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12/11/2013 to 12/22/2013
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December 22, 2013


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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!!!
Peanut Brother & Jelly II – The Roast:
The black earth clings to each bundle of peanuts packed tightly in the crocus sacks that are piled high in our storeroom. It’s been weeks of reaping, and we are finally home to take care of the last batch before they are all ready for sale. While we’ve been camping for weeks, my aunts and uncles have been busy at our house, washing and drying the stocks that arrived weekly, packing them in clean sacks. Our final batch arrived on our worn horses, pulling the last cartload of earthy produce. I often sat atop the sacks, burrowed down against my mother’s lap as we jostled down the dirt roads and slopes on our way home.

The San Pedro Sun

Armed robbery attempt at W & W Convenience Store: gunfire exchanged
Gun fire was exchanged during an attempted armed robbery of W & W Convenience store located in the DFC area tonight, December 21st. Initial reports from police and from the owner of the store, state that two men wearing masks attempted to rob the store at approximately 8:15 PM. One of the men was wielding what appeared to be a revolver. The owner of the store fired his 9mm handgun at the assailants who allegedly returned fire. The robbers fled on foot leaving their two bicycles and coins they had stolen during their escape. Officers on the scene said they were reviewing video surveillance footage in an attempt to identify the culprits. At this time it is unknown if any of the assailants were injured during the gunfire. Police are requesting that anyone with information please call the station at 206-2022.

Two more jaguar hides confiscated by Belize Forestry Department in San Pedro
A joint operation between the Belize Forestry Department and San Pedro Police Department has led to the discovery of two illegal jaguar hides. The pelts were found inside a warehouse in the San Marcos area on Marina Drive in San Pedro Town on Tuesday December 17th. According to Victoria Cawich, Forestry and Wildlife Officer at the Belize Forestry Department, the operation was launched after authorities received a tip from a local resident on Monday December 16th. The operation was immediately put into place and with the help of San Pedro police, the warehouse was searched. Cawich explained that inside the building were two well preserved jaguar pelts which appeared to be of two fully mature adult jaguars, scientifically known as Panthera Onca. Investigations so far reveal that the jaguars were killed in the Toledo District. According to Cawich, the naturalized Belizean who had the pelts explained that he came in to possession of the jaguar hides in March from a friend living in Punta Gorda Town. That person was contacted by investigators and indicated that he shot and killed the animals after they were attacking and killing his livestock on his farm. The Punta Gorda Town resident said that he gave the jaguar hides to a friend since it was of no use to him.

Christmas Message from Officer in Charge, Luis Castellanos
I am pleased to report that since the start of the festive period, crime has been low. For this I am very grateful and hope that it continues on that trend. It is the best gift that can be afforded to this beautiful island. For the Yuletide season we will endeavor, through targeted EXTRA-PATROL, to ensure that the island of San Pedro continues to be a safe tourist destination, for visiting tourist and a safe haven for the local community. I also take this opportunity to inform the General Public, that we are cognizant that it is the season to be JOYFUL and MERRY, but that we must be responsible in our actions particularly to avoid, DRINKING AND DRIVING, DRUNK AND DISORDERLY BRAWLS, BOISTERIOUS AND DISORDERLY BEHAVIOURS, THROWING AND BREAKING BOTTLES ON THE PAVEMENT, RECKLESS AND BLATANT DISCHARGE OF FIRE CRACKERS. All in all let us celebrate in peace and respect for each other. I would like to thank law enforcement partners such as the Coast Guard, Immigration Department, Customs, Labor Department, Forestry Department, and the Mayor His Lordship Daniel Guerrero and his councilors for the continued support to ensure that San Pedro continues to be one of the safest place in the country of Belize. It is a great privilege for my staff and myself to serve this beautiful Town and I take this opportunity to wish each and every one a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and prosperous New Year.

San Pedro Dance Academy presents a Tropical Nutcracker Christmas Show
The San Pedro Dance Academy presented their final show of the year entitled The Tropical Nutcracker. The much anticipated annual Christmas show took place at the Rafael Angel Nuñez Auditorium on Sunday December 15th. The annual Christmas program is the dance group’s way of saying thanks to the community for their constant support. The program story was about a girl who wanted to take a Christmas trip away from the cold snow and travel to a tropical paradise of sun, beach and sea filled with fun. The dancers brought the stage to life with a tropical Christmas theme in a 45 minute non-stop presentation. A total of 46 dancers from beginners, beginners-advance, juniors and seniors combined the holiday theme with various tropical musical songs. From the traditional Belizean brukdown and punta to the Latin salsa and bachata, all the sections of the show were strategically choreographed and fussed the music selections into a Christmas theme. Combined with their outfits, The Tropical Nutcracker dance and music presentations captivated the attention of the audience who throughout the show cheered and clapped for the participants.

The Belize Fisheries Department Enforcing Gill Net Registration Policy
On Saturday, December 7th a fisherman was found using an unregistered gill net near the Bomba Village river/lagoon channel. The fisherman using the net was reported to Hol Chan Marine Reserve officers, who visited the area for inspection. Upon inspection, the net was found to be unregistered. The fisherman was warned and told to register his net at the Fisheries Department as per the new fishing regulations. While it is a law that all gill nets are to be registered, several fishermen are still unaware of this policy. On July 1, 2013 the Belize Fisheries Department enacted the policy requiring that all gill nets, whether used for profit or nonprofit, must be registered before it is used. The regulation was setup in accordance with the Statutory Instrument No. 78 of the Belize Fisheries Act. The purpose of the regulation was to ensure the sustainable management of commercial fisheries, as well as protection of various species of fish.

IDB announces new Country Strategy with Belize for 2013-2017
Education, tourism, transport and trade and tax policy will be the strategy’s main focus The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today approved a new Country Strategy with Belize, affirming its commitment to partner with the Government of Belize on the country’s development. The strategy will support Belize in addressing its development challenges in four priority areas: education, tourism, transport, and trade and tax policy. “The IDB’s new strategy with Belize will help the government address the country’s needs by supporting greater efficiency in public spending and improving the conditions for sustainable, export-led growth through institutional strengthening and infrastructure investments in key sectors of the economy”, said Anneke Jessen, IDB Representative in Belize.

Winners of the annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest shine bright in San Pedro
It was another joyful ride for The San Pedro Sun elves – er…staff – as they rode around San Pedro Town on Saturday, December 14th, for their 9th Annual Caribbean Christmas Colors Contest. Joining the merry ride and having the great honor to choose their favorite brightly lit homes were esteemed judges Jan Brown, Melanie Paz and Enrique de Leon. Children were surely happy to see the golf carts adorned with Christmas decorations driving past their streets, as the mini parade went along judging the festively decorated houses while handing out sweet treats in the spirit of holiday sharing. Santa Claus even joined the procession of carts for a moment while he was out checking to see who’s been naughty or nice. Although the rain and challenging roads tried to damped their holiday spirit,the gang still managed to tour through town core, neighboring areas and even ventured over the Boca del Rio Bridge for a short distance. The procession then ventured south, all the way to Escalante. Unfortunately some areas were impossible to reach due to street conditions because of the rain. Despite it all, nothing could stop the fun, which was certainly the sight of the festive houses, each uniquely decorated. The three judges certainly had a difficult task, as all the decorated houses had their own special Christmas touch. The hardest part of the night was choosing the lucky winners. Houses were judged on which portrayed the different categories best: Judges Choice/Best Overall, Best Theme, Most Creative,Jan Jensen Memorial Award, Neighborhood Star, Honorable Mention, Mrs. Claus’ Choice, Best Business, Business Honorable Mention and Editor’s Choice. After a brief deliberation by the judges, decisions were made and the choices were unanimous.

The LeClairs bring Santa Claus to San Pedro
He was not on his trusty old sleigh, but rather on an equally fun golf cart, when Santa Claus arrived at San Pedro on Saturday, December 14th giving candy canes to all the nice children of San Pedro. Bob LeClair and his wife, Lou Ann were more than happy to play the role of Santa and Mrs. Claus and bring some Christmas joy to the children. The LeClairs, originally from San Jose, California, US, have been living on Ambergris Caye for about four years and when the opportunity came up for them to give back to the community, they quickly took the offer. According to the LeClairs, Bob was the man behind Saga’s Santa in the 2012 Lighted Boat Parade, but since unfortunately there was not boat a parade this year, he decided to dress up and drive along the streets of San Pedro giving out candy to the boys and girls. “We love San Pedro and its people and wanted to give back to the community. And what better way than having Santa giving back! To see the smiles and happy faces on not just the young ones, but the older ones also, is such a good feeling,” said Lou Ann.

Puma sighted in San Pedro Town
There is much concern amongst local residents on Ambergris Caye following reports that a puma was sighted on the morning of Thursday December 19th. So far, the Belize Forestry Department has been combing the area and is also warning residents to be extra vigilant. According to an eye witness report, sometime around 7:30 AM he sighted the tawny cat also referred to as a cougar (Puma concolor) near the San Telmo Area around Caribbean Villas. The wild cat was seen walking across the street in a dense area on Coconut Drive in San Pedro Town. He immediately reported the incident to local police, who contacted the Belize Forestry Department. According to Pantera Expert Bart Harmsen, pumas are usually “extremely slippery” and are known to move around very quickly and unnoticed. “What we know is that people have seen the wild cat and there are reports of rabbits and chickens gone missing,” said Harmsen as he explained to authorities what has been established so far. Residents in the area are also reporting that they have been noticing less raccoons in the area recently. “The only way to catch this puma is if we know where it is,” he added. So far, only tracks were noticed in the early part of the day, but due to the heavy downpour of rain, those tracks were washed away, making it difficult to further investigate the sighting.

Ambergris Today

Hunt Continues for Wild Puma in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
In our little town word about something exciting spreads faster than wildfire and that’s exactly what happened on Thursday, December 19, 2013, as the news that a wildcat was seen crossing the street and running into the bushes in the south side of town quickly got residents panicking. Tonight, the Belize Forestry Department urges residents to be vigilant of such a wild animal. Mountain lions are also called cougars, panthers, catamounts, and in Belize pumas and that is what a resident spotted crossing the street on Coconut Drive early this morning. Residents in the area claim that their live stock such as chickens and rabbits have become prey for the mighty cougar. Local authorities including the San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Police Department were informed about the situation and personnel from the Belize Forestry Department and Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic came to the island to assist in capturing the wildcat.

Island Academy's Hollywood Christmas Spectacular
Lights, Camera, Christmas! Every year the students of the Island Academy never fail to impress their audience at their annual Christmas Pageant. This year the students produced a Hollywood themed variety show on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. With a production filled with Hollywood celebrity impersonations and movie set props, the upperclassmen of the Island Academy put on a first class presentation filled with song, dance and plenty of acting entertainment. Hollywood never looked so good; the play was all about celebrating making the perfect movie in honor of Santa Claus. The younger students opened the show with performances of Christmas songs. Below are highlights of the Christmas Pageant.

Consulate of Belize Delivers 200 Toys to the Children of St. Martin de Porres
Coral Gables, FL- The Consulate of Belize in Florida delivered 200 toys to the children of St. Marin de Porres Parish in Belize City on Friday, December 13th 2013. The presentation of gifts took place during a Christmas party held at the Saint Martin School. Each child received a toy for Christmas. Mrs. Janine Sylvestre Vega, Hon. Consul General for the Consulate of Belize in Florida, along with representatives of the Parish handed out the toys which were generously donated by the Belize Diaspora in Florida.

Chukka Belize Spreads Christmas Cheer with Toy Drive
On Saturday, December 14, 2013, Chukka tour guides once again visited five rural communities to spread some Christmas cheer. Over a decade ago, several local tour guides began raising funds to purchase toys for children in Belize at Christmas. Four years ago, the guides who provide tour guiding services for Chukka tours, approached Chukka with the initiative and ever since it has been a proud annual tradition at the company. From September of each year, the guides contribute a portion of the tips they receive to the annual toy drive fund. At the end of November, the company and staff matches the contributions raised by the guides. It is a voluntary effort for all who participate. Premier Charters, the company’s bus transportation provider, also contributes with the use of a bus and driver.

Belize Fisheries Department Now Issuing Fisher Folk Licenses
The Fisheries Department hereby informs the PUBLIC that it will start the renewal of fisher folk licenses for 2014 on December 16, 2013. Applicants are advised that they must present the following documents when applying: 1.Fisherfolk License Requirements First Issue/Renewals Belizean (a) Applicant must be 18 years or older and (b) Present a valid Social Security Card or (c) Voters Identification Card along with a Birth Certificate or (d) Valid Passport

Misc Belizean Sources

Diaspora Conference in Belize
The Corozal Organization of East Indian Cultural Heritage, a nonprofit promoting East Indian culture, will hold its annual conference in Belize Aug. 5-11, 2014, on the theme “The Indian Diaspora in Belize and the Wider Caribbean.” It is the first conference of its kind to be held in the English-speaking country and in Central America. There is no registration fee for the conference and organizers are "subsidizing" breakfast, lunch and ground transportation. Participants can chose their accommodations, but they should be at or near conference venues for security and convenience. Some possible themes for papers include history, migration, inter-ethnic marriages, culture loss, education, gender, etc. At least two-thirds of each paper must deal with Indians in Belize.

Ancient Maya Site Teeters on the Edge of Destruction
The Alacranes Bajo, a low-lying, highly fertile and productive stretch of land which extends across Belize’s northwest corner and parts of Mexico and Guatemala, has been farmed intensively for centuries by the ancient Maya. Today is no different, with its modern inhabitants continuing to clear the land. One would think that this is a good thing. After all, agricultural development feeds people and can raise many a family out of the misery of poverty. But progress, particularly in Belize and its Central American neighboring countries, often comes at a steep price, as locations and resources that represent critical cultural heritage and undiscovered history are lost to the bulldozer and other human tools for development, not to mention looting and inadvertent destruction caused by casual visitors. This is the looming fate for many of the ancient settlements, known and unknown, that dot the Belizean landscape on the east side of the Alacranes Bajo.

Political Independence and Economic Development in the Caribbean
In 2003, Alvin G. Wint – former head of the Department of Management Studies at the University of West Indies, Mona Campus – noted in his book, “Competitiveness in Small Developing Economies: Insights from the Caribbean,” that dependent territories in the Caribbean typically have the smallest economies but the highest per capita incomes. Early in the 1960s, when most Caribbean countries were either dependent or newly independent, territories which would later form the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) could be listed from the highest to lowest per capita income as: Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, the Leeward and Windward islands. Twenty years later, seven territories of the Leeward and Windward Islands formed a monetary union called the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Wint states that: while they “are politically independent, their monetary policy independence is constrained by their membership in this regional economic union”.

Dangerous hole has formed on the bridge
Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro Town Council advises everyone crossing the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge to do so with precaution since a dangerous hole has formed on the bridge. Only one side of the lanes is passable; therefore, we are asking all drivers to drive slow and to be on the lookout for incoming traffic from the opposite side of your direction. Repairs will start immediately. On site was engineer Lee Van from Medina's Construction and his crew assessing the damage. We apologize for any inconveniences caused and we appreciate your cooperation and understanding. HELP US SHARE THIS MESSAGE SO THAT EVERYONE DRIVES WITH SAFETY WHEN CROSSING THE BRIDGE!

The San Pedro Town Council gave out toys to children in San Mateo, San Pedrito and D.F.C. as part of their Christmas Toy Drive! The children were excited to be receiving these toys! Mayor Daniel Guerrero and the San Pedro would like to thank those who contributed toys for the Toy Drive and made it a success! THANK YOU!

On Thursday, December 19 The Management of Ramon's Village Resort held a banquet for the workers that were part of the project BEAUTY FROM ASHES which was the reconstruction of the resort after a section of the resort was burnt back in August. The workers were treated to refreshments, snacks, delicious turkey dinner and chocolate cake delight! After dinner, Mayor Daniel Guerrero gave the workers a few words of encouragement and appreciation. Mr. Richard Headricks gave a very emotional THANK YOU to everyone who made the project BEAUTY FROM ASHES possible. After all the speeches the workers were given prizes and recognitions for all their hard work! — at Ramon's Village Resort.

San Pedro Town Council Christmas Opening Hours

Rum Journal: A New Rum From Belize
BELIZE is one of the region’s sugar production hubs. And yet, even for a land in love with the spirit as much as its neighbours in the Caribbean, Belizean rums are not well known outside of the country. Basil DeStefano is hoping to change that. A Belize resident and rum lover, DeStefano is looking to bring to the United States its first “premium” Belizean rum. the new Tiburon Rum, the product of a partnership with the famous Belize-based Travellers Liquors. The rum is aged and blended in a “variety of barrels,” then sent for the “second maturation” into Kentucky Oak Bourbon barrels. Its a blend of four, six and eight-year-old rums, all done small-batch with the goal of producing about 12,000 bottles a year. Tiburon, which is the Spanish word for “shark,” has a golden amber colour and an aroma of vanilla and caramel. Despite its lighter colour, this is a full-bodied rum, with a flavour profile of peppery spice, caramel, cappucino, dried fruits and molasses. The finish is spicy and ultimately quite smooth.

12 days of Christmas in Belize

Benque Viejo Posadas Continue
Benque is in the middle of their Posadas celebrations. They will continue through Christmas Eve. "Day 5 of the traditional Posadas Celebration in Benque Viejo this will lead into the Eve of the 24 of December, we have 4 more days to go along ... live the momentum of the Posadas Celebration in our dear Benque Viejo Del Carmen"

Flavors of Belize Christmas Special
The group at Flavors of Belize put out a Christmas special where Chef Sean Kuylen made Black Cake and Christmas Ham. "One of the most important items on the menu for a true Belizean Christmas. Chef Sean Kuylen tries his hand at baking, adding some flavor to this timeless recipe and almost burning off an eyebrow in the process! If you are looking for an authentic homegrown Belizean recipe (with a spin, of course) to try this Christmas - our Black Cake recipe is perfect."

Stonetree in the House
Stonetree in the House is the new documentary from Daniel Velazquez, filmed during the day that Stonetree Records spent the day recording at the Soul Project. In related news, the Soul Project is having Ridley Bent coming all the way from Canada to play on Friday, and Saturday is a Winter Solstice party. "A documentation of a very creative day with some of Belize international renowned artist, some great Trinidad artist too, it was a video shoot for The Garifuna Collective music and photo shoot for Stonetree records, documented direct cinema style."

Reengineering the Cultural Economy
Reengineering the Cultural Economy is an interesting, and informative essay from Alan Slusher, which he presented at the annual meeting of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It's really worth a read. "The word 'economy' has to do with all aspects of production, exchange, consumption and investment activities through which a people generate value and share the material and social goods that are required first for survival, and then, after the basic survival requirements are satisfied, for recreation, enjoyment, and intellectual and spiritual reflection and exploration. These latter processes, of course, also lead to expansion in the production of goods and services, of income and wealth, and most importantly, they lead to changes in the patterns of behaviour and representations of those patterns, that, taken together, define the group’s culture."

Know where your Cheese comes from
Contraband cheese found stuffed in a Corozal Free Zone garbage truck, and yes the garbage truck was full of garbage.This could be a potential health hazard for anyone who may be buying and consuming this contraband cheese. We have no idea how long it has been happening. For many in the hustle sector of the economy, Christmas is contraband time, and the hustle often starts at the two borders but particularly in the Corozal Free Zone where premium liquor and Mexican beer is cheap. And for those who can get past the customs checkpoints, it can mean making a killing on contraband. But, getting past those checkpoints has been tough lately, and we are told, even a few customs officers have been caught. And so that's why one group of smugglers found a novel way to get their contraband out of the zone: They hid it in a garbage truck! You heard right, a garbage truck.

Christmas Message from Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, Corozal Police Department
On behalf of the Corozal Police Formation, the officer commanding Supt. Andrew Ramirez wishes each and every Corozaleño and visitor alike a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year 2014. Some safety and precautionary tips offered by OC is to be on alert at all times. avoid walking yourselves or late at night. Report all suspicious persons or vehicles to the Corozal Police by calling either 402-0022 or 911. OC stated that his formation is not a perfect one as he continues to receive complaints of irregular behaviour from the Police but most of them are trying their best. The public should not leave their homes with lights or unattended and curtains pulled to the view of the public.

The rain continues to leave its mark on the roads.
As the Government moves forward to overhaul them, the weather keeps delaying all these efforts. Here is a photo of the road approaching the Chunox ferry. This morning, we headed to Sarteneja to see for ourselves how far we could drive to with our Ford Explorer, but could only get just a few hundred yards from the Chunox Ferry. Other larger vehicles could be seen driving to the ferry but we would not recommend vehicles our size or smaller than ours to take the risk. In the meantime, the Belize Coast Guard will be continuing to ferry villagers of Sarteneja and surrounding areas to Corozal Town from 6:00 a.m. to CZL and 6:00 p.m. returning to SRTA. This service is FREE and will continue from Thu Dec. 19th - Sat Dec 21st and Christmas week from Thu Dec 26th - Sun Dec 29. Hopefully our request to keep the coast guard running every day on Christmas week will take heed. Be safe!

Swapping Stress in L.A. for Freedom in Belize
Alfredo and Yvonne Villoria were just another fast-paced, career-minded couple in Los Angeles. But money-making wasn’t enough. “We felt that something was missing,” says Yvonne. “In 1976, we decided that 1980 was the cut-off year. In 1980, we would leave the United States. All we were doing was chasing the dollar. We wanted more. We thought there had to be more to life than just working and owning things. “We had the good life in L.A. I worked trading stocks and bonds and Alfredo was an aerospace scientist. We had professional work, we had the cars, a house in San Diego, and one in Los Angeles. But it wasn’t making us happy. Alfredo and I both needed challenges in our lives. Every year I changed jobs because the old one got boring,” says Yvonne.

Channel 7

Garbage Truck Contrabandists Sent To Jail
The Hall brothers from Corozal had an ingenious idea - they would use a garbage truck to smuggle a load of contraband out of the Corozal Free Zone. The garbage truck did its regula...

Gaza’s Christmas Come Up Paid
Today was payday for the George Street residents who were brutalized by the GSU in august of 2011. As we reported last week, Government agreed to an out of court settlement in a sui...

Caye Caulker, Enter Sandman!
Last night we showed you the angry residents of Caye Caulker who say their precious white sand is being stolen from their Island and hauled to San Pedro. They believe that because the...

Belize Times Call Out Hon. Castro On Cheque
Paying for funerals - it's one of the most basic and frequent responsibilities of Area Representatives in Belize, so much so that it's a fixture in the political culture. But what about...

Corozal Man Stabbed To Death
There is a murder to report in Chan Chen - which is the northern most village in the country. It is the second this year in the small village near the Mexican border. 28 year-old ...

Mayor & BWC At It Again
Two weeks ago, we told you all about the ugly dispute between Belize Waste Control and the Belize City Council where the council owed 15 weeks of arrears for the city's garbage collection, a...

Michael Young Makes Remarkable Grades
One man who is keenly aware of the importance of proficiency in the written and spoken word is Michael Young. We've reported on him many times before: he's the brave young man who got int...

Hugo Casssanova’s Big Connect In Jail
You may remember the name Hugo Cassanova from February of this year when the Corozal Resident was caught in Chetumal along with Orange Walk's Milin Vasquez in a major drug bust. Well, ...

Fireworks Crackdown In the West
For the past few nights, we've been telling you about the seizure of contraband liquor in the north. That comes out of the Corozal Free Zone, but in the West customs has to contend wi...

Demarco Is Ready
Jamaican Dancehall Artist, Demarco, is in Belize, and he's here as the headline performer at the Belize City Council's Christmas Concert, which started a short while ago. Today, at the in...

BELCARIBE: Spreading Christmas Cheer
This week, we've covered all kinds of gift hamper giveaways. But, today was different, it wasn't from a big organization, but one of our media partners, Bel Caribe Communications which prod...

Precinct 1 Delivers Their Food Hampers
And continuing with the Christmas hampers, On Wednesday, 7News showed you the final arrangements that the Police Precinct 1 was making to deliver their Food Hampers to needy residents in...

Rigo Did It Again Abroad
34 year old Rigo Vellos is Belize's best in bodybuilding and is no stranger to the international arena. Just in May Vellos took part in the 2013 Hercules Olympia contest in Colchester Lo...

Channel 5

George Street resident receive first half of settlement in GSU brutality case
A little over a hundred thousand dollars has been paid out to residents of George Street who were savagely attacked by members of the Gang Suppression Unit over two years [...]

Murder in Chan Chen; ex-convict killed one week after release from prison
The fifth murder for 2013, in the Corozal District, was recorded this morning in the village of Chan Chen. The lifeless remains of twenty-eight year old Darwin Salazar was found [...]

A fight in Cayo has gone viral
Facebook aficionados are probably old hands at checking out videos of street-fights posted from all over the world, and even from our own little piece of the world. In this [...]

Fire in Orange Walk Town guts a home
A cement bungalow located on Dr. George Street in Orange Walk Town was totally destroyed by fire on Thursday night. The Orange Walk Fire Department got the call shortly after [...]

Rhett Fuller goes before Attorney General yet again in the fight against his extradition
Rhett Fuller has been fighting extradition to the US for fifteen years. He is wanted there for his alleged involvement in a 1998 murder in North Miami Beach. On July [...]

Gregory Knox remanded for aggravated assault
A tearful Gregory Knox sobbed before the Senior Magistrate on Monday when he was accused of pulling a gun at a woman. But that did not spare him from being [...]

Belize City tour guide charged for handling stolen goods
Also in court, a Belize City Tour guide was today charged for handling stolen goods after police allege that they found him in possession of stolen items belonging to Raymond [...]

Acting ComPol Miguel Segura shares Christmas Message
Police officers have come under serious scrutiny recently after criminal allegations were made against them. This week, PC Dayton Sacasa was arraigned on charges of extortion. Days before three officers [...]

A Christmas Party for guests at the Resource Center
Some one hundred and ninety-two persons are registered to the Resource Center here in Belize City. They include those that are mentally ill, the homeless and others. On a daily [...]

Ham, ham, ham…..what’s on your plate this Christmas?
Ham, like turkey, is an essential part of the Christmas cuisine. But there is little known about its preparation and curing. The following feature takes you to Southside Meats where [...]


David Aikerman Spreads The Christmas Cheer
Mexican Media is reporting that the Sipse Group of Chetumal welcomed the participation of Ambassador of Peace in Belize, David Aikerman in their Christmas 24x24 campaign geared towards needy children...

BTIA Orange Walk Elects New Committee
The Orange Walk chapter of the Belize Tourism industry Association (BTIA) held its annual general meeting on Wednesday December 11th and a new board of directors was elected. And while it...

One Man Being Sought For Crime Of Wounding
Police are looking for one man in relation to a report of wounding. According to police twenty nine year old Renan Crawford, resident of Concepcion Village reported that on Friday...

Copper Thieves Continue On The Lose
Copper theft continues as police investigate yet another report. Corozal Police report that sixty-two year old Noel Samodee, a retired Trinidadian and US Citizen of Four Miles Lagoon on the...

Honey Producers Affected By Flooding
In last night’s newscast we presented you with the work being done to prepare for the arrival of a bug that may potentially close down the honey production industry in...

Sugar Industry Continues To Navigate In Turbulent Waters
“Disappointing and Disturbing” that’s how the Belize Sugar Industries Limited describes the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association’s response to their compromise to negotiate a payment for Bagasse an issue that...


Highway Robbery in Southern Belize
A salesman was reportedly robbed while on a delivery on the Southern Highway. According to 24 year old Kirk Hower, a salesman for Beefmaster/Karbo Farm at Mile 12 Southern Highway, at around five on Monday evening while he and his driver were making a delivery at Tienda Saravia Shop at mile 15 on the Southern Highway, he noticed that the shop was closed and came out of the vehicle to inquire with the neighbors. That was when someone alerted him that someone was behind him and he turned around and noticed two men wearing masks and one bearing a gun and another with a knife had accosted the truck driver. The two culprits demanded money and Hower said that he handed over a black waist bag containing two thousand 575 dollars, which were the day’s sales. Police have made no arrests.

Immigration Minister Says It May Not Be Airtight But It’s The Best in 31 Years
Following Wednesday’s Senate Sitting in which the newly amended Belize National Bill was passed into law, Senator Godwin Hulse, who is the Minister of Immigration, discussed the Bill with reporters and said that while the new legislation is designed to stop immigration fraud in its tracks, nothing is airtight. SENATOR GODWIN HULSE “The new law says, Mister President that the minister has to submit to the committee before he puts his signature; it says the committee will publish and the official place government publish things is the Gazette. Yes, we omitted to put the Gazette but we can put it and yes, you don’t see it but that is the official place and the media is there and the chamber is there and the unions are there and the churches are there to scrutinize the Gazette and put it in their local newspaper or broadcast it across the nation. It’s not hidden anymore; the public is engaged in seeing who the new person we are welcoming into our family. Jack is applying, this is where he lives, etc; you have days to give your comment and when you’re done, Jack has it but the law goes further. If you do it by fraud and all the rest we could rescind. The point is that it’s made public which for 32 years was done in secret with all sorts of games surrounding it; so don’t tell me we haven’t moved anywhere forward. Yes, I admit it could be strengthened and yes it will be strengthened and if you give me honest, good, down-to-earth recommendations of how it can be down we will strengthen and continue to strengthen until we get it right but don’t stand there and say it’s rubbish, it’s going nowhere; don’t do that because you cannot show me, in 31 years, anything better.”

Arthur Saldivar Questions Minister Castro’s Integrity
On Wednesday the Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse provided information into the current investigation of corruption at the department. He said that the Auditor General has methods at its disposal to do a thorough investigation something his Ministry is not able to do. Nonetheless Hulse defended that his ministry is doing its best. On the other hand whistleblower, attorney Arthur Saldivar told us there is nothing to be satisfied about the investigation. ARTHUR SALVIDAR “What’s there to be satisfied about? The situation is such that there is now a universal understanding that this cover-up is official policy that the Government of the day lacks the moral compass to appreciate that when a wrong is done, a remedy must be administered. Certainly, we are having a reign of tyranny in our country that we must appreciate because if they can cover up such a blatant illegal act, they can cover up murders and the can cover up more heinous crimes. So, let us not be fooled and lulled into false sense of complacency here because at the end of the day we are all being victimized by what this government is doing. Where in the world could any minister of any country engage in seeking to circumvent international justice and not be punished? Where else in the world? Because when we look at this and see what is going on, the way the Police Department has been manipulated, the way the social sector partners have been manipulated; appreciate the fact that when you go on a plane to the United States of America and you’re subjected to the disrespect and abuse by those officials there that Mr. Penner who sits snuggly in his home with all his money and the ninety thousand dollars they are going to give him over this Christmas to bribe voters in Cayo Northeast that he has not a care in the world because as long as he is still an Area Rep, he can still travel VIP; you cannot.”

Assistant Compol Advises Officers to Live Within Their Means
Last Monday we told about three police officers that were caught with contraband goods on the Arenal Road. That matter has been settled out of court. But as of late there are reports that another illicit activity occurred, this time in the Corozal Free Zone. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura told us today that up to news time, it is all allegations. MIGUEL SEGURA “Actually yesterday I was informed of an incident but similarly what I always am guided by is with evidence. The leading agents in this case would be Customs and if they have the evidence like they did in Arenal, by all means, I am guided by the evidence. If there is the evidence they need to bring it forward and if it is internal then there is a process to go about it, the disciplinary, as I explained the last time. So, Customs is the lead agency they have the evidence to go and deal with the case but basically it’s an allegation, in the absence of showing the evidence to me. I will ask you to direct these things to the right agency which is the Customs.”

Hospital Wants Monies Owed by Christmas Day
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has begun sending out letters through Credit Masters demanding that all past customers who have outstanding bills to pay up by Christmas day. The letter says that if the bill is not cleared by December 25, then legal department at the KHMH will take court action. The letter also states that any additional cost incurred in recovering the amount owed will be for the customer to pay as well. We note that everyone who has a bill at the KHMH of any amount is receiving the letters.

Mother of Robbery Victim Will Fight to the End
A mother has raised concern over charges that the police have filed against some of their own regarding an alleged incident involving the policemen. Kaila Morales, the mother of Tyrell Hyde, told Love News that the policemen were charged with theft instead of robbery. The charge follows the incident in question that occurred at an Atlantic Bank ATM when they allegedly used by force or intimidation, Tyrell Hyde’s ATM card in his presence to withdraw funds from his account. Hyde, who came to the media a month after the incident to report that the police had not brought charges up to that point, said that the policemen met him in a car outside the bank and carried out an impromptu search on him and the vehicle, then accompanied him inside the ATM booth where the incident allegedly happened. Hyde is relying on the surveillance recording inside the booth to prove his case. But his mother, Kaila Morales, says the police levied the wrong charge against their colleagues.

Police Says John May Not Have Been Murdered
In police news, the body of 53-year-old John Tillett of San Ignacio was retrieved from the River in Santa Familia Village, Cayo at around five-30 on Wednesday evening. Tillett, a resident of Stanton Street, San Ignacio Town, had gone missing on Saturday. Police say that his had with it all of Tillett’s personal belongings, including his cell phone. There were also no sign of violence on the body. It now awaits a post mortem examination.

New Year Brings New Rates
Electricity rates are expected to go down come the New Year. According to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Belize Electricity Limited made a submission for amendments to the 2013 Annual Review Proceedings Final Decision for decreases in the Mean Electricity Rate and previously approved tariffs due to reduction in the actual cost of power. The proposal reduction is for an approximate decrease of 8.22 percent. Anyone interested to forward written comments in reference to the proposed reduction may do so before five o’clock on Friday, December 27, 2013. Written comments may be delivered to the offices of the PUC at 41 Gabourel Lane, Belize City, or by email at

Office Assistant Convicted of Stealing From Union
Twenty-five year old Alex Reid, former office assistant of Christian Workers Union who was convicted of 10 counts of claiming upon a forged document, was fined 25 thousand dollars by Justice Adolph Lucas. Reid was ordered to pay five thousand dollars by tomorrow and the balance in installments of two thousand five hundred dollars every six months. If he defaults on payment he will serve one year imprisonment for each count. Before he decided on the sentence, Justice Lucas heard pleas for mitigation from Reid’s boss, Nigel Matus. Matus said that Reid is hard working and dedicated and asked that he not given a custodial sentence. Reid said that he was sorry for what he did and he asked for another chance. During the months of May and June 2007, Reid cashed 10 forged cheques from the account of Christian Workers Union, which amounted to $6,500. It was alleged that he cashed 40 forged cheques, amounting to $18,000 but his indictment was for 10. Reid was represented by attorney Anthony Sylvestre. Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell, assisted by Crown Counsel Kaysha Grant, represented the prosecution.


George Street Residents Receive Payments from Goverment of Belize
Friday morning at the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin signed the final consent order allowing payment of a $175,000 settlement to 18 residents of George Street who were brutalized by members of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) in August of 2011. Government Counsel in the Solicitor General’s office, ...

Waste Control to Sue City Council over Unpaid Arrears
Friday afternoon, general manager for Belize Waste Control George Lamb confirmed to PLUS News that the company has filed a claim with the courts seeking “timely and reasonable” payment of ten weeks of arrears by the Belize City Council for the sanitation contract. The Council has managed to reduce the ...

Belmopan Money Gram Robbed at Gunpoint
Earlier this morning, shortly after 11:00 am, Money Gram Agency of Belmopan was robbed at gun point. The incident took place in at Money Grams office at the Emporium building in Nimli Punit Street. Reports have it that two female clerks who were at the establishment when two men ...

On-Line High School to be Launched in Belize
Belize is to launch its first fully fledged online high school. This Friday morning at the Belize Comprehensive High School, Ethnalda Paulino, a retired teacher and founder of Belize’s first online high school, Kaina, held a workshop with her prospective staff members. The purpose of the workshop is to ...

Senate Makes Criminal Code Bill Still Go Through More Tweaking
The Immigration, Belizean Nationality and Passport amendment bills have been the dominating highlights from this week’s meeting of the Senate. However, one other important piece of legislation brought to Senate on Wednesday is the Criminal Code Amendment Bill (2). The bill, says Government, will provide equal protection for both...

The Guardian

Lake-I Christmas Party like no other
It was billed to be perhaps one of the largest Christmas parties in the country and Lake Independence Area Representative, Hon. Mark King ,did not disappoint. The program of events had to be changed due to the weather conditions in Belize City, pushing the event two hours earlier than scheduled. Nonetheless the program got off at 10 instead of 12 and what a program it was. The event went off without a hitch as a parade took off from Central American Boulevard and made its way through Mahogany Street. With participation of Jankunu Dancers, the Mahogany Street Precinct Youth Cadet Corp and the St. Luke's Marching Band, it was quite a spectacle. Impressively the Cadet corp marched in cadence, St. Luke's marched and the Jankunu Dancers paused the parade to display the Garifuna Culture at this time of year. Trailing at the rear was a massive trailer featuring Mickey, Minnie, Spongebob, Dora and Diego, even Mrs. Clause (Dianne Finnegan) was in action on the truck. Of course bringing it all in was Hon. Mark King who headed the parade along the route. On the sides, King's helpers issued sweets to anxiously awaiting throngs of children and adults.

River Valley first resident to be called to the bar!
Another young Belizean was called to the bar on Friday, December 13th, before the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin. He is Leeroy Banner, a newly appointed crown counsel coming out of the DPP’s office. Banner, who is the proud son of Belizean born parents, Ephraim and Olive Banner, was born and raised in the village of Lemonal in the River Valley area, Belize Rural District. Today, a very emotional Banner was proud to repeat the oath he pledges to keep and to serve his country with pride and dignity. The short but memorable ceremony took place after 9:00 a.m., before the Chief Justice, Kenneth A. Benjamin and in the presence of his family and friends. Calling the memory to motion were Mr. Derek Courtney, SC, along with Dr. Dean Lindo SC, and Mrs. Cheryl Lyn-Vidal of the DPP’s office who wrote affidavits on Banner’s behalf.

FORWARD: National Bank to Refinance Mortgage Loans from other Banks
The National Bank of Belize opened its doors on Monday, September 2nd, and is getting ready to expand its loan portfolio to include mortgage refinancing for individuals with loans at other commercial banks. Prime Minister made the announcement at the House of Representatives meeting on Thursday, December 12th. In just three months the bank has already disbursed over $2.6 million in mortgage loans to public officers and middle income earners for construction of their first home. According to PM Barrow there is also over $4 million set for disbursement to first time home owners. As promised at the opening when he said, “I suspect that the demand will be over the top and let me signal from now that I expect to come back to the National Assembly before Christmas with another motion to put some additional equity into the National Bank,” PM Barrow announced at the House on Thursday that within the next couple weeks the bank expects to receive its first commercial deposit to the tune of $5 million from Belize Telemedia Limited for three years. Deposits may also be received from the Social Security Board and other corporate organizations.

Yellowman and AK not guilty
After all the noise and consternation that Philip (Fawda) Henry had made about Mace-Bearer, Brian Audinett, and UDP Stalwart, Allan Kelly, about them beating him, he was a no show in court on Friday December 13th. Can we say that Fawda made up the entire story because he must have been enticed to do so (we know the kind of character that Henry is.) by another political party? Back to the meat of matter. Henry had accused Audinett and Kelly of having assaulted him, punching him in the face and that led to them being charged with 1 count each of harm, wounding, using threatening words against Henry. For good measure even a police officer was thrown in the mix and they were also charged with assaulting a police officer and wounding in relation to PC#1366, Wilbert Chi.

UDP Christmas Cheer
The United Democratic Party’s Christmas Cheer program has rolled out across the country and ten’s of thousands of Belizeans are benefitting from it. According to the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, the idea is to bring the Christmas Spirit to as many Belizean families as possible. With that in mind, the government accessed $90 thousand for UDP Area Representatives and 50 thousand dollars to be split between PUP representatives and UDP caretakers for the distribution of Christmas goodies. Depending on the representative these goodies could be anything from toys for children to ham and turkey to bags filled with groceries. The PM notes however that for the sake of accountability, the goods will not be channel through cash rather through the offices of Human Development. Each representative or caretaker that will distribute the goods would have to account how the money will be spent presenting orders from various business houses to purchase whatever it is they intend on distributing in their constituency. Despite the howls of complaints by the PUP who have tried to make the Christmas a blue one by parading around a Santa dressed in Blue, the program has been extremely successful. Tens of thousands of Belizeans are benefitting and even the PUP have gotten their share of the Christmas Cheer. Last year they received 10 thousand per constituency and this year that figure was expanded to 25 thousand per constituency they represent.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Live Music at Iguana Reef Inn
by Terryl, "Man at work." Monday, December 23rd from 5pm - 8pm


No end seems to be in sight for the ongoing bagasse dispute between the local sugar cane farmers, represented by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), and the multinational sugar producers, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR). In a reactive press release sent by BSI/ASR this afternoon, they stated that the latest position taken by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) is “irresponsible” and “unreasonable.” ASR added that “Should the crop delay beyond difficulties caused by the rain, the loss to the farmers themselves would not only be substantial, but it would be irreversible.” When the cañeros met last Sunday, December 15, at an emergency conference at the Escuela Secondaria School in San Roman in the Corozal District, they decided that the new crop season would only start after a legally binding agreement is signed by BSI, BSCFA and the Government of Belize (GOB), stating that BSI will pay them for bagasse.

Early Tuesday morning, the icy Chicago River claimed the life of an Esperanza woman, Keisha Elissa Garnett, 30, who was living in Dallas, USA, but who had reportedly gone on a visit to Chicago. Doctors indicated that Keisha died due to the shock she experienced while struggling for her life in the freezing river – covered with huge blocks of ice. Garnett’s brother, Jeremy Garnett, who described Keisha, his only sister, as a person with a big heart, told NBC News that the family had moved to the US from Belize when Keisha was a child. “It’s tough. I am having a hard time coping with it. It’s hard to believe that she is gone… I just can’t believe that she is no longer here,” he said.

Residents on the island of Caye Caulker are normally pleasant and easygoing, but Amandala understands that the current dredging of sand from areas around the island has caused vast discontentment among island residents, leading to a fiery protest today on the island. The dredging of the sand has infuriated a number of the island residents, and has even resulted in a degree of upheaval as this morning, the villagers protested at the area where the dredged material was being trucked onto a waiting barge to be taken to the nearby island of San Pedro. Approximately 50 residents reportedly blocked the road which the truck drivers were using to convey the loads of sand to a waiting barge. One of the concerned Caye Caulker residents who spoke to Amandala said that they are downright mad because they were not given any notice that something like that would take place, and to make it worse, they cannot get answers from any of the authorities on the island as to why the sand, which is being dredged from their island, is being taken for use on another island when there are many broken streets on the island, which the sand could be used to improve.

Within the last week, another can of worms has been opened with regards to the irregularities at the Immigration and Nationality Departments, as more evidence of apparent corruption in the issuance of nationality certificates has been unearthed. Today, however, the substantive Minister of Immigration, Hon. Senator Godwin Hulse, told the media that it is nothing to be alarmed about. Last Thursday, December 12, KREM News broke the story of a 24-year old Salvadoran national, Rafael Alexander Vasquez Medina, who was granted Belizean nationality under questionable circumstances, allegedly for a few hundred dollars. Vasquez Medina got his nationality (allegedly by descent) processed in one day through the use of a forged Salvadoran birth certificate, and the legitimate birth certificate of an unsuspecting Belizean woman from Guinea Grass Village, who was said, on the Salvadoran birth certificate, to be his Belizean mother.

An American man from the state of Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States, was found in an advanced state of decomposition in his apartment on Bradley Crescent in the Belama area of the city. The man was known as Jim, and he was a writer. Jim was found by the female caretaker of the apartments at about 10:00 this morning, Thursday. Jim was taken out of the house by police at about 4:00 this afternoon, put into the pan of a mobile unit and taken to an area on the Boom-Hattieville Road, where a post-mortem was to be carried out by Doctor Mario Estradabran, police coroner, to certify the cause of his death. Jim, we were told, will be buried at the scene of the autopsy as soon as it is concluded. Police said that there were no signs of violence on the body, and believe that he died of natural causes. Information to Amandala is that Jim had not been seen for about three weeks. The caretaker went to the house this morning to see what had happened, and that was when she found his decaying body in his bed.

The Belize economy has been growing only moderately for 2013, according to data just released today by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB). It reported that “…in July through September this year, the economy expanded by 0.3 percent when compared to the same period of 2012. This puts the cumulative economic growth for the first nine months of this year at 0.4 percent.” Low performance in two important sectors—agriculture and oil—largely accounted for the near freeze in Belize’s economic growth. “In the agriculture sector, banana production, in particular, fell by 6 percent, offsetting gains in livestock and poultry production. Oil production, meanwhile, fell to its lowest third quarter level since 2009, and it appears that it will continue to trend downwards for the foreseeable future,” said the report.

The Senate on Wednesday passed a suite of amendments to Belize’s Nationality, Passport and Immigration Acts, put forward by the Barrow administration after major cracks were exposed in the system for the issuance of Belizean passports and visas. Meanwhile, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) continues to call for an independent Senate inquiry into the allegations of misconduct by ranking government officials—including ministers of Cabinet—who have been fingered as key facilitators to corrupt deals. For a second time, the PUP attempted to get the Senate to support a motion for such a Senate inquiry, but this time around, the motion didn’t even reach the order papers.President of the Senate, Marco Pech, said that the PUP Senator who was proposing the second motion, was trying to reintroduce a motion that had already been voted down.

On Thursday, December 12, the Taiwan Embassy in Belize distributed sixty ASUS Vivo tablet computers to Belize’s Ministry of Education at a ceremony held at the ITVET in Belize City. Thirty of the computers went to some outstanding teachers, while the other thirty were earmarked for the establishment of a Digital Learning Center at Edward P. Yorke High School. The generous contribution was made to enhance the relationship between Belize and Taiwan. It was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), RESTORE Belize, and the Ministry of Education.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has announced its proposal to put into effect reduced electricity rates at the start of 2014. In an earlier decision in May of this year, the PUC had said that whereas BEL had proposed a Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of $0.4793 per kilowatt-hour, along with specific adjustments to specific regulated values, and specific tariffs for various consumption bands for various customer classes, the PUC, after its review, had approved a slightly higher rate of $0.4865 per kilowatt-hour. The PUC is now proposing an approximate decrease of 8.22%, which would cause electricity rates to fall from 48.65¢ to 44.65¢ per kilowatt-hour.

Ambassador Paola Amadei, European Union (EU) Head of Delegation to Belize, was in the country this week on a mission to move the process forward in developing a new strategy for Belize to span 2014 to 2020. Ambassador Amadei said this year, 2013, Belize saw the largest ever disbursement of EU funds, and their data show that Belize has a very large program ongoing, with a total value of 116 million euros or BZ$314 million. She said that the EU is now preparing a new program for those seven years, and they have been in discussion with the Government of Belize, particularly the ministries responsible for economic development, finance, health and energy. They have also been meeting with civil society and private sector representatives, she said. The final strategy has to be submitted to the EU Parliament for approval, once it is completed, in 2014. Ambassador Paola Amadei said that the EU’s allocation for Belize would more than double, when compared with allocations for the period 2008-2013. Based on data the Ambassador provided to our newspaper, the total disbursements since 2008 have totaled roughly BZ$150 million. The funds, provided through the European Development Fund (EDF) are grant funds; however, governments have the obligation of ensuring continuity of the investment schemes – such as the maintenance of roads built under the program.

The Belize District Chess Association is hosting an event titled “Chess Extravaganza 2013” this Sunday, December 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Belize Elementary School gymnasium on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City. There will be competitions (Swiss System) in all age categories: Junior – 13 yrs. and under; Intermediate – 14 to 17 yrs.; and Seniors – 18 yrs. and over. Trophies will be awarded to the top 4 players in each category, as well as for the Top Female and Youngest Player. To register, text “register me” with your age and name to 621-9467 or 604-9520. The event is to benefit the Sister Cecelia Home.

Eight high school basketball teams, 4 female and 4 male, representing the 4 zones of the country, converged at the Sacred Heart College Multi-Purpose Building in San Ignacio on Friday and Saturday, December 13-14, to participate in the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) National Basketball Championships 2013-2014. Participating high schools were: NORTH – females of Orange Walk Technical High School (OWTH) and males of San Pedro High School (SPHS). CENTRAL – females of Wesley College (WES) and males of Anglican Cathedral College (ACC). WEST – females of Belmopan Comprehensive High School (BCS) and males of Sacred Heart College (SHC). SOUTH – females of Delille Academy (DA) and males of Julian Cho Technical High School (JCTH). The tournament followed a simple knockout format, with the 4 losers from Friday playing in the 3rd place games on Saturday, while Friday’s winners met in the championship games on Saturday.

The Reporter

Boxing revives at Bird’s Isle
The days of Fitzroy Guiseppe and Bowser are long gone, but the sport of boxing is experiencing a revival; as the Belize Boxing Federation organized a fight card of eight bouts in its “Road to Glory” competition at Bird’s Isle on Sunday, as it grooms and selects […]

GSK to stop paying doctors to make speeches
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is making major changes to its incentive schemes following a damaging corruption scandal in China. The pharmaceuticals firm will stop paying doctors to promote its products through speaking engagements. Members of its sales force will also no longer have individual sales targets. Earlier this year, Chinese police said […]

Exam grades more nature than nurtur
Genetic influence explains almost 60% of the variation in GCSE exam results, twin studies suggest. Scientists studied academic performance in more than 11,000 identical and non-identical 16-year-old twins in the UK. The team from King’s College London found that on average, genes explained 58% of differences between GCSE scores in […]

Cañeros to BSI: pay for bagasse by January, or else!
The members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association have decided on their own set of demands to give American Sugar Refining at an emergency meeting held Sunday. The farmers agreed that the crop would start on an agreed-upon date, provided only that the farmers […]

KHMH expands ICU & parking lot
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is investing $740,763.50 to expand and renovate its adult Intensive Care Unit and to pave its parking lot, to offer better service to the public. Chairperson Chandra Cansino of the KHMH Board of Directors and KHMH Chief Executive Officer Dr. […]

Christmas Message 2013
As we enter the holiday season, it is amazing to observe that another year is going by and we are once again in the heart of the Christmas Season. This is an appropriate time to urge all Belizeans to take stock of their lives and reflect on […]

Since Norda Dobson’s definitive work on the History of Belize in 1973 there has been little of real significance produced on the national front – that is to say, little of significance until Fred Hunter’s The History of the Sovereignty of Belize by Occupation, Force or Arms, Treaties, printed in […]

Customs said to be investigating police officers with Free Zone contraband
Belize Customs are investigating a police vehicle which evaded the Customs Checkpoint at the Corozal border and entered the country with a large quantity of contraband goods, including several cases of beers. A reliable source has confirmed that on Wednesday, a police vehicle belonging […] A 3rd officer has been charged for Hyde’s “shakedown”.

Special Constable is third cop charged in the Thyrel Hyde shakedown
A police special constable has become the third officer to be charged criminally in connection with the September 8 shakedown of Belmopan businessman, Thyrel Hyde. Special Constable Joslyn Gill was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart on a […] Average Prices of selected Foods and Fuel

Cost of living gone up, says SIB
The cost of living in Belize has gone up 0.8 percent compared to last year this time, according to the latest Consumer Price Index of 102.8 for September, published by the Statistical Institute of Belize on Tuesday, December 17. That’s because the cost of most […]

The Belize Times

Hustling Cyaant Done!!! – Will Barrow Defend Castro Once Again
The BELIZE TIMES has obtained reliable information and is investigating what could be another huge scandal involving no other than the already scandal-ridden UDP representative Edmund Castro. In our possession are multiple copies of cheques which show that Castro has been collecting some serious money from a special account of the Belize Airport Authority. Castro, we must explain, is the Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport. The Airport and the managing body, the Airport Authority, both fall under his Ministry and, specifically, his portfolio. The cheques indicate that Minister Castro appears to be using the Airport Authority as his personal piggy bank. One cheque among many others, which appears on our front page, shows that Castro was paid $4,000 by the airport authority earlier this year. There are other cheques and we will be exposing the full scale of this scandal very early next year.

