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2/11/2016 to 2/20/2016
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February 20, 2016


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Fishing Association elects new board members
On Wednesday, February 17th, the San Pedro Fishing Association held a general meeting at the Lions Den shortly after 7PM. The main purpose of the reunion was to elect new members for the association, which would include younger and active members. At the meeting, issues affecting the organization were also discussed and these included the enforcement of fisheries regulations, illegal fishing and even the proper issuing of fishing licenses. The newly elected members of the San Pedro Fishing Association are: President Enrique Marin, Vice President Roberto Bradley Jr., and Secretary/Treasurer Henry Beissner. The association also elected four new board members: Severo Guerrero Sr. Michael Hancock, Gilberto Lara and Giovanni Marin. The fishermen present at the gathering expressed their willingness to work along with the new president and support him in every possible way to make things work for the association. In return the president committed himself to fully look after the fishermen of Ambergris Caye, but also asked the community and any other organizations to work along with them. “I am ready to lead the association. We have a lot of energy, my team and I want to come up with new ideas in order to do more compared to what has been done in the past four to five years. The first step was to create a new committee with active members, and then we will start to work together. At the moment there is no unity among the fishers on the island. We need to establish that first so we can have a strong association and that will be one of my priorities as the president,” said Marin. He indicated that there will be more frequent meetings to keep everyone inform of events in the fishing industry. Also he believes that a very active committee will be able to foster more resources for the benefit of all fishers in San Pedro.

Saga Humane Society rescues stranded Anteater
On Tuesday, February 16th, the San Pedro Saga Humane Society was notified about an anteater/antbear found at a private residence along the beach in the vicinity of The Island Academy School. The long-nosed mammal was observed up in a coconut tree, from where Saga staff members retrieved the animal. The anteater was then immediately transported to the Animal Wildlife Clinic in the Cayo District via Tropic Air, where checks and treatments were administered. Ingrid Lima of the Saga Humane Society, stated that so far, they do not know if the anteater belonged to anyone as there were no indications as to an owner. It is not common to spot the solitary creature on the island, and this lead Saga to suspect that maybe it was being kept captive. According to Lima, she was notified from the Animal Clinic in San Ignacio Town that the anteater, which has been identified as a female, has been admitted into a rehabilitation program and is doing well. However, upon arrival it was noticed that she was suffering from a wound to one of her legs, which was immediately treated. The team at the Animal Wildlife Clinic is looking forward to releasing her back into the wild as early as next week.

Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup continues
The first games for the Mayor’s and Minister’s Cup for the month of February saw many football fans attending the games this past weekend. The results of the games played are as follow: Saturday – Catrachos 3-1 Peace Makers, San Mateo 3-3 Progresso Boys, Sunday – Belize Pro Divers 1-0 Veterans, PSG 6-4 Sky Energy, Searious Warriors 1-0 Ambergris Divers*, Jokers F.C 5-3 San Pedro Junior College. *Ambergris Divers teams was disqualified in the match against Searious Warriors after they used a player that was not registered. Games continue this weekend starting at 7PM sharp at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Complex.

St John’s Anglican girls and St. Martin’s boys win Belize City basketball finals
The girls of Holy Cross Anglican School and boys of San Pedro RC School represented la Isla Bonita at the Belize City district primary schools basketball finals, organized by the National Sports Council, at Birds’ Isle on Wednesday, February 17. The San Pedro RC boys went up against the Belize City champs, the St. Martin De Porres RC School boys in the opening game of the tournament Wednesday morning, and Ian Pou led the San Pedranos’ attack, scoring 6pts; while Robert Stuart and Tionne Paguada each scored a basket in the first half. But they trailed the city boys 10-13 at the break as Elijah Gabourel had led the Martin’s boys’ attacks with 7pts, and Tyrek Solis, Kareif Smith and Lyndon Gentle had each scored a basket. The island boys pulled out all the stops and tightened up on defense to out-score the city boys 15-10 in the 2nd half; as Ian Pou poured in 8pts more to finish with a game high of 14pts. Tionne Paguada tossed in another 6pts, he finished with 8pts; while Robert Stuart added a free throw. It was an all-city finals in male and female; as the St. Martin de Porres girls eliminated the Belize rural champions, the Burrell Boom Methodist Schol girls 17-1 in the 3rd game of the day. The Belize Elementary School boys eliminated the Hattieville Government School boys 17-8 in the 4th game. The St. Martin’s girls won the pride of representing the Belize district as the primary schools nationals in Orange Walk next Friday and Saturday, February 26-27; as they handed the St. John’s Anglican girls their first loss: 12-13 to win the district championship.

Fruta Bomba to close operations in Belize
Agriculture has been heralded as the leading industry in Belize, but in the past year, it has taken a number of hits. The first came when Fyffes broke ties with Meridian Enterprises in October of 2015, sending the banana industry into crisis. Then came a virus outbreak in the shrimp industry in November of 2015, causing close to $30 million in losses. The latest hit to Belize’s Agriculture Industry is the announcement of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers permanently closing over the next six months. Fruta Bomba has been the leading papaya grower company in Belize for the past 20 years, and their closure will result in over 250 persons losing their jobs. “After 22 years operating in the Central American country of Belize, Brooks Tropicals has found it necessary to close its growing and packing operations there,” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Greg L Smith, of the parent company of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers, in a press release. He went on to further explain that the decision came following economic setbacks from Hurricane Dean in 2007 from which the company never fully recovered. “Efforts over the last three years to build and maintain efficient growing and packing operations in Belize have not been successful, and as a result we had incurred substantial annual loss in Belize that the company can no longer sustain. Efforts included the building of a 16,000 square-foot operations building and considerable improvements to growing, packing and nursery facilities and processes,” said Smith.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Belize Audubon Society “Bird Fair”
Last week, TBZ’s Education Department had the pleasure of participating in a “Bird Fair” organized by the wonderful folks at Belize Audubon Society. In their continued efforts to strengthen avian conservation through community education and sustainable birding tourism, Belize Audubon partnered with the local school in Red Bank Community in southern Belize for a fabulous feathered festival! 6 schools and hundreds of guests attended the fair. TBZ and other colleagues in the avian conservation field engaged eager visitors in discussions and demonstrations about the wonderful world of birds! And, we weren't the only ones putting on a show! A superb “show and tell” was put on by winners of the school competitions. Talented young students shared poems, costumes, and some cool dances! All forms of expression celebrated the birds of Belize, and how important it is to protect them.

Fruta Bomba & Belize Food Packers Ltd. to close its growing and packaging operations in Belize
Brook’s Tropicals, which is the parent company for Fruta Bomba & Belize Food Packers Ltd., has informed the Ministry of Labour of its intention to close its growing and packaging operations in Belize, over the next six (6) months. The closure will result in the termination of approximately two hundred and fifty (250) employees. The company states that despite substantial efforts to rebuild and make its operations profitable in Belize they have suffered financial loss, which has caused them to close for economic reasons. Today February 19, 2016 the Company intends to lay off a total of one hundred and twenty three (123) employees. The Ministry of Labour, is currently working closely with the management of the company and the affected employees, to ensure that the legal requirements under redundancy are complied with and most importantly that the wages and terminal benefits due to all employees by law are paid. A number of employees have already received advice from the Labour Department and we encourage all others to visit the office in order to verify their payments.

GEORGE PRICE HIGHWAY – AXLE LOAD SURVEY
MONDAY, 22ND FEBRUARY TO SUNDAY, 28TH FEBRUARY, 2016 – 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Ministry of Works, Transport hereby informs the general public that an axle weight survey for heavy construction and heavy transport vehicles will take place in Benque Viejo del Carmen Town in front of the Cancha Marshalleck. The main purpose of this survey is to gather preliminary information regarding the range of heavy axle loads borne by Belize’s main highways that will be used to assist engineers in improving future highway design, improve the performance of routine & periodic maintenance and to expand its database of vehicular axle weights. We apologize in advance for inconveniences in the form of minor delays for heavy construction and heavy transport vehicles. We encourage all motorists to obey the rules of the road, to drive with caution and to be mindful of those involved in carrying out the axle weight survey from 22nd to 28th February, 2016.

Power interruption 7:00am to 12:00 midday, Wednesday, February 24, Hopkins
Portion from Jungle Jeanie’s to Sittee Point area. The entire Hopkins Village & areas along Hopkins Road will be affected from 7:00am to 8:30am. BEL to replace fuse cut out & re-insulate power lines for portion of Hopkins.

Belize Screen on the Green
Belize Screen on the Green 2016 is launching the annual monthly movie program for the third year! Please join us as we re-launch this great program on Friday, February 26th. The Belmpan Mayor and U.S. Ambassador will attend this event and help launch this program for another succesful year of great movies and communit fun in Belmpan! The program starts at 5:30 with special performances by the Senior Steppers and the Community Policy Drama Club, and then the movie "The Hurricane" will begin at dark.

Saga Humane Society rescues stranded Anteater
Miss Ingrid reported the clinic had a new visitor yesterday...an anteater...staff was called to retrieve the long-nosed mammal from a coconut tree... Belize is a spectacular country rich in teeming jungles, lush rainforests, dry pine savannas, tangled mangrove swamps, and dynamic coral reefs. It’s home to countless species of wildlife and creatures that inhabit the terrain including The Tamandua or Collared Anteater (tamandua mexicana). This diurnal and nocturnal, arboreal, terrestrial and solitary creature can be found in Central and South America; from the south of Mexico throughout all of Central America including Belize. It feeds mainly on ants, termites, and bees extracted after ripping apart their nests with their fore claws. They have an average body size of 60 cm (23 inches); its tail would range as long as 50 cm (19 inches) and average a body weight of 6 kilograms (13lbs). Tamanduas are medium sized, with a long prehensile tail. It has distinctive colors; blonde on the head, upper back and legs, with a black vest, or entirely blonde, or blonde with a partial vest. It has four large claws on its powerful forelimbs, five claws on hind limbs and the tail is almost naked, pink with irregular blackish splotches.

Notice of Detention - Rice Producer
The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) in the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Commerce hereby informs the general public that it has served a Notice of Detention to a Rice producer. With the recent changes in the Belize Standard for Rice Specification (BZS 20:2015 ) on October 2015, the producer has breached Section 10 of the Standards for failure to comply with proper packaging and labelling requirements for rice. Consequently, the BBS proceeded to remove 27,571 lbs of rice on February 11, 2016 from its business outlet located in Belize City. The producer has been provided an opportunity to bring the product into compliance which is required to be done in writing. The company has responded stating its commitment to reprocess the rice in order to be in compliance with the new packaging regulations.

BA1 Project: Prevention of Violence against Women, Human Trafficking and Femicide in Belize
Handing over of Equipment to strengthen Data Producing Units in charge of data on Violence against Women, Human Trafficking and Femicide in Belize The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), provided data gathering equipment valued at approximately BZ$184,000.00 to relevant government departments, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of National Security. The official handing over of the equipment took place today, February 19, 2016 at the Raccoon Street Police Station in Belize City. The purpose of the equipment is to strengthen the capacity of those government units in charge of collecting and analyzing data on violence against women and human trafficking and ensure improved access to reliable data for programme planning and decision-making in this area.

GAME LICENSES
The Belize Forest Department hereby reminds the general public that, as per the Wildlife Protection Act (CAP 220), a license is needed hunt and sell the following game species: Deer, Gibnut, Armadillo, Peccary, Iguana, Chachalaca, Black-throated Bobwhite. The Forest Department reminds the public that it will be monitoring and enforcing these laws throughout the country. All hunters and vendors are advised to apply and obtain the necessary licenses at any of the Forest Department Offices located in Orange Walk Town, Belmopan City, San Ignacio Town, Savannah in the Stann Creek District or Machaca in the Toledo District.

Fire Season is on
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development hereby informs the General Public that the Fire Season is on. In Belize, the Fire Season is observed from February 15 to June 15 annually. The General Public, especially agricultural farmers, are asked to take all the necessary precautions when using fire for their daily necessities such as the burning of their garbage and preparing land for cultivation. Most forest fires originate from the negligent use of fire by farmers for the burning of their milpas and other agricultural lands. In most instances agricultural fires tend to get out of control due to the time of the day when the fire is lit and the failure of the farmer to open fire lines around the entire perimeter of the land. We encourage farmers NOT to burn during the hottest part of the day (10 am - 2 pm) and ensure that at least a 6 feet wide fire line is cleaned around your milpa. The burning of our forest causes major damage to the trees, destroys the non timber forest products and wildlife habitat. Furthermore, an escaped agricultural fire can cause severe crop and livestock damage as well as affects the soil’s natural fertility and structure. Closer to home, the burning of our forest contaminates our air with smoke and therefore becomes a health hazard as has been witnessed in past years.

Blood drive today in San Pedro
Help by giving blood! Today, February 20, 2016.

Various cigarette traders at the Corozal Commercial Free Zone were called at a meeting today by Atlantic Bank
The only bank carrying out business at the CCFZ, to be informed that all their accounts will be terminated with that bank and therefore will no longer be able to trade with them. More on this news as it develops.

Power Interruption 8:00am to 10:00am, Tuesday, February 23, San Pedro
Portion between Pelican Reef Villas & Island Cottage Resort. Two 10 minute power interruptions, 8:00am to 8:10am & 9:50am to 10:00am will also affect portion between Atlantic Bank & Island Cottage Resort. BEL to energize new high voltage lines in area.

Rescued pelicans
It's all about the pelicans this time of year. Thanks to two reports from concerned Belizeans and two fabulous rescues by our capture experts Belize Animal Rescue, we took in two juveniles who both got on the wrong end of a catfish.

Channel 7

FFB Pres. Vicente Holds On, Under Heavy Fire
He's under heavy fire from within, but tonight Ruperto Vincente is still holding on as President of the FFB. Last night, we told you about the bold attempt by three members of the executive committee to suspend their own president. Senior Vice President Sergio Chuc, and executive members Marlon Kuylen and Cruz Gamez used their majority to pass a motion to suspend Vicente. That's after they forced a meeting, which General secretary Michael Blease and Vicente tried to block, because the main item on the agenda was the suspension of Vicente. But they couldn't block it, and that resolution was passed in the afternoon, but coming unto evening, President Vicente, refusing to accept his suspension, called a meeting with a number of the FFB Congress Members. The FFB Congress is the highest decision-making body of football in Belize, and after this impromptu meeting, it was decided that the suspension would be put on hold until a legal interpretation from FIFA and CONCACAF was forthcoming.

The War Of Words: Ruperto Vs. The Rebels
So, right now, the FFB is in a precarious situation, and the president is waiting to see if his suspension stands. The other 3 executive committee members are holding their ground; they say Vicente is bad for football and he has to go. All this is unfolding just 6 weeks before elections are due for the entire FFB executive. But, now, this fight - brewing for months behind closed doors - has erupted into public view. The main complaint that the Chuc, Kuylen and Gamez have against their President is that he has been making unilateral decisions, without consultation, and sometimes even after they've counseled him against a policy direction. Next, they complain that he has given General Secretary Michael Blease too much authority to make decisions that only the president ought to be able to make. Finally, they're accusing Vicente of rigging the district elections in his favor, to ensure his re-election in April. Now, that's a heavy charge to lay against Vicente, after all he was elected a platform of transparency and accountability. Not only that, but the man he replaced, Dr. Bertie Chimilio was accused of doing the same thing!

Brooks Tropical, You Dropped The Bomb On We
Tonight the Corozal District is shaken after Fruta Bomba IN SAN JOAQUIN laid off half its staff in a single swoop today. According to the Ministry of Labour, 123 employees were laid off today. A number of them have complained to the media about what they feel is a pittance they are receiving in compensation after years of work. The Ministry says it is giving advice to a number of employees, and it is working closely with management to ensure that the legal requirements under redundancy are bring met, while primarily making sure that the wages and benefits due to all employees are paid. Of course, that is cold comfort to the 251 persons who will be laid off as the company closes down its Belize operation and moves out to the Dominican Republic.

BBS Requisitions Unlabeled Rice
Earlier in the week we told you how the Bureau of Standards had brought down the hammer on 30 grocery stores that were price gouging on rice, sugar, and flour. Well the Bureau is not only cracking down on retail, they're going straight to the producer! And The Bureau says it's because the rice producers have not met labeling standards. These new labeling requirements go all the way back to this time last year when Jack Charles first threatened to bring in Guyanese rice because local rice was too expensive at 1.20 a pound. The local producers blamed it on price gouging grocers, so the Bureau of Standards came up with a solution: the producers would label the rice by pound and price - so that when it reached the shelf, it would leave nothing to the discretion of the merchants. In other words, they would no longer be able to sell loose rice for their price; they would have to sell it for the price on the pre-labelled bag.

Circle R to Charles: Hit The Road, Jack
And another rice producer, Circle R Products today sent out a press release thanking importer Jack Charles for certifying their rice as "excellent." Now, we know Charles was trying to prove that locally produced rice was tainted with afla toxins. The test he got done showed that there were two micrograms of aflatoxins per kilogram. But according to Circle R, this proves the opposite. A release issued today says, quote, "we are pleased to note that EUROFINS Lab has described the results of these tests on our Belizean produced rice as 'excellent'." Circle R produces 'RUBY RICE', 'JADE RICE' AND 'PREMIUM RICE FOR KIDS'

Man Will Stand Trial For Sex With Child
A 27 year old man will stand trial for unlawful carnal knowledge with a 9 year old girl. Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith today found that Daniel Rios should face trial in the April session of the Supreme Court. Rios a resident of #276 Star Fish Crescent, Belama Phase 1 is accused of having sex with the child in April of 2015. Police are relying on statements from 9 persons including the minor and her mother. Rios remains in custody at the Hattieville Prison. His attorney, Richard "Dickie" Bradley who was not present for the hearing, and did not challenge the police evidence at this stage. Rios remains on remand.

Red Light Lobster
The Belize Coast Guard, while doing one of their regular patrols in Turneffe near Crayfish Caye came upon a vessel that was harvesting illegal out of season lobster tails. They were busted with quite a substantial amount- 243 lobster tails to be exact. Authorities say that the three men on the vessel- George Marin, 53, Angel Tun, 24, and Raymond Petzul, 30- were spotted throwing lobster traps overboard. Coast Guard personnel asked for their fishing licenses but the captain of the fishing vessel said he had his license back at their camp- the place where they were hoarding their illegal catch. Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis told us more. Lt. Gregory Soberanis, First Fleet Commander: "Upon reaching the fishing camp, a search was conducted at the camp where the Coast Guard team discovered hidden among the lobster pots a white ice box containing 243 lobster tails and a parrot fish or a grazer. Our team knew exactly that at that moment that the products were illegal as you know lobster season is closed and that the harvesting of the parrot fish in itself an illegal activity. They called Coast Guard headquarters and they were instructed to bring the individuals and the products to mainland where they were handed over to the Fisheries Department for prosecution." Hampton Gamboa, Fisheries Dept.: "They were charged for possession of lobster during the close season and it was 243 lobster that they were found with. They were fined and penalized by the magistrate for the possession during the close season."

Belize Bar Assoc: "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
Attorneys from the Belize Bar Association today held an all-day conference at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel. It's an annual event where the bar comes together and choose one topic to educate themselves on. This time around, they chose the Belize Guatemala Territorial Claim, and they called all the experts to make weighty presentations on the different aspects of this topic. We asked with the President why Belize-Guatemala: Jacqueline Marshalleck, Pres. Bar Association of Belize: "The conference is essentially to educate attorneys on the issue of the Belize/Guatemala dispute. I think there is an assumption because we are attorneys we are all comfortable and knowledgeable on international laws and the details of this dispute. There is an expectation I do believe by the public, since the dispute touches on legal affairs, that we will be able to advocate and explain and I think that that a fair expectation of us as an association and as advocates. But in order to do that properly we need to have that information and we need to be properly educated ourselves, so that when we go out to assist perhaps in explaining or educating things to the general public, to our family, to our friends - that we make sure we don't provide wrong information or we miscommunicate something. Because we are picking it up from sources or places that may not necessarily be proper. So the idea is to put our attorneys in a position where they have access to persons who know about this topic in detail and in depth and hopefully they will learn from this experience and then be able to assist others."

Youths For Change
Today the Department of Youth Services held a youth parade that moved off from in front of the St. Johns College Campus at Princess Margaret's Drive and closed off with a youth rally at Battlefield Park on Albert Street. The purpose of the rally was to kick-start the events leading up to the election of the National Youth Council. District Elections will be held in all 6 districts on February 29 to elect their respective District committee members. Today we caught up with the Belize District Delegation as they got their pep on. Shawn Saldano, PR Officer - Dept. of Youth: "Today is the rally for the endorsement of the national youth council that is a long overdue process that the government of Belize has been trying to push off a long time ago. It is finally here. The election is on February 29th where the youth representative who have been nominated will be elected into office for the varied different positions of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and public relations officer. Today the rally is important because it is the hype, it is the highlight of gathering youth leaders to finally be involved in decision making, to finally be involved in the process of making whatever differences it means to ensure that our youth population is well represented and well impacted."

Finest Footballing Youths
This evening, High School football teams from across the country finished up their day 1 matches in the national finals. They're trying to advance to the final round tomorrow. We spoke with the President of the National Secondary School Sports Association about those schools who made it this far: We'll tell you on Monday's newscast which male and female teams emerged victorious.

Costa Ricans for Cross Country
Tomorrow for the first time Belize will be hosting the annual Central American Cross Country Championships- a tournament sponsored by the Central American Track and Field Organization, CADICA. 7 countries will participate including Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize. Today we caught up with the delegation from Costa Rica when they arrived at the international airport. They brought 10 athletes with them- 5 males and 5 females and spoke to us about their expectations for the championship and their will to win. This is the 10th annual championship but this is the first that is being held in Belize. The games start at 9:00 tomorrow morning at the Roaring River Gulf Course in Roaring Creek Village. The tournament will feature 5 different categories. Belize will be participating in 4 of the categories with a total of 11 athletes on the roster.

Computers To End Violence Against Women
Today the United Nations Population Fund donated laptops and computers to assist with the prevention of violence against women. Now equipment isn't the first thing that comes to mind when addressing such an important national issue. Today we spoke with a representative from the Ministry of Human Development and the Ministry of health and they explained how this donation will be used for this cause. Sheila Rosel, Director Representative, UNFPA: "Our role is very crucial and very significant. UNFPA is very pleased to be partnering with the various ministries including the Ministry of Human Development, Social and Poverty Alleviation, The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Security and some other development agencies to implement the BA1 Project for the prevention of violence against women in Belize. We are very excited about this handover ceremony and to be handing over these very useful equipment to the various partners in order to strengthen the capacity of their ministries in the area of data management for the prevention of violence against women. We are very confident that these equipment are going to be used in a very useful way so that we can do more for the prevention of violence in Belize. Violence against women is something that can be prevented. I know the commitment is there. Belize have put in place measures like legislation. They also have support services. But we cannot just accept those and be too complacent with what we have. We have to do a lot more and I know that equipment that have been provided today to these ministries will be very useful."

Channel 5

Embattled F.F.B. President Addresses Charges Made Against Him
The Football Federation of Belize is deeply divided tonight and its president Ruperto Vicente is under threat from his own executive. On Thursday night in Belmopan, three executive members made [...]

Ruperto Vicente Says Disgruntled F.F.B. Executives are Free to Step Down
While F.F.B. President Ruperto Vicente is preparing to run against members of his existing administration, the trio of executives opposing his presidency maintains that it is the final opportunity to [...]

Fruta Bomba Winds Down Quicker than Initially Expected
Lay-offs at Fruta Bomba and Belize Food Packers Limited are taking place up north. The companies which are located in San Joaquin Village and Corozal Town will be letting go, [...]

Bureau of Standards Comes Down Hard on Rice Producer in the North
There is a development tonight in the rice industry, which does not have to do with importer Jack Charles. The Belize Bureau of Standards says it has served what is [...]

Annual Law Conference takes on Border Dispute
Today, members of the Bar and the Bench gathered at the Belize Biltmore Plaza for a forum of sorts. It was dubbed a law conference, but the focus wasn’t law, [...]

Why is there a Serious Backlog in the Justice System?
There is a critical backlog in the justice system and while it’s nothing new, it seems to be getting much worse. It has become commonplace for accused criminals to spend [...]

Bar President Comments on Formation of Another Legal Fraternity
In September 2014 Government moved legislation to amend the Legal Profession Act. That legislation removed mandatory membership in the Bar Association and paved the way for attorneys to form or [...]

Missing Caledonia Resident Luis Alcoser Resurfaces
A resident from the village of Caledonia, Corozal went missing on the morning of January fifth, 2016. His vehicle, a KIA Sportage, was found abandoned off the main highway near [...]

Accused Rapist Daniel Rios Remains in Custody
Tonight, twenty-seven year old Daniel Rios, who is being accused of raping a nine year old child remains in custody at the Belize Central Prison. A preliminary inquiry has determined [...]

Coastguard Busts Trio of Fishermen with Illegal Lobster Tails
While on patrol on Crayfish Caye, Turneffe atoll, the Belize Coastguard made a bust this morning for the Fisheries Department. Three men from Belama Phase Two, Belize City were found [...]

Has Belize Lost Grounds in the Sarstoon?
In the past year there has been a perceived escalation in hostilities between Belize and Guatemala. That perception gained wings when thirty-seven Belizeans were basically kidnapped by Guatemalan military in [...]

News Five to Attend Media Workshop in Barbados
Reporter Duane Moody and I are among a group of regional media personnel who will be participating in a Media Law Workshop to be held in Barbados which is funded [...]

Alcaldes Convene to Discuss Appointment of Toledo Land Rights Commission
The Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission was named a few weeks ago.  The breadth of its work is the implementation of a Consent Order by the Caribbean Court of Justice.  [...]

D.P.P. to Proceed with Prosecution Santa Cruz 13
Also discussed during today’s gathering was the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision to proceed with legal action against the Santa Cruz Thirteen.  They were arrested and detained last year for [...]

High School Students March in the Name of Drug Education
Today, students of Nazarene High School culminated a week of drug education with a march through Belize City streets and a rally. It was an intensive session in which the [...]

LOVE FM

Over 100 Papaya Workers Sent Home Today
The last we told you of the situation up north with Fruta Bomba and Belize Food Packers Limited was that they were making plans to close down the papaya factory operations and that it would leave many workers out of a job. Today, the ministry of Labour issued a press release on the matter advising […]

Belize/Guatemala Differendum: When and How Do We Draw the Lines?
An all day session was held at the Belize Biltmmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City wher ninety legal minds were catered for. It was a conference that saw presentations on the Belize Guatemala Differendum as they discuss when and how do we draw the lines. The conference was organized by the Belize Bar Association with […]

Former Negotiator Says Things are Getting Worst With the Belize/Guatemala Issue
As we mentioned today’s conference hosted by the Belize Bar Association, the issue of the territorial differendum was the topic at hand. It is an issue that has been going on for generations and for many, it is one that has been taken for granted with the mentality that it will just go on and […]

Vicente vs FFB Executives
Three executives of the Football Federation of Belize namely Marlon Kuylen, Cruz Gamez and Senior Vice President Sergio Chuc want the President Ruperto Vicente suspended from his position. A meeting was called yesterday evening at the FFB’s Headquarters where the executive voted on suspending Vicente. However, following that decision, a second meeting got underway and […]

Vicente Says It’s Not About Football But Power
Ruperto Vicente believes this goes beyond football. He says that the three executives want him out of the way so they can do what they want with the federation. Vicente says the trio is out to get rid of him so that he will not be able to contest the next elections. However, Marlon Kuylen […]

Football President Receives Death Threats
While the three executives want to get rid of Ruperto Vicente by suspending him from the Football Federation of Belize, there is someone else to wants to get rid of him permanently. Vicente told Love News that he has been receiving death threats.

Circle R Promises Continued Production of Quality Rice
Some weeks ago when the rice saga had begun with the Guyanese rice coming on the local market and the Belize Agricultural Health Authorityy, the media had been reporting on the matter with interviews from the importer, the local authorities and the attorney for the local rice producers. What we had not gotten was a […]

Lobster Bust on Cray Fish Caye
Last week we told you of the lobster season being closed and the Fisheries Department did issue a notice to the fishers,stressing the importance of being compliant with the regulations. Despite that warning, a group of threefishermen were busted today by the Belize Coast Guard just after nine o’clock on Cray Fish Caye. Gregory Soberanis […]

Workshop for Fishers in Southern Belize
A number of fishers are meeting to discuss their participation within the industry. We hear more in this report from correspondent Harry Arzu.

CARICOM 27th heads of Government meeting comes to an end
The 27th Intercessional Meetings for the Caribbean Community concluded on Wednesday in Placencia with a plan of action drafted on several issues, the main topic was correspondent banking. In the closing press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke on what was decided. On correspondent banking we agreed to the appointment of a high level advocacy […]

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DJ Busch charged in brutal beating of friend at wake
Popular disc jockey James “DJ Busch” Busch has been charged with dangerous harm after apparently assaulting a good friend at a wake for a late mutual friend of theirs, Ian Blair. According to 35 year old Marlon Chavez, on January 29, the man he considered to be as close to him as a brother left him ...

Court delays sentencing of Estella Gonzalez
Last week 64 year old naturalized Belizean from Honduras, Estella Gonzalez, was found guilty by a jury of trafficking in persons. She brought a 15 year old to work in Belize in her George Price Highway bar, not in her field of cosmetology, but in sexually servicing men at the bar for a pittance. Tod...

How to get more babies registered at birth
After the miracle of birth, the niceties of Belizean law must be observed: all live births, including stillborns, must be registered where ever the child is born. While most parents – 94 percent according to statistics – adhere to the law, some are not able to because of circumstances. T...

Health Ministry continues to fight dengue and Chik-V
The terrible trio of viral diseases spread by the Aedes mosquito – dengue, chikungunya and Zika – are occupying the headlines at the moment. But in the case of the former two, their presence has not been as severe as expected. Last year it was chikungunya or Chik-V that dominated the hea...

FFB election woes
There are rumblings in the Football Federation of Belize ,rumblings reminiscent of the last days of the former FFB president Bertie Chimillo. We understand that later this month, elections are to be held for district Football Association and next month these district committees will be voting for th...

Bureau of Standards cracks down on price gouging
The Belize Bureau of standards has reported that there are quite a number of stores price gouging on rice and sugar following the new controlled prices on those products implemented end of December, 2015. The Bureau says its officers have so far checked 150 stores countrywide and found 30 of them t...

Meet and greet in Teakettle
Police continued their meet and greet sessions today, an initiative taking place in various parts of the country. It is an attempt to have residents of various communities to get to know the police officers in their areas and to also talk with the police about issues affecting their communities. Su...

The Guardian

CARICOM Leaders tackle financial problem
By now, Belizeans may be very familiar with the current threat to the economy caused by the loss of correspondent banking relationships between local banks and the Tier 1 American Banks. Readers may be aware that this issue is one that the entire Caribbean Community faces collectively. That’s abecause these large banks do not view the business it does with the Caribbean Countries as beneficial to offset the risk of running afoul of the stricter enforcement of global regulatory standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. That was a major topic discussed at the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which was held in Placencia. CARICOM which is being chaired in the interim by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, has come up with a comprehensive and exhaustive plan to try to address it, since member states like Montserrat are in trouble of being de-linked from the global financial network. Prime Minister Barrow, and Secretary General Irwin LaRocque discussed that action plan perfected over the 3-day discussion with the other Prime Ministers of CARICOM. First of All, there will be a high-level advocacy group to be led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne. He was appointed as the Chair of the Finance Ministers’ Committee, which set up earlier before the meeting. They will be charged with the responsibility of representing the interests of the Caribbean Region on this issue. That will include an approach to the United Nations and the World Trade Organizations, and the financial regulators in the United States, as well as the leaders of the United States Congress. This team will work to sensitize these organizations and authorities on the very real threat that de-risking poses to CARICOM because these US banks are terminating their correspondent banking relations with the indigenous banks of the Caribbean.

Belize chairs Caricom Heads of Government meeting
Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his fellow Government officials have conducted a very exhaustive and diligent leadership of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. This meeting, was held on the Placencia Peninsula, where 15 Caribbean Leaders flew into Belize to meet with their peers to discuss a number of issues facing the Caribbean Community as a collective. The meeting started on Monday, February 15, and ended officially on Wednesday, February 17. These Prime Ministers were anxious to get started, and among the agenda items included the loss of correspondent banking relationships that the Caribbean Banks have been facing since the American Bankers have been de-risking, the possible threat of the Zika Virus which has left the Caribbean mostly untouched, the issue of crime and security, Climate Change, and a few others.

Marijuana de-penalization coming!
At the end of January a white paper was presented to Cabinet for its consideration at the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana. The issue has been looked at and in preliminary fashion Cabinet has decided that amendments be made to the criminal code to deal with persons who are caught with 10 grams or less of the drug. According to Minister of National Security, who has had reservations about the entire issue, Cabinet received the paper three weeks ago. It was reviewed and sent to the Attorney General’s office for changes to the laws to accommodate the move. While Cabinet has asked for amendments to the law, Minister Saldivar explained to the Guardian that the recommendations are not necessarily for the decriminalization of Marijuana, rather he deems it as de-penalization. In broad terms the Cabinet has recommended that anyone who has been caught with 10 grams or less be fined and no prison term be attached when found guilty of that amount. Additionally convictions of these amounts would not form part of the person’s criminal record.

Bad mouthing cost millions
It seems like these PUP operatives a.k.a. Chicken Littles or Blue-concas are set on opposing just for the sake of opposing. Maybe the reason for their behavior is because they have been in opposition for such a long time, that now opposing comes so natural for them. About three weeks ago, news surfaced that the Social Security Board was looking favorably towards granting a loan that had been requested of them by Santander, the company that is about to open a sugar manufacturing operation in the western part of the country. Those PUP naysayers or as some people refer to them as BLUE-CONCAS went on an all out offensive to badmouth the SSB and by extension the government. The granting of SSB loans under a UDP administration unlike under a PUP administration is not about a handshake and any old piece of paper that is only fit to line a birdcage. The SSB under the UDP does it’s DUE DILIGENCE through it’s Investment Committee. After that due diligence is done that report goes before the Board of Directors of the SSB. If the report from the investment committee is negative then the board does not proceed with the loan or whatever sort of investment is before them. However if the report is positive then the board may agree in principle and go on to the next step and make it known to the general public and ask for comments and input as per the SSB Act. It is only after that period is completed that the board finally decides based on all the information before them, if they will or will not proceed with the granting of that loan or making that investment.

Opening Statement by the Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize At the Opening Ceremony For the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
It is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you to our country and to the Placencia peninsula. We think this an idyllic spot. The Maya mountains, part of their world-famous eponymous Biosphere, are in back of us; and to the front is our Caribbean Sea, shared patrimony of CARICOM and SICA and emblematic of the proud duality that Belize is heir to. I hope that the legacy features of these surroundings will act as aid and inspiration to our deliberations. And very important deliberations they are. For while that is always the case whenever we meet, I may be forgiven for thinking, and hope to make clear, that our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time. Let me therefore begin by considering the general economic climate in which we currently find ourselves. There has been a failure of the world economy to recover properly from the shock of the financial crisis that began in the last part of the first decade of this new century. That failure, for the majority of us in CARICOM, has meant slow growth, increasing difficulties with our public finances, and tremendous strains on our capacity to satisfy the life-improvement aspirations of our people. And it is worth noting that even in the few countries that have shown substantial enough expansion, much of the net effect has been depreciated by population increases. On the bright side, though, there appears to be what we hope will be a sustained resurgence in our region’s all-important tourism industry. This would be a welcome offset to the continued volatility in our commodities sector.

How did American Boy Scout drown in shallow water?
How does a Boy Scout, who is considered to be a good swimmer, drown in front of 31 schoolmates and nine adult chaperones and no one notices? That is the question on the mind of Tomari Jackson’s mother. Freshman student of North Cobb High School, 14-year-old Tomari Aliijah Jackson, was to have the time of his life on a week long mission trip to Belize with 31 other schoolmates. The well loved talented flute player of the school’s freshman band arrived in Belize on Saturday, February 13, and headed west to the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary where the team would have spent five days on a field trip. Plans were also in place to celebrate Tomari’s 15th birthday on Monday, February 15. Unfortunately, the trip went tragically wrong just hours after the students landed in Belize. Soon after they arrived at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary the students went for a swim in the Sibun River at Tiger Sandy Bay. Mathew Miller, Managing Director of the Sanctuary, said there were three tour guides along with the six chaperones to watch the children. “It is a known bathing spot, Miller said, “It’s a shallow area; there is not a strong current; it’s even a little back eddy where there is calm water. Tomari was swimming with his Go Pro camera, his swimming goggles, his grey shirt and his blue shorts—going under and coming up.”

Training for better administration of City and Town councils
The Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association conducted a one day training workshop entitled: Enhancing QuickBooks Usage on February 17, 2016 at the Central Information and Technology Office (CITO) in Belmopan. This training was aimed at enhancing the municipal accounts management capacity of all the Town and City Councils (TCCs) through the use of the QuickBooks Accounting Program, with the aim of improving the kinds and quality of information provided to the Councils for policy and decision making. The participants that took part in the training were: Administrators, Accountants/Financial Officers, Account Clerks and Revenue Managers. The series of topics that were discussed included: Posting and Managing Transactions, Posting and Managing Budget Estimates, Balance Sheet Reporting. Following this training, participants should have acquired the skills of being able to properly post and manage asset values, budget estimates and other accounting data in QuickBooks. They will also be able to create balance sheet reports to accurately reflect the assets and liabilities of Councils, keep track of the performance of accounts receivable and payable and profit & loss budget performance reports

The ongoing battle against Antibiotic Resistance in Belize
Two weeks ago a mission from the Ohio State University visited Belize to sensitize the Ministers and Chief Executive Officers in both the Ministry of Health and Agriculture on antibiotic resistance as part of a two year project to do the same in the Caribbean. This is as a result of international reports that bacteria in both China and Britain have developed resistance to a last resort antibiotic, Colistin. What makes this resistance to antibiotics concerning is that the resistance has been transferred easily between bacteria as a result of a new mutation. The development of antibiotic resistance is not new. While antibiotics have revolutionized medicine, resistant strains in bacteria have always been developing against the wonder drugs. For example, Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, and in 1940 several years before the introduction of penicillin as a therapeutic, a bacterial penicillinase was identified. This showed that once an antibiotic was used widely, resistant strains capable of inactivating the drug became more pronounced. In another case of the antibiotic resistance, streptomycin, introduced in 1944 for the treatment of tuberculosis, mutant strains of Mycobaterium tuberculosis arose during patient treatment. Today, tuberculosis has evolved within the human race and currently infects one third of the World’s population, despite the development of streptomycin and isoniazid antibiotics; as bacteriological resistance to antibiotics has developed rapidly. In Belize part of the difficulty has been to pinpoint all the antibiotics that the private sector imports. Also, the fact remains that several of the antibiotics that are being used for humans can also be used for animals, which introduces new variables in the discourse of antibiotic resistance.

Medical clinic to open soon in Cayo Central
The Santa Elena Health Clinic in the Cayo District is in its final stages of development and will be opened soon. As this is occurring, the Hon. Rene Montero, Representative for the Cayo Central Division is hard at work securing partnerships with international specialists. When completed the new Health Center will serve the entire constituency of Cayo Central and will be fully staffed 24 hours a day. The Clinic in Santa Elena is in a centralized location, easily accessible by the local population. Hon. Rene Montero along with Hon. Pablo Marin and CEO in the Ministry of Health Dr. Ramon Figueroa conducted a walk-through at what is to be the new Santa Elena Health Center on Tuesday of this week. At this occasion, the Hon. Pablo Marin committed to assisting with equipment and staff for the facility to be fully operational.

Let’s take “A Walk Through Dangriga”
Monday February 15 marked a historic milestone in the rich and colorful history of Culture Capital, Dangriga. ‘A Walk Through Dangriga’, a pictorial history of Dangriga past and present was launched at the BTL Princess Royal Park. This is the third such publication in the ‘Walk Through’ series; two previous publications were ‘A Walk Through Belize City’ and ‘A Walk Through San Ignacio’. It is hoped that this publication will be utilized by students and tour guides in Dangriga and the wider Belizean community and diaspora. The 46 page publication is packed full of pictures and the history of Dangriga. This would be an ideal book for any household as well as a great addition to your coffee table. A Walk Through Dangriga was authored by Dangriga’s very own, His Lordship, Mayor Francis Humphreys, one of Belize’s preeminent historians and Co-Authored by up and coming historian and another one of Dangriga’s very own, Miss Ifasina Efunyemi. The launching date of this book, February 15th, is noteworthy because in 1895, February 15th, Dangriga was officially named a town. So the launching marked Dangriga’s Birthday.

Derisking - “The Greatest Danger”
What laws did we contravene? What regulations are we about to break? Those are the questions of the day! H.E. Dr. Patrick Antoine, Chief Finance Advisor - Govt. of Grenada: “The de-risking phenomenon is perhaps the greatest danger to our economic prospects at this time…We need to put the onus on the United States to tell us what regulations will transgress or what regulation, it appears that we are going to transgress. And then they have an obligation to tell us how are they purporting that these limitations accrued and I think that is one of the things we need to do.” Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Interim Chair, CARICOM: “Under pressure from their regulatory authorities in Europe and especially the US, banks in those jurisdictions have been closing their correspondent relationships with our indigenous financial institutions. This deprives our banks of the ability to keep US deposits, do wire transfers, facilitate credit card settlements for their local clients and our economy. The implications of this for our international trade, for our remittances, for our structures of production, consumption and investment, are so obvious as to require little further elaboration. It is therefore no hyperbole to say that, especially in an environment where the value of our imports and exports taken together equals or exceeds our GDP, any attenuation, not to say complete cutoff, respecting our trade and remittance flows, constitutes a clear, present and compendious danger…Surely our respective country banks can get together across jurisdictions and as a block, approach target banks in the US for pooled correspondence services. That way we should be able to leverage the critical mass needed to make our business volume worthwhile in terms of the risk reward equation.”

Tour of Belize City Flood Mitigation Project sites
The 21 million dollar Belize City Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project is almost complete and members of the press were guided on a tour by the project managers on Tuesday, February 16. Rolando Chan, Project Manager, led a tour to several sites across the city to assure the public that the city’s signature drainage project will be completed far ahead of the Inter-American Development Bank’s November 2016 deadline. In November 2011, the Government of Belize and the Inter-American Development Bank signed onto an agreement for a loan of US$10 million for a flood alleviation and mitigation project for Belize City. As part of the agreement, the Government of Belize provided $1.5 million in counterpart funding. The project consists of three main components to be implemented over a period of five years. The first component is Engineering and Administration. This includes the establishing of an Execution Unit along with Operational Expenses. The second component is divided in two sub components which are First Year of Civil Works and Second Year of Civil Works; First Year of Civil Works is further divided into outputs such as street improvements, canal construction and upgrading of Albert Hoy and D’Nest Inn Parks. Component Three is for Institutional Strengthening with a focus on developing a maintenance system for the Belize City Council and a look at Geographic Information System among others.

Civic Pride not dead in ‘Griga - The birth of a beach!
What are the chances of going from an average 2 – 3 feet unkempt area consisting of wild onions, thorns and other shrubbery to a full-fledged beach in just a matter of one month? You would probably believe that story if you would personally witness the hard work involved. As people, we often sit and see the potential of some great things and perhaps think about it; however that’s where it all ends – as a thought. That was not the case with private citizen Clarence Sarawl. He needed somewhere to swim and “chillax” as he put it, but couldn’t find an appropriate place to do so. He thought about it, picked up a machete, a hoe and a rake and proceeded to clear a 10 by 10 chill spot space for himself. Little did he know, that thought would quickly be transformed from a 10 by 10 space to a full scale task of creating and building a beach.With community involvement and assistance, the Dangriga Wahima Beach Restoration Project under the auspices of the Brothers and Sisters Keepers Organization was born. Wahima Beach, is now a community empowerment initiative in partnership with the Dangriga Town Council. The initiative burned like a wild pine ridge fire. Two newly formed organizations have now taken on the task of doing their own beach cleaning, one on the Northside and the other on the Southside of Dangriga. Clarence Joseph Castillo who now prefers to be called Sarawl (meaning awaken in Garifuna) returned home in 2011 with several nonprofit initiatives on his mind. The one that burned brighter was to have the beach, a stone’s throw from his old Dangriga neighborhood, revitalized. He told the Guardian, "It was my intent to have this area serve as recreational grounds for both children and adults and it seems to be doing that and more." Wahima beach is located on the northernmost end of Front Street. Sarawl and his band of volunteers consisting of several Grigalizeans, American and Canadian ex patriots and Belizean-American retirees could be seen daily with their garden tools, hard at work maintaining the beach.

Bad press forces Santander to withdraw SSB loan request
At a press conference called by the Santander Group, Andres Ayau, Chief Financial Officer for the company announced on Friday February 12, that it would not take a 12 million dollar loan from the Social Security Board. At the announcement Ayau stated: "It's sad enough to say that this issue was politicized and it's been a negative connotation and due to this negative media coverage we decided to actually use another lender, an international lender to cover that participation." The announcement ended a week's worth of speculation and badmouthing by a few public persons who preferred that SSB not make the investment which ultimately would have earned the board an 8 percent return on investment in the first two years of the loan and 7 percent thereafter on the 10 year loan. Santander had approached the Social Security Board with the proposal in October of last year after a bank which had originally committed to the loan withdrew the commitment leaving Santander to look for another investor which they have since found. Ayau stated that, "We thought it would be a good thing to invite Social Security Board to participate... This loan offers a return of 7% which is more than twice what you are currently getting and exceeds inflation cost which are not being covered by the current returns you are getting." That is now a lost opportunity but Santander is not yet giving up on the possibility that the SSB invest in its operations. Ayau says that "We would like to leave the door open for Social Security Board and we are announcing here that we are doing and additional investment around this project for expansion of the factory and the sugarcane fields of 15 million US dollars and we continue our invitation to Social Security to participate in that's transaction.

Lady of the night killed in San Pedro
San Pedro police are investigating the murder of 23 year old Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios who was killed on Tuesday morning. Police were called out to the Basil Parish Apartment Complex in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro town sometime around 5:00a.m. on Tuesday February 16. There they found the 23 year old woman suffering from a cut wound to the left side of her neck. She was transported to the polyclinic at the island but died while undergoing treatment.

Phillip Bowen guilty of robbery and aggravated assault.
After being on remand at the Belize Central Prison for eight months, Phillip Bowen, 22, is now a full serving convict for the offense of robbery and aggravated assault. Bowen was convicted of hijacking Harry Holder’s Nissan taxi car and assaulting two police officers. In court Holder testified that on June 28, 2015, Bowen got into his taxi at Cinderella Plaza and asked to be taken to 88 Shopping Center on Central American Boulevard. Just as they were passing the Puma Freetown Gas Station, Bowen pulled out a gun, placed it at the back of his head and told him to stop the vehicle. Fearing for his life, Holder jumped out of the moving vehicle and ran to safety. Bowen then went with the vehicle. As he sped across the Belcan Bridge, PC Anson Simpson and PC Argazabad Sankey intercepted him at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Mahogany Street. Bowen refused to stop when told to do so by the officers and that led to a high speed chase. The taxi went up the boulevard and into Antelope Street Extension where the officers cornered him at a U turn area.

Belize Family Court sending baby Nina back to Guatemala
The Director of the Belize Family Court, Magistrate Dale Cayetano, ordered the Department of Human Services to return two-year-old Nina Perez to Guatemala in a ruling on Friday, February 12. Nina had been the subject of an international custody battle since November – she is our very own Elian Gonzalez. Two parents, one Belizean and the other Guatemalan, locked in a legal battle over who gets custody and guardianship of the child. The child’s Belizean mother, Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez, ran away from Guatemala with the child in October of 2015, allegedly escaping domestic abuse. She went to live with her family in Orange Walk but that refuge was short lived. Nina’s Guatemalan father, Ernesto Barrera, reported to authorities in his country that the baby was taken across the border without his permission. As a result, an international complaint went in to the Human Services Department and the child was removed from the mother’s care on Friday, November 13. Under a provision for “Emergency Care” in the Families and Children Act, the Department of Human Services took temporary custody of the child’s guardianship. Under this law, the Department has two days to approach the court to confirm the legality of this emergency protective care. That was done on Monday, November 16, and the Family Court granted the Department interim custody of the toddler under the substantive issue until rightful guardianship could be determined.

Darrell Mayen convicted of attempted murder
Darrell Mayen, 21, is awaiting his fate after he was convicted of attempted murder by Justice Troadio Gonzalez in a trial without jury on Friday, February 12. Mayen was accused of trying to kill Rafael Caceres, a 32-year-old tour guide, back in August of 2010. The incident occurred on August 21, 2010, at the corner of Woodpecker Street and Fabers Road. Caceres was shot at several times but only one shot caught him in the back. The bullet left him crippled for life but he survived. During the trial, Caceres testified that he had just left a Chinese shop and was heading home walking on Woodpecker Street when he realized that someone was behind him. When he looked back he saw Mayen pointing a gun at him from a distance of seven to eight feet. Caceres began to run and Mayen opened fire. As he tried to jump over a fence, Caceres said he felt a burning sensation and knew that he had been shot. He fell to the ground and while he was lying there Mayen stood over him and fired four more shots at him. Caceres was able to positively identify Mayen as his shooter that day.

American man killed in Punta Gorda
American national, 69 year old Thomas Paul Rackowski was attacked on Saturday night while he was at home and he has since died as a result. Punta Gorda Police report that on Saturday 13th February they responded to a call by a man who was in the Hopeville area of Punta Gorda Town. As a result of the call police visited the home of Rackowski where they found him suffering from stab wounds to the chest and neck area. With the assistance of paramedics Rackowski was taken to the Punta Gorda Hospital and was later transferred to the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga and then on to the Karl Heusner Memorial where he succumbed to his injuries at around 10:30p.m on Monday February 15. Before he passed away, Rackowski told police that sometime around 9:25p.m. on Saturday he was at home reading a book when three men forced their way into his home by prying open the screen door. One of the men then inflicted the injuries he suffered.

Sudden death in Benque Viejo
A man visiting Benque Viejo del Carmen has died suddenly while visiting family members. The incident continues to puzzle residents as to a preventable tragedy. A dead body was discovered at about 3:05 pm in a creek about 200 yards away from the Mopan River, in Benque Viejo on Friday of this past week. CIB personnel visited the scene where they noted that a male person wearing a black shirt and blue short pants was lying on his left side in the shallow water of the creek. The body was later identified to be that of 47 year old Fernando Melendez, a Belizean laborer of San Pedro Town. He appeared to have bruises on the left side and upper center of the head.

Vehicle robbed from police officer in Benque
A police man was robbed of his vehicle over the weekend in the Cayo District. Forty seven year old Police Officer Selvin Tillett of Lomos del Rodeo, Benque Viejo Town reported that on Sunday of this past weekend at about 11:10 am he was driving his son-in-law Sadani Harrison in a white 2014 Mazda BT-50 Pro with License Plate C-0311 when he lost the vehicle. Tillett said that he had parked the said vehicle in front of his home on Humble Street at Lomas Del Rodeo, in Benque Viejo Town, when two Hispanic men approached him. He had opened the door on his driver side when one of the males pointed a black 9 mm weapon at him and uttered in Spanish that he wanted the vehicle and that he was not playing. The robbers then drove off in the vehicle in the direction heading to Arenal Village. Police have made checks in Arenal Village, but it was fruitless, and it is now suspected that the vehicle was taken to Guatemala.

Juan Manuel Yapur wins Digicell Valentine’s Tour
The Cycling Federation of Belize in collaboration with Digicell, sponsored the Annual Digicell Valentine’s Tour, which commenced on Thursday 11 February and concluded on Sunday 14 February, 2016. At the end of four days of racing it was, Juan Manuel Yapur, a Mexican who rides for Team Yapurland, and no stranger to the cycling world in Belize, won the Digicell Valentine’s Tour with a cumulative time of 8:55:50. Joel Borland of Digicell 4G Elite Cycling Team took second place with a time of 8:55:59. Third place went to American Chris Harkey of TEAM Starlight with a time of 8:56:00. Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray Road Addikz finished in the fourth position with a time of 8:56:08 and he was followed by Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes who finished fifth with a time of 8:56:25 to round off the top five finishers in the Annual Digicell Valentine’s Tour. The other top finishers in the Digicell Valentine’s Tour includes Nissan Arana of Westrac Alliance with a time of 8:56:38 and he was followed by Robert Liam Stewart of Western Spirit Cycling Team with a time of 8:57:01, and he was followed by Tarique Flowers of Benny’s Megabytes Elite with a time of 8:57:01 and he was followed by Giovanni Lovell of Digicell 4G Elite Cycling Team with a time of 8:57:04 and he was followed by his team-mate Joel Vanegas with a time of 8:57:20 to round off the top ten riders in the tour.

Smart Belize Hurricanes extend winning streak to 5 games
The National Elite Basketball League of Belize competition continued over the weekend with a number of games played across the country. On Saturday 13 February, 2016, at the Bird’s Isle here in Belize City, the Smart Belize Hurricanes extended its winning streak to 5 games when it upended the Dangriga Warriors by the score of 70-61. The Smart Belize Hurricanes was led by Akeem Watters who scored 13 points, had 3 steals and 2 assists. He was able assisted by Brian White who contributed 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a winning effort, while Farron Louriano and Glency Lopez also contributed 11 points each. For the Dangriga Warriors, the top scorers were James Ewing with 15 points and 8 rebounds, Edgar Mitchell with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals and Lisbey Castillo who scored 12 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Meanwhile, out at the Independence High School Auditorium in Independence Village, the defending champions the San Pedro Tiger Sharks defeated the Independence Thunderbolt by the score of 75-41. The top scorers for the San Pedro Tiger Sharks were Caleb Sutton with 16 points and 6 rebounds, Ashton Edwards with 15 points from 5 three-points, and 3 rebounds and Gene Myvett with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Antigua to decide whether they want the CCJ or not
Readers of the Guardian newspaper know very well that Belize’s highest Court, where all appeals are final, is the Caribbean Court of Justice. It may be a distant memory but up until May 2010, the CCJ was not Belize’s final arbitration panel. That job was handled by the Privy Council, headquartered in London, England. That was part of the justice system which the country inherited when it got independence from the British, but right now, there are a number of CARICOM territories who still send final appeals to the Privy Council. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has declared that in his 6 months as interim chair of CARICOM, he intends to encourage those member states to take the steps to adopt the CCJ as their final court of appeal. One such nation which is on its way to doing so is Antigua and Barbuda. It’s CARICOM Ambassador, H.E. Dr. Clarence Henry, attended the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which was held on the Placencia Peninsula. Part of his mission was to update the CARICOM member states that Antigua and Barbuda has just established a National Coordinating Committee which is responsible for the preparation of the campaign toward the adoption of the CCJ as Antigua & Barbuda’s final arbitration panel.

CARICOM Heads discuss Zika
Belize remains free of the Zika Virus which has spread all around the Latin American Countries, and to 5 countries within the Caribbean. The Belizean authorities want to keep it that way, and the CARICOM Leaders want to curb the epidemic to make sure it does not get any worse. That was one of the topics discussed at Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which was chaired by Belize’s Prime Minister, Dean Barrow. Coming out of that 3-day meeting, the CARICOM Heads of Government endorsed a course of action to address the spread of Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue, which are all borne by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Since this mosquito is the vector for all of these illnesses, the plan by CARICOM is to reduce the amount of breeding sites it can have which would mean a direct decrease in new infections of these diseases. That course of action from CARICOM will include continuous public education campaigns; and actions to implement measures at the ports of entries of all the territories, and important buildings and edifices where large numbers of people gather daily, such as schools and factories. The plan here is to concentrate on their immediate environments, with activities like fogging to render possible breeding sites unsustainable for the mosquito.

CARICOM Secretary General hands over computer equipment for use by visually impaired persons
The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat Ambassador Irwin LaRocque visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 to officially unveil software, donated by the CARICOM Secretariat, for the visually-impaired. In 2015, the CARICOM Secretariat donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize National Library Service that would be available to the public. The Library located on Princess Margret Drive in Belize City was identified as the ideal location because of its proximity to several high schools, university and technical vocational institutions. It is also near to the Stella Maris School which caters to students with special needs. The two software programmes installed at the library are:

CITCO prepares for Zika Epidemic
Mayor Darrell Bradley, Councilors and staff of the Belize City Council took part in a sensitization workshop as part of their development of a Zika Preparedness Plan on Wednesday, February 17. Presentations were made by Dr. Javier Zuniga and Mr. Javier Alpuche of the Central Health Region. The expert consensus is that it is only a matter of time before the Zika virus is officially detected in Belize. Therefore, local governments across the country are developing their strategy to limit its spread in their communities. Dr. Zuniga presented on a background of Zika, the potential public health threat it poses and the epidemiological profile and regional situation. In a brief background briefing, Zuniga explained that the Zika Virus has been around for more than 60 years - it is named after the Zika Forest near Lake Victoria in Uganda, where it was first noticed in 1947 from a captive monkey. Since then, it has spread across Africa to Asia, Pacific Polynesia and now the Americas. It is only in the past year that scientists and health experts have become seriously worried about it. A massive outbreak that started last year in Brazil brought it sharply into focus because of emerging links to microcephaly - a congenital disorder that can shrink unborn babies' brains and heads and reduce life expectancy. Since April, the virus has spread quickly.

A call for action on Climate Change made in Belmopan
Where Belize’s Agricultural Sector has been considered to be of critical importance to National Development, especially food security, there has been a renewed interest on the implications that Climate Change will be having in the foreseeable future. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Environment and Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture IICA and the National Climate Change Office organized on Wednesday a National Agriculture Climate Change Forum at the George Price Centre in Belmopan. The focus of the forum was to move beyond a national adaptation strategy to address climate change and revisit the evidence and potential solutions with the overall objective of moving from the strategy to action and raising awareness among crops and livestock producers in Belize on the impacts of climate change and what can be done to build resiliency within the sector. Diana Ruiz, Science Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center CCCC based in Belmopan told the audience today that the temperatures in Belize will be increasing, there will be a decrease in rainfall and so will hurricanes as surface temperatures increase. As a result there will be implications for the health sector in terms of incidences of vector borne diseases. Diana Ruiz also informed that as a result of climate change, predictions on low rainfall will impact on sanitation, and sea level rise will lead to salt intrusion in San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Japan gives grant to Belize’s Cotton Industry
On Monday February 15, the Government of Japan granted $102,029.00 USD to the Cotton Industry in Belize. The contribution was made under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of the Government of Japan. The project was initiated by cotton farmers in Belize and is represented by Mr. Kensuke Inoue. With agriculture being one of Belize’s economic pillars the Government of Japan saw it fit to invest in the cotton industry since it provides jobs and development. In a release from the Japanese embassy it states that, “the Embassy of Japan wishes success of this project because the Sea Island Cotton is one of the most potential products to strengthen the relationship between Belize and Japan. Belize produces some of the best cotton in the world.

New or Old Johnny?
Following up on his appearance last week on the Love FM Radio and Television Morning Talkshow, the brand NEW/OLD People’s United Party Leader made his way over to Belmopan to the PUP Plus TV station for what appeared to have been a rehearsed interview conducted by the Preacher and the Drunk . The questions were not only weak but every so often it appeared as if it was the interviewee leading the discussion and not the other way around as it should have been. At times it appeared as if the PUP Leader was looking down and getting his cue from a card or something that appeared to have been hidden from the camera by a Coffee mug placed on the table. For the hour and a half that Johnny spoke he did not say anything that would convince us that the PUP he is leading will be any different from the one that was lead by Said or Francis. Johnny, it appears, is afraid to overturn the Apple-cart even while in opposition so how can we expect any different if he were ever the Prime Minister of this country. Was that not what he, the G-12 and G-7 before were all about? Did they not on those occasions suggest that they must get rid of the Cancer a.k.a. the Old guard that was plaguing the party for Donkey’s years? So why is he still willing to work with these same persons? Were these not the same persons he referred to as CROOKS or persons who made millions when last the party was in government?

Belizean law enforcement officers sharpen their anti corruption and leadership skills in New Mexico
A cadre of law enforcement officers, including 10 police officers and a magistrate are at Roswell New Mexico at the International Law Indictment Academy ( I.L.E.A.) participating in an anti-corruption and leadership training for 4 weeks. The course will run from February 1 to the 26th. While at the institution, the officers are being instructed by personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Department of Justice. During the course the participants visited with the U.S. State Department of Justice where they had an opportunity to meet with a judge who gave the Belizean law enforcement personnel an insigt on how the U.S. courts and judiciary functions. Participants of the course include Magistrate Patricia Arana; Sr. Superintendent Chester Williams; Superintendent, Bart Jones; Superintendent, Andrew Ramirez; Superintendent Daniel Arzu; Inspector, Egbert Castillo; Inspector, Daniel Iche; Sergeant, Santiago Patt; Sergeant ,Salmon Westby; Sergeant, Evan Lino; and Corporal, Lillian Lopez.

Belize City Council shows love for city residents at BTL Park’s 2nd anniversary
The new and improved BTL Park was rocking on Friday, February 12, for the 2nd anniversary of its opening. The upgraded social space opened on Valentines Day 2014 with a Duane Stephenson concert that was free to the public. The Council has since maintained a schedule of weekend events at the park and other public venues in an effort to encourage city residents to get out and access the facilities. This initiative has resulted in a revitalization of the city as families are once again establishing weekend traditions; community groups are going on outings right here in the city, and new friendships are being formed between individuals from various corners of the city. The BTL Park is now a central venue where the melting pot that is Belize is fully on display. It is for this reason, among many others, that the Belize City Council sees it fit to celebrate wholeheartedly the 2nd Anniversary of the New BTL Park. The star attraction for the celebration on Friday was Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist “Gyptian”. Over three thousand residents made it out to the park for the concert. Most of them were dressed in red on the occasion of Valentine’s Day and many were with their significant other. The entertainment was perfectly selected for the theme of the night, an old fashion love fest at the BTL Park.

Dr. Bernard Bulwer’s strong words for Jack Charles
It is very rare when members of the medical fraternity make public comments about their views on social disputes. However, Jack Charles’ rice war seems to be pushing everyone’s buttons and now one of Belize’s most respected medical experts has weighed in. In a post on his personal Facebook account dated February 15, 2016, Dr. Bernard Bulwer had some very strong words to the Belizean public about Jack Charles. In the post titled “OPEN LETTER TO MR. BELIZEAN RICE AFLATOXIN EXPERT”, Bulwer writes, “Dear Mr. conscientious, self-proclaimed philanthropist, public health and nutrition expert; your persistent, self-serving, Belizean rice-aflatoxin scaremongering is not in the best interest of the Belizean public. As a Belizean health professional, I feel a sense of responsibility to weigh in on this matter, and put things in perspective. My fellow Belizeans, the real threat to your health is not, and has never been rice aflatoxin-related (liver) disease. Our biggest food threat is our near wholesale abandonment of many healthy traditional food choices in exchange for the highly-processed foods found in supermarkets… The scientific and public health evidence is clear. Highly-processed foods and sweetened drinks, with their toxic trans-fats, artificial additives, and excess sugar are direct causes of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. These are the number 1 food-related killers in Belize.”

