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6/21/2013 to 6/30/2013
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Today's Belize News

June 30, 2013

This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for a couple weeks due to time constraints.


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Police Barracks update
The new San Pedro Police barracks is on its way, construction has started and the building is taking shape. The temporary barracks will be a two story wooden structure that will house eight police officers comfortably. Each room will be equipped with a private bathroom and a mini balcony. The project started on Friday, May 31st, when demolition of the dilapidated police barracks commenced. With the initial support of Gricel Graniel from Matachica Resort, Mukul Kanabar from Phoenix Resort, Brent Kirkman from Victoria House Resort and David Hesse from Las Terrazas Resort, who pledged a total of $20,000BZ was pledged and construction commenced.

Costa Maya Festival® presents Miss Honduras!
Hot on the heels of the announcement of Belize’s representative for this year’s Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant taking place during the International Costa Maya Festival being held August 1 – 4, 2013, we announce Honduras’ beauty. She is 19 year old Monica Alexis Elwing Gough. Monica is the reigning Miss Honduras World 2013 and will be represent Honduras at the Miss World 2013 in September. Standing at 5’ 7” tall, Monica is a radiology intern with green eyes and light brown hair, she measures at 36-24-36. She enjoys reading, volleyball and going to the beach.

Local government show appreciation to PSE top students
Honorable Manuel Heredia, Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Culture, along with Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Chairman of Caye Caulker Village, Waye Miller presented a check $500BZ to the three top-ranked Primary School Examination (PSE) students of the Cayes. The three students receiving the checks were Matthew Sandoval from Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School and Jennessa Sierra and Chelsea Zetina from San Pedro Roman Catholic School. Each student accompanied by their parents in whose names the checks were issued. According to Heredia, the checks are a form of appreciation from the local government, “Education is the most important thing in life, and it is the best thing your parents can give you. We would also like to show appreciation and thanks to the parents of these children for pushing their children to do the best. I congratulate both the parents and the school for a combined effort of excellence,” said Heredia. According to Miller, “This is what happens when children receive good parenting.” Miller also expressed sincere appreciation to the parents accompanying the student.

Misc Belizean Sources

Pasta Caye Caulker wants to Open July 6
Hey Friends, fans and Family Rasta Pasta Caye Caulker wants to Open July 6. To meet our deadline we need your help! Please stop by the SEAduced Office or Chuck and Robbies Dive Shop and purchase a gift certificate. The first 50 people to buy a $50 gift certificate get two free Rasta Rippers and the first 50 people to buy $100 gift certificate get 2 free Rasta Rippers and a free dessert when they redeem their gift certificates! Looking forward to seeing all of you when we open!

Kontiki Football Marathon
The Kontiki Neighborhood Watch is doing a football marathon today, Sunday, the 30th of June, as a fundraiser. Get some good food, have some fun, and support a great cause. "Kontiki Neighborhood Watch is having this Fundraising Sports event, this Sunday. It's our Summer Football Marathon and we welcome everyone to come out and be part of a really good and fun day. We will have Rice & Beans dinner, Chicken Bollos, Pastries, Chips n Dip, Juices, etc on Sale"

PC Jason Jones Receives Paul Harris Fellow Award
Congratulations to PC Jason Jones for being awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Club of San Ignacio! PC Jones has shown amazing dedication and service to Cayo, which is what the award signifies. "On 15th June 2013 Rotary San Ignacio awarded PC 495 Jason Jones with the Paul Harris Fellow Award, for his dedication and outstanding service to the community of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Towns. Photo: On 15th June 2013 Rotary San Ignacio awarded PC 495 Jason Jones with the Paul Harris Fellow Award, for his dedication and outstanding service to the community of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Towns."


Witz Found Guilty Of Assaulting A Police Officer
On June 18th, Minister of State with Responsibility for Gangs, Mark King, walked out of the Corozal Magistrates Court a free man after he was acquitted of Aggravated Assault, Threatening Words and Disorderly Conduct. The three charges were levied against King back in February of this year after he became involved in a brawl with casino security and Corozal police while socializing at the Princess Casino located just outside the Corozal Commercial Free Zone in the early hours of February 5th 2013. The case against King fell apart after P.C Nelson Ramos withdrew his testimony and P.C Suazo and two security officers were unable to identify the Minister from the witness stand. P.C Nelson Ramirez has been placed on interdiction and is now facing disciplinary charges and will be tried by a jury of his peers.

DPP Lashed Out At The O/W Police Department For Incompentence
Although the Grijalva’s, Nunez and Cruz are scheduled to return to court on August 20th 2013, there has been public criticism in relation to the amount of time it took for charges to be laid. Sharing the sentiments of hundreds of Belizeans is the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal. In an email sent to various media houses late yesterday evening Vidal expressed her dissatisfaction with the manner in which quote unquote “A very simple investigation was handled by the Command of the Orange Walk Formation”. According to the DPP, to date, there are outstanding matters to be addressed on the file and scope for further investigation and if it weren’t for the assistance obtained from officers outside of the Orange Walk Police Formation, charges would still be pending.

PAHO, EU And Ministry Of Health Launch Neonatal Care Project
The Pan American Health Organization’s 26 page report which reveals the findings on an investigation carried out at the KHMH after the deaths of 13 infants, has brought shame to the hospital. Seven of the babies lost their life when they became infected with a bacteria called Enterobacter Cloacae inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The investigation brought to light numerous inefficiencies at the hospital and presently the Ministry of Heath is taking corrective measures. With the assistance of the European Union and the Pan American Health Organization, today the Government of Belize launched the "Strengthening of critical maternal and neonatal services in Belize" project. The project comes at a cost of more than six million dollars with 4.2 million financed by the European Union. The project’s goal is to reduce stillbirth and neonatal mortality by one third and increase antenatal coverage to over 95% of the population. With the implementation of the project neonates will have access to better conditions during transfer from district hospitals to the national referral hospital in both public and private organizations providing ambulance services.

Jaime Cardenas Sentenced To Four Years Imprisonment
On June 5th 2013, a jury of nine members convicted Jaime Cardenas for the offence of dangerous harm in the Orange Walk Supreme Court. Cardenas was tried before Honorable Justice Herbert Lord and sentencing was reserved for yesterday, June 27th. As per scheduled Cardenas was brought back to the supreme where Justice Herbert Lord sentenced him to 4 years imprisonment. In May of 2009, Cardenas stabbed Rene Escarraga in his upper abdomen at a bus stop in Orange Walk Town. Escarraga would have lost his life without medical intervention. During the case the Crown was represented by Counsels Shanice Lovell and Sabita Maharaj and the accused was represented by attorney Dickie Bradley.

Isabel Mendez Sentenced To Spend 19 Years In Prison
Isabel Mendez accused of having sexual intercourse with his daughter from May 6th 2006 to April 12th 2009 was also sentenced yesterday at the Northern Session of the Supreme Court. On June 19th Mendez was convicted by a nine member jury of ten counts of incest after evidence proved that he sexually abused of his daughter who was 12 at the time when the crime was first committed.

Saint Peters School, A Whole New Look
Yesterday we told you about the huge success of St. Peter’s Anglican School in this year’s PSE and today, the students and faculty of the school, were compensated for a job well done. High School and College students of the state of New Jersey, USA, are in Belize for the third time and this year, they decided to come to Orange Walk. The young boys and girls form part of a yearly mission’s trip that visit countries that are in need such as China and of course Belize. The team dropped by Saint Peters Anglican School today and gave a whole new look to one of the buildings. Leader of the group, Courtney Pearson, told us more about the initiative.

Alternative Methods For Corporal Punishment Is Necessary
There is no doubt that in this day an era some parents find it difficult to discipline their children. If you are one of those parents then imagine what your child’s teacher must go through since Corporal Punishment has been abolished. In his press conference held a few weeks ago Minister of Education Patrick Faber clearly stated that that he is serious about the removal of corporal punishment and will make an example of any teacher who violates the rules. While the Belize National Teachers Union agrees that teachers must comply with the rules, they want to be trained in alternative methods of discipline. While the Ministry and the union don’t always see eye to eye, in this case they share the same sentiment. Christopher Aird, Chief Education Officer, MOE “I don’t think that corporal punishment or any kind of physical punishment worked anyway, I don’t know that it made a difference whether it was while it was allowed I don’t know it made a difference in any case. Effective classroom management and a healthy and safe school environment and things that encourage and motivated children are certain things that have worked and yes if we do have many school have been involved in pilot and positive disciplines and sometime ago and we intent to share that information. Pedagogical training on classroom management is standard in teaching programs in any case so I am not sure that one has to replace corporal punishment with anything other than better teaching. Better teaching and a better way of structuring the schools and their activities.”

Getting To Zero Know Your Status
Health Education and Community Participation Bureau. HECOPAB continued the campaign of “getting to zero” and “know your status”, as free testing for HIV/AIDS was provided today at the Orange Walk Central Park. Those who voluntarily took advantage of today’s activity received free glucose and body weight testing. Recent figures released by the National Aids Commission show that more males have been infected by the virus than females. Today’s health fair was organized in commemoration of “Regional HIV Testing Day” celebrated across the globe. Veronica Ortega, Psychiatric Nurse, Voluntary Council and Testing “Today we are celebrating what is original HIV testing day whereby we are offering free HIV tests long with other testing for example the glucose, information and condom distribution.” Irving Aragon – Reporter “How has the day looked so far in terms of people participating or forming part of this event?” Veronica Ortega, Psychiatric Nurse, Voluntary Council and Testing “Actually we are having a good turnout, people are showing up and they are coming to do their HIV test and we are aiming to do at least 200 or more test today.”

New Horizons 2013 Benefits Belize And The U.S
Over the past years Belize has partnered with the US Southern Command through the Belize Defence Force as well as the Ministries of Health and Education, to conduct combined humanitarian exercises that equip members of the task force of both countries with the necessary capabilities and experiences to respond to humanitarian relief scenarios in other countries including Central America. New Horizon 2013 was scheduled for approximately 90 days and saw the construction of new classrooms for schools in four different communities and free medical services for Belizeans. But as the good old saying goes, “every good story must come to an end” and today the closing ceremony for the New Horizons 2013 took place inside the newly constructed building at the Trial Farm Government School. Irvin Aragon- Reporting After approximately three months of arduous work in several communities across the jewel, today the U.S. and Canadian Military personnel packed their bags to return to their country. New Horizons is a training exercise led by the U.S Southern Command that provided free medical treatment to Belizeans. At the same time, the project saw the construction of new classroom buildings for four schools, Ladyville Technical High School, Crooked Tree Primary School, Louisiana Government School, and Trial Farm Government School.


June First Aid at Class Exotic Caye Beach Resort
Today Ambergris Caye is a little bit safer. We currently are in process of our June First Aid course from 10:30am- 3:00pm upstairs in the Yoga room at Exotic Caye. Staff from Caye Casa Resort, La Perla Del Caribe, Playa Blanca Island Villas, Consolidated Water, San Pedro Fire department and San Pedro Police department receiving training, right now they doing hands on part of the course. They just finished practicing chest compressions and learning how to tie bandages and do splints. Jermaine is teaching the class how to use a belt or a persons t-shirt if you do not have a proper bandage. Thanks to Exotic Caye Resort for hosting us.

“Do It Again” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Up around 4 am yesterday morning and really did not do much more until around 10.30 am than just sit on the veranda with my friend the iPad. I know it’s sick but I still like it. One day we all get old and slow and can’t do the things we once did so easily ! Just sorry that it has happened to my iPad a lot sooner than I expected. Could be the way I have treated it because Rose’s operates perfectly? At 10.30 am we drove our friend Dave (he is serving as a member of BATSUB), his wife Wendy and daughter to the Maya Island Air terminal so that they could catch the 11am flight to Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport. After dropping them off Rose and I headed to Estel’s. Me for a late breakfast and Rose for an early lunch. Following our meal we did a spot of shopping to buy some vegetables ((we much prefer to buy them on the day we ( don’t know why I used “we”) are going to cook them)) for our dinner and then headed back to the condo we are renting during our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

International Sources

Protestors block new international bridge
More than one hundred angry villagers of the border town of Subteniente Lopez, better known as Santa Elena, symbolically closed down the new international bridge connecting Mexico with Belize, because since its opening the small town economy went down and many local merchants have been forced to close their businesses. The international bridge, Chactemal, was inaugurated on May 15th, 2012 right before Felipe Calderon finished his term. Simultaneously, the old bridge located in the town of Santa Elena was closed down, putting local merchants in serious trouble. The majority of villagers are financially supported by the daily visitors to the free zone of Belize, as Santa Elena is a necessary stop to cross the border A few days before the opening of the bridge of Chactemal, local merchants began to protest demanding a solution from the authorities. Without any response from the customs authorities the villagers threatened to block the bridge, the only pass to the country of Belize, on Monday.

June 29, 2013

This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for a couple weeks due to time constraints.


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

The Garifuna Collective premiere music video for “Mongulu”
It was January 2007, we had just landed on shore after some delightful sailing on board the Rum Punch II with George Eiley, when we bumped into our good buddy Ebbe Weile (and rock n’ roller extraordinaire) at the Sundiver Resort. It had been a hot sunny day, and while the rum punch was refreshing on the boat, we were still very much feeling the heat and humidity of that warm afternoon. Ebbe suggested we come into the air conditioned Mata Grande recording studio where Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective’s new, unreleased album Wátina, sat in it’s final cut – to cool down of course. Well, long story short, the “Play” button was pressed, and we were blown away. After a respectful two seconds of utter silence, we lept up from our seats and began dancing, rejoicing in the beautiful sounds coming from the speakers. The rich voice of Andy Palacio, the melodies of the Garifuna Collective, and the drums, oh the drums! It was a magical afternoon that remains a highlight of our careers at The San Pedro Sun offices (parent company to My Beautiful Belize).

2013 Graduation Season
91 students received their high school diplomas at the 2013 San Pedro High School (SPHS) graduation ceremonies held at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium.Topping the class and presenting the Valedictory address was Monica Ack while Gabriel Azueta offered the Salutatory Address. The graduation ceremony was divided into two days, commencing on Friday June 14th with a communion mass honoring the graduates and the blessing of the graduation rings. Diplomas were handed out on Saturday, June 15th in the graduation ceremony that began shortly after 5pm. Family and friends gathered to witness with pride, the graduation ritual of the students who have worked hard for four years to achieve their high school education.

Tuff E Nuff on the road to back to back championship
Local island representatives to the National Interoffice Basketball League (IBL) Tuff E Nuff are on the road and determined to win a back-to-back championship. In the first of five games in the finals, Nuff E Nuff defeated No Limits of Belize City on Friday June 21st. The island’s team entered into the final with a new record in the IBL’s recent history – undefeated in the regular and knock out seasons. In game one, No Limits took an early lead in the first quarter; they scored 23 points while Tuff E Nuff hung behind with 19 points. By the end of the second quarter (half time), Tuff E Nuff took its first lead of three points, ending the first half with 46 points compared to No Limits’ 43 points. “We were looking forward to lead in the finals and we did that. Our team understood what we were going for – a win. Looking at the other games ahead, we are working to end the series in game three. We are going with everything we have. We will not be like the San Antonio Spurs that lost their championship in game six; we are going with everything from the start. We want our back-to-back championship,” said a confident Rico Black.

OCEANA loses case against GoB
The Government of Belize (GoB) won the second round of court proceedings on June 21st against OCEANA. As readers may recall, Supreme Court Judge Justice Oswell Legall handed down his decision on April 16 declaring all offshore oil contracts “unlawful, null and void” and an injunction restraining the government from allowing offshore drilling to take place. The case had been brought before the court by OCEANA in Belize and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage (COLA). Justice Legall’s decision was not accepted by the GoB,and thus led to an appeal brought to the Court of Appeals before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Tuesday, June 11th. The appeal made by the GoB was to remove the injunction that Justice Legallhad ruled, under the stance that the injunction restrained them from monitoring oil companies; therefore they could not ensure that proper environmental guidelines were being followed. OCEANA reiterated that once the GoB was restrained from allowing offshore drilling, the companies could not proceed with any oil exploration.

Great News from the San Pedro Town Library!!
Summer Reading Program

Ambergris Today

First Lady of Belize visits Evelina Children’s Hospital in London
On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow was greeted by staff at Evelina Children’s Hospital, a part of Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, just minutes away from the House of Parliament, where Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with members of Parliament. The visit, orchestrated by Clinical Nurse of Specialist Surgery, Jacqui Mitchell was a crucial element in Mrs. Barrow efforts to raise money to construct a children's intensive care facility at the National Referral Hospital in Belize. Mrs. Barrow was welcomed by Head of Nursing, Polly Hodgson, who delivered a brief background on the hospital, which provides a unique range of services from antenatal diagnosis through to childhood, onto adolescence and into adult life. Working her way through the seven-story, glass-fronted building with themed floors inspired by the natural world, Mrs. Barrow received a guided tour around the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

The Garifuna Collective "Mongulu" Official Video, New Album Out July 2
Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective's 2007 album Wátina is one of the most praised world music albums ever released, and was selected by as the Greatest World Music Album of All Time (beating out Buena Vista Social Club, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti and other worthy contenders). On the cusp of tremendous fame, Andy passed away suddenly a year after Wátina was released, leaving the world to wonder just how big he could have become. On "Mongulu" the singer expresses the confidence that in spite of the challenges, her son Mo?ungulu, will grow up. While the parent sacrifices to raise her child for his own sake, there is also the hope that he in turn will look out for the parent as the need arises. The Garifuna Collective's preferred setting is when everyone sings in unison or call and response and anyone can join with handclaps or a percussion instrument. Some of the most memorable songs in Garifuna culture have been created and popularized in this fashion.

Misc Belizean Sources

Croc hung and left to die
"A recent encounter by our Rangers! Horrific as it may be, it paints a true picture of the real challenges faced in the field and it is a reminder that the appreciation for nature is slowly becoming no more."

PetroCaribe ministerial meeting opens in Nicaragua
The regional energy program known as PetroCaribe held its ninth ministerial meeting in Nicaragua on Friday, prior to the summit of heads of state and government of the 18-member cooperation bloc. The heads of state will hold their meeting on Saturday, with Bolivia as guest country. President Evo Morales is expected to arrive in Managua on Friday, according to the Communications Council, PL news agency reported. The summit will acknowledge the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who, in 2005, created the regional energy cooperation bloc, which is made up of Venezuela, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, Saint Lucia, Guatemala, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Flor de la Feria Presentation
The Flor de la Feria pageant is having the Fashion Night Out, where the candidates will be presented for the first time. The event is tomorrow, June 29th, at the Cancha Marshalleck. They have a cool theme for the contestants: they have them as the '8 wonders of the world' with designations like Ms. Fire and Ms. Water. Check out their page for the entire listing, and go see them tomorrow night if you're in Benque.

ROWKIDS Medical Team In Billy White
Feelgood news of the day. The ROWKIDS have been really busy this week with the medical clinics they've been having around Cayo. They've brought doctors and nurses to do checkups at Buena Vista primary school, San Antonio, and Billy White, where they got a lot of great pictures of the event. At the same time, they've been having basketball sports camps to keep the kids entertained while showing them some new skills. Thanks, ROWKIDS, for making a difference around Cayo! "Awesome day in Belize today the ROWKIDS Medical Team set up their clinic today at the Buena Vista Primary School. Where nursing students from the College of the Ozarks along with the 2 doctors from Hilton Head SC and other team members from Bluffton SC, treated 153 patients today. As two nursing student and the nursing director from C of O served at the the local hospital. And the C of O Basketball coach and 2 members of the basketball team held sports camp and shared the love of Jesus with the students. An awesome day with an awesome team!!!!"

Transition Destination: Dangriga
Dangriga, like Belize City, is a town travellers often go to to get someplace else, and, like Belize City, it is a town an adventurous traveller might check out for its own merits. By Belizean stan...

Spreading the word - getting young people out sailing in Belize
I have recently returned from a holiday in Belize where I became a full member of the Belize Sailing Association (BzSA).

Smithsonian Folklife Festival brings speakers of endangered languages to Washington
Conrad Nolberto, a native Garifuna speaker from Dangriga, Belize, took a break from drumming on hollow turtle shells to educate school-age children about his language, walking them through simple pronunciations

Clean and Green
I am so glad I heard about the Eco Kids Summer Camp Program because it is important that we, the younger generation protect and preserve our environment. As a 12 year old girl, I learn in school that our beautiful Belize is full of natural resources and we should keep it clean – we should pick up trash when we see it, clean our yards, as well as our community for it to look pristine and charming. There are many ways how we all can keep our community clean and green. For example we can practice the three R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle, get together with friends and have a river clean up, and when going to the store take your own bag don’t bring back plastic to your home. If I get the opportunity to be a part of this Eco- kid camp program I can learn more about how to keep our little Belize clean and green.

Channel 7

EU,PAHO, And GOB Partner For New Neonatal Program
Unless you’ve been under a rock somewhere, you may know very well that in May 2013, there was a bacterial infection outbreak which occurred in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the KHMH, and which claimed the lives of 12 premature babies. As we’ve reported, medical experts from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) did an investigation in what caused the outbreak, and they’ve released their findings. It shows that KHMH is very deficient in a lot of quality control standards which helps to control such an outbreak from affecting mass amounts of its patients. Well, it is the first time in the hospital’s history that such an outbreak occurred and there has been a lot of fallout from it. There has also been a few positive changes, such as the Ministry of Health working overtime to try to implement all the recommendations made by the PAHO report.

Senior Citizen Mercilessly Gunned Down
Tonight, the family of 61 year-old Michael George Bucknor is trying to come to terms with his untimely passing which happened last night at around 8 p.m. But, he didn’t die of natural causes, no, very far from that. This senior citizen was gunned down in an execution-style slaying characteristic of well-known street figures caught up in underground gang warfare. 7News has been covering the story since last night, and Daniel Ortiz has this report: Daniel Ortiz reporting Our cameraman arrived shortly after police established the borders of crime scene for the shooting death the 61 year-old Michael George Buckner, the Manager of Bingo King Apartments. His assailant had razor sharp precision, a single shot to the head, which caused him to collapse right on the road, the seat of his motor cycle still between his legs. This suggests that he never saw it coming. The authorities worked quickly to gather their evidence. They were probably sure that it was Buckner’s body, but they needed to be absolutely sure.

KHMH Refuses To Accept Fault In The Face Of PAHO Report
Last night, 7News showed you the first part of a 2 part series where our newsroom took a very close look at the PAHO report, which was released last week. Well Tonight, Daniel Ortiz focused on the importance of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s infection control mechanism, which was discovered to have been handicapped. He also looked at the very clear picture presented by the PAHO investigators about what caused the bacterial breakout, which claimed the lives of its neonatal patients: Daniel Ortiz reporting The PAHO Report also points to very little training in infection control. It says, Page 9 "There is evidence that the hospital staff in its different areas has been trained in basic principles for infection control and prevention since 2008, at a beginning as a very short introduction with a few hours of information and currently as a two days course. This training has been given to personnel on duty and to the newly hired entrants. There is no assessment of knowledge acquired in this training." And the PAHO investigators made significant observations about the Hospital’s Microbiology laboratory. This important unit is like the eyes of the Hospital, keeping a look out on infection breakouts. The investigators seemed to suggest that the hospital is blind, or something very close to it.

New Horizons Program Did Plenty
Today, the Government of Belize and the US Embassy, along with members of the Canadian and US Southern Command military held a closing ceremony at the Trial Farm Government School in Orange Walk Town. It was a fitting location because these partners collaborated on a program called “New Horizons” where medical services were offered to thousands of students, and major upgrades were realized on 4 schools across the country. The program has been actives for several months, and today, after extensive efforts, it was closed for this year. 7News attended the ceremony, where the diplomats expressed surprise for the extensive passage of time. Here’s how the Principal of the hosting school expressed their gratitude. Nazira Romero - Principal, Trial Farm Government School "This year's project saw the construction of four classroom buildings in Ladyville, Crooked Tree and two here in Orange Walk. These classrooms are wonderful gifts to the Belizean students and teachers. Officials from the Ministry of Health also join us in the celebration as Medical care was offered to more than 15,000 patients at 9 locations throughout Belize. I would like to begin by celebrating the hard work and the dedication of the US Military personnel, the Belizean soldiers, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health personnel."

Malaysia Interested In Better Trade Ties With Belize
The commissioner of trade from External Trade Development Corporation in the country of Malaysia was in Belize for the yesterday and most of today. He is on a diplomatic mission to increase trade between his country and Belize. He stopped in at 7News yesterday to speak with us about his intentions while in Belize. According to him, his country wants to increase its annual exports to Belize from the minimal 0.21% that it currently holds. Here’s how he explained it. Remee Yaakub - Malaysia External Development Corporation "As the initial promotion agency of Belize, we are actually looking to explore the possibility of enhancing the trade between Malaysia and Belize." Daniel Ortiz "Why is this important?" Remee Yaakub "It is important because for us we are always looking, even how small the country is, we tried to look to diversify the market for the Belizean product and services. So it is very important for us to look into opportunities, not only being offered by the big countries but also to the smaller market such as in Belize. We have established an office in Mexico City to cover for Mexico and Central America since 2006 and it has been a government policy for the last two; always continue to look into new market - to look into diversifying our export to as many countries as possible. For example last year, Belize has establish great linkages with 236 countries around the globe."

Fifth Annual Regional HIV Testing Day
Today was the fifth anniversary of the annual Regional HIV Testing Day, and the Ministry of Health had a booth set up in the Scotia Bank Parking Lot in downtown Belize City. 7News dropped by and we found out that this year’s testing day was made possible with collaboration between Scotiabank Belize, The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the National AIDS Commission. Today, Chairperson of the commission told us why it is important for every member of the public to know their AIDS status. Kathy Esquivel - Chairlady, National AIDS Commission "It's happening throughout the Caribbean, it's co-sponsored by Scotia Bank and that's very important. They offered their facilities and they also help with organization and getting people to come out. It's a regional testing day - why testing is important because everybody needs to know their status and take responsibility for their status. So whether you test positive or negative, it's very important."

GSU Finds 29 Pounds Of Weed
Tonight, the Gang Suppression Unit is in possession of almost 10 kilos of marijuana which was found yesterday. Members of the unit were out conducting anti-drug operations in the Fabers Road extension area, when they decided to search a savannah area behind a residence of a reputed drug trafficker. This led to the discovery of a plastic bag which contained 70 grams of cannabis, and 89 parcels which contained a total of 10.95 kilograms – or 29.2 pounds of cannabis. No one was in the area, so it was labeled as found property.

Transport Ministry Gets Vehicle Donation
Hon. Rene Montero, and the Ministry of Works and Transport are now in possession of 2 brand new highway patrol vehicles from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Road Safety Project. This is in addition to a loan of 14.5 million dollar loan from the CDB toward the cost of the Belize Road Safety Project. The bank is also contributing an additional 191 thousand dollars. According to the Ministry of Health, in 2012, Belize recorded a fatality rate of 19 traffic deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The Ministry reports Belize still maintains the highest fatality rate record amongst the CDB member countries.

Positive Vibes: “Di Country Di Bawl”
Last month, 7News showed you the new CD from Positive Vibez, in which he explores several genres of music which has influenced his artistic direction. Well, today he spoke with us about the first single “The Country Di Bawl”, for which he has released a video. According to him, it is fitting because the members of the public have great financial struggles which they don’t really talk about: Positive Vibez - Artist "Di country di bawl - meaning that I'm here, there and everywhere and people are typically just bawling - there isn't any job, even high school students can't find jobs. So I just composed everything in one and ended up doing a video. Like the saying goes 'who feels it, knows it' and I'm definitely I've been there so much time - I know what it is to be hungry and what it is to not have a job. I ended up basing on my personal life and also the life of other people as well and just composed everything together. I believe it is something that people can actually relate to. I use reggae to teach and to express my deepest feelings and it's the only reggae song on the CD and I just think that I needed to take it really slow and educate."

Saturday BBQ Sale To Raise Funds For Football
Two weeks ago, the Football Federation of Belize held its telethon to raise funds for the National Football Team, the Jaguars as they are preparing for their historic appearance at the 2013 Gold Cup. But they didn’t meet their target during the FFB Telethon – which was half a million dollars. Instead they only raised a little less than one hundred and twenty thousand dollars – leaving them three hundred thousand dollars short of their target. And while some members of the public believe that the Ministry of Sports should foot the rest of the bill- since it is Belize’s first appearance in the Gold Cup – Minister of Sports Herman Longsworth told 7news that the government of Belize cannot and don’t have the resources to finance every single national team that wants to represent Belize. And while his statement was discouraging for many, the players have not yet given up on hope as fundraising events continues. One such event will be a big barbeque sale in front of the Wave Radio compound all day tomorrow– where organizers are hoping to sell one thousand barbeque.

Channel 5

A teacher murdered
There was an execution style murder early on Thursday night in Belize City. Michael Bucknor, the manager of Bingo King Apartments, was shot and killed on Fabers Road as he [...]

Media personality, Glenn Tillett, wins case against G.O.B.
This morning, the Belize Court of Appeal handed down a judgment in favour of media personality, Glenn Tillett. Viewers may recall that in 2011, Tillett had claimed declarations against Lois [...]

BMDU supports PAHO report recommendations for K.H.M.H.
The Pan American Health Organization’s report on the bacterial outbreak in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has laid out pages of inefficiencies and areas [...]

Guatemalan national shot in Chiquibul now suffers infection
There is word that a Guatemalan national who was shot by B.D.F. personnel in the Caballo Camp area of the Chiquibul is tonight at the KHMH being treated for a [...]

Prime Minister talks about tax havens on BBC
Prime Minister Dean Barrow is winding down an official one week visit to the United Kingdom. PM Barrow’s itinerary included an audience with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. He addressed [...]

New Horizons builds relationships in Trial Farm
New Horizons is a project first brought to Belize by the US Southern Command in 2001 and again in 2007 and now in 2013. It involves soldiers from SouthCom and [...]

PAHO, E.U. and M.O.H. raise $5.6 Million for maternal and neonatal care
The European Union, along with the Pan American Health Organization, has teamed up with the Ministry of Health to provide infrastructure and training that would improve maternal as well as [...]

Upgrades pending for the K.H.M.H.
Back on May thirtieth when the deaths of the neonates was first acknowledged by the K.H.M.H., the Prime Minister, who was at a press conference, committed government finances saying he [...]

Court says man who delivered wood with expired permit is innocent
A man accused of removing a forest product without a valid permit, has been acquitted of the charges. In February, Shannon Borland was hauling seventy-two pieces of Botan logs from [...]

Sugar thieves go back to court
Three men who were accused of stealing one hundred and twenty-five tons of brown sugar from B.S.I. back in April 2012 were today committed to stand trial at the September [...]

To catch a lionfish
Since its introduction into Belizean waters a few years ago, the predatory lionfish has been frowned upon as an unwanted specie.  The striped scorpion fish is known to feed on [...]

Live up and get tested for HIV
For the second year, Belize joined the Caribbean for the sixth Regional HIV/AIDS Testing Day.  The initiative was celebrated throughout the Caribbean and it is co-sponsored by Scotia Bank. At [...]


FFB President Says Belize Is Ready For Football Victory
When the President of the Football Federation of Belize, Ruperto Vicente, made the bold remark that Belize’s National Football Team is going into the Gold Cup Series to quote unquote, “humiliate” the US, it appeared to have ruffled a few feathers. Vicente’s remark ga...

Project Launched to Strengthen Maternal and Neonatal Services in Belize
Today GOB along with the European Union and the Pan American Health Organization launched the “Strengthening of Critical Maternal and Neonatal Services in Belize” project. The launching of the project couldn’t come as a more appropriate time since the PAHO report on the death of...

Maya Wooden Canoe Paddle To Be Handed Over to Archaeology Department
A ceremony to mark the first public viewing of an ancient Maya canoe was held this morning in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG “A ceremony to mark the first public viewing of an ancient Maya canoe paddle was held this morning in Punta Gorda. Le...

Attorneys Now Free To Vent Arguments In Court on the Buying of BTL Shares by SSB
Back in 2010, Glenn Tillett made clear his intentions to file a claim in the Supreme Court disputing the Social Security Board’s decision to utilize fifty millions dollars from its fund to purchase shares in Telemedia. Tillett did so over two years ago and tonight we have an update re...

Team Building Workshop For People Working With HIV Persons
While free HIV testing was done today throughout the country as part of Regional HIV testing day, in San Pedro a team building workshop is taking place this weekend. The workshop is a collaborative effort of the National Aids Commission and USAID and it has brought the NAC’s District ...

Auto Mechanic Instructor Murdered
Marion Ali, Reporting Michael Buckner, a 61 year-old auto-mechanic instructor at the Tubal Trade and Vocational Institute in Ladyville, ended the school’s 11th graduation exercise on Thursday with the closing prayer and a hymn of his own. That was the last time that the faculty an...

Lessons In Garifuna Language, Customs and Traditions Offered During Summer
If you are fond of the Garifuna culture and would want to experience it, well a summer program is about to begin for all those interested. Bridgette Pearl Miranda is holding a summer course for those interested to be part of the Garifuna customs and traditions. Bridgette Pearl Miranda spoke to Lo...

Belize Joins Caribbean Countries In HIV Testing Day
For the second year in a row, Belize is joining the rest of the Caribbean Countries in Region’s HIV Testing Day. Last year, in Belize, over 900 persons got their test on this day and today many Belizeans flocked to the testing grounds to know their status. Chairlady of the National Aids...

Peace Corps Volunteers Undergo Training In Western Belize
A number of Peace Corp volunteers will be engaged in training in the Cayo District. Here again is Correspondent Fem Cruz with more on that. FEM CRUZ “Today our Police Department welcomed nineteen Peace Corps volunteer trainees from the United States. These trainees will ...

Court of Appeals Affirms Sentence of Convicted Murderer
The appeal of 25 year old Nelson Gibson, who was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment, was dismissed in a decision given today by Belize Court of Appeal. Gibson’s conviction and sentence were affirmed. Gibson was convicted of the murder of Myrna Senebria, who was s...

Charges For Noh Mul Levied; Bail Granted At $5K
After weeks of waiting for someone to be held responsible for the destruction of the Maya Pyramid of Noh Mul in the Orange Walk, this morning, four individuals were charged in Corozal’s Magistrate Court. To clear things up, the matter was moved to the Corozal Magistrate Court because there ...

Local Bank Gives Aid In Education In Western Belize
Primary School scholarships were awarded to eight students of the Cayo District. Here is Correspondent Elaine Berry with the details. ELAINE BERRY “Scotia Bank in San Ignacio presented awards to eight primary school children from the Cayo District. Love News spoke to Mic...

Commanders Say Relations Are Good Between Belize and Guatemala
The Belize Defense Force and the Guatemalan Army were yesterday presented with a donation of specialized equipment to be used by the military personnel of both countries assigned to patrolling the Adjacency Zone. It was only fitting then that the Organization of American States made the don...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker is sold out!
Reports from Caye Caulker are that every single hotel room on the island is sold out for the weekend. Lobster Fest attracts throngs of people from the mainland who just want to come out to the island to enjoy the sunshine, the fest vibe, and some lobster. The vacationers are a welcome respite from the throes of slow season for the hoteliers who are mostly mom and pop lodge-owners. Enjoy Caye Caulker, everyone! Just remember to vacation safely. Watch the kids when they are in the water. Drink responsibly. Put litter in its place. And most importantly, enjoy yourself!

Miss Sherylee Dawson is Miss Lobster Fest 2013
Congratulations to Sherilee! We hope to have some pics of the pageant for you soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here is a pic of Sherilee put out by the Lobster Fest pageant committee for you to savour.


“Mother’s Little Helper” for Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Didn’t get up until 7 am yesterday morning. A real lie in! Probably the consequence of going to the Roadkill Bar the previous night and having one (or two) drinks too many! I awoke with a clear head though. Which was just as well because I had received some draft schedules for a contract from an ex-colleague in the UK that he wanted me to review. So with the essential mug of black coffee made I knuckled down (not until II had read The Times on-line of course) to reviewing the drafts on my iPad on the veranda (I find that it helps me to read something first and make a ‘mental note’ of sections that I believe need some form of amendment). I had nearly finished my ‘read through’ when the heavens opened up and the rain really came down. The timing of the downpour was nigh on perfect though because it ‘forced’ me indoors to complete the review and ‘mark up’ my comments on my PC and email the revised schedules to the UK.

June 28, 2013

This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for a couple weeks due to time constraints.


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The latest Tia Chocolate column is ready for reading!!!
Running Part IV:
With nothing strenuous to do any more, the children put on some weight. Until they did, Lisa had never noticed how unhealthy her children were. As for herself, there were evenings when it was all it took for her to finish her evening meal before retiring to her hard bed on the floor. Her time at the shop had extended beyond the bustle of the market days, and now included the slow but steady off-days. Market days brought in such a big number of people that Lisa was overwhelmed at times, and was left wondering how Mr. James had dealt with the crowd before.

The San Pedro Sun

Mama Vilma: One of over 360 charities to benefit from The Global Party
The Global Party is a prestigious event that takes place in over 120 cities across the world with proceeds benefiting many charities. San Pedro Town is among the destinations hosting The Global Party, and Kama Lounge was selected by event organizers to be one of the hosts of this world wide party phenomenon. The Global Party will take place simultaneously at the over 360 registered venues. On Wednesday, May 15th a worldwide press launch was held across the participating venues, announcing the official dates for The Global Party and the charity the venue will sponsor. Kama Lounge officially announced the Mama Vilma Family Home as its charity of choice. Mama Vilma is a charitable organization on Ambergris Caye that assistsfamilies in need.”Here at Kama we like to assist with the elderly and children, those are the people in society that need the most help. The Mama Vilma Family Home is a much needed organization here in San Pedro, and the growing society needs to protect its children and battered women. That is why we choose Mama Vilma, because it is a much needed project here in the island,” said owner of Kama Lounge, Alexandra Nicholson.

San Pedro Town Authorities seek to implement Dog Act in August
Saga Humane Society, San Pedro Police Department and The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) held a meeting on Tuesday June 25th to discuss issues relating to the Dog Act. The meeting came about because of the continuous problems relating to stray dogs on the island and months of discussion between the different entities. Following months of complaints from residents and tourists about the issues relating to the increase of stray dogs on Ambergris Caye, a plan had to be discussed. According to Coleen Creeden, President of the Board of Directors at Saga Humane Society, the problem of stray dogs includes health, environmental and safety concerns. In many instances, the stray animals are attacking other dogs (pets) and even humans. Dog bites can lead to rabies and physical injuries. In addition, many unfed stray dogs have to resort to scavenging for food from garbage and in the process create a mess.