Revolution in RHYME – Francis supports young, radical Poets
If bass and rhythmic gymnastics with the force of clearly enunciated English is your flavour, then you would’ve been right at home at the Image Factory today as six young Belizean men (with a push from various local and international backers) launched a new poetry printed collection and DVD entitled, ‘We Gat Sonting fu Seh’. Individually, their names – Kyraan Gabourel (better known as Kyo or D’Assassin), Raheem Phillips (Exodus), Micah Goodin (Mighty Mic), Elizardo Novelo (Z), Stephen Gabb, and Denzel Wade, might not ring recognition in certain ears. (That’s less true of Messrs. Gabb and Wade, who exploded unto the Belizean consciousness through their stint as ‘THE TRUTH’ on Channel 5’s Be the Next Superstar, or of Goodin, who’s known for his activist efforts.) But together, under the tutelage of the Global Parish Project’s local youth organization Youth Voices (Belize City), they are, quite simply, magic.

PUP Progresses despite UDP Problems
It has become clear that Prime Minister Dean Barrow has and will continue to put his party’s interest over the interest of Belizeans and the country. His recent handling of the infrastructure projects in municipalities which ...

Think About It
2013 was a bad year for Belize and its long suffering people. Week after week, month after month, the newspaper carried pages of the sad and heartbroken experiences of families losing their homes and businesses as banks foreclosed on loans that could not be ...

The rise of Audrey Matura-Shepherd
The news that Audrey Matura-Shepherd was elected as President of the troubled Christian Worker’s Union came as a surprise to many. Few saw it coming but probably even fewer has found it objectionable. This Union was down for the count and if anyone can put them back ...

Trick or Treat Christmas
Christmas is here. So is the cold, wet weather. Hopefully, the weather positively affects both the population census and the crime rate. Belizeans will bunker down under thick comforters and blankets, which smell like “camfia” balls. We will think ham, turkey, family, and liquor. Excess will be the limit, sharing will be ...

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year. There is a certain spirit and energy in the air at Christmas time. Perhaps it’s all the bright lights, the decorated show windows, the hustling and bustling in the streets, the red and green apples and ...

PUP Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca’s New Year’s Message
My fellow Belizeans, 2013 has been a year of SCANDAL, CORRUPTION AND GROWING POVERTY in Belize. Thousands more of our fellow Belizeans have fallen further into poverty and hopelessness. With little or no economic growth, thousands of eager young graduates joined the growing number of unemployed. In 2013, once again, the UDP Government offered ...


Unpredictable Belize Weather
Our weather has still been on the rainy side and very unpredictable, going from wet to dry, cold to warm and back again throughout the day. This has more than a few vacation planners asking “What is with all the rain?” I even had someone write me recently questioning if they should delay their trip due to the heavy rain forecast, in the end they decided to come and enjoy no matter what the weather. That is really all you can do, last night was a perfect example of that. An hour or so before the bar was to open at the annual Island Academy Christmas show, we had whole lot of rain going on. I was texting back and forth with Mary and we both agreed if it let up even a little we would make a break for it. When I got there the big tent was full of people who decided not to let rain showers spoil the party, thankfully Mary John and Madison had saved me a seat. The kids put on an excellent show and I loved teacher Lisa’s props, afterward we enjoyed the delicious turkey dinner being served.

San Pedro Scoop: My Best of 2013 – Part One
2013 has been a very cool year. I completely changed my blog into full-blown website, business and an “Opinionated Guide to Belize”. Who knew that was even possible? It’s always humorous to watch peoples’ faces when you tell them you are a “blogger”. Pity…confusion…amusement…”ummm…yeah, right”…it’s a range of emotion. And travelling all over the country of Belize kept me very busy. After some time in the States at the beginning of the year (some very cold time), I introduced my “new look” and my new theme at the beginning of March. In March, I also went to the 7th Annual Belmopan Band Festival (or as I now refer to it as “the hottest day of my life”) to watch San Pedro compete.

Good Eats: A Guide to the Restaurants and Snacks of Orange Walk, Belize
Orange Walk District in the North West of Belize is known for its sugar and rum production, the amazing Maya Ruins of Lamanai and tacos, tacos, tacos. Visitors are generally a bit surprised by the local tacos – they aren’t the cheese and sour cream stuffed fold overs that we are used to in the states. Rather, they are slim corn tortilla rolls schmeared with a bit of chicken and sauce.. 3 for $1bzd. The sauce is really what differentiates them. Here is what 50 cents US gets you. The tacos are also a morning food. Eating them is a MUST in Orange Walk. You’ll quickly find your favorite. Here is some more of my favorite eating in Orange Walk. La Popular Bakery – You will smell this bakery before you even see it. Stop in for cheap and tasty snacks, breads and pastries through out the day. If you find tacos too expensive, you 1. are insanely cheap and shouldn’t be travelling at all 2. can find delicious pastries in La Popular for 50 cents BZD! I mean…seriously? I could eat 50 cent sugary flaky puffy pastry squares all day. But then I guess that defeats the money saving purpose.

Kaina Fast Tracks to Full Scholarship at Texas A&M
In another first, a Belizean track athlete just signed a letter of intent for a full athletic scholarship at a major US university. Top sprinter Kaina Martinez has been snapped up by the major Texas university under a full scholarship agreement, beginning a whole new phase of an already exciting career. The 26 year old from the small coastal village of Seine Bight ran the 100 for Belize in the 2012 London Olympics and has previously medalled in the Central American Games and for some time has been the “athlete to watch” in Belize. And don’t let the “Fast Tracks” in our headline fool you into thinking that her accomplishment isn’t the result of hard work, many hours of training, and determination. Texas A&M is a big school in a populous, highly competitive nation and doesn’t hand out scholarships easily.

Tips on Developing a Business Vision
Concentrated focus is needed to achieve excellent results. In business, having focus means establishing clear goals or visions for the business and then introducing a basic, clear strategy for achieving that goal. It’s a simple principle yet not always easy to achieve. As business owners we have some natural tendencies that conspire to ensure focus is elusive. Business owners have creative minds. Necessity is the mother of all invention and as business owners we are aware that ingenuity is critical to success. The challenge arises when our creativity starts to distract us from our long-term path to success. What seems a good idea at the outset can take us on a journey that results in a lot of effort being expended for little gain.

“Waiting in Vain” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
In yesterday’s edition I promised(sounds very magnanimous of me doesn’t it) that I would bring you all (anyone would think that I have an audience of thousands ) up-to-date with what’s been going on for Rose and I. So, without further ado I will start to do just that. On Tuesday morning I caught the Belize Water Taxi 07.30 service to Belize City and on arrival at around 09.00 hours caught a taxi and went straight to the offices of Caribbean Shipping Service (this company acts as agent for Hyde Shipping, the company we used to bring our purchases over from Miami) to pay the invoice so that our container would be released. As an aside I must mention (well I don’t have to really but it might be of interest to some of you) that if you are in Belize for any length of time and think that you might be using the Belize Water Taxi service quite a bit it could be worth your while joining the Rewards Program. It will cost you BZ$ 10 to join but thereafter you get discounts off the normal prices. For example a return ticket from San Pedro to Belize City normally costs BZ$ 50 but as a member of the Rewards Program it costs BZ$ 48. OK so it’s only a BZ$ 2 saving but … it adds up over time. So am I a member? Keep meaning to fill in the form but haven’t quite got around to it yet.

Serious Safety Issues With Chuka Tours Belize
It’s been some time ago the group Fectab ( President Tom Greenwood) has been sounding the ALERT BELLS regarding Chuka Tours Belize. It seems the chickens are coming home to roost. CHUKA BELIZE has been operating their poor safety tours by sheer luck however the tale tale signs of a company with serious operating problems is now coming to light. Last two weeks ago they suffered an incident on their zip lining tour, two cruise ship guests were injured and also a guide. This week, imagine one of their carnival tour bus (premier charters) filled with cruise ship guests from Carnival had defaulted brakes and ran over a park ranger. Can anyone imagine how catastrophic it would have been if the brakes would have given in while on the George Price Highway? Could have been deadly. It is no secret that Chuka is paying sweat shop salaries to their guides (40bz per day) it is no secret that they have an IBC account where Carnival makes payments into these accounts and the foreign exchange that comes to Belize is pittance . Why? It’s all designed to do tax evasion . At the end of the day it boils down to Profits,Profits,Profits, at the expense of the hard working Belizeans .

Why nothing may happen with the UDP Immigration Scandal
Wonder why the Penner/UDP Immigration Hustle is getting nowhere? Meet the team that is doing the Investigation: Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse – Godwin Hulse is a U.D.P. Senator and a Minister in the Barrow administration. He was sworn in on March fourteenth, 2012. He was not elected and serves no constituency. His portfolio was given to him by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and it can be taken away by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Appointed, not elected…he serves only at the whim of his boss, the Prime Minister. Godwin Hulse is the Minister of Immigration. He is heading the investigation into the Ministry of Immigration. CEO in the Ministry of Immigration Candelaria Saldivar – Candelaria Saldivar is the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Immigration. Four years ago she was a mid-level public officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources. Today, she is a high paid executive with the Barrow administration. Candelaria Saldivar is the sister of Minister of National Security John Saldivar. Her rise to fortune was tied to the success of the U.D.P. in elections in 2008. Her fortune now is tied to the success of the U.D.P.

Masters of Corruption
We got another email that we thought you’d like to read… Management Consultant, guys you have always been on the ball. This UDP crowd is the Masters of Corruption. The UDP has become blatant in their corruption practices same as the bald head that is the Prime Minister. He does his corrupt deals in the bright of day and claims that he has “NO APOLOGIES”. So Penner and the other Ministers who will be exposed soon, are following that example. CHECK OUT SIF. They became so brave under Barrow that they accepted checks. IMAGINE, one can be such an ass. Now Cano, Gapi boy, is on TV bawling, bohoho… Stop BAWL and tell Belizeans how much the UDP Ministers COLLECT. TALK UP MY BOY. YOU are a disgrace… to be called a Belizean. PENNER MUST BE RECALLED. HE IS SUCH A DISGRACE. THE GRINGOS MUST HAVE BROUGHT SERIOUS PRESSURE FOR BALD HEAD TO SACK THE MENNONITE AND RUN THE RISK OF LOSING HIS MAJORITY BY the OTHERS SCANDAL THAT IS BREWING. THIS IS WORSE THAN THE STINKING DREAD, CASTRO, FIRING.

Crime and Public Policy : The Dilemma of Capital Punishment in Belize.
Crime and Public Policy : The Dilemma of Capital Punishment in Belize. Does it have a deterrent effect or is it simply state sponsored executed vengeance? By: Hubert Pipersburgh Rationality and Deterrence Should Belize resort to capital punishment as a means to deter violent heinous crime? This is a legitimate public policy question. Crime is a central problem confronting any society. The accompanying rational strategy is usually deterrence. The goal of deterrence is to make the cost of committing crime far greater than any benefits potential criminals might derive from their acts. Thus, the theory goes that with advance knowledge of these cost rational individuals should be deterred from committing crime. Capital punishment hinges on the notion of inspiring fear on the consequences of the action. Moreover, Deterrence is the assumption that criminals are rational. Criminals must truly believe that their actions will indeed result in an unbearable terminal cost. On closer examination, this assumption is badly flawed, because criminals are irrational beings who do not consider the potential cost of their actions to themselves to be deterred. Thus, deterrence is mostly psychological, it tries to prevent criminals from undertaking a particular heinous action by creating in their minds the fear of costly punishment. In light of the current climate most Belizeans are inclined to cling desperately to the hope that an execution or two would intimidate our young men. The only deterrent they argue for their nihilism is state sponsored execution. Some even resort to Biblical pronouncement, “ an eye for an eye.” Before we can assess the relative effectiveness of the deterrence model. We have to examine the nature and the extent of crime in Belize.

Daily news down for a couple days

Due to emergency appendix removal

December 18, 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

Fisheries Department now licensing
The Fisheries Department hereby informs the PUBLIC that it will start the renewal of fisherfolk licenses for 2014 on December 16st 2013. Applicants are advised that they must present the following documents when applying: 1.FISHERFOLK LICENSE REQUIREMENTS FIRST ISSUE/RENEWALS BELIZEAN (a) Applicant must be 18 years or older and (b) Present a valid Social Security Card or (c) Voters Identification Card along with a Birth Certificate or (d) Valid Passport NATURALIZED BELIZEAN (a) Applicant must be 18 years or older and (b) Present Nationality Certificate and valid Social Security Card or (c) Valid Passport PERMANENT RESIDENT (a) Applicant must be 18 years or older and (b) Present Residence Stamp on valid Passport and (c) Present a valid Social Security Card

Head of Coast Guard apologizes to Senior Reporter Jorge Aldana
Head of the Belize Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Borland apologized to The San Pedro Sun Senior Reporter Jorge Aldana regarding an unfortunate incident that took place on November 16th. The apology was made on Friday November 29th following an interview with the press at the event of the inauguration of their San Pedro Town facility. On November 16th, Aldana had claimed that a few Coast Guard Officials intimidated him, pointed guns at him, deleted his pictures from his camera, deleted his contacts from his cellular phone and was subject to a search as he was performing his journalism duties. Following the incident, Coast Guard Lt. Commander Elton Bennett did agree that a search was conducted and that his pictures were deleted but denied that guns were ever pointed at the senior reporter. He said that the Coast Guard officials were on a special assignment and that the pictures taken could have compromised the identity of the officers.

Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow Attending Meetings in Panama and Venezuela
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, left the country on Friday, 13th December, 2013, for Panama to attend a Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Central American Integration System, better known as SICA in its Spanish language acronym. From Panama, the Prime Minister travelled to Venezuela, arriving Sunday, 15th December, to attend the Second Extraordinary Meeting of ALBA/ PETRO CARIBE Government Leaders which commences tomorrow, 17th December, 2013. On the 18th December, 2013, the Prime Minister will then proceed on a few days personal leave with his family. Prime Minister Barrow returns to the country on 22nd December, 2013. During his absence, the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, will act as Prime Minister.

Governor General hosts annual Children’s Christmas Party
It has been announced from Belize House that the Annual Christmas Party for the Children of Belize was hosted by the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville N Young. One hundred fifty children were invited to the annual event held at the House of Culture in Belize City on Saturday 14th Saturday, 2013. Each child in attendance received a present from the Governor General along with a bag of goodies in addition to the traditional meal and refreshments. The Governor General wishes to thank all those who gave generously of their time or donations to make this a joyful event for the children.

Letter to the Editor: Saga says Thanks
Dear Editor, Saga Humane Society would like to give our sincerest appreciation to Fido’s Restaurant and Kelly McGuire for hosting “Singing for Saga” on December 3. There was a full house to listen to the incredible music of island favorite Kelly McGuire. The crowd was enthusiastic in their support of Saga HS during our live auction with Kelly. To everyone’s delight Cowboy Doug, a livestock auctioneer from Texas, took the stage to help Kelly on a few items. Thank you Fido’s, your hardworking staff and Kelly for helping make the night a barking success. With the proceeds from the night Saga HS will be able to SNIP and vaccinate over 50 island pets. Saga HS is truly grateful to the support of our local business community and their generous donations to our auction and raffle. Romantic Travel Belize, The Lady Leslie, Sausage Factory, Fido’s Restaurant, Palapa Bar & Grill, Caliente Restaurant, Debbie Cooper, No Rush, Go Fish Belize, San Pedro Scoop and Tamara Sorensen. Please show your support to local businesses that support their community. We are grateful to our hardworking volunteers who helped make this event a hit Illiana Paj, Haylay Baer and Rebecca Coutant.

Ambergris Today

Twenty Five New Taxis - Really!
And while our good mayor has explained to the public that this is a pilot project that he wants to experiment on because the present taxi associations are misbehaved, he did not go to the public for consultation. Is it too late? This and many other questions arise. Can the decision be reversed? Are the approved licenses already bringing in their weapons of Island destruction? Will people sit back and do nothing? Are other Belizeans going to apply for licenses and be treated equally as Belizeans? What if 25 more apply and are rejected, is that equality and fairness and justice? What about the rest of Belizeans who must take one out, will they still fall under that order? Or will they be able to just bring in theirs and test whether there is any justice? These are not rhetorical questions with obvious answers. These are really tough questions that the public must answer and, most of all; our good Mayor is faced with after his release on the Good Morning San Pedro Show on Reef TV. This is a tough one for the Mayor and very few would like to be in his shoe. Unfortunately it is a Pandora’s Box opened by our good Mayor when in his good heart he proclaimed on one talk show that HE WILL NOT DENY a vehicular permit for a license to any Belizean. Now we are sure that there are hundreds of wolves, rather Belizeans, who are ready to go for the give-a-way. The final question is “To be or not to be?” “To taxi or not to taxi?

Belize Brand Ranking at 28th in Tourism and 30th in Trade
According to the newly released Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2013, in the Americas, Belize Nation Brand ranks 28th in Tourism and 30th in Trade. Bloom Consulting has just announced the release of its Bloom Consulting Country Branding Ranking © 2013. According to the recent Google study "The 2012 Traveler", 70% of leisure travelers begin researching their trip online without a specific destination or mode of travel in mind and according to The Economist Intelligence Unit more than 58% of investors assess investment risk online, against 49% who consult directly with their financial advisors. This is a clear indicator that countries, regions and cities, regardless of their size, can impact tourists and investors in a completely new way, compared to 5 years ago As a reference, in 2012 alone, tourists made around 375.000.000 online searches related to tourism activities at a country level and investor made around 63.000.000 online searches related to investment activities at a country level. With this in mind, Bloom Consulting has developed a proprietary tool, the Online Search Demand (OSD ©), in order to understand the online behavior of potential tourists and investors. The ranking covers two dimensions, Trade and Tourism.

Christmas Shows in San Pedro, Belize
The spirit of christmas is in the air on La Isla Bonita and many attended two spectacular shows. The Isla Bonita Elementary School invited many to attend their annual Christmas show at the paradise theater, with impressive dances, songs and much more.

Misc Belizean Sources

Preheat oven. Grease and flour a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of the pan. Mix together the cake mix, 1/2 cup dark rum, eggs, 1/2 cup water, oil, and vanilla pudding mix. Pour batter over the nuts in the pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool, and invert cake on a serving plate. Prick the top of the cake.

Chiquibul's Macaw protection crew
A documentary about the Chiquibul national park in Belize, and the people protecting it from poachers , a look at conservation today with Scarlet Macaw protection, and a short look back on Challilo Dam issue, and environmental destruction, with Sharon Matola, Greg Cho and people in Cayo. Film is produced by Roni Matinez, Charles Britt and Filmmaker Daniel Velazquez active wildlife conservationist in Belize, this is also a creative art media project, in wish we gave cameras to the protection crew, and they took part in documenting.

BWRC and Chiquibul Scarlet Macaws
Feelgood news of the day. The BWRC teamed up with Scarlet Six and FCD to go check on the Scarlet Macaws in the Chiquibul Forest. Dr. Isabelle Pacquet Durand gives a wonderful account of the trip to do some check ups. "Muddy holidays with grey skies in Belize aside... 2013 has been an incredible year! One blog could not summarize it. So, as done in many regards during this year, I shall focus on individual, positive activities. The world seems full of bad news and negativity and I believe this rarely leads to positive outcomes. I prefer positive news, in order to hopefully inspire more of you to join in and to help one of the many individuals and organizations protecting nature, and wildlife, and ultimately your own existence."

Reengineering the Cultural Economy
Reengineering the Cultural Economy is an interesting, and informative essay from Alan Slusher, which he presented at the annual meeting of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It's really worth a read. "The word 'economy' has to do with all aspects of production, exchange, consumption and investment activities through which a people generate value and share the material and social goods that are required first for survival, and then, after the basic survival requirements are satisfied, for recreation, enjoyment, and intellectual and spiritual reflection and exploration. These latter processes, of course, also lead to expansion in the production of goods and services, of income and wealth, and most importantly, they lead to changes in the patterns of behaviour and representations of those patterns, that, taken together, define the group’s culture."

Video: Belize River Flooding
The Baking Pot Ferry at Central Farm is also closed to vehicular traffic due to flooding of the Belize River

Video: Iguana Creek Flood
The Iguana Creek bridge remains closed to vehicular traffic due to flooding.

Toledo village celebrates 5 weddings in one day
It was a historic day on Sunday, December 15 in the village of San Marcos, Toledo. Five couples got married at the Nazarene Church in the village, sealing their vows before God and their loved ones. Multiple weddings had never been done before in the village, and who knows when it will happen again. Congratulations to: Antonio & Shirley Chun Ambrosio & Petrona Teul Luis & Candelaria Bolon Danie & Maria Muku And Isidro & Alicia Cus .

Cooking with Flavors of Belize & Sean Kuylen - Black Cake
One of the most important items on the menu for a true Belizean Christmas. Chef Sean Kuylen tries his hand at baking, adding some flavor to this timeless recipe and almost burning off an eyebrow in the process! If you are looking for an authentic homegrown Belizean recipe (with a spin, of course) to try this Christmas - our Black Cake recipe is perfect.

Channel 7

Marsha Reid Was Provoked, Killing Lover Was Self Defence
She confessed to killing her ex-lover BDF Corporal Donovan Castillo, but today in Dangriga a Supreme Court judge set Marsha Reid free, and she is at home tonight, after over 1 and a half years on remand while awaiting trial. Justice Denis Hanomansingh found that it was a case of justifiable homicide because she had been provoked by a beating and that she killed him in self-defence. Justice Hanomansingh found that the prosecution's 3 witnesses, caution statement, and Reid's dock statement all lined up to show that she had no other alternative but to kill Castillo. That's a major development because prosecution was relying on the section of the statement to be interpreted as Reid attacking first, causing the situation to escalate where Reid provoked the physical confrontation.

1 More Cop Charged For ATM Shakedown
Today, 30 year-old Special Constable Joslyn Gill, seen here, became the 3rd police officer out on bail for charged in relation to the Thyrel Hyde shakedown which was caught on tape. This afternoon, Gill was arraigned before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart, for theft of $260, which was withdrawn from Hyde's account on September 8. He pleaded not guilty, and he was granted bail of $4,000, which he was able to meet. Staying true to the cop culture at the court, SC Gill tried his best to avoid the media, with the help of his fellow officers. He was supposed to be arraigned in the morning, which did not happen, and even though he was in custody, he was allowed to slip out the back door, without a police escort so as to not draw attention. Now, that is very irregular because ordinarily, persons who are charged and have been escorted to court, are in police custody, and they should not be released until they have been arraigned, and bail is met. That didn't stop Gill from leaving the court as though he was a free man.

Minister Avoids Head On Collision
Perilous and wet conditions are again making news tonight. Minister of the Public Service Charles Gibson narrowly avoided a head on collision on the Western Highway this evening when a Valencia bus veered out of its lane. At around 5:40, Gibson was at mile 20 heading to Belmopan when he saw a bus coming in the opposite direction, rounding the corner from mile 21 and it was in the middle of the road - well into his lane. Gibson told us he tried to avoid it by driving unto the shoulder, but the bus still hit the back of his Toyota Four Runner. It then barreled into a Police Van which was coming behind him - and also hit the rear end of that vehicle. Gibson reports that he was not hurt and neither was anyone in the police van, which was for prisoners.

GST Goes After Major Importer
For the past 2 years in April, Jitendra Chawla, better known as Jack Charles, the owner of Extra House, has made the news for his unusual birthday party for the country's children who shares their birthday with his son, Vansh. Well, tonight, he's making the news because he has been charged with GST offences, and he dodged being sent up to prison. Officers of the General Sales Tax are reporting that he and his employee Rakesh Marjani Bhudjwani refused to allow them to enter their business place, Orkay Imports on September 11, which is a GST offence. They were to produce copies of purchased invoices which would show GST how much revenue the business place was making for previous years up to September 2013. They didn't and when the officers showed up to pick them up themselves, on the orders of both men, allegedly, they were denied entry.

GDP Growth Flatlining
The latest economic indicators have been released by the Statistical Institute of Belize - and for the government of Belize they aren't good. First off, GDP growth has more or less flatlined. The SIB says that from July through September this year, the economy expanded by 0.3 percent when compared to the same period in 2012. That puts the cumulative economic growth for the first nine months of 2013 at a marginal 0.4 percent - which is very far off from Government's projected GDP growth rate of 2.5%. What's causing the sluggish economic performance? Well, the SIB monitors production from all sectors and it says downturns in Agriculture and oil production are the major factors. In Agriculture, banana production fell by 6 percent, while Oil production was down for the third consecutive quarter, and recorded its lowest output since 2009. As has been reported this is because the Spanish Lookout oil field is near depletion. SIB reports that Transportation & Communication sector was also down by 2.3% while Fishing was down 3%. In fishing they report that lobster production, quote, "plummeted by a large margin."

KHMH Getting A Fix Up
The KHMH will be fixing up in the new year - in the parking lot and the intensive care unit. The ICU will get a 384 thousand dollar makeover, while the parking lot will get a 256 thousand dollar re-design. Contracts were signed with contractors today at the hospital. First to the parking lot - where users who are not staff or patients will have to pay for use:.. Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth, CEO - KHMH "In the case of the parking lot we've been feeding complaints now for the last 4 plus years and its gotten worse as the present surface has sunk and when it rains, more than half of the parking lot is un-usable, its long overdue, it will improve, it will allow us also to monitor and control parking." "Patients and visitors will have access obviously, but people from outside who want to have access will have to pay a small fee to get access."

Fabian Bain Convicted
Fabian Bain, also known as Carlos Escalante, was convicted of manslaughter this evening after a jury of twelve deliberated for over four hours on his fate. Bain was accused of the November 23, 2006 murder of Fortunto Chun, a security officer of Belize Water Services Limited. Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith of the DPP's office prosecuted the case and called several witnesses to the stand including Kenrick Reneau, who was along with the accused at the time of Chun's death. Reneau, who turned crown witness, had to be treated as a hostile witness, when he took the stand because he forgot what he had told police about that day. In his statement to police, he told them that they had planned the attack on Chun in order to steal his service issued firearm. After the Crown presented its case, Bain, who was represented by Attorney Ernest Staine, took the stand and testified that he was nowhere around BWS when the shooting occurred and he had no knowledge of it.

Cane Farmers Say They Are Not Greedy For BSI’s Investment
Throughout the dispute between the cane farmers and BSI/ASR, there has been a strong sentiment that the farmers are trying to cash in on the hard work, investment and innovation that BSI has created to turn Bagasse into electricity which BEL can buy. Well, on Sunday, we asked them about that perception, and they told us that they are preparing for 2015 and 2017 when the preferential market status ends with the European Union. Here's how the Chairman of the BSCFA's Finance Committee explained it: Leocaido Javier Keme, Cane Farmer "It is very important for two main reasons; our sugar market which is mainly Europe, London - it is going to pass through several changes by 2015. That will be the first change where the preferential access that we as ACP Countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific) enjoy the preference of exporting our sugar into Europe without paying any tariffs. This will come to an end in 2015 and then we will have to compete with countries like Brazil, which would be able export or import sugar the EU without paying those tariffs that they have to pay right now. That would be a major challenge because they have a cheaper cost of production than us."

Man Remanded For Relations With 14 Year Old Girl
This evening, 22 year old Jose Angel Novelo, a resident of Bahia Puesto Del Sol, Caye Caulker, was remanded to the Belize Central Prison after he was charged with ten counts of carnal knowledge in Magistrate's Court #4. It is alleged that he had numerous sexual encounters with a 14 year-old girl. According to police, the child reported that Novelo had intercourse with her on ten separate occasions, dating back from April 5, of this year and as recently as December 8, last week Sunday. Since the charge is an indictable one and will be heard in the Supreme Court, no pleas were taken from Novelo and neither could he be offered bail on the matter. Novelo was then remanded by Magistrate Dale Cayetano, and he is due back in court on February 17, 2014.

New Southern Bus Station
Yesterday a new bus station was inaugurated in INDPENDENCE VILLAGE. It's a gift from the European Union and the Ambassador was in Belize to explain that it is part of a European assistance programme to the banana belt:

Teachers As First Responders
In any disaster involving children many times teachers are the first responders, and that's why city councilor with responsibility for disaster management Phillip Willoughy is having a first aid training for teachers at all levels. He explains that it has to do with one time when an ambulance couldn't get into a school promptly because of all the vendors: Phillip Willoughby "One day there was an incident at a particular primary school and the ambulance in one occasion couldn't get in off the particular to get into the school, likewise in a second incident for the fire trucks. It was that in mind that I said maybe as a part of strengthening our capabilities that we ought to do this collaboration and it did materialize through the good offices of NEMO and the Red Cross. We did the collaboration to get the schools involve here today and over the next two days." "We hope that we would be able to get support from the schools and the wider public in regards to how we look at how vending is done near schools and how we regulate probably the flow of traffic as well as how the kids traverse in the areas, so as to probably alleviate any additional stress in an emergency. Leading up to that we are doing this training to equip the schools and its management to provide such service until the primary responders get to the school."

Monica Is Island Bound
All of last week, we showed you Monica Bodden's fam trip to Cayo and Belize City. Tonight we have the last leg when she shows us what she experienced in the Cayes, san Pedro and Caye Caulker. Here's her story:..

BTL Hooks Up with Dara
It's the season of giving and that's exactly what Belize Telemedia is doing. Today the company donated 20 food hampers to much needed families. It might seem like a small donation for the biggest telecommunication company in Belize, but it was greatly appreciated and 7 news was there to capture the distribution. The company plans on expanding the initiative.

Hundred Year Old Wisdom
Last week we got to visit with a special lady who's seen 100 Christmases. Leonora Patnett lives on Wagner's lane off Albert Street and on Thursday she told us what it feels like to reach one double 0.

Channel 5

Whatever happened of Treaty Belize Energy, the drilling at San Juan and its promises to the community?
In May of this year, Treaty Belize Energy went full steam ahead with oil drilling operations in the south at San Juan near Independence. That was despite a court ruling [...]

There is little update on drilling by Maranco Energy Belize
Since announcing a promising oil discovery in June, there has been much talk about oil in the northwest corner of the Orange Walk District.  News of the encouraging show was [...]

Investigation into Nationality Scam
In September 2012, there was an upheaval in the Immigration Department after it was discovered that a Lebanese-American, allegedly with ties to Hezbollah, received a Belizean passport in two days. [...]

Occupational Safety and Health Bill to be introduced at next House Meeting
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize has been agitating for the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill for quite some time. On Thursday when the bill did [...]

Do you think the Director of Immigration should be removed from her post?
Do you think that the Director of Immigration, under whose watch the immigration scandal occurred, should be removed from her post? Yes or No. Send your comments and responses using [...]

Marsha Reid found not guilty of killing her common-law-husband
Marsha Reid is the woman from Dangriga who was accused of murdering her common-law-husband, B.D.F. corporal Donovan Castillo. In the Dangriga Supreme Court this morning Reid was found not guilty [...]

While Fabian Bain is sentenced to 20 years for 2009 shooting of KBH Security Guard
Fabian Bain has twice been charged for manslaughter but today he was convicted in the Supreme Court for the 2006 shooting of Fortunato Chun. Chun was a KBH security guard [...]

Special constable charged for the theft of Tyrell Hyde
And in the Belize City Courts, thirty year old Special Constable Joslyn Gill, has been granted bail of four thousand dollars after being charged with theft of two hundred and [...]

The deplorable street conditions in Belize City
Streets and major roads across the country which were already in less than spectacular condition have been gutted by the incessant rains in the past weeks. In rural areas in [...]

Launch of newly renovated B.T.L. Park delayed, but park 90% done
The newly-renovated, quite spiffy looking B.T.L. Park was to have launched on Friday, and the first event to greet that launch would have been City Hall’s annual Christmas event. But [...]

BWC to receive payment from CitCo; debt down to 10 weeks
While City Hall’s street woes inhibit Christmas cheer, there has been an attempt to deal with the sanitation company crisis. In early December, the Council was behind in payments to [...]

Cost of Living up!
The Statistical Institute of Belize has issued the Consumer Price Index or CPI for September 2013. Not surprisingly, for consumers who have been feeling the pinch, the statistics show that [...]

K.H.M.H. sign contracts to spruce up the ICU and parking lot
Contracts were signed this morning between the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and contractors for works to be undertaken at the national referral in the upcoming New Year. In the first [...]

…But it comes at a price; public to be charged for parking
Government provided a subsidy of eighteen point five million dollars to the K.H.M.H. this year. Notwithstanding, the renovations to the hospital will come at a cost to the public. As [...]

India court rules on constitutional challenge to Sodomy/Unnatural Acts law
A decision by the Supreme Court on a constitutional challenge to repeal Section Fifty-Three of Belize’s Criminal Code remains pending, despite closing arguments in early May by high-powered attorneys representing [...]

An exhibition by Nelson Young inspired by the Mayan glyphs
You can find Nelson Young’s paintings on the walls of many businesses and certainly in residences in Belize; but his pieces can also be found internationally. Based in Caye Caulker, [...]


Santa Arrives In Orange Walk Central
As the countdown continues toward Christmas Day, the pace is already picking up in Orange Walk. Shoppers are busily searching for those special gifts for their loved ones, trees are being dusted off and decorated and houses and fences are sprouting lights like magic. While Christmas is generally enjoyed by all traditionally it is a time for the children. That philosophy held true as Orange Walk Central Area Representative Honorable John Briceño hosted the annual Children’s Christmas Party in San Lorenzo Housing Site, Philip Alvarez Park and the Village of San Estevan which all fall under his constituency. The celebration has become tradition and of course we were there to capture all the beautiful smiles that lit the night. Carmelita Perez – Reporting The annual Children’s Christmas Party hosted by the Honorable John Briceno and the Orange Walk Central Committee kicked off on Friday with prizes and surprises. The fun continued on Sunday, this time at the Philip Alvarez Park, where more than one thousands kids waited patiently for Santa’s arrival.

Drunk Driving Will Not Be Tolerated For The Festivities
It is as popular as the ham and turkey for the Christmas, but while drinking is here to stay, drunk driving needs not to be tolerated. The Corozal Police Department will be on high alert during the festivities looking for drunk drivers. Their aim is for the merry mood not to suddenly switch to horror with word that there was a traffic accident and a family has lost one of their loved ones. Victor Castillo – Reporter “Now we know that there is a prescribe limit for alcohol in your system for you to be able to drive, wha tis that percentage?” Andrew Ramirez – O.C Corozal Police Formation. “The alcohol level differs in alcohol in the blood system and in the urine, the blood is 80 and then in the urine would 110 but again I want to emphasizes that the persons metabolism might differ, somebody might consume ten beers or ten stout and it does not reach the alcohol level other might be with two or three it differs because one of the things that I want to emphasize the police would act on suspicion, the suspicion would the manner the person is moving the vehicle, if it goes from left to right on stable I would create attraction to the police officers then the process would be that the police would then ask the driver, inform him I believe that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and it recommend or ask the person if they want to submit to a urine which can be done at the police station and if they want to submit the blood they must go to a medical doctor, then that item would be taken to the forensic in Ladyville and of course if it comes over the 80 then the offence of driving under the influence would be going into effect, if it pass over the 110 again it would be the offence driving under the influence but you notice that the police would charge first then send the blood or whatever into testing.

Corozal Police Heights Security For Christmas Season
We are just a week away from celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and with all the last minute hustle and bustle we tend to forget that it is also that time of the year when criminals are working overtime looking for their next victim in order to make a quick buck. This year though they won’t have it that easy because in Corozal the police department is out in full patrolling the busiest streets of that municipality in order to protect residents and visitors from ruthless criminals. “As part of our national action plan from the police headquarters level, we have commenced November the 15th where extra patrol is being conducted by the rank and file, and the extra patrol goes from 6pm to 10pm and that will conclude on January the 15th, so we have stepped up our game and we ask the community to support us and to report any suspicious person or vehicles within their community, I implore on them because these are times that we have outside persons referred as transport criminals that want to pounce especially the northern districts but as long as I am here I will try to ask the community to support us in relation to our crime fighting measures; do not leave curtain tied up, do not leave lights on because that will give the criminal the upper hand in relation to safety so implore them and i ask those again the business community to support us, to close within the prescribe hours and do not condone officer to be consuming liquor in uniform that is one of my serious concern right now that I have, we still getting complains about police officers in uniform being intoxicated and I don’t want those community to support those activities.”

Person Of Interest In Murder Of Canadian Retiree Is In The US.
The fourth murder for the Corozal District was recorded in the month of October when the life of a 57 year old Canadian retiree Lynn Nichiporowich was viciously ended. From the onset there have been very few clues that could lead police to Nichiporowich’s killer or killers who stabbed her several times while she was alone in her home located in the village of Consejo. Today when we caught up with Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation, Andrew Ramirez, he gave us an update on the murder. Andrew Ramirez – O.C Corozal Police Station “The four murders that we have had for this year are villages and I just want to recap to the media and to the listening public that we have had a murder between the Chan Chen/Patchakan roads with a gentleman Mr. Tuyul who had died and we had an incident in Libertad where a gentleman Osorio had died, then we had an incident in Sarteneja where a young lady Gonzales Veronica was stabbed and then the recent with the Canadian who died unfortunately in Consejo but none in Corozal town so to speak.”

OWTC Cements Portion Of Fonseca Street
Heavy rains have only compounded the dilapidated state of the streets in Orange Walk Town and more than ever most of the streets are in need of urgent repair. Several of the streets are in need of almost complete rehabilitation but the work has not been forthcoming. One of the major reasons has been limited resources at the Orange Walk Town Council. Notwithstanding this, Mayor Kevin Bernard says the street conditions have always been a priority for the Council. In an effort to address the situation, Mayor Bernard says they have devised a plan that they are starting on Fonseca Street. Kevin Bernard – Mayor, Orange Walk Town “We saw the need for urgent repairs and what we are doing here this is a first pilot project that we are addressing we are going to be cementing sections of this Fonseca road, what you see we are preparing here we will be cementing this road we have several sections that we will be doing this is one, there is another section at the corner that meets Fonseca and San Narciso Street, and we are also going to be doing the junction by San Andres and Fonseca Street, these are areas that we said are heavily traffic and we saw that more than one time we have come in this area resurfaced using asphalt patching decided that instead of continuing with that route lets look at a last longing solution and as such we decided to put some concrete on this area and we were hoping that we could look at other areas as well, we are trying to focus especially the corners, the junctions, but it is a start we as a council are doing it as a pilot project to see what it will actually cost the council to carry out these type of work because we want to come at the end of the day with a long term proposal that we can do to address many of the street in Orange Walk Town.”


Mexico Sees Decline in Belizean Visitors
LOVE NEWS understands that a meeting was held yesterday in Chetumal, Mexico between the Mexican Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Mario Velazquez and Mexican Director of Immigration at Subteniente Lopez, Alonzo Marquez. The details of what was discussed are not known but our sources tell us that both men met to address the issue of the new border crossing cards which replaces the FMVL card. We know however that pressure has come from the National Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Chetumal as a little more than 30% of Belizeans with a FMVL did not acquire the new border crossing card which has resulted in 20% drop in sales since the beginning of November 2013. For this reason the Mexican Chamber of Commerce requested from their authorities to accommodate Belizeans.

New Bus Terminal for Southern Residents
A new bus terminal was opened today in Independence Village in the Stann Creek District. The George Murray Bus terminal will serve as a hub for the surrounding villages in the banana belt. The project is one of several funded under the Banana Support Programme. Guest speakers at a special ceremony held yesterday were Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Belize Ambassador Paola Amadei and Minister of State Edmund Castro. HON. EDMUND CASTRO “The aim of the project was to promote the efficiency and the competitiveness of the banana industry thereby ensuring economic growth and poverty reduction in the rural communities of the banana belt in southern Belize. Ladies and gentlemen, we are thankful to the European Union and Government of Belize; there are lots of things in Independence, we have a lot to be proud of and welcome to this beautiful George Murray building.”

Numbers and Figures Released As Consumer Price Index
The Statistical Institute of Belize has issued the Consumer Price Index for September of this year as compared to the same month last year. The figures show that this year September it stood at 102.8, which was point eight percent higher than September 2012. The Statistical Institute attributes this increase to increases in transport, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels and food and non-alcoholic beverages. These were offset by lower clothing and footwear prices and insurance premiums. The Institute also recorded the inflation rate for the first nine months of 2013 at point three percent. Food prices, however, were up by 2.3 percent, but the most notable changes were in beef, rice and vegetables during the period under study. The most significant increases were for cabbage, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, red kidney and black beans. But poultry prices, on the other hand, went down by one percent. The increase in the Transportation index was largely due to higher international airfares. While the price of diesel and regular gasoline rose in comparison to last September, there was a drop in the price of premium gasoline. Fuel increased by 0.6 percent on average between August and September. Health and motor vehicle insurance costs declined in response to sluggish consumer demand, and Belmopan showed the highest rate of inflation of all six municipalities. The lowest occurred in San Ignacio and Orange Walk.

Family Seeks Missing Man
The family of 53-year-old, John Tillett of San Ignacio, Cayo is still awaiting word on their loved one. Tillett has been missing since last Friday. According to reports he was last seen at Hode’s Place about ten thirty on Friday night. John Tillett, also known as Uncle John or the Dancer, stands about five feet eight inches tall, weighs about 140 pounds, is slim built with gray and black hair, a narrow face and wears eyeglasses. If anyone knows the whereabouts of John Tillett you are asked to call the nearest police station or telephone numbers 625-5395, 633-6080 or 621-6851.

Mayors Gather at Sugar Capital
The Mayors Association monthly meeting was this today in Orange Walk Town. Mayors from across Belize with the exception of Hilberto Campos and Darrel Bradley attended the meeting. The main topics on the discussion were the progress of the municipal development plan. John August mayor of San Ignacio / Sta. Elena is president of the association. JOHN AUGUST “The key issues today that we discussed were the municipal development road plan that presently all councils are working on through the Municipal Development Project being funded through the World Bank. We discussed that and how we are progressing with that and also we discussed the expansion of our town boundaries which is a major issue that is affecting all municipalities in this country. It was brought up by the Ministry of Local Government and they will be looking at it again early in the coming year. So, we are hoping that next year we can address that issue.”

A Toyota Pickup for Christmas
The Rotary Club of Belize launched its annual raffle to raise funds for a number of community-based projects. This year the club will be raffling a Toyota Hilux and according to President of Rotary, Lynn Young told love news that all the tickets have been sold. LYNN YOUNG “We have sold all the one thousand tickets; there are still stubs that are out there that you need to get into the barrel but it was extremely successful and we want to thank everyone who supported Rotary and everybody who bought tickets and wish them the best of luck. The drawing will be on December 23 during Love FM’s 12 Days of Christmas. On the 23rd, look out and the luckiest person will win. In addition to the tickets we sold, we got substantial sponsors and so all in all, I think we have come to realize over forty thousand dollars from the efforts and that money is being used for our Gift of Life program, the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Centre, we have school feeding program at St. Joseph and the different schools, we have the house building project for needy families. The prize is a Toyota Hilux; a very popular pickup truck, one of the best in the market and I am sure anyone who wins it would be just delighted.”


Belizean Miguel Matus on Interpol Most Wanted List
Miguel Matus is the convicted killer who escaped from police custody on February 3rd of 2011 while on a Dental Clinic visit in Belize City. There have been no leads as to the fugitives’ whereabouts since then and as of recent he’s been listed on INTERPOL’s OPERATION INFRA AMERICAS...

Special Constable Joslyn Gill Walks Out on Bail for Alleged Theft
This afternoon PLUS News had quite the adventure at the Magistrate’s Court, where a third suspect in the Atlantic Bank September shakedown of Thyrell Hyde was read his charges. Special Constable Joslyn Gill, 30, was charged for theft of $260 from Hyde before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart. He pleaded...

Financing Director Addresses Parking Lot Problem of the KHMH
And from the inside to the outside, where the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital parking lot will see a facelift. Costing $256,000, it will also see a re-organization of parking for all who use it. Dr. Gary Longsworth gives details. Dr. Gary Longsworth- Director of Financing “As you rightly point...

Another Convicted of Attempted Murder Sentenced to Jail
A man was sentenced today in the Dangriga magistrate’s court after being convicted of attempted murder. Correspondent Harry Arzu reports. Mr. Harry Arzu- Correspondent for Dangriga Town “In the seventh session of the Supreme Court of Belize, another trial concluded today here in this municipality. on the 29th August,...

Senator Shoman and President of the Senate in Strains on Ruling Proceedings
As we told you yesterday, Senator Lisa Shoman’s application to introduce a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee of the Senate was struck down by the Senate’s President. The Special Committee would have been tasked with evaluating ongoing investigations at the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality. ...

New Belizean History Soon to be Commissioned and Updated
Belize boasts of its rich and diverse culture and colourful ethnicity intricately braided in our Jewel’s history. For this reason there has always been a great demand for accurate representations of Belize’s history. This formed the basis for this morning’s information session at the George Price Center in Belmopan. ...

Christian Workers Union Elects a New Executive
On Saturday, The Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) held a special convention at St Mary’s Parish Hall to elect new officers. The following were endorsed to their positions on the executive for a three year term: President Audrey Matura Shepherd, Vice President Basil Brannon, Organizer Stephany Gongora and Treasurer Amy...

UN Envoy says Belize Can do More on Human Trafficking
Following a four-day visit last week to ascertain the prevalence of human trafficking and what is being done to remedy it, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, H.E. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, release preliminary findings that indicate that Belize has some important work to be done before it can rid...

Homeowner Lay-waits Returning Burglar
After realizing that his home was broken into, the homeowner lay-waited the burglar, anticipating that he would return… and he did. Sometime between the 10th and 13th of this month, a businessman of Burrel Boom discovered that his bungalow was burglarized. Later, he told Police that he remained inside...

17 year Reportedly Tried to Hide Loaded Gun Near Store Shelf
Police have in their custody, a 17 year old San Ignacio resident, who reportedly attempted to hide a loaded gun behind a store shelf. On Friday, at about 11:30am, while on Police were on mobile patrol on Flamingo Avenue, the observed a young man known to them, walking into...

Farmers’ Demand on Bagasse Money May Soon See a Sunrise
On Sunday in Corozal caneros met to consider the proposal from Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) to begin negotiations over the long awaited payment for bagasse. BSI wrote the Prime Minister last week outlining what it was and was not willing to speak about and that letter was read...

A Fraction of Market Vendors Protest Against City Hall’s New Measure
The plea of the Belmopan Market Vendors continues and today we spoke with the acting City Administrator Yolanda Chun, who updated us on the Council’s position in the matter. Yolanda Chun- City Administrator “The process that we took is that we had looked at the history of our...

Immigration sets the Trail of Roberta Medina
24 year old Rafael Alexander Vasquez Medina is the latest poster boy for the mess at the Immigration and Nationality Department, caught trying to obtain a replacement Social Security card with a nationality certificate claiming that he was Belizean by descent through his mother, Roberta Medina, a woman he...

Senator Shoman’s Select Committee Motion Rejected by Senate’s President
On Tuesday, we told you of PUP Senator the Hon. Lisa Shoman’s application to introduce a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee of the Senate at the upcoming sitting of the Senate. The Select Committee would serve as inquirer of the duties and the execution of function...

Belizean Miguel Matus on Interpol Most Wanted List
Miguel Matus is the convicted killer who escaped from police custody on February 3rd of 2011 while on a Dental Clinic visit in Belize City. There have been no leads as to the fugitives’ whereabouts since then and as of recent he’s been listed on INTERPOL’s OPERATION INFRA AMERICAS...

Traffic Accident Claims the Life of a Volunteer Police Constable
This weekend saw a number of traffic mishaps, two which claimed the life of a motorist and a pedestrian. We begin with a fatal road accident in the south. Our Dangriga correspondent Harry Arzu reports. Mr. Harry Arzu- Dangriga Correspondent “A resident of San Isidro village of the Toledo...

Three Traffic accidents, First Kills Elderly Man
The next three traffic accidents that we report on last night occurred on the same highway in a 30 hour span. On Saturday around 4:00 a.m, an elderly man, not identified by police, was struck by a vehicle and knocked down and killed around Mile 2 1/2 on the...

Man Electrocuted in Sandhill
A young man of Sandhill is critically injured at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after an unfortunate run-in with electricity. According to police, 26 year old Tyrone Vernon of the Salt Creek Road area was out catching blue crabs and stuck his implement by accident on an underground...


What would you do if you found yourself in a situation where the hard-earned assets that you have acquired over a lifetime were about to be disposed of in front of your very eyes, and you are absolutely powerless? Today, Amandala spoke with a group of people from the “tourism mecca” island town of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, who have resorted to seeking the assistance of the media to address what they term as a “very real” issue that is currently affecting some residents of the island. It appears that a group of mainly prominent, native San Pedranos are in danger of losing either their businesses, or properties that they have essentially toiled for during the course of their entire lives because of unforgiving creditors who refuse to take into consideration the stagnant economic conditions that have beset the island in recent years. According to one of the hoteliers who have been affected, the situation has been created by the constantly rising costs of living, compounded by the fact that the unsuspecting borrowers procured loans at a time when the economic outlook was bright on the island; however, they have now found themselves in a distressing predicament – stuck between “a rock and a hard place” – and facing potential bankruptcy because of their inability to service those loans, which is ultimately leading to the complete loss of their homes and/or businesses.

Interpol has released wanted posters for 16 fugitives wanted by police locally, regionally and internationally for various crimes, including murder. Among those on the list is Belizean Miguel Matus, wanted for the murder of Pricella Tzib, 17, which occurred in October of 2005. He was convicted of murder and given a life sentence. In February 2010, however, Matus escaped from prison authorities when he was taken to Bennett’s Dental Clinic on Newtown Barracks. Reports are that after his dental checkup, Matus borrowed a warden’s cell phone to place a call, and then the group waited outside the dentist’s office building. At about 11:40 a.m., a grey Mitsubishi Galant drove up to the premises, and Matus absconded. Interpol has classified Matus as armed and dangerous. If seen, he is not to be approached; anyone who spots him is advised to instead call the nearest police station.

Rains may continue until year ends. Belize’s rainy season typically spans June to November, but unusual rains this month have surpassed even the average November rains. Moreover, conditions triggering the unrelenting rains which have been showering Belize since last week could continue until the year ends, according to local authorities. Forecaster Frank Tench, Jr., told Amandala today that up to this morning, the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) had recorded 210 millimeters (about 8.5 inches) of rainfall. For today, said Tench, the PGIA had recorded 26.7 mm or over an inch, as of 9 a.m., signaling that rains for December at that station would have surpassed 9.5 inches by the end of today. Tench said that rainfall for this December is roughly 40% – 50% above normal, although it is not yet a record. The reason for the prolonged rains is a series of cold fronts which have come down to the Yucatan area, but which remain stationary as they interact with surface troughs from the Caribbean, which bring with them a lot of moisture.

“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.”(From an interview for the documentary Mandela, 1994) One day after tens of thousands of guests witnessed the state funeral of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, an imposing 30-foot bronze statue, weighing a reported 4.5 tons, was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa—the same venue where Mandela’s body was viewed by tens of thousands of people last week. Government officials there said the inauguration coincided with the December 16th Day of Reconciliation in that country. Furthermore, South African President Jacob Zuma said the Union Buildings—where the statue was erected—has been declared a National Heritage site.

