and tragedy; seeing that we are all members of the same family and the same race (the human family and the human race). We also request that all Belizeans who have lost a child to Gun Violence, and all those whose child has been either violated, maimed or killed by a kidnapping/abduction or Enticement, to join this Vigil, bearing the Name of the Child, Friend or Family member that has been hurt or killed."

Rotaract Toy Drive at Meluchi's
Today at Meluchi's, the Rotaract Club of San Ignacio will be having their 1st annual toy drive. It starts at 2pm. All donations are welcome. "Be Generous this Christmas Season and afford a child a Christmas Gift in the form of a Toy! The toy is tangible - the feeling of getting one isn't! :)" Best of Cayo's insight:

Ancient Maya Wisdom Key to Modern Health
Rather than misinterpreting Maya beliefs to falsely predict the end of the world, researching and practicing ancient Maya medicine and natural healing techniques can open a new world of health today, noted author and Maya medicinal plant expert Dr. Rosita Arvigo advised participants at Chaa Creek’s 2012 Maya Winter Solstice celebrations. Chaa Creek events coordinator Denise Duran said that Dr Arvigo’s presentation, “Tales of a Maya Shaman” was one of the highlights of the Belizean eco resort’s week-long Maya cultural exposition surrounding the 2012 Maya Winter Solstice celebrations of December 21, 2012. “I think many of the people in the audience were surprised to learn how effective ancient Maya healing practices were, and how relevant they still are today. Dr. Arvigo’s presentation covered a wide range of topics and really inspired people to learn more about Maya healing and how to apply it to their own lives today,” Ms. Duran said. In 1983 Dr. Arvigo began a 12-year apprenticeship with Don Elijio Panti, a renowned Belizean healer who had been using ancient Maya techniques that combine plants, prayers, massage, acupuncture, and herbal baths since 1931 to treat thousands of patients in the Central American region. He was recognised by the New York Botanical Garden for his “Distinguished Contribution to Science”, and made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. He died in 1996 at the age of 103. Dr. Arvigo chronicled her time with him in two of her books, “Sastun: My Apprenticeship With A Maya Healer” and “Rainforest Remedies: One Hundred Healing Herbs of Belize” and has gone on to refine his techniques for a modern audience, especially women, for whom Don Elijio’s treatments were regarded as particularly effective.

Channel 7

Superbond 2.0: Settled! GOB Says Savings Exceed 150M USD
Can you say Superbond 2.0? After months of negotiation, the basic terms for a renegotiated Superbond were finally worked out today - and the Prime Minister held a press conference this evening at the Biltmore to announce what he described as Christmas gift for Belize. Here's the announcement - given two hours ago:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Belize has reached agreement in principle with its bond holders over the re-structuring if the super bond. This agreement is comprehensive, it is sustainable and it will provide well in excess of 150 million dollars in relief to Belize. this deed is an in principle one and the reason for characterizing it in that fashion is simply because a term sheet must now be prepared` reflecting what Mr. Mediratta and I and what in fact Belize and the bond holder creditor committee have agreed. Until that term sheet is prepared and the lawyers are going to begin work on that almost immediately - of course I imagine the Christmas holidays will intervene but until that term sheet is prepared and signed off on - I am not at liberty to tell you all the details of what we have agreed." Those 150 million dollars in savings is 150 million US dollars. Our information suggests that is a very conservative estimate as the total savings - in cash flow terms - could be significantly more than that. The Prime Minister also confirmed that the new deal will include what is known as a principal haircut, like a discount - but he flatly refused to say how much at this point. Some suggest it could be in the range of 20% or more. But that will be worked in the term sheet which should be finalized by the middle of next month. Today was just a sort of pre-Christmas treat. The Prime Minister explained that the breakthrough in negotiations came after the Speaker of the House Mike Peyrefitte put him directly in touch with the Co-Chair of the Creditors Committee, AJ Mediratta. The PM says he was hesitant at first - but ultimately took the bull by the horns:

Vehicle Riddled With Bullets In City
And while Superbond is the headline tonight - thankfully there's no murder to report. But there was one violent event. According to reports, this morning at 3:00 am, a rented GEO Tracker was riddled with bullets on the Western Highway at its junction with Partridge street. The vehicle was shot as many as 16 times - but no one was seriously hurt. Reports are that the occupants were 31 year old Alex and 33 year old Deron Gillet 31 of Pelican St. Police would not provide additional details or let us photograph the vehicle which is at the Queen Street station.

New Citizens Sworn: No Guatemalans Taken
Last week, 7News told you about the hold at the Immigration Department on new citizen applications from Guatemalan Nationals. Well today, there was a new crop of Belizeans sworn in, and as expected it didn't include a single Guatemalan Applicant. Immigration Minister, Godwin Hulse told us he was not satisfied with the renunciation process for Guatemalans. That country's constitution requires that a citizen who renounces must do so formally with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and turn in their Guatemalan passport. In the past, it would be done which just a renunciation form filled out in Belize - and now that is being regarded as inadequate. So today, 107 new citizens were sworn in as Belizeans, but there were no Guatemalans. 7News went to Belmopan to witness the ceremony, and here's what the Minister told those new citizens: Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "Today by the Mayan calendar should have been the end of a world. I a not sure was the end of the world and we chose the 21st with that in mind because was no accident that your world as you knew it as citizens of another nation ended yesterday and your new world begins today. Today marks a new beginning in all our your lives for today you will marry into a new society; the Belizean society and may I say that the last time I presided over the swearing in of new citizens I said to my officers let us say to the next group of citizens to be sworn in; please come ready to be married to this nation."

Easy Glen Will Be Charged
Even with all the awful murders and today's Superbond breakthrough, the hottest name in the news this week was Easy Glen, Goldbourne Adolphus. He was detained in Orange Walk on Wednesday - and police tell us that he remains in detention tonight. Two persons whom he allegedly hustled on the phone by pretending to be Minister Michael Finnegan, have made criminal complaints against him. He is expected to be charged for obtaining property by deception and theft. He was not arraigned today - but we expect that he will be taken to court on Monday.

55 Year Old Gets 33 Years!!
Last week, 7News told you about 55 year-old Winston Dennison, who was found guilty on last week Monday of 3 counts of carnal knowledge. Well, he will spend a total of 33 years in prison for it. As we reported, he was convicted of 3 counts of carnal knowledge, after a 15 year-old minor testified that on 3 occasions in 2010, he had sexual relations with her. Today was set aside for Dennison to prepare a mitigation on his behalf, but when the court gave him his opportunity, he couldn't produce any character witnesses. Instead, he protested that he was innocent. Justice Gonzalez responded that a jury of 9 of his peers convicted him in a full trial, so the court will respect that verdict. Justice Gonzalez informed him that he can appeal his conviction, but there is one big aggravating factor against him. According to Justice Gonzalez, Dennison showed no remorse for his actions.

Citco and Business Bureau Partner Up
For the past few weeks, since trade license assessments went out, the City Council has been taking flak from the business community because for many fees have gone up sharply - anywhere from 30% to over 500%. Most of the grumbling has been coming from the Chamber of Commerce, but the other, smaller business membership group, The Belize Business Bureau has been working with the Council. Today they signed a memorandum of understanding - which promises to do many things - including review the trade license regime:.. Darrell Bradley, Mayor Belize City "To grow business in my City I need to talk to people who have done this for their entire life." Jules Vasquez reporting And for that the Council has turned to the Belize Business Bureau - with whom they signed a Memorandum of understanding this morning: Darrell Bradley, Mayor Belize City "We hope that with this memorandum and with the formulization of our relationship the Belize Business Bureau and the City Council can work together to develop a very specific strategic plan and an action plan to promote the economic opportunities within Belize City."

Businesses In Street Construction Area: "While Di Grass Di Grow"
And "unfair" is just what businesses along the northern highway are saying about the timing of the road works being done on the Northern Highway. As we reported, as part of the paving of Freetown Road - the City Council is including the first one hundred yards of the northern highway. That's ok for traffic which can be diverted to Coney Drive, for the businesses along that stretch, the diversion takes them out of the action. And while they're grateful for the paving, it's like that old saying, "while di grass di grow, di horse di starve" And for these businesses - Christmas is the worse time to starve. Nolberto Rancharan, CP Gas Rep. "We cannot understand why the Mayor would take such drastic measures in causing the traffic to be congested at the time of the season. Its affected the business so bad that the sales have drop over 75% and we have put ads in the papers and advising our customers, we have even open the entrance on Captain Eiley Drive so that they can have easier access to the gas station. We are just hoping that things would get better." Monica Bodden "You think that construction work could have been done after the holiday season?" Nolberto Rancharan, CP Gas Rep. "Oh definitely, like he said its only 100 yards. If they wanted to fix the street they could have work in the night - think about your people and all the congestion you are blocking. We only have one exit and that is Coney Drive. It's really affecting the business definitely."

2012 Was Year Of Co-Ops; Locally It Means Better Mgmt
You might have missed the memo - (we know we did!) - but 2012 was the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives. And while we may take co-ops for granted, the UN believes that they contribute meaningfully to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The Department of Co-operatives held an end of year open day today and the Registrar emphasized all those things, plus sound management: Gareth Murillo, registrar of cooperatives "2012 was designated by the United Nations as the international year of cooperatives. The purpose was to highlight the role that cooperatives can play as it pertains to poverty alleviation and to employment generation." "We are looking at this event today as a renaissance of cooperatives in Belize. If you look at the situation right now, for an individual it is particularly difficult to access capital to start a business and so we are promoting the cooperative model where as a group then you may be able to more readily and more easily access that capital that you need." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "What happens when the cooperatives executives are living lavish but the members itself are rather not feeling the eating the fruits of it?" Gareth Murillo, registrar of cooperatives "That is indeed a concern for us. We want to look at the cooperative laws so that we can ensure that there is not that level of mismanagement. We want to ensure that that cannot occur again. We want to look at building the capacity of the people who are in the cooperatives so that they are better able to handle their affairs and not to get driven down by high debt." Belize's first fishing co-ops were founded in the 1960's - with the first move being made by fishermen of Caye Caulker.

Another Shooting "During The News"
There was a shooting in the city at five minutes to seven. It happened on Mex Avenue near the approach to the bridge. Reports are that a lone gunman approached the victim and shot him in the eye. He survived and was rushed immediately to the KHMH where he is in a critical condition at this time. 7news encountered his father at the scene - and he later rushed to the hospital. Because his family has been notified and is with him at the hospital, we can confirm that the victim is 28 year old Keron Ysaguirre who is known as a tradesman. We stress, he is alive at the KHMH at this time. We'll have more details on Monday…

More Straight Talk From the Streets on "Mayan Apocalypse"
Well it's December 21st and the world didn't end. We're still here, meaning that - to the surprise of none - all the doomsday prognosticators were wrong. While we hope they can move on to a merry Christmas, for the rest of us it was good, if slightly idle fun. As we told you last night, we sampled public opinion on the so called Mayan Apocalypse yesterday. We presented some of those interviews last night - but because the news was so long, we couldn't get in all of them. Here are the rest with sly, smart and funny perspectives on the December 21st theory: Interviewee "The bible talked about nobody knows the sign of the times, so not even the Mayas know, they are not God. God says when the sign of times come we will know when the anti-Christ comes." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "Do you think the world will end tomorrow?" Interviewee "No I don't believe in this." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "According to the Maya calendar the world will end tomorrow on December 21." Interviewee "What can we do in any case?" Interviewee "From my understanding and what I have seen its more the of a period and my understanding is that it can usher in a new period." Interviewee "Stop right there. According to the Mayan Calendar the world will end or the Maya calendar will end and it will start again."

Stone Loves Kids
Stone Jam is one of Belize's most enduring DJ's and one of the best - but today instead of spinning records as he is known to do - he was playing Santa Claus for the children in his neighborhood. For over 50 years he has been living on George Street and 3 years ago he teamed up with his cousin Kevin Kemp who lives in the US to do an annual toy drive for the less fortunate children in his area. It is the season of giving and this evening toys were being given out in abundance to 300 hundred children of the Mesopotamia division. Stone Jam, organizer "What are doing is that we have a toy drive annually - this is the third year that we are doing this and we are doing it for the kids in this community. We previously called it "the Mesop Toy Drive" but we don't want to mix it up with politics, so we change the name we called it S&K Toy Drive which is myself as Stone Jam and my cousin from out of LA do this jointly for the kids in this area. Now we are expanding it out of this area." Monica Bodden "Why did you guys decided to team up and do something like this for the community?" Stone Jam, organizer "People say that this neighborhood is not a good neighborhood and we try to show them that good things still happen in this neighborhood - people like me who live here for 50 years and good things still happen in the community. People like me try come out and contribute to the community."


‘Work in Progress’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize
The day stated very well for me. The Arsenal away match against Wigan was the early ( started at 6.30am) game on TV. Not the most assured or scintillating performance by Arsenal but they got the three points courtesy of a well executed penalty by Mikel Arteta. With the game over I ate breakfast and then set off to collect Dave, a friend from the UK who has been the Squadron Sergeant Major of BATSUB (the British Army Training Support Unit Belize) since April of this year ( he beat us here by nearly two months, the rotter), from the 9am Water Taxi that he took from Belize City this morning. When we went to monitor progress on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we took Dave and his colleague ‘Fish’ with us. When Dave had last visited Ambergris Caye we took him to look at the site for our new home. This was shortly after the scrub had been cleared but before the build had started. How the site looked the last time that Dave visited it around 7 weeks ago. How it looked today. Things have really shown progress. Well we think so.

Pressing My Luck in San Pedro: Bingo and The Casino at the Belize Yacht Club
Friday night bingo at the Lions' Den in San Pedro is always good times. (Another time that I went: Bingo at the Lions' Den.) It's always a hugely varied crowd. Tourists and locals, kids, teenagers, families...not the over 65ers that you usually see when you are in the states. I was there early during the set-up. Oh wait...that didn't come until later. I actually went to meet a friend who has a special little tool for cutting SIM cards. I got a used IPhone from my sister-in-law and...had no idea that the card it uses is about half the size as the standard SIM cards here. Enter this little number. The stapler looking thing not the Belikin. And voile. A real Iphone. Hello 2009 and Angry Birds! One hour and a few beers (only 3 for $10bzd) later, I was sucked into 6 full rounds of BINGO. I think everyone at my table won but me. Standard really. But's for a charity. On the way home, I wanted to stop off for a quick look at the Belize Yacht Club Casino. I had heard that it had opened during the week and that they didn't have a liquor license yet. Interesting...let's take a look. (This picture is from earlier in the week.)

International Sources

How McAfee Could Turn Its Nutjob Founder's PR Into A Brand Asset
Although John McAfee sold the company that bears his name in the mid-1990s, he is still connected to the brand by history and spelling. So once he started a strange odyssey this past September that included a murdered neighbor in Belize, an illegal escape to Guatemala, extradition to the U.S. earlier this month and lots of publicity along the way, the McAfee corporate brand’s “buzz score” has dropped precipitously. The company has said nothing about the guy’s adventure, for obvious reasons. But are those reasons valid anymore? McAfee (the brand) can’t avoid news of McAfee (the founder) when it pops up in Internet search. Since the guy seems to love giving interviews, he forces viewers to attach him to the business, even if only implicitly and vaguely. My bet is that he’s not going to go away, either, which means he’ll keep influencing consumer perceptions about the brand. Could the company embrace this odd hand it got dealt and use it to the brand’s advantage? I wonder whether it might be a chance for some novel guerrilla and social experiments, like: Shoot a playful/pointed video response. You must know that the executives at the company have very strong feelings about the founder’s activities. Wouldn’t the transparent and authentic (and truthful) thing to do be to let someone air them? It could be somewhat scripted — I’m thinking a rant on how McAfee (the nut) evidences the kind of mental state that McAfee (the company) protects its clients from — and perhaps end with a somewhat sincere plea for the guy to stop getting publicity?

Aids-Free World on entry to gays: T&T, Belize only two in region with ban
The NGO Aids-Free World says T&Tand Belize are the only two countries in the western hemisphere that “arbitrarily ban the entry of homosexuals as a prohibited class.” The group is working to change that. Aids-Free World’s legal adviser for marginalised groups, Maurice Tomlinson, is a Jamaican LGBT and HIV activist. Tomlinson is gay and is therefore legally barred from entering Belize and T&T. Earlier this month, he was invited to make a presentation at a UN meeting in T&T but said he felt obliged to turn down the invitation and has since initiated a challenge to T&T’s Immigration Act before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). In a release, Aids-Free World said Tomlinson travels all over the Caribbean and has made presentations about the devastating impact of homophobia on the HIV response before UN conferences, government ministers, senior judicial officers and national Aids councils across the region. He has also led human-rights documentation and advocacy training in the Caribbean HIV and Aids response. The United Belize Advocacy Movement, which the release said was “Belize’s only civil-society group working exclusively to promote the health and human rights of LGBT/MSM citizens,” has invited Tomlinson to lead training and sensitisation sessions in Belize City next month.

Why Belize is a Backpacker’s Paradise
Untouched beaches, Mayan ruins hiding around every corner, and amazing flora and fauna are only a few of the reasons that make Belize such an enticing place to visit. A British Commonwealth, the tiny country is the only in Central America where English is predominately spoken, and it has long been a favorite spot for Canadians, Americans, and the British alike (note that we are speaking about the Cayes; Belize City and Belmopan can well be skipped). However, aside from those looking for a luxurious stay, Belize has also always been a great destination for backpackers for the following reasons: The Airfare One of the biggest hurdles any traveler must overcome when starting their journey is the cost of airfare. Flying abroad is by no means cheap, and most people that choose to backpack throughout a country do so to save money. Fortunately, for backpackers interested in Belize, airfare is always relatively cheap, and it’s fairly easy to get a discounted or free flight if you have racked up miles on your frequent flier card or have a card with great credit card cash rewards. For exceptionally cheap flights, consider flying into Cancun, Mexico, which is on the Northern border of Belize. Because so much traffic comes through the area, travelers can usually find cheaper flights, and then bus it into Belize. The Bus System Belize’s three main highways, the Hummingbird, the Southern, and the Coastal, can get you nearly anywhere in Belize and can do so for no more than 7 USD. Bus stations are incredibly easy to navigate, and the buses themselves will take you to all major attractions. If riding on a brightly colored school bus isn’t to your liking, then there are several air conditioned Express buses that can take you where ever you need to go. However, by passing up the regular bus systems, you will be passing up on an excellent opportunity to mingle with the culture. So don’t be afraid to hop on a local bus for at least one of your site seeing adventures.

The Mayan Ruins in Caracol, Belize
A View from halfway up the largest Mayan building in Caracol, Belize Nearby images in Belize A: Caana Terrace by Irmin Wehmeier, 40 meters away Once you climb to the top of Caana, you arrive at this small plaza surrounded by three small pyramids. B: The Mayan Ruins Of Caracol, Belize by Liquid Jungle 360, 50 meters away C: The Mayan Ruins At Caracol, Belize by Liquid Jungle 360, 50 meters away D: The Plaza At Caana by Irmin Wehmeier, 50 meters away Plaza view by Caana, the largest excavated structure at Caracol. E: From The Top Of Caana Caracol Mayan Ruins Belize by Irmin Wehmeier, 60 meters away This is from the top of Caana, the largest excavated ruin at Caracol in Belize. F: Caracol A Plaza by Irmin Wehmeier, 150 meters away Caracol Mayan ruins in Belize CA. This is A Plaza, the primary structure (A6) is Temple of the Wooden... G: Mayan Ruins At Caracol, Belize by Liquid Jungle 360, 340 meters away H: Rio Frio Cave by Benedict Kim, 26.7 km away We did this tour through Mayawalk in San Ignacio and I highly recommend them. It was truly an excelle... I: Rio Hon Pools by Benedict Kim, 28.9 km away Another wonderful little stop in Pine Ridge Reserve. This area is accessed behind the picnic palapas ... J: Actun Chapat Sinkhole Entrance by Benedict Kim, 30.2 km away Went caving here today with a couple of friends. The cave name is Actun Chapat and it's near the Guat...

December 22, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Mayor Guerrero voices concerns regarding police behavior in San Pedro
The recent public outcries concerning the behavior and attitude of some elements of the San Pedro Police Formation toward regular civilians has prompted the Mayor of San Pedro Daniel Guerrero to state his position on the developing issues. The tensions between the general public and the police has been brewing for a couple of days but the hair that broke the camel’s back was the accusations made by three island residents against two police officers who are attached to the San Pedro Police Formation. The three residents are claiming police brutality and alleging that an off duty police corporal placed a gun in the mouth of a male islander on Monday December 17th in plain view of many local residents. There has also been a very serious accusation made by two American tourists who claim that five officers, including a female police constable, had extorted them of $1,500 while vacationing on the island. A number of local residents are also accusing some elements of the San Pedro Police Formation of causing a ruckus that eventually led to some police officer spraying a canister of pepper spray. That incident occurred on night of Saturday December 15th near the San Pedro Central Park and placed tourists and innocent residents in contact with the strong irritating substance without due warning.