Dia de San Pedro Activities start with history and art
The Dia San Pedro events in honor of the island’s patron saint kicked off on June 21st. Planned events include religious, cultural and festive functions throughout ten days. While the novenas and other religious events have been ongoing, the cultural aspect was launched on Monday June 24th with a lecture on the history of the island. Director of the Institute of Archeology, Professor Dr. Jaime Awe imparted a two hours long lecture to members of the San Pedro Town community. Dr Awe gave an overview of the early inhabitants of Ambergris Caye and some of the events they were engaged in. “There were more than 20 sites all over Ambergris Caye and the prehistoric Maya used to exploit the resources for shell products, salt through a process call Sal Cosida (boiling water until salt particles remain), for fish product and other minor items,” said Awe. Evidence of these findings can be supported by the remains of fish and other shell products found in neighboring mainland sites. While the Maya had continuous occupation of Ambergris Caye, Dr Awe explained that a re-occupation took place just before and during the 1847 Caste War. Those two elements in the historical timeline of the island still continue to influence the traditions of the island, but more importantly said Awe, their ancestors continue to live on the island.

Trent Hardwick wins Lobster fest Regatta in wild finish
Twenty young sailors from Belize City, Placencia, and San Pedro skippered dinghies for two days in ideal waters and conditions off Banyan Bay Resort during the thrilling Lobster Fest Regatta on June 22nd and 23rd. For some of the youth, this was their very first regatta. The regatta consisted of the young sailors taking turns in the ten boats available. Each participant raced six times. The course was an Olympic triangle that allowed spectators to clearly see, understand, and enjoy the action. The first leg of the regatta started on the morning of Saturday, June 22nd. It began with getting to know all about crocodiles and meeting an adult live croc up close and personal, courtesy of American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES). That was followed by a discussion by the experts from Belize Shark Project on shark behavior and conservation. They also provided free and expert shark face-painting for the rest of the day, all while answering questions.

Ambergris Today

Ten Year Old Wins San Pedro Lobsterfest Regatta
Twenty young sailors from Belize City, Placencia, and San Pedro skippered Optimist dinghies for two days in ideal waters and conditions off Banyan Bay Resort during last weekend’s thrilling Lobsterfest Regatta. For some of the skippers, this was their very first regatta, ever. San Pedro's fleet of eight boats was augmented, thanks to the valiant Belize Sea Scouts, who took the time and made the extra effort to bring two more boats from the mainland. By taking turns in the ten boats available, each sailor was able to race six times. The course was an Olympic triangle that allowed spectators to see, clearly understand, and enjoy the action. Sailors began Saturday morning, June 22, 2013, capriciously by getting to know all about crocodiles and meeting an adult live croc up close and personal, courtesy of American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES). Next, minus a live specimen, experts from Belize Shark Project discussed sharks with the sailors and provided free, fun, and expert shark face-painting for the rest of the day, while answering questions.

SAGA and San Pedro Town to Implement Dog Control Orders
The topic of dogs/strays always causes a big controversy in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Most, if not all, residents of San Pedro own a dog, whether it’s for guarding the property or simply because we love pets and have them at home as great companions. But throughout time irresponsible pet ownership has gotten out of hand and dogs run astray causing some serious problems to the island. Stray/Nuisance Dogs are a problem to the island; they defecate everywhere, turn over garbage bins and leave the town in a mess and not to forget those that viciously attack people. For this and many other reasons The San Pedro Town Council, The San Pedro Police Department and SAGA Humane Society are working together to establish Dog Control Orders for San Pedro Town. A management method can, over a period of time, produce dramatic reductions of dog bites, stray and roaming animal population. Methods include; licenses and fines, limiting access to resources, spaying and neutering and most importantly education and information to the public. The San Pedro Town Council along with the San Pedro Police Department and SAGA Humane Society intend to pursue enforcement of existing Belize Laws – The Dogs Act Chapter 153.

Belize Prime Minister in Official Visit to the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow this week starts an official visit to the United Kingdom. He arrived on Sunday, June 23rd and was welcomed by the representative of the Secretary of State, Rt. Hon William Hague and the High Commissioner for Belize to the United Kingdom. During his visit The Prime Minister is to be honored by the City of London where he will address a specially invited audience of global financiers and businessmen to discuss Belize trade and investment. Later he will be greeted by the Right Honorable Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Gifford and other City dignitaries to discuss future co-operation between the City of London Corporation and Belize.

What Follows Low Proficiency Scores?
Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant According to the recently released results of the 2013 PSE (Public School Examinations) proficiency exams, more than half of all exiting Primary school students throughout Belize ranked poorly in English and Math. The results that were released to the media show that 53% of the 7359 students who took the exams were assessed as not proficient. The median score in English was 58% while in Math it remained steady at around 54% as the previous year. These low proficiency scores indicate loudly that our students in Primary Schools are not learning as they should. Readers who follow my Guidance Counseling columns know that, for years now, I strongly advocate and assert that Education, especially at early levels, needs to be focused on successful “learning”. Low PSE results this year show, without a doubt, that there continues to be large disparities between teaching and learning in our Primary schools.

Thank You From The San Pedro Lobster Fest Committee
The San Pedro Lobster Festival takes the opportunity to express our sincere appreciation and heartfelt THANKS to everyone who made the festival a huge success. The event welcomes the opening of the lobster season and brings businesses together to promote our tourism industry. We would like to thank the Belize Tourism Board and the Honorable Minister Manuel Heredia for their generous support towards the San Pedro Lobster festival 2013. We would also like to thank the San Pedro Town Council for all their logistical support. Very special thanks to Mayor Danny Guerrero and town council foreman, Freddie Gonzalez Jr., who went beyond the call of duty in our time of need! Thanks also to Bowen & Bowen, NICH, Belize Border Management, Mata Chica Resort & Spa, and Sandy Points Resort for your contributions. Thanks to Atlantic Bank Ltd. for allowing us to use their premises. Special thanks to all the participating businesses in the Lobster Crawl and to those who donated prizes towards the grand raffle. Thanks also to the booth participants who put out amazing food and drinks. Thanks to our judges, Dorian, Mary, Dixie, Roxanne, Joe and Erin and to our tabulators from Rhaburn Consulting.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize PM’s UK Visit to Include Environmental Talks
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s official visit to the United Kingdom will raise awareness of important environmental issues while reaffirming the strong ties between England and this former British crown colony, according to the owners of The Lodge at Chaa Creek. Lucy Fleming, who with her husband Mick opened Chaa Creek the same month that Belize achieved independence in 1981, said the visit is welcomed by the vast majority of Belizeans, who still retain affection for Great Britain and the royal family. “These official visits are very important to the people of Belize, as our English heritage is an integral part of our national identity and cultural makeup,” Ms Fleming said. “In an ever changing and often challenging world, Belize’s relationship with England provides an important sense of stability, both practically and symbolically,” she added.

Creative Kaos Trailer
The full length trailer for Creative Kaos, the documentary about the making of Kurse a di Xtabai, which was filmed in Cayo, has been released. It chronicles how they were able to create and shoot a movie in the matter of weeks, so they could get it submitted to the Belize Film Festival. Daniel Velazquez has a hit on his hands with this well done documentary. "the official documentary film trailer, a film about the making of 2012 Curse a di Xtabai"

Free HIV Testing Today in Cayo
Today, at the Cayo Welcome Center, you can get a free HIV test. They'll be performing tests from 9:00am through 3:00pm. Thanks go out to the Ministry of Health for putting this together.

Cayo BTIA Elects New Board
The Cayo BTIA recently elected some new board members. They met last week at Rumors Resort. Congratulations to the new board. Best of luck to you as you move forward, and promote tourism in Cayo. Chairman - Larry Waight, Chaa Creek Vice Chair - Joe Awe - Nine Ecological Tours Secretary - Shirley Panti - Duplooy's Jungle Lodge Treasurer - Lee Austin - Diamond Realty Director - Michael Simmons - Cayo Adventure Tours Director - Chester Williams - Calico Jack's Village Director - Geovanni Fernandez - Black Rock Lodge "The meeting gathered over twenty four participants (members and supporters) of the Cayo chapter, with the aim of electing a new board which would be responsible for the leadership and direction of the destination. Ms. Estela Requena, BTIA Executive Director presided over the meeting and emphasized on the importance of the active participation of all members, in order to build a stronger and more influential chapter. 'The BTIA stands at the forefront of the industry and it is of great importance that the Chapter is organized and active in order to strengthen the destination and the country,' commented Ms. Requena."

Channel 7

Denny Grijalva Charged For Noh Mul Mauling
For weeks, the nation has been closely observing what the police department would do in relation to the Noh Mul mauling, which occurred in May. Well the news tonight is that Denny Grijalva, and his wife Emelda Grijalva, who represented as Managing Directors for De-Mars Stone Company, Javier Nunez, their foreman, and excavator driver Emil Cruz are out on bail after they were taken to Corozal Magistrate’s Court. The the company, represented by the Grijalvas, was charged with 1 count of removing parts of an ancient monument, and 1 count of causing the destruction of an ancient monument. Cruz was charged with removal of stone from an ancient monument without a permit and willfully damaging an ancient monument. Nunez was also charged with willfully causing the removal of stone from an ancient monument and willfully causing the damaging of an ancient monument. They were arraigned before Magistrate Clive Lino this afternoon, who granted bail of $5,000. Their case has been adjourned until August 20, where they will return to Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. The case will be handled by a prosecutor from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Body Discovered In Macal River
Last night, just before news time, residents of San Ignacio Town discovered a body floating in the Macal River. Police were called in to take over, and they discovered that it was in an advanced state of decomposition. Today, speaking with our colleagues from Plus TV, the deputy commander spoke on the information that his officers currently have. Here’s what he told them. Insp. Reymundo Reyes - Deputy Commander, San Ignacio Police "About 6pm, San Ignacio Police received information of a body floating on the Macal River. As a result, myself and a team of officers visited the river bank on the San Ignacio side, at about a hundred feet from the Hawksworth Bridge, where the lifeless body of a male person was seen floating on the river bank. The body was retrieved; a physical inspection of the body was conducted; no injuries observed and at the moment the person was dressed in a red t-shirt and a blue jeans pants. At the time, we did not have information of who this person was because he didn't have no kind of identification. It was about 7pm that the mother, Tomasa Cal, came to the station wanting to make a report of a missing person. Based on a description given by the mother, we decided to escort her and and one of her sons to the area where the body had been found and after viewing the body, the brother identified his brother as Cyril Cal, 28 years old of the Hill View area. At the time the person allegedly left his residence on Monday morning sometime after three, rode to his work since he works for the Town Board from Santa Elena to San Ignacio and since then he did not return back home."

PUP: KHMH’s Response Is Inadequate
Yesterday, 7News showed you the KHMH press conference which was held by the Administration to explain the serious concerns raised by the PAHO investigators. Well, the PUP is not satisfied with this response, and today, the party voiced their concerns through their spokesperson, Dr. Francis Smith. He explained why the party believes that the administration should be held accountable: Dr. Francis Smith - Spokesperson, PUP "The People's United Party feels very strongly that the information that was offered to the nation/public yesterday in that press conference led by the Honorable Minister was inadequate. We are quite appalled by the insensitivity, the arrogance of this administration in the face of 13 familes who have suffered the loss of their children/human beings and the absolute refusal to acknowledge that there has been complex problems and shortcomings and a breakdown that can only be regarded as managerial incompetence." Daniel Ortiz "The report itself, some would say could have gone a little bit deeper, but the report itslef seems to be very damning. Do you buy the explanation that at this point no one can be held accountable?"

APAMO To DOE: Check Closely Into Stake Bank Project
Today, the National Environmental Appraisal Committee was supposed to meet on the development being proposed by the Feinstein Group. As we’ve shown you, the major part of the development is the construction of a mega-causeway from Belize City to North Drown Caye, and another causeway from North Drown Caye to Stakebank. As we’ve reported, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) said that the Department of Environment did not conduct a proper EIA or public consultation. Well, since yesterday was supposed to be the deadline for submission by members of the public, we caught up with APAMO’s representatives this morning to talk about the project. They say that even though this is a major development, the impacts on the natural resources are sometimes overlooked, and the checklists are often rushed through: Jose Perez - Executive Director, APAMO "We believe that for the size of the structure, which is being proposed which is a mega three point something kilometers causeway which will include massive pillars having to go into the ocean floor - we believe that a comprehensive EIA needs to be done, none has been done. We believe that individually, the three developments that are being proposed they need Environmental Impact Assessments. We have to recongize that the very important and vibrant tourism industry is based on our natural resources and one of those natural resources is our barrier reef. The barrier reef is the largest in this hemisphere - which other country has that? They might have mega structures but what is at stake in those countries? Here what we have is our natural resources - very priceless. So if we don't take care of those resources you might have mega facilities and mega developments but after those developments exist for the next 15 - 25 years and all the resources are finished and destroyed - then what will be left for this country? So I think we have to realize that we have natural resources which too have a very high economic value."

PAHO’s Report, Blow By Blow
Yesterday, we focused most of our attention on what the authorities at KHMH had to say about the PAHO report. As we’ve described it, there are major signs of sub-standard conditions within the hospital, and so Daniel Ortiz took an in-depth look at what the PAHO investigators found. Here’s his report: Daniel Ortiz reporting The PAHO report has gone into extensive detail with some of the problems discovered at the KHMH, and the Ministry of Health is taking the findings as matters of urgent national interest. Hon. Pablo Marin - Minister of Health "Clearly, the report is critical of many areas and makes strong recommendations. The Ministry of Health and the KHMH will remain dedicated in accepting these recommendations and implementing all necessary actions at the earliest possible time. Many of these have already been implemented while the remainder will be implemented as soon as possible." Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth - CEO, KHMH "We have pledged, as I said in the earlier part of my address to continue to keep the public and the parents of these neonates informed as to developments and imporvements that we will be making in the systems at the hospital and we would like to assure the public that depsite this setback - we are on the road to continue imporvement and excellent service at the hospital. This is not only in the areaof pediatrics and neonatal care, but in every service area of the hospital."

BCB Pleased With CCJ Win
On Tuesday, 7News told you about that very significant judgment which the Caribbean Court of Justice delivered against the Government of Belize. The importance of it is that any of the Ashcroft-Allied companies, who have any grievances against GOB for the 2009 nationalization of BTL, and the re-nationalization in 2011, can take them to court at tribunals outside of Belize. This follows the discharging of an interim injunction by the CCJ, which the Supreme Court initially granted restraining British Caribbean Bank from continuing with their litigation. So far, this is the only company which has launched their arbitration oversees, and when they received the judgment from on Tuesday, they released a statement. BCB said that this was great news for their company which has been prevented from continuing their case since December 2010. The company added, quote, “British Investors would have been very concerned by the case and others brought by the Government contending that the 1982 UK-Belize Bilateral Investment Treaty was not binding on the Government.”

Do Belizeans Even Trespass On Guatemalan Territory?
Last night, we showed you the confidence building exercise which the OAS held to improve the relationship between the Belize Defence Force and the Guatemalan Military. But, in an environment where high-powered weapons are always at a quick draw, it takes quite a lot for cooler heads to prevail. We spoke to the BDF commander, and we asked about Belizean incursions into Guatemalan territory, since only the opposite makes the news. He told us that to his knowledge, Belizeans have respected the Guatemalan territory: Lt. Col. David Jones - Commander, BDF "It is very important because incidents happen on either side of the border and verification needs to take place so if something happens in Belize and we can share information with the Guatemalans, if it affects their citizens we get in contact with them and we meet with them along the border, we exchange information and then we help each other. Because what we do on a quarterly basis, we meet with the Guatemalan arm forces, sometimes right here at this building, sometimes inside Belize, sometimes over in Guatemala and every quarterly we sit down; we discuss all the incidents that have occurred either in the Chiquibul Forest reserve in Belize or any where inside Belize or inside Guatemala where incidents affect both countries. We sit down, we discuss it and as professionals we try to solve our issues as soldiers, at the diplomatic and political level, that is different, but we as soldiers, work together as professionals."

Alcohol Conference Closes
For the past 2 days, representatives from 13 countries, and 10 NGO’s have been in Belize meeting about a regional alcohol policy. It has been an intense discussion on what to do about alcohol abuse in these different countries, so today, 7News stopped by to see how these discussions were going. The PAHO facilitator told us today that they’ve discovered that the alcohol legislation is outdated in most of the participating countries. Dr. Maristela Monteiro - Representative, PAHO "Most countries I believe have some sort of policy, some legislation but they are outdated and they were developed probably not with the public health goal so to impact consumption problems, more just to generate revenues for the country. This is one side only of the problem - you need to balance the revenues that you can generate from consuming alcohol with the cost to pay for the damage that it causes and that's when you begin to see how the legislation is not being effective even though it's in the papers. Second problem is that in most countries, the existing legislation is not being enforced so they remain in the drawers or on paper but there is very little enforcement. Some countries have no policy at all, they have legislation but not a policy. Meaning it is a document that states what the country wants to do in relation to alcohol problems in public health."

PM, GG, And Special Envoy Honored Abroad
His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, is in South Florida in the US to represent the country at the first Belize Travel and Trade Show, which started today, and continues until Sunday. The show is an event organized by the Belize Diaspora Network, LLC, in collaboration BELTRAIDE and the Belize Tourism Board. In Sir Colville’s absence, His Excellency James Murphy, who is Coordinator at the Referendum Unit in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, will act as Governor-General in Belize. And another Leader who was recently had the honor of representing the country outside is Prime Minister Dean Barrow. While in London on Tuesday, the Prime Minister met with the Chairman of the City of London Policy and Resources Committee, Mark Boleat, just before the Guildhall Lunch. He donned a hard hat and witnessed 13,000 tons of Belizean sugar being received at Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery in London. He also had an opportunity to speak with an audience of international financiers and businessmen at the Guildhall Lunch.

Dubu Claims Was Dissed By City Hall
Bernard “Dubu” Thomas has been a fixture on the Albert Hoy Hostel Field, where he’s been acting as caretaker for years. Well today, he called us to complain that the City Council has destroyed a building on the field which he uses to store equipment for the children who use it. According to him, this is a major disrespect by the council, who has neglected this field for years. Here’s how he explained it: Bernard 'Dubu' Thomas - Caretaker "This councilor came to me about a year and a half ago at this compound and told me what he had planned. I told him that nothing is wrong with what he has planned, what he has planned for the community is very good but I told him that he cannot come here and do what he wants. A game plan is already here, I just want you to build on it - not destroy. We had a lot of ups and downs and differences and the man sent a case of paint so I hired some boys to paint the bleachers. The people at the City Council office criticize - that's all they do and the contribution to this compound is not out of his pocket, it's contributions from the business people. Why this special councilor have something personal against me? I don't know what it is. The last session him and I had was when the building was torn down so I told him we won't tear the building down until we get back material to build the building because the building is old.

Edwin Paula Claims Brutality
A month ago, 7News showed you the men charged for the La Choza Bar robbery which turned into murder, as they were arraigned in Belmopan Court. 29 year old Edwin Paula, 19 year old Manuel Hernandez, 18 year old Rudy Santos and Rasheed Crespo were arraigned and remanded on 3 counts of Robbery and 1 count of Murder, for the shooting death of Salvadoran Isabel Antonio Ballona. Police also charged Paula with 2 counts of possession for an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. And in relation to the brazen invasion and armed assault on the UB Belmopan Dormitory, where the culprits robbed their victims at gun point of their valuables, all 4 men were additionally charged with 9 counts of aggravated burglary. So, this is a very important case for Belmopan Police, and their commanding officer, Assistant Superintendent Sinquest Martinez, who has told the media that he’s treating it with great care. But, the family members of Edwin Paula have claimed police brutality, and they’ve brought what they claim as proof in the form of images taken of Paula’s injuries after being beaten by police.

Moses Sulph Returns To Activism
Viewers may remember Activist Moses Sulph. He had a minor fall from grace when he was accused of rape earlier this year, but he’s back at his work, and he’s trying to raise funds or encourage donations of books to needy primary school students. Today, he spoke to us about how the program is going in its second year. Moses Sulph - Organizer "Basically the program this year is continuing to assist marginalized children; however, due to the restraint of getting the necessary supplies that we had needed last year, we were only able to help three hundred thirty one children. What we do is we give a dozen exercise books to each child, a school bag, pens and pencil. So, I would like to say that since last year we have been getting couple reviews on Facebook, I've posted what we had done last year and there are Belizeans Americans in the US who decided that they want to assist and contribute no matter how small. Yesterday, I've received 24 school bags from Ms. Amira Smith in the United States. I've also been promised to get about 25 more school bags from Ms. Melanie Martinez from the US and also there are a couple businesses that will contribute, such as Smart, such as Welworth, such as Mr. Emilio Zabaneh. I also have Mr. Eugene Zabaneh Jr. who has pledged that they will contribute some, however, we are seeking to get 600 dozens this year, so we would like to appeal to the general public that if you can donate a dozen, two dozen exercise books, that would be appreciated or more because as I said it's 600 dozens we are trying to obtain."

Making Art of Everyday Things
Tonight, The Institute of Mexico is featuring an art exhibition called “Personal Things” by Mexican artist, Ahmida Gomez. This artist, as the Institute’s Director explained, uses everyday items and displays them in a very unique way. Here’s how he explained the exhibit. Domingo Rodriguez - Director, Institute of Mexico "Today at 7 we have a new exhibition here in the Institute of Mexico in Belize, the name of that exhibition is 'Personal Items' for the Mexican Artist - Amida Gomez. The entrance is free and you can see the work of this artist to paint the personal items like luggage and other things. It's a very interesting exhibition but he put in his drawing like a closet, like everything that you use during the day." Daniel Ortiz "Will any of the paintings be on sale?" Domingo Rodriguez "Yes, the paintings are on sale but every painting - for example this painting it's 8 painting but it's one collection and we have 17 collections today."

Pastor Stirm: We Don’t Need Those Types Of Allies
Last night, 7News showed you the church Leaders’ seminar held by leading voices, Pastor Scott Stirm and Louis Wade in relation to the Gender Policy. While covering the assignment, we couldn’t help but pick up on a few pointers which these men presented to the audience. Of note was that Pastor Stirm, who has zealously researched and followed the LGBT agenda all over the world, is suggesting that the pro-LGBT nations who have threatened to cut off countries who reject it, are not as absolute as they present themselves. Here’s how he explained it. Pastor Scott Stirm - Jubilee Ministries/Belize Action "They would like to say that 'if you don't go with this agenda - then you will be cut off', our international funding will be cut off and we will not trade with you and all those slides that I went through show the picture that China is against the homosexual agenda - they have one billion people. China could buy everything that we could ever possibly produce in the country of Belize - we just need to eat more chowmein. The middle east, the Islamic nations - where is the oil in the world? Who has controlled the whole world with the price of oil and the middle east is against the homosexual agenda. Russia just passed a law a couple weeks, 436 in favor and 0 opposed to make illegal all LGBT propaganda - they didn't make homosexuality illegal - they made the propaganda illegal. 'Deh people smart'. No radio ads, no tv ads, no billboards, no signs, no pamphlets, no leaflets - you want to live that kind of life then your human rights - feel free but you're not going to talk about it and you're not going to push it."

Channel 5

Denny Grijalva, wife and 2 employees taken to court for Noh Mul
In early May, just prior to the village council elections, the historic Mayan monument, Noh Mul was grazed to the ground for road fill. But it was not until today [...]

Archeologist says despite charges, Noh Mul loss irreparable
Charges associated with the destruction of Noh Mul have been brought against several employees of DeMar’s Stone Company in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court.  While the men, including proprietor Denny Grijalva [...]

Details of damning PAHO report on K.H.M.H.
An investigation by the Pan American Health Organization carried out by high level experts into the deaths of thirteen neonates at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is in short, damning [...]

Are you satisfied that no one is yet held responsible for K.H.M.H. neonatal deaths?
And our question for tonight is: Even after the damning PAHO report, are you satisfied that no one is yet being held responsible for the neonatal deaths at the K.H.M.H.? Yes [...]

Island resident complains of unfair land distribution
Village council elections have concluded across the country following an entirely politicized process in which voters were made a number of promises by its respective candidates.  In Caye Caulker, residents [...]

B.D.F. explains the rules of engagement in illegal border crossing
On Wednesday, we reported that the European Union and the Canadian Government donated global positioning systems to the Belize Defense Force and the Guatemalan military. B.D.F. Commander, Lieutenant Colonel David [...]

Belize Bank donates over $6,000 to National Football Team
The 2013 Gold Cup Games are quickly approaching. The Jaguars are set to leave for the United States on July fifth for the first of three games against the United [...]

Body found floating near Hawkesworth Bridge
The police department found the body of a man who has been missing on Wednesday evening. San Ignacio Police visited the Macal River Bank and at about one hundred yards [...]

GSU finds 24 pounds of weed
The Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) continues to suppress the supply of drugs in Belize City. This morning at eleven-twenty-five, members of the GSU conducted an anti drugs operation in the [...]

Burglars sent to prison after being caught inside home
Two Belize City men are behind bars on remand after they were charged for a brazen burglary of a home on Arlington Drive. The men, thirty-one year old Ernest Hinds [...]

Barber’s secret ingredient in baker’s bread was marijuana
Today a man convicted of trying to smuggle marijuana inside the Belize Central Prison escaped becoming an inmate there after he was ordered to pay a fine. Twenty-four year old [...]

Get a room! Hotel Association holds annual general meeting
Hoteliers from across the country converged on the Old Capital this morning for the annual general meeting of the Belize Hotel Association.  The conference comes on the heels of a [...]

Road to Gold Cup features talent from the Belize Jaguars
At eight o’clock tonight only on this station, Veteran Sportscaster, James Adderley, begins the first of a two part series called Road to the Gold Cup 2013. Adderley discusses the [...]

Unidentified flying what? Healthy Living sees floaters
Floaters are common after you turn forty, and they are a normal part of the aging process. They are lines of lights in which patients say they see blurry visions. [...]


Charges For Noh Mul Levied; Bail Granted At $5K
After weeks of waiting for someone to be held responsible for the destruction of the Maya Pyramid of Noh Mul in the Orange Walk, this morning, four individuals were charged in Corozal’s Magistrate Court. To clear things up, the matter was moved to the Corozal Magistrate Court because there ...

Local Bank Gives Aid In Education In Western Belize
Primary School scholarships were awarded to eight students of the Cayo District. Here is Correspondent Elaine Berry with the details. ELAINE BERRY “Scotia Bank in San Ignacio presented awards to eight primary school children from the Cayo District. Love News spoke to Mic...

Commanders Say Relations Are Good Between Belize and Guatemala
The Belize Defense Force and the Guatemalan Army were yesterday presented with a donation of specialized equipment to be used by the military personnel of both countries assigned to patrolling the Adjacency Zone. It was only fitting then that the Organization of American States made the don...

Father, Son and Friend To Stand Trial For Missing Sugar
Three men accused of stealing 125 tons of brown sugar from BSI sometime back in April 2012 were today committed to stand trial at the September session of the Supreme Court. The men who were out on property bail saw their old bail revoked and were offered new bail of 20 thousand dollars eac...

PAHO Findings: Medical and Dental Union Says Financial Constraints Is Not An Excuse
The Belize Medical and Dental Union has weighed in on the Pan American Health Organization’s findings. The Union says that while it is well aware of the financial limitations of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and the alterations in established protocols, that is not an excuse to n...


An agent of Change: for a Better Yo Creek
When I heard the term EcoKid the first thing that came to my mind was how my ideas can be helpful to my school and my beautiful Yo Creek. I looked around and saw that garbage is a great problem in my environment. I believe that garbage should be a great concern to everyone and this starts at school. I can see that the amount of garbage produced at school is a lot. This is because the school sells sweets, chips, ideals, juices in plastic bottles etc. . I think that the teachers should put a rule where little of these things should be sold at school. Instead, they should sell fruits which are more nutritious for us growing children at school. I believe also that parents should come up with ways to make sweets with fruits and also use the rind of fruits can be used to preserve fruit sweets even though it takes a long process to be made but in that way we would be having less garbage. Also, shakes and juices can also be made and sold to kids instead of artificial flavored juices which come in disposable plastic bottles. Also, the rind of fruits if not used as a preservative, can be used as a fertilizer for plants to grow bigger.

“Beautiful Day” from Ambergris Caye, Belize.
First thing I have to ‘say’ in today’s edition is “Happy birthday”. This message is sent to my little sister Chris (or, if I am serious or want to tell her off or put her ‘in her place’, Christine). Miss you lots Chris and Rose and I cannot wait until you come out here and stay with us. The self-contained apartment in our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize is just waiting for you. Have a beautiful day Chris. Now on to today’s edition. Up early yesterday morning at just after 4 am. Obviously went to sleep too early the previous night. So, made a mug of coffee and took the iPad out on to the veranda to knock-out yesterday’s edition and then I settled down to read The Times online. Then spent a little time trying to get my iPad to accept a download from the SD card from my camera but wasn’t successful. I fear that the iPad may be terminally ill. During the course of the morning I received a response from Benny’s to the enquiry I had made about fluorescent light fittings (I realised the previous day that we (I) had omitted to choose a light fitting for the store room/garage on the Ground Floor). It didn’t take long to make a choice. Light fitting decisions now finally completed.

My Favorite Belizean Snack: Cheese Dip!
One of my all time favorite snacks is Belizean Cheese Dip. It is one of those things that would never be missing at any parties in Cayo, including weddings (the equivalent of ceviche for islanders) and it drives kids crazy. By crazy I mean that no matter how much of it you give to children, you’ll endlessly be hearing: “mommy/ aunty/ granny, please fu mo cheese dip!” It gets annoying… Haha! A few weeks ago I went over to a friend’s house in Toronto and took with me some cheese dip that I had especially made for them. I’m pretty sure they were just kissing my ass but they couldn’t stop raving about it, and also said that it was impossible that I had made it. As a joke I told them that it was a secret family recipe and I couldn’t disclose the ingredients, but of course that’s a lie, it’s a staple food in Belize and everyone knows how to make it.

International Sources

New World Oil and Gas poised to seek farm-in partner in Belize
New World Oil and Gas (LON:NEW) now owns 100% working interest at its Blue Creek project in Belize. It means the oil group is now ideally positioned to find a farm in partner to continue its exploration programme in the central American country, it told investors. The relevant government authority approved the final 25% WI to the firm's subsidiary following the drilling of the well on the West Gallon Jug Crest prospect. The firm's chief executive William Kelleher said earning into the whole project marked the end of the required work programme as agreed in its farm-out agreement with Blue Creek Exploration, which exceeded the requirements of the Belize government under the terms of the production sharing agreement. "New World is now ideally positioned to seek a farm-in partner to continue its exploration programme in Belize where a number of prospective locations remain to be drilled.

Belize PM 'very happy' over tax decision
The world's so-called tax havens have come under increasing scrutiny from politicians in recent weeks. At last week's G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, political leaders hailed an agreement to stop companies hiding their profits in shadowy offshore centres. One of these is Belize, which has already agreed to share tax information with international authorities. Its Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, told the Today programme: "We are very happy that there are things happening that will allow all of us to weed out the bad guys, those that might be trying to take advantage of our jurisdictions. "We are confident that we will be able to maintain this sector of our economy."

New World takes 100% interest in Belize project
Oil and gas operating company New World Oil & Gas (NEW) has increased its interest in the Blue Creek Project in north-west Belize to 100%. New World was granted the final 25% working interest in the project, which is located in the Petén Basin, by Belize's Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities. The assignment of the interest was approved after the drilling of an exploration on the West Gallon Jug Crest Prospect within the Blue Creek project. However, users on Interactive Investor's New World Oil & Gas discussion board remained sceptical about the future of the company. "I bet the vast majority of investors don't believe that Bill and co. [the board of New World] have been approached," commented 'Bobby2812'. "This man is not to be trusted in my view so be warned guys, he will say what he needs to."

Belize Charlie’s Cave tubing - Dynamic Cave-Tubing Tours In Belize
From Mayan ruins in Belize to cave spelunking in Texas caving is back as an extreme sport. These adventures include cave exploration via zip line and cave tubing. Caving, more commonly known as spelunking in the United States, has a resurgence of interest. Zip line cave exploration is growing in popularity. Spelunkers explore caverns and caves often without professional guidance. Spelunking is the recreational exploration of caves. Speleology is the term used to describe the scientific study of caves and the ecological environment within caves. Caving is a worldwide hobby of many spelunkers. Some entrepreneurs hope to make a living off of the sport and new cave exploration adventures such as tubing or associated sports like zip line cave exploration. Belize Charlie’s Cave tubing is one of the only ecological tours of Maya ruins in the world. Several caves around the world are association with archaeological finds and offer an opportunity for spelunkers to experience a bit of ancient history. Caving is safer today than in generations past due to the availability of protective wear and equipment. This “extreme sport” has also generated some fantastical archeological and historic finds.

Belize: What Daydreams Are Made Of
My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I have been a lot of places in the 12 years we’ve been abroad, but when I daydream about the beautiful spots we’ve explored, I find that I’m often daydreaming about Belize. When I’m looking for a stunning beach to go to in my mind, as often as not I’ll end up strolling north of the split on Ambergris Caye, watching the waves break out on the reef. When I’m feeling like a boat ride, I often imagine running full throttle across the wide, placid bay in front of Corozal town. If I’m reminiscing about ancient ruins and cultures, I find I’m harking back to San Ignacio and the Mayans who still run the rivers and farm the fertile hills there among the ancient, half-buried cities of their ancestors.

San Pedro, Belize: Fun, sun, potholes and doggies
Having recently returned from four days in San Pedro on an island off the coast of Belize to attend my son's wedding, I offer 10 ways the Central America locale compares and contrasts with Eau Claire. 1. Their roads make Brackett Avenue look like the Autobahn. 2. You can get soaked from sweat just counting to 10 ... at 7 a.m. 3. You can drink any beer you want, as long as its Belikin, "The Beer of Belize." 4. The airport restroom has a sign that reads, "Don't flush the toilet with your feet ... this bathroom is cleaned regularly." So I flushed the toilet the conventional way, quickly washed my hands ... and found the paper towel dispenser empty. 5. I can see where sitting in a swimming pool overlooking the Caribbean would beat shoveling snow in January. 6. If my workplace ran on "Island Time," we'd never get the paper out.

Christian and LGBT Groups Have Brought the Battle for Gay Rights to the Caribbean
Controversy over the region's colonial-era "buggery" laws is exposing a new form of advocacy -- and anti-colonialism. These gay "proxy wars" are especially intense in former English colonies. These territories are inheritors of an acute obsession with sexual puritanism, which is evident in how their laws treat homosexuality. Convinced that native societies were morally corrupt and licentious, colonial governments and pastors prescribed harsh laws against same-sex relations in British territories. These "buggery" statues became a colonial mainstay in the 19th century. Originally, these laws banned any form of "unnatural connection," including bestiality, but their lasting impact has been the criminalization of male homosexuality. Today, criminal bans on sodomy still exist in a whopping 78 countries, many holdovers from British colonialism.

Climate change risk management workshop begins in Suriname
The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) yesterday began the first of a series of workshops in Suriname as it seeks to develop a regional approach to climate change risk management.

June 27, 2013

This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for a couple weeks due to time constraints.


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

Street Treats- Shaved Ice
With warm sunshiny weather, lush jungles and beautiful beaches, Belize is a tropical paradise. But sometimes heat can get to even the tannest sun bather and you just need a sweet treat to cool down. For me, in this midst of a hot day in the tropics, I like my treat not cool but ice cold! It is no different here in San Pedro (except that we have the beautiful Caribbean Sea to cool off, lucky us!). Ice has become a necessity for the brutal summer heat.This need to cool off has resulted in the creation of cool treats made from ice; shaved ice, crushed ice, raspados, snow cones or whatever you may call it. Shaved/crushed ice is smothered with various flavored sugary syrups and toppings you can’t resist, and to be honest we’ve stopped counting the calories. You can find these treats almost all over the island. Local street vendors ride around town in tricycles selling it to children enjoying their summer. But my favorite place to get a shaved ice is Monique’s Scoops, located in front of Central Park.

Ministry of Health Apologies for Incident at Western Regional Hospital
The Ministry of Health deeply regrets the unfortunate series of events over this past weekend involving the delivery of a baby’s corpse to the wrong family at the Western Regional Hospital. Following the outcome of an initial investigation, findings indicate that there was a procedural error by staff members of the hospital. The Ministry of Health expresses its sincerest apologies on behalf of the management and staff to the families involved, and to the public for this breach of confidence in our institution. The Ministry of Health has taken steps through the Public Health Inspectorate to manage the outcome of the situation. Disciplinary action has been taken against persons responsible, and psychological support has been offered to all parties involved. They have accepted and the Ministry intends to do follow-up visits with them. The Ministry of Health reiterates that this isolated case is being addressed and has taken every necessary measure to ensure that there is not a repeat of this unfortunate incident.

San Pedro Police search for missing teenage girl
Ambergris Caye police are looking for a 17 year old girl after she went missing on Saturday June 22nd from her San Mateo home. Her name is Wendy Jesenia Ochoa Ayala, a Salvadoran national and a first form student at San Pedro High School. San Pedro Town Police report that she was last seen around 7PM at her San Mateo home located just across the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge on the northern part of the island. While local authorities are treating the case as a missing person, her family believes she has run away with a male companion.“Wendy was last seen on June 22nd between the hours of 6:30PM and 7:00PM at her home. She is of clear complexion, slim built and about five feet three inches in height. She was last seen wearing a brown short sleeve blouse with blue short pants,” says a police report.

PM Barrow honored; witnesses’ Belizean sugar delivered at Tate & Lyle
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today met with the Chairman of the City of London Policy & Resources Committee, Mark Boleat, ahead of the Guildhall lunch where the Prime Minister was honoured by addressing an audience of international financiers and businessmen. Commenting on meeting with the Prime Minister, Mark Boleat said “We are very pleased to invite the Prime Minister of Belize to speak to these important guests at the Guildhall and discuss Belize and its future plans. The City of London, as the world centre of finance, welcomes important dialogue with developing countries and we hope the lunch will be fruitful for future investment and trade for the country. The City of London recognizes its role in supporting Belize and other developing countries and we hope to continue useful discussion in the future”.

