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5/11/2014 to 5/20/2014
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May 20, 2014


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Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Mayor Danny Guerrero attends conference in Dominican Republic
The Mayor of San Pedro Town Daniel Guerrero has returned to the country after attending the 2nd Central American and Dominican Republic Mayors' Forum. Held in the City of Santiago in the Dominican Republic from May 7th to the 9th, the event saw over 100 mayors from the region at one forum geared to discuss issues of mutual importance. Mayor Guerrero attended the event in representation of the Belize Mayor's Association. Mayors from all Central American countries, Haiti and all the municipalities in the Dominican Republic participated in the event. The main objective of the forum was to create a network for mayors from all the municipalities in the region in an effort share and integrate ideas that can help the region grow.

Raymundo Nuñez and Alexya Perez receive Jesuit Scholarships
Select graduation students of St. John's Junior College (SJCJC) have been awarded Jesuit scholarships to further their education, and two of the recipients are San Pedranos. 18-year-old Raymundo Nuñez and 19-year-old Alexya Perez will be graduating on Sunday, June 8th with their Associate's Degree, and have received scholarships due to their academic excellence. A total of eight students were awarded Jesuit scholarships;Alexya Perez, Andre Alamina, Betty Tan, Daniel Waight, Megan Martinez, Paul Sylvestre, Reneisha Banner and Raymundo Nuñez.

Family Feud results in a mother and son being shot
Police are searching for an under aged male who shot at a mother and son on Sunday, May 18th. According to San Pedro Police, at around 11AM the police Quick Response Team (QRT) responded to a report of a shooting incident in the San Pedrito Area. At the scene, police noticed two persons suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The two victims were 23-year-old Nigel Polanco and his mother, 45-year-old Aurora Gonzalez. Initial reports stated that Polanco and Gonzalez were socializing in front of their residence when they were shot. The under aged attacker fired one single gunshot, causing damage to both victims, then fled the scene. Polanco suffered injuries to his left leg while Gonzalez had injuries to her left knee and middle finger. The victims were rushed to the Dr Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II for primary medical treatment. They were then transported to the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) where they received further medical treatment and are currently in a stable condition.

17-year-old shot over alleged drug territory
On Saturday, May 17th, the Police Quick Response Team (QRT) responded to a shooting incident in the San Pablo Area at around 3:15AM. According to initial reports, a 17-year-old female had been shot inside a wooden apartment building located on Marina Drive. Upon arrival police found the female suffering from multiple gunshot wound. Further investigation revealed that two gunmen had fired shots at the apartment door, then gained entrance to the apartment and shot the victim. The under aged female was rushed to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II for primary care and was later transported to the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical but stable condition via Wings of Hope. The victim sustained gunshot wounds to the right side of the abdomen and to the right side of the jaw, with apparent wounds on the right thumb.

Ambergris Today

Mayor Daniel Guerrero Attends 2nd Regional Mayors' Forum
The first regional forum of Central American and Caribbean Mayors was held on September 25 & 26 in 2012 in the city of Guatemala. At that time issues such as public safety, urban growth, youth and their fundamental role in human development were analyzed. In this Part II Forum municipal mayors and representatives of associations of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Belize and the Dominican Republic were all present. The Third Regional Forum of Mayors will be hosted in the Republic of El Salavador. Mayor Daniel Guerrero said his trip to the Dominican Republic was a fruitful one. He learned various aspects on how other municipalities of different countries function and how San Pedro can relate to them.

165-Pounder Highlights Captain Sharks Fishing Tournament
Captain Josh Reyes and his crew topped the Captain Sharks Second Annual Bill Fish Tournament that took place over the weekend in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. With this 165-pound Marlin caught on the first day of the tournament, Captain Reyes was able to secure the first prize trophy as no other boats came close to reeling in any larger fish, except for some nice Mahi Mahi and Tuna. Congratulations to the winners and all the participants who braved the bad weather conditions during the first day of the tournament.

Aji Tapa Bar & Restaurant Celebrates with #1 Champagne in the World
It is rated the #1 champagne in the world and has made appearances in several hip-hop music videos, sometimes referenced as "Ace of Spades" in song lyrics; and now you can find it in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Bottles of Armand de Brignac were popped during the reopening on Aji Tapa Bar and Restaurant that took place on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Aji Tapa Bar & Restaurants celebrated its reopening under new ownership of Tony and Linda and with collaboration with the Beverage Division of Karl H. Menzies of Belize City, they held a wine tasting event at the restaurant. There was special presentation of wines from King Estate of Oregon, USA, and invited guests had the pleasure of tasting some rich red and white wines, included delicious tapas from Aji which included cheeses and their famous bacon wrapped dates.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize Bird Rescue, a Belmopan based non profit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and releases wild birds, is having their 'Night Out for the Birds' fundraiser this Friday, at the British High Commission's clubhouse. All proceeds go to them, and they can use it; they had 18 intakes last week alone, and aren't they cute?

Principal: Schools should always strive for improvement, building helps
The principal at the Sadie Vernon Technical High School in Belize City, Belize, said school administrators should strive to leave their schools better than when they first arrived. Laura Middleton will leave the high school improved during her tenure there with the help of New Horizons Belize 2014, an annual exercise that provides Belize Defence Force and U.S. military engineers the opportunity to train to deploy while also perfecting their crafts in civil engineering. The military engineers are constructing a new addition for the school. "Receiving a new building like this speaks of the vision for improvement in a school," said Middleton, who has been the principal at Sadie Vernon since 2006. "A principal should never be the leader of an institution that is the same as when they arrived." Sadie Vernon will definitely not be the same as when she arrived, as the 3,125 square foot-facility is nearing completion. The addition will include three classrooms, one science laboratory, two administrative offices and two restrooms.

Virtual Color Festival
Today Universe's Virtual Color Festival has a finalized date and place. It'll be happening on July 12th, at the Agric fair grounds. They'll have some neon paint, so you'll want to wear white. it'll by far be the biggest neon party Belize has ever seen. They have the DJ line ups for the stages on the event page.

Kim Simplis Barrow Addresses Diversity
Once again, Mrs Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, has a great message for all regarding diversity and human rights. "Message from Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow in observance of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, May 17th"

Documentary Field Film School - 2014
This year's Documentary Field Film School started a few weeks ago, and the students have been having a great time learning about film in Belize. Last year, they did Bullet Tree Falls, with this year they are doing San Antonio, and the films will be shown at the next Cayo Film Festival. They had a screening and an Open Mic night at the Soul Project.

Belize Female Football Team at UNCAF
The female football selection is in Guatemala City, where they will be participating in the UNCAF Female World Cup Qualifier. They play Honduras tomorrow, Panama on Thursday, and the Guatemalan National Selection on Saturday. Go Team Belize! "Belize's Female National 'A' selection is in Guatemala City where they are now preparing to play against the Honduran National selection on Tuesday 20/5/2014 at 10:30am, Belize time."

Power interruption 7:00 am to 11:00 am Wednesday, May 21, San Pedro Town
Area in San Pedro from Elliot Subdivision in San Pedrito Area, to San Pedro Airstrip, including Spider Lily St., portion of Pescador Dr. and portion of Angel Coral St. BEL to conduct upgrade works, extend high voltage lines and replace a leaning utility pole carrying transformer.

6th Annual Flowers Bank Kriol Festival 5/31 & 6/1
Great for the kids to come out and learn more about the country

Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Presents US$5 million Grant to Government of Belize
Government of Belize Press Office

How to Buy Property in Belize
For anyone looking to buy property in Belize, this guide gives a first class starting point.

Channel 7

Two Women Shot In Weekend Violence In San Pedro
A teenaged girl was shot in San Pedro in a violent home invasion this weekend. Tonight, San Pedro Police have 2 men detained in what they believe is a drug related shooting. It happened at around 3:00 on Sunday morning in the San Pablo area of San Pedro Town. A 17 year-old female and her 1 month-old baby were in their house when 2 gunmen invaded her home - by shooting through the door - then and shot her in the jaw and the abdomen. She had to be taken via air ambulance from San Pedro to Belize City for emergency treatment. She has been discharged from the KHMH. Today, the Officer Commanding San Pedro Police explained how this incident unfolded and what are the criminal undercurrents at play: Supt. Luis Castellanos - OC, San Pedro "On Saturday the 17th May, 2014 about 3:15 in the morning we received information of a shooting incident on Marina Drive in the San Pablo area of San Pedro Town. As a result of information received the quick response team visited the area where they met a female by the name of Irma Maheia, 17 years of age. She was seen suffering from what appeared to be a gunshot injury to the mid-section of her stomach. A gunshot injury to the right side of her cheek and to the right side of her thumb. She was rushed to the polyclinic and eventually the clinic made arrangements through the Wings of Hope to fly her to Belize City to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. She was in s critical condition. Initial investigation revealed that the young lady was at home with her one month old baby and somebody knocked at her door, she got up to open the door and upon doing that they fired two shots into the door and the door was opened and then they fired two more shots. As a result she got those injuries."

16 Year Old Female Returned to Belize After Being Held In Mexico By Older Man
A 16 year old girl who was found in the custody of a 53 year Mexican man has been returned to Belize. The minor - who has not been identified - is reportedly from August Pine Ridge in the Orange Walk district. She was rescued in the town of Carillo Puerto on May second when Mexican police saw a male and a female arguing in a car in a secluded area. When they went to check, they found 53 year old Mexican Miguel Manzanero Cocom with the 16 year old who blurted out that she was being physically and verbally abused, and held against her will in Mexico. She had been there for 7 months. The older man was arrested and she was taken into the custody of Mexican authorities. She was scheduled to be returned to Belize on Friday - handed over from Mexican immigration to the Belize Department of Human Services. CEO Judith Alpuche confirms this evening that the child has been put into the protective care of the department. The human trafficking unit of the police department is also investigating. At this time, she has not been returned to her family because of the questions surrounding the circumstances of her departure.

Mothers' Day Murder Weapon Found In PG
Punta Gorda police have recovered what they believe is the murder weapon in the shocking mother's day murder of 26 year old Janice Vargas. On Friday, suspect Kenner Gomez Trapp took police to the town's cemetery where he led them to a .38 pistol buried in the bushes. It was a Smith and Wesson revolver for which Trapp did not have a license. He was charged with keeping a firearm without a license. He is also the main murder suspect of Vargas's killing. But he has not been charged yet, because the file has been forwarded to the DPP - who has asked the police to do some more investigative work to fill out the case.

Business Owner Held Up, Robbed Of Major Money
On Friday night, police at precinct 3 in Belize City received a call that there had been an armed robbery at Food and Beverage on New Road in Belize City - just three blocks from the Queen Street Station. Police learned that the owner of the establishment Robert Wong had been held up at gunpoint outside his store, then taken back inside where the robbers stole what we are told is a large sum of money from him. They then escaped in his Toyota Hilux. The Hilux was found abandoned an hour later near the junction of Coney Drive and Buttonwood bay Boulevard. The robbers had fled and there was no trace of the money they had stolen. Wong was not hurt.

Court Decides: Did Hon. Castro Violate Cabinet Code Of Conduct?
Edmond Castro, the Belize Rural North Area Representative, and the Minister of State with responsibility for Transport, got some good news today when he walked out of the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin struck out the claim brought by Trevor Vernon, a resident of the Rural North constituency. Vernon was seeking to have the court declare that Castro behaved improperly as a public official when he accepted cheques for personal expenditure from the Belize Airport Authority, a statutory body which handles public funds for a very specific purpose. But, the actual case didn't even get heard because at the last adjournment 2 weeks ago, Castro's Attorney, Denys Barrow, made an application to strike out the claim at the initial stage. His contention was that the Vernon's claim violated the rules of the court because was brought in the wrong form. Barrow submitted that because of that, the Chief Justice shouldn't hear the case since the reliefs being sought couldn't be granted. Chief Justice Benjamin agreed with Barrow and at today's adjournment, the case was struck down. We tried to get a comment from Castro about his vindication at the early stage, but he was determined to remain mute on the topic. Phillip Palacio, the attorney who was pressing the case against him, was a bit more forthcoming, even though the matter didn't go anywhere. Here's what he had to say:

Testified Against UNIBAM, J'can Professor Being Pressured Out Of Job
Press Reports out of Jamaica say that a coalition of Gay Rights Activists in that country are trying to get Brendon Bain, a professor at the University of West Indies, fired from his post because he was an expert witness in the UNIBAM challenge in the Supreme Court, which happened in May of last year. Bain is the head of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Initiative, and the advocates are claiming that his expert testimony in the Caleb Orozco case in Belize represents a conflict of interest, which has destroyed their trust in him. Bain, contributed expert testimony in the UNIBAM/Caleb Orozco case. In his deposition on August of 2012, Bain testified that some public health practitioners and agencies "have hypothesized that decriminalizing the practice of anal intercourse among consenting adults would lead to a reduction in the incidence rate of HIV infections among MSM". However, he said that to date, published data have not substantiated that hypothesis. He also deposed that removing the anti-sodomy laws off the books could have a negative effect on Belize's economy.

Special Envoy On Human Rights for LBGT
And, closer to home, on Saturday night Belize's LGBT community celebrated The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia at the House of Culture in Belize City. Speakers included PUP Senator Lisa Shoman as well as US Embassy Chargé dAffaires Margaret Hawthorne. Deputy British High Commissioner, Grace Chun was also there. Special Envoy for Women and Children was there by tele-presence, delivering a prepared message - here's a snippet of what she said about human rights:.. Kim Barrow - Special Envoy for Women and Children "Hate crimes and hate speech against the LGBT community continue to rear its ugly head and we have seen cases in Belize where they have been physically attacked or subjected to insults without provocation. No one deserves the in-humane treatment that many LGBT persons suffer. They are often in fear, not only for their physical safety but for their lives and that is no way to live."

5 Million USD From Taiwan For Infrastructure
Venezuela's Petrocaribe fund may be a deep source of spending for capital projects, but for budget support, the Barrow Administration, like those that preceded it, continue to turn to the Taiwanese. Government has tapped Taipei for 20 million dollars in budgetary support in this fiscal year. And, so, today in Belmopan, Taiwanese Ambassador David Wu, presented a cheque for $5 million US Dollars to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dean Barrow. According to a press release, the cheque is a "grant from Taiwan for the year 2014 under the Bilateral Cooperation Program." The purpose of the grant is very general, it is to quote, "help in the development of Belize." Today at the handing over the Taiwanese Ambassador explained that it is for infrastructural support:

MFA: No One Requesting Ebanks
Christian Floyd Ebanks remains under remand at the Hattieivlle Prison on a gun possession charge. But still, no state has made a request for his extradition. And so, foreseeably, Ebanks who is a Belizean citizen could apply for bail after the mandatory 15 days of detention. As we have reported, news reports from Ecuador in 2012 list him among the most wanted in one state, where he allegedly committed a murder. And while there are reports that he is still wanted in Ecuador, this evening the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that nothing has come to them officially. Ebanks is very well known in Belize where he owned and operated a business in Orange Walk called Sky Wireless for three years. He was also well known in the PUP where he was connected to former candidate Cayo West Candidate Oscar Sabido. And while PUP sources told us he was Sabido's campaign manager going into the 2012 election, Sabido today called us to say he cut all ties with Ebanks in mid 2011, before he became standard bearer. He says that Ebanks had campaigned with him in Benque Viejo - but because of his aggressive and glib style Sabido stopped it short. Ebanks told political operators in the PUP that he had been actively involved in national campaigns in Ecuador.

Prison Officer Played Possum To Smuggle Weed Into Jail
29 year old prison officer Ajani Smith, who tried to smuggle 54.6 grams of cannabis into the jail, has to pay a 10 thousand dollar fine after he was caught in the act. On August 25, 2013, Smith was working at the prison gate when he told a fellow officer that he was in pain from an injury to his leg and he wanted to go to the medic. He made his way limping to the main building of the prison. He thought that because he was claiming to be in pain, the mandatory search would have been bypassed. Well, that didn't happen, and upon his arrival he was told that as per procedure, he would be searched. The officer found the weed in a black plastic bag that was taped around his leg and was inside the leg of his pants. Smith was handed over to the police at Hattieville where he was charged. Today at the adjournment of his case, he decide to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, and Magistrate Dale Cayetano sentenced him to pay a fine of $10,000. He must pay the entire amount by October 31, or he will serve 3 years in the prison he was once guarding.

Can't Stop The Hustle: Rosewood
Rosewood, it seems, you can burn it, ban it, list it under CITES (SITE-EASE) what you like, but the movement of the prized hardwood just doesn't stop. Today 7News was alerted to two 40 foot containers stored on the compound of Belize Engineering which is adjacent to the customs building in Belize City. They are full of Rosewood - reportedly bound for China. The agent we are told is the same Chinese business-man who has been moving the lion's share of Rosewood exports from Belize over the past few years. In this case, the Forestry Department confirms that it did authorize the movement of the Rosewood last week Friday form Punta Gorda Town. Now, if you're scratching your head, saying, "Hasn't rosewood extraction end exportation been put to an end?" We were too...but that only covers newly cut Rosewood. These two containers, according to the Forestry Department is pre-amnesty. Chief Forrest Officer Wilbur Sabido told us via text that it belongs to a private estate landowner who had that material from between 2012 and 2013. The volume of pre-amnesty rosewood that just seems to be lying around seems virtually inexhaustible.

Toledo: ITVET Instructors Angry With Boss
"No confidence" - that's what the teaching staff at ITVET Toledo say they have in their manager Allen Genus. The staff have put out a 22 point list of grievances, and a signed petition for his removal. They say that the manager doesn't have a teaching license, or any formal training in education, and they say allege that he has been mismanaging the institution. They've put together a 31 page complaint, which has been submitted to the Ministry of Education. We could not get comment from the Ministry of Education this evening - but we'll keep following the story..

Harvest For Kids Gets Corporate Support
The Harvest for Kids programme has done many amazing things, like putting 15 combines into a 20 acre corn field all at once. This year they are going for rice, not corn - and Founder of Harvest For Kids Alex Perez explained how you can help with your everyday shopping:.. Alex Perez, Founder of Harvest For Kids "The partnership is that they put the Harvest for Kids logo in their packaging, so when people buy the rice, they now get the opportunity to give back to the kids. A percentage of each rice bag goes, a portion goes to the kids. The price of the rice doesn't go up, it remains the same price; it's just taking a portion of it to send to kids especially for the school programs and the summer camps that we have that are coming very soon." "The more people buy the Circle R rice, the more commission the kids get. It's not much, but in the long run the more Circle R rice people consume in Belize, the more we will receive for our kids. We are hoping that other companies would see what Circle R did and we can hopefully have other companies doing the same."

KREM To Court For Sales Tax Arrears
Last week, we told you about the Belize Times being taken to court for Sales Tax arrears; today it was another media house: KREM TV. The Media house is in trouble with the General Sales Tax Department which says that the company owes them $126,000 thousand dollars. KREM TV was summoned by General Sales Tax to appear today before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton in respect to arrears from the period June 2010 to September 2013. KREM's attorney, Yohhanseh Cave appeared and asked for an adjournment. It was granted and the case was adjourned until June 18.

Shalini Is The Champion again
The Women's cross country was held on Sunday morning. It started in Cayo and ended at Leslie's imports at mile 1 on the western highway - here's how the finish looked:.. Reporter "This is number five. Does it feel as sweet as 1, 2, 3 and 4." Shalini Zabaneh - 1St Place, Women's Cross Country "All victories are sweet, sweet, sweet." Patricia Chavarria - 2nd Place, Women's Cross Country "It feel really great because all the previous races I wasn't doing my best and today I said I am going to put everything out and that's what I did and it feels really good." Reporter "You certainly look the superior rider out in the hills from the first attack that you made which separated the peloton. You seem to cause some separation every time you got onto one of the big hills out there and I am sure that that gave you some satisfaction knowing that you were challenging some the bog riders in today's race: Shalini and Kaya. How does it feel to know that you have stepped up your game now and you will from now on be considered one of the favorites in races like this?"

Channel 5

Tensions boiling over between Government and BGYEA
Relations between the government and BGYEA have not always been cozy.  In fact, the two have been mostly at odds over a development at the Harmonyville community on the George [...]

G.O.B. says no to agriculture in Harmonyville buffer zone
Following our visit to Harmonyville to get a firsthand understanding of the lay of the land, News Five caught up with Commissioner of Lands and Surveys Wilbert Vallejos.  He explained [...]

UWI Professor under fire for testifying in UNIBAM case
A judgment has not been delivered in the case of Caleb Orosco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) versus the Attorney General of Belize, supported by various church groups. [...]

Court decides in favor of Minister of State Castro
A claim against Minister of State Edmond Castro was struck out by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this morning. The matter had been before the court since February 2014, when Belize [...]

Belize City resident drowns on his birthday
A rescue team is scouring the Belize River Valley looking for the body of a resident of Isabella Bank. On Sunday, what should have been a memorable occasion ended in [...]

2 women are injured in separate shootings in San Pedro
Three persons, including two women, were injured in two separate shootings over the weekend in San Pedro where crime is spiking. The first incident occurred after three on Saturday morning [...]

Prison guard convicted for drug trafficking in prison
A prison officer was today convicted of drug trafficking inside his work place which is the Belize Central Prison.  Ajani Smith Senior was caught with fifty-four grams of marijuana strapped [...]

2 men charged for West Landivar burglary
Two men, one believed to be the mastermind behind a home burglary in the West Landivar area of Belize City, were before the court today to answer to separate charges. [...]

Lands Commissioner says Unitedville residents will not be moved
Earlier you heard about the ongoing land disputes in Harmonyville. That’s one of the most recent because there have been countless cases. Last week, News Five broke the story of [...]

Commissioner says corruption is a plague in the lands department
While this dispute has the appearance of being resolved, it points to gross negligence in the Lands Department. Those are the words of Commissioner of Lands Wilbert Vallejos, who went [...]

Couple left homeless after mid-afternoon blaze destroys their house
A mid-afternoon fire at the corners of Lawrence Avenue and Jones Street has left a Belize City couple homeless.  Sometime after one o’clock, the attention of residents was drawn to [...]

Cotton Tree man stabbed 6 times by 2 brothers
Belmopan police continue their search for one of two men believed to be involved in a stabbing on Friday morning in the village of Cotton Tree. Twenty-nine year old Kurt [...]

Ministry confirms Valley of Peace crops were destroyed by herbicide
The destruction of a sprawling acreage of farmland in Valley of Peace by crop-dusting in mid-March has resulted in a significant loss for growers in that community.  While it was [...]

SIRDI opens its headquarters up north
Today, hundreds of cane-farmers and sugar industry stakeholders joined dignitaries and government officials to officially open SIRDI’s news headquarters. The Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute was created in 2009, [...]

SIRDI’s greatest challenge is to adapt new, innovative best practices
The challenges to the industry have been many, natural and man-made. But Osorio says that in just five years SIRDI has made giant strides in the industry. Perhaps the greatest [...]

A $10 Million cheque from Taiwan
One of the country’s most generous partners is the government of Taiwan. This morning in Belmopan, Ambassador David Wu presented a cheque in the sum of five million U.S. dollars [...]

James Adderley has the stats on sports
Good evening I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   Week 14 in the NEBL brought regular season play to a close with 3 teams vying for the remaining [...]


Prison Officer Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking
29-year-old, Ajani Smith, a prison officer who attempted to smuggle cannabis into Belize Central Prison by faking an injury to his leg, was fined ten thousand dollars today by Magistrate Dale Cayetano after he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of drug trafficking. Smith was given until October 31 to pay, in default, he will serve three years in prison. The bust occurred on August 25, 2013 when Smith was working at the front gate of the prison and told a fellow officer that he was in pain from an injury to his leg and that he wanted to see the medic. Smith went limping towards the main building of the prison and when he arrived there he was told that a search would be conducted on him. The search resulted in the discovery of a black plastic bag containing 54.6 grams of cannabis that was taped around his leg and was inside the foot of his pants. As a result, the police in Hattieville were contacted and upon their arrival at the prison, Smith and the bag of cannabis were handed over to them.


Mexican Man Arrested for Trafficking of 16 Year old Belizean Girl
Earlier this month, we reported to you that a 16 year old Belizean female minor was found in Carillo Puerto, Mexico in the company of a 53 year old Mexican man identified as Miguel Angel Manzanero Cocom. Today we have reports that the female minor, identified only as D.M.G originally...

17 year old Girl Shot Multiple Times in San Pedro
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye has been a hotbed of violence over the past few weeks. On Saturday there was another shooting incident on the island. It occurred in the San Pablo Area of San Pedro Town. 17-year-old Irma Mejia was shot the right side of her abdomen, to...

More Violence on La Isla Bonita; Mother and Son Shot
More violence was reported on La Isla Bonita. On Sunday night, in the San Pedrito Area of San Pedro Town, 23-year-old Nigel Polanco was shot to his left leg and his mother 45-year-old Aurora Gonzalez was shot to her left knee and left middle finger. According to police, Polanco...

Trapp Gomez Charged for Gun Possession; Charges of Murder Expected
On Friday May 16, police arrested and charged 20-year-old Kenner Gomez Trapp of Oriole Street Punta Gorda Town after they found in his possession a point 38 Revolver. Trapp was wanted by police for questioning in the shooting death of Janice Vargas, the young mother who was shot at...

Cotton Tree Man Stabbed at Bus Stop
29-year-old Kurt Hyde, a Belizean construction worker of Cotton Tree Village, was at this bus stop in Cotton Tree Village on Friday morning waiting on the bus, when he was approached by two men of Cotton Tree Village who took out a knife and stabbed him several times. Officer...

Professional Witness in Orozco Case is Discriminated Against
Those who oppose the homosexual agenda and lifestyle, even with the use of health statistics, around the world, find themselves targeted and bullied by homosexual advocacy groups. Here’s a report on how UNIBAM is trying to get another professional fired because his professional opinion was used as testimony. Bullying...

15 Year old Escaped Prisoner Recaptured
Earlier this month we told you about the two prisoners who escaped from Independence police on Mother’s Day. 26-year-old Dale Augustine of Seine Bight and a 15 year old minor of Bella Vista were in the police holding cell in that village when they somehow managed to knock the...

Prison Officer Fined for Attempted Weed Smuggling to Prison
29 year old Ajani Smith, a prison officer, pleaded guilty today to drug trafficking charges before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. But because he is a first-time offender, he was spared mandatory jail time and fined $10,000. Smith was working at the Central Prison’s front gate on August 25, 2013, when...

BGYEA Says They WILL Plant Corn in Buffer Zone
Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association known as BGYEA had big plans to utilize the 29 acre buffer zone which separates Harmonyville from the George Price Highway. The group said they were going to plant corn in order to generate to build streets in Harmonyville; streets that BGYEA says the...

Cancer Walk for Awareness
The Belmopan Cancer Society held its Cancer walk this past Saturday. A great turnout of supporters of those who are in battle with the disease and those who are rallying for a cure, participated in the event. The walk started from Camalote Village and ended in Belmopan. Besides creating...

The Reporter

Let us pause today to say “thank you” to the United States for her gift of 38 new vehicles to our Police Department to help us fight crime. Most of these vehicles are Ford pick-up trucks, but there are a number of Polaris all-terrain vehicles in the batch. These will […]

Patrick Jones

PG police believe they have found the firearm used to kill Janice Vargas
A Punta Gorda man who was wanted by police to assist in the investigation of the Mother’s Day murder of Juanita Vargas now stands criminally charged. 21 year old Kenner Trapp was charged today for the crime of keeping a firearm without a gun license. Channel 7 News reported this evening that Trap is now the main suspect in the murder of 26 year old Janice Vargas who was found mortally wounded inside the Jamaica Bar in the morning of Sunday, May 11. She died a couple hours later while enroute to the Southern Regional hospital for medical treatment. The Channel 7 News report said that on Friday, Trapp took PG police to the town’s cemetery where they found a .38 Smith & Wesson brand revolver buried in the bushes.

Helping inner city youths gain life experiences
The innovative program called Harvest for Kids which is the brainchild of the Belize Camping Experience keeps is making raves among the youths. The hit program’s purpose is to provide outreach to at risk Belize City children and young people by giving them an opportunity to get out of crime-ridden communities and visit farms around the country. The objective of the intervention is such that they get to see how the farming communities live and how peaceful living outside of the city can be. But this year, program organizers plan on getting kids from Orange Walk engaged in the program. That is according to the group’s new recruit Josie Gongora. On Saturday, a number of children from the City were taken on a field trip in Blue Creek village to see the crop that will directly benefit them through the children’s programs they attend.

Sisters knocked off their bicycle in Corozal
Two students from the Skeleton Town area of Corozal were knocked down as they double-rode a bicycle over the weekend. Around 6:30 pm on Saturday, May 17, fourteen year old Vianney Pott and 11 year old Daniela Pott were sent to the neighbourhood store by their mother but instead of returning straight home after making their purchase, went to a friend’s house which is across the Phillip Goldson Highway. On their way home, the girls were knocked off the bicycle by a truck as they attempted to cross the highway. Vianney Pott received injuries to her face, shoulder and leg, while Daniela Pott complained of pain to her body.

Taiwan gives development aid to BelizeThe government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has gifted the government of Belizethe sum of US$5 million in development assistance. A cheque-handing over ceremony was held this afternoon in Belmopan during which the Honorable the Prime Minister Mr. Dean Barrow received the grant from Taiwan’s ambassador to Belize David Wu. According to a government press release, “the purpose of the grant is to help in the development of Belize” and will be used “to cover a part of the expenditures on key infrastructure projects, including the BElize City Southside Poverty Alleviation Project Phase Two, the extendion of the Southern Highway to Jalacte in the Toledo District and for he new crossing of the Macal River in San Ignacio/Santa Elena.”

Edmond Castro misconduct case struck out
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this morning struck out the matter of Trevor Vernon vs. Minister of State for Transport Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro. Vernon was trying to call his area representative to account for what he believes are violations of the Code of Conduct in the Constitution. Despite the objections of his attorney, Philip Palacio, to the “technical” objections brought by the other side, the Chief Justice agreed that the case was not properly brought under the Civil Procedure Rules of the Court and lacked a reasonable chance of succeeding. Palacio conceded his disappointment but said that the matter remains largely unaddressed and it will be up to his client to decide whether to continue pursuing the matter in court or by other means.

Prison officer fined for attempted weed smuggling to prison
29 year old Ajani Smith, a prison officer, pleaded guilty today to drug trafficking charges before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. But because he is a first-time offender, he was spared mandatory jail time and fined $10,000. Smith was working at the Central Prison’s front gate on August 25, 2013, when he complained of pain in his leg and said he needed to see a medic. He limped toward the office but the officer he spoke to already suspected him and he was told that a search would be conducted. In the search the officer uncovered a black plastic bag taped around his leg, inside his pants, containing 54.6 grams of suspected cannabis. Smith was immediately detained and charged. Smith changed his plea from not guilty before trial began today and asked the Magistrate to be lenient as he is the sole provider for his family.

Two charged for theft and handling stolen jewelry
Police have arrested and charged 25 year old construction worker Jamil Meighan of Ivor Street and 31 year old laborer Wilfred Stanley of Neal Pen Road for burglary and handling stolen goods respectively. They are respectively accused of breaking into the home of 29-year-old Janelle Reyes at Freshman Lane in West Landivar between April 9 and 12, stealing over $10,000 in assorted jewelry, and pawning it at several pawn shop establishments in Belize City. According to police, Reyes said the burglars took an assortment of earrings, chains, medals, bracelets, and pendants, both silver and gold, from her bedroom.

Annual Guadalupe Procession held in Belize City
were out in numbers on Sunday evening for the Annual Guadalupe Procession to raise prayers to the saint. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patron Saint of the Americas and Mexico and it is traditional to pray to her for protection against natural disasters, particularly hurricanes. The hurricane season begins in less than two weeks on June 1 and concludes on November 30. The procession carried on through the principal streets of Belize City after services at Holy Redeemer Cathedral.

Communal Land Rights discussed in Big Falls village
The village of Big Falls in the Toledo district has indicated that it wants to opt out of a communal land case brought to the Supreme Court by Maya villages of the Toledo district in 2008. At a meeting on Sunday afternoon, strong objections were raised by villagers of Big Falls to the inclusion of their community in the claim, allegedly without their consent, because there was no prior consultation. The meeting was called by the chairman of the village Roberto Coh for the expressed objective of finding out what is Communal Land Rights and what are the processes involved.

Police recapture escaped teenage boy
Police say that they have recaptured a 15 year old boy who had escaped from the holding cell at the Independence Police station earlier this month. According to the Police Press Officer, the teenage boy was arrested and charged on Saturday for the crime of escape from lawful custody and damage to property. Additionally, police have arrested and charged 18 year old Bobby Garcia, a resident of Bella Vista village for the crime of harboring a criminal. The 15 year old boy and another man, Dale Augustine, busted out of the holding cell at the Independence Police Station on Saturday, May 10. Augustine was recaptured two days later by Placencia police and returned to lawful custody in Independence village.


Casa de Paradiso, Ambergris Caye: A Night at A Gorgeous Rental House in A Gorgeous Location
Just a few weeks ago, I received a note from a house owner in the beautiful Tres Cocos area of Ambergris Caye. She rents her house out by the weekend or by the week and would like to advertise on my site. Okay, I thought…perfect. This is, after all, my job & how I keep myself fed and clothed. But in all my travelling both in Belize or anywhere else, I had never done a house rental. I've always stayed in B&Bs or hotels so to make sure I could properly understand what I was advertising (critical you see), I was going to have to stay the night. And HOLY CRAP. If you are travelling with a group or with your extended family or just another couple, let me show you this place. Because both the area and the home itself knocked my socks off. What a crazy fun week you could have at this spot, Casa Paradiso. The home is located just 1.5 miles north of the bridge. A very easy ride to and from town by bike or golf cart or Coastal Express water taxi. That's the route I went and we were the first stop…right at the Palapa Bar.

Belize Butterflies on the Road: Chaa Creek visits school
As part of our commitment at The Lodge at Chaa Creek is to work with our local communities in building awareness and educating our local people on conservation and preservation of our natural environment. And in that respect, as part of our community outreach program, today saw our “Butterfly on the Road” Program when two of our Naturalist Guides packed up their equipment and visited the Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio Town. A total of 110 local students in the infant division had the opportunity to learn more about one of the most magnificent butterflies in Belize, the “Blue Morpho” or the Morpho Peleides, and butterflies in general, along with the significant roles that butterflies play in our eco-system. The 110 boys and girls were all thrilled to have had this great learning experience, which gave them the opportunity to learn the complete life cycle of a butterfly. They also learned the importance of butterflies in our environment; how they contribute and how they adapt to the environment. Our naturalist guides also thought them about what humans can do to protect butterflies in our environment.

Banana Oat Smoothie
On a hot Summer's day a smoothie is just the thing to hit the spot. This is a healthy alternative to the usual sugar laden cool libations that we normally consume. Chock full of healthy things like oat flakes and yogurt, this drink is sure to please.

Twenty Essential Items Every DIY Travel First Aid Kit Must Have
Nobody plans for cuts, scrapes, or itchy rashes while on vacation. But if that slip on a gravel road leaves you with a cut up knee, or that walk through poison ivy has you frantically itching your leg, are you prepared? Or would you need to seek out the nearest store for bandages or anti-itch cream? Don’t lose precious vacation time in search of the local pharmacy! Bring your own first aid kit instead. D0-It-Yourself (DIY) travel first aid kits are easy to make and easy to bring. You probably already have most of the essential items at home. The items you don’t have can be purchased at your local pharmacy, Target, Walmart, or other stores.

International Sources

Belize has the 3rd highest rate of alcoholism in Latin America and the Caribbean
The beer-loving Central American country of Costa Rica had the fourth highest rate of alcohol dependence in the region, though it was not significantly higher than the regional average. The World Health Organization (WHO) published a worldwide study (PDF) on alcohol consumption and its effects last Monday. WHO measured consumption rates, favorite types of alcohol, and side effects such as addiction, road accidents and liver cirrhosis. Perú reported the highest rate of alcoholism, at 4.9 percent of its population, followed by Colombia and Belize. Costa Rica reported a rate of 3.1 percent, barely edging out 27 other countries in the region who reported rates between 2.9 percent and 2.5 percent. For comparison, the U.S. had a rate of 4.7 percent.

Throw me a
When I began my career in fly fishing I never considered traveling to far off places. The thought of traveling to far off places or even getting on a plane was not realistic for me. I have said before the notion of fishing in those now familiar places were a child’s dreams and nothing more. I had someone suggest to me that I might host a trip to one of these places to lower the cost of my travel or even get it paid for. So that’s what I decided to do, host a trip. However, now I had to make a decision on where to go. I had fished in saltwater as a kid, dad took me to Florida to reef fish, and I loved it. The most exotic thing I could think of was fly fishing in saltwater and specifically for Bonefish. It was a fish I had seen Larry Dahlberg fish for, and I thought that would be a fish I would really like to catch. So after a little research I decided on Belize and specifically Turneffe Island.


Video: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan visits Belize, 3min.

Video: Meet the family! U.S. Ambassador to Belize Carlos Moreno, 20sec.
Meet the new U.S. Ambassador to Belize Carlos Moreno and his family!

Video: The Ozone Layer, Department of the Environment-DOE,Belize, 3min.

Video: Ewaste Chemicals, Department of the Environment-DOE,Belize, 2min.

Video: Organic Farming, Department of the Environment,Belize, 2min.





Video: Whale Shark - Belize, 2min.

Video: Popeye's Beach Resort, 1min.
Popeye's Beach Resort sits on the beach front of Caye Caulker and offer sea front accommodation, for the perfect tropical vacation getaway. Our rooms, cabanas and suites are comfortable and affordable. Wake up in the morning to the sounds of the ocean as it crashes against the shore or enjoy a warm cup of coffee from your balcony while enjoying the beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea. You do not need to walk far to find that perfect spot to get a tan. Due to our convenient location our guest just need to walk couple steps from their room to the beach side to get their tan on.

Video: Belize - San Ignacio area, 5min.

Video: Whale Shark in Belize, 1min.
Crossing off swimming with Whale Sharks from my bucket list for the second time. This one was a 25 footer I'm told.

Video: Caye Caulker, Belize, 5min.

Video: Joseph Stamp - My Life, 35min.
"My Father and Mother may abandon me, but the Lord will take care of me..."Joseph Stamp tells us about his life as a child growing up on the streets of Belize and explains that though many did not care for him The Lord, full of grace and love never left him.

Video: The friendly bull shark guides of Belize, 1min.
As we were finishing our last dive, we noticed a new guide had shown up. Just hanging out, making sure we got back on the boat safely, by, you know, circling us for a few minutes.

Video: The Jungle Belize, 4min.
Cayo District Belize Carocol Mayan Ruins

Video: Aggressor Dancer Belize 2012, 5min.

May 19, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Letter to the Editor: San Pedro Community
San Pedro is a loving community. It has always been. I have seen the way we come together as neighbors and a community when there is a need. Well, there is a need again… Lately we are being robbed of the peace and tranquility that our island represents. That our very community represents. There have been tragedies, there have been losses of family members, there have been losses of homes and businesses. Losses that have left us do bruised and empty, so full of hate and anger, losses that have left us so damaged. It is time to rise up. The bible says that, “out of the ashes we shall rise.” We cannot allow ourselves to be overcome by our losses and emotions, we must find a way to forgive, to let go and to move on. Of course we will never forget the people we have lost or the homes and businesses we have sacrificed so much for, but we cannot let it damage or destroy this community or each other.

Wolfe’s Woofer: The Human Body
“Can you please give Davin a ride to school?” Melody asked me. “I’m so angry that I’m afraid my blood pressure will go up too high if I take him.” “Why? What did he do?” “It’s what he didn’t do. He had all weekend to do his homework and he didn’t do it.” On the […]

Obituary: Jim Huber
ames “Jim” Huber, a long-time visitor to San Pedro, passed away Monday, May 5, 2014 after a brief illness. He was born April 23, 1937 in Geneva, Illinois to the late Rudolph G and Mary M. Huber. Jim was a partner in the Price Waterhouse accounting firm in Chicago until retirement. He spent several months a year for the past 25+ years at his vacation home here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Survivors include his sister Mary Huber Carle; nieces and nephews, Julie Thulson, Ann Angel, Katy Kelly, Karen Farrell, James W. Huber, James Carle and his caretaker and good friend Abel Bueso. Those who knew Jim will undoubtedly remember him not only for his corny jokes and boisterous laugh, but also for his kindness and generosity in supporting many charitable organizations and individuals on the island. He will be missed! Friends may sign the online guest book at

Doctor Love: Hung Up
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, I am a twenty-two year-old female and I am Creole, born in Belize City. My fiancé is twenty-three and he is Chinese, born […]

Misc Belizean Sources

Full Moon Concert - In Bloom
In Bloom was at the Full Moon Concert that the SISE House of Culture organized, and had at the Santa Elena basketball court. "Full moon concert organized by the SISE House of Culture Featuring The New Sensation Band and In Bloom!"

SISE HoC Celebrates Museum Day
It was a big week for the SISE House of Culture, as they celebrated International Museum Day, and had a new art exhibit start. They launched the new exhibit, which is triptych art that was made by Sacred Heart College's 2nd form students. They also had NICH come in on Wednesday, Thusday, and Friday. Antonio Beardall and Sherry Gibbs gave presentations to local primary schools about the artifacts found under Burns avenue a few years ago. The exhibit will continue until March 28th.

Belmopan Bandits Win Belikin Cup
Congratulations, Belmopan Bandits, for winning the PLB Belikin Cup. Elroy Kuylen scored the only goal in the Bandits win over the Police FC. Trophy pictures and game pictures. Next stop, CONCACAF. "A GIGANTIC and ENORMOUS THANK YOU to all the Players, Technical Staff and Management of the back to back Champs, Belmopan Bandits for your pure passion, dedication and love shown to the Club! Team Work, Commitment and Hard Work made this Team! To the Club Owner, Hon. John Saldivar, if there was an award for Most Outstanding Owner, you would easily be given that award. YOU ROCK! There is no turning back! CONCACAF Champions League......HERE WE COME!!!"

Female Cross Country Cycling Classic
Congratulations, Shalini Zabaneh, on winning this year's Female Cross Country Cycling Classic, which took place this morning. Patricia Chavarria came in 2nd, and Kaya Cattouse took 3rd. Pictures of the winners can be found here, and race pictures here.

Belmopan Cancer Walk
The Belmopan branch of the Belize Cancer Society had their Cancer Walk, and they had a huge turnout. They got some great pictures from the event. More here. In related news, there will be a Cancer Forum at the National Heritage Library on May 22nd, starting at 6:00pm.

Belmopan Bandits Beat Ballaz
The Western Ballaz hosted the Bandits last Friday in the last game of the normal season(pictures on G+). The Bandits won in overtime, 81 - 78, with an amazing 3 point shot, which was shot as the buzzer rang. The Bandits really needed the win, and are now in the playoffs, meaning that both Cayo teams are in. The Bandits have some pictures from the game. The Bandits will travel to San Pedro this weekend to play the Tiger Sharks. Go Bandits! The Western Ballaz will host the Belize City No Limit this Friday at 9:00pm. Go Ballaz!

2013–14 Premier League of Belize
The 2013–14 Premier League of Belize (also known as The Belikin Cup) is the third season of the highest competitive football league in Belize, after it was founded in 2011. There are two seasons which are spread over two years, the opening (which will be played towards the end of 2013) and the closing (which will be played at the beginning of 2014).


Teachers In O/W Celebrate Their Day
Today is being observed as Teacher’s Day all across the country with the theme ‘Quality Teachers – Nurturing the inherent potential of our children’. This means that teachers were out of their normal routines at school and came together to engage in social gatherings and interactions with each other at various locations in the districts. It would have been a national celebration which would have taken place in Benque Viejo but plans had to be changed after the Belize National Teacher's Union was unable to fulfill its financial obligations to the event. And despite their differences, events were held at district level. Our news team was on hand to capture the highlights of the event and bring you the following report. A little over three hundred teachers from the Orange Walk District converged at riverside Maracas Bar and Grill in Orange Walk Town to celebrate their roles in providing quality education at all levels. District Education Manager for Orange Walk, Carla Alvarez, says it was a joint effort between the BNTU and the Ministry of Education.

Principal Of Saint Peters Is Named Outstanding School Leader Of he Year
Teachers are celebrating their day today a across the country but last night, many teachers were awarded with for their hard work and dedication to their vocation at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. One of the highest awards was received by an Orange Walk Town educator who has contributed significantly at Saint Peter’s Anglican School and is an exemplary leader. She is Rosanna Briceno who was awarded for Outstanding School Leader of the Year. Briceno has been a teacher for twenty-six years. She has spent seventeen of these years at Saint Peter’s Anglican School and over the last five years she has led the team of educators there as the School Principal. Briceno says though that going to that institution was not her choice but rather was sent there to help with the special education center at the school and improve it. She spoke with us today and told us a little about her journey to today. “I found that St. Peter’s is an amazing little school to work with and I know that every effort that is placed in our school goes a long way so I know that I am making a difference there. She has clearly done an outstanding job at that and was present to receive her award last night at the Bliss.

Audubon Society Carries Out Work In Sarteneja
The Audubon Society continues to work on a project funded by the Gulf and the Caribbean Fisheries Institute to build capacity of protected areas management. The project is being implemented in fishing communities. Dareece Chuc is the Environmental education and communications director at the Society and tells us more about the project. Dareece Chuc - Environmental Education and Communications Director “Another aspect of the project involves collecting socio economic information from these three fishing communities and that will help us to get a better understanding of dependency of the marine resources that we can begin to plan more strategically to address the issues in these communities.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “So how has it been going so far?” Dareece Chuc - Environmental Education and Communications Director “It has been going very well, the community work is helping us to strengthen our relation with the fishing communities which are the stakeholders communities for the Light House Reef which we have Half Moon Caye and blue Hole National monuments which are the two sites that we manage.”

Chairman Of San Andres Carries Out Mothers Day Program Without Area Reps. Assistance
San Andres Village celebrated mothers in that area for the fourth year and it was a success. Despite the challenges, and despite not having received a penny of the fifty thousand dollars granted to UDP area representatives for mothers’ day programs, the village council carried through with their program and mothers responded rather well. Glenford Melvin Chairman of San Andres Village tells us more about the event. Glenford Melvin - Melvin Chairman of San Andres Village “This year the village council were waiting for the help from the minister Hugo Patt, things that we hear that $50,000.00 was given out for mother’s day program in the north or most of the district so we as the village council went to see Mr. Hugo Patt one week before mother’s day and we cannot get in touch with him and I went to his office and to get his number and did not get no assistance from them. So we never did gave up and worked hard with the council and went tout to knock on doors of friends and companies and business people and the villagers along with Mr. David Castillo and so we get help to promote our mothers’ day that was held this Sunday. We had about 120 mothers that take part in this day and we want to make this whole country know that we the village council had invited all mothers of the village and most of them have come out and we have treat all of them equally, now we don’t look on no colors like what the government in power do you know trying to depict colors but everything is a success.”

O/W Residents Sustain Minor Injuries In Traffic Accident
Two adults and two children are left shaken up after a road traffic accident last night. Reports reaching CTV-3 News are that a twenty year old man was driving a red Kia towards Tower Hill around nine thirty last night and upon reaching an area in front of the BSI factory on the Phillip Goldson Highway the high beam of another vehicle blinded him. The driver immediately slowed down after seeing that a trailer was parked a short distance in front of him but due to the rains, the slippery road just caused the vehicle to slide straight into the back of the trailer. The trailer was filled with cane and that dented the bonnet and shattered the windshield.

Businessman Chopped And Robbed of $3,000
Owner and businessman of Prestige Block Factory in Carmelita Village, Dennis Eiley is listed as stable at the Northern Regional Hospital after he was attacked and sustained chop wounds to the forehead and left hand this morning around 8:30am. According to an eyewitness who spoke to us off camera, three men arrived at the block factory and alighted a vehicle. They asked for the owner of the business and were informed that he was at the back. Within minutes, the men assaulted and robbed Eiley of cash he had on his person. Eyewitness “They ask we want see the boss and then I went and tell the boss that they want to see the boss but he told me go back and tell them the boss is not here but afterward Dennis come out and the called Dennis but I thought it was business that I didn’t have to show up there and went at the back and a little more ahead I hear the bang from the vehicle and then I saw Dennis start to bleed up and he done get chopped on his forehead and his left hand big and deep and afterward my cousin beat up the two of three of them not two and he stone one of them and then I notice he is bleeding on his face. It look like they took my cousin money which is three thousand dollars and they gone with it and then afterward we went to the hospital and then they over took us on the way and the started to drive little slowly in front of us and then they went to Carmelita to hide and then arrived to the hospital.”

The Reporter

Mexican gang leader jailed
Leonor Nava Romero, the alleged boss of the Los Rojos cartel, is in prison following his arrest on Friday. Mexican federal police say Romero, also known as The Claw or The Tiger, was armed with an assault rifle and ammunition. Romero is alleged to be a close partner of one of Mexico’s most wanted crime barons, Hector Beltran Leyva, and accused of murders and kidnappings. He is also reportedly connected to the murder of eight officers of the National Defense Secretary in 2008.

Priest charged with sexually-related offenses of altar boy
Israel Berrios Berrios, 58, a Roman Catholic priest in Puerto Rico, faces four sexually-related charges upon a 14-year-old boy. U.S. authorities arrested Berrios this past week at his residence in Naranjito, Puerto Rico. Angel Melendez, a Puerto Rico-based special agent for Homeland Security Investigations, alleges that Berrios gained the trust of the boy’s mother over several years and then used a car connected to the local San Jose parish to transport the alleged victim knowing the young man “would engage in a commercial sex act.” The indictment includes four charges: two counts of sex trafficking of children and two counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in prostitution and criminal sexual activity. Two of the charges stem from an alleged trip to the Bahamas.

EU Ambassador to the region hosts documentary
Ambassador Paola Amadei, the European Union’s plenipotentiary to the region held a two-day student, public and private viewing of a documentary called “Songs of Redemption”. The event on Friday and Saturday showcased the personal and musical talent of a group of inmates in a prison at Kingston Jamaica. Ambassador Amadei told The Reporter that the rehabilitation program that the inmates are a part of is funded by the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights of the European Union. “It is designed to foster peace and unity after so many years of conflict back in the 1950’s. The European Union has a long-standing policy against the death penalty and this [documentary] is also a part of our campaign against the death penalty. We would like people that people who have been in conflict with the law – prisoners – are not beyond redemption.”

Grassroots activist holds day of healing
About 30 persons of Pinks Alley, also known as the Majestic Alley, gathered to hold a day of healing activities, including sports, speeches, and amid a light drizzle, a candle-light vigil around their block on Saturday evening. According to Perry Smith, organizer of the event, the murders of four men inside the house on George Street in early 2013 prompted him to begin a crusade of unity in communities troubled by violence. The Reporter was present for the occasion and asked Smith what this type of event does for a community shattered by gun warfare. “It brings about a sense of camaraderie” he said, “among people either torn by crime or families on opposing sides of disputes.

Patrick Jones

How Belize Can Harness the Economic Potential of USA Based Diaspora
“About one out of every three Belizeans now live overseas and outside of Belize; the majority have migrated to Anglophone countries, especially the United States, where there are some 54,925 Belizeans,[1] and the United Kingdom, with around 3,000 Belizeans. Smaller numbers now live in Canada. Kriols and other ethnic groups are emigrating mostly to the United States, but also to the United Kingdom and other developed nations for better opportunities. Based on the latest U.S. Census, Belizeans in the United States are primarily of the Kriol and Garinagu ethnic groups.[4] In 1990, there were about 10,000 Belizean Americans citizens in the United States.” ~ Wikipedia The total Belizean Americans was estimated at 21,205 in 1990. By 2000, the estimate had grown to 37,688, a growth of 78%. In 2010, the estimate was 54,925, a growth of 46% for that decade. 1990 estimates suggest that around 50% of Belizean diaspora living in the USA had become US citizens. The US Embassy in Belize estimated that two out of every three Belizeans living in the US were undocumented…suggesting that the real population was closer to 150,000 in 2010.

Ground broken for new church building for the Salvation Army in Georgeville
Ground was broken this morning in Georgeville village, Cayo district, for the construction of a new church building for the Salvation Army Church. At the Ground Breaking Ceremony, the Salvation Army’s territorial programme secretary Lt. Col. Devon Haughton declared the project officially started. The Jamaican-born Lt. Col. Haughton prayed that every person who will be employed at the project site will be protected and that the work will be completed on time. The first phase of the construction of the two-storey concrete structure is expected to be completed in time for the Salvation Army’s Centenary Celebrations in April of 2015. “We pray that it will be an edifice to you glory and your honour, oh God,” said Lt. Col. Haughton.

Cancer awareness walk held in Orange Walk town
The Orange Walk Cancer Support Group today spearheaded a walk for cancer awareness. According to a report posted on the organization’s Facebook page, over a thousand people took part in today’s cancer walk which was held with the theme: “Together We Are Strong.” As part of the 6th annual Orange Walk Cancer Walk, a health fair was also held today. During the fair, the Orange Walk Cancer Support Group and the family of cancer patients had various items on sale. The annual cancer walk is one of the biggest fundraising events for the Orange Walk Cancer Support Group. It comprises about 40 volunteers who have taken up this great challenge .

Venezuelan ambassador pays tribute to Bert Tucker
The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Belize and Belizean Organization of Solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution organized a tribute to His Excellency Adalbert Tucker, Ambassador of Belize for International Cooperation. Ambassador Tucker died on April 10th, 2014 after his battle with Cancer. The tribute was held at the Venezuelan Embassy in the City of Belmopan. His Excellency Yoel Pérez Marcano, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize, spoke about the life of Ambassador Tucker. He described him as a visionary, revolutionist, and a man who dedicated his life to fight against colonialism. He concluded his address by reciting a poem he wrote for his friend H.E. Tucker. Carlos Clarke also read one of H.E. Tucker’s poems.

Volleyball camp set for July/August
The school year is quickly coming to an end and soon thousands of boys and girls will be on vacation. With that in mind, the Belize Volleyball Association has announced the dated for its summer camp. The camp will run from July 1 through to the middle of August and will cater for boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 17 years old. The camp will be held at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium and will run from Monday to Friday. According to a press release from the Belize Volleyball Association, the camp is being offered free of cost and coaching will be available at all skill levels. A Cuban international coach will also be conducting a portion of the training. Anyone interested in signing up for the volleyball summer camp is asked to contact the Belize Volleyball Association by calling telephone numbers: 610-5565 or 607-6939.

Belmopan residents walk for cancer awareness
Hundreds of proud Belizeans in the Belmopan area made the meaningful walk against cancer on Saturday, May 17th, 2014 from Camalote Village to the City of Belmopan. The Belmopan Cancer Society organizes this annual walk to bring awareness to Cancer and to provide support to those living with cancer and honour those family members who have died from some form of cancer. Unlike other cancer walks, the Belmopan Branch of the Belize Cancer Society ensures that all the participants walk together instead of competing. Mrs. Beverly Swasey, Chair of the Society, announced before the journey that walking together signifies unity and support for the cancer patients.

Belizean girl rescued in Mexico may be returned to Belize soon
A teenage Belizean girl who was recued by Mexican police earlier this month in Carrillo Puerto, Mexico is now one step closer to returning to Belize. The 16 years old girl says she is the victim of physical and verbal abuse and reports in the Mexican media at the time of her rescue, said that she told authorities that she was being kept against her will and was in Mexico illegally. In a report published on Saturday in the Diario de Quintana Roo, it was noted that the teenage girl, said to be from August Pine Ridge village, has been handed over to the National Migration Institute of Mexico which is now tasked with resturning the teen to Belize. The girl told Mexican authorities that she had been in Mexico illegally for the last seven months and when she was rescued on May second told the police that the man she was with was abusing her.

Community activist challenges teachers to “stand strong”
Teachers in the Cayo District gathered at Cancha Marshalleck in Benque Viejo del Carmen on Friday, May 16th, 2014 for Teachers’ Day activities. The event began with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. where the teachers were addressed by Mayor Miguel Velasquez, Benque Viejo Town Council; Mrs. Gwen Nuñez Gonzalez, Education Officer; Mrs. Leandra Chulin, President National Teachers Union (BNTU) Benque Branch; Mr. Manuel Medina, President BNTU San Ignacio Branch; Mrs. Frances Avella, President BNTU Belmopan Branch; and Mr. Mose Hyde, the Guest Speaker. Mr. Hyde challenged the teachers to provide the best quality they can as he reflected on the theme for Education Showcase ”Quality Teachers: Nurturing the Inherent Potential of our Children”.

Cashew Fest in Crooked Tree celebrates “magic fruit”
The 29th Annual Cashew Festival and Agricultural Show took place this weekend in the village of Crooked Tree off the Philip Goldson Highway in the Belize District. The festival was started by villagers in 1985 as a response to the banning of fishing, forestry and other practices by the Audubon Society which they said affected the nearby Wildlife Sanctuary and Crooked Tree Lagoon. The cashew trees bloom from March to June and have become a trusted source of income, mainly because of its adaptability. In addition to the cashew seeds themselves, products made from cashew for sale include pastries like buns, cakes and pies; wine, vinegar and syrup, among others. Displays of these products as well as other agricultural produce lined the edges of the village fairground and basketball court where official ceremonies took place on Saturday.

Shalini Zabaneh wins fifth Women’s Cross Country title
Independence village’s own Shalini Zabaneh added to her impressive record with a fifth Women’s Cross Country Cycling Classic title on Sunday, but it did not come easy. Nine women lined up in Santa Elena Town for the 70-mile journey to Belize City, ending in front of ‘s Leslie’s Imports. Eight Belizeans and one foreigner, Mexican Laura Rodriguez rode the race. The decisive move of the race came at Three Sisters Hill in Unitedville Village, where Patricia Chavarria attacked and rivals Zabaneh and Kaya Cattouse responded, distancing themselves from the rest of the field, which consisted of sisters Gina and Gabrielle Lovell and Alicia Thompson and Marinette Flowers. The trio stayed together all the way to Hattieville with the chase group unable to get closer than forty seconds. Zabaneh attacked and neither Cattouse nor Chavarria was able to run her down.


Extravagant Wine Pairing Dinner at the Always Delicious Casa Picasso
Wine De Vine is a gorgeous wine & cheese shop just south of town that has so many of my favorite foods – from olives to pate to proscuitto to cheese cakes. (I’m a food gal.) They also have an extensive selection of wines and champagnes. Last night, they partnered with Casa Picasso restaurant to show off quite a few of them. And the menu and pairings. Small print but worth reading. Some specials, some…like the luscious (YES LUSCIOUS) short ribs…are on the regular menu.

Welcome to the world of Chicken Buses. Old American school buses with minimal space and three rows of seats stacked to the roof high with our rucksacks. Belize City was our next stop, destination: Caye Caulker. It was pretty surreal to enter an English speaking country in Central America and we saw our first sight of Mennonites, who are similar to Amish but are more lenient with the use of technology. Originally they are from Germany but have taken residence in Belize and as hardworkers they are welcomed and accepted by Belize. Obviously they stand out quite a bit, and Abi the Aussie started her obsession and Googled everything there is to know about Mennonites. We took a boat ride to Caye Caulker and checked into a really cute little hotel called Tropical Paradise which was located right on the beach. We put the patio to good use the couple of nights we were there, enjoying the drinks and the Caribbean lifestyle- Go Slow. Caye Caulker is a really beautiful island which you can easily walk or take a little taxi golf buggy. The main “road” is lined with bikes, little beach huts selling food/tours and restaurants with a real Caribbean feel- the music, the people walking bare foot and the friendliness.

Top Reasons To Retire In Belize
Known in travel circles as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret”, Belize is truly a tropical paradise. An exotic tropical paradise that now opens it’s doors to all your dreams of new experiences. Everyone around the world dreams about coming to an exotic tranquil locale, complete with sun-drenched beaches and limitless recreational activities on land and in beautiful tropical waters. Belize boasts all this and more not only for the retiree but for the entire family. Belize is well known as a travel destination around the world and this is attributed to primarily the lower cost of living, our tropical climate and the official language of Belize being English. Belize prides itself in providing schools with high academic standards and a reputation for excellence, good health care facilities, historic homes, convenient local shopping and most importantly warm and welcoming neighbors.