San Pedro welcomes new resident Magistrate Sherigne Rodriguez
Magistrate Rodriguez studied law at Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica but is also a graduate of the University of the West Indies after perusing studies at Saint John’s Junior College and Saint Catherine’s Academy. “I decided to go into the legal system because I always wanted a profession. I didn’t just want a job, I wanted a profession,” said Magistrate Rodriguez who opted for law over her initial desire to pursue a career in the medical field. With just a few days as the Magistrate of San Pedro Town, Rodriguez has observed that “the more pressing needs [when hearing cases] concern rampant theft/robberies/burglaries. Some of these crimes seem to be [committed by] persons who are addicted to drugs.” By hearing and dealing with pending court cases, Magistrate Rodriguez hopes to minimize the increasing amounts of stagnant trials over issues such as theft, family and civil issues. Magistrate Rodriguez also looks forward to familiarizing herself with the community and assist as much as possible. Rodriguez officially takes over the vacant post left behind after the transfer of former Magistrate Patricia Arana, who is now with the Financial Intelligent Unit as of June, 2011.

Government Silences People’s Voice on Referendum
In a move to ensure that the issue of whether or not 8,047 signatures were improperly disallowed by the Chief Elections Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Department, the Government of Belize (GOB) sought to strike out the case (Claim No. 225 for 2012) brought earlier this year by Audrey Marie Bradley, Thomas Greenwood and Oceana in Belize. Permission for the case to proceed was granted June 5, 2012 by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana. GOB applied to strike out the case based on whether the 14 days to file the full application for judicial review started on the date the oral permission was granted or when the written order was perfected by the court. Justice Arana, in striking out the referendum judicial reviews case, said she agreed with GOB Attorney Denys Barrow that the 14 days started to run June 20th. This ruling brings to an end any legal attempt to hold the Government accountable for denying the Belizean people a choice to voice on whether or not there should be offshore oil drilling in Belizean waters.

VIDEO: Maya Deer Dance Dec 20, 2012
San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye, Belize celebrated the historic end, and new beginning of the Maya Calendar with performances throughout the night of Dec. 20, 2012. One traditional dance presented was the dramatic Maya Deer Dance. The event ended with a beach side sunrise ceremony on the 21st.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Brings In New Maya Baktun
San Pedro Mayor Daniel Guerrero praised the Mayas for their great civilization and contributions to mankind and asked everyone to live in harmony with each other and with nature so that we may continue to prosper. For his part Area Representative and Minister of Tourism Hon. Manuel Heredia outlined the importance of the Maya civilization to Belize and pledged his ministry’s unequivocal support to utilize all resources available for the development of tourism in Belize. The entertainment of the night included the presentation of Miss San Pedro Naiely Puc as a Mayan Goddess and her entourage of Maya warriors. Then the Corozal Community College took the stage with fire dancing, the deer dance and a series of wonderfully choreographed dances depicting women and people in Belize followed by a presentation of all the cultures of ethnic groups in Belize in music and dance. The CCC Dance Company was wholeheartedly received and took the accolades of the San Pedro spectators. Lucio Alcoser and The New Generation Band of Orange Walk Town captured a huge crowd of party folks who wined and dined throughout the night. Thanks to the San Pedro Town Council and the eager party of revelers of San Pedro, the end of the Maya Calendar Cycle was just another reason for celebration and looking forward for more good things to come.

Scotia Bank's Christmas Gift Giving
The management and staff of Scotia Bank, San Pedro Branch, headed out to the neighborhood of San Mateo yesterday, December 20, 2012, to share some Christmas joy with the resident children. After a few weeks of collecting and purchasing toys, Scota Bank employees gave out approximately 500 toy gifts to the less fortunate children of the San Mateo area. Having collected so much toys, they even had some left over and decided to share that with the children of San Pedrito area. Happy smiles filled the faces of all the children who were over-joyed to receive a toy for Christmas, thanks to the giving spirit of Scota Bank. The Management and Staff of Scotia Bank could not have made this happen without the kind donation of toys and cash from their loyal customers and the help of Mr. Gabriel Nunez and Mr. Freddy Gonzalez of the San Pedro Town Council. They would like to extend a big Thank You to the following people that helped made such a worthy cause possible.

Belize Issues Maya Mythical Coins
The Central Bank of Belize, in commemoration of the sacred and historical milestone - Maya Mythical "End of the World" 21 December 2012, has commissioned The Royal Mint to strike a limited edition of gold and silver coins. The front of the coin displays drawings from the Hokeb Ha vase depicting the hero twins described in the Popol Vuh (Maya sacred book). The hero twins are in conversation, dressed simply in kilts, necklaces, ear flares and featured white cloth headdresses. The glyphs in the centre of the figures represent the Maya Mythical ‘End of the World’ date. This date, according to archaeologists, completes a ‘great cycle’ of 13 baktuns (periods of 144,000 days each) since the mythical creation date of the pre-Columbian Maya calendar.

The Re-Enactment Of The Mayan Royal Wedding At Santa Rita
As the Maya calendar cycle of 5,125 years, the 13th Baktun, came to a close on December 20, 2012, in Belize the re-enactment of the Royal Mayan Wedding between Gonzalo Guerrero and Tsazil Há was played out at the foot of the Santa Rita Archaeological Eden Park in Santa Rita Village, Corozal. It was one of many celebrations that took place in the country which celebrated the rich culture of the Maya that is evident throughout Belize. The Corozal branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and stakeholders in the tourism industry put together the “Festival del Mestizaje” which featured entertainment by Corozal Junior College students depicting Mayan history through dances and a re-enactment of the wedding between Tzazil-Ha, the Mayan Princess and Gonzalo Guerrero, the Spanish Conquistador. History of Santa Rita Archaelogical Site: And Wedding Garden The Mestizos of Belize are descended from the union of the indigenous Maya and the Spanish who came following Columbus' discovery of the New World. As far as history goes, many texts indicate that the Mestizo community owes its origins to Gonzalo Guerrero also known as (Gonzalo Marinero, Gonzalo de Aroca and Gonzalo de Aroza) - a Spanish sailor shipwrecked along the Yucatan Penninsula from Palos in Spain who, despite being initially enslaved by the Maya, later impressed them with his military prowess and was embraced by the Maya.

Misc Belizean Sources

Spent last night documenting the end of 13 B'aqtun with the Toledo Alcaldes Association
, The Maya Leaders Alliance and the Q'eqchi Healers Association in Santa Cruz, Toledo. This photo has so much going on and says so much about the community of Maya ... the women in the front left are an assembly line making corn tortillas for the village; the men in the left background are eating after butchering 4 pigs down by the river. The man just to the right of the door is stirring huge chunks of pig fat in oil making chicharron - which we snacked on all night. The women to the right are doing dishes, and taking a break from cooking. This is from the first set of images only 15 minutes after arriving. Thanks Cristina Coc, Executive Director of the Julian Cho Society for the opportunity.

Channel 5

Government negotiates $150 Million relief with bondholders
After offers and counter offers have been turned down by both sides, the five hundred and fifty million dollars Super Bond was almost at its own fiscal cliff. But today the prime minister called a late press conference to announce that a deal had just been agreed to with the bondholders, represented by A.J. Mediratta [...]

Even with bond relief, Belize faces potential fiscal cliff
The Prime Minister mentioned that the deal was struck primarily because the Speaker of the House, Michael Peyrefitte, intervened where the team couldn’t. But each rousing speech was ended with sobering declarations. The bond is just one issue that the country is facing. Belize is facing tough financial times and balancing the budget, finding capital [...]

Colombian boat and crew busted in Independence
Belize has been documented as one of the transshipment points for the trafficking of drugs to the United States.  Narco-traffickers have used drug planes and boats to move shipments through Belize. Police were close on the heels of a bust but they caught the foreigners after the drop was made. On Thursday, at three p.m. [...]

New Belizeans swear the oath at nationalization ceremony
Leading up to the March elections, there was a frenzy at the Immigration Department as over a thousand took the oath to become new Belizeans. The hue and cry was because most of them had not gone through the required rigorous immigration process and were lacking documentation. The outcry was also because many were from [...]

Reformed tax structure; Chamber’s Xmas greeting to G.O.B.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week called on the government to reform the tax system because the current structure is not conducive to economic growth. The amount of monies that leave Belize or what is termed as capital flight has always been a major concern because it results in less money in circulation [...]

Chicken vendor is deep fried about City Council’s stop order
It is not over yet for Paul Ferguson, the fried chicken vendor who was removed from in front of Femina Store on Albert Street by Special Constable Selbert Butler on Tuesday. He was arrested, charged and taken to court on Wednesday when he pleaded guilty for insulting Butler. With that matter completed, Ferguson was right [...]

Economic Development Commission examining trade license issue
The Belize City Council, led by Mayor Darrell Bradley, has joined the Belize Business Bureau in forming an Economic Development Commission which will take a critical look at the current issue of trade licenses. On Wednesday, we reported that members of the private sector are complaining that, in some instances, taxes have increased by as [...]

Senior Citizen gets 18 years for Carnal Knowledge
Fifty-five year old parolee Winston Dennison is going back to prison after being convicted on December seventeenth of three counts of Carnal Knowledge of a fourteen year old girl. Today Justice Troadio John Gonzalez handed down a sentence of five years for the first count, six for the second and seven years for the third [...]

Timely counseling for youth who was caught stealing
A fifteen year-old minor who was convicted in early December was sentenced to six months imprisonment at the Belize Youth Hostel facility. And while his mother thinks that he got a harsh sentence in comparison to his accomplice, the sentence in the view of the magistrate was one that justified his action. According to a [...]

P.U.P.’s reaction to Superbond Agreement
Earlier in the newscast, we told you about the agreement in principle that the prime minister says he has reached with A.J. Mediratta. The reaction from the opposition was swift. The People’s United Party welcomed the announcement, but questioned whether A.J. Mediratta had full approval of the bondholders since details were not provided.

Creative Arts Industry loses one of its dancers
The Creative Arts industry has lost one of its own; dancer and choreographer Troy Longsworth, passed away at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital around three o’clock this morning. Longsworth was hospitalized for days, battling with pneumonia. He was a dancer with the Belize Dance Company for seven years performing on local and international stages. Longsworth [...]

Super Furia’s timely music for the Ba’ktun
Super Furia is one of the north’s most active bands. In September it released Long Live Belize to coincide with the independence celebrations and this week, it released a song to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar. The family-band lead vocalists stopped by News Five to launch their latest endeavor.   Roxanna Alcoser, [...]

Port Loyola kids get gifts from Santa Claus
Almost two hundred children from the Port Loyola community received a surprise treat today when they were invited to the Port Loyola Health Center this afternoon. The kids were given lunch and received gifts from Santa Clause. According to the Nurse Coordinator, Rachel Richard Sanchez, it was a last minute idea but they managed to [...]


Christmas Parade Brightens The Streets Of Town
Christmas has always been a time widely used by several businesses and community members to promote goodwill, tidings, love, happiness and especially give back to those less fortunate. Throughout the past weeks, we’ve being highlighting stories which encompass the Christmas Spirit. In the next story, we bring to you the story of the Christmas Spirit Parade which has been taking place in Orange Walk for the past nine years. The Orange Walk Central Drum Corps has been the driving force behind this initiative and have been organizing a bigger and better event every year. This year, the Drum Corps has teamed up with Smart, Centaur Communications, and with L&R Distillery Limited in efforts of making this year’s parade and show the biggest one yet. Coordinator for Central Drum Corps and organizer of the Spirit of Christmas Parade, Eldred Neal, told us more on the purpose of the parade.

OWTC Holds Christmas Party For Over 4000 Children
We are in December when everyone anxiously waits for the 25th of the month to celebrate Christmas. Certainly, the Orange Walk Town Council could not wait for the 25 of December and anticipated the joy and fun of the season with thousands of Orange Walkeños today as a Christmas program was carefully planned for them. Today is the 20th of December and if you are counting that means that we are 5 days away from seeing the biggest and most wanted day of the year, Christmas. Well tonight, the Orange Walk Town Council decided to put a smile on the faces of the people they serve in the town and neighbouring communities. An entire evening of fun and togetherness with the family and friends is the idea behind the entire event that took place at the Orange Walk Central Park. The old man who everyone loves, Santa Clause, made his presence with a load of candy for the children. Mayor Kevin Bernard, someone who is no stranger to the Orange Walk Community, told us about the jolly evening that took place today. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk Town “I want first of all to thank all the Orange Walkenos and at the same time for giving us that opportunity and at the same time I want to take this moment to wish all Orange Walk and all Belizeans on a whole a Merry Christmas and a happy new year and we hope that the next could bring us better things for our community and that our people learn that we must come together in order to bring development and this is why we will do our part in 2013 to bring on more progress here in the town.”

NDACC Holds Christmas Party For Habitual Users
While the world seems to be making strives to combat the ever growing problem of the drug trade, it seems that nipping it in the bud is the tact. Targeting the producers, shippers and dealers of the various types of drugs has been the focus of most Drug Enforcement Agencies, Belize no different. In the midst of all of this, one tends to wonder, what happens to those habitual users that want to turn their life around? Who helps them in their time of need? Well, this morning, our news team travelled up north and joined in the celebration of a clean and sober life with NDACC. Reporter Elmer Cornejo and cameraman Kenric Simpson were among the recovering individuals and filed the following report. Corozal is Belize’s northern most districts and home to some 35,000 people. From that populace, 72 Corozalenos are users of one drug or another or rather said, chemical dependent people. In the grand scheme of things, that number may sound insignificant, however the variables start multiplying as addiction becomes heavier. The first problem is that for addicts the sickness of drug dependency is a chronic problem; there’s no lifelong cure, and every day is a struggle. The National Drug Abuse Control Council in Corozal has been assisting individuals from straying to drugs as well as helping habitual users turn away from the drug of their choice. NDACC prides itself on following up with all its addicts ensuring constant communication and a healthy recovery processes. This morning, NDACC organized a Christmas gathering for those who have formed a part of their family throughout the year. District Coordinator for NDACC told us more.


PM announces agreement on Superbond
At a press conference in Belize City this evening, Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow announced that Belize has reache...

Mahogany Heights without water for non-payment to BEL
Tonight, the entire village of Mahogany Heights is without water - and it has been that way for an entire week now....

Grandmother shares on murder of Robert Allan Gladden
Last night we told you about the death of 15 year old Robert Allan Gladden. Gladden's murder was the first of three...

Police are investigating two Officers for brutality
Police are investigating two of their own for brutality against San Pedro residents. In this latest incident, resid...

Britain donates motorbikes to Belmopan Police Department
It's the season of giving and the British High Commission did just that today. Official Ceremony was held this morn...

Belize City Council signs MOU with Belize Business Bureau
Belize City has traditionally received the nickname “The Old Capital” because it use to be the center of Belize’s n...

Department of Cooperatives will look at laws to avoid mismanagement
2012 has been celebrated worldwide as the International Year of Credit Unions and Cooperatives. Today the Departmen...

Police expect to charge Easy Glen for fraud
Political figure Goldbourne “Easy Glen” Adolphus and sidekick James Swazo were picked up by police in Orange Walk T...

Police complete investigation into beating of Francesco Shol
Earlier this week we told you about 53 yr old Francisco Shol who was allegedly beaten by two Police Officers. The i...

Belize City Hall is responding to the concerns of the business community
Earlier this week, the Belize City Council came under fire from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) ...

Contract signed for KHMH Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Contract signed for KHMH Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) has seen numerous...

Belmopan Bel-Choral Society to hold Christmas Concert
On Sunday night the Belmopan Bel-Choral Society will be hosting their FREE annual Christmas Concert at the St Ann’s...

Glenford Brown convicted for harming a teenager
A Jane Usher Boulevard resident was convicted for harming a teenager. He is thirty year old Glenford Brown. Brown w...

Candlelight Vigil for US school massacre will be held countrywide
The Jasmine Alert Executive Body is hosting a candlelight Vigil for the VICTIMS of the Massacre at the Sandy Hook E...


Allegedly drunken cops, male and female, assault two couples, then charge them in court What was to be a fun night out turned into a nightmare for a group of friends in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Sunday, December 16, 2012, and, a late report from police this evening indicates two female officers reportedly have been interdicted. Amandala spoke to the victims of the incident, who gave their account of what happened a few minutes after midnight that Sunday morning. Ricky Jurado, a 27-year-old San Pedro resident, said he was with some friends socializing at the Tackle Box Bar and Grill when a man grabbed his fiancé, Janina Graniel, 24, around her waist as she was walking by. Jurado said he approached the man to address the issue, and they got into a small argument. The man, later identified as an officer, and his three companions, who were all behaving as if they were intoxicated, walked out of the bar, Jurado said. The said officer and his companions were all later identified as police officers attached to the San Pedro Police department. All were in civilian clothing. Jurado said the group did not go too far, but he smelled trouble and decided to leave as well. “While we were walking past them, [the officer] grabbed me by my neck and pulled out his gun. I guess it was a 9mm, and he just put it in my mouth,” Jurado said. “He threatened me that if I did anything he would shoot me, and that’s when I heard [the female officer] say, ‘shoot that f****** Spanish,’” he went on to relate. Jurado said that he feared for his life and did not resist. He said his fiancé, Janina Graniel, then got involved, and asked why they were doing that to him. Jurado said that was when the female officers attacked Graniel.

The ages of the victims are: 14, 16 and 19. Instead of partaking in joy and laughter in this festive season, three families are mourning the death of three teenagers who were callously shot to death in separate incidents just six days before Christmas. Robert Allan Gladden, 16, a student of Marage Road, Ladyville; Raheem Requeña, 19, of Plues Street; and Reynaldo Garrido, 14, of East Canal, were shot in three different locations in the city within a span of two hours, between 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19. Police said that about 6:30 p.m. yesterday, Wednesday, they went to the corner of Partridge and Lavender Streets and saw Gladden’s body lying face down in the middle of the unpaved road. He had been shot in the right side of the back of the head and in his forehead, above his left eye. Police say that Gladden was walking on Partridge Street, going toward Lavender Street, when a man of dark complexion with dreadlocks approached on a bicycle and fired two shots at him, and rode into Partridge Street, escaping into the surrounding area.

Harris is accused of handling stolen goods — twelve 40-ft containers worth $120,000, and 150 sheets of plywood, and stealing $5,000 from Arturo Matus; he owes rent, owes Joseph and Taylor, owes $983 to BTALCO and $5,530 to Monica Pawn Shop; and wrote bad check for $1,092! Keith Harris, 44, a truck driver of #124 Freetown Road, was today arraigned in Magistrate’s Court #2 for theft. According to a report made to police, Harris stole a computer from his friend, Maria Belizaire. Belizaire told police that on December 3, 2012, she loaned her HP brand laptop computer to Harris. However, when she asked Harris for it, he told her that it was at a friend’s house being fixed. Belizaire alleges that for the past 3 weeks, she has been trying to retrieve her laptop from Harris, but all her attempts, so far, have been futile. Harris finally gave Belizaire the phone number of the friend he alleged had the computer, but when she called the number, the person told her that he did not have the computer. After going through a back-and-forth with Harris over the computer, she decided to make a report to police.

The British man’s home was raided by police after a report was made about suspicious activities involving young boys. Today, David Taylor, 40, appeared in the Dangriga Magistrate’s Court, where two charges of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and one charge of committing an unnatural crime (buggery) were read to him. Taylor, a British man who lives in Placencia, had his home raided by police after a report was made to them about suspicious activities involving children – male children. The search resulted in police finding 500 pictures of 4 young boys (between 10 and 13 years) posing nude and involved in lewd acts with adult males. Police also found 50 videos with the same repulsive acts being performed. Yesterday, Taylor was detained, pending charges of indecent assault and having possession of pornographic material.

Notwithstanding the present difficulties being experienced by the Belize Cycling Association executive, cycling fans will not be disappointed this New Year’s Day, as Krem Radio has confirmed that the tradition continues with the 23rd running of the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic on January 1, 2013, New Year’s Day. A press release yesterday from KREM RADIO states as follows: “The 23rd KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is organized by Krem Radio. It is to be held on January 1, 2013. The Open race will start at the Santa Elena Border at 9:00 a.m. The Women and Junior will start in front of the Town Hall in Orange Walk Town at 9:30 and 9:35 a.m., respectively. Team representatives are requested to submit their Titular List of Starters by Wednesday, December 19, sent to email and re-confirm their starters at the Technical Meeting which will be held on Thursday, December 27, 2012, at the Krem compound, starting at 11:00 a.m. Race numbers and other paraphernalia will also be issued at that time.” The prize list includes: OPEN – 1st Prize – $2,000.00 + $250.00 & Trophy + 1 Bull; 2nd Prize – $1,500.00 & Trophy; 3rd Prize – $1,000.00 & Trophy; 4th Prize – $500.00; 5th Prize – $350.00; 6th Prize – $275.00; 7th Prize – $200.00; 8th Prize – $175.00; 9th Prize – $150.00; 10th Prize – $100.00; 11th and 12th – $75.00 each; 13th to 15th – $50.00 each; and 16th to 20th – $25.00 each. M/Juniors – 1st Prize – $500.00 + $250.00 & Trophy; 2nd Prize – $300.00 & Trophy; 3rd Prize – $200.00 & Trophy. WOMEN – 1st Prize – $500.00 + $250.00 & Trophy; 2nd Prize – $300.00 & Trophy; 3rd Prize – $200.00 & Trophy.