New crop season will only start after legally binding agreement is signed. The executives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) met with almost 1,000 unwavering sugar cane farmers who collectively converged in San Roman Village in the Corozal District yesterday, Sunday, in order to scrutinize the proposals that have been put forward by the executives of American Sugar Refineries (ASR), the parent company of Belize’s local sugar producer, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI). During the meeting, the cane farmers considered the so-called breakthrough in the bagasse dispute which Prime Minister Dean Barrow brokered with ASR representatives in a meeting last Wednesday, December 11. Last Wednesday afternoon, Barrow also met with the executives of the BSCFA, and he told them that earlier that day, ASR had agreed to pay them for bagasse, and that a quantum would be settled in negotiations.

The Central American Black Organization (CABO) was addressed by Julius Garvey, son of the late Marcus Mossiah Garvey, world renowned promoter of Black unity and progress, at its XIX Assembly held in Nicaragua about a week ago. Garvey pledged to work with CABO for the advancement of Blacks in the region. He told those attending the meeting that the event coincided with the 50th anniversary of African Unity. The main thrust of Garvey’s message, which he sought to impress on those at the CABO meeting, was that Blacks are “a powerful people, potentially”—the third largest world population next to the Chinese and Indians—and that they have a responsibility to carry on the work of legendary leaders who went before them. “We have not achieved the fullness of our potential,” Garvey declared. “It is up to us who are gathering here today—and I am very pleased to see so many young faces in the audience—it’s up to us to maximize that potential so that we can truly be a political force within the world economy and within the world socio-political scene.”

Yesterday afternoon at Bird’s Isle, where the Belize Boxing Federation kicked off its “Road To Glory” boxing elimination tournament to select representatives for next year’s international tournaments, 80-year-old legendary female boxing trainer, Ms. Henrietta Gill, climbed gingerly between the ropes and into the boxing ring, to present her personal trophy of appreciation to bronze medalist boxer, Sherman Galvez, whom she had trained for the first two years of his boxing career before she left Belize for Los Angeles, U.S.A. Ms. Henrietta, on vacation in Belize, said she had cancelled her return flight, at a cost of $400.00, when she learned that Sherman was “going astray,” and had a good talk with him about his life and boxing. She was pleased that Sherman listened to her advice, and wanted to publicly congratulate him for his achievement.

The Belize Volleyball Association (BVA) will host its Christmas Volleyball Camp at BES Auditorium starting on Tuesday, December 17, with the following schedule: Date Tuesday to Friday, December 17-20 Monday, December 23 Friday, December 27 Monday & Tuesday, December 30 & 31 Thursday and Friday, January 2 & 3 Time 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for boys and girls 5 to 8 yrs old. 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon for boys and girls 9 to 12 yrs old. 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for girls 13 to 17 yrs old. 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for boys 13 to 17 yrs old.

The National Championship Regatta at Birds Isle (BIZ-13) has been postponed to the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2014. This regatta is the final in the series of seven regattas scheduled for 2013 and also considered for selection to the Optimist North American Championship (OPTINAM14) scheduled for July 2014 in Vallarta, Mexico. The regattas scheduled for 2014 which are also part of the selection process are: Corozal Bay on February 8 & 9 Buttonwood Bay, March 8 Baron Bliss Harbour Regatta, March 9 Placencia Regatta, May 24 & 25 Thirty four sailors have registered for the BIZ-13 regatta from clubs in Belize City, Corozal, Placencia and San Pedro Ambergris. The newly formed club in Caye Caulker will soon have sailors qualified to participate.

In the last two decades, on two occasions we Belizeans have seen the “second coming of Christ” on Belize’s socio-political scene. The first individual was absorbed by the People’s United Party (PUP), and the second could not resist the blandishments of the United Democratic Party (UDP). It should be noted that we Belizeans came out of slavery only six generations or so ago, whereupon we entered colonialism, a more sophisticated form of slavery. At the base of the socio-economic pyramid, Belizeans physically rebelled against colonialism in 1919 and 1934, and then our first real political party was formed, which was the People’s United Party (PUP) in 1950. This was only 63 years ago, a couple of generations. The PUP was built on a foundation which had been laid by a workers’ union – the General Workers Union (GWU). By 1958, however, the PUP politicians had gobbled up the GWU, and in 1959, it appears, the PUP leadership came to a kind of truce arrangement with the British colonial masters. Belize was granted self-government in 1964 and would have become independent soon after, had it not been for the Anglo-Guatemalan dispute over the territory of Belize.

I must admit that there are times when I am shaken by the awesome, sinister nature of the forces which are engaged in attacks upon our Belizean way of life and our nationalist Belizean aspirations. Between Thursday and Saturday there were several instances in which I was forced into pessimist mode. One of these instances did not even involve Belize. On Thursday, news broke that the Mexican government had won a preliminary vote to open up the Mexican oil industry to American and British oil companies. Essentially, what you have in Mexico presently in this oil issue is collusion between the ruling PRI and the PAN, which are the two larger and neoliberal political parties, and they are being opposed by the PRD, which is the roots party. When the Mexican Revolution began in 1910, the republic had been ruled with an iron hand for roughly three decades by the man Porfirio Diaz. During the so-called Porfiriato, Mexico was thrown open to foreign investment, these investors including British, American, German, and French companies. In addition, cronies and predators inside the Mexican ruling classes began to grab massive amounts of land. The Mexican oil industry was dominated by the British and the Americans.

Belize Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow, is in Caracas, Venezuela, today for the II Extraordinary Session of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and PetroCaribe, which is being convened Monday, December 16, and Tuesday, December 17, 2013. Accompanying the Prime Minister is Belize Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, who also accompanied him at the 42nd Heads of State and Government Summit, held in Buenaventura, Panamá, last week, under the umbrella of the Central American Integration System (SICA). On Friday, December 13, SICA announced that it had sealed a new alliance with the European Union (EU), with the signing of the Agreement of Association between Central América and the European Unión. A summit was also held with EU President, Joao Durao Barroso, of Portugal.

As 2013 draws to a close, verdict on LGBT challenge to Belize’s anti-sodomy law and immigration law pending. As 2013 draws to a close, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has yet to announce whether it will permit a legal challenge by LGBT activist Maurice Tomlinson against the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, on the claim that those laws restrict his right to free movement enshrined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, establishing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). The legal challenge to Belize came after UNIBAM went to the Supreme Court of Belize with a constitutional claim – challenging Section 53 of Belize’s Criminal Code, which includes provisions with penalties for unnatural intercourse, including sodomy and bestiality. As 2013 draws to a close, the decision by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in regards to that challenge is still pending.

Two road traffic accidents occurred yesterday, Sunday. The incidents occurred about ten minutes apart. Police reports are that at about 5:20 yesterday evening, Elidoro Gutierrez, 68, a laborer of Libertad, Corozal District, was riding his bicycle between Miles 76 and 77 on the Philip Goldson Highway, when he was knocked down by a pickup truck travelling in the same direction, from Orange Walk to Corozal. Gutierrez complained of pain in his back. He was taken to the Corozal Hospital, and later to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further medical treatment, and he is now recovering in a serious but stable condition. On their arrival on the scene, police saw Gutierrez lying injured on the road on top of his blue beach cruiser bicycle. On the left side of the highway about 5 feet away from where Gutierrez was lying on the road, was a parked 4 -door Toyota Hilux pickup truck with L/P BZE-C-1814, which had a broken front grill. The driver was Yu Ming Chuang, 57, a Belizean businessman of Belmopan.

A resident of Salt Creek is in a critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where doctors are working to help him. Police said that about 4:00 Saturday evening, Tyrone Vernon, 26, of Salt Creek, was striking blue crabs in the area when he accidentally pierced an underground BEL cable. Both of his hands suffered serious burns as a result. He was rushed to the KHMH in a critical condition.

This morning, Brian “Yellowman” Audinette, 31, the Mace Bearer in the House of Representatives and a UDP “stalwart,” and Allan Kelly, 30, had their charges dismissed this morning by Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart after the main witness and alleged victim, Phillip “Fawda” Henry, failed to make an appearance in his trial and the other witness, police corporal Wilbert Chi – another alleged victim of Audinette and Kelly – could not identify his alleged attackers. Henry had gone to the media and alleged that at 5:20 a.m. on July 12, he was attacked by Audinette and his friend, Kelly. The two men then allegedly attacked a police officer, Corporal Chi, when he intervened in the matter. Audinette and Kelly were charged with assaulting a police officer, wounding, harm, and threatening words, to which they both pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned. They were offered and met bail of $3,000, and appeared this morning for the trial.

Police confiscated two firearms, as well as ammunition and drugs, in separate incidents in the Cayo district. Police in San Ignacio said that about 6:20 Friday evening, they were on an anti-drug operation, in Hillview, Santa Elena, when they searched a bushy lot, to look for weapons or drugs. The search yielded a 16-gauge shotgun. No one was in the area at the time of the search and no arrests were made in connection with the discovery. The gun was deposited as found property, and will be handed over for destruction. Earlier that Friday morning, around 11:30, police found a 17-year-old young man in the possession of a gun loaded with 2 live rounds and a small quantity of ganja when they searched him in a store in San Ignacio. The boy has been remanded into custody. Police said that on Friday morning they were on mobile patrol on Flamingo Avenue, in San Ignacio, when they saw the young man walk into a store. They went into the store to see what was happening, and when the boy saw them, he quickly took out an object from under the waist of his pants and put it on the floor behind a shelf in the store. The object turned out to be a chrome 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol loaded with 2 rounds in a magazine with a 15-round capacity. Police quickly arrested him, and as he was being searched, he took out a bag from his pocket which contained marijuana and handed it over to police.

A policeman attached to the San Ignacio Police Formation has been remanded to prison on charges of aggravated assault of an indecent nature after he allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in the girl’s home in Benque. The incident occurred about 4:30 Saturday morning. The child told police that she was in her bed sleeping when the policeman touched her private parts. Police Constable Rupert Thomas was subsequently arrested and charged with the offense, and taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where he was remanded until December 31, when he will be returned to court. The child told police that she went to her sister’s house in Benque to spend the weekend on Saturday, December 7. According to the child’s report, at about 4:30 that Saturday morning, while in her bed with other relatives, she felt someone touching her private parts.

Andre Hutchinson, 27, a resident of Ladyville and the son of former UDP Minister of State Michael Hutchinson, was charged with common assault today when he appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino. A 14-year-old student of Ladyville went to the Ladyville Police Station along with her mother and reported that Hutchinson, on December 12, assaulted her. Hutchinson was unrepresented when he appeared in court today and pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was offered and met bail of $1,000 and one surety of the same amount, and is to appear back in court on February 28, 2014.

William Tiabo, 30, a resident of Ladyville, was arraigned on a burglary charge after he and others allegedly broke into the home of Troy Gabb, Jr., and stole an assortment of electronics, watches and footwear valued at $15,338. According to police, Gabb reported that between November 8, 2013 and November 9, 2013, someone broke into his house and stole a 52 television valued at $2,500; a 32 television valued at $1,800; a microwave oven, a pair of Nike brand tennis shoes, a pair of Jordan brand tennis shoes, a pair of gold bangles, a gold watch, an XBOX Kinect, a laptop computer, 10 cases of beer, and other electronics and cash.

A businessman, Anselm Gillett, 43, of Brian Estate, Burrell Boom, “lay-waited” a thief and captured him when the thief returned to the scene of the crime to steal some more of Gillett’s belongings. Gillett reported that when he arrived home about 6:30 Friday evening, he found that his house had been broken into after seeing signs of forced entry. Gillett surmised that the thief would return to loot his home some more, and lay-waited the thief. Gillette told police that shortly after, at about 11:00 that same Friday night, he saw a man of Creole descent coming into his house through a window that had been previously damaged by the thief. He quickly tackled the thief and held him down while he called the police, who came and arrested the burglar in the house.


John Hopkins University Survey, Street Beat Training for San Pedro and a Big shout out
This past Saturday, Ms. Jessie Young and Mr. Terence Woodye from Belize City conducted part two of the American Red Cross/John Hopkins University end-line survey to gauge project impacts on the community’s awareness and preparedness for emergencies and disasters today in San Pedro. Thankfully the weather was nice for them after all the recent rains we have been experiencing. The survey was developed by John Hopkins University for the American Red Cross that gauges community awareness and preparedness for disasters. It was not done as assessment or targeted at any businesses in particular. The survey was conducted using a questionnaire on a cell-phone program and it was based on a 100 sample questions with a random selection method developed by John Hopkins University. The same questions were asked in early 2012 and comparing difference in the responses between the two years will help to give an idea of the project’s impacts on communities in Belize. In order to close out the “Saving Lives in the Caribbean Through Preparedness” project, the Belize Red Cross needed to get the survey done before the end of the year. Since we are going into the Christmas holidays it will be sometime in the New Year before the results will be shared with the San Pedro Branch. First they need to be tallied and analyzed by the American Red Cross.

Orange Walk, Belize: Tacos, Tacos and A Look Around
I’ve been in Orange Walk District, in the North West corner of Belize, for a day and a half now. The area is known to tourists for the Lamanai Ruins and to Belizeans for its sugar, tacos and rum. It’s the fourth largest town in Belize and on the beautiful New River. THERE ARE TRAFFIC LIGHTS! I would guess you could count the number of traffic lights in Belize on one hand. There is literally a taco stand every 20 feet. If not more often. Here’s the best one that I’ve found so far. Alicia’s Taqueria.

Maya of Belize Exhibition Warms up Frozen Minnesota
A major exposition of Belizean Maya artefacts currently on display at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St Paul is being promoted by its curators as being the largest collection of Belizean artefacts ever shown in one location. And Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed is already drawing crowds and rave reviews, with some 3,000 visitors sharing the experience on some days. Due to an arrangement with Belize’s National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), some 200 of the 300 artefacts on display come from Belize, and some have been excavated less than a year ago. Curator Dr Ed Fleming considers it a major coup both for the Minnesota museum and Belize. The exhibition has its genesis when Dr Fleming participated in an archaeological field school in Belize that was directed by Dr Jaime Awe in the mid-1990s. Now, 20 years later, having earned a doctorate in archaeology and acting as the Science Museum of Minnesota’s curator of archaeology, Dr Fleming brought in his former mentor, Belize’s Dr Jaimie Awe to insure the exhibition’s integrity.

Garden to Table: Take A Tour of Our Organic Garden
At Ka’ana we believe in sustainability. Our relationship with the environment is one of our resort’s top priorities. We also believe in delicious food! We’ve brought these two loves together in our gorgeous two-acre organic garden. Every day our guests dine on the freshest tomatoes, spinach and cucumbers picked just steps away from our restaurant, La Ceiba. Having all these fresh ingredients on-site is so important to our chefs. Up to 80% of the vegetables used in our kitchen come straight from the Ka’ana grounds. When they decide a dish needs some fresh cilantro, pumpkin, or sweet peppers, they just pop outside to our own mini-farm and pick the finest produce straight from the ground.

Twocanview wishes everyone Happy Holidays/Holy Days and Merry Christmas!
As I complete my second year blogging, I must say the experience has turned out to be far more rewarding than I anticipated. I have gained friends, enemies and frienimies. I have gained the trust of readers and supporters from countries all over the world. This year proved to be a rewarding year for me. My first born son completed high school and became an adult; I became a U.S. citizen; and I graduated from University of South Florida with a Master’s in Public Administration. I remain thankful and humbled by the opportunities that life has afforded me. I recall coming to America with practically no funds and a dream to achieve…sometimes in life, a leap of faith and an action plan guided by a trust in God is all you need!

International Sources

Cuba Backs all Efforts Aimed at Latin American Integration
Cuba supports all efforts by organizations committed to Latin American integration in favor of increasing regional development and unity, said Cuba's First Vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel in Caracas, where he is heading the island's delegation to the Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas and PetroCaribbe regional integration initiatives. Such entities have played an increasingly important role, since in just nine years they have had an impact on our societies, said Diaz-Canel and he also referred to the Cuba-Venezuela integral cooperation accord,under which over 30 thousand health professionals and more than 10 000 experts in other sectors are offering their services in the South American nation. The top government Cuban official stressed political coordination mechanisms operating under the Bolivarian Alliance, which express the bloc's position on different developments in the Americas and the world.

CRFM states to expand use of Fish Aggregating Devices in 2014
Several Caribbean countries are exploring the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to bolster earnings, increase employment opportunities and improve management and conservation of ocean pelagic species within their jurisdictions. The expanding role of FADs in the Caribbean was explored at the CRFM / WECAFC-IFREMER-MAGDELESA / CARIFICO Workshop on FAD Fishery Management held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from December 9 – 11, 2013. Milton Haughton, Executive Director, CRFM Secretariat, said at the three-day workshop that, "Pelagic species, such as, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, blackfin tuna, marlin, and dolphinfish--which are the ones targeted by the use of fish aggregating devices--are very important to Caribbean countries because of their contribution to food and nutrition security and livelihoods in coastal communities.” Haughton said that the reason why countries and fishers in the region are very interested in FADs is because they provide cost effective means by which the people of the region can obtain a greater share and optimum sustainable benefits from these straddling and highly migratory fish stocks which are utilized by several States within the region and beyond, in some cases.

Active-duty Marines to lead training mission in Central America
Twenty Marines will deploy to Central America as the region’s new security cooperation team, the first active-duty team to work for an extended amount of time in the area. The Marines graduated from the Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group’s schoolhouse here on Friday. The team comprises Marines from 17 units, with a variety of military occupational specialties, said Maj. Andrew Dirkes, who will serve as the officer-in-charge. They’ll be split into three smaller teams that will be placed in Guatemala, Honduras and Belize, he added. Reserve units have deployed in recent years to the Caribbean and Central and South America, where they work with local militaries that are on the front lines of the drug wars. But this is the first time active-duty Marines, working out of Marine Corps Forces South, will conduct the mission, said Maj. Mike Alvarez, a spokesman for the command. To prepare, Dirkes and his Marines attended a five-week Global Adviser Course here. It gave them not only the basics on advising other militaries, but also region-specific operational and cultural information about the countries to which they’re deploying, Dirkes said.

Your winter escape plan: 7 top warm-weather getaways
Let's face it: winters are tough. When it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. and there are sheets of freezing rain outside, it's hard not to fantasize about getting out of dodge. But choosing where to escape to can be overwhelming; with so many options, where does one begin? Luckily for you, planning vacations is one of our favorite things. We've selected some of our favorite winter getaway destinations and shared what we love about them as well as a top hotel pick for each. Why We Love Belize: Belize is most famous for its snorkeling and scuba diving, which are among the best in the world: The barrier reef off shore is second only to the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, and visitors can see turtles (both green and leatherback), nurse sharks, stingrays, and a variety of tropical fish. Divers swarm the Blue Hole, a large sinkhole. But we're also enchanted by the country's lush rainforests and Mayan ruins.

The Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations Of 2013
6. Belize Latin America has become a honeymoon hotspot in recent years, and Belize is top-notch, attracting celebrities and honeymooners alike. It's one of the few places on earth where you can visit ancient Mayan ruins, wander through the rainforest, relax on a white sand beach, and also swim along one of the largest coral reefs in the world.

Arriba! Inside Latin America
If you imagine a honeymoon filled with sunny days and sandy beaches, outdoor adventures and flavorful food, all set to a sexy soundtrack, then head south—past Mexico, past the Caribbean islands, and down to Central and South America. Stretching from compact Belize, which borders the calm Caribbean Sea, to Cape Horn, Chile, the southernmost point of the continent, this region is diverse, vast and ripe with opportunities for romance. Here, we spotlight four favorite destinations, all perfect for your trip of a lifetime. Why we love it: There are few places on earth where you can visit ancient Mayan temples, wander through a rainforest, chill on a white sand beach and swim along one of the largest reefs in the world. And this rustic paradise beckons honeymooners to recharge under the stars.

Most Googled destinations in 2013
One country's dusty backyard is another country's dream vacation, according to Google's 2013 year-in-review list. Published Tuesday, the Zeitgeist charts reveal the hottest travel destinations by country. The data is divided into two kinds of lists. The first reflects the "trending" destinations -- those that show the greatest growth in searches when compared to last year -- while the second shows rankings of topics with the largest total search volumes. Google is the world's most popular search engine, with 71% of the global search engine market share. The roundup yielded some surprising results -- Macau was the most searched destination in India this year, for example. U.S. searches for honeymoon locations (trending) 1. New Zealand 2. Cancún 3. Maldives 4. Bali 5. Thailand 6. Belize 7. St Lucia 8. Tahiti 9. Caribbean 10. Croatia

Where In the World Should You Retire?
From sandy beaches to surprisingly affordable living costs, the latest ranking of foreign retirement destinations by International Living magazine makes becoming an expat retiree look very attractive. But is retiring abroad really as easy — and affordable — as it sounds? If you're retiring abroad to indulge an adventurous streak, you're on the right track. Colombia, for instance, has made great strides in public safety and appears on this year's International Living list. But if you're looking to stretch your retirement dollars, you may be in for some surprises. • Income taxes. In many countries, you'll be paying local as well as U.S. taxes on your income. In others, you'll find a decidedly favorable tax environment. For instance, several Latin American countries, including Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay, don't charge tax on foreigners' retirement income. A few others have agreements with the U.S. that credit your U.S returns for taxes paid abroad. The upshot: Work closely with your accountant and financial adviser to weigh the tax consequences of moving to your chosen destination.

New Jersey Couple Find Health and Freedom in Placencia, Belize
At 50 years old, Eugene Upham was too young for retirement. But he was too old for second chances—or so people said. Then Eugene had a heart attack. Though he survived, the part of him that listened to those voices didn’t. As Eugene was recovering, New Jersey was blanketed in several feet of snow. And, as his wife Lynne says, “We knew we had to reevaluate our life.”

Beach Homes with the Caribbean on Your Doorstep
It’s no coincidence that commercials for vacations, resorts, or cruises in North America prominently feature the white sands, clear-blue waters, and laid-back vibe of Caribbean beaches. It is paradise and close to home. Maybe that’s why it’s been a premier vacation destination for decades. But thanks to affordable real estate available throughout the region, you’re not limited to the all-inclusives—it is possible to enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle year-round from your own home.

December 17, 2013


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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

ACES’ Cherie Chenot-Rose seriously injured in traffic accident
On Tuesday, November 19th at around 11:30 AM, San Pedro Police responded to a traffic accident on Pescador Drive. According to a report, Herson Gonzalez lost control of his golf cart bearing license plate number S/PC-0467, and crashed into a local food stall. In the process, he slammed Cherie Chenot-Rose, founder of American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES), into a tree pinning her by both legs. According to Gonzalez, the golf cart experienced mechanical problems which caused the accident. While police classified her injuries as a “bruise”, Chenot-Rose in fact experienced major injuries to her upper right leg and was transported to Belize Medical Associates hospital in Belize City. A medical report certified Chenot-Rose’s injuries as Wounding. Chenot-Rose was released from the hospital after three nights and is currently on crutches while recovering from the sustained injuries. “It all happened so fast and there was no warning. After the crash the driver jumped from the cart and began apologizing over and over, ‘I am so sorry I am so sorry.’ I was pinned to the tree by the cart and I begged for someone to get the golf cart off of me. From nowhere people came running and pushed the cart backwards, freeing me,” said Chenot-Rose.

INTERPOL- Wanted fugitives
The gallery includes 15 fugitives, their nationalities and what they are wanted for. If you have seen these persons or have information on their whereabouts you can contact INTERPOL by emailing

Local boat captain, Luis Alamilla beaten and robbed
Police on Ambergris Caye continue their investigation regarding the brutal attack of a San Pedro Town resident. The incident occurred sometime around 1AM on Saturday, December 7th, and the victim is 30-year-old Luis Alamilla, a Belizean boat captain of Escalante Sub Division. Alamilla told police that some time around 10PM on Friday, December 6th he went to socialize with a few relatives and friends. While heading home shortly after midnight, Alamilla said that he was assaulted on his premises by three men. According to Alamilla, as he entered his yard, three men, two Hispanic and one dark skinned approached him and began attacking him. Alamilla told police that one of the men punched him on the right side of his face, causing him to fall to the ground where he began fighting back. Alamilla added that while on the ground, the two other men were kicking and punching him. 48 Luis Alamilla Broken ToesAlamilla finally managed to get up and began hitting one of the attackers in the face, fighting back. However he was overpowered when the other two advanced towards him and began beating him once again. According to Alamilla, one of the attackers shouted “stab him”, but fortunately, a passerby on a golf cart pulled up, causing the three men to flee after taking Alamilla’s back pack with his personal belongings with them.

Local Police and Fire Department are ready for the Christmas Season
As of Sunday, December 1st, the San Pedro Police Department has officially stepped up its annual Christmas season anti-crime campaign. This is the first year that the campaign is being headed by the Officer in Charge, Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos. The main purpose of the campaign is to increase patrol and police presence in troublesome areas in San Pedro. Castellanos stated that over the last few months, SP police have noticed that major crime is centralized in the areas of Boca del Rio, San Juan and Town core, and as such these areas will be more heavily patrolled during the Christmas season. An increasing late hour police patrols (10PM to 6AM) along with beach patrols is to be implemented. “This time of year, the population on the island increases and if this is not properly managed, it can lead to an increase in crime,” said Castellanos. “We want to make the island as safe as possible. Not only will we be increasing police patrols, but we will also be having police check points to target traffic offenders including those drinking under the influence of alcohol.”

Delicious Christmas
When I was little, I could hardly tell whether it was dense fog or smoke billowing under my window. The sight of my mother’s slightly plump figure carrying a headless, bloody chicken under the kitchen roof answered my question. Waking up to mother’s cooking is by far one of the best memories I have of her. Food was always delicious, and while learning to cook at the ripe old age of eight was a chore, as the years flew by, and having consumed thousands of tasteless, over-seasoned, greasy food from everywhere else, it was time to embrace what I’d always known. There is nothing like mother’s cooking – and I mean, nothing.

Ambergris Today

Dale Wallace Sr. Releases Unique Children’s Music Album
Local Belizean artist, entertainer, musician and luthier (guitar maker), Dale Wallace Sr. of San Pedro, Ambergrs Caye, has officially released a children’s album that is both a sing-along and instructional piece that teaches the guitar chords to the songs. Entitled ‘Under the Ukulele Tree’, this unique, illustrated and booklet album was created, recorded and produced in San Pedro utilizing the diverse talents of local artist. Dale Wallace capitalized on the skills of these other artists to put together a fantastic album. Melody Sanchez Wolfe painted the front cover, Perlita Zapata helped create the "Ukulele Family" and produced the illustrations that depict the verses of the title song, Dale Wallace Jr. did the recording engineering at his Rebelution Studios, Wil Nuñez produced the keyboards and percussion tracks, while Luis Zapata at Designing Solutions contributed to the printing of the labels.

Black Market Jaguar Hide Removed from San Pedro Streets
With the assistance of concerned residents, visitors and authorities the San Pedro Police Department was able to confiscate the hide of a jaguar that one man was attempting to sell on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. The Belize Wildlife Conservation Network was quick to act once they spotted a post on Facebook of a man obviously attempting to sell the hide of a jaguar on the beaches of San Pedro Town. The San Pedro Police Department mentioned that they had already received several reports, accompanied by images, of this such action. Being an endangered species and a protected animal in the country of Belize, authorities set to action. With the help of residents and the pictured being shared on social media, the authorities were able to remove the jaguar hide off the streets just two days after the reports were posted online. Wildlife officials indicate that the hide quite possibly was that of an adult jaguar over four feet long.

Letters To The Editor: Belize Better Find a Way of More Peaceful Coexistence
If crime against foreign retirees and foreigners engaged in tourism continues at this rate, they will pick up and take tourism back home with them. - I was sitting on the San Pedro Express Bridge waiting for somebody having half an hour, enjoying the sun after all this rain, drinking some fresh squeezed orange juice when a fellow islander hailed me: “Ola Chriss, you look like you’re contemplating the next article you have to write for the Caye Caulker Chronicles!” The following conversation made the decision to write this article which has been playing around in my head for weeks, actually for months all in relation to the headline of this article which I read in the Amandala Newspaper a couple of weeks ago. After I started publishing my first articles this year after years of suppressing my voice, I wrote the editor and publisher of the Amandala a small article about my background and suggesting them maybe time had come that the Amandala could use a white Belizean perspective as a columnist since there were now more different perspectives enriching the scope especially after Mr.Luna came in. I never got an answer back and my next article/letter was I felt treated with disrespect. The result was that I wrote several articles only for the Caye Caulker Chronicles which gave me a lot of comments from islanders and from people abroad. When I read this letter in the Amadala about the foreign retirees, etc. I felt that this was a perfect example which needed to be answered by a foreign born Belizean, a white bway, who has been living here for 25 years with Belizean family who has seen all these foreigners come and go for all those years.

Jailene Ancona Celebrates her Colorful Quinceaños
What a colorful and enertaining Quinceaños. Jailene celebrated her birthday on Saturday, December 14th at the Angel Nuñez Auditorum, where she threw a spectacular cariniaval show for all her friend and family. Happy Birthday Jailene!

25 Years Ago: Old Timers and Christmas Traditions #2
You know that you are an old timer even when it comes to the way you partook in the Christmas celebrations and traditions. Old timers, to begin with, did not have to worry whether they would go dance at Jaguar’s Temple Night Club, Daddy Rock, Fido’s, Holiday Hotel, or any of the resorts that sponsor Christmas parties. They simply headed straight to Daddy’s Club where the Christmas dance was celebrated. Daddy’s was right on the beach where Daddy Rock is today but it was an open hall where the entire village could congregate and enjoy watching the couples dancing. Old timers got ready to go to the dance at eight o’clock because the dance commenced at nine on the dot. This was so because the dance on the 24th of December was interrupted at midnight for everyone to go to the “misa de gallo” or the midnight mass. Present day Sanpedranos would argue that they would rather stay and dance during that hour but they would have to dance man with man because the ‘señoritas’ (young ladies) were all taken to church by their moms and there was no question whether they wanted to go or not. It was the tradition.

Pic of the Week: Flyboarding in Belize
There are many fun watersports to enjoy during your vacation in Belize. Flyboarding is the one that everybody has been buzzing about, it is new and super fun for the adrenaline junkies. The picture above shows tourists enjoying a nice day under the sun while being entertained by the professional flyboaders at the famous split on the island of Caye Caulker.

Flashbacks: Angels at the Birth of Jesus Christ
“Hark the Herald Angels sing, Glory to the newborn king, Peace on Earth….” Throughout the history of our little village of San Pedro, the re-enactment of the birth of Jesus has always been a popular dramatization. And while it was a bit difficult to find a St. Joseph or even the shepherds, there were lots of volunteers who wanted to be angels and sing “Hark the Herald”. The stage was full of angels, sometimes as many as fifteen who formed part of the choir, and only girls too. You could not get a boy dressed to be an Angel. This flashback picture was given to us by Ayonie Marin and we are sure it is someone in the Marin/Gomez family.

Misc Belizean Sources

BCB HOLDINGS LIMITED ANNOUNCES RESULTS FOR THE SECOND QUARTER ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 Belize City, Belize, December 16, 2013 -- BCB Holdings Limited (London - AIM: BCB; Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange - BCBTT; Bermuda - BBHL) (the "Company" or "BCBHL") The Company reported a net loss from operations of $1.2m for the three months ended September 30, 2013 (2012 - net income of $0.8m), and a net loss per ordinary share from continuing operations for the three months of $0.01 (2012 - net income per share of $0.01). The Company reported a net loss from operations of $2.1m for the six months ended September 30, 2013 (2012 - net income of $2.6m), and a net loss per ordinary share from continuing operations for the six months of $0.02 (2012 - net income per share of $0.03).

Christmas Toy Drive!
We would like to thank those who have contributed to our Christmas Toy Drive! Thank you: Mrs. Ana and Mr. Reymundo Vega Susana Melo and various Anonymous Sponsors If you'd like to make a contribution you can drop it off at the San Pedro Town Council office. Deadline: Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mayor's Christmas Message
— with Daniel Guerrero.

MISSING: John Albert Tillett
On the 13th December 2013 at 8:00p.m was the last time he heard from. He was last seen wearing a red shirt, brown pants and brown shoes. He is a dark skin creole man, Belizean, 53 years old. Slim in built and has grey and black hair, narrow face, and wears glasses. He weighs about 140lbs and is 5ft 8ins in height. If you hear or know the whereabouts of John Tillett please contact: 621-6851, 625-5395 or 633-6080 or the nearest police station.

Annual Christmas Party for the Children of Belize
It has been announced from Belize House that the Annual Christmas Party for the Children of Belize was hosted by the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Colville N Young. One hundred fifty children were invited to the annual event held at the House of Culture in Belize City on Saturday 14th Saturday, 2013. Each child in attendance received a present from the Governor General along with a bag of goodies in addition to the traditional meal and refreshments. The Governor General wishes to thank all those who gave generously of their time or donations to make this a joyful event for the children.

There will be the signing of two important contracts benefiting the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (K.H.M.H) to formalize the renovation of the Adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU), as well as a contract for the reconditioning of the hospital’s parking lot Tuesday, December 17, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. These agreements, in particular for the renovation of the Adult ICU, demonstrate the hospital’s continual commitment to excellence in patient care. K.H.M.H is the country’s flagship hospital providing tertiary care for the entire country and also serves as the secondary care hospital for the Central Health Region.

CCA Christmas Walk
The Cayo Christian Academy had their annual Christmas Walk Thru. "Declaring The End From The Beginning CCA Christmas 2013" more...

Tabby Johnson Jazzes Up Soul Project
Tabby Johnson really went to town at the Soul Project this Saturday. There were some real Blues played in Cayo this weekend. The highly diverse group of talented musicians on the stage really made for a unique night. In related news, Ridley Bent, coming all the way from Canada, will be performing at the Soul Project this Friday. "Last night Concert of Tabby Johnson was a Smashing hit….Thanks to all who came out in support of the Winsom Foundation….My Thanks and Blessings to the Master of Gentle Talk and sound engineer…Emerson Gill…. The men who make instruments talk…in no special order …The heartfelt Drummer Barefoot Skinner…..The singing hands of the keyboard…Santos…. The genius hands on the Electric guitar…Eddy…the fingering of the acoustic guitar by… Mark Phillips… plucking of the soul by Bass Guitar …Drew Gill… The dancing fingers of guitar player …Alexander Evans…..All these wonderful sounds were amplified by the equipment of …Erin and Sam Harris…The connections to each part was made possible by the skillful hands and eyes of Erin and Vanessa….Added to all this was the power house Vocals and Voice of Miss Tabby Johnson herself ….This wonderful coming together was under the roof of the Artsy Soul Project…..Last but not least to all the wonderful people who sold tickets …Peggy hats off to you for selling the most tickets and Marlene for getting us from place to place on time…. THANK YOU ALL FROM WINSOM & THE WINSOM FOUNDATION…"

SHC Wins Nationals
The Sacred Heart College male basketball team won the nationals! They had a great game on Friday night, and an even more exciting game on Saturday, when they won the title by 1 point against ACC. Great job, SHC! More pictures coming soon. "We are the Champions! Congrats to our Male Basketball Team and our coaches! You played a great game, and you deserve your victory! Wow!"

Posadas Start in Benque
The Benque House of Culture started celebrating their traditional Posadas yesterday. They'll continue through Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas! They had fireworks too. "Benque Viejo traditional Posadas/ Lodging of Mary & Joseph commenced today at the Benque House of Culture, with complete sponsorship of the Community commitment towards this Cultural Celebration... Posadas starts from the 15 of December to the 24th Christmas the momentum of Posadas in Benque Viejo. For more information visit Benque House of Culture (NICH)"

Po Man's Meals/ What to Eat When the Cupboard is Bare
In this video I show you what we as Belizeans eat when times are hard. Hard time meals doesn't have to be bland and boring. As long as I have flour, baking powder and water, I can make meal out of basically nothing.

Belize Inaugurates $3Mil Joint Operations Center with U.S. and Canada
On Monday, December 9, the Ministry of National Security inaugurated its first Joint Operations Center (JOC) at Price Barracks. The opening of the JOC represents over two years of teamwork and collaboration between the Belize Defence Force, U.S. Southern Command, and the Governments of the U.S., Belize, and Canada. The JOC’s inauguration is an important step in U.S. and Belize commitment to realizing a safe and secure Belize. The U.S. Southern Command Counter-Drug Program donated the building, valued at three million Belize dollars, in support of a regional security network of land and maritime forces with improved facilities, training and equipment. The Government of Canada provided the internal furnishings and computer equipment.

CARLOS VIVES' Spectacular Live Concert in Chetumal
Dec 16 - CARLOS VIVES' Spectacular Live Concert in Chetumal, MX last night at the "Esplanada De La Bandera". Superb performance!! This Editor had a blast!!! What a way to end the year... I cannot complain

Channel 7

Cane Farmers Say BSI Must Sign to Bagasse Agreement Or “No Season!”
This weekend, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association hosted an emergency general meeting to ask the farmers if they agree to the compromise hammered out by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. As we told you last week, Barrow got BSI/ASR to change its position somewhat, agreeing in principle that the farmers should be paid for bagasse. Still, there's no happily ever after, because there are still many sticking points in the letter BSI sent to the PM. That letter was taken to the emergency meeting yesterday at Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in San Roman Village, Corozal, and 7news attended. Daniel Ortiz got a chance to gauge the reactions of the farmers; here's his report. FILE: December 11, 2013 Hon. Dean Barrow "We are preparing to start the negotiation between the BSCFA and B.S.I., which negotiations will proceed on the basis that the payment of which bagasse is due, but that of course quantum must be agreed."

Senior Citizen Killed In Early Morning Hit and Run
The northern highway continues to be very dangerous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Recently, the rains, combined with the disastrous road conditions have even made it more so. Early on Saturday morning, another life was lost on a stretch that has seen more than eight fatalities in the last 5 years. That's the area between Friendship Restaurant and the Haulover Bridge. On Saturday at 4:00 am, 77 year old Carmen Troches, a resident of Belama phase four was believed to have been riding to Belize City when he was knocked down at mile two in front of Gulf Hotel. It was a hit and run, from a vehicle that appeared to have hit him head on, and sent Troches flying. His broken up body was found about a hundred feet from his bicycle. His robber boot was found another 30 feet away in another direction.

Man On Crab Hunt Shocked By Underground Cable
A man was looking for crabs on Saturday, when he came in contact with an underground high voltage cable and got very seriously shocked. 26 year-old Tyrone Vernon, a resident of Salt Creek Road, is out of the hospital tonight after we was treated for burns he received when he came in contact with the cable. It happened in the Salt Creek area in Sandhill when on Saturday evening, at around 4 o'clock, he was striking blue crabs when he accidently touched the cable. He got shocked and both of his hands were burnt. Today, 7News contacted BEL's Public Relation's Office, and they told us that they are unable to comment at this time because their personnel are investigating.

That’s “President” Audrey Matura Shepherd
It's official, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the former vice-president of OCEANA in Belize, is now the President of the Christian Worker's Union. She was endorsed on Saturday, at an emergency congress to elect executive members. As we told you, Matura-Shepherd's leadership of the union was supported by the stevedores and by long standing executive members Antonio Gonzalez and James McFoy, who the stevedores have been trying to eject since August. It's a compromise to represent a newly unified CWU, and today, 7News spoke to Matura-Shepherd about the elections, and about her endorsement as president. Here's what she told us: Audrey Matura-Shepherd - New President - CWU "It went very successful. What people did not know is that a lot of the votes had to be by proxy. Amazingly 667 persons voted either in person or by proxy and those same 667 persons endorsed 4 positions, that is the president, vice president, organizer and the treasurer. Then there was an actual election to fill the post of 3 trustees and 4 persons wanted that position."

Sugar Season Can’t Start!: Cane Fields Are Waterlogged
At the top of our newscast, we showed you the latest coming out of this weekend's general meeting on the ongoing bagasse dispute. The reality is, however, that even if there was not an impasse between the factory owners and the cane farmers, they couldn't start the crop season - even if they wanted to! And that's because of the rain. In November alone, Orange Walk and Corozal experienced rainfall that was almost 200 percent more than the 30 year average. That's like the difference between one cup and three cups! This weekend, we also got an opportunity to see first-hand the damage that the rains have caused to this year's crop. Daniel Ortiz has that story: Daniel Ortiz reporting These fully mature stalks of cane look ready to harvest and deliver to the mill to be grounded for sugar extraction. But the truth is that they are nowhere near ready. The cane has been saturated for weeks on end, soaking up all the flood waters from the rains over the last few months. Because of this, they don't meet the standards set for sucrose purity, and if they were to be delivered now, the farmers would be operating at a loss.

More Of The Maya In Minnesota
On Friday we took you to the Science Museum of Minnesota to show you part one of our story on the show called "Maya, Hidden Worlds Revealed." Even by north American standards, the show that cost four million dollars to put together is a major undertaking, and it's regarded as the largest and most comprehensive ever done on the Maya - and as we told you Belizean artifacts and research are a central part of that. Tonight we look more closely at how the show was set up and how Belize's precious artifacts are being preserved:.. Paul Martin, Vice President, Exhibits "I think this is probably the best exhibition we've done." Jules Vasquez reporting And the planning for it started here two years ago with this miniature 3 - D model where every element was created. What you're seeing here is the ATM burial, re-created in miniature. Martin explains how it works:

Pointed A Gun, Sent To Jail
21 year-old Gregory Knox, a construction worker from Rio Grande Crescent, is at prison tonight because he allegedly pointed a gun at a woman. Ashanti Scott reported that on August 18, she was walking on Neal Penn Road, when she got into a quarrel with another woman. She said that when she arrived at her house on Rio Grande Crescent, Knox shouted for her to come outside. When she went to see what he wanted, he pulled out a firearm and pointed it in her face. After several months of investigation, Police charged him with aggravated assault, and he was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. He pleaded not guilty to the charge but explained to the court that yes, indeed, he went to Scott's house, but he claims it was only to keep the peace, and he denied ever pulling a gun on her. Still, it's an automatic remand for any gun charge, and he was remanded until February 4, 2014.

Alleged Robber Bailed
30 year-old William Taibo, a resident of Ladyville, is out of on bail tonight after he was taken to court for breaking into Troy Gabb Jr's house in Los Lagos. Gabb reported to police that sometime between November 8 and November 9, someone burglarized his house and stole an assortment of electronics, jewellery, $1,000 in cash and several other household items to a total of $15,338 dollars. Police investigated and they charged Taibo with burglary. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail of $6,000, which he was able to meet. He must return to court on February 11, 2014, his next court date.

UN Rapporteur Says Human Traffic Needs Attention In Bze
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking concluded a four day visit to Belize today. She arrived on December 12th at the invitation of the Government of Belize and compiled a preliminary report on trafficking in Belize. She presented the 11 page report at a press briefing at the Radisson this afternoon, where she outlined areas of concern and made recommendations. Here's some of what she pointed to:.. NgoziEzeilo is a human rights lawyer and professor from Nigeria. Notably a work permit committee has been activated and work permits are no longer being given for waitresses and shop assistants - two major areas of trafficking activity.

President: Senator Shoman’s Motion Will Not Be Heard
As we told you last week, PUP Senator Lisa Shoman had hoped to have her second motion for a Senate Special Select Committee heard in Wednesday's House Sitting. She drafted a new motion with some changes after he first one fell to the floor, when it was defeated in a controversial 7 to 6 vote. But, the President of the Senate Mark Pech has written to Shoman and told her he will not put it on the agenda for the meeting. As we understand it, Pech's argument is that the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley is preparing her report, and when that is concluded, it will come to the Senate for review. His position is that any parallel, pre-emtory investigation by the senate would be misconceived. We'll have more on the response to that when the senate meets on Wednesday.

PM In Panama, Venezuela
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country on Friday to attend a Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of SICA in Panama. From there, the Prime Minister travelled to Venezuela, arriving Sunday, 15th December, to attend the Second Extraordinary Meeting of ALBA/ PETRO CARIBE Government Leaders which commences tomorrow, 17th December, 2013. On December 18, 2013, he will then go on a few days personal leave with his family, and he returns to the country on December 22. Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega is the acting Prime Minister until he returns.

Police Turned Politician
As we reported two weeks ago, the second in command in the police department Deputy Commissioner Elodio Aragon Jr. is leaving his senior post to go and follow in his politician father's footsteps. Aragon has resigned and is now fully engaged as a candidate for the UDP's Orange Walk East convention. He launched his candidacy on Sunday - and while this kind of preliminary stuff doesn't usually make the news, in his case it is news because his former boss is now his endorser. Here's what John Saldivar had to say at yesterday's launch. Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security "The Police Department is losing a true leader. East is gaining a true leader in the person of Elodio Aragon Jr. He was just one step away from becoming the commissioner of police and he has walked away from that to serve the people of the east."

Sprinter Kaina Becomes First Track Athlete To Get Full Scholarship
Sprinter Kaina Martinez is one of the preeminent female athletes in all of Belize: she ran the 100 for Belize in the 2012 London Olympics and has previously medalled in the Central American Games. But now, she's entering a new phase of her career. The 26 year old form Seine Byte has gotten a full athletic scholarship to Texas A and M university. We were there when she signed the letter of intent on Saturday:.. Jules Vasquez reporting On Saturday morning Kaina Martinez became the first home grown Belizean track athlete to sign a letter of intent for a full athletic scholarship at a major US university. Her former coach Colin Thurton work to get it done. Colin Thurton "I was fortunate enough to have the chance to coach Kaina for the 2012 Olympic Games. I have known her before that and I knew the talent that she has and I promised her that I'll do my best to try and get her a scholarship to finished up her two years in the States. I finally got Texas A and M in Kingsville to offer a full scholarship to start this January and that where she will be attending this coming year."

What’s Our Story?
The old reggae songs teach us that history - is often "his-story" - and if that's the case, who's going to tell our story - and what will it be about. That's what the Institute for Social and Cultural Research wants to find out. They're establishing a National History Commission and inviting interested person to Belmopan to discuss it tomorrow. Shari Williams of NICH explained what that's going to do: Shari Williams "We are inviting all historians, the movers and shakers of Belizean history to a very important meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to come up with selected topics as to what should be included in the national history. From the consultations we've been having countrywide, we've understood that many people are asking for an account of what actually is the real Belizean history and we know that there are different perspectives and different opinions of what should be included in this book, so we are inviting historians from all walks of Belize and then from there on we chart the way forward into producing a document that we can once and for all say this is our national history." The meeting will take place at the George Price Center in Belmopan from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Channel 5

Farmers have a counterproposal to B.S.I.’s offer for bagasse
Up north, the sugar industry remains at a standstill. This Sunday, cane-farmers from all eighteen branches in the north assembled at the Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico to receive an update [...]

Sugar roads are impassable
The condition of the sugar roads is affecting not only cane-farmers, but commuters in general. After a week of alternate cold and dry spells, the rains returned with a vengeance, [...]

Nationality certificate to Rafael Medina rushed in 1 day by Immigration Director
Tonight, there is no official explanation or comment from the Immigration Ministry on the Rafael Vasquez Medina nationality facilitation. Salvadoran national Vasquez-Medina received his Belizean nationality certificate on September nineteenth, [...]

PM travels to Venezuela
Prime Minister Dean Barrow is currently in Venezuela where leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean will be meeting in a one-day summit on the Petrocaribe Initiative which takes place [...]

2nd motion of P.U.P. Senator shot down by President of Senate
It is now three months since the immigration scandal broke, but an investigation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at least no specific information has been forthcoming. So on November [...]

15 fugitives wanted; Interpol seeking public assistance
Interpol is seeking public assistance in locating fifteen fugitives wanted for varying degrees of crimes. The crimes vary from murder, to drug trafficking and money laundering and the nationalities of [...]

Elderly man killed in hit and run accident
There is a hit and run accident to report in the city. At about five-fifteen Saturday morning, seventy-seven year old Carmen Amilcar Trochez was knocked down and killed between miles [...]

United Nation looks at human trafficking, but there is more cases of human smuggling
The United Nations is looking at human trafficking Belize but that study reveals that there are far more cases of human smuggling of nationals from Central and South America and [...]

UN Special Rapporteur offers recommendations
The government of Belize has signed and ratified numerous international human right treaties which offer protection to women, children and migrant workers. G.O.B. has also pledged to suppress and punish [...]

C.E.O. Judith Alpuche disagrees with some aspects of preliminary report
The line Ministry for the issue of human trafficking is the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty. Its C.E.O., Judith Alpuche, says that the number of trafficked persons [...]

Meet the new executive of the Christian Workers Union
Last Thursday, the outspoken attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd joined the ranks of the unions and was approved as President by all fourteen entities of the haemorrhaging Christian Workers Union. And on [...]

Newly installed CWU executive chart way forward
  One of the biggest issues facing the union is an allegation of missing monies. And that thorn will be dealt with head on by the new president and vice-president [...]

Allen and Roscelli tie the knot in From Yes to I Do
Reality Wedding Couple Allen and Roscelli took their wedding vows on Sunday during a memorable ceremony officiated by Cannon Leroy Flowers. The reality wedding aired live on this station brought [...]

High School Basketball and Junior National Tennis Championships
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Let’s jump quickly into the national High School Basketball Championships which was hosted over the weekend at Sacred Heart [...]


Special Rapporteur for Human Rights is in Belize
The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, is in Belize since December twelve to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children. It is the first time that an independent expert of the U.N. Human Rights Council is visiting Belize and during her visit Ezeilo, studied the situation in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking and protect its victims. Today Ezeilo presented her preliminary finding to the media. In her preliminary report, Ezeilo made 23 recommendations to government in order to better deal with trafficking of persons. The U.N. Human Rights Office said Ezeilo, who is visiting visits Belize at the invitation of the government, will engage with State representatives, as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons “in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize.” Ezeilo is charged by the Human Rights Council to promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and to encourage measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims. The U.N. Human Rights Council said she will present a comprehensive report containing her conclusions and recommendations in June 2014.Nigerian-born Ezeilo, a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of Nigeria started her mandate as special rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children in August 2008. She has served in various governmental capacities and consulted for various international organizations, and is currently involved in several non-governmental organizations, particularly working on women’s rights.

Illegal Loggers Caught Red Handed
On Saturday, December 14th, at about 11:10am, police visited an area off the Burrell Boom road with Hattieville road about 1 ½ miles in some bushes where seven male person was seen cutting logs and upon seeing the police they attempted to run into the nearby bushes, however, six were captured and one made good his escape with a chain saw. Police found 15 fifteen logs on the ground covered with a grey canvass, upon requesting for their logging permit none of them could produce one. In custody are 43 year old Elmer Gomez, 22 year old Gerald Gabourel, 31 year old Elvis Garcia, 40 year old Eudelio Perez, 41 year old Arnulfo Perez and 38 year old Eddie Linares all of Guinea Grass Village as investigations continue.

Car Collision Leaves Drivers Injured
Yesterday evening at about 6 o’clock Ladyville police visited between mile 9 and 10 on the Phillip Goldson highway where they observed a grey ford escape and a green Altima car on the right hand side off the road in a direction facing north. Initial investigations revealed that 25 year old Karen Garcia, a teacher of Orange Walk Town was driving the Ford Escape, and at the time she was accompanied by 31 year old Jenny Cantun, a tour guide also from the Orange Walk District and two minors aged seven and ten. The Grey Ford Escape was travelling from the direction of Orange Walk to Belize City while 29 year old Tyrone Vaccaro of Sandhill Village was travelling the opposite direction in the Green Altima and upon reaching the said location both vehicles collided to their right front side with both receiving extensive damages. Karen Garcia received injuries to the left ankle and Tyrone Vaccaro complained of pain on his head both were transported to the K.H.M.H by B.E.R.T ambulance. Police investigations continue.

