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1/11/2013 to 1/20/2013
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January 20, 2013


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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

Illicit activities in the Bacalar Chico area affecting wildlife and ecology
On a recent trip to northern Ambergris Caye, Green Reef took notice of various illicit activities occurring adjacent to the Bacalar Chico Reserve and the Basil Jones Area. These activities include the dumping of garbage, hunting activity, the harvesting of wood and black soil. While the hunting and deforestation is attributed to the actions of individuals, the dumping of garbage is believed to be the act of neighboring resorts in the area. It is a serious matter indeed and most definitely needs to be dealt with swiftly by the relevant authorities. Green Reef took the initiative to notify several agencies including the Belize Forest Department. Clearing of land is a most serious matter, especially so close to a reserve that serves as a natural habitat for many wild animals and general ecology.

12th Annual Industry Presentation highlights progress in tourism industry in Belize
Belize-New-LogoThe Belize Tourism Board (BTB) held their 12th Annual Industry Presentation for the first time outside of Belize City. Held on Ambergris Caye on Friday January 11th, the event saw the unveiling of a new marketing logo for Belize, as well as the launching of a new three-year campaign. At the presentation, Minister of Tourism and Culture Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. highlighted the BTB’s accomplishments and indicated that despite challenges, there was an increase of overnight tourism arrivals in Belize. Heredia was the first to officially speak and in his remarks stated that Belize’s tourism growth was far greater than expected in 2012. “Despite economic challenges, our country has truly performed like no other. The BTB reports that the industry has seen an increase of over 10% in overnight tourism arrivals in 2012, compared to 2011. To put this into perspective, the World Tourism and Travel Council indicated late last year that there was only a 2.7% growth in tourism arrivals globally in 2012 compared to the year before. This signifies that Belize’s performance has been extraordinary and establishes us as truly a major contender in our region’s tourism market,” said Heredia. He also said that all airlines that service Belize have indicated that flight destinations to Belize were sold from December 15, 2012 to January 15, 2013.

San Pedro Police placed under scrutiny over late night raids
Police-NewsThe San Pedro Police Department is back in the news as an investigation is ongoing into the allegations made by a senior citizen of San Pedro Town. The citizen claims that during a search conducted by four policemen at his apartment, a substantial sum of money went missing. The man, who is over 65 years old, made a formal report to the former Officer Commanding (OC) San Pedro Police Formation Assistant Superintendent of Police Vienne Robinson who commissioned an investigation. The San Pedro Sun contacted Robinson, who claims that there are a lot of inaccuracies in the report regarding the claimant. Robinson explained that the investigation stemmed from a search conducted by four police elements attached to the San Pedro Police Station, who on the strength of a warrant searched the property of the 65-year-old male citizen on Tuesday January 8th. The citizen claimed the surprise search was conducted at 2:30AM but according to ASP Robinson, their investigation indicates that the search could not have been that early since the police vehicle was not assigned to the officers that have been identified as part of the ongoing investigation. “A written statement was taken by me, but at no time did the man call any specific officer’s name. However we have indentified the officers that were on duty on the shift; we are aware [and know] that a search was conducted because of a warrant that was issued. There was reasonable suspicion and for that reason a search warrant was issued… an investigation has started and based on the investigation and the outcome, it will be determined what the course of action will be,” said Robinson, who has since been transferred but said the investigation has been handed to Inspector of Police attached to San Pedro Police Station Reynaldo Pook.

Central American Media participate in Crisis Management Tourism Workshop
“The media is a key partner in shaping the image of a country,” highlighted Marcelo Risi Principal Media Officer of the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in his opening remarks at the International Seminar for tourism stakeholders and media houses held in Guatemala City on the 14th and 15th of January. The purpose of the workshop was to look at crisis management and its effects on a country’s tourism industry and how to better involved the media as a stakeholder especially when having to report on issues that have an impact on the country’s image. Tourism-Media-Conference-Guatemala-3The participants of the workshop came from a wide-cross section of communicators such as internationally known travel writers; well-known bloggers; international, national and local media personalities. A delegation of five from Belize was invited to attend the conference where they shared ideas and even participated in a debate as to how the world perceives tourism in Belize and how the media in Belize perceives tourism. During one of the debates, the communicators agreed that there needs to be more ongoing dialogue between communicators, specifically the media, bloggers, travel writers and the tourism stakeholders, especially in time of crisis. “When there is crisis in a situation affecting the image of the country, the media and journalists hate to be kept in the dark.

Misc Belizean Sources

Rebecca Stirm Fashion Show is One Week Away

Rebecca Stirm's Fashion Show is only a week away. January 26th, at 6:30pm at the Princess Hotel in BC. Here's the audio for the commercial. "Rebecca Stirm's new collection of ready-to-wear separates, cocktail dresses, and luxurious evening gowns, paired with Belizean Jewelry Designer Khadija Assales' [Caribbean Fashion Week- 2012] NEW collection of handcrafted jewelry."

Moonracer Farm Wins Trip Advisor Award
Moonracer Farms, ranked number 1 in San Ignacio on Trip Advisor for Bed and Breakfasts, has won yet another Travelers' Choice award. Best in its class. Congratulations, Moonracer! "Staying at Moonracer was a fun and unique experience! It was like camping only way better! The cabin we stayed in had a screened in porch with a hammock, perfect for hanging out and listening to the jungle wildlife. Tom and Marge were outstanding hosts. We enjoyed the dinners in the palapa and talking about our adventures with them. Marge is an excellent cook and made sure when we went out hiking or visiting temples, we had a superb lunch packed in a cooler. Everything was provided to make our stay enjoyable; flashlights, swim towels, etc. Tom and Marge also suggested some excellent tours which we really enjoyed. If you're looking for a unique experience, Moonracer is definitely a must! "


Ten Things You Need To Know About the Coconut Orchid
Maxillaria tenuifolia, abbreviated Max. tenuifolia, is a unique orchid that has a strong coconut scent that smells just like a Pina Coloda. According to the American Orchid Society, this orchid has recently been reclassified as Maxillariella tenuifoli. Here are ten things you need to know about the coconut orchid. 1.) This species of orchid was discovered near Veracruz, Mexico by Karl Theodore Hartweg, a German Botanist. 2.) The coconut orchid grows at low elevations from Mexico to Central America and is recognized by its long, thin leaves and deep red blooms. The orchid draws its name from its distinctive scent, and is propagated by dividing clumps of pseudobulbs into smaller separate plants.

If it Don't Fit
Another chilly start to the day. But, I am not complaining because I have seen the photographs of what it is like in the UK. Blizzards, blackouts, schools closed, industry adversely affected and predictions that it could cost the economy £11 million. So, my thoughts as I sit on the veranda feeling slightly cold in shorts and ‘T’ shirt, are with my family and friends in the UK. Had breakfast whilst ‘overdosing’ on the choice of Premiership games to watch on TV. I chose the Liverpool v Norwich game ( good choice because there were five goals) but switched channels throughout to keep in touch with the Manchester City v Fulham and Newcastle v Reading games. Enough to whet my appetite for the Chelsea v Arsenal game that kicks off at 6.30 am tomorrow morning. A curtailed time on the veranda for me tomorrow. Having had my fix of football it was time for Rose ( she spent the morning making jewellery) and I to head off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. As we approached our land we heard the exceedingly welcome sound of the concrete mixer churning away. It’s a good sound for us because when it’s being used there are normally tangible results – we can see the concrete and the shapes that it is forming.

A Gala in Washington D.C. to Benefit the Children of Belize
Attention Belizeans, Friends of Belizeans, and Everyone living in the D.C. area and surrounding states

International Sources

On Mission to Help the Environment With Surfing
It was around five years ago that Brazilian surfer Jairo Lumertz got the idea to join his two passions of surfing and protecting nature by creating surfboards made out of plastic bottles. The 39-year-old surfer is now traveling from beach to beach with his girlfriend Carolina Scorsin promoting his invention to help children take up surfing and reduce waste at the same time. Lumertz’s “eco surfboards,” which he first developed in 2007, consist of bottles supported by PVC tubes and glue. The bottles are treated with dry ice to make them stronger and more floatable. A standard board is made up of 41 bottles, and a stand up paddleboard is made using 73 bottles.

Costa Rica tops Belize on Arrieta goal at 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana
Costa Rica took the field for the third and last match on Friday at the National Stadium, ending the 2013 UNCAF Copa Centroamericana's launch day with a challenging 1-0 Group A triumph over a resolute Belize. The result improved the Ticos' record in tournament openers to 10 wins and two draws in 12 games, including four victories against Belize. Before the visiting defense had an opportunity to get its bearings, Costa Rica came close to netting within the first minute. Forward Jairo Arrieta nailed a right-footed shot off the post of Woodrow Wilson's goal. As the half wore on and the Ticos continued to apply pressure, Belize looked increasingly dangerous on the counter and created some half chances.

Antivirus pioneer John McAfee reveals new details to Dateline NBC
It’s been more than two months since Greg Faull, a 52-year-old American expatriate living in the tropical paradise of Belize, was found murdered in his beachfront home. It was an execution, plain and simple—Faull was shot once, in the head, and there was no sign of struggle or robbery. Local police are no closer to solving this crime today than they were two months ago. The person they would most like to talk to is Faull’s neighbor: the wealthy American Internet entrepreneur John McAfee. But McAfee hid from police, then fled the country in early December. He is now safely back in the United States, and about to cash-in on book and movie deals about his life on the run. You probably think you know the story already. A tattooed tycoon with a bevy of teenaged lovers and a fondness for guns taunts the police from secret hideouts. Armed with a laptop and smart phone, he simultaneously maintains his innocence while hammering the Belizean government with scattershot claims of rampant corruption. But you probably don’t know the half of it.

January 19, 2013


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 are champions of the local FFB competition

An “A” for turtle nesting revealed in 2012 Turtle Report
Turtle Nesting Season 2012-3 Biologists at Hol Chan Marine Reserve have released the official turtle nesting reports for 2012, and the news is good – actually, fantastic! The Reports indicate that almost double the number of turtle nests were found in 2012 as compared to 2011, and even more exciting is the discovery of three Hawksbill turtle nests – something that has not been recorded since the early 1990’s! Nesting observations took place from mid-May to late November 2012 on Northern Ambergris Caye, with a concentration on Robles and Rocky Point beaches – areas that have seen the most activity throughout the years. Turtle nests monitoring in those areas started in 2009 and has since seen great growth in the number of nests found. Three native turtle species’ nests were studied: the Loggerhead turtle (Chleonia Caretta), the Green turtle (Chleonia Mydas) and the Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate).

Ambergris Today

McAfee's Escape From Belize Turns Movie
Belize has been on the international spotlight because of the infamous John McAfee and it seems that once more Belize will be in the lime light as McAfee’s escape from the country will be turned to a movie. The story of eccentric 67-year-old antivirus firm founder John McAfee's escape from Belize, to Guatemala, to Miami, is set to hit the big screen. Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to "John McAfee's Last Stand," a Wired story written by contributor Joshua Davis, reported Hollywood Reporter.

Works Continue in Keeping Belize City Crime Down
On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar, accompanied by his CEO, Colonel (Ret.) George Lovell, met with the new Police Commissioner, Allen Whylie and commanders of all formations, substations and branches from around the country to offer ministerial guidance and direction going forward. There was a comprehensive revision of goals and strategies, as well as a full analysis of crime statistics, particularly over the past year, and of the performance of the various formations, substations and branches in effectively responding to it. Specific benchmarks and timetables were agreed for measureable reduction in crime and for successful investigation and prosecution in respective areas. Commanders of the various formations, substations and branches will be held responsible for ensuring that the targets are met within the specific timetables. There will be monthly meetings of zone and branch commanders; and quarterly meetings of senior leaders, similar to that which was held on Wednesday, in order to review the latest crime statistics and offer commanders the opportunity to report on progress, or lack thereof, in their respective areas. Where there is a clear failure to achieve the required results within the stipulated timetable, the Ministry and Department reserves the right to replace those commanders with other individuals deemed competent to get the job done.

Former Prime Minister’s House Riddled with Bullets
The house of Belize’s Former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Said Musa, was riddled with bullets on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. Musa and his wife were just about to go to bed when they heard about six shots in rapid succession; upon making checks outside their windows they didn’t notice anything suspicious and went to bed. It wasn’t until Wednesday morning when Mr. Musa noticed that his house had been hit by bullets. According to news reports in the city, Musa got up at about 6:00 a.m. and upon exiting his house he noticed that his front door had been hit with what he believed to be bullets. He made his way out of the house and noticed that his wife’s vehicle had been hit and drove off to the Princess Hotel where police are stationed nearby and made a report.

Misc Belizean Sources

Former Belize prime minister claims he is on a hit list
Former prime minister Said Musa says he believes he is on a hit list after gunmen fired a number of shots at his home earlier this week. Police are still searching for those responsible for the incident on Tuesday night, but Musa, who served as prime minister from 1998-2008, said that he had been receiving threats before the gunmen fired several shots at his home in the city. “I must tell you my gut feeling is that those threats in December are just coincidental to what happened,” he said, adding “I don’t believe the two things are linked at all,” he said, adding that while the threats had stopped briefly, they started again on the day his house was fired upon. “I really don’t think it was extortion. I think it was a hit,” he said on a television programme.

Flavors of Belize Cookbook
For those who have been dying to get their hand on this cookbook, Flavors of Belize is now available on Amazon!! This book contains some of the most delicious Belizean delicacies so be sure to get your copy!

Channel 7

Faber Says Teachers Should Wait & Consult, Not Strike
Last night we told you that the Teacher Union is planning a mass demonstration in Belmopan on January 29th - and following that, there very well could be a teacher's strike. That's because at last week's collective bargaining negotiation, Government said flatly that it cannot afford to pay all teachers and public officers a 30% increment over three years. That response has angered the Teachers Union - and is likely to catch on with the other unions involved in the negotiation with government. Today Education Minister Patrick Faber told us that government simply cannot afford to budge on this negotiating point which would cost the public purse tens of millions of dollars:.. Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "I am not understanding that they are moving to a strike at this time. My understanding is that there quiet possibly could be a demonstration to show their disagreement with what it is the government is saying at this time. But a strike is severe and I believe that the teachers will act responsibly as well and that they would not necessarily get to that stage. What they have ask for is time to do their consultation, now how that consultation and getting feedback from the membership especially through the BNTU meetings turn into a strike and possible demonstration is what behooves us. I think people need to be aware that last week we held the most meeting of the collective bargaining negotiation and it was there that the ministerial sub-committee that has been task put to the staff side which is the union side the position that the government is taking which is that we are not able to afford at this time the 30% salary adjustment and I believe that is all this that is happening now in terms of the meetings with the BNTU are as a result of them responding to that position."

PM Says Government Trying Not to Increase Taxes, Cannot Increase Pay
Not surprisingly, the Prime Minister takes a very dim view of the possibility of a strike. This evening he told us that right now his efforts are focused on making sure that there's no increase in taxes for all of the population, so he can hardly consider giving teachers and public officers a raise: Prime Minister Dean Barrow "it's a little disappointing that notwithstanding that they have gone this route, but what is most important is for people to recognize that contrary to what's happening in Jamaica, contrary to what's happening in St. Lucia, contrary to what's happening all over the Caribbean - this government is determine to hold the line so that there will be no increases - no tax increases for our population to bear and so that there will be no retrenchment of teachers or public officers." Next week the Prime Minister is expected to address the nation on the state of public finances and why Government can't afford to give teachers and public officers a raise.

Rosewood Under Lock!
Tonight two 20 foot containers of Rosewood remain impounded at the Forestry Department in Belmopan pending investigation. As we reported, those containers were discovered yesterday evening at the compound of Belize Engineering - which is right next to Customs headquarters in Belize City. The Forestry Department, the CIB, Customs and BAHA responded to the information that the Rosewood was being held there - likely awaiting shipment. This is taken by the authorities to be a violation on the moratorium on Rosewood extraction and exportation because the hundreds of flitches had no official stamp from the Forestry Department. Additionally, customs had only released the containers at the end of 2012 - well after the moratorium went into effect. And so, yesterday evening, Forestry quickly took both containers to Belmopan for safe storage. The other container that was discovered yesterday is a forty foot one with twenty-eight tons of rosewood flitches. That was found at the Belize-Guatemala Western Border.

PM Says Hon. Alamilla Accepts Rosewood Should Not Have Been Burnt
And it is also precious in Belize - though not widely available. Make no mistake, Rosewood is a prized local hardwood - and though the domestic market can't pay Chinese type money for it - it is much sought after. And that's probably why there's been so much public uproar over the burning of a thousand flitches that happened a week ago. Forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla has been alternately praised and pilloried bold action. And somewhere between those two extremes is where we found the Prime Minister. Monica Bodden asked him today what he thinks of the incineration:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "She has said to me and to Cabinet that if she had to do it all over again she would do it differently. I understand what motivated her. I understand her feeling that if she had tried to sell the rosewood the only people who have the export connections are the same people that she suspects are engaging in the illegal trade. If she had tried to keep the lumber stored somewhere, no doubt mice would have gotten at it, so I sympathized but quite honestly I would have wished that that had not been done."

Behind the Gaza Door
This morning - after 10 days - the barriers locking off three blocks of Dean Street were removed. But we can't say life has returned to normal - after this community was rocked by the mass murder of four well-known area residents. Yesterday, for the first time residents were allowed to re-open the upper floor of the building that was the scene of those murders. They called 7news to see what they found. Monica Bodden was there and she has this report on some interesting observations:.. Monica Bodden reporting It was through this backdoor that the killers allegedly made their way inside the George Street men's apartment complex. If you look closely, the lock on the bolt for the grill door is broken many say it has been for a while now before the incident. This makes it impossible to securely lock the door. In fact, anyone familiar with the door - knows that it can be easily manipulated with just a pinky finger to slide open. Neighbors say this is a fact that police who often search the premises - should be familiar with. The police told the PM the door was not forced open.

Murder Was Up, So Were Arrests
All told, a very small area of Dean Street was the scene of five murders in 2013. First, on New Year's night, Orlando Williams was killed at the corner of Dean street and West Canal - and then 10 days ago, Leonard Meyers, Albert Fuentes, Keino Quallo (Quayle-lo) and Anthony Perez were murdered en masse. Those numbers have gotten 2013 off to a worrying start in terms of crime statistics. But, before we start tabulating 2013, we haven't even finished with 2012. Police released the official crime statistics this morning. They show those 145 murders we've been reporting on, a 14.5% increase from the 124 murders in 2011. We note that there have been only 61 arrests for murders this year - which suggests that as much as 80 of those murders are unsolved. Still, the 61 arrests is a sharp 23% increase from last year's figure. May was the deadliest month, with 16 murders, while June and December recorded 15 murders each. Reports of major crimes such as rape, robbery, burglary and carnal knowledge were up, while theft was down.

Evening Robbery In The City
There was some commotion in the Coney Drive area this evening as shots rang out just after 5:00 pm. According to reports, two men robbed Hamze's store at the corner of Blue Marlin and Coney Drive at around 5:00. But as they tried to escape - reports say two men friendly to the store pursued them. That's when police - who were fuelling up at a nearby gas station - heard the shots and responded. They cornered the men in the open lot between CP Gas Station and the Teacher's Union Headquarters. One of them managed to get away, but the other was apprehended by the GSU. Police covered his face and took him into custody. We'll have more details on Monday.

PM: GOB Can't Afford Electricity Rate Increase
Earlier this week, we told you about electricity rates which went up at the beginning of this month. The PUC held a press conference to say it was going up by a cent more for everything except the street lights. That's because the rate for street lights reverted to 55 cents per kilowatt hour, where it was before the increase came into effect. The bottom line is that everyone will pay more, except for the government on those street lights! Today the Prime Minister explained that they just can't afford it:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Let's be clear on what's involved here - government was always paying 55 cents per kilowatt hour for the street lighting which was hugely more than the rate for the rest of consumers was at the time when those rates was lowered and I think the ordinary consumer by and large in terms of the rate and tariff went down to 41-42 cents or whatever it was.

Vanzie Remanded For Gun
31 year-old Kenroy Vanzie is at prison tonight after he was taken to Magistrate's Court for allegedly being in possession of gun. According to police, they searched his home on Arlington Drive on January 2, and when they swept the yard, the found a 9mm pistol with 6 live rounds of ammunition in a swampy area. As a result, police arrested and charged him with keeping an unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition, and he was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, but due to the nature of the offences, Senior Magistrate Frazer couldn't grant him bail. He was remanded to prison until March 18 2013, his next court date.

IOC: Belize Olympic Commission Must Hold Regular Elections
This week, the Belize Olympic Association hosted a trio of visitors from the International Olympic Committee Solidarity Committee. They were here to discuss funding for the four year plan leading up to the next Olympics. Every year, IOC representatives visit two countries in each region; this year it was Belize and Nicaragua. And it could not have come at a better time. That's because for the first time in memory Belize's Olympic Commission is having an election. IT has been a very long time since that happened - which is a direct contravention of IOC bye-laws. But everyone - the media included - has let it slide. But now, after decades at the helm, Ned Pitts is stepping down, and the IOC Delegates told the media we should not let anything slide again!: Richard Peterkin, IOC member "What we are seeing is that we are really here to help. We have a budget for the progenial, this budget has been expanded tremendously. We want to make sure that we start early to start utilizing the funds that is available for training, for coaching, for scholarships and everything so that come 2016 they will really be ready - the athletes will be able to perform better etc. and they would be doing a better job as IOC in spreading Olympic values throughout the country."

Over-Politicizing Of An Unfortunate Incident?
For the past two days we've had coverage of the very disturbing incident where former Prime Minister Said Musa's home was shot up. It is one of the most troubling incidents we've reported on - but what also troubled Jules Vasquez was the blatant politicization of a truly unfortunate event. In what we'll term as a sort of commentary, he looks more closely and the narrative of this shooting and the raging political undercurrents behind it:.. Rt. Hon. Said Musa "It was a close call if you like." Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "We view any personal attack or act of violence against the Rt. Hon. Sad Musa and his family as an attack against the People's United Party family." Jules Vasquez reporting That is perhaps as it should be - but it seems yesterday's event was also to try and change the narrative somewhat:

PM Says Security A Major Concern
But, Prime Minister Dean Barrow is looking completely past the politics on this one. He told us today that more has to be done in terms of security:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "From a crime perspective naturally it is unprecedented that the house of an ex-Prime Minister should come under gunfire attack and I first of all want to express my solidarity with the former Prime Minister and make clear that for us it really underlines how much more we have to do. How much we have to add to all that we have been doing." Mr. Musa's home remains under police guard.

George Street Residents Hold Vigil For Slain Men
As we reported earlier on in the newscast, the barriers blocking off three blocks of Dean Street were removed today. That gives residents some sense of relief - and one hour ago they utilized that to hold a peaceful candle-light procession around their neighborhood. They call it a healing process to mend the this emotional toll that violence has taken on this south side community. Women, men and children chanted for peace through the streets of their neighborhood. Residents, of course, include members of the George Street Gang and parents of the deceased. They told Monica Bodden why they are marching:.. Dorla Vaughn, Area resident "We are doing a vigil for the 4 guys because since the murder we believe the community has been in distress." Betty Welch, Mother of Leonard Meyers "People are not satisfy with the results of whatsoever happened because the guys that died along with my son - they were not bad guys, everybody loved them but as I told you that I am fine - I am only waiting to hear what is going to happen after this."

Another of Armed Robbers Remanded
On Monday, 7News told you about the 6 men who attempted to rob the Mahogany Street Chinese Grocer. Police caught them red handed in the property and shot four of them. 4 of the men were injured and police arrested all 6 and recovered all the stolen items. Police charged 20 year old Gregory Knox, 19 year old Jean Pasqual, 18 year old Alexis Ku, 36 year old Steven Swasey, and two 17 year-old minors jointly with robbery, keeping a firearm without a license and kept ammunition without a license. Ku and Swasey were arraigned and remanded on Monday. Well, Knox was arraigned before the Senior Magistrate today and remanded to Prison until March 1. He told the court that at the time in question, he went to take a gift for his daughter in the area of Mopan Street and when he was passing by the shop, he saw one of the men whom he recognized. He said that he gave that man a $5.00 bill and that's how police linked him to the robbery. He also said that he was shot for no reason.

Student Says Police Ruff Him Up
An hour before news time, 15 year-old Andre Arthurs and his mother, Sharee Trapp, came to our studio to complain about a police officer who allegedly gave him a wound under his left eye. It is a strange incident where the Nazarene High School Student was sitting in a bus which was on Treasury Lane waiting for the traffic to move. Someone from the bus hurled an item at one of the vendors. The vendor believed it was Arthurs, and they started to fight. One of the police officers from the Magistrate's Court responded, and according to Arthurs the officer used excessive force: Andre Arthurs - claims police brutality "The bus stop in town and the peanuts man who sells there - some girls in front of me boom him but he thinks it was me and he came and open the back door and pull me by my foot and then the conductor came and lock the door. I open the door and I went outside and he and I started to fight. He hit me and then the policeman came to separate us and then pull me by the shirt and choke me and slams me into the fence and the he slaps me." Daniel Ortiz "Who gave you that thing on your eye?" Andre Arthurs "The policeman." Daniel Ortiz "You are certain sir?" Andre Arthurs "Yes sir."

Football National Team's Big First Game
Tonight, the Belize National "A" Team is in Costa Rica awaiting the first game of the first round of the Copa Centroamericana against the host county. They left for Costa Rica on Wednesday to attend the opening ceremonies yesterday, and they play their first game against Costa Rica tonight at 8 p.m. And Head Coach Leroy Sherrier is looking to put off another impressive performance the way he did in the tournament as coach 12 years ago. In that match, the Belize National Team tied against Guatemala, with a score of 3 goals a piece. And the fact that Coach Sherrier is a Costa Rican who has some inside knowledge of the Costa Rican National Team has not escaped the press in that country. Here in Belize, excitement in high. We spoke to 2 of the FFB members this evening, and they told us that the team's mentality is to try to win each game with an equally strong offence and defence. Here's how they explained it: Luis Pena, PR Officer - FFB "The mod going into the first game is one of confidence and excitement. The Belize National Selection left on Wednesday enroute to Costa Rica where they are right now and tonight is the big match which is the opener since Costa Rica is the host country. The guys are in Costa Rica right now, they are excited and they are waiting for 8 o' clock when the game starts."

The Most Impressive Belizean Comic Book Artists
In October of last year, the Belize Tourism Board, along with the Belize Diaspora Network, and a US Comic Book company, Concrete Park, organized a comic book workshop for Belizean artists. They also set up a comic book competition in which high school artists had 2 months to prepare their comic illustrations which had to incorporate some element of Belizean culture. They recently chose the 3 winning pieces, and in a ceremony today at the House of Culture, those winners were awarded. 7News attended, and spoke to several of the winners. Andrea Polanco, Media & PR Manager, BTB "What the students had to is that they had to do comic that is representative of some aspect of Belize or Belizean culture and so in the comic creations that you will see on the front some of them have depictions of the archaeological sites across Belize and you will see of course the flag. Some of the artwork that they have done is very representative of our culture."

Cayo Primary School Going Solar
El Progreso Government School in the Cayo District is going solar! That's after the Taiwanese embassy handed over two sets of solar panels and the batteries to the school in the Cayo District. And they need it, because they don't have any electricity! The donation came through the effort of volunteers from the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan visited who visited Belize and saw the conditions at the school.

The Belizean Artist Known As Dre
And we end what has been a long news night with something light. It's about an artist called Dre from Dangriga. He does dancehall reggae and punta, but says despite the love he has on the street, they won't play him on the radio. He lamented, in song:.. Dre, artist "It was a hit because out in the road a lot of people step out looking jiggy and clean. The last money that they have they will buy food and thing, they dressed up nice but their belly is groaning." "Me and my agent Big Soup we go through all kind of things - we always forward our tunes but the DJs - I don't know why they act like that - they allow the Jamaican and we are Belizeans, we are from here - we have to eat. Since we are in Belize we are supposed to be on the map right now."

Channel 5

Standoff between government and teachers
Teachers countrywide have voted resoundingly to hold a national demonstration in Belmopan on January twenty-ninth. And if that doesn’t get government’s attention, then they are prepared to go on strike. The biggest issue on the table is a salary adjustment of thirty percent requested by teachers due to the high cost of living. Government says [...]

Government shocked by impending demonstration
Negotiations for a collective bargain agreement have been ongoing since 2008, but teachers are unhappy that they have not been able to move forward on the thirty percent salary adjustment .With that threat looming ahead for the government, Minister Patrick Faber, who is the head of the ministerial negotiation team says that government has been [...]

Faber says no impasse; fight is between the N.T.U.C.B. and G.O.B.
As the clock ticks toward February twenty-ninth, Faber says the ministerial committee is not planning on meeting again until the next scheduled meeting because he believes there is no impasse. Still yet, the Prime Minister is expected to make a presentation to the nation next week providing details of the economic picture.   Patrick Faber, [...]

P.M. makes no apologies for meeting with gangs
In the wake of the brutal slaying of four reputed George Street Gang affiliates last week, government has come under attack in many quarters for what is considered as the state negotiating with criminals instead of taking the hard line. Just after the bodies were discovered, gang leaders from George Street were escorted to a [...]

P.M. also speaks of recent shooting at home of Said Musa
The prime minister also spoke of the recent shooting of his predecessor Said Musa on Tuesday night. Musa told the media at a solidarity gathering at P.U.P. Headquarters that the threats he received in December were not related to the actual attack. He claimed that his gut instinct was that the shooting was not for [...]

Late evening robbery leads to shooting on Coney Drive
Late this evening the gun violence hit close to home. A brazen robbery at a grocery store off Coney Drive close to Channel Five, led to a chase, shootout and subsequently the capture of one assailant. Just after five p.m., two persons entered a store located at the corner of Blue Marlin Boulevard and Coney [...]

Rosewood, a hot commodity; P.M. weighs in on burning of illegally harvested wood
There is no new discovery of a container or stash of rosewood to report tonight, though it seems that attempts to smuggle illegal rosewood and export it to China these days has become as common as shootings in Belize City. In the past week there have been four busts including one in Golden Stream which [...]

…While investigations continue, Maya Leaders Alliance say Mayan rights are being violated
Still on the rosewood around five on Thursday evening, two containers containing tons of rosewood flitches were confiscated from the compound of Belize Engineering Company Limited. Officials of the Ministry of Forestry are still in the process of determining the volume, origin, and documentation of the precious woods in the containers which were registered to [...]

Recommendations to end the illegal extraction of rosewood
Coc also made recommendations on how to proceed to put an end to the illegal extraction of the natural resource.   Via Phone: Cristina Coc, Spokesperson, Maya Leaders Alliance “We are asking the ministry and the minister in particular to launch an inquiry into this situation; to establish a sound investigating team who will find [...]

Men charged for stolen Ministry of Health vehicle, walk free
It made the headlines when a Government vehicle was stolen from a compound of the Ministry of Health last May eighth. A man caught on surveillance camera, dressed in camouflage clothing walked into the compound and drove off with the 2009 Toyota Hilux Pick-up truck, assigned to the Ministry. Three persons were charged: police officer [...]

John McAfee, his life story continues
John McAfee…depending on your particular perspective he’s anything from a lovable rogue to a nuisance to a devil in disguise or a demented lunatic. Whatever he really is, and nobody is quite sure, he captured the attention of local, regional and foreign media for almost a month as he led Belize Police on a merry [...]

National Selection A team to say goal against Costa Rica
The national selection A Team left for Costa Rica on Wednesday headed by the president of the F.F.B., the vice-present and the general-secretary. The team is gearing up tonight and is playing against the host country, Costa Rica, in one of the three games that will be played in the next five days. Tonight’s game [...]

Special Committee selected to deal with escalating crime
Prime Minister touch on a number of hot button issues when we caught up with him at the Best Western Hotel earlier today. PM Barrow was there for a meeting of a special committee selected to deal specifically with the escalation of crime. There was representation from the Crime Control Council, the Police High Command, [...]

Sedi versus Darrell; can council withhold licenses legally for nonpayment of taxes?
From the burial services takeover to the massive congestion of city streets, the Belize City Council always seems to be in the center of unwelcome controversy. Today is no different, as the discussion of a brewing debate is slowly taking center stage. On one side, Mayor Darrell Bradley has instituted a policy which requires that [...]

Traffic congestion caused by months of street work by City Council
Street works around the City, have been causing delays in traffic for months but this morning, trying to get to work, school or almost everywhere else, was absolute madness. The rerouting of a main thoroughfare backed up traffic significantly. Carla Bradley reports.   Carla Bradley “If you were traveling from Central American Boulevard towards Freetown [...]


Police confirm 145 murders for 2012
The Belize Police Department has confirmed the number of murders nationwide in Belize for 2012 as 145, a new nation...

City Administrator, Ismael Garcia, details Belmopan's Liquor Licencing decisions
The Liquor Licensing Board for the City of Belmopan held its first meeting for the year this week. The Board meets ...

Kenny Morgan explains why Belize City Council took over construction of graves
The Belize City Council has come under fire by residents and undertakers concerning its policy on construction of g...

Belmopan Mayor, Simeon Lopez, tells why CBA placed stop orders on construction projects
The Central Building Authority is enabled by the Belize Building Act 2003 which is an act to control building opera...

Minister of National Security, Hon John Saldivar, addresses issues into the investigations of the killing of 4 men
The murders of four men from George Street continue to be discussed as Police have not made any arrests in the matt...

Charges against 3 men for taking Government vehicle withdrawn for lack of presecution
It was a big story when a Government vehicle was taken after a man dressed in camoflauge walked onto the compound o...


Former Prime Minister reveals death threats in December; now house and car shot up. Police responded to a call yesterday morning, Wednesday, reporting that the house of former Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Said Musa, had been shot at, and his wife’s vehicle “shot up”. The shooting occurred at the corner of E Street and Princess Margaret Drive in the King’s Park area of Belize City. The former Prime Minister’s property was shot at about five times around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15. Police, in a press release issued today, Thursday, said that the vehicle was found “with two apparent bullet holes to the right front passenger door, (1) apparent bullet hole to the driver’s side door panel, and the rear passenger glass window shattered.” The release added that police observed “an apparent bullet hole to the front screen door and wooden front door, damages to the front exterior cement wall, and damages to the interior cement wall near the front door of the residence.” Five 9mm expended shells were recovered from the scene by police. Musa said that he had locked up his house around 11:00 p.m. and retired to his bedroom when shortly after he heard multiple gunshots in the area.

In the past couple weeks the issue of illegal rosewood extraction has literally exploded into the public consciousness. Illegal rosewood shipments have been confiscated by Government, but to date, no one is in prison for the offence against our Belizean patrimony; in fact, no one has even been taken to court for the matter, and the Belizean public has not been told why. Confiscated rosewood has disappeared out of a Government compound, and no one has been held accountable. Hon. Lisell Alamilla, whose portfolio includes Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, has publicly burned a number of confiscated rosewood logs to show her determination to put an end to the illegal trade, but the “burning” question remains as to why no one is in prison for the crime. Today, officially, the Forestry Department and the Customs Department “are investigating the origin of a 40-foot container containing approximately 28 tons of rosewood flitches which is being held by the Belize Customs Department at the Belize-Guatemala Western Border. The container was being brought into Belize via the Western Border on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.” The information to Amandala is that 380 pieces of rosewood are being held at the Customs Department at the Western Border in Benque Viejo del Carmen.

Guatemala has a restriction on the exportation of rosewood in log form, and Belize has a moratorium on the product, so where did the rosewood at the Western Border come from? In the past couple weeks the issue of illegal rosewood extraction has literally exploded into the public consciousness. Illegal rosewood shipments have been confiscated by Government, but to date, no one is in prison for the offence against our Belizean patrimony; in fact, no one has even been taken to court for the matter, and the Belizean public has not been told why. Confiscated rosewood has disappeared out of a Government compound, and no one has been held accountable. Hon. Lisell Alamilla, whose portfolio includes Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, has publicly burned a number of confiscated rosewood logs to show her determination to put an end to the illegal trade, but the “burning” question remains as to why no one is in prison for the crime. Today, officially, the Forestry Department and the Customs Department “are investigating the origin of a 40-foot container containing approximately 28 tons of rosewood flitches which is being held by the Belize Customs Department at the Belize-Guatemala Western Border. The container was being brought into Belize via the Western Border on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.” The information to Amandala is that 380 pieces of rosewood are being held at the Customs Department at the Western Border in Benque Viejo del Carmen. The press release adds that the Forestry Department “is working with its counterpart in Guatemala and is awaiting confirmation on the origin and legitimacy of the rosewood material. Guatemala has imposed a restriction on the exportation of rosewood in the log forms (flitches), sawn wood and veneer sheets.” This particular rosewood situation differs from the others that made news over the past few weeks. This situation is not a bust on the wood, but rather the transfer of a container of wood being delayed until the arrival of documentation to confirm the place of origin of the wood. The container did come from Guatemala; that fact is not being disputed. The issue in question, is from where exactly did the wood come? There is a suspicion that the wood was extracted from forests in Belize, and was, to avoid trouble due to our moratorium on the product, transported to Guatemala, and brought back to Belize to look as if it was shipped from Guatemala.

A boy, 15, of San Pedro Town, has been remanded to the prison for juveniles at the Kolbe Foundation after he was taken to court on charges of carnal knowledge of a girl, 15, and grievous harm to the girl. He was taken to the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court on Friday, January 11, where he was remanded until March 26. The girl and her mother, both residents of Benque Viejo, went to Benque police and reported that when the girl went to San Pedro in July for the summer and in December for the Christmas to visit her relatives, the boy took her into his parents’ bedroom, where he engaged her in sex. The girl was taken to the Benque Town Clinic, where doctors who examined her declared that her hymen had been ruptured, and that she had been carnally known.

It was made public in 2012 that electricity rates would increase by 16.87 percent for the New Year. The new rates went into effect on January 1, 2013. What was not made known to the public until this week was the distribution of the increased rates. The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) said that the increase was necessary to recover additional cost of power for 2012 and to cover increases in the cost of power for the period of January 1 to June 30, 2013. It was the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), however, which issued a press release that outlined the way the increase would be distributed. What seemed to some to have been unfair in the distribution is the fact that the rate for the street lights, paid for by Government, did not increase, but it did increase for consumers. The PUC had proposed that the rate for street lights be increased by nine cents from 55 cents to 64 cents per kilowatt hour, but the government rejected that proposal and requested that the increase be placed on the rates for other customers. The Mean Electricity Rate (MER) has increased from 41.81 cents to 48.86 cents per kilowatt hour for residential customers.

I featured Maya Ortega in my last contribution highlighting Belize’s football heroes. In this edition I wish to reflect and pay tribute to one of his contemporaries who to my mind shared traits characteristic of Caribbean intellectuals who led our region’s nationalist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, and anti neo-colonial efforts. In the context of the development of the sport of football this athlete was visionary and progressive. He was as much a revolutionary in his time as were intellectual giants of our Caribbean civilization such as Walter Rodney of Guyana; Maurice Bishop of Grenada; Ralph Gonsalves, the current Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Professor Neville Duncan of the University of the West Indies; and our own Evan X Hyde. Such leaders were strident in their opposition to neo-colonialism, they challenged the status quo, were independent in their thinking, provocative in their advocacy for a new international economic order and confident in our ability to be masters of our own destiny. Their novel thought and activism came at great personal expense but they were always brave and courageous making sacrifices to advance the cause of the masses. Walter Rodney was assassinated; Maurice Bishop was executed brutally; Evan X was tried for seditious conspiracy; and no doubt Prime Minister Gonsalves and Professor Duncan experienced severe economic hardships brought on by the victimization of those who would defend their privilege rather than heed the advice of these leaders in promoting and protecting the rights of the “lumpen proletariat.” It is in this manner that I compare Bembe the Mugger Garbutt as a revolutionary. His challenge was to the elitism and privileged of the then Belize Football Association. He challenged the establishment in ensuring that the lucrative proceeds from the admission fee to the games were evenly distributed for the benefit and the good of all the players.

The gangs are very powerful organizations. Their power come from their members’ commitment to support and protect each other; from the fact that they are armed; and that they kill without compunction and, apparently, without fear of the consequences of their crimes. Over a year ago, I asked someone, who moved freely in the areas ruled by gangs, how large were the gangs. He said there were about twelve gangs in Belize City and each had about fifteen to twenty members. That was then. I understand that now, there are about fifteen gangs and, the gangs are large and growing in size because, they are actively recruiting new members of younger and younger age. What is more, if you live in an area where a gang is established, you have no choice but to join the gang. We tend to think of gangs as composed only of males. Actually, gangs include their female companions, sisters and, in some cases, single mothers. So, each male gang member may have at least three female associates who are involved in crime. All together, there might be as many as twelve hundred persons engaged in gang criminal activity. Gang members and their female companions are having children. What will their future be like? Is it likely that the male children of such unions will be other than a gang member? They, like their parents, will be the children of hopelessness, deprivation and neglect. If nothing is done about gangs, the time may come when gang membership will become a significant segment of our population.

Our National “A” Team left yesterday for a date with football destiny in Costa Rica. Their vibes are up-beat and positive; there are no visible undercurrents, as in years past when we received reports of some disgruntled players due to unequal and even neglectful treatment by the past “heads” of the FFB administration. Both new Head Coach Le Roy Sherrier Lewis and FFB President Ruperto Vicente share a genuine love of the game and respect for players’ feelings, both having served with distinction in their past football playing careers. Our boys will give their all, as they always do. And Belizean fans are hopeful and excited about the games, which reportedly will be shown live in the coming days on GOL T.V. From this sports desk, we share the hopes and dreams of all Belizeans where our National Team is concerned. We saw them off yesterday at the Philip Goldson International Airport, and they know we are behind them all the way. There is only one mindset that one can have when going into battle if one truly hopes to be victorious. Our young men are going on the field to win, and we would have it no other way. Miracles can and do happen in sports; and sometimes the odds makers are proven wrong. Can Belize do it? Of course, we can; but it will be such an achievement as few casual observers can fully comprehend the enormity of. It would be cause for nothing short of a national celebration that would result from such an accomplishment; and those young men would be national heroes, so huge would be their achievement.

Leaving Belize on TACA International Airlines 12:30 flight this afternoon en route to Costa Rica for the Copa Centroamericana was a Football Federation of Belize (FFB) delegation, the center piece being the National “A” Team. The delegation is headed by President of the FFB, Ruperto Vicente, along with Secretary-General Michael Blease, and Second Vice-President and National Team Chairman, Rawell Pelayo. According to a FFB press release yesterday, the UNCAF Congress will be held on Thursday, January 17, and the tournament commences on Friday, January 18, to close on January 28. On opening day, Friday, January 18, Belize meets host Costa Rica; then Guatemala on Sunday, January 20; and Nicaragua on Tuesday, January 22 in the first round of play. The final round, including the top 2 teams from each group, will be played on January 25 – 27. (Group A – Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize; Group B – Honduras, El Salvador, Panama) The travelling National Team members are: Woodrow West; Frank Lopez; Elroy Smith; Evral Trapp; Tyrone Pandy; Delone Torres; Cristobal Gilharry; Ian Gaynair; Andres Makin, Jr.; Dalton Eiley, Jr. (captain); Evan Mariano; Ashley Torres; Russell Cassanova; Jeromy James; Devon Makin; Shannon Flowers; Trevor Lennon; San Leobardo Mendez; Deon McCaulay; Harrison Roches. The technical staff accompanying the National Team: LeRoy Sherrier (Coach); Carlos Slusher (Assistant Coach); Julio Santos (Assistant Coach); Kent Gabourel; Thomas Rivars; Elfryn Reyes; Herbert Trapp, Jr.; Marlon Tillett. Also joining the delegation were Premier League executives William Myvett and Onan McClean.

The power structure during the British colonialism we Belizeans experienced in this region, a power structure which was built on the philosophy of white supremacy, had a standard approach to dealing with any form of insurgency. That approach involved the identification of the leader of that insurgency, and then the directing of maximum firepower against him. The thinking was: kill the head, and the body will die. A few years ago there was an insurgency in the Tower Hill area, involving cane farmers or cane factory workers, or both. The power structure of the independent Belize focused on the leader, and went all out after him. I was very impressed by how the body of the insurgents maneuvered to neutralize that focus, and to protect the leader. Their tactics were brilliant. In the corporate and political structures we see in the developed, industrial world, the structures are designed with the intent of minimizing the importance of personality at the apex of the pyramid. If the corporate or political structure in sophisticated systems loses a charismatic leader to illness, death, or whatever, the structure can replace that leader and continue functioning without major hiccups. I think the most sensational example of that in my generation’s lifetime was when the United States president, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in November of 1963. This was an absolutely traumatic event for the American superpower. And yet, a new president was sworn in, in a matter of hours, and life in America basically went on as if nothing catastrophic had occurred. The system withstood the shock. It had been designed to do so

Dear Editor, I write in reaction to the burning of rosewood by the Minister of Forestry last Friday in Golden Stream. I find it very sad that a Minister will stoop so low and destroy our natural resources. She has no conscience or respect for the poor of Toledo. The rosewood is not for her or the government; it is for all of us. It could be used by our crafts and furniture makers and for posts for houses. Also, the government says that it does not have money to fix our roads and schools, yet they destroy a precious wood that could make money to help the poor. I know that the alcaldes and villagers from Poite, Dolores and other border communities are selling rosewood and other hard woods to Guatemalans every day, but nothing is done by the Forestry Department to stop them, but they stop it in other villages. Why this injustice and double standard? Are they better than other people?

Dear Mr. Waight, The Placencia Village Council hereby takes this opportunity to respond and address the letter sent to the Council on November 10, 2012 (Ref: CBA250-11112). The Placencia Village Council is aware of the functions of the Central Building Authority. At the inception of the Council of 2010-2013, we made efforts to continue working with, and strengthening, the relationship between the Council and CBA. We were very happy that the Director at that time, Mr. Satchwell, was very pro-active and open when it came to working with the Council. We, at no time, ever stated, in any official capacity, to any contractor/builder/owner, that the Council has the only say when it came to issuing building permits. It was always mutually understood that protocol is: Step 1. All applications first come to the Council; Step 2: The Council reviews floor plans and retain a copy for archiving; Step 3: Give an official letter of support, after collecting our Social Consideration Fees due to us under the National Laws of Belize;

DearEditor, My name is Raymond Williams in Michigan, USA. I am a descendant of the Ford family from Belize. I am trying to research my ancestry and I cannot seem to find any one information on my family tree beyond my great grandfather, James Alexander Ford, born about 1873. I have some info on my great grandmother, Juanita, born about 1876, since she came over to the United States. UnfortunateIy, I have never been to Belize. The only cousin from Belize who I was close to, Michael Burns, was killed in Belize a few years ago, before I started to research my ancestry. I don’t know who to turn to, since I do not know any of my other relatives in Belize. Would you please help me and direct me to a location where I can make contact to others who could help?

Letters: OVER $400,000 UP IN SMOKE
Dear Editor, Those who “have” will certainly agree with action of Minister Alamilla in the burning of the illegally harvested rosewood in the Golden Stream area in the Toledo District. However, the “have-nots” are unable to comprehend how this action can deter the illegal harvesting of timber. They cannot understand how this huge resource is literally burnt and not put to good use. They say it is equal to lighting the forest on fire. For this I have put together some suggestions as to what this valuable resource could have done to the Toledo District. Here are a couple of them: • This amount could have at least built a four three-classroom school buildings in the District • This amount could have purchased an enormous amount of school supplies and furniture for the school rather than teachers having to beg for these items. • It could have purchased at least 10 vehicles for the Forestry Department, when the Minister well knows that the Dept. is limited with dilapidated vehicles. Four days after this incident the young inexperienced driver of the Toledo Forestry vehicle overturned the only Toledo office vehicle – and guess who recommended this young fellow?

Dear Editor, I grew up the son of a fisherman; because I chose to be a businessman I am unable to fish in Belizean waters. None of my friends or relatives are willing to take me out to traditional fishing grounds because I do not have the necessary licenses, permits or pay the necessary fees to fish. I am ashamed to say that it is easier and cheaper for me to fish in Cozumel, Mexico than it is to do in Belize. Coming from a village I would have to lose business time and go to the city to obtain these. Not worth it for once or twice a year. I now go to Cozumel once or twice a year to fish instead of doing so in Belize. Cozumel has the same sand, sun, sea and Maya ruins as Belize for half the cost. I can travel from Belize to Playa del Carmen for around $50.00, plus another $5.00 to ferry to Cozumel. Cost of hiring a boat with captain plus a few beers is around half of what it is in Belize. These trips cost me far less than what I would pay in Belize if only I could have done it in the first place. What makes this so affordable? Taxes, taxes, taxes . Belize is taxing itself out of business. High taxes on fuel, utilities, hotels and other operating costs make Belize less than competitive in offering affordable competition. The Prime Minister did not make it any easier when he announced that the agreements he had negotiated with the hotel sector “aren’t going to happen”.

