Recent Belize News
12/11/2014 to 12/20/2014
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Today's Belize News

December 20, 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

Lions Senior Citizen's Party
Belize Bank staff has been partners of this annual event.

A Holiday Soup Kitchen for islanders
‘Tis the season of giving, and several residents of Ambergris Caye are doing just that. While many reserve the holiday season for showering their family with love and presents, islanders such as Finley Halliday and friends are reaching out beyond the household to bring a little joy to those less fortunate. Halliday has been busy at work organizing a Soup Kitchen for Christmas Day lunch. After putting a call out on Facebook, stating his attempts to organize the kitchen, Halliday says he has received a tremendous outpouring of support from several businesses and people willing to donate to the cause. “What we want to do is make a lunch and have a traditional turkey dinner, and treats for the people that are less fortunate and people that won’t have a Christmas meal this year,” says Halliday. Because the soup kitchen is intended to provide meals for as many families as possible, the call remains open for more support. People are welcome to contribute either cash or food items such as flour, stuffing, rice, beans vegetables or canned foods, as they aim to also distribute goodie bags to the families after the Christmas Day lunch. The lunch will take place on December 25th from noon to 3PM at Raise Me Up on Black Coral Street. Invitations will be sent out to several households to attend.

Candyland Fashion Show raises funds for Boxes of Joy
On Thursday December 11th, Boxes of Joy hosted their second annual Kids Fashion Show benefit at Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar. The Candyland- themed show, organized by Shantelle Pascasio and Francisco Mendez, saw the participation of 45 young models who all graced the runway to benefit the 3rd annual Christmas toy drive. The venue quickly filled with parents, guardians and friends who came out to support their little models. The bar and snack stations remained packed as attendees enjoyed cold drinks and food throughout the night. As the show opened, hostess for the night Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez, accompanied by junior emcees Nayobie Rivero and Gaven Zapata , welcomed all present and got the event underway.

Top Notch showcases the latest in Christmas Fashion
Top Notch Boutique brought Christmas magic to Central Park on Sunday, December 14th with their second annual fashion show. The free show was titled “A Magical Christmas Fashion Show” and was held on Barrier Reef Drive, in front of the town clock. The starry night and chilly weather complimented the show which started shortly after 8PM. A large crowd gathered around the runway to view the beautiful models strutting the catwalk and dressed in the latest women’s fashion. The lovely ladies showcased stunning seasonal dresses as well as more casual looks. From sparkling gold fitted dresses to long flowing gowns, all the models looked amazing in Top Notch’s apparel. Those in attendance also enjoyed musical performances by Juliaine Ferguson, Elina Palma and a duet by Guillermo and Neslen Rivero. Also performing was the Isla Bonita Rockets, who delivered a dynamic dance presentation.

‘Let there be Light’ in San Mateo
In order for residents to be connected, they will be required to have their houses wired by a licensed electrician and each household must install a service entrance which includes meter and switch box, said Burrell as is required by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). “Residents who have already installed a service entrance, which is necessary for safe and proper connection to power supply from BEL, now need to acquire a PUC Electrical Installation Form, signed by a certified electrician. The service entrance must be ready for inspection by BEL. In addition, residents will now have to apply, as normal, to get connected at the standard connection rate of approximately $200,” explained Burrell. Such connection is estimated to cost between $1,200 and $1,500 and is the responsibility of each customer. Currently, BEL has been promoting a program called “Connecting homes, improving lives” which seeks to connect underprivileged families free of charge to the national grid. The project is partly funded from unused sums of monies left over that were originally secured for rural electrification projects around various parts of the country. According to Burrell, residents in the San Mateo Area will be able to participate in such program.

Ambergris Today

Around The World Christmas Pageant by Island Academy
Christmas Around the World! was this year's theme for the Island Academy annual Christmas Pageant that was held on Wednesday, October 17, 2014, at the school grounds. The event is getting bigger every year as this time around a couple more tents were set up to make more space for the large audience that makes it to the show. Teacher Barbara Ancona Cook took the reigns in organizing and directing the show this year which depicted unique Christmas/New Year celebrations in different parts of the world that included Mexico, Peru, Japan, Germany and Africa, among others. Through song, dance and costumes, the students of Island Academy brought in the Christmas spirit through various cultures around the world, but in the end the entire student body sang how "There is no place like December in San Pedro".

Belize’s High Seas Fisheries Get A Boost
The European Council yesterday adopted a decision to remove Belize from the list of ‘non-cooperating third countries’ in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This decision was taken pursuant to a recommendation by the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) to remove Belize from this list in consideration of the concrete measures taken by Belize to rectify the deficiencies pointed out by the European Commission earlier this year.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Arbitration Tribunal Issues Telemedia Loan Decision
A three member panel of international arbitrators today, 19th December 2014, issued its decision in a dispute between the British Caribbean Bank Ltd (BCB) and the Government of Belize (GOB), declaring that GOB must pay to BCB the money that Belize Telemedia Ltd (Telemedia) had borrowed from BCB back in 2007, together with interest and costs. The total award in favour of BCB is US$41,773,096.04.

GOB Clarifies Current State of Negotiations within the Sugar Industry
GOB derides as paternalistic and arrogant in the extreme, the NTUCB release regarding the agreement reached between the BSCFA and ASR/BSI. The NTUCB release characterizes the agreement as oppressive and something foisted on cane farmers with the connivance of GOB. This is notwithstanding the fact that the agreement was openly debated and approved by BSCFA Directors, its Negotiating Committee, and Its General Assembly. It is therefore incredibly patronizing and just plain wrong for the NTUCB to think and say that it knows better than the farmers; and to protest sorrow at, and in effect condemn, a decision of the BSCFA taken in the full exercise of their judgment and democratic determination as to what was in their best interest.

San Pedro: Liberty Children's Hom Holiday Pig Roast & Bake Sale Fundraiser
Please join us Sunday, December 21 at Kama Lounge and Coco Loco's Beach Bar, as we celebrate the holiday season with a pig roast and bake sale fundraiser. Proceeds from the event will benefit Liberty Children's Home. Doors open at 11:00am, and there will be live entertainment provided by Valentino. A bake sale will be available all day, and tickets can be purchased for just $1 each, which can be used to exchange for baked goods. Please feel free to bring baked goods; proceeds will benefit the children's home! The pig will be roasted by none other than Cubano, and will be available at noon. Drink specials include $3 Coco Locos, where all proceeds will benefit the children's home. $1 from all other drink purchases will be donated towards the charity, as well. 50/50 raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 each or 3 for $10. The drawing will be at 6PM, and the winner will receive 50% of the pot, while the remaining 50% will benefit the charity. This is a family-friendly event, so feel free to bring the kids! See you Sunday!

Environmental Agreement signed by Belize and Guatemala at SICA meeting

80 Families Countrywide Receive Christmas Hampers from Belize Electricity Limited
Eighty (80) deserving families across the country were today presented with hampers filled with the main ingredients for a traditional Christmas meal, as well as toys for families with small children. These hampers were personally delivered by employees of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) who have sustained this tradition for the 16th consecutive year. The hampers, which are valued at approximately $160.00 each, were made possible through monetary contributions from employees and the Company. BEL continues to be inspired by its Mission “To provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize” by spearheading initiatives such as these, which are aimed at alleviating the effects of poverty in communities throughout Belize.

North American expats in Belize reveal its draws
North American expats living in Belize have revealed the reasons why they chose the picturesque Caribbean nation as their new home. In addition to the pristine beaches and rolling mountains, they say they only need between US$2,000 and US$3,000 a month to give them a comfortable lifestyle. Another reason is that it is closer to home than many of the other countries and islands in the Central American/Caribbean region. Located beneath Mexico’s Tucatan peninsula, Belize has a population of 330,000 and boasts a rich heritage such as Maya temples, colonial mansions, dense jungle and a scenic coastline. One of the main towns for expats, San Pedro, is a bustling colonial town popular among holidaymakers. Another popular settlement among those relocating from North America are Ambergris Caye.

Rare Belize Manatee Sighting Caught on Video at Blackbird Resort
Seeing and filming one of these intriguing creatures is a rare treat and our very own Divemaster Cardinal, who has been with us for over 5 years, has never spotted one. Many thanks to our guest Dave Runnalls who was able to capture this amazing footage last week during a dive trip to the Great Blue Hole! Please enjoy our video and be sure to learn more about the Belizean manatee by visiting Wildtracks, a non-profit organization formed in 1996 dedicated to “Conservation, Education & Research.”

Channel 7

Will He? Won't He? Mayor Bradley Makes It Official
For three weeks now - we've been after Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, asking whether he will or won't run for mayor in the March municipal elections. Well tonight after much stonewalling and less than artful evasion: we have a solid, clear and firm answer. We're sure that after all these weeks - you don't want anymore hemming and hawing…so without any further delay, here it is: the question and the answer: Jules Vasquez "For those people who are going to vote in municipals in March, they should expect to see your name heading the UDP slate." Darrell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City "Let me just say this, yes. Our position is that we have work very at the municipality, at Belize City Council and I am satisfied that one good term deserves another - that we need to move forward with the team that we have. I have always been here. I saw this thing on the news that you are moving things out of your office. Jules, you are in my office. We were working on this very late two days ago into getting these regulations. We were here like 10-11 at night trying to finish that document. Where do you think I work from?

Sugar Crop In Peril, No Final Agreement, NTUCB Urges Farmers Not To Sign
When we left you last night, the signing of the final agreement between BSI and the Cane Farmers had been delayed by confusion over controversial clause the ASR/BSI seemed to have slipped in there. It involves a body called the Sugar Cane Production Committee which the factory wants to replace with a new entity called the Harvest and Delivery Control Unit. The Production committee is a Government entity which oversees which cane is accepted and which isn't. But according to the farmers, BSI's proposed Harvest and Delivery Control Unit would have more influence from the factory owners and not enough oversight from the Government to protect the farmers from being victims and their cane unfairly rejected. So, it was rejected at the negotiation stage. And the farmers say that BSI then slipped it back in. But BSI says it was always there, it was never taken out, and it's just that no one was paying proper attention to it.

GOB Loses Int'l 41.7 Million USD Arbitration To Ashcroft Alliance, Says It Will Appeal
Government today suffered a major setback when it lost a 41.7 million US dollar international arbitration case to the Ashcroft Alliance. The arbitration was heard in Costa Rica between Ashcroft's British Caribbean Bank and the Government of Belize. The case centers over a loan that the then Ashcroft controlled BTL made from the bank in 2007, together with interest and costs. The government owned BTL has maintained that the loan was illegally entered into and the company should pay it back. But, the bank is still out tens of millions of US dollars - so they went to ask an arbitration panel to compel Government to pay. The arbitrators agreed that the debt stands and the bank must be compensated - but only for the face value of the loan, not for any additional amounts, which the Bank was claiming.

Christmas "Pop Shot" Can Be Dangerous
It's Christmas and - like it or loathe it - one of the traditions of the season are those dynamites, pop shots, cherry bombs and sparkles. Many adults find them to be a nuisance, but the combustion and noise are the highlight of the season for kids. Yes, these explosives should not be in the hands of children but they are easy to get off the streets and the kids sure do love them. It's not always fun though; they can cause serious injuries. A young West Street Resident told us how a fun night out with friends and what the streets call "pop-shat" caused her a lot of pain. Courtney Weatherburne reporting What you just heard is a homemade explosive. It's dangerous and destructive. But at Xmas time, it's seen as child's play, it's an explosive similar to that one that exploded in 11 year old Kelize Garcia's left hand on Sunday night. She can barely move her fingers and it hurts when she puts her hand to her side. It's an experience she says she has definitely learned from.

The Dense Web Of Poverty And Power
Tonight, deep in the uncharted hinterlands of the area known as Gungulung in Lake Independence, lots of folks are watching the news on electricity stolen from lamp-posts. It's dangerous and illegal, but for those who have no electricity, and now way to get it legally, it's the only way they can survive. Monica Bodden visited the area and found out how perilous existence in the margins can be:.. Monica Bodden reporting It's often an invisible crime - someone illegally hooks into a power supply, hooks up a line or tampers with a meter to avoid recording electricity usage. Quite a number of city residents are culprits - but the impact of electricity theft -including the danger - is often unrecognized. While power theft carries deadly risks - and in some cases thieves pay for the power they steal with their lives - many are willing to take the chance -in instances where there is no other way out.

CITCO Releases Audit Three Months Before Municipals
At the top of the news you heard Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley say that he will run for another term as mayor. But just three months before the election he did something that you wouldn't quite expect: he released the just completed audit for the fiscal year ending 31st March. That's got all the council's financial affairs rolled up into one document - and things being what they are, you might not expect to find accounts that are rosy or robust. But the mayor says he had no reservation about releasing it even on the verge of an election:.. Darrell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City "We want members of the public to criticize us. We want members of the public to be able to review analytically what's going on at the city council. We want members of the public to say Mayor, are you paying your bills? Are you able to meet the municipal bond obligations?

The Magic Of Christmas: Is It In The Lights?
A major part of the Christmas season is decorating the house with lights. You can find them draped across humble abodes and high powered mansions. IT's a kind of community work - brightening up the place to get everyone into that festive mood. But while some of us will buy a few light sets and string them up outside some folks take it to whole different level! Cameraman Codie Noralez and I visited 4 families in the city last night to find out what drives folks to hyper-illuminate their homes:.. Courtney Weatherburne reporting Reindeers, snowmen, even polar bears, you name it, you can find it right in this yard. This elaborate and grandiose display may seem a bit too much for many but According to Albert Vasquez there is no such thing as too much during his favorite time of year.

Guat President Speaks
On Wednesday, Belize's Prime Minister Dean Barrow handed over the pro-tem presidency of SICA to Guatemalan President, Otto Perez Molina. But, most significant development coming out of that meeting was the historic signing of the 13 bi-lateral agreements between Belize and Guatemala. Those agreements were released today - and as expected, they are voluminous, covering Prisoner Exchange, Operating Hours At land borders; Seasonal Workers; Items of Cultural And Natural Patrimony, Visa Waiver for Students, Deportation, Electric Power Connectivity; Mutual Recognition of Driver's Licenses; Movement of Students via land entry points; Protection Of the Environment and the Sustainable Use of Resources; Degree Equivalence; Sustainable Tourism; and Stolen Vehicles. We're still going through them and we'll have a fuller profile next week - but the signing gave the Belizean media an opportunity to question the Guatemalan President on those burning at the Belize Guatemala border.

Bel Caribe Cares
It's the season of giving and that's exactly what the staff of Bel Caribe Communication did today. It's the 8th year for the company's "Food Hampers to Needy Families" initiative and today the staff visited the homes of 16 needy families around the city to donate Christmas hampers, groceries and toys. They told the media why the company finds it important to give back. In addition to the Christmas basics, each of the 16 families received one thousand dollars' worth of groceries.

Old Fashioned Bram
The Belize Music Agency will be hosting an old-fashioned Belize Christmas show, dinner and bram at Travellers Signature Lounge tomorrow night. It's an evening of live entertainment, fire-hearth cooking and a good show that they hope will evoke memories of Belize's Christmas tradition. Today producer, Glenn Tillett stopped by our studios to tell us more. The show starts at 9 tomorrow night at Travellers Signature Lounge.

Tonight's I AM Belize Profile features the inspirational teacher Carmen Jane Lopez Avila. She is today the manager of the Toledo District Education Center, and the holder of a Masters and a Doctoral Degree in Education. But in her teenage years, she almost became a statistic - a pregnant teen mother who dropped out of school. She tells the profile how with the support of her very strict mother, she rebounded to become a leader and an example in her community:

National Team Footballer Charged
He's a member of Belize's National A Football Team, but tonight, Cristobal Gilharry continues to deal with an allegation of unlawful sexual intercourse. The 34 year old Verdes football player, an office assistant at Mclean Insurance Brokers was remanded into custody on Tuesday on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. But, with the help of his attorney, Dickey Bradley, he was released today on bail. Bradley applied to the Supreme Court for bail, and after hearing the application Madam Justice Antoinette Moore offered him bail of $6,000.

Channel 5

Arbitrators Says G.O.B. Owes BCB US $45 Million
The Government of Belize will have to cough up the huge sum of nearly one hundred million dollars following the long awaited decision of an international Treaty Tribunal. Today, the Treaty [...]

BCB Attorney Says G.O.B. Must Pay Up
The government today issued a lengthy release attempting to explain the significant award to the BCB. While the government is admitting that it has responsibility to pay, the release goes [...]

B.S.C.F.A. Refuses to Sign Cane Purchase Agreement
Tonight, the sugar industry is in a serious state of limbo, and tensions in the north are rising. The B.S.C.F.A. has refused to sign onto the purchasing agreement, the N.T.U.C.B. [...]

N.T.U.C.B. Supports Cane-farmers
As we showed you, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize has put its considerable weight behind the cane-farmers of the north. That will without a doubt enhance the B.S.C.F.A.’s [...]

Farmers to Receive Fairtrade Monies
The N.T.U.C.B. says one of its biggest concerns is the hardship to farmers who, Matura-Shepherd claims have been negotiating under economic duress. She’s said that Prime Minister Dean Barrow should [...]

N.T.U.C.B. Says ASR Can’t Be Trusted
ASR/B.S.I. cannot be trusted! That’s the principal message coming from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize to the sugar cane farmers up north in respect of the ongoing crisis. [...]

G.O.B. Condemns N.T.U.C.B….Scolds ASR/B.S.I.
The government was quick to respond to the N.T.U.C.B. While the G.O.B. reprimands ASR/B.S.I. for acting in bad faith in trying to undermine the Sugar Cane Production Committee, it says [...]

Well-known street figure, Ellis Meighan, who was charged with the attempted murder of Carlos “Zimbab” Abraham, a George Street boss, appeared before Justice Antoinette Moore today. Meighan went to the [...]

Salvadoran Remanded for Double Murder in Paraiso
Sixty-seven year old Jose Antonio Santos, a Salvadoran national living in the village of Paraiso, Corozal was arraigned on Thursday in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court for the double murder of [...]

A Look at the Bi-lateral Agreements
As you know, thirteen agreements have been signed between Belize and Guatemala. The historic signing was done by the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala and has been described as [...]

Agreements Include Prisoner Exchange
Of equal concern is the matter of Belizeans being locked up in Guatemala.  Viewers would recall the case of Joseph Budna, a Belizean who is serving a lengthy sentence in [...]

2 Agreements Didn’t Make it to the Table
For context, Leslie told News Five that the agreements signed fulfilled a mandate that was established through a joint commission between Belize and Guatemala.  Initially, there was a total of [...]

Christmas goodies for Kids at K.H.M.H….
Tis the season to bring joy…Christmas parties are taking place at many places to bring joy to persons who would otherwise not be able to enjoy the celebrations. Earlier today [...]

…And for Adults at the Welcome Resource Centre
Over at the welcome resource center in Belize City, a party for underprivileged adults was in full swing. We found them dancing and having an enjoyable time. Our intern Frank [...]


Sugar Cane Crop 2014/2015 Delayed
What should have been a start to the 2014-2015 Sugar Cane Crop season tomorrow, is now being prolonged a few more days as both entities have been unable to finalize the signing of the Agreement. A reliable source to our newsroom is that the draft agreement sent to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is still being reviewed by the Associations’ lawyer. After thorough revision of that draft, it will be sent back to BSI/ASR for restructuring since a clause that was not agreed upon by the BSCFA was placed or sneaked in the final document. Officials at BSI/ASR have gone on record to state that once the agreement is signed, it only takes 3 days to get the crop started; meaning that the crop season should see a start on Monday that is if both parties can agree and finalize the agreement. We’ll keep our eyes on this developing story.

PUP Says There Was No Consultation On Signing Of Bilateral Agreement With Gautemala
Yesterday we told you about 13 Bilateral Agreements which was signed by Belize's Foreign Minister and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington and his Guatemalan counter-part Carlos Raul Morales signaling a partnership with both nations. And while that move was met with some opposition from the People’s United Party citing that they should have consulted with the Belizean people before signing, today we had a unique opportunity to visit with Ambassador of Belize, Stuart Leslie who weighed in on the facts of the matter. Leslie says that while the agreements have nothing to do with the unsettled dispute between Belize and Guatemala, the “Framework Agreements” signed are historic. “Belize and Guatemala, Belize is the 5th largest trading partners, millions and millions of dollars in trade every single day from the selling of cow to the buying of products we sale them corn, we sale them beans so businesswise we have an agreement is called a partial scope agreement and we are trying to expand that so that we can trade, look geography puts us next to each other it is not like we can pack up and want to leave so if you happen to be a Belizean living in Benque Viejo del Carmen that shares a border like Arenal where the two people intermingle every day, this is real for you, for example the agreement on education that we signed, three separate agreements on education, every day 800 children come across from Guatemala to go to school in Belize, every day they have to go across the border and they cross the border morning, afternoon, evening and night and we have to put something in place to deal with that issue, hundreds of Belizeans are currently studying at the Universities in Guatemala and they need to have their status recognized, we need to get visas for them and so this is what we are trying to do to enhance the contact between the two people.”

Head Of Agriculture Department Undergo Training
The basic grains corn and beans constitute almost 90% of the diet of the population in Belize and almost 95% of the income generated by the sale of these grains is by small producers in the rural communities of Toledo. And in an effort to track and monitor the grains movement, district coordinators within the Ministry of Agriculture attended a much needed training in central farm, Cayo District on Monday. The aim is to teach coordinators how to enter and use data that is collected from a database that has accessible information from not only Belize but 7 other Central American countries. Corozal Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture, Barry Palacio says the data will help with the development and movement of both corn and beans within the country. “We all gathered in Central Farm to receive training on what we call a regional observatory, which in effect is a depository or repository of information like a library in which a lot of work being done on corn and beans in term of research is being posted so that people from across Central American region have free access to information that is there like I mentioned earlier so that whatever we want to find out as it relates to corn and bean then we go to the Web page of that institution and if you could focus on the webpage we could see the website that we could all go to and access information at it relates to these two basic grains.”

American Photographer Targetted By Thieves In San Pedro
And in Ambergris Caye, an American Photographer is crying foul after thieves targeted him and stole all of his equipment from out of his resort room. 50-year-old Benedict Kim, American Photographer of Maya Beach, Placencia Area, Stann Creek District visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that he arrived in San Pedro Town on Monday December 15th and went to stay at a Resort. Two days later on Wednesday at around 11:30 a.m. he left his room and returned at around 12:15 p.m. to get his computer, however, he noticed that it was missing. He made further checks and observed that the following items were missing: a silver colored HP lap top valued at $850.00 USD, a black CANON brand digital camera valued at $2,000.00 USD, a black in colour with black leather case, ACES brand Tablet NEXUS model, valued at $200.00 USD, a white with black case NOKIA cell phone with calling number 629- 9067 valued at $150.00 USD, and (4) $100.00 and some small change in different denominations. Altogether, the total value of the items amounted to $3,400 USD. Again, police have no concrete leads or persons detained.

PM Leaves To Florida
Prime Minister Dean Barrow departed the country enroute to Florida on personal leave, a release from his office stated today. Barrow is scheduled to return on Monday December 22nd. As is customary, during the Prime Minister’s absence, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister.

Student Charged For Possession Of Controlled Drug
Four people including a student from Orange Walk Town have been arrested and charged for possession of a controlled drug. On Wednesday at about 3:15 p.m., police searched the residence of David Reynards located in San Juan Alley, Orange Walk Town where they found a small transparent plastic packet containing green leafy vegetable substance suspected to be cannabis. All occupants were informed of the offence and escorted to the Orange Walk Police Station where the suspected drug was weighed in their presence which amounted to 48 grams. Police then arrested and charged 39-year-old David Reynard Belizean mechanic of Chetumal City, Mexico, 37-year-old Yvette FLOWERS, a 17-year-old student, and 20-year-old Jerry Vasquez all of San Juan Alley, Orange Walk Town for the offense of Possession of Controlled Drugs to wit 48 grams cannabis.

Thieves On The Loose In Corozal Town
The robbery reports are a common place in this festive season as opportunistic thieves keep on wreaking havoc among its targeted victims. In this case, 46-year-old Gareth Murillo reported that on the Tuesday December he left his residence situated at # 22 San Andres Road, Corozal and on his return the same day around 1:00 p.m., he discovered that his home had been burglarized and stolen were an assortment of electronic devices all to a total of $5,300.00. Police have no leads or persons detained so far.

Proposed New Building For Ministry Of Foreign Affiars
On Friday, ground was broken at the newly proposed site where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office building will be built. For a while now, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been borrowing space at different Government headquarters, without having a building assigned solely for Foreign affairs duties. Recently it has been housing at the NEMO Headquarters in Belmopan. The new proposed plan seeks to build a state of the art building, sponsored by the Taiwan Government, in a three plus acre parcel of land located behind the Governor Generals Office and the Ministry of Finance Office.


Guatemalan Nationals Charged With Firearm Offenses
Two men have been arrested and charged with firearm offenses. Punta Gorda Police say they went to Dolores Village where BDF personnel handed over a brown homemade hand gun, a rifle, seven point twenty two live rounds and one point twenty two expanded shell along with Guatemalan national, 28-year-old Jacinto Tzir Cruz and 22-year-old Roni Pop. Both men were charged with kept ammunition without gun licence and kept prohibited firearm.

Minor Charged With Drug Trafficking
A Mexican minor has between charged with drug trafficking. Corozal Police say they were on mobile patrol on Wednesday evening when they saw the minor with a school bag. When they conducted a search in the bag they found two hundred and twenty six grams of cannabis. As a result the minor was arrested and charged.

BELTRAIDE Employee Involved In RTA
A traffic accident occurred on mile 29 of the George Price Highway. The accident involved a female employee of BELTRAIDE. According to reports, the female was driving a white IZUSU D-Max in the direction of Belmopan to Belize City when she attempted to overtake a eighteen wheeler truck. We spoke to the driver of the truck. TRUCK DRIVER “I was coming around 45 mph and at mile 29 and then this vehicle was trying to overtake me and there was another vehicle coming from the opposite direction so this young lady was looking like she got scared and she ran off the road and she started to drift and the Prado that was coming from the front did not know what to do so he was zig zagging. So he managed to run off the road and then the girl after she was drifting she came back on the road caught traction and she ran into the trailer right on the front tire that is basically it. She didn’t have any big injuries only her chest hurts and that is basically it.”

Department of Youth Services Hosted Christmas Party
Christmas Cheers were spread through the Youth Services in southern Belize. We join Harry Arzu for the story. HARRY ARZU “The Department of Youth Services hosted a Christmas party for a number of underprivileged young people last evening at the Red Cross building here in Dangriga. Since this is the season for giving some of the attendees received presents. Martha Longsworth who is the senior youth development officer for this region spoke with Love News.” MARTHA LONGSWORTH “This event was designed to honor underprivileged young people who despite life’s challenges are doing exceptionally well in school or are just being productive citizens. We targeted young people between the ages 15-20 years. We catered for 100 youth and some were awarded with gifts.


Builders’ Hardware Celebrates Christmas With Special Deals
On Saturday December 20th, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, there will be super deals and discounts at Builders’ Hardware on Constitution Drive in Belmopan. Builders’ will be raffling $2000 dollars worth of gift certificates for power tools, weed wackers, fans, and tons of giveaways. There will also be live performances at the store. So we encourage you to shop at Builders’ Hardware on Saturday, for Builders’ Hardware Christmas deals, discounts, and giveaways. The event will be aired live on PlusTV from 10 to 12 pm.

Missing Ladyville youth’s remains found
Police in Ladyville are sure that someone killed 23 year old Marvin Bul, originally from Orange Street in Belize City but living in Ladyville, likely last month. But a post-mortem examination of remains identified to be his conducted on Thursday, could not conclusively find the cause of death. Police found the skull and bones of a human male in some bushes 150 feet from a feeder road to the Old Northern Road near Mile 12 1/2 on the Philip Goldson Highway around 9:00 a.m. Thursday. Officer Commanding Rural Police Formation Inspector Frederick Gordon gave the details. “This morning, sometime before 9 a.m., on today the 18th of December, Police recieved information of human remains some twelve miles on the Philip Goldson Highway, just about a hundred tards or so off the main highway. Police visited the area where we found some remains of what appears to be a human.

14 year old boy shot in Belize City
There was a shooting in Belize City on Thursday December 18th, and the victim is a 14 year old boy. According to police, the 14-year-old male student of Mayflower Street, Belize City, was shot to the left upper leg. Initial investigation revealed that at about 5:30a.m., he along with four others, were walking on Partridge Street, and upon reaching the corner of Partridge Street and Banak Street, they were approached by a red van with two occupants. The driver of the van reportedly fired a single shot causing the injury to the minor. The van then sped off on Partridge Street, heading towards Mahogany Street Extension, and disappeared.

GOB continues to fight Telemedia/Sunshine arbitration
The Government of Belize says it will mount a challenge to a decision issued on Friday by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), which ruled that it owes the British Caribbean Bank Limited (BCB) of Turks and Caicos Islands some US$41.773 million, the sum borrowed by Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) in 2007 under its prior owners to enable a subsidiary to purchase Telemedia’s own shares, which the new ownership led by the Government maintains is illegal. The shares were later distributed to the Ashcroft-related companies. In a press release issued on Friday, the Government said it is willing to pay BCB compensation, but the new ownership of Telemedia objects to the illegal purpose of the original loan although they were overruled in today’s decision. A separate matter pursuing the same set of circumstances is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court of Belize.

Footballer out on bail for carnal knowledge charge
Verdes FC and national football team player, Cristobal Gilharry, has been accused of intercourse with a 15 year old female minor. The 34 year old was remanded earlier this week after arraignment at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court. On Friday, attorney Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley successfully applied for bail at the Supreme Court. Supreme Court Justice Antoinette Moore set bail at $6,000 with conditions. Mr Gilharry, whose day job is as an office assistant at McLean Insurance Brokers, is barred from interfering with the complainant or any other witnesses for the prosecution. He must report to Caribbean Shores Police Station beginning on this and every Friday until the matter is disposed of, and he must be sure to attend his next court date on January 30, 2015 and every one thereafter until the matter is clear.

Burglary from Corozal Town residence under investigation
There are reports of another burglary coming from the Northern District of Corozal. According to police, sometime between the hours of 2:30 pm on Monday December 15th and 1:00 pm on Tuesday December 16th, the residence of Gareth Murrillo,located on San Andres Road Corozal Town, was broken into. Stolen from the house were : one Panasonic Brand Home theatre system valued at $1500 bc; one Son Playstation 3 valued at $900 bcy; one Lenovo brand ideacentre computer valued at $700 bcy; one silver 32 inch Television valued at $500 bcy; one CD radio valued at $150 bcy; one black model DKAIK valued at $500 bcy; one white Proctor Silex toaster valued at $50 dollars; and one white Crock Pot valued at $100 bcy. All to an estimated total value of about $5,300 bcy.

One person detained after burglary from a San Pedro Hotel
An American photographer of Maya Beach, Placencia, Stann Creek was burglarized while staying at a resort in San Pedro. On Wednesday afternoon, 50 year old Benedict Kim of Esotoric Vision, reported to police that on Monday December 15th he arrived in San Pedro Town and stayed at a resort. On Wednesday December 17th at around 11:30 am he left his room and returned 45 minutes after to get his computer but it was missing. Upon making further checks he noticed that the following items were also missing: a silver coloured HP lap top valued at $850 USD, a black Canon brand digital camera valued at $2,000 USD, a black in colour with black leather case, Aces brand Tablet Nexus model, valued at $200 USD, a white with black case Nokia cell phone valued at $150 USD and four 100 dollar bills and some small change in different denominations. His total loss was estimated at a total value of about $3,400 USD.

PUP comments on Clive Myers resignation
On Wednesday the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announced that their Clive Myers Director of Marketing and Industry Relations had resigned effective immediately...

Two plead guilty to robbery attack outside bar
21 year old Iran Jones began a five-year sentence for robbery and wounding on Thursday, pleading guilty before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer in the No. 2 Magistrate’s Court...

Pickwoad case pushed back to February
After a short session before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Thursday morning,  the principals in the case of Bernadette Pickwoad vs Ministry of Natural Resources had little new to tell PLUS News. The trial is concluded but the two sides are still trying to work out a settlement over the plot of...

Bail for accused gang member
It is a charge increasingly thrown at Belize City residents, as police attack the gang structure at its roots, but there was a dispute in Magistrate’s Court on Thursday over exactly what it means to display gang membership. 19 year old Jason Philip Briceno was one of two persons who police said were...

Spared jail time for drug trafficking
His house was searched while was not home, but 33 year old Wallace Rubio, an unemployed man of Hattieville, Belize District, admitted to possession of 10 pounds of cannabis with the intent to distribute, which is drug trafficking. On Thursday, Wallace Rubio pleaded guilty before Senior Magistrate Sh...

Drugs found in Orange Walk Town residence
Three persons and a minor are behind bars after police discovered drugs inside a residence in San Juan Alley, Orange Walk Town. According to police, on Wednesday December 17th, police personnel from Orange Walk searched the residence of David Reynard in the said location, where they found a small tr...


Jose Santos, 67, charged for Paraiso double murder
A Salvadoran national who stands accused of the horrific double murder of his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend was arraigned and remanded to the Belize Central Prison today. At around 11:00 a.m., Corozal police marched Jose Antonio Santos, 67, to the courtroom of Magistrate Hurl Hamilton at the Corozal Magistrate’s Court, where he was arraigned for two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Heidi Teresita Chable, 22, and Fernando Rivas, 49, a Salvadoran cane cutter, who were both chopped to death in at a farmhouse in Paraiso, Corozal District, in what is believed to be a cruel crime of passion. In court today, no plea was taken, since the matter is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court. Santos was remanded to prison until March 24, 2015 when he is due to reappear in court.

Skeletal remains found in Ladyville
Six days before Christmas, a mother’s worst nightmare was confirmed — the skeletal remains of her son were found in the Mile 12 area of Ladyville and she was taken there to officially identify him. A Social Security card found in the pocket of the clothes the man was wearing identified him as Marvin Rafael Bol, 23, of Aracari Street, Ladyville. Police went to pick up Bol’s mother at her workplace at the Philip Goldson International Airport and took her to the area in Ladyville, where she identified the clothes her son was wearing and positively identified the deceased person as her son, Marvin Rafael Bol. The bones were then placed in a bag and take to the National Forensic Unit for an autopsy to be performed on the remains to possibly certify the cause of Bol’s death.

Belize and Guatemala sign 13 agreements
Thirteen new bilateral accords between Belize and Guatemala were inked on the Placencia Peninsula on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 – accords which have stirred controversy amid assertions from the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) that the Barrow administration proceeded with finalizing those undisclosed agreements before consulting with the Belizean people, as had been promised. As we go to press, the texts of those agreements have not been made public by the Government, and the Opposition is calling for consultations to at least ensure that two more pending agreements which Belize plans to sign with Guatemala are disclosed before signing.

Did wrong diagnosis cause death of 19-year-old?
A 19-year-old 4th form student of Gwen Lizarraga High School, Flory Palacio, died in September, allegedly after her medical condition was misdiagnosed as tuberculosis. Juanita Paulino, Flory’s mother, said that after Flory died, they received a death certificate which indicated that she had actually died from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – which is a rare type of cancer which originates from the white blood cells, or lymphocytes. We met Paulino and a very dear friend and supporter of hers, Nzinga Barkley-Waite, protesting in front of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) for a second day today, because the hospital has still not met the family’s demand for her medical records. The family told us that when the hospital produced the girl’s medical file, all her records since July 2014 were missing from the file.

An “oily” story that has no answers, yet!
Inquiring minds have been questioning why there has been no official statement on the visit of a delegation of officials from a Mexican fuel powerhouse–Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), a state-owned company—to Belize over the weekend, amid reports that the executives came to Belize to assist with the search for crude oil in northern Belize. A report carried by Por Esto (Quintana Roo) on Monday, December 15, 2014, said that 6 private Pemex helicopters had landed at the Chetumal International Airport with 25 persons, including company engineers, most of whom made their way by road to Belize, since they had no permit to enter Belize’s airspace. However, there have been claims by Belizeans that the Pemex choppers had been spotted at the Philip Goldson International Airport.

Burglary on the rise during Christmas season
Over $90,000 in cash and properties have been stolen by thieves from property owners since the beginning of the police response to the anticipated crimes of the Christmas season. The expected crimes are burglaries robberies and theft, with burglaries being the most frequent. Despite the efforts of police, burglary, theft and robberies have increased. Thieves have gotten away with over $90,000 in 10 reported burglaries. The most recent burglary occurred at about 3:50 yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, in Maya Beach on the Placencia Peninsula in the Stann Creek District:

4 thieves escape after police high-speed chase
A Mazda 4-door car has been impounded by Orange Walk police after it was abandoned by four robbers during a high-speed chase by police. They got out of the car, ran into the surrounding area and escaped. Police contend that the car was the getaway vehicle that had been used by the thieves after they robbed a store on San Lorenzo Road in Orange Walk Town and got away with an undisclosed amount of money from the store’s cash drawer. After police were alerted of the robbery about 1:00 this afternoon, they responded quickly and intercepted the vehicle, and the chase began. The chase came to an end on Oak Street in the Louisiana area of Orange Walk Town when the thieves exited the car and escaped, and police have since launched a manhunt to capture the robbers.

Epileptic charged with attempted murder for Mahogany Heights shooting
A Mahogany Heights man who suffers from epilepsy was remanded to the Belize Central Prison when he was arraigned on charges of attempted murder, dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm upon Joel Winston Seawell, another Mahogany Heights man who sustained gunshot wounds on Thursday, December 11. The police charge against Erwin Ramsey, however, did not sit well with Magistrate Herbert Panton, who said in open court, “This is totally unjust. What is here is not enough to deprive this man of his freedom.” Panton added: “Police recovered one blue hoodie. This is ridiculous. I don’t feel proper to be compliant in something like this. If the police want to do their ‘hanky-panky’, don’t involve magistrates in that.”

Boy, 4, killed while running across the highway after getting off bus
Kiwan Awardo, 4, of Sittee River, was killed on the Southern Highway at about 4:45 Saturday evening as he was crossing the road. He was knocked down by a cargo truck that was travelling from Independence to Dangriga. Awardo was taken to the Southern Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The driver of the truck, Ronald Heron, 22, of Independence, was detained, after which he was issued with a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP). Police said that on their arrival at the junction of the Southern Highway and Sittee River Road, at about 5:30 Saturday, they saw the lifeless body of the boy lying on the road, with a large wound to the right side of the head.

Man busted with .38 Special revolver on Sibun Street
Jose David Funez, 33, of a Sibun Street address, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February 12, 2015, on charges of keeping an unlicensed firearm and keeping ammunition without a gun license. Police reported that that at about 9:00 Wednesday night, they were on mobile patrol on Sibun Street when they saw a man throw a shiny object in the bushes when he saw them coming. They immediately stopped, detained the man and recovered the object, which was a .38 Special revolver, loaded with 4 live rounds. When the gun was recovered and shown to Funez, he objected strongly, saying that the gun was not his, and that he did not know anything about it.

SMART Test Race results
On Sunday, December 14, the Cycling Federation of Belize, in collaboration with SMART, held an Open Elite Test race from the Smart building near Mile 2 on the Philip Goldson (Northern) Highway to Carmelita Village and back to Smart. Most of the big name cyclists and teams participated, as they prepare for the start of the new season. Below are the top 10 finishers and station prize winners. Station prizes going were won by Mark Staine at Ladyville ($50.00 gift card); Mark Staine at Sandhill (1 Dongle); Delawn Abraham at Crooked Tree junction ($50.00 gift card); and Philip Leslie at Green House at the beginning of Carmelita (1 cell phone). And coming back, station prizes were taken by Philip Leslie at Crooked Tree junction (1 Dongle); Gregory Lovell at Biscayne ($50.00 gift card); Giovanni Lovell at Boom Junction ($50.00 gift card); and Giovanni Lovell at the Jane Usher residence (1 cell phone).

Wally Usher returns from New York’s Ted Corbitt 15K
He has been a marathon champion from his Wesley College high school days back in the early seventies, and Ezekiel “Wally” Usher remains the most active veteran Belizean distance runner on the international scene, making regular trips to some of the prestigious marathons and half-marathons on the American circuit. In his most recent endeavor, Wally left Belize last Wednesday, December 10, and returned on Monday, December 15, after participating in the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Ted Corbitt 15K (9.3 miles), which started at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 13, in Manhattan, New York, under a blistering cold 36 degrees temperature. This particular race is named after Ted Corbitt, who died in 2007 at age 88, and, according to the NYRR web site, is “the first African American to run the Olympic marathon (Helsinki, 1952)” and “won countless awards during his lifetime. He was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame earlier this month.”

Top goals scorers will see action in PLB playoffs, starting this weekend
As the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Top 4 playoffs get under way this weekend, football fans in Belmopan will be lucky to see half the games, since two of the playoff teams, Police United and Belmopan Bandits, use the Isidoro Beaton Stadium as their home field. Fans will also be on the lookout for the goal scoring stars who will see action with their playoff teams. Of course, they will have to wait till next season to see those from teams that failed to make the playoffs. In the table below, we have listed the names of the top goal scorers in regular season, their team, and the number of games in which they scored. We think the number of goal scoring games is an important statistic, because it shows the level of consistency of a striker. Sometimes it takes 1 goal to win a game, and it is noteworthy when a player can register his name in the scoring column on a regular basis.

History in Washington; history in Placencia
History was made in Washington, D.C., late Wednesday morning, to be followed within hours early the Wednesday afternoon by history being made in Placencia, a seacoast fishing village turned modern resort in South Stann Creek. In Washington Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama announced executive measures to change the relationship between the United States and Cuba, which freed and exchanged some high-profile prisoners as a gesture of goodwill towards each other. The United States will open an embassy in Havana after 53 years of diplomatic disengagement. In Placencia Wednesday afternoon, Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina signed a 13-point agreement with Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow for cooperation in important areas such as security, mineral exploration, tourism, trade, business, and the environment. With Jose Insulza, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) in prominent presence, it did appear that what took place in Placencia at the executive level was, ultimately, a rebirth of the practically forgotten International Court of Justice (ICJ) initiative.

Citrus industry sees brighter days
While the local cañeros and the sugar millers, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR), are presently trying to stabilize the northern-based sugar industry, the stakeholders within the southern citrus sector, which had its own share of difficulties amongst its shareholders up until February of this year when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was penned between the principals, have been able to further progress in moving that particular industry forward when they decided to formally bury the proverbial hatchet earlier this month. The Belize Citrus Growers Association Investment Company Limited (BCGAICL), which is owned by the well-established Citrus Growers Association (CGA) – a company that represents 90% of the citrus farmers – and which had been the majority shareholder in Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL), the company which buys citrus products from the farms, was embroiled in a protracted legal battle with Banks Holdings Limited (BHL), a Barbados-based multinational beverage giant and minority shareholder, over past due audit reports, among other things, but according to what we understand, all that is history now because BHL, which owns 46% of CPBL, has reached an out-of-court settlement with BCGAICL.

PUP, UDP say they are confident of Cayo North by-election seat
The ruling United Democratic Party and the Opposition People’s United Party led throngs of jubilant political supporters today to the Administration Building in San Ignacio to nominate their candidates for the Cayo North by-election, which was forced by the sudden resignation of the PUP’s Joseph Mahmud and is set to take place in exactly three weeks, on Monday, January 5, paving the way for the 2015 municipal elections. Both parties are hoping for good political tides which they hope would give a foretaste of positive outcomes in the municipals. “This is the first domino that will fall and we will deliver this seat of January 5th,” said the PUP’s man, Richard Harrison, who was nominated this morning. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca said the PUP will be ready on January 5.

Dr. Errol Elrington’s license suspended by Michigan authorities
he allegation that Dr. Errol G. Elrington—US “fugitive at large” who is the brother of Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington and former minister of government, Hubert Elrington—hired an unlicensed African doctor to operate out of his clinic, Elrington Medical Center, in Redford, Michigan, has triggered the suspension of Elrington’s medical license by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), according to an announcement made via press release today. LARA said that on December 5, 2014, LARA executed an order summarily suspending Elrington’s license pursuant to the Public Health Code, which provides for the summary suspension of a health professional’s license when it is found that the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.

Supreme Court grants Gary Seawell leave to appeal extradition order
Gary Seawell, a Belizean who has been indicted by the U.S. and for whom an extradition order was granted by Belize’s Chief Magistrate and was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court, was granted a stay of execution and leave to appeal his extradition order. Supreme Court Justice, Michelle Arana, who had ruled against Seawell’s appeal of the Chief Magistrate’s decision to extradite him to the United States to stand trial on narcotics and money laundering charges, granted him leave to take his case to the Court of Appeal. Seawell’s attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, successfully steered the application for leave to appeal the extradition order yesterday, Wednesday, when the parties appeared before Justice Arana. Sylvestre told Amandala today, Thursday, that in order for the application for leave to appeal, to succeed, the court had to be satisfied that perhaps an error of law was made.

Cañeros to BSCFA: “Roll the Fairtrade money!”
Although there might have been a breakthrough resolution in an effort to get the sugar industry back on its feet during a crucial meeting between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and a fraction of its general membership last Sunday, December 14, there is still some cause for concern for members of the association because a majority of the farmers approved a motion to extract $2.5 million worth of Fairtrade funds to share equally amongst themselves. After the meeting, the BSCFA executives expressed dire misgivings about the move, not only because the regulations of the Fairtrade program do not permit that kind of wanton spending, but more importantly, because the association only recently received the news that they are being reinstated by Fairtrade after a six-month suspension.

The Reporter

GOB must pay over $40 million for old BTL loan
The government of Belize, according to a decision by arbitrators in the case between GOB and British Caribbean Bank (BCB), must pay US$41,773,096.04 for a loan Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) took out in 2007. The decision was made by a three member panel of international arbitrators on Friday. GOB, meanwhile, has since sought legal advice and has decided to mount a challenge to the decision. According to GOB, when they acquired the shares in BTL owned by various Lord Ashcroft-related companies in 2009, BCB demanded payment of the loan and threatened to wind up Telemedia. In reaction, GOB acquired the loan from BCB, which meant that GOB now owned the loan, preventing BCB from undermining the acquisition and winding up Telemedia. In turn, it meant that GOB now became liable to pay BCB, and that Telemedia now became liable to pay GOB.

Go Wireless – pioneers in local technological gadgets!
It has been around since 2002, initially in the business of wholesaling imports and distribution of Samsung, LG, Motorolla and Nokia phones, with accompanying growing pains, but Go Wireless Direct has redirected its efforts to produce its own gadgets and dares anyone shopping for cellular […]

Did salacious letters about forbidden sex lead to dismissal of six BWS workers? Supreme Court will decide
Supreme Court Justice, Michelle Arana is to decide on the claim of Mark Menzies, Don Gillett, Michael Novelo, Journett McKoy, Charlette Barnett and Colin Morrison sometime next year after receiving written submissions from their attorneys, Senior Counsel, Said Musa for Menzies and Tricia Pitts-Anderson for […]

BEL wants to cut power rates from 43.47 to 42 cents a KwH
Belize Electricity Limited has announced that it wants to cut electricity rates to consumers in Belize by about 1 1/2 cents a kilowatt hour. But first the company needs the approval of the regulatory body, the Public Utiities Commission. . Derek Davis, director of the […]

Village effort provides new house for fire victims
A family of five will spend this Christmas in a spanking new home that has come courtesy the Hattieville Resource Centre (HRC) after a fire destroyed their dwelling place in July. Eloise Hyde, a Justice of the Peace of Hattieville Village, received the key […]

5 cents a pound dip in butane prices
There is another dip in the price of butane gas in Belize and the Bureau of Standards says it is caused by the high volume of production recently. As of Saturday, prices fell by roughly 5 cents per pound. If you buy butane from […]

“No thank you”, Espat says to GOB We’ll do this on our own!
PUP Cayo South area representative Julius Espat revealed Monday that he has declined the UDP government’s offer of $35,000 for Christmas cheer from the Petro Caribe funds for his constituency of Cayo South. Espat, who is leading the charge for more transparency in the […]

Pleased with Belize: Foreign Minister David Lin
The Hon. David L.Lin, Foreign Minister of the Republic of China on Taiwan, in Belize this week to attend a regional meeting of SICA, said he was very much satisfied with the support Taiwan was receiving from Belize in international forums. He expressed the view that this friendship between Belize […]

Canefarmers want Fair Trade funds for Christmas while wiser counsels are shot down!
Cane farmers of the Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association have passed a resolution instructing that the association withdraw $2.5 million from its FairTrade fund for distribution to canefarmers for Christmas spending. The motion, which received widespread support from the canefarmers present at Sunday’s meeting, stipulates that […]

Opposition says GOB should have consulted the public before making any agreement with Guatemala
The opposition People’s United Party, criticized the government this week for entering into as many as 13 agreements with the Government of Guatemala without consulting the Belizean public. Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca, said that the agreements, signed at the 44th summit of the heads of […]

Jealous rage leads to brutal double homicide in Paraiso!
Corozal police today arrested and charged Salvadoran, Jose Santos, 67, for the vicious murders of Heidi Teresita Chable, 21, and Fernando Rivas, 49, which occurred early Sunday morning in Paraiso Village, Corozal. Neighbours discovered the bodies of Chable and Rivas, who lived together in a small cement house, around 6:00 […]

Human remains found near mile 11 on Philip Goldson Highway
Police say that the remains of a man found on Thursday morning are those of 23 year-old Marvin Rafael Bol, a resident of Ladyville who was the prime suspect of a series of burglaries that had been occurring in the community. The remains were discovered around 9:00 a.m., scattered in […]

Two remarkably good things happened in Belize this week. Thanks to the timely intervention of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the canefarmers of Orange Walk and Corozal decided to end their standoff with the sugar factory by accepting a payment of 51 cents a ton for their bagasse by-product and ending […]

Hachet buried? SICA produces monumental pledge: “Guatemala will never be a threat to Belize!”
SICA’S meeting in Placencia, where Belize formally handed over the presidency to Guatemala, produced a monumental moment in history when the Prime Minister of Belize and the President of Guatemala embraced like old friends. Although it was the first time that the two men met formally as heads of government […]

Police warn public to be vigilant during the holidays
The Belize Police Department has cautioned citizens to be vigilant and remain aware of their surroundings while getting around the City during the holiday season, as thieves are opportunistic during this time of the year. Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, deputy OC Easter Division said […]

COLA demonstrates to push for Stake Bank
Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), along with the Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize (FECTAB), held a demonstration on Fort Street Wednesday morning to protest the Tourism Village’s exclusive contract and to push for the Stake Bank project to be completed. COLA […]

Last minute hiccup delays BSCFA signing But general agreement is on track
Despite the much heralded agreement between the Belize Cane Farmers Association and Belize Sugar Industries, the apparent breakthrough is not a done deal and will not become a done deal until the agreement has been signed and a firm date set for start-up. In a […]

The Belize Times

CHANGE BEGINS NOW!! – Yolanda Schakron & PUP Belize CitCo Team Launched
Before a packed hall of supporters, the People’s United Party launched its winning Belize City Council team on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014. The team made up of young, dynamic and experienced community activists and professionals, is led by businesswoman/outspoken activist Yolanda Schakron. Schakron’s slate includes Micah Goodin, a firebrand youth leader who is pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice; Lennox Young, a businessman for over ten years; educator Sharette Yearwood; entrepreneur Michael Novelo; community activist Delroy Herrera; businessman and IT professional David Gonzalez; businesswoman and educator-in-training Delthrude Hylton; sports leader and community organiser Sanja Pitts; young businessman Jermyn Galvez and professional Natasha Pipersburgh. The news that the PUP slate would be launched this week was received early by the Darrell Bradley-led City Council. The Mayor, we are told, began to pack up his belongings in preparation for the hard boot that the residents of Belize City will be giving him and his failed Councillors on March 4th 2015.

A Man with No Plan! – Omar Figueroa says “a Plan” for Cayo North makes “No Sense”
UDP candidate Omar Figueroa has shown little regard or respect for the people of Cayo North. So low is his view of the constituents that he apparently believes that he can campaign simply on the coat tails of his Party and not on addressing the real issues. Figueroa has implicitly rejected the idea of a debate of the issues in Cayo North. The PUP’s impressive candidate Richard Harrison, who by comparison outmatches and out-performs the UDP’s pawn, challenged Figueroa to a debate two weeks ago. Figueroa has pretended not to have heard this challenge, but individuals in his campaign team have reported that he has no interest in a debate because he doesn’t want to be put to shame.

Where Petro-Caribe is NOT Rolling!!
The Barrow Administration was hugely embarrassed by PUP supporters on Monday, December 15, 2014 when it was revealed that while the Government is rolling in “millions and millions” as boasted many times by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, San Ignacio lacks simple and basic needs like a Belizean flag for its Police Station or functioning ambulance for emergency response for its residents. The San Ignacio Police Station has been lacking, of all things, a Belizean flag. For over two months, the Police precinct has been requesting from the Government a flag to fly outside the building. There has been no response, even though the Government has been spending millions on political gimmicks.

Karen’s Circus at BTB
“Tourism is a business” – these were the words that Director Karen Bevans said in her speech at BTIA’s recent Annual General Meeting. Well what it has turned out to be under the UDP is a real circus. We just don’t know who is the circus clown as it seems to change on a weekly basis. The UDP unceremoniously kicked out the former PM’s daughter, Laura Esquivel, who, at least, had a tourism background, and replaced her with their very loyal BTL stalwart, Karen Bevans who is totally green to tourism but very much in tuned with travelling, cocktails and the glitz and glamour of the job. Just like her mentor Dean Barrow, Ms. Bevans is all glitter, but no substance. This, of course, after the BTB paid handsomely for a full page self-promoting piece of the Prime Minister’s wife (a dear friend of the Director of Tourism) which had less to do with Belize as the tourism destination but more with Mrs. Barrow as a wanna-be fashion model. In the 6 years of government, the UDP has not improved tourism – not for the hoteliers, not for tour operators, not for the guides, the artisans nor the tourism destinations.

Think About It
GIVING AWAY MONEY For the past two weeks, the National Bank in Belmopan has seen a huge increase in the number of persons lining up to collect money. The so-called National Bank is a UDP political gimmick. There is nothing nationalistic about it. Everyone who gets money from the so-called National Bank knows that they don’t have to repay those monies and there is nothing nationalistic about it. CANE FARMERS DEFEATED The cane farmers of Orange Walk are facing defeat. Their noble stand for fairness and justice has been crushed by A.S.R./B.S.I. The cane delivery and factory grinding season was to start on 8th December. It didn’t happen because ASR used the desperation of the cañeros to grind them to the ground. To teach them a lesson and to hurt and humiliate them in the process. These strong men and women of Orange Walk had resisted the blandishments of the ASR which had sought to go around the Cane Farmers Association and sign up individual cañeros to deliver cane and to undermine the Association. Unity and moral courage kept the cañeros together.

Playing “Chicken” in the Sugar Industry
The game of chicken is played with two different sides in an activity that will result in serious harm unless one or the other backs down. The original version of this game was played with motor vehicles whereby both participants drive a vehicle of some sort in a straight line towards each other. The first to swerve loses the game and is considered a “chicken,” or a coward. While that version of the game was played primarily amongst adolescents or aggressive young men, there have been instances where this same game has been played at very high levels by very big people with major consequences at stake. It was welcome a relief to hear earlier this week that some sort of compromise had been reached and that the cane trucks of our northern districts would once again be rolling. Had the cane farmers not decided to be “chicken” and give in to the demands of those bullies from ASR, it would have devastated that industry. Politically speaking, that would have, without a doubt, accelerated the demise of this current UDP administration. As it is, many farmers are proceeding reluctantly and when the pain of the “bukut” finally sinks in, there will be hell to pay. Right now the farmers are only concerned about getting their cane harvested before they lose their investment. After all, the real investors in this industry are the farmers who spend the entire season expending resources for fertilizers, pesticides and caring for their crops. Cane farming is hard work and requires long hours of tedious labor.

The UDP is insulting the people of San Ignacio, Santa Elena and El Cayo. This insult is open, up in their faces, typical arrogance of the leader of that party. The insult is straightforward: we have millions of dollars and we will bribing every voter who is desperate for money. These days desperation is everywhere and growing. For the month of December, the desperation has doubled and tripled. In addition to the usual stress and pressures of fighting the cost of living, there is the pressures of Christmas and the re-opening of school in early January. The Prime Minister has set the bye-election for Cayo North for 5th January 2015. This early date allows him to use the Christmas give-aways as part of his election bribery tactics. This way he does not have to give voters anything as he will be forced to do if the bye-elections were held in February. So while he is pretending to be generous he is as means and heartless as ever. The idea that Mr. Barrow can reappear in Cayo and ignore what his protégé Penner had done and what Castro, King and a string of his inner circle colleagues are accused of smacks of disdain for the people of Cayo.

Yasmin Shoman – Delivering for the People of Collet
PUP Standard Bearer for the Collet Division Yasmin Shoman is delivering hardwork and real care to the people of the constituency. Shoman has demonstrated much needed leadership in the area where residents have been suffered neglect for too long under the UDP elected representative who has abandoned the people. On Sunday December 14, 2014, the young people participated in the All About Sports Basketball Bash held at the ABS Collet Community Park on Iguana St. Finals included ABS and Penn Road with Penn Road emerging as the champions with a score of 39-32. The basketball competition was sponsored by Collet Standard Bearer, Yasmin Shoman, and Planned by “Hard Rock”.

UDP/Barrow signs secret documents with Guatemala PUP demands responsible governance
The People’s United Party (PUP) advises Belizeans that on behalf of the Nation, the Government of Prime Minister Dean Barrow has signed 13 Bilateral Agreements with Guatemala, today in Placentia in the presence of the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza. The Agreements are on Prisoner Exchange and the Serving of Penal Sentence, Operating Hours At Legal Terrestrial Entry Points; Program on Seasonal Workers; Protection, the Recovery And Return of Items of Cultural And Natural Patrimony, Visa Waiver for Students, Deportation, Electric Power Trade, Transmission Interconnection And Grid Connectivity; Mutual Recognition of Driver’s Licenses; Movement of Students via land entry points; Protection Of the Environment and the Sustainable Use of Resources; Degree Equivalence and Recognition of Education documents; Sustainable Tourism; and Stolen Vehicles. The Representative of the Leader of the Opposition, participated in the bilateral discussion and negotiation of these Agreements in early November of 2014, on the clear basis that any Agreement signed by Belize with Guatemala, first needed to be consulted with the people of Belize, prior to any such Agreement being signed.

Christmas Message 2014 by Hon. Francis W. Fonseca
My fellow Belizeans, Christmas offers us the opportunity to come together as friends, neighbors, families, and communities. The spirit and energy of Christmas invites us to re-kindle our hope and faith in humanity and in each other. This Christmas let us extend our hands and hearts to those in need, the poor, the sick, those with special needs, those who have lost a loved one, those out of work, those who have lost hope and faith. Christmas is a time for Love! As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we shout and proclaim the words of 1ST CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 13: “LOVE IS PATIENT, LOVE IS KIND. IT DOES NOT ENVY. IT DOES NOT BOAST. IT IS NOT PROUD. IT IS NOT RUDE. IT IS NOT SELF-SEEKING. IT IS NOT EASILY ANGERED. IT KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. IT ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUSTS, ALWAYS HOPES, ALWAYS PERSEVERES. LOVE NEVER FAILS!!”

Christmas message by Bishop Christopher Glancy, CSV
Dear Friends in Christ, We have come once again to the joyful season of Christmas. It is a time for families to gather and for the Church to celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Son of God became human in humble circumstances to bring the Good News of God’s love for all humanity. Jesus was not born in a palace or any other sort of elegant home. He came into the world in the humblest of places, in a manger, a home for animals, because there was no room at the inn. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family were pilgrims, away from home. According to Matthew’s Gospel, they could not even stay in their own country of Israel, as King Herod wanted to kill the child, so they fled into Egypt. They spent a number of years there until they heard of Herod’s death, and returned to Israel. The Holy Family’s journey to Bethlehem then to Egypt, seeking safety, unites them with refugees around the world who have to flee their homes to seek safety or employment.

2014 Christmas Message By Bishop Philip Wright M.A., OBE
This chosen passage of scripture might not readily sound like one that belongs to the Season of Christmas given the almost romantic attachment we have to the scene of the manger, the shepherds in the field, the choral angels, and the star in the East, thanks to popular Christmas card covers. However, in actual fact, this passage contains the very essence of the Christmas Message; the Good News – the Gospel. In much of the Christian world, what is commemorated every December 25th is a decisive moment in earth’s history when God entered that history like never before; to usher in, like never before, His act of redemption. The birth of the Christ Child, the Incarnation of the God-man, was to ultimately lead to that awesome scene on Calvary’s Hill when it appeared that heaven and earth had violently met, and the forces of evil staged their greatest attempt to undermine the purposes of God.

Patrick JonesPJ

BelCaribe Communications shares Christmas spirit
Media content provider Bel-Caribe Communications today found another way to make Belize City residents lives sunny, just in time for Christmas. Staff members were in action all over Belize City’s Southside, handing out thousands of dollars in groceries and toys, even ham and turkey, to neediest families pre-selected […]

Traffic accident injures BELTRAIDE worker
A traffic accident near Mile 29 on the George Price Highway this morning around 9:30, not far from the RF&G Insurance sign marking the site of another infamous accident, narrowly avoided fatalities. We were informed at the scene that an Isuzu D-Max traveling east toward Belize City, property […]

Mental Health Resource Center hosts Christmas party
Christmas is for everyone, even those suffering from mental disabilities. That is the message of the Mental Health Resource Center in Belize City, which hosted 59 clients to a Christmas celebration today. We spoke with the Center’s Administrator, Joyce Ellis who says the Center held the activity to […]

Footballer out on bail for carnal knowledge charge
Verdes FC and national football team player Cristobal Gilharry has been accused of sexual intercourse with a 15 year old girl. The 34 year old was remanded to the Belize Central Prison earlier this week after arraignment at the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court. Today, attorney Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley successfully […]

Arbitration Tribunal decides in favor of British Caribbean Bank, Ltd
The government of Belize has vowed to put up a challenged to a decision handed down today by a panel of international arbitrators in the ongoing dispute between the Barrow administration and the British Caribbean Bank Limited. The tribunal’s declaration is that government must BCB the sum of US$41,773,096.04. […]

Professional Gardeners graduate
The last group of professional gardeners to train under the European Union funded Professional Gardeners’ Training Program graduated this morning in Cayo. With family, friends and invited guests in attendance at the Belize Botanic Gardens, sixteen young men and women received their certification as professional gardeners after […]


Visiting a Dream House on An Absolutely Dreamy Day On Ambergris Caye
A few minutes later I was at Wataview. A sprawling 5 bedroom home on the most beautiful stretch of beach. And here’s the Wataview – or Water View. But I do like that the creole sounds more like What A View! It just comes out of your mouth when you are standing on the gorgeous back pool deck. The huge amazing kitchen…and this house comes with a chef, kitchen assistant, housekeepers…you don’t need to do a thing! Well…other than pay your bill.

Belize Recipes: Carne asada al Chimichurri
Belizean cuisine is influenced by so many ethnicities and their respective foods that it is one of the more misunderstood and underappreciated cuisines. With influences including Maya and Mestizo, Creole (Kriol), Garifuna, Mexican, and more, Belizean cuisine is varied and pays homage to a variety of historical favorites. Unlike some places, many Belizean specialties can be found throughout the entire country. As a unique departure from some other popular destinations, many recommended “tourist restaurants” are frequented by locals, often times proving to be some of the best spots to sample Belizean cuisine. Our Head Chef, Mario Mendez, shares with us a scrumptious CARNE ASADA AL CHIMICHURRI Recipe, which is a mix Maya, Mestizo & Mexican flavors. We trust you will enjoy this as much as we do!

“Cruel to Be Kind” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Now where was I? Oh yes, telling you how cold (cold is relative you know) it has been recently. Well the weather has shown a general improvement and there’s been no rain to speak of. The temperature though – and,more saliently, it’s affect on me – has been subject to the occasional chill. Some early mornings out on the veranda (c’mon you know which one by now) even with my mug of black, unsweetened, instant coffee I’ve been cold. Not freezing, but not comfortable. Wearing of the windcheater (windbreaker for you Wes) has been a more than necessary, and very welcome, addition to my normal attire of T shirt and shorts. This feeling a drop in temperature might be the result of me finally becoming acclimatised. Or -perish the thought- another sign of the effects of advancing age. They (whoever they are?) do say, don’t they, that as you get older you feel the cold more. Me? I’m firmly of the opinion that it’s the mercury falling in the thermometer. Well I would, wouldn’t I!

The archaeology works that have been ongoing from the middle of the 19th century in mesoamerica has offered the world a kaleidoscope of beautiful rituals, wars, agriculture, art and peoples lives in prehistory. The ancient Maya for example, like many other ancient cultures from around the world were not creating their culture in isolation in America. The Nahuatl speaking people of Teotihuacan organised their culture in the Mexican valley and they grew from a group of cultures such as the Tarrasacans and even the Oaxacans of Monte Alban (who archaeologists believed were even earlier than the Teotihuacans to building a city state. It is a beautiful story of humans creating spaces on our planet that suited their world views. For the Mexicans Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent was a deity in their pantheon who reigned supreme, and for the ancient Maya, Hunab Ku was corporeal. The sun remained a constant god as was the rain, lightning and the moon. They organised agricultural cycles based on the elements who were offered to them by the gods and the rulers used their science to embolden their religion and certainly to empower their political management of a people.

Basking in Retirement on Belize’s Southern Coast
Eighteen years ago Penny Sue Leonard visited Belize for the first time, on an assignment to teach nursing practices at hospitals. She was so impressed that a year later she left Orlando, Florida, and permanently moved to Punta Gorda in the south of Belize. “Something drew me in. The fact that it is so far off the beaten path. I fell for this part of Belize. I already loved the whole country, but Punta Gorda just pulled at me.” While she was initially attracted by Belize’s beauty and the warm waters of the Caribbean, another big draw for Penny was that English is the primary language. And the lifestyle in Punta Gorda is affordable. “It is so much less expensive to live here than in the U.S.,” she says.

