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1/21/2015 to 1/31/2015
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January 31, 2015


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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

Getting CANDY-wasted on La Isla Bonita! (Part I)
With our cart from J & H Rentals secured for the afternoon and tummies full of anticipation (and not much else) we began our great adventure to candy land! Cupcakes, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen custard, homemade sweets (AKA nostalgia), fancy desserts, thick frozen shakes…need we go on? We were well on our way to being passed out in an orgy of sugary, treacly goodness, slumbering into a blissfully sweet coma. Janelle and I had the perfect plan, a route that would take us all along the beach and downtown middle street. I intended to enjoy every bite of sugary goodness, but then as the list grew, I was apprehensive. Time to call in reinforcements, and who better than our expecting buddy Monique. With mommy-to-be on board with us, it was decided: to Ice and Beans!! Visions of doughnuts and dollops of shaved ice danced in our heads, aaaaaaaand promptly came crashing down…as we arrived too late for doughnuts. Waahhhh!!

American Airlines Announces Additional Flights
The Belize Tourism Board is happy to report that American Airlines has announced an additional flight to and from Belize. Starting on June 6, 2015, travellers will be able to enjoy direct flights between Belize and Los Angeles on Saturdays and Sundays on their 737-800 aircraft. The flight leaves Belize at 8:55 am and arrives in Los Angeles at 1:10 pm. The Los Angeles flight leaves at 12:30 am and arrives in Belize at 6:10 am.

Minister Heredia bails out employee found in possession of marijuana
A bail application document was leaked to the media in which a sitting member of parliament signed on to bail for a man charged with Drug Possession. 43-year-old Edwardo Jones, a resident of Tarpon Street in San Pedro Town was arrested and charged by island police on January 17th. The document leaked to media and shared on social media, with the signature of Honourable Manuel Heredia JR, indicating that Jones was granted police bail on the same date. In an official police report, on Saturday, January 17th at approximately 6:20PM, San Pedro police on patrol at the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets noticed a tall male of dark complexion dressed in a white T-shirt and a green short pants was seen standing on Chicken Street and walking around a tank that was in the area. According to police, Jones handed something to a person who had approached him.

Jerry Jeff Walker and Fans Give Back to the Community
They are no strangers to the island, and every January we see the migration of music lovers and musicians to San Pedro for the annual sold-out Jerry Jeff Walker (JJW) “Camp Belize” concerts that are held at Fido’s Courtyard. The legendary singer-songwriter and his wife Susan have been island mainstays for close to 20 years, and JJW’s affection for the island is more than evident during the concerts he holds over the duration of the two, one-week camps. “I see suntanned faces and curly hair…looks like you’re enjoying the island life,” the renowned musician says as he greets the enthusiastic crowd at the beginning of one of his shows. Just like many who have seen the rapid changes of the island over the years, between tunes Walker often reminisces about the good ole’ days on the island, when the streets were sand and everyone knew each other. His antidotes often inspire his next song, perhaps lamenting about a boat or covering San Pedro’s iconic musician Dennis Wolfe’s “Just another Gringo in Belize” song. His affection for the island is more than contagious, and many of the “Tried and True Warriors” have caught the La Isla Bonita bug as well, returning year after year to not only attend Walker’s concerts, but to make music of their own while socializing and enjoying the island life.

$6 million Sunset Boardwalk Project underused
The other section of the project that has seen criticized is the end result of the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex, commonly referred to as the Saca Chispas field. The field, which was constructed on reclaimed lagoon, converts into a stagnant pond of water during rainy season. Heredia said that the inundation of the field will also be addressed. “We know that the Opposition has been criticizing us about the Saca Chispa field. We knew from the beginning that the height would have been insufficient, but there was a contract. The project was completed exactly as what the contract called for. I am hoping that by the end of this month, we will have stock piled sufficient materials, not only to put Saca Chispas to the height that is needed but we want to get started also with the Ambergris Stadium.” To make matters worse for the Saca Chispas Field, already there are signs of vandalism at the facility. Planks on the fence surrounding the field have been broken or are falling apart. In addition, the bathroom doors and its fixtures have been wrecked and broken apart. Because there is no one supervising the area, in some instances vagabonds utilize the bathroom area to sleep at night.

Ambergris Today

Body of Murdered Honduran Woman Exhumed, Honduran Embassy Expresses Disappointment
Her Excellency Sandra Rosales-Abella, Ambassador of the Republic of Honduras, was in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize on Thursday, January 29, 2015, to attend an emergency meeting with the Honduran community of the island after learning about the improper burial procedures taken on the body of murdered Honduran national Silvia del Carmen Benitez. Twelve days after Benitez was murdered and buried three and a half miles north of San Pedro, her body was exhumed upon the requests of the Honduran community of Ambergris Caye after they contacted the Honduran Embassy. At the meeting held at the Lions Den with concerned members of the Honduran community and invited friends, Ambassador Rosales-Abella expressed her utmost discontent at the way authorities of the island handled the murder investigations and burial of the body of Silva Benitez.

American Airlines Announces Additional Flights to Belize
The Belize Tourism Board is happy to report that American Airlines has announced an additional flight to and from Belize. In their press release they stated that they are adding six new routes throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. Their expanded service includes new flights to Belize City, Belize: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Guadalajara, Mexico: Managua, Nicaragua: and Monterrey, Mexico. Starting on June 6, 2015, travelers will be able to enjoy direct flights between Belize and Los Angeles on Saturdays and Sundays on their 737-800 aircraft. The flight leaves Belize at 8:55 am and arrives in Los Angeles at 1:10 pm. The Los Angeles flight leaves at 12:30 am and arrives in Belize at 6:10 am.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

COROZAL LIVE SUPERBOWL ACTION
at Jam Rocks Bar & Grill this Sunday! Pizza Special!

Belize attracts over 300,000 stay-over visitors for 2014
In October, 2014, Belize recorded one million visitors to the country, including overnight and cruise arrivals, which was two months earlier than the projected time. Now, the total arrival numbers are in and the Belize Tourism Board has announced that Belize has surpassed the elusive 300,000 overnight visitors mark. The total overnight visitors to Belize in 2014 were 321,220. This shows a 9.2% increase in overnight visitors, when compared to 2013. 2014 was an outstanding year for the tourism industry in Belize. The year started with several properties in Belize earning awards in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards. Ambergris Caye was then named the #1 Island in the World, for the second year in a row. Scuba Diving magazine outlined Belize as the “Central American paradise” who “earned a host of 2014 Top 100 Readers Choice Awards.”

QSI International School of Belize celebrated book week
"One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society—is to read to children." —Carl Sagan Do you read to your children? If so, what are their favorite books? Last week the QSI International School of Belize celebrated book week. Ambassador Moreno stopped by the school to read to the school children. The benefits of reading to and teaching children to read are endless. Pictured below: Ambassador Moreno with QSI students during book week.

The Zoo is preparing to celebrate the 8th birthday of everyone's favourite jaguar...Junior Buddy!
As always, Junior's party guests will include students from primary schools in the Belize District. In preparation for the big day, TBZ's Education Department conducted outreach visits to every class at St. John's Anglican School in Belize City. Students were treated to a cool presentation and discussion on the magnificent jaguar, and, of course, about the "ambassador" himself, Junior Buddy. Here, TBZ Educator Johanna Pacheco wows the attentive students with a real jaguar skull, and talks about the adaptations that makes this cat the King of the Jungle! St. John's students will be competing in an jaguar essay contest to win a chance to be one of the special guests at Junior Buddy's party next month. Best of luck to all essay writers!

National Agriculture and Trade Show
The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture hereby informs the general public that the dates for the 2015 show has been changed to May 1, 2 and 3. The theme of the show remains as “Stimulating Prosperity in Agriculture and Food Production through Renewed Public Private Partnership”. The grounds are currently being prepared and concessioners and food vendors are advised that sale of booths will begin February 23, 2015. For More Information Contact: Mr. Roberto Harrison 828-5092

The Belize International Film Festival 2015
SAVE THE DATES: July 17, 18, 19th, 2015 - The Belize International Film Festival 10th Anniversary Edition takes place on the Placencia Penninsula. Encore Screenings follow in Belize City and Communities countrywide from July 23 to 26th!

THE BELIZE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL announces CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!!
Deadline March 31st, 2015. Film entries to BIFF 2015 can be submitted in either of the following categories: 1. Narrative Feature (80 min +) 2. Short (15 min + under) 3. Documentary Feature (50 min +) 4. Short Doc (30 min + under) 5. TV Dramatic Series (22-60 min) 6. Music Video (5 min + under) a) Any filmmaker from any country worldwide can compete in the first four categories: Narrative Feature, Short, Doc Feature, Doc Short, providing they meet the duration requirements. b) Only pilots from Caribbean and Central America production companies for mini-series, telenovelas and soap operas filmed in the region will be accepted for the TV Dramatic series category. c) Only Belizean filmmakers at home or in the Diaspora can submit Music Videos. The Music Video must be for a Belizean artist and filmed in Belize. More info available in Rules and Regulations that can be found on the website at www.belizefilmfestival.com

13th Annual Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium
The National Institute of Culture and History through the Institute of Archaeology (IA) and the Institute for Social and Cultural Research (ISCR) officially announces its 13th Annual Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium (BAAS) to be held on June 29th-July 3rd; therefore, this call of papers officially invites researchers to submit abstracts by March 13th, 2015. For more information visit...the NICH website at www.nichbelize.org

NICH Annual Report 2013 - 2014
Here is your invitation to keep abreast of all that has been happening at NICH in the last year, with many more on the horizon..

DANGRIGA BELIZEANS IN SUPPORT OF REPARATIONS IN BELIZE!
Since the Belize reparations movement began to gain momentum in 2014, Belize has become the only Caribbean and Central American country so far that has held a national convention in the advancement of reparations globally. That means that Belize has taken the lead in this call to reparations in the black and indigenous peoples diaspora, leading its counterparts in the Caribbean and in the United States. What has made Belize lead in this progressive endeavor? It is because of Belizeans from all ethnic backgrounds that include the Creoles, the Garinagu, the Maya, and the East Indians, who came out in large numbers at the National Convention of The People of Belize held at the University of Belize in Belmopan on October 10, 2014. An impressive performance in unity so far.

Channel 7

Dr. Marco Tulio's Wife Speaks; Asks For Empathy For Her Children During Emerging Scandal
The pressure continues to build against the embattled Orange Walk East Area Representative, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez and, tonight, police from Orange Walk are following up on allegations of indecent assault made by 2 teenaged girls. We've been reliably informed by police sources that they have tasked an investigator to check into whatever information the females have provided to the Department of Social Services. They're checking to see if the information provided can result in criminal charges - which information suggests could be brought early next week. Politically, pressure groups have now emerged to agitate against Mendez, and it led to a protest in front of the Orange Walk Town Council today. The agenda is to unseat him as area representative for Orange Walk East. We'll show you that later in our newscast, but first, we got a chance today to speak with Dr. Lesly Mendez, the wife of Dr. Marco Tulio. She figures prominently into the story because she's separated from Dr. Mendez.

There Was No Abduction At Queen Square Primary School
Last night, at the top of the newscast we reported on the very troubling report of the abduction of 4 primary school students from in front of the Queen Square Anglican Primary School in Belize City. Well, tonight we can confirm: it didn't happen; four children were not abducted in a white van. Though a child did say that she witnessed it - it seems that was just a story. There has been no missing person report - and there are no children from that school unaccounted for. Today Eastern Division police held a press briefing at the Raccoon Street Police Station to say that, nonetheless, measures are being taken to ensure the safety of children.

Obudsman's Vehicle Stolen And Crashed By Thief
This morning at 9:30 the Ombudsman's vehicle was stolen from in front of Fair Brothers Pawn Shop. According to police reports an employee of the Ombudsman's office went to the Fair Brothers Pawn Shop at the corner of Mahogany Street and Central American Boulevard. Police say he left the engine running with the key in the ignition and asked the security guard to keep an eye on it. But, apparently he didn't and in a flash, a stranger raced off in the Nissan X-Trail. But it didn't last long - shortly after the car thief ended up in a lamp-post on Glenn street - which is one of the narrowest streets in Belize City. This morning police told us what they know:.. Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster, Deputy Commander, Eastern Division "The vehicle of the Ombudsman was stolen this morning. The suspect who stole the vehicle, crash the vehicle Glenn Street. As we speak, police is on the scene and the vehicle is being recovered and taken to the police station."

The Final Numbers Of Chik-V Patients
Chikungunya - on Tuesday, the CEO in the Ministry of Health said Belize had done an admirable job in containing the virus - but we asked for numbers. The Director of Health Services, Dr. Michael Pitts gave that to us today. He says that since October, The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has confirmed 7 cases. These are primarily in Las Flores, Belmopan, while there was one case in Armenia Village on the Hummingbird Highway, and there was one more - this time in San Pedro. As for the San Pedro Case, Director Pitts says that was imported into the country. Presently there are 7 results pending from CARPHA. These samples were collected from surveillance done this month.

NTUCB Defends Floyd Neal's Nomination For SSB Board
Last night we told you about the Social Security Board meeting that had to be aborted because of a union boycott. Social Security's Board sent out its version of events in a press release yesterday and today, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize sent out a thousand word press release challenging that. The release says the NTUCB represents quote, 'the People who pay every single penny into SSB as well as the stipend enjoyed by members of the SSB Board Of Directors." As to the claim that having Christian Workers Union Secretary General Floyd Neal present would create a conflict of interest, the NTUCB says, quote, "it is ridiculous for them to be claiming that the function of Mr. Neal within the Board will be a conflict interest, unless all the SSB does is deal with issues arising out of the Collective Bargaining process between Social Security Employees and SSB representatives!:" The NTUCB says that when the collective bargaining agreement is discussed, an alternate union representative can be designated to sit in.

OW Residents Pressure Dr. Marco Tulio; Political Opportunism At Play
At the top of our news, we showed you our interview with Dr. Lesly Mendez, wife of Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, as she discussed the difficulties she and her family have been experiencing the wake of the emerging scandal against her husband. She wants her family to be left out of the scandal by persons who are politicizing the issue to pressure Dr. Marco Tulio to step down. There was one such group of persons today who stood in front of the Town Hall and used the platform of the protection of family values as the premise to demand Dr. Marco Tulio's resignation. Our News team was there to challenge them on the political agenda at play. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting 20 residents living in Orange Walk Town stood in front of the offices of the Town Council to picket Mayor Kevin Bernard. Though there are no criminal charges against Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, they want the Mayor take a moral stance as the titular leader of the town and demand that Dr. Mendez steps down as Area Representative for Orange Walk East.

City Hall Repairing Cemetery Road's Concreting Job
More than a year ago, on December 17, 2013 we showed you how Cemetery Road had sprung a pothole in heavy rains after it was cement paved. Well, we've been pressuring mayor Darrell Bradley about it since then, and finally today work started to re-cast the two trouble areas on that much trafficked street. We saw work crews had torn up the cement and were getting ready to re-cast it. The mayor has said that this will not cost the city - as the funds to do this would be taken out of the contractor's retainer. We don't know if that still holds since the streets was first paved about two years ago. But there are other cement streets such as Church Street that have shown serious sings of degradation only a year after being paved.

12 Miles Of Old Northern Getting Paved
And while the Mayor is fixing that section of Cemetery Road which did not stand up too long to the elements, 12 miles of the Old Northern Highway will get a much needed repair after decades of neglect. Edmond "Clear the Land" Castro, the area representative for Belize Rural North, told us today that his constituents are most anxious to have the work finished, even though it's only just started: Hon. Edmund Castro, Belize Rural North Area Rep. "The government of Belize through the PetroCaribe funds and the contractor is Rodla Construction. We begin the hot mix and the paving of the Old Northern Highway, the first 5 miles which will go somewhere in the Boston Area and as soon as we complete this first 5 miles from Sand Hill going in, we will commence another 7 miles, which will take us past Altun Ha Road somewhere in Lucky Strike area. So, this is some of the hard work that we are doing for the 9 villages on the Old Northern Highway. Much deserved. I think the last time this type of work was done similar to this was some 30-40 years ago and since then, no area representatives before that were able to get any of that done for the people along the Old Northern Highway."

Abduction Attempts At La Immaculada Primary?
The school abduction scare was visited on Belize City yesterday evening - and the day before we heard about it in Belmopan. The narrative that's now been repeating itself started in Orange Walk earlier this week - when two children, girls aged 10 and 11 reported being almost abducted. It happened right at the lunch hour on Monday and Tuesday. The principal Manuel Polanco told our colleagues at CTV-3 news more: Notably, there were no eyewitnesses coming forward - even thought both incidents were reported to have happened in the heart of town. A similar report emerged in Corozal.

Elizabeth Welch Is Safe
Last night you heard the plea from Elizabeth Welch, the Mother of 15 year old runaway Amanda Usher. Well, right after the news aired, at about 7:30 p.m. the teenager was found in Dangriga. She was in good health and was returned to Belize City this morning…

Police Will Hold "Pure Black" March Against Violence
We have reported on peace vigils and prayer marches organized by the community but the police also want to make a positive impact with their peace march. "Be loving and seize killing": that is the theme of the march that the Eastern Division police unit is organizing. It's all about trying to reduce crime and violence in the city with unity. Senior Superintendent Broaster told us more about the purpose of this event. The march is scheduled for Friday March 27th.

2015 Agric Show Date Change
The dates have been changed for The National Agriculture and Trade Show. It was supposed to be held on the 24, 25 and 26th of April, but the dates have been changed to May first, second and third. It seems the business community asked for dates closer to payday to increase the purchasing power of visitors. Sale of booths will begin on February 23rd - since work is being done to improve the infrastructure and this will affect the booth layout.

BDF Parade New Soldiers
Tomorrow is BDF day - the single day set aside to celebrate the Force's anniversary. Today, at Price Barracks they held their BDF Day Parade to welcome new soldiers and have them display their parade square discipline. Commander David Jones explained the significance:.. Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force "Today we are having most of the representatives of the different formations of the BDF on parade, but the most important thing is the day we are reflecting on the 37 years in existence since the formation of the Belize Volunteer Guard and the Volunteer Force into the Belize Defence Force which occurred on the 31st of January 1978. The recruits are going to pass out today. We've had over 100 candidates who took the selection board. The selection exam has been over 17 weeks now, finally today is the day they complete training and I am sure they are looking forward to this day because they are now trained soldiers after this parade. So, we have 83 of them. Including in those 83 are 4 officer cadets, who are potential officers that will be sent out later on to do course to become officers in the Belize Defence Force."

El Jai Will Perform At Bob Marley Tribute
Banners and flyers on the 4th Annual Bob Marley Tribute are everywhere around the city - and there are a couple TV ads as well. But the featured artist - Eljai, who is an international Belizean artist - came to our studios this morning to invite the public out himself. But apart from the entertainment, there is another element to this show that extends to the community. Eljai and the Vibes Alive International promoter told us more about it today. The tribute will be held at the East Sports Center in Orange Walk tomorrow night.

Channel 5

No Charges for Doctor Mendez
Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, pediatrician and politician, has not been charged by Orange Walk Police. We do know at this time that based on allegations against him, made to the [...]

Attorney Says Mendez Denies Allegations
Today, there was a small political protest in Orange Walk Town. A few persons holding signs called for Mendez to resign his seat in the National Assembly. We’ll have that [...]

Mendez Will Likely Be Charged on Monday
Today, Bradley was also in Orange Walk to try to get information with which to make the best possible arrangements for his client. By that we mean bail. While the [...]

Protesters Call for Mendez’s Resignation
As we told you earlier, there was a small U.D.P. demonstration in which protesters called for the resignation of Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez. Interestingly, they didn’t do it in front [...]

Kidnapping Report Unconfirmed
Just before our newscast on Thursday evening, word spread like wildfire that four students of Queen Square Anglican Primary School, three girls and one boy, were abducted by a man [...]

No Kidnapping…But A Wake Up Call
Deputy Officer Commanding the Eastern Division of the Belize City Police Department, Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, says that while the report may have sounded a false alarm, it is a [...]

12 B.D.F. Officers To Answer for Missing Ammo
It has been over a week since the two containers of ammunition were reported missing from the B.D.F. base in Ladyville. One thousand six hundred and eight-five point five-six and [...]

CWU President Accuses S.S.B. of Disrespect
On Monday, according to S.S.B. Act, the N.T.U.C.B. informed the Office of the Prime Minister that they were nominating Emily Turner and Floyd Neal as directors and Philip Tate as [...]

Matura-Shepherd Says G.O.B. Attacking the Union
According to Matura-Shepherd, it seems as if the government is attacking the union. Matura-Shepherd says that there has been little to no communication between the CWU and the S.S.B.; and [...]

Missing Teen Returned Home
Fifteen year old Amanda Usher was found in Dangriga and is now safe at home with her family. On Thursday, we reported that Usher was missing after her mother informed [...]

Tattoo Artist Granted Bail
After seven nights on remand at the Belize Central Prison, forty-five year old tattoo artist, Estevan Mossiah, a Barrack Road resident, who was accused last week of having sexual intercourse [...]

Jasmine Alert to Be Reborn
Remember Jasmine Alert? The initiative was established back in 2012 in memory of thirteen year old Jasmine Lowe from San Elena, Cayo District. She is the young girl who was [...]

New B.D.F. Recruits Pass Out
It was full pomp and circumstance today at the B.D.F.’s Price Barracks Compound, as the best and the brightest of its new recruits were recognized. Weeks of intense physical and [...]

NATS Scheduled for May 1st
Thousands will be flocking to the national show grounds in Belmopan for the 2015 National Agriculture and Trade Show. The Committee has announced that the show will be taking place [...]

Eastern Division Launches Anti-Crime Initiative
The Eastern Division of the Belize Police Department is launching yet another initiative in an effort to combat crime. A Be Loving and Cease Killing (BLACK) march will be held [...]

B.D.F. Celebrates 37th Anniversary
The Belize Defense Force wants you to head out to their Ladyville Compound tomorrow for the annual B.D.F. Day. The fun, family event starts at nine in the morning and [...]

PlusTV

Woman reports attempted abduction in Belize City
There was a separate report of an attempted abduction in Belize City on Thursday night. An unidentified woman told police she was approached by the occupant of a gray vehicle on Central American Boulevard and asked to come with him ,which she refused to do. Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster shares details and why such reports are concerning to police. “A report was made by a female that a grey car slowed down beside her, and tried to entice her to get in the vehicle. Hence the reason we are saying that all young persons of age should be prudent and be careful not to get into any vehicle with any stranger.

Police ask assistance of community over alleged abduction of schoolchildren
As of Friday afternoon, Belize City police say they have received no reports from parents of students at Queen’s Square Anglican School or elsewhere reporting that any children of theirs are missing. As we reported last night, police received a statement, now in fact confirmed to be two joint statements, from students of the school reporting that four of their classmates – three girls and a boy – were put into a white van on Warrie Street, just around the corner from the school’s compound on Armadillo Street, and taken away. There are no further details, but on the heel of multiple reports of attempted abductions of schoolchildren in Corozal, Orange Walk and even a reported sighting here in Belmopan, the concern level has been raised.

Police had shootout with rape suspects in Dangriga
A 25-year-old woman of Dangriga was reportedly raped on Sunday January 25, 2015. She told police that at about 8:00 p.m. that night, she was along with a friend in his vehicle, whom she had asked to take her to the Benguche Area in Dangriga. While he was driving on Front Street, Dangriga Town, he ma...

Michel Chebat is PUP Cayo North Standard Bearer
Michel Chebat is the new PUP standard bearer for Cayo North. Mr Chebat was sworn in on Thursday after a direct appointment by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca. Michel Chebat first came on the political scene last month December 2014, when he offered himself to run as the PUP Standa...

Hepatitis A update
On Tuesday we told you about the outbreak of Hepatitis A in Buena Vista Village, Cayo District. We have since been attempting to secure an interview with an official from the Ministry of Health to speak on the matter but have been declined. However on Tuesday our media colleagues at Love FM spoke to...

New Museum to be built in Belmopan
Plans are still sketchy but the Belmopan City Council has intentions of erecting a new building in Belmopan that will become the National Museum of Belize. The Belmopan City Council has been liaising with the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) to get this project underway. On Wednesday...

Contract Signed for Belmopan Ring Road Upgrading
Two contracts were signed on Wednesday at the Ministry of Works and Transport in Belmopan, as part of the Road Safety Project headed by the Ministry of Economic Development, co-funded by the Government of Belize and the Caribbean Development Bank. Yvonne Hyde, CEO in the Ministry of Economic Develop...

Reports of Abduction attempts on school children
There were abduction attempts in Orange Walk earlier this week, one on Monday and another on Tuesday. The incidents happened at La Inmaculada Elementary School. Principal Manuel Polanco told our colleagues at CTV 3 more about the incidents. Manuel Polanco – Principal: [We can] confirm two incident...

Bel-Cuisine robbed by machete wielding man
Corozal police are looking for a suspect who is known to them.  This is after a businesswoman was robbed in front of her place of business. 46 year old Guadelupe Sosa, a Naturalized Belizean business woman, was closing up her place of business Bel-Cuisine on Wednesday night,  Janaury 28, 2015...

Final economic statistics for 2014 released
This week the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) released final statistics for 2014, with relation to trade and inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed negative figures of minus 0.4 per cent, fueled as it were by the lower prices for gasoline and butane and some food items. It is the fir...

Belmopan Baptist High School English students want to go to London
The Belmopan Baptist High School has been invited to participate in the World English Experience (WEE) 2015 to be held in London...

CODEX talks Food Safety
Thursday marked the conclusion of a two day sensitization workshop on food quality at the George Price Centre in Belmopan as part of the Codex National effort. The Codex Alimentarius Commission is the body responsible for adopting standards and guidelines for protecting consumer health and ensuring ...

The Guardian

CWU President Lands Low Blow on Tux Vasquez
Audrey Matura-Shepherd has surpassed Prime Minister Barrow for best zinger of 2015. On Tuesday, January 27, the President of the Christian Workers Union landed a blow on Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Belize Limited, so sharp that it knocked PM Barrow’s reference to attorneys of the “low grade, empty vessel variety” out of the top spot. She basically called him a premie. Matura-Shepherd and Vasquez are holding temporary positions that cause them to be at odds and it has led to a public verbal shootout in the last week. On January 20, Matura-Shepherd responded to accusations by the Port of Belize that she has been dragging her foot on CBA negotiations by saying, “When we go to that negotiating table it will be when we are ready.” She says the union will not continue on the path that the previous executive was on.

Hon. Mark King eliminating London Bridges in Lake!
Southside Belize City is one of the most difficult areas to develop properly because it is made up of so much swamp. The Barrow Administration, however, is taking on that challenge and trying to help as much of the residents as possible. That help comes by way of an annual landfill program where residents can apply and sign up to receive landfill materials to fill their yards. The project comes under the Ministry of Human Development with financing from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development. Hon. Anthony Boots Martinez has chartered the program for some of the constituencies, which are in desperate need of in the Southside, namely Port Loyola, Collet, Pickstock, and Lake Independence.

Streets and drains in Benque
Work is ongoing in the peaceful Town of Benque Viejo del Carmen to further improve its network of drains and streets. During this week, work continued in the cementing of Guerra Street. Plans are already underway to cement Caracol Lane, Joy Vera, Boston Lane as well as Victoria Street and the Santa Cruz area in this most Western Municipality. Several of these streets in Benque Viejo have been improved under the Municipal Development Project. (A portion of the Juanito Gongora Street will be of asphalt and could not be of cement, because it was too late into the bidding process.) But six to seven streets in Benque will be cemented with funds obtained from Petro-Caribe. Hon. Erwin Contreras, Minister of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection and Representative for the area, told the Guardian that Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow has given $250,000.00 towards work on drains $500,000.00 to fix streets and $200,000.00 to cement streets in Benque. As a result of this work in progress, some 97 Benquenos are now being employed in the drainage program.

The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust Signs Agreements with the Ministry of Health for two Infrastructure Projects
The BELIZE Natural Energy Charitable Trust (BNECT) signed two Agreements with the Ministry of Health to construct an annex to the Independence Poly Clinic located in the Stann Creek District as well as to renovate the existing structure that houses the San Narciso Health Center located in the Corozal District. In April 2014, grant funding in the amount of $250,000.00 was approved by the Trust for the Independence Poly Clinic to construct a new wing immediately adjacent to the existing structure located on 4 acres of land, which will allow for future expansion. The new annex will house all clinical support services including pharmacy, laboratory, X-rays and ultrasounds. The total cost of this project is $417,828.00, and the Ministry of Health is providing its counterpart funding in the amount of $167,828.00.

Breast cancer diagnosis unit now at KHMH
The Karl Heusner Memorial, the country’s flagship hospital, now has breast cancer diagnostic capabilities thanks to a partnership with the Carolinas HealthCare System and Heineman Foundation. On Tuesday, January 27, the hospital opened the doors to its Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit. The unit was dedicated to Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow ,who has become a national and regional champion for the fight against breast cancer. Barrow says, “I know a cancer diagnosis is a very scary thing to face and it is the last news anyone would want to received, but I also know that the strength needed to fight cancer comes from acceptance of this diagnosis as well as knowing that services are available and accessible.” She referred to records from 2007 to 2011 which shows that breast cancer is responsible for 12 percent of all cancer related deaths among women. Therefore, the need for such diagnostic unit at KHMH cannot be overstated. “The introduction of mammography, ultrasound and an ultrasound guided treated biopsy system will support the early detection of breast cancer, which can saves lives”, says Barrow.

Efforts for a more formal Food Code for Belize
A National Stakeholders sensitization on the CODEX Alimentarius was held on Wednesday of this week at the George Price Center for Peace and Development. Participants from a range of both Government and Private Sector organization attended the first day of meeting, which continues Thursday, where a more in depth overview of the food codes will be reviewed. These two days of workshops have been organized by the Belize Bureau of Standards BBS and the Belize Agriculture Health Authority BAHA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation and Agriculture IICA and the Ministerio de Economia, Industria y Comercio MEIC of Costa Rica. The CODEX Alimentarius Commission was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963. Its membership today is 185 member states and 200 inter-governmental and international non-governmental organizations as observers. Its main work is the development of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practices to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in food trade. It promotes the coordination of all food standards work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

H. E. Ambassador Benjamin Ho and Mrs. Ho visit schools and NGOs in Punta Gorda
Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Senator and Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development of Belize has been a resident of Punta Gorda for many years. She mentioned many times to H.E. Benjamin Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), that Punta Gorda is one of the most beautiful places in Belize, and the town has been desperate for development. She invited Ambassador Ho to visit the town whenever he is available. Ambassador and Mrs. Ho accepted the invitation and visited PG on January 22, 2015 in the company of Minister Alamilla. Hon. Alamilla led Ambassador and Mrs. Ho to visit St. Benedict RC School, Seventh Day Adventist School and St. Peter Claver School sequentially. Ambassador Ho and Hon. Alamilla were warmly welcomed by students and teachers of the Schools. Ambassador Ho made remarks paying respect to Hon. Alamilla for her efforts in seeking assistance and support for schools of PG. Ambassador Ho also praised the Government of Belize for putting much resource into education, stressing education as being the most worthy investment for a country. Ambassador Ho encouraged students to study hard and become useful assets of the country. H.E. Ho presented foot balls and some sports kerchiefs to the schools.

ICA Belize and Carmelita Government School receive Grant from Japanese Government under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects
On Monday, February 2nd, 2015, Counselor of the Embassy of Japan, Hiromoto Oyama will sign the Grassroots Human Security Grant Agreements with the ICA Belize and Carmelita Government School at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belize City. The “Rejuvenation of West Indian Sea Island Cotton Industry in Belize Project” implemented by ICA Belize is to provide farm equipment to produce more crops in Orange Walk District and valued at $102,029 USD. The West Indian Sea Island Cotton is world renowned as the premium cotton. Though there is a high demand internationally, currently there is not enough production to meet the demands because of the lack of equipment. Belizean Sea Island Cotton industry will aim to be a leading producer by acquiring new equipment.

Matura will also splinter the Christian Workers Union
It can be said that the tactics that Audrey Matura tried to employ was the greatest factor that led to the splintering of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. She was able to persuade them to let the bone go and chase the shadow. In the end, because of her coercion, those who were not with her agenda broke away and formed their own associations almost doing away with a 55-year old organization. You see, Matura follows a scorched earth policy, where you are either with her or you are against her, there is no middle ground, there is no room for negotiation, and there is no compromise. It is her way or no way and in the end, the earth becomes scorched. She is once again proving this with the manner. But it is surprising that she, as an attorney is unable to be a negotiator. The basic principle of law dictates that whenever possible compromises be reached in order to resolve problems. Not so for Matura. She always pushes the envelope to create contention. That is what she did with the BSCFA and the rest is now history, forever changing the sugar industry.

Belize’s International Profile in Metrology will be lifted
A remarkable event transpired on Tuesday of last week, which is bound to change Belize’s trajectory into the future. At that ground breaking ceremony for the Belize Bureau of Standards Laboratory at the Ministry of Works compound in Belmopan, Hon. Erwin Contreras, the Minister of Trade, Investment Promotion, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, stated that the new facility will lift the International Profile of Belize. “This infrastructure will propel Belize to become one of the top National Metrology Institutes within CARICOM,” he said. Thus, in over 23 years of its existence the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) is finally turning a new page in its history. Charged with legal responsibility for Quality Infrastructure (QI), which encompasses standards, metrology - the science of measurements accreditation and certification - the department has struggled for many years to deliver this mandate and as a consequence its existence has brought little meaning to the society and economy. Fully embracing of this responsibility, the BBS is now piecing together the essential pillars for a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) by modernizing the legislative framework under which the Bureau operates and at the same time conceptualizing the physical and human resources needed to carry out its mandate under this framework.

Businessman Accused of having Sex with Minor
Estevan Mossiah, 45, businessman of Barrack Road is in trouble for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl twice in January of this year. According to a report to police by a minor, 15, Mossiah engaged in sexual intercourse with her on two separate occassions, Janaury 6 and Janaury 9, 2015. Mossiah was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault upon a minor under the age of 16. He was unrepresented when he appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart on Friday, January 23. Since the charge is a matter that will be dealt with on indictment, no plea was taken and he was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until February 24, 2015.

BDF soldier busted with unlicensed firearm
Police have arrested and charged 39 year-old Eber Navarette, a Belize Defence Force Soldier attached to Price Barracks in Ladyville, for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm. Police in San Ignacio report that they received information of an individual travelling in a taxi who was in possession of an unlicensed firearm. They intercepted the vehicle at the corner of Awe and Carmelita Streets where Navarette was seen exiting the vehicle. They approached him and attempted to conduct a search on him but before they could do so, Navarette took off running with police setting chase.

String of armed robberies in Cayo are all connected
Police now say that a string of recent armed robberies in the San Ignacio Town Area are all connected. In the most recent incident, on Monday of this week, a gun man stood in front of a man, who was taking out trash in the Kontiki Area, and ordered him to be taken in a vehicle to Belize City. Fearing for his life, the resident complied, and while in Belize City, was released unhurt. Making his way back safely to San Ignacio Town, the man then made a report to his boss as to the manner that the company’s vehicle was used. On January 19, taxi driver Jorge Williams was arriving at his house in the Santiago Juan Layout Area after a full day of work, when he was relieved of cash, cell phone and jewelry by a man wielding a hand gun. Police now believe that the same people involved in the robbery of Williams then proceeded to move within the same Santiago Juan Layout that same night at about 6:30 pm to take away, at gunpoint, a 1999 Honda CRV vehicle from Ruby Obando.

Major ammunition heist at BDF camps
2,680 military grade rounds of ammunition is believed to be in the hands of criminals after it was stolen from a highly guarded compound which the Belize Defence Force keeps a cordoned off from the public. For the fourthtime in the military’s history, it is believed that BDF insiders are responsible for military materials ending up on the streets and in the possession of criminals. The BDF high command made the discovery on Friday, January 23 when an inventory was taken at the Echelon Compound, located in Lords Bank Village. They were assisting their counterparts from the US Military; a company of soldiers are in Belize currently, and they are performing training. Early on Friday, soldiers from the BDF conducted inventory checks at the ammunition bay in Echelon Compound, and they discovered that one thousand rounds of 7.62 ammunition with batch number A396, and 1,680 rounds of 5.56 ammunition were missing. The last time a check of the bay was done for the ammunition was on December 7, 2014, so it is believed that the ammunition was stolen between that date and Friday, when the discovery was made.

Busted with over 204 Grams of Weed
Elwin Steven Evans, a laborer of Sandhill Village, is out on bail after he pleaded not guilty to trafficking 204.1 grams of cannabis. Evans was busted by police in his home village over the weekend and taken before Magistrate Herbert Panton on Monday, January 26. He was represented by attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd and was read a single charge of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply another person or persons for the purpose of drug trafficking.

Belize Athletics Association to hold Annual General Assembly
Belize Athletics Association will hold the 2015 Annual General Assembly at the University of the West Indies Auditorium, Princess Margaret Drive, on 31 January, 2015 at 2:00pm. There is one vacancy open for the election of a committee member for which nominations are sought. All members are required to pay their 2015 annual dues by the 27 January, 2015. Payment of dues can be made at any of the National Sports Council offices throughout Belize. All members are asked to please bring along their identification cards.

Belmopan Bandits is defending national football champions
The Belize Premier Football League Closing Season is scheduled to commence on Saturday 31 January, 2015, with a single game on the schedule and will continue on Sunday 1, February, 2015, with three more games on the schedule. The Belmopan Bandits is the defending national football champions and will be looking towards a repeat performance of the last championship. On Saturday 31 January, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan at 7:30 pm, it will be the Belmopan Bandits against the Police United.

Burrell Boom Methodist School wins Belize Rural Zone 1 Basketball Competition
The Belize Rural Zone 1 Basketball Competition was played on Thursday 22 January, 2015, at the Burrell Boom Basketball Court. Four schools namely Hattieville Government School, Burrell Boom Methodist School, Lucky Strike Government School and Belize Rural Primary School participated in the girls’ competition, while Hattieville Government School, Burrell Boom Methodist School, Lucky Strike Government School, Belize Rural Primary School and St. Therese RC School from Burrell Boom participated in the boys’ competition. In the girls’ championship game, Burrell Boom Methodist School won over Lucky Strike Government School by the score of 2-1. The top scorer for Burrell Boom Methodist was Lorriane Stephen with 2 points.

8th Charles Solis Memorial Softball Tournament set for February 8
The Belize Softball Federation is pleased to announce that it has rescheduled the 8th Charles Solis Memorial Softball Invitational Tournament to Sunday 8 February, 2015, at Rogers Stadium. The tournament was originally scheduled for 26 October, 2014, and had to be postponed because of the weather. The 8th Charles Solis Memorial Tournament will feature the Belize Bank Bulldogs the national softball champions of Belize, Beacon from Belize City, Lord’s Bank Sunrise, Camalote United, Roaring Creek Grace Kennedy and the champions from the Orange Walk Association. The tournament is scheduled to commence at 9:00 am and will utilise an abbreviated format.

The Doctor’s Orders Urinary Tract Infection – It burns when I pee!
A common and often benign condition, Urinary Tract Infection will, at one point or another, affect almost every woman out there. Urinary Tract Infections, or UTI, as it is commonly referred to as – is a bacterial infection along the urinary tract. The urinary tract consist of the kidneys (this is where the urine is produced), the ureters (the tubes that extend from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder (the storage unit for the urine), and the urethra (tube from bladder to expelling urine). If a person has a UTI it simply means that there is an infection anywhere along this path. Infections along the urethra and bladder are considered less severe than those higher up, especially at the kidney level. Often times it is an untreated UTI at the lower level that spreads upwards and affects the kidneys.

Craft Markets opened at three archaeological sites
For the first time, craft vendors at three of the nine archaeological sites in Belize can display their products at designated areas. This as three new craft markets were opened on Wednesday at the archaeological sites of Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue Creek in the Toledo District. The infrastructural developments are the results of work being done under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS) project. The project which is funded under the EU supported Belize Rural Development Programme (BRDP) is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History. Today's handover marks the completion of works at three of a total of nine sites which are being enhanced under the project.

Social Security Workers got no pay because of CWU
A.M.S. is the virus that causes E.P.S., Empty Pocket Syndrome, and in Belize recently it is spreading like an epidemic in vulnerable environments. Farmers of the sugar cane industry lost millions of dollars because of the aggressive virus and now employees of the Social Security Board are counting pennies to meet their monthly expenses after its latest attack. January 26, 2015 was supposed to be a day of enjoyment for employees of Social Security. They were supposed to receive a well deserved salary increase or “transitional increment” for outstanding performance in recent years, 2014 in particular. However, this was not the case on Monday. Not only did they receive no raise, but they didn’t even receive their salary. With no money in their account, the workers watched as text messages came in from the utility companies reminding them that payment was overdue and disconnection would take place soon.

Residents in the Northern Region of Corozal will Soon Benefit from Upgraded Market & Sports Complex Facilities
The Contract for the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Corozal Town Market and Sports Complex facilities is valued at $721,789.40 and is being financed by the Government of Belize through a loan from the World Bank under the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) along with a three per cent contributed by the Corozal Town Council. The contract for the two (2) facilities was signed by Liborio Vega of LV and SONS Construction, and William Lamb Jr. the Executive Director, Belize Social Investment Fund, at the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF) headquarters, Belmopan, January 26, 2015. The market project is designed to upgrade a section of the existing market of 220 square meters particularly 15 market stalls which were in a dilapidated condition that poses serious health and security risks and natural disasters to both vendors and patrons. The objective is to provide a safer and more pleasant environment for vendors and shoppers resulting in significant improvement in the quality of life for residents in Corozal Town and surrounding communities.

The UDP government's major street transformation project in Dangriga
A major street rehabilitation and upgrade project has commenced at 2nd New Site in Dangriga. Thanks to the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean O. Barrow, almost $700,000 was allocated to fund the uplift of unpaved streets, neglected for three years by the PUP Town Council, to pre-paving standard. For this purpose, a supply of “all-in” or crushed white marl, totalling in excess of 600 truckloads, has been stockpiled at Canada Hill and is now being trucked into town. With the dry weather conditions now prevailing, the contractor for the project, DEC and Sons, commenced work on Monday after preliminary grading of some of the streets. All-in material is being trucked to the streets, spread by grader, and compacted to a smooth finish by roller. The pictures provided show this being done.

Ecumenical Drive in Dangriga nears completion
The Infrastructure works in Dangriga approached a new milestone this past week as the cementing of Ecumenical Drive approached completion. Following this phase, the shoulders of the street will be filled, slanted and buffed. Ecumenical Drive is an important artery which connects the entrance of the Town with the northern-side leading all the way to the Pelican Airstrip. This will make life easier for drivers as preparations are being made to commence similar works on other main streets in the central area of Dangriga. Make no mistake about it: the Transformation of Dangirga is well underway!

H. E. Ambassador Benjamin Ho and Mrs. Ho visit schools and NGOs in Punta Gorda
Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Senator and Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development of Belize has been a resident of Punta Gorda for many years. She mentioned many times to H.E. Benjamin Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), that Punta Gorda is one of the most beautiful places in Belize, and the town has been desperate for development. She invited Ambassador Ho to visit the town whenever he is available. Ambassador and Mrs. Ho accepted the invitation and visited PG on January 22, 2015 in the company of Minister Alamilla. Hon. Alamilla led Ambassador and Mrs. Ho to visit St. Benedict RC School, Seventh Day Adventist School and St. Peter Claver School sequentially.

ICA Belize and Carmelita Government School receive Grant from Japanese Government under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects
On Monday, February 2nd, 2015, Counselor of the Embassy of Japan, Hiromoto Oyama will sign the Grassroots Human Security Grant Agreements with the ICA Belize and Carmelita Government School at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belize City. The “Rejuvenation of West Indian Sea Island Cotton Industry in Belize Project” implemented by ICA Belize is to provide farm equipment to produce more crops in Orange Walk District and valued at $102,029 USD. The West Indian Sea Island Cotton is world renowned as the premium cotton. Though there is a high demand internationally, currently there is not enough production to meet the demands because of the lack of equipment. Belizean Sea Island Cotton industry will aim to be a leading producer by acquiring new equipment.

Shooting at birthday party leaves one man fighting for his life
There was a shooting at a birthday party which sent the guests, including children and infants, fleeing for safety, and 27 year-old Eugene Pitts hospitalized with shotgun pellets piercing his midsection. It happened at midnight on Sunday, January 25, 2015, when the Bowen family was celebrating the birthday of a family member with a party. The victim, Eugene Pitts, who is a student of the University of Belize, and who is a resident of Hattieville, was on the dance floor with other guests when everyone heard the sound of a gunshot. At the time, they believed that one of the speakers of the sound system had blown, but shortly after the shot went off, they found Pitts on the ground suffering from pellet wounds all over his midsection. He was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and that’s where he remains while trying to recover from the injuries with the help of his doctors. He is listed as being in a stable condition.

“Soup” Survives Attempt on His Life
News spread like wild fire late Tuesday night that Jason “Soup” Williams, 36, Boss of the Supal Street Gang, had been killed; however, the rumours proved to be false as an attempt on his life resulted in nothing more than a flesh wound. Williams is home recovering from a gunshot wound to the upper part of the right thigh. At about 9 p.m., he was standing with two friends in front of a relative’s residence near the canal on Fairweather Street when at least one gunman ambushed him and opened fire with deadly intentions. Residents say they heard about eight to ten shots. Williams tried to run from his attackers but a bullet struck him in the right thigh. The shooter(s) then ran from the area in the direction of Dolphin Street, the opposite side of the bridge. Williams got into a friend’s vehicle who took him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Police responded to the area less than three minutes after the shooting.

Police detain escapee but not before he is shot
Police have apprehended, prison escapee, 25-year-old Emmanuel Willoughby. Police were in the area of Arlington Drive in Belize City when they came across Willoughby who is reported to have had an object which resembled a firearm in his hand. Police say they ordered him to surrender but he refused, as a result police fired shots at Willoughby, two of which caught him: one to the right arm and another to the leg. He was transported to the KHMH where he is undergoing treatment. Willoughby escaped from the Belize Central Prison on Saturday, December, 13, 2014. He has been on the run since and police want him in connection to a number of armed hold ups in the Cayo District.

Brandon Cattouse won 2nd Saturday Test Race
The C-Ray Cycling Club is once again inviting all cyclists to participate in its Saturday Test Races that commences at 6:00 am from in front of Leslie’s Imports on the George Price Highway. It makes a right at the Hattieville Round-about, travels onto the Boom Road and turns at the half-way point at the Burrell Boom Bridge and then back to Leslie’s Imports for the finish. The entire journey is 45 miles. Meanwhile, on Saturday 24 January, 2015, some 47 riders participated in four categories. In the Female category, first place went to Alicia Thompson while second place went to Kaya Cattouse. In the Junior category, first place went to Darien Anderson, who won his 3rd consecutive test race, 2nd place went to Shane Jones and third place went to Yan Cattouse.

Amandala

Cop and accomplices busted with BZ$448,000 worth of cocaine
Corporal Martin Mas, of Belmopan police, was busted with 2,800 grams of cocaine, valued at approximately $448,000. Mas, 37, of Belmopan, was along with three other men — Pedro Sho, 27, of Corozal Town; Tom Martinez, 41, of Bullet Tree, Cayo District; and Bernard Che, 38, a taxi driver of Belmopan. They were all charged with drug trafficking. The incident occurred at about 8:00 Tuesday night at a roadblock at Mile 18 on the Hummingbird Highway in the village of Steadfast.

GOB can’t wiretap yet: Col. Lovell
The Interception of Communication Act was introduced on Belize’s law books in 2010 and while it sets out a legal framework within which the Government of Belize can engage in wiretapping—and only via a court order requested by the Director of Public Prosecution in the process of police investigations—there is suspicion that the Government has been deploying wiretapping technologies to keep tabs on “persons of interest.” Ret’d Colonel George Lovell , CEO in the Ministry of National Security, told Amandala, though, that the Government did not proceed with setting up the technology because the best bid, which they got from the Israeli company known as NICE Systems Ltd., was too costly for them.

School children abducted – police seek Caucasian man
A report to the media late this evening that four students of Queen’s Square Anglican Primary School, three girls and a boy, had been abducted from in front of the school could not be officially verified at press time tonight, but what has been confirmed is that the parents of two children had made a missing person report to police, and also that, according to a report made by a child, the children had been taken by a man in a white van. This information was verified around 9:45 p.m. tonight, Thursday. Police sources confirmed to Amandala that the abductor may have been a person of Caucasian descent who is operating out of a white van that had been spotted in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. He reportedly had been trying to lure children into his van, but none took the money that was offered as bait.

White American pedophile on the loose in the north
Residents in northern Belize are currently on high alert since last week when word spread that recently, the occupant of a white Toyota Prado, described as a white man speaking with an American accent, has been making attempts to lure schoolchildren into the vehicle, particularly females, through the use of money and/or candy in that vicinity. We understand that the matter has gotten so disturbing that yesterday, Tuesday, the administration of La Immaculada RC Primary School in Orange Walk issued a note to parents warning them about the overtures being made by the man to children, which, according to the school management, had recently happened twice during lunch time, with the children being photographed and offered candy by the stranger in both cases.

Woman abducted and sodomized in Dangriga
A woman’s worst nightmare became a reality when she was abducted, tied up, raped and sodomized by two men on Sunday night, January 25. The police took the woman, 25, to the Dangriga Hospital, where she was examined by a doctor, who certified that she had been sodomized. Police carried out a quick investigation which led them to identify the culprits as two men, who are known to police. They are Robert Taylor, 22, of Monument Site, Dangriga, who has been arrested and charged with rape, aggravated assault, theft of a motor vehicle, abduction and robbery, and a second man, Shane Bennett of Dangriga, whom police have not yet arrested. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Rodwell Arzu was also arrested, after he fired at police when police tried to arrest the two men.

Man who burned his bedding in ex’s living room acquitted of arson
A man who discovered that his common-law wife was having an affair with her ex-boyfriend and allegedly decided to burn his bedding in her living room, because he “did not want others sleeping on the bed” he had bought with his money, was cleared of the two indictments for arson after a jury deliberated for over four hours today, in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas. As he stood in the prisoner’s dock, Ryan King, 36, looked relieved after Justice Lucas addressed him: “The jury has found you not guilty. They have arrived at a proper verdict. You are free to go. Go and sin no more.”

Police seek assistance to find mother’s brutal killer
San Pedro police are conducting an intense investigation to capture the killer or killers of Sylvia Carmen Benitez, 22, a resident of San Pedrito in San Pedro Town and the mother of three children. Benitez’s nude and decomposing body was found at about 11:00 Saturday morning, January 17, in an isolated and uninhabited area of Mata Grande, about 3 ½ miles north of San Pedro, 48 hours after she was reported missing by her concerned friends. Benitez was found by two men who were in the area who became aggravated by a terrible stench of rotting flesh and went to investigate what was causing the odor and that was when they found the decomposing body of a woman about 15 feet off the dirt road behind some bushes. She was found lying face-down in a shallow mud pond. She apparently had been killed elsewhere and her body disposed of in the area, said police.

Dangriga Warriors basketball friendly on Friday night
School Football / The final games of the secondary school football tournament in the Dangriga Zone took place on Friday, January 23, at the Carl Ramos Stadium. For the males, it was the final game of the second round to see who will advance to the Regional Tournament. Delille Academy won over ANRI by 4 goals to 2. Ervin Ramirez, Eaton Franciso, Dylan “Chris” Flores and Carlos Bent got one apiece for Delille Academy; while ANRI got a goal each from Sheldon Bernardez and Jerome Peters.

PLB 2014-2015 Closing Season kicks off this weekend
The Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2014-2015 Closing Season kicks off this weekend with 4 games scheduled. All 9 teams from last Opening Season are participating again in the Closing Season. According to the established format, the berth for Belize’s club representative in the CONCACAF Champions League 2015 will be determined between the two winners of the Opening and Closing Seasons, depending on which of the two champions has the most combined regular season points over both Opening and Closing Seasons. Of course, if the Bandits should win again, that would settle it; but if another team is victorious in the Closing Season, the Champions League berth would be decided between that team and the Bandits, based on total regular seasons’ points.

Athletics past and present – Bob Lightburn Holy Saturday Half Marathon
This year marks the revival of a prestigious and traditional race that was a big part of the Easter holidays. This race, spanning over 54 years, was known as the Annual Holy Saturday Half Marathon Classic. This race was won by many great and legendary runners over the years, runners like Joseph Carr, Eugene Mushlar, William Mahler, Aubrey Solomon, just to name a few; but the man that stands out, and is one of the earliest and a pioneer in this race, and who holds the record for the best time, and for long distance running on a whole, and whom this race was recently named after in his honor, is Mr. Bob Lightburn, who won this race 3 times. In 2011 the name of the race was changed to the “Bob Lightburn Annual Holy Saturday Half Marathon Classic.”

Tennis News – Youth Tournament, January 24, 2015
Nineteen youths from Hummingbird Elementary School, St. Mary’s Primary School, Horizon Academy, Belize Elementary School, and the City of Belmopan took part in the Red Category and Green U15 Category tennis tournament this past Saturday. With the Belize Tennis Association getting tennis into more primary schools, the participation is slowly but surely increasing, and more children are being exposed to this great sport. In the Red Category, which is played on a smaller scale court with the bigger and lower pressure balls, 14 participants played round-robin style. The top four who proceeded to the semifinals were James Courtenay, John Paul Jaramillo, Daniel Musa and Anthony Rudon. Daniel overcame Anthony Rudon, and James defeated John Paul to reach the finals. In the finals, little Daniel Musa took the victory over James Courtenay in a great match with long rallies, 15-9.

Editorial: PUDP and NTUCB
The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) will be holding elections for officer positions this weekend. These are important elections, because the NTUCB is a very important organization. The NTUCB has the power to challenge elected governments of Belize, even in a political system wherein the Prime Minister enjoys almost unlimited power. In order to become Prime Minister in Belize’s present political system, a system which is dominated by the major campaign financiers, which are individual, family, and corporate in nature, the Prime Ministerial aspirant must satisfy these major campaign financiers that his loyalty is to them, not to the masses of the Belizean people.

From the Publisher
One of my aunts on my father’s side, Chrystel Hyde Straughan, has been working on a book for some years. I’ve reached the point where I am eagerly awaiting publication of her work, for the reason that I believe a great deal of the book will feature conversations with her father, James Bartlett Hyde. His discourse should throw valuable light on the Robert Sydney Turton business empire, and RST’s personal thinking. At least, I hope so. My grandfather worked for Mr. Turton for many years, often traveling to the Gulf Coasts of Mexico and the United States on business for him. My grandfather’s father, Absalom Bartlett Hyde, born in 1853, was a blacksmith and machinist, and these skills became a family trademark. So that, Absalom Bartlett’s sons – Oliver Cromwell, Hughie, and their half-brother, James Bartlett, followed by Oliver Cromwell’s sons – Roland, Denham and Wallace, were all part of a Hyde machine and mechanic business on both sides of North Front Street, between Mapp and Douglas Jones Streets. The accountant and former PUP Cabinet Minister, Joe Coye, is the grandson of Oliver Cromwell Hyde, through Joe’s mother, while Joe Coye’s father, who owned the house and lot at the western corner of North Front Street and Douglas Jones, was yet another Bob Turton employee.

Wayne “Redboy” Uter’s beef
Dear Editor, Belizeans at home and abroad need to be aware of this practice by the Belize Department of Immigration, and the Permanent Mission to Belize here in New York. Please help us spread the news. On August 4 of 2008, we wrote you a letter to file a complaint about the lack of representation/service that we had received from the Permanent Mission to Belize here in New York. At that time the appointed Ambassador to the UN, in New York, was Mrs. Janine Coye-Felson, and Attaché Ms. Sharlene Henderson (current). Today, the new Ambassador is Ms. Lois Young. Please allow me to state the obvious and the facts. The Permanent Mission in New York was formed/created to represent the Belizean community here in the State of New York. The Mission and the people that are employed there were assigned there not just to represent the country, the Government and the interest of Belize, but to also serve the interest of the Belizean community in New York. In short, they work for us. We don’t work for them.

Unauthorized wiretapping is illegal and unconstitutional
Dear Editor, In most democratic countries in the world it is spelled out in the constitutions that their citizens have the right to privacy. This right to privacy is normally backed up by laws that have to do with citizens communicating with each other through letters, internet, radios, telephone or other means. The company that is facilitating the communication is being paid a service fee for the citizens to communicate, but they do not have the right to release what is being communicated without the written consent and approval of the person or persons involved. If that was to be done, the person or persons affected have the right to sue that company for damages. After 911 in the United States of America, this issue became a major issue and is still not fully resolved. The United States Government was trying to force the telephone companies to grant them access to people’s conversations so that they could monitor them to crack down on terrorism.

Taiwan announces 2015 scholarship opportunities
Taiwan has been a diplomatic ally of Belize since October 13, 1989, and for the past 12 years, that country has provided degree scholarships to hundreds of Belizeans while also providing them with a rich cultural experience on the picturesque Asian island of 23 million people which spans 14,400 square miles. Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Benjamin Ho, said at the launch of the 2015 scholarship program at the Chateau Caribbean in Belize City today, that the bilateral cooperation program between the governments of Belize and Taiwan spans four fronts: infrastructure development (such as support for highways and sporting facilities, including the Marion Jones Sporting Complex); technical transfer (in areas such as ICT and agriculture); medicine; and human resource development. It is under the last category of cooperation that the scholarship program falls.

Wildlife ambassador seeks help for endangered scarlet macaw
The scarlet macaw (Ara macao cyanoptera) is endangered in Belize due to poaching, mostly by Guatemalans. According to the 2014 nesting report produced by Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), the Chiquibul Forest is the key foraging and breeding habitat for the scarlet macaw, and the organization’s executive director, Rafael Manzanero, who says there are only about 100 pairs of the special birds left in Belize, is traveling to Taiwan for a week on a mission to get funding for projects to protect them. Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Benjamin Ho, said that when he met Manzanero, he was very impressed by his conservation work. “I was so touched by what he shared that I arranged a visit for him to meet counterparts in Taiwan,” the Ambassador said.

Dominica becomes 4th country to join CCJ next month
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced this week that his country plans to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) its final appellate court next month, February. The CCJ was established in 2001, and on February 15, 2003, Dominica signed the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. The court was formally inaugurated in April 2005. Belize, Guyana and Barbados are the only three countries of CARICOM which have abolished the Privy Council and made the CCJ their final appellate court.

KHMH opens new Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit
A brand new Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit, which was made possible through a donation by international partners of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), was officially opened to the general public today. The new unit – which is inclusive of mammography and integral imaging equipment – is expected to boost the services provided by the country’s premier public health institution, and today, in the presence of KHMH executives, as well as representatives from the Belize Cancer Society, the Carolinas Healthcare System, and the Heineman Medical Outreach Foundation in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, the unit was dedicated in honor of Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, who, in her address, underscored the importance of having a Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit.

Belize’s exports decline for 4th consecutive year
Information released by the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) indicates that Belize’s exports have declined in value for the 4th consecutive year, but 2014 registered the sharpest decline over the period spanning 2011-2014. “Total exported goods for the year in 2014 amounted to $602.9 million, down $57.2 million or 8.7 percent from last year’s earnings of $660 million,” said the SIB, attributing much of the decline to a fall in crude oil sales, by $37.9 million, from $140.1 million to $102.2 million (or 27%). It said that the decline in oil sales reflects both the fall in the number of barrels exported as well as the continuing decline in the price per barrel on the world market. However, the fall-off in world oil prices meant good news for consumers, particularly in December, when inflation actually registered at -0.4%, with an ease in food prices also contributing to negative inflation.

At age 15, girls cannot say “yes”
A 21-year-old man of the San Pedrito area of San Pedro, who is the boyfriend of a 15-year-old girl, is presently in police custody pending arraignment at the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court on charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a female minor less than 16 years old. At about 11:30 Saturday morning, the girl and her mother went to police and reported that at about 11:30 Christmas Eve night, her boyfriend, 21 years old, took her to his house in San Pedrito and had sex with her. She told police that she went of her own free will and admitted that the man was her boyfriend. On Thursday, January 22, her mother took her to the San Pedro Polyclinic after the girl began feeling ill. There, she was examined by a doctor who confirmed that she was 4 weeks 3 days pregnant.

Woman abducted and sodomized in Dangriga
A woman’s worst nightmare became a reality when she was abducted, tied up, raped and sodomized by two men on Sunday night, January 25. The police took the woman, 25, to the Dangriga Hospital, where she was examined by a doctor, who certified that she had been sodomized. Police carried out a quick investigation which led them to identify the culprits as two men, who are known to police. They are Robert Taylor, 22, of Monument Site, Dangriga, who has been arrested and charged with rape, aggravated assault, theft of a motor vehicle, abduction and robbery, and a second man, Shane Bennett of Dangriga, whom police have not yet arrested. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Rodwell Arzu was also arrested, after he fired at police when police tried to arrest the two men.

The Reporter

Police say public needs to be ready in the event Jasmine Alert is neccessary
The Jasmine Alert has not been triggered as there have been no credible reports of abductions but police are urging parents to teach their children basic information and have certain information available in any such real instance, Corporal Hortence Hernandez said. Hernandez said parents […]

Police says reports of abduction are unconfirmed
Reports that four students from the Queen Square Primary School were abducted on Thursday evening are unconfirmed as of Friday morning, as no parent has reported their children missing, Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, deputy OC Easter Division said. Broaster said since the report was […]

US rejects Cuba demand to hand back Guantanamo Bay base
The US says it will not hand back the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of efforts to improve relations with Cuba. Cuban President Raul Castro included a demand in a speech on Wednesday, calling for the US trade embargo to be lifted. US President Barack Obama “does believe that […]

Strength measured in steps
The record for the longest walk around the world is held by former neon sign salesman, Jean Beliveau. He walked 46,600 miles around 64 countries. It took him 11 years to do it all. Walking is viewed by some as a chore or a bother, […]

Chiquibul getting needed attention
The Chiquibul Forest Reserve will receive much needed protection from people who infiltrate its perimeters to illegally harvest, hunt, log or poach the vast natural resources that flourish therein. Through the efforts of an initiative established three years ago between Friends for Conservation (FCD) […]

BNE Trust Fund gives $250,000 for Health Improvement in Stann Creek andCorozal
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust (BNECT) this week signed two agreements with the Ministry of Health to construct an annex to the Independence Poly Clinic in Stann Creek and to renovate the existing structure that houses the San Narciso Health Center in the […]

CWU says SSB at fault for workers not being paid
Christian Workers Union (CWU) President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd this week blamed Social Security Board (SSB) management for what she termed as acting in bad faith, resulting in over 300 SSB employees not receiving their salaries on the 26th as they are accustomed to. According to […]

GOB teams up with UNESCO and IUCN to save barrier reef
The Government of Belize has partnered with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture to get the Belize Barrier Reef system off the endangered list. This week Government announced that it has prepared a draft […]

Food Industry in Belize brushes up on food standards
This week, stakeholders from the food industry gathered in Belmopan for a sensitization workshop on the CODEX Alimentarius Commission, the international body established to establish standards and best practices on food trade. The two-day workshop took place at the George Price Center on Wednesday and […]

BAHA seizes $600,000 worth of breeder hens to contain bird flu outbreak at Spanish Lookout
An outbreak of bird (Avian) flu detected in the Cayo District last weekend has sent BAHA, the Belize Agricultural Health Authorities into overdrive. Over the weekend BAHA confiscated 12,000 infected breeder hens, said to be worth $600,000. BAHA called an impromptu press conference to explain […]

Corozal market and Sports Complex to get facelift
A contract for the amount of $721,789, was signed this week, to be used for the upgrade of the Corozal Market and the Corozal Sports Complex. The funds were accessed through a loan from the World Bank under the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP). Help also came from the Corozal […]

Editorial
An outbreak of bird flu in Spanish Lookout this week may not represent a serious health threat to Belizeans, but it is a serious economic problem. The outbreak is serious for two reasons. More than 95 percent of all Belizeans eat chicken on a regular basis. It is the main […]

OW patrols increase following predator report – Kids lured with candy
Orange Walk police have increased their number of mobile and foot patrols in school zones since reports this week of two separate kidnapping attempts of students attending La Inmaculada RC Primary School. Orange Walk police say they are treating the matter very seriously and […]

Lab technician charged with sexual assault
Albert Genity, a Laboratory Techni-cian working at the Matron Robert’s Clinic in Belize City, was charged with sexual assault upon a woman. He appeared in court this Thursday to enter a not guilty plea and was represented by Attorney, Douglas Carr. According to the […]

Ladyville residents outraged! Used medical vials, syringes and needles discarded on street
On Tuesday residents of Ladyville were shocked and outraged to discover mounds of medical waste dumped on Janice Road in Ladyville. The discarded waste included vials of liquid, used syringes, needles, IV equipment and tubes with dried blood still inside. Ladyville Chairman, Albert Magdaleno was one of the first on […]

Allegations swirl around Dr. MarcoTulio Mendez
Rumours of sexual impropriety swirling against Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez reached a new level of importance on Thursday this week, after Orange Walk Police confirmed that they have received a formal complaint against him. Dr. Mendez is the elected PUP representative in the National Assembly for Orange Walk East. During […]

Patrick JonesPJ

Ombudsman’s vehicle stolen and crashed
The office of Ombudsman Lionel Arzu is without a vehicle tonight after someone took the Nissan Xterra Trail SUV, Cayo license plates B-1719, for a joy ride. The incident happened this morning and the vehicle was crashed on Glynn Street behind Salvation Army Primary School and the Raymond Parks Night Shelter.