New ambulance and more working hours at Benque Viejo Polyclinic
Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin on Tuesday February 16 officially handed over the keys for a brand new ambulance for use at the Benque Viejo Polyclinic. The ambulance was handed over to Hon. Erwin Contreras, Area Representative for Cayo West and Mayor Heraldo Ramcharan. The ceremony was also used to officially launch new opening hours for the policlinic which will extend its opening hours from 8 hours a day to 12 hours during the week. It will also now be opening on Saturdays from 8a.m. until 1p.m. According to Mayor Ramcharan, the addition of the ambulance and opening hours is very much welcomed in the town as it will better serve those in need of medical attention.

WORDS OF LIFE
One of the blessings that Jesus pronounced during his teaching on the mountainside in Galilee has often been misunderstood. In Matthew chapter 5, verse 5, we read; "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth." Many people when they hear the word "meek" associate it with being weak or ineffective. However, the true definition of meekness is an attitude of humility towards God, and gentleness towards people. If someone has done wrong or offended us, then we are to deal with that person gently. There is no need to be aggressive. There is strength of character in remaining calm. The apostle Paul describes the character of good leaders in Galatians 5:22 & 23, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." These are the attributes we strive for. If we are meek, willing to suffer opposition for standing up for what is right and honorable, then we will "inherit the earth."

Retrial in BDF rape case due to prejudiced juror
A female soldier of the Belize Defense Force reported to authorithies that after a function at the Price Barracks Compound on the night of March 25, 2011, Lieutenant Ruhesi Elijio went to her room and forcibly had sex with her against her will. There was no witness to the crime so it is a case of her words against his. Elijio has been on interdiction since the allegations surfaced and the trial finally started almost five years later on Monday, February 15, 2016. However, the case came to a sudden hault on Wednesday, after the Jury Forelady informed the court that the jury was compromised. She explained to Justice Traodio Gonzalez that during the victim’s testimony on Monday a male juror leaned over and said, “I know she deh tell lies.” This kind of statement from a member of the jury selected to hear both sides of a case without prejudice could not be ignored by the court. Justice Gonzalez said the juror had formed his own opinion of the victim before she could conclude her testimony. Because of this, Justice Gonzalez discharged with nine member jury of six men and three women and ordered a retrial for the April session of the Supreme Court.

Four men on remand for gun found in a vehicle
Leith Bermudez, 21, Deshane Mena, 29, Anthony Robinson, 29, and Richard Flores, 38, are at the Belize Central prison on remand after they were found inside a vehicle with a firearm on Tuesday night. At around 8:25 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16, police intercepted a vehicle at the corner of Flamboyant and Mahogany Street with the four men inside. A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of a chrome .38 Smith and Wesson revolver with a wooden grip and five live rounds of .38 special S&B ammunition under a seat. All four men were arrested and charged with keeping a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. The men appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Wednesday, February 17. Robinson pleaded guilty to the charges expecting that the others would be released. However Prosecutor Christopher Smith told the court that the DPP would not withdraw the charges from the other men. With that, Robinson changed his guilty plea to not guilty and all four men were remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 18, 2016. The Chief Magistrate ordered that disclosure be given to the men by that date and set trial for May 11, 2016.

Joseph Lopez charged for attempted murder of teenager
Police say that Joseph Lopez, 20, is the man who tried to kill 17-year-old Tyrone Reyes on Friday night, February 12. Reyes was shot sometime around 8:05 on Friday night. He was walking on Boots Crescent, next to St. John Vianney Primary School, from the direction of Fabers Road and just as he was turning into Rivero Street Extension a man approached him from behind and fired several shots. Police in the area responded to the sound of gunshots and met Reyes lying on the street side with one gunshot wound to his upper back. He was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial for medical assistance. Reyes was admitted into ward and is listed as being in a stable condition. Quick police response led to an arrest shortly after the incident. Police arrested and charged Joseph Lopez with “Attempted Murder, Dangerous Harm and Use of Deadly Means of Harm”. Lopez was unrepresented when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Monday, February 15. No plea was taken from him since the charges are indictable offenses. Bail could not be granted either and Lopez was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on April 4.

Busted with weed and accused of biting a police officer
Tanisha Mckoy, 28, is out on bail after a police officer accused her of biting him while he conducted a search on her for drugs. According to Police Constable Cruz Garcia, while conducting a search on Mckoy on Thursday, February 11, she bit him on the finger. This did not hinder the officer; however, from finding marijuana in her possession. Mckoy was arrested and charged with drug possession and wounding. Mckoy appeared in court before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Friday, February 12. She pleaded not guilty to two criminal charges: possession of a controlled drug and wounding a police officer. She was unrepresented in court and there was no objection to bail by Prosecutor Kennard Clark. With that, Magistrate Rogers offered her bail in the sum of $800 plus one surety of the same amount which she met.

Patient steals from her doctor at KHMH
The mother of a new born baby boy is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after she was accused of theft by her doctor. Dr. Martha Habet reported to police that while working in the Emergency Room of the Karl Heusner Memorial on Wednesday, February, 10, she left her purse in the staff room and when she returned from duties her wallet was missing from the purse. A quick investigation was launched by hospital security officials who reviewed the surveillance camera. The footage showed Margarita Pech Noralez, 35, taking the wallet out of the purse. Noralez was apprehended by hospital officials and later handed over to police. On Monday, February 15, Noralez appeared in the Magistrates Court to answer to a single charge of theft. She explained to Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser that she went to the Karl Heusner Memorial to have stitches removed from a surgery that was recently conducted. When she was asked what she did with the doctor’s wallet, which has not yet been recovered by the police, she refused to answer the magistrate. When the charge was read, she pleaded not guilty.

Belize to host CADICA Championship on Saturday
The Belize Athletics Association informs the general public that the Association will be hosting the 10th Central American Cross Country Championship in Athletics. The championship is being sponsored by the Central American Track and Field Organisation (CADICA). The championship is scheduled for Saturday 20th February, 2016, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo District. It is anticipated that the championship will bring together some 125 cross country athletes and officials from all seven Central American countries. The championship will commence at 8:00 am with the 10Km run for both female and male runners in the Open Category. This will be followed at 9:00 am with the 8Km run in the U-20 male category and this will be followed by the 6Km run in the U-20 female category.

Police United maintains lead in Premier League Closing Season
The Premier League of Belize Closing Season 2016 continued over the last weekend with three games on the schedule. On Sunday 14 February, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the defending national football champions of Belize, Police United continued on its winning path when it edged out the visiting Placencia Assassins FC by the score of 4-3. The host team was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Kenroy Arthurs scored the 1st goal of the game in the 13th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. The lead was further extended when Byron Usher scored his team’s 2nd goal of the game in the 33rd minute of play for a 2-0 lead. Devon Makin then made it a 3-0 lead when he scored his team’s 3rd goal of the game in the 40th minute of play. The Placencia Assassins FC did not go down quietly and created a stir when Ashley Torres scored his team’s 1st goal of the game in the 41st minute of play to cut the deficit to 2 goals. Luis Torres then made it a 3-2 game when he was able to convert a penalty into a goal in the 43rd minute of play.

St. John’s College to host National High School Football championship
The National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) will be playing host to the National High Schools Football Championship at the MCC Grounds on Friday 19 February, 2016, and on Saturday 20 February. This year’s championship will be hosted by St. John’s College. The schools that have earned the right to represent their respective zones are from the Northern Region (female) Corozal Community College and in (male) San Pedro High School. From the Central Region (female) St. Catherine Academy and in (male) Anglican Cathedral College. From the Western Region in (female) Belmopan Comprehensive School and in (male) Sacred Heart College and from the Southern Region (female) Independence High School and in (male) Julian Cho Technical High School.

St. Catherine Academy and Anglican Cathedral College won Central Region High Schools Football competition
The 2015-2016 Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition came to an end on Wednesday 10 February, 2016, at the MCC Grounds with the second and final game played in both the female and male categories. In the female championship game, St. Catherine Academy waltzed through the competition with a perfect record when it blanked Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 1-0 to capture the championship. The only goal of the game was scored by Gabriella Mendoza. Meanwhile, in the male championship, Anglican Cathedral College upset the previously unbeaten Wesley College when it defeated them by the score of 1-0 in regulation time. In the first game of the championship series, Wesley College had defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 2-1. At the end of the second and final game in the series, the aggregate score was 2-2.

Wesley College girls lead in high school softball competition
The Central Region Secondary Schools Softball Competition continues at Rogers Stadium in both the female and male categories. On Tuesday 16 February, in the male competition played, St. John’s College defeated Wesley College by the score of 10-8. The winning pitcher was Alwayne Hendy and the losing pitcher was Alonzo Terry. On Saturday 13 February, in the female game played, Wesley College continued on its winning path when it defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 16-1. The winning pitcher was Shania Pook and the losing pitcher was Semaya Usher. In the male game played, Gwen Lizarraga High School defeated St. John’s College by the score of 9-3. The winning pitcher was Devonte Middleton and the losing pitcher was Alwayne Hendy.

The Reporter

Eamon Courtney and Assad Shoman talk about territorial claim and what GOB should do
Facilitators of Friday’s Bar Association workshop, Assad Shoman and Eamon Courtney gave their perspectives on the direction our territorial dispute with Guatemala should take and warn that the claim could be heading for the worst. Speaking on the issue, Shoman said that, on a whole […]

Bar Association holds workshop on Belize Territorial Issue
The Bar Association of Belize held a workshop discussing issues related to the Belize Territorial Claim at the Biltmore Plaza, Belize City on Friday. Jacqueline Marshalleck, president of the Bar Association, said that as the Guatemalan Claim has a diplomatic aspect, it also has a legal aspect […]

Japan invests more in Belize’s cotton industry
Belize’s budding Sea Island Cotton industry, as it is known, has received additional assistance from the Government of Japan. On Tuesday, Japan handed over two tractors worth $205,000 to ICA Belize, a local cotton growing company owned by Japanese-belizean businessman Kensuke Inoue, under the aegis of the […]

Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association conduct training
The Department of Local Government and the Belize Mayor’s Association conducted a training session this week in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye with the aim of improving managerial work at municipal councils. The training was specifically aimed at enhancing the municipal accounts management capacity system at […]

BIL reconfigures and takes new direction in 2016
The Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) is increasing its role in 2016, exploring engagement in different types of infrastructural developments apart from sporting facilities, which were its primary focus. Commissioned in 2012 to act as the executing agency on behalf of the government, BIL’s role and […]

Santander sugar company to begin operations in March, says CFO Ayau
After four years of due diligence, followed by construction and planting of sugarcane, the mill at the Santander Sugar Company in Valley of Peace, Cayo, will begin to crush cane as early as March, Santander Chief Financial Officer, Andres Ayau said. This will be a […]

Belize City’s Strike Team
The operational arm of southside Belize City, the police strike team established by Eastern Division South Commander, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, recently became fully functional. The team is tasked with carrying out operations in various sections of the city to prevent crime and violence. Created […]

Cinderalla Plaza Will Be Fixed – Someday!
Residents and users of the Cinderella Plaza area, including its intersections with Kelly Street and Baymen Avenue, have complained about the condition of the area for months. Who dropped the ball when it comes to repairing the mess left behind from the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project (FMIP) is debated by […]

Mother of drowned teen questions circumstances of son’s death
The mother of Tomari Jackson, the 14-year-old American who drowned in Belize on Saturday, is questioning the circumstances of the boy’s death. “Why wasn’t he missed until later, until after the fact?” Adell Forbes asked as she spoke with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The single mother […]

CitCo prepares for Zika
The Belize City Council this week held a sensitization workshop for its staff on the Zika virus, and the council’s role in the national response. CitCo held the workshop on Wednesday at City Hall, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Dr. Javier Zuniga, primary […]

Waitress murdered in San Pedro
San Pedro police are investigating the country’s 20th murder, which occurred on Tuesday in the Boca del Rio area of that town and claimed the life of a Honduran bar waitress. Officer Commanding the San Pedro police station, Inspector Henry Jemmott told the Reporter that […]

Deadly Valentine weekend leaves 5 hospitalized
Police are investigating four shooting incidents that happened in Belize City and Hattieville over the Valentine weekend. On February 11, around 9:00 p.m. a 19-year-old Sandhill resident reported that a person he knows from the same village came out from nearby bushes and opened fire […]

Elderly man stabbed to death in PG
A retired US citizen was stabbed at his house in Punta Gorda on Saturday night and died on Sunday night while receiving treatment at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City. Officer Commanding the PG police formation, Superintendent Simeon Alvarez told the Reporter […]

American student drowns in Sibun 2 days before 15th birthday
Tomari Elijah Jackson, a high school student from Atlanta, Georgia USA, arrived in Belize on Saturday as part of a missionary group program and drowned the same day in the Sibun River – two days before his 15th birthday. The group of 32 students had […]

GOB’s next step
The future of the Belizean economy is anyone’s guess and all indications are that it is not performing successfully. The departure of First Caribbean was the writing on the wall that all is not as well as the government would want us to believe. Then came Fruta Bomba – one […]

Zipline coming to Belize City
A company investing in Belize City is making use of the unused waterfront available to the city by creating a zip-line that will attract tourists, Mayor Darrell Bradley told the Reporter. Bradley said although people in the city tend to associate water with environmental damage like hurricanes and flooding, this […]

Editorial
Belizean consumers were reassured and comforted this week to hear from an eminent nutrition expert that there is nothing wrong or harmful with rice produced in Belize. Indian businessman, Mr. Jitendra Chawla, also known as Jack Charles, has been making noises in the press to say that his private investigation […]

Power struggle at FFB; President says he received death threats!
Despite all odds, Ruperto Vicente remains President of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), after a takeover attempt by fellow executive members on Thursday. Those members made a move to suspend him from the Board and Vicente has received death threats, which he claims are related to dethroning tactics. A […]

KHMH negligence leads to amputation, says mother
Helen Conyers, the mother of two-year-old Ireland Conyers, who was recently admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), claims the child developed a medical complication due to negligence at the hospital, which now requires the amputation of two toes. Conyers said baby Ireland suffers […]

CARICOM heads meet in Belize
The beachfront Ocean Club on the Placencia peninsula was the venue of the 27th Intersessional Caricom Heads of Government Summit earlier this week. Regional leaders convened to discuss issues of great significance to member countries, but more than discussion, it was dubbed as an action session to formulate a structured […]

GOB to decriminalize marijuana
After years of research and consultation, the Government of Belize is preparing to amend the laws of Belize to decriminalize marijuana. Cabinet has handed recommendations made by the Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee, over to the office of the Attorney General for the legislative amendments to […]

Canadian government to host media law workshop in the Caribbean
The Canadian Government is gathering media personnel from across the Caribbean region to attend a media law workshop in Barbados next week. Themed “Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean”, (IMPACT Justice) is a regional justice sector reform project implemented from within the Caribbean Law Institute Center, Cavehill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). Topics to be discussed aim at addressing the rights of the media, the role of the media in educating the public about their rights and the media’s duty to act responsibly. The opening ceremony will see Senior Director to the Caribbean Regional Programme and Director for Canada to the Caribbean Development Bank, Gail Miller deliver remarks on behalf of the Canadian government.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

New Coconut Project to be implemented in Belize
A workshop scheduled for Thursday, February 25th, will be conducted by scientists from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), as part of the “Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean” project which is being funded by the European Union and targeting coconut stakeholders […]

Regional leaders advance agenda at CARICOM meeting
The 27th Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government was a chance for the region’s leaders to make an impact on ongoing regional problems. And, in just a day and a half on the Placencia Peninsula, they believe they managed to get a lot […]

Health Ministry continues to fight dengue and Chik-V
Zika occupies the headlines at the moment. But it was only last year that chikungunya or Chik-V dominated the headlines, while, dengue, an old enemy, is still hanging around. According to the Ministry of Health, surveillance for Zika also takes into account the presence […]

BTL workers demonstrate?
Employees of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) who are also members of the Belize Communication Workers Union (BCWU) were seen meeting at company headquarters on St. Thomas Street, Belize City. We were informed that the meeting which took place during lunch break, was a form […]

Belize’s biggest adventure race kicks off tomorrow
Belize’s biggest adventure race, the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge, is set to begin tomorrow! This year’s epic competition will include a total of 52 participants and is the second time the race is being held in Belize. Set in the Maya mountains in the lush tropical […]

Brooks Tropicals fires 123 more people as operations close
Brooks Tropicals, which had announced its intention to close operations in the country last week, intends to lay off 123 more employees by the end of the day, according to a release from the Ministry of Labor. The ministry further indicated that it is working […]

Relatively moist Northeasterly airflow prevails
The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting cloudy skies at times with a few showers mostly in the South. Winds will be blowing from the Northeast at 10-20 knots with higher gusts and the sea state will be moderate, becoming locally rough at […]

Fruta Bomba lay-offs begin
Brook’s Tropicals, which is the parent company for Fruta Bomba & Belize Food Packers Ltd., has informed the Ministry of Labor of its intention to close its growing and packaging operations in Belize, over the next six (6) months. Today, February 19 the Company intends […]

Blogs

Hanging out with the not-so-old man and the sea
(Today we publish our first guest posting, From Jeff Drew, an American who spends a few months a year on Ambergris Caye with his wife, Kathy. Recently Jeff had the opportunity to spend the day with a local fisherman, the amazing Jose (Salva to some) who paddles out to the reef every day. This is their story.) Imagine being invited by Ted Williams to take batting practice with him, complete with tips on the science of hitting. Or a shoot-around with Larry Bird in his prime. Perhaps an offer to learn stick handling from Wayne Gretzky (gratuitous reference for my Canadian friends and wife). Anyhow, that’s the opportunity I had a few weeks ago when a mythological spear fisher invited me to share a kayak with him for a day of spearing, gaffing, and conch gathering. What he’s been doing nearly every day for over 40 years to make a living. My mentor, Salva to some … Jose to others, is amazing to watch. Not an ounce of fat on his 56-year-old frame and endless energy. We launched at 9 a.m. and returned just before sunset. Paddled from the old Palapa Bar location almost to Mexico rocks. Salva practically knows every coral head by name. He pointed out that he knows which ones hold lobsters — and those are the only ones he checks. He constantly slid out of, and back into, the kayak as we paddled north. When I crawl back aboard, it’s an adventure. He does it quickly and effortlessly.

Foodie Friday – Chaa Creek Pizza 101!
The Lodge at Chaa Creek has great food, really good stuff out here, everything is fresh and organic, but every now and again you just want pizza. Pizza is probably one of the best things to come out of Italy and to find one of the best things in Belize that can be just as good is even better. There is an excellent security-turned-maintenance personnel by the name of Elvis, who besides being great at making sure everything is working fine, is an expert pizza maker (quite an interesting repertoire). Low and behold, Elvis being the modest man he is, didn’t really advertise his pizza mastery to us until recently. He confessed to have been thought by an Italian master pizza maker at a famed Placencia resort where he learned everything about the trade (including pizza tossing!). We asked Elvis if he could show us some of his techniques, and show the other members of the kitchen staff the ways of the force… I mean pizza toss. Elvis agreed to share his skills, so the kitchen staff eager to up their game gathered around notebooks in hand ready to jot down pointers. Elvis took it from the top and made the dough with its base ingredients, he used his own recipe which included olive oil, yeast, salt, and of course flour, and he added water at intervals along the kneading process. After this process was complete, he rolled the dough up and placed it for about an hour to get the dough to rise and get it ready to throw.

8 Great Apps for Travelers
Did you know that travelers who take more than 20 round trips a year tend to have and use more travel apps, downloading more than four and using nearly three on average? For those of you who travel a lot, finding just the right travel apps for your destination is sometimes a lengthy but worthwhile task; making your travel experience as easy as possible. Whether you’re an Android or Apple user, we’ve assembled a list of 8 free apps to download that are perfect for any traveller and guess what, all of them can be used in Belize! Flipagram, Google Maps, Google Translate, Instagram, Snapseed, TripAdvisor, WhatsApp, 94%.

International Sourcesizz

Communique issued at the conclusion of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held in Placencia, Belize on 16-17 February 2016
The Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at Placencia, Belize on 16-17 February 2016. The Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable Dean Barrow, chaired the proceedings. Other members of the Conference in attendance were: the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Gaston Browne; the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell; the President of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier (ret’d) David Granger; the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris; and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley. The Bahamas was represented by the Honourable Frederick Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Commonwealth of Dominica was represented by Senator the Honourable Francine Baron, Minister of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs; Haiti was represented by Ambassador Guy Lamothe. Jamaica was represented by Senator the Honourable A.J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Saint Lucia was represented by the Honourable Alva Baptiste, Minister of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation; St. Vincent and the Grenadines was represented by the Honourable Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Economic Planning and Sustainable Development; Suriname was represented by the Vice-President, His Excellency Ashwin Adhin.

February San Pedro Belize Red Cross fundraisers, lots of photos!
January 29th was the last Friday of the month so the proceeds from the weekly trivia game at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar ($150.00) was donated to Red Cross. January 30 was the date of the latest Blood Drive. Although the number of units was lower than hoped, (due mostly due to another huge event going on that day) every pint helps and is very much appreciated. The youth volunteers did a great job raising another $300 with the dollar drive. February 1 marked the day when the San Pedro Branch received a donation of 4 CPR Manikins. The Branch Coordinator was more than happy go up to Cocotal to accept them. They are so grateful to Sheri Dillon from Kalamazoo Michigan, for her most gracious gift. Kelly McGuire's final concert for the San Pedro Branch of the Belize Red Cross was held February 8 at the Island Time Bar and Grill. The first was at the The Dive Bar, then Captain Morgan’s. The San Pedro Branch thanks all three locations for hosting Kelly’s concerts and for allowing them to raise funds.

Caldwell University students serve in Belize
Seven Caldwell University students spent part of their winter break serving in remote villages in southern Belize, Central America. They helped repair schools and churches in the town of Punta Gorda and in the Mayan villages of Dolores, Santa Cruz and Pueblo Viejo. Katlyn Houtz, a junior and an education and psychology major, said highlights for her were working in the school in Dolores where they assembled the framing for dividing walls for classrooms and having the opportunity to get to know the principal. “I loved her story,” said Houtz, explaining that the principal grew up in a village and was very good at mechanics and engineering but her father wanted her to become a teacher. She was able to attend high school and college, which is not the norm for females. Now that principal is focused on making education more readily available to girls. Professor Thomson Ling, associate professor of sociology and counseling, was one of the chaperones. He was happy they could help build basic things to improve people’s lives. “On the first day, we constructed steps that would allow children at the school to reach the dumpster when throwing out classroom trash,” Ling said. They also helped with building the walls to divide the one-room building into separate classrooms. “I can’t imagine what it was like to learn in an open space where there are several other classes and teachers all trying to run classes at the same time,” Ling said.

ZIKA VIRUS: Travelers sticking with travel plans
A dozen Inland divers are almost ready to pack their bags and scuba gear for Roatán. To their relief, the tropical island off Honduras – famous for its spectacular coral reef diving and nearby whale sharks – isn’t known as a Zika virus hotspot. From divers preparing for Caribbean scuba trips to honeymooners planning a Belize adventure, Zika is on Inland travelers’ minds. Yet that doesn’t mean they’re cancelling their plans. Dive instructor-trainer Tony Wiley, owner of Wiley’s SCUBA Locker in Riverside, said the divers he’s leading on two trips to the Central American island in late April and early May want the trips to go ahead as planned. They’re all seasoned explorers who have traveled with the former U.S. Navy diver to other exotic dive spots. “None of my customers hesitated one second,” Wiley said. “When you’re going to a Third World country, you’re subject to dengue and Montezuma’s revenge and any number of things.”

218 years since the Garifuna were removed from their homeland but injustices continue
In March 1797, after our people lost the war to the British Crown and surrendered, about 5,000 of our people were rounded up, unlawfully imprisoned on the isolated island of Balliceaux, tortured, killed and those who survived subsequently forcefully removed to the distant island of Roatan, now a part of the Bay Islands in Honduras. They landed there on April 12 of that same year but were not happy with the conditions on the island. The soil was not fertile for them to grow their food and the lack of enough water was a major concern of theirs. Immediately, some of the Garifuna leaders were looking for other places to migrate.

Happy 106th birthday to Hibs’ oldest fan Sam Martinez
Sam Martinez, the well known Edinburgh pensioner and fanatical Hibs; fan who was born in 1910, when no women and only some men had the right to vote in Scotland has celebrated his 106th birthday this week. To mark the occasion in style, Sam Martinez and his family were invited to a special lunch held in his honour by The Merchant Company, Scotland’s pre-eminent livery company. Pat Denzler, Master of the Merchant Company, welcomed Sam to The Merchants’ Hall where he was presented with a birthday cake, given a special lunch and talked to some of the Members about events in his life. While the Suffragettes were calling for votes for women in Scotland in 1910, Sam was born far away in Belize, one of eleven children in his family. In 1941, he was one of more than 800 men who travelled by ship from Belize, during World War ll, to Scotland where he worked as a forester. After the War ended, Sam decided to stay in Scotland where he raised a family and became an ardent Hibs supporter.

Videos

  • Howard University Gospel Choir, 4min. Last night the Howard University Gospel Choir performed at Ambassador Moreno's Residence for the Governor General and others. The Belchoral Children's Choir joined them for their final song, "Oh Happy Day." It was beautiful...

  • Mangroves: Where the Land and Sea Intertwine: Connecting the Ecosystems of Belize, 84min. Join Smithsonian scientists and explore coastal ecosystems in Central America, along the coast of Belize. Here thousands of small islands, called cays (pronounced keys) lie in the lagoon between the mainland and barrier reef. Mangrove forests dominate this coastal zone, along with sea grass beds and coral reefs. Discover how these three ecosystems are inextricably linked, and how the distribution of mangroves parallels the distribution of coral reefs worldwide.

  • Scuba diving Turneffe Atoll and Ambergris Caye, Belize, 2.5min. Videos never never quite do the experience justice, but here's a quick look at my last few dives in Belize. The Turneffe and Ambergris Caye areas are incredible, healthy and full of life. Much love to Walter and Ilya from Belize Diving services for being my amazing guides 3 years in a row. Max depth 80ft. February 2016.

  • Beltraide, OCO Global, and the Commonwealth Secretariat on the Belize Outsourcing Service Provider S, 34min.

  • Brad and Rene Coco Plum Caye Belize 2016, 18min. Coco Plum Island Resort, Belize.

  • Belize Audobon Society Who We Are Feb 19 2016, 3min.

  • No se necesitan instrumentos caros para sacar musica, 4min. There is no need for expensive instruments to make music..

  • Heavy roadworks happening on Middle Street, Caye Caulker, 1min.

  • The first edition of Belmopan Weekly for 2016!, 26min. Belmopan Weekly is BACK! We kickoff with a recap of this week's CARICOM Intersessional!

  • Chocolate Making in Belize, 1min. Making chocolate at IXCACAO Maya Belizean Chocolate, grinding the beans by hand. San Felipe

  • Kelly McGuire at The Palapa Bar in San Pedro Ambergris Caye Belize Drone video by Rus Records 2016, 3min. Kelly McGuire at the Palapa Bar in San Pedro Ambergris Caye Belize singing Boat in Belize, Drone video by Rus Records with owners of the Palapa Bar Scott and Jodie Harnish Feb 2016

  • Belize Caye Caulker Caveman Schnorchel-Tour, 3.5min. Meine Schnorchel-Tour am Belize Barrier Reef mit Caveman Tours. 6 Stunden Tagestrip mit dem Boot von der kleinen Karibikinsel Caye Caulker aus. Schnorcheln mit Ammenhaien (Nurse Sharks), Stechrochen (Sting Rays) und Meereschildkröten.

  • San Pedro Belize Express EASTER 2015 AD, 1min.

  • The Birds of Belize - Complete DVD - Version 11, 56min. This is the complete DVD, The Birds of Belize, Version 11, with 315 species included. This video includes the Introduction, Main Body and Credits/Locations. All proceeds from the sale of the DVD go to Belize NGOs and for education in Belize. The DVD is available from eBay for shipment to the US only. It is also available at many locations in Belize.

    February 19, 2016


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    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    Two more wins for the San Pedro Tiger Sharks
    After an unprecedented home loss in last week’s game, the San Pedro Tiger Sharks basketball team has come back strong, winning two games during the fifth week of the 2016 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Season. Four games were played this past weekend, with the Tiger Sharks playing two matches. Both of the Tiger Sharks games were away matches, but that did not affect their stride, as they managed to win both decisively. With these two new wins, the Tiger Sharks are in the second position of the tournament with four wins and only one loss. Upcoming games will see the Belmopan Bandits facing off the Cayo Western Ballaz at Sacred Heart College Auditorium and the Orange Walk Running Rebels taking on the Smart Belize Hurricanes at Bird’s Isle Basketball Court on Friday, February 19th, both games starting at 9PM. On Saturday, February 20th at 8PM, the Dangriga Warriors will take on the Independence Thunderbolts at the Independence High School Auditorium, while the Orange Walk Running Rebels will take on the Belmopan Bandits at the UB Gymnasium. The final game of the weekend will see the Belize City No Limit facing the San Pedro Tiger Sharks at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium at 9PM. Everyone is invited to come out and support their home team. All games can be followed live at nebl.sportingpulse.net, with real time box scores while the game is being played. The website also has all game scores, box scores, players and teams’ statistics, along with standings for the season.

    Belize Hosts CARICOM Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government
    From Tuesday, February 16th to Wednesday, February 17th, Belize hosted the 27th annual Intersessional Meeting of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads. The event saw the participation of representatives from all 15 member states, with the Prime Minister of Belize, Honorable Dean Barrow heading the meeting as the acting Chairman of CARICOM. The two-day meeting aimed at discussing issues within the region and developing possible solutions, was held at the Placencia Peninsula in the Stann Creek District. Among key issues discussed were regional health, security and economic threats. Opening the forum on Tuesday was Barrow, who delivered the official welcoming remarks, setting the tone for the meeting. “There has been a failure of the world economy to recover properly from the shock of the financial crisis that began in the last part of the first decade of this new century. That failure, for the majority of us in CARICOM, has meant slow growth, increasing difficulties with our public finances, and tremendous strains on our capacity to satisfy the life-improvement aspirations of our people. And it is worth noting that even in the few countries that have shown substantial enough expansion, much of the net effect has been depreciated by population increases. On the bright side, though, there appears to be what we hope will be a sustained resurgence in our region’s all-important tourism industry. This would be a welcome offset to the continued volatility in our commodities sector,” said Barrow.

    Career Week ends in a show of inspiration and creativity
    Career Week 2016 at San Pedro High School (SPHS) ended on Friday, February 12th with all students partaking in a class room decorating contest and special assembly. The week commenced on Monday, February 8th, and offered the unique opportunity for students to be sensitized to the variety of occupational opportunities on the island. Organized by SPHS Counselor, Alexis Guerrero, the Friday closing of the event allowed students to demonstrate creativity and interest in a career of choice. Following Guerrero’s address, Pastor Clive Welsh introduced the guest speaker for the event. An actor, writer and producer from Los Angeles, California USA, Eddie Kaulukukui shared a few personal experiences on how to achieve success in one’s career, even after facing many obstacles. “You need to have your mind set to what you want to achieve and aim for it no matter what distractions or obstacles come your way. To achieve one’s dream, one must believe in them. And most importantly we need to trust God for he knows what he has intended for us,” said Kaulukukui. He was awarded a certificate of appreciation for taking the time to address the students of SHPS.

    BTB spearheads Beach Reclamation in Caye Caulker
    A total of 1,883 linear feet of the beach has been reclaimed in Caye Caulker though the “Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development of Caye Caulker”. A collaborative effort between the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), Caye Caulker Village Council (CCVC) and tourism stakeholder, the project saw approximately 22,000 cubic yard of material being pumped in the beach area between Sobre las Olas Restaurant to Len’s Guest House. The beach reclamation was funded under the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (NSTMP) of 2010 and begun in late 2015.

    Plus TV’s broadcasting license to be renewed
    After unexpected hurdles, Plus TV’s On Air license for 2016 will be renewed. The Belmopan media house faced issues when they tried to renew their license with the Belize Broadcasting Authority (BBA), who initially claiming that they had applied for the wrong broadcasting permit. In a letter addressed to Plus TV’s Director Louis Wade Jr, dated February 4th, the BBA returned their license payment and stated that the station was not broadcasting on its open air channel, thus, the license would not be renewed. Plus TV immediately responded by clarifying that they had provided open air service to residents in the Belmopan area since 2011 on the local channel 21.

    Bob Marley honored in San Pedro
    Irie Belize Promotions held their seventh annual Tribute to Bob Marley Concert on Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th at the Central Park. Held in honor of reggae icon Bob Marley’s 71st birthday, the concert was spearheaded by Marlon Usher, Errol Gibson and the San Pedro House of Culture. The event featured live music and entertainment, paintings, carvings and lots to eat and drink. Tribute to Bob Marley Web-1Throughout the day, residents and visitors were treated to a display of reggae inspired arts and craft set out at Central Park from 10AM. Performances started later in the night, featuring local artists such as Ras Geovanni, Ras Franz Vernon, Melody Man, Thunderbolt, Leo Marley and Sons, Selah Cofu Barrack, Balackheno, Special C, Faaya Links, Bobo, Melanin, Ras Indio, Queen Elizabeth Sulph and Jackie Castillo. In addition all reggae conscious singers and instrument players were welcome to participate in the concert.

    Ambergris Today

    We Dearly Love San Pedro, But…Traffic, Large Developments
    Dear San Pedro Town Council: We dearly love your beautiful & welcoming Isla Bonita; so much that we have chosen it as our 2nd home. It is increasingly dismaying to see more vehicles & more large developments of 3 stories or even higher. The golf carts, sand streets & no-taller-than-the-palm trees buildings made San Pedro so unique & charming. It seems, along with this development, you have an increase of crime. We've met several of the policemen. They are intelligent & have the right attitude about preventing & punishing crime. We certainly hope you can get this under control. We have always felt safe on Ambergris & would love it to stay that way.

    Boat Ride Blues No More In Belize
    Hubert Cacho is the star of the San Pedro Belize Express experience. He definitely puts a little spunk into your boat ride and sends you on your way with a smile and sometimes even a giggle. Way to keep the positive vibes traveling Cacho! You are the kind of People On Our Map that makes Belize so inviting.

    Stores Punished for Illegal Price Increase of Local Sugar and Rice
    The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Trade, Investment and Commerce hereby informs the general public that with the recent price changes in both white sugar and Grade “C” rice effected on December 2015, it has beefed up its market surveillance activities for Controlled Price Goods throughout the entire country. The BBS, responsible of enforcing the Supplies Control Regulations in Belize, is increasing surveillance to assure that products on the store shelves are available and priced properly to ensure that consumers are not unfairly treated by suppliers and distributers (especially during the transition period of price change for sugar and rice).

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    What things do people from Belize miss most when they go abroad?
    Wendy Auxillou, Born in Belize, lived in 5 countries, came back home to Belize. I was born and raised on a tiny island in Belize called Caye Caulker. We live near the sea, which is turquoise and breathtaking all year round. The longest living reef in the Western Hemisphere runs just a mile offshore. The scenery is breathtaking all day, every day. For fun, we take a boat or kayak and head to the reef to swim with sharks... (Photographer unknown)

    BELIZE BANKING DE-RISKING CRISIS
    If Belize had: - Signed onto UNCAC - Participated with Transparency International - Had a functional Public Accounts Committee - Had a functional Integrity Commission. We would actually have sent a signal to the international community that we are serious about corruption, which exposes us to money laundering and possible funding of terrorism through our banking system, and may not have been in this quagmire called bank de-risking. Over the weekend Belize hosted the day and a half long Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Regional Heads of Government. Our Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, who is also the Chairs the CARICOM, made no mention of these initiatives as contributing factors in helping us, Belize, deal with the banking de-risking crisis we are facing.

    LXI Ordinary Technical Committee Meeting of CIRSA
    An opening ceremony was held at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza at 4:00 pm inaugurating the LXI Ordinary Technical Committee Meeting of CIRSA. Participating were delegates from 9 OIRSA’s member countries, comprising of Technical Directors in the areas of Animal and Plant Health, Quarantine, Food Safety and Risk Analysis. Also present were members of the Diplomatic Corporation; Representatives of Caribbean Agriculture Research & Development Institute (CARDI), Belize Fisheries Department and the Belize Poultry Association (BPA)s. The Technical Meeting will take place from the 17-19 of February 2016 where matters of utmost importance regarding Agricultural Health progress of OIRSA’s member countries will be discussed, as well as regional projects that have been implemented along with its results that are impacting the livelihoods of many farmers of the region.

    Social Security Cayo Debates
    Congratulations to John Paul II JC and Galen University for winning at the Social Security Board's 2016 debate yesterday, which were held at the SHC auditorium. Strong showings from all sides, and JP2 defeated UB while Galen won over SHJC. Best of luck at the nationals! JP2JC pictures. Galen pictures.

    Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge 2016
    Watch the start of Adventure Challenge 2016 this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. from Cahal Pech!!!

    Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University enjoyed a visit this morning to the Xunantunich Archeological Site in Belize!
    Next stop - Belmopan for a few workshops with local choir groups!

    2016 Youth Ambassadors
    On Tuesday Ambassador Moreno hosted the 2016 Youth Ambassadors to lunch at his residence to congratulate them on their selection and exceptional display of leadership skills. The Youth Ambassadors will travel to the U.S. on a three week exchange program facilitated by Georgetown University in Washington DC. They will also travel to Alabama and Idaho as part of the exchange.

    USA Consular Tip: People often ask what documents they need to bring to a visa interview.
    The answer is: usually none. We generally don’t rely on documents in visa interviews. If we have a question that requires documentation, we will give you a chance to provide it. Some notable exceptions to this rule are visas that have required documents, like student visas, and petition-based visas for working in the United States.

    Possession case in Toledo
    Earlier today at the Julian cho Technical high school in Toledo a group of 6 girls were playing some kind of game and became possessed by demons. Teachers and students of the high school had to hold d girls down as they became possessed. One girl had to be rushed to the hospital. We have learnt that these girls have been behaving strangely in classes for couple days now but parents were never informed. Let's get the word out and share. Somebody out there might know what started it and can help them.

    AMBERGRIS STADIUM: UPDATE FEB. 2016
    On Wednesday, February 17, 2016, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of Culture, Youth & Sports, made a visit to San Pedro Town as part of his official tour. His tour included a visit to the construction site of the Ambergris Stadium in the San Pablo area, where he met with Mayor Daniel Guerrero, Deputy Mayor Gary Greif, Councilor Hector Alamilla and Councilor Gabriel Nuñez. Also present at the site was the general manager of BIL, Ms. Christy Mastry and Mr. Augusto Blanco from AM Construction who presented an overview of the ongoing project. Currently, the site has been completely cleared and bathroom facilities have been built. Land fill is being delivered and will be spread and compacted. The bleachers are also going up and is expected to accomodate approx. 800 people.

    St. Francis Xavier Primary School Valentines Fair
    Saturday, 27th February 2016 Commencing at 3:00 p.m. Come one and all to support a worthy cause as proceeds go towards tiling classroom floors and repairing walls and fence. See you there!

    TANYA CARTER performance
    TANYA CARTER performance exclusively at Charisma Night Club, Princess Hotel and Casino, Corozal Free Zone on February 27th, 2016. Feel the music. Cover charge $15.00.

    Cayo Youth Rally
    The Department of Youth Services is having a rally and parade tomorrow in Belmopan, starting at 8:30am. It'll be at Mae Gordon Park. In related news, there are quite a few promising candidates for the Cayo District Youth Council, and they'll be there tomorrow.

    Valentine Classic 2016
    The Valentine's Day Cycling Classic was this weekend. Congratulations to all the winners! The list is here. "2016 Digicell Valentine Tour - Road Race By Cycling Federation of Belize"

    Paradise Theater: Playing this weekend
    We are playing the same movies we had last weekend on this Friday for only $4 .. There will be no movies on Saturday or Sunday ... Saturday and Sunday will be reserved for the live Tango performance at 8pm on both nights .. Movies will resume as per normal next weekend .. Come out and enjoy this rare and exciting event !!

    Channel 7

    Football Fight!: FFB Pres Ruperto Suspended By Exec. Cmte
    Ruperto Vicente was elected President of the FFB in March of 2012, and tonight, almost exactly 4 years later, he is on the verge of being kicked out. A meeting is underway at this hour where Vicente's executive committee has reportedly passed a no confidence vote against him. Now, the meeting was called for by Vice President Sergio Chuc, against Vicente's wishes, and he and the General Secretary Michael Blease reportedly did try to stop it. And the reason they wanted to block it is because Chuc called to meeting for the stated reason, quote "to suspend (Vicente) as member and president of FFB." Chuc had the support of the majority of the executive committee which is three members. Chuc's letter to Vicente says the suspension is, quote, "due to your ongoing documented history of engaging in and/or permitting improper activities in violation of FFB Statutes 2011." Now, the other reason for the meeting is what a majority of the executive believes is the, quote "improper manner in which District Association elections have been conducted in violation of numerous rules that govern the FFB and the FIFA Code of Ethics."

    Fruta Bomba Starts Sending Workers Home En Masse
    Last week the papaya export company Fruta Bomba announced that it would be closing down its Belize operation in San Joaquin village - and laying off 251 employees. The company gave a six month time frame for its wind-up, but reports from the north are that the mass layoffs have started today, and will continue tomorrow. Those reports say that as much as 80% of the staff could be laid off by next week. The company will then reportedly keep a skeleton staff as it winds up operations. It's a massive blow for the north in terms of employment, but Fruta Bomba sent out a press release last week saying that it had no choice because it was consistently losing money in Belize - despite making new investments in its operation. It attributed the downturn to Hurricane Dean way back in 2007. But we also know that the company had had problems with the Department of the Environment and with local farmers and a bee keeping co-op which claimed that pesticides had destroyed their bee populations.

    DJ Bush Accused Of Brutal Assault
    You probably know his voice on the radio, but 37 year-old James Bush, who is known to More FM listeners as "DJ Bush" is making the TV evening news tonight. That's after a man who reportedly used to be his friend, accused Bush of putting a viscous beatdown on him. The complainant is Marlon Chavez, who told police that he, Bush and others were socializing at a wake. They had a disagreement, and according to Chavez, Bush, who was reportedly under the influence, assaulted him. Chavez told police that Bush punched him several times in the face, and when the fight was finally stopped, Chavez was in a bloody mess. He's been hospitalized for the past 2 weeks with 8 fractures to his facial bones, and 4 of his teeth knocked out during the face. To recover from these injuries, Chavez will need facial reconstructive surgery, which includes 16 pins, four plates and 4 pieces of steel. He's being treated by the doctors at the KHMH, and is reportedly unable to make any discernible facial gestures such as smiling or laughing, and he can barely speak. Actions such as coughing or sneezing causes Chavez intense pain, and it often causes him to cough up blood.

    Former Cop Turned Politician Implicated In Contraband Bust
    Paul Wade is a former Assistant Commissioner of Police, who retired and went into politics, where he emerged as the constituency chairman for the PUP in Belmopan. But we don't know if it's his police or political connections that allowed him to get off easy yesterday afternoon in the Corozal District. 7News has confirmed reports that Wade was in a group intercepted by customs in Estero, which is a contraband hotspot on the Belize side of the Rio Hondo in the Corozal district. Smugglers had brought over 41 cases of Mexican tiles across the Rio Hondo. Wade went and pleaded his case to customs, which agreed to only charge him a few hundred dollars duty on the items. Usually, contraband goods would be confiscated, and the owner charged three times the value. But, Wade today told us that the contraband was not for him, it was simply for someone close to him and he only went to assist. He says quote, "it had nothing to do with me." Customs sources tell us that a Toyota Tacoma pickup was there and that he made a personal appeal for leniency.

    BIRTH REGISTRATION: SECURING YOUR CHILDS FUTURE
    When a baby is born the first thing a mother wants to do is make sure her child is clothed and fed, then the bonding begins. But parents may also want to consider registering their child immediately after birth. It might not seem like a pressing issue at that moment but it can have a significant impact on the child's future. Today a meeting was held at the Biltmore to emphasize the importance of birth registration and to evaluate the registration system in Belize. The Registrar General at the Registry Department Velda Flowers told us about the situation when it comes to how many people are actually registered in Belize. Velda Flowers, Registrar General - Registry Department: "This morning what is happening is the launching of this bottleneck analysis that was conducted by Miss Patricia Holness, a consultant from Jamaica. This effort came about as a result of the partnership we have with UNICEF and OAS in order to try and ascertain and address the issue of the 6% non-registration of persons born in Belize. Currently Belize has about 94-95% of all persons born in Belize registered and this effort was put in place to try and close that gap - that 6% gap that currently exist." Patricia Holness, Consultant: "It is very important that birth registration be taken seriously in any country and a mother as you just said, bonds with her child. But then that child has to be a citizen. That child has to live in the country and reap the rewards of being a citizen. So the government of that country needs to know that this is a citizen for whom I must care and also to ensure that all that goes with citizenship will go to that child."

    CARICOM Summit: They Really Did Work
    Since Monday, we've been providing you with extensive coverage of CARICOM Heads of Government meeting, which was held on the Placencia Peninsula. Prime Minister Dean Barrow Chaired this meeting, and right now, if they've not left as yet, his fellow Prime Ministers are making plans to leave Belize and return home. But, that's after a whirlwind of activity in this 27 Inter-Sessional Meeting, and Daniel Ortiz takes a look back from the time they landed until yesterday, to when the very busy meeting ended: These 15 Government Leaders, each a head of a CARICOM Government, took time out of their schedules to meet in Belize with their peers to discuss the collective interests of the Caribbean. From the moment they arrived at the Peninsula, they were strictly all about business, as if braced for an impending crisis. Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Interim Chair, CARICOM: "I may be forgiven for thinking, and hope to make clear, that our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time."

    Tourism Vender Vents On Village
    A few weeks ago, local tour guides were complaining about the new regulations being implemented at the Caves Branch Reserve. The complaint was that the more stringent regulations and uneven enforcement were putting them at a disadvantage against their main competition: the big foreign owned tourism investors. Today our cameras were called out to the Fort Street Tourism Village where the complaints continue. One of the souvenir vendors we spoke to claims that he has been harassed by authorities all week. He said he has been operating as a souvenir vendor for the past ten years. He approaches tourists at the entrance with his handcrafted souvenir holder and convinces them to purchase his products. That is how he makes his living. But now authorities are not allowing him to operate on the streets which is where all the business is. He refused to speak to us on camera fearing victimization. Emanuel Pech: "What are they telling you? Why can't you go out there and interact with the tourists to sell your product?" Voice of: Tourism Vendor, Cruise Terminal 1: "Basically what they are saying is like the tourists has been getting hackle from everyone, not only from me as a vendor. They are talking about everyone. As you notice all these people that are standing in front of the gate - the people from the ships, they are complaining. This is not something personal. This is something across the board. So why only I am affected by this?"

    Drainage: What About The Southside?
    For the past two nights, we've been looking at the 21 million dollar municipal drainage project. It''s focused only on the northside - mostly on the areas of Belama Phases 3 and 4 which grew out of swamp and suffered for years with very serious flooding that just wouldn't run off. Tonight we look at the broader flooding picture:.. Jules Vasquez reporting: The genesis of the municipal drainage project was in 2008 - when any extreme weather event would produce major flooding in the new phase of Belama: Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor: "If you would recall at the time fresh into City Council, it was the year 2008 and I stand corrected. The Dean Barrow administration just recently elected to office had to deal with this first flooding event." Fast forward to 2015, and nearly 22 million dollars has been spent on drainage - much of it in Belama. But already, garbage is clogging this freshly cleaned canal.

    Laid Off Workers Bombed By Bomba
    As we told you at the top of the newscast, the Fruta Bomba mass layoffs began today in the Corozal District - and reports suggest that as much as 80% of the 251 staffers could be laid off by next week. From a distance, it's very unfortunate, but, up close, it's just plain devastating. Here's what some of the former employees had to say in Spanish today as they got their last pay checks:... Employee: "It's very little, it is just exact to pay what we owe. The one without debt is good, but the one that is in debt, he's the one that is suffering. That's how it's going to stay - I can't do anything." Reporter: "Where do you plan to work now?" Employee: "Well I don't know, find another company, where ever there is job. If one day there is work here again in the north. If not well everything is lost."

    MAKING LIFE MORE MEANINGFUL FOR THE ELDERLY
    Better care for the elderly: that was the focus of the meeting held at the Inspiration Center today. HelpAge invited their members from all branches across the country to evaluate the services they are providing and to find ways to enhance service to older persons. The council of Aging also plays an important role in this initiative and the Executive Director Ixchel Poot further explained the specific topics of concern. Ixchel Poot, Exec. Dir - Council of Aging: "Today HelpAge is having its launch of its two day workshop for its board members. It's a key event for them because HelpAge is the largest network we have in the country that serves older persons. What they've done, they've taken the initiative and brought together all the leaders from their branches and they are providing them with tools to better execute the work that each of the branches are doing." Courtney Weatherburne: "What are some of the specific areas or elements that you all are focusing on today?" Ixchel Poot, Exec. Dir - Council of Aging: "Some of the specific areas we are looking at today, we've talk about normal aging, we are looking at how to collaborate and how to get all the organizations together working as one and moving forward in one voice..."

    THE ROLE OF PUBLIC HEALTH CARE IN SAVING THE ELDERLY
    Now that is what is being done at the institutional level- but what about the role of the wider community, and that vaunted social safety net? According to Chairperson of Sister Cecilia Home Bernard Adolphus, the health care providers aren't doing their part in caring and treating the elderly. Adolphus recounts what happened to one of their members at a hospital. Bernard Adolphus, Chairperson, Sister Cecilia Home: "One of my biggest observation that I have seen recently, one of our elders had a fall. And this is very disturbing to me. Our doctor and I am hoping that the medical authorities are listening to what I am saying - our doctor send her to the hospital. This lady is about close to 80-85 years old in a home and after a considerably long period she was later attended to. She had fallen on her hand. When the supervisor check with them and tell them what was happening, she was told it's not an emergency case. Only to find out later that the lady hands were broken. To me it's embarrassing. To me it smells negative on our system - that's me. I can go on, but I don't want to say what I shouldn't because I am mad. But the way in the manner in which this elder person was dealt with, because it could have been me, it could been my mother (my mother is dead), it could have been somebody I know. Our authorities, it's a pity some of them were not in this session to learn the proper way in which they should look and care for our older persons. We keep forgetting that."

    A Book For Griga Dang
    A book compiling the historical land marks of Dangriga Town was launched on Monday under the auspices of the Institute of Social and Cultural Research - which is a part of NICH. The book is co-authored by the Dangriga Mayor, former History Teacher Francis Humphreys along with educator Ifasina Efunyemi. The ISCR has overseen the launch of three books so far: A Walk Through Old Belize, A walk Through Cayo and Santa Elena, and now a Walk Through Dangriga. The institute says that they are currently working on three other releases for Benque Viejo, Punta Gorda, and Orange Walk.

    Costly Conch
    A food vendor has to pay a dear price for undersized conch. Forty-four year old Sylvia Veliz, a naturalized Belizean who is a food vendor of Mahogany Street, was fined $ 2,600 today by Magistrate Deborah Rogers after she pled guilty to possession of 105 undersized conch. She was fined $500 dollar and then $20 dollars for each conch. Yesterday an officer from the Fisheries Department went to her house and discovered the conch in her freezer.

    Cayo Cops Catch Weed
    An Anti-Drug operation conducted yesterday morning in Benque Viejo led to the discovery of a little under 2 kilos of marijuana and the arrest of 5 persons. The operation was no minor matter. It included the Benque Viejo Quick Response team, the Benque Viejo Special Branch Unit, along with the San Ignacio Quick Response Team, along with the k-9 unit. At around 5 a.m., the raiding team went to the home of 41 year-old Fredrick Avila, which is at the corner of Church and Victoria Streets in Benque Viejo Town. He was at home along with his common-law wife, 34 year-old Synthia Naj, and a search led police to find 16 balls of foil paper which contained small amounts of weed. Further checks behind his yard, led to the discovery of more marijuana, to a total of 1.01 kilograms, more than two pounds.

    GSU Got Gun
    In Belize City, the Gang Suppression Unit arrested charged four persons earlier this week for kept firearm and ammunition without a gun license. They are 29 year old Anthon Robinson, 29 year old Deshane Mena, 38 year old Richard Flores and 21 year old Leith Bermudez. On Monday at 8:25 pm, GSU searched a gold Toyota Camry driven by Anthony Robinson at the corner of Flamboyant and Mahogany Streets. They found a loaded .38 revolver underneath the front passenger seat. As a result all four men were arrested and charged for kept unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The GSU says that all four are known to be members of the PIV Gang. Also the GSU came up on a small stash of cocaine. They found 12.9 grammes of crack on Saturday the 13th on Tigris Street in an abandoned building. The GSU says the drugs belong to a known peddler of the George Street Gang.

    Channel 5

    Are B.T.L. Employees Dissatisfied with Executive Chairman Anwar Barrow?
    There is trouble brewing at the government owned Belize Telemedia Limited.  This afternoon during their lunch break, dozens of staffers, members of the Belize Communication Workers Union, assembled outside of [...]

    CARICOM Development Fund: What Does It Means for Belize?
    The Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM concluded in Placencia on Wednesday.  Much of the discussions during the three-day event centered around major regional [...]

    CDF’s Rodinald Soomer on Working Visit to Belize
    According to the economist, CDF’s directives come from sessions such as those recently held in Belize where keen attention is paid to the needs of lesser developed countries.   Isani [...]

    Still No Arrest in Murder of Waitress in San Pedro
    Police continue to search for a person of interest in the murder of Honduran national Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios. The waitress of Compadres Bar in San Pedro was cut to [...]

    The Birth Registration Conundrum Explained
    An independent study shows that about six percent of newborns are not formally registered and that presents difficulties for the individuals later on in life, especially in accessing health care [...]

    Improvements in Efficiency at the Vital Statistics Unit
    If you’ve visited the Vital Statistics Unit recently to request a birth certificate, a marriage license or even a death certificate then you would be quite familiar with the apparent [...]

    Fruta Bomba Layoffs Continue As Factory Winds Up Papaya Operation
    As we reported last week, Fruta Bomba Limited and Belize Food Packers are packing up and leaving Belize for other destinations. The exporters of Caribbean red papaya say labour costs [...]

    F.F.B. President Facing a Coup D’etat
    Earlier we told you about the rumblings at B.T.L., but that is not the only place where there is discontent. At news time, we are told that the executive of [...]

    30 Storeowners Caught Gouging Prices of Rice and Flour
    Recent adjustments to the price per pound of Grade C rice and white sugar have prompted the Belize Bureau of Standards to strengthen market surveillance activities for Controlled Price Goods.  [...]

    Will Elderly Honduran Woman Serve Time for Human Trafficking?
    A mitigation plea was heard today for a sixty-four year old Honduran grandmother living in Belize for over twenty years.  On February tenth, 2016, the grandmother was found guilty of human [...]

    Fight Among Friends Ends in Arraignment of DJ Busch
    The popular disc jockey, Disc Jockey James Busch of More FM, is in trouble with the law tonight.  After two weeks of hospitalization, thirty-four year old Marlon Geovanni Chavez has [...]

    A Workshop on How to Help Seenagers Live Longer
    Women are living longer than men in Belize and life expectancy stands at seventy-five years. But elderly persons continue to be vulnerable. In fact, as it relates to pension, as [...]

    Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua & Barbuda on De-risking
    We have been reporting extensively on the loss of correspondent banks which was top on the agenda of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting which concluded in Placencia on Wednesday. The ‘de-risking’ [...]

    Strategies Outlined to Address Issue of Correspondent Banking
    PM Gaston Browne’s mission is to knock at all doors including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the United States Congress. At the CARICOM inter-sessional, the Heads of government [...]

    A Popular Light Technician Needs Your Help to Fight Rare Brain Disease
    Thirty-nine-year-old Dorian August; he’s the light technician at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts and has been working with the Institute for the past twenty-two years. But tonight, he [...]

    Dorian August to Undergo Surgery in Merida
    August needs urgent surgery which he plans to undergo in Merida. A first round of tests will be carried out next week and he is asking for your assistance.   [...]

    Orange Walk Resident Wins GST Monthly Raffle
    A third winner was chosen this past Monday for the General Sales Tax Raffle. The raffle started last year with its first drawing on December fifteenth; there was another on [...]

    Healthy Living Has Update on Zika in Caribbean
    As of February of 2016, twenty-two countries in the Americas, including eleven which are Caribbean countries and four which are CARICOM members have confirmed cases of Zika. Barbados, Guyana, Haiti [...]

    CTV3

    More employees Laid Off From Fruta Bomba
    The announcement made last week that Belize’s biggest papaya producer will be closing down in 6 months came as a shock to the residents of the north but most affected by the closing of Fruta Bomba and the Fruit Packers were the over 200 employees that will be left jobless.But even though the company will stop production until August of this year workers are already being sent home as operations slowly comes to a stop. Today workers from the Research Harvesters and office staff were informed that they no longer had a job with the company and while they were not surprised what took them aback is the amount in gratuity pay they received as more was expected. Workers: “Diez y siete años voy a cumplir el otro mes, y solo me dieron un poquito de dinero.” Reporter: “Has investigado en el departamento de labor si eso es lo que debe de cumplir tu estancia aquí en la compañía?” Workers: “No, no sé si ya lo chequearon, tengo cuatro hijos; tres van en la escuela y uno salió del colegio.”

    Trouble Brewing In Football Federation
    The Orange Walk Football Association will be carrying out their district elections on March 13th in order to elect a new chairman along with a new slate to take over the responsibility of organizing football activities throughout the town. However, there seems to be trouble brewing, as the list of all official delegates have not yet been issued to the members of the various slates wanting to run for the election. Ladrick Sheppard: “We don’t know who are the delegates that are supposed to be elected or who supposed to elect us at this moment, that supposed to be handed in quite a while now and we haven’t gotten that and that is the reason why are confused because we don’t know who to talk so we can get elected, I have a slate and in my slate I am running for Chairman, Fernando Sanchez for Vice-Chairman, Ben Ramos as one of the members, Fabro Carballo as a member and Alex Palacio and I know that there are ten teams that were elected out of the congress that are supposed to be the delegates, at this moment this is all what I know off, Carmelita, Crystal, Yo Creek and San Estevan which are the original congress, then Mr. Avila who is the Chairman added six more teams which are Progresso FC, also he added San Lazaro Revolution FC, White Eagle FC, San Lazaro Young Stars FC and San Estevan Young Stars FC but I don’t know who is the legal Rep. that are supposed to vote us in because for us to enter the election these people have to go to Mr. Avila and receive the nomination form then elect us and that is the reason why we are still lost.”

    CARICOM Countries Implement Plan To Fight Zika Virus
    The Zika virus which is a mosquito borne virus has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization because of its association with microcephaly which is when babies are born with abnormally small heads. Currently there are a total of five CARICOM member states that have been affected by the virus and although Belize has not had any confirmed cases, Prime Minister Dean Barrow along with other CARICOM heads of government took up a significant portion of the 27th inter-sessional meeting held in Placencia to address the issue. Chairman of CARICOM, Hon. Dean Barrow, announced a series of actions that CARICOM Member States will take to confront the Zika virus that is currently affecting the Region.

    CARICOM Countries Discuss Security Issues
    Along with the Correspondent Banking issue and the Zika virus that is currently affecting our region, the CARICOM heads of government also took the time to discuss other important matters like Security in our region and the Paris agreement on Climate Change and their plan of action to address these issues in a regional approach. Hon. Dean Barrow- Chairman CARICOM: "On security, we had discussions on the issue of climate security and agree to increase our cooperation and collaboration in this area. Just earlier today Prime Minister Rowley who has lead responsibility for security in our quasi cabinet was the first to sign a protocol amending our treaty; the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to formally establish the Council of National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the community impacts is also now established as an institution of the community and the Sec Gen can explain to you the distinction between those two organism as it were.”

    Chinese Community Celebrates Year Of The Monkey
    Earlier this morning the Orange Walk Chinese Association organized a parade where majority of the Chinese stores were visited by members of the association in order to perform a traditional dance involving a dragon which is believed to bring prosperity to the establishments. While the president of the Chinese Association, Tony Lee, explained to us the significance of the dance, he also stated that as they celebrate this New Year, it is represented by a monkey which they believe is essential for child birth and knowledge. Tony Lee – President, Orange Walk Chinese Association: “It’s a very cultural thing, the lettuce represents a lot of food and why we spread it on the ground I because we want a lot of food to be nourished this year and the following coming year too. The monkey is a year where we really have prosperity but overall the main year of the monkey is for newlyweds and boyfriend and girlfriend who plan to have children and more children and the monkey represent cleverness and so every kid for this we all want them to be very smart and clever.”

    Sheep Farmers Take First Step To Form Cooperative
    Over the past months the Food and Drug organization along with the European Union have been delivering significant assistance to farmers of northern Belize, in view of the country’s commitment to achieving food security and rural development. These organizations are responsible for the Launching of the Value Chain approach in midst October last year, whereby all producers, input suppliers, processors and consumers are involved from producing, selling and eating, in layman terms “from the farm to the fork”. The Value Chain approach looks carefully at everyone involved in order to pinpoint challenges that can lead to reduction of efficiency or profits in the areas of Onion, Honey and Sheep production. Earlier this month onion farmers from Corozal met with farmers from San Carlos and yesterday the first meeting among 19 sheep farmers took place at the agriculture department in Corozal.