International Sourcesizz

Why Your Next Vacation or Retirement Haven Will Be in Belize
The Daily Beast has compiled a list of the world’s top places to visit in 2015 and Belize comes highly recommended. With a little bit of everything rolled into a country the size of Massachusetts, Belize is Central America’s darling destination. While the beaches and atolls are an undeniable draw of holidaymakers, it’s the interior that’s next year’s main attraction. Dramatic Mayan ruins dot the western rainforest between rambling coffee plantations that are stepping up their distribution and giving Costa Rica’s beans a run for their money.

Deep Ancestry: A source of inspiration by Michael Harris
In 2010, I was selected to work on a field course in conservation genetics in Belize. Not quite human population genetics, but I wasn’t going to turn down this opportunity! And while I was up to my chest in a rainforest pond at two in the morning gathering data, I just had to think to myself with a smile, “Well, this is what you wanted…” To me this is the embodiment of science; it’s about discovery and adventure, and that constant desire for knowledge and understanding, something that I think Deep Ancestry captures beautifully. Wells enthusiastically recounts stories of accomplishments in the Genographic Project and conveys the true spirit of scientific research. This is something that I continue to strive for, whether I’m in the field studying 100-year-old mahogany trees or at the microscope watching fluorescent proteins being tracked through the cytoplasm of a cell. I can’t help but feel a constant sense of awe and wonder at the natural world in everything that I do.

Alptekin Baloglu has been photographing the mysterious depths of the ocean since 1994. For 20 years, the expert diver/photographer has been diving into oceans and seas all over the World and capturing the mesmerizing moments with his camera. He has received over 60 prizes in both national and international contests and published many books about his expeditions. He has taken over 80.000 photographs in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sudan, Egypt, The Maldives, The Galapagos Islands, Indonesia, Philippines, France, Spain, Papua New Guinea, Burma, Belize and Turkey. Alptekin's works have received great recognition all over the world.

Bahamas Is Caribbean's Top Tourist Market Share Loser
The Bahamas has lost the greatest tourism market share of any Caribbean nation in the post-recession years, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report has revealed, with this nation ranked as the region’s most expensive. #An IMF working paper, ‘Revisiting tourism flows to the Caribbean: What is driving arrivals’, discloses that the Bahamas’ share of the tourism market declined by 3 per cent between 2007 and 2013 - the biggest drop in the Caribbean. “However, within the Caribbean there are some notable exceptions, namely Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, where performance has been resilient. As a result, there has been a shift in market share within the Caribbean.”

Belize participe à la conférence sur le changement climatique à Lima
Belize a coordonné la participation des pays du SICA (Système d'intégration d'Amérique centrale) à la Conférence des parties de cette année (COP20) qui a eu lieu à Lima du 1er au 12 décembre. La Conférence des Parties est l'organe suprême de la Convention-cadre des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques (CCNUCC) et elle vise à réduire les concentrations de gaz à effet de serre dans l'atmosphère. La Convention est entrée en vigueur en 1994 avec 195 pays layant ratifiée. Ces pays se rencontrent une fois par an, pendant deux semaines, afin d'évaluer l'application de la Convention et de développer le processus de négociation entre les parties face à des nouveaux engagements.

Crossing The Digital Divide To Protect The Environment
A growing suite of digital tools is emerging to better manage the world’s natural resources. Development Alert! maps where new infrastructure projects overlap with environmentally sensitive areas in Jamaica. Global Forest Watch uses satellite and crowd-sourced data to track deforestation around the world in near-real time. The Sarawak Geoportal collects geographic as well as deforestation, infrastructure, land use, and other data on the Malaysian state of Sarawak to increase transparency around environmental and policy issues in the area. And the EIA Resource and Response Centre monitors environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes in India and serves as an independent resource and database for EIA reports. In southern Belize, the Toledo Maya Cultural Council and the Toledo Alcades Association worked closely with indigenous Maya communities to document their lands in a Maya Atlas. Forty-one communities participated in mapping their lands, boundaries, vegetation, rivers, land use, and more through drawings overlaid on geographical maps. The 1997 Maya Atlas not only serves as documentation of Maya land, but incorporates histories, stories, photos, and artwork from village leaders and community members. By uniting geographical maps with cultural detail from village members, the atlas is a powerful way of asserting Maya life and heritage.


BELIZE, MOTHER NATURES BEST KEPT SECRET, 3min. Belize is an amazing country with amazing people. It is Thirst Missions pleasure and passion to try to make a difference throughout the country by bringing amazing groups from around North America to serve, encourage, and share Jesus Christ's message and love. We pray that as you experience Belize for yourselves you'll fall in love with the people, the land, and the beauty of this incredible Central American country for yourself. Here is short video clip on Belize and its Beauty.

Snorkeling in Belize, 1min. Footage from Wildland Adventures Marketing Director Jonathan Burnham's recent trip to Belize. Snorkeling in Belize is an absolute MUST DO! Jonathan only got to snorkel for about an hour and even in that short amount of time he experienced an incredible amount of marine life. From barracuda to green sea turtles, the diversity of aquatic life is extremely impressive in Belize. Not to mention everyone loves swimming in warm crystal clear water!

Blue Ventures Bird & Manatee Conservation, 2hr31min. Blue Ventures Bird & Manatee Conservation Blue Ventures are an award winning marine conservation organisation running expeditions in Belize and Madagascar.

Belize Beach & Jungle Adventure, 28min. Explore Belize's beaches featuring Chabil Mar Resort and jungles with trips into the Mayan underworld via cabe tubing with Cave Tubing R Us, trips up Monkey River, meet Carl the local Garifuna drummer from Seine Bight, try local foods, explore Placencia, scuba dive the barrier reef and more in Travel With Kids Belize!

December 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

Lions Senior Citizen's Party
Belize Bank staff has been partners of this annual event. — with Stef Nunez. (13 photos)

PM Barrow signs controversial agreements with Guatemala
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has signed 13 bilateral agreements with Guatemala without informing the Belizean community of the details. The documents were signed on Wednesday, December 17th at the closing of the 44th SICA Summit in Placencia between PM Barrow and President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina. While the in depth agreements are still not known, the accords encompass issues in prisoner exchange and the serving of penal sentence, operating hours at legal terrestrial entry points, program on seasonal workers, protection, the recovery and returns of items of cultural and natural patrimony, visa waiver for students, deportation, electric power trade, transmission interconnection and grid connectivity, mutual recognition of driver’s license, movement of student via land entry points, protection of the environment and sustainable use of resources, degree equivalence and recognition of education documents, sustainable tourism and stolen vehicles.

Mayor Danny and SPTC spread Christmas Cheer around town
Hundreds of school children on Ambergris Caye were paid a special visit just before the Christmas break courtesy of the San Pedro Town Council. Mayor Daniel Guerrero accompanied by Santa Claus and his helpers made a stop at each school, handing out a small gift to each student. It is an annual activity for the council, and is one that brings smiles to the children of the island; and on December 10th and 11th, the happy faces were in abundance. Stops were made first on Wednesday, December 10th at the larger schools starting with San Pedro Roman Catholic School eventually ending with the preschools the following day. According to Mayor Guerrero over 2,000 toys were distributed to the school children across the island. For the most part, the toys included various sets of dolls, toy cars and trucks.

Belizeans receive Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Training
The Belize Department of Environment (DOE) hosted a three day Oil Spill Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC) training seminar for dealing with offshore and onshore oil spills. Belize’s Barrier Reef and other marine ecosystems are the country’s top tourism attractions, and as such, DOE believes it is necessary to take extra precautions to protect these environments from all major threats, including oil spills. The training was held from Tuesday, December 9th to Thursday, December 11th at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City and saw participants from across the country, including members of marine conservation groups.

Love FM Christmas Parade ushers in holiday season
The Love FM Christmas parade is part of the annual 12 Days of Christmas Celebrations held across the country. Big thanks goes out to all the participants of this year’s parade, including The San Pedro Town Council, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., Top Notch Boutique, Foreva Fancy, Isla Bonita Elementary, Wings, San Pedro Lions Club, Social Security Board, Hummingbird Furnishings, San Pedro Culture Band, Belize National Library Service and Information System, Dynamic Little Stars, ABC Preschool, Benque Viejo Marching Band and Love FM.

PEMEX Engineers in Belize, is there a large oil find?
Although reports were sketchy, Mexican press indicated that the experts were received by both oil investors and government authorities in the country. The engineers are expected to return with equipment, also via the Chetumal airport, that will allow them to do more specialize testing of the possible oil deposit discovered. While in Belize, the engineers also performed a revision of maps that are supposedly oil sites. However, it is expected that by early 2015, more PEMEX staff will have a longer presence in Belize. GOB has made no formal announcement of the possible oil discovery or the associated visit of PEMEX engineers. However, earlier this year, GOB promised public officers their salary adjustment, which Prime Minister Dean Barrow said would be sustainable in the long term by a possible oil find in the Orange Walk District. At that time, PM Barrow had hoped that the discovery was in commercial quantity. Since then, there has been no official update and it is uncertain at this time that it may be the same possible oil find.

Ambergris Today

Welcome back home Miss World Belize Raquel Badillo

Sunshine Scholarship Foundation Doing Good for the Community
Meet Dayanara Manzano, she is a Standard 4 student at Isla Bonita Elementary School who is visually impaired. If it were not for the assistance of the Sunshine Scholarship Foundation of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Dayanara would have been having a difficult time attending school. Due to her disability, Dayanara would have a challenging time attending a regular public school where she would not receive the attention needed obtain a proper education. It is through the assistance of the Sunshine Scholarship Foundation that she can attend a private school, such as Isla Bonita Elementary, where she is able to get the one-on-one attention from her teachers.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Edward "Smithy" Smith and Misha McKay
Turning it up last night at Lovetv Bze "12 Days of Christmas" Show at Old Belize.

Belize Forges New Environment Gains for Central American Countries
Belize has forged major gains on climate change, the environment and sustainable development for the Central American region, it was revealed, on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

Prime Minister Barrow Departs Country on Personal Leave
The Office of the Prime Minister informs that today 18th December, 2014 the Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow departed the country for Florida, USA on personal leave and will return Monday, 22nd December, 2014.

Repairs on the street have begun after BWS finished repairing the damaged underground pipe on coconut drive.

Power interruption 6:00am to 9:00am, Sunday, December 21: entire Belize City
Inclusive of all areas up to Mile 1 Philip Goldson Highway and Mile 1 George Price Highway. BEL to conduct urgent repairs at Belize City Substation.

Carol of the Pans, Steel Bands
This is something you don't want to Miss!!!

The National Trade Union Congress of Belize denounces the conduct of ASR/BSI in their seeking to change the terms of the previously settled agreement without going back to the cane-farmers; having already conceded to the oppressive and unfair terms pushed by ASR/BSI with the intervention of no less than the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. The latest blatant attempt by ASR/BSI to undermine the cane farmers comes in the form of them now not wanting the legally established Sugar industry Control Board to be removed as the regulating entity. They want by the agreement to slip in their own entity created and named the Harvesting Delivery and Control Unit effectively being an arm of ASR/BSI; and in contravention of the law. In the absence of negotiations with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA); this provision was included in the draft agreement.

Channel 7

Man Murdered, Only Scavenged Remains Found
Ladyville police today found the remains of a male who they believe was murdered. All they encountered were the scattered bones of the man, believed to have been disturbed by animals that scavenged his body after he was killed. It's a developing story and police believed violence was involved in his death. Our news team was in Ladyville for most of today, and Daniel Ortiz has this report: Daniel Ortiz reporting The signs says that you're not supposed to dump garbage here in the Dew Drops Area at mile 11 and a half on the Northern Highway. But, not only is it being ignored, it seems that someone killed a man and left him there to decompose, or they killed him elsewhere and dumped him in that location. At least, that's what police looking at that this time.

Things Still Not Sweet in Sugarland
On Monday we told you that the impasse in the sugar industry was at an end - both sides had agreed to the Prime Minister's compromise package and it was only left to sign the final agreement to make it official. But the devil is in the details and all this week, that agreement has been in the shaping. The Chairman of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association was supposed to sign it today - but at the last minute the Association's proofreaders saw one item in there which they felt both sides had agreed to leave out. No one seems quite sure whether this inclusion was intentional, accidental or a genuine misunderstanding - but the cane farmers sent it back to BSI for excision. We understand that the offending clause has been excised, but now the signing has been put back to Friday.

Teenager Shot In City
This morning in Belize City, a 14 year old was shot in the area of Partridge Street. It happened at around 5:30 am - and the child was injured in the leg. But who would shoot a young man so indiscriminately and why? Well, he is from the often troubled Mayflower street area, and today Monica Bodden asked his mother what's behind it:.. Mother of 14 year old minor "I usually get up after 4am when my baby would get up crying, but he didn't got up this morning, so I just continue sleeping. My son usually comes home like after 5am in the morning. This morning my door was shut, so I didn't know they would be outside and then like half an hour after some little boys came to bang on my door and shouted for me and I thought it was the police. They woke my baby and so I came out, the little boy said that my son got shot. He told me that he and my older son and the neighbor went to buy tacos.

Man Charged For Machete Double Murder
On Monday, we told you about the double chopping murder which happened just outside Paraiso Village in the Corozal District. Well, police believe that they have solved that crime, and one man has been criminally charged for it. He's 67 year-old Salvadoran Jose Santos, and he has been charged with 2 counts of murder for the savage chopping deaths of 49 year-old Salvadoran Fernando and Heidi Theresita Chable, initially identified as Heidy Atherly.

PUC Wants Rates Lower Than BEL Proposes
Nine days ago we told you how BEL proposed a 3.4% cut in electricity rates - which works out to about 1.5 cents less per kilowatt-hour. They sent that to the Public Utilities Commission for consideration. The PUC today announced that it has made its own review and concluded that BEL can cut the electricity rate more than 3.4%; the PUC proposes a 5% decrease on the average electricity rate. That works out to about 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. The PUC amendment to BEL's proposal is what is known as the final draft and so the rules state that within 10 days BEL and the public can send in their comments. You can send yours to the PUC at 41 Gabourel Lane, Belize City, or by email at

SMART Says It's Building Its Own Southern Infrastructure
In other utility news, SMART says it's going to send its own transmission line to the Toledo District. As we have reported, the company cried foul when BTL said it would cut SMART off its southern data and voice infrastructure. SMART responded with a lawsuit, saying BTL's move would cut off 7,000 customers in the Toledo District. The suit has been dropped and BTL has agreed to keep the infrastructure available to SMART until the end of February. A release from SMART today says that the construction of its transmission line should be completed by the end of February 2015.

Cuba-USA: What It Means For Cubans Living Here
America's move to reestablish relations with Cuba after 50+ years has been making headlines around the world. Ties between the US and Cuba were severed since 1960 when the US imposed a trade embargo on Cuba. This has crippled economic and social development in Cuba. But President Obama has taken a bold step to dramatically improve relations with Cuba. Now many of you might be wondering what this news development has to do with Belize. Well, there are a fair number of Cubans living here in Belize, not to mention the 97 medical professionals in the Cuban medical brigade. So we wanted to find out what this change in US policy means for them? 29 year old Yadielis Martinez has been living in Belize for about 5 years and owns Brisas Del Mar restaurant on Caye Caulker. Today via telephone from Caye Caulker Martinez explained how significant this rapprochement is to Cubans living in Belize and their families back in Cuba. Yadielis Martinez, Caye Caulker resident "Well I thinks it's very important for the people who lives in Cuba because if the Cuban government and the United States government have a good relations, that means that they are going to open lot of things that are closed at the moment.

SICA: The Handover Was Fraternal
Yesterday's SICA Summit of Heads of State and Government in Placencia ended with Belize handing over the pro tem Presidency to Guatemala. Prime Minister Dean Barrow who chaired the session was lavish in his praise of his Guatemalan counterpart:.. Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister "I am honored to have served as your chairman for today's proceedings. Events such as these are about many things and one such is the strengthening of the inter-personal relations between officials, between ministers and between heads. President Otto Perez Molina has long since stamped himself as a thinker, a worker and a superb creative force. We can therefore look forward to a bold and muscular semester under the firm guidance of his "mano dura.""

PM Takes Personal Leave
And after pushing through those agreements, the Prime Minister recorded his Christmas message and today went on personal leave. A release from his office announced that he left the country for Florida and will return on Monday, December, 22nd , 2014. Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega is acting Prime Minister.

PUP Candidates Had Bench Warrants In Their Recent Past
In our next segment we'll tell you about the huge mess that's been created at the Belize Tourism Board because Director Of Marketing Clive Meyers apparently faked his resume. And while the fraud appears elaborate enough, it could also be interpreted as a lack of due diligence on the part of those who hired him for such a senior post. Now, due diligence is a sometimes tricky thing - because, outside of an information society, thorough background checks can be difficult. And the PUP had to do its own clean up before launching its Belize City Council slates. That's because bench warrants had been issued for two of their Belize City council candidates. Delroy Herrera told us that he paid half of the outstanding amount two months ago, and is paying the balance regularly.

BTB Suspends One, Investigating Others In Wake Of Myers Misrepresentation Meltdown
Yesterday, we told you how Clive Myers, BTB's new Director of Marketing & Industry Relations resigned only 3 days after being officially installed. Well tonight, we've learned more about the reasons behind it. It happened yesterday when some anonymous whistle-blower went making the media rounds delivering a package of documents detailing that Myers allegedly forged his credentials. The documents say that he never went to Ashford University Online to get his bachelor's degree, like he claimed, and neither did he go to Drexel University to get his master's degree, as he claimed.

Salvation Army Soldiering For True Spirit of Christmas
550 families received a Christmas food package today from the Salvation Army. Now, the Salvation Army always helps out the most needy, but this package is just something extra for the season. According to Joliker Leandre (LEE-AND), Regional Commander of the Salvation Army, their main objective is to make people's lives a bit better, not just during Christmas time. Michelle Sandoval, Chair lady, Salvation Army "Right now we are doing the parcel distribution. They will received like the can foods, beans, rice, flour and so forth for each of the elderly citizens here in Belize. When the Christmas appeal started, we were asking them to come to register. They had to just bring in their ID, give their name to confirm that they are elderly citizens and need to receive their food hamper. We are not giving it to any young person of that sort. When they come they bring their tickets and they present it to us and we scratch them off the list that we have already created for them."

Atlantic Bank In The Hood
Today Atlantic Bank was the one spreading Christmas Cheer. The bank's staff went into the poorer areas of Belize City distributing gifts freely to children - Monica Bodden caught up with them in the Lake Independence area:..

Channel 5

Human Remains Found at Dewdrop Estates
Our records indicate that the murder count now stands at one hundred and forty-three. This morning, the remains of a man were found in an area in Ladyville known as [...]

Family of Escaped Prisoner Claim Police Harassment
The manhunt continues for twenty-five year old Emmanuel Willoughby, an inmate at the Belize Central Prison who escaped from his cell last Saturday. According to the Kolbe Foundation, Willoughby cut [...]

Family will Press Charges against Police
Up until late Wednesday afternoon, police officers conducted a search at the Willoughby’s residence at 7005 Antelope Street Extension. Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd says that they have made formal complaint to [...]

Border Incursions on Centre Stage at SICA Summit
The ratification of thirteen agreements between Belize and Guatemala, in the words of Prime Minister Barrow, is a single step commencing the journey of a thousand miles.  The long road [...]

Sugar Cane Crop Season in Limbo
The 2014-2015 sugar cane crop season will not start on Friday as was anticipated and forecast. In fact, it may not start anytime soon. Turns out that all the jubilation [...]

A Look at Bi-Lateral Agreements Signed
There were thirteen agreements signed on Wednesday between Wilfred Elrington and Carlos Raul Morales, the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala. They cover a period of ten years and while [...]

Guatemalan Foreign Minister Speaks on ICJ Referendum
Will Guatemala proceed to a simultaneous referendum on whether or not to take the unfounded territorial claim to the International Court of Justice? On this side, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington [...]

Minor RTA Near Crooked Tree
There was a traffic accident this morning at the Crooked Tree junction at miles thirty-one on the Phillip Goldson Highway. A white truck collided into an SUV coming out of [...]

FIU and Titan Back in Court
FIU attorneys were back in court today where they are being challenged by Titan International Securities for the release of a trove of documents seized during an operation back in [...]

Hattieville Resident Charged for Drug Trafficking
A Hattieville resident was not at his house at mile seventeen and a half on the George Price Highway when it was searched by the Gang Suppression Unit.  The unit [...]

Smart Dispels Rumours of Southern Service Interruption
SpeedNet Communications, the parent company for Smart, has issued a press release dispelling the notion that the company’s service to the south will be cancelled as a result of ongoing [...]

P.U.P. Blasts B.T.B. for Myers Debacle
On Wednesday, we showed you the ignominious departure of the B.T.B.’s two day Director of Marketing and International Relations, Clive Percival Myers. Myers resigned, allegedly when it was revealed that [...]

US and Cuba Enhance Relationship
The historic prisoner exchange deal between the United States and Cuba marks a new chapter in relations between the two, following decades of glacial tension.  The renewal of diplomatic affairs [...]

O.A.S. President Awarded Order of Distinguished Service
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States departed to Washington on Wednesday after participating in the SICA Summit. Jose Miguel Insulza was witness to the signing of the [...]

Eastern Division Organizes Christmas Party
The Belize Police Department’s Eastern Division is organizing its second annual Christmas variety show entitled COPS.  This year they have chosen B.T.L. Park as the venue and are inviting the [...]

Salvation Army Hands Out Food Packages
This morning Belizeans lined up outside the Salvation Army’s headquarters on Regent Street in the City. Christmas is one week away, but while many Belizeans shop and decorate and prepare [...]

Organizations Go All Out for the Elderly
And while the Salvation Army was doing its thing, other organizations are showing and sharing the love this Christmas. At the Sister Cecilia Home in Belize City, All Saints Church [...]


Inspiration Center Receive Donation From Taiwan
And before we wrap up the news, visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs for Taiwan, H.E. David Lin, yesterday handed over two wheelchair accessible vehicles to Chairperson of The Inspiration Center Board of Directors, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow. The vehicles comprise a 2014 El Dorado Aerotech 240, Ford E-450 bus and a 2014 Ford E-250 van. The bus has capacity for 6 wheelchairs and 9 stationary and fold-away seats; while the van accommodates 3 wheelchairs and 3 stationary seats. The vehicles will be used to transport some 30 children with disabilities to and from the Center for therapy.

Robbers Make Their Move In Corozal
The string of home robberies is being reported and opportunistic thieves are mostly targeting high valued items. In Corozal, 65-year-old American retiree James Lawrence of Xaibe Village reported that on Monday December 15th his residence at Xaibe Village was burglarized. Stolen were an assortment of electronic items, house hold items, assorted jewelry and tools all to a total value of $16,497.00. Corozal Police are seeking 2 persons of interest who are known to them as investigations continue. In another incident, 32 year old Domestic of Patchakan Village, Leonor Gilharry reported that between 2:00pm & 3:00pm Sunday December 14th her house was burglarized by her husband Elvis Gilharry whom she has been separated from since June 2014. Upon making checks she saw her former husband Elvis Ellis Gilharry, along with his Brother Juan Carlos Gilharry coming out from her yard. The men made away with her cellular phone valued at $140. The Gilharry brothers are being south by police.

Clive Myers Tenders Resignation As Acting Director
Following the BTB’s announcement on appointing Clive Myers as Acting Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, two days later today, the Belize Tourism Board announced that the Mr. Clive Myers, has tendered his resignation with the organization, effective immediately. Reports for his abrupt resignation stem from a record of information that has been circulated to the media regarding the authenticity of his degrees and programs. Photocopies of email queries from two online Universities have yielded no results regarding the attendance or graduation of Clive Myers or Clyve Myers. Myers has not denied or confirmed the allegation as of newstime. As a result, Ms. Karen Pike, Director of Information Management, will be holding over the responsibilities of the Marketing and Industry Relations department, in the interim.

Be Careful When Shopping In Chetumal
Belize plans to issue a warning to Belizeans who visit Chetumal City, Mexico and the tourism sector in that part of the country is worried about the repercussions. This is what the Mexican press is reporting. According to an article in the newspaper titled “Novedades Quintana Roo”, published today December 17th, reports from Belizeans claiming to have been robbed in the city, especially by taxi operators, has prompted Belizean authorities to consider issuing a warning to the Belizean population about the dangers of visiting that part of Mexico. Honorary Consul of Belize to Mexico Jorge Valencia is quoted saying that many complaints have been made on the social media, especially Facebook.

PM Signs Thirteen Bilateral Agreement With Guatemala
The 44th Summit of the SICA Heads of State ended today at the Belize Ocean Club in Placencia and today the President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina arrived to meet with other presidents and heads of delegations from the SICA member countries. The one day summit saw dialogue on matters including the migration of unaccompanied minors to the United States, regional security, and climate change, among others. But during President Molina’s visit, the Government of Belize has signed 13 Bilateral Agreements with Guatemala today in Placentia in the presence of the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza.

Sandy Hunter Library Encourages Students To Read
School is out but that is no reason for children to keep their head out of the books. At the Sandy Hunter Library, there are several programs held throughout the year to encourage children to develop a love for books and reading. One such program came to a close today at the library and in celebration of the occasion the children were treated to a small party at the library this morning. Here’s more on that story. Dalila Ical – Reporter This marks the last activity of the year, but that does not mean that it is any less important. What is being celebrated is the close of a new program which seeks to encourage children, or members of the Sandy Hunter Library to love books. The reading challenge was launched in March and concluded this month.

19 Year Old For Chopping Incident In San Estevan
On Monday we told you about a chopping incident in San Estevan village that left 43 year old Sylvano Osorio recovering at the KHMH from several chops wounds to the head and forearm. Today we were informed that his attacker, 19 year old Esner Ellides Chuc has been formally arraigned and charged for three counts which include; use of deadly means of harm, attempted murder and grievous harm. Chuc was remanded to prison where he will reappear in court on January 21st, 2015. For context, Osorio and Chuc were involved in a misunderstanding on Sunday night infront of the Community Center where several families were for recreation but that was quickly broken up. Some twenty minutes later, Chuc came back wielding a machete and inflicted the injuries upon Osorio. Meanwhile, Osorio is still under observation at the Northern Regional Hospital.

O/W Police Issues Warning For Christmas Season
With Christmas now just days away, a string of robberies and theft cases remain are on the rise. The joyous season can easily turn frightening if residents become victims to opportunistic thieves and resilient robbers who are known to prowl around this time. And in an effort to curb these instances, the Orange Walk Police formation highlighted their own plans for the season. SUPT. Selvin Tillett – Deputy Commander, OW Police “Our anti-crime prevention extra Christmas patrol commenced from the 15th of November and we have extra foot patrol, bicycle, mobile, and motorcycle patrols so that is in effect and it will continue until or after the 15th of January, the Orange Walk police is working hard, diligent and trying to work with the community so that you people can enjoy Christmas and new year’s not only that but every day because me as a police I consider it as home so I do my best to make it safe.”

Salvadoran National Charged For Sunday Mornings Double Murder
Tonight, the man accused of hacking a couple to death has been remanded to prison. But first, a postmortem examination on the bodies has been conducted and investigators managed to positively identify the female victim to be 22 year old Heidi Teresita Chable. Officer Commanding the Corozal formation, Andrew Ramirez elaborated in this update. Andrew Ramirez – OC Corozal “First of all, we ended up confirming the identity of the female and she has been identifies as Heydi Teresita Chable, 22 years of age and date of birth being the 02 of January of 1992. Yesterday post mortem was conducted on both bodies and the Doctor has certified the cause of death for the male for being exanuation due to multiple chop wounds to the head, neck, face, chest and limb and for the female same thing due to chop wounds to the head, neck, face and forearm more than likely the injury sustained by these individuals was fatal wounds.”


Myers Resigns From Belize Tourism Board
It was an elevation that seemed well deserved and earned as Clive Myers was given an opportunity to act in the post of Director for Marketing and Industry Relations for a six month period, but his climb up the ladder would soon be thwarted as documents were released to the media claiming that Myers had forged diplomas and fabricated his educational background, stating that he had attended certain institutions when that may not have been the case. Right on the heels of this exposure, Myers resigned from the Belize Tourism Board saying that he would be making a public statement in due time.

Leslie Speaks On Signing of Agreements
Today Ambassador Stuart Leslie who is the lead negotiator in the Belize Guatemala dispute was the guest on our sister station Estereo Amor. Ambassador Leslie said the signing of the thirteen agreements yesterday is just the beginning of a process. STUART LESLIE “These are framework agreements especially with respect to the environment and sustainable development. What will happen next now that these things are signed are the technical people and the practical side of it. Meaning that the people in the department of the environment from Belize and from Guatemala will have to sit down and work out a memorandum of understanding or protocols to say look if this happens then this, the penalty for this is that and look at the laws and see how they will apply.

Belize And Guatemala Signs Bi-Lateral Agreement
A historic signing of a Bilateral Agreement took place yesterday afternoon on the Placencia Peninsula. Belize and Guatemala signed a 13 point agreement as part of the confidence building measures. The agreement was signed by Wilfred Elrington, Belize’s Foreign Minister and his Guatemalan Counterpart, Carlos Raul Morales while Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Guatemala’s President, Otto Perez Molina along with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, witnessed the signing. The agreement focuses on several areas including education, Prison Exchange and electricity. While making his way out, President Molina was briefly stopped by the media and we got a chance to join in the interview. First off, Molina was asked about his first visit to Belize.

PM Departs To Florida
Prime Minister Dean Barrow left the country earlier today for Florida. The Prime Minister is on personal leave and is scheduled to return home next Monday. During the Prime Minister’s absence, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega will act as Prime Minister.

Man Charged With Drug Trafficking
Thirty-three year old Wallace Rubio, an unemployed of mile 17 and a half on George Price Highway, who was charged with drug trafficking for 10 pounds of cannabis, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Because he pled guilty and he asked for leniency, Rubio was spared a custodial sentence of 3 year and he was only ordered to pay a fine of $10,000. He was given until March 31, 2015, to pay the fine. If he defaults on payment he will serve 3 years. On May 7, 2012, at around12:45 p.m., the police, members of the GSU, went to Rubio’s residence to execute a search warrant. Nobody was at home when they arrived, so they went and got a Justice of the Peace and they returned to the house, a small plycem structure about 3 feet from off the ground. They executed the search in the presence of the Jp and the search resulted in the discovery of the cannabis in a carton barrel. Some of the cannabis was in a transparent plastic bag while the rest were in a beige sack. When weighed, the cannabis amounted to 4.54 kilograms or 10 pounds.

Men Plead Guilty With Robbery and Wound
Two men, 21 year old Iran Jones and 21 year old Lorenzo Ogaldez, charged with robbery and wounding, plead guilty to the charges when they appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Jones, who has previous convictions, was sentenced to 5 years for robbery and 3 years for wounding. Senior Magistrate Fraser stipulated that the sentences are to run concurrently, so Jones will only serve 5 years. In relation to Ogaldez, who has no previous conviction, Senior Magistrate Fraser said she has not decided what to do with him, so she remanded him into custody until Monday, December 22, for sentencing. Jones was also charged with handling stolen goods but that charge was dismissed because the prosecution offered no evidence. The incident occurred around 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, December 14.


More Delays for the Crop Season
The start of the sugar cane season seemed to be in the immediate horizon after the farmers met and, after much deliberation, agreed to accept the 51 cents per ton of sugar cane proposed by the Belize Sugar Industry and their partner the American Sugar Refiners. This was only after the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association shifted many of their positions and dropped several others, including their position on the bagasse debate, all in an attempt to start the crop season as quickly as possible. This of course left it open for their members to accuse them of betraying the interest of the cañeros.But after much heated debates the members agreed to accept the proposal. The next step was to take it to the attorneys of both parties to have the matter official drafted out and signed. This was projected to take place by the middle of this week however up until Thursday nothing has been signed. That is because BSI/ASR in their final proposal, introduced an old position that had been dropped earlier in the negotiations this year. Ezequiel Cansino, Chairman of the BSCFA explained, via phone.

COLA, FECTAB hold protest for cruise port
Advocacy organizations Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) and the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB) upped the ante in their fight to establish a cruise port in the Belize District that will, they say, ensure the survivability of the industry in increasingly competitive and uncertain times. However, on Wednesday they unveiled a new piece of evidence, which they say confirms that the cruise ship lines – or at least one of them – is abandoning Belize City. Executive Member of FECTAB and well-known tour operator, Yhonny Rosado, painted a stark picture of what will happen if the exodus continues. “When they were building Harvest Caye, they were mentioning that only some of the ships or one or two ships will be going there. You got to, they are already canceling all their ports to Belize City. They are going to Harvest Caye.; it is not FECTAB, it is not nobody, it is an international website that the cruise use to notify the American and Canadian public that they are going to a different port starting November next year. So there will be no more high season.

The Guardian

Guatemala does not constitute and will never constitute a threat to Belize
The occasion of the 44th Summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA) held in Placencia served up the perfect opportunity for a historic meeting between the President of Guatemala and the Prime Minister of Belize. Hon. Dean Barrow presided over the Summit as he ended Belize’s six-month pro-tempore presidency of SICA and handed over the reigns to the President of Guatemala, H. E. Otto Fernando Perez Molina. Before the Summit, Prime Minister Barrow greeted President Molina at the Riversdale Airstrip in Placencia after which they made their way to The Placencia Hotel for a breakfast meeting to discuss Belize Guatemala relations and the thirteen agreements that both countries had been negotiating and ready to sign at the end of the SICA Summit, signaling a renewed commitment to strengthen relations between the two countries. The thirteen agreements between Belize and Guatemala establish formally and for the first time functional cooperation programmes that are practical and progressive. In their implementation they will bring tangible and practical benefits to the people of both countries. The two governments had set out to embark in such cooperative programmes since 2005 but they could not be done until now. The functional cooperation agreements range from formalizing the serving of penal sentences, to the recognition of educational documents, environmental protection and sustainable use of resources to recovery and return of stolen vehicles.

PM Dean Barrow’s Xmas Message
What a wonderful time of the year Christmas is! It is a time when we as Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a time to be close to those nearest and dearest, and a time for renewal. It also however presents an occasion for all Belizeans, of all backgrounds, to come together in appreciation for all that God has blessed Belize with. Let us remind ourselves that the values that unite us as Belizeans are by far greater and more enduring than anything that divides us. Jesus’ simple birth is a lesson in humility to all of us. The story of Jesus changed the world and that is why we celebrate his birth every year around this time. The story also reminds us to have faith in humanity; to believe that we all have some good within us. Let us in this season enjoy the importance of families and close friends. Let us also be mindful of those that are less fortunate than us at home and outside our beautiful jewel. Let us ask for blessings for the many entities –charities and the private sector that work with those less fortunate and contribute to making Christmas truly a season of sharing and happiness.

Cane Farmers force Fair Trade money bonanza
In August, 3 and a half months ago, news emerged that Fair Trade intended to reduce the amount of Fair Trade Funding that the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association received after buying Belizean sugar at premium prices. Secondly, the organization which provides oversight of the use of the money, Flo Cert, temporarily decertified the association yet again due to financial misappropriation and theft of the association's funds, and the violation of child labour statutes. Only 2 days after being officially cleared of the most recent ban, the farmers are forcing the Association to do something which is bound to get them in trouble again with the oversight bodies of the Fair Trade agreement. Readers may remember the expose that this newspaper printed in which we discussed the misuse and poor handling of Fair Trade money over the past 6 or 7 years in which 20 million dollars ended up in the accounts of the Association, set aside as a social program for the farmers. Well, to add to that, the general cane farming membership of the association passed a resolution at their meeting on Sunday, December 14, that 2.5 million dollars will be shared among the general membership of about 5,300 farmers. It's a sort of Christmas cheer that the farmers are giving themselves in which each member will received approximately $470 for themselves. That's not exactly the way the money is to be used for because such wanton spending is not permitted.

Stop Bav Julius
When Myrtle Palacio wrote to the Financial Secretary that, “the PUP will be participating in the Christmas Cheer Program”, she did so as the Secretary General of the PUP; and in so doing spoke for and on behalf of the entire opposition party. Francis appeared shortly after on television, flaunting his hypocrisy as proud as a peacock, at the same time admitting that the program is indeed a transparent and accountable one. On Friday, December 14th the sanctimonious Julius Espat announced that he will not be accepting the Christmas Cheer. He cited a foolish and less than believable excuse for not participating. Our take on it is that Julius is trying to show up his boss and party leader. Julius is on a mission to first embarrass, and then overthrow his party leader.

BELTRAIDE Prepares 74 Youths for Upcoming Jobs
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE) recently formed a new unit to provide industry specific, demand driven employment training for Belizeans seeking jobs. The unit now operates the Belize Training and Employment Center (BTEC) and its first 74 clients graduated on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. BTEC is the result of Prime Minister Barrow’s call for the Fast Track to Employment Training Institute on July 30 of this year. David Leacock, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singh for BELTRAIDE to partner with ITVET to provide the training. Christine Smith, Director of BTEC, says the first field her team is focusing on is the Business Process Outsourcing industry. BELTRAIDE began focusing on BPO three years ago. Since then BELTRAIDE has hosted numerous training sessions countrywide as the demand for new employees continues to grow. Mike Singh, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, says that demand for employees in this field is even greater now as the Ministry “receives one or two inquiries a week” from investors interested in establishing a call center in Belize. Singh says the Ministry expects there will be a need for over 2,100 new employees in the sector over the next two years. However, investors are more likely to establish a center if a trained labor force is already available.

New Market for Benque Viejo del Carmen
Belize’s most Western Municipality, the Town of Benque Viejo del Carmen, now has a brand new market. A marching band ‘Ciencia y Tecnologia’ from Melchor de Mencos entertained Benque residents on Monday night of this week at the entrance of Benque Viejo, preceding the informal opening of the new market in Benque Viejo. In his brief presentation to residents on Monday night, Mayor of Benque Viejo del Carmen Miguel Velasquez thanked the people of Benque Viejo and informed them that the market is now theirs, for them to use. Mayor Miguel Velasquez informed the Guardian that families are now free to congregate within the plaza at the new market. “I am satisfied that the new market will be benefiting everyone,” says Chelsy Hernandez, Benque Viejo’s Queen ‘Flor de La Feria.’ The Benque Market was built with the support of the European Union and the Government of Belize under the Belize Rural Development Project Two at a cost of about $680,000.00

Belize’s High Seas fisheries get a boost
On Monday, December 15, the European Council adopted a decision to remove Belize from the list of ‘non-cooperating third countries’ in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This decision was taken pursuant to a recommendation by the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) to remove Belize from this list in consideration of the concrete measures taken by Belize to rectify the deficiencies pointed out by the European Commission earlier this year. This decision by the EU Council shall enter into force on December 18, 2014, the day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. This is the first case where a country is removed from the list of non-cooperating third countries through cooperation and on-going dialogue with the Commission; and it demonstrates that the EU system of bi-lateral cooperation and collaboration to assist third countries in fully implementing the IUU Regulation is indeed effective and bearing fruit.

Inspiration Center Gets Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
Life just got a little easier for mobility challenged children receiving therapy at the Inspiration Center because on Tuesday, December 16, His Exellency David Lin, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, handed over two wheelchair accessible vehicles to Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, Chair of the Inspiration Center’s Board of Directors. One of the vehicles is a 2014 Ford El Dorado Aerotech bus. It has three double stationary seats and six double foldaway seats. It has a state of the art wheelchair lift system and has enough space for up to six wheelchair passengers. The approximate value of the vehicle is in the neighbourhood of US$95,000. The second vehicle is 2014 Ford E-250 extended van. It has seating for three and space for three wheelchair passengers. The van is also equipped with a wheelchair lift system. The approximate cost of the van is US$66,000.

Ministry of Works & Transport signs contracts for more infrastructure projects
The Minister of Works & Transport Hon. Rene Montero and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Errol Gentle, signed contracts for the several works on December 15, 2014 at the Ministry of Works Conference Room in Belmopan. M&M Engineering Consultants Limited signed a contract for the new Mullins River Bridge which was destroyed by severe flash floods during the passage of Tropical Storm Arthur in 2008. The cost of the design and construction of the bridge is BZ$4,461,172.36 with a design/build period of 12 months. The project will be supervised by BECA International Consultants Limited with the assistance of the Project Execution Unit. Funding for the project is provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Belize. HE&W Consulting of Barbados signed a BZ$857,290.87 contract for the study of the impact of dredging the Mouth of Belize River and Haulover Creek. Using Global Positioning System (GPS), the consulting firm will provide the exact location of the project site as well as a scaled map, indicating the area considered under the study – all of Haulover Creek and at least one mile into the sea (equivalent to 12 km overall on this stretch) and the other stretch equivalent to 24 km, from the Boom Cut off (Boom Bridge) to the mouth of the Belize River and one mile into the sea.

Draft of Municipal Plans developed for San Ignacio and Santa Elena Towns
A working document or draft of the Municipal Development Project Plan for the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena has been presented to residents. The contents of the documents were disclosed on Thursday, December 4 at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio Town. The work in progress comes as part of technical assistance under the Municipal Development Project now being implemented by the Social Investment Fund (SIF) in nine of the municipalities in Belize, except for Belize City and San Pedro. As explained by Clifford King, Local Government Officer working within the Ministry of Local Government, the Municipal Development Project is funded by a 30 million dollar loan facility from the World Bank that was signed in 2010. Under this Project streets have been improved such as West Street in San Ignacio and Eden Drive in Santa Elena, but additional fulcrum have been provided to the San Ignacio based Town Council over the last four years to bring about improved municipal management. Thus; a detailed forward plan that spans for over a decade (fifteen years) for the Twin Towns has been developed, which has already been presented to some stakeholders but more input is now needed from the public.

Sugar Industry back on its feet - Final documents to be signed
Prime Minister Dean Barrow's intervention into the Sugar Industry has once again yielded results that will see the beginning of the 2014/2015 cane crop. It is a well publicized fact that cane farmers and the factory owners couldn't agree on a value of the payment for bagasse. It has caused both sides a great frustration to solve this issue that spilled over into the commercial agreement for last year's crop. An interim agreement was only reached after Prime Minister Barrow and his Government team brought both sides to the tape for candid discussions over what the cane farmers would need for them to deliver their cane. The farmers wanted this bagasse dispute solved before the next crop year started, and BSI gave an undertaking that they would seek to try their best to come to an agreement for bagasse. For months they met and had discussions about the price for bagasse, but that stalled due to the huge disparity in the figure that the farmers want for the bagasse and what Belize Sugar Industries Limited was comfortable paying.

Richard Harrison writing bounce checks
On Tuesday of this week, a businessman visited the Guardian Newspaper to provide us with the attached check. There seemed to have been absolutely nothing wrong with it, of course, we have an untrained eye. It was not until the businessman pointed to us that the check was made of rubber. Yes, Richard Harrison on December 4, just two weeks ago paid someone with this $400 dollar check. The problem with the transaction is that the check did not have sufficient funds in it and it bounced. Yes, the PUP candidate for Cayo North wrote a check and there were insufficient funds in the account. This is no surprise to the Guardian. We have consistently been saying that Richard Harrison is bankrupt.

GSU Parties with City Children
Officers of the Gang Suppression Unit invited some of Belize City’s most unfortunate children to the Queen Street Police Station on Monday afternoon, December 15, for a time of dancing, feasting and merry making. The unit issued invitations to 75 children, mostly from the Southside, but by the time the event started on the roof top of the police station there were more than one hundred youngsters present. Corporal Samuel Bonilla said, “We prepared for 75 children but I can assure you that none of them will leave here empty handed.” Corporal Bonilla held true to that assurance, thanks in large part to Caves Branch Adventure Company. Caves Branch assigned its top chef, Executive Chef Peter Brewer, to attend the event and prepare a meal for the children. Brewer cooked rice and beans with barbecued chicken for the party. He prepared nachos for the appetizer and his assistants also served fresh fruit and a slice of cake. Brewer says he loves cooking, “but nothing can compare to the satisfaction of watching the children enjoy the meal he prepared.” He says Caves Branch’s owner, Ian Anderson, was excited to partner with the Gang Suppression Unit to bring some Christmas cheer to the children.

Good to Know
Belize and Belizeans are governed by a set of rules called laws. The original set of rules from which these were derived was known as Barnaby’s Codes. There are sections in these laws that due to the fact that they are seldom used we don’t even know they exist and as strange as some of them may sound, these are our Laws… It is generally believed that law enforcement officers need a warrant for everything except when they are dealing with Firearms and or ammunition but it is stated under the QUARANTINE ACT CHAPTER 41 PART V under Miscellaneous section 10.-(1) It shall be the duty of every member of the police department to enforce, using force if necessary, compliance with this Act and with any order, instruction or condition lawfully made, given or imposed by any officer or other person under the authority of this Act, and for such purpose any member of the police department may board any ship or aircraft and may enter any premises without a warrant.

Belize attends Climate change conference in Lima
Belize coordinated the participation of SICA (the Central American Integration System) countries in this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP20) in Lima, Peru, December 1-12th. The Conference of the Parties is designated as the supreme governing body of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aimed at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Convention entered into force in 1994 with 195 countries submitting their instruments of ratification. These countries meet once a year, for two weeks, in order to evaluate the application of the Convention and develop the negotiation process between the Parties in front of new commitments. Belize is the Pro Tempore President of CCAD (Council of Ministers of the Environment) within SICA, and this is the first time that SICA countries are participating in the COP20 as a coordinated SICA delegation.

Biting Season!
If you are wondering how a group of people so staunchly opposed to the berthing facility in Southern Belize is now leading the campaign for the State Bank project; You Do Not Know Money. Christmas is just around the corner and “man need fu eet”. COLA’s President Geovanni Brackett has suddenly become the great crusader for Mike Feinstein’s project. And FECTAB’s President, Tom Greenwood, we can say has been on the wagon a long time ago. The Feinstein Group of Companies (FCG) is waiting to move forward on a US$150 million project off the coast of Belize City that involves the development of Stake Bank Island and North Drowned Caye into first class destinations for foreign and domestic tourists. Feinstein will invest US$67.5 million to develop the island into an entertainment centre with a port for the berthing of cruise ships. The port will be capable of hosting four voyager class cruise ships at any given time. Stake Bank will also provide a marina for transiting yachts and facilities for shops, restaurants and bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues. There will also be an “independent entertainment and shopping area for cruise crew members” as well as a Mayan themed water park. The second feature of the project has been dubbed Ocean View Grand. It is an US$89 million investment in the development of North Drowned Caye into a multiuse luxury village resort. North Drowned Caye is located two nautical miles from Belize City.

From what I have gathered, political pundits all agree that the by-election on January 5, 2015 to fill the parliamentary seat in Cayo North vacated by Joseph Mahmud will be a crucial gauge of the mood of the voters. The most recent such indicator of support was on November 18 in Belmopan, but that show of numbers for the United Democratic Party was not an election: some say it was just an outing. January 5, then, will be a solid yardstick by which both political parties will be measured. When we look at the candidates, it is difficult to disagree that the UDP’s Figueroa seems the more attractive of the two aspirants, with Mr. Harrison coming across as the underdog, for various reasons. To me, Figueroa is more articulate in his presentations and very composed in his demeanor. Harrison seems to have no tangible platform to stand on, or point to. His campaign strategy so far centers on being on the defensive, in that he claims to have failed in several of his business ventures because of new economic policies introduced by the UDP Government.

Disingenuous Leaders
The saga that has been the crop season for the year 2015 has presented many challenges to all the industry stakeholders. Belize Sugar Industries and the Cane Farmers Association had been at loggerheads for some time now over several points concerning the ownership of the bi-products of sugar cane delivered to the mill. For several years both parties have agreed to disagree and nothing ever came out of it. Of course, those at the helm of the cane farmers association have traditionally supported the PUP. For context we will enumerate some of the so called leaders of the association, we start with Carlos Magana who ran for the PUP, Ramon Monchie Cervantes who is a PUP standard bearer, Alfredo Ortega who ran for PUP and was defeated in a convention by Monchie, Oscar Alonzo who is a known PUP and the list goes on.

Barranco Pier Renovation
On Friday, December 12th, 2014 a contract for the repair of the Barranco Village Pier, which was damaged during a storm in early October, was signed between the Chairman of the Barranco Village Council Dr. Joseph O. Palacio and contractor, Mr. Alexander “Sonny” Garbutt. The reconstruction project, which is scheduled to be completed in January 2015, is being financed by the Office of the Prime Minister and will be supervised by the Ministry of Works. The works total a little over BZ$41,000.00 and is one of the largest recent inflows the village has received for infrastructural development. The project will be most welcomed by residents as it is expected to create employment for Barranco Village.

Finca Solana
I have stopped reading articles submitted to the Amandala by Clinton Luna for several years, since I believe that he is a very angry and a very troubled person. The last time I perused his writing was when he verbally attacked a couple of American citizens because during walks, their dogs’ barking irritated him when they passed his house. His masked demand from Government at that time was to basically have the Americans deported from Belize. To me this was not the reaction of a mature, learned individual. Since that awkward incident,I decided, as is my right, to ignore his ramblings. In any instance, from time to time readers would bring certain articles to my attention and ask me to respond, because it seems that the Amandala has given Clinton Luna free rein to write whatever he wants, whenever he wants, even if his views are bigoted and divisive.

Mayors of Belize Deliver for Municipal Workers
without fear of political victimization, thanks to a document endorsed by each member of the Mayors Association of Belize on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. The Mayors of Belize signed an agreement to abide by the policies and stipulations of the Municipal Service Regulations, a document drafted to establish a consistent set of policies and practices for all nine municipal governments. Honourable Senator Godwin Hulse says it is a historic day for the country, one that is supported by senior officials of both major political parties. Hulse says the Ministry of Local Government has been pushing for the universal regulations since 2008 and he is glad that it is now passed with him as Minister. The Belize Mayors’ Association made the establishment of the document a priority item on their agenda in the first quarter of this year. A taskforce was then commissioned consisting of city/town administrators, human resource representatives and legal officers from all nine municipalities. Three Mayors also worked with the taskforce along with Ministry’s Director of Local Government. The taskforce was responsible to review the public service regulations, labor act and other international treaties dealing with municipal workers. They were then to engage employees of the councils’ offices and put together a document that will direct operational procedures for all municipal governments. The taskforce worked together for more than eight months before the document was ready to be presented. Mayor Darrell Bradley of Belize City and Mayor Kevin Bernard of Orange Walk Town were instrumental in providing legal advice and public service guidelines.

Prime Minister’s Opening Statement XLIV Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Central American Integration System (SICA)
On behalf of the people of Belize I welcome you to our beautiful southern shores here on the Placencia peninsula. In doing so I continue a long tradition of Belizean hospitality. Our people delight in sharing both personal warmth and the paradisiacal charm of our natural bounty with all who come in peace and friendship. Please, therefore, sientensen en casa, at the foothills of our Maya Mountains where the drums of our Garinagu reverberate in the valleys and the melodies of our Mayan Marimbas steal softly down to the Caribbean Sea. Today’s 44th Summit of SICA marks the culmination of Belize’s stewardship of the pro tempore presidency of our integration movement, and it is now my duty to provide you with a status report. Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,I am happy to be able to say that SICA is strong; and that our efforts at building better economies, stronger democracies, healthier environments and inclusive societies continue to bear good fruit.

Body of well known disc jockey found in Esperanza Village, Cayo
Three persons are currently in detention by San Ignacio Police in connection with the death of 24 year old Samir Fernandez, whose body was found by Police at about 4:30 pm on Wednesday of last week. His body was found at the far end of the Sedacy dirt road, south of Esperanza Village and some three miles away from his home. Samir Fernandez had injuries to the forehead and to another part of his head. He had apparently been lured from his home to a secluded area and hit on the most vulnerable portion of his body with a blunt object. Police investigations have so far revealed that Fernandez was still alive at 10:00 am on Tuesday of last week and from his last text messages to other persons have been able to verify his movements that morning. He had left his home on Tuesday in a taxi. Police are also connecting with the Belize City Formation, which has also detained another person who can assist with the ongoing investigations.

Brothers who professed to be gang members out on bail
Brothers Roy Bennett and Ryan Bennett are out on Supreme Court bail after spending more than two months on remand for allegedly professing to be members of the Gill Street Gang. Their cousin Maurice Felix was release on December 5 but freedom took a week longer for them. The three were arrested on September, 25, for possession of a controlled drug and professing to be a member of a criminal gang. They pleaded not guilty to both charges but professing is not a bailable offense at the Magistrates Court. All three were remanded at the Belize Central Prison.

Taxi Thieves in Chetumal threaten to have warning emitted by Belize
The Mexican Newspaper Novedadez Quintana Roo reported on Wednesday that the state of Quintana Roo is preparing in the event that Belize issues an advisory to its citizens when they visit Chetumal. The worry stems from multiple reports appearing on Facebook in which Belizeans complain that they have been robbed by taxi drivers in that, a popular shopping Mecca for Belizeans.

Another Chopping murder in Corozal
On Tuesday, December 9, police caught a Corozal man red-handed while he was chopping another to death. On Sunday, December 14, Corozal investigators had to respond to a second chopping incident just outside of Paraiso Village in which 2 persons were killed, presumably by the same assailant. Acting on information received, they visited a farm less than a mile North East of the Village where they saw the lifeless body of a woman identified to them as Heidy Atherly. She was found in the yard with multiple chop wounds to the head, neck, and upper limbs. Inside a small concrete house, they found the body of 49 year-old Salvadoran Fernando Rivas, a cane cutter who resides there. He too had multiple chop wounds to the head, neck and upper limbs.

GAS GONE DOWN AGAIN!!! Diesel is now $7.88, Regular is $8

Young Mother Gets Bail from Ammunition Charge
Danika Usher, 23, mother of a 2-month-old baby is extremely lucky to be home on bail from an illegal ammunition charge. Attorney Ellis Arnold got the Supreme Court to waive a two weeks waiting period for bail applications and secured bail for Usher on Friday, December 12. On Wednesday, December 3, police visited Cardinez Alley in Belize City where they conducted a search of Danika Usher’s home. Police found a bullet in one of the rooms and arrested the four persons who were in the house at the time. Danika Usher was charged along with her cousin, Shantel, and two brothers Donovan Charles Usher, 19, and a 16-year-old minor.

Police United top seed into the Premier League of Belize playoff
The Premier League of Belize Opening Tournament regular season came to an end on Sunday 14 December, 2014 with one single game on the schedule. In that game played out at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the visiting Belize Defence Force and the host team Verdes FC played to a 0-0 draw. With that draw both teams have qualified to the playoff round of the Opening Tournament. The tournament continued on Saturday 13 December, with three games on the schedule. In the game played out at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the host team Placencia Texmar Assassins defeated Wagiya by the score of 6-2.

St. Catherine Academy and St. John’s College are National High Schools Basketball Champions
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association and Bowen and Bowen Basketball Tournament were played over the last weekend at Bird’s Isle in Belize City. On Saturday 13 December, 2014, in the female championship game, St. Catherine Academy representing the Central Region defeated Muffles College representing the Northern Region by the score of 26-23 to capture the 2014-2015 national title. The top scorers for St. Catherine Academy were Indie Dixon and Andreinae Samuels with 6 points each. The top scorers for Muffles College were Zetina Catzim with 8 points and Julia Puerto with 7 points. In the third place game Delille Academy representing the Southern Region defeated Sacred Heart College representing the Western Region by the score of 36-24. The top scorer for Delille Academy was Starite Requena with 22 points and the top scorer for Sacred Heart College was Kellsea Wade with 8 points.

Giovanni Lovell captures SMART Test Race
The Cycling Federation of Belize in collaboration with SMART sponsored an Open Elite Test race on Sunday, 14 December, 2014. The race started from in front of SMART Headquarters on the Phillip Goldson Highway to Carmelita Village and then back to the SMART Headquarters. The first rider to cross the finish line was Giovanni Lovell of BTL Cycling Team. The second rider to finish was Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray Road Addikz and he was followed by Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes, Henry Moreira of SMART Cycling Team and David Henderson also of SMART Cycling Team to round off the top five finishers in the race.

Jaguars United is Vega’s Cup champions
The 2014 Vega Cup Tournament came to an end on Sunday, 14 December, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town with the third place game as well as the championship game. In the third place game played, Awe V United blanked San Antonio FC by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Edwanie Munoz in the 11th minute of play to give his team an early lead in the game. That lead was never relinquished by Awe V United. For finishing third in the championship, Awe V United received for their prize $1000.00 in cash, a team trophy and individual trophies for the players and coaching staff. For San Antonio FC fourth place finished it received $500.00 cash and a team trophy.

Cop Charged with extortion
Police in San Pedro have arrested and charged police constable John Arana with extortion. Police report that on Friday, December 12, they responded to a report of an extortion in progress and they visited Mamacita's Entertainment Bar which is located on Angel Coral Drive in San Pedro Town. When they arrived they found P.C. John Arana making his way out of the establishment. Police conducted a search on him and in his wallet they found 10- 50 dollar bills alleged to have been extorted from the establishment's owner. The businessman told police that Arana had approached him and instead of going to court for bills he owed to a supermarket he could make it go away for a fee. At the time Arana asked for 200 dollars up front and for an additional 1000 dollars which he would pick up on Friday. The businessman then gave him 2 - 100 dollar bills and Arana left.

Robbery turns near fatal in Mahogany Heights
Mahogany Heights Village experienced a dangerous shooting incident on Thursday, December 11, in which 5 persons could have been injured. Fortunately, only one out of the entire group was injured, and he managed to survive the attack. At around 6 p.m., five residents got off a bus and were walking through a grassy path into the village when a dark complexioned man, who was wearing a hooded shirt, approached them. That man then proceeded to hold them up at gunpoint, which caused everyone to panic and flee. At that moment, the gunman started firing at the group, but he ended up hitting 22 year-old Joel Winston Seawell in the right side of the mouth and lower back. He managed to escape and sought help from one of the villagers who rushed him to the Western Regional Hospital for medical treatment.

Chain Saw out on bail
James Swazo, 38, also know as the chain saw man, was offered bail in the sum of $5,000 plus two sureties of $2,500 each by Justice Antoinette Moore on Friday, December 12. Swazo was charged along with Burton Claire, 20, Gavan Claire, 19, and Kyle Carter, 19, for keeping a .38 Special revolver and ammunition without a gun license. There was an armed robbery at a Chinese Grocery Store on Albert Hoy St. in the Belama area on Thursday, October 30. Three men entered the shop demanding money. One was armed with a chrome handgun and another went behind the cash register and took out $741. The men then ran into a waiting green Geo Prizm and drove out from the area. Quick police response resulted in the men being tracked and captured on Coney Drive. Inside the vehicle were four men along with the loot and a .38 Special revolver loaded with four rounds. They were arrested and taken to the Queen Street Police Station.

Hon Rene Montero Christmas 8-ball tournament, Santa Elena Cayo
The Hon. Rene Montero Christmas 8-ball tournament continued at Link-up Bar in Santa Elena, Cayo on Sunday, December 14, where it was the grand semi-finals with the following results. Series #1, team seeded # 2, Link-Up defeated team seeded #3, Camp 6 in a truly exciting best of two matches. In the first match, Camp 6 looked good as Rogelio Boteo shot like never before in this tournament as he downed Erwin Woodye, Jr, 4-1. But, Jimmy Rudon of Link-Up tied up the match as he turned it up by beating Angel Vargas 4-3. Then, Juan 'Maestro' Villanueva taught Mark 'Bukis' Trujillo a lesson by winning him, 4-1. This meant Link-up won the first match, 2-1. So, we go to the next match, which means that two players from Camp 6 needed to win to force a tie-breaker, and sure enough that’s what happened. The first game saw Angel Vargas meeting Jimmy Rudon again, but this time Angel won Jimmy, 4-2. Then Wayne Wiltshire chalked up for Link-Up and defeated Mark Trujillo, 4-1 which tied up the match. The third game was won by Rogelio Boteo over Juan Villanueva as Boteo racked Juan 4-3, though Juan had the golden opportunity but Boteo made him pay.

Patrick JonesPJ

Special Envoy for Women and Children reports a successful year
It has been a successful year for the Office of Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis-Barrow, capped by Tuesday’s reception of specially equipped vehicles for clients of the Inspiration Center. Looking forward to 2015, the construction and equipping of a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for the […]

Salvation Army hands out Christmas packages
Belize City residents were the first to benefit from the annual drive of the Salvation Army to spread the joy of Christmas to all Belizeans this morning with the first distributions of over 500 packages of basic food items to needy residents of the Old Capital. The items […]

Police to put on show for City residents
This coming Friday the Police Department’s Drama Group and the Office of the Commissioner are hosting Belize City residents at the BTL Park for a special interactive event. We got a preview from Deputy Officer Commanding Eastern Division Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster who said the initiative is the […]

Non-custodial sentence for man who plead guilty to drug trafficking
His house was searched while he was not home, but 33 year old Wallace Rubio, unemployed of Hattieville, Belize District, admitted to possession of 10 pounds of cannabis with the intent to distribute, which is drug trafficking. Rubio today pleaded guilty before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer, changing his […]

Man accused of gang affiliation is given bail
It is a charge increasingly thrown at Belize City residents as police attack the gang structure at its roots, but there was a dispute in Magistrate’s Court today over exactly what it means to display gang membership. 19 year old Jason Philip Briceño was one of two persons […]

Men plead guilty to robbery attack outside barroom
21 year old Iran Jones began a five-year sentence for robbery and wounding today, pleading guilty before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer in the No. 2 Magistrate’s Court. He along with 21 year old Lorenzo Ogaldez, who also pleaded guilty, is accused of robbing and attacking boat repairman 28 […]

Man charged for double murder in Paraiso, Corozal
Sixty seven year old Jose Antonio Santos has been arrested and charged for the double murder which happened on Sunday morning in Paraiso village, Corozal. Santos was arraigned before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton on two counts of murder in the brutal murder of 22 year old Heidi Teresita Chable […]

Christmas parade this weekend in Punta Gorda town
A Christmas parade will take place this coming Saturday in Punta Gorda town. The event is the collaborative effort of the Punta Gorda town council and the Drums Not Guns group. Organizer of the Christmas parade Janine Johnson says it will start at 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon […]

International Sourcesizz

Los mejores hoteles sobre el mar
De México a Bora Bora, aquí un recuento de los más exclusivos resorts encallados sobre las aguas del océano. Este fin de año nos dimos a la tarea de recorrer el planeta para presentarte los mejores hoteles que ofrecen a sus visitantes bungalows construidos sobre el mar. Toma nota y ve planeando la última escapada de tus vacaciones de esta temporada. 5. Cayo Espanto (San Pedro, Belice) ¿Alguna vez has soñado con tener una isla propia? Pues bien, lo más cercano a este pensamiento es Cayo Espanto, una isla bañada por las aguas del Caribe, que ofrece a todos los turistas un universo de confort, lujo y descanso. Cayo Espanto sólo cuenta con seis habitaciones y un Bungalow, hecho que hace que los pocos visitantes tengan a su alcance toda la isla. Además, existe la posibilidad de recibir un masaje en el Spa y disfrutar del Restaurante del lugar, que tiene una carta repleta de platillos tradicionales. Las tarifas van de los 1,500 a los 2 mil dólares por noche, y si quieres visitar este exótico lugar, lo mejor es que reserves con anticipación.

North American expats reveal the beauty of Belize
Retired expats living in Belize have spoken about why they have chosen to live in the English speaking Caribbean country which they say offers a comfortable lifestyle on a reasonable budget. They enjoy the beaches and the mountains and claim they can live on between US$2,000 and US$3,000 per month. Many are Americans who also say they still feel close to home. Belize has a population of 330,000, is located below Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and has a rich heritage including Maya temples, seaside condos, jungle lodges, and colonial mansions. The main settlement, San Pedro, is described as a bustling town with lots of tourists and expats. But Ambergris Caye is the most established of the expat communities in Belize and has seen considerable growth in the last 10 years.

Belize expands visa waivers
Belize's Ministry of Immigration has decided to expand the list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the Central American nation. Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse said citizens from Japan, South Korea, Colombia and Brazil, as well as U.S. permanent residents, will benefit from the decision, according to Belize's 7 News television. "The reason for that is very simple, we are pushing tourism. COPA wants to fly in from South America to Belize," Hulse said, adding that his ministry can't "hang up people having to apply and it's taking a long time, so we waived the visa requirements." He said citizens from roughly 50 countries don't require visas to come to Belize.

Belize elimina exigência de visto de vários países, entre eles o Brasil
O Ministério de Imigração de Belize decidiu eliminar a necessidade de visto de vários países da Ásia e da América Latina, entre eles o Brasil, com o objetivo de impulsionar o turismo, informou nesta quinta-feira a imprensa local. O canal "7 News" divulgou declarações escritas do ministro de Imigração, Godwin Hulse, em que explica que, além dos brasileiros, serão beneficiados os cidadãos de Colômbia, Japão e Coreia do Sul e residentes permanentes dos Estados Unidos. "A razão é muito simples: estamos impulsionando o turismo. A Copa (companhia aérea) quer oferecer viagens de Belize rumo à América do Sul", afirmou. O titular da pasta acrescentou que para atrair novos turistas à Belize não será conveniente deixar as pessoas esperando em aeroportos com "solicitações que tomam muito tempo"

Global real estate franchisor RE/MAX, LLC divided and sold their Caribbean and Central America (CCA) region today. The new owners of RE/MAX Caribbean and Central America are John and Lucinda Turley of Belize, and Ricardo and Teresa Cardenas of El Salvador. A new RE/MAX Dominican Republic region is now owned by Mélido and Marianela Marte of Santo Domingo. "These two new owner groups are the perfect region owners. Each of these individuals has been a successful member of the RE/MAX network for many years. This change in ownership feels like a natural progression that demonstrates the 'Everybody Wins' philosophy at RE/MAX," says Larry Oberly, Vice President, Global Development, RE/MAX, LLC. John Turley has owned two successful brokerages in Belize since 2009, earning the title of the #1 real estate brokerage in that country from 2011-2013 for RE/MAX Southwind in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, and the #1 real estate brokerage in Caye Caulker Village in 2013 for RE/MAX Island Real Estate. Turley himself was recognized as the #1 RE/MAX Global Sales Associate in 2013 and has been a Top 30 RE/MAX Sales Associate since 2011.