Police News
A 26-year-old man remains hospitalized after he was injured on Saturday. Love news understands that sometime around four o’clock Saturday evening Tyrone Vernon of Salt Creek Road was striking blue crabs in the area when he accidently touched an underground cable. Vernon was shocked and both his hands were burnt. He was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition. Seventy seven year old Carmen Amilcar Trochez was knocked down and killed on Saturday morning. Trochez was an apparent victim of a hit and run. It happened at about 5:00 in the morning when Trochez was riding his maroon in color skyline brand bicycle along mile 2 and 3 on the Phillip Goldson Highway. That bicycle was destroyed in two pieces. Trochez was travelling towards Belize City. Eyewitness reports tell Love News that a speeding white van hit and ran over Trochez killing him on the spot. Police have yet to locate the vehicle that hit Trochez. Trochez lived by himself in Belama phase four apartment. Love News understands that police have yet to come in contact with any family member.

PM Leaves Belize
Prime Minister, Dean Barrow is in Venezuela for the Second Extraordinary Meeting of ALBA/ PETRO CARIBE Government Leaders which commences tomorrow. The Prime Minister left the country on Friday for Panama to attend a Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Central American Integration System, better known as SICA. From Panama, the Prime Minister then travelled and arrived in Venezuela yesterday. The Prime Minister is accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington. On Wednesday the Prime Minister will then proceed on a few days personal leave with his family. Prime Minister Barrow returns to the country on the 22nd. During his absence, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister.

Hit and Run Kills Elderly Man
Police say that they have identifieed the individual that was found lying on the side of the highway as that of 77-year-old, Carmen Amilcar Trochez. Trochez is an apparent victim of a hit and run. It happened on Saturday December 14 at about 5am when Trochez was riding his maroon colored Skyline bicycle toward Belize City along miles 2 and 3 on the Phillip Goldson Highway when the incident occurred. As a result, the bicycle was broken in two. Eyewitness reports tell Love News that a speeding white van hit and ran over Trochez causing him to die on the spot. Police have yet to accurately identify the vehicle that hit Trochez. Trochez lived by himself in a Belama phase four apartment. Love News understands that police has been unable to contact any of his family members.

Government Works at Uplifting Rural Residents
The Government of Belize has embarked on a program to contribute to the reduction of poverty in rural populations. This is a US $6 million program which is being done in partnership with the Belize Credit Union League. Lorne Solis, the Program Manager of the Belize Rural Finance Program, spoke to Love News about this initiative. LORNE SOLIS “It is a seven year program and its main objective is to contribute to the reduction of poverty in rural Belize. It is funded through a loan by the Government of Belize from two main organizations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Central American Bank for economic integration. The government is also providing some counterpart funding and the program is working through credit unions to achieve its objective and the credit unions through its own expenditures on activities related to the program is in part providing some funding to the overall cost of the program. One of the main outcomes is that the credit unions that we are working with will be strengthened and have capacity to be able to deliver financial services to the rural sector.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

We love the Village Council Xmas Tree
The Village Council has set up its grand Xmas tree and we have to say … we LOVE it! What do you think? The grand holiday tree is crafted from locally made lobster traps giving it that cultural, local feel. Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Vacancy Announcement
New tour company in San Pedro is searching for a qualified salesperson for our office in front of Central Park (CATAMARAN TOURS), come in and ask for Linda or call 6217245.

Edwardo Lanza & Clara Ack charged for drug trafficking
On Tuesday, December 10th about 8AM, while Caye Caulker Police officers were conducting patrol by the South Point Area of Caye Caulker Village they conducted a search on a male person seen in the area who was later learnt to be Edwardo Lanza, 28 years, for illegal drugs. Upon searching the right front pocket of his pants, police found a black plastic bag containing 27 smaller transparent plastic bags each containing a substance suspected to be cannabis. He was placed under arrest and escorted to the station along with the suspected drugs. At the station, the cannabis was weighed which amounted to 46.8 grams. Edwardo Lanza was formally arrested and charged for the offence of Possession of a Controlled Drugs.

Embassy of Mexico exhibits Nelson Young art
Nelson Young is one of Caye Caulker’s premier artists. We are very pleased to say that the Embassy of Mexico will be exhibiting Nelson’s work today, Tuesday. Congratulations and best wishes for a successful exhibition, Nelson.


Welcome to Orange Walk, Belize: Sugar & Taco City
Seven years in Belize and I’d never properly stopped in Orange Walk – Belize’s 4th largest town. I have a friend, Kevin, who grew up here and raves about it like many do their home towns. I know that they do the biggest, bestest September 21st Independence Parade and…well…I’ve always meant to attend. I know they are responsible for a good sized piece of the country’s GDP with the loads of cane and sugar production. AND, even if many tourists don’t know that it is in Orange Walk, Lamanai Mayan Ruins are a hugely popular place to visit. It’s an amazing trip. I also know that Orange Walkers are SERIOUS about their tacos. Orange Walk or “Suga City” tacos are a brand in themselves. SO…it’s time to visit this mysterious district. There are two ways to get to Orange Walk from the island (two MAIN ways) you can 1. Fly on Tropic Air (easy) or 2. You can take the boat south and then the bus north. I picked route number 2 since I haven’t seen this part of the country all that often. I jumped on the $45bzd round trip 8:30am San Pedro Belize Express boat to Belize City. Taxi to the bus station $5bzd and then the bus. As always, it’s a free for all at the bus station. LOOK FOR THE GUYS IN THE YELLOW SHIRTS. They are always very friendly and they have the answers. I boarded the PACKED bus marked CHETUMAL. We are headed NORTH!

International Sources

A pair of scientists from The University of Alabama in Huntsville will travel to Guatemala to test whether a camera carried aloft by a tiny, battery-powered helicopter might one day help uncover lost Maya ruins. Dr. Robert Griffin, an assistant professor of Earth system science at UAH, and graduate student Casey Calamaio will spend three days testing a multi-spectral camera during brief flights of a radio-controlled helicopter over Maya ruins at Tikal and Yaxha. They will use the images – similar to those from Landsat but in much higher resolution – to look for signs of the types of plant stress frequently seen in trees growing over archaeological sites in Central America. “If we can fly over this well-known site, which has been extensively studied for many years, and verify that what we think we’re seeing from the air matches what is actually on the ground, this might lead to a method for searching other areas that don’t have this history of archaeology,” said Griffin. Trees growing over Maya ruins aren’t as lush because the stone blocks and lime plaster used by Maya builders prevent those plants from getting the nutrients and moisture adjacent trees get from the thin Guatemalan soil. The multi-spectral camera can see differences in plant cover and, when an area of stressed tree canopy has sharp linear edges or unnatural geometric shapes – such as a perfect square or rectangle – that could indicate the location of a Maya town or building.

Fungus threatens top banana
Fears rise for Latin American industry as devastating disease hits leading variety in Africa and Middle East. A variant of a fungus that rots and kills the main variety of export banana has been found in plantations in Mozambique and Jordan, raising fears that it could spread to major producers and decimate supplies. The pathogen, which was until now limited to parts of Asia and a region of Australia, has a particularly devastating effect on the popular Cavendish cultivar, which accounts for almost all of the multibillion-dollar banana export trade. Expansion of the disease worldwide could be disastrous, say researchers. The disease is caused by strains of a soil fungus called Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.cubense (Foc). A strain of Foc previously wiped out the Gros Michel cultivar, which was the main exported banana variety from the nineteenth century until the 1950s. In response, the industry replaced Gros Michel plants with the Cavendish variety, which is resistant to that Foc strain. But Cavendish is susceptible to the new Foc Tropical Race 4 (Foc-TR4) strain, and could meet the same fate as Gros Michel if the fungus reaches Latin America, the world’s leading banana exporter, says Rony Swennen of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and a banana breeder at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Dar es Salaam. “It’s a gigantic problem,” he adds. Although Foc strains spread slowly, they are almost impossible to eliminate from soil.

Interpol needs help tracking fugitives in the Caribbean
The international police organisation, Interpol, is seeking public assistance in tracking down international fugitives linked to organised crime networks and wanted for offences including murder and drug trafficking. Interpol said Operation Infra (International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest) Americas involves 46 countries and territories in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Interpol said the operation targets 266 fugitives believed to be hiding out in Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and the Caribbean. “Members of the public are now being asked to provide information to help locate 15 individuals, including Rafael Caro-Quintero, the former leader of the Guadalajara Cartel in Mexico,” Interpol said. “They are all cases where no new leads were generated during the initial phase of Infra Americas or where there is no current intelligence on the potential location of these individuals.” Ervin Prenci, criminal intelligence officer with Interpol’s Fugitive Investigative Unit, which is coordinating Operation Infra Americas, said the public could provide vital leads in helping to bring these fugitives to justice.

Meet the travel nutters
Travel nutters ... whether it's diving, skiing, hiking, eating or cycling there are folks out there who follow their passion to an extreme around the world. The sun is slowly setting as the boat chugs back towards the jetty, its wake forming the shape of an arrow in the calm water, pointing the way home. I'm up on a hill in the same place I have been for the last few hours, looking out over the bay, beer in hand, watching for the hardy adventurers to return. Soon they'll be up here at the resort with stories to tell, of the storm that hit them on the journey back, of waves piling over the bow, of the calm before that, of the experiences they had below the surface. They'll have that glazed look of the obsessive about them, of people who couldn't care less what the weather was like or what the bookend boat trips contained, as long as they got their fix. Advertisement You meet nutters of all descriptions when you travel, those who chase their passion around the world - ski nutters, hiking nutters, food nutters, cycling nutters. They've done Thailand and Belize, the Red Sea and the Bahamas. They've seen wrecks and fish and coral and rocks the world over. It's their only holiday of the year: diving.

Caribbean blown by winds of financial crisis
Caribbean countries are lobbying furiously for an extensive international debt relief and investment programme, as politicians become increasingly anxious over the social impact of the region’s economic crisis and the resulting government austerity. Most of the dozen anglophone countries in the tropical archipelago off the coast of the US are struggling with large government debts and lacklustre economies after the global financial crisis hurt tourism, the dominant industry of the Caribbean. Since 2010, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica – twice – have had to restructure their debts and enter International Monetary Fund programmes. Others, including Barbados, are also being forced to impose austerity. This is causing social hardship, exacerbating already high crime rates and even endangering the health of their democracies, some senior politicians fear. Government debts of the Caribbean as a whole amounted to roughly 70 per cent of the region’s GDP last year, or $47bn, according to the IMF.

Guatemala’s Relief Map: hands down the country’s best guide
In 1905, Francisco Vela built what is one of the only known 3D cement maps in the world. Once upon a time a man made a map. Accompanied by a donkey and a few measuring instruments, he rode around Guatemala taking measurements of the country and returned to the capital to scale up. His name was Francisco Vela, and in 1905, with the help of assistant Claudio Urrutia, he designed what is reportedly the only three-dimensional cement map in the world. Drawn almost perfectly to scale (in relation to Guatemala’s original geography), the Relief Map is a reproduction of the country as it existed at the start of the 20th century – with Belize as Guatemala’s 23rd department. Featuring mountains, volcanoes, towns, rivers – one of which even has running water – roads and ports, Vela’s map gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the Central American nation. In recent years a number of petrol towers have even been added to ensure the map keeps up-to-date with the country’s development.

December 16, 2013


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Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Wolfe’s Woofer: Keep It Clean
Keep It Clean When the phone rang I picked it up and said, “Hello, Dennis speaking.” “Hey, Dennis. This is Bruce.” “It’s good to hear from you,” I said. “How are things in Queen City, Texas?” “I’m not in Texas. I’m in Belize.” “I thought you and Becky weren’t coming until June.” “I bought a […]

Letter to the Editor: SPBA
Dear Editor: The San Pedro Business Association regrets to inform you that we had to cancel this year’s annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade which was scheduled for this past Saturday, December 07, 2013. Unfortunately, we did not have participants for any of the activities we had planned which were the Boat Parade, the Christmas Caroling and the booths. We were persistent requesting participants to join us but unfortunately we couldn’t get enough participation therefore after consulting our committee resolved that it would have not been possible. On behalf of the committee, I would like to express our sincere apologies for the cancellation:to all who awaited this event, to the sponsors, judges, confirmed participants, and especially to those who travelled to the island for this annual event. Thank you for your kind understanding and cooperation. We look forward to your participation and support for next year’s event on December 06, 2014. Regards, Mrs. Rebecca Arceo, President, SPBA

Did the Grinch Steal the Boat Parade?
It was a humbug moment when we learned that the Grinch had stolen the annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade in San Pedro. How on earth did we let this happen? To the dismay of many, many islanders and tourists alike, our Caribbean horizon lay dark the night the parade was scheduled to appear. How sad it was when our hopes of seeing the twinkling holiday lights illuminating the black waters were extinguished by a lack of boat participants. We all agree that the Christmas Lighted Boat Parade is a fantastic addition to holiday activities on the island, and for many it symbolizes the beginning of the season. Not only do the residents consider it a family evening of fun, but it can be a tremendous draw for tourism. With that said, playing the blame game on how this annual event failed to happen this year hardly does any good, so let’s think about how we can guarantee that next year we will see the most spectacular boat parade yet!

Doctor Love: The In-Laws
Readers, please send your letters. They can be emails, formal letters or handwritten notes. They are edited solely for grammar and spelling. Also, they are sometimes edited for length. Dear Doctor Love, My boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. He has some serious health problems, needing someone to take care of him […]

Misc Belizean Sources

On Saturday at about 4:00 pm 26 year old Tyrone Vernon of Salt Creek Road area was reportedly striking Blue Crabs in the area where he accidentally touched an underground BEL cable and was electrocuted. Both hands were burnt and was transported to the KHMH in critical condition.

On Saturday at about 11:10am, police visited an area off the Burrell Boom road with Hattieville road about 1 ½ miles in some bushes where (7) seven male persons was seen cutting logs and upon seeing the police they attempted to run into the nearby bushes, however, six were captured and one made good his escape with a chain saw. Police found (15) fifteen logs on the ground covered with a grey canvass, upon requesting for their logging permit none of them could produce one. Police have since detained 43 year old Elmer Gomez, 22 year old Gerald Gabourel, 31 year old Elvis Garcia, 40 year old Eudelio Perez, 41 year old Arnulfo Perez and 38 year old Eddie Linares all of Guinea Grass Village as investigations continue.

Lost Dog found near Muni
A small dog was found near the Municipal Airport by a caring member of the public. The dog has since been handed over to the Belize Humane Society and is in good keeping now until its owner claims the pet. According to Gordon Kirkwood, “this dog is obviously a much loved pet which has been lost, maybe a little while ago as previous shave profile has gone and hair got long.” If you have been missing your dog and it matches the one in the video, please call Gordon Kirkwood at telephone number 630-6737 to claim your pet. Or if you know of one of your friends who has a dog similar to this, please check with them and if this might be their pet, please get them to call the same number at 630-6737.

Stabbing incident in Maskall Village
A stabbing incident in Maskall village in the Belize district on Saturday night has left a man fighting for his life. Oscar Chavez, 34, was stabbed in the abdomen. The circumstances surrounding the stabbing have not yet been fully ascertained and a police investigation is underway. Police say they have detained a 64 year old man, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation. Chavez is listed in a critical but stable condition at the KHMH in Belize City.

Toast the Sunset on Top of Mayan Ruins
The sky lights up with vibrant shades of red, pink and orange. You raise your glass to toast the end of another adventurous day. The distant lakes glisten pink with the sky, shining brightly in the midst of the deep green jungle. Welcome to Yaxha. Across the Guatemalan border, through dense rainforest, past howler monkeys and tropical birds, waits one of Central America’s most incredible experiences. And it’s only 60 minutes from Ka’ana! Tucked away in the lush jungle of Yaxha National Park, the less-visited Yaxha Mayan Ruins are perfect for a romantic sunset drink (or two). Situated on a ridge overlooking Lake Yaxha, this ancient city seems to have been created with beautiful views in mind. We begin with a walk through the jungle and a comprehensive tour of the many fascinating temples, getting a sense of the size and importance of this once enormous city.

I Belize You Can Cookbook
Fifty shades of Great Belizean Food Recipes (Caribbean Cookbook). Here's an Xmas gift from me to all of you, my facebook friends and family. You can download the Kindle version of Dr. Gregory Arana's cookbook "I Belize you can cook" on Amazon for free today. Have you ever wondered where you could find a good recipe for delicious Belizean food? Have you ever craved some panades, rice and beans, or tamales; even though you are thousands of miles away from the nearest Belizean restaurant? Are you a Belizean by birth, Belizean by association or simply curious about the food and culture of this exotic tropical paradise? Then: I believe you can cook with this Caribbean cookbook. You have just found fifty shades of great Belizean recipes for your culinary enjoyment and pleasure. Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, is a jewel of the Caribbean in the heart of Central America. One of the great things about our country is that Belize is a melting pot of food and culture. The settlement of Belize was governed by the Governor of Jamaica at one point in our history. Belize has a strong connection to the Caribbean in terms of food and culture. Many of our dishes are similar to Jamaican food. Belize is located on the east coast mainland of Central America east of Guatemala and north of Honduras. Belize is a few hours drive south of Cancun, Mexico. The Latin influence on our cuisine is also strongly present. Tacos, burritos and tamales can be found and enjoyed everywhere in Belize… but with uniquely Belizean style of cooking and flavor.

International Sources

Coming across a talented and fresh photographer doesn’t happen everyday. But when it does, it’s truly amazing. Her turquoise blue and kite surfing brilliant shots caught our attention some time ago. And so the artist, a young fellow Spanish girl, became a great inspiration for us. Today, we are glad to share this Photography Interview with Zai Aragon. Enjoy!

December 15, 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

Caye Caulker Police report
On Tuesday, December 10th about 8AM, while Caye Caulker Police officers were conducting patrol by the South Point Area of Caye Caulker Village they conducted a search on a male person seen in the area who was later learnt to be Edwardo Lanza, 28 years, for illegal drugs. Upon searching the right front pocket of his pants, police found a black plastic bag containing 27 smaller transparent plastic bags each containing a substance suspected to be cannabis. He was placed under arrest and escorted to the station along with the suspected drugs. At the station, the cannabis was weighed which amounted to 46.8 grams. Edwardo Lanza was formally arrested and charged for the offence of Possession of a Controlled Drugs. Later that day, Caye Caulker Police escorted Lanza to his apartment located on Luciano Reyes Street, Caye Caulker Village where they conducted a search for illegal drugs and firearm. Present at the time was Clara Ack, 20 year. Ack is the common law wife of Lanza.

San Pedro Roman Catholic Rectory and Office burglarized
The Roman Catholic community in San Pedro Town is still trying to figure out who burglarized the church rectory and office. The office and rectory, located on Barrier Reef Drive in downtown San Pedro, was discovered vandalized and ransacked early on the morning of Wednesday December 4th. According to Pablo Kotch, caretaker of the church properties, when he went to the rectory sometime between 7AM and 7:30AM on the given date, he noticed that the one of the glass panels from the window was damaged and removed. A closer inspection revealed that not only was it damaged, but access had been gained to the interior of the building. A further check of the remainder of the property revealed that the office, adjacent to the rectory was also burglarized. The window to the southern section of the building was shattered and removed. In both sections of the property, the intruder or intruders vandalized and ransacked the building. The walls and portraits of the Pope and other Catholic saints were painted with the numbers “666” and the words “satanic.” Stolen was a gray Toshiba laptop and a few dollars, proceeds from collections of the office. All across the interior of the property, blood stains, possibly from injuries obtained from the broken glass, were left behind.

Four San Pedro Town Residents receive Red Cross awards
Four residents of Ambergris Caye received awards at a two-day event hosted by the Belize Red Cross at the Youth with a Mission Grounds in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo District. The event saw a delegation of 19 people from Ambergris Caye attending the Belize Red Cross encounter and award ceremony on the 7th and 8th of December. 8On the first day of the events, participants participated in several fun-filled initiatives where volunteers showcased their skills and training acquired as members of the Belize Red Cross. There were also branch competitions in areas such as, First Aid, Disaster Response and Preparedness, HIV/AIDS awareness and the History of the International Red Cross and Belize Red Cross movements. These challenges and activities were both physical and mental, and a healthy representation of both youth volunteers as well as “older” volunteers bridged the gap between the two age groups.

Misc Belizean Sources

FISHING REPORT: Week of November 23 – December 14th, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving, late. Merry Christmas, early! We give “thanks,” to our friends who return here to El Pescador. We get so excited when we see your name on our reservations. But it’s this continuing relationship with fishing as our common denominator that warms our hearts. Thank you Bill and Kathy and “Happy Trails to You!” Bud and Ruth – great to see you. Thank you Ruth for pool supervision, and Isa looks forward to flirting with you soon as you learn to cast to new distances. Our “Honeymooners,” Matt and Kristen. They came here three years ago on their honeymoon, so they are the “Honeymooners,” forever. Kristen also received her PADI certification. Dave, Carol, Toni and Scott. Today the sun is shining and it’s your last day out on the water before you head home. However, I have a sneaking suspicion we might be seeing you around here sooner than later. I hope so. Rick and Richard had a great father son week. We had several father and son duos these past few weeks and it’s been bringing smiles to all of us. One last big “Thank You!” goes to our readers of this fishing report. We are thrilled that you pay attention to our life here at El Pescador and all the beautiful fish and friendships that go with it! Blessings.

Powder Buns, a Belizean Treat
This recipe takes me way back to my childhood in Corozal and all the way back to standard 3. In Belize, schools are often underfunded and forced to come up with all kinds of schemes for staying afloat. My schools’ fund raising included electing a class “king” or a class “queen” for every standard. One year I was elected. As “elected” class king/queen a large burden for raising class funds is placed on your back. Often these elections are rigged so that kids whose parents were perceived to be “rich” would get “elected”. The idea is being, rich kids’, rich parents, would support the class fund raising. My mom was having none of it. She unilaterally decided that if I were to be class king/queen I would raise the funds the old fashioned way: hard work. This is where powder buns come into the picture. My mom and I would bake a batch of powder buns every night and I would sell them at school. Lucky for me powder buns sell themselves. The combination of spicy nutmeg and cinnamon with a sugary sweet finish is irresistible. I would sell them every day at recess for $0.50 BZE. I always sold out.

VIDEO: Mopan flooding
The Mopan River in Bullet Tree Falls village, Cayo is in flood stage right now. The sun came out on Saturday, but the effects of heavy rains late this week continues to manifest itself. The Mopan River in beautiful Bullet Tree Falls village, Cayo is in flood state right now. The flooding is expected to continue into next week.

From a Stress-Filled Office to Relaxing in Belize
I know I made the right decision to move to Belize when I start my day with a warm first light and song birds…instead of a buzzing alarm clock and an icy wind rattling the window. At first light, the dog and I are strolling along Laguna Seca. The village has yet to start its day, so we share the lagoon with the coots, ibis, and flocks of parakeets. As the sun peeks over the horizon it splashes my pre-dawn world with tropical color and a sparkling lagoon. A wonderful “good morning” to another day in paradise. I have always been a morning person but in my previous life as an attorney there was quite a difference. I knew my day would be filled with constant interruptions, nearly impossible deadlines, and ridiculous demands. Although I loved being able to help people, my mind and heart never started the day in the right place. To be greeted by the natural beauty of Belize certainly sets a happier tone for your day.


More Caves Branch Cheese please and Premium Wine
On Thursday night there was a Food & Wine Extravaganza at Banyan Bay Club House. Ian Anderson hosted delicious evening of tastings, which will included his famous selection of amazing artisan cheeses, imported wines from Premium wins and spirits and Mystic Mayan natural soaps. Mary and I were talking about the event earlier in the day and we agreed a wine and cheese tasting was a fabulous idea and it would be packed. Of course it was everyone was excited to try Ian Anderson world famous artisan cheeses and I know there were many Premium frequenters in the room. It was great hearing Ian tell the story of how it was when Caves Branch started making their cheese. It took a few tries to get it right as it often does in life. But Ian persevered and came out with the award winning formula. He also persevered when it came to getting to the event, flooding on the mainland made for difficult travel but Ian did not want to disappoint the San Pedro people. I hope the swarming of the cheese table and happy looks on the cheese eaters faces made it all worth while :) As I circled the room talking to people, there are those who were already fans of Ian’s Cheese and had come to the event to stock up and then there were those of us (myself included) who had never tried it yet – of course we all loved it. I am not a big wine drinker but I know many were delighted Premium Wines and Spirits was at the event and their table was busy all night long. Mistic Mayan natural soaps of Belize were also popular. Sadly Running W meats could not make it.

Countries sticking together to help Children
The Ministry of Health just reported a successful outcome of the first Belizean baby to benefit from an arrangement with the cardiology paediatric services with the Hospital Cardiologico Infantil Latinamericano in Caracas, Venezuela. Cassidy Martinez was diagnosed when she was three months old with an Atrial Septum and Ventricular Septum Defect in Belize City. Her parents were advised to seek further medical assistance for surgical procedures from a Paediatric Cardiologist, but this is a specialist service not yet available in Belize. Fortunately for young Cassidy and other Belizean children, the Governments of Belize and Venezuela had signed a technical cooperation agreement in August 2010 for the provision of Paediatric Cardiology Services for Belizean children up to 15 years of age with congenital heart disease. So, enter the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize and Ambassador Yoel Perez Marcano. Working with Belize’s Ministry of Health they jumped in and accepted the request to assist baby Martinez. She underwent a successful surgery on October 10th, 2013 and returned to Belize during the first week of November.

Belizean White Fruit Cake
Fruit Cake. This is the counterpart to the Belizean Black Fruit Cake. This cake is light and moist and the fruits are scattered throughout the cake.

International Sources

Attorney David Rowe marks 30 years at Florida Bar
Jamaican American attorney-at-law David P Rowe celebrated his 30th year at the Florida Bar last Thursday evening with a VIP affair at Miami's Capital Grille Restaurant. Rowe, an attorney in both Florida and Jamaica, was joined by a number of high-profile attorneys from the area, representatives from the United States Government and members of the South Florida media. Rowe's speech also celebrated his father, the Hon Ira Rowe, who served as the President of the Courts of Appeal of both Jamaica and Belize. "I am not the first Jamaican-American to have achieved this milestone, but I am one of the few who have done so," Rowe said. "I am glad to be considered one of the pioneers of trans-Caribbean law - the capability of practising in both the Caribbean and the United States simultaneously."

Destructive lionfish disrupts oceanic ecosystem in gulf waters
The most dangerous creature lurking off the Texas coast doesn’t have massive teeth, isn’t particularly fast and often can also be found fluttering in home aquariums. In fact, a large one is only about a foot long, but the consequences of the invasive species could have a huge negative impact on a variety of ecosystems. It’s the lionfish, and it’s the scariest thing imaginable for biologists and fisheries managers, though the threat of the venomous critter has been on the radar for years, its destructive path only increasing in warm-water climates. Much like pythons in the Florida Everglades, these alien invaders have no natural predators in their new environments — except for man — and can’t be held in check by any other means than being captured and killed. The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies on the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus and the Reef Environmental Education Foundation are at the forefront of the lionfish fight, with their researchers finding a number of startling insights into lionfish behavior. They include:

December 14, 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

Kent “Bob” Gabourel takes second place at the End of the World Marathon
Hundred of international and national runners converged on the Placencia Peninsula on Sunday, December 8th for the second annual End of the World Marathon. San Pedro Town was also well represented, with six athletes participating in the marathon, including star athlete Kent “Bob” Gabourel. In the end Gabourel managed to bring home the second place trophy for one of the toughest races of the year: the full marathon. 16 year old, Brayan Guardado also made his mark in the running circuit, coming in 9th in the half marathon. The end of the World Marathon was created to coincide with the end of the Mayan Calendar on December 21, 2012. That date, often referred to as the “End of the World,” was especially significant in Belize where the Mayas have lived for thousands of years. The full End of the World Marathon is a 26.2 mile race that begins at the Placencia football field at the end of the peninsula. The race is divided into a full and half marathon, with the half marathon being 13.1 miles long. Representing San Pedro Town in the half marathon race was Jonathan Andino (17), Jordan Santos (15), and Brayan Guardado (16) of San Pedro High School, and Roger Rivera (14) and Jason Estrada (15) from San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School. These five young athletes were among the 134 participants that completed the marathon.

Elias Hernandez is missing and police suspect foul play
A man living on Ambergris Caye has been reported missing since November 22nd. He is 23-year-old Elias Hernandez, originally of Belmopan City. Hernandez is no stranger to the news or to the police, as his name has come up in very high profile police investigations. But now he has been missing for a month and the last time anyone heard from him was on November 12th. According to the Officer Commanding the San Pedro Police Station, Superintendent of Police Luis Castellaños, Hernandez was reported missing by his sister after communication was lost. Hernandez was a person of interest in an investigation following Belize Defense Force (BDF) firearms that went missing from the BDF weapons storage at Price Barracks in October of 2011. Hernandez was also a person that was believed to have gotten away from Belize Coast Guard Officials during a shootout on July 7, 2012 in which three person were killed during a special operation on northern Ambergris Caye.

Observing United Nations’ International Anti-Corruption Day
On Monday, December 9th, the United Nations (UN) observed International Anti-Corruption Day aimed to raise awareness on public and private corruption and support UN’s Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). International Anti-Corruption Day is a time for reflection and refocusing on a country’s anti-corruption strategy. In Belize, the Belize Youth Social Auditing Network (BYSAN), in collaboration with the University of Belize (UB) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), hosted several events to promote anti-corruption and educate people on the effects of corruption. The event ties in with BYSAN’s goals that entail the promotion of accountability and transparency by identifying all corrupt practices within the country of Belize. Leading up to International Anti-Corruption Day, members of BYSAN participated on several local talk shows discussing key issues that are currently affecting Belize. Members defined corruption and how it affects the future of Belize. Corruption, which is defined as a dishonest or fraudulent act by those in power does not necessarily adequate to only government officials. Corruption can also occur within private firms and even amongst neighbors. Corruption affects all levels of society, and all countries experience social, political and economic corruption. “Corruption has a chain of negative effects, aside from being a ‘Now’ benefit situation. The people involved in the corrupt practices obtain personal benefits from public resources, which in turn cause funding and resources to have to be redirected from possibly more important causes/organizations/institutions. It can lead to a cycle of underdevelopment, poverty, and general distrust and inequality. Corruption starts with two people, but ends with one,” stated Kenny Williams, member of BYSAN on Punta Gorda TV.

SPTC says street repairs to start shortly
For months, residents in the various neighborhoods of Ambergris Caye have been complaining about the deplorable conditions of the roads on the island. The excessive rainy weather conditions this year has added to the deterioration of the streets, but that is no consolation for residents who are forced to traverse through streets that are covered by stagnant ponds of water and mud. According to the many frustrated area residents, they have to travel through the stagnant water and mud to get to work or take their children to school. In some areas, public transport refuses to accommodate them, making it even more difficult to travel, especially during inclement weather. The only alternative is to traverse through water and mud barefoot, making it an unsanitary and messy inconvenience to many who live in these extremely hard-hit areas.

An homage to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Residents of San Pedro Town paid homage to the virgin of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a special event held at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday December 11th. The celebration was held on the eve of the day that is set aside by the Roman Catholic Church to commemorate the date that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared before Saint Juan Diego at the hill of Tepeyac, Mexico in 1531. On Ambergris Caye, the event was filled with many presentations include several serenades by local musicians and residents. The event started at 5:00PM on Wednesday and ran until the wee hours of Thursday, December 12th. The church had a constant flow of people as hundreds of churchgoers took time to visit with the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, bring beautiful floral arrangements and lit candles. People of all ages paused to pray to the virgin, asking for her mercy and protection.

Ambergris Today

Taking the Risk
As we approach the end of 2013, I publicly ask the Education policymakers (government and church), principals, school administrators, teachers, and parents in Belize: 1. Are we satisfied with our Educational Systems in Belize today? 2. Have we improved any Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary school in Belize this year? 3. What have we learned this year that could help us to improve our schools in Belize, so that we can more adequately educate and prepare students for life in Belize in 2020? It is widely accepted now, especially by our country’s 21st Century youth, that Belize is not one of the quaint “ends of the world”, as it was previously described by Aldous Huxley and once considered to be by the rest of the world. On the contrary, Belize (not British Honduras) has today boldly taken its place as its own Independent and Sovereign nation in a new century and global age of instant communication. Our children and grandchildren have been born into, and live in, a modern Age of Technology, and so they also see themselves as being on the same stage as everyone else around the world today. Consequently, now more than ever, young Belizeans need our help and guidance to help them adequately prepare to face the challenges of a rapidly changing and advancing world of technology and global economics.

Belize Tourism Industry Association Holds Successful 28th Annual General Meeting
The Belize Tourism Industry Association is pleased to announce that it held a very successful 28th Annual General Meeting and Seminar on Thursday, December 5, 2013, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. The event's main objective was to update the membership on the Association's accomplishments for the year 2013 and inform the membership of upcoming plans for 2014 to be carried out by the BTIA Secretariat. It also offered an opportunity for members to dialogue on current issues, challenges and to voice their concerns. BTIA Board Members including various Destination Chairs, Sector Representatives and invited guests from both the private and public sectors were in attendance. Main speakers included BTIA President, Mr. Herbert Haylock and special Guest Speaker Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director Caribbean Community Climate Change Center.

Belize Inaugurates $3Mil Joint Operations Center with U.S. and Canada
On Monday, December 9, the Ministry of National Security inaugurated its first Joint Operations Center (JOC) at Price Barracks. The opening of the JOC represents over two years of teamwork and collaboration between the Belize Defence Force, U.S. Southern Command, and the Governments of the U.S., Belize, and Canada. The JOC’s inauguration is an important step in U.S. and Belize commitment to realizing a safe and secure Belize. The U.S. Southern Command Counter-Drug Program donated the building, valued at three million Belize dollars, in support of a regional security network of land and maritime forces with improved facilities, training and equipment. The Government of Canada provided the internal furnishings and computer equipment. The primary purpose of the JOC is the exercise of operational command and control. It enables law enforcement to plan and execute maritime interception, provide operational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, determine and prioritize operational priority intelligence requirements, collect and share operational information, process and exploit collected operational information and analyze, interpret, and integrate operational information and all other tasks into one cohesive plan.

Misc Belizean Sources

Red Cross Christmas Bake Sale
Sat Dec. 14th - 11am at the Roadkill Bar

The San Pedro Town Council in conjunction with Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Culture have recently purchased loads of hard core material for the street repairs. As seen on the pictures, the Marina road is the first road to receive hard core material in order for the delivery trucks carrying the material to have smooth access to town. This is the first shipment of 15 barge loads of hard core. In the upcoming weeks we shall be receiving the remaining barge loads for the restoration of the most deplorable streets.

Central government vs municipal governments in Belize: An ongoing drama
By Wellington C. Ramos In most of the former British colonies that Great Britain ruled during the colonial era, including my country Belize, they all have a central government system in place. Political parties in these countries select their party leaders and if they win the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, they become the prime minister of the country for five years. Once they assume office, their political party controls everything in the country and the opposition parties and members are at their mercy.

The annual Christmas lunch and party for close to a thousand children was held today, Friday, December 13 at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in Belize City. Aong the specials guests was His Excellency the Governor General, Sir Colville Young and the Lord Mayor of Belize City, Mr. Darrell Bradley.

Tabby Johnson in Cayo
Tabby Johnson, the Canadian jazz singer, will be playing at the Soul Project tonight, Saturday the 14th. The warm up Belizean musicians will be Drew Gill, Mark Phillips, and Alexander Evans. This is a Winsom Foundation fundraiser for scholarships to students in Cristo Rey. In related news, the Soul Project is having their normal Friday night Open Mic tonight. They just released a video from a few weeks ago of the World Culture Band and Eddie Allen playing Carlos Santana's 'Black Magic Woman.' Awesome song, awesome cover.

2014 Inspiration Calendar
Today, the Special Envoy Belize launched its 2014 #Inspiration Calendar and Agenda. The calendar features drawings from children with special needs. Photo: Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow smiles alongside June 2014 artist, Albert Card — with Kim Simplis.

ReefCI’s latest newsletter – 13th December 2013
Last chance to name our boat!! We are loving the creativity that our name the boat competition has stirred in you all!! “Weh yu deh, Aquaholics, The spearit of Pterois and White Wata are our favourites so far!! But, can you do better? This is your last chance to go down in ReefCI history!! Put your thinking caps on and send us your suggestions for the name of our new skiff!! There will be a prize for the winner!! Email! Lionfish Spine jewellery – Update With the help of TIDE and local artist and friend of ReefCI Palovi, we held a Lionfish jewellery session at a recent arts and crafts workshop for the ladies of Toledo. Most had never heard of the lionfish invasion, let alone seen the spines or eaten the fish! The ladies were a little nervous about handling the spines at first but after taking the lead from Palovi and Jo they soon got to grips with them! A great fun session was had by all! More lionfish spines were donated to the ladies who have since made bamboo and lionfish spine beaded curtains and small trinket boxes!! Watch this space for more details on our community outreach program or email for further information. ReefCI and TIDE Collaborate: ReefCI and Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) have been continuing their collaboration on removing the invasive Lionfish from Belizean waters. James Foley, Head Scientist at TIDE, took his team of community researchers to Tom Owens this week for an intensive lionfish culling program. In one of the first dives of the week a team of four from TIDE accompanied four from ReefCI, managed to remove 81 lionfish in one dive!! Excellent results!! Keep watching our facebook page for future developments and partnerships.

Channel 7

How Did Medina Get A Bze Passport By Descent?
Tonight, there is the report of a Salvadoran man who got a legitimate nationality under bogus circumstances in a day for just a few hundred dollars. Yesterday, KREM Radio News broke the story of 24-year-old Rafael Alexander Vasquez Medina. He says that in September, his mother was approached at her stall at the Michael Finnegan Market by a woman who said she could get her son's nationality document all worked out for just five hundred dollars. She took only a week to get it done, and application and certificate were processed in just one day at the Immigration Office in Belmopan. The nationality certificate shows that it was signed by no less than the Director of Immigration Maria Marin herself on behalf of the minister. That day was also September 19th., the day news of the Citizen Kim scandal broke. Now, it's all very irregular because Citizen Medina got his nationality by descent, but neither of his parents is Belizean. The nationality certificate shows that his mother is Roberta Medina, a woman who he said he doesn't know.

FECTAB Holds Fiery, Emotional Press Conference
As we reported earlier this week, on Tuesday at 12:35 pm, a 58 year old female cruise tourist died after experiencing difficulties while snorkeling on a Chukka Tour. Today Chukka sent out a statement saying she lost consciousness while snorkeling in the Sergeant's Caye area. Snorkel guides and a lifeguard got the guest out of the water and tried to resuscitate her. They got her to Belize Medical Associates by 1:30 p.m. but she died a few hours later. Chukka quotes medical experts who say that she had a respiratory incident, and took water into her lungs which led to asphyxia by drowning. It's unfortunate, and about the sixth snorkeling death we have reported in the last 7 years, but CHUKKA's adversaries in FECTAB say it's symptomatic of a deeper problem. Today, they held an emotional press conference to make broad allegations of malpractice against Chukka. 7News was there:... Daniel Ortiz reporting FECTAB presented the information they were given about the week of incidents which happened on Chukka operations. It all seemed a bit incredible yet, Tom Greenwood took the time out to outline them.

Chukka Responds; Says FECTAB Went Too Far
So, as we've told you, Chukka's response to the Snorkeling incident is that while they are deeply sorry and their condolences go out to family, it was an unfortunate accident for which they are not guilty of malpractice. Chukka's Country manager spoke to us this evening, and she told us that while they are well aware of the campaign against them from FECTAB, she felt that they went too far this time. Here's how she outlined it: Valerie Woods, Country Manager - CHUKKA Belize "If you would allow me to put some truth and we all know what's going on here. This is not the first time that the media has been called out by FECTAB because of a very mellow-dramatic and grandstanding position that they take due to a personal issue or gripe that Tom Greenwood appears to have with Chukka. He has literally declared war on Chukka and its most unfortunate that he is using a personal tragedy to exploit that." "On the matter of snorkeling, yes there was a snorkeling tour and it was conducted near Sergeant's Caye on Tuesday December 10th and a guest did have an incident where she literally became unconscious. Our guides and our life guard immediately got her out of the water, administered First Aid or EMT, continued with emergency procedures until they arrived at the Fort Street Tourism Village where further emergency procedures were rendered and got her quickly over to the Belize Medical Associates."

Yellowman Acquitted; Fawda A No-Show
Did Brian "Yellowman" Audinett beat up Phillip "Fawda" Henry? That's what Fawda Henry told the police in early July. Yellowman - who is the mace-bearer in the House of Representatives - was charged along with his friend Alan Kelly for 1 count of harm, wounding, using threatening words against Henry. They were also charged for assaulting a police officer and wounding PC#1366, Wilbert Chi. The case was heard in the #5 Magistrate's Court today and it ended in anti-climax. "Fawda" Henry failed to show up to court despite being summoned, and his charges were struck out by Magistrate Hattie Mae Stuart. As for the police officer, he testified that he saw Yellowman and another man get out of a pickup truck and go after a man who was presumably Henry, and he went to stop them. But after getting between the men he was hit in the back of the left side of his head, behind the ear, and briefly knocked unconscious. The blow came from behind so he could not say definitively who hit him. Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold, representing Audinett and Kelly, then briefly submitted to the Magistrate that his clients had no case to answer and the Magistrate upheld it and dismissed the charges. We spoke outside court to Audinett who said he's happy to be free and clear of charges:

Jose Alpuche Resigns As Agriculture Ministry CEO
Jose Alpuche, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture has been pivotal in government's negotiations and decision making in the bagasse dispute. But now, he's stepping down. Alpuche told us today that he gave his notice to the minister on Wednesday and that he will work for three more months. As to why he's stepping down, he told us he didn't want to make an issue of it, but did remark that this whole government thing is not for him. That means that in the past two weeks, Deputy Prime Minister Vega has lost both his CEO in the Ministry of Natural Resources Beverly Castillo who resigned to pursue a political career and Alpuche who says he will remain in the agricultural sector in some capacity. Alpuche was appointed CEO in 2012 right after the UDP won. He was seen as one of the gilded, non-political appointments made after the last election in 2012. Buzz Goff was another; he lasted only six months. Alpuche, when he demits office, will have lasted two years.

Belizean Mayan Artifacts On Major Display In Minnesota
On Monday, we told you about the major exposition of Belizean Maya artifacts currently being shown at the Science Museum of Minnesota. It's the biggest collection of Belizean artifacts that's ever been shown in one place. But that's not what makes the show special or newsworthy. As we found out when we travelled to Minnesota last weekend, the show is an experience, and to depict that the designers relied heavily on the trove of research currently being done on the Maya in Belize. Jules Vasquez reports from sub-zero Saint Paul:.. Join us on Monday for part two of our story when we'll tell you how Belize stands to benefit from loaning the Pieces to the Science Museum of Minnesota by having them properly conserved.

BDF Staff Sergeant Died From Collision Injuries
Last night we told you about the 41 year old BDF staff Sargeant who died in a traffic accident. The postmortem examination conducted on Noe Abimael Carillo of Yo Creek Village, found the cause of death to be Traumatic Asphyxia due to Acute Lung failure and chest injury as a consequence of the Road Traffic Accident. In other words, he didn't die of drowning in a ditch as some had speculated; he got a chest injury which compromised his lungs.

Persons In The Haylock Bus Got Injured
In an update on the other accident we told you about last night, the one that happened near Haulover bridge on the Northern Highway, police say a number of people were injured. As we showed you, a dump truck collided into a passenger bus when its brakes failed. The bus received extensive damages and the driver and some passengers received minor injuries. The truck driver received no injuries. The driver of bus and other injured people were transported to KHMH via Bert Ambulance.

"Jerusalem" Residents Suffer From Flood Ponds In Their Streets
Yesterday, the rains caused quite a number of the City's streets to flood, or worsen the potholes that already exist. It was an annoyance for everyone, but a few hours later, the water went down. But for others, such as the residents of the "Jerusalem" area, the pain lingers for days, which turns into weeks, and sometimes into months. Today, one of the residents invited us in to see what has become their reality while they wait for Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley to pave the City's Streets, hopefully getting to their area sometime soon. She told us she's spoken with both Bradley and her Area Rep., Patrick Faber, who she says has only promised to help - in a situation of dire desperation: Tanya Pantin - Resident - Jerusalem "Well for years that we have lived in the Antelope Street extension area it has been difficult even to get to work on a daily basis. Sometimes the children would have to remain at home because the water would come up so high and we would actually be trapped, not being able to get out. Yesterday morning, once we got up, we found out that the water was so high that my daughter and I, we decided that we would come to this area which is a dump for land filling and we retrieved about 50 or more tyres that you have seen over there and we actually decided to make a "London bridge" out of that."

4th Inspiration Calendar Launched
The 2014 Inspiration calendar and agenda was launched this morning by Special Envoy For Women And Children, Kim Simplis Barrow. It's the calendar's 4th year and it highlights the creative side of children living with disabilities as well as advocating to reduce stigma and discrimination. With support of McNab Designs, a cheque of 29 thousand dollars was also handed over at the event. The money is proceeds made from the 2013 sales. We found out more... Those who are interested in ordering a copy of a calendar can contact the office of the Special Envoy.

Jamaicans Are Here For The 3 For The Price Of 1 Concert
Three of Jamaica's biggest dancehall and reggae artists are in Belize tonight getting ready for a major performance. Alaine, Aidonia and Romain Virgo will be hitting the stage tomorrow night at the ITVET alongside a long list of Belizean artists. The promoter and the artistes told us about the show:.. The concert starts at 9 tomorrow night.

Channel 5

Another nationality scam uncovered as Salvadoran gets nationality in 1 day
Tonight, there is more evidence of corruption in the issuance of nationality certificates, this time directly implicating insiders in the Vital Statistics Unit, and likely the nationality section of the [...]

FECTAB Executives crack under pressure
FECTAB press conferences are normally colorful and charged.  Today, the organization held another one of those, but it also got emotional.  Two of its firebrand members cracked under the pressure [...]

Murder in Valley of Peace
There is a murder to report…one, in the generally peaceful community of Valley of Peace in the Cayo District. The victim has been identified as Valley of Peace resident Isidoro [...]

Charges against House Sergeant, Brian “Yellow Man” Audinett, are dropped
House Sergeant-at-Arms, thirty-one year old Brian “Yellow Man” Audinett, and Housing Inspector, thirty year old Allan Dale Kelly, appeared this morning in Magistrate’s Court for trial on charges of harm, [...]

Inspirational artwork of children with disabilities featured in 2014 calendar
The Special Envoy for Women and Children today launched the latest edition of the Inspiration Calendar. The artwork in the calendar was done by children with special needs who started [...]

Special Envoy speaks on the passing of amendment to criminal code
On Thursday, the second and third reading of amendment two to the criminal code was passed in the House of Representatives. The amendment had a rocky start because some sectors [...]

Lynn Young, the new Chairman of Kolbe
There is a change to report tonight at the top of the Kolbe Foundation which manages the Belize Central Prison. John Woods, who had been Chairman since 2002 when the [...]

4, including a minor, charged for ammunition offenses
A group of four, including a minor, two brothers and a friend were today before the court to answer to ammunition offenses after they were busted in the city allegedly [...]

VIP supports second motion for a senate inquiry
The Senate is scheduled to meet next week to ratify a number of bills that were passed at Thursday’s House meeting. But another matter will be coming up. The opposition [...]

Over $200,000 to be paid by government to settle GSU abuse
In August of 2011, there was a violent confrontation on the streets of Belize City between armed police officers of the Gang Suppression Unit and residents of George Street who [...]

Attorney says clients want an apology
Each of the eighteen claimants is to be paid a portion of the total judgment, to be divided according to the evidence each presented. Those who accused the officers of [...]

Belize National Boxing Selection games being held this Sunday
Amateur boxers from across the country will be competing this weekend for a chance at making the Belize National Boxing Selection.  Pugilists from various gyms, including the Lion’s Den One [...]

Food vendor pleads for custody of her children and grandchildren
  Popular Belizean food vendor Gloria Jimenez is in a protracted battle with the Department of Human Services for custody of her three children.  The kids were taken away from [...]


Mayor Bradley Represents Belize at Municipal Conferences
Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley returned home earlier this week after attending two regional municipal conferences. The first was a Mayors’ colloquium held in Miami, Florida. It focused on the theme of developing sustainable cities and had the participation of Mayors from the United States of America, the Caribbean and Central and South America. It featured presentations and panel discussions on a range of issues affecting local government, including municipal financing, climate change, green technology, solid waste management and emergency management. Mayor Bradley sat on a panel to discuss public sector financing and the Mayor spoke about his experience with the municipal bond and the Belize City infrastructure project. Mayor Bradley went to Trinidad and Tobago where he attended a conference on Local Economic Development in Trinidad and Tobago. This conference featured presentations on local economic development and community mapping. Mayor Bradley was a presenter and spoke on the role of local government in promoting local economic development within cities.

Fishermen and Vessel Remain Missing at Sea
More than a week after they left to go fishing and never returned, the search continues for four missing fishermen. On Monday the body of 49 year old Thomas Young was found in the waters of Southern Belize. Young went along with 26 year old Darwin Gentle, 24 year old Elgin Graham, 34 year old Sergio Flores and 26 year old Kenrick Chi. The last contact that was made between the fishermen and their families was on Saturday. Operations Officer for the Belize National Coast Guard Service, Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis, says that so far, there have been no other clues. LT. GREGORY SOBERANIS “We have been aggressively conducting patrols down south; Alligator Caye, southward towards Dangriga, all the way down to Tobacco Caye over the past few days. Thus far, our efforts have resulted in none of the fishermen being found nor have we sighted the vessel, Natasha. As you can see the weather conditions have made the search somewhat tedious but nevertheless we are committed to continue on with the search until higher command gives the directive to terminate or suspend the search efforts. The islands in that area are filled with mangrove inlets and so we want to make sure that the area is properly combed, looking in all the little channels and all those mangrove channels to see if maybe the vessel is submerged. The efforts continue and at the end of play today, we will look at all that has been done throughout the week and the higher command will make a decision as to what will be the next step in this operation.

Early Afternoon Robbery at Chinese Store
A broad daylight robbery occurred this afternoon in Belama Phase three in Belize City. It happened at about one o’clock at Gun Fa shop when two armed masked men entered the business and proceeded to rob the proprietors of an undisclosed amount of money and other items. We understand that while the two assailants robbed the store, two other male individuals stood outside on watch. Unfortunately no one was hurt and police investigations continue.

Government Wants to Keep Homosexuality a Crime in Belize
During the House Sitting, the Bill to amend the Criminal Code as it relates to rape and other sexual offenses against children was passed with unanimous support. The Bill, which the Minister of Social Transformation, Anthony “Boots” Martinez introduced, also received resounding support from the Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow, who was present for its passing into Law. The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, explained in detail what the passage of the Bill means for child sexual offenders. PATRICK FABER “I listened as CEO Alpuche and I hope she doesn’t mind but I think she said it publicly today, so I am hoping that it’s okay, shared a story of a child that was finger raped, Mr. Speaker; that was molested with a finger and the charge of rape or any serious charge could not be brought against that simply because there was no legislation to cover that and I listened, as a little girl, who is at sixth form nor or UB, thanked the committee, thanked the ministry to put forward this piece of legislation because there was not enough legislation to nail this person down. Under this new legislation, Mr. Speaker, if a penis goes into a mouth or a vagina or an anus, it is now considered to be rape. It certainly is making it more difficult for these persons who are harming our children whether it be their parents, their loved ones or people from outside, there are people in this country who are causing irreversible harm to the children of this country and this piece of legislation, Mr. Speaker is moving us forward progressively to stop them dead in their tracks.”