    LOVE FM

    CARICOM 27th heads of Government meeting comes to an end
    The 27th Intercessional Meetings for the Caribbean Community concluded on Wednesday in Placencia with a plan of action drafted on several issues, the main topic was correspondent banking. In the closing press conference, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke on what was decided. On correspondent banking we agreed to the appointment of a high level advocacy […]

    CARICOM heads of government meeting comes to an end
    The health issue surrounding the ZIKA virus was one of the key issues tabled at this CARICOM plenary meetings and Caucus. Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media today that an action plan has been endorsed by the member states that include the continuation of public education with a focus on all areas. Prime Minister […]

    Ambassador Irwin LaRocque reappointed as CARICOM Secretary General
    Ambassador Irwin LaRocque is serving as the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community since 2001 with his term coming to an end in August 2016. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is currently the Chair for CARICOM, the next meeting for CARICOM would be in July and thus the issue of the Secretary General’s […]

    Border disputes discussed at CARICOM meeting
    The issue of national security in Belize has come at the forefront of several of our newscasts as it relates to the role of the country’s security forces and the incursions done by the Guatemalans. The Belize/Guatemala issue came up during the CARICOM meetings conducted over the last two days under the area of border […]

    Maya leaders express concern as case against Santa Cruz villagers adjourned yet again
    Paul Mahung reporting… “The announcement of the adjournment to those in court was made by Toledo District Magistrate Emerson Banner. Following the announcement as the Santa Cruz 13 and their team of attorneys exited the magistrate court, Love News caught up with spokesperson of the Maya Leaders Alliance Pablo Mis. Pablo Mis – Spokesperson Maya […]

    Belize City Mayor says needed works at Cinderella Plaza not the Council’s responsibility
    Last night we shared with you the state of Cinderella Plaza in Belize City. It is a highly trafficked route and for drivers it is unbearable. The plaza was dug up as part of the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project and yesterday officials told us that it is now the responsibility of the City Council to […]

    Belize City Mayor speaks on case brought against Belize Recycling Company
    Belize Waste Control’s court case against the Belize City Council and Belize Recycling Company was to continue in court last week but the matter was adjourned. The case was filed last year and the matter has yet to be heard before a justice of the Supreme Court. Today Mayor Darrell Bradley told Love News that […]

    Mayor Bradley says works to continue on East and West Canal
    And if you think Cinderella Plaza is in a terrible condition, you should take a drive on East and West Canal in Belize City. It is also a heavy trafficked area that residents desperately want to see upgraded. Mayor Darrell Bradley says he is working on it. Mayor Darrell Bradley “Streets are expensive so you […]

    Ministry of Health continues Zika virus awareness campaign
    Belize remains free of the Zika Virus. Out of the three cases that Belize has sent for testing, one has been returned and the results show that it is negative for the virus. That case was from the Belize District and now health officials are still waiting on the results for the other two which […]

    City Council holds public meeting downtown Belize City
    The Belize City Council held a public meeting last night at Battle Field Park where residents in the area had an opportunity to voice their concerns. About thirty five residents attended and Mayor Darrell Bradley told us what was discussed. Mayor Darrell Bradley “I raised issues in my presentation about Zika and what the community […]

    Trial of BDF officer charged with rape comes to an abrupt end
    The trial of 25 year old BDF second Lieutenant Rashesi Elijio, charged with rape of a female BDF second Lieutenant, was aborted today by the trial judge, Justice John Gonzalez when he was informed by the fore lady of the jury that one of the jurors had already made up his mind that Elijio was […]

    PlusTV

    Health Ministry publicizes Zika sensitization plan to Belize City Council
    Today the Ministry of Health’s Central Health Region hosted a sensitization meeting for staff members of the Belize City Council at City Hall on North Front Street. It is part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the Zika virus and its potential threat to Belize, despite not having any cas...

    Anti drug operation success
    Five people were arrested as a result of an Anti drug operation headed by the Benque Viejo Quick Response team. On Wednesday the 17th of February, the Benque Viejo Quick Response Team along with the Benque Viejo Special Branch Unit personnel lead an Anti-Drug operation in the Town of Benque Viejo w...

    BDF soldier’s trial for rape halted
    Lieutenant of the Belize Defence Force, Ruhesi Elijio, began trial in the Supreme Court this week, but today it was halted by Justice Troadio Gonzalez after some disturbing news came to light. Elijio is charged with the rape of a female colleague in the Force on the Price Barracks compound almost 5 ...

    Carjacker found guilty by court
    Philip Bowen, a clothes vendor, was found guilty of robbery and aggravated assault by Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith and is serving a 7-year prison sentence. He jacked a taximan at gun point of his vehicle, forcing the operator to jump out of it to save his life. He then went on a joy ride until ...

    CARICOM decides on way forward to tackle derisking
    The twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government closed off today after two and a half days Placencia. . As has been reported, one of the major issues of discussion at this year’s conference was that of de-risking by US Banks; an issue affecting the wider Caribbea...

    Hearing from children about their municipalities
    The Child Friendly Municipal Development plan is aimed at making towns and cities more child friendly. Presently, various municipalities are conducting meeting sessions with advisory boards made up of young people to get their feedback and views on their municipalities. On Tuesday February 16, f...

    Police and Security firms strategize
    There was a meeting between police officers and heads of the different security firms in Belmopan this evening at the Belmopan police station. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the various ways the different firms can work together along with police to improve security. Superintendent Howell...

    School and Sport Council receive donations
    There were some donations made in Cayo on Tuesday. The first one was a donation by Minister Orlando Habet to the St. Francis Xavier school in Esperanza Village. The Minister donated some crystal water bottles along with dispensers to the school. The principal says that the Minster also says he wil...

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Court delays sentencing of woman convicted of Human Trafficking
    Sentencing for 64 year old naturalized Belizean Estela Gonzalez, found guilty last week of human trafficking has been delayed until Tuesday, February 23. Today the court heard a plea for mitigation from Gonzalez who said that she was sorry for what she did but she did […]

    Belize Rural North villages get road upgrade
    Edmond Castro, the area representative for Belize Rural North and Minister of National Emergency Management, with funds secured from the Government of Belize, is currently undertaking a project to mitigate flooding in the Maskall-Bomba area, which is expected to be completed by next the […]

    DJ Busch charged with friends beating
    Thirty-seven year old James Busch, aka “DJ Bush”, who allegedly administered a severe beating to Marlon Chavez, was charged with dangerous harm when he appeared today before Magistrate Deborah Rogers. Bush was released on a bail of $6,000 and his case was adjourned until April 22. […]

    Punta Gorda Police meet and greet
    Punta Gorda police are the latest to implement the community-inclusive “Meet and Greet” initiative as a means of bringing the police and the public together. Today, officers in town were seen in pairs, introducing themselves and making conversation in an attempt to familiarize the public […]

    US high-school student to raise funds for FCD
    A 17-year-old high school student from Pennsylvania, USA is organizing a fundraising marathon in her hometown of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to raise funds for the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD). FCD is a non profit, non-governmental organization based in the Cayo District with an […]

    Regional Agricultural meeting being held at Biltmore Plaza
    On Tuesday afternoon at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza in Belize City, an inauguration was held for the LXI Ordinary Technical Committee Meeting of CIRSA, which began yesterday and will conclude tomorrow. Delegates from nine of OIRSA’s member countries, representatives of the Diplomatic Corporation, […]

    Analyst presents findings on bottlenecks in birth registration
    Imagine being born without an identity. Can you live without the modern conveniences of school, immunization, or even family? You’re not really you, because there is no you. After the miracle of birth, a mother’s first task following breastfeeding and presenting her new child to […]

    Blogs

    Fried Honey Bananas
    Lightly drizzle oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange banana slices in pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, whisk together honey and 1 tablespoon of water. Remove pan from heat and pour honey mixture over banana. Allow to cool and sprinkle with cinnamon.

    This is Belize: A murder in Paradise
    The rape and murder on January 14 of Chicago online news producer Anne Swaney, 39, in western Belize, close to the Guatemala border, has triggered a huge wave of concern, outrage and interest around the world, as well as here in Belize. Swaney worked for ABC7 in Chicago and was a talented young woman with a most-promising life and career ahead of her. She was vacationing at Nabitunich Resort, an eco-resort just outside of Benque Viejo Town. The resort is not far from the very porous Guatemala border, on the Mopan River. Police know she had some sort of friendship with a staff member at the resort, formed during a previous visit. They have questioned the employee who last saw her alive. They know she gave up a spot on a trail ride because of a shortage of horses and instead walked down to a dock to practice yoga.

    Belize is safe for travel; no cases of Zika yet
    The spread of the Zika virus in the Americas, including countries in the Caribbean, and the possible link to birth defects such as microcephaly (babies with small heads) have left many people – especially pregnant women – wondering whether they should cancel their holidays to the region. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and individual countries have advised their pregnant citizens not to travel, and some airlines and cruise lines are offering refunds and/free penalty-free changes. But the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) say there is no reason to panic or to put travel plans on hold. There have been no confirmed cases of Zika in Belize, despite reported cases in surrounding Central American and Caribbean territories. As concerns grow among tourists, travel advisories have been issued about visiting a number of destinations but Belize is not included in the list of affected countries.

    Living In Stress-Free Belize On 66% Less Than In The U.S.
    If you drop by Dan and Mary Elizabeth Crofts home in Corozal, Belize, you might find Dan indulging in one of his favorite new pastimes…feeding the local iguanas. Mary Elizabeth explains, “We have a family of three that we have named: Greta, Gary, and their son, Genghis. They love bananas and we have a video of Dan feeding them.” And Mary Elizabeth would likely be whipping up a delicious baked treat. “I often make goodies for the workers doing projects at our house. This makes me very popular during their break time.” Since retiring to Consejo Shores in the Corozal District, the Crofts have embraced a laidback lifestyle, surrounded by nature, and devoid of stress. It’s a far cry from the lives they led in Pennsylvania, where Dan taught school for 38 years, and Mary Elizabeth spent her career in banking. The Crofts readily admit that each day they count their blessings. “We love getting up and having breakfast in our sunroom, looking at the beautiful nature surrounding us…especially the birds and flowers. The sunrises are awesome and the beautiful starry nights amazing. And we love that there’s no snow in Belize…and no more sidewalks to shovel.”

    Pineapple Carpaccio
    1. Nothing is more simple. Just cut the pineapple into thin slices and spread them on a large platter. 2. For flavored sugar, mix together sugar, the zest of one lime, 2 sprigs of mint leaves and 2 sprigs of basil. Sprinkle flavored sugar on the pineapple, cover with film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 3. The final touch: Just before serving, spread a dash of an excellent olive oil. You can choose mint-flavored olive oil for example, but there are plenty of other choices, too!

    Mango Carpaccio with Ice Cream
    1. Peel the mangoes. 2. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slices the “cheeks” of the mango very thinly 3. Arrange the mango slices on a plate 4. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center — you can also use a fruit sorbet. 5. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Add some cherries for color.

    International Sourcesizz

    Venezuela raises petrol price for first time in 20 years
    Venezuela is raising petrol prices for the first time in 20 years, although the president claims it will still be the cheapest in the world. President Nicolas Maduro said pump prices of premium fuel would rise from the equivalent of $0.01 a litre to about $0.60 (£0.40). The cost of lower grade petrol would rise to about $0.10 a litre. He unveiled a series measures to help ease Venezuela's economic crisis, including devaluing the currency. The rise in the heavily-subsidised fuel price will save $800m a year. "Venezuela has the cheapest gasoline in the world," Mr Maduro said in a televised address. "The cost is almost nothing." However, other countries, including Saudi Arabia also have extremely cheap, subsidised petrol prices. He said the price rise was "a necessary measure, a necessary action to balance things, I take responsibility for it."

    President Barack Obama to make historic Cuba visit in March
    US President Barack Obama has confirmed he will visit Cuba in March as part of a broader trip to Latin America. He will be only the second sitting US president in history to travel to the island's capital of Havana. US Republicans have criticised the visit, saying it should not take place while the Castro family is in power. Washington and Havana restored diplomatic ties last July and the US relaxed travel and trade restrictions after a 54-year freeze. The US president confirmed his Cuba trip in a post on Twitter, saying: "Next month, I'll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people."

    Chinese New Year in Belize
    2016 is the year of the monkey: the year of the fire monkey to be exact. Fire monkeys are ambitious, adventurous, but irritable. I love monkeys but I am not looking forward to a year of ambitious, irritable people. I’ve had enough of that already with the political candidates and it’s only February. Living on Cape Cod I never thought much about Chinese New Year or it’s celebrations. It wasn’t until my trips to Belize that I experienced it first hand. Chinese New Year is a big holiday in Belize. Belize surprisingly has a lot of Chinese in their small population. It is a place where persecuted persons of all origins have landed and settled down. There is also a significant Amish population. Every group has their own specialty. The Amish farm and grow vegetables. They are the primary providers of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. The Chinese very often are shopkeepers. In the Northern section of Belize all the grocery markets are owned by the Chinese. There of course are Chinese restaurants. On our first visit, the Chinese New Year was fast approaching so we decided to try out a “Belizean “ Chinese restaurant.

    Greetings from Belize!
    On Monday, Gayla and I flew from Phoenix to Belize, via Houston. This is my first time visiting Belize, and in many respects it reminds me a lot of Brazil. For years we have been providing free guided bird walks each week at both our Prescott and our Sedona stores. This trip, however, is the first Jay's Bird Barn birding field trip to an international destination. We flew in a day before the group was to meet up, which provided me with the opportunity to go birding on my own, both Monday evening and Tuesday morning. The birding has been fantastic! It is hard to describe the joy I feel as I spend time in nature, observing new birds. The birds that thrill me the most are the birds that I am seeing in the wild for the first time in my life. It is one thing to see pictures of birds in a bird book. It is quite a different thing to see them in the wild. I have taken this Belize trip seriously. I have spent the last two months studying and memorizing all of the birds that are in The Birds of Belize book, which has over 570 birds! I have been pouring over the color plates in the bird book, repeating over and over again the names of the birds. I wanted to firmly plant in my mind each species name and its key identifying features. My preparation has really paid off. It is one thing to bird with a guide when you are in a place you have never been before. However, when you are alone, if you don't know your birds, it can be really challenging to identify each species you see. I felt that the time I spent birding by myself was super productive. I really knew the names of each of the species I saw, and was able to identify them without the aid of a guide.

    Belize Shrimp Growers’ Conquer Premium Markets UK
    A strong will to increase its export market base and achieve the coveted international Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification led to the formation of the Belize Shrimp cluster and it is now reaping the benefits of accomplishing both goals. Challenged by an unforeseen viral disease which severely impacted the Belize shrimp industry, the cluster still managed to successfully supply UK based multinational retailer Marks and Spencer as well as the second largest supermarket chain in the UK, Sainbury’s, with 1.1 million pounds of shrimp in 2015. Under the Sainsbury agreement, the shrimp is repackaged under its premium brand and sold exclusively by the chain as it has agreed not to source shrimp from any other supplier under its brand. This has resulted in a higher than projected price premium for exports to these markets. As a direct result of Compete Caribbean’s intervention, Belize Aquaculture Ltd. – the lead firm responsible for the UK arrangements – was able to guarantee quality, consistency and volume by engaging in purchase agreements for the type and quality of shrimp needed from the other ASC certified farms in the cluster. As a result, even the smallest firms in the cluster plug directly into the export value chain for Belize shrimp.

    World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016
    Economic losses associated with the mosquito-borne Zika virus spreading across Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to total roughly $3.5 billion this year, according to initial estimates from the World Bank released Thursday. The organization announced it would provide $150 million to support vector surveillance and control, and identification of vulnerable populations — especially pregnant women and women of reproductive age. It also said it would use the money to promote access to family planning, and to provide prenatal care for Zika-infected pregnant women and postnatal care for babies in the event of neurological complications. Some health experts suspect a strong link between Zika and an apparent surge of babies born in Brazil with microcephaly, a condition marked by an undersized head and brain damage. The World Bank said Zika-related losses would likely be “modest” but could hit tourism-dependent countries in the region hard. Foregone income in such countries, including Belize, Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, could range from 0.8 percent to 1.6 percent of their GDP, the World Bank said.

    Crocodiles Suffocated On Way To Wildlife Facility In Mexico
    More than 120 crocodiles belonging to wildlife company Cocodrilos Exoticos were found dead after crushing and suffocating one another during the company's 1,580 mile-long trip across Mexico. Cocodrilos Exoticos, a crocodile farm and conservation facility based in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo, could face a fine of up to $193,000 for failing to provide "dignified treatment" for the animals under wildlife protection laws, authorities said. Morelet's crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletiiare) are native to the eastern coastal plain of Mexico, across most of the Yucatan peninsula, and throughout Belize and northern Guatemala. They live primarily in freshwater areas such as swamps and marshes. Characterized by a broad snout and dark grayish-brow color, they are relatively small compared to other species. Full grown, they can reach 9.8 feet long. The 124 reptiles were among 350 of this type of crocodile from another farm, Cocodrilos Mexicanos, located in the northwestern Pacific coast state of Sinaloa. They were en route to their new home at the "Cocodrilia" wildlife conservation facility in the Caribbean coast town of Chetumal, which is owned and operated by Cocodrilos Exóticos.

    Videos

  • Press Conference held on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), 33min. With CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Dean Barrow and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. 

  • Body And Soul - Common Health Problems in Belize, 3min. This video is about Body and Soul Medical Mission in Belize and the health problems that they commonly treat.

  • Guatemala - Belize, 5.5min.

  • Hamanasi Hopkins Belize Half Moon Caye Wall 2 Feb 2016, 84 foot max depth, 36 min, 34min. Half Moon Caye Wall off Lighthouse Reef and Half Moon Caye Belize 2 Feb 2016. Hopkins Divers from Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort took us out

  • THE Legend Garifuna, 3min. Trip down memory lane, Vintage, but still breathtaking to watch. I miss him. He was one of us for a while.

  • Belize Snorkeling, 3min.

  • Belize in 10 days, 2min. A lot can happen in a 2 week adventure traveling around Belize. Some of which I can highly recomend like an ATV execution through the jungle with Chaa Creek Resort or an adventure snorkeling on Caye Caulker. What a great time exploring the outdoors of this great nation and being immersed in the rich, diverse culture.

  • BELIZE-2016-RamPsalm, 7min. 11 days in Belize, playing ,praying and ministering to the people of Belize

  • Diving Caye Caulker Belize, 8min. Diving with the lads in Caye Caulker, Belize. No Blue Hole dive due to weather but still pretty sweet.

  • Belize Audubon Society Bird Guide Training, 10min.

  • Belize Hurricanes-Run this Town, 4.5min.

  • NEC takes Belize 2016, 18min. Study abroad trip my senior year.

  • Flight from Belize City to San Pedro, 5min.

  • Our Romantic Engagement- High temple, Lamanai, Belize....#Coldplay, 2.5min. The Moment I asked my wife to be mine...

  • Belize Barrier Reef Snorkeling 2016, 2min. Snorkeling in Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley in the Belize Barrier Reef. Swam with Sea Turtles, Nurse Sharks, Sting Rays and every color fish imaginable.

    February 18, 2016


    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, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    Forward Operating Base at Sarstoon coming along
    On December 19, 2016 the controversial ground breaking of the joint Belize Defense Force (BDF) and Belize Coast Guard (BCG) Forward Operating Base (FOB) was held at an area of land on the northern bank of the of the Sarstoon River in southern Belize. Two months later work has progressed and the building is starting to take shape. On Wednesday, February 10th the Minister of National Security, Honorable John Saldivar visited the construction site, applauding the rapid pace of construction. The FOB has been long needed in the area for law enforcement presence, as the area is known for illegal activities. On his visit to the construction site, Saldivar was accompanied by senior members of the BDF, the Belize Police Department and Ministry of National Security officials, along with Honorable Frank Mena. The FOB at the mouth of the Sarstoon River is one of several initiatives being undertaken by the Government of Belize to safeguard and protect Belize’s sovereignty. “The Forward Operating Base, though modest in its beginnings, will establish a much needed presence and will serve to combat illicit activities such as drug, contraband and human trafficking, and weapons trading, which threaten Belize’s national security,” indicated Saldivar.

    Caye Caulker hosts first Lionfish Derby
    The first ever Lionfish Derby in Caye Caulker took place on Saturday, February 13th and was organized and founded by the Barrier Reef Sports Bar and Grill along with Oceana Wave Maker volunteer Lynne Harris. The event was organized to continue the fight in ridding Belizean waters of the invasive lionfish. Nine teams registered for the event and headed out to the sea to capture as many fish as possible, then bring them ashore for cooking. There were four main categories which included the Most Lionfish (Scuba Diving), Most Lionfish (Free Dive), Largest Lionfish and Smallest Lionfish. There was even recognition for the youngest team taking part in the tournament. At the end of the tournament, after all the catches had been weighed, the respective winners were announced. The Most Lionfish caught through scuba diving was via Team Sagebrush from San Pedro Town with 78 lionfish caught. Team members were Brad Blanchat, Kyle Thomas, Eddie Ancona, Bill McDonald, Andre Paz, and Justin from Amigos del Mar. They walked away with $500, a case of beer and a bottle of rum. Capturing the prize for the Most Lionfish in free diving, as well as the Smallest Lionfish, was Caye Caulker fisherman Miguel Moreno. He won $600 dollars along with a case of beer and a bottle of rum. The prize for the Largest Lionfish, measuring an impressive 15” went to Stephanie and Henry Lopez from Contour Tours, who took the prize of $100, a case of beer and a bottle of rum. At the end of the award ceremony, the youngest team, Spearheads, was recognized. Even though they did not make it in any of the four main categories, they did well as the youngest group in the competition. They walked away with a $75 certificate courtesy of the Barrier Reef Sports

    Ambergris Today

    San Pedro Takes Steps to Remain Zika Free
    San Pedro Town Council and Ministry Of Health Unite For A Zika Free San Pedro - With the recent Zika situation in the region, The San Pedro Town Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Health has embarked on a proactive approach to ensure that our island, as well as the entire country of Belize, remains Zika free. This plan of action is in accordance with the national plan of action that the Ministry of Health has embarked on. The San Pedro Town Council and the Ministry of Health are therefore encouraging all islanders to do their part to prevent all forms of mosquito-borne diseases and keep our environment and island clean.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    A love letter to the Caribbean Sea
    Dear Caribbean Sea, Some of our earliest memories are of you, our beautiful Caribbean Sea. Carefree days; warm sand; beauty and abundance as far as the eye could see. Every year, we take a knee, hoping we are not forced to witness the power of your waters in storms and hurricanes. And every day, we give thanks to you for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the coasts you protect, the jobs you provide, the food you put on our tables. We dare not imagine a world without you…a world without our reef, without fish, without all the treasures that make us who we are: proud Belizeans. No matter where we live, we recognize the role you play in our personal health and in the global reality. Belize is small but we’re strong. And we know just how important you are to us—all the ways we are interconnected and dependent on how you’re feeling. We see you hurting. We hear your cries for help. We know that if each country works diligently to save the ocean, we can help you help yourself. We promise to act, to reimagine how we use and protect our resources to ensure we are doing what we can to minimize climate change, ensure food and job security and a better quality of life for all. You may have seen us on the coasts and cayes, picking up the garbage that’s choking you. You may have heard our voices, calling for sustainable development projects. You have felt our hands as they stretch across the sand to protect you from offshore oil. It’s not enough but we promise to do more. We promise to speak up even more boldly and loudly and to get even more people involved. We know that if we all come together and use our hearts, hands and voices, our small ripples will create big waves of change. We promise to do more than just say we love you; we promise to act like it. Love always, the people of Belize.

    Luna Loca's 3rd Anniversary Weekend Celebration & Full Moon Party
    February 18 - February 23. Luna Loca: on the beach, San Pedro, Belize. Calling all LUNAtics! Join us in celebrating our 3rd anniversary with a long weekend full of exciting entertainment and fun! Drink specials every day As alway's....walk in and get a free Shot. 2 for 1 Belizean rum 2 for 1 LocaRitas 2 for 1 Green Fairy Thursday 18 February 7p-12a Karaoke with Julian Melodyman Escobar Free shots for all singers, Bring your losing Chicken Drop ticket for a surprise at the bar Friday 19 February 7p-12a Video DJing by DJ Tracks Name dat tune.... Free 2 Be Saturday 20 February 7p-12a DJ GrACiErOcK Droppin dat BASS from di underground... Silly games and prizes Limbo, Musical Chairs, Punta Hoop, and The Big Suck-Off Sunday 21 February 2p-6p LUNAtic Asylum Wine Down With live music by PG Vibes 2 for 1 Bloody Marys/Marias, Micheladas, Mimosas and Bellinis

    Sunsets from last night and tonight, Iguana Reef and Belize Diving Services, Caye Caulker, Belize

    Ocean Ferry Belize Limited says STOP THE CLOCK!
    We are trying something new on 17 February 2016! 11:30 a.m. departure from San Pedro, and 12:00 noon departure from Caye Caulker wink emoticon Come experience this and maybe even win something (hehe) - and who knows....maybe we make it a permanent thing??

    Business Outsourcing Provider’s Summit Belize!
    Government officials from Belize and private sector representatives will meet in February to discuss a new Commonwealth strategy to improve the country’s business services sector. The meeting, which will take place on 17 February in Belize City, will be an opportunity to examine the benefits of increasing the country’s business services and identify priorities for policy and institutional reform. The strategy was developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide). Businesses services cover a wide range of activities including accounting, data processing, IT-related services and telecommunications. Governments and businesses around the world outsource a proportion of these services to make efficiency gains or as part of a wider corporate strategy.

    Current Market Surveillance Activities by the Belize Bureau of Standards
    Government of Belize Press Office

    FREE SPAYS AND NEUTERS Feb 22-26 at SAGA
    World Spay Day is next Tuesday Dr. Baptist will be returning to Saga to help celebrate this worldwide event to control pet population...please call Miss Ingrid at 226-3266 to schedule your cat or dog (or rabbit) today... FREE SPAYS AND NEUTERS next week...never a better time to care for your pet and help the animals of San Pedro...

    Ixcacao chocolate now in stock on Caye Caulker
    Half size (2 OZ) bars in a variety of flavors $5.50 each. Full sized (4 OZ) bars in dark, milk and unsweetened baking chocolate $11. Flavors available in small bars: dark, dark with ginger, spicy dark, dark with cinnamon and milk chocolate. Message me for orders.

    Garden & Flower Show in Belize City
    If you are in Belize City this weekend folks, lookout for their Garden & Flower Show!

    They say "Dis Da Fu Wi Chikin"
    Quality Food Products which recently opened its doors announces its COROZAL GRAND OFFICIAL OPENING this Saturday February 20th, 2016. 10% off all grocery items. Whole chicken at discounted price. FREE FOOD & DRINKS (All Day Long). Every hour there will be a raffle - 5 Bicycles, 5 Micro ovens and the GRAND PRIZE of 1 Stove - See you at our location #2 Third Street South, Corozal Town (Same building where Smart is).

    A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited
    For the post of Lead Mechanic in the Transport Section.

    Power interruptions 5:00am to 6:20am & 5:40pm to 6:00pm, Sunday February 21, Cayo and Belize Districts
    Entire City of Belmopan, and area from Mile 31 to Mile 50 on the George Price Highway including La Democracia, Franks Eddy, Saint Matthews, Cotton Tree, Roaring Creek, Valley of Peace, Camalote, Teakettle, Arizona, Ontario, Buena Vista, Blackman Eddy, Unitedville and all that area from Belmopan to Armenia Village on the Hummingbird Highway. BEL to conduct climbing inspections of the transmission system & maintenance of equipment at La Democracia Substation.

    Health Fair at Lion's Den today!
    Want to know how healthy you are? Find out at the Health Fair today (Thursday) from 9am-4pm at the Lions Den!

    BELIZE EXHIBIT 35 RECEPTION -Washington DC
    A DAY TO REMEMBER FOR BELIZEAN EXHIBIT too many times history is forgottten this time we will share the moment of that day with our friends away from home. We thank Dr. Jean Alexandre, former VP United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Nestor Mendez Asst. Secretary General OAS. and H.E. Pat Andrews Belize Ambassador to the U.S. and OAS.

    "As We Remember"
    NELSON ERNEST FULLER R.I.P. (no more suffering) The Babylon Warriors and fans gonna miss you.

    Cayeboard Connection sold
    Congratulations to Albert and Chantel on their new journey, as well as to Ellen and Sofia on THEIR new journey. Cayeboard Connection’s success has allowed me to provide jobs to 3 Belizean families and to support my own family. Cayeboard has paid for both of my daughters’ schooling, a paralegal certificate, a bachelor degree and a high school diploma. With competent staff, and the support of my family, I was able to work outside of the shop and to provide countless hours of volunteer services to both the primary and high school computer labs; building the primary school lab from scratch and assisting in setting up the lab in the high school. I am grateful to all of my staff over the years whose hard work and dedication have been a huge contribution to Cayeboard's success. It has been a pleasure knowing and working with all of them. I am especially thankful to Paulina, Albert and Victoria for the awesome job they have done during my absence this past year. And last but not least, I give thanks to the people of Caye Caulker who have chosen to use Cayeboard for their computing and printing needs. I have tried my best to give back to the community whenever possible.

    Cristo Rey Bird Garden
    The Cristo Rey Primary School is getting a Bird Garden. The Belize Raptor Center, which will visit the school over 20 times for the project (pictures here) has teamed up with Full Basket Belize to make the bird garden happen. Thanks to both wonderful organizations! "The first of 20+ visits to Cristo Rey school. Cristo Rey is one of two schools that will receive Full Basket Belize grant money for a school bird garden this year. We are thrilled to be able to provide the children and community with a year worth of activities and a garden built with their own hands to be proud of for years to come."

    Western Ballaz Host Bandits
    The Western Ballaz are hosting the Belmopan Bandits this Friday. Go Ballaz! "Rivalry Match!!! You guys ready?? It's happening this Friday at SHC's Auditorium. Let's go Ballaz!!!!"

    Chiquibul Forest Advisory Council launched
    Thanks to the Forest Department, the Chiquibul Forest Advisory Council was launched today. This endeavor seeks to join efforts for the consolidation of the Chiquibul Forest and define strategies and framework for medium and long term goals.

    Channel 7

    CARICOM Meeting Wraps On Placencia, We Resolve To ...
    At this hour, the Heads of Government from the 15 member States of CARICOM are finishing up their third day of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting, which was held on the Placencia Peninsula. Since Monday, we’ve been bringing you coverage of meeting as it progressed, and after all the discussions, the meeting closed by charting the way forward for a number of pressing issues facing the Caribbean Community as a collective. At an afternoon press conference, Prime Minister Barrow, who is the Interim Chair of CARICOM, sat down with the media along with Secretary General Irwin LaRocque. They walked the Caribbean press through the resolutions coming out of the conference. The Secretary General told us that he and the other Heads of Government are pleased with how the meeting unfolded: Ambassador Irwin LaRocque - Secretary General, CARICOM "Prime Minister just very briefly to thank you for your kind words first and foremost but also to thank you for your stewardship over our community from day one of us assuming office you have been in the driver seat. The arrangements made for today, the conductor of the meetings over the past day and a half I think is exemplary, it’s most efficient. You'd be surprise to know the amount of work our heads of government have achieved in a day and a half. Some of the topics as you have heard are fairly witty but they were dealt with thoroughly and with guides to action."

    CARICOM Meeting Big On Correspondent Bank De-Risking
    But, the biggest issue facing the CARICOM Nations right now is the loss of correspondent banking relationships. As has been widely reported, this phenomenon called de-risking is a result of the US crackdown on money laundering and the financing of terrorism. That has caused the large US Banks to cut off their relations with the indigenous banks of the Caribbean. It’s a widening crisis, and over the last three days, the CARICOM heads of government have discussed the problem and possible solutions at length. Today, the Prime Minister shared with us what the conference of leaders has decided on to deal with the de-risking threat: Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister: "On correspondent banking, we're great to the appointment of a high level advocacy group to be led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; the chair of the finance minister committee we had earlier set up. This group will be charged with the responsibility to represent the interest of the region in addressing this issue including an approach to the UN and the WTO. We're also talking about engaging directly with the regulators, particularly in the US and with congress, certainly with as many congressional leaders as the team will be able to interface with."

    CARICOM On Border Disputes
    One other fringe issue that the 15 Heads of Government discussed today was the border dispute that Belize has with Guatemala, and the border dispute that Guyana has with Venezuela. We spoke to Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington in Placencia where he discussed these territorial disputes: Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs: "There were two border issues that were dealt with, one the Belize border issue the other one is the Guyana border issue; but I just listen to one of the Prime Ministers who was saying that the Guyana border issue has been on the table since 1993. So these are two issues that have coming back every time the heads meet because it gives the heads an opportunity to affirm their solidarity with the countries in their struggle and claim and of course to get an update as to what has transpired since the last meeting. That is essentially what took place, I was able to give them an update on all that has transpired since we last met and tell them what we are planning to do in the future." Reporter: "Now I know the CARICOM provides support when it comes to issues that the member states are facing both nationally and at a regional level. What kind of support can the Caribbean community possibly lend in terms of our Belize Guatemala issue?"

    GOB Pushing Forward With Port Partnership For Cruise Ships?
    What’s the cruise future for Belize City? That’s a question that we’ve been asking on this newscast for months now – and finding an answer is like aiming at a moving target. First – back in 2004 - it was the Carnival Cruise Port at the Port of Belize, and then that completely fell part, and then it was Stake Bank –which only recently fell out of contention, and, now, the new frontrunner is the old frontrunner: they’re back to the Port of Belize. Government wants a public-private partnership – reportedly with the Ashcroft Alliance – to build a docking facility there. Exploratory meetings were held last week Wednesday at the Tourism Board – and even the Prime Minister was there. So was Minister of State in the Ministry of Investment Tracy Taegar Panton – and we asked her about it:… Hon. Tracey Taegar Panton - Minister of State, Investment Trade & Commerce: "It's clearly as the Prime Minister indicated a project that we will be looking at very seriously. We have heard over the years and you know I've served in tourism for many years prior to taking on this roll and responsibility. That the berthing facility that will allow passengers to dock and land and go immediately on tours is really what we've heard from the cruise sector. Stake Bank presented a possibility without the causeway it presents challenges and so the port is in Belize City is potentially a site we can look at. We are speaking to a couple of potential investors to examine the feasibility and viability of such a project but we're in the very preliminary stages at this point."

    Bureau Of Standards Brought Down The Hammer
    On this newscast, we always knock the Bureau of Standards for being too soft on enforcement, but they’ve been busy doing their work these past six weeks. The Bureau reports that its officers have visited 150 stores all over the country to check on the new controlled price of rice and sugar – which went into effect at the end of December, 2015. So, of the 150 stores which they checked, 30 of them were price gouging. This was most prevalent in the south and at corner shops in rural areas countrywide. And where prices were higher than the controlled price, the Bureau confiscated their product, taking in 2770 pounds of rice, white sugar, brown sugar and flour. A third of that came from stores in Belize City, while Punta Gorda and Dangriga had half of the total, Cayo had only 10%, and Orange Walk and Corozal added up to only 8% of the total product seized. And that’s not the end of it. The controller of Supplies has the case files and he will send if to the DPP for advice.

    Keeping the City Zika Free
    Today another Zika sensitization meeting was held but this time the Belize City Council was involved. This morning at City Hall 3 health officials gave a presentation on the Zika virus to the city council. For some of you, these meetings may seem redundant given that there are no confirmed cases in Belize and it’s pretty much the same information we have been reporting on since cases of the virus began exploding all around us. But health officials say nothing is redundant when it comes to public health. Here are just a few comments from the presentation regarding the transmission of the virus and the symptoms Dr. Javier Zuniga - Reg. Manager, Central Health Region: "Zika is a virus and it belongs to a family of virus known as flavivirus and it is transmitted by a vector and that vector is known as the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. I'm sure you're familiar with the Aedes Aegypti mosquito because it also transmits dengue and chikungunya. The symptoms include slight fever, headache, very important with Zika is a non-purulent conjunctivitis. What do we mean by non-purulent, when we have discharge from the eyes, when you have a pink eye that's a purulent discharge but on this case there is no purulent discharge so its dry but the eye is red. Aching joints just like dengue, chikungunya, heat rash could also appear muscular pain, general discomfort and very important is that it causes vertical transmission. What does that mean; it means that it is passed from mother to child."

    Mayor Still Waffling On Plaza Paving
    Last night we told you about the situation with Cindarella Plaza in Belize City. One week ago, the Mayor said that the Ministry of Works would pave it – and yesterday the Ministry said it would do no such thing: they built the canal underneath the street; paving the surface is CITCO’s job. Yesterday, Councillor Phillip Willoughby said that they’re hoping that when the 21 million dollar municipal drainage is finished – there’ll be some contingency funds available to come up with the half a million dollars or so need to pave that stretch and a portion of Baymen Avenue. Well, truth is there won’t be; the money has all been spent or programmed. So we asked the Mayor today what’s going to happen: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City: "The reality though is that the area has to be completed, it will either be completed by the project or if not by some other agency including the city council so that we're trying to see how we can work with the various entities to ensure that's done as soon as possible. Last time we had our public meeting; this was one of the things that was raised. Two pivotal areas were raised, Cindarella Plaza and the area in front of Publics and I think that these are two areas where admittedly there is public disquiet in relation to the lack of completion of those projects and these are two areas that the city council has placed as a priority. So the next works that occur will occur along Cindarella Plaza and along the area of East and West Canal."

    Vision Over Visibility For Sandlighter's Promenade
    And while Cindarella is a wait and see for City Hall, it seems so is a project on standstill at the Sand Lighters Promenade. If you pass there regularly you would have seen these 2 wooden frames on the side walk. They have been there for about a month and it seems like whoever built them there just abandoned the project. Well, that’s not the case at all, those two wooden frames will be a part of an ambitious water sports spot. Today the Mayor told us more about this project and how it fits right into the city’s master plan. Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City: "The idea with that is that a year ago the city council received a proposal from an individual who wanted to do a zip lining business in the water ways. This was something that we were very excited about because you have had an idea with the master plan where we are developing a lot of the water front area in terms of the cementing streets, BTL Park, Battlefield Park. We are now talking about working with the Inter-American Development Bank and the American Planning Association in doing a project in the Yabra area which is on the water front. And the idea with the master plan is that there could be a significant more economic investment and opportunity with water sports..."

    Wilfred, Will Philloughby Fly Away To Windy City?
    Earlier in the news, we told showed you our interview with Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington where he briefed the media on the CARICOM discussion about the territorial disputes in the region. That also gave us the opportunity to ask him for confirmation on whether or not the Barrow Administration is going to appoint 2 UDP politicians to diplomatic postings in the US. They are former Albert aspirant Phillip Willoughby and former Albert Area Rep. Herman Longsworth. As viewers will remember, they stepped aside and discontinued their candidacies so that Tracy Taegar-Panton could become the UDP Albert Standard Bearer, and eventually the Area Representative. Last year, the Prime Minister denied that they were being given a gift in exchange for stepping aside, and so today, we asked Foreign Minister Elrington about the plan to turn them into diplomats. Here’s what he said: Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Foreign Affairs: "I know a little bit more in relation to the Longsworth one than I do with respect to Willoughby. I have spoken to Mr. Longsworth, I have spoken to my CEO in relation to Mr. Longsworth and I know that he was to do the counsellor work in New York that is the thinking, that is the plan and I think that they are making budgetary arrangements for that. I do not know where the Willoughby one stands. I haven't spoken to Phillip on that, I don't think I've ever spoke to him about it in any detail and I haven't gotten any information from my CEO on that as well. So I don't know where it stands."

    Darrell To Phil: "Please Don't Go"
    And while there is no clear plan for Phil Willoughby in the Windy City – that’s just fine with Mayor Darrell Bradley, who says he has plenty of use for him here where he’s a fourth term city councillor:… Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City: "We don't have any position in relation to that yet because I have not been notified by the councillor nor by any other entity in relation to his departure. Phillip Willoughby is an integral part of the council; I have had the great pleasure of working with him over the last three and a half going on to four years since I've been mayor. I think that he has been one of the most effective departments of the city council; we have seen expansion there to now where we're dealing with more coordination with flood mitigation efforts, climate resilient efforts and so its broad base. You're dealing now with leading the city Zika response so that I think he is an effective councillor, I would sad to see him depart if he chooses or goes anywhere but we will make those determinations at the appropriate time. At the current time I don't know that he's leaving at any specific date in the future and when that date comes then we're going to deal with it."

    BPO Is Big Business
    When you think about the outsourcing industry you think about call centres – now those types of jobs aren’t the highest paying jobs or aren’t what you would chose as a career path, but Acting Manager of Belize Invest Beltraide Hero Balani says these types of jobs are very helpful in developing a person’s basic skill set for the work force. And today at the first ever Belize Outsourcing Service Summit held at the Radisson - the importance of this sector was highlighted. Balani told us more about the significance of this summit Hero Balani - Acting Manager, Belize Invest: "As you know the business process out sourcing sector which deals with the contact call centre industry has been growing significantly in Belize and so what Beltraide has done today is to really gather all the stakeholders that are involved in this industry included the Telecom providers, academia, the private sector of course and then the public sector; in terms of our ministry, the bureau of standards is here. So what we are here to do today is to really look at what the consultants are recommending for the next steps in the industries development." Courtney Weatherburne: "So tell us more about the specific areas that the consultants are focusing on in terms of development, improving the out sourcing industry in Belize, tell us more about that."

    Belama Drainage Capped Off By A 2 Million Dollar Canal
    And councillor Willoughby was brought into harness yesterday when the Ministry of Workers toured the 21 million dollar Municipal Drainage project. The City Council will inherit the project and Willoughby sits on the Committee. The engineers met their greatest challenge in trying to regularize drainage in the swampland communities in Belama phases 3 and 4. We had a look yesterday:… Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation: "It's very challenging; you can't imagine it is very difficult. It is difficult in the design stage and it is even worse at the execution, the implementation stage." That’s the reality for engineers and work crews trying to bill drainage on the very low lying Delcia Goff Street in Belama Phase 3." Jose Divas - Technical Specialist, Flood Mitigation: "Well initially what was here was one small 10 foot patch of road leading all the way to the canal. We will be expanding that to almost 24 feet wide road with 5 foot drains and 5 foot sidewalks on both sides."

    Will City Fix Broken Benches In New Park?
    And the municipal drainage project didn’t just build big drains, it also rehabilitated two parks in the Belama area. But when we visited the D’Nest Park, we saw that four of the large concrete benches – which were just recently installed as part of the project – had already been uprooted by vandals. They were heaped at the entrance to the park as a semi permanent eyesore. We asked Willoughby is the city council has the institutional wherewithal to remedy this sort of destructive behaviour:… Jules Vasquez: "How do you feel about this level of public miscreancy?" Phillip Willougby - Belize City Councillor: "Well it’s disappointing, all of us should." Jules Vasquez: "Up keep is a huge problem for city council, we're sitting in a brand new park, we see that those benches are there. I would imagine if I come here a year from now, they'll still be there. We see that the grass isn't cut, these are problems to city council, it has a problem maintaining its properties to standards."

    American Murder In PG May Have Been Motivated By Jealousy
    American national Thomas Rackowski may have been murdered as a result of jealousy. Our sources tell us that Rackowski became friends with a man and the man may have become suspicious of Rackowksi and his girlfriend. When we spoke to police today they said they also got this information but can’t confirm as yet. 2 men and the woman in question are still detained in connection with this murder. Rackowski was murdered on Saturday night at around 9:25 at his Hopeville home in Punta Gorda. He was at his home reading that night when 3 persons entered through a screen door. They attacked Rackowski and stabbed him 4 times - twice to the neck and twice to the chest. They all ran off but Rackowski dragged himself to the phone and called the police. He died on Monday. Police say that this wasn't a burglary or any random home invasion because nothing was stolen from the house. Police say Rackowski was the target. We will keep following up on this murder case.

    Southside Cops Solving City Shootings
    Since the middle of 2015, south side gun violence has been on the decline. But it spiked up last weekend when 15 persons between the ages of 17 and 19 were shot in three separate incidents. Today, we asked the second in Commanding of the Southside if all of this is indicative of the gang warfare reaching another dangerous tipping point. Here is what he said. Alden Dawson - Acting Regional Commander: "It’s just an incident that the weekend saw two shooting and shooting is nothing new to the Southside. We have been very successful in keeping it to a minimal and to my mind two incidents over the weekend are actually minimal." Duane Moody - Channel 5 News: "Sir what are you guys doing interventions in case of this?" Alden Dawson - Acting Regional Commander: "We continue our meet and great with the public and again the meet and greet has been seeing a lot of success and through the same meet and greet has assisted us in getting information that led to the two arrests in the shooting."

    Cops Keeping Up Street Engagement
    The Police meet and greet of the South Side police continues. Police say their commitment to this community engagement is paying off. This time they started at the Antelope Street Extension. The Meet and Greet session continued to Iguana Street Extension, Raccoon Street extension, Pelican Street Extension, Elston Kerr Street and surrounding areas.

    Pedro Police Partake With Public
    Yesterday we told you about the murder of a Honduran National who was stabbed to the throat in front of her apartment by unknown assailants. San Pedro police are arduously following up on the matter but so far there has not been any breakthrough in the investigation. The only thing that police know for sure is that she was robbed of more than five hundred dollars. So while that case is still wide open, police in San Pedro are implementing an extensive preventative mode to curb the level of criminal activity known to run rampant in the island. While speaking with Superintendent Bowden yesterday we asked her about these crime fighting and crime preventing initiatives. San Pedro Police continue to implement the meet and greet program in their jurisdiction.

    The Taste Of Pure Tango
    A group of professional tango dancers are in Belize and want to perform for you. The group calls itself A Puro Tango and it is originally from Colombia. These dancers have been in many countries but tomorrow night they are performing in Belize for the very first time. One dropped in as they were rehearsing and got a glimpse of their performance. The group will be performing at the Bliss center on the 18 and the 19th –that’s tomorrow and Friday starting at 8. And then they perform in San Pedro on the 20th and the 21st.

    Channel 5

    Correspondent Banking: Priority Number 1 on CARICOM Agenda
    The day and a half long Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Regional Heads of Government concluded in the Placencia peninsula today. It was a short, but comprehensive meeting of the region’s [...]

    Unified Approach is Best Option to Tackle De-risking
    The loss of correspondent banking relations has been called a potentially huge crisis for Belize, and it is already affecting to a major extent smaller countries in the region. Desperate [...]

    CARICOM Chair Reiterates That Nothing is Wrong with Caribbean Jurisdiction
    Prime Minister Barrow and a delegation of high-level financial experts have concluded a round of meetings in the U.S. with regulatory and federal agencies. Nothing concrete came out of those [...]

    Climate Change: Critical Decisions Taken by CARICOM
    The Conference of Parties 21, recently convened and concluded in Paris, has been dubbed a milestone session of world leaders where a concerted effort to understand, address and mitigate climate [...]

    What Led to an Attempt on Raheem Bailey’s life?
    Turning to crime…There were two shootings on the south side of Belize City over the weekend, but details have just become available from the police. The first was the shooting [...]

    Joseph Lopez Arraigned for Attempted Murder; Police Provide an Update
    The second shooting on south side Belize City occurred an hour later on Boots Crescent near the Saint John Vianney Primary School. As we reported on Monday, a seventeen year [...]

    Jury in Rape Trial of B.D.F. Lieutenant is Discharged
    In the Supreme Court today, the rape trial of B.D.F. Lieutenant Ruhesi Elijio was abruptly stopped and the jury discharged. Elijio will remain on interdiction from the force since his [...]

    CARICOM Braces for Zika
    The mosquito borne Zika has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization because it is believed it can cause microcephaly in newborns. So [...]

    Belize City Council Prepares for Zika
    While the heads discuss the Zika in Placencia, in the city, health officials teamed up with the Belize City Council for a sensitization workshop on the virus.  The partnership is [...]

    Mayor Bradley Says Community Effort is Needed to Prevent Zika
    An increase in the number of cases involving vector-borne diseases such as dengue occurs primarily in communities that are extremely susceptible.  Nonetheless, Mayor Bradley says that the city council is [...]

    Belize’s Foreign Minister Says CARICOM Support is Critical for Border Relations
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington was also present at the CARICOM sessions this morning during which border relations were discussed – the Guyana/Venezuela issue and of course our own [...]

    Guyanese Rice Not a Topic of Discussion at Intersessional Meeting
    One issue which did not come up at the meeting of CARICOM heads of government was rice – specifically Guyana rice brought to Belize by importer Jack Charles. It was [...]

    Are Herman Longsworth and Phillip Willoughby Assuming Diplomatic Posts in US?
    From critical regional matters to political postings – since we had the opportunity, we asked the Foreign Minister to confirm reports of diplomatic assignments. Both Herman Longsworth and Phillip Willoughby [...]

    Mayor Bradley Says No Indication from Willoughby As Yet
    Mayor Darrell Bradley was also asked about the reported posting of Councillor Willoughby to the Windy City. The mayor says that while that is yet to be confirmed, if and [...]

    CitCo to Foot Bill for Cinderella Plaza Completion
    Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is catching some flak from a team of engineers spearheading the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project.  The criticism follows comments that were made last week regarding [...]

    What’s that Eyesore at Sand Lighter’s Promenade?
    If you’ve been in the vicinity of Sand Lighter’s Promenade recently you would have noticed a pair of incomplete wooden structures in front of the Mexican Institute.  What are those [...]

    Art Comes to Belize City Primary Schools
    Two budding artists have won top awards at a national and an international art competition, distinguishing themselves and their schools. The young students are from Saint John’s Vianney and Saint [...]

    Colombian Dance Group ‘A Puro Tango’ in Belize
    For the first time in Belize, the three-time tango world champion dancers from South America will be performing locally. On Thursday and Friday nights at the Bliss Center for the [...]

    LOVE FM

    Regional leaders say de-risking poses economic threat to the region
    Belize is not unique to the de-risking movements taking place with correspondent banking. With representatives present in Placencia for the Inter-sessional meeting of the Heads of Government of CARICOM, we were able to hear from other member states on how they are being affected. Renee Trujillo reporting… “The last few weeks have seen the local banking sector […]

    Fight against zika virus calls for regional collaboration
    The delegates from CARICOM’s 15-member states began arriving in the country late last week as they prepared to be a part of the 27th Intersessional meeting that Belize is hosting as the country’s Prime Minister holds the seat of Chairman for the Caribbean Community. As we have been mentioning there are several areas of concerns […]

    CARICOM leaders discuss CCJ
    Upon taking up the seat of Chairman for the Caribbean Community in January 2016, Prime Minister Dean Barrow mentioned that one of the goals on his agenda was to advocate for the member states that have not yet subscribed to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal, to do so. Those member […]

    Woman killed on La Isla Bonita, San Pedro
    Sometime this morning police were called out to the Boca del Rio area in San Pedro where on arrival at the Basil-Paris Apartments and Store, they found a female Honduran national bleeding from her neck. Love News spoke to Assistant Superintendent Henry Jemmott, Coastal Executive Officer who told us, when they got to the scene […]

    Mother of drowning victim seeks answers
    US Student Tomari Jackson would have been 15 years old on Monday but unfortunately the bright student from North Cobb High School in Cobb County died on Saturday. He was one of thirty two students who travelled to Belize to the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on an educational trip. On that day, the group went […]

    Official discuss flood mitigation project
    Back in 2015 the Ministry of Works and the Belize City Council launched the Flood Mitigation Project. Today officials from the Ministry of Works, Ministry of Finance, NEMO, Department of Environment and Belize City Council conducted a tour of the various project sites undertaken under the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project. We caught up with Project […]

    What are the plans for Southside flood mitigation?
    The flood mitigation infrastructure project is expected to be completed later this year. The project is expected to reduce flooding in Belize City. However just a few areas in Belize City are a part of the project; most of them on the north side. So what about Southside Belize City? Last year, when the heavy […]

    Works at Cinderella Plaza to be completed
    Cinderella Plaza is an important infrastructure site as it pertains to the flood mitigation infrastructure project. At first glance you might get the impression that it is incomplete but today we found out that as far as that area is concerned, there is nothing more that officials from the project can or will do. However, […]

    Belize’s cotton industry gets a boost
    The Government of Japan has made a donation to the Project for the Improvement of the Sea Island Cotton Industry in Belize. The donation is a little over two hundred thousand dollars. The contribution was made under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of the Government of Japan. Love News spoke to Hiromoto […]

    Four men charged with firearm offences
    Four known gang members were charged for firearm offences. They were detained by officers of the Gang Suppression Unit, GSU who were on patrol last night in the Saint Martin de Pores Area of Belize City. There they searched a gold Toyota Camry car at the corner of Flamboyant Street and Mahogany Street. The car […]

    PlusTV

    San Pedro Woman neck slit
    The body of a Honduran woman was taken by boat to Belize City Tuesday February 16 after she was murdered on Ambergris Caye. Police say that sometime around 5 o’clock Tuesday morning, police were called the Basil Parish apartment building on Bonefish Street in the Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro Town...

    Elderly man dies after being stabbed in his home
    On Monday 15th of February we told you about 69 year old Thomas Paul Rockowski who was clinging to life after being brutally stabbed in his home in Punta Gorda Town. The stabbing incident happened sometime after 9 p.m. on Saturday February 13th. PG police say they were called to the home of America...

    Twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government
    CARICOM Heads of Government are in Placencia for the Twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government. The meeting is being held in Belize since Belize’s Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow takes over the Chairmanship of CARICOM from The Prime Minister of Barbados, Freunde...

    Deon Brackett is remanded for attempted murder
    Former murder suspect, Deon Brackett, who walked from a murder in 2013, was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court Tuesday February 16, 2016 for the attempted murder of Raheem Akeem Bailey, who was shot in the city the previous Friday night. Bailey was the first of five persons shot during ...

    Superintendent of police’s stolen vehicle found in Guatemala
    On Monday 15th of February we reported on the robbery of Police Superintendent Selvin Tillett’s vehicle. Tillett was driving along with his son- in- law in a white 2014 Mazda Pick-up Truck. When they reached home and parked the vehicle in front of their house, two Hispanic males went up to them poin...

    Baby losing toes; mother claims hospital negligence
    Helen Conners’ child has a heart problem and the medical complications that come along with that. Late last month, the little girl had a bout with pneumonia and was admitted to the Punta Gorda Hospital . She was then transferred to Dangriga where she spent a weekend but was further transferred to ...

    Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project changes the face of Northside Belize City
    Nearly five years ago, the Ministry of Works began a project in the aftermath of the soaking Belize City took from Tropical Depression 16. As its name suggests, the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project is not designed to end flooding, only to lessen it and its impact on the Old Capital’s resident...

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Town and City Council employees trained in QuickBooks
    Town and City Council administrators, accountants, financial officers, account clerks, as well as revenue managers took part in a QuickBooks usage training today at the central information and technology office in Belmopan. This training, conducted by the Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association, […]

    Superintendent of Police to receive Ph.D
    One officer in Belize’s Police Department is well on his way to becoming the first to obtain a Ph.D. after serving 15 years in the force, working in almost every branch and being promoted to his most recent position as Superintendent of Police, Commanding San […]

    Joint anti-drug police operations result in several drug arrests
    A joint anti-drug operation conducted by the Benque Viejo Police Quick Response Team, its Special Branch Unit, the San Ignacio Quick Response Team and the K-9 Unit this morning, netted a total of 4.4 pounds (1979.58 grams) of cannabis. Around 5:00 a.m., the team, under Superintendent […]

    CitCo hosts Zika sensitization meeting
    Officials from the Ministry of Health have met with members of the Belize City Council to sensitize them on the dangers of Zika. Mayor Darrell Bradley stated that this is part of the Council’s duty to residents to keep the City safe. While nowhere in […]

    Gospel Choir visits from United States
    A unique Gospel Choir, made up of students, alumni and community members from Howard University in the Unites States, will be visiting Belize for an Arts Envoy program in San Ignacio Town, Belmopan City, Dangriga Town and Belize City. The choir spreads the news of Jesus […]

    Relatively moist conditions during next couple days
    The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly cloudy skies with a few showers mainly along coastal areas this morning and tonight, then over inland areas this afternoon. Winds will be blowing from the Northeast at 5-15 knots and the sea state will […]

    Blogs

    Problem Analysis for Sustainable Development
    In order to articulate and establish the objectives derived from community goals in working on sustainable community development, (SCD) it is first necessary for the community to analyze the problems that are at the origin of a particular objectives. This analysis will focus upon the exact reasons for creating each objective from an overarching goal as well as establishing measures of progress such as trends, unmet needs, underutilization of resources, and evaluation of community capacity. Defining a community’s problems is in fact going to be one of the main tasks of any SCD project. The real question is whether the community list of “problems” is accurate and whether it includes only the symptoms of a particular situation rather than the actual problems that caused that situation. A sampling of several different community plans completed during the last decade show issues common to all communities to address in the future. Examples of these are listed below. Some of them can be quite specific and sophisticated in representing community governments and organizations. Others can be as important as only a single individual in the community believes them to be. And please note that you are not seeing these objectives in the context of serving their overarching goals, which makes it harder to interpret their meaning. These are shown simply as examples of how some communities have identified issues (problems) and developed objectives to support sustainable community development.

    Belize Shuttle and Transfer Services by Roam Belize Tours
    A locally owned tour and travel company based in the Stann Creek District, Roam Belize is known for providing the best shuttle service, private tour options and airport transfers in Belize. What makes their service so popular is their premium door-to-door transfer service, so guests can take the shuttle right from their hotel, the Belize International Airport (including any airstrip around the country) or from their holiday rental in Belize. At any point of time, Roam Belize offers the best and high-quality shuttle service for its clients. Their fleets are well-maintained, inspected and serviced regularly. The agency operates all through the week and 24 hours a day. Roam Belize not only offers transfer and pick-up service within Belize, but also it has shuttle services from Cancun, Tuluum and Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. Some of their highly popular shuttle services include transfers from any Belize hotel and resorts to the international airport, Cancun to Placencia, Guatemala to Belize, and Playa del Carmen to San Ignacio. Guests can choose any hotel or resort in Belize for the shuttle to drop them off. Their private shuttle service and transfers are available all over in Belize, including Tikal, Hopkins and in the Cayo area.

    OPEN LETTER TO MR. BELIZEAN RICE AFLATOXIN EXPERT by: Dr. Bernard Bulwer
    A MESSAGE TO MY FELLOW BELIZEANS … who understand the context of the “rice-aflatoxin” headlines that keep popping up in our local Belize news. Note that some things are best expressed in a language that only Belizeans would understand, i.e. our “social glue” … the Kriol language. February 15, 2016 Boston, Massachusetts Dear Mr. conscientious, self-proclaimed philanthropist, public health and nutrition expert; Your persistent, self-serving, Belizean rice-aflatoxin scaremongering is not in the best interest of the Belizean public. As a Belizean health professional, I feel a sense of responsibility to weigh in on this matter, and put things in perspective. My fellow Belizeans, the real threat to your health is not, and has never been rice aflatoxin-related (liver) disease. Our biggest food threat is our near wholesale abandonment of many healthy traditional food choices in exchange for the highly-processed foods found in supermarkets.

    Cost of flying direct from BZE Airport versus cab to TZA Airport
    When flying to San Pedro and other Belize destinations, you have two options with Tropic Air: Fly directly from Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) (in Ladyville) to San Pedro Airport (SPR) or take a 30 min taxi to the Municipal Airstrip (TZA) in Belize city and fly to San Pedro from there. Both have their own advantages, and the getting the best airfare may be one of them. The main advantage of flying directly from BZE is time. Once you’re admitted through Immigration, pick up your luggage and get cleared through customs, you go directly to the Tropic Air counter and then to the departure area to fly over to San Pedro. Depending on your arrival time and the length of the line ahead of you, you could be in San Pedro within 45 – 60 minutes. The price to fly one way from BZE – SPR or SPR – BZE is $179.50 adult fare and $171.50 for children between 2 and 12. If you know your departure date and you choose this route, it is $42.00 cheaper to buy a round trip than two one ways for adults and $40.00 for children

    Training in QuickBooks
    The Department of Local Government and Belize Mayor’s Association conducted a one day training workshop entitled: Enhancing QuickBooks Usage, today February 17, 2016 at the Central Information and Technology Office (CITO) in Belmopan. This training was aimed at enhancing the municipal accounts management capacity of all the Town and City Councils (TCCs) through the use of the QuickBooks Accounting Program, with the aim of improving the kinds and quality of information provided to the Councils for policy and decision making. The participants that took part in the training were: Administrators, Accountants/Financial Officers, Account Clerks and Revenue Managers. The series of topics that were discussed included: Posting and Managing Transactions Posting and Managing Budget Estimates Balance Sheet Reporting Following this training, participants should have acquired the skills of being able to properly post and manage asset values, budget estimates and other accounting data in QuickBooks. They will also be able to create balance sheet reports to accurately reflect the assets and liabilities of Councils, keep track of the performance of accounts receivable and payable and profit & loss budget performance reports.

    International Sourcesizz

    Modular - REEF 2016, Roatan Electronic Experience Festival
    Roatan's annual electronic music festival takes place at a breath taking location; Big French Key. You will experience nonstop music from sunset to sunrise, delivered by some of the most prominent regional Djs and headlining international guest Djs. Saturday 14th of May. *Private island *Sunset to Sunrise *Full bar & restaurant *Fresh water showers *Beach chairs & hamacks *Boat shuttle from French Harbor *Bus shuttle from West End will be available *Environmentally friendly practices *Coastal clean up *More info. soon!

    Caribbean tourism sets new performance records
    For the first time ever since the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) began keeping records, the Caribbean outperformed every major tourism region in the world in setting new arrival and spend records in 2015, while exceeding expectations. International tourist trips to the region grew by seven per cent to 28.7 million visits, much higher than the projected four to five per cent growth. Visitors spent an estimated $30 billion, a 4.2 per cent rise over the $28.8 billion spent in 2014. “So 2015 was the second year in a row that the region has done better than the rest of the world, and the sixth consecutive year of growth for the Caribbean,” the CTO’s secretary general Hugh Riley revealed on Tuesday in announcing the record performance at a news conference at CTO headquarters, streamed live to a global audience that spanned the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe and as far as Asia. Riley attributed the growth to improved global economic conditions in the marketplace; a boost in consumer confidence, particularly in the United States; falling oil prices; rising seat capacity and persistent marketing by CTO member countries and their partners.

    US-Cuba commercial flights to resume
    The US and Cuba have signed an agreement to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in more than 50 years. Some charter flights currently fly between the countries but the new agreement could see as many as 110 flights a day - more than five times the current number. The flights could begin in autumn this year. This is the latest stage in a thawing of the countries' relationship. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the commercial flights marked a "critically important milestone in the US effort to engage with Cuba". Cuban Minister of Transport Adel Rodriguez called it a "new era". The US imposed a trade embargo on the communist-run island in 1960. In late 2014, Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced that they would begin normalising their relationship. They met for the first time in April 2015 in Panama, and shook hands and held a private meeting at the UN General Assembly in September.

    CARICOM can be a force for change, says Barbados PM
    Prime minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart wants the people of the region to know that, when the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) speaks with one voice, it can be a powerful force in facilitating change, both in the region and in the international community. His comments came as he delivered remarks on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 27th inter-sessional conference of heads of government of CARICOM in Placencia, Belize. Referring to the vital role CARICOM played in the preparation, conduct and outcome of the landmark agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris last year, Stuart said that it was an example of what could be achieved if countries continued to find common ground. He added: “No agreement involving in excess of 190 countries can possibly satisfy all. On balance, we in CARICOM were able to get the major breakthroughs that we wanted. I am of the view that the agreement, implemented with seriousness and determination by the international community, will allow us to address the multi-faceted challenges which climate change poses for our countries.”

    Belize PM: CCJ a Caricom imperative at this time
    Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow wrapped up a news conference in the resort town of Placencia, in southern Belize, saying that he felt the issue of the full establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was “a real Caricom imperative at this time”. Barrow was responding to a question from the Express about his position on the matter, coming into the Conference of Caricom heads with the idea that he was in a good place, as chairman, to help nudge his colleagues to move on this issue. In an editorial on the matter in the Barbados Nation newspaper, and reprinted in the Express on January 12, 2016, Barrow was hailed as “the right man to push the CCJ”. The editorial added that it would not be a surprise were Barrow to have had Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and St Lucia high on his list of those countries which should have accepted the CCJ as their final court, thereby abolishing appeals to the Privy Council, in London. Responding to a question on the issue, Barrow said first that he had written a position on the matter, to be included in a paper being published by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, in its efforts to promote public awareness and acceptance of the court.