Last week Oceana and the Government of Belize representatives met in Justice Michelle Arana’s court to continue trial on whether a national referendum will be held on the matter of offshore drilling in Belize. That case was adjourned to today, Thursday, December 20. Oceana, Tom Greenwood and Audrey Bradley’s claim was struck out for failing to comply with the leave given on June 20, 2012. The file claim was to be submitted within a 14-day period. The deadline for the submission was on July 5, 2012, however the claim was submitted on July 11, 2012. Oceana asked for an extension, but because the leave was not complied with, there was no claim. Oceana’s attorney Godfrey Smith said it was “not the decision we were hoping for, but we are seeking our options.” Smith told the media that they are considering an appeal. Oceana was seeking a judicial review of the signature rejection to allow Belizean registered voters to partake in a national referendum concerning the matter of offshore oil drilling in Belize. Over 8,000 petition signatures were rejected by the Chief Elections Officer, Election and Boundaries Department and the Governor General of Belize that would have triggered a national referendum on whether or not to proceed with offshore oil exploration and drilling.

Retired Police Inspector Conrad Jones, 64, of West Street, Belize City disappeared on September 12, 2012, in Hattieville, and Romel Palacio, Jr., 37, disappeared in Dangriga on Thursday, December 6. Their families mightily wish for them to be found and are at home for Christmas. They must be present at the family table to eat the traditional Christmas dinner, and to make the family complete, relatives say. Jones has been missing for over three months now. A Customs guard at the time he disappeared, Jones was returning home after concluding duties in Benque Viejo for Customs on Thursday, September 11. The driver of the vehicle he was in, left him at the Hattieville roundabout around 11:30 p.m. A security guard for the Golden Haven Home for the elderly near the roundabout said that afterwards, around 2:00 a.m. that Friday morning, September 12, he saw Jones still in the area trying to get a passage to go home. He said that he went to make his security rounds on the compound, but when he came back around 2:30 a.m., Jones was nowhere to be seen. Police and Customs officials searched the area, and in Hattieville but their efforts were fruitless. The family is offering a $500 reward to be paid to anyone for information leading to the recovery of Jones, dead or alive. They can call the nearest police station or 0800 TIPS, or they can contact Silpa, Jones’ daughter, at phone numbers 605-4606.

Francisco Shol, 53, of Indianville, Punta Gorda, ambulance driver for the Punta Gorda Hospital, was laid to rest today in at the Punta Gorda Cemetery, and a policeman is being investigated for his death. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 14, at the PG Sports Bar in Punta Gorda. Witnesses told police that Shol was socializing at the bar when a policeman who was not from the Punta Gorda Formation went into the bar and began drinking with Shol. The policeman afterwards beat Shol in the bar, then dragged him outside and beat him again. The policeman then put Shol in the pan of a pickup truck and took him to the Punta Gorda Hospital. Shol was later found in a drain a short distance from his home. He was rushed back to the Punta Gorda Hospital, where he was stabilized and shortly after, he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by Wings of Hope Air Ambulance, but he died shortly after while receiving medical treatment. Doctors who examined him said that he died due to fractures in his skull due to blunt force trauma (he was beaten in his head).

This coming Friday, December 21, is going to be a momentous occasion in the land of the Maya. The twentieth katun of the current thirteenth bakun is coming to an end. Such an event will not repeat itself until 5,125 years in the future. The Maya will be celebrating our version of what was our Y2K. On December 31, 1999, at midnight, we closed the tenth century of the second millennium. On December 21, 2012, Maya time reverts back to zero. In small change, we count time like this: 24 hours is one day, 365 days is a year, one hundred years is a century, and 10 centuries make a millennium. The Maya count time like this: 24 hours is a day, they called it a kin. 365 days is a year, they called it a tun, and twenty years makes a katun, like our century, and twenty katuns makes a baktun, like our millennium. On December 21, 2012, the Maya are closing the 20th Katun of the current 13thbaktun. Nothing apocalyptic, nothing cataclysmic, nothing catastrophic, nothing tragic, nothing traumatic, will occur on that day. If anyone was putting any high premium on bad omens on that day, perish the thought. It will not happen.

Dear Sir, It would appear as if the justice system in Belize is failing the Belizean people. It is not clear if the justice meted out is really fair or not. Case in point: A man steals 3 packs of cheese and is sentenced to 3 years in prison. Another individual is caught with (x) amount of marijuana (drug trafficking) and gets 3 years in jail. What message is this giving the Belizean people? Next point: a single mother is caught stealing food for her hungry children at one of the richest stores in Belize City. She is arrested, taken to court, ridiculed, and then given probation. OK. We know what she did was wrong, but the way the economy is in Belize right now and the high rate of unemployment, can we really blame her? She was caught stealing from one of the richest stores in Belize City. What they could have done if they had had the right marketing people, was to take this golden opportunity and turn it to their advantage. They should have pardoned this lady on live TV instead of taking her to court, and given her a big food hamper for her hungry children. Next, she could have been given a job to continue feeding her hungry children, this being the Christmas season and all. Do you know how good this company would have looked?

Over the last couple of days, I have had occasion to reflect on my mid-life crisis and how close I am to my three score + ten of sojourning here in my country, Belize. I was thinking about my contributions to the development of this noble spot and the “what-could-have-been” as an exile in another country. Guess what! I fell into a state of melancholy so deep that I had to find some writing, some reflection, by another person somewhere out there who had found him or herself in the same dilemma. I found a very old book of reflections by the celebrated South African author Alan Paton of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi – “Lord make me an Instrument of thy Peace.” Allan Paton had to make a choice between going into exile or staying and becoming such an Instrument of God’s Peace. He, of course, stayed in South Africa, and by his writings, did champion the cause of God’s Peace there. The Belize of today has placed any true Christian in an appallingly difficult and harrowing situation. Why? Because the economic, political, social and judicial situations, in my opinion, are clearly opposed to the teachings of the New Testament. If you take each of the Belizean woes separately, you find in each circumstance that they are contributing to the melancholy seen and felt in the streets, boardrooms, both Houses of Parliament and the courts of this land – greed for greed, hatred for hatred, up-manship for up-manship and nolle prosequi after nolle prosequi. It seems to me that a particular brand of apartheid is alive and well in Belize.

In one of my columns last week, I pointed out that mankind developed the ability about seven decades ago to destroy planet earth and mankind itself. We had entered the nuclear age. In the United States, the terrifying possibility of nuclear holocaust hit home during the October 1962 confrontation between America and Russia, a confrontation known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the years immediately following that frightening episode, American president John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas (November 1963), the Vietnam War began to escalate dangerously (1964/1965), and then the Black Power phenomenon (1966) marked the philosophical adoption of the violent self-defence concept, as opposed to Christian and Gandhian non-violence, by young American blacks. The American power structure, which is dominated by a financial-military-industrial complex, did everything it could to convince the American people that a lone, crazed gunman, one Lee Harvey Oswald, had murdered the American president while he was seated in an open convertible in a motorcade, but I do not believe this story. I believe the American power structure itself conspired to kill Kennedy for various reasons, one of these reasons being the fact that JFK had refused to provide American air cover for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles, and another reason being the indications that he was not completely hawkish where the American war effort in Vietnam was concerned. Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, soon began to increase American involvement in what was basically a civil war in Vietnam. A shooting war always increases the budgets and leverage of American generals and admirals, and such a war boosts the profits of companies which are engaged, directly or indirectly, in the business of manufacturing arms and armaments.

When YaYa Marin Coleman launched her one-woman 24-hour protest outside the MCC Grounds cement fence at 6:00 p.m. last Friday evening, December 14, the MCC field was still a reasonably playable grass surface. It certainly wasn’t the best in the country; it had already suffered repeated abuse from heavy equipment on different occasions when the Sports Council allowed the venue to be used for non-sporting public events. But the field had slowly recovered, with the new grass camouflaging many of the lumps and uneven places where posts had stood and vehicles had been driven. No one but the Most High controls the weather, and there are no guarantees that bad weather will not come on the day of a concert, as it did on Friday night, to make the football field especially vulnerable to the heavy traffic that comes with such events. Well, as we feared, and as YaYa protested on the sidewalk outside the MCC on Friday night and into Saturday morning, the rains came down, and the MCC soon became a veritable “pig pen” of muck and debris of various sorts, rendering it unplayable for the weekend games, and for some time to come. From behind the Zinc Fence, we have cried out against this abuse of the MCC for years. Just over a month ago, the President of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), Ruperto Vicente, had registered his strong disapproval of the use of the MCC for an Indigenous People’s Festival, which was subsequently moved to a different venue. But for the DigiCell 10th anniversary concert this past Friday night, the FFB president’s appeal was completely ignored; and the show went on as planned at the MCC.

They have never met before in this Premier League of Belize Opening Season 2012-2013 Tournament; but they will clash in game 1 of the championship finals this Sunday at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. We are talking about the North Zone #1 seed Belmopan Bandits and South Zone #1 seed Police United FC. There were 6 teams in the North – Belmopan Bandits, Belize Defence Force, F.C. Belize, San Pedro Sea Dogs, Juventus FC, and FC San Felipe Barcelona; and 6 teams in the South – Police United FC, Placencia Assassins, Verdes FC, RG-City Boys United, Paradise/Freedom Fighters, and San Ignacio United. Aside from a double round-robin within each zone, there were 4 out-of-zone (OZ) games for each team in the two zones – North and South – in this tournament, so some teams never got to meet in regular season. For their OZ games, the Bandits met Paradise/Freedom Fighters (3:0), Verdes FC (2:0), RG-City Boys United (0:0), and San Ignacio United (2:1); they met defending champion Placencia Assassins for the first time in the semifinals (1:0 and 0:0), and they have yet to face Police from the South. Meanwhile, in their OZ games, Police clashed with San Pedro Sea Dogs (3:1), F.C. Belize (3:0), Belize Defence Force (1:3), and FC San Felipe Barcelona (3:1); they got to avenge that loss to BDF when they met again in the semifinals (2:1 and 0:0), but they never stepped on the field against Juventus FC or Belmopan Bandits from the North. Some critics have commented that certain teams had an easier schedule than others, because of the particular opponents that they did not get to face in their OZ games. Next time they propose that all teams get to face each other at least once, to better “level the playing field.”

What former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel’s wife was doing in her Searchlight column two weeks ago was expressing the view of Belize’s bigoted amateur lobby on sports, that is, that sports should not, can not be a moneymaking industry. Mrs. Esquivel has opened a can of worms, because it was her husband who finished destroying the semi-pro basketball industry in Belize. This was during the 1993-1998 UDP administration. The reason Dr. Manuel Esquivel has not been seriously indicted all these years is because the industry had already been seriously wounded by the previous PUP administration, when an unelected Ralph Fonseca was the de facto Finance Minister. So then, similarly to how the UDP and the PUP took turns carving up choice portions of the Barracks for themselves, both the PUP and the UDP attacked what would have been a major Southside industry. In its inaugural year of 1992, semi-pro basketball was an absolutely sensational success, except where the bottom line was concerned. At the time, the only acceptable basketball facility in the old capital was the Civic Center, which had been constructed in 1981 by a PUP government on the south bank of the Haulover Creek, next to the Belcan Bridge. For basketball games, the attendance capacity of the Civic was 1700 plus, and the facility soon proved too small for the crowds which were excited by semi-pro’s Kremandala Raiders and Crown Stadium, and later by the return of Penta Lakers’ Kirk Smith and Fred Garcia from college in Texas.

Two policemen attached to the Orange Walk Police Station are under investigation for theft and brutality accusations after a fisherman of Orange Walk reported that he was beaten and robbed by the said policemen early in the morning on Saturday, December 15, 2012. According to reports, Lisandro Sanchez was inside Butchies Night Club on Belize Corozal Road when he was apprehended by the two officers. Sanchez said that the officers did not take him to a station, but took him to the Orange Walk bypass near the San Estevan Rounabaout and beat him up. Sanchez reported that after he was beaten, the officers robbed him of $10,000, which he said he had earned from a pearl sale he made in Belize City on Friday, December 14, 2012. Amandala spoke with Orange Walk police on Tuesday, December 18, and was told that no charges have been made and that the matter is under investigation. Both officers have been detained while the investigation continues.


‘Christmas Shopping’ for Ambergris Caye, Belize
For our shopping expedition to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize in Belize City today Rose and I left ‘home’ at 7.40 am to catch the 8 am ferry ( we had to draw some cash first from the ATM first and that was the reason for the early start). We got good seats with plenty of space around us but that all changed when we got to Caye Caulker to take on passengers. The boat very quickly filled and it was necessary for some passengers to sit on the steps to the entrances/exits. The trip though passed without event and we arrived in Belize City at 9.20am. Before going to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we had to go try to get some Secret Santa presents to take to the Christmas Lunch we are attending at Pedro’s Hotel next Tuesday. For this we planned to visit a few stores in Albert Street first. Take note of what was on offer and the prices of the items we thought are worthy of a present . For us this means ‘what might we use if we got it as a present’. Oh, the price range for the Secret Santa presents is BZ$70-80. First off we went to Delta Stores ( the store that I bought our clothes airer from). There were some really interesting and useful stuff in there – safes, garden equipment, fold-away chairs, – and at reasonable prices ( by Belize standards) but nothing that took our fancy for the presents.

We're back, with tales to tell
Did you miss us? Last night your intrepid BeBelizers returned from sixteen days of exploring the country next door, Mexico, by bus. What a blast! We visited five cities and traveled through five states. We were enchanted by the colors, the colonial architecture, the people, the fiestas, and the glorious spicy foods -- not to mention all the great Mexican beers we can't buy here in Belize (it's true that prohibition does make the heart grow fonder!) With apologies to our readers who are here to learn more about Belize, we took a lot of photos and want to share many of them, along with our experiences, with our friends and family as well as record them for ourselves for posterity. So, please indulge us as we veer away from the Belize-centric focus of this blog for awhile to recount our tales of Mexico. It's gonna take quite a few posts to cover this one!

The Beginning of a New Era: Sunrise Maya Ceremony On the Beach of Ambergris Caye, Belize
Last night and this morning the National Institute of Culture and History along with the San Pedro Town Council put on quite a show for the end of the Maya calendar. When I arrived at the park today at 5am, the party was still going on from the previous night. The midnight fireworks were long over but the DJs had only just finished, the stage for the live music was just emptying and there were plenty of people standing around enjoying their last drink. Belize (or what is Belize today) was at the very heart of the great Maya empire. In fact, the population of Belize 1000 years ago is thought to have been at least double of what it is today. The entire country is covered in Maya temples, cities and artifacts. Many people that live on our island are of Mayan descendants and Mayan dialects are still actively spoken in Belize. For anyone who thinks the Maya people died out...just visit us or the Yucatan in Mexico or Guatemala and you will find that they are alive and well. Here are some of this morning's 5am celebrations to mark the end of the Mayan calendar, the beginning of a new era and the winter solstice. Today is the longest night and shortest day of the year. The beach was set up with torches and a calendar ready for the boat arrival.

Wishing Everyone a Happy Holiday Season
We wish everyone Love, Joy, Peace, Abundance and Happiness not only during this special time but also far into the future. Happy Holidays!

International Sources

Maya not surprised to see a world Friday morning
Editor's note: A first-person from a local Maya. My alarm buzzed. I rubbed my eyes as I reached for my screeching cellphone, the tone similar to the blaring klaxons you hear in movies when an impending disaster is detected at a nuclear plant. “6:00 a.m. Friday Dec. 21, 2012.” I walked down the stairs to open my door so Chico, my Chihuahua, could step out. A chilly Florida breeze greeted me, as orange trees loaded with golden fruit swayed and danced in the wind, the invisible hand of nature. “The world is still here, Chico,” I said to my 5-pound black and white Chihuahua, oblivious to the doomsday proclamation we've been hearing about for decades. “I guess we Maya were right to believe the world was not going to end today.” As if concurring, Chico gave a chirpy bark and ran into the green fernery to deposit his share of fertilizer. I wondered how the foreigners who started spreading the rumor that the world will end on this date, and blaming it on the Maya, felt.

Oswego County woman's Belize vacation creates media storm in Central American country
Lisa Merz planned to spend her November vacation diving in the Caribbean off the coast of Belize. Instead she spent a night in a jail, sparked a political controversy and became fodder for talk radio, television and websites in that small Central American country. It all began when Merz witnessed what she thought was a drug deal. It ended in her arrest, the transfer of the officer who arrested her and calls for the tourism minister’s resignation. Merz, 43, of Sandy Creek, is a traveling nurse. She first began diving in Belize about 15 years ago and over the years she said she has encouraged friends and family to travel to there too. “I love it there. I love the people. I love the culture. I love the diving,” she said during an interview last week. On Nov. 19, she flew to San Pedro a resort town on Ambergris Caye, an island off the coast of Belize for a 12-day vacation. Merz spent Nov. 23 on a boat diving with other tourists. When they got back to shore, the group went for drinks at Fido's Restaurant & Bar on the beach. At about midnight, the group left Fido’s for another club. As she was leaving the bar, Merz said she saw Jonathan Pacheles, 18, of Switzerland, a diver she met on the boat, being surrounded by young men. One man had a backpack and it appeared that he was trying to sell drugs to Pacheles, Merz said. Pacheles told police a man followed him from the bar. When he stepped outside, the man offered him drugs, and put some in his hand, Pacheles said.

Belize and Trinidad - a lesson in homophobic exclusion
LGBT rights advocate, Maurice Tomlinson, explains his legal challenges to Belize and Trinidad anti-gay laws... It’s getting cold in the global north and some lucky souls will be able to get away for a few days (or weeks) in the sun. The Caribbean is usually a very popular vacation destination for northerners because of the variety of leisure options available to suit just about every taste. Two Caribbean territories that demonstrate the range of delightful diversions on offer are the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (which is quite cosmopolitan, with a strong creole influence) and the central American territory of Belize (decidedly more rustic and Latin inspired). Both countries are at almost opposite ends of the Caribbean and although there are some common traditions flowing from a shared history of British colonization, very little else links these countries. There is, however, one very noticeable similarity; both territories ban the entry of homosexuals, and they are the only countries in the Western Hemisphere to do so.

Mayan (and other) Sites We’ve Visited
Since our Trans-Americas Journey started in 2006 we’ve visited nearly 100 archaeological sites in the US, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. These sites have given us a window into cultures ranging from the Anasazi to the Zapotec but most of our Indiana Jones time has been spent with the Maya–we’ve visited 54 Mayan sites so far with more to come. With so many posts about so many sites we wanted to index them in one easy place–and here it is. We’ve categorized sites by culture and by country and alphabetized each site within its grouping for quick reference. The links take you directly to our blog post concerning that site. Bookmark it for trip planning and research–especially with the puzzling end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012.

I’m planning new life with my girlfriends ... in Southampton
SOFTWARE fugitive John McAfee has told how he wants to start a new life in Britain – with his two young girlfriends. The troubled tycoon, on the run from the authorities in Belize, made the sensational claim in an exclusive interview with The Sun. Last month we revealed how cops in the Caribbean country want to question him about the murder of his millionaire neighbour Gregory Faull, who was shot in the head following an argument about McAfee’s guard dogs. Police in Belize launched an international manhunt after McAfee, who founded the famous anti-virus software company that bears his name, smuggled himself across the border into Guatemala. Earlier this month the 67-year-old Brit was deported to Miami, where he has been living in a boutique hotel while trying to figure out how to reunite with his young lovers Samantha Vanegas, 20, and Amy Emshwiller, 19. In a bizarre interview, McAfee revealed he intends to start again with the girls — in SOUTHAMPTON. McAfee, who was born in Sling, Gloucestershire, hatched the plan after becoming frustrated with the US authorities, who are refusing to give the women visas so they can join him in the States. He said: “I feel just as much British as I do American. My mother, Joan Williams, was British and met my father Donald McAfee while he was stationed in England during the Second World War.