The May 18th, 2014 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • One Charged In BWEL Robbery:
    Just as we were closing off last week’s edition of the newspaper, the report came in of a robbery at the BWEL butane service station on Buena Vista Street in San Ignacio Town. San Ignacio police received the robbery report at exactly 5:55 pm on Thursday, May 8, 2014. A team of policemen rushed to the crime scene where they met the still shaken supervisor, Ernest Hill, 46, his 13 year old son and the security guard, Francisco Escobar, 28. Hill told the police that he was with his son in the office when at around 5:50 pm, two barefaced, slim built, male persons of dark complexion, both wearing white caps, stormed into the office. One of the men, wearing a white shirt and khaki short pants, was armed with a rusty looking handgun which he held to the neck of the security guard as he held him in a chokehold.
  • Were The Bullets Planted In the Car Itza Drove?:
    Despite his pleas of innocence, a taxi driver from San Jose Succotz Village, Cayo, will be arrested and mandatorily remanded to prison on a possession of ammunition charge. Acting upon information received, a team of policemen from San Ignacio rushed towards Benque Viejo with intent to intercept a small white taxi car in which they were told they would find ammunition. The targeted vehicle was intercepted on the George Price Highway about midway between the western towns of Benque Viejo and San Ignacio.
  • Garnett Charged For Theft And Harm:
    Arrested and charged for stealing a sheep and injuring the caretaker of the farm in the process, Deon Garnett, a 36 year old Belizean laborer of a 6th Street address in San Ignacio Town, is out on bail after pleading not guilty to both charges. The incident began to unfold at around 7:30 pm on Sunday, May 11 when a team of policemen on mobile patrol on Bullet Tree Road in San Ignacio Town came upon a male person of fair complexion walking toward town with a newborn black and white lamb across his shoulders. When questioned the man told the police that he has just bought it from a farm further up the road. The man was ordered by the police to take them to farm to confirm his story.
  • Health Corner: STROKE:
    What Is a Stroke? A stroke occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a portion of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells start to die after a few minutes. Sudden bleeding in the brain also can cause a stroke if it damages brain cells. If brain cells die or are damaged because of a stroke, symptoms occur in the parts of the body that these brain cells control. Examples of stroke symptoms include sudden weakness; paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs (paralysis is an inability to move); trouble speaking or understanding speech; and trouble seeing. A stroke is a serious medical condition that requires emergency care. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability, or even death. If you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9–1–1 right away. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room. During a stroke, every minute counts.
  • Mexican Troops 'Kill Zetas Cartel Founder Mellado':
    Mexican security officials say one of the founders of the Zetas drug cartel has been killed in a gun battle in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas. Galindo Mellado Cruz is accused of being one of the original members of the Zetas, which first emerged as a group of enforcers for the Gulf cartel. The two groups later split and became bitter rivals, their fights accounting for much of the violence in the area. He is believed to be among five gunmen shot dead by the army on Friday. A Tamaulipas state official told the Associated Press news agency that while Mellado no longer held a command position within the Zetas, he had been one of the 30 ex-special forces members to found the group.
  • Belizean Book “My Body is Precious” Gets International Recognition:
    “My Body is Precious” has received an Honorable Mention in the category “Best Publication” of the ALAS-IDB Early Childhood Awards. These Awards are presented by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the ALAS Foundation to recognize the commitment of individuals and organizations working in early childhood development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Written by Belizean authors Kim Simplis Barrow and Starla Bradley, “My Body is Precious” provides a basis for talking to children about sexual abuse. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kinnevik Executive Chairman Cristina Stenbeck, ALAS Foundation President Alejandro Santo Domingo, and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno presented the distinction as part of the ALAS-IDB Awards Ceremony.
  • Twin F150 Ford Trucks For The Twin Towns:
    Thirty eighty brand new heavy duty police vehicles were handed over on Wednesday, May 14, to the Government of Belize by the Government of the United States of America. This latest donation, valued at over two and a half million dollars forms a part of the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARCI) which to date has implemented over 15 million dollars worth of initiatives relating to Belize. Present for the handing over ceremony along with National Security Ministry CEO George Lovell and Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, was US Charge d’ Affaires Margaret Hawthorne who told the gathering of invited guests that the trucks will be used to improve citizen security. The vehicles have since been dispatched to police formations across the country. Not to be left behind, the San Ignacio Police formation was personally touched with the addition of, not one but two of the heavy Duty Ford F150 super cab pickup trucks. One of the vehicles has been assigned to the Crimes Investigation Branch of the detachment while the other goes to Community Policing.
  • Developing The Twin Towns:
    While the opposition People’s United Party and its operatives continue with their childish political mischief, the United Democratic Party Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, continues to develop the nation with the Hon. Rene Montero, Area Representative for Cayo Central and Minister of Works and Transport, bringing major development to San Ignacio and Santa Elena. The total transformation of La Loma Luz Boulevard in Santa Elena and the Joseph Andrews Drive in San Ignacio, complete with a first ever two lane bridge across the Macal, have got to be the very most any government has ever done for the twin municipalities. Notwithstanding this major accomplishment, a five million dollar expenditure on signature sporting projects is on the horizon. The realization of this project will bring to reality major transformation to the Falcon Field in San Ignacio and the Santa Elena football stadium. Area Representative/ Minister of Works, Hon. Rene Montero informed that in addition to improving sporting facilities in each of the two towns, this five million dollar project will create additional employment for the residents of both towns as well as for residents from surrounding villages.
  • “Ageing in Belize”:
    The National Council on Ageing takes great pleasure in announcing the launch of the documentary “Ageing in Belize” Featuring interviews with older persons across the country this short film illustrates some to the main concerns and typifies the issues that many older persons face in their struggle to maintain health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Ageing can be a joy to some when surrounded by loved ones who make later years comfortable but for others getting older is a sad and lonely experience especially when faced with debilitating illness and disability. The Ageing in Belize documentary is not designed to frighten viewers, although it might well touch a few heartstrings, but to education and enlighten those who do not think about the ageing process.
  • The Transformation Of Far West Street:
    Last week we told you about total transformation of the upper portion of Burns Avenue between, Atlantic/Scotia Banks on the upper end and the Belize Bank at the lower end. It is with much please this week that we report on the total transformation started this week on Far West Street also in San Ignacio Town. Residents of Far West Street informed that they have never seen this kind of attention being afforded to their street. One resident said that the temporary inconvenience caused by the project is a minor price to pay for the much needed development in their street. Mayor John August informed that the council has for a long time realized the need to upgrade Far West Street as that as soon as the funds were made available last week, the council immediately jumped on the opportunity to bring to fruition the long time desire of the council to improve Far West Street.
  • Two Meals A Day 'Effective' To Treat Type 2 Diabetes:
    Only eating breakfast and lunch may be more effective at managing type 2 diabetes than eating smaller, more regular meals, scientists say. Researchers in Prague fed two groups of 27 people the same calorie diet spread over two or six meals a day. They found volunteers who ate two meals a day lost more weight than those who ate six, and their blood sugar dropped. Experts said the study supported "existing evidence" that fewer, larger meals were the way forward. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, which controls the amount of sugar in the blood, meaning blood sugar levels become too high.
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International Sources

Millionaire returns to his dream of affordable housing in Sarasota
Harvey Vengroff has had a change of heart about leaving Sarasota for Belize. A phone call from a city official had a lot to do with it. It was November when Vengroff — a self-made multimillionaire and one of the largest property owners in the city — said he had started to sell off his $75 million Southwest Florida real estate portfolio, amassed since he arrived here in 1990. An investment group was offering $38 million in cash for a little less than half of his 1,400 units. While Vengroff said he was drawn by the lack of bureaucracy in Belize, he felt torn by the idea of seeing his affordable-housing empire here turn into a government subsidy program. At the same time, he and his wife Carol were growing frustrated with the lack of progress on a waterfront town-house they planned to buy in the Caribbean nation. He suggested that they fly down to see the progress being made before he made the major commitment of sailing his 58-foot boat, “Lollipop,” to Belize for keeps. “It was supposed to be done by a couple of months ago. They haven't even started. So we could be living on the boat for two years or longer,” Vengroff said. “Which is not so bad, but there is no electricity or water to the marina either.” At 73, Vengroff's sense of his own mortality also played a role. “I am not sure I will live long enough to be able to move into something, and Carol doesn't want to be there alone. It is fine if we live there together, but she doesn't want to live there if I die.” While he was cooling off on Belize, he was warming up to the new can-do attitude at city hall.

In Boon to Travelers, Mexico Disbands Secondary Checkpoints on Borders
The end has finally arrived. After 40 years of corruption, Mexico’s infamous “garitas” are being dismantled, thanks to new national legislation. The garitas are secondary checkpoints, where customs officers can inspect vehicles outside an established 20-kilometer border strip, a privileged zone where taxation is lowered in order to promote and boost local economies. Most notable of the garitas being abolished is the “Caobas” garita of Chetumal, in southeastern Mexico, in the state of Quintana Roo, bordering Belize and Guatemala. Here, thousands of people have been extorted for transporting alleged export merchandise without paying the established import tax fee. Chetumal, as a border city, used to be a hub for the sale and acquisition of contraband until 1994, when the Belizean Free Zone was established. Up until the mid-1990s, the Caobas garita was literally bursting with confiscated goods, including stereos, televisions, clothing and, especially, Orient and Citizen watches, liquor, perfumes and Chinese shoes.


Video: Birds of Caribbean Belize | Bird Rescue - Feeding a Baby Pigeon, 5min.
The neighbor saw a baby pigeon drop from it's nest in a Beach Pine. We looked closely and finally saw the birds nest high up in the tree and decided it would be too dangerous to try to return the baby pigeon to the bird nest. Our daughter decided to go ahead and try doing Bird Rescue. She started feeding the baby pigeon and it seems to be doing just fine. She made a sort of pigeon nest for it out of a Coconut shell and feeds it oatmeal. Hopefully it will continue to do well and continue to feather out as t is doing rapidly.

Video: Down town Placencia, Belize General Views, 3min.
Early sleepy Saturday morning driving slowly through Placencia, Belize.....not much going on !!!!!

Video: Scuba Diving Half Moon Caye, Belize, 15min.
Amazing corals, very cool landscape, barracuda, garden eels, spotted eagle ray (very faint, just before the...), Caribbean reef shark, and a turtle while we were doing out safety stop. Best dive so far!

Video: Carnival at Princess anchor and Legend Belize Caribbean, 4min.
Carnival Legend and Caribbean Princess Arrive and Anchor off the coast of Belize City, Belize

Video: departing Carnival Glory 4/30/14 on Belize, 3min.
When ships leave there anchor point 8 miles off the coast of belize city they have to make 8 sharp turns to weave there way through the shallows to reach open water. In this video I am filming facing toward the aft of the ship from above the bridge wing. I have sped up this video 60x normal speed, hope you enjoy

Video: Belize wonderful lightning - Belize nádherné blesky, 2min.

Video: Whale Shark - Gladden Spit, Belize, 1/2min.
We saw this and three others on May 16, two days after the full moon. Between them, we had one with us for most of the dive!

Video: Belize Pig Roast 2014, 2min.
If you missed our Belize Video in church here it is...Next stop Belize!

Video: Border of Belize to San Ignacio, Belize, 7min.
Border of Belize to San Ignacio, Belize, cab, drugs, drug,

Video: Whale Shark Dive Placencia Belize, 2min.
We went whale shark diving this weekend and this is the 1st of the videos from the 1st dive. A friend actually was pushed up to the top by the shark but was not hurt! Now he has anamzing story and video to back it up.

Video: Belize Diving, 4min.
Scuba diving in Belize on the

Video: 2014 Belize Vacation - Randy and Cheryl Foreman - Scuba Diving Video, 19min.
This is the culmination of our videos we took while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef off of Belize. We stayed at the Hamanasi Resort near Hopkins, Stann Creek, Belize.

Video: Forum 7 Belize May 2014 Movie, 8min.

Video: Slickrock Belize 2014, 3min.
On April 7th, 2014 I flew into Belize City to capture photo and video footage of the adventurous travel destination, Slickrock Adventures. Slickrock is a popular travel location dedicated to teaching travelers how to sea kayak, surf, surf kayak, paddleboard, fish from a kayak, windsurf, kitesurf, snorkel, dive, whitewater kayak, raft, and cave. I was hoping to catch some unique footage for a promo video for the company.

Video: Xunantunich, 18min.
This video is about Xunantunich

May 18, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Pepé – From Beast to Best Friend in One Easy Snip
Pepé was not born with size and strength on his side, but what he lacked in stature, he certainly made up for in swagger. He had spent most of his life hanging around a local park, but didn’t have any real owners, people who loved and cared for him. Like most dogs, a home and a family to protect, that would love him in return was all he really wanted. Because he was uncared for, he ran the streets with the big dogs, ripping open people’s trash, fighting and barking at night and generally being a nuisance to San Pedro. But deep down, he was determined to work his way into the hearts of someone who would appreciate him. So, when he met a little girl who treated him with kindness, he followed her home. When he wasn’t out chasing female dogs, fighting and causing trouble, he would come round to visit her and they developed a close bond. The only problem was that Pepé did not seem able to stay at home and become a good and trusted member of the family because he was too busy trying to be a ‘big dog’ in the neighbourhood.

Police Report
On Monday, May 12th, 33-year-old KhoderHarmouch reported to the San Pedro Police that on the same day at 10AM he and his brother, Ali Harmouch, parked his white golf cart, license plate number SP-C-2404, on the road side near a hardware store in the Boca del Rio Area. When he returned to the area, his golf cart was no longer there. Harmouch made checks in the surrounding areas but did not find anything. The golf cart is valued at $12,000. Police investigation led to the discovery of the golf cart which was in the possession of Jose Bacab. Bacab has been detained and is pending charges.

Injured turtle found at Hol Chan Marine Reserve receives rehabilitation
An adult male loggerhead turtle has been rescued by park rangers at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and is being rehabilitated at the reserve office. The marine turtle was found on the morning of Tuesday May 6th suffering from a fractured shell that has allowed air under the carapace. According to Biologist Kirah Forman, who heads the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Monitoring Program, park rangers observed that the turtle was unable to submerge. A closer look revealed that the reptile was hurt and needed some attention. “The ranger, with assistance from a passing vessel, managed to place him on the boat and bring him in for an assessment and further care. His shell was slightly fractured near the base. It seems that he was hit by a small vessel,” she said via a statement issued from the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Monitoring Program. Those injuries caused air to be trapped under its upper carapace, preventing the loggerhead from diving.“When a turtle has air under the shell, it is unable to dive for food, and because it remains floating on the surface, it becomes an easy target for predators as it is unable to swim fast,” outlined Foreman.

Misc Belizean Sources

In Hawaii on the island of Maui on the north east coast is a small town named Hana. The road to Hana is famous for its scenery and many hairpin curves. Even though it is only 68 miles long it takes about two hours to drive from one end to the other. On the far north east end of Ambergris Caye is a place called Robles Point. The reef that fronts the island nearly touches shore here. It actually does touch at the next projected land mass and that is called Rocky Point. I have dubbed the road north of the bridge ‘the road to Hana.’ I have some property between Robles Point and Rocky point and because it takes me two hours to drive from my house at Birdland I will legitimize the name of the road by calling my property ‘HANA.’ Before I bought I had made two trips up there with friends from the US. My third trip was Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014. This time I took a camera but didn’t think to start taking pictures until we reached the 8 mile marker and I realized all the talk about paving the road north intends to go to this point. I knew they had worked from the bridge to Grande Caribe but was shocked how much further they had gone. Except for a section behind Matachica the road was in excellent condition – up to mile 8.

Joining the Air Force at 17, structures engineer now spends his time building schools in Belize
He was just 17 years old when his mother signed the papers for him to enlist in the Air Force. Deciding to join the military for educational benefits and to serve his country, he never thought of having a career in construction but the Air Force had plans for him. And now seven years later, Staff Sgt. Kurt Figueroa, a structural engineer from the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, is on a deployment to Belize participating in the U.S. Southern-command sponsored New Horizons exercise. Though his current deployment is very different than his first deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he was facing outside the wire dangers to go to remote areas to assist Soldiers with constructing tents and buildings, he’s still excited and up for the challenge.

Hospital administrator eager to achieve better patient care in new facility
In order to provide better care to patients, the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, Belize, is receiving an addition to the facility as part of New Horizons Belize 2014. The work at the hospital is nearing completion and should be ready to hand over to hospital administrators by June 20. New Horizons is a multifaceted exercise that involves Belize Defence Force and U.S. military engineers training and operating together as they build additions at four schools and the one medical facility throughout Belize. "We've had renovations before, but I can't recall the last time we had a building added," said Bernadette Nicholson, Western Regional Hospital administrator who has managed the hospital since 2008. "We are very excited, and it feels like a great accomplishment. We have a lot of expectations for this building."

Actor, pilot, Marine: Reservist deploys for USSOUTHCOM
Volunteer firefighter, actor, flight instructor, commercial airline pilot and Marine. United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Keith Day holds all of these titles. “I believe you have to find what your niche is,” he said. “My dad used to tell me to do whatever I wanted to do as long as I’m successful.” And, he has been in all his chosen paths. At the young age of 14, Day began working as a volunteer firefighter starting with the Lower South Hampton Fire Department in Trevose, Pennsylvania, then moving to the Langhorne Middletown Fire Company in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, of which he is still an inactive member today. “God blessed me with the ability to love people,” he said. “I always want to help people.” Throughout his adolescence, Day lacked passion for any specific career path but had dreams of becoming a professional drummer, veterinarian, or a defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Indigenous Music With a Message
First Peoples Worldwide recently received a wonderful Spring gift from one of our grantees in Belize, the Sarstoon-Temash Insitute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM). This original song about SATIIM’s work, written and recorded in collaboration with Belizean musician Denroy Garcia, puts the struggle and optimism of Indigenous Peoples in Belize to powerful, danceable music. Click here to listen to the song: SATIIM’s Fight Is Also Our Fight Here’s what SATIIM’s executive director, Gregory Ch’oc, had to say about the song: SATIIM and the indigenous communities in southern Belize have been engaged in tense political and legal advocacy against oil drilling inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park and Maya Ancestral lands. I made this song as part of our campaign to sensitize the larger Belizean public to SATIIM and the indigenous peoples fight/struggles in southern Belize. I want for the Belizean public to recognize that the struggles of SATIIM and the indigenous people is the struggle of every Belizean. The song is written in a mix of English and Creole. Creole is a dialect spoken by Afro-Caribbean Belizeans which is commonly spoken in Belize. I [have tried] to translate the lyrics into English. It has a brukdown/Punta Rock music beat. The song was written Denroy Garcia with my input. Denroy Garcia is a Garifuna artist who has released many albums. He is the singer. This song will be used at public events, radio shows, and press conferences, etc.

Teachers Celebrated on Teacher's Day
Mrs. Eufemia Usher, Sacred Heart College's Assistant Principle, was presented the 2014 Outstanding Educational Leader award by the Ministry of Education on Teacher's Day. Well deserved. Congratulations, Mrs. Usher!

Cayo National Youth Council Consultations
The Department of Youth Services is starting the Belize National Youth Council, the statutory youth body designated to oversee and advocate for the interest, concerns and needs of youth. Youths and teachers from all over Cayo met at CET to get the process going. "There the youths shared some of the challenges they encounter on a daily basis, as well as made suggestions and recommendation on how the Department of Youth Services and other youth stakeholders could better reach out to the youths to help improve their situation, so as to promote an easier transition for their development into adult hood and well-being. This was all brought forward through group discussions and presentations. It is important to note that our young people in the Cayo District share a common vision for a better Belize; they were very enthusiastic and eager to share their views and ideas. The Department of Youth Services is grateful to all the youths and schools represented at this consultation, as their input has set a stepping stone towards fueling the commencement of a district youth council."

The Reporter

Police investigate stabbing
Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred in Cotton Tree Village on Friday morning and left Salvapan resident, Kurt Hyde injured. Hyde told police that just before 6 a.m.on Friday he was at a bus stop waiting to catch a bus when two men approached him and stabbed him six times over his body. Hyde said he believed the incident was the result of a previous misunderstanding with the men.

Educators celebrate Teachers’ Day across Belize
Educators from across the country gathered on Friday to celebrate Teachers’ Day, designed to highlight and honour the many roles, duties and responsibilities of teachers. In Belize City, teachers assembled at the BTL Park on Newtown Barracks for a day of speeches, acknowledgements, entertainment and lunch. Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, underscored the importance of having teachers that are committed to their noble profession. “Having pedagogical skills is not enough…to be a good teacher you have to have a heart”, he reminded.

Alleged Immigration ringleaders change pleas as evidence mounts
Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, 46, and his common-law wife, Marleni Elizabeth Castellanos, 46, reversed their pleas to not guilty on appearing in court on Friday, for what was supposed to be their sentencing. However, their troubles are only just beginning, as Immigration authorities have identified them as the center of a ring of Immigration document fraud – charging up to $2,000 to obtain Belizean passports, nationality certificates, birth certificates and other attendant documents using the identities of dead or incapacitated Belizeans. Marleni Castellanos now faces 16 additional counts of aiding a person to use a document to which they were not entitled. She pled not guilty to these additional charges.

Research suggests walking lowers risk of stroke in women
A research from Spain shows that women who walk at least three hours every week are less likely to suffer a stroke than women who walk less or not at all. The researchers who conducted the study say that it contributes to a small body of evidence for potential relationships between specific kinds of exercise and risk for specific diseases. Women who walked briskly for 210 minutes or more per week had a lower stroke risk than inactive women but also lower than those who cycled and did other higher-intensity workouts for a shorter amount of time. The results for women who were regular walkers translated to a 43 percent reduction in stroke risk compared to the inactive group.

Colombian government and rebel group agree on drug trade plan
The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Farc – the country’s largest rebel group – have agreed on a plan to deal with that country’s illicit drug trade. If they manage to reach a final decision, the two sides agreed to eliminate all illicit drug production in Colombia as part of a six-point peace agenda being negotiated in Cuba. Both parties also agreed on a program to clear rural areas of land mines. Coming less than a week before elections, the agreement on Friday marked the end of the last round of negotiations that President Juan Manuel Santos initiated.

Protests and strikes break out in Brazil
Brazilians angry about the changes that next month’s World Cup has and hasn’t brought are staging violent protests and strikes across the country. The incidents come barely a month before the event opens in Brazil. The protesters accuse their government of spending billions on new stadiums and not enough on low-income housing. On Thursday demonstrations took place in 18 cities – with the biggest and most violent happening in Sao Paulo where police released tear gas and protesters hurled rocks, breaking the windows of a bank and a car dealership in the process. The inaugural game of the World Cup will take place on June 12 at the Arena Sao Paulo.

Patrick Jones

Toledo village leaders meet to discuss drilling for oil
Village leaders from 18 communities in the Toledo district congregated at the Elridgeville Community Center this morning for a consultation meeting. The meeting was organized by the Toledo District Association of Village Councils under the leadership of President Gabriel Edwards and had as its main objective to discuss the issue of oil exploration in the Toledo district. One of the village leaders, the chairman of Barranco village Dr. Joseph Palacio was thankful for the forum this morning. His village is one of the buffer communities around the Sarstoon Temash National Park where US Capital Energy Limited is currently conducting pre-drilling activities. Dr. Palacio described this morning’s meeting as “very informative” and “very understandable.” He went on to say that “if all the communities, especially the buffer communities can allow themselves to be more educated about the whole idea of oil drilling, then I believe they would make more reasonable decisions about the matter.”


Milky Way Cafe in Belize City: Strange, Fun, Tasty and TOTALLY Unexpected
A few friends had mentioned that Milky Way Cafe is a favorite spot to eat lunch in Belize City. So to get a bit more information, I visited the their facebook page and fascinating website. Bubble tea? Flower pot coffees? Themes and the motto: Enjoy your time? (Is this an assisted living facility?) Easy to find in Belize City but the front of the building has you wondering if the place is open or closed. The decor, the food menu, the drinks, ice cream/smoothies and bubble tea menu (a Taiwanese thing – yummy flavored milk with strange flavorless gummy globs at the bottom)…this place is GOOD TIMES. Kids would love it, adults will love it.

Operation Get This Party Started
We exited the plane directly onto the tarmac of the tiny international airport in Belize City on May 1. We were greeted by live reggae music as we walked into the building toward Customs and Immigration. We stood in line for no more than 15 minutes and smiled broadly at one another when the official said, “Enjoy your stay!” in a thick Caribbean accent. Operation Get This Party Started had officially begun. We were shocked when we walked out of the terminal to find a taxi and not a single person asked us where we were going or if we needed a ride. We ended up walking straight past the nondescript taxi pick up area and asked an older man for a ride. He let us that there was an order for the drivers and showed us to the man that would take us to the water taxi. Honesty and hassle free; it was a great way to start.

International Sources

A Professor's Trial
A University of the West Indies (UWI) professor has found himself in a prickly spot after testifying in Belize that gay men are at a higher risk of contracting the HIV virus, and that it was in the best interest of that country to retain its anti-same-sex relationship laws. Professor Brendan Bain, director of the university's Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Programme (CHART), told the Belize Supreme Court that countries which have repealed their buggery laws have seen an increase in HIV/AIDS rate among the population of men who have sex with men (MSM). He argued that a change in the law could have a deleterious effect on Belize's economy. However, his testimony has not gone done well with some 35 advocacy groups across the region that have demanded that he be sacked from some positions at the UWI.

Here Are All The Private Islands You Should Visit This Summer
Cayo Espanto How do you feel about rolling out of bed onto a private beach? Or watching tropical fish through a window built into the floorboards of your bungalow? At Cayo Espanto in Belize, there's a private palm tree forest to explore -- but more adventurous types can take a day trip to Mayan ruins on the mainland.


Video: MY TRIP TO BELIZE! [Part 1!], 11min.
Thanks for watching :) part 2 should be up soon!

Video: Diving Belize - Esmerelda Dive Spot, San Pedro, 10min.
A great day diving at the Esmerelda Dive Spot, San Pedro Belize. We dove with Ambergris Divers. Most of the video was shot on a Panasonic GH3 in a 10Bar housing with a red filter and a Intova Galaxy 2500 Lumens Underwater Video Light. All of this video was a single dive on April 10th, 2014. The video was edited in Premiere Pro CC and Speedgrade. Category

Video: Belize Half Moon Caye Ambergris Caye, 4min.
Island Expeditions

Video: 2014-05 Belize Medical, 6min.
The Belize medical team talks about their favorite memories from the mission.

Video: Snorkeling Belize January 2014, 5min.
Christine's first time snorkeling. San Pedro on ambergris caye, Belize

Video: Envisioning the Classic Period Taskscape of K'axob, Belize, through Paleoethnobotany, 20min.
This is a presentation at the joint meeting of the Society for Economic Botany and Society of Ethnobiology: "The Energy of People, Places, and Life". Cherokee, NC. May 11-14, 2014. Author(s): DEDRICK, Maia - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Patricia McANANY - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Disparities in structure size within Maya sites have been used to argue for hierarchical relationships among residents. We compare flotation samples from two Late Classic hearths within two structures at the site of K'axob, Belize, which have been referred to as adjacent households. One structure was larger, with a longer occupation history than the other. The larger structure's hearth contained tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and hogplum (Spondias sp.), with a high ratio of charred wood to seeds. The hearth from the smaller structure included seeds from numerous species, wild and cultivated, that require processing prior to use. Considering this evidence in conjunction with mollusk, ceramic, and burial information, we argue for a revised understanding of K'axob's taskscape. Rather than representing separate households of unequal rank, the two structures likely featured distinct areas dedicated to ritual and plant-processing activities for one social group utilizing a wider expanse of the settlement.

Video: Spotted Eagle Rays, Placencia, Belize, 2min.
Came across this pod of six Spotted Eagle rays while diving three Cuts, with at least one Juvenile. They continued to swim around us for at least 10 minutes.

Video: Snorkeling on the Hol Chan Reef, Belize, 3min.

Video: Diving in Belize, 4min.
A day of diving with Frenchie's Diving Services on Caye Caulker. Dives at the Blue Hole, Halfmoon Caye and Long Island Caye. Filmed with a Gopro Hero 3+

Video: Snorkeling Belize 2014 #1 #2, 5min.

Video: Belize Bitters Natural Herbal Remedy Belize City, 2min.

Video: BELIZE Street Art 2014 CROZ & RAS w/ ComeUnity Works ft. Kabaka Pyramid, 3min.
CROZ & RAS in association with Hannah Rose of ComeUnity Works beautifying multiple community projects around Dangriga and Belize City on our second annual Street Art Trip! HUGE thanks and Ras-pect to Kabaka Pyramid for his permission to use the track, "No Capitalist", off Lead the Way from Bebble Rock music, 2013.

Video: Playoff video promotional for the Belize National Elite Basketball League Tournament!!!, 2min.

Video: Amigos del Mar, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, 10min.

Video: Belize 2014 Highlights, 13min.

Video: 14 Countries, Over 10 Months, In 11 Minutes, 11min.
I crammed the last 10 months (August 2013 to May 2014) into a video that is 11 minutes long (it's not easy). I travelled to 14 countries meeting people, exploring, and being humbled by a world of possibilities. This is the first video montage I've made of this scale that includes over 60 people that I've had the pleasure of meeting and traveling with. This video does not include everything. It does, however, cover a lot of ground and unique highlights of the many trips this video entails. Although there were a lot of cuts, I feel like this is ready for sharing. This is not possible without you: open minded travelers, and adventurers. This is for you my friends.

Video: First encounter with a Sea Turtle (Belize), 2min.
My first encounter with a Sea Turtle - with IZE and Hopkins Underwater Adventures at South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Belize

Video: Honduras & Belize, 4min.
When traveling for such long, eventually there will come that time - You simply cannot value the beauty of your surrounding anymore. You cannot grasp it. Too many impressions, too many pictures in your head - You need a break! Belize & Honduras with the Caribbean coast is the perfect place to do so. And so much more! Grab your goggles - We'll go diving! #Spoiler: Whale Shark!

Video: Belize 1, 15min.

Video: Belize 2, 6min.

May 17, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Sea turtles Lucky and Ellen released into their natural habitat
This week (May 11 to 17th) is being observed as Reef Week on the islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. Several activities were planned for both islands by Hol Chan Marine Reserve under the theme “Our Reef Needs Our Protection for Future Generations.” One of the highlights was the release of two marine turtles that had been rescued and kept for months as part of their rehabilitation. Lucky, one of the two female loggerheads (Caretta Caretta) was rescued back in October 2013 by tour guides of Tuff E Nuff Tours while on an expedition at sea. The adult marine turtle was missing her left hind flipper and had several lacerations on its other flippers due to a shark attack. Lucky also had a broken plastron (the belly of the shell) and underwent surgery where veterinarians at Saga Humane Society did all within their reach to save her. Despite the slim chances of survival given to her, the 22-inch turtle made a full recovery and is now strong enough to survive the sea. The turtle was given the name Lucky since she was able to overcome her health complications and fought with resilience to survive.

Miss San Pedro High Pageant set for May 31st
Plans and preparations are well underway for the annual Miss San Pedro High School (SPHS) Pageant. This year four lovely contestants will vie for the coveted title and educational scholarship. The four lovely young women are Erica Lopez, Marisha Thompson, Sheila Chi and Ezra Jacobs. The pageant night promises to be full of surprises and certainly unforgettable. This anticipated event will take place on May 31st at 7PM at the Rafael Angel Nuñez Auditorium. Tickets bought in advance are $7 for General Admission and $10 for Reserved Seating. Tickets are available for purchase from students, teachers and PTA Board members of SPHS. Look out for contestant portfolios in next week’s issue of The San Pedro Sun!

17 pharmacies in San Pedro, but only three practicing pharmacists
The Pharmacists’ Association of Belize has brought to light serious health issues concerning the fact that several pharmacies on Ambergris Caye are operating without a licensed druggist (also referred to as a pharmacist). Of the 17 known pharmacies, there are only three registered practicing pharmacists in San Pedro Town. This is merely part of many issues within the pharmacy area of the national health sector. According to Marisol Melhado, Vice President of Pharmacists’ Association of Belize, one of the typical examples of problems in the health sector has to do with licensed pharmacists as is the case on Ambergris Caye. “In San Pedro Town, you have about 17 known drug stores or pharmacies, but only three licensed, practicing pharmacists on the entire island. This is a problem because we have people selling or distributing medication when they are not licensed to do so, and it poses a serious concern as it relates to people’s lives and safety. A trained, licensed and registered pharmacist is the person that keeps the doctors in check as far as the administering of medication is concern. We ensure that the right medication is being administered for the right purposes, but if you are not trained, registered or licensed you will be unable to keep the doctors in check. We find that for the most part, the main problem is that doctors want to administer and sell their own product, which is a direct conflict of interest. They are the doctor, they own their own pharmacy and turn around and administer medication from their own pharmacy,” said Melhado in an interview with The San Pedro Sun.

Splash into the Rio On Pools!
Surrounded by spectacular rolling hills, high peaks and continuous cascading water ways, Mountain Pine Ridge has all the right touches for a nature lover’s delight. Combine the scenic views with the euphoria of exploring one’s own country, the fun and excitement is immeasurable. I enjoyed such an experience on a recent trip to The Rio On Pools in western Belize. Over thousands of years, small waterfalls have formed small pools over large granite rocks, spilling from one pool to another. Trust me, on a hot day, the water is so tempting! I can almost guarantee you’ll be dipping far more than your toes! And if you’re like me, always looking for a little pampering, try standing under one of the falls and enjoy a natural massage as the pressure of the water rolls along your body. It’s the perfect therapy for those who want to re-energize the body after a long journey.

Policing Together to meet challenges, creating partnership, finding solutions
“The greater the momentum of a ship, the longer it takes to turn. One comforting observation is that a huge ship can nevertheless be turned by a small rudder. It just takes time and requires the rudder to set steadfastly for the turn throughout the whole turning process.” Malcolm K. Sparrow. I pray that all residents of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye “La Isla Bonita” and Caye Caulker “La Isla Carinosa” give serious attention to the economical threat to the bread winning basket (Tourism) and welfare of their future, in view of the gravity of the escalating criminal violence which remain a challenge for the present and future and in particular, the availability of the drugs and firearms.

Ambergris Today

Reef Week 2014 Celebrated in San Pedro
The 9th Annual Reef Week Trivia Competition took place at the Lion’s Den on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, where students’ knowledge about the reef and environment was put to the test. After a few hotly contested questions and deliberation from the judges the winners were announced: Zeldeth Molina of Caye Caulker RC School took 1st Place, followed by Chelsea Rodriguez of Caye Caulker RC School and Kemra Rippon of Island Academy who took second and third place respectively. It was a week full of educational activities to celebrate our natural heritage and create awareness. Ambergris Today salutes all the schools and participants in the week-long celebration and congratulates Hol Chan Marine Reserve for all its hard work and dedication in protecting our beautiful ecosystem for future generations to enjoy.

Eight Spectacular Sunsets Around Belize
There are many beautiful sceneries to be captured in Belize and thanks to technology we all can now document and share it for the world to enjoy. It’s amazing what a simple picture can do. Since I started working in the newspaper business I have learned to appreciate photography. Now that we are fully online, I enjoy taking pictures even more; simply because I get to share them on my blog for all of you to enjoy. My favorite things to photograph apart from myself (lol) are food, people and scenes. You’re probably wondering with what I take my pictures with; like most people I stick to iphonography. I choose iphonography because it is easier to capture, edit and post. Last year I started a little project which entails everybody taking pictures of their Belizean vacation and hash tagging #itravelbelize. I’m glad that many have started getting into the trend with me. Therefore, since this week’s blog is all about pictures, let me share with you pictures of spectacular sunsets taken from around the country, some by me and some friends.

Get ready for an Eco Kids Summer!
The deadline for applying to the annual Eco Kids educational summer camp is drawing near, and the Lodge at Chaa Creek is urging young Belizeans between the ages of 8 and 13 years old to get on board! Officially known as the Children’s Summer Camp Scholarship Program, the Eco Kids camp is a great opportunity for young Belizeans to learn about their natural environment and develop skills while having fun during a weeklong jungle adventure. The adventure begins on Saturday July 20th at Chaa Creek’s Macal River Camp and runs until Sunday, July 28. Twenty-four lucky young Belizeans will stay in comfortable casitas and enjoy three healthy meals and snacks each day while taking part in structured educational activities. Chaa Creek supplies all accommodation and meals, the arts and craft materials, tee shirts, 24-hour camp counselor supervision and guided tours conducted by licensed naturalist guides.

Misc Belizean Sources

Hattieville site nearing completion, principal thrilled for new preschool
Completion on a new preschool building the Hattieville Government School in Hattieville, Belize, is estimated for mid-June, and the school's principal and staff are ready to put the new facility to use. The school is one of four schools in Belize receiving new facilities as part of New Horizons Belize 2014, an exercise that provides Belize Defence Force and U.S. military civil engineers training opportunities while constructing new facilities throughout the country. "This has really come at an opportune time because the [Belize] Ministry of Education is making an effort to push more resources and emphasis on early childhood education," said Hattieville principal Rodney Griffith. "What happens in these formative years will chart the course for the rest of their lives. "This project is welcomed and something the community will benefit from greatly," said Griffith, the principal at the school for the last four years.

Plants of the Mayan World
The official book for Plants of the Mayan World “Use of plants in Food, Medicine, Art and Culture” A beautiful edition with over 2000 photos of exotic plants, gourmet plates and Mayan art and crafts! Many authentic Mayan recipes adjusted for healthy and modern living that you can try at home. A first complete illustrated guide to the diverse flora of the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula with the introduction into the world of Mayan traditions, culture and gastronomy. Mexico selection in the “Best in the World” by Gourmand Awards in the Best Sustainable Cook Book category for 2013

Cayo Classifieds Issue 16
The new issue of Buy and Sell Weekly is out. The Belize Audubon Society has a section on where to go bird watching.

BCS Annual Cancer Walk
The Belize Cancer Society's annual Cancer Walk is happening tomorrow morning. It will start at Camalote, and end at the DFC in Belmopan..

Revolution Artistry Makeup Class
Revolution Artistry is having another one on one Makeup Class in Cayo. They've announced the winners of their Mother's Day Makeover contest.

Power interruptions scheduled for Orange Walk District
Two 20-minute power interruptions scheduled for Orange Walk District on Sunday, May 18, from 6:00 am to 6:20 am and 3:40 pm to 4:00 pm: entire Orange Walk District. This scheduled power interruption is necessary for BEL to conduct maintenance and replace poles on the transmission line between Maskall and Buena Vista and conduct testing at the Maskall Substation.

Power interruptions scheduled for the Corozal District
Two 20-minute power interruptions scheduled for the Corozal District on Sunday, May 18, from 6:00 am to 6:20 am and 3:40 p.m. to 4:00 pm: entire Corozal District. This scheduled power interruption is necessary for BEL to conduct maintenance and replace poles on transmission line between Maskall and Buena Vista and conduct testing at Maskall Substation.

Training Workshop for the Belize-Mexico Partial Scope Agreement
On Thursday May 15th, a training workshop on the Belize/ Mexico Partial Scope Agreement (PSA) was held at the Hotel Las Vegas that included a cross section of members from the Public and Private sector. Members from the Private Sector of Belize, Quintana Roo and Merida underlined the importance of concluding this agreement to develop market opportunities and effective access to the Mexican market.

Encroachment of Buffer Zone of the Harmonyville Farming Community, Mile 41 George Price Highway
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, through the Department of Lands and Surveys wrote to Mr. Nigel Petillo on May 15th 2014 in response to a letter he submitted dated 9th May 2014 in relation to the matter at caption.

Channel 7

Digging Deeper Into Immigration Fraud
Last night, we told you about the major bust that the Immigration Department made. 11 persons with illegal documents allegedly arranged by 46 year old Marleny Castellanos, the suspected ring leader in a mass immigration scam. Today she was charged for arranging documents for eight of those persons. As we told you on Wednesday, Immigration Officers went on a mass round up on the island of Caye Caulker and San Pedro for persons with illegal documents. They were transferred to Belmopan yesterday, and today 8 of them were taken to court and arraigned. They are Cruz Reyes, Teresa Juarez, Abis Godoy, Floridalma Juarez, Francisco Reyes, Francisco Ruiz, Myrna Ortega, and Juan Castellanos, all of them Guatemalans. The first 7 were charged with 2 counts of using documents they were not entitled to use, while Juan Castellanos was charged with 3 counts. As the suspected chief arranger, Marleny Castellanos was charged with 16 counts of aiding persons to use documents they weren't entitled to use. The allegation against her is that she helped these 8 people obtain bogus birth and nationality certificates, which they've been using to pass themselves off as legitimate Belizeans.

Ebanks, Ecuador and the 2012 Election
Floyd Wendel Ebanks Jurado, the man who is one of Ecuador's Most Wanted, remains on remand at the Belize Central Prison. Beyond that neither police nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are saying anything about him. But tonight, more is becoming known about his life here in Belize. Press reports up to 2012 list him as a most wanted fugitive for murder in the Guayas Province of Ecuador - and there are reports that he is still wanted in Ecuador. Still, there is no official confirmation coming from Belize Police. There has not been any official request from Ecuadoran law enforcement, and neither has any come from US Government. And internet search, however, shows that he was detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and booked in Glades, Florida.

Former COMPOL's Gun Stolen, But He Got It Back
He is currently the Director of the National Forensic Science Service, but former Police Commissioner David Henderson proved he hasn't lost his investigative edge when he recovered his licensed firearm, hours after it was stolen from his house. Henderson spoke with 7News this evening, and he told us that he left his Glock 9mm pistol, which was loaded with 14 live rounds, at his house at mile 8 on the Western Highway yesterday. While doing his job, he was questioned if he had his firearm on him. When he made checks, he discovered that the weapon was missing, and immediately he suspected that a man who was doing some construction work on his house could have been the main suspect. He gave instructions for this man to be monitored. He told us that he went today to detain the man himself, and recovered the gun. When he got it back in hand, he escorted the man to himself to the police station, where he was formally arrested and criminally charged. That man will be arraigned in court at the earliest convenience.

Robbers Used A Machete In Orange Walk
A man was viciously chopped in the Orange Walk district today during a robbery. It happened in Carmelita Village around 8:30 this morning. Dennis Eiley who owns Prestige Block Factory in Carmelita Village was chopped between the eyes and nose. Three men arrived at the block factory asking for the owner. They went to the back and attacked him. An employee was alerted when he heard Eiley scream. When he got to the back, he saw Eiley sprawled on the ground with multiple chop wounds. The men took $3,000 thousand dollars, money that Eiley had just gotten from a horse sale. Eiley also sustained chop wounds to the left hand and is in a stable condition.

Man Shot In "Da' Hood" While Under The Hood
There was a shooting in Belize City this morning at 10:00 am. Melvin Myers was reportedly shot while he was working under a car at the corner of Kut Avenue and George Street. Police suspect it may be a neighborhood rivalry - but Myers is not known to be involved in gang activity. Police detained two persons at the scene.

Children Injured In Hit And Run
Tonight, siblings 12 year-old Francine Francis and 7 year-old Herman Williams Jr. are recovering from injuries they received after being hit by a vehicle yesterday, which didn't stop and render aid. Both students were on Mahogany Street, when a vehicle struck them from behind, but the driver callously drove off, leaving the children on the street where they had to be rescued by a concerned resident. Today, their grandmother spoke with us saying that, she is upset that the person who hit them didn't think it important enough to take them to the hospital: Wilma Whylie Thompson, Grandmother of Accident Victims "Yesterday I got a call that a vehicle knock them down yesterday evening. I was in the neighborhood of Karl Heusner Hospital, so I just went there. What really happen is that I hear that the car knock them down from backwards and the flip over the handle of the bicycle and it that was how they got their injury. What hurts me the most is because they didn't stop and render aid both my grandchildren. They just took off, I heard that it was a man and a woman in the car.

Janet Felix Wants Her Sons Home After Eight Years On Remand
All this week, we’ve been reporting on the Felix brothers Maurice and Emory. They faced their third jury on Monday, and again, it was a hung jury. Since the brothers have been tried 3 times already, the DPP will not bring a fourth prosecution against them – meaning they will be set free. But when? The DPP told us that at a later date, her office will be writing to the authorities to indicate that intention. When the police and the Central Prison are officially informed, the men will be released. That’s too long to wait for Janet Felix who has been waiting for 8 years to see her sons who she says were wrongfully accused.

BEL Union Still Bex
4 BEL employees will be redundant effective tomorrow. They work at the Westlake Gas Turbine facility and today their union was still trying to secure a place for them at BEL. A week ago, the company's corporate services manager told us that the workers have basically acted stubbornly by refusing to accept an offer to be retrained so that they can be re-assigned to different posts within the company. But the union says they are being chanced. At a lunch time show of solidarity of the union today, the president told us that the company representative was being disingenuous because the offers they made were not as attractive as she put it. Here's how he explained it: Henry Balan, President - BEWU "They are offering the guys who has work for you for 20 years a position - a contract for one year. I don't believe herself would take an offer of that sort and this is when the union came in. Now that the union came in, they got defensive and say that termination is the other position. We've been through mediation and that has been the position from management - there has not been a word of change even at the end when the minister came in. We ask them is the position still at that? Why isn't we trained the guys and keep them? How did the contract came about and that's the problem from the union's side."

Glass Bottle Sodas Will Be Scarce
Bowen and Bowen will be experiencing a shortage of soft drinks in the glass bottles because they're having some production issues. The reason for it, we are told, is that they're in the process of upgrading equipment to meet the production demand. Today, the PR representative explained to the media: Christelle Wilson - PR Officer, Bowen & Bowen "We are currently upgrading our bottling line. We are upgrading our returnable glass bottling line, so what we had to do is we did need to slow down production so that we could make space for this new line. It's really ground breaking - we are installing new equipment, we have new equipment coming in and in an effort to ensure that we maintain the quality standards in our products that we produce we had to slow down this line and get ready to bring in the new line." Daniel Ortis "So what is happening in terms of this production line? What products are currently not on the shelves at the volume you would have wanted it?"

City Teachers Take A Break
Today was teacher’s day – which, for most, meant a day off, or away from the classroom. The Ministry of Education wanted to celebrate teachers for all they do – and in Belize City that meant an event of entertainment and diversion at the BTL Park. We found out more when we visited:…

Honouring The Art Of Teaching
Similar rallies were held in all the districts - as the culminating event of what is called the May Education Showcase. Last night was the big event: the Outstanding Teachers and School Leaders Awards Ceremony. It was held at the Bliss Center where all kinds of awards were given to career professionals. The teachers of the year were the centerpiece of the event - and here are a few of the videos prepared by the ministry where they speak about what makes them teach:.. Due to time constraints, we couldn't air the stories of all the top teachers, but we promise to feature the others next week.

Jah Cure Brings His Medicine To Belize
It's his first time in Belize, but Jah Cure is no stranger in the Jewel. Many of his fans gathered at the Phillip Goldson International this afternoon as they awaited the reggae superstar and his entourage. Cure came through El Salvador, because after spending years in a Jamaican jail because he can't get a US Visa. No shame in that, in fact it is a part of his legend: he recorded his first hit song, "Prison Walls" while in jail. And since gaining freedom in 2008, he's ascended to international stardom - which has now finally brought him to Belize. In a sit down interview with Monica Bodden this evening, the singer whose songs speak of true love and righteousness, told her where he gets his inspiration from The concert is on Saturday night at the Hour Bar.

A Story About Prisoners To Set Us All Free
In November of last year, we told you about the documentary being promoted by the European Union, called "Songs of Redemption". The EU Ambassador brought it to Belize for the first time earlier this year to share with inmates at the Belize Central Prison. It was expected that they would benefit from the story because it outlines the rehabilitation effort of prisoners from the Tower Street Correctional Facility in Kingston, Jamaica. These prisoners used the power of music as an outlet to express themselves while in prison. The EU Ambassador hosted another screening of "Songs of Redemption" at the Princess Ramada Hotel in Belize City today. This time it was for the public to show that inmates shouldn't just be written off as degenerates simply because they've had a brush with the law: There will be another screening of Songs of Redemption tomorrow at 7:00 at the Princess, and the public is invited to come out and view it.

We'll Meet At The Track
On Saturday over three hundred track athletes from across the country will meet up at the Marion Jones Stadium where they will be competing in a variety of track events. The track meet is organized by Body 2000 - to give these athletes an opportunity to come together and do something positive. We caught up with the organizers today. Body 2000 plans on hosting track meets at least 3 times for the year.

Channel 5

Floyd and Christian Ebanks is the same person; he is wanted in Ecuador
It’s confirmed. Christian Ebanks, remanded on firearm charges, is Ecuadoran Floyd Ebanks Jurado, wanted for murder in that country. News Five has confirmed that shortly after arriving in Belize, the [...]

More details emerge on immigration scam run by a Guatemalan couple
The arrest of a Guatemalan couple is revealing further details of an ongoing hustle at the Immigration Department. The couple was remanded to prison on Wednesday, after they pleaded guilty to [...]

Minister Santi speaks on $50,000 Mother’s Day cheer
Just before Mother’s Day, the Ministry of Finance gave seventeen U.D.P. Area Representatives eight hundred and fifty-thousand dollars. Those Area Representatives then handed out fifty and hundred dollar bills to [...]

Siblings injured in a hit and run
Two primary school children were knocked down as they headed home from school on Thursday evening. Siblings, twelve year old Francine Francis and seven year old Herman Williams, both students [...]

Unitedville residents to meet with DPM on Monday
On Thursday, we broke the story of a land dispute in Unitedville in the Cayo District. The Lands Department gave title for five acres of land in the village to [...]

Bernadette Fischer takes Unitedville resident to court
As we told you, the eviction notices were delivered to the residents in 2011. They ignored it, but the matter got new life after Bernadette Fischer took one of the [...]

Outstanding teachers honored at an award ceremony
Teachers around the country today were engaged in different activities to celebrate national teachers’ day. And while things with the Ministry of Education are not the best, at the Bliss [...]

Carmelita Businessman chopped to the head in a robbery
An Orange Walk businessman was chopped in the face this morning during an attack at his workplace. The victim, identified as Dennis Eiley, is the proprietor of Prestige Block Factory [...]

There’s a shortage in Bowen & Bowen glass products
There have been mounting complaints from various businesses across the country that there is a scarcity of Bowen and Bowen products. The complaint is that alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in [...]

Beverage company says upgrades to be completed by June
But with a move like this by the company, there must be setbacks. Christelle Wilson spoke of the risks in taking this step.   Christelle Wilson, Internal Legal Counsel & [...]

Meet the Lady Jaguars
Belize’s participation in the international football scene has been virtually absent since the Jaguars represented the Jewel in 2013 in a rather insipid debut at the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.  [...]

Lady Jaguars Head Coach confident that team will succeed
According to Lady Jaguars Head Coach Kent Gabourel, after sizing up the competition he is confident that the team will overcome the Guatemalans.  As to the financial support, Vicente says [...]

Europe Day celebrated in Belmopan
An open day, organized by the Government of Belize and the United Nations Development Program, was held in Belmopan in honor of Europe Day.  The aim was to call to [...]

EU tackles climate change in Belize
Representing the Government of Belize was Minister Godwin Hulse.  With responsibility for National Emergency Management, some eventualities the result of climate change, Hulse says the partnership between Belize and the [...]


Complaint Launched Against NRH
The Health Sector in Belize and the community hospitals across the country have been under constant watch over the past years due to many reasons. Here in Orange Walk the NRH was in the midst of a sea of turmoil when a number of women accused the hospital of the death of their new-borns and of malpractice. Tonight the NRH is in the spotlight again and it’s not in a positive manner. A family in Orange Walk Town is concerned that the treatment to a diagnosis of kidney failure given at the NRH is the culprit for the complications to their sick loved one. The mother of a jovial and energetic student of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico reached out to our media centre to voice her story saying that on Friday her daughter began complaining of pain on her side and was checked into the hospital NRH. After being screened, one doctor said the patient had kidney failure and so medications were prescribed to her. While in observation, the patient still complained of pain so another doctor attended to her and stated that she had a urinary tract infection and so prescribed a whole new set of medications. The mother of the patient said since her daughter has been taking the medications, her condition has worsened. When we met the family and the patient at their home, she was visibly weak and complained of blurred vision. The mother of the child, whose name we will withhold as is her request, says the family is simply asking the public to be vigilant of the treatment they are being provided with at the hospital.

Ebanks Remanded To Prison, Investigation Of His Identity Continues
Were Orange Walkenos and Belize City residents living among a murderer? That is the question that many are asking tonight after news broke out that Christian Ebanks could possibly be an Ecuadoran Fugitive that is being sought for the murder of another Ecuadoran National. As we mentioned last night, here in Orange Walk Ebanks is known as JR or Christian Ebanks, the owner of Skywireless located on Queen Victoria Avenue. And that’s all that Orange Walkenos knew that is until last night when reports surfaced that officers of the Gang Suppression Unit could have in custody an Ecuadorian man wanted by Guayas Province Police in Ecuador for the murder of another citizen of that country. Carmelita Perez – Reporting The man officers of the GSU detained provided documents, including immigration documents, which identify him as Christian Ebanks. He was detained after police conducted a search at his Belize City residence located on Teacher Street and found an illegal firearm. But Christian Ebanks looks just like the man on this flyer, identified as Floyd Wendel Ebanks Jurado, who is listed as one of Ecuador’s most wanted fugitives. Ebanks Jurado is accused of the murder of Ecuadoran National Alejandro Martín Teófilo Yagual which occurred on Puna Island. The following video uploaded on You Tube on October 25th 2011 lists the ten most wanted delinquents from Ecuador. Among them is Ebanks Jurado who is said to have killed Teofilo Yagual over a piece of land.

O/W Police Confiscate Over 10lbs Of Weed
Orange Walk Police made a huge weed bust as they confiscated over ten pounds of weed last night. Authorities were on mobile patrol on the Yo Creek Road when they saw two male persons traveling towards Orange Walk on a small motorcycle. The officers signaled the men to stop but they continued driving. This is when officers got suspicious and more so when they saw the male individual seated to the back throw two knapsacks into the bushes. At the sight of this the officers fired two warning shots and only then did the men stop. Police escorted both persons to the location where they had thrown the bags and retrieved it. Upon searching the knapsacks, authorities found suspected cannabis.

More Drugs Taken Off The Streets Of Orange Walk
That was not the only drug bust police made last night. At 8:00pm authorities searched the residence of Georgina Flores located in the Village of San Lazaro in the Orange Walk District. Present at the time of the search were 23 year old Tatiana Novelo, Belizean Domestic, twenty-two year old Wilson Flores, Belizean cane cutter and sixty-five year old Georgina Flores, Belizean Domestic all of San Lazaro Village. The search led to the discovery of a green plastic bag containing 62 small silver foil packets that contained suspected cannabis. All persons were escorted to the Orange Walk Police Station where the suspected cannabis was weighed which amounted to 64.6 grams.

Bowen And Bowen Speaks On The Quality Of Their Product
Yesterday we told you about a possible shortage of products from the powerhouse Bowen and Bowen Limited due to an increase demand for their products. And while we promised you a look into the production today, our cameras were not allowed to film inside due their strict international regulations. We were given a tour of the soft drink production, from start to end. After the tour and getting an understanding of ‘how it works’, we asked Quality Assurance Manager, Gregorio Nah on how they plan to sustain their customer satisfaction since presently, ‘demand exceeds supply’. Gregorio Nah – Quality Assurance Manager, Bowen and Bowen “Every year we put in place machineries that are of the latest technology to ensure the safety of the product we are putting in there, year by year we move ahead by getting the latest technology because when we look at the human factor we are moving from there from that position, because when we have the human factor a lot of things can come in line but with machinery ones we have it calibrated then we ensure that the product we are putting out meets our specs.”

Cola Writes To The PM
While the heat on the displaced Minister of State Elvin Penner has subsided a bit, the pressure is still virtually there to investigate Penner for two offences in the passport Act and Belizean Nationality Act. But while the investigation has been on a standstill, the Citizens organized for Liberty through action COLA unwavering pressure has not ceased. Today, president of the organization Geovanni Brackett wrote to the Prime Minister requesting from him to provide them with the materials and evidence under the Freedom of Information Act. The organization is requesting; (1) The preliminary report provided by the Auditor General on the 21st of March, 2014; (2) the scanned documents produced to the PM by Minister Hulse at his press conference held on the 15th of October, 2013; And (3) any and all other materials and evidence provided to him by any of the authorities that have been carrying out an investigation into the wrongdoings by your former Minister of State, Elvin Penner.

Journalism Courses Is Offered To Students Of Sarteneja Village
The Belize Adubon society has been working with the three fishing communities in the Corozal District: Sarteneja, Chunux and Copper Bank, in educating the residents on the importance marine protected areas. In an effort to keep making sure the message is spread, the Belize Audubon Society is reaching out to the young people in Sarteneja Village in a rather unique way. Dareece Chuc is the Environmental education and communications director at the Society. Dareece Chuc - Environmental education and communications director at the Society “Right now we have a program running called reef protectors and it is for high school age students and it is to exposed them to marine protected areas and conservation and the important role of marine protected areas in conservation for Belize and one of the tools that we are using is teaching them how to make videos and video journalism because they want to give them an opportunity to be able to participate, a lot of times when we do environmental education we tend to talk a lot and we don’t give people an opportunity to get people involve so we felt that the journalism aspect would be a mew skill and something that they could acquire and become more active in speaking out when it comes to the environment.”

Will Impasse Between MOH And PAB Lead To Industrial Action
The standoff between the Ministry of Health and Pharmacists Association of Belize over the appointment of Drug Inspectorate Danini Contreras is at the point of possible industrial action. Vice-president of the Pharmacy Association of Belize, Marisol Melhado, says they are proceeding carefully because they are part of an essential service and are working with the Public Service Union (PSU). Melhado told CTV3 News they will hold on to their demand for Contreras’ exit, insisting that she does not have the qualifications nor experience for her specially-created post. Marisol Melhado – Vice President, Pharmacists Association of Belize “We have issues with it being that the person is not a registered pharmacist nor that the person has such experience to hold such a position as the Director of the Drug Inspectorate Unit. New event has been the fact that the minister of health has publicly said that they had received the letter sent by PSU in giving the 21 days’ notice in terms of industrial action and they have answered saying that the public service needs to outline the dispute to what extent the dispute is about and so forth because clearly this is not a dispute between employee and employer so the public service union will be working on that and we will move on from there.”


Hulse Comments on COLA’s Appeal to the PM
In all this back and forth on what has been dubbed, ‘the Penner investigation’, one organisation that has been adamant in seeing former Minister Penner subjected to the judicial system for his alleged involvement in the issuance of the passport to the incarcerated Korean national, Kim Wong Hong, is the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA). COLA has launched a private prosecution against Penner and is in the process of preparing for its court date on May 29 where disclosure is scheduled to occur…but it is proving somewhat difficult considering that they are saying they are yet to receive any of the documents required from the investigators. As what one may deem, a final resort, COLA wrote the Prime Minister requesting for his intervention in the matter ….. to some it may seem like a logical thing to do but as Minister Hulse explains it, there is nothing that the Prime Minister can do as members of the Executive Branch are not to interfere with the country’s judicial branch.

The Case of the Missing Penner File Unsolved
Tonight there is nothing short of immigration issues to report…..recently, the media has learnt that there may be a case of the missing Penner file as the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal are pointing fingers at each other, in terms of who is in possession of the file. Minister Hulse says he does not understand what the fuss is about. MINISTER GODWIN HULSE “Well, I don’t understand the back and forth at all. Let’s be clear, from day one when the story broke, everybody in the country, by now, knows that we have a copy of a nationality certificate signed by Mr. Penner ; we don’t know where the original is.

Kim Wong Hong’s Passport to Arrive in Belize
In September 2013, the story of a Korean national obtaining a Belize passport while being locked down in a prison in Taiwan led to the uncovering of a series of discrepancies within the Immigration Department as well as the investigation of several persons in the department and the termination of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner. Well, eight months later, officials from Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs are expecting the near arrival of the official passport that was issued to the Korean national, Kim Wong Hong. Minister Hulse gave us the details on the expected delivery of the passport. MINISTER GODWIN HULSE “I do know they have made a request to the ministry for the original passport; that is through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has advised us that the ambassador is coming sometime this month to Belize and will be bringing that original passport. There is an issue of the risk of that passport going awry and therefore they didn’t want to do anything else except to have it couriered.

Cuban National Opts to Be Repatriated to the US
Staying on the spate of immigration issues that authorities are dealing with, we go back to a story of a Cuban national, Raonel Valdez Valhuerdi, who was wanted for a heist in the US and was found on Belize soil back in February at the Guatemala/Belize border. Our interview with the Minister of Immigration and Nationality, Godwin Hulse on May 7, had the minister saying that the fugitive’s fate was in the hands of the Cuban authorities…..but later that day, Love News had confirmed that the Cuban was repatriated to the United States and was booked into the Miami Dade County Jail. Love News asked Hulse, what had changed in that matter. MINISTER GODWIN HULSE “I didn’t say that; I said the protocol said that we contact the embassy for the person and the person has two choices, he returns to the country of his origin or where he chooses to go or of his choice.

Immigration Looks into Ebanks Identity Issue
Yesterday, Love News had spoken to the Head of the Gang Suppression Unit, Superintendent Linden Flowers who enlightened us on the matter of 39-year-old, Christian Ebanks who was arrested and charged following a search and the discovery of a 9mm illegal firearm in his home in the West Landivar area of Belize City on Wednesday afternoon.…..but there is a twist in this story as a photo has surfaced on the internet of someone, named Floyd Ebanks, who is wanted for murder in Ecuador. The fellow wanted in Ecuador bears an uncanny resemblance of Christian Ebanks, a businessman who has made Belize his home for the last few years, working in the political, marketing and business sectors. Today, Love News asked Minister of Immigration and Nationality, Godwin Hulse, who update on the matter. MINISTER GODWIN HULSE “I don’t know about any extradition agreement but what we do know is that we are looking into his identity issue; as you know, he is here in Belize under a different name and has documents under that name and the first thing that has to be established is, and I think they are working on that, whether he is who he says he is; that is the first and most important thing because if his documents are fine, the charge will be what the police had brought for the firearm.

Minister Weighs in On Human Trafficking Ring
The process of acquiring nationality status and even the mere renewal of a Belizean passport has become somewhat tedious over the last few months …but not without reason. Following the immigration scandal that broke out in 2013, Minister of Immigration and Nationality, Godwin Hulse led the way in putting stringent measures in place in order to close the gaps in the system when it comes to obtaining immigration documents and Belizean citizenship…..but very few things are ironclad and this was proven earlier this week when an investigation revealed that a couple had used the birth certificates of deceased persons in order to obtain their Belizean documents. Marleny Castellanos and Alfredo Marcos were both charged on Wednesday and by the following day, a group of eleven persons joined them after an operations carried out on the islands of Caye Caulker and San Pedro by immigration officials led authorities to these eleven persons who were found in possession of illegal nationality certificates, allegedly obtained through a business scheme spearheaded by Castellanos. Hulse weighed in on this investigation.