Police ask assistance of community over alleged abductions
As of this afternoon, Belize City police say they have received no reports from parents of students at Queen’s Square Anglican School or elsewhere reporting that any children of theirs are missing. Police received a statement, now in fact confirmed to be two joint statements, from students of the school reporting that four of their classmates – three girls and a boy – were put into a white van on Warrie Street, just around the corner from the school’s compound on Armadillo Street, and taken away.

American nurse failed to renew visitor’s permit
An American nurse must serve time in jail after admitting to a charge of failure to comply with the conditions of her visitor’s permit to Belize, namely failing to renew it on expiration. 38 year old Teassa Kenny arrived in Belize in October 2013 and her permit allowed her to stay in Belize for one year, until October of 2014. But upon expiration she did not renew the permit even while she continued to stay in Belize.

Man accused of stealing and selling friend’s knapsack
22 year old Joshua Conorquie is accused of stealing from a friend of his who accidentally forgot a knapsack at his Belize City residence on West Collet Canal. The male secretary pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft before Magistrate Herbert Panton and met bail of $500. According to Ramir Villanueva, around New Year’s Day he went alone to Chetumal, Mexico and on his return visited Conorquie, but he could not stay for long as he had to catch a boat to Caye Caulker. However, he was in a hurry and forgot the knapsack which contained one pair of Jordan brand slippers, one pair of Jordan brand tennis shoes, one Sean John t-shirt and one snap back hat.

Demonstrators call for resignation of Orange Walk East representative
A small demonstration was held this morning in Orange Walk town. According to reports, a handful of parents and concerned citizens gathered in front of the Orange Walkk town Hall calling for the resignation of the Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, the area representative for Orange Walk East. More on this story later. […]

Renovated PG Magistrate’s Court inaugurated
The newly renovated Magistrate’s Court in Punta Gorda was inaugurated this morning in Punta Gorda town. After the courtroom was damaged by fire last year, the Magistrate’s Court has to be relocated and a renovation effort was commenced. The U.S. Embassy in Belize assisted with funding to complete […]

Police say no confirmation yet of abduction of children
The Deputy Officer Commanding Eastern Division Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster says police have yet to confirm abduction of children from Queen Square Anglican School. This is despite sending resources to area. Police are still investigating reports of the alleged abduction and are asking parents to make a report […]

Teenager found; returned to Belize City
The search for 15 year old Amanda Usher is over. Police today reported that the teen who was reported missing by her mother, was located on Thursday night in Dangriga town. Police say that “at about 7:30 p.m. 15-year-old Amanda Usher was found in Dangriga in good health and was […]

Blogs

The Most Beautiful Location on Ambergris Caye, Belize: Tranquility Bay Resort
A stay at “the last resort on the island”, Tranquility Bay Resort, is absolutely magical. 30 minutes away from San Pedro town by boat and you feel like you are in another world. Or that you’ve been transported back in time a bit – in the very best way. Arrival at the area called “The Aquarium”. At night, the lights under the dock attract fish and eagle rays galore. An arrival at the Ambergris Caye many once knew and fell in love with. Where the only sounds are the quiet roar of the waves on the reef, the palm trees rustling in the breeze and, once in a while, an eagle ray flapping out of the water. The 24 hours I just spent up there was absolutely idyllic. I do not exaggerate. Perfect.

Learn How to Make Belizean Conch Fritters
Conch meat is very popular in the Caribbean Islands as well as in Belize where it is usually made as a stew or soup and served with white rice or as an appetizer in the form of fritters. Today we will share with you how to make Belizean Conch Fritters. Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Serving Size: 6-8 people

San Pedro Girls empowered by Shine and OWEM
The ancient African proverb It Takes A Village to Raise a Child definitely holds true in San Pedro. Life is a lot easier when you are part of a network of friends and family, a community, a neighborhood. I know countless people that play mom, dad, aunt or uncle to various kids. Our youth is an impressionable group and not always dealt the best hand in life. It is our job as adults within the community to help guide them forward to making smart choices and moving in positive directions. On Eagles Wings and Shine are 2 great organizations that are coming together to help educate young girls and give them the spiritual and emotional necessities the need to live a happy and productive life. On Eagles Wings Ministries, based out of the USA, is expanding their reach to San Pedro. Since 2008, their mission has been to provide hope, empowerment, and a brighter future to females that have been sexually exploited and to those at risk of exploitation.

“Like a Virgin” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
If I may use the term loosely (and I mean VERY loosely) I’ve been suffering from writer’s block recently. I’ve still been spending my early morning quality ‘me time’ out on the veranda, the western, lagoon facing one with a mug of black (instant) coffee and the iPad. Clothed appropriately – because the mornings (and evenings too for that matter) have been, to say the least, a little chilly- in a sweat top. But , try as I might, I couldn’t think of anything to write about that had a semblance of reason (( I know, I know that most of what I write could be described as the ramblings of a troubled mind but I do like to think (misguidedly perhaps) that somewhere within an edition is a theme)).

International Sourcesizz

Caribbean Tourism Officials Expect Arrivals Growth To Continue In 2015
Tourism officials and stakeholders in destinations across the Caribbean anticipate continued visitor arrivals increases in 2015 following a 2014 season marked by consistent growth. Attendees at this week’s Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace conference issued statistics that detail the region’s arrivals growth over the past year. Overall, Caribbean hotels posted year-over-year increases in occupancy, average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2014, according to travel research firm STR. Caribbean hotel occupancy increased 1.5 percent to 68 percent; ADR climbed 6.4 percent to $194.66 and RevPAR rose eight percent to $132.28 in 2014. Caribbean hotels also generated RevPAR increases of more than 10 percent in January, April and May, and the same hotels also posted positive ADR and RevPAR figures in every month of 2014, said STR officials.

Caribbean Tales Incubator - Program for Audio - visual Entrepreneurs
Great opportunity for the next generation of filmmakers ....develop it, pitch it, produce it! The CaribbeanTales Incubator (CTI) is a year-round training program that aims to develop strong, original, sustainable film and television content from the Caribbean and its diaspora for sale and distribution in the international market.

Videos

  • The Red Hut Inn Hotel - Belize City, 3min.
  • Rumors Resort Hotel - San Ignacio - Belize, 2min.
  • La Perla del Caribe, Hotels in San Pedro, Sarteneja, Belize, 1min.
  • Jaguar Reef Lodge Spa Hotel - Hopkins - Belize, 2min.
  • Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel - Belize City, 2min.
  • Captain Morgans Retreat Hotel - San Pedro - Belize, 2min.
  • Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge Hotel - San Ignacio - Belize, 2min.
  • DRIVING AROUND BELIZE CITY, BELIZE, 7.5min.
  • Belize Diving 2015, 11min. Blue Hole, Hol Chan, Half Moon Caye.
  • Turneffe Island Resort Hotel - Belize, 3min.
  • GMU - George Mason University - Belize Trip 2014 - Student Video, 13min.
  • Early Morning in Belize City., 1min. Belize City. Early Morning watching the Pelicans feed and the Boats roll in.
  • Elizabeth Place Hotel - Belize City, 2min.
  • You Better Belize It, 9min.
  • Belize, 5.5min.
  • SUPA G - Party Insane (Official Music Video), 3min. The official music video for "Party Insane" -- the first single from the upcoming new album! Directors: Ben Popik & Joanna Popik of Island Films
  • Guatemala and Belize - Chesapeake Semester 2014,10 min.
  • Belize - San Pedro Island, 15min.
  • Portofino Beach Resort Hotel - San Pedro - Belize, 3.5min.
  • Grand Caribe Belize Hotel - San Pedro, 3.5min.
  • Barrier Reef Resort Hotel - San Pedro - Belize, 3min.
  • Island Magic Beach Resort Hotel - Caye Caulker - Belize, 3.5min.
  • Orchid Garden Eco-Village Hotel Belize - Tropical Park, 3.5min.
  • Latitude Adjustment - Hopkins - Belize, 1.5min.
  • Thatch Caye Resort Hotel - Dangriga - Belize, 2min.
  • Green Parrot Beach Houses and Resort Hotel - Maya Beach - Belize, 3.5min.
  • Gulf Hotel I - Belize City, 2.5min.
  • Skydiving the Great Blue Hole in Belize, 8.5min.
  • Kimbers Banana Cabana Hotel - Caye Caulker - Belize, 2min.
  • Casitas Calinas Hotel - Teakettle Village - Belize, 2.5min.
  • Mayan Princess Hotel - San Pedro - Belize, 2min.

    January 30, 2015


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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

    TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travellers’ Choice Awards
    Belize City, Belize – January 29, 2015 – Once again, properties around Belize have earned top spots in TripAdvisor’s “2015 Travellers’ Choice Awards.” The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) would like to congratulate all the properties for their well-deserved awards. The categories are: Top 25 Hotels – Central America #8 Victoria House – San Pedro #14 Coco Beach Resort – San Pedro #15 Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums – San Pedro #22 Las Terrazas Resort – San Pedro #23 Belize Ocean Club – Placencia

    GOB to work towards removing the Barrier Reef from the “Sites in Danger” list
    A team from the World Heritage Centre (WHC), in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) were recently in Belize accessing the environmental status of the Barrier Reef. From January 19th to the 23rd, the team carried out studies in order to provide technical assistance to the Government of Belize (GOB) for the design of a conservation outline for the reef. The outline is aimed at spearheading an initiative for the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage Sites (WHS) in Danger.

    The four men accused in Belize’s largest heroin bust are out on bail
    The four men accused of being involved in the biggest heroin bust in Belizean history are out on bail. 32-year-old Jose Antonio Lara, fisherman of Julio Street of San Pedro Town; 35-year-old Heider Martin Perez, Accountant of San Pedro Town; 30-year-old Lennon Leonardo Tillett of Belize and 42-year-old Gerardo Allen of Caye Caulker Village all successfully got bail on Friday January 23rd following a ruling by Supreme Court Judge Justice Troadio Gonzalez. The men were caught at the entrance of Corozal Town in northern Belize on the morning of Tuesday, January 13th. They were arrested by police after authorities searched a vehicle they were allegedly travelling in. Police claim that they found 15 parcels of what appeared to be suspected heroin equivalent to about 40 pounds, and with an estimated street value of $12 million.

    Over 2,600 rounds of ammunition stolen from BDF storage bay
    Who stole over 2,600 rounds of ammunition from the Belize Defense Force (BDF) storage bay? That is the question everyone is asking after news broke out on Friday January 23rd that ammunition belonging to the United States Government and stored by the BDF, was stolen, and more disturbingly possibly by BDF personnel. It is believed that the deadly ammunition has made its way to the streets of Belize. According to the BDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd, a regular patrol at the Echelon Storage in Lords Bank discovered a breach of the holding bay sometime around 1:30AM on Friday January 23. He explained that a total of 1,680 – 5.56 and 1,000 – 7.62 ammunition shells were missing. According to Shepherd, the last time an inventory was made was on December 7, 2014 and was 100% accounted for.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Green Iguana season ends Feb 1
    The molestation, capturing, illegal hunting and the indiscriminate killing of Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) commonly referred to as Guana, Bamboo Chicken, Garobo, Iguana is prohibited from February 1st to June 30th. The female iguanas are caring for developing eggs during these months. The Machaca Forest Station can be contacted for any reports at telephone number 702-2765 or via email at toledo.fd@ffsd.gov.bz

    Coffee plants for sale
    I have around 150 - 200 coffee plants in bags size is 1 foot. Caturra Variety. Price is $5.00 each or best price for large quantities. These are the dwarf ones, will bear in one year time. Interested call 665-0043 or inbox me. *This is a mutation of the Bourbon variety, found near the town of Caturra, Brazil in the 1930s. It produces a higher yield than Bourbon, and this is generally due to the plant being shorter and with less distance between the branches. A relatively recently selected botanical variety of the Coffea arabica species that generally matures more quickly, produces more coffee, and is more disease resistant than older, traditional arabica varieties.

    Mo' Mojo finishes Belize tour
    And that's a wrap!!! Last night Mo' Mojo performed their last concert in Belize at the San Ignacio Welcome Center, and it was great!!! We wish the group much success as they continue their American Voices Abroad Tour with the U.S. Embassy in Panamá! Pictured below Ambassador Moreno poses with Mo' Mojo at last night's concert.

    Corozal Bay Sailing Club Upcoming Regatta
    sounds like tons of fun!!

    Channel 7

    Police Investigate Story of Abducted Schoolchildren
    Tonight, Belize City precinct one police have put out an all points bulletin for a white van which reportedly abducted four primary school students today: three females and one male - all from Queen Square Anglican school. Police have confirmed that they received the report from one female student who managed to get away. She is giving the police a statement right now. The report says the alleged abduction happened right in front of Queen Square Anglican after school this evening. Police received the report around 4:30 pm but could not say precisely when it happened and neither did they have any identity of the children. But, they are taking it seriously.

    Outlaws in Griga! Carjacking, Rape, and Police Shootout
    Tonight Dangriga Police have one man in custody and are looking for another after a ruthless carjacking and rape in that southern town. It happened on Sunday night at 8:00 pm when a man and his female passenger were in a car turning into the Benguche area and someone stoned the vehicle. He got out to see what had happened and that's when two men: one carrying a knife, the other, a gun - walked up to the vehicle, ordered the driver back inside, and ordered him to drive to the Cemetery area. When they got there, the men tied them both up and then both of them anally raped the 25-year-old female. The men then robbed them of their valuables, and drove off in the car, leaving the two victims there.

    Desho Gabourel Convicted of Grievous Harm, Fined But Not Confined
    57 year-old Dennis "Desho" Gabourel, who had to go public to dispel rumors that he was somehow responsible for the fire which killed his mother, 82 year Erceline Gabourel, is steering down a hefty fine after he was sentenced to pay $10,000 for a conviction of grievous harm in the Supreme Court. He was accused raping a woman and then coming back and beating her. The incidents happened more than 10 years ago, on September 19, 2003. The victim testified that at around 12:30 a.m., she finished her work at the KHMH and asked Gabourel for a ride home. But she claims that instead of taking her home, Gabourel drove her to the "hangar" area near to the Belize City Municipal Airport where he raped her. He took her home afterwards, and a few hours later when she went to the backdoor, she was surprised to see Gabourel there. She says that he forced his way in, knocked her unconscious and she woke up bleeding from the nose, with a swollen eye.

    Accused of Making Off With Melonie's Money, Saldivar Settles With Coye
    His political career and personal integrity was placed in jeopardy, but tonight embattled attorney and politician, Arthur Saldivar is in the clear after his former client Melonie Coye stopped pressing a civil case against him. The claim was that he pocketed a little over 900 thousand dollars of her family's money, after it was returned by the Financial Intelligence Unit. Viewers may remember this was money which the Court of Appeal ordered the FIU to return to the Coyes after they successfully appealed their money laundering conviction. This allegation formed the basis by which the People's United Party dismissed Saldivar as Standard Bearer for Belize Rural North. And as we told you at the end of November when the case went to court, it took a very strange and unexplained twist.

    ATM Shakedown Cops Get Off
    They were accused in the famous ATM shakedown, but today three police officers walked out of court free and clear of theft charges. 22 year old businessman Thyrell Hyde reported that in September of 2013, the officers arrested him, took him to the ATM -forced him to surrender his PIN number and then withdrew money from his account. It was all caught on camera - and so you might be asking how come they got off? Well, it seems Hyde and the officers reached an understanding because today the magistrate received instructions that he wanted no further action against the officers. With that, Magistrate Dale Cayetano struck out the case against 43 year old Corporal Reymundo Requena, 31 year old Special Constable, Joslyn Gill and 31 year old PC Edgar Teul and they were free to go. Reports say that one month ago in December of 2014, the cops and Hyde were at the negotiating table working on a settlement.

    NTUCB Protests: Blocks SSB Board Meeting
    The Social Security Board of directors was supposed to meet today - and they were supposed to welcome two new board members, but the meeting had to be aborted because they couldn't get a quorum. And that's because the two union representatives did not show up in protest - and a board meeting cannot be held without at least one board member present. The National Trade Union Congress is protesting because one of its new designates to the board, CWU General Secretary Floyd Neal had his appointment rejected by government. SSB says it would be a conflict of interest because as Secretary General of the Christian Workers Union, Neal also represents and is a principal negotiator on behalf of the Social Security workers. And because of that the Board asked the NTUCB to submit another name. But the NTUCB held its ground and advised SSB that their appointed directors will not be attending board meetings until Neal has been formally appointed.

    Help For Hostel
    On this newscast, we often report in passing on the youth hostel - to say that troubled children have been sent there. Now, they'll have a new dormitory and resource center which were officially opened at this morning. These new facilities are supposed to create an environment for at-risk youth to develop into positive and productive citizens. That's the objective, but based on anecdotal evidence -many of these children end up back in the hostel after they are released, back in the same toxic settings they were taken from or... in prison. Director of the Community Rehabilitation Department says she is aware of this reality but that it only inspires her and her team to work harder with these kids. I found out more when I visited today:.. Anneke Jessen, IDB Country Representative "I think it's very important to underline that what we are trying to accomplish here is important, not only for the young people who reside here, but also for the impact we can have on the communities where they come from and other communities into which they go when they leave these facilities."

    Mother Wants Her Teenaged Daughter To Come Home
    15 year old Amanda Usher is missing tonight. Her mother reported to police that the third form Maud Williams High student left home last Thursday and has not returned since. According to her mother this is the second time Usher has left home and she is concerned because she has not been able to reach her nor has Usher been in contact with any family member. She told Monica Bodden more today:.. Elizabeth Welch, Mother of missing girl "I would like anybody who knows where she is to call me or go to the police station, because she is not going to school and she is a smart girl, she is in 3rd form. I don't know what to say, but I am pleading to public to please, if they know where Amanda Usher is, my daughter. Please contact me at 667-6397 or call the police. She is a smart girl. I don't know what is the problem. She doesn't need anything, so I don't know what is the problem why she did this to me.

    Clinic Workers accused of Sexual Harassment
    47 year-old Albert Jennity is out on bail tonight after he was taken to court after being accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. A woman he works with reported to police that last week Friday, January 23, she went to her workplace at Matron Roberts polyclinic where she met Jennity. She alleged that Jennity touched her inappropriately. Police investigated the report and charged him with 1 count of sexual assault. He was arraigned today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano, where he pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor objected to bail, but after listening to the submissions of his defence attorney, Magistrate Cayetano granted him bail of $5,000.

    PUP Leader Picks Chebat For Cayo North
    Michel Chebat has been installed as the new PUP standard bearer for Cayo North. The PUP's National Party Council chose not to bother with a costly and possibly contentious convention and entrusted the party leader Francis Fonseca with the power to make an appointment. We are told he did so after consultation with other leaders in the west. A ceremony to officially endorse him was held this afternoon at the party's divisional headquarters on the Bullett Tree Road in san Ignacio. The move for the PUP is a no-brainer after Richard Harrison was wiped out in the bye-election earlier this month. Chebat had briefly expressed an active interest in that seat but pulled out before the bye-election to make way for Harrison.

    Belize Scores Big In Trip Advisor Awards
    Today, Trip Advisor released its list of winners for the 2015 Travelers' Choice Award. On this year's list, there are about 32 Belizean hotels and resorts which have been chosen by guests who left with a very good impression. Of course, this kind positive publicity is always welcomed by the Belize Tourism Board, and today, the Acting Director of Public Relations and Marketing told us that a prestigious award such as this helps the overall tourism product of the country: Karen Pike, Acting Director of Marketing and Industry Relations "The BTB would like to congratulate our hotels who have won the awards on the Trip Advisors 2015 Travelers Choice Awards. We have properties that have ranked in the top 25 small hotels in Central America. Top 25 hotels for romance in Central America, as well as top 25 hotels for service in Central America, amongst other categories. We are pleased that they have been recognized because we realize that it's so hard for them, its hard work to be ranked and to the ranked in the world as well as the region."

    AA From LA, Red Eye Style
    And, now, visitors will have one more way to get to Belize. American Airlines has announced a direct weekend flight to and from Los Angeles. The new flight starts on June 6, 2015, on Saturdays and Sundays when the flight leaves Belize at 8:55 am and arrives in Los Angeles at 1:10 pm local time. The Los Angeles flight is a red-eye: it leaves at 12:30 am and arrives in Belize at 6:10 am local time.

    When A House Is A Home
    Today, The Hand in Hand Ministries handed over their two hundred and fiftieth house to a well-deserving and needy family living in Lords Bank Village. The Garcia family was living in a plywood and zinc house which was rotting, unstable, and prone to leaks. Worse than that, the flooring of their house was bare mud, which made the rainy season very difficult for the family which has 3 young girls. This afternoon, they received the key to their brand new house, and 7News was there. Daniel Ortiz reports: Daniel Ortiz reporting Meet Luis Garcia, his wife, Jessica and his 3 daughters. This new family lived in the grey house to the right for the past 3 years. Luis Chan calls it a dry weather home.

    BNE Breaks The Bank For Health
    Health clinics will be given an upgrade with about four hundred thousand dollars in funds from the BELIZE Natural Energy Charitable Trust. On Tuesday, they signed two Agreements to construct an annex to the Independence Poly Clinic and to renovate the existing structure that houses the San Narciso Health Center located in the Corozal District. The Independence Poly Clinic got grant funding of $250,000.000 and $82,000.00 will got to san Narciso.

    Channel 5

    Mendez Attorney Says He Will Be Charged
    Tonight, there is little additional information about the serious allegations being made against Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, the elected representative of Orange Walk East. Reliable information to News Five is [...]

    Michel Chebat is P.U.P. Cayo North Stand Bearer
    There is one more bit of information from the P.U.P. and that is that there is a new P.U.P. Standard Bearer in Cayo North and it is not Richard Harrison, [...]

    Saldivar’s $900,000 Case Settled
    Tonight, there is news on Arthur Saldivar, the flamboyant, very visible attorney who’s been invisible since September 2014. Saldivar was accused of making off with close to a million dollars [...]

    Corrupt Cops Caught on Camera Settle Out of Court
    There is another settlement out of court to report tonight. It involves three police officers who, back in September 2013, were accused of stealing money from businessman, twenty-two year old [...]

    Man Charged for Rape in Dangriga
    Heading south…There is very unsettling news to report out of Dangriga. Twenty-two year old Robert Taylor of Monument Site in Dangriga was arrested and charged for the crimes of rape [...]

    Body of Murdered Honduran Woman to be Exhumed
    Twelve days after she was buried three and a half miles north of San Pedro in the Grand Caribe Estate area, the body of Honduran national Silvia del Carmen Benitez, [...]

    Reports of Kidnapping in the City
    Tonight News Five has confirmed that Police are investigating a report that four students of the Queen’s Square Anglican School were abducted in a white van. That report was made [...]

    N.T.U.C.B. Boycotts S.S.B. Meeting
    The Social Security Board is tonight at odds with the N.T.U.C.B. and had to call off a scheduled meeting of the board. That’s because the directors of the N.T.U.C.B. boycotted [...]

    UWI Hosts Seminar on Constitutional Rights
    Today, the University of the West Indies hosted a forum entitled ‘the Impact of the Magna Carta on Human rights in Belize.’  The Magna Carta is a document signed in [...]

    Bradley says Discussions Critical to Hold Policy-makers Accountable
    The conference this morning, attended by many students and observers, included a distinguished panel of speakers who made the connection between the revered document signed eight hundred years ago and [...]

    Belizean Resorts Score Big on Trip Advisor
    A release from the Belize Tourism Board says that American Airlines will be adding additional flights to and from Belize. Starting later this year on June six, travelers will be [...]

    Gabourel Fined for Grievous Harm
    Dennis Gabourel, the businessman who was accused back in 2003 of raping a nurse then beating her up after he pursued her to her home, was today sentenced by Justice [...]

    Lab Tech Charged for Sexual Assault
    A Laboratory Technician was before the court to answer to a single charge of sexual assault. Forty seven year old Albert Genitty was escorted in court in hand cuffs and [...]

    Belize City Teen Reported Missing
    The sister of Leonard “Ghost” Myers, slain George Street boss, is missing. Amanda Usher, a fifteen year old girl from Berkeley Street is missing. On Wednesday, Elizabeth Welch reported to [...]

    Dickie Bradley on the Gun Law
    Earlier we told you about the seminar being held under the auspices of the University of the West Indies. The purpose of the day-long session is basically to determine how [...]

    Lord’s Bank Family Has A New Home
    A Lord Bank’s family is tonight safe and comfortable in their new living quarters. That is because, working along with volunteers from the Hand and Hand Ministries, the Garcias were [...]

    Musical Instruments for Salvation Army
    Salvation Army Primary School showed off this morning some shiny, new music instruments that they were able to purchase courtesy of Atlantic Bank International Limited. Among the musicals pieces from [...]

    Youth Hostel Launches Public Safety Program
    In late November, the Getaway Youth Center was officially opened at the Gwen Lizarraga Compound in Belize City. The initiative is aimed at assisting youths to safely develop skills to [...]

    The General Premieres New Video
    Mega Belizean Punta Rock Artist, Supa G, is going “mad” with his latest track, “Party Insane.” The song came on the scene last year when Bowen and Bowen promoted the [...]

    Healthy Living Looks at Breaking Bad Habits
    Breaking a bad habit is hard; equally difficult is creating a new habit. Once habits become automatic it feels like we’re just wired to do the things we do. While, [...]

    CTV3

    Venezuela's Ambassador Speaks On Petro Caribe Program
    Belize signed on to the Petrocaribe oil alliance with Venezuela in 2005 and since then government has received millions of dollars under the agreement, money that is expected to be invested in social projects geared at poverty alleviation and improved infrastructure to improve the standard of living for communities in the countries that have signed with Venezuela. Towards the end of 2014, it was reported that falling oil prices would force Venezuela to sell the Petrocaribe debts, in other words, securitize these debts. What this meant then is that the program would close and Belize would therefore cease to benefit from the program. In an interview with His Excellency Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize said the program will not cease.

    LOVE FM

    Magna Carta; Foundation To Support Freedom
    A fundamental document was discussed today at the University of the West Indies Campus in Belize City that dates back eight centuries. That document, called the Magna Carta has been referred to as the foundation stone that supports the freedoms granted to hundreds of millions of people in over one hundred countries. At this point, you may wonder how these discussions came about in Belize; Jane Bennett, Head of the UWI Open Campus Belize told us that it was an invitation from the UWI Saint Augustine Campus. JANE BENNETT “It was a request from a colleague Dr.Hamis Gani who is in our St.Augistine Campus in Trinidad he communicated the desire to include Belize in a tour of the Caribbean countries where the Magna Carta would be discussed either in distinguished lectures or paneled discussions to give the populace an opportunity to be aware of this magnificent document and how it can shape our judicial systems and how it is addressing the rights of human beings to have those rights respected and not violated and so Belize was one of the territories that was selected from around the Caribbean and among the common wealth countries to have these discussions.

    MISSING! 15 Year Old Female Minor
    A mother of nine was in tears this morning as Love News visited her to talk to her about her missing daughter. The mother, Elizabeth Welch, had gone to the station yesterday to make an official report after days of conducting her own investigations into her child’s whereabouts. According to Welch, while this is not the first time that 15-year-old, Amanda Usher has stayed away from home, she was always comforted by the fact that she was at her aunt’s house and did not miss classes … but this time around, that is not the case as Amanda has not been attending classes and no family member or close friend know of her whereabouts. ELIZABETH WELCH “The last time she left was last week Thursday she went to Orange Walk to do some errands for my daughter and she came back the Thursday night and I lent her my key to open the gate and then on Friday morning when I went there she had left already. So from that day I have not heard anything from here up to today and she is not going to school either and none of her friends know where she is. The friend that I know the two little girls come and speak to me because they are concerned too and family members have not seen her either. She went to my sister the week before last and her daughter dropped her out here and she did not call me so I don’t know what happened from then until now.”

    SSB Denies NTUCB Board Representative
    Tonight the National Teachers’ Union Congress of Belize and the Social Security Board are bucking heads following SSB’s decision to accept only two of the three nominees submitted by the NTUCB, to sit on the board as representatives of the union. The SSB, in a release issued this afternoon, stated that they had informed the NTUCB that the representation of Floyd Neal would prove to be a conflict of interest when several factors are taken into consideration. Love News spoke with Douglas Singh, the Chairman of the Social Security Board, who explained those factors. DOUGLAS SINGH “When we negotiate with Christian Workers Union we negotiate with the Chief Shop Steward from Social Security and any other representatives that they have, the President and General Secretary of the Union. What that meant is that Mr. Floyd Neal would be on the other side of the table negotiating on behalf of the employees. It is absolutely not practical to have that same person sitting in the board meetings when these matters have to be discussed in other capacity so that was one consideration but that is only a part of it.

    Trip Advisory 2015 Traveler’s Choice Awards; 20Hotels in Belize Listed
    Trip Advisor’s has release its “2015 Travelers’ Choice Awards” list and more than twenty hotels in Belize made it in top spots. Of the awardees, The Phoenix Resort in San Pedro placed 1st in the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Central America. It placed 2nd in the Top 10 Luxury Hotels in the world and in the top 25 small hotels in Central America. Hamansi Adventure and Dive Resort in Hopkins placed 1st in the Top 25 small hotels in Central America and also placed first in the top 25 hotels for service in Central America. Acting director of Marketing and Industry, Karen Pike, told us what this means for the tourism industry in Belize. KAREN PIKE “The BTB would like to congratulate our hotels who have won their awards in the Trip Advisory 2015 Travelers Choice Awards. We have properties that have ranked in the top 25 small hotels in Central America, Top 25 hotels for Romance in Central America as well as Top 25 hotels for service in Central America among other categories. We pleased that they have been recognized because we realize that it is so hard for them, its hard work for them to be ranked in the world as well as the region so what this means for Belize is that we can increase our visitor arrival figures. We had record figures for last year and so we are hoping that with awards such as these and recognition other travels will hear of our hotels and make plans to come to Belize and increase our numbers even further.”

    PlusTV

    Melonie Coye and Arthur Saldivar reach settlement in money dispute
    Former Belize Rural North Standard Bearer for the People’s United Party (PUP), Arthur Saldivar, and his former clients Melonie and Marlene Coye, have apparently reached a settlement in their dispute over some $900,000 that Coye claimed Saldivar withheld from her when they went to collect the over $1.5 million in cash stored in the Central Bank, which the Court of Appeal had ordered returned to Coye and her family last March, after their appeal against a money laundering conviction vlcsnap-2015-01-30-05h10m52s182was upheld and the conviction overturned. This and other allegations had led to the PUP first suspending, then stripping Arthur Saldivar of his Standard Bearership, after an internal investigation.

    Police had shoot out with rape suspects in Dangriga
    A 25-year-old woman of Dangriga was reportedly raped on Sunday January 25, 2015. She told police that at about 8:00 p.m. that night, she was along with a friend in his vehicle, whom she had asked to take her to the Benguche Area in Dangriga. While he was driving on Front Street, Dangriga Town, he made a left turn driving in a Western direction on an unknown street leading to Casa Bridge, and while travelling on the street she heard a banging sound of a rock hitting underneath the vehicle. The driver then stopped the vehicle to make checks and while he was doing so two armed masked men approached the vehicle. The first one was a dark skin man who was armed with a knife, and the other was a fair skinned man who was armed with a hand gun. The men then ordered the driver back into the vehicle, where he was instructed to drive the vehicle near the cemetery to where the former Putt Putt bar use to be. When they got there, the driver and the woman were both tied up by the men and both men sodomised the woman.

    Dennis Gabourel fined for grievous harm
    On Wednesday we told you of 57 year old Dennis Gabourel, who was acquitted of the rape of his former common-law wife, but convicted of causing grievous harm by a jury of nine. However on appearing in court on Thursday for sentencing, he avoided jail time and got a fine of $10,000 to be paid by March 31, in default three years in prison, and was also ordered to pay compensation of $3,000 to the complainant by June 30, 2015. Justice Troadio Gonzalez, presiding, agreed with Mr Gabourel’s attorney, Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson, that a fine rather than a custodial sentence should be imposed to keep the prison from being clogged with prisoners serving time for this and similar offenses.

    2015 Taiwan Scholarships to be handed out
    The official 2015 scholarship program briefing for the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Belize and Belize-Taiwan ICDF Program scholarships was held Wednesday morning in Belize City. Some 258 persons have accepted scholarships for study in the Far East country. and more than 120 students have finished their programs and returned to Belize to work. Members of that group and interested persons attended the briefing to learn more about degrees in eleven Bachelor-level programs, 20 Master’s-level programs and 2 Ph. D.-level programs at 21 Taiwanese universities.

    PUP National Executive updates on Marco Tulio Mendez allegations
    Late Wednesday evening, a meeting of the National Executive of the People’s United Party (PUP) concluded, and leader Francis Fonseca addressed the press downstairs of Independence Hall. One of the topics on the agenda were the swirling allegations of impropriety against Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, which have reportedly now expanded to include reported criminal reports of indecent sexual assault on minors. Police have made no formal statements and the matter is “evolving and fluid” in the phrase of Fonseca, who reiterated that so far nothing formal has come to his attention personally or that of the party, and they treat what has been said as rumours and speculation, but very serious nonetheless.

    Landfill program to benefit Southside residents
    The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, headed by Minister Anthony Martinez, is spearheading a project on Southside Belize City to provide landfill to residents of the Port Loyola, Lake Independence, Collet and Pickstock divisions. On Wednesday morning, the Minister of State in the Ministry and Lake Independence Area Representative, Mark King, kicked off his leg of the project a few days ahead of schedule. Minister King spoke to us about how the project will work. “Today we are launching the landfill program in Lake I. As you know this year we had a lot of rains and we also have a lot of flooding in these Southside areas. So, really and truly this Is a project that is sponsored by OPEC. It is ran by the Senior Minister in Human Development, Minister Martinez, and it includes four Constituencies: Lake I, Collet, Port Loyola and Pickstock.

    More cannabis found in open lots
    Early on the morning of Wednesday January 28, personnel from Precinct One Eastern Division and K9 Unit conducted a joint anti-drug/firearm operation within Precinct One area. During the operation, searches were conducted at an open lot on Magazine Road, Belize City, and also in an open lot on Conch Shell Bay, which resulted in the discovery of a total of 643 grams of suspected cannabis. The drugs were deposited and labelled as “Found Property”.

    Dennis Gabourel convicted of grievous harm after three trials
    57 year old Dennis Gabourel, a Belize City businessman and taxi operator, was charged with rape and grievous harm of his former common-law wife, but he was only convicted of the latter charge on Wednesday, after a jury of seven men and two women returned a unanimous verdict of guilty in the court of Justice Troadio Gonzalez. The jury deliberated for two hours before announcing its unanimous verdict of guilty of grievous harm and 8 to 1 in favour of not guilty of rape.

    Man jailed for dangerous harm after stabbing
    On Wednesday, his attacker, 34 year old Nathaniel Thomas Jr., pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous harm in the court of Supreme Court Justice Troadio Gonzalez. He will serve four years in prison after Justice Gonzalez agreed to his plea in mitigation, that time served on remand of three years be subtracted from his sentence. The charge carries a sentence of seven years in prison.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Teenage girl reported missing by her mother
    A 15 year old girl from Belize City has been reported missing by her mother. According to a report made to the police on Wednesday, Amanda Usher, a resident of Berkley Street was last seen at about 7:40 pm on January 19 when she went to bed. The girl, according […]

    Infrastructure upgrade at Louisiana Government School
    Bathroom facilities were inaugurated today at the Louisiana Government School in the Orange Walk district. The bathrooms are part of an overall project to upgrade of the school’s football field, which was done with the assistance of the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust and the private sector. The UDP standard […]

    GSU recovers .45 caliber pistol; two arrested
    The Gang Suppression Unit on Wednesday arrested a man and a woman after a semi automatic pistol was found during a search conducted in the Kontiki Area of San Ignacio town. They are 51 ear old Bernard Vasquez and 47 year old Virginia Lizama. Police say that a search by […]

    Attorney Arthur Saldivar and former client settle money dispute
    “Over is over,” were the words of Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington to reporters at the conclusion of what was billed as a case management conference in the case of Melonie Coye vs Arthur Saldivar. Saldivar was the attorney for the Coye family and associates in their landmark victory […]

    PUP installs Michel Chebat as standard bearer in Cayo North
    The People’s United Party (PUP) this afternoon endorsed and installed attorney-at-law Michel Chebat as its Standard Bearer for the Cayo North division. A brief ceremony was held this afternoon at the PUP office on Bullet Tree Road where PUP Leader Francis Fonseca was present for the installation […]

    Culture Day held at St. Hilda’s Anglican School
    Today, the students and teachers of St. Hilda’s Anglican primary school in Georgeville hosted a cultural day at their compound. The day’s activities included a presentation by a visiting group from the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic School in Bullet Tree Falls village depicting the hog head dance. Vice principal of […]

    Attorney says claim against Arthur Saldivar is over
    Attorney for Arthur Saldivar, Hubert Elrington says the claim against his client “is over” after an order to discontinue was filed before Justice Shona Griffith. The parties have reached ab undisclosed settlement.

    Escaped prisoner shot during his recapture
    Twenty five year old Emmanuel Willoughby’s run for freedom from prison ended in a hail of gunfire last night in Belize City. Police say they intercepted Willoughby around seven thirty last night on Arlington Drive during routine operations. Superintendent Hilberto Romero today gave reporters the details of the capture of Willoughby saying that when officers intercepted the escaped prisoner, he had an object in his hand resembling a firearm. Police say Willoughby was ordered to surrender but he refused.

    Blogs

    The Guava Limb Café Is One Of The Best Restaurants In Belize
    The Travel Channel thinks this delightful San Ignacio dining spot is tops! Our regular readers know how enthusiastic we are about the growth of a sophisticated foodie culture in Western Belize, where farm fresh ingredients, livestock reared on rich tropical pastures and fresh Caribbean seafood are being combined with traditional recipes and innovative flair to create dishes ranging from the satisfyingly simple to the extraordinary. A perfect example of this is the Guava Limb Café near San Ignacio’s breezy riverside parks. With healthy taste-tempers such as juicy snapper fillet burgers, herbed roast pork tenderloin, creative lobster and seafood dishes as well as an array of steaks, seafood, curries and pasta meals, the range of Guava Limb’s offerings are as varied and wonderful as Belize itself.

    The Unfamiliarly Familiar In Belize
    We are certain you have seen sunrises at home. What a wonderful moment in time. Sunrise. The moment the religious give thanks and the spiritualist align themselves to the universe. The time when many start preparing to organise the kids for a school day. The time when the gurgling of the coffee thermos reminds us of the wonderful day awaiting us at work; the rough day ahead of us; our daily commute; the day we need to make the payment at the bank. Its morning time and you made it! The latter certainly is most important. There are days when we know the moment has come to begin our exercises. That extra slice of pizza or or those darn packs of delicious Doritos that took advantage of us at our weakest hungry moment – its time to get up and go outside and start eliminating them, but our beds just want to keep us. Sometimes its like we are tied to them and while in any other way we would be screaming, we actually love being connected to the, We understand.

    Choo choo train
    By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. Olivia fell in love with Brian Bain Her obsession grew incautious that she yarned for his fame She did whatever he asked and she did not complain He was even the first to introduce her to champagne And gave her expensive gifts that blew her brain He set her up one day to smoke weed and drink Night Train Den set up his boys fih mek deh beat out her frame She was to be a victim of a Choo Choo Train. Mother burst round the lane Observing the boys lines up like dogs in heat – a straight face she maintained

    Power interruption 10:00am to 4:00pm Saturday, January 31, Belize City
    Entire Belama Phase 4 and Superintendent Arthurs Street. Two thirty-minute power interruptions from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. will also affect the portion of Belama Phase 2 between Biltmore and Benny’s Apartments and entire Belama Phase 3. BEL to facilitate works to be conducted under the Ministry of Works’ Flood Mitigation Project.

    International Sourcesizz

    Transparency? Hepatitis A outbreaks in Belize, UK schools
    The Ministry of Health is working to contain a localized outbreak of Hepatitis A at a government school in Buena Vista, Cayo. hepatitis. According to reports, there was one case of the virus reported before Christmas, and since then at least 20 more cases The outbreak in a public school has been kept under the radar by the Ministry of Health. When the media asked Ministry of Health C.E.O. Peter Allen about it, he was surprised by the fact that the news had gotten out. But, of course, he claims that the Ministry seems to have the situation under control. “I don’t know why I am surprised that the media knows more about these things than I ever expect them to but indeed, we appear to have an outbreak of Hepatitis A in that particular school.”

    Daily Escape: Victoria House Beach Resort in Ambergris Caye Belize
    Belize's biggest island, Ambergis Caye, sits just one-half mile from the Belize Coral Reef System, the second biggest reef in the world. For that reason, the isle attracts throngs of scuba aficionados who swear by its crystal-clear, western Caribbean waters. But, couples in search of romance will swoon over Victoria House, just ten minutes from San Pedro, Ambergis Caye's main town. A boutique, 42-room, hideaway, encircled by verdant gardens, the hotel has thatched-roofed casita suites and plantation-style villas.

    The new data approach that's helping struggling, small-scale fisheries
    With 90 percent of the world’s 38 million fishermen believed to be operating in small-scale fisheries, overfishing and declining catch is a rapidly mounting ecological and socio-economic problem – and it’s hitting developing countries harder than most. The problem is compounded by the fact that most of these fisheries have little or no baseline information to even begin to rebuild the supply of fish. So how, then, are fishermen in Belize turning their once-struggling businesses around? Think sustainable management. Think data. Think FISHE.

    Retiring Overseas on the Cheap
    Top health care and near-perfect weather make some overseas locations the perfect spot for retirement. The American dollar is enjoying a resurgence as the United States economy improves and the global economies, including those in Europe and South America, continue to struggle. As a result, retiring to a garden spot outside the United States is more affordable than ever. Many older Americans are using the opportunities and freedoms retirement offers to move to scenic places outside the United States, and now is the best time to do that. U.S. News and World Report issued a list this month of the top 10 spots outside the U.S. to consider as a retirement spot because of the low cost of living and the value of the American dollar. Here are some of the best examples included in that report: Northern Belize: Although the communities of Northern Belize are set apart, they are also near the point where the Caribbean and Central America meet. As a result, the border town of Chetumal, Mexico, is nearby, and from there it is easy to get to thriving communities such as Cancun and Merida. This part of Belize has become a paradise for expats, so everybody in the community speaks English. Like other spots mentioned, real estate prices are low, and residency rules are easy to meet.

    Overlooked: The Slade Lectures
    Deep in a green jungle of cedar, mahogany and sapodilla trees, in the heart of Chiapas, Mexico, the majestic Temple of Inscriptions bestrides the ancient Mayan city of Palenque. The temple is a gem of Mesoamerican architecture, a pyramidal structure with nine levels symbolising Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. Its hieroglyphic inscriptions recount the remarkable life of the man who built it, K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, the polymath ruler of Palenque, who died in 683AD. Pakal’s tomb was only discovered in 1952: after climbing the steep pyramid face and entering the temple precinct, Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier broke the seal around an unassuming limestone slab. Behind was a hidden staircase leading into the building’s core. Another slab revealed a further flight of steps descending to the crypt. The sarcophagus in its musty interior showed Pakal falling into Xibalba, ‘the place of fear’, through the jaws of a giant serpent. Pakal’s corpse wears a jade mask and bead necklaces, and holds a jade cube and sphere, the meaning of which eludes us.

    Videos

  • A Living Mayan History, 8.5min. A short documentary about the preservation of Mayan culture. Jose Magana from San Antonio works to help preserve Mayan culture.
  • Mata Rocks Resort Hotel - San Pedro - Belize, 3min.
  • Windy Hill Resort Hotel - San Ignacio - Belize, 2.5min.
  • Easy Inn Hotel - Belize City, 2min.
  • Gulf Hotel II - Belize City, 2.5min.
  • The Great House Inn Hotel - Belize City, 2min.
  • Belizean Shores Resort Hotel - San Pedro, 2min.
  • BELIZE COMMUNITY MLK2015 Los Angeles, 6min. 21st CENTURY AMERICAN BELIZEAN PRIDE IS ALIVE AND AWAKENING IN THE LITTLE BELIZE COMMUNITY LOS ANGELES. C* U* N* DA COMMUNITY 2015
  • Wolfs Place Hotel - Mount Hope - Belize, 3min.
  • Casa Jessita Hotel - Caye Caulker - Belize, 3.5min.
  • Midas Resort, San Ignacio, Belize, 1.5min.
  • Season 4 Episode 12 Food Alchemist Chef Sessy with Macarena Rose, 84min. Macarena Rose was my Guest. Reiki Master. Ordain Minister, and Realtor in Belize with Her own Expat TV show. She tells about all the beauty that is there in Belize... She share the cultures and things while we are planning our trip to Belize Dec 1-10 2015..
  • OPEN YOUR EYES TOPIC: THE MAGNA CARTA AND ITS INFLUENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN BELIZE, 47min.
  • Operation Skate Belize, 9min. I was lucky enough to be a part of an amazing opportunity to build the 1st skatepark in Belize, run great skateboarding workshops, host the 1st skate contest ever in Belize and street skate with with the raddest youth and my friends Ariel & Jody.
  • Belize Barrier Reef, 3min. This video is an awareness video of coral reef systems.
  • Carnival Magic Cruise To Honduras, Belize, Cozumel 2015 - Day 4, 13min.
  • Chiclero Camp Resort, San Ignacio, Belize, 1.5min.
  • The Blue Hole Dive Belize 2015, 4min.
  • Belize 2015, 11min.
  • SunBreeze Suites Hotel - San Pedro - Belize, 2.5min.
  • Michelo Suites Hotel - Placencia - Belize, 1.5min.
  • Kama Beach Club and Suites Hotel - San Pedro - Belize, 1.5min.
  • Bella Sombra Guest House Kings Park Hotel - Belize City, 2min.
  • The Villas At Banyan Bay, San Pedro, Belize, 2min.
  • Hidden Valley Inn Reserve Hotel - Los Altos - Belize, 3.5min.
  • La Beliza Resort, Hotels in San Pedro, Belize, min. When you stay at La Beliza Resort in San Pedro (San Pedro - Ambergris Caye), you'll be within the vicinity of Ambergris Caye Beach. This beach condominium resort is within the region of Bacalar Chico National Park & Marine Reserve and GoFish Belize.
  • Vega Inn Beachhouses Hotel - Caye Caulker - Belize, 3min.

    January 29, 2015


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

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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

    Meet your San Pedro Town Councilor Candidates – Part II
    With the municipal elections right around the corner, The San Pedro Sun would like to take the opportunity to present the Councilor Candidates to the San Pedro Town public. As such, five questions have been issued to all candidates in an effort to learn more about them. In this issue, we feature responses from candidates from The People’s United Party (PUP) and candidates from The United Democratic Party (UDP).

    Heartaches of Renewing Our Belizean Passports
    After not getting any attention from the gentleman, I then decided to pen a complaint to your office about our situation, we were then contacted by The Chief Executive Officer out of the Ministry of foreign Affairs, Ms. Alexis Rosado, by then, the folks at the permanent mission here in New York, were pointing the finger at the people at the Department of Immigration in Belmopan, while the folks in Belmopan were pointing their finger at the folks in New York. No one wanted to handle the hot potato or take responsibility. Now, lets fast forward to September 8th, 2014, on that date last year, myself and my wife went to the permanent mission to Belize here in New York (reluctantly), to renew our passports again. Only this time we had to pay $110.00 American dollars (each) for our passports, again, we were told that we would have to wait 6-8 weeks to receive our passports, today’s date is January 21st, 2015, five months after applying and my wife is still waiting for her passport, even after she has already met all the requirements and paid all the monies attached to getting her passport, her passport is still MIA. Even after we paid a $110.00 American dollars (each), to the treasury of Belize, when converted to Belizean currency, we have paid $440.00 to the treasury of Belize, for what?

    BAHA monitors Avian Influenza Cases
    On Wednesday, January 14th, the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) identified a possible outbreak of Avian Influenza Type A (Influenza type A viruses can infect people, birds, pigs, horses, dogs, marine mammals, and other animals) in two poultry farms in the Spanish Lookout Area. The infected poultry were part of the broiler breeder section of the farm and were immediately contained. Samples were sent to a reference laboratory in the United Stated of America for confirmation and subtyping, and determined that samples are not harmful to humans. According to Miguel De Paz, Chief Veterinary Officer and Director of Animal Health Department at BAHA, the infected poultry was identified due to active surveillance. “There were almost no symptoms being shown. We detected the presence of the influenza due to random samplings that we carry out as part of our active surveillance efforts. We constantly are monitoring and testing food products across the country to ensure that the quality is up to par. That is how BAHA was alerted about the Avian Influenza in these farms,” said De Paz. He stated that while BAHA identified the presence of the virus, the subtype could not have been determined without further testing abroad. “There are 144 subtypes of Avian Influenza and out of that, only 18 are harmful. So while we detected the presence of the virus, we could not determine if it was harmful to public consumption. Once the samples were tested in the USA, we were informed that it was a subtype that was not harmful, and that the poultry merely had the flu,” said De Paz.

    Mo’ Mojo brings Zydeco music to San Pedro
    San Pedro was treated to the hard driving, high energy Zydeco based “Party-Gras” tunes of Mo’ Mojo on Saturday, January 24th. Held at the Honorable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Arena, the concert was part of the American Music Abroad program led by the United States of America Embassy. San Pedro was the first stop for the band’s Belizean tour, followed by Corozal Town and San Ignacio Town. Mo’ Mojo band is comprised of five members: Jen Maurer – accordion/vox, Leigh Ann Wise – percussion/trumpet/vox, Anthony Papaleo – fiddle/guitar, Darren Thompson – bass and Will Douglas – drums. Their music is a fusion of Zydeco (a kind of dance music originally from southern Louisiana, typically featuring accordion and guitar) and Cajun (an emblematic music of Louisiana, rooted in the ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada) with reggae, rock & roll, funk, R&B, African, and Latin elements. The songs are sung in either English or French and portray the rich culture of the southern states of the USA. At the concert, the crowd enjoyed rich tunes from Mo’ Mojo, and some even got up and danced along with the band. Concert goers also enjoyed music from one of the island’s favorite band, Rompe Raja, as they opened the event.

    Isla Bonita Elementary students host Open House
    Isla Bonita Elementary School’s upper division students displayed their knowledge on social issues in an Open House held on Friday, January 23rd. The students prepared informational booths on the Rights of a Child, Child Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and HIV/AIDS. Several community members and students from the other island primary schools attended the Open House where they received valuable information on the issues that are rising in San Pedro. The Open House started shortly after 1PM, and well-prepared students presented on their topics with the aid of pamphlets, pictures, and examples. Each booth also created a game relating to the topic and prizes were given to the winners of the games.

    Ambergris Today

    Join the “Say No to Offshore Oil” in Belize Selfie Initiative
    We all know how to take a selfie, right? Well if you don’t know how to, ask a friend to help you learn, because there is no better time to learn than right now. Why? Because a joint campaign by Belize’s Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO), Oceana Belize and other stakeholders is asking Belizeans to participate in a “Say No to Offshore Oil” selfie initiative. Belizeans are being asked to take a selfie that conveys shock, anger, etc. that Government still has not said no to offshore oil exploration/drilling. If you are on Facebook and/or Instagram, please like and/or follow and invite others to like and/or follow.

    Belize Shines in TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice Awards
    TripAdvisor just released its 2015 Travelers’ Choice Hotel Awards for the new year and Belize is up there once again with the best in the world. Travelers from around the globe have spoken and it’s great to see that Belize is trending amongst the best in the industry. * San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, remains strong on the list of the Top 10 Hotels in Belize with Victoria House topping the list and the #1 Island in the World holding strong to seven spots on the list. * Five Belize hotels were listed amongst the 25 Top Hotels in Central America (four of which were from Ambergris Caye.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Say No to Offshore Oil Selfie support: ACCSD
    As part of a joint campaign between Coalition, APAMO, Oceana and other stakeholders, ACCSD supporters are being asked to participate in a “Say No to offshore Oil” selfie initiative. The selfie should convey shock, anger, etc. that Government still has not said no to offshore oil. Please see below: If you are on Facebook and/or Instagram, please like and/or follow, and invite others to like and/or follow. On Instagram, you can find us under SAYNOTOOFFSHOREOILINBELIZE On Facebook, our page is "Say NO to Offshore Oil in Belize." Feel free to post any pictures, commentary, etc. that you would like to share.

    Mo' Mojo in San Ignacio
    Yesterday Mo' Mojo had a jam session with the World Culture Band and other local artists at JJ's Restaurant and Bar in San Ignacio. Tonight the group will perform their FINAL concert in Belize at the Welcome Center in San Ignacio! Don't miss out! The concert starts at 7:00 pm and is FREE! Check out footage from the jam session.

    Street Art Festival: Sidewalk Chalk Competition
    Feb 18th 2-10PM Albert Street

    Reducing Illegal Trafficking of Timber In the Chiquibul Forest
    Launching event (27th of January, 2015) of the EU FAO FLEGT funded project titled “Reducing Illegal Trafficking of Timber In the Chiquibul Forest through a Consolidated Bi-National Effort.” 31 persons attended including partnering organizations of Guatemala , namely Asociacion Balam and the National Council on Protected Areas.

    A Tribute To Belizean Artists
    San Pedro don't miss this grand event this Saturday January 31st at the Paradise Theater. Get your tickets at the Reef Radio Office on Pescador Drive. Come and enjoy this once in a lifetime event featuring great talents like: Ernestine Carballo, David and Oscar Aguilar, Ismael "El Buki" Chacon, San Pedro's very own Natalie Arceo, and Ralfy el Phantom. SEE YOU THERE!!

    Channel 7

    PUP Stands By Hon. Marco - For Now At Least
    PUP Orange Walk East Standard Bearer Marco Tulio Mendez was the main subject of discussion today at an emergency meeting of the party’s parliamentarians, executive members and standard bearers. It took place at party headquarters starting at 2:00 pm, where we saw all the party officials streaming in – all except Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez – who has shunned public appearances since child molestation allegations emerged against him. The meeting lasted about two and a half hours, after which party leader Francis Fonseca laid out the party’s position on the troubling case of Dr. Mendez:… "Obviously we are dealing with allegations. So far nothing formal has come to the party's attention or to my attention. So we’re dealing with rumours and allegations that have been made against honourable Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez. Based on the nature of these allegations, we have heard and received them.

    A Soldier, A Suspect, Now A Prisoner
    Tonight, 39 year-old Eber Navarette, a Belize Defence Force Sargeant attached to the Price Barracks Compound in Ladyville, is at prison after being busted with an unlicensed firearm in Cayo yesterday evening. But it may be more than just an isolated arrest – credible reports tell us that Sargeant Navarette was being trialed by police – because he is a person of interest in the recent burglary of the “Echelon 7” munitions stockpile in Lord’s Bank. Police trailed Navarette into a taxi where they had information that he might be in possession of unlicensed weapon. Navarette got out of the vehicle at the corner of Awe and Carmelita Streets – where police pulled up to search him. Police say that the soldier ran away, and they set chase. While he was fleeing, one of the officers say they saw him remove a black object from his pants which resembled a handgun. When police finally caught him, they conducted the search.

    Cop Caught For Cocaine
    And there is another lawman in the news, this one for drug trafficking. Police made a major drug bust on the Hummingbird highway yesterday evening. According to reports, at about 3:30 yesterday evening police officers stopped a taxi between mile 17 and 18 on the Hummingbird Highway. When officers searched the vehicle, they found two parcels of cocaine amounting to 2.8 kilos, or about six pounds. All 4 men :37 year old police Corporal Martin Mas of Belmopan, 27 year old Pedro Sho of Corozal, 41 year old Tom Martinez of Bullet Tree and 38 year old taxi driver of Belmopan Bernard Che - were all charged for drug trafficking and remanded to the Belize central prison.

    Supal Boss "Soup" Shot (Again)
    36 year Jason “Soup” Williams, the reputed gang boss of Supal Street was shot last night in Belize City, and tonight, Police are on high alert for possible retaliation. It happened on Fairweather Street, not far from his home at around 9:00 pm. There have been numerous attempts made on Williams’ life in the past, but once again, he escaped suffering only minor injuries to the right leg and right hand. The officer commanding the Criminal Investigations Branch in Belize City, briefed the media this afternoon to provide what information they have at this time. Here’s what he told us: Supt. Hilberto Romero - OC, CIB Belize City "Tuesday 27th of January around 9:15 PM, police responded to a report of a shooting incident on Fairweather street. They then visited the KHMH where they say Jason Williams, 36 years, with a gunshot wound to the leg and a gunshot wound to the arm. He was admitted to the KHMH in a stable condition. The information was that he was sitting down at an area on Fairweather street across the bridge, when a male person approached and fired several shots at his direction causing the injuries to him."

    Police Caught And Shot Escapee Willoughby
    After almost 7 weeks on the run, terrorizing residents in the Cayo District, 25 year-old Emmanuel Willoughby, the prison inmate who escaped on December 13 is at under police guard at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital tonight. That’s after police shot him in the right arm and leg when they detained him last night, just after 7:30 on Arlington Drive. It was the end result of a heated pursuit through an urban swamp. Today, police briefed the media saying that he resisted arrest and he held an object in his hand, which resembled a weapon: Supt. Hilberto Romero - OC, CIB Belize City "Emmanuel Willoghby, who escaped from the Kolbe foundation. Police launched an investigation in the Arlington drive area, where we was found as a result he was apprehended and we shot to the leg and to the arm."

    Matura Detained As a Consequence of Willoughby
    According to residents of Arlington Drive – they first saw 25 year old Emmanuel Willoughby on Monday evening when he was dropped off in the area by a taxi cab. Willoughby allegedly told 3 men who were standing on the street that he had just robbed a grocery store in Cayo and had hijacked the taxi cab to bring him to Belize City. Less than 5 minutes after police spotted Willoughby in the area and chased him. The escapee managed to jump a fence and fled the vicinity. Police then continued to search the men in the area and found a cell phone which they believed belonged to the owner of the grocer store in Cayo. The phone was found on 30 year old Delroy Matura – and he was taken to San Ignacio Magistrate Court where he was charged with handling stolen goods. But according to Matura’s family, Willoughby had dropped the phone while attempting to run from police and had no connections with Delroy Matura who had only picked up the phone.

    Police Puzzled Over Pitts Party Shooting
    Tonight, 27 year-old Eugene Pitts, the UB student who was shot while he was at a party during the weekend, remains in the intensive care unit at the KHMH. He’s recovering from injuries he received from the shotgun pellets just before midnight on Saturday. He’s told police that he doesn’t know who shot him, neither do any of the partygoers who were at the house in Hattieville. Today, police told us that because no one saw the gunman, they have very little to go on by way of investigation: Pitts suffered the rupture of multiple internal organs due to the pellets in his midsection.

    Spreading The Message Of Islam in Belize
    The “Islamic State” or “ISIS” – we’ve all heard of it on international news - but the reality of it remains remote in Belize. While these issues do not directly affect Belize, for some, it does affect their perception of Muslims. And representatives of the AH-MADI-YYA Muslim community are here to change that. They held a media briefing today at the Radisson to bring what they say is the true and untainted face of Islam to light. Senior Vice President of the Muslim Community in Canada says this convention – which is the first of its kind in Belize – is only the beginning of a spiritual revolution. Mubarak Nazir - Senior Vice President, Muslim Community in Canada "we're trying to speak to the people here in Belize, it's a beautiful country. We're going to offer prayers for the development of this country, we want all religions to come together because we believe the source of all religions is from god. So we want to get together and speak about how to achieve peace of mind, how to become productive members of this country. How to become more law abiding, how to become good husbands, how to become good wife, good students.

    Pineda For Indecent Assault
    18 year-old Eric Pineda is tonight facing an indecent assault charge after being accused of taking a 13 year-old girl on a date and then touching her inappropriately. The incident is alleged to have happened on November 1, 2014 when Pineda is accused of taking the minor to an ice cream parlor. The girl says that while they were sitting down on opposite chairs, Pineda fondled her leg. She says that it made her very uncomfortable. The girl didn’t mention anything to her family, and it was not until her mother came across text messages and a conversation on her Facebook messenger that she found out that Pineda was trying to seduce her daughter – going so far as to arrange a date to meet up at a San Ignacio hotel.

    Min. Grant Went To Washington For VP Biden Message on Energy Independence
    World oil prices continue to fall and it’s putting a hurting on Venezuela which depends on oil for 95% of its foreign exchange earnings. And while that specter of social unrest threatens that country, the US Government is seizing upon the opportunity to regain some imperial footing in its own back yard. On Monday in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden invited Caribbean leaders to talk about energy security. The US wants the region to move away from Petrocaribe, decrease its reliance on oil and focus on alternative energy sources such as solar. According to US News reports, Biden offered US assistance – with strings attached. He said, quote, “First and foremost, you have to deal with corruption…You need to be choosing projects because they are the most competitive, not for other reasons…we’re not going to waste money. We’re going to insist on considerably more transparency…” And referring obliquely to Petrocaribe, he added, quote, “We’re not here to replace one flawed financing scheme with another.”

    Human Rights For LBGT
    Human rights – that’s what the LBGT community says they are deprived of by a homophobic society. And rights inclusion was the subject of a conference today at the Radisson. The discussion centered on the barriers to all hum rights that the LGBT community faces. But, Executive Director of UNIBAM, Caleb Orozco told us that this human rights discussion should not be confined to the LGBT community but extended to the broader society. "For us this conference speaks to the principle of inclusion and a recognition that rights are indivisible and that rights are universal in how you recognise and approach them. Fundamentally what we're looking her is not a confrontation but an engagement process of bringing various sectors together to recognise that we all have individual and collective responsibilities to respond to the challenges of upholding rights enforcements and protection issues.

    Caleb On Constitutional Case
    And the case that sparked the controversy surrounding the discussion on LGBT rights in 2013 is the case that Orozco brought against the government of Belize challenging section 53 of the criminal code. This code states that “every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.” According to Orozco this section violates his right to privacy, dignity and equality as a gay man. We asked Caleb to update us on this case today. "I'm beginning to feel after 17 months of being the claimant in this case that justice has been delayed and for me that's important because; Here I am, bringing a case to the court and for whatever reason, via administration, shortage or personnel, I haven't gotten a decision in 17 months. More precisely, the delay doesn't being any conclusion or closure to the discussion nor does it bring any relief to the quality of life that I must lead.

    Who Wants To Study In Taiwan
    The 2015 Taiwanese scholarship application period is open. A briefing was held this morning at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel to provide information about the application process and the programs that are available. At today’s briefing, the room was packed with eager and excited applicants and according to the Interim President of the Belize- Taiwan alumni society, they have every reason to be - given that this scholarship provides recipients with the opportunity to advance socially and academically. Those who do get accepted should be contacted in August. Only about 26 applicants can be accepted.

    CSME - Making Job Opportunities Real In The Caribbean
    The CARICOM Single Market and Economy – Belize is a part of it – but where is it really, or what is it, you might ask. Indeed, other than that logo on our passport, the CSME seems to float in the geopolitical ether. But, a team from CARICOM is hoping to bring it right to your front door. They’re here to talk to trade officials about the enhancement of CSME operations – specifically a document called a skilled national certificate. That’s the document which enables you to work anywhere in CARICOM without a work permit – just like a regular citizen. Now, as part of a CARICOM competitiveness project that document will be available online and processed through a free movement desk in Belmopan. Now, if your experience tells you that the only thing that moves freely across desks in the government bureaucracy – are things that move under the table – well, you’re wrong: in this new electronic era, skilled national certificates will move faster than a citizen Kim application with a Penner stamp. Here’s how the expert explained it at yesterday’s session at the Black Orchid Resort:….

    He Says He Stabbed Ellis
    34 year-old Nathaniel Thomas Jr. will spend 4 years in jail after pleading guilty to dangerous harm. He was accused of stabbing Ellis Ortiz. It happened at around 7:30 p.m. on January 22, 2012, when – in a dispute over a female - Thomas stabbed Ortiz in the left side of his abdomen. Ortiz said that Thomas continued to attack him, and he had to defend himself. Thomas stabbed him 5 more times, and the fight didn’t stop until after a bystander intervened and wrenched the knife away from Thomas. Ortiz was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors saved him.

    KHMH On Maternal Mishaps
    Two weeks ago we told you about the case of 18 year old Lucia Martinez - the first time mother who suffered a terrible infection after medial staff allegedly left a swab in her during post delivery clean up’s. Since then, she and her husband have retained an attorney who they took to a meeting with the CEO of the KHMH, Dr. Adrian Coye. He told us he cannot discuss details but that the meeting did somewhat clear the air:… On another case of post delivery mishaps, 25 year old Norma Noemi Marroquin delivered a child at the private Spanish Lookout Clinic on January fifth, 2015. But, within a week, she came down with a severe and painful infection. That’s when she ended up at the KHMH where she had emergency surgery on the thirteenth of January and died 3 days later. Doctors told her husband that her ovary had burst inside her as a result of an infection caused by the child’s placenta being left inside her. It is a case of maternal mortality that has left a newborn without a mother, and the private and public healthcare system with a black eye. Yesterday we asked CEO Peter Allen if anything could have been done to save her:….