8 Luxury Treetop Stays to Experience
BLANCANEAUX LODGE Mountain Pine Ridge, BELIZE In the protected Caribbean forest of Mountain Pine Ridge, the Francis Ford Coppola mountain lodge Blancaneaux Lodge is located in one of the highest points of the country, and from its vantage point in the forest, affords views over the surrounding area, with a cooler climate for outdoor pursuits. The Balinese-style lodge overlooks a small river and waterfall, which you can look out on from the lodge's private infinity pools. The lodge is near the ancient Maya archaeological site of Caracol, and a pool, spa and stables are all a part of Blancaneaux Lodge too.

DirecTV secures FIFA rights in the Caribbean
DirecTV has acquired the exclusive Caribbean media rights to FIFA events across all platforms from 2015 through 2022, which includes the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, among other FIFA events. The agreement includes the territories of Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent, Surinam, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks and Caicos.

Novelty driving sales of fruits from Caribbean, Central America
Produce items coming out of Central America and the Caribbean are numerous and several are gaining in popularity. Robert Schueller, director of public relations for World Variety Produce in Los Angeles, which markets under the Melissa’s label, said his company is having success with red Caribbean papaya from Belize, okra from Honduras and snow peas, sugar snaps and rambutan from Guatemala. “Red Caribbean papaya has shown the most growth potential over the last four to five years, especially,” Schueller said. There’s growing demand for “a sweeter large papaya variety,” as compared with the maradol papaya, he said. Jessie Capote, owner of Miami-based J&C Tropicals, said mangoes and green-skin avocados are among his company’s biggest-selling items. “There’s more variety coming from those countries, and there are more distribution points. There’s just a lot growth in that category all the way around,” Capote said. Mangoes have entered the mainstream with other staple fruits, he said.

SICA pushes for stopping child migration, welcomes Cuba-U.S. pact
Leaders at the Central American Integration System, SICA, summit have agreed to continue pushing for actions to stop the migration of unaccompanied children to the U.S. and congratulated this nation and Cuba for their agreement to normalize relations after a more than five-decade break. The 44th Summit of the heads of the SICA nations, held in Belize, also agreed Wednesday on a human-centered approach in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, after the expiry of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals next year. On the initiative of Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, SICA approved a resolution congratulating the U.S. and Cuba for agreeing to renew diplomatic ties. SICA, with headquarters in San Salvador, said in a statement that the summit dealt with the group's five pillars of priority: social integration, economic integration, institutional reinforcement, democratic security and risk management, and climate change.

Belize Provides a Luxurious Home Away from Home for the Holidays
There is a growing trend for holiday travel, and more families are looking for new and unique holiday experiences. Families are realizing that spending Christmas abroad can actually take stress out of the holidays, and create the opportunity for loved ones to truly connect and spend quality time together. This Christmas, Villa Verano will be transformed into a luxurious “home away from home”. Located on the beach, Villa Verano is within close proximity to jungles, rivers, waterfalls, as well as the spectacular Belize Barrier Reef with an abundance of diving, snorkeling and fishing adventures. Christmas in Belize is magical. The weather is perfect for exploring jungles, reefs and ancient Mayan cities. Families will experience the familiar elements of the holidays, but in a warm, tropical setting. Most Belizeans share in the traditional rituals of Christmas. Decorating, baking and socializing are the highlights of the holidays, and with so many ethnic groups, the celebrations are truly multi-cultural.


Manatee Footage in Belize from Blackbird Caye Resort, 1/2min. Manatee sightings like this are rare. On a recent dive trip to the Great Blue Hole our very own Cardinal was able to capture this amazing footage of the West Indian Antillean manatee. Cardinal has been with us for 5 years and was his first time seeing one so that tells you how rare this is! Enjoy....

Bamboo Beach Resort - Copper Bank, Belize - Central America, 12min. Aerial video and some stills of the Bamboo Beach Resort in Copper Bank, Belize, Central America

Belize Vimeo, 4min.

San Pedro Belize 2014, 12min. This is a video of my vacation to San Pedro Belize December 2014

Trilogy The best proposal, surprise wedding and honeymoon set 1.part Proposal in Lands of Maya, 9min. This is a video of my proposal, surprise wedding and honeymoon which took place 10000 km away from my home in Latvia - in Central America and Caribbean. My girlfriend thought we are going only for two and half weeks long trip to Guatemala, Honduras and Belize, but trip was extended to 7 weeks. In Belize she got proposed at secluded Caribbean island, than 4 weeks latter, she was taken to uninhabited island and one of the most beautiful and inaccessible beaches in the Pacific – Playa de Amor. None knew about wedding plans, even our parents and herself, and everything was organized behind hers back. She thought it was the last hours of the trip, but straight after wedding there was another surprise to come – honeymoon for one month in Mexico, Florida, Puerto Rico and Caribbean islands.

Vinelli Teaser, 3min. Richard Vinelli is the founder of the Ojojona Foundation and the interim representative of the Honduran Consulate to Belize.

Belize Bike Rally 2014 Ride Slide Show, 15min. First Belize Bike Rally, February, 2014. We are so fortunate to have ridden our motorcycle from Los Angeles, California all the way to Belize City, Belize, Central America, to join the celebration of the historic first Belize Bike Rally. We hope and pray that we could be able to attend in February next year the second Belize Bike Rally.

Belize 2014, 4.5min.

Althea Moses Belizean Cultural Dance, 3min. With Lorna Smith & Ms. Myrna At Lil Belize Restaurant Event Center

Belize vs Honduras punta style pt1, 2min. Big Music

December 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

The Island Academy Presents "Christmas Around the World." (7 photos)

Clive Myers, Director of Marketing resigns from BTB days after receiving new position
On Wednesday, December 17th The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) issued a press release stating that yet another acting Director of Marketing and Industry Relation had been appointed. Karen Pike, Director of Information Management, took over the position after the unexpected resignation of newly appointed Director of Marketing and Industry Relation, Clive Myers. One Monday, December 15th Myers was appointed to hold the position formerly held by Alyssa Carnegie after her resignation on Thursday, November 13th.

Historic! Cuba and USA normalize relationship after 50 years of embargo
After more than 50 years of embargo, the United States of America (USA) took the historic steps in charting a new course in their relations with the Cuba government. The announcement came following the exchange of prisoners between the two governments on the morning of Wednesday December 17th, a decision that shocked the world. USA has sanctioned the Castro led Cuban Government in 1961 after the relationship deteriorated between the two countries. After more than five decades, The President of the US Barrack Obama has moved to engage the Cuban government and in a televised statement said that the mechanism will be put in place to normalize relationships between the two countries via a new US Cuban policy.

Announcement of Cuba Policy Changes
I was a seventeen year old kid watching on a black and white television set when I first heard an American President talk of Cuba as an “imprisoned island.” For five and a half decades since, our policy toward Cuba has remained virtually frozen, and done little to promote a prosperous, democratic and stable Cuba. Not only has this policy failed to advance America’s goals, it has actually isolated the United States instead of isolating Cuba. Since 2009, President Obama has taken steps forward to change our relationship and improve the lives of the Cuban people by easing restrictions on remittances and family travel. With this new opening, the President has committed the United States to begin to chart an even more ambitious course forward.

Alleged rogue Tourism Police officer caught extorting businessman in San Pedro
Police on Ambergris Caye have arrested and charged a Tourism Police (TP) after he was caught extorting a businessman in a planned operation. The operation took place on Friday around 11:40AM when TP John Arana returned to collect a sum of money he had allegedly demanded earlier from the proprietor of a bar establishment. The TP has been charged for extortion and faces interdiction. According to police, prior to the operation, they were informed by the owner of Mamacita’s Entertainment Bar located on Angel Coral Drive, San Pedro Town, that Arana had visited the establishment. Police say that Arana had knowledge of the bar owner having financial issues before the court over bills owed to a supermarket. According to police, Arana told the owner of Mamacita’s that he could prevent him from going to court if he paid him a total of $1,200. The owner gave Arana $200 on the first day with the understanding that TP Arana would return on Friday December 12th for the remaining $1,000.

San Pedro Preschool hosts Christmas Party
It was all about Santa on Wednesday, December 10th as San Pedro Preschool hosted their annual Christmas Party. Parents and invited guests were treated to Christmas inspired songs and skit presentations by the toddlers and teachers. At the end of the night, Santa made a guest appearance bringing gifts for all the boys and girls.

Sanpedranos pay homage to La Virgen de Guadalupe
A large crowd of Catholic faithful gathered inside and outside of the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church to pay homage to the Virgin of Our Lady Guadalupe. The event took place on December 11th as part of the celebration of the Mexican Saint considered the Virgin Saint of the Americas. The festivities included Novenas (prayers) and an all night dedication and serenade ending with a procession on the evening of December 12th. The celebration of the Virgin of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the largest celebrations in Latin America, especially in Mexico. It dates back to the story of her appearance before Saint Juan Diego, an indigenous Indian farmer, on the Tepeyac Mount in Mexico in 1531. To commemorate her sainthood and birthday, millions of Roman Catholic believers across the world planned several events.

Ambergris Today

Clive Myers is BTB’s Acting Director of Marketing & Industry Relations
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is pleased to announce that Mr. Clive Myers has been appointed to act in the position of “Director, Marketing and Industry Relations”, as of Monday, December 15, 2014. Up until his appointment, Clive served as the BTB’s Destination Planning and Development Coordinator. During his tenure, he was instrumental in commissioning tourism strategies and economic impact studies for implementation as outlined in the National Sustainable Master Plan, as well as in the development and execution of the annual Village Arts Expo. Prior to that, he served as a Local Events and Press Officer at the BTB and as a Creative Arts Development Officer at the Institute of Creative Arts (ICA).

Belize No. 7 Tourism Brand in Central America - by Bloom Consulting
According to Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2014 Tourism Edition, this year Belize has remained on the 7th position in the region of Central America followed by its main rivals Nicaragua (8th) and Guyana (9th). Belize ranks #30 in the Americas List. The research indicates that Belize is performing very modest in all the variables; however, the best results are related to the field of digital demand by having a rather high number of online searches in terms of tourism. Also the growth rates in international tourism receipts and arrivals show low rates because the country is not advertising itself enough online.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Amigos Del Mar Moves Forward
Anyone familiar with diving in Belize knows the name Amigos del Mar, fondly known as simply ‘Amigos’. For over twenty five years Amigos have operated one of the premiere diving companies in Belize and as such have played an essential role in building the reputation of Ambergris Caye and Belize as a top dive destination. Amigos is well known for having the highest standards for safety and divers return year after year to dive with them. This has been good for resorts and for tourism. There is a saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ and now it’s Amigos’ turn to get going. In May of this year there was an allegation of sexual assault made against Gerson Cordon, who was studying to be a Dive Master under the tutelage of independent Diving Instructor Marciano Mendez. The allegation involves a female student, who was undertaking a private course of instruction with Mr. Mendez. Neither student was a customer of Amigos del Mar, nor was Amigos del Mar receiving any money for their training. Mr. Mendez was paid directly. Many independent diving instructors use the Amigos dock and rent equipment from them. The allegation of sexual assault was, quite correctly, reported to the police and is currently going through the court process. Amigos del Mar would like to make it absolutely clear that they do not tolerate sexual harassment of any kind and would terminate any employee found guilty of such a crime.

UB Grade Reports
Grade Reports will be available online to students on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

Prime Minister Barrow greets President Molina of Guatemala
Prime Minister Barrow greeted President Molina of Guatemala at the airport earlier today. Belize will officially hand over Presidency of SICA to Guatemala at today's summit.

Highlights from 44th Summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA) Heads of States (23 photos)

Christmas Shoppers in Guatemala
With no protest from from Belize, residents or Belize or Melchor merchants. The new SAT new tariff of Q160. per Belize registered vehicle for 72 hrs., has not slowed down the Belizean shoppers arriving early to do their Christmas shopping in Melchor, Guatemala. One critic from Benque has commented "LOL."

The Belmopan Tennis Club has reported to the Belmopan Police that on the morning of Tuesday 16th December 2014,it was discovered that the net on the Eastern Court at the Hilltop Tennis Courts complex had been cut down and removed by a person or persons unknown. This apparent act of vandalism can adversely impact the free classes being held at these courts for the constantly increasing number of school children being tutored in tennis-quite apart from the occasional tennis players who make use of these courts. Any information which can help in the recovery of this tennis net would be greatly appreciated and should be provided to the Belmopan Police.

British Honduras: The Invention of a Colonial Territory
New book, available at Angelus Press

Channel 7

Belize And Guatemala Sign Historic Agreements
Today the Placencia Peninsula was the scene of the 44th Summit of central American Heads of State. But while the summit was the main event – an historic signing of 13 bi lateral agreements between Belize and Guatemala stole the show. The agreements have been in the works since the start of the year. They are designed to earnestly build on the idea of confidence building which started at the beginning of 2014. Now as the year end, and after intensive negotiations between both countries, 13 of them have been finalized: they cover Prisoner Exchange Visa Waiver for Students, Deportation, Transmission Interconnection And Grid Connectivity; Stolen Vehicles and many other areas.

PUP Opposes Agreements
While the signatures on those 13 Bilateral Agreements are drying, the Opposition Party is expressing its concerns that the Barrow Government didn’t disclose it to the public before the decision was taken to commit Belize to them. Party Leader Francis Fonseca spoke to us at Independence Hall this evening in which he concedes that these agreements on the face of them, look like subject area Belizeans can support. He added, however, that because of Guatemala’s unfounded claim to Belizean territory, the Government needed to have asked for public buy-in on principle: Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition "Over the past few months Belize and Guatemala has been engaged in discussions and negotiations surrounded these bilateral agreements. The People's United Party, through my representative Senator Lisa Shoman has been involved in the process of discussion and negotiating those agreements.

Foursome Of Presidents To Placencia For SICA Summit
And while the 13 bilateral agreements made the headlines in Belize and Guatemala tonight, really they were secondary to the 44th SICA Summit of Heads of State. As the pro-tem president of SICA, Belize hosted the Summitt and welcomed its visitors which included four presidents. From early this morning, 7News was at the Riversdale Airport which was made operational just for the event:… Jules Vasquez Reporting… President Otto Perez Molina touched down at 8:30 am – one hour fifteen minutes after scheduled arrival – yet still his Beechcraft 40 was the first of the four Presidential jets scheduled to land at the Riversdale Airport. Beechcraft 40 When he got off the jet, it was to the sound of applause from Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow who warmly embraced his Guatemalan colleague.

Embarrassment for BTB - Director Marketing Resigns In Controversy
Right now, the Belize Tourism Board is reeling from a developing scandal: one of their senior executives has resigned in the wake of reports that he lied on his resume and job letter. As we told you 2 nights ago, Alyssa Carnegie vacated her post as BTB's Director of Marketing and Industry Relations to become the communication’s Director for Oceana Belize. The announcement that she joined the conservation organization came in the same day as the announcement from BTB that she was being replaced by Clive Myers. In the release from two days ago, BTB’s Director of Tourism, Karen Bevans, was quoted as saying, “We are very excited to have Clive as the BTB’s Director of Marketing & Industry Relations. I am confident that with his familiarity of the industry, coupled with his drive and passion for the development of tourism and Belize, we will build on our successes and continue to push our mandate forward.”

Mayor Bradley Threatens Media
Will Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley run for another term as the mayor of Belize City? It seems like we ask that question just about every other day – and that’s because the mayor just won’t give us a straight answer! And while he “hems and haws” on that one – today there was another question for the mayor – and he didn’t hesitate at all on the answer – but he still managed to not answer. IT was a simple “yes/no” question, but the mayor turned it into something else altogether. We’ll cut right to the chase:… Reporter "We heard reliably, you have collected you have collected your pay up to February out of frustration." Darrell Bradley - Mayor Belize City "If you report certain things which are inaccurate, i'm going to sue you. I will answer all of your questions. I don't mind answering any of your questions but don't ask me something which is way out. In terms of the question. When I responded to you last time we had an interview, we live in a political world. I am part of a political organisation which the UPD, I hold a political office which is mayor, elected by the people. Say that kind of environment is not fraud with people who have differences of opinion is to be juvenile.”

Schakron Says She's Interested in Job
So, while Mayor Bradley keeps talking around the question of whether or not he will run again in March, Yolanda Schakron, the PUP candidate who wants to replace him, does not mind saying that if he doesn’t want the job, she does. We caught up with her at the much-delayed launch of the PUP’s Belize City Municipal Slate this afternoon at Independence Hall – and here’s what she said: Yolanda Schakron - PUP Mayoral Candidate "I think he's very confused as we have noticed before in everything he does. People are telling me is afraid. I'm not worried about Darrell, I know that we will bring victory to the PUP. I went into the race knowing that Darrell was my opponent, so it doesn't phase me. I'm not worried about the UDP politics. I'm here to serve the people. This team we want to make the Belize City people lives better.”

BELTRAIDE Graduates 85
After 3 weeks, 85 participants from Beltraide’s Training and Employment Program graduated today. The main objective of the program is to make the trainees “employable” principally for the outsourcing industry but also for other career paths. At a ceremony held at the ITVET dining room to honor these graduates, 2 of them explained how the skills and experience they acquired from the program will enhance their chances at starting their careers. Lejia Melanie Gideon - General Manger, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Division "Those would be something we term soft skills. How to communicate properly with your coworker and supervisor. How to take constructive criticism, how to carry yourself, how to dress, how to brush your hair. How to manage your pay check, financing training. These are what we call the soft skills.

COLA Calls For Stake Bank Port
The activist organization COLA was back on the streets today. Along with FECTAB they’ve been pressing Government of Belize to get more involved in the dispute between the Fort Street Tourism Village’s owners, Diamond International and Mike Feinstein. As we’ve told you, Feintein’s Stakebank project has the greenlight to become the cruise port of call for Belize City, but it cannot proceed because FSTV’s exclusivity rights. It’s a battle between private entities that has spilled into the public realm because the tendering procedure to get cruise tourists from the ships to Belize City. The Cruise companies will be phasing out that tendering process by 2016 because they are transitioning to oasis class ships which are massive, and not built for tendering.

PUP Launches CITCO Slate
In our last segment, you heard PUP Mayoral candidate Yolanda Schakron’s about Mayor Darrell Bradley’s antics. She spoke to us after the political fanfare at Independence Hall in the PUP city council slate for Belize City was introduced. It was long delayed and today they tried to show that it was worth the wait: Yolanda Schakron - PUP Mayoral Candidate "I want to take this opportunity to introduce my fellow team members who are committed a positive change in city hall for a better quality of life for those of us living in Belize City. I will start with Jeremy Galvez. David Gonzales and of course the youngest one of the team, Micah Gooden. Would you remember when those poor workers from BML were locked up because this mayor didn't want to pay them, we have the one leading that fought, Delroy Pererra. I have 3 great women and I will start will Deltroy Hilton. We have another small business owner, a young man, Michael Novelo. You know we have beautiful women, Natasha Pipersberg. We have Sanjay Pitts, he has dedicated his service to after school sports programmes. Next we have Lennox Young. Lennox has over 10 years of experience as a business man. Last but not least, another great woman, Sharette Yearwood. Sharette has over 10 years of dedicated service as an educator.”

City Mayor Pioneers An Employment Policy For All Mayors
Earlier on, we showed you our interview with Mayor Darrell Bradley. He was speaking at an event held today by PUP and UDP mayors from all the municipalities countrywide. All 9 mayors signed onto a policy that Bradley designed after 8 months of consultation which will give staff of the diffident municipalities security of tenure. Much like the Public Service Regulations, this policy allows for these employees to be insulated from political manipulation. Mayor Bradley told us more about it today: Darrell Bradley - Mayor Belize City "Today what the 9 mayors of the 9 municipalities have done is sign municipal workers regulations. We have been working on this document for the last 8 months through a task force with a chair and we're been looking through various piece of legislation including the public service regulations, internationally treaties, we've looked at the labour act. What we wanted to do was create a set of objectives, policies and practices that bring uniformity to all municipal employment service in all of the municipalities. From the time a person is engaged to the time that they leave, there's one set of regulation that governs the terms and conditions of employment.

Hulse Explains New Visa Rules
And while we had the opportunity, we asked Godwin Hulse, who is also the Minister of Immigration, about a memorandum which we received. It details changes in visa requirements and is sent from the Acting Director of Immigration to port commanders, and immigration personnel. It waives visa requirements for several countries which has raised some concerns. We asked Hulse about it today, here’s how he responded: Hon. Godwin Hulse - Minister of Immigration "We've waived the requirements of visas from Japan. We've waived from South Korea, we're waived from Colombia, we've waived from Brazil and also from persons holding US permanent resident cards. The reason for that is very simple, we are pushing tourism. COPA wants to fly in from South America to Belize. They cover Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina.

PM Says Melchor Students Are Example of Confidence Built
And visas or border passes are not required by students coming over from Melchor into Belize. In October I went to the Benque Viejo border to learn all about the hundreds of Guatemalan primary and secondary school students who come to school in Belize every day. It was a fascinating study in casual cross border relationships between countries that have a territorial dispute. Today as Belize and Guatemala signed 13 historic bi-lateral agreements, the Prime Minister pointed to this daily student exchange as one of the signs that Belize and Guatemala have an unofficial good neighbour policy:… Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister "One example of already established relations between our two peoples is in the area of education. On a daily basis over 800 Guatemalan children cross from Melchor into Benque Viejo Del Carmen to go to school here in Belize.

Soldiers Lunch Break
We have been reporting on Christmas parties for kids, for HelpAge members, and for the public at large. So, why can’t the army celebrate during this season as well? The Belize Defense Force held its Annual Christmas luncheon today at the Price Barracks and about 400 soldiers were present. Brigadier General Jones says that the purpose of this event is to show gratitude for their service to Belize. This luncheon will also be held in Orange Walk and Cayo. Also interesting to note is that this is the first time 23 years that BDF personnel won’t be on city streets for Christmas patrols.

Seawell Appeals
Gary Seawell, another of the Seawell brothers that the US Government wants for narcotics trafficking, will remain in Belize, at least for the time being. He is on remand tonight, and though the Supreme Court has affirmed the committal order for his extradition, the judge has granted him the right to appeal. His attorney told us about the grounds for appeal today: Because of the stiff penalty for Continuing Criminal Enterprise is 20 years, Seawell’s attorneys believe that he will exhaust all legal avenues afforded to him to stop the authorities in Belize from extraditing him to the US.

Channel 5

13 Agreements Are Penned Between Belize and Guatemala
Thirteen…that is the number of agreements that were signed today between Belize and Guatemala in the margins of the SICA Summit that concluded today in Placencia. We will have more [...]

Agreements Cover Several Issues for Belize & Guatemala to Live Peacefully
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, signatory to the agreements on behalf of Belize, also conceded that both countries desire to live peacefully.  The PM acknowledged, in large part, the role Foreign [...]

P.U.P. Says Belizeans Should Have Been Consulted In Bilateral Agreements
As we said, the Opposition is not on board with the agreements. The P.U.P. issued a release earlier acknowledged that the opposition has participated in the bilateral discussions and negotiations, [...]

Is There Any Constitutional Constraint Against Implementation Of The Agreements?
Immediately following the signing of the agreements, Prime Minister Barrow responded to the P.U.P. position on the thirteen agreements with Guatemala.  He was quizzed by the media in Placencia on [...]

SICA Summit Concludes In Placencia
All that was being said at simultaneous press conference held by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. At the close of the forty-fourth SICA Summit, Belize transferred [...]

P.U.P. Launches Its City Council Slate
It is slightly more low-key and there were no bells and whistles when the People’s United Party endorsed its eleven candidates for the March Belize City Council elections. The launch [...]

The Historic Release of 5 Cuban Prisoners by the U.S.
There was another historic event happening today. Five Cuban prisoners held in U.S. prisons and a U.S. national imprisoned in Cuban were release. The Cubans had spent more than a [...]

An Exclusive Interview with the President of Guatemala
The President of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, arrived in the country at about eight-thirty this morning; he joined other presidents at a breakfast with Prime Minister Dean Barrow prior to [...]

Belize Mayors Association Ratify a Municipal Service Regulation Policy
In Belize City today, the Belize Mayors’ Association signed on to a municipal service regulation policy, which is also described as historic. It seeks primarily to change human resources practices [...]

Darrell Bradley’s Political Future…Is He In or Is He Out?
There is a lot of speculation that Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is calling it quits and that there is growing friction between him, councilors and his party. In fact, [...]

Cabinet Waives Visas for Several Countries Including Colombia
About a month ago, Cabinet decided to waive visas for a long list of countries from Japan to South Korea to closer to home….Colombia and Brazil. According to the Minister [...]

COLA Holds Protest Outside FSTV Zone
Today in Belize City, over one hundred protestors converged near the Baron Bliss Lighthouse to point a way forward for the cruise tourism sector. For several years now the issue [...]

COLA & FECTAB Push for a Port at Stake Bank
FECTAB’s executive member Yhony Rosado pointed to a new report that suggests Norwegian Cruise Line, who are completing their own facility at Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District, aim [...]

Clive Myers Resigns from the B.T.B.
Clive Myers was appointed Acting Director of Marketing at the Belize Tourism Board as recent as Monday. But his appointment has been short-lived because this afternoon, Myers resigned with immediate [...]

B.D.F. Christmas Luncheon to Honor Soldiers
The annual Christmas luncheon of the Belize Defense Force is an event to look forward to. Today, the soldiers gathered not only to celebrate the season, but also to honor [...]

2.5 Million Dollars Of Fair Trade Funds To Be Shared Among Cane Farmers
Cane farmers vote to share some Fairtrade money among themselves, but this is in contravention to Fairtrade regulations. That decision was made in a motion made on Sunday at the meeting where farmers also approved the agreement between BSI and BSCFA. Farmers motioned that 2.5 million dollars be divided equally between the over five thousand four hundred farmers. As we have mentioned, Fairtrade funds are not intended for this kind of spending and there may be repercussions. Chair of the Committee of Management Ezekiel Cansino and member of the committee Alfredo Ortega weighed in on the decision. Ezekiel Cansino “I am very concerned about that because knowing the standards of Fair Trade well we did had some precautions to us or we should have maybe stopped this motion but the general assembly voted for that and we will comply and even though maybe we will have some problems with Fair Trade.”

Fuel Prices Decrease
Ten days ago we told you about much needed relief for motorists at the fuel pumps and tonight, there is more good news to report as the prices on some of the fuel items went down. While Premium gasoline went up by 5 cents, it is still selling under the ten dollar mark at $9.70, Regular Gasoline dropped by 84 cents from $9.29 to $8.45. Diesel fuel went down 81 cents from $8.77 to $7.95. The price of world oil is plunging to its lowest level in years and this is translating to lower prices at the pump, bringing much relief to motorists and vehicle owners.

Mayors’ Association Launch Municipal Bill
Members of the Mayor’s Association held their monthly meeting in Orange Walk Town today. While most of the discussions surrounded municipal projects and best practices, there was one subject of utmost importance to the association – the Municipal Bill. In the Bill, the Mayors are trying to incorporate the Belmopan City Council Act, the Belize City Council Act and the Town Councils Act into one. The work begun years ago, since 2009 and members of the Association continue to make modifications to the recommendations. President of the Association, Simeon Lopez and Orange Walk Town Mayor Kevin Bernard weighed in more on the work. Simeon Lopez – President, Mayors Association “Four or five of them that are points that we need to iron out and on January 14th of next year which is just about a month away a task force which has been appointed this morning which is to consider these point and to make recommendations to be presented and to be presented to the minister we will meet in Belmopan to make sure that we try to get this going before our term expires.”

Belize Officially Taken Off The Red List By The EU
There is some good news coming out the European Commission tonight. Viewers may recall that in June this year, the EC imposed restrictions on Belize and other countries for not doing enough to combat illegal fishing activities even after government passed a new High Seas Fishing Act. After having showed improvements in their fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, today Belize was officially taken off the Red List, which is a list of countries deemed non-cooperative in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing) and the importance of each country’s role in ocean governance and sustainable fisheries is highlighted. Representatives of Belize, Fiji and the Pacific Community explain in the following video why the EU measures have been beneficial to strengthen the fight against illegal fishing in their waters.

Treaty Energy Fined For Trading Scheme
A report from The Amandala Newspaper went viral with information that Treaty Energy, a gas and oil company from New Orleans is facing fines in the United States for faking oil finds in Belize. The reports says that the ‘Securities and Exchange Commission charged that company and five of its executives with running a stock trading scheme through which they garnered US$3.5 million in illicit gains after they falsely announced a commercial oil find in Belize’. This ploy was done so as to scam people into buying stock in the company. For context, in January 2012, Treaty Energy announced that it struck ‘black gold’ near Independence, adjacent to the Port of Big Creek in Stan Creek claiming that it could drill up to 90 wells in the field, where the production potential was said to be 6 million barrels of oil. The concession given to Treaty Energy issued in 2007 was to operate under a joint venture agreement with Princess Petroleum to explore 1.8 million acres of offshore territory of Belize, east of the Belize Barrier Reef, and 200,000 acres onshore in the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts.

Another Machete Attack In Corozal
Machete attacks seem to be on the rise in the Corozal District. In less than one week three people including a couple have lost their life as a result of chop wounds and the murder weapon used in both deadly attacks was a machete. Tonight there is another report involving the use of a machete coming out of Corozal Town. On Sunday December 14th, 20 year old Belizean Construction worker of Xiaibe Village, Jonathan Myvett and one Elsner Itzab of Corozal Town, were in front of Border Restaurant situated on Park Street South, having a conversation when an argument ensued between both men. Reports are that Itzab pulled out a machete from his bicycle and began flinging the machete at Myvette who sustained injuries on the left side of the neck, three fingers and head. Myvette was bleeding profusely and was rushed to the Corozal Community Hospital for medical attention.

Shootout Between Authorities And Playadores Continues To Be Investigated
Yesterday we reported on a shooting between members of the Coast Guard Service and alleged beach combers in North Ambergris Caye that left one man dead. According to authorities, they responded to a shooting incident in the area of Bacalar Chico about 21 ½ miles North of San Pedro Town where they met Coast Guard personnel in the area. About 75 meters from the beach side in the bushes they saw a sawed off 12 gauge pump action shotgun and (6) 12 gauge cartridges. About 25 feet from the shotgun they found the body of 23-year-old Peter Castillo Jr. of Indian Ville Village, Punta Gorda Town lying face up with apparent gunshot wound to his body. Initial investigation revealed that at about 10:48a.m., a team of Coast Guard Personnel comprising of 6 persons were in the area conducting operation when they came across 3 male persons who were armed at the time.

Suspension Lifted, BSCFA No Longer Under Non-Compliance
The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is no longer suspended by Fairtrade. Viewers may recall that they BSCFA fell under noncompliance following a Fairtrade audit conducted earlier this year. The association fell under eight none compliances, three of which fell under child labor. Since then, farmers and the association have been working on corrective measures and on Sunday the announcement was made that the suspension has been lifted. Ezekiel Cansino “We received the letter that officially says that we have been lifted the suspension and we are now being certified up to 2016/2017.” Reporter “And so the funds that were held back for the six months, are you guys going to get that money?” Ezekiel Cansino “Yes, as soon as the mill starts to sale the sugar we will start to receive those monies.”

LICU Holds Christmas Market Day
The La Inmaculada Credit Union has been actively supporting small business owners with finance and otherwise through a number of programs. A part of their assistance is also helping these business owners expand their market and moreover, be prepared for such markets. To do this the LICU has organized many marketing days and one such day was held on Saturday at the institution’s parking lot. Here is more on what that was about. Dalila Ical – Reporting The marketing day is provided by LICU to its beneficiaries of small business loans in an effort to offer more exposure and expand their markets says Giovanni Arguelles. Giovanni Arguelles “We all know that in business involves two elements’ we have the person that is selling and the person that is buying which is the consumer and the vendor, having these events here we are trying to promote these people and their businesses so that they are better known in the community for instance if you are trying to find a certain product and if they are out here for future events if you need certain products you need certain items you already know who are the people to find with it right so that is basically what we are trying to do here.”

Getaway Car Confiscated By Police, Passengers Escape
Orange Walk Police intercept vehicle in which four robbers attempted to flee after they hit a local grocery store. According to authorities, the men held up the proprietor of a grocery store in the San Lorenzo Housing Site Area at about 12:45 this afternoon. Reports indicate that the men held the proprietor at gun point and demanded money. At some point however the proprietor of the store managed to run out of the shop and his assailants helped themselves to an undisclosed amount of money from the cash drawer. They got into their escape vehicle and drove off. Quick police response however led to officers intercepting the vehicle. Police pursued the vehicle, a gold in color Mazda car, and the chase ended on Oak Street in the Louisiana Area, Orange Walk Town. All four men made a run for it on foot and escaped police. The vehicle was impounded and taken as evidence. Authorities are now looking for four male persons and say that they have a principal suspect. Investigations continue.


Document Enveiled Outlinign Regulations And Policies
A formal document outlining regulations and policies seeking to provide job security and a level playing field in all the municipalities around the country was unveiled this morning inside the auditorium at the Belize Elementary School in Belize City. The document is geared at laying out best practices as they relate to the management in various areas including human resources, hiring and firing, financial management and the smooth transition between changes in leadership on the local level. Minister of local government Godwin Hulse spoke to the media today on the importance of this document. GODWIN HULSE “A formal document outlining regulations and policies seeking to provide job security and a level playing field in all the municipalities around the country was unveiled this morning inside the auditorium at the Belize Elementary School in Belize City.

Belize Host SICA in Placencia
Belize hosted the forty fourth Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in Placencia today. Today also marked the end of Belize’s leadership role as the Pro-Tempore Presidency of SICA; Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke for a few minutes to Guatemalan President, Otto Perez Molina, before giving his opening remarks. Barrow told the media that it was his duty to provide them with a status report. He reported that SICA is strong and that the organization’s efforts on all levels continue to bear good fruits. HON. DEAN BARROW “Over the past six months Belize presidency pro temporary set out on a path to build upon the good work of our predecessor the Dominican Republic and I take the opportunity to pause here and offer again our congratulations and thanks to President Medina of the Dominican Republic.

Brackett Speaks on COLA And FECTAB Protest
Less than a hundred persons gathered in front of the Bliss Lighthouse early this morning waving banners and placards appealing to the decision makers in the tourism industry to intervene in the Stake Bank issue. Members of FECTAB and COLA were out in few numbers but their message and the urgency of it was clear. We spoke with President of Cola, Giovanni Brackett. GIOVANNI BRACKETT “The first thing is that the current situation at the Fort Street Tourism Village our local people are being sidelined and deprived. We have heard multiple complaints over the years, benefits for the local tour operators have decreased significantly. Now we hear they are building a port down south and according to their stakeholders that were here this morning are saying that they can’t ships for next season are being pushed now to go down south.

Belize and Guatemala Signs Numerous Bi-Lateral Agreements
After the meeting of the Heads of States of the Central American Integration System, SICA, Belize and Guatemala signed several bi-lateral agreements. The agreements encompass thirteen points that focus on numerous cooperative works including education and energy. The bi-lateral agreement was signed by Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington and his Guatemalan counterpart, Carlos Raul Morales. Witnessing the signing was Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Guatemala’s President, Otto Perez Molina, and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, shared a few comments.

Christmas Event Held For BBDF
An Annual Christmas event for the First Battalion Belize Defense Force was held yesterday in the Toledo District. Paul Mahung has more. PAUL MAHUNG “A major Christmas event for soldiers of First Battalion Belize Defense Force was held yesterday in the Toledo district. During the event marking the annual Christmas luncheon for BDF soldiers on duty in the Toledo district keynote speaker was BDF commander Brigadier General David Jones.” DAVID JONES “Well normally once a year we try to give back to the soldiers to show appreciation for what they have done throughout the year by serving them food during our annual Christmas dinner. This is done throughout the country so all the bases we do the same thing.

Tush Speaks On Christmas Posada
Traditional Christmas Posada activities began last night in Punta Gorda. Correspondent Paul Mahung has the details. PAUL MAHUNG “Activities in connection with traditional Posada began last night in Punta Gorda. One of the organizers of the event is Francisco Tush.” FRANCISCO TUSH “So the event started with a procession from Indianville. Members of the Catholic church started around 6:32AM en route to my home here in Punta Gorda. We welcomed our members who assisted in organizing this date night Posada. We started with a prayer, faith sharing, singing praise to God and we thank the all mighty lord for sending his beloved Jesus Christ. This ritual started from our past ancestors who are Catholic so we want to pass this from generation to generation so that this practice will not be damaged of destroyed.

Waite Holds Protest In front of KHMH
Lillette Barkley Waite held a one woman protest in front of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Waite, also known as Nzinga told Love News she is simply trying to access the medical records of a family member, Florley Palacio, who passed away earlier this year at the institution. FLORLEY PALACIO “My protest today is to acquire the complete medical records of Florrie Palacio who died in this hospital. I was told by the hospital that they don’t normally give the docket as they call it to people and I had to remind them that it is legally the family’s rights to get a copy of it. Unfortunately when I was in a meeting reviewing the so called docket it was incomplete. Her admittance in September through her death was not in the file at all and I requested a complete copy of her medical records and that is what I am here for.

FIU Freezes Assets of Companies; Michael Young Speaks on Issue
Earlier in the year, the Financial Intelligence Unit, got a court order freezing the assets of six companies and their directors, believed to be involved in a half a billion dollar money laundering scheme out of Canada. Among those companies was Unicorn International Securities and this morning Senior Counsel and attorney for the company, Michael Young was in court and he explained what happened in the court room of Justice Michelle Arana. MICHAEL YOUNG “Well this case arises out of the events which also gave rise to the freezing order which was issued by the court at the request of the FIU. This arose out of the invasion if I may put it that way by the team on behalf of the state which team sees the documents, equipment’s and assets of our client UNICORN and took them away and as I said that happened on the 9th of September.

Fonseca Speaks On Protest in Belmopan
Last Tuesday, the international community observed International Anti-Corruption Day 2014. Belize was not a part of it because the Government has yet to sign onto the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention. Last week the Vision Inspired by the People supported by several other third parties held a protest in Belmopan demanding that the Government sign unto the convention. Public Relations for the VIP, Robert Lopez, told Love News, that Belize law dictate that all elected officials fill out a form sharing all financial details. So we asked the PUP leader, Francis Fonseca, if he has done so and here is his answer. FRANCIS FONSECA “I’ve never missed a year from the day I was elected back in 2003 unlike almost every UDP representative including Mr. Barrow. The entire time we were in government because we passed the law establishing the integrity commission and passing the integrity in public life act. From the entire time we were in government whenever we passed the law, I think it was 1999 or so up until 2008, Mr. Barrow never ever filled his integrity report, never once during that entire time.

Minister of Works And Transport Signs Contracts For Several Works
On Monday Minister of Works and Transport Rene Montero and Chief Executive Officer Errol Gentle, signed contracts for several works. M&M Engineering Consultants Limited signed a contract for the new Mullins River Bridge which was destroyed by severe flash floods during the passage of Tropical Storm Arthur in 2008. The cost of the design and construction of the bridge is four million four hundred and sixty one thousand one hundred and seventy two dollars and thirty six cents. It should be completed within a year. The project will be supervised by BECA International Consultants Limited with the assistance of the Project Execution Unit. Funding for the project is provided by the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Belize.

Inspiration Center Receives Donations
The Inspiration Center opened its doors to the public in March this year. The facility that aids children with special needs, today received two donations from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwanese Government. Executive Director of the Center, Kendra Griffith spoke of the donations. KENDRA GRIFFITH “We’ve been open for services since April we launched in March and we opened in April so that is approximately 8 months we have been open and since that time the center has conducted 144 assessments of children with disabilities. The assessment phase is one of the first phases in getting treatment and we are currently actively seeing approximately 65 children and they are coming here for both speech and physical therapy and we have about 173 children that we are seeing because we also have our field offices in the Orange Walk district, in the Cayo district and in the Toledo district and in those field offices we do community based rehabilitation an so community based rehabilitation is what the children get when they don’t necessarily need to come to the center to see the physical therapist of the speech therapist here they can be treated by our rehabilitation field officers.

Fatal Shooting Near Bacalar Chico
Yesterday we reported on a fatal shooting in the area of Bacalar Chico about twenty one and a half miles north of San Pedro Town. He has been identified as 23-year-old Peter Castillo Junior of Indian Village in Punta Gorda. According to Police, about seventy five meters from the beach side in the bushes they saw Castillo’s body lying face up with apparent gunshot wound to his body. Beside him were a black knapsack and a black sweater. Coast Guard personnel reported that they were on patrol when they saw three armed men. The men were reportedly ordered to drop their weapons however one of the men raised his shotgun in the direction of the officers who responded by firing three shots in his direction fatally wounding Castillo.

Belize Hosting SICA in Placencia
The Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) are gearing up to meet on Wednesday in southern Belize where a number of items will be discussed including immigration facilitation and security cooperation. The leaders are expected to coordinate their actions when it comes to risk-management and climate change, while evaluating the progress of the Alliance for Prosperity of the North Triangle following a report by the representatives of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala that was presented on November 14 in Washington with an aim to boost investment to reverse the fundamental problems facing the poorest countries affected by violence in the area, trying to stop mass migration to the United States.

CCJ Final Judgement On Nationalizing BTL
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has reserved its final judgment for January 23, 2015 following three days of arguments on the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited on January 23, 2014. According to reports, the court has proposed to accept additional written submission on certain points by December 17 with three days allotted for the government to respond. The Belize Telemedia Limited was nationalized following the presentation of the ‘Bill to amend the Belize Telecommunications Act to allow for the public acquisition of Belize Telemedia. On 24 June 2011 the Court of Appeal issued a judgement, ruling that the re-nationalisation of BTL in August 2009 was unconstitutional.


44th SICA summit held in Placencia
The 44th Summit of the SICA heads of State got underway on Wednesday December 17 in the village of Placencia. Foreign ministers of various Central American countries met to discuss a wide range of issues from national security to climate change, to human trafficking, among others, at the meeting of the council of ministers of foreign affairs which was held on Tuesday. The summit was chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington as pro tem chair of the Central American Regional Integration System. However, on Wednesday, the President of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, arrived in Belize at the Belize Ocean Club in Placencia, where Belize handed over the pro-tem presidency of SICA to Guatemala.

Police file charges in Paraiso double murder
On Wednesday, police said they have arrested and charged Jose A. Santos, a 67 year old Salvadoran National, for the crimes of Murder upon Fernando Pineda Rivas and Heidi Teresita Chable. On Monday, we told you about the double murder that occurred in the village of Paraiso in the Corozal Duistrict. According to reports a man and a woman were found dead on a farm about 3/4 miles North East of Paraiso Village, at around 7:00 am on Sunday December 14th. Neighbours say that at around 6:00 am on the same day, screams could be heard coming from the direction of the farm.

BTB new Director resigns amidst allegations of fraud
Only Monday, The Belize Tourism Board announced that Clive Myers had been appointed as Acting Director of Marketing and Industry Relations; a post left vacant when Alyssa Carnegie left for Oceana. The BTB boasted that Clive Myers holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management from Drexel University Online, among other local training. Well… what a difference 48 hours makes because at 4pm on Wednesday evening The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) sent out another Press release announcing that Mr. Clive Myers, “… has tendered his resignation with the organization, effective immediately.” It appears that Clive Myers is in the middle of allegations of Qualifications Fraud. Earlier, information about his educational records was photocopied and circulated to several media houses.

Patrick JonesPJ

Visa requirements lifted for South American and Asian countries
Colombia, Brazil, Japan and South Korea have joined the list of nations, now over 50, whose citizens no longer need visas to travel to Belize. The Ministry of Immigration and Nationality lifted the requirement last month, leading to complaints from locals who say the process of entering the […]

PUP introduces Belize City Council candidates
The People’s United Party (PUP) held a low-key endorsement of their eleven candidates for next March’s Belize City Council elections at the party’s headquarters, Independence Hall. The team of seven and four women led by Mayoral candidate Yolanda Schakron says it is dedicated to making Belize City better […]

SICA summit held in Placencia village
Belize has handed over the rotating presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA) to Guatemala. The handing over was done today during the forty fourth SICA Summit which was held in Placencia village, Stann Creek. Delegations from SICA member countries Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, […]

COLA wants to internationalize cruise port call
Cruise ship visitors leaving Belize City this morning were greeted by a puzzling sight in the area of the Baron Bliss Lighthouse: protesters demanding that authorities take action immediately on the issue of a cruise port docking facility for the Belize District. Tour operators led by the Federation […]

Cool weather conditions going into the second half of the week
Cool and mostly fair weather conditions prevail. The general forecast for Belize and her coastal waters is for sunny skies this afternoon. Tonight will be partly cloudy and cool. Shower activity will remain isolated. Winds over the open sea and along the coast will be north easterly […]

Epileptic man charged for attempted murder
26 year old Ervin Ramsey of Mahogany Heights, Belize District faces attempted murder charges in relation to the shooting of Joel Winston Seawell on December 11, 2014. Ramsey is accused of opening fire on Seawell and four other persons whom he allegedly attempted to rob as they came […]

Constable jailed for assault on female colleague
Police Constable Randolph Scott began 60 days in jail on Monday after conviction by the Chief Magistrate, Ann-Marie Smith, of aggravated assault of an indecent nature on a fellow female police officer at a police station. On October 26, 2013, at the Belama Precinct 4 Police Station, according […]

Court orders return of documents belonging to Unicorn International
Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana yesterday ordered the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to return a trove of valuable documents belonging to Unicorn International Securities. Six men – Belizean Andrew Godfrey, Bahamians Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, American Robert Banfield and two Canadians were indicted earlier this year in […]


My Year in San Pedro, All of Belize and Reasons to Visit in 2015, Part Three
Slowly but surely I am working through my blogs from 2014 and picking some of my favorite experiences. I’ve been one lucky duck…and done some amazing things around Belize this year. So here is Part Three and in case you missed it….Part One took me from Sanctuary Belize… …to May’s Chocolate Festival in Punta Gorda. Part Two took me from June’s THREE Lobsterfests to cave tubing under the Maya Mountains in August.

Today professional ball players around the world are quite famous and to many aficionados, adored. These ball players are the idols of the youth and for the older generations, iconic. This is the way it is today. Two thousand years ago, the story, to say the least, was almost the same. The home team players were revered, the opponents, well, they died! The games, because there were two ball courts, at Xunantunich (one of the most visited sites in the country of Belize) may have been exciting, emotional and to many devastating. The truth is however, that no one knows the rules of the game. All the fanfare today about the game, even the reenactment, comes from murals and paintings found on ceramic pieces and walls, which have been discovered by archaeologists. The murals and art of the ball game are embellished with men in gear. This gear covered their waists – stone and rubber yokes – which protected them from a heavy rubber ball, which weighed up to nine pounds. Their elbows and knees were also protected with rubber pads. At no time have the art and murals shown the ball being held in the hands or kicked with the feet, which was a smart move as there was no gear shown protecting the feet.

My Belize travel bucket list
We all have bucket list ideas about things to do and places to see before you die. If visiting Belize is one of them, I’d like to share the activities that are high on my list and I’d love to hear about yours. My list slightly changes as time passes since I add or remove some stuff. I first started making a checklist after I realized that even though Belize is small, there’s so much to explore. I knew that by jotting down these experiences and making it important to me, I would be able to push myself to accomplish them. And let’s face it, it feels amazing to accomplish things, especially things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do!

Powder Bun Bars
This the 1/2 recipe of Belizean Powder (Poda) Buns. Instead of making them individually, I made them like a bar and cut them into serving size bars. You won't have to put your hand into a sticky dough if you don't want to. These are delicious and simple to make.

The December 16, 2014 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Popular Santa Elena DJ Brutally Murdered In Esperanza Village:
    The dead body of a popular Santa Elena DJ was found off a feeder road in Esperanza village. On Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at around 4:30 p.m. San Ignacio police were informed of the discovery of a dead man clad in only a t-shirt and boxers found off a feeder road in Esperanza Village. Upon arrival, the lifeless body of a male person was seen laying face up with what appeared to be cut wounds on the head with blood covering the face. The male person was on his knees in a bending position. Closer inspection led police to identify the male person as Samir Fernandez, 24, Belizean laborer of a San Pedro Street address in Santa Elena. While processing the scene, police discovered a short pants, a pair of black slippers, and a dark grey Samsung watch.
  • Huge Drug Bust In Shawville Area:
    Today, over 84, 000 grams of marijuana was found in the Shawville area in San Ignacio. On Monday, December 8, 2014 Special Branch personnel on routine patrol in the Shawville area of San Ignacio, came across four “El Quetzal” crocus sacks in the bushes. The sacks were searched and found to contain what appeared to be a green leafy substance consistent with that of marijuana. At the time of the discovery no one was in the area.
  • Mexican Luxury Hotel Development Group Investing in Belize:
    The Government of Belize, through BELTRAIDE, is pleased to announce the completion of the sale of the island of Caye Chapel, on Monday 8 December, 2014. Caye Chapel, an island in the Belize District, consisting of 265 acres, was purchased by a leading Mexican luxury hotel development group. The group, who are owners and operators of luxury tourism developments in Mexico City, Cancun, and Acapulco, are currently working on a detailed development plan for the island for presentation to Government. It is expected that this plan will include the announcement of the partnership with a renowned global luxury hotel brand, to be announced in the near future, as well as the development of high-end residencies and other amenities.
  • Scientists Make 'Feel Full' Chemical:
    Scientists have created a chemical that can be added to food to make people feel full. Initial tests showed it helped people to eat less and slow weight gain. It harnessed the power of a proprionate, which naturally makes us feel full when it is produced by breaking down fibre in the gut. Writing in the journal Gut, the UK researchers said their chemical would have to be eaten regularly to have an effect. The ingredient is a foul-tasting soluble powder, but the team, from Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow, are trying to incorporate it into bread and fruit smoothies.
  • UniBAM Celebrating Human Rights Day:
    The United Belize Advocacy Movement joints organizations around the World in celebrating Human Rights Day today December 10th. The day marks the United Nations General Assembly adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and was first formed in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all member states and other organizations to celebrate. The theme for 2014, "Human Rights 365", it is a reminder that everyone is entitled to basic rights. UniBAM calls on all organization on this day to continue to express the values and principles of human rights, to ensure its inclusiveness and impact to quality of life of all citizens as rights are indivisible and universal.
  • HelpAge Belize Celebrates Human Rights Day:
    HelpAge Belize in collaboration with its partner agencies joins the rest of the World and Affiliate Members of HelpAge International in celebrating World Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2014. HelpAge International is marking the occasion with a renewed call for governments to challenge the wide range of human rights violations experienced every day by many older women and men. “Discrimination against men and women on account of their older age is one of the last remaining forms of prejudice to be tackled on a global basis,” said Toby Porter, Chief Executive at HelpAge International. “This has to change and a new UN convention on the rights of older people is the way to challenge age discrimination.”
  • Criticism: Giving and Receiving:
    Have you ever asked someone to give you an honest criticism? A very positive action on your part is to solicit criticism when appropriate. Ask for it, if you please. A sign of maturity is recognizing you don't know it all and you're open to learn more and to change, and you want to improve. Have you ever asked your boss for some honest feedback? Have you ever said, "I realize I need to improve in this area. Can you give me some good pointers on how to do that?" Soliciting appropriate criticism says a lot about you, and the response you receive is generally given in a positive way, much more palatable than unsolicited criticism. Instead of a criticism, it becomes a "critique." There's a perceived difference in a criticism and a critique.
  • Shame On Me, Again:
    "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (ESV) It happened suddenly and without warning. One minute I was sitting in a booth, laughing over a cup of coffee with my youngest son on his college campus (which just so happens to be my alma mater). The next minute, I'm driving away from my old college stomping grounds when the mere sight of a corner drugstore triggers a painful reminder of my past. It just so happened to be the same corner drugstore that one of my roommates and I ducked into late one night under a cloak of darkness to purchase a pregnancy test. She was late and had assumed the worst. It turned out it was negative, but it just as easily could have been me purchasing the test.
  • Diphtheria:
    Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane (a pseudomembrane) on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity. A milder form of diphtheria can be restricted to the skin. Less common consequences include myocarditis (about 20% of cases) and peripheral neuropathy (about 10% of cases). Diphtheria is an infectious disease spread by direct physical contact or breathing the aerosolized secretions of infected individuals.
  • Avoiding Poisons In Your Cayo Food:
    The second symposium on Finding Healthy / Safe Foods in the Cayo District will be held Saturday 13th December at the Maya Mountain Lodge’s conference facility. The November symposium focused on safe market produce. This month the focus is on processed boxed and canned foods as well as concerns about GMO. The January one will be on finding safe animal products. All symposiums follow the agenda pattern of Market place, consultation, and learning exchange. The symposium will run from 12-4 pm with the following schedule: 12-2pm Market place where you can connect and buy from providers of healthy foods. 2-3 pm Consultations on the results from the last symposium 3-4 pm Presentation followed by “learning exchange” by participants on dangers of processed foods.
  • Brazil 'Serial Killer' das Gracas Alleges 42 Deaths In A Decade:
    Brazilian police have arrested a man who has confessed to the killing of 42 people over the last decade in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Police say they arrested Sailson Jose das Gracas on Wednesday, shortly after he stabbed a woman to death in a city suburb. He then confessed to killing another 37 women, three men and a two-year-old girl. The police are searching for alleged victims and say they have found four. In a police interview broadcast on Brazil's TV Globo, the man said he would go out hunting, and he killed for the adrenaline.
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International Sourcesizz

Tourism Edition Country Brand Ranking 2014 Bloom Consulting
Each year the firm ranks 193 countries on the economic performance of their tourism industries and how well they’ve developed their brand strategies. The methodology factors in hard and soft data in an effort to show the correlation between tourism receipts and effective branding. Rankings are based on (1) economic performance measured in tourism receipts over the past five years; (2) total online search volume for tourism-related activities and attractions within each country; (3) how accurately a country’s brand strategy reflects what the country has to offer to tourists; and (4) digital content and social media performance. According to Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking © 2014 Tourism Edition, this year Belize has remained on the 7th position in the region of Central America followed by its main rivals Nicaragua (8th) and Guyana (9th). Belize ranks #30 in the Americas List.

Guatemala and Belize Acknowledge Efforts to Improve Relations
President Otto Pérez Molina and Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow acknowledged today the efforts to improve their relations in a meeting held before the 44th summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA). Perez Molina was welcomed this morning by Prime Minister Barrow in the local airport of this Caribbean city. Perez Molina and Barrow committed to strengthen cooperation, security, economic links and gradually respond to the settlement of the two countries' territorial dispute dating from 1859. Perez Molina showed satisfaction with bilateral relations and urged to continue looking for consensus for the comprehensive development of the citizens of the two nations. Also today, the Guatemalan government is scheduled to sign 14 bilateral agreements with Belize.

Technical support mission to the Belize Barrier Reef System
World Heritage Centre is organizing a technical support mission to the Belize Barrier Reef System, property inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 2009. The mission is organized by the World Heritage Centre, in close coordination with the UNESCO Cluster Office in Kingston and the Government of Belize, and is aimed at assisting the State Party of Belize in its efforts to prepare a Desired State of Conservation for Removal of the Belize Barrier Reef from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The technical support mission will build on initiatives from UNESCO’s World Heritage marine programme to increase management effectiveness by using marine spatial planning as a key-tool in marine conservation. This Capacity building mission is financially supported by the Government of Flanders.

Treaty Energy execs to face SEC in courtroom
Treaty Energy Corp., a New Orleans-based oil and gas exploration company, has made its way out of the frying pan and into the fire. Five officers and the company lawyer are facing criminal charges after Treaty employed unlawful tactics in a stock scheme that could leave the company in shambles. According to Jennifer Larino for the Times-Picayune, Treaty used fabricated information in its press releases to drive investor interest leading up to its public offering. The news releases flaunted false declarations of a successful well completion in Belize, a claim which was quickly followed by refutes from the Belize government. However, the company didn’t stop there. Treaty then proceeded to illicitly offer its stock to investors, using legal documents that had been knowingly forged by Samuel E. Whitley, the company’s Houston-based lawyer. The illegitimate operations gained Treaty $3.5 million in profits. The announcement of its first successful well in Belize came on January 30, 2012. Although the release is available through the San Pedro Sun, it has since been deleted from Treaty’s official website. The company purported that it had completed its San Juan #2 well in the Princess Concession, stating that the payzone could produce as many as five or six billion barrels of oil.

Houston ready to be a gateway to Havana
As an established travel gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, Houston is positioned to benefit from any potential easing of tourism restrictions in Cuba. "There's a lot of fascination with Cuba," said Michelle Weller, a travel agent with Travel Leaders in Houston. "It's human nature to want to explore that final frontier. ... If Cuba opens for American tourism, it's going to be great for Houston." Much is already in place to capitalize on any travel changes that might follow President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday that put the U.S. a step closer to re-establishing ties with the island nation. In 2011, for example, Bush Intercontinental Airport was designated as one of the airports that could legally charter flights to Cuba. The first one took off in February 2012 with 80 passengers.

Signature drink
Whether it’s spelled rumpopo or rum popo, Belize’s version of eggnog provides a sweet kick at Christmastime. The concoction typically includes eggs, evaporated and condensed milk, white rum, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Re/Max sells franchise rights to Caribbean, Central America
Franchisor Re/Max LLC has sold franchise rights to the Caribbean and Central America, carving out a new region for the Dominican Republic in the process. Re/Max Caribbean and Central America is now owned by broker-owners John and Lucinda Turley of Belize, and Ricardo and Teresa Cardenas of El Salvador. Ricardo Cardenas bought one of the region’s first offices in 1995, and was recruited to work for Re/Max LLC in Denver five years later. As president for the region, he is credited with growing it from 500 sales associates in 2005 to more than 4,000 today. Turley has owned two successful brokerages in Belize, and was recognized as the No. 1 Re/Max global sales associate in 2013.

RE/MAX Sells Two International Master Franchises
Global real estate franchisor RE/MAX, LLC divided and sold their Caribbean and Central America (CCA) region today. The new owners of RE/MAX Caribbean and Central America are John and Lucinda Turley of Belize, and Ricardo and Teresa Cardenas of El Salvador. A new RE/MAX Dominican Republic region is now owned by Mélido and Marianela Marte of Santo Domingo. “These two new owner groups are the perfect region owners. Each of these individuals has been a successful member of the RE/MAX network for many years. This change in ownership feels like a natural progression that demonstrates the ‘Everybody Wins’ philosophy at RE/MAX,” says Larry Oberly, Vice President, Global Development, RE/MAX, LLC. John Turley has owned two successful brokerages in Belize since 2009, earning the title of the #1 real estate brokerage in that country from 2011-2013 for RE/MAX Southwind in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, and the #1 real estate brokerage in Caye Caulker Village in 2013 for RE/MAX Island Real Estate. Turley himself was recognized as the #1 RE/MAX Global Sales Associate in 2013 and has been a Top 30 RE/MAX Sales Associate since 2011. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to continue RE/MAX growth in the Caribbean and Central America and make it the go-to, trusted real estate brand in the minds of every homebuyer and seller,” says John Turley, CEO of RE/MAX Caribbean and Central America. “I’m glad I have the chance to help lead that growth.”

More than 100 aquaculture farms ASC certified
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has welcomed more than one hundred certified farms into its certification programme in just over two years and has stressed that last year the number of farms in the programme doubled. In August 2012 Regal Springs' Toba and Kedung Ombo tilapia farms were the first globally to gain ASC certification. At the time, ASC only had operational standards for tilapia and pangasius. In 2013 the bivalve, abalone, salmon and trout standards were launched, followed by shrimp in 2014. By the end of 2013, there were 57 ASC certified farms. And, over the last year, the programme saw a 103 per cent growth - bringing the total number of farms in programme to 116. With a growing selection of ASC certified seafood available, consumers across 40 countries can now choose from almost 1,500 products. In the last year alone there was a 148 per cent increase in ASC approved products, from 602 at the end of November 2013.

Plans Take Shape For Next Southern Partnership Station
Representatives of more than 20 Navy and Marine Corps commands met Dec. 9-11 at Naval Station Mayport to plan for Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel (SPS-JHSV) 2015, a four-month deployment that will focus on subject-matter expert exchanges with partner nations. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) hosted the main planning conference for the mission, which is scheduled to begin in June and include events in Belize, Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras - the same countries that participated in SPS-JHSV 2014. “We can build on what we did last year and pick up where we left off,” said Capt. Sam Hancock, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 40, who commanded SPS-JHSV 2014 and whose deputy, Capt. Errin Armstrong, will lead next year’s deployment. In an indication of the importance of integrating Navy and Marine Corps operations, a Marine will be the deputy mission commander.

Qatar joins Central American forum
The State of Qatar has joined the Central American Integration System (SICA) as an observer member from outside the region, during the preparatory convention for the SICA foreign ministers which kicked of in the Belizean town of Placencia on Tuesday. Qatar’s Ambassador to El Salvador Abdurrahman Mohamed al-Dosari and the Secretary-General of SICA Dr Victoria Marina Velasquez de Aviles signed the accession treaty, in the presence of all the ministers of the Organisation of Central American States. Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington also signed the treaty as a witness. The SICA Secretary-General welcomed Qatar’s accession to the organisation and confirmed that this event is a key moment in the history of the organisation because of its positive impact in strengthening and consolidating the bonds of friendship and co-operation between Qatar and the organisation’s member-states.

Scotiabank named Bank of the Year by "The Banker" magazine
Scotiabank was named the Bank of the Year in The Bahamas by The Banker magazine, a Financial Times publication. Managing Director, Sean Albert, was on hand in London in accept the award on behalf of Scotiabank, who also captured the The Banker’s Bank of the Year in Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. “We are proud of this award because it is a reflection of the hard work of our employees and their focus on providing sound financial advice and good service to our customers,” said Sean Albert. “Scotiabank has had a presence in The Bahamas for almost 60 years and in the Caribbean for 120 years. We’re proud to be known for providing personalized financial solutions to our customers and for delivering superior results for our shareholders.”


Belize 2014, 6min.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek - Green Globe Certified, 16min. Chaa Creek is fully committed to the implementation and utilisation of environmentally sound and sustainable Best Management Practices. All aspects of our operations and development adhere to these globally accepted methods. We were the first lodge in Belize to have been environmentally certified by the internationally recognized “Green Globe” program, and work within a memorandum of understanding with the Rainforest Alliance and their in-country counterpart, Program for Belize, to assist and promote tourism industry Best Management Practices throughout Belize. Upon arrival guests receive an orientation by our reception staff explaining Chaa Creek environmental policies as well as suggestions to encourage each guest to participate in our conservation efforts. Environmental awareness is then gently reinforced through written conservation messages in each guest room and through interaction with our staff throughout the stay, and our Natural History Centre houses numerous informative conservation exhibits and displays. We believe that by demonstrating our own environmental and social practices we assist guests in better understanding the many environmental, social and economic benefits that can be achieved when development is tempered with sensible environmental and social practices.

Night Dive in Belize: Parrotfish Edition, 1/2min. Aquarium diver Sean Marden observed some interesting feeding behavior during a night dive in Belize.

Snorkeling Sights in Belize, 7min. During a recent expedition to Belize, diver Sean Marden brought the underwater camera on an snorkeling excursion. Sit back and enjoy the sights on these shallow reef and seagrass beds.

Belize Day Dives, 10min. Here are all the interesting tidbits of the day dives we did in Belize (9 total dives)

Belize Night Dive, 5min. This is a compilation of some of the neat parts of the night dive in Belize

Scuba Diving in Belize, 2min. best day of the entire .... week

The Island Academy presents "Christmas Around the World.", 1min.

Family Protests Against KHMH, 5min.

Belize zoo with Canan and Valerie, 3.5min.

United 737-800 landing Belize City BZE, 8min. United 737-800 landing in Belize City from Houston! Such a pretty approach=)

December 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

A taste of the Caribbean at Spice it Up
Dennis and I had the opportunity of being served a bit of, well—a lot- of the menu! We enjoyed refreshing pina coladas and margaritas, as we waited for our food to come out. For appetizers, an island favorite – stuffed jalapenos! These little poppers are stuffed with well-seasoned chicken and cheese and packs a bit of a kick for those who like a little spice. Being pregnant, and as such, with valid reason to pig out without awkward stares- I also got beef nachos to munch on. Man was it loaded! Packed with fresh tortilla chips, layered in beans and cheese and topped with freshly made salsa and sour cream and of course perfectly seasoned ground beef- this is enough to be a meal on its own! However with Segret’s great recipes there’s always room for more, so out came the meals.

Fishers and Vessels Licensing
The Belize Fisheries Department hereby advices fishers and the general public that due to unforeseen technical issues, the licensing of fishers and vessels that was to be carried out in various coastal communities starting Monday December 15, 2014 has been postponed until early January 2015. The new dates for licensing being conducted in these communities will be circulated on a later date, via press release and radio announcements.However, the renewal of fisher and vessel licenses in Belize City will be done as per normal at the Licensing Office of the Belize Fisheries Department starting Monday December 15, 2014.

Southwest Airlines To Begin Nonstop Service To Belize
There is exciting news to report on the international flights to/from Belize. As the tourism numbers continue to grow, international airlines have recognized the demand for increased airlifts to Belize. Southwest Airlines today announced that they have filed applications to begin service to six new destinations, including Belize. This will provide Belize with nonstop service from William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas commencing October 2015. This service to Belize’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport adds a second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city in the Southwest route map.