A visiting delegation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a press conference this evening at the office of the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (our National Olympic Committee or NOC) at the corner of Albert and Prince Streets where they heard comments and questions from media representatives present. Members of the delegation, Ms. Joanna Zipser-Graves, Olympic Solidarity’s Manager for the Americas; Mr. Richard Peterkin, IOC Member; and Mr. Nills Holmegaard, IOC Project Officer, reportedly met earlier today with representatives of various sports federations in Belize as well as with the Minister of Sports, and also had a chance to visit the on-going construction at the Marion Jones Sports Complex. This is the IOC delegation’s first visit to Belize, and Mr. Peterkin said his friend, Belize’s NOC President Ned Pitts had informed him of his intention to hold elections, as he has not been well lately. Elections are scheduled for February 16, at which a new executive will be charged with managing the affairs of the Belize Olympic Association’s affairs for the next four years. The IOC delegation sees their role as important at this time to help “manage the period of change” anticipated following next month’s elections and to “discuss the Programme Guide for the 2013-2016 Quadrennial Plan.”

Editorial: THE ICJ
“Maybe we can find a reason to send a child off to war. So why if we’re controlling all the oil, is it worth a child dying for? Is it worth it?” - Prince, in “Money don’t matter tonight” “Throughout the seventeenth century, European soldiers were still only slightly removed from thugs; they raped, robbed, and pillaged civilians as assiduously as they fought the enemy. Whole towns would be massacred without much thought, and even when soldiers attempted to behave with a measure of humanity, they still pillaged wherever they went, because pillaging was the only way to support their operations, especially on long campaigns. Since most of Europe lived harvest to harvest, an army often left famine in its wake.” - pg. 124, THE BLACK COUNT, Tom Reiss, Crown Publishers, New York, 2012 The newspaper has recently been running a few excerpts from Adam Hochschild’s book about Belgium’s King Leopold II and the atrocities he committed in the Congo state in the last part of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. Leopold became a criminal and murderer because he was greedy for money, and ivory and rubber fetched very high prices on the world market in those days.

The Belize City Branch of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) is unhappy with the Government, whom they’ve been trying to negotiate with for a salary increase over the last few years. The branch held a meeting this afternoon at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall, at which over 500 teachers voted overwhelmingly, by secret ballot, that they will suspend classes on Tuesday, January 29, to travel to Belmopan to protest outside Cabinet Meeting, which is normally held every Tuesday. The Branch president, Kathleen Flowers, said that the joint negotiating team has been meeting with Government for the past two years to get an increase in salaries and other benefits for teachers, but they have been unsuccessful. All the various branches of the union held meetings today and voted on a plan of action. The results of today’s votes will be relayed to the National President, Luke Palacio, and his council of management, which will then presumably carry out the mandate of the teachers. Flowers said that the Belize City Branch stands willing to participate in whatever is planned by the collective union.


Reverend Bill: Gallus domesticus and Papagayo
Reverend Bill, the boat captain, was not a reverend and his name was not Bill; also, he was not really a boat captain. Reverend Bill had colored himself with stories of adventures in the North Sea where he lived most of his life although he had never been there. Feverishly he followed in periodicals, sailboat construction and designs. Regularly he revolted against new techniques and materials. One season he continuously discredited fiberglass, “If God had wanted man to have fiberglass boats, he would have made fiberglass trees,” he would say. The next season it was fuels, “Gasoline is foolish and smart captains should use diesel.” Finally he gave up construction and design entirely. He was Reverend Bill, the boat captain, because what he once was had become unimaginable to him. It was not known whether Bill was a good captain or not, for his days were spent on a stool at the Holiday Bar where he had thrown himself so violently into the sea he had very little time left for sailing of any kind.

A Tale of Five Cities: Palenque, around town
I was all set to write about the Palenque ruins today, but that's a big post with a lot of photos, and time kind of got away from me on a busy day, so this will be a shorter, simpler post with a potpourri of photos from around town during our stay. Palenque was unlike the cities we'd been too so far -- no brightly colored colonial buildings in a centro historico district and a bit grittier. But even though it was not as beautiful, we always felt safe walking around (including at night). This was a normal city where folks were just out and about living their lives. If the ruins were not so close by, they'd probably never even see a tourist.Lots of construction going on in the center traffic circle of town where this cool Maya head sculpture is Fence around graveyard in downtown Palenque Ready to go to the Palenque ruins Cute orange VW Beatle Downtown Palenque Festive holiday flags A local bar with an amusing sign in front...

Interesting Facts about Japanese Glass Fishing Floats
ommon names: Glass floats, glass fishing floats, or Japanese glass fishing floats The Japanese glass fishing floats were once used by fishermen in many parts of the world to keep their fishing nets as well as long lines or drop lines afloat. Norway was the first country to start production and use of glass fishing floats around 1840. Christopher Faye, a Norwegian merchant from Bergen is credited for their invention. Interesting facts about the Japanese glass fishing floats: European and Asian fisheries have used Glass floats for well over 80 years, possibly much longer. Many glass floats remain in circular ocean currents in the North Pacific. Glass floats wash up along the whole West Coast of the Americas, Hawaii, the South Pacific Islands, and beaches all around the Pacific Rim, Australia, Russia and Japan. The Floats also comes ashore on the Gulf Coast States, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Japanese glass fishing floats were hand made by a glassblower, using recycled glass from old windowpanes, water jugs, whiskey, and sake and milk bottles. Many glass floats show wear patterns from rolling in the sand and surf. When the netting disintegrates a net pattern image remains with clear glass in the places the float was protected by the net. Some glass floats have small amounts of water trapped inside of them. This occurs when floats are suspended in arctic ice or held under water by nets. Water pressure on the glass surface forces entry into the floats through microscopic imperfections in the glass. There are many types of nets attached to floats made from all manner of materials. Nylon, help, or other natural fibers are used. The classic thick hemp rope used decades ago is probably the one type of net that is considered most special to many glass float collectors.

Former Belize Prime Minister’s House Riddled With Bullets
The house of Belize’s Former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Said Musa, was riddled with bullets on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. Musa and his wife were just about to go to bed when they heard about six shots in rapid succession; upon making checks outside their windows they didn’t notice anything suspicious and went to bed. It wasn’t until Wednesday morning when Mr. Musa noticed that his house had been hit by bullets. According to news reports in the city, Musa got up at about 6:00 a.m. and upon exiting his house he noticed that his front door had been hit with what he believed to be bullets. He made his way out of the house and noticed that his wife’s vehicle had been hit and drove off to the Princess Hotel where police are stationed nearby and made a report.

Speculation at the Split
New Years Eve was a big event here on Caye Caulker and the Split had its fair share of clientele and were jam packed for their big event! The dance floor – the enclosed area that hangs over the beach was the ‘dance floor’, although everywhere and anywhere people were dancing needless to say!! The pressure of so much weight jumping up and down to celebrate the New Year coming in forced the floor of the building to almost collapse. All party goers were safe and unhurt but this has forced the owners and manager to tear down this part of the building. Whilst it does not detract from the general feeling from the building there is a sense of ‘what happens next’!!! Lips are sealed and gossip is rife but we will eagerly await the new improvements and we will ensure that we will keep you posted as soon as they arrive!!

Knock on Wood
It was quite chilly on the veranda this morning when I took my early (around 4.30 am) coffee. We started to feel the drop in temperature yesterday evening when a cold front moved in and it was still there this morning. Actually had to put a ‘T’ shirt on and probably could have put a sweat top on too like many of the people taking their early morning walk. It got colder as the day progressed but compared to where we come from (UK), especially at the moment, it is still lovely and warm. On the drive up north to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize in the afternoon we could really feel the chill factor in the wind, especially with no windshield on our golf cart, and I regretted not putting on the sweat top that Rose recommended. When will I learn that – as she tells me – she is always right ? As we approached the site there was no trace of the sound of a concrete mixer, just the sound of hammers hitting nails. After parking the ‘cart and walking towards our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we could see why. The Ground Floor golf cart parking area looked like a forest. A bit of literary license but there were a lot of horizontal wooden poles in sight. Poles that will support the form boards for the concrete beams that will be first stage of the First Floor.

International Sources

Belize's Unexpected Italian Food Palace On Caye Caulker
When his marriage ended and he retired from two decades of running a wholesale company in Zurich, Switzerland, 50-something-year-old Sandro Sorentino briefly moved back to his native Italy before resolving to live a care-free life fishing in the Florida Keys and Caribbean. Having had a vacation home in Key West, he figured his new-found retirement freedom would allow him to stay on one tropical island for six months, after which he'd seek out big fish at the next location. However, Sorentino dropped anchor in Belize in 2006, and he is now settled down into a successful yet unexpected career on the island of Caye Caulker. Sorentino, the t-shirt-clad and barefoot chef and owner of Sandro's Piccola Cucina, says opening the restaurant, "happened by accident." "I came to Caye Caulker to fish. I planned to stay half a year," he muses. "I started a take-out business to keep busy while I fished." Tourist and ex-patriot demand for his Italian food on the small island paradise turned his retirement hobby into a reservations-required restaurant and the most classy dining option in an otherwise casual locale. I ate at Sandro's Piccola Cucina after a fellow tourist described it as "the best Italian restaurant" he has ever visited anywhere in the world. On an island full of delightful mom-and-pop beachside grills serving up conch, lobster, sea bass and shrimp, Sandro's comforting Italian specialties indeed are pure heaven.

Adventure Travel in Belize
My prior career as a tax preparer meant I was used to navigating endless flowing rivers—of paperwork—and I always seemed to be going against the current. I’ve since had a river-related experience in my new career as a travel writer…but it was a lot more fun. Here’s how it happened. My destination was the rugged Toledo District in southern Belize where an Indiana Jones-worthy cave begged exploration. Blue Creek Cave, known as Hokeb Ha (which translates from Mayan as “where the water enters the earth”) is a 200 million-year-old cave located in the tiny Maya village of Blue Creek. One of the largest underground cave systems in the world, Hokeb Ha comes complete with a river, several waterfalls and an altar…and the only way to explore the mammoth cave is by swimming all the way through. My adventure was deceptively easy at first. It began with a 20-minute jungle hike along the banks of the Moho River. It got more challenging when we had to cross a rocky creek bed before scaling a small rock wall that brought us to the cave entrance.

The Charm of San Ignacio
One of the best written articles about Cayo ever. "Tucked away in a valley between two rivers, San Ignacio is a quaint little town filled with culture and beauty. It is surrounded by rolling hills and jungle vegetation. There is a soft stream that runs through downtown, connected by an emblematic old yellow steel bridge. The central business district consists of small alleyways that showcase its vernacular colonial heritage. The town is populated by a mosaic of ethnicities that includes Mestizos, Kriols, Lebanese, Chinese, and Amerindian. San Ignacio’s surrounding area is rich in history. There are two ancient Mayan sites that are nearly within walking distance. Cahal Pech, which dates backs to 1200 B.C.E, was a former hilltop palace home for the Mayan elites. Xunantunich, located less than one mile from the Guatemala border, was a former ceremonial site for the archaic civilization. Here, you can freely climb to the top of the largest pyramid and enjoy a splendor view of the land. Also just south of town is the Mountain Pine Ridge, a place of waterfalls, caves, and wildlife. We drove about two miles directly into it and although it was the most treacherous ride we have ever experienced, it generated a memory that will stay with us for a lifetime."

DJ Check My Move at the Soul Project
The Soul Project is having DJ Check My Move mixing tonight. Don't miss the funky, chill, and dance grooves that he'll be rolling out. You won't hear a single overplayed song there, guaranteed.

Black Rock Lodge Wins Trip Advisor Award
Black Rock Lodge, ranked as the number 1 hotel in San Ignacio on Trip Advisor, has won their 2013 Traveler's Choice Award for Best Service. Congratulations, BRL! "Couldn't ask for a better place for the $$. Every person was happy, helpful, and relaxed. Javier went out of his way to be hospitable. Room decorated with fresh hibiscus blooms. Romantic! Seeing the birds n the am a highlight. Toucans and many other pretty colors with great scopes set up on deck. Central area for bar and food led to as much or as little interaction with others as you like. Very close to xunatanich Mayan ruins. We had our own car and stayed one amazing night and then on to the next adventure.

January 18, 2013


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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

Misc Belizean Sources

Benefit Blu's Jam today
Come out this afternoon for great Blue's music and support a worthy cause! Proceeds to Holy Cross, at Estels today 2pm - 4pm

Dogs for adoption, Belmopan Humane Society
These dogs are seriously up for adoption to good homes. If they don't get adopted by a caring family they will end up on the street as there are no foster homes available in Belmopan to help out. Please share this flyer and help these little cuties out. For further info call 602 7947!

Galen's Back to School Bash
Last night, Galen's SGA had their Back to School Bash at Meluchi's. Mistah Geeh miced the jams.

Channel 7

Teachers Ready To Strike
Tuesday, January, 29, 2013 - that's the day that teachers have set to lead a mass demonstration in Belmopan which could lead to a national teachers' strike. That's the word coming out of a Belize District Special General Meeting which was held this afternoon at the Holy Redeemer Parrish Hall. The meeting was convened to discuss a demand for a pay raise, which government has rejected. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of a mass demonstration and a sustained strike. The Belize District Branch President was guarded in her remarks - stressing that is only the position of one branch - and the votes of branches countrywide have to be collated at the National Executive level: Jules Vasquez "What is the outcome of the Belize District branch?" Kathleen E.B. Flowers, BNTU Belize District President "We promise we won't be holding interviews. The only thing I can say to you is that our membership is willing to participate in the actions that the BNTU is planning. At this point those actions I cannot say will be real or not because I don't know what the results of the other branches are." Jules Vasquez "We are told the proposed actions include a strike or a protest on the 29th in which teachers will not be at school." Kathleen E.B. Flowers, BNTU Belize District President "Alright you have begun an interview which I don't wish to participate in - we will talk about it after the national president has given the national results."

Illegal Rosewood At The Border, At The Port
This evening at six pm, two twenty foot containers filled with hundreds of flitches of illegal, unstamped Rosewood rolled out of the compound of Belize Engineering - which is adjacent to the customs building in Belize City. Those are being hauled to Belmopan where they have been impounded by the Forestry Department. It's the end result of what has been a long day for the Forestry Department and Customs - as illegal Rosewood has been appearing by the container-full all over the place! We start in Benque Viejo where this morning Customs came upon a 40 foot container stuffed with 28 tonnes of Rosewood that was being imported into Belize from Guatemala. Sounds strange and it is because the container's paperwork says it is to be shipped out from the Port Of Belize to a company in China. Now, Guatemala does not allow the exportation of Rosewood flitches. The flitches also didn't have any stamps FROM the forestry department in Guatemala. Actually, the only markings it had were chalk scribbling similar to the Rosewood catch that was burnt last week.

Serious Accident, But No One Seriously Hurt
Tonight, 3 women are very fortunate to have escaped fatal injuries after they were involved in a major traffic accident on Queen Charlotte Street, near the Yarborough Bridge. Sometime after midnight last night, the women were travelling in a grey Mazda Tribute SUV from the direction of Albert Street, when the driver lost control and slammed into a parked van. The accident didn't finish there because the vehicle was moving at a such a speed that it careened toward another parked van, which then caused it to flip over. We found the vehicle mashed up and in the middle of the road this morning. An eyewitness described to us what he saw: Roy Garbutt, Eyewitness "The vehicles were coming from Albert Street area and it looks like the vehicle went airborne and just slammed into this vehicle right here and it ricochets on the first vehicle and it hit that one over there. The two young ladies came out of the vehicle and one of them fell on the ground. This vehicle was parked there; it belongs to the home owner there. Obviously it's one vehicle that caused the accident. It's one vehicle that was coming ran off the street and hit the other vehicle. They were kind of depressed because their friend was lying on the ground and they were shook up - they were hurt pretty bad. The young lady on the ground keeping in and out of consciousness, she came back 3 times - she fainted and come back again."

City Council Says Cemetery Snafu's Are Finished
Last night, 7News told you about the latest complaint against the Belize City Council in relation to the mistakes being made under their administration of the cemetery. As we showed you last night, according to the Sebastian Family, City Hall employees confused 2 grave spaces and used the wrong one to bury their loved-one. Well, 7News gave City Hall an opportunity to respond to the accusations from the family, but they were unable to do so due to time constraints. So today, the newly re-appointed Public Relations Manager, Kenneth Morgan, spoke to the media for the first time in his new capacity, they grilled him in an extensive conversation about their mistakes since completely taking over the cemetery. First, he told us that the council and the Sebastian family have reached an amicable resolution: Kenneth Morgan, PR Manager - Belize City Council "As any new process you will encounter a few difficulties until we have gotten totally iron out and one matter that was in the news was the matter of the Sebastian family that has been resolved to the satisfaction of the family members. As a matter of fact this morning we met with them in our offices and came to an amicable solution with which the family was satisfied.

GSU: Do They Make Things Better Or Worse?
Two nights ago, we went back in our archives to discuss the genesis of the GSU and its founding principles. Tonight to follow up, we've got a more current story, one that looks back on the tumultuous times that we've seen since the rise of the GSU. Now, the tumult has surely not been all the GSU's fault, but the unit has played a pivotal, even catalytic role in some key events - extending far beyond just policing, into politics and the very foundation of law and order. Tonight's story will try and determine if it has all been worth it - and if their style of policing makes things better or worse. Jules Vasquez has put the story together with purely archival material for a broad look at the GSU's deep imprint - particularly on Belize City:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Their thorough, relentless, and often brutal tactics have earned the GSU a fearsome reputation on the streets - where in some quarters they are viewed as a death squad: Gerald Shiney Tillett, Leader - GSG "Government stupid unit - that is their death squad."

Police Paradigm Shift: Police Must Meet Performance Targets
And those rigorous figures will serve him well under the new regime of performance based accountability that's taking over the Police Department. Yesterday Minister of National Security John Saldivar met with the new Police Commissioner, Allen Whylie and all formation commanders from around the country to quote, "offer ministerial guidance and direction going forward." According to an official release, "there was a comprehensive revision of goals and strategies, as well as a full analysis of crime statistics." We note that though we have been asking repeatedly for it, those crime statistics have not been provided to the media. But…that's another story. Interestingly, the release says that quote, "specific benchmarks and timetables were agreed for measureable reduction in crime and for successful investigation and prosecution in respective areas." The release says that Commanders will quote, "be held responsible for ensuring that the targets are met within the specific timetables." This will be ensured by monthly meetings of zone and branch commanders; and quarterly meetings of senior leaders, to review the latest crime statistics.

Avian Influenza Spreads In Mexico; Belize Keeping Guard Up
Mexico is reporting that H7N3 Avian Influenza has spread from Jalisco to another state, Aguascalientes. BAHA reports that prevention measures have been stepped up along the northern border, with BAHA Quarantine on alert and poultry producers being requested to maintain strong biosecurity measures. A release says that the importation of poultry products from Mexico is prohibited. Still, consumers are reminded that poultry products are safe for human consumption. The disease rarely affects humans and requires direct contact with sick birds. In humans, the disease causes conjunctivitis and mild flu symptoms. The first alert was in September of last year.

PUP: Solidarity With Musa Or Perverse Political Opportunity?
Yesterday we told you that the Former two term Prime Minister Said Musa's house was shot up. It's one more unprecedentedly violent act in what has been a terribly violent year. Today his party took the very unfortunate incident as an opportunity to express solidarity with all victims of crime but also as a sort of weird opportunity to seize upon the very disturbing event as what seems to us to be a perverse political opportunity:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "We the leaders, the members and supporters of the People's United Party both past and present wish to express our strong solidarity with the Rt. Hon. Said Musa and his family during this time of personal challenge. As we all know the Rt. Hon. Said Musa has served as our PUP leader from 1996-2008; as Prime Minister of Belize from 1998-2008 and of course he still currently an elected member of the House of Representatives representing the Fort George division. As we gathered here today condemned in the strongest possible terms this act of violence against Mr. Musa and his family. We view any personal attack or act of violence against the Rt. Hon. Said Musa and his family as an attack against the People's United Party family." "As we meet this morning too many of our communities are a grip with fear and uncertainty. Too many of our fellow citizens have lost their sense of personal security. These are very troubling, very challenging times for our country and we in the People's United Party have made it absolutely clear that we are a part of the solution; we are very much interested in working with anyone who is prepared to work with us to try to solve this very difficult challenge facing our country."

Profile Of A Lamb Who Rode Like A Lion
If you followed cycling in the 90's then you'll know the name Douglas Barcelona Lamb. He was a perennial contender and one of the nicest guys you'll meet in the sport. Now he's a coach - but as a child who went form home to home - his upbringing wasn't easy. He explains in tonight's profile:..

Lodge Helps The Hood
For the next few days, the members of the Steadfast Masonic Lodge will be preparing to make major donations to the needy residents close to their Vernon Street headquarters, which covers the gang-affiliated area known as Ghost Town. Today, the leaders of the organization called a press conference to announce to residents that they will receive a portion of a cargo of goods which is valued at $28,000 dollars. The members say that generosity is a part of their mandate, and their leader, based in Tampa Florida, has seen the needs of the community, and he is trying to respond appropriately: Oscar Ramos "What we see here are goods that came in a 40ft container and they arrive here in December and they finally got it into the compound here and into the building. We will be distributing these donated items to the needy of the country. One of the things of this lodge is to exercise and apply charity because that's what we are based upon. We must understand that the lodge is not a religion but we act religiously and will tell you that the container bore 127 barrels and 8 cartons of donated supplies which cover anything would actually satisfy the needs of the poor and needy. At this present moment what we are doing is practically assorting that of which we have gotten before the actual distribution start sometime next week and we are planning to touch all the majority of the needy kids in this country but more especially those of this particular neighborhood because we realize that poverty is very strong in this country and in this area here."

Mexican Vets In Belize
11 Mexican veterinarians are in the country to participate in an epidemiological survey. This is in relation to Belize's attempts to export cattle to Mexico. They will assist with the testing of cattle countrywide in the ongoing Cattle Sweep. The Cattle Sweep has another 18 months or so to go. So far just under twenty thousand heads of Cattle have been identified in Blue Creek. Exports can commence when the sweep in the northern zone is finished.

Channel 5

Move over pseudoephedrine; Rosewood now the hottest commodity
Move over pseudoephedrine, rosewood is now the hottest commodity. There were three busts of rosewood made today which signals that its illegal exportation is a brazen, lucrative and well organized scheme. Late this evening, two containers stored at Belize Engineering Limited adjacent to the Customs Compound on Caesar Ridge Road were opened at the request [...]

Third batch of rosewood confiscated in 24 hours
There is yet another bust that took place on Tuesday in the Independence area. It happened at farm twelve near the village of San Pablo which is located about fifteen miles from the Swasey Bridge. Forestry and BDF personnel conducted an operation over the past weekend and found the illegal cargo last Sunday evening. The [...]

Musa thinks shooting at his home was a hit!
The nation was still recovering from the massacre of four gang affiliates, when it was stunned by another escalation of violence; the shooting at the King’s Park house of the former Prime Minister, Said Musa,  on Tuesday night. Musa’s house was hit by bullets, as was his wife’s vehicle parked in the yard. The attacked [...]

B.N.T.U. gets militant; a demonstration is set
For the past few weeks the leadership of the Belize National Teachers Union has been calling on its members to attend an important meeting to discuss critical issues. Those issues include the collective bargaining agreement, crime, the economy and the ICJ. Now, when the B.N.T.U. gathers en masse and with serious issues like these on [...]

Faber says decision is final; subsidy to UB will be discontinued
Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, came under fire recently because of a decision by the Ministry to discontinue the subsidy given to new students registering at the University of Belize. It’s a decision which has caused no end of anxiety with students who say that without the government subsidy, they simply won’t be able to [...]

City Council’s new P.R. Manager speaks shoddy work at cemetery
We have been reporting on the slew of complaints since the take- over of burial service by City Hall. As recent as Wednesday News Five spoke to David Coye, proprietor of the David Coye Funeral Home and Parlour. He had nothing but criticism for the Belize City Council. Now…that translates to big losses for Coye [...]

What can Belize lose by going to the ICJ to settle Belize/Guatemala dispute?
On Wednesday the Referendum Unit created to lead a strategic awareness campaign on the pros, cons and risks of going to the ICJ hosted a media mixer. Speaking to a wide cross-section of mainstream and independent media personnel were experts and officials in the dispute negotiations and referendum process including Ambassadors Stuart Leslie and James [...]

Winners of NEMO Essay Competition
The National Emergency Management Organization held an essay competition at the primary school level last December. The names of the three winners have been announced:  first place winner, Dayne Guy of St. Benedict R.C. School, second place went to Sharin Espejo of Grace Primary and Noammi Ortiz came in at third place. All three winners [...]

Sudden death of fisherman in the south
The sudden death of a fisherman in the Harvest Caye Point area near Monkey River Village is being investigated by police. Sixty-three yr old Eugene Roberts’ body was discovered with his hands hanging on the capsized canoe and the rest of his body in the water at around two pm on January sixteenth.

An acre of marijuana goes up in smoke
Rosewood is not the only hot commodity. Earlier today, the Police Department’s Anti Drug Unit and the Belize Defence Force Special Assignment Group launched an anti-drug operation in Silver Creek in the Toledo District. According to the Police a one acre plantation of marijuana was discovered which contained over five thousand plants. The operation also yielded [...]

P.U.P. meet in solidarity; crying for change to crime situation
On Tuesday night the social and political landscape in Belize was shaken when an unknown person or persons fired up to six shots at the home of former Prime Minister Said Musa. Fortunately nobody was injured even though several of the bullets hit the house. In an interview on Wednesday a visibly upset Musa told [...]

Steadfast Masonic Lodge receives donation
The Steadfast Masonic Lodge received a donation from its Grandmaster Lodge in Florida which they hope will help the children in the community. Eric Vernon is the Senior Warden and he told us exactly what was donated and who will benefit from the generous donation.   Eric Vernon, Senior Warden Steadfast Masonic Lodge “We have [...]

Healthy Living looks at detox diets
From the start of the New Year – and maybe even before, many are struggling to kick start a healthier routine. One of the more common trends that is buzzing is the detoxification diets or better known as the detox diets. People who attempt or the few who succeed at detox do it for different [...]


Investigations Underway On Container of Rosewood Flitches At Western Border
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development today issued a statement saying an investigation is ongoing as to the origin and legitimacy of rosewood material confiscated at the western Border in Benque Viejo del Carmen. According to the government statement, an...

Minister and CEO of National Security Meet With New Police Commissioner and Senior Officers
The Minister of National Security, John Saldivar and the CEO in the Ministry of National Security, Colonel George Lovell, met with the new Commissioner, Allen Whylie, and commanders of all formations, substations and branches from around the country yesterday. The primary purpose...

Main Opposition Party Holds Conference Following Attack on Former Prime Minister's Home
It has been two days since the residence of former Prime Minister, Said Musa, came under attack. Today, the People’s United Party held a joint press conference at their Queen Street Headquarters along with its United Women’s Group, to express their solidarity with Mr ...

Joint Statement Issued By Mayan Leaders
The Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes Association today issued a joint statement on the situation of the illegal harvesting of Rosewood in the Toledo district. The joint statement says that the illegal harvesting of rosewood trees from land owned by Maya villages and ...

Government Employee Obtains Property By Deception
Thirty-four year old Jason Miller, an employee of the ministry of Works who allegedly collected a refund of $75.00 from Bowen and Bowen by using a document that was not genuine, was charged with obtaining property by deception when he appeared in court today. Miller pleaded not guilty ...

Teenager Charged For Smuggling Drugs In Prison
Nineteen year old Karen Welch, an unemployed of 38 Logwood Street who allegedly made an attempt to smuggle five point three grams of cannabis in her shoe when she went to visit her boyfriend at Belize Central Prison, was charged with possession of a controlled drug. Welch pleaded not g...

Belize Has New High Commissioner In Canada
The new Belize High Commissioner to Canada Nestor Mendez has presented his letter of introduction to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The meeting took place on Wednesday in the Office of the Prime Minister in Ottawa, Canada. High Commissioner Mendez and Prime Minister Harper discus...


PUP Holds Press Conference On Former Prime Ministers' Attack>
And while the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry sent out that strong worded release, members, affiliates and leaders of the People’s United Party got together this morning at Independence Hall in Belize city. Seated at the centre of the table were Party Leader Francis Fonseca, Former Prime Minister Said Musa, and Immediate Past Party Leader John Briceño, who were flanked on both sides by elected area representatives, mayors and executive members of the party. It was the first time in a long time that the party was united, and united for the core principle of the party, betterment and safety for all Belizeans. The PUP has taken the shooting on the house of former Prime Minister Said Musa’s home as a point of no more. Supporters pledged to stand together with the Party to send a clear message to the Government of Belize, that enough is enough. The overwhelming sentiment in Independence Hall this morning was that the country has reached a point that demands action; the time for talk has long gone.

ESTM Fund Raising Towards a New Science Laboratory>
Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico has been educating the young minds of the Northern Districts for the past thirty years. The high school is situated in the San Roman Village of the Corozal District and has presently enrolled 667 students from both the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. With the present amount of student intake, the school has been pressured to seek means of expanding their classroom and structural capacity. One of the most urgently needed facilities is a new science laboratory equipped with all the necessary equipment. The school has been raising funds for the construction of this new science lab for quite some time now but have not managed to secure the full amount needed for its completion. In one of its biggest efforts of raising these funds, the school has organized as part of their thirtieth anniversary celebrations, a radio-ton in hope of meeting their target for the new facility. The school will celebrate the big 3-0 on Friday, January 25th on the school grounds and Principal of the school Carlos Castillo told us more.

Teachers Union To Demonstrate Against GOB>
Last night in or newscast we told you about an emergency meeting scheduled by the Belize National Teachers Union for today in each district. This afternoon, members of the BNTU Orange Walk Branch convened at the La Immaculada Auditorium at 1:30pm behind closed doors. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the proposed salary adjustments for teachers and public servant, who argue that the cost of living has risen drastically over the past years in Belize. This is the main topic of discussion along with twenty-three other concerns listed for negotiations between Marion McNab, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Public Service on behalf of government, and the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. After the meeting we spoke to President of the Belize National Teachers Union Otilio Muñoz, who is satisfied with the turn out in the attendance of teachers from the Orange Walk District. Otilio Muñoz-President BNTU Orange Walk “We need to inform our members as to what is the recent development with this collective bargaining agreement between three unions and GOB and that was the objective of this meeting was to inform the membership and inform them of a plan of action that the BNTU has already propose but we just wanted the endorsement of membership and the support of the membership as well and we had a good turnout today and I would say more that 90% of our total number of members taking part in our demonstration which will be held on the 29th of this month in Belmopan so we will be having that and they had a lot of concerns and they were very frank with their decision and they are very serious with their decision that I can actually provide with a number of those attending the demonstration about 320 teachers from Orange Walk Branch who are going for this demonstration in Belmopan on the 29th on this month.”

Contraband Rosewood Seized By Local Authorities>
Just as we thought there wouldn’t be any new development to report on in the never ending illegal trade of Rosewood, we are forced to guess again. In a press release issued this afternoon by the Government Press Office, the official announcement was made of a forty foot container which had been seized by the Belize Customs Department at the Belize/Guatemala Border. The Container is said to contain approximately twenty-eight tons of rosewood flitches which was allegedly being introduced into Belize from Guatemala on Wednesday, January 16th. An investigation has been launched by both Belize and Guatemalan authorities in efforts of ascertaining the origin and legitimacy of the rosewood material. Information to our news room indicates that Guatemala had also imposed a restriction on the exportation of Rosewood in log form, which are the flitches, sawn wood or as veneer sheets. After the issuing of this press release, further information into this latest confiscation of rosewood has been slow in coming. We will continue to investigate this latest incident and bring to you any new developments.

Hurricane Hattie Exhibit Open At Corozal House Of Culture>
On January 11th we told you about the grand presentation of an exhibit entitled the “Hurricane Hattie Exhibit” that was opened at the Corozal House of Culture. Today, we caught up with Debra Wilkes Gray the coordinator at the Corozal House of Culture, who shared with us about the tragedy of when British Honduras, now Belize, was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961 as a Category 5 Storm. “The Corozal House of Culture open the exhibits on behalf of NICH and we open this Tuesday January 15th and it will be on for a month until roughly around February 15th and the exhibit itself is an educational exhibit, it is supported with many photographs, document on the devastation of Hurricane Hattie as well as documented information for the public. Real educational tool, this exhibit talks about the preparation, the devastation and rebuilding. There were over ten thousand people left homeless after the hurricane so there is information about Hattieville being built as temporary refuge as well as the new capital Belmopan being introduce and this is something that all Belizeans to come and see and really grasp the magnitude of hurricanes.”

BCCI Issues Strong Message To GOB>
In the wake of the recent spike in violence and criminal activity, many Belizeans have begun living under a state of fear and to a certain extent, siege. Three weeks into the New Year, the murder and violence percentages have drastically increased as compared to last year 2012. The threat to the security and safety status of Belizeans on a whole took a drastic turn for the worst with the slaying of the four ranking members of the George Street Gang. But, the criminal elements took the situation to a higher level on the night of Wednesday 16th of January when shots were fired at the house of former Prime Minister Said Musa. In what out rightly appears as an attempted hit on Musa, speculations have been circulating on the possible motive for the attempted assassination with the main one centring on extortion. With the high level of violence and civilian fear, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a strongly worded release to the Government of Belize. The release starts off with grave concern for the safety of the Belizean people and says, we quote, “The Private Sector calls on the Government and citizens alike for adherence to the rule of law and the protection of our citizenry. We demand that the Government implement measures that are directed at improving the quality of life in Belize and adopts a position of zero tolerance to crime and known criminals.”

Villagers To Learn A New Musical Instrument>
The Pied Piper commands children to follow his tune, nonetheless, the ones following the melodious tunes of the stringed instrument known as the Mountain Doximer will not be children, but adults from six different villages in the Corozal District. The participating adults will learn about, and how to play the instrument this Sunday, January 20th. The idea of the new musical program comes through the Corozal Organization Leading Cultural Heritage and Arts chaired by Mr. David Ackerman. Josue Gray is the facilitator of the program and we caught up with him this morning and he told us more. “A music outreach program to the villagers in Corozal District and so it is being co-sponsored by me and a group called coucha and we are starting the program off this Sunday at the House of Culture. So the three hour the people would come and they would learn to tune-up and we will play somewhere about five to seven songs to learn how to read the system by looking at numbers and symbols so that what you see you can translate into rhythms on the instrument and be able to actually to play songs. The idea is that there will be a club in each village and they could come together at a schedule that they themselves come up with and they might come ones a week and practise for an hour or two or they might come out more frequently and the idea is that they come together and have all the villagers in the program will actually have about ten of these instruments as the community instruments.”


Former PM’s house riddled with bullets
An investigation has been launched to determine who was behind a frightening incident where multiple gunshots were fired at the home of former Prime Minister Said Musa. Love TV’s Marion Ali reports. The shooting at the former Prime Minister’s residence promoted a release from the business community. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau issued a joint release in which it says it is gravely concerned about the recent acts of violence in Belize. It calls on the Government and citizens to adhere to the rule of law. The release goes on to condemns quote “the Government’s perceived need to negotiate with criminals while the demands of law-abiding citizens for protection and safety are repeatedly ignored” end of quote. The release goes on to say that the Government’s willingness to engage in negotiations with gang leaders sends a dangerous signal to Belizeans and the international community. The Private Sector says it renews its recommendation that the Government sanctions a wholesale implementation of the Crooks report, rather than the piecemeal implementation of select recommendations. It demands that Government makes sufficient allocation to the police, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary to ensure that those offices are sufficiently staffed and trained to investigate and prosecute criminal acts.

Ministry of Education launches reform initiative
The Ministry of Education is about to make some improvements to the education system with the launching today of the Belize Education Sector Reform. The Reform follows the development and introduction two years ago of the Belize Education Sector Strategy. Chief Education Officer, Chris Aird, says that a number of areas will be addressed. Aird says that the implementation starts almost immediately.

BELTRAIDE holds customer service training
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE, is holding a two-day workshop which aims to enhance customer service delivery for people in micro, small and medium sized enterprises in Belize. Love News spoke with BELTRAIDE’s Business and Investment Facilitation Officer, Brian Lin, to find out how this workshop aims to achieve that objective. The funding for the training was provided by the Caribbean Development Bank.

Orange Walk residents meet to discuss crime situation
Following the shooting of two Orange Walk residents on Liberty Avenue in the Louisiana Area in Orange Walk Town, and several other shootings preceding that incident in the same vicinity, the Orange Walk Town Council held a zone meeting with residents of the area last night. The primary focus of the meeting was to address the growing concern among residents on safety and therein devise proper mechanisms for crime control and prevention. Love TV’s Dalila Ical reports.

Murder charges 7 months later; woman jailed for stealing
Twenty-one year old Kenyon Dominguez, a laborer of Jasmine Street who was charged last week with attempted murder and aggravated assault, was brought back to court today and charged with murder. He was remanded into custody until March 5. The incident occurred on June 12, 2012. The victim, Keith Lewis, was standing in a yard on Roches Street with three other men when his assailant came from Mckoy Boulevard and fired a barrage of shots. Lewis was shot in his chest back and legs. His body was found the following day in a swampy yard. Dominguez charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault were for an incident which occurred on January 6, 2013 in which Justin Richards was grazed by a bullet while he was with Leroy Zuniga Jr. Twenty-two year old Cassandra Sutherland, a mother of three, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when she appeared in Court and pled guilty to the theft of three boxes of Happy Cow cheese, valued at $105.00. She was fined $300.00 by Magistrate Dale Cayetano and she was given until March 31 to pay. But she was taken to prison because she was unable to pay outstanding court fines for three convictions which amounted to $900.00. Sutherland will serve four months for the fines amounting to $900.00 and she will serve three months for the fine of $300.00. The theft occurred yesterday at Bottom Dollar Store, located on North Front Street. Sutherland was caught stealing the cheese and she was detained and handed over to the police. Sutherland said she stole the cheese because her mother is going away today to get surgery.

Belize Defence Forces gets new buildings
The Belize Defence Force today took receipt of two new buildings. Love TV’s Patrick Jones reports.

NEMO competition winners announced
The winners of a competition organized by the National Emergency management Organization were announced today. Correspondent Fem Cruz was there and files this report.

Furniture donated to Toledo primary schools
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust on Monday handed over furniture to two primary schools in the Toledo District. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

U.S. military offers free medical services in Corozal district
Residents of the Corozal district were this week the recipients of free medical services from the United States government. Love TV’s Patrick Jones and video journalist Brian Castillo took a helicopter ride to the north today to bring you the following report.


Major Unions gearing up for possible strike action
Yesterday we told you that three of Belize’s largest and most important trade unions, the Belize National Teachers’...

People’s United Party rally behind Said Musa
The People’s United Party is rallying behind Said Musa after shots were fired at the Ex Prime Minister’s home. This...

BCCI. and BBB are asking for zero tolerance on crime
While the PUP has voiced its opinion on the crime situation on Belize, so have the Belize Chamber of Commerce and t...

BAHA quarantine on alert for Avian Influenza
The Belize Agricultural Health Authority has strengthened its national poultry health alert. This follows Mexico of...

The Forest Department is working on the origin of rosewood container
Only last week the Ministry of Forestry confiscated a large quantity of rosewood in the South. It's almost a week l...

Police propose Field Training Officers Program
Supt. Linden Flowers and Assistant Supt. of Police Richard Rosado appeared on Rise and Shine to speak about some ch...

Gumercinda Meza wanted for robbery
Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for Gumercinda Meza. Earlier this month, we reported on an incide...

Minister Patrick Faber says he's qualified to be first deputy leader of the UDP
The UDP convention is scheduled for February 17th in Corozal. Minister Patrick Faber is in a tightly pitched battle...

Minister of National Security meets with Police Commanders of all Formations
Yesterday the Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar, accompanied by his CEO, Colonel George Lovell, met ...

Road surfacing begins on Nim Li Punit Street in Belmopan
Belmopan residents are already dreaming of a smoother ride on one of the most trafficked commercial streets in Belm...

Police investigate a sudden death near Monkey River Village
Police in Independence are investigating a case of sudden death. Yesterday at about 2:00pm Police visited Harvest C...

Ida Cucul reported missing
A woman has been reported missing. 27 year old Ida Cucul is a Belizean banana worker in the Stann Creek district. A...

Marlon Maclaren, charged for Drug Trafficking.
On Wednesday January 16th at 8:15am Police officers were on mobile patrol at the corner of Mapp and Cran Street, in...

Two residents of Hopkins charged for Drug Trafficking
In Dangriga yesterday evening, Police were on mobile patrol on the Hummingbird Highway when their attention was dra...

The Guardian

Said Musa’s House shot At
A visibly shaken, and still shaking, Said Musa, former Prime Minister of Belize gave a statement to the media at his home located at the corner of Princess Margaret Drive and E Street. The Rt. Honourable Said Musa told the press as they gathered on his lawn, that sometime around 11 on Tuesday night, he was roused from his sleep to the sounds of gunshots in his neighborhood. He said that he and his wife got up and looked outside through the windows that face Princess Margaret Drive and saw nothing unusual. Musa said he discounted the gunshots as having come from some distance from his neighborhood and they went back to bed. His deduction of the shooting having taken place elsewhere was negated when on Wednesday morning as he was making his way out of his house to go to the gym, he noticed that the main door of his house had a hole in it. He said he also found a slug on the ground. Further inspections led him outside where he found that his wife’s vehicle, a Santa Fe had the rear passenger side window shattered, also by a bullet. Police were soon called in and they report that 5 expended 9 millimeter shells were found on the outside of Musa’s property on E Street.

What is There to lose in going to The ICJ?
On Wednesday, January 16th the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began its recruiting exercise to have media organizations become partners in the education campaign that will see Belizeans vote on a referendum on whether to take the age old Guatemalan Claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or not. Presenting at the media mixer was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington. He explained that by all indications, Guatemalan Government officials are convinced that they will be able to get a ‘Yes’ vote from their people and the question is whether Belize will be able to follow suit. He explained that while a ‘No’ vote would not have a dramatic deterioration in relations with Guatemala, it could possibly mean that there would be an increased number of Guatemalans making their way illegally into Belizean territory. Additionally, he said that the friendly group of nations that are currently supporting the process and are financing the office at the Western border are likely to pull financing, they have expressed as much, he said. In his personal legal opinion and based on legal opinions which Belize has gotten, Minister Elrington explained that there is a great chance that Belize will be successful at the ICJ. “People go to court to get justice and they get it” he stated.

Arthur Saldivar Ripping American Dreams Away
On Friday, January 11th, retired American couple John and Cynthia Englehardt reached out to the media in a desperate plea for help. The couple is accusing the People’s United Party’s Standard Bearer for Belize Rural North, Arthur Saldivar of fraud. The Englehardts claim that they retained the lawyer’s services in 2010 in order to obtain the title to a condo unit they purchased on the island of San Pedro. They were told by Saldivar that the process would be completed within four weeks time. It is 2013, and they still have not received any title documents from Saldivar. They decided to make their complaints public after several attempts to reach Saldivar had failed. John Englehardt said that after he was told several times that Saldivar was not available, the secretary then said that he no longer worked at the law firm. Cynthia Englehardt’s single request was that Saldivar act in a professional manner. She said that the lawyer should report what, if any, road blocks there are that is holding up the process. After three years, the couple is no longer interested in doing business with Saldivar. They do not even want to hear his explanation. All the Englehardts want is their US$6,500 that they paid Saldivar for stamp duty tax and legal fees for the acquisition of their property title.

Referendum Education Gets Off
Representatives from virtually all media houses were present on Wednesday, January 16th at the Radisson Fort George Hotel as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a comprehensive look at the Guatemala Claim. Making presentations was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington; Dr. Herman Byrd, Director of the Belize Archives and Records Service; H.E. Alexis Rosado, CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and; H.E. Stuard Leslie from the Referendum Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The topics presented on ranged from a general overview of the Guatemalan claim to understanding the 1859 and 1931 treaties to the Special Agreement, which has Belize now involved in holding a referendum to the Awareness Campaign, which the Ministry is now tasked with administering to encourage voters to come out and vote on the issue. On December 8th, 2008, there was a Special Agreement signed between Belize and Guatemala in which both countries agreed to hold simultaneous referenda in both countries asking their people whether or not to take the territorial claim to the International Court of Justice. Since then the date for the referendum has been set of October 6th, 2013 and the education machineries are now coming into full gear.

Colonel (Ret.) George Lovell; Commander Designate, Colonel David Jones; and Minister John Saldivar
On Tuesday, January 15th, newly named Commander Designate of the Belize Defense Force, Colonel David Jones, received on behalf of the BDF two brand new Mahindra Pickups. The two vehicles handed over by Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar at the Ministry Headquarters, were purchased by the Government of Belize and are the latest installment in a number of recent additions to the BDF fleet. Colonel Jones said these two new vehicles, along with recent similar acquisitions, and a few more that are expected shortly, will go a long way in enabling the BDF to carry out its essential functions, which include patrolling the borders and helping to counter narco-trafficking and other illegal activities. Colonel David Jones, who is currently the Deputy Commander of the BDF, assumes full command of the Force on February 1.

Police shoot Men caught in the Act
Police have arrested 6 men, who were caught in the act of robbing a Chinese grocery store located at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Streets. At about 9:00 p.m. on Saturday 12th January, police responded to a robbery in progress at Jian Vin Shop located at #10 A Corner Mahogany and Mopan Streets in Belize City. The establishment’s proprietor, Jian Guang Li, 62, reported that whilst he and his wife, 33-year-old Chan Yan Zhu were inside the shop, six male entered the store. One of the men, who was armed with a handgun, hit him and his wife with the firearm to their jaw and demanded money. The store owner then handed over $2,500.00 in cash, a DVD player, a laptop computer, a carton of Independence Cigarettes, a carton of Colonial cigarettes, and two packs of cigars. Quick police response led them inside a room on the second floor of the building where a shot was fired at the police. Police returned fire and hit 17-year-old Wilbert Gabourel, to the left and right thigh. Also injured was 20-year-old Gregory Knox, who received gunshot wounds to the left and right foot. 19-year-old Jean Pasqual received a gunshot wound to his right thigh. 18-year-old Alexis Ku, received a gunshot wound to his left thigh.

Belize Bank wins Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race
The Belize Canoe Association sponsored its 6th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race on Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Some 22 canoes registered in 5 different categories for the yearly “warm-up” race. In the Elite category, it was the defending La Ruta Maya champions the Belize Bank that was able to hold off a strong challenge from NICH to capture 1st place in a time of 1:27:03. NICH finished 2nd, with 3rd place going to Westrac. In the Intramural category, 1st place went to Natius Boys of St. Ignatius High School in a time of 1:29:54. In the other categories, Sprouts took 1st place in the junior class in a time of 1:29:54; in the Mixed Category, 1st place went to Beat di Burn in a time of 1:32:40. In the Masters Category, Wat a Thing of Sea Sports Belize took 1st place. Grumpy Old Men finished 2nd in the Masters Category. In the female category, 1st place went to the University of Belize.

Belmopan Police Officer charged for PG Killing
On Tuesday, January 15th, police officer attached to the Special Patrol Unit in Belmopan, Leon Higinio, was arrested and charged for the manslaughter of 53-year old Francisco Shol. On December 14th of last year Shol was socializing at the P.G. Sports Bar when he was allegedly beaten up by Higinio, who was off duty at the time. According to reports, Shol was then transported to the hospital but he discharged himself and was later found dead in a drain. Shol had suffered a fractured skull. Police made the arrest after receiving statements from as many as ten witnesses in their investigation. Police Constable Leon Higinio is currently on interdiction and awaiting trial for manslaughter.

Remanded to Prison for Attempted Murder
Belize City police cracked an attempted murder case in which a man of the Rhaburn Ridge area was shot in March of 2012 and on Monday, January 14th, 28-year-old Humberto Garcia, a construction worker and resident of the area, was charged with the crime. Garcia appeared before Senior Magistarte, Sharon Frazer where he was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm upon 29-year-old Francisco Sosa, a resident of the same village. The shooting incident is said to have occurred on March 1st, 2012. In that shooting incident, 29-year-old Francisco Sosa was shot three times, once to the left palm, right index finger and in both legs. In court no plea was taken and due to the nature of the offenses, Garcia was denied bail. He is due back in Court #2 on March 4th, 2013. According to police, on March 1st, 2012, at about 9:45 p.m., they visited a wooden house in Rhaburn Ridge after receiving information of a shooting incident. When they arrived at the home, they saw blood stains. They later visited the Orange Walk Hospital where they found 29-year-old Francisco Sosa with injuries. Sosa gave police a report on the shooting incident and he also positively identified Garcia as his shooter. On Friday, January 11th, police captured Garcia.