Minister Mums on missing Rosewood
40,000 square feet of Rosewood, harvested illegally, was discovered on April 14th of this year. No one was around the area at the time and so it was labelled as found property and taken to the Savannah Forest Station in the Toledo District for “safe keeping”. Four weeks later, that...

Orange Walk Businessman Chopped in the Face
An Orange Walk businessman was chopped in the face this morning. Reports are that Dennis Eiley, the owner of Prestige Block Factory in Carmelita Village, was at his place of business sometime around 8:30 this morning. That was when three men arrived at the work site asking to speak...

Shots Fired at Forestry Officer
A 22-year-old Belizean Forestry Officer presently residing in Belize City reported that on Thursday morning, while walking on Antelope Street, he saw a man whom he knows for the past fifteen years, riding a bicycle heading towards Central American Boulevard. He stated that the person stared at him and...

Immigration Ring Widens as Ringleaders Change Pleas
42 year old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos and his common-law wife, 46 year old Marleni Elizabeth Castellanos, reversed their pleas to not guilty on appearing in court today, Friday, for what was to have been their sentencing. However, their troubles are only just beginning, as Immigration authorities have identified them...

COLA Wants PM to Help Them Build Case Against Penner
May 28th, the next court date for COLA and Elvin Penner, draws nearer, and with no lead as to where the missing Elvin Penner files might be, COLA is turning to Prime Minister of Belize for help. Yesterday COLA sent a letter to the PM stating that, “We proceeded...

Union Supports Terminated Gas Turbine Workers
Belize Electricity Limited, still owned by the Government, has been grappling with the issue of four employees which work at the Mile 8 George Price Highway gas turbine facility. It is a key operation needed to power Belize City up after blackouts but the company says it does not...

Delays with Dangriga Market, Costly to Council and Vendors
The Dangriga market was delayed due to alleged corruption at SIF, but all that is behind us now and a new contract was signed with new builders. However, due to the occurrences with SIF, the Dangriga market remains the only municipality where a Belize Infrastructure Development project is still...

Hit and Run Accident Leaves Two Children Injured
Police see the driver and a female companion of a white Jeep vehicle that hit two children riding home from school on bicycle on Thursday evening. According to police, 12 year old Francine Francis and 7 year old Herman Williams, Jr., students of St. Luke Methodist School, were riding home on...

Local Celebrations Held for Teachers Day
After several years of a national celebration of teachers to close out Education Week, a financial dispute between the Ministry of Education and Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) returned Teachers’ Day to a mostly local celebration. The Union could not come up with its expected share of expenses because...


GST goes after The Belize Times for tax returns
The General Sales Tax (GST) department has summoned the Opposition People’s United Party organ, The Belize Times, to court for failure to file GST returns for January and February, 2014. When the matter was called up in the courtroom of Magistrate Dale Cayetano yesterday, it could not be heard, however, because the person named as the manager of The Belize Times, Marion Marsden, is no longer employed at the Belize Times Press. Attorney Kareem Musa, who is representing The Belize Times, told the court that there must have been some kind of miscommunication, because Marsden is no longer working for The Belize Times. In the absence of Marsden, whose name appears on the GST court book, the matter could not be dealt with and was adjourned to today, Thursday. But when the matter was called up this morning, Thursday, the GST prosecutor, Jacqueline Meighan, returned with the same court book, bearing Marsden’s name.

Mother of 4 stabbed 6 times in San Pedro
Lorena Montes, 32, of Swan Street, San Pedro Town, is recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after she was stabbed with a butcher knife six times — three times in her back and three times in the head. One of the stabs reportedly punctured her lung. The incident occurred at about 12:20 yesterday afternoon in San Pedro, in Henry Store, owned by Montes, located at the corner of Swan and Glitter Streets. Present at the time of the stabbing were Montes’ four children, who had come home from school for lunch. Police say that Montes was stabbed by another woman with whom she had been having an ongoing dispute. Montes told police that she had just come back to her store with her children when she was followed by a woman with whom she had had a brief argument, and the woman pulled out a knife and attacked her.

$750,000 for UDP’s Mother’s Day cheer
Earlier this week, the Opposition People’s United Party went on record to condemn a decision taken by the Barrow administration to gift $750,000 of taxpayers’ money to select recipients for Mother’s Day, while leaving out those mothers who live in divisions which are represented by the Opposition PUP. Mother’s Day is observed internationally on the second Sunday in May, and Cabinet had apparently decided that each of the constituents with a ruling party rep would receive a $50,000 allocation for the annual Christian observance. However, it appears from official information we have gleaned from Financial Secretary Joseph Waight that the constituencies represented by Opposition members of Parliament did not receive an allocation from Central Government. “The scope of the program to include Government area representatives only was a decision of the Cabinet,” Waight told us.

Court of Appeal upholds GOB nationalization of BTL, BEL
The Court of Appeal this afternoon handed down what Attorney General Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington described as a “blowout” decision, in which two of three sitting justices upheld the Government’s nationalization of both Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). “It looks like it’s a blowout for Government…” Elrington told the press, in response to the ruling, which Eamon Courtenay, SC, told the press would be swiftly appealed at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The case was heard by Justices Manuel Sosa, Samuel Awich and Douglas Mendez, who ruled against GOB. “One was completely in our favor, one was completely against us, so I think the CCJ will have to have the final decision in this,” Courtenay told the press.

Legal publication deposit: The gray area
Methodist church leader speaks on Gender Policy
The National Heritage Library in Belmopan is one of several public libraries in the country, but it also hosts the National Collection as well as the private collection of Belizean historian Assad Shoman – books he donated before his departure for overseas study. Amandala got a chance to see the collection, to which several Belizeans are adding publications which you may not think could be found at the library. Felene Swaso, librarian at the National Heritage Library in Belmopan, told Amandala that this is called “gray literature.” “Now people traditionally associate books, journals, magazines with the library, but they don’t consider that we collect funeral booklets, that we collect AGM [reports]… that we collect things, even booklets and bookmarks and a lot of other non-traditional formats.

Last Wednesday, May 7, church leaders met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to discuss the Gender Policy and other related issues, and while some believed that it would have been a heated, confrontational session, actually it wasn’t, and by all indications, it was a cordial session. On Friday, those church leaders held a short briefing to inform the media that the Gender Policy discussion was on track and that both parties have agreed to meet again in July. However, there still seemed to be some concern raised by the church leaders over an advertisement in relation to the Gender Policy which the President of Methodist Conference was a part of, and which drew some criticism because the leaders reportedly stated on the record that he was not authorized by the Catholic Church to do that, because that is not the position of the Church.

Revised Gender Policy 2013 review due in July
The Revised Gender Policy 2013—the controversial document which the church community has opposed on the grounds that its very language introduces “sexual orientation” clauses which run contrary to established spiritual norms in Belize and provisions which some fear could open the door for minors to seek abortions without parental consent—will be the subject of a review in July, by a steering committee to be headed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches has announced. The Belize Association of Evangelical Churches has said that prayer and dialogue are the more effective means of getting through to the Government. They met with Barrow on Wednesday, May 7, over comments attributed to National Women’s Commission executive director, Ann-Marie Williams, suggesting that the Government is moving ahead with the new gender policy—despite calls from the church community for a revision.

Convicted cop spared jail time, fined $2,400 for three counts of theft
“You have shown some level of remorse but your action amounted to an abuse of power…,” Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith told interdicted Police Constable Brandon Hertular, 27, on Tuesday at his sentencing hearing, before imposing fines amounting to $2,400 for his conviction on Monday on theft charges. After a night in police lockdown, Hertular was brought back to the Magistrate’s Court in the police prison van for sentencing on Tuesday. The Chief Magistrate imposed the fines after she heard a submission from Hertular’s attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, and mitigation pleas from members of Hertular’s family. In his submission, Sylvestre told the court that his client was convicted only on the theft charges, because the prosecutor did not pursue the burglary charge with which he was initially charged.

Rural Police Officer critical after motorcycle accident
A police officer from Double Head Cabbage Village in the rural Belize District is listed to be in a critical but stable condition after he was involved in a traffic accident that occurred over the past weekend. Today, police reported that last Saturday, May 10, sometime after 11:00 p.m., Jahman Flowers, 23, a police officer of a Double Head Cabbage address, was riding a red Meilun motorcycle from Double Head Cabbage to Bermudian Landing when he lost control and ran off the road, subsequently suffering head and body injuries. When police visited the scene at about 11:30 p.m., they reportedly saw Flowers lying motionless on the side of the road with a cut wound to the right side of his forehead and his damaged motorcycle about seven feet away from him.

Saint Margaret girl, 13, missing
Daisy Gibbas, a 13-year-old girl of Saint Margaret village on the Hummingbird Highway in the Stann Creek District, has been reported missing after she left home on Saturday, May 10, at about 2:30 that afternoon. Her mother reported that at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, she left home, leaving her two daughters at home. On her return, her eldest daughter told her that the younger daughter, Daisy, 13, left the house without indicating where she was going, and that up to that time, she had not yet returned. Daisy Gibbas is of brown complexion, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, has short brown hair, weighs about 110 pounds and has a scar just in front of her forehead, near her hairline.

Degree but no temperature!
Dear Editor, “Education empowers a nation,” boasts the University of Belize. However, it appears that this truism has been rejected by an increasing number of Belizeans. Incredibly, people with degrees are now being looked upon with scorn, the phrase “degree but no temperature” giving expression to that contempt. Just about every morning the talk shows are swamped by Belizeans making the case about common sense and deploring “deh one with degree.” Common sense has its place, but surely it cannot take the place of a formal education. Common sense tells us that a plane weighing 100,000 pounds cannot fly, but science makes it fly. Common sense also tells us that a ship weighing 50,000 tons cannot float, but science makes it float.

Attempted robbery at the Bowen and Bowen depot in San Pedro
Vigilant security guards averted an armed robbery at the Bowen and Bowen depot on Blake Street in San Pedro at about 1:30 this afternoon. The security guards stepped forward when a thief entered the office and demanded money, but when he saw the guards, the thief fired about nine shots and ran out of the building empty-handed. All who were nearby scrambled for cover, and no one was hit. The glass door of the office was, however, damaged by the bullets. Police have detained a man in connection with the incident. Assistant Superintendent Luis Castellanos, the Commander of San Pedro Police, said that when the suspect was taken into custody, he was found with cannabis, and he was charged with drug trafficking. He will be taken to the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court on Monday on the drug charges, and should be remanded, while they conclude their investigation into the attempted robbery of the depot.

Health Minister: “I have full confidence in CEO Dr. Peter Allen.”
Ministry of Health officials, particularly Chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Allen, have been under fire for the past few weeks from entities such as the Pharmacists Association of Belize (PAB), and although the Ministry called a press conference last Friday, May 9, to address serious allegations being made against him (Allen), not much progress was made and today, at another event being hosted by the Ministry, the media cornered Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin, who responded to some of the accusations and maintained that, despite the unpleasant scrutiny, he still has the utmost confidence in CEO Allen. The Minister first replied to e-mails provided to the media which indicated that sometime last June, whilst in a board meeting with the Ministry’s top brass, he (Marin) reportedly informed the board members that he would no longer continue to hold the requisite exams which pharmacists would regularly sit in order to get licensed and registered.

The Reporter

Penner’s file disappears! COLA writes PM requesting evidence against Penner
The Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), using the Freedom of Information Act, has written to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, requesting whatever evidence, reports and or material that his office has received regarding the investigation into the passport scandal involving former Minister of State Elvin Penner. The letter, dated May 14, 2014, also reminds Barrow that the laws of Belize provide for “the summoning of witnesses to provide materials relevant to a trial at the summary level”, and COLA expressed the hope it will not have to take that approach at the next court hearing on May 29. The letter signed by Geovanni Brackett, president of COLA, requests in particular a preliminary report that the Auditor General delivered on March, 21, 2014.

GOB wins back BTL! Next move : CCJ!
The Government of Belize was right to acquire Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited, the Court of Appeal affirmed Thursday afternoon. A majority of the appellate court’s members, with the exception of Justice Douglas Mendes, held that the government’s acquisitions of the utility companies in July 2011, buttressed by various Acts of Parliament and statutory instruments, was valid and constitutional. Therefore, as it relates to compensation to the former owners of the utility companies – the BTL Employees’ Trust, British Caribbean Bank and Fortis Energy International (Belize) – it would appear that the value of the properties should only be calculated up to July of 2011.

Budna gets 30 years more
Joseph Budna, 33, the Belizean who last year received a 25-year jail sentence for kidnapping an American boy for ransom, has received an additional 30 years for a similar offense. Prensa Libre reported this week that on Tuesday, a criminal court in Zacapa, a city in eastern Guatemala, sentenced Budna to 30 years in prison for kidnapping a man and placed a ransom of Q1 million. After negotiations, the family paid Q40 thousand, and Budna released the victim in Chiquimula. Budna, who escaped two police guards on April 21 while pretending to need medical attention, was recaptured three days later in Chiquimula as he tried to leave Guatemala. The two guards are now under investigation.

Felix Brothers get Out -of -Jail card
Brothers, Maurice, 30, and Emory Felix, 27, are expected to soon be released from prison, as Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal has indicated that she will not pursue another prosecution against the men. A jury of eight men and four women were unable to reach a verdict in the Corozal Town Supreme Court, where they began deliberations at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday after Justice Troadio Gonzalez summed up the case on Tuesday afternoon. They emerged with the news six hours later. The brothers were accused of killing mechanic Mitchum Heredia, 29, at his T-Street residence on April 10, 2006. But two previous trials – one in October 2007 and another four years later – produced differing verdicts. A 12-member jury sitting before Justice Adolph Lucas found them guilty, but the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial after finding that Justice Lucas misdirected the jury on dock identification.

Guat couple pleads guilty to using false immigration documents
A Guatemalan couple who was living and working in Belize legally was remanded to prison until tomorrow, Friday, when Magistrate Dale Cayetano will determine what sentence to impose after the couple pleaded guilty to using various Belizean identification documents which they were not legally entitled to use. The couple used the identities of deceased Belizeans to obtain citizenship to live and work in Belize. This afternoon, immigration officers who had conducted a sweep on Caye Caulker turned up at court with eight more persons they are accusing of being in Belize with fraudulent documents. But the accused persons could not be arraigned, because there was no magistrate available to read the charges to them.

Budna gets 30 more years
The Guatemalan press is reporting that Joseph Budna, 33, the Belizean recently recaptured by Guatemalan authorities after he escaped the custody of two guards at a hospital in Zacapa, Guatemala, in April, has been handed an additional sentence of 30 years on another allegation of kidnapping and extortion. Prensa Libre reports that Budna was sentenced today, Tuesday, by El Tribunal de Sentencia Penal de Zacapa, to 30 years for the kidnapping of a victim for which a demand of a million quetzals (equivalent to BZ$258,784.67) was made, but the report said that after negotiations, the family paid 40,000 quetzales (equivalent to BZ$10,351.39).

Convict Denfield Lemoth adds 2 more years to his prison time
A Belize City man who is serving a 12-year sentence in prison, received two more years of jail time when he pleaded guilty to one count of theft which he reportedly committed a year ago. Denfield Lemoth, who had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge, changed his plea to guilty, when he appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano today, after waiting for more than a year for his day in court. Lemoth has been accused of stealing a wallet from Errol Belisle. The incident occurred on April 13, 2013, while Belisle was making a purchase at a Chinese shop on Racoon Street.

Retired US judge, Carlos Moreno, to head US mission in Belize
Retired US judge, Carlos Moreno, who is seen in some circles as an LGBT rights proponent, received the unanimous support of the US Senate yesterday, Wednesday, May 14, for his nomination by US President Barack Obama as the next US Ambassador to Belize. Moreno would replace former US Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, who demitted office in late 2013. Since Thummalapally’s departure, the US Mission in Belize has been headed by Chargé d’Affaires, Margaret Hawthorne. Emilia Adams, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Belize, told Amandala today that they do not yet know when Moreno will arrive in Belize. She said that he should be here soon after he is through with his appointments and briefings in Washington, DC, so he should be here by the summer.

Major passport audit being finalized
Amandala has received information that a major audit exercise, probing into the issuance of Belizean passports by the Immigration Department, is nearing conclusion, and the full report should be concluded within a few weeks. There is no disclosure as yet on the findings of the comprehensive audit, which we understand came after irregularities were uncovered in the issuance of Belizean visas—for which a separate audit is being prepared. What sparked the audit was a report that an officer from the Immigration Department was being reprimanded after allegations that some visas had gone missing as far back as 2012, although the matter came up for investigation in 2013.

Big fight at Libertad leaves one chopped in the head
Giovanni Henry Borland, 23, of Western Pines, Mile 8, George Price Highway, Belize District, is clinging to life in the intensive care unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) after suffering a chop wound to the head with a machete. The man who allegedly chopped him, Joseph West, was taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court, where he appeared in front of Magistrate Hurl Hamilton, yesterday, Tuesday, and was charged with attempted murder, grievous harm, dangerous harm, and aggravated assault. He has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison until July 21.

COLA writes PM Barrow
Dear Sir, As you may be aware, on the 28th of February, 2014, COLA instituted a private prosecution against former Minister of State responsible for Immigration and Nationality, Elvin Penner, for two offences under the Passports Act and the Belizean Nationality Act respectively. We proceeded with this action as recommended by you on the 17th of February, 2014, after action was taken out against the Commissioner of Police for a writ of mandamus to execute his functions as the Senior Officer in charge of our Police Department to investigate the actions of Elvin Penner. Since then, the Supreme Court has issued the writ of mandamus against the Commissioner of Police, and despite repeated requests utilizing the Freedom of Information Act (as suggested by you) to obtain the investigative file, the Commissioner and the Auditor General have utterly refused to comply with our requests. Meanwhile, the DPP has been unable to provide the information requested due to certain circumstances.

Hundreds of education stakeholders look at “raising the bar”
Hundreds of education stakeholders are gathering at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City on Tuesday and Wednesday this week for the Second Biennial Teacher Education Conference, as a part of Education Showcase 2014. Professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies, Errol Miller, a highly respected academic of Jamaica, was the keynote speaker at the opening of the event on Tuesday morning. Miller pointed to statistics which indicate that the level of professional training in Belize has only increased modestly at the primary level over the last ten years—from 52.1 to 56.4%. Speaking with Amandala after the opening, Education Minister Patrick Faber said the conference is being held “merely to encourage the stakeholders, to give them that boost in the arm, to encourage them to press forward.”

Teachers’ Day goes local; national plans aborted
The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) has issued a statement rebutting suggestions that the National Teachers Day rally which was to have been held in Benque this Friday fell through because of spite on the part of the BNTU, which wrote the Ministry saying that it was unable to come up with the 30% contribution requested towards the expenses. Minister of Education Patrick Faber told the media on Tuesday that the BNTU had given a contribution of $24,000 in 2009, and the Ministry thought it reasonable to expect a similar contribution towards the $116,000 budget — most of which is for transportation to move teachers to the far west location, he said. Faber told us that the BNTU had informed the ministry that it could only afford $10,000, which, he said, is not the kind of contribution, they believe, is necessary in order to pull off the national day.

FFB President’s Cup
Four games, 1 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday, were played over the weekend in Week 2 of the inaugural FFB President’s Cup tournament. In the only game on Saturday, May 10, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, Sagitun bombed Pomona United, 5-0, with goals from Ashley Torres (7’ & 25’), Dillon Torres (29’), Ernie Whyte (43’) and Myron Cadle (90+’). On Sunday, at the Louisiana Field in Orange Walk, it was Progresso FC, 5-3, over Belize District Stars. Progresso was credited with goals from Hugo Castillo (46’), Gabriel Perez (59’ & 70’) and Alexander Diaz (85’), along with an own goal by Belize District’s Jaron Myvette; while the 3 goals for Belize District Stars came from Brian Martinez (33’), David McCaulay, Jr. (73’) and Dalton Cayetano (72’). Meanwhile, at the Toledo Union Field in Punta Gorda, Roaring Creek United dropped Estrellas FC, 5-1, with goals from Michael Lewis (34’ PK), Ricky Tamai (59’, 83’ & 85’) and Alden Coleman (80’); while Evan Mariano (37’ PK) got the only goal for Estrellas. And at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, it was San Antonio FC, 1-nil, over Benque D.C. United, courtesy of a goal by Darnell Mossiah (19’ PK).

Cricket corner
My deepest sympathy to the Hyde Family on the tragic loss of their loved one, Evan Garnett, Jr. May you find comfort in God’s grace. These are the results of the games played over the weekend: On Saturday, May 10, at Isabella Bank, Isabella Uprising was all out for 126 runs; but that score was not enough, as Sunrise racked up 127 runs with 3 wickets to spare for the victory. For Uprising, John Madrid scored 28 runs, and Norman Pook and Dwayne Hendy took 2 wickets each; while for Sunrise, Percival Joseph scored 27, and Edison Parks took 4 wickets. Meanwhile, at Lords Bank, Brilliant’s score of 137 runs was enough to defeat Medicos, who were 39 all out. For Brilliant, Calbert Reynolds scored 46 runs, and Andrew Banner took 6 wickets; while Barath scored 7 for Medicos and Ashwin took 6 wickets. At St. Paul’s Bank, it was Bright Star, 75-69, over Excelsior; and at Rancho Dolores, Western Eagles defeated Police. No other results were sent it.

2014 lunchtime dangers for Belize’s children
Dear Editor, The time has come to rethink our education practices and take Belize’s children off these killing streets at lunchtime. The Ministry of Education, teachers, community activists and unions should join hands in leading the way forward on this initiative. It is traumatizing to see seven and eight-year-old children dodging between speeding cars, weaving themselves through busy streets, riding on handlebars or motorcycles, and running in front of large buses or huge trucks to make their way home for a midday meal. Added to this danger are uncaring drivers who see Belize’s streets only as a roadway to get their passengers or goods from Point A to Point B, no matter who or what is in their path.

P. M.: Study the example of Uruguay’s Mujica
First of all I would like to thank you for publishing my previous article in the Amandala issue #2791 dated Sunday April 6th, 2014. I was motivated to write again by all the corruption news I watch on headlines every single day. It is absolutely disappointing that as a nation which upholds democracy, we are faced with the acts of corruption on a daily basis. Via this newspaper I would like to challenge the Prime Minister and his Ministers to follow the governance of the President of Uruguay. President Jose Mujica, whose yearly salary is around $162,000 USD, donates 90% towards charity. The challenge is for the Prime Minister and his Ministers to do the same. Most of the Ministers are wealthy lawyers, wealthy businessmen, and economically well positioned individuals. They don’t need the salaries they are allocated from the public purse. After all they vowed to provide the best service for the people of this country.

2 KHMH board members resign weeks apart
Amandala has received confirmation of the resignation of two members of the Board of Directors of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) – albeit weeks apart. In March of this year, Mrs. Milagro Garel reportedly tendered her resignation, while Mrs. Maude Sylvester reportedly departed last Thursday, May 8. Yesterday, the chairperson of the KHMH Board of Directors, Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, told us that administering a board is sometimes challenging and oftentimes, there are disagreements between members; she cited, however, that those were not the reasons for the abrupt resignations.

No Limit Soldiers
The Belize City Smart No Limit Soldiers went into the game against the Belmopan Point Bandits last Thursday, May 8, feeling a bit down on themselves, after having lost to the Cayo Western Ballaz in Belize City the week prior. The loss to the Western Ballaz ultimately ended their hopes of getting the number 2 seed in the playoffs and home court advantage. But, while the Soldiers were bummed out about losing home court in the playoffs, the Point Bandits were fighting to get to the postseason. The Soldiers went into the game last Thursday with a record of 7-4, while the Point Bandits had a record of 6-6, which left them just out of the 4th seed behind the Dangriga Culture Warriors, who had a 7-6 record on the season. This game against the Point Bandits in Belmopan was a far cry from what we are accustomed to seeing from the Belize City Smart No Limit Soldiers. The City boys shot 1 for 10 from behind the 3-point line, a decent 14 for 25 from the charity stripe, but only made good on 21 of their 61 two-point shot attempts. When it was all said and done, the home team, Belmopan Point Bandits, got the 71-59 victory over Belize City Smart No Limit.

3 people still missing
Three persons, reported missing, have not yet been found. They are Hilmar Cal, 15, of Libertad, who went missing on Thursday, January 31; Mamerto Castillo, 87, missing since February 13; and Conrad Jones, 64, a retired inspector of police, missing since September 13, 2012. Hilmar Ical left home in Libertad to sell homemade bread in Corozal Town, and has failed to return home since, and no one seems to know where he is. Ical is described as being of Mestizo descent, with brown complexion; he is about 5 feet tall, of medium built and weighs about 85 pounds. Ical is now missing for 27 days. Marmerto Castillo, also known as “Don Mito,” of Yo Creek Village, Orange Walk, was last seen 14 days ago by his family, at about 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, when he left home to go for firewood in San Lazaro Village.

The Police Department has a youth program where it looks for youths in the community doing good and making a difference as role models and publicly recognizes them for it. So from time to time we hear the names of these young men and women in the media and we feel good to know that it is not for bad news, but rather good news. However the irony of the situation is that the very department that honors them does not follow their own example, because they do not choose to do the right thing. So it’s one thing for them to call out on youths to do the right thing and another for them by example to actually do the right thing. My recent encounters with several situations involving police have been very worrisome and point to a culture of them believing because they have the power over your freedom, they hold a big stick over you. This behavior is also seen in the conduct of the Commissioner of Police, whom I had always thought was a reasonable, above-board man, but whose public responses on several issues have left me re-assessing my position.

Ideas and Opinions – A NEW JURISPRUDENCE
How would you like to live in a country where there was peace and order, very little crime, especially murder, and citizens could leave their houses open at night and no one would invade it? There was such a country in Central America. It was Guatemala under President Jacobo Arbenz. They said he was a communist. He may have subscribed to communist principles, but what he was, was a nationalist. The people who live in a democracy, where decisions reflect the will of the people, can have the kind of country that they want, but first they have to reconstruct their criminal justice system to conform to a new jurisprudence. Now let us take a cursory look at our criminal justice system with regard to only one crime: murder. We are averaging over one hundred murders per annum during the past three years. Around fifty are tried for this crime. Five were convicted; the rest walked free.

Patrick Jones

Top Five Things to Do In Merida
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Merida, the capital of the Mexican State of Yucatan for a week vacation. It was my first time in Merida and I was looking forward to it since one of the things I promised myself to do more often this year is to disconnect from my workplace every 90 days as it not only boosts productivity but it also improves job performance and health according to Tony Swartz, in his book “The Power of Full Engagement”. I took a direct flight from Belize City with Tropic Air (Yes Tropic Air is now flying to Merida) and 2 hours later I arrived in the colonial city of Merida which is the largest metropolis in the Yucatan State and is considered the cultural and financial capital of the region. For those who do not know, Merida was founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo, a Spanish Conquistador and got its name after the town of Merida in Extremadura, Spain. Merida is also known as the White City; however the origin of this moniker is not clear. Some of the explanations include the common color of the old buildings which are painted and decorated with “cal” or the fact that the residents keep the city particularly clean.

Toledo village leaders to meet to discuss drilling for oil in the south
The Toledo District Association of Village Councils will hold a consultation meeting tomorrow, Saturday, May 17. The meeting, scheduled to start at 9 o’clock in the morning, will be held at the Community Center in Elridgeville village. According to the president of Toledo DAVCO, the purpose of the meeting is to canvass the views of village leaders of Toledo on the issue of drilling for oil in the Sarstoon Temash National Park. In a ruling handed down last month by Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana, the Government of Belize was asked to consult with the Maya people of the buffer communities on the issue of oil exploration so far as the granting of permits to conduct such exercises is concerned.

Orange Walk businessman chopped and robbed
An Orange Walk businessman was chopped in the face – between the eyes and the nose – this morning during an attack at his workplace. The victim has been identified as Dennis Eiley who owns the Prestige Block Factory in Carmelita Village. The attack reportedly happened around 8:30 am. According to reports, three men arrived at the Prestige Block Factory asking to speak with the owner. Reports are that when Eiley went outside, the three men attacked him, chopping him multiple times.

Junior College students complete advertising campaign about cancer
Students of the Business program at the Sacred Heart College Junior College have successfully completed a marketing campaign focusing on Cancer. The students, working in groups did extensive research on five different types of cancers in order to formulate and carry out a successful media campaign. On Thursday afternoon, each of the groups presented their completed campaign, including banners and posters to the San Ignacio Cancer Society. The handing over was done at the Sacred Heard College Junior College conference room.

Local celebrations held for Teachers Day
After several years of a national celebration of teachers to close out Education Week, a financial dispute between the Ministry of Education and Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) returned Teachers’ Day to a mostly local celebration. The Union could not come up with its expected share of expenses because of excessive spending over the course of this year. But they insist that they were not trying to spite the Ministry, as alleged earlier this week by Minister Patrick Faber. Today in Belize City, the Belize District Branch of the Union and the Belize District Education Centre hosted activities at the BTL Park.

Bowen and Bowen says product shortage due to plant upgrade
Coke is it!” goes the old slogan, and some will settle for nothing less. For those looking for a harder edge, you can’t go wrong with “The Beer of Belize,” Belikin. But neither is available, at least not in the usual quantities, in the classic glass bottle and its many variations. Bowen and Bowen Limited, which acquired the franchise decades ago and is now Belize’s largest employer, says that recent upgrades to their plant in Ladyville have led to a “slowdown in production.” But Christelle Wilson, the legal counsel and public relations officer for Bowen and Bowen, says there’s really no shortage as such: only glass versions of Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Belikin, Guinness and Lighthouse are affected as well as Crystal Water.

Union supports terminated gas turbine workers
Belize Electricity Limited, still owned by the Government, has been grappling with the issue of four employees which work at the Mile 8 George Price Highway gas turbine facility. It is a key operation needed to power Belize City up after blackouts but the company says it does not need manual assistance to run. The Union disagrees, but the four workers are expected to be sent home as of tomorrow, Saturday, May 17. Today the Belize Energy Workers Union (BEWU) led employees in a show of solidarity outside the company’s Philip Goldson Highway offices. Union President Henry Balan says the workers were not treated fairly, as the Union was slated to meet with the Board of Directors ten days from now.

Hit and run accident leaves two children injured
Police seek the driver and a female companion of a white Jeep vehicle that hit two children riding home from school on bicycle on Thursday evening. According to police 12 year old Francine Francis and 7 year old Herman Williams, Jr., students of St. Luke Methodist School, were riding home on Mahogany Street when near the junction with Western Avenue the vehicle hit them and then flew by without rendering aid. Their grandmother, Wilma Thompson-Whylie, said she received the news shortly after the incident, while in the area of the hospital. She says she has yet to hear from the driver of the vehicle and is disappointed that they did not at least render aid.

Immigration ring widens as ringleaders plead innocent
42 year old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos and his common-law wife, 46 year old Marleni Elizabeth Castellanos, reversed their pleas to not guilty on appearing in court today, Friday, for what was to have been their sentencing. However, their troubles are only just beginning, as Immigration authorities have identified them as the center of a ring of Immigration document fraud – charging up to $2,000 to obtain Belizean passports, nationality certificates, birth certificates and other attendant documents using the identities of dead or incapacitated Belizeans. Marleni Castellanos has been additionally charged with sixteen counts of aiding a person to use a document to which they were not entitled. She pleaded not guilty to these additional charges.

Film screened for Europe Day
Earlier this year the film “Songs of Redemption,” a documentary showcasing the day to day experiences and challenges of the inmates in a Jamaican prison, the circumstances that brought them in conflict with the law and the hope that the rehabilitation programme funded by the EU through its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) nurtures among these inmates, was screened at Belize’s Central Prison. As part of Europe Day celebrations, this weekend at the Ramada Princess Cinema there will be wide screenings for the general public. Her Excellency Ambassador Paola Amadei says the movie was well received at the Prison and hopes that perhaps a local television company may make contact with the producers and directors of the film to buy it for distribution locally. The film was shown this afternoon and will be shown again tomorrow both at the Cinema and at the YWCA on St. Thomas Street.

Europe implements visa information scheme
The European Union’s members enjoy free travel between their states in accordance with the Schengen Convention and Agreement, but there are issues with border security. So the EU has decided to implement the Visa Information Scheme (VIS), which features protocols designed to maintain security against undesirable elements. It has now been implemented in this region and Belize is one of the countries who, for now, still require visas for travel to any EU state with exceptions. Ambassador Paola Amadei says that may soon change, however. Belize is expected to work out an agreement that will allow our citizens to travel to the EU and between EU states visa-free.

Truck overturns in Louisville village, Corozal
A truck laden with bags of cement overturned tonight on the Phillip Goldson Highway in in Louisville village, Corozal. According to reports from the scene, the driver of the truck may have been injured in the incident. The highway was blocked for a short time due to the accident. More information will be posted as they become available.

The Belize Times

Where is the Penner file? – DPP & ComPol playing “pass the hot potato” with criminal evidence
With only 13 days to go before corrupt UDP area representative Elvin Penner returns to the Belmopan Magistrates Court to answer to serious criminal charges involving the illegal giveaway of Belizean passport and nationality to a South Korean national Kim Won Hong, key state functionaries seem to be engaged in a game of “pass the hot potato” with the evidence file, in a clear attempt to hinder the prosecution. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, who refused to investigate Penner’s crime until a Supreme Court order requested by the Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca forced him to, seems to be doing his best to obstruct any form of action against the corrupt UDP politician. He had told the Court back in March that he had used his discretion NOT to investigate Penner. The Court ruled that the ComPol’s decision was irrational, unreasonable and unlawful.

Editorial: A Sinking Ship
For the period 1998-2008 there was a massive influx of foreign dollars that entered the Belizean economy via Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Investor confidence in Belize was high. Countries were booming and Belize prospered for those ten years. A website report by the Caribbean Media Corporation news agency of March 18 2006 stated, “The Belize government Friday March 17 presented a 1.2bn-BZE (Belizean dollar) tax-free budget to parliament on the basis that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would grow in real terms by 3 percent in 2006”. The state of Belize’s economy in those times, marked in history, is important and noteworthy for comparison and analysis by fledgling economists and researching students today. This was under a People’s United Party (PUP) administration and also before any oil profits entered the government’s coffers. While oil in commercial quantities was discovered under the PUP Government in 2005, it was until about 2007/2008 that it began impacting Government’s revenues. This is because the infrastructure for extraction took some time to put in place. Despite all the Prime Minister’s recent chest beating about his “billion dollar” budget, the PUP’s 2006/2007 budget was far more prosperous and equitable. Barrow’s budget for 2014/2015 gives the perception that the UDP Government has the country booming, but Belizeans know the real picture. In fact, the statistics on poverty and unemployment tell a different story. The UDP’s budget is actually stuffed with millions of dollars in projected revenue from the oil sector. Without those oil revenues, the 2014/2015 budget would shrink down drastically, with figures that pale to compare to the period when the PUP had the economy working.

Moen Stars & Jaguars 5-Barrel Veteran’s table tennis championships
The Moen Stars won their 17th Belize City volleyball championship while the Jaguars men repeat as Belize City champs in the Belize District Volleyball Association’s championship finals at the Belize Elementary Auditorium last Saturday night. The Lady Jaguars took the finals series to a Game 3 by winning Game 2 in 3 sets: 25-23, 25-19 and 25-15 against the Moen Stars who had won Game 1. They also looked to take Game 3, winning the first 2 sets: 25-18 and 25-20. Then the Stars got going, and Shelmadine Cacho, Nelissa Ramirez, Leandra Betson, Sherika Burton and Analisa Habet hammered home kills on balls set by Krystal Bevans to win the next 3 sets: 25-21, 25-16 and 15-10.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow giving his ‘various topic’ interviews to the media. The interview I focus on here is the one in which Channel 7 quizzed him about the money spent on the now infamous spread in Harper’s Bazaar Interiors. When the reporter asked him whether the Government of Belize (taxpayers’ money) had footed the bill, the Prime Minister replied “I think the Belize Tourism Board found the money which was not exactly a princely sum.” He went on to say “It was entirely worked out by the Belize Tourism Board.” The question was then asked “And the princely sum is?” (Notice that Channel 7 flipped the script on the Prime Minister and jumped to their own conclusion that it was indeed a princely sum!) Here is the Prime Minister’s reply: “I am not sure. I think I may have heard fifty thousand or thirty thousand. I am not sure.”

REFLECTIONS ON THE PUBLIC SQUARE: Belize: Getting Poorer under the UDP
The strong, dynamic, caring and brilliant women of the PUP held a Press Brief at Independence Hall on Tuesday of this week to highlight the many acts of corruption, abuse, nepotism, and waste taking place in Belize under this UDP Government. In examining these acts, we must appreciate the economic context in which they are taking place. With 0.7% growth recorded in 2013, the Belizean economy is effectively stagnant. While the world economy is bouncing back, Belize is still in an economic malaise and falling further and further behind the rest of the world. Since 2009, the world economy has grown 5.2%, 3.9%, 3.2% and 3.0% respectively. The emerging and developing economies have grown 7.5%, 6.3%, 5.0% and 4.7% respectively. Notably, advanced economies have grown 3.0%, 1.7%, 1.4%, and 1.3% in each of the respective years since 2009.

Degree but no temperature!
Dear Editor, “Education empowers a nation” boasts the University of Belize. However, it appears that this truism has been rejected by an increasing number of Belizeans. Incredibly, people with degrees are now being looked upon with scorn. The phrase “degree but no temperature” giving expression to that contempt. Just about every morning the talk shows are swamped by Belizeans making the case about common sense and deploring “deh one with degree”. Common sense has its place but surely it cannot take the place of a formal education. Common sense tells us that a plane weighing 100,000 pounds cannot fly but science makes it does. Common sense also tells us that a ship weighting 50,000 tons cannot float but science makes it does.

COLA to PM: Don’t force us to subpoena you!
Dear Sir, As you may be aware, on the 28th of February, 2014, COLA instituted a private prosecution against former Minister of State responsible for Immigration and Nationality, Elvin Penner, for two offences under the Passports Act and the Belizean Nationality Act respectively. We proceeded with this action as recommended by you on the 17th of February, 2014, after action was taken out against the Commissioner of Police for a writ of mandamus to execute his functions as the Senior Officer in charge of our Police Department to investigate the actions of Elvin Penner. Since then, the Supreme Court has issued the writ of mandamus against the Commissioner of Police, and despite repeated requests utilizing the Freedom of Information Act (as suggested by you) to obtain the investigative file, the Commissioner and the Auditor General have utterly refused to comply with our requests. Meanwhile, the DPP has been unable to provide the information requested due to certain circumstances.

Citizen Kim passport to be returned to Belize
The infamous “Citizen Kim passport” which is key evidence to the criminal case against disgraced UDP area representative Elvin Penner will reportedly be returned to Belize sometime this month. This is eight months after the scandal broke that Penner had personally assisted with the facilitation of the passport to South Korean national Kim Won Hong, who was in a Taiwan prison, awaiting extradition in relation to a major embezzlement scheme. The passport was discovered when Kim, in an attempt to escape extradition, claimed he had Belizean citizenship. Taiwan officials launched an immediate investigation which eventually led to the Belize Immigration Department, Elvin Penner and other actors.

We the women of the People’s United Party continue to voice our concern about the lack of accounting on spending of taxpayers’ money on the Women’s Rally held in March and also on the spending of Belize Tourism Board, which is taxpayers’ money, on Ms. Kim Simplis Barrow’s spread in Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Magazine. We believe that these activities coming under her office as Special Envoy of Women and Children do nothing about the serious situation of women and children of Belize and in fact demonstrate only that the Special Envoy is greatly detached from the harsh reality that most women in Belize are suffering.

$366,468 Stolen from Southern Regional Hospital – Auditor General Blames CEO!!
A leaked 23-page report by the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley has concluded that poor financial control and a total lack of oversight by the embattled Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, Peter Allen, allowed the misappropriation of almost $400,000 at the Southern Regional Hospital. The Auditor General, who was called to investigate reports of missing funds at the hospital seven months ago when the Ministry seemed to have suddenly remembered its obligations and then “found” something fishy going on, has exposed a major embezzlement scheme involving the stealing of taxpayers’ money.


Not freezing yet and our all you can eat gluttony
So far so good we are not freezing yet which is surprising after being spoiled by tropical weather the last 8 years. Yesterday morning we took the dogs for a nice nature walk at the conservation park across from our friends house. It was nice to see that a good chunk of land was untouched by the concrete jungle. We ended up going on a short shopping trip before dinner, Monique wanted to bring me to the mall where my mom used to have a cosmetics shop and to new Asian grocery store called Oceans so I could restock on more iced coffee. We got mall head fast and were overwhelmed by choices so other than a sim chip for Paul’s phone and a phone case for mine we did not bother with anything else. At Oceans I was in heaven and told everyone they could lock me up there for 24h and I would eat my way around the store.

Moonlight, Fine Wines and Champagne Draw A Crowd to the Grand Re-Opening of Aji Tapas Restaurant
About a week ago, I received an invitation to a party from the Karl H. Menzie’s company – a large distributor in Belize of everything from Heinekin to…expensive champagne. They were presenting a line of American wines and another line of uber-high end bubbly at the always lovely Aji Restaurant. Located about 2 miles north bridge, Aji has always been known for it’s delicious tapas (especially the bacon wrapped dates) and beautiful BEAUTIFUL beach dining. This year, the property and the restaurant were purchased by new owners, Linda and Tony. Tony is a partner in a high end catering firm in Washington DC but his love of food and Belize and the search for a better lifestyle led him to Ambergris Caye and Aji Tapa Restaurant. Linda just recently has joined him.

New US Ambassador to Belize: Carlos Moreno
Prior to serving on California’s highest court, Mr Moreno had been appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by then President Bill Clinton. He has also served in California on the Los Angeles Superior Court, and the Compton Municipal Court. As for his personal history, Mr Moreno is the son of a Mexican immigrant mother who arrived in the US “with few skills and no resources after the death of his father”. Spanish was the first language at home, and he was the first member of his family to continue his education past high school. After high school Mr Moreno went on to graduate from Yale University in 1970, and then from the prestigious Stanford law school in 1975. From there he became the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles. From there his impressive career progressed to California Supreme Court Judge.

International Sources

Cruise ship conventions will take Tolkien fans to Belize, Bruges
Trilo3y Voyages says it is planning new conventions for avid J.R.R Tolkien fans aboard cruise ships bound for Belize, Bermuda, Bruges, Cozumel, Paris and Sydney. The events are expected to offer aficionados of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion novels and movies exclusive access to cast members, directors, producers, cosplayers, movie marathons and workshops. A Caribbean cruise is planned for Dec. 6-11, while the Sydney voyage is set for Jan. 21-25.

Belizean book gets international recognition
Written by Belizean authors Kim Simplis Barrow and Starla Bradley, “My Body is Precious” has received an Honorable Mention in the category “Best Publication” of the ALAS-IDB Early Childhood Awards. These Awards are presented by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the ALAS Foundation to recognize the commitment of individuals and organizations working in early childhood development in Latin America and the Caribbean. “My Body is Precious” provides a basis for talking to children about sexual abuse. Former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kinnevik executive chairman Cristina Stenbeck, ALAS Foundation president Alejandro Santo Domingo, and IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno presented the distinction as part of the ALAS-IDB Awards Ceremony.


Video: Into Che Chem Hah Caves, 19min.

Video: Trip to Ambergris Caye, Belize, 6min.
This is the travel video from me and my girlfriend's trip to Belize! It was shot entirely with my GoPro Hero 3+ Black. If you have any questions on locations that were filmed please feel free to ask! We had a great trip, and would recommend all of these places to anyone!

Video: San Pedro Belize, 3.5min.
This video is about San Pedro Belize

Video: EASTER SAN PEDRO, BELIZE 2014, 9min.

Video: Loggerhead Turtles Released at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, 4min.
Ellen and Lucky the Loggerhead Turtles are rehabilitated at San Pedro, Ambergris Caye's, Hol Chan Marine Reserve Facility and then released into the Marine Park. Watch as the rangers and work crew release the happy turtles back home.

Video: Amigos del Mar, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, 10min.

Video: Magnetic Hill in Belize, 1/2min.
Can you believe a vehicle can go up hill in neutral? Watch this!!!

Video: Indian Church Village, Orange Walk, Belize, 6min.

Video: , 5min.
This is a video of our 2012 family vacation to Belize. Entire video was shot with GoPro Hero 2 cameras

Video: Belize Vacation 2012, 6min.

Video: Snorkeling with Sharks in Shark Ray Alley in Belize, 3min.

Video: Villa Boscardi, 3min.
This is a wonderful and peaceful place to stay in Belize City, Belize!

Video: Tapir Encounter, 1/2min.
Driving along a back road in Belize we came across a set of tapirs.

May 16, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

BTIA hosts 2014 BETEX in Belize City
Over 40 travel agencies from various parts of the world attended the 2014 bi-annual Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) held from May 7th to 10th. Organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the event brought tourism stakeholders and international tourism and travel agencies under one roof, with the ultimate motive of luring tourists to Belize. The BETEX 2014 meetings were hosted at the newly renamed Ramada Belize City Princess. Following a day and a half of face-to-face meetings, the travel agents toured the country to experience the tourism products Belize has to offer. For Maria Elisa Muralles of Guayacan Tours in Guatemala, inquiries from Europeans visiting their country and wanting to come to Belize are also growing. “We are looking for accommodations as well as tour operators so that we can establish tour packages to Belize. Many Europeans that travel from far and go to Guatemala want to combine their stay in Central American by going to a second country. Belize has the experience most of the Europeans are looking for, and so BETEX allows us to look at the options we have before we can seal our Belizean/Guatemalan tourism package,” said Muralles.

Dangriga Warriors defeats San Pedro Tigersharks in week 13 of the NEBL
Week 13 of the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) continued on Saturday May 10th and saw the San Pedro Tigersharks hitting the road to meet the Dangriga Warriors at the Stann Creek Ecumenical High School Auditorium. The southern Warriors defended their home turf and stunned the league’s leading team in what would be a Tigersharks’ upset. Having defeated the Dangriga Warriors before, the islanders went in confident that a win was guaranteed, given their respectable record of 11 wins and one loss against the home team’s record of seven wins and five losses. But, as the Warriors they are, the home team brought out all their soldiers to defend the battle ground and took the Tigersharks by surprise. At the end of the game, the Warriors were able to take down the Tigersharks ending the game 58 – 46.

Ambergris Today

Beltraide & McNab Publishing Ltd Partners for the Invest Belize Magazine
BELTRAIDE & McNab Publishing Ltd. are pleased to announce their new partnership for the Invest Belize Magazine. McNab Publishing Ltd. is known for their award winning Flavors of Belize Magazine as well as the Flavors of Belize Cookbook among other publications such as the Belize Travel Guide and the Belize Hotel Guide. The Invest Belize Magazine was officially launched in 2013 and has since released two editions of the publication. As a country with much to offer not only tourists but investors as well, this is one outlet whereby we can effectively and aggressively market Belize as a haven for investment and developments. This in turn invites foreign investment and revenue to boost the Belizean economy. It is the primary tool of BELTRAIDE and their constant efforts both in-country and internationally to promote Belize and attract relevant parties.

Matachica Resort & Spa Supports Queen's Health Outreach
Matachica Resort & Spa is proud to support Queen's Health Outreach, a student-run nonprofit from Queen's University, dedicated to promoting health around the world through needs-based peer education. Queen's Health Outreach is currently leading a project in Belize, teaching physical, mental, and sexual health education to youths at primary and secondary levels. Matachica Resort & Spa has joined the initiative as a corporate donor, to further support health education in Belize. "We are honored to join forces with Queen's Health Outreach, and grateful for this opportunity to give back to our community," says proprietor Daniel Lighter, who also owns GAÏA Riverlodge in Belize.

Castillo's Hardware Mother's Day Raffle Winners
Castillo’s Do It Best Hardware is happy to announce their Mother’s Day Raffle winners. 1st Prize Mirro Cookware Set - Segret Young 2nd Prize Presto Griddle - Aldo Marin Jr. 3rd Prize Gibson Dinnerware Set - Char Vidrine

Misc Belizean Sources

San Pedro Town Council

Happy Teachers Day to all the great and wonderful teachers of Corozal
The real point is to provide a time to look at and address issues pertaining to teachers in Belize. Strangely one of the most central, vital professionals to society does not receive the respect it deserves in some parts of the world, including Belize. Happy Teachers Day to all the great and wonderful teachers of Corozal. Power to the teachers in the struggle!!

Lydia Rancharan Pollard Collection on display
Window into the Past East Indian Museum's curator Lydia Rancharan Pollard will be displaying a portion of her collection at the House of Culture on Monday May 19th as part of International. It is located in front of Jal's Travel Agency on the Northern Highway, where Corozal Town meets Ranchito Village. Look for the orange and white sign. Corozal House of Culture (NICH)

Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Logo Winner
The Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Committee is pleased to announce the winner for the 2014 logo competition is entry #7 by Keron Tzul! We believe that this logo is a diverse representation of the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest, and also incorporates aspects of our beloved home, Caye Caulker. We are working closely with the artist to finalize the official draft of the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest 2014 logo, and will posting that in the coming days! We will keep you updated on the latest Caye Caulker Lobster Fest 2014!!

Political handouts in Belize – the poverty trap – and how it continues to hurt our Belizean society. At this corner of the Corozal Daily, we don’t like to write about our local politician’s dos and don’ts. However, this article is important as it reflects the true reality of political handouts and electoral pay-offs in Belize using Belizean tax dollars. In my opinion, growth in Belize is measured by how productive our individual citizens are and their economic contribution to our Belizean society. The government of Belize is the care taker and custodian of our tax dollars and as tax payers, each one of us must have a say on how these tax dollars are used and spent by the Government of Belize and by extensions it’s Ministers. Imagine if this morning while eating your breakfast and reading this article the headline read. “Young child dead Yesterday due to poverty”. Now imagine if tomorrow the article said the same thing, as well as the next day and so on. We would have a crisis on our hands large enough to draw attention and search for solutions. Unfortunately, this headline is not imaginary but instead is a true reality.

Cayo Full Moon Concert
The SISE House of Culture is having a Full Moon Concert tonight, starting at 6:00pm. It'll be at the Santa Elena basketball court this time. The New Sensation Band will be headlining the event, and In Bloom is one of the opening acts.

Belmopan Bandits Inspirational Video
The Belmopan Bandits are coming to Cayo tonight in their final game of the season. They have an inspirational video out, which chronicles the highlights of their season. The video captures the true meaning of the league. It mentions tonight 'As a Point Bandit we will face the greatest obstactle ever!!!' Well done video, Joaquin Magana. Inspirational to all. Now...Go Ballaz! The game is at SHC, and starts at 8:30pm. "Inspirational video for our team that needs to win a spot in the NEBL Tournament."

Mrs. Pearl Stuart the Trailblazer of the Week
Mrs. Pearl Stuart, born in Dangriga Town, spent her teen years in Belize City where she started her secondary education at St. Catherine’s Academy and completed it at West Philadelphia Catholic High School in the United States, placing second honors in a school of 8000 students. Mrs. Stuart graduated from Holy Family College with a major in education. Her first job was as a 4th grade (Standard II) teacher in United States elementary school – Our Lady of Victory in Philadelphia.

Mother's Day Dance at Tabu
Tabu, Cayo's newest downtown club, has been having some great late night dances. Their Mother's Day bash was wild, and they are planning Full Moon dances tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday. Tonight, it's 'Margarita Thursday,' and ladies get in free. Tomorrow is VIP Friday, and ladies that wear all white get in free.

BDF sergeant shares years of experience, marvels at joint capabilities
With less than a handful of years left until his retirement, Belize Defence Force Sgt. Gerald Bainton, Light Engineer Company engineer, is sharing his 19 years of experience with younger BDF soldiers, as well as U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine engineers supporting New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual training exercise that provides BDF, Canadian and U.S. service members the opportunity to train together in the fields of health care and civil engineering. The multi-national engineering team is constructing facilities at four schools and one medical facility in the country. Bainton plans on retiring in 2017, but he is using the New Horizons mission and the next few years to pass on his technical and leadership knowledge to his the soldiers who will proceed him in the BDF. With 10 of his 19 years in service in the engineer company, he has a lot to share.

Occupy Belmopan II
By Abdulmajeed K Nunez Sound the alarm The prime minister has been informed He has sixty days to conform There is too much contradiction with the gender policy and the constitution Or Independence Hill will be taken by storm All those in BDF and police uniform It is time you all join the people’s right ranks for reform When the Mexican police and the NYPD decided on reform They put down their guns and took off their uniforms Those who have been analyzing Belize’s political climate for years When you read Louis Wade’s “two foot stool…” it will bring you to tears

BCS at SHJC Marketing Expo
The Belize Cancer Society worked with SHJC students to get the word out at the SHJC Marketing Expo. "The Belize Cancer Society - San Ignacio Branch extends a sincere and hearty congratulations to the students of SHJC for all the effort they placed in promoting health and cancer education during their Expo held on April 30th 2014. Our Branch is very much looking forward to receiving all the information and material created by the students in order for us to promote it and use it in our educational campaigns. May is a month set aside for education and awareness and we look forward to showcasing this excellent material on our Face Book page on a daily basis."

2014 Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium
Coming in....46 more days!!!

Corozal’s Art in the Park
A huge Success since 2009 - A special Edition of our monthly ART IN THE PARK event will be held this Saturday May 17th at the Corozal Central Park. A special guest appearance by professional clowns Jimmy and Qudus from neighbouring Chetumal, Mexico, to promote their own talent, will be made for the children of Corozal. Art in the Park celebrates 5 years of its inception and its success has attracted the very best and most talented artists from Corozal. This is the only monthly event in the entire country that features and supports raw talent and local artists. So, this Saturday bring out the entire family and enjoy this special edition of ART IN THE PARK. Let’s continue to support Art in the Park, as one of Corozal’s hallmark. Power to the local artists of Corozal.

Channel 7

Big Win For GOB: Court of Appeal Rules BTL's Second Acquisition Lawful
The Government of Belize gets to keep the Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited. That's the decision of the Court of Appeal after deliberating for 1 year and 7 months on whether or not the Government lawfully acquired both utility companies to ensure the government and people of Belize maintain perpetual ownership. In a majority decision, Justice of Appeal Samuel Awich and President Justice Manuel Sosa allowed the appeal from the Government and set aside the Justice Oswell Legall's Supreme Court decision which said that the re-acquisition was unlawful, null and void. It's a hugely consequential win for the Government because the last time this issue was argued at Court of Appeal in June of 2011, the judges declared that the Government improperly took over control of BTL.

What If The Judgment Had Gone the Other Way?
And so, tonight, that status quo remains in effect: government retains unquestioned control of BTL and BEL - which is a long ways off from June 24, 2011. That's when the Court of Appeal ruled that the acquisition of BTL in 2009 was unconstitutional. Right after the judgment was delivered at 4:30 pm, Dean Boyce and Godfrey Smith went over to BTL's Corporate Headquarters on St. Thomas Street to take the company over, immediately. And they did, for only a few hours though, because by 9:00 pm, government took it back, using the police to enforce possession. The technicality employed to justify the enforced possession was that the Ashcroft Alliance got the judgment from the court, but they didn't get an enforcement order to carry it out. But, none of that drama happened today - because the majority Court decision affirmed government's lawful possession. But what if it had gone the other way? Would government have again sent the police to secure the utility on behalf of the state? One man who is uniquely equipped to answer that question is CEO in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell. He also sits as a Director on the BTL Board - and this morning before the judgment came down we asked him if contingencies were in place to block the Alliance form trying another takeover - in the event that the judgment went against government.

Ebanks Remanded While The Mystery Of His Identity Unfurls
Last night, 7News broke the story of the 39 year-old Floyd Wendell Ebanks, one of Ecuador's most wanted who has been living in Belize under the assumed identity of "Christian Ebanks". Well tonight, we can confirm that he is at the Belize Central Prison after being taken to court for an unlicensed firearm. As we told you, the Gang Suppression Unit searched his house at #122 Teacher's Street yesterday afternoon at around 12:30, following an anonymous tip on the crime-stoppers hotline. After an extensive search, the officers found a chrome 9 mm pistol with an empty magazine in a black plastic bag that was hidden in the oven area of a stove in his house. He was subsequently charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm, and arraigned today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. His immigration documents say that his name is Christian Ebanks, so that is the name he was arraigned under. His court book also said that he is a naturalized Belizean. Even though he pleaded not guilty, he was remanded to prison until July 21.

A Dozen Detained: Immigration Cracking Down On Ring of Fraudsters
Last night we told you about the Guatemalan couple 42 year-old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, and his common-law wife 46 year-old Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos who are currently remanded to prison after they confessed to mass immigration fraud. Well, credible reports tell us that the Immigration Department has closed in on an immigration scam of which Marleny Castellanos is supposedly the ring leader. We're told that on Tuesday, Castellanos was detained at the Western Border as she was trying to flee the country, after being investigated for over a month by the Immigration Department. Information to our newsroom says that Castellanos is suspected of being a chief facilitator for persons trying to illegally obtain Belizean nationality certificates. Yesterday, Immigration Officers went on a mass-round up on both Caye Caulker and San Pedro where some 11 persons were detained for illegal nationality certificates - allegedly engineered by Castellanos.

Woman-On-Woman Stabbing On San Pedro
Tonight a San Pedro woman is recovering from a punctured lung at the KHMH after she was stabbed multiple times by another woman in front of her four children. It happened on Wednesday afternoon inside Henry's Store located at the corner of Swan and Glitter Streets in San Pedro town. According to eyewitnesses, Lorena Montes was entering her store when Roxanne Canul ran up and stabbed her nine times. Today Montes's mother gave us an update on her condition. Rosa Perez - Mother of Montes "A woman came to our store with a knife and attacked my daughter, stabbed her with a knife. My daughter was full of blood. She punctured her lungs. The doctor said that the wound was 6-8 centimeters and then she put the next stab wound in her neck and when my daughter pushed away the knife, she stab her in the cheek about 4-5 stab wounds. After that others came to defend her and stop the attacker. The wound in the back is the major injury."

COLA Pleads To PM For Dirt On Penner
Like the Greek Philosopher Diogenes looking all over for an honest man, COLA is knocking on all the doors of officialdom trying to tease out evidence against Elvin Penner. The activist group has been ignored by the Police, shot down by the Auditor General, and put on pause by the now, they are going to the boss, the Prime Minister. COLA President Geovannie Brackett wrote a letter to the PM today asking for The Auditor General's preliminary report; documents indicting Penner which the Prime Minister referred to in October, 2013; and any and all other materials and evidence against Penner which may have crossed the PM's desk. It seems like a long shot, but Brackett even follows up with a sort of threat, saying, quote, "the laws of Belize provide for the summoning of witnesses....We are hopeful that we will not have to exercise this option on the 29th of May, 2014, when the court reconvenes for disclosure of evidence to the Defendant, Elvin Penner."

Police Promotions, The Remix
Last night on the news Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie brushed off our suggestion that a recent round of promotions for senior officers had created dissension in the ranks. He said no new promotions had gone through. Well, after - and even during the news - we got major blowback on this. Enough of our police friends called and texted to say the knew of recent promotions and that the newly promoted were already wearing their insignias to denote their new rank. So, did the promotions go through or not? Today we asked CEO in the Ministry Gorge Lovell - who oversees all promotions. He explained:... Ret. Col. George Lovell - C.E.O., Ministry of National Security "There have been people who have been promoted last year for whom I know that the official documentations are slowly trickling in and so there might be some names where you might see some people who you may not have seen at a particular rank, who eventually turns up with a rank and then you say how about that person who have been promoted."

BDF Officially Off The Streets, Better, But Not "For Good"
We also asked Lovell about the BDF on the streets of Belize City. We first reported on it in February when the soldiers were supposed to be removed from street patrols at the end of that month. But it didn't happen because of a flare up in violence. And then it was re-scheduled for the end of April - but when we asked Lovell on that day, he told us that still was not the date. But, it turns out it was. For the past two weeks, there have been no BDF on the city streets - which is a first in 20 years of extended deployment. Lovell stressed today though, that you can never say never:.. Ret. Col. George Lovell - C.E.O., Ministry of National Security "The BDF who were there on a regular basis were in fact removed, so if you were to go there today there will be no BDF in the streets, but God forbid, if there is an increase in crime and violence and there is a need to be supported by the BDF they will be out there to support the police. I can also say that during those festive seasons; during the September celebrations and during the Christmas periods we will have BDF again supporting the police, so I do not want to say that the BDF days on the streets are all gone and it's all behind us."

Making A Hard Pitch For a Helicopter
And finally from Lovell tonight, he says Belize needs a helicopter for security and safety reasons. Yesterday when the US Embassy handed over 38 new vehicles, he made a kind of hard pitch for one. He appealed, perhaps in vain, to the United States war on drugs like marijuana. That war is just about over for the US, but in 2013, it was on when they used their helicopters to provide the BDF with Air Support for a massive marijuana plantation eradication effort. Here's how Lovell put it:.. Ret. Col. George Lovell - C.E.O., Ministry of National Security "What we achieved in just two days of operations using the helicopters, we were not able to match with the entire area of operations without those assets. This is certainly a must have asset for Belize if we are to continue to get concrete results. So I would like to once more publicly mention that this government is committed to any serious cost sharing arrangement that our partners are prepared to undertake in the acquisition of helicopters for Belize and hope that the seeds I am now sewing will fall on futile ground."