    Japan to help Belize revive sea island cotton
    The government of Belize has received $102,000 grant from the Japanese government to resuscitate the sea island cotton industry, according to Belizean media reports. Sea island cotton is said to possess fine, almost legendary qualities that are sought after worldwide. The funding was given to the Belize cotton industry for the project named 'the improvement of the sea island cotton industry'. Sea island cotton is a variety of extra-long staple cotton that is grown on a few islands in the West Indies. This variety of cotton is very sensitive and vulnerable to pests, and requires very specific environmental and climate conditions, and hence its production has declined all across the Caribbean. Presently through advanced engineering, the Japanese have been able to produce quality cotton with more durable plants and hence, Belize is now considered to produce the best cotton in the world. Six farming families participated in the sea island cotton cultivation project last year and over 40 farming families are expecting to produce 100,000 pounds of cotton in 2016. About 28,000 pounds of cotton has already been produced so far this year. (NA)

    Second term for CARICOM Secretary-General, following unanimous vote
    CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has been re-appointed to a second term of office. CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow, made the announcement during the closing press conference of the CARICOM Heads of Government Inter-sessional Meeting in Belize yesterday. LaRocque’s initial five-year appointment ends in August, but Barrow told the media that Heads of Government decided to deal with the matter of his reappointment at this session, because they felt the next meeting in July was too close to the expiration of the appointment. “I’m pleased to say that there was unanimous agreement for the SG’s reappointment,” the host prime minister disclosed. “I want to make clear that, on a personal note, I am as convinced as anyone else, and perhaps more so, that the Secretary-General has done an exemplary job – his commitment to reform, the changes he has already made along the lines of obliging the Secretariat and the Community to become more productive, more efficacious, are well known. And he has done all this while remaining throughout, extremely even tempered and accessible.”

    Central America’s top festivals
    Festivals don’t always have to mean being knee-deep in mud listening to Coldplay in the rain with a warm beer. Across the world, gatherings of all size, descriptions and reasons take place, bringing together cultural traditions and modern-day passions. With its rich and long history, Central America is packed full of a wide breadth of festivals. Here’s our faves… Experienced and amateur canoers come together every year to take part in the gruelling Mayan River Route Challenge, the biggest sporting event of the year that runs from east to west along the Macal and Belize Rivers. The race started in 1995 as a “save our rivers programme”, which was a canoe race designed to promote cleaning debris on the banks of the river. Over the years the programme has evolved into a four day race that follows the ancient Mayan route from San Ignacio to Belize City.

    Caribbean Conference Identifies Key Products For Investment, Coconut, Pepper, Livestock Identified Among Key Caribbean Products For Investment
    At the recently held Caribbean Trade and Investment conference, several key products were identified which could produce a significant return on investment. Investment in the production of coconuts and coconut products including coconut water and virgin coconut oil; hot pepper production and value added processing; livestock; aquaculture; sheep and goat and root crops in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region has been identified as key products for which the return on investment would be attractive while helping the region to reduce its whopping $4.5 billion (US) food import bill and to generate employment. Barbados sea island cotton and sour sop were also identified as crops with significant value added potential.

    De-risking of local banks could cripple CARICOM economies
    De-risking of the Caribbean’s local banks is one of the biggest threats to the region’s economies, says incoming CARICOM Chairman, Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Barrow, who hosted the 27th Intercessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Belize Feb 16-17, highlighted the grim situation facing the region’s banking sector during his presentation at the Feb 15 opening ceremony. The Caribbean’s banking system remains under threat of losing correspondent banking relationships with the US and Europe, a development Barrow said has “absolutely cataclysmic ramifications” for CARICOM member states. “I am talking about of course, the phenomenon of so called de-risking. Under pressure from their regulatory authorities in Europe and especially the US, banks in those jurisdictions have been closing their correspondent relations with our indigenous financial institutions. This deprives our banks of the ability to keep US deposits, do wire transfers, facilitate credit card settlements for their local clients and our economy.

    Where have our callaloo crabs gone?
    MOST OF us Trinis and Tobagonians enjoy our “crab and callaloo” and our “crab and dumplin”, but due to continuing over-hunting, continuing loss of habitat and an ever-increasing demand for our blue crabs the population is rapidly declining. There is urgent need for legal protection and sustainable management programmes for our crabs, lobsters, conch, cascadura, crayfish and black conch, and other shellfish. During the past four to five years market shoppers can often hear the question being asked, “Where have all the big crabs gone?” or “Dey asking so much for dem little crab!” Blue crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) are becoming scarce. This is a fact known to all market shoppers whether in Trinidad or in Tobago. The demand for crabs has increased, while the crab habitat has gradually been reduced. In addition, there has been uncontrolled hunting of our crabs. There is an urgent need for a management programme with the emphasis being placed on sustainability of our blue crab resources otherwise it can be predicted that within the next 20 to 30 years “crab and callaloo” and “crab and dumplins,” our Tobago specialty, will be delicacies of the past. In TT , we do not have a “closed season” for the taking of crabs, neither is there a size limit, daily bag limit, sanctuary or any “no hunting areas” in either Trinidad or Tobago. The “open season” for crab hunting is 24 hours on each of the 365 days in the year, and crabs of any size and in any quantity may be taken. To compound the issue, is the continuing loss of crab habitat: our wetlands that are being reclaimed for building development.

    Fortis Reports 2015 Earnings
    Fortis Inc. ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") (TSX:FTS), a leader in the North American electric and gas utility industry, released its 2015 annual results today. Driven by its U.S. utility acquisitions, gains on non-core asset dispositions, completion of the Waneta hydroelectric generating facility ("Waneta Expansion"), and strong results from its Canadian utilities, Fortis' net earnings attributable to common equity shareholders for 2015 were $728 million, or $2.61 per common share, compared to $317 million, or $1.41 per common share, for 2014. For the fourth quarter of 2015, net earnings attributable to common equity shareholders were $135 million, or $0.48 per common share, compared to $113 million, or $0.44 per common share, for the same period in 2014. "Fortis had a year of transformation and growth in 2015, with all utilities contributing," said Barry Perry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fortis. "We delivered a record year in earnings, which demonstrates the success of our growth strategy. We also advanced our business on several fronts. We successfully integrated our Arizona utility; divested non-core assets to focus on the core utility business; and sharpened our focus on additional investments within our franchise areas.

    New partnership to strengthen disaster assessment in the Caribbean
    The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is partnering with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in its effort to strengthen the ability of countries across Latin America and the Caribbean to manage the impacts of disasters, in the context of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The first collaboration between ECLAC and UNISDR will be through a two-day training targeting members of the United Nations Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC), and will take place on 18-19 February in Panama City, Panama. The training will inform participants of the complexities of a disaster, how different sectors might be impacted, and how to use the damage and loss assessment methodology affectively in a timely manner.

    Caribbean countries urged to brace for floods
    The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is warning regional countries that they should brace themselves for floods as the drought conditions which have affected the region since late 2014 are expected to subside by the start of the 2016 Hurricane Season. CIMH said this latest forecast comes after many months of “warmer and drier than average conditions in the Caribbean fuelled by El Niño, a warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific which has implications for weather patterns around the world, including drought in many regions”. CIMH said that after the forecasted weakening of El Niño, its counterpart La Niña “a cooling of the Pacific may take over and affect the region in the latter part of 2016. “If the change in circumstance takes place, it is likely to result in higher than normal rainfall and stronger storm systems,” the CIMH said in its latest forecast, which it said will be further discussed at a news conference here on Wednesday.

    Videos

  • Shark Ray Alley from a drone, 1min. A Jaws-some view from a drone of Shark Ray Alley at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize!

  • Knight’s Trip to Belize, 1997, 3min.

  • John and Sandys wedding video Belize 2016, 9min.

  • Belize 2016, 5min. Swimming with Sharks In San Pedro Belize! 2016.

  • Diving the Great Barrier Reef, Belize, 7min. Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, Caye Caulker, Belize, January 2016 HIghlights of the dives we enjoyed this past January, 2016, while visiting friends who live in Caye Caulker, Belize.

  • Go-slow on Caye Caulker, Belize, 3.5min. Highlights of our 2015 "go slow" vacation on Caye Caulker, Belize.

  • Representatives of the Ministry of Health on Dental Health in Belize, 24min.

  • Belize Audubon Society Bird Guide Training, 9min. Strengthening Bird - Based Tourism in Belize

  • Morning Matters of the Day with Ecolution, 58min. Howlers were recorded in Bermuda Landing

  • Ever wondered what we do at NICH? Culture in Motion 2014-2015, 12min. An overview of the activities of the National Institute of Culture and History of Belize for the 2014-2015 financial year. Take a look at these highlights for our 2014-2015 year. This is all we could fit into this video.

  • WCU-Ontario in Belize (2013), 10min. Students of West Coast University - Ontario joined Hillside Health Care in our global health initiatives in 2013. In this video, the students detail their individual stories in Punta Gorda, Belize. From discovering ethical questions to understanding the necessity of cultural sensitivity and communication, the students learned about themselves and the world. Along the way, the students developed relationships with their patients and with each other. Overall, the trip abroad changed perspectives.

  • WCU Orange County in Belize (2013), 15min. Students of West Coast University - Orange County joined Hillside Health Care in our global health initiatives in 2013. In this video, the students detail their individual stories in Punta Gorda, Belize. From discovering ethical questions to understanding the necessity of cultural sensitivity and communication, the students learned about themselves and the world. Along the way, the students developed relationships with their patients and with each other. Overall, the trip abroad changed perspectives.

  • WCU-Ontario Global Public Health Initiative, Belize (2014), 7min. Students of West Coast University - Ontario joined Hillside Health Care in our global health initiatives in 2014. In this video, the students detail their individual stories in Punta Gorda, Belize. From discovering ethical questions to understanding the necessity of cultural sensitivity and communication, the students learned about themselves and the world. Along the way, the students developed relationships with their patients and with each other. Overall, the trip abroad changed perspectives.

  • Hamanasi Hopkins Belize Blue Hole Dive 2 Feb 2016, 130 foot max depth, 29min. The Blue Hole off Belize 2 Feb 2016. Hopkins Divers from Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort took us out.

  • Saint John Neumann Belize 2015, 5min. Parishioners from Saint John Neumann in San Antonio, Tx traveled to Punta Gorda, Belize to serve the poor and elderly.

    February 17, 2016


    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, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    Honduran national, Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios murdered in San Pedro
    The San Pedro Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in solving the murder of 22-year-old Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios. The Honduran national was killed during an alleged aggravated burglary incident in the early hours of Tuesday, February 16th at an apartment building located on Bonefish Street, in the Boca Del Rio Area. Initial reports indicate that Barrios was attacked sometime between 5AM and 6AM upon arriving home. She sustained a single cut wound to the neck and was immediately taken to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Police have since processed the area and have launched a full murder investigation. The deceased has been transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City awaiting a postmortem examination. According to police reports, Barrios had been out socializing with friends before coming home. When she arrived, she noticed someone inside her apartment. An altercation ensued, leading to Barrios being fatally injured by her attacker. When police arrived at the scene, they learned that the victim had been taken to the polyclinic where she later succumbed to her injury. According to Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit Superintendent Sandra Bodden, no other signs of injuries were noticed on her body besides the single cut wound to the left side of her neck. Following protocol, Police contacted the Embassy of Honduras to inform them of Barrios’ death, before publicly disclosing any information.

    Murder in the Boca del Rio Area
    San Pedro Police have confirmed to The San Pedro Sun that a female has been murdered in the Boca del Rio Area. The incident occurred early Tuesday, February 16th at an apartment building on Bonefish Street. Police have not released the name of the Honduran national, but have indicated that she was killed during an aggravated burglary incident. Police have since processed the scene and are currently in the process of transporting the body to the Karl Huesnuer Memorial Hospital in Belize City for a postmortem examination. Due to her nationality, Police will be informing the Embassy of Honduras in Belize before releasing any official statement. The San Pedro Sun will post a more detailed story as the day progresses.

    Ambergris Today

    Flashbacks - The Quiet Beach of a Fishing Village
    A Quaint Fishing Village, Paradise, Isla Bonita, Belize's No. One Tourist Destination- these are some of the descriptive words that have been used to describe Ambergris Caye and San Pedro. The peacefulness of the island and the pristine beaches are the main characteristics that make San Pedro what it is. The small mahogany skiffs and wooden dories were regularly hauled up the beach, on dry land, for maintenance or a good cleanup. The sandy beach areas lent themselves for children to socialize and play games. Maintenance of the beach was done by the villagers who planted palm trees such as coconuts and laid sand bags to prevent erosion. Way back in the background you can see the Elsa P, a small cargo vessel that brought all the merchandise from Belize City to Pedro. It was quiet; it was quaint; it was peaceful; it was simply San Pedro.

    25 Years Ago - The Good Old Days...Catholicism and Ice Comodity
    * Back in the GOOD OLD DAYS life was very simple in San Pedro. In those days the small population of San Pedro was 95% Catholic * Back then ice was something very special – scarce, but special. I love the good old days because they made me who I am today. It can safely be said that back in the 1950's almost all of San Pedro was Roman Catholic. There was one Catholic Church, a large wooden building measuring about 24’ X 50’ with some 20 benches that could seat about 160 persons. With a population of about 500, the adult community filled up the church to capacity for the six o'clock morning mass and it was about half full for the eight o'clock children's mass. The Catholic elementary school had an enrollment of 90 to 100 children all of whom were required to attend mass once a month whenever the priest visited the Island. Catholic traditions included Sunday mass, processions, novenas, the Holy Rosary and the big events included Confirmation, Baptism, First Holy Communion, Easter, Christmas midnight mass and New Year's Eve mass.

    Twenty-Two-Year-Old Honduran Woman Killed in Aggravated Burglary
    The San Pedro Police Department has released the name of the 22-year-old Honduran national who was murdered in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 16, 2016. Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios, waitress at Compadres Bar, was murdered during an aggravated burglary in the Boca del Rio Area. Police were called to the Basil/Paris Apartments around 5:30a.m. where the reports states that they found Johanna with a cut would to the left side of the neck. The police officers assisted her to the San Pedro Dr. Otto Rodriguez Poly Clinic where she died undergoing treatment for her injuries shortly after 6a.m. Her body was transported to the Karl H. Memorial Hospital in Belize City for a post mortem examination while the San Pedro Police look into leads as to the burglary and murder or Barrios. Police have little leads but are looking at video footage of nearby businesses to try obtain stronger leads to the case.

    Over Five Hundred Speared at Lionfish Derby in Caye Caulker
    The island of Caye Caulker was the place to be this past Saturday, February 13, 2016, for the Lionfish Derby organized by Oceana Wavemaker Lynne Couch-Harris and the Barrier Reef Sports Bar. This was Caye Caulker's first Lionfish Derby, an event supported by Oceana Belize with assistance from Frontier, Blue Ventures and the Belize Game Fish Association. The tournament's purpose - to spearfish these invasive fish that have been targeting juvenile fish on our reefs and effectively been decimating native fish populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The good news? Lionfish is delicious! It was an amazing turnout being Caye Caulker's first ever Lionfish Derby, drawing crowds to the beachside that wanted to see all the participants coming in with coolers full of Lionfish. An impressive 548 Lionfish were removed from the reef, from the smallest measuring at 10cm to the largest that measured an impressive 15 inches. Prizes were awarded for the most lionfish caught while diving, most lionfish while free diving, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish. Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to Oceana Belize and organizers for successful event.

    Spear Into Action at Belize's Annual Lionfish Derby
    Experts state that there is no stopping them now, but hoping to at least slow them down, marine biologists and Oceana Belize have been intensifying efforts recently to spearfish them out of certain areas that harbor fragile reefs and figure out how they became a threat so quickly and so successfully in our oceans. So how are we combatting them? —The Lionfish Derbies are the most successful and fun way. The first annual derby was hosted in Caye Caulker by Barrier Reef Sports Bar, Frontier, Oceana Belize, Blue Ventures volunteers and the Belize Game Fish Association to motivate and award participants who are helping in prohibiting the breeding of the Lionfish. The derby will be hosted at different locations around the country each year with the first one held in Caye Caulker. Fishermen and divers who gather from all over Belize head out to sea in the early morning hours to come back around 3p.m. for the official weigh-in. While some admire the count of fish at the weighin, others enjoy demonstrations on handling and cleaning the venomous fish, filleting as well information on research on the lionfish by Oceana, Forntier and Blue Fentures. The derby awards participants for the biggest and smallest catch, youngest spearfishing group and most Lionfish caught. There is also the gourmet approach where locals and tourists get to enjoy the fresh caught Lionfish in some of the most delicious Belizean inspired dishes. There are plenty of chefs participating in cooking demonstrations and tastings for all those who wish to sample the exotic fish.

    Pic of the Week - Attacked by Iguanas in Belize and Loving It
    “When your husband gets attacked by iguanas!!” comments @loveatraveler on her Instagram post. This fun picture was taken at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel that houses the Belize Iguana Project. The program is instrumental in providing a great field of research and education to the people of Belize and around the world. Since its inception, the Green Iguana Project has been entirely self-sustained, relying solely on the contributions and donations of concerned visitors and patrons.

    Over Five Hundred Speared at Lionfish Derby in Caye Caulker
    The island of Caye Caulker was the place to be this past Saturday, February 14, 2016, for the annual Lionfish Derby held at the Barrier Reef Sports Bar. San Pedro's, neighboring island of La Isla Cariñosa was selected as host of the first annual Lionfish Derby, an event organized by Oceana Belize, Frontier, Blue Ventures and the Belize Game Fish Association. The tournament's purpose - to spearfish these invasive fish that have been targeting juvenile fish on our reefs and effectively been decimating native fish populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The good news? Lionfish is delicious! It was an amazing turnout being Caye Caulker's first ever Lionfish Derby, drawing crowds to the beachside that wanted to see all the participants coming in with coolers full of Lionfish. An impressive 540 Lionfish were removed from the reef, from the smallest measuring at four inches to the largest that measured an impressive 15 inches. Prizes were awarded for the most lionfish caught while diving, most lionfish while free diving, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish. Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to Oceana Belize and organizers for successful event.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Paint Party Events
    Hi Splashers, don't forget to sign up for this weeks paint party at Crazy Canucks! Come join us this Thursday at the crazy canucks where we will be painting "Tranquility beach". The cost is $25.00 U.S. per person and there's a slightly discount for members. See you there! February 18, 2016, 2:00 PM.

    CARICOM
    First Plenary Session of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is taking place this morning

    Book Launch “A walk through Dangriga”
    On Monday 15 February 2016, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) launched a publication entitled A Walk Through Dangriga. It is the third publication in the Walk Through series which features key landmarks and heritage sites in the various municipalities of Belize. Mayor Francis Humphreys and Ifasina Efunyemi, two well-known educators in Dangriga, were the co-authors of the manuscript. The book was edited and produced by the Institute for Social and Cultural Research (ISCR), a branch of NICH. A Walk Through Dangriga traces the development of historic locations and sites of memory within the town. The information was compiled using oral history, documentary sources and accompanied by photographs dating from the late 1890s to the present. Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. delivered the keynote address. He emphasized the importance of community history, both for educational and tourism purposes. Belizeans, particularly students, teachers, and tour guides, are invited to purchase a copy of the publication at their nearest bookstore. Research featuring the other municipalities of Belize remains on going.

    CARICOM must wage relentless campaign against threat to banking sector – PM Dean Barrow
    The threats to the Region’s banking sector via the phenomenon of de-risking could have “cataclysmic ramifications” for the Caribbean, and a “relentless” campaign must be waged against it, Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon Dean Barrow warned on Monday. At the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Placencia, Belize, Prime Minister Barrow used much of his address to focus on the correspondent banking scenario and what it portended for the Community. The matter is a key agenda item of the two-day Summit, and a Meeting of Finance Ministers was held earlier on Monday to craft a Regional response. A Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Gaston Browne will lead the response to this issue. The Committee is supported by leading Regional institutions including the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG), the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). The threat relates to the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by mainly the Regional indigenous banks. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signalled to client banks in the Region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business. The so-called ‘de-risking’ by the global banks threatens to impact several critical services including remittance transfers. International trade, the facilitation of credit card settlements for local clients are among the other effects the Region faces.

    The Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita
    BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY at Hotel Maya and Tony's Hotel or call 660-6614. The Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita Site is Saturday February 20th, 2016. Don't forget that there will be two additional performances. Bring out everyone and let's all enjoy our mayan history and culture. Time: 7:00 P.M. Presenters: Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College. "El baile del Cochino - Hog head Dance". Ek Balam - Potapok Mayan Ball Game. Admission: Reserve $20, Adults $10, Children 14 years and under $2.

    Power interruption 8:00am to 2:00pm, Monday February 22, Placencia Village
    The portion of the village from Atlantic Bank downward, including Placencia Rd, Placencia Sidewalk, Paradise St, Dodo St, Leslie St, Westby St, Dukunu St, Bile Up St, Tablayta St, Sere St, Sunset Pointe and Henry Young Island. BEL to remove guy wires from property and install distribution structure in the area.

    Belize Fishing Report Feb. 1 – Feb. 13, 2016
    A big thanks to Teagan, my 8 year old assistant, who helped me with the pin ceremony each evening! Rarely does a cold front make it far enough south to impact our fishing, but this one lasted about a week and we could see signs of fish leaving the shallow water in favor of the deeper warm water. We had to look a little deeper to find the fish as the water cooled.

    Ambassador Carlos Moreno meets with Professor Anabel Ford
    Ambassador Carlos Moreno recently met with Professor Anabel Ford, director of the El Pilar Program of the MesoAmerican Research Center at UC Santa Barbara, at the launching of her new book,The Mayan Forest Garden, in which she advocates for sustaining Mayan indigenous farming techniques and food sovereignty.

    Prime Minister’s Opening Statement XXVII Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) February 15-17, 2016, Placencia Hotel
    Colleague Heads, Mr Secretary-General, Ministers, Officials, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you to our country and to the Placencia peninsula. We think this an idyllic spot. The Maya mountains, part of their world-famous eponymous Biosphere, are in back of us; and to the front is our Caribbean Sea, shared patrimony of CARICOM and SICA and emblematic of the proud duality that Belize is heir to. I hope that the legacy features of these surroundings will act as aid and inspiration to our deliberations. And very important deliberations they are. For while that is always the case whenever we meet, I may be forgiven for thinking, and hope to make clear, that our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time. Let me therefore begin by considering the general economic climate in which we currently find ourselves. There has been a failure of the world economy to recover properly from the shock of the financial crisis that began in the last part of the first decade of this new century. That failure, for the majority of us in CARICOM, has meant slow growth, increasing difficulties with our public finances, and tremendous strains on our capacity to satisfy the life-improvement aspirations of our people. And it is worth noting that even in the few countries that have shown substantial enough expansion, much of the net effect has been depreciated by population increases. On the bright side, though,there appears to be what we hope will be a sustained resurgence in our region's all-important tourism industry. This would be a welcome offset to the continued volatility in our commodities sector.

    Heads of Government at the 27th CARICOM Intersessional in Placencia this morning against the beautiful backdrop of the Mayan Mountains

    Caye Caulker Lionfish Derby
    On Valentine's Weekend, Belizeans showed their love for reef by participating in the first annual Caye Caulker Lionfish Derby. Thanks to their efforts and in less than "warm" conditions, 540 lionfish were removed from the reef. Lionfish caught ranged from four inches in lenght to 15 inches--that's more than a foot long! The event, organized and supported by the Barrier Reef Sports Bar, Frontier, Oceana, Blue Ventures and the Belize Game Fish Association, included collecting research data and sampling. Prizes were awarded for the most lionfish caught while diving, most lionfish while free diving, the largest lionfish and the smallest lionfish. For more than two decades, these invaders have been targeting juvenile fish, effectively decimating native fish populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.With no natural predators, rapid reproduction rates and a voracious appetite, lionfish numbers are exploding…and that means bad news for the ecosystems we depend on. The good news? Lionfish is delicious. Once deprived of its venomous spines, lionfish can be prepared like any other fish. To beat them, we’ve got to eat them! Kudos to all!

    Southern Peten cooperation agreement
    Southern Peten is divided in five municipalities (Melchor, Dolores, El Chal, Poptun and San Luis). Today Asociacion Balam and FCD renewed a 4 year cooperation agreement with alcaldes of these municipalities with the aim of supporting socio-environmental pillars at the community level.

    Howard University Gospel Choir
    Today the Howard University Gospel Choir will be arriving in Belize for an Arts Envoy program in San Ignacio, Belmopan, Dangriga, and Belize City. Tune in to Love FM's morning show tomorrow morning for more information on their visit to Belize and keep an eye on our FB page for opportunities to hear them perform in Dangriga and Belize City! About the choir - Formed on the campus of Howard University in 1968, the Howard Gospel Choir (HGC) is a body of students, alumni and community members dedicated to using the gift of music to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. As the first college choir of its kind in the world, HGC is a trailblazer for all gospel music ministries on collegiate campuses across the globe. With a legacy of over four decades committed to excellence in music ministry, this musical aggregation has bred and shared with many of the most prolific people of this century. The choir also travels extensively throughout the United States and most recently has headlined numerous tours to the European countries of Denmark, Italy, Montenego, Slovakia and Sweden. With such a rich legacy of excellence, the Howard Gospel Choir, a beacon light in the Howard University community, will continue to fulfill its calling to the world using Christ centered music as a means of healing, restoration and empowerment. The choir is currently under the direction of Reginald Golden, a Howard University alumnus from Cleveland, OH.

    Channel 7

    Honduran Woman Murdered On San Pedro
    Early this morning, San Pedro police recorded their first murder of the year when they found a woman bleeding from the neck at the entrance to an apartment complex in the San Juan area. The 23 year old worked as a waitress at a local bar and investigators believe that Honduran Johana Samantha Mendez's killer waited for her at the entrance to her apartment. So who would want her dead and why? Emanuel Pech travelled to San Pedro to look for answers: Investigators in San Pedro are still grappling with the case of 23 year old Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios a Honduran National who was fatally stabbed early this morning. The incident occurred around 5 am here at the Parish Apartment Complex in the Boca del Rio area. The owner of the complex who refused to speak to us on camera said that she has known Johana for the past two years; since she started renting with her. In all her years of knowing Johana she said she always appeared to her as a friendly person who kept to herself. So who would want her dead? That's what authorities are trying to find out.

    American Killed In PG
    Another American was murdered over the weekend and police say it was a planned attack. It happened on Saturday night at around 9:25 in Hopeville, Punta Gorda. 69 year old Thomas Paul Rackowski was at his home reading that night when 3 persons entered through this screen door. They attacked Rackowski and stabbed him 4 times - twice to the neck and twice to the chest. They all ran off but Rackowski dragged himself to the phone and called the police. He was rushed to the Punta Gorda Hospital then was later transferred to the KHMH where he died last night. When we spoke with police this evening they told us that this wasn't a burglary or any random home invasion because nothing was stolen from the house. Police say Rackowski was the target. They have 2 men and 1 woman detained in connection with the murder. Police are looking at several angles - one being that Rackowski had some long standing dispute with these people. When we spoke to one of his very good friends who lives in PG as well, he told us he didn't know of any issue he had with anyone. His friend describes him as very helpful and nice. For a little background, Rackowski is from Boston Massachusetts and came to live in Belize in 1973. He never married and had no kids. His family is flying in from the US this week to plan a service for him. We will keep following up on this case.

    Mother Of Drowned Teenaged Tourist Wants Answers
    Last night we told you about the teenaged tourist that drowned in the Sibun River. 15 year old Tomari Jackson celebrated his birthday in Belize, and was in a group of 33 American Students between 14 and 15 years old from the North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. They were swimming at Tiger Sandy Bay near mile 31 on the Western Highway - when Jackson disappeared. And now the story is making news in Georgia. This is the story we picked up from Fox 5 in Georgia: Jackson's mother has told an Atlanta Newspaper that she still hasn't been told how her only child died. He was in first form and his mother says he was also a Boy Scout who knew how to swim. His mother questions why he wasn't missed until the chaperones did a headcount when they had all gotten out of the river.

    Another Charged For Weekend City Shooting
    Last night we told you about five teenagers shot in the city in three separate incidents between Friday night and early Sunday morning. Well, arrests have now been made for two of those shootings. Today, 23 year old Deon Brackett was charged for the attempted murder of Raheem Akeem Bailey, who was shot on Allan Pitts Crescent on Friday night. This morning, Brackett who walked from a murder in 2013, was arraigned before Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith. Since he is accused of a firearm offence, no bail could be granted to Brackett who was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until April 18, 2016.

    CARICOM Heads Meet
    In last night's news, we had live excerpts from Placencia of the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting's opening ceremony. It's a rigorously scheduled, 3-day session held to be held at the Ocean Club Hotel. Belize's Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, is presidens over the session as the current interim chair of CARICOM - a rotating position he will hold for the first half of this year. And while we had live clips last night, tonight Daniel Ortiz has the full story from the meeting's first evening: Daniel Ortiz reporting: The beautiful Beach Side of the Placencia Inn was the location for the opening of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. The 15 Heads of Government of all the CARICOM Nations - except only one who was in transit - walked in together. Though they were being led this time by Chairman and Host Prime Minister Dean Barrow, but these were his equals, each a head of government. They were favorably impressed by Belize's hospitality for this meeting.

    CARICOM SG Lays Out Agenda
    That was last night, and early this morning, the delegates and ambassadors showed up for the real work to start at the plenary sessions. The heads of Government moved from one meeting to the next, with hardly any breaks in between, and we understand the last meeting is still going on right now. Before diving into the day's activities, the Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, sat down with the press for a short briefing on what is supposed to happen over the next 2 days: Ambassador Irwin LaRocque - Secretary General, CARICOM: "I think everything is well in place. We had a good opening ceremony last night. You saw the 3 speeches, in particular that of our chairman and Prime Minister Dean Barrow and our outgoing chairman Prime Minister Stuart and the tone has been set for the discussions that will take place today. The formal sessions of the meeting, the discussions actually will start in the next few minutes and of course at that point we will go through the agenda. In my briefings with the Prime Minister I think we are well set to have a good discussion and a few very critical issues of interest to the community.

    The Way Ahead For Solving The De-Risking Crisis
    Today, we also got a closer look at the proposed plan of action on de-risking that the finance technicians from the CARICOM member states have drafted for deliberation. As we told you, yesterday's meeting ended with the finance ministers recommending that part of the action plan for this crisis is to engage the UN and make a comprehensive presentation on the effect de-risking is having on the Caribbean as a whole. Well, one of the Ambassadors, Dr. Patrick Antoine, who is a chief financial advisor to the Government of Grenada, sat down with us this morning. He outlined what he thinks the CARICOM members should consider while collectively engaging the financial regulators in a manner similar to Prime Minister's trip to Washington 2 weeks ago. First though, the Secretary General briefed us on the recommendations coming out of yesterday's finance Meetings: Ambassador Irwin LaRocque - Secretary General, CARICOM: "In deed. The meeting will be making some specific recommendations to the heads of government on a course of action and I believe once the heads have considered them, then can determine how we go forward. I am not at liberty to disclose now, because it has to be presented to the heads first. But yes, very concrete plan of action how we go forward."

    CARPHA Executive Director On Regional CARPHA Threat
    While down in Placencia, we also spoke to the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He's in Belize to make a presentation to the CARICOM membership on the Zika disease and the serious health threat it poses to CARICOM. He discussed the role that CARPHA plays in the region's fight to manage a potential epidemic to this disease: Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director - CARPHA: "This is a mosquito borne virus which aedes aegypti mosquito transmits the same zika, chikungunya and dengue. So from the time last year we realize that this was potential risk to the region. The first thing you do is to step up the monitoring mechanisms that you have try to detect it early if it comes in different countries. Getting out a lot of public information and education, to stop mosquito breeding and stop mosquito biting especially if you are pregnant, especially if older folks with lots of chronic health problems - you don't want to get one of these viral diseases. Scaling up the laboratory testing available to member's states. Coordinating the response. A lot of different agencies are wanting to work with us in the Caribbean. So that's part of our role." Reporter: "In other parts of the region there have been cases of Zika. In terms of within the Caribbean itself, what has the response to that or the detection been like?"

    Antigua Wants To Go CCJ
    Right now, the final appellate court in Belize is the Caribbean Court of Justice, the highest court in the land. But, it might be easy to forget that up until a few years ago, the CCJ's role in Belize's judiciary was filled by the Privy Council. Well, today, we spoke to an Ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda, where all final appeals still go to the Privy Council. He told us that he's at the CARICOM meeting to tell the leaders that his country is about to embark on a referendum campaign to change their final appellate court from the Privy Council to the CCJ: H.E. Dr. Clarence Henry, Antigua & Barbuda's Amb. To CARICOM: "I am just appointed a month ago to head the national coordinating committee responsible for preparation of the campaign towards the adoption of the CCJ as Antigua & Barbuda's final court of appeal. In deed so far, the campaign has been going very well. We launched in earnest on 10th March and it will be followed on the 11th by youth forum and a business breakfast to bring together the private sector on Antigua & Barbuda and there will be a number of town hall meetings, focus group meetings. This particular campaign hopefully will lead up to a national referendum sometime later this year. As you are aware Antigua & Barbuda is one of those Caribbean countries that must undertake a referendum in order to migrate from judicial committee of the Privy Council as part of our constitutional requirement."

    Senior Cop Carjacked
    A Benque Viejo carjacking will surely go down as one of the boldest ever. Why? It took place in broad daylight and the truck was stolen from a senior officer in the Police Department. On Sunday, Assistant Superintendent Selwyn Tillett, Officer Commanding Orange Walk Police was held up at gun point in Benque Viejo. Around 11 am on the same day, Tillett was driving his son in law's white 2014 Mazda pickup and while he was parking the vehicle in front of his house he was approached by two Hispanic men, and one them pointed a gun at him demanding the vehicle keys. He told him in Spanish, "hand over the vehicle, we're not playing!" The vehicle was found by Guatemalan police around 10:30 yesterday morning in an area known as Camalote - about 10 miles from Melchor. The vehicle was intact and only had damages to the door locks. The passenger window had to be broken and Police started the pick-up with the spare key and drove it to the Melchor Police Station. The vehicle has since been driven to the Melchor police station while investigations continue.

    Police And Those Interviews
    Today was day 1 of a police media workshop. Officers from Eastern Division Southside organized a training to teach officers how to give a proper interview. About 12 officers participated and of course the media was invited to give a few very useful tips. Public Relations Officer Douglas Hyde told us more about the workshop. Now apart from sharpening their English and public speaking skills - another element of the workshop was to try and build a stronger more productive relationship with the media - Hyde spoke to us about the importance for both the police and the media to understand each other's roles. Police will organize a number of other training sessions.

    New Drainage Solution For City
    The municipal drainage project is a 21 million dollar IDB funded project focusing on the drains on the northside of Belize City. It started in late 2011, and should finish by the end of next month. Major work has been done to strengthen or create at least 4 canals, and to build large drains and sidewalks in the Belama Area. The longest canal was built under Cinderella Plaza. It connects to the existing canal on Douglas Jones Street - but stretches it all the way to the sea by Princess, going through Calle Al Mar. IT's a canal that's five foot wide by five feet deep and runs for 540 meters. Today the Ministry of works engineers along with personnel from the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Finance, and The Department of the Environment toured the drainage project, and we tagged along. Here's the story of what they did at Cinderella Plaza:.. Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation: "We had an existing stretch which was from Freetown towards the creek and then the new section was from Freetown towards the sea, going through Baymen Avenue, Kelly Street Calle al Mar, across Barack Road and then towards the sea. From Freetown towards Calle al Mar towards the sea. That is the new infrastructure that we place in which is a 5x5 section and that was done by Median Construction." Jules Vasquez: "How will that work when there is a spring tide, a very high tide." Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation: "When the high tide comes, the water from the sea comes towards the canal into the canal and flows towards Haulover Creek."

    MOW To Citco: We Won't Pave It
    And while there is a spectacular new drain running under Cinderella Plaza, up above you wouldn't know because the street is in deplorable condition. Last week the Mayor of Belize City told us that the Ministry of Works would finish up the paving - and today the Ministry told us that's not what the fine print says - and they won't do it:... Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation: "Well the last time it was mentioned or Mayor Bradley mentioned that it's our responsibility. We just want to make clear that this is not our responsibility. It is still under Belize City Council, not under Ministry of Works, nor Flood Mitigation. Just a clarification on that." Jules Vasquez: "Is it that the Mayor misspoke or that he had not read the technical documents which you have read?" Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor: "No. Like I said at every turn after meetings are concluded I brief the mayor on what the status is and like I am banking on that, that if there us sufficient or adequate funding remaining from the project then why not put it there. But if that does not materialize then the city has to incur the cost of to fix the Cinderella Plaza area."

    But, The Bike Path...
    But one thing the Ministry of Works did do for city hall was create a bike path on Juliet Soberanis Street in Belama Phase one. True, it's only by signage and street paint, but it's a nice touch, except hardly anyone pays attention to it. We asked the engineers about it today:... Rolando Chan, Project Manager, Flood Mitigation "The idea is to allow the cyclists to have their own stretch. They can ride their bicycles freely. But as we can see a lack of communication with residents or let's say public awareness that residents they just park right occupying the bike path. So it's something that I think Belize City Council will have to inform the public the reason why we have these bike paths." Tomorrow, we'll go deeper into Belama, to Phase 4, where creating drains basically in swamps was a major engineering challenge.

    Channel 5

    CARICOM Heads of Government Discuss Threat of Zika Virus
    The looming threat of the Zika virus and its potential impact on the Caribbean was the subject of a presentation earlier today, before an audience of CARICOM heads of government [...]

    Day 1 of Intersessional Meeting of Regional Heads of Government Concludes in Placencia
    The opening ceremony for a gathering of CARICOM heads of government in southern Belize, complete with cultural presentations showcasing the ethnic diversity of the Jewel, was held in Placencia on [...]

    A Waitress is Brutally Murdered in San Pedro
    There are two murders to report—one in Punta Gorda and one in San Pedro. Tonight, the body of Honduran national Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios lies inside the morgue at the [...]

    An Elderly Man Succumbs to Stab Wounds, Three Suspects Detained
    And while San Pedro Police hunt for a killer, their counterparts in Punta Gorda are looking for evidence to identify three. On Saturday night, American National Thomas Rockowski was at [...]

    Ministry of Works Engineers Tour Belize City Canals
    Today, stakeholders from the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project conducted a tour across the drainage network in the city – from the Douglas Jones Canal to the Maheia Canal on the [...]

    Engineers Say Mayor Bradley Has Cinderella Plaza All Wrong
    While the site inspectors assess the success of the project works, the Belize City Council has come under fire for sections which have been left in a terrible condition – [...]

    The Fight for Baby Nina is Headed to Guatemala
    On Friday, media crews camped outside the Belize Family Court until dark, waiting for a determination on the fate of Nina Barrera Perez. The custody and jurisdiction woes of baby [...]

    Deon Brackett is Remanded to Prison for Attempted Murder of Raheem Bailey
    A Belize City man has been remanded for the attempted murder of Raheem Bailey last Friday. Bailey was the first of five persons injured during four separate shootings in the [...]

    Chief Magistrate Reviews Light Sentence of Repeat Offender
    Tonight, a sentence handed down by Magistrate Deborah Rogers is under review by Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, after it was learned that forty-two-year-old Cecil Franklin, no stranger to the [...]

    Grieving American Students Return to North Cobb High School
    On Monday, as a post mortem examination was being conducted on the body of Tomari Jackson, his classmates from North Cobb High School traveled back to Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.  The [...]

    Who Wants to Win a Wingle?
    From day to day we’re called to various Police Stations and substations for any matter of reasons – from hunting information to donations and training courses. But we’ve never before [...]

    Sister Cecilia Home Receives Donation from CPBL
    Today, the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly in Belize City was the recipients of twenty-five chairs courtesy of Citrus Products of Belize Limited in the south. Today at the [...]

    CTV3

    Murder In Paradise, Honduran Woman Slashed To Death
    A 22 year old Honduran national was killed early this morning inside her apartment complex located in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro Town. This morning between 5:00 and 5:45 police were called out to the area where they found Joanna Samantha Mendez Barrios suffering from one large cut wound to the left side of her neck. The victim was transported to the San Pedro Polyclinic but later succumbed to her injuries while undergoing treatment. Superintendent Sandra Bowden: “Early this morning between 5 and 5:45am the police were at the an apartment in the Boca del rio area upon the arrival at the apartment complex they observed a female who was bleeding from her neck she was assisted to the Poly Clinic and whilst undergoing treatment at the poly clinic she died and her identity was later to be one Joanna Samantha Mendez Barrios 22 years of La Ceiba Honduras and she was presiding at the said apartment, so far the police has been able to certain one person to may have been at her apartment who may have inflicted the wound not to mention our investigation is still in its early stages and the body has been transported to the KHMH mort where now it awaits a post mortem.”

    Prime Minister Of Belize Discusses Banking Sector During CARICOM Meeting
    At the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM that was held last night in Placencia, Prime Minister Barrow, Chairman of CARICOM focused a great part of his address on the correspondent banking situation that has been affecting indigenous banks in many CARICOM member states. The threat relates to the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by mainly the Regional indigenous banks. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signaled to client banks in the Region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business The so-called ‘de-risking’ by the global banks threatens to impact several critical services including remittance transfers. International trade, the facilitation of credit card settlements for local clients could also be threatened.

    ZIKA Virus Takes Center Stage At CARICOM Meeting
    The official opening ceremony of the 27th Intercessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government CARICOM was held last night in Placencia where Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque gave the opening address where he made an urgent call for action to keep the Community’s well-earned reputation safe and secure. Ambassador LaRocque: “It is imperative that the urgency for action be translated into the efforts at acquiring the resources necessary to adapt to its effects in our Region and to ensure our survival. In that regard, it is crucial that the international community honour the commitments to provide the requisite resources. We must maintain the standard set for how we should act in concert to address other challenges. That proven capacity for collective action which brings success has to be mustered as we engage frontally, the challenge posed to our security. All of our Member States are affected in varying degrees as the scourge of crime threatens our societies, our economies and our citizens’ security.

    Global Economic Woes Impact CARICOM Countries
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow in his address at the opening ceremony of the 27th Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government CARICOM also spoke of the failure of the world economy to recover from the shock of a financial crisis that has had negative effects worldwide including on CARICOM member states. The topic was touched as the P.M discussed the drop in oil prices that has negatively affected our country and other countries who enjoyed the privileges of the PetroCaribe fund. Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize: “This would be a welcome offset to the continued volatility in our commodities sector. The global oil price rout has, in particular, been a double-edged sword for a couple of us. So we salute the recent petroleum discoveries in Guyana and look forward to that country being able to exploit those resources on its own terms; and we welcome the benefit to consumers that cheaper fuel has meant. But at the same time we regret the effect that both the contraction of production and the precipitate price drop have had here in Belize. And we note the even stronger detriment of the latter on public sector revenues in Trinidad and Tobago. As well, the oil conundrum has severely constrained the flow of resources to those of us that participate in the PetroCaribe arrangements. This is, of course, in consequence of the havoc done to Venezuela, the source of our erstwhile bounty. To compound matters, it is clear that the oil price phenomenon is symptomatic of the more generalized weakening...”

    Secretary General Of CARICOM Describes Banking Sector As An Immediate Existential Threat
    CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, also addressed the correspondent banking relationship issue describing it as an immediate existential threat due to the subjective and unsupported labelling of the Region as a financial high risk area for Money Laundering and Terrorism funding.CARICOM Member States are faced with this classification, even though they are compliant with the institutional and regulatory standards established by the FATF, the Global Forum and other international bodies noted LaRoque.Ambassador LaRocque:“Mr. Chairman, today, our Member States face yet another existential threat and it is immediate. This arises from the withdrawal of correspondent banking services due to the arbitrary and unsubstantiated categorisation of our Region as a financial high risk area. This is despite our jurisdictions being in compliance with the institutional and regulatory standards established by the FATF, the Global Forum and other international bodies.

    LOVE FM

    CARICOM Heads of Government to take place in Placencia
    The opening of the 27th Inter-sessional meeting for the Heads of Government for the Caribbean Community is underway in Placencia. Reporter Renee Trujillo is in Placencia and filed this report. Renee Trujillo reporting… “The opening session of the 27th intersessional meeting for the heads of government of the Caribbean Community started at 6 o’clock this […]

    US students drowns while on field trip to Belize
    A 14 year old US student died in Belize over the weekend. Tomari Aliijah Jackson, a freshman at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, USA, is believed to have drowned near Tiger Sandy Bay in Rural Belize. Hipolito Novelo reporting… “Fourteen year old Tomari Alijah Jackson was one of thirty two students and six […]

    Man charged with attempted murder of teenager
    Twenty year old Joseph Lopez, a resident of Reggae Street who allegedly shot a 17 year old boy, was charged with attempted murder when he appeared today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser. Lopez was also charged with dangerous harm and use of deadly means of harm. He was remanded into custody until April 4. The […]

    Man wanted in connection with chopping incident
    Police are looking for Edwin Chacon who is a suspect in a chopping incident that occurred yesterday in the Salvapan area of Belmopan. Thirty three year old Fernando Soria reported to the police that while heading home he was attacked by one Edwin Chacon with whom he had been drinking with. Soria suffered cut wounds […]

    Police officers injured in road traffic accident
    Three police officers were injured in a road traffic accident on Saturday evening in Roaring Creek Village. Fem Cruz reporting… “Love News understands that on Saturday evening, February 13, sometime around 4:10 pm, the officers were on mobile patrol in the village of Tea Kettle when they received a call for back up. They immediately […]

    Baby Nina to be returned to Guatemala
    On Friday the case of Baby Nina was back before Magistrate’s Dale Cayetano. The case involving the two year old girl had been ongoing for the last few months. Anna Liz Gutierrez, the child’s mother had taken the child from Guatemala and brought her to Belize. The father of the child engaged the authorities after […]

    Baby Nina’s mother vows to continue the fight
    While you may think the custody battle is over, Gutierrez says it is not. She explained to us that she has to return to the Guatemalan Family court where other charges were filed against her. She remains strong and added that all she can do now is investigate her rights in Guatemala. Anna Liz Gutierrez […]

    Woman recounts ordeal of being held up
    Last week the Belize Police Department issued an advisory for the public, especially business owners and security firms to be on alert. This followed two reports of individuals posing as police officers and gaining access to establishments. One of the reported incidents was made by Ebonni Hendy who was employed at Harpy Security on Antelope […]

    Woman held up by intruder, fired by employer
    And while Hendy went through a traumatic experience, she told us that was not the end of it, as after her boss reviewed the security tapes, he fired her. Ebonni Hendy – Victim “The reason I didn’t call the police is because I feared for my life. He threatened me and told me that if […]

    Latest book on El Pilar released
    Friends of El Pilar Maya Forest Garden Network presented a book entitled “The Mayan Forest Garden” Eight Mellennia of sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands. The book is to enlighten the public on sustainable living via the Belizean Forest. Facilitator Cynthia Topsey, told Love News what the group at Friends of the El Pilar Maya […]

    PlusTV

    American Retiree clings to life after stabbing attack
    An American retiree residing in Punta Gorda has been hospitalized in a critical condition after he was stabbed in his home. The stabbing accident happened sometime after 9 p.m. on Saturday February 13. PG police say they they got a call to the home of American Retiree Paul Rocoski in the Hop...

    Chopping in Belmopan; man critical
    A night of drinking turned into a brawl that left one man suffering from numerous chop wounds. On Sunday the 14th of February, police visited #8 Bolivia Street in Salvapan, Belmopan where they saw 33-year-old Fernando Soria, a Guatemalan labourer, lying on the side of the road. Soria was suffering f...

    Shooting in Belize City leaves 3 teenagers hospitalized
    Five teenagers were shot in three different incidents in Belize City. The first incident left three teenagers of Belize City hospitalized after a Valentine Day shooting in the Old Capital. On Sunday the 14th of February, 19 year old Wilbert Welch, 19 year old Davone Gillett, and 19 year old Chelsea...

    Minor shot in the back
    A Belize City minor was shot in his back while heading home. On Friday the 12th of February, a Belize City minor was walking on Boots Crescent Road from the direction of Faber’s Road when a male person came up behind him and fired several shots, one of which caught him in his back. The assailant was...

    19 year old shot at home
    Another Belize City teenager was shot this weekend. 19 year old Raheem Jaheem Bailey of Belize City was shot while at his home. On Friday the 12th of February, Bailey was at his home in Belize along with his friends when, one Deon Bracket rode up on a bicycle , pulled out a firearm and fired shots t...

    Teenager fire shots at teenagers in Sandhill
    Two teenagers of Sandhill were lucky this violent weekend as they managed to escaped unhurt after a barrage of bullets were shot in their direction. A 19-year-old of Sandhill was reportedly sitting with his friend in front of his house when a dark complexion male person, who he identified as an 18-...

    14 year old American student drowns in Monkey Bay Area
    A 14 year old American student drowned in the Monkey Bay on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday the 13th of February, Tomari Alijah was along with a group of some 30 plus students who went swimming. Reports are that at the end of the outing, when the group was ready to leave the swimming area, a head c...

    Amandala

    Atlanta, Georgia, student, 14, drowns in Sibun
    Within hours, tragedy struck a group of high school students from North Cobb High School in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, who were on winter break and arrived in Belize on Saturday, February 14, for a field trip, when one of the students drowned in the Sibun River at Tiger Sandy Bay, located off the George Price Highway at about Mile 31. The thirty-two students and their nine chaperones arrived in Belize around midday at the Philip Goldson International Airport, where they were met by personnel from Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Following their brief orientation, the students split up into groups and some of them went swimming, while others decided on hiking. Around 4:00 p.m., the chaperones did a head count before heading back to the resort, and it was then that they discovered that a freshman student and music scholar, Tomari Aliijah Jackson, 14, a ninth grader, was missing. Personnel from the Belize Police Department, the Belize Coast Guard and the United States Embassy began combing the area for the missing student. On Sunday morning, shortly after 2:00 a.m., and after an extensive search in the Sibun River, Jackson’s body was fished out of the river. His body was discovered by two local divers in about 25 feet of water.

    CARICOM Heads of Government meet in Placencia
    The sandy shores of Placencia were the grounds upon which a momentous gathering of leaders of the Caribbean region converged tonight for the official opening of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Heads of Government of CARICOM. Captivating entertainment provided by Garifuna, Creole and Maya dancers helped to relax the officials before tense deliberations over the next two days on pressing issues affecting the region. “Our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time,” said incoming chair of the Caribbean Community, Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in remarks to his peers. Whereas there has been much talk about what Barrow described as the “banking Armageddon,” due to the “cataclysmic ramifications” of the decision by US and European banks to cut off indigenous Caribbean banks, he pointed to a potentially compounding factor: the possibility that the world economy may be “sliding back into recession,” as he put it. Earlier today, CARICOM Finance ministers met to discuss the banking crisis. The recommendations compiled by a Committee of Finance Ministers on Correspondent Banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, should be the subject of deliberations by Heads of Government as they meet in Placencia on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 16 and 17. Speaking in Placencia tonight, Barrow said that “CARICOM action must be unrelenting.” He called on the region to “size up” with collective action.

    Another Belize City man remanded for piracy of tourists at Middle Long Caye
    Another Belize City man was remanded to prison today on a charge of aggravated burglary in connection with the armed robbery of a group of tourists who were anchored in their boat off Middle Long Caye on January 13. Police charged Jason Emmanuel Cortez, 20, along with Bradwick Lino, 22, who is serving a three-month sentence after he pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods last month, in connection with the same incident. Police are relying on fingerprint evidence to assist their case in linking Cortez to the robbery at sea. Cortez, a construction worker and resident of Balan Street, Lake Independence, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Fraser, however, could not grant bail because the offense has allegedly been committed with a firearm; therefore Cortez was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court date on March 18.

    Boss fires victim of fake cop office invasion and attempted robbery
    A dispatcher for the Harpy Security Company on Antelope Street Extension, which was held up at knife point at by a fake policeman after she let him in, reportedly has been fired by the company. Evonne Hendy, 25, told Amandala that she was on duty at the company’s office when at about 12:30 Thursday morning, she heard someone at the front door. When she looked, she saw a man dressed in a khaki buttoned-down shirt, tucked inside blue long pants, and a black warm hat on his head, who identified himself as a “police officer.” Hendy said that the man told her that he was there to check on the business place, and believing that he was a real policeman she opened the front grill door and allowed him to enter the office. According to Hendy, upon entering the office, however, the police imposter pulled out a knife from his pants waist, grabbed her around her neck, took her inside the office and demanded that she open the door to the storeroom, an order with which she complied.

    Mexican Juan Manuel Yapur wins Digicell Tour 2016
    After four days of road races, Criterium races and Individual Time Trials, culminating with the big Road Race yesterday ending in front of Leslie’s Imports, Mexican Juan Manuel Yapur of Yapurland Cycling Team in Cancun emerged the overall champion, as well as the Masters winner, thus garnering the Red Jersey for the 2016 Digicell Valentine Tour. 2nd place for the Tour went to Joel Borland (Digicell-4G); and 3rd was American Chris Harkey (Team Starlight). The Green Jersey for King of the Sprint was taken by Brandon Cattouse (C-Ray Road Addikz Team) who was first to cross the finish line in yesterday’s Road Race; and the Blue Jersey for King of the Hills belonged to Ron Vasquez of Western Spirit Cycling Team. C-Ray Juniors and their lone Female cyclist, Kaya Cattouse, boycotted the Road Race on Sunday, in protest of Juniors and Females being excluded from the Tour; but the 5-member Elite team, C-Ray Road Addikz, did participate in the Tour.

    Police and Bandits with eyes on CONCACAF Champ League
    The Premier League of Belize (PLB) 2015-2016 Closing Season has completed its fourth week of games in a 10-week schedule, and defending champions Police United FC lead the standings, with a 2 point edge over Belmopan Bandits FC. (See Week 4 standings below.) According to reports of weekend games we have received, Belmopan Bandits FC shut out Verdes FC, 2-0, on Saturday night at the FFB Stadium; and on the same night, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, it was BDF FC with a 1-nil win over Wagiya FC. Then on Sunday afternoon, with Placencia losing a player to red card at the 50th minute, Police United FC barely managed to secure a 4-3 victory over Placencia Assassins at the Norman Broaster Stadium. (Up to press time, we have not received details of the goals scored.) While all participating teams have their eyes on the PLB Closing Season championship, their eyes, are also focused, especially that of defending champion Police United FC and Belmopan Bandits FC, on the regular season points tally, which could determine the berth to CONCACAF even before a champion is declared. There are two different races going on at the same time, and below we try to explain.

    Editorial: Social Security $$$ and Santander
    If you follow the logic which argues that the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) should lend Belizean workers’ money to the giant foreign Santander corporation because Santander would give that money 7 and 8 percent returns, whereas the local banks give the same money only 2 and 3 percent interest, then we Belizeans should take all of Belize’s money and invest it in foreign corporations, dammit, in Guatemala itself, where there are a thousand Santanders running their economy. Look, what was the purpose of self-rule and the struggle therefor? Our national heroes, Hon. George Price and Hon. Phillip Goldson, who began political life together in the People’s United Party (PUP) in 1950, both fought for Belizean self-rule. At a certain point in his early leadership of the PUP, Mr. Price began to speak of a “peaceful, constructive revolution.” It is not clear whether he considered that peaceful, constructive revolution as having been born in 1950, when the PUP was founded, or in 1956, when he took personal leadership of that PUP. Mr. Goldson, for his part, was and is famously quoted as follows: “The time to save your country is before you lose it.” We will return later to these two concepts.

    Uncertain future for Baby Nina
    n Friday, February 12, the Belize Family Court handed down its decision to have Baby Nina returned to Guatemala. The much discussed case of Baby Nina was heard in Magistrate Dale Cayetano’s courtroom, and both parents were present for the hearing. Analiz Perez Gutierrez, the Belizean mother, was represented by attorney Marcel Cardona, and Ernesto Barrera, the Guatemalan father, was represented by attorney Kevin Arthurs. The court proceedings lasted the entire day. Gutierrez emerged from the courtroom at 6:30 p.m. and told us about the magistrate’s ruling. Gutierrez read the following judgment: “Take note that the above case for declaration of wrongful removal/return of the child was concluded on the twelfth day of February 2016, where the following order was made. The child, Nina Charlotte Alexandra Barrera Perez, born twenty-third October, 2013, was wrongfully removed from Guatemala. It is hereby ordered that the child, be returned to Guatemala immediately, pursuant to Chapter 177 of the International Child Adoption Act Revised Edition 200 and the subsequent articles of the convention.”

    Guatemalan milperos clear 17 farms and erect several dwellings inside Chiquibul: FCD
    January and February 2016 have seen an upsurge of illegal clearings inside the Chiquibul Forest, according to a report released this week by Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD), which said that it has observed 17 new clearings and several thatch-roof dwellings illegally erected inside Belize. The report also says that satellite imagery analysis and interpretation up to October 2015 has shown that a total of 3,772.5 ha (or roughly 15 square miles) had been deforested. The FCD report was filed after the NGO, which co-manages the Chiquibul National Park, did a flyover of the area two days ago, on February 9, 2016. This was the first flight of several which they hope to conduct as the dry season progresses. “From the small Cessna airplane, large clearings of primary forest were observed. These clearings appear to be fresh, indicating that the milpa activity is starting and may progress rapidly as the dry season sets in,” the FCD report warned. It added that the northern section of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve and on the southern region of the Chiquibul known as Cebada are the most impacted.

    How safe is the rice on your plate?
    Rice is one of Belize’s main staple foods, but Jitendra Chawla, aka Jack Charles, is saying that the rice that we’ve been incorporating in our daily meals might be contaminated with a carcinogenic substance. That substance to which he’s referring is aflatoxin, which has been described as a “poisonous and cancer-causing chemical”. It takes the form of a mold and occurs when staple foods are “improperly stored”. The Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards in a press release has responded to Chawla’s claim. The release pointed out that “Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize.” While Chawla is not an authority, the institution to which he sent the rice samples for testing — Eurofins Analytical Laboratories, is one that the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) is very familiar with, since they conduct their testing there as well, Chawla said. The Bureau’s press release further stated that “The test results provided on February 1, by Charles shows that none of the rice samples analyzed contain detectable levels of aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health.” The release ends with a reiteration by the Bureau of its commitment to the public to ensure that food on the market is safe for consumption.

    Korean stakes claim to lands occupied by 13 Trio families
    Roughly 15 families in Trio, who live and farm in the area of the village, have been in panic after reports that an Asian investor had bought the lands they said they have been occupying for decades—albeit without papers they have claimed were promised to them by politicians. Amandala has been informed that the land in question, which is located near the entrance of Trio, Toledo, had been bought by International Missionary Organization Limited, represented by John Yim, a Korean. Yim’s agent, Adan Blanco, has informed that Yim bought the land, 2,570.325 acres in all, back in June 2014 for BZ$1 million from Greenwood Development Company. Blanco told Amandala that Yim intends to use the land for agriculture and is willing to hire the villagers to work the land while offering them an option to purchase the area upon which they have been squatting. According to Blanco, although the initial sale offer to the residents for an acre of the land in question was $15,000, the owner has dropped the price to $10,000. A 25% down payment, amounting to $2,500, would be required. The villagers would also be asked to sign on to a deal to pay the balance over 10 years.

    Pedro Menjivar Murcio, 30 – was he killed over a bike?
    Less than 12 hours after Pedro Menjivar Murcio, 30, a farmer of St. Margaret, was involved in an argument with a man after his bicycle had been stolen from a bar on the Hummingbird Highway, Murcio was found unconscious, with severe injuries to his head, in an orange orchard between Miles 15 and 16 on the Hummingbird Highway in Alta Vista. He was discovered at about 6:45 on the morning of Friday, January 29, and was taken to the Southern Regional Hospital, after which he was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City. He fought for his life for eight days in the intensive care unit of the KHMH until Saturday morning, February 6, when he died. On Monday, February 8, a postmortem exam was conducted on Murcio’s body at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by Dr. Mario Estradabran. At the conclusion of the autopsy, he declared that Murcio’s death was the result of “acute respiratory failure, bilateral severe broncho-pneumonia,comatose state and blunt force traumatic injuries to the head region.”

    SSB pension payments to increase by 5%
    Social Security Board (SSB) chairman, Doug Singh, said on the KREM WUB, that the Government plans to increase contributory pension payments by 5% this April. The increase has already been approved by Cabinet, in tandem with the transfer of funds from the short-term branch to the long-term branch, to support the payments, Singh told Amandala. He said that the SSB is proposing another 5% increase in pension payments next April, but that would be contingent upon the outcome of consultations to expand the wage band from a maximum of $320 a week insurable earnings to around $500 weekly. The increase would cost the SSB $2.8 million more to meet payments to 7,700 pensioners. Non-contributory pensions, which have been increased from $75 to $100, won’t be included in the scheme. Singh said that over $3 million is paid each year towards pensions for people who have never contributed to the fund, and this expense is met by the others who contribute to the fund.

    Santander pulls back from $12 mil SSB loan, but says it will apply again
    Santander Sugar announced in a press conference this Friday morning that it has decided to pull back its application from the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) for US$6 million (BZ$12 million) in financing for its sugar enterprise in western Belize, because “the issue was politicized, and given a negative connotation;” but the company plans to return with a second application, said Andres Ayau, the company’s chief financial officer. “We would like to leave the door open for the Social Security Board,” Ayau said, adding that the company wants to pursue another SSB loan for an additional investment round, for expansion of the project and the sugar cane fields for 50 million US dollars. For the meanwhile, though, the US$6 million has been procured from an international lender. According to Ayau, Santander had already informed the SSB that they would turn to another source for the money. He said that Santander hopes that they “can go beyond the politics and see that this is a safe and sound transaction that will provide a big benefit for the Social Security beneficiaries…”

    5 persons shot in the city in 4 shooting incidents
    Five people are suffering from gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies, sustained during yet another weekend of gun violence that occurred in the city, and in Sandhill, in the Belize District, over the weekend of Thursday to Sunday, February 11 to 14. There were 4 shootings: a 17-year-old youth was shot in the right upper back on Fabers Road; Raheem Bailey, 26, was shot in the chest and both thighs; Wilbert Welch was shot in the right shoulder; Davone Gillett, 25, also of Belize City, was shot in the neck and left shoulder; and Chelsea Young, 19, of Ladyville, Belize District, was shot in the left hand. Police have since arrested two persons and detained three pending investigations. All victims have been admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a stable condition. The weekend of violence began in Sandhill. At about 9:00 Thursday night, two friends were socializing in front Davone Gillett’s home in Sandhill when a dark-complexioned man who is known to them and who also lives in Sandhill, emerged from a bushy area opposite the house where the two friends were socializing and fired several times towards them. Luckily, both friends escaped unhurt. Police say that the alleged gunman is well known to them.

    From the Publisher
    September 5, 2016 will mark 40 years since my younger brother, Michael Charles, was murdered in mysterious circumstances in Accra, Ghana. He was on summer break after the first year of classes in a two-year land program at a school in Kumasi, Ghana, which is about 200 miles inland from Accra, which is on the West African seacoast. In Belize, my younger brother, who was the best athlete in our family, had been actively involved in UBAD, and he was tried and acquitted in the Supreme Court in October of 1972, along with Norman Fairweather and Edwardo Burns, for various insurrectionary activities on the night of May 29, 1972. At the time all this excitement was taking place, Michael was employed at the Lands and Surveys Department in Belmopan where his uncle, the late James Valancourt, was the Lands Commissioner. He had resumed his job after arrest, interdiction, and acquittal. In early 1973, the UBAD movement began to split down the middle, as half its leadership wanted to join the Unity Congress, the precursor to the United Democratic Party (UDP) which was formally established in September of 1973.