    Belize Realizing MDG's
    But the truth is the KHMH sees about 1600 to 1800 deliveries annually and the vast majority go without incident. That’s the kind of positive statistic that the ministry is focusing on as it closes in on the Millennium Development Goals:.. 2015 is the year of assessment for millennium development goals.

    Fill It Up, King-Man!
    For years, a number of residents in low lying Lake Independence, especially in the Gungulung area, have been plagued by swamps and floods which inundate their yards, forcing them to trudge through unsanitary conditions to get to and from their houses. That area, like other Southside constituencies such as Port Loyola, Pickstock and Collet, was developed in haphazard fashion andlots ar ento unformly filled. And so, just in time for city council elections, government has chartered a landfill program to assist those needy residents. It is financed by the OPEC Fund for International Development, and Mark King, the Minister of State within Martinez’s ministry, made sure that his constituents had a head start today.

    King Takes On All Comers
    King also had some boasting to do about the upcoming city council election. That’s because Yolanda Schakron – who would have been his opponent in the 2012 general elections is now running for PUP Mayor. That has King pumped up and beating his chest. Today we asked him about his immediate opponent:… Reporter "The city council elections will becoming up. This may be your first test to see your muscle versus against Cordel Hyde are you intimidated?" Hon. Mark King - Minister of State, Ministry of Human Development "Well, absolutely not. First of all, there is no Cordel Hyde in this constituency, he's gone, his time is up and he's no longer returning. My driver is going to a city councillor and win right here and I organised for that and at the end of the day, I have guaranteed Shackron that I will be the cause of her losing the municipal election because I will bring out the most votes from Lake I.”

    Could PUP End Up Like Penner?
    And keeping it on politics, at the top of the newscast we told you how the PUP would be standing by its Orange walk East Representative Marco Tulio Mendez – at least for the time being. If Mendez is criminally charged, then that could change. But, there is some tactical value in the PUP closing ranks and taking a conservative position at this time – and that’s because the prospect of a bye-election is a costly and complicated one. But then that wouldn;t make them much better We asked the party leader about the moral hazard of ending up in a bad situation:.. Jules Vasquez "Might it not evolve into a situation where the party may at some point have to distance itself for what ever reason, but Mr. Mendez has indicated he will fight and defend his reputation. So could there be the evolution of a situation similar to what has happened to Elvin Penner, where he refused to go any where and just sits at the end of the back bench and reserves the seat for the UDP; Which is very important and also strategically for the PUP reserving a seat and not going to a bi-election is some how strategically important."

    Will Audrey Run?
    Recently, Audrey Matura-Shepherd seems to be on the frontline of every conflict – but will she try and parlay this high visibility, into a political career? Yesterday our colleague from the Guardian Newspaper asked her if she has political aspirations. Here’s her barbed response: We asked Audrey Wallace, CEO in the Prime Minister’s Office, about Matura-Shepherd’s claim that Wallace approached her on behalf of the Prime Minister to become a member of the United Democratic Party. She told us categorically that she has done no such thing, and to her knowledge, Matura-Shepherd is already partial toward the UDP… But as you heard, Matura-Shepherd claims that she is being treated as a follower of the Opposition, PUP – and that was certainly cemented last week with this front page appearance.

    They Are The Champions
    On Monday, we showed you our story with the 2014 Nationals for the Belize Amateur Athletics Association, the first 1 in 5 years. Well, we have been provided with the results of the 2 day competition – and here are some of them. In the 100-metre race, Tricia Flores placed first. For the males, the Mark Anderson was the top sprinter. In the 200 metres, Shanicka Augustine was first place for females while For the males, Linford Avila won. In the 400 metre race, there was only 1 female who competed, and she was Ashtomie Carr. For the males, Mark Anderson placed first. In the 800, only 2 females ran the race, and between them, Ashtomie Carr was faster than Delmi Hernandez. For the males, Erson Moreira placed first, beating Alexander Alvarado. In the 5K marathon, no females competed, but for the males, Giovanni Baizar ran faster than his only competitor, Alexander Alvarado.

    New Ring Road
    Today, the Ministry of Works signed 2 important construction contracts to repair the ring road in Belmopan City under the Road Safety Project. Errol Gentle, the CEO in the Ministry of Works and Transport, said at the ceremony this afternoon that all the government and private sector partners must work together to ensure that this project serves Belmopan to it’s full intended effect:

    Channel 5

    P.U.P. Executive Meets on Mendez Allegations
    This afternoon, the National Executive of the People’s United Party met to discuss the unpleasant and very serious allegations being made against Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Marco Tulio [...]

    Fonseca Says Only Allegations…No Evidence
    Fonseca said he would not go so far as to say what exactly the party will do in the event that criminal charges are brought against Doctor Mendez. He stated [...]

    Escaped Prisoner Shot by Police
    Dangerous prisoner turn escapee Emmanuel Willoughby is a fugitive no longer. He is currently under Police guard at the K.H.M.H. after he was shot twice during his apprehension by Police [...]

    Emmanuel Willoughby Was On Crime Rampage in Cayo
    So why did Emmanuel Willoughby leave Cayo and come to Belize City? It could be because Cayo Police had launched an intensive manhunt for him. Today, News Five spoke to [...]

    Jason “Soup” Williams Shot Again
    One hour and a half after the shooting of Willoughby, shots rang out once again…this time on Fairweather Street on South Side Belize City. Just after nine p.m., an attempt [...]

    Kidnapping Attempts Cause Panic in OW
    There is growing concern tonight over the safety of primary school students. In the past few days, there have been reports of alleged attempts at kidnapping in Belmopan and Corozal. [...]

    Corozal Police Seek Suspected Child Predator
    In a separate incident in the north, which may have some bearing to the incident in Orange Walk, Corozal police are looking for a man who tried to lure a [...]

    B.D.F. Soldier Busted with Unlicensed Weapon
    A B.D.F. soldier is in remand at the Belize Central Prison after he was busted with an illegal weapon and ammunition. Eber Navarette was under surveillance in Benque, and when [...]

    SIB Releases 2014 Stats
    The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) today released the 2014 External Trade and Consumer Price Index stats which show that imports went up while exports went down. At December of [...]

    Dennis Gabourel Guilty of Grievous Harm, Not Rape
    Just before noon today, a jury of two women and seven men stepped into the deliberating room to decide the fate of businessman, Dennis Gabourel who back in September 2003, [...]

    Belize City Man Pleads Guilty to Dangerous Harm
    The trial of Nathanial Thomas Junior, who was accused of stabbing the boyfriend of his ex girlfriend, concluded today. Neighbors had to intervene to stop the domestic dispute and Thomas [...]

    Dangriga Police Make Cocaine Bust
    The following did not appear on the police report, but on Tuesday, January twenty-second, Police visited an area between miles seventeen and eighteen on the Humming Bird where they intercepted [...]

    Medical Waste Discarded in Ladyville has Residents Outraged
    Which of Belize City’s medical facilities dumped hazardous medical waste on a heavily trafficked road in Ladyville? At this point nobody knows. All that is certain is that on Tuesday [...]

    Justice Delayed is Justice Denied says Caleb Orozco
    In Jamaica, a trial is taking place in which former Professor Brendan Bain is challenging the University of the West Indies for wrongful dismissal. Bain was terminated after he gave [...]

    Rights Inclusion Conference Hosted in Belize
    A Rights Inclusion Conference was held today at the Radisson Fort George in Belize City. The event which is a collaborative effort between the Women’s Issues Network, better known as [...]

    Conference Seeks to Advance Rights Among Marginalized Groups
    The conference saw the participation of representatives from various sectors—including social, environment and health—and is part of a larger public education strategy to get citizens to think about the issues [...]

    Over 100 Students aspiring for Taiwanese Scholarships
    Since the inception of the Taiwanese scholarship program over two hundred and sixty Belizeans have successfully acquired graduate and post graduate degrees from Taiwanese institutions and over a hundred and [...]

    CTV3

    Students Ready For BJAT Test, Says MOE Manager
    Fifteen primary school students are today preparing for tomorrow’s Pilot BJAT which stands for the Belize Junior Achievement Test. The BJAT is an examination intended and designed to test the knowledge of students from standard three or fifth grade. Jahmor Lopez is the district education Manager for Corozal Town. “The whole idea behind the piloting is to test the reliability of the items that have been presented and to determine how suitable those items are and so when the final product and package is put up together and administered country wide, the exam unit is confident that what is presented are items that can be done by those students at that level and that they are in alignment with the curriculum that have been covered and so the schools that have been selected for the piloting, the schools are been selected by the exams unit.”

    MOE Expresses Concern About Children's Safety
    And while the school’s administration is putting in measures to avoid any future misfortunes, the Ministry of Education is also involved and concerned over the safety issues of the children. Today, we spoke with District Education Manager for Orange Walk, Carla Alvarez to weigh in on the situation. “Yes we are concern as I know that most parents are and I think that we need to be more vigilant at all times I would say but I see that the parents, because I visited the school where the incident allegedly happened and I spoke to the Principal and certain measures are put in place by the school but also we want to ask the authorities, the police to be a little bit more vigilant especially around schools and especially around break time and lunch time because when it is extremely business and we tend to think that nothing can happen...”

    Traffic Measures Taken By OWTC For Safety Of Our Citizens
    Following a traffic hiccup that involved an infant two student from the Presbyterian primary School yesterday, these traffic bumps were put in place to avoid any future accidents caused by speeding. And while we could not verify who the Speed Bump implementer is, we are thankful to report that the gesture is one that was truly needed for the safety of the students in this highly trafficked area.

    Venezuela Embassador Speaks On Petro Caribe Program
    Belize signed on to the Petrocaribe oil alliance with Venezuela in 2005 and since then government has received millions of dollars under the agreement, money that is expected to be invested in social projects geared at poverty alleviation and improved infrastructure to improve the standard of living for communities in the countries that have signed with Venezuela. Towards the end of 2014, it was reported that falling oil prices would force Venezuela to sell the Petrocaribe debts, in other words, securitize these debts. What this meant then is that the program would close and Belize would therefore cease to benefit from the program. In an interview with His Excellency Yoel del Valle Perez Marcano, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Belize said the program will not cease.

    How Will The Harvest And Delivery For Sugarcane Will Work For 2014/2015 Crop?
    The sugar crop is underway and deliveries continue to flow into the factory despite a mechanical failure experience on Monday. Operations should return to normalcy tomorrow. This year, for the first time in the history of the industry, the harvesting and delivery schedules are different as there are two new associations. Add to that, the crop started late and this leads to additional changes in the operations as it concerns deliveries. We understand that the Sugar Cane Production Committee has proposed that cane farmers deliver eighty percent of their cane in an effort to allow each farmer an opportunity to make deliveries to the factory. Chair of the Committee of Management at the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, Ezequiel Cansino explains.

    LOVE FM

    Statistical Institute of Belize Releases Its Latest Figures
    In December 2014, Belize imports were valued at one hundred and eighty four point two million dollars-an increase of $25.3 million when compared to December 2013. That’s according to the Statistical Institute of Belize and its latest figures. According to the SIB, merchandise imports for the entire year 2014, totaled just over $2 billion, an increase of 7.8 percent or $145.7 million over last year’s total. The United States continues to be Belize’s largest source of imported goods. As for domestic imports, the total figure for 2014 totaled $28.6 million- a $2 million decreased from last year. Of Belize’s five major exports, Marine products endured the sharpest decline of $5.2 million, with over $4 million of this being the result of a decrease in exports of farm shrimp. Belize’s total exported goods for the year in 2014 amounted to $602.9 million, down $57.2 million from last year.

    UNIBAM Addresses Human Rights Issues
    The United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, is hosting a one day conference today in Belize City. The advocacy group is discussing human rights issues with special emphasis on lesbian gay bisexual and transgender issues. Head of UNIBAM, Caleb Orozco spoke to Love News. CALEB OROZCO “Who wants their entire life to be on hold for seventeen months to have the burden of responsibility of dealing with their own personal security, who wants to feel like although the institution recognizes my fundamental rights to freedom as a citizen of this country that there is a delay and as one minister said, in a particular session, justice delayed is justice denied. And so in this we have an injustice here is that I am primarily charged with holding up my human dignity while I wait. I think that it’s time that we consider that the principle of justice delayed; justice denied has some concrete consequence for a person like me.”

    Lake I Area Representative Assists Residents
    Residents in the Lake independence area have complained about the condition of their streets and property following any prolonged rainfall. In an effort to assist residents, today area representative Mark King launched the landfill program. MARK KING “Today we are launching the landfill program in Lake I. As you know this year we had a lot of rains and we also have a lot of flooding in these south side areas and so really and truly this as a project that is sponsored by OPEC it is ran by the senior minister in Human Development Minister Martinez and it includes Lake I, Collet, Port Loyola and Pickstock however I got off to an early start because you know I always push harder I got my contractor to give me an early start before finances is valuable for the project.

    RTA Victim Succumbs to Injuries
    A man who was the victim of a road traffic accident has succumbed to his injuries. As we reported earlier this week, 22-year-old Sebastian Makin of a Punta Gorda address was riding a bicycle on the George Price Highway on Sunday night when he was hit by a Ford Explorer driven by Alfred Mahler. Makin received an open wound to the back of the head. He was transported in an unconscious state to the Western Regional Hospital and then transferred to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Makin died on Monday. Today the driver of the vehicle Alfred Mahler appeared in Belmopan Magistrate’s Court where he was charged with causing death by careless conduct and driving without due care and attention.

    Police and K9 Unit; Discovery of Marijuana in Two Vicinities
    This morning, officers from Precinct 1 and the K9 unit in Belize City, conducted a joint anti-drug/firearm operation within the area. During the operation searches were conducted at an open lot on Magazine Road and in an open lot on Conch Shell Bay. There police discovered a total of 643 grams of marijuana. As consequence of the finding, the drugs were deposit and label as “Found Property”.

    Shooting on Supaul Street; Will There Be Retaliation?
    Someone tried to kill Supal Street Gang Boss, Jason “Soup” Williams last night. The 36 year old notorious Gang figure was shot to the right leg and arm as his shooter approached him on Fairweather Street. It happened at around 9pm. Police believed that the shooter ran in the direction of Dolphin Street and escaped into the night. Officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Branch Investigation Branch for the Eastern Division, Superintendent Hilberto Romero says that the police department is putting measures in place for a possible retaliation. SUPERINTENDENT HILBERTO ROMERO “The information is that he was sitting down at an area on Fair-weather Street across the bridge when a male person approached and fired a shot in his direction causing the injuries to him.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “Sir, did the victim give police any information on the identity of the shooter?” SUPERINTENDENT HILBERTO ROMERO “Well he is admitted and our officers are recording statements and there is one person in custody and at the end of the investigation we will determine if anyone can be charged.”

    Escape Prisoner Captured; Apprehended By Police With Injuries
    On December 13, 26 year old Emmanuel Willoughby managed to escape from the Belize Central Prison. After more than a month on the loose, tonight we report that Willoughby has been captured and is under heavy police guard at the Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital. Willoughby was serving a five- year sentence for Possession of Unlicensed Firearm and his release date was scheduled for December 11, 2017. Police believed that as he escaped from prison he made his way to the Cayo District where he has family in Georgeville. Reportedly, Cayo police were closing in on him and last night, he decided to make his way to Belize City. Superintendent Hilberto Romero told us that an officer shot Willoughby because he refused to surrender. SUPERINTEDENT HILBERTO ROMERO “Police again launched an operation in the Arlington Drive area where he was found. As a result he was apprehended and he was shot to the leg and to the arm.” HIPOLITO NOVELO “Sir, there’s a report that he committed a crime in Cayo. Do you all know of that?”

    PlusTV

    BDF soldier arrested for unlicensed gun and ammo
    In the Western District of Cayo, another member of the defense authority got in trouble with the law, when he was unable to produce a gun license. Authorities say that on Tuesday January 27th., Sergeant Eber Navarette attached to the Belize Defence Force was arrested and charged for the possession of a German brand handgun and ammunition without a valid license. Officer Commanding San Ignacio Police Station Superintendent Dinsdale Thompson gave us more details. Sometime [around] 5:30 pm yesterday, 27 January, San Ignacio Police intercepted Sergeant Navarette who was in San Ignacio Town. He was intercepted by San Ignacio Police. Their interception led to the discovery of a German brand pistol and two live rounds.

    Belmopan Corporal busted with Cocaine
    A Belmopan Corporal was busted with 2 kilos of cocaine on Tuesday, January 22. Following a tip, officers visited an area between miles 17 and 18 on the Hummingbird Highway, where they intercepted a Green four door Toyota Corolla taxi . The four male occupants were searched, however nothing incriminating was found on them. A search of the car, however, resulted in the discovery of two parcels under the driver’s seat and the front passenger’s seat. The packages were opened in their presence and contained what appeared to be Cocaine. The four men were cautioned and escorted to the Dangriga Police Station along with the Car and the suspected cocaine weighing 2, 800 grams.

    Police updates on Hattieville shooting and ammunition theft
    Police are investigating the Sunday night shooting in Hattieville, that left 27 year old Eugene Pitts injured by a gunshot wound to the lower back. They are no closer, however, to finding a culprit as explained by Superintendent Hilberto Romero. “The Investigation has been conducted. Several statements have been recorded, but at this time we cannot identify who the shooter is, and the investigation continues for that. We have nobody in custody for that shooting. The victim is still in a critical condition. There were other persons in the area when the shooting occurred, but again we cannot establish the identity of the shooter at this time.”

    Alleged Gang leader Jason “Soup” Williams shot on Tuesday night
    Police have two shooting incidents Tuesday night to investigate, neither of which resulted in fatalities. One of those incidents took place around 9:00 p.m. Tuesday night, and involved 36 year old Jason “Soup” Williams, a carpenter resident on Supal Street, Belize City. and alleged to lead the local gang in the area. He was in the area of Fairweather Street up from his residence when trouble struck. Officer in Charge of Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) for Eastern Division Police, Superintendent of Police Hilberto Romero, details what happened next and what police know so far.

    Police shoot and capture escapee Emmanuel Willoughby
    Six weeks after he escaped from the Belize Central Prison, Belize City Police finally caught up with the country’s most wanted man, 25 year old Emmanuel Willoughby. They had to use firearms and force to do it, however, as police say they found him in the area of Arlington Drive, Belize City, while on operations. But Willoughby would not go quietly and willingly when ordered to surrender. Superintendent Hilberto Romero, Officer Commanding Criminal Investigation Branch in Belize City, details what took place thereafter. Superintendant Hilberto Romero – Officer in Charge of Criminal Investigation Branch for Eastern Division Police “The other shooting involved Emmanuel Willoghby, who escaped from the Kolbe Foundation. Police launched an operation in the Arlington Drive area, where we was found. As a result he was apprehended, and he was shot to the leg and to the arm.”

    CWU attacks Social Security for disingenuity over workers’ pay
    Payday for workers of the Social Security Board (SSB) is this coming Friday, January 30, but by the standards of the institution that is four days late. Only a handful of the 300 employees have been paid – those attached to CIBC First Caribbean Bank. The issue is the SSB’s plan to implement a trans...

    CWU president addresses internal issues
    President of the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU), Audrey Matura-Shepherd, is juggling many issues as the large-sprawling union continues to find its way back from the low points of the presidency of Antonio Gonzalez. There are threats of an audit of union accounts which we will tell you about shortly...

    Alleged murderer of Panamanian diplomat returns to court
    The case of 18 year old Wilser Echeverria, accused murderer of Panamanian Diplomat Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa Standford, continued on Tuesday. On November 26th Wilser Echeverria, a resident of Salvapan Area, Belmopan, was charged for theft of a motor vehicle assigned to Panamanian Diplomat Jose De La R...

    Missing girl found safe
    On Monday, we reported on the missing persons report on 15 year old Anna Villanueva, a resident of Corozal Town. Anna was reported missing by her mother when she received a text saying “, “Help, I’m in trouble”. For three days the mother tried to reach her daughter on the phone after that me...

    15 year old pregnant; 21 year old boyfriend arrested
    A 15-year-old of San Pedrito Area, San Pedro Town, visited the San Pedro Police Station in the company of her mother, and reported that on December 24, 2014, at around 11:30 p.m...

    Former Youth Ambassador gets more jail time for forgery
    In the court of Justice Adolph Lucas, 25 year old Kenroy Young pleaded guilty last week to five counts of uttering on a false document in respect of cheques he cashed in Belize City and Belmopan in 2011. Those were cheques that he took illegally from Regent Insurance Company. On Tuesday, he was sent...

    Man stabbed in San Pedro
    Three men say they were attacked on Monday afternoon in San Pedro, on the island of Ambergris Caye. According to police reports, 22-year-old Edvin Lopez of D.F.C Area, San Pedro Town , along with Daniel Tzib and another friend known only as “Oscar”, were travelling  on a golf cart in the D.F...

    PUP Leader addresses candidacy of Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez
    In November, Orange Walk East area representative for the People’s United Party (PUP), Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, indicated that he would not run for a second term due to health reasons...

    Hepatitis A outbreak in Buena Vista, Cayo
    Ministry of Healthy officials have confirmed a number of cases of Hepatitis A in Buena Vista Cayo District, enough, authorities say, to call it a Hepatitis A outbreak. So what is Hepatitis A? Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness, however unlike its cousins, Hepa...

    Positive test result for Avian Influenza H5N2 in at least one chicken farm
    On the 15th January  BAHA informed the general public of having detected Avian Influenza type A in two poultry farms in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District.   It was detected as a result of routine testing under the Belize Poultry Improvement Plan. Samples tested by an International reference Laborato...

    Upgrades for Corozal Market and Sports Complex
    The Contract for the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Corozal Town Market and Sports Complex facilities is valued at $721,789.40 and was signed On Monday in Belmopan. The contract for the two facilities was signed by Mr. Liborio Vega of LV and SONS Construction, and Mr. William Lamb Jr...

    San Ignacio Primary School parents want principal removed
    There are reports of growing contention in the Arms of Love Primary School in the Kontiki Area of San Ignacio. On Friday January 23rd Parents gathered at the school compound holding placards advocating for the immediate removal of the principal. In 2012 the parents filed a complaint to the Ministry of Education, who in turn got in contact with the management of the school, and advised them on a way forward. Two and a half years later and the parents say nothing has been done. Inga Guy, President of the Parent Teacher’s Association, spoke to Plus News. “For the past two and a half years we have endured many injustices under the hand of our Principal. After those two and a half years, the parents, we are tired. Management has not done anything to help us. They’ve covered their ears and [are] blind to our complaints. We want a change for our children and the teachers, because they are the ones who are victimized.”

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Landfill program to benefit Southside residents
    The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation headed by Minister Anthony Martinez is spearheading a project on Southside Belize City to provide landfill to residents of the Port Loyola, Lake Independence, Collet and Pickstock divisions to alleviate conditions of low-lying yards inundated by rains. This morning the Minister of State in the Ministry and Lake Independence area representative Mark King kicked off his leg of the project a few days ahead of schedule. King expects that for the next three months in his division close to 2,000 loads of landfill will be distributed to fulfill the many requests made by constituents.

    PUP National Executive updates on Marco Tulio Mendez allegations
    Late this evening a meeting of the National Executive of the People’s United Party (PUP) concluded and leader Francis Fonseca addressed the press downstairs of Independence Hall. One of the topics on the agenda were the swirling allegations of impropriety against Orange Walk East area representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, which have reportedly now expanded to include reported criminal reports of indecent sexual assault on minors. Police have made no formal statements and the matter is “evolving and fluid” in the words of Fonseca, who reiterated that so far nothing formal has come to his attention personally or that of the party and they treat what has been said as rumours and speculation, but very serious nonetheless.

    Rights inclusion conference underway in Belize City
    WIN-Belize in conjunction with UNIBAM is hosting a rights inclusion conference at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City. The purpose of the conference according Caleb Orozco is to follow up on legislation and policies that protect the rights of citizens of the LGBT community and other vulnerable populations including those living with HIV and AIDS. We followed up with Orozco on the lengthy delay of the decision Supreme Court on his lawsuit related to Section 53 of the Criminal Code which was heard in May, 2013 but for which a judgment has yet to be delivered 17 months later.

    Muslim convention set for this weekend in Belize City
    Ahmadiyyah Muslim community in Belize is hosting the first ever convention of members of the community in Belize on Saturday at the ITVETT compound on Freetown Road. It boats of having the fastest growing membership among the 73 sects of Islam which it attributes to its modern approach and emphasis on promoting and proselytizing a pure and pristine form of the religion started by the Prophet Mohammed. At a briefing with the press this morning, visiting leaders said that they distance themselves and condemn the actions of more traditionalist Muslims in the Middle East which have resorted to violent tactics in order to preach the religion.

    Blogs

    Jerry Jeff Walker, Music Legend, Fills Ambergris Caye Belize With His Loyal Fans
    Let me get to his concert, last night, in Belize. Where he had about 300 fans dancing and laughing and drinking and having a grand old Texas time. The “Camp” isn’t just a Sunday event with Jerry Jeff and then two concerts during the week…it is a series of picking parties around town. Businesses around San Pedro LOVE Jerry Jeff’s buckeroos. Everyone was in a brilliant mood…happy, drinking Belikins and more… Later in the evening, musician Christine Albert joined the crew. She is a musician and also happens to be the Recording Academy Chair for the Grammy Awards.

    The Bountiful Beauty of Belizean Birds
    Along with stunning scenery and a wealth of Maya temples and archaeological sites, Belize is also known for an amazing diversity and number of birds. From flocks of migrants attracted to the veritable supermarket of insects and plants found in the country’s pristine rainforests, to the many multihued residents such as parrots, scarlet macaws, falcons and other tropical forest dwellers, little Belize always has a backdrop of delightful birdsong to accompany any activity. But just how many birds do call Belize home? Each year the Belize Audubon Society conducts the Annual Christmas Bird Count to get a rough idea of the local population and visitors.

    Where water meets your soul, Belize!
    Suddenly you realise you are in a new country. You aren’t here for work. You don’t have to listen to trains and sirenes and garbage trucks. Suddenly you are aware of your body and the fatigue that your ankles and your heels have managed for so long on your grind. You came here to unwind. You are truly very tired – in every way – emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually. A perfect moment occurred somewhere in your kitchen back home; somewhere on your commute back home from work; somewhere in the middle of a day that was filled with computers and every possible electronic device on the planet. That perfect moment included two decisions that we are absolutely thankful you took the time to organise and decide. First, that you needed a vacation and, second, that you decided that “its time to come to Belize”! There are a multitude of things to do here. Nine can take you on tours everywhere. From Ancient Maya Cities to Caves, to Mountains to do some hiking – everywhere, even to Guatemala!

    Four Top Retirement Havens Where it’s Easy to Integrate
    “When looking at great retirement destinations overseas, low costs and affordable real estate may be well and good, but you need to feel at home,” says InternationalLiving.com editor Steenie Harvey. “How easy is it for expats to integrate into each country? Do the locals speak good English or do you need to speak the local language? Are the locals welcoming and friendly toward expats, and is there an existing expat community with lots of groups and clubs to join?” InternationalLiving.com’s just-released annual Global Retirement Index ranks and rates the best retirement havens in the world today in eight categories and Ireland, New Zealand, Malta and Belize each receive a perfect score of 100 in the Index’s “Fitting in” category.

    Diving the Long Caye Aquarium never disappoints
    There is a dive site often overshadowed by the Great Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye, but it is seldom lacking in beauty or adventure. The Long Caye Aquarium is sometimes lost in all the hype that surrounds the Blue Hole, but I’ve been on many excursions where it was the highlight of the trip, the last stop, that has occasionally picked up the slack when the previous two were disappointing. An excursion to the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, aka the Blue Hole trip, almost always includes a final stop at the Aquarium. Though you probably won’t see as many big marine life as seen at Half Moon Caye, what makes this dive site live up to its reputation is that it’s often teeming with schools of bermuda chubs, sergeant majors, creole wrasse, and the occasional trumpet fish. On a good day, from the moment you jump into the water, you’re surrounded by a swarm of yellow and black stripes, with blurs of blue and green darting around and popping out of coral crevices.

    Belizean Plantain Chips
    Green Plantain are the best for making chips. By using a plantain slicer you can make the slices very thin and that makes for a crispy chip. Just add salt and serve.

    ATTENTION PARENTS: YOUR EMOTIONS ARE CONTAGIOUS
    To stay healthy, people will do everything short of quarantining themselves to avoid getting coughed on, sneezed on, or breathed on by the sickly. As a parent, you’re probably well aware of how quickly contagious diseases like the flu can travel through a family—nay, a neighborhood. Teachers notice the same thing when they see student after student calling in sick until the class is but a mere figment of the imagination. Research has also shown that in the workplace, one negative employee can spoil the bunch. A negative outlook on anything, whether it’s the administration, a client, or a department, can affect the morale of everyone around. So what does this have to do with families? Believe it or not, the same research that shows how a negative attitude can “catch on” in families just as easily as it does in the office.

    A visual tour of Placencia Village on a beautiful, perfect Tuesday morning!
    In chronological order, starting North of the village at Caribbean Beach Cabanas, and ending at Above Ground Coffee House (yum!). Especially good if you are stuck in a blizzard today. The shore in front of Caribbean Beach Cabanas.....wow. Heading towards the village, South, from Caribbean Beach Cabanas...

    International Sourcesizz

    Texas Bob Marley Day of Action on Social Justice Forum
    In February 2014, members of Houston's growing Caribbean-American and Immigrant community in the state of Texas, petitioned their elected leaders to proclaim February 6 as Bob Marley Day in Texas in honor of the legendary musical icon's birthday. A forum in partnership with one of the city's and state's leading community advocacy organization on social justice, immigration reform, voter education and income inequality, Mi Familia Vota, is a leader in advocating for these causes.

    Share a passion for diving? Head to Belize Coral Reef or the Mafia Island
    Belize is situated on the Caribbean mainland coast of Central America and lives up to its reputation as one of the region's best diving destinations. Some diving enthusiasts come here and choose to stay in a resort while others experience more of the destination by liveaboard safari, either way you choose to spend a Belizian holiday, there's a wealth of underwater riches in this Caribbean paradise. Good news is that the warm, clear water at the dive sites imply ideal conditions for exploring the underwater realm. DIVING SEASON: You don't need to wait for the right season, in Belize, every month is usually suitable for diving. February and March represent the driest months. March to June experiences occasional rainfall and August to October is considered the wet season, represents the more likely period for hurricanes (if you are beginner, then avoid the wet spell). Visibility remains constant year-round, away from the mainland shore.

    MOOCs and Meetups Together Make for Better Learning
    Local meetups organized by Arjan and other partners around the world had a significant impact on the learning experience of Beyond Silicon Valley MOOC students in these communities. These grass-roots gatherings gave students the same opportunity to learn from one another as in a traditional classroom, as Jeff Wofford, the Facility Manager at the United States Embassy in Belmopan, Belize who facilitated MOOC-inspired meetups in Belize, experienced. "Students here gained a lot of insight by taking the time to sit and discuss the lessons in person," Wofford noted. "We had a nice cross-section of attendees, from University of Belize students to Belizeans who had owned and operated businesses for decades. In several instances, a comment made by one of the students lead to one of those great 'a-ha!' moments with another student, and the exchanges went both ways."

    Court: Bain Decision Won't Be Delayed
    The Full Court has promised to hand down its decision without undue delay in the suit brought by Professor Brendan Bain, who is seeking more than $40 million in damages for defamation, arising from the termination of his two-year contract in May last year by the University of the West Indies, Mona. Bain is suing for breach of contract, breach of constitutional rights and defamation. In addition to the defamation award, he is seeking nine months' salary for breach of contract, which he said was the time when the contract would end. He said he earned US$12,380 per month. He is also asking the court to award him US$37,000 for the three months' notice of the termination of his contract. He said the university had only given him three weeks notice instead of the three months notice stipulated in the contract.

    Dominica to become fourth full member of CCJ
    Dominica will be the fourth Caribbean Community country to become a full member of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) early next month, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced. Dominica will join Barbados, Guyana and Belize in being members of both the Original and Appellate Jurisdictions of the CCJ that was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region's final court. The CCJ also acts as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement.

    Videos

  • Drone video: Maya Ruins in Belize, 4.5min. Altun Ha
  • "Sailing in Belize" - Part I and "The Search for Captain John's Dignity" - Part II, 73min.
  • Quintana vs Belize Copa Yucatán, 7min.
  • Quintana vs Belize 2 Copa Yucatán 2015, 13min.
  • Jerry Jeff Walker Camp Belize at Fido's Bar January 2015, 1/2min.
  • Snorkeling Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley San Pedro Belize, 4min. Snorkeling at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley off of Ambergris Caye on the way to Caye Caulker
  • Belizean Cove Estates, San Pedro, Belize, 4min.
  • NORWEGIAN PEARL CRUISE - BELIZE CITY, BELIZE - WESTERN CARIBBEAN, 13min. Belize City is the largest city in the Central American country of Belize and was once the capital of the former British Honduras.
  • Live Music at Club JJ's (San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize), 1.5min. Live music featuring members of "Mo' Mojo" from the USA and "In Bloom" from San Ignacio at Club JJ's in San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize located across from Victor Galvez Stadium and beside Cayo Twist.
  • BELIZE Go Pro Movie, 7.5min. Movie of our trip to Belize and Guatemala via Texas.
  • Carnival Magic Cruise To Honduras, Belize, Cozumel 2015 - Day 3, 24min.
  • Belize Moto Adventures - Hopkins / Coastal Road, 8min. Moto trip down the Coastal Road and the Southern Highway to reach Hopkins for lunch.
  • Belize 2014 Sharptown, 6.5min.

    January 28, 2015


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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

    A wine dinner for the ages with Wine de Vine
    I’ve finally recovered enough to tell you about what a fantastic night I had the other day at the Montes Alpha wine dinner. My hubby works for Wine de Vine (not too shabby eh?) and so I have had the opportunity to learn about wines, and wouldn’t you know it, I’ve got good taste! Montes Alpha ranks right up there on my list! Hosted by Hidden Treasure, the first wine dinner for 2015 was a special treat. Sonia Montanares of the Montes Alpha company in Chile was on hand to talk about the various wines being poured. There were several courses being served, and each course had its accompanying wine…so, after I made the sign of the cross, I dove right in!

    Five ladies to participate in La Riena del Carnaval Pageant 2015
    The San Pedro Carnaval Committee, working along with Flora Ancona’s Carnaval Group is proud to introduce this year’s contestants of La Riena del Carnaval Pageant (the selection of a Carnaval Queen) 2015. This year, five ladies will participate in four different segments in an effort to win the coveted title. The participants are 49-year-old Rose Marie Linarez, 51-year-old Silvia Patricia Lopez, 48-year-old Nerie Itzab, 42-year-old Sinia Catalina Cruz and 44 year old Zeida Alamilla. Organized by Ancona’s Carnaval Group, all proceeds will be used for their comparsas costume and other expenses. The pageant is scheduled for Saturday February 7th at the San Pedro High School auditorium, starting at 7:30PM. The participants will see the ladies participate in sportswear, talent performance, evening gowns and even a Question and Answer segment.

    Education Stakeholders on Human Trafficking receive training from CDF
    Teachers from across Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, and other education stakeholders received a training seminar from Tom Sharp of The Child Development Foundation (CDF). Held at the Sunbreeze Conference Room on Thursday, January 22nd, the seminar entailed participants’ learning methods to teach school children about abuse and human trafficking. Apart from gaining valuable experience, the participating teachers were also awarded credits by the Teacher Education Development Services of the Ministry of Education. CDF is a Christian non-profit organization with aims of addressing the growing issue of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in Belize. Sharp explained that at many times, teachers find it challenging to talk to children about these subjects, especially the younger students. The seminar sensitized educators on the proper methods of addressing these topics.

    Saga hosts Southern Comfort Food Cook-off
    Saga Humane Society supporters gorged themselves on the best of southern comfort food at the first cook-off of 2015. Hosted at SandBar on Thursday, January 22nd, the fundraising event saw 10 food entries. The monthly cook-off raises much needed funds for Saga’s Spay/Neuter Initiative Program (SNIP) Campaign. Dishes ranged from chicken soup with grilled cheese sandwiches to southern classics with a twist like chorizo mac & cheese. For a contribution of only $15, attendees got to sample all the dishes. For the cost of $25, VIP guests skipped the line and got their plate of food delivered to their table! The tasting dishes included: Nancy Nida’s chicken soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, Ray’s Big Dog’s peel n eat shrimp, Lick’s plantain and conch fritters, Heather Smith’s hash brown casserole, Di Vu’s gumbo and southern comfort apple pie, Cori Sterrenberg’s chorizo mac & cheese, Letty Hernandez’s scalloped potatoes, SandBar’s cheddar potato casserole, Parker Ault’s hush puppies, and Ice & Beans’ donuts.

    Ambergris Today

    Government Pledges to Remove Belize’s Barrier Reef from World Heritage in Danger List
    Following a week-long constructive discussion with UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and IUCN, the Government of Belize agreed to start talks on critical conservation challenges related positive to the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef from the World Heritage List in Danger. From January 19-23, 2015, UNESCO's World Heritage Center, in cooperation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), undertook a technical support mission to Belize with the objective of assisting the Government in its efforts to prepare a road map for the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

    Isla Bonita Elementary Holds Open Day Exhibition
    The upper division students of Isla Bonita Elementary School held an open day educational exhition on Friday, Janurary 23, 2015. The exhibits were open to the public and other schools on the island. It was very well attended and booths/displays from the students of Std. 5 and Std. 6 classes included information on the following topics: Rights of a Child, Child Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, STI's (Sexually Transmitted Infections), HIV/AIDS.

    Mrs. Reina Del Carnaval to Liven up Celebrations Again
    After a very, very, very successful Mrs. Reina Del Carnaval that was held for the very first time last year in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, the island is ready for another great pageant. This week, five contestants have been announced for the second annual pageant that will be held during the San Pedro, Carnaval Festivities. Set to be held at the R. Angel Auditorium on February 7, 2015, five contestants will grace the stage with slapstick humor that characterizes the spirit and celebration of the traditional Carnaval of San Pedro. The Mrs. Reina del Carnaval Pageant is organized by Mrs. Flora Ancona’s Comparsa Group that year after year entertains during the three days of street dancing of Carnaval. The pageant contestants are older women (Mrs.) who prove that beauty comes in all ages. 1. Silvia Patricia Lopez, 2. Neri Itzab, 3. Sinia Cruz, 4. Rose Marie Linarez, 5. Zeida Alamilla

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    THE BUA ENDORSEMENT OF VIP 7 FOR THE BELMOPAN TOWN COUNCIL SLATE
    In preparation for the upcoming Belmopan municipal elections, the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) movement has put forth its full slate of candidates headed by Mayoral Candidate - Hubert Enriquez along with six Councillor Candidates, namely: Paul Morgan, Landy Cal, Kamil Espat, Clement Estrada, Eudell Bennett and Henry Dueck. In keeping with the BUA’s three, fundamental functions which include: (1) To provide support for alternative political parties and independent candidates, (2) To endorse alternative parties and candidates in local and national elections and (3) To advance the growth of the democratic process in Belize by means of education,the BUA endorses the VIP 7, slate of candidates. Our endorsement of this dynamic team stems from the acknowledgement that the VIP shares our core values attributed to good governance principles and is committed to making substantive changes through political and social action. The hallmarks of:responsibility, accountability and transparency are the foundations of this bond.

    New Dormitory and Resource and Visitor’s Center Opens at Youth Hostel
    A new Dormitory Facility and Resource and Visitor’s Center will be officially opened on January 29th , 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Youth Hostel Facility at Mile 21 ½ on the George Price Highway. Remarks will be provided by Hon. Mark King, Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation and Ms. Anneke Jessen, IDB Representative in Belize. Brief presentations will be done by the youths currently residing at the facility. The New Dormitory Facility and Resource and Visitor’s Center is an initiative under the Community Action for Public Safety (CAPS) Project which is funded through a loan facility between the Government of Belize and the Inter-American Development Bank. The project is being executed by the Project Execution Unit of the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.

    Mo'Mojo off to San Ignacio!
    Mo'Mojo had a blast in Corozal. They visited Santa Rita and had an excellent concert last night! Now they are headed to San Ignacio for the final leg of their tip in Belize. See you at the concert tomorrow night!

    Belize agrees to Chart Road Map solving Critical Conservation Issues to remove Belize Barrier Reef from Danger List
    Following a week-long constructive discussion with UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and IUCN, the government of Belize agreed to start talks on critical conservation challenges related to the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef from the World Heritage List in Danger. From 19-23 January 2015, UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, in cooperation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), undertook a technical support mission to Belize with the objective of assisting the government in its efforts to prepare a road map for the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Honorable Prime Minister Dean Barrow welcomed the UNESCO representatives and expressed his willingness to chart a course forward on key management requirements for a sustainable future for the reef. Prime Minister Barrow confirmed government’s policy position to prohibit oil exploitation within and adjacent to the protected areas in the Belize Barrier Reef System.

    Tourism Minister bails man charged with possession of drugs
    Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia bailed a man charged with posession of cannabis. On Saturday, January 17th at approximately 6:20 p.m., San Pedro Police on patrol at the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets, noticed a man in a white T-shirt and a green short pants standing on Chicken Street and walking around a tank in the area. He handed something to a person who had approached him. Police conducted a search on the male person, however, nothing incriminating was found on him. A search was then conducted around the tank where police found a black plastic bag containing green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. The suspected cannabis along with the accused person was taken to San Pedro Police Station where he was identified as 43-year-old Edward Jones of Tarpon Street. The suspected cannabis was weighed and amounted to 8 grams. Police then arrested and charged Jones for the offence of Possession of Controlled Drugs.

    Booths are available for the Carnaval Fiesta! Block Party on Friday, February 13th, at the Central Park!
    We will have prizes for the Best Carnaval Inspired Booth, Best Carnaval Inspired Drink and Best Carnaval Inspired Food! You can sign up by visiting the San Pedro Town Council's office, by phone (226-2936) or by sending us a message on facebook. SIGN UP NOW!

    Museum of Belize, A Year in Review

    Channel 7

    Minors Make Complaints About Hon. Marco Tulio Mendez
    Orange Walk East Representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez is facing charges of child molestation tonight. First off, because minors are involved, we cannot go into details about his relationship with the accusers. But we can say definitively that today two children in the company of a female adult went to the Department of Social Services Office in Orange Walk Town to make a report that Mendez had inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with them. Credible reports tells us that the allegations are being made by two teenaged females who allege that the inappropriate contact started some years ago - before the age of consent. We were reliably informed this evening that the matter has been turned over to police for a criminal investigation. Sources tell us that it is possible that charges at least of indecent assault will be brought against Mendez. Indecent assault is the charge employed when there has been fondling but not penetration.

    SSB Workers Still Not Paid: Christian Workers Blame It On CWU
    300 employees from Social Security still haven't gotten paid their end of month salary. For the 33 years that Social Security has been established, workers always get their end of month pay on the 26th of the month - but this week, history has been made. It's caused a major inconvenience for the employees because all of their bills and other financial commitments have been scheduled around that 26th pay date. Right now, there is a lot of finger pointing between the Management of SSB and the Christian Worker's Union. We've been following the story since last week Friday, and what both sides agree on is that the management of Social Security decided to roll out what is called a "transitional increment" to reward employees for their high level of performance. It was to replace the bonus that each employee gets in March after they're assessed by Key Performance Indicators (KPI) system.

    Shooting Victim Pitts Stable, In Intensive Care
    27 year old Eugene Pitts remains in a stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of the KHMH this evening. As we reported, he was at a party in Hattieville on Friday night when he was shot in the back with a shotgun. The pellets penetrated his midsection and caused a variety of injuries to his internal organs. We are told he is in a stable condition and despite his injuries, his prognosis is encouraging.

    Forger Asks Court For Leniency; He Wants To Be A Lawyer
    25 year-old Kenroy Young, who is already serving prison time is spending the first night of an additional 5 year prison sentence for forgery related offences. That's the sentence that Justice Adolph Lucas gave him after considering his guilty plea, and his mitigation plea for a lesser sentence, declaring his wish to study law after being released. Young was charged with 19 counts of uttering upon a false documents dating back from November 5 to November 13 of 2008. When his case was called up for trial last week Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to 5 of the 19 counts and asked the court to forgo a trial. The rest were then withdrawn by the prosecutor, Crown Counsel Portia Staine, on the premise that the other counts are in relation to the same sums of money which he stole, $15,750.

    What's The Chik-V Verdict?
    The last time we reported on Chikungunya in Belize was in November, when CARPHA, the Caribbean Public Health Agency confirmed the first case - which came out of Las Flores in Belmopan. We know that other samples were pending verification, but since then, we haven't really heard anything. So did Chik-V just go away? Today the CEO in the Ministry of Health told us that it kinda did!:... Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Health "As you know while there was real chaos in Jamaica and actually a state of emergency was declared in Surinam, our people linked with the community actions of member of the community throughout the country, were able to limit the number of confirm Chik-V cases to less than 10 for last year." Jules Vasquez "Sir, I have a healthy skepticism on Chik-V situation, are you able to say specifically, how many samples were sent to CARPHA for testing? How many were confirmed as negative or positive from CARPHA?"

    Avian Infuenza Causing Poultry Farm Losses
    Two weeks ago we reported on the poultry samples from two farms in Spanish lookout that were tested for avian influenza. Well the results are in and the samples have tested positive for Avian Influenza antibodies. But don't fret, your chicken and eggs are safe! A press briefing was held today to reassure the public that: 1.) the actual full-blown virus has not been detected in the samples - so there is no cause for alarm and 2.) The results of this test will not impact supply or price of chicken and eggs. Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Miguel Depaz outlines some of the key measures put in place to ensure that these cases are contained.

    Woman Alleges Special Branch Abuse; Commander Says No
    We often report on allegations of police and GSU brutality but tonight we have complaints about the Special Branch Unit's new secret strike team. 39 year old Belama resident Shelmodine Panting came to our studios this morning all shook up. Panting says that members of the Special Branch Unit broke down her front door for no reason last night. No one was at her home at the time of the incident and according to her neighbors, the officers were demanding to see Panting. Here is her story. Voice of; Shelmodine Panting, Police Destroyed Property "I got the call after 10pm last night at Belama from the neighbor. I had at least 4-5 miscalls and so U decide to call back one of the number and the lady Ms. Georgia, my neighbor in front of me, told me that the police stomped down my door. After that my daughter call me and says that she is leaving from work now because she got to understand that police stomped down the door. She got the call from the same neighbor. When I reached there the neighbors were alarm, they (police) was on the rooftop and firing shots. They were firing shots I don't know at who, but I guess somebody they were firing shot after or they were chasing somebody. According to the neighbors, they came in 3-4 vehicles."

    New Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit At KHMH
    The KHMH opened its breast cancer diagnostic unit today. It's the product of a generous donation of mammography equipment and technical assistance from the Carolinas Healthcare System. We found out more at the handing over today:.. Dr. Lisa Johnson, DMS - KHMH "The donation of the Lorad M-IV Series Mammography Unit, with workstation and storage capacity, a reader, the ultrasound machine and the Mammotome Biopsy System, is worth something in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand US dollars."

    When Will Belize Have A National Museum?
    In Belize, it's highly unlikely to find 'a trip to the museum' on someone's list of things to do or places to go. Well, NICH along with other stakeholders are trying to change that by drafting a master plan to construct a state of the art National Museum. Today a forum was held at the House of Culture to discuss key elements and features that can inspire Belizeans to visit. A master plan of the museum will be presented to NICH by the Lord Cultural Resources organization in September. If all goes as planned this time around - the Museum will be built in Belmopan on ten acres set aside by the Belmopan City Council - since the last plot - beside social security was sold right before the 2008 elections.

    Matura-Shepherd Lashes Out At Port CEO
    Last week, we showed you our interview with Arturo "Tux" Vasquez, the CEO of the Port of Belize, in which he reacted to the comments made by Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President of the Christian Workers Union. She says that the union will be going back to the beginning of the bargaining process for the Stevedores, because their position is that the former executives of the union, Antonio Gonzalez and James McFoy, supposedly misled the bargaining process. That has caused some concern for the Port's current management since certain agreements were already reached. Vasquez believes that it is unreasonable to scrap all that progress and go way back to the beginning. Today, the CWU president was asked to comment on the response from Vasquez and she didn't mince words:

    Still With The Mandamus
    Matura-Shepherd is still the attorney of cane farmer Lucilo Teck, who is seeking a Mandamus against the Sugar Industries Control Board. Now, you will remember that the season finally opened yesterday at 10 a.m. That was only possible after the Sugar Industries Control Board declared the season open. So, if you're thinking that the Mandamus case is now inconsequential, we thought so too, since there is no need to compel an action which has already been taken. Matura-Shepherd says that acting as attorney, she will press the case nevertheless: "We filed the substantive claim before a crop grinding season was declared open, but that does not nullify our application before the court, because if you were in court you will hear that one of the complaint that they had about our application, was that it went beyond a mandamus, where we were seeking certain declarations.

    Channel 5

    P.U.P. Leader Speaks on Allegations against Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez
    Where is Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez? That’s the question everybody’s asking after some very serious and disturbing allegations about the P.U.P. Area Representative in Orange Walk East spread like wildfire [...]

    K.H.M.H. C.E.O. Gives Update on Case of Lucia Martinez
    Most Belizeans, or at least those who watch the news, are likely family with the case of Lucia Martinez. Eighteen year old Martinez had her first child at the K.H.M.H. [...]

    Hepatitis Outbreak in the West
    Today, the Ministry of Health is working to contain a localized outbreak of Hepatitis A at a government school in Buena Vista, Cayo. According to reports, there was one case [...]

    CWU Investigates Alleged Misappropriation of Union Funds by Past Executive
    CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd has been in the news more often lately than she has been out of it. Currently the union is embroiled in a Collective Bargaining Agreement dispute [...]

    Audrey Matura-Shepherd Reveals Who Has Asked Her to Run for Office
    Matura-Shepherd was also asked about her political future. It’s become the propaganda of choice for the United Democratic Party, which for weeks has been claiming that Matura-Shepherd has been compromised [...]

    Is Wiretapping a Reality in Belize?
    Has the Government of Belize secured highly trained Israeli surveillance team to monitor phone conversations and text messages? For some time now, several reports have been claiming that this is [...]

    Why Did the Cleopatra White Health Center Close Down on Friday?
    Last week Friday, the Cleopatra White Polyclinic closed its doors and sent waiting patients home. That’s because there was somebody waiting for attention with an open abscess which ruptured right [...]

    What’s the Deal with the Deputy Director of Health Services?
    And from matters of health and infection to matters of internal politics…Doctor Allen has certainly seen his share of controversy and contention. Right now he’s dealing with a vacant post [...]

    From Internal Politics to Corruption…C.E.O. on Health Audits
    And from internal politics to corruption…last year after audits of the Punta Gorda Polyclinic and the Dangriga Polyclinic administrators of both were let go. The audits allegedly turned up evidence [...]

    Belize City Man Sentenced for Forgery
    Once a Belize Youth Ambassador to the United Nations, twenty-five year old Kenroy Young was sentenced to prison for forgery. The U.B. graduate has been serving a seven year sentence [...]

    Ryon King – Not Guilty of Arson
    A jury found thirty-six year old Ryon King not guilty of arson this afternoon. Back in February 2010, King’s then common-law wife Kendra Pennil accused him of setting her mattress [...]

    Missing Corozal Girl Found
    Corozal teen Ana Villanueva has been found. Corozal police say the fifteen year old is now safe and in good health. We told you on Monday night that the fifteen [...]

    Carnal Knowledge in the West and San Pedro
    Tonight the brothers from Calla Creek, who allegedly had sexual intercourse with a teen who is now pregnant, are in police custody.  Police arrested and charged twenty-five year old Maysin [...]

    Avian Flu Confirmed in One Poultry Farm in the West
    Today at the conference room of the Central Health Region in Belize City, representatives from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, the Poultry Industry and the Ministries of Agriculture and Health [...]

    …Authorities Put Containment Measures in Place
    The virus primarily affects poultry and according to BAHA, there is a low risk for transmission from poultry to humans; there is also no evidence of human to human transmission. [...]

    K.H.M.H. Opens a Breast Cancer Diagnosis Unit
    Just a couple weeks ago the K.H.M.H. benefitted from the donation of two cell saver machines from Spine Overseas, and today the institution’s international partners came through again. Through ongoing [...]

    Social Security Employees Go Home with Empty Pockets
    There is some contention between the Christian Workers Union and the Social Security Board. The result of that contention is that three hundred S.S.B. workers, always paid on the twenty-sixth [...]

    FCD Meets with Guatemalan Counterparts to Discuss Illegal Issues in Chiquibul
    The Friends for Conservation and Development, better known as FCD, has been working tirelessly to stop a number of illegal activities inside the Chiquibul.  For the FCD, illegal logging remains [...]

    The Subculture of a Car Show
    Fans flocked to the northern entrance of Belize City on Sunday for a unique event that is growing in popularity. Owners of the hottest cars and motorcycles turned out to [...]

    CTV3

    Avian Influenza Type A Positively Identified In Belize
    Last week we told you about suspected cases of Avian Flu emerging from two farms in the Cayo District and today continued surveillance and testing confirmed that one of the two farms have come back with positive results. According to Samples tested by an International reference Laboratory in the USA has confirmed the presence of Avian influenza H5N2 antibodies in one farm only but not the live virus. BAHA continues to test and has detected the presence of Avian Influenza Type A on another farm. There are very few clinical signs in the affected birds, which may indicate a response to the low pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N2 virus. This virus predominantly affects poultry. There is very low risk of transmission from poultry to humans and there is no evidence of human to human transmission.

    Corozal Police Gets New Computers
    Viewers may recall that last year Inspector Daniel Arzu launched an initiative that was geared at benefitting underprivileged students of Corozal Town. And with the nature of job, later that same year, inspector Arzu was transferred to the Cayo District and the project unfinished. The good news tonight is that not all good has gone to waste since members of the Corozal Community Policing and Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Department Superintendent Andrew Ramirez have filled up the gap in making Arzu’s initiative a true success. And today, the Corozal Community policing department has acquired fourteen new computers which were donated by the U.S Embassy in Belize through the CARSI program. According to Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, nine of the fourteen computers will be set up in the Drop-in Center where many students will have access to them.

    DPM's Brother Gets Contract For Corozal Market
    Another Municipal Development Project has been awarded to a relative of Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Gaspar Vega. A release from the Social Investment Fund in partnership with the World Bank issued today states that a Contract for the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Corozal Town Market and Sports Complex facilities is valued at $721,789.40. The contract for the two (2) facilities was signed by Mr. Liborio Vega of LV and SONS Construction, and Mr. William Lamb Jr. the Executive Director, Belize Social Investment Fund, at the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF) headquarters in Belmopan on yesterday’s date. The market project is designed to upgrade a section of the existing market of 220 square meters particularly 15 market stalls which were in a dilapidated condition that poses serious health and security risks and natural disasters to both vendors and patrons. According to the release, the objective is to provide a safer and more pleasant environment for vendors and shoppers resulting in significant improvement in the quality of life for residents in Corozal Town and surrounding communities.

    Sugar Road Concern For Cane Farmers
    Throughout the course of the negotiations with BSI, a faction of the negotiating team at the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association had been steadfast in what they say was obtaining a good deal for farmers. Up until the end of the negotiations, and joined by other parties, the group had remained vocal about their rejection of the terms of the new commercial agreement. Nonetheless, Alfredo Ortega, one of the persons at the forefront of the campaign against the signing of the agreement says he is content the crop has finally started but remains concerned about the conditions of the sugar roads. “It has been a very rough road to reach to this point because of many issues that has transpired but as you know farmers are eager to deliver their cane also because if they don’t deliver they don’t make any money of what they have invested and today we can say and we can thank God because of the movement that is ongoing because there are many hurdles that the farmers are going through for them to transport their material to BSI mill because when we talk about access in regards to roads we have very little work being done on that, thanks to the weather that we are experiencing this week is that farmers are able to transport their material on those conditions of the sugar roads.”

    Infant II Student Involve In Traffic Accident
    Shortly after the school bell rang at 11:30 today, students from the Presbyterian Primary School on Tate Street rushed home for their daily lunch break. Things almost took a tragic turn when an infant two student was brushed and almost severely hurt in a traffic mishap. From what we have been able to gather, a pickup driven by the owner of an Asian bread factory was commuting on Holy Trinity Street and soon after the child ran across the street and was brushed by the vehicle. But while the child did not suffer much injury other than being shaken up, the driver rendered assistance and took the child to the Hospital, just to make sure. Checks made at the school late this evening revealed that the boy was healthy, alive and kicking as he played with his companions at the school campus. The area though is of concern to many parents since it is a school zone and should have the proper safety measures in place so as to avoid these incidents from occurring in the future.

    More Amendements Need To Be Made To The Sugar Act Says BSI/ASR
    The sugar crop has started and while the operations remain relatively the same, there are new changes within the industry. The biggest being the registration of two more new associations and the amendments to the sugar act to support these associations. Of course these amendments are long overdue since the court had ruled the changes be made since 2010. Still, stakeholders within the industry have been vocal about the need to further amendments to the sugar act. Yesterday, International Relations for ASR Mac McLachlan told the media there is a need for this to happen as it is an important part in the continued development of the sugar industry. “Everybody would agree in the industry including the government that we need fundamental reforms to the sugar act in due course, those reforms can’t take place immediately I think it would be sensible to have full stakeholder engagement in those reforms so that they can feel that they own whatever comes out of that process in the end and I think what happened before as the Prime Minister said it was basically to implement the changes that the Supreme Court has ask the government to make but I think an important part on looking at the future is how the sugar act can be amend ended to ensure that it putting regulation where regulations needed and taking regulation away where is not needed to enable the industry, this is a private industry to move forward the best way for in the industry stakeholders and that is not something that is going to happen today or tomorrow I believe that would be a part of the discussion of the strategic Development Plan.”

    BSCFA Cleans House
    The survival of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association is still very much a concern for administrators of the organization. Following the disbursement of six and a half million dollars in Fairtrade premiums the BSCFA faces decertification from Fairtrade. Another worry is that after disbursing the money, BSCFA had little to no money to conduct daily operations. Despite the speculations however, the BSCFA remains operational but there are still many assessments being made. Today we spoke with Ezequiel Cansino, Chair of the Committee of Management who told us that they will be issuing a statement as to the changes within the association in the near future. He did say too that they are preparing to fire the association’s entire staff. Here is why. “Por el momento si vamos a despedir a los empleados a todos los empleados vamos a despedir y después vamos hacer lo que es el rehiring, los vamos a emplear de nuevo pero no a todos solo a los que realmente vamos a necesitar y lo estamos haciendo por el motivo de que tenemos los fondos que quedan nos permite pagarle a todos estos empleados, por el lado de las divisiones tenemos empleados hasta de 18 años ya aquí, entonces de los fondos que tenemos vamos a pagarles todo lo que la ley exige pagarles entonces les vamos a volver a emplear para que empecemos de nuevo por el temor de que no sabemos cómo vamos a estar en el futuro entonces ya les dimos esa compensación por su trabajo y por tantos años, pero si estamos viendo cómo se va a reestructurar toda la Asociación.”

    Cane Of Excellent Quality Delivered On First Day Of Crop
    The crop saw a big launch on Monday and the company aimed at receiving six thousand tons of sugar cane for the first day. Deliveries started shortly after ten and stakeholders in the industry were quite content with the start of operations. Today, factory Manager John Gillett informed CTV-3 News in an interview that there is good news as the quality of the cane is impressively good. “I would like to encourage the farmers to continue keep on delivering the good quality cane that they are delivering, so yesterday we were very impressed with the quality of cane that has been delivered and I think it is the first time on the first day of crop that we are seeing ton cane per ton sugar ration below ten and that is an indication that we will be having good cane quality this year and that the cane farmers continue doing what they have been doing.”

    Serious Allegation Unbounding Against Area Representative, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez
    Last night, 7news broke a sensational story that embroiled current PUP Orange Walk East Area Representative Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez in an allegation made against him of unbecoming sexual behaviour. While these are strong and damning allegations for anyone, we reiterate that at this point, it is only speculations, since the matter cannot be substantiated and as far as we are concerned no report has been made to police. Several attempts in getting comment from Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez proved unsuccessful. We also tried to get comment from Mendez’s estranged wife but our attempts also proved futile. What we can tell you is that this afternoon Doctor Leslie was at the Department of Human Services here in Orange Walk. We understand that she was accompanied by a police officer. Mendez did not come out the building until after 4:00pm and in order for her to avoid the media her vehicle was driven into an adjacent parking lot by one of the department’s employees from where she got in the vehicle and drove away.

    LOVE FM

    MOE and KHMH Update on Recent Allegation on The Hospital
    On January 16 we told you about 18-year-old, Lucia Martinez, who made several allegations about the Karl Heusnor Memorial Hospital. When Love News spoke to Martinez, she told us that due to negligence from the doctors and nurses, she found out that cotton swabs had been left in her from the time she gave birth in December, which was endangering her life. Love News spoke with the Chief Executive Officer of the KHMH, Dr. Adrian Coye, who spoke to the media about the recent update into this matter. “What I can say because the presence of a lawyer which was what we experience when we had the meeting with her is that this maim has the potential to be a legal case so I wouldn’t necessarily discuss further but in that I can only say that we met her to address a lot of the concerns that they have and we have given the opportunity to be treated by our specialist so that whatever other concerns arise that we can help.

    False Allegations Against OW East Representative; Will Problem Arise?
    For the last few days rumors have been swirling regarding Orange Walk East representative, Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez. The allegations are that Mendez had engaged in inappropriate behavior. When we checked with authorities yesterday we were told no report had been filed at the domestic violence unit at the police station. Today around midday news spread like wild fire that Mendez’s estranged wife, Doctor Leslie Mendez, was at the Human Development office in Orange Walk making a formal report surrounding the allegations. We made numerous attempts to get in contact with Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez but the calls went straight to voice mail. Love News, however, spoke with a relative who told us Mendez has been severely affected by the allegations and was not available for comment.

    Sugar Season Moving Forward; Writ of Mandamus As Well
    With the cane season moving forward and the three cane farmers association delivering sugar cane daily, Attorney Audrey Matura Shepherd, says that she will proceed with the Writ of Mandamus. As you may recall, her client, Lucilo Teck, asked the courts for leave for an application for a Writ of Mandamus. Primarily, that Writ of Mandamus, sought to force the SICB to declare the crop season open but with the season already open, Matura Shepherd, says that she will still proceed with the matter. “We did file if you recall the court gave us a time frame by when we should have filled the substantive claim. We filled the substantive claim before the grinding season was open but that does not nullify our application before the court because if you were in court you would have heard that one of the complaints that they had about our application is that it went beyond a mandamus where we were seeking certain declarations so we have proceeded and we will proceed with the request that we have made for I think it was four or five declarations dealing with the interpretation and function of SICB in having to declare open a grinding season their role and we are also looking at the legitimate expectation of farmers that there should have been compliance with the law so come February 23rd there will still be a case.”

    Opening of Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit
    Today the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital along with Carolinas HealthCare System, held an opening ceremony for the opening of the Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit at the KHMH. Love News was spoke to the special envoy for women and children Kim Simplis-Barrow, told us of the importance of having a Breast Cancer Diagnostic Unit. KIM SIMPLIS BARROW “Carolina’s health system partnered with KHMH to donate the equipment that you are seeing here which will greatly help persons men and women who need to have mammograms on a yearly basis. This as you can imagine will significantly improve the quality of life for women and for some men who do have cancer. It’s a significant donation and we are very grateful for the donation because it really goes to show that KHMH is improving its services through partnerships. It’s been a couple years in the making I know that the Vice President and some of his colleagues were here in 2010 and so it’s really good to know that this has come to fruition. It is important as you can imaging for many not having access to screening, that is important it is important to be able to get a mammogram, to be able to get an ultrasound and so it is very important for anyone who feels that they need to have a mammogram at the time or feel that they have a lump to be able to know that there is somewhere they can go to get a mammogram or to be tested so it is so very important I cannot really overstate the importance of having this breast cancer diagnostic unit here at the KHMH.”

    Press Conference Clarifies CWU Position
    About three hundred employees of the Social Security Board did not get paid yesterday, as has been the practice for the past thirty plus years of existence. Reportedly, the reason behind it was confusion and mis-communication between the management of the Social Security Board, SSB, and the Christian Workers Union, CWU. The SSB gave its workers a transitional increment rather than the bonus they would get at the end of March. According to reports, CWU members at the SSB agreed to the increment however, the leader of the CWU, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, says that the two members who agreed to that had no right to because they do not represent all the members. Matura-Shepherd, called a press conference today where she clarified the Union’s position on this matter. “Any policy decision that the administration wants to change, they have to give us a month’s notice that they are changing their policy because we need to be consulted and involved. And anything to deal with increment, there’s an exact article in the CBA that must be respected.