Belize Times Sales Tax Case Adjourned
Last night, we told you about the Sales Tax troubles that the PUP's party organ, the Belize Times newspaper, is having. It went to court today, but it still wasn't resolved. That's because Jacqueline Meighan, the prosecutor for the General Sale Tax Department, went before Magistrate Dale Cayetano today, with a court book, which named Marian Marsden as the Defendant representing the Belize Times Press. That became an issue for the actual arraignment because Marsden was not present in court. Attorney Kareem Musa, who appeared on behalf of the Belize Times Press, explained to the court that Marsden is no longer employed at the Belize Times, and that she was the former business manager up until 2008. Musa went on to explain that there are currently only 2 employees who actually work on the newspaper, Alberto Vellos, the editor, and Chris Williams, the desktop publisher. Musa also told the court that he gave Meighan the names of directors of the Belize Times Press who she could have summoned to court to represent the newspaper. Because of the difficulties, Magistrate Cayetano stood the matter down until a later date to allow the GST prosecutor to prepare a new court book. As we understand it, the GST Prosecutor intends to press 2 counts of failure to file GST returns against the Belize Times.

Department Of Human Services Steps Up
If you were rating government departments in terms of sexiness, the Coast Guard with all their fancy boats and their SEALS would probably be a 9; the MET Department maybe a 7, but only because they're always on the radio, while Immigration - with its constant controversy - that would be a definite 10! And the Department of Human Services?....naaah...that would be like a one. Don't get us wrong they do important work, but it's trench work: they don't get fancy SUV's, or fend off major controversies - they do the important, un-recognized work, holding together a society that's tearing at the seams. It's tough work acting as the safety net, the last resort for those in desperate social circumstances. But the Department has been earning kudos for its BOOST programme, which is now being upheld as a regional model, and now for the use of information and communication technology for a customized web-based case management system called "FAM Care." It's not just a system to untangle the bureaucracy, but it will also see the more prompt, accountable and efficient delivery of services. CEO Judith Alpuche explained today:..

IDB Broadband Report Rates Belize Broadband 25 out of 26.
On Monday we told you about a survey of Caribbean countries, which found that high speed internet in Belize was the most costly in the region. The top speed being offered - that's 8 megs - is also among the slowest. Well a new study by the IDB finds that of 26 countries surveyed for broadband penetration, Belize is ranked 25 out of 26, behind only Haiti. But, it's not just a matter of speed or price, the broadband penetration index as they call it, is calculated based on 37 variables obtained from various public sources and grouped around four key pillars for the development: I) Public Policy and Strategic Outlook, II) Strategic Regulation, III) Infrastructure and IV) Applications and Training. Chile ranked first.

Channel 5

Court of Appeal decides who owns B.T.L. and B.E.L.
A small crowd packed into the Court of Appeal this afternoon at two o’clock to hear the long anticipated judgment of the Court of Appeal in the cases involving the [...]

Government retains control of utility companies
The Court of Appeal also ruled interestingly on the Eighth Amendment. Respective counsels did not delve into the details of the judgment, and that is fair since neither has had [...]

Christian Ebanks is charged for firearm offenses, but is he wanted in Ecuador?
Is thirty-nine year old naturalized Belizean Christian Ebanks also Floyd Wendel Ebanks Jurado, one of Ecuador’s most wanted fugitives? That’s the million dollar question, and tonight Police say they are [...]

San Pedro woman in critical, but stable condition following stabbing incident
On Wednesday, we reported on the vicious attack on a mother of four children in San Pedro. Lorena Montes, the proprietor at Henry’s Store near the airstrip on the island, [...]

Mother says stabbing is result of longstanding dispute
According to Perez, there has been a longstanding dispute between her daughter and her alleged attacker. They were bound over the peace some time ago, but it was a misunderstanding [...]

8 persons picked up for fake documents in immigration crackdown in Caye Caulker
A Guatemalan couple is believed to be behind a scam providing fake nationality documents to Central American nationals; they were busted in an immigration crackdown and arraigned on Wednesday even [...]

A land dispute escalates in Unitedville
There is a developing land controversy in the community of Unitedville. The Government of Belize has given five acres of land in the community to Bernadette Fishcher. Those five acres [...]

A murder attempt foiled; police fires shot at gunman
A murder attempt was foiled today in south side Belize City. Sometime after ten this morning, Garrick Hemmans Senior was heading to his sister’s home on Antelope Street when he [...]

GST takes Belize Times to court
The Opposition’s mouthpiece, the Belize Times, was called to court this morning for non-payment of GST for the months of January and February 2014. The matter first came up on [...]

COLA wants the PM to hand over Auditor General’s report on immigration scandal
As we reported on Wednesday, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie says he’s uncertain of the whereabouts of the Penner files, a bundle of documents sent to him outlining various offences [...]

Attorney says documents to be submitted by May 29th
Having exhausted all avenues to proceed with the private prosecution of Elvin Penner, Musa says that they are anticipating the prime minister’s assistance in handing over the files that are [...]

Carlos Moreno approved as US Ambassador to Belize
The United States Embassy in Belize, since the departure of Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally last year, has remained without an ambassador.  Currently, Margaret Hawthorne is at the helm of the embassy [...]

B.N.T.U. takes on the Minister of Education
What should have been a unified celebration in honor of all teachers on Friday, in Benque Viejo del Carmen, has been scaled down significantly to district level festivities commemorating National [...]

The plans for National Teachers Day
B.N.T.U.’s Executive Secretary, Keesha Young, says that despite the downgrading of activities, the day will be celebrated in grand fashion at a much smaller level.  Furthermore, it is the sentiment [...]

Joel McD’s EX-5 Workout Program
You don’t have to miss a workout again….Fitness Trainer Joel McDougall on Wednesday officially launched the Joel McD’s workout program, EX-Five, to help you stay in shape. The fitness trainer [...]

Healthy Living looks at skin cancer
May is cancer awareness month in Belize. Worldwide, awareness about skin cancer is also a priority throughout the month.   While it may not be the most prevalent, Belizeans are highly [...]


Hung Jury On Third Retrial For Felix Brothers
After deliberating for 6 hours yesterday, brothers Emory and Maurice Felix were acquitted of the 2006 murder of 29 year old Mitchum Heredia. As we’ve reported, Heredia was gunned down just before 6:30 p.m. on April 10th 2006, as he arrived at his house on T Street. He was entering his yard in a Nissan Maxima car, when 2 armed men, ambushed and shot him 6 times at close range. The 12 member jury was listening to evidence and testimonies for nine weeks and the hearing ended in a hung jury. CTV3 News spoke with Attorney Arthur Saldivar via telephone who says this was the third trial in court. Arthur Saldivar– Attorney at Law “We have a situation here where the evidence that was presented by the prosecution side as in all cases like this comes from the police department and many times there are gaps in the evidence and I think that some of those gaps in those evidence was what lead to the strong feeling for and against the acquittal and what it resulted in people not giving ground because they didn’t sound trusted and some didn’t trust the account for police witnesses and the investigation itself which basically appears to be incomplete, the jury deliberated today the issue for six hours and there were those for the acquittal and those for the conviction and none of the groups gave ground because they had strong feelings either way.”

Giovanni Borland Clings To Life At KHMH
Police continue to investigate the chopping incident in Libertad Village that has left 34 year old Giovanni Borland in a critical condition in the hospital and his assailant, Joseph West behind bars. This morning, the social media was abuzz and it was over the allegation that Borland had succumbed to the chop wound to his head and that the case was upgraded to murder. After making checks with authorities, we verified that Borland remains alive but in critical condition at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. As for Joseph West, he was arraigned at the Corozal Magistrates Court yesterday morning where he was charged with attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. Because of the nature of the offence, West was not offered bail by Magistrate Hurl Hamilton. Instead he was remanded to the Hattieville Prison until July 15th 2014 when he is scheduled to reappear in court.

Is One Of Ecuador's Most Wanted Living In Belize?
Here in Orange Walk he is known as J.R Ebanks or Christian Ebanks, the owner of Sky Wireless located on Queen Victoria Avenue. So where are we getting at? Well, simple, is Ebanks one of Ecuador's most wanted fugitive? Reports are that officers of the Gang Suppression Unit have detained an Ecuadoran man, who could possibly be a wanted man living in Belize. The individual, we understand, was caught in Belize City with a firearm inside his home. The name and documents, including immigration documents, he presented to authorities, identify him as Christian Ebanks. But posters on the internet show a fugitive from Ecuador, who looks just like Ebanks, only that in this case his name is Floyd Wendel Ebanks Jurado. He is being sought by Guayas Province Police for the murder of Ecuadoran National Alejandro Martín Teófilo Yagual. The incident reportedly took place on Puna Island. Both men look the same yet Belizean authorities are yet to determine if they are the same individual.

Celebrating Nurses Week
Yesterday we told you about Nurses week which is being observed from May 11th to the 16th all across the country. We all know the work they do goes unnoticed and unappreciated most of the time. And since they directly impact individual patient safety and health, they make up critical components in the health care sector. They care, comfort, provide a little humor to calm nerves and help save lives and so the week is designated to honor these key players in providing health care services to their communities. It’s a heavily scrutinized profession but recognizing their efforts should not be understated. So today, we decided to get a sneak peek at their daily life. Reporter Maria Novelo and Video Journalist Jesus Melgar have that story in the following report. Health care is constantly changing and evolving. Today, more than ever, nurses are stepping out of their comfort zone and becoming active contributors and innovators in the health care system. Presently, sixty four nurses make up the support staff at the Northern Regional Hospital. Vice President of the Nurses Association Richard Reid says, over the years there has been an increase of males in the profession.

Bowen and Bowen Speaks On Shortage Of Product
For the past few weeks, various business establishments around the country have been reporting challenges obtaining soft drinks and in some cases bottled water from Bowen & Bowen Limited. And as the days go by, even their flagship product, Coca Cola is rumoured to be scarce. All those shortages and supply breakdowns fuelled a storm of speculation which is culminating in the recent rumour that Belize’s biggest bottler was on the verge of collapse. And since there has been much allegations of the situation, we spoke with Public Relations Officer at Bowen, Christelle Wilson who says the availability of their soft drink products has declined due to the speed of their bottle washer mechanism. Christelle Wilson - Public relations officer, Bowen and Bowen Group of Companies Wilson – Bowen “I know that there has been a shortage on the availability of soft drink due to the slow production speed of our washer and that is the reason that why we are replacing our washer and not due to any quality issues of our products but because we want to speed up the production so we are only aware of a shortage of some soft drink.”

Teachers Day Planned In Corozal
Teachers’ day will be observed and celebrated this Friday May 16th. Traditionally, teachers are given a day off from work to celebrate together. That celebration is held in three ways and these include at a school, branch and national levels which are rotated every year. This year the national celebration was scheduled to take place in Benque Viejo del Carmen. However, given some unfortunate circumstances, the Ministry has ordered each district center to organize their own activities. Education Center Manager at the Corozal District Center Jahmore Lopez says they have been busy in that district and their celebration is looking to be a good one. Jahmore Lopez- District Manager “It would be in Benque but unfortunately due to budgetary constraints it is not going to work out and so the respective DEC’S country wide are tasked with planning a teachers day activity and we will be doing that here in Corozal, I believe we gotten overwhelming response from our school, our principals, our teachers, we have already confirmed over 450 plus teachers who will be joining us at Blue Iguana that is located somewhere in the Finca Solana Area and so we have a program planned where we will be an opening ceremony, short speeches and then we get on with the rest of the day where we will have a number of teachers engage in a number of fun filled activities.”

Ancient Mayan City Found Near The Belize Mexico Border
Reports coming of the Mexican newspapers indicate that an Ancient Mayan City approximated to be about 85 acres with at least six architectural groups was found hidden deep in the jungle about 7 miles from the Belize / Mexican Border line and about 37 miles away from the city of Chetumal. The Ancient Mayan City, believed to be more than one thousand five hundred years old, was named Noh Kah, meaning Large City while the six smaller cities within Noh Kah, have been named El Corozal El Pich, El Paredon,El Pocito, El Viente and Hop Na. All six cities are separated by a distance ranging between 0.5 and 3 miles and are made up of different groups which assisted in the survival of the entire city. With the assistance of members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa, specialists were able to perform a topographic survey of the Ancient Mayan City.

Figures For Week 16 2013/2014 Crop Season
May 11th 2014 marked the end of week 16 of the 2013/2014 sugar cane crop season. The report, provided by the Belize Sugar Industries Limited, shows that for week 16 the factory milled forty eight thousand nine hundred and eighty four tons of cane. To date, the factory has milled a total of eight hundred and thirteen thousand six hundred and thirty nine tons of cane. Last year the factory milled six hundred and sixty four thousand nineteen tons cane during the same time frame. Taking a look at sugar production, four thousand eight hundred and ninety six tons of the sweetener was produced for week 16. An overall of eighty seven thousand five hundred and thirty one tons of the product has been produced so far. Last year, the factory produced sixty eight thousand seven hundred and ten tons of sugar during the 16 weeks of crop. This week the factory worked at a grinding rate of six thousand nine hundred and ninety eight tons cane per day. Overall, for the 16 weeks of crop, the grinding rate per day stands at seven thousand five hundred and thirty four tons cane. Last crop it was at six thousand one hundred and forty eight tons cane per day.

Classes Resume At Ranchito Government School
We have been following the progress of the improvements at the Ranchito Government School where students were sent home for one week to allow officials from the Ministries of Health and Education to make necessary assessments and arrangements to fix a rodent, insect and bat infestation. When we visited the school today, the students were back on their lessons. School principal Yesenia Tun says they still have to accommodate three classes in the Community Center but they have to ensure it’s an environment conducive to learning. Yesenia Tun- Principal “Presently classes began yesterday from pre-school to standard three, the four, five and six students we can’t relocate them and they will be relocated at the Community Centre and they can’t be relocated because bathroom facilities are not available as yet but for Monday they will have classes then and all the teacher are setting up their chairs and we had ministry personnel came in this morning and they said that they will do their best to have it ready for Monday.”


Woman Remains Critical Following Stabbing on San Pedro
A resident of San Pedro Town is tonight at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in a critical condition after she was stabbed multiple times. Police have classified the injuries that Lorena Montes sustained as “wounding”. Police say that Montes was stabbed by Roxanne Canul while the two women were involved in a physical altercation on the island on Wednesday afternoon. Canul has been charged with one count of grievous harm and has been granted bail. Police investigations reveal that on Wednesday, Montes was inside her establishment, Henry’s Store, when Canul allegedly barged in and stabbed Montes several times in the chest area. The incident unfolded before the eyes of Montes’ children. She was quickly transported to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic before being airlifted to Belize City for her to obtain treatment at the KHMH. As for Canul, police say that she is to report on Monday for her arraignment.

Belize and Ecuador Work Together to Ascertain Identity of Ebanks
He has built a network in various fields including politics, marketing and business but tonight he is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after local authorities were tipped off that he may a person of interest in the South American country of Ecuador. 39-year-old, Floyd Ebanks was visited at his home on Teachers Street yesterday by members of the Gang Suppression Unit where a search was conducted, resulting in the discovery of an illegal 9mm firearm. Ebanks was taken in by the GSU and was charged today in the Magistrate’s court on a firearm charge….but the plight for Ebanks has just begun as Love News understands that he may be the person on a wanted list from Ecuador for the murder of one of its nationals in 2011. Head of the Gang Suppression Unit, Linden Flowers explains.

Where Are The Penner Files?
Where are the Penner Files? That’s the question that the Citizen Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, is asking. The grassroots NGO has brought a private prosecution against Former Minister of State Elvin Penner. Several government departments have initiated investigations into the entire situation at the Immigration Department and several pieces of evidence have been collected. COLA is requesting that the Belize Police Department hand over the Penner files under the Freedom of Information Act for their prosecution to be successful……but no one seems to know where the files are. Yesterday, when questioned about the files, Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie stated that he has not received any request for the files from the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl Lynn Vidal. Whylie continued by saying that the files were sent to her office on a previous occasion and has certainly not been sent back to him… begs the question again, ‘where are the Penner files?’ That question was posed to the DPP and she responded, via email, saying, “I have referred the request for copies of the documents to the police, as they are in possession of the file in the matter. I have not yet received an official response as to their position. I re-iterate that I have no difficulty whatsoever in them being provided with a copy of what is in police possession.

US Appoints New Ambassador to Belize
The United States Senate has given its stamp of approval to have Carlos R. Moreno be the new Ambassador to Belize. Moreno received unanimous support after having been nominated by the US President Barrack Obama in July 2013. Moreno, who was up for consideration as a US Supreme Court judge, is the son of Mexican immigrants who had migrated to the United States. He served as a judge in the California Supreme Court up until 2011. Moreno is the tenth US ambassador to Belize since 1981 and will succeed VinaiThumallapally, who is the current ambassador to Belize since June 2009.


San Pedro Woman Stabbed in Front of her Kids
A stabbing incident in San Pedro town has left a mother of four children, hospitalized at the KHMH in Belize City in a critical but stable condition. According to reports, Belizean resident of San Pedro Town Lorena Montero was brutally stabbed sometime around 1:20 pm on Wednesday, May 14th,...

Minister Pablo Marin Inaccurate in Pharmaceutical Exam
On Monday Minister Pablo Marin spoke with some of the media houses on the issue of the controversial postponement of the Pharmaceutical examination. The exam originates from an examination Board at Ministry of Health but is conducted at the University of Belize. It is considered important because, regardless of...

Christian Ebanks Charged for Unlicensed Firearm
A naturalized Belizean who is reportedly wanted in Ecuador for murder has been picked up – and as a bonus, police recovered an unlicensed firearm at his property. 39 year old businessman Christian Ebanks appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano today where he pleaded not guilty to keeping a firearm...

COLA Wants Information from PM for Penner Prosecution
Turned around by functionaries of the Government of Belize in their effort to call former Minister of State Elvin Penner to justice for his role in the Won Hong Kim scandal, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) have turned to Prime Minister Dean Barrow in their quest to...

Will International Partners Support Belize with Helicopters?
At Wednesday’s ceremony for the donation of police vehicles by the U.S. Embassy, CEO in the Ministry of National Security Col. George Lovell made an entreaty to his American partners for assistance of a different kind – helicopter support. The Americans have sent helicopters to be used in major...

New US Ambassador to Belize Soon to Arrive
The Charge d’ Affaires Margarate Hawthorne, as you saw in the last two stories is heading the US Embassy in Belmopan, but only until the new Ambassador reaches Belize. On July 9 of last year, US President Barack Obama formally nominated retired California Supreme Court judge Carlos R. Moreno...

BDF Leave Streets of Belize City, for Now
If you are a Belize City resident, you may have noticed that there are no Belize Defence Force soldiers on the streets as there have been previously, conspicuously standing next to police officers in crime-ridden areas. That has been so since April 30 of this year, putting an end...

Belmopan Cancer Society Hosts Cancer Walk
The Belize Cancer Society Belmopan Branch is hosting its annual Cancer Walk this Saturday starting at 5:15 sharp. Beverly Swasey of the Belize Cancer Society dropped by our studios to talk about the fund raising event. Beverly Swasey- Representative for Belize Cancer Society If you pay $25, you pay...

The Guardian

PUP has no Love for Mothers
The PUP has once again shown how callous and heartless they really are when they called yet another pointless press conference on Tuesday during which they boldly declared that the mothers of Belize do not deserve to be assisted by government. The Government under the leadership of Hon. Dean Barrow took the decision to assist mothers across the length and breadth of this country to ensure that that they got some appreciation during this year’s mother’s day- absolutely nothing wrong with that! After all, it was not as if the government was giving Michael Ashcroft an 88 million dollar tax break or 20 million dollars was used to pay off a private debt. No, the money was used as social assistance to mothers in Belize. This has become the signature of this government, help people, no matter who they are- at all times! This is evident in the social assistance programs which have been instituted to assist the least fortunate among us. There is the food pantry program, the BOOST program - now being used as a regional model, the School Subsidy program, the Christmas Cheer program and now the Mothers day program. All truly instituted to raise people out of poverty.

BOOST Program Success to be duplicated in the Caribbean
Ministers and senior ranking public officials from eight Caribbean countries are in Belize on a study tour of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme called operation ‘BOOST’. The Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation (BOOST) Programme has been dubbed by the World Bank as the best social protection programme in the hemisphere and multilateral development organizations are encouraging member states to study and adopt it. The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation is collaborating with the Organization of American States (OAS), UNICEF and UNDP to host a Horizontal Cooperation Exchange from May 13th to 15th. The Ministers with responsibility for social development from Grenada and Dominica are attending the event as well as senior officials from Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Judith Alpuche, says the program is of particular interest to these countries because of the similarities in demographics.

38 New Vehicles for Belize Police Department
Some 38 brand new vehicles valued at some 2.3 million dollars was handed over on Wednesday to the Belize Police Department by Ms. Margaret D. Hawthorne, Charge d' Affairs, from the U.S Embassy. The fully equipped vehicles were handed over at a brief ceremony at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan. Present for the handing over were Government Officials, members of the Diplomatic Corp as well as Formation and Precinct Commanders from around the Country. In her address, Ms. Margaret D. Hawthorne said that the Police vehicles will increase the mobility of the Police and strengthen their capacity. She reminded that in a similar donation two years ago to Belize City, there was a noticeable reduction in crime in that area. “The U.S Government will be with you as a partner,” she said. Colonel George Lovell, Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of National Security, who deputized for the Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security (currently in Guatemala for a Drug Conference) said today that the United States works closely with those, from a strategic standpoint and pointed out that “…our bilateral cooperation has deepened over the past few years.”

Petillo tries to pull a Fast one
A couple of weeks ago, Nigel Petillo, the “champion” of Harmonyville, was seen on television begging the government, the Ministry of Natural Resources specifically, to remove persons he considered were squatters in the ‘buffer’ area of Harmonyville. The buffer is an area stretching about three miles along the George Price Highway and which consists some 60 acres of land which is crown land. Petillo succeeded in getting some of the people off and it seemed like quite the noble deed by the BGYEA guy. But we were clapping and congratulating a bit too early. As soon as the squatters were removed, in came heavy equipment that began to level everything, bulldozers and plows rolled in and the ground began to be readied for planting. A company called Sustainable Agriculture Development limited was the one doing the work. According to Petillo, the company was ‘his’ investor and they came in to cultivate corn on the buffer area. Remember he zealously removed persons who were on the buffer only to bring in ‘his’ investor. Also what needs to be remembered is that the 60 acres is crown land and Petillo has no authority to enter into any contract with anyone to do anything with the land.

Yolanda Schakron Takes Swings at Special Envoy
A couple days after the world celebrated Mothers Day, the men leading the People’s United Party instructed Yolanda Schakron to sling as much filth as she can at the Special Envoy for Women and Children. Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow’s popularity and high approval rating has been a pain in the neck of the PUP‘s executives. The wives of Prime Ministers have traditionally been left out of the political mudslinging but Mrs. Barrow is simply accomplishing too much to be ignored. From sources inside the PUP, we know that many were upset during the Briceno era for not going hard after ‘Lady Kim’. Fonseca has vouched no holds barred and Kim Barrow is now enemy number one. Not only are the party’s women leaders forbidden from attending or even publicly supporting her women empowerment initiatives, but they are also to speak ill against her and question her motives at every public forum. At a PUP press conference on Tuesday, May 13th, it was Yolanda’s number called. The woman, who launched her political career on the casket of her nephew and from the tears of mothers grieving lost sons, accused Mrs. Barrow of vanity. She voiced the concerns of the PUP women group about the money spent on the 20,000 Strong Women Empowerment Rally; accounting of funds raised internationally for the Inspiration Center and cost of the Harper’s Bazaar Interiors eleven page spread.

Guatemalans caught using dead Belizeans’ birth Papers
On Wednesday May 14, 41-year-old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, Guatemalan national of Quetzaltenango, Guatemalan who at the time of his arrest was working as an X-ray Technician at the KHMH and his common-law wife, 45-year-old Guatemalan housewife, Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos, a resident of Santa Elena, Petén, Guatemala appeared in Magistrate’s Court on immigration related offenses. They appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where Marcos was charged with 6 counts while Castellanos was charged with 4 counts. Both pleaded guilty to the offenses and Magistrate Cayetano remanded the couple to the Belize Central Prison until Friday, May 16, 2014 for sentencing. It was a very emotional time for Castellanos who thought that after pleading guilty, she would be imposed a fine and then be able to go home. She was surprised when she was told that she would be remanded to the Belize Central Prison for the next two days. When she exited the courtroom alone she was crying uncontrollably as she was being consoled by one of her three daughters.

Sour Grapes
Whenever I watch the evening news or read the newspapers, I generally take a keener interest when the topic is about politics; the reason being that I tend to write a lot on that subject matter. I know that sometimes my columns are considered footnotes of headlines past, but I try not to bore readers with too many repetitions of issues on which pundits have already commented on, but rather on the utterances coming from politicians. That said, I saw Hon. Boots battling it out with Channel Fox last night, and I agree completely with what he said; Fox is so blatantly biased in its reporting that people now consider this station to be more of a political arm of the PUP than a genuine news station. Same goes for COLA and its rambunctious leader: this self-interest group is acting suspicious in taking a perpetual stand on a solitary issue that really has been dealt with swiftly and appropriately by the Prime Minister. Is there a hidden agenda here somewhere, you think?

Ascend, Belize Comprehend! (ABC)
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. - Lewis Carroll Decision making is part of our everyday life. Simple things like deciding whether or not to get out of bed (or hit the snooze button) can be tantamount to choosing a career path if we are uncertain of what we want the end result to be. Those last few minutes of sleep may make you question if getting out of bed is even worth the trouble. Undoubtedly, after weighing the options (like the need for food, water or to go to work) and the possible consequences, the decision to get out of bed becomes simplified. Choosing a career or life path requires much the same thought process. It requires thought on the end result i.e. it required direction. Not having a direction, not having a goal, not knowing where you are going, it’s all the same. You go nowhere. You can never get “there,” can never arrive anywhere, because you don’t really have a destination. Without direction, without a destination, without a goal, how do you pick a direction, choose a road, or plot a course to get “there”?

Bank Robber Shot in the Act
Alleged Bank Robber, 25 year-old Cannon Augustine Obispo, continues to receive treatment at the KHMH, after he was shot by police after he stole money from the Scotia Bank in Belmopan City on Friday, May 9, at around 10 a.m. But before, he allegedly targeted the bank, he reportedly ripped off a vendor at the Indian Store, Classic, which is right across the street. Obispo entered Classic and requested several articles of clothing, valued at a total of $210, which he asked to try out. When the vendor expected him to pay, he reportedly walked out and went to the Bank. The vendor followed him, but wasn’t suspicious because the man made for the bank, so the vendor thought he was going to withdraw money.

Charged for month-old stabbing
On Monday, May 12, 27-year-old Kareem Arnold of a Yellowtail Street address in Ladyville appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where he was read a single charge of dangerous harm upon Parish Copious who was stabbed on April 16 of this year. In court, no plea was taken from Arnold but due to the nature of the offense, he was denied bail and remanded to the Belize Central Prison until June 30, 2014. The stabbing incident occurred on April 16, 2014 in the Ladyville area where Parish Copious was stabbed multiple times, allegedly by men. According to a police report, on that date at about 11:00 p.m., at the corner of Pigeon and Parakeet Street, he was attacked by two men. Copious told police that he was at the intersection of the streets, socializing with his cousin when he recognized, two men, Kareem Arnold, and another who approached him. Both men were armed with knives.

No Case File- Murder Suspect released
On Wednesday May 14, 21-year-old Dion Brackett who has been on remand since January 5, 2013 for the murder of Marvin Foreman was released by Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. When the matter was called up, the prosecutor in the case, Sgt. Egbert Castillo told the court that he had no case file in the matter. With that the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith struck out the matter and told Brackett he was free to go home. This is the second such case to occur before the Belize City Magistrate’s Court within a week on charges of serious offenses.

Possible wanted Ecuadorian caught in Belize
Officers of the Gang Suppression Unit have detained an Ecuadorian man believed to be a fugitive in that country. They report that they conducted a search at a house on Teacher's Street in Belize City where they found a man identifying himself as Christian Ebanks. After a search of Ebanks home, police also recovered an illegal firearm. While Ebanks will be charged for that offense, police are looking into the possibility that he is an Ecuadorian by the name of Floyd Wendel Ebanks Jurado who is wanted in the Guayas Province of Ecuador for the murder of another citizen of that country, Alejandro Martin Teofilo Yagual, which took place on Puna Island.

Another Hung Jury on Felix Brothers’ trial
The murder trial of brothers Emory and Maurice Felix concluded on Tuesday night at around 11p.m with a hung jury. The men were facing murder charges following the shooting death of Mitchum Heredia which occurred on April 10, 2006. At the conclusion of the trial, a jury of 8 women and 4 men could not reach a verdict in the case after deliberating for six hours. When they emerged a mistrial was declared. The men have now been remanded back to prison for yet another retrial. Back in 2007 the Felix brothers had been found guilty of murder and were given life sentences but a year later that conviction was overturned by the Appeal’s Court and a retrial was ordered. In the retrial the jury were deadlocked and could not reach a verdict and a retrial was ordered. That retrial started in March of this year in Belize City but it was later transferred to Corozal District because of the sensitivity of the case.

Cop convicted of theft
On Monday May 12, Police Constable, Brandon Hertular was found guilty of burglary and theft when he appeared before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Hertular was accused of burglary and theft after a home invasion on March 4, 2012 at the home of Shirley Chicas located in Buttonwood Bay in Belize City. At the time a number of household items were reported stolen including cash, cellular phones and a pistol. At the time, Hertular was said to be in his camouflage uniform and was positively identified by the victim as one of two men that entered the home and stole the items. Due to insufficient evidence to prove the charge of burglary, the prosecutor, Mrs. Hawk only proceeded with the trial for theft against PC Hertular.

Two more Years for Denfield Lemoth
Denfield Lemoth who is serving two jail terms amounting to 12 years had two more years added to his time on Wednesday May 14. He appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where he was sentenced to 2 years in prison which are to run consecutive to the time he is already serving. On April 13, 2013, Errol Belisle was at a Chinese store on Raccoon Street when Lemoth walked into the store and zipped open Belisle’s backpack and removed his wallet which contained $800 in cash, his social security card, ATM Card and driver’s license.

Ladyville Police continue to investigate the execution-style murder of 27 year-old Belize City resident Vince Martinez Jr., who was murdered in a shooting where the gunman ambushed him, seizing on an opportunity. On Wednesday, May 7, just before 6 p.m., Martinez was sitting under the bus stopopposite the Puma Gas Station in the village, when a gunman came running from Mirage Road and fired a single gunshot at him. The shot struck Martinez in the right side of his head, and as soon as he saw his target go down, the gunman ran back in the direction he came, and he escaped in a vehicle that was waiting for him. Police found Martinez’s body shortly after the shooting; he died on the spot.
Ladyville Police continue to investigate the execution-style murder of 27 year-old Belize City resident Vince Martinez Jr., who was murdered in a shooting where the gunman ambushed him, seizing on an opportunity. On Wednesday, May 7, just before 6 p.m., Martinez was sitting under the bus stopopposite the Puma Gas Station in the village, when a gunman came running from Mirage Road and fired a single gunshot at him. The shot struck Martinez in the right side of his head, and as soon as he saw his target go down, the gunman ran back in the direction he came, and he escaped in a vehicle that was waiting for him. Police found Martinez’s body shortly after the shooting; he died on the spot.

One of two men Acquitted of Murder charge
On Thursday May 8, Albert Ara, who was charged for the murder of Hipolito Tiul along with Juan Rivera in 2006, managed to walk free from the charge. His attorney, Carlo Mason was successful in getting him off the charge when he made a no case submission after a voidaire which was accepted by the judge and he was acquitted of the charge. Ara and Rivera were charged for the August 23, 2006 murder of Hipolito Tiul who was attacked whilst inside his home in the Society Hall Road area of Cayo. At the time Tiul was chopped to the head and he subsequently died.

PG Mom murdered on Mother’s Day
Punta Gorda Police continue to investigate the shooting death of 28 year-old Janice Vargas, who was killed in the Indianville Area of the Town. Her death is especially cruel since it happened on Mother’s Day, in front of her child, and at her home where she worked and lived and believed to be safe. Vargas, who works as a waitress for Jamaica Bar, was turning in for the night; she was heading toward the bedroom she stayed at the back of the business place. That’s when she reportedly heard knocking on the doors of the bar, which was already closed. She didn’t open up for anyone, nevertheless, her assailant somehow managed to shoot her in the right shoulder through a window.

Armed for a Funeral
On Monday May 12, 21-year-old Wilfred Ramirez, appeared in Court #1 before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith where he was read two firearm related offenses. Ramirez was charged with one count of kept prohibited firearm, for allegedly having in his possession, 1 black rusty sawed off shot gun with no serial number measuring 18 inches for which he had no gun license for. He was additionally charged with kept prohibited ammunition after he was found in possession of 1-12 gauge cartridge, maroon and brass in color for which he has not been granted a gun license by the commissioner of police.

Joseph West Detained for Chopping Man in Head
Police are investigating a chopping incident that occurred in Corozal on Sunday, May 11th, at about 10 p.m. 34-year-old Giovanni Borland of Western Pines Community in the Belize District was at a bar in Corozal when he got into an argument with 24-year-old Joseph West of Libertad Village. According to reports, Joseph and his brother Denmar West decided to leave the bar. While on their way to another bar, Borland followed them with a machete in his hand. Joseph managed to take the machete away. Shortly after, as Denmar was heading home from the bar, Borland attacked him with an object causing an injury to his forehead area above the right eye. Joseph saw the attack and set chase after Borland with the machete.

Successful National Agricultural and Trade Show 2014
The Honourable Gaspar Vega and the Honourable Hugo Patt wish to thank the general public for the solid support in attending the recently held National Agriculture and Trade Show. The show was a resounding success with approximately 36,000 visitors over the two and a half days. Gross revenue from the show reached a record $241,000. Profits from the show are being reinvested in the unprecedented improvements to infrastructure and support services for the show. The Ministers also wish to thank the National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee, the farmers, exhibitors and vendors that made the show possible. Special thanks to the Belize Police Department for their tremendous effort in making the show free of any serious incident. Special thanks also to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture team for going beyond the call of duty and their exceptional work in preparing for and conducting the show.

BNTU blunders National Teacher’s Day
Friday, May 16, is teacher's day and throughout the entire country the day will be used for teachers to have social gatherings and interactions with each other at various locations in the districts. It would have been a national celebration which would have taken place in Benque Viejo but plans had to be changed after the Belize National Teacher's Union was unable to fulfill its financial obligations to the event. The last time there was a national teacher's day was on in 2009, at that time the BNTU contributed $24,000 for the event to take place. The expectation was that the union would have been able to at least meet the same contribution as they did the last time but the union's executive said they were unable to do so. Instead they said that they would only be able to give $10,000 which simply is not enough for the event to take place.

Significant Fall in Butane Prices
On May 8, the price of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) fell significantly across the country. The supplies Control Unit in the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection establishes prices for LPG based on mixtures of 60-40 propane to butane and 90-10 propane to butane. According to a release from the Ministry, there has been a sharp decrease in the price of propane due to warmer weather as winter months have passed and the months of summer are approaching. The LPG imported from PEMEX in Mexico has the 60-40 mixture and the price per 100 pound cylinder fell by $13 across the board. The new controlled prices to full a 100 pound cylinder are now $115 in Belize City and Corozal, $116 in Orange Walk, $117 in Belmopan and San Ignacio, $118 in Benque Viejo, $119 in Dangriga and $120 in Punta Gorda.

UDP brings Mother’s Day to Rural Central
Mrs. Beverly Castillo is not yet elected Area Representative for the Belize Rural Central constituency but she has been able to do much, much more than what the current Area Representative has done even though she has been given the resources. Mrs. Bev, as she is affectionately known, has been able to make life better for residents throughout the constituency by securing resources and mobilizing equipment to improve road conditions across the area. But it is not only about streets and drains for this UDP Standard Bearer, Mrs. Bev is also putting the personal touch that has been missing for years there. She demonstrated her ability to do so this past weekend as she traversed the entire constituency, village by village holding mother’s day programs and taking gifts to deserving mothers in the division. At every single stop that Mrs. Castillo made, she was received with welcoming smiles and embraces, and she gave them back just as readily. There was not a single village in the division which she did not visit and though it is a virtual impossibility to touch everyone in the constituency, hundreds of mothers were treated to a mothers day gift and activities.

Rasha Dawson Recognized for Strength and Perseverance
Rasha Dawson lost her right leg in a traffic accident twelve years ago when she was only six years old. Life has not been easy for the young resident of Evergreen Street living with a disability. However, she has not made her physical condition limit her potential and that is one of the many reasons she was recognized by the Belize Police Department and honoured with the Do Di Rite Ting Award for April/May 2014. Instead of being a dependent, Rasha has chosen to be a champion. She is a member of Belize Association of People living with Disabilities (BAPD) where she and her group volunteer to assist those people living with disabilities who cannot leave their homes and also raise funds to feed the less fortunate. She is also member of Motivating Youths of Belize (MYOB). MYOB helps teenagers to avoid the negatives of life and stay on the positive path. The group meets weekly and holds fundraising activities in order to give food and clothing to the less fortunate.

Labor Education Seminar Launched in Belmopan
The first in a series of ten labor education seminars was launched in Belmopan on Friday of last week at the George Price Center for Peace and Development. The seminar focused on employers and workers’ rights and responsibilities under the Belize Labor Legislation and International Labor Organization Convention, bringing together persons from both the private and public sectors. It was also an opportunity for both workers and employees to be updated on the most current developments on labor issues. In his welcoming address, His Worship the Mayor Simeon Lopez said “…employers and workers, this is the time for you to address the rights and responsibilities in the Belizean Work Force”. Dylan Reneau, President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize also spoke about the benefits of an educational seminar. He said that the holistic training on all facets of labor administration blends with local and international commitments; assisting Belizeans to maintain favorable and harmonious industrial relations.

Mrs. Pearl Stuart the Trailblazer of the Week
This week on Trailblazer Tuesdays the Special Envoy for Women and Children recognized Mrs. Pearl Stuart for her tireless work on behalf of Belizeans living in Western United States. Mrs. Pearl Stuart, born in Dangriga Town, spent her teen years in Belize City where she started her secondary education at St. Catherine’s Academy and completed it at West Philadelphia Catholic High School in the United States, placing second honors in a school of 8000 students. Mrs. Stuart graduated from Holy Family College with a major in education. Her first job was as a 4th grade (Standard II) teacher in United States elementary school – Our Lady of Victory in Philadelphia. She was the wife of the first Honorary Counsel (unpaid, part time), Paul Warren and supported his work in facilitating Los Angeles based Belizeans and visitors to Belize. This work was done out of their home. The support was provided because of the large number of Belizeans who had settled in the California area.

Orange Walk Central Held its Mother’s Day Event
On the 25th of April the Orange Walk Central UDP Committee held its meeting to plan an event to celebrate the mothers of the constituency. All were very motivated with the plan and everyone started working on their responsibilities. On the 11th of May it was felt and seen that Denny Grijalva is indeed the man for Orange Walk Central he and the UDP Orange Walk Central committee held a massive Mother’s Day Event at the People’s Stadium. There were over Six hundred mothers in attendance. The event commenced at 3:00 p.m and the evening was filled with joy and entertainment. The mothers were serenaded by Captain Roby, Christy Grijalva and many more local artist. The moms participated in several games such as musical chairs, dancing contest and other enjoyable games just to name a few. Throughout the event there were raffles for excellent prizes and gifts were issued to four of the eldest mothers in attendance with ages ranging from 80 to 86 years old. A gift was also given to the youngest mother who is 14 years old. Over a hundred gifts were issued and each mother received a precious corsage. They were also treated to snacks and refreshments.

Orange Walk East Celebrates Mother’s Day
Elodio Aragon Jr. treated hundreds of mothers in the Orange Walk East constituency to Mother’s Day programs as well as gifts to celebrate the occasion. Aragon was able to do this after he secured assistance from the business community in his constituency. The assistance was readily forthcoming because most everyone in the area sees Aragon as a young, active and dynamic representative for the area. He is at this point the Standard Bearer for the UDP and even without being elected he has been able to do so much for the division. He was able to visit all villages of the constituency and bring some form of celebration and gifts to the mothers of the various villages and areas of the division. Aragon told the Guardian that this kind of personal touch is what he will be known for where representatives not only sit in high offices but rather come down to the people and show appreciation and ensure that things are made better for them.

Investigations heighten on Hospital Administrator
Nasley Sommerville, the Administrator of the Southern Regional Hospital, located outside of Dangriga Town, has currently come under the heavy scrutiny of an inquiry by the Public Service Commission following an audit done by the Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley. The preliminary findings of this audit suggested that she misappropriated $366,468.88 from the hospital’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) bank account. The Auditor General and her investigative team are currently in possession of 181 cheques used to cash some $352,000 out of the account. Based on their findings, they believe Sommerville abused her authority as administrator over a period 45 months from January 2010 to October 2013 and withdrew money from the MCH account from the Belize Bank Dangriga Branch. They suspect that she used 41 of those 181 cheques to cash out $81,316 which ended up in her Scotia bank account, number 12465 – 44685, which is where her government salary is currently being deposited. They also suspected that 5 cheques from the group were made out to herself as cash in which she managed to get her hands on $9,915 from the account.

Hon. Gaspar Vega and Wife meet the Pope
On April 24, Pope Francis was the co-celebrant in a mass at Rome’s St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish where Jose de Anchieta was canonized. St. Jose de Anchieta founded several Brazilian cities, including Sao Paulo. He was born in Spain’s Canary Islands in 1534 and studied at the Jesuit College at Coimbra in Portugal. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1550 and arrived in Brazil three years later. He built hospitals and educational institutions, with a primary focus on helping to teach and defend indigenous Brazilians, and served as the Jesuit superior in Brazil for 10 years. He died June 9, 1597. Also recognized as saints were Francois de Laval and Marie of the Incarnation.

Dangriga Warriors pulls off upset in National Elite Basketball Tournament
The 2014 National Elite Basketball League competition continued over the last week with five games on the schedule. On Thursday May 8 at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan, the host team Belmopan Point Bandits defeated the visiting Belize City No Limit by the score of 71-59. The top scorers for the Belmopan Point Bandits were Adam Carswell with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal, Christian Rodriguez with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals and Stephen Williams with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal. Meanwhile, the top scorers for the Belize City No Limit Team were Brandon Rogers with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal, Gregory Rudon with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals, and Brian White with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals. On Friday at the Multi-Purpose Complex in Orange Walk Town, the visiting Corozal Heats defeated the home team Orange Walk Running Rebels by the score of 71-55.

Kaya Cattouse and Brandon Cattouse capture Pablo Marin Cycling Classic
The Annual Pablo Marin Labour Day Cycling Classic was held on Thursday May 1, 2014 in Corozal. In the Elite Category, first place went to Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray Road Addikz, second place went to Nissana Arana of Predators Belize and third place went to Giovanni Choto of C-ray road Addikz. In the female category, first place went to Kaya Cattouse of Smart C-Ray, second place went to Patricia Chavarria of BECOL, and third place went to Alicia Thompson of Belize Bank. In the junior category, first place went to Zamir Guerra of Cayo High Road, second place went to Delon Gentle of BECOL Uprising and third place went to Zahir Figueroa of BELCOL Uprising.

Belmopan Bandits eyes national football title
The Closing Season for the Premier League of Belize Belikin Cup entered its championship round on Saturday May 10 at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium between the defending champion the Belmopan Bandits and former champions Police United. In the first game of the series, the defending champions the Belmopan Bandits blanked the visiting Police United by the score of 3-0. The first half of the game ended in a 0-0 draw. It was not until the second half of the game that the Belmopan Bandits were able to get onto the scoreboard. The first goal of the game was scored by Jerome James in the 53rd minutes of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The lead was further increased when James scored his 2nd goal of the game in the 60th minute of play for a 2-0 lead. The final goal of the game was scored by Denmark Casey Jr. in the 67th minute of play for the 3-0 victory.

FFB President’s Cup tournament continues
The Football Federation of Belize President’s Cup continued over the last week with a number of games across the country. On Saturday May 10, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, Sagitun blanked Pomona United by the score of 5-0. The goals for Sagitun were scored by Ashley Torres, Dillon Torres, Ernie White and Myron Cadle. On Sunday May 11, at the Louisiana Field in Orange Walk Town, Progresso FC defeated Belize District Stars by the score of 5-3. The goals for the Progresso FC were scored by Jaron Myvette, Hugo Castillo, Gabriel Perez and Alexander Diaz, while the goals for the Belize District Stars were scored by Brian Martinez, David MacCaulay and Dalton Cayetano.

Holy Redeemer boys and Belize Elementary girls lead in Belize City primary schools volleyball competition
The 2013-2014 Belize City Primary Schools Volleyball competition continued on Tuesday May 13, 2014 at Bird’s Isle in Belize City. In the first of five games played in the boys’ category, Trinity Methodist School defeated Wesley Upper School in two sets by the score of 25-21 and 25-21. In game two, St. Ignatius School won over St. Martin De Porres School in two sets by the score of 25-9 and 25-22. In the third boys’ game of the day, Hummingbird Elementary School defeated Queen Street Baptist School in three straight sets by the score of 25-22, 14-25 and 15-3. In game four, it was Wesley Upper School winning over All Saints’ Anglican School by the score of 25-7 and 25-17. And in the final boys’ game, it was St. John’s Primary School winning over St. Martin De Porres School by the score of 25-9 and 25-9.

Huge Mayan City Found Near Mexico and Belize Border Line!
According to Mexican Newspapers the Archaeologists from the National Institue of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) (INAH) confirmed today that there is an Ancient Mayan City aproximated to be about 84 acres and is located in the jungles around the border line of Quintana Roo and Belize. The Ancient Mayan City was named Noh Kah, meaning Large City, and is believed to have existed more than one thousand five hundred years ago. In a statement released, INAH claim that with the assistance of members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa, specialists were able to perform a topographic survey of the Ancient Mayan City which is covered by the forest on the bank of the Rio Hondo. Noh Kah is located about 7 miles from the Belize / Mexican Border line and about 37 miles away from the city of Chetumal. Members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa first discovered the Ancient Mayan City when they found a huge wall made of stone and covered in vines hanging over the side which for them was clear that it was evidence of an Ancient City that had been eaten by the jungle long ago. According to archeologists there is data showing that Noh Kan existed since the Early Period (250 – 600 AD). The institute also reported that for the past two years, specialists from the National School of Anthropology and History (Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia) (ENAH) in coordination with the National Institue of Anthropology and History (INAH) managed to collect various ceramic materials. According to archaeologist Javier Lopez Camacho who is in charge of the survey, Noh Kah belongs to a very important area of Quintana Roo, which is the bank of the Rio Hondo River located adjacent to the country of Belize where monumental sites are extended with data relevant the historical reconstruction of what is now known as Dzibanche and Kohunlich as well as others. Noh Kah may even provide knowledge about the influence of the Kaan Dynasty in Southern Quintana Roo as they have found glyphs of a serpents head similar to ones found at Mayan Sites such as El Resbalon, Dzibanche, Pol Box and even at Los Alacranes in Campeche. According to archaeologist Javier Lopez Camacho there are a total of six smaller cities located inside the huge city of Noh Kah which have been named:
According to Mexican Newspapers the Archaeologists from the National Institue of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) (INAH) confirmed today that there is an Ancient Mayan City aproximated to be about 84 acres and is located in the jungles around the border line of Quintana Roo and Belize. The Ancient Mayan City was named Noh Kah, meaning Large City, and is believed to have existed more than one thousand five hundred years ago. In a statement released, INAH claim that with the assistance of members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa, specialists were able to perform a topographic survey of the Ancient Mayan City which is covered by the forest on the bank of the Rio Hondo. Noh Kah is located about 7 miles from the Belize / Mexican Border line and about 37 miles away from the city of Chetumal. Members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa first discovered the Ancient Mayan City when they found a huge wall made of stone and covered in vines hanging over the side which for them was clear that it was evidence of an Ancient City that had been eaten by the jungle long ago. According to archeologists there is data showing that Noh Kan existed since the Early Period (250 – 600 AD).

Drugs to treat Pneumonia need to remain strong
The recent death of Josepha Aragon on May 2nd at number 51 George Price Avenue in Santa Elena Town, Cayo due to Pulmonary Tuberculosis brings to sharp focus, the importance of having a wide variety of effective antibiotics to treat the infections caused by the bacterium Mycobaterium tuberculosis. However; medical records show that the elderly Josepha Aragon was also suffering from malnutrition, which greatly compromised the ability of her immune system to counteract and stem the spread of the M. tuberculosis. (Husband of the deceased, 93 year old Valerio Aragon, who is blind, lost his Social Security benefits last year for unknown reasons and now lives in poverty conditions.) The ability for specialists to treat Pneumonia and other conditions is becoming more difficult over time. This is as a result of the evolution of resistant strains; a natural phenomenon that occurs when microorganisms replicate themselves erroneously or when resistant traits are exchanged between them. But now those tendencies towards resistance by these microorganisms are raising great concerns around the Globe.

Teenager dies in Traffic Accident
Evan Garnett Jr., the 19 year-old grandson of Amandala Newspaper Publisher Evan X Hyde, died in a terrible car crash on Saturday Morning, May 10. Garnett reportedly went socializing with his friends on Friday night, and sometime after 4 a.m., he was driving back home to his house at Los Lagos. At mile 11 on the Philip Goldson Highway, he lost control of his vehicle and veered into the opposite lane, and off to the opposite shoulder of the road. His white Honda Accord car slammed into an old bus parked on the side of the road. The impact was massive and his car’s roof was shorn off in the aftermath. Police believe that Garnett died almost instantly from the collision.

Ministry of Health Commemorates Nurses Week, May 11-16, 2014
The Ministry of Health joins the International Council of Nurses and all nurses across the country in celebration of Nurses’ Week, May 11-16, 2014 and International Nurses Day on May 12th, 2014. This year, Nurses Week is being celebrated under the theme: “Nurses: A Force for Change. A Vital Resource for Health”. Most health regions across the country have planned a weeklong series of activities including church services, trainings, social events, health awareness in schools and publicity appearances on media shows. The main activity will be the National Nurses Conference to be held this Friday, May 16th in Dangriga Town. Deputy Director of Health Services for Nursing, Matron Augustina Elijio shared remarks on the occasion with all nurses in Belize - “We are in a world of constant change, and responding to these changes is difficult if are to take only a local approach. As nurses, it is mandatory that we remain committed as the patient is the source of control in Nursing.”

Patrick Jones

Family of murdered PG woman holds demonstration, calls for justice
Family and friends of slain Punta Gorda resident Janice Vargas staged a demonstration this morning in front of the PG Magistrate’s Court. The protest was held even while police were preparing to question a man who the authorities believe could help them to solve the early Mother’s Day murder. Police issued a photograph of Kenner Trapp on Tuesday, asking the public for help in locating him as their investigation was ongoing. On Wednesday evening, Trapp turned himself in to PG police.

5 Fun Things to do in Belize this Summer 2014
From diving the great blue hole to exploring Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, one of the most sacred caves in the world, here are 5 things that will certainly immerse you in the beauty and wonder of Belize this summer. The Great Blue Hole, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM Cave), Annual Placencia Lobsterfest, Kayaking in Belize

Majority decision of Court of Appeal returns BTL to GOB
The Court of Appeal today handed down its long-awaited judgment in the cases of the Attorney General and Minister of Public Utilities versus British Caribbean Bank, BTL Employees’ Trust and Fortis Energy International. In summary, the Government won all three appeals, gaining a greater hold on Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and keeping that which it retains on Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), which previously were theirs only a provision in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution upheld at the Supreme Court level by Justice Oswell Legall which vested them in the control of the Government and people of Belize. But both sides are now looking forward to a final determination of the case before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Senior police officers receive overdue promotions
There have been complaints from the rank and file of the Police Department that certain officers are being favored with promotions and the attendant perks. CEO in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell made it clear that there are no such favorites of either Commissioner Allen Whylie or Minister John Saldivar, as in the case of officers above the rank of Inspector the Security Services Commission makes the decisions and the Commissioner, aided by the results of examinations and other criteria, does so for the junior ranks. But the CEO did confirm that some senior officers have in fact had their promotions to ranks they now hold confirmed and a list of recommended promotees is before the Commission.

BDF soldiers leave streets of Belize City
Belize City residents may have noticed that there are no Belize Defence Force soldiers on the streets as there have been previously, conspicuously standing next to police officers in crime-ridden areas. That has been so since April 30 of this year, putting an end to 20 years of extra domestic duty for the national army. It’s comparable to the draw-down of American and British soldiers leaving Iraq and Afghanistan except that those are international conflicts and not internal. CEO in the Ministry of National Security Retired Colonel George Lovell confirmed the shift in speaking with reporters today. He said that while the days of soldiers keeping watch in crime-ridden areas of Belize City may not be fully over, it has been decided to remove them except for special occasions like holidays, when a smaller force will be deployed in a support capacity to Police.

Public Service holds Information Day
The Ministry of the Public Service is honoring the work of public officers this week and today in Belize City at the BTL Park there was a Public Service Information Fair in which departments of all stripes and colours were showcasing their work to visitors including students. The Public Service are the functionaries of the various Ministries, responsible for carrying out the day to day activities of the Government of Belize. Activities for the week continue including awards to long-standing public officials.

Christian Ebanks charged for unlicensed firearm
A naturalized Belizean who is reportedly wanted in Ecuador for murder has been picked up – and as a bonus, police recovered an unlicensed firearm at his property. 39 year old businessman Christian Ebanks appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano today where he pleaded not guilty to keeping a firearm without a gun license. Officers of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) visited Ebanks’ residence on Teacher Street Extension in West Landivar around 12:30 p.m. and upon searching the house found a chrome 9mm handgun with black pistol grip in a plastic bag hidden inside the lower portion of a stove in the kitchen.