Ambergris Today

Isla Bonita Elementary Holds Christmas Extravaganza
Every year, the students of Isla Bonita Elementary School pull off a fantastic Christmas Show that is packed with song, dance and entertainment for the entire family. The entire student body practiced for weeks to prepare for their performances that are especially dedicated to the parents. The Christmas show was held at the Paradise Theater on Friday, December 12, 2014. Each class prepared two presentations to show off their talent and just have a great time on stage before the holiday break. The theater was buzzing with chatter, applause and laughter as the audience enjoyed the show.

25 Years Ago: Growing Stages of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
You are looking at an aerial shot of the village of San Pedro back in the 1950s. The perimeters of San Pedro were from the beach side to the lagoon side on the west. On the south side the village commenced at the present day R.C School and ended at the cemetery on the north end. That was the entire village of San Pedro with a population of about four hundred inhabitants all of Mestizo descent with the exception of one or two families. It fit the description of a laid back serene fishing community perfectly. And then the expansion began. Mr. Milo Paz Sr. was the first to build just ahead of Mr. Ramon Badillo (+) right in front of the cemetery. Just ahead of the cemetery one Mr. Roger Reid had purchased from the Blake family all that piece of land that ran all the way to the Boca del Rio. (Section A on photo). The first one to purchase a piece of land outside of the village limits was a foreigner who built the first cabaña resort- Paradise Hotel. That hotel was considered for many years to be outside of the village confines. Mr. Reid built a small family home but never developed it anymore.

Flashbacks: Santa Claus is Coming to the Village of San Pedro
Santa Claus is the same whether it is in Australia or in Belize and on this grand occasion he is at the Central Park on San Pedro. The photo shows a small white house on the right hand which is where the renowned Alijua Building is presently located. The white one on the left is the old police station that stood right next to the park. We are fascinated by the happy faces in the shot. The gentleman in blue shirt is Wilber Marin so we must assume that the small boy in red is Esteban Marin. Taken in 1975, these happy kids are in their 40’s and have changed quite a bit, so join us in the fun of identifying them as they excitedly awaited for Santa Claus to hug them and give them their Christmas gifts in 1975.

Pic of the Week: Christmas Sand Art at Cayo Espanto
We have heard that there are about two great sandcastle artists at the Ambergris Caye private island luxury resort of Cayo Espanto. Here is one of their latest sand art creations made for their guests to enjoy. The staff of the exclusive private ialsnd express Season's Greetings to their guests and friends with this awesome Christmas Tree made from sand.

New Communications Director and Marine Scientist Join Oceana Belize
Oceana Belize is rapidly growing into becoming a very strong advocate for the protection and preservation of the country’s natural resources, in particularly on ocean conservation, protecting marine ecosystems & endangered species. Just recently they have added two strong and intelligent Belizeans to its team who will surely strengthen the non-profit organization’s mission. Oceana, the world’s largest international ocean conservation group, announced in a press release that effective January 12, 2014, Alyssa Carnegie will join their team in Belize as its Communications Director. “We are ecstatic that Alyssa has decided to join us,” enthused Oceana Belize Vice President, Janelle Chanona. “Alyssa’s ability to be simultaneously articulate and ardent will be significant assets in helping Oceana achieve policy victories that protect Belize’s amazing barrier reef and the marine resources on which so many Belizeans depend.”

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

San Pedro Town Council email sending spam
We would like to inform everyone that our email address is currently under SPAM which is an effect of BTL's server. We apologize for any inconvenience caused. We have already reported the situation to the BTL office and will be fixed soon. If you get an invitation to dropbox via, it is SPAM.

elize officially taken off the Red List
by the EU Improvements in international law obligations and legal framework to fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing results in lifting of trade sanctions imposed on Belize Oceana Belize commits to supporting GoB’s efforts to support EU goal Sustainability. Accountability. Progress. Those are the themes being emphasized by the world’s biggest fish importer, the European Union, as it continues to drive towards a global goal of the sustainable use of the oceans and collaboration in address the major threats confronting marine environments. And today, as Belize is officially taken off the Red List, (the list of countries deemed non-cooperative in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing) the importance of each country’s role in ocean governance and sustainable fisheries is highlighted.

Ministry of Works & Transport Signs Contracts for More Infrastructure Project
The Minister of Works & Transport Hon. Rene Montero and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Errol Gentle, signed contracts for the several works on December 15, 2014 at the Ministry of Works Conference Room in Belmopan. M&M Engineering Consultants Limited signed a contract for the new Mullins River Bridge which was destroyed by severe flash floods during the passage of Tropical Storm Arthur in 2008. The cost of the design and construction of the bridge is BZ$4,461,172.36 with a design/build period of 12 months.

Our Eagles Wings "Give Her Hope" Inaugural Event
Saturday, January 17th, at Ramon's. 6-8pm

Barranco Village Pier
On Friday, December 12th, 2014 a contract for the repair of the Barranco Village Pier, which was damaged during a storm in early October, was signed between the Chairman of the Barranco Village Council Dr. Joseph O. Palacio and contractor, Mr. Alexander “Sonny” Garbutt. The reconstruction project, which is scheduled to be completed in January 2015, is being financed by the Office of the Prime Minister and will be supervised by the Ministry of Works. The works total a little over BZ$41,000.00 and is one of the largest recent inflows the village has received for infrastructural development. The project will be most welcomed by residents as it is expected to create employment for Barranco Village. Dr. Francis Arzu, Secretary of the Village Council, witnessed the signing.

The European Council yesterday adopted a decision to remove Belize from the list of ‘non-cooperating third countries’ in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
This decision was taken pursuant to a recommendation by the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) to remove Belize from this list in consideration of the concrete measures taken by Belize to rectify the deficiencies pointed out by the European Commission earlier this year. This decision by the EU Council shall enter into force on December 18, 2014, the day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. This is the first case where a country is removed from the list of non-cooperating third countries through cooperation and on-going dialogue with the Commission; and it demonstrates that the EU system of bi-lateral cooperation and collaboration to assist third countries in fully implementing the IUU Regulation is indeed effective and bearing fruit.

Extended time: Power Interruption, entire Caye Caulker Village
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

48 inch height limit for cave tubing now 40 inches

Channel 7

Fatal Shooting Happened During A "Wet Drop" Crack Down
Tonight 6 men are detained as the result of a police sweep of Northern Ambergris Caye. This is part of an operation that was launched over the weekend to crack down on illegal narcotics activity on the north end of the island - due to increased "wet-drop" activity. Yesterday the law enforcement operation resulted in the fatal shooting of Peter Castillo. He was shot by the Coast Guard who say they were forced to fire after he pointed this pump action shot gun at them - as seen in the san Pedro Sun. Today his family came from Punta Gorda to Belize city for the post mortem and his aunt spoke to Daniel Ortiz:.. Alfonsa Castillo, aunt of deceased "Listening to the news last night when they said Peter Castillo, I immediately call his father in PG who is my cousin and I ask him if it's true and he said yes my sister, that is how we greet each other because we are old. So he said yes my sister, its Peter. So I ask what was Peter doing in San Pedro and he replied that he went to look for a job."

Guatemalan President Arriving In Belize For SICA Summit
The President of Guatemala Otto Perez Molina arrives in Belize tomorrow morning at 7:00 am via helicopter for the 44th Summit of the SICA Heads of State. He joins the Presidents of Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Panama along with heads of delegations for Costa Rica and El Salvador. The one-day Summit commences at 8:45 am at the Belize Ocean Club in Placencia where Belize will hand over the pro-tem presidency of SICA to Guatemala. Matters to be dealt with in the summit include the migration of unaccompanied minors to the United States, regional security, and climate change, among other topics.

Thyrel Hyde: Burglary Suspect?
Thyrell Hyde - in late 2013 after he produced security camera footage showing police shaking him down in an Atlantic Bank ATM. But tonight Belmopan police say he is a key person of interest in their investigation of a major heist at an electronics store in the capital. The burglary of Cellular World Belmopan happened between the eighth and ninth December when thieves got in through a window, turned the security camera away from them and stole 13 cell phones and other electronic accessories to a total value of twenty one thousand dollars.

Ambergris Cop Caught Red-Handed In Extortion Sting
On Friday, we told you about the cop who was caught red handed in an extortion sting. Well, Police Constable John Arana has been arrested and charged for extortion. Arana told a San Pedro businessman that he could fix a civil matter that was pending against him in court. Apparently the businessman had some unpaid grocery bills - and Arana allegedly said he could make it go away - for a fee. He asked for 1,200 dollars, and the businessman gave him seven hundred. But when he got the second payment, of five hundred dollars, the bills had been marked and photocopied and police were waiting to pick him up as soon as he had collected it at Mamacita's Bar on Friday morning. Today, Deputy Commander for Eastern Division Edward Broaster, was asked about him at a press conference held today by Police. He couldn't give us any specifics on the corrupt cop, but he said that this should put police on notice that even though the Department cannot control their actions while their out in the field, they will be dealt with harshly:..

The Perils Of Unprofessional Police Behavior
And while, we had the chance, we asked him about another bad cop who continues to do time in Prison. He's Police Constable Randolph Scott, the officer we told you about who was sentenced to 2 months in prison for sexual assault which he committed against one of his colleagues, a woman constable. Now, that is embarrassing enough, but during the course of the trial, reports emerged that drinking on the job, and drinking while on the Belama Police Station Premises was a contributing factor of the assault. Broaster responded to that as well: Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster, Deputy Commander, Eastern Division "I think that case speaks for itself. A lot of times people would say that we cover for each other, but that in itself is another case where we are very transparent and above board in discharging our responsibilities and not because it is a police officer we would not do a proper investigation or cover up any sort of wrong doing whether its against a member of the department or member of the public.

Police Christmas Patrol In Operation
But, to ensure that the spike in criminal activity that inevitably accompanies the holiday season is contained, the Eastern Division has stepped up their presence by putting more officers on the ground, especially in the business areas of the city. Broaster told us that they're doing all they can to stop thieves from operating, but you need to do your part too: Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster, Deputy Commander, Eastern Division "From the 15th November, we have stepped up the security for the anti-Christmas crime campaign. If you drive around the city you will notice that we have officers almost at every corner of the city. The rapid response of the police to any reports of crime and so forth has been significantly increased. And we want to encourage the citizenry to do their part in securing their belongings. Just yesterday, a lady was texting walking with her purse under her arm and someone came and grabbed it. We need to pay attention when we are about the city walking and don't present the opportunity for the criminals who are lurking around at the very opportunity to rob or thief anyone. We want to encourage the community to do their part. We are doing our part."

UDP Vs PUP In Cayo North: Round 1
Yesterday San Ignacio was the stage for much political scenery - when the UDP and the PUP turned things up for nomination day. Both sides brought out crowds, and both of them relied on out of towners to populate the parades. But tonight the PUP is crying foul: they say that UDP Candidate Omar Figueroa brought in support not only from out of town, but out of the country. The PUP campaign today sent us these pictures, which show persons wearing Omar Figueroa shirts coming across the border for the rally. You could say they were caught red-shirted, but seasoned political observers will tell you that as odious as it may seem, bringing in supporters, and, yes, even registered voters, from across all borders happens a lot during elections. It's just one issue springing out a local campaign that's garnering national attention because on the verge of a municipal election season, the Cayo North by-election is seen as an important heat-check for both parties. As we showed you yesterday, the contrast in political cultures was very distinct: the PUP supporters were more reserved, while the UDP loyalists were dancing in the street.

Emmanuel Willoughby Still On The Run
Police have several leads on the location of Emmanuel Willoughby but none have proven successful. As we reported last night Willoughby cut a hole in his cell door and escaped from the Belize Central Prison early Saturday morning. He is still on the run and has relatives in Libertad village in Corozal, Belize City and Georgeville village in Cayo. Police advise the public to be vigilant and to call 225 6229 or 610 4805 if Willoughby is seen.

Family Protests Against KHMH
A protest was held in front of the KHMH today. It involved the family of 19 year old Flory Palacio - who died on the 27th of September - after being hospitalized for 7 days at the KHMH where she was being treated for Tuberculosis. Her family told us today that numerous tests were conducted on the young woman for TB and all came back negative. When a medical letter was requested from the hospital in order for Palacio to get medical treatment abroad, the family claims they were denied. Palacio died shortly after and her death certificate stated that the cause of death was Hodgkin's lymphoma - a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer originating from white blood cells. Today her family came together to demand her medical file to do their own investigation. Lylette Barkley Waight - Grandmother of Flory Palacio "I came in and I had concerns and questions even of her treatment while she was undergoing treatment. I was out of the country. So, when I came in, I decided I would come in and request a copy of her medical records. I did that on November 17th, a written request. At that point, I was told to come back in a week. When I came back, I was told that the report was being prepared and I said I did not request a report, I requested a copy of the medical files. I was sent upstairs.

Westline Purchased D&E
Commuters along the western corridor can expect some changes with D and E Bus Line out of Benque Viejo. That's because it has been bought by Westline Bus out of San Ignacio. The owner of Westline Sergio Chuc told us how it will benefit commuters:.. Sergio Chuc, owner - Westline "It means improvement in the services because we know that D&E was going through a little crisis. You could see equipment was deteriorating. I am at liberty to discuss the details of their financials, but they needed to get out of the business and I think we have an excellent management crew that can take it over. We took over the operations on Saturday and we already introduced a new bus to the government workers; the ones that were complaining the most. So we had a nice bus that was put out for them this morning.

Omar's Camp Were All Belizeans
Before we could say "Belice es Guatemala" - we got a call from UDP candidate Omar Figueroa's camp saying that the persons we showed wearing his shirts and crossing the Belize Guatemala border were crossing the border to the Melchor side were a combination of Cayo North voters who work in the Benque Free Zone and UDP's from Belmopan who used the outing to Cayo to take a trip to Melchor.

Unicorn International Sues GOB
Viewers may remember that infamous fraud case which shoved Bahamians Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach into the glare of the public lens. That's after they were accused with 4 others by the US Government of participating in a billion dollar scheme to defraud the government of taxes they should have received for securities trading. During the initial stages of the operation to indict this men, Law enforcement from Belize conducted an extensive raid of their offices at the Matalon Building which resulted in the officers removing all the documents and items. That happened right around the time when the Financial Intelligence Unit went to the Supreme Court to freeze the monies that these men and their companies had in Belizean Banks. At the end, the Chief Justice unfroze the finances after ruling that there was not enough evidence against them to substantiate it.

Treaty Energy Workers Criminally Charged
Treaty Energy - it's a licensed oil exploration operation in Belize, but we caught their drift very early on when they started sending out fantastical claims about bogus oil discoveries in early 2012. There was no truth to it, but the press releases were apparently calculated to drive up Treaty's share price. Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission has come down on the company. News reports out of New Orleans Louisiana say that Federal regulators on Monday charged five officers at a New Orleans oil and gas exploration company with lying about striking oil in Belize in order to drive up the price of the company's stock, which was then illegally sold to investors. The company's Houston attorney was also charged with helping facilitate the stock-trading scheme.

Will The Petrocaribe Initiative Survive?
Keeping the focus on oil - what is the future of Petrocaribe? There's bene a lot of speculation that the programme will come to an end soon because with plummeting world oil prices, the Venezuelans just can't afford to keep it going. Last week we asked the Deputy Chairman of APBEL - which handles Petrocaribe in Belize - what the future looks like:.. Jules Vasquez "Are they giving any indication at the official level that the program is under review or the program may have to be terminated because they can no longer sustained it?" John Mencias, Dep. Chmn - APBEL (Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited) "No, not terminated at all." Jules Vasquez "Downscaled?" John Mencias "Neither downscale. I have said before that if people are expecting the PetroCaribe program to last from now until eternity under the same terms and conditions, that doesn't make sense, because conditions are changing around. It will have to adjust to realities around it. But the commitment to a program like this that is reaching out to the region - that will continue in some form or the other.

Fuel Prices Are Lowest In 12 Months
And the new fuel prices reflecting that low world price for a barrel of oil went into effect at midnight last night. It's not quite as low as our advance intel said it would be, but it is lower than it has been this year. A gallon of diesel is now seven dollars and eighty eight cents down from eight dollars and sixty nine cents, while regular is down to eight dollars and thirty seven cents from nine dollars and twenty cents, and the non PetroCaribe premium is actually up, from 9.57 to 9.63.

Feeding The Needy And Spreading X-Mas Cheer
There is a one dimensional Christmas story that is mostly celebrated - that's the story about family gatherings and mass, decorations and gifts to spread that Christmas spirit. But how about the story of those who may not be able to experience all that? Today the St. John's Cathedral Soup Kitchen hosted a Christmas lunch for the needy and the coordinators catered for 450 people. Tanisha Camal, a resident of Pen Road told us how for her and many others, this lunch is Christmas. Lillith Parks Sobernanis, Coordinator "Well as you can see we are here with our soup kitchen. This is the soup kitchen from St. John's Cathedral. We have been operating since 2010, and so this is our 5th Christmas dinner, the turkey dinner which is very popular."

Vehicles Donated to Inspiration Center
On Wednesday we reported on the launch of the 2015 Inspiration Center Calendar that features the drawings of 12 children. And today the center is making news again. They received two wheelchair accessible vehicles from Taiwan. Kendra Griffith, Executive Director of the Inspiration Center tells us how this donation will assist them to reach out to more children with diverse abilities. David Lin, Foreign Minister, Taiwan "I'm very happy to be here to witness the handing over of these two special vehicles. As I mentioned earlier, we are really supportive of this project to help the children, women here in Belize especially in cooperation with Mrs. Barrow." Kendra Griffith, Executive Director, Inspiration Center "These vehicles that were handed over today really contribute to the provision of our services because you would find that often the families of these children face severe financial constraints and these financial constraints don't allow them many times to access the basic services that they need. Sometimes healthcare services and even therapy services."

Belize Among The Happiest Place To Live
Is Belize a happy country? Now if your answer is 'no' it might be because - based on a 2014 Global Report on Violence Prevention- Belize's homicide rates are listed among the highest in the America's along with Honduras, Venezuela and Jamaica. Also, add to that the fact that over 40% of the population is below the poverty line - and the overall profile seems pretty grim. But turn that frown into a smile, people! According to a World Happy Planet Index, Belize is one of the happiest nations in the world, ranking 4th on the list. The Index does not focus on crime rates or affluence but on the ecological foot print. This has to do with the level of human impact on the environment and according to this index Belize is doing a great job in reducing the negative impact on the environment. Other very happy countries include Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world - which is plausible given that they renounced their military in 1948 deterring war and social unrest - followed by Vietnam, Columbia then Belize.

Police Put On COPS Play
When you think of police officers, the first thing that usually comes to mind is strict discipline and enforcement. Well, they're relaxing that image to put on a Christmas play in which they want to entertain you. They're going to dramatize the different cultures they experience on a regular basis while putting a comical twist on it. The play is called Commissioner of Police Offering Peace to the Society, or COPS for short, and the officers put on their first production last year. It's back again, and the Deputy Commander of the Eastern Division told us why you should come out to see these officers perform: Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster, Deputy Commander, Eastern Division "The Eastern Division is hosting its second Christmas Cop Show and the cops stands for Commissioner of Police Offering Peace to the Society. Tis show will be hosted at the BTL Park. It will be free of cost to the general public and we will be having some giveaways, drama, dance and what have you.

Fire Victim Gets A New House
A Hattieville fire victim received a brand new house yesterday from the Hattieville Resource Center. 54 year old Eloise Hyde lost $50,000 worth of items when her house was burnt down on July 9th of this year. Her 8-year-old grandson was playing with a lighter and he lit a curtain on fire and it spread, destroying the structure. They have been living in a shelter for the past 5 months but now they have an opportunity to a new start with their 3 bedroom cement bungalow house. The house costs about 70 thousand dollars.

Channel 5

Court Orders FIU to Return Confiscated Documents
Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana today ordered the Financial Intelligence Unit to return documents belonging to Unicorn International Securities by Thursday of this week. UIS is one of several companies [...]

Unicorn International Case Proceeds
With the order handed down, the Financial Intelligence Unit now has two days to return the documents to Unicorn International Securities. That’s a victory for the company, at least on [...]

Cane farmers to Share $2.5Million
It is unlikely that the sugar cane crop will be able to start on Friday as anticipated. That’s because B.S.I. and the B.S.C.F.A. have yet to sign the agreement which [...]

Belize Taken off EU Red List
Belize has been taken off the European Union Red List, a position it had been given because it was deemed, “non-cooperative in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.” The announcement [...]

Eastern Division Speaks on Police Misconduct
On Monday, a police officer was hauled off to jail after being found guilty of committing a lewd act upon a fellow constable at a substation in Belize City back [...]

SICA Foreign Ministers in Placencia; Guatemala to Assume Pro-Tem Chair
Regional Security is among several key issues being discussed at a gathering of SICA member states in Placencia.  On Tuesday, foreign ministers from the respective countries belonging to the regional [...]

William and Marleni on the Ground in Placencia
While presentations were made earlier today concerning issues affecting all SICA member countries, there are ongoing developments in Placencia where rounds of discussions on various matters continue.  On Wednesday morning, [...]

Epileptic Patient Arraigned for Mahogany Heights Shooting
An epileptic of Mahogany Heights has been charged for the late-evening shooting of Joel Seawell. Twenty-six year old Erwin Ramsey was arraigned late Monday evening for attempted murder, dangerous harm [...]

Police preparedness for the Christmas Season
There has been an increase in police presence on the streets of the Old Capital since mid-November in preparation for the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Season.  Traditionally, it [...]

Area Representative Says No Dialysis for PG Patients
Even as the Petrocaribe money continues to roll, the initiative continues to generate criticism. Actually it’s not the initiative, per se, but the priorities of the government which controls the [...]

Requeña Condemns Government for Dilapidated Roads in PG
According to Requeña, he has raised many issues in the National Assembly, but apparently nobody on the government side is listening. So he’s using the media in an attempt to [...]

Cayo Ambulance Breaks Down…No Petrocaribe Money to Assist
Monday was nomination day, and newscasts focused on the shows put on by both camps as their candidates did the deed. We’ve shown the highlights, but there’s another one which [...]

P.U.P. Leader Says PM Barrow Negligent in Filing declarations
Last week, the Vision Inspired by the People protested in Belmopan to draw attention to perceived corruption in government, and the need for the Integrity Commission to become a real [...]

P.U.P. Says They Are Ready for Municipal Elections
Will Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley be a part of the U.D.P. team when municipal elections roll around in March? That’s the question everybody’s asking, including the U.D.P.  The P.U.P. [...]

GO Wireless Opens Revolutionary Outlet
Christmas time is a popular time for buying gifts for family, friends, co-workers and even for your KK. Gadgets of all shapes, sizes and functions are on the market this [...]

Taiwan Donates 2 Vehicles to the Inspiration Center
Since its opening, the Inspiration Center has conducted a hundred and forty-four assessments of children with disabilities. The facility is currently actively seeing sixty-five children for speech and physical therapy [...]


Robbery In Caye Caulker, One Man Placed Behind Bars
The quick response from Officers at the Caye Caulker formation yielded a perpetrator behind bars. On Sunday at about 5:50 a.m., police responded to a robbery in Caye Caulker on Avenida Hicaco where they met 22-year-old Armina Brendalee Choc who reported that upon opening her coffee shop she was held up at knife point by a dark complexion male person. She reportedly gave him all the money from the cash register but still he attacked Choc with the knife where she sustained cut wounds to neck and head. Quick police response led to the apprehension of the culprit who was identified as 22-year-old Elroy Flores of Dangriga. He was detained pending charges. Choc has since been treated and released.

Double Murder In Corozal, Was Jealousy The Motive?
Over the weekend the District of Corozal recorded probably one of the most horrendous crimes to be committed for the year 2014 as a love triangle led to double murder in that rural community. Both victims were chopped to death early yesterday morning inside their home in the Village of Paraiso. What was left behind can only be descried ad a horrendous scene as both 49 year old Fernando Pineda Rivas and his 21 year old girlfriend Hidey Atherly suffered a bloody death. As investigators continue to put the pieces of the puzzle together, reporter Victor Castillo also went looking for clues. Here’s his report. Victor Castillo – Reporting On Sunday the silence that accompanies the break of dawn was shattered by the screams of agony in the peaceful community of Paraiso Village in Corozal as the district witnessed its 8th and 9th murder for the year 2014, just five days after the brutal murder of Mark Massam.

Traditional Christmas Parties Kept Alive In O/W Central
‘Tis the season to be jolly” goes the old saying and this is exactly how hundreds of children were this weekend as Orange Walk Central Area Representative held three children’s parties in his constituency. Here is a look at what transpired at the three events. Dalila Ical- Reporting Honorable John Briceno – Orange Walk Central Area Representative “For every Christmas we try to make it special for the children in Orange Walk Central and so we are here over in San Estevan and yesterday we were in San Lorenzo housing site and tomorrow we will be at the Phillip Alvares park, as we said Christmas is for children and we believe that by having a party for them, having all of them coming out here as a community along with their parents play games with them and give them gifts and give them goodies bags I think it is a small way where we can put a smile in the faces of these children.” And the joy could be felt indeed as children played and screamed in excitement at each gathering. Even Santa Claus had his hands full with children flocking around him seeking one hug or a picture with him.

Richard Harrison Officially Nominated As PUP Standard Bearer For Cayo North
This morning among a crowd of supporters at the Columbus Park, Richard Harrison was officially nominated as the People’s United Party’s Standard Bearer for the Cayo North Constituency. Harrison received the support from political candidates and elected officials from around the country and when asked about his aspirations for that area, Harrison explained his youthful economic revolution and delved into special interest policies including lack of jobs and lack of quality health care. Here is that excerpt thanks to our friends at 7news! Richard Harrison – Standard Bearer, Cayo North “I have noticed that there are three principal issues; first and foremost is that dollar for the families is not stretching far enough, too many people are finding it hard enough to make ends meet and that has a reason behind it, the second one is the high rate of unemployment, there are a few people in a house hold that are working and having to feed, clothe and shelter a number of people other than themselves so that is a burden caused by unemployment, and it leads to the first problem which is the stretching of the family budget and then the third one and very significant so is the infrastructure problem, the UDP has develop a small percentage of the division infrastructure and we are happy for it but the vast majority, 90% of the areas infrastructure is left dilapidated especially in the extremes, San Ignacio has grown three to four times over the last ten years so those new areas they are pretty much left abandoned and in really dilapidated state especially Bullet Tree as well which is our only village so those are the only three principals problems that I find.”

BTB Has New Acting Director Of Marketing And Industry Relations
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has a new acting Director of Marketing and Industry Relations and he is other than Clive Myers who takes up the position as of today. Up until his appointment, Myers, who holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management from Drexel University Online, served as the BTB’s Destination Planning and Development Coordinator. Myers has also received certification in the Urban Development Rejuvenation Project, Cultural Tourism Project and has received training in the Global Sustainable Tourism Plan for Destinations. As BTB’s Destination Planning and Development Coordinator, Myers was instrumental in commissioning tourism strategies and economic impact studies for implementation as outlined in the National Sustainable Master Plan, as well as in the development and execution of the annual Village Arts Expo. Myers replaces Alyssa Carnegie who is now Oceana Belize’s Communications Director Carnegie to start in January 2015. Myers will be acting as Director of Marketing and Industry Relations for a six months period, after which he may fully take on the position.

Massam’s Accused Murderer Remains Hospitalized
Twenty nine year old Mark Massam was brutally chopped to death on the night of Tuesday December 9th by 22 year old Carlos Cassanova. During the press briefing today Deputy Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation, Peter Serrano, updated the media on the case. Insp. Peter Serrano – Corozal Dpt. OC “At present the investigation is still ongoing, statements was recorded and reports were also received and the person who allegedly who did the chopping is still hospitalized and police security, whenever a person is released he will be escorted back to this formation of course we need to do certain checks as his medical condition and that is where we are right now.” As previously reported, it is said that the Massam’s arrived at the Casanova’s residence breaking bottles and threating the family causing them to fear for their life. According to Inspector Serrano he has spoken to the family of the murdered victim in or der to appease the situation.

Another Burglary For Corozal
A spate in burglaries is on the rise and over the weekend thieves targeted a business place in the Corozal District. Businessman Sunil Talreja reported to police that sometime between 10:00am on the Monday December 8th and 11:30am on the Tuesday December 9th his business place namely Shivam Restaurant and Pool place located on the South side of Progresso village was burglarized. Stolen from within were; (1) Flat Screen TCL brand television, 1 Sonivox DVD player, 2 white pool balls, alcoholic drinks, brand cigarettes and also damages caused to the building amounting to a total loss of $5,614.75. Police have since recovered most of the items and have since detained a relative of the businessman and are looking for the other brother both from the same village of Progresso. Police investigation continues.

Shoot Out In San Pedro Town Between Authorities and Playadores, One Man Is Dead
One man is killed in a morning shootout between the Belize Coast Guard officials and civilians. Authorities report that the incident took place between 10:30 and 10:45 this morning 21 and a half miles north of San Pedro Town. The six Coast Guards were on a joint special operation on foot and were patrolling the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve beach when they came under gun fire. Reports are that the officials returned fire and wounded one of the three men that shot at them. The men it is believed are beach combers. Authorities believe that a second man may have been injured but managed to flee the scene along with the other. The man that was killed was shot to both his hands and once in the chest and police have not released any identity on the individual who is described only and a Creole male. Authorities also recovered a pump action shot gun with six live rounds about ten feet from the body. At a distance police found a bag containing seven more 12 gauge cartridges.

Couple Knocked Down On Yo Creek Road, Woman Dies On The Spot
It is a fact that one of the leading causes of death in Belize is significantly contributed by road traffic accidents and many families have been left displaced in the process. One such incident was recorded on Friday night where a couple from Black Water Creek area of Orange Walk Town was on their way home on foot when tragedy struck. The impact caused both persons to receive varying degrees of injuries but Anair Canchan died at the scene. Officer in Charge of the Police Traffic Department is WPC Marilyn Pate who gave us an account of the incident which occurred 3 miles on the Yo Creek Road. WPC Marilyn Pate – OIC, Police Traffic Department “The lifeless body of female learnt her name to be Anair Canchan, 34 years old, domestic of Black Water with injuries to both of her legs and she was on the edge of the road about five feet away from her common law husband one Germais Hernandez, 37 years also from Black Water, he had a fractured left leg and scratches on his left side of his face, swollen upper and lower lips and he complained of pain in the chest and he was the driver of a 1996 white Geo Prism 4dr wagon with license plate OWC-00750 was driven by one Charles Houston Platter, 88 years American of #8 Fonseca Street was driving from the same direction coming from Yo Creek coming towards Orange Walk and the exact location is in the vicinity of Cuellos Distillery where the wife and the husband were walking along the side of the road when a vehicle coming on the opposite direction coming from Orange Walk towards Yo Creek blinded the elderly driver and hit both persons.”

Not All Cane Farmers Happy With New Agreement
As we mentioned before, the negotiations may have finally reached a resolution but for some members of the negotiating team, there is no reason for celebration. For his part, Alfredo Ortega expressed disappointment in the way the negotiations ended. Alfredo Ortega “Personally no, I am not happy with this because I think we have gone through two years trying to negotiate better for the farmers and then we reach to this point where we are back to square one and I personally I am not in agreement with this but as I said before the majority have spoken and we have to respect the decision of the majority.” And while he received harsh criticisms, BSCFA CEO Oscar Alonzo explained that the new terms were not endorsed by him either. “La primera junta que se tuvo cuando se empezó a presentar estas tres condiciones de la cual se concluye ayer entonces yo no puedo explicar de haya sino solo puedo dar los resultados porque como yo indique en la junta el viernes en frente de ellos yo no estaba de acuerdo pero se les pregunto y ellos si estaban de acuerdo en frente del Primer Ministro entonces como el Primer Ministro dijo los directores son los que están aceptando estas condiciones lo único que yo puedo hacer es presentar y lo que yo he tratado de hacer es salvar la situación.”


Greenwood Speaks On Importance Of Port
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize has planned a protest for Wednesday. FECTAB is pushing that the proposed Stake Bank project becomes a reality. President of the Association Tom Greenwood says with the changes to come within the industry, a port is of extreme importance. TOM GREENWOOD ”A solid rock hard contract which I ran by several legal agencies not least of which I ran by the Prime Minister himself because when we were lobbying to get the whole thing of the ground and going the Prime Minister said to me personally, ”Tom I don’t want you all to end up in the same mess that you are in at FSTB how can you guarantee that you people will have access?” We got a contract from the Stake Bank project.”

Mahogany Heights Resident Charged With Attempted Murder
Twenty-six year old Ervin Ramsey, an epileptic of #4 Q Street, Mahogany Heights, was charged with the attempted murder of Joel Winston Seawell when he appeared today before Magistrate Herbert Panton. Ramsey was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. He was remanded into custody until January 30, 2015.Ramsey was represented by attorney Audrey Matura shepherd, who told the court that her client was wrongly charged by the police who did not do any kind of investigation and who did not hold an id parade.

Police Constable Charged With Aggravated Assault
Police constable Randolph Scott was sentenced to 2 months today by the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith after he was found guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature on a female police officer. Scott was also charged with harm but that charge was dismissed due to insufficient evidence. The incident occurred on October 26, 2013, at Belama Police Station. The female officer, a constable, testified that Scott touched her legs, pulled up her skirt and pushed his hand inside her skirt.

BTB Selects Acting Director, Marketing And Industry Relations
Clive Myers will be acting in the post of Director, Marketing and Industry Relations at the Belize Tourism Board for the next six months. Previous to this post, Myers was the BTB’s Destination Planning and Development Coordinator. According to a release from the BTB, during his tenure in that post, Myers was instrumental in commissioning tourism strategies and economic impact studies for implementation as outlined in the National Sustainable Master Plan, as well as in the development and execution of the annual Village Arts Expo.

Minor Knocked Down
A young child was knocked down around five thirty this evening in the City of Belmopan on the stretch of Rio Grande near the junction with Xunantunich Street in the Piccini area. The condition of the child is unknown but Love News has learnt that the child, who resides on Macal Street in Belmopan, was hit by a gold F150 truck being driven at the time by the son of a senior police officer attached to Belmopan Police Station. Witnesses say that the child, who is the granddaughter of a police woman, seems to have received severe injuries to the face and jaw and was taken to the Belmopan Hospital for treatment. Love News will keep following this story.


Taiwan hands over vehicles to Inspiration Center
Opened in March of this year, the Inspiration Center at Mile 1 1/2 on the George Price Highway is dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with special needs, and making them an integral part of Belizean society. For those who are unable to walk, the Center provides transport with two...

Belize removed from European Council’s list of non-cooperating countries in illegal fishing
On Monday, The European Council adopted a decision to remove Belize from the list of ‘non-cooperating third countries’ in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing...

Ervin Ramsey charged for attempted murder
26 year old Ervin Ramsey of Mahogany Heights, Belize District, faces attempted murder charges in relation to the shooting of Joel Winston Seawell on December 11, 2014. Ervin Ramsey is accused of opening fire on Winston Seawell and four other persons, whom he allegedly attempted to rob as they came o...

34 year old Football player charged with carnal knowledge of 15 year old girl
34 year old Cristobal Gilharry played defense for the National A team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament last year. The young football star is now on the defense again, but for an entirely different ball game, after having been charged for unlawful carnal knowledge. On Monday December 15th, acting...

Coast Guard shot and killed armed man in San Pedro
A man was shot and killed by Coast Guard officers on Monday December 15, in the area of Bacalar Chico about 21 ½ miles North of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. According to police reports, about 75 meters from the beach side in the bushes, a sawed off 12 gauge pump action shotgun and (6) 12 gau...

Girl knocked down in Belmopan
There was a road traffic accident on Monday evening on the corner of Lubantun Street and Rio Grande Avenue, in Belmopan, involving the daughter of a Police Constable attached to the Belmopan police Station. Sources tell Plus News that sometime around 5:30 pm on Monday December 15th...

Murder acquittal for Honduran national
44 year old Honduran National Rosendo Gabarette was acquitted for the murder of Juan Cardona, on Monday. In November 2010, fifty six year old Honduran Juan Cardona was discovered dead in an area in the Village of Bella Vista, Stann Creek District...

FECTAB supports Stake Bank Project
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB) is ramping up the pressure on authorities responsible for the management of the cruise tourism sector, to intervene in the ongoing dispute between the co-owners of Fort Street Tourism Village (FSTV) and the proprietors of the Stake Ban...

New Building for Government Ministry courtesy Taiwan
Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been borrowing space at different Government headquarters, without having a building assigned solely for Foreign affairs duties. Recently it has been housing at the NEMO Headquarters in Belmopan . However that is all about to change as the Government is prepa...

Cane farmers agree with BSI despite misgivings
When we left you on Friday, it was with news that a tentative deal had been cut between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industries, Limited (BSI) and international partner American Sugar Refining (ASR) with the Government of Belize playing honest broker. The BSC...

Farmers to receive Fairtrade money for Christmas
Also at Sunday’s meeting in San Roman, the question of compensation for farmers waiting for payment for this year’s cane crop came up. It was decided as a stopgap measure by the membership to vote $2.5 million from Fairtrade funds to be equally shared with all farmers...


Coast Guard kill “playadores;” two others escape
The elite Coast Guard fighting unit, who were conducting an operation in the Bacalar Chico area of Northern San Pedro, about half mile from the Bacalar Chico Border with Mexico, was engaged in a shootout which ended with the death of a man who had allegedly fired at the officers at about 10:30 this morning, about 21 miles north of San Pedro. Police say that when the Coast Guard returned fire at three men, one man was killed and one of the other two men was believed to be hit, but they both escaped. The Coast Guard did not sustain any casualty. The dead man has been identified as Peter Castillo, Jr., 21, of the Water Reservoir area of Punta Gorda. He was shot in the heart and both arms, and died on the scene. His body was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Morgue, where it awaits a post-mortem.

Sexual misbehavior in office by cop gets him 2 months in jail
An interdicted police constable who was facing charges of harm and aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a woman police constable was sentenced to two months in prison this afternoon when he was convicted in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. “No credible evidence has been put forward that PC Randolph Scott caused harm to WPC Ruby Martinez,” Smith said as she acquitted him of the harm charge. Scott, however, was found guilty of the aggravated assault of an indecent nature charge, and in imposing the custodial sentence, Smith remarked, “I do believe that a message has to be sent to police officers at police stations that their ‘hanky-panky’ behavior must stop.”

3rd San Pedro cop busted for alleged extortion
In just over four months, three San Pedro police constables have been interdicted from duty on a charge of extortion. On July 24, Constable Elvin Nah of San Pedro police was arrested and charged with extortion and released on bail of $2,000 in the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court. On November 18, Constable Oscar Ramirez, also of San Pedro police, was charged and arraigned for extortion. Now Constable John Arana, another cop from San Pedro police, has been arrested and charged with extortion, for accepting $500 in extortion money from a businessman in San Pedro. Arana was taken to the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court today, Monday, where he was arraigned on a charge of extortion. He was offered bail of $3,000 and ordered to return to court on January 27, 2015.

Crazy chopping in Paraiso!
A jealous relationship that went terribly wrong has led to the death of a man and a woman who were both mutilated in a jealous rage early yesterday morning on a secluded farmhouse in Paraiso Village, Corozal. Corozal police said they visited a farm situated about 3/4 miles northeast of Paraiso, where they initially saw the lifeless body of Heidy Atherly, 21, the mother of a 4-year old child, clothed with a black 3/4 jeans pants and sky-blue blouse, lying face up on the ground next to some plantain trees with multiple cut wounds to the head, neck and upper limbs. A further search inside a small 15' x 12' concrete house, which is located nearby, led to the discovery of the lifeless body of Salvadoran cane cutter Fernando Pineda Rivas, 49, who was clothed in a red shirt, long green pants and rubber boots, lying face up next to a bed with multiple chop wounds to his head, neck and upper limbs.

Treaty Energy faces fine in US for faking oil find in Belize
Treaty Energy, a New Orleans-based oil-and-gas company, is in big trouble in the US after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that company and five of its executives with running a stock trading scheme through which they garnered US$3.5 million in illicit gains after they falsely announced a commercial oil find in Belize—only to scam people into buying stock in the company. According to the SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Treaty Energy Company issued “deceptive press releases,” in which it touted drilling successes in Belize and Texas to induce investor demand for its unregistered stock, which was then illegally distributed to the public.

GOB nationalization of BEL and BTL – CCJ decision in January
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) expects to hand down a landmark decision in January 2015 in the 6-suit challenge which stems from the Government of Belize’s nationalization of two public utility companies: the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) and the Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL). On December 10-12, 2014, the CCJ held hearings at its headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago, on consolidated claims filed by the Ashcroft group of companies and Fortis Inc. against the Attorney General of Belize and the Minister of Public Utilities. Lord Peter Goldsmith of the UK appeared for Dean Boyce and the BTL Employees Trust. His co-counsel, Godfrey Smith, SC, of Belize was not present for the hearings.

Man busted with .38 Special revolver on Sibun Street
Jose David Funez, 33, of a Sibun Street address, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February 12, 2015, on charges of keeping an unlicensed firearm and keeping ammunition without a gun license. Police reported that that at about 9:00 Wednesday night, they were on mobile patrol on Sibun Street when they saw a man throw a shiny object in the bushes when he saw them coming.

Boat attendant remanded to prison for allegedly sexually assaulting 7-year-old girl
A Biscayne resident was arraigned on two counts of sexual assault upon a 7-year-old girl and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison this afternoon, after the court prosecutor objected to granting him bail on the ground that he might interfere with the virtual complainant or other prosecution witnesses. Randy Dion Dominguez, 24, a boat attendant, pleaded not guilty when Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith read the two charges of sexual assault to him. Smith upheld an objection to bail from the court prosecutor, Corporal Noel Muschamp, and remanded Dominguez to prison until his next court appearance on February 4, 2015.

The dilemma of poor people
It is Christmas time, and a time of “good cheer.” But already it is a season filled with the hope and excitement of elections. The Cayo North by-election is near, and soon, after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, it will be “full metal jacket” into the swing of municipal, and there’s even talk of possible simultaneous general elections in March 2015. But these days, few people, especially poor people, whose lives are a day-to-day struggle to put bread on the table for their hungry children, have the time or the inclination to seriously reflect on what role their elected government leaders can and should play to improve their daily lives in tangible ways. The situation is what it is, and for anything perceived as done by the government of the day that looks good, they are fair to give them their kudos. The cemented streets and some jobs for roots people are seen as very good things being done by the UDP government.

From the Publisher
The Maritime Areas Act (MAA), which was introduced in the Belize House of Representatives in August of 1991, was a very complex document, very difficult to understand. There is an area of the sea, which Belizean fishermen have known as the Gulf of Honduras, where the maritime rights of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras overlap. Apparently these are areas which are very rich in petrocarbons and minerals, and it was in the interests of some huge corporate concerns to get the matter of the three nations’ rights sorted out so that exploration and exploitation of the specific maritime areas could be facilitated. The Maritime Areas Act was such a big deal that the two most powerful leaders of the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) at the time, Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel and Hon. Dean Barrow, supported the ruling People’s United Party (PUP), led by the Rt. Hon. George Price, when the Maritime Areas Act was introduced.

Belize’s cybersecurity culture and sensitive data – worrying things
Dear Editor, There were two stories aired on Channel 7’s evening news on Dec. 2 which caught my attention and urged some great concerns about our personal data and the use of technology to conduct business in Belize. By extension, I am also worried about Belize’s cybersecurity culture. In the first instance, I reference a news story titled, “Major police security breach via lost Special Branch flash drive”. This story informs that the police department, through what could be deemed negligence, lost a USB flash drive which contained sensitive data.

Family pulls plug on brain-dead son, 8, victim of Chetumal road accident
Kiran Moguel, 8, a student of Corozal Town who suffered massive head and body injuries in a traffic collision that occurred in Chetumal, Mexico, was allowed to die at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital on Thursday after doctors declared him brain dead. When Moguel was transferred from the Chetumal General Hospital to the KHMH, doctors rushed him to the Intensive Care Unit, where he was put on life support. After he was examined, doctors declared that he was brain dead, and that nothing more could be done to help him. After a consultation with Moguel’s family, the life support unit was unplugged and Moguel was allowed to pass away. His body was taken to the morgue, where it awaits a post-mortem to certify the cause of his death.

LPG prices lowest for 2014
The lowest prices for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the most common cooking fuel, which is also called “butane”, came into effect on Friday, December 12, 2014, when the Belize Bureau of Standards announced that the Government had decided to shave $5 off the price of a 100-pound cylinder of LPG. This means that a cylinder of LPG imported from Mexico via Belize Gas Limited and Western Gas Company Limited, will now cost $104 for the 100-pound tank in Belize. Imported LPG, with a lower percentage of butane and higher percentage of propane, imported by Belize Western Energy Limited, Southern Choice/Zeta Gas, or Gas Tomza Ltd. will cost $101 a tank in Belize City.

95 pounds of weed, gun and ammo get man 5 years in jail
Casey Fitzgerald Smith, 35, of Bishop Street, Belize City, has been sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of drug trafficking. Smith was additionally fined $10,000 and if he defaults on payment, he will spend an additional 3 years in jail. Smith was sentenced to an additional 5 years in jail for keeping an unlicensed gun and another 5 years for keeping eight 9mm live rounds without a gun license. He was taken to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court on Friday for the drug trafficking and gun and ammunition possession charges, and he pleaded guilty to the offenses.

BWS terminated employees’ lawsuit concludes in the Supreme Court
A lawsuit that was filed against Belize Water Services (BWS) by six of its former employees who were terminated from their posts at the company, purportedly as part of a redundancy exercise, concluded in the Supreme Court of Justice Michelle Arana late this evening. The six claimants are suing BWS for their outstanding benefits and packages. Attorneys in the case are expected to submit written submissions by January 23, after which Justice Arana will issue a ruling. No date has been set for Arana’s ruling in the civil claims, which began about six months ago. At today’s hearing, the court heard from the BWS Workers Union vice president Lorelei Westby, who was the union’s president in February 2012, when the six workers were given their walking papers following an internal investigation that BWS launched after a series of “salacious letters” had surfaced.

BSCFA yields; tentative sugar agreement reached
Cañeros are scheduled to meet this Sunday, December 14, and, if all goes well, they will accept a 7-year commercial sugar agreement that was brokered today between principals of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), and Belize Sugar Industries (BSI)/American Sugar Refineries (ASR) in the presence of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, and other government representatives at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. The concord, of sorts, among the sugar partners emerged after ASR’s representatives acknowledged the final proposals of the BSCFA, which, some have opined, has bent over backwards to hammer out an agreement in the best interest of not only the fractured sugar industry, but the 5,500 plus cane farmers who are uncertain about the prospects of the currently delayed 2014/2015 sugar cane crop season. When he came out of the meeting flanked by his deputy about an hour later, PM Barrow told us that he negotiated to get BSI/ASR to accept the BSCFA’s final proposals which, according to Barrow, reflected a great deal of maturity and compromise on the association’s part.

Leon Garcia, 27, shot on Victoria Street
Police are investigating a broad daylight shooting that took place at around 9:30 a.m. today, in which a pair of gunmen made a brazen attempt on the life of Leon Garcia, 27, a construction worker, as he made his way down Victoria Street in the northside of Belize City, on which he lives. Area residents said that they heard about five shots rang out as the two assailants, who were reportedly wearing hooded sweatshirts and armed with nine millimeter handguns, unleashed a barrage of shots at Garcia. Garcia, who we understand is no stranger to the law, was chased on foot by his attackers as he ran in the direction of Barrack Road, dashing into a nearby alley upon reaching the intersection with York Street, where the gunmen reportedly sprayed yet another fusillade in his direction.

Assassins out, BDF in
After the last regular season games ended in a draw yesterday at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, BDF clinched the final spot in the 4-team playoffs of the Premier League of Belize Opening Season 2014-2015. Despite their 6-2 victory the previous night over Wagiya in Independence, Placencia’s Texmar Assassins saw their playoff hopes dashed when the final whistle blew at the Norman Broaster Stadium with BDF gaining the extra point from a 0-0 draw against Verdes FC, who finished at the top of the standings. Three games were scheduled for Saturday night. At the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk, a convergence of unfortunate circumstances resulted in FC Belize losing their second consecutive game by default. As the home team playing out of Orange Walk, the small FC Belize contingent reportedly got caught in the traffic jam caused by the annual Love FM parade in Belize City, and were therefore late in arriving for their 7:30 appointment with Belmopan Bandits, who won the game by default, thus securing the third playoff spot.

Belizeans sweep, Leon O’Brien is Placencia Half Marathon 2014 Champion
Placencia Half Marathon, 13.1 miles Mexican Andy Gonzalez did not return on Sunday, December 7, to defend his “End of the World” Placencia Half Marathon crown, which he won last year in 1:15:09; but he probably “smelled the rat,” for Belize’s premier half-marathon runner, Leon O’Brien, who was second to Gonzalez last year in 1:16:54, returned with a vengeance to take the championship in this his second time contesting the event. Despite running without close competition this year, O’Brien, 28 yrs, still managed to shave some 43 seconds off his time from last year, to come in alone in first place with a time of 1:16:11, almost 4 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor, fellow Belizean Kenrick Duncan, 30 yrs, who completed the run in 1:20:28 for 2nd place. He was followed in 3rd place by another Belizean, Amed Figueroa, 23 yrs, who clocked 1:35:46. Some 122 runners, 77 males and 45 females from various age categories and nationalities completed this year’s event. The oldest finisher was Belize’s Sebastian “Sabe” Nunez, 61 yrs, who did it in 2:38:52.

SJC, SCA are NSSSA/Bowen & Bowen Basketball Champions
It was an action packed two days of national high school basketball at Bird’s Isle in Belize City on Friday and Saturday, December 12 &13, and when it was all over on Saturday afternoon, St. Catherine Academy girls of Central Zone (Belize City) and St. John’s College boys, also of Central Zone (Belize City) were both crowned champions of the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) Bowen & Bowen 2014-2015 high schools basketball tournament. The 4 female and 4 male teams, champions of their respective country zones – North, Central, West and South – were matched up in pairs on Friday, with the losers then playing for third place on Saturday, while Friday’s winners would play for the championship on Saturday. In the opener on Friday afternoon, Muffles College females earned a close victory over Sacred Heart College, 29-25. Yazel Sutherland top scored with 21 pts for Muffles, while Oniesha Burns had 10 pts for Sacred Heart.

Patrick JonesPJ

Political parties nominate candidates for Cayo North bye-election
On Monday, December 15, the major mass parties nominated candidates to contest the bye-election in the Cayo North division. The seat became vacant when Joseph Mahmud abruptly resigned, triggering the bye-election. The PUP’s Richard Harrison was nominated around 10 am while the UDP’s Omar Figueroa was nominated […]

Taiwan donates wheelchair accessible vehicles to Belize
The Inspiration Center today took receipt of a donation of two wheelchair accessible vehicles for use in its ongoing work with special needs children. Taiwan’s minister of foreign affairs David Lin who is on a visit to Belize, handed over the vehicles to the Chairperson of The […]

Misunderstanding ends with chopping
There is another report of a chopping incident in the Corozal district; but fortunately this time it was not fatal. The victim has been identified as 20 year old Jonathan Myvett. Police in Corozal have confirmed that Myvette was viciously chopped to the side of his neck, the […]

Gulisi Dancers win Habinahan Wanaragua Junior competition
Gulisi Community Primary School Dancers are the Back to Back Champions for the Annual Habinahan Wanaragua Junior Competition. This Annual Competition is organized by the Habinahan Wanaragua Committee in an effort bring dignity to the skillful Dance of Wanaragua. The exciting competition was started 4 years ago […]

Hungarian couple is biking around the world
Meet Zita and Arpi from Hungary. This couple is one of a kind. For the past three years they have been on an adventure where their ultimate goal is to have the time of their lives. Arpi describes it as an adventure honeymoon around the world. Since the adventure began, Zita and Arpi have been to 32 countries stretching from the Americas to Asia to the Middle East. Now they are heading for South America and we caught up witht he adventuring couple as they were wrapping up their journey through Belize heading to Guatemala.


Heading Home To Belize
These is something about freezing cold mornings and a true NJ Christmas shopping frenzy that made me happy to come back to Belize to celebrate the holidays. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t dislike visiting the States – at all. Things were looking lovely in the old neighborhood (even with light snow)… I just prefer to do it when things are a bit…warmer. And things are a little less hectic.

Great post by Joe Awe.....

10 Small Reasons Belize Is For You
1. Because hammocks and thatched roofs.Yes, imagine deciding today that you will do absolutely nothing but lie in a hammock with a book or your iPod with your dreams… 2. Because you are celebrities who are riding on horses walking unto a ferry to visit an ancient Maya City. Just saying… 3. Because…BOKETTO! A Japanese word which means staring into the distance without thinking. Yes, a place where theres only you…

Sometimes All You Need Is A Chair…
Sometimes the pressure we feel come from us. We demand so much of ourselves that we tend to exhaust our energies and sometimes even make blame. No problem, theres a chair on a beach in Belize for you. You don’t have to say anything. That chair is yours. Feel free to add a book, a journal, and certainly a beer or a drink or two. That chair our friend, is all yours! Sometimes we need to make some huge decision and we need some time where we can gather ourselves; we need a place where we can either be alone or with someone we trust. We need a place where we can just let go; let out; make way. We all need a place and a time where we can be so very honest with ourselves, most importantly. Well, we have a place for you.

International Sourcesizz

Where Could You Afford to Retire Overseas?
Your retirement income will determine what type of lifestyle you are able to lead. But how much more would your retirement income buy you if you were to retire overseas? Your cost of living anywhere is highly controllable and depends not only on where you live, but also how you live. This means that choosing where to live isn't as easy as picking a country. Life in Panama City is nothing like life in Las Tablas on this country's Pacific coast or in Boquete in Panama's highlands. Living in Paris bears little resemblance, in terms of cost or almost anything else, to living in France's rural southwest. Ambergris Caye, Belize, isn't Cayo, Belize. Chiang Mai, Thailand, isn't Bangkok. To decide whether you can afford to live in a specific overseas haven, you need to thin-slice your options. A budget for living in Uruguay, Malaysia or Croatia is only a starting point. You need to refine your budget depending on the city or region within a country where you're interested in settling. Some costs can be comparable countrywide, such as the cost of cable or phone service. Other costs, notably rent and transportation, which typically amount to the biggest share of overall monthly expenses living anywhere in the world, can differ dramatically.

Sustaining aquaculture as ASC continues to grow
The aquaculture industry is moving towards a sustainable future with the help of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) which has seen the number of certified farms in its programme double in the last year alone. Since 2012, when Regal Springs’ Toba and Kedung Ombo tilapia farms were the first to gain ASC certification globally, the programme has grown significantly, with a total of 57 farms at the end of 2013. And, over the last year, the programme has seen a 10% growth, bringing the total number of farms to 116. And, this year, the Belize Shrimp Growers Association has been preparing member farms, representing 67% of Belizean shrimp farms and 90% of total farmed shrimp production in Belize, to enter assessment against the ASC Shrimp Standard. The first farm audits took place recently and draft reports are expected in January.

SEC Says Felon Is Up to Old Tricks
A felon and his "hand-selected team of associates" sold millions of dollars of "virtually worthless" stock after making up a major oil strike in Belize, the SEC claims in court. The SEC sued defendant Ronald L. Blackburn et al. on Monday in Federal Court. The SEC describes Blackburn as a "convicted felon," and claims he controlled, and may still control, co-defendant Treaty Energy Corp. It accuses Blackburn and five others of manipulating the price of Treaty stock in a fraudulent campaign that included the announcement of a bogus oil strike in Belize. Blackburn et al. raised $4.9 million through their shenanigans, the SEC says.

Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. Declares First Quarter Cash Dividend
Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: CWCO), which develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent, today announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.075 per share. The cash dividend is payable January 31, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business January 1, 2015.

EU-inspired amendments to fisheries code likely to ‘kill’ industry, boat operators claim
COMMERCIAL fishing boat operators asked Malacañang to further review the proposed amendments to the Philippine Fisheries Code, claiming that the steep penalties for violations and the new-equipment requirements could “kill” the industry. In an appeal submitted to the Office of the President, the Alliance of Philippine Fishing Federations, Inc. -- composed of operators of commercial fishing vessels -- tagged the 2014 Amendments to the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 as “oppressive, confiscatory, cruel and unusual.” The EU estimates that IUU fishing nets €10 billion a year. The 11 million to 26 million tons of fish caught illegally each year is equivalent to around 15% of the world’s catch. It most recently listed in November 2013 the countries of Belize, Cambodia and Guinea as non-cooperative countries in the fight against IUU fishing.

13 of the World’s Most Secluded Beaches
Robles Point, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Most beaches on Ambergris Caye aren’t named but the secluded Robles Point, which is only accessible by boat, is special enough to warrant one. Not only is Robles Point virtually tourist-free, but it’s one of just two spots on the island where the coral reef meets land.

Belize's 10 Best Jungle Lodges
by Lan Sluder. After a day of high adventure in Belize’s rain forest — caving, hiking, canoeing, zip-lining, birding, wildlife-spotting, horseback riding, climbing Maya ruins or mountain biking — at one of the country’s jungle lodges, you can look forward to a delicious meal, good company, Wi-Fi and a comfy bed. Here are our picks for Belize’s best lodges in all price ranges.

Luxury Hotels in Belize
One of the smallest, least populated, and newest countries in the hemisphere, Belize is home to luxury tourism offerings that offer a laid-back escape with plenty of person attention. Belize's luxury travel market is in its own elegantly rustic class within the Caribbean and Central American regions. For one thing, resorts in Belize are small (70 percent of the country's licensed hotels have ten rooms or less). International hotel chains are almost completely missing in Belize, mainly because of the small size of the market and labor pool. In addition, most Belize hotels are independently owned and managed, resulting in each property being a truly creative expression of its owners' dreams and visions. Finally, Belize is an active destination and guests at even the most luxurious resorts invariably come to dive one of the world's largest barrier reefs, explore some of the Maya world's most fascinating ruins, and paddle and hike Belize's enormous swaths of wildlife–choked protected areas. All these things translate to a uniquely intimate and nature–heavy experience. Don't expect swift efficiency though in Belize, where the unofficial motto is "Go Slow, Mon!"


Reefs, Ruins & Revivals - Belize's Melting Pot, 27min. Belize has a decidedly different history and culture from the rest of Central America. English is the first language of this small nation, reflecting the its British ancestry, yet Belize retains deep historic connections among its many residents of Maya ancestry, and is proud of its strong African roots among the Garifuna people. Belize also has world-class archaeological sites, vast tracts of intact rain forest, and some of the world’s richest marine treasures.

Snorkelling Silk Caye, 4min. Nurse sharks, sting rays, turtles and an eagle ray.

Belize Police Department Commercial 2014, Security Begins With You!, 1min. Produced at Bel-Caribe Communications Services

Dennis Magee's Belize Adventure 2014, 15min.

WFCC 2014, 4min. Rather than exchanging gifts, we went on our first family vacation in years. Sailed the Norwegian Dawn from New Orleans to Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan Honduras and Costa Maya. Failed to take many videos of everything we did but we had a great time!! 1. Cozumel - Mr Sanchos Beach Resort 2. Belize City Au Huta Mayan Ruins 3. Roatan, Honduras, Anthony Key Resport (Dolphin Encounter) 4. Costa Maya - Port beach

Cruise Ship Tender Boat to Belize City, 2min. Belize City was the lone port that required tendering from the ship during our December 2014 cruise aboard the Emerald Princes. The entire ride took about 15 minutes, and this was the first 2 minutes of it. Note the beautiful view from the second deck of the tender- it could get very windy, however.

Roasting Cocoa Beans at Moho Chocolate in Belize City, 2min. The aroma and the sizzling sound attracted us to this chocolatier called Moho Chocolate at the Belize City cruise port area. We were there on a Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Emerald Princess in December 2014.

Boat Cruise to Lamanai Mayan Ruins in Belize, 3min.

Belize, 20min. by Tommy Stewart

Belize Mayan Ruins 11.12.2014, 60min.

Spanish Lookout, Belize, 5min. A day with a Mennonite legend. We worked on this farm for 25 days. Muy tranquillo!

GALEN UNIVERSITY GRADUATION 2014, 4min. Adam Carswell comments on his MBA program experience at Galen University. Congratulations to all the graduates.

December 16, 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

Letter to the Editor: And The Times They Really Are a Changin’ !- For Caye Caulker too. But are they?
Besides the Beauty of God’s Creation of Mother Nature, I’ve always seen the beautiful children of Belize as the greatest blessing of my beloved country of adoption. That’s why it is really hard to understand for me that we are not always looking after the needs of our children {and mothers} because they are, after all, the future of our country. LAST WEEK ANOTHER CAYE CAULKER BABY DIED! The more it changes the more it stays the same. How many babies have to die before we can provide a responsible emergency service for pregnant mothers in Caye Caulker? Responsibility is the ability to respond. And again we do not have that situation here on the island. I wish the authorities in charge would understand the terrible pain one suffers when you have to bury one of your children. It often destroys lives because it always stays with you. It certainly destroys most marriages of people who go through this.

Shootout between civilians and Coast Guard leaves one dead
A group of police personnel, including elements from the Criminal Investigation Unit and Scenes of Crime attached to San Pedro Police descended on the scene around 1:30PM to process the area. “We have launched two investigations – one a criminal investigation as is the norm in any crime, and an internal investigation since the personnel involved are law enforcement officers,” said Jemmott. San Pedro Police have seized the six firearms used by the Coast Guard Official as part of the police investigation. Jemmott said that the six officers have also been cautioned by police. As is customary in such circumstances, the six Coast Guard officials were taken to San Pedro Town for questioning and for them to give a formal police report. The San Pedro Police believe that Castillo and his two accomplices (who escaped) are beach combers, commonly referred to as “playadores.” The area on northern Ambergris Caye is known as a hot spot for playadores who search the beach for parcels of cocaine which frequently wash up onto the beach from wet-drops. Police will be going over their files and will try to reach out to members of the public to help identify the deceased. Meanwhile, the body of Peter Castillo was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for a post mortem examination.

Sunshine Scholarship Foundation seeks partners in Education
Since January 2014, five children in San Pedro Town have been granted tuition scholarships as they pursue their primary school education. This opportunity comes through the funding of the Sunshine Scholarship Foundation, which provides quality education opportunities for children at the primary school level. The registered non-profit foundation was established by chairlady Eve Dirnback. With the season of giving upon us, Sunshine is seeking partners in education who wish to make a difference in a child’s life through education. Currently the foundation is working within La Isla Bonita Elementary School, as reported in the February 6th, Issue #7 of The San Pedro Sun. The Board of Directors have been working directly with Principal Addy Martinez in identifying deserving scholars in need of financial aid. Once granted the scholarship, students are not only monitored, but obligated to attend classes regularly and must maintain a grade no lower than a “B” average.

Condor & Tropic Air Announce New Partnership: Flights between Europe & Belize via Cancun
The leisure airline Condor now includes the Belize airline Tropic Air as one of its partners with immediate effect. Flights from Tropic Air can be booked via the existing destination Cancun (CUN) as an enhancement to the network of flights offered by Condor. As set out in its current 2014/15 winter flights schedule, Condor regularly flies to Cancun (CUN), Mexico from Frankfurt (FRA) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and from Munich (MUC) on Mondays and Fridays. Onward flights to Belize (BZE) with Tropic Air are available on a weekly basis on Saturdays. A return flight from Belize can be selected on a flexible basis as the connection via Cancun to Frankfurt or Munich and on to destinations throughout Europe is available daily.

Clive Myers is BTB’s Acting Director of Marketing & Industry Relations
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is pleased to announce that Mr. Clive Myers has been appointed to act in the position of “Director, Marketing and Industry Relations”, as of Monday, December 15th, 2014. Up until his appointment, Clive served as the BTB’s Destination Planning and Development Coordinator. During his tenure, he was instrumental in commissioning tourism strategies and economic impact studies for implementation as outlined in the National Sustainable Master Plan, as well as in the development and execution of the annual Village Arts Expo. Prior to that, he served as a Local Events and Press Officer at the BTB and as a Creative Arts Development Officer at the Institute of Creative Arts (ICA).

Mo’ Mojo to perform on Ambergris Caye in January 2015
During the planning session, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, members of the San Pedro Cultural Committee and US Embassy Public Relations Officer Ms. Emilia Adams met to discuss more about the musical venture. According to Adams, the US Embassy in Belize, as part of the framework of cultural exchange, has embarked on a series of musical projects that will see similar groups performing from time to time in Belize. Meanwhile, in accordance with the cultural mandate to embrace cultural diversity, Mayor Guerrero has agreed to partner with the US Embassy to host the group. In the coming weeks, both members of the San Pedro Cultural Committee and the US Embassy personnel will be meeting to plan for what promises to be a mega concert in San Pedro Town. More details will be released about the concert in the weeks ahead.

Ambergris Today

Love FM’s Christmas Parade Becomes a San Pedro Tradition
The Love FM Christmas Parade has become one of the highlights of the Holiday season in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, as hundreds of residents gather street-side, on Sunday, December 14, 2014, to witness the lively parade that brightens up the town with colors and sounds. This year’s parade did not fail to impress as it was once again full of the spirit of the season. Local businesses joined together with the national radio station Love FM to bring a parade that celebrates the island spirit of Christmas. Miss San Pedro 2014 Michelle Nuñez and Santa Claus were Grand Marshals of the parade followed by floats from Wings Department Store, Isla Bonita Elementary School, Foreva Fancy Boutique, the Belize Tourism Board (Belize Rural Development Project), Coral Cable Vision, Hummingbird and Furnishings, Belize National Library Service, ABC Pre School, San Pedro Lion’s and Leos Club and the Benque Viejo Marching Band.