Johnny Quest Claims 1st Prize at Fishing Tournament
The 1st Annual Captain Shark’s Billfish Release Tournament took place over two days:Saturday June 22nd and Sunday June 23rd. Fifteen(15) teams registered to take part in the tournament in hopes of claiming some of the great prizes the competition had to offer. On Saturday morning the boats headed out to sea at 5AM equipped with everything needed to reel in their respected catch and of course a video camera to capture the action. On Sunday the vessels headed out at 6AM. By 4PM, several boats brought back Dorados and Tunas to be weighed in at the weight station in hopes of claiming the biggest catch. The fifteen boats that took part in the competition were: Catch of the Day, Nikky, Josephine, Aaliyah Marley, Johnny Quest, Eloida, Strike Force, Baby Robert, Seaduced, Majik, Another Princess, Bianca Michelle, D Reel Deal, Christina, and Pecipe.

Presenting Miss Belize for Costa Maya 2013!
20 year old Destinee Arnold will be proudly representing Belize at this year’s Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant® that will take place during the International Costa Maya Festival®being held August 1 – 4, 2013. In July of 2012, Destinee won the title of Queen of the Jewel Miss Belize and represented Belize in the Miss International Pageant in Okinawa, Japan in 2012. She participated in the Miss Ethnic World pageant in Long Beach California where she won the title of Miss Ethnic World 2013. Standing at 5’ 7” tall, with brown eyes and light brown hair, gorgeous Destinee’s pageant expertise will give her confidence onstage at the Costa Maya Pageant®. She is a model and student at California State University – Fullerton, and enjoys dancing, reading, spending time with her family and volunteering. She will be competing against neighboring countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama for the coveted title of Reina de la Costa Maya® 2013-14.

Regional artists paint San Pedro Town Mural
Artists from Mexico and Belize are currently collaborating to paint a mural that will depict the history of San Pedro Town and the relationship with other Mexican regions. Over 13 from Mexico and 6 artists from Belize are working on the artwork that will take two days to be completed. The mural is being painted on canvasses at the Central Park as part of the Dia de San Pedro celebrations of the island's patron saint. Once completed, it will be the property of the people of Ambergris Caye but is expected to be displayed in various large events around Mexico as a marketing strategy for the island. Mayor of San Pedro Daniel Guerrero did the symbolic start of the mural during a short ceremony on Tuesday June 25th at the Lions Den.

Ambergris Today

Los Yonic’s to Highlight International Costa Maya Festival in San Pedro
The biggest festival in the country of Belize, The International Costa Maya Festival is set to take place from Thursday, August 1, 2013 to Sunday, August 4, 2013. The festival is known for having the best in cultural presentation from the participating countries of the Mundo Maya. This year the highlight of the festival will be the international performance by the Latin Grammy-Nominated band Los Yonics. José Manuel's Zamacona y Los Yonic’s have been delivering 36 years of impressive artistic performances they have produced 33 albums, sold millions of copies in Mexico and abroad, have received gold and platinum awards and nominated twice for an International Grammy.

Mexican Vendors Block Belize Border Bridge in Protest of Loss of Business
In an unprecedented event, more than 200 people of Subteniente Lopez, Quintana Roo, Mexico, blocked the entrance to the new ‘Chactemal’ bridge linking Mexico and Belize crossing over the Rio Hondo for more than six hours. They were demanding to speak with the Mexican border management in hopes of having their request met; they have been requesting a meeting since the bridge opened a few weeks ago. The group’s request is for the Mexican authorities to reopen the old bridge that connects Belize to the town of Subteniente Lopez immediately across the Mexican border. Tired of not being heard by the border authorities, and after seeing the community’s economy collapse, residents decided to launch a peaceful demonstration and symbolically close access to that bridge for six hours beginning at around 11:00a.m. on Monday, June 24, 2013.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Nature Conservation Foundation
The PACT Foundation has changed their name to the Belize Nature Conservation Foundation, and they are doing a call for grant proposals in the areas of general park management, training, and research. The deadline is the 31st of July, and the maximum grant amount is $39,000. For more information, email them at "The Foundation provides grants to registered management organizations of terrestrial protected areas including, non-governmental organizations and community based organizations that are involved in conservation and management for sustainable use of Belize’s natural resources and terrestrial protected areas.

ROWKIDS Medical Team in Bullet Tree
Feelgood news of the day. The ROWKIDS brought a medical team to Bullet Tree, where they checked out 140 people. Thanks, ROWKIDS! "Today ROWKIDS Medical Team treated 140 people to at the Bullet Tree SDA Primary School. As the College of the Ozarks basketball players and coach held sports camp with the students. Great team showing Christ's love to everyone! Enjoy the photos."

DOE Summer Art Camp
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Program of Belize is having a Summer Art Camp for youth between the ages of 14 and 17. They'll be having it in Mountain Pine Ridge too, so the youths will experience nature in one of Belize's nicest reserves. The deadline for registration is July 1st. Have fun! "This camp is for youth ages 14 to 17 who want to tap into their inner artist and creative learning process. All week long youth will be in the jungle, learning how to enhance their skills in painting, writing, cooking, and music. At night there will be campfires and games to build friendships and make memories that will last forever. This is an incredible experience all for $200. That includes your transportation there and back, your three meals for the day, accommodation, and supplies for classes. If you are interested in joining us please let Nehanda Higinio know by cell phone at 624-9112 or email at and she will get you registered and signed up!"

Old Timers Folk Concert Videos
The Institute for Social and Cultural Research has some videos from the Old Timers Folk Concert that was held at the Cayo Welcome Center Saturday night. They have a short video of the Benque Marima Academy. They also have the Rompe Rajas Band in another one. Looks like it was a great night. "The Benque Marimba Academy were present as one of the opening acts at the Old Timer's Concert. We should be proud of our young Belizean talent!"

Play for Peace Tournament
The Play for Peace basketball tournament, which the Department of Youth Services of Benque is coordinating, starts tomorrow night at 7:00pm. There are 5 teams, and they all get to play against each other. The games will be held at Deacon's Court this weekend and next weekend, and the semi-finals are July 6th, with the finals on July 11th. "The Department of Youth Services Benque Viejo Branch in collaboration with the Benque Viejo Youth Sports Club invites you all to come and support the team of your choice in the 'Play for Peace' basketball tournament scheduled to commence tomorrow June 27, 2013. All games are scheduled to take place at Deacon's Basketball Court in Benque Viejo Del Carmen.... For more information feel free to contact Jimmy Leslie at 633-5050 or Mark Rosado at 631-5877. May the best team win!"

Go Belize Jaguars
The Belize Jaguars have a short video out showing some of their highlights. In their final preparation match for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the National Team will take on the PLB All Stars this Saturday night at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan at 7:30PM. The entrance fee will be $5.00. "Making history and qualifying for the very first time, Belize now moves on to participate in the Gold Cup. Belize's young football players are determined to take Belizean football to another level."

Channel 7

KHMH Addresses the Damning PAHO Report
Last night, 7News told you about the now-ready report from the Pan-American Health Organization, which shows that there were a number of irregularities at the KHMH which could have contributed to the deaths of the 12 neonatal patients in May. And even if they don’t, it shows that the hospital is not up to international standards in trying to insulate its patients from contamination as best as possible. Well this afternoon, the hospital’s Administration and the Minister of Health hosted a press conference to address the concerns raised by the PAHO investigators. The media was there in full force, and the head table was grilled on this report. We’ll get to that, but first… 2 members of the head table accused the media of twisting the facts to further their own sinister agenda. So for transparency, we'll start with start with a few parts of the report which KHMH CEO chose to address. The first was that the report points to the fact that hospital has an Infection Control Committee ICC, and this committee advises the hospital on its Infection Prevention and Control program, ICP. As we’ve reported, the PAHO investigators found that this program was not functioning as well as it should, or the bacterial outbreak which caused the death of the neonates would not have been as catastrophic.

KHMH Admin Answers To All Charges
And so, when the media got an opportunity, they zeroed several important aspects of the report which are damning. We looked first on the fact that it took a great tragedy for the hospital to get its act together. Here’s how that conversation went: Daniel Ortiz "How do you respond to the criticism that all of these improvements have come too late, days have passed away and if you look at the deaths - it's 13, it's too late. These things should have been in place before, the hospital is suppose to give the utmost best care possible." Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth - CEO, KHMH "My response would be is that we've been dealing with these issues - I have been dealing with them from the first day I stepped into this hospital, we have made incremental changes in many areas. Perhaps the changes have not come fast enough but there are different reasons for that, some of them financial, some of them human resource issues but it is not that we have not been doing anything for all of these years." Reporter "It's intro venous the way the bacteria infected these neonates?" Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health

KHMH Board To Discuss The PAHO Report
So if you’ve listened to the response from KHMH to this PAHO report, and you still have questions, we did too. So we asked the chairlady of the Board to comment on her impression as one of the bosses of the hospital who is now forced to answer to an upset public who believes that this is a major failure. Here’s what she told us after seeing the report, and hearing the explanation from the CEO: Daniel Ortiz "Ms. Cansino as the chairlady of the board, after seeing the report and hearing the responses from the authority, the CEO of KHMH - are you pleased or satisfied with the responses they have given. In my opinion, the public deserves a little bit more of explanation, something else to encourage them that the KHMH is taking this matter seriously." Chandra Nisbet Cansino - Chairlady, KHMH Board "When I speak, I speak on behalf of a board - I don't act alone. We just received the report on Monday and we've had one meeting since then and of course the reports/findings are not the best findings that you would want from a report which is the one that PAHO did. The board is looking very seriously in the timeline of the recommendations and we will be looking to see that the recommendations are followed based on the timeline from PAHO because I think they categorized it as a one month then a three month deadline and we will be ensuring that those are adhered to.

Still No Charges For Noh Mul
For weeks, the nation has been waiting patiently – or impatiently, depending on how you look at it – for someone to be charged in connection with the Noh Mul Mauling which this media house exposed earlier in May. Since then, that story has picked up coverage internationally, and everyone is looking intently at what the Belize Police Department will do to bring the culprits to justice for it. Of note, is that Denny Grijalva, the Managing Director of De-Mar’s Stone Company - the company which our cameras caught in the act on the Noh Mul site - has come out accepting blame on behalf of his company, and his employees. Even in the face of that, the case has progressed very slowly, to the point where some quarters have accused the authorities of deliberate foot dragging, since Grijalva is believed to very connected UDP figure associated with Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. So Last night, waves went out when Orange Walk Police detained several of Grijalva’s employees. Everyone thought that they would finally be seeing charges, especially since DPP Cheryl Lynn Vidal already gave the investigating officer her directives on Friday.

Health Ministry Apologizes For Mix-Up At Western Regional
On Monday, 7News showed the family who had a terrible mix-up where their still-born baby was given to another family who’s also had a miscarriage. The Muschamp family complained bitterly about it saying that the Western Regional Hospital has increased their grief unnecessarily with their incompetence. Well, the ministry sent out a release yesterday apologizing for the incident, so today, when we got a chance, we asked Ministry of Health’s CEO why they’ve accepted blame so quickly, when no one is doing the same for the KHMH debacle. Here’s how he explained it: Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health "The incident at the Western Regional Hospital to me was simply unforgivable and it's so terribly sad and we do send out our most heartfelt sympathies and our deepest regrets to the families affected. Now you'll understand that the Western Regional Hospital is a public hospital and the KHMH is a statutory authority so we have a little more direct control of what happens in the Western Regional Hospital - in that particular instance, we have immediately asked the Director of Health Services to conduct an investigation into the sequence of events that led to this terrible and unfortunate issue. I'm sure the Director of Health Services will be able to report on that as soon as it's finished which will be soon but it did appear to be some direct or let me say some non-observer of protocols which could be directly attributed to one or two individuals.

Hon. Faber Responds To BNTU
On Monday, 7News showed you the fiery response from the Belize National Teacher’s Union who were upset with the comments from Minister of Education Patrick Faber. We’ve dealt mostly with that, so we thought that the back and forth between both sides would end there. Well, Minister Faber was one of the keynote speakers at the 2013 PSE Awards and he used that platform to respond their response. He told the gathering that his message was mistranslated in delivery: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "I do this not to provoke further reaction from anyone, I do so for the sake of clarity and so that the message is not lost. Here are the main points of what I have to say. That it is everybody's business to fix the problems with the PSE and we all have roles to play, schools and their managements and proprietors need to take ownership for their performance and the quality of education they are doing. Schools need to self evaluate and develop and implement school improvement plans, managing authorities need to support their schools in this and where necessary apply pressure for improvement. Parents and guardians need to be involved in the education of their children, they need to examine how the school is doing and support and where necessary - apply pressure for the school to improve.

Faber: Teachers Don’t Need CP
And in relation to the concern that BNTU raise about unruly classes, the Minister didn’t mince words either. He says that if the teachers are trained, they don’t need to depend on corporal punishment. Here’s how he explained why: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "The president of the BNTU in his presentation answered himself - the alternative to corporal punishment is training for our teachers and that is what we have always said. I listened as the president said that we are waiting to amend the rules or bring in the new rules in order to instill and start training. I don't understand where he's going with that. Training, in fact you remember, when the act was actually passed in the national assembly and signed into law - we held back on the law dealing with corporal punishment for six months over which time all our continuous professional development workshops were geared towards giving strategies. Of course these strategies are also imparted in the training sessions over the CERTED for the Associate's degree program, the Bachelor's in education programs that were various teacher training institutions. The answer, my friend and everybody else who has a role to play, is training.

Min. Longsworth: GOB Can’t Fund Football Team
And another Minister in charge of Youth and Sports who is on the defensive is Herman Longsworth. His ministry has been getting intense criticism because the National Football Team needs funding. They didn’t meet their target during the FFB Telethon, and so some members of the public believe that the Ministry of Sports should foot the rest of the bill, since it is Belize’s first appearance in the Gold Cup. Today, we asked Minister Longsworth about that concern, and he explained why the Government cannot contribute any more money: Hon. Herman Longsworth - Minister of Sports "The government of Belize cannot - we don't have the resources to finance every single national team that wants to represent Belize, we can't do it. We believe that it is the responsibility of the federations, of the community, the private sector to move sports at this level. We have a responsibility to ensure that we move sports at the primary school and high school level where we impact at the majority of our population. We cannot be spending the majority of our budget on the minority of our citizens. If we were to support all these initiatives we would be spending 70% of our budget in 1 or 2% of the populations, that is not what we are here for - that is not the government's responsibility.

Sanchez Convicted of Kidnapping
34 year-old Derrick Sanchez is at prison tonight awaiting sentence after he was convicted in the Supreme Court yesterday of kidnapping a taxi driver. His trial was heard before Justice Adolph Lucas where Tour Guide Rodrick Williams testified that on July 20, 2011 Sanchez abducted him. Williams took the stand last week and told the court that he was at a tour-guide training course at the ITVET Building on Freetown Road. He said that he left in his taxi and headed toward Belcan Bridge were 2 men stopped his vehicle to hire him for a ride. They asked him to take them to a friend’s house near Friendship Restaurant on the Northern Highway, and as they were arriving to the location, one of the men grabbed him around the neck from the backseat. They forced him into the backseat, and according to Williams, the men told him that they didn’t intend to hurt him. He told the court that the men said, quote, “We only want your car to do a mission.” End quote. The men then drove him to Ladyville in his car, against his will, where they picked up another man. While the men drove past Lowe’s Superstore, he took and chance and jumped out of the moving vehicle.

Awarding Excellence In PSE
We’ve dealt with the poor performance of the primary school students who took the PSE in 2013, and we’ve gone looking for answers from most of the stakeholders involved. So, tonight we take a break from the bad news about the exam, and we focus on those students who performed excellently on it. They were recognized in a ceremony at the Bliss today, and 7News attended. Here’s what they told us: Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education "Well it's always good to encourage those top performers as well, they will no doubt go on to high school and do well. In fact the 26 of them are recieving scholarship grants for the four years that they'll be in high school and also book grants. We'd have to cap the award in any one year to a thousand dollars. You know some schools are really way up now so for the 26 of them now they get up to $1,000 grant per year for four years and they will also receive $300 book grant for their four years of high school. They will no doubt succeed and they will probably be leaders so it is good to nurture them to become the leaders and torch bearers if you will, for academic excellency."

Church: What the Gender Policy Really Means
7News has been closely following the discussion in relation to the Gender Policy, to find out what form it will take when it’s finally completed. Well, members of the Churches have complained loudly that it is loaded with items which they feel gives the LGBT population excessive rights as only one of the minority groups being discriminated against. Last night, the personalities who’ve taken the forefront of speaking out on behalf of the church gave a seminar to a large gathering of Leaders of the different denominations. 7News attended, and we found out how this consultation has been going: Pastor Scott Stirm - Jubilee Ministries/Belize Action "The elders leaders we have called forth from whole of Belize district, as many as possibly could from Biscayne southward, from Gracie Rock and Hattieville and over - there were a lot of leaders that weren't able to make it tonight but we're in touch with them by email and them being informed. But in the bottom line there are a lot of leaders and people that really don't understand what's the big deal behind the gender policy so tonight was to do a little bit of awareness for them but also for us to connect together for mobilizing."

OAS, Bringing BDF And GAF Together
This afternoon, the top officers of the Security Forces from Guatemala and Belize met at the OAS office in Western Belize. The purpose was for a handing out of GPS equipment to both sides, in an effort to build a better relationship between the military of both countries. To add a little bit of ceremony to the handing over, officials gave speeches about the importance of confidence building. The CEO in the Ministry of National Security told the gathering that it’s always a pleasure to meet with Guatemala, Belize’s friend: George Lovell - CEO, Ministry of National Security "It is always a heart warming experience when an occasion such as this arise whereby we can experience the results of the excellent cooperation and friendly ties between entities. These cooperation and friendly ties that I referred to today are between Belize and the organization of American States. The establishment of the office of the general secretariat of the OAS in the adjacency zone of Belize and Guatemala has contributed to fostering from community to community cross-border contact - to improve cross border relations and to inform the communities along the border of the confidence building measures that are in place. They also perform various task of conducting interpretation of incidence that occurs within the adjacency zone, we must commend the director and his staff for the good hard work that they do in complying with the mandate that we gave them back in 2003 and which is still in place today."

Channel 5

K.H.M.H. babies dead and PAHO report shows intravenous transmission of bacteria
Thirteen babies died in less than a month at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in May. Seven of the deaths were caused by a bacteria called Enterobacter Cloacae. But why [...]

Serious shortcomings of K.H.M.H. revealed by PAHO
Five weeks after thirteen babies died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, a report on the deaths was discussed with the media by the K.H.M.H. officials even though it has [...]

2 suspended for baby mix up at Western Regional Hospital
The K.H.M.H. is not the only hospital facing criticism. The Western Regional Hospital was also criticized following a body switching error. A twenty-three year old mother lost her newborn at [...]

Charges to be levied for the destruction of Noh Mul
In early May, the wrath of international and local media, the Institute of Archaeology, the Ministry of Culture and local organizations was brought down on the persons who willfully destroyed [...]

P.S.E. winners awarded
Every year, the best and brightest students who excel in the Primary School Examinations are recognized for their intellectual achievement. And this morning, these young stars gathered at the Institute [...]

Minister says training needed for alternative to corporal punishment
At Monday’s press conference held by the Belize National Teachers Union (B.N.T.U.), corporal punishment was one of the various contentious issues raised by the union. Minister of Education Patrick Faber [...]

Minister of Education getting along well with B.N.T.U.
Firing back at Minister Faber for his very derogatory comments about teachers and about the unions, the B.N.T.U. has levied accusations that he is out of touch with their concerns [...]

O.A.S. hands over equipment to Belize and Guatemala soldiers
The European Union and the Canadian government today made a donation to the Belize and Guatemalan forces that will assist them in enhancing accuracy of border patrols. The ceremony took [...]

Bees sting man into hospital
A family from the Orange Walk district is lucky to be alive after they were stung by killer bees on Wednesday evening. Ofelia Cocom has lived near the Palmar/Boundary Road [...]

3 years in Belize without a proper permit
A Guatemalan man must either pay one thousand dollars or serve a year as a guest at the Belize Central Prison. And even after doing one or the other, thirty-four [...]

Prisoner claims he is being victimized behind bars
Thirty-seven year old Ralph Wellington Middleton, accused of attacking a security guard in mid-May, says his constitutional rights are being violated because he is being victimized behind bars.  On Tuesday, [...]

US Court rules in favour of same sex marriage
While we await the decision of the Belize Supreme Court in the case of Caleb Orozco versus the Attorney General challenging the criminalization of homosexuality, the United States Supreme Court [...]

The Next Superstar takes off to new heights
Season two of Be the Next Superstar premiered as scheduled on Tuesday night at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. The lineup included ten hopefuls from Group A and [...]


Urban Gardening Project for Port Loyola
Engaging vulnerable communities in positive and fruitful activities may be a way out of poverty. One of these activities brought stakeholders from Port Loyola and other parts of the country together to discuss the introduction of an Urban Gardening Project initiative for the Port Loyola are...

DPP Instructs Police To Press Charges For Destruction of Maya Ruin
The case against those responsible for the destruction of the Maya ruin Noh Mul in San Jose Village, Orange Walk District seems to be moving forward, however slowly, as Orange Walk Police is taking statements from those presumed involved in the incident and employed at D’Mars Stone Company ...

Governor General Represents Belize At Travel and Trade Show In Florida
Governor General Sir Colville Young travelled today to Florida. The Governor General will represent Belize at the First Belize Travel and Trade Show to take place from 27th to 30th June, 2013 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in South Florida, USA. The event is...

Cane Farmers Collect Payments; Crop Season Now Closed
The Sugar Cane crop season closed a couple weeks ago and today cane farmers are collecting payments. Arturo Cantun tells us more. ARTURO CANTUN “Today cane farmers of the north are receiving second payments for sugar cane crop season 2012/2013 that closed 3 weeks ago. The esti...


“Car(t) Wash in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
After writing and publishing yesterday’s edition of the blog it was around 6 am. Just the right temperature before the heat started to build up so I grabbed the bucket and my new chamois leather. The perfect time for a car(t) wash! Started with the hose. Then the soap suds, paying special attention (and putting in more effort) on the seats (they just get so dirty) and then a hose down to clear the suds (and remaining dirt). Then it was the turn of the chamois and the ‘cart looked a treat. As I stood there admiring my work the heavens opened up and down the rain came. Sod’s law. If there is ever a shortage of water on the island they just need to get me to wash our ‘cart – ergo, the ‘rainmaker’! With the ‘cart washed it was time to have a shower ( yes, I did go out before I had a shower), shave and get dressed. Then breakfast. And all the while the rain continued to come down.

A True Taste of Belize
Belize has a lot to offer when it comes to Belizean Cuisine. In this video some of Belize’s most famous Chefs pinpoint what Belizean Cuisine means to them.

The Famous Belizean Rice and Beans
Rice and Beans encapsulates everything that is wonderful about Belizean cuisine. Simple, low cost ingredients are raised to new heights by the skilful addition of spices and loving preparation. Each cook prepares theirs with just enough nuances to make each plate a little bit different. Some people believe that you can even determine different personality types based on that person’s rice and beans. Mild mannered, aggressive, shy, saucy, robust or retiring, it can all be reflected in how they prepare this quintessential Belizean dish.

International Sources

McAfee: Belize Government Didn't Charge Me With Murder
McAfee Antivirus Software founder John McAfee on escaping Belize after ... Caught up in what the Belize government said -- was a murder in which he was not.

The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America
Central America is at a crossroads. As the economies of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama expand, regional use of fossil fuels for transportation and electricity generation is on the rise, while the use of fuelwood, primarily for cooking, continues to be unsustainably high. These developments come at the price of rising greenhouse gas emissions, worsening air and water pollution, and significant health and societal costs. Central American countries have committed to sustainable energy development to varying degrees; Costa Rica, for example, is leading the world in its ambition to be "carbon neutral" by 2021, with energy as an important element. The region, long a frontrunner in hydropower and geothermal energy, is exploring its potential for expanding these technologies in a more sustainable manner while also developing other renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, biofuels, and agricultural waste.

4 Great Spots For Adventure Travel In Latin America
Have you gone snorkeling in the reefs, biking in the mountains or kayaking in a bay or river? Maybe hiked around historic sites or experienced a cultural shock at colorful markets or remote villages? Then, you have done adventure travel without knowing it. Adventure travel has gained growing popularity among divorced women in their 40s, young trekkers and single or married people who travel without a spouse. They seek a group vacation that involves an intense physical activity, close contact with nature, a spiritual journey to exotic places or just an exchange with cultures that contrast their own. These trips require a certain degree of physical ability and specific equipment. They might also involve some risks or physical dangers such as slipping off a boat, straining a muscle or just getting a belly ache from local food or water you are not used to ingesting. Choosing an experienced travel agency would help you prepare for those risks and physical challenges.

Belizean Fisheries Project Could Help Protect Indigenous Lands While Easing Border Tensions
The little nation of Belize is covered in rainforests, wetlands and mangroves rich in biodiversity and natural resources. It is one of the most forested Central American nations and contains part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a habitat corridor that stretches through the region linking natural parks and nature refuges. But Belize is struggling to maintain these globally significant ecosystems. It is facing threats from development, oil exploration and illegal logging and timber harvesting with the federal government doing nothing to prevent these activities and even inviting extractive companies into protected areas. Between 2004 and 2010, 85% of deforestation in Belize occurred in its three administrative districts that share a border with Guatemala. In those three districts, a total of 6,375 hectares of forest was lost, according to a CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) study.

June 26, 2013

This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for a couple weeks due to time constraints.


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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

June 24-July 1, 2013





June 24, 2013

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The San Pedro Sun

CZMAI holds meeting at Lions
Belize Plans for its Future. As the old saying goes, “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”. When borrowing something, we always try to return the item to its owner in the same condition as when we first received it. This is the guiding principle behind the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan – a plan that was first conceived in Ambergris Caye in 1989. Almost a quarter of a century later, that plan is becoming a reality. The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) has undertaken a two-year literature research and community consultation period to develop what was presented at the Lion’s Den at 6pm on June 12th, 2013. It was, in fact, the second consultation of its kind in San Pedro. All of the input from the previous consultation, held on March 29th 2012 , has been compiled, and this presentation was a ‘check-up’ with its advisors – the community of San Pedro.

Los Yonics to headline International Costa Maya Festival 2013!
The International Costa Maya Festival is scheduled to take place from August 1st to August 4th, and will be featuring several fabulous cultural activities, as well as the yearly pageant for the Reina de La Costa Maya. This year’s highlight performance will be coming via the Latin Grammy-Nominated band Los Yonics. With over 30 albums released since the Mexican pop group formed in the 1970’s, Los Yonics will be bringing hours of music for all to enjoy. Los Yonic’s began playing together in San Luis Pedro but later moved to Acapulco, playing both tropical pop music and ballads. Members of Los Yonics are: Johnny Ayvar – lead vocals; Jose Manuel Zamacona – vocals, guitar; Mountain Martin – piano; Bruno Ayvar; Oscar Perez; Eduardo Corner – saxophone, flute; Vincente Martinez – saxophone, flute.

Ambergris Today

Casa Picasso Tops Lobster Fest in San Pedro, Belize
It was Casa Picasso’s creativity, presentation and of course flavorful food that not only garnered the restaurant the Best Dish, but also the Best Drink at San Pedro’s Lobster Festival Block Party that took place on Saturday, June 22, 2013. Casa Picasso was one of 13 other restaurants and businesses that set up booths at Central Park San Pedro to serve fantastic lobster dishes created especially for Lobster Fest. It was their delicious and creamy Lobster Cannoli and mouth watering Watermelon Cooler infused with basil and ginger that took the judges’ taste buds on a tailspin and winning them both top prizes. Casa Picasso was also serving a buttery-bunned Lobster Slider and a rich Lobster Bisque; they ran out of food pretty quickly.

It's Graduation Season in San Pedro!
June is a very busy month here in San Pedro! Through out the country it marks the beginning of the rainy season and the opening of lobster season! Here in San Pedro educational institutions have the entire month of June booked with graduation ceremonies from pre-schools to tertiary level schools. Graduates marched down the aisle to the tune of pomp and circumstances so as to receive their diplomas and certificates of completion. Below are some of the graduations that have taken place here in La Isla Bonita so far:

Costa Maya Festival Announces Miss Belize Pageant Contestant, Destinee Arnold
Queen of the Jewel Miss Belize 2012 Destinee Arnold has been confirmed to represent Belize at this year’s Reina de la Costa Maya Pageant that will take place during the San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival, August 1 – 4, 2013. Destinee Arnold won the title of Queen of the Jewel Miss Belize in July 2012 and represented Belize in the Miss International Pageant in Okinawa, Japan in 2012. She participated in the Miss Ethnic World pageant in Long Beach California where she won the title of Miss Ethnic World 2013. At 20 years of age and standing at 5’ 7” tall, Destinee brings much experience with her to the Costa Maya Pageant. She is currently a model and a student at California State University – Fullerton. She has brown eyes, light brown hair, and her hobbies include dancing, reading, spending time with her family and volunteering.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize bans transhipments of fish at sea
The Belize Fisheries Department has announced a moratorium on unmonitored transhipments of fish at sea for Belize-flagged vessels, effective immediately. So far, the Belize Fisheries Department has banned transhipments on the high seas for Belize-flagged vessels, unless transhipments are carried out under programs regulated by a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO). Belize has also banned transhipments at sea in coastal countries’ EEZ, unless the transhipment was explicitly authorised to take place at sea and can be properly monitored. The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has identified Belize-flagged vessels carrying out transhipments at sea on several occasions in the past and welcomes this recent decision. - See more at:

Commentary: It is not only about voting but all rights
By Wellington C. Ramos When I have conversations with Belizeans, people from the Caribbean and other parts of the world, it is always about why they came to the United States of America. Some people give the following reasons: economic, education, to join family members and to visit. The reason that is given the most is economic. If Belize and the countries in the Caribbean had an economy that could provide jobs to their citizens, advanced institutions to educate their people and stop political victimization, fewer people would leave their countries to come to the United States and abroad. In Belize, the people that leave the most are the black Belizeans, Creoles and Garifuna. In looking at the rate of poverty and low income people they make up the majority. Some people believe this is the case because most black people in Belize are lazy and do not want to work. I do not accept this as the only reason why black people are unemployed, living in poverty and are the lowest group in Belize's economic ladder. Belize City has the largest concentration of black people in the country of Belize. It is followed by the rural villages in Belize District, Stann Creek District, Cayo and Toledo Districts. In Belize City and the District there are not enough industries to employ all the black people that are unemployed.

Film School Promo - Faculty Cut
The Belize Documentary Film School has a newly edited video that focuses on the faculty from the class. Carol and Richard Foster, and Illana Lapid lead the class, with help from Daniel Valezquez. This video documents the New Mexico State University film students as they interact with people and nature around Cayo, and Belize, during their documentary film course. Once again, it's a well done, feelgood video, and you'll see some faces you know from around Cayo. "Look forward to seeing the films the students produce, we will showcase them in our new San Ignacio film festival, along with other local films."

Feed the Children Fashion Show Models
The Cornerstone Foundation is uploading pictures of their models for the 2013 Feed the Children Fashion Show which will be July 13th, at 6:00pm. The venue this time is the Octavia Waight auditorium. The fashion show is fundraiser for their feeding program. Have a great time while supporting a great cause at the some time. "All proceeds from this show will go towards a feeding program, catering to 98 primary school children and 12 seniors. Tickets can be bought at the cornerstone office on 43 Church Street. $20 VIP, $10 general. The fashion show will be held on July 13, 2013 at the Octavia Waight Auditorium (Center) in San Ignacio, Cayo. Call 824-2373 or 627-6467 for more information!"

Atlantic Bank Art Competition
Atlantic Bank is having their 3rd annual Art Competition, with this year's theme being: 'Belizean Folklore Comes Alive.' The contest is for primary school students in standard 4 through standard 6, and entries will be accepted through the 19th of July. Prizes include Kindles, school supplies, and a mini-notebook. Good luck!

Prime Minister Dean Barrow's Official Visit to London
Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow Honoured at Guildhall Lunch and Witnessed Belizean Sugar being Received at Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery in London Belmopan. June 25th, 2013. Prime Minister Dean Barrow today met with the Chairman of the City of London Policy & Resources Committee, Mark Boleat, ahead of the Guildhall lunch where the Prime Minister was honoured by addressing an audience of international financiers and businessmen. Commenting on meeting with the Prime Minister, Mark Boleat said "We are very pleased to invite the Prime Minister of Belize to speak to these important guests at the Guildhall and discuss Belize and its future plans. The City of London, as the world centre of finance, welcomes important dialogue with developing countries and we hope the lunch will be fruitful for future investment and trade for the country. The City of London recognizes its role in supporting Belize and other developing countries and we hope to continue useful discussion in the future". The Prime Minister was also hosted by the Directors and Senior Management of Tate & Lyle, who gave him a presentation on the future of the global sugar industry before being escorted to the refinery where he watched 13,000 tons of Belize sugar arrive at the factory. Mac McLachlan, Senior Advisor to Tate & Lyle, commenting on the Prime Minister’s visit said, “We are extremely happy to welcome the Prime Minister and his team here today and delighted he has been able to visit us and discuss with us important proposals for the future. We are also pleased that his timing of the visit could not be better as a boat from Belize arrived this morning to unload Belize sugar. It’s clear that giant leaps by the entire sugar industry in Belize over the last few years have provide Belize and the sugar industry a strong and secure platform for growth and the future of sugar in Belize. We are delighted to be part of that future with all the stakeholders in Belize."

Channel 7

BCB Can Take GOB To Court Oversees
This morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice made a decision which opens up the country to international arbitration by the Ashcroft Allied companies. Viewers may remember that when the Barrow Administration initially nationalized Belize Telemedia Limited, they discovered that in July of 2007, that the company made a loan of 22.5 million dollars from the Belize Bank in Turks and Caicos. They say that they sought legal advice from attorneys who informed them, that to the best of their knowledge, this loan was unlawful null and void, because it was used to purchase shares in the company. So, the nationalized company acquired those shares, and the parent company of the bank, British Caribbean Bank took the Government of Belize to court. They also started arbitration at the London International Court of Arbitration, but the Supreme Court of Belize granted injunction which stopped them from continuing. It was a judgment in the favor of GOB, which has been appealed all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice. And today, the CCJ delivered their ruling dismissing the injunction granted by the Supreme Court. It’s a major victory because the Bank can now take the Government to court oversees, putting intense pressure on their ability to finance their defence outside the courts of Belize.

PAHO Reports On Neonatal Deaths; KHMH Has Much To Explain
4 weeks ago, 7News showed you the comments of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, as he responded to the protest held by COLA about the 12 neonates who died inside the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. One of the major public concerns was the perception that KHMH Administration was investigating itself, and so, the issue was that if the hospital was investigating itself, they could doctor the results to hide any major mistakes and forms of negligence. PM Barrow allayed that fear somewhat when he announced that the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) would be the leading organization inquiring into the mass premature deaths. Well, it’s been about a month since that protest, and yesterday, KHMH finally announced that the full PAHO report is finally complete. They only just released today it on their website, but the date on the document suggests that it was available since last week Monday. Our newsroom has only been able to peruse the 25 page document, but there are several findings which are of significant note.

Bze CitCo Testing The Driving Habits Of Motoring Public
Members of the public who drove downtown Albert Street today may have noticed that the street between Mule Park and the Belize Bank is temporary closed We know right… another closure amidst the extensive street upgrading works. Well, Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley says that it’s a test to see if they can spark commercial interest at the less-frequented section of Albert Street. He explained it this evening: Darrell Bradley - Mayor of Belize City "One of the projects that was identified in the master plan and I repeated this several times on the news that the City Council has fully embraced the master plan project as being the development project for Belize City and the master plan refers to certain infrastructure works that should be done in strategic areas, particularly in the downtown area. What we've identified is that we're restoring Battlefield park, we're taking out the street between Brodies and the park, we're taking out the street between Belize Bank and the park and we're taking out the street between the Belize Bank and the Mule park because that is one of the areas that is causing greatest congestion.

PUP Release IMMARBE Cabinet Note
2 weeks ago, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the Government of Belize would assume control over IBC and IMMARBE Registries from Belize International Services Limited. Great significance was placed on the agreement, which Barrow referred to as “secret”, which he took great care to explain to the nation why it was illegal. He laid blame on the then Prime Minister, Said Musa, and the then Attorney General, Francis Fonseca, who is now the Leader of the Opposition. According to Barrow, both Fonseca and Musa unilaterally signed this agreement which extended BISL’s control over these registries until 2020. Last week, the much veiled figure, Gian Ghandi, who has served as legal advisor to the Ministry of Finance for the last 13 years, sent out a an unprecedented release saying that he has extensively searched for any documented signs that this arrangement went to the Cabinet in 2005. Well, the People’s United Party organ, the Belize Times, printed an article in last week’s issue of their newspaper, in which they fired back at PM Barrow.

Steven Buckley Owes KHMH
On the night of April 28th 2010, construction worker Steven Buckley was shot by a Police Inspector who was leading a police strike team. Buckley and the other two men in the car did not even have a chance to identify themselves before Inspector Denis Lopez fired what eyewitnesses say were two rounds from his pump action shotgun. Buckley took 12 shotgun pellets to the head which have left him partially paralyzed and unable to work to support his family. Since the incident, Buckley told us that the only help he has received from Police Department within the last 2 years is 2 bags of groceries. It has been constant struggling for him as he is left disable and has to provide for his family of 5. But that's not all that Buckley and his family is being faced with. Just last week he received a letter from the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital stating that he owes the institution six thousand, five hundred and sixty one dollars and his debts has been given to Credit Masters System for collection. He has 15 days to pay up before any legal action takes place and that is money he doesn’t have. Today we asked him, where is the police department in all of this? Steven Buckley- Man Shot by police "Last week when I came from work my wife told me I had a letter there from Karl Heusner and that is when I saw what it was and I told her I don't know how I will be able to pay for it but I really need help so I told her I will go to KREM so that they help me out."

Sista Yaya Against St. Martin’s Admin.
Since Monday of Last week, activist Yaya Marin-Coleman has been launching a one-woman protest against St. Martin De Porres Primary School. According to her, she’s demonstrating because she can clearly see a major breakdown in communication between the concerned parents of the school and the Administration. We won’t get into her very long list of complaints, because it’s extensive, but according to her, she’s done all she can to before resorting to put the school on blast. She explained to us today, that it was her very last resort because she was being ignored: Yaya-Marin Coleman - Activist "I chose this school because I have a niece and a nephew that attends this school. In 2011-2012 when I came to drop my niece off to school, the door was locked. I was told from other parents that this is something that happens consistently and that's how I approached the PTA and said that I am willing to work with you to create paper trail and to follow the process, this is the last resort that I wanted. Because I have tried many other things, even going to the Ombudsman office - then I'm thinking school will close and I have failed the students in the academic year 2011-2012, then I have to let the public know some of the concerns are. That's why I chose this school and I'm going to stay at this school because I am confident that if we all work together then we can turn things around. The other schools will be able to do the same thing and the protest will end on Friday at 3;30. Whenever they have classes then I'll be here from 8:00am to 3:300pm and if Friday is the last day of school and they choose to cancel classes early then I won't be here but as long as there are classes, then I'll be here.