The May 2014 - June 2014 issue of The BELIZE AG REPORT is online.
Click HERE to download the PDF

This Issue's Stories:

  • Stubeef Jerky Returns To the Delight of Former Customers: Although still a young man, Stuart Doley has been making jerky for decades. Growing up in Virginia (USA), he made venison jerky from deer that he hunted. In university he continued refining his recipes and techniques making jerky in a small dehydrator for himself and friends. It is not surprising that soon after his arrival in Belize in 2010 he was at it again, turning local grassfed beef into beef jerky. Using Running W meats he tested the local market under the trade name STUBEEF JERKY. Just as his market here was taking off, Stuart detoured to Barcelona, Spain for an MBA degree. He and his Belizean fiancé returned to Cayo District early in 2013 to tie the knot and revive and expand STUBEEF JERKY. In fall of 2013 their Belize City processing facility, including equipment enabling production of up to 100 lbs. of jerky a week, opened for business. Meats destined for jerky must be lean; wild meats such as venison, known for its lack of marbling is ideal but is not sufficiently available locally. After trying several cuts of beef, testing for texture, tenderness, leanness and flavor, Stuart decided Running W’s fresh grass-fed round steak best fits his criteria. The steak is custom cut into pieces of 1/8th inch thickness across the grain and all excess fat is trimmed. Fats are not desirable in jerky, as they increase rancidity risk. Stuart’s secret blend of spices and seasonings are mixed with soy sauce, sugar, salt and sodium and placed into a vacuum tumbler. Only natural preservatives are used. 40 lbs. of the meat pieces are added to the mixture already inside the cylindrical stainless steel container. The top is sealed shut, the vacuum tube is attached and in just a few minutes the vacuum pump sucks all of the air out of the cylinder. The sealed cylinder is placed horizontally onto rollers which rotate the container on top of the machine. In 30 minutes all of the marinade is absorbed into the meat.
  • TO THE EDITOR: ORGANIC….What does that really mean? Having been involved in organic agriculture for many years, I believe that ‘organic’ is more than just agriculture; it is a commitment to a lifestyle. ‘Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food’, quoting Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, known as ‘the father of modern medicine’. Decades of research has established the definite link between illness and diet. The counter-culture of the ‘back to the land’ generation of the 1960s, turned into the organic agriculture industry of the 1970’s until our present day. But does eating only food grown without synthetic chemicals tell the whole story? Why does organic food cost more? Because it is more labor intensive. Is the extra cost worth the extra benefits? Are you in perfect health? Do you take any man made medicines? However, eating only organic food is not the entire answer to being healthful. We are subjected to chemical toxins in our bath soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, cleaning agents and cosmetics to name just a few.
  • It’s time to run the citrus industry as a business.: Ten years ago, when the Comonwealth Development Corporation handed over the citrus processing plants (Del Oro) to the Belize citrus industry, for $1, the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) was seen as a responsible conduit to handle the shares on behalf of Belizean citrus growers. Since then, the CGA has divested itself of 59% of those shares for various reasons. The rights or wrongs of these decisions can be argued from different points of view. The fact still remains that growers now own only 41% of the shares. It is time to remove totally these shares from the control of CGA and proportionally place them in individual growers names based on production. This will remove the ability of CGA to use these shares for some other scheme which will have no benefit to growers directly. Since the control of the processing has been in CGA hands, citrus production has declined dramatically to the lowest ever recorded last year, and growers delivering fruit have declined from approx. 1000 to 384 last year. Small growers production has declined from over one million boxes to less than half a million. So clearly, the ownership of the processing has not benefited growers in any way. As regards prices, we still receive less than half what USA growers receive, despite the fact that the processing factory invested four years ago in the equipment to produce consumer ready packs of fresh orange juice which sell for a much higher price and would have led to growers receiving almost double what the factory currently pays.
  • Roots and Shoots Mini Ag Fair in Consejo, Corozal: A small local garden club called Roots and Shoots is a special interest group with members from around the Corozal area. Most of our members have simple gardens, grow flowers, shrubs and fruit trees, and some have small vegetable gardens, and a few have small farms. The club meets every second Monday to discuss various topics of gardening in the tropics, listen to an invited speaker or member of the club or visit members’ gardens. Our club has had many field trips to Cayo, Toledo, Stan Creek and Orange Walk Districts visiting nurseries and farms. We’ve also attended The National Agriculture Fair in Belmopan and Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) Organic Fair in Punta Gorda. On 31 March 2014, Roots and Shoots held our very own 1st Annual Mini Ag Fair at the Consejo Shores Community Center, Corozal District, just 6 miles north of Corozal Town. It was a great success -- thanks to all the organizing and hard work of one of our leading members, Beverley Griffiths. We had a very large turnout of members and guests. We had a number of interesting presenters: John Masson, Pandora Canton and Nana Mensah with Yasmin Ramirez from SHI -- who traveled to be with us from as far away as Belize City and Punta Gorda.
  • Citrus Greening in Belize: Currently Belize has about 42,000 acres of land devoted to citrus groves. Over the last couple of years, Huang Long Bin (HLB) – yellow shoot disease or citrus greening - has caused several thousand acres of groves to be abandoned and now less than 400 citrus farmers are active. This is down from a high of about 1,000 + farmers a few years ago. According to the schoolmen, the disease is caused by a bacterium that inhabits the phloem (energy conducting tissues) of the tree and so far has affected all citrus varieties. The bacterium is transmitted by an insect pest called the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorinacitri. No data exists to show that the disease is transmitted by tools, wind, rain, or human interaction. According to the experts no cure exists for the HLB disease and only two solutions can work. The first is to cut down all infected trees and burn everything, then plant new trees from greenhouses that were freed of the Asian citrus psyllid. It is very expensive at some Bz$ 3,500 per acre. The other alternative is to wait and pray that soon the results of genetic engineering of citrus trees will produce citrus trees that are resistant to the Asian citrus psyllid. A new twist being tried by the CGA is to release “beneficial’ insects in the groves to attack and destroy the Asian citrus psyllid. This new approach is to buy time so that in the next two-three years the growers can be able to import GMO citrus trees from Florida.
  • 2014 International Year of Family Farming Lots of Positive Change for the Future: The United Nations has designated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming bringing attention to the importance of family farmers, including smallholder farmers, and their role in helping to nourish the world. The celebration is also aptly timed; it is reported that nearly 900 million people go to bed hungry every night and the global population is expected to reach more than nine billion people by the year 2050. The world will need to not only increase agricultural production, but to engage in agricultural practices that are more efficient and environmentally sustainable. Smallholder farmers are in a unique position to contribute to the global food supply, but empowering smallholder and family farmers is a vital step toward improving nutrition, increasing incomes, protecting and enhancing biodiversity, enhancing soil quality, conserving water, and mitigating and adapting to climate change. Equally important as the goal of feeding the world is the necessity of growing more nutrient-dense crops. All farmers can have a direct impact on nutrition through the crops that they choose to grow and consume, as well as through postharvest and preparation methodologies they use.
  • BEYOND THE BACK YARD: By Jenny Wildman “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside”: People ask me, “What is your favourite thing that grows in your garden?” Without hesitation I say, “Asparagus” which surprises them - that it actually grows here in the tropics. I walk out most mornings and check the patch in hopes of a few delicate shoots to eat, raw and delicious. For me this is the best way and feels very healthy as it is rich in all kinds of nutritious vitamins, A, C, E, B12 and K, plus minerals and antioxidants. It is low in calories with no fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium. First off I always consider what it can do for one’s health. It is a good source of fiber, a natural diuretic, improves mental ability, contains glutathione known to break down carcinogens and therefore fights and protects against cancer and aging. There are innumerable case studies on the benefits of asparagus. People have criticized its very pungent aroma and its effect on the body yet memorably some like Dr. Urbino in Marquez’ “Love in the Time of Cholera” welcome the effects on the urine which he insisted on spraying on his beloved garden. I have only a small patch so really never get to cooking bunches from the garden. I grew this from a crown given to me from a friend who successfully grows rows and rows in Corozal District. I probably broke all the planting rules but like me, the asparagus plant originates from a maritime location and loves sand, sea and salt -which could explain why the useless sandy nature of my land is blessed with my favourite vegetable.
  • Bananas in Danger: TR4 Panama Disease: The next time you bite into a banana, take a moment to savor the delicious treat. With its sweet, consistent taste and creamy texture, it is no wonder that bananas are the world’s most popular fruit. What most do not realize as they are peeling away its golden skin to devour the scrumptious pulp is that bananas are in danger. A serious fungal disease threatens to devastate the world-wide banana industry. The culprit: Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense, which causes Fusarium wilt or Panama disease, particularly Tropical Race 4. According to ProMusa, an organization dedicated to promoting banana industry news and science, the fungus survives in the soil and “enters the plant through the roots and colonizes the xylem vessels thereby blocking the flow of water and nutrients.” Once water flow is obstructed, the plant’s leaves wilt, its base splits open, and the plant later dies. This is not the first time banana producers have had to deal with Panama disease. Initial reports of the original fungus were noted in 1874 in Southeast Asia. The disease was identified and researched as it began taking a devastating toll on the Gros Michel banana, which was the common commercially-produced banana. By the 1890s, the disease had reached Central America and proceeded to spread, wiping out plantations.
  • TAMARIND: The tamarind tree is a leguminous tree (a tree which bears pods). Tamarind fruit in pods, or hulled is available in farmers’ markets around Belize from January – April. The tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica), a member of the Fabaceae family, is an evergreen tree which has become increasingly popular in Belize and Central America. Other names for the tamarind tree include: Indian date (tamar-hindi), or tamarindo. The origin of this leguminous tree is in East Africa, particularly in the Sudan where the tree grows wild. The fruit was well-known to the ancient Egyptians, and also to the Greeks as far back the fourth-century B.C. Its origin is also traced to India where is it well-known and prolifically cultivated. Taiwan, southern Asia, Oceana, China as well as most tropical countries world-wide produce tamarinds. Marco Polo introduced tamarinds to Europe in 1298. Tamarind trees were introduced in Mexico in the sixteenth century. Mexico presently cultivates over 10,000 acres of tamarinds. If you enjoy Worcestershire sauce or Marie Sharp’s Special Sauce, you may be surprised to know one of the main ingredients is tangy, sweet and sour tamarind syrup. Tamarind trees have many uses including: culinary, medicinal, carpentry, as a metal polish, as an ornamental shade tree, animal fodder, and as mulch. Tamarind trees are showy and elegant; they produce a magnificent canopy of year-round foliage. Trees can reach up to one hundred feet tall with graceful branches spreading over forty feet across. Some trees are known to survive and produce fruit for two hundred years!
  • World Market Prices for Citrus Growers: Last year, according to figures from Citrus Products of Belize, Ltd. (CPBL), 385 growers delivered fruit to the processing facility. Orange production was 4 M cxs from a claimed 30,000 acres with an average of 130 cxs per acre. The industry has never achieved an average of 400 cxs per acre. When we delivered 7 M cxs from 40,000 acres, 8 years ago, the average was 175 cxs per acre. Some few groves had production of 400 cxs per acre. It was never an industry wide figure, as low prices prevented growers from affording the necessary inputs. Even with the same inputs our harvest figures for Valencia are different depending on rootstock. Our 18 year old Valencia are on Sour Orange rootstock; the average production is 350 cxs per acre. Fifteen years ago we were advised by the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) that trees grafted on to Sour Orange would be dead in 5 years and that we should use Swingle rootstock instead. But our 15 year old Valencia on Swingle rootstock averages only 30 cxs per acre and are dying. There is never one simple cause to the problems in agriculture. The decline in citrus production over the past 5 years is a combination of the greening disease, faulty rootstocks and, particularly, low prices to growers. For years, Belizean citrus growers have been paid prices which are much lower than world market prices for citrus juices. The citrus processors in Belize have traditionally produced citrus concentrates, which sell for much lower prices on the world market than the ready-to-drink juices produced in consumer ready packs, such as the “Tetra Pak”. These types of packs have the advantage that they can be distributed and stored without the need for refrigeration.
  • Soil Conditioners: Previous articles in the Belize Ag Report have addressed the need for soil amendments which are those things added to soils to make up a deficiency or to improve the quality of soils. They include a wide range of organic and non-organic materials with different effects. This article deals with soil conditioners or beneficially changing the soil. A soil conditioner is a type of amendment that is added mostly to improve the soil’s physical qualities and thereby enhance the chemical properties, especially the ability to retain moisture and provide food for plants. Soil conditioners improve poor soils, rebuild damaged soils, and can be used to maintain soils in peak condition. Organic soil conditioners include plant and animal wastes –compost, biochar, bone, blood and fish meal, peat, coir (coconut husk), manure, straw, vermiculite, sulfur, lime, blood meal, compost tea, hydroabsorbent polymers and sphagnum moss and even some mineral fertilizers, such as ammonium sulphate, that leave acidic residues, or calcitic and magnesic fertilizers that leave basic residues. The possibility of using other materials to assume the role of composts and clays in improving the soil gave rise to the term, soil conditioning. Soil Structure. The most common use of soil conditioners is to improve looseness while having good soil structure. Depending on compaction, soils impede root growth and decrease the ability of plants to take up nutrients and water. Soil conditioners can add more airiness and improve texture ratios to keep the soil loose as well as reduce harmful chemical effects such as too high or too low pH.
  • BEL-CAR Updates: A good market for beans should continue in 2014. Beans were still being harvested in late April, finishing approximately 2 weeks later than normal due to the excessive rains which delayed planting time. The later beans, black eyes and RKs, have slightly better yields than the earlier beans. This yield variation may be due to the dryness at the critical podding time for the earlier beans, rather than rains. Sales this season for beans appear bright, as there is a world shortage of beans. The US Dry Bean Council is advising US farmers to plant 15-20% more beans; however the reality is that the US is projected to be planting less due to a seed shortage. There have even been inquiries from the US to Belize seeking to purchase RK seeds here. Similar seed shortages are reported in Central America but not in Belize. Here, generally farmers save their own RKs for planting the following season; however they are encouraged to purchase certified seed every 4 or 5 years. Due to the lateness of this year’s crop, Belize was forced to import one container (50,000 lbs.) of RKs in December. Jamaica was also totally out of RKs to start the new year, due to shipping problems. Beans were ready but ships were too full to take our beans there. After this was remedied, the pendulum swung to create a glut of beans in Jamaica. There is a chance to over-export beans this year with the world shortage, but BEL-CAR monitors carefully to avoid a local shortage. Corn is stable at present on the Chicago market, but is expected to climb as demand in the world is rising.
  • Bird Watch – From My Perch: By Marguerite Fly Bevis Endangered Species: Although Belize boasts at least 444 species of birds, the Scarlet Macaw (Aramacaocyanoptera) is one of the most beautiful and one of the most threatened birds in the jewel. Scarlet Macaws have survived the tragic flooding of their habitat by dams built in the mid 2000’s. In 1989 there were about 200 known Scarlet Macaws in the country. Today, there may be 200 to 250 birds. They remain at threat due to the incursion of poachers who steal chicks and cut down nesting trees. Scarlet Macaws are already extirpated in most of Central America. Funding is needed for patrolling, fuel, supplies for the conservation teams working in very remote locations within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. Due to monitoring and protection efforts of the Friends for Conservation (FCN), the “Scarlet Six,”a group dedicated to protecting this important species, and individuals, Sharon Matola of the Belize Zoo, Dr Isabelle Paquet-Durand of the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic, Charles Britt, Kristi Drexler, Roni Martinez and many others, poaching in recent years has dropped from 90% to 30% according to a monitoring team in 2013. U.S. citizens can make tax deductible donations to the Rainforest Rescue Foundation, specifying the funds to be allocated to the Belize Scarlet Macaw project.
  • Results Of The 2014 Fourth Annual Bird-A-Thon: The Bird-a-Thon is held annually with the goal of raising $15,000. Expect to see many more lodges and individual teams participating next year in March. You can help by sponsoring one of the teams or lodges, donating per species or per eagle, or just give anything you wish. Please feel free to contact me with birding news and conservation efforts
  • BLPA Works to Address Membership Needs: Following a successful AGM the end of February, BLPA has buckled down following through on ongoing projects and expanding into new areas. At the AGM, one new director was added, Mr. Albert Moore, of Cayo District. Officers for the new board will be reported in issue 26. Prices for finished steers/bulls and prices for breeding heifers continue their upward climb. (See pg. 14 for charts showing Belize cattle prices over the past 5 yrs.) The market outlook for cattle production in Belize continues to look very bright. The Cattle Sweep: The second round of the sweep is almost completed in the Northern Districts of Orange Walk and Corozal. Work in the central zone will begin on May 17th. Restructuring: BLPA is undergoing analysis to see how best to revise itself to better serve members. Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is assisting in that task, and sent Dr. Carlos Pomareda, an experienced livestock consultant and rancher himself, from Costa Rica to Belize.
  • Pesticides Control Board Pesticide Imports Statistics April 2014: The Pesticides Control Board over the past years has been gathering data on the importation of pesticides in Belize. Since 2006, the focus has been on having the database reflect the quantities imported expressed in kilograms of Active Ingredient (kg of A.I.). The following is a report on the pesticides imported into Belize between 2010 to 2013. Figure 1 shows the total amount of pesticide imported between 2010 to 2013. This includes the following pesticide classifications: domestic, agricultural, industrial and public health use. There was a slight increase between 2010 to 2013 from seven hundred and thirty metric tons to one thousand and ninety three metric tons of Active Ingredients.
  • HOMEMADE HEALTH FERMENTED FOOD: The frequent use of antibiotics and antibacterial soaps results in a depleted supply of “good bacteria”in our gut which we need to effectively get nutrients from our food. We hear about probiotics and buy expensive tablets to counteract the effects of taking antibiotics. A healthier approach is fermented food; it helps to restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal system while being tasty and interesting and full of nutrition. Fermentation helps pre-digest food before we consume it. Foods that are difficult to digest are more easily broken down after fermentation. In some cases micro-nutrients are synthesized during the fermentation process. For example, cabbage that has been fermented has known cancer fighting compounds. These foods are rich in enzymes which are needed to digest, absorb, and utilize the nutrients in our food. They help us to absorb the nutrients we’re consuming. Lacto-fermented food is easy and inexpensive to prepare; foods like sauerkraut and pickled cucumbers provide the same benefits as purchased probiotics. Fermentation is a good way to preserve foods, increase nutritional value and improve taste without spending a lot of money. There was a workshop on fermenting foods at the Caves Branch Jungle Lodge in January 2014. Instructors were expert artisan cheese makers from Vermont, Larry & Linda Faillace, who also periodically teach courses in cheese making at Caves Branch Jungle Lodge.
  • Spanish Lookout Commercial /Industrial Expo 2014: Most of the steady stream of traffic heading for Spanish Lookout on February 28 and March 1 must have been going to the Expo held there. The park and huge covered pavilion were teeming with people. Friday’s crowd numbered 4,000, many of which were students; Saturday’s crowd was 11,000, greater than the previous Expo held in 2012. People came from all over the country to view the displays and products of the 100 exhibitors, enjoy the wonderful food and fun on buggy rides, boat rides, tractor rides, ATV rides, trampolines and in the bounce house. The agricultural and commercial exhibitors were from all over the country. A big livestock exhibition was planned but ended up very limited because the dates of the Expo coincided with the country-wide Cattle Sweep program, in which cattle were being examined and certified to be free of disease. If you haven’t attended Expo before, look forward to attending the next one in 2016.
  • Honey: Nutritional Facts and Medical Uses: Honey has been consumed by humans for over 10,000 years. It is the only food from insects that we eat. Honey is derived from the nectar of flowers, which is gathered by the female, or worker bee and stored in her honey sac for transportation to the hive. While obtaining the nectar, pollen from the flower is gathered on the two hind legs of the bee. During the course of the day, a bee may make as many as 25 trips gathering nectar and pollen, but will only visit one type of flower. This phenomenon is known as flower fidelity and is nature’s way of not confusing the pollination issue. Upon her returns to the hive, she is greeted by guards who identify her as a member of the colony and allow her entrance. She then passes her partially digested nectar to another worker or deposits the nectar in an empty cell in the wax foundation. The pollen is deposited in a cell and softened with water to a paste. This pollen paste, a source of protein, is used for rearing the brood. The complex sugar (sucrose) is converted to simpler sugars (glucose and fructose) to which are added enzymes. Water, which in the beginning stage of honey is the dominate component, is evaporated by the bees fanning the honey with their wings. Less water content allows the product to better resist spoiling. Good honey contains only about 18% water or less.
  • : Local and Regional Fuel Prices
  • Agriculture Prices at a Glance- $$$$$: Find local and some international commodity prices on our Agriculture Prices at a Glance section.
  • Ag Briefs: New Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, (IICA) Country Representative to Belize, The Chocolate Festival of Belize, Russia already has GMO labeling required for all foods with greater than 0.9% GMO, and other GMO-related news.
  • Letters To THE EDITOR


Cancun to Toronto via Newark
After a yummy breakfast of scrambled eggs with veggies, cheese and homemade chipotle sauce at the Kumar’s it was time to bust a move. We got to the airport in good time and the first thing Paul did was to hit Starbucks for iced frappe’s. Our travel route was flying from Cancun to Toronto via Newark. We got in line and check in at United and the woman at the counter noticed that we had arrived in Mexico over land, so we had to duck out of line to go over to an Immigration kiosk to get our Mexican Immigration form stamped. She told us to just pop straight back to her when that was done. We did get a few dirty looks from folks that were still waiting in line when we cut in front of them all. Flying out of Cancun instead of Belize saved us $200 usd per ticket.

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

“SOS” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
I’m now in to the forth week of my holiday here on Ambergris Caye with Rose (she’s the really nice one) and John (he shouts at me sometimes) and I must say that I’ve had a thoroughly nice time and I’m pretty well convinced that I want to come back and live here permanently when my Dad, Frank, moves to Germany for his next posting with the British Army. I think I’ve done enough to make them want me to come back. For a start when they let me sleep inside at night I immediately stopped scratching the front door. I didn’t enjoy causing damage like that but the doleful eyes just didn’t do the trick when they decided it was time for bed. They were very dogmatic about it until I ‘hit’ on the door idea. They were determined but so was I. See, doggedness does pay off! I’ve now got virtually a free rein of the place. I’m not allowed in the kitchen and Rose has put a ‘no go’ sign on the floor to remind me and I’m not allowed in their bedroom.

BRICS countries facing increasing political risk says Aon
Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), today unveiled its 2014 Political Risk Map which identifies an increased risk rating for all five emerging market BRICS countries. As a result, countries representing a large share of global output experienced a broad-based increase in political risk including political violence, government interference and sovereign non-payment risk. Brazil’s rating was downgraded; political risks have been increasing from moderate levels as economic weakness has increased the role of the government in the economy. This is of particular concern given this year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Russia’s rating was downgraded largely due to recent developments with the Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Political strains and focus on geopolitical issues have exacerbated an already weak operating environment for business and exchange transfer risks have increased following the risk of new capital controls. Russia’s economy continues to be dominated by the government, so economic policy deadlock has brought growth to a standstill and with it an increase in the risk of political violence.

How to open an Offshore Bank account in Belize
It seems that Belize is most popular for two reasons, one, the Great Blue Hole and two, Offshore Banking. At least that’s what I often get when I introduce myself to strangers in the US or Canada. Here’s how it usually goes: “Oh you’re from Belize, my friends have been there, the weather is lovely and the diving is superb – they spent a lot of time on the beach town of Ambergris and crossed the Blue Hole off their bucket list”, or “Oooh Belize, hmm, can you give me some information on how to get an offshore bank account there?” When I’m asked the latter, most people jokingly laugh concluding that only the mega rich do it and it is illegal. Newsflash, it is not illegal and it can actually be very beneficial! 10 Benefits of a Belizean Offshore Bank account Convenience. The money is easily accessible and it stays in US currency. If you vacation a lot in Belize, you will not have to pay your bank service fees from back home. Effortlessly receive payments if you work or do business in Belize. It’s an international bank account, you can bank anywhere in the world. Full access online banking and customer service via telephone. You have access to international debit and credit cards. Apply for loans and invest in a business or property. Receive high interest rates and no yearly account fees. Diversify your assets, its not good to keep all your eggs in one basket. Privacy! By this I’m not suggesting that you hide money from your government, I’m saying that it’s usually a good idea to conceal your wealth from the regular folk. Just in case someone might want to financially exploit you.

She Loved the Chairman So Much, She Tattooed His Name
In another revelation about the sordid and torrid love affair between UDP Chairman, Alberto August and the beautiful Shawn Pacheco we learn of how intense their affair was. Pacheco actually got August’s full name tattooed on her breast which she flaunted with pride. She was in love and we understand just how much whatever August said on Wave Radio about her has hurt. Earlier she shared phone records showing the number of times she was on the phone with the sleazy Chairman.

Mr. Party Chairman August in a Ménage à trois – Bit Off More Than He Could Chew!
We never gave UDP Chairman, Alberto August much credit for his acumen and he has always portrayed himself as an unsophisticate willing to stoop to whatever low to advance his party’s diabolical political agenda. August will forever live in infamy for being the head of the disbanded Security Intelligence Service (SIS) which existed primarily to listen in on the private telephone calls of political opponents. We’ve known that he’s a habitual wife beater but what didn’t know is that he also likes women…lots of women. As the saga involving his recent former love Shawn Pacheco continues to unfold, we’re getting a much more close up look at the philandering chairman. In this installation, we learn now that he’s not really the discriminating type – becoming amorous with men and/or women is no biggie for the chairman. Shawn Pacheco will give us a vivid insight.

International Sources

AccuWeather Atlantic Hurricane Season 2014 Forecast: Two US Landfalls Predicted; East Coast at Risk
Following a season with the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982, the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to follow suit as a below-normal hurricane season. With roughly 10 named tropical storms, five hurricanes and two major hurricanes predicted for the Atlantic Basin this season,'s long-range forecasting team anticipates two storms, either tropical storms or hurricanes, to make landfall in the United States. Atlantic Hurricane Season Key Points: 1. is predicting a below-normal hurricane season. 2. Tropical development this season may be altered by the onset of El Niño in late summer or fall. 3. Areas from the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico up through the East Coast will be most vulnerable for impacts from a tropical system. The onset of El Niño, a short-term phenomenon associated with above-normal water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, may alter weather patterns across the globe. At some point this summer, El Niño will likely increase wind shear across portions of the Atlantic basin and thus suppress the development of tropical storms this season.

An Overview Of Yet Another Atlantic 2014 Seasonal Hurricane Forecast & My Analysis & Thoughts On What May Transpire This 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season
I cannot stress this point enough – Just because there may be a low number of storms, you should not let your guard down or think that you don’t have to worry. All it takes is one storm or hurricane to ruin or devastate your property. Begin making preparations today for the Hurricane Season. Put together or restock that Hurricane supply kit. Once a storm or hurricane is on its way, it’s almost too late. In fact, I think that we will see 1 to 2 tropical storms or hurricanes make landfall this season somewhere along the US Gulf Coast, across the Bahamas or along the US Southeast Coast. As for the Caribbean, while the main impact threat may end up staying north of the Caribbean, it does not mean that a tropical storm or hurricane will not affect the Caribbean, especially the central and western Caribbean. In my opinion, I envision this season to start out quick with maybe 2 to 3 named storms during June and July. In fact, there are signals in the data that point that a weak upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation will arrive in the eastern Pacific and western Atlantic in about 7 to 10 days from now which could last into early June. During a developing El Nino like we have now, these types of weak signals in the Madden Julian Oscillations are sometimes correlated with early season Atlantic tropical cyclone development. In fact, moderate to strong El Niño’s sometimes feature a burst of early Atlantic tropical development. This is why I think we may have 2 to 3 named storms during June and July.

Bones in Submerged Cave May Be Earliest Native American
Divers mapping the underwater caves within Mexico's Eastern Yucatan Peninsula came upon a surprising find -- a superbly preserved skeleton dating close to the time when people first entered the New World. "It was like a magnet and I remember swimming over to her remains and hovering in place about 12 inches from the skull, absolutely spellbound, for several moments," Susan Bird, a Bay Area Underwater Explorers diver, told Discovery News. Subsequent underwater testing and analysis of this oldest, most complete skeleton found in the Americas has since provided evidence that modern Native Americans are directly related to the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, according to a study published today in the journal Science.

IDB: LatAm lagging behind on broadband access
Latin America and the Caribbean have some catching up to do in the provision of broadband internet services, according to a score sheet compiled by the Inter-American Development Bank. Broadband penetration is expected to grow quickly, at a compound annual growth rate of 11.9 per cent in the five years to 2015 across the region, but for now it compares poorly to OECD countries. The IDB’s ranking based on four criteria – public policy, strategic regulation, infrastructure and applications and knowledge – gave the region’s 26 countries an average 4.37 out of a maximum 8 points, calculated from 37 separate indicators compiled by researchers. By comparison, OECD countries scored an average 6.14.

XUNANTUNICH, Stunning Archeaological site in Belize
It’s not as famous as Yucatán’s Chichen Itza. It’s not as tall as Guatemala’s Tikal. But there in western Belize, the Xunantunich Mayan ruins will make your jaw drop. And maybe your palms sweat. Pronounced shoe-NAN-to-nitch (or as some tourists mangle it, Tuna Sandwich) its name means “stone maiden.” The dominant structure, El Castillo, is notable not only for its elegant friezes of hieroglyphs depicting rulers and gods, but for the fact that visitors can still climb to the top of the 130-foot temple, if they dare. Unlike at Mexico’s Chichen Itza, which was closed to climbers in 2006 after a woman fell to her death, Xunantunich’s climb is done in bits and pieces, with plenty of flat places to stop — and even a handrail staircase for the final descent. Still, it’s not for everyone.

Belize's Toledo region: chocolate, culture and curiosities
Bolting upright with goose bumps and a racing heart is my least favorite way to wake up in the pitch black of a jungle night. Sweaty air and the otherworldly roar and rasp of what sounds like a T. rex syncs with my marauding-dinosaur nightmare. Then I remember last night's dinner talk about very big sounds made by very small critters. Oh, yeah. Howler monkeys. It's a fittingly dramatic ending to my first full day in Belize, a cultural cacophony of chocolate-making with Maya chefs, banana-beaked toucans whizzing through 50 shades of jungle green, swimming in the dark through a giant cave, blond Mennonites trotting their watermelon-filled horse-drawn carts along potholed roads. Then there was that caretaker at Lubaantun Maya ruins showing off yellowing newspaper clippings about a spooky crystal skull allegedly found amid the rubble by the daughter of an adventurous Brit named F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, one of the inspirations for the Indiana Jones character.

Noble House Hotels & Resorts Expands Portfolio Globally, Adds Belize Ocean Club & Resort to its Luxury Collection
Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. – a collection of luxury hotels and resorts – has assumed management of Belize Ocean Club & Resort, located on Maya Beach, Placencia, Belize. The property is the 18th addition to the Noble House Hotels & Resorts (NHHR) hospitality portfolio, and the first international resort to join the collection. "Partnering with Belize Ocean Club & Resort affords us the exciting opportunity not only to play in the global space, but also to create the best resort in all of Belize," said Pat Colee, Noble House Founder and Chairman of the Board. "Noble House Hotels & Resorts is excited about Belize as a destination and this distinguished property is a welcomed addition to the family." Belize Ocean Club & Resort, perched on a verdant peninsula on the tropical coastline of Maya Beach, boasts stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and Placencia Lagoon from its setting on 430 ft. of private beachfront. Each of the 1,100 sq. ft. water view suites, complete with two bedrooms and baths, also offer a dining room and full kitchen, catering to a multitude of travelers, including families. With tables under thatch palapa roofs on the beach, the resort's restaurant, Ocean Club Bar & Grill, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, including hand selected, freshly caught seafood. Located near the World's second largest barrier reef, guests experience excellent diving, tropical rainforests and ancient Maya civilization, all minutes from the resort.

Being there . . .
Once a possible candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court, Carlos Moreno gets the consolation prize of a few years spreading U.S. diplomacy in Belize. Moreno is a retired justice of the California Supreme Court, where he cast the lone vote to overturn Proposition 8, the state’s ballot initiative that overturned same-sex marriage. His name was in the mix in 2009 to succeed Justice David Souter, but President Obama wanted to, and then did, appoint a woman. Moreno is the son of Mexican immigrants. He’s headed to the only English-speaking country in Central America. The Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Belize on Wednesday afternoon.

Limes through Texas big part of Brooks Tropicals’ offerings
For 85 years, Brooks Tropicals has grown and sold tropical fruits from its South Florida headquarters. Charlie Brooks took the foray into agriculture when the real estate market was difficult in the 1920s, and the company has been on an upward swing ever since. Over the years, the grower-shipper greatly expanded its South Florida acreage and also added land in other tropical locations around the Caribbean. Today, headquartered in Homestead, FL, Brooks Tropicals LLC, farms more than 4,000 acres, and harvests more than 70 percent of what it sells. In an area called the Redlands just south of Miami, the company grows SlimCado avocados. On the Florida west coast, starfruit is the main crop. In the Central American country of Belize, Brooks grows, packs and ships Caribbean Red papayas. Twenty other tropical fruits and vegetables are imported into the North American market from 15 countries in Central and South America.

The little boy who kept his promise to jaguars
How is it possible that this book for children ages 4 to 8 is so moving that the outside world vanished as I read the first page, and by the last it had me bursting into tears? My co-producer for The Animalist, Christen Goguen, took the book next and simply cried all the way through. Don’t get the wrong idea. “A Boy and a Jaguar” is not a sad story. Not at all. It’s a transcendent, beautiful, and uplifting one—a prayer for anyone who loves animals. Through spare words (accompanied by the imaginative, soulful illustrations of Catia Chien), Alan Rabinowitz tells his life story.

Anemone eats bird, and other surprising animal meals
There’s an old saying in journalism: If a dog bites a man, that’s not news. Man bites dog: That’s news. So how about a sea anemone that chows down on a bird? Researchers have reported finding a giant green anemone chowing down on a young cormorant. The photo of the event looks something like a purple Thanksgiving turkey being attacked by a neon-green hairbrush. The picture is surprising because, as researcher Lisa Guy of the University of Washington in Seattle told Deep Sea News, it’s an “example of an apex predator being consumed by an animal that doesn’t seem to really do anything.”

Q’eqchi’ Mayan Language Revitalization through Verbal Art
When I first began my journey, it was 36 years ago. There, in the highlands of Guatemala, in the region of Alta Verapaz where Q’eqchi’ is spoken and traditional Maya ways are (still) practiced, and the mountains are alive...there, in the “land of the true peace,” (Jessup and Simpson, 1936); that is where my journey began. Francisco Choco’oj Paau, a Q’eqchi’ Maya storyteller from Cobán, then in his late fifties, would take his time to prepare to tell a story. He would say his prayers; he would burn his (copal) incense. That’s because, these weren’t just stories, they were ancient legends; legends that had been passed down from generation-to-generation; told in a precise way; told in the same way; for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. Each legend held a custom, tradition, or particular insight into Maya beliefs and culture. Each legend also held a moral about Maya life. The Q’eqchi’ Maya are descendants of the ancient Maya civilization that flourished in pre-Columbian times in Mexico and Central America from 1000 B.C. – 1500 A.D. Q’eqchi’ is a Mayan language of the Eastern Mayan K’ichean (formerly spelled Quichean) branch. The formal classification is: Proto-Maya/ Eastern Mayan/ K’ichean-Mamean/ Q’eqchi’ (Campbell and Kaufman 1985). They are the predominant Maya group in the central highlands and northern lowlands of Guatemala. There is an estimated population of 400,000 in Northern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala and the southern Petén departments of Guatemala (Lewis, 2009), with a total population in all countries including Belize and El Salvador of 423,500. However, population estimates vary widely. According to a UNESCO 2002 census, the Q’eqchi’ population in Guatemala and Belize is estimated to be 716,101.

Was Naia the first American? Teenage girl's skeleton found deep in underwater Mexican cave dates from the last ice age 13,000 years ago and is oldest ever found in the Americas
One of the world’s oldest complete human skeletons has been found in a cave in Mexico - and sheds new light on who the first Americans were. Named ‘Naia’, the remains belong to a 15-16 girl who went underground to seek water 13,000 years ago during the last ice age. She plunged to her death in a large pit known as ‘Hoyo Negro’, Spanish for ‘black hole’, in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. She roamed Earth up to 13,000 years ago when the now flooded cave systems in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula were much the same, apart from the water level being much lower than it is now. Her almost complete remains, including an intact skull and preserved DNA, were lying 130 feet below sea level near a variety of extinct animals, such as an elephant like creature called a gomphothere.

Caribbean faces threat of biggest tsunami ever recorded
LONDON, England, Wednesday February 12, 2014 – The Caribbean could be at risk from a mega-tsunami that scientists warn could devastate coastlines from Florida to Brazil following a volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands. The monster wave generated by part of a mountain collapsing into the sea would be the biggest ever recorded and would be an unstoppable force, travelling at speeds of up to 500mph. The massive wall of water would likely make first landfall on the West Saharan coast of Morocco, where the wave could measure as much as 330ft from trough to crest. The greatest destruction was nevertheless expected in the built-up coastal areas of the Caribbean, Florida and Brazil, according to a new forecast by Dr Simon Day of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College London.


Video: Altun Ha Maya ruins of Belize impressions in HD, 2min.
A steeped in history shore excursion took us to the ruins in Belize, the Mayan ruins in Belize. A one hour drive on a shore excursion on our Carnival cruise in April 2014 by the Western Caribbean we reached as complex. There we visited the beautiful ancient Mayan temple and climbed around on ancient history. The video shows some impressions of the famous landmark.

Video: May 6th, 2014 - The Great Blue Hole, Belize, 16min.
Crazy drop-off, stalactites at 130 feet, and sharks!

Video: Belize Wedding Week, 6min.
Diving San Pedro and activities around Ambergris Caye.

Video: Where is Belize? Why go? (Travel Blog 22) Ambergris Caye, 3min.
Note: I said in Belize they speak Mayan, when I was referring to the three native Mayan languages. What most Belizeans speak is Belizean Creole In this travel blog I talk about how Belize is different from other Central American countries. Formerly known as British Honduras this place is awesome!!

Video: How To Harvest Cashew Nuts to Dry and Remove Poison in Belize, 4min.
The kids harvest Cashew fruit and Cashew nuts from the Cashew tree. They explain what they are doing with the Cashews and why. They show how to remove the seed or Cashew Nut from the fruit. After they remove the seed, they gather them together in one place. The kids will dry the Cashew seed to process later into the Cashew Nut to eat or make things with. Some of the things you can make with the Cashew is Cashew Butter, Cashew Chicken, Cashew Milk etc. The Cashew is unique in that the single seed grows externally to the fruit. Please note: The Cashew tree contains an oil closely related to Urushiol - the irritating toxin in Poison Oak and Poison Ivy. The cashew fruit will be used to make a delicious Cashew Apple Crisp or "Cashew Crumble".

Video: Bat eats crustacean, 2min.
The fishing bats of Belize (Noctilio leporinus) use echolocation to detect ripples on the water to find fish, frogs and aquatic crustaceans. A bat swoops down and drags its back claws through the water to snag its prey.

Video: Belize - BV Expedition 2-14 (PART 7), 5min.
My expedition together with the amazing Blue Ventures Team and volunteers in Belize, 14 feb - 27 mar 2014. Like, subscribe and expect every part of nature. "Based in Sarteneja and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve our Belize expedition involves volunteers in marine conservation research and community projects as you immerse yourself in the culture and marine environment of Belize. "

Video: Turneffe Atoll Belize, 5min.

Video: Caribbean Sea Challenge - Waves in the Outrigger Canoe, 4min.
What do we do for fun around here? Well, we love the Caribbean sea so we play a lot in it. In fact, we love the ocean anywhere we are so it is just natural to want to play in the sea water in a beautiful place like Belize. We have a little polynesian style outrigger canoe, or more accurately, outrigger dory that we use here. When the water gets a bit rough, we like to take the outrigger out to play in the white water when the waves are a bit bigger. The kids just love the little dory. We have a lot of fun when the ocean gets wavy like this so we go out to play. But make no mistake about it - the Caribbean sea can get dangerous away from shore. Especially if you are beyond the reef.

May 15, 2014


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The San Pedro Sun

Solar Panels installed at Holy Cross Anglican School
GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from across the world the opportunity to raise funds for improving communities in need. Since October of 2010, Holy Cross Education Foundation, through GlobalGiving, has been working towards providing a renewable energy supply to Holy Cross Anglican School (HCAS). The aim of the solar energy project is to reduce the school’s electrical bill so that funds can be applied to other projects.Supplying the solar panel is Baker Renewable Energy, a premier provider of renewable energy and eco-friendly products based in the USA. The project is being managed by John McHenry, Board Member of the Holy Cross Education Foundation.

Reef Week Triathlon brings excitement to town
Of the many activities held during Reef Week, the now- annual triathlon adds quite a bit of excitement to the week of events. A crowd gathered at Central Park a little after 10am on the morning of Sunday, May 11th to cheer on the young athletes that would be taking part in this year’s triathlon. Organized by Kent Gabourel, the triathlon saw participants in three divisions, Juveniles, ages 10 to 13 and Upper Juveniles, ages 13 to 15, and Juniors, ages 16 to 18.

Stabbing incident leaves one female injured
San Pedro Police are investigating a stabbing incident that has left a mother of four hospitalized in a serious but stable condition. The victim has since been identified as Lorena Montes, a resident of Swan Street in San Pedro Town. The stabbing occurred around 12:20PM inside Henry’s Store located at the corner Swan and Glitter Street, and in the presence of Montes’ children, who had come home for lunch. San Pedro police have detained a female identified as Roxanne Canul, a resident of the Airstrip Area in San Pedro Town. One of the people who saw the incident unfold was one of Montes’ close friends, Dorla Polonio. Polonio explained that she was sitting on the street side when she observed Montes returning to her establishment while being followed from a distance by another woman. According to Polonio, the woman approached Montes inside her shop where an argument ensued, after which the woman pulled out a concealed knife and allegedly stabbed Montes. “I saw a young lady walk through Lorena’s store door way, politely pulled out a knife from out of her purse, then barged into the store and stabbed her. She got at least six stab wounds; three in the back, one of which we were told punctured her lung, and the others to her head. She was stabbed in front of her children who were out of school for lunch,” said an emotional Polonio. San Pedro Police identified the attacker as Roxanne Canul, who received minor bruises to the head, presumably caused by Montes as she defended herself.

Ambergris Today

Belize Experience Promoted at Belize Tourism Expo 2014
Belize Tourism Expo 2014 (BETEX 2014) was held in Belize City from May 7 – 12, 2014. The Expo is held in the country every two years and is a business-to-business event showcasing Belize’s travel destinations, hotels, tour operators, and other tourism service providers that attracts approximately 300 – 350 local and international tourism professionals and press representatives. It is an exclusive opportunity for international travel resellers (trade visitors) to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers (exhibitors), learn more about Belize, and experience the destination first-hand. BETEX is an initiative of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), Belize’s leading national private sector tourism association. BTIA represents a unified voice which advocated for issues that benefit its members, influences tourism policy, legislation and marketing for the sustainable development of the industry and improved quality of the visitor experience.

Two Turtles Released Back to the Wild as part of Reef Week 2014
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Dorian’s Angels were out at Hol Chan Marine Reserve along with their staff to witness the release of two female loggerhead turtles as part of Reef Week. “Ellen” and “Lucky” were two turtles being rehabilitated under the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Project. Lucky is one very ‘lucky’ turtle as she was rescued by the staff of Tuff E Nuff Tours on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, on the way back from a dive trip by Belizean Shores Area in San Pedro. The turtle was suffering from injuries caused by a shark attack and was immediately rushed to the Saga Humane Society to receive urgent medical attention. Lucky was missing its left hind flipper and had several lacerations on its other flippers, as well as a broken plastron (the part of a turtle's shell forming its underside). The turtle was placed on an antibiotic treatment in order to prevent infection and regular cleaning of her wounds was necessary for a full recovery. Lucky was placed under observation at the Hol Chan Marine Office and later transported for full rehabilitation at the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.

Misc Belizean Sources

National Agriculture and Trade Show 2014
Government of Belize Press Office PRESS RELEASE: The Honourable Gaspar Vega and the Honourable Hugo Patt wishes to thank the general public for the solid support in attending the recently held National Agriculture and Trade Show. The show was a resounding success with approximately 36,000 visitors over the two and a half days. Gross revenue from the show reached a record $241,000. Profits from the show are being reinvested in the unprecedented improvements to infrastructure and support services for the show.

SIPL Celebrating Education Week
Happy Education Week! The San Ignacio Public Library is celebrating Education Week, and visiting, and being visited by, many of Cayo's primary schools to promote reading. They've visited St. Francis Xavier in Esperanza, and have been visited by Sacred Heart Primary, and Santa Elena Primary schools. Education Week goes through Friday, May 17th, which is also Teacher's Day. Thanks, SIPL!

Belmopan Mural Competition
Belmopan is having a mural competition, with the winner having their mural painted on the front wall of the civic center, and receiving a cash prize of $500. The theme should be Belmopan history, and the deadline is Monday, May 19th. Call 822-2271 for more information.

Western Ballaz Host Bandits
The Western Ballaz, who are once again tied for 1st place in the NEBL, host the Belmopan Bandits tonight in their last game of the regular basketball season. The first game is SHC vs. the Up the Hill Squad, and it starts at 5:30pm. There will be lots of prizes, food, and drinks, like always. Go support the Ballaz in their last home game.

Job Vacancy: Technical Officer Communication and Information, CROSQ
To view the job vacancy description for the Technical Officer Communication and Information at the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality, kindly click on the link below.

Huge Mayan City Found Near Mexico and Belize Border Line!
According to Mexican Newspapers the Archaeologists from the National Institue of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) (INAH) confirmed today that there is an Ancient Mayan City aproximated to be about 84 acres and is located in the jungles around the border line of Quintana Roo and Belize. The Ancient Mayan City was named Noh Kah, meaning Large City, and is believed to have existed more than one thousand five hundred years ago. In a statement released, INAH claim that with the assistance of members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa, specialists were able to perform a topographic survey of the Ancient Mayan City which is covered by the forest on the bank of the Rio Hondo. Noh Kah is located about 7 miles from the Belize / Mexican Border line and about 37 miles away from the city of Chetumal. Members of the communities of San Francisco Botes and Rovirosa first discovered the Ancient Mayan City when they found a huge wall made of stone and covered in vines hanging over the side which for them was clear that it was evidence of an Ancient City that had been eaten by the jungle long ago.

Guard engineer continues leadership growth in Belize
This is the third New Horizons trip to Belize for U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Puckett, a carpentry and masonry specialist deployed from the Louisiana National Guard's 1023rd Vertical Engineer Company. Eleven years ago, Puckett arrived on Belizean soil for the first time in support of New Horizons Belize 2003. He returned in 2013, and he is in Belize once again for New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual exercise that provides mutual training opportunities for Americans, Belizeans, and Canadians in health care and civil engineering fields. This year, Puckett is working alongside his Belizean Defence Force, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine engineering counterparts at the Hattieville Government School in Hattieville, Belize. The crew is constructing a new building for preschoolers at the school. Since his first trip to Belize in 2003, things have changed a lot, he said. "There are definitely more structures and buildings, and the roads are built up more," the Army sergeant said. "There's been a lot of improvement and development since the first time I was here."

Local dentist shares skills with children of Belize on recent mission trip
Dr. Kristin Kenner joined two of her classmates from dental school to do a dental mission to San Pedro, Belize. The doctors wanted to do something special as it has been exactly 30 years since they graduated from dental school along with Dr. Mark Johnson. Dr. Johnson established a much needed dental clinic at the Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro. "Several of my classmates have gone down to this impoverished area to offer free dental treatment for the teachers and children of San Pedro. It was a very humbling experience, helping these appreciative people of Belize," Dr. Kenner stated.

Seeds to sustain
WL resident founded nonprofit to build gardens, promote nutrition in Belize. Linda Machtelinckx likes to say that she isn’t stubborn. She’s passionate. Stubbornness implies an unwillingness to admit failure or dramatically change course, and Machtelinckx’s experience recently has been quite the opposite. She has succeeded where others have failed, and she believes that success is due in large part to her passion. It was less than a year ago when Machtelinckx, a West Linn resident, founded the nonprofit group Belize Arch with the goal of teaching children and families in the Central American country of Belize how to grow their own food and prepare healthier meals by using sustainable community gardens. In the time since the nonprofit’s pilot project began in September 2013, Machtelinckx has traveled back and forth to Belize to oversee the nonprofit’s growth and land sponsorships from both government officials and outside organizations, such as the Francis Ford Coppola resort — which has a location in Belize. The effort hasn’t been without its hiccups, but in the short time since Belize Arch was founded, a community garden is already blossoming in the Belize village of Cristo Rey, and the word is spreading both organically and with the help of government officials who jumped on board.

SP Sports Committee Tournament - MAY 2014 (41 photos)
It was an exciting afternoon on Sunday, May 4th at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Football Arena as the San Pedro Sports Committee Football Tournament final games were played. After weeks of games, it was down to Team Southwind and Team Legends in the finals. Eager football fans came out to see the highly anticipated games, and they were not disappointed.

2 Foro de Alcaldes Centroamericanos y de Republica Dominicana (30 photos)
Mayor Daniel Guerrero was invited to attend the Segundo Foro de Alcaldes Centroamericanos y de Republica Dominicana which was held on May 7 to 10 in the Dominican Republic. On Wednesday, May 7, the Mayors of the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic were hosted to a welcoming cockatil before the forum. At the event, the mayors discussed various topics concerning issues happening in each country. These topics included: Citizenship decentralization and participation, Different Techonologies, Public Safety as a prevention method to violence, Municipal Health, Solid Waste and Promotion of Tourism. Mayor Daniel Guerrero said his trip to the Dominican Republic was a fruitful one. He learned various aspects on how other municipalities of different countries function and how San Pedro can relate to them.


Channel 7

Ecuador's Most Wanted In Belize?
Tonight, officers of the Gang Suppression Unit continue to detain an Ecuadoran man, who may be a fugitive living in Belize. 7News was there at 1:00 pm today when police searched his Belize City home and found a firearm. The name he gave to the officers was Christian Ebanks, and we've confirmed that he has provided immigration documents which says that is his name. But as we told you, there are posters on the internet of a fugitive from Ecuador with the name Floyd Wendel Ebanks Jurado, who, according to a 2011 web posting, is being sought in the Guayas Province of that country. The report says Police from Guayas want him for the murder of Ecuadoran Alejandro Martín Teófilo, which happened on Puna Island. Now, Belize police will have to determine if this man named "Christian Ebanks" is indeed the wanted fugitive Floyd Ebanks. But what they are able to say at this time is that they searched his Belize City house on Teacher Street this afternoon, and officers from the GSU found an illegal firearm. It is expected that he will be criminally charged for that, and he will be arraigned and then remanded. GSU's Commanding Officer told us today that they will check into his background to see if he is indeed the Ecuadoran fugitive who managed to settle down in Belize under a different identity.

The Unearthing Of An Immigration Fraud Ring
42 year-old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, and his common-law wife 46 year-old Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos, both Guatemalan nationals, are at prison tonight after they were taken to court for possession of false immigration documents including Belizean passports. The couple is accused of mass fraud because they managed to use the identities of dead Belizean citizens to get passports, social security cards, and voter identification cards. That's what the Immigration Department says they uncovered after over a month of investigation. Yesterday, Alfred Marcos was picked up from his work site, KHMH, where he was employed as an X-ray technician. His wife, Marleny Castellanos was detained at the Western Border; she was attempting to flee the country. Investigators from the Immigration Department found out that this couple has been living illegally in the country since 1999, at a Smith Street address in the Kings Park area of Belize City. To try to legitimize their status here in Belize, they obtained the birth certificates of 2 Belizeans from Benque Viejo Town who are deceased: Romana Gonzalez and Raquel Castellanos. With those stolen identities, they managed to get social security cards issued to them in July of 2010.

Another Hung Jury: Felix Brothers Will Go Free
When we left you last night, a Corozal jury was deliberating the fate of the Felix brothers. Well, they deliberated for over 6 hours and at the end, they couldn't come to a verdict in the 3rd murder trial of brothers Maurice and Emory Felix. And so, about 2 hours ago, the brothers were returned to the Belize Central Prison reportedly with an undertaking that they will be released at a later date. Later on in the news we'll have all the details of the in's and outs of this case when we speak to their attorney Arthur Saldivar.

Compol Whylie Unfazed By Mandamus Order
Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has been in the news so much recently that his ears must ring every night at 6:30. But for all the talking about him – Whylie has done very little talking himself., Now, he's not known as a man of many words – but since the mandamus action in late February he's become a man of no words: zero, zilch, nada. We've tried to reach him by all means – and really the only thing left was smoke signals. While we were getting our fires ready for that one, today he saved us the trouble and made himself available for a press encounter. It was at the handing over of a fleet of new pickups from the US Government, so he must have been in good spirits when we asked him about the mandamus order. Issued in early March the order directed him to immediately commence a criminal investigation against Former Minister of State Elvin Penner for his role in the Citizen Kim passport scandal. Chief Justice Benjamin declared that Commissioner Whylie's decision not to investigate was quote, "irrational, unreasonable, and unlawful". Strong words but Whylie was unfazed when we spoke to him today: Jules Vasquez "You are a career police officer. How did you feel about the fact that the chief justice basically scolded you and told you that you should do your job which you weren't doing? What was your reaction to that?"

Compol Not Keeping tabs On Penner File
And that's just what the Whylie intended to do in this case: wait until the Auditor General finished her report, and then act on her findings –paying no heed to the fact that at least one of the offences could have been statute barred. But, because the PUP got the Supreme Court to issue an order of mandamus – the criminal investigation went ahead – and it now constitutes a quite hefty file. All we are told is needed to complete it is the Citizen Kim passport, which Belize's Ambassador to Taiwan is expected to return to Belize this month. The DPP undertook to give private Penner prosecutors, COLA and its attorney Kareem Musa the file last week Friday – that was, if she got it back from police as requested. But she didn't – and so COLA still doesn't have any evidence to disclose at its next court date. So where is the file? And why hasn't it been sent back to the DPP? That's what we asked Whylie today. Quite surprisingly he knew nothing about the whereabouts of the file for the investigation which the Supreme Court ordered him to launch:

Compol Whylie Inconclusive on Saldivar Files
And if Commissioner Whylie doesn't know what the DPP said to the media a week ago, then he definitely doesn't know what Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse said last night. He told the media that he was disappointed that the police did not find out where Arthur Saldivar got the stolen immigration files from. The Director of Immigration did make a police report and today we asked Whylie about the investigation. He said it's still open: Jules Vasquez "The Minister of Immigration yesterday, told the media – I get the impression; you don't follow the media much – but he told the media yesterday that he was disappointed the police did not find out how it is that files were secreted out of the Immigration Department, and ended up in the hands of Arthur Saldivar." Allen Whylie "Again, I haven't heard what the Minister said so again, it would be improper of me to comment. I can't comment on things I don't know about. I haven't heard it." Jules Vasquez "Sir, I get the impression that you don't keep up at all with things that are in the news."

US Donates 38 Pickups
Today in Belmopan, the US Embassy handed over 38 new full size Ford pickups to the police department. It's part of the US Government's Central American Regional Security Initiative, known as CARSI. And while the last major donation of vehicles came two years ago in the form of smaller Ford Rangers, those are reaching their limit, so the new trucks come just in time. Now, the Commissioner says, there can be no excuses for not responding to the public: Monica Bodden Reporting Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police "This contribution today will significantly improve the resources of each and every police formation." The 38 vehicles cost 2.3 million dollars and will be deployed to formations and units across the country with emphasis on crime investigation, community policing, quick response, and the K9 Units." Margaret Hawthorne - Charge d' Affaires, U.S. Embassy "By working together, we can push back against criminal elements, build stronger communities, help serve and protect the Belizean people and promote economic growth in a secure environment."

New US Ambassador To Belize Approved by US Senate
As you saw in that story, Charge d'affairs Margaret Hawthorne is still holding over as the top official at the US Embassy. That's because the new ambassador designate Carlos Moreno was nominated in the middle of last year and confirmed in October, but political disputes in the US Senate have held back the appointment of he and 15 other ambassadorial appointees. Well, not any more. Moreno, a former US Judge was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate today as US Ambassador to Belize. Moreno is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of California and was once rumored to be a candidate for the US Supreme Court. He is expected in Belize soon.

Felix's Free: The Full Story
In our last segment, we told you about the third murder trial of brother's Maurice and Emory Felix, which ended in a hung jury. Well, we have a bit more details to share how this one played out in court. As we told you, the case took place for over a month in the Corozal Supreme Court, far removed from the jurisdiction where 29 year-old Mitchum Heredia, the deceased, was killed. One of the reasons for that was to try to lessen outside influence, including jury and witness tampering. The allegation against the Felix brothers was that they gunned down Heredia just before 6:30 p.m. on April 10, 2006 as he arrived at his house on T Street, Belize City. He reportedly was entering his yard in a Nissan Maxima car, when 2 armed men, ambushed and shot him 6 times at close range. Of important note is that parts of the transcript from the previous trial was entered as evidence in this new trial. It pertained the testimony that the now deceased Romel Palacio Jr. gave when he was a witness for the prosecution. Palacio Jr. described how he saw the brothers shot Herredia several times.

PUP's Belize Times Owes Sales Tax Arrears
PUP Legal Advisor Anthony Sylvester was at Magistrate's court today on behalf of his party's newspaper the Belize Times. The Sales Tax Department summonsed the paper for not filing and not paying their sales tax going back to the second month of 2010. We have seen at least 15 summons documents. Yesterday, we asked the party leader about the rather embarrassing state of affairs for the country's longest established mass party: Jules Vasquez "Are you aware of this? I know that you are not the business manager of the PUP." Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition, PUP "Or the owner, no I am not aware of it, Jules. I know a few - maybe a year or two ago, the people from the business tax office or the GST - I don't know which one of them, had come in, and I know that the business managers of the Belize Times had sat down with them and worked out a settlement of whatever was the outstanding. But, that was - I think - in 2012, but that's the last I know about it. I have not seen any of those things."

Whylie Says Promotions Fuss Unnecessary
For weeks now we've been hearing chatter about promotions for senior officers in the police department. As always, there are grumblings of discontent by persons who got passed over. But, according to the Commish, it's much ado about nothing, since there have been no promotions, only recommendations: Jules Vasquez "I am told that it has created a lot of discontent in the department, that men who are putting in hard work felt that they were overlooked or bypassed. What is the status with the promotion?" Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police "Man, Jules, that's news to me. First time I'm hearing that there is any dissension or there is any issue of promotion. I know a number of persons passed their promotional exams, a number appeared before the board. We've gotten those recommendations and as a policy group we look at those recommendations and we are making recommendations for persons to be promoted. So it's news to me you're saying that people have been promoted because I'm certain none have been promoted. Whenever there are issues of promotions there will always be a lot of rumors and the truth is everybody cannot be promoted and so we have got to try as much as possible to get the cream of the crop."

COMPOL Bullish On Crooked Tree Dust-Up
And finally from Commissioner Whylie tonight, the media tried to ask him about a misunderstanding he'd had on Crooked Tree on Holy Saturday with a police constable. Credible reports to 7News tell us that Whylie had an exchange of words with PC Ogaldez, which is when one of Whylie's relatives allegedly broke a pint over Ogaldez's head. Whylie then put Ogaldez under arrest. It's a public incident and an embarrassing one, and today Whylie didn't want to talk about it: Hipolito Novelo - Love News "There was a scuffle between you and some officer in Crooked Tree. Jules Vasquez "A misunderstanding where you had to arrest the officer who is now transferred." Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police "I have nothing to say in respect of that matter. What was done is done; it was an internal matter, and it was dealt with. I have nothing to say about that."

BNTU Bex With Hon. Faber
Last night, we showed you our interview with Education Minister Patrick Faber when he explained what happened why there will be no National Teachers Rally on Friday. He said that the Belize National Teachers Union knew that they were expected to contribute over $30,000 to the budget to get the event going, but they only offered $10,000. Well today the Teachers Union released a statement today claiming that's not how it went down. That statement says, quote, "the Ministry of Education's position was that maybe we should not celebrate Teachers' Day at the National level, since it was too expensive and the time for planning was limited." The Union says that the representatives realized that there was some "rockiness" – as Faber put it - in the relationship between the ministry and the union. They suggested that it was important to join forces to celebrate National Teachers' Day. They also explained that due to heavy spending on activities carried out by the unions this year, they're experiencing low cash flow. They were still willing to pledge $10,000 dollars. The union claims that the Ministry suggested at the initial meeting that they had $100,000 to pledge to the budget for the rally. The Union then felt that with their $10,000 pledge, the budget only needed $6,000 more. The Union also says that the Planning Committee identified areas where the budget could be cut down by as much as $4,000.

Hon. Francis Outlines New Campaign Configuration
As we reported a few weeks ago, the PUP is re-tooling its national campaign machinery. It's turning the four regions of the country into a committee chaired by a national coordinator Godfrey Smith – who's been brought back into the PUP fold for this special mission. No press release was sent, nor any public announcement made, so we asked Fonseca about it yesterday: Hon. Francis Fonseca "We're putting together a national campaign committee. We're activating a national campaign committee because we've always had a campaign committee. So, we're activating that committee, and we've asked Godfrey Smith to chair that committee. As you know, the party has regional campaign managers for each of the regions of the country. So, they form a part of the core executive of that campaign committee, and then they will then reach out and include other persons who will form a part of that wider national campaign committee. By the way, I don't know, you reported that Mr. Ralph Fonseca - quite irresponsibly of you - that this man had somehow been brought back to - or was holding some post. The man is a businessman. He's working - there is absolutely no truth to that; I don't know where you got that. He has not been given any post official or unofficial.

Albert Division Wide Open For PUP
And one aspect of the campaign that's generating a lot of interest is the Albert constituency. There are three candidates who have put their names in, and the conventions was to have been held this month. But the PUP seems to be holding out for some big name to come into the picture. We asked Fonseca who that big name is yesterday: Jules Vasquez "I know that Mr. Martin Galvez has put in his name as has the attorney, lawyer Sabido and we've heard a lot of chatter that it's being held off because Richard ‘Dickie' Bradley will be fielded by the P.U.P. as a candidate in the Albert Division. What is the status of that and is the party going to decide on it tomorrow?" Francis Fonseca "No, no. We have decided even at the last meeting of the executive that we would keep the Albert Division convention open until I think it's July, I don't remember the specific date in July but we set a date in July that we will keep that convention open and that is a matter that's ongoing."

Agric Show Money To Be Re-Invested
Last week we told you about the 36,000 persons who attended the National Agriculture and Trade Show. Tonight, the Ministry of Agriculture is reporting that Gross revenue from the show reached a record $241,000 thousand dollars. A release says profits from the show are being reinvested in improvements to infrastructure and support services for the show. There is a five year plan to convert the show grounds to Belize's premier exhibition venue for fairs, exhibitions, educational, music and arts festivals. April 24 to 26th, 2015 are the dates for next year's show.

Turning His Wrong Into A Right
2 months ago, we told you about Edward P. Yorke's Zipporah Taylor, who was chosen as a candidate for the Police Department's Do The Right Thing program for this year. Well, she's now joined by fellow student Kenbert Staine, and today the police department honoured him with a ceremony. We got a chance to speak with Staine, and he told us that this is an important moment for him because he was almost kicked out of school for bad behaviour: Staine will be one of the students honoured at the National Do The Right Thing Ceremony to be held in July.

Channel 5

Mother of 4 is viciously stabbed in front of her children in San Pedro
A mother of four was transported from San Pedro to Belize City just after midday and is listed in a critical condition at the K.H.M.H. Lorena Montes, the proprietor of [...]

Another hung jury in the 3rd murder trial of the Felix brothers
The sensational murder trial in which Maurice and Emory Felix stood accused, ended in a hung jury on Tuesday night after six hours of deliberations. The case was heard before [...]

Libertad resident clings to life at K.H.M.H. following chopping incident
On their long ride back to the Belize Central Prison today, the Felix brothers were accompanied by twenty-four year old Joseph West, charged for the chopping of Giovanni Borland. The [...]

Guatemalan couple pleads guilty to immigration offences
A Guatemalan couple who were caught with fraudulent Belizean documents has been nabbed following an ongoing investigation by the Belize Immigration Department. It started back in March of this year [...]

An immigration sweep in Caye Caulker nabs 10 persons
While Castellanos and Gonzalez have both pleaded guilty to immigration offenses, there is a report from Caye Caulker that Immigration Officials have rounded up at least ten persons for fake [...]

Where is the Penner file? ComPol says he doesn’t know…
The Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has finally spoken about the investigation into the immigration scandal involving former Minister of State, Elvin Penner. A writ of mandamus instructing Whylie to [...]

ComPol Whylie says he is awaiting completed Auditor-General’s report
When asked if the police department would not have proceeded with an investigation had a writ of mandamus not been filed, ComPol Whylie told the media that they were simply [...]

Joseph Budna gets another 30 years for kidnapping
Former freelance reporter, Joseph Budna, is facing decades behind bars in neighboring Guatemala. Budna has amassed two convictions for kidnappings and back on April twenty-first, Budna escaped from the Zacapa [...]

Rodent infestation forces the closure of Ranchito Government school
Rodent infestations, unhealthy conditions and structural damages forced the closure of the Ranchito Government Primary School last week Monday. The institution reopened this Tuesday, but in a limited capacity. The [...]

SIF to provide new building to Ranchito Government school
While it is subtle, it is also apparent that the Ministry of Education is not willing to accept the blame for the situation at the Ranchito Government Primary School. But [...]

3 female minors still missing from Marla’s House of Hope
On Tuesday, we reported that three female minors are missing from Marla’s House of Hope in Belmopan.  The three missing girls have been identified as fifteen-year-old Selena Cal, fourteen-year-old Francesca [...]

Final report on drowned Escuela students still pending
On April fourth, two students of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico—Anahi Zepeda and Edgar Puck—drowned on a school trip. They were part of a group which had visited the Che Chem [...]

Man freed of murder
A man was set free today in court after his case file was not available for trial. Twenty-one year old Dion Brackett has been on remand since last year for [...]

US Embassy hands over a new fleet of vehicles to the police
The police department today received a hefty donation courtesy of the United States Embassy. It involves a brand new fleet of vehicles valued at more than two million dollars. The [...]

Another student honoured for doing the right thing
The police department has been honouring outstanding students from Belize City high schools this week. It is part of their program, Do Di Rait Ting, which seeks to motivate and [...]

ComPol says no promotions issued recently
Officers of varying ranks from across the police department are often invited to sit an annual exam to determine their eligibility for promotion.  In the past a majority of those [...]


Recommendations for Promotions in the Police Department are Being Reviewed
Earlier in the newscast you heard from Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie on several issues. The final issue for tonight with Compol Whylie is in regards to a round of promotions that have reportedly been accepted. Reports say that senior officers in the department have been promoted and are being paid retroactively. This, reportedly, have cause tensions to grow with those who got promoted and those who didn’t. Compol Whylie told the media that no officer has been promoted as yet and there is no tension in the police department. COMMISSIONER ALLEN WHYLIE “That is news to me; first time I am hearing that there is any dissention or any issue of promotion. I know a number of persons passed their promotional exams, a number appeared before the boards; we have gotten those recommendations and as a policy group, we look at those recommendations and we are making recommendations for persons to be promoted. So, it is news to me that you are saying that people have been promoted because none has been promoted. Whenever there is issue of promotion, there will always be a lot of rumors and the truth is that everybody cannot be promoted and we just have to try to get the cream of the crop.”

Compol Tells Reporter to Do His Own Investigation
Shifting gears from the Penner spotlight, Love News asked Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie to enlighten us on a misunderstanding he reportedly had with a Constable in the Village of Crooked Tree on April 19. It is our understanding that the Commissioner had to arrest the police officer who was reportedly drunk which led to a verbal confrontation…..but the Commissioner showed much reluctance in commenting on the matter. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE “I have nothing to say in respect to that matter; what was done has been done. It was an internal matter and he was dealt with.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “But it was in public…” COMMISSIONER OF POLICE “I have nothing to say on that matter… you do your own investigation.” We understand that the officer, who was stationed in Crooked Tree Village at the time of the incident was transferred to the Ladyville Police Department.

PUP Attorney Refuses to Cooperate with Investigators
Keeping in line with the Immigration Scandal – some months ago, Standard Bearer for the main opposition party, PUP, Arthur Saldivar got his hands on what he claimed was 150 immigration files including nationality certificates purportedly singed by Elvin Penner. In last night’s newscast, Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, expressed his disappointment in the police inability to get to the bottom of just how Saldivar got his hands on those files. Compol Whylie told the media that Saldivar was questioned but he did not cooperate. COMMISSIONER ALLEN WHYLIE “That investigation is still ongoing; the investigation has not been closed. What people have to understand is that an investigation is not an hour process or a one-day process. Sometimes investigations take years to be concluded; we see in other locations that investigations take time to conclude. The reality is that we have to go and ask questions and you have to hope that people will cooperate and if they don’t cooperate then you try to get other means to get what you need in order to substantiate a complaint.”

Commissioner Appeals Chief Justice Ruling Saying An Investigation Would Have Been
The second issue that the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie was asked about is the Writ of Mandamus that was brought against him by the People’s United Party. It was on March 3 that Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ordered Commissioner Whylie to carry out an investigation but that decision is being appealed by Whylie. Commissioner says his office never opted to not investigate. COMPOL ALLEN WHYLIE “We have never taken the position that we would not investigate. All we were saying is that we were awaiting the official complaint from the Director of Immigration or we were awaiting the results of the Auditor General’s investigation. It is not unusual when people believe irregularities have occurred, the AG goes in, do their investigations and they send their report to us along with the necessary evidence; that was done in the Southern Regional Hospital case and so, we never said we would never investigate; we just said based on the fact that investigations were already underway, we were awaiting the outcomes of those and to be called in.”