Belize PM says debt deal reached with creditors
Belize has reached a deal in principle with creditors to restructure about half of its unpaid debt after "long and arduous" talks, allowing the country to avoid default, officials said Friday. Prime Minister Dean Barrow told a press conference that he would release details about the restructuring of the $544 million bond in the coming days. "The agreement is comprehensive and it is sustainable," Barrow said. In September, it made an $11.7 million interest payment, only about half of what it owed but enough to avoid full-blown default. The government here had proposed rescheduling debt payments over 50 years at a lowered rate of two percent, a position analysts qualified as extreme. Mark Espat, leader of Belize's negotiating team on the debt restructuring, explained that details of the deal could not be made public until they were explained to all of Belize's creditors.

My Town Monday (Retro Edition): Xunantunich
I was going through some pics of the Mayan Ruins in Belize. I worked and lived in the capital of Belmopan from 2005-'06. On a rare day off, my wife and I were able to explore Xunantunich, one of the many incredible sites remaining from one of the oldest known civilizations.

December 21, 2012


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Simulation at SPRC School puts the school’s evacuation plan to a test
How prepared is your child’s school in handling an emergency evacuation? Are the schools on the island prepared to deal with a worst case scenario? Those are some of the questions that resounded at the School Safety Plan workshop that took place on the 6th and 7th of December with 12 school representatives from both San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker village. Following the workshop, the participants conducted a simulation exercise at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS) with a “worst case scenario” to see if the school’s emergency evacuation plan is efficient and whether the school grounds were evacuated in a timely manner. The trainees made an unexpected visit to the SPRCS to conduct the simulation on Friday December 7th. The team’s cunningly plotted scenario: an earthquake that has caused a fire staring at the building that houses the cafeteria and the computer room. In addition lamp posts have fallen over two of the three gates and a tsunami warning has also been sent out. Children were out on break, some having a visit by their guardians; others were playing while others were in their respective classrooms when the alarm went off. After a quick briefing by trainees and the teachers were told of the scenario, two short and one long alarm went off, indicating to the students that the school grounds were being evacuated. All 900 students, who have been taught from the opening of the school year, knew how to evacuate the school grounds. The students, parents and teachers all orderly and calmly,but as fast as they could, ran to the main gate on Barrier Reef Drive and evacuated off the school campus.

ACES brings gifts of Christmas Tidings to parents and residents of San Pedro
With the Christmas season in full swing on the island, primary schools worked tirelessly for days, even weeks, to come up with amazing presentations to awed parents and guests and to showcase each school’s individual messages of Christmas. Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) was no different. On Friday December 14th, ACES held their annual Christmas show at the San Pedro Lion’s Den. Students from all classes prepared colorful skits, songs and poems that brought the message of Christmas alive. Opening the show at the den was a group of students (from various classes/grades) who portrayed the story of Jesus Christ and the meaning of Christmas. The opening show was quite entertaining, with a group of non-believers (“bad boys”) taking the stage. These children did not believe in Christmas – but that disbelief was because they did not know exactly where it originated from or what the true meaning was. Through skits, the narrator told the story of a young virgin being visited by an angel who informed her that she will bear a child who should be called Jesus. The Angel told the young mother-to-be that this “Jesus” would be the King of the World. The youngsters showcased the birth of the Christ Child and the many characters that crossed paths, including The Three Wise Men that came bearing gifts.

National AIDS Commission holds first National Assembly
During the weekend of December 14th the National Aids Commission (NAC) held its first ever National Assembly. The Assembly saw approximately 110 participants in the National Response gather for a two day conference at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. The National Assembly marked the first time that all the key members of the National Response to HIV in Belize from around the country convened. According to Executive Director of the Secretariat for the National Aids Commission, Dr. Martin Cuellar – this was the first National Assembly with the hope of it becoming an annual event. “We have couple objectives for this national assembly. But perhaps the most important is for us to re-commit our loyalty to working together as one united team and at the same time – strengthen our passion for the work that we do.” Other objectives included a review of successes and accomplishments throughout the year both locally and nationally.

Ambergris Today

Posadas at Corozal - The Cradle Of The Mestizo Culture
The latest census, estimates Belize at 330,000 inhabitants. Of this, Latinos and Mestizos make up approximately 60% of the population, an ethnic group derived from Spain, Europe and Americas Maya. Latinos in Belize are engaged in sugar production, banking, tourism and the merchant class, but diversification is evident, especially in the areas of mixed commercial farming, fishing, tourism and the public service. Corozal, Orange Walk, Ambergris Caye, as well as the western region in the Belmopan, San Ignacio and Benque Viejo del Carmen areas are major population centers where Latino and Mestizo culture is strongest. Latinos living in the Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo districts observe a “nine nights” celebration at Christmas called the “Posada” in which they move house to house asking for a posada (a shelter). It is a Christian adaption of Christmas festivities beginning on December 16 with nine consecutive days of candlelight processions and lively parties.

Misc Belizean Sources

Maya Communities Mark end of 13 B'aqtun
Three messages to the world: 1. The Maya people are not gone - and you don't have to look to the ancient past to learn from us. 2. Maya livelihoods have much to teach the world - but are under threat and should be defended and celebrated. 3. If the apocalypse is coming, its cause isn't Maya prophesy - it's the damage to the planet caused by industrial capitalist societies

VIDEO: Prime Minister's Christmas Message 2012

VIDEO: Santa and Helper Elves Dance Gangnam Style
Santa's little Elves perform PSY Gangnam Style during Isla Bonita Elementary School annual Christmas Show at the Paradise Theater in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

VIDEO: Die Maya in Belize
Vorbereitung auf den Weltuntergang Was passiert am 21. Dezember 2012? Geht die Welt unter? Gibt es eine Revolution? Oder passiert einfach - gar nichts? Das Ende des Maya-Kalenders sorgt seit seiner...

UB vs SHJC Debate
The University of Belize hosted Sacred Heart Junior College for their debate. UB won. Congratulations to UB, and to all the debate participants. "Congratulations to the students of the UB Debate Club in winning the first Inter-mural Debate Competition, hosted by the University on November 21, in Belmopan. Our worthy opponents were Sacred Heart College, who have committed to coming alongside us in this collaborative effort to create avenues for our students to engage in academic exercises which will simultaneously address issues that deeply affect them. These students are a significant demographic of our society, whose voices need to be heard in a healthy, safe environment. The wider UB community is encouraged to continue to support the hosting of these student forums. The Debate Club of the University, under the leadership of Lecturer Tracey Sangster, envisions that the event will be held at the national level with the engagement of other schools throughout the academic year. Members of the winning team were Courtney Weatherburne, Alaysha Gilharry, Esther Gillman, Ashanti Garcia, Elizabeth Andrus-Reimer, and Kadijah Marin."

Channel 7

Three Teens Killed In Two Hours: Commish Comments
When we ended the news last night it was with the bad news that there had been a murder an hour earlier in the City. And as the newscast was ending, we heard sirens screaming past our Albert Street studio; another person had been shot and seriously injured. We responded to that crime scene and by the time we were leaving, there had been another shooting. By 9:30 pm - the KHMH morgue was full: three males, all teenagers - two of them minors - ages 15, 16, and 19 had succumbed to gunshot injuries. We've spoken to their families and we have their names and pictures of course, but we start tonight with an overview of the recent spate of crime. Six males have been killed and at least three others seriously injured with gunshots since Saturday night in the Belize District. That's a phenomenal amount of violence in just four days; and it also pushes the country's murder total for 2012 to 139, deep into the red zone, and way past the previous high of 129.

Arraignment for Brit Accused Of Extreme Acts Of Pornographic Exploitation Of Boys
And you'll note in that story that we repeatedly referred to one of the murder victims as being 14 years old. That's what early police information said, but he is Reynaldo Garrido and he was actually 15. Monica Bodden spoke to his family this morning and we'll have that story shortly, along with the stories of last night's other murders. But first…we take you to Dangriga. That's where 40 year old David Taylor appeared in court today for arraignment on charges of two counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and committing an unnatural crime for having sexual relations with a 13 year-old boy. As we reported, police scanned Taylor's computer and found hard drives depicting four boys between the ages of 10 and 13 made to engage in revolting acts of pornographic exploitation with adult males. It is one of the most sickening cases we've ever reported on - and this morning Daniel Ortiz made the trip to Dangriga to see who is this David Taylor: Daniel Ortiz reporting 40 year old David Taylor, who's been working as a tutor, was arraigned today in connection with one of his alleged victims. It's a serious allegation where hundreds of explicit photographs involving young boys made to engage in pornographic behavior were discovered when police confiscated his computer and hard drives. And as such, police are treating the case with the seriousness it deserves:

15 Year Old Working Teen Killed For No Reason
And while that story has captured our attention for its vile nature, last night in the city was no joke either. As we told you at the top of the newscast, three teenaged males were killed. They are 16-year-old James Gladden, 19-year-old Raheem Requena and 15-year-old Reynaldo Garrido. We've spoken to all their families, but we begin with the youngest, Reynaldo Garrido who was walking his sister home one block from his home on East Canal when a gunman strode out and shot him in the head. He was rushed to the hospital and 7news arrived at the scene shortly after:... Monica Bodden reporting This is where the shooting happened here on East Canal - near to the South Street Bridge at 8:45 last night. Armed police officers patrolled the embattled neighborhood while bystanders looked on as the scenes of crime team searched for expended shells in the area. Neighbors heard when two gunshots rang off but only one expended shell was retrieved from the scene.

16 Year Old Killed, Just Like His Dad & His Cousins
In our first segment we told you about the 15 year old who was killed last night, Reynaldo Garrido. The next youngest victim in last night's murder spree was 16-year-old Robert Gladden. He was the first to get killed at 6:45 pm at the north end of Partridge Street - which is a far away from his home in the Pickstock area. Monica Bodden spoke to the ITVET student's family today:.. Monica Bodden reporting 16 year old Allan Gladden was gunned down here at the corner of Partridge and Lavender streets - just before 7 last night. When we arrived on the scene - he had already been rushed to the KHMH - and a pool of blood was visible on street - as the residents tried to wash it away. The young man was heading towards Lavender Street when he was approached by a man wearing dreadlocks - who fired the single shot at him - hitting him directly in the head. The man then rode away on Patridge Street. The teenager fought for his life - but he succumbed to his injuries just an hour later.

Fourth Former Took Eight Shots
The oldest person murdered in Belize city last night was 19 year old Raheem Requena. He was shot on Kut Avenue near its junction with Supal Street. Requena who is a 4th form student of Excelsior High was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue -heading to his grandmother house when he was gun down. The incident happened around 8:15. According to family members, the young man was shot 6 times- one of those shots was to his chest. Today his family was too destroyed by grief to speak to us on camera, but they did tell us that Requena was not affiliated with any gang. Police press officer Rapheal Martinez filled in details of the shooting. Raphael Martinez - Police Press Officer "At 8:15pm, again, Crimes Investigation Branch Personnel visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where the body of 19 year old RAHEEM REQUENA, student of #3 Plues Street, Belize City was seen with one apparent gunshot wound to the right side of chest. Initial investigation revealed that on same date at about 8:10p.m., Raheem was riding his bicycle on Kut Avenue, Belize City, when four apparent gunshots were heard and REQUENA was found lying on Kut Avenue, with the fatal injury. He was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and later succumbed to his injury whilst receiving treatment. Raheem REQUENA was pronounced dead at 8:20pm. Raheem Requena was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead at 8:20p.m last night."

Police Prepared to Charge The Cop Who Beat Shol
Since Monday, 7News has been reporting on the death of 53 year-old Francisco Shol, a resident of PG, who is also the father of 10 children. His family says that police officers not assigned to the Punta Gorda Police Station beat him badly outside the PG Sports bar - and those injuries led to his death. Well, despite the public pressure which has been brought by residents of PG, specifically the PUP Town Council, police didn't address the media on the issue until today. 7News spoke with Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano, the officer in charge of Dangriga Police, and the investigator specifically assigned by the Commissioner of Police to investigate this incident. He updated us on the status of his case: Daniel Ortiz "The incident of Mr. Francisco shol has gone unreported to the media in the daily press releases from police. Can you give us an update on the information you guys have on that incident?" Sr. Supt. Robert Mariano "I was directed to go to PG to conduct an investigation and I went to Punta Gorda Town and I recorded statements from witnesses and on Tuesday 18th Dr. Sanchez conducted an autopsy on Mr. Francisco Shol and he reported that he died from severe head injuries as a consequence of a blunt trauma to the head. I can say that yesterday Wednesday 19th I completed the investigation and I am seeking advice from the director of public persecution at this time as to where to go on the investigation at this time."

Police Investigating Cops Accused Of Thuggery In San Pedro
And another internal investigation is happening with San Pedro police. Two San Pedro men and one woman say an off duty woman constable and a corporal grossly abused their authority early on Monday morning. Ricky Jurado claims that he saw a man grab his girlfriend from behind the waist. Jurado chased him off but when he went outside the bar, allegedly met Corporal Young who allegedly put his gun in Jurado's mouth and threatened to kill him. The police then assaulted a female friend of Jurado, Vianie Perez who was asking why he was being arrested. They also beat her husband Elder Mauricio. The officers in question were later confirmed to be Corporal Mark Young and WPC Sherifa Young. The narrative as it has been outlined in multiple accounts to the media is a frightening display of thuggery and excess. Today the officer commanding Eastern Division told the media that the officers will be dealt with. ACP Elodio Aragon, Jr, Officer Commainding Eastern Division "We've had people out there from yesterday and our preliminary investigation is being done. I think statements are being recorded from a number of persons and at the conclusion of this investigation which I hope should be concluded by this evening, so by Friday we should have some information in regards to the outcome to this investigation. I want to make it quite clear that where police officers have used excessive force - our police officers have acted outside the law they will be dealt with. Both officers have been placed on interdiction as is the process so that the investigation can be carried through properly and as soon as that is done we will get back to you with that."

Constable Ack's "Wake-Up Call"
And it seems that when roguish police appear, they do so in spades! Constable #6, B. Ack made the news earlier this week when he was captured sleeping on the floor at the KHMH. It turns out he wasn't sick, and he wasn't waiting on a sick friend; he was on duty: caught on camera, out cold! Today his officer commanding said that he too has been dealt with:... ACP Elodio Aragon, Jr, Officer Commainding Eastern Division "In regards to Ack, the police officer whose photo was put on TV especially by Channel 7 which I think sometimes we as a department - we have to deal with these situations and in no way are we afraid to deal with these situations. I must tell you that Mr. Ack has been charge disciplinary and prejudice to both order and discipline; that is one charge and the other charge is that of being inattentive whilst on duty."

Accident Left Her Boyfriend Comatose
Police are also being called upon to investigate an accident that happened on the Valley Of Peace Road. 27 year old Eugene Sedacey was knocked down on Saturday afternoon near Young Bank. He was driving his motorbike to his job at a farm. Today his girlfriend told us he is in a coma and she can't get justice:.. Jeanna Yanes "I grab my bicycle and I pedal all the way from Roaring Creek to Belmopan Hospital. When I reach there I see him look awful; I have pictures in my phone with him. They told me that he needs to reach at Belize City hospital emergency. They told me that his throat is fractured and that he has broken ribs, his hands and feet are broken and he had internal bleeding in his head. They had drained the blood from head about two times because the bleeding couldn't stop. Finally they got control of the bleeding in the head and from they finish from the surgery he still hasn't got up yet. The person that hit him left him right there, it was another person who was passing at the time took him to the hospital."

Things Getting Hard For Easy Glen
At today's police press conference, the Commissioner also discussed the Easy Glen fiasco. As we've told you, as much as a month ago, Goldbourne Easy Glen Adolphus was implicated in a hustle using Michael Finnegan's name to boost money out of Government Departments and business people. Finnegan says he told the Commissioner, but the COMPOL was about to hop on a flight - and delegated the follow up - which meant there was no follow up - which also meant the alleged hustle continued unabated until this week when things came to a head. Henderson told us that while Easy Glen and his alleged partner in crime James Swaso have been detained, so far no one has made a complaint. David Henderson, Commissioner of Police "The Minister did inform me and I have since directed the officer to have the fellow picked up and make the necessary inquiry. Nevertheless he was not picked up at the time and the officer has been reprimanded for it - that situation and the other districts were informed. He has since been picked up and he is being dealt with at this time."

Police Say Palacio Alive, Family Disputes
Ten days ago we told you about Romel Palacio Jr who went missing two weeks ago. His family was concerned because his father Romel Sr was killed in a home invasion last year. There are rumours going around that he has been killed and buried, but today police said they believe he is alive:.. Supt. Alden Dawson "There is nothing to prove that Mr. Palacio is in fact dead or kill or anything. We are working on it and we recently have some information that he might be somewhere alive, we are working on that as well." Palacio's sister says that she have heard no such report, even when she spoke to police. She fears with increasing certainty that he is dead - and says police are not responding sufficiently to the leads the family is providing.

Dr. H. Gayle: The Cause Of "Senseless Murders"
So far, tonight most of our newscast has been about violence. It's everywhere and, indeed, on nights like this, seems like it is overtaking us. And most of the violence is what we would call senseless - such as the Garrido killing…why would anyone kill a working 15 year old who had only moved into a neighborhood a few months earlier? It's literally unbelievable….but violence anthropologist Dr. Herbert Gayle offered an explanation to these apparently senseless murders when he was here in 2010. That's when he was presenting his definitive study on male social violence in Belize. In a presentation at the Bliss Center, he explained the concept of social distance amongst oppressed persons - and why it accounts for much of the gun violence we witness daily:..

GSU Making More Busts
Tonight, 27 Year-old Dario Jason Cruickshank, 35 year-old Elvis Mitchell and 40 year-old Martha Sabio are at prison tonight after the Gang Supression Unit allegedly busted them with a firearm in Ladyville. According to the GSU, they conducted a raid this morning at Cruikshank's residence, located at #30 Mami Street in Ladyville. All 3 persons were present at the time, and according to GSU, in the attic of the house, they found a black 9mm Beretta pistol, which was loaded with 11 rounds of luger brand ammunition. The officers also found cannabis on the property. All 3 persons were charged with keeping unlicensed firearm and keeping unlicensed ammunition. Cruickshank was also additionally charged with 2 counts of drug possession. They were all arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today, where they all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Because it's a firearm offence, they were all remanded to prison until February 7. According to the GSU, Mitchell and Cruickshank are reputed members of the Ghost Town gang.

Faber: Bus, Meet Boots!
So far tonight, all the news has been about police, or crime and violence. We'll take a break from that now…and turn to that other cut-throat endeavor, politics! As we told you last night, Education Minister Patrick Faber is campaigning hard to be his party's Deputy Leader - which would mean unseating current deputy Gaspar Vega. That has alienated Faber from some of his Cabinet colleagues who support Vega - and feel that Faber's candidacy is no less than an assault on party unity. One of those that Faber seems to be at odds with is Minister of Human Development, Anthony Boots Martinez. Martinez's Port Loyola Constituency was one of the few divisions from Belize District not at Faber's weekend Banquet. And it seems that as a Minister, Martinez is also giving Faber the cold shoulder. That's the impression we get after listening to Faber on KREM TV's W-U-B this morning where Faber was pressed to discuss the case of a constituent who tore down her house to wait for a new one from the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project, but it hasn't been forthcoming. Martinez administer that project and Faber doesn't seem to think much of the job he's doing. Here are his comments from this morning's show:..

OCEANA Suffers Serious Setback In Court
Remember those 8,042 OCEANA referendum signatures that were disqualified by the Chief Elections Officer just before this year's elections? For months, Oceana Belize has been in the Supreme Court trying to get those signatures recognized. Well, the Government struck a decisive blow against that case today - and it was on a simple tehcnicality. Government attorney, Denys Barrow, made an application to strike it out based on the ground that the applicants didn't file the document applying for judicial review before the 14-day deadline expired. Today, Justice Michelle Arana finally ruled on Barrow's application. She agreed with Barrow's submissions that they filed it on July 11, 6 days after the deadline. As a result, Justice Arana struck the claim out, ending the matter at the Supreme Court. Indications from the applicants and their attorney, Godfrey Smith, are that they will review Justice Arana's written reasons, and consider if they have a prospect of an appeal of the decision.

Mahogany Heights Goes To Greatest Of Depths, But Still Can't Get Water
Tonight, the entire village of Mahogany Heights is without water - and it has been that way for an entire week now. And the reason that they probably won't get it restored any time soon is because there is a huge discrepancy, which must be cleared up between the village's Water Board and BEL. The position of the residents is that they are being punished for a wrong which was done without their knowledge. Back in 2009, they also inherited a water system which was connected with stolen electricity. Well, the newly installed water board didn't discover that until early December. They moved to fix it, and when they called BEL to install a legitimate meter, the discovered that BEL had disconnected power to the pump room. 7News spoke to the Chairperson of the Village who said that BEL will not restore power to the pump room, which then circulates water to the homes in the village, unless a $72,000 dollar bill for 3 years is cleared up.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Underway!
It used to seem like a far-off dream, but the plan to build a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit At The KHMH is taking shape now. Spearheaded by Kim Simplis-Barrow, the fundraising effort has reached the one million dollar thresh-hold - and today they marked that milestone by signing of the contract for the first phase of the construction works. We found out more when we stopped in at the signing ceremony:.. Kim Simplis - Barrow - Special Envoy for Women and Children "I was pleasantly surprised last week when Alan Gobi confirmed that he has reached his 1 million for the first phase of the pediatric intensive care unit and the reason why we are here today is we are signing and construction should start the beginning of January." Alan Gobi, Challenge GOBI Foundation "It was a great task but we have managed to raise a million for phase 1 and it's an ongoing project that will be going for a couple of years until we raised more money to keep it running professional."