    Update on Presence of Avian Influenza Virus
    Last two weeks, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, made it known that they had detected Avian Influenza type A at two poultry farms in Spanish Lookout in the Cayo District. According to BAHA, it was detected as a result of routine testing under the Belize Poultry Improvement Plan. Samples tested by an International reference Laboratory in the USA has confirmed the presence of Avian influenza H5N2 antibodies at one farm only but not the live virus. Today, the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche and Chief Veterinary Officer, Miguel de Paz, and other personnel, met with the media to update the public. JOSE ALPUCHE “Official results received on Friday 23 January confirmed the presence of Avian Influenza H5N2 antibodies in one farm. No live virus has been detected as yet. BAHA’s ongoing testing of other farms in the Spanish Lookout community has detected the presence of AI type A in one additional farm. Samples of this farm have been sent to the OIE Reference Laboratory for confirmatory tests. Presently these farms are under quarantine and no poultry or no poultry farms can be taken out of these farms as a precautionary measure, while BAHA continues to conduct surveillance in other farms within the Spanish Lookout community, three movement control points were established on Saturday 24 January 2015 to restrict the movement of poultry and poultry products from the Spanish Lookout Community. As I said, this is really a precautionary measure. I would like to emphasize that ongoing tests by BAHA in other commercial flocks in other parts of Belize have confirmed that they are free of Avian Influenza.”

    Belize’s Position on Current Health Issues and Factor
    There has been a recent rise of Chikingunya cases reported in Jamaica and a state of emergency reported in Suriname, Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Health, told Love News that the Ministry of Health and Vector Control Department have managed to have the disease under control in Belize. DR. PETER ALLEN “I am happy to tell you, it gives me the opportunity to congratulate our environmental health team. The Vector Control Staff would go out in the fields and the villages and as you know there was real chaos in Jamaica and actually a state of emergency was declared in Suriname. Our people linked with the community actions of members of the community throughout the country and were able to limit the amount of chick v cases to less than ten for last year. They were also able to limit the number of Malaria cases to less than 20 but where we of course have to be careful is with Dengue as well and last year we had over six hundred cases of Dengue reported so as you know the Dengue virus and the Chickungunya virus are carried by the same mosquito; the AedesEgypti mosquito so while we have done very well in terms of controlling the disease, really the work never stops. Our own vector control department but all of us need to keep our yards clean to avoid being bitten, use screens, long sleeves at biting times and to do everything we can. Health really is everybody’s business.”

    PlusTV

    CWU attacks Social Security for disingenuity over workers’ pay
    Payday for workers of the Social Security Board (SSB) is this coming Friday, January 30, but by the standards of the institution that is four days late. Only a handful of the 300 employees have been paid – those attached to CIBC First Caribbean Bank. The issue is the SSB’s plan to implement a transitional increment en route to a full increment system, to replace the bonus system employed by the organization. The Christian Workers’ Union (CWU), which represents non-management employees of the SSB, has complained that it and its workers have not been fully consulted and the SSB’s move is unilateral. At a press briefing today, CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd, explained how the delay and the employers’ decision hurt workers’ expectations. Audrey Matura-Shepherd – President, Christian Workers’ Union “How are the staff members now being affected? Unfortunately, because the management went ahead and prematurely pay out this transitional increment, and they now realize that they have erred, instead of making the salaries of everyone just go through, and the following pay period deduct it. What they did, there were some salaries that have already been posted, those through First Caribbean Bank, that they could not withdraw. So they told those employees that next period they would withdraw it, but then they went ahead and those who had not been fully posted, they withdrew and withheld their salaries for $62 or $98, they withheld people salary, and said to them, ‘We have to [take] it back because of your union.’

    Sugar cane season opens
    The sugar mill at Tower Hill in Orange Walk began to grind after a long impasse that almost saw the collapse of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association which set in motion a series of events that lead to the amendment of the Sugar Act in Conformity with an order of consent issued in 2010...

    Wilfredo Magaña claims Government owes him compensation
    Earlier in our news cast we told you about the start of the sugar cane harvest 2015, which according to BSI authorities started 42 days late, only 2 days later than last year’s harvest which was also delayed. However,  while the Government pats themselves on the back for saving the sugar industry ag...

    Ammunition stolen from BDF military compound
    Ammunition for dangerous weapons such as m-4 and m-16 rifles are in the hands of criminals, after 2,680 rounds were stolen from the Belize Defence Force military compound in Lord’s Bank. The discovery was made early Friday morning, according to Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd...

    Dangriga Puma gas station robbed again
    The Puma gas station in Dangriga Town was once again the target of robbers on Friday night. Dangriga Correspondent Harry Arzu has the story. “At about 8:17 last night, Puma gas Station located on Havana Street, near the Drums of our Fathers Monument Park here in ...

    Man assaulted by special constable seeking justice outside the courts
    The community of Santa Cruz, Red Bank and Independence village in the South have began a petition drive to have a special constable removed from his duties...

    Masculinity legislation and women in politics
    The woes of Belizean women in politics are well-documented, but there was a new tack in the ongoing discussion in the form of  a conference held in Belize City on Monday, concerning what organizer for the Gender and Justice Foundation of Costa Rica calls the sharing of power between men and women.

    COLA holds Annual General Meeting
    Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) hosted its annual general meeting in Belize City on Saturday...

    Candle light vigil for Emerson Daly
    There was a candlelight vigil and march on Saturday January 24 for the late Emerson Daly. 24 year old Daly was shot to the head and dumped in the river near Banana Bank.  The young Roaring Creek man was last seen last Sunday in a vehicle with an unidentified man. When he did not return home by the ...

    Amandala

    Girl, 15, has left home and refuses to return
    Maud Villanueva, 54, of 4th Street, Corozal Town, is very worried after her daughter, Ana Villanueva, a 15-year-old student of 4th Street, North Corozal Town, who lives with her and who left their home in November last year, 2014, and has refused to return. According to Villanueva, her daughter had communicated with her by phone, but had refused to tell her with whom she had been living and where. The only thing her daughter had told her is that she was living with “good people.” Villanueva said that on Wednesday, however, her daughter sent her a message that she needed help and that she was in trouble, but since the call, her daughter has stopped answering her phone, and has not returned her calls.

    2,680 bullets stolen from BDF compound!
    Two thousand six hundred and eighty (2,680) live rounds of ammunition, used for M16 and M4 assault rifles, have gone missing from a holding bay at the Belize Defense Force (BDF)’s Lord’s Bank property in Ladyville, and are presumably now in the hands of those within the criminal underworld, an army official said today. The ammunition – which is the property of members of the US Army who are on training in Belize, and which reportedly has a street value of US$10,000 – was stolen, allegedly by insiders, during the last three weeks, sometime between December 7, 2014, and 1:30 a.m. yesterday when a routine security check found that there had been a breach at one of the holding bays which is used to store ammunition and explosives on the compound.

    Nuri Muhammad booted from LOVE FM!
    Veteran LOVE FM talk show host Nuri Muhammad, who was recently at the center of a controversy stemming from an incident in which he was seen as having been politically biased while on that station’s morning talk show, has been terminated following a meeting of the management of RSV Ltd., the parent company of LOVE FM. The announcement was aired today on LOVE TV via a televised statement made by RSV Chief Executive Officer, Rene Villanueva, Sr., who had been out of the country at the time that the incident occurred two weeks ago, sometime before Wednesday, January 14. On that day, two high-ranking Cabinet Ministers – Labour Minister and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Hon. Senator Godwin Hulse, and Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrington – were scheduled to appear on LOVE FM’s morning talk show to defend the position of the Government, which had taken flak after individuals within the sugar industry and members of the public pointed fingers at the Barrow administration, alleging collusion with multinational foreign investors from American Sugar Refineries (ASR) to undermine the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), some of whose members were clamoring against what they categorized as a “one-sided” proposed commercial purchasing agreement that was lately signed between the factory owners and the cane growers.

    YaYa’s solitary protest of “piss house” continues
    Community activist YaYa Marin Coleman’s message today, as she continued her solitary protest, was a question, handwritten on an off-pink Bristol board, “What is your Piss House story?” She took up her solitary position on Queen Street, just across from the Queen Street Police Station, which houses the most unsanitary holding cell in the country – which has been dubbed “Piss House” (a title it got even before Belize got its independence in 1981) for good reason. People are locked in there for days at a time, and there are no toilet facilities, nor anywhere to sleep other than the floor, yes, the sometimes very cold floor. One wonders why there has to be a protest, anyhow; can’t the politicians and the senior officers smell what is before their very noses? Ya Ya has been protesting the conditions at the Queen Street Police Station holding cell since the first week of November 2014.

    Belize may be nearing “ganga” law amendments
    Two and a half years ago, our newspaper reported that the Government had established a multi-sectoral committee tasked with reviewing proposals for the decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana, also known as “ganga” or “weed,” with a view of introducing alternative penalties which would mean that casual users do not end up having a criminal record and do not have to spend time behind bars. On Friday, January 23, a bill was tabled in the Senate in our sister Caribbean nation, Jamaica, proposing the decriminalization of up to 2 ounces of marijuana (just under 60 grams). The 2015 amendment to Jamaica’s Dangerous Drugs Act also proposes the decriminalization of the cultivation of up to 5 ganga trees. Cannabis possession and use, including the possession of commercial hemp, is prohibited under the laws of Belize. Although we have seen recent cases whereby persons have gotten into big legal trouble in Belize for a single ganga tree, which can be deemed cultivation under our laws and which could attract a stiff fine of $10,000 plus three years behind bars, the Belize proposals do not consider any softening of the laws where ganga cultivation is concerned.

    Court concludes hearing evidence in Prof. Bain case
    Two and a half years ago, our newspaper reported that the Government had established a multi-sectoral committee tasked with reviewing proposals for the decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana, also known as “ganga” or “weed,” with a view of introducing alternative penalties which would mean that casual users do not end up having a criminal record and do not have to spend time behind bars. On Friday, January 23, a bill was tabled in the Senate in our sister Caribbean nation, Jamaica, proposing the decriminalization of up to 2 ounces of marijuana (just under 60 grams). The 2015 amendment to Jamaica’s Dangerous Drugs Act also proposes the decriminalization of the cultivation of up to 5 ganga trees. Cannabis possession and use, including the possession of commercial hemp, is prohibited under the laws of Belize. Although we have seen recent cases whereby persons have gotten into big legal trouble in Belize for a single ganga tree, which can be deemed cultivation under our laws and which could attract a stiff fine of $10,000 plus three years behind bars, the Belize proposals do not consider any softening of the laws where ganga cultivation is concerned.

    Wanted man captured in Corozal
    Magdaleonie Tzul, 28, of Corozal Town, a fugitive who had been on the run from police since July 2014, has been captured. Tzul was arrested at about 9:30 Friday night by a newly formed unit, called the Corozal Police Quick Response Team, led by Corporal Marvin Salam. Tzul is presently detained at the Corozal Police Station pending arraignment in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court on multiple charges of burglary and theft. Police say that among the many crimes committed by Tzul, for which he was wanted, was an act of theft that involved the siphoning of gasoline from a vehicle owned by Can Jin Chen, 30, a Chinese businessman of 5th Avenue, Corozal Town. The offense was captured on security cameras.

    Tattoo artist remanded to prison for unlawful sex with minor, 15
    Belize City police, after investigating a report made by a 15-year-old minor, have arrested and charged tattoo artist Esteban “Steve” Mossiah with two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse. The forty-five-year-old Mossiah appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart this morning and was arraigned on the charges. No plea was taken from him, because the charges are indictable and will be heard in the Supreme Court. Due to the nature of the offences, Mossiah was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court date on February 24, 2015.

    Miracle in Ghost Town
    The survival of Rafael Cruz, 28, of Mayflower Street, in the area called Bailar, or Ghost Town – who was shot five times while walking on Vernon Street, just a short distance from his house in June of 2014 – is considered a miracle. One of two gunmen stood over him and shot him in the head, neck, mouth, leg and back while he was on the ground. Cruz was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where he was connected to a life support unit, and doctors had given him a slim chance of surviving the vicious attack on his life. Five months after the brutal gun attack, however, Cruz was discharged from the KHMH and is back home with his family. He is now undergoing therapy, three times per week, to rehabilitate his muscles.

    Results of basketball and football games in Orange Walk
    The Caribbean Rum Female Football Marathon was held at Orange Walk Technical Football Field yesterday, Sunday, January 25. First place went to Caribbean Rum Road Runners, and second was San Antonio. The Marathon featured players such as Karen Garcia, Vanessa Mai, Sherrian Tracy, Kara Kasling among others. The tournament starts next two weeks. Contact Ladrick “Mad Bull” Sheppard at 671-8902 or Alex Palacio at 667-0331. “Boxie” Perrera Basketball Memorial The third annual Rodolfo “Boxie” Perrera Basketball Memorial Marathon took place yesterday, Sunday, January 25, at the Multipurpose Complex. First place was taken by Tuff Enough – San Pedro; second was UB Team; and third was Caye Caulker.

    “Lily White” 4-a-side football games for kids at Holy Redeemer
    BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 26, 2015–Sports/youth activist and promoter Lily White (Edward Charles Rubio) says he is planning a 4-A-Side Small Goal Football Marathon for kids 15 years and under at the Holy Redeemer Playground, corner North Front Street and Hyde’s Lane, on Saturday, February 14. “Bring your 4-man team, and du yo ting,” said Lily White. All neighborhoods are invited to bring out their kids for some football fun. There will be prizes and food and drinks. The games will start at 10:00 a.m. and it is one-game knockout; as you lose you are out. Lily White can be contacted at his new phone number 667-9672.

    C-Ray Saturday Race #3 results
    The C-Ray Cycling Club continued its C-Ray Saturday Race series today with #3 in the Saturday Race Series. The race started (and finished) at Leslie’s Imports, went up the George Price (Western) Highway, into the Boom Road, turned at the Boom Bridge, and return to the Leslie’s Imports, for a distance of 45 miles. 47 participants took part in the race – 2 Females, 12Juniors, 6 Cat 4/5, and 27 Elite. Below are the results: FEMALE – 1st Alicia Thompson; 2 nd Kaya Cattouse.

    Editorial: New PUP storm clouds
    News began circulating a few days ago in the higher echelons of Belize’s political world that the Orange Walk East area representative, Dr. Marcotulio Mendez, who announced a few months ago that he would not be seeking re-election because of medical problems, has more serious problems of a personal nature which may force him to give up his seat. Dr. Mendez was elected to the House of Representatives as a candidate for the People’s United Party (PUP) in the March 2012 general election. In that 2012 general election, the PUP won 14 seats and came within fewer than 75 votes of winning a majority 16 seats (of the 31 overall). Their Cayo North area representative, Joseph Mahmoud, however, after first announcing that he would not seek re-election, suddenly gave up his seat late last year. Mahmoud’s resignation resulted in a by-election on January 5 this year which saw the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) win the seat when their Dr. Omar Figueroa defeated the PUP’s Richard Harrison. So the UDP now control 18 seats in the House, and the PUP 13.

    From the Publisher
    There is this massive contradiction in socio-politics on Southside Belize City. The strongest and bravest of our youth have been dying in the streets at rates which, the social scientists say, constitute a civil war. Yes, beloved, a civil war. In other words, we have been experiencing a human disaster here. We have been living this disaster for more than a quarter of a century. At the exact same time that this is happening, we can see all this political power representing the said Southside. The faces of the powerhouses of the ruling party look like the faces of the victims in the streets, only older. What’s going on? The same people who are losing, are the same people who are winning. How can this be? It gets worse. The MCC Grounds, our football shrine for the last half century and more, has been closed for almost a year now, and the Civic, our basketball altar for more than three decades, has been dismantled. At night, the Southside is like a town of ghosts. Those who can, have moved out. The prison is overcrowded with our black youth. The police understand clearly who are their targets. If you are a black youth and want to survive, the survival road is the road of the carnival queen.

    Will the Belize Barrier Reef be removed from UNESCO’s danger list?
    The debate over offshore drilling in Belize has resurfaced, and the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) issued a statement on Friday asserting that “none of [the] World Heritage Site properties [in Belize] are currently under any oil concession.” It added that the Government of Belize will maintain the moratorium on the issuance of new offshore petroleum concessions until a comprehensive offshore petroleum policy is developed and accepted by the Government of Belize. Meanwhile, Dr. Fanny Douvere, who heads the UNESCO World Heritage Center’s marine program, told journalists Friday that UNESCO has a number of critical concerns – among them are the sale and the leasing of lands within the property and especially the cutting of the mangroves.

    Barrow tells UNESCO: no oil drilling in/near offshore reef protected areas
    An official press release issued by the Government late this evening stated that, following his meeting with representatives of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has “expressed his willingness to chart a course forward on key management requirements for a sustainable future for the reef.” The release said, “Prime Minister Barrow confirmed the Government’s policy position to prohibit oil exploitation within and adjacent to the protected areas in the Belize Barrier Reef System.” The declaration by the Barrow administration comes after the January 19-23, 2015, mission by UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre to Belize, in cooperation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    Let the sugar season begin
    After a long-drawn-out impasse that almost dealt a devastating blow to the local sugar industry recently, the quiescent mills at the Tower Hill sugar factory finally kicked into action shortly before midday today, signaling the long-awaited start of the 2014/2015 sugar cane harvest season, known to the caneros as “La Zafra”. The starting date for the delayed season was finalized last Thursday, January 22, in Orange Walk Town during a consultation session with government affiliates and the principals of the three cane farmers associations – two of which are new: the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSPA) and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association (PSPA), both of which emerged during the recent splintering of the 55-year old Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), which still represents the majority of the cane farmers who do business with factory owners, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), and its transnational parent company, American Sugar Refineries (ASR).

    Court concludes hearing evidence in Prof. Bain case
    The Supreme Court hearing into the constitutional claim filed by Jamaican professor, Brendan Bain, 67—the man who had filed suit against the University of the West Indies after the institution fired him last May, claiming (1) breach of contract, (2) breach of constitutional rights, and (3) defamation—continues into its third week with the Attorney General of Jamaica now making its case before the court as an interested party. During the first week of the hearing, the court heard Bain’s side of the story, and last week, it had a chance to hear UWI’s side of the story. The main witness to appear for UWI was Professor E. Nigel Harris, UWI’s vice-chancellor, who executed Bain’s termination.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Concerns raised over alleged abduction attempt in the north
    Police in Corozal are following up on reports of what has been reported locally as an attempted abduction of an underage girl. The incident is reported to have happened last Wednesday night when, according to reports we have received, a man in a white vehicle tried to lure the girl […]

    PUP leader addresses allegations against Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez
    In November, Orange Walk East area representative for the People’s United Party (PUP), Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, indicated that he would not run for a second term due to health reasons. But persistent reports indicate that he may be forced to leave sooner than that because of alleged […]

    CWU accuses Social Security of disingenuity over workers’ pay
    Payday for workers of the Social Security Board (SSB) is this coming Friday, January 30, but by the standards of the institution that is four days late. Only a handful of the 300 employees have been paid – those attached to CIBC First Caribbean Bank. The issue is […]

    Man gets jail sentence for cashing stolen cheques
    In the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas, 25 year old Kenroy Young, who pleaded guilty last week to five counts of uttering on a false document was sentenced to 4 years in jail for each count. The new sentences will run concurrently to each other and consecutively to […]

    Jury acquits man of arson charge
    Ryon King, a resident of Mahogany Heights, Belize District, was acquitted of a charge of arson. A jury of his peers,comprising six men and three women, returned the unanimous decision today in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas. The jury voted to acquit after three hours and 30 minutes […]

    Private Denver Villafranco given military funeral
    Family members and friends and co-workers of the late Belize Defence Force (BDF) Volunteer Battalion Private Denver Villafranco, 23, gathered on Sunday afternoon in Belize City at the Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Wilson Street. Force Commander Brigadier General David Jones led those who paid last respects to […]

    Oceana-Belize says continue discussion on offshore oil exploration
    Last week Oceana-Belize and other NGO’s in the conservation field raised some serious concerns about the draft zoning policy circulated by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Oceana-Belize cried foul when it was left off of a list of organizations that had received the draft policy as part of a government […]

    Blogs

    A Walk on North Ambergris Caye During a Cold Front
    While the Northeast US and Canada are getting a doozy of a blizzard, the weather here is just gorgeous. The cold front swept over Belize as well…but brought cool (70s) and dry weather that has just been perfect. I took a walk “up north” and though I would have called this area “around 5 miles north”…I walked by a marker that said 3.5. Very confusing. Please feel free to leave a comment to let me know exactly where I was. Thank you. Here are my pictures.

    Belize Holiday Calendar of Festivals and Events 2015
    Get up close and personal with the rich and diverse culture of Belize by visiting one or more of these annual events:

    Where Foodies Should Go in Belize
    Belize is an intriguing new culinary destination. Chefs use fresh seafood from the Caribbean, herbs and vegetables from organic gardens and tropical fruits from local markets to create culture-blending dishes. Here are 10 top spots all over the country where you’ll enjoy the best of contemporary Belizean food and drink. 1. Bistro at Maya Beach Hotel 2. Chef Rob's Gourmet Café 3. Tutti Frutti 4. Fuego Bar & Grill 5. Rojo Beach Bar 6. Montagna Ristorante 7. Rain Restaurant & Rooftop Terrace 8. Riverside Tavern 9. Guava Limb Café 10. Nahil Mayab

    Trails And Tracks
    What a beautiful world we live in! Some of us are on pathways in life that are quite hectic and time consuming and we understand – a dream is a dream and we must what we must do to make it real. We absolutely understand this at www.ninebelize.com. We understand the discipline and the importance time activated responsibilities that are necessary for your business to grow; for assignments to be handed in; for research to be tested; and to get from point A to point B for all the meetings. We definitely know. So, because we low this we want to share that one massive type of therapy is walking. Walk early. Walk purposefully. Walk with a spring in your step and joy in your soul. We want to suggest you do so in Belize. One of the places we go to replenish and to nourish our souls is in the Mountain Pine Ridge. We go early. We take our binoculars, our fruit snacks, our hiking shoes, our books on birds, our water and our passion for nature.

    The January 25, 2015 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

    This Week's Stories:

    • Mystery Surrounds Death of Emerson Daly:
      Today is a tragic day for the family and friends of Emerson Daly, as all hopes for his safe return came crashing to an end when they found his body. On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, a report was made by the family of Emerson Daly, 24 year old Roaring Creek Resident, who was missing since the evening of Sunday, January 18, 2015. The young entrepreneur, according to family members, left home around 8 pm on Sunday in his vehicle belonging to his uncle and was reportedly heading to Belmopan. Emerson didn’t return that night. Belmopan police received a major lead when the vehicle, he was last seen driving, was found abandoned on Mount Pleasant Road located between miles 46 and 47 on the George Price Highway. Police recovered the car, but there was no sign of Daly, only what appears to be blood stains inside and a pair of slippers. Immediately thereafter, a search team was organized to scour the area in Mount Pleasant area.
    • Wanted - Emmanuel Willoughby:
      Be on the look out for this man. He is Armed and Dangerous. He has been seen around the Santiago Jaun layout area. A twenty-five year old inmate, Emmanuel Willoughby, escaped from the Central Prison . Willoughby ingeniously cut a hole on his cell door which facilitated his break from the prison at around three o’clock on Saturday morning. He was incarcerated for the Possession of Unlicensed Firearm and was serving a five-year sentence which he would have completed on December eleventh, 2017. According to a release from the Kolbe Foundation, Willoughby is affiliated to the Jerusalem Gang. Kolbe also notes that his sibling, Julian Willoughby, was killed in March of this year.
    • Alleged Rapist Missing:
      Wednesday, January 14, 2015. Police today, Wednesday, January 14, 2015, issued a missing person’s report for a man from San Ignacio town. According to police the wife of 35 year old Anibal Diaz went to the police station to report that he left his home in the Santiago Juan area of San Ignacio around 7 pm on Monday, January 12, 2015, to go fishing in the Macal River. That was the last time she saw him. Anibal Diaz is described as being of slim build, has low, straight black hair and has a tatoo of a dragon on the right upper arm. He was last seen wearing a blue short pants and an off-white shirt and blue slippers. Police are looking into the missing person’s report.
    • NEBL Season Will Open With Last Year’s Finals Rematch:
      The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Season will tip off on Friday, February 6, 2015. There will be eight teams participating in this year’s tournament, which are Orange Walk Running Rebels, Belize City No Limit Soldiers, new comers Belize Hurricanes, defending champs San Pedro Tiger Sharks, Belmopan Red Taigaz, defending sub champs Cayo Western Ballaz, Dangriga Warriors and Toledo Diplomats. The tournament will employ a home and away format, with each team playing a total of 14 regular season games. The top four teams will advance to the playoffs in a best-ofthree series to decide who will reach the finals, which will be a best-of-five series. The playoffs are scheduled to commence on May 22, 2015.
    • ELECTIONS AND BOUNDARIES DEPARTMENT NOTICES:
      IT IS NOTIFIED for general information that the Elections and Boundaries Commission, pursuant to Section 18 (1) of the Belize City Council Act, Chapter 85 of the Laws of Belize, has appointed the RETURNING OFFICER named below for the Belize City Council Election to be held on Wednesday, the 4th day of March 2015, and the Chief Elections Officer, acting pursuant to Section 18(2) of the said Act, has appointed, with the approval of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the ELECTION CLERKS named below for the said Belize City Council Election:-
    • Varicose Veins:
      Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere. Veins have pairs of leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards (retrograde flow or venous reflux). Leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart (the skeletal-muscle pump), against the effects of gravity. When veins become varicose, the leaflets of the valves no longer meet properly, and the valves do not work (valvular incompetence). This allows blood to flow backwards and they enlarge even more. Varicose veins are most common in the superficial veins of the legs, which are subject to high pressure when standing. Besides being a cosmetic problem, varicose veins can be painful, especially when standing.
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    International Sourcesizz

    At Newly Discovered Water Temple, Maya Offered Sacrifices to End Drought
    Nestled in a quiet forest in Belize, a deep aquamarine pool holds ruins from a time when the ancient Maya turned to a "drought cult," archaeologists suggest, and hurried sacrifices to a water god to try to stave off the fall of their civilization. At the Cara Blanca site in Belize, archaeologists report the discovery of a water temple complex: a small plaza holding the collapsed remnants of a lodge and two smaller structures. The main structure rests beside a deep pool where pilgrims offered sacrifices to the Maya water god, and perhaps also to the demons of the underworld. The find paints a picture of drought-stricken devotion during the collapse of the Maya. The pyramid-building civilization thrived across Central America for centuries, only to see most of its cities collapse after A.D. 800.

    Maya Water Temple Complex discovered where ritual offerings were made to placate the Rain God
    Archaeologists have discovered that the Maya made offerings to Chaak, the rain god, at a newly discovered water temple complex alongside the sacred pools of Cara Blanca in Belize. The sacrifices appear to have been made to appeal for an end to the drought, as ritual activity increased around the time that lack of rainfall began unravelling the once great and powerful Maya civilization. At the Cara Blanca site in Belize, openings in the earth, such as caves and pools, were considered to be portals to the underworld or Xibalba. The Maya left countless offerings around the 25 pools of Cara Blanca, to petition gods and ancestors to bring forth rain and bountiful crops. According to National Geographic, the water temple complex consists of a small plaza with the collapsed remnants of a lodge and two smaller structures. The floors of the shrine were covered with potsherds and fossil teeth or claws. Small water jars, some decorated with water motifs of wavy lines and spirals, were also found.

    10 Surprisingly Affordable Retirement Hotspots
    The U.S. dollar is surging against the euro and other currencies, making this a great time to be thinking about reinventing your retirement in some of the world’s most appealing spots. 4. Northern Belize. Northern Belize is a remote region of tropical rivers, hardwood forests, traditional farms, sleepy rural villages and breezy Caribbean seashores. This is a refreshingly off-the-radar place where residents embrace a simple, friendly, by-the-sea lifestyle. It is also the best value destination in Belize and one of the most affordable options for retirement in the Caribbean. Northern Belize is an area of about 2,500 square miles and the point where the Caribbean and Central America meet. As that geographic juxtaposition suggests, the population is diverse, and it is becoming more so as North American retirees are beginning to recognize what this overlooked part of Belize has to offer and settling here in growing numbers. Northern Belize's remoteness is part of its appeal, but remote living has its disadvantages, especially in retirement. This is why the proximity of this part of Belize to Chetumal, Mexico, just across the border, is so important. The town of Corozal in Northern Belize is a gateway town to Chetumal and from there to Merida and Cancun beyond. In Northern Belize, you could enjoy a bargain Caribbean lifestyle with easy access to shopping, city distractions and medical care in Chetumal.

    Videos

  • Mayan Cave Tubing & Zip Line in Belize City Belize - Paul Glasspoole & Kari Guthrie, 8min. Paul Glasspoole & Kari Guthrie Mayan Cave Tour on tubes in Belize City, Belize. It was "un-Belize-able!"
  • Zip-lining in Belize, 3min. Paige and Mommy Zip-Lining in Belize
  • Coco Beach Resort, San Pedro, Belize, 5min.
  • Hidden Treasures of Belize, Cayo, 4min.
  • Two Eagle Rays Belize, 1min. Snorkeling off a small island outside Belize encountered two spotted eagle rays.
  • Belize Backyard, 6min. Just a "snapshot" of my parents back yard and the road into it.
  • Portofino Beach Resort, San Pedro, Belize, 4.5min.
  • Super Palm Resort, Belmopan, Belize, 3min.
  • Belize Electronic Weekend / Sisimito Records January 30 february 1 2015, 1min.
  • Moto Adventure Hopkins Belize, 3.5min. Sunday ride out down to Hopkins Village in beautiful Belize.

    January 27, 2015


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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

    Sugar Industry Bill Signed by the Governor General
    The Sugar Industry (Amendment) Bill which was passed by the House of Representatives on the 19th January 2015 and by the Senate on the 20th January, 2015, has been assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. The Act was published in the Gazette today, 21st January 2015, and copies are available at Print Belize, Belmopan. The main object of this Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. It will no longer be compulsory for a cane farmer to belong to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or any other association. The membership of an association shall be entirely voluntary. The Act also provides that there may exist more than one association of cane farmers and the Sugar Industry Control Board shall have the power to register all associations. After registration by the Board, an association shall automatically become a legal entity and may hold property, open bank accounts in its own name, and do all other things which a corporate body may do.

    Belize Host Stakeholder Consultation to Advance New Initiative to End AIDS by 2030
    What will it take to end AIDS by 2030? This is the question that a new regional initiative is trying to answer. The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) initiated a Justice for All (JFA) Programme to achieve goals for ending HIV and AIDS in the region. Specific objectives surround elements which include enhancing family life, increasing access to treatment, reducing gender inequality, promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, and achieving legislative reforms for modifying HIV and AIDS laws. To this end, the Government of Belize hosted representatives from the Programme consultation team who were on a three-day visit to Belize last week at the Ministry of Health office in Belmopan. Minister of Health Hon. Pablo Marin and CEO Dr. Peter Allen, along with the Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber, Attorney General Hon. Wilfred Elrington, and CEO Lawrence Sylvester welcomed and met with the PANCAP Director Mr. Dereck Springer, JFA Consultant Dr. Paloma Mohamed, and the United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for HIV to the Caribbean Professor Edward Greene. The meeting ended with an initial compromise to start the development of a cabinet paper to be presented later this year to initiate our process. Representatives from the National AIDS Commission were also present at the consultation meeting.

    San Pedro Police to enforce all Election Rules and Regulations
    The San Pedro Police Department informs all 2015 Municipal Election candidates that all rules and regulations in reference to the election process will be strictly implemented. Officer in Charge of San Pedro Police, Superintendent Luis Castellanos has stated that extra measures will be taken to ensure that the Town Council Elections, scheduled for Wednesday, March 4th, run smoothly. The San Pedro Police will also be monitoring campaign efforts leading up to elections in an effort to avoid altercations. Superintendent Castellanos would like to take the opportunity to advise all island residents to try their best to make the 2015 Municipal Elections a peaceful one.

    Heredia announces that a loan application for the island’s hospital is finalized
    While it is not a done deal just yet, the loan application process ensures that there are efforts being made to address the issue. According to Heredia, the Ministry of Health has done its due diligence and now the Government of Belize will lobby for the funding for the loan that will see two municipalities get a hospital, San Pedro Town being one. “All the necessary works have been done. I believe it is a project between $20 to $30 million, which will see the acquisition of land and construction of a state of the art hospital for the island,” said Heredia. While he did not give any timeline, he said that Cabinet has been fully engaged in the process which has been in the pipeline for some time now. And while that hospital is a plan for the long term, Heredia said that for the short term, the plan is to work to get the Polyclinic opened for 24 hours. “For the mean time 24 hours service will be given at the Polyclinic commencing on February 1st. I can assure you that it will start on that date because we already got the two additional doctors and we already got housing for the four additional nurses.”

    Ambergris Today

    Amazon Pilot of Mad Dogs Not Filmed in Belize
    So we got to see the pilot episode of the New Amazon series and it is definitely not filmed in Belize. It is definitely based in Belize and all the script has it taking place in our beautiful country. Ironically it was filmed in Puerto Rico. BUT we saw the men drinking REAL Belikin Beer and Traveller's ONE BARREL RUM.

    Ambergris Caye keeps seeing more progress
    New billboard announces SanCas San Pedro Plaza is coming soon!! Wow!

    Pic of the Week - Destination Weddings in San Pedro, Belize are Magical
    Destination weddings in Belize are 90% of the time very intimate. Couples that decide to get married in Belize usually come by themselves or with very little family and/or friends. We believe that it is more of a romantic escape - an escape to paradise with your one true love whom you are ready to spend your entire life with. Most of them take place at a a private resort, a secluded beach, a sand bar in the middle of the sea, a private island or even on a sailing boat. As big or small that they are, one thing is for sure - THEY ARE MAGICAL!

    Craft Markets Opened at Three Belize Archaeological Sites
    For the first time craft vendors at three of the nine archaeological sites in Belize can display their products at designated areas. This as three new craft markets were opened last week at the archaeological sites of Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue Creek in the Toledo District. The infrastructural developments are the results of work being done under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (M-T-B-CAAS) project. The project which is funded under the EU supported Belize Rural Development Program (BRDP) is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History. The handover marks the completion of works at three of a total of nine sites which are being enhanced under the project.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    SBDC ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT
    The overall objective of this training is to equip our clients with knowledge, skills, and capabilities necessary to self-analyze their capacity as entrepreneurs, and be able to be innovative and develop the capacity to think outside of the box. The specific objectives of the training are to enable participants to: Better understand of entrepreneurship by analyzing themselves and determining what defines an entrepreneur. Acquire information about tools used to brainstorm on innovative ideas -business idea generation. Acquire information on how to develop tools and methods of marketing. Participate in hands-on activities that allows them to engage in the implementation of the tools being used. Acquire the skills and knowledge to develop their own business model as well as their business's using tools that are for visionaries, game changers, and challengers.

    The San Pedro Town Updated Garbage pick up schedule
    The San Pedro Town Council hereby announces it’s new and updated Garbage pick up schedule starting as of Today, Monday, January 26th.

    15 year old missing
    15 year old Ana Villanueva is missing. According to her mother, Maud Villanueva, at some day in November 2014, the girl left the 4th Street, Corozal Towm address. The mother said Ana told her that she was staying in Orange Walk Town. However, on January 21st, she received a text message from her daughter which stated ‘Help me I’m in trouble.’ She has not heard from her daughter since that text message. According to the report given to the police, Ana Villanueva is slim built, has brown skin, has long black curly hair, is about 5’7” in height. She has a tattoo on her right foot with the marking ‘Anastasia.’ No photo has been provided of the missing teen.

    Apply Permaculture: From Exhausted Farmland to Diverse Food Forest
    Christopher Nesbitt explains how applying permaculture design to the hills of southern Belize, he has created a truly diverse food forest that feeds his family, his animals and the local community and also supplies timber and medicines. My partner, Celini Logan, and I manage a small NGO called Maya Mountain Research Farm in the hills of southern Belize. The farm is located 2 kilometers off road, up river from San Pedro Columbia, the largest Queq'chi Maya community in Belize, set amongst the ruins of a classic period Maya site. Everyday I walk beneath the shade of the trees, looking for food above me and food that has fallen to the ground. It is a forest that I know very intimately. I have been growing it for the last 25 years on an old citrus and cattle farm that I bought cheaply in 1988, when I was 22 years old. I took a PDC with Michael Pilarski, Rick Valley, Chuck Marsh, Mark Cohen and Jose Caballero in 1991, and started thinking about how best to apply permaculture principles to my land. I decided to replicate form and function of primary habitat, emulating rainforest in my farm. We now manage over 10 hectares of land out of 28 hectares.

    Mo' Mojo: It has been real San Pedro!! Corozal here we come!!!
    Mo' Mojo had a great time performing and exchanging with artists in San Pedro, but is excited now to head to Corozal for their concert tonight at the Civic Center! The concert is FREE and we hope to see everyone in Corozal and surrounds there!!!

    Belize Reports Increased Real Estate Tourism in 2015
    Belize is best known for its beauty and magnificent natural wonders such islands & beaches, the second largest barrier reef in the world, and its world famous fishing grounds. With a high concentration of Mayan temples, rivers, interconnected cave systems, exotic animals and plants, vistors have plenty to take in during their stay. It is this abundance of eco-resources that allows the country to proudly state that they are seeing an influx of Eco-Tourism in this start of the year. An integral part in travelling and tourism is reaching a rapid increase in wave of globalization. Economic growth is globally impacting the tourism activity worldwide. The amount of international travelers is expanding to reach a broader variety of countries with growing affluence in emerging economies.

    Corozal: Preserving our Heritage and Culture
    Coming in February...Look out for a great evening of tradition and entertainment as we showcase the lost cultural celebration of Juan Carnaval!

    A resounding ....NO!!! to offshore drilling
    Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia and Director of the Belize Tourism Board join Oceana Belize VP in a selfie to say "No!" to offshore drilling in Belize!

    Channel 7

    Hon. Marco Tulio Mendez, Precarious And Pressurized Predicament
    The PUP Representative for Orange Walk East, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez is in a precarious and pressurized situation tonight. That's because there are reports swirling, which suggest that he engaged in inappropriate behavior in the domestic setting. We stress that police tell us no official report or complaint has been made, but multiple, credible sources confirm that the Department Of Social Services is investigating a complaint made by his estranged wife. We did try to speak to Dr. Mendez today in Orange Walk - but when we checked his office at the Northern Medical Plaza - they told us he had gone home sick. When we checked at his home, we could not find him there.

    Cane Season Opens (Finally!)
    This morning at 10:00, the 2014-2015 sugar cane grinding season finally opened, allowing the country to breathe a collective sigh of relief, given that a month ago, the season and the future of this critical industry were in doubt. But after a fractious fortnight in cane country, which ultimately led to the splintering of the 55 year old Cane Farmers Association, today it was business as usual at the Tower Hill Sugar Factory. Our news team was in Orange Walk for a front-row seat. Daniel Ortiz reports:

    How A Sugar Mill Works
    While we were at the factory today, the staff allowed us to look around for ourselves and see the first few tonnes of cane being processed from the delivery phase to the grinding phase. The factory manager gave us a very brief explanation of how it works: John Gillett - Factory Manager, BSI "First thing that happens, the cane is weighed on the 100 tonnes scales that we have. After the cane is weighed, it's discharged into the cross carriers. The cross carriers feeds it into the feeder carrier. After the feeder carrier, we pass the cane through a set of cane knives and then through a set of shredders, which prepares the cane for milling. In other words, what it does, it shreds the cane and we referred to it as a perforation index and gets the cane condition, so that milling can start.

    27 Year Old On Life Support
    Tonight a 27 year old UB student is on life support at the KHMH after he was shot in his back on Saturday night. The shooting happened in Hattieville at a Birthday Party on Camal Street. 27 year old Eugene Pitts was on the dancefloor when the crowd of partygoers heard a loud bang coming from some bushes behind the yard. The young man's midsection was riddled with shotgun pellets. An eyewitness who asked to appear off camera told us what he saw: Voice of Friend of Eugene Pitts "My sister had a little birthday party and she invited a lot of friends and she told me to invite some of my friends and so I did, because we all are DJs. Everything was going nice, no one expect the worse to happen, so it was a night to free up. Lots of kids and women and fathers and all kinds of people were around - it was family event. After a little after the birthday song for my sister and cut the cake, everyone began to party and moved under the tent. About 5-10 minutes after we heard a bang. People said that the speaker exploded."

    Social Security Workers Didn't Get Paid
    Possibly for the first time in the Social Security Board's 33 year history - Social Security's 300 employees did not get paid as usual on the 26th today. As we reported on Friday, it's because of a mix-up between SSB management and the Christian Workers Union. Social Security went ahead with a plan to implement what's called a "Transitional increment." The management says it did so in consultation with the in-house union representatives. But everything changed on Thursday when the Union head office got involved. General secretary Floyd Neal wrote a letter saying that the workers would accept the increment, but also maintained their right to get their usual bonus at the end of March. Now, the increment was introduced to replace the bonus, so Social Security put everything in reverse, and withdrew the increment. The problem was that all the increments were already in motion - so those had to withdrawn, which we gather requires a lot of paperwork.

    Funeral For A Soldier
    22 year old BDF reservist, Denver Villafranco was buried this weekend in Belize City. The private from B Company of the volunteer unit received full military honours for his burial. Soldiers escorted his casket to the Ephesus 7th Day Adventist Church and then to the Lord Ridge Cemetery where he received a gun salute as the casket was being interred. Villafranco was savagely knifed to death 9 days ago. The alleged culprits are brothers Phil and Orlando Staine. They alleged struck him with a crowbar, cut him open with a four inch blade and then stabbed him in the chest - all reportedly because Villafranco had parted a fight the night before…

    PM Met UNESCO, Gives Commitment
    A week ago we reported on the meeting between the UNESCO World Heritage Center delegates and the NGO community. They gathered to discuss the much critiqued Draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines - and how changing and removing certain sections of the draft can move Belize a step closer to getting off the list of 'in danger' sites. Well, the NGO's weren't the only ones meeting the UNESCO group - so did the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's office today sent out a press release assuring government's commitment to working along with UNESCO and the NGO community to protect the reef system. The release says quote "the Government of Belize agreed to start talks on critical conservation challenges related to the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef from the World Heritage List in Danger".

    COLA Threatens
    But, the COLA President didn't have that commitment on Saturday when he went off on the government, for, among other things, offshore drilling - although we doubt it would have made a difference. That's because COLA agitates first and foremost and at its AGM at the Bishop Sylvester Memorial Center on Saturday - he said the future holds confrontation:.. Geovannie Brackett, President - COLA "And I want to give you a little bit of activism forecast, there will be trouble in the next year, because this government has clearly shown how it wishes to victimize - how it wishes to polarized - how it wishes to take the very little that people have away and this organization, I promise you, will bring change and it will bring it soon and very soon."

    Getting Women Into Politics
    How can we get more women involved in politics? That was the overarching question at today's Justice and Gender forum at the Radisson. There is no straightforward response to that question because of the structural and cultural barriers women face as aspiring politicians. Costa Rican Legislator Maureen Clarke says women can make a difference in their future in politics but it will be a daunting task. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Participant "The conference will be what we make of it because you get out of something what you put into it and I am delighted that there are women across the political spectrum here, there are women activists, there are people who have been in this business for a good while and so I really feel that if we have a rich discussion and its usually rich when women come together, we can come up with some solid recommendations. Right now we are looking at the barriers to women getting into politics, what women can do to lobby for justice and human rights when you are within parliaments, what kind of changes we need to bring about in our country, not only to encourage more women to step forward, but also when are in the political process, to make a difference."

    GSU: It's All About Weed
    GSU found live rounds in - of all things - a baby wipes container on Saturday. At 10:30 on Saturday morning the Unit searched a lot on Victoria Street near Fabro's Glass Ltd. They found a black plastic bag with (15) .25mm live rounds of ammunition. A blue baby wipes plastic package with 32. 25mm live rounds was also found in the area for a grand total of (47) live ammunition of .25 mm rounds. No one was in the area and the ammunition was labeled as "Found Property". Also on Saturday the GSU found a black plastic bag with 103 grams or 3 ounces of cannabis in an abandoned house on Castle Street. No one was in the area at the time of the discovery and it was labeled as "Found Property".

    Calla Creek Sickos
    Police are looking for two Calla Creek residents in connection with an unlawful sexual intercourse case. A 13-year-old Belizean Student of San Ignacio Town reported that on 4th July, 2014 and 10th September, 2014, she had sexual intercourse with a man from Calla Creek Village. She also reported that in the month of September, 2014, she also had sexual intercourse with his brother. Based on a medical examination the minor is 23 weeks pregnant. Police are looking for both men of Calla Creek Village pending investigations.

    Will They Be Legends
    This weekend, the Belize Amateur Athletic Association, held its first national championships in 5 years. That's because, among other challenges, the Marion Jones Sporting Complex had been closed for renovations. 7News stopped by to see how the long break affected the top amateur athletes. Here's what the President told us about the level of participation, since the comeback: Deon Sutherland - President, BAAA "Today, we have the first day, day one of the national championships for athletics. This event is mandatory. Actually, this is supposed to be our 2014 national championships, but it was postponed in December because of the weather, so we are having it this weekend."

    Indians Raise Their Flags
    "A home away from home": That's what members of the Belize Indian Community call Belize and today they got to celebrate it right at the Battlefield Park. It's Indian Republic Day - the day that truly marks India's sovereignty and Independence from the British in 1950. Although they are over 9,000 miles away from India, the community is still celebrating that pivotal moment in Indian history. President of the Belize Indian Community, Dinesh Bhojwani told us why it matters so much to Indians living in Belize and in India. "Today is India Republic day. Although India got independence in 1947, in 1950, on January 26th, it was created a nation. We had our constitution formalized that year and so that was the day that really signify a true independent India where it was moved away from complete British rule. You can be Indian at heart and still be Belizean. It's not one or the other. We can coexist with you. Like I said India has given us Bollywood, but at the same time Belize has given us rice and beans and Punta, so we can't wrong that right. And nowadays you see it, with the fusion of the music, you see it with the fusion of the food, you see it with the fusion of everything. And that's part of globalization."

    Specialists Provide Medical Care
    The Gift of Life programme for medical assistance to children across the country has been around for 37 years and since then, international specialists have treated over 1,000 Belizean children. Presently, American Pediatric Cardiologist- Jeff Delaney and his team is in Belize to provide medical attention to children living with heart conditions. We caught up with them at the KHMH today and found out more. The team will be working in Dangriga on Wednesday.

    The Magana Factor
    One week ago in the House of Representatives, the Sugar Industry Amendment Act was passed into law. It allows for other growers groups to exist and do business with the factory owners. It's the realization of a long held dream which Wilfredo Magana and the members of the United Cane Farmers Association initiated back in 2009 when they went to the Supreme Court. And on Monday, 5 years after they were supposed to do it, the Government of Belize finally complied with the terms of the Court consent order and changed the law, allowing the 2 new associations to legally exist. And so, at today' official opening of the grinding season, Wilfredo Magana was present to witness the first season with more than one association delivering cane. The media took the opportunity to ask him why his association, the United Cane Farmers Association, didn't become the third group to sign independently.

    Channel 5

    2015 Sugar Cane Crop Opens
    This morning, the 2015 sugar cane crop season opened with delivery of cane from the Orange Walk Branch. Its seven weeks late, but the fact that is happening at all [...]

    Is G.O.B. Fixing Sugar Roads?
    Exactly one week ago, Prime Minister Dean Barrow informed the nation that G.O.B. had allocated two million dollars for immediate work on sugar roads. But according to Orange Walk Branch [...]

    ASR/B.S.I. on Amendments
    For the first time in history, there are three associations delivering cane to B.S.I. That is now legally possible because of amendments to the Sugar Industry Act pushed through by [...]

    UCFA Head Says B.S.C.F.A. Survival Uncertain
    Those amendments would probably not have come to pass without a legal claim by cane-farmer Wilfredo Magana way back in 2010. He and others petitioned the court to open up [...]

    P.U.P.’s Mendez Under Investigation?
      There are reports tonight of political trouble in the Orange Walk East constituency and it involves the current area representative. Reports to our newsroom are that Doctor Marco Tulio [...]

    B.D.F. Investigation Into Missing Ammo Continues
    Tonight, the B.D.F. is still trying to determine who stole two containers of ammunition being held for the U.S. army in training on the B.D.F. compound. On Friday, we reported [...]

    Petrocaribe Future Uncertain
    Caribbean Countries signed on to the Petrocaribe program some ten years ago. The program, which has provided social assistance, may very well see many countries cut off. While Belize’s name [...]

    Gunman Targets Hattieville Resident
    Just after midnight on Saturday, a shot was fired as the Bowen family of Hattieville was celebrating the birthday of one of their own at their residence on Camal Street. [...]

    Southern Ops Yield Drugs
    In the south on Saturday night, a joint operation conducted by uniformed Police Officers and Special Branch Personnel from Placencia in Seine Bight Village led to the discovery of drugs [...]

    GSU Finds Drugs and Ammo
    The Gang Suppression Unit is also reporting on seizures of ammunition and drugs over the past few days.  On Saturday, during a search on Victoria Street, the Unit found a [...]

    13 Year Old Pregnant…Police Seek Calla Creek Brothers
    Last week, a well-known Belize City tattoo artist was sent to prison after he was accused of having a sex with a fifteen year old girl. Well, two brothers from [...]

    Corozal Police Looking for Missing Minor
      And in the north, a mother of Fourth Street North in Corozal Town is reporting that her underage daughter has been missing since last November. Now you’d be asking [...]

    B.D.F. Volunteer Buried With Military Honours
    Over the weekend, a full Belize Defense Force military burial was held for twenty three year old B.D.F. Volunteer Denver Villafranco. Soldiers, along with the family, gave Villafranco a proper [...]

    Mechanic Alleges Assault by Special Constable
    A mechanic in Southern Belize is claiming that a special constable has been wrecking havoc in the south, but no one seems to care. Vincent Scott says that he was [...]

    Brackett Retains Presidency of COLA
    Over the weekend, COLA held its annual AGM and re-elected its executive. Geovanni Brackett was returned as President; Gilroy Usher Jr. Vice-President; Alton Humes Secretary; Edward Young treasurer; Ismay Williams [...]

    Bacab Employees Launch Highway Cleanup
    Can you name one thing you see along Belize’s highways that you’ll never see on any road in, say, neighbouring Chetumal? Give up? Well, we’ll tell you. It’s garbage. A [...]

    A Look at Rotary’s Gift of Life Program
    The Rotary Club of Belize’s Gift of Life Program is well received by families whose loved ones suffer from congenital disease. The program is the flagship initiative of the Club [...]

    Sports Update with James Adderley
    Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The Belmopan Football Championship series got off to a fast start yesterday at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium where Alliance [...]

    CTV3

    BSI/ASR Says There Is No Reason To Go Back But Always Moving Forward
    So, the crop has begun but this year marks a new beginning, so to speak, within the Sugar Industry. BSI is no longer working with one association but rather, three, and amendments have been made to the Sugar Act. This changes a few things in how the logistics for the crop is organized. Viewers may also keep in mind that some individuals still hold differing convictions about the way the entire negotiations played out and ended. But, the commercial agreement has been signed between the majority of cane farmers and the company. Mac McLachlan, International Relations for ASR, says from here, there is only one direction to head into and that is forward.

    Election Season Is On And So The Political Campaign
    Its election season and already the political fanfare of signs, banners and party flags decorate each and every street and periphery in Town. With only weeks away from the Municipal elections, you may have also observed the aspiring candidates going house to house in an effort to get to know the electorate and their needs as well asking for their support. And while much political machinery is being put out by both camps, over the weekend, road works were carried around the Marcus Canul Area. Heavy duty trucks and loads upon loads of white marl were thrown on the Streets and according to Mayor Kevin Bernard, it wasn’t his doing but that of Denny Grijalva, aspiring candidate for the UDP in Orange Walk Central. But where are we getting at you may ask? We spoke to Mayor Kevin Bernard and asked for his reaction to the movement, where he welcomed the works being done but reminds residents that it is simply a political tactic.

    O/W Mayor Dispells Rumors About Land In Little England Area
    Back to politics, another issue brewing in the Orange Walk East constituency is regarding lands from the Little England area where according to Mayor Kevin Bernard the opposition is playing political mischief. We asked Mayor Bernard to dispel rumors and set the record straight regarding these subdivided lots. Kevin Bernard – Mayor, OWTC “I want to make it absolutely clear that we don’t own any property in terms of Little England, we don’t own much property any at all other than what we manage and so forth and so we recently wend to clear up Little England after many complains of the residents that we have sent clean I before but we decided to go in and we have other plans...

    Corozal Resident Wanted By Police Finally Caught
    A wanted resident of Corozal Town who has absconded from the police for over a year has finally been caught and arrested. According to the situation report, 30 year old Can Jin Chen of 5th Avenue reported that on July 25th 2014 about 9:00pm he secured his white in color Toyota Highlander SUV L/P CZL-C-03333 which he left parked in front of his business place and on 26th July, 2014 about 7:50am he discovered that his vehicle was broken into. The following items were stolen (1) MP3 player value $30.00bcy (1) USB flash drive value $30.00bcy and (1) Duralast brand vehicle battery value $300.00bcy all to a total value of $360.00bcy.

    15 Year Old Minor Missing
    A fifteen year old minor from Corozal Town was reported missing by her mother on Friday, January 23rd but we are happy to report tonight that great police work from authorities in orange Walk Town led them to the missing teen. Ana Villanueva was found in good health and the matter will be refereed to Social Services. In the report made by her mother, the teen left home in November of last year and did not return until today when her whereabouts were known.

    OWTC Compactor Truck Involve In Traffic Accident
    There was a disruption in the flow of traffic on the Belize Corozal Road, near the entrance to Orange Walk Town involving two heavy duty trucks, shortly after the lunch this afternoon. From what we have been able to gather, the Town Council’s Compactor Truck experienced some mechanical problems with its brakes and collided with a truck from off Denny Grijalva’s camp. According to Mayor Kevin Bernard the matter is been dealt with by the police and the insurance company. Kevin Bernard – Mayor, OWTC “One of our compactor trucks, the blue compactor truck had an incident with traffic where it collided with an incoming vehicle from the highway and I understand that the driver had attempted and it seems that it was a brake failure on our truck so and it so happen that unfortunately it hit the back of the dumper truck that was transporting materials that is been taken in the lower Marcus Canul Area where Mr. Grijalva is trying to put down some material there but he issue is being dealt with I mean our truck is insured an license and so the matter has been taken to the police and we are going to settle through the insurance.”

    LOVE FM

    Man Sentenced For False Documentation
    Twenty-five year old Kenroy Young, who plead guilty to five counts of uttering upon a false document last week and was to be sentenced today, did not call any character witnesses, but he gave a lengthy plea for mitigation. Young told Justice Adolph Lucas that he intends to pursue a career as an attorney when he is released from prison. He added that he will not let any of his past mistakes be obstacles and prevent him from achieving his goal. Young said he comes from a prominent family and he has broken his family’s honour because he was not brought up to lie, deceive and steal. He said that it was the habit of gambling at the age of 18 that led him to a life of crime. Young said he was Belize’s Youth ambassador to the United Nations and he was the founding member the Belize Federation of Youth ambassadors. Young was not represented by any attorney. Crown counsel Portia Staine represented the prosecution. Justice Lucas has deferred sentencing until tomorrow.

    PM Charts Course To Remove BBRRS From Endangered List
    The Government of Belize has committed to start talks on critical conservation challenges in an effort to remove the Belize Barrier Reef from UNESCO’S world heritage list in danger. As we reported a technical team was in Belize to assist the Government in its efforts to prepare a road map to achieve this goal. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has reportedly expressed his willingness to chart a course forward on key management requirements for a sustainable future for the reef. Prime Minister Barrow confirmed the Government’s policy position to prohibit oil exploitation within and adjacent to the protected areas in the Belize Barrier Reef System. In 2009 the Belize Barrier Reef was placed on the List of World Heritage in danger because of concerns on the sale, lease and development of mangrove islands and the absence of a solid regulatory framework aimed at ensuring its exceptional and unique values remain.

    Minor Departs Belize For Cancer Treatment
    Today eight year old Gabryella Barnett and her mother left Belize for a Bone and Joint Clinic in Amarillo Texas. As we have been reporting, the young girl was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma, a bone cancer which spreads rapidly and can be deadly if left untreated. Gabryella’s trip was funded by Amarillo Bone and Joint Clinic in Amarillo, Texas. At the clinic in Texas, she will undergo several staging work up for a significant malignancy in her thigh through surgery and post-surgical radiation and chemotherapy. The Gift of Life Belize, through the Rotary Club of Belize, also aided in the arrangements procedures for Gabyrella and her mother.

    Construction of Youth Hostel Completed
    Works have been completed at the Youth Hostel on the George Price Highway. Love News spoke with the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Judith Alpuche, who told us that this project is a follow up to the Gateway Youth Centre on the compound of the Gwen Lizarraga High School in Belize City which was recently inaugurated in latter 2014. “On Thursday we will be very pleased to open both a new dormitory facility as well as a resource center at our Youth Hostel; it is a part of the community action for public safety project that the Ministry has been the executing agency. The project comes out of a $5 million dollar US loan facility with the IDB that the government had received to look at the reform of juvenile justice from the prevention as well as intervention perspective so people may recall that late last year we had the opening of the gateway youth center that situated on Gwen Liz and that is the prevention portion of the project that looked at how to provide programming for youth who are at risk of coming in conflict with the law or are just in situations.

    Villager Shot While Socializing
    Just after twelve thirty on Saturday night, a resident of rural Belize was shot whilst attending a birthday party on Carnal Street in Hattieville Village, Belize District. Love News visited the crime scene today and spoke to Lennox, who lived at the house where the shooting occurred. LENNOX “Everybody was dancing and socializing and having fun, nobody was really drinking a lot. Everybody here was people who knew each other and mostly family a lot of children were about, pregnant ladies, the area was very fragile and sensitive and then everyone was still dancing. The children were over to a side. We were just partying and having fun and then I was close to the speaker talking to my friend then I walked up and closer to my house to get a drink of water all I heard was a loud bang but then everybody hollered that it was the speaker and right away you could tell that that was not the speaker because I deal with speakers and I know what speakers sound and that bang far surpassed the bang of the speaker especially because we were not running any bass.

    Belize Host Two Days Gender Conference
    Several officials from Costa Rica are in Belize for a 2-day conference on Gender and Justice Issues via, what has been dubbed a Legislative Forum. Belize has been embraced as a part of this regional endeavour and today, several stakeholders from the Belize Police Department, the legislature, aspiring female politicians among others are attending this event. Pulcheria Teul of the National Women’s Commission and Rodrigo Jimenez of the Gender Justice Foundation in Costa Rica were two of the collaborators for this event. We heard from them regarding the objective of the workshop and how the regional project came about. “The Legislative Form came about through the Fundacion de Justicia Ingenero which is based in Costa Rica. They came to Belize and they are presently implementing a regional project which is focused on improving the capacity of parliamentarians so this legislative forum speaks to increase the level of their understanding of gender issues as parliamentarians, whether their human rights whether human rights focus as well however in Belize there are very limited numbers of parliamentarians.”

    15-Year-Old Goes Missing After Sending a Text For Help
    Over the weekend, we told you of a young girl, who has been reported missing from Corozal Town. Love News understands that the young girl’s mother, 53-year-old, Maud Villanueva of a Fourth Street North address went to the authorities on January 23, 2015 asking their assistance in locating 15-year-old, Ana Villanueva. The mother told the police that Ana had left home in November last year and had not returned home since. Since her departure from home, she has been in contact with Ana, who had assured her that she is staying with good people in Orange Walk Town … but on Wednesday, January 21, she received a text from her daughter pleading to her for help and that she is in trouble. Since she received that text, the mother has been unable to reach Ana on her cell phone and now she fears that her daughter is in danger.

    Man Charged For Theft and Damage
    A man from the Corozal District has been charged with theft and damage to property. Last July 30-year-old businessman Can Jin Chen reported that his vehicle was broken into. The culprit made off with one MP3 player, USB flash drive and a battery. Video footage revealed that 50-year-old Magdaleonie Hortencio Tzul was the culprit. Police finally managed to apprehend last Friday. Tzul appeared before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton and was offered bail of two thousand five hundred dollars. He is to reappear in court in April.

    Primary School Staff; Will Changes Be Made?
    Education is said to be the key to success. It also roots from kindergarten to the furthest point that one wishes to pursue. Last week we heard from the Parents in Punta Gorda from Light of The Valley Baptist School, who is frustrated with the communication barrier between the principal of the school and the teachers. From the recent parent teachers meeting, it was understood that a protest has been planned to transpire if changed should not be made. Today Love News understands that an informed Riot has been planned to transpire in front of the school today. Francisco Sosa, President of the PTA, who spoke to us about the problems the school, has been faced with. “Yes we have a presentation for the management of the school and we don’t have with the teachers or the principal and the families want to have that presentation here.”

    PlusTV

    Man critical after hit to the head with baseball bat
    Antonio Segura, a resident of Frank’s Eddy Village in the Cayo district, is in critical condition at the KHMH, after he was hit in the head with a baseball bat. The incident occurred in Frank’s Eddy village early Sunday morning. According to Julio Reyes, the owner of a bar in the village, he was about to close his bar sometime around 1 o’clock that morning, when Antonio Segura came up to him and started an argument with him, demanding a beer. Mr Segura then allegedly moved off and started an argument with two other men in the area. While that argument between the trio was ongoing, Julio closed up and moved off to go to his house which is in the same yard. He said that as he was about to go in the house when Segura ran behind him with a knife and Julio grabbed a bat and hit Segurao to the head.

    Man shot at birthday party in Hattieville
    There was a shooting incident in Hattieville on Saturday night. The victim, 27 year old Eugene Pitts, was shot to the back. According to police reports, Mr Pitts was at a party on Camal Street in Hattieville sometime after midnight. Eugene Pitts was reportedly near the front of the yard, when a shot came from somewhere near the back of the yard. The crowd scattered and Mr Pitts fell to the ground with a bullet in his lower back. He was taken to the KHMH where he remains in a stable condition.

    15 year old missing two months, just reported
    15 year old Anna Villanueva, a resident of Corozal Town, went missing from her home some two months ago in November of 2014. However, her mother just filed a missing person’s report on Friday January 23, 2015. According to the police report, the mother told them that after Anna left home, she called her mother and told her not to worry as she was staying with some good people in Orange Walk Town. The mother apparently didn’t know who the persons were but she did not report the matter to police because she had multiple times of communication with the minor over the two month period.

    13 year old impregnated by one of two Calla Creek men
    A 13-year-old Belizean Student of San Ignacio Town visited the police station in the company of her mother, and reported that on 4th July, 2014 and 10th September, 2014, she had sexual intercourse with a man known to her from Calla Creek Village. She also reported that in the month of September, 2014, she also had sexual intercourse with the man’s brother. A medical examination was conducted on the minor where the doctor certified that she is 23 weeks pregnant. Police are looking for both men of Calla Creek Village pending investigations.

    Man sought for theft since July 2014 apprehended by police
    Magdaleaonie Hortencio Tzul was arrested and charged for theft and damage to a motor vehicle. Tzul’s arrest came after aChinese Businessman of Corozal Town reported that someone broke into his Toyota Highlander, which he left parked in front of his business place. The thief made off with an MP3 player, USB flash drive, and the vehicle battery. A surveillance video in the area captured the incident and Magdaleonie Tzul, a 50 year old Belizean Laborer of Corozal Town, was identified as the culprit. This incident happened since July of last year but Tzul had managed to escape custody despite several police operations to capture him. He was finally apprehended on Friday January 23, by Corozal QRT. He was charged for the crimes of theft from motor vehicle and damage to property.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Ammunition rounds taken from Belize Defence Force Post
    The Belize Defence Force (BDF) is investigating the apparent theft of more than 2,500 rounds of military grade ammunition from a holding cell at its military compound in Lords’ Bank village, Belize District. On Friday, BDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Shepherd confirmed the theft of 1,680 rounds of 5.56 ammunition used for M-16 and M4 carbine rifles, and 1,000 rounds of 7.62 ammunition used for the self-loading rifle (SLR). The ammunition was being used by visiting American forces in training and was kept separate from the BDF’s own cache of weapons and ammunition, which has been raided twice in the last decade.

    Teenage girl is pregnant, police look for men responsible
    The sexual exploitation of underage girls continues and the latest incident is of a 13 year old from San Ignacio town who is five months pregnant. According to the minor, the sexual abuse happened in July and September of last year by two men who are brothers and from the village of Calla Creek, Cayo. Police say the girl, in the presence of her mother, reported that the first incident happened on July 4, 2014.

    Blogs

    ABC’s beach bar was rockin
    Upon arrival at ABC’s … about an hour into the popular beach bar Pickin’ Party, it was easy to see (and hear) that the afternoon was turning out to be a pretty fun time. The Jerry Jeff Walker fans that arrived in San Pedro last week for “Camp Belize 2015” were out in full force, as well as some of the “new arrivals” that are here for pretty much a duplicate agenda as last week. See “Camp Belize is almost Upon Us” post for Jerry Jeff Walker picking party schedule. Folks came from all over (mostly from the US, but some from Canada) to join in on the fun. Sherry & Tull were gracious to share the stage during their regular Saturday gig at ABC beach bar. Everything was so smooth, there was hardly a lull in the music as each new set of pickers went on stage. I’d like to make special mention of a couple that were in San Pedro for Camp Belize, for their 8th time this year. Rodney and Tommie Smith. They celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary at this party – congratulations. I wonder if they’ll have their 40th here next year….