City Council Makes Good on Promise to Cover Debt
Last week Love News reported that the Belize City Council was having problems closing its debt to Belize Waste Control for garbage collection. At last we spoke with General Manager of BWS, George Lamb, he indicated that the Council had fallen behind on 15 weeks of payment. This amounted to over 700 thousand dollars. But today there is an update to that situation. According to Mayor Bradley, the Council has been able to make four payments between last week and this week, which brings the number of weeks owed down to eleven. Mayor Bradley says that the Council hopes to make two more payments this coming week, which would further bring that payment to under ten weeks. Coupled with this, Mayor Bradley reminds that the Council must also, by virtue of a court order, honour a payment of 62 thousand dollars on December 20th. This ruling was made some years ago under a previous municipal government.

Case Falls Apart; Yellowman and Kelly Set Free
Thirty-one year old Brian “Yellowman” Audinett and 30 year old Allan Kelly, charged with five offences, three involving Phillip “Faada” Henry and the other two a police officer, were freed of all charges today when they appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart. In relation to Henry, Audinett and Kelly were charged with using insulting words, using threatening words and harm. Those charges were struck out when Henry, who was duly summoned, did not show up in court. Audinett and Kelly were charged with assaulting police constable Wilbert Chee and causing a wound to the back of Chee’s head. Chee testified that at around 5:30 a.m. on July 12, 2013, he took his family to Novelo’s Bus Terminal on West Collet Canal Street and while he was there he saw a confrontation between the accused and Henry. Chee said he approached them and identified himself as a police officer and told them to stop what they were doing. Chee said that while his back was turned to Audinett he felt a blow to the back of his head and he fell to the ground unconscious. Chee testified that he regained consciousness after about one minute and Henry helped him to his feet. He said he then asked some persons who were around him what had happened. After the prosecution closed its case, Ellis Arnold, the attorney for the accused, submitted that they did not have a case to answer to because Chee did not see who stuck him and he did not know what happened. Magistrate Stuart upheld the submission and dismissed the charges.

FECTAB Holds Emotional Press Conference
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB called a press conference this morning that was filled with emotions; so much emotions that President Tom Greenwood cursed and FECTAB member Yohnnie Rosado cried. Like in many other previous press conferences, FECTAB had a lot to say about Carnival’s Chukka Belize, the Belize Tourism Board and the Government of Belize. But the main reasons that FECTAB called the press conference was to let Belize know through the media, that Chukka Belize has had several “incidences” with tourist and that Chukka Belize is controlling the tour operating business in Belize. FECTAB says that Chukka has been hiring inexperience tour guides which had led to several tourists being injured on several occasions. Chukka Belize has sent out a release refuting the allegations and Chukka’s Country Manager, Valerie Woods says it is blatantly untrue and inflammatory. It’s a feud that has been ongoing and shows no signs of calming down. We got both sides of the bad blood between both companies and here is what they had to say. YOHNNIE ROSADO “We know we are doing what is right fighting for our business, it’s every native person; if it were an American they would be fighting for their business, in this case we are Belizeans and we don’t have respect for any company that comes from outside and try to knock us out of business. I remember a meeting that the tour operators were in along with BTB and NICH and I remember Valerie Woods came in and said that she is not here to make any friends; I came here to do my business. Well here it comes again, Ms. Valerie Woods, I am not afraid of you or Chukka or even this Government of Belize that are not ready to protect the people. This Christmas comes and we don’t have jobs; I own my business, I invest every penny in this business. BTB has not apologized to me either verbally or written, they are waiting for me to make a mistake. Forgive me but it hurts me very much to know that I put everything in this business.


The body of one murdered fisherman has surfaced, but the other four fishermen, and boat have vanished. Four of five Belizean men who went to fish in the Colson Caye area in the Stann Creek District are missing. The fear is that they have been brutally killed and disposed of, after the body of the fifth man was found on Monday evening, chopped up and shot in the chest and back, with the indications being that he may have been tortured before he was killed. As of press time tonight, Thursday, neither the four men or their boat have been found. The family of the fifth man, Thomas Levi Young, 49, of Lucky Strike, is devastated, trying to deal with the reality that he has been violently taken away. Young was found floating in the sea about a mile off the shores of Colson Caye at about 2:00 Monday afternoon. His corpse was in an advanced state of decomposition. Doctor Mario Estradabran, who conducted the autopsy, declared that his death was caused by exsanguinations – internal and external bleeding – due to gunshot wounds to the chest. Police, who took Young’s body to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after taking it over from the Coast Guard who had retrieved him from the sea, reported that there were two large chop wounds in the center of his head; as well as a large chop wound on his left hand, on which there was a shark tattoo with the name “JAWS;” a cut wound under his chin; a chop wound on his left small finger; and two gunshot wounds, one in his upper left chest and one in his upper right back.

On August 26, 2011, a little after the 6:30 evening news ended, members of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) besieged George Street and descended in droves upon its residents as they were engaging in the repast following the funeral of Charles Woodye. The residents, most of whom are believed to be members of the George Street Gang (GSG), reported to police that they were terrorized by members of the GSU, who stormed their houses and began beating, kicking, and punching them, then smashed the bottles of liquor they had there for the repast. The following Monday, August 29, the bruised and battered residents went to the media to let the entire country know of the abuse they suffered at the hands of the GSU. And in those interviews, they also vowed legal action against the officers because of the injustices that were visited on them, an injustice that they claimed was totally unjustified. The matter received so much attention that it warranted the return of the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, from a diplomatic trip in order to quell the rising anger of the residents, and temper the situation via mediation.

The infighting within the Christian Workers Union (CWU) seems to have been quelled with an announcement Thursday afternoon that firebrand attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, who recently left her position as Vice President of Oceana in Belize to return to private practice, will be the new president of the CWU going forward. The CWU held a press conference at its Cemetery Road office in Belize City at 1:00 this afternoon and announced that Antonio “Pancho” Gonzalez, and James McFoy, who have been at the helm of the union for the past decade, would immediately step aside, following calls from the stevedores, a faction of the CWU, demanding that the two men leave their positions. Gonzalez and McFoy, both present at the press conference, were calm in their composure, as they pledged to continue supporting the work of the CWU. Despite coming under fire from the stevedores over allegations that they failed to properly account for the union’s finances, both Gonzalez and McFoy continue to claim innocence against charges of wrongdoing. They both told the press today that they have “no regrets” at the moment of their departure from the CWU.

Today, two of the three police officers accused of “shaking down” Thyrell Hyde back in September were finally brought to court and criminally charged with theft and harm. Those officers are Reymundo Requeña, 42, a police corporal of Benque Viejo, and Edgar Teul, 30, a police constable of Maya Mopan, Belmopan. According to police, Thyrell Hyde reported that on September 8, 2013, while socializing with some friends at Dolphin Park, he was approached by some officers who exploited their authority to steal money from the youth. And how brazen were these officers? They searched Hyde, took the money he had on him, and when they found his Atlantic Bank ATM card, they took him to the bank’s Freetown Road location and allegedly stole money from his account, as he stood and watched. The two officers were taken to court this afternoon in a vehicle with a private license plate, and they appeared nonchalant during their arraignment before Magistrate Clive Lino. Cpl. Requeña was charged with harm upon Hyde and for stealing $70 from him, as well.

A Belize Defence Force soldier, Staff Sergeant Abimael Carrillo, died at the BDF hospital in Price Barracks, Ladyville, about an hour after being rushed there to be treated for massive head and body injuries he sustained in a traffic accident. Carrillo was travelling in a pickup truck being driven at the time by Juan Tuyub. Tuyub was turning the curve into the Old Airport Camp Road, now Price Barracks Road, from off the Philip Goldson Highway at Mile 8 ¾ in Ladyville, when he lost control of the vehicle and it overturned at about 1:30 this morning, Thursday. People in the area rushed to assist the soldiers. At the scene, police saw a grey Toyota pickup overturned, with its four wheels up in the air, and it was submerged in water. The vehicle was pulled out of the water, and its occupants were taken out by the bystanders and placed on the roadside. Tuyub, who was the first person taken out, was unhurt, but Carrillo was in an unconscious state. The pickup was then towed to the BDF Camp, along with the injured soldier.

The signing of a Book of Condolences dedicated to the late Nelson Mandela, aka Madiba, who passed away last Thursday, December 5, continued today at the Library of African and Indian Studies, on the Kremandala compound, at 3304 Partridge Street in Belize City. The signing is a joint effort of Kremandala and the UBAD Education Foundation (UEF). Among the first to pen their thoughts were students of Gwen Lizarraga High School and St. Martin De Porres School. They came at the opening session held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, which was incidentally being celebrated as Human Rights Day 2013. It was also the day when tens of thousands in South Africa—including heads of state from many countries across the world—participated in a Memorial Service as part of the 10 days of mourning, which concludes this Sunday, December 15, with Mandela’s state funeral. Shadeen Ramos of St. Martin De Porres School told KREM Television that she celebrates Mandela as a proud Black man who fought for human rights.

The Independence Hall on Queen Street in Belize City was today the venue for yet another press conference staged by the Opposition PUP; however, this time around, the topic was chiefly concentrated on the present United Democratic Party (UDP) administration’s “unfair” distribution of subventions to the municipalities which are currently run by mayors who represent the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP). The three mayors – Anthony Fuentes, mayor of Punta Gorda Town; Kevin Bernard, mayor of Orange Walk Town; and Gilbert Swazo (Ret’d Major), mayor of Dangriga Town, who sat at the head table along with their Party Leader, Hon. Francis Fonseca, claimed that not only are their town councils unable to function effectively with the monthly funds that they presently receive from central government, but they are also being left out of the decision-making process as it relates to the allocation of the monies which will be disbursed by Government for proposed infrastructural works which are soon to be conducted across the country. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca demanded respect and “fair and equitable” treatment, which, he said, both the mayors and the people who live in those municipalities are not getting. He accused the Prime Minister of placing the interests and authority of his (the PM’s) caretakers above the interests of the municipalities.

While chastising the government during his press conference today, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca, heavily criticized an annual social welfare program that has been generated by the current United Democratic Party (UDP) administration, referred to by none other than the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, as the “Christmas Cheer” program. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has made it clear that he makes no apologies for the program, in which all elected area representatives of both major political parties – in addition to the fourteen UDP caretakers – will receive varying sums of monies to assist their respective constituents over the upcoming Christmas holidays. According to Fonseca, the program is structured in such a way that the seventeen elected UDP area representatives will receive the “lion’s share” of the pie, so to speak, as they are going to be assigned $90,000 each to hand out to their constituents, amounting to a total of 1.53 million dollars for the ruling party’s elected reps. The 14 elected People’s United Party (PUP) representatives, on the other hand, will be given $25,000 each to do the same, but one of the things that has the PUP Leader “fighting mad” is that the 14 UDP political officers in those PUP divisions will also be given $25,000 dollars each to share amongst their supporters, which when combined, soars to the tune of an additional $700,000.

National team striker Deon McCaulay, who is presently tied for the goal scoring lead in the Premier League of Belize Opening Season competition, flew out from the Philip Goldson International Airport this afternoon en route across the Atlantic Ocean to the European nation of Greece, where he is slated to participate in tryouts before hopefully signing with the AEL Kallonis football club in the city of Kalloni, Greece. The recent Gold Cup in the U.S. was considered a perfect stage for Belizean stars, especially Deon, to secure a contract with a professional team in the international arena. But Deon was not at his best in that tourney due to injury, and has just recently returned to his goal scoring form. Deon leaves behind, aside from relatives and friends, his Belmopan Bandits team which is presently involved in a very tight race to the playoffs in the Premier League of Belize 2013-2014 Opening Season competition. With his goal this past weekend in the Bandits’ 2-1 win over Verdes FC, Deon had secured a tie for the goal scoring lead along with Franz Vernon of league leading Paradise/Freedom Fighters with 5 goals.

As we reported in our Sunday, December 8, edition, the best-of-3 games Finals series for the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high school basketball tournament tipped off on Thursday, December 5, at Bird’s Isle with Wesley girls taking game 1 by an 18-15 score over Gwen Liz High; while the ACC boys blew out their SJC opponents, 68-42. On Friday, in game 2 of the Finals, Gwen Liz girls rebounded to even the series with a similar 18-15 score over Wesley girls, thus forcing a game 3. Ann Ma Chen led Gwen Liz with 8 pts, while Shanice Humes led Wesley with 4 pts. But the Finals ended without a fuss for the boys, as ACC again demonstrated their dominance over SJC, beating them this time by a 72-55 score. Top scorers for ACC were Douglas Valley and Antwan Rivero with 17 pts apiece, and Francis Arana with 14 pts; while SJC was led by Andrew Vasquez with 20 pts and Dudley Erskine with 14 pts. With the completion of the male championship, the MVP award (donated by Young’s Engineering Consultancy) was given to Douglas Valley of ACC; while the Silent Hero Award (donated by Mr. Emory Bennett) went to Holdane Swazo, also of ACC.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) sponsored Open Inter-District Football Tournament 2013-2014 continued over the weekend with the usual 2 games played in each of the 4 Zones. ZONE 1 – In game 1 at the Toledo Union Field on Saturday, December 7, MnM Steelers were 2-1 winners over Mavericks, with a goal each from Tyron Parham (39’) and Dion Burgess (63’); while Andre Logan (6’) scored for Mavericks. Game 2 was on Sunday at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, and saw GB United with the 4-2 win over Police FC (scoring details pending). ZONE 2 – Game 1 on Saturday at the Carl Ramos Stadium was a 1-1 draw between Hope Creek United and San Martin FC. Octavio Ramirez (7’) put Hope Creek in front, but Melvin Barrientos (18’) equalized for San Martin. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium on Sunday, Roaring Creek United crushed Green Gold FC by a 5-1 margin, with Kenny Williams (14’, 53’ & 70’) netting a hat trick and Ajani Banner (12’ & 67’) a brace for Roaring Creek; while Hugo Franco (83’) got the late consolation goal for Green Gold.

Three games were played on Monday, December 9, at the Guinea Grass field in the Emma Flowers Softball Tournament. San Narciso Red Orchids won, 5-4, over Louisville; Caledonia crushed Guinea Grass, 10-1; and Carmelita shut out San Estevan, 15-0. Upcoming games in San Narciso on Monday, December 16, will include Louisville vs Caledonia, San Estevan vs Guinea Grass, and San Narciso Red Orchids vs Carmelita. Hon. Abelardo Mai Female 8-A-Side The Hon. Abelardo Mai Female 8-A-Side football tournament had 3 games scheduled to be played at Indian Church on Monday, December 9. Trinidad won by default (3-0) over Yo Creek; Chan Pine Ridge clipped Indian Church, 2-1; and Carmelita won, 1-nil, over Guinea Grass. Games for Monday, December 16, at Chan Pine Ridge, beginning at 10:00 a.m., will be Yo Creek vs Carmelita, Trinidad vs Guinea Grass, and Chan Pine Ridge vs Indian Church

In Johannesburg on Tuesday, having flown there for the ceremonies in honor of former South African president, Nobel Peace laureate, and international hero – the late, great Nelson Mandela, the president of the United States – Barack Obama, whose father came from Kenya in East Africa, and the president of Cuba – Raúl Castro, whose father came from Galicia in Spain, shook hands in a spontaneous, unplanned gesture which was photographed and flashed all over the world in television and newspaper images. The United States, a capitalist nation which is considered the superpower of planet earth, more than fifty years ago imposed and has sustained an economic embargo against the relatively small island of Cuba, which became communist after the Cuban Revolution of January 1, 1959, led by Raúl Castro’s older brother, Fidel. The relations between the two nation-states have been quite hostile for more than a half century, because of the embargo, because of the Bay of Pigs invasion in April of 1961 and because of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. The White House had to move quickly this week to do damage control where the Barack–Raúl photograph was concerned, because the politics of Florida is greatly influenced by a large and rabid anti-Castro group of Cuban exiles, and it is for sure that in the United States overall, such a photograph constitutes negative politics for the Barack presidency.

There’s an important article on the Caste War in this Tuesday’s edition of Amandala, but it is a fairly long article and I’m sure most of you won’t take the time to read it. The reason the article is important is because it was written by a former British High Commissioner to Belize, Mr. Peter Thomson, and because it is the first admission I know of, in 2004, by a British official that the British and the Santa Cruz Maya had a “rapprochement” in the second half of the nineteenth century, at the same time that the “Mexicans” had a similar relationship with the Santa Cruz Indians’ “most significant rival Indian tribe, the Icaiche (or Chichuanha).” In other words, it was Belize and the Santa Cruz Maya (the bravos) versus Mexico and the Icaiche (the pacíficos) at various times during the 1850s. The quotation marks around “Mexicans” are mine because in 1853, when the Mexicans and the Icaiche cut a deal, Mexico was not the modern nation-state we know today. The Yucatán had always been somewhat of a self-contained entity, because it was so distant from the federal capital in those days. Transportation was probably faster by sailing ship than by road 150 years ago, and if you look at the map you will see that Texas is actually much closer to the Yucatán than Mexico City is. There is a history between the Yucatecans and the Texans, who were both giving the federal Mexican authorities all kinds of trouble from time to time. Before its independence in 1821, Mexico was known as “New Spain,” and its territory included both the Yucatán and Texas. A couple decades after Mexican independence, there were Sam Houston and Davy Crockett and Santa Anna and the Alamo, and Texas became a part of the United States of America.

Disability Week concluded last week, but for the remainder of the month of December, the showcase of differently-abled children by a group of activists from Stella Maris School will continue. As a follow-up to last week’s article, Amandala presents this feature story on three parents and the differently-abled children with whom they share many fun moments. Indeed, life can become a challenge when caring for people with special needs, but the light moments of humor these parents share with their children make the experience not just livable – but also loveable. Lynn Santos is the mother of Selvyn and Robert Kelly, both students of Stella Maris School. While Selvyn moves on at the end of this school year — hopefully to a vocational school where he can master cooking enough to live out his dream of becoming a chef, Robert still has a few years more in school. Robert, 13, is blind, but there is hope—a 50-50 chance—that he could see again one day. Robert and his mom had traveled to the USA when he was a baby with the intent of getting him an eye operation, but the logistics didn’t work out, and they had to return home. They have still not lost hope that someday soon he can get the support he needs to get the eye operation.

— by Audrey Matura-Shepherd We hear the word “corruption” regularly, and have come to use it loosely and frequently, so much so that in Belize without hesitation Belizeans have consistently referred to the government and country as corrupt, but in so doing they forget they too are a part of the government and country and thus by extension are saying they are corrupt. The usage is so over-abused that to say one is corrupt or that there is corruption is not as impacting as it ought to be. Recently, Plus TV owner Louis Wade received a letter threatening legal suit for libel because of the words uttered on his station by Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, in relation to the Lands Department being corrupt and by extension the Minister with responsibility for it, Gaspar Vega. For libel, which is the broadcast form of a defamation, to be proven, the person offended must show that what was said is: “an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others.” I am sorry to say, but my opinion is that if such sentiments are being expressed about the Minister of Lands and the Lands Department, it did not come about because of this statement on Plus TV. Rather, those sentiments existed long before and just grew stronger with every land scandal that emerged. Think about how many Belizeans recently have been finding out someone else owns their land, and when the root of the deal is uncovered it is traced right back to some government official or Minister. Do people understand that from the Minister to their CEO, to the attorneys, to the Lands Officer, from government to government, have found ways to take choice land from unsuspecting Belizeans? Sadly even the court is used to sanction some of these transactions, or by the time the victim realizes what has happened, they can never recover their land. OR some just don’t have the money to mount a challenge or just don’t know better.

Features — 13 Coast Guard investigates itself: San Pedro Sun reporter lied, it says The incidents did not happen the way the reporter claimed they did — Coast Guard report. The Coast Guard announced today that it has concluded its investigation into the alleged intimidation of senior reporter Jorge Aldana of the San Pedro Sun newspaper in San Pedro, at gunpoint by armed members of the Coast Guard. Aldana reported that he was made to lie down on the ground, with guns aimed at his head, and when he tried to see what was happening, the guns were put to his head and he was ordered to look away, while his camera was taken away and his photos deleted. The incident reportedly occurred on Saturday, November 16, in San Pedro. Deputy Commandant of the Coast Guard, Elton Bennett, told Amandala that they had conducted an intensive investigation, but found no truth to the allegations. The investigation included interviews with witnesses, and the recording of statements from individuals who were in the area, as well as close collaboration with the police, said Bennett. He said that he wanted to set the record straight — that Aldana was not intimidated, as had been alleged. He further said that the Coast Guard will not take action against Aldana, and the matter is now considered finished. For his part, Aldana said that he also considers the matter settled, and will not seek any action against the Coast Guard, and will not offer further comment.

Due to a phone problem experienced over the weekend, we have learned that phone numbers of some subscribers in Belize are identical to phone numbers of subscribers in Arkansas, USA. In 1947, the state of Arkansas was assigned the 501 area code – identical to Belize’s country code. On Saturday, a call was placed to a Belizean subscriber via an iPhone, and the person who answered on the other end was an American who said she was in Arkansas and whose phone number is the same as that issued to a subscriber here in Belize. This is the first time we came to realize that local phone numbers in Belize are not unique – contrary to claims made by authorities here that when phone numbers are registered, they can become your unique number. Belize’s country code was issued by the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and our best information is that the country code has been a fixed identifier for Belize since the 60s—possibly earlier. Belize fully switched over from using the six-digit numbering plan to the seven-digit number plan on 1 August 2002.

The Criminal Code Amendment Bill, also dubbed the “gender neutral rape bill,” which would make it possible for a female to be charged for the rape of a male, and which would expand provisions under which forced unnatural sex would be categorized as rape, was taken back to the House of Representatives today for passage—this time with no marked opposition against the bill. When the law was introduced in late September, there was a wave of controversy over provisions which some members of the public said seem to acquiesce to the notion that consenting adults can legally engage in acts now criminalized as unnatural sex under Belize’s Criminal Code. However, today, Chair of the Constitution and Foreign Affairs Committee, Patrick Faber, apologized to the churches for the language that has to be in the bill, but insisted that the amendments were formulated to protect children, and for no other reason. Faber said that Section 53 is being challenged by UNIBAM in the courts, but the Government is championing the effort to keep the law on the books, and to keep unnatural sex as a crime. “That is what the Government’s position is,” Faber said.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow announced this morning, at the final sitting of the House of Representatives for 2013, that the National Bank of Belize will expand its lending portfolio by increasing the ceiling for mortgage loans—offered at a concessionary rate of 5.5%—from $100,000 to $175,000. Barrow reported that since the bank opened its doors in September, it has approved $2.6 million worth of loans for public officers and other Belizeans. “There is another $4.1 million worth of loan applications in the pipeline,” he added. Barrow also announced further plans for the expansion of the bank’s portfolio: “Within the next couple of weeks, the bank expects to receive its first commercial deposit. The board of the bank and the chairman of BTL [Belize Telemedia Limited] have agreed that BTL will invest, by way of cash deposit of 3 years, a total of $5 million with the National Bank,” Barrow announced. He said that the deposit will be made in two tranches of $2.5 mil and the rate the bank would pay BTL, a government-owned utility, would not exceed 2% per annum. “The commercial banks are being so conservative that there is some difficulty with respect to huge depositors such as BTL to be even able to place such funds at the bank,” the Minister of Finance said.

This morning, members of all the major sectors of Belize’s law enforcement agencies were out in full force in Belize City as they participated in the 2nd Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is held annually to raise both funds and awareness for disabled children across the country. The 5-day torch run was originally started by the Belize Police Department, however all law enforcement partners, including the Customs and Immigration Departments, joined in the effort to bring the torch from all the way down south in Punta Gorda to Belize City. As part of the last leg of the run, elements of the Belize Police Department (mainly recruits), the Belize Defence Force, and the Belize Coast Guard ran untiringly while chanting different slogans through the principal streets of Belize City in the wee hours of dawn today. This morning, they actually started in Ladyville, which is about 10 miles from Belize City, and came into the city with different bearers leading the run and carrying the torch at specified intervals.

A publication documenting nine years of human rights recommendations (2005-2013) to Belize and outlining Belize’s commitment for action—such as putting in place measures it says would protect the rights of members of the LGBT community against discrimination and persecution—was launched Tuesday night, in commemoration of Human Rights Day 2013, at the Princess Hotel in Belize City. Eamon Courtenay, SC, Belize Bar Association president, the keynote speaker for the event, said that society has to resolve and design appropriate solutions to what he called “trending issues.” “How will we guarantee the rights of members of the LGBT community? Is the death penalty constitutional? Are persons on remand in prison for several years truly innocent until proven guilty? Are they being afforded a fair trial within a reasonable time? Can the state continue to compulsorily acquire private property without full compensation within a reasonable time? How will we give recognition to full property rights of the indigenous Maya, especially as their rights have been affirmed – not once but three times by the courts in Belize?” Courtenay probed. He said that the document launched Tuesday night—20 years: Working for Your Rights – Human rights recommendations to Belize—has highlighted Belize’s achievements, as well as gaps which need to be addressed.

As we ponder the passing of our great and beloved global warrior for peace, freedom, justice and equality – Madiba, Nelson Mandela, may his soul rest in peace, the greatness and the humility of this giant of a man forces us to reflect on his comrades, the other great men/women in the struggle for life’s eternal goals and dreams for all humanity. Twenty-seven years of incarceration. Defiance. Anger. Unity and commitment in the struggle. Determination and sacrifice. The goal and the objective. For the people, for the future. The journey. The only solution. The only hope. Dignity and humility. The power of prayer, soul searching, and redemptive vision. Justice “roll down like waters.” Forgiveness and reconciliation. Amandla. Power to the people, all the people, “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” When we look back upon this man, who walked and talked among us, and smiled with us, and raised his fist in defiance and his hand for “peace and love” and unity for all his people; when we marvel at the greatness and the beauty of God’s creation, personified in the wisdom and the dignity and the humility of our great Madiba; when we reflect upon the warmness of heart and inspiration of mind that permeates our very soul in grappling with the passing of this great one… it behooves us, especially at this time of year, to reconsider and reflect upon another great one, whose life and message continue to inspire and empower new generations of freedom fighters, warriors for peace, with human rights and dignity, always dignity, and defiance in the face of injustice.

2013 Whereas the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season saw a below-average year—due to dry conditions at the mid-level of the atmosphere—Belize experienced above-average rainfall for the last four months of the season, in some cases, double the usual rainfall, according to information supplied to us by forecaster Derek Rudon of the National Meteorological Service. “This unexpectedly low [cyclone] activity is linked to an unpredictable atmospheric pattern that prevented the growth of storms by producing exceptionally dry, sinking air and strong vertical wind shear in much of the main hurricane formation region, which spans the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. “Also detrimental to some tropical cyclones this year were several strong outbreaks of dry and stable air that originated over Africa,” Bell noted. Rudon told Amandala that all the experts who made seasonal hurricane predictions called for an above-average season, but the season turned out to be below average. “It turned out to be the sixth least active season since 1950, with the fewest hurricanes since 1982,” Rudon said.

At 4:30 this evening, passengers onboard a Haylock Ladyville bus got more than they bargained for when a truck belonging to Belize Waste Control collided head-on with the bus. The truck driver’s name was not released, but witnesses say the truck ran into the bus just as it crossed over the Haulover Bridge. The front of the bus was damaged, as well as the door. The driver of the bus, Linsbergh Lewis, suffered an injury to his left leg, while as many as 15 passengers who were on the bus suffered minor injuries and were taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for treatment. The truck driver was alone in the truck and he left the scene uninjured; it is reported that he will be served with a notice of intent to prosecute.

Police officer Marilyn Pate, of the Orange Walk police, who was chopped multiple times in her head and on her hands in Trial Farm, has been discharged from the Orange Walk Hospital and is recovering at her home. She had received five chop wounds to her head, and suffered a fractured skull as a result. She was also chopped twice on her hand and she complained about a swelling on her face and numbness in both hands. According to police, the incident occurred about 3:30 on Friday, December 6. Pate, along with officers from the Human Services Department, had gone to the home of Oscar Hernandez to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of children made against him when Hernandez allegedly attacked her in his yard with a machete. Oscar Hernandez has since been on the run.

Assistant Superintendent of Police, Andrew Ramirez, Commander of Corozal police, has advised Corozal District residents to anticipate an increase in criminal activities because of the Christmas season. His advice to Corozal residents consists of a set of tips that all Belizeans would do well to keep in mind. Residents are encouraged to report all suspicious activities to the police immediately. It is recommended that they not leave on lights or leave curtains pulled to the side, since this would allow criminals to have the advantage of seeing what is in their houses. It is also recommended that they secure their homes, and keep doors and windows locked whenever possible. Those who are going away should tell their neighbors, so that they can keep an eye on absent owners’ properties. Ramirez also advises against drunk driving and urges drivers to ease the consumption of alcohol, especially if they will be driving. Drivers must think of their families and others before consuming alcohol in excess, said ASP Ramirez. He reminds the public that drivers who drink, should not drive. Also, children must be aware of the seriousness of “Palomitas.” He continues to implore business establishments to open and close during the prescribed hours. Adhering to the opening and closing times would prevent the criminals from pouncing on them. Ramirez also cautions businesses to not serve any alcoholic beverages to any police officer in uniform.

Dear Editor, When I read this letter in the Amandala about the foreign retirees, etc., I felt that this was a perfect example of an issue that needed to be answered by a foreign-born Belizean, a “white bway” who has been living here for 25 years with a Belizean family, who has seen all these foreigners come and go for all those years. To make a statement that a group of foreigners will move back to their countries and will take Belize tourism back home with them is an insult to Belize and its people. It is the beauty of Belize and its population that brings tourism to Belize, not this segment of the foreigners who started their businesses in tourism. Yes, they might be privileged, having funds to invest or having access to cheap financing from abroad; while Belizeans pay 12-18% interest, they pay 2.75- 5%, and build some nice places. Or maybe, they have better skills to attract their foreign customers through the internet, because they have better computer skills, but to state they are tourism in Belize … please! This brings me back to a conversation I had with a fellow islander on the San Pedro Express Bridge. He wanted to encourage me to write about exactly this attitude by a lot of foreigners coming lately into Belize who have a very condescending, degrading attitude towards Belizeans. I know him to be a pretty balanced, straight, hard working family man, a great craftsman, well-spoken and intelligent, and I was very surprised by the degree of insult he was talking about, or maybe not, because when I did a construction for a friend of my wife, I got a similar treatment.

Dear Editor, The issue of GMO food continues to build. It is my understanding that even though GMO corn has been banned from Belize, it is still being planted in both Spanish Lookout and the Banana Bank area. We must somehow keep this issue and this fight on the forefront. Many proponents of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) always seem to tout “the science” when making claims that GMO products are safe for animal and human consumption. I’m left wondering what science they are using to back up these claims. In September 2012, the results of the first-ever long-term animal feeding trial of GM corn and glyphosate residue were released, led by Giles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France. The study results found much higher incidences of tumors, digestive problems, organ damage, and premature death in lab rats fed GM corn and glyphosate residue, the primary ingredient in Roundup.

Kenroy Willoughby, 20, and his brother Julian, 24, were charged along with Nurie Polanco, 26, and a minor, 14, for being in possession of three rounds of ammunition. At 9:30 yesterday morning, police visited their residence at #7005 Antelope Street Extension, to conduct a search for illegal firearms and ammunition. Although nothing illegal was found inside the house, a black plastic bag was found under the house and inside, police found three 9mm Lugar brand rounds of ammunition. No license could be provided for the rounds and the four were taken to the police station and charged. None of the four had any representation when they appeared before Magistrate Clive Lino and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

A newly formed unit of the Police Department known as the Mobile Interdiction Team found and confiscated 5 pounds of cannabis onboard a passenger bus that was travelling to Corozal from San Ignacio on the George Price Highway. The marijuana was found about 5:30 yesterday in the rear of the bus, wrapped in three separate packs in a pillowcase on the luggage rack. No one onboard the bus claimed ownership of the cannabis, which has since been labeled as found property, and will be handed over for destruction.

Frazer will only spend 5 years in prison; 3 years were deducted because Waight provoked the attack, said the judge. Leslie Frazer, 34, was convicted of attempted murder on November 29, 2013, and this morning, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. During the trial, which started on November 25, 2013, Faron Waight, the victim, testified that after seeing Frazer around his house in the early morning hours of May 29, 2011, he confronted him whilst armed with a stick at the corner of King and Tigris Streets. When he approached Frazer with the stick, Frazer grabbed a machete from out of a bag he was carrying, and told Waight “Yoh think I noh come prepared for you?” Waight told the court that when he saw the machete, he turned around to run, but he still was chopped in the back of his head, causing him to fall to the ground. After Waight fell, Frazer continued to chop him, causing injuries to his arm, chest, back and face.

The Belize Times

Deal or No Deal? – ASR/BSI to Cane Farmers: No More Byproduct After Bagasse!
American Sugar Refining Inc. (ASR), the foreign owners of Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), has bowed to tremendous pressure from cane farmers and has agreed to put the issue of paying for bagasse on the negotiating table. Today ASR wrote to the Prime Minister, who they accepted reluctantly as a mediator in the dispute, to inform him of their new position. “We do advise that we are prepared to discuss the claim for payment for bagasse with the BSCFA,” stated the letter to the Prime Minister. This new position by ASR is a breakthrough for cane farmers, who have insisted for several years that they deserve a financial stake, even if minimal, in the profits derived from the sale of electricity that the company produces by turning the waste from sugar cane known as bagasse into energy. The cane farmers and BSI are bound by an agreement to negotiate for payment for any byproduct of sugar cane. The cane farmers have been adamant to negotiate for bagasse now or they would boycott the start of crop season, which normally starts in December every year.

Julius Keeps It Real!!! – Last House Meeting for 2013 ends in ruckus
PUP Deputy Leader Hon. Julius Espat turned up the heat on the UDP at today’s House Sitting, causing the Speaker of the House Michael Peyrefitte to release fumes through his ears and order Hon. Espat to ...

PUP Leader denounces UDP cronyism – Barrow doles out more sweets for illegal caretakers
As if preparing for early elections, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has been concocting ways ...

CAÑEROS SHOULD STRIKE There is a problem in the sugar industry in our country. The men who plant the sugar cane, tend to it, cut it, pack it in trucks and transport it to the factory are unhappy. They feel betrayed. They have been betrayed. Twice betrayed. The sugar factory and ...

By G. Michael Reid Belize’s first ever referendum was held on February 7th, 2008. It coincided with the general elections which were also held on that same date and at the same time. The referendum was in response to a consistent and loud call for a change to the makeup of ...

Mandela Mayors vs. Pinocchio Prime Minister
Barrow’s explanations make no sense. We at BELIZE TIMES are not sure if he has second term fatigue or if the scandals are too big. It could be that he is losing his touch. It might be that he has given up and simply does not care. Whatever it is, the ...

Brown Bombers take on Hattieville United in SMART Mundialito finals
The Brown Bombers and Hattieville United Youth Sporting Club will clash in the 2013 SMART Mundialito football championship finals, as both teams won their playoff matches against City Boys Jrs. and Ladyville Rising Stars of Ladyville on Sunday, December 15. The Bombers bombed the Rising Stars 4-0 with goal scorers: Tyreek “Pippin” Muschamp, Dion Cacho, and Naheem Gentle who increased his tournament goal scoring lead to 9 with the 4th goal.

Tyrone Tun triumphs in national table tennis tournament
Tyrone Tun won the men’s singles championship when the Belize Table Tennis Association held the 2013 Belize Natural Energy annual national table tennis championships at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium on Sunday, December 8. Petie Matus won the female championship and teamed up with Arturo Tux Vasquez to win the mixed doubles championship, while Tyrone Tun teamed up with Billy Musa Jr. to win the Men’s doubles championship. 32 players contested the men’s singles championship. In the end the results were as follows: 1st – Tyrone Tun; 2nd – Ian McField; 3rd – Carlos Cui; 4th – Tux Vasquez.

Lady Jaguars outshine Moen Stars in volleyball championships
The Lady Jaguars won the 2013 Belize Volleyball Association’s national senior female volleyball championships held at the Orange Walk Multi-purpose Complex on Sunday, December 8. The tournament was played in a round robin format with 5 teams all playing each other once. In the finals, the defending champs, the Lady Jaguars, upset the 16-time champs, the Moen Stars, 25-13, 25-21. Zaire Garbutt, Maurissa Williams, Shantell Arnold and Tichele Solis led the Jaguars’ attacks scoring hits at the net on plays set by Sherylee Thurton, Leanne Garbutt and libero Tisha Solis.

AMAZING GRACE – Deal or No Deal?
Almost every night my family gathers around the television set to enjoy episodes of The Chase, Lingo, or Family Feud. Despite the variations in our ages and entertainment preferences, the game shows unite us. Together we laugh at the funny answers of the participants and the cheesy jokes of the ...

Social Security, Credit Unions & Christmas
By Richard Harrison The Belize Social Security Board (BSSB) is one of the biggest cash cows in Belize, raking in an estimated $2 million on a weekly basis. That amounts to over $100 million annually. Theoretically, this money belongs to the workers of Belize. Credit Unions have traditionally behaved like Savings & ...

The Winning Case – NEVER LOSE AGAIN
By Kevin L. Arthurs You can win every and all your court cases. The purpose of this syndicated column is to share with you a few secrets of the justice system as well as to empower you with some basic legal knowledge ...

The Prime Minister spins in a cyclone of lies
By Norris Hall Has the Prime Minister of Belize been caught lying? Is this just his standard practice, or is his lying a part of his political territory for incompetence and cover-ups? There is a case to be made about lying by ...

The Hon. John Briceno, the Quality of Life and the New Revolution
By C. Trench-Sandiford-Deputy Party Leader For the Hon. John Briceno, the quality of life of the Belizean people must be a constant thread in the New Revolution, if it is to fulfill the promise of the peaceful constructive Belizean Revolution. In consulting ...

By Dolores Balderamos Garcia On December 1, 2013 the world marked World AIDS Day. The themes for this year's celebration were “Justice for All” and “Getting to Zero” for new cases and for discrimination. I chaired the National AIDS Commission for the first eight years of its existence, first as Minister for ...

By Francis W. Fonseca A few weeks ago, John Briceño gave me a book entitled “How Children Succeed-Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character” by Paul Tough. The book has become a New York Times Bestseller by challenging conventional thinking on Education and for introducing a new generation of researchers and ...

GOB Pays Big Bucks for GSU brutality
On the 26th of August, 2011, residents of George Street and mourners of the late Charles Woodeye were subjected to one of the most terrifying experiences of their lives. Without warning or reason, the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), a rogue arm of the police department established by ...

GOB, give us the best Christmas gift, JOBS!
Dear Editor, The best Christmas gift the Government can offer many people on Caeser Ridge Road, Jane Usher Blvd, Pen Road, and other streets on the Southside in Belize City are JOBS. Things are dread this Christmas for hundreds of people on the Southside because of the huge unemployment problem on this ...

A Brutal Attack May Have Been Prevented If…
Dear Editor, On November 26, 2013 the media reported a brutal attack on a Canadian couple, Mr. and Mrs. Baier, on the Placencia Peninsula. The social and economic short term externality effects were immediately obvious, and the long term externality effects are yet to be observed. I would like to send my deepest ...


Ian Anderson Forges Swollen Rivers to Serve Artisan Cheese on Ambergris Caye
A big festive wine, meats, shrimp & cheese party was planned. Some of the best distributors in Belize were lined up to bring samples and demonstrations to San Pedro but then it rained. A LOT. The “low bridge” in San Ignacio, Cayo District is now back under water. Here it is when in normal working order. And Belize’s Ian Anderson, who owns Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch Jungle Resort in Cayo and now a master Cheese Man (is that a term?), was in trouble. Would he make it to San Pedro to showcase his line of Belizean made artisan Cave’s Branch cheese? Mid-day, he posted these pictures from his property. Ha. Awesome.

Wine and Cheese in San Pedro Tonight
Not flooding rivers, nor impassable highways, nor airport closures.. nor potholes in Belize city will stop us from coming to San Pedro tonight.. Along with Caves Branch Artisan Cheeses, Richard Price and Premium Wines will be offering a selections of wines for your enjoyment .. and purchase. All of us from Caves Branch Artisan Cheeses and Premium Wines .. look forward to see all of you at our cheese and wine presentation tonight at 6 pm, Banyan Bay conference room on the beach.

Countries sticking together to help Children
The Ministry of Health just reported a successful outcome of the first Belizean baby to benefit from an arrangement with the cardiology paediatric services with the Hospital Cardiologico Infantil Latinamericano in Caracas, Venezuela. Cassidy Martinez was diagnosed when she was three months old with an Atrial Septum and Ventricular Septum Defect in Belize City. Her parents were advised to seek further medical assistance for surgical procedures from a Paediatric Cardiologist, but this is a specialist service not yet available in Belize. Fortunately for young Cassidy and other Belizean children, the Governments of Belize and Venezuela had signed a technical cooperation agreement in August 2010 for the provision of Paediatric Cardiology Services for Belizean children up to 15 years of age with congenital heart disease. So, enter the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize and Ambassador Yoel Perez Marcano. Working with Belize’s Ministry of Health they jumped in and accepted the request to assist baby Martinez. She underwent a successful surgery on October 10th, 2013 and returned to Belize during the first week of November.

International Sources

Crocodiles and alligators eat meat — red or white, fresh and bloody or rotten and stinky. When croc biologists noticed seeds in the stomachs of dead crocs and excreted in croc poo, they were dismissive. The reptiles eat fruit-eaters and herbivores, and the seeds likely came from the preys’ stomachs. Even when they found seeds of 16 species in 265 alligator stomachs, biologists collectively labelled it “plant material.” Sifting through croc literature, a group of eight American biologists found that of the 18 species of crocodilians, 13 had fleshy fruits, berries, nuts, legumes, and grains in their stomachs. In a report published in August 2013, they said as many as 11 studies on American alligators alone recorded plant material in the animals’ guts. Among their favourite fruits is the alligator apple, related to custard apple. Other sought-after fruits include passion fruit, squash, and prickly pear. According to villagers in Belize, Morelet’s and American crocodiles eat alligator pears, also called avocadoes, and alligator apples.

Dancing under the Shed: Celebrating Garífuna Settlement Day in Belize
Garífuna Settlement Day, one of Belize’s biggest cultural celebrations and an official holiday, takes place on November 19th. Every year, the country commemorates the arrival of the first Garinagu people—an Amerindian people who are descendants of West Africans and Caribs—to Belizean shores on November 19, 1802. “You can’t come to Dangriga on Settlement Day and not dance under the shed, Lily. You have to try it!” I gaze at the circle of revelers, a stone’s throw away from the sidewalk where my friends and I are standing. They’re shaking their hips in a partially obscured space under a thatch roof, chanting in unison. Their voices manage to rise above the reverberating beat of drums. Just a few feet away from the dancing, a group of men are slamming dominoes and throwing back white rum in the dark of night. By midnight, crowds have spilled into the streets of this sleepy Afro-Caribbean town on Belize’s east coast. Dangriga has turned into one large, outdoor pedestrian party.

Beautiful Bel-IZE
Our next port of call was the under the radar Country of Belize, which is a country on the north-eastern coast of Central America. It is the only country in the area that has English as the official language, though an English ‘Creole’ and Spanish are more commonly spoken. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its mainland is about 290 km long and 110 km wide. Belize surprisingly is the birthplace of chewing gum. From Tulum we got a 3hour bus to the port City of ‘Chetumal’ , It is an important port for the region and operates as Mexico's main trading gateway with the neighbouring country of Belize. We lined up on the dock while Mexican Immigration armed with automatic weapons and sniffer dogs sussed everyone’s bags out. From here we got what was supposed to be a 90 minute water taxi to the island of San Pedro which is a town on the southern part of the island of Ambergris Caye in the Belize District, this ended up taking close to 3 hours. We lined up on the dock in San Pedro to get our passports stamped by Customs and immigration before a 30 minute boat ride to our destination- a small limestone coral island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean sea called Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker is a sleepy carribean village. Life is slow-mo. Belizians are friendly, unperturbed and in their own little world. Most of everyone walk around barefooted and time for them stood still. The phrase for Belize is 'Go Slow'. We purchased some cool local T shirts.

The story of a girl activist - Belize
"Accurate, fun and interactive information about teenage pregnancy helps girls make better and more informed decisions," says Thandiwe Diego, 14. My fight is for the empowerment of the girls in my community, through information, education and exposure to positive ideas. Biggest challenge: Most girls in my community are poor. Most of them don't have access to the internet and other basic things such as food, water and electricity. Some of them live in abusive and dysfunctional homes. These factors stunt the girls' emotional, intellectual and physical growth. Proudest moment: We broaden the girls' experiences by creating a traditional Garifuna [people of African and indigenous origin living in central America] singing group. We learn songs in Garifuna and sing them at the annual Garifuna Settlement Day re-enactment. Experiences such as these give the girls the chance to shine and be noticed positively by the whole community. Accurate, fun and interactive information helps the girls to make better and more informed decisions. Higher self-esteem is also a big part of our fight to empower girls – because they are poor many of them are sneered at by the rest of the community. With higher self-esteem the girls can allow themselves to dream big.

From a Stress-Filled Office to Relaxing in Belize
I know I made the right decision to move to Belize when I start my day with a warm first light and song birds…instead of a buzzing alarm clock and an icy wind rattling the window. At first light, the dog and I are strolling along Laguna Seca. The village has yet to start its day, so we share the lagoon with the coots, ibis, and flocks of parakeets. As the sun peeks over the horizon it splashes my pre-dawn world with tropical color and a sparkling lagoon. A wonderful “good morning” to another day in paradise. I have always been a morning person but in my previous life as an attorney there was quite a difference. I knew my day would be filled with constant interruptions, nearly impossible deadlines, and ridiculous demands. Although I loved being able to help people, my mind and heart never started the day in the right place. To be greeted by the natural beauty of Belize certainly sets a happier tone for your day. After our walk it’s time to get my son up for school. He is a freshman in the local high school and he has adjusted quite well. Breakfast is usually a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice from oranges that came from our neighbor John. We might also have bananas which I pick up at the market—eight for 50 cents. At the market, you can always find reasonably priced fresh pineapple, mango, papaya, and an assortment of vegetables.

December 13, 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

Love FM third Annual Christmas parade lights up the streets of San Pedro

Jaguar hide recovered off San Pedro Town streets
The jaguar, scientifically known as Panthera Onca, is an endangered species and is protected in Belize. So when a volunteer for a wildlife conservation organization on mainland Belize spotted a man attempting to sell a jaguar hide on the morning of December 8th, they quickly snapped a couple photos. The photos were then posted on the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network Facebook page, which put the wheels in motion for island residents to notify the San Pedro Town police. An investigation led to the recovery of the jaguar hide on Tuesday December 10th, sometime around 7:30PM. According to San Pedro police, several reports accompanied by photographs, were made of a Creole male selling the hide on Sunday December 8th on the beachside. The recovered jaguar hide is believed to be that of an adult and measured over four feet in size from the collar bone area to the hip bone (near upper tail area). Police Constable John Arana said that they received the report on Sunday and immediately began an investigation to recover the hide as well as the person selling it. PC Arana said that after receiving several leads, they visited an empty lot where they found the hide carefully hidden. No one was in the area, but police are looking for the man who had been photographed as he attempted to sell the skin on the beach.

BTB shares the beauty of Belize with resident media houses
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), as part of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Belize, aims to promote Belize and traveling in the country through partnerships between government and the private sector. This year, in an effort to continue the promotion of local tourism in Belize, BTB organized two local press trips, inviting various media houses to explore destinations throughout the country. The first took place from July 18th to the 21st, and comprised of a three- day tour of southern Belize. Media personnel partook in some of the best the south had to offer which included traditional drumming, snorkeling and dining to name a few. These local press trips are held in an effort to further publicize tourism in Belize by tapping into each of the local media houses following.

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Pays Tribute to Virgin of Guadalupe
The Virgin of Guadalupe must be smiling on her throne as a result of a spectacular tribute rendered by the town of San Pedro on the eve of December 12, 2013. The expectation of the church organizing committee was to provide non-stop presentations that would lead until midnight to sing ‘Las Mañanitas’ to the Virgin of Guadalupe as is done in thousands of churches through Mexico. A church fair commenced from 5 p.m. with the sale of food and refreshments at Friendship Park. At 8 p.m. the priest offered a prayer which was then followed by the entertainment and homage to the Virgin Saint. Scores of families presented floral arrangements at the foot of the La Guadalupana’s altar, making their silent petition, and ‘thank you’s’.

Belizean Football Player Deon McCaulay Scouted to Play Professionally in Greece
Belize's Top Striker Deon McCaulay left for Athens Greece on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, for tryout with Club AEL KALLONI FC. Deon, who made history at the FIFA World Cup qualifiers 2014, also made our country proud by taking Belize to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The football sensation has scored the most goals for Belize (as many as 13) is trying out for the Ael Kalloni Football Club. If all goes according to plan, McCauley is expected to sign on to a contract with the Greek club, which has won a number of championships in the Greek Super league.

Embassy of the Republic of China, Taiwan Donates 60 Tablet Computers
On Thursday, December 12, 2013, The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is handing over 60 ASUS VivoTab RT tablet computers, donated by the ASUS Foundation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to RESTORE Belize to be used to further education goals in Belize. This gift demonstrates the continued commitment of the Embassy of China (Taiwan) to improving education and mainstreaming technology in Belize. Thirty (30) of these state-of-the-art tablet computers will be donated to the E. P. Yorke High School Digital Learning Center to implement a pilot program using the online Spanish language “Tell Me More” software, as part of a regional effort to improve students’ performance in CXC language exams. E. P. Yorke would not have been able to participate in this important pilot without this gift of 30 ASUS tablets. This program will be administered regionally by the Caribbean Examinations Council. The use of a mobile lab to augment a school’s computing capacity and to prepare for CXC are landmark accomplishments in the incorporation of technological tools into our education system.

Misc Belizean Sources

Jonathan Mullen
On Saturday December 14th, at 4pm, on the beach in front of Saul Nunez' apts, we will be having a celebration of the life of Jonathan Mullen, who recently passed away. His death was sudden, unexpected and of natural causes. Kyle of Sagebrush will lead us in prayer and anyone who wishes to share a few words may do so. Soft drinks will be provided and donations of finger foods or snacks will be gratefully received.

By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez The Suba workers were the spirit of Dangriga They woke up all of Dangriga with Their jovial disposition and laughter Singing as they boarded truck to ferry them to Pomona Some were fruit canners, others banana hand washers, Wrappers and some of them were domestic workers Thomasa affectionately known as Aunti Thama The daughter of Red and Cessaria My mother grew up in Ugada A settlement a couple of miles from Dangriga First settled by Ugandans from Africa Who came to live in Central America She grew up a next door to Theodore Aranda Later she and her mother moved to Dangriga And when she left school she became a Suba Worker.

On December 3rd, Mayor Daniel Guerrero met with Hotel/Resort owners from Las Terrazas and Captain Morgan's to seek a possible solution to repair the roads on the northern part of the island. The roads are in terrible conditions due to the rains we have been receiving making it difficult for tourists to access their establishment. Also, these roads have become a dangerous for both pedestrians and people traveling on bicycle, motor bikes or other vehicles. On Wednesday, December 11, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Guillermo Paz and Councilors Gabriel Nuñez, Kenrick Brackett, Carlos Barrientos met with a few Hoteliers from North Ambergris Caye as well as a few home owners to discuss on a viable solution for the repairs of the roads since they are affected by it. Present at the meeting were: Glenn Schwendinger- Rendezvous Restaurant Nick Scavone - Sandy Point Resort Byron Rodriguez - El Pescador Ernest Olmstead - Captain Morgan's Retreat Artemio Torres - Captain Morgan's Retreat Justin Romsa - Mata Grande Grocery Mitch Marqui - Home Owner David Hesse - Las Terrazas Resort Ovel Leonardo - Las Terrazas Resort Scott Hornish - Palapa Bar & NA.C.N.W. Daniel Martin - Remax Southwinds Jay Jex - Grand Caribe Belize Doug Penland - Chain of Resorts in North Ambergris Caye Peter Sorensen - Home Owner Also present at the meeting was Engineer Lee Van from Medina's Construction where he gave technical advice and suggestions. Locations in order of appearance: Las Terrazas Resort Captain Morgan's Retreat Cocoblanca Restaurant at Coco Beach Resort.

Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations
Emmeth Young and the Talla Walla Vibrations made for an amazing night at the Soul Project. They'll be playing again at the Chaya Garden Ashram in Cristo Rey on Boxing Day.

Several archaeological sites in Belize will be CLOSED until further notice.
The Institute of Archaeology, NICH, has advised all tour operators, tour guides, and the general public that the following sites are CLOSED for visitation until further notice: Xunantunich Barton Creek Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Nohoch Che'en (Caves Branch) They say they are monitoring the situation and will be issuing periodic updates.

The righteous and the hardworking are rewarded
Since the sugar cane farmers began their claim for the payment of “bagasse” by-product, the Corozal Daily has been in full support of the cane farmer’s claim. The American Sugar Refinery/Belize Sugar Industry (ASR/BSI) and representative of the cane farmers, Belize Sugar Cane Famers Association (BSCFA) have been at odds since the claim from the cane farmers started. ASR/BSI have been collecting millions of dollars in revenues generated from the use of bagasse, a by-product of the cane farmers, but had refused to honor an agreement to pay the cane farmers for the use of bagasse for energy generation. Belize Sugar Industries Limited has controlling interest from ASR and has been in negotiations with the 6,000 plus member Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association that wants ASR to agree to pay a percentage of the income that the ASR/BSI conglomerate makes from bagasse, which is used to produce electricity that is sold to government-owned (BEL) Belize Electricity Limited. The cane farmers have resolved that they will not start delivering sugar cane unless an agreement is reached to give them a share of their claim which their partner has so far refused to do, claiming it is a waste product. The impasse has threatened to delay the start of the 2013-2014 sugar crop, which usually starts on December 15.

Corozal area roads
As we set on our way this morning to see the progress of the road works in these areas, the sky broke out so we decided to take minimal risks and drove back to town as the road was turning a bit slippery with the mud. We understand that the road from the Pueblo Nuevo ferry to Cooper Bank has been repaired but that the remainder from Cooper Bank to Chunox/Sarteneja are still impassable. The recent rains over the past few days will certainly put a wrench in and delay this current road works….. Power to the norteños and the cane farmers in their struggle for a better life!!

Rain causes localized flooding in Georgeville
The continous rain all day on Wednesday caused localized flooding in several spots along the George Price Highway in the Cayo district. The area near the cemetery in Georgeville was nearly impassable around 4:30 pm as swiftly flowing water a couple of inches deep flowed across the road. About two hours later, much of the water had run off. A number of other area between Georgeville and San Ignacio town were also affected and many drains were on the brink of spilling over.

Channel 7

Unions Take A Stand At Final House Meeting Of The Year
Today was the last House Meeting for the parliamentary year, and usually it's an easy day, all sweetness and light, as niceties and Christmas wishes are exchanged across the floor, a rare touch of grace in an often venomous setting. But today there was no lightness at the house meeting. The National Trade Union Congress of Belize set the tone early with a planned disruption. It happened half hour into the meeting when a group of about a dozen unionists, stood up in the gallery and started chanting, "Introduce the Occupational Safety and Health bill now!" They were quickly shut down and shown out, but it was a rare rush of action in the otherwise staid proceedings:... Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House "Remove those people." Unions Chanting; "Introduce the Occupational Safety and Health Bill." Jules Vasquez "Mr. President of the NTUCB, what was that about?" Dylan Reneau, President, N.T.U.C.B. "We have had the Occupational Safety and Health Bill in front of Cabinet for some time now. In fact the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour has promised the NTUCB and we have it on tape; they've promise to introduce that bill and pass the Occupational Safety and Health Bill and we've seen bills come after our bill and get pass through the House and so we had to make a very strong statement. This is just the first step because as we said for our Annual General Meeting the year 2014 will be the year of the workers and the year of action."

PUP Cayo South Member Suspended; Opposition Walks Out
And while the unions made their statement early, and left right after, the PUP member for Cayo South, Julius Espat made his at the every end of the meeting. Espat rose to speak on the adjournment which has to be a matter of public interest. He chose the very general subject of social justice, and the speaker Michael Peyrefitte tried to pin him down to one subject – as is required by the standing orders. Still, Espat proceeded with a wide elliptical statement, and the speaker kept trying to bring him back to a single point. Eventually, things came to a head – and that ended with a brief suspension and a PUP walkout. Here’s how it all started:...

Hon. Finnegan Scolds Hon. Espat
And the UDP Party Whip Michael Finnegan, a senior parliamentarian was quick to scold Espat. Now, you might rightly say Finnegan should be the last to scold anyone about house behaviour; recently he had to apologize to house members for an off colour remark made to the only female member of the house. But, still, he took the high road today:...

Soldier Killed In Early Morning BDF Truck Turnover
Staff Sergeant Abimael Carrillo, a BDF Soldier with 18 years of service in the military died this morning in a traffic accident a short distance away from the BDF Price Barracks compound.

Garbage Truck Crashes Head On Into Bus
And, we’ve have another accident to report on tonight, but fortunately, they were no fatalities – though it did create a monster rush hour traffic jam on the Northern Highway. It happened at around 4 o’clock this afternoon when a garbage truck for the Belize Waste Control slammed head on into a Haylock Bus on the foot of the Haulover Bridge.

Advocate. Activist. Unionist? Audrey For Head OF CWU
Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the former Vice-President of Oceana in Belize, and a practicing attorney at law, is poised to become the next President of the Christian Workers Union. Current Executive Members Antonio Gonzalez and James McFoy will step aside and allow a new executive to be elected, which will include Matura-Shepherd at the helm.

"Rape Bill" Passes House
The Rape Bill, also known as Amendment 2 to the Criminal Code was brought back to the House of Representatives today. The bill was first introduced in September, but ran into a firestorm of protest when Christian activists alleged that the hidden agenda was to de-criminalise sodomy. So the bill went through a rigorous round of consultations – and today it was brought back to the house for second and third readings, and final passage.

New tighter Immigration Laws Pass House
Three new pieces of Immigration legislation were also passed today. They are the Immigration Amendment Bill, the Belizean Nationality Amendment Bill and the Passport Amendment Bill. These new laws seek to tighten up immigration regulations, improve oversight of the issuance of passports and visas and dramatically increase fines for those who violate the laws. All in all, it’s an attempt to put an end to the passport and visa racket, which has been ongoing in one way or another for at least two decades.

FECTAB Puts Chukka Under Pressure
Last night we told you about the 58 year old female cruise tourist who died in a snorkeling incident. She was on a Chukka tour, and the incident has caused FECTAB to stir. As is well known, FECTAB has been on a scorched earth campaign against their competitor Chukka and the group is now seizing on this opportunity to pressure and embarrass the tour operator. A FECTAB release refers to says a number of guest incidents in just a week, quote, "questions the quality and safety of tours being carried out by Chukka Belize for Carnival booked tours." End quote. FECTAB says price wars with local operators has resulted in Chukka choosing QUANTITY over QUALITY. FECTAB laments that the recent incidents have given the tourism industry in Belize an international black eye. AT newstime, Chukka had promised but not released a statement.

Thyrel Hyde Comments On Cops Being Charged For Shaking Him Down
Last night, 7News told you about the officers who have been criminally charged for brazenly shaking down Thyrel Hyde at an ATM, an incident which was caught on camera. 42 year-old Police Corporal Reymundo Requena and 30 year-old Police Constable Edgar Teul, who are officers attached to the Belmopan Police Station, were arraigned before Magistrate Clive Lino yesterday. Police are looking for 2 more officers who will also be charged, but for Hyde, this new development adds more credibility to his story, and today, when we caught up with him in Belmopan, and he said, it about time: Both officers have met bail of $4,000, and they must return to court on February 11, 2014.

Taiwanese Distribute ASUS Tablets
Today, 30 teachers chosen from around the country, and the Edward P. Yorke High School got a Christmas gift from the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize, which is seeking to enrich the lives of Belize with an ICT powered education. That gift came in the form of 60 ASUS Tablet Computers which were distributed to the deserving teachers with the help of Restore Belize and the Ministry of Education, who hand-picked them. Today, the tablets were handed over at the ITVET, and 7News attended. Here's what the Ambassador told us about the significance: The other 30 tablet computers which were donated to the E.P. Yorke High School will be used to establish a Digital Learning Center.

Belize City Can Be A Charming Place, For Tourists
As we told you on Tuesday, the tourism board took the media on a familiarization trip over last weekend. It's an opportunity often afforded to international travel writers, to let them tell the story of Belize to the wider world. But BTB also wants to do it locally, to encourage you to - as the saying goes - be a tourist in your own country. I participated and was surprised by how charming my own city can look to a visitor. Here's my tour:..

Profile Of Poets
Tonight's I am Belize profile is the last one for the year and it is a little different. It features six young poets and their voices, their art provides a compelling voice for the young Belizean male. You'll want to hear what they have to say:.. As we said that is the last profile for 2013, and in 2014, the profile will feature e teachers who have inspired their students to learn in innovative ways.

Lyn Young New Prison Boss
Lynn Young, former CEO of Belize Electricity Limited, will replace Chairman John Woods at the head of the Board of Directors of the Kolbe Foundation, the organization which runs the Belize Central Prison. Woods formally resigned as Chairman after ten years in the job, but in a special resolution passed by the board on Tuesday, he remains on the board as Member Emeritus. Young currently holds the office the office of President and CEO of BECOL, and he is also current President of the Rotary Club of Belize. He is better known, however, as the former President and CEO of the country's electricity company. He held those positions before the Barrow Administration nationalized the company and took over management from Fortis.

Channel 5

Final House Sitting for 2013: Opposition walks out
The House of Representatives met in its last session for 2013 today. On the agenda were two important bills and some minor house-cleaning issues. Now traditionally, this last meeting before [...]

While the N.T.U.C.B. is removed from the House
While the walkout by Opposition members ended the day, it wasn’t the first of the day. For weeks the N.T.U.C.B. has been agitating for the introduction of the Occupational Safety [...]

National Bank of Belize to offer commercial banking services
With the walkouts out of the way, we turn to some of the important matters which came out in today’s House sitting. First…the National Bank of Belize. It opened its [...]

Christmas Cheer Program…Barrow says no cash to be handed out
The Government of Belize’s Christmas Cheer Program has been the subject of much scrutiny of late, and some criticism, though that is directed more at the stated allocations and less [...]

P.M. lashes out at Opposition for criticizing allocations of Christmas Cheer
And with the nuts and bolts of the program out the way, the PM lashed out at the Opposition for daring to criticize the allocations of Christmas cheer. The People’s [...]

B.D.F. Staff Sergeant dies in traffic accident
The Belize Defense Force is mourning the death of one of its own following a traffic incident on the Phillip Goldson Highway in the wee hours of this morning. Forty [...]

Late evening traffic accident leaves several persons injured
A head-on collision between a Belize Waste Control garbage truck and a passenger bus near the Haulover Bridge this evening has resulted in the hospitalization of at least nine persons.  [...]

Jose Alpuche resigns as C.E.O. of the Ministry of Natural Resources
Jose Alpuche was back into the government service in March 2012 following the last general elections. Alpuche was named Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture [...]

Controversial amendment to the criminal code passed in the House
Today the bill to amend the Criminal Code of Belize, after a long and torturous journey, was read a second and third time and passed through the House of Representatives. [...]

3 immigration bills to deal with corruption in the department
And then it was on to the bills for amendments to the Immigration Act. The amendments are the results of the ongoing immigration scandal, measures proposed by Minister of Immigration [...]

Where in the world is Elvin Penner?
Where in Belize is former Minister of State Elvin Penner? Nobody’s sure, because the man who was in the center of the passport scandal has gone to ground. We know [...]

Cops get charged for shaking down Tyrell Hyde
On September eighth, Belmopan resident Tyrell Hyde was allegedly shaken down by Police officers who stopped and searched his vehicle. Hyde claimed that money was stolen from him, and then [...]

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, the new President of the CWU
The embattled Christian Workers Union, booted from the fold of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize in late October for failing to convene a meeting to elect executives, has [...]

Special CWU convention to be held to elect new officers
Outgoing president Antonio Gonzalez says he’s pleased that the membership of the union has chosen Matura-Shepherd, whom he believes will help to return the CWU to its glory days.  Similarly, [...]

Police arrest and charge one of its own for the aggravated assault of a minor
A police officer attached to the San Ignacio Police is tonight in big trouble following a report by a minor that he assaulted her. A fourteen year old student in [...]

More rains expected over the weekend and Belize City streets remain under water
It has been raining consistently for several weeks; in fact, it has been an above average rainy season with the measure of rainfall doubling in some areas. In the city, [...]

60 tablet computers for outstanding teachers and Digital Learning Center
On Wednesday, the government of Taiwan handed over three projects to the Ministry of Natural Resources; today it was the Ministry of Education that benefitted from Taiwan’s generosity. It received [...]

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and its indicators
Recent studies indicate that one in every ten children has been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the United States.  This means that the children have difficulty executing tasks that require [...]


Corozal Resident Charged For Drug Trafficking
A Corozal resident has been arrested and charged for Drug Trafficking. According to authorities on Tuesday December 10 at around 9am they conducted a search in a knapsack that was being carried at the time by a male person heading to Corozal Town on the Consejo Road between miles 1 and 2. The search led to the discovery of a plastic bag that contained green leafy substance believed to be cannabis. 52 year old Manuel Carlos Acosta was then informed of the offence, cautioned and placed under arrest where he was escorted to the Corozal Police station where the substance was weighed which amounted to 400 grams of Cannabis.

Customs Department Spreads The Christmas Cheer
The Belize Customs and Excise Department is identified as the country's largest source of revenue. It is responsible for providing around 53 percent of the total recurrent revenue and is also one of the nation's major border enforcement agency. It is also responsible for enforcing some thirty (30) Agency duties for other departments, which laws deal with a wide range of issues from moral to financial, and even protecting the environment. But today custom officers were out in full force in the Finca Solana Area in the Corozal District spreading holiday smiles. Victor Castillo was in the area and filed the following. Corozal Custom officials were out in full force today but it wasn’t for their routine duties but one that provided much holiday cheer to over a hundred deserving kids at the Dreams Establishment located in the Finca Solana Area. Customs officer Raquel Waight told us more.

The Manhunt For Oscar Hernandez Continues
Woman Police Constable Marylin Pate attached to the Domestic Violence Unit of the Orange Walk Police Formation is recovering. All indications are that WPC Pate is on her way to...

Azael Perez Sought By Mexican Authorities Is Freed By Orange Walk Police
Woman Police Constable Marylin Pate attached to the Domestic Violence Unit of the Orange Walk Police Formation is recovering. All indications are that WPC Pate is on her way to a slow recovery while still remaining on close watch. Inspector Julius Cantun commented on her current state. Inspector Julius Cantun – Deputy Commander, OWPD “WPC Pate has been discharge from the hospital and she is presently recovering and the doctors are still observing her and she still goes to the hospital every day for dressing and check-ups and indeed the Catscan was done where the doctors found certain fractures and that it be treated with caution but so far she is being stable and she is recuperating at this point in time and hopefully everything goes well. Yesterday we had the open day part of the 16 days of activism and the conclusion form the police we thought it would fit that we can have a tamales sale and that was yesterday and I am pleased to say that everything was sold but I haven’t gotten the figures as far.”

Second In Command Talks About Alleged Police Brutality
Every so often we come across allegations of police brutality and today another such report surfaced. A San Pablo resident and his outraged family visited our studios to share their tale. Reporter Maria Novelo has that story. Maria Novelo – Reporting An outraged Arcurio Family of San Pablo Village came to our studios pleading justice for what they allege was unnecessary force used on Walter Arcurio by two officers of the Corozal Police Formation. Walter is an employee of an establishment in the Corozal Free Zone and was there at the time of the incident. WALTER ARCURIO – Alleges Police Brutality “In the Free Zone they alleged that I touched a lady and so they took me to the Free Zone booth and then the lady came to give her statement and then she arrange it with me that I had to pay her five hundred pesos and everybody arrived there, the police arrived and they told me that right now you will be going because the lady stayed in arrangement with you and so she had called the police to come and to get me but they told the guys over there that everything is all rightand that I am going and then the two police men that came and get me they said that I had to still go to Corozal.”

Police Investigate Deadly Freak Accident
Police investigations continue into the unfortunate mishap that claimed the life of fifty four year old Magdalena Castellanos of San Lazaro Village. Castellanos was sitting on a chair outside on her veranda when she was hit and crushed against the wall of her home by a blue Mazda pickup truck. One young man who came to her aid after hearing the commotion told CTV-3 News that Castellanos had a pulse but she soon succumbed to her injuries while she was being transported to the Northern Regional Hospital. Today the police spoke more on what their initial investigation has revealed. Dalila Ical – Reporting Fifty-four year old Magdalena Castellanos died in the arms of one of the young men who ran to her aid after hearing a loud crash and screams. Police report that they observed one broken arm on the deceased but no other physical injury was visible.

PM Says Baggasse Negotiation Looks Promising - BSCFA Says Show Me In Black And White
This morning, the Prime Minister concluded a second, and wrap-up, meeting with the principals of American Sugar Refining (ASR) on the sugar industry impasse between Belize Sugar Industry and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association over the issue of payment to farmers for bagasse. And while the Prime Minister describes this morning’s meeting as successful, Vice Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Fred Ortega says they are looking forward to finalizing negotiations with the Belize Sugar industries next week. Here are reactions from PM Barrow and Ortega after the meeting in interviews courtesy our colleagues at Channel 7. FRED ORTEGA – VICE CHAIR, BSCFA “Well, in principle it looks very good what he have presented to us what ASR sent to him in their letter, that they compromised for the payment to the cane farmers and based on what he has mentioned to us we will be calling a meeting with our famers on Sunday to report to them what we have garnered from the Prime Minister on this meeting.”


PM Announces Financial Benefits for Belizeans
As we reported earlier, the last sitting of the House of Representatives took place today. Aside from the two instances when the Speaker called on the police to keep order, there were issues such as the Government’s Christmas cheer to the electorate, which is an allocation of over two million dollars to be apportioned to elected representatives and political officers, and an update on the National Bank, which Prime Minister Dean Barrow started off with. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “Within the next couple weeks the bank expects to receive its first commercial deposit. The Board of the Bank and the Chairman of Belize Telemedia Limited have agreed that BTL will invest by way of a cash deposit for three years, a total of five million dollars with the National Bank. This will be deposited in two tranches of two point five million dollars each at a rate not to exceed three percent per annum and as you know liquidity is such and the commercial banks are being so conservative, to put it mildly, that there is some difficulty with respect to huge depositors such as BTL in being even to place their excess funds and so, this is good for BTL and it is also good for the National Bank. We are also looking at attracting deposits from the Social Security Board but that is longer term and so I only want to signal that it is in train at this point.”

New Leader to Be Endorsed for Christian Workers Union
Audrey Matura-Shepherd- she is an attorney with several cases on her desk, she is an advocate and has become a public figure. Matura-Shepherd is also the former Vice President of Oceana Belize and today it was announced that she will become the next president of the Christian Workers Union. As we have reported many members of the CWU, were unhappy of the union executive’s performance and today a step was taken to remove the entire executive. Audrey Matura-Shepherd told us about the process. AUDREY MATURA SHEPHERD “What happened is that there is process that has to be followed in the constitution. The membership, the Executive had to put out to the members and on a whole, nominations for all the posts because every member of the executive is being moved and there is a whole new executive coming on board. So, even the existing ones, if they want to be reelected they have to be re-nominated. So, when they put out the call for nominations for the presidency, there were no other nominations; of course, they also informed the membership that one of the persons that they had been looking at was myself; it took a long while for me to answer that but because there is absolutely no challenge to the office, it will be an endorsement on Saturday. However the posts for trustees, there are 3 posts for trustees and that’s going to be an election because there are four people contesting that office. I’ve always said I’m an advocate at heart; I am not a lawyer; lawyering is what I do, I use lawyering to advance advocacy. So, it is not different than anything I have done in terms of being an advocate.

Belize Defense Force Prepares to Bury Soldier
A Belize Defense Soldier lost his life in the wee hours of the morning in a traffic accident. It happened at about 1:30 this morning, Ladyville Police visited mile 8 ¾ corner of Phillip Goldson Highway and Old AirPort Road (Price Barracks). Upon arrival at the scene Ladyville Police saw a Grey in color Toyota Pickup overturned with its four wheels up submerged in the water. The vehicle was pulled out of the water where two persons were seen inside the vehicle who were taken out by some people and place on the side of the road, the first person they took out appeared to be well but the second person was in an unconscious state. The pickup was then towed to the BDF Camp along with the injured persons. Inside the vehicle was BDF soldier Staff Sergeant Abimael Carrillo who lost his life an hour and a half after at the BDF Force Medical Hospital. Major Thomas Cal of the force told us more. MAJOR THOMAS CAL “On behalf of the Commandant and members of the force itself, we hereby express our condolences to the family of Abimael Carillo who died this morning.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “Can you tell us what happened and what might have gone wrong?” MAJOR THOMAS CAL “From what I heard, they were on their way back to base. I think they were either coming from either Belize City or Ladyville and on their way going, the vehicle that was driven by also a member of the BDF accidentally ran into the drain just at the junction of the Philip Goldson Highway and Price Barracks Junction.”

NTUCB Says They Will Be Ready for Civil Disobedience
The House of Representatives met for the last time for 2013 at the National Assembly in Belmopan. And there were a few important matters to that were dealt with and Bills that were passed, but there were also some fireworks. During the course of the day’s proceedings, the National Executive of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, NTUCB, who were seated in the gallery, disrupted the proceedings just after the Prime Minister had made his introductory remarks. The NTUCB’s gripe had to do what they feel is the Government’s slow manner in introducing and passing the Occupational Safety and Health Bill, and today, their Executive members were not silent about it. It required the Speaker of the House to engage the police assigned at the House to remove the members from the gallery. This was how it transpired. Following their removal from the House, reporters met the members outside. Led by their President, Dylan Reneau and Vice President, Marvin Mora, they said that there are a number of reasons why they had to do what they did today. They maintain that the work has been done and the social partners have agreed to the passage of the Bill but yet there have been no strides to introduce it and to pass it as law. The NTUCB executive members went as far as saying that they intend to make 2014 a year of action over concerns that they feel are being deliberately ignored.

Drugs and Weapon Found During Police Search
On Wednesday December 11 at about 6:30am while on an anti-drug operation, police conducted a house search at the residence of 30 year old Jeovanni Egbert Bood of Antelope St. Extension, Belize City. As a result of the search, police found a black plastic bag containing a transparent plastic bag with 42 parcels of transparent plastic bags which was found to contain suspected cannabis. Bood was formally arrested and charged for the offence of possession of a controlled drug towith 41.1 grams of cannabis. Also on that day while on Anti Drug Operation on Neal’s Penn Road police conducted a search inside an open lot which led to the discovery of a black plastic bag with green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis which amounted to 142.2 grams. The suspected Cannabis was labeled as Found Property. In addition, police found drugs in an abandon lot on Wednesday. Police say that acting upon information received they conducted a search in an abandoned lot located on the south end of the Chula vista area, Corozal Town where under some dry grass a transparent plastic bag was found which contained some green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. The suspected cannabis was retrieved and weighed amounting to 95.75 grams which was then sealed and labeled as found property. During the same operation in Corozal Town police say they found five FC 66 Brand .45 rounds of Ammunition in an abandon lot in the South End Area, Corozal Town. No one was found in the area and the items were labeled as found property.

Polanco Found Guilty of Damaging Courtroom
Twenty-six year old Nuri Polanco, one of four persons arraigned yesterday on a charge of kept ammunition without a gun license, was brought back to court today for another offence. The charge this time was damage to property for punching a hole in the wall of the corridor yesterday when he was being escorted from the court to the holding cell. Polanco pled guilty to damage to Government property and the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith, fined him 500 dollars and ordered him to pay forthwith. Polanco was unable to pay, so he will serve six months. Apparently, Polanco became angry yesterday while he and the others were arraigned before magistrate Clive Lino. The others were 20 year old Kenroy Willoughby, his brother, 24 year old Julian Willoughby and a 14 year old boy. When Magistrate Lino asked Polanco what was his plea, Polanco said that he would like to plead guilty providing that he will get a fine and given time to pay. Magistrate Lino explained to him that the penalty for the offence is a mandatory prison sentence of not less than five years. Polanco then said that he was not guilty. He and the Willoughby brothers were remanded to prison until January 22, 2014, while the boy was remanded to the Youth Hostel. The four were charged on December 10 when police went to a house on Antelope Street Extension and reported that they found three live nine millimeter caliber ammunition for which none of them had a license.

Garbage Truck and Passenger Bus Collide
A traffic accident occurred late this afternoon near the Haulover Bridge on the Phillip Goldson Highway. The accident occurred when a Belize Waste Control truck heading toward Belize City collided head on with a Haylock’s Bus travelling in the opposite direction. Love News understands that at least five people were taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by ambulance for medical attention.

Kolbe Foundation Has New Chairman
Kolbe Foundation, the managing non-profit organization for the Belize Central Prison, today officially announced that John Woods, the chairman for the Kolbe Board of Management since 2002 has resigned. Taking Woods position is Lynn Young who was the former president and CEO of the Belize Electricity Limited for more than a decade is now the President and CEO of BECOL, and is current President of the Rotary Club of Belize. Young has served on several boards in Canada, the Caribbean, and Belize and is said to bring significant managerial and governance expertise to Kolbe. In a special resolution passed by the Board on its December 10, 2013 Board of Management meeting, Woods was unanimously voted to remain on the Board as Member Emeritus.


Prime Minister Barrow Responds to Dangriga Mayor’s Protest over Infrastructure Money
In last night’s newscast, we brought you the protest of Dangriga Mayor, Gilbert Swazo, who was up in arms over Government’s alleged distribution of infrastructure money. In relation to the street works in the Stann Creek District and particularly in Dangriga, of which some $500,000 has been allocated, Mayor...

NTUCB members Encounter Mishap in the Sitting of the House
A special sitting of the House of Representatives convened today in the nation’s capital. There was the introduction and passing of a number of legislations and we’ll review those bills a little later on in the newscast. But first, to a bold move by the National Trade Union Congress...

Hon. Julius Espat Suspended from the Sitting over Verbal Dispute
Every House sitting is not without its fair share of drama; and today we report another set of circumstances which prompted the PUP delegation to walk out of the House yet again. On the adjournment, PUP Deputy Leader Julius Espat, and the Speaker of the House Michael Peyrefitte had a...

GOB Speaks on Bill to Protect Children in Sitting of the House
After close to two months of examination and re-drafting, the Criminal Code Amendment Bill (2) was passed today before the House of Representatives. Since its first reading, the bill has attained resistance from various corners of society. However, throughout the growing concern, Government maintained that the bill’s chief purpose...

Your Heart Can be Jesus Christ’s Manger
In the Gospel of Luke 1:35 the Bible says ” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.

The Guardian

Greedy PUPs fighting for Money
The howls of protest rang hollow once again at Independence hall as the People's United Party once again held a complain session masqueraded as a press conference on Tuesday, December 11th. As is now the norm, the PUP took time out to whine and bicker about what is the most current issue. This time around it was the government's decision to assist people across the country, spreading the Christmas Cheer and the way the Central Government has opted to ensure that work is done in municipalities with PUP councils. Francis Fonseca was first to bite up about the amount of money that is being given to the PUP representatives for the Christmas program. He said that the twenty five thousand dollars allotted to them is not equitable. He completely forgot that equity is a word which does not exist in the PUP's vocabulary. When they were distributing the Venezuela grant money in the run up to the 2008 General Election, equity was the least of their concerns. They gave it all away to their cronies, some of them got thousands of dollars twice! Anyone wanting to verify this can check the Auditor General's report on the Venezuelan Grant distribution. Francis also forgot that the second 20 million dollars was used to pay off the Universal Health Services private debt when the money was supposed to have been used to build houses for needy persons in the country. It seems that equity was not a consideration then. He also forgot that even after this money was recovered by the UDP administration the PUP representatives got their fair share for them to assist their supporters.

One Dead, four Missing at Sea
The body of 49-year-old fisherman, Thomas Levi Young was discovered on Tuesday, December 10th, at sea; he had been chopped and shot to death. The body was found floating about a mile east of Colson Caye. The gruesome discovery has sent the family members of his 4 fishing companions reeling in panic because they left on a fishing trip together on Saturday, December 7th, and since then, the men have not been seen or heard from. Young left on Thursday of last week with 26 year-old Derwind Gentle, 34 year-old Sergio Flores, 26 year-old Kenrick Chi, and 24 year-old Elgin Graham, and they made it to their fishing camp near Southern Long Caye. They contacted their family members on, and they were expected to return on Friday evening, or Saturday morning at the latest. The families collectively got concerned on Sunday when no one returned, and all calls to their cellular phones went unanswered.

PM Brokers Bagasse Breakthrough
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, has been able to broker a deal between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and American Sugar Refineries/Belize Sugar Industry limited. The agreement as it stands on Wednesday, December 11th, had the PM present a letter to the BSCFA in which ASR commits to pay the cane farmers for bagasse. The price that will be paid is yet to be determined. Alfredo Ortega Chairman of the BSCFA explained that the proposal by ASR will be taken to a general meeting on Sunday December 15th during which they will be getting directives from the farmers on how to proceed. It is a major step forward for the industry which over the past few months had been bogged down in a standoff situation where cane farmers were requesting payment for bagasse as a bi-product of sugar cane and BSIL maintaining that it was really waste product. Prime Minister Barrow explained that negotiations between ASR and BSIL are expected after the Sunday general meeting of cane farmers and tentatively the first meeting is set for Thursday, December 19th. While that first step is encouraging, Ortega explained that for now they need to get a mandate from the farmers on how to move forward. Tentatively it is expected that BSIL and BSCFA will sign a commercial agreement in which they agree that payment on bagasse will be made and a four month period is taken during which a price is set on the bagasse.

The Crique Sarco Bridge - DP Pledged to Complete since 2008!!!!!
Crique Sarco Village is Toledo District’s oldest Kechi village and was only accessed by sea and the Temash River. One had to paddle the river until the late 60’s when outboard motors became available to the Canelo family. In 1998 or there about the road to Crique Sarco was bushed and shaped to the Northern banks of the Temash River. It took another year to get across because the dry season had to be waited on to cross the river. Around 2003 election time the parts of the now unfinished bridge was transported to the riverside by lowboy and then left there. Trees grew between the braces and parts of the bridge. The bridge was again given attention in 2008 just around election time when it was piled and assembled to its present stage. Another campaign strategy by PUP to win the hearts of the people in the Crique Sarco village. In the months after election a section was decked, wooden stairways were placed on both sides only for pedestrians to cross over. A far cry from the vehicles this structure should have been transferring to the village. During the period 2008 to 2012, the then Toledo East area representative Peter Eden Martinez lobbied for the completion of the Crique Sarco Bridge. Just prior to the General Elections, a meeting was held with personel of US Capital Energy, Ministry of Works officials, the then Alcalde and Chairman where it was agreed that US Capital and GOB would collaborate to the bridges completion.

More Streets repaired in Belmopan
As the Prime Minister had promised, every municipality across the country will be receiving finances to do rehabilitative work on streets after the rains damaged them over the past two months. One of the first of those municipalities which has already begun the work is Belmopan. On Monday, December 9th heavy equipment moved in on the junction of Brodies Road and Halfmoon avenue where the entire stretch of road was ripped up to make preparations for concrete to be placed. Being a heavy trafficked area, concrete was chosen as the surface of choice at this intersection. According to area representative, Hon. John Saldivar, work should be completed on this portion by Christmas. Work is also being done on George Price Road which is in the process of being paved as well as five streets in the Judges Area in Belmopan. A lot more work will be put into Belmopan in January.

Getting to Zero
The focus of HIV related activities remains that of getting to zero. This simple phrase encompasses three goals to be reached by 2015 – Zero new HIV infections; Zero AIDS related deaths; and Zero discrimination. The spotlight for World AIDS Day 2013 was on achieving Zero Discrimination and in many ways this is the technically most reachable, but socially most difficult to negotiate. To reach zero discrimination, not only against those infected and affected by HIV, but also those persons perceived as most at risk for infection, needs no new medical breakthrough, no costly medications and no physical infrastructure. However, it does need to break down the barriers in our hearts and minds that feed stigma and discrimination in all its forms. These barriers can only be broken down by examining and neutralising the building blocks of discrimination. Misdirected fear is the cement that holds these building blocks together. Fear is a natural human response but many factors can divert it from being a life-saving reaction to real threats into mindless actions that divide us into tribes of various types. It is natural to fear infection and sensible to take steps to avoid it, but excluding, punishing and discriminating against anyone who might be infected is not only an affront to human dignity but it is a particularly ineffective method, especially when we have no reliable way to know who is infected.

ATM Cops Charged
Police Corporal Reymundo Requena,42, and 30 year-old Constable Edgar Teul, officers attached to the Belama Police Station, have been charged for the shakedown of Thyrel Hyde, whose entire ordeal was caught on camera. Corporal Requena, who resides in Benque Viejo, was charged with theft of $70 from Hyde, and harm which he allegedly committed against him. Requena and Teul, who is a resident of Belmopan, were jointly charged along with another theft of $260 from Hyde. They were arraigned on Wednesday before Magistrate Clive Lino where they pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail of $4,000, which they were able to meet. They must return to court on February 11, 2014. Hyde alleges that a group of police officers, including those charged, shook him down for money with the threat of detaining him on September 8. He says that he was hanging out with a group of friends when a police mobile stopped and officers decided to search his vehicle. He says that they stole an envelope from his glove compartment which contained more than $1,500, and they told him to hand over all the money he had or else he would be locked down for the night.

8 years for Attempted Murder
On Tuesday, December 10th, 34-year-old Leslie Frazer was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of attempting to kill his ex-common-law wife’s new lover. While he was sentenced to 8 years, Justice Adolph Lucas, who heard the case in a trial without jury, informed him that he will only have to serve 5 years since the victim was the one who provoked the incident. During the 5 day trial the victim, Faron Waight, and Frazer’s Ex, Dona Mortis, testified as witnesses to the attempted murder. In court, Frazer testified that on May 29th, 2011, Waight was chopped once after which he fell to the ground and Frazer then went over him and chopped him several more times.

Convicted of attempted Murder
On Monday, December 9th, 35-year-old Lawrence Cholom was convicted of attempted murder in the Dangriga Supreme court. Cholom had appeared before Justice Denis S. Hanomansingh in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court in Dangriga in a trial by judge. After hearing the evidence against Cholom in late November, Justice Hanomansing ruled that he was guilty of the attempted murder of 26-year-old Moses Williams, who was stabbed once on August 29, 2010 in Big Falls Village, Punta Gorda. At around 2:30p.m. on that day whilst at the junction of Rice Hill Road in Big Falls Village, Cholom who was armed with a machete chopped Moses Williams once in the abdominal area. Williams later had to undergo surgery at the KHMH for his injury.

Charged for Attempted Murder of his Uncle
On Monday, December 9th, 2013, 37-year-old, Oliver Peters, an Electrician of #7173 Arlington Drive in Belize City appeared in Magistrate's Court where he was charged with attempted murder. Peters appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith who did not take any plea from him as he was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm upon his 44 year old uncle, Thomas Ferguson. After reading out the charges Peters was remanded to custody until January 21, 2014. Police report that on Saturday, December 7, at about 12:23 a.m., they responded to a stabbing incident at #7173 Arlington Drive in Belize City where they saw 44-year-old Thomas Ferguson, suffering from a single stab wound to the center of his chest. Ferguson was rushed to the KHMH where he was treated and is listed in a critical condition. Police say that their initial investigation into the stabbing incident has revealed that at about 12:20 a.m., Ferguson got into an altercation with his nephew, Oliver Peters, who took out a kitchen knife and stabbed him once in the chest area.

Senior Citizen killed in traffic accident
A senior citizen was killed in an accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway between Mile 6 and 7 on Wednesday, December 11th, sometime around 6:00 p.m. Ladyville police found the body of 75 year-old Gregory Leon Lopez on the side of the road with his bicycle, and the driver of a white Dodge Ram, Eldon Daniel Hendy, who knocked him down. According to investigators, Lopez was riding his bike heading toward Belize City, when he was hit from behind by Hendy’s truck. He suffered major injuries to which he succumbed. The truck has been impounded and Hendy has been served with a notice of intended prosecution. Lopez’s family told the media that they didn’t realize that he chose to ride at that time of the day on the road, but they did know that he used to ride from family member to family member to visit them. They are also waiting on police to determine if Hendy was negligent when he knocked down Lopez.

Charged for killing three-year-old Boy
Hubert Anthony Martinez, 36 year-old, a civilian driver for the BDF residing in Ladyville, has been remanded to prison after he knocked down and killed a pre-schooler, 3 year-old Jahston Terry, and hurting his older brother, 9 year-old Jaheem. On Wednesday, December 4th, at around 5 o'clock, the brothers were waiting for a bus on Cemetery Road. They were both standing on the sidewalk when a white van, which was being driven by Martinez, sped down Cemetery Road, and ended up on the sidewalk. Both boys were surprised by the sudden appearance of the vehicle, and even though they tried to get out of the way, they were hit. Jahston suffered severe head and body injuries, and died on the spot. His brother suffered a broken ankle. The public outrage which flared up immediately after the incident was directed only at Martinez. That's because there were beer bottles inside the beverage tray of the van. Even Martinez looked on in disbelief of what happened when police were processing the scene and preparing to detain him.

Another Belize Adventure
In July of this year the Belize Tourism Board took journalists from the local press on a familiarization trip to Southern Belize in an effort to promote domestic tourism. From Thursday, December 5th, to Sunday, December 8th, BTB hosted a second familiarization trip for the local press to visit destinations in Cayo, Belize City and Ambergris Caye. The expedition was launched at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday as journalists from Belize City and Ambergris Caye boarded a Belize Transit Services bus at the BTB headquarters on Regent Street. The team, led by BTB’s Media Relations Manager, Andrea Polanco, headed west to San Ignacio, Cayo. The first stop on the tour was the Black Rock Lodge which is about four and a half miles west of San Ignacio Town. On the right hand side of the George Price Highway (heading towards Benque) there is a “Block Rock River Lodge” sign at the entrance to a dirt road. The recent rains have put a pounding on the seven mile stretch of dirt road and the short drive is a scary one. The bus swerved cross and cross the muddy road and huge rocks crashed viciously between the wheels. As the driver battled to maneuver the bus through the treacherous terrain the ladies on the trip fought to hold in their screams. There were a couple interruptions in the screaming competition when the bus passed a couple impromptu waterfalls cascading down the hills at the side of the road, no doubt formed as a result of the record breaking rainfall in the last two months. The scary travel through the off road climaxed at the end where a steep fall led to the edge of a cliff. At this point even the men were screaming. Everyone soon learnt however that the trip was worth it as the Lodge proved to be all it was hyped up to be. The Black Rock Lodge rests within the majestic Maya Mountains and overlooks the pristine Macal River. According to Giovanni Fernandez, Tour Manager of Black Rock Lodge, it is possible to sight over 200 species of birds from the 250 acre property. Canoeing, river tubing, bird watching, guided hikes and mountain biking are only a few of the many activities offered at the Lodge. Black Rock Lodge’s management takes pride in it being an “eco-lodge”. The electricity for the cabins is produced at the site using a micro-hydro and solar power system. The water is supplied by a nearby mountain spring. Wastewater is processed through a system using plants and aerobic activity to recycle and return to the river. Belizeans can get a room for as low as $70 a night at the Black Rock River Lodge. After touring the property the group had lunch before departing for Windy Hills Resort where we would stay the night.

Belize’s Education Sector Strategy
The Government and people of Belize contribute 26% of its budget towards Education and so it has become necessary to occasionally do a diagnosis via an Education Sector Strategy (ESS). Such a sector diagnosis to provide empirical data on the Educational System was done in 2011 and consultations were held with the relevant stakeholders from April to June 2012. It has been improved on so extensively that it has to date become the lighthouse for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. A guiding force towards an ESS within Belize has always been a social and economic challenge but it is needed to improve both individual and collective lives. One of the views that have been expressed at a recent educational forum is that investments in education were about doing things differently and not about just investing more. Such a view point has been shared by David Leacock, the Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Education in “…how do we make better use of the available resources.” In the Report entitled, ‘Improving access, quality and governance of education in Belize’ and contained in the Education Sector Strategy 2011 to 2016, it was revealed by Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, that we had 100,000 students enrolled in schools at all levels, twice that of 1990. According to Minister Faber, there were 5,000 teachers, more than twice of 1990; 541 schools, twice of 1990 and 190 Million was being spent in education, five times more than from within that same period.

GMO discussions commence at National Conference on Agro-Biotechnology and Biosafety in Belmopan
A diverse number of persons interested in both Agro-biotechnology and Biosafety attended a one day conference on the issues at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan on Tuesday of this week. The National Conference, which brought together experts in the field as well as farmers and industry leaders, was organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA). In a statement made by the Food and Agriculture Organization in Tokyo in 2000, biotechnology was deemed to provide powerful tools for the sustainable development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as the food industry. Biotechnology involves a range of technologies such as gene manipulation, gene transfer, Deoxirobonucleic Acid typing and cloning of plants and animals.

GSU’s actions cost GOB $175,000
On Wednesday, December 11th, the case of George Street residents versus the Gang Suppression Unit which was initiated in 2012 was to have started in court but after negotiations the matter was settled out of court. At the end of the matter government, through the actions of the GSU, admitted liability to the tune of $175,000 thousand dollars. A total of 18 claimants from the George Street area had filed the action against the GSU and depending on whether they were physically abused they will receive 12 thousand dollars or 5 thousand dollars if they were wrongfully imprisoned. Another individual who was also beaten during the a raid by the GSU on George Street after the funeral of Charles Woodeye on August 15th, 2011 is Zane Galvez who sustained a broken arm. His case was also settled out of court. He will be receiving 30 thousand dollars out of which he has to pay legal fees.

New Joint Operation Center for Better Law Enforcement
On Monday,December 9, Belize’s Law Enforcement Agencies opened a chapter of unprecedented interdepartmental cooperation with the official opening of the Joint Operation Center. The JOC is an initiative started 2 years ago under the BDF Command of Retiring Brigadier General Dario Tapia. It also represents the close ties that Belize shares with Canada and the United States Government. The JOC is a military facility which is housed on the BDF’s Price Barrack Compound, but the officers who make up the staff come from the Belize Defence Force, the Belize Police Department, the Belize Coast Guard, Customs and Immigration. This operation, while it draws on the resources and man-power of the 5 law enforcement agencies, will be completely autonomous of them. The main purpose is to take an integrated and collaborative approach to security and battling crime. Theoretically, the JOC will be able to pool all intelligence from the 5 agencies, plan missions of high priority, and execute using a team of the elite officers from the entire security ministry. Each agency will have a corresponding liaison officer, who will be able to contact the different commanders to get clearance to use whatever resource is necessary.

Belize on Target with most Millennium Development
This United Democratic Party Administration has introduced numerous social programs in an effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and the latest report card shows that its initiatives are working. The Millennium Development Goals Report and Post 2015 Agenda was released on Monday, December 9th. The report measures the country’s efforts and effectiveness in meeting the eight Millennium Development Goals. Those goals are (MDG#1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by halving the number of people living below the indigence line; (MDG#2) achieve universal primary education; (MDG#3) promote gender equality and women empowerment by eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education; (MDG#4) reduce child mortality rate by two-thirds; (MDG#5) improve maternal healthcare by reducing maternal mortality by three-fourths and ensuring universal access to reproductive health; (MDG#6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; (MDG#7) ensure environmental sustainability and (MDG#8) develop a global partnership for development. The Research Department of the University of Belize collected and processed the data for the report. Dr. Phillip Castillo is the Lead Researcher of the team. He was responsible specifically for MDG#1, eradication of poverty and extreme hunger. This was the most difficult to report on because the report is based on progress from 2010 to 2012 and the last comprehensive poverty analysis was completed in 2009. Castillo says while there is no data to accurately grade Belize’s performance on MDG#1 from 2010 to 2012 “it must be mentioned that the social safety net and the pro poor programmes of Government have drawn substantial commendation from the World Bank.”

Fight Poverty, Not The Poor
“Ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” goes an ancient saying that exemplifies the need to be bold and yes to take calculated risk with resolute conviction. A potential game changer within the political arena that recently quoted that proverb is Councillor Roger Espejo. He maintains that without taking risk we are unlikely to reap reward and that the Fort George Constituency now needs someone to ‘grab the bull by the horn’. Uncomfortable with the way things are in his constituency as well as the lack of leadership by the area representative the two-time Councillor is already making in-roads in the battle against apathy that plagues certain pockets within the area that he already does and intends to serve as representative. Starting with the things that matter Roger Espejo is motivating residents in the areas of sanitation and civic pride. Clearly the work in this area is cut out for any ‘area rep’ but work is what makes this young leader tick. Believing in health and general well being as the foundation of stability to fight poverty, Councillor Espejo recently organized a massive cleanup campaign in the ‘Pickstock Hutment’ - an inner city village where the current ‘area rep’ has failed to lead and/or lobby for the installment of basic management such as garbage collection. While littering is a challenge that plagues this area, residents do lack the proper waste facilities like many others of marginalized pockets throughout the area. It’s no wonder, then, that for years residents have dumped household garbage beside a playground where on a weekly basis an abhorrent ‘hotspot’ was created until now. Having installed a receptacle system that can be discharged easily by paid sanitation workers, change is happening. Already residents are using the system, which shows that a little idea followed with conviction can have major effect.

Willoughby assists City Resident
Two time Belize City Councillor, Phillip Willoughby has time and again proven himself to be a go-to guy when people are in need of assistance. He's proven that most visibly during time of emergencies in Belize City as he plunges himself into ensuring the safety of others. This is not all he is able to assist with however, last week Willoughby was able to assist three residents of the Old Capital with gas tanks. One of the tanks was delivered to a resident of the Conch Shell Bay Area while another to someone living on Magazine Road and the third was delivered to someone living in the Jump Street area. Willoughby explained that he saw the need to assist the ladies especially in this time of year when there is great need for cooking to take place. "It is not much, but I try to assist city residents whenever I can," he told the Guardian.

Tony Zabaneh Drop Bukut on Independence Residents (Doubles Garbage Tax)
Residents of Independence Village are suffering from buyers’ remorse (or sellers’ remorse) after the Village Council recently decided to raise their garbage collection tax by 100%. Residents previously paid $7 for garbage collection fee. This was already a topic of controversy because the garbage trucks are old and the garbage is carried in an opened back bed. Residents say this is hazardous to their health because garbage and liquid waste always falls from the truck as it goes through the community. No attempt has been made to improve the garbage collection system or buy new trucks yet the Village Council has informed residents that residential fees will increase from $7 to $14 effective immediately. Village Council Chairman, Tony Zabaneh, is including the fee in residents’ water bill from the village’s Water Board. According to a concerned resident of Independence Village, they have been threatened that if they fail to pay the fee their water will be disconnected. Attaching municipal fees to utility bills has been proposed before and rejected by the Ministry of Local Government. Residents of Independence Village should take their complaints to the Ministry. Tony Zabaneh must realize that not everyone in Independence Village is a millionaire. A 100% tax increase for garbage collection is a terrible Christmas gift, Grinch.

San Pedro Roman Catholic is the Belize District primary schools Football champions
The 2013-2014 Belize District Primary Schools Football Championship came to an end on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at the MCC Grounds with the District Finals. In the girls’ championship game, San Pedro Roman Catholic edged Holy Redeemer School by the score of 3-2 in penalty kick to capture the title. The goal scorers for San Pedro Roman Catholic School were Princess Bailey, Keanna Cabanas, and Ester Galliano. Meanwhile, the goal scorers for Holy Redeemer School were Katrina Aguilar and Kelsey Rodriguez. In the first girls’ game of the day, San Pedro Roman Catholic School defeated Belize Elementary School by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Lesbia Guity. In game two, Holy Redeemer School defeated Pancotto from Sandhill by the score of 3-1 in penalty kick. The goals for Holy Redeemer School were scored by Kelsie Moss (2) and Aaliyah Crawford, while the goal for Pancotto was scored by Cassie Augustine.

Paradise/Freedom Fighters and Belmopan Bandits at top of Belikin Cup Tournament
The 2013 Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup Tournament continued over the weekend with three games across the country. On Saturday, December 7, out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the host team Belmopan Bandits clipped the wings of the suddenly high flying Verdes FC by the score of 2-1. The visiting Verdes FC was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Rodney Pacheco scored his team’s only goal of the game in the 10th minute of play to give them a 1-0 lead. The Belmopan Bandits finally got onto the scoreboard when Deon McCauley scored the equalising goal in the 29th minute of play to tie the score at 1-1. The first half of the game ended 1-1. However, in the 2nd half of the game, the offence of the Belmopan Bandits turned up the heat on the Verdes FC’s defence and was able to penetrate the goal line when Denmark Casey scored the winning goal in the 64th minute of play. At the end of the long whistle it was indeed a 2-1 victory for the Belmopan Bandits and a share in the lead at the top of the standings.

Byron Pope captures 1st Alpheus Williams Criterium
The Belize Cycling Association sponsored its first Annual Alphesus Williams Criterium on Sunday, December 8, 2013 in the down town area of Belize City. In the Youth/Junior category, 1st place went to Delawn Abraham of Benny’s Megabytes who completed the course in a time of 43:11; 2nd place went to Tarique Flowers also of Benny’s Megabytes who completed the course in a time of 44:11; while third place went to Darrien Anderson unattached who completed the course in a time of 45:53. In the Masters Category4/5, 1st place went to Barney Brown of Scotiabank who completed the event in a time of59:10, 2nd place went to Dean Belisle unattached, 3rd place went to Kenny Gladden of Scotiabank, 4th place went to Daniel Cano unattached, 5th place went to Windell Williams and 6th place went to George Abraham of Truckers Posse who completed the event in a time of 59:15.

Inter-District Football competition continues
The 2013 Inter-District Football Competition continued over the last week of play with games played across the country in 4 different zones. On Saturday Dec 7, in Zone 1 game played at the Toledo Union Field, MnM Steelers edged Mavericks by the score of 2-1. The goals of MnM Steelers were scored by Tyron Parham in the 39th minute of play and Dion Burgess in the 63rd minute of play. Meanwhile, the only goal of the game for Mavericks was scored by Andre Logan in the 6th minute of play. In Zone 2 competition played out at the Carl Ramos Stadium, Hope Creek United and San Martin FC played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for San Martin FC was scored by Melvin Barrientos in the 18th minute of play, while the goal for Octavio Ramirez was scored in the 7th minute of play. In zone 3 action at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, Ebony Lake edged Georgeville Strikers by the score of 3-2. The scorers for Ebony Lake were Carlos Lino in the 23rd minute of play and David Robateau in the 72nd minute of play. For Georgeville Strikers, the goals were scored by Kurt Cardenas in the 43rd minute of play (own goal), and Brandon Jones in the 51st and 63rd minutes of play.

Guardian Bombers a win away from senior male softball title
The 2013 Belize City Senior Men’s Softball Competition which is being sponsored by Smart is one game away from crowning a champion. The male championship series is being played between Guardian Bombers and Oceana Strikers and is utilising the best of five format. On Wednesday, December 4, Guardian Bombers out-lasted the Oceana Strikers in a slug fest when it tallied 17 times to beat it by the score of 17-11. Milton Flores, who did had his anxious moments on the mound, walked a number of batters, also hit a number of batters ,unleashed his array of wild pitches was the winning pitcher.