Compol vs DPP; He Says, She Says
Commissioner of Police Allen Wylie has been off the radar for quite some time now and, for the media, it has been difficult to get in contact with him. The last time he appeared on camera was when he presented himself before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in regards to the Writ of Mandamus brought by the People’s United Party but even then he would not give the media an interview……But today, Compol Whylie resurfaced. He gave the closing remarks at a vehicle donation ceremony held in Belmopan….we’ll have that story later on in our newscast…..we bring to you the comments made by Whylie in an interview with the media, following today’s ceremony. First we go COLA’s private prosecution brought against former Minister of State, Elvin Penner. The grassroots NGO has been having problems in obtaining necessary files to present for disclosure later on this month, saying that several government bodies are stonewalling their efforts especially the Office of the Commissioner of Police. COLA had stated that the Director of Public Prosecution had pledged to request the Penner files from Compol Whylie….but today Whylie told the media that he has not received any such request. COMPOL ALLEN WHYLIE “I’ve heard nothing from the DPP in terms of she has requested the file to share.” LOCAL REPORTER “It’s a matter of fact that she has gone on the record and said that in fact, she has made an undertaking to share it with COLA: are you willing to entertain that a police investigation file is shared with COLA for a private prosecution.”

Guatemalan Couple Uses Dead Belizeans Documents
A Guatemalan couple, 42 year old Alfredo Marcos and 46 year old Marleny Castellanos, who used birth certificates of 2 dead Belizeans to obtain immigration documents, were charged with several offences when they appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Marcos, who was working as an x-ray technician at KHMH, was charged with using a Belize border crossing permit he was not entitled to use, using a social security card he was not entitled to use, using a Belizean passport he was not entitled to use, using a voter’s identification card he was not entitled to use, obtaining a Belizean nationality he was not entitled to use and using a nationality certificate to remain in Belize that he was not entitled to use. Castellanos was charged with using a Belize birth certificate to obtain a nationality not entitled to use, obtaining a Belize nationality certificate to obtain a passport not entitled to use, using a Belize passport to remain in Belize not entitled to use and using a social security card not entitled to use.

Patrick Jones

Maurice and Emory Felix expected to be freed after hung jury
Brothers Maurice, 30, and Emory Felix, 27, are expected to be released sooon as Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal has indicated she would not pursue another prosecution against them for a charge of murder. They were on trial in the Corozal Town Supreme Court, where a jury of twelve began deliberations at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday after Justice Troadio Gonzalez summed up the case on Tuesday afternoon. They emerged six hours later around 11:04 p.m. announcing that they were unable to reach a verdict. The brothers were accused of killing mechanic Mitchum Heredia, 29, at his T-Street resident on April 10, 2006. Main witness Romel Palacio, Jr., had testified that he witnessed the brothers approach Heredia, who was in his Nissan Maxima vehicle, with guns drawn. One of them spoke to him and then both fired shots to his head and continued to fire, resulting in multiple gunshot wounds.

Another student honored for Doing The Right Thing
The Police Department’s Do the Right Thing Program is all about finding inspirations, positive role models for often wayward youths beaten down by their circumstances. One of these is 15 year old 3rd form student Kenbert Staine, who attends Edward P. Yorke High School in Belize City. He was a bully and a troublemaker when he was younger, and having already been twice suspended from school, he was one demerit away from his third strike. He told us today that from that low point in his life, he recovered and realized that he had to turn his life around, with the help of his family and the school. He is now tops in his class and looks forward to life after high school.

Guatemalan couple guilty of illegal use of Belizean identification
This afternoon in the Magistrate’s Court, 42 year old Alfredo Orlando Gonzalez Marcos, a X-ray technician working at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and housewife 46 year old Marleni Elizabeth Castellanos, pleaded guilty to a total of ten counts of offenses related to illegal use of identification to stay in Belize. The pair had been in Belize since 1999, but after one month of investigation it was determined that their Belize birth certificates were illegally obtained using the names of two dead Belizean women from Benque Viejo del Carmen Town: Raquel Castellanos and Romana Gonzalez. Step by step, they were able to obtain nationality certificates, passports and Social Security cards to which they were not entitled.

New US ambassador to Belize gets Congressional confirmation
The United States Congress today unanimously confirmed retired California Supreme Court judge Carlos R. Moreno as that country’s new ambassador to Belize. Ambassador-designate Moreno replaces Vinai Thummalapally as the top US diplomat in Belmopan. Ambassador-designate Moreno’s confirmation hearing started back in October of 2013 . Among the highlights on Ambassador-designate Moreno’s resume is a lone votein November, 2008 to overturn Proposition 8, which was California’s initiative that overturned same-sex marriage. A date for the presentation of his credentials to the Governor General at Belize House in Belmopan, marking the official start of his appointment has not yet been announced.

Woman injured in confrontation, another in police detention
A stabbing incident this afternoon in San Pedro town has left a woman hospitalized in serious, but stable condition in Belize City. According to reports, Lorena Montes suffered multiple stab wounds during an attack just after midday today inside of her business establishment Henry’s Store, which is located at the corner of Swan and Glitter Streets in San Pedro town. The attack, reports say, happened in front of Montes’ children who had gone to the establishment during their lunch break. Police in San Pedro have detained another woman believed to be the person who attacked and stabbed Montes. The detained woman has been identified as Roxanne Canul.


Crossing the border from Belize to Mexico and our funny McDonalds experience
When we got to Corozal there was no shortage of cabs waiting and we ended up with VIP transfers. Our driver was super nice and even came inside customs with us to help make sure we were filling out the paperwork correctly. Not so big a deal for Paul likely but me the ADD dyslexic was thrilled to have someone making sure I did not get distracted and filled in all the right boxes. To cross the border from Belize to Mexico was $30 USD cab to the Chetumal ADO bus station. Time was about 45 min and can run linger depending on the border, thankfully we managed to beat a busload by a few minutes. This was the first time we have made the trip using the ‘new’ bridge that has been built between Mexico and Belize, and I must say that is was a breeze getting through the Mexican Immigration offices in their large, new buildings vs. the small office everyone used to have to pass through to get into Mexico. After we passed through immigration and then stopped at the “Spraying” station we realized that we had a little while to spare before the bus from Chetumal would leave, so we decided to pop into McDonald’s for some breakfast.

Ambergris Caye Humane Society’s Monthly Cook-Off: Are YOU Man Enough?
Yesterday, the venue was Carlo and Ernie’s Runway bar. I arrived a bit early to take some pictures of the set up and the sun set. People started filling in. VERY generous donated prizes from Melt Cafe, Boaz Golf Cart rentals, NO RUSH sailing and Palapa Bar! Eileen of DandE’s Frozen Custard and Kathy of SAGA and Pampered Paws were working hard. And they are two of my favorite people in town.

Canada’s Globe and Mail Likes Belize’s Chaa Creek Greens
Although they’re far to the north, the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail sounds close to Chaa Creek in Green philosophy, so we’re happy that they gave us special mention in a feature entitled: “Did you just book a green hotel (or was it green-washed)?” The article warns travellers to be discerning when booking a “Green” hotel; as for some it’s just a marketing ploy and doesn’t show a real commitment to sustainability. To avoid these posers and stay at a genuine green hotel or resort, the article gives a checklist of things that should be in place, such as recognised accreditation (like Chaa Creek’s Green Globe certification) and other indicators, including “whether they benefit local people, have a nature-based location and offer interpretive or environmental learning programs.” Check out our pristine rainforest location, the Chaa Creek Cares program, Eco-Kids annual educational Summer Camp, The Butterfly Farm, research sponsorship and the numerous other initiatives Chaa Creek has in place.

Online on Vacation
An Anthropologist Reflects on our Inability to Unplug. My past week in Belize -- traveling with a small tribe of colleagues in the travel industry -- was a revelation in the ways electronics have wormed their way into the way we travel. Everyone's electronic devices were within easy reach the entire trip. Even when we were caving or snorkeling, our iPhones came with us. In the time-honored ethnographic tradition of participant-observation, here are a few descriptions and observations I would like to share: Behavior: After a patter of conversation, rather than sit in silence or continue to converse, all it took was one iPhone to be whipped out for everyone else to quickly follow suit. Once everyone was engaged with their devices, a sacred respect settled in. No one once interrupted someone who was "looking down." This also applied to the Mayan community we visited, politely waiting until we were no longer staring at our devices. Comment: Electronic devices can be used to cover any awkward social moments. Engaging with your smartphone while in the company of others can "message" that a) you need some space to do your own thing, b) you are over stimulated by a live three-dimensional social workout and need to zone out (smartphones as pacifiers), or c) you have an "elsewhere" life that is demanding (and reifying) and can't wait for your return. For some reason these "cues" are perceived as sovereign and non-negotiable. Few folks will interfere with you if you are checking email or otherwise "looking down."

Tuna Fish Balls
This is a a no fuss recipe for a quick dinner entree or a snack. A different way to jazz up canned tuna. This dish can be served alone or with dipping sauce.

Power Interruption
8:00am to 2:00pm Friday, May 16, Belize City: Entire Bella Vista Community. Two 15-minute power interruptions from 8:00 to 8:15 am and 1:45 to 2:00 pm will also affect the area from Mile 3 to mile 4.5 on the Philip Goldson Highway, including Belama Phases 2, 3 and 4 and North End Estate. BEL to relocate utility poles and re-conductor high voltage power lines.

The Top Things 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:

International Sources

New Bad Old Times for Guatemala?
It has been only a year since a court convicted Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, a former president of Guatemala, of genocide, a step hailed as a breakthrough for the country’s fragile democracy. And yet Guatemala’s hard-won progress is starting to falter; if nothing is done, it could easily slip back into authoritarianism, violence and disregard for basic human rights. The trial of General Ríos Montt, who as the unelected president from 1982 to 1983 oversaw the murder of tens of thousands of Guatemalans, was the first time in history that a head of state anywhere was tried and convicted of genocide in a domestic courtroom. It was also supposed to be a major turning point for Guatemala’s court system, which, until recently, punished only 2 percent of all crimes. Abandoned and isolated, Guatemala’s poor have been left to fend for themselves against the people who see any steps toward a fairer, more functional system as a threat to their fortunes and their legacies. Without a watchful eye from abroad, they have been able to revert to their old behavior, making sure the unjust structures that serve their needs stay in place, even at the expense of rising unrest, polarization and violence.

Latino judge confirmed to be U.S. ambassador to Belize
Once a possible candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court, Carlos R. Moreno’s consolation is to spend a few years spreading U.S. diplomacy in Belize. Moreno is a retired judge of the California Supreme Court, where he cast the lone vote to overturn Proposition 8, the state’s ballot initiative that overturned same-sex marriage. His name was in the mix in 2009 to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, but President Obama wanted to, and then did, appoint a female judge. Moreno is the son of Mexican immigrants, though he’s headed to the only English-speaking country in Central America. The Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Belize Wednesday afternoon. During his confirmation hearing in October (yes, that was seven months ago because that’s how long noncontroversial nomination votes take these days), Moreno passed the ‘Have you even been to…’ test.

Texas A&M Scientist Discovers New Clingfish With Unique Venom Gland
A Texas A&M University scientist recently discovered a new species of clingfish and surprising, new findings about a second, well-documented clingfish. The discoveries are based on the work of Dr. Kevin Conway, who for several years has been involved in the research of a small species of fish that live in shallow waters along the coast of Belize and in the Caribbean and Bahamas. An assistant professor and curator of fishes with Texas A&M’s department of wildlife and fisheries sciences at College Station, Conway published his findings in the paper “Cryptic Diversity and Venom Glands in Western Atlantic Clingfishes of the Genus Acyrtus (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae)” in the journal PLOS ONE. The study was conducted between Dr. Conway, his collaborator at the Smithsonian Institute Dr. Carole Baldwin, and Macaulay White, a former Texas A&M undergraduate. “We are excited about the study, because it resulted in not only the discovery of an undescribed species, but also the discovery of a unique venom gland in a group of fishes nobody knew were venomous,” Conway said, adding that the last discovery on this field was reported in the 1960s. “The shocking thing is that the fishes that possess the venom gland have been known to science for a long time, some for over 260 years, and have been pretty well studied,” the researcher added.

Jaguar: the largest of the big cats in the Americas and a God of the Underworld for the Maya
The jaguar, a muscular and compact species, weighs anywhere between 79 and 350 pounds (36 and 160 kilograms); with a length between 3.9 and 6.4 feet (1.2 and 1.95 meters), it is the undisputed largest of the big cats in the Americas. This makes the jaguar the third largest cat in the world (behind the lion and the tiger), and the largest cat in the western hemisphere. Believed to have originally evolved in Asia before crossing over into North America via the Bering land-bridge, the stealthy cat of the Americas has a current range that includes Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica (particularly on the Osa Peninsula), Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, the Southern United States and Venezuela. However, its population in the United States has greatly decreased in recent years as a result of hunting and habitat loss. The jaguar prefers to live in dense rainforests, but can survive an any number of different habitats, although it usually will stay in those that include bodies of water (the jaguar is actually a very gifted swimmer).

Fortis Inc. Announces Voting Results for the Election of Directors
Fortis Inc. ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") (TSX:FTS) announces that the nominees listed in the Corporation's Notice to Shareholders and Management Information Circular dated 27 March 2014 were elected as Directors of Fortis at the Corporation's Annual Meeting of Shareholders held earlier today in St. John's, NL. Election of Directors On a vote by ballot, the following 10 nominees proposed by management were elected as Directors of Fortis to serve until the Corporation's next Annual Meeting of Shareholders or until their successors are elected or appointed. Fortis is the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada, with total assets of approximately $18.6 billion and fiscal 2013 revenue exceeding $4 billion. Its regulated utilities account for approximately 90% of total assets and serve approximately 2.5 million customers across Canada and in New York State and the Caribbean. Fortis owns non-regulated hydroelectric generation assets in Canada, Belize and Upstate New York. The Corporation's non-utility investment is comprised of hotels and commercial real estate in Canada.

Whether you eat them plain or stuffed, fry jacks are a “must-try” on your Belize vacation. A breakfast staple around the country, they are often compared to Mexico’s sopapillas or Louisiana’s beignets. Fry jacks are typically eaten plain, with honey and/or local jam on the side, or served as an accompaniment to egg and meat dishes. Some bakeries offer stuffed versions that can easily serve as an entire meal.

Multinational Medical Team Offers Free Care to Belizeans
U.S. Air Force Captain Stephanie Knodel of the New Horizons mobile forward surgical team listens to the heart and lungs of a Belizean girl in Santa Theresa, a remote village in southern Belize. Knodel was part of a vast team of health care workers, educators, nurses and doctors who joined together to provide free medical care and health education to Belizeans April 28 through May 9. Belizean health care providers worked side by side with Canadian and U.S. military medical providers to offer general medicine, dental, optometric and women’s health care. The care was part of the humanitarian exercise New Horizons 2014. “I like the way how it’s distributed. It’s not only in one place,” said Dr. Celina Stokes, the medical coordinator at the Isabel Palma Polyclinic in San Antonio and overseer of the Santa Theresa satellite clinic. “We are reaching from Dolores to Jalacte.”


Video: Belize and Mexico diving, 14min.
mexican caribiean, cavern diving and blue hole belize

Video: Belize Spring Break 2014, 19min.
Family vacation

Video: Dolphins in Belize, 1min.
Small pod of dolphins on the backside of Caye Caulker, Belize I jumped in and swam with them for a few minutes. They were feeding on something in the sand.

Video: Belize Diving 2014, 10min.

Video: Friends of Retzer Nature Center - Belize Trip Video 2014, 25min.
Join the Friends of Retzer Nature Center as they tour the country of Belize (January 2014)! Highlights include: The Programme for Belize's La Milpa and Hill Bank field stations, three Mayan archeological sites (including Tikal in Guatemala), and snorkeling at the barrier reef (including a sighting of a manatee).

Video: Belize National Female Football Team, 38min.
@ Playa del Carmen, Quadrangular May 2014

Video: Belize, 21min.
University of Wisconsin-River Falls 2014 study abroad trip to Belize

Video: San Pedro, Belize Easter 2014, 9min.
A compilation of some clips of my adventure in the beautiful Island of San Pedro, Belize.

May 14, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

SPTC celebrates mothers in annual extravaganza!
Mothers of La Isla Bonita were treated to an extravaganza of entertainment, drinks, food and fun this Mother’s Day. Hosted by The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), the Saturday May 10th event saw a variety of dances and music and comedic entertainment for hundreds of mothers who gathered at the old football field. Greeting the mommies with flowers and big smiles were members of the SPTC and Miss Chiquitita Zillah Flota. Flowers in hand, mothers were then seated and tended to by students of San Pedro High School. By 8:30PM, the show, which promised to be full of entertainment and laughter, began.

Ellen the sea turtle
As one of the activities for Reef Week organized by Hol Chan Marine Reserve under the theme “Our Reef Needs Our Protection for Future Generations”, Ellen the sea turtle is being released into her natural habitat. Ellen was brought from Placencia in March and is now ready for release.

Ambergris Today

Team Coco Beach Wins Toughest Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge Yet
The 10th Annual San Pedro Lagoon Reef Eco Challenge proved to be one of the toughest kayak races to date as teams battled through rough seas driven by close to 20mph winds that battered them during the two days of competition. Close to half of the teams did not manage to complete the race and dropped off the competition after the first day. Twenty teams entered the kayak race that commenced on Saturday, May 10, 2014, departing from the lagoon side of the island at by the Sunset Boardwalk. They all faced the tough challenge to paddle 25 miles to the northern border of the island on day one and back down the 17 miles to the finish line in town. But this year the race was a huge mental and physical challenge due to the weather conditions; high winds, strong currents, choppy seas and the beating sun were all factors that made the race even more challenging.

Video Highlights of Mothers Day Extravaganza 2014
The Hon. Louis "Cus" Sylvester Sports Field was the venue for this year's Mother's Day celebration in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Belize. The event was teeming with mothers of all ages, all having a great time with entertainment by special comedian guest Ismael Salazar and much more.

Misc Belizean Sources

FISHING REPORT: Week of May 4th – May 10th , 2014
The tough winds put the brakes on the tarpon and permit fishing success rate. We still hooked a few but none came to the boat once the winds kicked up mid week.

The Pools of Cara Blanca
If ever there was a magical land, a mystical place, a spiritual pool, that begs - no demands - our respect and protection, it is The Pools of Cara Blanca. Sunken Mayan structures, fields of giant sloth fossils, huge veins of calcite crystal growing from limestone, springs which bubble sand, thousands of fish and associated life and underwater forests complete with a calcium carbonate fog of super saturated freshwater ... it is criminal to watch the lands to the south of the pools be cleared and to think your children will never have the opportunity to experience such exquisite and elegant natural beauty. So sad that such ethereal sites as this skeletal forest will soon no longer exist ... feast your eyes now while you still can.

Cayo Represented at BETEX
Cayo was well represented at BETEX 2014. Rumors Resort, Midas Resort, Ka'ana, CAT, Maya Mountain Lodge, Windy Hill, Cahal Pech Resort, and many other Cayo lodges and tour operators had displays set up to exchange information.

Preparation for BETEX
Here are pictures that show how much went into setting up the BETEX conference.

Belmopan Beat Belize No Limit
The Belmopan Bandits beat the Belize City No Limit last week. They are coming to Cayo on Thursday to play the Western Ballaz in the last weekend of normal games. "We need to pack the UB Gym and come out to support our beloved Point Bandits in their quest for payoffs!!!!! We beat Belize City and stand 7-6!!!"

NAC App Gaming Competition
The National AIDS Commission is having an App Gaming Competition. If you have an idea for a unique game app, send it in. You can call the NAC at 223-7592 for more information. "The National Aids Commission is inviting game creators and developers from around the country to design 'one of a kind' games that will be adapted as a part of the first ever NAC App (downloadable to any device). Please take a look at the flyer below maybe this is something you or someone you may know would be interested in."

Ecology of Benque Seminar
Learn about the Ecology of Benque at 7:00pm on Thursday, at Centennial Park. Kimo Jolly, a well known ecology expert, will be leading the lecture, courtesy of CACHE. If you haven't seen him teach, you should definitely go, and enjoy.

Payment for Land Transactions
Government of Belize Press Office Press Release:

Ministry of Health Commemorates Nurses Week
Government of Belize Press Office Press Release:

Channel 7

Felix's 3rd Murder Trial Moved North
At news time tonight, a jury of 12 is deliberating the fate of brothers, Maurice and Emory Felix, who are on their second retrial for the murder of 29-year-old Mitchum Heredia. This case was heard before Justice Troadio Gonzalez in the Corozal Supreme Court. Heredia was gunned down just before 6:30 p.m. on April 10, 2006 as he arrived at his house on T Street. He was entering his yard in a Nissan Maxima car, when 2 armed men, ambushed and shot him 6 times at close range. This crime happened in Belize City, and so rightfully, the trial for this case should have taken place at the Belize City Supreme Court, as has happened in the first 2 trials. But this retrial took place all the way in the Corozal Supreme Court. That's because Sheneiza Smith, the Crown Counsel prosecuting the case, made an application over a month ago before Justice Gonzalez that the venue be changed. Justice Gonzalez asked that evidence be provided, and if the DPP's Office could do so, then he would grant the application.

Hulse: Tomlinson Free To Travel To Belize
Last week we told you about Maurice Tomlinson, the gay Jamaican man who's gone to the Caribbean Court of Justice to challenge Belize's Immigration law. That law says prostitutes and homosexuals are barred from entering Belize. Tomlinson says that discriminates against him as a CARICOM national and deprives him freedom to travel throughout the region as a CARICOM national. Today Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse said that while the law may be on the books, it's not in practice:. Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "The law is a 1963 law, let's face it. In the heady days of puritanism and all the rest. You know there is this gender policy and one has to be careful what one says. I am never careful with what I say. For me the position is very simple; nobody at immigration is going to ask anybody to declare their sexual orientation and that's not a question coming into the country. So, how on earth are you going to know who is who and who is what to refuse or otherwise allow them entry? There striking it out makes no difference to the law at all."

PUP Says UDP Mother's Day Gift Programme Demeans Democracy
Last night we showed you how the Barrow Administration's Mother's Day Gift Programme works. Each UDP area representative was earmarked fifty thousand dollars to distribute to mothers in their constituency. Most, we gather, distributed fifty or a hundred dollars vouchers, while others gave gifts of an equivalent value. The programme is alleged to have cost 850 thousand dollars and based on the feedback we have gotten, it was shored up amongst fifteen to twenty thousand recipients, presumably all mothers living in divisions with UDP representatives. The 14 PUP Representatives didn't get anything - unlike what happened with the Christmas Cheer Programme - when they got, but significantly less than their UDP counterparts. That's politics as usual, but today the Opposition cried foul. They held a press conference to say that it demeans democracy:.. Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Area Rep. - Bze Rural Central "What we disapprove of in the strongest terms is the use of the people's money - tax payers' money to fund gifts and parties in connection with mother's day in a way that is partisan, patronizing and political. Such is move is just plain wrong. The misuse of Belizean tax payers' money for solely partisan political purposes. As our secretary general has told us belittles and cheapens our democracy. We therefore call on all of Belizean civil society including our religious and faith leaders to join us in condemning this dishonest and offensive approach to carry in favor."

Hon. Hulse Says Politics At Executive Level Is A Team Game
One man who should have an interesting perspective on all this is Senator Godwin Hulse. He is now a UDP Minister but he came from civil society where state sponsored patronage is universally frowned upon. But now he's on the inside, and he told us that basically once you're on the Cabinet Team, you have to go with the flow:.. Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "With respect to the mother's day program, this is a government and a cabinet decision. There are thousands of mothers who have benefitted, the names are public, the funds are accounted for and it's a government program. We will take the criticism of course that it's not given to everybody, but that is the nature of the political beast. I have no absolute problem with respect to the fact that it's done open and transparent and upfront which has always been my mantra. I personally had always seen it from an equitable position in lots of ways, but I also seen the cabinet from things that should and shouldn't happen - I am a member of a team, a member of a football team, so to speak and when I was outside the team I spoke to the team. I am in the team. There are lots of things in cabinet I don't agree, but they are not big enough for me to walk away from because there is a bigger agenda and a bigger program that I want to further and so I stay there to further that and the small things I dismiss. I am a member of a team, I might not like how my colleague kick a goal or not kick a goal, but it's a member of a team."

Hon. Martinez Scolds Channel 5
Minister of Human Development Anthony Boots Martinez was not so casual when the media asked him about the programme today. Btu that's probably because Channel 5 was doing the questioning. Here's how that testy exchange went:... Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez, Port Loyola Area Representative "Listen to what is going on: I think you might need to go and ask the people of Port Loyola what they received. You all are trying to make a political thing especially Channel 5." Mike Rudon, Ch 5 "Sir, was the $50,000 government money or party money?" Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez "What.... you gave me $50,000 sir? Did you give me $50,000? Where did you get $50,000 from?"

Thieving Policeman Dodges Jail
27 year old Police Constable Brandon Hertular, who was convicted of theft yesterday, caught a lucky break in court today when he got a fine instead of a custodial sentence. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith heard mitigation pleas today from 3 character witnesses: Hertular's mother, his common-law wife, and his brother-in-law. She also heard pleas for mitigation from Hertular and his attorney, Anthony Sylvestre. Hertular, a father of 2, said he is the sole bread winner for his family and he has been a police officer for 5 years. Hertular expressed remorse for what he did. Chief Magistrate Smith sentenced him to pay fines to a total of $2,400. He was given until June 6 to pay, and if he defaults on payment he will serve 1 year.

Man Critical After Chopping
Tonight, 24 year-old Joseph West, a resident of Libertad Village and brother of famous national team goalkeeper Woodrow West, is in jail after being taken to court for a chopping in the Corozal District. West is accused of attacking 34 year-old Giovanni Borland at around 10 o'clock on Sunday night, May 11th. The incident happened at a bar in Libertad where both men were in an argument. West reportedly tried to de-escalate the situation by leaving the bar. He started walking to another one 2 lanes away, but Borland followed him. Borland then allegedly got a hold of a machete and advanced on West where the two got into a struggle, but West managed to take away the blade. Police say that Borland then targeted West's brother and attacked him with an object. Joseph West realized what was happening, and that's when he allegedly chopped Borland in the head. Borland had to be rushed to the Corozal Community Hospital, and he was later transported to the KHMH, where he remains in a critical condition.

Hon. Faber Explains Why Union Backed Out On Nat'l Teachers' Rally
2 Friday's ago, we told you about the impasse between the Ministry of Education and the Belize National Teachers Union which caused the 2014 National Teachers Rally to be cancelled. Basically what happened is, the ministry and the union couldn't agree over money - who would pay how much for what. The ministry asked the BNTU would be able to come up with one - third of the money required to hold the massive national event, which would have been more than $30,000 dollars. The BNTU instead said that they didn't have that much, and instead, they were hoping that the Ministry would accept a $10,000 contribution toward the rally. The Ministry couldn't accept that offer, and so the national rally, which was supposed to honour all the teachers around the country, had to be downsized to government funded district events. Today, we caught up with Education Minister Patrick Faber, and he gave us a reaction to the disagreement:

Hulse Says He wished Police Would Have Dug Deeper Into Immigration Irregularities
And, from education, back to Immigration. Eight months after the Citizen Kim scandal broke, the issue remains live. And that's probably because no one has really been prosecuted for it. Sure, Minister of State Elvin Penner has been stripped of his post and put aside by his party, but, in real terms, no one has been made to face a legal or administrative consequence for it. The five immigration officers who have been named, all remain on the job, while Penner faces a shaky private prosecution. That private prosecution needs evidence to bolster it. The activist group COLA and its attorney Kareem Musa have been seeking assistance in places both high and low - but to no avail. Today the media asked Hulse if he could help. He says, "with what?":.. Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "The evidence I think that COLA wants in the case of Elvin Penner is no more than has been on the news, has been on Channel 7, Channel 5 and everywhere and while I look at it I continue to wonder what is it beyond that that they are seeking. As you know there was and is no file that we've been able to find and that would have been the fundamental evidence. The evidence that is out there is the same that you have: a copy of a nationality certificate. We haven't found the original, the person probably has that, a passport; the original passport was in Taiwan. I think it will come to Belize sometime this month by special hand of the ambassador when she arrives and that about it and I think also the application form that was filled out has already been given over to COLA. That is certainly with the police and everybody else - it's been public knowledge."

Love Thy Neighbor: Until He Builds On Your Fence!
A dispute between two neighbours over a cement structure has led to a criminal charge. Darrell Vernon - a resident of 9771 Riverside Street in the Lake Independence area was charged with damage to property after his neighbour reported to police that Vernon damaged a few sheets of zinc on his two story building. But Vernon says he is being wrongfully charged and violated. The two story cement structure is being built on a fence which should be the property line - and the eaves of the zinc roof is hanging a few feet over Vernon's property. And while that is one concern, they are others such as the safety of the structure and is it even legal to build on a property line - much less on a fence? 7news contacted the Central Building Authority who told us that the law states that a structure should be minimum setback of four feet from the property line. And so this man who has been living on his property for 20 years - and now faces criminal charges - is speaking out in hopes of getting some kind of justice.

BOOST Programme Gets Regional Traction
Human Development ministers from Grenada and Dominica joined their Belizean counterpart today to learn about Belize's Boost programme. BOOST, as you might now, is a conditional cash transfer programme; the acronym BOOST stands for Building Opportunities of our Social Transformation. It was activated in 2011 in Belize, built on similar programs in Brazil and Mexico. And now, it has been recognized as a model programme, praised by the World Bank for its effectiveness and transparency. So representatives from eight Caribbean countries are in Belize to learn all about it. Social sector policy level workers from Bahamas Barbados Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Grenada and Dominica are at the Radisson for a sort of study session on Boost. CEO Judith Alpuche explained their interest. Judith Alpuche, CEO Human Development "A number of countries expressed an interest in taking a closer at BOOST. I think because we are close on size especially to the Eastern Caribbean states." Laura Blanco, Project Officer - OAS "The OAS hopes to contribute to the enhancement of the knowledge base on participating countries in the development and management of social protection programming."

Educators Meet, Discuss Research
This week is being celebrated as Education Week, and a part of that observance, the Ministry of Education held its second biennial Teachers Education Conference. Almost exactly 2 years ago, the first conference was held, and the goal has not changed. Teachers who are participating are trying to catch up with the findings from recent education research. A few of the topics on the agenda include training methods in Early Childhood Education, Vocational and Technical Education, Special Education and quite a few others. Education Minister Patrick Faber told us that the main goal of the conference is to keep teachers revitalized and motivated towards self-improvement: Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education "It is a conference developed by the teachers education development service unit of our ministry that's is charge with of course encouraging and supporting teacher education across this country, so two years ago we decided to start with it and this is of course the second of the kind of conference. Teacher education for us is very important. As you know I embarked at the time of becoming minister on making sure that we had more properly qualified teachers. While many of our teachers have associate degree and even bachelor degrees at the primary school and even secondary school level, many of them lack the pedagogical training, the professional teacher training if you will and so we see this as a kind of effort to encourage the stakeholders of education to support teacher education across the education system of Belize."

Is Race Rearing Its Ugly Head In Cotton Tree
Villagers of Cotton Tree have to be getting ready for some new neighbors - because the Barrow Administration has set aside 240 lots to be shared up between eight UDP controlled Belize City constituencies. But as we've told you Cotton Tree's Village Council says Central Government insulted and ignored its villagers by not consulting or offering the land to them. Boots Martinez has been targeted as the main culprit probably because he's been to the area many times to tell Hispanic villagers who were squatting that they need to make way for his constituents - who are invariably creole. Indeed, the racial undercurrent is the elephant in the room on this one, and today Martinez addressed it head on:.. Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez "First thing they talk about "come ya." Well first thing I must remind the chairman that there is no "come ya" for me who born and the other Belizean people who were born here - there is no "come ya" and secondly, that that land was bought government, acquired not for any village extension in regards to supplying lots to Belize City residents. This is not about balkanization, I have problems when it deems to me that it is about balkanization and also having heard the chairman making comments about people who are from the City and so. Port Loyola have doctors, we have nurses - thugs are coming up there and thing. I am sorry, I totally dismiss that."

Placencia Village Council Exasperates Hulse
Last week, on May 8th, Placencia Village residents and the Village Council are reported to have held a night meeting where they unanimously re-affirmed their opposition to mass cruise ship tourism for southern Belize. That exasperates Godwin Hulse to no end. He's the minister in charge of the Cabinet Subcommittee for investment and he's been to Placencia to try and convince the village council more than once. Today he told us he thought he had convinced them:.. Hon. Godwin Hulse "I'm dismayed. I met with them the previous Wednesday, and in a meeting with the full council, we had, and this was in the presence of my C.E.O., the Director for Local Government, the Fire Chief, the Director for Rural Development - we had their one hundred percent unequivocal endorsement of the project when we explained how the project was being developed. This whole matter of mass tourism, we explained to them carefully…that when NCL was developing its project, because there was such a hue and cry against tourism in the south, they wanted to develop their exclusive island.

Hulse On D. Contreras: No Dispute, No Intervention
And finally from Hulse tonight, we also asked him about Danini Contreras. The Public Service Union has asked the Labour ministry to investigate the circumstances of her hiring. He told us indeed they have received and responded to the request, but they are no aware of any dispute that needs to be investigated. Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Labour "The Labour Commissioner who is the person that is responsible has written back to them. I think in fact he wrote to them yesterday to say please outline the areas of dispute, because the letter asked us to intervene in the dispute, but the areas of the dispute have not been detailed. So first of all we have to be clear that there is a dispute. Normally a dispute arises between the employee and the employer. And in this case the dispute is not between the employee and the employer - the employer being the Government of Belize and the employee in question being Ms. Contreras, and there seems to be no dispute between them."

Gracie Rock Residents Concerned About Their River
And moving on now from the ether of bureaucratic wrangling to the solid landscape of a village problem….On Monday villagers of Gracie Rock woke up to see their beloved Sibun River milky white. It's a major event in this small community where residents fish in the river and earn tourism dollars from it. Now, no one knows for sure what causes it; all they know is some development is happening upstream which discolors their stretch of the river. We spoke to a resident who told us that how his family business is being affected.

PUP Blasts PM's Wife On Harpers Bazaar Spread
Last week we told you about the impressive 11 page spread in Harpers Bazaar Interiors featuring the Prime Minister's wife Kim Barrow at some of the most exotic getaways in Belize. The BTB sent out a statement saying that it worked out to be inexpensive high grade promotion for their tourism product. But the PUP is not impressed. At a press conference today, that was one of the main issues presented. Yolanda Schakron said the spread is out of touch with reality:... Yolanda Schakron, President - PUP United Women Group "Money that was taken from the Belize Tourist Board to fund the vanity - that's what I call it ladies and gentlemen - vanity, that went into Harper's Bazaar Interiors Magazine. We believe that these activities under her office as Special Envoy for Women and Children do nothing, absolutely nothing about the serious situation that our women and children face every day in Belize. We are therefore compel to say that it is not right for the Special Envoy to focus on her vanity projects when so much needs to be done for women and children in Belize."

Ebeneezer Students Have High Hopes
In our last segment, we showed you the teacher education conference as part of education week. Well, Ebenezer Methodist Primary School is also observing this week's importance. The entire school organized a career day, where the students choose a particular career that they're interested in and dressed the part. 7News stopped in and caught up with some of the aspiring young doctors, lawyers, nurses and law enforcement officers. Here's what the students told us about the career they chose: Ebenezer Methodist Primary School continues their observance of education week with their version of crazy called "Wacky Wednesday."

GOB Bigwigs Descend On Sympathetic Sundaywood
It is been two weeks now since Sunday Wood Village, the Mayan community within the buffer zone in the South openly declared their support for US Capital's continued oil exploration within the Sarstoon Temash National Park. They joined Barranco Village in loud opposition to SATIIM and the other communities who want to stop the oil company from operating. Well they went a step further on last week Thursday and requested that members of the Government of Belize go down to meet and consult with them. Their request was granted and Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Joy Grant visited the community along with other representatives within their ministries. Present also were personnel from the oil company, and with the community of Sunday Wood, a 2 hour meeting was held. It started from 6:00 in the evening where all parties got an opportunity to speak openly about the concerns of the oil company's continued presence. Courtesy the press office, here's but a short excerpt from Attorney General Elrington explaining that Government is trying to look after the best interest of all the buffer communities:

Health Update
Last night, we reported that the Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, used his office to intervene last year to halt the allowance of persons studying nursing to sit their certification on the grounds that he had over the years a consistent pattern emerged that 50% of persons failed the exam. We were mistaken. Marin was referring to certification exam for aspiring pharmacists to become licensed to practice the trade. Also of important note is that he suggested in that interview that something was wrong with the curriculum of UB's pharmacy program, that's why there were mass failures. We followed up on that claim with the Pharmacists Association's Vice President, who told us that she doesn't know on what grounds Marin made that declaration. Vice President Marisol Melhado told us that as February 2014, of the last batch of candidates who sat the exam coming out of the UB curriculum, 80% passed the exam. Melhado told us that Marin should justify such a statement by indicating which years he was referring to when 50% of pharmacy candidates who sat the exam ended up failing.

Last Saturday the Ariel Rosado Memorial Foundation, held its 3rd annual ride to raise funds for its scholarship programme. Over 100 cyclists participated, and managed to complete the ride which was about 60 miles. They group started at Galen University at around 6 a.m. and they reached Belize City just before midday, where they ended off at the Hour Bar. Each cyclist made a pledge of $25 dollars and more to participate. There was a barbeque sale at the end of the ride, and coupled with the patronage of corporate sponsors, the Foundation managers tell us that the ride was very successful. A final dollar figure hasn't been reached as yet because pledges are still coming in, and the Foundation has outstanding bills to pay. Dr. Alvaro Rosado, the President of the Foundation, told us this evening, that although they are still counting the money, enough has been raised to provide 2 more scholarships. He also noted to us that 4 of the students benefiting from the scholarship program will be graduating this year: 3 from high school and 1 from university.

Channel 5

Has the passport issued to Won Hong Kim been cancelled?
Today, Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse was corralled by the media and subjected to a grilling usually reserved for Prime Minister Dean Barrow. We have it all, but first the [...]

Godwin Hulse comments on police investigation into Immigration Department
Apart from a private prosecution of Elvin Penner by COLA, the disgraced former Minister of State Elvin Penner has escaped all scrutiny. The COLA case has been negatively impacted by [...]

Final report from Auditor-General on Immigration Department still pending
The Auditor-General’s department has been inside the Immigration Department since October 2013, allegedly to get to the bottom of the corruption. While the public remained unaware, a preliminary report on [...]

Minister Hulse shocked by thumbs down given to NCL project
The multi-million dollar Norwegian Cruise Lines tourism project in southern Belize has been all but given a green light by the Government of Belize. But government’s approval is not the [...]

3 female minors missing from Marla’s House of Hope
There is a disturbing report tonight that three female minors are missing from Marla’s House of Hope in Belmopan. When we contacted the Home today, a spokesperson confirmed that three [...]

Mother’s Day Cheer draws controversy
Last week the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Finance, disbursed fifty thousand dollars to each of the seventeen U.D.P. Area Representatives, titled as a mother’s day program. It’s [...]

Opposition bashes Government’s cash giveaway
As we said, close to a million dollars from the public purse were disbursed to select members in U.D.P.-controlled constituencies and there is growing controversy surrounding the initiative. U.D.P. area [...]

“Boots” Martinez denies then admits constituents got $50,000
Port Loyola Area Representative Anthony Boots Martinez is also part of that team, and yes, he also got fifty thousand dollars to give to his constituents. Today, he seemed a [...]

Godfrey Smith selected as P.U.P.’s national campaign manager
For several weeks it has been reported that former Pickstock area representative, Godfrey Smith, had been selected as the People’s United Party’s national campaign manager.  Smith, who is a former [...]

P.U.P. gears up for upcoming municipal elections
Municipal elections are less than a year away and both political parties are gearing up and putting together their respective slates to contest the various seats in local government. The [...]

Cop fighting for his life after falling off his motorbike
A police man of Double Head Cabbage is tonight fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital following a traffic mishap on a stretch of road in the [...]

Immigration Minister says Jamaican Gay Activist can visit Belize
Jamaican gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson will have his day in court – the Caribbean Court of Justice, to be specific. He has been given leave to challenge the Immigration [...]

Senior educators converge to discuss the state of teaching services
Senior educators are meeting at the Belize Biltmore Plaza in a two day conference to discuss the state of teaching services. The theme is “Sustaining the twenty-first Century: Teachers Raising [...]

Horizontal Cooperation Exchange on Social Protection focuses on BOOST program
And over at the Radisson, representatives from eight Caribbean countries including the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Grenada and [...]

Minister of Labor speaks on dispute over the appointment of Danini Contreras
The new, not yet approved Director of Drug Inspectorate, Danini Contreras, has become a highly controversial figure. She is the daughter of U.D.P. Minister Erwin Contreras, and technical experts including [...]

Suspended immigration employees back on the job
Senior Immigration staffers Ady Pacheco and Gordon Wade came under scrutiny for their roles in the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. An internal Immigration investigation fingered both of them, and [...]

Minister “Boots” Martinez takes a swing at Cotton Tree residents
Two hundred and fifty-four lots in Cotton Tree have been given to residents of Port Loyola.  The Village Council has reacted by taking government to court saying that G.O.B. has [...]

Harper’s Bazaar feature on Kim Simplis-Barrow criticized
Kim Simplis-Barrow is featured prominently in a recent publication of Harper Bazaar’s Interior Magazine, a spread which reportedly costs over a hundred thousand dollars.  The fashion and lifestyle periodical has [...]

P.U.P. women ask for full financial disclosure of Simplis-Barrow’s projects
The Inspiration Center opened its doors to special needs children across Belize in March.  While the modern facility has been celebrated as a premium care giving center, the women of [...]


One Man Charged Bar Brawl In Libertad Village
Last night we told you about the bar brawl in Libertad Village Corozal that has left a man from Belize City clinging to life at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital, another hospitalized at the Corozal Community Hospital and a third behind bars. Yesterday not much was revealed by authorities as they were still carrying out their investigations. Tonight though, there is a bit more of information coming out of the Corozal Police Station as it relates to how the fight actually started. Reports are that at around 10:00pm on the 11th of May, 34 year old Giovanni Borland of Western Pines 8 miles, Belize District and Joseph West were at a local bar in Libertad when an argument ensued between them. At that point West left the bar and headed out to another bar located about two lanes away. But it seems that Borland was not willing to let things go because reports are that he followed West and picked up a machete on his way. When he caught up with West a struggle ensued between them.

Jury Deliberate Faith Of Felix Brothers
A little over 8 years ago on April 10th 2006, Mitchum Heredia was ambushed and killed near a car outside his T Street home in Belize City. He had just arrived home when two men held him up and shot him multiple times to the head and body killing him on the spot. A year after the incident, two brothers, Maurice and Emory Felix had been pinned to be the men who pulled the trigger on Heredia. They were jointly found guilty of Heredia’s murder by a 12-member Jury. They were sentenced to life imprisonment but upon appeal, on June 20th 2008, a retrial was ordered. The retrial was granted after the judge of the Court of Appeal ruled that the men never got a fair trial when no identification parade was held in the case against them.

DPM Disperse His Share Of Government Funds
Government’s spending of public funds, eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars to be exact, has many people questioning the judgment of the government and its priorities. As we reported last night, all seventeen UDP Area Representatives were handed fifty thousand dollars each to hold a mother’s day program in their respective constituencies. The money, we understand, was specifically for a Mothers’ Day program but many of the representatives found it much easier to distribute the money to mothers. Reports are that it was not equally done either as only party supporters were handed money between fifty to three hundred dollars each. Mothers in Orange Walk North it seems received their share today. Women of all ages lined outside of the treasury office in Orange Walk Town to collect their share of the cash. No one could say how much they were receiving but we were made to understand that the women who received the money were handpicked by Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega.

IMF Releases Its 2014 Article IV On Belize
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Jacques Bouhga-Hagbe has concluded its 2014 Article IV Consultation on Belize. The team arrived in the jewel on April 28 and held its consultations up to May 9th. The report shows that the Belizean economy is estimated to have grown by only 0.7 percent in 2013 mainly because of continued decline in oil production and weak agricultural output, especially sugarcane and citrus. Inflation eased to 0.5 percent from 1.3 percent a year ago, as commodity price pressures abated. Private sector credit grew by 3.8 percent (y/y) in March 2014. While declining, Non-Performing Loans remained high at 17.6 percent of total loans at the end of 2013 while the banking system’s capital buffers improved and weaknesses in the system are being addressed. The external current account deficit widened to 4.5 percent of GDP up from 1.2 percent in 2012, as exports of oil and agricultural products fell sharply, while imports of fuel and electricity picked up. Nonetheless, the report shows that international reserves improved to 4.3 months of imports (up from 3.3 months at end-2012) owing mainly to PetroCaribe financing and private capital inflows.

Women's Department Empower Women Of Orange Walk
The Women’s Department in Belize has worked with hundreds of women in many aspects of their lives. Among their efforts is assisting women with economic empowerment that is achieved through several different skills training. This morning, thirty-one women graduated from one such program and here is a look at what their experience has been. Dalila Ical - Reporter The women’s department has successfully completed another economic empowerment training for women in the Orange Walk District. Thirty-one women took the cosmetology class for a period of fourteen weeks. Makeesha Swazo is the Women Development Officer for the Orange Walk branch. Makeesha Swazo – Women Development Officer “It has to do with nail designs, manicure, pedicures and acrylics, it is an economic empowerment program that serves to motivate women and give them the skills so that would be able to go out in the work force and be able to open their own small business and make their own monies for themselves and their families.”

Nurses Week Celebrated In Belize
International Nurses Day is celebrated every year on May 12th and in Belize, the Ministry of Health joins the International Council of Nurses and all nurses across the country in celebration of Nurses’ Week, which is being observed this week from May 11th to the 16th. International Nurses Day was observed on May 12th, 2014. This year, the week is being celebrated under the theme: “Nurses: A Force for Change a Vital Resource for Health”. Health regions across the country have a weeklong series of activities including church services, trainings, social events, health awareness in schools and publicity appearances on media shows. The main activity will be the National Nurses Conference to be held this Friday, May 16th in Dangriga Town. In January 1974, officials decided to celebrate the occasion on this date to coincide with the anniversary

Fifteen year Old Benquena Missing
Orange Walkenos are asked to be on the look for a 15 year old girl from Benque Viejo Del Carmen whose family is asking for the public’s assistance in locating her. Carmencita Guadalupe Reyes, who is believed to have travelled to Orange Walk, left home on Monday without her mother’s permission. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Carmencita Guadalupe Reyes is asked to call the police in Benque Viejo del Carmen at telephone number 803-2038.

OW Residence Concern About Increase In Crime, Police Say All Is Good
Residents have called our studios to make complaint of what they say is an increase in crimes such as robbery and assault. While the Orange Walk Police Formation says that this is not the case, residents say they are growing tired but most of all concerned about their safety within the town. One of the reports reaching us alleges that a young man who was headed home after mass was assaulted at the corner of his house. A group of boys allegedly approached him and punched him. The report adds that it may have been just for the mere pleasure of the attack since the young man had no money on him and the boys took his cellular phone and threw it to the ground. A second report indicates that a man was assaulted and robbed of his bike by SP and Western Diaries on Progress Street. Another report states that on the same street, someone riding a bike snatched a woman’s chain from around her neck in broad daylight. Another report claims that a house on Dunn Street has been burglarized and neighbors witnessed the thieves making their escape but when they turned to the police, authorities said they could do nothing.


Police Escapes Custodial Sentence After Theft Conviction
Twenty-seven year old police constable Brandon Hertular, who was found guilty of three counts of theft yesterday, was spared a custodial sentence when he appeared today before the Chief magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Hertular was fined one thousand dollars for the first count and seven hundred dollars for each of the other two counts. He was given until June 6 to pay the fines. If he defaults on payment he will serve one year. Before she decided on the sentence, Chief magistrate Smith heard pleas for mitigation from three character witnesses, the convict and his attorney, Anthony Sylvestre. The character witnesses included Hertular’s mother, Anna Hertular, his common-law wife, Michelle Smith and his brother-in-law, Joseph Lawrence. Hertular, a father of two, said that he was sorry for what he did and that he is the sole bread winner for his family. He also said that he was a member of the Police Force for about 5 years.

July Deliberates Fates of the Felix Brothers
A 12-member jury is deliberating today in the court of Justice John Gonzalez to see if it can reach a verdict in the trial of two brothers, Maurice Felix and Emory Felix, charged with the murder of Mitchum Heredia. Heredia was shot and killed on April 10, 2006 at his residence on T Street in Belize City. The venue for the trial was moved to Corozal Supreme Court because there was evidence of jury tampering at the two previous trials that were held in Belize City. The jury was unable to reach a verdict at the first trial and the guilty verdict at the second trail was overturned by Belize Court of Appeal and a retrial was ordered. The main witness, Rommel Palacio Jr., was unable to testify because he is presumed dead but the statement he gave to the police was admitted as evidence. Palacio’s father, Rommel Palacio Sr. was killed before him in what police believe was a case in which the shooter went for the son and killed the father when the son could not be found.

Immigration Minister Says Tomlinson’s Proposed Change Makes No Difference
On Thursday May 8, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that Maurice Tomlinson does have a case to challenge Belize’s Immigration law that prohibits homosexuals from entering the country. The CCJ gave Tomlinson seven days to file the substantive case. Today Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse, weighed in on the matter. HON. GODWIN HULSE “The law is a 1963 law; let’s face it, in the heady days of puritanism and all the rest. You know, there is this gender policy and one has to be careful about what one says and I am never careful about what I say but for me, the position is very simple, nobody at immigration is going to ask anybody to declare their sexual orientation; that is not a question coming into the country. So, how on earth are you going to know who is who and who is what to refuse or otherwise allow them entry; therefore, striking it out makes no difference to the law at all.

Minister Hulse Dismayed at Placencia Residents
Minister Hulse has many responsibilities and acts in several capacities including the Chairman of Cabinet’s subcommittee of Investment and today he spoke about the Norwegian Cruise Line Project on Harvest Caye. In an email sent to the media, the Placencia Village Council and its residents reaffirmed their opposition to Mass Cruise Ship Tourism. The council says that a meeting was held on May 8 in which the villagers unanimously voted against NCL’s project. Minister Hulse who has been involved in the project from the onset, says that he is dismayed at the council’s decision since he had previously met with the Village Council who, at that moment, expressed support for the project. HON. GODWIN HULSE “I’m dismayed. I met with them, the previous Wednesday and in a meeting with the full council, we had and this was in the presence of my CEO, the Director for Local Government, the Fire Chief and the Director for Rural Development.


Happy Hour Results in Chop to the Head
There is another incident coming out of a local bar, this time, in the district of Corozal According to Police reports on Sunday, May 11th, at 10:00 pm., Giovanni Borland and Joseph West were at a local bar in Corozal Town when an argument between them started. According to...

Belmopan School Burglarized
St. Michaels Roman Catholic School, located in the area of Las Flores in Belmopan, was broken into sometime over the weekend. According to Joan Sanchez, Principal of the school, before classes began on Monday morning, some of the students told teachers that one of the...

Pharmacists’ Association Appeals to Labour Ministry
The dispute between the Ministry of Health and the Pharmacists’ Association of Belize could be settled by the Ministry of Labour. Minister of Labour, Senator Godwin Hulse confirmed today that the machinery is in motion to file a formal complaint. Senator Godwin Hulse- Minister of Immigration and Labour “The...

Confiscated Rosewood Mysteriously Disappeared
The issue regarding Rosewood just seems to not want to go away. Just last month in April, Plus News reported two suspicious movements of rosewood in the south; only one week apart. The first sighting was on Sunday, April 6 when PGTV reported about 7000 board feet of freshly cut rosewood...


Rest in Peace, Young Lion!
In the early morning hours of Saturday, the news began to circulate among the Kremandala family that Evan Garnett, Jr., had been killed in a traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway, when he lost control of his car and crashed into a derelict bus that was parked on the roadside in front of Arthurs Junkyard, in the vicinity of El Cas Hardware store, around Mile 11 ½. The 19-year-old Garnett was returning to his home in Los Lagos when the accident occurred. He was less than a mile from his home. According to Ladyville Police, the accident occurred around 4:40 a.m., and when they arrived on the scene, they reported that they found Garnett motionless in his white Honda Accord that had been extensively damaged. Police confirmed that he had been wearing his seat belt. Evan was pronounced dead at 6:36 a.m. at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

Cop convicted of theft
In just three weeks, in different cases, three police officers have been convicted of serious offences in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. Two of the convicted cops were sentenced to prison terms for firearm offences, and today, in a separate case, a third cop was convicted, this time for theft. He has been remanded to await his sentencing from Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. That has been set for tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10:00 a.m. PC Brandon Hertular, who was charged with burglary and theft, was found guilty on the two charges. But his attorney Anthony Sylvestre told Amandala that he is planning to appeal the conviction, especially the burglary conviction. Sylvestre is contending that his client entered the home from which the items were stolen as a police officer, and not as a trespasser. The charges against Hertular date back to March, 2012, when the Chicas family’s home was reportedly invaded in an apparent burglary and a number of items, including a black Glock P19 .9mm pistol with serial number PYG 313, with a magazine containing 15 rounds, were stolen.

Mother’s Day murder in Punta Gorda
Mother’s Day, yesterday, Sunday, brought heavy sorrow to the family of Janice Florice Vargas, 28, of West Street, Punta Gorda. The pregnant mother of a 2-year-old daughter died after she was shot by a man who went into her workplace at the Jamaica Bar in the Indianville area of Punta Gorda Town at about 1:25 yesterday morning. Reports to Amandala are that the bar had closed for business at about 12:30 yesterday morning when the shooting occurred. Robbery was not the motive for the shooting, so the reason for the young woman’s death is yet unknown. Police said that on their arrival at the bar, they saw Vargas lying unconscious in a pool of blood in a corridor leading to the back door. She had been shot in the upper right shoulder, but the bullet had lodged in her chest. Police immediately took her to the Punta Gorda Hospital, where her condition was declared critical, after which she was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga for further treatment, but she died on the way to that hospital. She was declared dead on arrival at about 4:30 yesterday morning.

Belmopan “facey thief” shot by police
A robber armed with a machete who allegedly committed two bare-faced robberies – stealing $6,500 from Scotia Bank and an assortment of clothing valued at $210 from a store – is alive but suffering with two gunshot wounds after he was shot by a policeman at about 11:30 Friday morning on Slim Lane, and has been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical condition. According to police, a bank teller at the Belmopan branch of Scotia Bank, reported that on Friday, at about 10:00 in the morning, while a customer was making a deposit in cash and cheques, a tall, dark-complexioned man, later identified as Canon Augustine Obispo, 25, of Teakettle, Cayo District, walked up to her booth, grabbed $6,500 that was in the wicket from the depositor, and ran out of the bank. Police said that Obispo had stolen $210 worth of clothes from Classic Clothing Store in Belmopan just a short time before he went to the Scotia Bank and committed the robbery.

Belize Coast Guard rescues 3 Honduran fishermen
Three Honduran fishermen who were adrift at sea for almost one week were rescued today by the Belize Coast Guard, after they drifted into Belizean waters near Columbus Caye, which lies some 35 miles from Belize City. The Coast Guard made the announcement about the rescue this afternoon, when Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis, the Coast Guard’s Operations Officer, briefed reporters at their headquarters. Soberanis said that last Thursday, the Belize Coast Guard received a call that there were three Honduran nationals who were reported missing at sea. “The families of the men believed at the time that they had drifted into Belizean waters,” Soberanis disclosed. “As a result the Coast Guard patrol station at Hunting Caye was put on alert to be on the lookout for these three Honduran nationals, as they operate in that sector,” he said. Soberanis recounted, “This morning after 7:00 a.m., we received a call from a local fisherman on Columbus Caye that a 30-foot vessel had drifted into his vessel that was anchored at the time.”

20 deaths and countless injuries from road accidents January to April
Twenty people have been killed due to road traffic accidents since the beginning of the year – with 6 of the fatalities occurring in March alone, although some of the individuals who died in March had actually been involved in accidents in February, but survived for a short time before succumbing to their injuries. Some of the other victims who escaped death suffered massive injuries, and the accidents also caused damage or destruction of several vehicles. The first fatality to result from a road traffic accident for 2014 was the death of Charles Noralez, who was travelling on his motorcycle from Silk Grass to Dangriga. He was killed at about 6:30 Monday evening, January 6, when he slammed into the rear of a bus that was parked on the roadside. He was thrown onto the pavement and died on the spot. At about 8:00 Wednesday night, January 15, a 3-vehicle collision occurred on the Philip Goldson Highway between Miles 87 and 88. As a result, Marcelo Damian Aguilar of Concepcion was killed and several others were injured.

Impasse between pharmacists and Ministry of Health
An official of the Pharmacist Association of Belize (PAB) told Amandala today that there is still an impasse between the association, which represents 150 registered pharmacists across the country, and the Ministry of Health, over a gamut of issues that surround the quality of the medicine supply in the country. At a Ministry of Health press conference on Friday, Samira Gongora, Senior Pharmacist at the Central Medical Stores, one of the persons recently authorized to sign customs entries along with Anderson, revealed that while Quality Assurance Product Cards were last issued in 2013, standardized testing has not occurred since 2012, when the last batch sent overseas for testing got lost in Jamaica. The Ministry of Health was at the center of controversy in March over PAB’s public objections to the hiring of the daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras, Danini Contreras, a recent university graduate with no experience in the field, as the director of the drug inspectorate. Things came to a head again when Health CEO, Dr. Peter Allen, included Contreras on a list of new persons authorized to sign customs entries for pharmaceuticals.

Regional report says Belize’s internet rates are costly, while speed is sluggish
Two days ago, ICT Pulse – a telecoms analyst which has been comparing internet speeds and pricing across the Caribbean on an annual basis since 2011 – reported that Belize’s internet plan is not only one of the slowest in the Caribbean, but it is also the most expensive as compared to 18 other Caribbean countries. The lowest available download speeds in 12 of the 19 countries surveyed, was below 2 megabytes per second, with Aruba, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands having internet packages with download speeds as low as 128 kilobytes per second, while 15 countries offer broadband packages with a maximum advertised download speed of at least 8 megabytes per second, with the exception of Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname. Currently, there are 6 countries offering a maximum of 8 megabytes per second, and 5 of them – Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Kitts, the Turks and Caicos – do so for less than US $150, while Belize offers the same service for USD $353.57.

Nat’l Health Sector Strategic Plan launched
An official blueprint of the Belize Health Sector Strategic Plan and the National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) was presented by representatives of the Ministry of Health this morning at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel. The plan – which seeks to improve quality health services for a safer and healthier Belize by 2024 – is geared towards forming partnerships with stakeholders through innovative and collaborative efforts, and supporting the provision of effective health services for the overall wellness of the population and national development. The Ministry of Health’s Lizett Bell, Health Planner and part of the steering committee for the national plan, stated that the plan – which at times proved challenging to develop – was first orchestrated in August 2012 and started to progress more steadily in May of 2013 when the Policy, Analysis and Planning Unit decided to establish a steering committee to ensure collaboration between the Ministry of Health and its stakeholders in the implementation of the plan, which is aimed at reducing the prevalence of NCDs and improving the management of these conditions to prevent complications and premature mortality.

Butane prices take the plunge
Finally, consumers are seeing an ease in the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), with a fall of 10% in the price of butane sourced from Mexico and a 12.5% fall in the price of butane sourced from Central America. Consumers in Belize City should now pay $115 for a 100-pound cylinder purchased from Belize Gas Limited and Western Gas Limited, whose supply comes from Mexico, and $112 for a 100-pound cylinder if they buy LPG from Belize Western Energy Limited, Southern Choice Butane, Zeta Gas or Gas Tomza Limited, whose supply comes from Central America. Prices vary in the districts, with LPG being most expensive in the southernmost municipality of Punta Gorda, where it may be sold for $117 or $120 per cylinder, depending on the source.

Teenager facing manslaughter by negligence and related charges
A Belize City teenager who was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in the death of a 5-year-old girl on Holy Saturday was charged with manslaughter by negligence and several other related charges, when she was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Thursday, May 8. Magistrate Dale Cayetano did not have to take a plea from Visiona Carcamo, 18, because the offenses will be heard on indictment in the Supreme Court. The court prosecutor did not object to bail, and Carcamo was released on $5,000 bail plus one surety of the same amount. She is due to return to court on July 14. Apart from manslaughter by negligence, police also charged the Fabers Road resident with causing death by careless conduct; driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention; negligent wounding; using a motor vehicle not covered by third party risk insurance, driving a motor vehicle without a valid Belizean driver’s license, and driving with passengers in excess on a vehicle.

Five persons reported missing
Five persons from different parts of the country, including Carmelita, Cayo and Belmopan, have been reported missing. At about 2:00 Wednesday afternoon, April 30, Ricardo Garma, 22, of Carmelita, in the Orange Walk District, left home and was last seen walking on the Philip Goldson Highway towards the BSI Tower Hill junction at about 9:00 on the night of Saturday, May 4. He was reported missing by his father on Thursday, May 8, when he failed to return home. Garma, who is a mental patient, was last seen wearing a pair of yellow tennis shoes, plain white socks, a red short-sleeved shirt and a pair of red ¾ pants. He is about 5 feet 6 inches tall, is of fair complexion with straight, dark, low-cut hair, and has a scar on the upper part of his head. He also has a tattoo of a skull on his right fist and a rose tattoo on the left side of his chest area.