PAHO and MOH Meet On Alcohol Abuse
Representatives of the Ministry of Health, stakeholders and professionals from the Pan-American Health Organization are in Belize to discuss the regional concerns about the abuse of alcohol. The Ministry of health is hosting the Sub-Regional Meeting on “Alcohol Policy for English Speaking Caribbean Countries”, and today, 7News stopped by to find out what this policy could mean for Belize. The facilitators explained more about its importance: Esner Vellos - Director, National Drug Abuse Control Council "Well the Pan American Health Organizations has embarked on a regional initiative of providing technical assistance to the Caribbean countries so that we will be able to in one way or the other, work towards achieving the development of policies and implementation of services that are oriented towards the reduction of the consumption and the demand of alcohol in the region. Since 2010, the Ministry of Health has embarked on a proactive approach towards achieving these initiatives, the National Drug abuse council in that year assumed responsibility over the direction in terms of developing a National Alcohol Policy. In 2011 we have designed the first draft of this policy that encompassed a number of ministries precisely seven ministries of government and a number of government departments that work in the area of social issues, non-governmental association and society came together so that we would be able to discuss the issue and plan the policy at the way for implementing the policy here in Belize."

Janae Graduates From Primary School
You will remember 11 year-old Janae Matute - whom we featured on this newscast in 2010. She was born with cerebral palsy, and received the biggest malpractice award of a little over 2.6 million dollars from the Supreme Court in November 2010. But while the medical malpractice findings made headline news – tonight our focus is on a different story about Janae. Now 12 years old, she invited 7news to her standard 6 graduation on Friday in Belmopan – where we captured her incredible accomplishment on camera. Monica Bodden was there. Monica Bodden reporting A hush fell over the audience as all eyes turned in the direction of the graduates of the Roaring Creek Nazarene Primary School. Their entrance not only marked another milestone in their young lives but more importantly it highlighted what may be described as, 'the specialness o childhood'.

BVA Hosts Volleyball Camp
The Belize Volley Ball Association is inviting boys and girls across the country to participate in their volleyball summer camp. It is an opportunity for children, ages 5 to 17 to get into the sport, and train with some of Belize’s best volleyball players. Today, the president of the association told us that they have an international coach who will participate and provide instruction: Allan Sharp - President, Belize Volleyball Association "We're having a summer camp starting on Monday July 1st - it will last all of July and we're going to try and go up to the end of August. It's held Monday to Fridays starting at 9:30am and we go all the way to 5pm depending on age groups and we're also going to be having a Cuban coach that will be coming in for the month of August and he'll be spending a couple weeks with the kids. It's being held at the Belize Elementary Auditorium and what we're hoping to do is to have a lot of kids come in, first of all to keep the kids busy during summer but most of all to have fun with the sport of Volleyball." Daniel Ortiz "When will it start and when will it end?" Allan Sharp "Well it starts on the first of July which is Monday, it ends on August 23rd but people dont' have to register on the first of July - that would be nice but if they can't make it on the first then they can come in anytime after that and they can come in and bring their kids or the kids can come in by themselves.

Channel 5

British Caribbean Bank gets big CCJ judgment against G.O.B.
This morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered a bombshell decision against the Government of Belize (G.O.B.). The CCJ discharged the injunction preventing the British Caribbean Bank from pursuing [...]

PM dons a hard hat for meeting in United Kingdom
Incidentally, the Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow is also in the United Kingdom. Earlier today, PM Barrow today met with the Chairman of the City of London Policy and [...]

Ministry of Health expresses deep regrets for baby issue at Western Regional
In May, the PM was seated at the head table of the press conference room inside the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital addressing the deaths of thirteen newborns that were assigned [...]

NEMO finds flood victims in Jordan Village
On Monday we showed you the villagers farthest south of the country that have been affected by the deposit left in the wake of Tropical Depression Two. Flood waters that [...]

New Albert Street rules and woes
Motorists driving within the downtown area in front of Market Square would have noticed that since the weekend, the street in front of the Belize Bank, adjacent to Mule Park, [...]

B.N.T.U. takes on Minister’s “Incompetent Teacher” speech
While the current infrastructural projects forces motorists to take more time along the city streets, on Monday, the Belize National Teachers Union was driven to speak about the comments made [...]

B.N.T.U. asks what is to replace corporal punishment
Capital Punishment was also discussed by the union. Teachers are no longer allowed to use the rod to discipline children. Minister Faber also lashed out at teachers who continue to [...]

Woman hides her stash near her unmentionables
Corporal punishment is also not allowed in our justice system, but either a fine or prison time would suffice for minor infractions. A woman in Belize City narrowly escaped getting [...]

News of a kidnapping; perpetrator accosted cab driver
A Belize City man who terrorized a taxi-man after taking his cab was found guilty of kidnapping in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas.  The sensational case stems from an [...]

Territorial Volunteers make a splash at Garbutt Falls
The lesson learned is that it doesn’t pay to take an unsanctioned ride in someone else’s property. But the same can be said for the Guatemalan nationals who illegally kill [...]

Activist and Facebook friend donates to youth initiative
The academic calendar for 2012 concludes at the end of the month for primary schools across the country.  While most students will be on summer vacation, social activist Moses Sulph [...]

Goal! Family wins SMART’s Football Raffle to travel to U.S.A.
Not only are kids feeling the joy of a free donation, an Orange Walk resident is about to scream for gold. Sixty-seven year old Romaldo Lambey, a resident of Orange [...]

Sobering meeting to develop alcohol policy
That lucky family will be drunk on the experience of watching the Jaguars play in the international arena. But in the future, getting intoxicated may be subject to a policy [...]

Be the next Superstar Season 2 is Live on Five!!
The day is finally here…it’s the premiere of season two of Channel Five’s hit entertainment show; Be the Next Superstar. The show ended with a bang last year as Ascenthium [...]


Hospital Issues Apology For Baby Mix Up
Over the past couple days we have been reporting on an unfortunate situation that occurred at the Western Regional Hospital where a baby’s corpse was delivered to the wrong family. The Ministry of Health issued a release today in which it says it regrets the series of events. It...

Convict Severs Fingers of Mother In Law in 2012; Court of Appeal Reserves Decision
Belize Court of Appeal today reserved its decision in the appeal of 49 year old Enrique Zepeda, a naturalized Belizean originally from Guatemala who was convicted of maim and use of deadly means of harm and was sentenced to seven years for the first count and five years for the second with the st...

Jury Finds Man Guilty of Kidnapping
Thirty-four year old Derrick Sanchez, a resident of Ladyville charged with kidnapping, was found guilty of the charge today by a jury of 7 women and 2 men. The jury deliberated for over four hours before it arrived at its verdict which was unanimous. The trial judge, Justice Adolph Lucas, has def...

GOB Loses Appeal In Caribbean Court of Justice
British Caribbean Bank has won its appeal against the Government of Belize in the Caribbean Court of Justice allowing the United Kingdom Belize bilateral treaty claim to proceed to arbitration. According to the BCB the ruling is great news since it has been prevented from continuing its arbitrati...

PAHO Spearheads Meeting On The Harms of Alcohol Consumption
Belize is currently hosting the Sub-Regional Meeting on Development of Alcohol Policy for English Speaking Caribbean Countries at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. The meeting is being attended by several governmental officials from numerous Caribbean Countries. The meeting is being spearheaded by ...

Governor General Pays Visit To Schools In Southern Belize
The Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young completed a visit to three educational institutions in Toledo. Correspondent Paul Mahung shares more details on the visit. PAUL MAHUNG “The visit on Saturday, June 21 began at the Toledo Community College where His Excellency,...

PUC Makes Decision Regarding Electricity Rates
The Public Utilities Commission has made its final decision in respect of the 2013 Annual Review Proceeding for the Belize Electricity Limited. BEL had submitted for an Annual Review Proceeding on April second, in which it recommended a Mean Electricity Rate of point 4793 cents per kilo...

PAHO Releases Findings on Investigation of Neonatal Deaths
The Pan American Health Organization’s findings into the sudden deaths of 12 premature babies at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the month of May will be released on Wednesday. A press release from the Hospital states that a team included...

Seine Bight Garifuna Council Has New Executive
The various branches of the National Garifuna Council are holding elections for new executives. We hear more in this report from Dangriga correspondent Harry Arzu. HARRY ARZU “Executive elections for the National Garifuna Council, Seine Bight Village Branch were held recently....

Demonstrators To Meet With Border Administrator To Address Concerns
Yesterday we reported on a demonstration that took place at the Belize Mexico Border. Reporter Arturo Cantun went to investigate the situation and has more details on the incident in the following report. ARTURO CANTUN “This morning when we checked with the Mexican border auth...

SMART and United Airlines Award Four Belizeans Trip to See Gold Cup Game
A lucky family of four is preparing to pack their bags and head to the United States to witness Belize’s National Football team, the Jaguars contest in the Gold Cup in the United States. The family will be able to embark on that journey thanks to SMART and United Airlines, who partner...

Hospital Swaps Dead Babies; Family Buries Wrong Baby
A family is alleging negligence at the Western Regional Hospital after they received the wrong body. Correspondent Fem Cruz spoke yesterday with Orlando Muschamp who recounted the unfortunate incident. FEM CRUZ “The Guy and Muschamp families in Belmopan and Punta Gorda are see...

Chinese Woman Executed
A Chinese businesswoman was murdered last night in Belize City. Reporter Marion Ali has the details. MARION ALI “Belize’s latest murder victim is 50 year old Li Lian He, a Chinese businesswoman who operated Market Grocery Store at the corner Kraal Road and Rivero Street ...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Opening Ceremony


1st trip to Belize, Water taxi or air and Erin’s Caye Caulker birthday party
It often come up in posts on Belize travel forums where people are planning their first visit to Ambergris Caye and want to know if they should take the water taxi or fly. I think the plane is totally worth it and would ride them all day if I could The view is fantastic and never the same twice. I almost always see rays and some kind of big fish if I watch carefully and I love the texture and color of the sky, land and water. This answer below came as a result of a trip advisor answer by blackmoose in a thread titled to the following question: 1st trip to Belize. Water taxi or air? I liked what he had to say, he elaborated his answer and emailed it to me for Hi there… We just went through the same decision making process. I had settled on the ferry to get us there as yet another plane ride seemed excessive. But in the end we took the flight…here’s our reasoning.

International Sources

Sweet T&T going to Belize film festiva
Filmmaker Andre Johnson’s Sweet TnT will be screened at the Belize International Film Festival (BIFF) in July. This is the fourth festival for the film which has also been screened at the Antigua International Film Festival, the Portobello Film Festival, and was part of the Dark Tales from Paradise series of the T&T Film Festival. The film is also being considered for the Caribbean Tales Film Festival in Toronto later this year, according to Johnson. His film Caged Bird was featured at Caribbean Tales in 2009. In a telephone interview Johnson said he was excited about the film’s official selection for BIFF.

The World’s 21 Best Cities for Retirement
These 21 destinations are featured in the “Retire Overseas Index” I have worked to compile with the editors and correspondents of Live and Invest Overseas group. (Full disclosure: I am the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group.) For this first annual Retire Overseas Index, we recognize the following destinations as your best options to think about launching a new, exciting, exotic and affordable life overseas: Abruzzo, Italy Ambergris Caye, Belize Boquete, Panama Cayo, Belize Cebu, Philippines Chiang Mai, Thailand Copper Coast, Ireland Costa de Oro, Uruguay

4-person team develops projects in teaching, research in Belize
Bernie Strenecky, scholar-in-residence and Honors College faculty member at Western Kentucky University; Jason Polk, associate director of science in the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and assistant professor of geosciences; and Eileen Strenecky – a group of faculty from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology and Honors College, in association with the Office of International Programs – recently visited Belize, a release said. They met with Belize officials to initiate multiple projects that will provide student and faculty teaching, research and engagement opportunities in the areas of climate change, water resources, karst geoscience, environmental education and sustainability.

New World Oil and Gas dips after deeming Rio Bravo well 'non-commercial'
Shares in New World Oil and Gas dipped on Friday morning after the oil and gas exploration company reported that insufficient commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons had been found at the Rio Bravo well in Northwest Belize. The company, which is focused on Belize and Denmark, said that the well, which is located in the Petén Basin, had been drilled to a measured depth of 9,010 ft on April 21st. Following analysis, and in consultation with New World's partners, Blue Creek Exploration, and the government of Belize, the company said it had been determined that insufficient commercial quantities of moveable hydrocarbons were present to economically justify running casing and well testing operations. As a result, the company said it had deemed the well non-commercial and decided to plug and abandon Rio Bravo.

EU warned of market instability, damaged ACP economies if sugar quotas cut
The African, Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Sugar Group has warned the EU Council of market instability and the acute risk to their developing economies if the proposal to abolish EU sugar quotas in 2015 – rather than 2020 – is passed this week. The last ditch appeal comes as high level negotiations on EU agricultural policy are expected to close this Wednesday in Brussels. At the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly last week, ACP countries also expressed serious concerns at the lack of clarity from the European Commission on what market tools will replace the quota system in regulating the market and safeguarding public interests, which were the main grounds for its set up in the first place.

June 25, 2013

This news synopsis will be a bit more condensed than usual for a couple weeks due to time constraints.


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 June 23rd, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

The June 23rd, 2013 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

The San Pedro Sun

Local Tour Guides Receive International Certification
We at Calypso Train Tours are pleased to announce that tour guides Deland Gongora and Leticia Magana are the first to graduate from the Tour Guide Excellence Program, offered by Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence. The Tour Guide Excellence Program is an international certification program designed specifically to train Tour Guides in the cruise industry around the world. Calypso Train Tours provides Belize City tours by open-air trolley train to visiting cruise ship passengers. “Providing international training promotes our Guides to deliver a new level of tour excellence,” says Calypso Train Tours Managing Director Denise Ockey. “We are always thrilled when Tour Operators and Guides enroll in our Tour Guide Excellence program,” says Aquila President Beth Kelly Hatt. “In the cruise industry, the commitment of tour guides to earn their international certification is seen as a strong sign of a tour operator’s commitment to a standard of excellence in shore excursion offerings.”

It was a rockin’ Lobsterfest Block Party
After a week of great events celebrating the gloriously delicious lobster, Lobsterfest 2013 capped off the activities with a fantastic block party. Central Park was the place to be on Saturday, June 22nd. Restaurants filled gaily decorated booths and offered savory bites of lobster prepared all kinds of ways: lobster tacos, pizza, burgers, kebabs, bacon-wrapped, dip, ravioli, bratwurst and even cannoli. There were all sorts of delicious cocktails to chase the bites down as well: from mojitos to watermelon coolers, and rum punches to Belize’s best: Belikin. Music was provided by the Panerifics Steel Band, and strains of Michael Jackson, Punta music and a few contemporary songs that took on a new sound via the skilled musicians’ steel pans. For two hours, the young musicians provided a wide range of music that had festival-goers dancing into the twilight.

MISSING: Wendy Ayala
17, from San Mateo Area, Ambergris Caye.

Dia de San Pedro Schedule of Events has been released by The San Pedro Town Council

Ambergris Today

Belize hosts Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council (PAMAC) Cruise Conference
The Minister of Tourism & Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the Belize Tourism Board, extended a warm welcome to the 80 delegates attending the Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Council (PAMAC) Cruise Conference, hosted by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), from June 19th -23rd, 2013. To foster the sustainable development of Belize’s cruise industry, the BTB is partnering with the FCCA to execute one of its premiere events, PAMAC Cruise Conference. The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 15 Member Cruise Lines operating more than 100 vessels in Floridian, Caribbean and Latin American waters. Over 80 FCCA Platinum Members, whose importance in the cruise and tourism industry cannot be overstated, and over 20 cruise executives congregated on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and Belize City. The principal purpose of FCCA’s PAMAC Platinum Event was to discuss trends, develop ideas, and promote existing cruise destinations. The Conference also served to develop lasting and worthwhile business relationships with some of the most significant decision makers in the cruise tourism industry.

Pic of the Week: A Walk on the Beach
It's a walk on the beach in San Pedro, as opposed to the popular saying "A walk in the park" - Everybody likes puppies! Who does not stop to pet puppies as adorable as these ones when you see people taking them for a walk on the beach? These puppies were more than likely up for sale, hence the owner taking them for a leasurly walk to display them. Quite effective, right? You just have to stop to admire them, or buy one!

Missing Person Reported in San Pedro
Missing Person: Wendy Jesenia Ochoa Ayala AGE: 17yrs DOB: 27/03/1996 NAT: Salvadoran RACE: Hispanic SEX: Female ADD: San Mateo area, San Pedro Town HAIR: Black Color, Long COMPLEXION: Fair Complexion BUILT: Slim built, 5’ 3” height EYES: Black TATTOOS: none Note: Wendy Ayala was last seen on 22nd June, 2013 between the hours of 6:30pm and 7:00pm at home in the San Mateo area, San Pedro Town. She was last seen wearing a brown color short sleeve blouse with short blue color short pants. If seen please contact the nearest Police Station at Phone Numbers: 911, SPT-206-2022, BMP-802-2222 or 21, CZL-402-2022, OWK-302-2022, BZE-207-2022 or 23, San Ignacio 824-2022, BVO-823-2038, DGA-502-2022, Independence-523-2022, PG-702-2022, Hattieville-225-6056, Ladyville-225-2022.

Misc Belizean Sources

Homemade Mosquito Trap
Have you noticed the Mosquitos are already out! Here is a homemade trap to help keep you and the kiddos from being a blood donor!!! HOMEMADE MOSQUITO TRAP: Items needed: 1 cup of water 1/4 cup of brown sugar 1 gram of yeast 1 2-liter bottle

Sea Scout Trent Hardwick, Age 10, Wins the 2013 San Pedro Lobsterfest Regatta with a wild finish
Twenty young sailors from Belize City, Placencia, and San Pedro skippered Optimist dinghies for 2 days in ideal waters and conditions off Banyan Bay Resort during last weekend’s thrilling Lobsterfest Regatta. For some of the skippers, this was their very first regatta, ever. San Pedro's fleet of 8 boats was augmented, thanks to the valiant Belize Sea Scouts, who took the time and made the extra effort to bring 2 more boats from the mainland. By taking turns in the ten boats available, each sailor was able to race six times. The course was an Olympic triangle that allowed spectators to see, clearly understand, and enjoy the action. Sailors began Saturday morning capriciously by getting to know all about crocodiles and meeting an adult live croc up close and personal, courtesy of American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES). Next - minus a live specimen - experts from Belize Shark Project discussed sharks with the sailors and provided free, fun, and expert shark face-painting for the rest of the day, while answering questions.

Actun Chapat Cave Adventure
Actun Chapat, located near Benque, just south of San Jose Succotz, is getting more exposure, and now Hidden Valley Inn offers it as a tour. Actun Chapat, along with Actun Halal, makes for a great day tour that includes a jungle hike, cave exploring, and a history lesson about the Maya. "Meet your archaeology guide at the village of San Jose Succotz along the Mopan River where you will traverse 8 miles through old farms and tropical forest in the infamous land rover. There is only one trip a day and tours are private to Hidden Valley Inn Guests only. Your experience guide will share stories, legends and facts about the caves and the surrounding area. The History of the Maya will be told by your guide as you hike through the chambers of mysterious cave formations, terraces, alters, strewn with artifacts and Mayan relics. At the sky opening you break for lunch with a favorite burrito. Handmade flour tortillas, with a bean and / or chicken filling, a special sauce, with fresh lettuce, tomato and cilantro and of course hot sauce. After your return a cold soft drink, beer, or water to enjoy while you rest up for your return ride."

New Crime Stoppers Signs
The San Ignacio Police added some new Crime Stoppers signs around Cayo. A big thanks to the Cayo police for all their hard work! "San Ignacio Police putting up Crime Stoppers Signs" In related news, crime statistics show that crime is down...and, they caught Jarod Arthurs.

Belize Info Center Website
The Belize Info Center website is a new site that focuses on the history, culture, and civics of Belize. They have some videos, quizzes, podcasts, and links to publications on the site that are very useful. Interlogic Publishers have created the site, and you can find out information on their upcoming releases, including 'A History of Enterprise in Belize,' which is about the major industries found in Belize. "This website is designed to provide accurate information on Belizean history and civics to Belizeans, visitors to Belize and future Belizeans. This site has information on the History, Cultures, Ecosystems and main Industries of Belize. Videos, online lessons, podcast interviews, a Blog, Flickr images, free downloadable literature are available for your use. We have an online quiz that anyone can play. We urge you to share the site with your friends because in the coming months, we will launch a national quiz competition testing your knowledge on Belize. We will have great prizes including advanced cell phones and Kindle products. We urge you to share this website with your colleagues, your children and your students."

Belize Prime Minister Visits London
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow arrived in London Sunday for an official visit to the United Kingdom. Barrow was met in London by a representative of Secretary of State William Hague and the High Commissioner for Belize to the UK. The trip will include an address to a business summit about trade and investment in Belize, along with a meeting with the Mayor of London, Roger Gifford and other city officials. Barrow will meet later this week with Hague and Andrew Robathan, the UK’s Minister of State for the Armed Forces, followed by a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. The latter visit will include talks over environmental issues and issues on the Belize-Guatemala border. The Prime Minister is being joined on the trip by his wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow, who will be chairing a fundraising event for the Belize Children’s Trust Foundation.

Girls Fly! Live Video Stream
'Girls Fly!' sounds like a great series of events. They have a live stream for it, and a recording of thel ive stream. Check them out on their page for more info: ; "Girls you are 'Somebody!' You are precious, valuable! Take hold of your dreams! We hope you will join us! Please share the information below!"

Kayaking at Sunset - NGS Traveler Photo Contest 2013
This was taken on Caye Caulker, off the northern shore of Belize. Kayaking off the Belize Barrier Reef is a popular activity, especially at sunset. I remember running to grab my camera from my room nearby upon realizing that the day's colors would be memorable. One glance at this scene takes me right back to the peace and beauty of Belize.

Belizean Activists Say Illegal Planting and Smuggling of GMO Soy An Act of Biopiracy
Belizeans Against GMOs (BAGMO) calls on the Government of Belize to recognize illegal smuggling and planting of GMO soy to be an act of Biopiracy.

The Belize Economy - A Review and Comparison of 2011 / 2012 economy
The Belize Economy has traditionally been dependent on one crop or product going back more than 200 years, when it was dependent on logwood and mahogany.

What is a Belize International Business Company (IBC)?
An International Business Company or Offshore Company is a company formed in certain countries, such as Belize, for asset protection and confidentiality.

Channel 7

BNTU To Hon. Faber: We Don’t Tolerate Incompetence
Viewers may remember the press conference which the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, held almost 2 weeks ago. It was to account to the nation about the poor performance of the primary school children around the country for the 2013 Primary School Examination. He made very strong comments, much to the expense of the Belize National Teachers Union, and since then, they’ve been mostly quiet about it, only indicating to the media that they intend to fully respond. Well, they did so today, and they focused most of that time to air out long-standing issues which they feel that the public was not fully informed on. Daniel Ortiz was there today, and he found out that according to the BNTU, there is much blame to go around for what’s wrong with education. Here’s his report: Daniel Ortiz reporting Today, the seats in the room set up at the YWCA were almost filled to capacity with a gathering of teachers, who listened attentively to what the executive members of their union had to say.

Chinese Businesswoman Murdered; No Apparent Motive
But first, there were 2 murders which happened between 10 o’clock last night, and 5 a.m. this morning, days after the police department announced that the murder rate was down 15%. The first one took place last night at around 10:30 on Kraal Road. 50 year-old Businesswoman Li Lian He, was inside her shop, Market and Grocery Store, with an employee, when a brown skinned man entered, pulled out a handgun and shot her in the back. He then fled the area, no attempts made to rob the place, and no conversation exchange between the assailant and the victim. We spoke to the President of the Belize Chinese Association this evening, who told us that the murder is troubling enough, but what makes it more worrisome is that there is no apparent motive. Here’s what he told us about the information he had: Edmund Quan - President, Belize Chinese Association "On behalf of the association, we received report around 11 to go to the hospital because a Chinese lady was injured by gunshot. When we got there we asked about the situation and we found out that the lady got shot from the back and it exited to the front throught the abdomen. We were waiting there and the lady was fighting but at the end she succumbed and couldn't make it."

Sand Hill Resident Found Stabbed To Death
And about 6 hours later, Ladyville police was called out to the new site area of Sandhill, where they found the body of 27 year-old Ryan Cox. He had a single stab wound to the chest, and according to police, when they arrived, he was already dead: Inspector Calbert Flowers - Acting Rural Executive Officer "On Monday June 24th, 2013 sometime just after 4:00am, police visited the newsite area of Sandhill village where on the backstreet they observed the apparent lifeless body of a male person. This person was later identified as Ryan Cox, a 26 year old resident of the said new site, Sandhill area. The body was examined where it was observed that it had a single stab wound at the center of it's chest. The body was taken to the KHMH where it was pronounced dead on arrival." Voice of: Jean Cox - Aunt of Deceased "This morning around 4:30 I got a call from a friend saying that my nephew was dead and that I should hurry and go there. I got up and ran out there and when I went there I saw him lying down on his face on the ground, bleeding."

BNTU: PSE Isn’t Working
At the top of the newscast, we told you about the press conference held by the BNTU as they responded to the charges laid publicly by the Minister of Education. But, they only brushed over the PSE results, where ,as we’ve shown you, thousands of primary school children did very poorly. So, we asked them about it directly, and they told us that they see something seriously wrong with it’s validity currently in the primary school system. Here’s how they explained why: Endeavora Jorgenson - Naitonal Security, BNTU "The disconnect between the curriculum and the assessment and we as a society tend to be too exam driven. Way back when we had 33% pf teachers trained - you had great results, I mean it's not like you can say because 54% here you're going to get 54%. There is absolutely no correlation between trained teachers and the exam results. The disconnect is between the curriculum and the assessment so there has to be serious conversation - what purpose is PSE serving today? Because now you don't need it, in fact the one purpose its serving, it to a certain extent create a level of mediocrity because they are saying if you get less than 50% then they will give the school more money. So there's a bit of a little disconnect because we should be rewarding children who are doing more."

BNTU: No Corporal Punishment; No Class Discipline
And as you may remember, Minister Faber also announced to the nation that his ministry has received reports that there are teachers still administering corporal punishment. As he told the nation, his ministry will crack down on those caught doing it. So today, the BNTU told the media that while they don’t support breaking the rules, the ban on corporal punishment has create a serious disciplinary vacuum: Luke Palacio - National President, BNTU "Remember the BNTU marched in Belmopan for the removal of Corporal Punishment from the Education rules and we did not do so because we wanted to be beating up on anybody's children. As a matter of fact, the 2000 rules - rule 144 clearly indicated/stated that it was only the principal that should have administered corporal punishment but that was not our fight. Our fight was and continues to be and we've said it in every forum that we've had an opportunity, that you're removing corporal punishment and with what are you replacing it? We've asked over and over - let us train our teachers in the alternative forms of discipline and we got responses that it will be in the new rules, and 'we're working on that' and our teachers are suffering because our children are going to school are going to school and threatening our teachers simply because they know they cannot administer corporal punishment. Let us go on the record today - BNTU has never and will never defend teachers who have decided that despite the removal of corporal punishment from the rules, teachers if you want to disobey the rules then that is your problem. The rules are clear 'do not administer corporal punishment; do not administer anything that may be interpreted as being corporal punishment."

“Gender” Isn’t Only Male Or Female Anymore?
And while we had an opportunity, we asked the executive members of the BNTU about their position on the much discussed Gender Policy. They told us that they don’t have one because there are too many ambiguities in the document in its currently form. They say that GOB must clear up their reference to the word “gender”, which apparently doesn’t mean male and female anymore: Endeavora Jorgenson "We're still seeking clarity because clarity isn't quite here. In their definition in glossary of terms it says 'Gender - the socially constructive roles allocated respectively women and men in society'. We have been in many meetings and in different presentations and the union is concerned about certain things happening here and one of our question is the document prepared so that we can get international funding? We're not sure, we're told NO. We look at certain areas and it says the role of international development partner - that implies funding, not what I said - implies. When it comes to the old issue of gender - they are not spelling it out too clearly and that is our problem. When I was growing up, gender was male or female - now this tells me that the social constructive roles allocated respectively to women and men, as a lawyer said - 90% is very good but it's those areas that we're not too sure about. So we cannot state a clear position because it's not clear so we're trying to find that clarity yet."

Western Regional Mixes Up Still-Born And Fetus
Tonight a Belmopan family is still recovering from the pain of a still born baby coupled with a massive mix-up by the Western Regional Hospital. An expecting mother – whose name the family has asked us not to release – went in to the Hospital on Tuesday evening with labour pains. The doctor’s told her it was not time yet for her to deliver and they sent her home. But by late Tuesday night she was in distress – and when they checked for a pulse, her baby had no pulse. They scheduled an emergency surgery which took three hours to happen because medical personnel were not readily available. And so after enduring that agonizing loss, the family planned a burial for Saturday – except when they went to get the body out of the morgue – it wasn’t there; it had been given to another family, one that had a miscarriage. After much back and forth, the family tracked down their baby’s body to a shallow grave in Camalote. With the District Medical Officer and Police on hand, they exhumed the body yesterday morning at 6:30 – where it still had on the proper name tag on the toe.

Getting to Know The Garbutt’s Falls Border Marker
In the last few months, we’ve shown you the trips by the Belize Territorial Volunteers to the Jalacte, to Gracias A Dios, and Aguas Turbias, 3 prominent areas of the Belize/Guatemala border. It part of the organizations effort to raise awareness about the significance of the ICJ Referendum. Well, this weekend, they made a trip to the border marker between Benque Viejo, and Melchor, and 7News attend. Daniel Ortiz found out, that the trail to this marker resembles a trek by culprits of illegal activities: Daniel Ortiz reporting On Saturday morning, about 70-80 supporters of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, and the Belize People’s Front, gathered at Macal Park in Santa Elena for their trip to the border marker at Garbutt’s Falls. After a short briefing, the group set off on their journey to the border between Benque Viejo and Melchor De Menchos. It was a short 20 minute drive, but instead of approaching the normal way, the group made a right turn off the road, which led down to the Mopan River.

PM And His Wife In London For Fund-raiser
Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow, left the country on Saturday for London. The reason, according the Government, is that they are to attend a Fundraising Gala Dinner to benefit the Belize Children’s Trust. Prime Minister Barrow and his wife returns on Wednesday, and in his absence, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, act as Prime Minister.

Jordan Village Has A Thatch Building For A Hurricane Shelter
Last week we showed you the epic flooding in the Stann Creek district caused by TD2. After that, public attention subsided, the NEMO updates stop – and you might have thought that was it for storm related flooding. But, how wrong we were! The villages in southwestern Toledo have been completely cut off by massive floods, and dozens have been crowded into tiny shelters. It’s a calamity that has gone mostly un-reported, and yesterday Monica Bodden went into the villages of Blue Creek and Jordan to find a slowly unfolding disaster: Monica Bodden reporting This flooded stretch of water lay still on the road as we made several attempts to cross in our vehicle, All were unsuccessful. So my cameraman and I decided to take the risk, and walk through the flooded waters as we made our way towards the village of Jordan which was about 2 and a half miles from where we were. The further we walked, the higher the water became, at one point, we had to stop, the water got as high as 4 feet.

Channel 5

PAHO finds inefficiencies in K.H.M.H.
It has been a little over a month since the deaths of thirteen newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital was first reported in [...]

After partying with family, Sandhill resident killed
Last week, the Ministry of National Security announced that major crimes, murder in particular, has decreased for the first five months of the year, when compared to 2012. But though [...]

Businesswoman assassinated
The second murder occurred in Belize City. The victim was well known businesswoman in her neighborhood.  But while it had the appearance of a scripted robbery, it was anything but [...]

Corozal home invasion for $40,000
A businessman from Corozal District did not suffer the same fate as the shopkeeper in Belize City, but he was terrorized during a home invasion. According to police, as the [...]

Mexican vendors protest loss of business at border
For years, Mexican vendors have travelled across the border between Belize and Mexico selling just about any product to Belizeans and other Mexicans traveling to the two countries. But the [...]

Finding NEMO: Jordan flood victims say response late
Tropical Depression Two and the rainfall left in its wake, has affected communities deep in the south. The small community of Jordan in the Toledo district was inundated with water [...]

Western Regional gives wrong bodies to grieving mothers
Earlier in the newscast, you heard the Pan American Health Organization’s report on the K.H.M.H., and it did not speak well of the nation’s referral hospital. The Western Regional Hospital [...]

Logger busted without valid permit
In the court today, twenty-five year old Shannon Borland, was intercepted along the Boston Village Road in February, in possession of seventy-two Botan logs without a valid permit. She appeared [...]

Marijuana in the coconut tree
People hide their drugs under the bed, in their closet and in food cans. But a family was charged for drugs in a coconut tree. Six persons were taken before [...]

B.N.T.U. says Faber is deceitful and lone “bafu”
Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, gave an unceremonious portrayal of the Belize National Teachers Union (B.N.T.U.) and its members when the Ministry explained the results of the 2013 Primary School [...]

Gender Policy is ambiguous; B.N.T.U. does more homework
The 2013 Revised Gender Policy is the handiwork of the Women’s Commission and it is certainly one revision that has attracted the attention of the nation. The policy’s inclusion of [...]

Prime Minister and wife attend fundraising gala in U.K.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has left the country over the weekend, to attend a fundraising event in London. Barrow was accompanying his wife, Mrs. Kim Simplis at a fundraising gala [...]

Road to Gold Cup with Luis Torres
In our series of Road to the Gold Cup, Channel Five follows the players who have been selected to join the national team, the Belize Jaguars. Tonight you get to [...]

Awesome Sports Highlights with James Adderley
Good evening I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   We take you out immediately to the F.F.B. Stadium at Capital City Belmopan where the National Male Football Team [...]


City Robbery Leaves Chinese Woman Dead
A Chinese businesswoman was murdered last night in Belize City. Reporter Marion Ali has the details. MARION ALI “Belize’s latest murder victim is 50 year old Li Lian He, a Chinese businesswoman who operated Market Grocery Store at the corner Kraal Road and Rivero Street ...

House Destroyed After Third Attempt; Owner Says Its Arson
This is all that is left of a building that a family of ten called home. The Gentle Family in Crooked Tree Village lost almost everything they possess to what they suspect was arson. The fire occurred in the wee hours of this morning when the family was asleep. The patriarch of the family, Benjam...

Teachers Union Strike Back At Minister
It has been a little over a week since the Minister of Education called a press conference to discuss the results of this year’s Primary School Exams. At that forum, Minister Patrick Faber criticized the Union for defending teachers who are child molesters and those who go to school u...

Hospital Swaps Dead Babies; Family Buries Wrong Baby
A family is alleging negligence at the Western Regional Hospital after they received the wrong body. Correspondent Fem Cruz spoke yesterday with Orlando Muschamp who recounted the unfortunate incident. FEM CRUZ “The Guy and Muschamp families in Belmopan and Punta Gorda are see...

Punta Gorda Hosts Public Service Awards 2013
The Eight Annual Belize Public Service Awards Ceremony and Luncheon was held in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung reports. PAUL MAHUNG “The 8th annual Belize Public Service Award ceremony and luncheon was held in Punta Gorda. The significant event held on Friday June ...

Counterfeit Currency Reported in Southern Belize
Police are investigating an incident in which counterfeit currency was used in the Stann Creek District. A businessman of San Roman Village reported that on the 21st of June at 9:50 pm, he was at his business place in the village, when two Hispanic men arrived there. The first man ent...

Spouse Reported Missing From San Ignacio
A San Ignacio man has been reported missing by his common-law wife. He is thirty seven year old Jason August, a construction worker of San Ignacio Town. His wife, Desiree Timmons reported that around 6:00 pm on the 16th of June, August received a phone call and he informed her that he...

Police News
22-year-old Jorge Alberto Guevara, a Salvadoran national has been charged with displaying support to a criminal gang in public and professing to belong to a criminal gang. Belmopan Police say they were on mobile patrol on Friday morning in the San Martin Area and conducted a search on Gueva...

Armed Holdup In Northern Belize
A couple from the Corozal District was the victim of an armed holdup. According to police report, the businessman and his wife arrived at their home in Louisville Village around 11 o’clock on Friday night when they were ambushed by five armed masked men. The couple was taken inside th...

Prime Minister Departs For UK On Business
Prime Minister Dean Barrow is on an official visit to the United Kingdom. He arrived on Sunday and was welcomed by the representative of the Secretary of State, Rt. Hon William Hague and the High Commissioner for Belize to the United Kingdom. During his visit the Prime Minister is to be honoured ...

Young Girls Attend Sessions On Positive Thinking
Starting today up until Wednesday thousands of young girls from Schools in Belize City are expected to be reached through an initiative endorsed and supported by the Special Envoy for Women and Children and the Ministry of Education. It’s an initiative entitled “Girls Fly” which...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Clip of the interview with Ms. Lola Alamina for the Roots in the Sea documentary.

Interview with Ilna Auxillou for the Roots in the Sea documentary.

Clip of the interview with Ms. Nilds Carrasco for the Roots in the Sea documentary.

Interview with the late Choco Heredia for the Roots in the Sea Documentary.

Interview with Miss Ofelia Alamina for the Roots in the Sea documentary.