Kephawn Pawn Shop Belize City Mayor’s Cup Champions
The 2013 Belize City Mayor’s Cup competition came to an end on Sunday, December 8, at the MCC Grounds. In the first of two games that were on the schedule, Caye Caulker defeated Hattieville United by the score of 4-1. The goals for Caye Caulker were scored by Brian Martinez (2), Melvin Gamez and Ernest Flores, while the goal for Hattieville United was scored by Brandon Rushford. In the second game, West Lake won over Ladyville via the default route.

Hon. Rene Montero Christmas 9- Ball Tournament
The Hon. Rene Montero Christmas 9-ball tournament took a break last weekend due to the first ever international friendly match with Belize and Guatemala players where David Fernandez represented Cayo, but we get back to rack ‘em up this week as the tournament counts down at LINK-UP bar in Santa Elena, Cayo. The Standing to date are as follows: Link Up Team - 28 pts, Shooters - 22 pts, Old School - 18 pts; three teams namely: Dibo’s, Di Rebels, and Champions have 14 pts each;. Snipers - 4 pts. Schedule for this week: Wed, Dec. 11, Old School vs Champions at 6:30 p.m.; and on Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., Snipers vs. Di Rebels. This will conclude the regular season and on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., it will be the semi-finals with the top four teams going up against each other. From our analysis, we can say that Link-up and Shooters have already clinched playoffs spots with Link-up being the number one seeded team, but the third and fourth spots are anybody’s guess.

2nd Annual Smart 13 and Under Championship this weekend
The Semi-final Round of the 2nd Annual Smart 13 & U Football competition was played on Saturday, December 7, at the MCC Grounds. In the first semi-final game, Brown Bombers eliminated Rising Stars by the score of 4-0. The goals for the Brown Bombers team were scored by Tyreek Muschamp, Sherwin Requena, Dion Cacho and Naheem Gentle. In the second semi-final game, Hattieville United eliminated City Boys by the score of 1-0. The lone goal of the game was scored by Mario Rivera. The championship game will be played this coming Saturday, December 14, at the MCC Grounds. In the third place game scheduled for 1:00 p.m., Rising Stars will see action against City Boys; while in the championship game at 2:00 p.m. Brown Bombers will square off against the Hattieville United team.

Fight Poverty, Not The Poor
“Ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” goes an ancient saying that exemplifies the need to be bold and yes to take calculated risk with resolute conviction. A potential game changer within the political arena that recently quoted that proverb is Councillor Roger Espejo. He maintains that without taking risk we are unlikely to reap reward and that the Fort George Constituency now needs someone to ‘grab the bull by the horn’. Uncomfortable with the way things are in his constituency as well as the lack of leadership by the area representative the two-time Councillor is already making in-roads in the battle against apathy that plagues certain pockets within the area that he already does and intends to serve as representative. Starting with the things that matter Roger Espejo is motivating residents in the areas of sanitation and civic pride. Clearly the work in this area is cut out for any ‘area rep’ but work is what makes this young leader tick.

Merry Time at Toys for Tots Christmas Party
Fifty children from primary schools in the Southside of Belize City were treated to food, toys and a whole lot of laughter at the Toys for Tots Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 10th, at the House of Culture. The Toys for Tots program is a regional initiative started by Continental Airlines over a decade ago. Since the merger with United Airlines three years ago, the Belize staff is one of few that have maintained the program. Indira Craig, Country Manager for United Airlines, says it was important for them to keep the program because “it has been one of the most rewarding community programs for us”. She says, “There is nothing like having a child walking home with a toy for Christmas. Their faces are all lit up and it is one of the best feelings in the world to witness such pure joy.” The Toys for Tots team from United started their fundraising drive in September at the Expo. Staff members and travel agents sold raffle tickets for a round trip ticket to anywhere United Airlines flies in the United States. The Christmas party was made possible with the proceeds from the raffle along with donation from corporate sponsors such as Smart, Bowen and Bowen and Grace Kennedy Belize Limited.

Gifts from Armenians to Armenia Village
On Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 the children of Armenia Government School were visited with tidings of good cheer and tokens of generosity courtesy of a group representing the Termendjian family of Los Angeles, California and the Paradise Shrimp Farm near Hope Creek in the Stann Creek district. This small gesture is what these kind folks hope is only the start of a beautiful relationship with the people and Village of Armenia. While visiting Belize on an investment scouting trip they passed through the village on the way to what would eventually become the location of the Paradise Shrimp Farm and immediately felt an affinity to the quiet community bearing the name of their ancestral home of Armenia in Eurasia. Almost immediately, they decided that they would take the village under their altruistic wings. In coordination with their friends in Belize, they arranged to have toys delivered to each and every child at the Primary School.

Major road works in Corozal Town
Roadwork equipment has been activated in Corozal Town where 7 streets are in the process of being rebuilt. According to Corozal Mayor Hilberto Campos, work will be done on 1st Avenue, 2nd Street North, 7th Avenue Extension, 3rd Street North, 6th Street South which is better known as the San Andres Road, the Alta Mira Road and the road at the boundary between San Andres and Corozal Town. The works were scheduled for some months now, however, rains prevented any work from being done. Now that the rains have let up, work has begun and mayor Campos explained that he is anticipating that at least 4 of the 7 streets will be completed in time for Christmas.

$500,000 in Repairs for Dangriga
On Monday December 9th CISCO construction began work to repair streets in Dangriga including Church and Isla Street and streets in the Benguche area. Coming in at a cost of $500,000, the works come as part of Central Government's commitment to alleviate bad road conditions in all municipalities. The work became necessary after months of heavy rains caused extensive damage to the roads across the country. The works to be carried out will include reconstruction of the streets with concrete and asphalt. CISCO, according to the government, was selected as the contractor because of its established record of providing high quality and good value for road construction and repair as well as the use of labor intensive methods to do the work. This allows for creation of employment opportunities in the areas where work is done. Work has already commenced and it is expected to last for 4 to 5 weeks.

Caye Caulker Chronicles

3 Adventures Not to Be Missed in Belize
As the plane sets course toward the mainland, I spy the blue Caribbean below. The water is so crystal-clear that I can see the rocks and sand along the seabed. Belize’s little commuter airplanes are the best way to appreciate the diversity of this small Caribbean country. From the air you appreciate the beauty — and isolation — of its white-sand cayes and the rolling green hills of its jungle interior. And the planes, like Belize itself, are small and intimate (the largest I’ve been on held just six passengers). Flying in one always makes me feel a bit like Indiana Jones heading off for adventure… And Belize is definitely one of my favorite countries for adventure. Here you can climb ancient ruins, wall-dive off the end of the barrier reef or trek in the jungle. And though you can feel like a Victorian explorer, you’re never really far from civilization…which is the way I like it.

Belize marina development excites US investors
Off-plan condos at the new Ara Macao Resort & Marina development is causing great excitement among American investors, says its agent An American agent says there is excitement around a new luxury marina development in Belize. Coldwell Banker Premier Properties in St Augustine, Florida, is marketing off-plan condos and land plots at the new luxury Ara Macao Resort & Marina development. The Ara Macao Resort & Marina, a master planned, residential resort community and marina, is at Placencia Peninsula, on Belize’s south coast.

Neighbourhood Watch Meeting
Monday, Dec. 16th at the Community Center


Our wet dry combo was delicious and Roadkill Bar bake sale update
Last night we went to AJ’s with Sue and Steve to try their wings and check out jam night. It was great to catch up with them and a few other people we have not seen in a while, Pam, Jerry, Jack, Jean and Bruce. I was also glad to see Nancy there as it gave us time to talk shop and go over a few bake sale details, she is helping us recruit bakers. Pam also a great baker counted herself in for a donation, I cant wait so sample all the yummy treats that turn up. Jam night was on the quiet side but it was perfect for my low key mood. As I listened to Jack playing a acoustic version summertime, I was immediately transported to a porch somewhere on a hot summer day drinking lemonade – just what I needed. Tacoboy and I decided to go for a wet dry combo with garlic parm and honey barbecue wings and both were yummy. Sue and Steve went for classic salt and pepper, I was considering that for the dry part of our order but the Parmesan and garlic combo won me over.

Ladies’ and Puppies’ Luncheon Raises over $5000 For the San Pedro PolyClinic
Yesterday, an amazing group of women held an open Holiday Lunch – LADIES ONLY- and raised over $5000bzd for the public medical center in town. This didn’t happen all at once. Two women donated tons of time, resources and probably a bit of blood to make these insanely adorable “Poly Puppies”. 73 of them. Each different and special. Ti Southwell and Amy Oldham made them all! Each doll was on sale for $30bzd. Marilyn, on the right, embraced the cuteness and the cause and BOUGHT 11. For Xmas gifts for kids and grandkids. All of the money goes directly to a specific list of medical supplies for the polyclinic. Here is Krista with some of the pups.

Belizeans are Happy With Continued Crime Downturn in Belize
Recent news of a continued, dramatic downturn in crime is one more sign that the relatively new nation of Belize is maturing into a sophisticated travel destination with a high quality of life for its citizens and greater security for visitors, according to the owners of The Lodge at Chaa Creek. And Lucy Fleming, who founded the popular resort in 1981 with her husband Mick, the same year Belize achieved independence from Great Britain, said that the burgeoning eco-tourism industry has contributed to the reduction in crime. “Eco tourism is providing employment and opportunities for an ever growing number of Belizeans, and we’re seeing more young people entering the hospitality industry or furthering their education in order to take advantage of the growing number of jobs. “This all adds up to hope, employment and better prospects for the future; all deterrents to crime. It’s all very encouraging,” she said. Ms Fleming said that while crime was never a major problem in the Cayo district, where Chaa Creek is located, Belize City once had a reputation for criminality, mostly between gang members but also in general. However, according to a December 10, 2013 report on 7 News Belize, the murder rate in Belize City has been halved since this time December of last year, and other crimes are down as well. The report quotes ACP Miguel Segura as emphasising that the crime reduction is the result of a multifaceted approach. “The contribution of crime (reduction) is not only from the police aspect, the contribution comes from everyone… when you look at job employment, media houses, parents, NGOs – everybody putting in their piece,” he said.

Belizean Mini Tarts
Coconut Tarts are such a divine confection. Using the fresh flakes of a young coconut and sweetened condensed milk, you can make a sweet treat that is sure satisfy.

Caribbean Export Hosts the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Financial Services
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with The Government of Barbados convened a meeting on the Financial Services sector in CARIFORUM at the Radisson Hotel, Barbados on December 9, 2013. The meeting of Ministers with responsibility for financial services and key industry professionals was assembled to develop the strategic direction relating to the continued development of the industry, to develop recommendations relating to the governance structure of the regional initiative, and to determine the strategic engagement of the Overseas Countries and Territories in the overall process.

Call for Proposal from Caribbean Export Development Agency

International Sources

Student Filmmakers Show Off Belize Documentaries
A group of NMSU students in the Creative Media Institute spent 3 days in Belize producing documentaries on the lives of people there. “There’s palm trees all over the place…definitely different from New Mexico.” It was a long way from home for CMI student, Bridges Gijsbers. “You know they’re all excited to be there…I’m thinking of Bucket Man right now.” Matthew Valdovinos worked alongside Bridges to make their film called ‘Iguana Project.’ “Their names were great…Lenny Gentle…everybody has a story.” As happens when you are filming a documentary, not everything goes as planned. Scott Saiz found that out filming a main character in his piece called ‘Modern Mayan.’ “Sandro’s eldest son was cleaning their trash pit…found this big old tarantula…then he goes over there and he kills it and I’m like, ‘oh, I didn’t want it killed.’”

UN probes Belize human-trafficking report
The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, will visit Belize from Dec. 12-16 “to examine the situation of trafficking of women, men and children.” It will be the first time that an independent expert of the U.N. Human Rights Council is visiting the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-member state. “During my visit to the Belize, I will study the situation in order to make recommendations to prevent and fight trafficking, and protect its victims,” Ezeilo said. The U.N. Human Rights Office said Ezeilo, who visits Belize at the invitation of the government, will engage with State representatives, as well as members of international and civil society organizations working on the fight against trafficking in persons “in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in Belize.”

12 Days of ZooLights: Toucan
Today's Animal of the Day: Keel-billed Toucan Why We Love The Display: The naturally bright color-scheme of the toucan is perfect to put you in the holiday spirit. Habitat: These birds can be found from southern Mexico, to Venezuela and Colombia. At the zoo: The toucans have made their home in the Amazonia Exhibit of the zoo, which is also home to hundreds of other species of plants and animals. Bet you didn’t know... The Keel-billed Toucan is the national bird of Belize. About ZooLights: In this yearly display, more than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Check out the new garden scene light sculpture.

Dr. Abdulai Conteh Endorses PV Editorial
Dr. Abdulai Osman Conteh is a former Attorney General, Foreign Minister and Vice President of Sierra Leone.He was Chief Justice of Belize and currently Justice of Appeal in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Cayman Islands. In the following short piece he endorses a recent editorial by PV Publisher and CEO Gibril Gbanabome Koroma on the African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, Tanzania: I wholeheartedly support Sierra Leone acceding to the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The record will show that Sierra Leone played its part in the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1981, when I had the privilege of seconding the resolution for its adoption, in my capacity as Sa. Leone’s head of the delegation and Foreign Minister.

Belize, the tiny Central American country, wedged between Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is blessed with virgin beauty. Vast, white-sand beaches host translucent, azure waters bearing the largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia. Two hours inland, dense rainforests and remote rivers shelter endangered species, many indigenous and unique to Belize, and conceal rich, historical Mayan sights. From the astonishing array of marine life to its dazzling display of jungle life, the Caribbean way of life completes the allure. A plethora of uber-luxury properties is peppered throughout, offering serious R&R in thatched-roof finery. None finer than the two, multiple award-winning, ultra-luxury retreats of Hollywood film director, Francis Ford Coppola: Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn. Coppola is the Godfather of hoteliers in Belize. With ambitious vision and determination to match, decades ago he converted his private 70—acre home in the forest into an enchanted fairytale retreat, which consistently tops travel polls. He cleverly uses the subtlety and drama of nature to play on surrealism, stimulating the subconscious mind whilst pandering to every conscious desire.

December 12, 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

Deon McCaulay drafted to play in the Superleague Greece
Belizean football superstar Deon McCaulay has been drafted to play with an international football team in Europe. According to the Belmopan Bandits FC, the Belizean football club that McCaulay plays on, he left the country today Wednesday December 11th enroute to Athens, Greece. The 26 year old McCaulay is the forward player for the Belize National Football team and scored the first goal in the World Cup Qualifier worldwide. He held on as one of the top World Cup Qualifier striker having scored 13 goals for Belize. McCaulay is expected to sign a contract with Ael Kallonis Football Club, in Greece later this week.

Police Report
Police-NewsWhile conducting special patrol on Thursday, December 5th around midnight, a San Pedro Police officer noted that Deon Pitts, also known as “30’s”, was leaving the Wet Willies Dock with four ladies. Pitts appeared to be holding one of the ladies from the back of the neck. On noticing the officer, the lady stated “Officer this man is harassing me,” but the officer did not respond. Five minutes later, the officer noted that Pitts punched the lady in the face and as a result, one of the lady’s companion’s pepper sprayed Pitts. Acting upon what had occurred, the police officer rushed to assist the ladies and detained Pitts. While escorting Pitts to the San Pedro Police Station, he managed to slip out of his T-shirt and tried to escape. In his attempt to escape Pitts ran into a nearby lamppost due to impaired vision from the pepper spray. The officer caught up to him and continued to guide him toward the station. But when they reached the roundabout, Pitts swung rapidly and threw several punches at the officer, all which missed because of poor visibility. Pitts nevertheless continued to struggle, and while the officer tried to handcuff him, he got away and ran towards the San Juan Area. The officer requested assistance from the mobile patrol unit, who later arrested Pitts. Pitts was remanded to Belize Central Prison until December 28th, 2013.

Kelly McGuire sings for Saga
A large crowd gathered at Fido’s Courtyard on Tuesday December 3rd for the most wonderful evening of music and fun. Partygoers enjoyed good food and drinks; they were serenaded by the talented country artist Kelly McGuire, who collaborated with Saga and Fido’s Courtyard to host the annual “Singing for Saga” night. Throughout the evening people danced, sang along, and even took part in the live auctions done by Kelly and Cowboy Doug, with all proceeds going to Saga. Saga reports that the proceeds accumulated from that night will allow them to SNIP and vaccinate over 50 island pets.

Ambergris Today

Miss Earth Belize Returns from Manila, Philippines
Amber Renee Rivero, ambassador for Belize and the chosen candidate for Miss Earth 2013, gracefully made her return to Belize on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, on the last flight from Houston, Texas. The 21-year-old was privileged to have gotten the opportunity to represent her country with her proposition being for protection and replenishment of the mangroves, which are in danger of deforestation. Miss Earth Belize is an ideal role model and was excellent at keeping it professional and classy while gaining experience in Manila, Philippines despite enduring tedious travelling and having to adjust to time zone changes. In her own words she describes her entire experience as, "a once in a lifetime experience and definitely one to cherish!" As a citizen of Belize, her pastimes include volunteer work with Oceana, as well as snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. During relaxation period she indulges herself in playing the violin and steel pan for concerts and participates in yearly coastal clean- ups.

Flashbacks: Confirmation in San Pedro
Confirmation and First Holy Communion are currently going on in San Pedro Town. They are the second and third sacraments administered by the Catholic Faith and received by children at about the age of ten. They are big events in the life of children and needless to say there is a lot of preparations for them to include a nice white dress and as well as white pants and shirt. Shoes, of course, were not required 25 years ago in the 1950 nor 60’s.

Misc Belizean Sources

Children’s Inspiration Center Thanks No More Poverty and the Omidi Brothers
Kim Simplis Barrow, founder of the Belize Inspiration Center, appreciates the generous donation of Julian Omidi and Dr. Michael Omidi through and their charity, No More Poverty. Poor children in general do not have communities or services designed specifically for them and are therefore very vulnerable to the risks and dangers that pervade their lives. The center will provide daycare and afterschool programs, including computer training, sports, and the arts to children who are disadvantaged and children with disabilities. “I have always believed that a society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable of its residents,” says Kim Simplis Barrow, the founder of the Belize Inspiration Center. “As the first lady of Belize, I want to help our country grow in compassion and provide the necessary care for our impoverished children and those with disabilities in particular. I thank the Omidi brothers for helping us build this new center which I believe will truly make a difference in the lives of many.”

You can't have a country without literature
Meet the Author: Zee Edgell. (4 photos)

The Last Shaman
The Last Shaman is a documentary about Lucas Medina, who resides, and has a medicinal trail, in Bullet Tree Falls. NMSU film students Alejandro Horcasitas and Neil Duran shot and edited the film while there were here last Summer. You get a good feel for Bullet Tree in the video, as well as seeing some of the sights and the Mopan river. It's cool how he gives thanks to the late Don Beto Cocom for teaching him all about medicinal plants, causing the culture to continue for future generations. Well worth a watch.

Rotaract Yalbac Literacy Project
Feelgood news of the day. Remember the awesome Rave at the Grave fundraiser the Rotaract Club had at the end of the Summer? It was to raise funds to give school supplies to primary school kids that needed them. They finally uploaded the pictures from the event. They also loaded pictures from their Haunted House they had at Hode's. Thanks, Rotaract, for brightening the lives of the kids in Cayo.

Channel 7

Gaza's Christmas "Come-Up"
Who can forget August of 2011, when the Gang Suppression Unit descended on George Street with a vengeance? That set in motion an entire chain of events that changed recent history – and ended up with a programme where city-wide gangs were basically paid to keep the peace. Well, that programme has ended but the case continued in court. And now it has ended with Government agreeing to pay a settlement of one hundred and seventy five thousand dollars ($175,000). It’s a major development because, since its inception, the GSU has been heavily criticized for its muscular style of enforcement and repeated allegations of excess. Today, Daniel Ortiz spoke with the attorney for the George Street residents, and he put together a report examining the significance of the win against the GSU:

Beatdown Victim Zane Galvez Not Happy With 30K Settlement
Zane Galvez was also caught up in that rash of beatings. On that day in August, he had gone by the area to drop off some liquor for the Woodeye wake, when the GSU came in, and beat him with a bat, so severely that they smashed his arm. His hand was in a cast for two months and it took another four months to fully heal. He took out a civil suit against the GSU and the Government, which was separate from the George Street case. His attorney, Anthony Sylvester, represented him in that case, and today, the government crown counsel announced to the court that a settlement had been reached. That settlement is for 30 thousand dollars. It may sound like plenty but he says he’s not satisfied because his doctor bills alone almost add up to thirty thousand dollars: Zane Galvez - Sued The Police Department "Well, I am not satisfied because I don't really agree with it because my medical expenses almost added up to the amount of the settlement. I still have a lot of pain, and I still don't have full function of my arm as yet. In weathers like this, I still feel it. So, I don't really agree with it because this is a life time wound. My arm was broken pretty badly. I was expecting more than. I am still grateful that they ruled in our favour, but at the end of the day, I don't really know what the technicalities are behind it, so I just have to say that I appreciate what the lawyers did, and I appreciate the ruling, but we aren't really satisfied. I don't think anybody is satisfied, but before we have to go through more back and forth, a lot of deliberations, and waste of the court's time, we'll just settle for it."

Cops Charged For ATM Shakedown
So, that’s two major pieces of news against the police department, and tonight, we add one more: 2 officers have been criminally charged for the ATM shakedown of Thyrell Hyde, a most brazen form of police abuse caught on tape. 42 year-old Police Corporal Reymundo Requena, a resident of Benque Viejo, and 30 year-old Police Constable Edgar Teul, who resides in Belmopan were arraigned before Magistrate Clive Lino today. Requena was charged with harm against Hyde, and theft of $70. He, Teul, and another – who has yet to be detained – were jointly charged theft of $260; that was supposedly the money they withdrew from Hyde’s Atlantic Bank Account from the Freetown Branch, which was caught on camera. Both officers pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were granted bail of $4,000, which they were able to meet. They must return to court on February 11, 2014, their next court date.

Drunk Man Threatens Cops, Gets Shot
And if there wasn’t enough bad news about police tonight, they are also answering questions about why they shot a resident of Bella Vista Village – but in this case they say the use of force is justified. It happened on Sunday evening, when an apparently intoxicated man, 22 year old Honduran Wilmer Nunez, who had already caused havoc in a village bar met police and then started flailing his machete at them. After an ordeal of threats, warning shots, and more machete swinging, they shot him in the leg and took him to the hospital. He has since been transferred to the KHMH with a gunshot wound to the left foot and right thigh area. He is in a stable condition, and is under police guard, pending charges for the damages at the bar and the threats to police.

Search For Missing Men Turns Up Nothing, Still
Tonight, the families of the four missing fishermen continue to worry about their whereabouts because it’s been 6 days since they went out on their fishing trip, and they have not returned home. As we’ve told you, the dread is mounting, and they are expecting the worst because one of 5 turned up dead on Monday. He died from multiple gunshot and chop wounds. As we’ve told you, 24 year-old Elgin “Ricey” Graham, 49 year-old Thomas Young, 26 year-old Derwin Gentle, 26 year-old Kenrick Chi, and 34 year-old Sergio Flores left for a fishing trip to Southern Long Caye since last week Thursday. Their families contacted them when they arrived at their fishing camp, and they were expected back home over the weekend. They didn’t show up, and then Belize Port Authority found Young’s body floating in the sea near to where the party went fishing.

Big Bagasse Breakthrough With BSI
Tonight, there is a breakthrough to report on the BSI st6andoff with cane farmers. This morning the Prime Minister got BSI/ASR to agree in principle to paying the farmers for bagasse. They haven’t decided on how much they will pay, but they have agreed that some payment must be made. It’s a major leap forward, and it should see the start of the season – before there are critical losses. After getting ASR/BSI to make those concessions this morning, in the afternoon, the PM went to meet with the cane farmers at the Biltmore. After a meeting that lasted little over an hour, he said that the farmers have also agreed: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister Of Belize "There’s been agreement in principle with the position that I brought back from the ASR meeting. Naturally, the directors will now convene an emergency general meeting on Sunday and their acceptance will need to be ratified by the general meeting. But at this level there is an acceptance of the position. We are therefore preparing to start the crop as soon as may be possible and we are preparing to start the negotiation between the BSCFA and B.S.I., which negotiations will proceed on the basis that the payment of which bagasse is due, but that of course quantum must be agreed."

PM Says He Pays, He Hires
And while we had the Prime Minister, we also asked him about the PUP’s press conference yesterday. The Leader of the Opposition and three PUP Mayor’s criticized the Prime Minister for politicizing public works – and putting public funds at the discretion of unelected UDP divisional caretakers. The PM didn’t shy from the charges; he reiterated what he told us yesterday: who pays the piper calls the tune: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "When they spend, they hire their persons that they wish to hire, so when government spends, to me, it is perfectly in order that government should provide the list for the recommendees from employment, so I will not resile from that at all. No caretaker has anything to do with the money. As I indicated we have entered into a contract with Mr. Woods directly. The mayor of Dangriga selected the streets. The only thing he doesn’t get to do is pick the employees, and even then I gave him ten percent. Recollect that before the last election that twenty million dollars in housing money that the Venezuelans gave, which was spent in one month; no opposition person saw a penny. Recollect that the seven thousand dollars a month that the opposition representatives in the house get for the setting up of offices and for votes, you find out how many of them even have an office, by and large they put that money into their pockets. They are the last ones to talk along those lines. The mayor of Dangriga presents himself ecstatic that the government was being so good. I find it a little disappointing that he has now changed his tune at the instance of his good leader."

PM Says Christmas Cheer Programme Is The Best Opposition Has Ever Had It
And the Prime Minister also had to defend his government’s Christmas Cheer programme. It seems like one shouldn’t have to apologize for spending 2.2 million dollars on Christmas hand-outs, but the PUP did criticize the PM for inequitable distribution and for, again, putting public funds at the discretion of unelected UDP politicians. Here’s what the PM said: Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "No minister, no area representative, or no caretaker can receive any cash. The only person who have so far applied for cash is the opposition deputy leader, Julius Espat. We kind of understand the circumstance; he obviously went and bought toys in Panama before the Christmas Cheer Program was announced and now he wants us to reimburse him, ain’t going to happen. You can’t get any cash and in terms of the U.D.P. caretakers all they are able to do is suggest recipients for Christmas goodies which will be distributed by the or channel through the Ministry of Human Development. So, nothing is wrong; it is in my view completely fair that members of the government should be able to have distributed rather more than members of the opposition. And I am saying last year, it was same Mr. Espat who came to me and said do something for the opposition. I immediately complied. Last year they had access to the distribution to ten thousand dollars’ worth of supplies. This year, they've gone up to $25,000. Lord man, compare - I never got when I was in opposition for then long year a penny from the then government. By way of Christmas Cheer by way of constituency allocation by way of nothing we are miles ahead of these people.”

Collision Leaves Car Mashed, In Half
No one was seriously hurt today in a quite spectacular accident in Belize City. An Isuzu Rodeo rear ended what we think was a Nissan Altima and smashed the entire trunk of the car into nothing. The smaller car was parked and no one from in there was hurt. Additionally it happened on the shoulder of the street where cars park so traffic was not backed up. How did it happen? Well, we’re not quite sure. The driver of the Rodeo declined requests for an interview.

Tourist Loses Life To Snorkelling Accident
Tonight, there is concern among tourism interests after a 58 year old cruise tourist died as the result of a snorkeling incident. Details were hard to come by and the Belize Tourism Board would only tell us that she had a history of medical problems. The tour operator also declined comment until tomorrow. We’ll have more details then.

Rape Bill Will Pass House Of Reps.
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will meet, and the Rape Bill, which generated much controversy, will go through its second and third reading. The Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis Barrow, today sent out a statement saying that she will mobilize students to attend tomorrow’s House Meeting. The Bill went through its first reading on September 27, and following a firestorm of controversy from the church, it went through intense consultations and revisions to reach its final draft, which will be tabled before the House tomorrow.

Zee Edgell Says Writers Must Write, No Matter What
Zee Edgell, the author of important Belizean novels including the seminal Beka Lamb is in Belize and she was celebrated today in Belmopan at the National Heritage Library. They held an event this morning called “Meet the Author” where Edgell spoke at length about her novels, as well as the craft and importance of writing. She said that writing foundations must be formed to insulate writers from the pressures of censorship or self-censorship: The Library Service also unveiled a poster-sized, archival-quality portrait of the author.

Is Europe Ready For Reparations? CARICOM Is!
The idea of reparations for slavery has been circulating in the Caribbean for some time. But now activists are trying to put some critical mass to it by calling formally on former colonizers from United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, and other countries to apologize and pay compensation for the colonial period. Our colleague form CEEN News Kalilah Enriquez reports on a meeting held in Jamaica yesterday:

Paying It Forward At Christmas
And while the reparations movement want colonial powers to give back, today some students were learning a lesson in paying it forward. We found the standard six students of Grace Primary were going to entertain some homeless children. They told us it’s all about Christmas…

Channel 5

A.S.R. agrees to come to the table to negotiate bagasse
The big news today is that the impasse between sugar-cane farmers and BSI/ASR has been breached, at least in principle and there is a deal in the making. Prime Minister [...]

Contracts for Sugar Roads should be signed no later than Friday
That’s one major hurdle crossed, at least in principle. But there’s still a rough and rugged road ahead – actually a lot of rough and rugged roads. Many of the [...]

PM confirms allocations and has no apology to offer
On Tuesday, P.U.P. leader Francis Fonseca rained gloom on Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s Christmas Cheer Program. That program will see the allocation of ninety-thousand dollars to U.D.P. Area representatives, twenty-five [...]

VIP say Christmas Cheer is “wasteful government spree”
As we said, government will be spending two point two million dollars on its Christmas cheer program. The Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca complained on Tuesday over the lack [...]

Coast Guard widens search for missing fishermen
The search for four missing anglers, who disappeared while returning from a fishing expedition on Saturday, has expanded to southern waters.  Despite the discovery of the lifeless body of their [...]

Deon McCauley scouted by Ael Kallonis Football Club
Super striker, Deon McCauley, left Belize today for Athens, Greece. McCauley has been scouted to play professionally for a top notch Greek football club. The football sensation, who has scored [...]

PM does not apologize for his decisions in Town Council Infrastructure Projects
On Tuesday, the government came under fire from the duly elected P.U.P. mayors of three municipalities – Orange Walk, Dangriga and Punta Gorda. The issue on the table is the [...]

WPC Pate recovering from chopping incident
On December sixth senior woman police constable Marilyn Pate accompanied personnel from the Human Development Department on a routine domestic abuse call to Trial Farm in the Orange Walk District. [...]

Man recovers from injuries obtained while being pursued by police
Thirty-two-year-old Wilmer Nunez, a Honduran laborer of Bella Vista Village in the Stann Creek District, is tonight recovering at the K.H.M.H. from injuries he received while being pursued by police.  [...]

Woman crushed between a vehicle and her house
There was a tragic accident in San Lazaro in the Orange Walk District on Tuesday, which claimed the life of fifty-four year old Magdalena Castellanos. Castellanos was at her home [...]

Collision on St. Thomas Street; no one is injured
Just after two today, there was a traffic accident in front of the Belize Boxing Federation Gym at the old Center for Employment Training building near the corner of Saint [...]

Zee Edgell hosted by the National Library Service in Belmopan
Well known Belizean author, Zee Edgell, has been in Belize for about two weeks during which she has been making her media rounds. This Thursday she will be appearing on [...]

Taiwanese Ambassador hands over portfolio projects to government
A redo of a handing over of projects took place today in Belmopan. The government of Taiwan through its Ambassador, David Wu, handed over a portfolio of projects to the [...]

Belize Bank holds annual Christmas Party for students from Stella Marris
At the ITVET today, there was reason to be merry. About one hundred and twenty-five students from Stella Maris School were celebrating with the Belize Bank and Belize Bank International, [...]


PM Says EU’s Ban on Fish Products is Nothing to Worry About
On October we told you about the European Commission decision to band fish products from Belize and Spain has been the first country to have agreed to band all fish products from Belize. Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media that it’s nothing to worry about because the situation will be resolve soon. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “Well that’s not anything that I’d be too worried about but in any case, they are sending a mission down in January; by that time we will already have passed the regulations which I will sign anytime now. Remember we passed the Act; it’s the regulations they are under. We have sent those regulations up for them to have sight of so that we can be sure that we are on the same page. So as soon as they agree I will sign off on those. So, when their mission comes in January we will be well beyond what we would have need to do to get back on the good foot.”

Rotary Governor Tours Clubs in Belize
District Governor for district 4250, for Rotary International, Carmen de Villalta is in Belize on a country wide club tour. Rotary Belize forms part of District 4250 as does Honduras and Guatemala. District 4250 is comprised of 67 clubs, 9 of which are in Belize and as the District Governor, De Villalta is visiting all clubs to find out how operations has been going so far. CARMEN DE VILLALTA “So I have to go to our official visit, spend a whole day with them, go over the projects, go over the plans that they have for this year and see what I can do to help them and I am here just as a facilitator and just to see what is it that they are planning to do and what it is that they have done. There are very interesting projects in Belize; Belize is a country that is very much interested and concentrated in education. They do give a lot of scholarships to different people; so, they are heavy into education, into helping schools putting in computers, giving out books and adding a library setup as well. They also do water projects and that’s very popular worldwide. Water is one of the needs that we work a lot; we are strong believers that helping with water. Many other areas are being helped with clean water in different houses in different places.”

Police News
Four persons including a minor have been charged for kept ammunition without a gun licence. Police say they conducted a search at a home on Antelope Street on Tuesday morning. The search resulted in the discovery of a black plastic bag containing three live nine millimeter rounds under the house. All four persons present at the time of the search were arrested. They are 20-year-old Kenroy Willoughby, 26-year-old Nurie Polanco, 24-year-old Julian Willoughby and a minor. Two Guatemalans have been charged for drug trafficking. A special patrol unit was conducting patrol in the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post on Monday morning when they saw seven men conducting gold panning. A search conducted on a Guatemalan minor led to the discovery of 453 point five grams of green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis in a knapsack. A further search on 27-year-old Jeronimo Agusto Tsir led to the discovery of one thousand eight hundred and fourteen point three grams of suspected cannabis in his bag. Both persons were charged with drug trafficking.

Belize Takes Over Projects Initiated by Taiwan
Rice seeds, horticulture, agro-processing and the three projects have been very successful. The three projects were handed over today to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Taiwan Mission will now shift for the next five years to new areas, including tilapia and shrimp farming and this will take place. Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega says that the agreement between Belize and Taiwan took place about five years ago. GASPAR VEGA “The Government of Taiwan was supporting us with some new projects that include the horticulture rice seedling and the agro processing; that’s where we do all our dry fruits. Basically, what we are doing, we are assuming all responsibilities now. We are going to take over the responsibilities of the staffing, the entire staff now government is going to be paying for them; that agreement was made, like I said, a few years ago. That’s basically what it is. Taiwan is saying it is finished now and it’s the government’s turn to continue the projects and our commitments is to ensure the projects continue in a satisfactory manner and we believe that we are fully capable. The staff has been trained by all the technical expertise that these people have and we are confident that we can go ahead with the projects.”

Greece Contracts Belizean Football Player
There is good news tonight for football fanatics and fans of Deon McCaulay. That is because, we understands that the football star is on his way to Athens, Greece where he is expected to be contracted. McCaulay who has displayed his football skills on the international stage, is said to have been recruited by the Ael Kallonis Football Club. McClaulay is currently a player for the Belmopan Bandits but we understand that he will be released from his contract so that he can sign with Ael Kallonis Football Club.

Police Constable in Western Belize Faces Charge of Indecent Assault
A Police constable was today remanded to the Hattieville Prison on a charge of Aggravated Assault of an Indecent Nature. This comes on a report on Tuesday by a 14 year old girl who told police that on December sixth she ran away from her house and went to stay with her 16 year-old sister for the night. She said that her sister’s common law-husband, who she says is a Police Constable, arrived there that night and the three of them went to sleep on the same bed. She added that on the following morning while they were still sleeping, she felt someone touching her private parts and realised that it was the policeman who she says was having sexual intercourse just then with her sister. She said that she pushed his hand away and went to hide in the bathroom out of fear. Police have since arrested Constable number 1210, Rupert Thomas, who is attached to the San Ignacio Town formation and charged him. He was remanded on December 31.

Genetically Modified Crops in Belize: Yes or No?
Grain growers, particularly those who market corn and soybean are lobbying for the passage of a proposal for the legal production and use of Genetically Modified crops. They say that it is a more economical way of producing the grains and with the same high standard quality. But many skeptics have been actively rejecting the notion to have GMO’s as an option to provide food. So on Tuesday the Ministry of Agriculture held a National Conference on Agro-Biotechnology and Bio-Safety to gather the input of all relevant parties. Chief Agriculture Officer, Roberto Harrison, explained to Love News that in order for the Government to take an official position on whether to use or not to use GMO’s, it must first hear all available information, scientific and otherwise. ROBERTO HARRISON “We know that there are two sides to the issue of GMO in Belize; there is the pro and there is the con. The pros are basically the producers of corn that think that growing BT corn is a viable option for increasing production in Belize. So, the ministry has brought in two experts from the international agency for cooperation agriculture from the FAO to speak on the area of bio technology and bio safety. We have also asked a representative from the Green Growers out of Spanish Lookout to speak on why they would want to introduce GMO corn in Belize and the concern citizens cite to say why we ought not to be introducing GMO corn in the country.”

PM Responds to Opposition Party
Yesterday the People’s United Party held a press conference to express their discontent o several decisions made by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Among does decision was the allocation of millions of dollars to municipalities for road infrastructural development projects. The three PUP run town councils have stated that they did not get a fair share of the pie and expressed that an unnecessary layer of UDP oversight has been placed upon them. Here is how the PM responded. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “When the Town Councils spend money on street repairs, it is tax payers’ money; in the same way Government spends, it is tax payers’ money. When they spend they hire the persons that they wish to hire. So, when government spends, to me, it is perfectly in order that government should provide the list of recommendees for employment; so, I will not resign from that at all. No caretaker has anything to do with the money. As I have indicated we have entered into contract with Woods directly. The Mayor of Dangriga selected the streets; the only thing he doesn’t get to do is to pick the employees and even then, I gave him 10%. Recollect that before the last election, that 20 million dollars in housing money that the Venezuelans gave which was spent in one month, no opposition person saw a penny. Recollect that the 7 000 dollars a month that the opposition representatives get for setting up of offices and for a support voter, you find out from them how many of them even have an office; by and large, they put that money into their pockets. So, they are the last ones to talk along those lines. The point is that Dangriga is getting a half a million dollars’ worth of works. No UDP town council has gotten more than 200,000 dollars. They are getting the most PG comes next with 350. I would think that they would be grateful that in fact this government is doing for their towns and doing for the residents of their town and as I said to you yesterday the Mayor certainly of Dangriga pronounced himself ecstatic that government was being so good.”


Prime Minister Barrow Responds to Dangriga Mayor’s Protest over Infrastructure Money
In last night’s newscast, we brought you the protest of Dangriga Mayor, Gilbert Swazo, who was up in arms over Government’s alleged distribution of infrastructure money. In relation to the street works in the Stann Creek District and particularly in Dangriga, of which some $500,000 has been allocated, Mayor...

Bagasse Saga May be Near End Between BSI/ASR and BSCFA
An end to the bagasse saga may be near. This morning, the Prime Minister met with principals of American Sugar Refining (ASR) on the sugar industry impasse between Belize Sugar Industry and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association over the issue of payment to farmers for bagasse. PM Barrow...

Government of Taiwan Hands over Technical Mission to Belize
In October 15th of 1990, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Belize Government signed “The Agricultural Technology Cooperation Agreement” which implemented several projects in Belize aided by Taiwan Government. The Taiwan Technical Mission through its years of cooperation has built a strong friendship with Belize. Through the Taiwan...

Car Accident Interrupts the Normal Pace of St. Thomas Street
Sometime this morning, the relative peace of St. Thomas Street in Belize City was temporarily interrupted when a car, reportedly a blue Volvo, collided with a green vehicle parked near the centre-for-employment-training, crushing the car’s rear end. Reports of this latest crash are still sketchy, and we were not...

Grace Primary Students Learn What This Season is For
It was a very wet day in the City today, but that did not stop the students of Grace Primary School from spreading Christmas cheer. We observed their procession and spoke to their teacher. Miss Azueta- Teacher at Grace Primary School Reporter: “Mom, tell us what is happening”. Miss...


Belizean Melody: Melody Sanchez Wolfe is Making San Pedro More Beautiful
Art is good for everyone. (I’m deep, right?) Creativity, self-expression, child development, mood elevation, beauty, allowing us to dream…there are hundreds of reasons that art & culture should be part of daily life. I love the fact that everyone can do it and everyone can enjoy it. I’m no philosopher but you are picking up what I am laying down… Art, crafts, music, photography make my life better. And I love the fact that we have so many talented artists here in San Pedro and in the country of Belize. Here is one of them. Melody Sanchez-Wolfe. She has the shop “Belizean Melody Art Gallery” that not only features her work but the work of artists and craftspeople from all of Belize. You are going to want to stop in.

From Camping to Couture, the YWAM Roaring Creek Belize Experience
19 volunteers from the San Pedro Branch of the Red Cross attended the Volunteer Encounter that was held at YWAM in Roaring Creek on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7th & 8th, 2013. The event attended by over 100 volunteers from the 6 districts of Belize, was an enormous success and an extremely productive weekend on many levels. Everyone got to meet new people and learned a lot about themselves, each other and the Belize Red Cross. Thanks to Caye Caulker Water taxi for transporting the San Pedro Branch to Belize City where we headed for HQ to get our team shirts. They had every attending district wearing a different color of the same shirt so we could easily tell who was on what team. Belize City was darker turquoise, Dangriga green, the lone Punta Gorda person in royal blue, San Pedro got baby blue, Corozal in Red and I do not have to tell you what color they gave Orange Walk :)

Cinnamon Cake

Call for Proposal from Caribbean Export Development Agency

Monster lionfish catch – 81 in 1 dive!!
ReefCI and Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) collaborating on the Lionfish removalin the Sapodilla Cayes!! A team of four from TIDE and four from ReefCI, 2 bags, a number of spears! Total Lionfish removed, ONE DIVE=81!!!!!

International Sources

The Rise of the Resource Curse: Maximizing the potential of resource-driven economies
Rising resource prices and expanded production have raised the number of countries where the resource sector represents a major share of the economy, from 58 in 1995 to 81 in 2011. That number will rise: to meet soaring demand for resources and replace rapidly depleting supply, the world should invest a total of up to $17 trillion in oil and gas and in minerals by 2030, double the historical rate. In 20 years, almost half of the world’s countries could depend on their resource endowments for growth. Economies with natural-resource endowments have a huge opportunity to transform their prospects. But history suggests that they could all too easily squander the windfall. To date, resource-driven countries have tended to underperform those without significant resources: almost 80 percent of the former have a per-capita income below the global average. Since 1995, more than half of these countries have failed to match the average growth rate of all countries. Only one-third have maintained growth beyond the resource boom. Recent McKinsey research lays out a new model that could help countries capture the coming resource windfall.

Five Common Myths About Belize Busted
There is a unique pocket in the world that buzzes with warmth, inner peace and joy. The people are peaceful, with a quiet confidence emanating from their eyes. They smile broadly, and are filled with energetic laughter, friendly gazes and cozy hugs. Welcome to Belize. Belize is more than a Birkenstock, barefoot backcountry. When I told people I was going to Belize, they responded in one of three ways: "Where?" or, "Isn't that a sweaty jungle of creepy crawlers?" or, "Where is Belize anyway?" So scrap your preconceived ideas of this petite little country, smushed between Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Although part of Central America, both geographically and politically, it refuses to be part of its neighbors to the left. Rather, Belize celebrates a diverse culture; in fact, they're known as the Central American melting pot. With a deep Caribbean influence, you won't find chimichangas here, amigo.

Fitch Withdraws Belize Sovereign Investments III (Cayman) Limited's 'A+' Rating
Fitch Ratings has withdrawn the 'A+'/Stable rating assigned to the $85.7 million notes issued by Belize Sovereign Investments III (Cayman) Limited (BSI). The rating withdrawal follows Fitch's recent withdrawal of the 'AA-' Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating assigned to Steadfast Insurance Company (Steadfast). The rating of the notes was based on credit support from two insurance policies underwritten by Steadfast, and therefore linked to the IFS assigned to Steadfast.

Florida Hospital Tampa Employees Organize Mission
Employees of Florida Hospital Tampa, as an expression of their mission to “Extend the Healing ministry of Christ,” are partnering with Insouciance Abroad, as they to embark on the first in a series of corporate-sponsored medical mission trips. While in San Ignacio, Belize participants of the mission trip will be lending their medical skills to the La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital by day and hosting community- and health-oriented radio programs on Faith FM radio in the evenings. Faith FM is the largest radio station reaching all of the 334,000 citizens of the country.

Fortis Announces $1.8 Billion Financing Bought Deal and Private Placement
Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") announced today that its direct wholly owned subsidiary, FortisUS Holdings Nova Scotia Limited (the "Selling Debentureholder"), has agreed to sell $1,594,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 4.00% convertible unsecured subordinated debentures ("Debentures") of Fortis in a secondary offering on a "bought deal" basis to the public (the "Public Offering") and separately has agreed to sell $206,000,000 aggregate principal amount of Debentures to certain institutional investors on a private placement basis (the "Private Placement" and together with the Public Offering, the "Offerings"). In connection with the Public Offering, the underwriters have also been granted an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional $239,100,000 aggregate principal amount of Debentures at the offering price, within 30 days from the date of the closing of the Public Offering solely to cover over-allotments, if any, and for market stabilization purposes.

Caricom to Update Caribbean Nations on Reparations Legal Case
Following a meeting with British law firm, Leigh, Day & Company over legal representation of Caribbean nations seeking redress from European countries for horrors endured during the 300-yearslong slave trade, the Caricom committee addressing this issue is slated to update the region on the progress of this pursuit. Signaling an earnest attempt to seek compensation from former slave-trade countries for the atrocities of the period of trans-Atlantic human trafficking, members of Caricom’s reparation committee met with the British law firm yesterday in Jamaica to discuss their position. The regional reparations executive committee also hosted a preparatory meeting with the law firm after holding a series of its own internal meetings after leaders approved plans to fight Britain, Spain and other European nations for slavery compensation at the July summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

Less Than 3 Percent of Oceans in Marine Parks Despite Recent Growth
In May 1975, rising concerns about overfishing and deteriorating ocean health prompted scientists and officials from 33 countries to meet in Tokyo for the first global conference on marine parks and reserves. Noting the need for swift action to safeguard more of the sea, the delegates were unanimous in calling for the creation of a global system of marine protected areas (MPAs)—zones explicitly managed for the conservation of aquatic ecosystems. Today, with oceanic resources more threatened than ever, the world is far from that envisioned MPA network. Although coverage has doubled since 2010, just 2.8 percent of the ocean surface—some 10 million square kilometers (4 million square miles), roughly the size of the United States—is now in designated MPAs. And the level of protection varies. Some MPAs allow seabed mining, for instance, and most MPAs allow at least some fishing. In others, fishing and other destructive activities are off-limits entirely. These “no-take” MPAs, also called marine reserves, are thought to provide the greatest conservation value, yet they account for less than half of the world’s marine protected area. A wealth of experience and scientific research shows that by protecting all habitats and marine life within their borders, well-managed no-take zones effectively preserve biodiversity and can restore adjacent fisheries, greatly benefiting both ecosystems and the people dependent on them. In general, fish populations increase after a reserve is established, and individual fish grow larger. Heavily overfished species usually show the greatest gains, and the positive results can come quickly.

Strolls Through Placencia
The early birds in the fam-Daddio and I. (The man responsible for all of the inspirational quotes on here.) Thongs Cafe, one of my favorite breakfast spots on the trip. Disaronno in my coffee. Because it’s vacation, that’s why. The ideal breakfast. And yes it tasted as amazing as it looks.

December 11, 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

Belize Hotel Association host Bi-Annual meeting in San Pedro Town
The Belize Hotel Association (BHA) hosted their bi-annual meeting at Exotic Caye Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye on Wednesday December 4th. At the meeting, the directors of the BHA tabled their reports to their membership about activities in the industry over the past six months. Several subjects were discussed, including issues affecting the tourism industry in Belize, and the advancements being made to strengthen the local industry. Speaking at the event, BHA President Douglas Thompson said that crime continues to be a serious issue affecting the industry, especially in areas such as Belize City and Ambergris Caye. While Thompson explained that the negative impact has to do with the way in which the media reports about crime situation in Belize, he reiterated that the Police Department is also not doing enough to address the issue. “We could do a better job in reporting about crime. We cannot stop crime completely but we are hoping that government steps up a little bit more than they are doing now. We believe our police need better training.”

Engaging the youth to fight corruption
Engage the youth of Belize about what ethical behavior is, what corruption is and how to fight it. The University of Belize in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Belize recently concluded a national training of youth in Social Audit approach. The training provided a cross section of young people including males and females from rural and urban areas as well as indigenous and community leaders with the tools to conduct a social audit. Emanating from the training workshop were two critical foundations for strengthening youth active engagement in calling out and checking in on corrupt practices: 1. The unequivocal declaration by the youth from all over Belize that anti-corruption is a critical platform from which they want their voices to be heard. This is a matter of national interest and they want to be actively involved; 2. A decision to formalize their newly formed platform in an official manner and to register and incorporate the Belize Youth Social Audit Network (BYSAN)

Jenniffer Ramos is first-ever Miss Holy Cross
On Wednesday December 4th, the San Pedro Lions Den was packed with spectators who had turned out to witness the first ever Miss Holy Cross Pageant. Vying for the crown and honor of being Holy Cross’ first ever beauty ambassador were five young girls; Jenniffer Ramos, Midiam Torres, Yeimi Lara, Cindy Dominguez and Breanna Amaya. Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Mr. Angel Nuñez, while deejays Debbie and Kareem kept the music going throughout the festivities. There were many enthusiastic fans rooting for their favorite candidate, but applause was loud and hearty for each girl as she modeled her favorite sports outfit, performed a dance routine and for the grand finale, modeled pretty evening gowns. Judges for the evening were Ms. Odelia Caliz, Miss San Pedro Solani Graniel and Mr. Mauricio Mejia, and they were tasked with choosing the clear winner. After a question and answer session which each girl handled with grace and poise, the final votes were tallied.

Life Celebration for Jonathan Mullen
Saturday Dec. 14th by Boca del Rio Park

Ambergris Today

25 Years Ago: Old Timers and Christmas
One sure way you can tell the difference between old timer Sanpedranos and the modern ones is by the way they remember the Christmas season. The Sanpedranos of many years ago can all attest that the only time they enjoyed eating an apple is for Christmas. Now we all know that today we enjoy apples, red, green and yellow all year round. However apples appeared in San Pedro about the 15th of December and everyone rushed to the store to purchase their supply for the season. At home we the children delighted in smelling and inhaling the fragrance of the wrappers since each apple was individually wrapped in paper. On December 25, mom would invite us to take a bite; it was almost like a ceremony. If there had been cameras easily available back then, I am sure many photos would have been taken on the family enjoying the first apple of the year. Do you know that apples were considered Christmas fruits just like the black cake was considered Christmas cake?