$2 parking fee in effect at KHMH
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) opened its newly upgraded parking lot this past Monday and, as promised at the signing of the contract for the renovation of the space, the public hospital has been charging customers to use the parking lot. The rumor mill suggested that those parking fees would be extended to those visiting the hospital to see sick relatives or to conduct business at the hospital; however, chairperson of the KHMH Board of Directors, Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, said that only those who are not accessing KHMH services will be charged for using the parking space. She said, “The procedure for charging just started at the beginning of this week and we have been receiving complaints from persons who have to pay to use the parking lot. The greatest concern for us was when we heard that patients and people who are accessing the services at the hospital are also being charged, and so we had a Board meeting today and the topic came up, and systems will be put in place to ensure that patients that are using the hospital and who are receiving treatment from the hospital will not be charged for using the parking lot – that was never the intention. The intention was to capture some revenue from the businesses and other places around here whose clients use the parking lot, to generate some income for the hospital.”

Ministry of Lands tells Harmonyville squatters to move, or else …
Late this evening, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture issued an Eviction Notice/Cease and Desist Order via a press release which specifically said that, in respect of persons who are currently occupying the Harmonyville Development Area, it is “unlawful to clear and occupy any land designated as a Buffer Zone Area (Reserve).” The Ministry of Natural Resources said that it was “subsequently providing an ultimatum to those persons to clear the area or face the full extent of the law.” The release states that on April 29, 2014, the Lands and Surveys Department issued an Eviction Notice and a Cease and Desist Order to individuals of the Harmonyville Development Area regarding the “unlawful clearing and occupation of the land designated as the Buffer Zone Area (Reserve) within that subdivision or development scheme.” The Ministry then warned that “any non-compliance with the aforementioned orders will be dealt with forthwith according to the law and with the ultimate consequence resulting in demolition.”

Bandits shock Police
After storming into the Premier League Closing Season Finals on the strength of two convincing semifinal victories over 4th seed BDF, 2-1 in Dangriga on May 3 and 3-0 in Belmopan on May 8, regular season #1 seed Police United were brimming with confidence going into Saturday night’s Finals Game 1 against defending champions Belmopan Bandits, seeded #2, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. For their part, the beleaguered Bandits, having lost their #1 striker, Deon McCaulay, early in the season to the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks, were all of 8 points behind Police at the end of regular season, and only claimed the #2 seed position by virtue of goal difference over 3rd seed Verdes FC. The Bandits, who had only won 4 games, drawing 6 and losing 2, in regular season, had apparently made it through to the playoffs on the strength of their defense. The only other team to lose only 2 games in regular season and also allow only 7 goals was Police United, but they had posted 8 big victories, with a league leading 17 goals scored, to the Bandits’ 13.

3 teams battle
With one more week of regular season games remaining, the race to the Top-4 playoffs is sizzling hot in the inaugural National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) tournament. As close as the race is to the playoff, this week’s Week 14 games to end the regular season will decide which 4 teams make it to the semifinal playoffs. Two teams are already secure – San Pedro Tigersharks (11-2) and Cayo Western Ballaz (11-2); while 3 teams – Dangriga Warriors (8-5), Belize City (Smart) No Limit (8-5) and Belmopan Point Bandits (7-6) are battling for 2 remaining spots. And two of them – Dangriga Warriors and Belize City (Smart) No Limit clash this Friday night at Bird’s Isle. Week 13 results from the past weekend were: (7-6) Belmopan Point Bandits, 71-59, over (8-5) Belize City No Limit on Thursday, May 8, in Belmopan; (3-10) Corozal Heats, 71-55, over (2-11) Orange Walk Running Rebels on Friday, May 9; (11-2) Cayo Western Ballaz, 79-77, over (2-11) Toledo Diplomats on Saturday, May 10; (8-5) Dangriga Warriors, 58-46, in a big upset victory over (11-2) San Pedro Tigersharks also on Saturday, May 10; and (8-5) Belize City No Limit won by forfeit over (2-11 Toledo Diplomats, who failed to field enough players, on Sunday, May 11, for a back match in P.G.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Brainwashing: what is it?
The purpose of this essay is to enlighten and educate those who are open-minded to what will be discussed about the concept of brainwashing. So now that I have your attention, what exactly is brainwashing? Every deep and logical thinker probably has his or her own definition, but according to the Collins student’s dictionary it means “to cause a person to alter his or her beliefs by methods based on isolation, sleeplessness, etc.” In my opinion, too many members of society, and by extension our country, are not aware of the extent of this reality. They can’t explain what it means and are not cognizant of the impact that this phenomenon has on their daily lives. This is where the masses fall to ignorance and confusion. Let me break this down to the best of my humble abilities.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Response to Dr. Sharmayne Saunders
Dear Dr. Saunders, I fully agree with the contents of your letter to the mayor in the Sunday, May 4, 2014 edition of the Amandala newspaper. A mechanical street sweeper will do a great service in keeping the newly cemented streets clean and in addition to being cost effective, will provide a healthier environment for the citizens of Belize City. In view of your most welcome comments, I must, however, also make mention of the present Belize Waste Control Contract that was signed under a previous PUP City Council; not only was that contract beyond the time of the then City Council’s term of office, but it is beyond the tenure of this present Council and all future Councils’ governance.

EDITORIAL: An anniversary for the ages
Strictly speaking, it is not this newspaper’s responsibility to focus on ethnic issues in Belize. But, we grew up where we grew up and we work where we work. We therefore remain conscious of the role ethnicity has played and continues to play in Belize. Mexico’s official policy is that all Mexicans are just that – Mexicans, and that is supposed to be the end of that. It is not the end of it. After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the new government supposedly announced that racism was “solved.” It was not. There are different perspectives from which to view the Ex-Servicemen’s uprising in July of 1919 in Belize Town. But, the fact of the matter is that this was unquestionably a major uprising, and it occurred. It should form part of Belize’s twentieth century historical matrix. It does not. There can be no doubt that the colonial administration of British Honduras wished for the episodes of July 21 and 22, 1919 to be obliterated from Belizean memory. Clearly, they succeeded in doing so. One can understand why the People’s United Party (PUP), when it came under the leadership of Rt. Hon. George Price in 1956 and held power until 1984, leading Belize to self-government in 1964 and independence in 1981 in the process, would not have been interested in raising the 1919 issue. The PUP would have considered the issue somewhat decisive. Mr. Price’s father, for instance, had been on the wrong side of history.

Tourist arrivals up in 1st quarter of 2014: BTB
The Belize Tourism Board is reporting that arrivals for overnight, cruise and airport visitors went up between January to March 2014, when compared to the same period last year. In respect of airport tourist arrivals, there was a ten percent increase for visitors arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport, which amounts to over seventy-seven thousand visitors in the first three months of the year. For overnight tourism, the number went up by nine percent compared to the same period last year. It was cruise ship passenger arrivals, however, that registered the greatest increase. The numbers shot up by twenty-two percent in the first few months of this year.

Teenager facing manslaughter by negligence and related charges
A Belize City teenager who was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in the death of a 5-year-old girl on Holy Saturday was charged with manslaughter by negligence and several other related charges, when she was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Thursday, May 8. Magistrate Dale Cayetano did not have to take a plea from Visiona Carcamo, 18, because the offenses will be heard on indictment in the Supreme Court. The court prosecutor did not object to bail, and Carcamo was released on $5,000 bail plus one surety of the same amount. She is due to return to court on July 14. Apart from manslaughter by negligence, police also charged the Fabers Road resident with causing death by careless conduct; driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention; negligent wounding; using a motor vehicle not covered by third party risk insurance, driving a motor vehicle without a valid Belizean driver’s license, and driving with passengers in excess on a vehicle.

Epileptic man reported missing from Sandhill
The family of Julian Cacho, 60, of Sandhill, who is an epileptic, is worried about him. Cacho, the family says, has been missing since Tuesday, May 6. The family said that he suffers from seizures and gets disoriented. They are worried that he may be somewhere hurt and helpless, and starving. The family was told that he had been found, and that he was at the bus stop, but when they went to the bus stop in Sandhill, he was not there and has not been seen or heard from since. Julian Cacho is of Creole descent. He is about 5 feet 5 inches tall, of slim build, and weighs about 140 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, a pair of long, dark pants and a pair of blue-and-white tennis shoes.

Ladyville resident shot in Belize City
Last Wednesday, Vince Martinez, a 27-year-old Belize City resident, was gunned down execution-style at a bus stop in Ladyville, and yesterday, a shooting occurred in reverse circumstances — a Ladyville resident was shot in Belize City. Luckily, however, he survived. Ladyville police reported that they visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on Sunday, May 11, at about 11:30 p.m. and observed Ronnie Leal, 18, a gas attendant of a Lords Bank address, with an apparent gunshot wound in the left side of his abdomen. Upon investigation, they found out that Leal was traveling in a car on Kraal Road in Belize City with a man earlier that night, when another man came out of a yard where a party was being held and fired several shots at the vehicle, causing the injury to Leal.

Man busted with firearm by Village Chairman
A villager of Indian Church in the Orange Walk District is being sought by police after he was busted with a gun by Mauricio Aquillar, the Village Chairman, who is a Special Police Constable. Aquillar has since handed over the gun to police and police are looking for the man to charge him with the firearm-related offences. Aquillar said that at about 5:30 yesterday evening, he was on patrol in the village when he saw the village resident with a shotgun in his hand. He approaches the villager and took the shotgun from him and informed him of the offense that he had committed.

Ricardo Marin, 46, Oasis Bar owner, pleaded guilty to immigration offenses
Belize City businessman, Ricardo Marin, 46, the owner of Oasis Bar, was spared jail time and was fined instead after he pleaded guilty to two immigration offenses when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer today. Officers representing the Immigration Department charged Marin with two counts of employing workers who are not in possession of valid working papers at his bar, located at Mile 4 ½ on the Philip Goldson Highway, near the Haulover Bridge approach. Before imposing the fine, the Senior Magistrate explained to Marin that under the Immigration Act, the offense is a very serious one which also carries a prison term of two years. She told him that the fine can go as high as $5,000 for each undocumented worker that an employer hires.

Two escape from Independence police lockdown cell
Independence police are seeking two persons who escaped from their lockdown cell. Police said that at about 7:50 on Saturday evening, they heard a loud bang coming from the cell-block area at Independence Police Station. Police who went to check what was happening saw that the door on a cell was completely knocked from its hinges. Two men who were in that cell, Dale Augustine, 26, of Seine Bight, and a minor, 15, of Bella Vista, had escaped. Police are now looking for both of them, and a charge of escape will be added to their offenses.

Butane gas office robbed in San Ignacio
The Belize Western Energy Limited (BWEL), a butane gas company located in San Ignacio, was robbed by two thieves who escaped with thousands of dollars in cash, cheques and valuables at about 2:30 Thursday afternoon. The supervisor was in the office when two thieves, one armed with a pistol, entered. The gunman pointed his gun at the security guard who was on duty in the office and disarmed him. While the armed thief held the security guard and the supervisor hostage at gunpoint, his accomplice went into the cash register and stole all the money that was in it, amounting to about $1,95l, which consisted of the proceeds from the sale of butane for the day.

Conmen targeting senior citizens in the city
A conman posing as a cable company worker, in one instance, and a City Council official in the other instance, robbed two elderly citizens in separate incidents in Belize City and has gotten away with over $530 in cash and jewelry. Police have since released a flash bulletin advising the public to be on the lookout for this con artist. A retiree reported to police at the Queen Street Police Station that at about 9:30 yesterday morning a thief posing as a Baymen Cable Company worker went to his home, where he identified himself as Reginald Flowers of Burrell Boom, and said that he was there to check the cable connection and wire. The retiree said that at the time when the worker came he was preparing breakfast. When he saw the worker near the bedroom, he became alarmed, but continued preparing his breakfast.

3 thieves arrested in Teakettle; 1 shot and two arraigned in court
Three robbers who stole a pickup truck after beating and robbing the driver and stealing $30 from his wallet have been arrested, after one of the thieves was shot. The three thieves, identified as Kenroy Humes, 24, who is recovering from the gunshot wound; Ervin Santos, 21; and Nigel Usher, 27, are all of Camalote. Santos and Usher were taken to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court this morning on charges of handling stolen goods, because they were found with the stolen pickup truck. Police said that they are conducting further investigations, after which other charges will be levied against them. Humes will be taken to court when he is released from the hospital.

Gunman opens fire on innocent minors on Antelope Street
A group of minors who were playing in an abandoned lot on Antelope Street were forced to sprint for their lives when a gunman who was reportedly in pursuit of another individual mindlessly opened fire in their direction, injuring a 15-year-old minor in the process. Police reported that they visited Antelope Street in Belize City last Friday, May 9, at about 4:45 p.m. and saw five expended shells and what appeared to be blood on the street. According to police, checks were then made at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and a 15-year-old male student of Belize City was seen with an apparent gunshot wound to his right foot.

Patrick Jones

Joseph Budna gets more years behind bars in Guatemala
Belizean national Joseph Budna was today convicted of a second count of kidnapping and abduction by a court in Guatemala. And the judge wasted no time in handing down a stiff 30 years prison sentence. Added to a previous sentence of 25 years in jail on another kidnapping and abduction charge, Budna’s jail sentence now balloons to 60 years behind bars. But while that is the sentence, in reality, according to Guatemalan law, he will only spend a maximum of 30 years behind bars. And his troubles are not yet over as he is yet to be charged and sentences for escaping from lawful custody on April 21.

Caribbean partners invited to study BOOST program
Following great reviews from international partners despite criticism at home, the Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation (BOOST) conditional cash transfer program is the now the subject of a study by regional governments under the stewardship of UNICEF and UNDP. At today’s launch in Belize City, the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation got an opportunity to tout its successes which are transforming lives every day – nowhere more so, says Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez, than in his native Port Loyola. Hon. Martinez reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to seeing that the program impacts even more lives. Colleague, Senator Godwin Hulse noted that with the payments they receive for adhering to a series of conditions such as attendance in school, consistent vaccination schemes and so on, people can begin to lift themselves out of poverty and into prosperity.

Mother’s Day Cheer was open and transparent says Government; PUP disagrees
Mother’s Day has come and gone but the controversy over $850,000 handed out by the Ministry of Finance to the seventeen sitting UDP area representatives to distribute to mothers in their constituencies continues to simmer. Port Loyola representative Anthony “Boots” Martinez said he gave out gifts to residents, while some others chose to distribute cash. But Hon. Martinez was at pains to point that he received no money personally: as the Government has done with the Christmas Cheer program, the monies were disbursed transparently and the records are available. He accused Channel 5 News of attempting to subvert a kind-hearted gesture into a political stunt, even saying he had “trouble” with giving them interviews because of their negative coverage of the Government. Be that as it may, is it right?

Minister Godwin Hulse offers update on immigration scandal
Auditor General Dorothy Bradley has issued her preliminary report on the investigation into the Immigration Department to the Government. But when will it become public, and will have it anything incriminating on former Minister of State Elvin Penner, who seems to have skated away from every allegation made against him? Minister in charge of Immigration Senator Godwin Hulse says the report is before Cabinet and will shortly be tabled before the National Assembly. He says it does not contain anything new. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality limps along, severely wounded by the actions of former Minister of State Elvin Penner. Today Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse responded to news of stalling in the private prosecution case filed by COLA, saying that they have most of what they need to proceed with the private prosecution, including documents implicating Penner, and the Kim passport will be brought to Belize in the next month.

Minister accuses Placencia Village Council of flipflopping
It seems no one is in love with the Harvest Caye project sponsored by Norwegian Cruise Lines. Despite the best efforts of the Government to sell the benefits of the project for the South, a key backer is now backing out. The Placencia Village Council now opposes the project, leaving Cabinet Investment Sub-Committee chair Godwin Hulse disappointed. He says that as recently as last week, a concern brought up by a member of the Council was addressed – a water pipe running on the peninsula that may be damaged by passing cruise ships.

Government minister says Belize will not single out homosexuals
While the position of the Ministry of Immigration is limited because the case is before the Caribbean Court of Justice, news that homosexual activist Maurice Tomlinson had presented an arguable case to strike down the law banning gays from entering Belize raised more than a few eyebrows. Today the Minister responsible for Immigration repeated that Belize’s practice differs from its law, and the possible removal of the latter would not affect the former. Immigration officers, says Hulse, do not routinely ask visitors their sexual preference as a condition for entering the country.

PUP Women’s Group leader challenges Kim-Simplis Barrow
Yolanda Schakron burst onto the political scene in dramatic fashion as a social crusader with Belizeans for Justice, ending as a short-lived political candidate. She now serves as president of the United Women’s Group of the PUP and today hit out hard at Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis-Barrow. The wife of the Prime Minister was recently featured in a special magazine spread. Schakron’s question is what does that do for Belizean women? She believes the $100,000 spent could have been used for other initiatives that would directly affect women.

Allen and Marin should step aside from Ministry of Health says PUP
Dr. Peter Allen continues to be supported by Minister Pablo Marin despite conflicts with senior staff and the Pharmacists Association. Medical professional and PUP Cayo West standard bearer Dr. Lesbia Guerra-Cocom said today, however, that because neither man has been able to properly address issues of health nationwide, they should step down.

The Belize Times Newspaper reportedly owes GST
Since its relaunch last year after a staff shift the party organ of the PUP, The Belize Times, has been presenting the party’s views on national issues. But now it is in the news because it owes thousands of dollars in General Sales Tax. Party Leader Francis Fonseca says he was unaware of the financial troubles, but fortunately, the matter is being addressed by the newspaper’s managers. The debt goes back to 2010. According to Fonseca, there is no suggestion that the party cannot pay its debts.

PUP reshuffles national executive: Godfrey Smith in, Ralph Fonseca out
It was reported that the People’s United Party had welcomed back former area representatives and senior officials Godfrey Smith and Ralph Fonseca to posts within the national executive. Smith was named national campaign committee chair and Fonseca was said to be special advisor to his relative, the Party Leader. Turns out it’s only one of two, as the PUP leader confirmed the former Pickstock representative’s return but ruled out such a welcome back for the divisive and controversial Ralph Fonseca, a former three term area representative whom many blame for the party’s sound defeat in 2008 and losing its way prior. Apparently the purported appointment was leaked to Channel 7 News by senior party officials.


Celebrating Kim Simplis Barrow in Harper’s Bazaar and enjoying BETEX
The Belize Tourism Expo opening night Party at the Elite room was lots of fun, we enjoyed meeting new people, appetizers, entertainment speeches and dancing. One of the highlights of the evening was celebrating Kim Simplis Barrow’s recent photo shoot Belize in the May June Issue of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors. The magazine features an eleven page spread showcasing beautiful Belize and signed framed copies of the cover were given out to businesses who helped make it possible. The magazine photo shoot was a 5 day event with fashion designer Joris Hendrik and make-up artist Vanessa Awe on hand to make it picture perfect. They traveled around the Country and featured the following premier places, Victoria House, El Secreto, Cayo Espanto, Turtle Inn, Silk Cayes & Splash Dive Center and Lamanai. To see more pics of the magazine spread visit San Pedro Sun newspaper article Kim Simplis Barrow promotes Belize in Harper’s Bazaar Interiors.

Tips for choosing a tour guide in Belize
I am a strong advocate for hiring a local guide whenever travelling. Guides have a wealth of knowledge of the destination and are trained to spot things that you would miss. When it comes to choosing a tour guide in Belize, it’s easy, being certain that you’ve selected the best possible guide is a different story. This is because with the rise of tourism, and lack of jobs in other industries, more and more people are deciding to become guides but truthfully, not all of them have the passion and drive to be exceptional at their jobs. And as my job to educate you on Belize, I will offer you a few tips that can assist you in picking the right Belizean guide. Tour operator or free-lance guide Tour operators usually charge more for tours but you can find deals when booking as a group. Many of the best guides are usually under their employment since they offer a steady salary. You can find free-lance guides while walking the streets or at sites. These guides are typically cheaper to hire but you must ask about their reputation. Do note that some of the guides who work for tour operators might also work free-lance.

Accommodation Spotlight: Victoria House, Belize
The palm trees swayed slowly from side to side, gently rocked by the same summer breeze that rippled the crystal clear Caribbean waters. We placed our bags at our feet and relaxed next to the immaculately clean pool. A smiling waiter placed two complimentary drinks beside us and said, “Welcome to Victoria House”. This is the kind of warm welcome you can expect when visiting Victoria House Resort on Ambergris Caye in Belize. But the relaxation had just begun. As we sipped our delicious rum punch and gazed out at the sea, we realized just how happy we were to be in such a stunning paradise.

For God Sake Mr. Chairman – Keep “it” In Your Pants!
We didn’t think we’d hear from UDP Chairman Alberto August this soon. After our last publication went viral soon as it was launched into cyberspace, the embattled chairman attempted to do some damage control. The following is the email sent out by August on Tuesday night after we released, “UDP Chairman Alberto August – Torn Between Two Lovers”... image.... Was that an Freudian slip? “While temptations abound, please know that I am happily married to a wonderful supportive woman and will compromise this solid relationship for no one or nothing in this world.” Of course Mr. Chairman, “temptations abound” and you had your fair share and indeed – you compromised your so called “solid relationship.” Now you hurt your wife, driver, secretary, editor, etc.

International Sources

Watch Stunning Live NASA Feed of Earth From Space
Cloud watching, that most ancient pastime, enters the modern age, thanks to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Ever wish you could just sit back in space and gaze as the Earth lazily rolled by beneath you, just like the astronauts? Well, NASA is offering the next best thing to being there in person, courtesy of a suite of high-definition video cameras installed on the exterior of the International Space Station last month. Now we can all enjoy the mesmerizing online footage of clouds, oceans, and continents floating by on our screens anytime. The four always-on HD cameras, housed in temperature-controlled and pressurized housings, were turned on April 30. They are part of an experiment to determine whether current camera technology can survive long-term exposure to the extreme radiation of space. Watch long enough and you will see cameras switching between various views, including sunrises and sunsets every 45 minutes. That’s because the orbiting lab takes only 90 minutes to circle the Earth while traveling at some 17,000 miles (27,359 kilometers) per hour. So don’t be surprised when your screen goes dark for extended periods as the station rounds the night side of the planet. Joining NASA’s cosmic video show soon will be two more commercial HD cameras, made by Canadian company UrtheCast (pronounced “Earthcast”). Installed on the outside of the space station back in January, they aim to stream near real-time imagery of Earth as well. So, while we might only dream of becoming an astronaut, we can at least enjoy jaw-dropping views from space anytime.

My Search Intensifies for Belize’s Best Chicken: Friendship Restaurant
They say that stew chicken with rice and beans is the national dish of Belize but I’m not so sure about that. Much like the U.S., where the national dish might be apple pie but the unofficial national dish is probably a super sized carton of French (Freedom) fries, Belize’s thriving fast food industry gives stew chicken a serious run for its money. Chinese food here is the fast food of Belize. And I’m pretty sure that if you arrived fresh from a small village in China, you wouldn’t recognize these restaurant’s most popular dish. Fry chicken with french fries and TONS of sweet sweet SWEET ketchup. Served always in a flip top styrofoam container. Here is my huge $5bzd or $2.50US helping from the VERY popular Li Chee in Belize City.

Belize Tourism Expo BETEX Reflects Eco-Tourism Growth
This year’s Belize Tourism Expo, BETEX 2014, held May 7 to 12, highlighted the little country’s increasing range of tourism options and confirms Belize’s maturity as a world class travel destination, according the owners of the Lodge at Chaa Creek. “Compared to the first expo, BETEX 2014 reflects how far Belize has come in terms of sophistication, service delivery, infrastructure and continuous improvement,” co-founder and GM Lucy Fleming said from the Chaa Creek display at the Princess Ramada Hotel in Belize City. “For to those of us who have been involved with the evolution of Belize’s eco-tourism industry from its very beginnings, it’s very gratifying to see how quickly it’s grown without compromising the environmental and social obligations we identified early on,” she added.

Slow-Motion Collapse of West Antarctic Glaciers is Unstoppable, 2 New Studies Say
Human-caused global warming has set in motion an unstoppable slow-motion collapse of the glaciers in West Antarctica of massive scale and power, said scientists at a NASA press conference and press release on Monday. The scientists, led by glaciologist Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory/the University of California, Irvine, analyzed 19 years of satellite data to show that the fast-melting glaciers that drain into West Antarctica's Amundsen Sea had passed a point of no return, since their bottoms are grounded below sea level. The glaciers had been lodged on "pinning points" on the bedrock--projections that snagged the glaciers from underneath and kept them from sliding toward the sea. Melting due to warmer ocean waters has been eating away the glaciers from beneath, freeing them from their pinning points, and setting in motion a slow-motion collapse that appears "unstoppable", Rignot said at the press conference. The glaciers contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) in a few hundred years at their current rate of melting, Rignot added. The research has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Relax to the max in Latin America with wellness tourism on the rise
Taking Latin America’s market share to a predicted $42billion, one resort that is certain to enhance this figure is The Baymen Resort and Spa in the Cayo region of Belize. This luxurious rainforest resort has ‘wellness’ at its heart and features a sumptuous spa with infinity pool and hot tub, fed by stunning natural Maya spring pools and waterfall. The Baymen’s eco-credentials are also central to its feeling of wellbeing, with the majority of the lodge sitting amongst the rainforest canopy, and an infinity pool that appears to float like a tablet of water suspended in mid-air, allowing guests to feel as though they are truly part of nature, making it easy to unwind. Wolf Worster, MD of Wolf Wörster Associates, Inc, the global property consultancy specialising in the sale and rental of ultra-luxury villas in some of the world’s most sought-after locations, who are marketing The Baymen, explains, “With the everyday stresses of modern life getting increasingly intense, it is no surprise that wellness tourism is on the up and with a great deal to offer the discerning traveller searching for true relaxation, it is easy to see why Latin America’s slice of this market is growing too. Belize is one location that is rich in ‘wellness’ attributes – a warm and sunny climate, a wealth of natural features, amazing wildlife – and it is these factors combined with the development’s focus on luxurious relaxation and revitalisation that make The Baymen the perfect wellness retreat.”

‘Tiny, tenacious and tentatively toxic:’ Texas A&M scientist makes two discoveries that were hiding in plain sight
Sometimes we think we know everything about something only to find out we really don’t, said a Texas A&M University scientist. Dr. Kevin Conway, assistant professor and curator of fishes with Texas A&M’s department of wildlife and fisheries sciences at College Station, has published a paper documenting a new species of clingfish and a startling new discovery in a second well-documented clingfish. Conway said clingfishes are globally distributed at temperate and tropical latitudes, and get their name from their ability to anchor themselves using their large belly sucker. The species Conway and his team discovered is a tiny marine fish less than an inch long that lives between pieces of coral rubble in very shallow water along the coast of Belize and islands in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

500 Pounds of Man-Eating Stealth
In the Sundarbans region of India and Bangladesh, some of the world's last wild tigers roam free and ravenous. An expedition to film these elusive predators is tricky business. You may not see them, but they almost certainly are watching you. Through the eyes of a tiger, the colors of the forest are muted, but its outlines are very, very sharp. Staring ahead, the tiger also sees far to the right and far to the left, due to exceptional peripheral vision. The tiger is crepuscular, meaning it hunts at twilight or in the twilit light before the dawn, and being a cat, its night vision is among the best in the animal kingdom, some six times better than man’s. So when rangers from India’s Forest Service led world-renowned big-cat biologist Alan Rabinowitz onto the beach of Kalash Island in the dark before the dawn, the tiger undoubtedly saw them.

Fortis Inc. Announces Third Quarter Dividends-2014
Fortis has designated the common share dividend and preference share dividends as eligible dividends for federal and provincial dividend tax credit purposes. Fortis is the largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility in Canada, with total assets of approximately $18.6 billion and fiscal 2013 revenue exceeding $4 billion. Its regulated utilities account for approximately 90% of total assets and serve approximately 2.5 million customers across Canada and in New York State and the Caribbean. Fortis owns non-regulated hydroelectric generation assets in Canada, Belize and Upstate New York. The Corporation's non-utility investment is comprised of hotels and commercial real estate in Canada.


Video: Belize Tourism Expo 2014 opening night party, 1min.
The opening night Party at the Elite room was lots of fun, we enjoyed appetizers, entertainment speeches and dancing. The flashing glasses at the bar were the inspiration to make this short clip.

Video: Diving the Great Blue Hole in Belize, 27min.
My dive in the Great Blue Hole in Belize. We went down to 130 feet before making a slow ascent back up to the reef and the surface.

Video: Toffee Canyons, Belize (#12), 11min.
Saw a grouper, lionfish, nurse shark, and a huge stringray. May 5th, 2014 -

Video: My Home..... by Marty O'Farrell, 3min.
Things I am blessed to see and shoot on the reef....

Video: Belize Highlights 2014 GoPro Hero3, 3min.
One week vacation to Ambergris Caye.

Video: Belize Recreation Day: Scuba Dive, 3min.
Scuba diving on our recreation day.

Video: Belize Mad Dancing Skills, 2min.

Video: April and Sean Brennan in Belize with Belize Pro Dive Center, 5min.
Our first time in Belize and we decided to finish our certification with Belize Pro Dive Center in San Pedro, Belize!! Best choice we made....Ian Oliva was our Dive Master/Instructor and he made us so comfortable, I couldn't be more happy with the choice we made thanks to my husband Sean Brennan for doing the research we were in great hands.

Video: Accommodation Spotlight: Victoria House, Belize, 5min.
During our 2 week trip to Belize, we were offered to stay at the stunning Victoria House Resort on Ambergris Caye. This video is a Goats On The Road Accommodation Spotlight from Victoria House Luxury Resort In Belize!

Video: Swiming with the fish - South Water Caye BELIZE, 1min.
Nice view... short video

Video: Belize gopro snorkel Shark Ally, 5min.
My first time snorkeling, in belize. Wait for the sea turtle

May 13, 2014


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

SPRC Celebrates Education Week
As part of Education Week, the San Pedro Roman Catholic (SPRC) Primary School hosted a series of activities from Monday, May 5th to Friday, May 9th to stimulate child education and creativity. The celebration was held under the theme “Quality Teachers: Nurturing the Inherent Potential of our Children”. The students enjoyed a variety of activities along with their parents and teachers throughout the week. On Thursday, May 8th, teachers organized a spelling bee competition for the infant divisions. The young spellers were given words that they spelled out using a white board. According to Vice Principal, Patricia Lopez the spelling bee was a unique opportunity for the infant students to show their mental capacity. he decoration of trash bins and making signs for the school.

Press Release – San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi
San Pedro Belize Express takes this opportunity to clarify the recent adverse events. Delays: In the event that a crowd exceeds the capacity of the boat in rotation, SPBE immediately dispatches a supporting vessel; rationally, it takes a small amount of time for that vessel to reach the port and board the remaining passengers. SPBE utilizes its entire fleet (15 vessels) to guarantee all passengers are accommodated for. The fleet capacity ranges from 45 pax to 120 pax. Tickets: The majority of tickets sold are round trip tickets; the return tickets are open and valid for three months for any of the company’s scheduled departures. The issue recently was that return tickets holders are still returning in from the islands for the Easter. The majority of these ticket holders do not check in; therefore, crowd capacity cannot be accurately predicted per departure. This causes a rush of both return ticket holders and those whom purchased tickets on site.

San Pedro students shine at CJC
Two students from San Pedro studying at Corozal Junior College (CJC) were amongst a group that received awards on Tuesday May 6th. The two San Pedranos are Uriel Contreras and Laji Nuñez, former students of San Pedro High School. The awards were part of the winning accolades given out by CJC to the groups that performed the best at the annual Science and Business Expo hosted on April 11th. The annual event saw students divided into groups who then developed business ideas as well as science projects to be displayed. The business ideas and projects were judged by teachers and business people from within the Corozal community. Winning first place in the business category was Construction Network Consultancy. Taking second place was Cultural Gourmet and third place went to Underwater Illusion Science. That group consisted of Odalys Pena, Samira Velazquez, Ronnie Medina, Arturo Cansino and San Pedro’s Laji Nunez.

Team Coco Beach wins 10th annual Eco Challenge!
The first day saw the participants kayaking for 25 miles through the San Pedro Lagoon, in the mangrove/water channels, then into the Laguna de Cayo Frances, coming out in choppy seas on the leeward side of Ambergris Caye. They went far north along the Belize-Mexico borderline in the Bacalar Chico Area then into the Laguna de Cantena which stretches for about seven miles. Once across the Cantena, the kayakers struggled with the kayak on their backs crossing, to the eastern side of the island then kayaking again to the finish line at the Robles Point at Basil Jones beach area. The organizers of the Eco-Challenge are very grateful for all the support shown by the business community and individuals over the years, and take the opportunity to thank all those who made the event a success. By all accounts, this year was the most challenging due to the sea and wind conditions and so we congratulate all the participants for their good spirit!

My Beautiful Belize Chills Out in Wyoming
My Beautiful Belize editor Tamara Sniffin reads a recent issue of My Beautiful Belize while wishing she was back enjoying the sun, sand and sea of Ambergris Caye. Sniffin, currently visiting family in Laramie, Wyoming, USA, is freezing her Belizean bum off while Wyoming experiences a Spring Winter Storm that has closed roads and schools across the state.

Ambergris Today

Idolina Vasquez Selected Mother of the Year San Pedro 2014
The Hon. Louis “Cus” Sylvester Sports Field was the venue for this year’s Mother’s Day celebration in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Belize. The event was teeming with mothers of all ages, all having a great time with entertainment that the San Pedro Town Council had put together. The highlight of the evening was the coronation of Mother of the Year 204 Mrs. Idolina Vasquez. Mother of the Year 2013 Mrs. Carolina Kumul was on hand to crown Idolina and present her with a bouquet of flowers. A very happy and elated Idolina accepted the honor of being Mother of the Year and was all smiles the rest of the evening. Mrs. Idolina Vasquez (75 years old) is married to Santiago Vasquez and is mother of four children: Eloina Bliss, Mina Guerrero, Lorna Vasquez and Santiago Vasquez. She has ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Pepé – From Beast to Best Friend in One Easy Snip
Pepé was not born with size and strength on his side, but what he lacked in stature, he certainly made up for in swagger. He had spent most of his life hanging around a local park, but didn’t have any real owners, people who loved and cared for him. Like most dogs, a home and a family to protect, that would love him in return was all he really wanted. Because he was uncared for, he ran the streets with the big dogs, ripping open people’s trash, fighting and barking at night and generally being a nuisance to San Pedro. But deep down, he was determined to work his way into the hearts of someone who would appreciate him. So, when he met a little girl who treated him with kindness, he followed her home. When he wasn’t out chasing female dogs, fighting and causing trouble, he would come round to visit her and they developed a close bond. The only problem was that Pepé did not seem able to stay at home and become a good and trusted member of the family because he was too busy trying to be a ‘big dog’ in the neighborhood.

Pic of the Week: I 'Sea' Food in San Pedro, Belize
I 'SEA' food; do you 'SEA' food? One of the best things about living on an island is having access to so much seafood. To the delight of seafood lovers, there is never a shortage of fish, lobster (seasonal), conch (seasonal), octopus, shrimp, crab and much more on the island. Most restaurants on Ambergris Caye offer seafood and there are those whose menu is strictly seafood. One such restaurant that concentrates on "Seafood Everything" is Waruguma Restaurant. Pictured here is the restaurant's aquarium display were you can select what you want for dinner from a fresh option of marine creatures. It does not get any better than this.

Misc Belizean Sources

Western Ballaz Defeat Diplomats
The Western Ballaz travelled all the way down to Punta Gorda this weekend to play the Toledo Diplomats. They won in a close game, that even went into overtime, by two points, with the final score of 79 - 77. They are now in first place again, along with the Tiger Sharks. They host the Belmopan Bandits this Thursday, at 8:30pm.

International Museum Day in Cayo
May 18th is International Museum Day, and the SISE and Benque Houses of Culture are celebrating. The SISE House of Culture is having Open Days starting this Wednesday, May 14th, and going through Friday, May 16th, with the theme of 'Museum Collections make Connections.' The Benque House of Culture is having their Open Day next Wednesday, May 21st with the theme of comparing old and new digital collections. Enjoy!

Cayo Classifieds Issue 15
Another issue of Buy and Sell Weekly is out. Bambu Tee is opening in the Cayo Welcome Center between Masabaduga and Yoli's Pizza. They have an article about Cockscomb Basin in this issue. Don't forget about the Master Gardeners Programme at DuPlooy's.

Control prices for Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Kindly take note of the new control prices for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) effective May 8, 2014. To view the changes, please click on the link

AF doctor leads medical team in Belize
Lt. Col. (Dr.) Steven Acevedo has enjoyed a variety of assignments in his Air Force career. For five years, he was a medical laboratory officer before going to medical school while in the Inactive Reserve. After that, he found himself as a pediatrics flight commander until he journeyed to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, followed by assignments in Lakenheath, England, and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. His travels continue, as he is now off to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas for a neonatal intensive care fellowship. "I'll stay in for 20 years and retire, but I'll make sure I have a well-rounded career before it's time to move on to something else," he said. Acevedo already had been accepted to medical school before joining the military, but he said he just wasn't ready to go until he had served as a lab officer for five years. He resigned his commission as a captain to attend school at the University of Texas-Galveston, and then completed his residency at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.

OB/GYN team cares for Belizean women
A female team of two deployed to Central America in support of New Horizons Belize 2014 to provide obstetric and gynecological care to Belizean women. U.S. Air Force Maj. Ivette Suber and Capt. Kaessee Brown are both stationed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, where they work in the labor and delivery section at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, but their time in Belize was spent in a different San Antonio; they both set up operations in the Isabel Palma Polyclinic in San Antonio, Belize, a small town in the southern Toledo District. Suber and Brown joined a team of doctors, nurses, technicians and educators from Belize, Canada and the U.S to provide free medical care to Belizeans. The care was provided as part of New Horizons Belize 2014, an annual exercise held in Central America, South America or the Caribbean that offers international partners an opportunity to train to deploy while operating in a humanitarian capacity.

Tropical Tranquility at Coppola's Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize
You’ve worked your whole life to be able to enjoy this moment. The kids are gone and there’s no job to rush back to – now is your time for adventure! Burrowed in a remote rainforest location hidden in Belize’s Maya Mountains is a tranquil tropical getaway perfect for the young-at-heart who are looking to enjoy retirement or escape an empty nest. At Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge, guests can enjoy the thrill of a truly unique, off-the-beaten-path holiday in an area of the world unspoiled by modern conveniences and tourism. The intimate 20-room luxury resort hotel is a true jungle oasis and rainforest hideaway that’s the ideal locale for relaxation and rejuvenation with a plethora of activities available to explore and enjoy, including: Sunrise Bird Watching Take a short sunrise walk around the resort’s gardens and trails as your personal guide points out the well-camouflaged birds hiding in the nearby rain forest. Learn about our migrant species and the many secrets of our feathered friends, as with almost 600 species documented in Belize, this walk is an excellent introduction to the region’s native birdlife. Hiking Explore the natural beauty surrounding Blancaneaux Lodge with a variety of different immersive hiking experiences, including a full day hike through the jungle-clad hills of the Elijio Panti National Park; a trek to Big Rock Falls for a soothing dip into cool mountain creek energized by the massive waterfall or an orchid walk along trails beside tumbling waterfalls and granite outcroppings with trees home to several different species of the vibrant flower.

Supply NCO deploys for USSOUTHCOM exercise, says it all started with trying to be like 'mom'
She was home-schooled. After graduating high school, she went to college to become a teacher or a journalist, but ultimately chose a different career path and now she’s on her second military deployment to Belize. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Delilah Simmons, a supply noncommissioned officer deployed from the 820th RED HORSE Squadron, Las Vegas, joined the Air Force seven years ago. Her parents, Joe and Michelle, were both members of a security forces squadron and met while they were stationed in San Antonio. Sgt. Simmons, their first-born and only daughter, was the only one of their three children who decided to enlist. Ultimately, she wanted to be like her mother. “I joined the military to be like mom,” said Simmons. “She is the strongest, most loyal and giving person I know.” Simmons that it was her very structured childhood and parents’ focus on education that prepared her for military life.

Child abuse reporting legislation!
By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez I want to publicly thank Mrs Dolores Balderamos, Faith Babb and Senator Lisa Shoman For championing the cause and helping to draft the legislation And all those who made their contribution To increase the chances of children getting the right protection Thanks for sharing your passion and giving this the right attention The biggest problem I see is implementation But then again some might lack the information Perhaps it’s the time for another round of mass circulation That might even include some media presentations To update the people about the Child Abuse Reporting Regulations. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms But I want to make a special appeal to all moms In lieu of what happen with the fourteen year student in Belmopan Kudos to the mother who reported this situation And followed it up with the institution I blame the entire institution for failure to report the situation There is a mandatory reporting legislation This case requires a full investigation Some members of staff need to be subject to prosecution Or at the very least asked to hand in their resignation

Spanish Lookout Rescue Team EMT Training
The Spanish Lookout Rescue Team has been doing EMT training, and has been working with local hospitals, and with BERT. "Training this year is a bit different, everyone has been studying on their own at home and then meeting at Ralican for two weeks of hands on practice with Pat Horn as trainer. Then follows a week of working at hospitals and BERT. Than another week of training with Bob and one last week of hospital hours. Its a long ways to go till graduation, SLRT is grateful to everyone participating."

BAS Fun Day at Cockscomb Basin
The Belize Audubon Society had their Fun Day at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. "Thanks to all the Members and friends who come to have a great time with us exploring Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary on May 10th, 2014. Photos by: Dirk Francisco"

PACT Calls for Proposals
The Protected Areas Conservation Trust has a call for proposals and a call for concepts for large grants, which would be between $200,001 and $400,000. Contact PACT for more information.

2015-2016 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program
The U.S. Embassy is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. This one-year fellowship program in the United States is offered to mid-career professionals working at the policy level who have a record of leadership and a commitment to public service. Fellows are based at leading American universities for ten-months to pursue self-designed programs to include independent study, coursework, and an internship with an organization in their field of expertise. DEADLINE: July 30, 2014

Attracting Investment and growing the Economy in Belize – Not just a Belizean problem - Part II
The first thing that needs to be stated this point is that the relatively low rate of capital flow investment into Belize isn’t unique to us. It’s a common phenomenon among developing countries that has attracted droves of economic researchers to look at empirical data and compare them to what traditional economic theories (and models) suggest. One such economist is John Lothian, who in his 2006 research paper entitled “Institutions, capital flows and financial integration” reminded that “ loosely related to the question of why capital does not flow from rich to poor countries is the question of why poor countries do not grow much more rapidly”. In terms of answering the intra-country growth question, he referred to other work that tested growth accounting formula against statistical data and found that the conventional factors (i.e. Labor and Capital) were not the only contributors to growth. They found that a substantial portion of growth (or lack, thereof) is attributed to a component of growth that is unexplained by those shares of the factors. This unexplained component has been dubbed the “residual”.

Channel 7

3 Hondurans Rescued By Coast Guard
Three Honduran fishermen who had been lost at sea for 6 days, were rescued by local fishermen early this morning. 7News was at the Coast Guard Headquarters when they were brought in - and they told us how they survived with little water and no food: Jules Vasquez reporting The men and their vessel were found near Columbus Caye, 32 miles southeast of Belize City. They had been drifting for 6 days. Due to rough seas the coast Guard took about 4 hours to bring them in - the vessel listing to and fro in the swells, additionally slowed because they had to haul in the men's vessel, a 34 footer called Japhet. For the sea-weary passengers, 19 year old Don Delbert, 17 year old Brian Herrera and 26 year old Danly Kelly they seemed relaxed, relieved and tired: Don Dilbert, Lost at Sea 6 Days "Not frighten, but weak."

PG Mother Explicably Killed On Her Special Day
Residents of Punta Gorda Town spent yesterday in saddened disbelief after a young mother was killed on Mother's day, and to make it even worse, it happened in the presence of her 2 year-old daughter. It is only the second murder in the town this year, and the violence of it is incomprehensible for townspeople: why would a 26 year old mother be killed in her house at 1:25 in the morning? The officer commanding Punta Gorda, Simeon Alvarez, told us about this killing in Indianville, a community just outside PG: Supt. Simeon Alvarez, OC - Punta Gorda Police "Acting upon information received of a shooting incident at Jamaica Bar at around 1:25 am on Sunday 11th May, 2014, police visited the said bar located on Cayo Street in the Indianville area of Punta Gorda Town. Upon the arrival there they saw a female of creole descent of was later learned to be one Janice Vargas, 26 years old Belizean waitress of a West Street address in Punta Gorda Town. She was seeing lying face up in a pool of blood in the corridor leading to the back door. The body had what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the right shoulder and was unconscious at that time. At the time she was in a company of another co-worker, a male person. Her two year old child was with her at the time of the incident."

Grandson Of Amandala Publisher Killed In Roadside Collision
And while that mother was killed on Mother's day, another mother's special day was filled with grief after her teenaged son lost his life in a terrible traffic accident this weekend. It happened after 4:00 on Saturday morning on the Northern Highway. 19-year-old Evan Garnett Jr was driving to his mother's home in Los Lagos after a night out, but never made it. At mile 12, he had a violent collision with a bus that was on the other side of the highway, parked on the road's shoulder. The Honda Accord he was driving was stripped of its top, as he literally appeared to have run under the bus. For the beleaguered Officer Commanding Belize Rural, it is the 16th traffic fatality in his area for this year. He told the media about it: ASP Chris Noble - Rural Executive Officer "Sometime after 4 this morning police responded to an accident scene in the area of mile 11. Visiting the scene a single vehicle apparently collided into what is the remains of a passenger bus that was parked on the opposite side of the highway. The lone male individual that was in the vehicle succumb and has been taken to the morgue." "Our preliminaries are that we are uncertain as to what may have caused it. We still are looking into the possibility of why he veered off the road. Damages to the vehicle is immense, but one has to be cognizant of that fact that vehicles are man-made and they have their flaws. Its only there to take you somewhere. But some people abuse the use of it and with diminished capacities it could mean anything."

He Took A Gun To A Funeral
On Friday, we told you about the gun police found at the funeral of 24 year-old Julian Willoughby. Well, the man who police say had it on him is in jail tonight. He's 21 year-old Wilfred Ramirez, a resident of Antelope Street Extension. Ramirez was arraigned today before the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith on charges of keeping a prohibited firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition. He pleaded not guilty to both charges, but because they are firearm offences, he was remanded to prison until July 7th. As we told you, Julian Willoughby's funeral service was just about to start, and according to police, they saw Ramirez behaving suspiciously. They went to search him and a sawed-off shot gun slid down his pants leg. They retrieved it and found that the shotgun was loaded with a 12-gauge cartridge.

Gunshots Fired Randomly At City Children
And around the same time police found that gun, there was a senseless and dangerous shooting nearby. Gunshots were inexplicably directed at a bunch of kids who were playing in an open lot. At around 4:40 a group a pair of men on bicycle were chasing a man towards Central American Boulevard. They lost sight of him, and then inexplicably turned around and fired five shots indiscriminately into an open lot where children were playing. One of the youths, a 15 year old was shot in the right foot. Luckily his injury was not serious. Police are looking for two suspects. There was another Belize City shooting on Sunday night at 11:30. 18-year-old Ronnie Leal, was traveling in a car on Kraal Road, when a gunman ran out of a yard where a party was being held and fired several shots towards the car. Leal was shot in the abdomen.

Police Officer Convicted Of Abuse Of Authority
Police Constable Brandon Hertular, is in jail tonight awaiting a sentence after he was convicted of theft while on duty. The dramatic conclusion to this case, played out in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith today. The theft occurred on March 5, 2012, and the complainant, Shirley Chicas, testified in the trial that she was at her Belize City home with her 2 sons when Hertular and another man entered. Both of them identified themselves as police officers, and they searched her house. They confiscated a 9 millimeter pistol, 2 cellular phones, and $1,650 in cash, saying that the items were going to the Police Exhibit Room pending the outcome of some robberies they were investigating. The problem is that instead of doing so, Chicas said that he kept the items for himself. In his defence, he testified and denied the allegation, but with all the evidence before her, Chief Magistrate Smith found him guilty of Theft. The police also accused him of burglarizing the exhibit room, but that there was not enough evidence to prove the offence against him.

Kareem Arnold Accused of Pre-Easter Stabbing
25 year-old Ladyville resident Kareem Arnold joined Hertular at prison today because police said that he stabbed 19 year-old Parish Copius. As we reported, the incident happened on April 16 at around 11 o'clock that morning. Copius reported to police that he was at the home of his cousin at the corner of Pigeon and Parakeet Streets. He says that Kareem Arnold and another man approached him, and he tried to run away. The other man blocked his path, and that's when Kareem Arnold allegedly stabbed him several times in the right side of his body abdomen.

Precinct 2 Finds Weed Stashes
Police officer from Precinct 2 are reporting that they found a little more than a half a kilo of marijuana today. Just before 3:30 p.m., the officers received intelligence and their quick response team conducted a search on Antelope Street Extension. On the street side behind a garbage drum, they found 7.01 ounces in 2 bulky black plastic bags. No one was in the area, so the drugs were deposited as found property. That was in addition to the 17.2 ounces they found before midday. At around 11 o'clock, the QRT was on patrol in the Jane Usher boulevard area. The stopped and searched a bushy open lot which led to the discovery of 2 black plastic bags containing the drugs. Again, no one was in the area, so the marijuana was deposited as found property.

The Knocked The Tore Down The Cell Door To Get Out
Independence Police continue to search for 26 year-old Dale Augustine and a 15 year-old minor, who escaped from the holding cell at that police station. It happened on Saturday night, just before 8 o'clock, when a loud bang was heard in the cell-block area. When the officers responded, they found one of the cell doors knocked completely off its hinges. Augustine, who is from Seine Bight, and the 15 year-old Minor, who is from Bella Vista, managed to escape.

Health Ministry Launches 10-Year Master Plans
Today, the Ministry of Health launched the 2014 National Health Sector Strategic Plan and the accompanying Non-communicable Diseases Plan. The country had been operating without these plans since 2011, and today, the Ministry's Director of Policy and Analysis Planning Unit told us that it's a drastic improvement in the way they provide health services: Ramon Figueroa, Director of Planning & Policy Analysis Unit "To begin with the plan is innovative in the sense that it is incorporating the World Health Organization's framework for health systems development, so we are looking at the strengthening and development and re-engineering of a health system as oppose only to looking at vertical programs, that's one thing. The other thing is that we are looking at it in terms of the whole health sector as opposed to only the Ministry of Health and there is reason for that. Many of the problems that we have in health are the product of what we called social determinacy which include for example, poor education, lack of employment, poverty, basic sanitation and those things really the Ministry of Health has no real input or influence on those social determinacy factor, so for example, we are looking at chronic non-communicable diseases which is one of our priority areas in terms of service delivery. We are looking at from the aspect of promotion, detector, early screening, working with other partners, for example, the national cancer society - looking at education in schools. Looking at immunization as another part. So the interventions are broad-based across the board. We are also looking also for example at the treatment aspect of it, so it's a long the whole spectrum of care."

GOB's Mother's Day Gifting
Mother's day is always big for politicians, since mothers make up the very fabric of the community and are always prominent in politician's campaigns. And, so, the Barrow Administration has created a kind of Mother Day Gift Giving programme to match its controversial Christmas Cheer programme. All 17 UDP Representatives were earmarked fifty thousand dollars each to share with his constituents on mother's day. Lists like these ten sheets for Corozal Bay in which we count counted 398 names, show that each mother who was selected received one hundred dollars. In Corozal North, Representative Hugo Pott gave fifty dollars each to one thousand mothers. In both cases, cash is not handled directly by politicians, but the recipients get vouchers which they cash at the government treasury. Not all divisions gave cash vouchers: In Belize Rural North Edmund Castro says he gave away 1,500 gifts. The Opposition has called it state sponsored party political patronage, but the UDP - which has been doing the Christmas Cheer programme since late 2011 says that it is simply a way of sharing with the most needy.

Belize's Internet Still The Slowest; Among The Most Expensive
Another survey of internet bandwidth speeds and pricing in the Caribbean has been done - and again Belize has come out dead last. The 2014 survey includes 19 countries in the Caribbean. It shows Belize as the only country still offering a 128K as its lowest available speed. But Belize's highest bandwidth speed, 8Meg was above at least two other countries and tied with many others. Still that 8meg maximum came nowhere close to the 160 megs being offered in Barbados or the 100 megs offered in Curacao, Grenada and Jamaica. And while it doesn't nearly compete in terms of speed, in terms of price, Belize's highest internet speed easily outstrips the competition - and in fact is the highest in the region. That 8 megs costs 353 US dollars per month, while in Barbados 160 megs costs 100 US dollars per month. While in Jamaica 100 megs costs 125 US per month. St Lucia which offers 8.8 megs for 211 US dollars per month is the second closest to Belize in terms of high price.

Channel 5

PG woman is murdered on Mother’s Day
As women celebrated Mother’s Day, the life of a twenty-eight year old mother was viciously taken in the presence of her two year old daughter. It was a callous crime [...]

3 Honduran nationals rescued at sea
Three Honduran men set out to sea last Tuesday heading to Placencia but they never got to their intended destination. Their vessel apparently experienced mechanical problems and the trio drifted [...]

Health Minister says he is not expected to micromanage hospitals
At a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Health last Friday, media personnel were informed that each media house could ask only two questions. Calling a press conference to [...]

The list of U.D.P. supporters from the north who got the Mother’s Day cash
Minister of Health, Pablo Marin, might worry about pesky health-related matters like a lack of basic medication, no money to hire doctors and no money for properly equipped ambulances…but politician [...]

Promising student loses life in road accident
There have been about thirty fatal traffic accidents since the beginning of the year and on Saturday there was another traffic fatality to add to the growing list. A promising [...]

Cop is convicted of theft
Less than two weeks ago, an officer was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of firearm and ammunition offenses.  Tonight, Police Constable Brandon Hertular, accused of [...]

Wilfred Ramirez behind bars for taking a gun to a funeral
Last Friday, twenty-one year old Wilfred Ramirez attended the funeral of Julian Willoughby, an associate of his who was slain during a hail of gunfire the weekend before.  While mourners [...]

Did Health Minister discontinue the pharmacist exam?
The ongoing controversy within the Ministry of Health has become somewhat cloudy. Ministry of Health C.E.O., Peter Allen, continues to insist that patient safety is top priority. So does the [...]

Pharmacists’ Association calls for proper, transparent testing protocols
One other area where there is significant discord is the testing of pharmaceuticals which are brought into the country. The Ministry of Health insists that proper testing protocols are in [...]

2 shootings in the Old Capital
Early in the newscast, we told you about two persons who lost their lives in separate incidents. But in the City, two persons were injured in unrelated shootings over the [...]

Siian Rancharan honoured for Do Di Rait Ting Program
Du Di Rait Ting is a program by the Community Policing Unit of the Police Department that gives recognition to young persons, who are exemplary students within their respective schools [...]

Rasha Dawson also recognized for stellar performance at Gwen Liz
Also being recognized today was Rasha Dawson of Gwen Lizarraga High School. Eighteen-year-old Dawson is a fourth form student in the business program at the high school. Following an accident [...]

Dale Reynaud says his name has been tainted by a murder he didn’t commit
On Thursday, January thirtieth, forty-three-year-old Sittee River resident Ana Foster left home to go visit her son. She never reached his home. Early the next morning her lifeless body was [...]

Ministry of Health launches a health plan
This morning, the Ministry of Health launched its blueprint for the effective and efficient integration of health services. It’s entitled the Belize Health Sector Strategic Plan, and the focus is [...]

Nurses – Force for Change and A Vital Resource for Health
The nurses of Belize are rarely in the spotlight, seldom singled out for criticism, praise or controversy. But there is no doubt they are a very vital component of our [...]

Football, basketball and volleyball stats in Sports Monday
Good evening I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday. Week 13 in the NEBL season saw the Corozal Heat show up at Sugar City Friday night with only 6 [...]


Policeman Convicted of Theft
Police constable Brandon Hertular, who was charged with theft, was convicted of the offence today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Hertular was remanded into custody until tomorrow for sentencing. On March 5, 2012, Hertular stole a nine millimeter pistol, two cellular phones and one thousand six hundred and fifty dollars in cash. The complainant, Shirley Chicas, testified that Hertular and another man entered her home while she was there with her two sons and they identified themselves as police officers. She said the men, who were dressed in camouflage uniforms, proceeded to search her house and they took the pistol, cellphones and the money. She said they told her that they were going to take the items and cash to the police exhibit room and hold them there pending the outcome of their investigation into some robberies. Hertular testified and denied that he committed the offences. Hertular was also charged with burglary but that charged was withdrawn because there was no evidence to support that charge. Hertular was represented by attorney Anthony Sylvestre.

Tour Guide Arraigned on Stabbing Incident
Twenty-five year old Kareem Arnold, a tour guide of Ladyville who the police believe was one of two brothers involved in the stabbing of 19 year old Parish Copiuos, was charged with dangerous harm when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. Arnold was denied bail and he was remanded into custody until June 3. The incident occurred around 11 p.m. on April 16. Copiuos reported to the police that while he was at the house of his cousin, located at the corner of Pigeon Street and Parakeet Street in Ladyville, he was approached by Arnold and his brother, Kenroy Arnold. He said both brothers were armed with knives and they wrongfully accused him about a pervious incident, then one of them stabbed him in his chest. Copious said he tried to run but one of the brothers blocked his path and he was stabbed several times in the right side of his body and back. Copious was admitted to ward at KHMH where the doctor who examined him and treated him classified his injury as dangerous harm. Police say they are still searching for Kenroy Arnold to charge him in connection with the incident.

Police Retrieves Gun at Funeral
Twenty-one year old Wilfred Ramirez, a resident of Antelope Street Extension who allegedly took a sawed off shotgun to the funeral of Julian Willoughby, was charged with kept prohibited firearm and kept ammunition without a gun license when he appeared today before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Ramirez pled not guilty to the charges. He was remanded into custody until July 7. The incident occurred on May 9. Reports are that while the burial ceremony was in progress at the church, the shotgun fell from the foot of Ramirez pants. The crowd that had gathered around fled from the scene. Police who were in the vicinity retrieved the shotgun, which had a 12 gauge cartridge in it, and they took Ramirez into custody.

Young Man Dies in Traffic Accident Close to Home
Nineteen year old Evan Garnett Jr. lost his life on Saturday morning as a result of a tragic traffic accident. The accident happened on Mile 11 on the Phillip Goldson highway where the vehicle that Garnett was driving collided onto a bus parked alongside the highway. Hipolito Novelo has the story. HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING Nine year old Evan Garnett Jr. was travelling from Belize City to his home in Los Lagos in the wee hours of Saturday morning. He was driving a white Honda Accord but as he approached Mile 11 on the Phillip Goldson Highway something went wrong. He reportedly lost control of the vehicle, veered on the opposite side of the highway and drove into the back of an old abandon bus- pushing the bus which was parked alongside the highway, a few yards. Ladyville Police arrived on the scene sometime after four o’clock. ASP Christopher Noble, OC, Ladyville Police “A single vehicle apparently collided into what is the remains of a passenger bus; it was parked opposite side of the highway. The lone individual that was in the vehicle succumbed and was been taken to the morgue. No accident fatality is something that you want to out rightly say is not extensive; every fatality is taken seriously; damage to the vehicle is immense.”


Police Constable Convicted of Theft
In March of 2012, a Belize City police officer was accused of wrongfully taking items from a home while conducting a search. Today, he was convicted of the lesser charge of theft. Brandon Hertular was accused of going to the home of businesswoman Shirley Chicas on March 5, 2012...

Mother’s Day Shooting Leaves a Two Year old Motherless
Mother’s Day saw the murder of a young pregnant mother. The incident happened at Jamaica Bar located on Cayo Street in the Inidian Ville Area of Punta Gorda Town where 28 year old Janice Florice Vargas had been working for the past few months. According to Police reports at about...

Teenage Student Dies in Traffic Accident
Another weekend, another fatal traffic accident, and again it was in the Ladyville area. 19 year old Evan Garnett was driving from Belize City to the residential enclave of Los Lagos, but upon approaching an auto parts scrapyard he apparently lost control of his white 2006 Honda Accord 4-door...

Honduran Fishermen Survive Week at Sea
Every so often there is a tale of unfortunate accidents at sea leading to a scramble to survive. The latest happened to three Honduran fishermen who were travelling to Placencia aboard their skiff named “JAPHET” when their engine failed. That was one week ago and up until early this...

Gunmen Open Fire on Minors Playing in Abandoned Lot
A group of young people were playing in an open lot in Belize City when gunmen opened fire on them. After the hail of bullets stopped, a 15 year old was shot to the foot. According to police reports, the incident happened on Friday evening on Antelope Street. As...

Teenager Shot to the Abdomen
Another teenager was shot in Belize City this weekend. On Sunday, 18-year-old Ronnie Leal, a gas attendant of Lords Bank, Belize District was shot to the left side of his abdomen. According to the police report, Leal was travelling in a car on Kraal Road, Belize City with a...

Ladyville Tour Guide Charged for Injury to Teenager
On April 16, Ladyville teenager Parish Copius told police that he was stabbed by two brothers who wrongfully, he says, accused him of involvement in a prior incident. Today one of those two brothers was charged with dangerous harm. 25 year old tour guide Kareem Arnold was read the...

Ministry of Health Announces Strategic Development Plan
The Ministry of Health has been in a lot of hot water lately with regard to the management practices of its CEO, Dr. Peter Allen, and his treatment of top officials surrounding him. But the Ministry is trying to move on from its internal crises and get back to...

Stephen Okeke Out of Door on Thomas Vincent Ramos Bust
A few weeks ago he was $5,000 richer as a result of donation for the completed bust of Thomas Vincent Ramos, Garifuna hero. But tonight, sculptor Stephen Okeke has once more run afoul of certain elements that he says are trying to suppress his creativity. Because his deal with...