Roots In The Sea Documentary – The Blue Hole Monster – Mrs. Ilna

Roots In The Sea Documentary – Hurricane Preparedness – Ms Aurora Perez aka Ms Lola

Caye Caulker BTIA Meeting
Mr, Herbert Haylock , President of the BTIA along with Ms. Estela Requena, Executive Director cordially invites you to an important Caye Caulker membership meeting which will be held on Monday, June 24, 2013. We encourage you to become more active in your community and to further contribute to the growth and planning of the tourism industry. Time: 7 pm Date: June 24, 2013 (TONIGHT) Venue: Community Center

Grand Opening of Atlantic Insurance Caye Caulker Branch
June 24th 2013 is the grand opening of Atlantic Insurance on Caye Caulker. Atlantic Insurance Company opened its doors to the public in 1991. Today, they maintain a strong position as one of the major players in the industry, focusing on service, vision, growth and success. They are proud to say that Atlantic Insurance is a true tested and solid Company as is confirmed by the establishment of a consistent 100% support from major Reinsurance Companies, highly rated by the rating agencies of Standard & Poor’s and A.M. Best Moody’s. Their services consist of Motor Insurance, Marine Insurance, Property Insurance, Life Insurance, Golf Cart Insurance – Private or Commercial and other Miscellaneous Insurance that are now available at the island’s branch. Their office is located next to Atlantic Bank and their opening hours will be from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information you can also call at 226-0646.

Caye Caulker Lobsterfest 2013

New Djs in town!


International Sources

11 nursing students return from Belize
Eleven local nursing students from Northwest Technical College and Bemidji State University recently returned from a mission trip to Belize. The students were the first to enroll in a new course, International Perspectives of Nursing, and spent about a month in Belize as they experienced health care from another perspective. During classes before the trip, students focused on course work and group activities in preparation for their in-country experience. According to an email from students, they went on a medical mission trip based out of Punta Gorda, a small town in the southern part of the Toledo district in Belize. While there, they worked in local clinics and educated the public on the importance of hand-washing, oral hygiene, nutrition, breastfeeding, a healthy-baby diet, HIV/STDs, complications of pregnancy, prenatal care and first aid. They stayed with host families.

Belize’s Mystery Engages Artists
Xena Holzapfel ’12 knows that the history of great civilizations was written in clay. She is absorbing the lesson this summer in the dusty Belize village of San Antonio, where chickens run through an outdoor pottery studio and the female descendants of the ancient Mayans have formed a cooperative to reconnect with the cultural and economic heritage of their forebears. Belize, a small Central American country with a scattered population roughly the size of Buffalo, N.Y., is a relatively untapped archeologist’s goldmine. The rain forests have swallowed most artifacts of a once-thriving civilization, but the remnants of their wondrous cultural gatherings can be found in the shards of ceramic ware left behind. Sharing ideas and clay handling techniques with the indigenous members of the San Antonio Women’s Group in this English-speaking country, Holzapfel feels her life experience just got a big boost. “You’re so shocked taking everything in,” said Holzapfel, who earned a BFA degree at Cortland, of the village women who send their children off to school every morning, then attempt to start an artistic operation in the style of their ancestors.

Hendrix Students Study Marine Life in Belize
CONWAY - Eighteen students at Hendrix recently explored marine environment in Belize as part of biology professor Dr. Jenn Dearolf's marine biology course. "The only way to teach a marine biology class at Hendrix in Arkansas is to have a trip to the ocean linked to the class," Dearolf told The Log Cabin Democrat, adding that the trip was required field research for students in the spring semester class. Belize's barrier reef is the second largest in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, offering ample hands-on research opportunities, she added. Prior to the trip, students learned about rocky intertidal zones, estuaries, the epipelagic, the deep ocean, coral reefs and mangroves. They also learned about some of the organisms that they would see on the coral reefs of Belize and studied to which taxonomic groups the different organisms belonged, their scientific names, and distinctive features of the taxonomic groups. They were accompanied by Dr. Dearolf and Hendrix biology professor Dr. Joe Lombardi. The group visited the Belize Marine Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) to observe marine organisms in their environment. They spent their days snorkeling in Tres Cocos, Mexico Rocks and Mexico Cave, Caye Caulker North Cut Back Reef and Caye Caulker Wreck, Tuffy and Mangrove Isles, and Turtle Rock Island, and Shark Ray Alley.

June 24, 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

Woofer: Bad Dog
Jim's dog Spike is a mean old biter, but does neutering even work?

Doctor Love: Am I being petty?
A newly engaged fiancee is wondering if she is being petty for wanting to hold back, since her beau may not be Mr. Right.

Misc Belizean Sources

September Celebrations Song Competition
The National Celebrations Commission, in conjunction with Atlantic Bank, is getting ready for the 2013 September Celebrations, so they are asking artists for their entries for this year's National Song Competition. There are 2 categories you can enter: The Belize Song and the Carnival Song. They should promote culture and the Belizean way of life. You can enter as a solo, duet, or group. There will be prizes for the winners, and you could get a music video too. Good luck! "Wish we were artistic enough to come up with something....but for all you talented, accomplished and aspiring composers, musicians and interested bodies."

Sailing Courses Offered
Andy Aspinall, Training Officer for the Belize Sailing Association, is once again offering a variety of courses for sailors of all ages, skills and water crafts. These courses will take place at Honey Camp Lagoon near Orange Walk Town throughout July and August, and even in to September and October. Courses are open to the general public. Upon course completion you will be issued the appropriate certificate from BZSA. Many of the courses are two days or more and so you would need to camp out, return home every day, or stay overnight at a hotel nearby. The hotel is clean, well furnished and reasonably priced. Fifteen courses are being offered from July through October.


Another Robbery In O/W Five in Less Than One Week
Last night another business establishment in Orange Walk Town was robbed making it five robberies in less than a week. While this time the criminals did not use firearms to commit the crime, they did not go unarmed. Last night at around 8:30 pm, two male individuals entered the “Orchid Palm Inn” situated at number 44 Queen Victoria Avenue brandishing what appeared to be knives and held up the receptionist who was on shift. After robbing the receptionist of one laptop, one gold chain, and one cellular phone, the two men disappeared into the night. But they did not enjoy their freedom for long because thanks to the surveillance camera, which captured the entire robbery, police were able to detain two suspects who were found in possession of some of the stolen items.

Police Issue Warrant Arrest For Main Suspect In Free Zone Robbery
Corozal Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of one man believed to have orchestrated the burglary of Shivam Store in the Corozal Free Zone. All indications are that Alexander Pech, a resident of San Narciso Village and employee of the store, was able to enter the business establishment after working hours and steal more than $50,000 in cash with the assistance of his coworker Deisey Ortega of Santa Rita Layout Corozal. Reports to CTV3 News are that at closing time on the 18th of June, someone left the padlock of the back door of the establishment unlocked and even switched off the surveillance camera.

DPP Reviews Noh Mul File Charges Still Pending
The ravishing of the Noh Mul archeological site here in the Northern part of the country attracted much attention both at the local and international level. But despite major public outcry and the fact that statements have been recorded and footage of the destruction obtained, those responsible are yet to face criminal charges. Lately, the officer leading the investigation has come under fire as he is being blamed for stalling the process. Apart from the Prime Minister of Belize Honorable Dean Barrow and BTIA Orange Walk Chapter, the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie also believes that charges are long overdue. In fact, in an interview with the media on Wednesday, Whylie indicated that he had directed the regional commander to quote unquote “Ensure the investigator move vigorously to complete the directives that the DPP had passed to him.”

And Round One Goes For GOB
This morning, attorneys for OCEANA Belize, the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, COLA and the Government of Belize were back in court to hear Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s ruling on the injunction challenged by government in prohibition of six oil companies including Treaty Energy Belize, from carrying out exploratory works at the heels of Justice Oswell Legall’s decision that all six contracts with GOB were null and void. Today in court, the news was not good for OCEAN Belize as Justice Benjamin ruled in favor of Government. In an interview with the media today, Governments Attorney, Dennis Barrow, stated that from the onset the injunction placed by Justice Legall did not bind oil companies and OCEANA Belize misinterpreted the ruling. Dennis Barrow- Attorney GOB “A declaration does not have any enforceable effect and this injunction, and the Chief Justice said it at least three times, this injunction does not bind the oil companies. So where we are is exactly where I said we are, which is the declaration were made and we are appealing that. We regard those are declaration as having been with respect wrongfully made. We think the declaration ought not to be made in the circumstances.

Eggs Scarcity In The North
A recent outbreak of the “H7N3 virus” commonly known as the “Avian Flu” forced poultry farmers to destroy more than 2 million birds in the state of Guanajuato in neighboring Mexico this year and as a result has caused a massive decrease in the production of eggs in that same country. But the issue is that it is now affecting our country, particularly the districts of Corozal, Orange Walk, and Cayo where a scarcity of eggs has been reported and as the demand for the product increases, so does the price. Eggs are generally sold 3 for one dollar or eight dollars a tray but today, residents can hardly find stores that do have eggs on sale and when they do find, one egg is sold at fifty cents. But how has the recent outbreak in Mexico affected Belize, according to credible sources among the two million birds that were destroyed in Mexico, 1.1 million were laying hens and as you can imagine that resulted in a massive shortage of eggs in that country. But what is raising concern, is that the illegal trade of eggs from Belize to Guatemala and Mexico, have taken its toll on local consumers.

CFE Grants BEL 10% Reduction In Electricity Sold To Belize
Belize Electricity Limited held its annual general meeting yesterday for it’s more than one thousand small shareholders. BEL declared a dividend of five cents per share to shareholders at the close of Business on December 31, 2012. According to Senior Manager, Finance & Human Resources, Betty Tam, BEL sold more than four hundred and sixty two thousand megawatts hours to its over sixty five thousand sixty seven customers in the same period. For the shareholders, this represented an increase in shareholder’s per-capita after booking $37.8 million increase in shareholder’s equity over the two-year period January 2011 to December 2012. BEL also reported that the company was able to pay off a $30.3 million debt to customers in 2012. However, the audited financial statements for 2012 indicate a loss of $16 million but according to Betty Tam, quote “We have managed our financial performance to be sustainable and have not required any government bailout.....we have managed to keep the lights on and continue to pay our loans and in 2012, we closed a successful Series 5 Debenture Offer for $25 million, which indicates high confidence in our business.” Unquote.


Gangnam Style Comes to Belize
Following our recent post about Belize becoming a filmmakers’ Mecca (19 June 2013) came the news that the cast and crew of “Laws of the Jungle” a popular Korean TV series were seen departing Incheon airport to film an episode in Belize. An article in the English language Korea Star Daily also lauded Belize’s beauty and described Belize as “Earth’s Hope” “Earth’s Hope” is a new one on us, but it does seem apt, as it followed this description of Belize in the Star Daily: “Belize is a country that only gained independence in 1981, with 22,960 square kilometres of land and a population of only 312,698 inhabitants (2010 census). But over 60% of Belize’s land surface is covered by forest, with the country also housing the Belize Barrier Reef which is a popular destination for divers all over the world, and bordered by the Caribbean Sea, which has seen the country being labelled as the ‘Earth’s Hope’.”

“Day Tripper” from Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Regular readers of this blog may have wondered why there were no editions for the last few days. Very simple reason really. I took some days off because Rose and I went to spend a night in Chetumal, Mexico. We set off on Thursday morning when we caught the 8 am (well, it didn’t actually depart until 8.30 am) San Pedro Water Jets International service. We booked a return ticket at BZ$150 a ticket but because we were only staying one night we would travel back to San Pedro via Belize Express Water Taxi. The two companies operate the service on alternative days . Both companies operate the Chetumal to San Pedro route with a scheduled departure of 3 pm and only a slight difference in timing between the two for the San Pedro to Chetumal service with San Pedro Water Jets International scheduled to depart at 8 am and the Belize WaterTaxi service scheduled to depart at 7.30 am. Both companies work together to cater for customers such as Rose and I who, because of our travel plans, wanted to use both companies’ services for our trip. Nothing could be easier to book a ticket to ride from Ambergris Caye to Chetumal.

International Sources

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed
The Science Museum of Mineesota's exhibit on the Maya appropriately opened yesterday on the Summer Solstice. They have a great video talking about the exhibit, and they feature Xunantunich and Caracol on it. The exhibit features artifacts from Cahal Pech too. "The Maya created one of the great civilizations of the ancient world. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, opening June 21, 2013 at the Science Museum of Minnesota, explores ancient Maya society through the eyes of powerful kings and queens and the farmers, artisans, administrators, and craftsmen who supported the elite and made up the foundations of these ancient states. The exhibition will feature artifacts from throughout the Maya world, interactive exhibits and evocative environments to make the lives of the Maya relevant, accessible, and approachable."

June 23, 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

Miguela Tun wins the grill at Castillo’s Father’s Day Raffle
Castillo’s Hardware holds various raffles throughout the year, as a way of giving back to loyal customers and providing incentive for new ones. For Father’s Day, the barrel was stuffed with a large amount of raffle tickets and ready for the draw. For every $25 purchase or payment towards an account, buyers were given a ticket to fill out and try out their luck at any of the three prizes. On Saturday, June 15th, a young customer was tasked with drawing the first two winning tickets, and third prize of a toolbox went to Pedro “Jimbo” Vasquez. Second prize, a 119-piece Do It Best tool set, went to Miguel Briceño. The final prize, a charcoal grill, and perhaps one of the best things for a father to own, actually went to a grandmother! Renowned chef Miguela Tun will definitely be using the grill to serve up the family some delicious treats! Congratulations winners.

Consecutive best monthly police performance: Northern Formation & Orange Walk
For the second consecutive month, the Northern Zone and the Orange Formation of the Police Department have distinguished themselves as having registered the greatest reduction in major crimes, as confirmed by the comparative statistics for the month of May. Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar today presented a Certificate of Appreciation and a Cheque for $1,000 to Senior Superintendent of Police Joseph Myvette, who heads the Northern Zone and is also the Officer Commanding the Orange Walk Formation, which forms part of the Northern Zone. The Cheque of $1,000 is for the best performance by the Northern Zone in reducing Major Crimes during the month of May, and the Certificate of Appreciation is for the best performance by the Orange Formation for the same period.

Misc Belizean Sources

Outlook for Tropical Development next few weeks
A quiet weekend is expected across the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and the Atlantic with no tropical cyclone development expected. This quiet with no tropical development is anticipated to last into early next week before activity begins ramping up again for what could be a very busy July in the tropics. I'm also keeping tabs on a tropical wave way out near 40 West Longitude. This disturbance is expected to impact Barbados and the Windward Islands on Tuesday with gusty winds to 40 mph, heavy rain with squalls & rough seas. This tropical wave is then expected to propagate across the Caribbean and may be the trigger that sets off tropical development in the far western Caribbean at the very end of this month. The upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation, which is basically a disturbance in the upper atmosphere which contributes to thunderstorm and tropical development, is expected to move into the Atlantic Basin by the first week of July and hang around through a good part of July. This could lead to a very active July with 2 to possibly 3 tropical storms or hurricanes developing during July. The long range forecast guidance is really starting to sniff out possible development in the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico starting as early as late next week and continuing into the first week of July. These forecast guidance members have been very consistent in this forecast and it is starting to make me sit up and take notice. This forecast of a ramp up in activity is strongly supported by the ensemble guidance which is forecasting significantly falling barometric pressures in the western Caribbean starting around the 1st of July.

Channel 5

Jordan Village flooded in the south
In the wake of Tropical Depression Two, there have been reports of flooding in various parts of the country, particularly the low-lying areas within the Stann Creek and Toledo districts.  [...]

Electricity rates to go down by ten percent
Belize Electricity Limited held its annual general meeting on Thursday night at the Biltmore Plaza.  About two-thirds of shareholders attended the event.  B.E.L.’s Board of Directors declared a dividend of [...]

At AGM, B.E.L. announces loss of $16 million
What is of interest to most customers is that B.E.L. hopes to reduce rates by ten percent at the end of July. The electricity company is seeking to get more [...]

Woman knocks down boy and flees scene
Summer break for schools is almost upon us, but one unfortunate primary school student may be out of school for quite some time. A near-fatal hit and run accident in [...]

Unemployment rate goes down by two percent
Preliminary results of the April 2013 Labor Force Survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize show that the national unemployment rate has decreased. Compared to 2012, the rate has [...]

APAMO joins Placencia guides against Stake Bank
Public consultation on the proposed Stake Bank and North Drowned Caye development projects, multi-million dollar tourism endeavors to be undertaken by the Feinstein Group, was held on Wednesday in Belize [...]

Mega project at Northern 2 Caye rejected by Audubon
Earlier in the week, we told you about Puerto Azul, a project proposed by an Italian group that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It would be more massive [...]

G.O.B. wins one against OCEANA in court
Environmentalists are not only battling developments on land, they are also combating projects on the sea. Oceana and its partners COLA and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage [...]

OCEANA VP vows that battle will go all the way to CCJ
While Matura-Shepherd remains outwardly optimistic, she admits that the judgment of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin is disappointing. And while both sides remained cordial as they filed out of court today, [...]

Tour guides get international certification
While they pour over the paperwork, a group of enterprising Belizeans are happy to take home the paper that deemed them to be qualified. Belizean tour guides Deland Gongora and [...]

Fresh out of jail and his ex gets him for trespassing
Just hours after thirty-seven year old Jerome Lamb was released from the Belize Central Prison where he had served three months following a domestic dispute, he was back in Police [...]

Mother and daughter duo charged for attacking woman
A mother and daughter who got into an altercation with another woman might think twice before getting in another fight. Twenty-year old Tiffara Meggs appeared before Magistrate Adolph Lucas where [...]

B.T.L. tower drops on home and vehicle in Sittee
Earlier in the news we told you about the flood waters in Jordan Village. Tropical Depression Two made landfall in southern Belize near Monkey River on Monday evening and with [...]

Dangriga assesses flood damage to be half million
Dangriga Town, as well as Hope Creek and Sarawee, experienced some effects of TD2. The waters have receded, allowing the Emergency Operations Center to conduct an evaluation of the damage [...]

Belize participates in regional meeting in Mexico
North of the border, the meeting of Foreign Ministers from Central America, Colombia, Domincan Republic and Mexico was held today in city of San Cristobal de las Casas in the [...]

Make a spike with Primary School National Volleyball Champions
Political parties may divide but sports always unite a country. Today extraordinary and talented youths took part in the opening of the national primary school volleyball championships. Duane Moody joined [...]

The Belize Times

Visa Scandal! – Godwin Hulse’s Ministry Again!
Another major scandal has hit the Barrow Government. There seems to be no end to the incompetence and corruption that goes on in the Government. This time it is the Immigration Department, which falls under the sanctimonious Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse. Once again it has to do with hustling and stealing involving visiting visas. The news has already reported on a Belizean visiting Cuba last week who was caught with additional passports with Belizean visiting visas for Chinese nationals. Like with the death of 13 babies at the KHMH, the destruction of the Maya monument at Noh Mul to use the material to bribe villagers in the village council elections, the Government remains deafeningly silent. The Minister of Immigration who supported the huge scandal involving rosewood in the Toledo has so far made no report to the nation. He has good reasons to keep quiet. Minister Godwin Hulse has been covering up a large scale scandal in which hundreds of visa foils have been stolen inside his Ministry. The BELIZE TIMES will expose him.

$10 Million Disaster! – Mayor says city residents can’t get good streets and drains
FLOODED streets – that’s what the UDP Belize City Council had us wading through this week no matter which part of Belize City you live in. While dozens of ...

ComPol says Police Officer had “no authority” to withdraw charges against Mark King
Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has lashed out at the Police Officer who withdrew charges against UDP ...

BARROW LIED! – Cabinet Minutes of March 15, 2005 support PUP Leader
The letter written by Gian Gandhi to the Belize International Services Ltd. (BISL) dated 9 June 2003 invited the company “to enter into negotiations with the Government and the IFSC to address concerns and to work out an acceptable solution consistent with the laws of Belize ...

IN-JUSTICE Belize’s best human right judge, Hon. Denis Hanomansingh, is hearing Belize’s worst case of Police abuse. This drama is unfolding in the Belmopan Supreme Court for the past two weeks with little or no coverage from the media. The media did give full coverage of the event back in ...

It is the type of story you only hear in regimes run by dictators who control all arms of government, from the judge right down to the police. Today, under the Dean Barrow regime, Belize received its official stamp and seal of a “failed state” as the Minister of Gangs, ...

Triple B’s vs. Toledo Scorpions ends 1-1
The Triple B’s of Belmopan drew 1-1 with the Toledo Scorpions when the Atlantic Bank women’s football competition kicked off at the Football Federation of Belize Stadium in Belmopan on Sunday, June 16. The Toledo keeper Ravina Aleman ...

Oceana Wavemakers
Oceana Wavemakers canoe paddled by Chris Guydis, Brandon Lind and Jermaine Sanchez finished 1st when the Belize Canoe Association held a Father’s Day race from Flowers Bank to the Black Orchid Resort ...

National Team defeats Cayo All Stars 7-0
The Belize National football team won 7-0 over Cayo All Stars Selection in a game played on Friday night at the FFB Goal Project stadium in Belmopan City. There were two games played, with all ...

CitCo increases driver’s license fee
A notice published by the UDP Belize City Council warns residents that as of July 2013, the fee for driver’s license renewal will be increased to $60. In these hard times, this is the worst kind of news for Belizeans. The council indicates in its notice that ...

Misguided Union Leadership
The most recent press release issued by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize – blindly supporting the Barrow administration’s takeover of the International Business Company Registry (IBC) and the International Merchant Marne Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) is yet another example of the misguided leadership at ...

Vega gets license to import Pepsi
The Vega family has benefitted from yet another Government contract. This time it’s bound to create controversy among the elephants in the business community. The BELIZE TIMES has been reliably informed that the Vegas have used their inside connections, similar to the rosewood exporting, to obtain ...

Mounting unapologetic anarchy, corruption, powermania and greed
By Norris Hall For the purpose of this commentary I will cite too examples as metaphors for everything that is going wrong in Belize. One is about traffic lights in Belize City. The other is about a woman, a political appointee of this government, whose hands were almost caught in the ...

AMAZING GRACE – Don’t be the 2,000lb elephant!
Elephants are fascinating creatures. They are the largest mammals in the world, yet they are herbivores. Recently, a story surfaced about a baby elephant that was brought out of the wild and domesticated. This elephant fought valiantly against his arrest at first, and his captors had to use large thick ...

Reading and Writing Are Passions to Nurture the Soul
By Dr. Angela Banner Joseph “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou I have earned many degrees and accolades in my short lifetime, but one of my greatest accomplishments to date is conquering my fear of writing. Today, I am honored to share my ...

Fix Reggae Street!
Reggae Street has been one of the worst streets in Belize City for many months. The recent rains have now made it one of the most terrible streets ...

Hon. Mike Espat Inspires Graduates at Tumul K’in High School
Graduations are winding up all over the country and the BELIZE TIMES has taken special attention and focus on this very important ...

Address by Valedictorian Ermis Piñeda, Class of 2013, Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico
It is with pride that I stand before you all. While I speak as the valedictorian, I am sure that some of the views expressed will be echoed as shared sentiments by my fellow graduates. Many persons have contributed to our ...

Valedictory Address by Tajohn Raheem Gillett, Nazarene High School Class of 2013
It is a privilege to welcome you tonight as we collectively celebrate the efforts and hard work of young people; the young people that you have invested in, in some way or the other. Whether such investment was financial or ...

OCEANA honors Awardees at World Oceans Day reception
“We are extremely proud and gratified to honor Dr. Melanie McField with the Oceana in Belize Ocean Hero Award for ...

PUP says Mark King discharge brings “shame” on justice system
Some months ago, following a “not guilty” verdict in a murder trial in Belize City, the sister of the deceased described the justice system as “slack”. Tuesday’s turn of events in the Mark King case in the Corozal ...

More Public Fleecing? – GOB offers bid for “construction” at Youth Cadet, but identical contract awarded last year
Bid for contract to carry out “construction and rehabilitation” at Youth Cadet published two weeks ago There is an increasing need for Belizeans to keep a close watch on the spending of this sticky-fingered and greedy UDP Government. Between December 15th 2011 and February 10th 2012, the Ministry of Education ...

WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – Raw Politics and the Prime Minister!!!
By Dolores Balderamos Garcia Channel Five euphemistically pronounced that it was “amazed.” Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca has said it is shocking and disgraceful, absolute arrogance and stupidity, and absolute madness. Belizeans are once more feeling shock and disbelief at the latest utterances of the Prime Minister. As Mr. Middleton ...

No closure! – Health authorities tell mothers that infants’ deaths are their fault, propose psychiatric care
Instead of finding proper closure with the mothers of 13 babies who died from an unknown infection at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital ...

Finnegan on his way out – Mesopotamia up for grabs
Where is Minister of Housing, Michael Finnegan? This is the question that many Belizeans have been asking as no one has seen or heard from the usually garrulous UDP representative. He isn’t at his constituency offices in Mesopotamia, and neither by the UDP HQ Brads. The ...

PM covers up public fleecing – Contract to Gaspar Vega’s nephew for San Antonio Road paving was NOT cancelled
The BELIZE TIMES has received reliable information, supported by documents, which reveal that the contract to Imer ...

Arrogant Leadership
By FRANCIS W. FONSECA The most important thing coming out of Dean Barrow’s “DISTRACTION” Press Conference last week was his response to a question asked about whether the Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, owed an apology to the families of the 13 babies who had tragically died at the KHMH over ...

Darrel Carter to Amandala: Not Taegar’s Bank!
Dear Editor, I write in response to an editorial in the Amandala – “Quo Vadis PUP” – in which the editor is making the assumption that Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s proposed National Bank is Dr. Leroy Taegar’s Bank. Well, I was a student of the late Dr. Taegar, as a matter ...

Open Letter to PM concerning the Noh Mul
Dear Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Like many other organizations, the Belize Tourism Industry Association Orange Walk Chapter, sent out a press release expressing its disappointment and anger in relation to the senseless and atrocious act of ignorance pertaining to the destruction of the tallest mound at the Noh Mul Archaeological Site ...

Name change for Football National Team?
Dear Editor, Why did our football team come up with the name for our national team as “Jaguars”. I think the University of Belize had already used “Jaguars” for their sports teams. We should have been innovative and used a name like “Punta Rockers” to help promote our cultural music. For ...

Not happy with new Memorial Park
Dear Editor: I’m so disappointed in the way they have turned the Memorial Park from a park to a market place. The Memorial Park has been traditionally where we Belizeans could go to relax and enjoy some good sea breeze. Now they’re turning it into some market place taking away the use ...

FECTAB campaigns against BTB’s treachery
Ms. Michele Paige President Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Miami, Florida Tue 18 June 2013 Dear Ms. Paige, Greetings from Belize and from FECTAB. It is with deep regret that we must ask the FCCA at this stage in time, to cancel/postpone the FCCA Platinum Conference to be held in Belize in the national interest of tourism and ...


When people think of Belize, the first things that usually come to mind are the world class dive sites, the pristine rainforests, the remnants of the vast Maya Empire dotting the landscape, and the warm friendly smiles of the Belizeans. Let’s not forget another major attraction – Belizean food. Belizean cuisine reflects the little country’s multicultural populace and colourful history. Add all the varied ingredients starting from early Maya settlement through to the pirate past, the British settlers, the vibrant African influences, the attempted Spanish conquest, the Mennonite farming communities and the more recent influx of many other cultures and you have a recipe for something very special indeed. Meals that originated thousands of years ago are still served every day in Belize. Tamales, for example, have their origin in the earliest Maya cuisine, as does the savoury pibil style of cooking meats. Barbeques got their start with the Buccaneers, whose name comes from buccan, an Arawak word for smoking meat, an occupation pirates busied themselves with while on shore or traded to keep a supply of meat aboard their vessels. Our Belizean barbeques are a throwback to the days of pirates standing around the cooking meat drinking ale or rum and swapping stories.

The big night
True to form it always rains the day of the big block party. This year it was 2 short heavy bursts around 3:15, hoping that is all we get but waterproofing myself in case. It is going to be a super fun night tonight, been texting with Dick, Leisa, Laura, Jane and emailing with Hayley, we are all excited for the party. I have already decided I am taking the day off you will have to wait till Monday for party pictures. Here are some good ones I took to celebrate the opening of Lobster Season 2013, Charles cooking up lobster on the grill at Estel’s.

International Sources

Black Rock Lodge is the ultimate Belizean jungle lodge, located a few miles outside San Ignacio and down a dirt road that leads you into a high-walled, karstic river valley. All the cabinas are perched on the hillside with spectacular river views and wildlife viewing opportunities from the front porch. The main dining area offers more opportunities to spot birds and monkeys on the opposing hillside or watch intrepid guests go over the waterfall on an inner tube directly below. The lodge is a great place to base yourself for a range of activities and sights, such as Maya ruins, cave exploration, canoeing and rafting, hiking and bird watching.

June 22, 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

Laru Beya: relaxing comfort on ‘on the beach’
After an utterly exhausting trip out in the deep (and you know we’re talking 3,000+ feet deep) blue ocean, frolicking with dolphins and in general being tourists in our own country, it was time to take our tired selves to our hotel room at Laru Beya. Located on the beach at the Placencia Peninsula, Laru Beya (‘on the beach’) is a quiet resort offering respite and relaxation – just what we needed. We got our keys from a smiling, friendly Raquel at front desk, and luggage in hand we made our way to the room. As we neared the top of the stairs, we could hear the crash of the waves on the beach, and felt the cool sea breeze. We stepped in and were absolutely delighted at the spacious lodgings we would be staying in. Of course the first thing one does is head out to see the view! The Quarter Deck restaurant was beautifully lit, emitting a soft glow in the darkening evening. Dinner would indeed be cozy that evening, and as we placed our order for the first of several bottles of wine, conversation ebbed and flowed all around us, at our table and at the bar above. According to Rene Nuñez, manager of Laru Beya, locals and visitors alike enjoy their meals at Quarter Deck. It could be the quiet, easy ambience – there is no rush, there aren’t activities or distractions, just comfortable chairs and a table set aglow by lamplight, food served quickly to be eaten at a leisurely pace, and the feeling that one could quite possibly linger as long as one wanted. (We tested that theory, and yes, indeed, had the howling winds of a freak storm not arrived, we’d probably still be there!)

Hon. John Saldivar Assists Fire Victims in Belmopan Area
Minister of National Security and Area Representative for Belmopan, Hon. John Saldivar, visited two families in the Salvapan area of Belmopan, whose homes were completely burnt down in an accidental fire. Accompanied by NEMO Belmopan Coordinator, Mrs. Clare Moody, Hon. Saldivar took a number of items, including food and clothing, for the two families. After assessing their situation, Minister Saldivar is arranging temporary lodging for the two displaced families through the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation. Meanwhile, the Minister says, he will also ensure that the two families receive all the assistance they need to rebuild their homes.

Wayne Miller is New Chairman of Caye Caulker Village
Wayne Miller is the new Chairman of Caye Caulker village and is taking over from Alberto Villanueva. Miller was elected on Sunday June 16th following elections for local government. He will head the local government in Caye Caulker along with six councilors for the next three years once they are sworn in by a Justice of the Peace. From early during the day, most candidates – all who ran independently were busy bringing in their supporters to the polls. Nominations started at 9AM sharp and polls were declared open by 10AM and remain opened until 5PM. The entire process went peacefully. Three hours following the closure of the polls, preliminary results were out. Results indicated a clear advantage for Miller over the other opponents. But while the Belize Elections and Boundaries Department has not officially released the results, The San Pedro Sun spoke to a few candidates that contested the election to confirm the results.

Ambergris Today

Belize Police Department Reports Decrease in Crime
The Belize Police Department this week released the comparative crime statistics for the first five months of the year indicating that major crimes are down compared to the same period in 2012. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, who was appointed to that post five months ago, was understandably relieved and proud to report that crime statistics up to the end of May show that there has been a decrease in major crimes.

Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro Objects Belize’s National Gender Policy
We, the Evangelical Alliance of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye; which includes the Evangelical pastors of San Pedro Town and their congregations are outraged and condemn in the strongest terms possible, the humanistic "New World Order" Revised National Gender Policy 2013. We also condemn in the most vigorous way possible the misleading and "closed doors" in which it was conceived by the current Government and his Cabinet without any consultation of the people of Belize who placed you in office to uphold and defend our Constitution. We support and defend the worldview, written in our constitution, that God is Creator, and that He is sovereign, and He alone gives us our human rights, and that the role of government is to protect God-given rights. We also hold that He created us male and female, and that He created the family unit as a key element in a society for a healthy and prosperous culture.

Celebrity DJ Latin Prince's Return Visit to Belize
They play our favorite music, they entertain us on the radio and they definitely make us dance all night long at the clubs. DJ's are found all over the world and they are on this planet to entertain. In Belize we have many talented DJ's and some are lucky to be part of the Bum Squad Belize Fraternity founded by Lady Gaga's Tour DJ, Latin Prince. Latin Prince is back in the country and reunited with his Bum Squad Crew ready to perform inside Thirsty Thursdays in Belize City on Friday, June 21, 2013. But before his big performance he decided to come to Ambergris Caye to soak up some sun, eat some lobster and say hello to some good friends.

Misc Belizean Sources

April Unemployment Rate Down
Preliminary results of the April 2013 labour force survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) show that the national unemployment rate was 12.1% in that month, compared with 14.4% twelve months earlier. This represents a fall in the number of persons without a job from about 21,370 to 17,920 persons. The decline in the unemployment rate was due to a smaller percentage of working age persons working or available for work and a significant increase in the number of jobs available. At the district level, the unemployment rate varied from 8.0% in Toledo to 15.5% in Stann Creek. With the exception of Belize and Stann Creek, which were among the three districts with the highest rates of joblessness, there was a decline in the unemployment rate in all districts.

APAMO calls for EIAs for the Stake Bank and North Drowned Caye Developments
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) expresses great concern on addendums to two EIAs originally submitted in 2007 for development projects at Stake Bank and North Drowned Caye (NDC) and is totally dissatisfied with the public consultation held on the night of 19th June 2013 at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. A mega development of this nature has high probability of adversely impacting the sensitive marine ecosystems on which our thriving tourism and fisheries sectors depend. APAMO strongly feels that responses to questions and clarifications were incomplete and unsatisfactory. We are astounded that the Department of Environment (DOE) has not requested a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for these addendums recognizing the following:

Yesterday, we were caught by surprise when Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie made a gutsy move and ordered the immediate interdiction of Police Constable Nelson Ramos attached to the Corozal Police Department after he refused to testify against Minister of State Mark King in Corozal’s magistrate court. No investigation was carried out against the second officer who refused to identify Mark King from the witness dock in the same case. However, members of the Professional Standards Branch, which is an internal branch of the police department who investigate their own, found sufficient evidence to interdict P.C. Ramos yesterday.

Cruise line executives and industry stakeholders talk business in Belize
Over 20 senior-level cruise executives traveled to Belize to meet with Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Platinum Members during the FCCA PAMAC Platinum Event. Taking place from June 19-21, the event featured numerous meetings and functions to foster business relationship building; promotion of members' products and destinations; discussion of industry trends; idea brainstorming; and much more between some of the key decision makers throughout the cruise lines and crucial stakeholders from the destinations. One of the most important proceedings was the PAMAC meeting, where the latest developments and issues in the industry or any topic/question offered by the members were discussed by an expert panel in order to stay informed on all of the most recent trends and how to best actualize the knowledge gained. Also featured were one-on-one meetings with cruise executives selected by the members, which let members promote and pitch their products to cruise executives that decide what to offer onboard and which ports to include for current and future itinerary development. The meetings also offered the executives' insight and any necessary input to make a viable business model that coincides with the cruise industry's standards and requirements.

VIDEO: Message to Political Class of Belize
Following the disappointing level of support shown for the recent telethon effort to raise finances for Belize's national football team, the Jaguars, to compete in the 2013 Gold Cup, Mose Hyde delivers a heart felt message to viewers on the nation's premier morning talk show, Krem WUB (Wake Up Belize Morning Vibe... but can Belize's political class hear him? #17.06.2013

San Antonio Vet Clinic
The Institute for Sustainable International Studies is having another vet clinic tomorrow. San Antonio is the location this time. The students, along with Dr. Tesecum, spayed and neutered many animals at the Bullet Tree Falls clinic, pictured above, a few weeks ago. Thanks, ISIS. "Our summer students volunteered to help with a vet clinic in the Village of Bullet Tree Falls. Students and their supervising Vets saw 58 animals and preformed 15 spay surgeries. Paying it forward from ISIS to Belize."

Old Timers Folk Concert
The Festival of Arts is ending this weekend, and it's going to go out with a bang. They are having the Old Timers Folk Concerts all around Belize, and at the Cayo Welcome Center here. Obando's Band will be performing, for free, tonight, starting at 7:00pm. The Benque Marimba Academy will also be performing. "A night of good old Belizean Folk Music! The National Festival of Arts and San Ignacio Town Board Presents..."Old Timers Folk Concert". Sat. June 22nd, Welcome Center, San Ignacio!"

Kulcha Xchange Concert at GPC
The Kulcha Xchange concert is tonight at the George Price Centre, starting at 6:30pm. Youth Voices will be there, along with other Belmopan artists.

Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-Up Package – “An immediate relief measure for entrepreneurs and new starts-up”
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) is pleased to announce the “Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-up Package” for the promotion, strengthening and support of the newly registered Micro Enterprise (ME). Micro Enterprise is defined as a business with: a) less than 5 employees; or b) less than $100,000 in annual sales; and c) less than $50,000 in capital investment. With the support of the Government of Belize, through its Office of Public-Private Dialogue, BELTRAIDE had partnered with the Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL), Belize Water Services Ltd. (BWSL,) and Belize Electricity Ltd. (BEL) to make this initiative possible. These three key utility service providers will be offering attractive packages for new starts-up businesses. The packages will waive connection fees and deposits for these three utilities.

The Belizean Business Leaders in visit hope to advance the signing of FTA with Taiwan
Under sponsorship of the R.O.C. (Taiwan) – C.A. Economic Development Fund (CAEDF), the R.O.C. Government invited five Belizean business leaders to visit Taiwan on April 21st – 27th, 2013, and Central America Trade Office (CATO) was responsible to receive the delegation with arranged agenda for their visit. The five Belizean delegates are: Mayor of San Pedro Town, Mr. Daniel Guerrero; President of Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), Mr. Herbert Hugh Haylock; Vice President of Belize Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Israel Ivan Marin; Board Member of Corozal Free Zone Chamber of Commerce (CFZCC), Mr. Khub Chand Vanjani; and Chief Policy Analyst of Belize Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Marilyn Suzette Pinelo.

Channel 7

OCEANA Loses Ground But Saves Face In Court
For the last 2 months, 7News has been closely following the victory which OCEANA Belize, COLA and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage enjoyed against the Government of Belize when Justice Legall ruled in April that 6 offshore oil drilling contracts were null and void. Justice Legall also granted an injunction retraining the Government from carrying out any parts of those contracts, so Oceana believed that they had won a first major round in the battle against offshore oil drilling. Well, in May, GOB filed an appeal of this decision to the Court of Appeal, and they made an application to the Supreme Court to lift the injunction, which was finally heard to completion 10 days ago. The position from GOB was that by granting the injunction, Justice Legall restrained them from policing the oil companies to make sure that they were following environmental guidelines. OCEANA countered that because the Government is the gate keeper of oil in the country, once they were restrained, the companies couldn’t do any exploration. So today, after reviewing the case from both sides, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin granted the application by GOB, and he lifted the injunction. That’s a major upset because the claimants don’t get to enjoy the fruits of their judgment. 7News was there when the decision was handed down, and we asked both sides about the outcome and its significant.