    Belize urges CARICOM to take urgent action on climate change
    CARICOM Ministers who hold the environment portfolio in their respective countries met at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel today to discuss one of the hottest topics on the international front—climate change, but also to use the momentum gained at the international COP 21 climate change forum in Paris last year to launch actions on the ground to help the Caribbean adapt, while putting in place measures to mitigate impacts already being visited upon our region by a changing global climate. While there are some pundits who argue that climate change is a fallacy, others are adamant that it is real. Today, Minister James Fletcher, chairman of both the CARICOM Task Force of Sustainable Development and the Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change, spoke of eroding coast lines and climate variability, such as prolonged droughts; coral bleaching due to warming oceans; and ocean acidification, as well as negative impacts on wildlife. He also pointed to the theory that rising public health crises, such as Zika in the Americas, may also be linked to climate change.

    Boss fires victim of fake cop office invasion and attempted robbery
    A dispatcher for the Harpy Security Company on Antelope Street Extension, which was held up at knife point at by a fake policeman after she let him in, reportedly has been fired by the company. Evonne Hendy, 25, told Amandala that she was on duty at the company’s office when at about 12:30 Thursday morning, she heard someone at the front door. When she looked, she saw a man dressed in a khaki buttoned-down shirt, tucked inside blue long pants, and a black warm hat on his head, who identified himself as a “police officer.” Hendy said that the man told her that he was there to check on the business place, and believing that he was a real policeman she opened the front grill door and allowed him to enter the office. According to Hendy, upon entering the office, however, the police imposter pulled out a knife from his pants waist, grabbed her around her neck, took her inside the office and demanded that she open the door to the storeroom, an order with which she complied.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    San Pedro woman killed, neck slashed
    Early this morning in San Pedro Town, police were called to the Boca Del Rio area, where in front of the Basil Parish apartment complex, officers saw 23-year-old Honduran national, Johana Samantha Mendez Barrios, bleeding from a cut wound to the left side of […]

    PM Barrow addresses ‘de-risking’ at CARICOM Heads of Government meeting
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who has been at the helm of the ‘de-risking’ issue in the region, again addressed the issue and sounded the alarm for dealing with the matter urgently, in front of his colleagues at the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference […]

    One suspect detained for brutal Punta Gorda murder
    One Punta Gorda (PG) man has been detained by police and is pending investigations in connection to a stabbing incident which occurred on Saturday. The assault was upgraded to murder yesterday when the victim died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize […]

    Unlawful sexual intercourse in Punta Gorda
    Punta Gorda (PG) police are seeking a suspect, who is pending investigations for a case of carnal knowledge. A 14 year old female minor told police that while her boyfriend was staying at a hotel in PG last November, she visited him and they […]

    Police recover pickup stolen on Valentine’s Day
    The white Mazda pickup truck stolen in Benque Viejo Town, Cayo District, shortly after midday Sunday, has been recovered by Belize police near Melchor De Mencos, Guatemala, with the help of Policia Nacional Civil (PNC). Guatemalan Police officers found the truck in bushes in […]

    “Walk Through Dangriga” book launching
    As part of its ‘Walk Through’ book series, the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), along with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), yesterday launched a third publication entitled, “A Walk Through Dangriga.” Books in this series feature key landmarks and heritage sites from […]

    Woman killed in San Pedro
    A woman was brutally murdered this morning in the Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro. Breaking Belize News has confirmed that the incident played out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning at an apartment building on Bonefish Street. The identity of the victim […]

    Mother questions son’s death in Belize
    Adell Forbes, the mother of 14-year-old Tomari Jackson who drowned in Belize on Saturday, said she still hasn’t been told how her only child died just hours after arriving in Belize. Forbes, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said she has more questions than answers […]

    Japan grants over $200,000 to Belize’s Cotton Industry
    Belizean and Japanese officials gathered yesterday to initiate a grant of US $102,029 that is being handed over to Belize’s Cotton Industry from the Japanese Government’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects. Benefiting cotton farmers with the potential to strengthen the relationship between both […]

    Can Johnny Briceño unite and ignite the PUP?
    Newly elected People’s United Party (PUP) leader Johnny Briceño was sworn in as opposition leader last week, and now the real task begins – rebuilding and uniting an embattled party which has been in constant inner turmoil for the past few years. Belize’s most storied […]

    Blogs

    Belize, the Adventure Capital of the World
    As far as Central American destinations go, Belize is rather unique. This small nation has some of the most incredible attractions in the world in terms of animals, marine life, natural landmarks, artifacts and culture. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the best sites in the region. It’s a 300-kilometer (or 186-mile) section of the larger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System that spans from Cancun, Mexico all the way to Honduras. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most popular destinations in the country, and it sees over a quarter of a million visitors each year. The reef hosts over 100 species of hard and soft coral, 500 species of fish as well as several species of turtles, sharks and manatees.

    When “Gaad” Comes Knocking
    Ambergris Caye: an atoll, resembling an island, that’s almost the tip of a peninsula, closer to Mexico but belonging to Belize and under claim by Guatemala. A Caribbean lifestyle, integrated with a Mestizo culture, but geographically part of Central America. Multiple languages are spoken, with English being the official language, but most San Pedranos, named after the only town on the island, San Pedro, speak a combination of English, Spanish, and Kriol. After you’ve lived here a while, if you love it as much as I do, the combination of these languages make you feel at home and become an integral part of life. I present you with this background on language to help you understand my excitement when I received a Jehovah’s Witness booklet in my little wooden mailbox, written completely in Kriol. The title was, Gud Nyooz Fahn Gaad. May I first lay this on the line: I am one of the faithless, so I have absolutely no interest in religions, except in the way they affect me and my community on a day to day basis. Understanding a little bit about them is important too in terms of being culturally sensitive and appreciating traditions that my friends and neighbours enjoy. Having people knock on my door to evangelize though… not so much.

    February 17, 2016 issue of The Capital Weekly is online HERE

    This Week's Stories:

    • CARICOM comes to BELIZE, CONFRONTING MAJOR EXISTENTIAL ISSUES:
      Belize’s Prime Minister currently holding chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Heads of Government from participating nations have come to town for the 27th Intersessional Meeting. The official opening took place Monday evening on the scenic, serene, stimulating, seaside paradise of Placencia in Stann Creek District. Welcoming the Prime Ministerial guests and their entourage from the Caribbean family, Prime Minister Barrow fittingly remarked, “I hope that the legacy features of these surroundings will act as aid and inspiration to our deliberations. And very important deliberations they are; for while that is always the case whenever we meet, I may be forgiven for thinking, and hope to make clear, that our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time.”
    • BELIZE and CARICOM:
      Established 43 years ago in 1973 through the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was a romantic idea whose practical purpose has perhaps never been as pronounced as it is today. It is in times of adversity that one most appreciates the blessings of belonging to a family. And it is this sense of belonging and common purpose that Prime Minister Dean Barrow was referring to when he remarked in his speech as the new Chairman of CARICOM at the opening of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Heads of Government, “I’m trying to reiterate what we know only too well - the reality that forces us to acknowledge the limitations of individual smallness is the same reality that obliges us to size-up both in terms of collective thinking and collective action.” The context is, of course, the existential threat confronting our region with respect to de-risking and the consequent loss of correspondent banking. It is a matter that understandably looms extremely large on the agenda of the CARICOM meeting.
    • NATIONAL UNITY NEEDED, Patriotism above Politics:
      There are some issues that require national unity and transcend partisan politics. It’s long been agreed that the Belize- Guatemalan Territorial Dispute and efforts to resolve it is one such issue as it threatens the very existence of our Nation as we know it. De-risking and the consequent loss of correspondent banking services, which threatens the survival of our financial sector and the state of our economy, is the latest emerging issue that transcends partisan politics, and overcoming it will require the same kind of national unity. The Prime Minister appropriately characterized it as an existential threat, and a potentially huge national crisis.
    • Caribbean Convenes on Climate Change:
      This past week, Climate Change experts from the Caribbean region converged in Belize for a two-day conference. On the top of their agenda were discussions on the COP 21 Agreement which was recently signed in Paris by 195 nations. That agreement outlines a global plan of action to prevent the adverse effects of climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees centigrade. Speaking to the national media at the Biltmore Plaza where the conference was conducted, Minister of State for Climate Change matters, Hon. Omar Figueroa stated, “Right now we have our technical team that has been really going into these agreements and making sure that we can live up to our responsibilities. But we can’t look at these agreements as a challenge for us.
    • COUNTERING CUSTOMS FRAUD MONEY LAUNDERING AND THE FINANCING OF TERRORISM:
      The Nation of Belize is stepping up its effort to counter and curb money laundering, financing of terrorism and customs fraud. Two weeks ago, the stage for the intensification of these efforts was set with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the new Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Joy Grant and the Comptroller of Customs, Victor Recinos. The MOU, signed on February 3, 2016, will increase potential sources of information available to the FIU and Customs to properly undertake their analytical and investigative functions. This past week, a strategic planning workshop was held to assist in developing adequate human resources to improve the effectiveness of the Customs Department particularly in this regard. Conducted inside the conference room of the Customs Compound in Belize City, the workshop was attended by senior officers of Belize and well-facilitated by the World Customs Organization.
    • Software Installed for the Visually Impaired:
      The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat Ambassador, Irwin LaRocque, visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 to officially unveil software, donated by the CARICOM Secretariat, for the visually-impaired. In 2015, the CARICOM Secretariat donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize National Library Service that would be available to the public. The Library, located on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City, was identified as the ideal location because of its proximity to several high schools, the university and technical vocational institutions. It is also near to the Stella Maris School, which caters to students with special needs.
    • Two-Day Workshop Conducted In Belize City Free Movement Regime of Caribbean Community:
      Belizeans from the private and public sectors attended a two-day workshop on Free Movement of Labour in accordance with the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. Held in Belize City at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, the workshop opened with four key speakers highlighting the history, present progress and benefits of the CSME. Keynote Speaker, CEO Kerry Belisle reiterated the commitment of the Labour Department to facilitate free movement and reinvigorate domestic systems to create greater efficiency and transparency. Dr. Olivia Smith, Deputy Programme Manager, Free Movement and Labour, CARICOM Secretariat, led an interactive workshop with an overview of the CARICOM Community, explaining the rights, benefits and challenges; while Legal Research Officer, Deborah Barrow expounded on legal implications and compliance with provisions in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
    • Belizean Law Enforcement Personnel Attend Training Course At International Law Enforcement Academy In New Mexico:
      Senior Superintendent of Police, Chester Williams, who commands Eastern Division South, was part of a Belizean team of law enforcement personnel who recently travelled to New Mexico, United States of America to participate in a training course at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) there. It is one of a number of international police academies administered by the U.S. Department of State where U.S. law enforcement can instruct local police from participating countries in counterterrorism, narcotics interdiction, detection of fraudulent documents, and border control practices.
    • Cooperation in Public Health and Medical Skills:
      An agreement on cooperation in public health and medical skills was signed on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The agreement was signed by the Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health and H.E. Benjamin T.H. Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize. The objective of the agreement is to access technical support from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the area of public health and will include, but will not be limited to, health education, disease screening and clinical services.
    • Forward Operating Base at Sarstoon Moving Forward:
      On February 10, 2016, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar, accompanied by Minister of State Hon. Frank Mena, visited the construction site of the Forward Operating Base at Sarstoon, Toledo. He was also accompanied by senior members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), the Belize Police Department and Ministry of National Security officials. The delegation appreciated the rapid pace at which the construction is proceeding. Elements of the BDF have set up temporary installations at the site as the work progresses.
    • Belize and the Regional Youth Development Agenda:
      On Monday, February 8, 2016, Honourable Elodio Aragon, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Youths, Sports and Culture welcomed to Belize Her Excellency, Ana Hazel Escrich, Secretary General of the Central American Social Integration Secretariat (SISCA). During the visit, Minister of State Aragon and H.E. Escrich discussed mutual areas of the SISCA Regional Agenda such as Regional Youth Development Programs and the proactive participation of Belize in CODICADER (Consejo del Istmo Centroamericano de Deportes y Recreación).
    • Belize Ambassador & Haitian President:
      His Excellency Oliver del Cid, Ambassador of Belize to Mexico, presented his Letter of Credence to outgoing President Michel Martelly of the Republic of Haiti in a ceremony at the National Palace on 5th February, 2016. Recognizing the importance of the event as a strong step in further strengthening bilateral relations, President Martelly and Ambassador del Cid expressed their countries’ commitment to furthering the friendship and collaboration. Ambassador del Cid also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Haiti, Honourable Duly Brutus and made a floral offering at the Haitian National Pantheon Museum in memory of the Heroes of the Independence of Haiti.
    • Agriculture Field Day:
      The Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday February 11, hosted a Field Day on the seed production of corn and beans at the Central Farm Crop Unit Production Plot. The purpose of the Field day was to showcase the technological package in quality seed production of open pollinated corn and beans. Present at the event were the main stakeholders of the project, which including farmers from the Toledo, Stann Creek and Cayo Districts. It is expected that from the experience gained, the farmers will adopt good agriculture practices in seed production, and will thus improve productivity and the quality of corn and beans in their own business enterprise.
    • “We are the Agents of Change,” Graduation Remarks by University of Belize President Alan Slusher:
      I thought that I would take this opportunity to share some thoughts on development and on the role of institutions like the University of Belize in promoting and sustaining development. I have deliberately said ‘development’ rather than ‘economic development’ in order to emphasize the multifaceted notion of the process. It is not just about increasing people’s incomes or purchasing power, thus enabling them to eat more nutritious meals regularly, clothe themselves better, live in more comfortable homes, or own their own cars. It is also about freeing people from the mindless drudgery of repetitive, low-paid manual labour; about providing the capacity and the opportunity to everyone to be able to think, to be able to conceptualize, to analyse, to identify how existing operations can be improved to make them more effective and efficient, so that one can do more with less, and then actually to be able to turn the concepts into physical reality.
    • “Put Your Vision to Reality!” Luz M. Longsworth - Principal & Pro Vice Chancellor University of West Indies Campus:
      First, let me say how happy I am to be back home today to address the graduates of the Spring graduating class of the University of Belize. Since we are in the month of Valentine’s, let me share a love secret with you. Some 15 years ago, almost to the day, in January 2001, I began a love affair with the University of Belize and with the students that I taught for 4 years before returning to work with the UWI here in Belize, and then in Jamaica, and now the region, based in Barbados. The University of Belize at that time had just been formed and this was an exciting moment of history for all of us. Many of the staff who are still here will remember those days of struggle for self-definition for the University, of culture formation, of protests by staff and students as we searched for our institutional identity and our role in the nation. I am sure that we gave our President at the time, Dr. Corinth Mortar-Lewis, very anxious times, and for that I apologize, Doctor Lewis.
    • “I Come With A Lot Of Hope!” New Leader of the Opposition Sworn In:
      One of the pillars of our Democracy is a strong and viable Opposition. Having lost three consecutive general elections and four consecutive municipal elections, serious questions abound about the strength and viability of the PUP as Belize’s Opposition Party. The burden of proof rests squarely and heavily on the shoulders of the new Leader of the People United Party, Hon. John Briceno. He was sworn in as PUP Leader at the party’s headquarters in Belize City on Wednesday, February 3, 2016; and on Monday, February 8, 2016, he took the oath as Leader of the Opposition at Belize House in Belmopan. In an interview with the media, Briceno remarked, “As Leader of the Opposition, one of the first things I want to do is to meet with my parliamentarians, so that we can then discuss the way forward...There are, I think, at least a dozen House committees that we need to look at the composition and see how we can make sure that everybody participates and everybody has a function to do.
    • Japan Government Donates to Cotton Industry in Belize:
      The Government of Japan is granting a total of $102,029.00 USD to the Cotton Industry in Belize. The contribution was made under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of the Government of Japan. The project was initiated by cotton farmers in Belize and is represented by Mr. Kensuke Inoue. Agriculture being one of Belize’s main strengths, the development of this industry provides jobs and stability in such a field. The Embassy of Japan says it wishes success for the project as the Sea Island Cotton represents one of the most promising ventures to strengthen the relationship between Belize and Japan.
    • Enterprise - Employment - Empowerment, Department of Youth Services Conducts Job Preparedness Training:
      The Department of Youth Service’s (DYS) Youth Enterprise and Job Creation Unit is presently conducting a Job Preparedness Training for twenty five youths between the ages of 17 and 29 years. The main objective of the training is to empower these young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to become marketable to join the work force. A total of ten sessions are being conducted. The various topics include, Skills Identification, Work Ethics, Conflict Resolution Management in the Workplace, Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills, Mock Interviews and how to work with HIV infected persons in the workplace. The other component of the training is to continue mentoring these young people and procure placement for them or assist them in returning to school where necessary, or engage them in other skills training such as those offered at ITVET.
    • SICA Member States Meet to Address Emergency Health Issues Associated with Spread of Zika Virus in the Region:
      On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, officials from the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs of Belize participated in a regional video-conference organized by the Government of Honduras, current Presidency Pro-Tempore of the Central American Integration System (SICA), to discuss the regional health implications of the Zika virus. The objective of the meeting was to coordinate regional positions and actions to ameliorate the number of infections and to agree on a sustained action plan to work towards the eradication of the Zika Virus.
    • Investing In The Fight Against Crime:
      It’s a fact that crime affects every sector of the community. One sector which has otherwise been performing extraordinarily, but whose prospects are being seriously threatened by the scourge of crime, is the Tourism Industry. It is quite fitting, then, that the Ministry of Tourism is making a heavy investment in the efforts to fight crime. On February 3, 2016, Minister of Tourism Honourable Manuel Heredia handed over a donation of three pick-up trucks vehicles to Minister of National Security Honourable John Saldivar to improve the mobility of the Police in its continued fight against crime. The vehicles, which cost a total of $200 thousand, will be deployed in hot-spots in Belize City and Cayo District to provide safety and security for Belizeans and visitors.
    • From Commitments to Results:
      Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr and CARICOM Youth Ambassador Eric Sanchez participated in this year’s International Youth Forum on Sustainable Development on February 1st and 2nd, 2016. This Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York under the auspices of the ECOSOC President, His Excellency Mr. Oh Joon. The theme of the forum was “Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Moving from Commitments to Results”. H.E. Joon listed unemployment, poverty, climate change, and inequality as issues needing to be addressed through a cross-cutting and interconnected approach. In plenary sessions, Minister Aragon stated that Belize is finalizing its National Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS) which mainstreams the United Nations Post 2015 Sustainable Development Framework. The GSDS identifies clear policy aims together with subsidiary goals and targets to achieve a national vision comprising of a strong economy featuring optimal national income and robust growth, a resilient society, healthy environment, citizen security and good governance.
    • Mobility for Sports Coordinators:
      As reported in our last edition, the Minister of State with responsibility for Youth and Sports, Hon. Elodio Aragon, recently handed over seven motorcycles to sports coordinators countrywide. The Minister explained, “In each district we have sports coordinators who have responsibility for the sporting facilities. Also they have responsibility to run certain programs for us when it comes to sports, such as dealing with the Primary Schools sports tournament that is going on now; also they must coordinate and begin to plan sporting programs for the districts.

    International Sourcesizz

    Notice of Public Consultation
    The general public is hereby informed that the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is developing a Pilot Project to conduct research on the cultivation of Arundo Donax (wild cane) in Belize. The digital DRAFT of the “Environment and Risk Management Plan” can be viewed on the website of the Department of the Environment as well as below. Hard copies will be available at the San Lazaro Community Centre on Thursday, February 25, 2016, and at the office of the CCCCC in Belmopan during working hours from March 16 – 23, 2016. Download: Draft Environment and Risk Management Plan. The public is invited to offer comments via email, addressed to egreen@caribbeanclimate.bz, or in person at the Community Centre in San Lazaro Village, Orange Walk District, Belize, beginning at 7:00 – 9:00 pm on Thursday, February 25, 2016.

    Cuban lung cancer vaccines offer hope for survival
    Two Cuban lung cancer vaccines offer the hope of survival for patients with an advanced stage of that disease. The head of the oncology services at Santa Clara University Hospital, in central Cuba, Ana Victoria Torre, said that the vaccines activate the patients’ immune system to fight cancerous cells. The vaccines are known as CimaVax and Racotumomab, which delay the spread of cancer in the body. The two products are still under clinical tests, though they have proven successful in Cuba, said the expert. Meanwhile Fernado Cabanillas, director of the Cancer Center at the Santa Clara hospital, explained that the vaccines are administered following chemo and radiotherapy treatment with different results. Some patients may live for some additional months; others extend their lives for years, despite the advanced stage of their disease. Experts say that the vaccines could be possibly be available in Puerto Rico in a few years in tune with the advancement of the US-Cuba normalization of relations. At present, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York is working to use the Cuban vaccines in the US.

    Cobb mother wants answers after son dies on school trip to Belize
    She worried about her son remembering to take his vitamins and use his mosquito spray while on a weeklong school trip to Belize. And Adell Forbes hoped her son enjoyed celebrating his 15th birthday while he was gone. But she never imagined he wouldn’t return home alive. In an interview late Monday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Forbes said she still hasn’t been told how her only child, Tomari Aliijah Jackson, died Saturday within hours of arriving at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. She was preparing to go to Belize herself when she got a second phone call from the U.S. Embassy. Tomari’s lifeless body had been pulled from the water, but Forbes was given very few details. “Once they told me what what had happened, there was nothing else,” Forbes said. Tomari’s classmates and chaperones returned to Atlanta on Monday, what would have been his 15th birthday. But Forbes has been told it will be at least Friday until her son’s body will be returned. Until then, Forbes is hopeful someone will give her more details on what happened to Tomari. She has one question she needs answered. “Why wasn’t he missed until later, until after the fact?”

    A look back at 1930s Limón and the real legacy of Afro-Caribbean immigrants
    On two separate occasions over the last year, I have been asked for information about what life may have been like in Puerto Limón during the 1930s and 1940s. Those asking me were exhausted by the stereotypical notions of Limón being about “Cocorí” and rice and beans. Though there is research on Marcus Garvey, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the Northern Railway and the United Fruit Company’s role in the banana industry, very little information has been preserved (or documented – beyond the work of don Quince Duncan) to highlight some of the individuals who forged lives in this region at the turn of the 20th century. My personal interest is in slavery in Costa Rica, and it is always fascinating to be in conversations with Ticos who readily add the English-speaking Caribbean people who immigrated to Limón into the “slave pot.” I quickly respond that these immigrants were in fact never slaves, but rather educated people seeking economic opportunities for themselves and their families. They arrived in Costa Rica by choice, not force.

    Belize PM warns of catastrophe from correspondent banking exodus
    Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow yesterday called on CARICOM to wage a relentless campaign against what he described as the “possible banking Armageddon that we face” from bank de-risking. In recent years, international banks have begun shedding correspondent banking relationships with financial institutions in the region because of the perceived risk of money laundering and other financial crimes. The trend has alarmed CARICOM in recent months as it can affect an entire range of services including money transfers. Barrow, the incoming CARICOM Chairman spent a large part of his address to the 27th intersessional meeting of Heads on the matter, according to the text released by the CARICOM Secretariat. The Prime Minister proposed on behalf of Belize that banks across the region get together and as a bloc approach target banks in the US for pooled correspondent services. “That way we should be able to leverage the critical mass needed to make our business volume worthwhile in terms of the risk/reward equation. The modalities and logistics will take some working out but clearly are not beyond our skills”, Barrow stated.

    Mother demands answers after her son, 14, mysteriously dies just HOURS after arriving in Belize on school trip
    A Georgia mother was left searching for answers after learning that her son has unexpectedly died during a school field trip to Belize, just days before his 15th birthday. According to a statement from the Cobb County School District, Tomari Aliijah Jackson was part of a group of 32 students and six chaperons who were visiting the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, just hours after landing in Belize. The teen, who was a freshman at North Cobb High School, was reported missing while splashing in shallow water near a river bank after a hike. Jackson was found dead after a brief search and additional details on his cause of death weren't immediately available. The teen's distraught mother, Adell Forbes, said in an interview with Atlanta Journal Constitution that the circumstances surrounding her only child’s untimely death did not make any sense to her. She said Tomari was a Boy Scout and a good swimmer who loved nature and enjoyed traveling. 'I wasn’t concerned about his safety,' Ms Forbes said, adding that she trusted officials at her son's school to keep him safe during the week-long trip to the Central American country. After getting the initial call alerting her that Tomari was missing, Ms Forbes said she was preparing to go to Belize to help search for him. But then a second call came from the US Embassy telling her that a search party has recovered the boy’s body.

    What Are the New Fees and Capital Requirements Required by Belize’s IFSC?
    Belize’s International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) has made a number of key changes to its fee requirements for brokers and providers operating in the country, including notable jumps in its minimum capital requirements that look to dramatically reshape the playing field in the country. Previously, many financial service providers in Belize had enjoyed relative low capital requirements and very lax licensing fees. Relative to other locales or regulatory jurisdictions in the Western Hemisphere, Belize’s IFSC registered but a fraction of the fees incurred via other regulatory entities. As per a new agenda outlined by the regulator, the IFSC application fee has soared to $1000, doubling from just $500. In addition to this price jump, the IFSC also stipulates that the applicable fee must now also accompany a new application and cannot be refunded. Furthermore, this move was also accompanied by an increase in its annual license fee charged by the regulator, from $25,000 from $5,000.

    VIU students earn scholarships to study in Belize
    Stephanie Govier burst into tears of joy and immediately called her mom. Kala Mackintosh still can’t sleep because of the excitement, and Haley Robinson recognized right away that she was just given a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” All three Vancouver Island University senior undergraduates are recipients of VIU’s Building Resilience in Coastal Communities, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships. Each scholarship provides money to cover travel, tuition and living expenses for a three- to six-month internship in Belize. They, along with 11 other VIU scholars and visiting scholars from Belize, were officially recognized at a ceremony held earlier this month. “When I heard I was selected, I understood right away what a huge learning opportunity it was. When we go to Belize, we know there won’t be somebody there telling us what to do. We’re expected to be leaders of our own projects so it’s a bit intimidating. But I know I was picked for a reason, and I’m ready,” said Mackintosh.

    New Love Bug Boasts Heart-Shaped Leg Joints
    A new beetle species found in a rainforest in Belize boasts a prominent heart-shaped leg joint and appears to have only one thing on their mind: Mating. Max Barclay of the Natural History Museum discovered these beetles, belonging to the genus Ivierhipidius, after spotting two odd-looking winged male specimens among thousands collected on a trip to Central America. The unique bugs possess a heart-shaped trochanter, which is the part of the upper leg that connects it to the abdomen and has not been witnessed in any other type of beetle. Humans also have a body part called the "greater trochanter," but it is not as intricately shaped. However, researchers are unsure what exactly the heart-shaped joint is used for. Ivierhipidius is now known to contain at least four species from across Central and South America. I. paradoxus, the species found in Belize, inhabits lowland rainforests.

    Congratulations to rising track star, Amir James, a child of Belizean parentage
    Congrats to our Demon Amir James on winning the Southland Conference Championship in the 60 and 200 meters! Was really close to breaking the conference indoor record in the 200. Also big congrats to Micah Larkins with two top 5 finishes in the 60 and 200.

    Videos

  • Remarks at the Opening of the 27th CARICOM Intersessional, 16min. Incoming Chair of CARICOM, Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize's Remarks at the Opening of the 27th CARICOM Intersessional in Placencia Belize

  • 27th CARICOM Intersessional Meeting, 5min.

  • The Beautiful West Side of Ambergris Caye, Belize from the water and the air 2015, 5min. See the pristine, undeveloped beauty of the West side of Ambergris Caye, Belize. Private, white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Shot in stunning HD video with true 4K HD drone footage.

  • Birds Eye View of Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, 3min. Amazing drone footage of the Boca Del Rio area on Ambergris Caye. "The Cut" divides the North from the South end of the island and is at the Northern edge of San Pedro Town. Amazing 4k video footage of the sandy white beaches and crystal blue Caribbean water surrounding " the worlds best island".

  • Belize River Valley Expo 2016, 19min.

  • Snorkeling in Belize, 2min.

  • Atolls of Belize, 3.5min.

  • Youth Ambassadors selected to go to the USA, 1min. Today we had the opportunity to meet with the Youth Ambassadors selected to go on an exchange program in the U.S. These youth represent some of the best and brightest young people in Belize. They come from Belize City, Stann Creek, Cayo, and Caye Caulker. We are very proud of them!!! Check out the video from two of the youth sharing a poem about Belize they will share with the other youth ambassador program participants from other countries and the U.S.

  • WIZ FEBRUARY 15, 2016, 6min.

  • Tying Ragheads, 10min. Short video on variation of Raghead Crabs we have used in the Bahamas, Florida, Cuba, Mexico, and Belize.

  • Simple vacation in Belize 2016! Music by The Orchard Music Jerry Jeff Walker, 14min. Wakacje w Belize 2016.

  • Sea turtle attack - Placencia, Belize, 1min. My wife and I went on a little snorkeling trip in Belize. The guides said "don't touch the sea turtles." She took that to mean even when one is about to bite the mask right off your face! No sea-life or people we're harmed in this clip.

  • Mexico Rocks Ambergris Caye Belize, min. Mr. Eaton doing a dive at Mexico Rocks.

  • Son Brother & father=in-law Zip lining in Belize honduras, 21min.

  • History Tour - Belize Sugar Industry 18th Century, 2min. The cultivation of sugar cane was introduced to Belize by the Maya and Mestizo refugees who fled from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula as a result of the 1848 Guerra de Las Castas. During and after the American Civil War (1861-1865), Americans living in the Southern United States migrated to Belize. These immigrants settled initially in the Cowpen area of the Toledo District then migrated to different areas, primarily in southern Belize investing large amounts of capital in sugar estates. During the 18th century and early 19th century numerous small sugar mills were established throughout southern Belize. Two steam powered mills owned by the Serpon and Regalia Sugar Estates were established in 1863 marking the arrival of the industrial era to Belize. By the turn of the century sugar production was found to be more profitable in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts, and the Serpon and Regalia mills were eventually abandoned 1910.

  • Caracol Mayan Ruins Tour - San Ignacio Belize, 2min. Caracol Mayan Ruins Tour is unlike any other site in Belize. Because it’s so secluded, there’s more wildlife that calls it home–like the ocellated turkey, the keel-billed toucan, and the legendary mot-mot. And like the famous buried city of Cumae in Italy, most of the city still lies sleeping underground. But even the small fraction of buildings exposed to the air offer testament to the city’s majesty. In addition to these extraordinary ruins, PACZ offers two stops on the way there or back: first, the breathtaking Rio Frio cave, with its eerie subterranean beach and ceilings high enough to fit a cathedral. You can try capturing it all in one camera shot, but no one’s ever succeeded!

  • Grace and You Cooking Show - Grace Kennedy Belize SEP 25th 2015, 24min.

  • Hamanasi Hopkins Belize Southern Barrier Reef Jasons' Wall Dive 1 Feb 2016, 26min. A 1 Feb 2016 dive of the South Barrier Reef Jasons' Wall off Belize, Hopkins Divers from Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort took us out.

    February 16, 2016


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    Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    For the Love of Lobster!
    While many only observe February 14th as the day of love, here in Belize it also marks the closing of the Lobster Season. That’s right, the ability to fish for or indulge in this delectable crustacean closes after Valentine’s Day. The Spiny Lobster is sought out across Belize as one of the top sea-food platters, but in order to ensure generations to come can still enjoy this marine critter, the Belize Government, through the Fisheries Department implements a fishing season to allow our tasty lobsters to re-populate. The Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) open season runs from midnight of June 14th to midnight of February 14th. After the season closes, any person found in possession of lobsters will be prosecuted in accordance with 3(1)(b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2000-2003. During this time, all lobster traps need to be removed from the water, and restaurants need to deplete their lobster inventory within a two week grace period. The four month closed season is prime spawning and breeding time for the Spiny Lobster. After hatching it takes up to three years for a lobster to reach full maturity. In Belize it is also illegal to catch berried lobster (with eggs) or undersized lobsters (if they are under 3.5 inches in the carapace length they are still considered juvenile) throughout the year. Penalties for breaking a lobster related law can result in a six month imprisonment or up to a $1,000 in fines.

    CARICOM Heads to tackle key development issues at Belize Meeting
    Advancing the regional response to the Zika threat will be among matters engaging CARICOM Heads of Government at their 27th Inter-Sessional meeting in Placencia, Belize, 16-17 February. The Heads are also expected to focus on measures to position the Region to benefit from the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change, including access to climate finance. The Belize meeting comes a fortnight after the World Health Organisation declared Zika as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. The suspected Zika link to cases of microcephaly in parts of Latin America, with babies born with underdeveloped brains, has also heightened public concern about the virus. At least five CARICOM Member States have diagnosed cases of the Zika virus. The Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which has been providing testing and prevention and control guidance to Member States, is expected to help the Meeting determine the future actions in the Zik-V fight.

    BA 1 project participants finally receive their grants
    On Friday, February 5th, 34 women from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye finally received their long awaited grants to start or expand their businesses. After graduating in May of 2015 from a three week- training seminar designed for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, the participants were to receive a monetary assistance in order to be more self-sufficient and independent. That assistance did not happen instantly as promised, which led to the belief by many of the participants that it would never materialize. After several inquiries from the participants, pleas through the media and couple of meetings, the women have finally received their grants. Now the town can look forward to a variety of new business ventures to begin. The official ceremony for the handover of funds took place shortly after 12:30PM at the SunBreeze Hotel conference room. Participants were treated to a reception while members of the Belize Training and Employment Centre, the International Organization for Migration and the Small Business Development Centre of Belize, briefed them on what they are expected to do with their business plans with the help of the funds. The participants received between $3,000 and $4,000 to assist them in starting their new businesses.

    Decline in oil prices drastically affect PetroCaribe funds
    With oil prices declining, the Venezuelan Government is preparing for an economic setback and possible humanitarian crisis. But this will not only affect Venezuela, as the decline in oil prices is having a global effect. Among those who continue to be affected either directly or indirectly by the decline of oil prices is Belize, who has being receiving substantial funds from the PetroCaribe Loan agreement with Venezuela. But with Venezuela’s economy failing, Belize is already feeling the challenges as currently, only $15BZ million remain from the PetroCaribe funds. In Prime Minister of Belize’s, Dean Barrow’s New Year’s address he indicated “with the dizzying fall in oil prices, we expect to get much less from these Venezuela loan funds than we did in 2015. And already 2015’s intake was only half of 2014.” The PetroCaribe loan agreement sees money being received under an arrangement which allows the Government of Belize (GOB) to defer half of the payments for fuel imported from Venezuela under a 25-year financing agreement and instead keep the portion of revenues from local fuel sales to finance its programs. The other half of the monies received have to be paid within 90 days. Throughout 2015, GOB was receiving up to $2US million monthly from PetroCaribe funds, but in the past months, that amount has substantially dropped to under $1US million.

    Kent Gabourel wins Weekend Warriors’ race against the clock
    Kent “Bob” Gabourel of the Kulture Megabytes team won “race against the clock” with the best time of 25 minutes 45 seconds, when the Weekend Warriors Cycling Club held individual time trials over an 11.5-mile course on the Burrell Boom bypass road from the Data Pro junction with the Philip Goldson Highway to the Hattieville Cemetery on Sunday morning, February 7th. Gabourel won the A category, in which Daniel Cano and Warren Coye of the Santino’s team ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively, clocking 25:52 and 26:55. Robert Mariano of the DigiCell 4G team was 4th in 27:09; Isaiah Willacey of the F.T.Williams team was 5th in 27:15; and Fitzgerald “Palas” Joseph was 6th in 27:18. Clarence Tesecum of the F.T. Williams team won the B category in 28:49; Ryan Willoughby of the SMART Zoom team was 2nd in 30:03; and John Burns of the DigCell 4G team was 3rd in 30:05. Santino “Chief” Castillo and Francis Cassasola of the Santino’s team were 4th and 5th respectively in 30:22 and 30:32; and Albert Conorquie of the Sugar City United team was 6th in 30:39.

    CARICOM Reform
    As the integration movement deepens, numerous demands are being placed on key Regional institutions, and the CARICOM Secretariat, the Community’s administrative body headquartered in Georgetown, Guyana. In an effort to address this situation and further accelerate the implementation of decisions, Heads of Government agreed that the structure and functioning of Community institutions needed to be In July 2010, the Heads of Government commissioned a consultancy to produce a report restructuring of the Secretariat. The independent consultancy was supervised by a Project Management Team comprising representatives of Member States. At their Inter-sessional Meeting in March 2012, Heads of Government received the Landell Mills Report on the Restructuring of the CARICOM Secretariat.

    Secretary General’s Visit to Leo Bradley Library
    he Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat Ambassador Irwin LaRocque visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 to officially unveil software, donated by the CARICOM Secretariat, for the visually-impaired. In 2015, the CARICOM Secretariat donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize National Library Service that would be available to the public. The Library located on Princess Margret Drive in Belize City was identified as the ideal location because of its proximity to several high schools, university and technical vocational institutions. It is also near to the Stella Maris School which caters to students with special needs.

    2015-2016 Lobster Season comes to a close
    Lobster season officially comes to a close on Monday, February 15th, and the Belize Fisheries Department has reported a stable 2015-2016 season. The Belize Fisheries Department informs all fishermen and the general public that the once the Spiny Lobster (Palinuridae) fishing season is closed, any person found in possession of lobsters during the said closed season will be prosecuted. The season will remain closed until midnight on Tuesday, June 14th.

    Ambergris Today

    American Student Dies on Field Trip in Belize
    Authorities in Belize are investigating the death of teenage student from North Cobb High School, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA, who died while on a fieled trip to the country on Saturday, February 13, 2016. While details of the teen’s death is still unclear, a US district official in Cobb County confirmed that 16-year-old Tomari Jackson died after disappearing while the group of students and chaperons were swimming in shallow waters near a riverbank in the Tiger Sandy Bay area of Hattieville, Belize District. The body was discovered and retrieved by the Belize Coast Guard who was called to the scene. Ambergris Today, along with the country of Belize, expresses its sincere condolences to the Jackson family.

    China’s Health Agreement with Belize to Boost Services
    An agreement on cooperation in public health and medical skills was signed on February 10, 2016, between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The objective of the agreement is to access technical support from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the area of public health and will include, but will not be limited to, health education, disease screening and clinical services. Another major aspect of this joint collaboration will be the capacity building of medical personnel in Belize.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    CARICOM Youth Ambassadors
    CARICOM Youth Ambassadors in Belize preparing the venue for Monday night's Opening Session of the CARICOM Heads of Government 27th Inter-sessional meeting.

    Passing of Mr. Santos Elijio
    Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Elijio family & friends on the passing of Mr. Santos Elijio on February 8, 2016. May his soul rest in peace. Mr. Santos Elijio was father to former councilor, Joseph Elijio. He was also a former employee of the San Pedro Town Council.

    Kudos to the The Phoenix for their efforts in keeping San Pedro clean
    The Phoenix organizes a beach clean up every Saturday at 8 a.m. with the help of volunteers. Check out their facebook page The Phoenix for updates on their next clean up! Thank you The Phoenix!

    4th Anniversary Corozal House of Culture (NICH)
    You are kindly invited to celebrate our 4th anniversary as we honour our historical landmark; Corozal Town's Public Market built in 1886.

    Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL) is seeking the services of a “Graphic Designer” in its Marketing Division
    Looking for that AMAZINGLY creative marketing talent who can design and execute cutting edge print and video ads, as well as shape winning marketing campaigns. Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL) is seeking the services of a “Graphic Designer” in its Marketing Division with duty station in Belize City. The Graphic Designer in BTL’s Creative Support Unit team is responsible for creative development and input into BTL’s internal and external advertising campaigns, and for the production of high quality print & video content across the full range of BTL and DigiCell product lines. The Graphic Designer will also be required to constantly be aware of print/video/audio advertising and marketing trends and how to employ these trends in order to ensure design solutions that have high consumer impact. Applicants must possess the following: Associates degree in Marketing, Graphic Design or related field. Knowledge of layout, design and editing of print and video content.

    Mr Greedy's Pizzeria is up for sale
    Mr Greedy's Pizzeria is up for sale. Mr. Greedy's is a well established family owned business of 11 years. Mr Greedy;s has a country wide following. With the new location it has more potential than every before. With four times the space and plenty of parking. Great new interior decor. Contact Mary K Cariddi only serious inquires please.

    Largest Resort Spa on Ambergris Caye Set to Open
    Known for its stunning beachfront location, personal service and luxurious accommodations, award winning Victoria House on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize, plans to open the doors to its full service spa and fitness facility in May, 2016. “We’re delighted with the result – everything has come together better than we could have hoped for, and we can’t wait to share the new spa with our guests,” says Brent Kirkman, General Manager of Victoria House. “This is something our guests have been looking for, waiting for, and anticipating and we’re so proud that it’s finally here.” The spa, fitness and wellness facility, at 3,500 sq. ft., will be the largest of its kind on Ambergris Caye. Styled in a Caribbean plantation/colonial theme, the new building of white stucco and chocolate brown shutters, is set in a tropical garden with coconut palms, Flamboyants and Bougainvilleas creating a serene and therapeutic atmosphere. “Part of Victoria House’s appeal is our magnificent beachfront location on Ambergris Caye, and our grounds are truly a work of art,” says Janet Woollam, Managing Director of Victoria House. “We want to bring that beauty, sense of space, peace and serenity to the new spa and we were able to do that.”

    Meet a Belizean tour guide who can navigate by the stars
    Kimike Smith can navigate his boat by the stars and tell you the name of every sea creature along the reef. He’s a guide here with Island Expeditions. How did you come to work at Island Expeditions? Everyone in Belize knows about Island Expeditions. They have been here since 1987 and provide good jobs to a lot of Belizeans. We know the ocean and the jungle unlike any foreigner and they respect our knowledge. They are also the best tour company in the country — the most professional and protective of our wildlife. I started working with them 12 years ago, and they saved my life. How did they save your life? I was young, my parents were no longer in my life and I was living in a friend’s basement. I was getting into some trouble. A friend’s mother told me about IE and the type of jobs they offered. I knew the ocean, and I liked working with people, so I thought, “Yeah, I’m gonna be a guide.” I was cocky. Because I didn’t have my tour guide licence, they only let me work maintenance. I quit once. I was frustrated that they wouldn’t let me guide just on my knowledge, but they have a high standard for their guides, and I couldn’t be one until I met those standards. Finally, once I got my ego in check, they helped me go to guiding school where I aced it. Of course. If they hadn’t supported me and believed in me, I don’t know where I would be now … I have the best job in the world.

    Government of Japan gives grant to “The project for the Improvement of the Sea Island Cotton Industry”
    The Government of Japan is once again aiding Belize in another project. The Government of Japan is granting a total of $102,029.00 USD to the Cotton Industry in Belize. This contribution was made under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security projects of the Government of Japan. This project was initiated by cotton farmers in Belize and is represented by Mr. Kensuke Inoue. Seeing as agricultural is one of Belize’s main strength, the development of this industry provides job and stability in such field. The Embassy of Japan wishes success of this project because the Sea Island Cotton is one of the most potential products to strengthen the relationship between Belize and Japan. Belize produces some of the best cotton in the world.

    Milpa incursions in the Chiquibul
    Honourable Minister Omar Figueroa and CEO Dr. Colin Young flew today over the Chiquibul to see first-hand the milpa incursions occurring on the western flank of the park.

    Become a History Detective and win!
    Treasure hunt in downtown Belize City. Weekly clues.

    CALLING ALL WOMEN ENTREPRENUERS IN BELIZE!!!
    DEADLINE - February 18, 2016 (THIS THURSDAY!!!) This year the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) will bein Silicon Valley, California! Last year two Belizean entreprenuers were able to participate in the GES in Kenya and we hope that other women entreprenuers from Belize will take advantage of this opportunity in 2016. Unleashing the economic potential of women is a powerful tool to drive economic growth and prosperity. Women entrepreneurs are integral to stable and thriving formal economies, which is why we are developing content with the needs of women entrepreneurs in mind. Click on the link below and follow the insturctions to submit your application. Good luck!!

    Channel 7

    CARICOM Comes To Belize
    CARICOM Heads of Government are meeting in Placencia tonight for the Twenty-Seventh Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government. The meeting is being held in Belize as Prime Minister Dean Barrow takes over the Chairmanship of CARICOM from The Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart. The opening ceremony was scheduled to start at 6:00 at the Placencia Hotel but up to news time, it hadn't started yet. The Heads of Government meeting reportedly has the attendance of all 15 CARICOM heads of government, and a total of 125 delegates. The event got off to a running start this morning when Finance Ministers met to discuss the de-risking by US Banks that is affecting the entire region's commercial banking sector. Gaston Browne who is Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister and Minister of Finance chaired the meeting, which included the Committee of Central Bank Governors, the Caribbean Association of Banks and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. The recommendations from this morning's meeting will go before the Heads during their deliberations on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    Teenaged Tourist Drowns In Sibun
    On Saturday, a 14 year old American tourist drowned in the Belize District. Tomari Jackson was in a group of 33 American Students between 14 and 15 year old, along with their chaperones from the North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. They came to Belize and were on the first day of their school trip, which took them to Monkey Bay resort. While on the trail the group along with local guides stopped by an area known as Tiger Sandy Bay a few miles off mile 31 on the George Price Highway to take a swim in the Sibun river. They left the area after 5:00 in the evening, but when they made headcount, the chaperones realized that one of the students was missing. Inspector Juanito Cocom from the Rural Eastern Division told us more: Inspector Juanito Cocom - Deputy Commander, Eastern Rural: "Based on the information received of a missing person in Tiger Sand Bay area, which is about 6 miles off the Mile 31 on the George Price Highway. Police visited Monkey Bay resort where one Mr. Matt Miller, 59 year old American businessman reported that on the same date around 3pm, a group of around 32 Americans students ages 14 and 15 accompanied by 6 American chaperons visit the resort and went swimming. Around 5:15pm, the group left the swimming area and border a bus back to the resort. A head count was conducted on board the bus when it was then discovered that one of the students namely Tomari Elija Jackson, 14 years who unfortunately would have been 15 today - a student of Atlanta Georgia USA was missing."

    Report: Luis Alcoser Re-Emerges
    On January 6th, we told you about Luis Alcoser, the resident of Caledonia village whose vehicle was found shot up on the side of the road. He was missing and his family feared the worst. Well, tonight we can tell you that he has re-emerged alive and is presently in the custody of Corozal police. Police aren't talking right now, so we don't know the circumstances of his re-appearance. His father told us he has heard the same and sent his other son to check. He told us if his son is indeed alive, it will be a joyful day for his family. We'll keep following the story and hope to have more on this tomorrow.

    CARICOM: Correspondent Banking A Priority
    Right Now, the collective technical might of the Government of Belize is all down on the Placencia Peninsula for the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). As we told you earlier, Belize took over the interim chairmanship of CARICOM, and right now, Prime Minister Dean Barrow is heading all sessions. He's currently the keynote speaker in the opening ceremony which should start sometime tonight at the Placencia Hotel. Our news team is there for that ceremony, and we'll have highlights of tonight's event for you in tomorrow's newscast. But, just before the ceremony started, our Daniel Ortiz spoke with Elsworth John, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Ambassador to CARICOM, who also serves as Head of the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit. He told us that the CARICOM Finance Ministers hit the ground running with the itinerary delve right into the issue of de-risking, which all the CARICOM nations face since the tier 1 American Banks are terminating the corresponding banking relationships with banking institutions all across the Caribbean. Here's that interview with the Ambassador:

    Five Teenagers Shot In 30 Hours In city
    Five people were shot this weekend in Belize City - all of them teenagers - and, luckily, none of them were seriously injured. The gun violence started on Friday night at 7:00 on Allan Pitts Crescent in the Port Loyola area where 19-year-old Raheem Bailey was shot to his chest and to both legs. Police say that Bailey was at home with a friend, when a man known to him rode up on a bicycle and came to a stop twenty feet away where he pulled out a firearm, and fired several shots at them - but only Bailey got hit. Bailey was rushed to the KHMH where he is in a stable condition. Police have one man detained. And then one hour later, at 8:00, in the same Port Loyola area on Boots Crescent, police responded to gunfire and found a 17-year-old male lying on the right side of the street at the corner with Rivero Street Extension. He had been shot to his upper back by a 23 year old who came up from behind. He was rushed to the KHMH where he is also in stable condition. Police have since arrested and charged 23-year-old Joseph Lopez with "Attempted Murder, Dangerous Harm and Use of Deadly Means of Harm".

    Gunman Sprayed Fire On Club Going Crowd Heading Home
    And then, 3 more teenagers were shot on Newtown Barracks this weekend. Early Saturday morning at around 3:45, a crowd was leaving the nightclub at Princess, and a shooter sprayed gunfire on a crowd headed towards BTL park. The target was 19 year old Wilbert Welch. He was hit to his left shoulder and two others who had the bad luck of walking behind Welch at the time, 19 year old Devon Gillett and 19 year old Chelsea Young were also hit - Gillet to the neck and left shoulder, and Young to the hand. Police have detained 3 persons. Police believe the shooting was related to Friday night's shootings involving the Southside gang and an ongoing rivalry with a crew from Jane Usher Boulevard.

    Cannabis By Cargo
    The San Pedro police strike team used intelligence to make a weed bust. On Sunday, they waited outside the town's airstrip for 21 year old Romario Mai to pick up a package. He was riding away from Maya Island Air's cargo section, when police stopped him and searched his knapsack. Inside they found 341 grams, or 12 ounces of weed stuffed into a corn flakes box. The package came from Belize City and Mai was only picking it up for a known dealer on the island. Still, Mai was charged with drug trafficking. The dealer - whose name was on the box - was questioned and released. Police say they are keeping a close eye on the cargo services which they believe are a transit point for drugs entering the island.

    Baby Nina: Friday's Scene At Court
    On Friday we told you about the late evening court decision to send 2 year old baby Nina back to Guatemala in the custody of her father, Ernesto Barrera. According to the mother, Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez, back in October last year, she ran away from Guatemala with her child allegedly escaping abuse. She entered Belize and found refuge with her family in Orange Walk. But her freedom and that of her daughter's was short lived. In November last year, social workers swooped in and removed baby Nina from her custody. This led to an international custody battle that culminated on Friday. As we told you the session took all day and the decision was not made until after 6:30. With the tight time constraints we could not bring you a full report - which we have for you tonight: A platoon of officers lined the entrance of Bishop Street on Friday. They had barricaded the road from about 8 in the morning AT the other end of the street there was also a strong presence of uniformed police officers. At the entrance of the family court everyone was searched, men and women alike. Police had gotten a hint the day before that their might be a protest in support of Baby Nina Staying in Belize with her mother.

    Peering Inside El Pilar
    The El Pilar Archeological Site: it's situated about 11 miles outside of San Ignacio - right on the Belize Guatemala border line. Now, we have reported extensively on the problems this particular location presents - the main threat being Guatemalan bandits. Tour Guides and tourists have even expressed fear in visiting El Pilar. But Researcher Dr. Anabel Ford says there is so much more to El Pilar; beyond these geographical pressures, and her new book "The Maya Forest Garden" highlights this beautiful and elaborate world beneath the canopy. Today that book was launched at the Image Factory. We spoke with one of the Master Gardeners, 75 year old Alfonso Tzul as well as Dr. Ford - they told us this book traces the deep connection between humans and nature. Alfonso Tzul, Master Forest Gardener: "I've been practicing agriculture. I've been using the land, the forest, and the animals in such a way that it contributes, not only to me, but to the animals, to the land and to the forest as well. So Anabel came to me one day by accident and we got to know one another and she asked me why I do all those things and that is where the concept came about that you cannot live without the land. The land will remain, but you will go, the trees will go, but the land will stay. So you have to treat it carefully. That was the secret of the Mayas even from ancient days. That was how she began to collect information for this book that I have in my hand. So this book is an account of how the Mayas live many years ago - thousands of year ago and how they still continue to live like that today on their plot of land. One of the big issues in Belize is that lots of us tend to look at the land as a curse. The land should not be looked as a curse, but as a blessing. Something that can make` great improvements in your life. Case in point: the farmer may not have a lot of money, but he will always have something to eat."

    John Yapp, Searching For Closure At The Scene Of The Crime (Against His Reputation)
    Former British High Commissioner John Yapp left Belize in shame and scandal in June and 2008, when a complaint was made about his conduct - it alleged that he had touched the backside of a female senior counsel at a cocktail. The former Deputy High Commissioner David Spires reported this to the British Foreign Office - and said the complaint came from former foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay. Courtney denied making any such complaint to Spires. A fact finding mission sent by the British Government said that Courtney had made the complaint in confidence - and it led to disciplinary action against Yapp - who eventually lost his job - and ran into health difficulties. In short, the entire ordeal ruined Yapp personally and professionally - so much so that even after being cleared of any wrongdoing whatsoever by the two highest British courts - he still had lost his career. Now he's back in Belize visiting old friends and looking for closure. He told Jules Vasquez as much on Friday:... John Yapp, Former British High Commissioner to Belize: "You know I feel genuinely robbed of the great time that I felt confident of having here, both in professional and personal terms, but it was not to be. The disappointments I think which I still suffer from some of the effect, including you know the price I had to pay in terms of my health, are things which are essentially now focused in the UK rather than in Belize. But I wanted to come here perhaps one last time to say goodbye to, you know, many of my friends and, you know, incredibly loyal supporters who have sustained me over the last eight years."

    Digicell Valentine's Tour Ends
    We're used to one day cycling races, which are many times known as "classics." Those are staples on the Belize sporting calendar - especially the biggest classic of them all, the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. But, in the wider global cycling community, stage races are what dominates the sport. And Belize's first tour in a while was held over the last four days. It started on February tenth and finished yesterday - with Mexican rider, Yapur in the lead, and Joel Borland trialing by just nine seconds. Would Borland be able to make it up on the western Highway? Our team was on the road:.. Stage 5 - fifth and final stage - of the Digicel Valentine Tour 2016 - San Ignacio to the Benque border to Belize City - a total of 90 miles. Mexican Juan Manuel Yapur is the overall race leader - as they pulled off at 9:00 am all 48 remaining cyclists wanted to prove that they could win a stage. As we head towards the Western border, we can see that this will be no walk in the park - heading into a north wind. Giovanni Lovell attacks the peloton early - and the peloton responds in kind.

    Maim Victim Francis Gill's Civil Solution
    Imagine going to Li Chee to buy a late night fried chicken and to end up losing your leg right at the chicken joint because of some hard talk. That's what happened to Belize City resident Francis Gill: he lost right leg from the knee down after he was run over by 35 year-old Devon Jones in September of 2014. As we had reported, Gill and Jones had some words, and Jones jumped into his Chevy Trail Blazer and people thought that was the end of disagreement. But, without any warning, Jones lurched unto the sidewalk towards Gill, and slammed him into the wall and pinned his leg there. He had to be rushed to the KHMH, and a few days later, the doctors had no choice but to amputate Gill's leg from the knee down in order to save his life. Jones has since been awaiting trial on the criminal charges of maim and aggravated assault. But, although he has yet to his day in the Supreme Court, Gill didn't wait around for a criminal court to establish guilt against Jones. He took out civil lawsuit against Jones, and on Friday won a judgment in default against Jones, who did not put up a defense.

    Exquisite Cotton Produced in Belize
    The Government of Japan is giving a very generous grant to the Belize Cotton Industry. The grant in excess of 102 thousand US dollars was handed to the Government of Belize for the project named the Improvement of the Sea Island Cotton Industry. Sea Island Cotton is said to possess fine, almost legendary qualities that are sought after worldwide. But, this strain of cotton is very sensitive and vulnerable to pests, and requires very specific environmental and climate conditions - which is why production has declined all across the Caribbean. Now, through engineering, the Japanese have been able to produce quality cotton with more durable plants. And so, Belize is now considered to produce the best cotton in the world. Last year six farming families participated in the Sea Island cotton cultivation project. This year, the Japanese say they have over 40, and are expecting to produce 100,000 pounds of cotton. So far, according to a release from the Japanese, 28,000 pounds have been produced. They handed over two tractors to help the project.

    Channel 5

    CARICOM Ministers of Finance Meet to Discuss Correspondent Bank Crisis
    The opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Intercessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM is about to start in Placencia at the Placencia Hotel. Late arrivals by [...]

    CARICOM Will Send Delegates to Washington to Explore Options
    While Ysaguirre refrained from divulging specific outcomes from the meeting, respective heads of government will be briefed of a collective position that will be taken in the days ahead.  The [...]

    Is a Regional Correspondent Bank the Answer to Crisis?
    During today’s finance meeting, the committee discussed a number of options, including the possibility of establishing a regional correspondent bank by pooling together resources.  While that idea may serve as [...]

    American Student Drowns in the Sibun River
    In the west, tragedy struck a visiting group of students. A fourteen year old North Cobb High School in Atlanta, Georgia was among thirty-two students who arrived in Belize on [...]

    Will There Be Negative Implications for Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary?
    Now the death of Tomari adds to the number of visitors who have lost their lives during aquatic tours throughout Belize. But it is the first to happen in the [...]

    Bandits Steal Cop’s Ride…Vehicle Found in Guatemala
    There was a bold and brazen car-jacking in Benque over the weekend. For one thing it happened in broad daylight in a populated area. For another, the vehicle was in [...]

    Guatemalan National Slashed in Salvapan
    A Guatemalan national is currently hospitalized at the K.H.M.H. after he was chopped to his head, right thumb and knees. His index finger was amputated in an incident on Sunday [...]

    Brackett Charged for Attempted Murder
    There was no love on Belize City streets this Valentine’s weekend as five persons were shot in three separate incidents. The first happened on Friday night just before seven, when [...]

    Minor Shot at Boots Crescent
    Just about an hour after that, police were called out to Boots Crescent by St. John Vianney Primary School where a minor was seen lying on the street in a [...]

    3 Persons Shot on Valentine’s Day
    And then, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day, three persons were shot near the Renaissance Towers on Newtown Barracks. Just before 4:00am, nineteen year old Wilbert Welch was walking [...]

    Body of San Pedro Resident Found in Benque Creek
    A laborer from San Pedro is dead, allegedly as a result of too much alcohol leading to a long drop into a shallow creek. The body of Fernando Melendez was [...]

    The Opening of CARICOM’s 27th Intercessional Meeting
    The opening of the CARICOM Intercessional started a few minutes ago at the Placencia Hotel. In the next two days, the heads of government of Caribbean states will be meeting [...]

    Plus Television’s On-Air License Will Be Renewed
    On February fourth, Managing Director of Plus Television Louis Wade was informed by the Belize Broadcasting Authority that his payment for the renewal of his on-air license would not be [...]

    Mayan Gardening Publication Launched By Renowned Archeologist
    Doctor Anabel Ford is an archeologist, who having discovered El Pilar in the west, has put in at least two decades of research arguing that the Maya’s milpa cycle is [...]

    Woman Arraigned for Stealing Doctor’s Purse
    Tonight, the mother of a new born is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after she was accused of stealing a wallet containing cash and personal items from a [...]

    Basketball, Football and Cycling on Sports Monday
    Good evening, I’m James Adderley and this is Sports Monday.   The drums of Dangriga sounded the challenge as Dangriga Warriors invaded Belize City to take on the leading Belize [...]

    CTV3

    Heads Of CARICOM Meets In Placencia
    Belize will be hosting heads of CARICOM in the 27th inter-sessional meeting to be held in Placencia on the 16 and 17 of February. The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Dean Borrow and it is expected that the Heads of Government that will be attending the meeting will discuss several pressing issues that are currently affecting the region. As we speak the opening session of the meeting is taking place. One important issue that will be discussed at the meeting is the advancement in the regional response to the Zika Virus considering that just two weeks ago the World Health organization (WHO) declared ZIKA as a public health emergency of international concern and the fact that at least five CARICOM member states have diagnosed cases of ZIKA virus. The Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is also expected to be present at the meeting to provide assistance in determining future actions in the ZIKA Virus fight, seeing that they are the leading organization that has been providing testing, prevention and control guidance to members of CARICOM member states.

    Banking Sector Make Topic Of Discussion During CARICOM 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting
    And keeping with the topic of the inter-sessional CARICOM meeting that will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday between the heads of Government, a committee of Finance Ministers established by the heads of Government met this morning to discuss a regional response to the threat to the banking sector in CARICOM member states. The topic of the correspondent banking relationships and the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by mainly the Regional indigenous banks is an issue that is affecting several CARICOM member states and has become an important topic to be discussed in the inter-sessional CARICOM meeting set to take place later in the week. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signaled to client banks in the Region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business, an action referred to as ‘de-risking’ which threatens to impact several important services including remittance transfers.

    Night Of Dancing Turns Into Robbery
    On Sunday at around 5:30 in the morning, thirty one year old Davir Moguel, Belizean sales manager of San Lazaro Village in the Orange Walk District reported to authorities that he was socializing at a popular night club in Orange Walk with a companion when he was robbed. According to Moguel, while at the club he went to use the restroom and was followed by three male persons who took away his chain link gold necklace with a cross pendant and his bracelet valued at $3,500.00 and $1,350.00 respectively. Moguel told police that the men also robbed him US$525.00 which he had zip lock plastic bag located in his right front pant pocket. Police are investigating.

    Traffic Accidents Victim Taken To KHMH
    On Friday’s newscast we reported on a traffic accident involving an individual on a motorcycle and a truck. The accident occurred around 5 o’clock on Friday evening on the Philip Goldson highway near the popular grocery store Aaron’s supermarket.The driver of the motor cycle was identified as 34 year old, Joel Tamai a resident of Nuevo San Juan who was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital suffering from a fracture to his right femur and abrasions to both side of his face. Tamai was later transported to the KHMH for further treatment. The truck was being driven at the time of the accident by 42 year old Oligario Castillo. No one has been charged in relation to this accident and police are still conducting investigations.

    San Pedrano Investigated For Drug Trafficking
    A 21 year old man is in police custody at the San Pedro Police station pending charges after he was caught in possession of 340.9 grams of cannabis. On Sunday February, 14 2016 at around 4:45 in the afternoon while conducting foot patrol the San Pedro Strike team intercepted 21- year old Romario Mai of San Mateo area, San Pedro Town riding a bicycle in the airstrip area, near Maya Island Air Cargo. Upon searching a black and grey school bag being carried by the individual police found a black plastic bag containing three other black plastic bags all containing Cannabis. The bags were weighed separately, which amounted to 109.4, 115.7 and 115.8 grams totaling 340.9 grams. He was then escorted to the San Pedro Police Station pending charges.