Profile Of a Paraplegic with Purpose
If you aren't from Punta Gorda, you probably don't know Rodney Borland. He's a 22 year old student, cab driver and paraplegic - left that way after a shooting incident in 2002. He also lost his ability to speak without the aid of a voice box. Now, at first his voice may seem slightly odd, but let's just say it would give T-Pain major envy! But once you get past that little quirk, Rodney Borland has an important message about public access. He shares it with us in tonight's profile.

Streets: Apocalypse (Not!)
And after all that news tonight we all need some comic relief. And that's why our last story is about the so-called Mayan Apocalypse. December 21st., 2012 marks the end of the end of the 13th b'ak'tun of the Mayan Long Count Calendar. To the ancient Maya, 13 b'ak'tuns represented a full cycle of creation - which has led to all the doomsday predictions. It sort of hocus pocus - but it's great for tourism all through southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. But while the tourists eat it up, what are the streets of Belize saying about it? We asked our colleague Geovanni Brackett to change hats today and use his street smarts to get a sampling of public opinion. Here's what he found out:.. Interviewee "The world cannot end. We will end, the world will not end. The calendar will not end." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "According to the Maya calendar the world will end. Are you aware?" Interviewee "No way, the world would never end because the good Lord runs this world." Geovanni Brackett, reporter "Tomorrow is December 21st, according to the Maya calendar the world will end. Are you concern, how do you feel?" Interviewee "Actually I don't feel any way because to my understanding it's just the Mayan calendar year will end, it's not really the end of the world itself."

Channel 5

Murder Capital: 16 year old killed in Belize City
Terror reigned on the south side on Wednesday night as more blood spilled into the streets. In less than two hours, two minors and a nineteen year old were cold bloodedly killed in a string of murders. The mayhem started early in the evening when a sixteen year old IT-VET student was gunned down in [...]

15 year old murdered for absolutely no reason
The terror continued on Wednesday night and shots rang out once again in the south side. When the gunfire subsided, the youngest of three murder victims was ambushed and killed.  Fifteen year old Reynaldo Garrido, who had just moved to the City from his village, was heading to meet his sister. He was minutes away [...]

3 teens murdered in 1 night; Commissioner says keep steady
But before the murder of Garrido, nineteen year old Raheem Requeña was shot four times on Kut Avenue. He died within minutes and his body was transported to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in the pan of a police pickup. According to one witness, as the vehicle sped off the body fell [...]

British National pleads guilty to abusing Belizean child
Accused pedophile, David Taylor, was transported from Placencia to the Dangriga court this morning to face charges of a sexual nature. Taylor was busted this week just as he was preparing to leave the peninsula. In his house, police found computers and hard drives containing pornographic material involving young boys from Belize as well as [...]

Headi Chable talks about the loss of her newborn
For months, we have been reporting on an unusually high number of women who allege that they left the Northern Regional Hospital in worse condition than when they were admitted. Among the allegations are the deaths of at least three babies due to medical negligence. The Medical Council has called for the removal of the [...]

Oceana’s case struck out on a technicality
There was a disappointing decision for Oceana, Audrey Marie Bradley and Thomas Greenwood in the referendum case against the government today. The case was taken to the court because eight thousand signatures were disallowed in the petition to trigger a referendum on offshore drilling in February. After a number of adjournments, attorneys for the government, [...]

Is cop on interdiction responsible for man’s death?
A police officer is on interdiction following the death of a Punta Gorda man. Fifty-three year old Francisco Shol, a driver for the Punta Gorda Hospital, died on Friday at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after it was reported that he was beaten on Thursday night, allegedly by a police officer attached to the Special [...]

“No wata noh deh!” Illegal electricity connection powered village water
The Christmas holidays are just days away but for the community of Mahogany Heights, there is no reason to celebrate. The community has been without water for two long weeks. Their lives have been severely disrupted since routine activities such as bathing and washing have become a major problem. The village chairperson says the disruption [...]

He slapped her, but denies hitting her with a rake
A Jane Usher Boulevard resident was convicted this for harming a teenager. He is thirty year old Glenford Brown, who was accused of hitting nineteen year old Tanisha Bodden with a rake on August second. After being found guilty, the Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith remanded Brown to prison until December twenty-fourth, when he will [...]

GSU finds guns, drugs and disposable rocket launcher for Christmas
The Gang Suppression Unit descended on Ladyville earlier today.  The first search was at the house of Dario Cruickshank on Mami Street. Cruickshank is described as a member of the Ghost Town Crips.  Also present during the search were Elvis Mitchell and Martha Sabio of Belize City. In the attic the Unit found a nine [...]

New pediatric intensive care unit to be constructed at K.H.M.H.
A new pediatric intensive care unit, to provide services to critically ill children, is soon to be constructed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  The PICU project is being led by Special Envoy for Women and Children and Lifeline Director Kim Simpliss-Barrow.  She is joined by the Ministry of Health, K.H.M.H. Authority, the Challenge Gobie [...]

B.E.L. employees donates Christmas hampers to customers
The Public Utilities Commission has not yet made a decision as to whether or not electricity rates will increase in the New Year. But for some citizens, Belize Electricity Limited intends to provide free electricity. B.E.L. latched onto a Golden Citizen program in 2012 and gave free electricity to fifty senior citizens. For 2013, the [...]

Healthy Living’s digests the facts about indigestion
For many of us, Christmas is a time of indulgence, an occasion to catch up with family, build new memories, enjoy experiences of laughter and joy and – most definitely – enjoy some great food and drinks. If you’ve been counting down to the ham and turkey and all the other Christmas treats, this week’s [...]


KHMH Construction Announced at Ceremony Today
About a year ago, a groundbreaking ceremony announced the construction of a new wing for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital which is the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. However construction didn’t immediately start because the budget which increased from a couple thousands ...

Triple Homicide In Belize City Reported Last Night
Three teenagers, all students of Belize City and Ladyville were murdered within a two hour period last night due to gun violence in the old capital. The first to die was sixteen year old Robert Allan Galdden of Ladyville. Police say they found Gladden lying face down at the corne...

Trio Charged for Firearm Offences
Two men and a woman were charged with firearm and ammunition offences when they appeared in court today. They are Dario Cruickshank, Elvis Mitchell and Martha Sabio. Cruickshank alone was charged with possession of an undetermined amount of cannabis. They pled not guilty to the charges...

Police Investigate Armed Robbery on Hummingbird Highway
Police in the Stann Creek district are investigating a report that two employees of Belize Food Processors Limited were the victims of an armed robbery on the Hummingbird Highway. The incident reportedly happened in Middlesex village on Tuesday evening of last week. Thirty seven ...


No Report Submitted On Case Of Alleged Police Brutality In San Pedro
It has been four days that the Belize Police Department have been investigating two of their very own at San Pedro Town for “brutality” against two residents of the island. While the group was out socializing at the Tackle Box Bar in the early hours of Monday morning, sometime around 12:40am, Ricky Jurado noticed a dark skinned man dancing provocatively behind his girlfriend. When Jurado approached the individual to question him, the individual became irate and left the establishment. Shortly after that, the group decided to leave the establishment and head home to avoid any sort of confrontation. As the group was making its way down the pier to land, they noticed the dark skinned man with two females, one a noticeable female officer, waiting for them on the dock. When approached by one Mr. Young, Jurado alleges that Young pulled out a pistol and placed it to his mouth while grabbing him by the neck. Jurado and his friends noticed that the perpetrators appeared to be highly under the influence. At this point is when Jurado noticed that all three were police officers. He alleges that he immediately put his hands in the air in a surrendering gesture but was still grabbed and dragged to the sand and up Barrier Reef Drive by Corporal Young with his gun to Jurado’s head.

Vehicle Consumed By Flames, Two Are Lucky To Be Alive
Two men are today lucky to be alive after their vehicle was engulfed into flames right in front of Diamonds Restaurant in the village of Trial Farm. Twenty-four year old Isair Alcoser was driving home through the village of Trial Farm just minutes before four o’clock this evening when he noticed smoke coming out from the front of his white Pick Up truck bearing license plate CZl C-17520. Traveling along with Isair was his fifty-eight year old father Evaristo Alcoser, when the vehicle was consumed by the flames. Orange Walk Firemen responded almost immediately but the vehicles machine was totaled. The duo were on their way back home after making some stops in town and were just two houses away from their residence when the unfortunate incident happened. Eyewitnesses say that the situation could have been deadly should Isair and Evaristo not notice the smoke at the time they did. As a result of their quick evacuation from the vehicle, no one was injured.

The Race For UDP Deputy Leader Is On
In what is gearing up to be one of the biggest Political Conventions in the history of the United Democratic Party, it is also gearing up to be a pivotal one in the Party’s future. The topic making headlines across the country is the race for Deputy Party Leader. Vying for the post are incumbent Orange Walk North Representative Gaspar Vega and challenger Collet Area Representative, Patrick Faber. For a couple of weeks now, both Ministers of Government and high ranking members of the United Democratic Party have been seen canvasing the country attempting to garner support for their campaign. Incumbent Gaspar Vega has held on to the Deputy Party Leader’s seat for over about eight years now, and Fabre has publicly stated that he believes he could do a much better job at that post that what Vega has been doing. But that hit to Vega’s campaign is mild compared to the one recently sustained at a Gala Banquet held by Minister of Education Patrick Faber for those supporting his candidacy for DPL. The banquet was well attended by delegates, party stalwarts, executive members, past party leaders, and elected representatives with expected absence of Queen Square which is the Party Leader’s constituency, and Port Loyola, who is firmly behind Gaspar Vega’s candidacy.


Charges laid against man accused of sex with teenage boys
Police have arrested and charged a man from Placencia village following allegations of child sex abuse and child pornography. According to reports, David Toylor was today charged with two counts of the crime of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and the possession of pornographic material. Love News understands that Taylor, seen here in a picture obtained from his Facebook page is scheduled to appear in the Dangriga Magistrate’s court on Thursday. As the investigation continues, it is possible that more charges may yet be brought against the school teacher who was known to offer private tutoring on the Placencia Peninsula. As we reported on Tuesday, Taylor was taken into custody after allegations surfaced that he had had inappropriate contact with teenage boys in the village and when police searched his computer, reportedly found pornographic videos and photographs of himself engaging in inappropriate behavior with children.

Man charged in crash of government vehicle
Four days after a government vehicle was destroyed in a crash on the George Price Highway, police today identified the driver of the vehicle. Thirty six year old Paul Faber was behind the steering wheel of the pickup truck which overturned and was extensively damaged at the corner of Fabers Road and the George Price Highway around four o’clock on Saturday morning. Police say that Faber was charged for the crimes of driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, failure to provide a specimen and driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention.

Allegations of wrong doing levied at police officers
The police department is in the news again … and again it is not positive press. A police officer in Caye Caulker village is being accused of extortion. Police Press Officer Raphael Martinez provided little details on the alleged incident in the daily press release, saying only that a resident of the island village claims to have been extorted by the officer while he was conducting a checkpoint. The Officer Commanding Easter Division, under whose portfolio Caye Caulker police falls, has dispatched a team of investigators from the Professional Standards Branch to investigate the incident. The same team of investigators will also go to San Pedro town to investigate an allegation of police brutality in which a woman claims that the police used excessive force against her. According to police reports, on Monday of this week, a police officer in San Pedro town was in the process of detaining a resident of the town who was reportedly behaving disorderly, when she was videotaped by San Pedro resident, twenty nine year old Viana Perez. It is alleged that an altercation ensured between the police officer and Perez during which both the officer and Perez sustained injuries. Viana Perez was later charged for the offence of assaulting a police officer and wounding. A counter claim has been made by Perez that the police officer used excessive force. The investigative team is expected to interview both parties as well as witnessed before coming up with a final report on the incident.

Shooting incident leaves one man injured
A shooting incident early this morning has left one persons injured. The victim has been identified as Robert Tracey. Police say when the visited the emergency room around two o’clock this morning, they say Tracey with a gunshot wound to the left wrist. Initial investigations by police revealed that around one twenty five this morning, Tracey was riding his bicycle on Holy Emmanuel Street when he saw two men on separate bicycles following him. Tracey told police that one of the men stopped following him but the other continued behind him and that as he reached Holy Emmanuel Street he heard four apparent gunshots and realized that he had been shot. Police investigations continue.

Man detained after allegedly impersonating government minister
The area representative for the Mesopotamia Division Michael Finnegan is known for his colorful and sometimes humorous presentations on the floor of the House of Representatives. But yesterday, the outspoken Minister made some explosive allegations that could land two men behind bars on some serious charges. According to Finnegan, Goldburn Adolphus, also known as Easy Glenn, has been impersonating him and along with another man, collecting money from various businesses in Belize City and Belmopan. The allegations were contained in a candid interview that the Housing Minister gave to our colleagues at 7 News. Today the police press officer Raphael Martinez noted in the daily press release that Goldburn Adolphus and James Swazo were detained in Orange Walk and would be transported to Belize City. They are now detained pending charges.

Gay rights activist to challenge Belize’s Immigration laws
As if the legal challenges from the former owners of BTL and the impending challenge to section 53 of the criminal code are not enough, tonight there is word of another legal challenge that the Barrow administration may have to deal with. And this time it comes from Jamaica. Homosexual activist Maurice Tomlinson, who is the legal advisor for Marginalized Groups at AIDS-Free World wants the government of Belize to remove a section of the country’s immigration laws which Tomlinson claims violates freedom of movement for Caribbean Community nationals. According to an official release posted on the internet Tomlinson, was invited to Belize to conduct training and sensitization sessions in the middle of January; but because section Five of the Belize Immigration Act lists various categories of persons barred from entering the country, he claims that he is automatically denied entry, because he is gay. Tomlinson has written to the government of Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller asking the Jamaica government to insist that the government of Belize removes what he describes as an unreasonable travel restriction. Furthermore, Tomlinson wants the Jamaica government to bring the matter before the Caribbean Court of Justice on the grounds that Belize’s immigration act breaches the provisions of free movement of persons under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. And he says that if the Jamaica government fails or refuses to bring the matter before the CCJ, he intends to try and do so himself. Tomlinson’s release ends by saying that, quote:” the offensive and overboard prohibitions of Section 5 of the Belize Immigration Act must be repealed in order to combat the crushing stigma and discrimination against vulnerable populations that still pervades most of the Caribbean, restricts the fight against HIV and contributes to the fact that the region has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in the world after sub-Sahara Africa,” end of quote.

Minister says public transportation system will run smoothly for Christmas
This Christmas season commuters who must use the public transportation system to get around will no doubt have some anxious moments getting from point A to point B, including back and forth from home and work. While the transportation system is far from perfect, Edmund Castro, who is also the Minister responsible for Transportation, told Love News that traffic officers will be out over the holiday to enforce the laws as best as they could. With reference to two private bus owners having different issues with the Transport Department, one regarding Jenine Hamilton who was accusing the Department of boxing her out and the other regarding the Haylock’s bus from which the little boy fell a few weeks ago, we asked the Minister to give us updates.

New police station in Maya Beach, Placencia
A new police station has been inaugurated in the Maya Beach area of the Placencia Penninsula. This past Saturday, Commissioner of Police David Henderson was in the village to oversee the opening of the facility, which is the result of the community coming together to assist the law enforcement agency in keeping the village safe. Inspector Mark Flowers is the officer commanding the Placencia police. The commissioning of the new Maya Beach police precinct coincided with the installation of a group of new police constables. Inspector Flowers explains. That was the officer commanding Placencia police, Inspector Mark Flowers.

Two people reported missing, including a schoolboy
Two people have been reported missing. The first we’ll tell you about is a ten year old Belize City boy. According to police reports, Ashton Samuels Junior left home on Monday and has not been heard from or seen by his parents since. According to the boy’s father, his mother allowed him to go outside of the house to play; but he did not return home Ashton Samuels Junior is described as being of brown complexion, slim built, stands about four feet, five inches tall and has a scar on the left side of his face. Samuels was last seen wearing a pair of blue jeans pants, blue striped shirt and a pair of slippers. His parents tell police that this is the third time that the boy has gone missing. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Ashton Samuels Junior is asked to call the nearest police station. The second missing person’s report comes from the Cayo district. Twenty three year old Guadalupe Percy Himes is reported to have left his family home in Santa Familia village around nine o’clock on Sunday night and has not been seen or heard from since. Guadalupe Percy Humes is described as being of creole descent, stands five feet, five inches tall, has a low hair cut, with tattoos on most parts of his body. Humes has a teardrop tattoo below his eyes and was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, long jeans pans and brown shoes. Police investigations continue.

Belizean man face extradition hearing
Thirty-five year old Khalid El Turk, a naturalized Belizean originally from Lebanon, was taken to the # 1 Magistrate’s Court today for an extradition hearing. Turk, who was detained by police on October 16, is wanted by the U.S. Government for the alleged importation of pseudo-ephedrine into the U.S. Senior Crown Counsel Magali Perdomo appeared for the office of the Solicitor General and presented a bundle of documents that corresponded to Article 7 of Belize’s extradition treaty with the U.S. Tasha Young, an officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, identified the document as the evidence by the U.S. Turk was represented by attorney Edwin Flowers. The hearing was adjourned until February 7, 2013.

Man jailed on committal warrants; face theft charges
Forty-four year old Keith Harris, a truck driver of 124 Freetown Road, was charged with 3 counts of theft and 2 counts of handling stolen goods when he appeared today in the #2 and #1 Magistrate’s Courts respectively. Harris was charged with the theft of a laptop computer when he went to the #2 court. He pled not guilty to the charge and he was offered a bail of $1,500. And his case was adjourned until February 6, 2013. The theft occurred on December 3. The complainant, 33 year old school warden Maria Belizaire, reported to the police that she loaned Harris her computer and went she went to get it he did not have it. Harris was charged with the theft of twelve 40 feet containers, valued at $120,000. when he was taken to the #1 court. No plea was taken from him because the offence is indictable. The theft occurred between October 5 and October 8, 2012 and the containers were the property of Marine Services Company Limited. He was also charged with handling stolen goods for the containers. Harris was charged with the theft of $25,000. from Arturo Matus. He was also charged with handling stolen goods for 100 sheets of plywood, the property of Caribbean Tires. The plywood is valued at nine thousand, four hundred and sixty six dollars. The theft from Matus occurred between October 5 and October 8, of this year. The handling stolen goods occurred on October 27. Apart from the criminal charges, Harris is faced with several civil suit judgements for which committal warrants have been made out. One judgement is for five thousand and thirty one dollars owed to Monica’s Pawnshop. Another is for one thousand and ninety two dollars owed to Caribbean Tires. Harris was taken to prison on the strength of the warrants.

COLA states its official position on Belize-Guatemala referrendum
On Sunday Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action COLA, launched a Position Statement on the Referendum on Belize-Guatemala Territorial Adjudication at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This document outlines their arguments on not supporting the move of going to the ICJ to resolve the territorial claim. President of the organization, Geovannie Brackett stopped by Love News today to tell us about some of those motives. Brackett also cited other recent cases like that of Colombia and Nicaragua in which Colombia withdrew from the treaty that recognizes the Court, their president commenting that Boundary issues should not be put in the hands of a court. COLA’s document according to Brackett is not just saying no, but it also comes with recommendations. COLA is currently also campaigning on their opposition in this matter to make people aware of the implications the action might have. Advertisements on the radio are also part of COLA’s No to the ICJ campaign. Brackett says they will use the little that they have to educate the population on the subject.

Roaring Creek man injured in road traffic accident
A villager of Roaring Creek Village remains hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital following a traffic accident yesterday. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports.

KHMH celebrates achievements
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital celebrated quite a few achievements in 2012 in terms of advanced and new kinds of equipment and services if now offers. Another major accomplishment in the next few weeks will be the construction in the next few weeks of what can be considered a mini children’s hospital on the compound. Coupled with that is the implementation recently of better salaries for its nurses. KHMH CEO, Dr. Gary Longsworth, discussed the two achievements with us. The children’s hospital will be built at a cost of a million Belize dollars.