Guatemalan Woman caught using Her Aunt’s Passport
On Friday, January 11th, a Guatemalan woman, who resides on San Pedro appeared in court after she is alleged to have been caught using her aunt’s passport for the past 7 years. 35-year-old Olga Marina Gutierrez Larios, a Guatemalan national, who has been residing in Belize for some years and who has 5 Belizean children, appeared in Magistrate’s court before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart. She was charged with using a passport she is not entitled to. She wasted no time and pleaded guilty to the offense as a result Magistrate Stuart imposed a non-custodial sentence, a fine of $1,000, which she was ordered to pay immediately in default 6 months imprisonment. Olga Marina Gutierrez Larios, used a passport in the name of Noelia Larios, which she was not entitled to use. According to Immigration officers, they caught up with Larios after her Aunt, Noelia Larios went to the Immigration Office in Belize City to renew her passport with number P0259626 issued on August 6th, 2002. It expired on August 5th, 2012. Her application form was referred to the investigation unit in Belmopan for further queries as the system had another woman under that name. Further investigation revealed that her niece, Olga Gutierrez had received a passport under her name as well. Larios admitted as much and told authorities that she had been using her aunt’s passport from 2006.

10 Years for Burglary
On Friday, January 11th, Police Street resident, 30-year-old Sheldon Lewis was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Lewis was accused of entering the home of Police Sergeant, Frank Augustine on October 29th, 2011, in the Village of Mahogany Heights. The evidence against Lewis was overwhelming, so much so that when he initially appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court back in October 2011, he had pleaded guilty but on that same day, he changed his mind and pleaded not guilty. The trial continued in the court of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was found guilty of burglary. Because he has a previous conviction for burglary and another case of burglary pending, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Ruckus at Magistrate’s Court Cell Block
On Tuesday, January 15th, the Belize Emergency Response Team’s Ambulance had to be called out to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court after a fight broke out inside the Belize City Magistrate’s Court cell block with. The fight was between prison inmates, who were detained in the cell block waiting to be arraigned, and police officers who work at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. The problem began early at around 9:00 a.m. when the Hattieville Prison bus, which was carrying as many as 68 prisoners, arrived with inmates to appear in court for charges such as murder, rape, robbery and other crimes who were to appear before a judge at the Supreme Court for. The presence of the media personnel outside the court did not go well with several prisoners when they were being escorted to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court cell block area to be kept until time for their transfer back to the Hattieville Prison.

Riding a High Horse
As I watched the long-winded interview being afforded by Love TV to Hon. Requeña from Toledo West regarding Minister Alamilla’s burning of the confiscated rose wood, I was reminded of an incident which occurred in 1998. The newly elected PUP Government under Hon. Musa had, accompanied by a hefty entourage of party elements, gone on a trip to Taiwan to borrow money. Although his return was delayed by Hurricane Mitch, he made the “joyful” announcement from the plane that he had successfully secured a loan of $100 million from the Taiwanese government. Immediately after Mr. Musa’s announcement, all his Ministers began spending measures of this money in all ways imaginable. Each interview given by government officials invariably included the words “and this can be accomplished with some of the funds from Taiwan”. These proposed development programs included improved infrastructure, poverty elimination, new classrooms, new schools, new houses - hell, new everything and anything. Indeed the PUP preached that with this loan, they had secured the panacea for all of our country’s maladies. Well, we got to find out that a hundred million is chicken feed for the PUP, and the money “come and gone” on heaven knows what. Our people still remained poor, broke and unemployed for the most part. I guess the millions trickled down, but not too far from the “Group “. Now back to Mr. Requeña. He was saying that Minister Alamilla should not have burnt the rosewood, but instead exported it and then use the revenues to fix the Forestry Department’s outposts, assist all the needy schools in Toledo (East and West), feed the poor and a host of other noble causes. The PUP is good at that; giving lip-service, but what they say and what they do are two completely different things.

Belize Bank wins Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race
The Belize Canoe Association sponsored its 6th Annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race on Saturday, January 12th, 2013. Some 22 canoes registered in 5 different categories for the yearly “warm-up” race. In the Elite category, it was the defending La Ruta Maya champions the Belize Bank that was able to hold off a strong challenge from NICH to capture 1st place in a time of 1:27:03. NICH finished 2nd, with 3rd place going to Westrac. In the Intramural category, 1st place went to Natius Boys of St. Ignatius High School in a time of 1:29:54. In the other categories, Sprouts took 1st place in the junior class in a time of 1:29:54; in the Mixed Category, 1st place went to Beat di Burn in a time of 1:32:40. In the Masters Category, Wat a Thing of Sea Sports Belize took 1st place. Grumpy Old Men finished 2nd in the Masters Category. In the female category, 1st place went to the University of Belize.

St. John’s College leads in High School football
The Central Region Secondary School’s Football Competition opened on Thursday, January 10th, 2013 with 2 games on the schedule at the MCC Grounds. In the first of two male games played, Ladyville Technical High School defeated Nazarene High School by the score of 5-1. The goal scorers for Ladyville Technical High School were Jervis Myvett, Leon Sedacy, Michael Herrera, Gustavo Salazar and Devaun Rhaburn. Meanwhile, the only goal of the game for Nazarene High School was scored by Eric Lamb. In the second game of the day, St. John’s College blasted Sadie Vernon Technical High School by the score of 15-0. The goal scorers for SJC were Deandre Pitter (4), Sydney Bradley (3), Harold Nava (2), Demitri Fabro (2), Tarique James, Trevaun Rhaburn, Dennis Zuniga and Raheem Flowers, with one each. The competition then continued on Friday, January 11th with two more games on the schedule. In the female game, St. Catherine Academy and Ladyville Technical played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for St. Catherine Academy was scored by Deidra Gill while the goal for Ladyville Technical was scored by Shanesse Rhaburn.

Football Federation calls Junior Footballers to Training
The Football Federation of Belize calls the following female footballers to commence training for the up-coming Central American Games in March. The female footballers will report to the FFB Headquarters on Friday, January 18th at 3:00 pm and leave on Saturday, January 19th. The female players that should report to training are: Rhonda Hernandez, Ermin Ferguson, Sarah Arzu, Kaya Cattouse, Idania Ramirez, Sheream Tracey, Khadija Assales, Ashanti Velasquez, Noemi Magana, Jennisha Scott, Miriam Villamil, Zulma Ortega, Iris Centeno, Rashida Guerra, Samantha Carlos, Heidy Cob, Leonella Chuc, Elisa Cario, Emmerlyn Nunez, Eris Galdamez, Shanell Gentle, Shirley Codd, Beatrice Alfaro, Sherane Welch, Cindy Bush, Jaslyn Cadle, Myrenie Drysdale, Erica Vallecillo, Dorita Ramos,Tamara Baptist and Melonie Tasher. Meanwhile, the following male players are asked to report to the FFB Headquarters on Saturday, January 19th, 2013 at 4:00 pm. Avran Crawford, Khambrel Blease, Delone Torres, Collin Westby, Luis Torres, San Leobardo Mendez, Jamil Cano, Eduardo Gongora, Edmund Pandy Jr., David Madred, Denmark Casey Jr., Brandon Jones, Howard West, Jason Thurton, Jermaine Jones, Gilroy Thurton, Carlton Thomas, John King, Brandon Cacho, Jaron Myvette, Darrell Myvette, Kyle Flowers, Tarrell Flores, Nahjib Guerra, HighKing Roberts. All players must bring along their football gear, workout clothes and toiletries.

International Olympic Committee Officials in Belize
The Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association is currently hosting three officials of the International Olympic Committee here in Belize. The IOC delegation consists of IOC Member Richard Peterkin, Joanna Zipser-Graves of Olympic Solidarity and. Nils Holmegaard, NOC Project officer, arrived in the country on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 and will depart on Friday, January 18th. The IOC Delegation will meet with the Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State with responsibility for Youth and Sports on Thursday, January 17th, and with the Presidents of the National Federations that belongs to the NOC/IOC later in the afternoon. On Wednesday, January 16th, the IOC Delegation held a meeting with the Officers of the National Olympic Committee.

San Estevan FC and San Lazaro Revolution FC lead in Orange Walk Football Competition
The Orange Walk Football Association 1st Division Opening Tournament competition continued on January 13th with three games on the schedule. In the first game that was scheduled to be played between San Felipe United FC and San Fran FC. San Felipe United FC won via the default route. The score stands at 3-0 in favour of San Felipe United FC. In game two, San Lazaro Revolution FC blasted Crystal FC by the score of 7-0. The goal scorers for San Lazaro Revolution FC were Ruviney Carillo, Jason Carrillo, Carlos Jones, Andre Martinez, Gian Sosa, and Ismael Tillett. And in the final game of the day, Progresso FC defeated Carmelita Athletics FC by the score of 4-0. The goal scorers for Progresso FC were Armando Chi, Wilfredo Lino, Eduardo Correra and Hector Carlos. All three games were played at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town. The competition will continue this coming Sunday, January 20th at 9:00 am at the People’s Stadium. In game one, New Hope United FC will go up against Crystal FC. In game two, San Estevan FC will see action against San Fran FC, in game three San Felipe United will square off against Progresso FC and in the final game of the day, it will be Guinea Grass United against Real Juvenil.

Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition opens
The 2012-2013 Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition opened on Monday, January 14th, with a single boys’ game on the schedule. In the game played, St. Martin De Porres School defeated Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School by the score of 24-5. The winning pitcher was Derrick Menzies and the losing pitcher was Brian Molina. The competition then continued on Tuesday in both the girls and boys competition. In the girls’ game played, Central Christian School blanked St. John’s Primary School by the score of 17-0. The winning pitcher was Hanna Usher and the losing pitcher was Nia Jenkins. In the boys game played, St. John’s Primary School defeated Central Christian School by the score of 17-10. The winning pitcher was Warren Smith and the losing pitcher was Trovette Flowers.

Referendum Education Gets Off
Representatives from virtually all media houses were present on Wednesday, January 16th at the Radisson Fort George Hotel as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented a comprehensive look at the Guatemala Claim. Making presentations was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington; Dr. Herman Byrd, Director of the Belize Archives and Records Service; H.E. Alexis Rosado, CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and; H.E. Stuard Leslie from the Referendum Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Low Morale at Supreme Court Opening
This year’s opening of the Supreme Court was perhaps the least enthusiastic in the history of Belize. While the Bench, Bar and Attorney General partook in the recently accepted norm by making swipes at each other, there was one point of agreement. In the words of His Excellency Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice of Belize, “the criminal justice system is in crisis”.

Belize Education Sector Reform
After almost two years of planning and consultation, the Ministry of Education launched the Belize Education Sector Reform Project on Wednesday, January 16th. The project has three main objectives: improving governance in the education sector with emphasis on improved student achievement; increasing access and equity at all levels of education and; enhancing quality and relevance throughout the education system.

Pay Us Our Severance!
Orange Walk Town Mayor Kevin Bernard, who now sees himself as a sage in giving out advice at the level of National Security without even knowing the facts of a case, is heard to be traipsing to and from the Unites States every so often. Suddenly, he is flushed with cash to afford these extravagances.

Precincts for Belize Police
Incoming Commissioner of Police, Allan Whylie announced at a press conference called by the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow on Tuesday, January 8th that the police department will be undergoing some major changes in the coming weeks.

Minister of National Security, John Saldivar visits Site for Corrective Training Facility at Mountain Pine Ridge
On January 11th, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar toured the site at Mountain Pine Ridge in the area of the D’Silva Forest Station which has been chosen as the location for the new Corrective Training Facility for petty offenders.

2013 Taiwan’s Scholarship Briefing
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that on January 23rd, 2013 the Embassy will host a 2013 Scholarship Briefing at 10:30AM at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City. The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) offers two scholarships to Belizeans every year:

Tax Fair at the Complex
Customs officer, Dianna Palacio, gives children a tour The Charles Bartlett Hyde Building known as the Complex building was teeming with activity on Monday and Tuesday of this week as the three main tax collectors in the country pulled out their information sheets, pamphlets and brochures to share with the public.

Opinion is what you have in the absence of evidence or when the evidence that is available contradicts deeply held beliefs and traditions. The opinion of residents of the George Street community that the GSU is responsible for the murderous events of January 8th, 2013 must be seen in the context of the longstanding antagonism and distrust between some Southside communities and the police, in particular the GSU. The GSU has been high-handed and confrontational in its methods and some residents in the community have consistently frustrated attempts by the GSU to carry out their lawfully mandated work in the area. One recent violent confrontation resulted in injuries to residents and in turn, a lawsuit against the GSU from some of those injured. This has also led to threats by a few GSU officers against community leaders and counter threats to GSU officers and their families. The Police authorities and the Prime Minister deny the accusation of GSU involvement in the quadruple homicide but this has not changed opinions on the street. Police authorities are investigating but some people are of the opinion that their neutrality cannot be trusted and they are calling for an independent investigation. Since neighbours were alerted to the crime before the police were called and the crime scene was severely compromised, it may not be possible for anyone to come to a useful conclusion based on the evidence. Post mortems were conducted but given the limited forensic capacity available, it is not certain how much practical information can be obtained from them.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

ATLANTIC BANK: Caye Caulker Branch


Pook's Hill Lodge Wins 3 TripAdvisor Awards
Congratulations to Pook's Hill Lodge for winning 3 of Trip Advisor's Travelers' Choice awards! Pook's Hill, which is ranked as the best hotel in Cayo on TA, won in the Bargain, Best Service, and Small Hotels categories. Well done, PH, well done. "This is an amazing place. The setting is fantastic--tucked deep in the forest. The facilities are wonderful. The individual cabanas are extremely well designed. No space is wasted, but they do not feel restricting. They fit into the surroundings spectacularly. The staff is top-notch."

Ole Miss & SHJC Students Visit Octavia Waight
The 27 residents of the Octavia Waight Centre were paid a visit by a student group from the University of Mississippi and Sacred Heart Junior College's Hands for Life student group to do some 'Heart Art.' Everyone had a great time. "Students from the University of Mississippi and Sacred Heart Junior College went to Octavia Waight to do some 'Heart Art' with the older generation. There was even some live music."

Belizean Trifle
Trifle is somewhat of a cake. It's not very sweet and not as light as Belizean Light or Belizean White cake, but it very satisfying. The coconut flakes inside the cake offers a nice surprise of chewy bits.

A Tale of Five Cities: Onward to Palenque
After visiting the Old City Wall in Campeche, it was time to check out of the Hotel Castlemar, leave the colorful centro historico district behind, and begin the long hike to the ADO bus station to catch our bus to Palenque, in Mexico's Chiapas state. It was again a warm day, so we got quite a workout carrying our packs. Now you see how we eat so much on these trips without putting on tons of weight! The bus to Palenque stopped at a couple of different towns along the way. These stops gave us a chance to stretch our legs and get a snack if needed. Escarcega was one of the stops. Along the way we went over the Usumacinta River, an important trade route for the ancient Maya before roads existed in this area. We also witnessed (after the fact) a very serious accident involving a couple of tractor trailers. Hopefully everyone involved was okay. On the way to Palenque, we briefly went through the fourth Mexican state of our trip, Tabasco. There we stopped at another town, Emiliano Zapata. I stayed inside the bus this time, but Barry had a look inside the station, finding it much different from the typically modern, chrome and glass ADO terminals we had become accustomed to. Until he showed me the photos, I didn't understand exactly what he meant when he said that the station was "very Mexican" inside. Once I saw the photos, I understood immediately. This station takes first place in the categories of "most festive" and "most colorful" along our route! Looks like a great place for a kid's birthday party.

One stop Shopping in Placencia
This post is going to be a short work in progress as I am still editing my pictures of Placencia and I decided not to keep you in suspense any longer about where I stayed and who I caught up with while there. First off, my home base was Roberts Grove, which is a lush tropical Hacienda-style beach resort on the water. With span of 22 acres, 3 restaurants, 3 pools, onsite dive shop and lagoon marina, the beach resort definitely qualifies as one stop shopping. You definitely would not have to leave the resort if you really wanted to kick back and relax. While there I enjoyed a mix of much needed down time and exploring. I also got to visit with Anna and Gunter who were living in San Pedro and relocated their business Mathieu’s Deli to Roberts Grove Resort. For those of you who are fans of Gunters cooking, it is worth a trip to go see him. The deli has its of his yummy treats both savory and sweet options. They also have a nice selection of breads, deli meats and delicious Belize Cheese from Ian Anderson’s. While catching up with Anna and Gunter the two days I was there, I enjoyed the cookie and iced coffee options. If you are planning a stay at Robert’s Grove Beach Resort be sure and check out their community service page to find out how you can help them with worthy causes such as Seine Bight Elementary School and the Placencia Humane Society.

Romantic Chocolate Spa Treatments Highlighted at Chaa Creek
Belize’s The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering lovers everywhere the opportunity to put some exotic adventure in their lives while being immersed – literally – in the one of the ancient Maya’s greatest gifts to the world; chocolate. Bryony Fleming-Bradley, who coordinates Chaa Creek’s adventure romance tours and all-inclusive Belize vacation packages, said that she and her staff are putting a special emphasis on chocolate throughout the month of February as a tribute to lovers and Belize’s ancient Maya forbearers. “Many people are surprise to learn that chocolate has its origins right here in Belize, where the ancient Maya first cultivated cacao to create what they called Xocoatl or the ‘Food of the Gods’. Since chocolate has always been linked to romance and was even considered to be an aphrodisiac, it has also been called the ‘Food of Love’, and that will be our emphasis during February and especially around Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated very enthusiastically here in Belize,” she said. Cacao has always held a special place in Maya culture and was cultivated and traded throughout Central America long before the birth of Christ. When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 16th century AD they became enamoured with the hot, foamy beverage known as Xocoatl, which was served to them by Maya royalty. When Cortez noticed in 1519 that the Aztec ruler Montezuma drank several goblets of the drink before entering his harem, he assumed that it was an aphrodisiac, and chocolate’s reputation as a lovers’ treat was firmly established in popular imagination. Today, chocolate is still an important part of Maya culture and day to day life, drank in the mornings hot and spiced with chili just as it has been for thousands of years. Ms Fleming-Bradley said chocolate is also important at Chaa Creek, where it is offered in many different forms. “Our guests can sample chocolate in its original form as well as its many different incarnations. For example, we serve chocolate-themed drinks in our Jungle Lounge, scrumptious chocolate desserts in our restaurant, and even have chocolate body wraps and massages at our hilltop spa,” she explained.

Presenting Belize's New Ambassador To Canada
Ambassador Nestor Mendez is Belize's new High Commissioner to Canada. Mr. Mendez presented his credentials to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Wednesday. With the added responsibility as Belize's chief diplomat in Canada, Nestor Mendez is also Belize's ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the United States of America and permanent representative to the Organization of American States. Huge Congrats Mr. Ambassador! It's a huge task and a lot of responsibilities.

Security Awareness in Belize [TECH]
How far are we in Security Awareness in Belize? Before asking that, perhaps the right question to ask here is, Do we know what Security Awareness is? This is the meaning provided by the Wikipedia: Security awareness is the knowledge and attitude members of an organization possess regarding the protection of the physical and, especially, information assets of that organization. Basically, security awareness is how much you know of the protection of the physical and virtual information or assets in your organization. I can ensure you that that your security awareness is extremely low if you don't know what I am talking about. But if you have an idea, then you are on the right track to learn more about Security Awareness and why it is important in these times. Cyber criminals are the primary ones that love to hear that you are not practicing security awareness because they see this as an excellent opportunity to attack or hack your systems.

How to make your blog more popular
I am not an SEO expert but nowadays everything is about location, location. In order to make your blog more popular on the whole wide web, you must first ensure that you are popular locally. Let us say for example you have a food blog. Your first followers more than likely will be people who are interested in local food information. So you write about food that you can find locally. Nobody wants to read about food from somewhere else because the reality is that we can't cook all kinds of food. When you have achieved a massive local audience and readers, then you can focus on the big map. Then you can start to write about food in the districts and so you expand your topics and your audience - little by little. These baby steps are important and that is how you make your blog more popular. Don't forget that location is the most important thing.

The ‘A’ Team in Ambergris Caye, Belize
One of the things I have found about writing a blog is that you start to take a keen interest in other people’s blogs about the same area that you live in. Whether consciously or subconsciously you start to consider the ‘dos’ and don’ts for your own blog. You start to read forums more. When I was in the UK I would never have considered joining a forum let alone make contributions to them. Now I read them avidly and contribute when I feel I have something to offer. Writing a blog can also reawaken any competitiveness that may be part of your make-up. When I worked for a living I think I was fairly competitive. I always stove to ‘beat’ the other guy in a negotiation for example. It was a competition of sorts. Always tried to produce the best I could. Blogging provides the stimulus for similar traits to show themselves. You start to gauge the quality/appeal of an edition by how many views or visits it received. The stats will either enthuse or deflate you ( not to suicidal levels but …). You get a buzz when you get comments (feedback) from those that take the time and have the interest to follow your blog.

International Sources

Belize & the Drug War
Belize, scarcely populated and often forgotten, is getting its fair share of drug action. The desolate western portion of the nation, which borders often lawless northern Guatemala, has become a breeding ground for growing drug trafficking organizations in the area. The tourist driven coastal area to the east has become a playground for dollar spending drug lords looking to launder money and relax for a few days. Belize City, the largest city, is seeing an urban struggle between street gangs for drug profits. Recent news reports have stated that the DEA has 5 commando style squads that have been deployed to Latin American countries to help in fighting drug trafficking organizations. Belize is one of those countries. Within the last two years the Zetas have pushed into western Belize, while drug style murders have risen in Belize City from street gangs. The US has given $15 million in aid money to Belize to help fight the rising drug organization threats. However, $15 million can hardly combat the billions that the DTO's are making. The northern Guatemalan province of Petan, which borders Belize, was the home to the ranch massacre that left 27 workers murdered and decapitated. An estimated 200 gunmen, believed to be Zetas, arrived at the ranch in buses. The Zetas have attacked land owners and local drug lords in a recent power seize in the area.

Police protection for former PM
The government of Prime Minster Dean Barrow has offered police protection for former Prime Minister Said Musa. This follows an incident on Tuesday in which multiple gunshots were fired into the Belize City home of the veteran parliamentarian. Musa told reporters here that late Tuesday, he and his wife had just retired to bed, when they heard the gunshots ring out. The former Prime Minister said on looking outside, they saw nothing and proceeded to bed. However on Wednesday morning he realized what happened “I noticed the main door had a hole in it. I looked down and saw a piece of metal, like a slug” On further inspection, the former Prime Minister noticed that “the door had been shot through,” and that the rear passenger side window of his wife’s vehicle had been shattered. Musa who was Prime Minister between 1998 and 2008, said he proceeded to report the matter to the police who responded immediately. He told reporters that he and his wife had receiv

4 spectacular sunsets on Caye Caulker
The Belizian island of Caye Caulker (pronounced “key” Caulker) is known for its slow-paced lifestyle and no-worries attitude with a gorgeous Caribbean backdrop. We spent about five days on the lazy island of Caye Caulker, so we had plenty of opportunities to experience one of its greatest charms: its sunsets. I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets in my life, but Caye Caulker’s definitely rank near the top with their vibrant hues of blue, pink, and orange. Here are four of my favorite sunsets from our time on Caye Caulker:

Actun Tunichil Muknal Pictures
Wow! These are the best pictures of ATM ever! Check out some of Ben Kim's amazing pictures from when Pacz Tours took him through the cave last weekend. Spectacular pictures! "Just got done with post processing this assignment. It takes my back to my roots in adventure and travel. I did a lot of caving when I was a bit younger. ATM Cave was an absolute pleasure to photograph. I have to give a really, really, big thanks to Jamaal Crawford at PACZ Tours for inviting me and Jaime Awe at NICH for making this possible. What a great way to start off the new year!"

January 17, 2013


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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

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Taking Steps to Alleviate Island Traffic Congestion
With this in mind, the San Pedro Town Council has taken the step of making it a law that delivery of goods be done only at night. Ambergris Today met with Mayor Daniel Guerrero who elaborated more on this issue. “We are working hard on getting this law gazette,” stated Mayor Daniel. “We hope that by March of this year all deliveries will be taking place during the night so as to alleviate the traffic congestion on our streets and mostly to avoid any accidents.” According to Mayor Guerrero, this is a big change in which the entire community will have to get used to especially those offering the delivery service and those receiving their goods. The island is rapidly growing and with development comes lots of changes. This is just one of the many changes that the current Town administration is working on to make San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye more safe and beautiful. Mayor Guerrero promised to keep the island more informed with these new laws as the Town Council comes closer into implementing them.

Helping Our Youth To Cope With Violence
In these current times, violent criminal acts and mass killings are at an all-time high throughout Belize – at the highest rate the country has ever seen. There is a country-wide crisis of senseless shootings and vicious gang-style murders being reported throughout the nation, almost daily, especially in Belize City. Whether or not we realize it, continuous and raw media coverage (television, radio, internet, and newspapers) of these gruesome, traumatic, and violent killings affects our young people, especially students, in very stressful ways. What is far worse, many of our very young people actually witness these violent crimes, and/or are victims themselves. What, though, are we doing today to help our young people, i.e. students from preschool up to university level, to cope and “heal” from all this unwanted stress and trauma that keeps mounting with each new report of violent killings and murders? As I write this article, no official crime statistics have yet been released for Belize in 2012; yet, according to Belize media, during the first 9 days of this year at least 8 violent killings/murders have been reported – that’s almost one per day!

Accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway; several persons injured
Just after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, there was an accident near mile seven on the Phillip Goldson Highway. It involved a sports utility vehicle and a trailer truck. According to an eyewitness account, the SUV was extensively damaged while the trailer flipped on the right side of the highway. Reports are that a female employee of Ladyville Laundromat and Apartments had picked up the daughter of her employers and was travelling towards Ladyville. She reportedly lost control of the vehicle and slammed into the trailer that was coming in the opposite direction. Three persons, including a minor, travelling in the SUV were injured and taken by ambulance to the K.H.M.H. (Photos provided to Ambergris Today by Loskot Studios - News Source: Channel 5 Belize)

Belize National Football Team Travels to Costa Rica for UNCAF Competition
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) National ‘A’ Selection is travelling to Costa Rica today, Wednesday, January 16, 2013, to participate in the UNCAF Central American Cup Competition. The delegation is headed by President of the FFB Ruperto Vicente; other members of the delegation are Secretary General of the FFB Michael Blease, Second Vice President and National Team Chairman Rawell Pelayo and others. The UNCAF Congress will be on Thursday, January 17, 2013, and the tournament commences on January 18 – 28 where Belize will be playing against Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua 18, 19, 22 respectively in the first round of play. The finals will be played on the 25 – 27 of January. The delegation travelling includes: Woodrow West, Frank Lopez, Elroy Smith, Evral Trapp, Tyrone Pandy, Dellon Torres, Cristobal Gilharry, Ian Gaynair, Andres Makin, Dalton Eiley Jr. (captain), Evan Mariano, Ashley Torres, Russell Cassanova, Jeromy James, Devon Makin, Shanon Flowers, Trevor Lennen, San Leobardo Mendez, Deon McCauley and Harrison Roches.

Taiwan Scholarship Program 2013
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that on January 23rd, 2013 the Embassy will host a 2013 Scholarship Briefing at 10:30AM at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City. The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) offers two scholarships to Belizeans every year: 1) Taiwan Scholarship Program 2013: allows Belizeans to attend undergraduate or graduate program of their choice at universities in Taiwan starting from academic year 2013 (commencing in September 2013). A Mandarin Language Enrichment Program (LEP), for one extra year will be included to improve the recipients’ language abilities. Scholarship recipients will be provided with a round trip economy class airfare, and a monthly stipend of NT$30,000 (approximately US$1000) to cover the costs of tuition, board and lodging, books and medical insurance.

Gangnam Style Flash Mob in Caye Caulker, Belize
A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Flash mobs are organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails. Check out this awesome Flash Mob organized by a group of tourists at the Caye Caulker Split. It’s a “Gangnam Style” started by one lady that becomes this great dance number that beach bums in Caye Caulker got to enjoy. Very Cool! We need more Flash Mobs in Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

Cheese Making Courses at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch in Belize
Caves Branch Jungle and Adventure Lodge in Belize, Central America, is offering a pair of cheese making courses over the latter half of the month of January. These courses are designed for the home cheese maker and for anyone considering small-scale commercial cheese production. The mantra of Caves Branch is that with basic kitchen equipment and as little as four ingredients, students will be able to make hundreds of exquisite cheese types. In order to participate, interested travelers may purchase one of their Cheese Making Adventure Packages. The packages include a 5-night stay at the lodge, meals, a day’s worth of tours, 3 days of cheese making instruction and full access to the facilities around the resort, including the pools, hot tub, and botanical gardens. Travelers may choose from either of the two courses, depending on their interests: Cheeses of Italy (January 17th - 22nd, 2013) This course explores classic Italian cheeses and how to make them. Italy has been a center of cheese production for well over 4,000 years, and some of the world's best known and loved cheeses hail from the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, and Sardinia. Cheeses from Around the World (January 24th - 29th, 2013)

Kick Start 2013 With a Belize Yoga, Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling Adventure at an Island Basecamp
Bring on the New Year! Island Expeditions will be offering early morning yoga by-the-sea with certified instructors on select Belize travel adventures between now and April 2013. Rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit and re-awaken your sense of adventure on a trip that combines the restorative effects of yoga with 'play-time' spent exploring, snorkeling and sea kayaking the tropical marine parks of Glover's Reef or Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The benefits of daily yoga practice for health, fitness and well-being are well known. Island Expeditions' teachers adapt the sessions to complement paddlesports and snorkeling activities with an emphasis on strengthening the core and increasing paddling endurance and efficiency. A morning yoga sun salutation sequence in this glorious marine setting is a great way to wake up, stretch out, and prepare for your day. Spend your time snorkeling, sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, or just reveling in the simple pleasure of lounging in a hammock with a good book. At the end of each day relax, share stories, and enjoy the bounty of fresh seafood and tropical fruits.

Romantic Chocolate Spa Treatments Highlighted at Chaa Creek
Belize’s The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering lovers everywhere the opportunity to put some exotic adventure in their lives while being immersed - literally - in the one of the ancient Maya’s greatest gifts to the world; chocolate. Bryony Fleming-Bradley, who coordinates Chaa Creek’s adventure romance tours and all-inclusive Belize vacation packages, said that she and her staff are putting a special emphasis on chocolate throughout the month of February as a tribute to lovers and Belize’s ancient Maya forbearers. “Many people are surprise to learn that chocolate has its origins right here in Belize, where the ancient Maya first cultivated cacao to create what they called Xocoatl or the ‘Food of the Gods’. Since chocolate has always been linked to romance and was even considered to be an aphrodisiac, it has also been called the ‘Food of Love’, and that will be our emphasis during February and especially around Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated very enthusiastically here in Belize,” she said. Cacao has always held a special place in Maya culture and was cultivated and traded throughout Central America long before the birth of Christ. When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 16th century AD they became enamoured with the hot, foamy beverage known as Xocoatl, which was served to them by Maya royalty. When Cortez noticed in 1519 that the Aztec ruler Montezuma drank several goblets of the drink before entering his harem, he assumed that it was an aphrodisiac, and chocolate’s reputation as a lovers’ treat was firmly established in popular imagination. Today, chocolate is still an important part of Maya culture and day to day life, drank in the mornings hot and spiced with chili just as it has been for thousands of years. Ms Fleming-Bradley said chocolate is also important at Chaa Creek, where it is offered in many different forms. “Our guests can sample chocolate in its original form as well as its many different incarnations. For example, we serve chocolate-themed drinks in our Jungle Lounge, scrumptious chocolate desserts in our restaurant, and even have chocolate body wraps and massages at our hilltop spa,” she explained. Ms Fleming-Bradley said that February will see a special emphasis on Chaa Creek’s “Chocolatissimo” spa treatments such as a Maya Chocolate Polish, Lovers Peppermint Chocolate Pedicure, Cocoa Massage or a Chocolate Fondue Wrap , which she said are “all designed to enhance beauty while heightening a sense of wellbeing and, as some happy guests report – love. “Anyone who loves eating chocolate can imagine what happens when the essences and active ingredients of pure, local organic cacao is absorbed through the skin. It’s just amazing,” she added.

Belize Motivational Missionaries Tour
Bert Oliva and Robin Korth, motivational speakers, came to Belize to motivate the youth and instill self-esteem. Looks like they did a great job. Cayo is featured in this video starting around 3:50. Wait, is that Tarun bending steel...with her neck? They are coming back to visit Cayo again on February 8th. "World renown speakers, Bert Oliva and Robin Korth, are bringing a unique event to the caribbean in early 2013 called Motivational Missionaries. The first stop in the tour is Belize, where the focus is to motivate and energize our future, the children of today. Follow the journey and don't miss the change. Be a part of the Human Connection movement today where you too can become a Potentialists! 'IT'S NOW OR NEVER!'"

Blancaneaux Lodge Ranked with World's Best
Blancaneaux Lodge, located in Cayo's Mountain Pine Ridge, has been called one of the world's best lodges by Fathom. They give recognition to Roni Martinez, their conservation officer, along with many others for their outstanding service. "There's something special in the air at Blancaneaux Lodge, Francis Ford Coppola's magically remote, secluded oasis, situated on 70 acres in the northwest corner of Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in western Belize's Cayo District. It's the warm familiarity you feel visiting beloved friends and family... The staff is terrifically friendly (first name basis, please) and includes fun and informed guides (Eddie, Geraldo, and Jorge), the passionate conservation officer, Roni Martinez, and genuinely hospitable veteran manager, Bernie Matute."

El Contrabajo at the GPC
Tonight the one man play, El Contrabajo, will be performed at the GPC. "Tonight Thursday, January 17th at The George Price Center in Belmopan, 7pm. Proyecto Lagartija and Ruben Pagura of Costa Rica present the one-man play "El Contrabajo". Call 664-9719 for info. Support the Performing Arts in your community!" Best of Cayo's insight:

1000 Foot Falls
The highest waterfall in Central America is found in Belize. 1000 Foot Falls actually measure around 1600 feet. Mountain Pine Ridge has it all.

BELTRAIDE Facilitates WorkshopTo Enhance Customer Service Delivery for Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Belize
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), with the assistance of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is facilitating the delivery of a three-day training workshop on “Enhancing Customer Service Delivery for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Belize”. The workshop is being held at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. It commenced on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, to Thursday, January 17, 2013, from 8:30a.m.- 5:00p.m. The facilitator for the workshop is Mr. Brian Lin. He is the Business and Investment Facilitation Officer at BELTRAIDE, and the consultant for the workshop. Throughout the course of the three days the participants will be educated with information on several topics, including: How to build a service delivery strategy Customer retention strategies Methods of measuring service levels How to get effective customer feedback Developing a customer service action plan

Channel 7

Someone Shot At Rt. Hon. Musa's House
Tonight, the country is still in shock after witnessing another unprecedentedly violent event. Fortunately no one was hurt, but for the first time in memory, a politician's home has been shot up - and not any politician, it's former two term Prime Minister Said Musa. That is a first, and the very worst kind - as it establishes a precedent that seems to bring Belize to the precipice of a dangerous tipping point. It happened last night, but was not discovered until this morning. 7news was there and Jules Vasquez has the whole story: Jules Vasquez Reporting Last night at two minutes to 11:00, a gunman shot at Said Musa's house at the corner of E Street and Princess Margaret Drive. Residents reported hearing five or six shots in rapid succession. Musa says he heard it too Rt. Hon. Said Musa - Home Shot Up "We turned off the lights and went to bed at about 11 o'clock last night, and shortly thereafter, I heard this burst of gunfire, about 4 or 5 - possibly 6 shots - being fired in rapid succession. I got up, and went into the bathroom, which is adjacent to the bedroom, pulled the curtain, and looked outside towards Eve Street. I saw nothing unusual or suspicious. My wife, she got up as well, and she looked out the bedroom window toward Princess Margaret Drive, and she too saw nothing unusual. So, I suspected - I thought - it was gunfire coming from a distance away from this particular neighborhood. So, we went back to bed."

City's First Shooting In 10 Days
And while that shooting is definitely one of the most troubling appearances of violence we've seen, the fact is the city has been uncharacteristically calm since the Dean Street massacre. There had not been a shooting reported since January sixth - that is until last night. At 7:00 pm, Kent Moss was shot on the verandah of a home on Raccoon Street extension. He was having a conversation when a male came up from behind and fired several shots at him. He was shot three times - but survived. Police are looking for a man from Jane Usher Boulevard, for questioning.

Another City Shooting
And there was another report of gunshots this evening in the city. It happened at around 6:00 pm at the corner of Mex Avenue and Kraal Road. According to police, no one was hurt - but the shooters did have an intended target.

Kenyon Charged For a Murder From Last Year
Exactly a week ago, we told you about 21 year-old Kenyon Dominguez, a Jasmine Street Resident who was charged for attempted murder and aggravated assault. Well tonight, he is on remand for murder. It's for a killing, which dates back to mid-2012. At around 6 p.m., on June 11 of last year, 24 year-old Keith Lewis and 3 other men were socializing on Roches Street in Belize City, when a gunman approached from the direction of McKoy Boulevard. He fired a hail of gunshots at the group, and quickly made his escape. The 3 other men who were along with Lewis reacted quickly and managed to escape injury, but no one stopped to check on him. It was not until early the next day that residents in the area found him dead; he suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his chest, back and legs. Police investigated for 6 months and they arrested and charged Dominguez for his murder. He was arraigned today before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer, who remanded him to prison until March 5. And as we told you he was arraigned and remanded in connection with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, wounding, and aggravated assault.

Teenaged Accident Victim Gets 80 Stitches
Tonight 57 year old Mary Yorke and her daughters are lucky to be alive after she drove into a cargo truck's back wheel yesterday. The accident happened at mile 7 on the Northern Highway near Raul's Rose Garden at 4:00 pm yesterday. According to police, Yorke was driving her small SUV to Ladyville and the truck was going in the opposite direction. She ran under the truck into the truck's back wheel causing it to overturn. She received the most serious injuries while her two daughters aged 19 and six received minor injuries. The truck driver was not seriously injured but his sideman was injured. A notice of intended prosecution will be served on Yorke when she gets out of the hospital. And in an update on the accident story we ran earlier, the family of the victims in the small SUV tell us that in fact driver Mary Yorke was not the most seriously injured. We got that report from Ladyville Police, but the family says that a 15 year old girl, Alexis received the most serious injury: she got 80 stitches to her face.

Education Sector Launches Major Reform Initiative
The Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank and other Partners launched The Belize Education Sector reform project this morning at the Radisson. The project is aimed at putting in place proper strategic plans to improve the quality of education on a whole in Belize. Minister of Education Patrick Faber explained how the project will work for your children: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "In short, Jules, what it does is that it set a proper plan - the strategic plan that is - it puts in specific objective, specific targets that we want to accomplish, and to improve our quality of education in this country. And it allows us to say to people, 'Listen, we have a concrete plan. Everybody, as we've been saying in education, it is everybody's business. Everybody can buy into what we're doing here, and we can move collectively as a society to try to improve education."

Faber Still Wants Deputy Party Leader
And while Faber was acting in his official capacity as Education Minister today - his political ambition to unseat the Deputy Leader of the UDP Gaspar Vega is what's making news tonight. Faber has until a February 7th deadline to submit his name as a candidate for the February 17th convention. The conventional wisdom is that maybe he should hold off - for the sake of what some UDP's are calling party unity. He told us that there's no pulling out now; it's full speed ahead: Jules Vasquez "Will you still go ahead and submit your name? We know that it's becoming extremely intense. We know that there's a lot of division amongst your peers and colleagues. We've heard that you've been ostracized to some extent. You said yourself that some aren't taking your calls." Hon. Patrick Faber "That's - I think that's over-exaggerating it, Jules. Certainly - well let me answer the first part of your question first. Yes, I am completely in. I don't think that there is anything that can cause me to not put my name forward now. But, while you are saying that it has created division - and yes, people will take one side or the other, but it has not created the kind of division really in our party that some are proclaiming has happened.

Nurses "Bex"; Demand Answers From Allen
Today a few dozen nurses bum-rushed the office of CEO in the Ministry of Health, Dr Peter Allen demanding answers. They wanted answers just like their colleague Dianne Pascascio did when she confronted Allen in his office last week. And while they demanded the meeting in the heat and height of a rage over administrative indifference, the always-smooth Dr. Allen seemed to have clamed them down with a spoonful of sugar: he agreed to put 14 nurses into the training programme at the University of Belize; the same programme that Nurse Pascascio wanted to get into - except this 14 does not include Nurse Pascascio. He explained to PLUS TV this evening why it took so long to settle the matter: Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health "Well, we are always in agreement with our nursing staff. Let me tell you what the challenge was. For several years, we found that our nurses have been under-staffed, and especially in the specialized nursing areas. So, we've been working on designing a course for operating room technicians.

Chicken Dread Goes Legal
Since December of last year, Paul Ferguson, known as the Chicken Dread, has been at war with the Belize City Council. We've shown you numerous confrontations he's had with the police officers because according to City Hall, he's been selling his chicken without a proper permit. Well this evening, he prepared his stall for the first time with the blessing of the council. 7News caught up with him and for once, he wasn't being confrontational: Paul Ferguson - Obtained His Peddler's Permit "It's a wonderful day, beautiful day. First, I want to thank the City Administrator and the Mayor for getting me my peddler's license. And I also want to thank my legal advisor, Mrs. Mellissa Mahler, and my best friend, Anthony Mahler for their support and pushing for me to acquire this peddler's license."

Another CITCO Cemetery SNAFU
Last night, 7News told you about the response from the Belize City Council in relation to the cemetery mishap at the 13 Miles in relation to the late Zebedee Pitterson Jr. Well, it seems that as soon as City Hall puts out one fire, another starts because another family is claiming mismanagement. Today, the Sebastian Family spoke to us and said that even with that 48 hour period to make the administrative and construction preparations, they still got it wrong. Rita Sebastian told us that City Hall mixed up 3 graves and didn't give them what they paid for. According to her, the administration did not inform the contractors properly, and they prepared the wrong grave, which they didn't pay for. Here's how she explained the details of the situation: Rita Sebastian - Claims Cemetery Mismanagement "My brother passed away on Friday. We made arrangements with the funeral home to deal with the body, pay for the removal an already-entombed grave for my father, which was done for him 6 1/2 years ago when he passed away. At the time, at that was being taken care of by Mr. Coye. The plan was that they would take the top of my father's tomb, and build up so that we could have set him in and cover it. When we went to the cemetery this morning, we saw it.

Referendum Committee Will Start ICJ Campaign
So far, all you've been hearing about the ICJ is from those who oppose it. COLA has adopted a high profile No ICJ campaign and today we saw this flier from a PUP friendly group called the Save Belize Alliance. So there's all this backlash against the ICJ - but who's for it? Well, there's a Referendum Committee working out of the Ministry of foreign Affairs and that group's formal public education campaign will be launched officially next week. Referendum Coordinator Stuart Leslie told us the main thing they want to do is to get you to vote: Stuart Leslie - Referendum Coordinator "The campaign is going to roll off officially at a launch on January 23, at 10 o'clock in the morning, right here at the Radisson Fort George, which is going to be official launch of the campaign. And like I was saying in our session today, we're looking at educating the voters about the referrendum. We're talking to them about the case for the ICJ, the pros, the cons, and the risk, and we're looking at working at all the different media that we can assist us to get the message out because we want Belizeans to be completely knowledgeable of the process, and off why we should submit this question.

Wilfred's Worst Fear...
And this morning the press got a first taste of the campaign with a media mixer and information session. Every talk show host you could throw a shoe at was there - and with free lunch provided - by the end of it, Vaughan from Vibes and Fonso from Fus Thing Da Mawnin' were shoulder to shoulder like old Kumbaya Comrades. And that's because they finally found something they could agree on: during the question and answer session, they jointly lasered in on Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, forcing him to first concede that - no matter how strong Belize's case - there is always some litigation risk in going to court, and second, to entertain his worst case scenario. Here's what Elrington said: Vaughn Gill - Positive Vibes "The Government of Belize and the Secretariat needs to be straightforward, and let the public know that there is a risk. The way that it is being worded is that there is no risk. So to me -" Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs "Now, if you read that, that is wholely wrong. As a matter of fact, I will tell you this, Vaughn, every moment of the day, there is a risk that your heart will stop beat. There is a risk that you'll stop breathing. Life is made of risk, but you're not supposed to become - "

The Future of Fencing
International Fencing in Belize? Up until November of last year, who would have though of it? That's when Xunan Smith made history by going to el Salvador for the Central American & Caribbean Championship. Well, building on that success, this evening, the Belize Fencing Association is hosting an international Fencing Athlete and trainer, Nestor Rosario. He is here to help young Belizean athletes prepare for international competition. Rosario comes with an impressive and long tenure in the sport, and he told 7News this evening, that he is here to inspire our young talent: Frank McKenzie - Coach, Belize Fencing Association "Mr. Rosado is here to help us with tips because we'll participating in Central American Games, and they'll be doing epee, and foil." Daniel Ortiz "Why do you feel that the athletes need international exposure such as this?"

Channel 5

Police security offered to Musa and Opposition Leader
The death threats followed by the very real danger of bullets being fired at his home have brought the crime situation in Belize up close and personal to the former Prime Minister. Both he and Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca spoke on the very different and difficult times being faced today.  Fonseca also says [...]

Home of former Prime Minister, Said Musa, riddled with bullets
2012 was a record year for murders with one hundred and forty-five reported and the New Year has started with another record for murders. It is a new era in Belize; one when personal security cannot be taken for granted. That point was forcibly driven home when bullets riddled the home of former Prime Minister [...]

Chamber demands that G.O.B. stop negotiating with criminals
The Belize Chamber of Commerce has issued one of its strongest release expressing grave concern about the escalation on crime following the shooting at the house of the former prime minister. The BCCI is calling on the government to   take immediate and serious measures given the gravity of the situation.   The B.C.C.I. is demanding that [...]

Kent Moss shot three times in shooting incident
A Belize City man is recovering from gunshot wounds at the Karl Heusner Memorial hospital after being shot on Tuesday night. Just before seven, twenty year old Kent Moss, a laborer of a Freedom Street address in Belize City, was conversing with a friend on a verandah on Raccoon Street when a lone gunman came [...]

Nurses protest against Health C.E.O., Peter Allen
On January tenth, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen was caught in an altercation with a veteran nurse in Belmopan, and today he was again the center of controversy involving nurses. A group of nurses gathered on the University of Belize Campus in protest after they claimed that Allen arbitrarily cancelled both [...]

Precursor to officially launch of ICJ awareness campaign
As the ICJ question looms larger with the announcement of a set date for the referendum on October sixth, people all over the nation are starting to sit up and take real notice. And to ensure that they not only take notice but are presented with all the facts, the Referendum Unit formed to educate [...]

Does cabinet support minister’s action to burn half a million dollars of rosewood?
Belizeans have not been at all reticent about weighing in on the rosewood burning issue.  Last Friday morning in Golden Stream, Minister Lisel Alamilla set on fire a stock of confiscated rosewood from a bust that yielded over seven hundred flitches. It was the Minister’s way of signaling her frustration since even with a moratorium [...]

February U.D.P. convention: Faber versus Vega for Deputy Party Leader
The U.D.P. National Convention is scheduled for February, and in the past months much attention has been focused on the royal fight for deputy Party Leader. The incumbent, Gaspar Vega, is no lightweight, at least in terms of money and power. The challenger, current Chairman of the UDP Patrick Faber is considered a formidable opponent [...]

Were challenges at B.E.L. also put forward by previous owners before nationalization?
On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission held a press conference to present its final decision on the approved almost seventeen percent increase in electricity rates. The final amendment is for government to pay less for street lights and to pass on the shortfall to the consumers. It means that government will spend fifty-five cents per [...]

Police charge suspect in death of Keith Lewis
  In June of 2012, twenty-one year old Keith Lewis was gunned down in the Lake Independence area in what was classified as a gangland slaying. He was ambushed by three men and shot multiple times, and his body was discovered the following day. Seven months later Police have a suspect. This morning, twenty-one year [...]

Businesswoman raped in Hopkins Village
In news from the south, a fifty-three year old businesswoman of Sittee Point reports that on Sunday she was asleep in her van that was parked in Hopkins village when she was awakened by movement inside the vehicle. She then saw a man wearing dark clothing with a rag over his face. The woman claims [...]

Price of burying your loved ones has just shot up
There is ongoing discontent in the burial service industry since the Belize City Council arbitrarily announced that it would be taking over those services. And it is bound to get louder because the cost of providing those services has now increased drastically, in some cases by as much as two hundred percent. And as to [...]