    Assistant Superintendent Robbed Of Vehicle
    On Sunday February 14th at around 1:30 pm, Officer Commanding the Orange Walk Police Formation, Assistant Superintendent Selvin Tillett while on a trip to Benque Viejo Del Carmen was robbed of his white 2014 Mazda Pick-up truck. Tillett reported that on Sunday he and his son-in-law were in the vehicle parked in front of his house located on Humble Street at Lomas Del Rodeo Benque Viejo Town when he saw 2 Hispanic male persons in their late 20's or 30's walking on the street. Tillett stated that when he opened the driver side door, he saw one of the men pointing a black handgun at him and asked for the truck. According to Tillett, the two male persons then got in the vehicle and drove off, heading towards the direction of Arenal Village, he followed the stolen vehicle as far as Arenal Village but it had already went into Guatemalan territory.

    Altercation Between Brothers Leads To One Injured
    At about 6:50 on Saturday evening Orange Walk Police visited the Northern Regional Hospital where they observed Belizean laborer of Guinea Grass Village, Alejo Camara, with cut wounds to the left eye. Camara apparently sustained the injuries during an altercation with his brother, Faustino Camara. Reports are that during an argument between the siblings, Faustino picked up a stick and flogged Alejo on his left eye causing the injuries. Alejo was later transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital to seek proper medical attention as he has now lost the sight of his left eye.

    PlusTV

    Santender withdraws request for SSB loan
    The Chief Financial Officer of the Santander Sugar Group, Andres Ay-au, today addressed a press conference in Belize City in which he announced that the group has formally withdrawn its request for a $12 million loan from the Social Security Board (SSB).The Group, based in Guatemala but featuring in...

    SANTANDER defends investment in Belize
    Beset by allegations that they are taking advantage of a weakened banking system and robbing Belizeans of more lucrative investments, the Santander Sugar Group has mounted a defense of its more than 200 million-Belize-dollar investment in sugar cane production. According to Chief Financial Officer f...

    NTUCB voted against Santender loan
    Even before the decision by Santender to withdraw their request for a loan from the Social Security Board, yesterday, President of the NTUCB Marvin Mora was already signaling in an interview with our colleagues at Channel 5 that their representatives on the Board had voted against the proposal. E...

    Fruta Bomba pulling out of Belize
    Fruita Bomba has been operating in Northern Belize for the past 22 years but on Thursday, 11th February, it announced that in 6 months time it will be closing its doors permanently. The parent Company, Brooks Tropicals, which operates both Fruita Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers is located in San Joa...

    Chamber Denounces Allegations on Rice Safety
    As we have reported, the man interested in importing Guayanese rice for sale to the Belizean public at a cost lower than local rice issued a statement earlier this week. In that statement, Jack Charles alleges that Belizean rice is unsafe due to the aflatoxin levels. Charles also supplied the media ...

    Baptist High School knocked down on Highway
    There was an accident just outside Belmopan on Friday morning at 9 am which has left a fifteen year old minor of Roaring Creek in the hospital. A grey Ford 250 pickup truck, driven at the time by Clarence Thiessen of Spanish Lookout, had just exited Guanacaste roundabout and was heading towards Beli...

    Independence Village Council employee robbed of day’s deposit
    The Independence Village Council Office was robbed today sometime after 9 a.m. Village Council employee Dillon Torres, recently hired in December 2015, reported that he was about to go to the bank to make a deposit on behalf of the Independence Village Council but realized he had forgotten the depo...

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Two men in Sandhill escape gunfire this weekend
    Ladyville police responded to a shooting incident in Sandhill Village, Belize District, on Thursday January 11 and upon arrival at the scene, officers found that fortunately, no-one was injured. Around 9:00 p.m. that day, the 19-year-old told police that he and his friend were socializing in front […]

    Guatemalan national critical after being chopped
    A Guatemalan national, Fernando Soria, 33, who is currently residing in the Salvapan area of Belmopan City, remains at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical condition after being chopped to his head, right thumb, knees and getting his right index finger amputated […]

    Teen busted with weed in Succotz
    An 18-year-old Succotz resident was arrested and charged for the offense of ‘drug trafficking’ on Saturday January 6, after being busted by Cayo Police with almost a half-pound of weed. Officers on foot patrol along the village’s riverside, around 2:30 p.m., stopped and searched Owen Jimenez who […]

    Regional Government leaders meet in Placencia tonight
    Placencia in the Stann Creek District is tonight playing host to the 27thInter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government. Among the topics on the agenda are the regional response to the Zika virus and benefits from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change including access to climate finance. […]

    Police search for missing Benque teen
    A 13-year-old Adventist Primary School student, Delmy Betancourt, was reported missing yesterday afternoon by her father, Elmer Betancourt, 48, who visited the Benque Viejo Police Station in Cayo. He told officers that on Saturday night around 10:00, he got up from bed and noticed that his daughter was […]

    Belize City Police operations yield gun and ammunition
    Two separate searches conducted by Belize City Police; one yesterday and the other on February 6, yielded a handgun and 11 live rounds of ammunition, which were all deposited as ‘found property’ since no one was seen in any of the immediate areas. On Saturday, […]

    Five hospitalized after violent weekend in Belize City
    Over the weekend in Belize City, five teenagers were shot in three separate incidents and all had to be taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) for treatment. On Friday night around 7:00, police visited the hospital and saw 19-year-old Raheem Jaheem Bailey suffering from a […]

    Mother of Baby Nina vows: “I will follow my daughter to Guatemala”
    Analiz Gutierrez must, for now, give up her child, Nina Barrera Perez, to Guatemalan authorities after the Belize Family Court on Friday determined that the baby was illegally removed last year. Gutierrez, while severely disappointed with the decision, says it is now “out of […]

    Belize: still no Zika, safe for travel
    There have been no confirmed cases of Zika in Belize, despite reported cases in surrounding Central American and Caribbean territories. As concerns grow among tourists, travel advisories have been issued about visiting a number of destinations but Belize is not included in the list […]

    Drier airflow setting in
    The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting sunny skies with cloudy spells today and partly cloudy skies tonight. A few showers will affect mainly Northern districts this morning, then become isolated this afternoon and tonight. Winds will be blowing from the East-Southeast at […]

    Blogs

    Blue Hole Reef Scenic Flight in Belize
    One of the things I wanted to do when we started researching Belize was to see the Blue Hole Reef. It’s a circular-shaped reef around a really deep sinkhole, so the water looks super dark blue inside the reef and crystal clear blue outside. The photos I saw were gorgeous! I found a snorkeling tour, but it left Caye Caulker at 6am and lasted about 12 hours or longer. That sounded like torture. For only US$10 more, there was an option to take a scenic flight over the reef. No early morning, no long day, and I’d get the aerial views of the reef, which is what I wanted more than snorkeling in it. Decision made, I signed up for the tour, and Andy opted to rent a kayak during the same time. The pilot took five of us up in a Piper Cherokee, and being by myself, I got to sit up front. This upset one of the other couples a little because the guy had a big fancy camera, and according to his girlfriend, “he really wants to take pictures.” Yes dear, we ALL want to take pictures, that’s why we’re taking the flight. Everyone got a window, and guess what? Being in the front meant I couldn’t lean over to take pictures out the other window because that would’ve gotten in the way of the pilot, and it meant the few times I could actually see above the dashboard, I got the spinning propeller in my photos.

    How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Travel Belize
    Picture this: you’ve been searching the web for your “Dream Caribbean Vacation Destination” and just so happened to stumble across the jewel known as Belize. Known for its white sand beaches, lush jungles, world-class diving, savoury cuisine and friendly people, you make up your mind that this is the place you want to visit for the New Year. The only issue, you have no idea where to begin or how to plan your trip there. Planning your “Dream Trip” may seem like a daunting task but don’t worry, the Maya Travel Team is here to help. Just to be clear, not all of them are easy and some will require sacrifices. The key is to keep moving forward and checking items off the list; before you know it, you’ll be boarding your flight to Belize. Here are 5 ways to make your Belize Travel Dreams come true this year: Pick your Destination, Pick your Date, Price the Trip, Check your Passport, See your Doctor.

    International Sourcesizz

    PM Dean Barrow chairs CARICOM Intersessional Meeting
    The Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, currently holds the Chairmanship of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is the lead Head of Government with responsibility for Justice and Governance in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet. He will host his colleague Heads of Government and their delegations at Placencia, in Belize for the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government 16-17 February, 2016. Prime Minister Barrow was born in Belize City on March 2, 1951. He was trained at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill (LL.B. 1973); Norman Manley Law School, Mona (Certificate of Legal Education, 1975); University of Miami School of Law (L.M. 1981) and the University of Miami (M.A. International Relations).

    US and Cuba to sign agreement for direct regular flights
    The signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of direct regular flights between Cuba and the United States will take place on Tuesday in Havana. According to a press statement released by the foreign ministry, Adel Yzquierdo, minister of transport, and Alfredo Cordero, president of the Institute of Civil Aeronautics of Cuba, will represent Cuba on the ceremony, while Anthony Foxx, transportation secretary, and Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin, deputy secretary for economic and business affairs of the State Department, will do so for the United States. As announced earlier, negotiators of the two countries reached an understanding on this issue and, after the corresponding steps, the final document will be signed on Tuesday.

    Snorkeling and Diving in Belize
    Snorkelers and divers visit Belize to explore its spectacular reef. The 185-mile-long barrier reef ranks as the longest chain of coral in the Americas and the second longest in the world (Australia’s reef is the longest). The colorful underwater gardens—70 types of hard coral alone—as well as the caves and walls harbor more than 400 species of fish. To explore the northern cayes, base yourself at Ambergris Caye. The must-do from here: snorkel or dive Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Located about four miles from the caye’s southern town of San Pedro, Hol Chan is reachable within a 30-minute boat ride. We float above schools of rainbow colored fish, spot a turtle, moray eels, giant barrel sponges and a barracuda. Most guided outings to Hol Chan also feature a stop at Shark Ray Alley, a sandbar in six to eight feet of water frequented by nurse sharks and stingrays. Mexico Rocks, part of the Bacalar Reef Marine Reserve, off the north and northeast of Ambergris Caye, also has excellent visibility. View colorful coral and near the underwater cave, look for lobsters, spider crabs and sand sharks. From Ambergris Caye, divers can arrange boat trips to the more distant but celebrated dive sites of Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef Atoll, and Turneffe Islands Atoll. At Turneffe typical sightings include hawksbill turtles, eagle rays and even hammerhead sharks.

    Student who died in Belize remembered for smarts, quirky personality
    He was smart, gifted at playing the flute, and had a quirky personality filled with a sarcasm beyond his years. And though he was only a high school freshman, Tomari Aliijah Jackson was on the trip of a lifetime. He was supposed to celebrate his 15th birthday Monday. Along with 31 of his North Cobb High School classmates and six chaperones, Tomari arrived Saturday in Belize. The group planned to spend several days at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on a school-sponsored trip as part of the North Cobb magnet program. The group wasted no time beginning explorations. Tomari and the others hiked before stopping to splash in shallow water near a river bank, the Cobb school system said. It was there that the 14-year-old was last seen alive. Somehow, Tomari disappeared, and local investigators were told the boy was missing. After a search, Tomari was found dead. No details were released late Monday on how Tomari died or whether he had drowned. But his death stunned the school community, district leaders and other Cobb schools, including many who used social media to express condolences.

    Woodland Family Dental Prepare for Belize Mission Trip
    A Duluth dental clinic is taking its services to an island off the eastern shore of Belize to provide dental care for the youth. Dentists have the same grind day after day but on Wednesday, a handful of staff members at Woodland Family Dental in Duluth are going on a seven day mission for one reason. "Help children save their teeth," said Dr. Dan Larscheid, dentist at Woodland Family Dental. For nearly a decade, Dr. Dan Larscheid yearned to take his passion for healthy teeth to a place where running water and electricity is few and far between. As far as a small island over 3,000 miles away from Duluth. "We're very happy to give back to humanity. We've been very successful up here at Woodland and we want to more or less give back so we're very excited to go down and help," said Dr. Larscheid. For the past several years,the San Pedro Smile Center, which was started by a Minnesota dentist, has been inviting volunteer dentists to help children in the San Mateo community.

    Videos

  • Belize Men’s Mission, 4min.

  • Body And Soul - Common Health Problems in Belize, 3min. Body and Soul Medical Mission in Belize and the health problems that they commonly treat.

  • VIDA DE FOTÓGRAFO S01E33 -- Cavetubing Belize, 8min. Rafael Escovedo escreve sobre a Vida de Fotógrafo em seu blog enquanto trabalha a bordo dos navios de cruzeiros da Norwegian Cruise Lines.

  • Belize cave tubing!, 59min. It was amazing a 1 mile hike to the cave and you learned a lot of stuff on the hike. The caves were amazing it is a long video but it is worth it.

  • Harvest Aviation Belize Missionary Lifeline, 5min. Harvest Aviation provides air support for Belize missionary groups. The team at Harvest Aviation consists of a combination of unpaid staff, self-supported staff, apprentices, and volunteers all working together to share the gospel of Jesus Christ through the vehicle of aviation. We operate out of Wauchula, FL.

  • WIZ FEBRUARY 15, 2016, 6min. from PGTV News Network

  • Football, 2min. Belmopan Bandits defeat Verdez FC.

  • Morning Matters with Mr. Rempel, 60min.

  • Maya Land In Jeopardy | Trio Village | Belize, 12min. In 2014 a Korean man by the name of John Yin bought 2500 acres of land in the Toledo District. Mr. Dan Blanco, a former lands officer, was interviewed by Wil Maheia, BPP Toledo East represenative. Mr. Blanco noted that he is representing the International Missionary Organization, and confirmed that he was directly hired by and works for Mr. John Yin. Apparently the buyer, Mr. Yin, did not know that half of Trio village sits on this land. Now Mr. Yin wants these people to move or buy the parcel that they are occupying. Most of the residents have been living on these lands for more than 25 years and none of them have their land ownership papers. For the past 25 years they have been told by PUDP politicians not to worry, go ahead and build and these politicians promised that once they got into power they would assist them with their land ownership documents, however, to date, those promises has gone unfulfilled.

  • Ambergris Caye and mainland Belize with No Worries Tours, 9min. Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan, Mexico rocks.

  • Belize that, 15min.

  • Belize NYE 2015 16, 4min. Beach life over New Years and San Pedro, Belize...things could have been worse.

  • Manatees On The Edge - Saving Charlie, 3min. While the US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering downgrading not only the Florida sub-species of manatee, but also the Antillean sub-species found in Central America, Belize is battling to stabilize its manatee population. Belize has a maximum count of just over 500 manatees in its coastal waters, with the total national population estimated at between 700 and 1,000, and a regional population estimated at 2,500. In 2015 alone, 40 manatees were reported and verified as dead,many of them in the Belize City / Belize River area, primarily from watercraft collisions linked to the increasing tourism boat traffic in the area. This is not good. This is not sustainable. By the middle of February this year, another seven fatalities were reported, with Charlie making the eighth manatee stranding for 2016. With the increasing number of boats in key manatee areas, the threat of more injured and / or orphaned manatees is also increasing, placing greater strain on the already full facilities at the Manatee Rehabilitation Centre.

  • Belize Feeding Frenzy, 3.5min.

  • Big Creek Port (Belize), 8min.

  • NELSON FULLER: TRIBUTE TO A LEGENDARY BELIZEAN MUSICIAN!, 45min. The 1970's Belize's Lord Rhaburn Combo outstanding drummer, Nelson Fuller, could be dubbed as Belize's most rhythmic drummer of all times throughout the years of Belize's professional entertainment scene of the 1970's and 1980's. Not only was he a class act within his own musical spectrum, but he taught many upcoming Belizean drummers how to play all different genres of music----from R&B to the Funk, and from reggae to calypso. Fuller who was versed in all forms of music, was also respected by American as well as Caribbean musicians who had come to play music in Belize in the 1970's and 80's. The legendary Belizean drummer who now has been living in Los Angeles for many years now, spoke with Belizean Legends about his brilliant career as a Belizean musician, and his life as a drummer for Belize's most populist band, the Lord Rhaburn Combo.

    February 15, 2016


    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, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    Police Report
    Wanted: The San Pedro Police Department is asking for assistance in the capture of George Martinez. He is wanted for escaping from police custody over a month ago. Anyone with information that can lead to his arrest please contact 206-2022 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 0-800-922-8477.
    Missing: The public’s assistance is requested in locating Mindy Arucely Jordan Espino. She has been reported missing by the San Pedro Police Department by her husband and is believed to be in San Pedro Town against her will. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the San Pedro Police at 206-2022 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 0-800-922-8477 or contact cell number 602-4513. A reward is being offered for information leading to her return.
    Sudden Death: On Monday, February 8th at about 4PM, based upon information received, the San Pedro Police visited a residence located on Stadium Street in the San Pablo area. Upon arrival, the lifeless body of a male person was noticed in a seated posture on a plastic chair that was on the corridor of the house. He was later identified as 74-year-old Santos Elijio, a retired Belizean laborer. The body was transported to the San Pedro Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic II, where Dr. Renae Sersland pronounced him dead of natural causes at 4:23PM.

    Letter to the Editor: Sail and sea summer camp
    Dear Editor: On January 26th 2016 I made some new friends: the lovely people at Leaning Palm Resort in Gales Point, Belize. Taunya, Ken and Nigel. I was chasing a kite-surfing solo long-distance world record, and I stumbled upon an unforgettable experience when I crash-landed 56 nautical miles south of San Pedro. I landed at a place I have wanted to set foot on for years but never got the chance to till now: the forgotten coast between Belize City and Dangriga. I fell in love with the pristine untouched beauty of the vast expanses of nature. It is the last place Belize remains untouched. The lush green tropical forest towers above the narrow sandy beaches where the wind blows and little waves crash with energy every second as if power washing the shoreline. Hundreds of sea birds rule the sky! Watching them fly effortlessly above lush beach coastline with no man-made structures for 20 mile stretches in either direction felt truly Jurassic. The Maya Mountains hundreds of feet up into the western horizon loom behind the coastline like giants lying asleep. My adventure ended with the discovery of a passion that has been inside me for years. I was meant to kite-surf to this place. To meet these new friends, and return to teach kids from the nearby village the wind sports. That way they can enjoy their surrounding coastline: sailing, windsurfing and kite-surfing. I will be organizing, funding and doing a free week long sailing summer camp for kids in Gales Point, Belize this July. It will be hosted by my new friends at the Leaning Palm Resort Ken, Taunya and Nigel. Sailboats are being supplied by our Belize Sailing Center in San Pedro, where I work. The name of the camp is “Sail and Sea” summer camp, and its slogan is “Passion for the sea, wind and waves.”

    Wolfe’s Woofer: Alms
    “Are you going to visit Steve this weekend?” Sherry asked. “I thought I would go over and spend some time with him,” I told her. “I want to see his new house and find out how he’s doing in San Ignacio.” “It’s good to see you,” Steve said, when he picked me up at the bus station. “You’re the first of my old friends to visit me since I moved out to the Western part of Belize.” At dinner I said, “Little Stevie has grown a lot since I last saw him,” “I’m nine, Mr. Dennis,” Stevie said. “I’m getting really big.” “You sure are. You’re going to be a fine man someday.” The next morning, Betty, Steve’s wife said. “Steve isn’t coming down for breakfast. He’s been sick all night. Why don’t you go up and see him?”

    Letter to the Editor: San Pedro Lions Club thanks for assistance offered to Eye Screening Program
    Dear Editor: THANK YOU!!! The San Pedro Lions Club is part of the Lions-Belize National Children’s Eye Screening Program, taking on the challenge of screening over 105,000 registered school children throughout Belize. The San Pedro Lions Club is responsible for over 15,000 children in Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and all of the Corozal District. For those found to need glasses and cannot pay for them, our Zone 59 clubs are also paying for those glasses. Therefore, a special account has been set up to meet this need. The San Pedro Lions Club wants to say THANK YOU to Lion Bill Thornton, Lion Tamara Sniffin/The San Pedro Sun and the generosity of the Jerry Jeff Walker “Pickers” for contributions totaling over $1,700 recently! At the same time, we thank BCVI (Belize Council for the Vision Impaired) for providing free services and a pair of children’s glasses for only $60BZD. So far, San Pedro Lions Club has screened 638 children and will be in Caye Caulker in February for another 450 pre-school thru 14 year olds.

    Belize – home to key CARICOM Regional Institutions
    Through its role as a Centre of Excellence, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) supports the people of the Caribbean as they address the impact of climate variability and change on all aspects of economic development through the provision of timely forecasts and analyses of potentially hazardous impacts of both natural and man-induced climatic changes ono the environment, and the development of special programmes which create opportunities for sustainable development. The Five C’s, as the Centre is called, coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre, based in Belize, is the key node for information on climate change issues and on the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change in the Caribbean. It is the official repository and clearing house for regional climate change data, providing climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. It has also been recognised by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as a Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few.

    Doctor Love
    Dear Doctor Love, My girlfriend and I have been together for several years and we scrimp and save to come down to Belize every summer. This year we are planning to get married while we are down there. We are not well off financially. She is graduating college this spring and once again we are scraping to get money just for the vacation. If we are married at home we have already figured out that the two families will compete with each other until the wedding is turned into a circus. We want to avoid that so we are planning a party for when we get back. Do you think this will be too offensive to both families? Should we inform them? /s/ Unsure in Pennsylvania

    Fishing Managed Access Program Consultation held in San Pedro
    On Wednesday, February 3rd the first ‘Fishing Managed Access Program Consultation’ was held in San Pedro Town at the Lions Den. Spearheading the gathering was commercial fisherman and tour guide Alfredo Rubio, whose purpose was to try and organize an association and start the recruitment of members for a local committee in order to manage the fishing area around Ambergris Caye. The meeting started shortly after 6:30PM and saw a handful of persons who welcomed the initiative to establish a fishing association in San Pedro. The program began early this year with a series of meetings that ended open access fishing across Belize’s marine ecosystems by licensed commercial fishermen. The program is set to be implemented in every coastal community in the country, with each area forming a Community Managed Access Committee. Rubio is currently making the efforts to organize a committee on the island after he was appointed as the president of the San Pedro Committee in December of last year by the Belize Fisheries Department to spearhead the program in Ambergris Caye. At the first consultation/meeting no members were selected. Rubio is seeking six members to form the committee and he expects this to happen in the upcoming meetings. “It is important to standardize our fishing practices in San Pedro, so we can have more resources from the sea and fishermen don’t have to go far from the island to fish. When this program is implemented and we have the committee and association established, fishermen in San Pedro will be see a difference and be able to catch their sea products right in front of the island. Why? Because we will be enforcing sustainable fishing which will safeguard our future and dependency on fishing. But first, we need to find committed community members to form the committee. That is the first vital step, to have a strong foundation,” said Rubio.

    San Pedro joins the Belize Billiards Sport Federation
    The San Pedro Billiards Association (SPBA) is now officially affiliated with the Belize Billiards Sport Federation (BBSF). This recognition will allow them to partake in the national tournament held annually. As a result, a pre-season 8 Ball Pool Tournament will be starting on Friday, February 26th with the purpose of getting teams warmed up for the big tournament. After a successful first ever 8 Ball Pool tournament held in December of 2015, the members of the association saw the need to be affiliated with the BBSF. According to Javier Silva, member of the SPBA, this affiliation will give talented players of Ambergris Caye the exposure they need at the national level. “A national tournament takes place around the country every year and every district is invited to be represented with a team, but in order to get invited, you must create an association and then register with the national association. Each association can have many teams to compete with so that the best players can get exposed. Now that we have their blessing, we can go ahead and plan a big tournament on the island and from among all the teams participating, whosoever wins will automatically represent San Pedro on a national level,” said Silva. He hopes that by the time the national tournament takes place, which is expected to happen in August, San Pedro will be represented by a well prepared team.

    A PURO TANGO… a performance of passion and feelings is “A SHOW TO SEE AND FEEL”
    The community of San Pedro is in for a rare treat when on February 20th and 21st the “A PURO TANGO” performance group comes to town. For two nights only, residents can enjoy the amazing talents of this world class group, who will be performing at the Paradise Theatre. A PURO TANGO is a fascinating journey that brings together the best of traditional and contemporary tango, with the firm purpose to touch the deepest feelings of the audience and take them along a world full of likes and dislikes, struggles and fears, passions and hatreds. In a media release, the famous entourage states: It is possible to consider that tango belongs to a particular form of ‘northern philosophy’, therefore A PURO TANGO aims to frame this way of life which is manifested in being poetic, a product of a soul that captures, feels, and knows the reality of love, the passion and the desire, fully living it beyond the mere survival that embodies in words and then becomes a universal song.

    Ministry of National Security meets with Regional Commanders
    Regional Commanders of the Belize Police Department, along with the Police Senior Command and the Minister of National Security, Hon John Saldivar, met on Monday, February 8, 2016 at the Police Training Academy’s Conference Room in Belmopan for their regular monthly meeting. Commissioner of Police, Mr Allen Whylie and Honorable Saldivar gave opening remarks at today’s session, which set the tone for the meeting. This was followed by reports from all six Regional Commanders. In their reports the Regional Commanders presented crime statistics for their various regions and initiatives undertaken in the month of January. They also presented their work plan for the month of February.06 Belize Police Department Regional Commanders Conference Overall statistics showed an increase of thirty major crimes in 2016 over the same period in 2015. Interestingly, the increase showed a shift from Belize City, which had been the area of major concern, to areas where the numbers have been traditionally low in particular the Toledo and Corozal Districts. After the reports there was an interactive session in which effective strategies and techniques used in the past month in the various policing regions were shared among the Commanders. Notable in all reports was the significant increase in foot patrols countrywide, which involved house visits, neighborhood meetings and visits to business establishments. Community policing has yielded great results such as the recent civilian arrest of a suspected murderer in Toledo District.

    SPHS celebrates Career Week
    From Monday, February 8th through Friday, February 12th, the San Pedro High School (SPHS) celebrated Career Week. The annual event is held in secondary schools across the country with the objective to inform students of the possible professions within their specific communities. This year, Career Week at SPHS was celebrated under the theme “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” (Eleanor Roosevelt). Organized by SPHS Counselor Alexis Guerrero, activities started on Monday, the 8th with a special assembly. Throughout the week, students were treated to presentations from guest speakers within the community. These speakers ranged from members of the hospitality, business, transportation, environmental and public works industries in San Pedro. Each speaker spoke about their field of work and the benefits it has to the economic development of the island. While the focus of Career Week is on the senior students who are about to graduate, emphasis was also placed on second formers who are about to choose their field of studies heading into their junior year in high school.

    Belize and CARICOM Relationships
    Dr. Carla Barnett, a national of Belize, holds the distinction of being the first female Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM. She served the Community in that capacity from 1997 to 2002. While acknowledging the milestone that she achieved, she deflected attention to the skills set that she brought to the position. ”It was an honour for me to be selected. Being the first female Deputy Secretary-General, while it was a historical milestone, I’d like to think that I came there not because I was a woman, but because I brought a particular set of skills that the Secretariat needed at that time,” she said. Dr. Barnett was educated at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Jamaica where she read for a Ph.D. in Social Sciences. She also holds a Master of Economics degree from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Jamaica.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Defend Blackadore Caye
    Here are some links to the activity and support that the Defend Blackadore Caye Facebook page has generated this last week...

    CARICOM heads to tackle key development issues at Belize meeting
    Advancing the regional response to the zika virus threat will be among matters engaging Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government at their 27th inter-sessional meeting in Placencia, Belize, on 16-17 February. The heads are also expected to focus on measures to position the region to benefit from the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, including access to climate finance. The Belize meeting comes two weeks after the World Health Organisation declared zika as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. The suspected zika link to cases of microcephaly in parts of Latin America, with babies born with underdeveloped brains, has also heightened public concern about the virus. At least five CARICOM member states have diagnosed cases of the zika virus. The Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which has been providing testing and prevention and control guidance to member states, is expected to help the meeting determine the future actions in the Zik-V fight.

    Bigeyed sixgill shark (Hexanchus nakamurai) tagged off Ambergris Caye
    We are excited to have captured, tagged, and released a bigeyed sixgill shark (Hexanchus nakamurai) during our deep-sea project this week! This 124 cm female was captured at a depth of 260 meters just off of Ambergris Caye. There are very few records of this deep-water species in the region, and they are listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN due to a lack of information (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/161352/0). We believe this is the first bigeyed sixgill to be tagged and released in Belize! A big thank you to the Save Our Seas Foundation and the Summit Foundation for supporting this project!

    Kokomo Beach Suites is looking for a part-time room cleaner
    This would be for about 4 hours a day, 6 days a week. Please stop by Monday if you are interested. Am looking for someone responsible, reliable and professional, preferably with experience. Please bring contact information for two references. Drama queens or kings with lots of friends or family who will constantly stop by to distract them during working hours need not apply.

    Corozal: PRIMOS (Restaurant & Bar) NOW OPEN!
    We invite you to come and have a great Valentines' weekend with us. After being closed for sometime, for a total remodeling and re-branding, come and enjoy our great views of the Corozal Bay, our drinks and tasty food. Excellent views! Will cater for family events and parties. Bring your loved ones to PRIMOS this weekend. See you there! In town - 1st Avenue - Miami Beach.

    UB February 2016 Graduation
    Congratulations, graduates! The University of Belize has another round of graduates ready to change the world. "Graduation February 6, 2016 By University of Belize"

    Amandala

    Honduran woman, 64, convicted of human trafficking
    A trial by jury ended last night, Wednesday, in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas, when 5 women and 4 men deliberated for about 90 minutes before they returned to the courtroom to announce a guilty verdict against a Honduran woman accused of human trafficking. The conviction of Estela Gonzalez, 64, is the first time anyone has been convicted of human trafficking on indictment in Belize. Upon the request of Gonzalez’s attorneys, however, the media was barred from the proceedings. Justice Lucas has deferred sentencing until Thursday, February 18, in order to give Gonzalez’s attorneys, Leo Bradley, Jr., and Kevin Arthurs, time to prepare mitigation presentations on her behalf. Gonzalez could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison. The human trafficking offense allegedly was committed between August 17, 2013 and September 7, 2013. The complaint against Gonzalez was made by a Honduran woman who was 15 at the time she was trafficked to Belize.

    No SSB $12 mil for Santander – NTUCB!
    The social partners—the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, representing workers, on the one hand, and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representing employers, on the other—hold diametrically opposed views on the hotly debated loan of $12 million which the Belize Social Security Board has recently approved for Santander’s mega sugar investment in western Belize. President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), Marvin Mora, told Amandala that they would convene a general council meeting as early as tomorrow, if possible, in an attempt to muster up a strategy to build public support to get the government to stop the SSB loan to Santander before disbursement. While the NTUCB is firmly against the Santander loan, the Chamber had no problem supporting it. For his part, president of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Arturo “Tux” Vasquez, told Amandala that after having been satisfied during the due diligence phase that the Santander investment can repay the loan, the SSB must have considered it “safe” enough to proceed.

    Banking crisis high on agenda of CARICOM bosses meeting in Placencia next week
    The banking sector in the Caribbean—and particularly in Belize—has been experiencing major challenges due to the severing of correspondent banking relations by US banks, and the ensuing banking crisis will be high on the agenda of CARICOM leaders, who begin arriving in Belize today for regional meetings. Since Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow is holding the chair for CARICOM for January to June 2016, Belize will host over 100 guests from sister CARICOM states on the occasion of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM, to be convened at Belize Ocean Club in Placencia, Stann Creek, next week. Belize last hosted CARICOM Heads of Government in March 2009, when it also held the rotating chairmanship of the regional integration body. The Heads of Government meeting for 2016 will be declared open on Monday morning. Closed-door meetings are scheduled for Tuesday and the meeting will wrap up on Wednesday with a closing press conference.

    Amid Zika threat, Belize ramps up fight
    Last Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika a public health emergency, and today, Belize—the only Central American country which up to the time of this report has no confirmed case of Zika—ramped up its sensitization efforts in the fight against the Aedes mosquitos, which also transmit two other viral diseases: dengue and Chikungunya (CHIKV). Belize’s Director of Health Services (DHS), Dr. Marvin Manzanero, announced in a press conference yesterday that the Ministry of Health has sent three suspected cases of Zika to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the testing facility in Trinidad and Tobago which serves CARICOM. One test result has returned negative for dengue, Chikungunya and Zika, but two results are pending. By Friday, they hope to know the status of those patients, one of whom is a pregnant woman. The DHS said that at the time, there are no other suspected cases and if a case is confirmed, he said, “We would be the first ones to say it. We don’t hide data! And then, the efforts continue … perhaps they would be further scaled up to prevent an outbreak.”

    Dangriga sports stats
    Volleyball: The John “Tequila” Chimilio Interoffice Volleyball Tournament in Dangriga is into its 3-game series finals between Big Creek and CPBL. In game 1, Big Creek won over CPBL. Game 2 was last night at Ecumenical auditorium, where CPBL came back and won game 2 in 3 sets, 24-26, 25-20, 16-14. The big finals come up next week Tuesday night, February 16, at 7:00 p.m. at Ecumenical auditorium. High school softball: Secondary school softball for the Dangriga Zone will commencea today, Wednesday, February 10. Dangriga Zone secondary school softball will only be between Ecumenical and Delille Academy males and females, which will be a 5-game series, since ANRI doesn’t have any softball team. Football: The Rodwell Ferguson football finals, that were supposed to play over the weekend at the Pomona New Site football field, were postponed until this Sunday, February 14. So, coming up this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. will be the third place match-up – Silk Grass Southern Strikers vs Pomona Warriors; and at 3:30 p.m. it will be the championship final – Valley Pride Rookies vs Santa Cruz L.D. South Rock.

    The test begins
    Good morning to you all. Welcome to Cricket Corner. The Harrison Parks Cricket Competition 2016, under the auspices of the Belize National Cricket Association, takes the opportunity to offer this week’s games schedule to you for Saturday, February 13. In Zone One: Last year undisputed champion, Easy Does It goes up against Police in Lemonal; Western Eagles vs Bright Star in Sandhill; and Excellence vs Cashu Medicos in Lords Bank. In Zone Two: Isabella Uprising vs Brilliant in Crooked Tree; Wicked Eleven vs Brave Union in Burrell Boom; and Sunrise vs Berlan in Bermudian Landing. To captains concerned: Some of your players are still on suspension. These players, if they play, while under suspension, their team automatically loses that game. Not to be biased, I will not mention any names. You know who you are.

    BAA Cross Country Trial results
    The Belize Athletics Association (BAA) held its Cross Country Trial on Saturday, January 30, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek, Cayo. The results were sent to us last Thursday, February 4, by BAA President, Deon Sutherland. We inquired about the level of participation, and Sutherland replied that it was “what you see there, sir.” He went on to explain that, despite “free transportation and food,” a number of expected participants from the BDF and Coast Guard declined because they are scheduled to represent Belize soon at an international event, and their supervisors “don’t want them to get injured.” Below are the results in the different categories and the times recorded: Female U-14, 2Km – Aaliyah Carr (10:10.09). Female U-18, 3Km – Ashonti Carr (18:22.20). Male Open, 10Km – Martin Flowers (43:47); Alexander Alvarado (44:53); Ervin Hamilton (46:19); Juan Santos (48:49); Shaun Bennett (57:41).

    C-Ray Saturday Race Series 2016 – Week 4 results
    Race number 4 of the C-Ray Saturday Race Series kicked off on Saturday, February 6, at 6:30 a.m. Due to the inclement weather, the numbers in the field reduced this week; only 29 cyclists lined up. Of that, the Alliance Cycling Team from Belmopan was well represented with 9 cyclists, 7 elite and 2 juniors. The Benny’s Megabytes and Smart Teams had 4 each, while others were out there trying to battle off teams solo. On the course were six station prizes; 3 were taken by Byron Pope – 1 gift certificate from Da Bizz BBQ, 1 gift certificate from Ordonez Bike Shop, and $25 courtesy Card Heating and Cooling. Keion Robateau of Team Alliance took 2 station prizes – $25 courtesy Card Heating and Cooling, and another $25 courtesy H Guerra’s Construction. Mark Staine of Team Smart got one station prize, which was $25 from Card Heating and Cooling. With Team Alliance’s numbers in the field, they were able to control the race for the most part. Keion Robateau of Team Alliance and Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes were off the front for the majority of the race. Robateau’s teammates did an exceptional job holding off anyone from the main peleton who attempted to go across.

    House of Shotokan Karate students win at Taekwando Championships
    On Saturday, February 6, students from the House of Shotokan Karate, located at 5757 Princess Margaret Drive, Belize City, traveled to Chetumal, Mexico, to participate in International Taekwondo Championships, directed by Black Belt Taekwondo Master Manuel Torres, Eagle Park Taekwondo, Chetumal, Mexico. Although it was a wet and rainy day, the tournament attracted Taekwondo schools from Merida, Cancun, and various schools within Chetumal. The students from the House of Shotokan Karate Academy did exceptionally well in the fighting event, resulting in 11 Gold medals won for Belize. Winners are as follow: Hera Kumsal (Yellow Belt Division) – 2 Gold Medals; Eleazar Orellana (Yellow Belt Division) – 2 Gold Medals; Ernesto Portillo (White Belt Division) – 2 Gold Medals; Shakien Gabriel (White Belt Division) – 2 Gold Medals; Elias Meyers (Brown Belt Division) – 2 Gold Medals; Samara Vasquez (Female Brown Belt Division) – 1 Gold Medal.

    Editorial: The African and Indian Library at 16
    The African and Indian Library in the Kremandala yard marks the 16th anniversary of its opening this Friday, February 12. The ceremonial ribbon cutting in 2000 was performed by Mrs. Anne K. Lowe, a guest of the UBAD Educational Foundation (UEF), a body which had been established in 1996. The library was an idea and dream of the late Dr. Leroy Taegar, a member of the UEF board. There has been controversy surrounding the name of the library almost from the beginning, because several Maya Belizeans preferred it to be the “African and Maya Library.” The leaders of the UEF felt, however, that as distasteful as were the history and context of the “Indian” designation for Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of the Americas, this was the one inclusive designation which could refer to all the many hundreds, probably thousands, of tribes of peoples of the Americas – from North America through Central America to South America. As the years have gone by, there have been those of us in the UEF who feel that the library’s name should be changed to the “African and Indigenous Library,” but others argue that the original name is established, that it is too late to change it now.

    From the Publisher
    Geography is an important aspect of the business of nation-states. British Honduras, for example, was the only British (English-speaking, Protestant) possession on the mainland of Central America, which was part of Spain’s Catholic empire until the nineteenth century. Belize was unique. Early in the nineteenth century, France’s Napoleon Bonaparte was the powerhouse in Europe. Napoleon invaded and took over Spain. He suffered a horrible defeat when he invaded Russia in 1812, however, and then he was conclusively defeated at Waterloo in 1815 by a coalition which featured the British, whose empire would dominate the rest of the nineteenth century, I would say. The British used their beachhead in Belize to involve themselves in the affairs of Central America, primarily Guatemala, and in the affairs of Mexico. In 1821, Mexico and the Central American republics (Panama did not exist at that time) gained independence from Spain, which had been humiliated by Napoleon, and Mexico and Central America were as one. But in 1823, the Central American republics, led by El Salvador and Guatemala, broke off from Iturbide’s Mexico, then after a while the Central American republics began fighting amongst themselves. The liberal, nationalistic side was led by Francisco Morazán and El Salvador, whereas the conservative, neo-European side was led by Guatemala, where Rafael Carrera emerged as the caudillo.

    Letter to the Editor: Trustees respond to Mario Chavarria
    Dear Editor: We write in reference to a letter concerning the Public Sector Workers’ Trust in your newspaper, dated Sunday February 7, 2016 and signed by Mario Chavarria, purportedly for and on behalf of the Toledo District Beneficiaries. In the said letter, Mr. Chavarria, inter alia, accused the Trustees of refusing “to execute the trust based on its original objectives.” As far as we are aware, the “original objectives” of the Trust are detailed in GOB Circular # 9 of 1996 dated 21st October 1996, and specify that the Trust is to “fund various projects for the benefit of all government employees.” This objective was codified in the actual Trust Deed dated August 29, 2013. Can Mr. Chavarria state, what in his opinion, are the “original objectives” of the Trust and furthermore, provide a documented source for his opinion?

    A female’s life behind bars
    Belize’s prison is no longer a place where you “lock them up and throw away the key,” prison officials told Amandala today. There was a time when the prison was known to have overcrowded cells, the inmates were fed out of pigtail buckets and there were other unsanitary conditions they had to put up with. Conditions are different now, it appears. Amandala travelled to the facility, which has been managed by the Kolbe Foundation since 2002, and spoke with Virgilio Murillo, chief executive officer of the Kolbe Foundation; John Woods, chairman emeritus of the board of the Kolbe Foundation; and some of the women incarcerated there. Murillo told Amandala that it was costing the government $16 a day per inmate; they have managed to get those figures down to $13.25 a day per inmate, which works out to approximately $19,000 a day. He said that while, as he mentioned, the government pays the institution $13.25 per inmate, the foundation engages in fundraising to get the rest of funds they need, and from time to time generous individuals have made donations to assist.

    Zika through blood transfusion: should Belizeans be concerned?
    As information unfolds about the ways in which Zika can be spread, not just by mosquitos, but also through blood and semen, concerned citizens are also clamoring for measures to limit the spread of the disease. Although Zika is said to be milder than both dengue and Chikungunya, with symptoms appearing in only 20% of the cases, the World Health Organization has declared an international public health emergency due to its rapid spread across the Americas and its possible link to brain damage and potential deaths in babies, as well as Gullain-Barré syndrome and possible paralysis in rare cases. Advisories call for measures to limit transmission via sexual intercourse, apart from through mosquito bites. With Brazil reporting cases contracted through blood transfusion, there are now questions about what screening measures would be put in place to avoid the spread of Zika through blood.

    Body of missing Guatemalan woman found decomposed in orchard on Stann Creek Valley Road
    Just a little over a month since a Guatemalan woman, Lydia Janet Garcia Giron, 39, of Suchitan, Melchor De Mencos, was reported missing to Benque police after she had embarked on a journey from her hometown to Cowpen, Stann Creek, in Belize, her body has been discovered. At about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, her decomposed body was found in an orchard at Mile 6 on the Stann Creek Valley Road. Doctor Mario Estradabran and his team conducted an onsite autopsy on the decomposed corpse, and at the conclusion, he declared that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The doctor also declared that the woman had been dead for about a month. After the postmortem was completed, police buried the corpse on the site. Lydia Giron’s son, Alexander Enrique Garcia Giron, 19, who lived with her in Suchitan, came to Benque Viejo police and told them that the last time he communicated with his mother was at 8:30 Friday morning, January 8, shortly after she arrived in San Ignacio Town.

    KHMH raises fees
    Starting February 15, patients who access the clinical services of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) will see an increase in their hospital bill. Norman Augustine, Director of Finance of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, said that clinical services are medical services offered to patients who make an appointment to see a specialist. Augustine added that the present contribution patients are paying for these services constitutes only “16% of what it costs to run the unit and the new price will take the patient’s contribution up 32%”. Also, patients will see an increase in their physiotherapy fees; however, this will take effect on March 1. Augustine said patients utilizing that unit are currently paying “$15 for their initial visit and $10” for subsequent visits; however, starting March 1, patients will be paying “$30 for their initial visit and $20 for every subsequent visit”. Augustine said that the new price will increase the patient’s contribution from “16.75% to 33.5% of what it costs to run the unit.”

    Darrell Mayen found guilty of attempted murder
    A man who has been on remand for an attempted murder charge since August 2010, when he was a sixteen-year-old minor, will learn on Friday, February 19, how much longer he will have to spend behind bars after he was found guilty of the charge in a trial without jury before Supreme Court Justice John Troadio Gonzalez, who handed down the guilty verdict this afternoon. Darrell Mayen, 21, did his best to look away from court reporters’ cameras as he was led in handcuffs back to the holding cell over at the Magistrate’s Court by a Supreme Court orderly. Meanwhile, Mayen’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, declined comment to reporters. Selgado would only say that he will appeal Justice Gonzalez’s guilty verdict. On the night of Sunday, August 1, 2010, shortly before 9:00 p.m., Rafael Caceres, then 27, had just spoken to his girlfriend, April Slusher, on his cellphone after making a purchase from a Chinese store. He was walking on Woodpecker Street toward his home on Madam Liz Crescent in the Port Loyola area of Belize City, he told police in a statement, when, about 15 yards away from Jimmy Dyer Street, he felt as if someone was following him.

    Francisco Gomez, 39, sentenced to 3 years for sexual assault of girl, 11
    Francisco Gomez, 39, a caretaker and resident of Burrell Boom, was sentenced to serve three years in prison this morning by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith after she found him guilty on one count of sexual assault. Gomez was also sentenced to two six-month jail terms for common assault and using threatening words. The additional sentences, however, are to run concurrently with the 3-year sentence, and therefore, Gomez will only serve three years in prison. Before imposing the sentence, Smith told Gomez that she did not believe his “Harry Potter” story and stated, “I do believe that you sexually assaulted the child and slapped her and then threatened her.” On April 19, 2015, Gomez went to the 11-year-old child’s grandmother’s house. When he got there he found her watching television, and when she got up to get some water to drink, Gomez slapped her on her butt, telling the eleven-year-old girl that she had “a fat ass.”

    Bogus cops!
    Police are today advising businesspeople to be more vigilant is securing their businesses and properties against criminals who are posing as police officers to gain entrance to the businesses. They report that between 12:10 Wednesday morning and 11:55 Wednesday night, two businesses, CBC on C Street in Kings Park and Harpy Security Firm on Antelope Street, fell victim to the criminals’ hoax. A police report dated this evening says that, “A dispatcher at Harpy Security Firm located at #7008 Antelope Street Extension, Belize City reported that on 10/02/16 at 12:10 a.m. whilst on duty at her place of work, she heard someone at the front door, whereupon making checks, she saw a male person dressed in a khaki button-down shirt, tucked inside a blue in color long pants and a black warm hat on his head who identified himself as a ‘police officer.’

    The Reporter

    American student drowns in Belize
    A 16 year-old American student died while swimming in Belize on Saturday. Reports are that the youth was one of 33 students who went swimming at Tiger Sandy Bay on Saturday afternoon and she was discovered missing during a head count about an hour later. […]

    Three policemen injured in RTA
    Three policemen suffered varying degrees of injuries after the vehicle they were on duty in overturned several times on the George Price highway on Saturday. Reliable reports are that the three policemen, police constables Mark Rodriguez, Kenroy Pandy and Nadir Mendoza were conducting a mobile […]

    Atomic energy agency to help Caribbean in early detection of Zika virus
    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it will provide nuclear-derived early detection tools and training support to help Latin American and Caribbean countries rapidly identify cases of the Zika virus. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano says a €400,000 (US$450,151) initiative will see the transfer of specialized equipment and technical […]

    Family Court rules child must return to live with father in Guatemala
    A mother and her two year-old daughter must part ways, at least for the time being, until a Guatemalan court decides who the child will grow up with. On Friday, Family Court Magistrate Dale Cayetano ruled that the child was illegally taken from Guatemala and […]

    Chamber of Commerce chides Jack Charles
    The war over rice, more recently the wholesomeness of locally-produced rice, continues between businessman Jack Charles and relevant government departments; and for persistently suggesting that the rice is tainted, the Chamber of Commerce has condemned Charles’ actions. Charles said, in his latest press release, in […]

    The Belize Times

    Santander’s Sweet Deal – Guatemalan Co. got millions of dollars in tax breaks…and now $12m SSB $$$
    Opposition pressure is mounting on the Social Security Board for its decision to bail out the foreign company, Santander Sugar Group, with $12 million from the Belizeans workers’ savings. The Santander Sugar Group, which consists of subsidiaries Green Tropics, Santander Sugar Ltd., Santander Farms Ltd., SS Energy Ltd., and Santander Investment Holdings Ltd., all registered at the Matalon building in Belize City, ran into problems when one of its financiers that formed part of a larger syndicated loan financed by local and international banks, pulled out of the investment scheme. Santander turned to the Government through Social Security Board, whose Investment Committee approved the loan. SSB’s Chairman, Doug Singh, has defended the decision by indicating that it is a financially sound investment and that the returns for SSB will be tremendous, but the move has still attracted a firestorm for its duplicity and risk. Today the People’s United Party issued a statement declaring its opposition to the SSB’s decision, and put forward the concerns it has over the issue. “The primary concern is why the peoples’ money is being used instead of borrowing from the commercial banks. The Santander Group is either strong enough to borrow an additional $12 million from commercial banks or it is not. If it is not, then the SSB should not be making this loan,” said the Party’s statement. The PUP release also asked for full disclosure from the SSB. “The PUP calls on the SSB to make public whether its proposed loan will be a first-ranking charge on the assets of the Company. Also, the public should be informed whether there is any security sharing agreement between the lenders that would restrict the right of the SSB to foreclose in the event of the default.

    Hon. John Briceño takes oath as Leader of the Opposition
    People’s United Party leader Hon. John Briceño was officially sworn in as the Leader of the Opposition by Governor General H. E. Sir Colville Young at the Belize House on Monday, February 8th, 2016. Hon. Briceño was joined by a large group of family, friends and supporters who travelled from various parts of the country to witness the PUP leader take his oath to defend Belize without fear or favour. Turning up in support of the new Leader of the Opposition was Hon. Cordel Hyde, who had contested the Party’s recent leadership convention. Hon. Hyde commented to the media that he supports unity in the Party because the supporters spoke loud and clear that that is what they demand.

    UDP SUPER BRAWL!
    While NFL fans anxiously watched the Manning vs. Newton battle in the 2016 Superbowl this past Sunday, here at home the UDPs were entertained by their Super Brawl version involving no other than the two spoilt sons of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Reports have rolled in to the BELIZE TIMES about how the two younger Barrows almost got “physical” at an invitation-only Super Bowl Party thrown by larger-than-life UDP senator Juliet Thimbriel at one of her plush homes in Ladyville. One called the other a spoilt brat and privileged punk while the other, we are told, shouted that he is an illegitimate son. Cold stuff courtesy the extra strong and cold drinks being served, perhaps. Inside the Barrow family empire things have gotten really tense since the two sons of Prime Minister Dean Barrow have expressed that they want to continue the profitable “family business”. Shyne, a fairly newcomer to the political scene, has outwitted his younger brother, jumping ahead of the race and announcing his interest in the Mesopotamia division. To back him up, Shyne has gotten his uncle Michael Finnegan’s support. Shyne also got the PM to announce that no other than Sister B will be taking over the Queen Square division when he retires in two years. Shyne knows well that Anwar considers himself the only legitimate heir. Anwar, of course, isn’t sitting back and has been lobbying everywhere for support. But he doesn’t have swagger like Shyne.

    No love from KHMH! – Non-emergency fee hiked by 150% after Valentine’s Day
    Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s November 4th election promise to Belizeans was that the Government would not impose any new tax. While the Government isn’t introducing new taxes yet, its existing taxes are slowly increasing, making the cost of living unbearable in Belize. This week the major public referral hospital in Belize City, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, announced via flyers posted through the hospital building that their non-emergency fee will be increasing by 150% as of Valentine’s Day. Last year, KHMH imposed a $10 fee on patients for its non-emergency services. That fee is now increasing to $25 for every patient walking in for an appointment. The hospital is also increases the physiotherapy fee by 100% from $15 to $30 for first session, and $10 to $20 for every other session.

    Think About It
    The government intends to appoint two judges to be permanent for the next thirty odd years. Both persons are foreigners and were magistrates before being offered judge-ship in Belize. There are over one hundred Belizean lawyers practicing in Belize. The government has not even asked them if any is interested to serve their country as a judge. In fact, the proper and lawful process in the public service is that all vacancies must be advertised. The political interference in the public service has become so ingrained that even persons wishing to become Police Officers are now forced to get “recommendation” letters from politicians. As to the public servants they get promotion, transfers and employment by approaching politicians. Important positions in the judiciary must be filled through very open, and very transparent means. Belizeans need to be reminded that the present Prime Minister is not above blatant interference in the judiciary. In his previous incarnations he presided over the removal of Chief Justice Moore, and more recently of the brilliant Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh. Then there was that scandal in which two judges were whisked to Belmopan and sworn in as Judges of the Court of Appeal-Judges Singh and Meerabux, days before the 1998 general elections. They both stepped down on learning that the Constitutional requirements were not followed. A third person was made a Justice without the proper consultation of the Opposite Leader. He refused to step down and be properly appointed. Solicitor General Rasputin Ghandi had to be called upon to resolve the constitutional mess. The Supreme Court ordered the matter be solved.

    Dirty Hands at SSB
    Although many credit the Great Depression of the 1930’s as the worldwide catalyst for Social Security programs, Germany had a similar plan in place dating as far back as the 1880’s. That program is credited with playing a key role in Germany’s massive and rapid growth of industrialization following its implementation. In the US, the Social Security program has also helped to make that one of the most developed and attractive countries in the world to live and work. Belize’s own Social Security scheme was established in 1981, shortly before Independence. In his wisdom, the Father of our Nation, Right Honourable George Price recognized the need for such a scheme and used the US program as a model. The program was started with a fifty thousand dollar grant from government but quickly grew as the program proved a success. Starting in June of 1981 with a team of 26, the staff now consists of almost 300 employees. The Social Security Funds are administered by a Board of Directors that includes five members representing government, two members representing employees (unions) and two members representing employers (one from Chamber of Commerce and one from Belize Business Bureau). On paper that is not such a bad composition but when we understand that all these are politically appointed and stand basically beholden to one man, the Prime Minister, then we can realize the true extent of the problem.

    THIS SMELLS OF RETRENCHMENT
    This younger generation of Belizeans are most likely unaware that UDP Prime Minister Esquivel and Deputy Prime Minister Barrow had retrenched over a thousand public officers. Most Belizeans at that time had never heard the word retrenchment, but for those who felt it, and their families, it was a bitter blow which turned their lives upside down. What happened was the UDP, wanting to please their foreign masters, the notorious IMF, decided to reduce the work-force in the public service in order to balance their budget. One morning, without warning, public officers turned up at their work to find letters on their desks instructing them to leave their offices as they no longer had a job with the government. In many cases, husbands and wives working in different areas of the public service were summarily sent home. It was a shocking situation for the country of Belize. Nothing in the work place had ever happened like that before. The Unions were outraged. The Opposition strongly condemned the cold blood mass firings. The Bishop of the Roman Catholic Churches O. P. Martin, preached against it, telling the nation it was a callous and heartless act which discarded human beings as if they were garbage. The Bishop called on the government to show compassion. The called went unheeded. Esquivel and Barrow proceeded to ruin the lives of innocent Belizeans for no real reason other than to show the IMF they were book-keepers wiling to please their masters.

    Police, BDF & Bandits win Premier League games
    The defending champs Police United FC, the Belmopan Bandits and Belize Defence Force football squad all posted big wins in Week 3 of the Premier League of Belize (PLB) closing season tournament over the weekend. The BDF marched over the Placencia Assassins 3-1 at the MCC Garden on Sunday afternoon, when Harrison Tasher scored the BDF’s 1st and 2nd goals in the 47th and 53rd minutes before Dalton Eiley pulled one back for the Placencia squad by converting a penalty in the 75th minute. Tasher next dealt to BDF midfielder Leon “Chow” Cadle who drilled Placencia’s goalie Elias Pelayo with a 3rd goal for the 3-1 win.

    SCA advances to football nationals
    The St. Catherine’s Academy girls will represent the Central Zone at the secondary school football championships to be hosted by St. John’s College at the MCC Garden on Friday and Saturday, February 19-20, after defending their city title as back-to-back champions, with back to back wins over the Gwen Lizarraga High School girls in the finals at the MCC Garden on Monday and Wednesday, February 8 and 10. On Wednesday’s Game 2, Gabriel Mendoza scored the winning goal for SCA’s 1-0 win. In Game 1, the SCA girls won 3-0 over Gwen Liz when Jodie Pott scored the 1st goal, and Jada Myvett scored a 2nd goal to lead 2-0 at the half. Renisha Martinez scored a 3rd goal after the break. The SCA girls had advanced to the finals by back to back wins in the semifinals over the Wesley College girls last Monday and Thursday.

    Kent Gabourel wins Weekend Warriors’ individual time trials
    Team Kulture Megabytes’ Kent “Bob” Gabourel won the Weekend Warriors Cycling Club’s individual time trials over 11.5-miles from Data Pro to the Hattieville Cemetery on the Burrell Boom – Hattieville bypass road on Sunday morning, February 7. A Division 1st Kent Gabourel – Kulture Megabytes (25:45) 2nd Daniel Cano – Team Santino’s (25:52) 3rd Warren Coye – Team Santino’s (26:55) 4th Robert Mariano – Team DigiCell 4G (27:09) 5th Isaiah Willacey – Team F.T. Williams (27:15) 6th Fitzgerald “Palas” Joseph – Lampaz (27:18)

    Hon. Landy Habet donates water coolers to schools
    Potable drinking water is a basic necessity but for many in rural communities, it is still not easily accessible. In Cayo North East, communities have been struggling to establish safe drinking water systems. Central Government has not looked at this issue as a priority, leaving communities to fend for themselves. In an effort to ensure that safe drinking water is available to the schools in the rural communities in Cayo North East, the PUP area representative Hon. Orlando “Landy” Habet donated a water dispenser and a 5-gallon of water to seven schools. On Tuesday, February 9, Hon. Habet visited the schools in Santa Familia, Billy white and Los Tambos. On Wednesday, February 10th, the area representative stopped at the schools in Esperanza Village, Duck Run 1, 2 and 3 villages. At each school, Hon. Habet handed over a water dispenser and a 5-gal of water to each classroom.

    PUP Reps pledge support at Unity Rally
    Neither the light rain nor very cool temperature kept over 1,500 supporters from attending the Unity Celebration held on Saturday, February 6th 2016 at the Muffles College Auditorium in Orange Walk Town. People’s United Party supporters have been energised since the national convention held in the city of Belmopan last Sunday, January 31st, which saw Orange Walk Central Area Representative Hon. John Briceño elected to lead the Party once more. As new Party Leader Hon. Briceño has made every effort to promote unity. He has met with key personalities in the Party such as former Party Leader and Freetown Area Representative Hon. Francis Fonseca, Lake Independence Area Representative Hon. Cordel Hyde, and Former Prime Minister and Fort George Area Representative Rt. Hon. Said Musa, to discuss a way forward in unity.

    DE-RISKING IT ALL – Belize faces worst banking crisis ever
    For many in the financial sector who are in the “know”, the idea of banks in Belize losing its corresponding relationship (de-risking) is extremely alarming. But for the most part the rest of Belize remains in a slumber regarding this subject matter. The simple truth so far is that most Belizeans know very little and have not been exposed directly to any changes in the way business is being conducted in Belize, which is primarily because there are still tenuous corresponding banking relationships that exist between Belize and the other small banks (banks in the US and other parts of the world). These corresponding banking relationships are expected to expire during the first quarter of 2016. The larger tier 1 banks have already severed relationships with banks in Belize. The first being the Belize Bank/Bank of America (BOA) relations and subsequently with other indigenous banks. This umbilical cut immediately and directly affected the existence of international banks, which many domestic banks had as subsidiaries. This forced a foreclosure of most of these international banks leaving many displaced employees and others without a job. While the loss of corresponding banking to some 80% of Belize’s banking sector is not the Armageddon, when and if it occurs, it is significant enough to make citizens feel like it is. Moody’s Investor Service, in a recent report, predicted that the full effect of the severing will be felt by mid 2016. That is when it is predicted all the relations will be severed, providing no arrangements can be brokered by the Government of Belize with these other smaller banks possible in New York. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, US officials maintain that the decisions of the US Banks to de-risk from Belize’s Banks were those of the individual banks and not any imposed instructions from the regulatory bodies.

    Fruta Bomba to close down
    Belizeans in the Corozal and Orange Walk District have received terrible news with the announcement that papaya companies, Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers, both subsidiaries of Brooks Tropicals, will be closing business in Belize. The company made the announcement this week, indicating that its 50 employees will have to find alternative jobs over the next few months. The northern districts are already struggling in a depressed economy.

    Murder at 69 Bar
    52 year old Zhi Jiang Zhang, a Chinese national who owns 69 Bar, was murdered on Saturday morning during an armed robbery of his business place along mile 52 in Teakettle Village on the George Price Highway. Police say an armed assailant entered the two-storey building and attacked the owner and his female employees in an attempt to steal the day’s proceeds. According to reports, around 2:00am on Saturday, February 6th, Zhang was inside the establishment picking up empty bottles when a man entered from a window in the upper flat. Rooms are in the upper flat, while the business is situated downstairs. The armed man held up Zhang, demanding that he hands over money. Zhang resisted and a physical confrontation ensued, with Zhang being stabbed multiple times. Zhang was stabbed seven times. The fatal wounds are believed to be injuries to his throat.

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Missing American found dead
    A missing American was found dead in the Tiger Sandy Bay area of Hattieville. Information reaching Breaking Belize News is that the American citizen that was reported missing yesterday evening was found dead sometime between the hours of 1 and 2 a.m. today. A […]

    Body of man found in Benque has been identified
    On Friday we reported on a male body discovered floating in a creek near the Mopan River in Benque Viejo Del Carmen. The body has been identified as Fernando Melendez, a native from Benque Viejo Town. Initial information reaching our newsroom is that Melendez […]

    Mazda truck stolen in Santa Cruz
    Information reaching Breaking Belize News is that Benque Viejo Police are currently working hand in hand with the Guatemala Police (PNC) investigating an armed robbery that occurred in the Santa Cruz Area. Initial information reaching our newsroom is that the culprits made good their escape […]

    Roaring Creek cops injured in traffic mishap
    Three police officers namely; constables Mark Rodriguez, Kenroy Pandy and Nadir Mendoza are today recuperating from various injuries sustained during a traffic mishap on Saturday. Breaking Belize News was made to understand that the officers were on mobile patrol, and upon receiving a call for assistance […]

    Collision causes panic for bus passengers
    A short while ago in Ontario Village, Cayo District, a collision between a bus and pickup truck left passengers shaken up but no-one was injured. The incident occurred while the pickup was attempting to overtake the bus and caused damages to the truck’s front portion. […]

    Honduras, El Salvador experience snow
    Low temperatures in Honduras caused by a mass of cold air that entered that country early Tuesday morning are allegedly leaving behind a dense layer of snow. The weather phenomenon was reported by various media in that country, including Televicentro HRN who reported that the snowfall […]

    Blogs

    Chili Beans
    In a large stock pot lightly brown ground beef, and drain if needed. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, diced tomatoes with chili peppers, tomato sauce, water, kidney beans, pinto beans, chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes and then serve.

    International Sourcesizz

    North Cobb H.S. student dies in Belize
    Cobb County parents and students are learning more about a high school student who died on a field trip in Central America. A district official confirmed North Cobb High School student Tomari Jackson died Saturday in Belize. The school district plans to release a statement Monday. We're told students and chaperons were in shallow water near a riverbank when Jackson disappeared. Search crews later found his body.

    New World Oil still to make progress in Belize
    New World Oil & Gas is reducing its cost base and chasing debts, but has failed to make progress with its Belize operation since October last year it said today. The company underwent significant change last year when acitivist shareholders called for an extraordinary general meeting which resulted in Adam Reynolds and Nicholas Lee being appointed to the board as directors whilst chief executive Peter Sztyk, was ousted. NWOGaction, the action group that requested the meeting and proposed the board changes, was led by Shareprophets’ writer Benjamin Turney, who was representing a group of around 46 New World Oil shareholders. New World claims it is owed EUR 1million from Al-Maraam Al-Ahliya Co for General Trading and Contracting following a failed deal last year. New World had signed a sales and purchase deal with the company to take a stake in Al-Maraam at a corporate level and made an initial payment before the deal fell through.