Top Notch Holds Second Annual Christmas Fashion Show
San Pedro likes fashion shows! This is clearly evident on the number of fashion shows held throughout this year on the island. To close off the year with a bang Top Notch boutique held its second annual Christmas Fashion Show titled ‘A Magical Christmas’. The show was free to the public and was held on Front Street, Barrier Reef Drive at the foot of the Clock Tower at Central Park. The fashion show commenced as the Love FM Christmas Parade came to an end by the park. It featured models showcasing clothing from the female boutique.

Boxes of Joy Aims for 500 Gifts for the Needy
Boxes of Joy glittered on Thursday, December 11, at Carlo and Ernie’s Runaway Bar as it showcased its fashion show to raise funds for Christmas gifts for the children of San Pedro. The show featured 45 sensational models ages 4 to 15 who hit the catwalk modeling clothing from Wings, Divas and Dudes, Love Belize, and Lynn’s Boutique. From the opening item to the grand finale, there was continual applause and wows! Miss Chiquitita, Nayobie Rivero made her debut as emcee and was joined by Gaven Zapata, Junior emcee of San Pedro. He graciously flirted with Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez who also made her debut as show hostess. The three emcees timely introduced the fashionistas of the four leading clothing stores in San Pedro and the catwalk sparkled with Christmas Eve clothing, Red and White, Glamour and Glitz, Boys Toys, and the hit of the night, Candy Girls.

Raquel Badillo Represents Belize at Miss World 2014
Many Belizean residents were glued to their television set on Sunday, December 13, 2014, as the Miss World Pageant aired live at 9a.m. One beautiful, confidant and radiant representative from Belize fully represented the country with poise, elegance and intelligence at the pageant held in London, England. Raquel Badillo, hailing from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, was in London for a month before the pageant, partaking in a variety of activities and preliminary events leading up to pageant night that included a sports and fitness challenge, traditional dance challenge, talent segment, Miss World Top Model, Oxford debate and Miss World Charity Gala. Raquel and the other 121 contestants also had the opportunity to tour London and visit iconic destinations in the city including Planet Hollywood, Oxford University, Windsor, and Her Majesty’s Theater where they enjoyed the Phantom of the Opera.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

BELPO's brochure on Water facts
Safeguarding, commercial uses, privatization and a bit more of information.

Love FM Christmas Parade 2014 (93 photos)
On Sunday, December 14, Love FM Radio organized its annual Christmas Parade in San Pedro which has been getting bigger and bigger. The streets were filled with anxious spectators awaiting the parade. The parade included the participation of local businesses such as Foreva Fancy, Top Notch and Wings, schools and other organizations. The highlight of the parade was the Benque Viejo Marching Band which consisted of over 30 members. The people lined up on the streets cheered and danced as they played familiar christmas songs. The parade started from Boca del Rio and ended on Buccaneer Street.

Power Interruption 6:00am to 9:00am, Tuesday, December 16, San Pedro Town
Pescador Drive and North San Pedro, from Boca Del Rio to Tranquillity Bay Resort. BEL to repair hotspots and energize new high voltage line in San Mateo Subdivision.

Power Interruption 10:00am to 12:00 noon, Wednesday, December 17
Entire village of Caye Caulker. BEL to repair hotspots at Caye Caulker Substation.

Belize Leads Participation of SICA Countries at COP20 in Lima, Peru
Belize coordinated the participation of SICA (the Central American Integration System) countries in this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP20) in Lima, Peru, December 1-12th. The Conference of the Parties is designated as the supreme governing body of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aimed at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Convention entered into force in 1994 with 195 countries submitting their instruments of ratification. These countries meet once a year, for two weeks, in order to evaluate the application of the Convention and develop the negotiation process between the Parties in front of new commitments.

Channel 7

Coast Guard Kill "Playador"; They Claim He Opened Fire
San Pedro police are have launched an investigation into a shooting at the northern end of Ambergris Caye which left a man from Punta Gorda Town dead. It's in that zone of Ambergris where persons, referred as "playadors" or beach combers, go looking for cocaine wet drops. That's the illegal activity that police believe 24 year-old Peter Castillo was involved in this morning when he and his 2 companions were spotted. Instead of fleeing, he reportedly shot at the coast guard with a shot gun. The Coast Guard told us more today: Commander Elton Bennett - Vice Commandant, Belize National Coast Guard "As part of the Coast Guard's maritime security strategy focusing on the area of Northern Ambergris Caye Bacalar Chico area and the area of Rocky Point, Coast Guard continues to dominate the area with patrols. We identify this as a geo-strategic location encountering transnational and organized crimes."

Nomination Day In Cayo North: PUP Went First
Today was nomination day for the upcoming by-election in Cayo North. That will be on January fifth and by law the nomination day takes place 21 days before - DECEMBER 15TH, 2014. The political outing was an interesting study in contrasting political culture: the PUP were low key and conservative, while the UDP were hyped up and seemed to already be doing a victory march. But while the parties have developed distinctly different styles - both sides said victory is at hand. The PUP went first: they had the morning for their nomination and we have this report:... Daniel Ortiz reporting This morning a crowd of about 200 PUP supporters crowded into Columbus Park in downtown San Ignacio. We saw many PUP representatives, elected officials and political candidates from all over the country - and each of them brought their own supporters:

UDP Showed Muscle, But Not Dominant Numbers
In our first segment - we showed you the PUP's nomination day even in Cayo North. The afternoon into the evening was reserved for the ruling UDP. As expected, they had more energy - but their showing delivered lower political voltage than we expected. Jules Vasquez has the report:.. Jules Vasquez reporting The UDP crowd rolled down Benque Viejo Street from the area known as the red hils of Cayo North. The crowd was energetic, spirited and uniformly dressed in Omar Figueroa shirts. That took them into downtown San Ignacio - and unlike the PUP who crowded into Columbus Park - this crowd spilled into the street, singing dancing and playing drums. A very different style - and for the candidate Figueroa - who was greeted by his party leader and prime minister - it was a great thrust unto the national stage:

Majority of Caneros Support The Cane Compromise; Minority Have Misgivings
But turning now from today's political festival to the stuff that really matters.. The sugar crop season could start as early as Friday. That is after the general membership of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association agreed to a compromise yesterday in San Roman Village. That was the venue for an emergency general meeting to consider three points of compromise, which would make way for a sugar crop. We were there to see how the tide turned towards compromise:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting This is the show of hands in support of starting the cane crop and agreeing to the three points of compromise. It was voted a majority - and the three points - as put forward by the prime minister were agreed to.

Cane Country Christmas Cheer Or Fleecing Fair Trade Funds?
But that breakthrough resolution wasn't the only one taken on Sunday. In the heady moments right after that was passed - another was tabled and approved - for the Cane Farmers to dip into the fair trade funds - and take out 2.5 million dollars to share equally amongst all farmers. It's a sort of cane country Christmas cheer - except that it's more like a fair trade fleecing since the regulations of the programme don't permit that type of wanton spending. But, in cane country the majority always rules - and that's how the resolution was passed even with universal apprehension form the industry leaders we spoke to:.. Mike Rudon, Ch5 "Can you tell us about that?" Alfred Ortega, Member, Negotiating Team "Well you know as this point as Jules said that the economic situation is in a bad situation. The farmers will have approved right now that they would want an amount that would set aside for the next upcoming year in regards to the fair trade premium, that they would want 2.5 million dollars to be distributed amongst the farmers so that they can have something for Christmas and they have passed the motion. It is the farmers that approved, so that motion has gone and I believe that it will happen."

PM Says Credibility Was On The Line With Cane Compromise
Today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow - who's usually willing to talk about any subject under the sun - would strictly not comment on the fair trade fleecing. But he was eager to talk about the cane compromise - especially since the compromise is one that he and his deputy hammered out and drafted. He told us today that his credibility was on the line:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Of course I feel personally extremely gratified. I did put a lot into it and again the support from the Deputy Prime Minister was critical, but if I had put off my Cuba trip, come back here and shuttling between the two sides and not produce an agreement, I suspect that my own credibility would have suffered a great blow. So, the fact that there has been this victory is something that I greatly savor, that I greatly relish and I am thankful."

Opposition Leader Has Mixed Feelings About Cane Compromise
PUP Leader Francis Fonseca wasn't quite so impressed. Like former PUP convention candidate Alfredo Ortega, he has misgivings about the future of the industry. He explained his reservations today:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "We are glad that the crop will start in the very near future. We are glad for that because that's important to the economy of Belize - the economy of the north. But we are also very concerned about the future status of the cane farmer. We accept the decision of the farmers. I agree with Fred Ortega that there is obviously a great level of concern moving forward because as he put it, the farmers are right back where they were at the beginning of this entire process. Some will say they even gotten deeper into a hole and certainly we don't support any move in the direction of turning our cane farmers into mere cane cutters. They have to be an integral part of this industry moving forward." Prime Minister Barrow says he expects that the crop season can start as early as Friday.

Prison Escapee On the Loose
A prisoner has escaped from the Belize Central Prison this weekend. 25-year-old Emmanuel Willoughby escaped around 3 on Saturday morning. The prison reports that he cut a hole in his cell door and escaped into the early morning. According to police, Willoughby has relatives in Libertad village in Corozal, Belize City and Georgeville village in Cayo. He is believed to be associated with the Jerusalem gang. His record dates back to 2012 when police found a .357 magnum revolver loaded with (6) live rounds, and (1) Glock 19 9mm Pistol, with (1) magazine containing (14) live rounds in his hotel room at City Light Guest House in Corozal. He along with two others were charged with Kept firearm without a gun license, Kept ammunition without gun license, kept prohibited firearm and kept prohibited ammunition. He is serving a 5 year sentence for these offenses but tonight he is on the run and police are trying to recapture him.

7 Years After Arthur, A New Bridge For Mullins River
The Mullins River Bridge will finally be reconstructed and designed after the devastation that Tropical Storm Arthur brought in 2008. Arthur caused over $77 million dollars in damage in Belize and efforts to recover that loss continues with the Mullins River Bridge project. The cost of the design and construction is 4.4 million dollars. In 12 months residents should have a brand new bridge. Additional contracts were also signed including the rehabilitation of the Dangriga Multipurpose Sporting Facility. This 3 million dollar project will equip the facility with locker rooms, public restrooms, concessions and a stage.

The Future Of Fisheries
They were awarded last year for drafting the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Integration Policy by the Food Agriculture Organization and today discussions continue on the future of fisheries in Central America. The Ministry of Forestry and members of SICA and the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Central American or OSPESCA met today at the Biltmore to engage members in the development of fisheries on a national and regional level. Mauro Gongora, Fisheries Officer for Belize outlined the objectives of the policy and the overall benefit to small business fishermen and large scale fishing cooperatives. The policy was initiated in 2005. Over 150 fishermen will benefit from this policy.

Cop Sent To Jail For Sexual Assault On Woman Constable
Police Constable Randolph Scott is spending the first night of 2 month prison sentence after he was convicted of indecent assault in the court room of the Chief Magistrate. One of his female colleagues, also a constable, testified that he incident occurred on October 26, 2013, at Belama Police Station. The female officer, a constable, testified that Scott touched her legs, pulled up her skirt and pushed his hand inside her skirt. She also testified that Scott was touching her inappropriately, he then unzipped his fly and exposed himself to her. Her testimony was corroborated by that of another officer who was on duty at the time. In his defence, Scott testified that he and the complainant were only having a laugh. He added that while he was making the sexual advances, she had consented to all of them.

FECTAB Fired Up Against FSTV
3 weeks ago, we told you how the cruise industry lost millions of dollars when 5 ships cancelled their port call due to rough weather. It's been looked at as a recent example of why the country needs its only docking facility. Right now, Mike Feinstein's Stake Bank project is ready to go, but it is tied up with litigation from the Fort Point Tourism Village. We showed you our interview with Prime Minister Dean Barrow in which he said that both sides needed to work it out. Well, local cruise operators aren't taking to well to that, and they want more forceful government intervention in this dispute. Their Federation FECTAB, held a press conference to explain it today: Tom Greenwood, President, FECTAB "What was there within that contract given to the FSTV, that would then call it null and void and drop back to the 2017 contract which would have been ideal because then it will take about to the end of 2016 to complete this project at Stake Bank. There is no protection there.

Couple Cruelly Killed In Corozal
5 days ago on Wednesday the 10th. December, we told you about a chopping which turned into a murder right before the eyes of Corozal Police. Well, now they must now solve a chopping double murder! It happened right outside of the quiet village of Paraiso, at the north end of Corozal Town. A few hours after it happened, our news team arrived. Here's what we found - we warn you, it's a gory sight so if you are sensitive - you may want to take a break from watching this one: Daniel Ortiz reporting Though it doesn't look like it right now, this modest dwelling on the outskirts of Corozal's Paraiso Village was bloody scene of a violent double murder. The owner and the woman he was rumoured to have a brief relationship with were savagely hacked to death by a machete wielder.

Party Leader Barrow Entertains Distinct Possibility That Bradley Won't Run
Last week the Prime Minister told us that he was sure Mayor Darrell Bradley would run for Mayor on the UDP ticket in March's municipal election. But, as we have reported Bradley continues flip-flop - and when we spoke to him on Wednesday - he dodged when we asked him about it. And perhaps that's why when we spoke to the Prime Minister today, he wasn't quite so sure that Mayor Bradley would run - in fact he seemed to be entertaining the distinct possibility that he won't:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Party Leader - UDP "Let me be absolutely candid, if for some reason Darrell Bradley doesn't run, there is no doubt that we won't get the size in margin of victory in the mayoral contest that we would get if he were to run. However, we would still win and we would still win big. It would be a matter of some regret of the incumbent Belize City Mayor decided he is not going to run again. But it will not be in any way fatal to our chances. It will not be a matter of extreme prejudice with respect to our chances. We are going to win and win big in any way you look at it."

PUP Leader Cagey On Deputy Espat On Christmas Cheer
And while party leader Dean Barrow has to figure out what Mayor Bradley is doing - Party Leader Francis Fonseca seems to have had a divergence of opinion with his deputy leader Julius Espat on Christmas Cheer. Fonseca publicly endorsed the programme while Espat refused the Christmas Cheer. Fonseca explained the difference of opinions:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition "We discussed it at the national executive. This was not one person's decision, it was a unanimous decision at the national executive. But then he had some concerns following that decision about his role as chairman of the public accounts committee and also of course as the claimant in the legal action before the court and he had to factor that in to his considerations and we support the decision that he has taken. But no, all the other representatives, including myself, we have moved ahead with the program because as I have said we believe that of all the programs funded under the PetroCaribe funds, this one provides us a level of accountability and transparency that allows us to be comfortable with accepting those funds."

Don Hector Flies The Flag
And while it was mostly business today in Cayo for the political nominations - Hector Silva, did provide some lively political diversion. You see, the Cayo police station has been without a flag for some time. Supposedly, they've been trying to get a new one - but something happened and they didn't. Now, we don't know how hard it is to get a flag, but good ole Don Hector was Johnny on the spot with one today - and he timed it for maximum political advantage for his party - here's how it played out:.. Officer commanding in Cayo Dinsdale Thompson accepted the flag, tied it up, and raised it on the flagpole - much to the heartfelt pleasure and applause of the PUP's who were standing by and watching….

Mobile Phone Store Makes Donation
Cellular World donated over $1300 worth of items to HelpAge today. This donation is apart of Cellular World's Christmas initiative to give back to the community especially to the elderly who are often left out during this time. Ivorine Bulwer, Executive Director of HelpAge discussed how these donations will further improve access to educational and recreational activities for HelpAge members. HelpAge received a projector and an Android phone.

Alyssa to OCEANA
Alyssa Carnegie used to be associated with the BTB brand but now, she's entered into the world of conservation as OCEANA Belize's Communications Director. She was the BTB's Director of Marketing and Industry Relations up until a month and a half ago. As we told you, there was no controversy surrounding her exit, and today, Oceana announced that she had joined their organization. It will become official on, January 12, 2015 and a release from Oceana says, quote, "Carnegie will immediately begin to work on the office's three campaigns: banning offshore oil in Belizean waters; banning destructive fishing gear such as gillnets and increasing protection for juvenile fish." End Quote.

Channel 5

1 Man Detained for Double Homicide in Corozal
There was a double murder in Paraiso, Corozal District over the weekend which has all the signs of a crime of passion. The mother of a four-year old child was [...]

Coast Guard Patrol Under Fire…Kills One Man
In San Pedro, there was also a loss of life. Investigations, both criminal and internal, are taking place into a shootout involving the Belize Coast Guard and three civilians in [...]

Cane farmers Vote To Start Crop
The sugar industry impasse has been broken. By Friday, or at least by the weekend, cane trucks from Orange Walk and Corozal should be lining up at BSI to deliver [...]

P.U.P. Leader Supports Decision by Farmers
On Sunday a majority of cane-farmers voted to start the crop, accepting the proposals agreed to by the B.S.C.F.A. and B.S.I.  As we told you, it’s not a popular decision [...]

Political Candidates Nominated in Cayo
Elections in Cayo North will be held on January fifth, as the P.U.P.’s Richard Harrison goes up against the U.D.P.’s Omar Figueroa. The odds are stocked firmly against Harrison, who [...]

Man Charged with Obstruction for Swallowing Weed
In San Pedro, a resident ate evidence to avoid apprehension by the police. On Friday morning, police approached twenty-six year old Juan Ramon Nah of the San Mateo area to [...]

Manhunt On for Escaped Prisoner
A prisoner is on the loose tonight. He is twenty-five year old inmate, Emmanuel Willoughby, who escaped from the Central Prison over the weekend hoping that he won’t spend the [...]

Heads of Governments Meet for SICA Summit
The Placencia Peninsula is overflowing tonight where delegations from Central America and the Dominican Republican are converging for the SICA Summit. But today, the Central American countries, except for Costa [...]

On the Ground Report from Placencia
Marleni Cuellar is also in Placencia and has the latest on the meeting between Taiwan and Central America.   Marleni Cuellar “Good night! Of course I am here at the [...]

Various Sectors to Benefit from Taiwan…
Since arriving on a working visit to Belize on December eleventh, Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin has had a busy schedule which included the conferral of the Order of Distinction [...]

FECTAB Holds a 1 Man Press Conference
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB) is taking on the cause for the construction of a cruise port in Belize City. Tom Greenwood was a one-man show [...]

FECTAB Wants Cruise Port on Stake Bank
But while it claims to speak for the majority of its members and in the interest of the industry, Greenwood’s FECTAB does have something at stake with the Stake Bank [...]

P.U.P. Leader Supports Julius Espat’s ‘NO’ to Petrocaribe Xmas Cheer
Late last week, P.U.P. Deputy Leader Julius Espat announced that he would be refusing the U.D.P.’s Christmas Cheer, even after the Party as an executive decided to accept it. Instead, [...]

New Appointments at OCEANA and B.T.B.
OCEANA announced today that Alyssa Carnegie is joining its team as Communication Director as of mid January, 2015. Carnegie worked previously at the Belize Tourism Board and prior to that [...]

Hattieville Fire Victim Gets New Home
Five and a half months ago on the morning of July eighth, Hattieville Justice of the Peace, Eloise Hyde, and her family lost the place they called home to a [...]

Basketball and Football with James Adderley
Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The final schedule of the PLB Football Competition found Verdes FC locked in a bitter struggle with the Belize [...]


Sugar Impasse Is Over, Cane Farmers Accept Agreement
There is finally an agreement to be signed early this week bringing the sugar saga between BSI/ASR and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association to an end, for now. Following several meeting over the last few weeks, the BSCFA presented the final agreement that both parties agreed upon last Friday to farmers in an emergency meeting held Sunday. They only needed the farmers’ endorsement which they got and now the official document is being readied for signing. The situation however is not one for celebration for all farmers as some expressed uncertainty and displeasure over how the terms of the agreement were diverted. Here is a look at what happened at the farmers’ meeting on Sunday. Dalila Ical – Reporting A majority of the farmers who attended the Sunday meeting stood and raised their hands in acceptance of the three points agreed upon by BSI and the BSCFA last Friday. Yet, the document is not accepted by all. In over two hours of discussions farmers expressed concern, disappointment and some even confusion over the document.

Criminals Target Money Gram In Orange Walk
There’s a lot to report tonight including a breakthrough in the Sugar Industry impasse but first we’ll tell you about a robbery attempt that occurred this afternoon at the Money Gram Agent in the Louisiana Area. According to the owners, two men in a taxi cab waited for the agent to open for business around 1:30 this afternoon. Upon re-opening the office, one of the men dressed in disguise entered, held the office clerk at gunpoint and demanded money. The agent was dragged a few feet from the door to the office where the cash register was at but due to her cries for help, was able to scare off the perpetrator. Both men made off empty handed in a vehicle with taxi plates. We understand the entire ordeal was captured on its surveillance system.


Couple chopped to death in Paraiso
Jealousy is believed to have been the motive a brutal double murder in the village of Paraiso, Corozal District. According to reports a man and a woman were found dead in a farm about 3/4 miles North East of Paraiso Village, at around 7:00 am on Sunday  December 14th. Neighbours say that at around ...

Child Knocked Down on the Southern Highway
A four year old boy was knocked down and killed by an incoming truck on the Southern Highway, as he attempted to cross the road. Harry Arzu has more in this report. ‘ Harry Arzu – Dangriga Correspondent “A four year old boy was fatally knocked down on the Southern Highway, while he was attempting to...

Inmate on the run
Police are looking for 25 year old inmate Emmanuel Willoughby Jr., who escaped from the Belize Central Prison on Saturday December 13th. The Belize Kolbe Foundation sent out a press release On Monday saying that around 3 a.m...

Nomination in Cayo North for upcoming bi-elections
Both major parties flexed their political muscle in San Ignacio on Monday, for the scheduled nomination of their candidates for the upcoming Cayo North Bi-election.First up was the PUP and their favoured candidate Richard Harrison, who was escorted to the administration building inside the court ro...

Police officer charged for extortion
A police officer attached to the San Pedro Police Station was arrested and charged over the weekend, for the crime of extortion. According to reports, sometime last week, Police Constable John Arana told a businessman in San Pedro that instead of going to court over bills owed to a supermarket, he c...

Patrick JonesPJ

Cane farmers say yes to commercial agreement with BSI
On Friday there was news that a tentative deal had been cut between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industries/American Sugar Refining (ASR) with the Government of Belize playing honest broker. The news broke through the gloom of the heretofore […]

FECTAB throws support behind Stake Bank project
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB)’s Tom Greenwood appeared alone today at the Radisson Hotel’s VIP Room without colleagues Yohnny Rosado and David Almendarez or indeed any other member of the Federation. But he was no less vocal as he continued to press the case […]

Chopping incident reported in San Estevan village
A usually calm Sunday night in San Estevan Village took a drastic, almost deadly turn last night as two men were involved in an altercation that landed one at the KHMH and the other behind bars. Police report that around 7:45 pm on Sunday, acting on information […]

UDP nominates Omar Figueroa for Cayo North bye-election
The United Democratic Party (UDP) this afternoon nominated Omar Figueroa as their candidate for the bye-election in the Cayo North division on January 5, 2015. A huge crowd of UDP supporters gathered in front of the administration building in San Ignacio town in support of Figueroa as […]

Work begins on new PG sport auditorium
Work has begun on the dismantling of the building that housed the Punta Gorda Sport Auditorium. That is because a new, larger structure will be put in place to facilitate sporting and other community activities. According to Punta Gorda Mayor Anthony Fuentes the project will cost around $3 million and should be completed within 24 months. When the new PG Sport Auditorium is completed, it will be a much improved venue for community activities, including sport and entertainment.

Richard Harrison nominated for Cayo North bye-election for the PUP
The People’s United Party (PUP) this morning nominated businessman Richard Sydney Harrison as their standard bearer for the Cayo North bye-election on January 5, 2015. Harrison arrived at the Columbus park in front of the administration building jut before ten o’clock and was greeted by a crowd of supporters from the division as well as from other areas who had traveled in for the nomination. On hand to greet the aspiring candidate were PUP leader Francis Fonseca, PUP representatives from Belize City and the south and standard bearers from other areas.


Five Things To Know About Corn
1. Corn was created in the ancient Maya underworld. It was a gift from the gods. In fact one of the most powerful deity was the corn god who was the father of the incredible hero twins featured in the Maya book of counsel, the Popol Vuh. 2. Every corn grain has a transparent shell that protects the grain as it grows within the husk. Interestingly, to make corn dough for those delicious tortillas, this shell needs to be removed. The ancient Maya found an interesting way to do this. They burnt limestone at 800 degrees Fahrenheit and produced a dust called lime (in Central America its called “cal” in Spanish) and they would place corn grains in jars (ollas) 3/4 way filled with water and throw some of the alkaline calcium carbonate (lime) in it and leave for overnight. In the morning, all the shells can be found floating in the water. This is the way we best get all the nutrients from corn.

We honeymooned in Belize too - You will not be disappointed!
"My husband and I spent 4 blissful days in Belize during the first leg of our honeymoon too; you made a great choice in destination! Belize if the perfect balance of relaxation (which is much-needed after planning a wedding!) and adventure (jungles and beaches). Belize offers a little of everything and it is wise to sample a little of it all. I think you are smart for wanting to see the beaches, but also the interior of the country. I'll definitely work hard to blend your must-do lists with the best that Belize has to offer. You have 15 days to really explore and I can't wait to get started planning your honeymoon! " Ambergris Caye is a perfect place to explore on two feet or two wheels. Use the bikes offered at your resort (if they're allowed off the premise) or rent a bike from Joe's Bike Rental in San Pedro. As you pedal north along the eastern beach road you'll pass hotels and restaurants on your left and stunning views of the blue hued water on your right.

International Sourcesizz

In Nicaragua, tarantulas are latest cash crop
His corn and bean fields ravaged by drought, Nicaraguan farmer Leonel Sanchez Hernandez grudgingly found a new harvest: tarantulas. He gets a little over a dollar for each of the hairy critters, which breeders sell overseas as pets. His take may not be much, but in Nicaragua, a dollar buys a kilo of rice or a liter (quart) of milk. And in just two weeks, Sanchez Hernandez, his aunt Sonia and cousin Juan caught more than 400 of the spiders. The hunt is playing out in northern Nicaragua, which suffered severe drought from May to September. Sanchez Hernandez's fields were a total loss. The 27-year-old was skittish at first about poking around in underground nests, under rocks and in tree trunks in search of the feisty arachnids. But he donned thick gloves and mustered up the courage, because the alternative was to see his family go hungry.

US$10 million set aside for eighth cycle of CDB's Basic Needs Trust Fun
The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank has approved US$10 million from the Special Development Fund for the eightth cycle of the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF 8). This decision was made at the 264th meeting of the Board, held on Thursday at the Bank’s headquarters in Barbados. Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands are the countries within the CDB membership that participate in the Fund. The governments of these countries will provide counterpart funding of US$546,000.

Southwest Airlines files applications to serve Caribbean destinations from Houston
Southwest Airlines filed applications on Thursday with the US Department of Transportation requesting approval to serve six regional destinations with new, daily, nonstop service from William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. After receiving US government approval of the new service, Southwest will begin selling these flights, offering customers nonstop options between Houston (Hobby) and four destinations in Mexico -- Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos -- as well as flights to San Jose, Costa Rica, and Belize City, Belize. Service to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize, adds a second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city on the Southwest route map. The new Houston flights will be made possible by the completion of an estimated $156 million five-gate international concourse now under construction at Hobby. The completed project will increase capacity for all airport functions and add a Federal Inspections Services (FIS) facility to streamline US Customs and Border Protection screening and baggage processing for arriving international passengers.

Treaty Energy Execs Charged With Stock Manipulation
Executives of a New Orleans oil and gas company and their Houston-based lawyer falsely claimed to strike oil in Belize in order to manipulate the company’s stock price and illegally sold restricted shares to the public, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Treaty Energy Co. executives Ronald Blackburn, Andrew V. Reid, Bruce A. Gwyn, Lee C. Schlesinger and Michael A. Mulshine were charged with securities fraud and regulatory violations after touting the allegedly made-up drilling successes to induce demand for the stock, which was then...

CCJ to hand down judgment on BTL nationalisation in January
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is expected to hand down its final decision on the nationalisation of incumbent telecoms operator Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) on 23 January 2014, following three days of arguments, the Reporter writes. The court proposed to accept additional written submissions on certain points by 17 December with three days allotted for the government’s reply. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in August 2009 BTL was re-nationalised in a matter of just two days after Prime Minister Dean Barrow presented a surprise legal amendment to parliament, the ‘Bill to amend the Belize Telecommunications Act to allow for the public acquisition of Belize Telemedia’ (Act No. 9 of 2009, or ‘Acquisition Act’).

Presidents of SICA to Discuss on Migration and Security in Belize
The Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) will discus on Wednesday in Belize on immigration facilitation and security cooperation, organizers confirmed. The leaders will coordinate actions regarding risk management and climate change, while also evaluate the progress of the Alliance for Prosperity of the North Triangle following a report by the representatives of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. This program, presented on November 14 in Washington, aims to boost investment to reverse the fundamental problems facing the poorest countries affected by violence in the area, trying to stop mass migration to the United States.

Portland's fastest-growing company plans to hire hundreds of local workers by 2016
Online vacation property rental company Vacasa has an extremely aggressive growth plan for 2015, but one that executives are confident can be reached. The company currently has 570 employees, with about 70 in its headquarters in northeast Portland, and it intends to add more than 6,000 next year. Of those, about 500 are expected to be in Portland. Part of the strategy was announced last week with the company's launch into international markets. Vacasa now has homes on the Placencia peninsula in Belize. That market has the potential for 900 homes to be added to the company's portfolio as Vacasa works with developers to manage units. The company is also looking to launch in a similar manner in Mexico, Panama and other Central and South American countries. To do this the company has partnered with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Caribbean Development Bank Approves $120 Million in Project Lending
The Caribbean Development Bank has approved more than $120 million in loans to fund dozens of projects related to agriculture, energy and infrastructure. Trinidad and Tobago is to receive $40 million “to support Trinidad’s conversion of the fuel usage of vehicles in the transport sector from diesel and gasoline to Compressed Natural Gas,” the CDB said. The CDB also approved $35 million in loans to the government of Jamaica to facilitate reforms regarding fiscal consolidation, growth and competitiveness, and social protection. The government of St. Lucia will receive $19.68 million for the upgrading of a municipal water system in order to bring potable water to more than 19,000 residents. The project will cost an estimated $24 million in all, according to the CDB.


Love FM Christmas Parade 2014, 1min. Benque Viejo Marching Band

Snorkeling in Belize, 2min.

Flight from the International Airport to Belize City Municipal Airport, 6min. We took a 5 minute flight from the international airport to the municipal airport in Belize City.

Antelope Water Falls Rappelling Belize, 1min.


Orange Walk Town Airstrip Belize - Tropic Air, 1/4min.

Belize, 11min.

Snorkeling in Belize, 4min. I went to Belize as part of the Carnival Glory Cruise and we decided to take a shore excursion to Goff's Caye. Goff's Caye is a private island (really more of a sand bar) about 45 minutes off the coast of Belize. We relaxed and did a reef snorkel. It was amazing.

Sueño - El Osmar (Diamante2Recordz)//// Corozal Town Belize., 3.5min. la cancion esta basada en que para llegar a la menta no hay que solo desearlo sino accionar. es malo soñar con los ojos cerrados es mejor aceptar la realidad y luchar por ello. Es mi primer video nos soy el mejor pero trato hacer todo lo que puedo. Grabacion de audio y video por mi propio Estudio Diamante2Recordz. GRACIAS!!! DESDE COROZAL BELICE

Snorkeling at Mexico Rocks - Belize, 4min.

Bound for Belize Island Living, 4min. Back in Belize where they met, this couple looks for their own island home.

Belize Carribean Reef Shark Scuba Encounter at Halfmoon Wall, Lighthouse Reef, 1/2min.

December 15, 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

Wolfe’s Woofer: The Witness
“There’s nothing glamorous or exciting about being a lower court judge in Belize,” my friend Emilio, said. “As a matter of fact, I’m on my way to court this morning. It happens to be in the town where I grew up so we can visit my family after court. Come along and I’ll seat you

Police Report
Drug Trafficking *On Saturday, December 6th at around 3:30AM, acting on information received, San Pedro Quick Response Team (QRT) personnel visited a local night club to conduct a search on 27-year-old Deon Young. The search led to the discovery of a rolled up piece of toilet paper, containing seven small transparent zip lock bag which

Anti- Drugs Operation
On Tuesday, December 9th between 6AM and 11:30AM, a team of San Pedro Criminal Investigation Branch and Special Branch personnel conducted searches on the following persons: * 30-year-old Edward Alexander Ozaeta. This led to the discovery of a transparent plastic bag containing 31.6 grams of suspected cannabis. * 27-year-old Carlos Gomez. This led to the

Doctor Love
Dear Doctor Love, My husband and I have had two wonderful years of marriage. A few months ago I thought I was pregnant. I have been on the pill for six years so it was a surprise to me. I told my husband. The first words out of his mouth were, “Who is the father?”

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Looking for stranded manatee, contact information
So tonight as soon as the last flights from Maya and Tropic left the Municipality Airport, we did a sweep of the new runway in progress, looking for any signs of a young manatee seen too close to shore last week, by airport employees. (expecting to find a dead body, but didn't) If ever anyone sees a baby manatee (3 to 4ft long) without a mum, treat it as an emergency and contact: 911 and ask for coastal zone management, or Jamal Galves,(6075038) Zoe Walker at wildtracks(6506578), or BWCN Hotline (6058888), Gillian or Gordon. (6306737, 6306738).If you can, put these numbers in your phones for futures reference. (Please don't use them for cats or dogs enquiries, contact AMC (2233781) or Belize Humane Society). Sad thing, having walked the new runway, the edges of the runway drop off quite steeply, it used to be a gentle slope to the edge, now its an almost instant 2 to 3ft drop, meaning baby manatees will be bashed quite heavily against this new sea wall. (which often causes spinal or shoulder injuries causing the babies to drown, as they can't keep their heads up). I guess it's too much to ask developers to consider sea mammals when they make their designs, don't think there is much we can do in retrospect.

Fixing some walkways in our village: Arenal Village
Today we did the job that politicians were supposed to do but as they refuse to do their duty we did it with 20 kids of the village. We received a pickup truck from taxi driver Mercedes "Thank you Merces" and picked up some loads of stones on the roads or in some people's yards and here are the names of the boys who helped: Elvin Ruiz, Edilson Santos, Johnny Sanchez, Jonathan Novelo, Rahim Santos, Irvin Lara, Jesuin Patt, Bryan Barrera, Selvin Sanchez, Vickalmer Sanchez, Philmon Jimenez, Jose Valladarez, Kelvin Moran, Ernesto Cruz, Mark Jimenez, Gregorio Novelo, Eliel Sanchez, Donal Valladares, Alex Avelar - Thank you very much boys: we'll not get very dirty and nasty feet anymore after the rain and the adults should look carefully: That's how you make things work out and that's the way to do changes!


Ambergris Caye Listed As Prime Tourist Destination
Belize’s Ambergris Caye listed as a premier tourism destination has been making the top lists of travel magazines and tabloids over the past few years and today it continues to do so. Recently, Trip Advisor released its 2014 Travel Roundup & Trends Forecast for 2015. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is pleased to share that, as per the 2014 Outbound Travel Report, Ambergris Caye was the #1 Emerging Destination for 2014. BTB’s outgoing Director of Marketing & Industry Relations, Alyssa Carnegie said in a BTB issued releases, and we quote “With Trip Advisor being the world’s largest travel site which offers trusted reviews from real travellers and a variety of travel choices with planning features, I am sure that there will be even more interest in Belize which will translate into increased overnight arrivals for the destination as we move forward in 2015,” end quote.

Thieves Hit San Pedro Town
Police in San Pedro are working overtime and that is because in the month of December, robberies, burglaries and theft crimes become prevalent. And while the police formation has stepped up its security presence on the streets, a total of 3 persons were targeted and their possessions stolen. The first case of burglary was reported by 68-year-old Cathy Slattery, American Retiree of San Pablo Area, who reported that on Wednesday December 10th, she left her house located in San Pablo Area, and sometime between 11:45 a.m. and 9:00p.m someone turned off her security cameras by switching off her electricity and burglarized her house. Stolen from a safe was (3) Credit Cards (2)Check books (1)ATM card (1)Atlantic Bank book (1)Golf Cart insurance paper (1)Golf cart title (1)Wedding Gold Ring Valued $1000.00, $4,000.00 cash, $1,000 U.S currency and other documents being a total of $6,000.00. Police have no leads and their investigation continues.

Cops In San Pedro Work Overtime To Keep Up With Burglaries
In another incident, on yesterday’s date at about 12:30 p.m., 51-year-old Kevin Anderson, Canadian retiree of south San Pedro Ambergris Caye visited the Police Station and reported that on Friday, December 5th at about 6:30 a.m. he left his multicolor hammock valued $150.00 hanging at the south east corner of the property - Carib Island Resort. He stated that at 12:00p.m. On same day he noticed that the hammock was missing. Police have since detained 55-year-old Miguel Ramirez of San Juan Area, San Pedro Town pending charges of Theft. Thieves in San Pedro also targeted another island resident. The incident occurred yesterday at about 8:15p.m. and according to 27-year-old Marlon Estrada of San Pedro Town, around 5:30 p.m. he along with a young man were on a San Pedro Police motorcycle of which he had been commissioned to fix, heading up the coast to get the part needed to finish repairs on the police motorcycle.

The Reporter

Man sentenced to jail time after pleading guilty to drug trafficking, illegal gun possession
Casey Smith, a resident of Belize City, will spend five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and possession of an unlicensed gun and ammunition in Belmopan on Friday. The charges and conviction follow a police operation just after 12 a.m. Friday on the George Price Highway when police searched a taxi from Benque Viejo and discovered 94.5 pounds of marijuana. Smith received a $10,000 fine for the drugs, plus three years imprisonment; and five years imprisonment for the firearm and ammunition. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Sugar season on its way
The 2014-2015 sugar season may start as early as next Friday after the general assembly of the Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association accepted the latest proposal made by Belize Sugar Industries on Sunday. The cañeros met at Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in Corozal, where they agreed to the proposal brokered with BSI by Prime Minister Dean Barrow last week. Ezekiel Cansino, chief executive officer of the BSCFA, explained that with the proposal now accepted, their attorneys can now draft up the necessary paperwork. “We will communicate the acceptance to BSI so our attorney’s can draft up an agreement to be signed either tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday,” Cansino said, “after that we are hoping to get the crop started hopefully Friday.”

Police constable accused of extortion
Police Constable, John Arana faces a charge of extortion in connection with a report that the manager of a bar in San Pedro Town. The businessman told police that on Friday morning Arana went to Mamacita’s Entertainment Bar to collect monies he had previously demanded, reportedly saying he could use his authority to cause bills the businessman owed a supermarket to be wiped off. The businessman, police say, complied with the order, but photocopied the bills before handing them over in an envelope to the accused.

CCJ reserves judgment in nationalisation case of BTL, BEL
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday reserved judgment in Trinidad in the nationalization case of Belize Telemedia (BTL) and Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) following three days of arguments. The arguments hovered mainly over the authority that the government has to assume control of the utilty company, which took place since the amendment to the Eighth Amendment in 2011. Senior counsels, Eamon Courtnay and Godfrey Smith and Queen’s counsels, have been arguing against the government’s lead attorney, Denys Barrow, S.C. and will return to Trinidad in January of 2015 for the decision.

Haiti prime minister, Laurent Lamothe, resigns
Haitian Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe has resigned less than a week after President Michel Martelly had received a report from an 11-member presidential commission established to help deal with Haiti’s worsening political crisis. The Commission had also recommended the resignation of the members of the Electoral Council. Haiti has seen several violent street demonstrations led by opposition figures in recent weeks and in a nationwide radio and television broadcast on Saturday night, Lamothe said “I am leaving the post of prime minister this evening with a feeling of accomplishment”. The protestors have been calling for the resignation of both Martelly and Lamothe after the country failed to hold elections in October.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister, David Lin talks to Harry Lawrence, publisher of The Reporter
Taiwanese Foreign Minister, David Lin, is on a working visit to Belize where he will this coming week take part in the SICA Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Central America. The event will take place in Placencia and on Monday, a delegation led by Foreign Minister Lin will take part in the 16th meeting of the Mixed Commission of Central America and the Republic of China. On Saturday Foreign Minister Lin sat down for an interview with Harry Lawrence, the publisher of The Reporter newspaper and answered questions on Taiwan’s involvement in cooperation, bi-lateral relations and aid to Belize. A full story on those topics will be published in next Thursday’s edition of The Reporter.

Patrick JonesPJ

Double homicide in Paraiso, Corozal
The word Paraiso translated into English means paradise; but it was anything but this morning when two people were found murdered in a village with the same name in rural Corozal. The brutal attack is believed to have happened on Saturday night and around 7 o’clock this […]

Boy killed in road traffic accident
A four year old boy was knocked down and killed on Saturday night on the Southern Highway. According to reports received, Kyron Awardo and his mom had just alighted a passenger bus when the incident happened around 9 o’clock on Saturday night. Reports from Sittee River say […]

Galen University graduates 112 in pre-Christmas commencement
The eleventh commencement exercises of the private Galen University based in Cayo took place at the Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City this morning. It is a very merry Christmas for 112 graduates, who can celebrate the holiday relieved of the pressure of examinations, final papers and presentations. […]


What an amazing invention by nature – the Jaguar! This animal is a stealth “machine” found in the low, middle and higher elevation forests and open areas. This massive animal, which can be 3 ½ to 6 feet in length, has a huge head and is normally orange/tawny with black rosettes with as long tail. Its an absolutely gorgeous beast! The Jaguar has been such a mysterious animal that the ancient Maya, those who lived in ancient cities like Xunantunich, Caracol and Tikal, revered it as the representative of no less than the sun god K’inich Ahau. These prehistoric people believed that the sun, once it disappears beyond the Western horizon goes through its natural pathway in its cycle to be “reborn” again the following day. This journey takes it through nine layers of the underworld – the place of fright and disease – truly, the place of creation (water and corn were created there) where it will “survive” to the next day. Once the sun disappears into the underworld in the late evening, the Maya made the Jaguar the icon sun that dominated the night as the sun does in the daytime.

Nine Things That Happen In Belize In December
1. Its time for the yearly cleaning! Don’t get it wrong, mothers, fathers and children have been cleaning house daily but there’s nothing as important than the December cleaning! New curtains, new tiles or marley on the floors, new paint jobs and without a doubt, Christmas lights! Some of us keep our Christmas lights hanging year long hence that’s perhaps the easiest “new thing” to make ornate our homes for the season. 2. The time has come to shake out the wardrobe and wash out the hoodies and fur…yes, fur! After all, the temperatures are (violently – for us) freezing in the month of the Yuletide. The temperatures can reach a high 84 degrees and lows anywhere between 58 and 62 degrees within the hours of 4:30PM and 8:30ishAM. Now you know why that smile will come to your face when you are in shorts and flip-flops and we are all eyes under our blankets we work in.

Dubstep Guide “All my Native People”

CTGA Christmas Dinner
On Friday, 12th December 2014, the tour guides wined and dined at Hode’s Bar and Grill. As a ritual, every end of the year as new board members are elected, we have our Christmas party, a day for tour guides to celebrate being tour guides. Tour guides are the face of Belize; we are the people that introduce international travellers to Belize’s Ancient cities, natural phenomenons, culture and wildlife. We had a delicious Christmas dinner with ham, baked chicken, stuffing, the full works. Tour guides that excelled during the Tourism Eco Camp were also recognized and awarded a special calendar with the logos of the CTGA and the Eco-camp. The Tour Guide Service award was given to Eric Tut for his unconditional support to the Association throughout the year. This is the second time this award is given, Herry Pena was the first recipient for his service to the Board. Below you will find some of the highlights of the event complete with couples portraits and Chris Lowe’s dancing.

International Sourcesizz

From Beach to Mountains, Expats Enjoy a Great Lifestyle and Low Costs in English-Speaking, Caribbean Belize
“Belize has a lot to offer those seeking a new life abroad. There’s a feeling of opportunity and possibility, of a place being shaped right now…a country where retirees can find a comfortable place or someone with an idea can start a business,” reports editor Jason Holland. “It’s not as established as some of the other tourist destinations in the region, so there’s still lots of room for new businesses that fill a gap in the market.” With a population of 330,000, Belize offers plenty of empty, wide-open spaces. Located below Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, this is picture-postcard Caribbean. It’s a country of Maya temples, seaside condos, jungle lodges, and colonial mansions. The low cost of living means a couple can live well on $2,000 to $3,000 or less a month. Established expat communities make for a ready supply of new friends. It’s English-speaking and with daily flights, it’s easy to get to from North America.

Climate finance flowing, but for many, the well remains dry
In the CARICOM region, the local population is highly dependent on fish for economic and social development. This resource also contributes significantly to food security, poverty alleviation, employment, foreign exchange earnings, development and stability of rural and coastal communities, culture, recreation and tourism. The subsector provides direct employment for more than 120,000 fishers and indirect employment opportunities for thousands of others – particularly women – in processing, marketing, boat-building, net-making and other support services. In 2012, the conch industry in just one Caribbean Community country, Belize, was valued at 10 million dollars.

Fish Forever: Building Sustainable Enterprises at the Grassroots - See more at:
Typical corporate sustainability programs drive change from the top down. The multinational company sets targets and standards for its global supply chain, and aims to improve sustainability down to the level of workers and farmers. However, there are large sections of population at the bottom rung that are not even a part of the mainstream supply chain, and remain excluded from the sustainability programs. Fish Forever project is being launched in five countries, including Belize, Brazil, Indonesia, Mozambique and the Philippines. It will focus on fishers with just a single boat or two, and the ones who fish from shore. These largely poor, small-scale fishers account for half of all fish caught in developing countries. Yet, most of these local suppliers are disorganized, overexploited or even collapsed.

New science and software make Belize coastal zone management plan better for people and the environment
STANFORD, CA Today, scientists at the Natural Capital Project share new science and open source software that can calculate risk to coastal and marine ecosystems. These novel tools, described in the journal Environmental Research Letters, were used to design the first integrated coastal zone management plan for the Caribbean country of Belize. Conducted with the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute in Belize and the World Wildlife Fund, the study offers a comprehensive explanation of the process used to calculate risk of habitat degradation in marine spatial planning. With historic expansion of coastal and ocean development, ecosystems like coral reefs and mangrove forests are put at unprecedented risk. Yet, planners often lack good information about how human activities will impact shoreline and ocean habitats now and in the future.


Happy Holidays. Love FM Christmas Parade in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, 1/4min.

Miss World Belize Raquel Badillo, 1/2min. Raquel Badillo and her friends say Hello to Belize from backstage of the Miss World Pageant in London

Christmas Parade Belize, 2min.

Cave tubing in Belize, 1min.

Belize 12-2014, 12min. My vacation to Belize.

Belize November 2014 Sharks, 8min. A.K.A This dog don't hunt. Nurse shark footage from our dive trip in November 2014. Note tag on shark's dorsal fin at min 5. Nice try getting nurse shark to eat Lionfish! Filmed with GoPro Hero 3+ black and Hero 4 Silver.

San Ignacio Market, Belize, 2min.

Iglesia Duck Run1, Belize, Centroamerica, 84min.

Belize-Goff's Caye, 3min. Exploring Goff's Caye In Belize with Matti, Mate, Szuzy, Madeline, and Garrett!!

Belize Advertisement, 2min.

Great Egret, North Ambergris Belize,2 min.

Eco Puddle Rocky Point ambergric Caye Belize, 1.5min.

December 14, 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

Rain Restaurant: New and Tasty and delightful
Located on the top two floors at Grand Caribe’s newest building, Rain Restaurant provides a unique vista and delicious food all in one. Owners Victoria and Hugo Meyer worked on a concept that marries classy and modern, taking into consideration the fantastic views of both the reef and lagoon. Then of course, there’s Chef Hugo’s delicious food! We had the chance to taste some of that yumminess at their grand opening night. Naturally, rather than take the stairs, we enjoyed a quick elevator ride to the top floor, where we were greeted by the twinkling lights and cool open air space of the rooftop dining area. As we sipped sweet rum punch and their tasty margaritas, we took in the lights of downtown and even the nearby homes of North Ambergris.

Zen Arcade donates Rice and Beans to Raise Me Up
Rice and beans are staples to many Belizean households, yet several families in Ambergris Caye cannot afford these simple ingredients to make a basic meal. To address this issue, five women have created a non-profit organization called “Raise Me Up” in an effort to eliminate inadequate living conditions by fulfilling basic needs while raising awareness in the community. For the past month Raise Me Up has been distributing 100 pounds of rice and beans every week to underprivileged families on the island. Local business Zen Arcade saw a need to assist the organization and on Tuesday, December 9th, donated 100 pounds of rice and 100 pounds of beans to Raise Me Up. According to Tara Darall and Noele McLain of Zen Arcade, a raffle was held to raise funds to buy the products. “When we heard about the organization and what they are doing to help the community, we immediately wanted to assist. We decided to have a raffle at our Christmas Party, and received several donations which we raffled out. Guests were invited to buy tickets at $2 for a ticket or $10 for eight. With the money raised we purchased 100 pounds of beans and 100 pounds of rice to give to Raise Me Up,” said Darall and McLain.

Residents complain about the conditions of roads on the island
Residents on Ambergris Caye are registering their discontent over the conditions of the roads on the outskirts of San Pedro Town. The roads have been steadily deteriorating following the constant rains that have been persistent over the past month. It seems there is no consolation for the many residents who daily have to go through inundated potholes, mud and bumpy dirt roads. On one hand is the San Pedro Town Council who is fully aware of the inconvenience that the bad roads have on the taxpaying population. On the other hand are the residents who are left to wonder how long it will take before help comes. Arguably it is a situation that can be attributed partly to Mother Nature, but the responsibility of the upkeep of roads falls squarely on the San Pedro Town Council.

Six charged as part of Lazy Lizard Land Dispute
Caye Caulker Police have arrested and charged five persons for the crime of “Burglary” and one person for the crime of “Damage to Property” pertaining to the land dispute of the iconic Lazy Lizard Bar and Grill located on the split at Caye Caulker. 38-year-old owner of Lazy Lizard and five-year leaseholder of the land Immer Perez has been in court proceedings since early November 2014 after he was illegally evicted from the property. During the proceedings, the Lazy Lizard was broken into, with thousands of dollars in inventory stolen. Police believe that both incidents are a result of the ongoing land dispute. The land on which Lazy Lizard is situated is owned by American Dan Nichols, who has been attempting to sell the property for quite some time. In August 2014, Perez received a 90-day notice stating that he must leave the property as it had been sold. But the land was never sold, and Perez’s lease contract specifically stated that he could only be given a 90-day eviction notice if the property was sold.

Tropic Air plane runs off the airstrip and into the sea
Despite no reported injuries, a full investigation is ongoing to determine what caused an airplane belonging to Tropic Air Limited to run off the airstrip and into the sea. The incident occurred on Thursday December 4th around 2:20PM at the Belize City Municipal Airstrip during a scheduled flight between San Pedro Town and Belize City. Five passengers and a pilot were onboard the single engine Cessna caravan when it ended up in the Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the airstrip. The plane, which is estimated to cost some $4 million dollars is one of the new planes brought in by the company about four months ago.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

The A Sharp Band debuted on Love Fm & Tv "12 Days of Christmas" last night at Old Belize Museum.
Awesome! Christmas with a touch of class. Anasie baby still den ena high grass, cool.


Another Shooting in Mahogany Heights
Just over two weeks ago, a 25 year old man was shot and killed in Mahogany Heights. On Thursday December 11, there was another shooting in the community. Police say that sometime after 5 pm, there was a shooting incident that occurred through a path that leads from the highway to Mahogany Heights Village, Belize District. Initial investigations revealed that five persons came off the bus and were walking through the path, when a man of dark complexion wearing a hooded shirt held them up. The five persons began to run and the hooded man responded by firing several shots, resulting in the shooting of 22-year-old Joel Winston Seawell, a Belizean of Mahogany Heights Village. Mr Sewell was shot to the right side of his mouth and the lower back.

Leon Garcia shot in Belize City
There was a shooting in Belize City Friday morning. At about 9:47 a.m., on Friday December 12, a shooting incident occurred on Victoria Street in Belize City. 27-year-old Leon Garcia, a construction worker of a Victoria Street address, Belize City was shot to the back. He was transported to the KHMH in a stable condition. Police investigations continue.

CCJ sets nationalization decision for January 23
On Friday morning the five-judge panel of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, wrapped up a three-day session of arguments over the 2009 and 2011 nationalizations of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and the 2011 nationalization of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) by the Government of Belize, challenged by the network commonly known as the “Ashcroft Alliance” for former chief executive Lord Michael Ashcroft, and Fortis Energy International. The court proposed to accept additional written submissions on certain points by December 17 with three days allotted for the Government’s reply.

Julius Espat says No to Christmas Cheer
Earlier this week the leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca announced that they will be accepting the Petro Caribe sponsored Christmas cheer. Mr Fonseca explained to reporters on Saturday the PUP’s rationale behind accepting the monies for Christmas cheer program, which he said is better administered in terms of handling. At the same time the Government did a little gloating calling the PUP’s stance one of hypocrisy. In Thursday’s newscast, you heard some of the concerns of our viewers, most of who believed the opposition should not accept the Christmas cheer monies. On Friday, Julius Espat, Area representative for Cayo South, and the one who has been at the forefront of the issue, announced that he is not accepting the Christmas Cheer program despite the party’s unanimous decision to accept it.

Sugar partners finally agree on commercial contract
It is subject to the approval of the membership of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) at an emergency meeting scheduled for Sunday, but after a round of meetings between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and executives of American Sugar Refining (ASR) and Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI) on Thursday, and again Friday morning between those parties and BSCFA executives, what appears to be a final agreement covering the commercial relationship between the producers of Belize’s sugar products and their suppliers was concluded. It was not an occasion for celebration; the formalities are yet to be observed and it could yet all be derailed. Like many compromises, each side did not get all they wanted, but they must now put the hard feelings behind them to co-exist and get in what is expected to be a bumper crop.

Accident in Belmopan involving passenger bus
There was a traffic accident in front of Tropigas in Belmopan. A J and J bus coming into Belmopan collided into a white Ford Escape, also coming into Belmopan. It was raining slightly and so the road was wet at the time. The bus dropped off someone at A and R and was picking up speed, when the next vehicle overtook the bus and was turning into Tropigas. The bus slammed into the front passenger side of the white car causing the vehile to spin in the next direction.

Federation of Fishers and regional counterparts discuss lobster catching
On Thursday, the executive management team from the Belize Federation of Fishers traveled to Cozumel, Mexico, to meet with their counterparts in the fishing industry, and will be visiting the fishing grounds in Cozumel, primarily as it relates to lobster, as they are trying to find sustainable practices for Belizean lobster fishing. They will in turn share the Belizean fishing experience with their counterparts. Nigel Martinez is the Director of Belize Federation of Fishers. He told us how the trip came about. Nigel Martinez – Director of Belize Federatiion of Fishers “Last year we had decided that we wanted to do another exchange. we did an exchange in May, where we had experienced the way how the lobsters were being harvested there.

Garden City Primary Inaugurates: New Preschool, New Reading Center, New Fence
The Garden City Primary School located in Humming Bird Avenue, Belmopan, inaugurated three facilities on Thursday. The primary school, which was opened since 1992, has suffered from vandalism from unwanted trespassers. Now, through a number of sponsors and also help from parents and teachers, the school can now boast of its newly constructed fence that encircles the perimeter. But more than that, the school also has a new preschool and a reading intervention centre, which is manned by a teacher at all times, to give extra help to those with reading disabilities.

Jose Funes charged for firearm
We told you on Thursday of the operations of the Eastern Division Strike Team which took a grenade and two firearms off the street earlier this week. On Friday the person alleged to be involved with one of those firearms, 33 year old Jose David Funes, was charged with keeping firearm and ammunition without a gun license, before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. The bar manager from Gill Street, Nelize City, denies attempting to throw away the .38 special revolver with 4 rounds of ammunition in the magazine, as police said they saw him doing on Sibun Street around 11:30 p.m. on December 9.

American National claims Belizean Police tortured him
An American National and business owner of a Pizza Place in Caye Caulker has filed a complaint to both the Caye Caulker and San Pedro Police Stations regarding alleged police brutality by certain police officers from the Caye Caulker Police formation. The unnamed businessman claims that a personal gripe that a police officer on the island has with him has escalated to the point where over the past four months he has been targeted and most recently he has been severely tortured.

LPG prices down by $5.00 per 100 lb cylinder
Christmas time in Belize includes a lot of cooking, and so it is certainly good news that effective Saturday December 13, the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas will be less by as much as $5.00. The new controlled price per 100 lb cylinder for LPG imported by Belize Gas Limited and Western Gas Company Limited in Belize City and Corozal is now $104, Belmopan and San Ignacio is $106, Orange Walk is $105, Bengue is $107, and Punta Gorda is $109.

The Reporter

Lima climate talks face major breakdown, US warns
The head of the US delegation at UN climate talks has warned of a “major breakdown” in the process if negotiators fail to come to an agreement at a meeting in Lima, Peru. Talks remain deadlocked by divisions between rich and poor countries over the scale and scope of plans to tackle global warming. The talks were due to have concluded on Friday but have now over-run. Disagreements abound over a key building block of a new global treaty. That element, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in the jargon of the meeting, is seen as a major step as developed nations are due to make pledges on how they will tackle climate change by the end of March next year. The countries came to Peru to work out the details of what those pledges would entail and it has not been smooth sailing. The big emitters like the US and EU want these pledges to be focused mainly on cutting carbon – and they want to include emerging economies such as India and China.

BSI, BSCFA reach common ground over sugar dispute
There is an agreement in principle between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) and American Sugar Refineries (ASR) following a meeting on Friday to iron put their differences, accompanied by their attorneys, Michael Young for BSI and Chris Coye for the BSCFA. Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who led the talks, made the announcement afterwards. “We have an agreement. Now, of course it is subject to ratification by the general membership of the BSCFA, but at this level, the level of the directors and the CEO and the BSCFA’s negotiating committee we have an agreement. A final agreement is to be signed, subject as I said to ratification of the acceptance, which we were able to procure this morning. Ratification of that acceptance by the general membership of the BSCFA.”

The Belize Times

UDP Cock Fight!! – The War between Bradley and Barrow!
It is difficult to say which is larger, the self-inflated drama-queen ego of Mayor Darrel Bradley or the authoritarian style and mentality of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, but both are clashing inside the UDP. On the one hand, Barrow is running the UDP (his party) just as his minions in Cabinet have made him become accustomed to. What he says goes, and it’s his way or the highway. No one can challenge the King. And on the other hand, there is Darrel Bradley, a virtually inexperienced politician who won an election on the coat-tails of a Central Government. Bradley was gifted an easy term in office with the promise than anything he asks for he will get. Bradley, apparently, has mis-valued his political capital to the UDP and has begun to raise the stakes for himself, but lately he hasn’t been getting everything he has asked for. Reports to the BELIZE TIMES are that Bradley has been feeling like a less important politician in the UDP recently. Central Government turned down the request to back-up a loan which the Council was seeking to renovate the Commercial Center.

Was murder suspect possessed by demons?
Corozal Police have charged 22 year old Carlos Cassanova for the brutal chopping murder of 29 year old Mark Massam Jr. that occurred on College Road, Corozal Town, on the night of Wednesday December 9th. Cassanova and Massam are neighbors, but on Wednesday night they turned on each other after an argument turned deadly. Cassanova, it is reported, used a machete to viciously attack Massam. When the Police arrived at the scene about 9:15pm, they saw Cassanova standing over Massam, swinging his machete with brutal force. The officers told Cassanova to stop. But he continued. They then pulled their weapons and fired warning shots in the air, but that did not stop the attack. Police said they felt they had no choice but to disable Cassanova by shooting at his feet, in order to stop the attack and subdue him.

Sedi says Belizeans are “Very Rusty”
Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington has offended Belizeans many, many times before. Belizeans could recall his calling of our Border with Guatemala “Artificial”. Cayo residents remember the UDP representative for Pickstock telling them that crime in their locality is nothing alarming when compared to his Belize City area and that they need to stop looking to the Government for solutions. Most recently, Sedi dissed the country by saying that we shouldn’t question a “gift” by the United States, even it means compromising our security to Guatemalans. When Sedi speaks, he seems to just shove his feet right into his mouth. This disease seems to have no bounds on his propensity to attack and be negative, and his most recent presentation before a group of young people was no different.

Home Mortgage Relief Flops! – GOB tells mortgagors they must pay December interest on their own
The Barrow Administration seriously can’t get anything right, as the Prime Minister has admitted himself before a meeting with private sector representatives. The UDP Government has back-pedalled on one of their political gimmicks announced in September – the home mortgage relief program – in which they promised to meet the December interest payment for over 7,400 mortgagors with mortgage loans up to $100,000. The Government announced this week that they will no longer be making the December payment to the financial institutions, as indicated before, but will instead reimburse those who can pay. This has caused panic for many families, who following the news in September, began budgeting their Christmas expenses based on the UDP Government’s promised assistance. With the Government returning the burden on mortgagors, they have now been forced to scramble and find a way to pay their loans with the interest or find themselves being left out of the programme completely.

Christmas Jeer!!
Clientelism is defined as “the exchange of goods and services for political support”. It is tantamount to vote-buying which is illegal and considered highly corrupt. The unfortunate thing about clientelism is that it is in effect, citizens being given a handout from money that is in fact, theirs to begin with. What most don’t seem to understand is that for every dollar that politicians give out, they keep anywhere from nine to ninety-nine per cent for themselves. It seems however, that most folks are so happy to receive that one dollar that they are willing to ignore or even endorse the outright theft of their tax dollars by these greedy politicians. The practice of giving handouts to citizens has become a tradition under this current administration and while it is indubitably wrongheaded, many would be more inclined to tolerate it if there was any degree of equity in its discharge. At last report, the number of Belizeans at or below the poverty level has increased to an alarming 45 percent under this administration.

Barrow, Belize’s Biggest Hypocrite
Dean Barrow is, pound for pound, Belize’s biggest hypocrite. He is the biggest hypocrite politically. He is the biggest hypocrite personally. He stands out over and alone all others on the issue of hypocrisy. As an elected area representative for Queen’s Square he offers no representation to the constituency. There is no office anywhere in the division where residents can access their representative, no matter how urgent or life threatening their situation. For the past six years Mr. Barrow has nine plycem houses to show for his area. Some are jammed up two in one yard. His voters’ list is a classic example of political corruption and dishonesty in electoral fraud – empty lots are listed as residential homes for his supporters.

Belize wins 5 medals at Central American Championships
The national bodybuilding team returned with five medals after participating at the 2014 Central American Championships held in El Salvador on December 6th 2014. The team made up of three-time Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos, Master’s Champ Clayton Greenidge and Novice Champ Oyinkro Akpobodor, entered five categories and swept up five medals for each one. Vellos entered the very senior category, the 85kg-and-over and won silver (2nd place). He was only outmatched by a more experienced Costa Rican bodybuilder.

SJC boys enter basketball nationals
The boys of St. John’s College will represent the Central Division at the national high school basketball championships hosted by Excelsior High School at Bird’s Isle this weekend December 12-13. SJC came from a double digit deficit in the 2nd quarter to defeat Sadie Vernon High School 86-65. Dudley Erskine had 22 points, while Sydney Bradley added 16 points and Kyle Pitts 12 points. Sadie Vernon’s Clency Lopez led with 33 points.

Ladies & Juniors Tennis Tournaments
This past Saturday (December 6, 2014) was a day filled with tennis for all ages! The National Ladies Singles tournament sponsored by Denise Courtenay got underway at the Belize Pickwick Club Tennis Courts. After round robin competition top scorers Samira Pott and Sophie Sosa met in the finals. Samira Pott took the victory 8-0 over Sophie Sosa. Sonny Meighan as representative of Belize Tennis Association presented the trophies to both ladies on behalf of Mrs. Courtenay. The juniors also did their thing in doubles competition. In the green/advance category Samron Pott and Harnadar Tut took the 1st place with Stefan Sosa and Adrian Marshalleck 2nd place. These kids are hitting the ball with incredible pace and it is great to see their development!!

“Boots” Martinez Under Fire for Inadequate Housing in Port Loyola
On Wednesday December 3, 2014 over a hundred residents of the division participated in a demonstration in Port Loyola, marching along with People’s United Party Port Loyola Standard Bearer Gilroy Usher Sr. and demanding proper housing for the residents. As they marched through many of the neglected streets in the area and viewed the terrible housing situation in which many them or their relatives have been forced to live, the people carried placards which stated among other things: No More Inadequate Housing for the People, We Deserve Proper Housing and We need Jobs to get out of inadequate housing and poverty.

Petro-Caribe Party in Peril
The Barrow Administration’s Petro-Caribe Party of illegal spending, wastefulness, and political gimmicks is in serious danger! This week the Venezuelan Government informed Prime Minister Dean Barrow that as of February 2015, they will discontinue providing Premium gasoline under the ALBA/Petrocaribe agreement. This is in line with current steps being taken by the Venezuelan Government to re-adjust its priorities as the program faces difficult market conditions that threaten its continuation. These steps have affected countries benefitting from Venezuela hand-outs across the region. The biggest threat to Petro-Caribe is the world market price for fuel which has been stumbling down for several months, from about US$115 per barrel in June to about US$45 today.

On January 5th, 2015 the voters of Cayo North will go to the polls to elect a new Area Representative following the sudden and intriguing resignation of Joseph Mahmud. As they do so, they must be mindful of a few important facts: The PETROCARIBE MONEYTRAIN that has rolled into town and will be there for the next 30 days will be GONE after January 5th, 2015. If the UDP cared about the people of Cayo North they would have been helping you, your families and your community since 2008. From 2008 to 2012 under a UDP representative, Cayo North was ignored. From 2008 to 2012 under a PUP Representative, Cayo North was punished. Now that a By-Election is imminent the UDP remembers Cayo North. Do not be fooled!