B.D.F. receives a $1.4 Million donation from U.S.
The Commander Designate of the Belize Defense Force on Tuesday received new vehicles to add to its current fleet and enhance their ability to patrol our borders and aid in fighting crime. This morning Colonel David Jones, who takes over command of the B.D.F. on February first, received another donation. The US Embassy is handing [...]

Football Team head to Costa Rica
Today the National “A” Selection Team left the jewel with an upbeat spirit en route to Costa Rica to participate in the Copa Central Americana tournament. The team is hoping to put off an A act when they play against three Central American power houses. The team is comprised of some familiar faces as well [...]


Gunshots Fired At Former Prime Minister's Home
The home of former Prime Minister, Said Musa, came under attack on Tuesday night in Belize City. The incident, however, was not discovered until this morning when Mr. Musa came outside to leave his home. He spoke with reporters inside his yard after police had processed the...

BNE Trust Donates Furniture to Toledo Primary Schools
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust on Monday handed over furniture to two primary schools in the Toledo District. During the morning ceremony attended by students, teachers and other invited guests at the Punta Gorda Methodist School, 112 students arm chairs were handed ove...

PUC Holds Press Conference on Increased Electricity Rates
Last month the Public Utilities Commission announced that effective this month, electricity rates would increase by just over 16 percent. Yesterday the Commission held a press conference after the time for interested parties to submit comments had expired. There were ...

Mother of Three Jailed For Stealing Cheese
Twenty-two year old Cassandra Sutherland, a mother of three, became an inmate of Belize Central Prison today when she appeared in the #4 Magistrate’s Court and pled guilty to the theft of 3 boxes of Happy Cow cheese, valued at $105. She was fined $300. By Magistrate Dale Caye...

Belizean Laborer Charged With Murder
Twenty-one year old Kenyon Dominguez, a laborer of Jasmine Street who was charged last week with attempted murder and aggravated assault, was brought back to court today and charged with murder. Dominguez was arraigned in the #2 Magistrate’s Court. He was remanded into cu...


Two Men Charged For Attemp Burglary And Unlawful Imprisonment
Corozal Police are tonight looking for a man wanted in connection to a robbery conducted at knife point on the seventh of January. Corozal Police received a report from twenty-four year old Edilberto Rejon, Belizean Labourer of Paraiso Village, in which he informed police that sometime around 9:20 the night of January 7th, he was riding his bicycle home when he was stopped by two men on the Santa Rita Road just in front of the Majil Mexican Products depot. Both men rode up to him on their bicycles and demanded Rejon hand over his money. Rejon informed the men that he only had $5.00 which caused one of the men to produce a knife and hold it at Rejon’s abdomen prompting him to quickly hand over the $5.00. Both men were not satisfied with the take and so escorted Rejon to his house by holding on to his bicycle. Once Rejon arrived home, he managed to escape from the two men and ran inside of his house locking the door behind him. Both men attempted to break into the house, but Rejon quickly called the police which prompted the duo to quickly make good their escape.

O/W Liquor Licensing Board Holds First Quarterly Meeting
The first quarterly meeting of the Orange Walk Liquor Licensing Board was initially scheduled to take place on January 14th 2013 but due to membership changes by the Ministry of Local Government, the original slate proposed, accepted and trained was replaced. That prompted the first meeting to be postponed two days and was held this afternoon at the Crystal Palace Auditorium in Orange Walk Town. The meeting was convened and saw the participation of all business owners who in one form or another sell alcoholic beverages; whether it be in a restaurant, liquor store, grocery store or bar. Mayor Kevin Bernard represents the Town Council at the Liquor Licensing Board and told us about today’s meeting. Kevin Bernard- Mayor Orange Walk “The objective today is however is to ensure that we remind license holders of the rules and regulations pertaining by the act that governs and as well as part of the council we insisted reminding these business owners. This council had made a decision that we will no longer be granting licenses to those individuals whose property are in arrears where they conduct that trade and so that is why I was very specific in my opening remarks this afternoon with these people because if we are to collect the monies and provide a service to the people of Orange Walk then we need those revenues.”

Former Prime Minister and Family Threatened
Despite the various degrees of protests, violence, murders and crime that have plagued the country of Belize, we have always had a certain level of comfort knowing that we are far from assassination attempts on our political and governmental leaders. Well, it appears that the criminal elements of Belize are changing this never before heard of crime in our country. Late last night, after former Prime Minister Said Musa and his wife went to bed, shots rang out in his neighborhood. The former Prime Minister said in a press conference held impromptu in his yard, that when they had gone to bed sometime around eleven in the night, soon after they heard several shots fired. When Musa went to take a look from his bathroom window, he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. He then stated that his wife looked out of their window facing Princes Margaret Drive, again, nothing seemed out of the norm. Musa went on to say that when he was about to leave his house at six in the morning to go to the gym, he noticed a bullet casing on the floor close to the door. Further inspection revealed a bullet hole on the door and a further check outside let Rt. Hon. Said Musa to discover bullet holes to his wife’s Hyundai Santa Fe with the right rear window shattered. Musa said he drove off so as not to startle his wife and informed police officers on duty by the Princess Hotel and Casino.

Government of Belize has closed off negotiations
It has been over a decade since the last salary adjustment for teachers and public servants of this country, who contend that the cost of living has risen drastically over the past years. This, in addition to twenty-three other concerns tabled for negotiations between Marion McNab, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Public Service on behalf of government, and the Belize National Teachers Union, the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. The collective bargaining agreement was first presented to government over four years ago, in late 2008. The executive of the BNTU have stated that the Government of Belize have closed off negotiations regarding salary increments. In light of these allegations, the BNTU is having a Special Extra ordinary general meeting on Thursday the 17 of January right across the length and breathe of the country in all districts. Otilio Muñoz-President of the Orange Walk branch of the BNTU told us more.

OWTC Holds Public Forum In The Louisiana Area
Last night, the Orange Walk East community along with the People’s Coalition, the Orange Walk Town Council, and the Orange Walk Police Department, organized a neighbourhood meeting on Liberty Avenue. The public forum was held under the theme, “Crime Prevention – It’s everybody’s business” and was organized in the wake of the recent shootings in the area. The night centred around many, crime oriented topics, but all came down to one consensus, more community involvement is needed to prevent and solve these crimes. This message was echoed throughout the entire night but none-so-more than by Mayor of Orange Walk Kevin Bernard and Intelligence Officer Isaac Pascual. Kevin Bernard – Mayor, Orange Walk Town “We know that we have good citizens in this country that want to see things better and we want to see things better, we don’t want Orange Walk to turn into what we saw happen in Belize City and that is a reason why I think it is a great start for us to get on board and form a group, to be proactive, we need to speak out when things are going wrong and I think many at times as well some of us see things happening but we are afraid to call the police, we are afraid to inform the various organs that probably assist in solving these crimes and so as a citizen of this town as well I ask and I plea to you for us to all be involved and for us to take our initiative to try and see how we can solve this matter of crime.”

Belize Versus Costa Rica In Its First Match
The Football Association of Belize has undergone several major changes in the past year including the changing of the President of the Association to Ruperto Vicente, changing of the executive and district associations. With a long history of difficulties facing our boys of the national selection participating in international tournaments in the past, Belizeans had reached a point of major disappointment with the overall sport in Belize. There was a shining light turned on in the sport in November of last year when a team of Under 15 boys brought home gold medals in the Santo Domingo U-15 International Football Tournament. With that, a beacon of hope was once more installed in Belizeans across the country and abroad. Pride set in once more in the sport many love. Hoping to continue the good fortune in international play, Belize’s A-Selection travelled today to Costa Rica for the UNCAF Copa Oro Tournament. Acting Chairman for the Orange Walk Football Association, Rafael Avila, told us more on the magnitude of the tournament.

More Illegal Cutting Of Rose Wood Confiscated
In last night’s newscast we brought to you the story of the on-going frustrations Minister Lisel Alamilla and the Ministry of Forestry are facing in regards to the illegal cutting of Rosewood. As media houses across the country hit the airwaves with updates on the half a million dollar seizure and burning of Rosewood, and the message sent by Alamilla to her Ministry and higher governmental powers, a fresh report of rosewood confiscations flowed into their newsrooms. Our news room began buzzing with information of this latest confiscation minutes before news time and reports reaching indicate that a sizeable amount of rosewood flitches were confiscated just outside of Farm 12 of the Independence Area. It’s not a huge amount as the one burnt by Minister Alamilla, but it totalled forty-seven flitches which were quickly confiscated and taken to the Independence Police Station’s compound. At news time tonight, the rosewood flitches sit on a flatbed trailer and no one has claimed it as yet. It has been documented as found property and our several calls placed to the Chief Forestry Officer were unsuccessful. We were told that he would return our calls, but has not done so yet.


Shots fired at former Prime Minister's house and car
Former Prime Minister, Said Musa, woke up to find bullet holes in his front door and in his wife's car. Hon. Said M...

Kent Moss shot in Belize City
There was another shooting incident in Belize City last night. This time, someone was hurt. Sometime around 6:30 la...

Education sector reform project launched
At the Radisson today, Minister of Education Patrick Faber led the launch of the Education Sector Reform Project. T...

Nurses gather to hear whether courses at UB will be cancelled
30 of 40 nurses gathered this afternoon outside the CEO's office for the Ministry of Health Dr. Peter Allen to hear...

Minister of Education Patrick Faber says campaign against registration failed
Earlier this month students at the University of Belize threatened to refuse to register for classes unless Governm...

PUC Holds Press Conference on Increased Electricity Rates
As we told you yesterday, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a rate increase of 17% for Belize Elec...

Trade Unions update media on negotiations with Government
Members of the joint negotiating team representing three of Belize’s largest and most important trade unions – the ...

Rape reported in Stann Creek District
A rape was reported in the Stann Creek District. A 53 year old Businesswoman of Sittee Point, Stann Creek District ...

Referendum Commission appointed to oversee the education campaign meets the press
A confident Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington took center stage this morning ...

Bus check by police led to drug trafficking charges for Virgil Perez
A bus check by police has led to drug trafficking charges for one man. On Tuesday January 15, Benque Viejo Police c...

18 year old Darwin Manuel Ruiz arrested for charges of aggravated burglary
Yesterday, we told you about a 17 year old girl who was sleeping when a man came into her room and fondled her. She...


A Tale of Five Cities: Witnessing a Pilgrimage
Before we leave Campeche and move on to the next city on our Mexico trip, we need to backtrack just a bit to share an interesting bit of Mexican culture that we knew nothing about but witnessed up close and personal during our travels. As we were on the bus from Merida to Campeche, we started noticing both individual and groups of cyclists along the shoulders of the road. Some of them carried flags, posters, lights, and lots of other gear. We had no idea what this was all about at the time, but knew it had to be something other than random chance. They were riding in pretty poor conditions in some places, like in this construction zone as we approached the city, which was hilly and had gravely shoulders and large vehicles passing by. Gotta give them lots of credit for this difficult journey! When we finally had a chance to do a little research online, we discovered that December 12 marks La Virgen de Guadalupe (Our lady of Guadalupe, i.e., the Virgin Mary) fiesta. This date is widely celebrated throughout Mexico's predominantly Catholic community. Many of the faithful make pilgrimages to Mexico City, where the Basílica of Guadalupe is kept; while others travel, primarily by bicycle, to other churches throughout Mexico for the celebration. According to this site almost everywhere there is an altar to the Virgin Mary, a celebration occurs on December 12, which is "one of the most important dates on the Mexican calendar." The photos above were taken on December 10 and 11th as the faithful headed to Campeche's churches for the celebration.

New Elementary School San Jose Village Orange Walk-Belize
A new school building that will benefit over 434 students of San Jose Village in the Orange Walk District was officially inaugurated this morning by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega. The San Jose Government School project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and was financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at a total cost of $461, 875,000. The works scope for the project included repairs to a building measuring 26 ft by 70 ft long including the removal of the existing roof system and replacing it with reinforced concrete slab and beams; installation of solid timber doors and aluminum windows with security grilles, upgrading of the electrical system, replacement of existing celotex partitions with metal structures and painting of the walls. The project also included the construction of a first floor above the repaired building measuring 26ft by 64ft long. The ground floor will house 3 classrooms while the first floor will house two additional classrooms and a computer room. Construction of male and female bathrooms blocks equipped with separate units to serve students with special needs were also included as part of the project. Other works included repairs to the staff bathroom block, upgrading of the school’s kitchenette and supply of kitchen equipment, school furniture and repairs to the school building adjacent to the newly constructed building. These repairs included painting and replacement of fascia boards. The school contributed $3,500 towards the project.

Children of Hope Foundation making a difference in Belmopan
I am excited to introduce you to an organization making a difference in the lives of our youths in Belize, It is called the Children of Hope Foundation in Belmopan. According to Mrs. Sandra Hall, who is a board member of the Children of Hope Foundation and The Belmopan Int’l Women’s Group, The Children of Hope Foundation (COHF) in Belmopan was founded by a Belizean who returned from the US to retire in Belmopan. The organization sends 195 children to school (primary through high school) through a sponsorship programme funded mainly by donors in the US. The COHF has since constructed “Heart House” where the children go to after school and are tutored by a few members of the Board. The children come mainly from the San Martin, Salvapan, Mopan area of Bmp and from villages like St. Matthews. It is a very successful programme. The Belmopan Int’l. Women’s Group supports the COHF with monthly financial donations (through fund-raisers) to assist with transportation costs and lunches for those children who commute from the villages. The website can be located at

International Sources

Scott Mallick of Announces New Ocean Estates in Belize Built by Armando Graniel
Scott Mallick of is proud to announce that builder Armando Graniel will be completing new Ocean Estates in 2013 as part of Mallick’s private island resort project in Belize. Graniel owns a construction company located in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Graniel has built over 100 custom homes and completed many large additions, as well as smaller jobs like kitchen and bathroom remodeling, custom decks and gazebos. With his 25 years of hands-on construction experience, he has the background, professional knowledge and experience to handle building projects like this one. He can, and has, built everything from an entire resort to a single lounge chair. "When we build a home, we can handle the entire project from foundation to roof, including most of the furnishings. We will complete your home with moldings and doors, cabinets for both kitchen and bath, tiled counters, tiled showers and tubs, and tiled or hardwood floors," Graniel said. “Our own cabinet shop builds beds, tables, chairs, desks, entertainment centers, and lamps." The recently completed resort Star Island project (a private island with five villas with mahogany vaulted ceilings) and the VIP Beach Resort with Restaurant and Bar with an infinity pool and cabanas (an amenity for resort guests) are a couple of examples of his work completed in 2012.

Mount Mercy MBA students head to Belize working for common good
Sixteen Mount Mercy University students enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program are traveling to Punta Gorda, Belize, to work for the common good and development of the country this week. Students will partner with entrepreneurs in the country to enhance development of five different businesses, varying in services from solar dried fruit to an Internet café. Punta Gorda is the southernmost sizable town in Belize with a population of approximately 5,500 people representing seven ethnic groups. The group will leave for Belize on January 19 and return January 26. They will hold poster presentations on Tuesday, February 5, in the University Center Commons from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. featuring their experience. Associate Professor and Chair of the Business Department Bob Walker, Ph.D., and Adjunct Professor of the MBA Program Celina Peerman, Ph.D., are leading the trip. “This provides a unique opportunity for our MBA students to apply all of their knowledge, skills and talents to help increase the economic development of Punta Gorda,” Walker said. “The students will have a direct impact on these small businesses, increasing revenues and sustainability, which will have a ripple effect through the community.” Mount Mercy’s Director of International Programs Catharine Cashner said of all the study abroad programs at Mount Mercy, this trip is the most unique.

Today we tried to visit the Goss Chocolate factory in Seine Bight, Belize. After traveling to get there we had a big surprise. Watch the video to find out what happened and how we handled it. So, instead of eating yummy chocolate, we ventured into the village of Seine Bight. We ate some pretty yummy fried rice at the only restaurant that was open, saw a ton of kids having a great time playing, snapped a picture of two goats in someones front yard, and had an enjoyable mile-long walk. Most importantly, instead of visiting a touristy place, we got to see the “real” Belize. Seine Bight is a typical third-world, Belizean village where people burn their trash in their front yards and kids play in the mud and overgrown grass. The homes are mostly rundown and the clothes people wear are second and third generation hand-me-downs. But everyone was friendly. In contrast to the village, along the road from Seine Bight to Placencia Village are western resorts where people spend upwards of $300 a night on a hotel room. In fact, director Francis Ford Coppola owns a resort called Turtle Village where cabanas can be as much as $700/night during the busy season. As we walked along the road I couldn’t help but think about western decadence and the privileges we have just because we were born in a first world country.

January 16, 2013


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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

Technology is supposed to make life easy and wonderful...but when it doesn't work it can sure make life difficult! Please bear with us as we muscle through some issues we are currently experiencing with are working on it! Thank you!

Ambergris Today

A Closer Look at Belize’s New Identity and Brand
During the 12th Annual Industry Presentation of the Belize Tourism Board, Belize’s new brand and identity was announced as part of the BTB’s three-year Action Plan. With Belize’s logo and old brand being 26 years old, the BTB hired the Olson agency to refresh its marquee and they crafted this gorgeous, modern take on the Belize identity. Olson says it turned to Belize itself for inspiration - the circular forms found across the nation inspired the new typeface, while a local artist contributed his own take to the national bird, the toucan. The identity brings a contemporary, yet classic vibe to represent tourism in Belize and utilizes the classic travel posters of the '60s. The graphic forms are balanced out with textural brushstrokes - a nod to the handcraftsmanship of the country's artisans.

New Special Constables to Assist Police in Crime Prevention
The Special Constables Program was established to invite members of the community to assisting the Police Department in their daily duties such as patrolling around town or office work at the police station. Special Constable Brian Cook of Fido's Courtyard is a major supporter of the program and invites the public to be a part of their next program which is in the summer time. Those interested in joining the program have the option to participate in one of the patrols so as to have a firsthand experience before signing up for the program. Interested individuals may visit the San Pedro Police Department or Mr. Cook at Fido's Courtyard for more information. Kudos to the 11 individuals who took this initiative in helping out the Police Department and the community of San Pedro!

Misc Belizean Sources

The Secrets Of The Barracks' Tambran Tree
Here is the famous and historical TAMBRAN TREE by the Barracks. This tree provided some of the rods of correction used by the authorities to correct evil doers and upstarts. Likewise it is believed that many babies were conceived on the trunk of this tree. Hurricane Hattie finally battered it to death, But the remnants were taken to the Memorial Park and erected as an Historical Fixture. The field on the background was used as a Football Field a Cricket Pitch, a calisthenic ground, a Military parade Field, a Horse race Track, the Charles Lindbergh Landing field, and eventually the Belize Airstrip for small planes. The ZIK Radio Station was located in one of those far-away Buildings. For me it brings back memories of that day, when I won the 1953 Marathon, ending hear the Old Tambran.

VIDEO: Flashmob Caye Caulker Gangnam Style...

Mama Sue from Jade Gardens has passed away
The Wong Family would like friends and family in San Pedro know that a Memorial Mass for "Mama" Sue Wong will be held at the Roman Catholic Church in San Pedro on Saturday January 19th at 2:00pm. A gathering will follow at the Island Academy grounds. "Mama" Sue a long time resident of San Pedro touched the hearts of many with love for family and friends and the stomachs of most through wonderful meals at the Jade Garden. Please join the family in celebrating the life "Mama" Sue. There will also be a funeral held on thursday in Belize City at Divine Mercy Church (2.5 miles Northern Highway) at 2pm.

Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association
The CNWA has a page where you can follow them and keep updated with their current events. Their next meeting is tomorrow night at the police station. They also supported the peaceful demonstration today at CET. Keep up the great work, CNWA! "Christmas has passed and so has new year but CNWA is still alive so it's monthly meeting time again. Tomorrow night, Wednesday January 16th at 7:30PM at the police station conference room. This will be our first meeting of 2013. We will be issuing out the radios that we showed you guys at our December meeting. So there will also be a short quick training on the usage of them."

Rebecca Stirm's 2013 Runway Release
Rebecca Stirm's 2013 Runway Release fashion show is getting close. January 26th, at 6:30pm at the Princess Hotel in BC. Two Miss Belizes will be there: Destinee Arnold and Chantae Guy. Latest Update: "Looks like our Platinum are pretty much sold out! Sooo, if you didn't get a platinum ticket - its time to get a Gold ticket for the show! Gold is second row - but you still get a great view of the runway! Pick em up quickly at Eyecandy(Belize City), Formosa (Belmopan), and Mr. Greedy's Pizzeria(San Ignacio)."

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
My daughter loves the biscuits from her favorite restaurant, so Joe and I learned her to recreate them for her. Cheddar Cheese Biscuits, are scrumptious, crispy and spicy.

Channel 7

More Rosewood Found In The South: This One Won't Be Burned
The Forestry Department has made another Rosewood seizure. It's not as big as the last one comprising one thousand flitches which were burnt. This find is only 47 pieces. It was found around farm 12 in the Independence area. It was confiscated and impounded at the Independence Police Department, which is where it is tonight on a trailer. So far no one has claimed it and it remains found property. Official word is that the Forestry Department will not burn the 47 flitches.

Government Balks At Increased Rate For Streelights; PUC Backpedals; Consumers Feel
At the end of 2012 - we told you that electricity rates would be going up 17%. That hasn't changed but the distribution of the increases has. Here's how it works: as a residential customer your rate went up from 41.6 cents per kilowatt hour to an average of 48 cents per kilowatt hour. Well now, it's going up to 49 cents per kilowatt hour. And that's because Government objected to the rate increase on street lighting. The PUC had proposed increasing that to 64 cents per kilowatt hour - nine cents more than the 55 cents it had been set at. But Government - the pro-poor government - wrote to the PUC saying that it would rather reduce the subsidy to social rate customers, the poorest customers - and keep the rate for street lighting at 55 cents. We're restrained from making editorial comments, but that one, that's special... Today the PUC explained why it agreed with the government:.. Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Dir. Tariffs and Admin. - PUC "The major difference here is the change from in terms the cost - the tariff for street lighting. It went back instead on 54 cents, it's now back at 55 cents. What the government is saying in their comment is that they did not get any relief when it was reduced by 6.14 cents.

Northern Highway Accident Serious, But Not Fatal
This evening just after 4, there was an accident on the Northern Highway near mile eight. Traffic was backed up for miles while police tried to clear the scene. There were no fatalities but passengers of both vehicles received injuries. The accident involved a Unicomer Cargo Truck and a Mazda Tribute SUV. From reports gathered on the scene, the SUV was travelling towards Ladyville, while the truck was going in the opposite direction. Both vehicles tried to avoid making a head on collision and lost control. When we left, police officers were still processing the scene. We'll have an update of this accident in tomorrow's newscast.

Senior Citizen Burned In Blaze
At around 7 this morning, residents of Marigold Lane were alarmed by a house fire which started at the home of 74 year-old Ewert Leslie, who lives alone. Fortunately, the Fire Department was quickly notified. Their personnel arrived and got the fire under control, but it did substantial structural damage to Leslie's house. 7News spoke to one of his neighbors who called in the authorities to come to his aid. She told us that the senior citizen was inside the house and received burns: Voice Of: Neighbor "My nephew came this morning and tell me to please call the fire department because the house next door is on fire. When I came outside I ask him which house, I didn't know it was that house. I came out and saw the smoke and ran back inside, pick up my phone and call the police and ask them to please call the authorities because I didn't remember the phone number to call. They call and a little while after the fire truck came and they start to put out the fire. I know that a single man lives in there but I didn't know where he was. I was panicking because I didn't know what happened if he was inside the house or if he had gone because normally he usually goes soon but apparently he was still in the house because he got burned."

Did Someone Try To Sink "The Oar"?
But a few hours before that Fire Department personnel had to respond to a fire in Ladyville just before midnight last night. The Operations Officer told us that they believe that someone tried to burn down Oar Bar and Grill in the Visa Del Mar area: Here's how he explained it: Ben Matura - Operations Officer, Fire Department "Last night approximately 11:45 we responded to a fire in Vista Del Mar. The apparatus from Ladyville substation responded immediately. We had a few challenge with the road - a lot of pot holes and that slow down our response but nevertheless we arrived there and we got into operation. On arrival the structure had a thatch roof - it was a bar and grill - Oar House Bar and Grill. the entire thatch was on fire and we got into operation and extinguished it. The extent of damage was the roof was totally gutted because as you know that fire will burn that quick especially in this dry time and a portion of the patio - that's all that got damage. Due to our quick respond we manage to save most of the bar area and the restaurant itself." Reporter "What was the cause of the fire?"

KHMH Will Outsource Security; Guards Worry About Jobs
Change is afoot at the KHMH and the security guards are none too happy about it. The Board of Directors has decided to contract out the Hospital's Security Services to a private company, SOS Security. SOS has committed to absorb all 30 or so staffers who are being released, but many of them are unhappy about it. They say the private company will pay less, work them for longer hours with no benefits. But, the Chairman of the Board Chandra Cansino says that it's a cost saving necessity because the in-house security was costing the hospital tens of thousands of dollars in illness and overtime payments. She says they put the bid for security services out to tender and the board selected a bid that was neither the lowest nor the highest. Four security guards will be kept on as supervisors. Fearing for their job security, none of the guards wished to speak to us today.

BDF's New Commander Gets New Trucks
There will be a new BDF commander. On February first, Colonel David Jones who earned his fame as an explosives and demolition expert will assume command of the BDF. He takes over from Dario Tapia who has reached the retirement age of 45. Tapia assumed command almost five years ago. Today, as Commander Designate Jones, Jones received two pickups form the government on behalf of the BDF. He explained how they will be used:... Lt. Colonel David Jones - Commander- Designate, BDF "We just received another two more vehicles as promised by the Ministry of National Security, the Minister has been very instrumental in ensuring that we get these two vehicles and this will assist us with our operational capability to effectively patrol around the borders and deploy operations as we need at the moment because we are desperately in need of more vehicles and the Minister has already given us five and we just received another two more today, we expect another three and that will enforce the capability that we have. The capacity is being grown and with the improved capacity we are going to more effectively be able to deploy and provide a credible deterrence to narcotic activities and criminal activities that are happening along the border."

Pervert Slips Under Bed Of Teenaged Girl
A teenaged girl in Cowpen had to chase a pervert from under her bed! The minor reported that at 4:15 yesterday morning she was awakened from her sleep by someone who was fondling her. When show awoke with a start she saw a man scramble under her bed. She called her brother to bring a flashlight. When she shined it under the bed she saw 18 year old Darwin Ruiz. Ruiz dashed out of the house, but was later arrested by police and charged for AGGRAVATED BURGLARY.

Shots In the Cemetery
A Belize City woman is reporting a scary event. Last night at 9:30, the sales executive - whose name has not been released - was driving her SUV through Lords Ridge Cemetery, when she heard a gunshot and saw the rear window shattered. Terrified, she didn't stop to investigate and sped off. Police say they are investigating. In other police news, Mark Massam handed himself into Corozal Police this morning - after he was put on blast yesterday. He has been charged for keeping unlicensed firearm and ammunition - and with that his bail for a similar offence is expected to be revoked.

Cayo Community Opposed To Liquor Licenses
The Cayo Liquor Licensing Board met today to consider new licenses for the year 2013 - and they had people pressure from the Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association. The CYNA doesn't want liquor licenses or night club licenses issued in Residential areas. The handful of protestors held up signs to this effect. As we understand it, the liquor licensing board has decided to issue provisional three month licenses for some establishments to wait and if they conduct their operations in line with regulations.

Cemetery Situation Still Fraught
Last night, 7News told you about the situation at the cemetery where family of the late Zebedee Pitterson Jr. were dissatisfied with the way the Belize City Council handled the building of his grave at the 13 miles Cemetery. Well, we were able to get a response from City hall about it. As we told you, the family claimed that the grave was only built and prepared an hour before his burial yesterday. We spoke to Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie this evening who was very measured in his comments informing us that all public relations will be handled by a newly hired press officer for City hall, Kenny Morgan. He did offer us a brief explanation saying that there was a breakdown in communication between the different personnel responsible for the cemetery, which resulted the contractors being informed very late. Kenny Morgan contacted us this evening, and he told us that in relation to that particular grave, he visited the cemetery himself and saw that the newly prepared tomb was in its finishing stages.

Not Quite Kumbaya As Honourables Vega And Faber Open School
The UDP convention will be held on February 17th in Corozal - and daggers are drawn between the current Deputy Gaspar Vega and the man who would seek to unseat him Patrick Faber. And that's why yesterday it was a rare opportunity see them together at San Jose Village in Orange Walk. They were there - shoulder to shoulder - to open a new school building funded by SIF. It will benefit over 434 students and was financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank at a total cost of almost half a million dollars. Vega and Faber cut the ribbon together. San Jose Village is the second largest village in the Orange Walk District with 2,533 residents.

The GSU Reloaded
When you think of how completely the Gang Suppression Unit or the GSU has absorbed itself into the national consciousness - it's hard to remember a time when it didn't exist. But you don't have to go to far back: try October of 2010 when it was formed by Commander Marco Vidal with the blessing of the National Security Council and the backing of then Minister Doug Singh. In the less than three years since it has become the most controversial - and among the most productive units in the police department inspiring fear, respect, admiration and outrage. To find out how the unit got to the epicenter or controversy we have to go back to the start - when it had just started to draw attention for its tasering tactics. Jules Vasquez visited with them in March of 2011:.. Jules Vasquez Reporting: Officer in Training "Load!" "Make weapons ready!" This is the MT-9, a weapon designed strictly for law enforcement It uses 9 millimeter rounds but works like a machine gun. The GSU is the only police unit using it and yes, they are also the only unit authorized to wear masks.

Commotion At Court
A man's hand was broken at court today after a fight erupted between rival gangs in the holding area. Police had to get an ambulance to the court to treat Ronlee Petillo, who is on remand for murder. Seen here in the footage, Petillo had to receive treatment to his arm for and wrist injury he allegedly sustained from that scuffle inside the holding cell area. There are varying reports on how his hand was injured - and it is unclear whether it happened in a cell fight or when police intervened. The court environs had started out hostile from earlier in the morning because when the prisoners were being transported from the prison transport to the holding cell, they got angry with photo-journalists who were taking photographs. One of those prisoners picked up a rock and hurled it at one of the journalists, but fortunately, she wasn't hit.

Price Would Have Been 94
And after all that rough and tumble news, we end tonight with a touch of grace. George Price would have been 94 today - and though he passed on going on two years now -the memory of him is still alive. One of the best video memories come from 1981 when he was a spry 63 year old - and had just realized his lifelong dream of seeing an independent Belize. Here's how he looked on that day - footage courtesy the archives department:.. Jules Vasquez Reporting On September 21st 1981 in Belmopan, George Price was at ease his confidence visible, the fruits of his labor have come to pass, the field was line with supporters, the new citizens of an independent Belize. Hon. George Price "We continued our work, not only to build Belize to yet a greater levels of economic growth and social progress, but in doing so to remove causes of conflict and to cooperate in the economic development of the region." The day before the press conference Price faced over 200 international journalists. And was at the height of his powers, he was sharp and gauged deliberately ambiguous and on top of his game.

Channel 5

P.U.C. delivers its final decision on electricity rates; there’s good news for G.O.B.
Many Belizeans welcomed the New Year with a cringe following the announcement at the end of December that electricity rates would increase by as much as sixteen point eight-seven percent effective the first of January. Since the announcement, many have prepared – at least mentally – for what is sure to be more dollars spent [...]

But not so good for consumers; 16.87% increase in the cost of electricity stands
So government maintains its tariff for street lights and will continue to pay fifty-five cents per kilowatt hour and not the sixty-four cents that was presented in the first draft. That nine cents as pointed out by Almendarez will be redistributed. So who will bear the shortfall? All other consumers, Dr. Almendarez explains.   Dr. [...]

Police officer charged for death of Punta Gorda Resident
One month after a Punta Gorda resident was found dead in a drain, a Police Constable has been charged in connection with his death. The officer, forty year old Leon Higinio, was arraigned for the death of fifty-three year old Francisco Shol. The tragic death of Shol, a driver of the Punta Gorda Town Hospital, [...]

2 fires: Oar House Bar & Grill gutted in a case of arson
There are two fires to report tonight; one in the City and the other in Ladyville. In the case of the Oar Restaurant located in Vista del Mar, it is believed it is a case of arson. The restaurant went up in flames after midnight on Monday night and despite challenges, the Fire Department was [...]

Elderly man injured in 2nd fire on Marigold Lane
The other fire started about six hours later in Belize City. A senior citizen, living alone at a house on Marigold Street, was injured when the fire erupted at his wooden house. Eaworth Leslie attempted to put out the blaze even before fire fighters could respond to calls from alert neighbors. He received second degree [...]

Accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway; several persons injured
Just after five this evening, there was an accident near mile seven on the Phillip Goldson Highway. It involved a Sports Utility Vehicle and a trailer truck. According to an eyewitness account, the SUV was extensively damaged while the trailer was flipped on the right side of the highway. Three persons, including a minor, travelling [...]

Should the media censor coverage of gang related murders or violent crime?
Over a thousand persons voted on our last week’s question on whether there is support for a curfew given the crime situation. An overwhelming eighty-five percent were in favour of putting a curfew in place while the remaining fifteen percent said they were against it. Tonight’s question also relates to crime. Should the media censor [...]

Late evening shooting in Old Capital
Just a few minutes ago, there was a shooting in the city on Raccoon Street extension, just three blocks away from the police station near a tire shop. Early reports to this station are that Kent Moss was injured in the shooting. It is not yet known if the incident is gang related or a [...]

Another bust of illegal Rosewood extraction in the south
  For months the illegal rosewood extraction has been a topic of interest, and since the burning of over four hundred thousand dollars worth of flitches by forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla last Friday, let’s just say the topic is receiving national attention. And apparently with good cause as tonight there are credible reports that another [...]

Special Tribute to George Price on his Birthday
January fifteenth is the birthday of the man who has been hailed as the father of Belizean Independence and the Father of the Nation. George Price died on September nineteenth, twenty eleven, just before Independence Day. But his memory has lived on, and Price is remembered for his humility, his achievements, his contributions and the [...]

Opposition Leader visits Dean Street
In the wake of the four brutal murders last week, Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca offered the cooperation of his Party to fight crime; it was accepted in principle by the Prime Minister. Fonseca has since taken to the streets and is meeting with residents of the most affected communities. Today, News Five spoke [...]

Index of Economic Freedom: where is Belize ranked?
If you’ve been trying to remember the last time Belize was featured on some foreign list or by some rating agency in a positive light, you might not find many. Well tonight we have one that is not favorable. Have you heard about the Index of Economic Freedom? It’s an annual guide published by the [...]

Mayhem inside detention cell at magistrate’s Court
There was mayhem inside the Magistrate’s Court detention area this morning and a BERT ambulance had to be called to the scene after a fight broke out between prison inmates and police officers. It happened early this morning when the Kolbe Correctional Facility bus arrived in the area transporting as many as sixty-eight prisoners charged [...]

Another case of carnal knowledge
There is another report of carnal knowledge to report. A fifteen year old minor told police that her mother, a resident of Sarteneja Village in the Corozal District, gave her permission to live with her boyfriend in Belmopan and has been sexually involved with him since last November. Her twenty-year old boyfriend Eluterio Cruz, who [...]

Mark Massam turns himself in to the cops
  We reported on Monday that police were looking for Mark Massam, who was seen throwing away a gun while running away from the police in Corozal Town last Sunday. Massam, who has a list of offences to his name, turned himself in to the Corozal police this morning and will be charged for keeping [...]

B.D.F. receive new vehicles to increase patrols along borders
With the ICJ question up in the air, a referendum on the Belize/Guatemala dispute scheduled for October sixth and persistent incursions into our borders, the lack of security at the borders has been a major concern. But to increase patrols, it also means additional resources—human and otherwise. In a brief ceremony in Belmopan this morning, [...]

U.S. travel advisory lifted
There is a sign of relief in the tourism industry. A travel advisory issued by the United States immediately following the slaughtering of four George Street gang affiliates has been lifted.  A release rescinding the January eighth advisory, says that while police and defense forces continue to maintain an increased presence in parts of the [...]

F.F.B. National A selection to take part in UNCAF tournament
The Football Federation of Belize National “A” selection leaves this Wednesday for Costa Rica to take part in the UNCAF tournament. Belize will be going up against three major teams this weekend. The national selection plays against Costa Rica on Friday, Guatemala on Saturday and Nicaragua on Sunday in the first round. If all goes [...]

Regional Integration and Economic Growth lecture held at UWI and UB
The economies of Belize and other countries in the region have been in the forefront of discussions in recent years, as global realities have forced governments to adjust, adapt or face economic devastation. In Belize the situation is no different, and the future economic story of our nation is by no means written in stone. [...]


Opposition Leader Meets With George Street Residents
Since the slaying of the four members of the George Street Gang one week ago today, the People’s United Party Leader, Francis Fonseca has called on the government to conduct an inquiry into the quadruple homicide. Today Fonseca told reporters that he has not received a form...

Father of The Nation Remembered on His Birthday
Today many Belizeans are remembering the birthday of Belize’s first Prime Minister George Cadle Price. Earlier today a mass was held in his memory at our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Belmopan. Mr. Price died on September 19, 2011 at the age of 92. He was laid to rest f...

Fire Department Investigates Two Separate Fires
A senior citizen has been hospitalized following a fire in Belize City this morning. Love News spoke with Operations Officer at the National Fire Service, Benisford Matura and he gave us the details on the incident. “This morning at 650 we got a call of a hou...

Government Hands Over Two New Vehicles to the BDF
Minister of National Security John Saldivar has handed over two new vehicles to the Belize Defence Force. On hand to receive the vehicles was the newly named Commander Designate of the Belize Defense Force, Colonel David Jones. Colonel David Jones, who is currently the Deputy...

Family Loses Home In Fire
The inside of a house was gutted by fire early this morning on Marigold Lane in Belize City. Firefighters got a call at around six fifty one this morning and made their way to number 4107 on Marigold Lane, where a twenty by twenty concrete Bungalow house was on fire. The fire was cont...

Local Government Ministry Singles Out Western Municipality on Increased Cost for Drivers License
The Ministry of Local Government has put out a public advisory, which has left more questions than answers. The official statement sent out on Monday morning, advises the general public that the legal fee for the issuance of a driver’s license is thirty dollars and not a ce...

Rival Gangs Meet In Prison Cell; Altercation Results
Ronlee Petillo, a prisoner remanded on charge of murder, broke his right wrist in an altercation this morning in the holding cell at the Magistrate Court. The altercation was between members of rival gangs. Petillo was taken in an ambulance to KHMH. According to an eye witness ...


First day of Supreme Court business for 2013 starts with a bang
Today was the first business day for the Supreme Court's 2013 sessions and irt started with a bang. Ambulance had t...

Twin Towns Mayor talks about increase in driver's license fees
The Ministry of Labor, and Local Government sent out a press release yesterday informing persons, particularly resi...

Belize City fire leaves senior citizen with burns and homeless
A Belize City fire on Marigold lane has left a senior citizen with burns and homeless. Fire Service officials say t...

BDF receives two brand new Mahindra Pickup
This morning, newly named Commander Designate of the Belize Defense Force, Colonel David Jones, received on behalf ...

Mark Massam turns himself in to Corozal Police
Yesterday we told you that Police from the north were looking for Mark Massam. Well this morning Massam handed hims...

Residents of the twin towns send a message to the Liquor Licenses Board
Residents of the twin towns came out this morning in a form of community activism to send a message to the Liquor L...

PUP hold wreath laying ceremony at tomb of George Cadle Price
Leaders, members and supporters of the People's United Party (PUP) gathered this morning to remember and recognize ...

PUP Leader Francis Fonseca meets families of murder victims
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca met with families of murder victims. Hon. Fonseca today told rep...

SCAIS program equips youth to be productive citizens
The Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation have been spearheading a program called "SCAIS". It's o...

First of many cruise ships docks in Dangriga
There was much buzz and spirits high were in Dangriga Town yesterday after residents learned that the first of many...

Belize Football Team off to play Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua
The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) National ‘A’ Selection leaves Belize tomorrow. The purpose of the travel is...

Belizean author launches book on maintaining a positive mind
A Belizean artist has launched a book on how to maintain a positive mind amidst adversaries. Stanley Saunders, a te...

Electricity rates going up as approved by PUC
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved an amendment to its Annual Review Procedure (ARP) for Belize Ele...

SUV was shot as occupants headed to Belize City
An SUV was shot as occupants headed to downtown Belize City. A Sales Executive of Belize City, reported to Police, ...

20 years-old man detained for unlawful carnal knowledge
Yesterday Belmopan Police visited Las Flores Area, in Belmopan City where they met a 15 year old female minor who s...

17 years-old finds man under her bed
In the South, a 17year old Belizean female student of Cowpen Village, visited the Stann Creek Police Station and re...

Police officer charged with the death of Francisco Shol
A Police officer has been charged in connection with the death of a Toledo resident. Late last year, we told you ab...


3 of the injured thieves remain in hospital... This afternoon after all the pomp and ceremony of the Supreme Court’s official opening for 2013, things returned to normal for the Magistrate’s Court when three of six persons accused of robbing a Chinese businessman appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. Steven Swasey, 36, a resident of San Pedrito, San Pedro; Alexis Ku, 18, a butcher of 9128 Mahogany Street Extension, and a minor, 17, were all charged with robbery, keeping an unlicensed firearm for an Austrian brand Glock 9mm gun, and keeping unlicensed ammunition for 10 Aguilla brand and 2 Lugar brand 9mm live rounds, which were recovered from the scene. Police report that at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 12, 2013, they received information that Jian Vin Shop, located at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Streets, was being robbed. Jing Jong Li, 61, reported to police that while he and his wife were at their shop, six men entered the shop, one of whom was armed with a gun. The man with the gun then hit him and his wife on their jaws with the gun and demanded money from them. The men then robbed the couple of $2,500 in cash, a black DVD player valued at $150, and a laptop computer used for Boledo. The men then went upstairs and that was when police, who responded quickly, arrived and cornered them.

Three Mexican nationals were imprisoned after illegally fishing within the preservation zone of the Bacalar Chico Marine and Wildlife Reserve on Ambergris Caye. Basain Cruz, Emilio Ambros and Norberto Cruz were charged in Magistrate Sherane Rodriguez’s court in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Wednesday, January 9, 2013. The Fisheries Department was contacted about the situation on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, and the matter was taken to court the following day. “Fisheries had against them two charges,” said Fisheries prosecutor Immanuel Westby. “We had one for fishing without a commercial fisherman’s license, which is a requirement if you’re going to fish commercially in Belize. And also, for fishing within the preservation zone of the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, which is also something that should not be done,” he explained. Westby said that the marine reserves are set up in three areas: a general use zone, which is accessible by persons for basically any activities allowed by law; a conservation zone in which non-extractive activities take place, and a preservation zone in which absolutely no activities should take place. The three men were doing their fishing within the preservation zone. In court, the magistrate read them both charges, to which they all pleaded guilty. It was their first offense on such charges, and all three men were fined $710 each. They were each charged $500 for the illegal fishing, $200 for not having a fishing license, and $5 for each charge for cost of court.

Today, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO), a powerful lobbying body, issued a press release applauding the efforts of Minister of Forest, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla, to control the illegal harvesting of rosewood, and other woods, in Belize. On Friday, January 11, 2013 about 700 pieces of illegally harvested rosewood were burned by Minister Alamilla. Some say it was not the best move, as the wood could have been kept for a useful purpose, while others saw it as a bold and admirable move for the Minister. APAMO is on the side of those who applaud the action of the Minister, who before being appointed a minister of government was executive director of Xa’axche Conservation Trust, a standing member of APAMO. The organization wrote in the press release that it “applauds Minister Lisel Alamilla for her decisive actions to halt the illegal trade of this valuable wood, the moratorium on the extraction of Rosewood, and other measures taken to promote the sustainable development of the country’s forest and marine resources.” APAMO went on to state that they condemn the government and whoever else is involved in the ongoing illegal harvesting and trade of Belize’s wood.

The Belize Tourism Board held its 12th Annual Industry Presentation on Friday, January 11, 2013, at the Island Academy in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The Board launched its five-year action plan and announced that it has a 20-year master plan for tourism in Belize, and these presentations were made against the backdrop of significant achievements in various sectors of the industry over the past year. Ian Lizarraga, Chairman of the BTB, said the Board has nothing but positive news to share with the people of Belize concerning the tourism industry. “If we work together we can accomplish magic,” he said. “I think there is so much positive in and around us every single day that if we challenge to find the positive or two positives for every negative, we will inundate this country with so much good news that the bad news is put into perspective… I think that tourism of course plays the most important, most major role in that happening.” Laura Frampton, Director of Tourism for the BTB, said that the performance of the Board over the past year has been record breaking and that the Board looks forward to another profitable year for tourism in Belize regardless of the decrease in cruise tourism, which was down by about ten percent last year. “While we were down in cruise tourism, the overnight tourist arrivals were very strong,” she said. “Over a ten percent increase in overnight tourist arrivals of 2012 versus 2011. And 2011 also saw a five percent increase over the previous year, so we just keep going up in overnight arrivals. In fact, the first three-quarters were record-breaking months.” Frampton said that there was also a large increase in the number of licensed tour guides and tour operators last year. She said that the Board is looking harder than ever to promote Belize.

The Belize District Police has gotten a new police chief — Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura, who took over from Deputy Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, Jr., today Monday, January 14, at the Racoon Street Police Station. Assisting Segura are two deputies – Sr. Superintendents Desiree Phillips and Marlon Allen. The two deputies will be in charge of Community Policing and Operations. Aragon has been transferred to Belmopan as Deputy Commissioner with responsibility for police operations countrywide. In handing over, DCP Aragon said that over the two years he has been the person in charge of the Belize District police, there have been many improvements, many changes and many challenges, but changes are a part of evolution, and the department is evolving. The focus is to triumph over the battle, to reduce crimes and to have a safe and peaceful community, and this takes hard work and dedication, he continued. Aragon says he is confident that Miguel Segura and his two deputies will impact the crime situation in the city, adding that although he will be in Belmopan, he still has his thoughts on the old capital.

Police foiled a robbery Saturday night around 9:00, shooting four of six thieves during an exchange of gunfire with the robbers in the top flat of a two-storey building at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Streets. The four thieves are now receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) for various degrees of injuries, under police custody. The other two men have been taken into custody and will be charged pending investigation. Police shot a minor, 16, of a T Street address, in both his thighs. Gregory Knox, of Rio Grande Crescent, was shot in both his feet; Jean Pasqual, of a C Street address, was shot in his right thigh, and Alexis Ku of Mahogany Street was shot in his left thigh. Police say that they were on patrol on Mahogany Street, and as they approached the intersection with Mopan Street, they intercepted an armed robbery in progress. They say that six men were robbing a Chinese store in the lower flat of the building. When the men saw the police, they ran out of the store and ran upstairs the building, from where they fired at police. Police say they returned fire and stormed the house, where they found four men with gunshots wounds. Police found two other men hiding in the house – Steven Swasey, 37, of San Pedro, and Dillon Dougal, of a Boots Crescent address. They were all taken into custody. The injured men were taken to the KHMH and the two men who were not hurt were taken to the Queen Street Police Station

The new ComPol is big on “community policing...” The Police Department gets a new Commissioner of Police – Allen Whylie, who has today officially taken over command of the department from Commissioner David Henderson, who is now the Director of Forensic Services. The change of command for the Police Department was conducted in Belmopan at the National Police Academy, on Thursday, January 10. Whylie, who was the Assistant Commissioner of Police before his promotion, is a veteran police officer who has given 26 years of service and he stands prepared, he said, to take on the challenge of upgrading the type of policing carried out in the Jewel in an effort to restore a sense of peace and security to the nation. In accepting the job as Police Commissioner, Whylie noted the particular challenges that are being faced in Belize City, and said that bringing the crime situation in the city under control would be a primary focus of his. Whylie expressed the belief that while crime is happening in other areas of the country, the old capital is the battleground. And he will not give up on this fight, nor will he give up hope, he said. Whylie explained that he would be deploying a variety of strategies, and would evaluate and reevaluate results – changing and adapting in an effort to achieve an optimum outcome. The strategies then, will have to be flexible, so that they can adapt to whatever changes they see on the ground, Whylie further stated.