Belizean doctor gets international citation
While the KHMH is boasting new and improved services for 2012, it also has among its highest ranks in the medical field, an accomplished physician. Doctor Jorge Hidalgo has been at the centre of many major life-saving surgeries over the past several years and he is now internationally recognized for that. Today Dr. Hidalgo told Love News about his prestigious award. Dr Hidalgo graduated from medical college in 1994.

Christmas luncheon for KHMH staff
Every year around this time, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital holds a special Christmas luncheon to honour its hard-working staff and to recognize the ones that have perfect attendance, have long service, or are retiring. Today that event was held and as we discovered, there were quite a few of the staffers who were recognized. Love News spoke with a few of those who were recognized. The KHM was built in 1995 and replaced the old Belize City Hospital that was located on Eve Street.

Christmas goodies for Lake Independence residents
Hundreds of people lined the streets this morning in the Lake Independence area of Belize City, but they weren’t out there because of some tragedy, they were out to receive toys coming from a small parade coordinated by area representative Mark King. Two residents of the area Sarita Peters and Ann Tench, expressed their joy and appreciation of the initiative to Love News. The parade included a band with majorettes and a big truck which included toys and cartoon characters.

Belize Rural North residents get Christmas hampers
Today the villages in the Belize Rural North were bustling as villagers were busy transporting hundreds of bags loaded with basic grocery items and farm produce. They were Christmas hampers destined for 15 hundred families in the constituency from their Area Rep, Edmond Castro. Love News was present for the collection of the hampers and spoke with Castro about the gesture. The gifts came in handy for not only the recipients, but also the farmers who made quite a handsome sum from the sales in time for the Christmas season. But while the farmers and the villagers were happy, supplying 15 hundred families with food hampers is not a cheap task. So we asked Castro where the money came from to carry out such a costly deed. Castro says that 500 families along the old Northern Highway, as well as 500 families in the Belize River Valley and another 500 from Sand Hill to Rhaburn’s Ridge will receive food hampers this year.

OAS and Euoprean Union sign agreement
The Organization of American States and the European Union have signed an agreement to support the Peace Fund project which implements Confidence Building Measures in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala. The Peace Fund is managed by the hemispheric organization. Speaking at the signing on Monday, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, noted that it was an important occasion, given that the OAS and the EU have been working on this for a long time, with a very fruitful cooperation from both governments. The Secretary General recalled that Belize and Guatemala agree on the notion that the territorial differendum is to be solved in a peaceful manner and therefore decided to go to the International Court of Justice. That decision by the governments must be ratified by a simultaneous referendum in the two countries, to take place on October sixth. For his part the Permanent Observer of the European Union to the OAS, Joao Vale de Almeida, said there is no better way to resolve conflicts than through a peaceful process, which his organization wants to support that. The contribution from the European Union is in the amount of 2 million Euros, or 2.5 million US dollars. It will be used to support the confidence building measures in the adjacency zone; and to support the information campaigns in both countries, leading up to next year’s referendum. Present at yesterday’s signing ceremony were the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin; the Permanent Representative of Belize, Nestor Mendez; the Permanent Representative of Guatemala, José Rodrigo Vielmann de León; representatives of Member States and Observers, and other high authorities of the organization. The OAS provides technical and political assistance with regard to the differendum between Belize and Guatemala by facilitating the negotiations taking place under the “Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence-Building Measures” signed by the Governments of Belize and Guatemala in September 2005. Likewise, the OAS General Secretariat’s Office in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala conducts verifications and activities in support of a number of government institutions. Several projects are also under way to foster development and integration of the communities in the Adjacency Zone, along with community resettlement projects.

BDF soldiers are served Christmas lunch
Christmas came early for members of the Belize Defence Force. Love TV’s Marion Ali explains.


16 year old Robert Allan Gladden fatally shot walking in Belize City
It was a violent Wednesday night in Belize City as three teenagers were shot dead in separate incidents in Belize C...

19 year old Raheem Requena killed while riding his bicycle
A little over an hour later, more shots were fired, and another teenager was dead. At about 8:10p.m., 19 year old R...

15 year old Reynaldo Raymundo Garrido fatally shot
Just about half an hour after the second teenager was gunned down in Belize City, a third teen met his untimely dea...

Police Commissioner addresses recent eruption of violence in Belize City
With the recent eruption of violence in Belize city last night, a police press conference was held today in Belize ...

Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive
Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive. The Palacio family has been in the news before after their loved-one, 53 year-old R...

Alleged pedophile David Taylor has been remanded
Alleged British pedophile David Taylor has been remanded. Earlier this week the seaside fishing and tourism communi...

Exporter will be prosecuted for illegal lumber
Last week Wednesday the Forestry Department impounded a container filled with lumber filches at the Belize City Por...

Forestry Department faces challenges in enforcing moratorium
A moratorium was placed on the highly priced and much coveted Rosewood earlier this year. Despite the cessation tho...

Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive
Romel Palacio Jr. may be alive. The Palacio family has been in the news before after their loved-one, 53 year-old R...

Oceana’s referendum case struck out in court
Oceana’s referendum case was struck out today in court. Oceana was taking GOB to court over the validity of the 8,0...

Disciplinary actions taken against sleeping cop
The image of the sleeping cop on the floor of the KHMH has made the rounds on the internet. According to the top br...

Keith Harris charged with 3 counts of theft
44 year old Keith Harris was charged with 3 counts of theft and 2 counts of handling stolen goods when he was arrai...

Mayan calendar ends tomorrow
Fears that the end of the world is tomorrow Friday December 21 have spread across the world with the end of the May...

Homosexual organizations ready to challenge another legislation
Homosexual advocacy organizations and individuals are getting ready to challenge another of Belize’s legislation. A...

The Guardian

Police Station inaugurated at Maya Beach Special Constables sworn in for Placencia
On Saturday, December 15th, 2012, a new Police Station was inaugurated in the Maya Beach area, now designated as a precinct of the Placencia Formation in the Stann Creek District. The fully furnished and outfitted Police Station is the product of effective collaboration between the Ministry of National Security, the Placencia Police Formation and the business community and residents of the Peninsula, over 70 of whom have donated material, cash and labor.

Belize Telemedia launches 4G
Over the past couple of weeks, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) has been turning on the 4G network in Belmopan, Ladyville and Belize City and on Friday, December 14th, the company held a soft launch to introduce the new super fast mobile speeds.

Electricity Expansion for Bradley’s Bank in Cayo
A new commitment for the electrification of Bradley’s Bank in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District has been made. Some forty families in the Bradley’s Bank Area of Santa Elena Town, Cayo will soon be connected to the electrical grid. In a launching ceremony on December 16th, ranking officials joined in the joyous occasion to announce that electricity will be supplied to the Bradley’s Bank Area.

Rural North’s New Executive
The Belize Rural North constituency selected a new executive committee on Saturday December 17th. The meeting was held at the Black Orchid Resort. Elected as chairperson was Denton Belisle with Zellie Tillett, Helen Castro, Jessie Bernard, Norman Middleton, Andrew Chacon, Charles Galvez, Lesby Cortez, Jeanette Grinage, Jean Tillett, Rudolph Crawford, Geraldine Joseph, Juanita Banner, Jacqueline Casasola and Winford Broaster, Jr. being elected as members. Alternates are: Erlean Baptist, Melanie Revers, Robert Tillett, Dolores Aguilar and Angie Smith.

Sustainable Management of National Conch Fishery
The Fisheries Department advises and reminds the fishing community and the public that it has implemented a range of management measures for the conch fishery to ensure that employment and livelihood opportunities for fishers, processors, and others associated with the fishing industry are safeguarded over the long-term future. The measures being implemented by the Fisheries Department are also focused on sustaining the abundance of the conch stocks and the integrity of the environment upon which these species depend.

Eight Laws Passed by the National Assembly
Before the members of the National Assembly break for Christmas, they gathered to pass eight pieces of legislation. Those are the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Bill; the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill; the Statistical Institute of Belize (Amendment) Bill, the Crime Control and Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill; the Income Tax (Avoidance of Double Taxation) (Caricom) (Amendment) Bill; the Land Tax (Partial Remission of Arrears) Bill; the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Bill and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Prohibition) Bill.

Feeding Program must continue says Foundation in Cayo
The San Ignacio based Cornerstone Foundation held a Mini Fair on December 15th, in an effort to keep its feeding program for children afloat. With reduced funds from external sources, the NGO has had to do some local fund raising drives.

UDP Fort George Children’s Christmas Party A Loaded Success!
Roger Espejo's Christmas Party ... We don't inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. - unknown

Harsher Laws against Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children
The National Assembly of Belize passed eight pieces of legislation in its last sitting on Friday, December 14th, in the House of Representatives and Wednesday, December 19th, in the Senate. For human rights activists, two of those bills were of paramount importance- the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Bill, 2012 and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Prohibition) Bill, 2012.

Mark King spreads Christmas Joy in Lake I
Hon. Mark King led the motorcade in Lake I The entire Lake Independence constituency came alive with the festive mood of Christmas on Wednesday, December 19th as the area representative, Hon. Mark King, led a motorcade through the principal streets of that constituency.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) assists Restore Belize’s “Computer Assisted Learning” Program
On Monday, December 17th the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) handed over BZ$318,936 to the RESTORE Belize Program for the launching of the “Computer Assisted Learning” program. The finances will be used to purchase 100 computers, which will be used to teach people how to read.

Human Rights Commission of Belize celebrates World Human Rights Day
The Human Rights Commission of Belize (HRCB), Belize’s principal human rights advocacy group, has celebrated World Human Rights Day. The theme of World Human Rights Day is “My Voice Counts” and that was put into practice on Monday, December 10th, 2012 with a meeting near the Belize Police Force Headquarters in Belmopan. This international celebration also coincides with HRCB's 25th Anniversary. According to a United Nations website, Human Rights Day represents an opportunity every year to celebrate human rights, focusing on specific issues. This year the attention falls on the rights of all people - women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor - to make their voices heard and be included in political decision-making. In his address at HRCB’s function, guest speaker Gustavo Perrera, who was once the program Director for the Society for the Promotion of Education and Research SPEAR, called on everyone to move beyond the ‘participatory approach’ to the ‘deliberative approach’. He called on participants in the Democratic process, to first get the facts, consult and reach shared decisions. In her closing remarks, Cynthia Pitts, Attorney-at-Law and who is also a trustee of the HRCB, thanked the Governor General Sir Colville Young for his presence and for his concern about Human Rights. In his welcome address Attorney-at -Law, Leo Bradley, Jr. and who is the current President of HRCB, also recognized the Governor General for being an active partner; participating in all of HRCB’s events.

Domestic Dispute between Women ends in Death
At about 11:30p.m. on December 8th, police received information that a female had been transported to the La Loma Luz Hospital, a private hospital located in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District. On arriving at the hospital, the authorities saw the lifeless body of a female person, lying on the bed with stab wounds to the throat. Further investigation revealed that Rosalia Castillo was the person who had transported Pamela Perez to the hospital. Police then picked up Castillo at her residence at #4 George Price Avenue, where she informed them that her bar had been robbed. Police visited the establishment, Las Palomas Del Norte Bar located on Carrillo Puerto Avenue, Santa Elena Town. There, they saw blood on the floor, broken bottles and a pair of shoes belonging to Perez. As a result, Castillo was detained and taken to the San Ignacio Police Station. Further investigations into the incident revealed that Castillo and Perez had a domestic dispute at the bar, where Castillo pulled out an object and stabbed Perez to her throat. Witnesses say that the wound on Perez was caused by Castillo. Rosalia Castillo has since been arrested and charged for murder. She has appeared before a Magistrate, where she is now remanded to the Hattieville Prison.

British Bulldogs
Written by Jamil Matar. Several people have remarked that at last, there was something positive that spun off in the BTL debacle, which was the acquiescence of the CCJ on Wednesday to allow dividends to be distributed to the small shareholders of the telecommunications company. These 1,400 shareholders are “small fry” in this big fight, and they only invested to have a little something at the end of the year, yet still have their shares preserved for the future as the Belize market expands. The general feeling in purchasing shares was that if BTL is later deemed to be the property of the British national, then all recent investments are to be refunded with a little interest. Sounded like win-win situation to the small investors; that is, until the British Bulldogs started barking again, and this time they went for the jugular: to halt all dividend distributions. There was a sense of anxiety for a while there, then calm after the last CCJ decision on Monday, December 17th. There would be little extra cash, after all, to buy something nice for Christmas. But what will happen to BTL in the future? As a simple person, I don’t share the elevated optimism that I observe attorneys usually exude, on both sides of any argument, and I always feel that the side I support will ultimately lose. I don’t know if I read too much into things, and I may be totally wrong here with my pessimistic attitude; but as the Russians are fond of saying, a pessimist is actually an informed optimist.

Businessman arrested for Theft
Police have arrested and charged a businessman, 44-year-old Keith Harris. He appeared before Chief Magistrate and was remanded to prison following the issue of a number of committal warrants against him. In court, Harris was charged with as many as 6 criminal offenses including the alleged theft of two 40-foot containers. When the police could not verify his real address, bail was denied. He was remanded to prison until February 6th, 2013. Harris first appeared before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer after he is being accused of staling female friend Maria Belezaire’s HP laptop valued at $1,500. Belezaire reported to police that she loaned her laptop to Harris on December 3rd, 2012, and when she asked him for it, he told her that it was at a friend’s home being fixed.

Extradition hearing starts for Lebanese national, Khalid El Turk
On Wednesday, December 19th, police officers escorted 35-year-old Lebanese national, Khalid El Turk in cuffs and under heavy guard to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. He was pushed hurriedly through the back entrance and whisked off into Court #1 where he appeared before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith to start extradition proceedings. In court, Attorney from the Solicitor General's office Magali Perdomo, submitted documents to the Chief Magistrate, which they are relying on to extradite El Turk. He was represented by Attorney, Edwin Flowers. Also present in court was Tasha Young, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

First Former gunned down in Lord’s Bank Village
15-Year-old Dayne Bodden, Jr. was executed mercilessly on Park’s Road in the Lord’s Bank area on Sunday, December 16th. According to reports, Bodden was riding home on his bicycle just before 8 p.m. when a gunman came out of a bushy lot and shot him to the head, chest and foot. The minor died on the spot. Bodden was a first form student of Ladyville Technical High School. He is known as a humble and mild-mannered youth. Why then was he gunned down? Word on the street is that it was a case of mistaken identity. Bodden shares physical resemblance with a wanted gang-affiliated individual, who resides in the Lord’s Bank area. According to reports, gunmen were waylaying that individual when Bodden passed by on his bicycle. Police have not named any suspect as yet in Bodden’s murder.

Man found hanging on Ferry in Cayo
Martin Cesar Castellanos was found hanging from a yellow rope on the Baking Pot Ferry on December 14th, near Central Farm in the Cayo District. The forty-year- old Castellanos resided in Santa Cruz in the Santa Elena Area. Martin Castellanos leaves behind two children, his youngest child being only a year old. He also leaves a 16-year-old, now in third form at the Eden Seventh Day Adventist High School in Santa Elena town. Castellanos was buried on Sunday after a church service at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in San Ignacio Town. The sudden death of Martin Castellanos has had a tremendous impact on the family. Maria Castellanos told us that with her husband now gone, she does not know how she will continue to send her daughter to high school. If you would like to assist Maria Castellanos, please call her at 631-8718. An account number for Maria Castellanos has been set up at the Belize Bank, San Ignacio Branch. That account number is 650-222-81804.

55-year-old guilty of 3 counts of carnal knowledge on 14 year girl
On Monday, December 17th, a jury of 9 stepped into the deliberating room at 10:29 a.m., to decide the fate of 55-year-old Winston Dennison, who was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl on three separate occasions in 2012. After three hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict of guilty on all charges. Justice Troadio Gonzalez deferred sentencing to Friday, December 21st, when mitigation pleas will be heard on his behalf.

Officers on Interdiction
On Wednesday, December 19th, Members of the Professional Standards Branch and the Criminal Investigation Branch of the Police Department have been deployed to the island of Ambergris Caye to investigate reports of police brutality on that island town. According to Ricky Jurado, he was at the Tackle Box Bar in the early hours of Monday, December 14th when he became involved in a confrontation with another man at the bar. Jurado told the San Pedro Sun that he had just come out of the restroom to find a man dancing behind his girlfriend in a seductive manner. He got into a verbal exchange with the individual after which he left. Jurado and a group of his friends, including his fiancé Vianie Perez would follow suit only to be confronted by three people including police corporal Mark Young and WPC Sherifa Young. Jurado says that Cpl. Young placed a gun to his head and roughed him up on the way to the police station. Looking on, Perez attempted to videotape the incident when she was attacked by WPC Sherifa Young who, with a baton, hit her to the face and head causing her to bleed profusely. As a result of the incident both officers have been put on interdiction pending the outcome of investigations.

Pleads Guilty of being in MS 13 gang
On Monday, December 17th, 20-year-old Angel Antonio Ruiz, who confessed to police that he is a member of the criminal gang, MS-13 was charged for displaying a gang insignia before Magistrate Adolph Lucas. He had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge but quickly changed his plea to guilty when he learnt that bail could not be offered on the charge. His mother, who was present in court, also influenced him in changing his plea as she began to cry uncontrollably when she realized that her son was going to be remanded to the Belize Central prison for Christmas. For the offense, Ruiz was then fined $500 plus a $5.00 cost of court. He has until March 23rd, 2013 to pay his fine in default 5 months.

Pedophile in Placencia
Police in Placencia have arrested British National 39-year-old David Taylor and he is expected to be charged with two counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature and possession of pornographic material. Toylor was arrested after police conducted a search on Taylor home earlier this week and found pictures and videos of him and young boys engaged in homosexual acts. Reportedly, the search yielded as many as 50 videos and 500 photographs of 4 young boys between the ages of 10 and 13 posing nude and engaged in homosexual activity with young men. The investigation into the matter continues and it is likely that there may be more files that have not yet been found as those found only cover a period between August to November 2012. Of note is that Taylor was a tutor of students.

Pleads Guilty to stealing Christmas Ornaments
On Monday, December 17th, 40-year-old Jason Wade, a welder from Camalote Village appeared in Magistrate's Court to answer to charges of theft. He appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, where he pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to a fine of $200 plus $5.00 cost of court. He must pay by January 31st, 2013, or in default he will spend 2 months in prison.

Murder in Taylor’s Alley
22-year-old resident of Taylor’s Alley, Gushany Wagner was shot multiple times to the body at around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, December 16th. Wagner and a 16-year-old minor was standing at the mouth of “Pregnant Alley”, which is located in front of the Salvation Army Primary School on Cemetery Road when a gunman rode up towards them and opened fire. Wagner was struck by bullets to the head, back and arms; he died at the scene of the shooting. The minor received gunshot injuries to the right side of the chest and left foot. He was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. The shooter rode off to a clean escape. Police believe that the shooting was a direct result of the brawl that occurred minutes earlier at the BTL Park. Their investigation into the incident continues.

Belmopan Comprehensive High School is National Basketball Champions
The 2012-2013 National Secondary Schools Male Basketball Competition came to an end on Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at the Independence High Schools Basketball Court in Independence Village. Four schools representing the various regions of the NSSSA participated in this championship. The schools are from the north, San Pedro High School, central, defending champions Sadie Vernon Technical High School, from the west, Belmopan Comprehensive High School and from the south, Stann Creek Ecumenical High School. On Saturday, December 15th, in the male championship game, Belmopan Comprehensive High School defeated Stann Creek Ecumenical High School by the score of 62-49 to regain the national high school basketball title. The top scorers for Belmopan Comprehensive High School were Akeem Watters with 17 points and Kevin Brown with 15 points, while the top scorers for Stann Creek Ecumenical were Quinton Brown with 21 points and Brandon Castillo with 12 points. In the consolation game, Sadie Vernon Technical High School defeated San Pedro High School to finish this year’s competition with the Bronze medal. The top scorers for Sadie Vernon Technical were Jamal Augustine with 20 points and Lincey Lopez with 15 points.Meanwhile, the top scorers for San Pedro High School were Russell Linarez and Jose Guerrero with 13 points each.