    Black Bean Pineapple Avocado Dip
    This is an easy dip for any party. It uses quite a few ingredients, but it is a dump recipe so it's very easy to make.

    The 5 Most Incredible Private Islands in Belize
    Belize has hundreds of islands that dot its coastline and many of them are underrated spots that are great destinations for scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing and beach combing. Here are some private islands in Belize that remain untapped by the masses. Water Foot Caye, South Water Caye, Tobacco Caye, St. George’s Caye, Silk Caye

    TripAdvisor Ranks Belize’s Top 10 Hotels of 2015
    This year’s list of Belize’s top 10 hotels is just out as ranked by the popular travel information site TripAdvisor. From North to South, East to West, here are the top 10 ten hotels in Belize: Victoria House Beach Resort in Ambergris Caye, Coco Beach Resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize, Grand Caribe Belize Resort and Condominiums in Ambergris Caye Belize, Las Terrazas Belize Resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize, Belize Ocean Club in Placencia Belize, Ramon’s Village Resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize, Villas at Banyan Bay in Ambergris Caye, Belize, Hopkins Bay Resort in Hopkins Belize, Captain Morgan’s Retreat in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

    Ummm….THIS IS HUGE! The First Belize Electronic Music Festival in Placencia
    So when I saw the information on the Belize Electronic Music Festival in Placencia this coming weekend, it didn’t really strike me as all that important. Here is the facebook page. The Belize Ocean Club Party will go from 9 to 4 in the morning, Friday. Then we are doing an after party at Tipsy Tuna, starting at 3 and going until midnight, Saturday. The Sunday Pool party has really chilled beats and is a nice place to recover. After the pool party BOC will show the Super Bowl on big screens.

    Mike Vestal – Child Predator in Belize
    Each year, countless children around the world fall prey to sexual predators. These young victims are left with permanent psychological, physical, and emotional scars. When a recording of that sexual abuse is made or released onto the Internet, it lives on forever. It haunts the children depicted in it, who live daily with the knowledge that countless strangers use an image of their worst experiences for their own gratification. I do not comprehend the fact that anyone can come to Belize and just do as they please. In these crazy times where children are being hunted, we cannot continue to let anyone just parade into Belize as they please. When Belizeans want to go out for vacation they have to pay hundreds for a visa, get a full background check and a lot more but people can just fly or drive into Belize; mostly from the US. This is Michael Vestal, 37, Vallejo, Johnson Control technician that has been profiled not only on international TV but on a show specific to child predator (s), and he was allowed not only to come into Belize but work with children under the guise of Christianity. They have listed as now living in Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez

    International Sourcesizz

    Go Slow: My Soul Under the Full Belize Moon
    01.02.15 Caye Caulker, 5pm: Last half of last cigarette smoked. I am done. 01.03.15 Ambergris Caye day trip. To say I didn't San Pedro would be kind. Concrete roads that were once dirt, golf carts jammed along the sidewalk; the antithesis of Madonna's La Isle Bonita. Later that day. Caye Caulker, 5pm. Licking the mint chocolate chip cone from the stand in front of our hotel by The Split after a quick dip in the aqua water, made dark in large splatter spots from the seaweed gently floating on the ocean floor. Baby oil slathered all over, coating every inch of my body, preventing the mosquitos from getting seconds on their first buffeted feast.

    Biden: U.S. will help Caribbean nations revamp energy sector
    Vice President Joe Biden met with leaders of Caribbean nations Monday, saying the U.S. would do what it could to help those countries revamp their energy sectors, a vital concern given the region’s dependence on oil shipments from ailing Venezuela. Speaking at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit in Washington, Biden essentially gave the Caribbean leaders a pep talk, saying that now was the time to boost alternative sources of energy, such as solar, and to decrease reliance on oil. But he also cautioned them that – while it was poised to help – the United States wouldn’t do so with its eyes closed. To expect aid and other financing from the United States, Biden said, would mean counties need to get a handle on corruption and pick the projects that make the most sense.

    No Need To Probe Bain's Right To Fair Hearing - Litigation Expert
    Director of litigation in the Attorney General's Department, Carlene Larmond, has submitted that the court does not have to embark on an enquiry as to whether the University of the West Indies (UWI) has infringed Professor Brendan Bain's right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time. Larmond said the university was a juristic entity and not a public authority and, therefore, the court would have to consider whether the UWI breached Bain's freedom of expression and freedom of thought and conscience. She argued that the university could not breach Bain's right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court or authority established by law. She said fair hearing could only be guaranteed by the State.

    Videos

  • Belize Blue Hole Dive 2014, 4.5min. One off the bucket list. Belize Blue Hole scuba dive 2014. The Blue Hole is one of the largest sink holes in the ocean. One of the top dive sites in the world. The hole is over 300 feet deep. As a sport diver, we are only allowed to go to 130 feet for 7 minutes and then slowly ascend for a total dive of about 50 minutes. At 130 feet in an open water cave, it is really dark, so the video really doesn't show how massive the cave is with all its stalactites. We were on a 3 tank dive and went to other dive sites during the day. What you see is about 3 hours of video condensed down to 4 minutes. This video was made for friends and family to enjoy.
  • Mayan Cave Tubing & Zip Line in Belize City Belize - Paul Glasspoole & Kari Guthrie, 6min. 12/24/2014 Paul Glasspoole & Kari Guthrie Mayan Cave Tour on tubes in Belize City, Belize. It was "un-Belize-able!"
  • Suspension bridge,Belmopan,Capital of Belize,Center America, 1min.
  • Salbutes - Cooking with Flavors of Belize, 9min. Let Belizean street food make a debut in your kitchen with the delicious yet simple Salbutes recipe, found in the Flavors of Belize Cookbook. This dish makes for the perfect snack or appetizer if you're having friends over... for, let's say, the big game day coming up next weekend!
  • Caye Caulker, Belize, 10min.
  • Belize Report - Pete, Jenn, & Lyn, 15min. Pete Giesbrecht and Lyn & Jenn Dyck share about their trip to Belize and the work that they saw the EMMC/GoMission! conference doing there.
  • Belize 2014, 5min. Southside High School's first international tour.
  • Belize Scuba Diving 1, 5min. Scuba diving in Belize. Half moon Caye and aquarium dives site.
  • A Day in Belize (Zoo and City) 1-21/15, 20min. This is a 19-minute compilation video of my 5 hour private tour of Belize City with Kameesha from Splashwave Tours. There were eight of us in an 11 passenger van. Kameesha was great!
  • Belize; great diving and cave tubing., 9min. This is just a taste of our 8 days in Belize, I didn't bring my video camera for a lot of it. We also kayaked, fished, hiked in the rainforest, horseback rode, and much more.
  • Belize, 8min. Diving in Belize with Scuba Center Temecula group was a blast. Traveled with almost 30 divers and they saw a ton of wild life including sharks (Nurse Sharks).
  • Driving the golf cart through San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, from the north towards the south., 8.5min.

    January 26, 2015


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    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

    Belize Fashion Week 2015 Dates Announced
    Belize Fashion Week 2015 will be held on July 9 -12 2015 in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Our new team will commence their national model search for this Grand event and will feature Belizean models showcasing “one of a kind” made in Belize Fashion collections. Belize Fashion Week also has the participation of international designers and models.

    Wolfe’s Woofer: Surprise Phone Call
    “Hello, Dennis speaking,” I said, when the phone rang. “Hey, Dennis. This is Jim. Do you want to watch the last two games of the basketball tournament with me today?” “Sure.” I said. “Do you want to come watch it at my house?” “No. Meet me at mine. I bought a brand new giant screen TV this morning and I’m dying to try it out. Be here by two o’clock, though, because the game starts at three.” “Sure,” I said “The only thing I have to do today is go pay my telephone bill.”

    Two Schools Receive Donations from Belize It Yourself, Ltd.
    BIY, a travel-related Personal Concierge service, located on Coconut Drive, is proud to announce the donation of 4 new microscopes, 400 composition notebooks, 400 pencils, 2 desk pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, and 100 rulers for Holy Cross School.

    Doctor Love
    I am divorced and I have been dating a businessman who is also divorced. We date each other exclusively but because of his busy schedule we see each other only on week ends. We did this because he did not want me dating anyone else. I never told him that I did not want to date anyone else but it was definitely taken for granted. Last week he was out of town. I dropped by his house to leave some things with his housekeeper. Instead of the maid, he answered the door wearing only a robe and he was shocked to see me. While I was at the door I saw a woman walk from his bedroom to his bathroom. He told me she was just a friend and that they never had sex. I left and later he admitted that they did have sex occasionally but she meant nothing to him. I told him we are done and he begged for another chance. I told him I would consider it.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Belize Canoe Association
    Race Results - UpStream: Haulover to Boom (Henderson Bank) 2015

    The Reporter

    Man shot at nightspot
    Eugene Pitts, a Hattieville Village resident, was shit while at a dance spot shortly after midnight on Sunday. The 28-year-old told peoe close to him that someone had just shot him in the lower back. He was rushed to the KHMH where he is in a stable condition. Police believe Pitts’ shooter lurked behind some bushes in the area. They do no have a suspect as yet.

    Belmopan and Benque have new and upgraded markets
    Belmopan and Benque Viejo del Carmen Town have upgraded market facilities following opening ceremonies last week in those communities. The Benque Market is a new 200 square feet facility comprising six permanent stalls, each measuring 14 by 14 feet. Additionally there will be four roofed stalls with open sides for short term/daily rentals. The stalls face the new plaza and connect to green areas and covered walkways and are already occupied. The Belmopan Market entailed reconditioning the Civic Center and surrounding parking and green areas. It caters to 130 vendors.

    Haiti forms electoral panel for overdue polls
    Haiti has installed a Provisional Electoral Council to organise long-delayed elections – after weeks of protests and political uncertainty. The nine-member panel represents different sectors of society. It was sworn in shortly before a UN Security Council delegation arrived on a three-day mission. General and municipal polls are three years overdue, and President Michel Martelly began ruling by decree last week when parliament was dissolved. The dissolution followed a failure to elect new MPs in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

    Blogs

    Forgotten Guardians of the Rain Forest
    Belize is a small country with a large heart and love of nature. Fortunately, a great deal of Belize is set aside to preserve the county’s extraordinary biodiversity, unlike neighboring countries which have significant deforestation. Some 25 parks, reserves or protected marine areas have been set aside for Belizeans and the tourists who hold Belize as a top destination for rain forest or coral (reef) exploration. Today, approximately 40% of the land mass is protected, maintaining homes for Belize wildlife like the tapir, the toucan, the jaguar and many other animal and plant species. Belize is especially proud of the conservation efforts to protect the jaguar. After a campaign that began in 1974 by the Belizean government, the arrival of US wildlife researcher Alan Rabinowitz in1982 sealed the fate of the Cockscomb basin as a jaguar reserve. It was established to protect the forests, fauna and watersheds of approximately 400 square kilometres of the eastern slopes of the Maya Mountains. The reserve was founded in 1990 as the first wilderness sanctuary for the Jaguar (Panthera onca) and is regarded as a premier site for Jaguar preservation in the world. However, the jaguar had another neighbour that was not protected, and that is the Maya people, who represent approximately 13% of the population. It is believed that they inhabited the Cockscomb Basin area as early as 10,000BC. For centuries, they lived in harmony in the rainforests of Central American and Mexico. The civilizations built monumental pyramids, invented their own calendar, a unique writing system and were experts in astronomy. But what contributed to the extinction of the ancient Mayan civilization? The traditional Maya way of life and its culture has been largely lost in Mexico, Guatemala, and northern Belize. Archeological drill cores from the Blue Hole in Belize suggest that an extensive drought period might have been the cause for the loss of the majority of the Mayan civilization. The drought theory is not new but in 2012 samples from a 2,000 year old stalagmite also showed that a drought had affected this Belizean region around the 7th to 10th centuries.

    America’s Music Ambassadors, the Zydeco Band Mo Mojo, Jams in San Pedro and…It’s Awesome
    Most people love music and love to dance. And yesterday, a band called Mo Mojo came in from the states as musical ambassadors. To show a bit of US cultural music to Belize and to play along with local artists. The result was pretty amazing and beautiful. This is a US State department program…who knew? And the program is a revival of the Jazz Ambassadors that went around the world during the Cold War. Dizzy Gillespie…Count Basie…Benny Goodman…a seriously cool program and some BIG shoes to fill. Zydeco, I will admit, was a genre that I had never heard of…but once I heard it playing, it’s American thru and thru. Fiddles, harmonicas, washboards, the trumpet…folksy fun celebratory music that anyone can enjoy.

    Videos

  • Ambergris Caye & The Great Blue Hole, 7min. January 2015 - San Pedro, Belize Ramon's Village
  • Belize Sunset, 1min. This has been Len's project: to shoot the perfect sunset. We think this one is pretty close to perfect, so here you go.
  • Caracol and Mountain Pine Ridge Mayawalk Tours San Ignacio Cayo Belize, 5min.
  • Belize Black Howler Monkeys, 1min. These Black Howler Monkeys ended up coming right over us in Belize's Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve. Incredible!
  • Blue Hole - Belize, 18min. Estar en este fenomeno de la naturaleza es una experiencia de vida..!!
  • Belize Sharks, 2min. Lighthouse Reef Belize.
  • Belize Service Project, 9min. Fredonia Belize Service Project, January 2015
  • Belize & Guatemala Vacation, 3.5min. An amazing trip to Belize & Guatemala. Ambergris Caye, Playa Blanca, El Pescador, Black Rock Lodge in the rainforest, Placencia and back to Ambergris Caye! Beautiful, peaceful and oh so scenic.
  • Knoll Family Belize Trip 2014, 15min. Gaia Riverlodge, near San Ignacio, Belize and San Pedro, Belize.
  • Diving Dog of Belize, 2min. Talented Belizean dog that will dive anywhere for a Conch shell..in Independence Village.
  • Belize Jankunu Dancing, 3min. One of Belize heritage musics..the jankunu jam..

    January 25, 2015


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    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

    JJW Camp Belize 2015 - The FUN Continues!
    The Camp Belize 2015 (camp one or two this month) gang were entertained last night (Jan 23rd) by Jerry Jeff Walker and friends at Fido's Restaurant & Bar. During the sold-out show Walker asked the crowd to help support Saga Humane Society's "Hip to SNIP" program and literally had his hat passed around. The crowd gave generously, with over $2,000 donated! Camp Belize One ends tomorrow, with more fun folks arriving on the island the same day for Camp Two. We welcome you all!

    Police Report
    *On Saturday, January 17th at approximately 6:20PM, San Pedro Police on patrol at the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets, noticed a tall male person of dark complexion dressed in a white T-shirt and a green short pants standing on Chicken Street and walking around a tank in the area. He handed something to a person who had approached him. Police conducted a search on the male person, however, nothing incriminating was found on him. A search was then conducted around the tank where police found a black plastic bag containing green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. The suspected cannabis along with the accused person was taken to San Pedro Police Station where he was identified as 43-year-old Edwardo Jones of Tarpon Street. The suspected cannabis was weighed and amounted to 8 grams. Police then arrested and charged Jones for the offence of Possession of Controlled Drugs.

    Disposal of large items is the responsibility of individual homeowners
    Brackett also said that in the past, The San Pedro Town Council has conducted cleanup campaigns targeting the collection of these large items in an effort to help residents. “There are privately owned freight trucks that do these types of collection for a small fee. Our residents need to have a bit of pride and own up to some level of responsibility, because we cannot do all.” The San Pedro Town Council is suggesting that before these items are placed outside the property for disposal, that homeowners should contact the council to try and coordinate if it can be collected. In the event that council cannot collect these large items at the given time, the council advises homeowners to contact the private freight services.

    Editorial: A tragic life, a tragic death…
    It is with a heavy heart that this week we report on the brutal murder of Silvia Benitez. The story of this young mother of three is tragic in so many ways, it is hard to begin counting the reasons why. As you will read in our article, Silvia is from the Honduras. According to a United Nations report issued in April 2014 Honduras topped their list as the most murderous country per capita in the world. Silvia ran away from her homeland following a violent past: the father of two of her three children was murdered there. Sadly, the young woman took refuge in what the same United Nations report lists as the third most murderous country in the world, Belize. The attractive young woman resorted to exotic dancing in order to make a living, a profession that can be dangerous in itself, and she was tragically taken advantage of while apparently intoxicated. It was an ideal scenario for a predator(s) to exploit, and one has to wonder was this their first time…will it be their last. How many other young women are endangering their lives each night they dance and party with strangers?

    ACES Relocates Problematic Crocodile
    It’s been awhile since The San Pedro Sun has reported on problematic crocodiles on the island. Perhaps our community is learning that the illegal feeding of these apex predators is what makes them dangerous in the first place? Unfortunately, not everyone has “gotten the message” or respects the law, and once again the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) has had to step in and relocate a crocodile from Ambergris Lake after a local restaurant began feeding it. “We have been receiving calls from concerned citizens that the crocodile was getting quite bold,” explained ACES Croc Wrangler Chris Summers. “It was obvious this croc had lost its fear of people and was now associating them with food. It wouldn’t run away when approached and showed no fear of people. This behavior makes for a very dangerous animal.” A week ago ACES reported the problem to the San Pedro police and were told that a warning would be issued to the people who were guilty of feeding the croc. A fed croc will always be a safety issue, therefore ACES decided it was best to remove the reptile from the highly populated area.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Frequently Asked Questions About the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) in Belize
    The Qualified Retired Persons program is designed to attract more retirees to Belize by promoting retiring in Belize. In 1999, legislation was passed (Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Act) to make this process as painless as possible for the retirees, and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is responsible for running this program. It is relatively easy to comply with the rules for the Belize’s Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP). And other than the name suggests, you do not have to be retired at all, but there are some limits to employment. The main criteria for the QRP program are:

    Mo'Mojo at Elvi's
    Last night Mo'Mojo and U.S. Embassy staff met with San Pedro Mayor Gurrero and his wife for dinner at the famous Elvis restaurant to discuss their trip in Belize and sample the local cuisine.

    Power interruption 5:30am to 7:00am Sunday, January 25, portion Belize City
    Douglas Jones St, North Front St from Mapp St to Victoria St, Cleghorn St, Slaughterhouse Rd and New Road from Victoria St to Douglas Jones St. BEL to restore configuration of distribution system following installation of overhead power lines to replace damaged submarine cable.

    PlusTV

    Sugar Cane season to begin Monday
    After a long sugar impasse that almost ruined the industry, the sugar cane harvest season, known to Norteños as “La Zafra”, will begin on Monday January 26th.The starting date for the season was announced on Thursday  in Orange Walk, after a lengthy two hour session of consultation with all stakeh...

    Manhunt for Emmanuel Willoughby in San Ignacio
    San Ignacio Police are looking for a man believed to be responsible for an armed robbery in the early hours of Thursday morning. Reports are that around 7:30 am, as New Yan Chinese store in Bella Vista Street was just opening for the day, a man of dark complexion, believed to be escaped prisoner Emm...

    Jury acquits one of two murder accused
    A jury of his peers has acquitted Cordel Flores, aged 26, of the 2009 murder of eighteen year old Alberto Allen, but were not able to reach a unanimous verdict in respect of a second accused, 23 year old Warren Lewis. The re-trial ended just after nine Thursday night when the jury of 9 women and ...

    Tatoo artist charged for sex with a minor
    A 45 year old Belizean tattoo artist of Belize City, known for his trademark logo “Stinging Scorpio Tattoo”, was arrested and charged on Thursday, for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15 year old minor.According to police reports, at about 8:00 pm on Friday January 16th, a 15 year old mino...

    Accused heroin traffickers free on bail
    The four men busted with over 19 kilograms or 40 pounds of heroin in separate packages on January 12 are out on bail of $50,000 each. 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara of San Pedro Town; 30 year old Lenon Tillett of Belize City and Corozal; 42 year old Gerardo Allen of Caye Caulker; and 35 year old Heid...

    DOE warns of illegal dam construction
    The Department of the Environment is still investigating the Barton Creek Dam in an effort to determine the best way forward. In the last week of December 2014, Plus TV broke the news of the existence of two micro-hydros built close to the Barton Creek Archeological site, unbeknownst to the Departme...

    Consultations held to advance Belizean products and services through tourism
    The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation and Agriculture (IICA) is partnering with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Belize Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture to host meaningful consultations to development a strategy for advancement of Belizean products and services t...

    GOB maintains prohibition of offshore drilling concessions
    On Thursday we told you about the issue that some environmental conservation NGOs took up with the Government’s proposed draft for offshore exploration, condemning the Government for keeping zones near delicate oceanic ecosystems on the drilling map. On Friday, the Ministry of Energy, Science and Te...

    Refurbished basketball courts for Belmopan
    Basketball Players and fans living in the City of Belmopan are to enjoy newly refurbished basketball facilities. As a part of an ongoing project to upgrade various sporting facilities around the city, the Area Representative for Belmopan, Hon...

    The Reporter

    Thousands of rounds of military ammo stolen from BDF storage facility
    Two separate investigations are underway – one by the Ladyville Police and the other by the Belize Defense Force (BDF) to determine how two secured containers with several thousand rounds of military ammunition for the US Army were stolen from the BDF’s guarded ammunition and explosives storage facility on the Lord’s Bank road. The stolen ammunition is worth roughly $20,000 and are used in M-16 and M-4 rifles. While a patrol discovered the breach at around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, authorities do not know when the actual breach occurred. Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd, the force’s chief of staff, told reporters on Friday “the last time we did a check for 100 percent accountability was the seventh of December.

    Brazil’s most populous region facing worst drought in 80 years
    Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira has said the country’s three most populous states are experiencing their worst drought since 1930. The states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais must save water, she said after an emergency meeting in the capital Brasilia. Ms Teixeira described the water crisis as “delicate” and “worrying”. Industry and agriculture are expected to be affected, further damaging Brazil’s troubled economy. The drought is also having an impact on energy supplies, with reduced generation from hydroelectric dams. Brazil is supposed to be in the middle of its rainy season but there has been scant rainfall in the south-east and the drought shows no sign of abating. The crisis comes at a time of high demand for energy, with soaring temperatures in the summer months. “Since records for Brazil’s south-eastern region began 84 years ago, we have never seen such a delicate and worrying situation,” said Ms Teixeira.

    The Belize Times

    United With Cañeros!!
    History will record that when the over 5,000 hardworking cane farmers were in need of defence and support when under attack from a powerful, foreign multinational company, standing up for them were the Opposition People’s United Party, senior cane farmers and leaders of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association such as Alfredo Ortega, Diody Novelo, Lucilo Teck, Javier Keme, Ramon “Monchi” Cervantes and Oscar Alonzo, and the venerable Union leader and attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd. The Government of Belize led by the Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his minion Ministers all turned cowards under the might of the foreign entity, American Sugar Refinery, and joined them to oppress and beat down the cane farmers into submission. The final act of this state-sanctioned political and economic hit on the cane farmers was the Government’s passing, with great urgency, an amended Sugar Industry Act on Monday, January 29th, 2015 before the House of Representatives.

    Why was Nuri Muhammad removed from LOVE FM morning show?
    The sudden and unexplained removal of Nuri Muhammad as the host of the Love FM morning show has revived talks about the Barrow Administration’s incessant attacks on freedom of speech and the media. Muhammad, who is a well-respected leader of the Muslim Community, activist and senior media professional, was suddenly yanked from the Love FM morning show sometime last week. He didn’t appear on the set, conveniently, when two senior Government Ministers, Godwin Hulse and Hubert Elrington, appeared as guests to defend the Government’s role in the instability in the sugar industry. The show lacked the fiery debate that would be incited whenever Muhammad was present. It was also boring and very one-sided, with the mouthy Ministers talking non-stop and going mostly unchallenged by the two female hosts. Fortunately, the callers to the show appeared more informed and better able to call out the lies and deception of the UDP Ministers.

    Espats/Barrow cut another deal
    An article that appeared in the Reporter newspaper last week confirmed reports that the Espats and Dean Barrow have cut yet another deal. According to the report, a multi-million dollar building located on Regent Street owned by Phillip Espat, who is the brother of Mark Espat, has been purchased by the UDP Government at a value of $3.2 million. The building, which was once the former Supplies Control Building, will house the new National Bank office in Belize City. Mark Espat, everyone knows, is the Judas who betrayed the PUP and the good people of the Albert division, and who sold out to the UDP by resigning weeks before the 2012 elections so that the UDP could be victorious. Shortly after winning the elections, Espat was named Dean Barrow’s Economic Ambassador and since then has been on the UDP Government’s payroll collecting over $20,000 monthly.

    UDP concedes defeat in Freetown
    The increasingly unpopular United Democratic Party, who won the last election only by a razor-thin margin of 40 votes, has conceded defeat in the Freetown Division, the constituency held by the humble, hardworking and very popular, loved and respected Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca. The UDP has been fishing for candidates for many months following the trashing they got in the division in the 2012 general elections. Their last candidate, Lee Mark Chang, threw in the towel right after the immigration scandal involving Elvin Penner and South Korean criminal Kim Won Hong was exposed. Since then, the UDP have had no success in swatting down someone for the area. First it was Darrel Bradley, who refused to be set up by his Party. Old candidate Michael Peyrefitte didn’t want to come back. Then it was Jorge Espat, who we are told, is already seeing the writing on the wall of the UDP’s downfall under Barrow and wants nothing to do with them at the moment.

    …divided we fall!
    Belize’s Parliamentarians met in the House of Representatives this past Monday to make an amendment to the Sugar Act which was ordered by the Supreme Court of Belize five years ago. The bill to amend the act was put through all three required readings in one sitting and was sent to the Upper House the following day. What is interesting to note is that while in opposition, the current Prime Minister railed incessantly about the practice of rushing bills through the House in one sitting. I have searched tirelessly but cannot find one Bill which has been presented by this government that has not gone through all three stages on the same day. There is an old Kriol saying that goes, “Duh suh nuh like duh”! The Prime Minister keeps insisting that this Act had to be amended in order for the 2014/2015 sugarcane season to begin. The question is, how come since 2010 when this court order was made, every season has begun without this amendment being made? In fact, the very same Wilfredo Magaña, who the Prime Minister hailed as the biggest hero in helping him to destroy the unity of the cane farmers, himself had to write a letter begging the Prime Minister to comply with this same said court order.

    Editorial: The Prime Mischief Maker
    The matter continues to make the rounds and has become a cause for concern. That matter is the report that Mr. Nuri Muhammad, long-time host of LOVE FM morning show, was ousted for a day. That day was last week Wednesday when the UDP Government was reeling from the exposure brought about by the Prime Minister calling a press conference and disgracing himself as being the champion for ASR/BSI and the destroyer of the cañeros. Belizeans saw through the hand gestures and serpent-like movements of the Prime Minister as he sought to put a coating over his blatant attack against the best interest of the cañeros. Damage control became paramount. Normally the Prime Minister handles his own damage control. But his press conference was too much. The over-kill and naked fronting for ASR/BSI was too obvious. Even blind Jessie was able to see through Barrow.

    St. John Vianney & St. Ignatius advance to basketball finals
    St. Ignatius RC School won 25-13 over the Holy Redeemer Wesley Upper School, and St. John Vianney RC School defeated Wesley Upper boys 22-19 in the Belize City Primary schools basketball playoffs on Tuesday, January 20th. Justin Gentle led Holy Redeemer with 9 points while, James Garbutt’s Kylon Thurton scored 5pts. In Game 1 of the playoffs last Thursday, the St. John Vianney RC School boys eliminated the St. Joseph’s RC School boys 23-17. Vianney’s T-Dee Cattouse scored 9pts, Akeem Ferrell and Daniel Hemmans added 6pts apiece and Gemal Palacio scored a bucket, while St. Joseph’s Michael Welch had 8pts and Kendal Flowers scored 5pts.

    David Henderson Jr. wins C-Ray Saturday race
    Team SMART’s David Henderson Jr won the C-ray Cycling Club’s Saturday race, a 48-mile ride from Leslie’s Imports to the Burrell Boom Village entrance on the Hattieville bypass road and back to Leslie’s Imports on the George Price Highway last Saturday morning, out-sprinting Team Benny’s Megabytes’ Byron Pope to win the first prize: dinner for two at Celebrity Restaurant. Elites 1st David Henderson – Team SMART 2nd Byron Pope – Team Benny’s Megabytes’ 3rd Brandon Cattouse – C-Ray Road Addikz 4th Henry Moriera – Team Smart Weekend Warriors 1st Warren Coye – Team Santino’s 2nd Collet “Bunas” Maheia 3rd Ray Cattouse Sr – C-Ray Road Addikz

    Belmopan Bandits are Premier League champs
    The Belmopan Bandits won their 3rd Premier League football championship against the Police United. The Bandits upset the Police 4-0, even after the cops team had beaten the Bandits three times in this year’s competition: once in the regular season, and twice in the playoffs. Game 1 of the finals which were played on a muddy, soggy pitch at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium last Wednesday, January 14th ended in a nil-zip draw. The rains held up and the sun dried the pitch, allowing for a completely different level of play in Game 2 on Saturday night. Bandits’ striker Evan Mariano was streaking up the left sideline heading for the Police goal when the Police’s defense took him down inside the 18-yard box. The referee ruled penalty and Bandits’ goalie Woodrow West converted with ease for the Bandits’ 1st winning goal in the 23rd minute of play.

    Dean Fraid Fu Francis!!
    Let’s set the record straight! Not only will the People’s United Party remain under the steady and strong leadership of Hon. Francis Fonseca into the next General Elections, but the PUP will come out of those elections the big winner with Hon. Francis Fonseca as the next Prime Minister. We don’t know if Dean had overdosed on his back-pain meds on Sunday night as he put the final ink to the Bill that will continue to oppress cane farmers, but he had certainly lost his mind when he tried to publicly meddle in the affairs of the PUP, claiming that “he knew” that Hon. Francis would not be Opposition Leader when the next House Sitting is called in March.

    Chaos at City Hall!! – Dog-fight between Mayor and Councillor Dion Leslie over trip to Houston
    There is heaping tension at City Hall after Councillor Dion Leslie was unceremoniously stripped of his two portfolios by Mayor Darrell Bradley. Leslie, who was up to last week in charge of Sanitation and Sister City Relations, learnt of the sudden change and demotion in the most denigrating of ways, via a phone text message sent out by the City Administrator Candace Burke late Friday evening. The decision was taken by Mayor Bradley after he learnt that Councillor Leslie had travelled to Houston, U.S.A., to negotiate unauthorized deals for the Council’s sanitation department. This jet-setting was against the Mayor’s knowledge or permission and he felt utterly disrespected. The Mayor decided to discipline Leslie, who we are told, offered no apology to the Mayor for his actions.

    It’s Time for Change at City Hall
    With sober thought the UDP does not deserve to be reelected to the Belize City Council in the municipal elections on March 4th. Five of the core responsibilities of the council are streets and drain maintenance, garbage collection, parks maintenance, traffic management, and transparency with public funds. The Council’s grade for carrying out those responsibilities is “F” for failure. The city deserves better, and that is why the PUP City Council slate led by successful businesswoman and activist Yolanda Schakron and I received a warm welcome as we campaigned from house to house in Port Loyola this past Saturday. While the council has fixed some streets with concrete, there is no accountability for the over $30 million the council says it has spent on fixing those streets.

    WOMAN IN THE HOUSE – BACK IN PORT
    Yesterday, Saturday I joined Gilroy Usher, Yolanda Schakron and the PUP Team of City Council Candidates in a campaign session and walk-through in Port Loyola. It was a spirited four hours or so of house-to-house campaigning in the Freedom Street and Jane Usher Boulevard area. Some twenty or more of us, decked out of course in blue, met as many people and stopped at as many homes as we could. The Blue Machine was in full swing, as we did our thing to bring the message of a PUP in fighting form and a Team and Leader fully committed to becoming City Mothers and Fathers, who will make a real difference for citizens and residents of the Old Capital.

    Statement by Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca at January 19th 2015 Meeting of the House of Representatives
    Mr. Speaker, the Sugar Industry is the lifeblood of the North. Its survival, its success, growth and development is vital to the families and communities of the North but also to our national economy and the nation of Belize. We pay tribute to our hardworking cañeros, who work the land, dedicating their lives to the important industry which allows them to provide housing and shelter to their families, food, clothing, and education for their children. We salute our cañeros. It is their dignity, honour, pride and future that we are here to protect and defend. It is for them that we rise and stand up here today. Mr. Speaker, the proposed amendments are an attack, an assault on that dignity and future of our cañeros and the future of the sugar industry which they have built working the land. This industry has had a long history of growth and development based on a working partnership, a working tri-partite relationship, which has had its problems from time to time but one which has worked over time.

    Body of Roaring Creek businessman found dead in river
    The body of 24 year old Roaring Creek businessman and resident, Emerson Daly, who went missing on Saturday January 18th night, was found dead in the Belize River in Roaring Creek Village this morning. Police have reported that the lifeless body was in a decomposed state. While it showed multiple stab wounds on his chest, the Police say the body also had a gunshot wound. Daly, who is the owner of Daly’s Dream Creation, an events planning and decorating company, was reported missing by his mother, Desiree Matute, on Monday January 20th.

    New Sugar Act strips away cane farmers’ role as “partners” in industry
    The Sugar Industry Amendment Bill passed in a hurry by the Barrow Administration’s through the House of Representatives on Monday January 20th and then by the Government’s majority in the Senate on Tuesday January 21st has greater implications on the sugar industry than clearing the way for freedom of association for farmers. The new law drastically changes the playing field for cane farmers by taking away key powers they held and transferring it to the very political and petty UDP Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega. Several amendments to sections of the Act give greater political control to Minister of Agriculture over branches of the industry which manage critical aspects that deal with cane farmer membership, cane delivery, cane quality, and the overall regulation of the industry.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    COLA holds general meeting;executive elections
    Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) held its annual general meeting this afternoon in Belize City at the Bishop Sylvestre Memorial Hall. The activist organization says it has defied the odds and survived the fierce opposition from those who wish it ill and believe it is standing in the way of national development. During the meeting the executive presented reports on the organization’s many achievements since the last major meeting in 2013.

    Blogs

    “First Time for Everything” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
    Although it’s not my favourite genre of music I’ve actually been to Nashville twice and on both occasions have gone with Rose (well I wouldn’t have gone on my own) to the Grand Ole Opry and have actually stood on the stage so going to a Pickin Party with Rose didn’t seem like such a tremendous sacrifice for me to make. And anyway you’re hearing generally deteriorates the older you get! So on Thursday,after a hearty breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea and running a few errands in ‘Town , I returned home (enjoying the paved road right to my front gate) and waited for Rose to get ready (I do this quite a lot by the way) and eventually (and I mean EVENTUALLY) we set off for the Pickin Party that was being held at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill stopping on the way to pick up faithful, long time, long term island visitors Melissa and Ken. We all got there shortly after 13.00 hours and the place was already busy

    Letter: Garinagu and the Decade for People of African Descent
    Hidden in the merrymaking of the recent holiday season of December 2014, an important even took place. The United Nations launched the “International Decade for People of African Descent”. The decade is to begin January 1, 2015 and end December 31, 2024. The theme is “People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development”. Their main objective of the International Decade, is to promote respect, protection and fulfillment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for people of African descent as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some of the other objectives can be seen here (result of copy and paste): “The Decade shall focus on the following objectives: To strengthen national, regional and international action and cooperation in relation to the full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights by people of African descent, and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society;

    Lionfish Invasion
    Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific. It’s hard to be a diver nowadays and not know about the Lionfish invasion in the Caribbean. The problems stems from what is termed an invasive species. It has no natural predators on this side of the planet to restrain its population growth and the population has exploded. As a result the food supply gets depleted and the negative snowballing effect on the environment begins to harm the reef. Campaigns to control their harmful presents have sprung up over the entire continent. Of the many different ideas of controlling their population one stands out as being very effective, divers spearing and eating them. Divers have devised a special spear that has been approved by industry. Laws, rules and regulations about spearing fish while diving have been lifted for this one species. Restaurants have included them on their menus as a special delicacy. There is no worse curse on the planet than to taste good. If you’re a diver or snorkeler and you love our reef pick up a spear and kill a Lionfish.

    A Hodgepodge on ANOTHER Gorgeous Day
    Yesterday was a perfect Friday end to a gorgeous week. I mean GORGEOUS and…I’ve been harping on it each and every day. Really rubbing it in your faces. :) But as Winter Storm Iola rolls into the Northeast, a cold front, probably the very same, has moved over San Pedro and today’s skies are grey…it’s windy and chilly. 75. It makes sense. Perfect weather to mourn the potential passing of my FAVORITE comedy magazine – Sky Mall. Mad Magazine has nothing on you. So many bad ideas/dreams of bad inventors crushed…sad. CNN did a nice tribute: Good-Bye Life-Sized Garden Yeti: A Tribute to the…Best INFlight Magazine Ever.

    International Sourcesizz

    Heart of the Treasure Valley: 'Hands-on, hearts-on'
    The two of them bent over their work, the tall, confident Boise State graduate student named Kelli Soll and the diminutive, quiet third-grader named Jasmin. They were working on sentences: My name is Jasmin. My favorite color is blue. My favorite subject is math. Kelli says: "We may have spent a short time together, but her impact was for life." Kelli was a leader in a weeklong service work trip to Belize to help elementary school students learn what people fluent in English take for granted. Although English is the official language in Belize, it's often the second or third language that students speak. And speaking English is far easier than reading and writing it, which is where Kelli came in. On this particular day, Kelli and Jasmin practiced those sentences all morning: I like to play soccer. I am in the third grade. I live in San Ignacio. When they came back from lunch, Jasmin handed Kelli a note.

    No more evidence in Bain case
    THE evidential phase of the trial of fired University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Brendan Bain ended on Friday in the Supreme Court. That phase of the two-week-old trial came to an end with the defendant, the UWI, closing its case after presenting its final two witnesses, Professor Rose-Marie Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UWI, St Augustine campus in Barbados, and Ian McKnight of the group Caribbean Vulnerable Coalition Committee. On Monday, the Attorney General's Chamber is to make its submission to the court on the constitution.

    Videos

    Skydiving into the Blue Hole, Belize, 8.5min.
    Belize youtube, 7min. A peak into our few months in Belize! :)
    Belize mission trip 2015, 5min.
    Cesta stední Amerikou 2014 part 2 Belize, 27min. Pejezd lodí z Livingstonu do Punta Gordy,odtud busem a vodním taxi do Placencie.Relax na plážích Karibiku
    Shamanic Rebirth - Buried Alive in Belize, 8min. I was finally able to get all the video of my burial last year in Belize. This Shamanic burial is something I do every once in awhile to help refocus myself. The meditation while buried and connected to the Earth is soothing and enlightening. I am so happy that Ajinder was able to video tape this for me so I can see the burial from others point of view. I learned to give more instruction and I still need to work on my breathing. I know I have talked about this to many people and I hope this video will help.
    Belize Mission Trip Part 1, 3.5min. Thanks for watching i hope you enjoyed these video clips of us looking at animals, swimming in the ocean, and being really sad at the end bc we had to leave belize :(
    Belize Trip 2015 Part 2, 4min.
    Scott Family in Belize 2014, 2.5min. The Scott family trip from 2014 to Hamanasi resort in Hopkins, Belize.
    Kris sells art, 1min. Kris walks into a gallery in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, and trys to talk ladies into buying his first painting. Cute!

    January 24, 2015


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    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

    FooFoo Friday: Margaritas Please!
    One of our favorite places is Caprice Bar at the Holiday Hotel. In fact, everything Holiday Hotel related makes us feel right at home! From the happy ladies at Celi’s Deli who prep our morning breakfasts, to the quick and delicious quesadillas or chaya dip from the restaurant, to the fabulous happy hours at Caprice Bar. Really, what else can we ask for?! But all this is to tell you one of our favorite things about Caprice: HAPPY HOUR! From 3PM to 6PM, we can get 2 for 1 margaritas! At $6BZ a piece, you know we’d be all over that. (You should have seen us during the great lime shortage of 2014 – what a sad bunch!) We’re so happy to say it’s back, and even more refreshing!!

    Workshop and equipment worth over $100,000 goes up in smoke
    Over $100,000 worth of belongings went up in smoke in a fire that occurred in the wee hours on Wednesday January 21st. Sometime around 2:20AM, Fire personnel responded to a report made by San Pedro Police and visited the Grand Colony Resort south of San Pedro Town where a fire was observed. According to the San Pedro Fire Department, they quickly visited the area and observed a wooden and plywood structure fully engulfed in flames. The structure is a workstation belonging to Grand Colony Resort which is in receivership under the Belize Bank Limited. Because of the materials within, the fire took some time to be brought under control.

    The Belize Coalition calls on Government to Save our Natural Heritage
    The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage calls on the Government of Belize to take immediate action to ban oil exploration in the offshore to help in removing the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the World Heritage List of Sites in Danger and prevent the potential delisting of the Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site. Critical actions include no issuing of new oil concessions within the offshore; no giving any extensions to the three companies presently holding offshore oil leases and allowing the relinquishment process to take effect as the Petroleum Act stipulates; and subscribing into law the offshore as a restricted area for oil concessions.

    Debris and Yard Garbage Pick-up Schedule
    The San Pedro Town Council hereby announces it’s new and updated Garbage pick up schedule starting as of Monday, January 26th. We appreciate the patience of the general public, we do ask everyone to please separate you household garbage from the yard debris. It is of utmost importance that you bag your garbage hence making it easier for the workers to handle and it is a more effective way to get your garbage picked up in a timely manner.

    Mo’ Mojo Zydeco Band Travels as American Music Abroad to Belize
    The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce the visit of the music group Mo’ Mojo Zydeco Band as an American Music Abroad program to Belize from January 22 – 29, 2015. The American Music Abroad program is designed to communicate America’s rich musical contributions to the global music scene as it fosters cross-cultural communication and people-to-people connection to global audiences. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has partnered with American Voices to engage with people across the world through American Music Abroad (AMA) exchanges. These exchanges help promote a positive image of the U.S. through arts and music and give overseas audiences the chance to directly interact with American artists. AMA bands represent a wide variety of American musical genres and will reach more than 40 countries around the world in 2014.

    Consultation to be carried out to determine the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger
    The Belize Fisheries Department through the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development hereby informs the general public that the World Heritage Centre (WHC) in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is on a mission to Belize during the week of January 19-23, 2015. The objective of the mission is to provide technical assistance for the design of a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger. During their visit, the team will be consulting with various government agencies and stakeholders to discuss three main items:

    Manuel Heredia confirms that Ambergris Stadium is not for sale
    Heredia explained that land that is being finalized for sale was land sold under the previous PUP administration. He said that those lands are located adjacent to the football field, including a parcel that was set aside for a track and field area. “I want to remind Noralez that the land adjacent to the football stadium that should have been part of the facility was sold by his party. It was the PUP that sold it and I can give you the names of those PUP’s that the land was sold to. The PUP even sold the parcel of land next to the field that was set aside for track and field. Part of that land was sold to Maria McNabb and she, as I understand, is reselling it, and that is where Noralez is being misleading.”

    Ambergris Today

    Coffee Lovers on the Rise in San Pedro – Tropic Al’s Fills the Gap
    Lately I have noticed that more locals are paying attention to the coffee that they are drinking. With the recent craze in specialty coffee drinks, islanders are demanding more flavorful coffee and all the sweetness of the lattes, cappuccinos, frappucchinos and iced coffees. But in a tropical island with no Starbucks, Tropic Al’s at Ramon’s Village, is filling the gap and perking up San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. The one thing I love the most about Tropic Al’s is that they decided to brew local coffee beans from island roasters Caye Coffee Roasting Co. Ltd. They are not importing any Starbucks flavors or using pre-packaged coffee; it’s all fresh coffee that is very rich, flavorful and delicious. Three staff members are trained baristas after a professional instructor from the Seattle Barista Academy was brought down to train them. They even took a tour of the Caye Coffee operations to learn more about the coffee they serve. Tropic Al’s baristas Alexis, Ron and Karim are some of the friendliest servers around; they are quick, witty and very attentive.

    Belize’s New Metrology Lab to Raise Standards of Belizean Products
    A new state of the art laboratory testing facility is to be constructed at the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS). Ground was broken for the building today which in turn is expected to be completed by early 2016. The building is being constructed under the Belize Rural Development Project which is being funded by the European Union along with counterpart funding from the Government of Belize. The lab will be constructed at a cost of BZ$ 2.3 million and its main use will be Metrology testing, that is, ensuring that products manufactured or produced in Belize meets the international standards of weights and measurements. The building will host seven (7) laboratory areas, offices, conference/training rooms, bathrooms, utility rooms, storage rooms and external areas. The BRDP support to BBS also includes the supply and training in the use of key metrology equipment including: mass comparators and balances, weights and related mass laboratory equipment, pressure, temperature, dimensional and volume metrology equipment. All of which has already been handed over.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Trash pickup delay in San Pedro
    Good day everyone, Our garbage compactors were unable to come out in the morning for the daily pick-up of household waste due to mechanical problems; however, they will be collecting household waste in TOWN CORE up until this afternoon. To carry on quickly, we will be closing off sections of the street where the garbage compactor will be passing through. We kindly ask all drivers and pedestrians for their cooperation and understanding during this time.

    Power cable on Belize River being replaced
    BEL advises the public and mariners that the Company is in the process of replacing the submarine power cable which crosses the Belize River between Mapp Street and BEL’s Belize City Substation located on Magazine Road. The Coast Guard is on patrol to ensure the safety of mariners, who are asked to be cautious when navigating the area. Works are scheduled to be completed by Monday, January 26.

    Defence witness criticises Bain's evidence in Belize case
    A defence witness on Friday criticised the expert evidence given by Professor Brendan Bain in Belize, saying that it had shortcomings. Professor Rose-Marie Antoine, dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus, testified under questioning from Justice Lennox Campbell that Bain's evidence gives the impression that anal sex in and of itself poses a public health risk. She said what causes the public health risk is when men who have sex with men go "underground" and not seek treatment because of discrimination. She said the issue wasn't whether men who have sex with men pose a risk, but that it was a side issue.

    Felipe Santiago Ricalde
    One of the seventeen outstanding Belizeans featured in the Belize's Heroes and Benefactors Exhibit is Corozal's own Felipe Santiago Ricalde. A social activist, Mr. Ricalde was elected as Corozal's first mayor in 1955. Visit the House of Culture and learn more about our country's past and present visionaries.

    Power interruption 8:00am to 3:00pm Saturday, January 24, Belize City
    Entire Belama Phase 4 and Superintendent Arthurs Street. Two thirty-minute power interruptions from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. will also affect the portion of Belama Phase 2 between Biltmore and Benny’s Apartments and entire Belama Phase 3. BEL to facilitate works to be conducted under the Ministry of Works’ Flood Mitigation Project.

    Permanent Residency application
    Question: Friends went through the police interview component of the Permanent Residency application yesterday. At the end of the interview, they (the police) were insistent they had to come and inspect their house. Friends put them off as they had never heard of this before. Is this now the norm? That there is an inspection of ones home as part of the Permanent Residency application. I have never heard of this before...hasn't happened for anyone else that I know that applied for, and received, Permanent Residency. It has always been the norm. Most times the police don't even come through the front gate.

    Channel 7

    BDF Insiders Stole 2.6k Ammo From Military?
    Tonight, concerns for public safety continue to mount because for the 4th. time in 11 years, dangerous military munitions have been stolen from a location under the protection and control of the Belize Defense Force. This time around 2,680 rounds of ammunition used in military assault rifles were stolen, and it is believed that this entire weapons cache may be on the streets tonight. And it gets worse: the BDF high command suspects that it was an inside job, that still unknown officers sworn to protect civilian safety did the opposition: they breached the military compound in Lords Bank and stole the ammunition to sell to criminals. The BDF officials made the discovery this morning, and shortly after, the Chief of Staff briefed us about what they know so far:

    Jury Acquits Flores; Deadlocked On Lewis
    When we left you last night, a jury of 12 was deliberating the fate of 23 year-old Warren Lewis and 26 year-old Cordel Flores, who were on trial for the August 2009 murder of 22 year-old Alberto Allen. This was the men's second trial because in 2013, an allegation emerged that a juror acted inappropriately in their March 2013 trial. The juror reportedly passed an improper comment that the men had a winning case even before all the evidence was presented. It was ruled at that time that the jury panel may have been pre-judging the case before hearing all the facts.

    CWU Vs SSB: The Quarrel Over Increments
    Usually Social Security's 300 employees get paid on the 26th of the month - which will be on Monday. But, that payday may be pushed back by a few days this month - and the pay cheques may be a little lighter than they were before. That's because today Social Security's accounting Department recalled the pay disbursements, which were already headed for their employee's accounts. Those pay cheques had originally been made out to include what's called a "transitional increment". That's money, which was agreed to, in the last collective bargaining agreement. It was to be linked to a "performance management system" which, as it turns out, was not brought on line.

    UNESCO Weighs In On Petroleum Concessions
    Today at the Fisheries Department in Belize City, representatives from the UNESCO World Heritage Center met with government agencies and NGO's such as OCEANA and The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage. The meeting is the background to what we have been reporting all this week: on the NGO's discontent about the Draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines and the possible threats it poses to the Barrier Reef System - which has already been inscribed on a World Heritage Endangered Site List. Well, the delegates from the World Heritage Center are here to try and remove Belize from that list. Head of the Marine Program from the World Heritage Center Dr. Fanny Douvere discussed how they along with the government and stakeholders can accomplish this goal.

    GOB Says UNESCO Sites Aren't Under Oil Concessions
    And to try and quell some of the anger that has come from the NGO Community after that widely condemned draft guidelines package was released - the Ministry of Petroleum sent out its second release for the week. The last one was still picking fights with the NGO's - but today's release was cellar and almost contrite. It says, quote, "the Government of Belize continues to maintain a moratorium on the issuance of any new offshore petroleum exploration concessions." It adds that quote, "none of World Heritage Site properties are currently under any oil concessions." It continues to say that in 2013, the Ministry successfully negotiated with Princess Petroleum to relinquish 25% of their concession block to ensure that, quote, "the Blue Hole and other areas of Lighthouse Reef Atoll are no longer part of their active concession."

    Well-known Tattoo Artist Charged With Unlawful Sex
    Tonight, well-known tattoo artist, Estevan Mossiah, who has his shop on Barrack Road, is at prison after being accused of having sex with a 15 year-old minor twice about 2 weeks ago. The girl reported to police that on Tuesday, January 6, and on Friday, January 9, Mossiah, who she knows as "Steve Mossiah", had intercourse with her. After police investigated her report, they arrested the 45 year-old tattoo artist and charged him with 2 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse.

    Tablets To Do Data Collection?
    These days, it's hard to go into any meeting where everyone isn't meddling with some kind of electronic device, whether smartphone or tablet. But at a meeting today tablets were required and encouraged. That's because it's part of the IDB Salud Mesoamerica programme funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Carlos Slim Foundation. We found out what the android tablets will be used for. The training started on Monday and ended today.

    Accused Heroine Traffickers Get Bail
    The 4 men who were busted 2 weeks ago in Corozal with 40 pounds of heroin worth several million dollars, are out of jail tonight after they were granted bail in the Supreme Court today. You may remember 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara, 30 year old Lenon Tillett, 42 year old Gerardo Allen and 35 year old Heirder Perez who Anti-Drug Unit police searched by accident because they were looking for a stolen car. Well, their attorney took the bail application before Justice Troadio Gonzalez today and he successfully convinced the judge that they deserve to be free while awaiting their trial. Justice Gonzalez agreed and granted them bail of $50,000 each on the condition that they surrender all travel documents and report to police station in the districts where they live.

    An Environmental Trip To Blackbird Caye
    Today 16 students from Restore Belize's I am Belize Scholarship Program went on a 5 day all expense paid trip to Black Bird Caye. These students, who were chosen based on their academic performance, will get a crash course in marine ecology. They'll be conducting scientific experiments and collecting data on marine life and of course enjoying the jewel's sunshine and waters - all with the goal of bringing these students closer to their environment. We spoke with the eager group this afternoon. Courtney Weatherburne reporting These parents won't be seeing their sons and daughters for 5 days and came to the Princess Marina to see them off. That is because these students will be spending that time on Blackbird Caye on a marine ecology field trip.

    DOE Warns Public Not To Alter Waterways, Or Else...
    The Department of the Environment has sent out a warning about unauthorized obstruction and diversion of bodies of water. It's usually the result of an increased demand for fresh water supply, especially for agriculture and tourism. The Department of the Environment says that in recent months it has received multiple complaints from the public about unauthorized diversions. So, the DOE's public notice is to remind everyone that any person who proposes to carry out a project, including waterworks such as diversion of water courses, modification of stream flows, alteration of riverbanks, and alteration of ground water, must first apply to the Department of the Environment for Environmental Clearance. Failure to obtain Environmental Clearance from the Department for such activities is an offence and carries a fine of five to twenty five thousand dollars.

    FCD'S Manzanero Goes To Taiwan Looking For Help In Conservation
    Rafael Manzanero and the Friends for Conservation have become household names while doing their work to raise awareness about the Chiquibul National Park - and the many pressures it faces. Well, Manzanero is going to Taiwan, hoping to attract support from NGO's over there to assist the FCD in trying to protect the Chiquibul's endangered scarlet macaw population. He was in Belize City today to work on his Taiwanese Visa, and the media caught up with him: Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD "The idea is really to present more about our work and we are also trying to do the protection of the Scarlet Macaws and I would want to present that and see if there would be any NGOs over there that might be interested in supporting the protection of the Macaws here in Belize."

    Channel 5

    US Military Ammo Stolen from B.D.F.
    Ladyville Police and the Belize Defence Force are investigating a robbery of thousands of rounds of military ammunition. That’s right, military ammunition stolen from a guarded B.D.F. facility on the [...]

    Murder Trial Ends in Acquittal and Hung Jury
    Shortly before nine on Thursday night after deliberating for over four hours, the second murder trial of Cordel Flores and Warren Lewis ended in an acquittal and hung jury. In [...]

    Bail Granted for Men Busted With Heroin
    Justice Troadio Gonzalez also presided at a bail hearing this morning. After eight days on remand at the Belize Central Prison for a bust of forty pounds of heroin, four [...]

    Popular Tattooist Charged for Carnal Knowledge
    In the magistrate’s court today, popular Tattoo Artist Esteban ‘Steve’ Mossiah, proprietor of Stinging Scorpio’s Tattoo, was remanded to Belize Central Prison after he arrested and charged with two counts [...]

    Still No Charges in Daly Murder
    Belmopan Police are still actively investigating the murder of twenty-four year old Emerson Daly Junior.  Tonight, one of the men, who were detained and being questioned, remains in custody. Police [...]

    UNESCO Experts in Belize
    Since Monday, a team of experts from the UNESCO World Heritage Center has been in Belize on a technical mission. For five years, since June 2009, the Belize Barrier Reef [...]

    Will Belize Be Removed From UNESCO Danger List?
    But has the government put in place measures to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem? According to Doctor Fanny Douvere, there has been some improvement, but there are three to [...]

    FCD Exec Says Chiquibul is Quiet
    It’s been some time since we’ve received an update on movements, local and illegal, within the Chiquibul. Late last year we talked about nothing but that after Special Constable Danny [...]

    Manzanero Seeks Assistance in Scarlet Macaw Conservation
    Like we said, Manzanero is a tireless advocate, and one of his passions is the protection of scarlet macaws, the majestic birds whose population in Belize remains at risk. In [...]

    American Fugitive Handed Over to US
      A wanted American national who was nabbed in Dangriga last Friday was handed over to U.S authorities this morning. Fifty-four year old Robert Andrew Ragin, who was wanted by [...]

    SCA Holds Science Fair
    The innovative minds of students at Saint Catherine Academy were in full display today. Over seven hundred students from high schools and primary schools from across the city gathered at [...]

    Baby Mia Needs Your Help
    The family of a fourteen month old infant is seeking help from the public to cover costs for much needed medical attention that the baby girl needs. Mia was diagnosed [...]

    Organization Assists Kids Living with Cancer
    Working to assist the family is the organization, A Thousand Smiles For Cleyon – Every Child Deserves a Miracle which was founded by Michelle Rudon. Rudon and several other professionals [...]

    Ras Indio has Visions of Life
    Reggae artist, Ras Indio, is back in the news tonight. And that’s because he has launched a new DVD called ‘Visions of Life.’ The artist, who has established himself internationally, [...]

    PlusTV

    Days of Healing returns to Dean Street
    We have been regularly reporting on the activities of the Days of Healing Initiative, which promotes clean family activity in crime-affected areas. The initiative started in the wake of the gruesome quadruple murder of four Belize City men in an apartment on Dean Street between Plues and George Streets, Belize City, a crime that has yet to be solved. Community residents and activists led by Perry “Stickz” Smith are organizing a third annual Day of Healing event, which is officially the twenty-first monthly event under the program. We spoke to Smith on Friday, about activities which will kick off in the morning of Saturday, January 24.

    OCEANA says No to Petroleum Zones and Guidelines for Exploration Draft
    The feasibility of offshore exploration in Belize is a widely debated topic that has given rise to many environmental and conservation groups actively opposing offshore drilling...

    No clear motive in Emerson Daly murder
    The body of 24 year old Emerson Daly, Belizean party decorator, was discovered on Wednesday at around 8:30 am, in an area behind Banana Bank, in the Cayo District. Emerson Daly reportedly went missing on Sunday night, when he borrowed his uncle’s car and left his home in Roaring Creek Village en rou...

    8 Police officers receive awards
    Reports of rogue police officers often find their way to our desk, but even though those are the reports that make headlines nationally, it is not representative of all police officers. There are good police officers worthy of being celebrated. That was the idea on Thursday, as high officials within...

    Roads in the South in need of attention
    Independence Village, also known as Mango Creek, is one of the largest villages in the country.
    According to Emilio Zabaneh, secretary of Independence village council, many of the streets in the village have been in disrepair for a long time, and the portion of the start of the Southern Highway is a...

    Amandala

    US fugitive arrested in Hopkins
    United States fugitive Robert Andrew Ragin, 54, who is wanted by the US Justice Department to answer charges on 12 counts of promoting sexual performance by child minors, was arrested in Belize for immigration offenses. The US Justice Department has issued a warrant for his arrest. Ragin reportedly lived in Hopkins for about six months. However, his freedom came to a crashing end when at about 3:30 on Friday afternoon, US Marshals, who had tracked him down to Hopkins, together with Dangriga police, travelled to the village and arrested him.

    Hospital negligence caused mother’s death after childbirth?
    Belize’s maternal health system has taken another direct hit – the second in just a week – with the death on Sunday of a young mother shortly after childbirth, due to what appears to be gross medical negligence. Norma Noemi Marroquin, 25, a housewife of Billy White, Cayo District, the mother of a 3-week old baby, tragically died on Sunday, January 18, due to complications after a portion of the placenta was allegedly left inside her body after giving birth at the Spanish Lookout Village Clinic on Monday, January 5. Marroquin died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at about 9:55 Sunday night. Her common-law husband, Arson Moh, 24, also of Billy White, has since filed a complaint with the police and has urged the medical authorities to launch an investigation into the negligence that caused the death of his wife.

    Missing Roaring Creek man shot in the face, thrown in river
    The search for Emerson Daly, 24, a well-known resident of Roaring Creek, came to an end at about 8:30 this morning when his decomposing body was found in the Belize River, in the Never Delay area in the Cayo District. He was found floating face-down. Daly had been stabbed multiple times, shot in the face and thrown into the river. He was found on the third day after he reportedly went missing, on Sunday. At about 7:00 this morning, five of his cousins and friends got into a boat and began to search for him on the Belize River in the area of Roaring Creek, along the edge of the river, when at about 8:30 they found his body, down the river, about two miles from Roaring Creek, in the Never Delay area.

    Murder trial ends in acquittal and hung jury
    The second trial of two men who had been indicted for a gruesome murder in 2009 ended tonight in the Supreme Court of Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez, when a jury of nine women and three men returned to the courtroom to announce their verdict. After deliberating for over five hours, the jury reached a unanimous verdict in respect of the first accused, Cordel Flores, 26, for an acquittal, but all 12 jurors were unable to agree on a verdict for the second accused, Warren Lewis, 23. Eleven of the jurors found Lewis guilty, but one did not agree, resulting in a hung jury.

    Brothers remanded for savage murder of BDF volunteer
    The two brothers being escorted from the police holding cell at the Magistrate’s Court made no attempt to hide their faces from court reporters’ cameras, as police ushered them into the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. “Listen to the charge,” Smith told Orlando Staine, 38, and his older brother, Phil Staine, 41. In less than one minute, Smith had read a charge of murder to the brothers, who indicated that they understood the charge. Police had charged the Staine brothers with the Saturday, January 17, murder of Denver Villafranco, 23.

    FIFA President congratulates Belmopan Bandits
    Today, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) forwarded to our sports desk a letter dated January 20, 2015, from FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter in Zurich, Switzerland. The letter is addressed to FFB President Ruperto Vicente, and in it the FIFA President conveyed his “Congratulatory message to Belmopan Bandits,” the recently crowned 3-peat Premier League of Belize football champions. We reproduce the text of the letter below:

    Bandits, 4-0, over Police for third straight PLB championship
    It was a monster crowd at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium on Saturday night, January 17, to witness the decisive game 2 of the finals series between two-time defending champions Belmopan Bandits and sub-champions Police United for the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2014-2015 Opening Season Championship. And it was a 3-peat celebration afterwards for the Bandits, who came away with a big 4-nil victory and the championship, their third consecutive and fourth title in the last 5 PLB tournaments. For Police, it was their fourth second place finish in the last 6 tournaments, with one championship to go along with it. Following a relatively dry and sunny day on Saturday, the playing surface was in very good condition for football, and fans were treated to some exciting play from both teams. Unlike in game 1, where the slippery and heavy clay pitch benefited the more physical game of Police, game 2 favored the team with more “touches;” and, despite a competitive first half, the midfield balance of power turned perceptibly and devastatingly against Police early in second half, after the Bandits inserted their diminutive football wizard, 18-year-old Jordy Polanco, to team up with a similarly small but exceptionally talented Denmark Casey, Jr. in midfield.

    Editorial: Special lady
    Prime Minister and United Democratic Party (UDP) Leader, Hon. Dean Barrow, was in front of the television cameras beaming from the day before he introduced Dr. Carla Barnett as his party’s new candidate in the Freetown constituency. The day before was Tuesday, January 20, when Mr. Barrow was trying to build the hype for the UDP’s Wednesday morning press conference and at the same time distract Belize City and the nation from all the negativity surrounding the concluding circumstances of the BSI/ASR “agreement” with Belizean cane farmers. These negative concluding circumstances included emergency changes in Belize’s sugar industry legislation, introduced in the House by the UDP on Monday, passed in one sitting by the House, and ratified by the Senate on Tuesday. The proceedings in the House on Monday, and in the Senate on Tuesday, following the general assembly submission of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) to the controversial ASR agreement on Sunday in San Roman, followed weeks of national discourse which largely accused the Barrow administration of taking sides with the foreign multinational against the hard-pressed cane farmers of Belize.

    Gender Policy, Belize Constitution irreconcilable: Paul
    Editor Sir, I refer to your page 1 article of 23rd November – “U.S. Ambassadors …” I have already shown in previously published articles that the Gender Policy and the Belize Constitution cannot be reconciled. Let us again go through this matter. Look at the Preamble of our Constitution wherein is clearly expressed the foundational principles of our society. Article (a) affirms “that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God….” How, then, shall we accept a vision of life which, in effect, is requiring that the individual and his choice is supreme in all matters, public and private? In other words, to accept the gender policy would require that in fact we affirm the supremacy, not of God, but of the Ego. Will this not be a declaration that we have become a god-less society?

    Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) steps up effort to combat cervical cancer
    The Belize Family Life Association (BFLA) has stepped up the effort to eradicate cervical cancer, by promoting early detection of the disease. Cervical cancer is said to be a leading cause of death in women. Dr. Jahan Varello told Amandala that women in Belize should not be dying of cervical cancer, since they now have an effective method of screening women for cervical cancer that has eliminated the need for the troublesome, and oftentimes uncomfortable, Pap smear. They instead use a process called VIA, which involves washing the cervix with vinegar and observing it with a bright white light. In explaining the VIA and the VIA treatment, Dr. Varello explained that a healthy cervix is pink in color, and when washed with vinegar, it remains pink. This indicates that the person being tested is free from cervical cancer. There is no need for a follow-up visit in such instances.

    2014 was one of Belize’s hottest years on record
    The year 2014 was globally the hottest year on record for the past 135 years, with December being the warmest on record, according to data recently published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While Belize did not record its hottest year last year, records reviewed by Chief Meteorological Officer Dennis Gonguez indicate that 2014 was one of Belize’s hottest years on record. “It was found that with an average temperature of 26.8ºC / 80.2ºF, last year was the 14th warmest year on record. It was tied with the years 1983, 1992, 2006 and 2012. The warmest year was 1997 when temperatures averaged 27.3 ºC/ 81.1 ºF at the PGIA,” said Gonguez. He noted that so far for the 21st century, 11 of the past 15 years have been the warmest on record.