Dear Editor, Could you publish this for us. Dear Prime Minister Barrow, Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development strongly supports Minister Alamilla’s actions today in burning illegally extracted rosewood to graphically illustrate how illegal extraction and exportation of rosewood is burning our country’s economy. Illegally cut and exported rosewood might just as well be burned for all the benefits it brings to Belize. Illegal extraction of rosewood has to stop – not only does it hurt our country environmentally, it also hurts it economically and socially. When people see this happening and the government unable or unwilling to stop it, it sends a message of governmental ineffectiveness, and leads people to conjecture about the involvement of government officials in the illegal extraction. Minister Alamilla is to be commended for her determination to stop this pillaging of our patrimony. Sincerely, Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development

Dear Editor, Please publish this letter to the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow. Dear Prime Minister, I am a woman, a mother, a Belizean, a servant of the people and a believer in God, and with all that I am I call on the Prime Minister of Belize to rescue our nation from the paralysis of fear and violent crime. For too long law-abiding citizens like myself, who work hard every day to be productive members of our communities, have been victims of criminals with no heart, no soul and no love. Mr. Prime Minister, I may not have fancy degrees plastering my walls, but I have enough common sense to know that any negotiation with these terrorist gangs is destined for failure. When a government will stoop to brokering deals with criminals, it shows that it has no power, no authority. That power is transferred to the terrorists, and that is exactly what they want. Please, Mr. Prime Minister, it is time to listen to us, and heed our cries and not those of the very people who brutalize us at their whim.

Dear Editor, The Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Minister of the Environment, stands head and shoulders above her critics. Her monumental decision to burn illegally cut rosewood sent far reaching and powerful messages to the criminals that cut the rosewood and the corrupt, Forestry officers that allowed the cutting. The message was clear that none would profit from the illegal cutting of rosewood and the Ministry would take all steps necessary, extreme or otherwise, to stop such illegal activity. The Hon. Lisel Alamilla showed good judgment and intestinal fortitude in making her decision. The rosewood could have been sold for a considerable sum. However, such a sale would have sent the wrong message and would not be effective in deterring future illegal cutting of rosewood. Such a sale could have been construed as a tacit approval of the illegal cutting. Unfortunately, misguided politicians have criticized the decision to burn the rosewood. Such criticism is short-sighted and not in the best interest of Belize. Belize has been endowed with great attributes, which include its forests and exceptional fisheries. Such attributes would have provided wealth for the people of Belize for many generations to come. Unfortunately, corruption is destroying assets to where soon there will be little remaining for the children or their children.

This newspaper began in August of 1969 as the organ of a young, black-conscious organization which made three demands of the ruling PUP government. One demand was for the 18-year-old vote; the second was for radio time; and the third demand was for the teaching of African and Indian (Mayan) history in our schools. At that time, black Belizeans were still clearly the majority of the population, but they had begun an exodus to the United States after Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Sugar cane was replacing mahogany and hardwoods as the colony’s leading export crop, and so economic power was moving from the Belize and Cayo Districts to the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. Agriculture had become more important than traditional forestry. Centuries before, the ancestors of Belize’s majority black population had been brought here as slaves to work in the forestry-based economy. In the latter half of the twentieth century, blacks were, for various reasons, unable or unwilling to make the transition to agriculture, and hence the post-Hattie migration to New York City, Chicago, and then Los Angeles. Belize is a strange country, one reason being that it is a unique country. In considering Belize, the first thing you must note is that Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America, and then you should remember that it was the only part of Central America which had a majority black population. Over the last 35 years, the demography here has changed dramatically: Belize’s black population is now a minority, and it is a marginalized minority. The masses of Belize’s black population, who built the settlement in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, are now fighting for survival in the modern Belize.


A Tale of Five Cities: Visiting Campeche's Old City Wall
We didn't have time for a great deal of sightseeing during our brief stopover in Campeche, Mexico, but one thing we did do was visit a portion of the old city wall that is open to tourists. The entire centro area of the city was walled in the past, but today only a few portions of the wall remain. This was where we passed through on our way from the bus stop when walking to our hotel the day before. The largest gate is called "Puerta de Tierra", and an attendant collects a small fee to allow you to go up the stairs to the top, where excellent views of the city can be found. He tells you to ring the bell when you want to come back out as he locks the gate during your self-guided tour. There was only one other man and his son who were on the wall when we went up. Puerta de Tierra Old City Wall It was fascinating seeing the tops of the colonial buildings. The hotel across the street had a lovely rooftop deck, and a huge tree growing from the courtyard. Interesting views from above Walking along the top of the wall, there was a big contrast between centro historico to the right and the modern city to the left. Something that was fascinating to us was the discovery that some of the buildings in centro were truly just facades with ruins, trees, and foliage behind -- not actually habitable spaces in their current states. They look pretty from street level, but it's a bit deceptive! These are a little more well-maintained...

Best birthday EVER
I often get asked for recommends on different things. This time it was Cathy who came to me wanting a Tropic Air tacogirl special and some boat options for her birthday. I sent her Eric’s contact info for Uprising tours, he is a great guy and best of all he has music option on his boat. She opted for day-long fishing trip/beach BBQ and sent me the following review and pictures after she and Jeffrey got back from their Caye Caulker vacation. [Where I stayed in Placencia pictures coming soon, still editing] Hi, It’s Cathy from Arizona First of all let me thank you so much for your suggestion of Eric for our boat captain. I had the best birthday EVER!. We have never been able to afford to do something like that before due to the expense (it averages $700 in Turks and Caicos for example). And hotels, condos, excursions are soooo spendy.

Everyday living on an Island
Mystery blogger here. Apologies for not turning up last week but….. I dropped off Mr. John at the Water Taxi to catch the 8:00 to Belize City for another dental appointment. I think he is probably having his teeth filed into points so he doesn’t have to think up a Halloween costume for next year (Dracula). Any hoo back to the subject “Everyday living on an Island”. When I lived in Blighty, if I wanted anything it was a click on the computer (internet shopping, eBay) I love eBay, phone call, or a short ride on the tube. But on an island you have to wait and not being the most patient of persons it very FRUSTRATINNNNNGG. But in general it is excellent living on an island. People here are very friendly, going about my business of shopping, paying bills, you don’t get very far without hellos and how are you from people you know. Deciding on footwear is not difficult it is just a matter of matching a colour with your outfit. These are just a small selection of flip-flops that I have.

International Sources

Meet the harem of SEVEN women who lived with fugitive software tycoon John McAfee before he fled Belize
Very salacious....lots of photos.... Eccentric software millionaire John McAfee had seven women living with him in Belize, it was revealed today. The 67-year-old has posted photos of the women, who lived with the fugitive tycoon 'full-time' on his blog under the title ‘The Girls’ in which he lays out how the bizarre arrangement - or 'social engineering project' as he called it - worked. McAfee reveals that he found them through a friend called Paz to whom he would give a physical description and other requirements. Whether they are prostitutes is unproven, but he does go on to describe each was 'hired' and found by the owner of the nearby Lover's Bar and the poses in the pictures leave little to the imagination. Presented with a potential candidate he would then ‘feel the person out and, if comfortable, explain the project and hire them’. McAfee, who created the popular anti-virus software that bears his name, fled Belize last November after being wanted for questioning over the murder of his neighbour, American Greg Faull. He spent nearly a month on the run in a bizarre game of cat and mouse that ended when he illegally entered Guatemala to escape justice. He is now back in the US and is in Portland, Oregon, trying to arrange visas for two of his favourite Belizean girls, Sam and Amy, who are waiting for him in Honduras. The episode offered the world a window into McAfee’s strange lifestyle which reportedly involved drug-fuelled sex games, unhinged conspiracy theories, armed guards and a large dose of paranoia.

Welcome to Portlandia, John McAfee
"My life is sort of weird. I don't back off from things."—John McAfee, the newest weird resident of Portlandia. The software millionaire is on the run from police in Belize, and says he plans on staying in the Oregon town for "a few years." A local TV news station caught up with him for an interview. At Stumptown coffee, of course. Perhaps Fred and Carrie will befriend him. Guys, this interview is pretty good. Snip: John McAfee: Oh the media has no clue. Last night I actually started putting photos up of teams I used to collect information. That’s the first time I’ve done that. [KATU reporter Emily Sinovic]: To collect information on what? McAfee: On what was happening in Belize. The links between the Belize government and Hezbollah and the giving of false identifies of Hezbollah terrorists. They’ve been doing that for years. Sinovic: What is it about Portland that makes you feel safe? McAfee: If anybody is after me, it will be the Zeta cartel, Hezbollah. I can’t imagine Hezbollah showing up in Portland without being noticed. I mean, this doesn’t look like a place where they would fit in. Or maybe they would. I do not know.

January 15, 2013


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Specials and Events

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Ambergris Today

Belize Tourism Board Launches Three Year Action Plan & New Identity for Belize
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is pleased to announce the launch of its Action Plan for the years 2013-2015. Following a successful completion of Action Plan 2010-2012, the BTB embarked on multiple consultations with the tourism industry stakeholders and has crafted a realistic and measurable plan that will ensure Belize’s growth and longevity in the global tourism industry. After experiencing a record-breaking year in 2012, the Action Plan 2013-2015 was drafted with a base of tailored work plans and budgets in order to capitalize on our previous successes.

SAT, Jan. 19, 8am-2pm SELLERS: $25 for two (2) tables Sell whatever you want! FUNDRAISE for your school, medical needs or personal. BUYERS…one man’s junk is another’s treasure! CONTACT: Mel Spain, 604-9595 or Jan Brown, 662-2725 Under cover for rain or shine. “San Pedro Lion’s Club – We Serve”

The First Service Club of San Pedro -The Lions Club
The success of the San Pedro Lions Club was immediate due to the high confidence they built within the community and their physical presence out and about. Lions were sought for varied needs in the community and they gave unselfishly even abroad. No project was too small nor too large for them and they tackled renovating parks, erecting fences, cleaning beaches, building homes, and helping the sick and financially disabled. Here are some of the bigger projects undertaken by Lions. They constructed the Lions Clinic and hired a full time doctor and full time nurse. Secondly they built a home for our resident nurse. They purchased two properties with the vision of a hospital in the future. They assisted San Pedro High School with $80,000.00 for the completion of its ground floor with four classrooms. They constructed the Lions Den complex. They participated in part with the construction of the Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Poly Clinic with the vision of having a full fledged hospital.

Kitesurfing Fad on Ambergris Caye, Belize
The wind has been blowing strongly lately on La Isla Bonita and no it's not Hurricane Season and we definitely are not complaining, just Mother Nature doing what she does best. Therefore, many adrenaline junkies took advantage of the windy days to show off their amazing stunts to many viewers on the beach. Thanks to Kite Explorer Ltd. Kitesurfing has become a new fad on the island for tourists and locals on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Misc Belizean Sources

Drivers License fee $30
The Ministry of Labour, Local Government, Rural Development, National Emergency Management and Immigration & Nationality, hereby informs the general public, particularly those residents of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, that the legal fee for the issuance of a Driver’s License is ONLY thirty Belize Dollars ($30.00) by Law; as stipulated in Statutory Instrument # 182 of 2003. Residents are advised that once they meet the criteria for a driver’s license, they are not required to pay any more than the mandated thirty Belize dollars ($30.00); and the Council cannot legally withhold the licenses as a result.

2013 Art in the Park Schedule
Stick a pin on your Calendars folks! Art in the Park Calendar begins January 19th, 2013 at Central Park.

George Price Birthday Memorial Mass
This morning, at 6:30pm at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Belmopan, there will be a birthday memorial mass in honor of George Price.

Channel 7

Ghosts Funeral: He Had a Gaza Style 21 Gun Salute
Yesterday the Meyers family held the funeral for Leonard Ghost Meyers in the place he grew up and called home, Gales Point, Manatee. Meyers was the most senior George Street personality to be killed in last Tuesday's massacre - he was considered the right hand man of Gang boss Gerald Shiny Tillett. And that's why there was a lot of buzz surrounding the funeral; people wanted to know would the police harass the busses of funeral goers? Would there be a showdown between the GSU and funeral-goers? And would there be violence? Monica Bodden went to the funeral to get answers to all those questions - here's her report:.. The body of Leonard Ghost Meyers was transported one last time through the only street in Gales Point Manatee-the village he grew up in and referred to as his home. Behind his purple jeep laid his coffin - neatly trimmed in red and black - the colors representing the George Street Gang men who escorted his body inside the village church - were also decked out in the gang affiliated colors - Even the wreaths on the coffin where decorated with red, black and white. Inside the small church where his funeral sermon was given - only Meyers' close relatives and friends could fit.

Police Nab Six Red-Handed-Robbers, Shoot Four
And while security forces make plans for that event tomorrow, the city remains calm. Since last week Tuesday when the bodies were discovered there have been no gang related shootings. But police did shoot three men this weekend - after they were caught red handed during an armed robbery. It happened on Saturday just before 9:00 when six men entered Jian Vin Shop at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan Street. They held up the storeowner 61 year old JIAN GUANG LI, and his wife 33 year old CHUN YAN ZHU. One of the men who was armed with a handgun clubbed both of them across the jaw and demanded money. The shop-owner gave them over two thousand dollars in cash, while they helped themselves to a DVD player, a computer and various tobacco products. But not satisfied with that, the men went to the living quarters above the shop to get some more items. But, police were in the area and responded quickly. They ran upstairs which is when they say one of the men fired at them. Police returned fire, injuring four of the men, including a minor - and arrested two others.

Eastern Division Gets New Commander
And with those tidy arrests Aragon leaves for Police Headquarters in Belmopan on a high note. But his 28 months at the helm of Eastern Division could not be considered stellar. Case in point?: Belize City recorded a record number of murders in 2012 with 75. Now, maybe the problem is just too intractable and the high murder rate is not a reflection of his effectiveness - but at today's change of command - we did hear the new O/C take a slightly different tack:.. Elodio Aragon Jr., Deputy Commissioner of Police "I know it is challenging times and I know Mr. Segura, Mrs. Phillips and Mr. Allen have a task at hand but I ask them fear not the task at hand. Look it as a great opportunity to make a big difference in Belize City." ACP Miguel Segura, Incoming Officer Commanding Eastern Division "If you see that today you have two deputies on board and the concept is to advance the community policing. We have Senior Superintendent Mrs. Phillips, who have a lot of knowledge and exposure in that field and then you have Senior Superintendent Allen also that will look at the intelligence and operations. What we need to do is to get closer to the community. This is the concept of the policing also."

Dean Street Completes One Week Cordoned Off
Segura takes charge of over a dozen department and units, and about 600 police officers in the country's largest, most crime - ridden area, the entire Belize District - which is known as eastern division. But, right now in the city things are calm and Dean Street from its junction with West Canal to its junctions with West Street - three blocks - remains cordoned off. Aragon explains that police traffic in the area remains heavy:.. Elodio Aragon Jr., Deputy Commissioner of Police "That is done at this point in time because of the amount of police vehicles coming in and out but definitely sure the police has block that street off because we do not want to create a problem where we will have a serious congestion our incidents involving traffic related accidents as a results of the operation taking place in that specific area and that is why it was cordon off." Police have not announced when they will downscale their presence in the area.

Shooting Victim Valle Shows Sharp Sign Of Improvement
It's been 10 days since we last gave you an update on Carlos Valle - the Princess Theater Manager who was shot in the head on New Year's night. But we've been checking on him regularly - and every time we do, hospital authorities tell us he remains in critical condition on life support. But today the hospital P-R told us that he is "off the ventilator, conscious and alert - much improved." That's great news - especially considering that he was shot in the temple. As we had reported he was one of the victims of a random shooting on Albert Street on New Year's night - the other, Orlando Williams died immediately.

Attorney Saldivar Says He Will Refund Monies
On Friday night you saw US Nationals John and Cynthia Englehardt complaining about attorney Arthur Saldivar. He was supposed to get them title for their Condo Unit when they paid him 6,500 US dollars three years ago. Since then, they have not gotten title nor have they gotten their money back. They took to the media to name and shame Saldivar - and today he responded. He did an interview at our studio where he explained that the bottleneck has been at the Lands Department:... Arthur Saldivar "There was a dispute between the land owner and the home owners association that basically developed shortly after the original strata plan was approved. When that happen the ministry took the view that as a result of the dispute they would actually freeze the issuance of titles. This affected a lot of people and it wasn't a situation where there was any negligence on the part of anybody in terms of trying to get these titles. Due to that this year or late last year I started the process of re-imbursing people because I don't want to hold anybody's' money. I have accepted now that the lands department will not get its act together. I believe Mr. Gentry was the first person who came forward and said that he didn't want his title anymore he wants his money back and that type of thing and I started that process." "Now everybody is coming to say that they want their monies back, I don't have a problem with that, there is no dispute there. That is being done as we speak; people are getting their monies back."

Saldivar Says: State Sponsored Theft?
And while he was here, Sadivar had another axe to grind. He is the attorney for 22 year-old Mexican Zurisaday Mendez, who has been linked to a frightening stash of weapons, drugs and fancy rides near the Corozal Free Zone. The November find by police included 7 guns, 12 magazines and 144 bullets, the vehicles, as well as cocaine and cannabis. But he is only charged for one of the guns, while his vehicle a blue Chevy Colorado pickup was also impounded. But while he is on trial, that same pickup has been acquired by police. Sadivar says Mendez's family - who follow the news in Belize saw it transporting dead bodies! He told us why it has caused dismay:.. Arthur Saldivar "My client's father called me to tell me that they were looking at the news in Belize. They were surprise to see a truck that they had bought for their son being loaded up with bodies of deceased persons.

Let It Burn!: Umbrella Conservation Group APAMO Supports Hon. Alamilla
Last week Friday, 7News told you about the mixed public response to Forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla's bold action when she burnt the illegally harvested Rosewood cargo in Golden Stream. Well, another organization has voiced its approval. The Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO) - an umbrella organization for various conservation groups - sent out a press release today saying that it applauds Minister Alamilla's decision, along with the indefinite moratorium and other measures to try to establish sustainable development. We also showed you how Alamilla categorically declared that she is certain that corruption within her own ministry has helped to perpetuate the illegal rosewood trade. Apamo also touched on that: the organization condemns the Government and private individuals involved in that, and they are also calling on the Government of Belize to quote, "implement an independent and objective investigation to determine the individuals involved in these illegal and corrupt activities and to apply the full weight of the law" end quote.

A Ceremony Out Of Step?
The Ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court is reserved for the second Monday in January - and usually, it's a headline story - or at least something you would see in the first segment of the news. But tonight, it's been pushed down, because the headline was a story about a gang funeral. That downgrade alone may be an indication of how increasingly out of step the stuffy officiousness of the event is with what's happening in real time. But, the social scientists tell us ceremony also plays a role in keeping society together - and so in that spirit, we take our annual look at the pomp and pageantry. Daniel Ortiz reports:..

Coro Cops Got Gun, Want Owner
Tonight a Corozal man is wanted for a firearm offence. Just after midday on Sunday, police received information of a fight in progress at 5th Street North in Corozal Town. When officers arrived on the scene, they saw a man darting behind a house. He was recognized as Mark Massam. A chase ensued and police say they saw Massam push his hand on the right side of his pants, take out a shiny object and throw it on the ground causing it to land in the drain. It was retrieved and found to be a 9mm Pistol with 13 live rounds. And while police got the gun, Massam got away and a warrant has been issued for Mark his arrest. Massam was recently granted Supreme Court bail after having been charged with armed robbery using a firearm. One of the conditions of his bail was not to be charged for any offence.

Local Gov't Ministry Vs. UDP Town Council?
The Ministry Of Local Government today sent out a very odd press release today. It targets the residents of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and says that, quote, "the legal fee for the issuance of a Driver's License is ONLY thirty Belize Dollars ($30.00) by Law." It continues, "residents are advised that once they meet the criteria for a driver's license, they are not required to pay any more than the mandated thirty Belize dollars ($30.00); and the Council cannot legally withhold the licenses as a result." End quote. Now, as we understand it, the UDP Town council of the twin towns did recently increase driver's license fees because they implemented a new license, complete with the driver's fingerprint. But this release seems to be insisting that they can only charge $30.00 for it. The Mayor of Cayo, John August did not respond to phone calls or text messages requesting comment. IT also suggests that the Belize City council tactic of refusing to issue driver's licenses for those who owe property tax - which has gone unchallenged - is also illegal.

Funeral Frustration
Last week, 7News told you about undertaker David Coye who was upset with the fees the Belize City Council implemented in its takeover of Cemetery services. Well tonight, we have another complaint from a family who is upset with City Hall. Last week, we were called out to CitCo's office to speak with Carol Goodin, sister-in-law of the late Zebedee Pitterson, Jr. She was upset with the hike in fees for funeral spaces at the 13 mile's cemetery, but communication with Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie led her to hold back commenting to us on the issue. They were supposed to have worked out their issues. Pitterson was to be buried today, but up until an hour before the funeral it still wasn't built. Well today, Goodin called us back to vent her frustration.

Belize: At The Crossroads Of Three Regions: So Why No Trade?
International Relations Expert, Dr. Victor Bulmer- Thomas and his wife Barbara Bulmer Thomas are back in Belize for a pair of public lectures. He will present his address tomorrow at the UB Jaguar Auditorium on the subject "Belize, Central America and the Caribbean: Past, Present and Future." Bulmer Thomas told us he will analyze why Belize has failed to capitalize on its position in three different regions. He explained: Dr. Victor Bulmer, International Relations Expert "Belize is a part of three regions; Caribbean, Central America and Mexico if we can think of Mexico as a region but it isn't integrated with any of these regions in the way that you might expect because of its geographical position. Belize is legally tied into the Caribbean through Caricom and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy but somehow it's not taking advantages of its geographical position to integrate itself more fully into the other two regions that I have mention. However if you look at the recent figures you will see that Belize is importing a lot more from Central America particularly from Guatemala and El Salvador and a lot more from Mexico. It's not yet exporting, so the question is what Belize needs to do in order to have a more balance relationship with its neighbors that it currently has." Jules Vasquez "We are unable to capitalize on this proximity we have in Central America and in we have in CSME - we are unable to harness that because of the mediocrity of our institution."

Channel 5

Foiled robbery; 4 of 6 robbers shot by cops
Despite unusually heavy police presence over the weekend in the wake of last week’s brutal murders, there is still a brazen attack on a Chinese grocer to report tonight. At about nine o’clock on Saturday night, Jian Vin Store located at the corner of Mahogany and Mopan streets was targeted. The owner, Jian Li, told [...]

2nd in command of the George Street Gang laid to rest
The funeral of Leonard ‘Ghost’ Myers, reputed to be the second in command of the George Street Gang in Belize City, was held in his home village of Gales Point, Manatee on Sunday afternoon. Meyers, along with three affiliates of the George Street Gang, was killed in brutal execution fashion at an apartment building at [...]

The pageantry of the opening of the Supreme Court
This morning, traffic in downtown Belize City came to a halt, for the pageantry and ceremony which marks the opening of the Supreme Court for the calendar year. School children, tourists and regular passersby stood watch as the traditional pomp and circumstance of the formal event played out in front of the historic Supreme Court. [...]

A.G. says Bar versus Bench issue must stop
In his presentation at the opening of the Supreme Court Attorney General Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington raised several issues with the Bar Association—specifically, the need for continuous education and a return to its traditional role. According to Elrington, it cannot be Bar versus Bench.   Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General “My lord with respect to the private [...]

The half-a-million dollar message by Minister Alamilla; who is behind the illegal activities.
Despite a moratorium on the extraction of rosewood, the illegal exportation has continued, seemingly without pause. Last week, a shipment that was on its way overseas, likely to China, was stopped in its tracks. The confiscated rosewood was then set on fire by the Minister of Forestry Lisel Alamilla in the presence of the media. [...]

Do you think the Minister should have burned up all that rosewood?
Since the rosewood topic is such a burning issue, no pun intended, today News Five took to the streets to get some feedback. The question our reporter posed was simple; “Do you think Minister Lisel Alamilla should have burned up all that rosewood on Friday?” Here are some of the answers we got.   Resident [...]

Assistant ComPol Miguel Segura officially takes over Eastern Division
This morning’s weekly police press conference deviated from the norm, as the media was met by old faces in new commands. Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon Jr., formerly head of Eastern Division, has been promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Operations. Assistant Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura takes over the reins [...]

Humberto Garcia; alleged attempted murderer
In the courts, Humberto Garcia, a twenty-eight year old construction worker of Rhaburn Ridge Village, was charged for the March twenty-first 2012 attempted murder of twenty-nine year old Francisco Sosa in which Sosa was shot three times.  Garcia was captured last week after nine months on the lam. When he appeared in the Magistrate’s Court, [...]

Where is Mark Massam? Police want him arrested
  Up north, Corozal police are looking for Mark Massam. On Sunday, police headed to Fifth Street North where Massam was allegedly involved in a fight. Massam fled the area at the sight of police who set chase behind him. According to police, Massam pulled out a shiny object and threw it on the ground [...]

Motor vehicle thefts in the City
Aside from the foiled robbery at Jian Vin Store, there were other crimes over the weekend. A B.T.L. technician of Belize City reported that this past Saturday, he arrived home along with his girlfriend in his Mazda Protégé car which he parked on the street side. As he was exiting the vehicle two men riding [...]

Can municipal bodies legally withhold driver’s licenses?
Late last week, Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley, confirmed to News Five that residents who are behind in the payment of taxes will have to pay up those arrears, possibly through a payment plan, before they can receive or renew their drivers’ licenses. According to the Mayor, the Council is on an aggressive timetable of [...]

B.N.T.U. executive discusses crime, economy and the referendum
An executive meeting of the Belize National Teachers’ Union branches will be held tonight in advance of membership meetings later this week as the unions begin to mobilize in response to current issues. Top on the list is crime, the state of the economy, the partially-resolved collective bargaining agreement with Government and the ICJ referendum [...]

Learn about your taxes at the 2nd Annual Revenue Fair
Today Revenue Fairs were held around the country, and like its name suggests, it is all about making sure that government receives its share of the pie. The first fair, held last year, was the brainchild of the Income Tax Department, but today’s event featured the participation of other departments with one goal – collecting [...]

Football, canoe and cycling in Sports Monday with James Adderley
  Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   22 canoes registered in 5 different categories for the 6th annual Boom to Manatee Lookout Canoe Race staged on Saturday as this community prepares for the mighty La Ruta Maya set to take center stage in March. At the 10 a.m. start inside [...]


Judicial Year 2013 Declared Open for Supreme Court
The 2013 judicial year was declared opened this morning by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. In his review of the last twelve months the Chief Justice highlighted various milestones for the judiciary in 2012, among them launch of a new website, continuing education for officers of ...

Toledo West Representative Disagrees Ministers Decision to Burn Rosewood
The burning of a large quantity of Rose Wood flitches in the Toledo District last Friday remains a matter of major concern as expressed out rightly by Toledo West Representative Hon. Oscar Requena: “I have absolutely no problem with the Ministry enforcing the laws as it relat...

APAMO Supports Decision to Halt Illegal Trade of Rosewood
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) issued a release today in which it says it applauds Minister Alamilla for her decisive actions to halt the illegal trade of Rosewood and other measures taken to promote the sustainable development of the country’...

Revenue Collection Entities Team Up For Awareness Fair
The annual exercise, staged at the grounds of the Charles Bartlette Hyde Building, brought together a trio of revenue collection entities, namely Income Tax, General Sales Tax and Customs Departments. Kent Clare is the Commissioner of Income Tax. The revenue fair is designed to g...

Police Eastern Division of The Police Department Has New Leader
The Police Command at Eastern Division, which deals with the country’s largest amount of murders and other major crimes, today officially changed hands. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Elodio Aragon handed over the reins of that Unit to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Migu...


Chief Justice says Belize's criminal justice system is in crisis
The Supreme Court has opened business for 2013. This morning there was pomp and pageantry at the Holy Redeemer Cath...

Bar President Andrew Marshalleck speaks of an "erosion of confidence" the judiciary.
At today's Supreme Court opening, there were also the traditional responses from President of the Bar Andrew Marsha...

Four persons shot by police in robbery incident in Belize City
Four persons were shot by Police in Belize City during an attempted robbery. It happened on Saturday 12th January a...

Police are on the hunt for Mark Massam
Police are on the hunt for Mark Massam. On Sunday afternoon, police received word a fight in progress at 5th Street...

Eastern Division of The Police Department Has New Leader
This morning the largest police formation bid farewell to its senior officers and welcomed new ones. Former Assista...

January 15th marks the 94th birthday of the late George Cadle Price
Tomorrow Tuesday, January the 15th, marks the 94th birthday of the late Father of the Nation and great leader of th...

Association of Protected Areas Management
Organizations concerned about the illegal harvesting of Rosewood On Friday we showed you pictures of Hon. Lisille Alamilla the Minister of Forestry, along with other forestry offic...

Revenue fair held by tax departments
Annually, the Income Tax Department hosts a fair, raising the level of awareness on the importance of collecting an...

Robbery and carjacking in Belize city
There was a robbery and carjacking in Belize city on Saturday morning. A B.T.L. Technician of Belize City reported ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Ocean Academy’s Business Fair
This past weekend Ocean Academy held their first ever business fair at the Central Park and it was a success! Ocean Academy and the Business Class would like to take this opportunity to thank the following for their support. *Parents of the students, without their help this fair wouldn’t have been a success *Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Committee in providing the use of their tents *Caye Caulker Village Council for the use of the Central Park *Barrier Reef Cable System for their sponsorship *Last but not least, the community who came out and showed their support Here are a few pictures from the fair

The Reporter

Statement by the Vision Inspired by the People on the Proposed ICJ referendum for 2013
Vision Inspired by the People, unconditionally upholds the right of our Belizean nation to self-determination along with our sovereign territory as defined in our 1981 independence constitution. We declare that this God-given right of nationhood is not subject to negotiation. It is on the basis of this right that VIP views as gravely misleading and perhaps treasonous, the efforts of Belize’s current government to hold a referendum that could lead to the ICJ, altering Belize’s borders from those defined in our 1981 independence constitution. VIP hereby declares that Guatemala’s claim to Belizean territory is illegitimate, outdated, mutually counterproductive and downright immoral. This claim directly conflicts with the goals of the United Nations to finally eradicate the remaining ills of colonialism. The Guatemalan government has never occupied or exercised sovereignty over Belizean territory. We are reminded that the Spanish government which may have had a claim to Belizean territory under the unjust establishment and growth of colonialism was a non-voting member in the United Nations vote for Belize’s independence. This conscientious position by Spain not to participate in the vote was a fitting end to any and all claims on Belizean territory that were based on colonial principles.

Leader of the Opposition calls for independent inquiry into George Street murders
“An independent commission of inquiry is critically important if the police are to remove the cloud of suspicion hanging over their heads,” says Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca Thursday. Fonseca’s comments followed Tuesday’s quadruple murder of George Street gang affiliates, a crime which many members of the community and the leaders of the said gangs have accused the police department’s Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) of committing. Fonseca said if the police are to carry out their work effectively they must first remove all suspicion from the public’s minds about their involvement in the brutal murders, and has, therefore, called for a Commission of Inquiry into the matter. He recommended that the government should use senior judges from the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, and other social interest bodies to form a neutral and objective group to conduct the inquiry and report back to the public within 21 days. Fonseca has also issued a public statement on Wednesday in which he condemned the government’s Gang Truce arrangement. He said: “The Government must not enter into any new Gang Truce arrangement which involves payment of money or other such incentives and compromises to individuals or groups of individuals who have threatened and continue to threaten retaliation, and remain committed to destabilizing our society.”

Orange Walk man, Florentino Ayalla, 48, found dead in prison cell
An Orange Walk man, Florentino Ayalla, 48, was found dead in a Special Care cell in the Tango 6 building at the Belize Central Prison on Tuesday, January 8. The Kolbe managed prison’s Chief Executive Officer, Earl Jones, told The Reporter on Thursday, January 10, that police are treating Ayalla’s death as a homicide until the cause of his death can be determined by an autopsy examination. Ladyville Police Sergeant McCulloch, who is attached to the Crimes Investigation Branch (CIB), is conducting the investigation into Ayalla’s death, Jones said. According to Jones, around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the officer with responsibility for the Special Care area went to give Ayalla some painkillers and found him dead inside his cell. Jones said that the Special Care area is where prisoners who are not well are kept. Ayalla shared a cell with three other inmates, who police have been questioning since his death.

ADO Bus impounded; woman fined for contraband veggies
A bus belonging to ADO Bus Company of Mexico which conducts non-stop two-way runs from Belize to Merida and beyond, and crossed into Belize on Sunday from Chetumal, was impounded by local immigration authorities after it was discovered to be carrying contraband vegetables. The Reporter has confirmed with Immigration officials that the regular run was delayed for several hours and impounded, and the person who loaded the veggies on board, a woman, took responsibility for the freight, and a representative of the bus company, Leonides Chavarria, came up with $3,000, the penalty for transporting uncustomed goods. The woman, a Belizean, was fined $10,000 for her doing, and was reportedly given a time frame within which to find the money. She and the bus were allowed to leave after Immigration officials processed the two offending parties. Immigration officials had reportedly been suspicious that people had been using the buses to smuggle uncustomed goods to and from Belize for a while. Their stiff penalty on the bus company has prompted ADO to carry out its own formal screening and inspection of luggages that are loaded on its buses for cross-border trips. Part of the screening process includes briefing ADO terminal managers in Belize and Mexico what are allowed or disallowed items on the buses.

Cruise tourism business suffer because of George Street murders
Tuesday’s four-way murder of four George Street men and the subsequent U.S. Embassy warning to tourist to not travel in Belize City has negatively effected the Belize tourism industry, Yhonny Rosado, of, said Wednesday. Rosado said the effects of Tuesday’s events will not only affect his business, but all who depend on cruise tourism to make a living. “The captains on the ships are announcing that if you’re not booked with them, you should not come ashore because the city is not safe,” He said. “About 50% of our tours have been cancelled.” Rosado explains that they emailed their guests to let them know that it is not the entire city that’s dangerous. “We are telling them that we can safely go through our tours, and the BTB has sent out messages to us that we should not do any city tours today,” he said. To compound the dilemma, Carnival Cruise Line, which is one of the major cruise companies, has cancelled a number of its scheduled visits to Belize because of “growing congestion on the tenders”.

UK newspaper hits back over Argentinian claim to Falklands
A British newspaper waded into the argument between Britain and Argentina over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands on Friday, publishing an open letter in a Buenos Aires newspaper saying “hands off” the disputed territory. The Sun’s letter, printed in the Buenos Aires Herald, was a riposte to an open letter published in the British press Thursday in which Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called on the UK to hand back the islands. Her open letter, addressed to British Prime Minister David Cameron and copied to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accused Britain of blatant colonialism. She wrote: “The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule. “Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.”

Venezuela postpones Chavez swearing-in
Venezuela’s opposition announced on Wednesday that it plans to ask the Supreme Court to rule on whether delaying the swearing-in of cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez violates the constitution. Opposition leader Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said the opposition coalition will ask the court for an opinion on Congress’s decision to postpone Chavez’s inauguration which had been scheduled for Thursday. The constitutional debate takes place against a backdrop of charges that the government isn’t giving complete information about the health of Chavez, who underwent his fourth cancer-related surgery in Cuba last month and hasn’t spoken publicly in a month. Aveledo insisted on the opposition’s stance that the National Assembly president should take over temporarily as interim leader and that the Supreme Court should appoint a panel of doctors to determine Chavez’s condition and whether he is fit to remain in office. Aveledo didn’t say when or how the opposition would bring its challenge.

Citco and BBB join forces to create more jobs!
There’s a big, bold plan for a new vision of the old capital, and it will be called ‘Open for Business.’ It is the brainchild of Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley and has been brought to life through a unique partnership between the private and public sectors with an infusion from our neighbouring city of Chetumal, Quintana Roo. On December 21st, 2012, the project saw the first concrete step in what promises to be a complex and challenging journey, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Belize City Council and the Belize Business Bureau, represented by Mayor Darrel Bradley and Arturo Lizarraga respectively. Today, another significant step was taken with the establishment of an Economic Development Commission which will serve as the operational Secretariat of the entire ‘Open for Business’ campaign. The undertaking is huge, and President of the Belize Business Bureau Arturo Lizarraga is not shying away from that. In an interview with The Reporter today, he summed up the campaign bluntly – “Will there be challenges? Yes. How big? Huge! Can we accomplish all this today? No. But should we get started now? Absolutely!” In a nutshell, the program is aimed at attracting new local and regional direct investment, attention and interest to Belize City- investments which will renew and revitalize the city. To do this, the visionaries at the helm have charted a path which includes attracting 1,000,000 paying visitors from Mexico to Belize, and with a focus on Belize City, annually. A massive challenge in and of itself, this includes the building of a four-lane highway from Belize City to the Philip Goldson International Airport and a focused campaign to arouse serious interest in Belize City from hubs like Mexico City and Cancún.

Leader of opposition extends helping arm
Following Tuesday’s four-way murder that left downtown Belize City in a state of emergency, the leader of the opposition, People’s United Party (PUP), Francis Fonseca, announced he is willing to collaborate with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to solve the crime issue in Belize. Fonseca, speaking at a 2:00 pm press conference at Independence Hall Tuesday afternoon, extended his hand and said he is willing to go along with Barrow to go into the communities in order to reassure them that the State is there to provide for their security and to protect them. Fonseca said, “We need to engage face to face with these communities and they have to understand in fact they are not at war with the state.” He said that it must be a civilized approach, because while the neighborhoods have criminal elements, there are also law-abiding citizens. “When we go into these communities to tackle crime and to target the criminals … we are not saying to the entire community that we are coming after you [and] that you are a useless community,” Fonseca said. Fonseca said that he believes that some of these communities have already begun to get the wrong message about the police and the government’s role.

GSU gets blamed for 4-way homicide
Residents in the George Street area are alleging that the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) is responsible for this week’s gruesome four-way murder. The bodies of the victims, Albert Fuentes, 19; Leonard “Ghost” Meyers, 30; Anthony Perez, 28; and Keino Quallo, 40, were found early Tuesday morning at an apartment complex on the corner of Dean and Plues Street. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and his throat cut. There were several large pools of blood found in various sections of the apartment. When the police arrived around 8:00 in the morning to collect the bodies and process the scene, an angry crowd of residents had gathered in the area and began to accuse the GSU, claiming that on Monday the unit had broken the lock from the back door of the apartment complex in order for them to gain easier access sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning. The Reporter spoke with Elizabeth Welch, Meyers’ mother, who said that days prior to the incident she was approached by the police who warned her that her son would be killed. Welch went on to explain that she knew the occupants of the apartment, and neither they nor her son were the type to open the door for strangers. At Tuesday’s mid-afternoon press conference Prime Minister Dean Barrow refuted those allegations, saying that there is photographed evidence that there was no damage to the lock on the back door.

Scientists discover aborted baby cells living in mothers’ brains
Scientific American described the research findings another way: “Scientists discover children’s cells living in mothers’ brains.” But I wanted to drive home a touching point: Mothers who terminate their pregnancies apparently don’t completely rid themselves of their babies. The cells of murdered children live on inside their mothers to help – or perhaps – hurt them: Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin. These may have a broad range of impacts, from tissue repair and cancer prevention to sparking immune disorders. It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals. These foreign cells seem to believe that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals. I need to stop and note that this politically incorrect article correctly defines preborn babies as “distinct person(s),” “people,” and “individuals.” Moving on…. As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain.

Alcohol calories too often ignored
People watching their weight should pay closer attention to how much alcohol they drink since it is second only to fat in terms of calorie content, experts say. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, alcohol makes up nearly 10% of total calorie intake among drinkers. Having a large glass of wine will cost you the same 178 calories as eating two chocolate digestive biscuits. And it will take you more than a half hour’s brisk walk to burn off. Eating or drinking too many calories on a regular basis can lead to weight gain. But unlike food, alcoholic drinks have very little or no nutritional value. The ‘empty calories’ in drinks are often forgotten or ignored by dieters, says the WCRF. Kate Mendoza, head of health information at WCRF, said: “Recent reports have shown that people are unaware of calories in drinks and don’t include them when calculating their daily consumption.” Containing 7kcal/g, alcohol is only slightly less calorific than fat, which contains 9kcal/g. Protein and carbohydrates contain 4kcal/g and fibre 2kcal/g. Men need around 2,500 calories a day, and women around 2,000. “Cutting down on drinking can have a big effect on weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight,” said Ms Mendoza. It can also reduce your risk of cancer, she said. Alcohol has been linked with breast, bowel, mouth and liver cancer.

Barney Brown, Daniel Cano & Dennis McKoy win Weekend Warriors A, B & C New Year’s races
Barney Brown won the category “A” race, while Daniel Cano won the “B” category and Dennis Mckoy – the “C” category, when the Weekend Warriors Cycling Club held its New Year’s race from Orange Walk to the finish line in front of M&M Engineering in Belize City on the Philip Goldson Highway on Sunday, January 6. Barney Brown, of Scotiabank, clocked two hours 19 minutes 43 seconds on his 51-mile ride from Orange Walk to Belize City as he out-sprinted Dean Belisle of British Caribbean Bank/ J.T. Williams to the finish line. Warren Coye of Santino’s team led teammate Ernest “Jawmeighan” Meighan across the finish a few seconds later and jack Sutherland of Digicell 4G was fifth. The “B” category riders entered the city as one peloton, but Daniel Cano of M&M Engineering team out-sprinted three other riders to win, clocking two hours 25 minutes 34 seconds, while Nehru Gilharry of truckers Posse was second, Jim Scott of the Santino’s team was third and Dean Boyce of BCB/FT Williams was fourth. Santino “Chief” rode into fifth place solo.

Belize national team wins 2 football friendlies
Belize’s national football team won two international friendly matches against Tigrillos of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Real Platense of Honduras at the Football Federation of Belize Stadium in Belmopan on Friday and Sunday, January 4 – 6, when national team coach Leroy Lewis tested the readiness of his players in preparation for the CONCACAF Copa Centroamericana in Costa Rica next week January 18-22. Belize won 7-0 over the Mexican fourth division club, Tigrillos, on Friday evening. Harrison “Kafu” Roches scored first, Dion MccCauley scored a second goal and Evan Mariano added a third to lead 3-0 at intermission. McCauley scored a fourth goal in the second half. Jerome “Jaro” James added a fifth and Russell Casanova came off the bench to add two more goals for the 7-0 win. Belize won just barely: 1-0, over Honduras’ first division club, Real Platense, on Sunday afternoon. Belize’s only goal came from Belize’s top scorer from the 2011 qualifying matches for World Cup 2014 Brazil, Dion McCauley, in the 28th minute of play. Belize’s goalkeeper Woodrow West proved the deciding factor, coming up with a number of brilliant saves as the visitors dominated the play in Belize’s half of the field for most of the game, winning free kicks and corner kicks. Yester Alcerro’s shots forced West to tip the ball over the crossbar twice.


No leads in quadruple murders in Belize City
And while the police seem to have a cap on crime at the moment, it was just about a week ago that chaos ruled on Dean and Plues Streets as four members of the George Street Gang were discovered slain in an apartment where they were staying. Since the incident, the police escorted some of [...]

New head of Eastern Division takes over command in Belize City
It was a generally quiet weekend countrywide, with no reported murders. But on a few fronts, there were armed robberies and in one instance, three persons were shot during a foiled robbery upon police intervention. We start off the police news with the official details of an armed robbery in Belize City from Police Press [...]

Armed robbery reported in Armenia village
Police are looking for a group of men who carried out an armed robbery in Armenia village in the Cayo district on Saturday night. Correspondent Fem Cruz reports.

Residents of Hopkins take measures to curb crime in the village
Residents of Hopkins village in the Stann Creek district met over the weekend to address growing concerns over an increase in crime in the community. Reports say over eighty residents turned up to the school building in the village on Saturday afternoon for the meeting which had as guest speaker, the officer commanding, Stann Creek [...]

Destruction of rosewood draws condemnation
The destruction of and cache of illegally harvested rosewood flitch’s last week continues to generate much debate and discussion, not only in the Toledo district; but other areas of the country. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) issued a release today in which it says it applauds Minister Alamilla [...]

Revenue fair held around the country
The collection of and accounting for revenue are important factors in a nation’s economy. And while for most people the very thought of taxes is a turn off, the men and women who make the nation’s revenue system work are doing their utmost best to untangle the myths and dispel the mystery. Love TV’s Natalie [...]


A Tale of Five Cities: Chowing down in Campeche
Although we only had three meals in Campeche on our way through, we made the most of our time and had some really delicious food. Walking from the bus stop into the centro historico, we came upon the #1 place in Tripadvisor, Chocol Ha. We planned to come back to try some goodies later as this dessert and treat place doesn't open until 5:30 pm. At the moment, however, we were in need of lunch. We walked by a place called Chef Color in one of the lovely colonial buildings and decided to stop in. There was a mix of locals and tourists dining, which is usually a good sign. Ahhhh, a cervasa is always good after a long walk on a hot day! Interesting artwork graced the walls Barry ordered his new favorite Mexican dish, Panuchos, while I decided on some fresh seafood ceviche. Both were delicious! Barry's the colors with the tablecloth too My ceviche -- fresh and limey Barry looking happy after being well-fed For dinner that night, we walked around for awhile looking for a place that appealed to us. We ended up at Luz de Luna. This place was decorated with vibrant colors that beckoned us right in from the street.

On the Fly
One of the things I love about Belize is that it is so easy to get around the country. It is a common fact that Belize is the same size as Massachusetts, but did you know it is also close in size to Wales and New Hampshire? It is also slightly larger than El Salvador and a little over double the size of Jamaica. The country of Belize is 180 miles long, up to 68 miles wide and covers an area of 8,867 square miles. This it makes it very easy to hop on a puddle jumper and go see something new. Last week I decided to take a short getaway and do an overnight trip so I hopped on Maya Air and went to the Municipal Airport, and then caught a connecting flight to Placencia. My flight to Municipal airport took 25 minutes, and not having had time to eat breakfast before the flight, I was sure glad for the Maya airport Deli. I got 2 fresh ham and cheese Johnny cakes to tide me over till I got to my final destination. The name of the popular Belize food comes from the words journey cake, a small hard biscuit easily carried on a long trip. From Municipal to Placencia Airport should take about 45 minutes, I think we made it in better time but was not watching the clock as I was too busy enjoying the ride. Of course I took way to many pics as always so I decided to split my trip into a couple of posts. I will leave you with the San Pedro to Placencia aerial pictures. Stay tuned to find out where I stayed and who I caught up with while there.

Four Surprising Healing Secrets of the Hibiscus You Should Know
The hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family and is native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. It is quite large containing numerous hundred species and is often noted for their showy flowers which are commonly known simply as hibiscus, or less widely known as rose mallow. Hibiscus tea benefits have been known to Eastern countries for centuries but they have only recently been studied here in the West. Made from the fragrant Hibiscus flowers, the tea has many health benefits for those who drink it regularly. Hibiscus tea is made from dried or fresh Hibiscus flowers. The tea can be drunk hot or cold, but is most refreshing when made into an iced tea. This fragrant tea truly does offer some amazing health benefits. Below are four healing secrets of the Hibiscus tea: 1.) The most popular Hibiscus tea benefits are its weight loss properties. The tea is a natural diuretic, and it helps release excess fluid stored in the body. In addition to flushing fluids, Hibiscus tea is believed to prevent carbohydrates from turning to fat by prohibiting the production of amylase in the body. Many tea drinkers use this tea to aid in weight loss naturally, the way nature probably intended us too!!

The Moment I Fell In Love with Scuba Diving
“There I was, unsure of what to expect on my first ever dive into the ocean and before resurfacing my life had been forever changed.” Everyone has moments in their life that stand far out, above and beyond all others. My first time ocean diving was one of those. Simply getting to that moment hadn’t come easy. I was burned out from work, life had become stale and I desperately needed something new and exciting to distract myself with. One night I came across an online ad for scuba diving lessons. I hadn’t ever given diving much thought before then, but something in me sparked and said lets give it a shot! Living in Phoenix, Arizona there isn’t exactly a lot of clear water around, so our training was done in an indoor pool; before squeezing into an extra thick wetsuit (which made me extremely claustrophobic) and finishing my certification in a very cold, dirty and murky lake. Training had come with a lot of struggles for me and in the beginning I was second guessing myself about whether this was right for me or not. After completing the course I felt great satisfaction. I was certified and had overcome my own self doubts.