Belmopan vs Belmopan in Football’s Biggest Showdown
The 2012 Premier League of Belize Football Competition has now entered its championship round with the top two teams coming directly from out of Belmopan. It will be the first time since the semi-pro era that the finals will be played between two teams from Belmopan. On Saturday, December 15th, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the home team Belmopan Bandits advanced to the championship round when it eliminated the defending champions, Placencia Assassins from further play in this year’s competition. At the end of the second and final game of the semi-final series between the two teams, the game ended in a 0-0 draw, but the Belmopan Bandits were able to advance to the championship round with a previous 1-0 victory for the Placencia Assassins a week earlier. Meanwhile, the national sub-champions the Police United also earned the right to the championship round for a second straight season when it eliminated the Belize Defence Force on Sunday, December 16th also at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. The Police United squad, like the Belmopan Bandits, had just one week earlier defeated the Belize Defence Force by the score of 2-1 out at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio. The first game in the championship series will be played on Sunday, December 23rd, at 3:30 pm out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan between the Belmopan Bandits and Police United. The second game in the series is scheduled for Saturday, December 29th, at 7:30 pm at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium

San Antonio FC Interdistrict Football Champions
The Football Federation of Belize 2012 Interdistrict Football Competition came to an end on Sunday, December 16th out at the Ricalde Stadium in Corozal Town between San Antonio FC and Benguche FC from the Stann Creek District. In the 2nd and final game of the championship series, the home team San Antonio FC defeated Benguche FC by the score of 3-1. The goals for San Antonio FC were scored by Russell Cassanova in the 21st and 90th minute of the game and Eaveral Bodden in the 60th minute of play. Meanwhile, the goal for Benguche FC was scored by Shanti Castillo in the 58th minute of play. However, because of San Antonio’s win over Benguche FC during regulation time, the game then had to go into overtime, to determine a victor. At the end of overtime the game remained scoreless which then lead to the penalty kicks. It was in the penalty kicks period that the San Antonio FC was able to score 4 goals to Benguche’s 1 goal, which then decided the championship. The goals for San Antonio FC were scored by Johann Clavel, Russell Cassanova, Darnell Mossiah and Christian Pena, while the goal for Benguche FC was scored by Kenton Flores. At the end of the championship, the following received the 2012 Individual awards: Most Goals - Darwaine Castillo (Benguche FC), Best Forward - Russell Cassanova (San Antonio FC), Best Midfielder – Christian Pena (San Antonio FC), Best Defender – Freddy De La Rosa (Benguche FC), Best Goalkeeper – Darren Hinds (Independence Scorpions), Most Valuable Player – Russell Cassanova (San Antonio FC), Manager – Beauty Daniels of San Antonio FC, and Coach – Stanley Murillo (Benguche FC).

San Estevan FC leads Orange Walk Football Competition
The Orange Walk Football Association 1st Division Opening Tournament 2012 continued over the last week with a number of games on its schedule. On Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town, San Estevan FC defeated San Fran FC by the score of 5-1. The goals for San Estevan FC were scored by Diego Mencias and the three by Adimael Patt, The goal for San Fran FC was scored by Nathaniel Williams. On Sunday, December 16th, at the Louisiana Field, in the first of three games played, San Lazaro Revolution FC blastsed New Hope United FC by the score of 7-1. The goals scorers for San Lazaro were Ruviney Carrillo, Arris Serrano, Darwin Sanchez, Andres Alvarado and Ismael Tillett, while the goal for New Hope United FC was scored by Jason Williams. In game two, Carmelita Athletics blanked San Felipe United by the score of 2-0. Both goals for Carmelita Athletics were scored by Ryan Wade. And in the final game of the day, Real Juvenil FC blanked Crystal FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Yassin Chan.

St. Catherine Academy is Back-to- Back National Basketball Champions
The 2012-2013 National Secondary Schools Sports Association National Basketball Championship came to an end on Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at the Independence High School in Independence Village in the Belize District. The championship commenced on Friday, December 14th, 2012 with two games in the female competition. The schools that participated in the championship are from the northern region, New Hope High School (NHHS), from the western region, Belmopan Comprehensive High School, from the southern region, Delille Academy and from the central region, defending champions St. Catherine Academy. On Saturday, December 15th, in the female championship game, St. Catherine Academy defeated Delille Academy by the score 23-21. The top scorers for St. Catherine Academy were Gilda Estrada with 14 points and Indie Dixon with 5 points, while the top scorers for Delille Academy were Moesha Enriquez with 10 points and Shayama Caliz with 7 points. In the third place game, Belmopan Comprehensive High School defeated New Hope High School by the score of 16-14. The top scorers for Belmopan Comprehensive High School were N. Lewis and A. Gonzalez with 8 points each. For New Hope High School, the top scorers were Emma Doherty with 7 points and Danielle Reneau with 5 points.

Octavia Waight Centre and Help Age Celebrate
Deputy Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena , Bernadette Fernandez, giving her address at the Octavia Waight Centre Party The Octavia Waight Centre in San Ignacio held its yearly Christmas Party on December 16th. The home for the elderly held its party for the first time at its own Convention Hall. It was a community effort, in the season of giving, to Belize’s developers of the past. The party for the Octavia Waight residents and some three hundred other guests involved much singing and music by Magana’s Band, a local band from San Ignacio. Noted signer, Lucille Mendez was present to entertain everyone. Deputy Mayor of the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, Bernadette Fernandez says that it has become traditional to invite members of the community to the party in order for the residents to socialize with them. The party for the elderly and community was made possible through kind contributions by Belize Telemedia Limited. Other contributors were Alberto August, Hodes Place, Running W Brand Meats, Chuc’s Gas Station, Cayo Chemical Laboratory, Maya Mountain Lodge, Tropigas, the Saint Martin’s Credit Union, Greedy’s Pizzeria and many others. The Octavia Waight Centre is a home for the elderly, which currently shelters some twenty seven residents. The fourteen females and thirteen males come from around Belize. The Centre opened its doors in 1986 and works closely with Help Age Belize.

Remembrance – Edward Flowers
My beloved brother Eddie, as he was affectionately known, was not just a brother to me. In my growing up, he was protector and a best friend. In my early adult years, he became my confidant and continued being my best friend. Eddie was always an easy-going, unassuming type of guy who went about his business whistling, smiling and wishing folks the time of the day, quite oblivious to his surroundings. He enjoyed the life which he lived to its fullest. Eddie was a survivor from birth. He was born in the early morning of the 1931 hurricane. My mother of ten spoke of the adverse effect the storm had on her young family. All her belongings and personal effects were either lost or destroyed; the few pieces of clothing she had for the new born baby were also gone missing. Fortunately, there was a Chinese merchant in the building where she weathered the storm, this kind gentleman went into what was left of his store and brought her an empty sugar sack with which she wrapped her new born (the sugar baby) until she was rescued. There were many sides to my brother - I remember one Christmas, Mom received a turkey from up river. She was known for her meticulous personality and starting purging the bird with Epson salts in readiness for the Christmas dinner. However, she must have overdone the treatment; the turkey died. When brother Ed came in from work and heard the bird had just died he shouted in a loud voice “Cook-a-mom, cook-a-cook-the- turkey!” We all thought it was funny and laughed at him. For brother Ed it was not funny; he was quite serious. On another occasion, Eddie was coming to visit with us in Canada. And at the airport in Texas, the story goes, he either missed his connecting flight or nearly missed it due to his casual and happy-go-lucky attitude. He found time for the friends he encountered at the airport.

Written by Dr. Oliver Ottley, District Superintendent Emeritus, Church of the Nazarene Matthew 1:21-23 (KJV) 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. “WHAT CHILD IS THIS?” The genealogy and birth of Jesus are recorded in both Matthew and Luke. Luke’s record begins with Jesus when He was about thirty years of age and goes backwards to Adam and to God. Conversely, Matthew begins with Abraham and ends with the birth of Jesus. The purpose of both writers is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but each is inspired to present it from a different approach. Furthermore, Matthew’s account of the Nativity is clearly prophetic, and deeply theological. “GOD WITH US” Some Bible religions choose to interpret the fulfillment of this prophecy in terms of natural, human understanding. Accordingly, they reject the benediction of “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” (cf. 1 John 5:7). True, it transcends human comprehension, but it is sound, biblical theology. Interestingly, the term, God, is revealed as both quality and individuality; essentiality and personality (cf. John 1:1).

“Lisa Haadpay Star?”
In September of this year, Lisa Shoman had the opportunity to travel to the UN General Assembly in New York, courtesy the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize. There is nothing unusual about this kind of courtesy extended to someone; however, what has taken place after the trip is worth mentioning. The Guardian is reliably informed that during the General Assembly, the Government had to pay for hotel expenses incurred by those who attended. This is because, generally, the sponsor does not make the payments until all expenses are tallied and receipts are handed in. That was done, and the Taiwanese embassy made direct payment to those who were sponsored since part of the money given them included allowances. The understanding was that the participants were to reimburse Government for the expenses incurred. Now all the delegates who attended the conference have since handed in their portion of the money for the hotel accommodations except Madam Lisa. It is unclear why she has not yet done; so, however, she has been written to on at least two occasions to reimburse the money but to our best information, she has not yet done so. That's how they in the PUP do it!

Small Shareholders get Dividends...GOB and SSB - not yet
As of Wednesday, December 19th, small shareholders, some 1,400 of them, will be collecting dividends from Belize Telemedia Limited. That is representative of some $2 million, which will now make its way to the small shareholders just in time for Christmas. While that is now the case for the small shareholders, still not declared is $9.9 million dollars which is due to the Government of Belize and the Social Security Board. GOB was to have received $7.5 million and the Social Security Board $2.4 million. That is not to be yet as the Caribbean Court of Justice ordered that BTL not pay out these monies. In effect, the attorneys for the Ashcroft Alliance have temporarily deprived the Government and the SSB from much needed money. They came like Grinches and snatched the finances temporarily from the hands of the people of Belize. The attorneys have been maneuvering in court for months now and earlier this year, the CCJ had ordered that dividends not be declared until not before December 14th. Since then, the matter was heard in the Court of Appeals where the Ashcroft Alliance had applied for interim relief to stop BTL from issuing dividends. That was refused by the Belize Court of Appeal on the 13th of December. No sooner had that taken place than the Ashcroft attorneys cried to the CCJ on that same day to stop the paying of dividends. By the time the court met at 9a.m. on Friday, December 14th, in compliance with the Court of Appeals decision, Executive Chairman of BTL had already began to distribute dividends.

MCC not just for FFB but for All Belizeans
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth, held a press briefing on Wednesday, December 19th, to address concerns raised by a group of individuals, who are protesting the use of the MCC Grounds for non sporting events. His message to them was simple: “The MCC Grounds is owned by the National Sports Council and there is no plan to turn ownership over to any other organization.” The protesters spread around photos of the condition of the field that were taken the morning after the concert in an attempt to draw support to their cause. Minister Longsworth and those familiar with the pitch at the MCC know that the damage seen in the pictures is comparable to that of “any football match played in rainy conditions”. Longsworth said that he is more concerned about the damage outside of the pitch which was caused by motor vehicles. As a result, the council has adopted a policy to ban the use of vehicles in the compound. The council will continue to rent out the grounds for public events because, according to Longsworth, “it is the only enclosed and secure venue for mass public activities.” He said, “As a sporting facility, clearly sporting activities will be given first preference” but if there is no sporting activity scheduled, the council reserves the rights to rent the facility for public festivities. Longsworth said, “We have a moral responsibility to assist at this time when there is no venue for huge cultural and social activities.”


‘If I Were a Carpenter’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize
‘If I Were a Carpenter’ is a single, written by Tim Hardin, that was released by Bobby Darin in 1966 and reached number 8 in the US charts and number 9 in the UK. I chose this song as the theme for the headline because most of the work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today was concentrated on woodwork- fitting the supports for the forms for the concrete pour of the roof of the water tank. All Rose and I could hear when we parked the golf cart at the build was the sound of hammers hitting nails and an electric saw. There were nine guys ‘on duty’, seven guys putting the supports in place and two on wheelbarrow work ( more about this later). A lot of attention ( I am vey pleased to report) is paid to accuracy for the positioning of the support boards.

A Fairy Tale Night At El Secreto On Ambergris Caye, Belize
I got invited to head almost 10 miles north to the new private, luxurious resort of El Secreto. I jumped at the chance to experience something new. Wow. That is all I can say about the evening. The pictures do not do the resort justice. It was absolutely amazing. I truly felt like a movie star. Here’s how it went…. We were picked up at the Amigos del Mar dock on their “employee boat” at 6:30pm. It is a free service to and from the resort that leaves at specific times. A free boat ride 10 miles north? Who could complain. The ride took about 25 minutes and playing the game of “what resort is that?” on the way up made the time go much faster. When we arrived, the dock was lit up by iridescent purple lights and I knew the night was going to be one I would not forget. We were welcomed by an entourage of employees and we each had our own “flashlight leader”. Yes, that is right, we each had our own person that held a flashlight up the dock so we could see where we were walking. True service.

Belize’s Chaa Creek in Final Countdown to Maya Solstice
“It’s been frustrating to us that the true achievements of the Maya , who have been called the world’s greatest philosophers of time and developed one of the most advanced civilisations of the ancient world, have been overshadowed by apocalypse theories that have absolutely no basis in fact and were never mentioned by the Maya themselves. “The Maya were an astute people who developed huge cities such as nearby Caracol, which had over 160,000 people at its peak and was sustained by sophisticated urban planning and agriculture. They were among the first people to develop writing and, make paper, discover the concept of zero and a mathematical system allowing for calculations that continue to astound scholars. For example, they knew precisely when this 2012 Winter Solstice would occur thousands of years ago. “When you think about it, it’s amazing that the celebrations we’re hosting today were anticipated by the Maya well before Columbus arrived in the Americas,” Ms Fleming said. Ms Fleming said that Chaa Creek’s guests, after having received a grounding in Maya history and culture, are now well prepared for the 2012 Winter Solstice ceremonies. After a traditional Maya feast they’ll join local villagers in a candle lit procession to the temple at Tunichilen to participate in the Winter Solstice ceremonies before ending the evening with a celebration. “We wanted to combine education with a sense of adventure and fun to create something truly special. And judging from the feeling of anticipation right now, I’m very happy that we succeeded. It is, after all, truly a once in a lifetime experience,” Ms Fleming said. “And looking around here, you certainly don’t get the feeling that the world is about to end”, she added.

Local firms urged to fund school trip to Belize
COMPANIES in Caithness have been asked to help a group of pupils realise their ambition of going to Central America for a once-in-a-lifetime school trip. Wick High has put out an appeal to firms based in the far north to give donations to enable the youngsters to take part in a conservation project in Belize in June. The senior pupils have raised more than £15,500 so far but are still £12,500 short of their £28,000 target to make the trip a reality. During the month-long excursion, pupils plan to work alongside the Royal Botanic Garden to conserve plants as well as carry out community projects in schools and orphanages. The trip gives pupils the chance to gain their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, Silver Youth Achievement Award and John Muir Award. Trip leader and principal of computer science, Chris Aitken, said Belize represented an opportunity for the pupils to see what life was like on the other side of the world and prepare them for life outside of the classroom. "The Belize 2013 project is a fantastic opportunity for those students involved to become more globally aware, broaden their horizons and really think about their future careers," he said.

Chewing the cacao in Belize where the Mayan doomsday is not the end of the world
According to the Mayan ‘long count’ calendar, December 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year cycle. Some view its advent as a time of rejuvenation and the beginning of a new era. Others, meanwhile, predict apocalypse, believing the date marks a ‘doomsday’ foretold in hieroglyphs. Throngs of tourists are expected to flood into southern Mexico and Central America to 'celebrate' the occasion. But what do the locals here in Belize make of it all, I wonder? It’s almost 10pm in San Jose, a village without electricity in the heart of the Maya Mountains, and we should have arrived hours ago. The bus suddenly stops and honks twice, the sign to let my homestay host know I’ve arrived. Getting here was an adventure in itself, involving a short flight to Punta Gorda, in southern Belize, before travelling along bumpy, unmade roads, through lush jungles, past mountains riddled with caves and over underground rivers. Within a few minutes, my host appears out of the darkness. I grab my backpack and start walking as the bus disappears into the distance. We hike together in silence up a steep, slippery path to the family home, lit only by the dimmest of candlelight.

Off the Grid and Loving It in Belize
Turquoise waves lap the shore 30 feet from where I sit writing on my borrowed veranda in southern Belize. As a pair of large birds glides gracefully through the sky, I think to myself that this remote, off-the-grid home is exactly where I belong at this moment. When my husband and I first started dreaming about taking a six-month “family sabbatical” with our four young kids somewhere in Central America, we’d considered Costa Rica and Panama as well as Belize. But then I met a British couple who lived in southern Belize. We stayed in touch and they often gave me advice about our unfolding plans. When they decided they needed a house sitter, they asked if we would be interested. We were! We now live in their darling 2,400-square-foot furnished home directly fronting the Caribbean Sea. The house is only accessible by boat. We have two large bedrooms, two and a half baths, a living room, dining room, kitchen, and several porches, as well as a cabana for our guests’ use, and a caretaker’s home. We have access to a paddle boat, a sailboat, fishing equipment and two sea kayaks. The owners even left us chickens with a steady supply of fresh eggs!

World Keeps Turning, Maya Keep Celebrating at Chaa Creek
As the Maya calendar rolls over in Belize with the end of the 13th Bak’tun and the beginning of a new 5,125 year cycle, the celebrations continue in Belize at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, according to marketing administrator Larry Waight. “Surprise, surprise; we’re still here,” Mr Waight said as a large group of guests, staff members and their families, Chaa Creek’s owners and local villagers prepared for the procession to the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen and an exuberant celebration to, as Mr Waight said, “Mark the end of one long cosmic cycle and the beginning of another.” A far cry from the apocalypse scenario some people were predicting over the internet, and made highly profitable by the 2008 Hollywood blockbuster film, “2012”, the mood at Chaa Creek was upbeat and enthusiastic, Mr Waight said. “People seem to be really engaged with the sense of a new beginning, that rather than the world ending, there is a future out there for all of us to participate in,” Mr Waight said, “In that way, with all the positive energy, this is the most meaningful New Year’s celebration I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

International Sources

End of the World? Not for the Maya of Belize
Much has been made about December 21, 2012 by doomsday prophets, busily proclaiming that the end of the world is upon us. But archaeologists and scholars of Maya culture explain that the mystical date of 12.21.12 will not be the catalyst for apocalypse. The Maya’s long-form calendar will end, but not the world itself, which will simply enter a new period. In Belize, the end-of-the-world hype is being used as an opportunity to offer experiences that give visitors a more accurate understanding of Maya culture. The most significant of these is a once-in-a-lifetime event held at Caracol, one of Belize’s most important Maya archaeological sites. The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) will be holding the last of four overnight camping trips at Caracol on the “end of the world” date. The trip will be led by the NICH’s most prominent archaeologist, Dr. Jaime Awe, and is limited to 200 participants, who need to bring their own camping gear. The $150 cost includes a traditional Maya dinner and fire ceremony. Members of Belize’s roughly 40,000-storng Mayan community will prepare the meal, build the fire and lead the prayers and chants. The highlight for many previous campers has been Dr. Awe, who gives a 2.5 hour long guided tour of the Maya site during the camping trip. In the 1970s, Awe led the first official excavation of Caracol by a Belizean team (some exploratory excavations occurred in the 1950s, headed by an American archaeologist). Today, Awe is considered to be the site’s greatest authority and remains at the forefront of archaeological excavation and preservation in Belize, where it is thought that more than three-quarters of Mayan sites have not yet been discovered or excavated.