Hon. Jose Mai spreads Christmas Cheer in OW South
The children of Orange Walk South communities are excited about Christmas. Hon Jose Mai was well received in all the villages of Orange Walk South as he and the old man in the red suit travelled throughout the area greeting the children and sharing special gifts. Even the children from the Mennonite Community of Blue Creek received goodies bag from the Hon Jose Mai. Teachers and staff of Blue Creek Primary and Secondary School were very courteous with the Hon Jose Mai as they invited him to greet the children.

Patrick JonesPJ

Policeman charged for the crime of extortion
A police officer working in San Pedro town is in hot water … accused of extorting hundreds of dollars from a local businessman. Constable John Arana was busted on Friday morning, as he emerged from the Mamacita Entertainment Bar on Angel Coral Drive. The story is that the businessman reportedly owes a local supermarket and PC Arana allegedly offered to “make it all go away” is the businessman would pay him. At the time PC Arana allegedly initiated the extortion, the businessman said he asked for $200 and offered to return later for an additional $1,000.


Award Season at Ocean Academy Caye Caulker Belize
Ocean Academy was selected out of 350 applicants from more than 70 countries for UNICEF’s Sport in Education Award from Beyond Sport. Heidi Curry and Joni Miller traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa, to represent the Aquatic Tourism Program as a finalist among prestigious development organizations from around the world. The award recognizes Ocean Academy’s innovative approach to developing entrepreneurial and life skills through fly-fishing, scuba diving, and kayaking “physical education” classes. On weekends and holidays, students accompany visitors on kayak excursions and teach about the ecology and history of the island. They earn money for their families, their school fees, and the school. Ocean Academy develops workshops based on visitors’ evaluation forms. Skills are transferable to any future profession. Ocean Academy’s Aquatic Tourism Program is sponsored by a grant from the U.S. State Department.

My Under $100bzd Christmas List: Holiday Shopping in San Pedro, Belize
So it is with great fondness that I reminisce about my Christmas browsing in downtown San Pedro less than a week ago. A friend and I wandered around town to find gifts, at or around $100bzd ($50US) that you go buy locally for yourself, or for your girl friend, girlfriend or wife this holiday season. Here are a few suggestions that I came up with.

New Sea'n Belize Glass Bottomed Boat...Anna's visit....Wine Tasting...Marathon....other Placencia fun!
Just a few fun things happening around Placencia these days.....! Anna from Cleveland came in for a visit! We had a great time. Here she is at arrival... The few days she was here flew by. She loved the Cockscomb tour with Doyle, and we also went to the Belize Ocean Club and a lot of touring of the beach bars :) Anna works her butt off in Cleveland so it was great for her to hang out on the veranda and just relax. She took the kayak out and loved walking the beach, and we had a beach barbecue one night...we have learned not to push people to do too many excursions as this place was really made for relaxing! Here we are the night of the cookout:

International Sourcesizz

Stronger US dollar and lower oil prices: Effects on the Caribbean
CARIBBEAN countries whose value is fixed to the United States dollar should benefit, at least in the short term, from the fall in oil prices and the strengthening of the American currency. Oil prices fell to below US$65 a barrel for the first time in five years, while the US dollar strengthened against every major currency, including China's yuan. In a general sense, the reduction in the oil price will benefit all countries, particularly the developed nations whose working population will have more disposable income and will spend more on goods and services, such as tourism. In turn, this will help to rejuvenate economies worldwide for as long as the oil price remains low. The further and specific benefits to countries whose currencies are linked to the US dollars should come in three important ways.

Belize is situated on the Caribbean Sea, south of Mexico and east and north of Guatemala in Central America. In area, it is about the size of New Hampshire. From the deep Blue Hole to the wonders of the ancient Maya temples, each region of Belize offers a uniquely different experience. The only English-speaking country in Central America, Belize offers a unique combination of richly rewarding experiences that make it unlike any destination on the planet. Swim with exotic sea life along the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef. Explore the fascinating mysteries of the largest concentration of Maya sites in the region.

Jingle Jam Christmas Bazaar At The Split
GET READY FOR NEXT WEEK’S ACTIVITY!!!! Join us at the Split on Saturday, December 20th 2014 for a day of activities and great food!! We will be having games during the afternoon and some sailing demonstrations. Games will start at 12 noon to 5 p.m. then get your dancing shoes ready for the dance with Rompe Raja from San Pedro starting at 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Entrance is $5.00. We will be having raffles throughout the dance. Those who had already bought raffle tickets for the bike your tickets are still in the box!!! Bike Raffles are still available for $5 a chance. Come out and support your sailing club!!! All proceeds will go towards the regattas for next year and purchasing of equipment. THERE WILL BE A BAR!!!!!


Feeding crocodiles, 2min. Can someone please alert the authorities to the fact that some people on Caye Caulker are hand feeding wild crocodiles? Many children go to the south point to fish and this creates a danger for them, not to mention how many people bike in that area. Some people are so clueless.

LisaBella - The Hair Fairy,1 min. Lisabella graduated from King's College Belize Central America at the age of 18 in 1985. Lisabella then became a school teacher at several elementary schools, educating and nurturing young kids throughout the city for 7 years. LisaBella never stop educating herself so she attended The Belize Teachers College through out the summer and and off days from the classroom. LisaBella was always creative, whether inside or outside of the classroom as well as a lover of art and fashion. In 1994, LisaBella wanted more for herself, and wanted to pursue her dreams so she migrated to the United States, where she knew she would have more opportunities to accomplish her goals and take advantage of her artistic skills.

Belize recap, 4min. from Awaken Church

Belize - Diving The Great Blue Hole, 5min. 3 Dive Sites: - The Great Blue Hole - Half Moon Caye Wall - The Aquarium.

Belize Aggressor III, 7min. Belize is a wall diver's paradise. Sheer walls like Painted Wall, Half Moon Caye Wall and Quebrada are adorned with huge crimson gorgonians and giant orange elephant ear sponges. Moray eels, spiny lobsters and tiny arrow crabs hide in every crack, crevice, cave and tunnels of these beautiful coral formations. These are just a few things you will see at Lighthouse Reef, Half Moon Cay and Turneffe Reef.

Christmas Turkey - Cooking with Flavors of Belize & Chef Sean Kuylen, 9min. Just in time for the Christmas season this year, Chef Sean gives us the run down on preparing the perfect turkey for your Christmas spread. He also introduces a fresh face to the Flavors of Belize team - Carolee Chanona, who is no stranger to Belizean cuisine.

Cave tubing shore excursion in Belize, 14min. Cave tubing with "Butts Up" tour guides. They also fed us Belizian tamales afterwards. They met us at cruise port. About 1 hour out on motor coach. Took about a half hour to walk to launch site, a half hour in cave, and a half hour on river in forest. Also about a half hour at their place afterwards for free tamales, you buy drinks for reasonable price.

XT Belize v1 rough, 25min. Belize was a real jungle type vacation. Wild and dangerous. Swimming with sharks, kite surfing, jungle atvs, wilderness survival, climbing cave waterfalls and fighting mosquitos. Theres nowhere in the world like Ian Anderson's Caves Branch!!

Belize spesso definito come "altri Caraibi", 5min. Belize City, Belize Meno di tre ore di volo da Dallas, Belize è spesso definito come "altri Caraibi". Crimine, droga, depravazione, e bagarini l'carcere tagline è un'altra città.

Belize Birds Dec 2013, 9min. Just a few of the birds we saw on a 2 week birding trip to Belize.

Hastings in Belize, 7min. 2014 Winter Vacation for the Hastings.

Belize Hermit Crabs Are Awesome, 1min. Belize is beautiful - white sand beaches, azure waves, friendly people - but I lost that footage. So here's a bunch of AWESOME hermit crabs keeping it real.

Belize: Missions of Peace, 6min. Franciscan University of Steubenville students organize and fund a mission trio to Belize, Central America.

December 13, 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

Get Your Teams Ready: SP Volleyball Association to host tournament
The San Pedro Volleyball Association is gearing up to host a local six-by-six tournament on December 27th and 28th. The tournament is to take place at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium, and will serve as a qualifier match, so that a local selection can participate in The Belize Volleyball National Championships on January 30th-31st and February 1st. The Association is seeking at least four teams with a minimum of 6-8 senior players per team, to partake in the competition. Teams will be receiving trophies for first and second place, medals for the top three teams, as well as awards for the Best Spiker, Best Blocker, Best Server, Best Libero (Defense) and the tournament MVP. Teams are asked to register with Erick Santizo Nuñez no later than December 20th. Upon registration, a fee of $100 will be required, along with a complete team roster. For more information on the tournament and registration contact Nuñez at 605-0963.

Glorious, Fiery Sunsets
Aren’t sunsets beautiful?! Our headquarters provides us with a great viewing spot to take in the show daily. As soon as the evening starts nipping at the day, we run upstairs to the rooftop and check out what kind of colorworks we’ll be getting. Some days, it’s a straight on blue to navy to pitch dark with slight shades of pink and red, then there are times when the sky seems to explode in all shades!

Raquel Badillo ready to take the stage at the 2014 Miss World Pageant
Since Thursday, November 20th, Miss World Belize 2014 Raquel Badillo had been in London, England participating in the 64th Miss World Pageant. The island beauty joined 122 other contestants from across the globe in several sub-competitions leading up to the big pageant date scheduled for Sunday, December 14th at the EXCel ICC Auditorium. On that night, one lucky lady will be crowned Miss World 2014 by current Miss World 2014 Megan Young. Since arriving in London, Raquel has participated in the Sports and Fitness Challenge, Miss World Top Model, Tradition Dance Challenge, Talent Segment, Oxford Debate and the Miss World Charity Gala. The several challenges and events that the beauty ambassadors partake in allow them the opportunity to express their skills, talents and personality to the judges and organizers.

Kent “Bob” Gabourel places second at the End of the World Marathon
The third annual End of the World Marathon took place on Sunday, December 7th at the Placencia Peninsula and this year saw hundreds of national and international runners competing. The marathon is one of the biggest races in Belize, and without fail, San Pedro athletes were there to represent. Once again, star athlete Kent “Bob” Gabourel didn’t not let his island home down, as he brought home the second place trophy in the competition’s main event: the full marathon. The marathon is divided in to several sub races, all equally challenging. The End of the World Marathon began back in 2012 as a homage to the Maya Calendar that ended in 2012. Since its inception the race has been challenging athletes of all ages as one of the self-proclaimed “toughest races” in Belize.

Belize’s sugar crop season in limbo as cañero and BSI/ASR butt heads
One of Belize’s largest agriculture sectors, the sugar industry, is in limbo as there is no clear sign when the crop season will be opened. Thousands of tonnage of sugarcane remains in the plantation and the economic ramifications due to the delay in the crop season is mounting. The impasse between Belize Sugar Industry (BSI)/American Sugar Refinery (ASR) and the members of the Belize Cane Farmers Association (BCFA) remain at a standstill as they have not been able to reach a compromise on key areas of negotiations. The main areas of contention between the two parties are over the ownership of the sugar cane, the terms of payment and the formula that will be used to pay for the bagasse (by product) used by BSI to create energy. In the past, farmers have been paid for sugarcane only, based on the world price of sugar, but now that the bagasse is being used locally, they also want a piece of the economic benefit from such by product.

Ambergris Today

Mañanitas to the Virgin Lady of Guadalupe
Residents of San Pedro Town, Belize, came together during the eve of commemorations to La Virgen de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe) to celebrate the date in which Saint Guadalupe appeared before Saint Juan Diego at the hill of the Tepeyac, Mexico in 1531. The Catholic Church has set aside December 12 to celebrate the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe and countries worldwide pay honor to the saint, especially Mexico that has adapted her as its patron saint. The Mañanitas to the Virgin of Guadalupe took place on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Church were a ceremony took place; it included prayer, songs performed the San Pedro Youth Group and poems dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

U.S. Embassy WAE/Rover Administrative Assistant-Vacancy Announcement No. 2014-21
The U.S. Embassy Belmopan has an opening for a When Actually Employed (WAE) Rover/Administrative Assistant position. The successful candidate will be required to obtain a top security clearance and undergo a medical examination. BASIC FUNCTION OF THE POSITION: • Provides office clerical/administrative support to the mission (both Management and non-Management sections) when required. This includes making appointments; drafting and formatting routine correspondence; typing and formatting reports, cables, and other written materials, filing and provides other secretarial/administrative support. • Requests Embassy access for visitors and provides security escort services for Controlled Access Areas as needed. • Prepares and processes information for certain reports and surveys, as required and appropriate. For more information, please see the full Position Description.

St. Francis Xavier Primary School and Pre-School Christmas
St. Francis Xavier Primary School and Pre-School spread much anticipated Christmas Cheer to Corozal. Teachers, parents, students and invited guests joined in the annual Christmas Parade and Show yesterday December 11, 2014. Great show! We take this opportunity to wish each and every teacher and family in Corozal a warm and special Christmas Cheer.

Neidi L. Rosado of Corozal Town attends Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA) Youth Conference
Held Nov. 24th in San Salvador, Central America. Ms. Rosado currently sits as the, Youth Empowerment Coordinator in Corozal Town. As part of SHARE-BZE she is also the National Communications Secretariat Coordinator. Also attending from Corozal was Henry Castillo, the National Project Formulation Coordinator for SHARE-BZE. Attending the meeting were heads of Youth of Central America and Minister Herman R. Longsworth - Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Over 200 youth, representing 60 Youth Groups and Organizations of the region (including Belize) presented the Central American Heads and Ministers of Youth their proposals made in their 2015-2025 Central American Youth Agenda. The agenda states – “We, the young people of Central America, presented this Youth Agenda to The ministers and youth representatives of Central America, And made emphasis on its importance. We Demand that these strategies are taken in to consideration when they are doing decision making for the countries. Young People are often left aside and not taken into consideration. I had to fight for the health of young people. Mental Health, Prevention and Sexual Reproductive Health amongst all youth)".

Significant revisions to the Residential Mortgage Payment Program
Please be advised that the Ministry of Finance has made some significant revisions to the criteria relating to borrowers who can qualify for the Residential Mortgage Payment Program. Accordingly, kindly note the links below in relation to the program: Revised Notice and Application Forms- GOB December 2014 Residential Mortgage Payment Program: Frequently Asked Questions- GOB December 2014 Residential Mortgage Payment Program:

Making The Perfect Pitch
Before the break we told you about Finpyme (FIN-PI-MEH) Export Plus, a programme where producers get to pitch their product before a panel of prospective money lenders. The idea is to get financing for products that can break into the CARICOM market. If it sounds familiar, it should; it’s like the TV show shark tank:.. Mike Singh, CEO- Ministry of Trade “Think about it – you know the show the “Shark Tank” – it’s along the line of where they come up, present their project, talk about what they are looking to do and they get feedback and advice and possibility of financing as well.” Shahera McKoy, Export Belize – BELTRAIDE “The idea was to take the idea that the companies had to look at a specific project that they wanted to develop that would lead to them accessing export markets or developing systems in place to make them more export ready.”

Power interruptions, 8:00 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday, December 14: entire Orange Walk and Corozal Districts
BEL to accommodate works on CFE’s power distribution system.

Power Interruption 6:00am to 8:00am, Sunday, December 14, San Pedro Town
North San Pedro, from Boca Del Rio to Tranquillity Bay Resort. BEL to energize new high voltage line in San Mateo Subdivision.

Holiday Hotel's Glowing NY Eve Party!
Always the innovator, never the imitator - This year's New Years Eve Celebration promises to be the best yet.

Cancelled: outage previously scheduled for San Pedro
from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 14, 2014.

Channel 7

Finally, A Sugar Solution, But Will Cane Farmers Accept En Masse?
Finally, tonight, there is the promise of peace in the sugar industry: the cane farmers and BSI have come to an agreement. But it is a fragile truce at this time - because the agreement must still be approved by the larger body of cane farmers. But, that will or won't come on Sunday - today the story was about how both sides came to the table in a spirit of compromise. Jules Vasquez was at the Radisson:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This morning the leaders of the cane farmers association and the Sugar Industry Control Board arrived at the Radisson. The 18 directors crowded to elevator to capacity as they headed up to the fifth floor for a meeting.

Hon. Julius Plays Scrooge Rejects GOB Christmas Cheer
It made big news 9 days ago when the PUP Secretary General wrote to the Financial Secretary accepting the Christmas Cheer program. Since then the leader of the opposition Francis Fonseca has praised Christmas Cheer, calling it transparent and accountable. But, it's funded by Petrocaribe Money and, in November, the opposition has taken government to court, to block spending of those funds. The man leading that charge is PUP Cayo South Representative Julius Espat. He's also chairman of the public finance committee and today he took the high road by announcing that he wouldn't take the Cheer money. Now this is a sharp divergence from his party leader who seemed quite happy to take the Cheer funds. So what accounts for the reversal? That's what we asked him today at his office in Belmopan:.. Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South Representative "It was a decision based on principle. It was a decision when you have needy people in your constituency and so it was a balancing act trying to weigh the positive and the negative. But at the end I consulted with my local executive, the Cayo South executive, I spoke to each one of them. I called in our village leaders and I spoke to some of the villagers and then I spoke to my friends, my advisors and my family - that's how we normally do things in Cayo South.

Compol Whylie Tells Cops to Ease Up On The Checkpoints
Tonight, 7News is in possession of an unusual memo from the Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie. Dated 10th. December, it tells all commanders of all operational units how to conduct vehicular checkpoints. Now, it would seem that this is pretty much common knowledge in the police department - but the commissioner wants business as usual to change. His memorandum says the police department has received numerous complaints about police checkpoints blocking traffic. He refers specifically to checkpoints on the George Price Highway, quote, "where buses are pulled to the side of the road and all passengers are ordered to disembark with their personal belongings in order that the officers can conduct searches on them.." The memorandum, says, quote, ""All personnel are hereby directed that effective immediately, this practice of having passengers disembarking the bus must stop. " End quote.

Leon Got Shot On Victoria
There was a shooting in the city this morning. It happened at around 9:30 on Victoria Street. 27 year old Leon Garcia - a construction worker who lives on that street was shot to his left shoulder. According to his mother - Judith Bernard- her son had just left home and was walking up the street when she heard about 5 shot ring out. She spoke to Monica Bodden off camera. Voice of: Judith Bernard, Mother of Leon Garcia "I was in my room because I wasn't feeling well and I heard the gunshots and right away my daughter ask me where is Leon and I told her that I don't know where he is and then she ran up the street and then shortly after that she back crying saying that Leon got shot." Reporter "It happened around what time?" Voice of: Judith Bernard, Mother of Leon Garcia "This morning about after 10am."

Sewell Shot In Mahogany Heights Holdup
There was a shooting yesterday evening near Mahogany Heights Village at mile 31 and a half on the Western Highway. According to police, it happened through a picado road that leads from the highway to Mahogany Heights. At 5:30, five persons came off a bus and were walking through a shortcut to the village- when they were held up by a man wearing a hooded shirt. They five tried to escape and that was when the armed assailant opened fire on them. 22 year old Joel Winston Seawell was caught to the right side of his mouth and to his lower back. He still managed to run from the area to Tiger Sandy Bay Farm located just across the highway. Today he is admitted at the KHMH - and his aunt gave 7news an update on his condition.

Capital Cops Catch Cannabis, Nearly 100 lbs!
Tonight, a Belize City man is spending the first night of a 5 year sentence after being busted by Belmopan police with just under 100 pounds of imported high-grade marijuana, and a loaded 9 mm pistol. He was busted in a taxi traveling on the Western Highway last night just around midnight. An intelligence-based operation was conducted by a specialized team from the Belmopan Police Station. The commanding officer told us more about it today: Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police "Earlier this morning, just after 12am in the morning a specialist unit within the Belmopan Police formation was on a strategic patrol on the George Price Highway when we encountered a taxi from Benque Viejo along with someone from Belize City who were onboard. The names of the persons who were in the vehicle at the time are Jenny Silva, Yolanda Patt, both are from Benque Viejo, I think it is 61 Chruch Street, Benque Viejo and then also along with them was Casey Fitzgerald Smith of 20 Cor. George and Bishop Streets in Belize City. The vehicle was search and eventually we found 94.5 pounds of marijuana. Also found in the vehicle was a 9mm R uger pistol with a magazine containing 8 live rounds.

Remanded For .38
And while Smith was busted this morning, as we told you the Eastern Division strike team caught 33 year-old Jose David Funez with a gun on Tuesday. They recovered a .38 revolver with 4 rounds of ammunition. Funez was charged with keeping a unlicensed firearm, and keeping unlicensed ammunition. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where he pleaded not guilty. He couldn't be granted bail, and so, he was remanded until February 12, 2015.

San Pedro Cops Catch Extorting TPU
San Pedro police set up a neat sting to catch a tourism police officer who was extorting a member of the public. Here's what we know tonight about the case, which is still developing. A tourism police officer told a member of the public he could get someone to drop a civil suit against them for a price. He asked for two hundred dollars initially, and then another five hundred today. The business owner called police who set up an elaborate sting. They got marked hundred dollar bills, photocopied all of them - and then told the business owner to set up the handover for this afternoon at this business. When the officer showed up - he told the cop he was going to the bank to get the money - but instead called the police. They lay in wait outside and caught the TPU officer red handed when he walked outside. He had the five hundred dollars in marked bills in his pocket. He has been detained pending charges. We'll give you his name on Monday after he is charged.

More Arguments From CCJ
The Caribbean Court of Justice has reserved judgment in the nationalization case, the so-called "war of the worlds" between the Ashcroft Alliance, Fortis Energy International and the Barrow Administration. It has been a 3-day appeal hearing in which voluminous legal arguments concluded this afternoon at the CCJ Headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad. You'll know that the Government of Belize has retained control over the utility companies, BTL and BEL, since the nationalizations in 2011. The dispute that has been at the core over the fight for these companies is the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, in which the Government sought to legislate perpetual, public ownership of the companies and put it beyond legal challenge. And while that's the root of the appeal, over the course of the 3 days, the arguments had less to do with the utilities and more to do with the extent of government's power to legislate matched against the power of the court to review such legislation.

CEO Singh Says Stake Bank Solution Not Straightforward
Yesterday we spoke to CEO in the Ministry of Trade and Investment Mike Singh about the major new development planned for Caye Chapel. And while that seems to have gotten an executive green light - even before any environmental assessment is made - another island project of far greater scale is still holding at a yellow light. That, of course, is the much discussed Stake Bank project. It's tied up in threats of lawsuits - and Singh told us government can't just clear the way for this local investment - he said it's up to the vested interest to hammer out a solution:.. Mike Singh, CEO- Ministry of Trade "My take on it is that unless the parties agree to sit down together and work towards what is best for Belize, I don't know what much government can do. Because the minute government sticks its hand in there, there is a lawsuit that is going to fly and we have to decide what we are going to do with that. And then would government really want to do something that bold and that's going to end up saddling the Belizean people with yet another settlement? I think that's a difficult decision. I think government has shown that it's not afraid of taking these risks with the two acquisitions that are still now in court, how many years later? Five years later.

How Petrocaribe Debts Are Sold
And keeping the discussion on big money matters - we turn back to Petrocaribe. As we've reported Venezuela may be forced to sell some of its Petrocaribe debt to Investment Banks in the US. That's a process called securitization and our colleague at the Nationwide News Network in Jamaica Kalilah Enriquez asked international banker Aubyn Hill to explain how securitization works - and how it will help Venezuela out of its short term cash flow problems - while not changing the terms of the debt commitment that debtor nations have: Aubyn Hill "Where Goldman makes its money, it says look, you have this debt on your book at $100, I am going to buy it from you at 40% discount which I think is exactly what Goldman has offered and so instead of you have 100 million dollars because its impaired and I don't know what is going to happen in the future and you need the money badly - I'll give you today 60 million dollars and will be maturing in 10-15 years whatever state of maturity is. When its purchase you can come to Jamaica and say look this thing say 15 years. If you pay me in 10 years and instead of taking 100 million dollars from you, I will take 70-75. In other words they make a cool 15 million dollars and turn around in two months. Jamaica now get a benefit of paying only 75% for the debt that it owed."

Butane Prices Go Down In Time For Christmas Cooking
And just as the price of Petrocaribe oil is falling, so is the price of LPG, or what we call butane. The Bureau of Standards today announced that the controlled price of a hundred pound cylinder will go down by five dollars to one hundred and one dollars in Belize City. That's only for Central American butane though, the type sold by BWEL, Southern Choice Butane, Zeta Gas and Gas Tomza. The butane imported from Mexico and sold by Belize Gas and Western Gas also comes down five dollars from 109 to 105 dollars in Belize City. The new prices take effect tomorrow.

QPP Wants To Go CSME
Yesterday we told you about the interesting investor experience organized by Beltraide. They got product developers to appear before a panel of potential lenders to pitch their products. We heard about diabetes friendly soursop juice from a Cayo company called Pure Nature MD. Also making a pitch was Belize's biggest poultry producer, Quality Poultry Products. They already control 50% of the Belize market, but they want to break into the CARICOM market in a big way and are looking to BELTRAIDE for a boost. But if QPP goes CSME - how will it affect you? That's what we asked the Orange Walk Branch Manager today:

Cops Help Out Senior Citizen With Home Repairs
Last night we reported on the Christmas initiatives organized by the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Well, today, the police department has also joined in to give back to the community. Police officers from Precinct 1 are working on a house project for a Partridge Street Extension resident. 81-year-old Edna Arnold has been living in her house for about 6 years - but it's been a challenge for the octogenarian to keep up with repairs. And so now the police are doing it for her. Today with the assistance from these officers, she can finally hang her Christmas lights. I met the very free spirited Edna today. Courtney Weatherburne reporting Edna Arnold sits in this wooden armchair every day for her bible and prayer sessions. And also finds enjoyment in crafting these stylish handbags. Edna lives a quiet and solitary life in this home but the condition of her house has made it difficult for her to enjoy her personal time.

The Art Of Aging Gracefully
There are countless books that claim to hold the secret to a long and healthy life. But Leonora Patnett- who turns 101 tomorrow - never read any of those books. For Leonora, the secret is simple: she has faith in God. I met her today and she told us what she has planned for her birthday. From a family of 6 children, she is the only one remaining.

Tonight's I am Belize teacher profile features the principal of Hummingbird Elementary Jamuna Vasquez. And though she leads one of the top performing private schools in the country - tonight she tells the profile about her own learning challenges as a child:

Heights of Vibes Comes With Christmas Brukdown
The popular artist, "TR Shine", has been on a countrywide tour to promote a new CD called "Heights of Vibes Christmas Volume 2". He and several local artists have put together an album that brings back the "brukdown" spirit. He told us more:.. The CD is on sale for $10.

LANDINI: Aurelio Got It From His Mom
Another album that hit record stores yesterday is Aurelio Martinez's "Landini". The album has been earning rave reviews in Europe and the USA where it was released in September. That's one more certified gem coming out of Stonetree studios in Benque Viejo. But while it came from the studio, Aureli Martinez told us yesterday that it started in his mother's house:.. Jules Vasquez reporting This is Aurelio Martinez at his mother's APARTMENT in New York. They share a special musical connection Aurelio Martinez, Artist - "Landini" "My first mentor is my mom. When you hear this album, it's like you are in Aurelio Martinez house and my mom house. That's the way we sing together. I play guitar, my mom sing, I sing with her. We do this thing together in our house. My mom had a dream to be an artist, my grandma don't want to give her the opportunity, but my mom complete her dream in me. We are making our dream together."

Leaving With Landini
And Aurelio Martinez gave us a slice of that "deliciousness" - right here in our studio yesterday when he pulled out his guitar and gave us an acoustic performance of his new album's title track, "Landini." We leave you with that tonight, as edited by James Ayala.

Channel 5

B.S.C.F.A. Reaches Tentative Agreement with ASR/B.S.I.
There is a concord of sorts between A.S.R./B.S.I. and the B.S.C.F.A., but we wouldn’t go dusting off that old cane truck and making merry just yet. Both parties sat down [...]

ASR Rep Outlines Strategic Plan for Embattled Sugar Industry
As you heard, pending the decision of the farmers on Sunday, the agreement will be for a period of seven years. There is an out for the farmers, but only [...]

Julius Espat Turns Down Christmas Cheer for Cayo South
P.U.P. Deputy Leader Julius Espat will not be participating in the Petrocaribe-sponsored Christmas cheer program. Through that political initiative, all U.D.P. Area Reps will allegedly be receiving one hundred and [...]

Butane Price Slashed by $5 Countrywide
If you plan on doing any baking or cooking this Christmas Season then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that as of midnight the cost per hundred pound cylinder of [...]

Another Late-Evening Shooting in Mahogany Heights
Joel Seawell and four other persons were ambushed on Wednesday evening in the Mahogany Heights area on the George Price Highway. Members of the group, including a woman, were headed [...]

Leon Garcia Shot on Victoria Street
The shooting of Joel Seawell was followed by another this morning in Belize City when a bold attempt was made on the life of twenty-seven-year-old Leon Garcia as he made [...]

100 Pounds of Marijuana Seized by Garden City Cops
Tonight, the Belmopan Police are reporting the seizure of a sizable amount of marijuana, confiscated during a special patrol just after midnight. Three persons – Jennie Silva and Yolanda Patt [...]

Randy Dominguez Remanded for Sexual Assault of Minor
A boat attendant was this evening remanded to the Belize Central Prison on a heinous sexual assault charge for fondling a seven year old child in the village of Biscayne [...]

CCJ Wraps Up B.T.L./B.E.L. Nationalization Matter
Today was the final hearing of the CCJ appeal concerning the nationalizations of B.T.L. and B.E.L.  Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, on behalf of British Caribbean Bank, replied to the arguments [...]

Lord Peter Goldsmith Submits on Behalf of Dean Boyce & B.T.L. Trust
Courtenay was followed by Lord Peter Goldsmith, Queen Counsel, who replied to the Government on behalf of Dean Boyce and the B.T.L. Employees Trust.    Lord Peter Goldsmith, Queen Counsel, [...]

Will Murder Statistics in 2014 Surpass Previous Years?
The countdown is on…. There are only nineteen days to end 2014. Earlier today we looked at the crime statistics and at this point, it is safe to say that [...]

Aurelio Martinez Launches Landini in Belize
Opening tonight at the Bliss, Landini, a paranda album by world renowned Garifuna artist, Aurelio Martinez will be launched. Since September, Martinez along with his team from Stone Tree Records, [...]


PM Meets With BSI/ASR
Prime Minister Dean Barrow met today with representatives of the BSI ASR group to present the latest proposal of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. It was the hope of all parties that the meeting would bring the negotiations closer to an amicable solution. Details of what was agreed upon, if any agreement or any progress for that matter was made, are not clear. What we can say is that the meeting concluded less than ninety minutes after it begun but none of the representatives of BSI/ASR or even the Prime Minister himself gave the media a comment of the proceedings. All parties simply exited his Belize City office in their vehicles and drove off. After making attempts at getting comment from ASR Public Relations Representative Mac McLachlan, who was in the meeting, he responded via text saying and we quote, “we have had a very constructive TALK With the P.M and in faith of advancing the process we can’t comment further,” end of quote.


Boat Attendant Charged With Sexual Assault
Twenty-four year old Rendy Dominguez, a boat attendant of Biscayne Village who allegedly assaulted a 7 year old girl twice, was charged with 2 counts of sexual assault when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Dominguez plead not guilty to the charges. He was denied bail and he was remanded into custody until February 4. The first incident occurred on June 7, 2014 at Maskall Village. The child reported to the police that Dominguez assaulted her with his finger. The second incident occurred on November 29. The girl told police that Dominguez kissed her and caressed her breast.

Sandhill Resident Remanded For Over 9 Months; Free of Charges
Floyd Budd, a resident of Sandhill who was remanded at prison for over 9 months, became a free man today when he was brought before Magistrate Dale Cayetano for trial and the case was struck out for want of prosecution because the virtual complainant, Leo Matute failed to appear. According to the allegation, between March 2 and March 3, Budd had handled one Dell laptop computer which has a value of $2,600. Matute, a resident of Ladyville, had reported the laptop stolen. The police recovered the laptop and Budd was believed to have the person who had it in his possession.

Manager Charged With Kept Fire Arm And Ammunition
Thirty-three year old Jose David Funes Lopez, a bar manager of 47 Gill Street, was charged with kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license when he appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano. Lopez plead not guilty to the charges. He was remanded into custody until February 12. The incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. on December 9. The police reported that they were on mobile patrol on Sibun Street when they saw Lopez walking. According to the police Lopez was about 10 feet away from their vehicle when they saw him throw a shiny object into some bushes in a drain. The police said that when they retrieved the object they saw that it was a .38 revolver with 4 rounds of ammunition in its magazine.

Business In BTL Christmas Donations
Mr. Ham’s Juices, a business located in BTL Park, is conducting a raffle to have a food pantry drive to give back to the less unfortunate in b Belize City. Janine Hamilton, the owner of the Business, partnered up with Dara Robinson, a well-known personnel who gives back to the society through feeding programs to make this food drive successful. Love News spoke to Hamilton, who told us more about it. JANINE HAMILTON “This Saturday the Christmas park fest is taking place at the BTL park and so we have a promotion where we are raising funds, myself alongside Dora Robinson we are trying to come up with $3000 to provide 100 families with food hampers this Christmas. When you come what we are doing is we are having a strawberry smoothie promotion. When you come we will be selling strawberry smoothies from 12 in the afternoon until 12 mid-night so you can come at any time within that time even if you are not coming to the park fest you can still come out and get yourself a smoothie. The cost is only $5.

Body of man found in Cayo district
Police were called out to a feeder road in Esperanza Village, Cayo District where the body of a young man was encountered. Elaine Berry has the story. Elaine Berry : The lifeless body of 24 year old Sammy Fernandez was discovered on Wednesday December 10 at 4:30pm. Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson, Officer in Charge of the San Ignacio/Santa Elena formation spoke to Love News about the discovery. Officer in Charge San Ignacio/Santa Elena Dinsdale Thompson: Sometime around 4:30 yesterday evening we received a call from an individual who told us certain things about a person who appears to be dead south of Esperanza Village on a feeder road. Upon arrival at the scene we found that yes indeed it was a male person whom we later found out his name to be Shamir Fernandez, 24 years old of Santa Elena Town, Cayo District. Our preliminary investigation so far has revealed that yes Shamir received injuries to his head which we believe caused him to succumb to those injuries.


Caye Chapel developers to present plan to Cabinet
The island of Caye Chapel, covering 265 acres off the mainland of the Belize District, has been sold to a consortium from Mexico that includes Belizean investors. Its previous owner lost the land to receivership five years ago, when he was unable to pay his loan with the Belize Bank, and it was listed as a non-performing asset until this deal was closed. According to CEO Michael Singh, the confluence of BELTRAIDE’s plans for high-end tourism investment in Belize and the Bank’s need to get rid of the island led to a unique deal. He divulged more on the ownership group taking over the property, which already owns a recognized hotel in Ambergris Caye. Michael Singh – CEO of the Ministry of Trade and Investment “The group that did the acquisition was a group out of Mexico. What I can tell you is that the group is made up of the owners of a resort in North Ambergris Caye called El Secreto, which is a very high-end resort that’s been getting very high reviews and awards lately.

Passport processing halts due to system malfunction
The Data Capture System is a crucial element of the Passport Processing System that automatically captures and stores all data entered. On Thursday that system experienced malfunction, which shut down the Passport Data System country wide. The Department of Immigration and Nationality sent out a press release Thursday morning, informing the public of the temporary interruption in the passport application and processing services. We caught up with the Minister of Immigration earlier on Thursday, and he explained that the system should be back up by Monday the 15th of December. Godwin Hulse – Minister of Immigration “First of all, I want to appologize to the good people of Belize for the inconvenience, but yesterday our system went down. We have a contract with 3M. It’s processed through their network. It’s a very secure system so far.

Belize explores PetroCaribe barter plan
Next week representatives from Venezuela are coming to Belize to meet with local officials on the possibility of opening payment for the cash portion of the PetroCaribe arrangement by barter – trading local goods in exchange for oil sales. CEO of the Ministry of Trade and Investment Michael Singh details the scope of the negotiations. Michael Singh – CEO in the Ministry of Trade and Investment “Specifically there’s a meting on the 17th, where the PetroCaribe people are coming in to look at exactly that. We’ve putting a meeting together which is going to include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Marketing Development Corporation, BELTRAIDE, Export Belize. We’re all getting together to look at what products will fit under this. The way the mechanism works is not so much that we pay the finance part of it in products. We actually pay the cash portion. The portion that normally would be paid up front, would then be paid to producers in Belize, of the products that would qualify, and those products would then be shipped to Venezuela in lieu of money.

Should PUP take Christmas Cheer money?
On Sunday while speaking with reporters, Opposition Leader Hon. Francis Fonseca stated that the Christmas Cheer program is better administered in terms of handling and so that is why the PUP is supporting it even though it comes via the Petrocaribe funds over which they have cried foul. Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition We run the risks of looking hypocritical, but we believe that of all the programs funed under the PetroCaribe program, this one in every respect perhaps the most transparent, the most accountable. We receive no monies. We submit an invoice and all the monies are then given directly through the Ministry of Human Development to the supplier of those goods. Those are the things we were concerned about. We were concerned about waste. we were concerned about corruption. We were concerned about the lack of accountability. And those we feel are minimized as it relates to the Christmas Cheer Program.”

Santa Elena man found dead in Esperanza feeder road
On Wednesday night’s newscast we told you about the dead body that was discovered in the village of Esperanza, Cayo District, sometime late in the evening. The body has since been identified as that of 24 year old Samir Fernandez, Belizean Laborer of Santa Elena town. Our journalist Emanuel Pech has the details of that story. 5anuel Pech “The lifeless body of 24 year old Samir Fernandez, Belizean laborer of San Pedro Street, Santa Elena town was discovered about 60 feet into a feeder road in an area south of the Village of Esperanza yesterday evening. Supt. Dinsdale Thompson, Officer commanding San Ignacio Police Station, told us more.”


Corozaleño, 29, hacked to death before police’s eyes
A blood-stained patch of grass on the side of College Road in Corozal Town is all that indicated where the life of Mark Massam, Jr., 29, gruesomely ended after he was hacked to death in what has been recorded as the first and bloodiest murder within the confines of the quiet northern town since the start of the year. According to police, Massam was in the company of his friend and neighbor, Carlos Cassanova, Jr., 22, and both men had been riding separate bicycles when, for some unknown reason, an argument broke out between the two. That misunderstanding quickly escalated to a deadly melee in which Massam was viciously chopped several times in the head and upper body.

Former KREM Radio deejay murdered in Esperanza
Samir Fernandez, 22, of Santa Elena Town, Cayo District, well-known as DJ Kidd, a former KREM Radio deejay and winner of KREM Radio’s “King of the Table” deejay competition, died after he suffered multiple chop wounds to the head about 60 yards into a feeder road in the south area of Esperanza, Cayo District, at about 4:00 yesterday afternoon. Yesterday evening, a man was walking in the south area of Esperanza when he saw the body of a man on the feeder road in the area. He alerted police, who went to the scene and found Fernandez on the feeder road with chop wounds to the head. He was declared dead on the scene.

16-year-old loses infant at children’s home
A 3-month-old infant died at the Liberty Children’s Home, in Ladyville, on Friday, December 5. In a police press release on Tuesday, December 9, police reported that the infant was the child of a 16-year-old girl who resides at the children’s home. The director of the Liberty Children’s Home, Agatha Valentine, told Amandala this evening, Thursday, almost one week after the tragic incident at their compound, “I am not prepared to issue any statement to the media at this time. The matter is in the hands of the police; ask them!” The release issued by police classified the demise of the infant as “sudden death.”

Are you being ripped off?
If you see a sticker at the fuel pumps of your neighborhood gas station when you pull up to put fuel in your vehicle, it merely means that the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) has verified that when the gas station tells you that you are getting a gallon of fuel – that’s what you’re getting, but it does not certify that you are getting the quality of fuel the gas stations claim that they are selling. It could very well be fuel of a lower grade of quality than you think. Following reports that Venezuela would not be exporting “premium” fuel to Belize as of next February, due to the changes in the PetroCaribe regime, and assertions that regular gasoline imported from Venezuela is of a decent enough quality to be used in virtually all Belize cars, concerns over the quality of fuel that consumers are really getting at the pumps have resurfaced.

House collapses; owner homeless
Miguel Vansen, 60, of Roaches Street in the Lake I area of Belize City, is now homeless after his house collapsed, destroying all his household furnishings and personal possessions. The elevated house came tumbling down around 10:00 Friday morning, December 5. Vansen told the media that he was not at home that morning and was working on a street in his neighborhood when a neighbor came and told him that his house had collapsed, but he did not believe what he was told. So Vansen went to his yard to see what had happened, and that was when he saw his house on the ground. He said that the house was in need of repairs, and it had been leaning. He used to feel it shake when strong winds blew, he said.

Caye Chapel sold to Mexican developers
Mexican developers, Abraham Roffe and Abraham Saade, the owners of El Secreto, a resort which opened its doors in San Pedro in 2012, are two of the main investors behind a new resort development planned to take place in 2015 on the historic island of Caye Chapel. This was confirmed today by Mike Singh, chairman of the Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE), although Singh said he was not at liberty to disclose the price which the Mexicans paid for Caye Chapel, since it was a private transaction between them and the Belize Bank. Previous talks with potential buyers, the most recent being Yumi Limited of the British Virgin Islands, who proposed to purchase the island for US$30 million, fell through.

Shock and awe at Norman Broaster
What a difference a weekend makes! With 6 teams fighting for 4 playoff spots, Saturday night saw Police United FC become the first team to definitely secure a playoff spot with their 3-0 default win over no-show FC Belize at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk. Meanwhile, defending champions Belmopan Bandits had strengthened their position with an 8-1 thrashing of short-staffed Paradise/Freedom Fighters at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium. Shaking the net for the Bandits were Elroy “Bibs” Kuylen (12’ & 20’), Jordy Polanco (34’), Jerome “Jarro” James (45+’), Highking Roberts (52’ & 54’) and John King (83’). The Bandits also benefited from an early own goal by Freedom Fighters defender Adrian Gonzalez (4’ O.G.). The only goal for the visitors was by veteran Wilmer Garcia (47’), whose direct kick from 25 yards out curved over the wall and found the right pigeon hole past a diving Woodrow West in goal for the Bandits. Wilmer’s laser left foot almost found the mark again from another free kick, but this one passed a couple inches over the crossbar in the left corner.

National Men’s Volleyball Team at Central American Championship in Honduras
Belize’s Men’s Volleyball National Team is in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to compete at the 18th Central American Championship. All seven Central American countries are attending, with the host, Honduras, being the favourite. The technical level has risen in the region, and Belize will show it is also improving and there to win against the best teams. The team members are: Elton Anderson (captain), Shane Gentle, Francis Usher, Keith Castillo, Radin Santos, Raheem Flowers, Edgar Martinez, Karym Coleman, Ean Galvez, Alex Evans, Daril Avila, Bryton Codd, Wallace Tillett (Asst. Coach), Albert Humbes (Coach), Khalid Encalada (Int’l. Referee).

SCA girls, SJC boys are Central Zone champions
On Friday evening last, the girls of St. Catherine Academy (SCA) and the boys of St. John’s College (SJC) won the respective championships of the Central Zone high school basketball tournament, and with it the right to represent the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) in the upcoming National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) basketball championships this coming weekend in Belize City. SCA girls had defeated Gwen Liz girls, 34-22, on Wednesday, December 3, in game 1 of their Central Zone championship series. Tricia Jefferies led SCA with 11 pts, while Kayla Bowden had 15 pts in a losing effort for Gwen Liz. However, contrary to the report released by the CSSSA, the boys finals game 1 was not completed on that Wednesday night, as the game had to be stopped due to rain. Therefore, game 1 of the boys’ zone championship series between SJC and Sadie Vernon Tech was replayed in its entirety on Thursday evening, December 4, at Bird’s Isle, with SJC blowing out Sadie Vernon, 80-55. Sadie Vernon’s Glency Lopez led all scorers with 33 pts in the loss; while SJC’s Dudley Erskine had 22 pts.

Smart 2014 Test Race, Sunday, December 14
The Cycling Federation of Belize forwarded a flyer yesterday for the Smart 2014 Test Race, which takes place this Sunday, December 14, starting at 8:00 a.m. in front of the Smart building at Mile 2 on the Philip Goldson (Northern) Highway, travels to Carmelita Village, then returns to finish in front of Smart. It is an Open Elite race, with $700.00 and a trophy for the winner; 2nd place gets $500.00 and a trophy; and 3rd receives $300.00 and a trophy. After this, according to latest reports, the last major race on the Cycling Federation calendar for this year will be the 3rd Annual Leslie’s Imports & BCC Pre-Christmas Race next Sunday, December 21.

The Barrow, Bradley mini-series
This tension between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley first spilled over into the public domain when Bradley missed the end of March deadline to submit his application for re-election as the UDP mayoral candidate. Four weeks later, in late April, the Prime Minister actually declared that there would be no reopening of the deadline – “that’s out of the question,” he had said at the time. But politics, they say, is the art of compromise, and not too long after, Bradley committed to run again, and the two councilors who had actually applied to replace Bradley publicly withdrew their candidacy at a press conference, where the Prime Minister also announced that central government was gifting City Hall $10 million because they were so impressed with the Mayor’s street cementing program. At the time the scuttlebutt was that the popular Mayor had been able to wrest an agreement that would see him run again as mayor, presumably win, and then step up to run in Caribbean Shores. He had made no effort to keep secret his national ambition and where he hoped those ambitions would take him. It sounded like a neat conclusion to a hiccup of sorts for the country’s Maximum Leader.

From the Publisher
The Maritime Areas Act (MAA), which was introduced in the Belize House of Representatives in August of 1991, was a very complex document, very difficult to understand. There is an area of the sea, which Belizean fishermen have known as the Gulf of Honduras, where the maritime rights of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras overlap. Apparently these are areas which are very rich in petrocarbons and minerals, and it was in the interests of some huge corporate concerns to get the matter of the three nations’ rights sorted out so that exploration and exploitation of the specific maritime areas could be facilitated. The Maritime Areas Act was such a big deal that the two most powerful leaders of the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) at the time, Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel and Hon. Dean Barrow, supported the ruling People’s United Party (PUP), led by the Rt. Hon. George Price, when the Maritime Areas Act was introduced.

And the times, they really are a-changin’!
Editor, Besides the beauty of God’s creation of Mother Nature, I always see the beautiful children of Belize as the greatest blessing of my beloved country of adoption. That’s why it is really hard for me to understand that we are not always looking after the needs of our children (and mothers) because they are, after all, the future of our country. LAST WEEK ANOTHER CAYE CAULKER BABY DIED! The more it changes the more it stays the same!

The problem with the Barrow administration’s development program is one of sustainability
Editor, The Barrow administration, taking a lead from the Lord Mayor of Belize City, has embarked on a much needed infrastructure development program. This has to be greeted as good news. Forward looking, targeted and sustainable infrastructural investments are a must if Belize is to become truly competitive. Infrastructure is both transformational and trans-generational; therefore when you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure, you must ensure two things: Firstly, that the infrastructure meets the needs of the country for the next three to five decades, and secondly, that you get value for money.

Food for fuel swap
The PetroCaribe accord between Belize and Venezuela apparently has a dubious future, in light of Venezuela’s economic crisis, but Belize may be in a very good position to partner with its friendly ally in South America to supply much needed basic commodities while providing a framework for us to counter our own economic challenges, such as shrinking export earnings against a growing import bill. The way the PetroCaribe deal is structured, Belize does not have to repay Venezuela in cash but it can barter with goods and/or services. Belize can repay the portion of the bill due in 90 days with export commodities such as agricultural products. However, both parties will have to agree on what that export basket will be. Belize and Venezuela to meet Dec. 17 on PetroCaribe To date, Belize and Venezuela have not hammered out a formal export agreement under the PetroCaribe accord, but indications are that this will change in 2015.

Litigation stalls progress of state-of-the-art docking port off Belize City
This week, Yahoo Travel published an online article listing Belize as the third worst cruise port, and the anecdotal information published in the widely reproduced report points out that, “Ships do not actually dock here; they anchor off and use tenders to carry passengers to town, or sometimes directly to activities on nearby tiny islands”—a reality which saw the country lose millions last month after three cruise ships could not land passengers due to choppy seas. Those cruise ships, belonging to Princess and Carnival, were diverted to Roatan, Honduras, where passengers could disembark at a near-shore docking port. Belize’s Director of Tourism Karen Bevans had said that when the Stake Bank cruise port is complete, such diversions would not be necessary, since passengers will be able to disembark without having to be too concerned about maritime conditions.

Chocolate, cacao could be next big Belize export
Sugar, citrus and bananas constitute Belize’s leading agricultural exports, but Government officials are looking into the possibility of export diversification with an indigenous Maya favorite: cacao. Michael Singh, chairman of BELTRAIDE – the Belize Trade and Investment Promotion Services, said that yesterday, he drove out to the Old Hummingbird Hershey farm which now has 400 acres of cacao. “We see the possibility of growing cacao and chocolate as an industry that could be equal to citrus, because of land availability and the suitability of this kind of production,” said Singh. “What BELTRAIDE has been doing through Export Belize is to pick a focus area within the export capability and to put everything we can into building that capability,” he added. Singh said that they did it with the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, growing it to 18 companies and 3,500 employees because they focused on that as a service export.

John Chimilio, 38, jailed for bigamy
John Chimilio, 38, of Roaring Creek, who has been charged with bigamy, has been remanded to prison until he is able to meet bail of $3,000 offered to him by the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court. He was ordered to return to court on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Police charge that Chimilio first got married to one woman in October, 2010, and in August of this year, he said his wedding vows to another bride — marrying two women, which is illegal in Belize.

1 dead, 1 injured in Southern Highway accident
Jexcel Redondo, 25, a bus driver of Bella Vista, died due to massive head and body injuries that he suffered when he was hurled out of his vehicle, which flipped and overturned at about 2:30 yesterday afternoon between Miles 47 and 48 on the Southern Highway. Police reported that Redondo, accompanied by Lester Enriquez Urrthia, 20, had been travelling from Bella Vista to Punta Gorda in a van when, on arriving between Miles 47 and 48 on the road to Punta Gorda, he lost control of the vehicle.

Guatemalans busted with guns in Punta Gorda
Two Guatemalans will be spending the season of merriment, as well as the next five years, in a cell at the Belize Central Prison. Inspector Ernel Dominguez, Deputy Commander of Punta Gorda police, said that the two Guatemalans, Orasmo Vasquez Ramirez, 34, and Emilio Chub, 35, both farmers from Clarisal Village, Guatemala, were busted with shotguns and ammunition by Punta Gorda police and elements of the Belize Defence Force, who were conducting joint operations in Punta Gorda on Thursday.

The Reporter

Brazil company executives charged in Petrobras scandal
Brazilian prosecutors have charged executives from six of the country’s largest construction firms in connection with a corruption scandal at the state-run oil company, Petrobras. The 22 executives and 13 others are accused of forming a cartel and channelling kickbacks into a Petrobras scheme to pay politicians. They were also charged with money-laundering and organised crime. If they are convicted, the accused face more than 20 years in jail. President Dilma Rousseff who served as chair of the Petrobras board for seven years has denied any knowledge of the corruption scheme. “These people stole the pride of the Brazilian people,” said Brazil’s top prosecutor Rodrigo Janot at a press conference.

Take the money and explain! Julius Espat tells why
The People’s United Party’s decision to accept PetroCaribe funds for the government’s Christmas Cheer program was made because the party was never against use of those funds. PUP Deputy Leader, Julius Espat told The Reporter that his party never objected to the PetroCaribe initiative […]

Mexicans will spend millions on Caye Chapel – Government pleased with new development to
Mexican investors who are well established in the luxury hotel business in Mexico City, Cancun and Acapulco will spend millions to develop the island of Caye Chapel. Caye Chapel is a 265-acre island on the way to Caye Caulker, known in the old days as Cayo Cocina. A government announcement […]

Sneak murder in the bush reminds victim’s family of clash with policeman
Belmopan police are trying to crack the murder mystery of Donatilo Canales, a 54 year old farmer who was shot dead in the Valley of Peace. His wife, Margarita, and a neighbor found his body in a bushy area behind their house shortly after […]

Tourism will need new employment skills; Trinidad workshop will identify opportunities
Representatives from Belize’s IT-VET participated in a workshop this week to identify emerging job opportunities in the tourism sector in order to design training programs for new opportunities opening up. The two-day workshop, held in Trinidad, was co-ordinated by the Association of Caribbean States […]

Two, almost three suicides in small community in 24 hours
Suicides are not normally news in Belize, but three attempts of suicide last weekend in Independence Village, two of which were successful, coupled with the cirsumstances that led to them, caught our attention. Police are still delving into the circumstances that led to the […]

Caretaker shot dead on Hummingbird Highway; Older brother also shot weeks earlier
José Miguel Abrego, 43, a caretaker of a citrus farm in St. Margaret’s Village on the Hummingbird Highway was shot dead shortly before midnight on Sunday. Reports say the incident occurredwhile Abrego was talking with a co-worker at his home at mile 36 on […]

Resource Center for Buttonwood Nazarene
Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School and the Belize City Council held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the school’s compound on Wednesday to commemorate the re-opening of the school’s new library and computer lab resource center. City Mayor, Darrell Bradley said the Council was proud […]

Acid seas will reduce Belize’s conch harvest
Climate change is having its effect on the oceans as much as it does on land, experts at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) said this week. The Center has measured an increase in the acid content of the oceans. This will have a […]

Agricultural Ministers of Central America meet in Placencia
A delegation of Agricultural Ministers from the Central American region and the Dominican Republic met in Belize last week to discuss issues affecting agriculture and to formulate a strategic plan, based on collaboration, moving forward. Belize, in its capacity as pro-tem President of the […]

Cayo cops shoot to end chopping frenzy
Thursday, Dec. 11th Cayo police say they had to shoot a man in both legs on Tuesday night, December 9 to get him to abandon his machete attack on another man, who eventually died. The police report that they came upon a gruesome scene […]

Special Envoy launches 2015 Inspiration calendar and agendas
The office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children launched its 2015 “Inspiration” calendars and agendas this week. The official launch ceremony was held at the Inspiration Center located at mile 1 1/2 on the George Price highway on Wednesday. The SEWC, Mrs. Kim […]

First Caribbean Bank of Belize Provides kitchen gear for schools
First Caribbean International Bank in Belize has donated more than $4000 worth of kitchen gear to the feeding programs of four city primary schools. The bank handed over the utensils at a small ceremony at its Albert Street branch on Tuesday. First Caribbean donated items […]

The reports swirling around the secret life of Bill Cosby, the famous comedian of Dr. Huxtable fame, – that when he was younger and more vigorous he had an addiction for attractive young women and would drug them so he could have his way with them – have reached fever […]

Another grenade found!
Another hand grenade, this one an M26 American-made explosive, was removed from the streets of Belize City on Wednesday evening and police have no clue who is responsible for placing or discarding the deadly device there. The discovery was made at around 6:40 p.m. […]

Man pays $35,000 for fishing license, $29,000 for sea cucumbers and gets zilch!
Pedro Guerra, a Corozal businessman, plans on taking a fisheries officer to court to recover $73, 600 after the officer allegedly encouraged him into making a bad investment. According to Guerra, a cane farmer by profession, the officer used his authority and insider’s knowledge […]

Special Audit fingers former KHMH top brass! $187,539 worth of supplies unaccounted for
The Board of Governors of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital met on Thursday December 11th, to analyze the findings of a special audit requested for the period July 2013 to July 2014. The investigation specifically focused on the purchase of two X-ray machines for […]

Premium gas shortage projected for February
Venezuela, who ships fuel to Belize at preferential rates under PetroCaribe, has announced it is stopping shipments of premium gasoline to Belize. The government has responded by saying there is no need to worry, as consumers can simply use regular gasoline. According to John […]

Patrick JonesPJ

Leon Garcia shot in Belize City
Construction worker Leon Garcia of Victoria Street in Belize City was targeted in a shooting around 9:47 this morning. We understand that he was standing at the corner of Victoria Street and Lovely Lane conversing with a female friend when two Hispanic men carrying firearms arrived and opened […]

Man accused of sexual assault; another freed of criminal charges
Twenty-four year old Randy Dominguez, a boat attendant of Biscayne Village who allegedly assaulted a 7 year old girl twice, was charged with 2 counts of sexual assault when he appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Dominguez pleaded not guilty but was denied bail and remanded into custody […]

CCJ sets nationalization decision for January 23
This morning the five-judge panel of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago wrapped up a three-day session of arguments over the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited. The challenge to the nationalizations was taken to the CCJ by the former […]

Jose Funes charged for firearm offences
We told you on Thursday of the operations of the Eastern Division Strike Team which took a grenade and two firearms off the street earlier this week. Today the person alleged to be involved with one of those firearms, 33 year old Jose David Funes Lopez, was charged […]

PUP reveals Belize City municipal slate
The full slate of the People’s United Party for the Belize City Council was pictured on the front page of the party’s organ, the Belize Times, for this week’s issue. The photograph is the same as one we obtained from sources earlier this week. Joining Yolanda Schakron as Mayoral […]

Caye Caulker man says police brutalized him
A businessman in Caye Caulker village is alleging police brutality. According to the man, who asked for his name and identity to be concealed, over the past few weeks he has been targeted and severely tortured, allegedly by a particular police officer. The last run in with […]

Impasse in the sugar industry appears to be over
The sugar mill at Tower Hill could start cranking up in the coming days. That is because an agreement has been reached in the impasse between ASR/BSI and the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Just after midday today, a meeting involving the two sides and Prime Minister […]

The Fall/Winter 2014 issue of The TOLEDO HOWLER is online HERE


2014 San Pedro lighted boat parade
After last years absence, the 2014 San Pedro lighted boat parade came back with a bang. The organizing committee did a fabulous job of getting people involved and making it happen. For those of you that might not know, this event officially kicks off the Christmas season for San Pedro and is well worth putting on your Belize travel calendar. I did not have to think twice (other than getting board approval) when Amanda and Christine teamed up and asked if San Pedro Red Cross would be in if they found us a boat – yes please. Thankfully the big Belize Red Cross parade scheduled for the same day was postponed and we were able to give our full attention to the fantastic 35 foot boat we scored courtesy of Ambergris Divers.

“Fashion” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog I suppose it’s a bit like waiting for a bus (I’m not suggesting that my blog is anywhere near as important as a bus by the way). You wait an absolute age for one and then, blow me, another one follows straight behind it! After a prolonged absence I appear to be back in the groove (no that’s not a link for the headline). Out on the veranda -the western, lagoon facing one- with a mug of black coffee and the iPad. The big difference of late though is that I’ve had to wear a windcheater (a windjammer for non UK readers) to protect myself from the early morning chill. I obviously hadn’t protected myself enough against this change in temperature though because I managed (I haven’t a clue why/how so don’t ask!) to catch a cold which gave me some pain (it was more than discomfort I assure you) in my ear (the left one).

International Sourcesizz

Portland’s fastest-growing company goes international
Online vacation rental company Vacasa is growing at a furious pace from its North Portland headquarters. This week, that growth went international. The company, which earlier this topped the Business Journal's list of fastest-growing private compan ies, launched in the Central American country of Belize. The company has 20 properties available on the Placencia peninsula. This is just the first step in the company's international plans and the team is eying countries such as Panama and Mexico.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), wages in the Caribbean rose by less than one percent in 2014. the Global Wage Report for 2014-2015 states that overall wages globally fell by two percent over 2012 totals.

TripAdvisor reveals 2014 travel roundup & trends forecast for 2015
Trip Advisor has released their 2014 Travel Roundup & Trends Forecast for 2015. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is pleased to share that, as per the 2014 Outbound Travel Report, Ambergris Caye was the #1 Emerging Destination for 2014. “We are very proud of this acknowledgement of our destination. I am sure we can all agree that Ambergris Caye, and by extension, Belize, is deserving of this recognition. The work and investment put in by our private and public sector partners show the commitment to our Tourism Industry. With Trip Advisor being the world’s largest travel site which offers trusted reviews from real travelers and a variety of travel choices with planning features, I am sure that there will be even more interest in Belize which will translate into increased overnight arrivals for the destination as we move forward in 2015,” says BTB’s outgoing Director of Marketing & Industry Relations, Alyssa Carnegie.


Video: Saint Francis Xavier Christmas Parade Corozal Town Belize, 2min. 12 th December 2014 students parade.

Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 5, 3.5min. Our 5th day was filled with zip-lining and cave tubing in the jungles of Belize!

Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 6, 3.5min. For our final day we went snorkeling in the Meso-American Reef off the coast of Belize then boated to a private island which was absolute paradise. Thank you to everyone for supporting us along the way. The Graduate PA's along with Alumni will be heading to Guatemala in early January on their medical trip so be sure to follow their videos once they return.

Video: Voyage Mexique, Belize 2014, 5min. quelques moments filmés de notre périple :p comme une envie d'y retourner

Video: Belize 2014-1, 4.5min.

Video: Max and Blake in Belize- Yale Fly Fishing, 3min.

Video: Raquel Badillo Miss World Belize Profile, 2min. Miss World Belize Ltd. introduces Miss Raquel Alejandra Badillo of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, who was designated as the new titleholder for Miss World Belize 2014. She will join more than 120 other contestants at Miss World 2014 that will be 64th edition of The Miss World Pageant to be held on Sunday, December 14, 2014, at ExCeL’s ICC Auditorium in London, England.

Video: BELIZE, 7min. The video and pictures were taken on a trip to Belize in december 2013. We stayed at the Carribean Villas on Ambergris here for more info....

Video: KERN SWASEY - BELIEVE (BELIZE) (Audio only), 3.5min.

Video: Coach Raymond Lashley: The Unorthodox One!, 23min. The twelfth episode of a video documentary series called Belizean Legends that will profile the legendary Belizean softball coach and gold medalist, Raymond Lashley, who coached the Belize national selection that won the gold medal in the 1974 Central American & Caribbean Games in Santa Domingo. Coach Lashley discusses his softball coaching career in Belize with Belizean Legends host Bilal Morris and revisits highlights of the game where Belize won its first gold medal in an international sports competition. Lashley also discussed Belize's four most outstanding Belizean softball pitchers, the late Isolene Heath, Consuelo Dougal, Linda Lewis, and Margaret Usher. He also discussed the legendary coaches the late Collect Gill, and the late Charles Solis. Coach Lashley rose to become Belize's most accomplished coach of Belize, coaching the Belize national softball team to win Belize's first gold medal ever as a nation in sports in the 1974 Central American & Caribbean Games, and also coached the Belize national softball team to beat the greatest softball team in the world, the United States, and won the bronze medal in the 1979 Pan American Games. He was also inducted in the International Softball Hall of Fame. The feature also highlights the legendary Belizean softball player, Gretel Lashley, who is featured here, and the wife of coach Lashley. The husband and wife team played softball in Belize in the 1960's, and 70's. Gretel Lashley played with the Belize national softball team that won the Caribbean Amateur Softball Tournament (CAST Games) in Jamaica in 1971.

December 12, 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

The wonderfully decorative Christmas Tree Worm!
Have no fear tree decorators, you won’t find any Christmas Tree Worms squirming among your lights and candy canes! Christmas Tree Worms (Spirobranchus giganteus) are actually ocean-dwelling worms that resemble tiny Christmas trees because of their shape and brilliantly hued tentacles. These tubular, segmented worms aren’t very big, averaging about 1.5 inches in length, and they dwell in coral reefs in tropical waters all over the world. The Christmas Tree Worm’s name is derived from the brightly colored, tiered spiral radioles (feather-like tentacles) that protrude from its body, giving it the appearance of a tiny fir tree. The radioles typically span a little over an inch long, and come in a wide variety of colors including blue, orange, yellow, white, red and pink. It’s these colorful radioles that dot the surfaces of live coral and grab the attention of scuba divers and snorkelers.

SPRCS brings the holidays to life at Annual Christmas Show
On Friday December 5th the San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School held its annual Christmas Fair. The night included presentations of dance, song and poetry by students to the captive audience who came out to the school grounds. Draped in bright cloths of holiday greens and reds, the stage set the tone for the acts that came one after the other. From festive Christmas themed poetry and carols to modern dance remixes that got the whole crowd bumping, there was certainly something for everyone. Being one of the schools most anticipated fundraising events, entertainment and catering kept the audience happy. With yummy plates of rice and beans, tamales, and plenty of sweets on sale, show time munchies were available for the picking.

Caye Chapel sold to Mexican investors
Belize’s island golf resort Caye Chapel has been sold to a Mexican hotel development group. That was the confirmation that came from The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) on Monday December 9th. The mega luxury resort has been on the selling block for some time, following its closure a few years ago. While BELTRAIDE would not disclose the name of the Mexican luxury hotel development group that purchased Caye Chapel, it says that the investors own other developments in Mexico City, Cancun and Acapulco. It also stated that the group plans to partner with another global luxury hotel brand, indicating that the new tourism project is expected to commence in early 2015.

Little Angels enjoy a fun Christmas Bazaar
On Sunday December 7th, Little Angels Preschool held their annual Christmas Bazaar at the San Pedro Lions Den. Organized by Principal Marina Kay and staff, the fair serves as one of the largest fundraising events for the school, and offers the pre-schoolers a chance to get into the holiday spirit with tons of fun games and prizes. The evening saw a turnout of students and parents who came out to enjoy all the evening offered. With plenty of food, snacks and refreshments on sale, there was much to keep the little ones and parents energized for an evening of fun games. The little party –goers had a great time as they took chances on games such as ring toss, dice throw, and basketball.