    North Cobb High School student died on field trip in Belize
    A North Cobb High School freshman on a field trip in Belize died Saturday, the Cobb School District reports. Tomari Aliijah Jackson was part of a group of 32 North Cobb High School students and six chaperones on the trip, an initiative of the school’s magnet program. The group arrived at the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize on Saturday. Following an afternoon hike, students and chaperones were in shallow water near a river bank when Jackson went missing. After a search by local authorities, Jackson was confirmed dead, the school district reports. Further details were not immediately available. School officials have been in contact with families of students on the trip and local authorities in Belize. Working in collaboration with the United States Embassy, travel arrangements have been made to return students and chaperones home. Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale offered his condolences to Jackson’s family on behalf of the district. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of this talented North Cobb High School scholar and musician,” Ragsdale said. “Our immediate priority at this time is caring for and supporting his family and all the students, families and school staff impacted by this tragic event.” The school district is on winter break. However, the district’s Prevention/Intervention Team will provide support to students and staff throughout the week. Additionally, counselors will be available when school opens on Feb. 22.

    Videos

  • Unbelizeable baby, 6min. Girls trip to Belize to start the year off right

  • Living in Rural Belize, 29min.

  • Utila / Caye Caulker ‘15, 4min. Honduras / Belize Diving / Snorkeling

  • Grackle chorus w/ rooster solo in Maya Center, Belize, 1min. @5 a.m. on an unsuspecting Sunday Shot from the balcony of Tutzil Nah Cottages, www.mayacenter.com Cool place for travelers who mean it when they say they want an authentic experience. Not an "ooh, look at all the culture" cruise ship pit stop.

  • Mex to Belize Run 2016, 21min. Playa del Carmen, MX to San Pedro, Belize.

  • Belize 2015, 40min.

  • Cave Tubing in Belize 02/09/15, 11min.

  • Belize scuba diving 2010 with Jerry Gentile pictures and video taken by Ron Siebert, 17min. This is a video I purchased from a diver and local videographer (Ron Siebert) who joined us on our dive in Belize in 2010.

  • BELIZE- Danny Possada- Scubadiving (BUCEO), 5min. Viaje a BELIZE, Buceo, SCUBADIVING, trip to Belize, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Island, DANNY POSSADA.

  • Caye Caulker, Belize // Champagne Roads, 3min. Snorkeling around the island of Caye Caulker in Belize. Filmed with a GoPro Hero 4 Silver.

  • Belize River Lodge (a flats fishing destination), 6.5min.

  • Belize - Cruising the New River HD (2016), 6min. The New River, also Rio Nuevo, is a river in northern Belize. As the longest river that is entirely confined to Belize, it drains primarily the eastern part of the Orange Walk District during its north-northeasterly course and empties into the Chetumal Bay. The river also forms the New River Lagoon, the largest body of fresh water in Belize, just east of the Maya temples of Lamanai. The New River is a habitat for numerous types of fish, birds, as well as crocodiles.

  • BELIZE 2016, 5min. Snorkeling/fishing/beaching in Placencia, Belize.

  • Lamanai, Belize - Mayan Ruins of Lamanai HD (2016), 4min. Lamanai, Belize - Mayan Ruins of Lamanai HD (2016)

  • Belize Zoo on a Budget, 6min.

  • Fishermen and Pelicans, Caye Caulker, Belize, 3min.

  • Aerial Tour of San Pedro, Belize including Boca Del Rio Area - True 4K Drone Footage 2016, 7.5min. See San Pedro Town in true high definition. DJI Inspire 4K drone footage on Ambergris Caye, Belize captured on a gorgeous sunny day. Amazing natural beauty and stunning clarity. Belize's #1 island in all it's glory.

  • M and M engineering (Belize), 11min.

    February 13, 2016

    I will be unable to do the daily news tomorrow, Sunday morning February 14. I will return on Monday morning.


    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, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    San Pedro Police Department holds business watch meeting
    The San Pedro Police formation held a business watch meeting on Tuesday, February 9th at the Lions Den. The purpose of the meeting was to have businesses of Southern Ambergris Caye sign up with the Police Department so they can be visited on a regular basis to help prevent and reduce crime. This will also enhance the level of security for the employees, residents and patrons of that area. Various members of the business community were invited to find out more about the program the police are doing for the island. Plans for the northern side of the island were also announced. Deputy Officer in Charge Henry Jemmott explained that so far the program has worked very well with the South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch, thus, they will like to expand the program in order to cover more area and have more businesses be a part of it. “By signing up to the program, we will have a more accurate monitoring of the areas we need to patrol. Again, we will increase the presence of police officers in these areas, which will guarantee the safety of everyone. Usually crime takes place when there is little or no police presence. But with these implementations, we are sure to thwart any possibilities of crime related incidents,” said Jemmott.

    Belize welcomes Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government
    Belize will host the 27th Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government on the 16 -17 February 2015. There will be an Opening Session on Monday 15 at which presentations will be made by host Prime Minister and incoming CARICOM Chairman Hon. Dean Barrow, outgoing CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Barbados, Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart and the CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. The CARICOM Heads will deliberate on a number of critical issues to the Region, including the threat from the Zika Virus, handling Climate Change, and correspondent banking and security matters. Ahead of the meeting, this newspaper has teamed up with the CARICOM Secretariat to provide an overview of CARICOM and the benefits its operations provide to the people of the Community, including Belizeans…

    UB and SJCJC Win National ATLIB Volleyball Tournament
    On Sunday, February 7th, the San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) hosted the Association of Tertiary Level Institution in Belize (ATLIB) National Volleyball Tournament. Held at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium, the sporting event saw the participation of four tertiary schools which included University of Belize (UB), Sacred Heart Junior College (SHJC), Saint John’s College Junior College (SJCJC), and San Pedro Junior College (SPJC). At the end UB male team took first place while SJCJC took first place in the female division. UB and SJCJC battled it off for the male championship, while fans of both teams roared in support from the bleachers. Only one could walk away with the championship, and it was the UB team who overcame SJCJC for the top prize. Despite the loss, there is always another time and next year, SPJC will have their opportunity again to compete for the coveted championship.

    SPSUN Facebook fans ‘LIKE’ our Valentine Poetry Winners
    Beginning on Tuesday, February 9th The Sun began posting poems on our Facebook page and readers were asked to ‘Like’ their favorite poems. Likes equaled votes, and were considered up to 11:30am on Thursday, February 11th when they were tallied. In all, the four poems that received the most Likes were chosen as the top contest winners. “Dear Doctor Love” composed by /s/ Overwhelmed (Luis Joel Gamez) earned 55 Likes, making the poem looking for romantic advice the top winner. In second place was “My Love for You” by Mark Cabrera with 46 Likes. Third place went to Jaime Bautista’s “Come to my Island my Valentine” with 34 Likes. Fourth place was awarded to Byron Manzanero for “El Amor de Mi Vida” with 24 Likes/

    SPHS Male Football Team are 2016 Northern Regional Champs
    The San Pedro High School (SPHS) Male Football team captured the Northern Regional Championship on Saturday, February 6th during the Northern High Schools (NSTA) Sports Football Regional Tournament 2016. Hosted by Escuela Secondaria Tecnica Mexico (ESTM), the tournament saw the participation of male and female football teams from Corozal Community College (CCC), SPHS, ESTM, Orange Walk Technical High School (OWTHS) and New Hope High School (NHHS). Even though the SPHS girls finished in third place, the SPHS boys managed to claim first in their division earning the right to represent the north at the National Secondary School Sport Association (NSSSA) Football Nationals 2016.

    FBI questions Amy Herbert for murder of Gregory Faull
    Amy Herbet EmshwillerAmerican National, Amy Herbet Emshwiller, has been detained for questioning in the investigation of the murder of Gregory Faull. Emshwiller was detained by the San Pedro Police on Northern Ambergris Caye on Wednesday, February 10th by request of Belize Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). The CIB has been working along with the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), who are still investigating Faull’s murder, which occurred on November 13, 2012. Emshwiller was escorted to Precinct Three in Belize City to be questioned by both CIB and FBI personnel. It is not yet known what her connection to the case is and police are not disclosing any further information on her detainment.

    Sirenalia’s Mermaids help raise funds for Ocean Academy
    The tales of the mythical mermaids came true on Saturday, February 6th in the Caye Caulker Village. Residents and visitors got to meet some mermaids, and for a donation towards Ocean Academy, they had their photo taken with a mermaid by a professional photographer. The mermaids are here in Belize as part of Sirenalia’s Tropical Retreat. Sirenalia is a mermaid production company based in Austin, Texas USA, which specializes in creating customizable and realistic silicone mermaid tails and accessories.

    Ambergris Today

    Island of Caye Caulker Boasting New Beaches
    The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), through its community based initiatives and responding to its stake holder needs, in this case the Caye Caulker Village Council and tourism stakeholders, embarked on a strategy to improve the public beaches of Caye Caulker. As a result, an “Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development of Caye Caulker” was completed in September 2015 and identified beaches as one of the development objectives of infrastructure improvement. This enhancement project fits the product development objectives laid out in the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (NSTMP) 2010.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    Empowering Present Generation for Belize’s Development Certification
    Exercises for 15 Teachers in the northern district of Corozal who have successfully completed training in Early Childhood Education will be held at 10 a.m. at Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports District Education Centre on Friday February 12, 2016. This means that these teachers are now competent with the skills and knowledge to significantly contribute in making a positive educational impact in nurturing the development of three and four year old pre- school children. The aim of the teachers training project is to ensure pre-schoolers have the opportunity to develop a healthy holistic child development socially, culturally, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and intellectually.

    Photos of the CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque's Visit to the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City

    CARNAVAL 2016 - BURNING OF DON JUAN CARNAVAL
    Every year the burning of Don Juan Carnaval takes place at Central Park after the 7:00 p.m. mass. Before burning Don Juan Carnaval, his will is read where he leaves all his riches and advise to the town of San Pedro. Don Juan Carnaval was a very wealthy man in San Pedro. Apart from being popular for his money, he was also popular for being the life of the party and a ladies man. Legend has it, that if Don Juan Carnaval does not get burnt, the town will be cursed with a year of bad luck. What do you think?

    Power interruption 7:00am to 4:00pm, Sunday, February 14, portion Corozal Town
    1st St N, 2nd St N, 1st St S, 2nd St S, 3rd St S, 4th St S, 5th St S, 7th St S, 8th St S, 1st Ave S, 5th Ave S, 6th Ave S, G St S, A St S, 8th Avenue, 9th Avenue, E St S, F St S, C St S, B St S, 9th St S, and 10th St S, Corozal Community College Road, Venezuela Site, Hermelinda Layout and Hall’s Layout. BEL to re-route high voltage lines in Corozal Town.

    SAN PEDRO Carnaval 2016

    Belize Red Cross Games Day Fundraiser
    Join us on Saturday, February 13th for a fun filled day of games, BBQ and fun, all while supporting the Red Cross! Saturday, February 13 at 12 PM, Coco Loco's Beach Bar On the beach, north of the bridge, 1st Bar North of the Bridge. We will be holding a special Cribbage tournament for Games Day. Instead of the usual double elimination tournament we hold every Monday which can take hours, we're holding a single elimination tournament. The buy-in is $20BZ and the winner will split the pot with the Red Cross! Sign up starts at noon with the tournament starting at 1:30pm.

    Secretary General’s Visit to Leo Bradley Library
    The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat Ambassador Irwin LaRocque visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday, February 11th, 2016 to officially unveil software, donated by the CARICOM Secretariat, for the visually-impaired. In 2015, the CARICOM Secretariat donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize National Library Service that would be available to the public. The Library located on Princess Margret Drive in Belize City was identified as the ideal location because of its proximity to several high schools, university and technical vocational institutions. It is also near to the Stella Maris School which caters to students with special needs.

    SPHS CAREER WEEK 2016 CLOSURE
    Miss Alexis Guerrero, counselor at San Pedro High School, organized Career Week for the school, where the students had the opportunity to listen to various speakers from our community. On Friday, the last day of Career Week, each class had to decorate their classroom and the students had to dress themselves of a career of their choice which was later on judged for extra points. After judging took place, all students gathered at the auditorium for a quick assembly. At the assembly, Miss Alexis welcomed everyone and expressed her gratitude to the speakers for their participation and everyone who was a part of it from the beginning to the end. Following Miss Alexis' address, Pastor Clive Welsh fromt he Lighthouse Christian Radio, introduced the guest speaker for the event, visiting all the way from Los Angelas, USA, Mr. Eddie Kaulukukui, who is currently an actor, writer and producer in the US. Mr. Eddie was the star actor for Disneyland's Aladdin the Musical in LA. During his speech, Mr. Eddie shared a few personal experiences on how he achieved being successful in his career after having to go through many obstacles. Mr. Eddie concluded by rephrasing the theme of this year's career week, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams", and he stated, to achieve one's dream one must believe in them.

    Corozal - BIG Youth Rally & Parade
    Friday, February 19th, 2016. Parade will start at 8:00 a.m. from Central Park and will end with a big Rally at the Andres Campos Civic Center. Meet your District Youth Council Candidates that day! Live performances by Andidre Di Artist, Missy B Versatile and presentations by Ultimate Saphire Dance Group! Everyone is invited to parade with us and join us at the rally!!!

    Ascenthium at Bamboo Bar
    It's been a week since Ascenthium rocked Bamboo Bar. Everyone is ready for more. "Ascenthium rocked the house on Friday night. The Bamboo Bar was the place to be for some great rock and roll. They played 3 of their new songs too."

    Have a great idea for a TV or Web series set in Belize?
    Prepare your best pitch and submit it to fmau@nichbelize.org We want to help you make it a reality.

    Consular Officer Jennifer Klarman stops by Seine Bight Community Center Library
    Consular Officer Jennifer Klarman recently had the opportunity to stop by the library at the Seine Bight Community Center and donate a few books on behalf of Ambassador Moreno and his wife. The last time we visited the library they were just getting setup, but now they have things up and running nicely. The community center is a great resource for the local children in the area, and we applaud their efforts to promote education and access to learning through the library. Keep up the great work!

    Flores de Carnaval

    Channel 7

    Santander to SSB: "Keep Yu Money!"
    The 12 million dollar loan from the Social Security Board to the Santander group - it's become a political piñata this week -with everyone taking a swing at the controversial investment. Well - the doubters won out, and Santander backed out, announcing today: "thanks, but no thanks" - they won't be taking the loan because of the political controversy. Chief Financial Officer Andres Ayau explained his company's aversion to political controversy at a Press Conference at the Biltmore this morning:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "It's sad enough to say that this issue was politicized and it's been a negative connotation and due to this negative media coverage we decided to actually use another lender, an international lender to cover that participation. That being said, we would like to leave the door open for Social Security Board and we are announcing here that we are doing and additional investment around this project for expansion of the factory and the sugarcane fields of 15 million US dollars and we continue our invitation to Social Security to participate in that's transaction. We hope that these issues can go beyond the politics around it and that we can see that these are safe and sound transactions. We will apply again for those funds. Like I say, we remain committed to offering these returns. I think it's a sound investment. I think it's something that the public and Social Security should take a very close look at."

    Santander Soon Ready To Crush Cane
    And they want that second look taken because they say the project will soon prove its value. Ayau says they will be ready to start crushing cane by early March:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "At this point our project is ready. We are already in the commissioning phase of the project and we expect to begin crushing sugar cane within the next 3 weeks. That being said any participant to this loan at this point in time sees their risk significantly reduced. We expect if the weather allows for us to begin the crushing season within the next 3 weeks, the cane fields are there." "This year we have a partial harvest that serves simply to test the factory and to make sure that we can process correctly. Next year we will have full harvest and we expect to crush 800,000 tons of sugar cane - produce about 80,000 tons of sugar and about 50,000 tons of molasses and put energy into the grid."

    Santander Still Courting Social Security
    The total investment is 150 million US dollars - and Ayau says one third is financed locally, one third is financed internationally, and the other third is an equity investment. He explains why they turned to Social Security to be part of the financing equation:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "We thought it would be a good thing effort to invite Social Security Board to participate. Why? Because Social Security have returns for it invertors we can do and 3% currently and this loan offers a return of 7% which is more than twice what you are currently getting and exceeds inflation cost which are not being covered by the current returns you are getting. There was a really strict due diligence done on this project. We had international consulting companies come and do technical financial and environmental and social reports for the loan and all consultants recommended this investments to the banks and to the entities that were reviewing this. It's a world class consultants that come all the way from the Unites States and from England that review this project and determined it as a safe investment. So we would like to make clear that a lot of money from outside has come in and that its customary in these type of transactions to bring in local lenders to provide sort of local validation to the project in this type of transactions."

    Santander Not Guatemalan Says CFO
    But one of the reasons for the public pushback against the Social Security investment in Santander is because Santander is seen publicly as a Guatemalan company. Ayau says yes there are Guatemalan principals, but that is among many others:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "Yes there are some Guatemalan investors. We have people from Spain. We have people from the United States. We have people from Dominican Republic and I think we really need to get over this. Our commitment is firm with this country. We've been here for 4 years. Some of the investors actually live in Belize. We believe we are putting our money in a good place. We believe there is a lot of good things to come and if we just work together, there is great things we can accomplished."

    Don't Confuse The Cane Company And The European Bank
    And one more public misperception is that this Santander Group is synonymous with, or a subsidiary of the European Santander Bank. Ayau says there's no relationship:... Andres Ayau, CFO - Santander Group: "The Santander Sugar Group is in no way affiliated or related to the Santander Financial Group from Spain. None of our investors and none of our workers have any relation to the Santander Financial Group. These are separate entities and the reason for the name of Santander Sugar is because the investors, some of the investors are originally are from the Santander region in Spain and that's why they name the group this way."

    Zika Samples Still Not Returned
    The results of the 2 remaining Zika tests haven't been sent back to Belize as yet. On Tuesday at the Zika awareness meeting Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero told us they have sent 3 samples to CARPHA - 1 has returned negative for Zika, and the other two were expected back today. But it didn't come back yet, and Manzanero told us that they hope to get the results on Monday because CARPHA, The Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad is overwhelmed with work. We will keep following up.

    The Chamber Versus Charles
    The rice war rages on tonight, but right now it's more like a war of words. The Chamber of Commerce today blasted Jack Charles for alleging aflatoxin contamination in a press release, which says, quote: "Issuing such an inflammatory report on the rice industry is irresponsible and clearly intended to force an opening for rice importation." The Chamber adds, quote, "the tests…carried out on Belizean rice samples found aflatoxins to be well within (safe) limits and therefore safe for consumption." And here's where they wound up on Charles, saying, quote: "These accusations are clearly without merit, and obviously meant to cause consumer panic without any care for potential damage to the Belizean economy, the reputation of the rice industry or BAHA's institutional reputation…Belizean producers who contribute to our economy should not find themselves disparaged by spurious allegations made purely for competitive gain." Now, we should note that the rice producers are leading members of the Chamber.

    Another Accused of Being A Tourist Terrorizing Pirate
    One month ago, a group of tourists were terrorized when pirates boarded their catamaran and robbed and assaulted them. One man, Bradwick Lino was already charged, and now police have charged another. He is 20 year old Jason Emmanuel Cortez whose fingerprints were allegedly found which link him to the high seas heist. Both he and Lino were today charged for aggravated burglary. The allegation is that on January 13, 2016, the Catamaran was anchored near Middle Long Caye when he and Lino boarded the vessel armed with a gun and stole a whole bunch of stuff, including a $10,000 US dollar pearl necklace, 15 bank and credit cards, passports, assorted electronics and personal items, two thousand dollars in US currency, and even the ice chest with beers and the outboard engine. Cortez pleaded not guilty before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Fraser. He told the court that his friend Bradwick Lino had already pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods for the pair of binoculars and the hard drives found at Cortez's home. He said he was at work when he learned that his home was searched by police.

    The Craft Of Customs
    Today the Customs and Excise Department held a closing ceremony after a week-long training. The main focus of the training was to re-evaluate the entire customs structure at all levels and develop a strategic plan. This plan will address human resource constraints and other issues in the organization. The coordinators told us how this training will improve the effectiveness of customs officers which will in turn enhance trade and border protection. Another major issue addressed at the workshop is contraband and illegal cross border trade. We report countless times on contraband products being smuggled into Belize through Mexico, not to mention the lucrative trade in drugs between Mexico and Belize. Comptroller of Customs and Excise Victor Recinos told us how challenging it is to track and monitor these types of illegal trade. He also discussed the need to bring on more officers to deal with this issue. The new plan will run from 2016 -2019. During this time there will be a number of workshops and training sessions for all 200 employees in the organization.

    Court Says Baby Nina Must Go With Guatemalan Father
    After three months of intense legal battling before the Belize Family Court to maintain the custody of Baby Nina, today family court magistrate Dale Cayetano ruled that the transportation of the 2 year old child from Guatemala to Belize was illegal and as a result she will have to be taken back to Guatemala. After an eight hour session that lasted all day, the mother of the child Ana Liz Guitterrez came out distraught by the ruling today. She spoke to us in tears- her worst fears now a reality. Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez- Mother: "Basically the resolution made today was that Nina would be returned." Mike Rudon, Ch5: "I know this is the last thing you wanted to hear." Ana Liz Perez Gutierrez- Mother: "Of course; I mean it's been three months of battle and ultimately we provided a very strong case. I must admit that my lawyer did a very good job at the end. At the end, it was the judge who needed to use his discretion and he believed that the removal was wrongful and so as a result, made the decision to have her returned. At this point, I've spoken to Nina's father and we are trying to do things now in good grounds for the best thing for Nina."

    Accused Of Biting A Cop
    A 28 year old woman was taken before the judge today because she was caught with weed - but also because she is accused of biting police during the search. Tanisha McKoy was arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers in Court #3 where she pleaded not guilty to possession of controlled drugs, and wounding a policeman. PC Cruz Garcia says that McKoy bit him on the finger during a search. She was granted bail of $800 dollars which she met by noon today. She is due back in Court #3 on May 13, 2016. Possession is considered a minor offence, but not so for wounding which carries a sentence of 7 years.

    Tertiary Level Schools Up For Debate
    The Social Security debate series travelled to Saint John's Juniour College today. The regional debate competition is going all across the country - and today it featured the UWI Open Campus students against the SJC Sixth Formers. They debated the subject of whether "birthright citizenship" in the US should be abandoned. Social Security's Communications Officer told us more:... Gayle Ozaeta, Communications Officer, SSB: "The debate is a part of our social and cooperate responsibility and this debate came about as a result of engaging our communities which is a part of our transformation plan and we thought of using this sector of society who are young and we want to cultivate brighter minds and make an informed Belize." Martha Mejia, Speakers: "The debate topic was about birthright citizenship. The topic was be it resolve that birthright citizenship be abolished in the United States of America. So you could either agree or disagree with that. They don't tell us what topic you get to choose. You find out in the mornings. So we got the negative stands - that it should not be abolished. We researched a lot and just yesterday we were in the chapel, we were rebutting the rebuttals - we try to find every single hole in every single argument. It was a lot of work. But I love my team and I believe we worked hard. It's very important, because it gives awareness to everyone and before probably people dent think about things like these, but they do affect society and they do affect Belize. They do affect other countries and to actually participate in a debate to find out different stances that someone can take on a topic - it's great."

    Two New Lawyers
    Today, UDP Minister Anthony "Boots" Martinez was at Court. No… he's not suing any one, and neither is he being sued. He was there to see his daughter, Stacy Martinez, sworn in as a new attorney before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. As you would expect, it is a moment of great pride for the Martinez family, and we spoke with the father and daughter outside of court, right after Stacy Martinez was allowed to put on her attorney's robes for the first time. Here's what they told us: Also called to the bar today was Orson Elrington, better known as "O. J. If you've been watching the UDP friendly Talk Show, "Lik Road", which airs right here on Wednesday nights, you may have noticed that Elrington has joined as a sort of regular co-host. Today, after he took the oath of his profession, we spoke with him about the launch of his new career. Here's what he told us about being called to the Bar:

    Yapp comes Back To Belize To Come Clean
    The British High Commissioner - unless you move in diplomatic circles - you probably don't even know who the current one is. But, if you know any one high commissioner, it's probably John Yapp. And that's because he was accused of touching a high society woman's backside while he was serving as High Commissioner in 2008. That allegation destroyed the career diplomat's professional reputation - and he ended up suing the British Foreign Service, basically for believing the spurious complaint. This week he is back in Belize and for the first time he's talking about the bogus allegation against him. You'll see the full interview on Monday - but here's a brief preview of what he told Jules Vasquez: John Yapp, Former British High Commissioner to Belize "And so I have been completely vindicated of all the allegations - all the charges. My name, which is what I set out to do, my name has been cleared and that I think is really what I wanted and it says everything I believe that needs to be said about this whole sorry episode."

    Channel 5

    Santander Walks Away from S.S.B. Loan
    There was a huge outcry from the public, the unions, the People’s United Party, the Belize Progressive Party about a loan of twelve million dollars to the foreign owned Santander [...]

    C.F.O. Says Investment is Low-Risk…High-Return
    Ayau spent the first part of the conference outlining the investor structure of the loan, and also the reasons why he says any investment in the project is a sure [...]

    Ayau Claims Santander Has Already Pumped Millions into Belizean Economy
    Ayau says that the Santander Group has already made a significant, concrete on the ground investment in Belize – in money spent, in taxes paid, in employment and also in [...]

    Has the Santander Loan Issue Been Unfairly Politicized?
    Ayau says the press conference was deemed necessary because of the public outcry, much of which he says has been based on inaccurate information. The Santander Rep felt that the [...]

    Jack Charles Fires Back at Bureau of Standards
    The Bureau of Standards responded this week to rice importer Jack Charles who announced that he has tested three types of local rice at a U.S. laboratory and results show [...]

    Chamber Condemns Charles’ Actions
    In the ongoing saga, rice producers have said that Jack Charles has it all wrong. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry today took a stand, and a very strong [...]

    Baby Nina Will Return to Guatemala
    This morning, there was heavy Police presence at the Family Court, with senior officers, Special Branch personnel and uniformed cops manning the perimeter of the building. It’s the type of [...]

    Former Girlfriend of John McAfee Detained For Questioning in Faull Murder
    U.S. national Gregory Faull was murdered at his home in San Pedro, back in 2012. His neighbour John McAfee, the US anti-virus founder millionaire, was considered a person of interest [...]

    Darrel Mayen Awaits Sentencing in Attempted Murder Conviction
    Twenty-one year old Darrel Mayen is awaiting sentencing for attempted murder after he was found guilty of the charge in a trial by judge alone. Justice Troadio Gonzalez has deferred [...]

    Jason Cortez Charged for Aggravated Burglary
    After more than a month of intensive investigating and various visits to a catamaran that was robbed and burglarized on Middle Caye back in mid January of this year, police have [...]

    High Level Discussions on Climate Change Continue
    Climate change experts from around the Caribbean region continued a two-day conference in Belize City today. At the heart of the discussions was the COP 21 Agreement reached in Paris [...]

    Harpy Employee Recounts Ordeal at Hands of Fake Policeman
    On Thursday, Police issued an advisory warning the public to be aware of persons purporting to be Police officers. That advisory is a result of two incidents on Tuesday. In [...]

    Evonne Hendy Was Fired by Harpy Security
    While Hendy was held with a knife at her throat, her family was threatened. But she has been forced to suffer another indignity. On Thursday, she was called into the [...]

    Senior Customs Officers Plan Human Resource Development
    Last week Wednesday, the Customs Department and the Financial Intelligence Unit signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen domestic cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorism. It allows [...]

    Customs Lacks Resources to Adequately Tackle Contraband Smuggling
    According to Customs Comptroller Victor Recinos, the mandate of the Customs Department is wide and with proper investment and structures in place, the department and its officers will be more [...]

    What Are Your Plans for Valentine Day?
    Love and romance are in the air as this Sunday will be celebrated as Valentine’s Day.  Today, we took to the streets to get a sense of how Belizeans will [...]

    LOVE FM

    Santander Pulls Loan Application from SSB
    This morning the Chief Financial Officer for the Santander Sugar Group, Andres Ayau (A-YO) announced that Santander is no longer interested in the twelve million dollar loan from the Social Security Board. Since Love News broke the story that SSB had agreed to lend Santander the twelve million dollars million at an interest rate of […]

    Santander Prepares to Export Sugar in EU
    In less than a month, Santander Sugar Group is expected to officially commence the production of sugar for export as explained by the company’s CFO, Andres Ayau. Ayau told the media they already have orders to exports sugars to the European market.

    Finance Officer at Santander Says Loan Risk was Minimal
    As we mentioned, since the news broke that SSB will be facilitated Santander with a twelve million dollar loan, several entities voiced their displeasure. The National Trade Union Congress of Belize, NTUCB, The People’s United Party, and the Belize Progressive party among others have all said no to the loan citing several reasons. One of […]

    Chamber Says Chawla’s Allegations are Without Merit
    Up until Wednesday there was a lull in the rice saga involving businessman, Jitandra Chawla. That silence came after the courts ruled in favor of the local rice producers and ordered that he return his containers of Guyanese rice thus taking it out of the country. Chawla’s silence, however, was not a sign of resignation […]

    Chawla Challenges Belize Bureau of Standards
    For his part Chawla has kept up the fight. He fired yet another release in response to the Belize Bureau of Standards. He says, in part, quote, “With reference to the press release from the Belize Bureau of Standards: Since rice is a staple food for majority of Belizeans, occurrence of aflatoxins as contaminants should […]

    COP21 Outcomes Discussed in Regional Meeting in Belize
    A two day regional meeting concluded today in Belize where CARICOM Ministers responsible for climate change discussed, reviewed and analyzed the outcomes of the 21st Conference of the Parties that produced the Paris Agreement. In the Paris Agreement, countries such as Belize agreed to limit global warming to as far as two degrees Celsius in […]

    New Lead in 2012 Murder of Gregory Faull?
    US National, Gregory Faull, was murdered on Ambergris Caye in November of 2012. His murder then took a sensational turn when businessman, John McAfee was accused of the crime. McAfee was never detained by Belize Police as he fled the country. Since then, no one has been arrested for Faul’s murder. News coming out from […]

    World Customs Ends Working Mission with Belize
    Customs experts from the World Customs Organization have been in Belize since Monday on a working mission to assist the Customs and Excise department with creating a human resource strategy. According to Comptroller of Customs and Excise, Victor Recinos, for the entire week, Customs top management have been participating in the workshop to identify key […]

    High School Student Injured in Road Accident
    A high school student is hospitalized after being knocked down in western Belize. Fem Cruz has the story.

    CARICOM’s Sec Gen Unveils Software for Visually Impaired in Belize
    As Belize prepares to host the Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads on the Placencia Peninsula, the Secretary General of CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has been doing his rounds at various points in the country. One of his recent visits was to the Belize National Library Service yesterday. During that visit Ambassador LaRocque officially unveiled […]

    PlusTV

    Robbers dressed as cops hit businesses in Belize City
    There have been two disturbing reports of robberies in Belize City. While, robberies are common enough in Belize City, these ones are particularly disturbing, prompting police to issue a public advisory for business establishments to be careful. That’s because, within the last 24 hours, there have b...

    Man found guilty of attempted murder
    Twenty-one year old Darrel Mayen, charged with attempted murder, was found guilty of the charge today by Justice John Gonzalez in a trial that was without jury. Justice Gonzalez has deferred sentencing until Friday, February 19, in order to give Mayen’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, time to prepare...

    Jury convicts grandmother of trafficking a 15 year old girl
    A nine-member jury needed just under an hour and a half on Wednesday night to convict 64 year old Estella Gonzalez of Mile 10, George Price Highway, of one count of trafficking in persons. Now, the owner of Temptation Bar could face anywhere from a fine to jail time when Supreme Court Justice Adolph...

    Two men arrested for large quantity of drugs
    Yesterday we told you about the huge drug bust police made while conducting a checkpoint in Camalote Village. Today, police say they have officially arrested and charged the two men involved. They are 21-year-old Travis Sutherland of Georgeville and 48-year-old Anthony August of Santa Elena. Yeste...

    Police investigate murder of man found in orchard
    Police in the south are investigating the murder of 30 year old Jose Pedro Menjivar Murcia . Murcia was found in an orchard near miles 15 and 16 on the Southern Highway January 29th. He was unconscious at the time and it appeared that he was hit several times in the head with some blunt instrument. ...

    PUP comments on Santender SSB loan proposal
    There has been much discussion regarding Guatemalan company Santender’s request to borrow some 12 million dollars from the Belizean Social Security Board. It has caused quite a heated discussion on the talk show circuits and today, the People’s United Party joined its voice of concern saying that “...

    Jack Charles says Belizeans should demand test results
    Yesterday we told you about Jack Charles’ press release where copies of lab test reports were furnished the media. Those lab reports indicated, the Aflatoxin levels of local rice which Charles says indicated levels higher than the standards set by the Bureau of Standards. The Belize Bureau of Standa...

    The Reporter

    CARICOM Sec. Gen. unveils equipment donated to Leo Bradley library
    The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, on Thursday, officially unveiled equipment which the CARICOM Secretariat had previously donated to the Belize National Library Service for the visually-impaired. The CARICOM Secretariat had donated and installed software for the visually-impaired at the Belize […]

    Santander withdraws loan application from SSB
    The Santander sugar group, which had sought a $12 million loan from the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) has withdrawn that loan application and has sought getting the loan from an international bank. This follows objections from the opposition Peoples United Party (PUP) and other […]

    “De-risking”: a global phenomenon (Part 1)
    There are few issues that one could say register on the economic Richter scale more significantly than one that could potentially cripple or disable a country’s ability to process payments across international borders. Fundamentally, any open economy, including Belize, needs to be able to send or receive money from abroad […]

    Expectant mother and child survive traffic accident
    A Hattiville resident, who is nine months pregnant, survived a road traffic accident on the Haulover Bridge this week. Paramedics took 37-year-old Raquel Burke to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) on Wednesday evening, after her red Nissan X Terra SUV, crashed head first into a dump […]

    Ministry of Health on Zika prevention drive
    Top ranking officials in the Ministry of Health met this week to discuss a national action plan for preventing and minimizing Zika virus infections in Belize. The officials met at the inspiration Center on Tuesday to discuss the roles of each arm of the ministry in the […]

    KHMH to increase clinic fees
    The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) announced this week that patients wishing to access elective clinic services will have to pay more as of February 15. Norman Augustine Jr., director of finance of the KHMH, explained on Wednesday that the new fee will increase elective […]

    World Bank lowers 2016 forecast for crude prices
    The price of crude oil in 2016 will fall significantly, based on a forecast by the World Bank, which places these prices at around US $37 per barrel in its latest Commodity Markets Outlook report. This represents a sharp fall from its October 2015 projection, […]

    Sale of unlabeled local rice for more than 90 cents is illegal, says BBS official
    The sale of unlabeled, retail rice is illegal and should be something of the past, says Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards, Jose Trejo, despite reports to the contrary. Reports are that some merchants and market vendors are still selling locally produced rice in […]

    Credentials for Haitian President
    Ambassador of Belize to Mexico, Oliver Del Cid, presented his letter of credence to the President of the Republic of Haiti at the National Palace this week. Del Cid met with Haitian President, Michel Martelly to present his credentials in a ceremony that took place […]

    Honduran busted with weed pleaded guilty, regional gang related
    A Honduran national, Orbin Lenin Reyes, 25, was busted this weekend by Ladyville police with more than 16 pounds of Oaxaca marijuana at a bus shed on the Philip Goldson highway. According to police, Reyes was detained around 11:43 a.m. at mile 10 on the […]

    Chinese businessman murdered in Teakettle
    Belmopan police have detained one suspect and are seeking another in connection with the nation’s 16th murder, which occurred after 1:00 a.m. on Saturday at a bar in Teakettle, Cayo and claimed the life of a Chinese businessman. The incident took place at 69 Bar, […]

    2 tourists robbed at gun point, one man shot; one remanded
    Two Canadian tourists, Steven Temple, 75, and Cynthia Fredrick, 65, were robbed at gun point while one man was shot at the Tropical Education Center on mile 29 of the George Price Highway last Sunday. Adolphus Palacio, 21, has since been charged and remanded to the […]

    Woman reported missing found dead
    A Guatemalan woman reported missing by her son on January 18 was found dead in Dangriga on Tuesday. Dangriga police are asking public assistance to solve the mysterious case leading to the death of Lydia Garcia Giron, 39, who had been missing for almost a […]

    SSB bombarded over $12M loan to Santander Group
    Social Security Board (SSB) Chairman Doug Singh has been quick to point out that while the SSB approved a loan of BZD $12 million to the Santander Group on January 28th, the money has not been disbursed just yet. That may be a good thing, since public outcry against the […]

    Test result confirms death by H3N2 influenza
    One of three test results from samples sent abroad for in- depth analysis after several patients died unexpectedly from flu-like symptoms, has confirmed that one victim died from complications associated with the H3N2 strain of influenza (flu). The test result, which was sent to the […]

    Yarborough renovation just in time for Ashcroft cruise port
    Mayor Darrell Bradley stated this week that the renovations planned for the Yarborough area are in line with plans to build a cruise port in the area as outlined by the Belize City Master Plan.In an exclusive sit-down with the Reporter, Bradley said while the renovation project isn’t a pre-empting of Ashcroft’s project, the two are indirectly related because the Master Plan that was done years ago, and later adopted by CitCo, foresaw the need for a city cruise ship port.“I will make this point resounding…the Master Plan which was done six years ago mentioned an onshore port facility in exactly the same place it is,” he said. He added though that he has had no discussions with anyone, related to the proposed cruise facility at the Port of Belize. […]

    Fruta Bomba closes shop; 250 workers laid off
    After two decades of producing and packaging papayas for export, Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers are closing shop permanently. Chief Executive Officer of Brooks Tropicals, the parent company of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers, Greg L. Smith said via press release: “After 22 years operating in the Central […]

    Rice gets no rest!
    Round two of the rice war between businessman Jack Charles (Jitendra Chawla) and the Ministry of Agriculture took a different form on Wednesday afternoon when Charles issued a press release, charging that locally-produced rice was, in essence, unsafe for consumption. The release succeeded a letter, […]

    Citco’s hands tied, says Mayor
    Without approval from Central Government, the Belize City Council will not be able to complete many of its infrastructure projects during this term, Mayor Darrell Bradley told the Reporter this week. Bradley, in an exclusive sit-down with the Reporter, explained that a clause in the […]

    Grans convicted of human trafficking! 15-year-old used as prostitute for profit
    Promising work at a salon, 64-year-old Estella Gonzalez, escorted a 15-year-old female to Belize from Honduras in August of 2014. But instead of salon work, the minor found herself at Gonzalez’s mercy and working as an entertainer and prostitute at Temptation Bar. Gonzalez, currently detained […]

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Jason Cortez charged with Middle Long Caye burglary
    Last month, 20 year old Jason Cortez and 22 year old Bradwick Lino were separately charged with handling stolen goods in relation to the aggravated burglary on Middle Long Caye, where a docked catamaran was broken into. Police have now directly linked the two young […]

    GOB meets with Ports Investments; cruise port project may be dead
    The Government of Belize has confirmed that it held what is being called “an exploratory conversation” between a group of representatives of the Government and representatives of Ports Investments Limited. In response to a text message, CEO in the Office of the Prime Minister Audrey […]

    Male person found floating in the Mopan River
    Police from Benque Viejo Del Carmen are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a male body floating in the Mopan River a little after 4:00 this afternoon. At this time the body has been identified but the name has not been released until […]

    CARICOM SecGen visits Belize
    Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque visited the Belize National Library Service on Thursday. The purpose of his visit was to officially unveil software that was donated by the CARICOM Secretariat to Belize that is to be used by visually impaired children […]

    McAfee ex-girlfriend detained by police in Greg Faull murder investigation
    Gregory Viant Faull, an American national, was killed more than three years ago on November 13, 2012. For most of the weeks immediately following his death, Belize Police focused their attention on anti-virus computer pioneer John McAfee, who was Faull’s neighbour, fled the country after […]

    Traffic Mishap on the Yo Creek Road, Orange Walk
    Information reaching our newsroom is that just before midday, Orange Walk Police responded to a traffic mishap on the San Antonio Road, also known as the Yo Creek Road in the municipality. Information indicates that the driver of the green Mazda pickup truck lost control […]

    Santander Sugar Group withdraws loan request from SSB; project is “ready to go”
    The Chief Financial Officer of the Santander Sugar Group, Andres Ayau, today addressed a press conference in which he announced that the group has formally withdrawn its offer for a $12 million loan from the Social Security Board (SSB). The Group, based in Guatemala […]

    Corozal teachers receive early childhood training
    Earlier today, 15 teachers in Corozal received Early Childhood Education certificates at that district’s Education Centre, after completing a training that will make them competent with skills and knowledge to positively impact three and four year old pre-schoolers. A press release from the Ministry […]

    Showers increase over the weekend
    A northeasterly airflow over the area will support relatively moist conditions today. The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mostly cloudy skies today with some periods of light rain mainly along the coast and in the South. Skies will be partly cloudy tonight […]

    Blogs

    Sweet Corn Bread Pudding
    Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Sweat onions with butter and herbs in an oven safe skillet until translucent. Combine corn, cream, eggs, baking powder, cornmeal, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add cubed bread and fold to combine. Pour batter into skillet, right on top of the onion mixture. Bake 50 minutes, or until set. Cool slightly before serving.

    Sweet Potato Cornbread
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, buttermilk, honey and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into a cast-iron skillet; use a spatula to smooth to an even layer if needed. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Serve the cornbread in the skillet.

    Atlantic CEO Outlook 2016
    Over the past six months, Atlantic International Bank Ltd. has faced many challenges in the Banking Industry. With the onset of de-risking by the larger US Banks, AIBL faced significant correspondent banking challenges, but we persevered and we continue to make significant progress. We remain strong and resilient as we continue to effectively adjust to the new banking landscape. We now have the business acumen to overcome future difficulties with confidence and we will continue to hold on to the values that have made us who we are while instituting improved strategies for the growth and development of the company and its stakeholders. In 2015, AIBL embarked on a project to create a new 5 year strategic plan. We have been successful in creating our strategic plan and we are currently in the execution phase. Our goal is to not only empower our staff but also to improve our processes and services to become a better bank for you. Several key projects have begun, projects that will bring about changes within the second half of this year. These projects are just a few of the initiatives in our strategy plan that will help us meet our goal of being a great bank, different from the ordinary.

    Fundraising Hearts for San Pedro Red Cross
    Coco Loco’s Beach Bar owner Carmen Arenal approached one of the Red Cross Volunteers to ask if she could do a fundraiser for the Branch. The request was answered with a resounding “yes of course” from the Branch Coordinator after consulting with the Branch Board. Tomorrow, February 13, 2016 is the first of 2 “Valentines” Fundraisers. It will be a “Games Day & BBQ” featuring Cribbage and Cornhole. BBQ Plate is $10.00 and will be available around noon. If having one establishment asking if they could do a fundraiser for The Red Cross wasn’t enough, Stella’s Smile asked me about doing one as well. Because the 13th was already booked we opted for Sunday, which is actually Valentines day. Between 8AM and 2PM Stella’s Smile will serve their famous crepe and bottomless mimosa brunch! For $2.00, DJ Matt Hoy will play your special love song, and Stella’s will match that amount for a contribution the Belize Red Cross San Pedro Branch

    International Sourcesizz

    Why Belize Should Be Your Next Winter Getaway
    “But where exactly is Belize?” This is one of the most common questions I receive when telling people about my recent adventure in Central America. Belize, a tiny but diverse country of 350,000 inhabitants, is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its population number is so low that it’s quite normal to be the only car on the road and to rarely even see a traffic light. One of the most fascinating aspects of Belize’s low head count is the diversity and rich cultural heritage of its citizens. While the official first language is English, Creole, Spanish, and even Mandarin are widely spoken. I was quickly corrected when greeting my driver with “hola, como estas?” He assertively said he was more comfortable with English. I knew in that moment that this was going to be an interesting ride. We embarked on a lively journey to Gaia Riverlodge, where I would be experiencing beautiful seclusion, tradition, and adventure the Belizean way. Gaia is completely off the grid, and although the three-hour ride may seem like a long stretch for some, you won’t feel the time pass. Yes, it does get bumpy, but seasoned travelers know that nothing really worth seeing comes that easily. Gaia’s drivers are knowledgeable and always keen to share their local history. I probably learned more on this ride than I did the whole time I was in school.

    Belize Has a New Beach
    Following the successful completion of a series of community-based initiatives, Caye Caulker has a new beach. After completing its Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development of Caye Caulker in September 2015, The Belize Tourism Board identified beaches as one of the development objectives of infrastructure improvement. A total of 1,883 linear feet of the beach was reclaimed, with widths varying from 70 to 118 feet in areas between Sobre las Olas to Rainbow Restaurant, and widths varying from 40 to 60 feet in area between Blue Island pier to Len’s Guest House. The reclamation works will soon be complemented by the establishment of an improved craft center for local artisans in Caye Caulker.

    Waltham Voices: The power of crossing borders
    This February school break, I will be leading a group of Brandeis University students on a service trip to Belize. Together with the help of Hand in Hand Ministries, we will build a home for a family in need. My most powerful and formative experiences in life – personally, spiritually, and vocationally – were times I crossed borders. Borders can be geographical, but also cultural, religious, ethnic, political, and economic. The most powerful border-crossing experience of my life was when I served as a Jesuit volunteer in Belize and Haiti between 2001 and 2004. The Jesuit Volunteers half-joke that those who enter into this immersion program of community, spirituality, simple-living, and justice-seeking (the four Jesuit Volunteer components) are “ruined for life.” In high school and college, I traveled annually to a work camp in West Virginia with the goal of making homes warm, safe, and dry. This camp opened my young, naive mind to new realities. One of my most powerful learning experiences in those young years was: “Wow, these people have so little, yet they are so grateful.”

    Caribbean losing US tourists as Zika fears spread, poll reveals
    The Zika virus is discouraging increasing numbers of Americans from travelling to the Caribbean and Latin America, with 41 percent of those aware of the disease saying they are less likely to take such a trip, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. The poll is the latest sign that the virus — which is thought to be linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with brain damage and unusually small heads — could negatively impact tourism in the Caribbean. Airlines and cruise ship operators have yet to report Zika-related drops in bookings, and analysts have downplayed the impact that pregnant women will have on the travel industry. But awareness of the mosquito-borne virus has surged to nearly two-thirds of Americans, according to the poll of 1,595 adults in the United States conducted February 1-5, CNBC reports. That compares with 45 percent who had heard of Zika in a Reuters/Ipsos poll from late last month. In the latest poll, of those aware of the virus, 41 percent said they were less likely to travel to Puerto Rico, Mexico or South America in the next 12 months because of Zika. Some 48 percent said Zika had not changed the likelihood of their visiting those destinations, while others did not know.

    Videos

  • David Dyck (pioneer of Blue Creek, Belize), 3.5min.

  • Belize 2016, 6.5min. Diary of a Foreign Couple

  • Belize, 10min. Here is a recap of my trip to Belize with some good friends. If you have 10 min to spare check it out.

  • Morning Matters with Melinda, 60min.

  • Caye Caulker, Belize. 6min tour january 25.2016, 6min.

  • Official video by ceann ross tv producer- A day on Caye Caulker, Belize, Central America, 12min.

  • Swimsuit Contest - Placencia, Belize Easter 2016, 6min.

  • Caye Caulker, Belize - Trip part 1, 7.5min.

  • Caye Caulker Belize Bike Tour, 9min.

  • Tara Mitchell, Post-Belize Successes, 2min. Tara Mitchell, Georgia State University graduate student, talks about how Belize helped prepare her for fieldwork and a new internship with HUD!

  • Green Moray Eel in Belize 2, 1min. This is a green Moray Eel that was filmed on Wee Wee Caye in Belize.

  • Belize 2016, 5min.

  • Cayo Steelworks (Georgevile, Belize), 3min.

    February 12, 2016


    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, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    A stunning rainbow!
    What can we say? Some evenings you just happen to be up on a roof and catch a spectacular rainbow as its hues deepen and darken, low clouds threatening rain over the reef, maybe the pot gold landing somewhere in the deep!

    Bailando a Todo Color: Carnaval 2016, a festival of colors
    The island came alive from Sunday, February 7th through Wednesday, February 10th during the 2016 El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro. The traditional celebration is held to usher in the 40-day Lenten Season, and this year’s carnaval was held under the theme “Bailando a Todo Color”. From painting to the comparsas’ presentations, festivities were bigger and more colorful than ever. Originally, festivities were scheduled to commence on Saturday, February 6th with the annual block party at Central Park, but due to inclement weather, the party was postponed. Nevertheless, the spirit of carnaval was not dampened, and on Sunday, February 7th, the fun started in earnest. During this time, traffic access on Barrier Reef Drive and a portion of Pescador Drive was closed. Those not wanting to participate in the painting were encouraged to avoid these areas.2016 Carnaval Celebrations Lent Comparsas Painting-5The three days of painting and comparsas presentations started with a Color Powder and Foam Party at Central Park at 3PM hosted by DJ Debbie and DJ Karma. Of course, the comparsas were also out delighting the crowds with their humorous dance presentations. Three out of the four registered groups took part in Sunday’s festivities: San Pedro AIDS Commission as the Hawaiians, Flora Ancona’s Comparsas Group as the Tourists and the Black and White Charikanari Dancers.

    Thousands of teachers to be unemployed following MOE new teaching standards
    The Ministry of Education (MOE) is tightening its standards on teachers across Belize, requiring them to have the necessary education and pedagogical skills in order to keep their job in the coming school year. The implementation of these new standards is expected to affect over a thousand primary and secondary school teachers who do not have the necessary qualifications to teach in Belize. This was announced during a press conference on Wednesday, February 3rd in Belize City. The Ministry of Education hopes that with this step, the education system will be strengthened and teachers will become better qualified. Heading the implementation of the new regulations is Minister of Education, Honorable Patrick Faber, who indicated that only about 40% of primary school teachers and 31% of secondary school teacher are actually qualified to be educators. “We invested in teacher’s education and professional development. We provided financial incentives for teachers to acquire professional qualifications. We are continuing to drive the train and certify all principals and vice principals in school leadership; constantly reviewing teacher education programs to meet and exceed new national standards,” explained Faber.

    Belize to host Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads
    Since May 1, 1974, Belize has fostered an outstanding relationship with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Belize is now scheduled to host the Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads, to be held on February 16th and 17th at the Placencia Peninsula. The meeting will see the participation of 15 member states including Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Belize hosting the meeting is incredibly historic, as Prime Minister Dean Barrow currently holds the Chairmanship of the Conference of Heads of Government of the CARICOM. Belize has a longstanding relationship with CARICOM, including the distinction of a Belizean being the first female Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of CARICOM. Dr. Carla Barnet served CARICOM in that capacity from 1997 to 2002. While acknowledging the milestone that she achieved, she deflected attention to the skill set that she brought to the position. “It was an honor for me to be selected. Being the first female Deputy Secretary-General, while it was a historical milestone, I’d like to think that I came there not because I was a woman, but because I brought a particular set of skills that the Secretariat needed at that time,” said Barnett.

    Minister of Local Government, Honorable Hugo Patt visits San Pedro
    The Honorable Hugo Patt, Minister of Local Government, Labour and Rural Development, along with an entourage of eleven members of his ministry made an official visit to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye on Thursday, February 4th. The visit was part of a national tour that Minister Patt is doing around the country in order to build and further foster a strong working relationship between all municipalities and ministries countrywide. Mayor Daniel Guerrero, along with Deputy Mayor Gary Greif and Councilors of The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) welcomed Patt and his team to the SPTC office. During the meeting, Guerrero officially welcomed the Minister and his staff to Ambergris Caye. He mentioned that government officials need to make such visits/activities more often to the municipalities so that issues pertaining Central Government can be better addressed. He added that visits should also be done to the educational institutions and other governmental branches in each municipality. Guerrero also touched on the topic concerning the communication between the Local and Central Government, which according to him, needs improvement. Guerrero hopes communication advances with such official visits.

    Third EIA held for North Ambergris Caye Water System and Sewage Collection and Treatment
    The EIA also looked closely at the effects the project would have on the local environment both in the short and long term. “Taking into consideration the surrounding fragile ecosystem of the island, the project had to be carefully planned and designed. An environmental monitoring plan is vital for any development project. The monitoring plan made for this project will help in assessing the effectiveness of proposed mitigation measures and in providing a focus for the scripting of an Environmental Compliance Plan by the DOE. Even though there will be some changes to the surrounding environment, it is noteworthy to consider the impacts that the surrounding ecosystem would endure of the project is not implemented,” said Garcia. He went on to explain that the lack of a sewage collection facilities is currently causing pollution and damaging the pristine waters of the area. The project is expected to greatly benefit the tourism product as the area is seeing significant business development. The accessibility of water distribution and sewage collection will improve the quality of service offered by resorts in the area, as well as residents who live in the area. Once the project’s EIA is approved, work on North Ambergris Caye Water System and Sewage Collection and Treatment plant is expected to start immediately.

    Tiger Sharks experience first home loss
    The San Pedro Tiger Sharks fell to the Smart Belize Hurricanes in their third game of the 2016 National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) Season. This loss has left the Tiger Sharks in fourth place, trailing behind the Smart Belize Hurricanes, Dangriga Warriors and Cayo Western Ballaz. Nevertheless, the season is still in its infancy and Tiger Sharks are determined to not experience another loss and claim the NEBL Champion for the third year in a row. The next round of games will take place from Thursday, February 11th to Saturday, February 13th. Independence Thunderbolts will take on the Belmopan Bandits on Thursday, February 11th at the University of Belize Auditorium at 9PM. On Friday, February 12th, the Smart Belize Hurricanes will take on the Belize City No Limit at the Bird’s Isle Basketball Court at 9PM, while the Dangriga Warriors will host the San Pedro Tiger Sharks at Ecummenical High School Auditorium also at 9PM. Saturday, February 13th will see three matches all at 9PM: Cayo Western Ballaz against Orange Walk Running Rebels at the Orange Walk Multi-purpose Complex, Independence Thunderbolts against the San Pedro Tiger Sharks at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium and the Dangriga Warriors against Smart Belize Hurricanes at Bird’s Isle. All games can be followed live at nebl.sportingpulse.net, with real time box scores while the game is being played.

    Ambergris Today

    Government Debunks Claims of Local Rice Having Cancer Causing Agents
    Alleged claim of aflatoxin in locally produced rice - The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) in consultation with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and the Ministry of Health, hereby submits a response on the alleged claim of aflatoxins in local rice as issued in a press release dated February 10, 2016, by rice importer Mr. Jack Charles of Extra House. In a press release, Jack Charles cited tests conducted by an American laboratory indicating that sampled local brands of rice in Belize (Circle R and Tropic) are not safe to consume because they contain low levels of aflatoxins that are cancer causing agents known to kill large numbers of people when consumed in excess causing damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys, brain and heart. Charles had forwarded his results to the Bureau of Standards, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and Ministry of Agriculture on February 1, 2016.

    Wait What? OH NO! Lobster Season to Close! When is Lobster Fest?
    Unfortunately there comes a time that we, in Belize, have to deal with the issue of not having lobster as an option on the dinner table. Fortunately, the closed season for lobster fishing is there to protect the species for us to have an abundance of it later in the year. We can all look forward to celebrating during three large Lobster Festivals that take place in Belize. This is your last chance to treat yourself to a delicious Belizean lobster meal as the Fisheries Department informs fishers and the general public that the lobster fishing season will close on February 15th and it will remain closed until midnight of June 14th, 2016. The department's press release states that any person found in possession of lobster during the said closed season will be prosecuted in accordance to Fisheries Regulation 3 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize (2003).

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    SBDC Workshop: Establishing a Business in Belize
    The overall objective of this training is to equip our clients with knowledge, skills, and capabilities necessary to start a business in Belize. The specific objectives of the training are to enable participants to: Better understand the skills of an entrepreneur To understand the importance of a business plan Acquire information on how to adequately formalize your business in Belize Expected outcome: Competent individuals with the skills and knowledge to start a formal business in Belize. WORKSHOP COST : FREE. Location: La Inmaculada Credit Union, Orange Walk. Workshop Date: Feb. 18th, 2016, Time: 9am to 12p

    United Kingdom Buying Shrimp in Belize!
    A strong will to increase its export market base and achieve the coveted international Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification led to the formation of the Belize Shrimp cluster and it is now reaping the benefits of accomplishing both goals. Challenged by an unforeseen viral disease which severely impacted the Belize shrimp industry, the cluster still managed to successfully supply UK based multinational retailer Marks and Spencer as well as the second largest supermarket chain in the UK, Sainbury’s, with 1.1 million pounds of shrimp in 2015. Under the Sainsbury agreement, the shrimp is repackaged under its premium brand and sold exclusively by the chain as it has agreed not to source shrimp from any other supplier under its brand. This has resulted in a higher than projected price premium for exports to these markets.

    JOB OPPORTUNITY - Attorney General's Ministry Post Title: Librarian
    The primary role of the Librarian is the management of the Library Registry which is separate from the Records Management Unit and to providing library and research services for the Ministry of the Attorney General and maintenance of the library and its collections. SCOPE OF WORK: 1. Keeping control of books in the library; 2. Developing and managing convenient accessible library and information services; 3. Developing and maintaining indexing of cataloging systems and files for collections; 4. Ensuring an accurate inventory of resources; ...Applications to be submitted to: The Solicitor General, Attorney General’s Ministry Second Floor, East Block, Independence Plaza Belmopan, Belize Tel: +501-822-0519 Fax: +501-822-3390 Email: Ministry.info@agm.gov.bz Deadline for Submission: 29th February 2016

    Belize Audubon Society Bird Fair
    We are at Red Bank today at the Belize Audubon Society Bird Fair. Come see us if you are closeby. Learn about our conservation efforts and volunteer opportunities.

    The Belize - COPA Airlines Presentation in Costa Rica
    A presentation on ALL things Belize to COPA Airline wholesalers.

    CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador visits Leo Bradley Library
    This evening CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque visited the Leo Bradley Library in Belize City, where he observed visually-impaired students using a specially-equipped desktop to assist with their learning. The desktop was provided by CARICOM.

    CARNAVAL 2016 - DAY 3
    On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, San Pedro celebrated its last day of Comparsas & Painting with a bang! Entertainers were lined up for the closure of Carnaval at Central Park - DJ Debbie, Dj Dalla, DJ Kream and New Sensation Band. The comparsas were very vibrant this year! The San Pedro AIDS Commission paraded the streets as colorful flowers in full bloom, Mrs. Flora's Group were dancing yellow fiery habaneros, the Barbie's wore their most elegant dresses and neon hair do's to the occasion, and lastly the Black N White Charikanari Dancers brought out the bulls to the dance as they all danced throughout the streets of town. This year, we saw the participation of four comparsas that definitely put out their best and once again lived and show cased the true meaning of Carnaval. Que Viva el Carnaval de San Pedro!

    Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita
    New date for the Maya Wedding Re-enactment at Santa Rita Site is Saturday February 20th, 2016. Tickets are still available at Hotel Maya or Tony's Hotel. Don't forget that there will be two additional performances. Bring out everyone and let's all enjoy our mayan history and culture. Time: 7:00 P.M. Presenters: Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College "El baile del Cochino - Hog head Dance" Ek Balam - Potapok Mayan Ball Game Admission: Reserve $20, Adults $10, Children 14 years and under $2

    Power interruption from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday February 13th, 2016 on portions of Corozal Town
    Power interruption from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday February 13th, 2016 on portions of Corozal Town: (1st Avenue & 2nd Street North) (1st to 8th Street South) and (1st, 5th & 6th Avenue South) - Two 30 minute power interruptions. 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. will also affect (G & A Street) (8th & 9th Avenue) (E,F,C & B Street South) (9th & 10th Street South). B.E.L to re-route high voltage lines in Corozal Town.

    Line Supervisor opening at BEL
    A vacancy exists at Belize Electricity Limited for the post of Line Supervisor in the Transmission and Distribution Operations Department.

    Mission 3:16 Concert
    The SISE HoC is bringing Mission 3:16 to the Cayo Welcome Center on Saturday, February 20th. The concert starts at 7:00pm.

    Retired Ambassador Moreno had the opportunity to meet with alumni from Yale University at Chan Chich Lodge
    OUT AND ABOUT - Recently Ambassador Moreno had the opportunity to meet with alumni from Yale University at Chan Chich Lodge to discuss the many wonders of Belize. Where would you advise visitors as the best place to visit in Belize? Why?

    Applying for a U.S. passport?
    Here’s what you’ll need to bring: - One 2”x2” passport photograph. - Proof of citizenship (e.g. your most recent U.S. passport; or other evidence such as a U.S. birth or naturalization certificate and a reliable form of photo identification) - Photocopies of all of your documents, including your passport. - The right application form: http://1.usa.gov/1O9oxvf - The appropriate fee: http://1.usa.gov/1VRdx8O Please visit this page for more details: http://1.usa.gov/1kTrzcn

    Channel 7

    Fruta Bomba To Close: 251 Nortenos Will Be Left Jobless
    251 Employees of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers were told today that the foreign owned papaya company would be closed down in 6 months. If you don't know about Fruta Bomba, it's Belize's biggest Papaya Producer - located near San Joaquin village in the Corozal District - and it's been operating in Belize for 22 years. The Company is owned by Brooks Tropicals - a fruit company based in the US State of Florida. Brooks Tropicals sent out a release today saying that it is closing its growing and packing operations in Belize by mid-August. And why now? Well, they just aren't making money - or at least that's according to a press release. The release says, quote, "economic conditions, particularly after hurricane Dean in 2007 have hindered the company's substantial efforts to rebuild a profitable operation."

    Jose Mai Says Government Bureaucracy Boxed Out Bomba
    One man that sounded the alarm on Fruta Bomba months ago was PUP Representative Jose Mai. He warned the House of Representatives that the investor was unhappy because of delays in the Department of the Environment approving the digging of wells. At the time Mai noted that the company had gone down from packing almost 80 thousand boxes of fruit, to packing just 15 thousand. And now he says the company closing will give rise to all the social issues that accompany unemployment:.. Hon. Jose Mai, Area Rep. OW South: "Today I think they've had enough and they decide to move. You see other countries have a lower cost of production and they are moving there. Why would they stay in a country that has high cost of production, high labor cost, unfit or unfriendly farm policies? When you can go to other countries and get labor for half the price in Belize. You have less disease incidents, you have friendly government who understands agriculture - who understands exportation and trade. Why would you stay in Belize? Why would you stay in a country where they tell you you can't dig a well until I approve it and it takes 30 days to approve a well?"