A War Of Words Between Barrow and Matura-Shepherd
But the oil companies Princess, Treaty and Providence continued on as if the Legall judgment was of no importance, conduct which OCEANA condemned and blamed the Government for. Then, the Petroleum and Geology Department released a map last month which showed that the oil exploration blocks for Providence Energy and Princess Petroleum were still intact. OCEANA once again voiced their condemnation of this map, referring to it as GOB’s latest step to undermine the Legall judgment, which declared the contracts which these oil companies null and void. So today, we asked the Government attorney about those interpretations in the context of this decision. He said that from the onset, the claimants have misunderstood the significance of the Legall judgment, and they’ve gone on a propaganda campaign, much to the detriment of the Belizean people: Dennys Barrow - Attorney for GOB "I don't know if you saw on the internet the responses immediately following the court's, Justice Legall's decision - there was in the oil industry internationally, a major interruption, major concern. Oil exploration is shut down in Belize - you would have been aware of the letter of one of the oil companies which said that a 60 million dollar fund that they were going to have raised by their bankers was shut down because of the impact of that judgment. So that judgment creates the impression that you cannot do business as an oil explorer in Belize."

Labour Force Survey: Unemployment Down
The preliminary results of the April Labour Force Survey were released today, and they show that unemployment is down. The Statistical Institute of Belize reports that the national unemployment rate was 12.1% in April 2013, compared to 14.4% in April of 2012. That’s over three thousand more persons working. Unemployment is highest in the Stann Creek District at 15.5% and lowest in the Toledo District at 8%. Unemployment declined in all districts except Belize and Stann Creek. But in Toledo and Cayo unemployment fell by more than five percentage points, due to greater employment in the agriculture sector. The unemployment rate was more than three times higher among women than it was in men. A more detailed report will be released in two months.

TD2 Saves City From Epic Blackout
On Sunday BEL had planned an epic power outage for virtually all of Belize City – from 5:30 am to 12:00 noon. It was scheduled to blanket the city in blackout, right up to mile one on the Northern and Western Highways. But the good news is that it’s not going to happen after all. And for that, we have TD 2 to thank. Sure, the storm wreaked havoc with floodwaters in the south but it also dropped an immense amount of rain on the Chalillo dam in western Belize. That’s the cheapest energy source available, and so BEL is holding up the blackout to harness the low cost power option. Company Secretary Dawn Sampson Nunez explained: Dawn Sampson - Nunez - BEL Corporate Secretary "We have made the decision to postpone that power outage to a later time - mainly because the water levels at the Chalillo hydroelectric facility has increased significantly following Tropical Depression 2. It did surprise us in terms of the level of water that that weather system brought with it but it is good news - there’s a significant increase of water levels and subsequently energy being produced from that facility. So by postponing the outage it gives us the opportunity to be able to use the energy flowing from the hydroelectric facility as opposed to having it waste."

Stranded Manatee Calf Saved
On the news last night we told you all about the proposed Cruise Tourism project for Stake Bank Caye and North Drowned Caye – which would erect a causeway across the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary – which is a manatee reserve. Well, today the issue of manatee safety – or lack of it – was brought into sharp focus – when a stranded manatee calf was found in the waters off Belize City near Marine Farms on the Western Highway. That’s far from the proposed site – but close enough to raise the issue of manatee safety. Jules Vasquez went to see the injured calf:… Jules Vasquez reporting This manatee calf is being hand-fed by Jamal Galvez -that’s because it was found stranded and listing this morning in a canal off mile 3 on the Western Highway with a wound from a boat propellor. Galvez rescued it and brought it here to the Coastal Zone office Jamal Galvez - Manatee Research Associate - CZMAI "It seems stable but from the way the animal was swimming I could tell that it has some sort of internal injury, probably to the lungs."

APAMO Disses Stake Bank Project
And going back to the proposed development at Stake Bank and North Drowned Cayes, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) has released a statement saying it is, quote, “totally dissatisfied with the public consultation…” End Quote It adds, “APAMO strongly feels that the responses to questions and clarifications were incomplete and unsatisfactory.” They list 5 concerns stemming from the consultation on Wednesday. The first is that they’ve taken issue with the fact that EIA’s and the ECP’s on these projects are from 2006 to 2007, and are still considered valuable by the Department of Environment, even though they were done 6 years ago. APAMO also mentions that the second causeway from North Drown Caye to Stake Bank is to run right through Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary, set up to protect the manatee population. According to them, this is being totally ignored.

Patrick Menzies Blasted UB, then Loses Job As Lecturer
Patrick Menzies – he’s the outspoken activist who came out against the University of Belize a month ago for the excessive fees being charged to students in the bachelor’s programmes. Only problem was, Menzies was working at UB when he did that. He was also backed up by a number of students who did the research. In a statement, the University Administration said it applauded the students for raising the issues. But, applause is not what Menzies got. When he showed up on Monday of this week to teach his Management Information Systems Class, he was told the class had been handed over to another lecturer. Menzies told us he wasn’t given any notice:… Patrick Menzies - FORMER Adjunct Lecturer, UB "My students applied knowledge - my students gave UB freely a study of what the problems were and how to fix it and I told my students this shouldn't be a problem. Well, the problem hit me. I went to the class Monday of this week because I was scheduled to teach and everyone in the media would ask me if I was sure I was going to have my job and I said I really don't think that UB is going to be really that ridiculous to try and tell me to go home. I get up and asked my students if the class was open and they told me it was locked so I went downstairs for the key and this guy walked besides me with the same key so I asked him how could he get it before, if it's my class. So I asked him which class he's teaching and he told me and I told him 'well that's my class'. The secretary calls the office and finally said 'Mr. Menzies that class belongs to the other lecturer'. I have recorded emails that between March 22nd - 25th I was asked to teach this class - no where have they ever told me, at no time that the class was going to be taken away from me, never."

BEL Promises Better Financial Performance In 2013
Last night we told you about BEL’s record loss of 16 million dollars for the financial year ended December 31st, 2012. The company held its Annual General Meeting last night where it broke the bad news to shareholders – who got paid a modest dividend of five cents per share. To get a better understanding of what caused that loss – and for a forecast of the present financial year, we spoke to the company’s Senior Manager, Finance & Human Resources, Betty Tam:.. Betty Tam - Senior Manager, Finance & Human Resources "Yes, indeed we made a record high $193million in revenues last year, however, if you would take a look at our statement of comprehensive income - the cost of power was actually $164million. So in reality after we net that off, we had more or less $29million to work with." Jules Vasquez reporting And despite strong and growing sales, that plunged the company into a record loss due to a record high cost of power – 164 million dollars. 35 million more than the previous year because BEL had to purchase power mostly from CFE in Mexico.

Senior Citizen: Leave Sun-Dry Street Alone!
85 year-old Elmira Vasquez-Phillips, a resident of Sun Dry Street has been living in her home at that address for decades, and for all that time, it has been a dead-end street. Well, Belize Estate Company Limited, which is located on a vast property right next door to her single-lot house, wants to open up the street so that its customers have another entrance. Phillips is strongly against it, and she has voiced her concern to her area representative, but apparently it’s gone unnoticed. Elmira Vasquez-Phillips - Resident, Sun Dry Street "At least we had expected that they would come and tell us what they were going to do but they just went ahead and did what they wanted to do. My neighbors are like my family, we worked hard to build our own homes and the five people that live on this little street all own their own homes and we live like family."

FATCA, Do We Have To?
Unless you’re a banker, you probably don’t know what the term FATCA means – but the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act has far reaching implications for Banking in Belize and all over the world. It’s an instrument designed by the United States Internal Revenue Service to crack down on tax cheats; mainly US citizens and permanent residents who bank their money in other countries – and in so doing, evade US taxes. Now, the IRS wants overseas banks to sign in time for implementation on December 31, 2013. That includes Belizean banks which had a special meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday to discuss the far reaching implications of FATCA. The banks are being forced to sign possibly as early as August – but there are many issues to iron out first. And we say “forced” because if the local banks don’t sign, they lose their correspondent banking relationship with US banks, in which case, they’d basically have to close down. But it’s what you might call a “ticklish” issue because the banks will have to report to the IRS all US citizens or green card holders with over fifty thousand dollars in Belizean Banks. And there are heavy penalties against the banks and the individuals for non-reporting.

The Prize For Primary School Volleyball
Today, all district primary school volleyball champions gathered in Belize City to compete in the 2013 National Primary School Volleyball Championships. It’s an annual event where the district champs compete against each other to see who is the best of the best, and 7News got to meet at a few of the teams today at the Birds Isle. Here’s what they told us about their anticipation to compete against other top teams: Joel Wade - Vice-Chairman, National Sports Council Board "This is not a contact sport so if you look at the size difference between some of the teams you might say that one team has an advantage over the other but like I mentioned it's not a contact sport so it's basically your skills that will prevail." Dennis Sampson - Coach, Holy Redeemer Volley Ball Team "It's a great honor for me to represent Belize District, my boys worked hard - we were city champs for three years and finally this year we captured the title and I hope to keep the national champ to Belize City."

Best Antidote to Climate Change: Biodiversity
Today at the George Price Center in Belmopan, there was a public consultation on the conservation of agro biodiversity as a response to climate change. Main Speaker Dr. Allan Williams explained that the response to climate change is to maintain biodiversity. Dr. Allan Williams - Consultant, CARDI/CTA "How do we then use the diversity in our eco-system to create an agriculture system that is climate change resilient. Now we can start by saying that we need to have an agriculture and foods production system that conserves diversity and crops species, conserves diversity in habitats (both livestock and fisheries) but there is also a reason to conserve diversity through farming practices and this is the diversity that allows us to play on the synergy between biological control agents and pest disease suppression." Williams is an economist and specialist in land administration. The event was organized by CARDI.


Field Officers Receive Training In Pesticide Control
The 2012/2013 sugar cane season has come to a close and cane farmers in the north are getting ready to collect their second payment for the crop season. Many of the farmers have begun replanting cane but the recent showers have caused an effect on the process; be it negative or positive. But while cane farmers are preparing the soil to plant new cane, others are cognizant of the many challenges that haunt the sugar cane industry. One of the major problems which cane farmers are presently focusing on is the “frog hopper” pest which has required immediate attention. Along with the frog hopper, there are other pests that need to be closely monitored so that the adverse effects are minimal. In efforts of addressing this issue, the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute along with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and key cane farmers hosted a training workshop for field officers in the integrated management of pests in the sugar cane production. Jose Daniel Salazar is an agricultural engineer in Costa Rica who specializes in pest control and he told us why it is important to conduct this workshop.

Full Moon Concert To Feature Corosalsa Band
On an annual basis the Corozal House of Culture features four full moon concerts with the aim of promoting local artist and keeping culture and arts alive. This coming Saturday the house of culture will host its first Full Moon Concert for the year 2013 featuring one of the finest musical group’s from Corozal Town. Debra Wilkes Gray - Coordinator Corozal House of Culture “Really looking forward to this one and the whole idea of the Full Moon Concert is to give exposure to oncoming artists as well as to give the community the opportunity to listen to some of the more well established artists, so this Saturday we are very excited because we have one of the finest band in Corozal it is called Corosalsa, you may have heard and I believe they have performed last year at the Costa Maya in San Pedro but even they are about a year now they are quality top class so this Saturday right in front of the House of Culture at 7pm we will have Corosalsa performing a couple of hours.”

Gender Policy Garners More Opposition
One of the major topic’s that has been in most newscasts recently is the National Gender Policy 2013 Revised Edition which was launched by the Women’s Commission of Belize. While the policy addresses issues of gender inequality, some of its contents do not sit well with the several organizations within the community. After reviewing a section of the policy entitled “Respect for Diversity” which partly states, and we quote, “the customary religious and cultural practices must be subject to the right of equality” end quote, religious leaders concluded that the statement pushes an agenda of inclusion for homosexuals. Based on the concerns raised, Cabinet agreed to amend the section by removing the final sentence of the paragraph which reads: “... and customary religious and cultural practices must be subject to the right of equality”. But even with the amendment, churches and other interested party’s continue to be in disapproval of the Gender Policy. Today Pastor Thomas Zetina from Corozal Town told us a special meeting will take place on Monday June 24th, 2013 to discuss further action against the policy.


Chief Justice Rules In Favor of Government
Back in April Justice Oswell Legall declared that six Production Sharing Agreements which the Government of Belize signed with oil companies to be null and void. The following month, Treaty Energy Belize, a sub-company of Princess Petroleum- one of the six companies that hold a Production Sharing Agreement- resumed drilling for oil. OCEANA Belize launched a full legal battle against GOB and this morning, after weeks of back and forth, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, declared his ruling on the matter. OCEANA lost this leg of the case but according to lawyer for Oceana, Godfrey Smith and Oceana’s Vice President, Audrey Matura –Shepherd, it’s not over yet as Oceana plans to take the matter to the Court of Appeal. Godfrey Smith, Lawyer OCEANA Belize Essentially he has accepted the government’s argument that if the injunction isn’t halted, isn’t stayed; the government will suffer irreparable harm. Our view was that on the evidence the case had not been made out which was the job of the government to make out, that if suffer irreparable harm. That continues to be our view. We obviously need time to examine the judgment carefully but I am fairly certain that the instructions will be need to appeal that decision. So that is where matters rest at this time. Frankly I am disappointed but that is the risk of litigation. You think you have a good strong case and judgments, because this case is a high profile case there is a great deal of public disappointment. As I said, we usually take time to look at the written judgment to digest and then if the client instructs us to appeal then we take it from there. We did not believe that an exceptional case was made out. The Chief Justice obviously did. We will take time to look at his reasoning closely and decide our next step from there.

Decline In Unemployment Reported
The Statistical Institute of Belize, SIB, today released the preliminary findings of its labor force survey conducted for the month of April 2013. The survey looked at the rates of unemployment in terms of age, gender, and by districts. According to the results, the national employment rate for April 2013 stood at 12.1%- a decrease from 14.4% as recorded for the previous year for the same month. According to the Statistical Institute of Belize, the decrease to 12.1% represents a fall in the number of persons without a job from about 21,370 to 17,920 persons. In terms of unemployment rate by districts, it varied from a minimum 8% in Toledo to a maximum 15.5% in Stann Creek. The SIB says that there was a decline of unemployment rate in all districts, particularly in Toledo and Cayo where the unemployment rate decreased by more than 5% with its attributes in the agricultural sector. In terms of gender, the survey found out that women continued to be more affected by unemployment than males. According to the results, women are three times more likely to be unemployed than men. Persons between the ages of 14 and 24 remain the highest sector to be unemployed. The SIB says that the decline in the unemployment rate was due to a smaller percentage of working-age persons working. It is expected that a more detailed report will be released in the next two months.

Third Border Marker To Be Verified By Belize Territorial Volunteers
The Belize Territorial Volunteers will continue with their patriotic venture of clearing the border between Belize and Guatemala this weekend in the Cayo District. Member of the group, Wil Maheia spoke to us about their plans. WIL MAHEIA “Well tomorrow not much clearing will be taking place but verification will be taking place. We will be going to Garbutt’s Falls and one of our missions when we started was to verify that the three markers were in place; a few months ago we went to Aguas Turbias, a few weeks ago we went to Gracias A Dios and those are in place and tomorrow is the final one where we will be going to Garbutt’s Falls. Now, Garbutt’s Falls, it’s not as remote as the others because Benque Viejo is very close to it so it is almost in an urban setting but tomorrow to show that world that we have a border, there is a straight line between these markers and that is the border line; we will be going to Garbutt’s Falls, we will be greeted in San Ignacio by the People’s Front, Nancy Marin – her organization; we will have the CJ, we have the group from Orange Walk and Corozal coming and we also have from Belize, Dangriga and Toledo; we usually have a surveyor coming along and he has confirmed he will be coming along and we will go to the marker and doing some cleaning up around there. We want to bring more awareness to Belizeans and this is showing that we are in solidarity with Belize and we show the world that Belize has a border. On July 26 and 27, we will be camping along the border lines between the villages of San Benito Poite, Otoxcha and Dolores and we have written to the ministry of Defense to have the BDF accompany us since we will have several youths with us.” Maheia says that their scheduled trip to Garbutt Falls, has not garnered the reaction of the people or the government of Guatemala like in previous occasions. They call on all concerned patriots to join them and take the stance in showing Guatemala and the rest of the world that quote, “Belize da fi we and we da Belize- and we have a border” end qu

Belizean Tour Guides Internationally Certified Following Training
Two Belizean tour guides employed at The Calypso Train Tours were today presented with official international certification following a training they undertook. The Guides are Deland Gongora and Leticia Magaña and the Tour Guide Excellence Program they completed was offered by Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence. The Managing Director of the Calypso Train Tours Limited, Denise Ockey said quote, “Providing international training promotes our Guides to deliver a new level of tour excellence” end quote. The presentation of certificates took place at the Belize Tourism Industry Association’s office on North Park Street in Belize City.

APAMO Asks If Disregarding Protected Areas Has Become A Trend
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations, APAMO today issued a press release in which it calls on the Government especially the Department of the Environment for Environmental Assessment Impacts for the Stake Band and North Drowned Caye Developments. They also stress their dissatisfaction with the public consultation held on June 19th at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. This afternoon, Love News spoke with the Executive Director of APAMO, Jose Perez. JOSE PEREZ “We came to this conclusion after attending the public consultation that was held on the 19th at the Biltmore Plaza; after attending that forum we realized that there is a lot of information that is lacking; there is key consultations that did not take place and why we are very concerned is that one of the proposed addendum includes a causeway from North Drown Caye to Stake Bank and that traverses or passes right through the Swallow Caye Sanctuary which is popularly known for its protection of the manatees, the friends of Swallow Caye who are the co-managers are our members and we are very concerned that they were not consulted in this whole development of this proposal.

Orange Walk Police Investigates Another Robbery
Another robbery has been reported in Orange Walk Town. In this case police apprehended the suspects on the name night. According to reports, last night around 8:30, two men entered Orchid Palm Inn on Queen Victoria in Orange Walk Town to rob the hotel. The men were reportedly wielding knives and assaulted the receptionist who was on shift at the time. The men took one lap top, a cellular phone and one gold chain before letting themselves out. No one was hurt but the entire incident was captured on video as the hotel has security cameras installed. Police responded and have detained two suspects in connection with the incident; both individuals are from Orange Walk. No charges have been levied as yet, but police recovered some of the items reported stolen in the possession of the men in custody. Investigations continue.

Laborer Out On Bail Following 2009 Incident
Twenty-two year old Stephen Palacio, a laborer of Mahogany Street Extension from whom charges including manslaughter by negligence were dismissed, was brought to court today to face the same charges. Palacio, who was represented by attorney Bryan Neal, was arraigned in the court of Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Apart from the charge of manslaughter by negligence, he was charged with causing death by careless conduct, drove motor vehicle without due care and attention, using motor vehicle not covered by third party insurance, using an unlicensed motor vehicle, failed to report an accident, failed to stop and render aid, taking a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or any lawful authority and drove motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license. The charges are in relation to an incident in which Jose Garcia was knocked down by a green Toyota SUV at the corner of Amara Avenue and King Street. The incident occurred on May 23, 2009. The charges were dismissed in 2010 due to lack of evidence. Senior Magistrate Fraser said that some of the charges, the ones which can be tried summarily, may be statute barred. Palacio was released on a bail of six thousand dollars. His next court date is July 29.

Damages From TD2 Assessed In Southern Belize
The assessment of damages caused by tropical depression number two has begun. We hear more in this report from our Dangriga correspondent Harry Arzu. HARRY ARZU “Officials from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) Stann Creek branch have completed a comprehensive damage exercise on the communities that were affected by flood waters associated with tropical depression #2. Earlier this week the depression passed over Belize and caused tremendous damages to the Stann Creek District. Here is the Chairperson of NEMO, Stann Creek Mayor, Gilbert Swazo.” MAYOR GILBERT SWAZO “The damage assessment was concluded yesterday and a total assessed damage of $338, 275.00 was assessed. This assessment was carried out by four teams that were deployed; one team was deployed to the area of Mullins River; one to Sarawee; one to Hope Creek and then one to Dangriga. The damage assessed excluded the culvert and the bridge at the Coastal Road. The total assessed damage in Hope Creek and Mullins River were mostly household items totaling $68,000; the agricultural damage that was assessed was noted in Sarawee, Hope Creek, Mullins River and Red Bank totaling $32, 775 and this included damage to cassava plantation, plantain, hot peppers, chickens and over a thousand tilapia. In Dangriga it was noted that there was substantial infrastructural damage to the roads which totaled to over $200,000. So, again I must commend the damage assessment team that went out to conduct these assessments and we are certainly grateful for the job that they have done throughout the impact of the TD Storm.

Professional Gardeners Program Produces Graduates
A group in the Cayo District today graduated from a professional gardener’s program. We join Correspondent Elaine Berry who attended the graduations and shares the details. ELAINE BERRY “The Belize Botanic Garden today held their 3rd Professional Gardeners Program graduation exercise at the Duplooy’s Jungle Lodge. A total of ten students completed the 3-month training course; the welcome address was given by Judy Duplooy, Project Director; Mario Teul, Project Administrator and Rudy Aguilar, trainer. Love News spoke to Mario Teul about the Professional Gardeners Program.” MARIO TEUL “The Professional Gardeners Program is a 34-month long program which is funded by the European Union and the Government of Belize. We hope to do 12 cycles of on-the-job-training program and as well seven cycles of the Horticulture Program. Our main goal is to train at least 94 personnel in gardening skills over the terms of the grant. This is our third graduation and we are graduating ten personnel which bring the total number of graduates from the horticulture program to 26 and the total number from on the job training to 10. Our next intake will start on July 1 for the horticulture training and July 8 for the on-the-job-training.

Electric Company Pays Off 30 Million Dollar Debt To Consumers
Last night the Belize Electricity Limited held its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders for the year ended December 31st 2012. BEL reported to its over one thousand five hundred small shareholders that during the previous year, it sold 462,000 megawatt hours to more than its 65,067 customers. In addition, BEL shared that the company was able to pay off a 30 point three million dollars in debt to customers. Even though BEL recorded a loss last year, Senior Manager for Finance and Human Resources, Betty Tam, explained that every shareholders’ capital increased. BEL purchases electricity from Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) in Mexico and according to Tam, CFE has agreed to grant BEL a ten percent decrease in the cost of power. BETTY TAM “WE declared dividends to our shareholders and we informed our shareholders with good news of their share capital being increased with over 30 million dollars. In the dividends we paid five cents per share to each shareholder with record date as at December 31, 2012 and with respect to the 30 million, that was the amounts the customers had paid us that we owed them between the year 2008 and 2011 because at the time we did not have a review with the regulators because of some challenges we had in the courts;


Court stays injunction against Government in OCEANA case
Today Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in the Supreme Court stayed an injunction against government. The injunction was granted by Justice Oswell Legall in April restraining the Minister of Natural Resources from acting on the production sharing agreements signed by six companies exploring for petroleum offshore Belize. Justice Legall had...

BEL reports massive loss to shareholders
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) last night held its annual general meeting at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. Unfortunately, the company had a rather poor year in 2012. It reported a loss of $16 million. The reason? Sharply increased cost of power offset by a return of $30 million to consumers...

Damage Assessment of Tropical Depression #2 has been completed
Tropical Depression #2 is behind us, but its aftermath still lingers in southern Belize. A damage assessment concluded on Wednesday and today, we spoke with Chairman of NEMO Stann Creek and Dangriga Mayor, Gilbert Swaso, who told us just how destructive the storm was. Gilbert Swaso – Chairman of...

Stephen Palacio charged for manslaughter by negligence
Four years after a fatal traffic accident, a Belize City man has been criminally charged. Stephen Palacio was arraigned today before the Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer and was read 9 indictable offenses. Those include one count of manslaughter by negligence in the fatal traffic accident that caused the death...

Injured baby manatee is recovering
The gentle sea creature known as the manatee has had a rather unlucky last few months. There have been 20 cases of manatees injured or dying as a result of running into propeller boats in the open waters. Today there was another case reported, this time of a motherless...

Shepherd’s Academy celebrates with students
Shepherd’s Academy celebrates with students. The Shepherd’s Academy has been in operation for almost five years now and this morning the school of approximately 100 students boarded vehicles for their own personal parade around the ring road. Mrs. Carolyn Hulse is the Principal at Shepherd’s Academy and she told...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Caye Caulker Football Team Earns Silver!
In a move that delighted Hicaquenos young and old, the Caye Caulker football team, the underdog in a football tournament organized by San Pedro, won 2nd place. The tournament began on 16 February 2013. The final game was on Caye Caulker’s home turf on 16 June 2013, the same day of the Village Council elections. This culminated in a win for the Hicaquenos which earned them the 2nd place spot. Wild cheering and an impromptu street parade erupted as a result. 11 teams participated in the tournament; 10 from San Pedro and 1 from Caye Caulker. First place went to the Legends team from San Pedro. Second place to the Caye Caulker Tsunami team, and third place went to the Lebanese team from San Pedro. The winning team earned $3,000 for their win, plus a team trophy and individual trophies. The second place team won $1,500 plus a team trophy and individual trophies, and the third place team won $500, a team trophy, and individual medals. The Caye Caulker Tsunami football team is managed by Mr. Julian “Neno” Rosado, Mr. Ronnie Sosa, and Mr. Noe Sandoval.


Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, has made a big time move by ordering the immediate interdiction of a police constable who refused to testify against Lake Independence area representative, Hon. Mark King in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court. This is a very gutsy move on the ComPol’s part, and it is safe to say it caught most Belizeans by surprise. Hon. Mark King, 38, charged in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court with aggravated assault, threatening words and disorderly conduct, had been freed of all charges after the arresting officer, Constable Nelson Ramos, stunned the court by announcing that he was withdrawing all charges against King on Tuesday, June 18. Since there was then no complainant or witness left in the case, the presiding magistrate, Clive Lino, said that there was not sufficient evidence to continue the case, and with that, King walked out of court a free man. The incident occurred at about 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 5, while King and his group were partying at Princess Casino, just outside the Corozal Free Zone, next to the Belize Mexico Bridge.

He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and in his mitigation, told the court that he was sorry for killing his mother-in-law Peter King Contreras, 44, pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, when his trial was scheduled to start. According to the facts which were read to the court, at about noon on December 13, 2010, Contreras was giving his mother-in-law, Argentina Garcia, 50, a ride in his vehicle to the junction of the Philip Goldson International Airport road and the now Philip Goldson Highway, in order for her to catch a bus. During the ride, Contreras and Garcia got into an argument in the course of which Garcia told him “Why would Lesley (my daughter) want a loser like you?” This statement enraged Contreras, who then punched Garcia twice in her face, and it was then that Garcia attempted to get out of the vehicle. But Contreras restrained her from getting out with a piece of rope, which he then used to choke her to death. Contreras put Garcia’s body into the trunk of his vehicle and drove around with it in there for the remainder of the day, then left it there for the entire night and into the early hours of the morning.

The gunman walked into his home, climbed the stairs and shot Delone Vernon, 32, to death. A Supreme Court witness who was scheduled to attend a Supreme Court trial in an attempted murder case, which arose from an incident in which a man attempted to kill him, on October 12, 2012, was murdered in his home at about 8:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17. Delone Vernon, 32, a father of two sons, 2 and 6 years old, was shot and seriously injured in October, while walking to his workplace at the Youth for the Future on Magazine Road. This time Vernon was shot in his house while playing a game of cards with family members, a day before the Supreme Court case in which he was to testify commenced. A gunman went into his home on Sibun Street and shot him in the chest in the presence of the six other people with whom he was socializing. Witnesses told police that on Monday night, the gunman came into the house, climbed the stairs to the second flat, aimed the gun at Vernon and fired several shots at him, hitting him in the heart, and killing him almost immediately.

Carl Wallen, a resident of Placencia, Stann Creek, is calling for an investigation into what he considers the strange death of his common-law-wife, Danish Logan, 27—a young woman who reportedly suffered heart failure—which he fears may have been the consequence of a contagious bacteria being spread in Belize. Amandala contacted Belize’s only native pathologist, Dr. Hugh Sanchez, to query what caused Danisha’s death, and he told us “…nothing was found.” Based on anecdotal information from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) team which attended Danish before her death, it has been ruled that she died from cardiac arrest, said Wallen. One of Danisha’s doctors, Dr. Pedro Arriaga, who attended to her at the Belize Healthcare Partners Limited (BHPL) before she was transferred to the KHMH for further care, told our newspaper when we contacted him that he was still awaiting the full post-mortem report. However, he said that Danisha arrived at BHPL with “a serious infection,” which began to manifest itself after she had dental works done in Dangriga. Arriaga said that bacteria like staphylococcus or streptococcus would tend to be the ones that cause infections following dental procedures; however, blood and urine cultures done on Danisha Logan, to see what was causing the infection, were all negative. He said that this could have been because she had already been taking antibiotics.

There have been unconfirmed reports that genetically modified seeds sourced from the multimillion-dollar corporation, Monsanto, are being sown in Belize. The Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) has heard of those reports as well; however, Director of Plant Health, Francisco Gutierrez, M.Sc., told our newspaper that while they have never confirmed the presence of GMO corn in Belize, they have found GMO soybeans, and indications are that the seeds were being sown in Belize for years without BAHA’s knowledge. The Belize Grain Growers Association (BGGA) said in a statement issued on May 29, 2013, that it is cautioning farmers to know the origin of their seeds and avoid planting GMO seeds until Belize establishes the legislative framework. It noted that the importation of GMO seeds is strictly prohibited by BAHA. On Friday, June 7, BAHA issued a release confirming that GMO soybeans had been discovered in Northern Belize; however, to date, the Government of Belize has refused to disclose which Mennonite farmer was responsible. Tests confirmed locally and abroad, at Eurofins Genescan Laboratory in the U.S., confirmed that the soybeans were genetically modified.

Hilberto Kib, 24, was granted bail today, Tuesday, after being charged with aggravated assault. Kib was accused of using a machete in a threatening manner against a man on June 17, 2013. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and since he had no previous convictions and there was no objection to bail, he was granted bail of $500 plus one surety. He was ordered to report to the Queen Street Police Station every Tuesday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Kib is to reappear in court on August 8, 2013.

Nicaragua national Oral Lewis, 40, was granted bail today, Tuesday, after being charged with burglary. Lewis is accused of burglarizing a home in the Kings Park area of Belize City on June 5, 2013 and stealing $2,000 cash. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. He had no previous conviction and the prosecution had no objection to bail. He was granted bail in the sum of $1,000 plus one surety. Lewis was ordered to surrender his passport to the court and report to the Queen Street Police Station every Monday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. His case was adjourned until August 8, 2013.

Stephen Anderson, 21, was remanded today, Tuesday, after appearing in court on charges of keeping a firearm and ammunition without license. Anderson was apprehended on June 16, 2013 after being found with an unlicensed 9 mm Smith and Wesson brand firearm and eight unlicensed live rounds of 9 mm ammunition. He pleaded not guilty to the charge but was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his adjournment date, which is August 6, 2013.

Police are on a manhunt for three men who are wanted for robberies in the northern districts: Robert Hill, 37, and Austin Sutherland, 23 – both of whom are residents of Corozal; and Nimrod Tillett, 28, of Orange Walk. Police said that Robert Hill is wanted for the armed robbery of Chan Li Game Room, which occurred on Wednesday, June 5. Police said that he went into the game room, pointed a gun at the owner, and stole all the money that was in the establishment’s cash drawer — over $800. Hill also stole a bicycle from a customer who was in the game shop at the time, and escaped on it. He has since been on the run. A few days earlier, at about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, police say, Austin Sutherland went into the room of the owner of Sea Breeze Hotel, in Corozal, and stole over $75 in cash and over $600 worth of items. He is also on the run.

The Guinness 9-Ball Tournament continued on Sunday, June 16, in Belmopan with two matches, and we are pleased to share the results. At Chan’s Place in San Martin, the National Champs for the last Guinness tournament, Salvapan Shattaz blanked Dolphins, 5-0. For Shattaz, it was Juan Guzman over Moises Aguirre, 5-2; Victor Orellana over Daniel Orellana, 5-1; Oscar Avelar over Santos Palma, 5-3; Elder “Small Chino” Paredes over Marvin Yam, 5-2; and Erwin “Big Chino” Paredes over Jose Palma, 5-4. At Besos Al Aire Bar in Las Flores, it was Barriofino defeating Las Flores, 3-2. For Barriofino, it was Mario Lopez edging Julio Hernandez, 5-4; Pedro Escobar hurting Eggy Guy, 5-3; and Captain Ernest Turner hurting Adali, 5-2. In the losing effort for Las Flores, it was Salvador Orellana defeating Stanley Mira, 5-2; and David Mejia winning Arturo Pelayo, 5-1. Standings to date reveals that Shattaz leads with 16 points, while Las Flores and Barriofino are tied with 10 pts, and Dolphins trails with 4 pts.

The Father’s Day Race from Flowers Bank Village to Black Orchid Resort, Burrell Boom, got started a little before 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 16. It got off to a late start due to the heavy downpour of blessings from above! Nonetheless, the rain held up nicely, giving the paddlers time to finish the race. Once again, this year’s race had only six teams participating in five categories; not what we were expecting. Finishing first was “Guydis Canoes” (Chris Guydis, Brandon Lind and Jermaine Sanchez) with a time of 2:56:37. They out-paddled “Guydis Remedy” (Wilberto Daniels, Kenrick Daniels and Michael Daniels) of the Intramural Category, who settled for second overall with a time of 2:57:43. Both these teams were together until we last saw them at the BWS Water Treatment Facility. The “Black Orchid Runners,” comprising of Matthew Mask, Jeffery Seguro and Martin Gideon, finished the course in 3:02:42, to take the Juniors Category. A few minutes later was “Turd’z” (Elvis Sutherland, Derocy Haylock and Glenford Sutherland), sponsored by Raymond Woods, second Intramural, finishing in 3:05:06.

The Belize Volleyball Association will host its summer camp at the Belize Elementary Auditorium commencing on Monday, July 1. It will be Mondays to Fridays throughout the summer with the following schedule: BOYS & GIRLS: Ages 5 to 8 – 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; Ages 9 to 12 – 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. GIRLS: Ages 13 to 17 – From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. BOYS: Ages 13 to 17 – From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (In all cases above, where necessary, they will be divided into groups, depending on age and ability.) There is no registration fee, but donations (of any kind) are accepted). We are scheduled to have an International Cuban coach for at least a week at the latter portion of the camp. Interested persons can register at the venue on July 1st or the following days or they can preregister by contacting the Belize Volleyball Association (BVA) at:

MAYOR, MAYOR… Editorial
It is at least fifteen years now that Belize City has needed a fourth bridge across the Haulover Creek. Presently, as you know, we have the Swing Bridge, BelChina, and Belcan, so we have arguably been operating with only 75 percent of bridge requirements for almost two decades in the nation’s population center. The reason the fourth bridge has not been constructed is because of sociology and politics. When the fourth bridge was to be constructed, it would have linked the western section of Lake Independence, which is an economically depressed area, with a southern section of the Freetown constituency which is slightly upper class. No matter that there are economically depressed areas of Freetown which are a stone’s throw from the “slightly upper class” area, the slightly upper class residents of Freetown have pressured successive PUP area representatives to fight against the bridge. These slightly upper class Belizeans are afraid of poor people from the Lake coming across the proposed bridge and committing crimes, or, at least, lowering their property values. Well, there are poor people in that area of Freetown who are potential criminals, but, even if that were not so, nowadays the criminals ride in cars, so if they want to leave from the Southside to commit crimes on the Northside, they don’t have to walk across the proposed fourth bridge: they can drive in their own vehicles, or, if they want to, “jack” one and drive across the Belcan, the BelChina, or the Swing Bridge. Still, nothing we write here will change the minds of the slightly upper class people of Freetown: they will continue to fight against the fourth bridge until kingdom come.

The ruling UDP’s claim of 70 per cent victory devastation of the PUP in the recent village council elections will force the Blue back to the proverbial drawing board. Remember, the PUP had been saying that they would come back to national power in Belmopan with their District support, but most of the villages are in the Districts. So where are we now? You know, in boxing we have seen over the years that the same courage and determination which made men like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Larry Holmes great heavyweight champions in their youth, made them look like fools when they aged and stayed around too long. They kept on fighting after they should have exited the stage, gracefully. The PUP were very confident because of their surprisingly strong performance in the March 2012 general election, and no one could say a word to the contrary. But village council results such as PUP Deputy Leader Dolores Balderamos-Garcia’s crashes in Ladyville, Hattieville, La Democracia, and Mahogany Heights cannot be swept under the Independence Hall rug.

Two or three months after the June 1993 general election, Michael Ashcroft visited me in the original UBAD/Amandala building. He appeared out of nowhere, without any appointment or fanfare, and left in a similarly low-key manner. I had never met him before. I received him in the room where our young workers used to fold the newspaper. This was a room in the southern side of the ferro-concrete building, and our building had been sinking on that side for twenty years. So, this was a dank place, and not all that bright. The conditions were not what Mr. Ashcroft was used to in his air-conditioned board meetings, I’ll say that much. I believe Mr. Ashcroft was having a hard time with the new Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel, most notably with Mr. Ashcroft’s holdings at Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). That’s as far as I remember. I suppose he would have known that I had endorsed Mr. Esquivel’s opponent in the recent election, and that there would have been some major antagonism between myself and the new Prime Minister. So, overall that would have been the area where he and I had some common ground. I’m just speculating. The Kremandala Raiders had recently won their first semi-pro basketball championship, so I remember distinctly inviting the billionaire gentleman to buy a franchise in the league, and I remember the answer. He said, “You know, of course, that I would have to win.” I think I smiled, and I think I understood what he was saying: that he was so big, he could not afford to lose in any such domestic competition.