San Pedro Cadets and Santa take to the streets to spread Christmas Cheer
Sometimes, Santa Claus needs a little help in spreading Christmas Cheer. On Saturday, December 6th, that help came from San Pedro Cadet Corps and John and Dawn Kennedy. The cadets along with Santa riding on his decked out golf cart, paraded down Pescador Drive handing out candies to passing children. The event brought much Christmas cheer to the streets of San Pedro, as the Cadets happily served their community and reveled in the spirit of the season.

Surprise! Pro Divers Football Club win Mayor’s Cup!
The Mayor’s Cup Five-a-side Football Tournament came to an end on Sunday, December 7th, and in a surprising turn of events, Pro Divers FC won the championship! After last week’s thrilling first leg of the semifinals, the four top teams faced off once again on Saturday, December 6th in hopes of earning a spot in the championship match held on Sunday, December 7th. Dorados FC led the entire tournament, but in they end, it was Green House FC and Pro Divers FC facing off for the championship. After 45 minutes of pure adrenaline, Pro Divers took the victory in a most unexpected finale. The semifinals were a surprise too, and should have predicted an unexpected finals. The Green House FC, FC Aluminum Fabricators, Pro Divers FC and Dorados FC battled once more in the second leg of the semifinals on Saturday, December 6th. Both Pro Divers FC and Green House FC had won their first match in the semifinals in a 3-1 point game, leaving GC Aluminum Fabricators and Dorados with little hopes of making it to the finals.

Ambergris Today

Friendly donations to the San Pedro Traffic Department courtesy of Wings Department Store.
On Tuesday, December 9th, Mr. Prakash "PK" and Mr. Kamal from Wings stopped by at the San Pedro Town Council to present the San Pedro Transport Department with the following items: 6 Traffic Cones 4 Lighted Pole Signals 3 Triangle Reflectors 11 Orange Reflecting Vests 11 Yellow Reflecting Vests We would like to thank Mr. Prakash & Mr. Kamal from Wings for their interest in promoting safety in San Pedro! These items are really helpful in keeping our streets safe.

Southwest Airlines to Begin Nonstop Service To Belize
The Belize Tourism Board announced today, December 11, 2014, on a press release that they are excited to report on the new Southwest Airlines international flights to/from Belize. “As the tourism numbers continue to grow, international airlines have recognized the demand for increased airlifts to Belize,” stated the release. Southwest Airlines announced that they have filed applications to begin service to six new destinations, including Belize. This will provide Belize with nonstop service from William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas commencing October 2015. This service to Belize’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport adds a second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city in the Southwest route map.

British High Commission Holds Consular Night Social in San Pedro
The British High Commission invited British expats/residents of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize and special guests to a social 'Consular Night' that was part of the Commissions outreach to the British Community in San Pedro. The Commission hosted special invited guest Orlando Ames-Lewis, Consular Regional Operatios Manager, British Embassy, Mexico City. Mr. Lewis, along with Grace Chun Deputy British High Commissioner, were invited to meet with the British communit to discuss matters of interest to them and were answering/clarifying any consular-related matters. It was a special evening of socializing and enjoying a wonderful evening at Ramon's Village hosted by James Janmohamed OBE, British Consular Agent and Mr. Grant Crimmins, Deputy Consular Agent.

BEL Submits Request to PUC to Lower Electricity Rates
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission on Monday, December 8, 2014 in which the Company requested an amendment to electricity rates to reflect the savings it has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers (IPP); this could mean a decrease in the electricity rate for Belizeans. This proposed amendment is aimed at passing on these savings to customers. If approved by the PUC, the amendment is expected to result in a 3.4% reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 43.47 cents per KWh to 42 cents per kWh for the period January 2015 to June 2015.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Immigration and Nationality Services Public Advisory
The Department of Immigration and Nationality Services hereby advises the general public of a temporary interruption in the passport application and processing services, due to technical difficulties with the computerized passport system. The department assures the public that it's technicians are working diligently to resolve this matter. No applications for passports will be accepted or processed countrywide, until the system is restored. It is expected that normal operations will resume on Monday December 15 2014. The department apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

LAS VEGAS HOTEL & CASINO in COROZAL offers career opportunities
The prestigious Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, now expending – Located on the Belize/Mexico Border (opposite the Corozal Free Zone Entrance) is seeking qualified, motivated, and professional individuals: RESTAURANT WAITERS: COOKS: SECURITY SUPERVISOR: RESERVATIONS PERSONNEL: BEAUTY SALON STYLIST: HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER: MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL: KITCHEN EXPEDITOR:

BEL Submits Request to PUC for Amendment to Electricity Rates
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission on Monday, December 8, 2014 in which the Company requested an amendment to electricity rates to reflect the savings it has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers (IPP). This proposed amendment is aimed at passing on these savings to customers. If approved by the PUC, the amendment is expected to result in a 3.4% reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 43.47 cents per KWh to 42 cents per kWh for the period January 2015 to June 2015.

Missing Youth
15 year old Manuel De Jesus Ortega is missing. No photo has been provided for identifying him. However, Deybi Lissette Ortega, a Salvadoran national who lives in Maskal Village, Belize District, reported to police that at 5:00 p.m. on December 6th, she went to church along with her two sons. A female sat beside Manuel during the service which finished at 6:00 p.m. Manuel escorted the female home at Lucky Strike Village, and he has not returned since the 6th of December. That same night Manuel's mother visited the female's house at 11:00 p.m. but she was told he left as soon as he dropped her home. He was last seen wearing a light blue T-shirt with dark blue long pants and a black tennis shoe.

GOB 2014 Residential Mortgage Payment Program
This Notice revises some of the criteria set out in the Ministry of Finance Notice of December 2, 2014. The revision allows for more borrowers to qualify for the Program. In particular, (a) borrowers from Insurance Companies, (b) mortgages for purchasing existing residential homes and, (c) residential mortgages with some element of refinancing are also now available to qualify under the Program. Mortgages solely for home improvement will not qualify. In his September 21, 2014, Independence Day Address to the Nation, the Hon. Prime Minister announced that the Government of Belize would assist middle class Belizeans by meeting the interest and principal payments for the month of December 2014 on all residential mortgages with an original value of up to One Hundred Thousand Dollars.

Notice of Office Renovation
The UNDP Management & Staff wish to inform our partners that our Office located on the 3rd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building, Ring Road, Belmopan will be undergoing renovations starting Monday, December 15th 2014. We anticipate that the renovations will be completed by Friday, January 30th 2015 and we aim to resume normal operations from this location on Monday, February 2nd 2015. During the renovations staff will be working from different locations and as required from a temporary Office in PAHO/WHO located at No. 4792 Coney Drive, 3rd Floor, Whitfield Tower, Belize City. Staff will be able to be contacted by: Tel + 501-822-2688 and their email addresses. Kindly always copy email:

The Belize Music Festival
Belize City Dec 14, Belmopan Dec 17

On Wednesday, December 10, and Thursday, December 11, Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Councilors, and Deputy Mayor Gabriel Nuñez dressed as Santa Claus, visited all the Schools in San Pedro to spread the Christmas cheer by giving them a toy. All the children shouted "Santa! Santa! Santa!" as they saw Santa Clause approach their classroom. They were all excited to see Santa Clause at school, and even more excited when they got their gift! Season's Greetings everyone!

Consular Night
On Wednesday, December 10, Mr. Orlando Ames Lewis, Consular Regional Operations Managers, Ms. Pauline Richardson, Head of Corporate Consular Services and Ms. Grace Chun, Deputy High Commissioner, were in San Pedro as a courtesy visit from the British High Commission. On Tuesday, December 9, they had a "Consular Night" where British expats residing in San Pedro were invited as well as some other honored guests.

Channel 7

Sugar Standoff Continues, ASR Execs Meet With PM, No Breakthrough Announced
Today American Sugar Refinery, known as ASR, executives flew into the country to meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow at his Belize City office on Coney Drive. They were there to discuss the latest proposals for compromise put forward by the Cane Farmers Association. The meeting started at 2:30 and lasted about an hour and half - which is when senior ASR executives Mac McLachlan and Celestino Ruiz left without comment to the press - and looking none too pleased. The Prime Minister and Deputy Gaspar Vega stayed back and left another twenty minutes later - also without comment. And all sides may be guarded in their comments because there was no breakthrough - from what we are told. But there is hope, as tomorrow the Prime Minister is bringing both the cane farmers and ASR/BSI to the table in a joint meeting - also in Belize City.

They Killed The DJ
Last night when our newscast started, San Ignacio Police were processing the scene of a murder in Esperanza Village, just outside the Twin Towns. 24 year-old Samir Fernandez, a resident of Santa Elena, was found 3 miles away in a secluded area. There were signs that he had been clubbed in the head and left there to die. But, who would want to kill him and why? That's what Daniel Ortiz went to Esperanza Village to try to find out today. Here's his report: Daniel Ortiz reporting The body of 24 year-old Samir Fernandez was found here in this picado road just off this unpaved street in Esperanza Village. Based on police information they don't believe that he had been dead for an extended period of time before he was found. He had two injuries to the head, apparently inflicted by a blunt object.

Grenade Recovered In City
Another grenade has been taken off the Belize City streets. This one was found last night on Faber's road extension in an overgrown lot. The area was at the very far end of Faber's Road near the Western Highway not in any known gang turf; police believe it is a stash spot for a criminal or criminal group. The grenade was wrapped in a plastic bag and stuffed inside a knapsack. The flyoff lever was held down with electrical tape. It is an American made type m26 grenade - identical to one found on September the eighth on Banak Street - in gang controlled territory. This one - like that - is rusty - but still very dangerous.

Jailed South Korean Exec Says Citizen Kim Set Him Up
Kim Won-Hong, we call him Citizen Kim and in 2013 his became the epicenter of political agitation in Belize - after he was corruptly issued with a Belize passport while he was in a Taiwanese jail. Today his name was being called in Seoul, South Korea by the former chairman of a wealthy company called SK Group. Chey Tae-won lost his appeal in that country's courts. He claimed that Won Hong Kim was the main culprit behind the embezzlement of 45 million US dollars. Won-hong, who was a former advisor to the company was found guilty as an accomplice to embezzlement.

Discount Carrier Southwest Opening Up a Houston - Belize Route
Another major US air carrier has added Belize to its list of destination, and industry observers say it could drive down prices because it's a discount carrier. Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service out of Houston's Hobby airport to Belize starting October 2015. Southwest today announced that it has filed applications to begin service to six new destinations, four in Mexico and two in Central America: Belize and Costa Rica.

Caye Chapel Investment Explained
Two days ago, we told you about the closing of the deal to sell Caye Chapel which had been on the block for at least three years. The new owner is a Mexican group - which already has a significant tourism investments in Belize in addition to others in Cancun, Mexico City and Acapulco. But who are they? That's what we asked the CEO in the Ministry of Investment Mike Singh today. He started by explaining why the deal is a major relief for the Belize Bank:.. Mike Singh, CEO- Ministry of Trade "That investment will be very large. It will be a significant inflow of foreign capital. Caye Chapel has been in receivership for the past 4-5 years with the Belize Bank. Mr. Larry Addington who was the owner had borrowed money from the Belize Bank, he didn't repay, so the bank took it on in exchange for the debt. The bank did a sort of a swap on their balance sheet where they actually acquired the asset. It caused a little of a problem because it's a non performing asset as they say in the banking world. So, it was not part of their liquid assets. So the need to sell that by the bank was fairly important. So the owners of El Secreto, a part of the investment group and they have brought in some additional Mexican investors that are very large in developments in Acapulco, Mexico City and Cancun. So the potential for this group is very high."

No New Passports
Those who went in to the Immigration Department today to apply for new or renewed passports were turned away. That's because of a countrywide system failure of the network database that the Immigration Department uses. Until it is repaired, no passports will be accepted or processed. This computerized passport system is so integrated in the Immigration Department that even the Belizean Embassies and Diplomatic Missions around the world are all interconnected. Today, the Minister of Immigration told us that all those embassies will also be unable to process any passport until the system is repaired: Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Immigration "I want to apologize to the good people of Belize for the inconvenience, but yesterday our system went down and we have a contract with 3M, its process through their network, it's a very secure system so far.

How Petrocaribe Fuel Is Priced
The price of all grades of fuel: premium, regular and diesel has been trending down - in response to falling world prices of oil. But while world oil prices are at a five year low - critics say that kind of downward trend is not being adequately reflected at the gas pump in Belize. Yesterday in our conversation with the man we call the fuel czar, John Mencias we asked him about the price formula and the apparent lag between world and local prices:.. Jules Vasquez "Diesel is selling at about over $6.50 for gallon of diesel in Honduras and that's the same PetroCaribe fuel. When will the fuel price in Belize reflect the plummeting world price of oil." John Mencias, Dep. Chmn - APBEL (Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited) "But it is already affecting it. Diesel is down to $8.69, regular and premium are under $10 now and I think they will fall even more. It doesn't follow - as soon as the price of crude oil drops, the price of diesel will drop, no. There is sometimes a delay and it also supply on supply and demand for the individual refine product. It's not so straightforward. Between the 13th - 19th November, which is the date range over which we received our last shipment, look at crude oil prices. This is what it was; average of US$74.96 per barrel.

GOB Explores Export Options For Petrocaribe Debt
What he calls the finance portion is the amount Belize borrows from Venezuela - about 50 to 60% of the purchase price that we defer and use as a low interest loan. Belize has already started paying back in for credit it got in the first try at the programme back in 2006 - and payments for the second, ongoing version will start in September of next year. But, the deal with the Venezuelans is that the finance portion can also be paid in kind - that means, instead of paying cash we can send them products of equivalent value: from rice and beans to what Guyana pays with, jeans - as in jeans pants. Those options have not been fully explored for Belize yet - but a Venezuelan mission is coming on the 17th to explore these options. They'll meet with the Ministry of trade among others and today Mike Singh discussed the goods and services that are being looked at:..

Making The Perfect Pitch
Before the break we told you about Finpyme (FIN-PI-MEH) Export Plus, a programme where producers get to pitch their product before a panel of prospective money lenders. The idea is to get financing for products that can break into the CARICOM market. If it sounds familiar, it should; it's like the TV show shark tank:.. Mike Singh, CEO- Ministry of Trade "Think about it - you know the show the "Shark Tank" - it's along the line of where they come up, present their project, talk about what they are looking to do and they get feedback and advice and possibility of financing as well." Shahera McKoy, Export Belize - BELTRAIDE "The idea was to take the idea that the companies had to look at a specific project that they wanted to develop that would lead to them accessing export markets or developing systems in place to make them more export ready."

Arguments Continue At CCJ
Today in Port of Spain Trinidad arguments continued in the raft of appeals in the nationalization of BEL and BTL. The cases combine a number of issues, not least of which is the British Caribbean Bank which claims that BTL owes 50 million US dollars for an outstanding mortgage debenture. This was acquired in the first nationalization - government has maintained that the loan was unlawfully undertaken by the former Ashcroft Alliance company directors. But the bank maintains it is still owed the money - and yesterday afternoon attorney for the Bank Eamon Courtenay made that argument to the panel of judges:.. Eamon Courtenay, SC - Attorney – British Caribbean Bank "In the absence of a rational connection. In the absence of evidence. In the absence of an explanation of justification, this is a paradigm example of an arbitrary acquisition and we say this, this court has no evidence before it on which this court can rely to point to justification for the taking of the bank's property. The compulsory acquisition order issued by the minister stands naked before this court. Fully exposed as rank arbitrariness. Anywhere else in the world, anywhere else in a true democracy, that would have been the end of the day. But no, we have the 8th amendment, but this court is now call upon to frontally confront the 8th amendment."

Doing It For Themselves On Ivor Street
We hear complaints about the conditions of city streets all too often but members of one community decided to fix the problem themselves. Ivor Street residents are trying to raise funds to fill the holes on the street with sand. They have organized several clean up campaigns and fund raising initiatives to help needy families in the area. Sash Eiley tell us more about this community project. Sasha Eiley, Ivor Street Resident "This particular campaign we are having is to buy a load of sand just to patch our street and the City Council can get to us. So, it's just to buy a load of sand to throw in the holes that are there until they can reach us." Jacqueline Meighan, Ivor Street Resident "The flee market will be held this Saturday at the Battlefield Park. The last one was held in Battlefield Park as well. This Saturday 13th December, starting from 8am-3pm we will have household items, you name it, we will have it there and very cheap. Items starting from 25 cents to 25 dollars. We won't have anything more than 25 dollars for sale."

The Mysterious Death Of "Alexander" Still Unexplained
At the top of our newscast, we told you how San Ignacio police are investigating the murder of Samir Fernandez. Well, the investigators have been looking into the death of a Hispanic man believed to be Salvadoran, who his friends knows only as "Alexander". He was found bleeding from the head at a house on Awe Street in San Ignacio on Sunday morning. Dennis Guzman, the man who has been allowed him to stay at that house, discovered him clinging to life, and he rushed Alexander to the San Ignacio Hospital. His head injury claimed his life half an hour later. Police don't suspect foul-play at this time, but that does not mean that they have not placed some level of priority on it. The Commander explained what they have been able to find out so far: Supt. Dinsdale Thompson "A Honduran individual, Mr. Alex - we are still following up on that investigation in relating to his true identity. That's one of the things that are holding us up in relation to identifying if this Alex is indeed the Alex who the individual know his as.

Salvation Army Saves It All For The Kids
And the Christmas fever continues to spread in the city. The Salvation Army threw a Christmas party today for 700 students from 19 primary schools at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall. They had the usual Christmas treats and gifts for the kids but Joliker Leandre Regional Commander for the Salvation Army says it's not only about tangibles- it's about highlighting the 'Christ' in Christmas. But of course, the kids had a slightly different take on it. The Salvation Army will also organize parties for children in San Ignacio. A total of 2,500 kids will benefit from the Christmas party initiative.

Aurelio Comes "Home" For "Landini" Launch
Aurelio Martinez released his new album "Landini" in the US and the UK in September - and since then it has soared to the top spot on the world music charts. Right now it's holding at number three and it is already making many international top ten lists for one the best world music albums of the year. It's another smashing success for this album recorded and produced right in Benque Viejo. The album had it's Central American Launch in Belize today and Aurelio Martinez visited our studios right after flying in for a launch concert tomorrow. He told us why h had to come to the place he calls home for the launch:.. Tomorrow we'll have more from that interview with Martinez as he discusses his mother, who was the inspiration for his new album..

The Practical Side of Cleaning Up Oil Spills
Today coordinators of the National Oil Spill workshop held the practical session at the Belize Coast Guard Headquarters. The main objective of this session was to educate first responders and on scene commanders on how to effectively assess and contain an oil spill. You could call it a drill or simulation but according to Environmental Officer Maxine Monsanto, it will enhance the country's oil spill response system. Representatives from NEMO, the fire service and Port Authority among others were present today.

Teenager Missing In Maskall
A 15 year old boy went missing after a church service in Maskall Village. Manuel De Jesus Ortega went to church along with his mother and brother on Saturday evening. After the church service ended at 6, Ortega gave a female - who was sitting beside him during mass- a ride to Lucky Strike Village in Belize and since then he has not returned home. Ortega's mother 35-year-old Deybi Lissette Ortega and her husband traveled to the female's house later that night around 11:00 but she told them that Ortega simply dropped her off and left. He was last seen wearing a light blue T-shirt with dark blue long pants and a black tennis shoe. The family is imploring the public to call the nearest police station if he is found.

Red Cross Cares
Over 80 elderly and homeless people received food and gifts yesterday. The Red Cross prepared a Christmas Luncheon for the elderly and homeless on Universal Human Rights Day. Program Coordinator for the Youth Agents for Change Tina Gill says no one should be left out. The Red Cross Soup Kitchen caters to over 80 people every Wednesday.

Channel 5

Breaking News: Shooting in Mahogany Heights
There is breaking news of a shooting in the Mahogany Heights community at mile thirty on the George Price Highway. News Five has confirmed that one Joel Sewell was shot [...]

ASR Officials Meet with P.M. Barrow, Sugar Impasse Unresolved
At two-thirty today, officials from A.S.R. and B.S.I. met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega at the PM’s office at Whitfield Tower in Belize City. [...]

Live Lemon Grenade Recovered Near Fabers Road Extension
The Belize Defense Force Bomb Expert was called in on Fabers Road on Wednesday night where another deadly grenade was discovered. The active explosive device was safely removed off the [...]

Popular Disc Jockey Murdered in Esperanza
Well-known disc jockey, Samir Fernandez, known in the clubbing and music scene as DJ Kid, was discovered dead on Wednesday in the village of Esperanza. Fernandez, a resident of Santa [...]

Accident Victim Kiran Moguel Taken Off Life Support
At two-fifteen today, eight year old Kiran Moguel was taken off life support at the K.H.M.H. and pronounced dead. The student from Orange Walk sustained massive head and body injuries [...]

Details of Caye Chapel Sale Revealed
On Tuesday, the Government of Belize, through BELTRAIDE, announced the completion of the sale of Caye Chapel to a group of Mexican investors, who own El Secreto in San Pedro.  [...]

B.T.L./B.E.L. Nationalization Matter Continues Before CCJ
Arguments continued today at the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port of Spain where Dean Boyce, the B.T.L. Employees Trust, British Caribbean Bank and Fortis are challenging the government acquisition [...]

Unlawful Termination Case Against BWS Wraps Up In Supreme Court
Justice Michelle Arana is expected to make her decision on the case of Mark Menzies, Don Gillett, Michael Novelo, Journett McKoy, Charlette Barnett and Colin Morrison sometime next year after [...]

Stake Bank Tourism Development Remains in Limbo
Last Thursday, the Belize Tourism Industry Association held its twenty-third annual general meeting where its membership was updated on developments within the travel sector, including a pending suit in the [...]

C.E.O. Mike Singh Gives Update on Harvest Caye Development
The Stake Bank tourism project remains on hold indefinitely while developer Mike Feinstein and FSTV are entangled in a lawsuit regarding the proposed project.  Prime Minister Barrow has since gone [...]

Southwest Airlines to Fly Direct to Belize
Earlier this week there was grim news from Yahoo Travel that Belize is among the countries with the worst ports of call. Well, tonight there is positive information for the [...]

Can Mayor Bradley Extend BML’s Sanitation Contract?
On Thursday, we showed you at length the difficult position in which Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley finds himself. Municipal elections are in three months, and all the workers [...]

Discussions on Assimilation of BML Workers Continue
And finally, it all boils down to the fate of one hundred and sixty workers post-January fifteenth, when BML’s contract expires. The reality is that Mayor Darrell Bradley has no [...]

Bradley’s Two Cents on Cruise Tourism
As we said earlier, an article on Yahoo Travel earlier this week named Belize City as one of the five worst ports of calls for cruise ships in the Caribbean. [...]

Fundraising Effort for Dara’s Feeding Program
Dara Robinson is known for his humanitarianism, specifically his feeding program to help underprivileged youths and families in poverty stricken areas across the city. For the second consecutive year, Robinson [...]

Belizean Businesses Prepare to Export to Caribbean Market
Five local companies are being given the opportunity to expand their reach to the Caribbean market through an initiative by BELTRAIDE. Included in the group is the popular Hot Mama’s [...]

Healthy Living Breaks Down the Christmas Blues
If you listen to all the Christmas songs that have been blaring on the airwaves or even in your home; you’re probably convinced that all days leading to Christmas are [...]


St. Francis Xavier Credit Union Offers Special Loan To Cane Farmers
With Christmas around the corner and no sight of an agreement between cane farmers and BSI, there is no doubt that the economy of the north is being affected. In order to bring some alleviation to the economic effect and to cane farmers who have been unable to deliver their cane due to the current impasse, Saint Francis Xavier Credit Union has come up with a plan that benefits cane farmers. It is a loan promotion that has seen the allocation of $600,000 which is available for cane farmers to borrow from. PMRafael Dominquez- Gen. Manager “These farmers at this present situation with the negotiation with BSCFA and ASR/BSI where there seems to be an endless solution and yet we are seeing that tie is passing as proposed that the crop should start the 8th of December and knowing the fact that in the spirit of Christmas the farmers are tied up, they are broke and it is a pity for us to just say well we will not put any interest on that, well the management and directors saw the need that we need to help our farmers and this is what the spirit of Credit Union movement is whereby we are involved directly with the members, we listening to what is happening so while a battle is going on out there St. Francis is making a Union with the farmers in trying to have them in the spirit of Christmas and because of this situation that the farmers are eager to start the crop so the directive and management decided that we need to help the farmers and we need to give them a small Christmas loan.”

Culture And History Comes Alive In San Lazaro
Preserving culture is important for many ethnic groups in Belize and here in Orange Walk a number of groups have been formed to do just that. This is what has driven one community to take it upon themselves to promote their culture and heritage with others. Hugo Carrillo and other members of the San Lazaro Village community have for the third year organized the Festival del Pueblo, or community festival to be held this Sunday at 2:30 in San Lazaro Village. Carrillo told us more about the event. Hugo Carrillo “Es un festival adonde estamos promoviendo la cultura tangible y intangible, es un evento donde vamos a tener comida típica, desfile, ropa de la cultura, vamos a tener juegos tradicionales de los niños como los niños jugaban antes y esta vez vamos a incluir historia de la guerra de castas, un documental que su servidor lo hizo y vamos a tener la historia de San Lazaro y de la cruz para adelante, además vamos a tener comedia policía y tenemos un grupo invitado de aquí del país vecino Mexico so estudiantes integrantes de la Universidad de Quintana Roo y el grupo van a estar presentando su música hispánica de los Mayas, fue una idea, fue un génesis pero es más la participación del pueblo, de los niños, de los vecinos, de los padres de familia, uno siempre llega y le pide un favor y ellos ya están dispuestos entonces el mérito es el pueblo.”

Police On The Hot Seat Again
An American National and business owner of a Pizza Place in Caye Caulker is claiming police brutality by the hands of officers at the Caye Caulker Police formation. The incident he claims occurred over the weekend and alleges that the officer he placed a complaint against tortured him and pepper sprayed him. We spoke to the complainant via telephone and he claims the abuse stems from the officer having a personal gripe against him. The pictures provided to us may be graphic for our younger audience, so viewer discretion is advised. Caye Caulker Businessman “Essentially I was terrorized and brutalized in the most scenic possible you can imagine, they poured acid on me and I can’t take it off my body and it is now eating my flesh and with a lot of pain but I am trying to get to the bottom of this and I was abuse in the most terrific way you can imagine.”

Another Grenade Found In Belize City
Police in Belize City have come up on yet another hand grenade and safely removed the explosive device from off the streets. According to a release sent out by the Police Press Officer, the grenade which was wrapped in a black plastic bag and inside of an old knapsack was found in an overgrown area in the Fabers Road Extension area around 6:40 pm on Wednesday. Police say the bomb expert from the Belize Defence Force was called in where the device was identified to be “an M26 American origin high explosive grenade.” No one was in the area and so the grenade is considered “found property” as their investigation continues. The hand grenade has been removed from the area and taken for disposal.

Eight Year Old Kiran Passes After Family Pulls The Plug
We have been following the unfortunate case of eight year old Kiran Moguel who was severely injured in a traffic accident in Chetumal on Monday evening. The child was along with his mother Esther Moguel when the incident happened. It is with deep regret that we report tonight that eight year old Kiran did not make it. His mother was faced with the most difficult choice of turning off his life support since doctors had declared him brain dead. Today, Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Mendez spoke with us on the incident. Mendez worked closely with Esther Moguel who is employed in his east constituency office.

Dr. Mendez Spreads The Christmas Cheers
Area Representatives continue to spread the Christmas Cheer with children all over Orange Walk and tonight we highlight the visits of Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez. This year Dr. Mendez and his team are visiting each of the schools in the Orange Walk East constituency issuing presents and treats to the students. They started their tour in Carmelita Village on Tuesday and yesterday they were at Solomon’s Seven Day Adventist School. Dr. Mendez says that the team is providing gifts to students in preschool up to standard two. Everyone, however, gets a goody bag. But they do not stop there; the team is also providing gifts to the top three performers in their class.

Allegations Of Corruption Made Against Senior Fisheries Officer
Tonight a senior fisheries officer is being accused of framing a cane farmer from Corozal Town. In a letter sent to the Senior Fisheries officer by the law firm of Sabido’s and Company, Pedro Guerra is asking the Fisheries officer for a re-imbursement of sixty four thousand dollars plus damages amounting to nine thousand six hundred dollars. According to the letter, the issue dates back to the month of July of this year where, the officer made several inducements to the farmer, on how he could earn an export license within three days. The letter reveals that the officer stated that through his connections at the department, he would be able to obtain a fish Exporter’ License to buy and export frozen sea cucumber.

O/W South Area Rep. Spreads The Christmas Cheers
As is customary in Orange Walk South, today Area Representative Abeladro Mai visited schools in communities within the area sharing a drop of Christmas joy with the children. As he does annually, Mai and his team of elves, Santa included, prepared goodies bags for children. Today he visited ten communities to share these treats with students. We caught up with him at Guinea Grass where he told us more about his reasons for the initiative. abiHonorable Abelardo Mai – Orange Walk South Area Representative “It is important to know and understand that there are children in Orange Walk in my constituency that do not have the opportunity to get an apple for Christmas, it is a sad but true thing, I come from humble beginnings, my family are still humble and I know what it is to be marginalized or poor, I visit villages on a regular basis and you see the level of poverty so when you see we are celebrating in our home with ham and turkey and all the drinks galore, there are people there are children who do not know what it is to receive a toy or an apple for Christmas so we take things for granted...

Belize Celebrate "Human Rights 365"
Today marks Human Rights Day, observed annually on 10 December, to highlight the fundamental rights that all people are entitled to as a global community. The day marks the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. The day was first formed in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all member states and other organisations to celebrate. The theme for 2014, "Human Rights 365", is a reminder that everyone is entitled to basic rights with the same ideals and values - all year round."

Police detained Two Robbery, In Search For Third Suspect
Tonight a teenager from the Corozal District is recuperating from a frightful ordeal after he was ambushed by three male persons; one of them was carrying a gun. On the night of Friday December 5th, at around 7:30, seventeen year old Amilcar Correa, Belizean laborer of Xaibe was walking along an unnamed street within the village when he was approached by three male persons riding separate bicycles. The individuals were dressed in full black and wore nothing to hide their identity as their faces were uncovered. According to Correa, one of the men walked up to him, pointed what appeared to be a chrome hand gun at him and told him quote "Buay give me your money". Fearing for his life Correa began shouting for help and that is when the individuals got on their bicycles and rode off into the direction of San Roque Area and Ranchito Villages.

Sanker Being Sought For Robbery
Apart from attempt robbery we told you about earlier, Jermaine Sanker, who is no stranger to the law, is also being sought by Corozal Police for the crime of robbery after a cell phone was stolen from a resident of Calcutta Village, in the Corozal District. The incident played out in the following manner. On Friday night at around 7:00pm, Jerson Chan, 20 year old Belizean construction worker was exiting Community Super Market Chinese Shop located in Calcutta when he saw three men, all dressed in dark clothing and with their face covered, entering the store.

Teacher Improve Skills To Improve Curriculum
Teaching and learning have evolved over the years and only keep evolving. Teachers have adopted new teaching strategies to meet the ever changing needs of students at all levels. Today, a group of teachers were working on improving their skills and their curriculums to ensure that they obtain the best results from students in primary schools. Dalila has the story. Dalila Ical – Reporting Over the last two years officers at the District Education Center in Orange Walk have been providing necessary support to teachers in curriculum development. Today, under the guidance of Education Officer Two, Lisa Carrillo who is responsible for math, science and technology, teachers from six schools worked on strengthening their math and science curriculum.

Customs Department Holds Annual Christmas Party
Over 120 children were engaged in the joy and cheer of the Christmas season as the Custom and Excise Department hosted its 7th Annual Children’s Party at Dreams in Corozal Town. Emelda Hyde is a custom clerk who elaborated on the event. Emelda Hyde’s - custom clerk one “We now are celebrating our 7th annual Christmas party and it was started by one of our deputy comptroller of customs, Mr. Recinos and it started out with just some of the under privilege children from the school and they decided to change it and we now do it every year with children with Special needs. Today we started by having them sit down and have eat some snacks but this year we have the clowns that were invited from Mexico so they have a two hour entertainment for the kids after which we also have one of the child who is blind and she is going to be singing and playing the piano for us and we also be having one of our officer doing two songs for us and thereafter we just going to be doing little activities to keep them entertained until about two o’clock.”


Alex X’s death still not ruled a murder
San Ignacio Police are still baffled over the identity of a person only known as Alex, who was found clinging to life inside a house on Coyoc street, San Ignacio, at around 4:00 am on Sunday December 7th. On Tuesday Plus News spoke to 22 year old Dennis Guzman who told us that he had known Alex for ...

Strike team takes grenade, firearms, drugs off the street
An Eastern Division strike team took multiple items off the street in operations conducted earlier this week. The most dangerous was a M26 American high-explosive grenade found in an overgrown lot in the Fabers Road Extension area of Belize City, around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday...

“Peter Tosh” given bail for grievious harm charge
Earlier this week 61 year old Tony Anthony, also known as “Peter Tosh,” was read a charge of grievous harm which authorities indicated may be upgraded to maim. Anthony, a former police officer, was charged on Monday and remanded for the injury to Wayne Anthony, with whom he got into a confrontations...

Ex-employees of BWS back in court
The trial of Mark Menzies, Don Gillett, and four other workers claiming termination from Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) resumed after a six-month break before Justice Michelle Arana. Former president of the Belize Water Services Workers’ Union Lorelei Westby, BWS CEO Alvan Haynes, and Human Res...

Repairs for Twin Towns’ Bridge
The low lying bridge that joins twin towns Santa Elena and San Ignacio will be closed for the next five days to undergo needed repairs. The bridge is usually motorists’ one way access to enter San Ignacio from Santa Elena, while the Hawksworth bridge is usually the one way access out of San Ignacio ...

Fatal Chopping in Corozal
A Corozal man of Hispanic descent was caught by police in the act of chopping another individual of Creole decent. According to police, at around 9:15 pm on Tuesday, December 9th, Corozal police responded to a chopping incident on College road, Corozal Town. Upon arriving at the scene, police observed 29 year old Carlos Cassanova, of Coro Street, inflicting several chop wounds to 29 year old Mark Massam Jr., of Bocotora Street, who was lying on the ground inside an open yard. Police reportedly ordered Cassanova to drop his machete but he refused and continued to chop Massam all over his head and upper body. Several warning shots were fired but still Cassanova continued his carnage. Police then fired several shots at Cassanova which caught him on the thigh and leg. As a result, Carlos Cassanova dropped the machete and police managed to subdue him.

Belize is the Third Worst Caribbean Cruise Destination says Yahoo
Yahoo Travel, a highly rated travel blog, published an article on Tuesday entitled the Worst Caribbean Ports of Call for Cruises and Belize is listed as number three. The article highlights the fact that there is no Cruise port in Belize; and while the article does concede that there are things to do outside City bounds, it describes the old Capital as dreary with nothing to do. It also says that, “Ships do not actually dock here; they anchor off and use tenders to carry passengers to town, or sometimes directly to activities on nearby tiny islands.” and while that might be true, the Government, in January of this year, after receiving much heat from local activists, gave Fienstein’s Stake Bank Project the green light. The Prime Minister explained the bill presented in January 2014. He said that “The idea is to locate the new cruise port there [at State Bank] and in fact to build the causeway to Belize City. All relevant environmental impact assessments have been submitted and had been examined by the Department of the Environment. It appears that the developer has the financing lined up and so with the passage of this bill after we come back to the House on the next occasion – it appears that construction will start imminently.”

Will Mayor Bradley run again?
The Mayor’s issues both inside and outside the Council have led to speculation that he may step away from a second candidacy. While he did not exactly dispel the rumours, Mayor Bradley did indicate that he remains on the job. . Darrell Bradley – Mayor of Belize City “The position is that people have elected me to the office to solve problems. People have asked questions, ‘Mayor you seem frustrated.’ Mayor this. Mayor that. That’s not something that just has happened. I’ve had conversations with you privately and public in terms of some of the challenges that I face as mayor. I knew that this was going to be a difficult job and people elect you not to be popular or not to do things in a popularist way, but to make an impact. There are difficult questions that we have to face, but that is what leadership is about. It is about facing difficult questions in a mature way. And if there comes times where when I am saying to myself that this thing can’t work in terms of how the operation is, then I know what I have to do. But people elect me for a three year term to solve difficult problems and that is what I intend to do for the full term in office when I have been mayor.

Older persons honored on Human Rights Day
Wednesday was International Human Rights Day and there were activities held around the country. In Belize City at the Helpage Activity Center and Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly, multiple generations came together at a Christmas party which also doubled as a celebration of human rights for all, including older persons. We spoke with Chairman of Helpage Belize, Evan Dakers. Evan Dakers – Chair of Helpage Belize “We have a number of people, who basically live alone, and then we have those who have family members who comes around but very infrequent. So when you have an activity like this today, it gives them that measure of unity and togetherness. I believe an activity like today is one in which we try please our older persons.”

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School receives computer lab
The student body of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School got to celebrate a renovated computer lab delivered through the Belize City Council. The school, located along Coney Drive in the titular residential neighborhood, has a population of 223 and has had to scrap for what it can get. Principal Amelia Bencomo relates how this dream was realized. Amelia Bencomo – Principal of Buttonwood Bay Nazarine Primary School “It used to be a classroom, but became available after a missionary team donated to us an additional classroom building. This was one of our goals, to develop a resource room where a reading reinforcement program will be set in place, for students who can read and those who are still struggling, as well as for teachers who may want to conduct research to enhance their lessons.

St. Matthews Residents and Police Socialize
On Saturday November 8th, Belmopan Police took up the initiative to visit four areas in Belmopan in a meet and greet session,where they visited about 100 homes. This past weekend, Belmopan police hit the village of St. Matthews on the George Price Highway, where they met with residents and took note of their concerns. Inspector Stephanie Grinage, Deputy Officer Commanding Belmopan Police Formation, told us what were the general concerns of the people. Inspector Stephanie Grinage – Deputy Officer Commanding Belmopan Police Formation “On December 6th., that was Saturday, OC Belmopan, Mr Howell Gillett, along with myself and members of the Belmopan Police Formation wisited St Matthews village, and conducted a Meet and Greet in that area.

The Guardian

The Final Battle for BTL and BEL underway at the Caribbean Court of Justice
The first of three days to once and for all determine the legality of the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited began on Wednesday December 10 at the Caribbean Court of Justice. A battery of lawyers representing BTL, BEL and the Government of Belize are in Port of Spain Trinidad for the three days of arguments. Presenting on the first day of hearing before the 5 justices of the CCCJ was Peter Goldsmith who made presentations for 2 hours and forty five minutes. Also making presentations on behalf of British Caribbean Bank was Eamon Courtenay while Attorney Edward Fitgerald who is representing Fortis Energy also made a 1 hour presentation. He will continue arguments on Thursday after which Denys Barrow will present the Government of Belize’s position, responding to all three lawyers. The first presenters will then rebut and the case will be completed on Friday December 12. At the conclusion of the case justices Byron, Saunders, Wit , Hayton and Anderson will make a ruling to finally and definitively conclude litigation as it relates to the nationalization of BEL and BTL finally determining whether it was done legally or not.

4th Consecutive Electricity reduction!!!
On January 1, Belizeans will benefit from another reduction in electricity rates – Yes, light bill is going down again! This is the fourth consecutive tariff review procedure in which electricity rates will be reduced. On December 8, the Belize Electricity Limited submitted an application to the Public Utilities Commission requesting a reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) of approximately 1.5 cent per kilowatt hour. That means that residential customers’ rates may decrease from 43.47 cents per kilowatt hour to 42 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity for the period January, 2015 to June, 2015. This reduction has become necessary in order to “to reflect the savings [the company] has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers (IPP),” according to BEL. A statement from the company states, “The savings achieved are primarily due to lower than expected cost of power from Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) during the current tariff period, which has made it possible for the Company to provide electricity to customers at a reduced rate.” The reduction represents a 3.4 percent decrease in the Mean Electricty Rate.

Richard Harrison - Born To Lose
Richard Harrison’s extemporaneous ingression into the political arena as a candidate for standard bearer for the People’s United Party in the Cayo North division has left many pundits with jaws agape. Richard Harrison’s life has been that of an accomplished disaster. Everything he has put his hands on has simply failed. His business ventures have been nothing more than disappointments for him and his family. All indications are that he is flat out broke or at the very least struggling to survive. He has responded to these criticisms that he owes no one. Of course he owes no one because those he owed opted to collect from him by garnishment or through his assets.

Why is Johnny Briceno denying his former driver’s wealth?
various bank accounts and that there is now a legal battle over who will control the estate. The only mention that the Guardian make of Johnny Briceno was that it was his former driver who had left the money behind. Lo and behold, Johnny appears on no less than the headline of the Amandala newspaper denying the article. There is an old Creole saying that goes: "the hog weh bawl, feel the lik." We wonder if we can apply this saying to Johnny? For him to come out and defend something he has absolutely nothing to do with is really strange.

Officer Accused of Sex with 14-Year-Old Out on Bail
Police Officer Rupert Thomas, 38, who is attached to the Independence Police Formation, is out on bail after his application was successful at the Supreme Court. Thomas was accused on November 14, 2014 of having sex with a 14-year-old girl and as a result he was charged with a single count of carnal knowledge. Thomas has been at the Belize Central prison on remand since the arraignment but his attorney, Oscar Selgado applied for bail on his behalf at the Supreme Court. On Friday, December 5, Thomas appeared before Justice Antoneitte Moore where his application was heard. There was no objection to bail by Crown Counsel, Kileru Awich.

Man chops another to death in front of cops
Corozal Police have a very disturbing murder to investigate after a man savagely chopped another to death in front of the cops who arrived and tried to keep the peace. It happened at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9, on College Road in Corozal Town. Officers responded to a report of a machete fight in progress, and when they got to the location, they reportedly saw 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr. standing over the body of 29 year-old Mark Massam Jr. with a machete in hand, hacking at him with no apparent intention to stop.

Major drug bust in Dangriga
A family of 4 from Dangriga Town continues to face drug trafficking charges after major amounts of marijuana were found in their house on Friday, December 5. Acting on intelligence from Special Branch in Dangriga, a team of police officers conducted a pre-dawn raid in the area of the community known as “Baka Town”. There, they searched the home of 38 year-old Delvorine Ramos, located on St. Vincent Street. She was present at the time along with 19 year-old Chelsey Ramos, 46 year-old Felix Alvarez, and a minor.

Salvadoran dies in Cayo under strange circumstances
On Sunday of last weekend at about 7:00 am, a man was observed at the San Ignacio Community Hospital under strange circumstances. He was at the emergency room suffering from a large cut wound to the right side of his head, a bruised eye and with abrasions to the left foot. While this man is known only by the name, Alexander, he was also known to be a Salvadoran laborer, residing on Coyoc Street in San Ignacio Town. Investigations have revealed that a day earlier, on Saturday of last weekend, Alexander was socializing at the residence of Obed Rivera on Awe Street in San Ignacio Town, consuming Caribbean Gold Rum with his friends. Alexander was along with Dennis Guzman, Wilson Sanchez, Charles Windsor, Obed Rivera and other friends; between the hours of 9:30 pm and 11:30 pm, after which they dispersed.

Alleged immigration scam mastermind now free of all Charges
Magistrate Dale Cayetano dismissed 38 charges against Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos and Alfredo Marcos for aiding and abeting individuals to use documents not entitled to. The case against Marleny Elizabeth Castellanos, the alleged mastermind of a massive immigration scheme, and her common-law husband, Alfredo Marcos, first started to break down on October 28 when they were both set free of ten immigration charges in relation to the use of documents they are not entitled to; including, voter’s identification card, Social Security card, nationality certificate and a temporary border crossing permit.

Inspiration Calendar and Agenda launched
Over the past 8 months since the Inspiration Center has been in operation the institution has made 144 assessments of children with special needs. Additionally personnel offer services to 260 children between the ages of 11 months and 16 years of age both at the institution itself or as clients they make visits to. The attention offered by the center includes medical attention, physical and speech therapy and community based services among others. That’s a lot of work being done in such a short space of time, but like everything, the work that is being done needs financial support and for the Inspiration Center, it means coming up with novel ideas to raise those funds. A couple of those ideas include the production of the Inspiration Calendar and the Inspiration Agenda. At ceremonies held at the center on Wednesday December 10th, both these publications were unveiled.

Myrtle vex, Francis admits to being a hypocrite
Myrtle Palacio is not taking too kindly that the PUP’s Hypocricy has been exposed and she took to facebook this weekend to rant about how her letter in which she agreed to take the Petro Caribe money was printed in the Guardian. Well Myrtle can be as angry as a cat on a rainy day. That does not change the fact that they have been beating up on the use of the Petro Caribe money and then they turn around and take it without a shred of remorse. Hypocrites is what they are Myrtle, the Secretary General; Francis the party leader and the whole kit of them.

Education Ministry Endorses “Colour Me Belize” Book
Sapna Budhrani launched the first of a series of colouring books featuring objects relative to the Belizean experience on Monday, December 8, at the House of Culture. The book is called “Colour Me Belize” and has already been endorsed by the Special Envoy for Women and Children, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the National Institute for Culture and History. The colouring book includes most of the national symbols and other objects that represent the diverse ethnic population of Belize; such as drums, baskets and traditional aparrel. Bhudrani says, “My aim was to build national pride in some way; not realizing that in the end it actually helped build pride for myself.”

Belize City Council refurbishes Buttonwood Bay Nazarene’s computer lab
Students of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School are enjoying a much more learning friendly environment in the school’s resource center thanks to the Belize City Council and the Central Bank of Belize. Mayor Darrell Bradley was invited to speak to students of Buttonwod Bay Nazarene about a month ago. His message to them was “Be the change you want to see in the world. Be a catalyst for good and a force for positive impact in your community.” After the address he was led on a tour of the compound by the school’s management. He saw a clear need for an upgrade of the computer lab and made a commitment to the students that the Council will upgrade the facility.

Gas prices fall even more
Two weeks ago the prices of gas went down by 91 cents. On Friday morning, drivers were again happily surprised that the price of premium gas had gone down by 44 cents and the price of regular had gone down by 43 cents. The price of premium gas is now $9.57 while regular is $9.21. Diesel has also seen a decrease, on Tuesday November 25 it went down by 49 cents. Fuel prices are now at the lowest they have ever been in 3 years.

Hon. Rene Montero delivers house in Cayo
With the spirit of the Christmas Season upon us, a resident from Georgeville in the Cayo District is the new recipient of a brand new concrete building. A three bedroom house was gifted to Mrs. Agnes Gongora by the Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Transport and Public Works on Saturday of last weekend. The Hon. Rene Montero, who is also the Representative for the Cayo Central Division, was joined by Georgeville Village Councilors in giving the keys of the new home to Mrs. Agnes Gongora.

PUP Says Roll the Petro Caribe
The opposition People’s United Party has had a lot to say about the Government’s use of the Petrocaribe funds for the development of Belize and the betterment of its people. They have had an issue with the Prime Minister and this government because the money is being used in a very accountable manner, something they know nothing about. Well such was their discontent with the issue that they went to the extreme of taking the matter to court. They contend that the funds are being mismanaged and misspent and that the loan motion was not taken before the house. In the first week of November they filed suit against the government in the Supreme Court. The Government passed the motion in the National Assembly two weeks later on the 18th November and that was that.

Time for Smart Customers in the South to Make the Switch
After February 28, 2015 the Belize Telemedia Limited will no longer provide Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) Lines to Speednet; therefore, Smart customers in Southern Belize should start switching to the company owned by the Government and people of Belize. Speednet has been sourcing DTN connection from BTL since July of 2014, when it ended a service agreement with its original network support provider for Stann Creek and Toledo. Around the end of September, BTL informed Speednet that it would have to cut the service “due to increased demands on its [own network]”. In a statement to the press, the company said, “BTL can no longer provide the DTN Lines to Speednet while adequately satisfying its own demands and requirements in providing quality telecommunications services.” After a 30 day grace period had passed, BTL went on to cut the service from 16 megabits to 4 megabits in early November. This caused internet, voice and SMS services to deteriorate significantly for Smart customers from Independence to Punta Gorda.

UDP Dangriga goes to Battle! Boots on the Ground in New Site
The Red Machine was in full motion this past Sunday, December 7, 2014 in Dangriga. With all the good things happening under the leadership of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the UDP Government and Party is poised to win the upcoming Municipal Elections countrywide; but in Dangriga the UDP Campaign Team is leaving nothing to chance. They have been on the ground even before August 24 when the campaign was officially launched. This past weekend, we joined the campaign team, first on Ecumenical Drive where they celebrated the launch of the full cementing of that major artery. From there we moved into New Site where the team headed by Mayoral Candidate Francis Humphreys and Councilor Candidates Alex ‘Lexus’ Joseph, Yadira Diego, Earth Lopez, Herbert Nicasio, Cheryl Williams Molina and Gary Francisco greeted and conversed with voters at their homes. As Mr. Humphreys puts it, “Political campaigning is like conventional warfare; there’s no substitute for boots on the ground!”

National Forum Concludes 16 Days of Activism
“The Perpetrators of violence against men are other men and in most cases the victims and perpetrators are rivals. In the case of women, the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of violence against them are men in their lives, in their families – men with whom they have some sort of connection- men who are known to them.” – Hon. Mark King, Minister of State in Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation. Violence against women is one of the most complicated plagues of society to tackle. As pointed out by Hon. Mark King at a national forum on the eradication of violence against women, addressing the issue effectively requires a comprehensive plan and wide scale participation of relevant agencies. In an effort to regalvanize social partners committed to the eradication of violence against women, on Wednesday, 10 December, the Women’s Department of the Ministry of Human Development held a national forum under the theme “Belize’s commitment to Eradicate Violence against Women, Femicide and Human Trafficking”.

Junior male softballers to Central American championship
The National Junior male softball team of Belize left the country on Wednesday 10 December, 2014, to Guatemala City, Guatemala, where it will participate in the X Central American Junior Male Championship that will be held from 12-14 December, 2014. The X championship will feature the participation of Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the host country Guatemala in a Double Round Robin Format competition.

Walk the Walk
I try to read all of our country’s national newspapers each week in an effort to keep updated with current news and to analyze opinions in the editorials. Needless to say (but I will anyway) most of the newspapers are, in like manner of the talk shows on TV, noticeably slanted to the Blue, and unabashedly so too. There is one print edition in particular which, shrouded with professed neutrality, never hesitates to attack the UDP government at every opportunity. In addition to its patently biased opinions, this paper also has the practice of heaping flattery on personalities and organizations who attack the UDP; trying to promote them as champions so that they may continue their campaign against the Government with recharged enthusiasm.

NHI now available in 14 northern villages
Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow, had promised that NHI services will roll out to the Northern districts and on Friday December 5, the Ministry of Health signed on to a contract to commence NHI services in the Corozal District in January of next year. Under the contract, mobilization finances have been made available to retrofit the Corozal Community outpatient department of the hospital to be an NHI provider. Along with the Corozal Community Hospital an NGO operating out of Patchakan village has also been identified as a provider so far. The Hospital is expected to be in the region of 17,000 persons and the Patchakan NGO some 4000 persons. Under the program persons will be able to access services such as mamograms, pap smears, prostate exams, x-rays, pharmaceuticals and other services covered under the program.

Discovering Your Passion
Questions arise at every given time throughout our lives. In every relationship, in uncertainty, and in our career. Sometimes they are questions we may never be able to answer, and other times, we may simply be too occupied to find the answer. Certainly, we ask questions to know more about a situation or even ourselves, but most importantly to seek out our deepest passions. There have been many of us who have asked the question, "How do I determine my best career path?" Here, I will describe how I have answered that question in the past, and how I continue to answer that very important question today.

Tropic Air Flight lands in water
The local airline company, Tropic Air, continues to be the subject of an inquiry by the Department of Civil Aviation after one of its aircraft plunged into the waters surrounding the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. A prompt press release from the company said in its entirety, "On Tuesday, December 4, 2014 at approximately 2:20 PM flight #281 was going from San Pedro to Belize City Municipal Airport and upon landing went off the end of the runway into the water. There were 5 passengers and pilot and no injuries incurred." No official information as to the cause of plane's mishap has been provided as yet, but the press has learned that the pilot of the plane has reported to police that the engine died as soon after he landed. That meant that no reverse thrusters could have been applied to decelerate the aircraft before it ended up in the Caribbean Sea.

Ministers of Agriculture of Central America and Dominican Republic meet in Belize to discuss regional agriculture issues
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) in its capacity as President Pro-Temp of the Central American Agriculture Council (CAC) hosted the OIRSA-CIRSA Meeting on the 4th December and the final meeting of the Agriculture Council of Ministers on the 5th of December, 2014 in Placencia, Belize. Panama currently holds the Presidency of CIRSA but agreed to the Belize initiative to combine meetings in an effort to save cost, improve coordination and increase effective participation. On the 4th December 2014, the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture welcomed the delegates and officially opened the LVII Extraordinary Meeting of the International Regional Organization for Health in Agriculture (CIRSA). During this meeting, main points discussed included the approval of the OIRSA strategic plan for the period 2015 to 2025, and the modification of the work plan for 2014 and 2015 to cater to the changes required by the member countries.

Preparing for Agriculture exports in Jalacte
The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA) are currently in the works of establishing an agriculture inspection point near Jalacte Village, Toledo. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources Hon. Gaspar Vega visited the site on Friday, December 5, 2014. The Deputy Prime Minister said that the purpose of the project is to assist and enhance the work of the farmers in the area: “We can come to this area and be able to assist the farmers in an easier manner than what we had done in the past. It’s an agriculture outreach where we would be having extension officers to be able to advise farmers on how they can derive more benefits from the efforts they’re putting in their agricultural programs.”

PM Barrow enters sugar negotiations
Executives from American Sugar Refinery (ASR), the major shareholder in Belize Sugar Industries, are set to meet as principals of the factory owners with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. This meeting is being held to try for the start of a crop before Christmas. The dispute between BSI and the cane farmers stands, but there are 3 points that both sides must agree to resolve before an agreement is signed. First, the cane farmers and the factory owners cannot agree on how long the agreement should be binding for. BSI wants a contract with a 7-year term, but the farmers are not willing to accept what they believe is an onerous and extended period of time. They have budged to 3 years, and they are willing to go all the way up the full term, with the condition that they can cancel it if they don’t like BSI’s development plan for the industry. BSI has not accepted a 3-year contract, and a contract with a termination clause is something they call “unrealistic”

What if Belize Has an Oil Spill?
Though oil production is at its lowest level since a commercial quantity was first discovered in 2006, the oil industry is the most active it has ever been in Belize. With more exploration being done and the likelihood of more oil being discovered, regulators of the industry have to prepare for everything; including, a worst case scenario. What if an oil spill occurs in Belize? Representatives from various protective agencies are currently in a workshop designed to prepare local responders for a potential oil spill in Belize. Claudine Tiercelin and Elliot Taylor of the International Maritime Organization presented on topics such as “Oil properties, behaviour and fate”, “Health and safety”, “Environmental sensitivity and impacts” and “Containment and recovery” among others.

Arms of Love Pre-School in Cayo gets building
“Studies have shown that students who attend pre-school have a greater advantage, which leads them to success in life.” That was the conclusion of Alma Fuller, Early Childhood Coordinator attached to the Ministry of Education, at the opening of a new building at the Arms of Love Pre-School in the Kontiki Area at the outskirts of San Ignacio Town on Friday of last week. Residents of Kontiki were joined by various development partners for the opening of a furnished 50 feet in length by 42 feet in width building that comes at a cost of $65,775.00 The Arms of Love Pre-School was built by the Government of Belize, through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. The Kontiki pre-school was implemented by the Social Investment Fund and comes after four other pre schools have recently been built around Belize, with one in Punta Gorda and Stann Creek and two others in the Cayo District.

Two murders out west
The family of 54 year-old Donatilo Canales, a resident of the Valley of Peace Village in Cayo, continue to suspect a police officer of being involved in his murder which happened on Saturday, December 6. Police investigations have revealed that at around 12:30 a.m., just after the midnight hour, he heard his dogs barking, and so he went to check on it. His wife was inside the house, and she heard 4 gunshots nearby. When he didn’t return a few minutes later, she became concerned, especially because the gunfire was close by. She alerted her neighbours, and by flashlight, they went searching for Canales. Shortly after their search began, they found his bullet-riddled body about a hundred yards or so from the backdoor of his house. He had been shot in the leg, the chest, the neck, and the head, and it appears that he bled out shortly after his assailant opened fire on him.

Busted with over 70 Pounds of Weed
Leon Grey, 26, and Wilbert Gentle, 22, are out on bail after they were charged with drug trafficking for over 70 pounds of weed. The Mobile Interdiction Team intercepted Grey and Gentle on the La Democracia road at about 10 p.m. on Thursday, December 4. The men are Belize City residents of the PIV area and police believe they were in the area solely to purchase marijuana. A search of their vehicle led to the discovery of 35,833 grams of marijuana. Both were arrested for drug trafficking.

St. Catherine Academy and St. John’s College are Central Region High School Basketball champions
The 2014-2015 Central Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition came to an end on Friday 5 December, 2014, at Bird’s Isle. In the female championship game, St. Catherine Academy defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 15-11. The top scorer for St. Catherine Academy was Indy Dixon with 6 points and the top scorer for Gwen Lizarraga High School was Kayla Bowden with 6 points. In the male championship game, St. John’s College defeated Sadie Vernon Technical High School by the score of 86-65. The top scorers for St. John’s College were Dudley Erskine with 21 points and Sydney Bradley with 16 points. For Sadie Vernon Technical High School, the top scorers were Glency Lopez with 33 points and Darnel Galvez with 13 points.

National High Schools Basketball championship at Bird’s Isle
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association and the Bowen and Bowen National Basketball Championship will be played on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 December, 2014, at Bird’s Isle. This year’s championship is being hosted by Excelsior High School. The schools that have earned the right to represent their respective regions are from Central in female St. Catherine Academy and male St. John’s College. From the West in both female and male Sacred Heart College, from the South female Delille Academy and male Julian Cho Technical High School and from the North female Muffles College and male San Pedro High School.

East Sports Committee to sponsor Aragon’s Basketball Tournament
The Orange Walk East Sports Committee is sponsoring the Aragon’s Basketball Tournament at the East Sports Centre that is scheduled to commence on Friday 12th December, 2014. Teams that are interested in participating in the tournament must have 10 players, 2 coaches and a manager. According to the organisers, teams must wear uniforms. The championship team will receive $1,000.00 cash, individual medals and a team trophy the 2nd place team will receive $500.00 cash, individual medals and a team trophy. Also there will be the individual awards which include MVP and Most Disciplined Team.

Verdes FC leads the Premier League Opening Season
The Premier League of Belize Opening Season Tournament continued over the last weekend with a number of games on the schedule. On Saturday 6 December, 2014, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk Town, the scheduled game between the visiting Police United and the host team FC Belize did not played as FC Belize could not field a team at game time. As a result of a no-show, Police United was awarded the game. Meanwhile, out at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the defending national champions the Belmopan Bandits blasted the visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters by the score of 7-2. The goals for the Belmopan Bandits were scored by Elroy Kuylen in the 12th and 20th minutes of play, Jordy Polanco in the 34th minute of play, Jerome James in the 46th minute of play, Highking Roberts in the 52nd and 54th minutes of play and John King in the 83rd minute of play.

St. Ignatius wins in primary schools basketball competition
The 2014-2015 Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Competition continues at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City. On Monday 8 December, in the girls’ game played, Holy Redeemer School won over St. John’s Primary School by the score of 4-2. The top scorer for Holy Redeemer School was Yu Ting Li with 4 points and for St. John’s Primary the top scorer was Taliyah Hyde with 2 points. In the first of three games played in the boys’ competition, St. Ignatius School defeated Belize Elementary School by the score of 18-5. The top scorer for St. Ignatius School was Tariq Pascascio with 10 points while the top scorer for Belize Elementary School was Alex Ariola with 4 points. In game two, Ephesus SDA School won over St. Martin De Porres School via the default route.

Junior male softballers to Central American championship
The National Junior male softball team of Belize left the country on Wednesday 10 December, 2014, to Guatemala City, Guatemala, where it will participate in the X Central American Junior Male Championship that will be held from 12-14 December, 2014. The X championship will feature the participation of Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the host country Guatemala in a Double Round Robin Format competition. The National Junior Male team is made up of the following players: Konrad Gonzalez, Alex Roache, Brandon Munguia, Rene Flowers, Keron Tillett, Bruce Hylton, Godsden Ferguson, Jerome Carr, Anfernee Brooks, Myric Marin, Christian Hernandez, Allen Audinett, Kristopher Majarrez, Nachor Howe, Lester Gamez, Damian Pollard, Dylon Snagg and Devontae Middleton.

Patrick JonesPJ

New air services make it easier to get to Belize
The San Pedro-based Tropic Air this week announced a new partnership with the leisure airline Condor. What does this new partnership mean? According to an online report issued in Frankfurt on Monday, it means that “Flights from Tropic Air can be booked via the existing destination Cancun […]

Strike team takes grenade, firearms, drugs off the street
An Eastern Division strike team took multiple items off the street in operations conducted earlier this week. The most dangerous was a M26 American high-explosive grenade found in an overgrown lot in the Fabers Road Extension area of Belize City around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday. The green grenade was […]

Ex-employees of BWS back in court
The trial of Mark Menzies, Don Gillett, and four other workers claiming termination from Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) resumed after a six-month break before Justice Michelle Arana. Former president of the Belize Water Services Workers’ Union Lorelei Westby; BWS CEO Alvan Haynes and Human Resource Officer Haydon […]

Caye Chapel developers plan five-star hotel
The island of Caye Chapel, covering 265 acres off the mainland of the Belize District, has been sold to a consortium from Mexico that includes Belizean investors. Its previous owner lost the land to receivership five years ago when he was unable to pay his loan with the […]

Belize Humane Society advisory about stray dogs eradication
The Belize City Council routinely does eradication of pest and stray dogs in the Old Capital and another such sweep began on Wednesday and continues today, Thursday. But it was not announced and the Belize Humane Society contacted the press this afternoon to issue a warning to owners to keep their pets confined. The full statement by S. Renee Wentz says: “The Belize Humane Society would like to alert all Belize City residents of the following: The Belize City Council has enacted a two night stray dog eradication in Belize City. It began last night, Wednesday and will continue tonight, Thursday. Please confine your pets safely. The Belize Humane Society encourages residents to share this information, but also share the message that all pet owners should keep their pets safely confined at ALL times. People should also spay/neuter their pets in order to decrease escape behavior of dogs and cats leaving the yard to breed. You can contact the Belize Humane Society and Animal Shelter on their Facebook page for more information.”

Lemonal village man gets bail for grievous harm charge
Earlier this week 61 year old Tony Anthony also known as “Peter Tosh” was read a charge of grievous harm which authorities indicated may be upgraded to maim. Anthony, a former police officer, was charged on Monday and remanded for the injury to Wayne Anthony, with whom he […]

Global report on violence prevention released
Belize is listed among countries in the Americas with the highest homicide rates behind Jamaica, Venezuela and Honduras. The Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014, which was released on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, shows that three-quarters of the homicides in the Americas are committed with firearms and occur in low and middle income countries. Data for the Report, published jointly by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, was gathered from 133 countries around the world.

Police retrieve hand grenade in Belize City
Belize City police retrieved a hand grenade last night from an area on Fabers Road Extension. According to a release sent out by the Police Press Officer, the grande which was wrapped in a black plastic bag and inside of an old knapsack, was found in an overgrown area in the Fathers Road Extension area around 6:40 pm on Wednesday. Police say the the bomb expert from the Belize Defence Force was called in where the device was identified to be “an M26 American origin high explosive grenade.”

Police investigate murder of Santa Elena resident
Two persons are in police custody pending murder investigation. This follows the discovery of the body of 22 year old Santa Elena resident Samir Fernandez on Wednesday afternoon in Esperanza village, Cayo. Police say they found Fernandez’ body on a feeder road south of the village. At the time of the discovery, police say Fernandez’ body had several cut wounds on the head.


Placencia, Belize’s 3rd “End of the World” Marathon Just Gets Bigger and Better
Just a few days ago, Belize’s largest/only marathon took place in gorgeous (and I imagine blissfully flat for the runners) Placencia in Southern Belize. About 170 runners (and 120 volunteers!) took the the streets (I mean one road) of Maya Beach, Seine Beight and Placencia for the Third Annual END OF THE WORLD Marathon. The marathon was originally named “End of the World” for the end of the Maya Calendar on, supposedly, December 21, 2012. Although the world did not explode, the name has been kept – I mean come on! It’s a great t-shirt. This year’s event was held on Sunday, December 7th – and it was a gorgeous day. Here’s the marathon’s creator, Chip Lowell, at last weekend’s award ceremony. A part time Maya Beach resident and New Englander, Chip has run a bunch of marathons in the states. He has a passion for running and sports and for education. He is a professor at prestigious Williams College in Massachusetts and his ultimate dream is to have free education for all Belizeans.

“My Life” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Since publishing the last edition I’ve got up every morning fully intending to ‘knock out’ another one. Out on the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one on the first floor- with a mug of black, instant unsweetened coffee and the iPad. All ‘tooled up’ for a spot of writing (allow me my fanciful self indulgence). It may have been the turn in the weather – it’s been decidedly chilly (OK maybe not by your standards) and it’s rained most early mornings – but I just couldn’t conjure up the necessary enthusiasm. Now you may not have detected any signs of enthusiasm in what I put ‘out there’ but believe me it’s there. I don’t sit down with any preordained ideas (you’ve probably formed that opinion anyway if you’ve read a few editions), I just write what pops in to my head. Well sad (for me anyway) to say that this week nothing has popped in to my head. I must admit though that the longer the absence has gone on the harder it has got to think about what to write about. So why not let you know the problems I’ve had, I thought. Who knows some of you may sympathise. Some may even empathise. No? Oh well.