Holy Cross Holds Pageant to Support Feeding Program
In order to raise much needed funds for its feeding program and other school needs, Holy Cross Anglican School San Pedro held a beauty pageant on Wednesday December 4, at the Lions Den. Five students, all of Standard Four, partook in the exciting event which included segments in dancing, talent, sportswear, professional attire and evening wear. Judges for the pageant were Mauricio Mejia of Skynet Sounds, Education Officer Mrs, Odilia Kelly, and Miss San Pedro 2013 Miss Solani Graniel. A jammed pack Lions Den enjoyed a wonderful show of dancing presented by students of Holy Cross and in the end Emcee Angel Nunez announced the winners. Jennifer Ramos won first place as well as Miss Amity, while Midiam Torreas was second place and Yeimi Lara was third. Also participating were Breanna Amaya and Cindy Dominguez.

Launch of First Ever Maya Cookbook in Belize
“Nothing is better than a home-cooked meal that is wonderfully flavored with native plants, and served with love.” - Aurora Garcia Saqui Producciones de la Hamaca is proud to announce the publication of U Janal Aj Maya: Traditional Maya Cuisine by Aurora Garcia Saqui with Amy Lichty of Maya Centre. “Learn how to prepare traditional Maya food from garden to table with recipes that have been passed down through the generations.”

Misc Belizean Sources

Mananitas for Our Lady of Guadalupe
Wednesday Dec. 11th, 5pm til midnight infront of the San Pedro R.C. Church

60 ASUS VivoTab RT tablet computers donated
The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is handing over 60 ASUS VivoTab RT tablet computers, donated by the ASUS Foundation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to RESTORE Belize to be used to further education goals in Belize. This gift demonstrates the continued commitment of the Embassy of China (Taiwan) to improving education and mainstreaming technology in Belize. Thirty (30) of these state-of-the-art tablet computers will be donated to the E. P. Yorke High School Digital Learning Center to implement a pilot programme using the online Spanish language “Tell Me More” software, as part of a regional effort to improve students’ performance in CXC language exams. E.P. Yorke would not have been able to participate in this important pilot without this gift of a the 30 ASUS tablets. This programme will be administered regionally by the Caribbean Examinations Council. The use of a mobile lab to augment a school’s computing capacity and to prepare for CXC are landmark accomplishments in the incorporation of technological tools into our education system. An additional thirty (30) ASUS tablets will be awarded to teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice or who have been innovative in advancing the use of technology in their schools and classrooms.

Wooden bridge in Santa Elena, Cayo district will be closed to vehicular traffic from December 11 to 19
The Ministry of Works & Transport advises that the wooden bridge in Santa Elena, Cayo district will be closed to vehicular traffic from December 11 to 19 to accommodate urgent repairs. The Hawksworth Bridge will support traffic from both directions of the bridge.

5 Eggs 9 Eggs 4 Nutmegs (Grated) 1 pk Cinnamon Powder 1 Pint White Rum 5 cans Grace Evaporated Milk (Large) 3 cans Grace Condensed Milk 1 tbsp Vanilla Essence Beat eggs well (15-20 minutes) Add Evaporated Milk & beat again. Add Condensed Milk and check for desired sweetness. Add grated nutmeg, Cinnamon Powder, Vanilla Flavoring & rum Store in refrigerator. Stir before serving.

Senior Steps
Who says the senior dancers from Belmopan can't work the stage? Enjoy. Senior Steppers dance group from Belmopan performs at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Wooden Bridge Upgrade
The wooden bridge is getting an upgrade, and will be closed through the 19th of December. The Hawkesworth bridge will be open for inbound and outbound traffic.

SHC Hosting Basketball Nationals
This Friday ad Saturday, Sacred Heart College will be hosting the Basketball Nationals. The SHC boys came in first at the regionals while the girls came in second. Go cheer SHC on as they win the tournament. "High School Basketball Nationals will be held at SHC this Friday and Saturday, December 13th and 14th, 2013. Friday Game 1 is at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday Game 1 is at 9 a.m. Entrance fee is $5 and $3 for SHC students with ID. Support SHC male basketball team as they represent the Western Region."

CTGA New Executive Board
The Cayo Tour Guide Association had their elections last night, and they have a new board. Mr. Joe Awe, owner of Nine Eco Tours, was elected as president. Congratulations to all, and here's to another great productive year. "The CTGA Executive Board is as follows: Mr. Joe Awe as President, Mr. Eric Tut as Vice President, Mrs. Alba Tut as Secretary, Mr. Anastacio Bol as Treasurer, Mr. Christopher Lowe, Mr. Mario Castellanos and Ms. Kelly Grajales as Board Members. I personally wish them the best in all of their projects for this coming year. It’s no easy job to deal with one hundred and seventy five plus tour guides. We will certainly have great things coming to as Mr. Awe expressed his continued support for our online community."

San Ignacio United Beat Police FC 2 - 1
Congratulations to the SI United on their victory over the Police FC 2 to 1. They'll play again this weekend against the Belize FC here at Broaster. "Excellent performance by the boys this weekend, we were missing 3 starters due to accumulated yellow cards and injuries but the team secured the 3 points and did well proving that they have what it takes to make it all the way. SIU look forward as they prepare for this Sundays match against Belize FC at the Broaster stadium in San Ignacio."

Corozal Town Council is on high gear to get Corozal Town's streets graded and paved
A private company has been given the contract to carry out some of the works. Here is 2nd Street North getting a complete grade. The 2nd phase will entail paving. We urge the public that this may be a good time to go into the council's office and make arrangements to pay off your arrears on property taxes. More than a dozen streets will be repaired.

Almost 70% of the streets under the jurisdiction of the Corozal Town Council have been damaged by rain since the season started in 2013
As the weather has held up over the past two weeks, street repairs in Corozal Town continue to be spearheaded by the town council. The Corozal Town Council has dug deep into its coffers to provide its own financing for some of the most badly damaged streets. Central government has also chipped in for its share of the expenses and will also be assisting the council through the Ministry of Works. Streets to be repaired are those that were paved just 5 years ago which include 1st Avenue, 5th Avenue, 6th Street and others that were recently done. Streets that have outlived their life spans and are beyond repairs, will no doubt require reprocessing and paving entirely again. The Corozal Town Council will optimize the standards of having longer lasting streets once completed. The town council will be planning to tighten its spending belt so that priority must be given to the badly deteriorated streets within the town limits. The financial assistance from Central Government will no doubt compliment the town council's efforts. Area representatives from Corozal Bay and Corozal North have both committed themselves is providing assistance through the Ministry of Works in this urgent endeavor. The Corozal Daily would like to ask the citizens participation by coming in to the town council's office to pay outstanding arrears of property taxes and trade license fees.

Cooking with Flavors of Belize & Chef Sean Kuylen - Sorrel Glazed Ribs

Channel 7

Five Men Went Fishing; One Turned Up Dead; Four Missing
Police and Coast Guard teams continue to search tonight for 4 fishermen who went missing while on Belize's southern waters on a fishing expedition. For the families, it is like living in a state of suspended terror: at any moment, they are expecting bad news, possibly grave news. That's because a fifth member of their party turned up dead yesterday; and he met a violent end. Today, 7News tried to track down the families of the men, who we found in a state of sustained, unknowing fear. Daniel Ortiz has the story: Daniel Ortiz reporting Today, the family members of the 5 fishermen who went missing at sea couldn't put words together to describe the terror they're going through. 24 year-old Elgin "Ricey" Graham, 49 year-old Thomas Young, 26 year-old Derwin Gentle, 26 year-old Kenrick Chi, and 34 year-old Sergio Flores left for a fishing trip to Southern Long Caye since last week Thursday.

Elderly Woman Run Over On Her Own Verandah
Orange Walk police are investigating the death of an elderly woman in San Lazaro village, who was run over - even as she was on her verandah! CTV - 3 in Orange Walk is reporting that the woman was sitting on her verandah this morning when she was run over by this white vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was another woman who parked it in front of her house earlier, and when she returned and started the vehicle, it surged forward out of her control and slammed into the elderly woman, crushing her against the walls of her house. Villagers tried to get to the Northern Regional Hospital to receive treatment, but she died on the way. The driver of the vehicle reportedly went into shock after realizing what had happened, and she had to be hospitalized. It is expected that she will be served with a notice of intended prosecution.

Scare Over Ecuadorians With Unusual Visas Unwarranted
There were unconfirmed reports coming out of Mango Creek today saying that 5 visitors were found with suspect Belizean visas at that southern point of entry. Credible reports say that yesterday evening 7 Ecuadorians were intercepted when they came into Belize from Honduras on a ferry service called D - Express. They were arrested because they allegedly had Belizean visa's that looked like they had been forged. They told Immigration that they are to genuine tourists and had a tour booked with a local operator - a story which checked out. The confusion seems to arise from the use of an older type visa - which was stamped in their passport, and not the newer type, a sticker which is pasted into the passport. This evening, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse told us since the tour company confirmed their booking, and since one of the group, a student visits Belize regularly, they were processed and given the newer sticker visas.

PUP Says PM Playing Politics With Government Money
If you're wondering about the Prime Minister's scraggly beard, he did say he wanted to play Santa. And government has been trying to do just that with two programmes: street and road upgrades in the town and the Christmas Cheer programme. Well, today the PUP held a press conference to say that both programmes have laudable elements but are ultimately misconceived. Let's start with the municipal upgrades. 350 thousand dollars in street repairs have been been earmarked for the Punta Gorda's PUP Town council; five hundred thousand dollars has been earmarked for the PUP council in Dangriga. Seems generous enough, and the PM called the Mayors to outline the programme. And, as they say, who pays the piper calls the tune: the PM told the mayors he will choose the contractor which in both cases is CISCO Construction - chosen for their dependence on manual labour, plus the UDP political officer in their towns gets to decide 90% of the workforce. The contractor consults with the Mayors on what streets will be paved. So, the town council will see the benefits in new streets and a few of the jobs, but they won't get to handle the funds or hand out contracts. Today, they held a press conference with their party leader to say it's not fair and it's not right:...

The opposition leader also lectured the Prime Minister for not yet resolving the dispute between the cane farmers and BAI/ASR. Things are coming quickly to a head, and after Sunday December 15th, experts say major losses will be inevitable. Fonseca scolded the prime minister for poor negotiating skills: Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "Respectfully, I am of the view that the Prime Minister is not treating this matter with the sense of urgency that is required to deal with this matter. This thing can have tremendous negative implications for the economy of Belize. He seem to be unprepared going into this meeting with BSI/ASR. If you are going into a meeting with representatives of the company, you send beforehand your plan; what is it that the government wants to get out of this meeting, so that these people can then have their own discussion with their other principals outside of Belize and come to the meeting prepared to make decisions. When you are in that meeting, if they need to get on the phone, you get them on the phone and get decisions made because the cane farmers need to know what is happening. They need to know whether or not they will have work this coming season." A house meeting will be held on Thursday and the Prime Minister travels to a SICA meeting on Friday.

Man Sentenced For Trying To Kill Ex’s New BF
34 year-old Leslie Frazer tried to kill his ex's new boyfriend, and he will spend 5 years in jail for it. As we reported, Frazer was convicted for chopping Faron Waight in May of 2011. Waight testified that he saw Fraser lurking near his home. Waight grabbed a piece of stick and chased Fraser down on bicycle. When he caught up, Fraser pulled out a machete and chopped him to the back of his head. Waight fell to the ground and Fraser got over him and chopped him several more times. The woman in the middle of the quarrel also testified for the prosecution that she saw Frazer chopping Waight. It was a trial without jury, and Justice Adolph Lucas convicted Frazer on Friday, and after hearing testimony from his character witness, today sentenced Frazer to eight years in prison. Instead of serving eight years, however, Frazer will only serve five. That's because the judge deducted three years from the sentence because he said the victim provoked the attack on himself.

Man Acquitted Of Kidnapping Says False Accusation Still Haunts Him
In March of last year, taxi driver Lincoln Miguel was accused of trying to kidnap one of his customers, a 24 year-old woman, after he supposedly offered her money for sexual favors. Well, earlier this year, Miguel stood trial, and he faced his accuser in court, where he was able to prove that the woman concocted the entire story. Today Miguel came to us today saying that he's been trying to settle for an acquittal in court, but in the public eye, he's been disgraced, where his reputation has suffered because of a wrongful accusation. He told us today that the laws which protect women against sexual offences are slanted against men because women can simply create stories, lie and convince the police: Lincoln Miguel "I was wrongfully accused of a crime that I have not committed. I have been a taxi driver for the past 16 - 18 years. I have also worked in other institution including the police academy training school whereby we were trained to be discipline."

Segura Says Crime Downturn Is Not Necessarily Product Of Precinct Policing
As we've been reporting, the murder count for Belize City in 2013, stands at half what it was around this time last year, and some attribute that downturn to the success of precinct policing, which was developed to create better relationships with the different communities. All 4 precincts in Belize City come under Eastern Division, which is headed by ACP Mike Segura. Yesterday, we asked him for his take on the crime cool-down, and he told us that the police department can't take much of the credit: ACP Miguel Segura "The contribution of crime is not only from the police aspect, the contribution comes from everyone including the media. Its a complex way of dealing it because its multifaceted approach, but also when you look at job employment, media houses, parents, NGOs - everybody putting in their piece. It's not law enforcement alone that is making this difference. I take this opportunity to appeal to all public to continue give us that support because change can happen. We have seen it happen and I appeal that as we moved into 2014 that we could make Belize a different place. We need the continued support from everyone."

Precinct 2 QRT Strikes Again
And while Segura will not accept full credit for the decrease in crime, Police Precinct 2 is making the news tonight after they they've arrested 4 men for fire offence. At around 9:30 on Tuesday morning, members of the precinct's quick response team visited #7005 Antelope Street extension and conducted a search on the residence of Nurie Polanco. He was present at the time along with Kenroy Willoughby, Julian Willoughby and a 14 year-old minor. The officers found a black plastic bag which contained 3 live rounds of 9 millimeter ammunition. Because they couldn't produce any license, they were charged with keeping unlicensed ammunition. They will be arraigned tomorrow at the earliest convenience.

Senator Shoman Re-Frames Special Select Motion; PUP Leader Not Optimistic
Five weeks ago, PUP Senator Lisa Shoman took a motion to the Senate to form a special select committee. It failed, quite famously: the record will show it was defeated seven to six, while Shoman says the vote was a tie. Whichever outcome you prefer the motion did not pass, but, undeterred, Senator Shoman is bringing it right back.. She has prepared another motion, retouched it, and re-submitted it to the senate for consideration. That is expected to be taken up when the senate meets next week but today the leader of the opposition said he doesn't have much hope for it:... Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "That we have to keep trying, we have to keep trying and give the government an opportunity to come on board and to support an independent inquiry into this matter. There are still too many unanswered questions. So we will continue to push that matter and we applaud and support Senator Shoman for the work that she is doing. The government obviously made it clear they have no interest in a senate inquiry. I don't expect Senator Hulse to behave any differently and I don't expect the President of the Senate to act any differently. They are under instructions from their leader. So, yes there is good reason for me to not have any optimism that the process will work. But we have to demonstrate to the Belizean people that we are serious, that we are trying and let them understand very clearly that the only reason today in this country that we are not having an independent investigation into this scandal which involves U.D.P. ministers, is because of the Mr. Barrow and the UDP government."

Weed Bust On Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker residents 28 year-old Edwardo Lanza, and 20 year-old Clara Ack are awaiting arraignment at Magistrate Court after police busted them with marijuana today. At around 8 this morning, Caye Caulker Police officers were patrolling the South Point area when they stopped Lanza and searched him. They discovered 27 small transparent plastic bags which contained cannabis, to a total of weight of 1.71 ounces. The officers decided to escort him to his apartment on Luciano Reyes Street, where they conducted a search. His common-law wife, Clara Ack, was present at the time, and the officers found a plastic bag in a bucket under the house's water vat. Inside that bag, they found 14.5 ounces of marijuana. Lanza was charged with drug possession, and both of them were charged with drug trafficking. They will arraigned at the earliest convenience.

Media Takes On Tourism
In July we told you about a media trip organized by the Tourism Board. The idea is to get the local media and our audiences to know more about the country. Well, that first trip was to the south of the country, and over the weekend another went to Cayo, the City and the cayes. Monica Bodden was there and she has the first part of her report on the western destinations... Tomorrow Monica will tell us about the surprising city tour and the cayes…

United For Toys For Tots
Today Toys for Tots hosted fifty underprivileged primary school children at its annual Christmas party. The event was held this afternoon at the House of Culture where these six and seven year olds were entertained by clowns and also got a visit from Santa KLAUS. It's the organization's 12th annual Christmas party and today we found out why after so many years, they still continue the work. Smart and Grace Kenny Belize also joined in with Toys for Tots to make the event possible.

How To Remember “Madiba”
Today in Soweto, South Africa thousands gathered to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. In Belize, you can pay your respects by signing a condolence book that has been opened at the Library of African and Indian Studies on the KREMANDALA compound. Ya-Ya Marin Coleman told us how you can respect the man they called "Madiba":.., The book is opened every day until 7:00 in the evening...

Channel 5

One found dead and four still missing at sea
Back in November 2007 seven friends went fishing, days later the body of one was found: Magistrate Richard Swift. The six others mysteriously disappeared and were never found. Tonight there [...]

Area Reps to receive monies for Christmas Cheer program
UDP Area representatives will allegedly receive ninety thousand dollars this Christmas to hand out to their constituents. That revelation came from PUP Leader Francis Fonseca, who says he got that [...]

Spain to reject imports of fishery from Belize starting December 21st
Months ago the government took control of the International Merchant Marine Registry (IMMARBE) because it claimed that the European Union would have imposed sanctions on fleets carrying the Belize flag [...]

2 Police men and 1 civilian busted with contraband
On Sunday at around four-thirty pm, two vehicles were intercepted by a Customs patrol on the Arenal Road. Reliable reports suggest that one of the vehicles, driven by a Police [...]

Infrastrucural projects awarded to Orange Walk, Punta Gorda and Dangriga, but projects to be controlled by the UDP
The Opposition People’s United Party controls three municipalities – Orange Walk, Dangriga and Punta Gorda. All three municipalities will be benefitting from some infrastructural works as part of a recent [...]

Orange Walk mayor haven’t been officially informed of works to be done in his municiplaity
At a press briefing this afternoon, Mayor of Orange Walk Town Kevin Bernard said he and the Council haven’t even been officially informed of any works in that municipality. All [...]

Lisa Shoman files motion for senate inquiry in immigration scandal
The last Senate meeting held on November sixth ended in some confusion and tension. Opposition Senator Lisa Shoman moved a motion for a senate inquiry into the ongoing immigration scandal. [...]

Group of Sri Lankans detained in Chetumal
We have been reporting on a long list of visas procured by ministers of government exclusively for Chinese nationals even though it is not a legal requirement for ministers to [...]

Sugar Roads in dire need of repair
The bagasse standoff remains in full effect pending word from American Sugar Refinery on whether it is prepared to come to the table to discuss a payment arrangement with cane-farmers. [...]

Cane farmers want to resolve bagasse issue outside of court
Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with representatives of ASR and BSI in Belize City on Monday. Local stakeholders in the industry are awaiting word from ASR which will dictate the [...]

Indian Nationals visas legit
Visa approvals were granted to at least fifty Indian nationals to study at the Central American Science Health University, CASHU, located in Burrell Boom. Their recent arrival sounded alarm because [...]

Honduran National charged for failure to comply with his visitor’s permit.
A Honduran national who was granted sixteen days stay in Belize headed to court today on immigration offences. Thirty-eight year old Edwin Delgado Montoya caught the attention of the authorities [...]

Man receives five years for chopping ex’s boyfriend
A man who was found guilty eleven days ago of attempted murder of the boyfriend of his ex, was sentenced today. Leslie Frazer was given an eight year prison term. [...]

School students pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
The father of South African democracy Nelson Mandela is being laid to rest in his home country.  In Soweto earlier today, a four-hour memorial service was held in Mandela’s honor.  [...]

Under privileged children gets a treat from United
The annual Toys for Tots campaign concluded today with Christmas gifts being presented to fifty underprivileged primary school students across Belize City.  It’s an effort which began earlier this year, [...]


Opposition Party Files Motion For Senate Inquiry
PUP Senator, Lisa Shoman filed a notice of motion with the Clerk of the National Assembly. The notion is to be placed on the order of business for the next Senate Meeting which has been scheduled for December 18 and it has to do with a Senate Inquiry into the Immigration scandal. It’s not the first time that Senator Shoman filed such motion and this afternoon during a press conference, Leader of the People’s United Party, Francis Fonseca told the media why they keep on the issue even though he believes it won’t be successful. HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “Senator Shoman has in fact signed a second motion in respect of the immigration scandal and seeking to have a senate inquiry investigation into that matter. I just received it this morning so I haven’t been able to look at it in great detail but I know it will come up. It has been sent to the clerk and it is scheduled to come up on the 18th and the next Senate meeting. So, she will once again attempt to raise that issue and as far as I understand she has again received the support of the social partners in doing so. They believe that it is such a fundamentally important matter that we have to keep trying. We have to keep trying and give the government an opportunity to come onboard and to support an inquiry into this matter.

Sri Lankans Illegally Enter Mexico via Belize Northern Border
Five Sri Lankan nationals were detained in Chetumal and it is believed they entered Mexico illegally through the Belize / Mexico border. The adults have identified themselves as 34 year old Chandrika Niroshan, 31 year old Doorandinga Niroshan, and 27 year old Silvapatham. Two minors were also in their company, one 10 years old and the other 5 years. Official Mexican police report is that the individuals had been staying for the past four days at Ucum Hotel, less than a block away from the market in Chetumal. Initial police and immigrations investigations indicate that none of the five Sri Lankan nationals had legal documents to enter Mexico. The Mexican authorities believe the five entered Mexico through the border entry with Belize and they might have been part of a bigger group of undocumented immigrants who were being led by a human trafficker. The Sri Lankans are under Mexican Immigrations Authorities who continue to investigate the case.

Coast Guard and Police In Search of Missing Fishermen
Yesterday afternoon at around two-thirty, the Belize Coast Guard got a called at its headquarters from the Belize Port Authority. Information relayed to the Belize Coast Guard was that a patrol from the Belize Port Authority had found a body floating near Southern Long Water Caye and Long Caye in Southern Belize. Operations Officer for the Belize Coast Guard Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis told us more. GREGORY SOBERANIS “We immediately deployed our quick reaction team from the headquarters and when they arrived at that location they found out from the Belize Port Authority patrol that a body had been discovered floating approximately one mile east of Colson Caye. The police informed of the situation; we were instructed to bring the body to mainland, which we did and it was handed over to the Police Department.” After picking up the body at the location where his was found, it was transported to the Old Belize Marina. It was later identified to be that of 49 year old Thomas Young of Lucky Strike Village. Young had been murdered as he had two large chop wounds to the center of his head, a chop wound to the left small finger and two gunshot wounds, one to the upper left chest and one to the upper right back.

Belizeans Speak on the Great Nelson Mandela
South Africa today held a Memorial Service for the late Nelson Mandela, social activist, peace-maker, and anti-apartheid revolutionist. While many around the world grieve the loss of the icon, here in Belize, the Library of African and Indian Studies has opened a Book of Condolences for anyone who wishes to send a message to the Mandela family. Love News visited the library and spoke with Coordinators, Audley Mulati and Adele Ramos. ADELE RAMOS “When I was sitting at my desk doing the headline story for the Tuesday Amandala I realized that we don’t’ have a book of condolences here in Belize for Nelson Mandela and yet he has touched so many of our lives. As a teenager that name rang very loudly in my mind and my heart as a freedom fighter and I want young people today to also understand that name. Even though he has left us at the age of 95 there is a legacy that must live on and I believe that yes through this process people get to express themselves and share words of comfort. I was very delighted Marion that earlier today when we had the students come visit us, there was a student from Saint Martin’s de Pores School who knew a lot about Mandela. She knew his age and that he was the first democratically elected president in South Africa. She knew that facts and that, to me, was very encouraging.”

Woman Attacked by Spouse with An Axe
A security guard who allegedly attacked his common-law wife with an axe and beat her, was charged with three offences when he appeared today before Magistrate Clive Lino. He is Austin Busano, a resident of one and a half miles on George Price Highway. Busano was charged with aggravated assault, wounding and damage to property. He pled not guilty to the charges. Magistrate Lino offered him a bail of four thousand dollars and the condition that he does not contact the virtual complainant or any member of her family or any other prosecution witness directly or indirectly and he is not to go within 50 yards of the virtual complainant. The virtual complainant reported to the police that she and Busano had a misunderstanding and he attacked her with an axe and then began to beat her with his fists all over her body. She said the beating resulted in her getting a cut to her right eye and bruises to her back. She also reported to the police that Busano damaged her cellular phone which has a value of one thousand six hundred dollars.

Family of Injured Police Woman Wants Justice
Five days after WPC Marilyn Pate, attached to the Orange Walk Police, received cut wounds to her head and body while on the line of duty; she is recuperating home while awaits more medical tests. Her father Robert Pate gave us an update on her health condition. ROBERT PATE “Marilyn is not that well as people would believe; my daughter got five chops in her head and also a fractured skull and two in her hand and one on her arm and she catches cramp in her hand and that is not a good sign for a young person who wanted to be a police all her life and take it as a career as a police officer and take it even further in the police force and now she is kept back. It’s a setback for the family as well.” ARTURO CANTUN “You said that you have been getting assistance from the police department with your medical expenses right?” ROBERT PATE “Yes, we appreciate that. I say thanks to the formation in Orange Walk and especially I spoke directly to Director Cantun and he was very courteous and nice. When I called him and told him that the doctor requested a cat scan; he told me not to worry and he jumped on it and in about half an hour time they said that my daughter is going to Belize City and that was quick and fast and I appreciate that.”

Social Drinking Turns Bloody Among Belizeans on Mexican Soil
Around 11pm on Sunday three Belizeans who were visiting San Francisco Botes on the Mexican side got involved in an altercation while drinking alcohol and which led to two receiving serious chop wounds. Information available so far is that 45 year old Andres Batun and 40 year old Salvador Batun got into a fight with another Belizean, 30 year old Azael Perez. There are varying recounts of the incident. According to Orange Walk Police they understand that while the men were drinking a misunderstanding ensued and Andres Batun pulled out a machete and attacked Azael Perez. It is not know how Perez managed to get his on another machete and subsequently inflicted several chop wounds to both Andres and Salvador. According to Mexican Police, the three men were socializing and an argument ensued but both Andres and Salvador retired for the night. They report that Azael Perez waited for the men to fall asleep and then attacked them with a machete. As a result Andres sustained an eight inch chop wounds to the right side of his neck, a six inch chop wound to the centre of his head and a small chop wound to his left hand. Meanwhile Salvador received a three inch chop wound to the right side of his head, a six inch chop wound on his right arm and his right hand was completely severed off. Mexican authorities report the men receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Chetumal.

Police News: Missing Men At Sea
One man is dead and four others missing. Police say 49-year-old Thomas Levi Young, 26-year-old Darwin Gentle, 24-year-old Elgin Graham, 34-year-old Sergio Flores and 26-year-old Kenrick Devin Chi left Belize City on board Natasha, a twenty three foot skiff last Thursday to go fishing on Southern Long Caye. Reports are on Monday afternoon just before four o’clock CIB personnel visited Old Belize Marina on the George Price Highway where they saw a male person of dark complexion apparently dead in a state of decomposition on board a Belize Coast Guard vessel. The male person had two large chop wounds to the center of his head, a chop wound to the left small finger and two gunshot wounds, one to the upper left chest and one to the upper right back. Just after one thirty Mponday afternoon while Belize Port Authority personnel were patrolling between Southern Long Water Caye and Long Caye they found a body floating in the sea. They acquired the assistance of the Belize Coast Guard to transport the body to land. The body was later identified as that of Thomas Levi Young a fisherman of Lucky Strike Village. Dr. Mario Estradabran conducted a Postmortem Examination and at the conclusion it certified the cause of death to be exsanguinations internal and external bleeding due to gunshot wound to the chest. Police are investigating.

Senior Citizen Succumbs to Injuries Following Traffic Incident
A woman in her sixties from the village of San Lazaro, Orange Walk District, died this morning as a result of a traffic mishap. Details are sketchy but so far our news room has managed to confirm that Elena Castellanos, who is believed to be in her sixties, was sitting on a chair on the veranda in front of her house. A woman was driving a pickup truck down the street and it seemed she lost control of the vehicle and ran into the yard where Castellanos was; running over the elderly woman. Some neighbours quickly responded to aid Castellanos. Witnesses say Castellanos seemed to have a broken arm and was unconscious. The neighbours put Castellanos in another vehicle and were transporting her to the Northern Regional Hospital but she died on the way. The female driver has been detained by police pending the investigation of the incident.


Three Police Officers get Entagled into Customs Trouble
News reaching PLUS News is that three officers of the Police Department are being looked at for involvement in suspicious operations by the Customs Department in Arenal. Acting Commissioner of Police, Miguel Segura, briefed the media yesterday morning. Mr. Miguel Segura- Acting Commissioner of Police- Acting Commissioner of Police:...

BTB Takes the Media to the Cayo District
-Our home district, Cayo, is the largest in the country and home to some of its most exotic scenery and warmest people. On Thursday, it was the starting point for the second local media familiarization tour organized by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). Our first stop was the Black...

Spain to Reject Fishery Imports from Belize
In November of this year, the European Commission made recommendation that several countries, Belize included, be blacklisted for failure to do enough to stop illegal activities on the high seas by ships registered in the country’s name. In response, Government affirmed that it would strengthen its control mechanism for...

Motion for a Senate Special Select Committee to Inquire Into Immigration Scandals
A Special Sitting of the House of Representatives is scheduled for Thursday of this week, which means that a meeting of the Senate will follow. At that meeting, the People’s United Party’s Senator, the Hon. Lisa Shoman will introduce a motion for the appointment of a Select Committee of the...

Dangriga Mayor Complains about Strings Attached to Infrastructure Money
A few days ago Prime Minister Dean Barrow introduced a massive rollout of funds to repair the broken streets of Belize. Some $500,000 has been allocated for the Stann Creek District and particularly Dangriga Town, which has been hit by several weather systems causing significant road damage. However, Mayor...

Prime Minister Barrow says Bagasse Issue is in Hands of BSI/ASR
On Monday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his deputy and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega along with other Government officials met with representatives of Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) and its partner American Sugar Refining (ASR) in Belize City. The purpose was to convey the position of the Government...

GMO Highlighted at National Conference
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture hosted an all day National Conference today at the George Price Centre where the topic of interest was GMO’s or no GMO’s. The issue of Genetically Modified Organisms, known as GMO’s is a very debatable subject evoking very strong opinions on both...

Toys For Tots Hosts Kids Party
United Airlines’ Toys for Tots program hosted its annual Christmas event at the House of Culture for fifty underprivileged children from Belize City’s Southside. With details here is country manager, Indira Craig. Ms. Indira Craig- Country Manager “Toys for Tots is a part of the United Airlines and staff...

Island Adventures with theTourism Board
Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye have acquired quite the reputation among tourists as preferred destinations in Belize. Our Belize City journalists visited them both this weekend with the Tourism Board. First, they headed to Caye Caulker, “La Isla Carinosa,” where they were hosted by Seaside Cabanas and Island Magic...

VIP Pushes Anti-corruption Platform
Today is International Anti-Corruption Day and the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), the political movement that has been attempting to sanitize Belizean politics from corrupt influence for the last decade or so, hosted a press conference to update the nation on their strategy to promote and enforce anti-corruption....

Three Nations Open Joint Operations Centre
Belize, the United States and Canada are cooperating to establish a Joint Operations Centre on the compound of the Belize Defense Force (BDF) at Price Barracks, Ladyville, and it was opened in grand style today. Belize’s chief enforcement agencies – BDF, Coast Guard, Police, Customs and Immigration – will...

Honduran National Shot Twice by Police Officers in Toledo
Over the weekend, Wilmer Antonio Nunez, Resident of Bella Vista Village in Toledo, was shot by police officers twice when all other methods of subduing him failed. Our Dangriga Correspondent Harrry Arzu has the story. Mr. Harry Arzu- Plus TV News Correspondent “A resident of Bella Vista is hospitalized...

CAHSU/AGUSM Cold War Continues
Earlier this year PLUS News profiled medical schools in Belize and highlighted one that some suggested was not what it appeared to be. American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM), which has its main campus in Ladyville on the Airport Road, responded with a media blitz of its own,...

CAHSU Comments on Sudden Massive Indian Arrivals
Last week local media reported that multiple Indian nationals had arrived in Belize through the Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville. But they were not, apparently, the latest beneficiaries of Ministerial largesse in granting nationalities and passports. In fact, they were prospective students at the Central American Health Sciences...

Eastern Division Commander Asks for More Support on Crime
The news that crime has dropped in the last few months is welcomed news, but the fight is not over yet. We caught up with Eastern Division Commander and Acting Commissioner of Police ACP Miguel Segura today and invited his thoughts. Mr. Miguel Segura- Acting Commissioner of Police “The...

Police Still Looking at Charges for Tyson Rodriguez’s Murderers
While three officers are being investigated into the customs knot, a police sergeant in the Placencia formation has been charged with the murder of Tyson Rodriguez, a suspect in a car burglary ring and home invasion. Rodriquez was found dead after it was claimed he escaped from police custody...


2 trucks out of 9 operating; CITCO struggling to make outstanding payments. The challenges that have arisen in the carrying out of garbage collection in Belize City have been an ongoing dilemma which has been somewhat of an albatross around the necks of successive Belize City Council administrations, and the current City Council is no different. Up until last Friday, December 6, 2013, the Belize City Council owed the Belize Waste Control (BWC) – one of Belize City’s premier garbage collection agents – over three-quarters of a million dollars in outstanding arrears. Like the garbage which had piled up alongside the city streets last week, the debt owed to Belize Waste Control has continued to accumulate over the years. This mounting series of outstanding payments has led to a standoff between the City Council and the BWC, and has resulted in the garbage collector claiming that they are now unable to maintain their operations due to financial constraints.

Marylyn Pate, a female police officer attached to the Orange Walk Domestic Family Unit of the Orange Walk police, escaped death after she was chopped three times in the head and two times on the hands by a man she had gone to detain at his home in Trial Farm Village on reports of child molestation made by the Human Services Department. Oscar Hernandez, whom WPC Pate, along with other officers and personnel of the Human Services Department, had gone to arrest, told her that he would come with her to the station, but that he first had to go into the house to get dressed. Hernandez indeed went into the house, but not to get dressed; he came out with a machete, charged at WPC Pate and chopped her several times on the head and hands. Hernandez then ran out of the yard. The incident occurred about 2:30 Thursday on a street that extends off East San Martin Street in Trial Farm Village.

Tens of thousands of people, including 91 heads of states, are converging on Johannesburg, South Africa, today, to bid farewell to South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, 95, the internationally renowned freedom fighter who gave his life to fighting against apartheid and racism. Mandela spent 27 years in prison, as a consequence of his unwavering commitment to the struggle, and on April 27, 1994, Mandela participated in the first democratic elections in his country. On his release, Mandela greeted his people with the expression “Amandla” – meaning “power” – and the outstretched fist, the sign of black power. Nelson Mandela passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 5, 2013, in his home country after battling ill health for a year. Makaziwe Mandela said that her father had made a “wonderful transition…” surrounded by close relatives, who were given an opportunity to be with him until his last breath.

A woman, 22, told police that she was sexually assaulted by four men who offered her a ride to her workplace at about 11:00 Saturday night in Belmopan. The woman said that she was walking to her place of work when a white van in which there were four men stopped beside her and offered her a ride. She accepted the offer and entered the van, and they drove away. According to the woman, as they neared her workplace, she alerted the driver, but he only accelerated, and told her that she would have to do what they wanted, or they would kill her. Fearing for her life, the woman cooperated. She was taken to a dark, isolated location, where she was ordered to perform oral sex on two of the men. After that ordeal was over, at least three of the men took turns raping her.

The body of a man in an advanced state of decomposition was found floating in the sea near Colson Caye in the Stann Creek District at about 2:00 this afternoon by the Coast Guard and the Belize Port Authority. The body, which exhibited chop wounds to the head and hand, was brought to Belize City and handed over to the police. Deputy Commandant of the Coast Guard, Elton Bennett, told Amandala that they, along with the Port Authority, went to the Colson Caye area about 2:00 this afternoon, and found the floating body. Nothing much is known of the man at this time. The body was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital morgue, where it awaits a post-mortem. Rafael Martinez, Police Press Officer, said that depending on the level of decomposition of the corpse, a photograph of the man will be taken to be distributed in an effort to identify the corpse.

The Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS) this morning awarded over $700 in cash prizes to 10 primary school students at the end of a story reading contest which they plan to take nationwide next year. Following eliminations in the northern and southern zones of Belize City, top contenders from St. Luke Methodist, Queen’s Square Anglican, Grace Primary, Belize Elementary, Holy Redeemer and Wesley Lower School read from a mix of foreign and local stories. (Ephesus SDA School was selected to participate but did not attend.) The judges, Carmen Barrow, Norman Rodriguez and Joseph “Stamp” Romero, picked winners from three categories of entries after each student made their presentations at the Leo Bradley Library this morning. In category 1 (the standard 1 students), Maddox Heusner of Belize Elementary School (BES) walked off with the top prize of $100. Second place in that category was captured by Devaughn Abraham of Grace Primary, who won $75, and third place by Ryan Rodriguez of Wesley Lower School, who won $50.

The Belize Cycling Association (BCA) announced on Friday that its new office, located on the second floor of the Commercial Center on Regent Street in Belize City, will be open effective today, Monday, December 9, with office hours from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. The office assistant is Ms. Keren Gabourel. And, with the countdown already on for the biggest race, next to Cross Country, in the annual cycling calendar, the KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic, the BCA release advised members to begin processing their membership registration at the office this week, “as the deadline for those who will be participating in the KREM Classic… will be on Friday, December 13…”

The 2nd Annual SMART 13 & Under Football Tournament had its semifinal games on Saturday, December 7, and then its All Star game on Sunday at the MCC Grounds. The finals will be this coming Saturday. In the first semifinal on Saturday, #1 seed Brown Bombers bombed #4 seed Rising Stars, 4-0, with a goal each from Tyreek Muschamp, Sherwin Requena, Dion Cacho and Naheem Gentle. And in the other semifinal, Hattieville United did to City Boys what they had done to Brown Bombers in the finals last year, dealt them their only defeat of the season, by a 1-nil score. City Boys dominated possesion for most of the game, but it was a big “contra golpe” kick upfield from Hattieville defender Shemar Waight that created a foot race toward the City Boys goal, where Hattieville striker Mario Rivera managed to score what turned out to be the game winner at the 9th minute of first half. They played 30 minute halves in the semifinals; while it was 20-20 during the regular season. The stage is now set for the 3rd place match and the championship final, which take place this coming Saturday, December 14, at the MCC, starting at 1:00 p.m.

Three high schools in southern Belize participated in the TIDE Freshwater Cup (FWC) Marathon on Saturday, December 7, at the Toledo Union Field. They all had to do an environmental project in order to participate. Participating high schools were George Town, Julian Cho & Toledo Community College (TCC). Independence High School did not show; neither did TCC Girls. Results: After a long day of battle, Julian Cho High School boys and girls, as well as George Town boys and girls went on to the finals. All games ended in a draw and therefore went to penalties, where George Town boys won, 5–4, over Julian Cho boys; and George Town girls also won, 3-1, over Julian Cho girls. NOTE: An award ceremony followed at 4:30 p.m. at the Toledo Union Field, where Mr. Ruperto Vicente, President of FFB, was invited to give his remarks during the ceremonies, and also was asked to present the trophies and medals to both the female and male high school winners.

A former British High Commissioner to Belize, Peter Thomson, writing in his book Belize: A Concise History, published by Macmillan in 2004, refers to Amandala on page 180 as a “radical newspaper.” One is tempted to ask the question, if Amandala is a radical newspaper and had been the leading newspaper in Belize for 23 years at the time Mr. Thomson wrote his book, what does this say about Belize? No one can describe the national party politics of Belize as in any way radical. The country experimented with a “mixed economy” under Rt. Hon. George Price in the 1970s, but has been moving to the right wing ever since. The second term UDP government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has experimented, under duress, with some social welfare programs, while the Opposition PUP appeared about to welcome the former Lake Independence representative Cordel Hyde, a roots voice, back into their fold last week, but both the two major political parties remain right of center. The issues on the national stage presently include the cane farmers of the Northern Districts fighting the transnational American Sugar Refining (ASR) for a slice of bagasse revenues, and the FECTAB group of Belizean tour guides fighting for their market share from cruise tourism against the transnational Chukkah group. The fight of the Toledo Maya for customary land rights and their SATIIM national park against the American oil company, U.S. Capital Energy, and the fight of Belizean environmentalists to prevent offshore drilling for petroleum near Belize’s Barrier Reef, are fights which have been going on for years.

A LETTER FROM STEVE BIKO Some of you, my people, you weep and you mourn. “Poor Steve Biko,” you say, “he beaten and was died, so young, so strong.” It’s true, I beaten and was died because I dare to speak for black and brown, but poor? No, a thousand times NO! I stand and fight. Yes, also I was destroyed, but not defeated. For my sweat waters the soil; my body and my blood add richness to the earth. And from the earth and soil a thousand children spring. They cry across the hills and over the smoky rivers of wherever rest my bones: Steve, Steve Biko, they cry, Steve Biko die, that we may live. (by Evan X Hyde, 1977) In the British and French Caribbean, the slave societies were different from the slave society in the United States of America, in that there were discernible and distinct mulatto classes in the British and French Caribbean. In the U.S., there are mulatto families in places like New Orleans and parts of South Carolina who have a history going back generations which features some sort of privilege, or difference from American slave society, but overall, there is no discernible and distinct mulatto class in America. Black was black, across the board. If you had a single drop of African blood in America, that made you black, and therefore eligible, by Supreme Court decision, to be a slave.

While the Belize Police Department – which has recently been in the public spotlight for various allegations of wrongdoing – wrestles to maintain its integrity, three police officers from the Cayo District are among the most recent law enforcement personnel to bring the department into disrepute after they were found with contraband goods this past weekend. Amandala understands that about 4:20 p.m. on Sunday evening, acting on information received, Customs officials went to the Arenal Road near the Benque border, where they saw two vehicles. The vehicles were reportedly ordered to stop, but one of the vehicles sped off, after which Customs officials set chase. When they caught up with the vehicle, they discovered that it was being driven by a police officer who appeared to be intoxicated. He was reportedly accompanied by other individuals, including another police officer. Customs officials then reportedly found seven and a half cases of contraband beer, and three cases of soft drinks along with fireworks and cigarettes in the vehicle.

As we draw nearer to December 15, which the experts have deemed as the latest possible date to get the sugar cane crop season underway without the stakeholders suffering major losses, Belize’s Prime Minister – turned mediator – Hon. Dean Barrow, is earnestly trying get both the sugar company, BSI/ASR, and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) that represents over 5,000 local sugar cane farmers back to the negotiating table so they can hammer out an agreement on the bagasse issue and get the crop season underway. As we reported earlier, the sugar cane farmers are demanding to be paid a percentage of the income that BSI/ASR makes from the bagasse, which is used to produce electricity that is sold to BEL. The farmers are saying that unless there is an agreement for them to be paid for the bagasse they will not deliver cane to the factory. The cane farmers insist that the bagasse is a by-product of the cane, a by-product that is used to produce electricity that is then sold to BEL for millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the sugar company has refused to comply with the farmers’ demands, saying that they (BSI/ASR) have the right to do whatever they wish with the sugar cane that they buy from the cane farmers. BSI/ASR insists that the bagasse is a waste product, and they say that if the farmers want to be paid for the bagasse then they should take the matter to court.

This morning, members of all the major sectors of Belize’s law enforcement agencies were out in full swing in Belize City as they participated in the 2nd Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is held annually to raise both funds and awareness for disabled children across the country. The 5-day torch run was originally started by the Belize Police Department, however all law enforcement partners, including the Customs and Immigration Departments, joined in the effort to bring the torch from all the way down south in Punta Gorda to Belize City. As part of the last leg of the run, elements of the Belize Police Department (mainly recruits), the Belize Defence Force, and the Belize Coast Guard ran untiringly while chanting different slogans through the principal streets of Belize City in the wee hours of dawn today. This morning, they actually started in Ladyville, which is about 10 miles from Belize City, and came into the city with different bearers leading the run and carrying the torch at specified intervals.

Lincoln Miguel, 40, a taxicab driver, visited Amandala’s offices this afternoon and presented a letter from the Magistrate’s Court, which stated that he was found not guilty of unlawful imprisonment and common assault on July 8, 2013. He asked us to inform the public of the results of the case. On March 25, 2012, Miguel was charged with unlawful imprisonment and common assault, two separate charges, when he appeared in court. According to the police, the alleged victim of the assault, a 23-year-old woman, chartered Miguel’s taxicab to take her to her workplace in the early morning hours of March 20, 2012. The woman told police that on the way to her workplace, Miguel asked her what her day’s pay was, and offered to pay her that amount of money if she would spend the day with him. The woman, who became fearful for her life, managed to jump out of the moving vehicle and ran into her place of work as the car was passing by.


A Day Trip to Mexico: Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye
Yesterday I took a day tour to one of the more remote areas of our island, the national park & reserve and part of the world heritage site, Bacalar Chico. Here is the map. Small and fuzzy in the first place but then, to ATTEMPT to clarify things, I’ve spray painted orange blobs on the points of interest. The first blob (or “southern blob”) is San Pedro town…I live about 1.5 miles south of town and that’s where I started. I jumped aboard the 8:30am Coastal Express water taxi to meet up with a friend at Xtan Ha Resort (a gorgeous place I visited a few months ago too.) The resort is 7 miles north of town (spray paint point #2) and with all the drop offs, it took about half an hour. A few heavy morning clouds were moving out and it was shaping up to be a perfect day. I met my guides Kevin and Mario, admired their new pink shirts and set off for the day.

Belize Tourism and Caribbean Climate Change Concerns
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, which has been an active member of the Belize Tourism industry Association (BTIA) since its inception 28 years ago, reports that that this year’s recent Annual General Meeting had climate change as a major topic of discussion. Lucy Fleming, co-founder and GM of Chaa Creek, and a past president of the BTIA, said it was heartening to hear industry colleagues vocalise their concerns about the effect climate change is having on the tourism industry of small, low lying nations such as Belize. “It is important that Belize joins other nations in raising our voices about this issue, since it seems that only concerted action will sway the world’s more developed nations and largest polluters to first, identify the problem, and secondly, do something about it. “Here at Chaa Creek, and especially through our Belize Natural History Centre we’ve been taking a grass roots approach towards educating our guests and the general public about climate change. Other eco resorts are also participating, and I think it’s important that as an industry, especially in an eco-tourism based economy, we put our voices and resources together to continue raising the alarm, not in preaching to people, but in raising awareness,” Ms Fleming said. This year’s guest speaker at the BTIA AGM was Dr Kenrick Leslie, executive director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, and in his address he emphasised the accelerating nature of climate change. Claiming that data from weather stations in Belize show that the Caribbean is exceeding the global average in rising temperatures, Belize News 5 quoted Dr Leslie as saying that; “Low-lying countries like Belize will face the onset in the shift of the climatic norm and the impact of the rising sea level and coastal areas and beaches within the next two decades.”

Notice: Job Vacancies at CROSQ, Barbados
Please view the attached documents for the post of 1. Technical Officer for Communication and Information Ad – TechnicalOfficerCommunicationInformationFINAL 2. Project Coordinator Ad- ProjectCoordinatorFINAL These post are available at the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality in Barbados. Deadline for submission of application is Wednesday 18th December 2013.

International Sources

Uruguay legalizes marijuana
Uruguay passed a pioneering law letting people grow, buy and smoke marijuana, and the country's leftist president, Jose Mujica, said he would sign the measure. Under the law -- inspired by U.S. initiatives in Colorado and Washington state and approved by the Uruguayan Senate 16-13 late Tuesday -- the country will create a state-run Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis to oversee the planting, harvesting and sale of marijuana by private companies and residents 18 or older. Households will be allowed to grow up to six plants each and harvest up to 480 grams, or a little more than 1 pound, of pot a year. Cooperatives, known as "growers clubs," may grow up to 99 plants together, Uruguayan newspaper La Republica said. Residents may also buy up to 40 grams of marijuana at $1 a gram from licensed pharmacies a month, the equivalent of about 60 cigarettes.

Crikey! A photographer's close call with a crocodile, and pics to prove it
Octavio Aburto is a Mexican photographer and marine biologist, based at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, and is a fellow with The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). During a recent expedition, he had an up-close and personal interaction with an unexpected model. Here's Aburto's story in his own words: In May 2013 I had an expedition to Banco Chinchorro, an unique and fragile atoll located 35 km offshore in the Mexican Caribbean Sea, near the border between Mexico and Belize. The atoll has three main islands, with an aggregate land area of 6.7 square kilometers, and the natural vegetation of the islands is largely mangrove near the shore shading into open woodland more than 20–30 m from the shore. More importantly, this atoll has, genetically speaking, the purest population of American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) - meaning that the population has not hybridized with other crocodile subspecies. It has been shown that it is the purest population remaining in the Meso-American reef region, with more than 250 individuals leaving in this atoll.

Central America Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report Q1 2014
Despite the delicate macroeconomic situation in Central America, the pharmaceutical market -consisting of the seven markets of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Belize - is set to grow. Local authorities' emphasis on healthcare investment should translate into higher consumption of medicines. However, the region's low per capita pharmaceutical spending and generic drugs' high market share has limited multinationals' growth potential in the region. Headline Expenditure Projections - Pharmaceuticals: US$3.5bn in 2012 to US$3.7bn in 2013; +4.9%. Our forecast has been revised slightly upwards since Q413 due to more optimistic macroeconomic data. - Healthcare: US$15.4bn in 2012 to US$16.6bn in 2013; +8.1 %. Our forecast has been revised upwards since Q413 due to more optimistic macroeconomic data.

Thumbing Through Belize: Tips For Hitchhiking Safely
We stood on the side of the long dusty road, a puddle of sweat soaking into the back of our t-shirts. We had successfully hitched 141 kilometers that day, but it seemed our luck had run out. The final stretch to the coastal town of Hopkins was the six mile dirt road that connected to the highway and we hadn’t even made it a mile in. Few cars passed and the ones that did sped right past our outstretched thumbs and kicked up a cloud of dust that enveloped us in dirt before settling. Hitchhiking as a backpacker has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of catching a ride. We’ve found that while some locals jump at the chance to give a ride to a foreigner, others are more likely to pick up other locals, especially in smaller towns.

Jacqueline Patterson – How Marijuana Helps Her Cerebral Palsy
A touching video of how Medical Marijuana helped this woman who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Jacqueline Patterson was born with cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder that affects her motor functions. As a result of her condition, she suffers from a severe stutter and major pain and weakness on her right side. This video showcases the amazing effect of cannabis on her condition. After Jacqueline was reported for cannabis possession in Iowa, she moved to California and won a court case arguing that her consumption of marijuana was strictly for medicinal purposes. Hit up Jacqueline on Twitter @medicalmaryjane.

Things to do in Belize – Check out the top tours to do in San Ignacio Cayo
Belize offers something for everyone! Maya temple cities, white sandy beaches, best snorkeling in the region, spectacular scuba diving in the second largest barrier reef in the world, horseback riding through jungle trails, kayaking on pristine rivers, jungle hiking, adventurous zip lining, and unique caving exploration are just a few of a plethora of tours that you can do in Belize. If you are vacationing in the San Ignacio, Cayo District area, here are 10 popular tours that you might want to consider: Xunantunich Maya Temples, Cahal Pech, Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, ATM Cave Tour Highlights, Barton Creek Cave, Tikal, Cahal Pech Village Resort – Tikal Tour, Cave Tubing and Zip Lining Adventures in Belize, Mountain Pine Ridge, Caracol, Horseback Riding, Canoeing, Canoeing The Belize River

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