Dear Editor, Two weeks ago, I wrote to you about BECOL and their early warning system and the test that did not happen. I had read the ad on Channel 2 and it appeared to say May 30th. That was in fact the date their letter was written, and not the date of the proposed test. I did not know this until I was at the ATM in Atlantic Bank in San Ignacio on Tuesday, June 4, and saw the flyer in its entirety taped on the wall of the ATM. It was almost 12.00 noon, so I hung around waiting for the siren. Nothing happened Then I saw my husband’s cousin, who said he had heard that the test was to be on Tuesday, June 11th. Later in the week, I saw someone from NEMO who invited me to go with him to see how the system worked. (He had read my letter to you in the Amandala). Unfortunately, I did not get there as I had to go to the border to send money to my husband who was in hospital in Guatemala. I got back to San Ignacio about 11.45 a.m., went and paid BEL and the phone bill on Burns Avenue, well within earshot of any siren. NOTHING HAPPENED. When my husband got back from Guatemala, he bumped into the guy from NEMO, who said I should have been there to witness the failure of the system.

I was thrilled to learn you and your colleagues rightly rejected the NCL proposal at Crawl Caye, but equally dismayed to find out that Harvest Caye, just two miles south of Placencia, is being considered by NCL. On June 3rd I wrote to you and your colleagues as a coral biologist and MSc student; today I write to you as a long-standing member of the Placencia Tour Guide Association (PTGA, since 1997), licensed tour guide, PADI SCUBA Instructor and registered voter. Last night (June 19, 2013), a general PTGA meeting was held with 44 attendees, including a few invited, non-PTGA members namely, Stewart Krohn, Chair of BTIA, Placencia Chapter, and newly sworn-in Placencia Village Chairperson, Ms. Ilsa Villanueva. The PTGA committee clarified that the previous support letter sent to your administration was from the newly formed Placencia Tourism Cooperative, chaired by Mr. Brian Young, Sr., who was absent from last night’s meeting, not from PTGA. An official vote was held last night, with the vast majority of the members present (~three exceptions), voting to reject any NCL proposal at Harvest Caye.

Please allow me a little corner in your newspaper to write about the jaguars in Belize. I would like to shed some light on the other side of this jaguar phenomenon. You see, I am a fisherman; I raise African bees and sheep. Now sheep seem to be a favorite food for jaguars as I’ve lost over 32 to these so-called beautiful animals. These jaguar conservationists should walk in my shoes for a little while and see if they would still have the same opinion. I have jaguars come in the middle of the day and at night dragging my animals away right from in front of my home. While these conservationists sit at home at night congratulating themselves on the jaguars they’ve saved, I am sitting outside in the dark waiting for the jaguar that just killed four more sheep to come back so I can kill it. While their children are playing outside in the evening, my children are begging me to close the doors and windows so the jaguar won’t eat them. My children try hard not to use the outhouse at night, and if they have to they won’t go without me escorting them and never alone in the day. While their children are watching TV cartoons I carry a 170-pound jaguar on my back home so I can educate them on what a jaguar looks like and how dangerous they are.

Michael Young, 22, decided that school wasn’t for him while he was a standard six student at Wesley Primary School. He told everyone that he just didn’t want to be in school anymore, and only years later admitted that his reason for dropping out of school was that he couldn’t read. “I had too much pride to admit to it,” he said. “The first thing that would come to someone’s mind when they find out you can’t read, is that you’re ‘simple,’ you’re dumb. And that used to really upset me,” he explained. Young said he told his mother not to waste her money on sending him to high school because he wouldn’t go. She agreed and he decided that he would try to make a living for himself however he could. Young said his literacy challenges kept him from being able to find a job and he turned to doing illegal activities in order to make money. However, during his late teenage years, Young decided that he wanted to change because the life he was living was not one he wanted to continue.

It’s a Humpty Dumpty world In Lewis Carroll’s great classic, Alice in Wonderland, there was a conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty, which went like this :- H.D: “When I say a thing it means exactly what I want it to mean. Alice: The question is whether you can make a word mean what you want. HD: The question is who is to be master, that is all.” It seems that Lewis Carroll was a prophet as well as a philosopher, because that is exactly what is happening in the world today. Humpty Dumpty was right: what matters is who is the master. He who has the power, makes the rules. History is written by the conquerors. It was a glorious victory, even if the victors were in full armor, on horseback, and armed with swords, made from the finest steel, while the vanquished were half-naked, on foot with wooden spears. When the battle is over, the victors dictate the peace terms and the vanquished, who are allowed to live, are happy to accept them. In olden times, people were very foolish; they had to be convinced by force of arms who were the masters. Modern history is different. When Nazi Germany decided to annex Austria, Hitler sent his emissaries to convince the Austrian leaders that Anschluss was better than war, and they agreed.

— by Michael Finnegan I could say that I took a sabbatical leave from my column but that would be the wrong approach to you, my loyal readers. My e-mail, both my private and public telephone numbers were ringing off the hook, and at the same time people were congratulating me on placing history into its proper perspective. Arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport, I met several people who congratulated me on my article in the No. 1 leading newspaper, Amandala. While tiptoeing and walking on one side to the next side like an old man, I would have expected that people would show me their concern primarily because of the surgery I had just undergone; however, my health was only their secondary concern. Foremost in their minds was the series of articles published in the Amandala newspaper. I believe that why my health was their No. 2 concern was because they were confident I would push through as I usually do. So have no doubt that I will find the time, every week, to continue my historical writing. It is a tedious task and it involves lots of local and international telephone calls and research to confirm historical details. At this time I would really like to say thanks to the management and editorial board of the Amandala newspaper to allow me the space I have been given to record history as I see it.

Investors’ proposed project is only 8 miles south of the majestic Belizean wonder. The Great Blue Hole has been nominated for the designation of the 8th Wonder of the World, and environmental activists in Belize want to ensure that a multi-million-dollar, mega-tourism project by Puerto Azul Belize Limited—but which investors want to set up only 8 miles south of this majestic Belizean wonder, at the Lighthouse Reef Atoll—does not see the light of day. The tentative project duration is December 2013–December 2017. Amandala was told that the matter has been raised at the Cabinet level; however, Government has not yet made any of that information public. The directors for the company are Italians Domenico Giannini & Fabio Nicola La Rosa, members of the management team named for another Puerto Azul project proposed for the Dominican Republic. The legal address of the Belize company is listed as Barrow & Williams Law Firm, the Prime Minister’s law firm. Like Norwegian Cruise Line’s Crawl Caye proposal, which was recently turned down by Cabinet, the promise is for a major tourism development that would bring business and jobs to Belize.

Carnal knowledge cases more than double... The Police Department today issued comparative statistics for January to May 2013, and according to the data, major crimes, reported at 1,016 cases to date, have dropped by an estimated 13%. Murders were down by 15%, from 60 incidences for January to May 2012 to 51 cases for January to May 2013. Today, Minister of National Security John Saldivar presented a certificate of appreciation to Senior Superintendent of Police Joseph Myvette, who heads the Northern Zone and is also the Officer Commanding the Orange Walk Formation, since that zone showed the greatest crime reduction for the month of May. In addition to receiving a certificate of appreciation, Myvette was also presented with a cheque for $1,000. Whereas the Northern Zone, overall, showed a marked reduction in major crimes, the district of Orange Walk, which is included in the zone along with Corozal, showed an overall increase, primarily due to a major escalation in burglaries. The Eastern, Western, and Northern zones all showed a reduction in major crimes, but the Northern Zone led with a 53% reduction over May 2012 and 45% over April 2013.

The witness’ testimony was not believed in court... Today, Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez was scheduled to give summation of the trial of Lincoln Sabido, 28, who was facing a possible life sentence if convicted of murder. Sabido was accused of killing Norman Reyes, 31, on January 15, 2008. According to police, Reyes was asleep in his sofa sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 that morning when someone stomped open his back door and fired several shots at him, one of which caught him in his throat and exited his chest. Although critically wounded, Reyes managed to walk out of his house and walk a distance of about 50 yards, after which he collapsed and died. Three days after the killing, Sabido was arrested and charged with the murder. The trial commenced on May 22, 2013, with witnesses being called to testify in a voir dire, after Sabido’s attorney, Anthony Sylvester, argued that Dennis Nembhard’s statement should not be allowed as evidence in the trial because Nembhard was killed before the trial started, and no one would be able to assess its validity through cross-examination.

5 weeks and no charges for Mayan temple’s destruction... Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the additional police work needed to wrap up the case preparation in the Noh Mul investigation would have hopefully been completed by Friday, June 14. To date, no charges have been levied. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie told journalists Wednesday that police should be handing over the completed case file to the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, by the end of this week, June 21. Barrow had said last week that when the file was first handed over to the DPP, she directed that additional police work be done. “I am confident that by the end of the week that file will be at the D.P.P.’s Office,” Whylie said today. He said that he had directed the regional commander, to spur him, and the file will be passed over to the DPP.

Making the Chiquibul Forest a national conservation priority... Belize’s most prized forest, the Chiquibul – opulent with natural resources such as highly coveted hardwoods and exotic species of wildlife – has been under siege for decades, a prime target for illegal incursions, and Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), in an effort to raise awareness of the escalating threats to the biodiversity of that forest, is hosting a special symposium next month. The Chiquibul Symposium 2013 will be held under the caption: “Alarming Threats to Biodiversity, Peace and National Stability.” The session will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Friday, July 19, 2013, in the Caracol Room at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. If you have never had the chance to see inside the Chiquibul, this is your opportunity, as there will be gliding footage of the Chiquibul on a big screen just before the start of the symposium. Invited speakers include Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido, FCD Executive Director Rafael Manzanero, Belize Defence Force Commander David Jones and Retired BDF Major Lloyd Jones.

Oceana announced today that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has adjourned the announcement of his decision on the request by the Government of Belize for a stay of execution on the injunction granted in April, stopping the Government from acting on six petroleum contracts which the court has declared to be “illegal, null, and void.” The decision was originally scheduled to be presented on Thursday, June 20, 2013, but it will instead be presented on Friday, June 21. In claim #810 of 2011, Oceana Belize, along with Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action and the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, challenged the issuance of six offshore contracts, and Justice Oswell Legall ruled in their favor, declaring the contracts to be “illegal, null and void.” Government has argued that without the stay on the injunction, also issued by Legall with the April 2013 ruling, they will continue to be unable to properly supervise operations currently being undertaken by Treaty Energy Limited, joint venture partner of Princess Petroleum.

Frank Lizama, Colville Young, Jr. and Norman Hamilton appointed to the Order of the British Empire... The Queen’s birthday honours list 2013 has been released and three well-known Belizean figures have been included. Frank Lizama and Colville Young, Jr., have been appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and Norman “Sam” Hamilton has been appointed as Member of the British Empire (MBE). Norman Samuel Elburt Hamilton will receive his MBE for his contribution to music. Hamilton told us this is the third award he has received for his musical endeavours. He was presented with awards in the past by KREM Radio and musical icon Lord Rhaburn. Hamilton was in Lord Rhaburn’s band for 20 years before he became a solo music artist. “It’s not my first award but I feel honored to be receiving it for my work in music,” he said. “I’m very excited about this one because it’s like real higher heights.” Currently Hamilton has his own group called Foreign Exchange Band. He performs at private parties and has been performing frequently at the Tourist Village in Belize City for the past 12 years.

Gregory Bennett, also known as Gregory Scott, 38, of Belize City, who was living in Los Angeles, was found dead in his home by his sister. He apparently died on Sunday, June 16, Father’s Day, from multiple gunshots to the head. His mother told reporters that his sister went to his house to on Monday, June 17, after not seeing him on Father’s Day, and when she entered his house, she found him dead, with three gunshot wounds to his head and face. Police took him to a morgue, where he was declared dead on arrival. The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating his death. His grieving mother, who lives in Belize, said that she raised her son well.

Belize bankers meet with GOB to discuss new US requirement for bank disclosures... News coming out of the Ukraine today indicates that that country’s Cabinet has approved the draft of a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with Belize. The Director-General of Belize’s International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) told Amandala that to date, Belize has in place 16 such agreements with other countries, the most recent one having been signed with Poland on May 16, 2013. He confirmed that Belize today received notification from Ukraine that they are ready to sign the new TIEA with that country. Since 2009, Belize has signed TIEAs with Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Faroes, Portugal, France, Ireland, and Mexico. The draft TIEAs with Italy and India, said Ghandi, are awaiting signature. Belize has sent a draft TIEA agreement to the United States government; however, talks on that proposal are still pending.


If you haven’t done so already, break out the swimsuits, hats, shorts and light cotton dresses, throw some soft drinks and beers in the cooler, fire up the barbeque and don’t forget the suntan lotion. Summer has officially arrived. June 21 usually marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year. This year is an oddity – it begins as usual on the 21st at 1.04 EDT in the US, but for some western parts of North America, it began June 20, according to the Clark Planetarium website. Of course, in Australia and New Zealand, this date marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice, and the shortest day of the year. Summer solstice occurs when the Earth’s axis is the most tilted toward the sun; what is known as the “maximum axial tilt” with the sun rising at its most north easterly point on the horizon and setting at its most north westerly point – in the northern hemisphere.

Being an Eco Kid
The reason I want to be an Eco kid is because, I want to help protect the environment. Ways I can help protect the environment is by saving the earth is by; being one with nature and live a healthy life. The first way of the environment is by recycling, planting trees, cleaning up our neighborhood. When we recycle we will be saving a lot of our marine animals. Animals like the dolphin, turtles and sharks. When we throw plastic in the sea these animals eat the plastic and other garbage that floats around in the seas and oceans. These animals cannot digest plastic or the plastic get stuck in their mouth or throat and the animal dies. Second is by planting more trees. When we plant more trees we will be helping to keep the air clean and we will have oxygen, fruits and vegetables. The trees give us oxygen, which people breathe in and the carbon dioxide we breathe out is taken in by the trees. The trees take in the carbon dioxide, which is poison to human beings and recycles it for us. And these same trees provide us with food – fruits, vegetables and even medicine.

Here comes the Sun
It’s time for some Friday fun, here is a 25 second video of someone driving their new screen door home on a golf cart. For me this video is a reminder of the quirky and charming side San Pedro. Hope you all have a fun weekend planned. For us, the countdown to the San Pedro Lobster Festival Block Party is on. I can’t wait It has always been one of my favorite parties. We finally had a ran free morning, perfect weather for an errand run to town. On the list was paying bills, getting veggies and of course some junk food for later. There was definitely an increase of people out on the streets enjoying the nice weather and so far it has remained a dry day. I still packed my dry bags for camera music player and phone when we went out, just in case. I did not bother with a raincoat, that is a good sign.

YaYa Marin Coleman raised concerns about St. Martin Primary
On August 15, 2012 I received a letter from the Office of the Ombudsman regarding a complaint that I lodged about the Education Board’s failure to act. Enclosed in the envelope was a letter from Sister Barbara Flores, General Manager of Catholic Public Schools, in which she responded to a meeting that the President of St Martins De Porres PTA, Andrea O’Connor and I had with her in February, 2012. It took me the stretch of appealing to the Office of the Ombudsman office seeking assistance to direct Sr. Barbara Flores to respond. She responded almost 6 months after the initial meeting! As I read the letter, I thought it was sent because a response was required, not because any meaningful investigation was conducted. Words cannot express my disappointment born out of the fact that the letter is/ was vague! The letter did not address the concerns we shared. Once again, I am seeking your assistance to request definitive answers for each of the concerns we listed.

International Sources

WKU Team Visits Belize to Develop Research Collaborations, Educational Programs
At the end of May, a group of faculty from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology and Honors College, in association with the Office of International Programs, visited Belize for a marathon week of meetings with several entities within the country to initiate multiple projects that will provide student and faculty teaching, research and engagement opportunities, as well as develop collaborations and capacity building within the region in the areas of climate change, water resources, karst geoscience, environmental education and sustainability.

Stalagmites & Hieroglyphs: Investigating the Maya Demise
You think you have interesting work, and indeed you may, but chances are it doesn't involve hieroglyphs, fieldwork at a Belize geological site, a 2,000-year-old stalagmite or coordinating a team of diverse experts across oceans to help solve a centuries-old mystery that may hold important lessons for us today. But if this work, which is that of environmental archaeologist Douglas Kennett, sounds a little bit like Indiana Jones, it is in fact, often a slog. For his late 2012 published research related to the role of climate in the collapse of the Classic Maya (300 to 1000 C.E.), his team extracted and analyzed thousands of samples from a 2,000-year-old stalagmite. "It was intensive, intensive work," says the Penn State professor. "In my lab there were students drilling samples 20 to 30 hours a week for a year."

The Garifuna Collective Carry on Andy Palacio’s Legacy
The band is The Garifuna Collective. Its front man was Andy Palacio, who passed away unexpectedly five years ago at the age of 47. Before his death, Palacio and the band were spearheading a resurgence of the Garifuna culture of Belize. Once Andy Palacio died, many wondered if The Garifuna Collective would continue. Well, they have. The band’s first album since Palacio’s passing is called “Ayó.” That means goodbye in the Garifuna language. The album’s dedicated to Andy Palacio and two other band members who’ve died in recent years. It’s The Garifuna Collective’s way of saying that the torch has been passed — and Garifuna music will live on.

John McAfee's Shocking Plunge Back into the Public Eye
Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC), maker of the popular Norton Antivirus software has to be loving the recent video posted by none other than John McAfee, the founder of McAfee, the maker of the other most popular antivirus software. McAfee is the founder, but he hasn’t been associated with the company for 15 years, for reasons soon to be quite clear. Apparently, McAfee was getting a lot of emails from unhappy people who want to know how to take McAfee software off of their computer. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and YouTube are foreign to these emailers, so they did what any resourceful person would do unless they work for the Belize police force: They found John McAfee. McAfee got tired of all of the questions so he made a video. Before we link to the video, here’s the disclaimer: In a world where shocking is no longer shocking, you’re likely to be a bit disturbed by this. The video depicts John McAfee decked out in a Hugh Hefner-style smoking jacket, lighting a cigarette with burning money, and cussing so much that it would be an insult to cussing sailors to say that he’s “cussing like a sailor.” Did we mentioned the barely-dressed women, sexual subject matter, some drugs and for the big finale, gunfire? (Watch the 4:30 minute video if you want the full plotline.) And in case you’re wondering, if you’re looking for the answer to your original question, McAfee has “no idea” how to uninstall the software.

Photo Essay: Disappearing Places
There is all the time in the world. Or is there? For many places on our planet, the clock is ticking. Belize joins a very elite groups of places in the world ... with a photo of South Water Caye

June 21, 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

Volunteer dental students and doctors at New Horizon SDA School
A group of dentists and senior dental health students are on Ambergris Caye providing dental services for residents of the island. The group of eight are senior students from Loma Linda University in California, USA and are at New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) School. They will be on the island for five days and will primarily be looking at the students first then members of the public. Speaking to the leader of the group Dr David Brodeur known on the island as “Dr B”, said that it is not the first time he has brought volunteers to island. “This is the eighth year that we are coming to Belize and to the island. We do fillings and screening, we don’t do for instance things like root canals; we refer them to local dentists here in Belize. This time we have two senior dental hygiene students who are cleaning teeth as well. We also do some extraction but we try not to do it in places that it will be a problem to their health since we are not on the island long enough to do follow ups” According to Dr B, while the students do most of the volunteer work, they are closely supervised by the three doctors, mainly Dr Scott Smith and himself who are inside the building when the students are dealing with patients. The third dental specialist, Dr Clark Bassham is a friend of Dr Smith from Alaska.

From El Divino to Pineapples- In pursuit of delicious lobster
The Lobster Fest was off to a great start on Saturday June 15th, as El Divino Restaurant at Banana Beach Resort was the venue for the festival’s opening night! On the menu were Lobster Sushi Rolls, Tropical Lobster and Key Lime Pie for desert all at a price of only $50BZ. Those that made it out were certainly not disappointed as great food was accompanied by a great atmosphere and awesome live music by Tanya and Zac, as well as Valentino. On Tuesday June 18th, it was Pineapples’ (Ramon’s Village) turn to wow the crowd with Lobster cuisines prepared fresh for everyone’s delight. Regardless of the rain, Pineapples’ did it summer style, with a Beach BBQ Night. On the menu was just about everything a person loves grilled including chicken, grilled BBQ lobster tail, surf and turf kebabs (beef tenderloin and lobster) and lobster on a stone. All items were served with Pineapples’ signature homemade stewed chili- style beans, creamy mashed potatoes, cold slaw and warm handmade flour tortillas….yuuuum! And if the packed room wasn’t indication enough that the crowd was pleased, the cleaned plates left with nothing but empty lobster shells certainly was.

Ambergris Today

Loma Linda University Dentists Offer Services at New Horizons School
A group of 11 dentistry students, along with their mentors, were on the island to provide their dentistry service to students and parents of New Horizons Seventh Day Adventist School, including to residents of the island. Dr. David Brodeur is the head of the group and has been coming to the island for over ten years bringing students to render dentistry services to the community. Dr. Brodeur is accompanied by Dr. Scott Smith, Instructor at Loma Linda University and Dr. Clark Bassham, Graduate of LLU who currently practices dentistry in Alaska. The group also consists of six senior dental students and two senior hygiene students.

Misc Belizean Sources

Diving Belize's Hol Chan Marine Reserve with Manatees
Underwater videographer Michael Davis of Discover Belize Now had an amazing time filming underwater this week. He took to diving at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, just before the weather conditions went downhill as tropical depression two made its way over Belize. He was able to capture this amazing video footage of a rich and active marine life in the reserve. He even caught a family of manatees passing through the reserve. “Marine life was extreme today with a family of manatee passing through the reserve as tropical depression enters the region. A great way to end a week of diving with Trip, Janine and Don from Colorado. Belize Pro Dive Center, San Pedro,” commented Michael Davis on his YouTube post.

Accountability and Alignment in Education
Following this month’s release of very low proficiency scores for primary school students who took the 2013 PSE examinations, “Education” has suddenly become a heated topic in Belize. Prior to the release of the PSE outcomes, the topic of Education was discussed mostly by educators and perhaps a few concerned parents. Now, it continues to make news, and draws gut-wrenching reactions and strongly-voiced negative opinions (“that’s not how it’s done”) from parents, businessmen, politicians, and almost everyone in Belize. However, what seems ironic (even hypocritical) is that a large portion of our community now suddenly knows what’s wrong with our Education systems. In my May 30, 2013 Blog, only days before the PSE scores bombshell exploded in Belize, I specifically reminded readers that the only way to make sure that our children get an Education that includes genuine “learning” is to eradicate from our vocabulary the phrase “their job” (schools and teachers) and replace it with “our job” (everyone who now is screaming). Common Misconceptions of Education Nonetheless, as all things political go, we will eventually exhaust our energies in this ongoing crossfire of how best to educate young students. However, after we have pointed fingers, accused, politicized and belittled people whom we choose to blame (other than ourselves) for the PSE low scores, then what do we do?

Kulcha Xchange Concert at GPC
The Kulcha Xchange concert is tonight at the George Price Centre, starting at 6:30pm. Youth Voices will be there, along with other Belmopan artists.

Mariachi Los Alcones in Benque
The Benque House of Culture and CACHE are having a full moon concert tonight at Centennial Park in Benque, starting at 7:30pm. The Mariachi Los Alcones and Jose Perez will be playing.

CARDI Public Consultation
CARDI will be having a public consultation today at the George Price Centre from 9:00am to 1:00pm. The theme will be 'The conservation of agro-biodiversity as a response to climate change.' "All are invited to a public forum on "The Consultation of Agro-Biodiversity in the face of Climate Change"

VIDEO: Belize Football Team Jaguars
Last Friday, our team got a chance to chat with a few members of the Belize National Football Team - Jaguars. Check out our Belmopan Weekly Feature story to hear what they had to say.

Channel 7

Conservation and Cruise Stakeholders Meet To Discuss Stake Bank
Tonight some of the biggest cruise executives in the world are at the Grand Caribe on Northern San Pedro enjoying a cultural night at the meeting of the Platinum Associate Membership Advisory Club. And we’re sure a lot of them are talking about the future for cruise tourism in Belize. That’s because – even though this is the 7th most popular cruise destination in the Western Caribbean - the system of cruise tendering – where boats pick up passengers and ferry them to shore – is considered out-dated and inefficient. And that complaint inevitably leads back to the question of where Belize will put a berthing facility – which the cruise ships can dock at. And not only where, but when since the first failed attempted was embarked upon 7 years ago. One developer who’s positioning himself is Mike Feinstein. He’s the owner of Stake Bank Caye four miles southeast of Belize City, which was proposed as a viable berthing facility and cruise port 6 years ago. The interest died off, but now the project is back in play and last night the developers, the environmental consultant and the Department of the Environment held a public consultation at the Biltmore where the mood was surprisingly restrained – but still rife with discord – which is understandable, considering the proposal is to build a causeway right through a wildlife sanctuary. 7news was there.

Placencia Tourism Interests Reaping The Whirlwind For NCL Harvest Caye Proposal
And while that project is engaging cruise and conservation interests in Belize City – Placencia’s tourist industry stakeholders are looking to kick up dust again. And again, they are trying to block a proposed project from Norwegian Cruise Line. After being blocked on Crawl Caye, it seems Norwegian Cruise Lines has turned its attention to Harvest Caye, which is just south of the peninsula. It’s a privately owned island – and reports are that Norwegian has signed a letter of intent with the British island owner to develop a cruise port. But, it’s not going to happen if the Placencia Tour Guide Association has its way. At what’s described as a well attended meeting last night, 41 of 44 attendees voted to reject any Norwegian proposal for Harvest Caye. Opinions ranged from concerns over manatee feeding and mating habitats that would be destroyed by dredging, to the effect on overnight tourism and the allegation that no construction jobs are promised to villagers. Speaking of the possible shift in cruise activity from Central to South Belize, Chair of the Placencia Chapter of BTIA, Stewart Krohn, told us, quote, “Cruise Tourism is like herpes; don’t willfully spread it.”

BTB Says GOB Must Decide Cruise Future
And in the middle of this is the Belize Tourism Board. It represents all tourism interests – even as the bulk of its marketing machinery is focused on attracting overnight visitors. But this week, with scores of FCCA Platinum members in Belize for their annual meeting, all the talk is about how to bring in more cruise visitors, hopefully taking Belize past the one million mark next year – compared to 600 thousand last year. And once they’re talking that volume, those cruise executive will sure want to know how to get all those guests ashore – and they’d prefer if it weren’t by cruise tender. We asked Director of Tourism Lara Esquivel Frampton how she’ll answer them:.. Jules Vasquez "The issue of Belize not having a berthing facility will emerge in these meetings. A State Bank consultation is being held this evening - what will your answer be?" Laura Esquivel Frampton - Director of Tourism "Well the answer simply put is that we recgnize it - we are actually working right now to come up with a policy to provide a government in terms of how we move forward in looking for those kinds of investments for a berthing facility. We recognize that the government of Belize certainly recognizes that we need a berthing facility."

Menjivar Attorney Cries Foul
Viewers may remember Belmopan resident Mike Menjivar – the GSU shot up his home two years ago. But the cops said he was the one who fired first and so Menjivar was charged with 9 counts of attempted murder, 9 counts of aggravated assault, and 1 count of damage to property for allegedly shooting at GSU officers during their early morning raid on his home on May 20, 2011. He has been standing trial without a jury before Justice Dennis Hanomansingh, and yesterday, the defence closed their case. Well, Menjivar’s attorney, Arthur Saldivar, says that he hasn’t been given a fair trial so far because of several procedural issues which only came up while the case was actually heard in the court. Saldivar’s first complaint is that the lead investigator who built the case against Menjivar was the same officer who was in charge of the raid. According to Saldivar, that is a conflict of interest because essentially, it meant that the GSU was investigating themselves, which also meant that they couldn’t be objective.

Interdiction for Cop Who Ducked Out on Hon. King Charge
Last night, Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, told us that he is investigating the police constable who refused to cooperate with the police prosecutor during the criminal trial of Minister of State Mark King. He said that he didn’t believe the officer acted appropriately, and it seems that the officers of the Professional Standards Branch, which he dispatched earlier this week, have found evidence to support this. This evening, the Police Press Office released information that Police Constable #1021 Nelson Ramos was charged with disciplinary charges, and he has been placed on immediate interdiction. The matter has been adjourned until next week Wednesday, when he must appear before the Regional Commander, Superintendent Joseph Myvette, who will adjudicate the case. That’s very swift action, in line with Commissioner Whylie’s promise that Mark King’s accelerated acquittal will be taken seriously, and attorney Arthur Saldivar – who also wears an opposition hat - supports him on it. He spoke to us this evening about what he believes is a sign that King, who is an elected official, was given preferential treatment.

Charges Soon? DPP Gets Possession Of Noh Mul File
And while we had an opportunity, we asked DPP Vidal about the Noh Mul case file. As we showed you last night, Commissioner Whylie also promised that it would be on her desk by tomorrow. Well, it arrived today, a day early, and Vidal told us that she’s had an opportunity to go through it, and she will be giving the investigator her directives tomorrow. And speaking on the delay, she told us that she believes that the Noh Mul mauling is of national and international importance, and she wants to be sure that she can prosecute the case to completion. She told us that her experience with the police department throughout her tenure is that the investigating officers lay charges, and then they neglect the case after they’ve announced to the nation that someone has been charged. She explained that when the cases go badly, all the heat then falls on her office, because the police investigators ignored her additional advice on improving the case against the accused – a scenario which she seems determined to avoid in this high profile case.

Bad Year For BEL: But They Kept The Lights On
Right now at the Biltmore, BEL is having its annual general meeting. But there’s not much to celebrate because after turning a modest 2 million dollar profit in 2011, for 2012, the power company is declaring a 16 million dollar loss. The company says that’s because they had to pay back consumers 30 million dollars in one year – and that was payback for the low cost of power between 2008 and 2011 which was not reflected in the rates at that time. But in 2012, the cost of power skyrocketed while rates lagged and that’s what created a 16 million dollar loss out of an impressive 193.2 million dollars in gross revenue. But even with that, BEL is declaring a very modest dividend of five cents per share. It is of note that growth in the electricity sector was what the economists would call robust: In 2012, electricity demand increased by 8 per cent and the Company attracted 1,684 new customers. In a trying financial year, a release boasts that the company managed to keep the lights on without a government bailout.

Dangriga: Don’t Drink The Water
The after effects of Tropical Depression 2 are still being felt in Southern Belize – mainly in Dangriga, Sarawee and Hope Creek where the water systems were contaminated. The Ministry of Health reports that there is contamination to the well and breaks in its distribution lines. BWSL in Dangriga has treated the water and brought back up the system – but tonight’s health advisory is that these areas which are still flooded can be re-contaminated through leaks in submerged pipes. Water samples are being collected and tested and until the results are in, the public is urged to treat pipe water by: Adding 1 tablespoon of Clorox to five gallons of water, mix and leave to stand for 30 minutes before using. You can also Boil the water at a rolling boil for one minute. Or you can Add water purification tablets. Persons in rural areas whose wells were flooded are warned that water that is dark, has an odor, or has floating pieces SHOULD NOT be used.

Yesterday afternoon the little-head-from National Commission for UNESCO held a meeting at the new Skills Training Center on Magazine Road– where they distributed cheques to 3 different organizations. The recipients were the Belize Red Cross, Help Age and the Fisheries Department. We found out how the money will be used: Rev. Dr Rudolph Anthony - Secretary General, UNESCO "This afternoon's meeting is actually to try and bring the National Commission together because for a long time the National Commission for UNESCO was dormant, was ineffective and wasn't working. So what I'm trying to do is to renew and to bring them back together because the National Commission for UNESCO plays a vital role in terms of assisting, implementing and planning and certain issues for UNESCO Belize. They also help and assist in liaising with the office in Paris, France and also the government of Belize. But apart from the National commission, I am also bringing together the five committees that are under UNESCO Belize that are also dormant. Those five committees are education, culture, information and communication, the natural science and social and human science.

Bilary Got Busted On The Scene With Gun, Gets 5 Years In Jail
21 year-old Ernest Billary, a resident of Hibiscus Street is spending his first night of a 5 year sentence after he was convicted today in the Magistrate’s Court. Viewers may remember that in July of 2012, Senor Coconuts was robbed by 2 armed men. The cashier reported that 2 men walked in and pretended to be customers. While they were being served, one of the men pulled a firearm, and put it to the head of one of the occupants. He robbed his victim of a cellular phone, and he tried to leave but a concerned citizen got involved. This citizen pulled his own firearm and shot one of the assailants. He then helped responding police officers to detain the man, identified as Ernest Billary. Well, he was charged with robbery, possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of unlicensed ammunition two counts of aggravated assault, and wounding. He stood trial before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, where the investigating officers testified to catching him on the scene with the firearm, which was loaded with 11 live rounds of ammunition. One of the officers additionally testified how Billary hit him in the head when he was trying to subdue him.

St. John’s Primary Learns About Media
Many of you in the public, may think of working in the media as a glamorous and exciting job. It can be that, but a lot of times it’s about walking in waist high water and returning to work 6 hours later in flood-soaked shoes with a story to write and edit in time for the deadline. And to de-mystify the occasional glamour and constant grind of life in the media, Monica Bodden was invited to St John’s Primary School for a career day. Here’s how that went. Monica Bodden reporting For most of the children who usually only see news people on TV it was an illuminating look into the news gathering process. For these Std 6 students, the news is something that they often watch to see what is happening around their surroundings. Student interviewing "Did you watch the news last night and why?" Interviewee "Yes because I want to see what is happening in my environment and what is happening around me." Student interviewing "Do you have any interest in working in the media?" Interviewee "After school yes, but the way how their work looks good but it also looks very challenging."

DJ Latin Prince In Belize
He is one of the largest International DJ’s, Video DJ’s, and founder of the world famous "Bum Squad DJz ---among a whole lot of other things. And tonight DJ Latin Prince is in Belize. It is his second visit and the world famous DJ plans on making it a memorable one. He told Monica Bodden more Tonight DJ Latin Prince will be making an appearance at Thirsty Thursday.

Channel 5

Minister Mark King off the hook, but Police Officer in big trouble for not proceeding with case
There is an astonishing turn of events to report tonight following the charges that were dropped against Minister of State with Responsibility for Gangs, Mark King. The charges of Aggravated [...]

P.U.P. expresses dissatisfaction with King’s case
Whylie promised an investigation and swift action…and he has delivered. Tonight, police officer Nelson Ramos is on interdiction and is facing disciplinary action by a tribunal of his peers. The [...]

While attorney calls it a travesty of justice
As mentioned earlier, all eyes were on the case against Minister King and it came as no shock that he would be politically unscathed from the incident. Another attorney felt [...]

Public Consultation on Stake Bank
The incident involving King occurred at a casino at Belize’s border with Mexico. While casinos in the Commercial Free Zone have little environmental impact, proposals for large scale development in [...]

Placencia residents reject the next Norwegian Cruise Line tourism development
Stake Bank is not the only island in Belize surrounded by controversy. Viewers will recall that when we last heard from Government about the plan by Norwegian Cruise Line, cabinet [...]

Trial against Cabana owner wraps up
It’s difficult for NGO’s to stand up to large scale developers, so imagine what it’s like for one businessman to face the Gang Suppression Unit in Court, for attempted murder. [...]

Prisoner stabbed behind bars
Menjivar’s month long stint behind bars was without incident. However, two inmates at the Belize Central Prison have been treated and released after they were stabbed during altercations at the [...]

Water levels rising along river banks in Belize River Valley
The National Emergency Management Organization in an advisory on Wednesday indicated that the water levels along the banks of the Macal and Mopan rivers were up to two feet above [...]

Teachers complete course in Early Childhood Education
Today is the final day of an intensive five week basic teachers training course at the early education or preschool level. Participants were selected from every district and include new [...]

FBI trains police officers
The U.S. Embassy and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have teamed up to provide “Law Enforcement Training for Safety and Survival (LETSS) to Belize’s law enforcement officers. The LETSS training [...]

Retired Public Servants honored at 2nd Annual Recognition Ceremony
Today at the Conference Room of the Central Health Region in Belize City some fifteen retired public servants were honored at the second annual recognition ceremony. Retired from different departments [...]

Illegal activities within the Chiquibul National Park
The Chiquibul National Park, located in the Cayo District, is more than four hundred square miles of rugged terrain and thick forests which is teeming with resources. Those resources are [...]

2 illegal Guatemalans; guilty as prohibited immigrants
The problem of illegal immigration does not only refer to human trafficking to the United States, it also includes migrant workers who are looking for a decent life in Belize. [...]

Stephon Anderson remanded for firearm charges
A Belize City man is behind bars at the Belize Central Prison after he was caught with an illegal firearm and ammunition in the city over the weekend.  On Sunday, [...]

11-year sentence after wounding a cop
A Belize City barber has been sentenced to eleven years behind bars for wounding a Police officer and for having an unlicensed firearm and ammunition in his possession. The conviction [...]

Garifuna Collective goes on tour
The Garifuna Collective left Belize on Wednesday to kickoff a major tour of the United States and Canada which will span seven and a half weeks and touchdown in twenty-five [...]

B.E.L.’s Annual General Meeting
Tonight, the Belize Electricity Limited will hold its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders for the year ended December thirty-first, 2012 at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. At the meeting, [...]

On the Road to the Gold Cup features Shane Orio
On the Road to the Gold Cup: The National Football team will be playing the United States, Cuba and Costa Rica in the upcoming Gold Cup games in July. Tonight [...]

Healthy Living asks the doctor about your personal concerns
The secret to any successful relationship is communication. While dialogue and trust is necessary for longevity and happiness, perhaps the person you should also share those virtues with is your [...]


Retired Public Servants Recognized
Fifteen retired public servants were recognized this morning at the second Public Service Recognition Ceremony in Belize City. According to member of the Belize City Public Service Day Committee, Annisa Perdomo, the honorees are persons that retired after service about fifteen years ago. ...

Southern Belize Gears Up For Public Service Day
Minister of Public Service and Elections and Boundaries, Charles Gibson is on a ministerial consultation visit to Government offices and public officers in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG “The visit here begun on Tuesday evening, June 18 and conti...

Thursday, June 20 --------- Opposition Says There Is Government Interference With The Judiciary
Minister of State with responsibilities for gangs, Mark King was acquitted of charges stemming from an incident that occurred in February of this year. King was acquitted of all three minor charges including aggravated assault, use of threatening words and disorderly conduct. But in the Corozal M...

Sentenced To Eleven Years For Firearm and Wounding Offences
21-year-old Ernest Billary was sentenced to eleven years today by Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith after he was found guilty of kept firearm and ammunition and wounding. The incident for which Billary was charged occurred in July 2011. It was reported that Billary was one of the armed robb...