Disabled Student Wins Award
The Police Department regularly awards young people for doing the right thing. The most recent recipient was awarded today at Gwen Lizarraga High School. Graduating fourth former 18 year old Rasha Dawson lost her right leg to a traffic accident at the young age of 6 but remains...

Patrick Jones

Ariel Rosado Scholarship Foundation rides the highways
On Wednesday, April 14, it will be three years since the tragic death of 28 year old cyclist and promising attorney Ariel Rosado, who was killed in a massive traffic accident at Mile 2 on the Philip Goldson Highway. In memory of a life cut off before reaching full potential, the Ariel Rosado scholarship foundation was established to give life to future leaders of Belize. It’s biggest initiative is a bike ride in his honor featuring amateur and professional riders, many of whom raced with Ariel professionally and were good friends. This year’s event was staged on Saturday beginning in Cayo at 6 in the morning and concluding at the Hour Bar Field on Princess Margaret Drive just after midday. Ariel’s father and the president of the Foundation, Dr. Alvaro Rosado, estimates that 150 riders participated, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarships to high school and college students.

Tourism industry seeks balance between cruise and overnight sectors
According to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), overnight arrivals have increased by an average of 9.67% over the first three months of 2014, while more than 300,000 cruise ship visitors came to Belize for an increase of 22%. Tourism numbers have been almost consistently on the rise for several years now and president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) Herbert Haylock, who spoke with us at the Belize Tourism Expo on Friday, said that the increases, which they hope to maintain, come from the collective promotion of the destination by the many persons involved. The work started at the Expo continues on a one-on-one basis between operators and agents, he noted. But with so many visiting Belize, and in view of the ongoing debate about cruise tourism’s place in the tourism sector and Belize’s development generally, where can the balance be found, so that today’s cruise tourists become much more?

Ministry of Health announces strategic development plans
The Ministry of Health today launched a general strategic plan covering the next ten years, to 2024, and a concurrent plan to address non-communicable diseases or NCDs. The Director of the Policy and Planning Unit of the Ministry, Dr. Ramon Figueroa, says that this plan expands the Ministry’s view on health and wellness from a official strategy to a complete look at the health needs of the entire population. The Ministry has previously been focusing on its own impact; Figueroa says they will now shift some of the work to key stakeholders in civil society and elsewhere who may have a fresh outlook. This, he told us, will help the Ministry become more efficient. Despite being launched only today, the plans are already being implemented, at least in part.

Honduran fishermen survive week at sea rescued in Belizean waters
Three Honduran fishermen who were traveling to Placencia aboard their skiff the “Japheth” when their engine failed have been rescued. For one week, up until early this morning, they were without food and had only a dwindling supply of water. But a local vessel sighted them near Columbus Caye, 32 miles southeast of Belize City and this afternoon they touched down on Belizean shores, only slightly worse for wear and welcomed by anxious family members. Danly Kelly says they were praying that the east to southeast wind would push them toward the Belize coast, and on behalf of the group he is happy they were rescued as they could not have held out for much longer. The Belize Coast Guard took responsibility for the group, bringing them safely into shore and ensuring they got urgent medical attention. The Coast Guard’s Operations Officer Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis explains that they are suffering from dehydration and attendant illnesses.

Police constable convicted of theft
In March of 2012, a Belize City police officer was accused of wrongfully taking items from a home while conducting a search. Today, he was convicted of the lesser charge of theft. Brandon Hertular was accused of going to the home of businesswoman Shirley Chicas on March 5, 2012 and taking a 9mm pistol, two cellular phones and $1,650 in cash. He and another man dressed in camouflage clothing identified themselves as police officers to Chicas and claimed to be investigating robberies. They said they would take the items to the Police Department’s Exhibit Room at Queen Street Police Station pending the outcome of their investigations. Hertular was initially charged with burglary but the charge was withdrawn at trial due to lack of evidence.

Man charged for prohibited firearm found at funeral
24 year old Julian Willoughby was laid to rest last week Friday – but not without some incident. Police, alert to possible threats of retaliation, had dispatched a team of officers to guard the church where the funeral was taking place to prevent any incidents. And they acted quickly when they observed 21 year old Wilfred Ramirez of an Antelope Street Extension address in the area. A sawed-off shotgun appeared to fall from inside his pants to the ground, causing a brief panic. No one was harmed, but Ramirez was immediately detained. The gun contained a 12-gauge cartridge.

Ladyville tour guide accused of injuring teenager
On April 16, Ladyville teenager Parish Copius told police that he was stabbed by two brothers who wrongfully, he says, accused him of involvement in a prior incident. Today one of those two brothers was charged with dangerous harm. 25 year old tour guide Kareem Arnold was read the charge before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer and no plea was taken as the offence is indictable. Copius was socializing at a cousin’s house in the village late that night when two men he identified as Kareem and Kenroy Arnold approached him. Both carried knives and proceeded to trap Copius and stab him in the chest, back and right side.

Disabled student wins Police Department award
The Police Department regularly awards young people for doing the right thing. The most recent recipient was awarded today at Gwen Lizarraga High School. Graduating fourth former 18 year old Rasha Dawson lost her right leg to a traffic accident at the young age of 6 but remains steadfast and overcomes her challenges. The Evergreen Street resident is a member of Belize Association of Persons Living with Disabilities and the youth group Motivating Youths of Belize, and regularly volunteers to assist the less fortunate, whether it is fellow youth or persons with disabilities. She balances this with her school work and being a rolemodel for those who know her, such as the time when she made her cousins return things they stole from a neighborhood grocery shop.

Machete fight in Libertad village leaves one critically injured
A man from Libertad village in the Corozal district is fighting for his life after he was chopped in the head on Sunday night. Giovanni Henry Borland sustained the serious injuries during a machete fight late Sunday night. A motive for the melee which landed Borland and another man, identified as Denmar West in the hospital, has not yet been confirmed by the police. Around ten o’clock last night, Corozal police were called out to Libertad village and when they arrived they found that there was an altercation during which machetes were used to inflict injuries to Borland and West. Borland was the more seriously injured of the two men who were both taken to the Corozal Town Hospital for treatment.

Police question PG man in connection with Sunday morning murder
Police in Punta Gorda town have detained one man for questioning as their investigation of the early Sunday morning murder of Janice Vargas continues. Vargas, 28, was found mortally wounded around 1:25 am on Sunday, May 11 in a corridor leading to the back door of a building housing the Jamaica Bar on Cayo Street in the Indianville area of Punta Gorda town. Police say that when they found Vargas she was unconscious and in a pool of blood and had what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the right shoulder. Vargas was taken to the Punta Gorda hospital and was being transferred to the Southern Regional in Dangriga when she died.


Eco-Challengers Fight Strong Winds to Kayak Around Ambergris Caye
The 10th Annual Ambergris Caye Kayaking Challenge was a brutal one for the competitors. 40+ miles, 2 days, camping in the wilderness at the tip of the caye, it’s a huge physical and mental challenge. And this year, the 20+ mile per hour winds and gusts that were almost constant over the two days, hitting the little boats basically sideways the whole time, made things even tougher. The water looks beautiful (especially when a cloud rolls over) but it was choppy and milky from the churned up sand. 2nd place came in just a few minutes after. It was harder to get this young San Pedrano out of his kayak. LOVE to see all these young locals participating…a really amazing, constructive and inspiring event. Though I must be getting old…usually this gives me just a flicker of excitement that I too will do this next year! This year, it didn’t even cross my mind…

Belize Eco Kids Summer Camp: Sign Up Today!
The deadline for applying to the annual Eco Kids educational summer camp is drawing near, and the Lodge at Chaa Creek is urging young Belizeans between the ages of 8 and 13 years old to get on board! Officially known as the Children’s Summer Camp Scholarship Program, the Eco Kids camp is a great opportunity for young Belizeans to learn about their natural environment and develop skills while having fun during a weeklong jungle adventure. The adventure begins on Saturday July 20th at Chaa Creek’s Macal River Camp and runs until Sunday, July 28. Twenty-four lucky young Belizeans will stay in comfortable casitas and enjoy three healthy meals and snacks each day while taking part in structured educational activities. Chaa Creek supplies all accommodation and meals, the arts and craft materials, tee shirts, 24-hour camp counsellor supervision and guided tours conducted by licensed naturalist guides.

Stuffed Cabbage
This is a little bit healthier version of a burrito. I used leftovers to stuff the cabbage and then baked to make a wonderful meal. You can put anything you want on the inside and you can use spaghetti sauce or taco sauce as the topping.

International Sources

Financial Breakdown For Belize Trip
As part of our series on the costs associated with travelling through the Americas, today we will continue with our detailed expenses in Belize. In case you missed the original post, throughout our trip we’ve been keeping detailed expenses. Every time we make a purchase we write down our costs in either a paper notebook or a phone. We decided to put those detailed expenses to use and show you how much it cost us to travel in each country. Coming into Belize, we didn’t really know what to expect in terms of a budget. We were actually surprised by how expensive things were. I guess we were spoiled by the prices in Mexico. In the end, we went over our goal of $110 a day. Our average for 12 days in Belize was $124.66, almost the same amount as the US portion of our trip.

Caye Caulker – A True Tropical Paradise
The caye we went to was Caye Caulker, the smaller, and less touristy one. We actually went there to meet up with one my friends from the US that was on vacation there. Because there was 3 of us we decided to get larger accommodations and through a stroke of luck we ended up staying in the best Villa in the whole town – Villa Hermosa. It was right on the main street and it was heavenly. It had two bedrooms, an open concept with the breeze flowing in through the twenty or so windows, and hammocks in the front porch overlooking the main street of the Caye. My friend and I would sit for hours on the hammocks with the breeze flowing through our bodies. The only reason we would get off the hammocks was to stop one of the many vendors that passed by the house for some nourishment. We had the Cake Lady (she’s on YouTube) pass by every day once she found out we have a sweet tooth. She has been making cakes on this island since she was 16 (almost 30 years now), and she goes around selling delicious goodnesses like coconut pie, key lime pie, chocolate-coconut pie, banana bread and so on. We bought at least 3-4 slices of pie from her every day, resulting in our respective weight gains, I’m sure.

Ocean Temperatures Reach El Niño Threshold; El Niño Odds Rise Above 65%
For the first time since the fall of 2012, weekly-averaged sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific have reached the threshold needed for an El Niño event to be declared. By definition, an El Niño episode occurs when SSTs are at least +0.5°C from average for three consecutive months in the region 120°W - 170°W, 5°S - 5°N (called the Niño 3.4 region.) The weekly ENSO update issued by NOAA on May 12, 2014, put ocean temperatures in this Niño 3.4 region for the past seven days at +0.5°C from average. An El Niño event is still not a sure thing, though. We saw similar behavior in the fall of 2012, with SSTs warming up above the +0.5°C threshold, prompting NOAA to issue an El Niño Watch. However, the ocean SSTs were not able to hold for the required three month period, and no El Niño event ended up happening. However, this year the odds appear more favorable. NOAA has issued an El Niño Watch for the summer and fall of 2014, giving a greater than 65% chance that an El Niño event will occur during summer, a boost upwards from their >50% chance given the previous month.

Agri-tourism eco-lodge feels like Jurassic Park
Belcampo guests immersed in local food, culture, nature. Oversized hummingbirds and a pair of toucans flit about a tangle of jungle that is 50 shades of moist green. A hefty iguana flicks his tongue at me as troops of treetop howler monkeys unleash a choir of otherworldly rasps and gasps that sound more like aggravated dinosaurs — I feel like I’m on the set of Jurassic Park and I haven’t even got out of the shower yet. Belcampo Belize is an agri-tourism eco-lodge that is all about saturating its guests in locally farmed organic food, Mayan culture and tropical nature and that includes a giant, full-frontal picture window facing the virgin jungle in every suite’s spa-like bathroom. An English-speaking country wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize’s sparsely populated southernmost province of Toledo is a remote frontier lucky to have retained about 75 per cent of its rainforest. I fly into Toledo’s Caribbean-paced main town of Punta Gorda (pop: 6,000) with its funky mix of dreadlocks, expats and rickety seaside watering holes and am picked up for the 20-minute shuttle to the hilltop perch of Toledo’s only luxury lodge overlooking 23,000 acres of largely untrammelled jungle.

Woman Credits Fallen LAPD Detective With Bringing Kidnapped Daughter Home
A Ladera Heights mother is crediting a fallen veteran Los Angeles Police Department detective with bringing her kidnapped daughter home years ago. Raquel Butler said Det. Ernest Allen, who was killed Friday when a cement truck crashed into his vehicle in Beverly Hills, was her guardian angel. “I don’t know where I would be right now, where my daughter would be right now, if he didn’t feel for me,” Butler said. “He really held my hand through it, literally.” Back in 2008, Butler’s then-7-year-old daughter, Zaria, was taken for two months by the girl’s father, Dahnje Marceo. Allen was the lead detective out of the LAPD’s Southwest Division assigned to the case. Butler said she talked to Allen multiple times a day until he secured a reward. Along with the FBI, he located the pair in Belize. “He promised me he would do everything in his power to get my daughter back, and he honored that,” Butler said. “All tears of joy. He was like, ‘I told you, we are gonna get her home.’” “I’m thankful to everybody who helped to bring me back,” Zaria said.

Local students discover new bacteria, study dwindling coral reef
Two Camdenton High School students are garnering attention at the state and national levels for their scientific endeavors. Katie Chappell was announced as the state of Missouri’s sole representative to the National Stockholm Water Prize Award national competition. Chappell will receive an all-expense paid trip to a site on the Potomac River outside of Washington, D.C. to compete against representatives from every U.S. state and protectorate for the opportunity for an all-expense paid week-long trip to Stockholm, Sweden. She collected data from the Marine Biology / IB trip to the Glovers Reef Atoll island off the coast of Belize. Her study assessed the effectiveness of a commercial fishing ban implemented by the government of Belize designed to protect its sensitive, diminishing coral reef ecosystem.

TripAdvisor Announces Travelers' Choice Hotels With Exceptional Service
TripAdvisor(R) , the world's largest travel site*, today announced the Travelers' Choice(TM) Hotels with Exceptional Service, honoring 1,762 properties in 98 regions and countries across the globe. The awards recognize top accommodations for service in the world and individual lists for Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, China, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Middle East, South America, South Pacific, the U.K., and the U.S. Top 10 Hotels for Service in the Top 10 Hotels for Service in the U.S.: World: 2. Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, Hopkins, Belize


Video: Belize Trip Hilights, 6min.
Hi lights of the 2014 UNCW Watson College of Education trip to San Pedro, Belize.

Video: Main Street Placencia, 1min.

Video: Paddling off Half Moon Caye in Lighthouse Reef Belize, 1min.

Video: Victoria Tunnels, Belize, 4min.
Cool coral formations, lots of small fish, a big lobster, and a long, dark swimthrough.

Video: Belize 2014, 5min.
Los Encantos, San Pedro, Belize April 2014 Aerial Views via Phantom 2 Vision

Video: caves branch belize, 2min. slideshow


Video: San Marcos Satellite Video Conference, 5min.

Video: Quick and fun Intro to san marcos, 1min.

Video: Journey to Che Chem Hah Caves, 12min.
Follow along on the rough road through the jungle in Belize as we make our way to El Mirador, our tour guide. Come with on our hike through the jungle as we make our way to Che Chem Hah caves. Learn about different plants and trees and experience what a jungle hike is like.

May 12, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Letter to the Editor: Journalism
I’ve recently noticed the staff at the Amandala is bigoted in an unethical manner. Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t good journalism mean that one presents all sides of an issue, like same-sex marriage, and not only the op-ed’s that agree with the editor’s personal opinions? If this is correct ethics, aren’t editors legally obliged to it? I’ve also observed bias in their news reports; I even think it approaches sensationalism. Such as their headlines (The Churches stand strong against UNIBAM!; UNIBAM divides Belize), scare quotes (UNIBAM calls it “hate crime” and “hate speech”), and use of negative connotation (Mr. Orozco and UNIBAM almost always “claim,” instead of just stating or saying).

Letter to the Editor: San Pedro Police
I would like to express sincere appreciation to the San Pedro Police that work so tirelessly protecting our island. They make so many calls for all types of help and recently they went above and beyond their duties this past week, and before our call for help was even made. During the wee hours of Wednesday morning Corporal Young, Constable Martinez, Constable Wade & Constable Ramirez were passing by our facilities when they noticed a small fire had started on the exterior of one of our wooden buildings; a building with a thatch roof that was filled with peacefully, sleeping guests. They noticed it as they were passing in their police vehicle. Thankfully they stopped and acted swiftly and decisively to extinguish this small fire that was certainly on its way to becoming a larger, more devastating fire.

Doctor Love: Just Friends
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, After being with my boyfriend for three years I finally broke up with him two years ago. The reason we broke up is […]

Wolfe’s Woofer: In The Corner
“Grandpa, it’s me, Davin.” “I figured it was you,” I said. “You’re the only grandson I have. What’s up?” “Mom said you are supposed to pick me. I borrowed the phone to tell you I’m going to be one hour late getting out of class.” “What did you do this time?” I asked. Davin said, […]

Mrs. Idolina Vasquez, Mother of the Year 2014
Congratulations to Mrs. Idolina Vasquez, Mother of the Year 2014, as selected during the annual San Pedro Town Council Mother's Day Extravaganza held May 10th.

Congratulations Team Coco Beach for winning the 10th annual Lagoon Race Eco-Challenge!!
Hats off to the organizers who put this event together year after tireless year, and major props to the paddlers who braved the heat and seas to cross that finish line!!

Misc Belizean Sources

Benque Marimba Academy Celebrates Mother's Day
The Benque Marimba Academy celebrated Mother's Day with a performance at the Benque HoC, and at St. Martin's Credit union. They've posted some videos from them playing at SMCU here and here.


Carmelita Resident Goes Missing
Orange Walk Police are tonight requesting the assistance of the general public in locating 22 year old Ricardo Garma from the village of Carmelita. Jesus Antonio Garma, father of the 22 year old reported to police that his son went missing on Wednesday May 7th. Ricardo, who left home around 2:00pm, is a mental penitent. He was last seen wearing a pair of yellow tennis with white socks, red shirt with short sleeve and red ¾ pants. He is about 5 feet 6 inches in height, of fair complexion and has straight dark hair. He also has a scar on the upper part of the head and a tattoo of a skull on his right fist and a rose on the left side of his chest area.

Venezuela's Economic Status Will Not Affect Petro Caribe Agreement
Tonight there is good news for the entire Belizean public. Venezuelan ambassador to Belize, Yoel Del Valle Perez Marcano, has confirmed that the price of fuel that his country sells to Belize will not see an increase despite the inflation in his country. According to Ambassador Marcano, the price of fuel in Venezuela has nothing to do with international prices. The contract with the 18 member countries of Petro Caribe remains intact. The announcement comes at the heels of a 30 percent increase for minimum wage in Venezuela, which Venezuelan President, Nicholas Maduro, deemed necessary to help address the country’s inflation rate, which literally skyrocketed over the past year to 56 percent, the highest in the world. It also comes after reports that fuel prices in Venezuela could go up to ease the economic strains in that country.

Bowen And Bowen Office Robbed In San Pedro
Classics Store and Scotia Bank in Belmopan were not the only targets in a number of robberies registered today. San Pedro Police responded to an attempt robbery at the Bowen and Bowen Distribution centre located on Blake Street sometime around 1:20 pm. Initial investigations have revealed that a male person charged into the office with a firearm and demanded money. Quick response by Security guards on duty removed the culprit away from the office and the employees. Reports are that the assailant fired nine gunshots. Luckily no one was injured but a glass door was broken. The man fled the area empty handed into the nearby area after firing the shots.

Major Decrease In Butane Prices
The last time we reported on the price for a hundred pound cylinder of butane we were not the bearer of good news, but tonight we are because the price for Liquid Petroleum Gas has seen a reduction which came into effect yesterday. The new controlled price per 100lb cylinder of butane imported by Belize Gas Limited and Western Gas Company Limited from Pemex in Mexico, which saw a reduction of $13.00, is as follows: Belize City $115.00, Belmopan and San Ignacio $117.00, Benque Viejo Del Carmen $118.00, Orange Walk $116.00, Corozal $115.00, Dangriga $119 .00 and Punta Gorda $120.00. As for the controlled price per 100lb cylinder of LPG imported from within Central America, it saw a reduction of $16.00. The prices are as follows. Belize City $112.00, Belmopan $114.00 and San Ignacio $114.00, Benque Viejo Del Carmen $115.00, Orange Walk $113.00, Corozal $112.00, Dangriga $116.00 and Punta Gorda $117.00.

Robber Shot In San Ignacio
A young man was shot by a Belmopan Police officer this morning after he decided to be the main character of what can only be described as a robbery spree. Just before 10:00 this morning 25 year-old Cannon Augustine Obispo, a resident of Teakettle Village reportedly walked into Classics, a clothing store, and asked to try on approximately $210 worth of brand new clothes and a pair of tennis shoes. The Shop vendor, then asked him to pay for the items, but instead he walked out of store without handing over any money. Ctv3 news understands that the vendor reported to have seen the gentle man walking over to Scotia Bank across the street, and so he waited outside, thinking that Obispo went there to withdraw money to pay for the clothes.

The Reporter

Big drop in butane prices
The price of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) both imported and domestic has dropped by over $10 per 100 lb cylinder, marking its first decrease since 2013. The Belize Bureau of Standards announced a $13 reduction on LPG imported from PEMEX in Mexico and $16 from Central America, effective from May 8. Punta Gorda, which had the highest retail price for gas countrywide, benefited most from the price drop, which adjusted the cost from $133 to $120. Belize City and Corozal now enjoy the lowest price for imported gas in the country at $115 per 100 lb cylinder. LPG from Belize Natural Energy is now priced at $108 per 100 lb and this is available in Burrell Boom, San Ignacio, Belmopan, Benque Viejo Del Carmen and Punta Gorda.

Murder in Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda police are looking for a suspect following the shooting murder of a woman at a bar in Indianville early Sunday morning. According to Officer Commanding the PG Police Formation, Superintendent Simeon Alvarez, they discovered Janice Vargas, 19, of Far West Street, PG, lying face up in the corridor of the establishment. She had a gunshot wound to her right shoulder and was unconscious. Vargas reportedly died around 4:15 a.m. while on the way to the Southern Regional Hospital. While police do not yet know what the motive of the killing was, they have ruled out robbery.

Evan Garnett Jr dies in traffic accident
Evan Garnett Jr, 19, a resident of Los Lagos community, lost his life in a traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway at around 4 a.m. on Saturday. The Reporter understands that Garnett Jr was heading home alone when the Honda Accord he was driving careened into the other lane of traffic and collided head on “the remains of a passenger bus parked on the other side of the road”, according to Sr. Superintendent Chris Noble, officer commanding Ladyville Police. Garnett was the son of Jacinta Hyde, a manager at Krem and Evan “Duck” Garnett, former Raiders basketball player.

Venezuelan authorities detain hundreds of protesters
Venezuelan law enforcement authorities detained 243 protesters during an early-morning operation on Thursday that targeted four campsites set up at public squares around Caracas. The raid involved more than 900 members of the Venezuelan National Guard and police. Demonstrators who witnessed the operation complained about the way it was carried out. One of the persons staying at a campsite reported that law enforcement authorities showed up and destroyed the campsite. Miguel Rodriguez, Venezuelan peace and justice minister said he had no choice but to deploy security forces to ensure public safety. This latest incident followed clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces that have left more than 40 people dead and around 800 injured since February.

Brazil boosts military patrols along border
Brazil has initiated a massive military operation to patrol its borders leading up to next month’s World Cup. In what Brazil calls its single largest mobilisation ever, more than 30,000 members from the army, navy and air force are patroling the borders. But even with all this preparation, there are still concerns over whether some venues for the tournament will be ready in time. Coupled with that, authorities are concerned over street protests against the cost of holding the event. The border security operation dubbed Agata targets illegal immigration and drugs and arms smuggling. The troops also monitor rivers and lakes as part of their operations in Brazil’s dense jungle.

Patrick Jones

Woman shot and killed in PG
A shooting incident early this morning in Punta Gorda town has claimed the life of a woman. According to our colleagues at PGTV, the shooting incident happened around 1:30 am at an establishment in the Indianville area of PG and claimed the life of Janice Vargas. More information on this tragic incident will be posted as they become available.

The Export Processing Zone in Belize
The EPZ ACT is another Belize law that creates imbalance in the playing field…..special, politically driven, discretionary benefits for a few….at the cost of the Belizean tax payer. The beneficiaries of EPZ status basically pay NO tax in Belice!!! Does Belize law actually ENCOURAGE and FACILITATE poor CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP? DOWN-SIDE OF EPZ ACT They use our roads and other infrastructure; our land, air, water and other natural resources; our education and health services; our security and safety services; fire and natural disaster services, among others. In many cases, they also contaminate our environment, ground water, coral reefs, seas, air and land…most of them repatriate their profits abroad….and therefore, they do not contribute ONE IOTA to the bu

Murder in the Indianville area of Punta Gorda
Police in Punta Gorda town are investigating an early Sunday morning shooting incident in that has left a woman dead and her family and community in shock. The victim has been identified as 26 year old Janice Vargas, a resident of the Indianville area of PG. The shooting happened sometime after 1 o’clock this morning inside a building which houses the Jamaica Bar where Vargas has only recently gained employment. Preliminary information received say that the establishment closed at midnight and what transpired after that and leading up to the shooting which claimed the life of the young lady is now the subject of the official police investigation.

Hundreds walk for Cancer Awareness in Dangriga
The Dangriga Cancer Society held its annual Cancer Walk on Saturday, May 10. Under overcast skies, more than three hundred men, women and children gathered at the Xaibel Gas Station on the Hummingbird Highway for the six and a half mile walk which ended at the Drums of our Fathers Monument in Dangriga town. According to the Educational Chair of the Dangriga Cancer Society Lisa K. Cheng this year was the biggest Cancer Walk ever seen in Dangriga. Leading up to Saturday’s Cancer Walk, hundreds of T-shirt and other promotional items were sold, with proceeds going towards the support of activities carried out by the Dangriga Cancer Society.

The Spring/Summer 2014 issue of The TOLEDO HOWLER is online HERE

This Issue's Stories:

  • Heart of Toledo Adventure Trail:
    The Heart of Toledo adventure Trail is a collaboration between the Destination Planning department at the Belize Tourism Board and BTIA members and other small businesses owners in central Toledo. Rob Hirons from the Lodge at Big Falls who has been involved with the project from its inception said, “It is a great example of collaboration between the Tourism Board and small business owners in the area. BTB has the resources and the locals have the knowledge and this project brings the two together in a way that could be a model for future tourism trail developments.” Kevin Gonzalez, Director of Destination Planning along with his colleagues Clive Myers and Arlo Cansino worked on bringing the project to fruition at the Belize Tourism Board. The trail comprises a range of cultural, adventure and natural history experiences located around the loop that runs north from Big Falls village, west through the villages of Silver Creek, San Miguel and San Pedro Columbia around to the Dump junction at mile fourteen and back to Big Falls.
  • Chocolate Festival of Belize 2014:
    Toledo is gearing up once again to celebrate the eighth Chocolate Festival of Belize that will take place on the Commonwealth Day weekend from Friday 23-Sunday 25 May. The overall format remains similar but each day will be enhanced with new attractions and activities. The festival opens with its gala evening of Wine and Chocolate, sponsored once again by Bowen and Bowen who will be offering their signature chocolate stout. This year the event moves back into Punta Gorda town and will be held at Garbutt’s Marine and Fishing Lodge on the waterside by Joe Taylor Creek. On Saturday all the action takes place in Punta Gorda town on Front Street where local ethnic groups will display their cultural food and music and Belizean chocolatiers will have samples of their wares available for purchase. The festival moves into the heart of Toledo on Sunday to Lubaantun Mayan site. This year the dancers of the Baktun 13 group from Maya Centre will return to perform and there will be performances by Jose Chun and family from San Marcos village who form a string ensemble playing the Mayan harp, violin and guitar. The marimba will be performed by another group from Blue Creek village.
  • 4TH Annual Punta Gorda Christmas Bird Count:
    Although the weather cooperated this year, we ended up with our lowest totals in the 14-year history of the count: 224 species and 3295 individual birds counted. But there was no shortage of good birds. After some- how failing to log Spot-breasted Oriole on count day every year since its discovery in Belize in 2007 at Cattle Landing, we finally nailed it down this year thanks to a pair that had been visiting my feeder on a daily basis since last October (see associated article in this issue). We also recorded Orange-breasted Falcon, Northern Harrier, and Wedge-tailed Sabrewing the first time, and Brown Booby, Double-crested Cormorant, Lovely Cotinga, and Black-throated Blue Warbler for only the second time since the first count was conducted back in 2000. Low turnout and car trouble were the main contributors to the low numbers. With ever rising gas prices, it is becoming more and more difficult for people from northern Belize to participate in the count, and we still do not have enough local birders to sustain the count. Additionally, some of the local stalwarts of previous counts are finding it harder and harder each year to juggle work commitments with an entire day afield. But, for me, the most frustrating aspect of this year’s count was my vehicle breaking down outside of Laguna Village late in the morning and having to be towed into town. That relegated me to an afternoon of counting birds at my feeder—but, hey, I did get the Spot-breasted Orioles!
  • Lee Jones: Attracting Birds to Your Yard:
    I have always been the only birder in my family. My wife, despite her uncanny ability to spot birds along the highway and point them out to me as we zip past at 50 mph, had no interest whatso- ever in learning their names or how they fit into the overall scheme of things. My son thought birding was dumb. My daughter was still too young to fully comprehend the incredible magic of birds and birding. Or so I thought. Recently, that all changed- not gradually, not through constant ‘’coaxing” on my part, not through increased exposure to the world of birds. Their conversion was instantaneous. One day: “Duh”; “Blah”; “What’s the big deal?” Next day: “Oh my God!” Awesome!” “What’s that bird called, again? That one over there. The one with the orange breast and black hood.” Oh, and that beautiful blue one over there? And that bright red one?” The magic wand? Bananas. Yes, bananas. Lots of bananas. Add an occasional papaya, a few sliced oranges, and Voila! Instant conversion. Oh, and sugar water. Can’t forget the sugar water.
  • BTIA welcomes new Information Officer:
    Stephanie Parham is BTIA’s new Tourism Information Officer appointed in the autumn of 2013. She is Toledo born and bred. She grew up in Mafredi attending the Methodist Primary School in the village before going on to Toledo Community College where she graduated in 2005. At that time she did not have any clear career path ahead of her and spent the next few years in Belmopan, Belize City and Placencia. In Belmopan she ran a small internet cafe and stationery store; in Placencia she ran the Pirate’s Grill before moving on to the French Connection restaurant. After that she became office administrator for Remax real estate agents in Placencia where she worked for eighteen months. So after all this, she still had no chosen career pathway until returning to Punta Gorda and join- ing the front desk staff at Belcampo Lodge. She worked there for three years before joining BTIA as Tourism Information Officer. It was at Belcampo she discovered her passion for service in tourism and promoting the attractions of the Toledo that she knows and loves so well.
  • Eladio’s Chocolate Adventure:
    Eladio Pop was born into a family of fifteen chil- dren in San Pedro Columbia Village in the Toledo District. His father was a farmer and his mother was a housewife who also helped with the farm- ing. At the age of seventeen he met and fell in love with his wife, Virginia, a resident of San Pedro Columbia. Not long after they had their first child, Adalia. Eladio continues to farm and has a great love for planting and embracing the natural riches of the earth. He is an organic farmer who does not use any machinery or pesticides to farm and reap his products. His machete is his best friend. Eight years ago, after growing and reaping cacao, Eladio decided he would bring back the value of cacao from his ancestors, not only in his home but for the public as well. Slowly but surely, lots of people started hearing about and visiting the ca- cao farm, the roasting of cacao beans, grinding it and making it into a paste to drink as hot choco- late. It is prepared in the same way the Mayans, many years ago, use to do it. He is proud of his accomplishment in introducing and sharing this wonderful part of his heri- tage with his family and the world.
  • The Sapodilla Cayes at a Glance:
    om Owens Caye is leased by Gayle and Dona Scafe of Cuxlin Ha Re- sort in Eldridgeville, Toledo. It is used by Reef CI for diving groups from Monday to Friday each week apart from the month of October and two weeks in Febru- ary. At the weekends guests can make arrangements with Cuxlin Ha to go out for a weekend staying on the tiny 1-acre caye on Saturday night. Reef CI +501-629-4266 Cuxlin HA +501-732-4747 Right Sunrise on Tom Owen’s Caye North East Sapodilla Caye is uninhabited and unused. It is the northern most point of the “No Catch Zone” that extends down to Lime Caye at the southern end of the Sapodillas. Frank’s Caye is for sale. It is not open to the public. The buildings on it are dilapidated. Nicholas Caye is privately owned by Belcampo Lodge. Hunting Caye is home to various branches of the Belize govern- ment. The Belize Coastguard has a base there as well as the Belize Port Authority that is responsible for the lighthouse. The Immigration Depart- ment has a unit there and sailing boats and other craft can do their entry and exit procedures at Hunting Caye. The Fisheries Department is re- sponsible for the enforcement of the marine park laws and marine re- search. This includes monitoring water quality and the health of the reef monitoring Nassau grouper, lion fish and the sea turtles.
  • Word on the Street: A Visitor’s Perspective:
    Anneke from Pennsylvania visited Toledo and Hopkins with her parents and two brothers dur- ing Christmas 2013. We thought it would be in- teresting to get a teenage visitor’s perspective on a family holiday to Belize, and tracked her down during her travels. What attracted you to Toledo? My parents wanted us to visit somewhere new in Central America, and thought Belize would be a great trip. So after some research, especially from the Lonely Planet, they thought Toledo would be a great first spot to visit in Belize, and then move to Hopkins for the beach. How does Toledo compare with other places in Belize? We stayed only in Punta Gorda and Hopkins so I didn't get to visit too much of the country, but Hopkins definitely gave us more of the beach as- pect of Belize and we had an amazing snorkel trip while we were there. I thought the Toledo area was very beautiful, especially the caves and water- falls, and going kayaking in the mangroves was one of the most amazing things I've ever experi- enced.
  • BTIA presents “From Your Valentine”:
    BTIA held its first St Valentine’s Day Party at Garbutt’s Fishing Lodge on Joe Taylor Creek on Friday 14th February. BTIA was pleased to welcome its members and guests from the community in- cluding Ms Celia Ma- hung, Director of TIDE and Ms Christina Garcia of the Ya’axche Conserva- tion Trust. Wil Maheia, well known Belizean activ- ist, was there as well as Love FM’s southern corre- spondent Mr Paul Ma- hung. Music was provided by DJ Fresh.
  • Wat’s Cookin? Blue Crab:
    A few months from now should see the start of the rainy season, bringing welcome respite from the hot and humid weather leading up to it, but also giving rise to a wonderful natural phenomenon – the run- ning of the crabs! The large blue land crabs emerge from the under- growth in their thousands for the start of their mating season, and you’ll likely come across family groups with sticks and bags looking to catch the crab and cook up a tasty stew. Each family has their favourite seasonings, but many versions of the stew include coconut milk and plantain, along with “matilda foot” – plantain dumplings!
  • BTIA Welcomes New Members:
    Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours: Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours formerly known as IBTM Tours, started more than 10 years ago by Bruno Kuppinger. He moved to Belize more than 15 years ago and got involved rather quickly as a tour operator named IBTM Tours. In October 2010 the name was then changed to TCAT (Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours). Bruno has been a licensed Tour Operator and a licensed Tour Guide for more than 12 years. Eladio’s Chocolate Ad- venture: Eladio’s Chocolate Adventure is a family business operated in the Ma- yan village of San Pedro Columbia. They offer daily farm tours, tradi- tional chocolate making, and camp- ing on a 30 acre farm situated just a “sights view” from historical Lubaantun Maya Ruin.
  • Restaurant Guide
  • Registered Tour Operators in Toledo District
  • Calendar of Events
  • Toledo District map
  • BTIA member directory
  • Transportation schedules, including Toledo Village bus schedule
  • PG Town map

The May 11th, 2014 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • The Weird Case Against Darrington Williams:
    The almost 19 month “weird” burglary case against a 46 year old Belizean Electrician from Bullet Tree Falls Village, Cayo ended on April 29 in a conviction and a 5 year jail sentence. The “weird” case against the convicted burglar, Darrington Williams, also known as Junior Williams, began on October 23, 2012 when a 28 year old man, cohabitating with his mother in Bullet Tree Falls, made the initial report to San Ignacio police. The man told the police that during the nighttime hours of October 22, 2012, he and his mother left the restaurant they operate in Bullet Tree Falls. The man headed home while the mother told him that she was going to San Ignacio Town. When the son arrived at home he noticed that the lights inside the house were on. He concluded that his mother might have changed her mind and had instead gone home. He went around the house to a back door and called for his mother. Opening the back door was Junior Williams instead of his mother.
  • Jermy Audinett Found Guilty On Drug Charges:
    A man from Esperanza Village, Cayo was today found guilty on drug charges and ordered to pay a ten thousand dollar fine. Acting upon information received on February 22, 2012, over 26 months ago, a team of Special Branch officers visited the Esperanza Village residence of Jermy Audinett, 21 at the time, unemployed Belizean, where a search resulted in the discovery of 477 grams of marijuana. The first 8 grams of weed was found in the pocket of a white ¾ Dickies pants on a red sofa inside the house. A further search led to the discovery of an additional 433 grams of the drug in a black plastic bag under the same chair plus an additional 36 grams of weed found in a knapsack also inside the house.
  • American Man Plea Guilty For Drug Possession:
    A 20 year old American man today pled guilty for the possession of 85.5 grams of weed and was ordered to forthwith pay a ten thousand dollar fine. A team of alert policemen on mobile patrol in Santa Elena Town, at around 11:00 am, made a stop at a yard, notorious for marijuana activities, in the Trapiche Area. The team’s attention was drawn to a Caucasian male person acting in a suspicious manner. He was pulled aside for a body search which led to discovery of a parcel of marijuana concealed in the waist band of the brief he was wearing. The man, identified as Jeffrey James Suisher, 20, who is in Belize on a tourist visa and residing in Cristo Rey Village, was transported to the police station in San Ignacio where the weed, weighed in his presence, registered 85.5 grams on the police scale. A quick charge sheet was prepared and the accused was rushed to court where he pled guilty to the charge.
  • Transforming Burns Avenue:
    Burns Avenue is as old as San Ignacio Town. This historic avenue has never ever undergone the magnitude of transformation it is currently undergoing. The first phase of the transformation of Burns Avenue was completed in the latter part of last year under the Tourism Municipal Development plan resulting in the total transformation of the middle section of Burns Avenue. The second phase of the project is now underway. It encompasses the total transformation of that section of the avenue from Scotia and Atlantic Banks to the Belize Bank linking it up with the first phase. The Belize Water Services Limited has completed the upgrading of mains and service connections in the area while, this week, the Belize Telecommunications Limited is engaged in likewise upgrading its underground assets in the area. Mayor John August and Councilors of the twin town informed that as soon as the utility companies complete their works and give the green light, the council will immediately take over and proceed with transforming of that section of Burns Avenue like it has never been transformed ever before in the history of the twin town.
  • Beware Of Con Artists Roaming The Community:
    San Ignacio police is today issuing a warning to the public in general and to senior citizens in particular, regarding con artists visiting homes within the community. In the latest reported incident, Mrs. Suzette Espat of #1 Church Street, San Ignacio Town reported to the police that during the mid morning hours on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, she was at home when she was visited a man who asked her to loan him an empty gallon container to purchase gasoline for his car that had ran out of fuel. The Good Samaritan reportedly went to another section of the house to get the item requested by the man. A few minutes later she returned with the empty container only to find that the man was gone. Also gone was her blue Samsung Digicell flip phone valued at $70. Quick response on the part of San Ignacio police led, within hours, to the detention of the suspect who was found in possession of the victim’s telephone. The suspect, identified as Albert Young, was arrested and charged for theft.
  • Apple 'In Talks' To Buy Beats For $3.2bn:
    Technology giant Apple is in talks to buy headphone maker and music-streaming service provider Beats Electronics, according to various media reports. The reports claim Apple could pay as much as $3.2bn (£1.9bn) and a deal could be announced next week. If completed, it will be Apple's biggest ever acquisition. It is being seen as move by Apple to get a stronger foothold in the phone and music accessories business and bolster its online music offerings. The two areas are expected to see fast growth in the coming years. The Financial Times, which was the first to report the talks, cited a source as saying the firms were still negotiating the details. Beats was founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and the hip-hop star Dr. Dre and until recently was best known for its headphones.
  • Heart Attack:
    Heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked long enough for that part of the heart to die or become damaged. A blood clot blocking one of the coronary arteries is the most common cause of a heart attack. Plaque that is made up of cholesterol and other cells can build up on the coronary arteries and cause a heart attack. Plaque can develop cracks or tears to which blood platelets stick, forming a clot. Stress may also contribute to exacerbating plaque buildup and, eventually, heart attacks. The main symptom of a heart attack is chest discomfort, which can feel like pain, a feeling of tightness or indigestion in the chest, a feeling that something is sitting on the chest, or heavy pressure. The pain may last for more than 20 minutes. Other symptoms include anxiety, cough, fainting, light-headedness, nausea or vomiting, palpitations, shortness of breath or sweating. Symptoms may fade and return. Some heart attacks, particularly those in the elderly, people with diabetes or women, may have little or no chest pain. Heart attacks in these groups may also be silent, which means there are no symptoms.
  • Did The Surge Of Water From Macal River Dams Cause Loss Of Three lives?:
    It is sad that it takes dead bodies to bring attention to the potential for disaster created by the lack of a workable dam break early warning system for the Chalillo, Vaca and Mollejon Dams. It only takes talking to people in the area to realize that there is no general knowledge of what to do if the dam breaks. It took the deaths of two students from Corozal, Egar Puck and Anahi Zepeda, who “were swept off into depths” of the Macal and drowned, to learn that BECOL releases water from the dams, which causes a rise in the water levels in the area of the bridges connecting San Ignacio and Santa Elena. According to Stephen Usher, BECOL's Vice President of Operations, interviewed after the death of the two students earlier this month, Vaca Dam releases water to generate electricity that reaches San Ignacio around 4:00 pm. But why didn’t the public know that information? Just prior to the death of the students, there were two other drownings, one in the Macal River and one a little downstream at Santa Familia where the Macal meets the Mopan River. Over Easter, another drowning occurred in the Belize River, close to Santa Familia.
  • Trust Pro Certified - Four Foods That Lower Blood Pressure:
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 67 million Americans -- approximately one in three adults -- suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure. In 2009 alone, high blood pressure was the primary or contributing cause of almost 350,000 deaths in the United States, which averages at 1,000 deaths per day. The disorder is, in essence, an epidemic in the Western world. Though high blood pressure can be triggered by stress and other external factors, a poor diet remains its single greatest cause. Therefore, consuming foods that are proven to produce significant cardiovascular benefits is a great way to prevent and treat the disorder naturally. The best of these foods are listed below. Garlic, Hot chilis, cacao, and turmeric.
  • For The Benefit Of An Entire Community:
    Belize Water Services Limited customers in the San Ignacio, Santa Elena and Esperanza service area have, for many years, been complaining of low water pressure and of late the discoloration in the water piped into their residences. The discoloration has been compounded by changes in the water flow from the upper Macal River. The company recognizes that this quality of service CANNOT continue. In seeking to address this condition, the company has been aggressively exploring possible solutions one of which is the now more frequent flushing and cleaning the storage tank which is taking a toll on those employees assigned this task. Despite last year’s 7.2% decrease in water rates, the company undertook the curtailing of capital expenditure to finance the upgrading of its outdated storage and treatment facility in San Ignacio which is over 50 years old.
  • STAR Humor
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices


Catamaran Sail to Caye Caulker on A Very Windy Day
Today is starting just as yesterday did. Windy (with gusts up to 25mph), waves crashing over the reef, warm and hazy. And yesterday, as over 20 kayaks took off from the back side of San Pedro to start the brutal 40 mile, 2 day Eco-Challenge, I decided to let someone else do all my boating work. I went sailing on Seaduced’s beautiful catamaran over to Caye Caulker. A nice stable catamaran where the wind and the crew – Manuel and Palma – were doing all the work. My station would be in a big purple bean bag. Easy to find me if I’m needed… We CRUISED over to Caye Caulker. And had an extra half hour (the usual is 2) for exploring. The winds would get us back to Ambergris Caye in way less than 2 hours.

International Sources

Fortis President & CEO H. Stanley Marshall to Retire Board Appoints Fortis VP, Finance & CFO Barry Perry as Successor
Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") President and Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") H. Stanley Marshall today announces that he will retire as President and CEO and Director of the Board of Directors of Fortis, effective December 31, 2014. Mr. Marshall's career with Fortis spans 35 years and he has been at the helm as President and CEO for more than 18 years. The Board of Directors of Fortis today announces that Barry Perry, Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Fortis will succeed Mr. Marshall as CEO, effective December 31, 2014. As part of the transition process, Mr. Marshall will relinquish his role as President to Mr. Perry on June 30, 2014. Mr. Marshall, 63, has led Fortis since 1996 when he was appointed President and CEO. Under his leadership, Fortis has grown into the largest investor-owned gas and electric distribution utility in Canada, and the Corporation's total assets have grown almost twentyfold from less than $1.0 billion in 1996 to $18.6 billion today. "I'm very proud of what we have achieved at Fortis over the last 25 years. I want to thank all of those dedicated employees, both past and present, who have contributed to our success. Fortis is strong and well-positioned for greater success in the years ahead. I have absolute confidence in Barry and the team to make it happen," says Mr. Marshall.

A Simple Theory, and a Proposal, on H.I.V. in Africa
While around the world a vast majority of AIDS victims are men, Africa has long been the glaring exception: Nearly 60 percent are women. And while there are many theories, no one has been able to prove one. In a modest public health clinic behind a gas station here in South Africa’s rural KwaZulu/Natal Province, a team of Norwegian infectious disease specialists think they may have found a new explanation. It is far too soon to say whether they are right. But even skeptics say the explanation is biologically plausible. And if it is proved correct, a low-cost solution has the potential to prevent thousands of infections every year. The Norwegian team believes that African women are more vulnerable to H.I.V. because of a chronic, undiagnosed parasitic disease: genital schistosomiasis (pronounced shis-to-so-MY-a-sis), often nicknamed “schisto.” The disease, also known as bilharzia and snail fever, is caused by parasitic worms picked up in infested river water. It is marked by fragile sores in the far reaches of the vaginal canal that may serve as entry points for H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. Dr. Eyrun F. Kjetland, who leads the Otimati team, says that it is more common than syphilis or herpes, which can also open the way for H.I.V.

Definition of incongruency: In pictures: Passenger jet converted into luxury hotel in Costa Rica rainforest
An old Boeing 727 passenger jet destined for scrap has been salvaged and converted into a luxury hotel suite


Video: Diving in Belize, 4min.
SCUBA Diving Belize in April 2014 with Mark and Brenda

Video: Flying into Caye Caulker, Belize, 2min.
Tropic Air flight from Belize City to Caye Caulker taken from the co-pilot's seat.

Video: Caribbean Belize Cuisine : Natural Coconut Milk with Coconut Water, 10min.
Many people have a great interest in natural, healthy Coconut milk. But how do you know what you are getting if you buy it in a can in the store? In this video we will show you the process of making the ultimate in natural Coconut milk the traditional way. We will take you from the very beginning - harvesting Coconuts from the coconut palm, to husking the Coconut, to opening the Coconut and saving the Coconut water to grating the coconut, And finally, making the all-natural Coconut milk from Coconuts growing naturally on the shores of the Caribbean. In another video we will show you how to make healthy Coconut Oil also - making Coconut milk is the first step in Coconut oil which can be used in a tremendous number of healthy recipes. Coconut milk is used in Caribbean cuisine as well as in food from around the world. This Coconut milk is perfect for all vegetarian recipes and vegan recipes. It is used extensively in Kriol ( Creole ) cooking by the people here in Belize and around the Caribbean. There are a large number of chicken recipes that call for high quality Coconut milk. One of our favorite easy recipes is coconut rice. That is just delicious and so simple! It has been said that high quality Coconut milk has been used as a replacement for breast milk for babies, but we do not know for sure the accuracy of that.

Video: BETTER BELIZE IT!!!, 12min.
Eddie & Patti Rosenkoetter's Belize Wedding

Video: Diving The Elbow with Big Current...The Best of The Best!, 3min.
Put "The Elbow at Turneffe" on Your To Do List! It's the best of the best when it comes to the large schools of fish that appear with the current found at The Elbow. Awesome, don't fight it, ride it!

Video: Manatee in caye caulker, Belize, 2min.

Video: A day on Caye Caulker Belize Central America, 12min.

Video: Oceanside Night Club Caye Caulker Belize, 2min.

Video: Placencia Belize, 12min.

Video: Scuba Diving Reef Sharks at The Blue Hole Belize, 2min.

Video: Playmates at Play in Belize, 3min.

Video: The Mayas of Belize Belize Culture,8 min.

Video: The Fer de lance in Belize, 9min.

Video: Belize 2014, 7min.

Video: Snorkeling in Belize, 5min.

May 11, 2014


Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV3
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

North Georgia University Students on education trip in San Pedro Town
A group of 23 students and six faculty members from the University of North Georgia and Brenau University of Gainesville Georgia are on the island. Students working on their teaching degree in the US are on the island for seven days working with teachers in the Belizean classroom. Meanwhile, the business students are working with community members to develop new business opportunities. Heading the group is Carly Wynne of the University of North Georgia, who explained that the group is working with teachers and students at Holy Cross Anglican School and San Pedro High School (SPHS). They are also conducting seminars with women and men in the community in developing their skills that could be used to form business opportunities, with the hope of improving their economic conditions. “We brought down several groups of students but we have mainly student-teachers. They are working mostly in classrooms at Holy Cross, assisting in the classroom, helping with sports day and helping in developing teaching materials. We also have two members working at San Pedro High School,” said Wynne

Thousands of students sit final part of PSE
238 standard six students from Caye Caulker Village and San Pedro Town joined over 5,500 primary school students across the country who sat the final part of national Primary School Examination (PSE). Paper two of the exams was taken on Monday May 5th, and comprised of Mathematics and Social Studies.

Mothers sue KHMH for the wrongful death their babies
Ten months after 13 babies died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) due to the health facility’s negligence, five mothers have filed a lawsuit. Between the months of April and May of 2013, 13 newborns died due to a bacterial outbreak (enerobacter cloace) in the intensive care unit, causing public outcry and spurring an investigation by the World Health Organization. Claimants Marissa Cruz, Katricia Panting, Nichole Grinage, Kelsey Young and Georgiana Hernandez have retained the services of Attorney Kareem Musa and are suing for damages over the wrongful death of their babies. Back in 2013, the newborns were initially deemed healthy, but died suddenly not more than 15 days after their birth. It was not until after the parents of the 13 deceased babies came to the media that KHMH explained what was going, prompting an investigation which found that it was negligence on the part of the health facility. According to Musa, the claim is seeking special damages for what he described as “gross negligence” on the part of the national referral hospital.

Misc Belizean Sources

New Horizons Airman travels many medical career paths
For five years he was a medical laboratory officer. Then, off he went to medical school while in the inactive Reserve. After that, he found himself as a flight commander over pediatrics until he journeyed to Landstuhl in Germany. Then Lakenheath, England. And then Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. His travels continue as he is now off to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland for a neonatal intensive care fellowship. For U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Acevedo, changes in assignment and new adventures are nothing out of the ordinary. "I'll stay in for 20 years and retire, but I'll make sure I have a well-rounded career before it's time to move on to something else," he said. He had already been accepted to medical school before joining the military, but he said he just wasn't ready to go. After spending the five years as an Air Force medical laboratory officer, Acevedo felt like he was finally ready. He resigned his commission as a captain to attend school at the University of Texas-Galveston, and then completed his residency at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.

Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge Launches Its First Facebook Photo Contest
Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge, located on Mile 36 ½ Hummingbird Highway, Belmopan, Belize, is launching its first Facebook Photo contest. The winner, along with a friend or loved one, will get to enjoy the prize of a 4 night’s vacation in a Spanish Casita at Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge which includes: - 4 Night’s stay in a Spanish Casita for two - Welcome cocktails - Access to resort amenities - Access to Inland Activities To enter, contestants are required to go to the “Win!” tab on the Sleeping Giant Facebook Page and submit a photo of them vacationing anywhere in the world and explain why they would love to visit Belize. Once their entry is submitted, they can ask friends and loved ones to vote for their photo and try to accumulate as many votes as possible. Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge will review the top 3 submissions with the most votes and choose a winner. The contest will run from May 8th to June 5th, 2014, everybody is welcome to participate.

Ministry of Natural Resources issues eviction notice to Harmoinyville residents
The Ministry of Natural Resources has issued an eviction notice for residents of Harmonyville occupying the Buffer Zone Area (reserve). The Ministry underscored in a press release this week, that the Buffer Zone Areas in any development are the property of the Government of Belize and should be left in its natural state. Nigel Petillo, president of the Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association BGYEA, told the Reporter on Friday that the eviction notice affects his organization as well as ten families who have been squatting on the land. Petillo explained that when BGYEA first arrived at Harmonyville to develop the area five families were squatting on the land. Those families were asked to relocate and received an acre of land with the community. They did not move when asked to and over time other families went to squat on the site which later became the Buffer Zone area.

Gloria Robateau wins Ms Y 2014-15
Gloria Robateau, a great-grandmother of Belize City won the 2014 Ms ‘Y’ pageant at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts in Belize City on Friday night. The event, organized annually by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), showcases “seenagers” compete in a formal evening gown segment and a talent competition. On Friday night Robateau won the judges’ hearts with her one-woman skit encouraging young people to get back in school and for those enrolled students to stay in school. She also won the title of Miss Graciousness, with which she received a sash. Ms Gloria is the proud mother of eight daughters and three sons, who have blessed her with 28 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. First runner up, Miss Belmopan Janet Graham, dressed in a bocotora turtle costume for her cultural presentation, in which she presented a monologue promoting the conservation of the bocotora turtle. A long time staple in the diet of Belize river valley residents, the bocotora turtle is now under threat of over-fishing, and Graham stressed the importance of saving this part of our Belizean heritage for future generations to enjoy. Graham also won the title and sash of Miss Courageous.

Ecuador rejects petition for referendum to drill for oil in national park
Ecuadorians have rejected a petition for a referendum to determine whether there should be further oil exploration in the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon. According to the National Electoral Council not enough signatures appeared on the petition to force a referendum. The council validated 359,781 of the 850,000 signatures collected. This represents well under the 583,323 required by Ecuadorian law. It also claims that there were repeated signatures or incomplete signatures. According to the council, some of the names were even those written by children. In other cases, some of the signatories claimed they had used the names of fictional movie characters. But Yasunidos activists who collected the signatures have sharply denied this.

Patrick Jones

Los Lagos resident dies in traffic accident
An early morning traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway has claimed the life of a 19 year old man. Evan Garnett perished when the Honda Accord he was veered off the highway and crashed into what was described by police as “remains of a passenger bus that was parked off the opposite side of the highway.” Garnett was heading to his home in Los Lagos sometime after 4 am today when the fatal accident happened. Police say when they arrived at the scene, the found Garnett’s body inside the extensively damaged car. The body was taken to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where it now awaits a post mortem examination.

San Ignacio man viciously beaten
A San Ignacio man is slowly recuperating after he was viciously attacked and badly beaten. 27 year old Jonathan Chavez sustained serious injuries to his head and face on the morning of May 5. The attack happened on Burns Avenue in San Ignacio town. In an interview conducted on Saturday afternoon, Chavez said that he was on his way home from work around 4 am on May 5 when he was set upon by a group of three men. Chavez said that a woman who was with the men who attacked and beat him, did not physically take part in the beat down but only stood by and laughed as he was being beaten. A surveillance camera from a business establishment on Burns Avenue captured to brutal attack which left Chavez with both eyes swollen, his ear bitten and torn and bruises to other parts of his face.

Gloria Robateau is Miss Y 2014-2015
A new Miss Y has been crowned. 70 year old Gloria Waight Robateau of Belize City bested slate of 5 contestants to win the Miss Y 2014-2015 pageant which was held on Friday night at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. Robateau, who is originally from Georgeville village in the Cayo district did a one-woman skit on the importance of an education for young people. In addition to taking the crown, Robateau also won the title of Miss Graciousness. The first runner up in the pageant is Janet Graham of Belmopan. Graham also walked away with the title of Miss Courageous. The second runner up is Rose Marie Skeen of Ladyville village, who also won the title of Miss Determination.

Payroll Taxes vs Consumption Taxes
Pay as you earn (PAYE) taxes are taxes on income assessed according to the Income and Business Tax Act. In Belize, only those earning over $25,000 per year pay these taxes, at a rate of 25%. This is in simple terms, as the amendment to the Act of December 2010 is a little more complicated than that….in that persons earning between $25-30,000 get to deduct most of their income….however, persons earning over $30,000 only get to deduct $19,600. What this means is that a person earning $35,000 should get to deduct $19,600 and pay 25% tax on the difference of $15,400, which would be $3,850….thus taking home $31,150. A person earning $50,000 should get to deduct $19,600 and pay 25% tax on the difference of $30,400, which would be $7,600….thus taking home $42,400.


When life gives you limes, make lime juice
You are likely familiar with the old saying When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. My Belizean adaptation is When life gives you limes, make lime juice, seeing real lemons at the fruit market is a rare and beautiful site. Except for the recent lime shortage, limes are usually quite plentiful here and lime juice a very refreshing drink sold at most restaurants. I will leave you with a tropical cocktail making tip – use fresh lime juice to make ice cubes, as they melt they give your drinks a nice flavor. Coconut water works great for that too.

A Belizean Pilot Baking New York Cheesecake? SugarFix Bakery in Belize City
Best New York Style Cheese Cake? Honestly? I wouldn’t have even put it on the list. I had no idea that you could find great cheesecake in Belize. And guess where I found THE most divine example of it? In Belize City. Right behind the big Puma gas station. In a bakery opened by a Belizean former Maya Island Air pilot called (very cutely) SugarFix. The johnny cakes (which are raved about) were just sold out. One gorgeous sticky bun remained. And I ordered it “to stay”. A honey walnut sticky bun. Dripping with real honey syrup, I LOVE the addition of walnuts. Nuts make everything better. Moist and buttery to the very center. Delicious. And insanely filling.

Dandelion omelet
1 /4 cup dan'elion buds 1/4 cup choppet ret pepp'r 4 aigs, beete 1 teespoon wat'r Cheez 2 tablespoons butt'r N' a skillet, sauté 1 /4 cup dan'elion buds an' 1 /4 cup choppet ret pepp'r i n 1 tablespoon butt'r fer 2 er 3 minnuts. Remoov an' set aside. N' t'same skillet melt anoth'r tablespoon o'butt'r. Beat 4 aigs wit a teespoon o'wat'r an' pour into skillet. As aigs set heft t'edges an' let t'uncooket pershun floe underneeth. Wen aigs air set, sprinkle wit cheez an' spoon t'dan'elion mixture ov'r half o't' aigs. Fold n' half an' enjoy.

Monkey Business in Belize
Ah, Belize! Straddling both the Central American jungles and the Caribbean, it’s one of the few places in the world you can still go to experience unspoiled natural beauty. It has everything an eco-tourist could love – jungle adventures, scuba diving, waterfalls, caves, Mayan ruins, and the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Its spectacular teeming jungles, lush rainforests, dry pine savannas, tangled mangrove swamps make it one of the best examples in the New World Tropics. This is a rich, biologically diverse country and appears to be a leader in conservation initiatives. It is also home to the loudest animal in the New World – the Howler Monkey. The guttoral sound the monkey makes is so loud, it can travel three miles through dense forest. On a recent trip to Belize, we became fascinated by this unique loudmouth and went on a day-long jungle adventure to see and hear it for ourselves.

Parrots, Paddling and Ponderings
A blog about my travels around the world, in search of wild parrots, great paddling opportunities and incredibly eclectic travel experiences, I try to make a difference by connecting people with nature, people with other cultures, and people with themselves by sharing my stories. Last Flight spins a cautionary tale about protecting nature I recently re-read the book, The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird, written by Bruce Barcott, a Seattle-based writer whose works include The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier. Published in 2008, it recounts the uphill battle of Sharon Matola, director of the Belize Zoo, against Fortis, a Canadian-based company that wanted to, and eventually built, a hydro-electric dam in Belize. If you live in B.C., you probably recognize that name - it's the same company that supplies natural gas to heat our homes, at least in the Lower Mainland.

International Sources

13 Mexican Indigenous Words You Didn't Know You Were Using
Many Americans mistakenly view Mexicans as foreign. In fact, the indigenous people of Mexico have called North America home for a whole lot longer than the Europeans who first started populating the Americas at the close of the fifteenth century. As a reminder, here's 13 words in Nahuatl, the language of the Mexica people of Central Mexico, that English speakers use all the time -- many without knowing it. Avocado: Passed into English by way of the Spanish word "aguacate," the word originates from the Nahuatl term "ahuacatl," meaning both "avocado" and "testicle," according to Merriam-Webster. Cacao: The fruit whose dried seeds are used to make chocolate was originally named cacahuatl. Chocolate: The Nahuatl "xocolatl" is made up of the parts "xococ," meaning "bitter," and "atl," meaning "water."



Video: Landing at Belize City International Airport, 3min.

Video: Take off in Belize City mit doppel Propeller, 2min.

Video: The Potter's House Belize City Mother's Day 2014, 4min.
Video I put together for the mothers on their special day.

Video: Belize Slideshow, 7min.

Video: Beck Residence - Sanctuary Belize, 7min.
from Belize Standard Design Group

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