A jungle oasis: Rio On Pools, Belize/Guatemala border
After a full day exploring beautiful caves, climbing Mayan pyramids at Caracol, receiving armed military escorts, and riding for hours along the world’s bumpiest road, we were ready to relax. We were ready to cool off. We were ready to just get out of the bumpy van! Along the road to the Maya ruins at Caracol, deep in the Mountain Pine Ridge area of the Belizian forest, lies a cool, relaxing oasis of waterfalls and swimming holes just waiting to be enjoyed and appreciated by weary travelers. Although it’s nothing spectacular (we’ve certainly seen more impressive waterfalls back home in New England), it nonetheless has its own beauty and tranquility … even if there are a few dozen kids going down the river in inner-tubes while you’re trying to drift off to sleep to the powerful, but steady sound of the flowing streams. Although they can’t quite capture the full essence of this jungle retreat, here are some of our favorite photos from this beautiful oasis:

Concrete and Steel
First of all sincere apologies for the technical problems that prevented the inclusion of photos in yesterday’s edition. Pleased to ‘say’ that normal service resumes today. Hopefully the techie gremlins will not return. Spent much of the morning catching up with news (especially the atrocious weather conditions) from the UK via my subscription to The Times, researching on the Internet for fittings (door handles and lights) for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and taking the golf cart for its service ( with the daily/bi-daily trips to the site I wanted to make sure that it is OK for oil and that the brakes are in good working order).Given the state of the roads north of the bridge I also asked them to take a look at the suspension. All in all a rather leisurely morning. In between I managed to squeeze in ( prior to taking the cart in for it’s service) a breakfast at Estel’s ( should get a free one for all of the plugs I am giving). Time flew by and in what seemed like no time at all it was time for lunch and given the earlier hearty breakfast I had just a couple of sandwiches and a cup of coffee. Fully fed it was time to head off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

International Sources

Dive into your love affair with Belize
The romance never ends - and nobody gets old - in this paradisal retreat. As soon as the leaves begin to fall and the air turns from crisp to damp and dreary, I start planning my winter escape. Sunshine, pampering and relaxation are the three things that my husband and I look for in a romantic getaway. After some research, I soon discovered that Belize, the Central American country famous for its phenomenal diving, Mayan ruins and abundance of eco-activities, is also a tranquil haven for couples and honeymooners. We divided our time between four unique regions of the country; however, if you crave a more leisurely trip, try to limit yourself to two areas. The country's largest island, Ambergris Caye, located south of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is considered to be the dive and water sports capital of Central America. Less than one kilometre offshore, running the entire length of Ambergris is the world's second-largest coral reef system, after Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The postcard pretty town of San Pedro is a vibrant mix of restaurants, shops and bars offering freshly caught seafood, rum punch, ice-cold Belizean Belikin beer and locally made tchotchkes. The bustling 10 streets that make up the town are filled with golf carts, bicycles and the occasional taxi, all of which are the primary mode of transportation for the 4,000 locals and multitude of visiting tourists.

Kelly McGuire's Surprise Birthday Bash/Roast and All Star Concert!
Correction on dates for Mark Mulligan coming to surprise Kelly. Feb 8th-11th. Remember this is a surprise, so don't say anything to Kelly about it. If you have any questions, please contact Sandy at Kelly McGuire's Surprise Birthday Bash/Roast and All Star Concert in Belize! Come to Belize Feb 2013! Celebrate with us and enjoy the music! Check out all the special things we are planning for Kelly! We hope that you can make it but even if you can't you can still be a part of the celebration.He is truly the KING OF THE ISLAND! Remember this is a surprise,so don't let Kelly know about it. Even if you are not going to be able to make it, you can still send a donation to help put on this great event, purchase a limited edition T shirt and limited edition CD or just send a donation. All money goes to set up this event, paying for the Artists airfare and hotel accommodations!

Belize Has Zero Tolerance for Maternal Mortality
The young woman lying in the small, cheerfully decorated recovery room was still groggy, but she was fully aware of her new role: being a mother. She had just delivered her first child at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, where she was encouraged and coached by a nurse to start breastfeeding her healthy, hours-old baby boy. In Belize every woman's pregnancy and delivery is under the microscope of the Millennium Development Goals, U.N. anti-poverty pledges made by governments that are due in 2015. "We had zero maternal deaths in 2011," said Dr. Natalia Largaespada-Beer, director of maternal and child health for Belize's Ministry of Health, in an email interview. "Every obstetric emergency is considered a national emergency." To meet its goal of 10 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, the country with a population of only around 400,000 people--and just 7,000 women or so who give birth each year--will have to keep that up. Amikole Aminata Maraesa, an American doctor of anthropology who lived in southern Belize in 2006, explains the math. In 2009, she said, the country's maternal mortality ratio was 54 deaths per 100,000 live births. Sounds high, but in raw numbers it meant four deaths out of about 7,407 births.

On the trail of ancient Maya temples in Belize
A white-hot sun bore down on the small boat as we rode upriver through the thick jungle of northern Belize. We were headed to the ancient Maya city of Lamanai. It’s a place of dark secrets, not the least of which was the cause of its demise. The city, which once had a population of 50,000, was buried by dirt and foliage for four centuries until archaeologists started an excavation in the 1970s. Only five buildings have been uncovered. About 732 buildings remain hidden in the firm grip of the jungle, an entire city never seen by modern eyes. The boat cruised up the New River past crocodiles resting on the muddy banks, seemingly immobilized by the tropical heat. One of them came to life and slid into the river, his ridged tail propelling him swiftly across the surface, his eyes locked on the boat. Just when I thought he was going to come aboard, he dropped like a stone to the river bottom. The commotion startled a roseate spoonbill, which flew across the river to a high branch, its 4-foot hot-pink wingspan and spatula-shaped bill a sight to behold. A red jacana’s long toes allowed the bird to spread its weight and run across the water on lily pads. Bats napping on the shady side of a tree trunk below stalks of banana orchids didn’t budge. As the boat slowly rounded the next bend in the river, we were in for another surprise, a half-dozen naked Mennonite farmers cooling off in the water, their pale skin — except for sun-reddened forearms, necks and faces — clearly visible in the shallow water. Straw hats, blue work shirts and overalls were piled on a pier. Not shy, they waved enthusiastically. I automatically waved back, but my eyes were busy scanning the water for submerged crocs. The Mayan word “Lamanai,” by the way, means “submerged crocodile.”

In photos: A lazy stroll around Caye Caulker
The Belizian island of Caye Caulker (pronounced “key”) is known for its slow-paced lifestyle and no-worries attitude with a gorgeous Caribbean backdrop. One lazy Sunday morning, we rose early (two hours earlier than we thought, come to find out!) to go to church, and after finding the church was still closed, we decided to take a leisurely stroll around this tiny, sandy island. Although we spent five full days on the island, it was during our walk that morning that we were able to breathe in the atmosphere of the island without the sounds of other tourists and backpackers crowding out its charm (they were all still sleeping off the night before!). Start by walking down the sand-covered “Front Street,” home to street vendors and sea-view restaurants. Stop by the Split for a quick swim and to get a look at the beautiful marine life that frequents the area. In the afternoon, be sure to grab a freshly prepared dessert from the Cake Lady and drop by Jolly Roger’s Grill for a lobster lunch (you may be able to negotiate a good price and even pick out your own lobster!). After lunch, head back down to the Split for some time in the sun and sand while enjoying a few drinks from the Lazy Lizard bar. In the evening, head to the opposite side of the island, parallel to Front Street, to soak in the sunset.

January 14, 2013


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The January 13th, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • From Jail To Jail Again - Puc Is back In Jail:
    the community for the New Year is said to have occurred a mere ten hours after the passage of the old year. In this incident, an estranged boyfriend, fresh out of prison, is reported to have attacked and inflicted five stab wounds to a former girlfriend. San Ignacio police reports that acting on a 911 call at around 10:45 on New Year’s Day, a team of policemen rushed to #12 on 15th Street where they encountered a bleeding woman standing outside the house. She was later identified as Julisa Flores, 25, Guatemalan laborer of the same address. The accused, later identified as Alvin Puc, 31, Belizean laborer residing in the village of San Jose Succotz, was encountered on the scene in the custody of a group of neighbors who had effected a citizens’ arrest.
  • Recording The Passing Of Mr. Godsman Ellis:
    It is with profound sadness that we record the January 9, 2013 passing of a pioneering Belizean, Mr. Godsman Celestino Ellis, 83. Godsman Celestino Ellis was born in Honduras on November 9, 1929. He passed away on January 9, 2013, exactly two months after his 83rd birthday. Although he was born in Honduras, his visionary Belizean father by birth decided it would be best to register his son in British Honduras. When Godsman Ellis was only eight months old his father returned to British Honduras where Godsman would spend the rest of his life. He attended Sacred Heart Primary School in Dangriga up until he was ten years of age, when he was approached by an instructor named Eric Sebastian requesting for Godsman to accompany him to Xaibe Village in the Corozal District where he completed his primary education. It was in the Corozal District that the young Godsman Ellis was afforded the opportunity to learn the Spanish language. It was also in Corozal that he discovered his appreciation for the Maya culture.
  • Cousin Charged in Cousin’s Stabbing Death:
    Ten days after the December 21, 2012 stabbing death of a Santa Elena man, police is reporting the arrest and incarceration of the man they believe committed the crime. The accused murderer Joseph August, 22, was first detained shortly after December 22 discovery of the body of Rene Vera inside the bedroom of his residence on Bishop Martin Street in Santa Elena. Although August was reportedly found with scratch wounds to various parts of the body, the evidence was reportedly insufficient to proceed with the murder charge. He was held for the prescribed 48 hours and was released.
  • Conorque And Gongora Facing Assault Charges:
    A man who is said to have used a knife and a gun to assault a male resident of Esperanza Village was today remanded to prison on two aggravated assault charges while his young accomplice, similarly charged, was freed on a three thousand dollar bail. San Ignacio police reports that at around 7:00 pm on Sunday, December 30, 2012, the victim, Gabriel Pennil, 30, Belizean farmer of Esperanza Village departed the home a friend he visited in Georgeville Village. Pennil was reportedly on his way to the bus stop in Georgeville, when in the area of the basketball court, he was attacked by two male persons he has known for over eight years. In a statement to the police the victim informed that one of the male persons pulled out a knife with a wooden handle, from his waist and advanced towards him in a stabbing motion. He said that the second person ordered him not to make any foolish moves. He identified the attackers as Jovan Conorque and Brandon Gongora.
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Misc Belizean Sources

Rights of Belizean citizenship should be made clear - there is too much confusion
A person who is born in the country of Belize is automatically a citizen of Belize. A person who was not born in Belize but is the spouse, child or other offspring of a natural born Belizean citizen can apply for Belizean citizenship through marriage or “citizenship by descent", providing that he or she comes from a country that accepts Belize's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty. Most countries in the world accept Belize as an independent country except Guatemala, so legally Guatemalans are not entitled to Belizean citizenship. Even though thousands of Guatemalans have been granted Belizean citizenship in the past, this act was in violation of the Belize Constitution as it now stands. Guatemala has been claiming Belize for years as their territory and, due to this, all Belizeans were considered citizens of Guatemala up until the independence of Belize on September 21, 1981.


Bus Conductor From Benque Viejo Charged For Drug Trafficking
On Thursday, tenth of January, Belmopan Police acted on information received and conducted a search on an D and E bus bearing license plates BVO-00440 heading to Belize City from Benque Viejo del Carmen. The officers conducted the search in the presence of the bus conductor, eighteen year old Judith Angelica Molina of Benque Viejo Town. The search resulted in the discovery of a box tied with green string. When the box was opened, it contained another box within it which also had enclosed two parcels wrapped in duct tape. The two parcels appeared to be suspected cannabis and weighed a total of 4.5 kilos. As a result of the find, eighteen year old Judith Molina was arrested and charged with Drug Trafficking. Also present during the time of the search was 48 year old Ernesto Castillo, bus driver. Castillo was arrested and charged for assaulting a police officer as during the search, he pushed one of the officers. Castillo was fined $1,000 and given thirty-one days to pay or serve two years in prison.

New Exhibit To Be Featured At Corozal House Of Culture
Many of us are too young to remember or have lived through the worst storm in Belize’s history, Hurricane Hattie. Stories told by our grandparents and parents depict a horrific experience and the death of hundreds of Belizeans. Up to today, only several pictures of that tragic day have been seen by a handful of Belizeans. Well, that is soon to change. On Tuesday, January 15th, Corozaleños will be able to relive Hurricane Hattie once more with an exhibition set to open at the Corozal House of Culture. The exhibition is fruit of the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Museums of Belize, House of Cultures and the National Institute of Culture and History. The exhibition will be opened under the theme, “Hurricane Hattie Exhibit” with the objective of educating visitors on the monster storm that hit Belize in 1961.

Nearly Half a Million Dollars Goes In Flames
In March of 2012, Minister of Forestry Lisel Alamilla issued a moratorium on rosewood effecting the immediate stop of the cutting and exportation of this lumber. With the stop order issued on rosewood, an assessment of the remaining amount of rosewood should have been done in efforts of determining the sustainability of the product. Up to news time tonight, no such assessment and inquiry into the sustainability of Rosewood has been concluded. Yesterday, a delivery truck was caught attempting to extract a shipment of rosewood from the Toledo district and was quickly stopped by quick action by Alfonso Cal of the Toledo Alcaldes Association. Cal immediately reported the truck to the Police and Forestry Departments who responded quickly to detain the freight truck. An inspection by the Forest Department unveiled 765 round and short fledges along with 69 barrels, which are the stump of the rosewood already cut and prepared for sale. This latest incident has left many residents of the Golden Stream and Deep River communities disgruntled and up in arms.

Fifteen Year Old Charged For Carnal Knowledge
Tonight, a fifteen year old minor has been charged for unlawful carnal knowledge at the San Pedro Police station. According to the police sitrep, a fifteen year old female minor from Benque Viejo Town visited the police station in that municipality with her mother to make an official report of sexual abuse. The minor reported to police that sometime during the month of June and again in the month of December 2012, she travelled to San Pedro Town to visit a friend. The female minor reported that on both occasions the male minor took her to his father’s house where he had sexual intercourse with her. After making her report to the Benque Viejo Police Department, the female minor underwent a medical examination which certified that she had been carnally known. As a result of the report, the case file was handed over to the San Pedro Police where officers on the island arrested and charged the fifteen year old male minor with two counts of “Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.”

New Commissioner Of Police Officially Appointed
Well, it has now been made official. The Belize Police Department has a new hierarchy, but the same Minister. The Minister of National Security held their third pomp and ceremonial changing of the guard exercise since the UDP took over in 2008 on Wednesday January 09. Newly appointed Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie addressed the gathering at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan. In his brief message, Whylir of e stated, “We are challenged with the issue of crime countrywide, but in particular, in Belize City. I want to tell you, don’t despair.” End quote. Being the third man to take up the mantle of ComPol, there’s not much hope or comfort provided to the residents of Belize in those words, unless Whylie intends to undertake very radical changes within the security forces of Belize. Minister of National Security John Saldivar thanked and praised outgoing Commissioner of Police David Henderson for his hard work and hands on approach during his tenure. Henderson now takes over as Director of the National Forensic Science Services which is amalgamated with the Scenes of Crime Unit. Swearing in of all the new posts were conducted by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. We wish Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie and everyone in the Belize Police Formation all the best and hope they bring much needed relief and safety to the Belizean people.


Although there's no sandy beach, one of the unexpectedly delightful features of Campeche, Mexico is its gulf-front pedestrian and bike path. This path was only a couple of quick blocks from the Hotel Castlemar, where we were staying. It borders the Gulf of Mexico, providing a beautiful sunset view to the west, and a safe place to walk or ride a bicycle. We didn't have any bicycles with us, of course, but we enjoyed watching a few serious cyclists (on road bikes, even!) fly by. Barry was especially impressed to see how many locals were jogging or fitness walking in the early evening and morning. The path is long, and several attractive monuments and small parks are strategically placed along its distance. I never made it the entire way (saving my tired feet for the long trek to the bus stop with my pack), but Barry was determined to see just how long it was, so he walked its entire length. He discovered that it was over three miles long, end to end. Definitely a fine place to get your fitness on!

Yesterday saw the end of the tenth week since our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize began. With twenty-five percent of the project time lapsed Rose and I spent time today reflecting on the experience so far. We have found it exciting, exhilarating on occasions, thought provoking and sometimes it is all that we think and talk about. But, and it is. BIG, it is thoroughly enjoyable.

International Sources

Belize Rejecting Argentine Default Model Spurs Region-Best Rally
Belize’s dollar bonds are rallying the most in emerging markets after the Central American nation improved a restructuring offer that was worse than what Argentina gave creditors following its 2001 default. The debt has returned 18.6 percent this month, the most among 55 emerging-market countries tracked by JPMorgan Chase & Co’s EMBIG index. Bond prices rose 7.84 cents last week to 49.95 cents, up from a low of 30.11 cents on Aug. 23 following the government’s decision to skip a $23 million coupon payment, its second default in six years.

The Crystal Skull Saga: Indiana Jones Prop Spurs Lawsuit Over Artifact Stolen From Belize
If your pop culture memory is dim, you may not recall that back in 2008 the fourth Indiana Jones movie had Harrison Ford returning to his aging archaeologist-adventurer character for a quest involving a crystal skull. Now a lawsuit has been filed alleging that the featured crystal skull was in fact modeled on one illegally taken out of Belize by a real life adventurer. The lawsuit was filed last month, according to the Hollywood Reporter, by an attorney for Dr. Jaime Awe, who serves as the director of the Institute of Archeology of Belize, on behalf of the nation of Belize. It has multiple targets, including Lucasfilm (recently bought by Disney) and Paramount Pictures for their ”illegal profits” from using a skull in the movie that “clearly resembles” one claimed to have been stolen out of Belize by English traveller and amateur archeologist F.A. Mitchell-Hedges in the 1930s. The Hollywood Reporter quotes the complaint: ”Lucasfilm never sought, nor was given permission to utilize the Mitchell-Hedges Skull or its likeness in the Film. To date, Belize has not participated in any of the profits derived from the sale of the Film or the rights thereto.” Despite their stories of ancient curses and origins, there is much speculation about crystal skulls being authentic. The one housed at the British Museum was revealed to have actually been made in the 19th century, rather than by ancient Mayans, and the same was found to be true of the crystal skull at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris and the one at the Smithsonian.

Who Was Keino Quallo? By Aria Lightfoot
Who was Keino Quallo? Many people see a black unshaven face and a headline. “Four Gangbangers brutally murdered”. He matches what people think a “gang” banger looks like. They have no idea of who he is or where he came from, what led him down his path. All people know and feel is that they are stricken by fear because of violence. Any solution, even state-sanctioned murder, is an acceptable solution. The thinking is, he was a menace to society – so who cares, he probably have killed many more people and getting his just desserts. Not so fast… I met Keino in High School. I must have been about 14 years old, my second year in High School and he was one year ahead. Keino arrived in Belmopan with such notoriety. He was arrested in the U.S. for drug trafficking at the age of 15 years old. His father was a well-known attorney, Glenford Quallo, was recently murdered. Keino popularity grew fast at Belmopan Comprehensive School. He was charming, articulate, athletic, tall, and very intelligent. He was a snappy dresser and carried himself with a lot of confidence, therefore the women flocked him.

January 13, 2013


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

Misc Belizean Sources

Corporal Andrews and three other police officers under criminal investigation by the Belize Police Force
Yet again our outstanding police force has come to the forefront of criminal enterprises. At 2:30 in the morning on Tuesday, a local resident who is over 65 years of age was arrested. Corporal Andrews and his merry band of 3 uniformed police officers demanded entry into the home of this longtime resident. They then produced a piece of paper that he was not allowed to read, and said they were there to search the house for illegal liquor. They found some and were going to arrest him, but he produced a receipt for the alcohol that he had purchased at Belize International Airport the previous week. They then discovered countless pairs of sunglasses and said they were illegal, until the produced the importation receipt with all duties paid showing by Belize Customs. As the police are searching this relatively large apartment and are in every room, they find a small bowl, which you can buy from any street vendor for $20 Bz… they then arrest him for the smuggling of Maya artifacts. As they were reading him his rights, he noticed that his ‘hidey-hole’ had been disturbed and discovered that $5,000 US was stolen from it, but he was bundled into the car and then thrown into a jail cell. The police refused to allow him to make a phone call, but he managed to get the cleaner to call a friend who is a Belizean citizen. This pillar of society arrived at the Police Station and was not allowed to see his friend.

Channel 7

Forestry Minister Makes Bold Move; Burns Illegal Rosewood Cargo
Last night, 7News told you about that big rosewood bust in the Village of Golden Stream in the Toledo District. Currently, it is illegal to extract rosewood, and nobody should have any license to do it because of the indefinite moratorium which hangs over the trade. That didn't stop licensee Hilmar Alamilla from trying to smuggle hundreds of flitches out, but fortunately, he was caught in the act of trying to move them by villagers who called in the authorities. Today, we travelled down to Golden Stream to meet with the Minister of Forestry who was scheduled to make a statement on the trade. And what a powerful statement it was! So powerful that it was already attracting major feedback about an hour after it was made in a remote area of the country without any cellular phone service. What's the statement? Well, you'd have to see it to believe it:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting Experts from the Forestry Department conservatively estimate that this cargo of rosewood represents a value of $400,000. While cognizant of that, the Minister of Forestry made the decision to burn every last flitch of wood. She says that her Ministry must do it to send a clear message to illegal loggers. Hon. Lisel Alamilla - Minister Of Forestry "What we are doing today is burning the rosewood that we confiscated on Wednesday night`. My ministry has had enough; enough is enough. We have been battling this rosewood business for the last 9 months since I assume office and we have not been able to put a dent into the rosewood illegal logging and so we want a clear message sent to everyone who is involved in this rosewood business that their moratorium stands."

Deputy Com Pol Maintains Police Non-Affiliation With George Street Mass Murder
At the Prime Minister's Press Conference on Tuesday, PM Barrow confirmed that a special proclamation is going to be made to seal off Zone 4 -which includes the domain of the George Street Gang. Well tonight those three blocks from Dean and West Canal to Dean and West Street remain cordoned off and smothered by a heavy police presence - but the proclamation which would have enabled security forces to lock down the winder Zone 4 has not yet been activated. According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, they are waiting to see if the proclamation will come about - but in the meantime the police department continues to post both vehicles and foot patrols in these areas to ensued things remain in order. Elodio Aragon Jr., Deputy Comissioner of Police "At this point in time nothing official has been released as far as I know and therefore notwithstanding that we do continue to mount foot and vehicles patrols checkpoints etc. within the area. That's to ensure that we keep things at bay and thus far that is working and we will wait and see what comes if the proclamation does come or not."

New BTB Logo, New Marketing Direction
Today, the Belize Tourism Board held its twelfth annual industry presentation. This year it was done on the Tourism Minister's home turf in San Pedro town. And why not? In 2012, he presided over the best year for overnight tourism in half a decade - with arrivals soaring and earnings as well. But the BTB isn't content to rest on its laurels, it's moving forward with a new logo, and a fairly radical rebranding. We got a preview of the new look today:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is the Belize tourism logo you've known for the past 25 years, "Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret, but now it will be replaced by this - the new Belize Logo. This was the moment of the big reveal at today's Industry Presentation in San Pedro. The logo is designed by Olson - one of the biggest and most highly-regarded marketing firms in North America. According to their release, the BTB asked Olson to "refresh its marquee" from this old faithful, a good quarter century old to this what the company calls a quote "contemporary, yet classic vibe to represent tourism in Belize 'modern yet timeless.'" Director, Laura Esquivel Frampton explains: Laura Esquivel-Frampton, Director BTB "Every now and again it's every single company who is trying to sell a product to look at their brand, to look at their product, to look at what they are doing marketing wise and try to mix it up. We want to ensure that we are doing that before it gets stale."

Tourism Director: Cruise Tourism An Area Of Priority
And while there's plenty of back slapping and self-congratulation to go around for the sharp increases in overnight tourism - no one wanted to talk too much about Cruise Tourism. That important sector witnessed a ten per cent downturn in 2012 - and just this week, it was announced that Carnival was cancelling ten calls to Belize - which represents the loss of tens of thousands of visitors. Director Of Tourism Laura Esquivel Frampton said it is an area of priority, but, at this point, it's not a crisis:.. Jules Vasquez "There was a down turn in cruise tourism 10% is a massive and consequential down turn because it represents major losses for regular people." Laura Esquivel-Frampton, Director BTB "Yes and of course we did not toss it over. We are disappointed with those numbers and that is one of the reasons why we mentioned that we are creating a new position within the Belize Tourism Board "The Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives" we feel that it's important that we have somebody who is knocking on those doors who is constant communication with the cruise lines to ensure that we are hearing what they have to say and we are responding." Jules Vasquez "Are you all treating the propitious dip in cruise tourism arrivals as a crisis; as an emergency? Ten calls have been cancelled just for the remainder of this season?"

New Correctional Facility Is Ready
Last night on the news you heard the Police Minister speak about a new facility in Pine ridge for wayward young men. Well, today, they've provided pictures. It is in the Mountain Pine Ridge Area at the location of the former D'Silva Forest Station, which has been refurbished and renamed the Corrective Training Facility. It seeks to provide an alternate correctional environment other than the Belize Central Prison. Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, his CEO, and the heads of Belize Defence Force all toured the facility to see the progress of its preparation. This new facility will be managed and controlled by members of the BDF. According to the Minister and his team, the facility is now ready for the first inmates. At this time, there is no information from the National Security Ministry about what type of juvenile offenders will sent to this facility instead of the Belize Central Prison.

Robert Lopez Damaged No Property
Right now the family of Roberto Lopez is unhappy with the justice system because according to them, one of their neighbors is abusing the process and victimizing them. According the family, there is a man who lives near them in the Gungulung area of Belize City, and every night, the man parks his vehicle in front of their house before he crosses one of those "London Bridges". According to them, the vehicle's windshield has been smashed twice, and in both instances, he's accused their family members of doing it. According to Roberto Lopez, this man has used police to victimize him by bringing criminal charges against him without any evidence. He says that the only thing his is guilty of is having the misfortune of living in the house where the man chooses to park his vehicle. He told us that he wants to go public with this issue in hopes that the authorities will listen to him: Robert Lopez "He is trying to say that I broke his windshield. I know that the same day that got broken; I know that he would have blamed me for something, but I didn't break anything. I was in my room and when I out because the dogs were making a lot of noise. I

Another American Accuses Attorney Arthur Saldivar
In July of last year we told you about Richard Gentry, a retired US attorney who claimed that his local lawyer, Arthur Saldivar had defrauded him of $13,900.00 dollars. It was to pay stamp duty so that Gentry could get clear title for the Condo unit he was living on at Reef Village in San Pedro. Years passed, no title was forthcoming and, neither was any refund or disciplinary action. So Gentry came to 7news - and according to reports - he did end up getting his refund. And that's the same thing that a retired couple from Michigan want. They got caught in the same bad deal - and today in San Pedro they told us that they paid Saldivar $6,500 US dollars three years ago - and have not gotten title or their money back. They said that they had no choice but to come to the media:.. John Englehardt "We retained his service in order to obtained title for our condo and he assured us that we will have our title within 4 weeks after we pay our stamp duty tax and his fees to him which we did. It is now 2013 and we still haven't received title and Mr. Saldivar repeatedly fails to answer or correspond with us in any way shape or form. We have emailed him numerous times and he fails to reply back, so we are lost and we are not the only ones in this position." Cynthia Englehardt "There are 10 of us that I know of that are in this situation, so we talking somewhere between $75,000 - $100,000 that Mr. Saldivar has taken from us."

Burglar Jailed for 10 Years
30 year-old year Sheldon Lewis, a resident of Police Street who stole from a police officer, and got caught in the act, will spend 10 years in prison for it. According to police, at around 2:30 p.m. on October 29, 2011, Lewis broke into the Mahogany Heights home of Police Sergeant Frank Augustine. He was in the process of cleaning it out of all the valuables he could find, but residents saw what was happening, and called police. They responded and caught him red-handed with the officer's VCR, a knapsack filled with his clothing, and blender, and a lady's wrist watch, to a total value of $493. Witnesses came to testify to the very same in the case before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, and when it was his turn to provide a defence, he didn't call any witnesses on his behalf. He only told the court that he didn't commit the burglary, and that he went to the village to visit a friend.

Y.E.S. Intervenes With At Risk Youths
Youth Enhancement Services known as Y-E-S has gotten onboard with the US State Department and the Belize Police Department for a new Community Policing initiative. The three year, hundred thousand dollars project focuses on reducing youth involvement in violent crime. The project funds will assist in the renovation of the Southside pool near the Raccoon Street Police Station. In addition, the funds will be utilized to conduct training for parents of at-risk youths, annual camps for police cadets and scholarships for low-income youths that live on the south side of the city. Karen Cain of Y-E-S explained more: Karen Cain - YES Director "Today we have our opening ceremony for the CARSI grant, its US$187,100.00. It's a 3 year project that we will be facilitating in partnership with the community policing department." Monica Bodden "Tell us a little bit about the project?" Karen Cain - YES Director "The project has 3 main goal; one is to basically refurbished the pool on the Southside of Belize City right in the same compound with Raccoon Street Police Station and hopefully that pool then will engage Southside children in fun activities; learning how to swim, learning personal development and basically trying to reduce criminal activity and then the second objective of the grant was to facilitate camps for the police cadets and these camps will be held in the 3 zones area; central. Northern and the southern and hopefully we will take the camp in other districts so that the kids get to know the country as well.

Those Images From That Terrible Tuesday
Today, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize issued a statement on crime. It says that quote, "the tidal wave of crime that has gripped Belize City over the past year....cannot continue." IT adds, quote, "Additionally, images of the security forces with guns cocked with live rounds and aimed directly at grieving, protesting citizens followed by obvious shots being fired, certainly spur this perceived loss of confidence (in law enforcement.)" End quote. The NTUCB calls on government to activate RESTORE Belize for a policy discussion on gangs, the drug trade and gun control. They also call on the media to quote, "censor these images and downplay these crimes." And while the NTUCB wants censorship - but also refers to our images of security forces with guns cocked - the truth is, they can't have it both ways: rough times call for rough coverage. And that's what we saw this week. As we close tonight, we do so with a brief look back at some of those striking images that played out on Tuesday on Dean Street, George Street and Basra Street.


A Tale of Five Cities: Charming Campeche
As I mentioned in the previous post, we only had one afternoon, evening, and the next morning in Campeche, Mexico, but we managed to make the most of it and got a lot of walking in. This city we knew nothing about before arriving really did charm us with the beautiful cobblestone streets, colorful colonial facades, and handsome architecture. Here are some of the sights from our walks around town during our short visit.There were a couple of pedestrian-only streets we really enjoyed walking on. Part of the old wall around the city on the Gulf side City street near our hotel (on right) Mural There was a McDonald's in the newer part of the city, but we did NOT go! The ubiquitous Beetle Pedestrian street in the early evening (too early for the fashionable folks to eat dinner!) Park at night ...and during the day

Rio on Pools – Natural and Spectacular Waterfalls in Belize
Rio on Pools are beautiful and spectacular waterfalls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve of Belize that features a wide, open expanse of pine forest, and small waterfalls that cascade over large granite rocks, ending in round pools connected by natural waterslides. Below are some helpful hints to take into consideration before you visit these amazing waterfalls in Belize: Anyone can view these marvels of nature and take photos of the site regardless of their level of fitness. To access the pools and falls for swimming, you must either descend many stairs and then ascend them back up or take on a bit of a hike with the foot path. If you don’t want to tackle the steep and slippery hike back up from the pools, just bring your camera and enjoy the spectacular view. Once you are at the site, you can increase your adventure level by jumping from boulder to boulder to get to farther pools and falls. Bring Hat, towel, swimsuit, sunscreen, water, insect repellant, camera, and raingear if needed.

Moving On Up
Since moving to Ambergris Caye, Belize I have rediscovered looking forward to the weekend. When I was working the weekend was something to look forward to. An opportunity to ‘recharge the batteries’ after a long week at work ( I used to work long hours – don’t know why now, but I did). With retirement every day became somewhat like the weekend but with the TV coverage here for the English Premiership ( football (soccer) ) Saturday and Sunday are days to look forward to. Started the day well by watching Spurs drop two points when held to a draw by Queens Park Rangers, followed by a draw between Norwich and Newcastle United which was rounded off seeing West Ham United lose three nil to Sunderland. A full morning ( the Spurs game started at 6.45 am) on the sofa watching football and Sunday I have Manchester United v Liverpool and Arsenal v Manchester City to look forward to. Because of the full football programme Rose I and didn’t set off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize until the afternoon which was good because it allowed the guys to make some further progress since our visit on Friday. No surprise on parking the golf cart to hear the sound of the concrete mixer in action. We expected this because we knew that there were further columns to pour . What we didn’t expect though was to see that concrete was being poured to create the golf cart ramp. And by the time we arrived most of the concrete for it had been poured.

International Sources

Fishers travel to Belize on dental-themed mission trip
Dr. Stephen D. Fisher may have retired and sold his dental practice, but he has yet to perform his last oral surgery, thanks to the Belize Mission Project. “It’s a Christian-based mission trip,” Dr. Fisher said. He and his wife were joined by 40 other people from the United States on a trip last fall to provide free dental and medical care to people in Belize. “There were 14 dentists, three nurses, a physician, four dental hygienists, two dental lab technicians, an audiologist and several other dental assistants and general workers,” Dr. Fisher said. Dr. Fisher, who operated practices in Potsdam, Ogdensburg and Massena for 32 years, retired and sold his practice to Dr. Lee Akin in March 2011, but he said he knew that his dental career was not over. “I wanted to use my God-given talents to help others,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to go provide treatments to people in an unserved area.” During their weeklong stay in Belize, Dr. Fisher and his wife, Deborah L., stayed on the island of Ambergris Cay. During the day, Dr. Fisher saw patients in a clinic set up by participants in San Pedro’s Lions Den, the local Lions Club. “It was pretty primitive,” Dr. Fisher said. He said that they had no X-ray equipment, and that many of their tools were powered by a scuba tank. “Normally, you wouldn’t be working in such an open area. It’s a bit different than dental care in the United States,” Dr. Fisher said. “When you’re used to working in your private office with two staff members, it took a while to get used to people staring at you.” Dr. Fisher said he and his wife were responsible for bringing all of their own equipment and supplies. “I did mostly extractions,” he said. For patients with more serious needs, he issued referrals to an orthodontist on the mainland. Each day, he would see 20 to 30 patients.

John McAfee, Part 2: "The more ugly the woman, the better the sex."
Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee, who says he is now making Portland his home after fleeing Belize, has some unusual ideas about money and sex—some of which he shared with WW earlier this week in a wide-ranging interview. (We posted a portion of the interview Jan. 11, and we'll be running more excerpts over the next several days.) The international fascination with McAfee is due in part to the fact the Silicon Valley legend has made and lost more money than most people. But it's intensified when Belize authorities named a "person of interest" in the November murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull—followed by his flight from that country, his arrest in Guatemala, his deportation to the U.S., and his bizarre allegations about spying and terrorism conspiracies back in Belize. McAfee has now surfaced in Portland to work on a graphic novel with local illustrator Chad Essley (who appears and speaks in this video interview). In what seems to be a natural progression of this story, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news yesterday that Warner Brothers will be making a movie about McAfee and has secured the rights to a profile of him that appeared in Wired Magazine last year. In this portion of our interview with McAfee, which took place in a coffee shop on the east side, he talks about about how most people have the wrong idea about money and his "open hole" theory of capitalism. Then he started talking about sex.

Belize police distance themselves from multiple murders
Belize police have distanced themselves from any involvement in the murders of four men, whose bodies were found in an apartment in the city earlier this week. According to the results of the autopsies conducted on the bodies, the four men died from asphyxia, transection of the trachea and multiple cut wounds. The results also showed that two of the men received over 35 stab wounds each to the body. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Elodio Aragon, speaking on television here on Friday night, has distanced law enforcement officials from any involvement in the crime. “I will tell you right here, right now, the police department is in no way involved in these acts that have been speculated out there by the public. “There is no reason why the police would have done something like this. So I want to dispel that kind of thinking and I ask the general public, think about it, what do the police have to gain from doing things like these,” he added. Aragon said that while the special police unit “has been out there actively working to deal with the gang situation” it would “never engage in these kinds of acts”. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed holding talks with the leaders of the notorious George Street Gang after the bodies of the four men were found. Barrow told reporters that he led a delegation that included National Security Minister John Saldivar for talks with the leaders and said that an arrangement had been reached for them to leave the area and not seek to retaliate against people they believe committed the murders. Since the start of the year, at least eight people have been murdered including 22-year-old Feeshia Felix, who was shot while she slept at her home. Police said there were no new leads regarding the murders of the four men.

Ecotourism: Can Belize Handle the Heat?
With its diverse landscape, Belize is a symbolic ecosystem laboratory. Certainly, this terrain—replete with exotic rainforests, dry plains, and a tropical, marine environment teeming with untold species of fish—is a paradise on Earth. Consequently, Belize is saturated in the wash of runaway tourism, which is the living engine of its economy. But even relative prosperity can bear the seeds of big problems. Tourism is imposing harsh penalties upon the country; and the gentle ecosystem is reeling under the strain. Although Belize has garnered a well-deserved reputation as an “eco-friendly” and “green conscious” nation, it continues to wobble under the virulent pressure of waste dumping, littering, beach erosion, and overcrowding—just to name a few. Accordingly, the Belize Tourist Industry Association (BTIA), which formed to promote eco-tourism, is acutely aware of this crisis. One of the single most insidious threats to ecological stability in Belize, though, is the cruise industry. Cruise Blues In the study, “Cruise Tourism in Belize: Perceptions of Economic, Social, and Environmental Impact—2006,” every local farmer and fisherman interviewed stated that quality of nature was highly important; and a majority indicated that solitude, cleanliness, and contact with nature was very important. Further, the majority also believed that cruise tourism contributed to serious environmental hazards like toxic waste pollution, extinction of wildlife species, and the spoilage of beaches and forests. When questioned, one travel manager expressed the notion that since cruise guests generally visit the country for a shorter stay and spend residential time on board, they do not cultivate familiarity and an appreciation for the locale.

January 12, 2013


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Ambergris Today

Belize Tourism Board Updates on Belize City’s Safety
The Belize Tourism Board sent out a release yesterday wanting to ensure Belize City visitors and citizens alike that the safety and security of all local tourism destinations and attractions is of paramount importance. While the BTB and citizens of the entire country are deeply saddened by the recent random acts of violence that have occurred in certain parts of Belize City, following a press briefing held on Tuesday, January 8, by the Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, the Ministry of National Security and the Police Department, The Belize Tourism Board is satisfied that the rapid response by local law enforcement coupled with the implementation of additional security measures has resulted in the containment of the situation in the affected area thereby safeguarding both residents and visitors. “With the best interest of our visitors and stakeholders, and by extension, our industry, the Belize Tourism Board continues to monitor the situation,” mentioned the BTB release. Since the incident occurred, the BTB has met periodically with local law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of National Security, and continues to dialogue with key partners in Tourism. The BTB recognizes the significance of City Tours, and wants to assure the industry that if the need arises to make further calls, it will advise and act with the best interest of the sustainability and longevity of Belize’s tourism industry.

Misc Belizean Sources

New Belize Logo
This is your Belize New Logo- Just launched at our 2013 Industry Presentations this morning.

Tres Viejos Mares Coming to Benque
Tres Viejos Mares will be performed in Benque on Sunday at 5pm. "'Tres Viejos Mares' an international play that has been presented in Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina and many other countries will be presented in Benque Viejo Del Carmen this Sunday January 13th, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. Mount Carmel Basket Ball Court It is such an honor to host the Central American Actors & Actresses, who are visiting Belize for the Encuentro, sponsered by many of Belize business establishments and spearheaded by BADA"

Barn & Grill After Dark
Trey at the Barn & Grill is having a special dinner on the 26th for the first full moon of 2013. Knowing Trey, this dinner is going to be amazing. Tickets went on sale today, and there are only 27 tickets left. "Tickets go on sale Friday January 11th. Trey Introduces ... Barn and Grill 'After Dark' - Our spin on Brazilian Style Steakhouse Dining!!! Buy your tickets now. Contact us by either calling us at 669-4828 / 635-3956, e-mailing us at or simply send us a Facebook message!! Can't wait to see you all there!"

FCD Environmental Youth Group
The Friends of Conservation and Development Environmental Youth Group had their meeting to elect this year's committee. It's great to see so many youths making a difference in the world. "The FCD Environmental Youth Club was established by FCD which is an NGO. The club was founded on the 15, April, 2011. This club is an environmentally friendly club which is set out to promote sustainability and awareness to the public."

VIDEO: BEL Cost of Power Challenges
BEL is prepared to share the burden of these increases with our customers so as to ease the impact on you. We have therefore proposed to the PUC to lower our earnings until the energy suppliers have recovered from their challenges. In the meantime, we encourage you to make a conscious effort to practice energy conservation. Visit our website at for useful tips on how you can save money by saving energy. PLUS: Save Money with these Energy Saving Tips from BEL!

Channel 5

Minister feels heat and destroys Rosewood
On Wednesday night, a local alcalde busted a delivery truck in Deep River, Toledo which was being readied to transport over seven hundred pieces of rosewood destined for the lucrative export market. A moratorium on the extraction of the precious wood was put in place last year, but you wouldn’t know that because the illegal [...]

No leads on murder of George Street Four
Going into the weekend, police and B.D.F. continue to patrol the area of Queen Square and Mesopotamia following Monday’s quadruple murder of George Street affiliates. As the families prepare to bury Leonard Meyers, Albert Fuentes, Anthony Perez and Keino Quallo, police are yet to uncover any clear lead or motive but on the streets the [...]

City Hall services now tied to overdue citizen bills
Motorists, property and business owners are being affected by the latest plan devised by City Hall to collect outstanding revenue owed in taxes. The Mayor says that persons who owe the city will have to pay up if they want to continue using services offered by the city.  City Hall’s newest way to collect income [...]

Master Plan and new logo for B.T.B.
The Belize Tourism Board held its industry presentation this morning at La Isla Bonita. The Board was out in full force and the report on the state of the industry was glowing with arrivals on an upward trend. A master plan for the next two years was unveiled and so was a new logo: Belize: [...]

Cruise arrivals down
While overnight visitor arrivals are up, cruise tourism suffered a ten percent decrease in 2012. A recent announcement by Carnival Cruise Line to cancel ten calls in 2013 will impact cruise arrivals, but the B.T.B. is optimistic, saying it expects that this year will hold its own. Director of Tourism, Laura Esquivel-Frampton says they are [...]

Was there a botched surgery at Western Regional?
A family from Billy White Village in the Cayo District is up in arms tonight following an incident at the Western Regional Hospital. Gomercido Pop and his common-law-wife, Josephat Choc, are the happy parents of baby boy Gregorio Casteliano Pop. Choc was admitted to the hospital last Thursday with labor pains and the baby boy [...]

Couple didn’t get Condo and attorney returned fee
There is a serious allegation against a prominent attorney tonight. A couple from Michigan in the US is accusing attorney Arthur Saldivar of accepting payment, but not delivering services. The couple, John and Cynthia Engelhardt, claim that they paid Saldivar thirteen thousand dollars to process their title for a condo in San Pedro. That was [...]

Horse’s wife charged with evidence suppression
  Pamela Bennett Garnett, who along with her entire family, was remanded to prison in connection with the murder of nineteen year-old Raheem Requeña on December nineteenth, 2012, was before the court today. Pamela appeared along with her son Mark Vernon before Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith. Vernon is facing new charges but he and [...]

Guatemalan national charged for using aunt’s passport
Olga Marina Gutierrez Larios, a Guatemalan national who resides in San Pedro has been using her aunt’s passport for the past six years but she was caught in the act and now has to pay a one thousand dollar fine or in default six months in prison. The Guatemalan national, who has as many as [...]

Mayor’s final words on cemetery and undertaker situation
The Lord’s Ridge Cemetery and Eternal Garden are the two resting sites controlled by the Belize City Council. On December seventeenth, 2012, the Council informed undertakers and funeral homes that it would take control of the building of tombs and vaults at these sites to ensure quality control. There has been an expected backlash from [...]

More Belize City street upgrades and less diversions
In a decade of what some may call inactivity and decaying infrastructure, Mayor Darrell Bradley is adding his personal touch to the city’s landscape. Instead of constructing unsightly signs with names of donors, as has been done in the past, the mayor is concreting streets that have fallen apart. The ongoing work which has to [...]

Youth Enhancement Services gets huge check from CARSI
Youth Enhancement Services received a cheque of one hundred and eighty-seven thousand one hundred U.S. dollars courtesy of the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). The monies will fund a three year project that is being undertaken in collaboration with Community Policing Unit of the Police Department to fulfill three goals including: the renovation of [...]

Photographer’s exhibit for the birds
The Belize Audubon Society is the premier organization for knowledge of birding in Belize. But a photographer, who has recently found an eye for the winged creatures, has made them the subject of his most recent exhibition. According to Noel Escalante, his passion has culminated to over a hundred photographs on display at the rotunda [...]

2 girls carnally known; one pregnant
Two cases of Carnal Knowledge are under investigation in the north and south of the country. In Orange Walk, a fifteen year old girl was accompanied by her mother to file a report against her boyfriend, Robert Tuyub. The minor told police that on December fourteenth, 2012, she went to Akihito Hotel with Tuyub at [...]


Funny Video Talks About The Reality Of The Jewel
The rampant crime wave in Belize City has become cause of concern for Belizeans here at home and abroad. And if you don’t believe us just take a look at all the comments left on the various social networks including Facebook. Belizeans across the line now fear for their lives. However, advocacy in the modern world of today has become easy using technology as it allows for the population to be educated in stylish manners. A short video published by a young Belizean on the famous YouTube on January 9th 2013 is evidence of what we are talking about. The video, which speaks about the violence in city and the Prime Ministers negotiations with Gang Leaders, gives one more or less an idea of how the youth of today think about the way Government is handling the crime situation that is plaguing the country. The video, which is funny per say, has had more than 1000 views so far and speaks the reality of Belize. To video can be viewed on You Tube or Facebook.

Two Cases Of Carnal Knowledge Reported One In The North and One In the South
While Orange Walk police search for Noel Zetina, they are also looking for one male individual in reference to a report of Carnal Knowledge made by a 15 year old minor. The minor, accompanied by her mother, visited the Orange Walk Police Station where she reported that on the 14th of December 2012 at around 10:00am she and her boyfriend, who hails from the Village of Douglas in the Orange Walk District, visited a hotel here in town where they had sexual intercourse. Tonight police are looking for the minor’s boyfriend in connection to this incident. A report of carnal knowledge was also made in Punta Gorda Town, by a 15 year old minor. The child, in the company of her mother, told police that on three separate incidences in the month of October 2012 and sometime in the month of November 2012 she had sexual intercourse with a man from the same town who took her to his home where the act was committed. A medical examination has confirmed that apart from being carnally known, the 15 year old minor is also 12 weeks pregnant. Police are looking for one man for questioning.

Shots Fired In Sugar City, Two Men Injured
Orange Walk nearly turned deadly last night after shots rang out in the Little England Area of Liberty Avenue. Tonight two men, who live in the area, are lucky to be alive as a barrage of bullets was fired at them injuring the men on several parts of their bodies. The incident played out around 9:00 last night when 41 year old Amin Mendez Sr. and Evander Bennett visited the area of Little England in search of one Noel Zetina better known as (PEKAS). Little did the men know that death was lurking in the dark, somehow though, they managed to escape from its grab. Carmelita Perez Reports. Carmelita Perez-Reporting The peace and quiet of Liberty Avenue in Orange Walk Town was interrupted last night as shots rang out around 9:00pm. Residents living in an area known as Little England which forms part of Liberty Avenue claim to have heard seven gunshots fired into the night. As the news spread that two men had been shot residents decided to investigate the matter and that is when they found 41 year old Amin Mendez Sr., Belizean businessman of Liberty Avenue better known as (Moncho) and 26 years old Evander Bennet, Belizean laborer of Gravel Lane Orange Walk lying on the side of the street suffering from gunshot wounds. While Mendez was shot on the face, right arm, right hand, right cheek and lower back, bullets found their mark on Bennett’s upper chest area, stomach and right hand. A blood trail left behind by one of the men shows that he managed to escape from the area and ran into Liberty Avenue while the second victim collapsed at the corner of Bliss Drive and Liberty Avenue. According to Hector Umana one of the victims collapsed right in front of his store.

Did Customs Find 77 Rounds Of AKA 47 At Northern Border?
On January 6th 2013, 22 year old Mexican National Zurisaday Villasenor Mendez, accused with 1 count of keeping a prohibited firearm, 2 counts of keeping prohibited ammunition, 3 counts of keeping an unlicensed firearm, 4 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition, 5 counts of drug trafficking, and 6 counts of possession of controlled drugs, appeared before the Corozal Magistrates Court for hearing. Two issues were submitted by attorneys Dickie Bradley and Arthur Saldivar. Firstly, they sought the recusal of Cayo Magistrate Nardia Morgan on grounds that there is an appearance of bias since she presented herself to the magistrate court where there is a sitting magistrate. Secondly, the attorneys argued that she is not properly appointed in accordance with section ninety-three of the Belize Constitution. After all the submissions, the magistrate ruled that she would proceed to hear the case since she was assigned specifically to the Corozal case and that she was not biased since she did not know the accused person. After hours of deliberation, the case was adjourned for January 17th. Since his first court date, Mendez’s appearance at the court has been highly guarded since Corozal Police received information that there might be an attempt to free him. Reports that we are receiving today are very disturbing because reliable sources tell us that on the same day of Mendez’s court hearing Customs Officials found 77 rounds of AKA 47 strapped to a belt stuffed in a dirt bin at the Northern Border. We understand that the rounds were handed over to Corozal Police. Today we tried verifying the report with Officer In Charge of the Corozal Police Formation, Andrew Ramirez, but all our efforts proved futile.