Minister of State Walks From Charges; Police Constable Suspended
A police officer was interdicted in Corozal. This is as a result of the criminal case involving Mark King vs the Police held this past Tuesday in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court. The Commissioner of Police had directed the Professional Standards Branch to conduct an investigation...

Corozal Police Investigate 50K Taken In A Burglary and A Separate Incident of Drug Trafficking
A businessman from the City of Chetumal reported to Corozal police that his business was burglarized. He reported that between the hours of 6:00 pm on the eighteenth of June and 8:45 am on the nineteenth of June, his business establishment in the Corozal Free Zone was broken into. Sto...

Dangriga Police Apprehend Burglar
A man was hospitalized after being shot by police in Dangriga Town. Reports are that sometime around 3:15 pm yesterday, Police were on mobile patrol in the second New Site Area of Dangriga, when their attention was drawn to Jason Gonzalez, who is wanted for a crime of burglary. When h...

Belmopan Family Arrested on Firearm and Ammunition Charge
A search by Belmopan Police led them to the discovery of firearms and ammunition. Around 6:00 am yesterday, they visited and searched the home of Richard Penner located on Canada Hill in Belmopan. Present at the time of the search were Abram Friesen, Lucy Penner and Richard Penner.&nb...

Electric Company Holds AGM
Belize Electricity Limited will hold its Annual General Meeting later tonight. The Company will declare dividends after booking a 37 point eight million dollar increase in Shareholder equity over the two-year period January 2011 to December 2012. The Company’s Board of Directors will ...

Eggs: A Precious and Scarce Commodity
An outbreak of avian flu last summer in Mexico caused a drastic dip in production of eggs in that neighboring country. As a result there was also a huge price increase. The effect of that is now being felt in Belize, especially in the border districts. Arturo Cantun reports on a...

Residents In Southern Belize Advised On Contaminated Water
The Ministry of Health today issued a notice on drinking water to the general public. The release informs that after the passage of Tropical Depression Two, the Dangriga Water system was affected causing contamination to well and breaks in the distribution lines. The Belize Water Serv...


Robbery At The Corozal Free Zone Nets Robbers More Than $50,000 In Cash
The latest crime statistics for 2013 up to the end of May were released yesterday by Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie during a press conference held in Belmopan. The report showed that major crimes including murders and rape saw a decrease compared to last year. Up to the end of May, 51 murders had been recorded countrywide. That’s nine murders less than last year when 60 murders were committed during the same time frame. In terms of robberies, one hundred and seventeen cases have been reported so far. Last year, two hundred and sixteen cases were reported for the same period. Statistics also show that up until the end of May, four hundred and three burglaries were committed compared to four hundred and seventy cases in 2012. Here in the north, specifically Corozal, the amount of Burglary reports was cut in half as it went from 16 in 2012 to 8 in 2013.

One Charged For Drug Trafficking
While the person or persons responsible for the Shivam Store burglary are yet to be detained by police, one Corozal resident has been charged for drug trafficking. On June 19th 2013, about 7:30pm, Corozal Police were conducting patrol on South End and 1st Avenue Corozal Town when their attention was drawn to a white Ford Condor with L/P CZL C-18342 heading towards 1ST Avenue. As police intercepted the vehicle, the individual sitting on the front passenger side, threw an object out the window. Police escorted the passenger to the area where they found a transparent plastic bag containing 7.7 grams of white powdered substance suspected to be cocaine. As a result, 27 year old Carlos Phillips, Belizean Laborer of Bocotora Street was charged for drug trafficking.

High Profile Cases Make It At The Supreme Court Level
Yesterday high profiled inmates were brought to the Northern Session of the Supreme Court to face charges. Mark Vega, who is believed to be dangerous, appeared before the Supreme Court judge to face a number of charges in relation to incidents that date back 11 years ago. Mark Vega along with Luis Gabriel Urbina, and Omar Vellos have been serving prison time at the Belize Central Prison in Hattieville since June of 2002. The trio is accused of holding up at gun point Enrique Petkau and his wife Susana Petkau while they were travelling on the August Pine Ridge Road. Enrique and Susana were shot and left for dead; the men then escaped in their victim’s van. Enrique survived the ordeal but his wife Susana unfortunately succumbed to her injuries. The men are alleged to have then continued their crime spree in Corozal Town that same day where they kidnapped Jacob Rancheran and a female friend. While Jacob Rancheran managed to escape, the woman was brutally gang raped and later released from her captors that same night.

P.C Ramos Placed Under Interdiction For Dropping Charges Against Minister Of State Mark King
On Tuesday Minister of State Mark King became a free man after the charges of aggravated assault against P.C Nelson Ramos and threatening words and disorderly conduct levied against him back in February of this year, were dropped. King was charged after he became involved in an argument with casino security and Corozal police while socializing at the Princess Casino located just outside the Corozal Commercial Free Zone in the early hours of February 5th 2013. But the prosecutions case fell apart after P.C Nelson Ramos withdrew his testimony and P.C Suazo and two security officers who were on shift at the casino at the time of the incident, were unable to identify the Minister from the witness stand. With that King, was cleared of all charges by Magistrate Clive Lino. But the same cannot be said for P.C Ramos who is in the hot seat for withdrawing his testimony. AllenWhylie - Commissioner of Police “My understanding having heard the news last night and speaking to the officer commanding, PC Ramos went to court and withdrew the charges saying he did not wish to proceed. Immediately last night, I called the assistant commissioner, Mister Leal, he is the commander of the Professional Standards Branch. I directed that he and a team proceed to Corozal this morning and to do an internal investigation and then he will be making recommendations to me.

PUP Weighs In On Mark King Issue
As mentioned at the top of the newscast Minister of State Mark King was freed of three criminal charges at the Corozal Magistrates Court on Tuesday after one of the key witnesses, P.C Nelson Ramos decided not to press charges. P.C Ramos’ actions did not sit too well with Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie who has ordered an investigation into the matter and has even sought legal advice. Today the Peoples United Party also weighed in on the issue by calling all relevant authorities, including the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, to take all required actions to correct the “shame” that circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the charges against Hon. Mark King has caused to the justice system. According to the P.U.P, Tuesday’s turn of events in the Mark King case, gives cause for the ordinary Belizean to view our criminal justice system as flawed and gives the impression of Government interference with the judiciary and the police to save one of its own.


Water contamination in the South
The Ministry of Health has issued an advisory on water contamination in southern Belize. After the passage of Tropical Depression Two, the Dangriga water system was affected causing contamination to the well and breaks in its distribution lines. Similarly the flood waters affected the systems of Sarawee and Hope...

Man shot in standoff with Police
A man in Dangriga was involved in a standoff with law enforcement that resulted in him getting shot. Yesterday afternoon, Police were on mobile patrol in the 2nd New Site Area when their attention was drawn to Jason Gonzalez, who they say is wanted for burglary. Upon seeing Police,...

PUP complains over Mark King’s court case result
People get off on criminal charges every day, but when that person is a high ranking Government official, it doesn’t often get swept under the rug. Since charges against Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Mark King were dropped earlier this...

Football superstar to appear in court for fraud
Argentina and Barcelona FC football superstar Lionel Messi is due in a Spanish court in September, accused of defrauding the Spanish state of over 4 million euros in taxes three times in the last few years – that’s over BZ$10 million, a quarter of his annual net salary of...

Ernest Billary sentenced for armed restaurant robbery
In July 2011, Senior Coconuts Restaurant was robbed and customers came face-to-face with robbers who held them at gun point. Today, one of those suspects who police caught red handed shortly after the incident, was tried and convicted. He is 21 year old Ernest Billary. Billary a Barber of...

Cash stolen from Corozal Free Zone store
Burglars made off with a lump sum of cash when they broke into a store at the Corozal Free Zone. Owner of Shivam Store reported to Police that sometime between early Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, his store was burglarized and stolen was a little over $50,000.00. The monies...

Three Belmopan residents charged for firearm offenses
Three Belmopan residents are tonight facing firearm offenses. Early yesterday morning, Police conducted a search at the residence of Richard Penner where they found a .9mm Ruggar Brand and a magazine containing matching live rounds. Present at the home with Penner were Lucy Penner and Abram Friesen. None of...

Police trained in Safety and Survival
Over the past four days, law enforcement personnel attached to different units and departments of the Belize Police Department have undergoing training for Safety and Survival. The “Law Enforcement Training for Safety and Survival, LETSS is designed to give officers the skills and mindset required to identify and handle...

ORT urges Belize to work with US to address Human Trafficking
This year, we have seen an increase in the detention of illegal immigrants busted on Belizean terrain. In fact, in May, three groups of Indian nationals were caught entering Belize’s western border, believed to have been enroute to the US. This trend begs the question – has Belize become...

Peter King Contreras sentenced to prison for murder of mother-in-law
Peter King Contreras, who pleaded guilty to strangling his 50 year old mother-in-law to death, was sentenced to 15 and a half years behind bars. The murder happened 12 days before Christmas of 2010. Police say that on that day, Contreras offered his then mother-in-law 50 year old Argentina...

Fire victim families receive assistance
Two families whose homes were destroyed by fire are getting assistance to get back on their feet. The two sets of families who reside in the Salvapan area of Belmopan were gifted by area representative Hon. John Saldivar and NEMO, with food items and clothes. The families are also...

BTV plans visit to Garbutt Falls border marker
The Belize Territorial Volunteers are planning another ‘Clearing Our Border’ expedition this weekend. The group says it is their way of taking a stance in showing Guatemala and the rest of the world that Belize is a sovereign nation. Wil Maheia of the BTV explained the route they will..

The Guardian

Liar, Liar! Said and Fonseca caught in their lies
In the run up to the General Elections of 2008, Said Musa famously declared on Love Television and Radio that, "All leaders have to lie." He said this to vindicate himself after he had been caught, on multiple occasions, lying to the people of Belize. That went by and it was expected that he would say something like that since he was, by that time, identified as a compulsive liar; he simply cannot help himself. Years after he boldly declared that he has to lie, he continues in his old habits. He, however, is now joined by the current leader of the PUP who has had some of the lying ways of Said Musa rub off on him. Both these men signed a secret agreement in 2005 with Belize International Services Limited (BISL) to illegally extend a contract 7 years after it expired in June of 2013. Now faced with the bubbling scandal, the two have gone on an all out offensive, lying at every turn, to say that the agreement was not signed in secret.

Johnny Done!
The Village Council Elections are now over and the United Democratic Party has recorded one of the greatest margins of victories in these, having secured 71 percent of seats available. And the victories show that the UDP in enjoying great popularity in the rural areas of the country. The same cannot be said for the PUP which has fallen into oblivion. One by one, the PUP area representatives and their Standard Bearers began to fall with each passing week in the 6 weeks of elections. One of those candidates who fell and had once been thought to be invincible was Johnny Briceno. On Sunday, June 9th, however, he was dished a heaping serving of humility. Even before the election date, he had been in the one village he represents, San Estevan, trying to get a slate together to contest the elections but he simply could not pull it together. He had waltz into the village a few days before the elections and had gone knocking on the doors of his party faithful in the hopes of mustering 7 persons to run. But as much as he knocked on the doors, there were either no answers or those who replied simply refused to come out and run for the PUP in San Estevan. Johnny was left out in the cold; no one wanted to run for him.

Why We Need the Gender Policy
Last week, a young woman was brutally murdered, allegedly at the hands of her husband. Neighbours report that Julia Moran and her husband, Sergio, were in an abusive relationship and that he was frequently violent. The violence included an incident in 2007 when he beheaded her dog and chopped it up before chopping Julia on the hand. Episodes like this are never isolated but are part of an escalating pattern, a pattern that does not stop unless there is an intervention of some kind. Unfortunately, it appears that no such intervention occurred and Julia remained in an intolerable situation. Now Julia is dead; her husband is on the run with their child - three lives violently devastated. For every woman who dies in such a situation, there are scores who are living in fear, wondering when their own turn will come. There are hundreds of children whose lives are also blighted as a result of witnessing these traumas. The Revised Gender Policy has this to say on the issue of family violence: Despite a range of efforts over the past decade to address violence and abuse, the prevalence of such conditions persists. The adoption of the Domestic Violence Act and the Protection Against Sexual Harassment Act, reforms to the legislative provisions for sexual violence against women and girls, the establishment of Family Violence Units within Police districts, the introduction by the Women’s Department of training of professionals and public education about rights and services, and the adoption of more systematic reporting and enforcement arrangements, have done as much to reveal the extent of such problems as to contain them. Reported domestic violence cases average around 40 per month. More than 80% of reports are from urban areas, and more than 90% of reports are of violence against women. It is likely that many – if not most – cases of domestic violence continue to go unreported. Approximately 40-50% of cases involve common-law unions, and 20-35% of cases involve married couples. The perpetrators and the victims are typically aged 20-39 years. Alcohol or other drug abuse features in the majority of cases, along with extramarital relationships and poor capacity to cope with financial stress.

Pocket Full of Politician
The Prime Minister’s press conference last Wednesday, June 12th, was indeed informative, in all manner of speaking. During the two days prior to the PM’s presentation, the Government was on the receiving end from Channel Fox and other PUP pundits after it had been announced that GOB would be taking over the management of IMMARBE and BISL from the Ashcroft Alliance. We heard of so much glum and doom, which would befall our country and how we would be the pariah of the world. One press release even suggested the Government’s supposedly breach of contract would place the entire re-negotiated Superbond in jeopardy, which would trigger economic chaos! The setting changed, however, after the press conference, and we saw the Alliance, through its surrogates at Channel Fox, in a mad rush at damage control by attacking the claim that the repulsive contracts were conceived in a highly secretive setting. In live Fox interviews, both Musa and Fonseca practically swore that the 17-year contracts were not signed underhandedly but were in fact approved by Cabinet. These two gentlemen have completely lost touch with the mood of the Belizean public, since we don’t care if those contracts were signed behind closed doors or in Central Park; such one-sided agreements are considered reprehensible and contrary to good governance. But nothing surprises Belizeans anymore as it relates to the ten worst years of our young nation. For a man who once professed socialism, Musa inflicted deep wounds to our country, which simply will not heal. It has been 5 years now that the people of Belize said farewell to the ignoble PUP Government of 1998 to 2008, yet we continue to wallow in the moral fester they left behind. We cringe as we see our country’s name and our flag being corrupted by strangers who probably have never set foot in Belize, yet flaunt our national emblems as they commit all sorts of criminal activities in the high seas.

Hon. John Saldivar and Ministry of National Security Host Students of United Evergreen Primary School of Belmopan
Minister John Saldivar along with Student and Teachers of United Evergreen Primary School On June 17th, more than thirty students of United Evergreen Primary School in Belmopan, along with their teachers, were welcomed into the halls of the Ministry of National Security at the Curl Thompson Building, where they were given a full tour and lectures on the operations of the various branches of the Ministry.

Improving the Quality of Education Delivered in Our Schools Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber’s Remarks during Press Conference on Thursday, June 13th.
Hon. Patrick Faber 1. What is to be done about the performance of our schools as reflected in PSE results for many years now? a. The role of the school i. Schools need to take ownership for their performance and for the quality of education they deliver. ii. Self-evaluate and develop and implement school improvement plans b. The role of the Ministry i. Examine performance nationally and use as basis for further analysis to inform policy decisions ii. Provide pressure and support for schools to improve 1. School supervision to provide both pressure and support 2. School Inspectorate to provide external evaluation of school quality and provide information other stakeholders (parents, the community, Managing Authorities and the Ministry can use to pressure for improvement) c. The role of the Managing Authorities i. Take ownership for the performance of their schools and for the quality of education delivered by their schools ii. Examine performance across their schools and use as basis for further analysis to inform management decisions iii. Provide pressure and support for schools to improve—supervise their schools, provide professional development and other support to their schools to meet national standards

FFB President’s Commission: “Humiliate the United States”
Belize National Team A small country like Belize has not defeated a giant like the United States in a major sport competition since – well, since Belize defeated the United States in 1979. That victory came in the Pan Am Softball Games in Puerto Rico where Belize defeated the United States 1-0. That is a score that, even in reverse, the previous executives of the Football Federation of Belize would have celebrated if they were in charge when Belize plays against the United States in the Gold Cup tournament on July 9th. However, that is not good enough for the current administration. Ruperto Vicente, President of the Football Federation of Belize, told his team, “We will not only participate. That was in the past. We will not invest and this nation will not invest its money in young people who will only go to a tournament to participate. We are now entering tournaments to win.” When speaking about the objective for the July 9th game against the favoured United States team, Vicente said, “I call on our national team to not only beat the United States but to humiliate the United States. It is your responsibility. It is your task.”

Department of Immigration Take Steps to Improve Services
Hon. Elvin Penner Minister of Immigration and Nationality The Department of Immigration and Nationality Services continues to improve its services to members of the public. These improvements are coming about with the allocation of increased resources to information technology and, by reviewing the current laws relevant to migration.

King in Sports
Hon. Mark King, Area Representative for Lake Independence, continues to show he cares for his community as he held an under 16 basketball marathon at the basketball court behind the Mahogany Street Charles Bartlett Hyde Building on Saturday, June 8th. The all day marathon featured teams from across the city who played for first, second and third place trophies and cash prizes.

Mai’s Green Party
Some representatives of the People's United Party had become so disillusioned with their political party that they have opted to start their own, or at least it appears that way. During the last round of village council elections, there was a new party contesting the elections in Indian Church Village. They visibly had on green shirts so, we will opt to call them the Green Party. While they were none too shy about showing their color, Jose Mai definitely was. He was in the village, and it was almost unbelievable that this PUP area representative did not even put up a slate to contest. Instead, he threw his support behind the Green Party. It had us wondering if indeed he had started a new party or not.

Mexico and Central America, a renewed relationship
On February 20th, 2013, the President of Mexico, Enrique Pena-Nieto attended the First Summit between Mexico and member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA), held in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was the second international tour of his presidency and which he dedicated to approach visit a region that binds us like no other: geographical closeness or proximity, history, sisterhood and culture.

Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities Clarifies Oceana’s Misinformation
The Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities notes with regret a recent press release by Oceana in which it persists in putting its spin on the judgment delivered on April 16th, 2013 by Justice Legall concerning certain oil exploration contracts awarded by the previous government. In that judgment, His Lordship made certain declarations against the Ministry but not against the oil companies. Most importantly, the Judge specifically refused to quash the oil exploration contracts.

The Missing Musa Link
Why would a Prime Minister want to extend the contract of a company beyond his term of office? That is anybody’s guess but if we were to look at particular coincidences which took place when and after the Belize International Services Limited (BISL) was formed to manage the International Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) and the International Business Companies Registry, then things begin to clear up.

NTUCB supports Government’s Recovery of IMMARBE and IBC registry
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) issued a press release on Monday ,June 17th supporting Government's decision to take control of the International Business Companies Registry and the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE).

Northern Zone and Orange Walk Formation Register Consecutive Best Monthly Performance
Hon. John Saldivar presents certificate for best formation For the second consecutive month, the Northern Zone and the Orange Formation of the Police Department have distinguished themselves as having registered the greatest reduction in major crimes, as confirmed by the comparative statistics for the month of May.

Over 800 Belizeans want to be Cops
The Belize Police Department held testing for recruit intake number 89 on Saturday, June 15th. Tests were administered in English, Mathematics and Social Studies in testing centers across the country. According to police officials, over 800 persons sat the all-day examinations, which had two sections in English including a composition section as well as a multiple choice section. The mathematics papers included a problem solving section and a multiple choice section. The social studies paper was multiple choice.

Queen’s Honors
In a news release from Belize House in Belmopan, the Office of the Governor-General Announces that Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to make the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire on the occasion of Birthday Honours 2013: Order of the British Empire OBE To be Ordinary Officers of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Frank Alexander Lizama, for contribution to Art, Education and Politics Colville Ludwig Young ,Jr, for contribution to Education and Music MBE To be Ordinary Member of the Civil Division of the Said Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Norman Samuel Elburt Hamilton, for Contribution to Music The Date for the presentation of awards will be announced later.

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Belize Presents Credentials to Governor General of Belize
On June 17th, His Excellency Eduard R. Malayan, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Belize, presented his credentials to His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize.

Hon. John Saldivar Assists Fire Victims in Belmopan Area
On Wednesday, June 19th Minister of National Security and Area Representative for Belmopan, Hon. John Saldivar, visited two families in the Salvpan area of Belmopan, whose homes were completely burnt down in an accidental fire.

Delone Vernon Dies after Second Gunshot to the Stomach
31-year-old Delone Vernon died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, June 17th, at 9:10 p.m. He was an Office Assistant and Youth Counselor at Youth for the Future. According to a police report, at around 8:50 p.m., Vernon was socializing at the residence of 32-year-old Sherna Miller when a man dressed in a black jacket with a hood over his head entered and fired several shots at them. Miller received gunshot wounds to the left arm and right leg, while Vernon received gunshot wounds to the right upper abdomen. They were both rushed to the KHMH where Miller was admitted to ward in a stable condition. Emergency operation was conducted on Vernon but he succumbed to his injuries while undergoing surgery. The news has been heartbreaking for his family, friends and coworkers who have been working diligently to raise funds so that he could access medical services abroad to treat wounds from a previous shooting incident. On October 12 of last year, Vernon was going to work sometime around 6 a.m., when two men approached him at the corner of Ebony Street and Magazine Road Extension. One of the men, whom he knew as Ellis Meighan Jr., took out a gun and handed it over to the other who immediately opened fire. Vernon was hit by bullets in the lower abdomen, left lower back and right upper leg. He was rushed to the KHMH and stabilized after emergency surgeries. However, he never fully recovered and a series of food sales were held to raise funds for him to travel abroad for medical attention.

Elias Santos Murdered in Western Pines
Police are investigating the murder of 24-year-old Elias Santos which occurred sometime between Sunday evening, June 16th, and Monday morning, June 17th. Santos is a resident of Bella Vista Village in the Stann Creek District but had been working as a mason and watchman on a house in the Western Pines Community for the last three weeks. According to police report, he had been granted permission to stay at the house as a watchman for CP Building Construction Company. Police were called to the construction site around 8 a.m. on Monday by coworkers of Santos, who discovered his body in the bathroom area of the structure. He was lying face up and chop wounds were visible on his forehead, right side of the face and back of the head. The house was on its final stage of construction and there was no sign of forced entry. An axe was found in the area that police believe may have been the murder weapon. Police are encouraging anyone with information relating to the death of Elias Santos to visit a police station nearest to them and make a report. They can also call Crime Stoppers Hotline at 0-800-922-TIPS if the wish to remain anonymous.

Armed Guatemalans Found near Caracol
Two Guatemalans were arraigned at the Belmopan Magistrate's Court on Tuesday of this week, five days after their encounter with a Belizean patrol. Last Friday, the Friends for Conservation and Development, the Belize Defense Force and the Special Patrol Unit were on a joint patrol on the Caracol Road when they encountered two Guatemalans. The Caracol Road is about 2.2 kilometers from the Tapir Camp and 8.5 kilometers from the Belize Guatemala Border. In the encounter with the two men, a police officer proceeded to identify himself. Both men then ran off and were pursued by the joint patrol. On closer approach, one of the male persons appeared to be with a sixteen gauge shot gun, slung on his right shoulder. Both men were apprehended and police identified them as Adelmo Hernandez Mancia, 24, a Guatemalan farmer of La Rejoya near Melchor de Mencos and Rolando Ramirez, 35, also a Guatemalan farmer of Dolores Peten.

Serjio Moran Wanted for Killing his Wife
Police are still searching for Sergio Moran who they believe can assist with their investigation into the brutal murder of 28-year-old Caye Caulker waitress, Julia Moran, which occurred on Wednesday, June 12th. Police investigation has revealed that at about 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Julia’s neighbours at her Black Neighbourhood area address heard noises coming from her house. Julia lives in a yard that contains four buildings. One neighbour said he saw when Sergio Moran came home at about 12:30 a.m. and knocked on the door. Julia did not answer and Sergio kicked the door open. The neighbour said they heard an argument for a while and then it went silent. At around 3 a.m., they saw Sergio leaving the house with the couple’s 9-year-old son. The neighbours were concerned for Julia’s safety but it was not until around midday Wednesday that they called police to check on her. Caye Caulker Police visited the residence at about 12:15 p.m. The only door to the house was locked and police had to break it down to enter. Inside, they found Julia’s lifeless body on a bed inside the couple’s bedroom. She was covered with some sheets and blankets. Julia had multiple chop wounds to the face and hands; a couple fingers were chopped off as well. Police believe they found the weapons that were used in the mutilation of Julia. However, the apprehension of Sergio is essential to the investigation. Sergio is a Guatemalan national. He was seen at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi dock around 4 a.m. that morning which leaves police to believe that he was heading for the border. As a result, an all points bulletin has been issued for the detention of Serjio Moran.

5 Years for Gun and Ammunition Possession
On Monday June 17th, Randy Wagner Jones was convicted to 5 years in prison after he was found guilty of illegally having in his possession a 9 millimeter pistol along with 9 live 9 millimeter bullets. He appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, where two police officers, testified that on September 8, 2012, they saw Jones when pull out a 9 mm pistol from his pants waist and threw it to the ground at the corner of Mopan and Mahogany Streets. In his defense, Jones asked the court to look into the fact that there were no finger prints belonging to him found on the firearm. He however placed himself at the crime scene but said that the gun was not his as his fingerprints were not found on it. In the trial, the Scenes of Crime Personnel, Jason Reneau testified that he could not detect a fingerprint due to the material the gun was made of and the special equipment needed to lift the prints with is not available in Belize. However, the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith did not believe Jones' version of the story and found him guilty. She sentenced him to 5 years on each count and ordered him to serve them concurrently.

Acquitted of Murder
On Tuesday, June 18th, 28-year-old Anthony Sabido was found not guilty of murder when he appeared in the Supreme Court before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Sabido spent the last 5 years on remand after he was accused of killing Norman Reyes, aka “Mimi”, 31, who was fatally shot once to the neck. In court, the defense made a no case submission which was upheld by Judge, Troadio Gonzalez. In the submission, the defense attorney, Anthony Sylvester, told the court that there was no evidence to properly convict the accused because of discrepancies and inconsistencies in the statement of the main witness who is now deceased. In a statement given to police, the key witness, Dennis Emmanuel Nembhard told police that he was standing near his home when he saw Reyes fall to the ground after being shot. Nembhard also told the police that he then saw Sabido ran away from the area. In his no case submission to the court, Sylvester told the court that from the visit to the scene, it was clear that Nembhard could not have seen Reyes and the accused when he committed the murder.

Tuff “E” Nuff and No Limit advance to basketball finals
The 2013 Interoffice Basketball Competition is fast winding down at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. On Friday, June 14th, in game one of the 2nd and final game of the semi-final round, Tuff “E” Nuff eliminated ‘Sir Belikin’ by the score of 84-82 to advance to the championship round for a second time in as many years. The top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Ashton Edwards with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and a steal; Jamal Kelly with 15 points, 1 assist and 1 steal; and Tyrone Edwards with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Sir Belikin were Keith Acosta with 31 points, 19 rebounds, and 4 assists; Dorian Jones with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals; and Daniel Nolberto with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. In the second game, No Limit eliminated CYDP by the score of 97-85 to advance to the final spot in the championship round. The top scorers for No Limit were Greg Rudon with 19 points,7 rebounds and 7 assists; Vince Garbutt also with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists; Jacob Leslie with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals; and Russell Staine also with 17 points, and 8 rebounds. For CYDP, the top scorers were Bernard Felix with 20 points, 4 assists and 1 steal; Ian Lennon with 19 points, and 10 rebounds; and Marvin Skeet with 14 points, and 7 rebounds.

Nissan Arana National Individual Time Trial champion
The Belize Cycling Association sponsored its 14th Annual National Individual Time Trials on Sunday, June 16th, 2013. In the Elite category, some 15 riders participated in the 20-mile event which went from CDS Gas on the Burrell Boom Road to the Hattieville roundabout and then back to CDS Gas. At the end of the event, it was Nissan Arana, who now rides for Depadores, that captured the National Individual Time Trials in a time of 9:50:00. The second best rider was Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes in a time of 09:48:00; third place went to Allen Castillo also of Benny’s Megabytes in a time of 09:40:00, fourth place went to Geon Hanson of Capital City Cycling Club in a time of 09:42:00, while Gregory Lovell of Telemedia finished fifth in a time of 09:46:00 to round off the top finishers. In the Masters Category, only three riders participated in the event. At the end of the Masters Category, which followed the same route as the Elite riders, first place went to Robert Liam Stewart of M&M Engineering in a time of 09:20:00; 2nd place went to James Scott of Santino’s in a time of 09:16:00; and third place went to Steve Bissett of CDS Gas in a time of 09:18:00.

Hummingbird Elementary Girls and Holy Redeemer Boys are Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball Champions
The 2012-2013 Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball competition which commenced on Monday, May 20th, with 14 teams in the girls competition and 13 teams in the boys competition came to an end on Wednesday, June 16th. In the girls championship game, which went to three exciting sets saw Hummingbird Elementary School besting Belize Elementary School by the score of 22-25, 25-16 and 15-11 to capture the Belize City Title. The newly crowned champions Hummingbird Elementary and the sub-champion Belize Elementary School will represent Belize City at the District championship. In the boys’ championship game, Holy Redeemer School also bested Belize Elementary School in three sets by the score of 11-25, 25-20 and 15-7 to capture the title. Holy Redeemer School and Belize Elementary School will represent Belize City at the District championship.

Flood Warning Across the Country
Tropical Depression #2 is gone but the worst may be yet to come. The latest advisory from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) basically places most of the country on flood watch. It warned that the Macal River is 24 inches above normal and rising. The Mopan River is 12 inches above normal and rising. The Belize River is 6 feet above normal and rising throughout the Belize District because the Crooked Tree Lagoon is rising and running into Black Creek, Spanish Creek, Black Burn, Mexico Creek and Muscle Creek into the Belize River.

Fashion Show to Feed Children in Cayo
Preparations are now being made by the Cornerstone Foundation in San Ignacio for a fashion show. The fund raising event has been scheduled for July 13th, 2013 and is slated to start at 6:00 p.m. at the Octavia Waight Auditorium in San Ignacio.

Mary Open Doors has a new Board
Mary Open Doors, a Non-Profit Organization committed to empowering and improving the well being of women and children and which is based in San Ignacio, now has a new Board. The new Mary Open Doors Board, which became active on Wednesday of this week at the Rumors Resort and Hotel on the Benque Viejo Road, will now function for the next two years. Stepping forward voluntarily to serve in the new board as President was Sandra Paniagua; Vice President Rhondine Petrof; and Ciriaco Medina and Kathleen Pate as Trustees.


All you can eat Lobster pizza alays a crowd pleaser
San Pedro Lobster Festtival carwl continued on at Pedro’s Hotel last night and Fri night for “All you can eat” Lobster pizza. Paul and I both agreed that this years all you can eat pizza night went smoother than all previous years, just goes to show sometimes it takes a few tries to hit the right combination. The serving area was at the back where the poker room used to be which made so more sense and where the pizza used to get served was all seating area. This was great as it kept the stampede out of the middle of the room. The Fri night band kept the crowd entertained and everybody was happy eating, drinking and dancing. Unfortunately the band got rained out but they bounced back and quickly managed to get all their gear inside before it got too wet and were playing again within minutes.

Why I would like to be an Eco-Kid
On Wednesday afternoon during class, the teacher came and gave a great news about a first class resort namely, Chaa Creek Resort, one of the best small resort in the world, was giving a one in a lifetime experience summer camp for students our age. After listening carefully to the rules for participation, I immediately became interested in joining this summer camp. One of my great passions is watching the wonderful flower and the vegetation and the different aromas from the different plants. I enjoy the wonderful views, watching the bees and butterflies picking on the flowers. At the age of five, I had the opportunity to visit a cave at Che Chem Ha. It was an experience that I have not forgotten. I started the journey to the cave by riding a mule. After riding for about 100 yard, I fell off the mule and I had to continue the journey by foot. What a wonderful experience it was to see what our ancestors left behind – the pottery, their religious beliefs and the way they lived. Given the opportunity to attend this camp would give me the opportunity to increase my knowledge of their existence, culture and traditions.

Oh Belize! Four Things to do in Belize
People are always asking what the “don’t miss” things to do in Belize are. Oh, where to begin? Do you want to spend your time in the Caribbean? Or do pristine rainforests and rivers attract you? How about exploring Maya temples and ancient cities? For such a small place there’s just so much to see and do that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Having been pressed, I decided to name my personal top three, but that was so hard I had to add at least one more. So here we go… Number One: Belize’s Wild West While Belize is known as a diver’s paradise (and we’ll get to that later) more and more people are discovering the magic of inland Belize and the lush Cayo District. And why not? Where else can you go, in just a couple hours driving, from seacoast, through broad savannah and rolling green pastures to increasingly deeper bush turning to jungle? Along the way you’ll notice a change from the lilt of coastal Creole to more Spanish speakers. You can even take a hand cranked ferry across the river to Spanish Lookout and hear German spoken in the large Mennonite farming community there. It’s very easy and relatively inexpensive to hire a car in Belize, which leaves you open to a whole range of adventures. But for the more budget mined, a bus ride will get you to San Ignacio, the gateway to the west, and from there you can arrange day trips to fascinating Maya archaeological sites such as Cahal Pech, which is right in San Ignacio, Xunantunich and the delightful El Pilar. There are rivers to swim and canoe, bush walks to take and so many things to explore it would take a separate post to even list. You get the point. Belize’s civilised Wild West is a must see.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Belize
1. It’s the only English speaking country in Central America: Belize was occupied by the British, making it unique among its neighbors. 2. It was the center of the Mundo Maya: The Mayan once occupied Belize, as evidenced by the dozen or more protected archeological sites. Practically every buried mound you spot is a piece of history. 3. Most Belizeans are trilingual: They speak Kriol, Spanish and English. Some also speak additional languages, such as Garifuna, Mayan dialects, and German. 4. You can have a plate of coconut rice n’ beans: Proof of Caribbean culture? Coconut rice and beans is sold on every corner, alongside a tasty stew of your choice. 5. You can eat African fufu and cassava: The Garinagu people, descendants from West Africa, settled along Belize’s southern coast and brought with them their plantains and cassava. The result? Dishes like hudut—mashed plantains, also known as “fufu” in West Africa, served with a fish stew.

Belizean Coconut Ideal (Icee)
Ideal is known as Icee in America. This is just the same as putting juice in a baggie, sealing it shut and allowing it to freeze. This Coconut Ideal is heavenly because it is milky, sweet and delectable. Summer would not be the same without this sweet treat.

“Together Again” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.
When I got up yesterday morning it was still raining. And raining quite hard. Managed to sit on the veranda with my ‘wake-up’ mug of coffee and The Times on-line for a while but then the rain started to drift in and hit me and, more importantly, my iPad so the only sensible (and,contrary to what many people might think, I am sensible) thing to do was to move inside. So I did. Once I had showered, shaved, dressed and had breakfast I set about trying to organise a replacement windscreen (windshield for non UK readers) for the one that had been stolen from our golf cart. First of I sent an email to Captain Sharks to ask how much they would charge to provide and fit a replacement. I then drove to FC Aluminium to find out what they would charge. I then went back home. When I got the response from Captain Sharks it was a close run thing but I opted for FC Aluminium so we took the ‘cart there before going to visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. They were very efficient, taking slightly longer to get the replacement windscreen(windshield) from the stockroom than they did to fit once they had found it. Hopefully this one – with rivets to secure it to the ‘cart’- will remain in place!

Mennonite Gurls A'ken Cook: Kale Pesto
1 good han'ful o'fresh kale (I cut about 8 large leeves) roughlee choppet 2 cloves fresh garlic (crushet) 3/4 cup toastid warnit halves juice o'1 fresh lemon 1/2 cup parmesun olif' earl (about 1/4 cup) salt an' pepp'r to taste

International Sources

Lindbergh High Educator Headed to Belize to Teach
There will be nothing but sunny skies, beaches and of course, science for one Lindbergh Teacher here soon. Steven Tomey, a local resident has been selected to participate in the summer 2013 global graduate studies in Belize. He will live in the Central American country beginning in early August. The environmental science teacher will study conservation and marine ecology as part of Miami University’s Project Dragonfly. The graduate courses from Miami University's Project Dragonfly are based on Earth Expeditions, which has engaged more than 1,400 people since 2004 in firsthand educational and scientific research at critical conservation field sites in Africa, Australia, Asia and the Americas, according to a Lindbergh Schools statement.

‘Laws of the Jungle’ heads to Belize for filming
The production and cast members of SBS TV ‘Laws of the Jungle’ were recently sighted at Incheon International Airport, as they prepare to depart for Belize in Central America to record another new season. The cast members for this season are Kim Byung Man, Noh Woo Jin, Jo Yeo Jung, Kim Sung Soo, Oh Jong Hyuk, and Ryu Dam. Belize will represent another new challenge for Byung Man and his tribe members, and they will no doubt look to their bags of experience obtained in previous seasons to tide them through again. Belize is a country that only gained independence in 1981, with 22,960 square kilometres of land and a population of only 312,698 inhabitants (2010 census). But over 60% of Belize’s land surface is covered by forest, with the country also housing the Belize Barrier Reef which is a popular destination for divers all over the world, and bordered by the Caribbean Sea, which has seen the country being labelled as the ‘Earth’s Hope’.

Ancient cities, 'gaudy' pyramids: Exhibit brings Maya to Minnesota
In the 1840s, English artist Frederick Catherwood and American travel writer John Lloyd Stephens captured the public's imagination with a series of lushly illustrated books about the ruined cities of the Maya. Lithographs showed pyramids rising from the jungle and vine-covered monuments carved with mysterious hieroglyphs. Who built these ancient cities in the tropical forests of Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and southern Mexico? Why did they abandon them? What happened to their civilization? More than a century and a half later, a new exhibit, "Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed," created by the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, taps into the continuing fascination and explores the archaeological discoveries of the past few decades. "It turned out that while most people had heard of the Maya, they didn't know much," said museum curator of archaeology Ed Fleming. "People had this basic idea of geniuses in the jungle whose civilization disappeared. We thought that presented a great opportunity."

Greeley church mission gives shoes to orphans in Belize
It took 10 months of fundraising and lots of community involvement for the First Presbyterian Church of Greeley to earn enough money to send 25 church members and 35 pounds of shoes to Corozal, Belize. But church leaders knew the shoes — donated by Greeley retailers and community members — would make a big difference in the lives of Belizean orphans living in a Corozal orphanage. In addition to delivering shoes, the goal of the church mission was to give families needed supplies and food and help out however they could in Northern Belize schools and communities.

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