Some of the most fabulous and mind blowing cathedrals can be found and all over the modern world. Some of the oldest are found in Europe – the old continent. Within these amazing places for the believers, an electric connection with the universe exists; electricity that their souls demand and command, and they receive it each and every time. This has been the case in time immemorial. Every ancient culture has created some type of physical space to access the powerful energy that exists in the universe. The ancient Maya were not different. They too created spaces for incredible celebrations and spiritual journeys in the form of temples. There are a few kingdoms that went a tad more than the extra mile in the creation of such spaces. They could be large and small, such as in the case of Tikal and Xunantunich. The elite at these places created shrines other than temples to celebrate their ancestors, time and to unite their science with their spirituality. The elite or King at Xunantunich created one of these shrines at the base of an Eastern temple.

We Lit it Up!!
Who doesn't love a good parade?! Let me tell you - Belizeans love a parade. The first month I was here I think they paraded every weekend. Never before have I seen such anxious and happy paraders. In the interest of full disclosure; I myself am not much of a parade fan. Christmas lights, boats, water, and friends...I can handle that and heck - I'll even parade on it. Of course it helps to leave a winner too! An afternoon of stringing lights, a few hours putting around on a boat drinking Captain Beav's Famous Panty Ripphas with friends, and cruising down the coast line while the masses on the beach cheer and cheer, and we wave and wave. I suppose there is something fun about a parade. My inner parading Belizean is getting out a bit more I suppose. I successfully dodged most of the heavy lifting in the decorating game - "working" has its benefits! Actually I really was working, but work isn't work when you love what you do right. Anyway, after creating a nice batch of Captain Beav's Panty Ripphas it was time to decorate. So I headed over to the Ambergris Diver's dock (thanks for the boat chaps...mine will be in action next year) and strung lights for an hour or so - the crew had things well in hand prior to my arrival.

International Sourcesizz

Southwest Airlines to add Belize flights
Southwest Airlines today said it plans to begin flights to tropical Belize next fall as part of its continuing international expansion. The flights, which are subject to government approval, will be offered between Houston and Belize City. It will be Southwest's second destination in Central America, where the airline has already announced plans to fly to Costa Rica from Baltimore beginning in March.

Southwest Airlines expects to begin flights to Belize City next year as it expands international service. The airline said Thursday that it will fly to Belize from Houston beginning next October. Southwest said that it also plans to fly to four destinations in Mexico ? Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos ? and to San Jose, Costa Rica, from a new international concourse being built at Houston's Hobby Airport. Southwest needs federal government approval for the flights. The plan puts Southwest in head-to-head competition with United Airlines, which flies to all those locations from Houston's larger airport, Bush Intercontinental. Low-fare rival Spirit Airlines has announced that it will begin flying several of the same routes in May.

CARIBBEAN VIEW: Stronger US dollar and lower oil prices: Effects on the Caribbean
Caribbean countries whose value is fixed to the US dollar should benefit, at least in the short term, from the fall in oil prices and the strengthening of the American currency. Oil prices fell to below US$65 a barrel for the first time in 5 years, while the US dollar strengthened against every major currency, including China’s Yuan In a general sense, the reduction in the oil price will benefit all countries, particularly the developed nations whose working population will have more disposable income and will spend more on goods and services such as tourism. In turn, this will help to rejuvenate economies worldwide for as long as the oil price remains low. The further and specific benefits to countries whose currencies are linked to the US dollars should come in three important ways.

Belize, a country thriving on its natural and cultural richness
It’s been a privilege attending the UNESCO Foundation Course for Underwater Cultural Heritage. I’m even more thrilled to have represented my country, my little Belize, whose growth is slow but steady, even as it relates to underwater cultural heritage. There hasn’t been much research in the discipline in Belize, but the potential is there. We are a nation with a rich culture and history! A diverse group of individuals met on this tiny island of St. Eustatius. Strong characters with a profound passion for conservation: managers, biologists, archaeologists – a plethora of disciplines all under one roof who share a common goal. The dynamics of the past month, from theory to practical, set a platform on how to better manage underwater cultural heritage in our home countries with both government and public participation, especially the latter. Before the start of the course I pondered what attending the course would mean to me. Underwater cultural heritage for a marine biologist? Of course the “underwater” appealed to me, but I hadn’t realized that the two disciplines are integral in the grand scheme of underwater cultural heritage management. Especially for a country like Belize where our economy thrives on the natural environment and history.


Video: Orchid Bay Video Animation: Seafront Condominiums, 3min. Here at Orchid Bay we're getting ready to receive our first Seafront Condominium residents who will spend their holidays with their toes in the Bay. A few Phase One Seafront Condominiums are still available, which is why we're releasing this spectacular video animation. The Condominiums must be seen to be believed and this video gets pretty close.

Video: Do you know where you can experience feeding the Frigate Birds in San Pedro?, 10sec.

Video: Vanajeros Part 3 // Belize, Honduras and Guatemala, 6.5min. This chapter of the story marks the halfway point of the journey to Ecuador of the van named Sandy and her four increasingly road-tested & road-ready passengers—but not everything was making progress. Creative work is what we love, but this project that we’d fashioned was creating more questions than confidence. We had the brains, we had the gear. But what do you do when a project is not quite coming together like you thought it might?

Video: Tarantulas, Tapirs, Toucans & Turtles: Belize Expedition, 6min. We cashed in my frequent flyer miles and headed to beautiful Belize, Central America. We spent our first week in San Ignacio exploring Mayan ruins (Tikal, Xunantunich) with caving adventures for good measure (Actun Tunichil Muknal, Crystal Cave). Then we headed south to Glover's Reef Atoll for a week of island bliss. Before heading home we flew by Caye Caulker, where eels, turtles, sharks and rays cavort in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Whew! All just three hours from Atlanta, Georgia. We'll be back!


Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 4, 3min. Our last clinic day was spent at Double Head Cabbage in rural Belize. Not only did we perform physical exams but we prescribed medication to those in need of it. Locals suffering from everyday issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and infections that have been untreated were finally able to receive some medication for their health problem.

Video: Belize September Celebration 2014 Roxana Alcoser, 4min.

Video: Boxes of Joy Fashion Show Fundraiser kicked off with a bang, 1min.

Video: Batfish spotted in Caye Caulker, Belize!, 1min. An unusual fish, spotted at the beach in Caye Caulker, Belize!

Video: BATFISH! Caye Caulker, Belize, 2min.

Video: Northern Belize, 13min. Life in Northern Belize is as diverse as its amazing landscape. Over the years, locals and expats have built their homes and lives beside secluded tropical rivers, amid noble hardwood forests, upon bucolic traditional farms, within sleepy rural villages, and along breezy Caribbean seashores. They are attracted to a simple, friendly life in a place that is refreshingly off-the-radar. In this video Phil Hahn interviews Mick Webb from Cooked Tree Lodge on what life is like for an expat in Belize.

Video: Belize 2014, 4min.

December 11, 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

Cayes well represented at the Belize Sagicor Visionary Challenge
The Belize Sagicor Visionary Challenge National Competition was held on Wednesday, December 3rd and saw the participation of two groups from San Pedro and one from Caye Caulker. The challenge is aimed at stimulating secondary school students to develop solutions to problems faced in their community using the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) method. Held at the Ramada Princess Hotel in Belize City, this year’s competition saw the participation of 32 projects from 28 high schools across the country. At the end of the competition team Bishop Martin High School from the Orange Walk District took the first place win for the second year in a row. Although neither of the islands’ teams placed, they certainly did a great job and the team from Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy was even awarded the “Most Creative and Innovative Project” award.

Fall Fashion Show by Foreva Fancy is a Frozen Fantasy
Fashionistas were out in full force on Saturday night to witness Foreva Fancy’s fabulous Once Upon a Time Forever Frozen fashion show. Foreva Fancy boutique specializes in ‘high street fashion’, offering unique looks for the fashion conscious of La Isla Bonita. Local models opened the fun show wearing fantastic costumes, embracing the popular winter wonderland theme. With that spectacular kick-off, it was time for some gorgeous looks – just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s parties coming up!

Holiday Lighted Boat Parade returns with brighter vessels
The parade started shortly after 6PM from Wayo’s Beachside Beernet. All ten boats lined up, shining brightly on the water as they started to make their way south along the designated route. Spectators enjoyed the view, taking in the fun details on the boats. There came a bull shark! There went a sea serpent! At the municipal dock, the boats made a 360 turn, allowing the judges to take a closer look before tallying their votes (although frankly, they were all winners!). The parade then made its way down to Caribbean Villas before returning for the grand finale at Central Park, it was time for family fun, with lots to eat, drink and even shop! Children had the chance to take their picture with Santa Claus at the Saga Humane Society booth, which was great fun. After all the excitement, it was time to announce the winners of the parade. Taking the first place prize was Blue Water Grill. Second place went to Isla Bonita Elementary, while The Phoenix Resort took third place. The San Pedro Lions Club was the proud recipient of the Minister’s Trophy and the San Pedro Red Cross took home the Mayor’s Trophy. Certificates of participation as well as great prizes were awarded to every single vessel.

Ambergris Today

Mexican Luxury Hotel Development Group Purchases Caye Chapel
The Government of Belize, through BELTRAIDE, announced in a press release yesterday, December 9, 2014, the completion of the sale of the island of Caye Chapel on Monday 8. Caye Chapel, an island in the Belize District and just a 35 minute boat ride from Ambergris Caye, consists of 265 acres, was purchased by a leading Mexican luxury hotel development group.

New Partnership Between Condor and Tropic Air
Thanks to the cooperation with Tropic Air, Belize is now accessible to passengers from Europe in a faster, more convenient manner. Up until now, the journey to Belize involved catching connecting flights via the USA. Due to immigration checks and less than ideal connecting options, a fast onward journey to Belize was often not possible with passengers having to put up with total journey times of more than 24 hours. The new connection via Cancun means that Condor passengers can now enjoy significantly improved comfort and convenience. As a result, the journey time from, for example, Frankfurt to Belize has been cut to around 16 hours.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

36-year-old Kifani Timmons of 8693 Curl Thompson Street, Belize City reported that at 6:00 a.m. on December 9th her 15-year-old son Steven Vernon, left home en route to work on Cemetery Road and has not returned. He is about 5’4” in height, weighs about 110 pounds and has two tattoos on his feet with the names Kiandra and Sherie. He was last seen wearing a long black jeans pants, a red and white shirt and a pair of red and white tennis.

Three dead after violent attakc in Corozal
There are reports of a violent attack last night in Corozal Town which has left three people dead. Reports are that a man viciously chopped another during an attack which happened on College Road. According to reports received, a second man who came to the aid of the man being chopped, was himself viciously chopped. Both chopping victims reportedly succumbed to their injuries. The man believed to have chopped the others, was himself allegedly fatally wounded by a gunshot. More information on this incident will be posted as soon as they are confirmed by Corozal Police.

Next great Paranda album from Garifuna superstar Aurelio Martinez.
Stonetree Records is very proud to present the next great Paranda album from Garifuna superstar Aurelio Martinez. Aurelio will launch his new album, 'Lándini' in Belize with a special concert at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts on Friday December 12th. Aurelio returns to his Garifuna roots with Lándini - a swaying, bittersweet homage to his beloved home and people. In original songs crafted with his mother Maria, as well as traditional tunes, Aurelio mixes upbeat, Garifuna rhythms with heartfelt melodies and sparkling instrumentation, and carries forth the torch for Central America's indigenous Garifuna tradition. A narrow spit of land arcs into the Caribbean off the coast of Honduras, where a dark-watered river flows into the sea. There, in Plaplaya - a small village without electricity - Garifuna songwriter, singer, and guitarist Aurelio Martinez first learned music at his mother’s knee. At the end of the day, villagers would return in their boats to the river landing, setting aside work and gathering to hear paranda, the guitar-driven music of Garifuna troubadours who teased and taught, bemoaned and praised community life. Aurelio joined musical gatherings from a tender age, set atop a table by his uncles.

Belize Fishing Report: Nov 30, 2014 - Dec 5, 2014
Here we are, the first week of December! Thanks again to our returning El Pescador guests: Kathy and Bill, Bud and Ruth, Roy, Wade and Lawrence, and always our “honeymooners,” Matt and Kristen. It’s so wonderful to see you again. Our anglers were all good sports this week. They went out in the rain and found some fun on the flats. And when the sun came out, we had rainbows! We all worked on casting out on the dock and tied up some fun toads for tarpon. (Lately, tan toads are the ones getting the bite!). All the fish are here, we just need to keep pursuing and trying new ideas for getting that bite. This is fishing. It’s always nice to go out and have everything be perfect – the weather, our casts, corporative fish, but that’s not fishing. Those are good days fishing! Fishing – the act of angling, is all about going out and seeing what is going to happen. It’s the mystery that become memories filled with stories about the day, as well as the accomplishments. So keep practicing your casts, and be ready. The day will come when it all comes together. You just need to show up for the game.

Channel 7

Mayor Bradley Says BML Workers' Employment At City Hall Unsustainable
Mayor Darrell Bradley had a press powwow today – where the media got to ask him that burning question: will he run as Mayor in the next municipal election? It’s burning because of persistent and credible reports that he has packed up and left city hall. And the event that reportedly pushed him to do so was a meeting the Prime Minister held last week with two councilors where he put plans in motion to take over the operations of Belize Maintenance Limited, when their contract ends early next year. That includes, centrally, a commitment to take on all 170 of the BML workers at City Hall. It was a political decision made in the wake of the politically disastrous garbage protest in August – but a decision that the Mayor still cannot accept. Today, he repeated his renunciation of it – calling it a bad idea:… Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City "I think it is a bad idea for the city to grow it's staff by 35 percent. That's not withstanding the fact that something need to be done with the people. I understand the humanitarian aspect of it and I think we can deal with that in a different or a better way. I could see in the future, essentially what your going to have is a new BML because you will take on 170 people, you're going to realise as I have realised, and I'm not an idiot. I know how the city council works, so i've realised we have problems in terms of existing staff.

Chopping Incident Becomes Fatal In Corozal
Tonight, Corozal Town residents are reeling from a very gruesome display of violence on a very busy, well trafficked street last night. It involved 2 Corozal residents getting into a machete fight where one man was killed after being repeatedly chopped, and police had to shoot the other to subdue him. 29 year-old Mark Massam Jr. and 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr., lived close to each other, but last night, they brawled on the street side as though they had been bitter enemies. It ended in murder and a police shooting, and now, two families are left to fix the damage that has been created by this incident. Our news team was in Corozal for most of the day, putting together the details and Daniel Ortiz has this report: The family of 23 year-old Carlos Cassanova Jr. and Mark Massam Jr. found themselves dragged into a simmering dispute today. That's the result of a violent incident between both men which ended with Massam being chopped to death, and Cassanova being shot multiple times by police.

It Starts; GOB & AA Argue Of BTL At CCJ
Today at the Caribbean Court of Justice Headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad attorneys for the Ashcroft Alliance and Government commenced arguments in a raft of appeals and cross appeals meant to settle at this highest court, whether the nationalization of BTL and BEL were legal or not. Appearing for Dean Boyce and the BTL Employee’s Trust, Lord Peter Goldsmith opened arguments dramatically, declaring that his clients, from the Ashcroft Alliance, have been waiting five years to have their rights vindicated:… Lord Peter Goldsmith, PC, QC - Attorney for Dean Boyce, Employees' Trust "It is 5 years, 3 months and many days since there property have been was expropriated back in Belize; And they have been waiting despite already 2 decision from the court. One which held the acquisitions unlawful over 3 years ago. They've been waiting to come to this court for that period of time, hoping and expecting this group will finally be able to give them justice and help to restore the rule of law in Belize.”

How the Petrocaribe Shift Will Affect Belize
For the past few weeks, international financial news outlets have been reporting that Venezuela is in trouble because of the falling price of oil on the world market. For a country that is the third leading oil producer in the world – the five year low in oil prices means major losses in revenue for their main export, and it’s causing crippling conditions in the already cash strapped country. So, reports say that Venezuela is being forced to sell some of that Petrocaribe debt – in a process that’s called securitization. The new owners of the debt would be US investment banks such as Goldman Sachs. That has sent a chill through some of the Petrocaribe countries because owing an arch-capitalist American bank is not quite the same as owing a friendly country with socialist ideals. But, today, John Mencias who is the Deputy Chair for the Alba Petrocaribe Belize Energy Limited, the Belizean company that buys the Petrocaribe fuel from Venezuela told us that it hardly matters to Belize who holds the debt:…

Hon. Briceno Denies That Million Dollar Rumour
Last week, we told you about how a family dispute over the late Anthony Gillett ended up with his body being exhumed from his grave a month ago to settle an internal family dispute over his estate. Before his death, he was the driver for PUP Orange Walk Area Representative John Briceno. He connection to the former Government Minister and Former Leader of the PUP has become significant because the narrative of his exhumation has taken on a life of it’s own. It was supposed to have been done so that his family can get a DNA sample to determine the paternity of a child he claimed as his own before his death. Still, there has been strange but persistent rumours that the Briceno family has a vested interest in the settlement of this dispute about Gillett’s estate. The speculation is that Gillett somehow may have had control of certain accounts related to the Briceno family business. And, according to it amounts to as much as 7 million dollars.

The Persistence of Violence Against Women
Today a national forum was held to launch a Project which focuses on the Prevention of Violence against Women, Femicide and Human Trafficking in Central America. Although there have been improvements opportunities afforded to women, women are still subject to abuse and discrimination in all forms – from sexual harassment in the streets to lower paying jobs than men in the workplace. But where does change begin? In the kitchen? The classroom? Or the cabinet room – where, until recently, there wasn’t even a ladies bathroom! Those are the questions we asked the CEO of Human Development at the forum today. Judith Alpuche - CEO Human Development "Violence against women is perpetuated because there's a level of acceptance. A level of acceptance of domestic violence and people don't want to talk about sexual assault, people don't want to talk about rape. People don't want to talk about carnal knowledge when it happens in their community or when it happens in their family because of the shame etc. It continues on because they are cultural and social factors that are push factors to this phenomena. They way women are seen.

Mayor Bradley: BWC's and City Hall's Animosity
Belize Waste Control and Belize Maintenance Limited – those are the two private companies that (sort of) keep the city clean – and, someday when the full story is told, that two headed sanitation monster and their prohibitive weekly fees – may play the starring role in the story of the undoing of Darrell Bradley. You’ve already heard how hiring the BML workers is taking Mayor Bradley through a sort of dark night of the soul. Well, Waste Control is putting him through another set of trials. The company ahs been suing the council to collect their arrears- and at one point event threatened Mayor Bradley with a bench warrant for his arrest and imprisonment. And then on Friday the company sent court officers to take re-possess his mayoral pickup – to settle unpaid arrears. They never did because the arrears had been paid that afternoon – but today the mayor said that there is indeed abiding bad blood on both sides:..

Coast Guard Officers Report Each Other To Police
And while they took it to court….two weeks ago, a pair of coast guard officers took it out with fists, and reportedly a gun butt – and then ran to the cops. Now, it’s an arm of the military – and fights do happen – but this time, both officers went to make complaints against each other. That’s very unusual and today Commander Elton Bennett commented on what they are doing about the fisticuffs in uniform:.. Elton Bennett - Commander, Belize Coast Guard "There was an altercation between a junior officer and a senior officer on the coast guard compound. Both officers went to the police station to make a complaint against each other and the police are doing their investigations. As it relates to us internally, we're doing an investigation also. From one side it appears though the junior officer was out of line and was confronted by the senior officer, trying to arrest the situation and there was physical contact between the two."

BTL's "Dalla" Phone Promoting
Cellphones: Everybody wants one, and those who have one, always feel another one wouldn’t hurt. And when getting another one only costs a dollar – hey, why not? That’s what the mad rush was for this morning at BTL headquarters on St. Thomas Street. Only about 10 people were in line when we got there this evening but Retail Sales Department Representative Thalia Myvett says they expect another crowd tomorrow. Thalia Myvett - Retail Sales Department "Today is the first day of our dollar phone promotion. It's on going country wide so all residents in Belize city can come to this location to purchase the dollar phone. To get the phone is easy, all you need to pay is 1 dollar for the phone and 40 dollars in top up. This morning we started at 7, we had a crowd this morning, up to about 12 o clock, I could say we had up to a thousand people that has pass through our boots so far. I would like to encourage our customers to keep coming out, the supplies are very limited. We'll be here while supplies last.”

Red Cross & The Challenges of Community Service
The Red Cross does plenty for those in need, but they also need – specifically willing and dedicated volunteers. That presents a major challenge because fewer youth are engaged in community service and the working adults – well they just don’t seem to have time. David Sobers, the youth and development officer from Red Cross has returned from a Red Cross Global Volunteer forum in Bangkok, Thailand and he explained how these challenges are not unique to Belize. David Sobers- Youth and Development Officer, Red Cross "We focused on the major challenge of trying to retain volunteers. We realise over the years volunteers have left the national society around the world, so we wanted to find ways to come up with to retain volunteers and to retain good committed volunteers. One of the things we realise is the culture of volunteering has changed and persons don't have enough time. So we try to figure out what are some ways we can actually gauge the volunteers without having enough time and money.”

The 2015 Inspiration Calendar
Today the Special Envoy for Women and Children launched her 2015 agenda and calendar. Each month in the calendar is designed using drawings of 12 talented children living with disabilities. Proceeds from the sales of the agendas and the calendars will go directly towards the Inspiration Center – Kim Barrow explained: If you are interested in purchasing agendas, you can contact McNab Designs at 223-1025. Calendars are also for sale at the Special Envoy’s office at the Withfield Tower on Coney Drive for $10 dollars.

Help Age's Annual Christmas Party
The residents at the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly were treated to a Christmas celebration today. For most of these older people, it is a refreshing experience to socialize and interact with others as their family members rarely visit them at the center. Chairman of Help Age Evan Dakers told us how important these activities are to the social and emotional well being of residents at Sister Cecilia. There are 43 residents at the Sister Cecilia home. Apart from the residents many other older people from the community were invited. A total of 150 older people were at the party.

Customs' 7th Christmas Party for Disabled Children
The Customs Department held a Christmas Party part for 120 primary school students living with disabilities in the Corozal District today. It’s a tradition that the Ministry of Education and the Custom Department is developing, and this year’s party was the biggest yet. That’s because 37 of the 39 schools in Corozal responded favourably and were accommodated with transportation for an all-day party. 7News stopped in and got a chance to observe the children enjoying themselves. Here’s what the organizers told us about it: Customs and the Education Ministry thanks the businesses which helped to organize today’s party.

A Sea Cucumber Hustle?
We always hear loose allegations of low level corruption, but an unusual case came up today – it involves a cane farmer Pedro Guerra who is threatening to take out a lawsuit against a senior fisheries officer because he says that the officer made him costly promises which he couldn’t keep. The promise was that the fisheries officer could get him a permit to expert frozen sea cucumber. Great profits were promised and the fisheries officer did all this for a fee, or, more specifically, a bribe of thirty five thousand dollars which Guerra says he paid him in January of 2014. The deal was allegedly centered around this confiscated catch of sea cucumber which we told you about in February. That was for over three thousand pounds of the valuable seafood. Now usually this would be given away to a charity, but because no one in Belize really eats it – the Fisheries Department decided to sell the frozen sea cucumber to the highest bidder. That was Guerra who says he bid at a price which the senior fisheries officer told him to. That cost him another thirty thousand dollars - but he says he never got anything.

City Hall Renovates Buttonwood Primary's Facilities
Earlier on in the news, you saw our interviews with Mayor Darrell Bradley. Well we caught him at he reopening of the Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School Library and Computer Lab. The school says it’s a special place which city hall and the central bank put together to spruce up and modernize.

Channel 5

32-year-old Vishal Sabnani, Belizean businessman and owner of Cellular World, Belmopan Branch reported that between 5:00p.m. on 08.12.14 and 7:45a.m. on 09.12.14, his business place - Cellular World located in the Caladium Building, Belmopan was broken into and stolen were an assortment of phones totaling $20,833.00. Police investigations continue.

Chopping Incident in Corozal Leaves One Man Dead, Another Shot by Police
There was a brutal and bloody murder in Corozal Town on Tuesday night. It happened at around nine o’clock on College Road as residents of the area were getting ready [...]

Family Demands Justice in Murder of Mark Massam, Criminal Past Notwithstanding!
But Mark Massam Junior is no stranger to the law; he received a nine-year sentence back in 2005 for a string of robberies in the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. [...]

Darrell Bradley’s Sanitation Woes
In mid-January 2015, a contract issued to Belize Maintenance Limited will expire, and one hundred and seventy workers from that company will be hired on by the Belize City Council. [...]

Will BML Employees Be Assimilated into CitCo Fold Come January 2105?
And that’s where the very real, very monumental problem arises. Bradley is the Mayor, and the boss of City Hall. He says he knows without a shadow of a doubt [...]

Will Mayor Bradley Run Again in 2015 Municipals?
So where does this go from here? The Mayor has put his foot down, and so has the Prime Minister. Who will win that cock-fight is a no-brainer, but the [...]

B.T.L. & B.E.L. Nationalizations Heard at CCJ
Hearings started today at the Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad, which will determine the fate of B.T.L. and B.E.L., the two utility companies that were acquired from their owners [...]

Senior Fisheries Officer Fingered for Alleged Sea Cucumber Scam
Is there financial hanky-panky going on at the Belize Fisheries Department?  Senior fisheries officer Mauro Gongora is under fire for allegedly persuading a cane farmer from Corozal Town into paying [...]

All’s Well with City Hall’s Finances Despite Crowfooting of Mayor’s Vehicle
In December 2013 the Belize City Council owed Belize Waste Control over five hundred thousand dollars, and that was whittled down to fifty-nine thousand dollars. That’s the amount which resulted [...]

Is Waste Control Double-dipping with Lawsuits Against CitCo?
Last week News Five was also informed that another claim has been filed in Court against City Hall, in which BWC is claiming that it is owed over six hundred [...]

K.H.M.H. Audit Reveals More Irregularities
A special audit of the K.H.M.H. requested by the Board of Governors of that institution has revealed many irregularities in the purchase, procurement and payment of two X-ray units. Those [...]

Businessman Cecil Knowles in Court for Outstanding Income Tax Arrears
In the Magistrate’s court today, the case of the Commissioner of Income Tax versus businessman Cecil Knowles was heard. Knowles, a Belize City resident, owes the Income Tax Department seventeen [...]

Cellular World Hit by Thieves, $20,000 in Phones and Electronics Stolen
A well known Belmopan business was targeted by brazen thieves sometime after they closed for business on Tuesday evening. Thirty two year old Vishal Sabnani, businessman and owner of Cellular [...]

Accident Victim Kiran Moguel on Life Support at KHMH, Mother Faces Tough Decision
Tonight, a mother is faced with a decision which no parent should ever have to make. Esther Moguel will have to decide when to take her son, Kiran, off life [...]

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School Receives New Resource Center
Today, the Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School proudly opened the doors of a new, fully equipped resource centre. This invaluable addition to the institution is the result of considerable lobbying [...]

Taiwan Foreign Minister on Working Visit to Belize
  A delegation led by Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin is scheduled for a working visit to Belize from the eleventh to the sixteenth of December.  The official [...]

2015 Inspiration Calendar Launched
The fifth edition of the Inspiration Calendar and agenda were launched earlier today; the calendar features the art work of special needs children who are clients of the Inspiration Center. [...]

Ministry of Human Development Introduces Project BA1
Today is international day of human rights.  Coinciding with activities being held was the launch of a SICA-led initiative to prevent violence against women in Central America.  This morning, at [...]

Bodybuilders Flaunt Medals from Regional Championship
On Monday, we reported that a delegation of Belizean bodybuilders won big at the Central American Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships, a regional competition held in El Salvador.  The three athletes [...]

BBBFF President Comments on Victory
According to BBBFF President, Stanley Moody, Belize had been unable to place in previous competitions.  Despite the lack of funding, however, the trio has performed well.  Moody says that there [...]

2 Belize City Men Claim GSU Brutality
Two men claim they were badly beaten today at a house on Periwinkle Street in Lake Independence Area. The Gang Suppression unit was looking for drugs and firearm. They didn’t [...]


Eight Year Old On Life Support, Family Contemplating To Pull The Plug
In last night’s newscast we told you about a tragic accident that left an eight year old boy in critical condition in a hospital in Chetumal City, Mexico. Tonight, the child is in Belize City at the KHMH but his prognosis is grim and doctors don’t think he will recover. The situation is an extremely unfortunate and sad one for the family as the child may very well be taken off life support tonight. A close family friend, Silvia Gillett told us over the phone what the situation is like for eight year old Kiran Moguel. Silvia Gillett – Close family Friend “The child Kiran Moguel was transferred from Clinica General from Chetumal last night over to the Belizean side to Corozal Hospital and the doctors upon reaching there decided to transfer him the KHMH because that hospital does not have a ventilator, immediately he was taken by ambulance to Belize City to KHMH and we been here since about 11:30 last night.

Man Chopped To Death In Corozal Another One Shot By Police
Tonight a neighborhood in Corozal Town is still reeling from a gruesome murder that occurred in the usually bustling but tranquil College Road. When the incident played out, many watched in horror as the perpetrator viciously attacked his victim. And while police are investigating the circumstances, they too are no closer to confirming what may have led the altercation to occur. We spoke to both sides of the families today but first; we’ll take you to the scene and share with you what information the authorities have been able to collect so far. Our Corozal Correspondent Victor Castillo has that report. Victor Castillo – Reporting Investigators are currently piecing the puzzle to a brutal attack that left one Corozal resident dead. 29 year old Mark Massam was viciously murdered a little after 9 Tuesday night. What onlookers witnessed last night was disturbingly real, a machete wielding madman inflicting as much as 30 chops to his victim. Peter Serano is the Deputy Commander at the Corozal Police Station.

Family Says, Massam Was Not In His Right Mind When He Committed The Murder
And while Corozal police are investigating the circumstance surrounding the death of Mark Massam and have detained Carlos Casanova for the murder, family members of the victim claim that their loved one was set up. Doris Massam – Sister of deceased. “According to Police he was a target because he came out from jail in January and he got shot already and nothing came out of it, he got chopped already and nothing come out of it so now he is dead and I think they are glad.” Reporter “Do you believe that, we know that he has had his troubles with police but do you believe that because of that police didn’t treat him as a citizen who deserve justice and who deserve the protection of the law?”

Petro Caribe Program To See Cut Back Due To Dipping Oil Prices
The Petrocaribe program is to be cut back following cuts into Venezuela’s domestic earnings. The program which was started in 2005 has seen millions of dollars into GOB reserves. World oil prices that continue to dip is forcing Venezuela to take drastic measures and will be selling the debt to investment banks at rather big discounts to keep cash flow. Under the program, the country is owed about twenty billion dollars. So with Venezuela being forced to securitize the 3.5 billion dollar a year Petrocaribe debt some countries will be affected but Belize has not yet been named. Nonetheless, changes under the program will happen, says Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “What I am concerned about is I don’t know if you have been told but PDVSA has indicated that they will no longer be able to supply us with Premium…I think starting either now but certainly by the end of the year.

UDP Spreads Christmas Cheers With Petro Caribe Funds
The government has issued the Christmas cheer funds a program under which this year its minsters are receiving well over one hundred thousand dollars and PUP representatives are receiving thirty-five thousand to issue within their constituencies. This Christmas Cheer is being funded by Petrocaribe funds which has funded numerous other programs under the government and which the opposition has criticized and even challenged in court. But the opposition is taking part in this program and the PUP Leader Francis Fonseca has publicly expressed his reasons for supporting the program calling it quote, “the most transparent, the most accountable,” end of quote, since no representative receives actual money. In an interview with the Prime Minister on Monday, he was asked to comment on the PUP leader’s support of the program. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize "Well, Amen." Reporter "But at the same time does this in your opinion weaken your case strategically or in any substantial way legally?"

Mother And Child Knocked Down In Chetumal, Quintana Roo
A traffic accident in Chetumal, Mexico lands a Belizean mother and her son in the hospital but doctors say the child is the more seriously hurt. Reports indicate that around four on Monday afternoon, Esther Moguel and her eight year old son Kiran Moguel were along with two others heading back to Belize after doing some shopping in Chetumal, Mexico. Both were traveling in the back of a pickup truck driven at the time by one Zacarias Copo. At an intersection on Avenida Heroes, a little past the Mew Market a vehicle crashed into the pan of the pick-up truck. The hit sent the pick-up truck spinning and in the process flinging both Moguel and her son out onto the asphalt. Esther Moguel sustained a broken hand and a cut to her forehead. Eight year old Kiran was not so fortunate however and sustained serious head injuries.

OWTC Learn More About New Regulations
Today, approximately 84 workers employed at the Orange Walk Town Council were engaged in a discussion that featured a new legislature and regulation that will govern the working aspects of all employees, no matter what rank in the Town Councils. Town Administrator Alberto Guerro who elaborated on the legislature says the new regulation will become law in the coming weeks. Alberto Guerra – TOWN ADMINSTRATOR “The document is very lengthy, it has a lot of benefits and one of the main ones that I must say is that it is looking to depoliticizes town councils and not just Orange Walk but all nine municipalities, town councils has largely been viewed as highly political from the hiring to the way they operate, this piece of legislation is looking in removing the politics from the town councils leaving the politics to the Mayors and Councilors and having the management and administrators and managers to manage and govern the staff and it also looks to give the employees tenure, meaning not because elections come and parties change that employees have to change, employees will now remain it is to give them tenure which is very good to employees.”

Catholic Schools Share The Joy Of Christmas
Students from sixteen schools convened at the Crystal Palace Auditorium this morning to share in the Christmas joy in what has become an annual event. We are talking about the Christmas Variety Show organized and held by the Catholic Principals Association. This is the third year that the event is being held and it sees the participation of sixteen catholic institutions. The event features different presentations from these schools which prepare weeks ahead. These presentations are performed by students of different standards depending on what the school decides to present for the occasion. The presentations include dances, singing and even drama. It is a great opportunity for participating students to meet new friends in a fun filled environment. Organizers say that the variety show is held to celebrate the occasion and also serves as a fund raiser for the association. Here is a look at some of the presentations. Enjoy.

Rigo Vellos Completes Central American Body Building
Tonight the spot light once more shines on Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos as he competed at the Central American Body Building Championship this past weekend in El Salvador. Vellos went up against body builders from across Central America and placed second place in the Light Heavy Weight 80 to 85 KG Competition. Competing along with Vellos were two other Belizean Body Builders well known to the Body Building Competitions in Belize, Clayton Greenidge who came in 3rd place in the Light Heavy Weight (80 to 85 KG) Competition and 2nd place in the Masters Competition. Oyinkro Akpobodor, better known as the African, won 1st place in the Under 23 Category and 2nd place in the Heavy Weight (over 85 KG) Competition.

Thieves Target La Inmaculada School
Some twenty-five infant two students were displaced this morning at La Inmaculada School, Infant Division as their classroom had been broken into. Well before classes begun this morning, police were called to the school to investigate the break in which according to school officials took place sometime between six and eight this morning. Two louvers were pried open and it is here that the perpetrator gained access to the classroom. While the classroom was basically untouched, the thief helped himself to over one hundred dollars that the class teacher had collected and was intended to finance the children’s end of term class party this Friday.

O/W Police Remove More Drugs Off The Streets
The police are tonight reporting another successful operation which yielded in the confiscation of drugs from off the streets. Around 5:50 p.m. on Monday, while police were conducting an operation on the Phillip Goldson Highway in San Jose Village, they intercepted a Joshua’s Bus with license plates -OW-D-4525 travelling from Corozal to Orange Walk. Police then conducted a search in a knapsack belonging to 35-year-old Tyron Alexander Williams, Belizean watchman of Lord’s Bank Village who was a passenger on the bus. The search led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing one parcel wrapped in transparent plastic containing a total of 680.4 grams of suspected cannabis. Williams has since been detained pending charges.

Students Of BMHS Honor San Juan Diego
Students at Bishop Martin High School stepped out of class today to pay honor to San Juan Diego. For the third time a handful of students took part in a torch run and the rest of the student body held a procession this morning as part of the celebrations. Here is a look at that event. Dalila Ical – Reporting In keeping with tradition, students ran from the northern border to Orange Walk Town this morning where they were met by the rest of the school population. It is a celebratory occasion says High School Principal Luis Pook. Luis Pook - High School Principal “San Juan Diego as you know is the Patron Saint of Bishop Martin High School, he is a Mexican Saint and we embrace the activities that we do here today in honor of our Patron Saint.”

2015 May Bring New Electricity Rate
On Monday the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) made a submission to the Public Utilities Commission in which the Company requested an amendment to electricity rates to reflect the savings it has realized in the cost of power it purchases from Independent Power Producers (IPP). This proposed amendment is aimed at passing on these savings to customers. If approved by the PUC, the amendment is expected to result in a 3.4% reduction in the Mean Electricity Rate (MER) from 43.47 cents per KWh to 42 cents per kWh for the period January 2015 to June 2015. The savings achieved are primarily due to lower than expected cost of power from Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) during the current tariff period, which has made it possible for the Company to provide electricity to customers at a reduced rate.


Gruesome Murder; One Man Dead, Another Hospitalized
Corozal police are investigating a gruesome murder. 29 year old Mark Massam Jr., was chopped to dead by 22 year old Carlos Cassanova. It happened sometime after 9 oclock on college road and police believe that they had to shot Cassanova in order for hom to stop chopping Massam Jr. Our News team was in Corozal Town today and Hipolito Novelo has the story. HIPOLITO NOVELO “Twenty-nine-year-old Mark Massam Jr. was chopped to death last night on College Road in Corozal Town. The accused murderer is 22 year old Carlos Cassanova. Police say that a feud between both men ensured leading a machete wielding Cassanova to ultimately murder Massam Jr., by chopping him countless times to the head. When police arrived on the scene, they ordered Cassanova to seize but that did not work. Police then fired two warning shots, but that did not work either.”

HelpAge Belize Celebrates Human Rights Day
In 1950, the United Nations declared December 10 as Human Rights Day with the objective of garnering the attention of persons from around the world to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to use the points in this declaration as a compass in having all nations achieve the common standards set out in the paper. There are several institutions that are recognizing this day and using it as an opportunity to appeal for the respect and recognition of the rights of a human being. Helpage Belize is one of those organizations that have partnered up with Helpage International in highlighting the rights of elderly persons and persons with disabilities. Love News spoke with Ivorine Bulwer, the Executive Director for Helpage Belize.

Police Search In Abandon Lot; Discovery of Pistol
At 12:50p.m. on 09.12.14, police conducted a search in an abandoned lot on Faber’s Road Extension which led to the discovery of a black and chrome CZ75 compact pistol, S/N-A267482 and (1) magazine containing 5 live rounds. No one was in the area at the time and the items were deposited as found property.

Police Search In Abandoned Lot; Discovery of Cannabis
At 9:00p.m. on 09.12.14, Police conducted a search in an abandoned lot in Corozal Town which led to the discovery of a black plastic bag containing 61.4grams of suspected cannabis. No one was found in the area and the drugs were deposited as found property.

Robbery in Local Super Market; Man Robbed of Cellular Phone
A 20-year-old man of Calcutta Village, Corozal District reported that at 7:00p.m. on 05.12.14, he went to a local super market and while exiting he saw three male persons enter the supermarket all dressed in dark clothing and faces covered. He stated that one of the men pulled out a handgun and fired a shot in the store. He further stated that upon seeing what was happening, he ran and about two minutes later he saw the three male persons on bicycles coming towards him. The men then caught up with him when one whom he recognized as Jermaine Sanker took out a handgun and pointed it at him and robbed him of (1) BLU cell phone valued at $185.00. Police have recovered the cell phone and have since detained 18-year-old Randolph Crawford of #58 Snapper Street, Corozal Town and are looking for 19-year-old Jermaine Sanker of Skeleton Town Area, Corozal Town pending investigations.

Minor Reported Missing
A fifteen year old boy has been reported missing. 36-year-old Kifani Timmons of Curl Thompson Street in Belize City reported that at six o’clock yesterday morning, her 15-year-old son Steven Vernon, a construction worker, left home en route to work on Cemetery Road and has not returned. Steven Vernon is of Creole descent, slim built, has short black hair, stands about five feet four inches in height, weighs about 110 pounds and has two tattoos on his feet with the names Kiandra and Sherie. He was last seen wearing long black jeans pants, red and white shirt and a pair of red and white tennis. He was last seen at three o’clock yesterday evening at a neighbor’s house.

Belmopan Cellular World Burgularized
Over twenty thousand dollars of phones were stolen from the Belmopan branch of Cellular World. 32-year-old Vishal Sabnani reported that between five o’clock Monday evening and 7:45 yesterday morning his business place located in the Caladium Building, Belmopan, was broken into and an assortment of phones totaling twenty thousand eight hundred and thirty three dollars were stolen.

Belize City Man Skiff Stolen Near His Residence
60-year-old Sydney Fuller of Dickenson Street in Belize City has reported his white and red 25-foot fiberglass skiff with a forty horse power Yamaha outboard engine and three fishing nets were stolen. The items have a total value of twenty three thousand dollars. According to Fuller the items were stolen between six p.m. on Monday and eleven o’clock yesterday morning from where it was docked about 75 feet away from his residence. Police are looking for one male person pending investigations.

Chopping Incident Leaves One Dead And Another Hospitalized
A man is dead and another hospitalized following an incident in Corozal last night. Police say sometime after nine o’clock last night they responded to a chopping incident on College Road in that municipality. On arrival they saw 22-year-old Carlos Cassanova inflicting chop wounds to 29-year-old Mark Massam Jr of Bocotora Street. Cassanova was ordered to drop the machete; however, he refused and continued inflicting chop wounds to Massam; that was when Police fired shots at Cassanova hitting him in both legs in order to subdue him. Initial investigations revealed that earlier that night the men were riding on separate bicycles on Collage Road when they got into an argument and escalated into a fight. Cassanova was transported to the Corozal Town Hospital and later to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he was admitted in a stable condition. Massam Jr, was transported to the Corozal Community Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

UNIBAM Celebrates International Human Rights Day
Today is being celebrated as International Human Rights Day. The theme for this year is “Human Rights 365", which is a reminder that everyone is entitled to basic rights. A number of organizations are holding events to mark the day. The United Belize Advocacy Movement says it joins organizations around the World in celebrating the day. UNIBAM calls on all organization to continue to express the values and principles of human rights, to ensure its inclusiveness and impact to quality of life of all citizens as rights are indivisible and universal.


Unidentified Cayo man died from trauma by blunt instrument
On Tuesday we told you about a Salvadoran man known only as Alex, who was found clinging to life inside a house in San Ignacio. Police have still not been able to identify Alex X but they have now ruled his death as a murder. According to the post mortem examination, the cause of death was certified...

Cellular World Belmopan cleaned out by burglars
Cellular World in Belmopan was burglarized and a number of phones were stolen. 32-year-old Vishal Sabnani, Belizean businessman and owner of Cellular World, Belmopan Branch reported that between 5:00p.m. on December 8 and 7:45a.m...

Caye Chapel Sold to Mexican Luxury Hotel Group
There is big news in the economic sector of Belize and that is because Caye Chapel, a two hundred and sixty five acre island in Belize District, was purchased by a leading Mexican luxury hotel group. The high end destination had been in the market for several years, and several names of would-be buy...

Sanitation worries City Hall
As he predicted some time ago, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is once again confronting the spectre of the sanitation contracts owned by Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and Belize Waste Control (BWC). The latter sent officers of the courts to crowfoot City Council assets to settle a debt. The Ma...

Man found dead in Esperanza, apparent chop wounds
Police have confirmed that the body of a man was found in the village of Esperanza, Cayo District late Wednesday evening. Reports say that the body of the man appears to have what looks like chop wounds. Police are not revealing much information at this moment as the identity of the man has not been...

Government: City Council must hire BML workers
In August of this year, following unrest among workers of Belize Maintenance Limited (BML), who were in danger of being dropped by their employer, because the Belize City Council was heavily behind in payments for the weekly sanitation contract, Prime Minister Dean Barrow made a public commitment to have the Council hire all the workers (about 170) when the contract expires next January. But it represents one of many headaches for forward-thinking Mayor Darrell Bradley, who has publicly contended against the burdensome addition to a trimmed City Hall payroll. While he sympathizes, Prime Minister Barrow made clear that the commitment stands, even as he denied that the party may lose the popular Bradley’s candidacy because of it.

First responders trained in oil spill management
It is the nightmare of Belize’s environmental community and its Government officials alike – the possibility of oil spilling either on land or at sea. With interest in exploration stepping up and at least one operation, that of Belize Natural Energy (BNE), already in place, the importance of tailoring a response to a potential oil spill is important, and so a group of the people who would be first on the scene in any such event was held on Tuesday in Belize City. We hear more from Acting Senior Environmental Officer in the Department of the Environment, Maxine Monsanto.

Picketing over undeclared assets of elected officials
Every end of the year, Ministers, Area Representatives, Councillors, Mayors and every other elected official, is required by law to submit a disclosure of their assets to the Integrity Commission as a means of check and balance, that ensures that elected officials are not enriching themselves unlawfully off of the people’s taxes. The Integrity Commission Act was enacted under the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life in 1994,and was further reformed in 2008- as promised in the UDP’s manifesto. But the broken Integrity Commission has not been able to serve its purpose properly. In his New Year’s speech, the Prime Minister promised that in 2014 he would “remedy omissions such as the failure to appoint the integrity commission.” We are now in the last weeks of 2014 and up to date there are no records of elected officials submitting their declaration of assets.

Cayo police try to identify dead man
Police are grappling with the sudden death of a man only known as Alex, believed to be a Salvadoran National in his twenties. Reports on Monday were that sometime around 9:30 and 11:30 on Saturday December 6th, Alex was socializing with some friends on Awe Street, in San Ignacio. He left shortly after and was not seen again until he was discovered at around 4:00 am on Sunday morning by 22 year old Dennis Guzman, inside a house at Coyoc Street, San Ignacio, in a semi unconscious state. Dennis Guzman told us via phone that he had known Alex X for only a month and a half and had allowed him, in good faith, to lodge with him temporarily in his house. . Dennis Guzman “I reached home between four and four thirty. When I walked into my house, I heard the man breathing hard. The lights were on. I saw him on the bed. He was bleeding. I carried him to hospital. That’s it.”

Son stabs father; father won’t press charges
On Monday we told you about a stabbing incident in Esperanza Village, Cayo, which involved a father and a son. Reports were that that on Saturday night December 6th, 50 year old Joseph August Sr. and his 20 year old son were socializing at a bar in the village when they got into an argument. The son then reportedly left but returned a short while later with a knife and inflicted a stab wound to his father’s chest. Joseph was rushed to the San Ignacio Hospital and later transported to the Western Regional Hospital in a stable condition. Charges were dropped on Tuesday at the request of the father.

Patrick JonesPJ

OpEd: Can torture ever be justified?
Today the 10th day December has been proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as World Human Rights Day with its stated objective as “to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples […]

Sanitation worries continue to bedevel City Hall
As he predicted some time ago, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is once again confronting the specter of the sanitation contracts owned by Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and Belize Waste Control (BWC). Belize Waste Control sent officers of the courts to crowfoot City Council assets to settle a […]

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School receives computer lab
The student body of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary School got to celebrate a renovated computer lab delivered through the Belize City Council. The school, located along Coney Drive, has a population of 223 and has had to scrap for what it can get. Principal Amelia Bencomo said the […]

Older persons honored on Human Rights Day
Today is International Human Rights Day and there were activities held around the country. Helpage Belize is marking the occasion with a renewed call for government to challenge the wide range of human rights and violations experienced everyday by many older women and men. In Belize City at […]

Bodybuilding Federation calls for athletic support
On the heels of the success of the trio of Rigo Vellos, Clayton Greenidge and Oyinkro Akpobodor at the recent Central American Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships in El Salvador, the Belize Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBBFF) held a follow-up press conference in Belize City today. According to BBBFF […]

Body found in Esperanza village
The body of a man was found in Esperanza village, Cayo this evening. According to reports received, the body appeared to have what looks like chop wounds. The name of the person is being withheld, pending official reports from the Police and notification of the family.

UNIBAM celebrates international Human Rights Day
Today is international Human Rights Day. It marks the adoption, in 1948, of the adoption and the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. In Belize, the United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, issued a statement this morning saying that it […]

Christmas Cheer reaches Families in the Belmopan Area Schools
The students in the Belmopan Area Schools have teamed up to give Christmas Cheers to families with children living with various disabilities. Students and their parents donated food items towards the cause and the team at the District Education Centre Belmopan Office under the coordination of Mrs. […]

Anti-rabies campaign underway in Toledo
The Public Health department along with Vector Control Unit are carrying out and an anti-rabies campaign in the Toledo district. Personnel from the two agencies are visiting the villages in the district to vaccinate dogs and cats as part of the community outreach campaign. The general public is […]

BTL offers economy phone promotion
Belize Telemedia is today offering a special promotion of phone devices and Belizeans are lining up to take advantage of what is being offered. At the BTL headquarters on St. Thomas Street in Belize City, there were long lines of customers who have turned out to take […]

Police investigate Corozal murder
Police in Corozal have identified the victim of last night’s murder as 29 year old Mark Massam, Jr. Authorities say that around 9:15 pm, they responded to reports of a chopping incident on College Road and upon their arrival, observed a man identified as 22 year […]

Corozal man chopped to death
There are reports of a violent attack tonight in Corozal town which has left one man dead. Reports are that a man viciously chopped another during an attack which happened on College Road. The man believed to have chopped the others, was himself allegedly wounded by a […]

The November 7, 2014 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Six Santa Elena Men Arrested And Charged For Drug Possession:
    Six Santa Elena men were arrested and charged for the possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. On Friday, November 28, San Ignacio police were on routine patrol on George Price Avenue in Santa Elena when their attention was drawn to six men sitting around a table in the yard. Upon approaching the young men police immediately smelt a strong marijuana scent. The young men around the table were searched and however nothing incriminating was found. Further checks in the immediate vicinity led to the discovery of a red Emperador biscuit pack lodged between a zinc and a piece of lumber, the bag contained three small transparent plastic bags containing a green leafy substance suspected to be marijuana.
  • Organic Produce Becoming A Reality For Belize:
    Organic vegetables are in high demand due to safety concerns. Not too long ago all food grown in Belize was organic. With commercial growing came agrochemicals and concerns about the health of both the soil and the consumer. In recent times in Belize, the only way to assure that food is grown safely and organically is to grow your own. Consumers worldwide have become increasingly alarmed at the incidence of agrochemical poisons in their food because indications are that it is the cause of increases in cancer and other serious diseases. There are many people who simply don’t want produce that has been exposed to agrochemicals or other environmental toxins and GMOs. Some people are turning to organically produced vegetables in Belize because they know that agrochemicals are often not safely used. Washing can‘t make vegetables safe because some of the chemicals are inside the produce. Belize, unfortunately, is not yet sufficiently monitoring the safety of the vegetables in the markets.
  • Another Santa Elena Man On Drug Possession Charges:
    A Santa Elena man was found in possession of 6.6 grams of suspected cannabis. On Tuesday, December 2, police on mobile patrol on Carmen Street, leading into Carillo Puerto Avenue in Santa Elena saw a suspicious male person walking in the opposite direction on Carmen Street. Upon seeing the police, Jonathan Smith, 40, Belizean laborer, threw a green object to the side of the street and continued walking. Police stopped and escorted Smith to the area where they saw him throw the object. Upon reaching the area police observed that it was a green leafy substance suspect to be marijuana. Smith was cautioned and escorted to the San Ignacio police station.
  • Clarification on GOB December 2014 Residential Mortgage Payment Program:
    Through the Residential Mortgage Payment Program, the Government of Belize will assist qualifying Belizeans by reimbursing December 2014 interest and principal payments on all residential mortgages with an original value of up to BZ$100,000.00. Borrowers from the National Bank, Commercial Banks, Credit Unions, the Development Finance Corporation and the Belize Social Security Board can apply for assistance; however borrowers must meet the following criteria approved by Cabinet: 1. Must be residential mortgages of original value of no more than BZ$100,000.00;
  • Belize Officially Hands Over Pro-Tempore Presidency of COMISCA:
    Following two days of regional discussions at the XLI Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMISCA), Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin today officially transferred the Pro-tempore Presidency of COMISCA to the Minister of Health of Guatemala Luis Enrique Monterroso, who will now serve for the next six months. Minster of Health Hon. Pablo Marin expressed his appreciation for the cooperation received during his time as Pro-tempore President. Minister Marin commented, “Enormous strides have been made in Belize and the region and we look forward to further progress in the next year.” During Belize’s Presidency, new challenges including Ebola and Chikungunya had been addressed. Renewed attention was focused on chronic diseases including HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis and Family & Community health.
  • Reaching Perfection:
    Steel is iron plus fire. Soil is rock, plus heat, or glacier crushing. Linen is flax plus the bath that cleans, the comb that separates, and the flail that pounds, and the shuttle that weaves. Human character must have a plus attached to it. The world does not forget great characters. But great characters are not made of luxuries, they are made by suffering. I heard of a mother who brought into her home as a companion to her own son, a crippled boy who was also a hunchback. She had warned her boy to be very careful in his relations to him, and not to touch the sensitive part of his life but go right on playing with him as if he were an ordinary boy. She listened to her son as they were playing; and after a few minutes he said to his companion: “Do you know what you have got on your back?” The little hunchback was embarrassed, and he hesitated a moment. The boy said: “It is the box in which your wings are; and some day God is going to cut it open, and then you will fly away and be an angel.”
  • Fruit Comes from Deep Roots:
    “The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it. But they don’t have deep roots, and they believe only for a little while. As soon as life gets hard, they give up.” (Luke8:13 CEV) During the springtime, all the grass in Southern California turns green, the wildflowers and poppies bloom, and it’s really pretty. But the moment the rains stop, the hills turn brown again. Why? Because the grass has no roots. It can’t go down deep enough to get water from the springs that are deep beneath the ground. When there are no roots, when a plant is in shallow soil, it may initially sprout and look good, but it doesn’t last. The plants wither quickly because they don’t have roots. Luke 8:13 says, “The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it. But they don’t have deep roots, and they believe only for a little while. As soon as life gets hard, they give up” (CEV).
  • Opening of the Xunantunich Education Centre:
    The Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS) project has achieved yet another important milestone, with the completion of The Xunantunich Education Centre, as well as infrastructure improvements and installation of signs at this site. The completion of works at this site marks the first of a total of nine sites which are being enhanced under the MTBCAAS Project. The project is funded under the Belize Rural Development Programme II (BRDPII), supported by the European Union and the Government of Belize. For the first time, the spectacular archaeological site of Xunantunich has a dedicated space to provide training to students and archaeologists alike. The 950 square feet facility will allow the Institute of Archaeology to provide on-site training in a proper facility boasting an audiovisual room and a dedicated classroom that can accommodate up to 40 persons in two different spaces at any one time.
  • Glaucoma:
    Glaucoma is a term describing a group of ocular (eye) disorders resulting in optic nerve damage or loss to the field of vision, in many patients caused by a clinically characterized pressure buildup in regards to the fluid of the eye (intraocular pressureassociated optic neuropathy). In a large number of glaucoma patients, however, the intraocular pressure (IOP) is normal, i.e. below 20 mm Hg. These patients display the same signs of glaucomatous damage as those with an elevated IOP; their condition is thus called normal tension glaucoma. The disorders can be roughly divided into two main Glaucoma categories, "open-angle" and "closed-angle" (or "angle closure") glaucoma. The angle refers to the area between the iris and cornea, through which fluid must flow to escape via the trabecular meshwork, an area of tissue in the eye located around the base of the cornea. Closed-angle glaucoma can appear suddenly and is often painful; visual loss can progress quickly, but the discomfort often leads patients to seek medical attention before permanent damage occurs.
  • STAR Humor
  • Your Weekly Horoscope and Lucky Numbers
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Public Notices


New Chicago-To-Belize Flights thanks to United Airlines!
We smiled upon hearing the news that beginning 20 December 2014, United Airlines will be adding weekly Saturday flights from Chicago to Belize City, bolstering its current service to Belize from Houston and Newark. United will offer the new Chicago-to-Belize flights through to 15 August 2015, according to a recent post on ASIATravel As we reported earlier, Delta Airlines recently increased its Atlanta to Belize service from eight to 12 weekly flights, and also resumed weekly non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Belize this last November, giving travellers from the City of Angels an extra 160 seats per week.

Local Focal Part 1
Belize has a flavour that goes far beyond September celebrations – on the 10th, the commemoration of the battle of St. Georges Caye and on the 21st, Independence day – it goes beyond the creole we will turn to speak to you and the Jankunu dance and the merriment of the Garifuna drums in the movement of Punta (add some synthesisers and you get “Punta Rock”). Oh yes, the flavour of Belize predominantly lies in your plate! Apart from the awesome spices and the rice, beans potato salad, the deliciousness of the free range, local fowl is what truly dictates the massive intensity of the Belizean cuisine. Sure one can get the chicken sold in stores and they too, well seasoned and prepared are tasty and rich in niceness. But, walk through a village and find a home where you see chickens running around a yard next to dogs and turkeys and maybe even pigs – thats the place you would want to stop for lunch. Don’t get us wrong, not all the yards where these chickens roam “wild” will have lunch readily available for you, but how amazing would that be?!!

Breakfast in Belize: Fry Jacks
Forget the fresh lobster and morning catch fish, the most popular thing to have for breakfast in Belize is fry jacks. I’d never heard of them before either. I’d heard a murmur surrounding they’re deliciousness as soon as I arrived on Caye Caulker, but it took two weeks of being in Belize until I finally got round to trying it. And all thanks to my new Belizean friend Nadine. I was with two friends and we went out for dinner to Sobre des Alos on the waterfront in Caye Caulker. We got chatting with the waitress, Nadine, who’s awesome, and by the end of the night she’d invited us round for breakfast to her house the next morning.

How Much Will I Spend in Belize?
Belize is an expensive country to travel to, there’s no getting away from it, unless you stay west and don’t do anything that is. After I realised how much I’d spent in Belize, and how much more I was likely to spend if I stayed in the tourist areas of Caye Caulker, this is exactly what I did. But how much does a holiday to Belize cost? Overall in 20 days in Belize I spent £998.55 (£49.93 per day). A good 80% of this was in 10 days on the island of Caye Caulker, where I had a lot of fun. Before that I spent four days in Belize City without doing much but going to Belize City Zoo. After Caye Caulker, and realising how much I’d spent, I decided to chill out in Benque on the Guatemalan / Belize border, just catching up with work, life and exploring ruins for a few days until home time.

Shark! Snorkelling at Caye Caulker Marine Reserve with EZ Boys
With all the scuba diving and snorkelling I’ve done this week in Belize I feel like I’m an extra on Finding Nemo. If you ever go to the island of Caye Caulker you absolutely have to go to the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. It was one of the coolest things I’ve done. Take a tour with E Z Boys – there are loads of tour operators on the island, but this came recommended and was awesome – $70BZD and you’ll get to go to four spots to wet your snorkel. After spending the morning drinking rum punch and learning the words to Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid in preparation, 2pm came round and off we went. We had the boat to ourselves; me, Coco and Dick. Real name, seriously, I checked his driver’s license. And it turns out ‘Coco’ is what they call lady parts in Belize. I had to start going by VJJ just to fit in. We became pretty popular.

International Sourcesizz

Season's greetings from Belize
Luci Kennedy’s seventh-graders huddled around her and her tablet Dec. 3 at Holy Trinity Catholic School as they carried on a conversation with high school students about 1,500 miles away in Belize. Luci’s students just finished studying Central America, but they learned more than just textbook facts during last week’s face-to-face conversation. The interaction was made possible by Luci’s daughter, Katherine, who is spending a year teaching math in Belize after graduating from Benedictine College in May. Katherine, who also is a former Holy Trinity student and 2010 Paola High School graduate, actually spoke to her mother’s students in person while returning home from Belize earlier this fall. When she went back to her Central American school, she took with her two suitcases full of treats, clothing, letters and more to deliver to her students.

Foreign Minister to visit Belize to promote ties
Foreign Minister David Lin is leading a delegation on a visit to Belize, where he will meet with his counterparts in the Central America region to promote deeper ties, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday. During the visit to Belize, Lin is also scheduled to call on the country's Governor General Colville Young, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and other government officials to discuss issues of mutual concern in an effort to advance bilateral diplomatic relations, the ministry said in a statement. On Dec. 15 in the Belizean town of Placencia, Lin will attend a meeting in which foreign ministers of the six Central American countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan are expected to participate.

Belize: 60,000 pounds of onions imported weekly
Due to climatic conditions and the lack of proper storage facilities, Belizean producers supply the local market with onions for only part of the year, usually from January to about August. Currently, Belize imports 60,000 pounds of onions a week, mostly from Holland, said Silvero Marin, interim administrator of the Belize Marketing and Development Corporation (BMDC). BMDC imports onions for retail sale. Producers who need onions for processing, such as making sauces, import separately. Most shoppers like the yellow-skinned onions, and they are purchased at an average size of 50 millimeters by 70 millimeters (roughly 2 to 3 inches) from Holland, where Marin said yellow onions of better quality are available at a good price. Marin denied reports of a ban against importation of yellow onions from Mexico, where that variety of onions comes in much larger sizes. He said that the larger mauve and white onions are imported from Mexico. Marin said that Mexican prices fluctuate a lot.

Music is a 'weapon to make change' for this Garifuna guitar player and activist
Aurelio Martinez has two major roles in his life: He’s a musician, specializing in the music of the Garifuna people of Central America, but he's also a politician who advocates for their rights. “Music, for me, is my weapon to make change," Martinez says, "to bring power and empower the people in our community, and to give pride to our children. Sometimes, we don’t have any pride around our culture, where we come from.” The Garifuna are already a small minority throughout Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. And with inevitable cultural assimilation, many of the community’s older traditions have already been phased out. “There are certain songs that used to be performed in social gatherings, and they don’t happen as they used to. Especially now, everybody just stays home and watches TV or they go about their lives in a different way," explains Ivan Duran, Martinez’s producer.

Dominica workshop to examine citrus greening in Caribbean
Dominica will host a three-day regional conference on the Haunglong Bing (HLB) or citrus greening disease management. The disease is caused by a bacterium that blocks the phloem and prevents the flow of nutrients, resulting in loss of leaves, deformation and early drop of fruits and eventual death of the tree. The disease is vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri. The Food and Agriculture Organisation-sponsored workshop, which started yesterday, will allow for delegates from National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) within the Caribbean Community to discuss ways to prevent and control HL. The organisers describe HLB as one of the most serious and devastating of all the diseases affecting citrus. "Its high socio-economic impact is linked to the fact that all species of citrus are affected and there is no known cure."

Drugs in Early Americas Included 'Magic' Mushrooms and Toad Skin
From hallucinogenic mushrooms and cacti to alcohol-infused enemas and psychoactive dried toad skins, the array of consciousness-altering substances that people in the early Americas used was wider than thought, a new report suggests. People living in Mesoamerica before the arrival of Europeans used such psychotropic drugs primarily in medicine and religious rituals, said study author Francisco Javier Carod-Artal of Hospital Virgen de la Luz in Cuenca, Spain. (Mesoamerica is a region defined more by shared cultures than by geographical boundaries, but it can roughly be considered as the southernmost region of North America. The modern nations of Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are among the countries in the region.) The Maya — whose civilization reached its peak between 250 B.C. and A.D. 900 — consumed an intoxicating drink called "balché" during the ritual of divination, in which they tried to communicate with spirits, according to the report.The Mayamade the drink by mixing an infusion from the bark of a plant called Lonchocarpus longistylus together with honey produced by bees that fed on a type of a morning glory plant that contained ergine, which is thought to have psychedelic properties.

Norwegian Cruise Line Reveals Itineraries for 2016-17
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced its highly anticipated itineraries for 2016-17. Among the deployment highlights are the new Norwegian Escape cruises from Miami to the Caribbean. The cruise line will offer an eight-day Eastern Caribbean voyage in addition to a six-day Western Caribbean cruise. Norwegian will also introduce a new island destination, Harvest Caye, for passengers headed to Belize. The cruise line's website claims visitors will find both "solace and adventure" in Harvest Caye. The just announced itineraries are already available for group bookings, but will go on sale for Latitudes Rewards guests and President’s Club travel partners on Dec. 16. The 2016-17 voyages will be open for all bookings on Dec. 18.


Video: Project PAC Belize 2014: Day 3, min. Our first clinic day was filled by 3 different villages across Belize City. We tested blood glucose, measured blood pressures, and administered physical exams to the locals of these villages.

Video: PADI OW Certification Belize November 2014, min. Frank and Wen. Ecologic Divers. Belize, Ambergris Caye, San Pedro. Open Water Certification and post-cert diving. No music - sounds of diving! Filmed with Hero 3+ Black and Hero 4 Silver. Pablo was the instructor. Sharks, Turtles, Rays and a host of other fish and creatures.

Video: Belize Adventure - Part 1 - H'Ohm, 9min.

Video: Landing in Belize City International Airport (Updated), 2.5min.

Video: Belize November 2014 Diving, 17min. Belize scuba diving with Ecologic Divers. Shorty, Greg and Pablo were our dive masters. Kim and Matt, Lauren, Frank and Wen. Sharks, Turtles, Moray Eels and a host of other neat creatures.

Video: Belize - Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, 2min. Took a quick trip down to Belize for a shoot with Offsprings Productions out of the UK. Picking up some aerial shots with the DJI S1000 and GH4 platform. We stayed and the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. All shots are from the Panasonic GH4. Some handheld, some on the DJI Ronin.

Video: School of Princess Parrotfish at Silk/Queen, Belize., 1min. Princess Parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus) swimming in a school. Shot at Silk/Queen Caye Belize with GoPro HERO 3+ Black.

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