    Belize has “signal honor” of hosting CCJ president, Sir Dennis Byron
    Sir Dennis Byron, president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – the regional court where disputes arising from the breaches in the CARICOM integration treaty can be ventilated, and the court which has for the past five years been Belize’s final appellate court – arrived in Belize this Thursday on a working visit as guest of honor for the 2015 law conference hosted by the Bar Association of Belize. Eamon Courtenay, President of the Belize Bar Association, said that Byron’s visit to Belize is “a signal honor.” Justice Byron was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and he became a member of London’s Privy Council in 2004. He was sworn in as the second president of the CCJ in September 2011 in his home country, St. Kitts. During his visit, Byron paid courtesy calls on the President of the Court of Appeal, Sir Manuel Sosa, as well as Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. He also paid courtesy calls on Governor General Sir Colville Young, Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca.

    Belize plans to adopt regional VOTECH certification scheme
    David Leacock, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, has pointed out that some of Belize’s professionals who are trained in vocational and technical (VOTECH) fields earn as much as double what is earned by other professionals with a similar level of training, but more than that, he explained that VOTECH options allow Belizeans to “shoa wi self, see wi self, bee wi self!,” as KREM TV’s slogan says. The problem is, though, that Belize lacks the structural framework to allow practitioners, and even their trainers, to get the kind of certification they need to flourish. However, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has embarked on a comprehensive strategy that Leacock said would fill the gaps that exist at so many levels but which will, moreover, ensure that Belizeans who receive VOTECH training here can compete with any other trained persons across CARICOM, because of the regionally recognized qualifications and certifications that will eventually be available to them.

    Omar Figueroa takes oath of allegiance in Parliament
    Just after the opening of today’s Special Sitting of the House of Representatives, at about 10:20 a.m., Cayo North area representative Dr. Omar Figueroa, the United Democratic Party member who is the latest addition to Parliament, was administered the oath of allegiance, allowing him to participate in the first House meeting for the year 2015. Last week, Figueroa, who won the January 5, 2015 by-election in Cayo North, was installed as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, and he was formally sworn in by Governor-General Sir Colville Young. Today, House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte told Figueroa that since he was the only person being admitted to Parliament on that particular occasion, he would be afforded the rare opportunity to speak at his swearing-in.

    Quality-of-life crime enforcement: Police’s discretion and commonsense needed
    In mid-July 2014, the Belize Police Department began enforcing the so-called “quality-of-life” crimes program in Belize City. By September, the police high command boasted to the media that about 800 arrests for these so called quality-of-life crimes were made, that it linked to its operation called “Not in My City.” The question that no one asked at the time was, at what cost to the society? The reports, however, of police excesses and outright abuse of citizens’ basic and constitutional rights in the enforcements of these petty minor offences, have now gotten a lot of attention in the media.

    A new era for sugar –amendments take effect
    Amendments to the Sugar Industry Act, approved by the House of Representatives on Monday and the Senate on Tuesday, were signed into law by Governor General Sir Colville Young and published in the Government Gazette today, Wednesday, January 21, 2015. However, the law takes effect retroactively on Wednesday, January 14, the day before officials of two new cane farmer associations penned their signatures to new commercial agreements with the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI). It was the first time that BSI signed commercial agreements of this nature with an entity other than the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA), and the new associations, founded by breakaway factions of cañeros, had not been recognized in law before the recent changes were made by Parliament.

    Ruckus over petroleum zonation scheme that includes Blue Hole in drilling zone
    Belize has in place an informal moratorium on offshore drilling for petroleum, but some environmental groups in Belize insist that the country should never venture into such risky explorations, particularly in light of the fact that Belize’s Barrier Reef and its associated wonders – including the Great Blue Hole – could be threatened in the event of an unthinkable oil disaster. A petition led by the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage for a national referendum on offshore drilling was blocked when the petition was denied on the claim that 8,000 signatures had to be rejected, primarily because of mismatches. However, the Coalition held its own referendum, observed by Justices of the Peace, in which 96% of the nearly 30,000 who cast ballots said ‘no’ to offshore drilling. The Government of Belize, though, is of the view that “an effective balance” can be struck between oil development and the environment, in a manner that will ensure that the livelihoods of other stakeholder groups from the fishing and tourism industries will be maintained.

    After almost 5 years, Steven Buckley is still seeking justice
    Steven Buckley, 43, the man who took the blast of a police pump action shotgun in his face and beat the odds when he survived on a life support machine at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit, appeared in the Supreme Court this morning, but the civil case that he had filed against the Government has been adjourned once more. Now, after almost 5 years, Steven Buckley, who has been paralyzed as a consequence of being shot by a high ranking on-duty police officer, is frustrated with the criminal justice system. On the night of Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Steven Buckley, a construction worker, was in the pickup truck of his employer, Marlon Myers, when he was shot by a police officer.

    Dr. Carla Barnett to challenge Francis Fonseca in Freetown
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow, leader of the United Democratic Party, taunted Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca in the House of Representatives on Monday, talking about Fonseca’s “political death foretold” and claiming that Monday would have been Fonseca’s last appearance in the National Assembly as Leader of the Opposition and today, Barrow presented a political newcomer – a woman with a stellar professional reputation on both local and regional fronts – as the UDP’s preferred candidate in Freetown to depose Fonseca in the next general elections. That political hopeful is Dr. Carla Barnett, who was last year installed as chair of the Belize Tourism Board for the period 2014 to 2016. Barnett previously served from March 2012 to May 2014 as the vice president of operations at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in Barbados. Her BTB appointment in Belize was announced before her resignation from the CDB, suggesting that she resigned from that post to serve on the BTB board.

    The Reporter

    SCA holds fourth science fair
    Students of Saint Catherine Academy (SCA) took part in a science fair on Friday at the school’s campus in Belize City. Fifty-four projects, which were developed over the past four months made it to the finals that were on display. Overall, 120 projects entered the competition. Head of SCA’s Science Department, Ingrid Acosta, told the Reporter that the school introduced the event to the students four years ago to prepare them for the National Science Fair and encourage them to apply what they’ve learnt, through research and at school. Acosta said the event promotes scientific inquiry and encourages the students to look at everyday events and interpret the science behind them. It also earned them grades as groups to boost their overall performance at school.

    US representative meets with Cuban dissidents in Havana
    The highest US official to visit Cuba in more than 30 years has met leading Cuban dissidents in Havana. Roberta Jacobson, the state department’s top Latin American official, held the meeting after two days of historic US-Cuba talks. One dissident called the meeting “a very human coming-together”, but not all who were invited attended. Many Cuban opposition leaders are sceptical about the rapprochement. They fear the US will turn a blind eye to allegations of human rights abuses in Cuba. On Thursday, officials from the US and Cuba said the talks about establishing diplomatic relations had ended “positively”. The US did not provide an official list of those who met Ms Jacobson at the mansion of the head of the US Interests Section in Havana.

    Army volunteer ambushed and murdered
    Denver Villafranco, 24, a BDF volunteer soldier was attacked and stabbed to death in Belize City last Saturday night, and police have charged two brothers for the murder. Villafranco was walking on Complex Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. when three men attacked him as […]

    UB student and dad-to-be killed in tragic car accident
    Eric Vellos, a 24 year old part-time student of the University of Belize, was killed shortly after midnight last Saturday while driving home to Corozal Town. Vellos, who was planning to get married at the end of January, was flung from his Nissan Altima […]

    Roaring CreeK Youth shot and dumped!
    The body of Emerson Daly, 24, missing since Sunday night, was found on January 21, at 8:35am, in the Belize River about a mile and a half away from his home in Roaring Creek. He had an open wound to the face, believed to have been inflicted with a knife. […]

    CWU appoints Labour Relations officer
    The Christian Workers Union (CWU) on Wednesday announced the addition of former Kolbe Foundation CEO, Earl Jones as its newly appointed Labour Relations officer. CWU President, Audrey Matura-Shepherd welcomed Jones to the CWU as a part of its negotiation team during a union progress […]

    Confident prime minister predicts clean sweep at municipal elections…and a new PUP leader!
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow, during Monday’s special Sitting of the House, predicted that at the next House Sitting in March, following municipal elections in February, the opposition would have a new party leader. Barrow made the prediction that his United Democratic Party (UDP) would […]

    Donation improves KHMH surgical capabilities
    The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital can now perform surgeries in some instances and not require blood transfusion through a donation of two Intraoperative Blood Salvage (cell saver) machines. The machines were gifted last Friday to the Belize Spine Program from the international organization, Spine Overseas. […]

    Mayor Bradley: Contractors must repair faulty streets at their own expense
    Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley has said that he is aware that certain streets that have been concreted over the past two years are already in a state of degradation. He said he would meet with the responsible contractors to ensure Belize City gets […]

    City police arrest brothers for murder of BDF soldier
    Brothers, Philip Staine, 42, and Orlando Staine, 38, are on remand at the Hattieville Prison after police charged them with Saturday night’s stabbing murder of BDF volunteer, Denver Villafranco. Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith denied the pair bail and remanded them until February 25. […]

    Police note 56 % increase in cases of unlawful carnal knowledge
    Cases of unlawful carnal knowledge have been on the rise for the past four years according to the latest crimes statistics issued by the Belize Police Department. In 2011, the police reported incidents of carnal knowledge stood at 50. At the end of 2014, the […]

    Cane farmers and BNTU hold protest outside National Assembly Building
    A group of cane farmers and stevedores, led by attorney, Audrey-Matura Shepherd and representatives of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) staged a small but spirited protest on the steps of the National Assembly on Monday in opposition to the government’s amendments of […]

    SATIIM to GOB: “What’s the rush?”
    The Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM) is calling for the Government of Belize to properly refine its oil exploration policy before taking any other action. SATIIM issued a release this week, responding to GOB’s request for feedback on the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones […]

    Say good-bye to premium gasoline for a while
    Venezuela has sent its last shipment of premium gasoline to Belize under the PetroCaribe agreement for the foreseeable future, said John Mencias, deputy chairman of Alba-Petro Caribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL). According to Mencias, that shipment of fuel has already left Venezuela and is […]

    Editorial
    Last week at the opening session of the Supreme Court His Lordship Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin announced some welcome news about criminal justice reform. He announced a number of reform measures including new criminal procedure rules, new guidelines for police officers relating to their treatment of detained persons, protection of […]

    BSI gates finally open!
    The impasse between the farmers and the factory in northern Belize ended unofficially on Monday when the BSCFA signed with ASR/BSI to deliver cane for the 2015 crop season. That signalled the end of a crippling impasse which has caused an unprecedented delay of the crop. But it became official […]

    UDP announces Top Gun for Freetown
    The United Democratic Party (UDP) was manifestly jubilant in announcing this week that Dr. Carla Barnett, former Vice President of the Caribbean Development Bank, had agreed to become the party’s standard bearer for the Freetown Division. She will be competing head on with Francis […]

    Butane prices drop for New Year
    The Belize Bureau of Standards Supplies Control Unit has announced that as of January 17th, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or butane will sell for under a dollar a pound. The new price per 100-pound cylinder of LPG imported by Belize Gas Limited and Western […]

    New trial for man charged with 2009 murder! Acquittal for his co-defendant, Cordel Flores
    One of the longest murder trials on record, carried over from the October 2014 session, ended Thursday night in the Supreme Court with a hung jury in the case of one accused person and acquittal for the other. Cordel Flores, charged with the murder […]

    The Belize Times

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Days of Healing initiative continues
    We have been regularly reporting on the activities of the Days of Healing Initiative which promotes clean family activity in crime-affected areas. The initiative started in the wake of the gruesome quadruple murder of four Belize City men in an apartment on Dean Street between Plues and George […]

    Ras Indio releases music DVD
    Music video has become an integral part of the success in the music industry despite being a relatively recent addition to the Belizean music scene. One of Belize’s music pioneers, reggae artist Ras Indio, is breaking new ground with an all-music video DVD titled Visions of Life. The […]

    Basket weaving competition continues
    Part two of a basket weaving competition is underway in Toledo. The competition is being hosted by the Building People Movement Organization which today issued a call to all local artisans of Toledo to enter the Basket Weaving Competition. Dorla Bowman is the coordinator of the competition and […]

    Suspects in heroin bust get Supreme Court bail
    The four men busted with over 19 kilograms or 40 pounds of heroin in separate packages on January 12 are out on bail of $50,000 each. 32 year old Jose Antonio Lara of San Pedro Town; 30 year old Lenon Tillett of Belize City and Corozal; 42 year […]

    Parents want Principal removed from San Ignacio school
    Parents of children attending the Arms of Love Primary School in San Ignacio town today held a protest on the school compound. The full fury of their anger is aimed squarely at the Principal, who they are trying to get removed. The list of grievances against the veteran educator is […]

    Jury acquits one of two men of murder indictment
    A jury of his peers has acquitted Cordel Flores, 26, of the 2009 murder of eighteen year old Alberto Allen. The trial ended late last night when the jury of 9 women and 3 men returned to the courtroom of Justice Troadio Gonzalez with the verdict following five hours of deliberations.

    Belize City man accused of “unlawful sexual intercourse”
    A Belize City tatoo artist has been arrested and charges for the crime of “Unlawful Sexual Intercourse.” Esteban Mossiah, 45, was booked on two counts of the charges based upon a report made by a 15 year old girl that the man had sexual intercourse with her on the 6th of January and again on the 9th of January.

    Blogs

    A Gorgeous Day To Head North on Ambergris Caye
    I met Ruben and his partner at the Wet Willy’s Dock, stopping along the way for bait sardines… We stopped to pick up two friends and then headed north. I wonder if I will ever stop being amazed by this view. The water up by Xtan Ha Resort and Mexico Rock dive/snorkel site. About 7 miles north of San Pedro town. We cruised all the way up to Mile 13 – just before the Bacalar Chico Marine reserve and then Rocky Point – the only spot in the world where a coral reef meets land.

    Belize Recipes: Stew Chicken with Rice & Beans
    This Belizean combination is without a doubt the most abundant meal in Belize. From north to south, east to west and out on the cayes, you won’t go anywhere without coming across a plate of Stew Chicken with rice and beans. With our easy to make recipe you can enjoy some Belizean flavour in the comfort of your home.

    10 OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH SPOTS IN BELIZE
    One of the most underrated gems of central America, Belize rarely gets the attention it deserves. Many of the most memorable destinations in this Vermont-sized oasis aren’t well-known to outsiders. Here are ten off-the-beaten-path attractions in Belize that are sure to make an impression. Rio Frio Cave, Caracol, 1000 Foot Falls, Placencia Village, Che Chem Ha Cave, Sarteneja Village, Turneffe Atolls, South Water Caye, Waterfoot Caye, Dangriga, Treasures Abound Just Under the Surface.

    International Sourcesizz

    British Have Invaded 193 Countries: Let's Make 26 January ( Australia Day, Invasion Day) British Invasion Day
    In the last 2 millennia the British have invaded 193 out of 203 present-day countries (195 UN-recognized nations and 8 non-UN-recognized self-governing countries) as compared to the French 80, the US 70 and Apartheid Israel 12. However the British invasion of Australia on 26 January 1788 ultimately destroyed as many as 600 unique Indigenous Australian tribes and a comparable number of languages and dialects (it is estimated that in 1788 there were 300 distinct Aboriginal language groups and 750 dialects of which only 150 survive) [1, 2], this making the Australian Aboriginal Genocide qualitatively the worst genocide in human history. Australia 's quantitatively worst genocide was the WW2 Bengali Holocaust in which the British with Australian complicity deliberately starved 6-7 million Indians to death for strategic reasons ( Australia withholding food from its huge wartime grain stocks) [3, 4].

    Avian influenza in Belize
    Low pathogenic avian influenza H5N2 was diagnosed at a poultry farm in Cayo, Belize (Central America). The flock, broiler breeders: 22 weeks, 38 weeks and 39 weeks. All breeder flocks are routinely sampled for avian influenza under the Belize Poultry Improvement Plan Avian Influenza Programme. Hence affected flocks were detected under routine monitoring as there are no clinical signs associated with the event. Spanish Lookout (Cayo) is a major poultry production area in Belize and has 14 breeder flocks with a total of 63,800 birds and an unknown number of layer flocks and broilers.

    Effects of Oil Pollution on Coral Reef Communities
    Coral reefs are the most diverse and complex communities in the marine environment. Hermatypic corals play a key role in forming the structure of coral reefs and providing substrate and shelter for a wide variety of organisms. Acute damage to corals may result in a collapse of the complex community of organisms, which live in close association with the corals. Concern for damaging effects of oil pollution on coral-reef communities is currently growing. For example, even before any incidents occurred in the Great Barrier Reef, oil-exploration permits were suspended and two Royal Commissions of inquiry into the effects of oil drilling on these reefs were convened.

    Videos


    Chukka Crocodile Encounter and Shrimp Farm Tour Belize, 3min. It’s an unlikely combination, a shrimp farm and a crocodile sanctuary, but Chukka Belize makes it happen in one exciting and educational tour. It’s the latest package that the tour company has come up with to bring you more of the Belizean experience. Chukka’s Crocodile Encounter and Shrimp Farm package is both thrilling and delectable. * Experience tossing a cast net to catch your own shrimp and even have them cooked up for you! * Watch endangered crocodiles in their natural secure habitats while you learn about these magnificent reptiles and crocodile conservation. * Climb a bird tower, enjoy the view and try to identify as many species of birds that you can count. On The Far Side - Central America (Trailer), 1min. Belize - Guatemala - Nicaragua
    From Belize to Britain Taster Tape, 3min.
    America Central 2012-2013, 10min. "Si vous pensez que l'aventure est dangereuse, je vous propose d'essayer la routine... Elle est mortelle." Paulo Coelho
    Sunrise in Hopkins (Belize), 3.5min. Bringing in the new day and celebrating Awesome Weather.
    Coconut lecture - Belize - South Water Cay, 2min.
    Coconut practice - Belize - South Water Cay, 3.5min.
    Tender Boat to Belize City, Belize from Cruise Ship, 4min. Sit back and enjoy the boat ride to Belize.
    Belize, in a bus to Orange Walk, 1.5min. Net aangekomen in Belize stappen we in de bus naar Orange Walk. Het is gezellig in de bus met mooie reggae muziek, harde wind en vele hobbels op de weg Wij hebben ontzettend veel plezier tijdens onze wereldreis, dus check ook onze andere Vlogs over reistips, reiservaringen, hostels, chocolade, coffee en nog veel meer!
    Cayo Adventure Tours - Sweet Belize (Official Video), 3min.
    STUDENTS AND FACULTY OF ESCUELA SECUNDARIA MEXICO CELEBRATE 32 YEARS OF EXISTENCE, 4min.
    THE SOUTH AS THE SAN LAZARO TO AUGUST PINE RIDGE ROAD IS INAGURATED, 5min.
    Air Belize Skydiving, 1min. Air Belize Skydiving Center’s owners have been operating safe and successful skydiving centers for 20 years in the United States as Sky’s The Limit Skydiving Center. Now we are pleased to bring our skydiving expertise to the beautiful country of Belize. Skydive today in Placencia, Belize and experience the thrill of a lifetime!
    Will Belize Be Removed From UNESCO Danger List?, 2.5min.
    Belize Trip 2015 Part 2, 4min. Most of the fun stuff like the zoo & beach trips that we did while in Belize woohoo & sorry the quality is terrible lol
    Royal Caribbean Resort, San Pedro, Belize, 2.5min.
    Silly Money in Hopkins, Belize, 11min. I get out for a walk along the beach after checking in. Lots of foreigner silly money pouring into the area...
    Skydive into the Blue Hole ,Belize .Amazing Moment Must Watch, 8.5min.
    Flying over Belize bluehole, 1min.

    January 23, 2015


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    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

    The Phoenix rocks!!
    Thanks to the fabulous reviews (based on the fabulous service and awesome amenities & location of course) Trip Advisor named The Phoenix the #2 Luxury Hotel in the world, #11 Best Small Hotel, and #23 Best Service!! Congratulations you guys! We happen to know, thanks to our own dream experience, that the resort and its staff is simply fabulous!

    Caribbean Villas robbed of over $5,000 on Payday
    The owner of the hotel has indicated that the same individual had visited the office earlier in the morning inquiring about job opportunities. This leads police to believe that the robbery may have been an inside job, as the robbery coincided with the resort’s payroll day. Police investigations are continuing. Confirmation has been made that at no time were the resort’s guests safety compromised, and no one but the office employees were aware of what had transpired.

    Streets get much needed repairs
    The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) have commenced working on rehabilitating the streets in the Airstrip, Eliot Subdivision and San Pedrito Area. On Monday, January 19th truckloads of hard core material were laid and pressed, improving the conditions of the highly trafficked streets. Residents in the area had been complaining about the street conditions for quite some time, as the rains in the past few months had eroded the streets causing flooding and large pot holes. According to Councilor Kenrick Brackett, 200 loads of hard core were used to fix the streets in the areas, as well as to patch-up large pot holes in the other low lying areas. “We thank all the residents for their patience. We understand their frustration on the street conditions, especially with all the rain that we have been having in the past months. We are working hard to get the street in a better conditions for all the residents that need to commute daily. The repairs will alleviate many problems for drivers of the area and even school children that use those streets,” said Brackett.

    Sugar Cane Season set to start after long standoff between cañeros and BSI/ASR
    The 2015 Sugar Cane Season is finally set to start after the two parties in the industry – the cañeros and Belize Sugar Industry/American Sugar Refinery BSI/ASR) signed on to a commercial agreement which now gives the green light to declare the crop open. This brings to end two months of standoff and uncertainty in the sugar industry. It was the longest delay in the sugar industry and one that has caused the splintering of the over 55-year-old organization, Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA). Before the signing of the agreement, over 2000 cane farmers broke away from the BSCFA to form two new associations; the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Cane Farmers Association. The two newly formed associations went ahead to sign a seven-year agreement with BSI/ASR for the delivery of sugarcane, leaving behind the BSCFA and it remaining 3000 plus members. Without the BSCFA onboard, the crop was uncertain. A breakthrough came when, in an emergency meeting of the BSCFA on Sunday January 18th, the assembly of the general membership moved that the organization sign on to the agreement- even though the cane farmers were not happy. By Monday, January 19th, BSCFA and BSI/ASR met to sign the agreement in Orange Walk Town. The signing of the agreement was necessary for the milling company, who needed assurance from the various associations for the delivery of at least 1.1 million tons of sugarcane.

    The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage rejects the recent draft of the Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines
    The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage rejects the draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines recently circulated by the Government of Belize. In 2012, the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage commissioned an analysis of Government’s Draft Petroleum Exploration Zonation Framework and presented key findings to the Minister of Energy and technical team and the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development and technical team. Key issues amongst the findings were: • No buffers/buffer zones in the offshore between critical ecosystems including the reef, spawning aggregation sites and the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve, World Heritage Site and oil activities. Buffers account for potential travel of oil spills and impacts to critical ecosystems and designated special areas. Existing studies on buffer zones in the marine environment recommend 120 – 250 miles between critical ecosystems and oil activities. However, the Coalition recommended a buffer of 31 miles between critical ecosystems and oil activities as the application of a 31 mile buffer to key critical ecosystems and designated special areas resulted in the entire offshore being off-limits to oil exploration.

    Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Clarifies Press Release on Petroleum Exploration Zones and Guidelines
    The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) notes with regret a recent press release by Oceana criticizing the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Oceana incorrectly asserted that the zonation plan and framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry’s second attempt to solicit feedback from the NGO community on the revised zonation plan and exploration guidelines. In September 2014, the Geology and Petroleum Department (GPD) shared the zonation plan and framework with 13 stakeholder groups, inclusive of Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, APAMO and other public and private sector entities. Subsequently, the GPD received feedback only from APAMO, the CZMAI, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and one petroleum company.

    SPBA awards Christine Syme for her continued support
    Christine Syme was the recipient of a Certificate of Appreciation from the San Pedro Business Association (SPBA) for always assisting in their activities. Syme was presented with the award on Tuesday, January 20th by SPBA Vice-president Amanda Syme and SPBA Secretary Coqui Alamilla. “SPBA has been involved in many issues that are integral to developing our island, from spearheading the cobble stone/paved road projects to supporting the San Pedro Polyclinic and the Police and Coast Guard Barracks. The SPBA also organizes two annual events which have become San Pedro Town traditions – namely the San Pedro Lobster Festival and The Holiday Lighted Boat parade. In 2014 the association was shorthanded and turned to Christine Syme for support and assistance. She was willing and able to provide many hours of her time, ensuring that both events were organized and executed perfectly. In recognition of this young lady’s vital role within the SPBA’s team the executives have presented Christine Syme with a certificate of appreciation. The youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Congratulations on your achievements Christine, we are all proud of you,” stated the SPBA.

    Prominent island individuals form the People’s Coalition for San Pedro
    The presidents from the various Neighborhood Watch committees, along with members of the San Pedro Police Department, San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), San Pedro media houses and other concerned citizens have formed the People’s Coalition of San Pedro, with the goal of addressing and finding solutions for issues plaguing the island. On Wednesday, January 14th, a meeting was held to discuss pressing issues that are going unsolved on the island including crime, youth issues, the need for a boat manifest, Crime Stoppers and improving public relations skills for police officers. The meeting was officiated by Steve Spiro and saw the attendance of Deputy Mayor Gabriel “Gaby” Nuñez, Councilor Gualberto “Wally” Nuñez, Deputy in Charge of Police Inspector Henry Jemmott, Officer in Charge of Police Superintendent Luis Castellanos, Janine Lopez, Josie Nuñez, Brian Cook, Janelle Cowo, Dorian Nuñez and Erik Lausen.

    Ambergris Today

    Oceana Belize Calls Petroleum Dept. Proposed Policy on Offshore Drilling Weak on Data
    Oceana Belize calls on the Government of Belize to create policies which protect Belizean livelihoods - In response to a document circulated to the NGO community on Monday, January 19, 2015, as the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines, Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the Government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected; that an effective emergency response capacity is in place; that special places are safe from hazards and that it has provided a full, fair and public accounting, including the inherent risks involved with the oil industry, to the Belizean people.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Bowen & Bowen Ltd.
    Career Opportunity -Looking for smart, creative people who want to make a difference.

    Mo' Mojo arrives in Belize TODAY!
    Are you going to the concert? Need a ticket? All concerts are free and open to the public, but you need a ticket to get a seat and they will be distributed on a first come first serve basis. The U.S. Embassy still has 50 tickets for San Pedro this Saturday, January 24th, 50 tickets for the Corozal concert Monday, January 26th, and 42 tickets for the San Igncacio concert on Wednesday, January 28th. All concerts start at 7:00 PM and representative will be avilable at the entrace starting at 5:30 PM to distribute the Embassy's extra tickets.

    Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine helping at the zoo
    Our colleagues and friends from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine applied their professional magic during a week of vet examinations at The Belize Zoo recently. Vet students gained a great deal of knowledge, as they accompanied our animal management staff. What was on the examination agenda? All of the monkeys were TB tested. Yes, both howler and spider monkeys can carry TB. And yes, they can pass on to the human species…Yet ANOTHER good reason not to have a monkey as a pet! The jaguars at the zoo received very special attention. Black jaguar “Lucky Boy” badly needed a tooth extraction; part of the aftermath of his terrible ordeal in 2012. Lucky Boy came out of surgery like a shining star. Newly-rescued jaguar, “Mistletoe” also received first class care. It was determined that lovely “Mistletoe”,who was nearly shot by the people who trapped her, also suffers from a tooth problem. Good news for this pretty big cat, tooth problem addressed! And today, “Mistletoe” is a happier jaguar, thanks to the quality care received.

    Corozal: The pump prices of Premium gasoline today are:
    BELIZE US$3.99 MEXICO US$3.85 GUATEMALA US$3.39 USA US$2.45

    BEL Honors 225 Golden Citizens with Electricity Bill Pay Awards
    Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) held a ceremony this morning at its Corporate Headquarters for its Golden Citizens. As a part of BEL’s Electricity Bill Pay Awards Program, BEL will pay the monthly electricity bill for an entire year for 225 senior citizens. Some of the senior citizens received their award during this morning’s ceremony, and the remaining awardees will be visited and presented with certificates at their homes over the next few days. Awardees were selected based on the following criteria: Must be 65 years of age or older and registered as a Golden Citizen with BEL. Must hold only one active account with BEL which is billed under the Social Rate Category. Consuming less than 60kWh monthly, at their place of residence.

    Channel 7

    Starting "La Zafra"
    The sugar cane harvest season, known in the north as "La Zafra" will start on Monday January 26th at 10:00 am. That date was agreed to today at a meeting of the Sugar Industry Control Board, known as the SICB in Orange Walk Town. The meeting of stakeholders is the one usually held before the start of any season. But today it was a very full room because there were two new associations at the table to represent the farmers groups that emerged after the splintering of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. They are the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association. The association representatives along with BSI and government, filled the room at the SICB office in Orange Walk Town while the government appointed Chairman Gabriel Martinez sat at the head of the table with the Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega, and Junior Minister Hugo Pott.

    Big Bang By Bus On Boom Road
    There was a road traffic accident on the Burrel Boom Road about 100 yards from the Belize Central Prison this morning. Fortunately, it was not fatal but it could have been serious because it involved a Ready-Call bus carrying 51 employees, which slammed into a dump truck. Courtney Weatherburne was on the scene. Courtney Weatherburne reporting These black trails of tire marks on the Hattieville road leads you to this morning's road traffic accident. A few minutes after 9, this ready call bus crashed into the rear of this dump-truck, both vehicles ended up splayed across the highway. But the vehicles were not the only things on opposite sides - both drivers had different accounts of the accident as well.

    Police On Daly's Death
    Last night, we told you how police retrieved the body of 24 year-old Roaring Creek Resident Emerson Daly after he went missing on Sunday night. The well-known handy-man, who is also a talented event planner, was most likely killed elsewhere and then dumped into the river. The officer commanding Belmopan police, Superintendent Howell Gillett discussed the case today: Supt. Howell Gillett - OC, Belmopan Police "The postmortem is saying that he does from an injury to the face, likely from a gunshot wound. More likely a shotgun. We are investigating. We have a few persons in our custody. We continue to investigate, we haven't gotten any concrete motive. I'd like to share if I had with the public, but thus far, we don't have any concrete motive. As we speak, our investigators are out following a few leads. Later on this week we will have some new developments to report to the public and to the media."

    Jury Deliberates Into Night
    Right now, a jury of 9 women and 3 men are deliberating the fates of accused murderers Cordel Flores and Warren Lewis, who police believed tortured and then killed Alberto Braddick Allen in August 18, 2009. Viewers may remember that it was as very gruesome killing where Allen was taken to a feeder road off mile 4 on the Western Highway. There, his killers then forced him to lay on his stomach, and he was shot in the back. His throat was also slashed, and a piece of stick was then rammed down his throat. 25 year-old Cordel Flores 23 year-old Warren Lewis were charged for the murder, and they have been on trial before Justice Troadio John Gonzalez for the past month and a half. Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith is THE prosecutor; Lewis is being represented by attorney Oscar Selgado, while Flores is being represented by attorney Alifa Elrington-Hyde.

    Port of Belize Concerned About Stevedores Starting Over
    Last night, CWU President Audrey Matura-Shepherd addressed the media on the state of her union, the Christian Workers. And the most visible workers group in that union is the Stevedores who have been in a protracted negotiation with the Port of Belize Limited for a new collective bargaining agreement. But the Union threw a curveball at the Port last night when they announced that they had been misled in their years of negotiation under former president Antonio Gonzalez. And because of that the stevedores say they are going back to the start with a completely new proposed collective bargaining agreement. Today we asked the CEO of the Port of Belize how he feels about it. He says it's the first he has heard from the union in 11 months!

    Port Of Belize, It's For Sale
    And while the stevedores reload their strategy, the Port of Belize is for sale. You probably remember that 3 years ago in January of 2012, the Ashcroft Alliance declared that the port was in receivership - and took it over. Now, three years later, CEO Tux Vasquez is still the receiver - and he says his job is to improve the asset so that it can be sold. Today he discussed with us the investments that have been made and what happens next:... Arturo "Tux" Vasquez, CEO - Port of Belize Limited "We have invested to date about six and a half to seven million dollars and it has been mainly in heavy equipment, infrastructure, in staffing, but the majority has gone in heavy equipment. Port operations are measured by the amount of containers we moved per hour and without proper equipment, you could be very well down to 7-9-10 containers per hour. We have brought that up to 17 containers per hour, sometimes a bit more, but those are averages that are acceptable in moving containers."

    Drainage Project Will Force Road Closures
    Today the Ministry of Works saying that Newtown Barracks - the streets that leads to the Princess Ramada by the Mexican Institute would be closed for four weeks. It's part of the Ministry of Works Flood Mitigation project, where the Douglas Jones Canal will be extending from Freetown Road, unto Newton Barracks and into the sea. But it turns out, that closing that street off four four weeks would cause chaos with the cruise season. Today we found out about their revised plans:..

    Methodist Church Meets in Belize
    Members from the Methodist Church both locally and international spent their second day today participating in the 154 Annual District Conference of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. Its formal gathering of all the religious leaders within the church to report on the year's activities, highlighting the successes made in the different communities. It's also an opportunity to plan how the Methodist Church will take on different issues affecting the public they serve. This year's conference is being held at the Ebenezer Methodist Church in Belize City, and 7News stopped by to speak with the participants. The President of the Methodist Church in Belize told us that while they are pleased with the work being in the areas of education and growing the membership, there is a lot more that the church wants to do:

    A Road To Lazaro
    Orange Walk residents travelling Between the San Lazaro and August Pine Ridge will have a smoother drive because 10.5 kilometres of the road has been fixed. It was officially opened with a ceremony led by the EU Delegation to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadei, and officials from the Ministry of Works. The rehabilitation of this stretch of road was financed by the European Union and the Government of Belize, through funds from the EU's Accompanying Measures for Sugar Program, which is being undertaken in 4 phases. The total cost for the repairs to the road is 4.4 million dollars.

    Belize Is For The Birds
    Black Vultures, Laughing Gulls, White colored seedeaters and the list goes on. These are some of the species of birds that are spotted during the Belize Audubon Society's Annual Christmas Bird Count. Every year a team is sent to several sites around the country to count and document the different species of birds. It may seem time consuming given that during this exercise the team spends 12 hours counting birds for 3 days. But according to Publicity Coordinator Dirk Francisco, it is pretty easy and you do not need to be a professional bird watcher to participate.

    BEL Will Pay Senior Citizens' Light Bills
    For the next 12 months, starting with the end of January, BEL will pay the light bills of 225 elderly citizens countrywide. It's one of their social programs for customers in the Golden Citizens category. Who qualified for this program? Well, all winners had to be 65 years or older; holding an active account with the company; in the social rate category; consuming 60 Kilowatts per month. Most importantly, they needed to have registered with the company using their Golden Citizens Social Security Card. Today, 7News got an opportunity to meet 20 of the winners. Here's what the company's customer care Manager told the gathering while they were receiving their awards:

    Ras Indio's Magnum Opus
    Ras Indio, he's one of the most prolific Belizean reggae artists who's performed at major shows around the world, but he's always keeping an eye on home base, and trying remain relevant in his own country. And so, now, for his fans, he's produced a DVD with all his music videos, along with never before seen footage and unreleased tracks which Indio recorded. He told us today why you should buy the DVD which he calls Visions of Life. The DVD costs $20, and it can be purchased at local music stores around the country. Additionally, it can be purchased online and link to that e-store will be posted on our internet transcript.

    OCEANA Disputes GOB
    Last night we told you about the Government release in response to OCEANA's criticisms about the Draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines. The Ministry's release says quote "OCEANA incorrectly asserted that the Zonation plan and Framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry's second attempt to solicit feedback..." END QUOTE. Well, OCEANA says that they did not receive the draft at the first attempt in September 2014 as the Ministry's release says they had. Vice President, Janelle Channona told us today that if OCEANA was in fact contacted or sent the draft in September 2014, they would have definitely responded. She also adds that none of the NGO's recommendations were reflected in the draft.

    Where Tourism And Agriculture Intersect
    Tourism and agriculture are leading foreign exchange earners in Belize. But where do these two very different sectors meet? According to the OAS, they don't! And that's why today the OAS along with the Inter-American Institute of American States and the Ministry of Natural Resources organized a consultation session at the Biltmore. The discussion was centered on a strategy to advance Belizean products and services through the tourism industry while involving more women and youth in that process. The Ambassador of the OAS, Starret Green further discussed the objectives of today's consultation. Starret Green, Ambassador - OAS "One of the issues that we are trying to understand better is what works and what doesn't work in linking the markets. We know we have a huge tourism industry.

    US Fugitive
    A wanted American pedophile was picked up in Hopkins by Belize police earlier this week. 54 year old Robert Andrew Ragin, is wanted by U.S. authorities to answer charges on twelve counts on promoting sexual performance by a child. While Ragin was living in Florida, he was found with pornographic videos of minors, and before he could have been arrested, he fled the country to Belize. He will be handed over to the US authorities tomorrow.

    Channel 5

    Crop Start Date Announced
    The 2015 sugar cane crop season will get underway on Monday, January twenty-sixth at ten in the morning. The pronouncement came this afternoon after a lengthy session between all stakeholders [...]

    P.U.P. Leader Responds to Barnett Endorsement
    On Wednesday, the U.D.P., all hyped up and bursting with enthusiasm, announced the entry of Doctor Carla Barnett into electoral politics. Barnett is no stranger to the public service, and [...]

    Fonseca Speaks on Barnett’s Resignation
    The U.D.P. has placed great emphasis on Barnett’s integrity in public life, and Prime Minister Barrow has stated publicly that it is perhaps her strongest point. The Prime Minister is [...]

    …Says Barrow Will Be Next Opposition Leader
    The Prime Minister has jubilantly placed Barnett against Fonseca in a political battle for Freetown, and only time will tell how that plays out. But in the meantime, Barrow is [...]

    2 Persons Questioned for Roaring Creek Murder
      Tonight, two persons are being questioned about the murder of twenty-four year old Roaring Creek entrepreneur, Emerson Daly Junior.  While Police are not saying if the men in custody [...]

    Ready Call Bus and Truck Collide By Boom Junction
    There was a collision this morning between a Ready Call bus transporting fifty-one employees and a dump truck. It happened on the Boom-Hattieville Road when the loaded bus crashed into [...]

    P.U.P. Ready for Municipal Elections?
    Earlier we showed you P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca’s response to the announcement of his opponent in Freetown. He wasn’t too impressed or concerned. Fonseca has other things on his mind [...]

    Fonseca Says Belize City Challenging
    So what’s the prediction for Belize City? It’s considered a U.D.P. stronghold with the U.D.P. holding on to eight of ten seats. Fonseca acknowledges that it will be a real [...]

    Jury Deliberates in Murder Trial
      The trial of Warren Lewis of Lord’s Bank, Ladyville and Cordel Flores of Belize City, who are jointly charged for the August 2009 murder of Albert Allen was summed [...]

    Accused Robber Walks Free
    In May 2014, a Bowen and Bowen employee was robbed of one thousand five hundred dollars. Today, he requested no further court action against the man he had positively identify [...]

    U.D.P. Chairman Caught in Domestic Altercation
      News Five has confirmed that this morning, Chairman of the U.D.P. Alberto August was involved in a broad daylight domestic altercation in Santa Elena. We were told officially that [...]

    P.U.P. Says NO to Offshore Drilling
    There is increased environmental chatter recently after the Geology and Petroleum Department released its draft petroleum exploration policy. According to the wording on that draft, every part of the Belizean [...]

    Audubon and OCEANA on Petroleum Zoning
    Earlier this week, we told you about OCEANA’s feedback on the Department of Geology’s Zoning Draft Policy. OCEANA said they were not meaningfully engaged, having only received the draft on [...]

    B.E.L.’s Golden Citizen Program in Full Effect
    B.E.L.’s Golden Citizens Electricity Bill Pay Award is growing by leaps and bounds. The initiative started with fifty persons two years ago. Today another group of senior citizens will not [...]

    $140,000 Up in Smoke in San Pedro
    An early morning fire has destroyed a building and equipment valued over one hundred and forty thousand dollars belonging to Grand Colony Resort in San Pedro Town. After two on [...]

    One Man Detained for San Pedro Robbery
    Another San Pedro hotel took a hit on Wednesday, this time by robbers. According to police, a receptionist of Caribbean Villas reported that around four-thirty on Wednesday, he and two [...]

    Stakeholders Focus on Agribusiness Development
    Linking Farmers to Tourism…the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, better known as IICA, is getting more involved in the development of the agro-productive sector in Belize. Today, at the [...]

    IICA and O.A.S. Partner in Agribusiness
      Partnering with IICA are the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and the Organization of American States. Ambassador Starret Green says that while the linkages have already been established [...]

    Healthy Living Looks at a New Secret to Perfect Skin
    If you follow health or beauty trends, you should have definitely noticed a growing movement that champions common everyday foods as the new secret to better looking skin. To clarify [...]

    CTV3

    Thousnds Of Dollars Worth Of Items Goes In Flames In San Pedro
    Police in San Pedro Town are preparing to charge a male person in connection to an armed robbery reported. According to the receptionist at Caribbean Villas located on Seagrape Drive, he reported that at about 4:30 p.m. on yesterday’s date, while at his workplace, in the company of his two co-workers, a male person of dark complexion with a rag over his face, entered the establishment armed with a black handgun and pointed it at his head and demanded money. Fearing for his life and in compliance, he took a small cash pan containing petty cash amounting to $785.00, several envelopes containing employees pay amounting to $4000.00 along with his black Apple I-phone 4S, valued at $ 700.00 and a white Apple I-phone 4S cell phone valued at $800.00. The male person then exited the office running to the direction of Seagrape Drive and made good his escape. Police have since detained 26-year-old Agar Miguel Chunchon and have recovered some items as investigations continue.

    Dollars Worth Of Items Goes In Flames In San Pedro
    Owners of the Grand Colony Resort located on Sea Grape Drive are reeling in from a loss of over one hundred and forty thousand dollars caused by a fire. According to the report, in the wee hours of yesterday’s date, San Pedro Police responded to a 911 call a Carpenter’s workshop burning at the Resort where they saw a green zinc and wooden structure with cement flooring, measuring approximately 30’ x 50’ on fire. Fire Department personnel arrived on the scene at 2:30 a.m. and the scene was declared safe at 5:05 a.m. Preliminary information reveals that upon making routine checks, the security guard noticed smoke coming from inside the building. He then opened the door but the fire inside was already out of control so he immediately alerted the police. The building was completely gutted by flames and all its contents destroyed. According to the general manager, the structure is valued at $75,000.00 and its contents which included various heavy machinery and equipment are valued at $65,100.00 for a grand total of $140,100.00. The building nor its contents were insured and the cause of fire is still uncertain.

    When will The Rehabilitation Of San Estevan/Progresso Road Commence?
    In 2014, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in one of his press conferences, said that the rehabilitation of the San Estevan/Progresso Road would see completion by the middle of 2015. So far, no significant work has been seen along the road. It appears that there is still some issues in getting the work started but CEO in the Ministry of Works, Errol Gentle says that communities along the road should see some relief this year. “At a snail’s pace certainly not at my liking at all, it is certainly not advancing as the government would like to and I am certain as the road users here in Orange Walk would like from the inception we had certain problems that we tried to rectified and we are working with the contractor, at this moment we are discussing the way forward but what I can assure you and you can take my word for it I haven’t lied to you before that road will be completed because I can’t give you a when but it will be complete and you will works started that road in fact the last meeting we had with the contractor he assured that he had to gone out there and he had to do some grading again to improve the riding quality of the road but it is in the best interest of the government of Belize, the ministry of works want that work to be completed, the EU is also adamant that will see some progress so you will see progress very shortly and that road will be moved on unfortunately yes we are behind schedule but it will not be abandoned the road will be completed.”

    Corozal Police Conducts Service Day Training
    As is customary, simulation exercises and training is needed to keep our law enforcers ready for any scenario. And since mind and physical health are needed for the job, once a month officers from across formations throughout Belize engage in intense training. Over 35 police officers from the Corozal formation today gathered at the Ricalde Stadium for an afternoon tune up, well at least that is how Superintendent Andrew Ramirez refers to it. “What happen at a national level, we on Thursdays it is referred as in service days we either lecture our guys in relation to court process, statement taken, and customer care and in today’s session it is what we referred to public order training, it has nothing to be in any panic mode in relation to the cane issue or the election this is a normal measures standard directive, on Thursday is what is referred to in service days and Tuesdays is physical training, what we have here today is basically we have the Deputy Mr. Serrano giving these guys a tune up because as I mention thee training is done at least once a month.”

    Corozal Police Investigate Possible Case Of Pedophilia
    While authorities in Dangriga are waiting for confirmation to extradite Reagan, officers in Corozal are dealing with a similar case only that this time the individual is not wanted by the US but remains on the loose and according police, he is being sought. The latest incident is said to have occurred in the area of San Andres in the Corozal District and authorities are not taking the complaint lightly. Supt. Andrew Ramirez – Corozal OC “I got a very disturbing information a few hours ago in relation to a white SUV with a tire to the back and apparently the driver is of white Caucasian with American accent, sometime last night between 7 and 8 pm I think it is on the San Andres road, the driver of that vehicle apparently pushed out his hand and shaking up his hand with some monies to a 7 year old female child, obviously the intent to my opinion would be to entice that young lady inside that vehicle, I am asking the resident of Corozal if they have information of that specific type of vehicle; white SUV, with a wheel at the back, white Caucasian, has bumps on his face and more speaks American type accent, if they have any information of that vehicle or that description of that male person to please give us a call.”

    Road Improvement Paves Way To More Benefits
    At the top of the newscast we told you about today’s inauguration of the San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge Road. The inaugural ceremony saw the participation of several high ranking officials including members of the People’s United Party, Orange Walk Central Area Representative Honorable John Briceno and Orange Walk South Area Representative Honorable Jose Abelardo Mai who told us that the road improvement is of great benefit to the communities in his constituency. Abelardo Mai – Area Representative, O/W South “It’s a formidable undertaking I have to say, have to admit that this is a most needed highway, it runs through the heart of Orange Walk South which is y constituency and it is the life blood, I think it is the main artery in which food leaves Orange Walk South and spread out throughout the country, as you now Orange Walk South is the part of the bread basket of the country, the largest amount of rice is produced, grains in general and of course our valuable sugar cane so this highway is the main artery that then leads to distribute food throughout the country so it is formidable undertaking, it is very important to note too that the highway of this magnitude of this caliber will lead significantly to the reduction in the cost of producing sugar cane as you know transportation is the major cost then we reduce the cost of wear and tear, we reduce the cost of fuel and we reduce the repairs and maintenance of our transportation so it is a formidable undertaking and I think we are happy for having it I must say that.”

    Government Dissatisfied With Work On Philip Goldson Highway
    While Government officials are satisfied with the work done on the Feeder Roads Rehabilitation Project in Southern Orange Walk, the same cannot be said for the work being carried on the Phillip Goldson Highway that passes through Orange Walk Town. Motorists may have noticed several points along the recently paved mile of the highway have begun to break or sink in, this, only months after its completion. Today, while at the inaugural ceremony of the road in Southern Orange Walk, we spoke with CEO in the Ministry of Works Errol Gentle who said that they are aware of the situation. The CEO adds that they have sent technical officers to conduct a detailed physical inspection of the road, including the section of the San Antonio Road that has been hot mixed under the same contractor, Emer Hernandez.

    High Rate Of Children Infected With Stomach flu
    Every parent dreads hearing the three words, "My tummy hurts." Immediately, you start imagining the worst-case scenario: Your child is totally wiped out for days with nonstop vomiting and diarrhea; your home becomes a breeding ground for germs; and this virus spreads like wildfire through your entire family. Unfortunately, this is a reality and lately a lot of children have been affected with what doctors are calling gastroenteritis or commonly known as stomach flu. In stomach-virus season, entire classrooms and childcare centers can be taken by storm. And so, in an effort to help protect your family, here is what you need to know about the stomach flu. Doctor Damaris Cruz, stationed at the Presbyterian Medical Clinic in the village of Patachakan explains. Damaris Cruz – Doctor “The symptoms of this virus usually vary from mild to very intense they can be, patient start with nausea and or vomiting both or either just one of them, sometimes they can have abdominal pain, sometimes they have diarrhea, some patient might even have mild headaches or low grade fevers.”

    Wanted US Fugitive Captured In Dangriga
    Fifty four year old US National Robert Andrew Reagan is currently in police custody in Dangriga after a warrant for his arrest was issued by law enforcement agents from the State of Florida. Reagan was detained in Dangriga on Friday January 16th. Reagan is wanted in the US for 12 counts of promoting sexual performance by a child minor. Reports are that Reagan, who has been living in Hopkins Village in the Stann Creek District for 6 months, was found with pornography videos of minors and before he could have been arrested, he fled the US.

    Sugar Impasse Is Over Crop Set To Commence January 26th
    Tonight, sugar industry stakeholders are breathing a sigh of relief as the date for the much anticipated start of the 2014/2015 cane crop has been announced. All stakeholders including the three associations (BSCFA, the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association), along with Minister of Agriculture Honourable Gaspar Vega, representatives of the Sugar Industry Control Board and members of BSI/ASR, met around the discussion table this afternoon to collectively agree on date for the start of crop. After hours of deliberations, Chairperson of the SICB, Gabriel Martinez, told the congregate that a statement of commitment was signed by all parties involved, signalling the much anticipated commencement of the sugar crop. Gabriel Martinez – Chairperson, Sugar Industry Control Board “As newly constituted by the recent sugar cane act and the parties present here namely the three Associations along with BSI/ASR and our Deputy Prime Minister have agreed that the start of the 2015 sugar cane crop should be on Monday January 26th at 10am. The SCPC wants to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who has work tirelessly to come to this moment here and we are so happy to be able to pronounce this date as agreed by the stakeholders we wish all the caneros a productive and a blessed sugar crop 2015.”

    LOVE FM

    Repairs of Sugar Roads to Commence
    And with the date set for the start of the crop season, works will commence shortly on a number of sugar roads. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Gaspar Vega told Love News, the assessment is underway. “As of Tuesday both engineer Bradley and engineer Calles came down to the north to start the assessment on the different sugar roads of course the most needy ones and we are going to be investing $1 million dollars in the Orange Walk district and $1 million dollars in the Corozal district but before the actual work starts getting done, they have to asses it because of course we have to ensure we get value for money. So that is what the engineer Bradley was here on Tuesday and I know that they continued yesterday and I know by today or tomorrow the work should have started and we are going to ensure that we get as many contractors as possible so that the work can be done as quick as it could ever have been done. The roads are not as bad as last year and we are investing the same amount of money so I do believe there are plenty roads that can be used as we speak without any work getting done on them.”

    Suspected Fugitive Involved in San Ignacio Robbery?
    Police are looking for an escaped prisoner after it is believed he robbed a store in San Ignacio. Correspondent Elaine Berry has the story. “This morning at about 8 AM a Chinese grocery store located on Bella Vista Street here in San Ignacio was robbed by a single gun man. The person is believed to be Emanuel Willoughby also known as Mangar who escaped from the KOLBE foundation since December 2014. Police responded immediately and sighted him running. He managed to escape in the bushes in an open lot in the outskirts of town. Police are presently searching the area. The police are advising the public to be cautious and call the police hotline at 9-1-1 or 804-2022 as it is believed that he is in the Santiago Juan and Bishop Martin area. He is considered armed and dangerous.”

    BEL Awards Twenty Senior Citizens
    The Belize Electricity Limited, through the collaborative efforts of B.E.L Customer Care Department and Social Care Community, awarded twenty senior citizens a year of free electricity. The Program, The Golden Citizens, Commenced at the BEL Corporate Headquarters, two and a half miles Philip Goldson Highway, Manager of Customer Care, Celina Gill, addressed the media and spoke of the program. CELINA GILL “This is the third consecutive year in which BEL is paying Golden Citizen’s Electricity Bills for one year. As part of one of several initiatives through which the company fulfills its mission to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulate national development and improve the quality of life in Belize. Inspired by the sincere drive of one of our employees to reach out and make a difference in the life of a senior citizen the company adapted the program and made it official in 2012.

    PUP Says “NO!” To Offshore Drilling
    Earlier in the week we began reporting on the 32-page draft document on the Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines. After learning and reading the draft document, OCEANA’s Vice President, Janelle Chanona, expressed discontent and concern over the content of the document. Chanona further expressed disapprovals of any type of offshore drilling. However, yesterday the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology and Public Utilities, Dr. Colin Young, told Love News that paper was sent to all environmental groups and agencies in order to received feedback. Today, PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca, told the media that his party is dead set against offshore drilling.

    Details of San Pedro Murder Still Unraveling
    Twenty-two-year-old Silva Benitez was found murdered on Ambergris Caye, three miles north of San Pedro Town. She was found partially nude, face down in small pond of mud off the Grand Belizean Estate Road. Benitez had been reported missing and friends and family had feared the worst. Her body was discovered on Saturday morning by two passersby. Police say that Benitez had bruises to the face, neck and back. A post mortem examination was conducted where it was found that the body had multiple blunt force injuries to the right side of face, to the neck and back and restraining type injuries to the shoulders and inner thigh. Up to news time, no one has been arrested for her murder. At the time the exact cause of them was not established. Today Deputy Coastal Officer, Inspector Henry Jemmott, told Love News that police believed that Benitez was strangled.

    Man Detained For San Pedro Robbery
    Caribbean Villas Resort, Sea Grape Drive in San Pedro Town, was robbed at gun point. It happened yesterday evening when a man barged into the receptionist’s office, took out a .38 revolver and demanded the monies. A total of four thousand seven hundred and eighty five dollars and two iPhones were handed over to the robber. Quick police response led to the detention of one man. However, Deputy Coastal Officer, Inspector Henry Jemmott, told Love News that they believe that the man who they have detained may have been working with someone from the inside.

    General Elections; Will Francis Become PM?
    On Monday the House of Representatives met to introduce a bill to amend the Sugar Act but aside of the usual technical business, there was also the usual back and forth among the political opponents. Well on Monday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow made several remarks alluding that the current leader of the People’s United Party, Francis Fonseca will not be leader anymore after the March Municipal Elections. Fonseca did not responds to Barrow’s statements that day so he was asked about it today…. LEADER OF OPPOSITION, FRANCIS FONSECA “The only change of leader in the opposition will come when the general elections are called and he, Mr. Barrow, if he remains the leader of the UDP, he will then be the leader of the opposition. That is the only time the leader of the opposition will change so let him call the general elections and yes, we will have a new leader of the opposition; him or maybe it will be Gappy Vega who knows. That is the only time we will have a change in the leader of the opposition in this country.”

    Four Injured in Morning RTA
    A traffic incident on the Boom Road, just a few miles from its junction with Hattieville Village, Belize District, has left four persons recovering from minor injuries and over four dozen residents shaken from the collision. The incident occurred between nine and ten o’clock this morning between a bus filled with employees of the Ready Call Centre and a dump truck. Love News was on the scene and spoke to both drivers who came out the incident unscathed. Claudio Moreira was the driver of the bus, which was transporting the over fifty one employees to the work sight. CLAUDIO MOREIRA “Well when we were coming on the Boom highway a dump truck was in front of me and to avoid an accident he swerved right into my right of way and as I said to avoid the accident I tried my best to avoid the accident. I hit him on the tail of the dump truck and that was the best I could do to avoid people getting hurt on the bus. As a matter of face we have two people that got hurt but just minor injuries for a pregnant girl and a young boy, they are not really critical.”

    Francis Rebuts to Barnett as a Sacrificial Lamb
    Yesterday the United Democratic Party revealed that Dr. Carla Barnett has decided to contest the next general election. She is hoping to be the next Area representative for the Freetown Division. The present area representative for that division is the leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca. While, Barnett has not been officially endorsed as the Standard Bearer for that division, Fonseca did respond to the possibility that Barnet, who he referred to as a sacrificial lamb, may be his political opponent. LEADER OF OPPOSITION, FRANCIS FONSECA “You know the problem for Dr.Barnett is that the people of Freetown want absolutely nothing to do with the UDP, the great majority of the people in Freetown, want nothing to do with Mr. Barrow.

    PlusTV

    BEL Honors 225 Golden Citizens with Electricity Bill Pay Awards
    Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) held a ceremony on Thursday morning at its Corporate Headquarters for its Golden Citizens. As a part of BEL’s Electricity Bill Pay Awards Program, BEL will pay the monthly electricity bill for an entire year for 225 senior citizens. Some of the senior citizens received their award during Thursday morning’s ceremony, and the remaining awardees will be visited and presented with certificates at their homes over the next few days.

    San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge road officially opened
    10.5 kilometres of rehabilitated roadway, between San Lazaro and August Pine Ridge in Orange Walk, was officially opened on Thursday by Head of the EU Delegation to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadei and officials of the Ministry of Works. The rehabilitation was financed by the European Union and the Government of Belize through funds from the EU’s vlcsnap-2015-01-23-06h14m47s90Accompanying Measures for Sugar (AMS) Programme and is being undertaken in four phases. The Rural Road Rehabilitation Project programme which began in 2008 and will end in 2016, supports the upgrade of 29 key roads in the sugar areas at a cost of over € 42.7 million (BZD 106.7million). The San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge was completed under phase three of the programme at a cost of BZ$4.4 million.

    Duo await verdict in murder retrial
    At news time a jury of 9 women and 3 men were deliberating the guilt or innocence of 26 year old Cordel Flores and 23 year old Warren Lewis, who are charged with the murder of Alberto Allen. The case is being tried before Justice Troadio Gonzalez in the Supreme Court. During the first trial in March of 2013 a juror made comments in the presence of a police officer in favour of the accused, which the prosecution said showed evidence of prejudgment and bias, which would deny the men a fair trial. A mistrial was declared and a trial before a new jury ordered. On August 18, 2009, Flores and Lewis are accused of driving Allen in Lewis’s car to a feeder road off Mile 4 on the George Price Highway, then shooting him in the back after exiting the vehicle. Alberto Allen was also slashed in the throat and had a piece of stick pushed down his throat, as well as head injuries caused by a blunt instrument.

    Caribbean Villas robbed of payroll
    The receptionist for Caribbean Villas located on Seagrape Drive, San Pedro Town, reported that at about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday January 21st, while at his workplace sitting in the company of his two co-workers, a man of dark with his face covered with a rag, entered the establishment armed with a black handgun. The armed man pointed the weapon at the receptionist’s head and demanded money. He then took a small cash pan containing petty cash amounting to $785.00, several envelopes containing employees pay amounting to $4000.00 along a $ 700.00 cell phone and an $800.00 cell phone. The man escaped.

    Fire at Grand Colony Resort in San Pedro
    There was a fire in San Pedro early Wednesday morning. A Carpenter’s workshop went up in a blaze at the Grand Colony Resort located on Sea Grape Drive, San Pedro Town. The structure, a wooden building, approximately 30’ x 50’, was on fire sometime after 2 o’clock that morning. The security guard for Grand Colony reported that while conducting routine patrols on the compound, he noticed smoke coming from inside the building. He then opened the door but the fire inside was already out of control so he immediately alerted the police. The building was completely gutted by flames and all its contents destroyed.

    Ready Call Bus with employees slams into tail of a dump truck
    There was an accident on Thursday morning on the Boom Hattieville Road, involving a Ready Call Bus and a dump truck. The Ready Call bus was transporting over 50 workers to its facility in Boom, when a truck turned right into a feeder road. The Ready Call bus slammed into the tail of the truck and smashed a portion of the front of the bus. Reports are that four Ready Call Employees were injured the accident which happened near the Belize Central Prison. None of the injuries were life threatening.

    NTUCB VP says union battling its own internal corruption and leadership issues
    At Monday’s cane farmer’s protest in front of the National Assembly, a few representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize joined the group to lend their support to the farmers. We asked why the NTUCB president Dylan Reneau was not there, and according to the Second Vice-President...

    UDP aspirant confident in Orange Walk East victory
    On Tuesday we reported on the results of the PUP convention in Orange Walk East, which selected incumbent town councilor Josue Carballo by 14 votes over former area representative Dave Burgos. Just 150 less voters came out for the PUP event than the number who came out to elect Elodio Aragon Jr...

    CWU executive report on successful first year
    The Christian Worker’s Union (CWU) elected a new executive in December of 2013, after months of turmoil surrounding the presidency of Antonio Gonzalez, who stood down after members accused him of poor performance on the job. A little over a year later, a union in ruins and on the outs with its paren...

    Put Away; New release by Mervin Budram
    The issue of crime has ravished Belize over the past few years. Unfortunately, though the major crimes seem to be concentrated mostly in one area of the nation, it has caused Belize to be listed as the 3rd most murderous nation. “Put Away” is a new musical release by well known Belizean musician Mer...

    Former Youth Ambassador pleads guilty to forgery charges
    25 year old Kenroy Young will learn next Monday, January 26, what is his sentence to five admitted counts of uttering a forged document. Mr Young entered the plea On Wednesday before Justice Adolph Lucas, in the Supreme Court. Kenroy Young, formerly an employee of Youth for the Future and United Na...

    Traffic Accident in Belmopan on Hummingbird Highway
    There was a traffic accident at around 2:15 on Wednesday afternoon on the Humming bird Highway in Belmopan,  involving a white Forerunner and a grey Tracker. According to reports, Derek Gordon, the driver of the white Forerunner, was coming from Placencia, travelling in a northerly direction...

    Sugar Industry Amendment Bill is now law
    The Sugar Industry (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Monday and by the Senate on Tuesday, has been assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. The Act was published in the Gazette on Wednesday, 21st January 2015, but is retroactive from the 14th of January, 2015. According to a press release from the Government Press Office, this Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. It will no longer be compulsory for a cane farmer to belong to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or any other association. The Act also provides that there may exist more than one association of cane farmers, and the Sugar Industry Control Board shall have the power to register all associations.

    Dr. Carla Barnett announces candidacy for Freetown Division
    Former Chief Executive Officer and Financial Secretary in the Government of Belize and former Vice-President at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Carla Barnett, is entering politics. On Wednesday she announced her candidacy in the Freetown Division, which is currently held by Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition and of the People’s United Party (PUP) Francis Fonseca, and was last in the hands of the United Democratic Party (UDP) in 1992, when Derek Aikman was forced to resign due to bankruptcy. But how do you beat a three-term sitting area representative, who is also Leader of the Opposition, with precious little political experience of any kind? Dr. Barnett told reporters she believes she has the key.

    The Guardian

    Case cannot proceed against former teacher
    In late 2009, then E. P. Yorke Teacher, Cordel Gonzalez, was charged with two counts of carnal knowledge of a female child, then 14. He ended up losing his position with the institution after a video tape with him having sex with the minor student surfaced and investigations led to him being charged. On Tuesday January 20, Gonzalez, saw two counts of carnal knowledge end in up in a nolle prosequi, the first such case to be entered by the DPP’s officer for 2015. On Tuesday, before Justice Adolph Lucas in the Supreme Court, Gonzalez case ended in nolle prosequi and he was set free. The reason for today’s nolle prosequi is becuase the victim, then 14, now 19 has been living abroad and has difficulties travelling back to Belize.

    Football Federation of Belize hosting FIFA RAP 2015
    The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) informs the general public that FIFA RAP (Referee Assistance Program) 2015 will begin on Tuesday 20 January, 2015 with an open ceremony starting at 9:00am at the FFB Training Facility. Participating in the seminar are twenty-two (22) referees, which includes one (1) female referee, six (6) referee assessors and two (2) referee instructors and one (1) physical trainer from across the country. On Wednesday 21 January, 2015 at the Marion Jones Sports Complex the Physical test will be conducted starting at 5:00am.

    Respect the Association but Love the Farmers - Freedom for All Caneros
    “It was the expressed interest of a substantial number of cane farmers to have the freedom to associate with the association of their choice where they will be able to openly and freely voice their opinions as is their constitutional Right.” – Hon. Hugo Patt, Minister of State in the ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and former Chairman of the Sugar Industry Control Board. The Government of Belize passed an amendment to the Sugar Industry Control Act on Monday, January 19, in order to properly align the law with the Constitution of Belize as ordered in 2010 by Justice Oswell Legall of the Supreme Court of Belize. Efrain Zetina and Wilfredo Magana championed the cause of hundreds in 2007 when they went to the Supreme Court of Belize to challenge the clause of the Sugar Industry Act which makes it mandatory for a canefarmer to belong and pay fees to the Belize Sugarcane Farmers Association in order to sell their crop to the factory.

    Megalomaniacs Dance While Cane Farmers Lose Millions
    The confederacy of anti-Barrow crusaders could not muster a crowd for Audrey Matura Shepherd’s protest on Monday, January 19. Representatives from the loudest rat-pack reached out to supporters of their organizations for a protest against the Government of Belize at the National Assembly on Monday. The organizations that participated in the protest were the Christian Workers Union (CWU), the Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA), the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA), the Commoners Association, Soloist Ya-Ya Marin-Coleman, National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), the Rod of Correction (ROC), Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) and the Peoples United Party (PUP).

    IICA, OAS and MNRA host consultative workshop linking farmers to tourism
    The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture (MNRA) steadfast in its continued commitment to the development of the agro-productive sector in Belize will host a discussion forum with stakeholders and private sector partners with a focus on women and youth at 9:00 a.m. on January 22, 2015 at the Best Western Biltmore Hotel, Belize City. At the forum, both stakeholders and beneficiaries will discuss the critical importance of “value added products” in relation to the development of the sector and in this regard how the sector can effectively target the local and tourism markets and potentially even the international markets in Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean.