OWTC Concerned With Violence In The Louisiana Area
The horror of hearing rumbling gunshots in the neighborhood of the Louisiana Area here in Orange Walk Town last night, has stirred fear amongst residents after two men were shot multiple times just after 8:00. In an effort to safe guard the lives of residents living in the area, the Orange Walk Town Council sent out a letter directed to the Senior Superintendent of the Orange Walk Police Department, Joseph Myvette inviting law enforcement officers to a public meeting after they failed to attend a neighborhood watch meeting held on November 7th 2012. Josue Carballo-Acting Mayor OW “It is beyond the letter sent out to Senior superintendent Myvette also it is a part of an invitation that we are extending to the entire community and in particular the neighborhood of the Louisiana area and the meeting is it one that we have necessary and urgent into the escalation of crime ad shootings which has happened within the past months within that neighborhood.” Elmer Cornejo – Reporter “And what are you asking for with the letter sent to him?” Josue Carballo-Acting Mayor OW “We are asking for the participation and the presence of the police department and this is a follow up of that the meeting we had in November 7th of 2012 at the liberty avenue area in which from back then the residence were already looking for security as an issue of high priority and in the letter we made four main recommendations given by the public act then which was the need of greater control of public shops, to alleviating the legal consumption of alcohol around their premises and secondly they needed more patrols in the area which thru the avenue vicinity, around the Louisiana school and the riverside area, thirdly another recommendation was the eventual a police sub-station in that neighborhood and fourthly the formation of a neighborhood watch group in that area. These are some of the recommendations given back then and beyond that with the new occurrences the new incident that had brought great public concern, it is time to sit down with the residence and dialogue with them and find out their recommendations and the way forward then in particularly the Louisiana area of the town.

Libertad Cane Farmers Call Out Minister Of Health Pablo Marin
Cane Farmers in the Village of Libertad are tonight up in arms with the Ministry of Health. Right about now you may be wondering why since they are into agriculture right? Well, in order to find out what the dispute is all about today Reporter Elmer Cornejo and Cameraman Kenrick Simpson travelled further north to the Village of Libertad where they found out more. Elmer Cornejo – Reporting Have you heard about the Good Samaritan? The story does repeat itself in the modern world of today. Cane farmers of the Libertad Branch are today in disbelief as the workers of the Ministry of Health, following orders of the Minister of Health Pablo Marin, arrived in the Village yesterday and dismantled the windows and doors of the building. Years ago in the 1970’s, the building we can say, was “lent” to the Ministry of Health by cane farmers who now want it back since it’s no longer being used as a health centre. Matias Gutierrez- Resident of Libertad “At that time Mr. Henry was the chairman of the branch so he volunteered to donated to the village and that was in the 1970’s so it came that they got through with it and it is very good to have something for the village but I mean that the time come that they wanted a new clinic so they build a new clinic and there they have it now.” Eieden Romero- Cane Farmer/Ex Village Chair “Yesterday when I was driving around the village I saw that the ministry of health are destroying the building and breaking down the windows and everything and that got me mad because the cane farmers we get money from Fair Trade and we thought that the building we will get it completely so that we just invest a little bit of money, so that we can put all the machinery there and will help the students there putting a computer there with internet but now you can see how the building is and it is a shame that the ministry had come here in Libertad and do this in our village.”

COLA Says No To Referendum
In October 13th of this year residents of Belize and Guatemala will take part in a simultaneous referendum to decide whether or not to take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice. Steadfast against that referendum is Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action, COLA. In the month of December 2012 the organization launched its position paper rejecting the referendum and the ICJ. In the paper, COLA outlined several recommendations, which according to them will put an end to the long standing territorial dispute. Among the recommendations is that Belize withdraws from the Organization of American States. For context here is what COLA’s President, Giovanni Brackett, had to say when interviewed by the media in Belize City. Giovanni Brackett- COLA’s President: “We believe that the special agreement or the compromis that was signed which proposes to settle the dispute by means of going to the ICJ, would qualify as such and required its own referendum. In other words Duane, we at COLA believes that the compromis in itself by our constitution—because it proposed a settlement to the Guatemala claim—should have been taken to the House of Representative so that the house could have debated the matter objectively, thoroughly. And then hence the people should have been given a chance through a referendum to vote whether or not we wanted to sign-on to the compromis. Instead what we had was the compromis already signed, a done deal, was brought to the House and just introduced as done.


Tourism Industry review of 2012 shows increases increase of over 10% in overnight tourist arrivals
The annual Tourism Industry presentation was done in Ambergris San Pedro Caye today. Stakeholders from all over the...

Sheldon Lewis found guilty of burglary
30-year-old Sheldon Lewis was found guilty of burglary today. Lewis was accused of entering the home of Police Serg...

BDF forces guard morgue during Post Mortem examinations
Post Mortem examinations for the persons who were brutally murdered were conducted yesterday in Belize City. As the...

Rosewood goes up in flames in the south
The Minister of Forestry Hon. Lisille Alamilla, along with other forestry officers, were in Golden Stream today bur...

NTUCB says the violence cannot continue
The nation has been focused on the crime situation in the country of recent. Voices of concern have arisen nationwi...

Minister John Saldivar tours new Corrective Training Facility
A new Corrective Training Facility for petty offenders is to be established in Mountain Pine Ridge. Today, Minister...

Doran Moody charged with attempted murder of Mark Davis
29 year old Doran Moody, a farmer and resident of Biscayne Village, was charged with attempted murder, use of deadl...

BTB assures tourists of safety and security of all local tourism destinations
On Wednesday we told you about Independent cruise operators, who received numerous text messages saying that they h...

BNE begins new drilling programme
BNE has started a new drilling programme in Belize. This week, BNE's chairperson, Susan Morrice, told RTE news in I...

Father shoots son accidentally
A father mistakenly shot his son. The incident happened in Lucky Strike Village, in the Toledo District. Police vis...

18 year old woman was arrested for drug trafficking after bus was searched
An 18 year old woman was arrested for drug trafficking. On Thursday January 10th, Belmopan Police conducted a searc...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

VIDEO: Littoral Forest Preserve – Caye Caulker, Belize
Walking from La Casa Azul (private beach house rental) into town. Crocodile at end


US Embassy advises its citizens to “stay away”. Citywide panic ruled most of the streets of the old capital for most of Tuesday, January 8, especially in the Queen’s Square and Mesopotamia divisions on the Southside, after it was announced that four massacred bodies had been discovered at about 7:00 in the morning in the upper flat of an apartment at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. The murders of the four men, some of whom were known members of the George Street gang, were rendered all the more horrific when it was reported that their throats had been cut, and the bodies had suffered many stab wounds and bore cut marks of torture. The murders also had international repercussions: after the confrontation between angry relatives and friends of the slain men and the police, the US Embassy almost immediately released a travel advisory which “informs U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Belize of several gang-related homicides that occurred in Belize City on January 7, 2013. While there is no indication that U.S. citizens are targeted or otherwise under direct threat, there is a possibility that retaliatory violence could take place. As a precaution, the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer has advised U.S. Government personnel to avoid travel to Belize City for the time being.” Almost immediately after the discovery of the butchered bodies, grieving relatives, gang members and friends of the slain men — Leonard “Ghost” Myers, 30; Albert “Long John” Fuentes, 19, of George Street; Anthony Henry Perez, 28, of Plues Street; and Keino Quallo, 40, of Dean and Plues Streets — began blaming the police’s feared Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), who have had a long, antagonistic relationship with the gang.

A post-mortem was conducted today on two of the bodies of four murdered men, Albert “Long John” Fuentes, 19, Leonard “Ghost” Myers, 30, Keino Quallo, 40, and Anthony Perez, 28, who were found dead in an apartment at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets on the morning of Tuesday, January 8. The autopsy was conducted on the bodies of Albert Fuentes and Leonard Myers. The examination found that the cause of death of Fuentes was asphyxia and stab wounds. His mother, who witnessed the autopsy, said that she saw about 10 stab wounds in his chest, and his throat was slit. She requested a further test because of the possibility that he had been drugged. The doctor explained to her that the drug he noted was the type that was inhaled, which was put on cloth and placed over the nose. She requested verification, but at the conclusion of the procedures, nothing more was done in the way of further testing. The cause of death of Leonard Myers was declared to be stab wounds to his chest, back and throat. No member of his family was allowed to witness his autopsy, but the undertaker told his wife that he had been stabbed 38 times, and his throat slit.

Pratt told the court that he is a drug addict and had a relapse. Today, Nathan Pratt, 43, a resident of Vista Del Mar, was taken before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where he was charged with theft. According to a report by a supervisor at Enrique Martinez and Sons Limited, on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, Pratt, who was a driver of the delivery truck for the company, was to drop off one roll of 5/8 copper tubing valued at $206.00; one roll of 3/8 copper tubing valued at $103.00; half roll of 1/2 copper tubing valued at $77.50; half roll of 1/4 copper tubing valued at $40.50; and one disconnect switch valued at $25.90 at the Belize Water Taxi terminal, located on North Front Street, to be delivered to Caye Caulker. But later that day, the supervisor was informed that the abovementioned items had not been delivered. When he arrived at work at 8:00 the following morning, the supervisor found the delivery truck parked on the company compound. When he checked the truck, he realized that (1) black radio and amplifier valued at $100; (1) red 2-ton bottle jack valued at $40; (2) black and grey speakers valued at $1,200 were all missing from the truck’s interior. All the stolen items added up to $2,722.90, and are the property of Enrique Martinez and Sons Limited.

Moody chopped Mark Davis, 43, on New Year’s Day after a family misunderstanding. Doran Moody, 29, a farmer and resident of Biscayne Village, was today charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and grievous harm when he appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. According to a report to police by Mark Davis, at 7:00 on New Year’s night, he was called to his sister’s house to try and quell a misunderstanding between his niece and her common-law husband, Moody. Davis reported that he went to the house on his bicycle and that was when he encountered Moody in the yard. He told Moody to leave the yard and as he, Moody, was leaving the yard, he grabbed a machete from the frame of Davis’ bike, which was parked by a mango tree. Davis said that he and his sister both started to run, but he fell and that was when Moody pounced on him and chopped him with his own machete. Davis sustained chop injuries to his left hand, the left side of his face and his left ear, which was almost severed. He said that the only reason his attacker didn’t kill him was because Moody’s brother put himself between Moody and him, Davis.

The entire Football Federation of Belize Executive was in attendance today at the media luncheon to honor 4 FIFA Referees at the Santorini restaurant near Mile 46 on the George Price (Western Highway) on the outskirts of Belmopan. Also in attendance was the President of the Referees Committee, David H. Jones. In his address to the newly certified FIFA Referees 2013, FFB President Ruperto Vicente said that, “Refereeing is a key part of our sport. Without referees the game is not official. So, referees are an important and integral part of our football.” He congratulated the new FIFA Referees on their achievement, noting from his own past experience that, “It is never an easy task to pass the FIFA test… that is administered by FIFA… and to move on to the list of FIFA International Referees.” He also reminded the new inductees that, “Being a FIFA Referee, you must understand that it puts a heavy responsibility on you, because other referees will be looking at you as their role model. You will be the one to set the pace for them.” Vicente also used the occasion to encourage more young people to become referees. “I am calling on the Referees Committee to recruit younger referees, because the game is now a game for youth, and older referees cannot keep up with the youth…. Our football is growing, and it will grow a lot more this year, and in years to come. There will be more activities, more tournaments, and that means more football being played in this country – youth football, league football, inter-district football, semi-pro level football being played; and you will also have international matches to assist with and to referee. So, we are calling on the Committee to recruit younger referees, and to recruit them even from high school. We need referees who can critically think; referees who can make decisions without being questioned or without being intimidated. Those are the kind of referees that we’re looking for. We need those kinds of referees today.

The National Team of Belize played its third game at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 8, at the FFB’s Goal Project Stadium in Belmopan in preparation for its participation in the Copa Centroamericana tournament later this month in Costa Rica. The National Team won, 5-2, against recently crowned national champions, Belmopan Bandits. Scorers for the National Team were Harrison “Cafu” Roches (26’) and Deon McCaulay (55’, 74’, 78’ & 82’); while the Bandits got their goals from Kevin Rodriguez (77’) and Floyd Jones (86’PK). This was the third of three preparation games played by the National Team in five days, following a similar schedule as they will be playing in the Copa Centroamericana. In its first outing on Friday, January 4, the National Team drilled visiting Trigillos of Chetumal, Mexico, 7-nil; and then clipped the highly rated Platense FC of Honduras, 1-nil, on Sunday, January 6, at the same venue. At the Copa Centroamericana, Belize will go against host Costa Rica on January 18, Guatemala on January 20, and Nicaragua on January 22. According to our sources, the Belize National Team leaves for Costa Rica on Wednesday, January 16.

Cricket is not the number one sport in Belize, but it still has a solid following, especially in the Belize River Valley villages, where over a dozen teams participate in the annual cricket competition. Yesterday, Conway Young, Cricket Development Officer of the Belize National Cricket Association (BNCA) sent out the following release: “Attached is the tournament schedule that the Belize National Team will be competing in the Bahamas from February 04-10, 2013. “The Belize National Cricket Teams is still looking for sponsors to assist the players in this tournament. If anyone is interested in assisting the BNCT you can contact the Belize National Cricket Association at to get more information.” The attachment includes the games schedule for the Belize National Cricket Team in the ICC Americas Division 2 Championship which takes place in the Bahamas at the Haynes Oval. Participating teams are Panama, Argentina, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands, and Belize. Belize is scheduled to play against Panama on Tuesday, February 5; vs Bahamas on Wednesday, February 6; vs Turks & Caicos Islands on Thursday, February 7; (a bye on Friday, February 8) and vs Argentina on Saturday, February 9.

Editorial: The Slaughtering
Tuesday morning’s slaughtering of four leaders and/or affiliates of the George Street gang was a message being sent to that gang and the surrounding community. On the one hand, it may have been that the message was only intended for a section of the gang and the community, and, on the other hand, it may have been a broader message, a message for Belize City and Belize nation. A few years ago some Belize City men went fishing and disappeared somewhere outside the Barrier Reef. A couple days later, a single body was found, badly beaten, floating in shallow water at a southern section of the Reef. The single body found was that of a magistrate, a man who was generally thought to be “clean.” In the aftermath of the disappearances, there were questions which came up about the previous activities of two or three of the other men. None of the other six has ever been found. A few years before that, an English Caye watchman, his common-law wife, and a couple of their children disappeared on the way to the caye in a boat travelling from Belize City. None of them were ever found. Before Tuesday morning, Belize City and Belize nation had experienced the trauma of having to cope with sensational and gruesome murders and disappearances. There had been the case of a pilot for one of the local airlines who disappeared into thin air along with his plane. The difference between the disappearances, on the one hand, and Tuesday morning’s slaughtering, on the other, was that the community and the nation had to deal with the bloody visuals within hours of the slaughtering, and at the same time face the municipal upheaval of rash blame assignment and anticipated retaliation.

Dear Editor, In an ineffective attempt to lessen crime, the Government has directed a war against gangs that will result in hardened gang members and retaliation. The actions of the Government protect those in the upper level of crime and seek to punish the lower level offenders – gangs that the upper level has helped, created and has placed in untenable positions. Belize has two levels of crime. The lower level of crime comes from gang affiliation. The separate and upper level of crime arises out of corrupt politics. Those involved in the upper level of crime are politicians that put their own interest, or the interests of their cronies, ahead of the interests of the people of Belize. The lower level of crime, gangs, can never be resolved until the upper level of crime, corrupt politicians, is brought to an end. The reason is that the upper level of crime is a significant factor in bringing about and maintaining the problems that lead to gang affiliation. There are three primary problems that lead to gang affiliation. The first is lack of education that deprives the youth of the knowledge and ability to maintain himself. The second is fatherless homes where the child does not receive proper direction and support from his biological father. In the States, 70% of those in prison come from single parent homes. The third is lack of available employment by which the child can seek to maintain himself.

For many city residents, having a vehicle for personal use is more of necessity than a commodity. Many people commute on a daily basis, whether for work or school, so having their vehicle licensed is a must in order to carry out their daily activities. There is no dispute on the importance of keeping up-to-date on property tax payments as well. But now, the Belize City Council has decided to link property tax and vehicle licensing. The Belize City Council has decided that persons in arrears for property tax will be prohibited from licensing their motor vehicles until their tax payment has been made. Amandala spoke to several Belize City residents who said that they have been turned away and were not allowed to renew their vehicle license until they have made full payment of their property tax arrears. Those persons claimed that they were not aware of that policy before, and that it is an unfair policy, and probably illegal, because property tax and vehicle licenses are two different things. Amandala spoke to Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, who said that the policy came about as a result of the Council linking all of their systems by computer networks. “We are moving in a direction of linking traffic with property tax, and with liquor and trade and our building permits,” he said. “If you try and get a vehicle license, the system will pull up if you owe property tax, trade license, or any other tax, and it will prohibit you being issued your license until that bill is cleared.”

I received a gift today of a beautifully bounded 2013 personal diary/planner with the words “The Genesis Agenda” across the top, and “Belize!” at the bottom, with the Belize Coat of Arms taking up the middle section, all imprinted on a blue hard cover. Belize’s tourist attractions are well advertised in picturesque scenes on the monthly pages of the diary, but there is one glaring omission; and for that, I don’t like the diary. About ten years ago, while holding a management position in a big company, I received a Christmas gift of a very similar type, same size, of hard-cover diary from one of our Guatemalan fertilizer suppliers. We shared a cordial and friendly relationship, but I communicated my strong objection to the agent when I discovered that there were maps of all countries of Central America inside the diary, but Belize was included as a part of Guatemala. He apologized profusely, but I never used that diary. Genesis Art has disclosed the source of all their art work and pictures, but I cannot find anywhere in the diary the names of the printers and publishers. More importantly, there are no maps displayed, which would have been a great opportunity to advertise our country as an independent nation in Central America. Perhaps the agents are also targeting Guatemalan tourists? It may just be an innocent oversight, but I am nevertheless puzzled by “The Genesis Agenda.”


A Tale of Five Cities: Travel to Campeche
This morning we were off to our next destination, Campeche, in the like-named Campeche state of Mexico. We chose to stay there on the way to Palenque to visit the ruins mostly to break up the trip into manageable-length bus segments, not because we had any burning desire to visit the city. And that was too bad, as it turned out to be a really, really nice place, and we only had one night to enjoy it. (We would later have another night there on our return trip, but we hadn't planned that all out at the time.) Larry, our host at La Casa Lorenzo, gave us a ride to the ADO bus terminal in Merida as he was heading downtown to a hardware store that morning. The ride was helpful as we knew we had a fairly long walk to the hotel from the Campeche ADO station, and the less we have to walk with our heavy packs, the better. And there is the little matter of traffic stops. These exist when leaving one state and entering another, and sometimes at other places in between. The buses always seemed to get sent right through, but there were indeed police with machine guns at the stops.

Seven Surprising Facts of the Rhyncholaelia Digbyana
Common Name: Digby’s Beaked Laelia The Rhyncholaelia digbyana is an uncommon and stunning species of orchid that is native to Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras. Below are seven surprising facts of this beautiful orchid: 1.) If given adequate light and kept somewhat dry between watering, this orchid will provide you with large, up to seven inch flowers, pale green, and quite fragrant especially at night. 2.) This plant has sturdy, stiff, upright light green leaves that have a silvery appearance. When grown in strong light the leaves will turn a red-purple color. 3.) The Rhyncholaelia digbyana needs bright light, intermediate growing temperatures and good air circulation. 4.) Although it may be grown successfully in well drained pots, the plants grow best when mounted on cork or grown in slatted wood or plastic baskets.

‘Money for Nothing’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Spent the early part of this morning arranging an exchange of sterling to US dollars to fund the next stages of our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize. Before commencing the build project Rose and I considered a number of ways in which to fund it. Leave the money in our UK bank account and exchange currency on a stage by stage basis, open a US dollar account with our UK bank and exchange sterling for the total build cost and draw on it on a stage by stage basis,transfer money to our Atlantic International Limited Bank account and draw down on that, and a whole host of other approaches to the funding requirement. In the end – after much deliberation- we elected to make use of FC Exchange which s a UK based specialist currency broker. The appeal for us being that we exchange reasonably sizeable amounts of sterling at the market rate at the time of exchange ( this way we have certainty of the rate which we much prefer to taking a gamble on whenever a stage payment is due). The rates offered are generally higher than we could get at a bank and there are NO wire transfer fees. It works for us but may not appeal to everyone. After taking care of the money it was time for Rose and I to review the plans for the Ground and First Floors to see if there are any changes we want to make or questions we would like to ask Daniel Camal,our building contractor,at the meeting we were having with him at 4 pm.

Who was Keino Quallo? by Aria Lightfoot
Who was Keino Quallo? Many people see a black unshaven face and a headline. “Four Gangbangers brutally murdered”. He matches what people think a “gang” banger looks like. They have no idea of who he is or where he came from, what led him down his path. All people know and feel is that they are stricken by fear because of violence. Any solution, even state-sanctioned murder, is an acceptable solution. The thinking is, he was a menace to society – so who cares, he probably have killed many more people and getting his just desserts. Not so fast… I met Keino in High School. I must have been about 14 years old, my second year in High School and he was one year ahead. Keino arrived in Belmopan with such notoriety. He was arrested in the U.S. for drug trafficking at the age of 15 years old. His father was a well-known attorney, Glenford Quallo, was recently murdered. Keino popularity grew fast at Belmopan Comprehensive School. He was charming, articulate, athletic, tall, and very intelligent. He was a snappy dresser and carried himself with a lot of confidence, therefore the women flocked him. We became friends because my best friend was dating his friend at the time. I found him very interesting. His experiences and world -view and his perspective on different issues. He was, if I recall, a die-hard PUP supporter and in my mix of friends we had both die- hard PUP and UDP supporters. Our discussions would range from politics to law to life. My God we were only 15 at the time! We also shared sports in common. We both played basketball and played on the school teams so we travelled all over Belize playing sports.

No Nonsense or Just No Sense- Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmmmmmm by FAC
Turning Treasure to Trash Soooooooo…what do we think bout this picture???? It certainly does make a bold statement. I’m gonna guess the Minister wanted to convey that illegal cutting/transportation/selling of rosewood will not be tolerated. On the other hand, this idea that the wood had to be burned because nobody could be trusted to store it properly kinda STANDS OUT MORE. There must be some policy already in place to deal with confiscated goods, yes???? And if there is to be an investigation, why burn the evidence? And why not turn around and use this wood for some other purpose?? Furniture in a museum….material for some artist????

Daily Dingleberry 01-11-13 For the Slow and Stubborn
Ok. I really am getting tired of being targeted just because I ask for evidence. I have no problem asking the hard questions and socking it exactly where it belongs. But PLEASE do not get uppity when I ask for proof. Spreading rumours and crazy conspiracy theories will not help anything. That is just irresponsible. You can not say you love this country and its people when you engage in rumour mongering and propaganda. That obscures the real efforts to find the truth. Do you hear me??????? Our biggest problem is collection of evidence. While we are spreading rumours about how much the gang leaders were paid off, from $1500 each plus room and board to $40,000 each, where the hell is your concern for the murdered men???? You should be yelling and screaming about how the crime scene was handled. You should be yelling and screaming about how the bloody coroner might not have run tox screens or how he keeps giving different times of death…THAT is the concern here! Without evidence, none of this matters! Focus people. But see. That’s just it, right? You don’t really care about justice. You care more about causing hysteria and furthering your political agendas. L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P Find out what it means so you can show some.

International Sources

Olson Refreshes Belize's Identity With New Take on Old Travel Posters
Check out the old identity for the country of Belize, and you're transported straight to the '80s, which figures since that's the last time the logo got an update -- until recently. The country's tourism board tapped Olson to refresh its marque, and the agency crafted this gorgeous, modern take on the Belize identity. Olson turned to Belize itself for inspiration -- the circular forms found across the nation inspired the new typeface, while a local artist contributed his own take to the national bird, the toucan. In all, the identity brings a contemporary, yet classic vibe to represent tourism in Belize and harkens back to classic travel posters of the '60s (which, as design pieces tend to, stand the test of time better than the stuff of recent years). The graphic forms are balanced out with textural brushstrokes -- a nod to the handcraftsmanship of the country's artisans. According to Olson Chief Creative Officer Dennis Ryan, "We wanted it to feel non-commercialized. A lot of times, tourist destinations try to create images that cater to the traveler, versus what the destination wants the traveler to experience." He adds that the agency's director of design, Joe Monnens "wanted the logo to feel modern yet timeless. And those travel posters were held up as an example of tourism promotion that felt authentic to the destination. From the outset, the intention was to lend it a more contemporary feel while harkening back to something longed for in our modern culture: things that are authentically crafted. Thus, the work to capture that hand-painted, brushstroke texture -- something found all over the country of Belize." Below, find a behind the scenes video that shows agency's thinking behind the new Belize identity, and head over to for more great work.

Why life's never boring for Belfast's oil baron
Northern Ireland-born Susan Morrice struck oil in Belize, but, she tells Helen Carson, it was a discovery that owes much to walks around Fair Head on the north coast as a schoolgirl. A Northern Ireland woman who literally struck oil in her career wants to bring her incredible business nous back home. Belfast-born Susan Morrice (60) claims there is oil and gas in the province — and she should know, as the expert geologist struck oil in the Central American country of Belize after petrochemical giants Shell and Mobil both failed to do so. “I was told by people in the industry ‘don’t do this Susan, you will ruin your career’. But I knew there was oil there. We struck oil with the first wildcat well. It usually takes 10-15 wildcats before you hit oil.” That was over 30 years ago, now Susan lives in Denver, Colorado, and has founded her own oil company Belize Natural Energy (BNE). Despite being an international player in the oil world, and counting former US president Bill Clinton, who she has known since he was governor of Arkansas, as one of her best friends and supporters, Susan still talks with an Ulster accent — with not a trace of that transatlantic drawl others pick up after less than three decades away from home.

Danny Michel plays Brock
Musician Danny Michel was mesmerized by her beautiful voice. A woman singing in her native language of Belize. Words he didn’t understand. The moment was magical. Beyond words. It was about her voice. The beauty of the song. And the challenge Michel had set for himself to make music like he’s never made it before. They were together in a recording studio in the Central American country. Michel (pronounced Michelle) was in Belize to record what became the 10th album for the 42-year-old from Kitchener-Waterloo. Over years of travel to Belize, the culture and its music has, in his words, “seeped into me.” After the woman finished singing, he threw up his hands, speechless. In an awkward, embarrassed sort of way he asked: ‘what are you saying?’ She smiled. Offered the translation: Black birds are dancing over me. He paused. Smiled. “OK, we have the album title.” And so it is. Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me (Six Shooter Records) is a collaborative effort between Michel and the Garifuna Collective (The Benque Players), a group of musicians from Belize. The woman’s voice is heard at the end of Survivor’s Guilt, the third track on his album. On Jan. 17, Michel brings a taste of their music and more to the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.

Underwater Wilderness
Getting to Caye Caulker isn’t easy. Leaving with all your fingers isn’t guaranteed. Let us back up a little. Caye Caulker is one of the less traveled Caribbean islands that make up the country of Belize. While the more popular nearby tourist town of San Pedro is ticky-tacky, like a rundown movie set of a Caribbean island, Caye Caulker is a flashback to an earlier, non-five-star-hotel era. Palm trees sway, and locals fly-fish without concern for time or timeliness. It’s not a place you go to chill out under an umbrella with a Corona – it’s a place you hit if you want to get lost. Shortly after arriving, we headed over to the Lazy Lizard at the end of the Caye and ordered a tall glass of “lizard juice,” a drink with a mysterious green hue that quickly put me in my (paralytic) happy place. You won’t want to linger too long, because if you’re on Caye Caulker, chances are you’re going diving in the morning – and most of the boats leave at zero dark thirty. Caye Caulker is the closest inhabited island to the Great Blue Hole and Turneffe Atoll, dive sites often rated among the world’s top 10. The closest, and one of the easiest for beginners, is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, whose nutrient-rich waters wash over reef walls, attracting mega fauna like nurse sharks, eagle rays, and dolphins. Then there’s the Turneffe Atoll, where flat, calm waters hide a vertical wall that descends from 15 feet to as deep as you are able to dive. The top prize is Lighthouse Atoll, home to the Great Blue Hole. Here you swim with reef sharks, octopuses, great barracudas, and schools of hundreds of fish in a variety of species. Lighthouse Atoll is also home to Half Moon Caye, where the Belize Audubon Society has successfully created the quintessential tropical island, open for day trips and overnight tent camping, that lets you get in touch with your inner Crusoe. Belize Diving Services is the oldest dive shop on the island (founded in 1978), and is currently the only shop recognized by international Dive Agencies. As the only technical shop in Belize, it offers diver training where you can learn to safely dive up to 200ft. – allowing you to dive much deeper in the blue hole or on the Belize Barrier Reef than the deepest limits of recreational diving.

Salvaging the Costa Concordia
Almost a year ago, more than 3,000 people were relaxing aboard the opulent cruise liner Costa Concordia at the start of a week-long Mediterranean cruise. Today the ship is the subject of possibly the largest and most daunting marine salvage operation ever attempted. On Friday 13 January 2012, the huge vessel heeled over on to its side, with more than 4,000 people on board, just off the coast of the small Italian island of Giglio. Thirty-two passengers and crew members died in the accident, which unfolded when Capt Francesco Schettino steered the ship too close to shore while trying to show it off to islanders, and hit a rock. Hundreds of workers are involved in the recovery operation Pockmarked with rust smears, its once bright paintwork bleached by the sun, the hulk of the Costa Concordia makes a forlorn spectacle. Winter storms have battered its exposed flanks, making the work of the 400-strong salvage team even more difficult. It was originally planned that the vessel would be removed from Giglio by the spring of 2013. However, work is now expected to be complete "by the end of summer". Much of the work so far has been preparatory.

New World Belize drilling "making steady progress"
New World Oil & Gas (LON:NEW) said the side-track of its keenly anticipated Belize well is making "steady progress". On Monday the drill-bit had reached a depth of 10,195 feet and is bearing down on the targeted 11,880 feet as it prepares to test the Hillbank and Y3, two oil bearing formations. The company deviated the original Blue Creek 2 well to locate what it believes is a "potentially significant trap". New World said drilling had been deliberately controlled to maintain a gauge wellbore diameter that will maximise log quality. City broker Shore Capital declared itself "very happy" with the headway being made. "We continue to believe that this is an extremely exciting time for New World, and were delighted to see the initial results from Blue Creek 2," said analyst Craig Howie. "New World intends to flow test this well following drilling of the deviated section although, in the meantime, we believe that the B Crest prospect has already been substantially derisked by earlier results, which indicate a much increased likelihood of discovering a significant oil accumulation." In Denmark, where New World holds two onshore licences that comprise the Danica Jutland Project, the company continues to make progress. It is over half-way through completing a 75km 3D seismic survey in the Jensen Prospect on Licence 1/09, while it is in the final stages of interpreting 2D seismic shot on Licence 1/08. Kelleher said: "This is an exciting time for New World on a number of fronts.

Software founder John McAfee reportedly house hunting in Portland
He has made international headlines since going on the run from authorities in Belize late last year. Now John McAfee has turned up in the Rose City. According to the Willamette Week, the eccentric software millionaire said he plans to call Portland his home for the next 18 months. "Rain is good," said McAfee during a videotaped interview with the newspaper. "It cleans the streets, it makes the ambiance a little darker, I'm in a darker mood these days. I don't know why. So this is perfect. " Mary Emily O'Hara, a freelance writer for the Willamette Week, snagged the exclusive interview with the elusive founder of the anti-virus software company that is named after him. She sat down with McAfee at Coffee Division, an unassuming coffee shop in southeast Portland, to ask him why he chose to come to Portland. "I like the weather. I don't like sun. Sun frightens me ," he said. It's a strange statement, considering McAfee spent the last five years living in sunny Belize. The 67-year-old told O'Hara he arrived in Portland five days ago. "He's an eccentric person," said O'Hara. "So I think he can really get with the whole keep Portland weird vibe."

John McAfee brings his 'Where's Waldo' act to Portland
After his deportation to the U.S., the peripatetic software millionaire says he's had it with the sun -- for now. Last time we checked, John McAfee was on the lam from, well, whoever it was that he said was after him in Belize. But the former software mogul, who was deported to the United States after fleeing to Guatemala, has decided to pitch his tent in Portland, Ore., for a while. (Assuming, of course, that he's not yanking the media's chain for kicks and giggles.) Willamette Week snagged an interview this week with McAfee, who said he was "looking for a home here and plans to live in Portland for the next year and a half while he collaborates with local artist Chad Essley on a graphic novel about his life." "I like the weather. I don't like the sun," he told his interviewer. "This is perfect. I've got enough sun for a while. I had five years of everyday sunny...Nothing wrong with rain, rain is cleans the streets. It makes for a new ambiance, a little bit darker. I'm in a darker mood these days." In November, police in Belize searched for McAfee, one of the pioneers of antivirus software, for questioning about the murder of his neighbor, American expat Gregory Faull. That began a monthlong case of hide-and-seek as McAfee went on the lam from the authorities, all the while telling his story to a transfixed media that he was being wrongfully persecuted by officials in Belize and that he feared for his life if he was arrested.

Thirst for Biofuels Drives Hunger in Guatemala as Corporate Land Grabs Continue
'They need food. They need land. They can’t eat biofuel, and they don’t drive cars.' The surge of biofuels is starving developing nations, and nowhere is this more clear than in Guatemala. A recent piece by New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal explores the microcosm of that nation and the havoc being wreaked on food supplies for the global poor. In our global economy, the expansion of the biofuels industry and the American and European fuel standard mandates are driving up food prices worldwide as multi-national corporations grab up land for food-based agriculture in less developed regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Space once devoted to growing food for humans is more profitably being used to churn out monocrops like corn and sugarcane to be used as fuel. And, as Rosenthal writes in her article As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs, "nowhere is that squeeze more obvious than in Guatemala." Nearly 40 percent of domestic corn crops are used for US biofuel according to Think Progress, and 15 percent of the world’s supplies are consequently pushing up the price of corn and other staple foods in Guatemala. "Just three years ago, one quetzal—about 15 cents—bought eight tortillas; today it buys only four. And eggs have tripled in price because chickens eat corn feed," Rosenthal writes

January 11, 2013


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Ambergris Today

MELT is Here! Home of the Guerrilla Cheese in Belize
MELT your heart’s delight with LOTS and LOTS of MELTed cheese! Located on the beach at the Exotic Caye Resort, MELT specializes in artisan grilled cheese sandwiches. Comfort food at its best is what we have to say. Open for breakfast and lunch, this charming cafe will start with morning eggs, fresh fruit smoothies, the finest South American coffee, herbal tea, fresh Lemonade and Ice Tea. For lunch, it's grilled cheese sandwiches, green or grain salads, homemade soup de jour, small plates, fresh Mex dishes, and the chef's daily special. It’s the ingredients that make the food and MELT makes sure it uses real imported butter and imported, top quality Vermont and Wisconsin cheese; plus, their breads are prepared fresh every day! Enjoy delicious grilled cheese sandwiches like the All American, Chicken-Itza (filled with savory Mayan spices, peppers, onion, tomato and 3 cheese blend), Supreme Pizza Melt (pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers and onions) and the Big Sal (turkey or turkey sausage, pepperjack cheese, grilled onions, pickles and jalapeños). There are great MELTS that you have to keep going to try them all and pick your favorite; there are even vegetarian options. MELT is open from Monday to Saturday from 7a.m. to 2p.m.

Hope Kitchen Delivers Happy Meals
It was a proud moment for the members and volunteers of Fate Gives as they saw their charity’s inaugural event take place and deliver happy meals to smiling faces. The new project entitled “Hope Kitchen” provides a healthy meal to families that might not otherwise be able to afford the luxury of a dinner out on Ambergris Caye. The first soup kitchen event was held at Sandbar on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, which saw many families arriving to the establishment and sitting down to enjoy a hearty meal for the evening. Members of the organization worked very hard all day to prepare this meal and sent out invitations to various neighborhoods for less fortunate residents to come out and enjoy a free meal. For the initial event Fate Gives partnered with local San Pedrano, Hermojenes “Moncho” Acosta, known as “Teacher Moncho”, who identified families in need who would benefit from the Hope Kitchen project. But Hope Kitchen is open to the public as the premise behind the charity event is for diners to pay what they can afford, whether it is $1 or $10. People who can afford to pay a meal are encouraged to pay as much as they can as a way of donating and keeping the Kitchen providing meals to those who need it.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Good advice (crime in belize city)
So... as Belizeans we are very conserned with the violence situation in our spot and thing and thing same way, yo dig? so we decided to give some advice on the situation we are currently in. hope this video is and inpiraton to everyone that wtches it and i hope it speaks to the inner man. i know we call out some leaders, but its just the questions that are on our minds and maybe it plants a seed for u to stat questioning the possbilities for youself. We are not saying any one is dealing with drugs or gang. but sometimes it makes u wonder. so pray for our sweet baby, sugar plum, dumplin Belize and thing same way. remember to like our page and stay up to day on what we is doing and thing same way yo dig?

ICJ referendum with Guatemala info-Important info for voters
In October of this year there will be a referendum on whether Belize should submit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a determination on the Guatemala claim of Belize. I humbly believe that all Belizeans should participate in this referendum as it may be the only opportunity for us to ever record our opinion on this very serious matter, most importantly though it must be a conscience vote, one that truly reflects each voters opinion on this issue - whether it be a yes or no vote. It is our democracy that must prevail. While the question on the referendum will be a simple one, the issue is much more complex, therefore as Belizeans we have the utmost responsibility to understand the issue, only then will we be in a position to truly vote our conscience. When the vote is over and the result made clear, it should not matter whether the result was a yes or no, what should matter is that Belizeans have spoken.

Assistant Superintendent Marco Vidal was named the commander of the new unit; in media interviews soon after, he spoke out in support of a government bill to permit police to hold people in preventive detention for up to 21 days.[3] In 2011 and 2012, the GSU was involved in a number of controversial raids. In March 2011, the nephew of PUP supporter Yolanda Schakron was delivering goods to a wake for purported gang leader Charles Woodeye; he got caught up in a sweep conducted by police officers who had been trailing the funeral march, and one of them broke his arm with a baseball bat.[4] Then in February 2012, a group of men invaded a home on Dean Street and beat its residents with bats and clubs, leaving four injured, while soon after, a group of men at Taylor's Alley were also beaten. Commander Marco Vidal initially attempted to deny involvement of his officers, but PM Barrow stated that he believed the GSU was involved.[5] There were various responses to the controversies. Taylor's Alley residents rejected the government's apology.[6] The Belize Times accused the GSU of being a rogue unit of the United Democratic Party.[7] One plank of the People's United Party platform in the 2012 elections was the disbandment of the GSU in favour of increased emphasis on neighbourhood watch groups and traditional police patrols.[8] Despite the controversies, in April after the elections Minister of National Security John Saldivar expressed his support for the GSU.[9] Less than a month later, the GSU conducted another controversial raid, this time on the Orange Walk Town home of McAfee computer security company founder John McAfee. The GSU killed his dog, confiscated his passport, and arrested him on weapons charges. McAfee maintained that the charges were false and that the raid was retaliation for his refusal to donate money to a UDP politician.[10]

Broccoli Cheese Soup
In this video, I use the broth I made the other day to make broccoli cheese soup. This is so comforting during the cold and rainy season. This soup is rich, thick, creamy and hearty.

The Belize Shark Project
Rachel Graham studies sharks. She live captures, measures, tags and releases them. When she asked if I would document some field work for her (actually it was an assignment for Men's Journal), I jumped at it. There is little I find more exciting or adrenaline pumping than swimming with a tiger shark, even if it is controlled by a line around its caudal fin. The film crew is from National Geographics "Born to Explore" series, and yes that is the star of the show Richard Wiese.

ICJ Presentation at SHJC
Sacred Heart Junior College students heard from the MoFA about the ICJ. "Both rooms were filled with SHJC students, faculty and staff as the representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented on the history of the Belize Guatemala land dispute and the referendum which will decide if both countries will take it to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)"

Belize Zoo Turned 30 Yesterday
Happy 30th birthday to the Belize Zoo! In other news, Pat the Jaguar's 2 cubs are doing great at the Milwaukee Zoo. "It's exactly 30 years to the day since TBZ Founding Director Sharon Matola nailed a little wooden hand painted sign to a little backyard zoo, cycled her bike down the road to the old Western Highway bar known as JB's, and announced "If anyone's bored, feel free to drop by Richard's Foster's place up the road, it's now a zoo." The sign read simply "The Belize Zoo," and has evolved from that last ditch effort to save a hand of wildlife to a stronghold for conservation and environmental education in Belize. We thank ALL our visitors, friends, and supporters that have joined us on an incredibly journey. Take a look at our brand new entrance sign, and here's to another 30 years. Happy Birthday, TBZ!!"

PD Change Of Command Ceremony
Yesterday, at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan,, command of the Belize Police Department was officially handed over to Allen Whylie, the newly named Commissioner. Best of luck! "After being sworn in by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, the new Police Commissioner, Allen Whylie, spoke to the gathering saying, 'We are challenged with the issue of crime countrywide, but in particular, in Belize City. I want to tell you, don’t despair. I am committed; the leadership is committed; the government is committed to make the necessary change to ensure that the citizenry across this country, and in particular Belize City, can enjoy the level of safety and security that they deserve. And as we make this change today in the Belize Police Department, I want to ask the citizenry to partner with us, to walk with us on this journey that we can truly, truly be successful at the crime fighting efforts.' "

Chicken Bingo at Mr. Greedy's
Yes, you read it right. Chicken Bingo, where you can 'win a crapload of money.' You might be asking, 'They do what with that poor chicken?' It's a game where you can bet on the bingo squares, and if the chicken...does it's business...on that square, you win. They set up a big bingo board on Burns avenue so everyone can gather around. Mr. Greedy's will be doing Chicken Bingo on Wednesday nights, starting around 7pm.

Channel 7

Post Mortem Examinations Show...
From morning to evening, three post mortem examinations were conducted on the bodies of three of the dean street murder victims - 40 year old Keino Quallo (Quayle-lo), 30 year old Leonard "Ghost" Meyers and Albert "Long John" Fuentes. According to his family Ghost Meyers was stabbed 38 times, while Long John Fuentes was stabbed five times. The post mortem finished late this evening, and Monica Bodden spoke to the Meyers and Fuentes families just a short while ago. Fuentes's mother asked to appear off camera: Voice of: Mother of Albert Fuentes "When I arrive at the hospital I see that he had a big cut wound under his left eye and his chest. I wasn't happy with the one under his eye because that looked real deep; they dig it out. I ask the doctor if he could test his blood and he told me yes but he believe that it was something that they made him inhale and he told me that he could do it. He looks at me and he tells me that I am very smart because he was thinking the same thing. I believe that they were drugged before the murder happened." Monica Bodden "Did he mention to you if he will conduct these tests to find out if they were drugged or anything?" Mother of Albert Fuentes "Yes he did say that to me but when the post mortem finished he didn't tell me anything - they just handed me the certificate and that was it." Monica Bodden "So basically you guys didn't find out much from the post mortem?" Mother of Albert Fuentes "Nope, nothing else, that's all. They didn't even want friends to in. I ask to see his whole body and they only took him out like half way; I only saw up to his chest. All I can say that it felt like when I was giving birth; really hurt, like something that just rip from inside me especially to see him in that condition."

Was OW shooting Drug Related?
Tonight, 2 Orange Walk men are at the hospital recovering from serious gunshot injuries which they received last night in a shooting. They are 41 year-old Amin Mendez and his son-in-law 26 year-old Evander Bennett who were found lying in an alley in the Little England area of Orange Walk Town at around 8:40 p.m. The circumstances surrounding the near slaying of these men are peculiar, so 7News caught up with the Officer Commanding Orange Walk Police, and he outlined the information they have so far: Sr. Supt. Joseph Myvette - OC, Orange Walk Police "Last night sometime shortly after 8pm we received information of persons receiving gunshot injuries in the area of Little England. As a result we deployed two teams of police officers; one to Little England and the other to the Northern Regional Hospital where at the hospital they observed two male persons with multiple gunshot wounds. Those persons were later told to us are in stable condition. One was later transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further treatment. Our investigation into this matter continues. We have been at the investigation immediately after receiving the information. What I can tell you is that we are looking for a particular suspect since then and as we speak we are still out there looking for this person." "We have not been able to confirm that information but we are working on it. We know for certain that after speaking to witnesses that both victims were in a conversation with the allege shooter a few minutes prior to the incident occurring." Daniel Ortiz "I have receive information that these individuals - the victims, are connected to underworld dealings here in Orange Walk. Do you believe that base on the information from police that that information is correct?" Sr. Supt. Joseph Myvette - OC, Orange Walk Police "No. At this point in time we will try to stick to the facts and if the facts prove otherwise then we will be able to say that."

Rosewood Still Rolling
There's a Rosewood moratorium in effect - but the illicit trade of the prized hardwood continues. Last night, though, villagers of Golden Stream led by the chairman of the Alcalde Association, Alfonso Caal stopped a trio of Chinese Rosewood smugglers who had amassed a thousand flitches of Rosewood. Around 7:00, Caal and some of his villagers heard the commotion and called police who took hours before an off duty officer finally showed up. They then called PGTV who got these images. KREM Journalist Yaya Marin was working with PGTV and today told KREM Radio that the Forestry and Police Officers on the scene appeared reluctant to make an arrest. Tomorrow morning at Golden Stream - the Minister of Forestry is expected to make a statement on Rosewood.

A Racecourse Robbery
Crime on the city's southside has been low this week as the police lockdown remains in effect for Western Dean Street an its adjoining areas. But that doesn't mean crime has stopped altogether. This afternoon at around 1:30 on Racecourse street two men held up a Chinese Grocer at Quan Sing Store. The female proprietor told us that one of the men had a long gun which he pointed at her, while the other stood watch at the entrance to her store which does not have burglar bars. They grabbed her boledo laptop computer and a small amount of cash from the drawer. She says this is the third time they have been the victims of armed robbers.

Whylie Assumes Command
Yesterday evening in Belmopan, Allen Whylie assumed command of the Department he entered 26 years earlier. The change of command ceremony was held at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan. Police Minister John Saldivar welcomed Whylie - and pointed to the tough job ahead:.. Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of Nat'l Security "We must re-align our human resources to provide us with the best possible mix in order to ensure continuous growth. Today we install a new leader for the police department; Deputy Commissioner Whylie. I have the utmost trust and tremendous vote of confidence in you. I expect that under your leadership that performance will exceed expectations and that you will hold with the standards of excellence that are the hallmark of the core values of the Belize Police Department." Allen Whylie - commissioner of police "We are challenged with the issue of crime countrywide but in particular in Belize City. I want to tell you that don't despair, I am committed - the leadership is committed, the government is committed to make the necessary change that the citizenry across this country and in particular Belize City can really enjoy the level of safety and security that they deserve and I will work tirelessly - the seniors officers and the members of this police department will work tirelessly."

Micah G. Gets Love
And one youth who would never end up in that facility is Micah Goodin. He did the right thing in high school - and got a scholarship for it - but was we told you last night, the funding has dried up - and now, with one semester left to go before he finishes sixth form - he can't pay his school fees. Well, that was yesterday, last night, several generous members of the public saw his plight, and they reached out a helping hand. We spoke to him this evening, and he had nothing but gratitude to the Belizean public for the assistance: A press release from Goodin's organization, Nation Builders National Youth Movement voiced its, quote, "utter disappointment in St. John's College Junior College and the Police Department's Community Policing Unit for their failure to properly manage and monitor the "Do the Right Thing" Scholarship Programme." End quote. They also demand an apology and a proper explanation of the situation to quote, "all students affected". Finally, the organization is calling on both institutions to try to find a replacement donor or donors for the program so that it can continue to provide for those needy students.

CEO Peter Allen Called Police On Irate Nurse
CEO in the Ministry of Health Dr Peter Allen had to call the police yesterday when an irate nurse would not leave his office. The nurse Dianne Pascascio told us that she was irate because Allen had long been victimizing her. She says it culminated this week when he blocked her from entering a training course being offered at the University of Belize. She says she went to his office in Belmopan and demanded answers - and that's when she claims he bumped into her - and claimed that she pushed him. Allen called the police, whose headquarters are in the adjoining building - but Nurse Pascascio was escorted out through the back before they arrived. Allen told us he has no personal grudge against Pascascio and wishes she had conducted herself with greater decorum. She told us she's had it with the CEO who has stalled her increments, and frustrated her in other ways. She told us she will still try and get into the training programme.