The December 2012 issue of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online HERE

This Issue's Stories:

  • Turkey (Domesticated) (Meleagris gallopavo): By Orlando Habet The domesticated turkey is a large poultry bird. The modern domesticated form descends from the wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). It was domesticated by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica at least 2,000 years ago, with the evidence pointing to what are today the central regions of Mexico (Guerrero, Veracruz and Jalisco). Ancient Mesoamericans domesticated this subspecies, using its meat and eggs as major sources of protein and employing its feathers extensively for decorative purposes. The Aztecs associated the turkey with their god of night and sorcery, Tezcatlipoca (“Smoking Mirror”), as well as the patron deity of Aztec kings and of young warriors. Domestic turkeys were taken to Europe by the Spanish. Many distinct breeds were developed in Europe. In the early 20th century, many advances were made in the breeding of turkeys, resulting in the modern breeds which are efficient meat producers and which have also been bred to produce a large breast compared to the remainder of the body.
  • GOOD PESTICIDE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FARMER RECOGNITION INITIATIVE: By Miriam Ochaeta-Serrut, MA The Pesticides Control Board (PCB), in collaboration with the Food Safety Department of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, the Extension Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Agriculture (MNRA) and the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Belize is pleased to announce the commencement of a voluntary initiative designed to assist horticulture farmers in improving their pesticide management practices. Since its inception in 1988, PCB has focused on the promotion of rational pesticide management for the protection of human health and the environment among pesticide users, primarily those involved in crop production, through its national training programme for the certification of users of restricted-use pesticides. The decision to use pesticides requires great responsibility on the part of the pesticide user. “Pesticides kill not only pests, but also pests’ natural enemies; their overuse can harm farmers, consumers and the environment” (Save and Grow, FAO, 2011). The rational management of pesticides entails the judicious decision-making process carried out by the pesticide user including, but not limited to, the proper identification of the type of pest and the extent of pest damage as well as the consideration of pest control options within an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy.
  • Fair Exchange: Seed Swapping: By Mitylene Bailey I returned home from my two–year study in Taiwan with a hunger for my local greens. At my first opportunity I went to the market to seek out my favorite, calalloo, also known as vegetable amaranth. (See Issue 17 of Belize Ag Report.) As I walked around the Belize City Queen’s Square Market I spotted a few different varieties I had never noticed before. I walked up to the stall that had calalloo with the most luscious leaves and took a couple bunches home. I found myself at the market every other day taking a bunch or two home. I decided that if I started to grow my own, and a few other vegetables that I liked, it would be most convenient for me. I started browsing around the market selecting the choice vegetables and fruit with intent to collect the seeds and sow them in my own burgeoning garden. The fruit and/or vegetable that I could not retain seeds from or were not the best seed fruits I discarded and returned to the vender that sold them to me to ask for seeds. I asked the vendor that sells me the calalloo to share some of his seeds with me. He asked me what I had and I did not know what he meant. He told me that if I wanted seeds from him then I was to share some of whatever I had with him. It was then that I was made aware of the modus operandi for seed acquisition in that market: seed swapping. Joseph Lawrence, a Jamaican-born vendor at the Belize City Queen’s Square Market, decided to let me in on the seed swapping procedures; whenever he receives a new seed he plants it first to observe the plant and its growing habit on his farm. If the plant seems to have a successful life history he allows it to bloom and seed and he now has seeds ready to exchange.
  • Recent Test Shows Dangers of Genetically Modified Food: By Bill Lindo The verdict is now in -- Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) NK603 corn causes cancers in rats. September 19th, 2012 the independent team led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini at the CRIIGEN lab at the University of Caen published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology the findings of a two-year feeding trial of rats using Monsanto’s NK603 Roundup tolerant corn (maize) and Roundup herbicide (the brand name weedkiller containing glyphosate many GM crops are designed to resist). The research found: • Death rates in rats fed GM maize was 70% in females and 50% in males compared to the 20% and 30% in control animals. • Female death rates were 2-3 times higher than the controls. • Mammary tumors were the most common cause of death in females. • Treated male rats showed increased liver and kidney problems. Above are Photos from the study of the massive tumors caused by the GM corn & Roundup The researchers suggest the observed effects are due to the hormone-disrupting effects of Roundup and the impacts on metabolism of the GM trait that makes the corn tolerant to the chemical Roundup.
  • WEEDS: By Dr. Morris F. Keller I have been doing a lot of gardening lately, so weeds have been on my mind as well as in my garden. As a very small child, I remember crawling in the grass of our small back yard and being enthralled with the little yellow flowers that bloomed there in the spring. However, much to my amazement, no one wanted dandelions in their grass; adults spent much time and energy prying them up with a two-pronged tool - until “weed killer” came along. During my infancy and youth, we lived in a suburban neighborhood of modest one and two family homes. The home next to ours was owned by a ninety-six year old lady, Mrs. Ashley, and her middle-aged, unmarried daughter. I distinctly remember, as a small child, that Mrs. Ashley asked everyone whom she knew in the neighborhood to save dandelions for her. With these “weeds”, she made soup, tea and even wine. Mrs. Ashley obviously knew something that we did not know. When I revolted against the medical industry after healing myself of serious illness with natural methods not taught me in medical school, one of my goals was to learn how to grow my own healthy food without man-made chemicals, while preserving and improving the earth around me. I began to read books and the first book I read was called Secrets of the Soil. The first statement that jumped out at me in this book was, “a weed is a plant that you do not know yet”. Many years later, when I was an apprentice to a master organic farmer, I was assigned the lowly job of weeding his large vegetable gardens. During my long hours of toiling with a hoe in my hand, my observation showed me that first of all, the “weeds” had many holes in the leaves from being devoured by insects, much more than the leaves of the vegetables we were growing and when the weeds had been removed, the insects began to eat our valuable crop. Perhaps the insects knew something that we did not know? Now we know that many so-called weeds are edible and medicinal plants and at the very least make a good green manure or fertilizer for our gardens if turned under and allowed to rot slowly.
  • BEYOND THE BACKYARD: A Passionate Pursuit, By Jenny Wildman In London back in the sixties my Aussie and New Zealand flat mates introduced me to a dynamic duo: Pavlova and passion fruit, the first being a famed baked meringue created and named for the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and the second said to be an absolute must as a topping: kiwi, strawberries, passion fruit and cream. Now some 40 years later I am finally growing passion fruit in my garden. Although there are over 500 species of passiflora and evidence of early cultivation in North America it is claimed to hail from South America, discovered by 15th century Spanish missionaries. As the priests cast their eyes on the glorious blooms on this vigorous vine they were struck by the design of the 10 petals, which they said represented the 10 faithful apostles (scratch 2), the 3 stigmas signifying the nails on the cross, the crown of thorns, the 5 stamens as the 5 major wounds and the tendrils as the whips. This inspired them to christen it passion fruit or so the story goes. I prefer to think it was the musky aroma and abundance of seed conjuring up passion and pleasure. There are also many cultivars from those species but commonly cultivated are two main types, purple or yellow. Mine is the purple variety that clings to almost anything with its tendrils but does require a strong frame. I would suggest a wire fence with a slight overhang at the top at about 8 feet high maximum as higher may make for treacherous harvesting, as it is capable of great heights.
  • Gimme Dat Good Black Soil: By Harold Vernon I have heard many an exclamation all over Belize that “black soil da di best!”. When people are asked just what is black soil, the answer is usually that my mother, grandpa or some relative in the rural areas always said so and as long as it is black it is good. There is both truth and falsehood in that statement and this article attempts to provide an explanation of the real situation. It is true that soils with fair amounts of sand, silt and clay and lots of organic matter are usually easy to cultivate and are usually rich with available nutrients. On the other hand, soils with lots of clay, little silt and sand with high organic matter are very heavy and difficult to cultivate and are the blackest of soils. These heavy soils are known as vertisols. So just what are good black soils and are they truly the best? The degree of blackness of soil is caused by the presence of decomposed organic matter or humus that has been converted from green leaves, dead animals and other things that were once alive. People who do composting learn very quickly that the material being composted usually turns a deepening dark brown. The same applies to the dead leaves and trees that fall to earth, decompose and become what we typically call “organic matter”. Earth worms, fungi and bacteria aid the breakdown processes and in turn contribute to a building up of organic matter.
  • Humates to the Rescue: By Dottie Feucht The importance of nitrogen (N) in the soil is well understood; what may not be well understood by farmers is the adverse long-term effect of synthetic N fertilizers on the soil. Recent research by University of Illinois scientists shows that its application over time depletes the soil of carbon and undermines the health of the soil. They discovered at the Morrow Plots, the oldest research plots in the USA, that high inputs of N stimulate soil microbes to feed and eventually that accelerated process causes the organic matter to disappear before it can become humified (i.e., humification is interrupted by removal and volatilization of carbon before it reaches the form of humus.) Plant residues that are left behind in crop production, and various tilling and residue management methods make use of that residue as a means of adding organic matter to the soil. But with synthetic N, it was found that soil microbes degrade plant residues and reduce their carbon content and nutritional content into plant available forms and long-term fully degraded carbon, which is the backbone for forming soil humus. The acceleration of microbial oxidation of humin by N stimulation reduces the carbon rich humin to the less carbon-rich humic acids, and finally to fulvic acids, which have very little carbon content. Then as soil carbon levels decline, it is more difficult for soils to store nitrogen. As the ability of the soil to store nitrogen declines, more N inputs are needed, resulting in a vicious cycle.
  • Attracting Butterflies to your Belizean Backyard: By Marguerite Fly Bevis Landscaping your yard to attract butterflies is as simple as providing food, water and shelter for all stages of the butterfly life cycle. Adult butterflies feed on nectar while caterpillars and larvae eat the leaves of specific plants, their “host” plants. You can improve your chances of attracting butterflies to your garden by implementing a few principles into your landscape and planting shrubs and flowers butterflies love. Butterflies are attracted to masses of colorful flowers in sunny locations and they need shady cool-down areas for protection when it is hot. Plant a variety of flowering annuals and perennials for mass color. Belize has a number of butterflyfriendly native plants that grow very easily. Some are so prevalent that they might be considered weeds. But once you know the beneficial ones, you can keep them in your yard, pruning and taming them to fit your landscape. One common plant countrywide is “Red Head” or “Firebush”, Hamelia patens.(See Issue 18, pg.22.) This plant grows everywhere land has been cleared.
  • THE SWEEP IN BLUE CREEK: By Dr. Miguel DePaz BACKGROUND Nov. 2012 Belize was an exporter of live cattle to Mexico in the 1980’s, but the foot and mouth disease epidemic of 2001 in the United Kingdom led to Mexico closing its borders to Belize to trade in animals and animal products. This effectively destroyed the confidence of the farmers of the Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA), as the formal trade of live cattle to Mexico stopped completely. Ever since, Belize has put as one of its priority the resumption of the export of live cattle to Mexico. In 2009 Belize commenced The Belize National Cattle Sanitary Cattle Project, financed by the European Union, Government of Belize, OIRSA/ SENASICA, BLPA and the cattle producers with the objectives of (1) demonstrating the animal health status of the national cattle herd with respect to bovine tuberculosis and bovine brucellosis and (2) implementing an animal traceability system in order to fulfil the requirements for unrestricted trade with Mexico. This project is for a period of 3 years. It is expected that the prevalence of bovine diseases is very low as it has never been found during testing of targeted herds during the past. The southern border of Mexico has a total of 1149 kilometres, of which, 956 kilometres are shared with Guatemala and 193 kilometres, with Belize. It includes the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche and Quintanna Roo.
  • Quality Poultry Products: In 1960, just 2 years after Spanish Lookout was founded, a poultry company was also founded. In 1975 that company became a co-op, Quality Poultry Products, now the leading poultry business in Belize, processing about half of the chicken in Belize and employing 130 people in Spanish Lookout. Processed chicken comes in varying sizes, depending on feed and length of time in the barn. (Chickens to be roasted are usually the largest in size.) The original plant was expanded in 1974 with another expansion in 1983. The current plant, completed in 1998 is being expanded again, incorporating HACCP standards. Over 130 poultry farmers under contract, with average lot size of 5,000, but ranging from 3,000 to 17,000 chickens, keep the supply of chickens steady through an 8 week rotation by geographical location all around the Spanish Lookout area.
  • GRAIN GROWERS IN BELIZE FORM NATIONAL ASSOCIATION: By Hugh O'Brien Over 50 grain farmers, mostly from the Cayo and Orange Walk districts have come together to form the Belize Grain Growers Association (BGGA). Registration was conducted at regional meetings that were held in October and November this year in the Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo districts. An initial steering committee, chaired by Mr. Henry Wolfe of Spanish Lookout led the successful registration drive, and grain farmers have pledged their support to the efforts of the steering committee to organize grain growers into a formal and legal entity. For some time now, grain farmers are complaining that issues such as the high cost of inputs, availability of land, need for research into new varieties, heavy insecticide use to control armyworms, and the lack of concrete marketing arrangements, especially to facilitate exports to Guatemala under the Belize- Guatemala Partial Scope Agreement, have had serious effects on the profitability and long term sustainability of the corn industry. The desire to address these and other problems facing corn farmers as well as represent the interests of grain growers at the national level, drove the formation of the BGGA. On November 14th, the first general meeting of the BGGA was held in Spanish Lookout and the farmers were briefed on the progress made to date, and various policy issues were discussed. It was agreed that any farmer who farms an acre or more of corn, rice, beans and such grains would be allowed to join the association. Board members, once elected would serve for 2 years, and have no time limit for being on the Board.
  • Soils: By Cory Schurman What makes up soil? This is a question I get from time to time. Soil is predominately organic matter and silicon dioxide, although it also contains an assortment of various minerals. More specifically, for plants to live and grow in the soil, a balance of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon along with 14 other essential elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, zinc, boron, manganese, iron, copper, chloride, nickel, molybdenum) are needed in a high enough quantity to meet the needs of growing plants. For optimum growth and maximum crop production, growers use fertilizers to fill in soil deficiencies, which increase crop yields and quality. Farmers use soil analysis tests to determine what minerals their soils are both high and low in. From the results of the tests farmers can formulate nutrient blends that provide what the crop needs. Studying soil analysis is important for optimizing the quantity of fertilizer to be applied; that is, the correct rate can be calculated to match what the soil can hold. Furthermore, nutrient applications can be timed to maximize their effectiveness. When farmers look at crop production from this scientific method they can maximize yields and economic returns on their farm, while doing the best job environmentally. When farmers calculate their nutrient plans they should look at the following factors:
  • Internet Access and Agriculture in Belize: By Shamin Renwick Until my visit in October, Belize, in an abstract sort of way, was just another “island” in the Caribbean – up north and to one side. This is a view shared by many other Caribbean persons despite knowing that it is a Central American country. However, general background reading for a “small islander”, prior to a visit, does not prepare you for Belize. Having to go through Miami is the first indication that something is different. Then flying over the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (one of the top 5 largest coral reefs worldwide), vast areas of wetlands and great lengths of “white” roads underscore how distinctive it is. My visit was being undertaken in order to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation entitled “Planning for Food Security: Decision Making and Information Use in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Belize.” This article deals with another surprising aspect of life in Belize which I discovered in researching information use. It is the cost and quality of internet access and the implications for agriculture.
  • Agriculture Prices at a Glance- $$$$$: A-B denotes the difference between 1st preference & second preference and sometimes between wholesale & retail and bulk or small amounts . Trend (H) means Higher over last 30 to 60 days (L) Lower (S) Steady. Prices intend on being farm gate in Belize dollars - usually price per lb
  • Light Rein - Therapeutic Horseback Riding: By Marjie Olson “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” I’ve seen it quoted by Winston Churchill, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, John Roberson Sr., John Carr and definitely me. It is true. As with a dog or cat, it has been proven that animals are a healing mechanism for many. Whether it is for an emotional healing or a helpful physical strengthening, animals of all forms have virtually performed miracles. Everyone is familiar with the leader dogs and the helper dogs, but few realize that therapeutic riding programs are a wonderful gift to people of all disabilities. I, myself, have used horses to bring about a young man’s self worth, and to create a physical strength he didn’t know could exist…Danny was born with Pervasive Developmental Disorder N.O.S. and his parents had been told, “Oh NO; don’t ever let him near horses; it will be just a disappointment for him or he could be killed.” Among his other issues, Danny had hypermobile joints and low muscle tone, but with a special little mare, who had that innate ability to understand, and his mother’s belief, one year later he was qualified to run that little barrel horse at the NBHA Youth World Championships. He not only rides 13 yrs later, he also played football through his high school career which allowed him to “fit in” and be one of the team - so important for a teenager, who is “different”.
  • BLPA –AGM – 2012: By John Carr A fairly well attended Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA) was held at HQ on October 27th, 2012. Most of the presenters focused on the upcoming cattle sweep dealing with TB and brucellosis testing and identification and registration (traceability) of every cow critter in Belize. Through ear tags, every birth, death, sale and cattle movement will be recorded. The chairman’s address echoed of major concerns for our country as it relates to economic stress, crime, corruption and other major problems. His message took a spiritual direction that recommended that if we don’t take God and biblical principles into our partnership “How and who will make Belize into that very special country we all dream about?”.
  • Current Investment in Cattle, Land, Cattle Equipment: All Belize Dollars – October 2012 – BLPA –AGM Total Investment $485,000,000- we expect these numbers to double
  • Producing Quality Hay: By Maruja Vargas Clarence Thiessen of C.T. Farm in Spanish Lookout is the year round source for quality hay for cattle, horses and sheep. Clarence has evolved a sophisticated and wellmanaged full time haying operation, which depends upon his knowledge of grasses, soils and equipment utilization. The table on page 21 lists the types of hay available, their nutrient content, average pricing, and suitability for use in cattle, horses and sheep. C.T. Farms has also tested its grasses (where marked with *) for crude protein content. Weight of square bales is between 42 and 50 pounds. Weight of round bales is approximately 900 pounds. Clarence describes bismoto as a grass midway between star grass which stands up to 24” and Bermuda average height around 10”. It is highly palatable and very appealing to horses due to its soft texture, which is similar to the texture of blue stem. C.T. Farm bales milo and RK straw in the dry season for cattle. Clarence describes these products as ‘survival’ for the dry season. He noted that cattle will generally leave the RK stems and eat only the leaves. He rarely bales straw of black eyed beans, black and kidney beans.
  • Opportunistic Foraging: By Dr Mandy Tsang, BMChB, DRCOG This time we are taking a break from the edible plant monographs; I would like to talk more about how people can incorporate foraging into their everyday life, without making it into a chore. Take every opportunity to incorporate daily life with foraging; in this way you are more likely to do it as a daily or weekly routine in your life. One simple example is to take advantage of every walk, such as going to the market or shops, to observe plant life all around you; look up at the tall trees and most importantly, look down at the ground. Abandoned plots are a absolute gem for foraging. In one plot in Punta Gorda, I spotted five different forageable foods in a tiny abandoned yard. Walk around your back-yard or land; look at the weeds that you usually pull out and refer to local people or the internet to check if any are edible.
  • Cultivating a Culinary Delight: How to Grow Pitayas: By Richard Rasp Growing pitaya cactus in your backyard or field can be rewarding when your vines produce a bountiful crop. Once your plants have matured, they can provide a nearly continuous supply of the gourmet fruit from May through November. Not only is the magentacoloured flesh a treat for your eyes and taste buds, it is also a nutritional source of betalain, known for its anti-oxidant and antiradical activity. To ensure enough pitayas for your family and friends you need to follow a few guidelines for successful cultivation. Growing pitayas takes an investment of time and money, but hopefully it will be worth the expense. It certainly is exciting to follow the progress of April’s first flower buds as they develop into blossoms that burst open in a dazzling display of white, become fertilized, and grow into fruits that you can harvest a month later. As you taste your first homegrown pitaya of the year you’ll know that it indeed was worth the effort.
  • “Apples of Belize” Featuring the Bell Fruit and Sugar Apple: By Mary Susan Loan of Cristo Rey Village Most of the apples in this series are not botanically classified as apples; however, they are commonly considered to be apples in Belize and other tropical countries. Bell Fruit Bell fruit (Syzgium Samarangense), commonly known, among other names, as wax apple, love apple, java apple, Jamaican apple, wax jambu, champoo, ohi’a, royal apple, water apple, mountain apple, cloud apple, rose apple, lembu, macepa, and jamrul fruit, is a member of the myrtaceae family. Bell fruit is a ‘cousin’ to the Mallay apple which shares many of the characteristics of the Bell fruit. The Bell fruit tree is becoming more popular in Belize, thanks in part to the introduction of the Bell fruit varieties popularly grown in Taiwan, by the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Central Farm, Cayo. Michael Zheng, head of horticulture, reports; “Wax apple is the most famous fruit is Taiwan; through off-season cropping the production is from November to April (normal season is from May to August).”
  • Making Artisan Cheese at Caves Branch: When Ian Anderson purchased sheep for a petting zoo at his Caves Branch Resort, cheese making was not on his mind. The petting zoo blossomed to showcase sheep, goats and chickens in an environment where children from across the country could touch and hold small animals. After collecting the eggs, egg sandwiches were served to the children and they were given glasses of sheep or goat milk to enjoy. Given Ian’s natural exploring instincts, it wasn’t long before he yearned to produce something with his milk. Internet searches yielded many recipes for cheese which he tried. Ian’s wife, Ella, and son Gabe, who was the chief taster, were supportive of the culinary venture, but encouraged him to find proper cheesemaking classes. After more prowling on the internet Ian found an article on cheesemaking by a Vermont family of professional cheese makers, the Faillace family of Three Shepherds Farm, in Warren, Vermont. In September of 2011, Ian flew to New England and took a two week course with Dr. Larry and Linda Faillace on their farm. On his return, Ian again tackled cheesemaking, beginning with one gallon batches, working up to the current 30 gallons per day production. Caves Branch now has a 500 sq. ft. working cheese kitchen, with a 250 sq. ft. wine and cheese tasting room attached. There is a glass half wall enabling tasters to watch what is going on in the kitchen. A 12 x 14 walk-in aging room kept at 55° F completes the set up. A relationship with the Vermont Faillaces has resulted in their visiting Caves Branch on various occasions as Ian continues improvements in the facility and expands his product line. Currently all cheeses are made with cow’s milk, purchased from a neighbor’s dairy. This winter, Caves Branch will be importing both milk goats and more sheep from the U.S.A.
  • Cattle Population by District: Chart estimates prepared by BLPA, October 2012. Population on Farms
  • Ag Briefs: U.S. slipping as corn export leader, U.K. farm incomes are expected to plateau in 2013,
  • Letters To THE EDITOR

Click here to return to
Today's Belize News

Commons Island Community History Visitor Center Goods & Services
Search Messages CIG Info

Copyright by Casado Internet Group, Belize