    Sugar Crop set to start
    As soon as the Governor General signs the Amendment to the Sugar Industry Act, the crop will start and include all cane farmers, much to the relief of the cane farmers, civil society, and the Government. The stand off finally ended on Monday, January 19, when the factory owners, the Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI), with their majority shareholder, American Sugar Refinery (ASR), signed with the biggest association, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA). This was a huge step forward because, as readers may recall, radicals from the BSCFA worked very hard to prevent the compromise deal being signed between these two entities. There is nothing wrong with taking strong positions on behalf of those you represent, but cane farmers Lucilo Teck, Alfredo Ortega, Javier Keme, and others poorly advised their fellow cane farming brethren to soundly reject the deal that they had accepted a few weeks before. Of course, the brilliant attorney, Audrey Matura, who wears hats of unionist and firebrand agitator, had a lot to do with the misguided steps taken which drove the wedge further between the cane farming community and the millers.

    Tough Week for the PUP Party Leader - Chronicle of a Death Foretold
    It has been a rough week for the leader of the People’s United Party. Sunday, January 18, to Wednesday, January 21, were the worst four days of his political career. The nightmare for the lame duck leader started in Orange Walk on Sunday, January 18, when his porty held a convention for the Orange Walk East Constituency. Fonseca and his loyalists were backing David Burgos, East Area Representative from 1998 to 2008. Burgos is an agent of Fonseca’s beloved “Old Guard” PUP. However, the Old Guard is the most stained, reviled and condemned group of politicians of the country. Burgos was challenged by Johnny Bricenos’ candidate, Josue Carballo, who is relatively unknown in the North. The porty leader sent out his soldiers and flexed the maximum muscle of the Secretariat in an effort to secure victory for the former two term Area Representative. Unfortunately for the Old Guard, when the ballots were counted the new comer was ahead on the score card. That forced the porty officials to recheck and scrutinize every ballot but Bricenos’ camp stood vigilant to ensure that no ballot found its way down the Chairman or Secretary General’s throat. In the end, the porty had no choice but to announce that the novice had defeated their veteran in the convention – Johnny Briceno victorious over Francis Fonseca and his Secretariat.

    We need the East to Win
    The convention to elect a PUP standard bearer for the East Constituency was held on Sunday, January 18 at the Louisiana Government School here in OW. This was declared necessary so as to select a replacement for the present PUP representative, Hon. Mendez, who has announced that he will not seek re-election in the next General Elections. Many have opined that Mendez should simply resign and get it over with, but that is a topic for another day. However, the situation for the PUP in this division draws parallel with the recent past, when, prior to the 2008 General Elections, Dave Burgos announced that he would not seek re-election in the East. Señor Cardona went on to win that division for the UDP, an episode, I must say, which ended up in complete disaster; with Cardona serving as a UDP for half his term and as Opposition for the other half.

    Two poultry farms in Spanish Lookout placed under quarantine
    Two poultry farms in the Spanish Lookout area have been placed under precautionary quarantine by the Belize Agriculture Health Authority BAHA, following the confirmation of the presence of the Avian Influenza. The detection was first made on December 30th 2014, followed by other tests on January 8th and 12th, which have all resulted positive for the Avian Influenza A Virus. Additional samples were taken from one of the farms on Wednesday of last week and sent to a reference laboratory in the United States, and by the time confirmation came in at 5:00 pm from a Belizean laboratory technician this past Friday, BAHA had gone into full gear to prevent an additional spread of the virus. Dr. Miguel Depaz, Chief Veterinarian Officer and Director of the Animal Health Department under BAHA, immediately called the local command level within the Belize Poultry Association and poultry farmers in Spanish Lookout this past Friday, where a meeting was held and instructions went out for the affected farms to be isolated. With that order for a heightened bio-security in place, no birds or poultry products can leave those two specific farms. A tape has been placed around those two farms to notify others that they are under quarantine. Specific vehicles have been identified at BAHA that can now go into those farms, where the professionals use protective gear and carry with them disinfectants to prevent further viral contamination.

    Community Groups in Cayo voice their concerns to Liquor Licensing Board
    Some three community based security groups, in an unprecedented show of force, voiced their concerns on Tuesday of this week at the Center for Employment Training in San Ignacio, during a second day of a review and approval of liquor licenses by the Cayo Liquor Licensing Board. The groups are incensed that bars are opening into the late night hours with loud music and are violating the laws that require them to have sound proofing. Police Special Constable Dr. Gregory Strophshire was first to speak on Tuesday. He reported that when he goes on patrols on Friday and Saturday nights, he is seeing too much public drinking, with the source of the liquor coming from “package stores.” Eduardo ‘Dito’ Juan, Chairman of the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC was the second to speak, where he expressed, among other concerns, that no license should be given for a bar to operate at the Cayo Welcome Center, which is an area where families gather. His statements were followed by Bart Mickler, who was deputizing for Ernie Braun from the Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association CNWA. Bart Mickler said that bars cannot be a nuisance to the community and they must be sound proofed. Community member Landy Espat also voiced his concerns that there were some churches with loud music going beyond 2:00 am and causing a disturbance to the neighborhoods.

    C - Ray Cycling Club warm up series continue this Saturday
    The C-Ray Cycling Club Warm up series leading up to the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic continued on Saturday 17 January, 2015. The warm up races commenced on Saturday 10 January and will conclude on Saturday 28 March, 2015. The race is open to all cyclists of the Junior, Female, Weekend Warriors and Elite categories. The winners of the 2nd race are as follows in the various categories: In the Junior category, 1st place went to Darien Anderson, 2nd place went to Yan Cattouse and 3rd place went to Michael Grajalez.

    Accused of sexual assault of a 13 year old girl
    On Friday January 16, a security guard of 18 Douglas Jones Street was before the court to answer to a charge of sexual assault of a 13 year old girl. Allegations are that 55 year old Adrian Cruz, on January 13, inappropriately touched a 13 year old girl on her vagina. Cruz appeared before Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart where he was read a single charge of sexual assault upon a minor. In court, Cruz who was unrepresented, pleaded not guilty to the charge but the court prosecutor, Inspector Pablo Pikney objected to bail being granted to him on the grounds of the serious nature of the offense which is on the rise against minors. He added that the court or police are not certain of Cruz's immigration status since he is not a Belizean and that he is a flight risk and may flee the country and not appear at his court adjournments.

    Freed after being remanded for pulling gun
    A San Pedro man was freed on Thursday January 15 after spending 6 nights behind bars at the Belize Central Prison. Obed Figueroa was accused of assaulting Christian Cadieux with a deadly instrument, a black 9 mm Beretta brand pistol with serial number PX149223. The alleged incident occurred in San Pedro on Thursday, January 8, 2015 in which Figueroa, who is a Security Guard on the island, allegedly pulled a 9 mm and assaulted Cadieux.

    Charged for possession of firearm
    On Monday January 19, two young Belize City men were remanded to the Belize Central Prison after they were busted with what police say are components of a firearm - a shot gun. 21-year-old Akeem Requena, along with 19 year old student, David Mas, were charged for keeping a firearm withou a license. They appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer where they pleaded not guilty to the offence. They were then remanded to the Belize Central Prison.

    Roaring Creek resident shot in the face
    Roaring Creek Resident, Emerson Daly Jr., the well-known handy man and event planner from Roaring Creek Village in Cayo, was found in the river in his home village early on Wednesday, January 21. The 24 year-old went missing 3 days before, and an on-site post mortem has found that he was fatally shot in the face. The investigators believe that his killer or killers then dumped his body into the river. He was last seen by his family on Sunday, January 18, at around 8 p.m. That’s when he left the house to head to an unknown location on his uncle’s blue Nissan Pathfinder, a vehicle which he borrowed. When he didn’t come home the next day, his family and friends started getting worried, and that caused them to start checking around to see if anyone had seen him.

    Johnny’s Candidate vs Francis’ Candidate
    It was outright war in the PUP Orange Walk East political camps as Johnny Briceno’s pick to be the PUP Standard Bearer in that constituency, Josue Carballo, went up against Dave Burgos who was Francis Fonseca’s pick for the division. In the end it was Carballo who emerged victorious by a narrow margin, but as Johnny’s wife expressed on Facebook, a W is a W. And indeed it was a W for Carballo and more so for Briceno who is now solidifying himself to reclaim the position as party leader of the PUP. In this contest he gave it his all, and when we say he gave it his all we mean so. The Facebook social media erupted into back and forth quarrels as the game of one-up-manship was in full swing. At the height of the election the contenders had become very freehanded with the dishing out of money. One Facebook post notes that “Dave Burgos d back!! We de ahead, dem fifty dollar handouts no weh help Josua.” Well if we were to hazard a guess, those $50 dollars actually did help after all he came on top.

    The Methodist Church converges in Belize City for 154th District Conference
    The Belize/Honduras District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) is currently meeting at Ebenezer Church in the Ebenezer Circuit for the 154th District Conference under the theme “Claiming Each Generation for Jesus.” The District Conference commenced on Monday 19 January with the Ministerial Session at the District Office and continued with the same on Tuesday 20 January. The Representative Session, which includes the Ministerial staff of the District and the lay representatives from the Circuits and Congregations’ of the Methodist Church in the District Conference commenced on Wednesday 21 January and is scheduled to conclude on Friday 23 January, is currently in session at Ebenezer Church. The Representative Session will appoint the officers of the District Conference. It also appoints the ministerial and lay representatives to the Connexional Conference and it will also stations the ministers and probationers on behalf of the Connexional Conference in the District as best serves the mission of the Church.

    Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Clarifies Press Release on Petroleum Exploration Zones and Guidelines
    The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) notes with regret a recent press release by Oceana criticizing the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Oceana incorrectly asserted that the zonation plan and framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry’s second attempt to solicit feedback from the NGO community on the revised zonation plan and exploration guidelines. In September 2014, the Geology and Petroleum Department (GPD) shared the zonation plan and framework with 13 stakeholder groups, inclusive of Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, APAMO and other public and private sector entities. Subsequently, the GPD received feedback only from APAMO, the CZMAI, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and one petroleum company.

    Sugar Industry (amendment) bill signed by the Governor General
    The Sugar Industry (Amendment) Bill which was passed by the House of Representatives on the 19th January 2015 and by the Senate on the 20th January, 2015, has been assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. The Act was published in the Gazette today, 21st January 2015, and copies are available at Print Belize, Belmopan. The main object of this Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. It will no longer be compulsory for a cane farmer to belong to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or any other association. The membership of an association shall be entirely voluntary. The Act also provides that there may exist more than one association of cane farmers and the Sugar Industry Control Board shall have the power to register all associations. After registration by the Board, an association shall automatically become a legal entity and may hold property, open bank accounts in its own name, and do all other things which a corporate body may do.

    BDF volunteer stabbed to death after fight
    Police have 3 men detained who they believe had some involvement in the stabbing murder of Denver Villafranco, a BDF Volunteer with a stellar record. Brothers, Orlando, 38, and 41-year-old Phil Tyrone Staine, appeared in magistrate’s court on Tuesday January 20 where they were arraigned for the weekend murder of Denver Villafranco. CIB personnel escorted the two of the brothers, where they were read a single charge of murder for the Saturday, January 17, 2015 murder of BDF volunteer Soldier, Denver Villafranco.

    Single mother murdered in San Pedro
    The decomposing body of a woman was discovered on Ambergris Caye on Saturday, January 17, at around 3:30 p.m. She has since been identified as 22 year-old Honduran, Silvia Carmen Benitez, and due to certain observations, San Pedro Police officers made, they believe that she may have been raped, murdered and then dumped at that location. Benitez was last seen alive on Monday, January 12, by a group of persons who described that she appeared to be heavily intoxicated. When she wasn’t heard from the following day, her family and friends became concerned, and that’s when they started checking around for her. She was officially reported missing on Friday, January 15, and that’s when police started taking an active interest in trying to locate her.

    Mark Vega acquitted of sensational 2002 murder of Mennonite couple
    On Friday past, the murder trial of a well known figure, Mark Vega ended in an acquittal when a jury of 12 persons found the 31-year-old not guilty of the June 13, 2002 robbery that turned into murder of a Mennonitte family in Trinidad village in the Orange Walk district. At that time Susan and Enrique Pethkau were flagged down by three men and robbed at gunpoint. Both were shot and left to die, only Susan succumbed to her injuries. On Friday, a jury of 12, went into the deliberating room at 3.45 p.m., and within 5 hours, at 8.45 p.m., arrived at a not guilty verdict, setting Vega free of the murder. On Monday January 19, Vega’s attorney, Bryan Neal told us that the prosecution’s only witness, who was the deceased’s husband who is now also dead and was unable to make it to the trial to testify. While the DPP’s prosecution did get his statement admitted into evidence for the jurors to consider, at the end of the 5 hours deliberation, they were unsure of Vega’s guilt and ended up acquitting him. The jurors were privileged to an identification parade statement that Pethkau had participated in where he positively identified Vega as one of the three men who robbed them leading to the murder of his wife. That too, it appears, did not budge the jurors and he is now free of murder.

    Belmopan Bandits 3 peat National Football Champions
    The Premier League of Belize 2014 Opening Season Tournament came to an end on Saturday 17 January, 2015, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. The championship series was played between the number one seed into the playoffs, which included the championship series, the Police United and the defending champions the Belmopan Bandits. The outcome of the championship was determined in the first half of the game when the budding champions, the Belmopan Bandits, were the first to get onto the scoreboard when Woodrow West scored the 1st goal in the 23rd minute of play via a penalty kick for a 1-0 lead.

    Belize Athletics Association to hold National Track and Field Championship
    The Belize Athletics Association invites all athletes and track enthusiasts once again to be a part of a National Track and Field Championship event. The event had to be postponed and is now set to be hosted at the Marion Jones Sports Complex on the 24 and 25 January, 2015. All athletes 16 years and older can participate in the events. Registration forms can be obtained from and returned to the BAA via email ( belizeathleticsassociation@gmail.com) or from our Facebook page (Belize Athletics Association). Registration forms can also be obtained from and returned to the National Sports Council’s offices throughout the country.

    Belize Elementary girls and St. John Vianney boys are Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Champions
    The Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Competition came to an end on Wednesday 21 January, 2015, with the championship game in both the girls’ and boys’ competition. In the girls’ championship game, Belize Elementary School defeated Holy Redeemer School by the score of 6-2. The top scorer for Belize Elementary School was Allyana Musa with 4 points and the top scorer for Holy Redeemer School was Aaliyah Tillett with 2 points. In the boys’ championship game, St. John Vianney defeated St. Ignatius School by the score of 30-22. The top scorer for St. John Vianney was T-Dee Cattouse with 9 points, while the top scorers for St. Ignatius School were Tariq Pascascio and Delrick Sankey with 8 points each.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    BEL assists senior citizens with light bill
    The Belize Electricity Limited is exercising its corporate citizenship by extending a helping hand to some senior citizens. As part of the state owned utility’s Electricity Bill Pay Awards Program, BEL will pay the monthly electricity bill for an entire year for 225 senior citizens. A short ceremony was held […]

    Jury deliberates in murder trial
    A jury of 9 women and 3 men was deliberating the guilt or innocence of 26 year old Cordel Flores and 23 year old Warren Lewis late this evening. Flores and Lewis are charged with the murder of Alberto Allen. The case is being tried before Justice Troadio Gonzalez […]

    Police question two men as part of murder investigation
    The investigation into the murder of Roaring Creek businessman, twenty four year old Emerson Daly continues by Belmopan police. Daly’s decomposed body was retrieved from the Belize River on Wednesday and initially police had said the body had what appeared to be stab wounds. Today, however, the police press office […]

    Bus and truck collide in Hattieville
    There was a road traffic accident early this morning on the Boom/Hattieville road. It involved a truck and a bus carrying workers for Ready Call. It happened around nine o’clock this morning a short distance from the Belize Central Prison. Reports are that the bus crashed into the rear of […]

    Delayed sugar crop to start on Monday, January 26
    After weeks of back and forth, Monday, January 26 has been named as the date for the start of the 2015 sugar crop. This morning the Sugar Industry Control Board, met with the leaders of the three associations that now legally able to deliver cane to the BSI/ASR factory […]

    Armed robbery in San Ignacio; police hunt suspect
    There was an armed robbery this morning in San Ignacio town. According to reports, the incident happened around eight o’clock this morning when a lone gunman targeted a business establishment on Buena Vista Street. According to reports, the proprietor of New Yang Store, had just opened for business this morning […]

    Sports Council says no alternate plans for Norman Broaster Stadium
    For some time now rumours have been circling about what some people thought were plans to turn the historic Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town into a car park. Well, those rumours were put to rest today when the National Sports Council, sent out a short press release announcing […]

    Blogs

    24 Hours at Belize’s Famed Ramon’s Village Resort: It Takes…Well…A Village
    I moved to San Pedro, Belize about 8 years ago and have always lived south of town. So if you do the math (actually…let me do it for you), I have walked by Ramon’s Village Resort a minimum of 10 times a week, for 8 years. A MINIMUM of about 4000 times. Along this beach. That’s the thing about Ramon’s – it is a FULL service resort. The staff of 76 (SEVENTY SIX!) is ready to greet you at every turn. When I woke up to see the sunrise, two guys were already raking the beach. They keep this stretch of beach immaculate.

    International Sourcesizz

    Sea cucumbers saving lives
    Dr Alasdair Harris is a 35-year-old marine ecologist who is changing the way people think about conservation. In November 2013 he went to Washington, DC, to give a presentation at a World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) conference on ‘the power of communities to protect the planet’. ‘I’ve been told that I’ve been billed as an iconoclast,’ he began, before going on to question one of the cornerstones of marine conservation: marine protected areas (MPAs). There are more than 6,500 MPAs – in most cases controlled by national governments – covering nearly three per cent of the world’s oceans. And numbers are increasing rapidly. Dr Harris showed a slide of a marine reserve in Tanzania. ‘An MPA,’ he said, ‘but really, it’s just a paper park. A park in name only. Overfishing is rife. Dynamite fishing is widespread. Sadly, lamentably, this is not an isolated incident.’ Then he called up a graphic from a recent study of marine conservation successes in the western Indian Ocean. It highlighted just one example of an effective MPA. ‘Why,’ he asked, looking at the audience of conservationists, ‘do we so rarely get it right?’

    Bain Wanted To Resign, Says UWI Vice-Chancellor
    The claim that Professor Brendan Bain has not been paid by the University of West Indies, Mona (UWI), for the period October 2014 to January 2015 has been denied by Archibald Campbell, bursar of UWI. He was responding to questions by Professor Bain's lawyer Georgia Gibson Henlin. The bursar said that the professor had received an overpayment and that was the reason he was not paid for the period. He said he sent a letter to Professor Bain about the overpayment and also spoke to him personally about it.

    Bain says UWI owes him, bursar says he was overpaid
    Professor Brendan Bain is contending that the University of the West Indies (UWI) owes him moneys from salary as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) programme. This came out during cross-examination of UWI bursar Archibald Campbell on Thursday. Bain, through his lawyer Georgia Gibson-Henlin, is claiming that the university owes him for the period October 2014 to January 14, 2015. However, Campbell said that the UWI actually overpaid Bain. A new defence witness is to take the stand when the matter continues in the Supreme Court tomorrow.

    International security leaders resume dialogue on Caribbean counterdrug efforts
    Strengthening capabilities, interoperability and information sharing to effectively counter transnational organized crime in the Caribbean was the focus again for military and civilian leaders from 21 nations who met in Nassau Jan. 21-22 to discuss the threat and ways to effectively reduce its presence and impact. This was the fifth consecutive year the topic is the central theme of the Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC), underscoring the importance of the issue for regional leaders and their commitment to addressing it by working together. CANSEC XIII, co-hosted this year for the second time by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), included more than 90 participants representing defense, law enforcement, government and international organizations from the Caribbean, North America, South America, Central America and Europe.

    The Golden Age of Black Ops: Special Ops Missions Already in 105 Countries in 2015
    In March, members of Marine Special Operations Command and Naval Special Warfare Unit 1 took part in maneuvers aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens as part of Multi-Sail 2014, an annual exercise designed to support “security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.” That same month, elite soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines took part in a training exercise code-named Fused Response with members of the Belizean military. “Exercises like this build rapport and bonds between U.S. forces and Belize,” said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Heber Toro of Special Operations Command South afterward.

    The Home Flat
    The sun begins to shine through the two foot gap I’ve left in our cabana’s curtains somewhere around 6 am. For the first time in months, sleeping in is an option. At least an option. Breakfast is at 7:00 and our guide, Daniel, will be ready by 7:30, but he’s gone out of his way to let us know he’s moving on our schedule -- and so the opportunity to catch another hour or two of rest before hitting the flats is there, even if it’s one we’re decidedly unlikely to seize. But the Turneffe Atoll’s bonefish have other ideas. Still flat on my back, I squint towards the increasingly confident flood of sunlight, trying to catch a glimpse of the palm trees outside in an effort to determine whether last night’s stiff wind has subsided. Light gleams sharply off the water that slaps against the seawall not more than 40 feet from the cabana’s porch, forcing my still bleary eyes to recoil.

    Videos

    10 Most Beautiful Islands In Belize, 3.5min.
    Ambergris Caye, Belize, 14min. some great diving sequences....
    Air Belize Skydiving, 1min.
    Rainforest Birds and Bird Songs in Belize Jan 1, 23min.
    Guatemala - Belize Sept 2014 - 2, 6min.
    Relaxing on Rendezvous Caye in Belize, 1min.
    Human Impacts on Bottlenose Dolphins in Belize, 1.5min.
    UB ISL Trip to Belize 2015 - Group 4, 15min. During this 2015 winter session twelve students, nine from University at Buffalo and three from Pace University, went on a service-learning trip to the country of Belize. The trip lasted from January 10th until January 18th. The program was constructed under the collaboration of UB Study Abroad, UB School of Nursing and International Service Learning (ISL). The students were lead by a UB professor and three representatives from ISL. The purpose of their trip was to contribute to global healthcare efforts in Belize.
    Dobes Family Vacation Belize 1986, 80min. This is our family vacation to Belize in 1986. This is the first of our old movies I am uploading to the internet for posterity. It includes Chaa Creek, Xunantunich, and Ambergris Cay.
    Scuba Diving in Belize & Youngblood's wedding in Mexico, 6min. A bunch of great people gathered in Playa del Carmen for Chase & Jolene's Wedding and then traveled to San Pedro & Caye Caulker, Belize to Scuba Dive. Filmed with Gopro4 and my iphone for the Chicken Drop in belize.
    Pros of Living In Placencia Belize, 2.5min. Here's a video on the positive things about living here in Belize. I'll be talking about people laughing at you in the street, and vicious geckos! Just kidding.

    January 22, 2015


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    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

    Musicians Invade La Isla – Pickin’ Parties Abound!
    The Jerry Jeff Walker 2015 Campers were out in full force this afternoon, January 21st for a proper Pickin’ Party at Crazy Canucks. It was a beautiful day at the beachside bar, and many of the talented musicians took their turn at the microphone to entertain the crowd with great music. The festive mood had everyone tapping a toe or dancing to the upbeat music. Tomorrow’s Pickin Party is scheduled at Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar. If you enjoy live music and partying with super fun folks, Runway Bar is the place to be!

    The island prepares for “Life is a Carnival!”
    February is right around the corner and with it comes the beautiful colors and musical fun of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro. This year the festivities are being held under the theme “La vida es un Carnaval – Life is a Carnival.” The San Pedro Town Council is working with various stakeholders and has many activities planned to spread through February 7th to the 18th. The activities kick off on Saturday February 7th with La Reina del Carnaval Pageant (the selection of a Carnival Queen). This will take place at the San Pedro High School starting at 7:30PM. Five ladies are competing to succeed reigning Queen Mrs. Leonor Rosado.

    Meet your San Pedro Town Councilor Candidates
    With the municipal elections right around the corner, The San Pedro Sun would like to take the opportunity to present the Councilor Candidates to the San Pedro Town public. As such, five questions have been issued to all candidates in an effort to learn more about them. In this issue, we feature responses from two candidates from The People’s United Party (PUP) and two candidates from The United Democratic Party (UDP).

    Beachside Resort Reception Office Robbed
    The San Pedro Sun has confirmed that a beachside resort south of San Pedro Town was robbed this afternoon, January 21st. According to the owner of the hotel, an unknown male individual came to their office in the morning looking for a job. The same individual returned to the office at approximately 4:30PM and presented himself as armed with a gun. The two receptionists working the front desk surrendered their cell phones and a substantial amount of cash, with included payroll and petty cash. The robber then made good his escape. The San Pedro Police were quick to respond to their emergency call, and using Global Positioning System (GPS) from the stolen phones police were able to apprehend one person. It is believed that up to three people may have been involved in the robbery.

    Schneiders donate to Holy Cross Standard VI
    Patty and Clif Schneider from Saskatchewan, Canada paid a visit to Holy Cross Anglican School and donated Bibles to the Standard VI students. They also brought 50 pounds of vitamins which were much needed. Many thanks to the Schneiders and to all of the wonderful volunteers and donors which made Holy Cross School what it is today and still continue to support our precious students and this school. Without you, there would not be a Holy Cross Anglican School! God bless you all.

    Jhoshi Alexander Valencia to represent Belize once again
    27-year-old San Pedro resident, Jhoshi Alexander Valencia is set to participate in the first installment of the Mister and Miss Culture International Pageant. Valencia will be joined by Vania Pat of San Ignacio, Cayo, where they will both represent Belize in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico from February 16th to the 21st. The pageant was formerly known as the Dios and Diosa Maya International Pageant and aims to promote the regional Mayan culture. For the past two consecutive years, Belizean delegates have captured the title of Diosa Maya International: Grisel Rosseli Carballo in 2013 and Dalina Reyes in 2014. This year’s pageant will see the participation of a male and female contestant from El Salvador, USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica along with Belize.

    On Eagles Wings Ministries Belize chapter officially launched
    Miss San Pedro 2014-15 Michelle Nuñez hosted invited guests on Saturday, January 17th to the inaugural launch of the On Eagles Wings Ministries (OEWM) Belize chapter. The celebration took place on the beach at Ramon’s Village Resort, and saw the attendance of over 100 invited guests. Director Emily Fitchpatrick describes OEWM as a way of providing hope, empowerment and a brighter future to girls who have been sexually exploited or are at high risk of exploitation. Miss San Pedro’s involvement in the project began when she accepted being a board member of the Belize chapter, and she even went so far as to create a club to provide a haven for young girls who may be going through difficulties.

    Ambergris Today

    Oceana Belize Calls Petroleum Dept. Proposed Policy on Offshore Drilling Weak on Data
    Oceana Belize calls on the Government of Belize to create policies which protect Belizean livelihoods - In response to a document circulated to the NGO community on Monday, January 19, 2015, as the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines, Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the Government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected; that an effective emergency response capacity is in place; that special places are safe from hazards and that it has provided a full, fair and public accounting, including the inherent risks involved with the oil industry, to the Belizean people.

    Person of the Year – Miguel Perez Gives His All to San Pedro
    When a fisherman goes fishing, he tests several spots until he locates one that he considers a really good spot. And so it was this year at Ambergris Today where we asked several persons for a recommendation of a good PERSON OF THE YEAR, and the name that shone the most among a few other stars was that of Miguel Alberto “Migs” Perez. Indeed it is an honor to write a citation for such an honorable man who might not have the Hon. Title of Minister, but he certainly touches a lot of lives in his own humble manner. We understand that even in his high school days, Miguel was the nucleus of his group leading in intelligent discussion and cooperative in his class projects. Miguel was not the acclaimed sportsman as many young men his age could be seen. However, even though he was not highly seen, he made his presence felt.

    Lisandra Novelo Celebrates Her Quinceaños On Saturday, January 17, 2015, Lisandra Novelo celebrated her Quinceaños (15th Birthday) along with her friends and family at the Rafael Angel Nuñez Auditorium. She enetertained her guests with traditional and modern dances in a night full of laughter and joy. Lisandra Novelo, daughter of Vicky Pinelo and Sandro Novelo, was officially presented to society by her Godparents Miguel and Maria Elena Alamilla.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    The FINAL 3 weekends of Basketball in Corozal
    will end the COROZAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE season. GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE TEAMS PLAYING IN THE UPCOMING GAMES! Come out and enjoy the full and exciting action at the Andres Campos Civic Center.

    It's Tapir Tuesday at the Zoo!
    TBZ is very proud of our Operations Manager Celso Poot (left), who recently received his Master's degree in Zoology through Project Dragonfly. Celso focused his major studies on the impact of vehicular collisions on the tapir population along the Burrel Boom road in the Belize District. Our national animal is endangered due to habitat loss, illegal hunting, and, now, death by vehicular impact. Celso's efforts resulted in the erection of "tapir crossing" road signs near the collision hotspots. This was to raise awareness about tapir presence in that area, and encourage motorists to drive carefully, especially at night! These giant, gentle herbivores tend to trundle across the road in search of food and water at night, and blend right in with the dark colour of the pavement. We have seen a positive impact on the speed of motorists in that area, and a noted decrease in tapir deaths by collisions, as well. Replicas of this wonderful signage can be seen when strolling through Tapir Town at the Zoo. Great job, Celso!

    Belize Archives and Records closed Friday. Jan 30th
    To undertake its bi-annual fumigation.

    Freetown Division UDP candidate named
    Carla Barnett will represent the UDP in the upcoming General Elections in the Freetown Division against the Leader of the Opposition, the PUP's Francis Fonseca.

    Three new craft markets in Toledo
    Our team traveled to Toledo today where three new craft markets were opened at the archaeological sites of Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue Creek in the Toledo District. The infrastructural developments are the results of work being done under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (M-T-B-CAAS) project. The project which is funded under the EU supported Belize Rural Development Programme (BRDP) is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History.

    Creating A Safe Space Agenda
    The YWCA’s lauched its project titled, “Creating A Safe Space Agenda (CASSA)” last Friday! This project was selected as one of seven recipients of the 2014 Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) Economic Support Funds (ESF). This year’s recipients received a total of US$1.5 million in CARSI ESF grants to implement programs that will address the root causes of violence and crime in Belize in a creative and effective way and seek to create positive cultural and social conditions.

    SUGAR INDUSTRY (AMENDMENT) BILL SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR GENERAL
    The Sugar Industry (Amendment) Bill which was passed by the House of Representatives on the 19th January 2015 and by the Senate on the 20th January, 2015, has been assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. The main object of this Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. It will no longer be compulsory for a cane farmer to belong to the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association or any other association. The membership of an association shall be entirely voluntary.

    Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities Clarifies Press Release on Petroleum Exploration Zones and Guidelines
    The Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities (MESTPU) notes with regret a recent press release by Oceana criticizing the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Oceana incorrectly asserted that the zonation plan and framework were shared with the NGO community on January 19th, 2015, when in fact this was the Ministry’s second attempt to solicit feedback from the NGO community on the revised zonation plan and exploration guidelines. In September 2014, the Geology and Petroleum Department (GPD) shared the zonation plan and framework with 13 stakeholder groups, inclusive of Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, APAMO and other public and private sector entities. Subsequently, the GPD received feedback only from APAMO, the CZMAI, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and one petroleum company.

    World Heritage Centre Mission
    The Belize Fisheries Department through the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development hereby informs the general public that the World Heritage Centre (WHC) in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is on a mission to Belize during the week of January 19-23, 2015. The objective of the mission is to provide technical assistance for the design of a Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

    NICH Annual Planning and Evaluation Retreat
    under the theme ...."Thinking Strategically about NICH development Niche in Belize"!

    Channel 7

    Daly's Death A Mystery
    Last night we told you about Emerson Daly Jr., a 24 year-old resident of Roaring Creek missing, and feared dead. Well at around 8 this morning, His family made the discovery they had been dreading: they found his body floating in the Belize River, about a mile and a half east of his home village. The well-known handy man had been shot to the head, and his killer or killers, then dumped him in the river. Our news team was out there a few hours after he was found, and Daniel Ortiz reports:

    UDP Present Dr. Carla, The Candidate To Take On Francis In Freetown
    We told you about it last night, and today, the UDP made it official: Dr. Carla Barnett is the party’s new candidate in the Freetown Division. The 56 year old who grew up in the Freetown Division as a policeman’s daughter, is one of the most qualified persons in public life. She holds a Masters degree in economics and a Ph. D in social science; she’s served as the Deputy Secretary General of CARICOM and the Vice President of the Caribbean Development Bank – and that’s only the start of a long list of senior postings and accomplishments. Indeed, an impressive resume – but all that doesn’t count for much out on the streets where voters want a candidate who delivers goofs, services and, yes, political patronage. So how will Carla Barnett, the academic and administrator navigate that taxing and treacherous environment – and, moreover, how will she do it against the leader of the opposition? We had the tough questions for her today at a press conference to launch her candidacy. It was held at the UDP Headquarters in Belize city with an unusual level of hype and fanfare – we were there to find out why:….

    Deon and Darrell Make Up
    On Monday, we told you how Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley had stripped two-term councilor Deon Leslie of his sanitation portfolio with just weeks left in the council’s term. The portfolio was re-assigned to BQ Pitts Jr and Phillip Willoughby. But, since then, things have changed again. The Prime Minister today told us that from what he’s heard – the portfolio has been re-assigned to Leslie. We asked Leslie about it at today’s UDP Press conference where he refused to comment on camera – and only told us that all is well between he and the Mayo

    The Law Straightening Sugar
    On Monday we had extensive coverage of the end of the sugar standoff when BSI finally signed with the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, or the BSCFA. Also on that day, the government took the Sugar Industry Amendment Bill to the House of Representatives to make legal provisions for all the smaller farming associations and reaping groups which have emerged in wake of the splintered BSCFA. Well, with uncommon speed, that Amendment Bill is now a new law known as the Sugar Industry Amendment Act of January 2015. After a senate meeting in which it did receive social partner support, Governor General Sir Colville Young assented to the law yesterday, and the process for its passage is now completed.

    Buckley, 100K Later, Busted and Disgusted With GOB
    Tonight Steven Buckley is broke – and he wants the government to pay up the remainder of his compensation money. Yesterday Buckley showed up in Court for his case against the government of Belize after he was wrongfully shot in the head in 2010 by a police officer on duty. The case has been adjourned until next month – and Buckley say he is getting frustrated because he is broke and cannot work to provide for his family. You will recall that police shot Buckley in the head for no reason in 2010 – and in August of 2013, Government paid him a preliminary figure of a hundred thousand dollars – with the rest of his money to be settled in court. But in the 17 months since then, he explained to 7news that he has been paying the bills and taking care of his family and is now down to nothing.

    Under Audrey, CWU Membership Increased
    In December of 2013, Audrey Matura Shepherd took over the helm of the Christian Workers Union. That’s after a push from the Stevedores who more or less forced President Antonio Gonzalez and General Secretary James McFoy out of the union headquarters. Since then, we’ve seen Matura Shepherd in many other milieus, but not very often in the on the frontlines for the CWU. But, today she held a press conference to give a sort of state of her union address. She told the media that the last 13 months have been challenging – mainly because she took over union head office with no records:… Audrey Matura-Shepherd - President, CWU "It was amazing after one decade of not having any election at this union, what we inherited. What we inherited was an office with very limited records of it's members and work, with no workable equipment and it's account being empty and being in debt. We could not believe what was happening. They actually had to go back to the institutions, to the employers and ask them to help us with certain records and literally the executive members come in here extra days and sometimes weekends to input that record, so we build back our own records. Sadly, some records we'll never get back."

    Bureau Of Standards Moving On Up
    For years the Bureau of standards has struggled to meet international standards on measurements. Presently, the department can only operate using scales that measure fuel, sugar and products shelved in supermarkets. But, work on a new Metrology laboratory has commenced in Belmopan. A ground breaking ceremony was held yesterday at the Ministry of Works compound in Belmopan. This new laboratory will include equipment to measure mass, volume, temperature and pressure. Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras discussed how important this lab will be for the economy.

    Angry About Oil Exploration
    Last night we told you about the Draft Petroleum Exploration and Exploration Guidelines. The 32 page document has been the subject of heavy criticism from Oceana and COLA – both sounding the alarm on what they believe is a lack of proper emergency planning and management of oil operations to ensure the protection of Belize’s ecosystems. The document is only a draft but these organisations are putting pressure on the government to make a critical changes. Today another organisation spoke out against the document. That is the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage. Executive Director, Tanya Williams, came to our studios to discuss the implications the approval of this document may have on the economy and environment.

    Aragon Unfazed By Large PUP Numbers
    Earlier on in the news we talked about how difficult and rare it is to beat a leader of the opposition in his constituency. Well, that pretty much holds true for any opposition representative. History shows that very few have been beaten – and that’s because with little or no resources – it’s very hard for them to let down their voters. But in Orange Walk East – where the elected PUP Representative Marco Tulio Mendez has indicated that he’s not going to run again – the UDP Standard Bearer Elodio Aragon Jr does have a chance. But, on Sunday the PUP had a strong turnout at its convention to replace Tulio Mendez. Still, Aragon says he is unfazed:…

    Craft Markets At 3 Mayan Sites
    Under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites project, first time craft vendors will now be able to sell their wares at 3 of the 9 archaeological sites in Belize. These new sites include Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, and Blue Creek, all in the Toledo District. The infrastructural developments necessary to place these craft vendors was made possible through the European Union, which is funding the Belize Rural Development Program. The entire project is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and NICH, and the finished structures were handed over. Also, the program allowed for 250 feet of gravel trail to be built at Nim Li Punit. At Lubantun, a concrete and gravel stairway with safety rails was also constructed. At all 3 sites, funding from the program allowed for warning and notice signs, benches, and rest areas.

    Weed In Conch Shell, Again
    The GSU made another bust yesterday near the Conch Shell Bay area – which is a main trafficking area for marijuana. Officers spotted 25 year old Cassian Young walking down Vernon street from the direction of East Collet Canal. He was holding a transparent bag and when he saw the GSU he threw the bag down and attempted to run away. But he was caught shortly after and taken to the area where he threw the bag. Inside the bag officers found 436 grams of weed or 15 ounces. Young was arrested and charged with the offense of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply another.

    Norman Broaster A Stadium Still, Not A Parking Lot
    The Norman Broaster stadium in downtown San Ignacio sits right next to the increasingly popular Cayo Welcome Center. And there’s been talk that Norman Broaster could become a parking lot in the transformed downtown area. Well, today the sports council sent out a press release saying that the Norman Broaster Stadium located in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, which is owned by the Government of Belize and administered by the National Sports Council (NSC) has not been designated or approved to be used as a parking lot despite rumours to the contrary in the media.

    Channel 5

    Emerson Daly’s Body Found in the River
    A search for Emerson Daly, a Roaring Creek resident, concluded this morning when his body was pulled out from the river behind Banana Bank in the Cow Run area. The [...]

    Dr. Carla Barnett Endorsed as U.D.P. Freetown Candidate
    With much pomp and ceremony, this morning the United Democratic Party announced its new choice for the Freetown constituency, replacing caretaker Lee Mark Chang. Doctor Carla Barnett has worked under [...]

    Barnett to Take On Francis Fonseca
    As we mentioned, Barnett will be butting heads against a seasoned politician, a three-time winner in Freetown, a former Minister of Education and Attorney- General as well as the leader [...]

    Barnett Joins Beverly Castillo on the U.D.P. Slate
    Currently, there are only two women in the House of Representatives on the U.D.P. side. Both of them were brought in through the Senate, and not elected. The U.D.P. doesn’t [...]

    Audrey Matura-Shepherd Defends Her First Year as CWU President
    Today, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, flanked by the executive of the Christian Workers Union, called a press conference to give a status report after one year as President. Matura-Shepherd has come under [...]

    An Update on the Collective Bargaining Agreements of the CWU Members
    Matura-Shepherd provided an update on the status of collective bargaining agreements with all entities whose workers are represented by the Christian Workers Union, including the Belize Port Authority and the [...]

    G.O.B. Clarifies Petroleum Exploration Zones
    On Tuesday we told you about OCEANA’s position on the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines prepared by the Geology and Petroleum Department. Today, the Ministry of Energy, Science [...]

    Former UB Student Convicted of Forgery
    Kenroy Young, a former UB student, was convicted of Forgery. Young was accused of cashing over ten thousand dollars in cheques from Regent Insurance Co. Ltd., where he worked.  He [...]

    Mother and Daughter Arraigned for Possession of Controlled Drug
    Also in court this morning, a forty-eight year old mother and her thirty year old daughter, both employed as school wardens in Belize City, were arraigned on a charge of [...]

    Aragon Versus Carballo – Who Will Win Orange Walk East?
    The P.U.P. convention for the Orange Walk East division was held over the weekend, and when the votes were counted, Josue Carballo had edged out Dave Burgos by twelve votes. [...]

    Amended Sugar Act is Now Law
    The amended Sugar Industry Act which was rammed through the House of Representatives on Monday, ratified by the Senate on Tuesday and penned into law. With that formality out of [...]

    Stakeholders Meet on Thursday to Decide the Start of the Crop
    Senator Shoman made the point that the amendments to the Sugar Act will hurt the farmers and benefit the miller, American Sugar Refinery/Belize Sugar Industries. But Senator for Government Business, [...]

    32 Officers Become Instructors of GREAT Program
    A group of police officers have successfully completed an intensive eight day training program. It is part of the community policy strategy of the police department that is carried out [...]

    Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Metrology Lab
    A groundbreaking ceremony was held in the Capital on Tuesday evening for new Belize Bureau of Standards Metrology Laboratory. The building, which will be constructed by the Ministry of Works, [...]

    CTV3

    Medical Teams Arrive In Belize To Offer Free Clinics
    Two medical teams hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio are scheduled to hold clinics, surgeries and screenings to ailing residents of Orange Walk Town and neighbouring villages. The first group, Partners for Belize, is expected to arrive in Belize end of January and Coordinator of the mission Teams, Nurse Lupe Ack says an array of professionals in Ear, Nose, throat and dental health will provide the free service. “The first team consist of about 40 persons they will be doing E.N.T.S’s(ears, nose and throats) we will be having dental and hand surgery, also we will be doing village clinics at four villages.”

    EU Upgrades Archaeological Sites
    Visitors to three southern Belize archaeological sites will have better access to newly improved and enhanced commodities at the sites. A release from the European Union states that for the first time craft vendors at three of the nine archaeological sites in Belize, namely Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue Creek can display their products at these designated areas. The infrastructural developments are the results of work being done under the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (M-T-B-CAAS) project. The project which is funded under the EU supported Belize Rural Development Programme (BRDP) is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History.

    Davd Vega Hits The Campaign Trail
    With just 43 days more to go for Municipal Elections, candidates vying for a spot at the various municipalities across the country are out in full swing, campaigning around the clock. In Corozal Town, David “Dido” Vega, from the People’s United Party, is aspiring for the Mayoral seat. Today reporter Victor Castillo caught up with Vega on the campaign trail who beamed with confidence as he claimed victory. “I am confident that on March 4th the people will make a change and they will vote for a new dynamic town council which will be represented by myself as Mayor, and the rest of the councilors, I have no doubt the people are yearning for a change and that will serve the needs of all, I want to say for the record that this government is about UDP’s first, Belizean second and PUP last but I want to remind the people that there is a time for politics, there is time for debate there is time to be critical but after elections are finished we must represent all Belizeans more importantly in my case we must represent all people from Corozal town.”

    Sugar Act Passes Into Law
    Even with strong opposition and stern criticism from the opposition People’s United Party, the government proceeded to amend the Sugar Industry Act in the House of Representatives on January 19th and in the Senate the day after. Today the government informed the public that, that bill, was assented to by the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. As explained by the Prime Minister, the Act is to secure to all cane farmers the freedom of association guaranteed by the Belize Constitution. This means that sugar cane farmers will choose freely whether to join an association or not. It also clears the way for the formation of any association and the Sugar Industry Control Board now has full power to register these associations. The manufacturers will also be free to accept cane from any association or from individual cane farmers or groups of cane farmers.

    Dido Vega Speaks On Missing Funds At Corozal Town Hall
    To date we are yet to find out if the Corozal Town Council’s revenue manager has made any payment to the council towards some $13,495.00 that went missing from the council’s coffers at the beginning of 2014. While we tried to get an update on the situation last week, the Town Administrator Estela Castillo was unable to take our calls because she was quote unquote “Busy” and would get back to us which she never did. The last time Mayor Hilberto Campos spoke about the missing funds he stated that the former revenue manager had signed an affidavit confessing that he was practically involved in the outcome of the investigation. According to the Mayor the former manager also committed to pay back the council despite him being abroad. The next move for the council was to meet and decided if the matter would be handed over to the authorities for prosecution or if they would permit the former manager to pay back the council. The last time we checked with authorities the case had not been handed over to them. So, either the former manager has begun paying the council, something which we have been unable to confirm or the fact that $13,495.00 of tax payers’ money went missing from the council was simply placed under the rug.

    Orange Walk's Very Own Receives Prestigious Scholarship
    Congratulations are in order for Orange Walk resident, Khendis Ellis. A release from the National Association for Developmental Education recently awarded Grambling State University’s own Rudolph Ellis, a graduate student from Belize, a scholarship to complete his Developmental Education with Concentration in Curriculum and instructional design. This scholarship is in honour of the late Dr. William G. White Jr. who is remembered for his lifetime of hard work and dedication to prepare students to further their ranks in his or hers’ education. White was a former professor at Grambling State University and he had a great influence on the students.

    UDP Selects Dr. Carla Barnett For Freetown Pending Convention
    The ruling United Democratic Party hosted a press conference this morning in Belize City where Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that Dr. Carla Barnett is the candidate in waiting for the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the Freetown Division. Pending a convention, which the Prime Minister says he hopes will be an endorsement, Dr. Barnett will face off against the Honourable Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca in the next General Elections slated for 2017.

    SCPC Meet To Plan Crop 2014/2015 With Multiple Associations
    After close to two months of delay, the 2014/2015 crop season is just days away from opening. Testament to that statement is the fact that the Sugar Cane Production Committee met today to commence planning for the upcoming crop. This year, for the first time in the history of the Sugar Industry, the SCPC will be working with more than one association of cane farmers. There were no major decisions taken in today’s meeting but all stakeholders present discussed the cane quality program that the SCPC seeks to implement this crop.

    LOVE FM

    G.R.E.A.T Graduation; Will Gang Recruitment Be Reduced?
    A week ago we told you about a group of thirty-six police officers from throughout the country who embarked on two week training course in the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T). Officials from the International Police Trainers in the United States of America, facilitated the two weeks training program. Today marked the closing of the program and Love News was present at the graduation ceremony. Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie, spoke of the training the officers received. “Today the officers have completed 80 hours of intense training which no doubt was filled with intense challenges. This training required classroom participation, included the officers conducting research as well as being involved in preparing written and oral presentations in order to enhance and improve their presentation skills whenever they undertake these training in the various schools.

    Ground Breaking Ceremony For BBS in The Capital
    Yesterday, the construction of the Belize Bureau of Standards’ New Meteorology Laboratory began. A special ground breaking ceremony was held in Belmopan at the Ministry of Works Compound. It is expected that laboratory will expand the BBS Meteorology Services. The laboratory will feature various magnitudes in Meteorology covering grand mass, fine mass, volume, temperature, pressure and dimensional. The installation of the laboratory will allow the BBS to now develop Industrial and Scientific Meteorology across various magnitudes. At the ceremony, Minister of Trade Investment, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection, Erwin Contreras, gave the keynote address.

    Is The Deputy Mayor Striped of His Portfolio?
    The social media has become a forum where many news stories emerge. Recently, there was a posting that had raised curiosity about the happenings within City Hall. The posting had indicated some rift between the Mayor Darrell Bradley and former Deputy Mayor, Dion Leslie that had led to Leslie being stripped of his portfolio. Today, after much pleading, we got Leslie to comment on the matter, albeit a brief response. Here is how that went today. DEPUTY MAYOR, DION LESLIE “All is perfect. All is well. Me and the mayor campaigned yesterday, today we are having meetings, everything is perfect in city hall.” RENEE TRUJILLO “So there was no truth to you being stripped of your portfolio.” DEPUTY MAYOR, DION LESLIE “Nothing. We’re good.”

    UDP Candidacy; Will There Be Change in Freetown Division?
    Having four thousand one hundred and sixty one registered voters in the Freetown Division in Belize City, Dr. Carla Barnett has threw in her hat in the political arena to go head to head with the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca. The area has been a blue territory through ten general elections with a notably slim victory margin in 2008 when Fonseca was almost thrown out by newcomer, Michael Peyrefitte; holding on to the division with a mere 16 votes. Today the United Democratic Party held a press conference to announce Dr Barnett’s candidacy for the area and in a presentation done by the Party Leader, himself, Dean Barrow, the delivery of a swing against the opposition party was expected if not inevitable as Barrow praised Barnett’s talents and experiences.

    PlusTV

    Body of Missing Roaring Creek man found with multiple stab wounds
    The search for 24 year old Emerson Daly, from the Village of Roaring Creek, came to a tragic end when his lifeless body was found floating on the Belize River, approximately one and half miles in an easterly direction from the Roaring Creek Village. According to reports, on Sunday January 18th, Emerson left his house in Roaring Creek village in his uncle’s blue Nissan pathfinder enroute to Belmopan. Accompanying him was another man, whom the family could not identify. What happened after that is what CIB personnel are still trying to determine. After failing to arrive home that same night and the following morning, Emerson’s mother filed a missing person’s report on Tuesday January 20th., which launched the police into investigation.

    New Business Senator Sworn In
    On Wednesday the Senate members met at the National Assembly ihn Belmopan and passed a bill to amend the Sugar Act, in conformity with a Consent Order issued in 2010. While the passing of the bill was the main highlight of the day, it is also worth mentioning that at Wednesday’s Senate Meeting a new Senator was sworn in. David Guttierez, the current Market and Communications Manager for Belize Natural Energy (BNE), recited the Senator’s Oath as the new Senator for Private Business.

    US Fugitive Captured In Dangriga
    A US fugitive was captured in Dangriga. Harry Arzu – Dangriga Correspondent “54 year old U.S. national, Robert Andrew Ragin, is wanted by the United States Marshalls Service, to answer sexual offences charges. A warrant was issued for his arreston August 12, 2014. Regin is wanted by U.S. authorities to answer charges on twelve counts on promoting sexual performance by a child.. According to reports, while Ragin was living in the state of Florida, he was found with pornographic videos of minors, and before he could have been arrested, he fled the country to Belize. Regin, who has property in Hopkins Village in the Stann Creek District, has been living in the said community for six months. Moreover, officers from Special Branch (CIB) and other uniformed Police Officers captured Ragin last Friday, at about 2:30 p.m. here in Dangriga. Regin was also charged for immigration offences, and was taken to the Dangriga Magistrates Court on Monday 19th., where he was issued a removal order for his extradition.”

    PM and Minister deny involvement in Nuri Muhammad’s release from Love FM
    On Sunday, on Krem’s Sunday Review, Love FM’s talk show host, Nuri Muhammad was a guest and mentioned that he was no longer a host of the Love FM talk show, because two Ministers of Government were to be guests on the Love FM show, but Government demanded that Nuri be removed as a talk show host if the Ministers were to make an appearance on the show. After Monday’s House Meeting in Belmopan, the Prime Minister was asked about Nuri’s allegation, and whether there was any truth to the matter. “That’s not true. Unless somebody else would have done that sort of thing. I know that’s so, because I didn’t do any such thing. [I] certainly did not ask for Mr Muhammad to be pulled from hosting the show. No, the two Ministers in particular, who were the guests that morning, are more than equal to Mr Muhammad, so that would have been pointless. It really would have been counterproductive. What does he claim, that Government asked that he be removed?

    Brothers charged for BDF soldier’s murder
    Two brothers, 38 year old Orlando Staine and 41 year old Phil Staine, were charged with the murder of 22 year old BDF private Denver Villafranco, when they appeared on Tuesday before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were remanded into custody until February 25. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17. According to reports, Denver Villafranco was attacked by 4 men while he was at the corner Sunflower Street and Complex Lane in Belize City, about 150 yards from his home. Private Villafranco was hit on his head with a crowbar, his abdomen was slashed with a knife, he received multiple stab wounds to his chest, and he was punched and left lying in a drain.

    Josue Carballo is new PUP standard bearer for Orange Walk East
    The PUP held a convention in the Orange Walk East constituency on Sunday, to choose a candidate to replace Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez. Dr,. Mendez is the current Area Representative of Orange Walk East, but will not be seeking another term due to health reasons. Vying for the Standard Bearer position for the next general election were newcomer Josue Carballo, and former two term area representative David Burgos. 2,151 persons turned out for voting in the convention, but in the end the newcomer won by a slim margin of 14 votes. In total, Josue Carballo received 1,069 votes, while David Burgos received 1,055 of the votes.

    Senate Discusses Sugar Bill
    As reported the amendment bill was rammed through the House of Representatives on Monday, while the opposition cried that not enough time was given for proper consultation. On Tuesday the bill was passed in the Senate in like fashion, where during the debate of the bill, Senators raised some similar points that we have noticed. First, Senator Lisa Shoman spoke about the structure of the Sugar Industry Control Board, which seems to be skewed in favour of Government Ministers. “I don’t know why semantic games are played. I really wish we had just come out and called this thing ‘The Sugar Minister Control Board,’ because that’s what it really will end up being. This thing already had a balance that was too skewed in favour of Ministers and Ministers’ power, and this is, Mr President, in complete contravention of what is the modern reality, which is decentralization of Government power on private industry. On the one hand this Government trumpets that it’s for private industry, private investment, partnership with the private sector, letting people run their own business, and on the second hand it seeks to control it by giving more Ministerial power.” Senator Godwin Hulse – Government Business “First of all it was two for the millers, two for the association. It’s gone up to three for the millers and three for the association. So that is first of all wrong. It still keeps the balance and the equity. In addition to that, we have to understand that Government has a responsibility to govern. When you get dischord or you can’t get agreement, Government steps in, but Government steps in as an equitable partner in the growth process. That is what Governments do.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Dr. Carla Barnett announces candidacy for UDP in Freetown division
    After a long career in the Public Service of Belize and work in the Caribbean region, reaching the rank of vice-president at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr. Carla Barnett is entering electoral politics. The native of the fishing village of Sarteneja, Corozal District and resident of Freetown today announced her candidacy in the Freetown division, which is currently held by Leader of the parliamentary Opposition and of the People’s United Party (PUP) Francis Fonseca.

    CWU executive report on successful first year
    In December of 2013 president of the Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) Antonio Gonzalez and general secretary James McFoy stood down after calls by workers to answer to charges of poor performance and mismanagement in their time on the job. The Union’s membership elected a new executive headed by Audrey Matura-Shepherd, a newly-minted attorney who came to the post with no labour experience. But what a difference a year makes, as the Union has turned around its performance and collected several victories on behalf of its membership, which has swelled to over 1,000 in various establishments around the country from Orange Walk to Stann Creek.

    Body of Roaring Creek man found
    The search Emerson Daly, 24, the Roaring Creek man who has been missing since Sunday has ended. Daly’s body was found this morning in the river about a mile away from the Banana Bank Resort. Reports are that the family has identified the body and arrangements are now being made to retrieve it from the water.

    Blogs

    Belize Tourism 2014: A Very Good Year!
    The data is in and, as expected, 2014 was as record breaking year for Belize, with 1,207,386 tourist arrivals recorded by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). Last year also saw Belize break the long sought after but heretofore elusive figure of 300,000 overnight visitors, a tourism goal akin to a runner breaking the four minute mile, with the BTB figures showing a record 321,220 overnight visitors. This represents a very impressive 9.2 percent increase from the year before. And, with new flights from a growing number of destinations continually being added to the travel roster, the future continues to look bright for “the little country that could”.

    Cane
    By Abdulmajeed K. Nunez. If you study the trend You will understand that it is our patrimony we fi defend PUDP di protect fi deh ends They are extraordinary Belizeans, selling out their citizens and friends Unu still think unu and the US Southern Command are your friends? The power elite specialized in divide and conquer The easiest trick is to use the political divider Restricting individual property rights and hiding under the law Their interpretation of their parliamentary rights is truly flawed Ensuring that GOB is the common denominator To date we have a PUP and a UDP Bench and Bar To date we have a PUP and a UDP Police Association To date we have a PUP and a UDP Alcalde Association To date we have a PUP and a UDP Citrus Growers Association To date we have a PUP and a UDP Cane Farmer Association Before them it was BML workers Before them it was the Teacher union

    The cheapest way to get to Belize
    Flights to Belize aren’t cheap but if you’re traveling from the US or Canada there is an option that will save you some money. What you must do is fly into Cancun, Mexico and catch the overnight ADO Bus to Belize City. It is also possible to rent a car at the airport (don’t forget to get vehicle documents to cross the border) or hire a private transfer but at $616 pesos/ $48 USD, the bus is so much more economical. When I went in December 2014, with $200 I flew from Toronto to Cancun on Air Canada and when it was time to come back, I had to pay $605 from Belize City to Toronto with a 5 hour delay in Atlanta. As you can see there’s a huge difference. I’ve flown into Cancun a few times and usually take a bus to Playa del Carmen and spend a couple days there before heading to Belize but this time I decided not to take the regular detour because I wanted to be in San Ignacio for Christmas.

    21 Jaw Dropping Hotels Around Belize
    Belize has many incredible jaw dropping hotels that you should make plans to visit. Listed below are 21 of these hotels:

    Some tropical pictures to lighten the winter!
    Look, I don't want to be smug, but it has been GORGEOUS here recently. The weather has cleared up, it has been really warm and comfortable, and the beach and water have been pretty sea grass free!! So why not a positive post with a few pictures? OK! Let's start with a real stunner, I stole this from Lee Nyhus :)...this was taken from Tipsy Tuna today, they built a new second story eating area overlooking the beach...if this doesn't cause you to make your plane reservations I don't know what will!! Although I have spent 90% of my days in the last two weeks painting/urethaning/cleaning/etc the casita, to get it ready for its first guests....Sue and Sharon showed up this past sunny Friday and convinced me to go to the Mariposa pool with them....look how upset I look!

    International Sourcesizz

    'Unseen Cuba': Aerial island portrait book was hard to get off ground
    Even with restrictions lifting on U.S. travel to Cuba, few of us will ever see the island from the vantage point of Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaisa. But we can look at his pictures — and marvel. Jovaisa is the first and only artist to receive permission from the Cuban government to fly over the country and photograph it. His work is collected in Unseen Cuba, published in the fall. “I put a lot of my heart into this project,” said the photographer of four other large-format books, Unseen Lithuania, Magic Cancun & Riviera Maya, Heavenly Yucatan and Heavenly Belize. “I hope to evoke the feeling I did in my home country. People just don’t have an opportunity to see things from this angle.”

    Last Year America Sent Special Ops Forces Into Almost 70% of the Countries in the World
    In the dead of night, they swept in aboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Landing in a remote region of one of the most volatile countries on the planet, they raided a village and soon found themselves in a life-or-death firefight. It was the second time in two weeks that elite US Navy SEALs had attempted to rescue American photojournalist Luke Somers. And it was the second time they failed. In March, members of Marine Special Operations Command and Naval Special Warfare Unit 1 took part in maneuvers aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens as part of Multi-Sail 2014, an annual exercise designed to support "security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region." That same month, elite soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines took part in a training exercise code-named Fused Response with members of the Belizean military. "Exercises like this build rapport and bonds between US forces and Belize," said Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Heber Toro of Special Operations Command South afterward.

    Photographer's 'Unseen Cuba' gives a rare view of the island
    Even with restrictions lifting on U.S. travel to Cuba, few of us will ever see the island from the vantage point of Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaisa. But we can look at his pictures - and marvel. Jovaisa is the first and only artist to receive permission from the Cuban government to fly over the country and photograph it. His work is collected in "Unseen Cuba" (Unseen Pictures, $99.95). "I put a lot of my heart into this project," says the photographer of four other large-format books, "Unseen Lithuania," "Magic Cancun & Riviera Maya," "Heavenly Yucatan" and "Heavenly Belize." "I hope to evoke the feeling I did in my home country. People just don't have an opportunity to see things from this angle." Shot from an ultralight craft, with stunning aerial views of the island from Cabo de San Antonio on the western tip to Baracoa in the east, "Unseen Cuba" is the culmination of almost five grueling years of Jovaisa's life. He came up with the idea after the success of "Unseen Lithuania," which sold 70,000 copies in a country of less than three million people.

    UWI vice-chancellor admits being pressured into firing Bain
    THE University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice-Chancellor Nigel Harris yesterday testified that his termination of Professor Brendan Bain as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART) was the first time he had fired anyone and that he never meant to cause the professor any embarrassment. Harris said he never meant to make Bain's termination public, but that it was already in the news that he would be firing Bain, even before he completed the letter of termination which he issued Bain on May 20, 2014.

    MOOCs and meetups together make for better learning
    Local meet-ups organized by Arjan and other partners around the world had a significant impact on the learning experience of Beyond Silicon Valley MOOC students in these communities. These grass-roots gatherings gave students the same opportunity to learn from one another as in a traditional classroom, as Jeff Wofford, the Facility Manager at the United States Embassy in Belmopan, Belize who facilitated MOOC-inspired meet-ups in Belize, experienced. “Students here gained a lot of insight by taking the time to sit and discuss the lessons in person,” Wofford noted. “We had a nice cross-section of attendees, from University of Belize students to Belizeans who had owned and operated businesses for decades. In several instances, a comment made by one of the students lead to one of those great ‘a-ha!’ moments with another student, and the exchanges went both ways.”

    Church honors Lindsay for service
    Elder Emeritus Joseph Lindsay was recently recognized with a special gathering of family and friends at First Christian church (Disciples of Christ) in Slidell. “Dr. Joe,” as he is known, was honored in his faith journey as a leader in the congregation for 50 years. Lindsay is a co-founder and leader of the Dos Amigos Medical and Dental Mission that has traveled to Belize for more than 26 years.

    Videos

    Study Abroad: Belize 2015, 3min. Shout out to everyone who helped make this trip happen. It was a great two weeks in paradise filled with spectacular memories!
    Take-Off Placencia, Belize, Cessna Caravan, 3min.
    Antillean Manatee face extinction, 5min. Protecting the environment and wildlife has never been as important as it is today across the world. The balance of nature may literally be hanging by the thread as human continue mass developments on land and sea. Here in Belize, the struggle is ever present and one fight involves saving manatees. Belize is home to one of four existing species of manatees, the Antillean Manatee, a sub species of the West Indian Manatee. More than that, Belize is home to the largest number of Antillean Manatee but even so, these animals face extinction.
    Patti & Eddie Wedding in Belize 2014, 8min.
    Belize Summer 2014, 10min. VMI cadets traveled to Belize to study tropical marine biology during the Summer of 2014.
    Belize rough draft, 3min. Swimming with sharks...
    Lina Point: San Pedro, Belize Underwater Aquarium, 3min. Overwater cabanas with glass bottom floors for your personal underwater aquarium.

    January 21, 2015


    FOR TODAY'S BELIZE WEATHER, CLICK HERE

    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

    Camp Belize 2015; Pickin’ in Paradise
    One thing is for certain, these gregarious fans are hooked on music, and when they are not attending one of Walker’s concerts they are busy making music of their own! Pickin’ Parties pop up daily at local bars, such as Fido’s, Crazy Canucks, Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar, Lola’s Pub, Ambergris Brewing Company and Sandy Toes. These Walker Wonders really make fantastic music together and anyone who has the chance to listen to one of their jams is in for a real treat! Week one of Camp Belize ends of January 24th with the second Camp beginning on the 25th. Keep your ears open for Pickin’ Parties at the bars mentioned above, a great time indeed! Have a wonderful musical stay on La Isla Bonita Walker Wonders!

    Defining Dance – Silvina Novelo de Moh
    They say that dancing is more than just moving one’s body; it is a fundamental part of life and who a person is. Silvina Novelo de Moh is one of the few Belizeans that has made her life revolve around dancing. But not any kind of dancing, the 63-year-old is a proud Mestizo who has been teaching traditional cultural dances for the past 26 years. Affectionately known as “Tia Cheb”, she has taught many generations- including me- the traditional dances of one of Belize’s most vibrant cultures! Born on February 26 1951, Silvina is an original resident of the village of San Jose Nuevo Palmar, located in the outskirts of Orange Walk Town. Like anyone with a rural upbringing, Silvina learned all her skills from her mother, 99-year-old Dolorez Novelo, who is also a dancer. “My mother used to tell me about her experience dancing Mestizadas. I used to love hearing them, it got me excited [to dance too].”

    Oceana Belize calls on the Government of Belize to create policies which protect Belizean livelihoods
    Petroleum Department’s proposed policy on offshore oil weak on data, details, potential damage. In response to a document circulated to the NGO community on Monday, January 19th as the draft Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines, Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the Government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected; that an effective emergency response capacity is in place; that special places are safe from hazards and that it has provided a full, fair and public accounting, including the inherent risks involved with the oil industry, to the Belizean people.

    Belize Sailing Association Elects New Board
    The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is the popular NGO that developed the country’s Optimist dinghy sailing programme and promotes all recreational sailing. BzSA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday January 10, 2015, at St. Catherine Academy in Belize City. In attendance to fill by election all13 board positions for 2015 were 44 of the 150 association members.