Cemetery Complaints Alive And Multiplying
For the past week, 7News has been following the less-than-smooth transition at the Cemetery as the Belize City Council has taken over management and control. Well tonight, undertaker David Coye, owner of the well-known Coye Funeral Parlor is the one kicking up dust. According to him, as part of City Hall's new rules are being enforced for everyone, except a select few. Here's how he explained it: David Coye - Coye Funeral Home "I have purchase that space to build a tomb for a funeral either Sunday or Monday. They denied my payment and they show me a notice on their wall that the new prices from $150 - it is now $250 just today and it comes with a new application fee of $25. They insist to me that I have to pay $1,000 so that City Councils' workers can build the tomb." "Goldbourne "Easy Glen" Adolphus went to purchase two spaces yesterday for an undertaker. I guess he is doing his hustling. He went there and they accepted his payment. Goldbourne doesn't have any construction business, no kind of business at all. Anyway they accepted his payment for two space and them some guys who claimed that they are relatives is building the tombs."

Butane Standards Coming In, Finally
Two years ago - we blew the lid off the butane scam that was stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from consumers annually. Since then, a lot has changed in terms of consumer consciousness -but sadly, in terms of regulation, a lot hasn't - and we'd hazard to say that the troubling status quo has been restored - much to the disadvantage of consumers. Butane trucks are not using scales and consumers aren't demanding it - and without that kind of check and balance- we'd guess that it's mostly business as usual in the butane trade. But, finally regulations and standards are being introduced. Most prominent among these is the requirement that all so called butane - which is really liquid petroleum gas - now be imported at a 60/40 mix - that's 60% propane and 40% butane. It's a major gain for consumers because when we tested two years ago, some of the so called butane out there was actually 90% propane or more - which burns much quicker than the 60/40 mix. The importers will have to show third party certification to prove that they are importing this mix. And the pricing regime will also change. Instead of reviewing invoices form suppliers - the price will now be tagged to an international index. According to an official release, The Bureau of standards will now embark on a phased-in compliance program which quote, "it aims to implement in the shortest possible time," - but does not state any specific timeline.

Man Died In Prison, Family Says Foul Play
Two weeks ago, we told you about 48 year old Florentino Ayala - the Orange Walk resident who was found dead inside his cell at the Belize Central Prison. According to CEO of the prison, Earl Jones, Ayala was found inside his cell at the special care section at around 7:30am on Monday. Jones said he was displaying signs of psychotic behavior, so he was placed there under special care for his own benefit. But today when 7news caught up with Ayala's family at the morgue - who were also waiting their turn for his Post Mortem to be conducted, they told us, they strongly believe that their loved one was murdered inside his cell since he was found with injuries over his body. Norma Ayala, Wife of Deceased "I was in Orange Walk that day on Tuesday morning when I received a notice from a man from August Pine Ridge not a police, not an official from prison. It a man from August Pine Ridge who call me and he gave me the notice. At that time I didn't know what to do - if to go back to the prison or the hospital or go back to my house. I wait for a time to decide what to do." Monica Bodden "So the villager came and told you that your husband died. I understand that you call the prison to inquire what happen. What were you told happen to him?" Norma Ayala, Wife of Deceased "The man that I spoke to told me that the police said that when they got the body from prison - that he had injuries all over his body. I don't know if that is true because I have not receive the body at this time." Monica Bodden "Who told you that at the prison?" Norma Ayala, Wife of Deceased "A man named Earl Jones."

A couple times on this newscast we've told you about Linda Blease - who's gained fame as an international DJ in demand in Kingston, Jamaica the most scene-setting city in the Caribbean. And while you know about the fame behind her name, you probably didn't know that Ms. Blease is actually a Caye Caulker Girl, raised by grandparents after - as she puts it - her mother "whipped out." That troubled beginning and her meteoric ascent to DJ dominance are the subjects of tonight's profile:..

"Ghost's" Family Gets Ready For Burial With Trepidation
As we told you at the top of the newscast, post mortem examinations were conducted on three of the four Dean Street murder victims today. They were all stabbed to death, and Leonard Ghost Meyers got it the worst: his mother claims he was stabbed over 30 times. But for the Meyers family, they now have to bury their loved one - which they plan to do on Sunday in their home of Gales Point. But they say police have already given them a warning - this is how they explained it to us today:.. Area Resident "They say that they will meet us through the coastal road. We won't have peace in burying our loved one?" Monica Bodden "That's what you guys heard?" Area Resident "Yes that they will meet us through the coastal road. Can't we have any peace since they had already messed up everything and now they are dealing with us like this. We are getting enough of this, we are grieving."

Fawda's "Mayday!"
And while those areas remain under guard, it's not enough to satisfy the always outspoken Phillip Fawda Henry. He's not letting the crime issue rest. He wants a curfew, a new government that is neither PUP nor UDP, a mass people's uprising and a whole lot more. He led a four person protest in downtown Belize city this afternoon where he entertained the media by scolding…you!:.. Phillip "Fawda" Henry - Protesting Crime/Government "I am here to show the Belizean citizen what they need to do; they need to step to the plate and care for their country and take it over. We need to get this in your living room people, wake up and smell the coffee. Belizean I think you all are the dumbest set because you all don't want to wake up. You all need to drink some gramoxzone and kill yourself because the two blue and the red they are misleading us and this nation is sinking like titanic and it is sinking rapidly. I don't want to be one of those ones who is saying mayday, mayday, mayday. We need to get to the point." Henry and his crew say they plan to have a larger protest soon.

Channel 5

Scouring for evidence where 4 men were gutted
The area surrounding Dean Street and Plues Street remains under heavy police guard tonight. This evening, the crime scene where four George Street gang members were massacred was re-visited by personnel wearing K.H.M.H. scrubs and the police looking for more evidence into Monday night’s mass murder of Keino Quallo, Albert “Long John” Fuentes, Leonard “Ghost” [...]

Families react at the result of post mortems
Earlier we told you that police were back at the scene of the murder of four George Street murders. Autopsies were conducted today on the bodies of the four   massacred sometime on Monday night at their apartments at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets. The George Street affiliates had a horrific death; they were [...]

US travel warning on Belize stops medical mission
Following the murder of the George Street associates, the U.S. Embassy issued a travel advisory for Belize regarding gang-related homicides. And though there was no indication of threats to U.S. citizens the release said quote “There is a possibility that retaliatory violence could take place. As a precaution, the Embassy’s Regional Security Officer has advised [...]

Ranguy in court for killing mother, sister and step-father
The man accused of the brutal murder of his mother, sister and stepfather in Ladyville was in court today. Twenty-six year old Jared Avery Ranguy has been behind bars since November twenty-second, when he was arraigned. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith this morning, represented by Attorney Arthur Saldivar. But since his case [...]

Near fatal shooting of two in Sugar City
Belize City has been quiet following the mass murders on Monday, but up north there was a near fatal shooting in Orange Walk Town on Wednesday night. The well-known businessman Amir Mendez Senior and Evander Bennett were engaged in an altercation with one Noel Zetina, who is evading police. It turned ugly for Mendez and [...]

Illegal rosewood harvested down south
A moratorium on the extraction of rosewood is still in place in the south and an assessment has reportedly not yet been completed, but the harvesting of the precious wood continues unabated in the Toledo District. On Wednesday night, a delivery truck preparing to load a large number of rosewood pieces was detected by the [...]

Will you walk for peace?
Stop the Violence! Today a mini peace walk was held in downtown Belize City. It was organized by former political aspirant, Phillip “Faada” Henry. The walk is as a result of massacre of the George Street four during the course of Monday night. The walk, which started at Battlefield Park, lasted only a few minutes [...]

No peace for undertakers; particularly Coye
Ever since the Belize City Council announced it would be taking over the responsibilities of building tombs and vaults at the Lord Ridge Cemetery and Eternal Gardens, undertakers briefly kept quiet on the decision. A few residents, however, have readily made their discontent known about the tombs built by City Hall. And one particular undertaker, [...]

Warrior and minor aggravated burglary charges
Eighteen year-old Jamel Warrior, along with a seventeen year-old minor, were jointly charged for aggravated burglary, following a break-in at the residence of Li Cheng Luo, proprietor of 88 Shopping Center on Neal’s Penn Road.  The duo is accused of entering Luo’s home on January fourth, and stealing over seven thousand dollars in items, including [...]

Police say international funding died for scholarship recipient
Do the Right Thing, is a youth oriented program devised by the Community Policing Unit. It looks for at-risk youths to recognize and invest in their future by awarding them scholarships. The 2010 third place winner, Micah Goodin was a poet whose thirst for thought provoking words, became quenched by advocacy.  Goodin became a founding [...]

Scholarship recipient and Nationbuilder mad
You heard the National Youth Program Coordinator mention that Goodin was the poster boy for the Do the Rait Thing Program. And though there was no malice and only a depleted program that caused the loss of the scholarship, the student blasted both his school and the youth program.   Micah Goodin, Lost Scholarship “Both [...]

Pomp and circumstance for changing of police command
The crime rate in Belize, particularly murders, has reached a historical high and it appears to only be getting worse with every violent killing, the heinous sexual crimes against women and children, the frequent shootings and other firearm related offences. With no change in sight, residents no longer feel safe and some have started seeing [...]

COLA says going to ICJ is unconstitutional
Citizens Organized for Liberty Through Action (COLA), is calling on citizens to reject taking the Belize/Guatemala dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  COLA says the decision to subject Belizeans to a one-sided decision and referendum should be considered unconstitutional. Geovanni Brackett, COLA’s President, says it attempts to circumvent the procedure established by our [...]

New Guatemalan Foreign Minister appointed
While on the referendum, there are major changes in the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry to report tonight. Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros has stepped down and is being replaced by Fernando Carrera, the Minister of Economic Planning and Programming for the Presidency. Caballeros, according to reports from Guatemala, is on his final mission to Kuwait where Guatemala [...]

Healthy Living assists children dealing with crisis
There have been countless stories, in this newscast and other media discussing the events that unfolded on Tuesday in Belize City. The debate on who did it, whether we over-reacted or who is to blame will likely continue to rage on.  The panicked shutdown of Belize City also led to the closure of schools; leaving [...]


Police Seek Men Following Reports of Carnal Knowledge and Teenage Pregnancy
Police are looking for two men following reports of carnal knowledge by two underage girls. In Orange Walk, a fifteen year old girl, accompanied by her mother, went to the police to report that on December fourteenth, the teenager had sexual intercourse with her boyfriend. ...

COLA Issues Updated Position Paper on Belize Guatemala Referendum
The group Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, best known by the acronym COLA has issued an update on its previous position paper opposing the proposed referendum on taking the unfounded Guatemalan claim to the ICJ. In its updated statement released today, COLA said that even...

Post Mortem Results Revealed on Recent Killings
Post mortem examinations on the bodies of three persons killed over the weekend have been completed. According to the results obtained by Dr. Hugh Sanchez, twenty two year old Feeshia Felix died as a result of severe brain injury due to gunshot injury to the head. Felix was...

US Residents Combines God and Basketball for Youths in Belize
The country was shaken on Monday when a gruesome scene of murder was uncovered in Belize City. Among the victims was an eighteen year old, making us wonder what awaits the youth in such a crime infested country. But it seems that there is hope for our youngsters as a group ...

Police News
Forty five year old Israel Ranchanran has been arrested and charged for the crime of drug trafficking after marijuana was found concealed in his underwear and on his person. Police say Rancharan and two other men were intercepted at a police check point between miles fifty five a...

Orange Walk Police Seek Man Following Shooting Incident
Two men of Orange Walk Town are hospitalized with gunshot wounds following a shooting last night. They are 41 year old Amin Mendez Sr. of Liberty Avenue Orange walk town and 26 year old Evander Bennett of Gravel Lane Orange Walk, both have been transported to the KHMH. ...

Four Men and A Teenager Charged With Aggravated Burglary
Five persons, among them a 17 old boy, have been charged in connection with an aggravated burglary which occurred on January 4, upstairs of 88 Restaurant, located at the corner of Neal Pen Road and Central American Boulevard. The adults are 19 year Jamel Warrior, 20 year old Mich...

Bus Driver and Conductor Busted
A bus driver and conductor today ran into trouble with the law. Acting upon information received Police searched a bus and discovered nine kilograms of suspected cannabis. Reports are that shortly after nine o’clock this morning a search was conducted on a D & E b...

Duo Remanded On Firearm Charges
Two persons, 18 year old Lyson Cacho and 20 year old Diondroy Mckoy, were charged with aggravated assault when they appeared in court today. They were also charged with kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license. They pled not guilty to the charges and they were remanded into cu...

Belizean Labourer Charged With Attempted Murder
Twenty-one Kenyon Dominguez, a laborer of Jasmine Street, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared in court today. Dominguez was also charged with aggravated assault, use of deadly means of harm and wounding. He was remanded into custody until February 22. The incident occurr...

Opposition Leader Makes Recommendations to Prime Minister
The Opposition People’s United Party yesterday offered the hand of cooperation to the government in a bi-partisan effort to address the crime situation in Belize. Prime Minister Dean Barrow publically welcomed the gesture from Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca during his mi...

Police: No New Developments In Quadruple Murder
Twenty four hours after the discovery of bodies of four men in an apartment building in Belize City, investigators are still trying to piece together clues that will tell them of a possible motive for the brutal slayings. Forty year old Keino Quallo, thirty year old Leonard Myers...

Prisoner Wounds Prison Officer
Twenty-nine year old Jermaine Belgrave, who is on remand on a charge of murder, was charged with wounding a prison officer when he appeared in court today. Belgrave pled not guilty to the charge. His case was adjourned until February 18. The incident occurred on January 2. Reports are ...


PUP calls for Commission of Inquiry into quadruple murders
The Opposition People’s United Party yesterday offered the hand of cooperation to the government in a bi-partisan effort to address the crime situation in Belize. Prime Minister Dean Barrow publically welcomed the gesture from Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca during his mid-afternoon press conference on Tuesday. Today, Fonseca issued a statement offering two recommendations for Prime Minister Dean Barrow to consider on the way forward. In a sit-down with reporters this afternoon at his law offices in Belize City, Fonseca said that since too many questions still linger about who may have committed the mass murder, the Prime Minister should appoint a Commission of Inquiry, which would once and for all dispel any suspicion of state-sponsored executions. The PUP leader also recommends that the government should desist from any facilitation of gang leaders. Love News asked Fonseca if he and the People’s United Party are categorically refusing any dialogue at all with gang leaders, even as he extended the hand of cooperation to work alongside the government in addressing the crime situation, which could include on the ground intervention in the crime-ridden areas. Fonseca says that he made the recommendations today after inter-party consultations following yesterday’s press conference by the Prime Minister.

Investigation of quadruple murder inches along
Twenty four hours after the discovery of bodies of four men in an apartment building in Belize City, investigators are still trying to piece together clues that will tell them of a possible motive for the brutal slayings. Forty year old Keino Quallo, thirty year old Leonard Myers, nineteen year old Albert Fuentes and twenty eight year old Anthony Perez were found dead by police just before eight o’clock on Tuesday morning in an apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues streets. An official police report issued today said that the bodies of Quallo, Perez and Fuentes were found in the corridor of the apartments whilst the body of Myers was found inside bedroom number nine. Police say all four men had multiple stab wounds to their bodies. During the Prime Minister’s press conference yesterday afternoon, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie announced that a team of three senior police officers, headed by the head of CIB Alden Dawson as the lead investigator was assigned to the case. During the press conference it was also announced that a special proclamation was being prepared which would have the effect of sealing off what has been described as Zone four, inclusive of the George Street area of Belize City. Prime Minister Barrow told the nation that an intermediary was being designated for residents of the area to be able to share information with the police. And just as a liaison was set up for the residents of the George Street area to communicate with the police, the Prime Minister also announced that Deputy Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, Junior was the point man for the media to get official information on the quadruple homicides. Today, Aragon, told Love News that there has been no new developments in the investigation.

New COMPOL takes over command of Police Department
The handing over of command of the Belize Police Department took place this afternoon in the nation’s capital. Correspondent Fem Cruz was present for the pomp and pageantry and files this report.

Inmate charged with wounding prison officer
Twenty-nine year old Jermaine Belgrave, who is on remand on a charge of murder, was charged with wounding a prison officer when he appeared in court today. Belgrave pled not guilty to the charge. His case was adjourned until February 18. The incident occurred on January 2. Reports are that Belgrave and three other prisoners got into an altercation and Belgrave managed to overpower one of them and take away a prison made knife. When prison officer Isidiro Yam intervened he was wounded on his arm.

Laborer charged with attempted murder
Twenty-one Kenyon Dominguez, a laborer of Jasmine Street, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared in court today. Dominguez was also charged with aggravated assault, use of deadly means of harm and wounding. He was remanded into custody until February 22. The incident occurred around 9:20 a.m. on January 6. Twenty-five year old Justin Richards reported to the police that he and Leroy Zuniga Jr. were standing on Flambouyant Street when Dominguez rode up to them on a beach cruiser bicycle and fired a shot at them which grazed him on his lower back. Zuniga was unhurt. Dominguez was positively identified as the gunman in an identification parade that was held yesterday.

Duo charged with aggravated assault
Two persons, 18 year old Lyson Cacho and 20 year old Diondroy Mckoy, were charged with aggravated assault when they appeared in court today. They were also charged with kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license. They pled not guilty to the charges and they were remanded into custody until February 20. The aggravated assault occurred on January 7. Akeem Augustine reported to the police that while he was riding his bicycle at the junction of M and M Street and Lacroix Boulevard two persons rode up behind him on bicycles and one of them pointed a firearm at him and told him that the next time they see him they will kill him. Augustine reported the incident to the police and as a result the police went to a house at Cet Site where the two defendants reside. The police reported that when they arrived the two defendants locked themselves in a room and they saw when a firearm was thrown through a window. The police reported that when they retrieved the firearm it was a point 38 pistol with five rounds of ammunition.

Visiting US University students engage in service learning program
A group of doctors from the Western Kentucky University in the United States is visiting Belize on its eight year of its service learning program. This morning Love News caught up with them and spoke with the Director of the Belize Learning Program, Dental Director Daniel Carter. As part of their program, today rural nurses underwent a special training at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City and family medicine physician, Sherry Jones told us what it was about. Jones said the nurses showed a lot of interest and excitement in the training and Carter told us that he has been able to adapt to the culture making his experience a good one every time he visits Belize.

Dangriga awaits cruise ship docking
A cruise ship will be docking in southern Belize at the Commerce Bight Port early next week. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the details. Earlier this week we reported that the Orange Walk Town Council had expressed concern at the appointment of the new liquor licensing board in that municipality. Deputy Mayor Josue Carballo told Love News they were not satisfied with the members of the new board and the way they were appointed.

Double Head Cabbage resident wins big Christmas prize
The twelve days of Christmas have come and gone. But for one family in Double Head Cabbage the season of giving and receiving extended to this afternoon. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo and video journalist Myles Gillett went to the Belize River Valley today to bring you the following story.

The Guardian

Downtown Belize City shuts down
Business across Belize City came to a screeching halt on Tuesday, January 8th following shooting incidents which took place in the George Street Gang territory. The shootings are believed to have been responses by those in the neighborhood after the discovery of the bodies of, Albert Fuentes 19, Leonard 'Ghost' Meyers 30, Anthony Perez, 28, and Keino Quallo,40, in an apartment located at the corner of Dean and Plues Street in Belize City; this is the heart of the George Street Gang territory. The bodies were brought down from the apartment building to the great distress of those who had gathered in the area; among them were family members and friends of the deceased who wanted to get a look at their loved ones. Even as police were processing the scene gunshots began to ring out in the area and the fear of possible injury to innocent persons sent the business and school communities across the city into prevention mode. This caused the closure of virtually all businesses and schools across the city starting with those nearest to the George Street neighborhood. The first school to close down was St. Ignatius Primary School followed by Wesley School both of them being the nearest to the hot zone. The closure sent a ripple effect across the city virtually forcing all schools, even those far from the area to close down. These were followed by businesses closing down and activity in the city coming to an almost stand still.

No Retaliation from George Street Gang, says PM
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow held a press conference on Tuesday, January 9th, to appraise the nation of the developments following the discovery of the bodies of four residents of the George Street Area, who are known affiliates of the George Street Gang. The bodies of 40-year-old Keino Quallo, 30-year-old Leonard Myers, 28-year-old Anthony Perez and 19-year-old Albert Fuentes were found at an apartment building at the corner of Plues and Dean Streets on Tuesday morning. At the press conference, the Prime Minister was flanked by the Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar; Minister of Housing, Hon. Michael Finnegan; Minister of Social Transformation, Hon. Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez; CEO in the Ministry of National Security, Col. George Lovell, Commissioner of Police Designate, Allen Whylie; Commander of the Belize Defence Force, General Dario Tapia; and Officer Commanding the Crimes Investigation Branch, Superintendent Alden Dawson. During the press conference, the PM announced that he held a meeting with leaders of the George Street Gang in an effort to placate high tensions that had begun to escalate in the neighborhood. Coming out of the meeting was the bad news that the George Street gang was convinced that the killings had been executed by the police, more specifically the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU). This allegation stated the Prime Minister was, “utterly unfounded” and it constituted a serious allegation against the integrity of the GSU, the Security Forces and the Government of Belize.

Quadruple Homicide at George Street Base
Residents of Belize City were hit with frightening news as they began their morning activities on Tuesday, January 8th, when reports of four bodies being discovered in an apartment building at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets were on most morning talk shows. Speculations and rumours about who were killed, how they were killed and who killed them spread far and wide even before the identities of the bodies were confirmed. It led to a massive assembly of neighbours and residents of the surrounding areas at the scene of the massacre. Police arrived at the two- storey building at 7:50 a.m. and found the lifeless bodies of 40-year-old Keino Quallo, 30-year-old Leonard “Ghost” Myers, Jr., 28-year-old Anthony Perez and 19-year-old Albert “Long John” Fuentes on the second floor. The bodies of Keino Quallo, Anthony Perez and Albert Fuentes were seen in the corridor of the apartments and the body of Leonard Myers was found inside Room #9. All four men had multiple stab wounds to their bodies and there was no sign of forced entry. By 8 o’ clock, there were a couple dozen angry onlookers and by 8:15 a.m. there were over a hundred. The crowd openly expressed its resent for the police officers as they processed the scene. The ugliest verbal assaults came from the women in the crowd. They spoke of ways to get back at the police - by seducing and leading them to ambushes or by killing their family members. The anger was particularly focused on the Gang Suppression Unit, who residents believe is responsible for the horrible act. They blame the GSU because they say “the police are the only ones that can come into Gaza turf”.

Kevin Lee’s Defense
The trial of massage therapist, Kevin Lee, began late 2012 and on Wednesday, January 9th, the defense made its submissions before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. Lee is being accused of sexually assaulting one of his clients on April 6th, 2011 during a massage therapy session. The woman claims that during the massage, Lee touched her inappropriately on her breast, buttocks and also attempted to touch between her legs. Lee gave a sworn statement in court with the assistance of a translator. He said that the woman was lying because on April 6th he used a machine to give her the massage. According to Lee, the woman came to him on two separate occasions for treatment. The first time was on March 28th, 2011 where he gave her a healing massage by rubbing her back only and the second was April 6th, 2011. In court, Lee’s attorney, Alifa Elrington-Hyde, presented a yellow notebook and a receipt book in an attempt to prove his innocence. The yellow notebook, which he claims is used to keep records of his business has the first name of the woman for the two dates which he said she came. The DPP, Cheryl Lynn Vidal, challenged the sudden appearance of the books. She asked how was the book not found in his office or spoken of during the police investigation. She pointed to the fact that different client names in the book had the same receipt numbers and even a remanded prison inmate’s name was in the book as a client. The trial against Kevin Lee was adjourned until January 18th.

New Rules in the Butane Industry
The Belize Bureau of Standards has announced several new protocols to be introduced in the butane industry by the Technical Committee for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The biggest change is in the area of pricing and quality of the substance. In the past, the Ministry conducted periodic review of prices based on invoice submissions from the LPG importers. Those invoices did not always reflect the quality and origin of the product. In an effort to achieve stability in domestic prices and standardization of quality for LPG, the Bureau has implemented a new LPG Importation Protocol to be adopted by all importers and domestic producers, regardless of product origin. An established minimum standard mixture of 60:40 propane to butane will be implemented to ensure that all consumers receive high quality LPG. Mixtures are to be verified by third party certificates as a means of ensuring that all importers are abiding to the set standards. The Government anticipates that this newly established index will eliminate variations in controlled prices based on source of supply. This index was made effective on December 1st, 2012. There are also standard specifications for the marking and labeling of gas cylinders; inspection, testing and requalification of portable LPG containers and filling, handling, storage, transportation and location of portable cylinders. These mandatory standards were gazetted effective November 5th, 2012. The Bureau is now embarking on a phased-in compliance program which aims to implement the new standards in the shortest possible time.

One Man, Two Women and a Boy arrested for Robbery of Hotdog Vendors
Police have detained two men and two women in connection with the robbery of two food vendors and a minor on Sunday, January 6th, near the Battle Field Park in Belize City. According to police, a food vendor reported that at about 3:30 a.m., she was at her hotdog stand near the Battle Field Park when she was approached by two dark complexion males and two dark complexion females, who ordered food from her. While preparing the food, one of the men approached her and placed a firearm to her side. He then proceeded to rob her of $675. The group then moved over to another vendor where they robbed her of $200. A 17-year-old student who was around at the time was also robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash. The group then fled the scene; however, quick police response led to the pursuit of one of the suspects in which at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets he threw an object over a fence. He was caught and taken to the spot where the object was thrown and police recovered one black glock pistol containing one 9 mm live round in the magazine. The man was escorted to the Police station where he was identified as 20-year-old Andrew Talbert of #79 Allenby Street. He was then charged with Keeping Firearm and Ammunition without a Gun license. Three additional persons were later detained. They are 18-year-old Desiree Waight, 21-year-old Theresa Elijio and a 14-year-old minor. Talbert appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Monday, January 7th, where he pleaded not guilty to the firearm offenses and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February 19th, 2013. He reappeared in court on Tuesday, January 8th, along with the three alleged accomplices in the robbery. They were all charged with three counts of robbery and will be remanded at the Belize Central Prison until their next court appearance on February 19th.

Belizean football referees certified by FIFA
The Football Federation of Belize Referee’s Department is pleased to inform the general public that four Belizean Referees are certified by FIFA to officiate at the international level. The FIFA certified Referees are Irfan Basdemir and Christopher Reid, while the two FIFA certified Assistant Referees is Ricardo Ake and Daniel Catzim.

Feeshia Felix shot dead in Her Bed
Police response to the murder of 22-year-old Gill Street resident Feeshia Felix has resulted in the detention of several individuals. According to police reports, CIB personnel visited #6 Gill Street at about 2:50 a.m. on Saturday, January 5th, where they saw Felix lying motionless on her bed with a gunshot wound to the forehead. Her brother told police that he was awaken by the sound of gunshots at around 2:40 a.m. After the shots stopped, he called out to his sister but there was no response. He then went to check inside her bedroom where he saw her motionless body with the injury to the forehead. Police retrieved ten 9 mm expended shells from off the street in front of the house. Two slugs were also retrieved from inside the house.

Marvin Foreman murdered on Central American Boulevard
Police are looking for two men in connection with the murder of 27-year-old Marvin Foreman. Sometime around 3 p.m. on the afternoon of Saturday, January 5th, Foreman, a resident of #4314 Louise Bevans Street, was in front of a Chinese grocery shop located at #3424 Central American Boulevard when two men of dark complexion approached on bicycles. One of the men pulled out a firearm and fired several shots at him. Foreman was struck multiple times to the abdomen and hip. He was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital but succumbed to his injuries at 4:10 p.m. Police recovered thirteen 9 mm expended shells from the scene and three slugs. They have not confirmed if the shooting is related to the murder of Feeshia Felix, who was killed earlier that day.

Man pleads guity to possession of .40mm bullet, entire family still remanded
Patrick Gordon, 51, was sentenced to 3 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession of a .40 mm caliber bullet and 6 months for smoking weed inside his Sawmill Area home in Hattieville. On Thursday, January 3rd, at about 8:00a.m., police executed a search at Gordon’s house where they found the bullet inside a carton box under a bed inside the house. As a result of the discovery, everyone at home at the time was taken to court and charged for keeping prohibited ammunition. Police also say that upon entering the house they smelled marijuana smoke. Patrick Gordon, his common-law wife, 45-year-old Karen Gillett, her older daughter, 25-year-old Rondean Gillett, her 18-year-old daughter, Sheridean Gillett and her 17-year-old daughter, were taken to court and appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano on Thursday afternoon. Gordon pleaded guilty to the offence of keeping the ammunition and smoking weed. He told the court, “I was wrong for holding it in my house but I wish that the court would have leniency on my family.” He was then sentenced to 3 years for the ammunition and 6 months for smoking weed. The charges were not withdrawn against the rest of the family since the prosecutor indicated to the court that he would have to get a directive from the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether to withdraw charges against the others.

Marlon Harris gunned down on George Price Highway
Police are investigating the shooting death of 33-year-old Marlon Harris of #7632 Lionel Tillett Street, Belize City. Police visited Mile 2 on the George Price Highway at about 8:25 p.m. on Saturday, January 5th, where they saw a dark green four door Toyota Corolla in a small ditch on the right hand side of the road (facing towards Belize City). They saw five bullet holes on the driver’s side door and seated in the driver’s seat was the motionless body of Marlon Danny Harris. Police observed gunshot wounds on the left and right side of Harris’s body. Police have not named any suspect in relation to the murder.

Brothers charged for New Years Day Shootings
Police have arrested and charged 23-year-old Akeem Hubert Humes for the murder of 45-year-old Orlando Sylvestre Williams. At about 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 1st, Williams was near his home at the corner of Dean Street and West Canal having a conversation with a friend, when a light complexion man came walking on Dean Street from the direction of Plues Street and fired several shots at him. Williams was struck multiple times and died on the spot. Police retrieved seven 9 mm expended shells, one slug and one copper jacket from the scene. Police arrested and charged Humes for murder on Friday, January 4th. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was remanded to the Hattieville Prison until February 15th, 2013. Police also arrested and charged Humes brother, Shakeem Baizar, for the attempted murder of 48-year-old Marco Valle. He was additionally charged with dangerous harm and the use of deadly means of harm upon Valle. At about 9:40pm on the same date, January 1st, Marco Valle and a friend were riding on separate motorcycles on Regent Street heading towards the Swing Bridge and upon passing in front of Welworth Store, a young man rode beside them and fired a single gunshot, which hit Valle in the left temple. Valle was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he is still on life support. Police retrieved one 9 mm expended shell from the scene. Baizar was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until March 12th.

Clarence Lamb charged for BTB Robbery
22-year-old Wagner’s Lane resident Clarence Lamb appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Monday, January 7th, to answer to charges relating to the robbery of the Belize Tourism Board’s (BTB) office on Wednesday, January 2nd. On that day, two men entered the BTB office, located on Regent Street, at about 4:30 in the afternoon. One of the men had a firearm in hand and the other was armed with a knife. The gunman placed the gun through the cashier’s service window and demanded money. It was at that point that one of the security guards set off the alarm in the building and confronted the men. The men then rushed out of the building but not before the security guard opened fire and hit one of them in the foot. The injured robber did not make it very far as he was picked up by Tourism Police about forty yards away on South Street. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and identified as Clarence Lamb from the Jump Street area. The other man escaped down Regent Street. The men’s take from the robbery amounted to $1,732.78, but they didn’t get away with it. Lamb was unrepresented in court where he was slapped with 10 charges. Those include one count of keeping firearm without a gun license and one count of keeping ammunition without a gun license for a .38 revolver which was found in his possession with 6 live rounds. He was also charged with one count of robbery and seven counts of aggravated assault upon BTB employees. Lamb pled not guilty to all 10 charges and due to the nature of the offenses, he was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February 28th, 2013. Police are still looking for the second suspect in the robbery.

Victor Pratt charged of Robbery of San Cas Employee
Victor Pratt will spend his 26th birthday behind bars. That is because he was charged along with Micshak Flores for the robbery of over $40,000 in cash and cheques from San Cas employee, Leroy Cassasola. On December 27th, Cassasola reported to police that he went to collect money from Tommy’s Store, located on Central American Boulevard, at about 6:20 p.m. He placed the money into a knapsack and as he got on his motorcycle, he was approached by two men; one was armed with a gun. The men ordered him to hand over the knapsack and other personal items. According to Casssaola, fearing for his life, he complied with his attackers demands. The robbers take amounted to $19,000 in cash and some cheques which upped the total to some $40,250. Flores was captured shortly after the incident took place. He appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court on January 3rd and will be held on remand until his next court appearance. Pratt appeared in court on Monday, January 7th, where he was read a single charge of robbery. He was unrepresented and due to the fact that the offense was committed with a firearm, no plea was taken and he was remanded to prison until his next court appearance on March 5th.

Trenton Webster remanded for Robbery of Magistrate’s Court Cashier
On Friday, December 28th, a gunman held a Police Special Constable and a Belize City Magistrate’s Court cashier at gunpoint and snatched away a green Belize Bank bag that contained $7,634.90 in cash.

Private Hospital in Cayo celebrates Fortieth Anniversary
La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital (LLLAH) located in Santa Elena Town, Cayo continued to celebrate, on Saturday December 29th, its fortieth anniversary. In keeping with the celebrations, a state of the art imaging centre was dedicated in memory of Sylvan N. Roberts, Jr., who at the time of his murder on December 23rd, 2011 was a sonographer at the private hospital.

Changes in Police High Command for Greater Efficiency
David Henderson, Allen Whylie, Elodio Aragon and Miguel Segura The Ministry of National Security announces the following changes in the Ministry and in the high command of the Police Department to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness as we begin the New Year. Mr. David Henderson leaves the post of Acting Commissioner of Police and takes up the post of Director of the National Forensic Science Service.

GOB cannot afford to subsidize UB students anymore
In July of 2006, the University of Belize had announced that it would be increasing its fees to attend classes at that institution. Since that announcement, the Government of Belize paid the difference in increases. While at the time it was only supposed to have lasted for 6 months, that decision was carried forward up until the present. The Government now pays some 3 million dollars for students. But the reality is that the Government simply cannot afford to keep on footing the bill. This is especially so because according to Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, the assistance that is being given to students through grants and scholarships has increased. The Minister added that the assistance offered to students amounts to some $3 million spread equitably to as many of them as possible. The subvention that is being given to the University of Belize has also gone up exponentially. The subvention now stands at $10 million. Minister Faber added that the announcement is not one that should be taking students by surprise. As a matter of public record, the announcement was made at the National Assembly from the middle of last year. Additionally, only students that are newly registering at the university will be affected by the true cost that UB places on the services they provide. Students, who are currently enrolled at the institution, will continue to pay only a portion of the cost. This will be extended, according to the Minister up to a reasonable time. That is, people will be given enough time to complete their course of studies provided it does not extend beyond what the length of time it should take to complete the courses.

GSU denies Involvement in murders
When news broke in the George Street neighborhood that 4 affiliates of the George Street Gang had been executed in the heart of the gang's turf, speculation began to run wild that it was the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) that was responsible. The argument was that it was only the police who could go into the neighborhood and commit such an act because they are the only ones brave enough to do so. That, compounded by the almost daily aggressive interaction, has lent credence to the speculation.

Lionel Arzu Sworn in as New Ombudsman
Lionel Arzu was sworn in as Belize’s new Ombudsman by Governor General Sir Colville Young on Friday, December 28th, at the Belize House in Belmopan City. Up until his appointment, Arzu was a teacher at Julian Cho Technical High School in his home district, Toledo. He has also served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Belize, Toledo Campus; and project Coordinator for the2 Meso- America Project. 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.

Peoples Coalition contributes to Cayo Police
The Peoples Coalition of Cayo (PCC) continues to work with the San Ignacio Police Formation to further reduce crime. As part of the PCC’s major goal, work continued during this past week on a forty foot container on the San Ignacio Police Compound, which is intended to serve as an exhibit and evidence room.

Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar hands over Two Vehicles and Ten Motorcycles to Police Department
Hon. John Saldivar presents donation to police department Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar on Monday, January 7th, handed over two new Mahindra Pick-up Trucks and ten Meilun Brand motorcycles to the Belize Police Department.

Quality Controls at the Cemeteries
The Belize City Council has announced that effective January 1st, has taken over the work at the cemeteries as it pertains to digging of graves and construction of tombs. Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley has said that it is about quality control at the cemeteries. He explained that over the years, the tombs which are constructed are not up to standard and at times they collapse under their weight. This forces the City Council, which is ultimately responsible for the maintenance at the cemeteries, to have to go in after the tombs crumble to fix them thereby incurring additional expenses for the Council.

Fees structure for New and Incoming UB Students
The recent announcement by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports that it would discontinue the fee subsidy currently enjoyed by all students at the University of Belize (UB) will not come into effect till January 2013 and will only affect students entering from that point onward. The Government has advised that it will continue the fee subsidy for all students enrolled prior to January 2013.

The Year in Review 2012
The second half of the year closed on a real down note and with the presentation of his budget at the end of June, the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow tried to inject some optimism in the electorate. The 2012-13 budget, which would be normally be presented in April, was delayed by about eight weeks because of the General and Municipal elections.

Central Region Football Competition opens
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association Central Region 2012-2013 Football Competition opened on Wednesday January 9th, 2013, at the MCC Grounds here in Belize City. The high school’s football competition will see the participation of 5 girls’ teams and 7 boys’ teams. The schools participating in the female competition are Anglican Cathedral College, Excelsior High School, Ladyville Technical High School, St. Catherine Academy and Wesley College, while the teams in the male competition are Anglican Cathedral College, Excelsior High School, Ladyville Technical High School, Nazarene High School, St. John’s College, Sadie Vernon Technical High School and Wesley College. However, it is noticed that the defending champions Gwen Lizarraga High School is absent from this year’s competition in both divisions.

FFB calls U- 20 players to tryout
The Football Federation of Belize National Team Selection Committee in preparation for the 10th Central American Games scheduled for San Jose, Costa Rica from March 3rd -17th, 2013, has selected the following U-20 male and open female players to attend training this Saturday and Sunday respectively January 12th and 13th at 8:00 am at the FFB Headquarters. All players attending training are required to bring along a valid passport. The U- 20 male players selected are: Terrell Flores, Jeremy Gentle, Geon Makin, Avran Crawford, Khambrel Blease, John King, Dellon Torres, Collin Westby, Kendis Hernandez, Luis Torres, Kyle Flowers, San Leobardo Mendez, Jamil Cano, Nahjib Guerra, Eduardo Gongora, David Madred, Darrell Myers, Terrell Shepard, Denmark Casey Jr., Howard West, Gilroy Thurton, Sanjay Casey, Brandon Jones, Hari Ottoniel Cruz, Jorge Garcia, Kishane Suazo, Marlon Tesecom, Trevis Drysdale, Marvin Budna, Dennis Charley, Erenelsen Clavel, Erwin Chable, Wilmer Gonzalez, Amir Coh, Brian White, Jason Turton, Ricky Muschamp, France Vernon, Yusef Vernon, Carlton Thomas, Byron Chavez, and Jermaine Jones.

Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition opens this coming Monday
The 2012-2013 Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition will commence on Monday January 14th, 2013, at Rogers Stadium. There are 11 teams participating in the girls’ competition and 9 teams in the boys’ competition. The teams in the girls’ competition are Wesley Upper School, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School, Queen Square Anglican School, Muslim Community School, St. Martin De Porres School, Unity Presbyterian School, Central Christian School, and St. John Vianney School, Salvation Army School, Holy Redeemer School and St. John’s Primary School. Meanwhile, the schools in the boys’ competition are Wesley Upper School, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene, Queen Square Anglican School, St. Martin De Porres School, St. John’s Primary School, Holy Redeemer School, Salvation Army School, Central Christian School and St. Mary’s Primary School.

The Elephant in the Room
There’s a huge elephant in the room that cannot be moved. It stands perfectly still while we work to pick up the dung it is dropping on the carpet, all the while ignoring its presence. Its name is geography. Belize is within the Central American geographical area and our current murder rate now puts us squarely within a region infamous for having the highest murder rates in the world. Jamaica and Trinidad also join as honorary members of the region. Sociologically there are many similarities such as poverty, inequality, unemployment and family breakdown exacerbated by migration. However, some or all of these sociological problems are shared by the majority of other countries in the world which have much lower murder rates. It is obviously important for countries to pay attention to sociological drivers of crime but equally obvious that there must be one or more other drivers. There has to be something else that all the countries in this region share and that brings us back to the elephant in the room, the elephant known as geography. The geography that we all share is being on the trade route from drug production centres in South America and proximity to the United States. This guarantees that organised crime in the United States has an interest in supporting criminal gangs along the drug supply route. Other shared similarities include large numbers of deportees often with few family or other ties to their countries of origin and criminal records and links to organised crime and criminal gangs developed in the United States. Our shared geography also ensures that our countries are flooded with weapons and ammunition from one of the most unregulated arms markets in the world.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Ocean Academy Business Fair
The Ocean Academy is having a Business Fair at the Central Park on Saturday, January 12th 2013 from 10 AM to 1PM.


A Tale of Five Cities: Merida, the food (part 2)
On Sunday around lunchtime, we were walking around downtown Merida where a variety of outdoor food vendors cluster to serve the shoppers and walkers. I wasn't very hungry but was hoping to find some Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup), a classic Yucatecan soup I'd heard so much about. Although the booth we stopped at said they had it to lure us in, they didn't actually, though they had some other kind of chicken soup. Realizing it was probably too hot for soup anyway, I settled for a cooling Horchata (a traditional rice beverage) to drink, and Barry got a panucho. Street food in Mexico is incredibly cheap and makes a good choice for lunch or a quick snack. Since we had such a light lunch, we decided to eat dinner early and tried one of our Tripadvisor picks, Amaro. Since we were eating so early, we had the place to ourselves. I started with a michelada, another specialty drink in Mexico, and Barry had one of their special cilantro/habanero margaritas. We also ordered some guacamole, chips, and salsa to whet our appetite as we perused the menu. I still had Sopa de Lima on the brain, and we'd planned to go for sorbet after dinner, so I decided to have a light soup dinner. Barry had a chicken dish. After our relatively light meal, we strolled back up to the Paseo de Montejo for some sorbet. We'd eyed this place the night before but had chosen fancy desserts at Hennessey's.

10 Cool Things You Didn’t Know About the Cotton Tree
The Ceiba Pentadra aka Cotton or Kapok tree is a tropical tree that is native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Northern South America. Here are ten interesting things about this tree: 1.) Kapok is the most used common name for the tree and may also refer to the cotton obtained from its seed pods. 2.) In Maya Mythology, the Ceiba tree is a sacred symbol. 3.) The tree grows to 200–230 ft tall and has a very substantial trunk up to 10 ft in diameter with buttresses. The trunk and many of the larger branches are often but not always crowded with very large, robust simple thorns. 4.) Adult trees produce several hundred 15 cm seed pods. The pods contain seeds surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fibre that is a mix of lignin and cellulose.

Prime Minister Barrow Meets With Belize Gang Leaders Following Brutal Murders
The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, revealed in a press conference on Jan 9, 2013 that he has held talks with the leaders of The George Street Gang (GSG), a notorious criminal gang after four men were found dead in an apartment building on Tuesday morning. Local media said the men were tortured and their throats slashed. When security forces arrived on the scene to pick up the bodies, people of the neighborhood began pelting them with stones and bottles. The forces had to fire shots into the air to keep the crowd at bay and senior police officers and journalists were forced to scamper for safety as multiple gunshots were fired near the apartment building. The residents in the neighborhood alleged that the killings were a state-sponsored execution. Later in the afternoon Mr. Barrow told reporters at a press conference that he led a delegation that included National Security Minister John Saldivar for talks with the leaders of the GSG and said that an arrangement had been reached for them to leave Belize City and not seek retaliation against people they believe committed the murders. “I said they went under an arrangement with the government, they went completely of their own free will as a consequence of the discussion we had,” Barrow said, adding that the delegation made it clear during the talks “that it would be absolutely unthinkable for there to be any attempt at retaliation against innocent citizens. “I will say that right from the start of those negotiations, they freely volunteered their commitment that absolutely nothing like that would happen. Now I say to residents of the City, I say to citizens of this nation that notwithstanding that particular development...the security forces are putting in place all that is necessary to make assurance doubly sure.

Stairway to Heaven
It was that time of the month again today- time to renew our Visas. Pleased to say that this time we set a new record for processing time. Excluding the drive to the Immigration Department we were ‘done and dusted’ in eight minutes. With such a start to the day we thought we were in for a wonderful day but then the sky got very grey and then very dark . Within minutes the heavens opened up and there was a swirling rain. It didn’t last long though but the sun didn’t really emerge in full force. We had planned to visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but decided that it could wait until the rain stopped or at least subsided. So we moved to plan B which was to review the architect’s plan to do our best to avoid a repetition of the ground level stair access ( see yesterday’s edition ‘Cause & Effect’) problem. We focused our attention on the Ground and First Floors and identified a number of small changes we want to make e.g. not having a cabinet between the oven and the pantry but use the space to increase the width of the pantry, providing plumbing for a dryer in the utility room but fit a cabinet in the space ( we have never been avid users of dryers but you never know…),etc. With our list drawn up we are ready for the first of the formal weekly meetings that we have asked Daniel Camal, our building contractor, to have with us. The inaugural meeting takes place at 4pm on Friday at our apartment.

Daily Dingleberry 01-10-13 Is Whe Dis?
What’s all this about Micah Goodin? From all appearances, he di “Du Di Rait Ting”. He is President of the Student Council at SJCJC, Teen Belize Organization’s Personality of the Month, founder of A.R.M.E.D, a program aimed at mentoring young people, and the list goes on. One side says it is a simple matter of the scholarship program “Du Di Rait Ting” running out of funding BUT don’t you know how much money you have for scholarships BEFORE you give them out? Some say he took too long to complete his program and his share ran out. Others say it is retaliation, plain and simple for speaking out against Patrick Faber’s initiative to cut government subsidies of student fees. In any case, it would seem that he should not be left in the cold and he won’t be. Already, the Rotary Club and Kremandala have stepped forward to offer assistance. Things that make you go “What?”

International Sources

APP SMART: Taking a Deep Look at Tools for Scuba Divers
In the middle of winter there can be few more spine-chilling thoughts than the idea of slipping into the ocean for a dip. But at least one group of people are attracted to the idea of year-round: scuba divers. While high technology and water don’t mix well as a rule, the smartphone and tablet revolution has expanded to diving. Divers now have many apps to help them plan, execute and even train for their dives. For beginners who need to pass certification tests before they can dive freely, the Scuba Exam app (a restricted-feature version is free on iOS and on Android) is an ideal helper. Novice divers will enjoy its short history of diving, back to early diving-bell experiments by Guglielmo de Lorena in 1531. It also has a dictionary of diving terms and expressions, and you’ll get more terms with the app’s full version on iOS and Android ($4 each). But the app’s main feature is a practice quiz about best diving practices, with plenty of questions to prepare you for your diving qualification test. The app is not pretty to look at, nor is it very sophisticated. But the simplicity of its straightforward design will be useful to help you refresh your knowledge in your spare moments.

VIDEO: Kuhnert Family Pays It Forward
FOX2 highlighted the Affton residents, who were missionaries in Belize for a year.

Game Stop's Sweepstakes Gives You the Chance to Win a Trip to Belize
How would you like the chance to visit the kind of tropical setting featured in the "Far Cry" series of games? Well, if you enter GameStop PowerUp Rewards' Far Cry 3 Epic Reward Sweepstakes, you could win a trip to do just that. The grand-prize winner will receive a trip for two to Belize including a two-day guided hiking tour with a professional athlete, two Mountain Hardware Jungle Survival Kits, and more. The prize is worth $7,986.

Slovak Hood From Belize Yacht Club Arrested In Venezuela
Damn! Should have stayed in Belize! Mr. William Mishenka, the buddy of Karol Mello, was residing at the Belize Yacht Club along with him last year. Both have been on the run from Slovak police for years. Mishenka was responsible for the largest heist in Slovak history. It was rumored Mishenka had a Venezuelan passport. That seems to be true as Mr. Mishenka was just arrested there by Interpol agents on the island of Margarita!! So Belize has one less international hood to deal with....not that the domestic ones aren't keeping the police busy enough......I guess that's good news.....

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