    Ambergris Today

    Miss San Pedro and On Eagles Wings Ministries Look to Empower Women
    At the inaugural event, special recognition awards were presented to three women for their hard work in empowering women in Belize. Kim Simplis-Barrow of the Inspiration Center was awarded for encouraging girls to become agents of change; Diana Shaw, chairperson of Child Development Fund Belize, was awarded for her advocacy & awareness of the publication Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents in Belize and Miss San Pedro Michelle Nuñez for her leadership in the community as a strong young woman. Michelle Nuñez’s SHINE Girl’s Club is a youth enrichment program for young girls. SHINE stands for Shaping Healthy Identities through Nurturing and Empowerment. Michelle says she will be working with girls between 13 and 16 to build up their self-esteem and motivate them to strive for a brighter future. Initially she plans to work closely with a small group of 15 participants and work on a program that will encompass sis main topics: Self-esteem/self-confidence, body image, sexual risk behavior, drugs and alcohol, decision making and communication skills/future goals and ambitions.

    25 Years Ago: Growing Stages of Ambergris Caye -San Mateo
    After the expansion phases of San Pedro Town took place in Boca del Rio and San Juan Areas, soon there was the need of still more lots for the residents of San Pedro. The subdivisions that followed were (3) San Pedrito, (4) San Pablo, (5) DFC, (6) Escalante Area, (7) San Marcos, and finally (8) San Mateo. Today I am going to focus in Area number 8 given the name San Mateo (section C in photographs) because it follows the topography of the photo generously contributed to Ambergris Today by Mr. Lucio Ayuso, a retired Belize City businessman and big friend of San Pedranos. Mr. Lucio Ayuso had his own family home in Belize City but also had his vacation home in San Pedro at the site currently owned by Spindrift Hotel. One would have believed that with the mistakes committed in San Juan and even San Pedrito our Town Board leaders would have learned the valuable lessons and not repeat them in future expansions but as sure as Abraham and Moses, the mistakes were repeated and even worsened. The area was partly subdivided and some parts not even subdivided, but the lots were given out mostly to poor people who came to San Pedro from the mainland and who did not have the resources to purchase expensive land from private individuals. All of this area was and still is marshland. I really don’t know why call it swampland when it is really swamp with no land.

    Belize Fashion Week
    Belize Fashion Week is ALREADY gearing up for 2015. The event has been scheduled for July 9 - 12. Model Search Auditions taking place soon. Click to read schedule and more information.

    Flashbacks: The Burning of Don Juan Carnabal in San Pedro Village
    Juan Carnabal was supposedly the name of the man in whose honor el Gran Carnabal de San Pedro was celebrated annually. On Ash Wednesday, the day after el Carnabal, an effigy of Don Juan was made using a pair of pants and shirt stuffed with seaweed and a coconut for its head. Don Juan Carnabal was paraded around town on a wheelbarrow or at times on the shoulder of two young men who were in the team that built it and organized a function in his honor. In the night at Central park the Last Will and Testament of Don Juan Carnabal was read to the public. Next week we shall publish a sample of Don Juan’s Last Will and Testament.

    Amazon.com Features Mad Dogs Series Pilot Filmed in Belize
    Like Netfix and Hulu, Amazon has been producing their own original shows, one which has made at all the way to Belize for filming. Last week, Amazon released its new list of pilot shows that can be viewed for free on their website. One of those shows is Mad Dogs, in which the first episode (pilot) was filmed and based in Belize. Amazon sums up Mad Dogs: When a group of underachieving 40-something friends gather in Belize to celebrate the early retirement of an old friend, a series of wild events unfold, exposing dark secrets, deception and even murder. Starring Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Billy Zane (Twin Peaks), Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) and Romany Malco (Weeds). Executive produced by Cris Cole and Shawn Ryan (The Shield).

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    BELPO's Gazette, edition 7. January 2015
    Today I received BELPO's Gazette, edition 7, and would like to share with you all, hope you read and find interesting facts.

    2015 TAIWAN SCHOLARSHIPS OPEN FOR APPLICATION
    The Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is pleased to announce that on Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 10:00AM at the Chateau Caribbean Hotel, Belize City, this Embassy and Belize-Taiwan ICDF Alumni Society in Belize will co-host the 2015 Scholarship Program Briefing for those who are interested in this year’s Taiwan scholarships. Starting from 2002, this Embassy has accepted and recommended numerous Belizean students to pursue their degrees from Bachelor, Master to Ph.D programs in Taiwan in various fields such as public health, agriculture, business administration, engineering and information and communication technology. Until 2014, totally 258 recipients are awarded and more than 120 persons have finished their study and returned to Belize to contribute their learning to Belize.

    Belize Defence Force Recruitment Drive

    Drug Peddler tries to bribe a good cop.
    On Monday morning in Placencia, an officer conducted surveillance of a known drug peddler on the peninsula.The accused, though well known, has managed to talk himself out of the arrestable situations in Mango Creek. However, he was caught dealing drugs in Placencia but while the arresting officer was taking him to the station, he attempted one last chance at freedom with a bribe. As a result, on January 19th Dwayne Logan was charged with “Possession of Controlled Drugs”. Because he attempted to corrupt Police Constable 1358 Claudius Cardinez with $100.00USD for his release, officer Cardinez arrested him and charged him for "Attempting to Corrupt a Public Officer" Cardinez is well known for working with the youths in the surrounding villages. Good job Officer Claudius Cardinez.

    BOLEDO DRAWING for Tuesday, January 20, 2015: 93. FANTASY 5: 22 36 28 2 18 N

    ALBINO TAPIR?
    Ya'axché rangers discovered interesting image captures of a white-snouted tapir on a camera trap deployed within Golden Stream Corridor Preserve. This rare footage captures another beautiful secret of the forest. Our question to the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group; could this could be evidence of albinism in the Baird's tapir?

    Permanent Inventory Plot at Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve
    The CSFI team would like to extend our most sincere appreciation and thanks to the Forest Department and most importantly to Mr. Usher who has taken his time off his schedule to educate our rangers with the techniques needed to create an inventory of the flora in Freshwater Creek and how to collect data needed to continue our forward march to the protection and renovation of our forest and also last but definitely not least Heron Moreno Jr, who despite the fact that he is a student, is always been willing to volunteer and help us in many different activities which are of great help to us.

    Channel 7

    Fears Mount For Missing Man From Roaring Creek
    24 year old Roaring Creek Resident Emerson Daly is missing tonight - and there are growing fears about his wellbeing. He was last seen on Sunday and today police got a major lead when the car he was last seen driving was found abandoned on Mount Pleasant Road - between miles 46 and 47 on the George Price Highway. A farmer in the area reported that he saw the vehicle there this morning. Police recovered the car, but there was no sign of Daly. The car is the property of his uncle and he had borrowed it. Search team have been organized and they scoured the area in Mount Pleasant for more clues this afternoon, but found nothing. Tomorrow they will go search down by the river. Daly is the owner of his own business called Daly's Dream Creations and is very well known as a handyman in the village. We'll have an update on this story tomorrow.

    Two Men Charged For BDF Private's Cruel Murder
    Last night, we told you about the murder of 23 year-old BDF Volunteer Denver Villafranco. It happened on Saturday night when several men ambushed him, beat him up and fatally stabbed him. Well tonight, the men who police believe are his killers are at the Belize Central Prison, after they were taken to the Magistrate's Court today. They are brothers 38 year-old Orlando Staine, and 41 year-old Phil Staine, and they were arraigned this morning before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on the single charge of murder. They were denied bail and remanded; Chief Magistrate Smith remanded them until February 25. As we told you, Villafranco was walking on Complex Avenue just before 7:30 on Saturday night, and when he arrived at the Sunflower Street intersection, 3 men ambushed him. One of the men clubbed him over the head with a crowbar, another slashed him in the abdomen and stabbed him several times in the chest, and the other punched him several times. They left him lying in a drain, and that's when police arrived and tried to rush him to the KHMH for medical treatment. He died 10 minutes later while undergoing surgery.

    UDP + Dr. Carla B.
    Political circles have been buzzing all day about a mystery UDP Press Conference tomorrow. An invitation sent out this afternoon only refers to, quote, "an announcement on party matters" by party Leader Dean Barrow. But what will he announce? Well, we heard it's a new political candidate for the party - but yesterday the Prime Minister very deliberately dodged our question:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "This is a party, a UDP press conference, not a government of Belize." Jules Vasquez "I've heard that a bog announcement will be made about a new candidate." Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Indeed." Jules Vasquez "You care to share?" Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "No sir, I don't. That will take all the fun out of the press conference."

    Fair Trade Threats
    Last night, we showed you the comments from Oscar Alonzo, the CEO of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, about the current situation with Fairtrade - which is an arm of the European Union. He told the media that he hopes that when the auditors from Fairtrade come in that they consider why the farmers chose to use the money in the way they did, even though it clearly not compliant with the standards. Well today, Seven News got copy of a letter sent to the association from Jon Walker, Sugar Manager of Fairtrade Foundation. It's dated January 8, and in it, Walker discusses the disbursement of 6.5 million dollars of Fairtrade premiums. He says, quote, "I write to…express the concern of the Fairtrade Foundation at the continued viability of the BSCFA compliance with Fairtrade Standards." End quote. Addressing the issue that the farmers may be justified because of the sugar crisis which ended yesterday, Walker says, "While respecting the rights of the membership of BSCFA to decide on their future participation in Fairtrade, and understanding that Belizean sugar industry is going through a turbulent period, I would urge you all to consider the potential impact to BSCFA by leaving Fairtrade."

    Stevedores Stand With Sugar
    And staying with sugar, the cane season is scheduled to begin in earnest next week - which is good news for the farmers, but also for those further down the line: the Belize City stevedores. They work the sugar ships - which works out to a very lucrative take. So, with the delayed start of the season - and a possibly shortened season - they stand to lose money. But yesterday, we found two leading stevedore sin Belmopan protesting with the cane farmers against the deal that was signed. We asked them why:... Deon Pitter, Stevedore "Which multi investor comes to this country and treat us nice? For the past two years we are getting 107 million dollars from sugar cane. Do you believe we would be getting that same figure with those multinational people in control?"

    Even In Defeat, Ortega Stands Strong
    And while they were there to support Alfredo Ortega, Lucilo Teck, Javier Keme and their own Christian Workers Union President Audrey Matura Shepherd - Ortega has his own difficult questions to answer. He stands to be on the wrong side of the history as the season has started and a 7 year agreement has been signed - yet even yesterday he was still protesting against it. Here's what the media had for him yesterday:.. Reporter "Sir, how do you answer the criticism that today you are wasting these people time, you are wasting your time because this protest will lead to nothing?" Alfredo Ortega, Director, Orange Walk Branch, B.S.C.F.A "No, that's not true. We are not wasting anybody's time. I think that these people that are here, they are fighting for their rights. In this case, we have the government siding with ASR/BSI and that is why things has happen as they are. Farmers are being chanced and there are many farmers at this point don't realize what would be the end result of this, but believe me you, that in the future, you will see things happening and you will see how many famers will become slaves instead of farmers."

    Tough Questions For Teck
    We also had some tough questions for Lucilo Teck. He's the senior cane farmers who took the Sugar Industry Control Board to the Supreme Court - to ask for an order of mandamus - which would compel them to declare the season open. That effort backfired and ended up costing the farmers another two weeks before the season could start in earnest - when they ended up signing the very same agreement. And what's more by then the venerable cane farmers association had splintered. Here's what we asked him:.. Lucilo Teck, cane farmer "That was the plan of BSI to divide us from the beginning." Jules Vasquez "In deed the association is divided. But how much of responsibility for that rest with you, if you all hadn't run to challenge the resolution, then BSCFA would have signed as one hundred percent. But now it's broken up."

    Will The Sugar Quota Of The Future Be Equitable?
    But one thing that the so called radicals like Ortega and Teck agree on with the Prime Minister is that going forward, there must be equity in cane quotas. We're talking about the expected increased capacity of the BSI sugar mill - funded by ASR. IT will increase capacity - but who will get to supply it with more cane? Will it be the farmers of BSI itself? BSI is obviously in a better position since it has the money to expand. Yesterday Ortega raised concerns about this as did the Prime Minister:.. Alfredo Ortega, Director, Orange Walk Branch, B.S.C.F.A "We don't want this to happen that the manufacturers will have that opportunity to outbreak with production when every acre that the producer would plant, that means one acre less for the farmers. We are here to fight for the benefit of the farmers, so that the manufacturer stops planting and the farmers be the ones to control all the production that is needed for the plant."

    OCEANA Warns About Reef
    Three delegates from the UNESCO World Heritage Center are in Belize to talk about the protection of the Belize Barrier Reef. The main objective is to get Belize's Barrier Reef off a 2009 list of endangered sites. There are multiple threats facing the Barrier Reef and OCEANA along with its UNESCO partners is trying to inform the public as well as the government about the detrimental effects the damage or erosion of the Barrier Reef will have on the country. They told us more today:.. Janelle Channona, Vice President OCEANA "So in 2009, the government was informed that the Belize Barrier Reef system was being placed on this site's endanger list and the threats identified included sale and development within the immediate vicinity of the world heritage site. As you know 7 sites make up the world heritage site system in Belize. They extend from Bachalar Chico in the north all the way down to southern waters.

    Oil Exploration Guideline Released - OCEANA, COLA Object
    And OCEANA also sent out a release expressing its disappointment with the Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines - which was circulated in draft form today from the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities. OCEANA says that the document is weak on data, short on details and could cause damage to the environment. The release says quote "Oceana Belize maintains that before any steps are taken to allow offshore exploration, the government of Belize must ensure that tourism and fishing related jobs are protected and that an effective emergency response capacity is in place." COLA also sent out a release today saying the booklet sets out four zones for petroleum exploration, encompassing nearly all of the territory of Belize, but in only one of these zones is any sort of exploration restricted - namely the Maya Mountains and portions of Stann Creek and Toledo Districts and the extreme northern tip of Ambergris Caye.

    NTUCB Pres Dylan A No-Show Again
    Yesterday in Belmopan, the NTUCB went out to Belmopan to support the cane farmers. But considering the NTUCB is a large umbrella group covering thousands of workers, only a few executive members were on the stairs of the national assembly in Belmopan. And that did not include the president Dylan Reneau who again was a no show. We asked why:.. Marvin Mora, 2nd VP - NTUCB "Dylan Reneau, I think his office is right over there. You can interview him and ask him. But as for the National Trade Union Congress, we are on the verge of going to elections and that will happen right at the end of this month in Caye Caulker when we are going to have our AGM. So, at the end of the day, its up to the general membership to decide how we are going to deal with this issue. But for right now let Dylan answers for Dylan." Mike Rudon, CH5 "Do you feel that at that AGM, at the end of that AGM, Dylan Reneau will still be president of the NTUCB?"

    Schoolteacher Gets Off Carnal Knowledge Charge
    37 year-old Cordel Gonzalez, who was a teacher at Edward P. Yorke High School, walked out of the Supreme Court a free man today after the prosecution withdrew 2 counts of carnal knowledge against him. He was accused of having sex with an underage student in November 2009. She formally reported that Gonzalez took her to his house on 2 occasions and had sex with her. He was charged in connection with that report, but today, when his case was called up before Justice Adolph Lucas, Crown Counsel Portia Staine informed the court that the prosecution cannot proceed against him. She entered a nolle pros, meaning that if any new evidence emerges against Gonzalez, he can be criminally prosecuted once again in the future.

    DOE Teaches How To Massage The Media For Your Message
    Two weeks ago we reported on the Department of Environment's workshop for the media at the Baboon Sanctuary. Today the department held part two of this workshop at the Radisson - and this time it was for public officers - so that they could learn about the process of newsgathering. Why is this relevant to their field of work? Well, according to Communications Consultant Daedra Haylock, if environmental officers understand and appreciated the work 'we' do, there will be a more fluid and efficient flow of information on environmental topics to the public. She told us how this session will achieve that. Daedra Haylock, Communications Consultant "The first half focused on the media and how to inform them on what is going on - on the environment, department official's standpoint. This part is focusing on the government officials, trying to make them be equip for working with the media, so that they can understand the dynamics of working with the media, the dynamics of the media in Belize and help them to prepare and understand the work of new gathering and the work of media management and the work of that whole process of assembling a newscast.

    City Police Chief Confidence Building On Southside
    Assistant Commissioner of Police Dezerie Phillips, the officer commanding Eastern Division, was out on La Croix Boulevard in the Lake Independence Area today meeting and greeting the citizens today. ACP Phillips was reaching out to residents in a crime ridden area trying to reassure them that the police department is making its best effort to keep them safe. She told us that the residents have taken notice that the patrols have been focused on known hotspots in the city: ACP Dezerie Phillips, Officer Commanding Eastern Division "This is an ongoing efforts that we are making across the city. It has been on for some months now. We are just intensifying our efforts. This is a daily effort in all the precincts where we have our police officers go out into the community and speak to the public. Just trying to find out what are some of their concerns, what incidents that have been occurring to them. We also wanted to know what are some of the things we can do that could make the public feel safer and also to improve the quality of service that we offer to the community and as well we ask the community what can they do to assist us in making their community a safer one."

    Who Gave The Order On Nuri?
    Last week when it was taking a public pounding for creating the circumstances the led up to the breakup of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, the Barrow Administration sent out Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Godwin Hulse to put out government's side of the story. So on Wednesday morning, they went to the LOVE FM Morning show where they explained the position at length. The hosts that morning were Ava Diaz Sosa and Carmen Barrow. Absent was regular Nuri Mohammed. He has since said on KREM Radio that he was taken off the show that morning at government's request. Yesterday the media asked the Prime Minister who gave the order:... Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Certainly did not ask for Mr. Mohammed to be pulled from hosting the show. No, the two persons, the two ministers in particular, who were the guests that morning are more than equal to Mr. Mohammed, so that would have been pointless, really would have been counterproductive."

    Enter Hon. Omar
    And one last bit of news that came out of Belmopan yesterday is the swearing in of new member of the House, Omar Figueroa, the representative for Cayo North. He is the eighteenth member on the government side - if you include Elvin Penner who was still lurking around at the far end of the UDP back bench. Figueroa was gracious to his opponents in his first remarks before the house:..

    Channel 5

    Family of Missing Roaring Creek Resident Fears the Worst
    The family of a missing Roaring Creek resident fears the worst tonight. Twenty-four year old Emerson Daly took off on Sunday in a vehicle belonging to his uncle promising to [...]

    Staine Sibling Arraigned for Murder of B.D.F. Volunteer
    Two brothers have been arraigned for Saturday’s murder of B.D.F. volunteer, Denver Villafranco. The siblings, Orlando and Phil Tyrone Staine from the Saint Martin De Porres area appeared before Chief [...]

    UNESCO officials assessing the endangered barrier reef system
    The Belize Barrier Reef was placed on an endangered list by UNESCO since 2009 and it remains on that list tonight. But we can report that a delegation from UNESCO’s [...]

    OCEANA Says UNESCO Visit Opens Opportunity to Dialogue
    Over the past five years, there has been continuous degradation of the reef.  Concessions have been granted for offshore oil exploration and mega tourism developments within the reef system are [...]

    Is the Sugar Industry Better Off with the Amendments to the Sugar Act?
    And our question tonight is: Do you think the sugar industry is better off with the amendments to the Sugar Act allowing for the formation of splinter associations? Send your [...]

    COLA Sounds Alarm Over Petroleum Exploration Zones
    The Geology and Petroleum Department has circulated a document entitled Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines. The department claims that it “recognized the need for a framework aimed at harmonizing [...]

    Where is the President Dylan Reneau of the N.T.U.C.B.?
    When the N.T.U.C.B. hosted a press conference last week to express support for the farmers, President Dylan Reneau was conspicuously absent. Inquisitive by nature, we asked for an explanation and [...]

    Janae Matute Receives 1st Installment From G.O.B.
    News Five is especially pleased tonight to report that the government has started making good on payments due to young student, Janae Matute. Matute was born with cerebral palsy which [...]

    Former EP Yorke teacher Acquitted of Carnal Knowledge Charges
    In late 2009, the then E. P. Yorke Teacher, Cordel Gonzalez, was charged with two counts of Carnal Knowledge upon a fourteen year old student. He lost his job after [...]

    24 Year Old Charged in Anti-Drug Operation
      Twenty-five year old Cassian Young was charged today for the Possession of a Controlled Drug with Intent to Supply to Another. Young was intercepted by police in the area [...]

    Is Carla Barnett the New U.D.P. Standard Bearer for Freetown?
    The prime minister has called a press briefing at U.D.P. headquarters Wednesday morning. Well, the invitation has been causing a stir since it was circulated. Sources tell News Five tonight [...]

    Government Provides $2 Million for Sugar Roads
    All stakeholders in the sugar industry are no doubt under intense pressure to get factors in place for a successful crop season. For things to work, all parties – the [...]

    Cane Fields of B.S.C.F.A.’s Finance Committee Chairman is Torched
    The B.S.C.F.A.’s Finance Committee Chairman, Javier Keme, has been in the forefront of the move to hold off on signing the agreement with ASR/B.S.I.  It was an unsuccessful effort, largely [...]

    Armed Robbers Escape with Vehicle
    San Ignacio Police are seeking your help in locating a 1999 Honda CRV with license plate BMP-2024. The vehicle was stolen during an armed robbery in the Santiago Juan Layout [...]

    What’s the future of Puerto Azul?
    Remember the Puerto Azul Project…a proposed mega-tourism development within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll at Sandbore and Northern Cayes? It has been out of the headlines for quite some time, but [...]

    Department of Environment Discusses New Communication Strategy
    Two weeks ago, on January eighth, 2015, the Department of Environment and its partner agencies embarked on a new communication strategy with a workshop held for media representatives at the [...]

    Remembering Andy…7 years after his passing
    It’s been seven years since Andy Palacio, Belize’s musical icon, passed away. Known across the world, Palacio put Belize on the map and left a rich legacy of the Garifuna [...]

    CTV3

    Ambassador Paola Amadei is in Belize, A Number of Ground Breakings Take Place
    Government has concluded several European Union funded project and this week head of the delegation for the European Union to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadei is in the country to visit these projects as see their inauguration. On the nineteenth she attended the inauguration of the Benque Viejo del Carmen market and today attended a similar ceremony at the Belmopan market. Both projects were completed under the Belize Rural Development Program, BRDP. Also under the BRDP, officials broke ground today for the construction of a Metrological Laboratory at the Belize Bureau of Standards. The laboratory which is being developed with a budget of BZ$2.35 million will be key in ensuring that the measuring standards used in the country's commercial trade meets the official international standards. Other projects to be inaugurated this week include three craft markets rehabilitated on the archaeological sites of Nim Li Punit, Labantuun and Blue Creek and also the official opening of the San Lazaro to August Pine Ridge road which was rehabilitated under the Accompanying Measures for Sugar.

    Rotary Corozal Seeks New Members
    Here in Belize the Rotary Clubs are under the umbrella of Rotary District 4250, which comprises of clubs from Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. Here at home the oldest club is Rotary Belize which houses the Belmopan, Corozal, Dangriga, Orange Walk, Placencia, and San Ignacio clubs. The members of each club take pride in serving their community by carrying out projects and vocational commitments but there is always more that needs to be done but not enough hands to get the job done. And that is the problem that the Rotary Club of Corozal is currently facing, a shortage of membership. Wanting to turn things around, today the club launched a campaign to recruit more members.

    BTIA O/W Chapter Holds AGM
    The Belize Tourism Industry Association Orange Walk Chapter held its Annual General Meeting last night. We were present for the event and here are a few highlights of the occasion. Dalila Ical – Reporting There are currently seventeen members under the BTIA Orange Walk Chapter and on the night of January nineteenth, the chapter met for its annual general meeting. The election of officers was part of the agenda but it was also a time for the chapter to take a look at achievements over the last year. It was a financially challenging one said outgoing chair Osmani Salas but the chapter’s membership persevered. “Well, things have been tight our members in Orange Walk have always come through to make sure that we keep operating so even though they pay their annual fee many of our members from their own pockets contribute on keeping our chapter and our information center open so one positive thing I think we can mention and another positive development of the Chapter here is that we set up a partnership with Oceana Belize and they are planning to undertake a national public awareness campaign to promote importance and the value of the marine realm and they agreed to engage our chapter in Orange Walk to represent them and carry out their work in Orange Walk so we expect that partnership to start from this month or the latest next month and that will bring some resources that will help our Chapter to do more work in Orange Walk,”

    Member of Fort George Says We are Going Back To Dictatorship
    Our coverage of the House of Representatives ends with a snippet from Member for Fort George, Honourable Said Musa who also was stern but composed on his points to the Amendments of the Sugar Industry Act. Musa made reference to Hitler as he chastised GOB’s move as a dictatorship type of leadership for the country. This comes after of course, Barrow called him “senile” in the honourable House. “For the Prime Minister to tell this nation, well yes maybe they could have set it and maybe the court could have ordered it. But how can the court order anything to be done when the court doesn’t have an army, doesn’t have a police to inform it? Mister Prime Minister last time I heard that said it was by Hitler in Nazi, Germany…that the courts don’t have no power, only the government. We have the political power. That is the clear sign of this country sliding into a dictatorship.

    Muffles High School Has A New Auditorium
    We have followed the development taking place at Muffles High School over the last few months and today we can tell you that the institution boasts of a new auditorium, which though not fully completed, was used for the first time by the entire school faculty and students. In what the school calls a soft launching, they held their first activity this morning at the auditorium that sits within the school compound. Following a brief ceremony the ribbon was cut and the building blessed by Father Oliver Smalls. The project is being overseen by the Building Committee consisting of Rosendo Urbina Sr., Armando Vldez, Alvaro Alpuche and the Chair of the committee, Manuel Martin.

    Will BSCFA Be Decertified By Fair Trade For Disbursement of 4 million dollars?
    The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association now counts with 17 branches and 3088 members from the last count. While the association is trying to move ahead after 42% of its membership decided to join other associations, there is still a dark cloud looming over the group. As previously mentioned, the association is currently facing a suspension or even decertification from Fair Trade after its directors complied with the mandate of can farmers and disbursed four million dollars in Fair Trade funds among them. Directors were totally against the disbursement of the funds and one person that came under fire for allegedly not wanting to sign the checks is no other than Financial Controller for the BSCFA, Javier Keme. To date, even though he signed the checks, Keme still believes disbursing the funds was a huge mistake, one that should have never been committed and the Committee of Management should have never permitted.

    More Drugs Confiscated In La Isla Bonita
    Anti-drug operations keep yielding success stories for the police department in San Pedro Town. The latest incident occurred on Saturday evening when police visited the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets and observed a tall male person of dark complexion dressed in a white T shirt and a green short pants standing on Chicken Drive Street. The person was observed going back and forth to a big tank in a yard and handing people something when they approached him. Police then conducted a search on the male person, however, nothing incriminating was found on him. A search was then conducted around the tank where police found a black plastic bag containing green leafy substance suspected to be Cannabis.

    Orange Walk Central Area Rep. Outlines Assistance Given To Cane Farmers by the P.U.P
    Tonight, while the impasse in the Sugar Industry finally blew over, or so it seems, much of what was said and done in the honourable House of Representatives yesterday involving amendments to the Sugar Industry Act is still fresh in the minds of many Belizeans. The debate was highly scrutinized by the opposition and other entities that stood against what they call the imposing actions of the Government. From the opposition’s perspective, cane grower and member for Orange Walk Central John Briceno gave a highly compelling argument that resulted in acknowledgement from Prime Minister Dean Barrow calling Briceno’s presentation as one with “substance”. Most enthralling from Briceno’s speech was based on history and facts that past PUP administrations have done a lot more than what people think to benefit all stakeholders in the Sugar Industry.

    GSIP Sees Number of Hurdles
    The last report that was made on the Guadalupe Street Improvement Project, “GSIP” was sometime last year when Osmany Salas, member of the GSIP shared the good news that the Minister of Finance had decided to waive the GST from the contract which would leave the committee with approximately $30,000.00 in pocket to invest in the project. We were also made to understand that Orange Walk Mayor Kevin Bernard and the Orange Walk Town Council had assigned all property taxes, trade license and liquor license from the area into the committee’s account. In an interview with Osmany Salas last night, we asked him for an update on the development of the project. “It is all about finances and unfortunately we haven’t receive the support we expected or we would have wanted, a few residence have made their contributions, quite a few have been paying their taxes not all of them and that is one of the ways that the residence could help the project by ensuring that their taxes are paid on time, their property taxes etc. a few businesses have offered to pay in advance so what we did we sent out letters of request for sponsorship to a number different businesses and there hasn’t been a response, we need to follow-up.”

    Honorable Mai Defends the BSCFA
    Another vocal participant in the House of Representatives siding with farmers was member for Orange Walk South, Abelardo Mai. Mai defended the mother umbrella organization of the farmers, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. His points delved from production growth, social and economic programs to fertilizing fields in a timely manner. And whilst the Sugar Industry is a pivotal productive sector for the North, Mai’s argument was that no foreign entity should come in and bully Belizeans from what is truly theirs, citing that farmers should be the real owners of the assets in this country. “A slanderous remark for merely political and malicious intentions like the Association has spent millions of Fair Trade money and has nothing to show for it, it is a complete fabrication, it is completely deceitful and nothing close to the truth, the record speaks for itself Mr Speaker, through the Associations Fair Trade premiums productivity grew from 980,000 tons of sugar cane in 2008 to 1.4 million tons of sugar cane we have today the mill is practically choking with so much cane that we have Mr speaker,....”

    LOVE FM

    Delegate Suggestions; Would it Benefit Cane Farmers?
    Yesterday the House of Representatives met to introduce a bill to amend the Sugar Industry Act to “bring the Act into conformity with the Belize Constitution; to secure to all Cane Farmers the freedom to belong to an Association of their own choice; to facilitate the commencement of the grinding seasons in a fair and equitable manner”. Three Cane Farmers have signed an agreement with the Belize Sugar Industries and American Sugar refinery and it is expected that the crop will start soon. At yesterday’s House Meeting, PUP’s Area Representative for Orange Walk Central made five suggestions to the Government of Belize that would benefit the Cane Farmers. JOHNNY BRICENO “I think that the Government needs to pass legislation to allow Cane Farmers to be represented on a sugar marketing committee. Why do I say that? For so long the Cane Farmers have been saying that when they deliver their cane and BSI processes that cane into sugar they take it on their own and give it to their parent company which was Tate and Lyle and now to ASR to sell the sugar and we don’t know if t they get the best price, we don’t know if that is the price or if they could get a better price or a lower price we don’t know that but to avoid the suspicion that has been growing up in the Industry.

    PM Oppose Suggestions From PUP Delegate
    It is expected that the sugar cane crop season will soon start since four cane farmers association have signed the agreement with BSI/ASR. Each association will have to reach its quota or the amount of cane it should deliver every month. The Sugar Industry control Board, SICB, is expected to properly regulate that matter. However there is still the issue BSI/ASR growing its own cane. At yesterday’s Sitting of the House of Representatives, Orange Walk Central Area Representative, John Briceno, made five suggestions that he says would be in favor of the cane farmers. One of those suggestions is to have the government limit the amount of cane BSI/ASR produces to have milled. Prime Minister Dean Barrow says he cannot do so and explained why: PRIME MINISTER HON. DEAN BARROW “There is no way we can put a cap on BSI’s quota since we are talking particularly about BSI. The job of the sugar cane production committee is to allocate quotas and to maintain the balance, to ensure that the farmers are able to increase their quota allocations as capacity increases but since the potential for capacity increase is almost limitless depending merely on how much money ASR is prepared to spend I don’t think it would be fair to say that BSI’s quota can never increase.

    Staine Brothers Charged for BDF Volunteer’s Murder
    Two brothers, 38 year old Orlando Staine and 41 year old Phil Staine, were charged with the murder of 22 year old BDF private Denver Villafranco, when they appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were remanded into custody until February 25. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17.According to reports, Villafranco was attacked by 4 men while he was at the corner of Sunflower Street and Complex Lane, about 150 yards from his home. Villafranco was hit on his head with a crowbar, his abdomen was slashed with a knife, he received multiple stab wounds to his chest, and he was punched and left lying in a drain. By the time the police arrived at the scene he was already dead. The fatality was preceded by an altercation which occurred while the deceased and a friend were drinking.

    Where Is Puerto Azul Now?
    Last year Love News told you about Puerto Azul, a multi-million dollars project, was designed to be built in Northern 2 Caye of Lighthouse Reef and is described as a mega project for the mega rich and fabulous. The environmental community and some NGO’s agencies announced its utmost concerned towards the project stating that it poses a risk to Belize’s Reef and other natural resources. Love News spoke to Chief Environmental Officer of the Department of Environment, Martin Alegria, who gave us an update on this matter. MARTIN ALEGRIA “From the department of the environment’s perspective what we are responsible for is the environmental screening. As far as I recall last year we had developed a terms of reference for an EIA to be developed. At that stage it is up to the developers/ investor, the ball is in their court where the development of that report should be done in accordance to that terms of reference and that is where we are up to now where a lot of the ground work, studies and research should be conducted and underway in order to develop that EIA report.”

    Grounds Broken for New Sporting Facility in Western Belize
    On Monday ground was broken for the Hilltop Project in Belmopan. That is one of the sports projects that will be implemented by the Belize Infrastructure Limited. On hand for the special ceremony was area representative and Minister of National Security, John Saldivar. “This is going to be our main facility for a few years to come and so it is going to receive a covering over the basketball portion of this facility and the tennis portion will be renovated including the flooring and lights. Here at this side of the court we will Belmopan Sporting Complexbe receiving covering as I said and fixing up of the court and lighting facilities as well.

    Nolle Prosequi in Carnal Knowledge Case; Teacher vs Student
    A nolle prosequi, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed, was entered today in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas in the case of 37-year-old, Cordel Gonzalez, who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge on a female child. Crown counsel Portia Staine, who entered the nolle prosequi, said that the reason was because the complainant lives abroad and she has difficulty travelling to Belize. Gonzalez was not represented by any attorney.The first count occurred on November14, 2009 and the second count occurred on November 27. At the time Gonzalez was a teacher at Edward P Yorke High School. The complainant was a student. The girl, accompanied by her mother, went to the police station and the girl reported that Gonzalez took her to his house on 2 occasions and had sex with her. According to a report, it was a video that alerted the school about the affair.

    DOE Aims For Better Partnership With Media and Government Entities
    The Department of Environment held their second workshop session at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. The main focus of today’s worship is building better relationship with the Media and Government entities. Love News spoke to Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer in the Department of Environment. MARTIN ALEGRIA “We have decided from late last year decided to embark on a program to try to sensitize first and then build partnership with the media in general and at the end try to develop a communication’s strategy in order to keep that partnership and strengthen it as years go by. What we are trying to achieve here is to have our staff in key government agencies prepared to know how to deal with technical issues in a professional manner with the media as partners rather than rivals.

    Police News: Marijuana Possession
    Forty three year old Edwardo Jones was arrested and charged for the crime of possession of controlled drugs. Police say that on Saturday evening, they noticed Jones at the corner of Almond and Tarpon Streets in San Pedro Town. He was reportedly seen handing something to several persons who approached him. Police immediately approached him, conducted a search on his person but nothing incriminating was found on him. A search was then conducted around the tank where police found a black plastic bag containing marijuana. The drug was taken to San Pedro Police Station and weighed. It amounted to 8.0 grams.

    PlusTV

    Man still missing since Sunday; vehicle found with traces of blood
    An upcoming entrepreneur from the Village of Roaring Creek, Cayo District, is missing since Sunday, and the family’s hopes of ever seeing him alive again are wearing thin. According to reports, 24 year old Emerson Daly was last seen on Sunday at around 8 pm when he left Roaring Creek in his uncle’s vehicle, a grey Pathfinder, en route to Belmopan. The family reports seeing him in the company of another person who they could not identify. “He borrowed my uncle’s vehicle, because his one was giving him trouble. He told my uncle he would be back in 15 minutes. He won’t take long. He just went to deal with something at Belmopan. He didn’t say what. He just said he would be back in 15 minutes. He had on his white undershirt and a khaki pants and his slippers. If he went out somewhere he would dress decent, ’cause he’s not that person[who] will have on regular clothes.”

    A closer look at the new sugar legislation
    On Monday we saw the passing of new Sugar Industry legislation, to assist in propelling the industry out of an impasse between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and the American Sugar Refineries/ Belize Sugar Industries. With the delay of the crop season and an agreement not forthcoming between the farmers and the miller, Government stepped in to allow for associations other than the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) to negotiate with Belize Sugar Industries for delivery of sugar cane to the Tower Hill factory. More than five years ago, the Supreme Court of Belize had ordered, by consent, that the Sugar Industry Act be amended. The Government did not comply then but with the circumstances being what they are now, Government went to the House on Monday to do just that. It was rushed through the house on Monday, with the opposition complaining that it was not enough time to analyze the amendment.

    Teacher beats carnal knowledge charge
    A nolle prosequi, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed, was entered on Tuesday in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas in the case of 37 year old Cordel Gonzalez, who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge of a female child. Crown counsel Portia Staine, who entered the nolle prosequi, said that the reason was because the complainant lives abroad and she has difficulty travelling to Belize. Cordel Gonzalez was not represented by any attorney. The first count occurred on November14, 2009 and the second count occurred on November 27. At the time Mr Gonzalez was a teacher at Edward P Yorke High School. The complainant was a student.

    Amendment to the Sugar Act in the House of Representatives
    All’s well that ends well, says the Government of Belize, after seeing the near collapse of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association, and seeing the impasse in the sugar industry through. On Monday the parliamentarians met at the House of Representatives in Belmopan to discuss and pass forthwith the long overdue amendment to the sugar act. The bill secures to all cane farmers the freedom to belong to any association. As we have reported, since the splintering of the BSCFA, two other independent associations have come forth: the Progressive Sugar Producers Association or PSPA and the Corozal Sugar Producers Association or CSPA- who had representation at Monday’s house sitting. The amendment bill was introduced by the Area Representative for Orange Walk North and Minister of Agriculture Hon. Gaspar Vega, after which it was put on the table for it to be debated with some good old finger pointing.

    Sugar cane farmers protest outside National Assembly Building
    Meanwhile outside of the house was a protest by a handful of cane farmers and their supporters; estimated at a bit above 50. Also there were members of National Trade Union Congress of Belize and members of third party Vision Inspired by the People, who showed up in solidarity with Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Attorney Audrey Matura-Sheppard addressed the accusation made by the Prime Minister that Attorney Matura-Shepherd’s advise to the farmers to go to court was misleading and a waste of the “How can it be a waste of time, when the that cases that we’ve tried to have too have been denounced by the Government and on complete lies? For example: When we went to Court to get the permission for mandamus, when I was at the General Assembly, I never told the cane farmers the day we go to court, there and then we will get the ruling. I told them we had to a permission stage, and that we were asking for the Court to hear the matter by the Tuesday or the Wednesday. However, we got the hearing on the Friday, and I told them at the permission stage, we would ask for the entire case to be heard within ten days. We did all of that at the Court.

    BSCFA met with General Assembly upon demand of BSI
    In the backdrop of Monday’s events, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association met with their General Assembly on Sunday, at the request of BSI/ASR, to get the approval from their general membership to sign the agreement and put an end to this long saga of the impasse in the sugar industry. As was expected, the meeting was short and to the point. The voting was cast and the majority said yes to the agreement. After the meeting we spoke with Chairman Ezequiel Cansino, who has been the target of much criticism. “”We just came to get an approval from the membership to go ahead and sign the agreement with BSI. We came straight to the point and the cane farmers responded as positive as we expected. We don’t have anything else to do today, but only that we will inform BSI, and try our best to sign as soon as possible tomorrow. As from tomorrow, we decide to work on the list, because we have to clear our list from the other members who have already joined other associations. So we have to clean this list, so as we can get clearly how many cane farmers will stay with us, and how much is the amount of production that we will be manageing.”

    Omar Figueroa recites oath at National Assembly
    Also on the agenda of Monday’s sitting of the House of Representatives was the swearing in of Dr. Omar Figueroa as the duly elected Area Representative for the Cayo North Division, following his landslide victory at the January 5th bi-elections. An elated Omar Figueroa walked into the House of Representatives for the first time on Modday, greeted by a tumultuous applause by his supporters sitting in the galleries. He recited his oath and was then given a chance to speak. “I rise, Mister Speaker, today with great pride and on behalf of the people of Cayo North. As a person born and raised in San Ignacio Town within the constituency of Cayo North, it is indeed an honor and privilege to now hold this seat in parliament. I am grateful and indeed humbled by the overwhelming vote of confidence that the wonderful folks of Cayo North clearly expressed.

    BDF volunteer stabbed and killed
    Residents of Police Street, Belize City, are puzzled as to why attackers targeted 23 year old Denver Villafranco, a Belize Defence Force (BDF) volunteer soldier, on Saturday night around 7:20 p.m. According to police, Mr Villafranco was found lying motionless on the street, with an apparent stab wound to the right side of the abdomen. He had been walking on Complex Avenue about 20 minutes earlier,headed in the direction of Mahogany Street, when three men attacked and caused his fatal injury. He died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital while undergoing treatment within 10 minutes of the incident. As police investigations continue, the street’s residents mourn the loss of a man described as a “peacemaker” in the area, someone who could be depended on. Unfortunately, his last act of peacemaking may have led to his death, as described by an area resident and friend of his who we spoke to off-camera.

    Body of missing woman found in San Pedro
    22 year old Silvia Carmen Benites was reported missing last week, when reports are that she was last seen on a beach drinking with a number of men. After that, she was not seen or heard from. However, Miss Benites’ body was unexpectedly found in an area north of San Pedro town on Saturday afternoon. According to authorities, passersby in the area, three and a half miles north of San Pedro town, smelled a stench in the area and upon making checks, discovered the nude body of the Honduran national, in a muddy pond at the side of the road. Police say that a post mortem examination revealed that Sivia Benites’ body has multiple blunt force injuries to the right side of the face, the neck, and the back. They also found restraining type injuries to the shoulders and inner thigh. Due to the state of decomposition, the cause of death could not be determined.

    Amandala

    4 killers used knife, crowbar on BDF volunteer
    Private Denver Villafranco, a 22-year-old soldier of the Belize Defence Force Volunteer Battalion, B Company, in Belize City, died after he was attacked by four men who hit him in the head with a crowbar, slashed the right side of his abdomen with a 4-inch knife, exposing his intestines and stabbed him in the chest multiple times, after which Villafranco was punched, kicked, and beaten by the men, who then left him in a drain and ran away. The incident occurred at about 7:30 Saturday night at the corner of Sunflower Street and Complex Lane in Lake Independence, just about 150 yards from his home. When police found him in the drain, Villafranco was already dead. A quick and intense investigation led to three men, who have been detained and police are on the hunt for the fourth person.

    Bill to amend the Sugar Industry Act passed
    Parliament today rushed the passage of controversial amendments to the Sugar Industry Act, Chapter 325 of the Laws of Belize, paving the way for two new sugar associations: the Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association and the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association, to emerge as competing lobbying groups for cañeros in northern Belize, even as the fate of the vanguard association, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA), hangs in the balance. To date, the Government has resisted calls from cañeros to channel $4 million of PetroCaribe funds into the financially beleaguered organization to replenish Fairtrade monies that ought not to have been disbursed to farmers. The disbursement of those funds last week has compounded the association’s already deteriorating financial position, amid a new change introduced with the amendment that will remove a substantial revenue stream – the “cess,” a mandatory deduction from sugar payments normally paid to the BSCFA.

    Body of missing San Pedro waitress found decomposing
    Carolyn Sylvia Benitez, 28, of San Pedrito, San Pedro Town, a mother of three children who was working as a waitress at a restaurant in San Pedro, had been reported missing since Monday, January 12. Benitez, however, was found dead, her body in a state of decomposition, at about 11:30 Saturday morning on the road that runs through Grand Belizean Estates, in an uninhabited area about 3½ miles north of San Pedro Town. An autopsy conducted on her body was not able to conclusively determine the cause of her death, due to the advanced state of decomposition of the body. Benitez was last seen alive by her family on Sunday, January 11, before she left home to go to work. According to police, at about 9:30 Thursday night, January 15, Danilo Alvarenga, 36, visited the San Pedro Police Station and reported that on Wednesday, he received a call informing him that his common-law wife, Carolyn Sylvia Benitez, had been seen drunk at about 4:00 Monday morning, January 12, and that she was sitting on a bench with an alcoholic beverage in her hand in the company of four men, and that was the last time she was seen.

    Cop charged with having sex with underage girl
    Police officer Patrick O’Brien of the Independence police is presently remanded until April 14 on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. He was taken to the Independence Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where he was arraigned on the charge. No plea was taken from him. The allegation against him is that he had sex with an under-aged girl, 15, in June last year, 2014, at the Police Barracks in Independence. Police said that on Monday, the girl and her mother made the report to police, and that same Monday, the officer was later arrested and charged with carnal knowledge, a charge that was later changed to unlawful sexual intercourse.

    Convicted rapist and kidnapper beats murder rap
    An Orange Walk man who was convicted of two counts of rape, kidnapping, unnatural crime and is serving a 13-year prison sentence was acquitted of a murder indictment in the Orange Walk Session of the Supreme Court late Thursday evening, January 15, after a jury of 7 women and 5 men deliberated for four and a half hours before returning a unanimous not guilty verdict. In 2005, Mark Vega, 39 and Luis Urbina were tried in the Belize City Supreme Court for the June 2002 murder of Susana Pethkau. Urbina was acquitted of the murder charge, but the jury was hung on its verdict for Vega, leading to a new trial. This time, the trial was held in the Orange Walk Supreme Court before Justice Herbert Lord. Vega was defended by attorney Bryan Neal.

    LPG down to low of 92 bucks
    Falling prices on the world market for fossil-based fuels have finally been trickling down to Belizean consumers with pump prices now ranging from $7.21 for a gallon of diesel to $7.88 for a gallon of premium gasoline in Belize City. On Friday, January 16, more good news came for consumers when it was announced that effective Saturday, January 17, 2015, the price for the 100-pound cylinder of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the most common cooking fuel, which is also called “butane”, would fall by $6.00, slashing again what had been recorded as the lowest price tag for LPG in 2014.

    Bandits 3-peat, 4-nil over Police for PLB Opening Season championship
    The Isidoro Beaton Stadium had its biggest crowd in years on Saturday night, January 17, for game 2 of the finals series between defending champions Belmopan Bandits and sub-champions Police United for the Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2014-2015 Opening Season Championship. And the status quo remained at the final whistle, with the Bandits coming away with a big 4-nil victory and the championship, their 3rd consecutive win in the PLB tournaments. The Bandits were back-to-back champions in both the 2013-2014 Opening and Closing seasons, earning a berth to the CONCACAF Champions League, which they could not utilize because the FFB field failed to meet the required standards. In the 2013-2014 Closing Season finals, it was the Bandits over Police, 3-0 and 1-0; and in game one of the 2014-2015 Opening Season finals, the Bandits had drawn 0-0 with Police. And as it turned out on Saturday night, after beating the Bandits twice in regular season and once in the playoffs this season, Police United was still unable to get a goal against the Bandits in finals play, falling 4-0 this time, to the disappointment of their many fans.

    Belize Juniors to Salvador for U15 & U18 Table Tennis Championships
    The Belize Table Tennis Association (BTTA), in partnership with the Belize Olympic Committee, will be sending a delegation to represent Belize in the 2015 Central American U15 & U18 Table Tennis Championships, which will be held in San Salvador, El Salvador from January 20th to the 25th. Latrell Solis, John Delcid and Jaylen Nicolson will represent Belize in the Under 15 category for singles, doubles, and team events. They will be accompanied by our technical director, Gabriel Guerrero, as coach, and will join over 100 other junior players from 7 of our neighboring countries to compete for the title. This is a great experience for our junior players as we continue to make our way onto the regional and international stage.

    C-Ray Saturday Race results, January 17
    The C-Ray Cycling Club has committed to hosting a series of 12 Saturday Races leading up to the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic. These races started on Saturday, January 10, and plans are to have them every Saturday until Saturday, March 28. The race is open to all cyclists of the Junior, Female, Weekend Warriors and Elite categories; one race with separate prizes. The 2nd Saturday, January 17, saw 38 cyclists lined up – 9 Juniors, 1 Female, 6 Weekend Warriors, and 22 Elite. The race started (and finished) at Leslie’s Imports and turned at the Boom Village junction, for approximately 45 miles. Below are the results by category: JUNIOR – 1st Darien Anderson; 2nd Yan Cattouse; 3rd Michael Grajalez.

    Belize City primary schools basketball update, semifinals start tomorrow, Tuesday
    The Belize City Primary Schools Basketball Tournament, being coordinated by the National Sports Council, entered its playoff stage on Thursday of last week, and the male semifinals are scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, at Bird’s Isle. In games played last week Tuesday, January 13, (M) St. Ignatius defeated James Garbutt SDA, 33-11, with Glenford Bermudez leading St. Ignatius with 11 pts, while Ralston Menzies had 4 pts for James Garbutt. (F) St. Luke Methodist won, 6-1, over St. John’s Anglican. Khia Leslie netted 4 pts for St. Luke, while Taliyah Hyde got the sole pt for St. John’s. And (M) St. Joseph demolished St. John’s Anglican, 35-2. Justin Williams and Daemion Garcia had 8 pts each for St. Joseph, while Levan Tillett got the 2 pts for St. John’s.

    Editorial: Day of devastation
    Over the course of Belize’s battle for self-rule from 1950 to 1981, the sugar cane farmers of our Corozal and Orange Walk Districts became the strongest section of Belize’s socio-economy. The sugar cane industry featured the focused, hard-working descendants of refugees from Yucatan’s Caste War who had come to Belize in the second half of the nineteenth century, and then the British multinational, Tate and Lyle, invested in a new sugar factory at Tower Hill in the Orange Walk District around 1963. The political circumstances of the Tate and Lyle investment are very interesting, but they are almost never discussed. The nationalist People’s United Party (PUP) Leader George Price had been in open battle with the colonizer British in 1957 and 1958. In 1957, the British sent Mr. Price home from London in disgrace, and then in 1958 the British arrested and charged him with sedition, for which he was acquitted in the Supreme Court of British Honduras.

    Attention: Hopkins needs village roads fixed NOW!
    Dear Editor, The village of Hopkins’ roads are the worst ever! This is high season and running any type of business requires one to go from point A to point B! It is impossible by foot, bike, car, or scooter to drive safely to go anywhere without it being a huge hassle because of the numerous, huge deep pot holes. It is not fair for the tourists who came to Hopkins to enjoy the village life; if they cannot move around easily, they should not be traumatized with the horrendous mobility with these endless huge pot holes. If one rents a car they are subjected to returning it without damage. Impossible! Driving anywhere is extreme wear-and-tear on any vehicle, never mind a real nightmare to drive the slowest possible without bottoming out. Tourists are leaving because of it. Many of my guests made the comment, about never returning and leaving earlier than planned. I am relaying their disgust of the road conditions. Never mind the locals who live here and the ones who are trying their best to accommodate the overflow here in Hopkins this season, of numerous unhappy travelers while making a living at tourism.

    Graduate of FBI program resumes command of San Pedro police
    A police officer, who is a graduate of an FBI training program, is now the Commander of San Pedro Police. Superintendent Luis Castellanos resumed command of the San Pedro police force today, after attending the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia, USA. He was selected to represent Belize in the training program along with 215 other law enforcement agents. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy Program is known internationally for academic excellence, which includes 11 weeks of advanced training, which are conducted by the FBI Academy training staff, special agents, and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise.

    BSCFA General Assembly agrees to sign contentious sugar agreement
    Another in a long series of General Assembly meetings hosted by the embattled Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) commenced shortly after 9:00 this morning at the Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico auditorium at Mile 72 on the Philip Goldson Highway, with just over 850 of the association’s 3,000 plus members in attendance. With a single objective on the agenda, today’s meeting proved to be one of the shortest that has ever been held in recent memory, because no more than twenty minutes after the session got underway, the many distressed cañeros were given the opportunity to either hold their ground, or overturn a previous resolution to have the government-controlled Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) pronounce the sugarcane crop season open while negotiations between the producers and millers continue under an interim agreement. As soon as the motion was read to the anxious crowd, an overwhelming majority of the audience, under a strong sense of duress, voted in favor of having their association’s executives sign onto a disputed new commercial purchasing agreement which had been flatly rejected at a similar meeting just two weeks ago, on January 4.

    Two men remanded to prison for possessing parts of a shotgun
    Two Belize City men who said they wanted to be good Samaritans when they found parts of a shotgun and who were busted by the Gang Suppression Unit before they were able to hand in the parts to police, were remanded to prison this morning after they were arraigned on a charge of possession of a firearm without a gun license. Akeem Requeña, 21, an electrician and resident of Marva’s Alley, was charged along with David Moss, 19, a student of Dolphin Street. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge. When he entered his not guilty plea, Requeña asked Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer if he could say something. “I had informed the police that while going through an alley, we found a ratchet and a gun handle. We told the police that we had just found it, and we were going to hand it in. But the police told us that we better tell that to the judge,” Requeña explained.

    Eric Vellos, 24, dies in weekend traffic accident
    A young employee of Bowen and Bowen Limited unfortunately perished in a traffic accident after his vehicle flipped several times and crashed into a culvert between Miles 81 and 82 on the Philip Goldson Highway this past Saturday night. Police said that at about 11:50 p.m. on Saturday, January 17, they were informed of a fatal road traffic accident in the area of Ranchito, Corozal District, and upon arrival at the scene, they observed an extensively damaged gold Nissan Altima with license plates CZL C-04613 in a drain on the right hand side of the road, with its four wheels in the air. Investigators later learned that Eric Nelson Vellos, 24, of a 5th Avenue address in Corozal Town, was traveling alone in the direction of Orange Walk Town to Corozal when he suffered a tire blowout and lost control of the car at around 11:30 that night.

    Bar Association expresses concern about the performance of the Court of Appeal
    The traditional opening of the Supreme Court is the time when the bar and the bench engage in their reflection on the performance of the judiciary at the opening of the new legal year. During this year’s address on Monday, January 12, the Bar Association expressed its concern about the performance of Belize’s second highest court, the Court of Appeal, particularly during its last session. “The Bar Association wishes to put on record its serious concern about the Court of Appeal. The last session of the Court of Appeal was historic in its underperformance,” said the president of the Bar Association, Eamon Courtenay, S.C. “For the first time in history, there was not a single criminal appeal, as far as I can remember. That is unacceptable.” Courtenay added, “There was a record low number of civil appeals heard.”

    CITCO officially takes on BML workers
    Yesterday, January 15, the Belize City Council’s contract with the sanitation company known as the Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) officially expired, signaling the end of that company’s responsibilities of cleaning up the Old Capital. Although he has maintained that it will be no easy task, two weeks ago, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley announced that he and the Council had drafted a plan to absorb the employees of BML, and as a result, 158 of BML’s sanitation staff today reported to City Hall as full-time employees with security of tenure under the newly implemented Municipal Regulations Policy, which was rolled out for personnel from all municipalities in mid-December 2014. As part of their introduction, the new City Hall employees participated in an all-day orientation in which they met with Bradley and other key members of the council who outlined their rights and obligations as full members of staff.

    Patrick JonesPJ

    Roaring Creek man reported missing
    The family of a Roaring Creek man is tonight asking for the public’s assistance in locating their loved one. Twenty four year old Emerson Daly has not been seen or heard from since Sunday night and his family is fearing the worst. The young entrepreneur, according to family members left home around 8 pm on Sunday and was reportedly heading to Belmopan. This afternoon, we were able to confirm that the vehicle that Daly was driving was found in an area just off the George Price Highway with what appears to be blood stains inside.

    Teacher beats carnal knowledge charge
    A nolle prosequi, indicating that the prosecution cannot proceed, was entered today in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas in the case of 37 year old Cordel Gonzalez, who was charged with 2 counts of carnal knowledge of a female child. Crown counsel Portia Staine, who entered the nolle prosequi, said that the reason was because the complainant lives abroad and she has difficulty travelling to Belize. Gonzalez was not represented by any attorney. The first count occurred on November 14, 2009 and the second count occurred on November 27.

    Brothers charged for BDF soldier’s murder
    Two brothers, 38 year old Orlando Staine and 41 year old Phil Staine, were charged with the murder of 22 year old BDF private Denver Villafranco, when they appeared today before the Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. They were remanded into custody until February 25. The incident occurred around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 17. According to reports, Villafranco was attacked by 4 men while he was at the corner Sunflower Street and complex Lane, about 150 yards from his home.

    Vehicle stolen during armed robbery
    A vehicle was reported stolen on Monday, January 19 in San Ignacio town. The 1999 Honda CRV – as shown in the photo – was stolen in the Santiago Juan Layout area around 6:30 pm on Monday during an armed robbery. The vehicle carried license plates BMP 2024. If anyone knows the whereabouts of this vehicle, please contact the nearest police station of call telephone number 610-3124.

    Blogs

    A Gorgeous Sunset Sail off Ambergris Caye with Ecologic Charters
    Perhaps the best way to see the sunset over Ambergris Caye is by boat. And last week, as luck would have it, I was invited on a sunset cruise…on one of two gorgeous catamarans owned by Ecologic Divers located at the north side of town by the Phoenix Resort. Both 50 foot catamarans – the Impromptu and the Infinity – are available for chartered trips for you and your friends and family. Book a few days…or a week…head out with dive tanks, lots of food and drink, a captain and a chef (both certified divers) and just follow your own agenda.

    20 awesome facts about the Cayo District in Belize!
    The Cayo District is home to some 73,202 people and takes in more than 2,000 square miles (5180kms) of tropical forest, rolling hills; rich pasture land, vibrant rivers and an amazing assortment of Maya archaeological sites. 1. It is the largest district in Belize. 2. Cayo is home to the most impressive and artifact-rich Maya ceremonial caves ever found in Mesoamerica: Actun Tunichil Muknal is the star of the show. 3. Hand-cranked ferries are still used to forge rivers to Maya ceremonial sites and Mennonite community centers. 4. Both English and Spanish are widely spoken in Cayo, which is home to large populations of Latinos, Creoles, Chinese, Lebanese, Mennonites and Maya.

    Commentary: Legendary Garifuna choreographer Armando 'Crisanto' Melendez
    By Wellington C. Ramos. On Friday, January 9, 2015, at about 6:00 pm, many Garifuna people living in New York City packed Casa Yurumein in the Bronx to listen to a cultural presentation given by their legendary choreographer Armando ‘Crisanto’ Melendez. For years now he has been the head of the Honduras Folkloric Garifuna Dance Company where many Garifuna men and women have been trained to learn all the Garifuna music, drumming, dance and others aspects of this rich culture. I was anxious to see this great individual because I have always heard of the commitment, dedication and passion he has displayed over the years in preserving his culture. He brought with him two Garifuna master drummers known as Dumbrie. This title is the highest honour given to a Garifuna drummer who is versed in beating the two Garifuna drums namely the primera and the secunda. The meeting was chaired by Mr Carlos Gamboa, a well known Garifuna activist in the Garifuna community here in New York City, who originated from the Garifuna village of Labuga (Livingston) in Guatemala. He began the meeting by highlighting the life accomplishments of Mr Armando ‘Crisanto’ Melendez over the years. The meeting was conducted with exchanges in the Garifuna, English and Spanish languages. These languages are spoken by many Garifuna people worldwide. He wasted no time in introducing the presenter.

    International Sourcesizz

    UWI begins presenting witnesses in Bain case
    THE University of the West Indies yesterday began presenting its witnesses in the case brought against the institution by Professor Brendan Bain over his termination as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART). The UWI called its first witness, Professor Peter Figueroa, after Bain closed his case following seven days of evidence from various witnesses in an attempt to prove he'd been wronged by the university. Bain is suing the UWI for breach of contract, breach of constitutional rights, and defamation over the university's decision to terminate his contract.

    Photographer’s ‘Unseen Cuba’ gives a rare view of the island
    Even with restrictions lifting on U.S. travel to Cuba, few of us will ever see the island from the vantage point of Lithuanian photographer Marius Jovaisa. But we can look at his pictures — and marvel. The first and only artist to receive permission from the Cuban government to fly over the country and photograph it, Jovaisa appears Friday at Books & Books in Coral Gables to talk about Unseen Cuba, (Unseen Pictures, $99.95). “I put a lot of my heart into this project,” says the photographer of four other large-format books, Unseen Lithuania, Magic Cancun & Riviera Maya, Heavenly Yucatan and Heavenly Belize. “I hope to evoke the feeling I did in my home country. People just don’t have an opportunity to see things from this angle.” Shot from an ultralight craft, with stunning aerial views of the island from Cabo de San Antonio on the western tip to Baracoa in the east, Unseen Cuba is the culmination of almost five grueling years of Jovaisa’s life. He came up with the idea after the success of Unseen Lithuania, which sold 70,000 copies in a country of less than three million people. Having grown up under Soviet rule in Lithuania, Jovaisa expected to face a certain amount of red tape getting permits for the project. But he had no idea he’d spend 21/2 years wrestling with bureaucrats before he ever got off the ground.

    Prof Bain closes case
    Professor Brendan Bain on Tuesday closed his case after seven days’ testimony from various witnesses. One witness for the claimant, Shawn Wenzel – an information technology consultant – testified that the articles written about Bain’s termination by the University of the West Indies (UWI) and subsequent demonstrations in his favour were picked-up by various websites and news agencies and published in 15,000 places across the globe, including Europe and the United States of America. The defendant, the UWI, is to begin its case when the matter resumes in the Supreme Court just before 2:00 this afternoon. The first witness for the defendant is listed as Professor Peter Figueroa.

    5 Tips for Becoming an Expat
    Expatriates — those country natives whose wanderlust causes them to pull up stakes and move to another country — seem to be doing well, thank you very much. According to a 2014 study by global banking giant HSBC, the vast majority say they enjoy their new homes, and Switzerland, New Zealand, and, yes, the U.S. are all high atop the list of countries expats call home. That doesn’t mean becoming an expat is a great or even a good idea — not unless you cover some foreign destination basics first. "There are a great many decisions involved in making the move abroad, ranging from consideration of finances and managing money, right through to integrating into the local community and arranging childcare,” says Andrew Ireland, EVP and Head of Premier Banking at HSBC Bank USA. Knowing what you want — and what works — in a foreign land is really Job One when preparing for life as an expat.

    Using Belize’s Retiree Program For An Easy Life
    Jim and Kathy Suits had long been planning to move outside the U.S. for retirement. English-speaking, with a tropical climate, and close to North America… little Belize offered a lot to a couple looking to retire abroad. Plus, the feeling of independence they experienced there, and the focus on personal responsibility and family values, had great appeal for the Suits. Belize’s Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) program was one of the main factors in their deciding on Belize. This program makes the transition to a new life in Belize quite easy for expats…and cost-effective. “I liked the QRP. I like the tax advantages. It does have some drawbacks. You don’t get to be a resident. You’re a permanent tourist. But it makes it easy for someone to come down and retire without a lot of headaches,” says Jim.

    Enjoying Our Business In The Cayo, Belize
    Jamie and Barbara Quinion have no regrets about their move to western Belize. “We’re not just living our dream of the good life,” Barbara says of the couple’s new life in the ancient Maya village of San José Succotz, in Belize’s Cayo District. “We are living the ‘excellent life!’” Five years ago, they decided to sell their winery in Canada and move abroad, for several reasons. “What attracted us to Belize is that it’s English-speaking—that was a big plus—with a good climate, really friendly people, and incredible diversity for such a small country. We live in the farthest point west on the mainland, where we go swimming, tubing, hiking, biking, birdwatching, or just enjoy the great view from our property.

    Real Estate On The “Maya Route”
    Encompassing Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras, La Ruta Maya (the “Maya Route”) covers the territory of the Maya civilization, which reached its height from 250 to 900 A.D. One of the New World’s most advanced cultures, the Maya had written language, mathematics, a sophisticated calendar, and architectural skills that saw them construct massive temples and spectacular cities, many of which still stand. However, the Maya were never a single empire; rather, kings ruled over small territories surrounding a city.

    Integration in Belize
    Expats have been coming to Belize to live and retire for decades. And that means things are “set up” for newcomers. It’s a well-trodden path, whether you are buying a home, getting a bank account set up, looking for a car mechanic, or anything you need to do…you just have to follow it. There are social clubs, churches, volunteer organizations…and informal parties, get togethers, and happy hours in expat communities all over the country. There is a major concentration of expats in places like Corozal in the far north near the border with Mexico, Ambergris Caye (an island just off the coast on the edge of the MesoAmerican Reef), Placencia (a long peninsula in the middle of the country), and the Cayo District, an inland area known for its mountains, jungle, and farmland. Expats have found their paradise in Belize, whether it’s by the beach or inland, and they welcome newcomers with open arms.

    Videos

    Winning Carnaval Comparsa: San Pedro AIDS Commission., 2min.
    Underwater Belize GO PRO 3, 3.5min. Ambergris Caye, Belize - January 2015.
    RLC and Belize 2015, 3.5min.
    JAN. 20TH 2015 - The Belize Tourism Industry Association Orange Walk Chapter Annual General Meeting, 5min.
    Scuba Dive - Belize - Queen Trigger eating Lionfish, .5min.
    Trip to Belize, 4min. Video from my time on Caye Caulker


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