    She Trafficked A 15 Year Old Into Sex Slavery
    Back in February 2014, it made big news when 64 year-old Estela Gonzalez was accused of human trafficking after she brought in a 15 year-old girl into Belize and forced her to have sex with men. Well tonight, Gonzalez is in jail - after being convicted of human trafficking by a jury of 9. The jury heard testimony from the victim who testified that Gonzalez brought her to Belize from her home in Honduras on August 18, 2013. She said that she was having serious family issues, and that's when she was introduced to Gonzalez who offered her a home in Belize City. The victim told the court that Gonzalez told her that she was going to be working in a beauty salon, but, instead, she took her to Temptation Bar, at Mile 10 on the George Price Highway. She said that whilst there, Gonzalez coerced her into having sexual intercourse with a man who paid Gonzalez $150 for the encounter. The complainant went into further details that Gonzalez paid the bar owner $50, she kept $75 dollars for herself, and paid her $25 for the night. She then went on to recount 2 other occasions where Gonzalez pressured her into having sex with 2 other men for the same price.

    Set a Statue Of The Virgin Mary On Fire
    A statue of the Virgin Mary was set on fire yesterday evening at the La Inmaculada Church in Orange Walk. A woman went into the church compound around 5 yesterday evening and lit the statue on fire. Now in the Catholic church, everyone knows how sacred these statues are, so who would want to do such a thing? Is it some kind of attack against the Catholic Church? When Father Oliver Smalls of the La Immaculada Parish spoke to our colleagues at CTV3 he told them it has nothing to do with the church, it was just a senseless act by someone who needs help. Father Oliver Smalls, Priest: "I think the person who did that was depressed and upset and needed some sort of metal health. I don't think it was anything against the Catholic Church or the community or the Virgin Mary. I just think the person has problems and somehow the problems were just overwhelming. So we here hold no malice or hurt feelings against her at all. The only action is prayer. We will keep her in prayer. It's unfortunately, but no, we won't seek legal actions at all and the person who donated the shrine is willing to take care of all the damages and fix things up. So God is good to us and we have to share that blessing with others."

    The Wind Fed Fire
    It was the wind alright: that's what the Spanish Lookout Fire Department confirmed today. As we told you there was a fire at Country Foods in Spanish Lookout around 3 yesterday afternoon. An employee had set a pile of garbage on fire in the yard but the wind blew the fire towards the main storage room of the building. That's when another pile of expired goods that was set out in front of the storage room caught on fire - it damaged about 3 quarters of the building. The fire team got to the scene quickly and extinguished the blaze in a couple of minutes. The manager told us the fire caused over $5,000 worth of damages.

    Robbers Playing Cops?
    Tonight there are two reports of robbers pretending to be cops! The first comes from CBC Cable on C Street in Belize City. Last night, just before midnight, the security guard heard banging at the door, and someone shouting "Police, Police come out." He went out and was met by two Hispanic men dressed in what looked like police uniforms who said they were there to search for a concealed weapon. One of the pretend-police carried a shotgun - and the other wore a sweater and wielded a flashlight. The security guard dutifully let them in, and they found nothing. They then asked to see the security guard's loaded .38 revolver and told him he will be taken in for questioning. After that, they tied his hands, took the gun, and just left him there. Almost the same thing happened at the Harpy Security Firm at 12:10 am yesterday. Just after midnight, the dispatcher was the company's Antelope Street Extension headquarters, heard someone at the front door and when she opened it, she saw a man dressed in something close enough to a police uniform, who introduced himself as a "Police Officer".

    Mek Mi Rich Trial Winding Up
    The Battle over the Mek Mi Rich Game Show went back to the Supreme Court today. As we've been reporting, businessman Curtis Swasey has sued BTL and the owners of Mek Mi Rich. He claims that BTL breeched a non-disclosure agreement, gave away his gameshow idea of lottery texting, and that allowed the owners of MMR Belize to profit off his stolen idea. For about 6 hours today, Justice Courtney Abel heard closing arguments from Swasey's attorney, Kareem Musa, and BTL's attorney, Magali Perdomo as to whether or not Mek Mi Rich is a stolen idea. Musa spent much of his submissions trying to convince the judge that though there is no clear proof that BTL gave away the idea, there is enough circumstantial evidence to prove that they did pass on Swasey's ideas to the owners of MMR Belize, Sunjay Hotchandani and Andre Vega, the son of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. The judge was very meticulous picking apart Musa's arguments, and in the afternoon, it was Magali Perdomo's turn to try to convince the judge. She focused a large part of her submissions answering the pointed questions in her case.

    Alpuche Alleges Against Jack Charles
    Is your rice safe to eat? Importer Jack Charles has questioned that. He says that according to the law, it should be completely free of Aflatoxins. And he commissioned a test form a US lab which shows less than two micrograms of aflatoxins per kilogram in three brands of locally produced rice. Yesterday the Bureau of Standards came out emphatically to say, quote, "none of the rice samples analysed contain detectable levels of aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health." Today the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture told us that Jack Charles is playing games with an important industry:.. Jose Alpuche, CEO - Ministry of Agriculture: "I believe what he is doing by raising these false alarm is a disservice to the rice industry, a disservice to the consumers and a disservice to Belize. And man, we have to be much more serious than that. We are dealing with people's livelihood when we speak of any productive sector here in Belize and I really would hope that people would be a little bit more responsible than put out these false reports."

    Hon. Mai Says Charles Is a Businessman First And Foremost
    And today, the PUP's Jose Mai actually supported the government's stance against Jack Charles. He's from Orange Walk south where the greatest number of rice producers are concentrated and he's also a trained agronomist. He says that BAHA is the only one who should be handling samples, not Jack Charles:... Hon. Jose Mai, Area Rep. OW South "The question arises is where do this sample come from? Nobody knows where Mr. Jack Charles got this sample from." Jules Vasquez: "He says he bought it off the shelf." Hon. Jose Mai, Area Rep. OW South: "That's what he says. We have no way to prove that is accurate. What procedure did he use to extract the sample? So what methodology, what protocol did he use to get this sample?" Jules Vasquez: "You are making the thing too complex Mr. Mai. He went to the store and he buys it the same way me or you would go buy these brands of rice and he took that same thing and he sent it. The same thing in the pack and you and I go buy. You don't have to be so high tech. That is what we are going to eat."

    PUP Swears Against Santander
    And keeping it on agriculture, today the PUP issued a press release, quote "expressing serious concerns and reservation regarding the proposal by the Social Security Board to lend the foreign owned Company (Santander) $12m Bz." The PUP calls on SSB to make public whether its loan will be "a first-ranking charge on the assets of the Company." Today Jose Mai expanded on the party's position:.. Hon. Jose Mai, Area Rep. OW South: "When you hear of a company coming in, the first thing the Prime Minister say oh its foreign investment. It means that they are bringing their money into this country to invest. All of a sudden now they are not foreign investors anymore. They are using our money - Social Security hard-earned laborers money. The question that has been asked is how safe is Santander's investment in sugar industry? Where are we with the sugar industry right now? It's in crisis. Where is their market?" The PUP says the loan is too risky and should not be made by SSB.

    Checking The CARICOM Climate
    Following the Cop21 meeting that took place in Paris last year December, CARICOM Ministers responsible for climate change along with their technical advisors convened at the Buitlmore Plaza hotel today for the first session of a two day workshop. Coming out of the Cop21 meeting was the Paris Agreement- a new international climate change agreement in which all countries agreed to limit global warming. Today, during the first session of the meetings the technical REPRESENTATIVES of 8 different Caribbean countries discussed the benefits and shortfalls of this agreement in an effort to formulate a regional response in time for the follow up meeting set for April this year. 8 CARICOM countries are represented at this two day workshop.

    Mayen For Attempted Murder
    21 year-old Darrell Mayen was found guilty of attempted murder today in a trial without jury before Justice Troadio Gonzalez. The judge heard the prosecution's case that the incident happened on August 1, 2010 on the corner of Woodpecker Street and Jimmy Dyer Street. The victim, 32 year old Rafael Caceres, was walking on Woodpecker Street, heading for home when Mayen rode up behind him on a bicycle and fired several shots. Caceres was shot in his back just as he jumped over a drain while trying to get away. That injury has left him crippled in one leg. Caceres positively identified Mayen as the person who shot him. In his defence, Mayen testified and said that he was at his mother's house watching television when the shooting occurred. He called his mother as a witness but she could not say whether he had left the house.

    "Indian" Gets 3 Years For Touching Child
    39 year-old Francisco Gomez, better known as "Indian", is spending his second night of a 3 year sentence after he was convicted of sexual assault in the court room of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. The victim, an 11 year-old child, testified that she was at her grandmother's house on April 19, 2015, in Burrell boom. She was watching television and when she got up to get some water Gomez slapped her rear end. She said Gomez, who smelled of liquor, also slapped her face and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. Gomez then put his hand around her waist and tried to kiss her. She said that when she told her grandmother what had happened, she drove Gomez from the house. In his defence, Gomez gave a statement from the dock in which he denied he committed the offences. He said he was at the house watching a movie when the child told him he was watching a simple movie and took out his DVD and put in one of her own. He said when he removed her DVD, she started to cry. Gomez said she then went into the bedroom and her aunt came and asked him why he slapped the child. He said he then threw the remote control on the table and left the house.

    Monkey Business In The Streets
    The Chinese community celebrates its New Year in every corner of the globe that the Chinese have populated, and Belize is no exception. Although the official Chinese New Year's started on Monday, bad weather conditions forced the Chinese association to postpone the celebrations until today. But nonetheless the street show put on today did not disappoint. Emanuel Pech reports. Fire crackers, percussion instruments, and this- the dance of the lion- are the elements characteristic of the Chinese New year. Today the Chinese association came out with its usual New Year fanfare. President of the Belize-Chinese Association of Belize, Edmond Quan explained that it is more than just a show: Edmond Quan - President of the Chinese Association: "We are celebrating the Chinese New Year. We are doing the Lion Dance parade from shop to shop - different shops that request the Lion Dance. So we are going citywide."

    Mayor Meets The King's Park Crew
    A few weeks ago on this newscast, you hear residents of King's Park complaining about a high rise apartment building going up in their residential neighborhood. Well, they got a town meeting with the mayor this evening at the Lopez Mateos Park to discuss proper zoning in the area. Belize City Mayor Darrel Bradley told us why a public meeting. Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor: "We are dealing with the issue of zoning and one of the important things with zoning is that you have to make sure that you get consensus in relation to that being a community-led initiative. We've had consultations previously. I met with several groups of residents in the area who were really advocating for the zoning regulations. But its necessary and we did a lot of advertisement for this evening. It's necessary to give everyone their voice to say. Tonight what are going to be doing is we are going to leading a public forum, a discussion. We've circulated copies of the regulations. It's also on our website. We will have Miss Margaret Mckenzie who is the legal counsel for the Belize City Council do a presentation section by section. So that we go through all the sections of the regulations and we will allow for people to give their feedback and response which is proper government."

    Earthquake in Taiwan Shook Up Belizeans
    A devastating earthquake in Taiwan over the weekend caused a large 17 story residential building to collapse. So far the death toll is 59 persons including children. At the same time there were about 7 other buildings that fell as a result of the powerful quake that registered at 6.4 magnitude. It's news in Belize because there are scores of students there in Taiwan Universities through the ICDF scholarship programme. The Embassy of Taiwan tells us that the last head count of Belizean students in Taiwan was over 280. Fortunately no Belizean were injured, however, the building that collapsed in Tainan, Tawian, was very close to the dorm of one of the universities that houses some 20-0dd Belizean students. We spoke to one of them, a first year student from Toledo, who recounted the traumatic experience. Parham told us that the collapsed building was approximately half a mile from their dorm. Several Belizean students come home during vacations however several others remain in Taiwan.

    Channel 5

    Fruta Bomba Bids Farewell to Belize
    One of the biggest industries up north is the papaya industry. It provides employment for hundreds, but the future of the industry is bleak tonight because Fruta Bomba and its [...]

    P.U.P. Leader Says Papaya Company’s Departure Was Foretold
    According to the Ministry of Agriculture, they only got word of Fruta Bomba’s departure two days ago, but P.U.P. leader John Briceño, who hails from the north of the country, [...]

    Honduran Bar Manager Awaits Sentencing on Human Trafficking Conviction
    Convictions for human trafficking are rare, but tonight a grandmother is behind bars for the offence. Honduran national Estella Gonzalez was convicted this morning in the Supreme Court by Justice [...]

    Belmopan Police Seek Killer of Zhijuang Zhang
    Belmopan Police are still on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer in that jurisdiction, for the brutal murder of Chinese bar owner Zhijuang Zhang on Saturday morning. Zhang was stabbed [...]

    Building in Spanish Lookout Almost Completely Destroyed by Fire
    On Wednesday, we showed you the images of Country Foods in Spanish Lookout engulfed in flames. At about three p.m., a fire spread to the warehouse from a nearby pit [...]

    N.T.U.C.B. Says No to Santander Loan
    The S.S.B. loan to the Santander Group is a done deal – at least as far as approval is concerned. The application was made way back in October 2015, and [...]

    The P.U.P. Says S.S.B. Should Have Sought Special Protection
    The People’s United Party today issued a press release on the S.S.B. twelve million dollar loan to the Santander Group. In the release, the Party states that one pressing question [...]

    N.T.U.C.B. President Marvin Mora Says Loan is Too High Risk
    The N.T.U.C.B. agrees that the approved, if not disbursed loan to the Santander Group is too risky. President Marvin Mora says that while the S.S.B. is looking at money, as [...]

    Regional Technical Climate Change Professionals Meet in Belize
    A high-level technical delegation from the region is currently in Belize. The group is finalizing a climate change framework in the wake of the Paris Agreement coming out of the [...]

    Belmopan Police Bust Men With 30 Pounds of Marijuana
    Two men were busted with a sizeable amount of marijuana while Belmopan Police were conducting vehicle checks on Wednesday in Camalote on the George Price Highway. Travis Sutherland of Georgeville [...]

    Alert: Businesses Hit by Fake Cops in Belize City
    Police are on the lookout for two robbers who are operating in the city and impersonating cops. Within the past twenty-four hours, they struck twice. In the first incident, the [...]

    P.U.P. Says Ministry of Agriculture Has No Vision
    The departure of Fruta Bomba is only the most recent of a series of bad news for Belize where industries are concerned. Since last year the country has been taking [...]

    Agriculture C.E.O. Responds to Allegations of Industries in Crisis
    While Briceño says that the agriculture sector is taking a hit, the Ministry of Agriculture does not agree. Notwithstanding, late last year, Meridian Enterprises in the banana industry closed its [...]

    K.H.M.H. Increases Clinic Fees
    Representatives from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital have been making the media rounds this week talking about the good things happening at the national referral hospital and there are many, [...]

    Finance Director Says G.O.B. Subsidy Does Not Cover K.H.M.H. Costs
    The hospital’s large debt accumulated over the years, in part because patients often do not pay their bills. The K.H.M.H. has thus embarked on a campaign to tighten up on [...]

    New K.H.M.H. Chair Says Institution is Crippled by Debt
    Chair of the Board of Governors at the K.H.M.H., is Marilyn Williams; who is an attorney and has health care experience as a nurse.  Williams says that one of the [...]

    Healthy Living Looks at the HPV Vaccine
    World Cancer Day was celebrated one week ago on February fourth.  The Belize Cancer Society as a part of the day’s commemoration debuted a documentary entitled “Taking Control, Taking action, [...]

    CTV3

    Orange Walk Police Receives Equipment To Fight Contraband
    The Orange Walk Police Department today received a very generous and much needed donation from the US embassy. The Orange Walk Police department has always enjoyed a good relationship with the embassy and in the past they have received several donations including vehicles, computers and other equipment that has greatly assisted the department in combating crime in our town. But today’s donation of three contraband kits is particularly important for the department because they will benefit greatly from the equipment in combating the very serious and ongoing issue of contraband. Nicholas Palomo- Inspector of Police: “We received a donation worth it of a $20,000.00 worth of equipment that will assist us in the fight against drugs and firearms; received were a contraband detecting kit, comprises of several devices that will detect contraband carried in sealed compartments in vehicles like tires, door panels, engines and the bumper for the vehicle...”

    PSU President Speaks On Challenges Meet By Public Servants
    The President of the Public Service Union, Eldrid Neal has been meeting with public officers both in Orange Walk and Belize City with the aim of addressing issues that the officers are very much concerned with at this point in time. The meetings have revealed that there are a number of challenges that public officers are facing. One of them is that only a portion of public officers are given the opportunity to excel and obtain privileges within their respective jobs. This morning Neal was on the Despierta Belice morning show and spoke on the issue. “We’ve seen too often individuals being boosted by favor to move into certain capacities and positions and that kind of creates a burden on the system because the religious would have been working themselves into achieving a certain position...”

    Youth Arm Of The PUP Speaks On Santander Issue
    Today the Belize Youth Movement, the youth are of the PUP also challenged the Social Security Board’s Investment Committee to use the people's money on youth development instead of using the Belizean worker’s money to quote “bail out a rich, foreign company.” The BYM says the decision by the Investment Committee of the Social Security Board to use twelve million dollars to shoulder the financial burdens of a rich, foreign conglomerate, Santander, is a slap on the faces of Belizean workers whose sweat and tears provides SSB with its funds.

    PUP Calls On SSB To Release More Info On The $20 Million Dollars Loan
    And continuing with the issue of Santander, just some days ago in an interview with new leader of the People’s United Party, Hon John Briceno, he made mention that while he welcomes foreign investment and the benefits that it brings to our country he questioned GOB’s agenda in their decision to allow SSB to lend a large amount of money to a Guatemalan company. Today the PUP further weighed in on the matter of the Santander loan by sending out a release, stating quote “Our primary concern is why the people’s money is being used instead of borrowing from the commercial banks. The Santander Group is either strong enough to borrow an additional twelve million from commercial banks or it’s not. If it is not, then SSB should not be making this loan.” End quote

    After 22 Years Brooks Tropical Leaves Belize
    With an economy already in shambles the north of Belize is about to feel an even greater impact. This morning word spread that Brooks Tropicals would close its doors in Belize after 22 years of operation. That rumour was confirmed by midday via a press release issued by Brooks and Tropicals, the parent company of Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers both located in the Corozal District. The release states that the company's subsidiaries, Belize Fruit Packers and Fruta Bomba, will operate up to an additional six months and then completely close its doors. So why is the company shutting down after more than a decade of operating here in Belize? Well, according to the release, “economic conditions, particularly after Hurricane Dean in 2007, have hindered the company's substantial efforts to rebuild to a profitable operation. Efforts included the building of a 16,000 sq. ft. operations building and considerable improvements to growing, packing and nursery facilities and processes.

    Minister Saldivar Visits Forward Operating In Road To Construction
    The Minister of National Security, Hon John Saldivar along with Hon. Frank Mena, senior members of the Belize Defence Force, Belize Police Department and the Ministry of National Security Officials took the opportunity to visit the site in Toledo where the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base is currently being constructed. In a press release issued yesterday, it stated that the Forward Operating Base is being built by the Government of Belize with the aim of protecting Belize’s national sovereignty. It also stated that the FOB will assist in combating unlawful actions such as drug, contraband, human trafficking and weapons trading all of which are known to pose many threats to our country in terms of security.

    Mai Says Local Rice Is Good For Human Consumption
    Yesterday importer Jack Charles dropped a bomb on the nation when he issued a release alleging that the local rice consumed by Belizeans is contaminated with Aflatoxin which causes cancer and is also linked to liver disease and other illnesses. Charles alleges that test results of samples of the local rice sent to Eurofins Laboratory in New Orleans for testing show the product being contaminated with less than 2 micro grams per kilogram of Aflatoxin B1, B2, G1 and G2. The Belize Bureau of Standards has rebutted Charles’ allegation by stating that the test results shows that none of the rice samples analyzed contain detectable levels of Aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health. And Orange Walk South Area Representative Jose Abelardo Mai agrees with the bureau. Today he told us that when it comes to the samples sent for testing, there are a number of things to consider.

    LOVE FM

    Fees for Physiotherapy Go Up at KHMH – A Look Inside the Unit
    With the cost of physiotherapy services going up in March, Love News paid a visit to the unit to get first-hand look at how the patients feel about the price change and the kind of service they get at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Renee Trujillo and cameraman Brian Castillo report.

    PUP Says No to Loan For Santander
    As the comments and feedback keep coming regarding the twelve million dollar loan to Santander from the Social Security Board continue, an official release from the People’s United Party was sent out today expressing opposition to the decision by the SSB’s Investment Committee to invest in the sugar factory in western Belize. The release says […]

    Belize Progressive Party Wants More Details on Santander Loan
    Belize Progressive Party (BPP) also weighed in on the issue. According to the BPP, even though they have no objections to investments in Belize with greater returns, they are asking the Social Security for transparency in the loan. Public Relations Deputy, Charles Leslie Jr. of the BBP told us about their concerns. CHARLES LESLIE JR […]

    Belize Youth Movement Says No to SSB Loan for Santander
    The Belize Youth Movement is the youth arm of the People’s United Party with a mandate to advocate on matters that affect the youth population, not only for the present but for the long term as well. BYM has joined the voices advocating against the proposed twelve million dollar loan from the Social Security Board […]

    Social Media, SSB and Santander
    One of the channels of media that has become an everyday part of life for millions around the world is the social media. From day to day, you can get the opinions and perceptions of individuals on various issues ranging from politics to entertainment. While the issue of the Social Security Board’s decision of lending […]

    Dozens Lose Work in Papaya Industry as Company Shuts Down
    A company that has been operating in Belize for more than two decades has announced that it will be shutting down business for good. On Tuesday we reported that 38 employees had been laid off last week Friday from both Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers. On Tuesday, CEO of Brooks Tropicals, the parent company […]

    Church Statue Set Afire in Northern Belize
    Last night as some residents of Orange Walk Town were preparing for the traditional Ash Wednesday mass at La Inmaculada Church, news began spreading of a fire at the Church’s compound. According to reports a woman was outside the compound in front of a grotto that housed a statute of the Virgin Mary. What she […]

    Cop Fires in Yard, Almost Hitting Mother and Infant
    Sometime around ten o’clock this morning, Love News was called to the home of Kimara Carrillo on New Road in Belize City. Carrillo told us about the terrifying experience she had when the police came running through her home firing a shot which passed inches away from her and her one month old baby girl. […]

    Discussing the Outcomes of COP21
    Next week the heads of CARICOM States will be in Placencia where they will be engaged in discussions of several issues affecting the region. One of those issues is climate change and today the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre convened a meeting whereby stakeholders discussed the recently signed global agreement that was signed at the […]

    UWI Forms ZIKA Virus Task Force
    While health officials in Belize have assured the public that they are taking precautions and engaging in public awareness campaigns as they relate to the ZIKA virus, one institution that has taken on their own initiative as a response to the growing threat of the virus in the Caribbean region. The University of the West […]

    PlusTV

    Fire at Country Foods in Spanish Lookout
    There was fire in Spanish Lookout this evening; no one was injured. It happened at the Country Foods warehouse where Spanish Lookout fire officials and BNE officials worked at containing the blaze. By the time the fire was extinguished, the warehouse and its contents were completely destroyed but th...

    Missing woman found dead
    Last month we reported on the missing persons report made for Lydia Janet Garcia Giron and yesterday, February 9, the missing woman’s body was found in an orchard in Dangriga. On the 19th of January, a missing persons report was filed for the 39 year old woman by her son who told Belizean police t...

    Jack Charles says local rice tested is harmful
    Jack Charles was not able to get his imported Guyanese rice into the Belizean market for a cheaper price than the local rice producers. After making a public announcement of his intention to do so, the wheels were set in motion to stop him as concerns were raised over the negative effect the importe...

    Belize Bureau of Standards responds to Jack Charle’s claims
    Late this evening, The Belize Bureau of Standards in consultation with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and the Ministry of Health issued a response to Jack Charles claims. It starts out by saying that Mr. Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic fo...

    Pregnant woman injured in traffic accident
    Hattieville resident 37 year old Raquel Burke is in hospital tonight recovering from injuries sustained in a traffic accident this afternoon. This afternoon around 3:15 she was driving a Nissan Xterra from Ladyville to Belize City when, approaching the Northern approach of the Haulover Bridge, she l...

    Belmopan resident knocked off motorcycle and robbed
    A resident of Belmopan was stopped on his motorbike and robbed. On Tuesday the 9th of February, 22-year-old Gadiel Maldonado was travelling from Buena Vista Village to Valley of Peace Village on his motorcycle through the Farmer’s Road when he felt something hit his helmet. Maldonado stopped to see ...

    Edison Johnson free on time served after manslaughter plea
    53 year old Edison Johnson was accused of killing two men who he caught in the act burglarizing his home. Johnson pleaded guilty to manslaughter, the lesser charge to murder, but is tonight a free man. Johnson was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment but with deductions for his guilty plea, assisting t...

    The Guardian

    Sarstoon forward operating base under construction
    Belize’s forward operating base is well under construction and on Wednesday February 10, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office, Hon. Frank ‘Papa’ Mena went on a field visit. At the site the ministers who had a contingent of Belize Defence Force soldiers and police found a structure that is well underway. The area for the base has been cleared and the frame for the building is already up. Ground was broken at the site on December 9 and two months in the work has progressed considerably despite adverse terrain conditions and transportation challenges. According the Chief Executive Office in the Ministry of National Security,(Ret.) Colonel George Lovel, the base will be inaugurated on April 11. It is costing the country 100 thousand dollars to construct the base. At its completion the Joint Forces Forward Operating Base will be used as a monitoring and operations point for Belizean law enforcement personnel as the Sarstoon River is suspected of being a transit point for human trafficking, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and other transnational criminal activities.

    SSB to decide on 12 Million dollar loan to Santander
    Over the past few days much concern has been brought up by some regarding a proposed 12 million dollar loan that Santander has approached the Social Security Board to finance. Santander is the company which is in the process of establishing a sugar producing factory in western Belize. The company has already established a state of the art factory complete with 18 thousand acres of sugar cane ready for harvesting. The company has said that the process of harvesting will commence by the end of this month. While the company prepares itself for full production, it is at this point in time securing financing to complete a U.S. 142 million dollar investment in phase one of their project which includes the factory and cane fields. Already the company has put up U.S. 47 million dollars and borrowed 95 million in a syndicated loan from banks in Belize, Guatemala, Washington DC, Panama and Honduras. Of that syndication Belizean banks hold U.S. 59 million dollars of which the proposed 12 million dollars will be a part of.

    Zika: less dangerous than Dengue and Chick-V
    There seems to be a new disease or strain of a disease in this region every other year and at the onset these new epidemics cause mass panic amongst the population when most of the time there is really not much to be concerned about. At one point it was Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) then it was Influenza A H1N1 (Swine Flu). Two years ago it was Chikengunya then recently it was the scary Ebola. Before all these we were worried about Dengue and Cholera. It seems the world is petrified at the thought of a modern day black plague or yellow fever outbreak and every unfamiliar disease that reaches this corner of the world spells D-O-O-M. The Zika Virus is the latest fear generating organism to surface in the West and just like diseases that came in the last two decades, the bark is greater than the bite. Close to 40 health officials from across the country met in Belize City on Tuesday, February 09, to finalize the country’s preparedness plan of action for the Zika virus at a sensitization meeting. This meeting was attended by Dr. Ramon Figueroa, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, and led by Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Manzanero addressed the media on the state of affairs in Belize. He was joined by Kim Bautista, Head of the Vector Control Unit, and epidemiology experts Dr. Russell Manzanero and Dr. Natalia Largaespada.

    Licenseless Plus TV responds to Broadcasting Authority
    The resource stressed Plus Television is having more difficulty staying on air after its owner, Louis Wade, applied for the wrong broadcasting license, according to the Belize Broadcasting Authority. Wade applied to the BBA for an On Air Broadcasting License but the regulatory body says this was an error on his part. On air broadcasts are those that can be accessed without cable, like Channel 5 and 7. These media houses have a wider audience due to the ease of access; therefore, they can charge more for advertisement. Passing itself off as an on air broadcasting station is a deceitful act by a cash-strapped media house trying to increase advertising revenue. The Belize Broadcasting Authority rejected Wade’s application and returned his money sent for the license. In a letter dated February 4, the BBA scolded Wade, “you have applied to have your on-air broadcasting license renewed for the year 2016, despite the fact that Plus Television is not broadcasting over the air. Therefore, the Board cannot approve the renewal of your on-air licenses.” The Board of Directors of the BBA recommended that Wade apply for a Cablecasting License, which is more suitable for the type of service he currently provides. Wade told the Guardian Newspaper that he believes the BBA made a “genuine mistake in its decision”. Plus TV wrote to the BBA explaining that they have been providing open air service to residents in the Belmopan area for years on Channel 21. Furthermore, he says it is a license they have had for years and he hopes that the situation is rectified quickly.

    Taiwan assists with renal failure prevention program
    With the help of Taiwan, Belize now has a program in place to help avoid Renal or kidney failures, a chronic and sometimes irreversible condition where the kidney fails to adequately filter waste products from the blood. H.E. Ambassador Benjamin Ho and Minister of Health Pablo Marin signed the Public Health and Medical Skills Cooperation Agreement and the Renal Failure Prevention Project between Belize and the Republic of China (Taiwan) on Wednesday at the Western Regional Health Vaccine Room in Belmopan. The Agreement and Project will now be taken into force for 5 years and 3 years respectively. According to statistic figures released from the Ministry of Health, Belize, the prevalence rate of obesity in Belize is over 60%, and the rate of hypertension and Diabetes among adults is over 30% respectively, which contribute directly to the development of chronic renal failure. Thus adequate treatment of patients at the early stage to prevent the exacerbation can effectively reduce the socio-economic cost on the whole society. Also, statistical figures from 2014 reveal that diseases of the heart (13%) and diabetes (9.5%) rank within the top three (3) causes of mortality in Belize. One of the risk factors for these NCDs is obesity, therefore it is important to address this factor through the promotion of healthy lifestyle practices.

    Accident victim busted with 14 pound of weed
    Roland Raheem Rivers, 34, is lucky to be alive after he crashed a Ford Escape into a tree near mile 16 on the Phillip Goldson Highway just after noon on Friday, February 5. The vehicle was extensively damaged and Rivers suffered from minor injuries. He has since been treated and released from the Karl Heusner Memorial but that was only the start of trouble for Rivers. Police report that officers of the Road Traffic Accident Team responded to the scene of the accident and saw the driver sitting in the vehicle. He was asked to exit and when he did the officers noticed a number of Brahman beers in the back seat of the vehicle, at least 40. A number of them were empty and Rivers struggled to walk. Further checks in the vehicle resulted in the discovery of a black plastic bag near the front passenger side. Police opened the bag in front of Rivers and it contained a green leaf like substance suspected to be cannabis. Rivers was arrested and taken to the police station where the drugs were weighed. The amount was 6,350.29 grams or just about 14 pounds.

    8 years later!
    Sunday, 7 February, 2016 marked the eight anniversary of the UDP and the people of Belize sending the PUP scampering into opposition. We at this Newspaper remember that day as it were yesterday. It was a Thursday and that election was held on a Thursday because it was to be held on the day before being Ash Wednesday, but when the then Prime Minister Musa announced to Church Leaders who had assembled at a breakfast meeting he was hosting for them along with his Cabinet of Ministers, the Church Leaders protested to elections being held on a day with such significance to us in what is considered as a Christian Country. He had to push it back a day. Little did the PUP know that had they set that election for at night between the hours of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., where the voting would take place at the various cemeteries across the country on any day they wished , Belizeans would have shown up to vote them out . See Belizeans were set on delivering a beat down to the PUP because of all the atrocities that the PUP had committed against this nation from August of 1998 up to the date of the 2008 election. Belizeans had already given them a sample of what was to come when the PUP took a whipping at the 2006 Municipal Elections. No day or situation could keep the PUP from reaping the fruits of those seeds they had planted back in 1998. It was now harvest time in 2008. The trees had produced bitter fruits that had to be served to the PUP.

    Key CARICOM Institutions Headquartered in Belize
    Through its role as a Centre of Excellence, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) supports the people of the Caribbean as they address the impact of climate variability and change on all aspects of economic development through the provision of timely forecasts and analyses of potentially hazardous impacts of both natural and man-induced climatic changes on the environment, and the development of special programmes which create opportunities for sustainable development. The Five C’s, as the Centre is called, coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre, based in Belize, is the key node for information on climate change issues and on the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change in the Caribbean. It is the official repository and clearing house for regional climate change data, providing climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. It has also been recognized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as a Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. This reputation is a major honour for the Centre, and it should be a great source of prude for the people of the Caribbean as well.

    Key CARICOM Institutions Headquartered in Belize Pt. 2
    The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is a CARICOM institution that was established by the CARICOM Member States by the 2002 Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, which entered into force on 4 February 2002. Its role is to strengthen and promote Regional cooperation in the development, conservation and management of the fisheries and marine resources of the Caribbean Region, in accordance with relevant principles of international law. The CRFM has been coordinating research, data collection, assessment studies, the formulation of policy and management advice and capacity-building initiatives in the Region. The CRFM has emerged as an internationally recognised regional fisheries body whose input and contribution are regularly sought at the international level in respect of fisheries and marine resource management issues. There are currently 17 Member States of the CRFM. The membership consists of 14 independent Small Island Developing States (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago), and three British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands). In addition the CRFM has a formal relationship with the Dominican Republic through a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation on matters related to fisheries conservation, management and development. In addition, Bermuda and Curacao and a number of regional and international organisations including FAO, OECS, CNFO, UWI, have been accorded observer status with the CRFM.

    Pay your bill says KHMH
    The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has gone on an all out campaign to encourage its clients to pay their bill. According to the Chief Executive Officer Dr. Adrian Coye the hospital operates on a budget of 37 million dollars of which only 18 percent is actually by way of bills to clients. Of that 18 percent less than half (40%) of the bills are paid. This says Coye is not enough to run the hospital efficiently and puts a great dependency on government’s subvention to the hospital. In an attempt to change this situation, Coye explains that the hospital will encourage its users to pay their bill and also it is increasing the fees it charges for clinic consultations. Previously the fee was 10 dollars per consultation, now it will be 25 dollars. Also being increased is the cost for accessing the KHMH’s physiotherapy department. The costs according to Coye, while there is an increase, are even cheaper for the same services if sought at private medical providers.

    Lobster season closes
    The Fisheries Department takes this opportunity to inform fishers and the general public that the lobster fishing season will close on February 15th and it will remain closed until midnight of June 14th, 2016. Any person found in possession of lobster during the said closed season will be prosecuted in accordance to Fisheries Regulation 3 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize (2003).

    Milpa encroachment continues in Chiquibul
    On February 9th 2016, FCD conducted an aerial reconnaissance along the western flank of the Chiquibul National Park with the intent of monitoring and documenting any expansion of the agricultural frontier. On this occasion FCD recorded 17 new clearings and several dwellings. From the small Cessna airplane, large clearings of primary forest were observed. These clearings appear to be fresh indicating that the milpa activity is starting and may progress rapidly as the dry season sets in. Major areas of impact are noticeable on the northern section of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve and on the southern region of the Chiquibul known as Cebada. This first flight is just one of several that will be conducted as the dry season progresses. Based on the early impacts, FCD recommends the activation of patrols and operations to suppress the advance. This monitoring flight will help FCD develop the necessary coordination and plans to put into effect the ground effort. Meanwhile in Guatemala the communities located nearby Belize’s border are being informed through radio stations of the penalties imposed in Belize if they are caught making milpas inside the Chiquibul Forest.

    Alleged claim of aflatoxin in locally produced rice
    The Belize Bureau of Standards in consultation with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and the Ministry of Health, hereby submits a response on the alleged claim of aflatoxins in local rice as issued in a Press Release dated February 10th, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles of Extra House: In the first instance, the Bureau would like to categorically state that Mr. Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize. Notwithstanding this claim, the Bureau in collaboration with the competent authorities aforementioned concluded that the test results provided on February 1st, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles shows that none of the rice samples analysed contain detectable levels of aflatoxinsand as a result does not pose any threat to human health.

    SICA to Provide support to Belize for Hosting CODICADER
    The Honourable Elodio Aragon, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Youths Sports and Culture received the visit of Her Excelllency, Ana Hazel Escrich, Secretary General of the Central American Social Integration Secretariat (SISCA). During the visit, Minister Aragon and H.E. Escrich discussed mutual areas of the SISCA Regional Agenda such as Regional Youth Development Programs and the proactive participation of Belize in CODICADER (Consejo del Istmo Centroamericano de Deportes y Recreación). In July 2016 Belize is slated to host the CODICADER Games in fives sports disciplines: Chess, Atlethics, Tennis, Football and Basketall at the Secondary level. SISCA has expressed its support to the Ministry in the area of sports equipment and technical expertise for the success of hosting the games.

    Edison Johnson Killed Two Men Protecting His Property
    Edison Johnson, a 50-year-old businessman and farmer from Guinea Grass Village, pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter on Monday, February 8, for killing 23 year-old Saul Eliseo Garcia, a labourer of Rhaburn Ridge Village, and 24 year-old Luke Cox of Carmelita Village. However, Johnson is right now a free man after he was released on time served. Johnson was charged after he shot and fatally wounded two men who he says were trespassing on his farm on Friday, April 11, 2014. Johnson’s farm is located between miles 46 and 47 on the Northern Highway, and it is in a remote area about one and a half miles in rough terrain, where there are no other houses nearby. His family hadn’t been to the farm for almost a week and during that time thieves burnt their farm down, tore off parts of the roofing for their two houses and stole all the valuable items they had inside the houses. That was how Johnson found his property when he returned to the farm, a property in which he had invested his family’s savings as a sort of retirement plan. When he saw a red pickup truck reversed into his yard and Garcia and Cox jumping out of this vehicle, he thought that they had come back to continue burglarizing his house. That’s when he grabbed his shotgun and shouted at both men who tried to flee. He fired a single shot at both of them. Both Garcia and Cox were struck by pellets of the shotgun blast in their abdomen area.

    Byron James murder trial concludes
    The trial of Byron James who stands accused of the murder of Frank Vasquez concluded before Justice Traodio Gonzalez on Thursday, February 4, and the fate of the accused is now left to be decided by the court. James is accused of killing Vasquez sometime around 10:30 p.m. on May 5, 2012 on Neal’s Pen Road in Belize City. Vasquez was shot multiple times to the head, shoulder, back and mid-section. He died 4 days later, on May 9, 2012, from his injuries. Prosecutor in the case, Kileru Awich, called 5 witnesses to the stand; including, two relatives of the deceased, his mother Olivia Brown and his sister Sherlyn Fitzgibbon. The main witness was Fitzgibbon who testified she was looking over a five foot zinc fence the night her brother was shot and she saw James riding away. She also told the court that she had seen James over 50 times prior to the murder so she knows him well.

    Charged for drug trafficking then detained pending murder charges
    The brother of slain George Street gangster Kareem Lopez, Mark Lopez, 27, is a key suspect in a recent double homicide being investigated by police. Lopez appeared in court on Friday, February 5, to face a charge of drug trafficking after he was allegedly busted along with Biscayne Village resident, Aaron Reynolds, 21, with 94 grams of cannabis. Police searched Reynolds’ house in Biscayne Village on Thursday, February 4, and found the drug inside a drawer. Lopez and Reynolds were at the house at the time of the search so both were charged for the discovery. In court on Friday, Lopez pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking and Reynolds pleaded noy guilty. The prosecutor, Cpl, Kennard Clark, requested a recess to check with superiors if he can accept Lopez’s plea since Reynolds was pleading not guilty. When the case resumed ten minutes later Lopez changed his plea. Therefore, both men pleaded not guilty to the charge. Both were offered bail of $6,000 plus one surety of the same amount each. Lopez was able to meet bail before 12 noon. However, his freedom was short lived.

    Cop free of extortion charge
    Police Constable Elvin Nah was assigned to the San Pedro Police Station when he was accused of extortion in July of 2014. A boat builder on the island, Calvin Flowers, 32, reported to police that he and a friend were busted with 4.0 grams of weed by Nah and was going to be charged with possession of a controlled drug. However, before the charge was filed, Nah offered to release them in exchange for money. Flowers said that he then handed over $400 to the officer and they were released without any charge. The disgraced officer appeared before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Tuesday, February 9, to face an extortion charge. The virtual complainant, Calvin Flowers, did not show up in court. Prosecutor, Inspector Pablo Pikney, called his name three times. Since the main witness was a no show, Pikney had no choice but to withdraw the charge.

    One man caught in Tropical Education Center robbery
    Twenty one year-old Adolphus Palacio, a resident of Mahogany Heights, has been remanded to the Belize Central Prison. He went straight from the KHMH, where he was being treated for a chop wound he allegedly received after shooting a man for his vehicle which he used to flee from the scene of a robbery. The incident happened at the Tropical Education Center, a guest house that the Belize Zoo opened in 1994 to host conservation-minded tourists who are excited to experience Belize’s wildlife in western Belize. The Center, located between miles 28 and 29 on the George Price Highway, was hosting 2 Canadians, 75 year-old Stephen Temple and 65 year-old Cynthia Fredrick, who were enjoying their stay in Belize. They reported to the staff at the Tropical Education Center that at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 7, two thieves, one of them armed, held them up at gunpoint, locked them in the bathroom of their room, searched their belongings and stole 2 cameras, and 2 iPhones.

    Charged for discharging firearm in public
    Belize City teenager, Deshay Dasheeque Williams, 19, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for allegedly discharging a firearm in public and assaulting 18-year-old Randy O’Neil Franklin. Williams appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza on Friday, January 5, and pleaded not guilty to the two charges. According to police, at about 6:50 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2, two men on a motorcycle drove past a crowd standing in front of “Wax House” and fired several shots in their direction. Fortunately, no one was struck by the bullets. Further investigation led police to discover that at about 6:20 p.m. that same day, Randy O’Neil Franklin was on a motor cycle when he was held at gun point at the corner of Central American Boulevard and Banka Street by Deshay Williams who threatened to shoot him if he did not take him to the George Street area. Fearing for his life, Franklin complied with his attacker and took Williams to East Canal where he fired several shots at a crowd and ordered Franklin to drive towards a dead end on Regent Street West. Williams then jumped off the cycle and jumped into the Belize River to escape.

    Children need physical education more than ever
    Nine times out of ten, students complain to their Physical Education teachers about being out in the hot sun, running around for no reason. Perhaps in lower level education, children see it as a means of escaping the classroom, but as we grow older, it’s simply looked upon as a huge waste of time and energy. However, if we look at our education system, Physical Education is allotted an entire period of the day, maybe because it is essential to students, or at least, it should be. Most people tend to believe that physical activity is only necessary when large amounts of fat build up in the body over a period of time. Engaging in acts of physical activity from a young age is very important for both the mental and physical health of a child; the habits learnt in youth tend to continue onto adulthood, thus having an effect on the prevalence of obesity and related illnesses in society. Teachers play a major role in ensuring that children, who will later grow into youths then adults, participate in physical activity from the very beginning of receiving an education.

    Carl Ramos Stadium on schedule for completion
    If you have lived in Dangriga or visited for the past 25 years, you would know by now that Dangriga has created some of the most formidable and well respected football franchises throughout the country; but have never had a reasonably adequate facility for these franchises to call home. Quite often and for the most part, ‘Griga based teams travelled further south to Independence for home games when the facility was unavailable to host home games. That trend will end in the not so distant future with the upgrade of what will be one of the best football stadia across Belize, the Carl Ramos Stadium. A team of engineers and advisers from the Belize National Sports Council along with Team Frank Papa Mena campaign chairman Clifford “Boss P” Peters and Mrs. Sharon Williams, visited the work in progress at the stadium on Tuesday October 6th and were quite pleased. Project Director Ms. Christy Mastry toured the facility and told us,“We are very pleased with the work, matter of fact we are pleased with the work and the speed at which this project is being completed. The workmanship is excellent and for that we are thankful. It will be a conversation piece when completed.”

    Good or Bad loan?
    Whenever we hear a PUP insider speak about SSB investments, we have to refer to that most INFAMOUS period when last the People's United Party was in government. That same period that prompted a Special Senate Select Committee Investigation. The report from that investigation is so long that it took the Amandala some Three months to do it's report on a Bi-weekly basis. We found 19 of those segments they gave us in weekly installments so as not to take up the entire newspaper. Just Google REPORT OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD and read the entire thing. For the purpose of this essay we will only touch on one loan, and that is a loan to INTELCO. The following is what the report from the Senate Special Select Committee stated and we quote direct from the Amandala Edition # 2286 dated 18, November 2008. The Senate Committee reviewed the original mortgage documents, the Assignment of Mortgage document, the Mortgage Purchase Agreement and the Mortgage Loan File obtained from the DFC in connection with the ITL Mortgage and noted the following information contained therein. The Senate Committee also notes that the loan amounts are stated in the original mortgage documents as having been disbursed in US dollars. However, the assignment to the SSB was made in Belize dollars.

    Mechanized sugar cane harvesting coming
    It’s no secret that the Local Sugar Industry is facing some of its toughest days ahead. Right now, European Prices are at an all time low which makes the local industry struggle to remain viable since the cost of production is higher than the returns. You, our readers, have had to absorb the blow of the low world prices for sugar by paying 50% more for a pound of white sugar, but in 2017, things will get a bit tougher for the industry because the European regulators will remove restrictions currently holding Beet Sugar farmers from competing equally with Sugar Cane Farmers. So, since the price will be driven down further due to high supply and low demand, the local industry needs to do everything it can to remain competitive. Cost cutting measures need to seriously be considered, and one area that the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI) is asking farmers to look at is the harvesting of sugar. Currently the cane farming community harvest their crop using cane cutters. Their fields have to be burnt, and then, right after that, these workers go in and use machetes to cut down every stalk of sugar cane. It’s a very inefficient way of doing business, and the SIRDI along with the millers, Belize Sugar Industries Limited, are hoping that farmers will consider mechanized harvesting as a suitable replacement.

    Workshop to ensure Human Rights in Belize
    A validation workshop on Belize’s Draft Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR, was recently held at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan. Present to participate in the draft inputs were representatives from the Human Rights Commission of Belize, UNIBAM and sub-groups, Government Ministries, Traffic Department, Elections and Boundaries, Belmopan City Council and others. The ICCPR is one of the core human rights Treaties and is regarded as one of the three pillars of the International Bill of Human Rights along with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The ICCPR was adopted in 1966 and entered into force in 1976.

    Yarborough to get a facelift
    The Community of Yarborough in Belize City was once a major part of the City’s landscape in it’s history, but in the present day, it has become somewhat forgotten and neglected. Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, and this serving City Council local government wants to revitalize it, and make it relevant once again. They’ve turned to the experts at the American Planning Association, a non-profit organization which works to develop communities in the United States. The delegation of American technicians arrived in Belize on Tuesday, February 9, and immediately as they landed, they held a press briefing to introduce themselves to the Belizean public, and more importantly, the resident of Yarborough. Mayor Bradley and the consultants have a general idea to revive this community by preserving and highlighting it’s cultural and historical aspects. The Yarborough Cemetery has always been a part of the landmark, and so, the proposed development to feature it prominently, will have to factor in that specific landmark. The lead consultant on this trip is Justin Moore, a member of the New York Department of City Planning. The hope is that he and the consultants will be able to bring some elements of success to the drawing board at this time, elements which has made a world-renown city like New York to become the powerful municipality it is today.

    Convicted of sexually assaulting 11-year-old girl
    Boston Village resident Francisco Gomez, 39, also known as Indiana, is at the Belize Central Prison after he was convicted of sexual assault of an indecent nature, common assault and using threatening words upon an eleven-year-old girl. Gomez squeezed the little girl on her butt, told her that she had a fat butt for someone who is only 11 then he tried to kiss her. When the child objected to his actions, he slapped her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone what he had done. The incident reportedly took place on April 19, 2015, at the girl’s grandmother’s home.

    Chinese man murdered in Teakettle
    A Chinese bar operator was murdered in the early hours of this past Saturday in Teakettle Village, in the Cayo District. Zhijiang Zhang was found motionless in his 69 Bar located on the George Price Highway, with some seven chop wounds on his body. Police now believe that the 52 year old was a victim of robbery. A waitress working at the bar, Jacqueline Aquino, was also injured, shot on the leg whilst coming to the aid of Zhang. By daylight on Saturday CIB personnel were at the murder scene amidst blood splatters in a mini bedroom directly behind the bar. The remains were testimony to the painful ordeals on a private property. A masked robber, armed with a gun, had entered the establishment, just before closing, demanding that he wanted money. But the weapon was deactivated when the clip fell out after a struggle with Zhijuang Zhang. However; the criminal then took out a small machete and inflicted wounds to the back and anterior of the head and neck areas of Zhang. The lone gunman then fled the scene in an awaiting vehicle.

    Fined for slapping step-daughter
    Security Guard, Phillip Nicholas, 47, has to pay $705 for slapping his 20-year-old step-daughter, Latesha Hughes, who tried to intervene as he was about to hit her sister. The incident occurred at their family home located at #13 Barracat Street in Belize City on Wednesday, February 3. Hughes visited the Domestic Violence Unit around 9 p.m. on Wednesday and reported that shortly after she got home from school she heard a commotion and when she checked to see what was happening she saw her step-father standing over her sister with his right hand up in the air about to hit her. Hughes quickly intervened to protect her sister and that was when Nicholas slapped her to the left side of the face. She went to see a doctor and was issued a medico legal form where Dr. K. Riviera classified her injuries as harm.

    Woman facing 7 years prison term for Domestic Violence
    Susan Castellanos, 32, of Magazine Road in Belize City, is out on bail and facing a possible jail term of seven years for harm and wounding upon her ex-common-law-husband, Martin Bahadur. Allegations are that Bahadur visited Castellanos’ residence on Sunday, February 7, to see his daughter. He reported to police that as soon as he opened the door she released pepper spray into his face. He then went to the back of the house to see his daughter and that was when Castellanos attacked him with a knife. She cut his finger in the exchange. This caused Bahadur to report the matter to police requesting court action. Castellanos appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Monday, February 8, and pleaded not guilty to one count of harm and one count of wounding upon Martin Bahadur. Trying to get some understanding of the matter, Magistrate Rogers asked Castellanos if she is allowing Bahadur to see his child. Castellanos said yes and added that she intends to go straighten out some things at the Belize Family Court immediately. She pleaded not guilty to both charges.

    18 year old charged for assaulting police officer
    Police Constable George Savery claims that 18-year-old Adrian Swasey of Croton Lane resisted arrest and assaulted him on Thursday, February 4, on Mahogany Street. According to police reports, Swasey and three other males were together on Mahogany Street when PC Savery approached them. As the officer approached, Swasey walked away despite being told to stay where he was. According to PC Savery, when he ordered Swasey to stop he turned around and struck him in the face with a fist. Other officers had to intervene and they managed to apprehend Swasey after a tossle. The teenager was unrepresented when he appeared before Magistrate Deborah Rogers on Monday, February 8. He was read four charges: one count of aggravated assault, one count of assaulting a police officer, one count of obstructing justice and one count of resisting arrest. Swasey pleaded not guilty to all four charges and told Magistrate Rogers that it was the officer who struck him first. He then presented a medico legal form to the court in which a doctor certified that the muscle in his left hand was sprained. Swasey claims that his injury was caused by the police officers. Magistrate Rogers had a copy of the medico legal form made for the court. She then granted bail to Swasey in the amount of $600 plus one surety of the same amount.

    Troy Hyde to stand trial for Robbery’s murder
    A Preliminary Inquiry in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith on Tuesday, February 9, determined that Troy Hyde, 27, will stand trial for the murder of notorious George Street associate Kareem Lopez, also known as Robbery. Lopez was gunned down and killed on Central American Boulevard on Saturday night, January 3, 2015. Lopez went to buy at a fast food shop at the corner of Central American and Jane Usher Boulevard at about 10:15 p.m. on Saturday but before he could leave the area he was ambushed by multiple men. One of them pulled out a handgun and emptied the clip into his head and body from close range, making sure he was dead. Police responded to the scene shortly after but Lopez had already expired. A postmortem examination concluded that he died of “severe brain injury due to Traumatic fracture of skull due to multiple gunshots to the head”. Lopez was 28-years-old. He was well known to police and was charged for numerous violent crimes; including, gun possession, causing public terror with a firearm, gang affiliation and murder. There were numerous threats on his life but he managed to escape with some very close calls until that Saturday night on Central American Boulevard.

    Honduran man busted with 16.5 pounds of weed
    Honduras national, Orbin Lenin Reyes, 28, says that he was set up and betrayed after he was busted with over 15 pounds of weed on Saturday, February 6, while travelling on bus towards Belize City. Allegations are that police intercepted a Tillett Bus Line run at about 11:42 a.m. between Miles 8 and 9 in the Ladyville area. Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster says they had been monitoring Reyes “for a while” and an operation was set to apprehend the suspected drug peddler. Police boarded the bus and proceeded to search Reyes and his belongings. A search of his knapsack resulted in the discovery of 7,595.672 grams of cannabis, just over 16.5 pounds. Reyes was arrested and charged with one count of drug trafficking.

    Belize Smart Hurricanes remain undefeated in basketball competition
    The National Elite Basketball League 2016 Campaign continued over the last weekend with a number of games played across the country. On Sunday 7 Stann Creek Ecumenical High School Auditorium in Dangriga Town, the Dangriga Warriors defeated the February, at the Orange Walk Running Rebels by the score of 60-41. The top scorers for the Dangriga Warriors were Edgar Mitchell with 16 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals; Macario Augustine with 9 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals and Quinton Bowen with 8 points and 7 rebounds. For the Orange Walk Running Rebels, the top scorers were Roger Reneau with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 8 steals; Tyron Baptist with 13 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals. On Saturday 6 February, at the San Pedro High School Auditorium in San Pedro Town, the visiting Belize Smart Hurricanes increased its record to (4-0) when it edged out the two-time defending national basketball champions the San Pedro Tigersharks by the score of 89-88. This was the first defeat for the San Pedro Tigersharks at home dating back to the inception of the NEBL some two years ago.

    Belize to host CADICA Championship in February
    The Belize Athletics Association informs the general public that the Belize Athletics Association will be hosting the 10th Central American Cross Country Championship in Athletics. The championship is being sponsored by the Central American Track and Field Organisation (CADICA). The championship is scheduled for Saturday 20th February, 2016, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo District. It is anticipated that the championship will bring together some 125 cross country athletes and officials from all seven Central American countries.

    Digicell Valentine’s Cycling Tour
    The Cycling Federation of Belize in partnership with Digicell will be sponsoring the Annual Digicell Valentine’s Cycling Tour which will commence on Thursday 11th February to Sunday 14th February, 2016, for Elite, U-23 and Masters. Meanwhile, the female and Jr. /Youth riders will compete only in the Valentine’s Road Race Classic that will be held on Sunday 14th February. The Valentine’s Cycling Tour will commence on Thursday 11th February with stage 1, which is a 40 miles Road Race that will commence at 6:00 am from Leslie’s Imports to Mile 21 and then back to Leslie’s Imports. On Friday 12th February, Stage 2 which is also a 50 miles Road Race will start at 6:00 am from Leslie’s Imports through the Boom Road to Data Pro and then back to Leslie’s Imports. The Individual Time Trial will form Stage 3 of the Tour and this will be held on Saturday 13th February. The Individual Time Trial will cover a distance of 12 miles and is scheduled to commence at 6:30 am from CD’s – 6 miles up the Boom Road and back to CD’s.

    Police United stays on winning track
    The Premier League of Belize Closing Tournament continued over the last week with a number of games across the country. On Sunday 7 February, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio Town, the defending national football champions Police United continued on its winning ways when it edged out Verdes FC by the score of 3-2. The host team Verdes FC was able to get onto the scoreboard first when Nahjib Guerra scored his team 1st goal of the game in the 4th minute of play to give Verdes an early lead. It was just beyond the mid-point of the first half of the game that the Police United made it onto the scoreboard when Amin August Jr. scored his team 1st goal of the game in the 29th minute of play to tie the score at 1-1. The first half of the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

    WORDS OF LIFE
    with Barry Fraser. There is one thing we all experience in life, and that is death! We all know what it feels like to lose a family member or a friend. Whenever that happens there is sadness and mourning. In his sermon on the mountain side, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." (Matthew 5:4, New International Version.) It really helps in times of bereavement to be surrounded by caring friends. In fact, when we go to a funeral it is to be with and to comfort the family of the deceased. However in this teaching Jesus meant more than just the death of a loved one. That's in the physical sense. But Jesus had a spiritual application also. We can mourn for the condition of this world. Our enemy, Satan, has turned this world into one of chaos and confusion. God created a perfect world, but now it's a world in rebellion, as we see wars in so many different countries, resulting in displacement, lack of basic necessities, and suffering.

    Fire at Country Foods in Spanish Lookout
    Late this evening, Wednesday, fire fighters responded to a building in Spanish Lookout, which was engulfed in flames. The building is the property of Country Foods. At this time it is not known what caused the fire and police are investigating.

    St. Catherine Academy and Wesley College in finals of high school football competition
    The 2015-2016 Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition entered the finals of the high schools’ football competition on Monday 8 February, 2016, with games in the female and male competition. In the first game of the championship series in the female competition, St. Catherine Academy the number one seed into the championship blanked Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 3-0. The goals for St. Catherine Academy were scored by Renisha Martinez, Jada Myvett and Jodi Pott. In the male championship game, Wesley College, the number one seed into the championship round continued on its winning path when it defeated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 2-1. The goals for Wesley College were scored by Deandre Pitter and Kenyon Lewis. Meanwhile, the goal for Anglican Cathedral College was scored by Trevon Rhaburn. St. Catherine Academy advanced into the championship round on Thursday 4 February, 2016, when it eliminated Wesley College by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Zulema Ayala.

    Martin Flowers captures Cross Country 10Km run
    The Belize Athletics Association held its Cross Country Trial on Saturday 30 January, 2016, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village in the Cayo District as its selection process for the Cross Country athletes to represent Belize at the CADICA championship scheduled for 20 February here in Belize. In the female U-14 Trial for the 2Km event, Aaliyah Carr took 1st place in a time of 10:10:09. Meanwhile, in the female U-18 4Km event, Ashonti Carr took 1st place in a time of 18:22:20. In the male open 10Km event, 1st place went to Martin Flowers in a time of 43:47. The second runner to cross the finish line was Alexander Alvarado in a time of 44:53, the third runner to cross the finish line was Ervin Hamilton in a time of 46:19 and he was followed by Juan Santos in a time of 48:49 and then by Shaun Bennett in a time of 57:41.

    Caye Caulker Chronicles

    The Transfer Station – where to take the poop?

    New Year – New Standards?
    As a new year starts in ernest, it is time to wonder what it may bring this little island of ours. The Village Council with have elections in a couple of months and perhaps now is a good time to start thinking about what we did wrong, what we need and how we need to go about getting it right. One thing that has become obvious to everyone is the huge amount of construction going on, and this reporter wants to know how they got permission to build some of it. The most obvious one is the new, often referred to ’Enjoy’ building of Mr Ming. Whilst it looks like it complies with setbacks, we wonder how they got permission to go 4 floors and then another small building on top of that and then of of course that big sided, often referred to as ‘Mickey Mouse ears’ or ‘love heart’ at the top with another apparently blank 8 ft wall too. Most will remember heated CCVC meetings two years ago about Chinatowns’ building. Take a walk around the island and you will see countless other infractions, but the questions is of course is that if the rules are so easily flouted how can we know, as residents, that more dangerous rules are also not being flouted? Can we trust that they have a full sized septic system that isn’t going to run effluent down our main streets for example. That the wiring is installed correctly and will not cause a massive fire?

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    Belize’s national animal knocked down near Burrel Boom
    Disturbing information reaching Breaking Belize News is that a fully grown mountain cow was knocked down in the vicinity of Burrell Boom in the Belize District a short while ago. According to the eyewitnesses, this portion of the highway is a well-known tapir crossing. Drivers are […]

    Woman sets fire to Virgin Mary statue in Orange Walk
    Shortly before seven on Wednesday night sisters at the convent adjacent the La Inmaculada Church in Orange Walk Town responded to a fire at the grotto located in the church compound. BMG has not received an official police report but understands that a woman […]

    “Real” Police issue warning about “fake” police following two robberies
    This evening the Police Department issued an advisory warning of vigilance to the general public, business owners and security firms. This is because two robberies occurred during the past 24 hours – one in Eastern Division (North) and one in Eastern Division (South) – involving […]

    Belize Progressive Party weighs in on Santander loan contemplation
    A press release from the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) on the matter of Social Security Board’s (SSB) $12 million loan to Santander Farms, which is currently in its publication stage, states that the party recognizes the importance of investing wisely for maximum returns and is in […]

    Orange Walk man busted with almost 5 pounds of weed
    An Orange Walk Town resident has been charged30 p.m., officers on mobile patrol in that municipality, stopped and searched 33 year old Cortis Wade […]

    “Substantial losses” force Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers to shut down
    Today, following complaints by people who were laid off over the past week, Martin Aguilar, Manager of the Packing House at Belize Fruit Packers confirmed that the subsidiary companies of Brooks Tropicals, Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers are closing its doors. CEO of Brooks […]

    Two charged for more than 30 pounds of weed
    While conducting a vehicle checkpoint before dawn yesterday morning, Belmopan police made one of the biggest drug busts in recent memory, seizing just over 30 pounds of weed that was inside a storage container and luggage bag thrown from a fleeing vehicle. Around 4:30 […]

    Ministry of Agriculture applies new technology for better corn and bean production
    The Ministry of Agriculture today hosted a Field Day on the seed production of corn and beans at the Central Farm Crop Unit Production Plot. According to a government press release, the purpose of the field day was to showcase the technological package in quality […]

    Jury finds grandmother guilty of human trafficking
    A Jury of 5 women and 4 men deliberated for about 90 minutes yesterday in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas before it found 64 year old Honduran national Estela Gonzalez guilty of human trafficking. Justice Lucas deferred sentencing until Thursday, February 18, to give Gonzalez […]

    Belmopan police investigate burglary of over $18,000
    30-year-old Audrey Ramclam reported to Belmopan police that sometime on February 10, between 7:15 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. her bungalow house located on # 25 Rose Garden Street was burglarized. She reported to police that an assortment of jewelry valued at $9,000 was missing along with $9,800 […]

    Weather remains cool and dry
    Cool and relatively dry conditions will continue today, then some moisture will return over our area. The National Meteorological Service of Belize is predicting mainly fair and cool weather with little or no rainfall today, then some cloudy spells with a few showers or […]

    Blogs

    Photo blog: Adventure Horseback Riding in Cayo Belize!
    It’s safe to say that I’m a city boy, an urban dweller, I have lived in the urban sprawl for most (if not all of) my life. This doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t rough it with the country folk (though there was a learning curve). Living out in the jungle of Cayo, Belize takes some adjusting but I’m certainly not one to pass up an experience, so when I was offered to join a small group going horseback riding I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Now that I think about it, my uncle had horses but I haven’t actually been on a horse for about roughly 8, maybe even 9 years! We came out to a trail which bordered some pastures and I wondered immediately how many spiders may have been crawling in that thick grass (I have a love/fear of spiders). All this time Emil our lead guide was explaining to us the different trees and their potential uses, history, and characteristics while pointing out small animals or sounds as we passed by. I found myself thinking that he was some manner of wizard, he was pointing out insects (tiny ones), identifying bird calls, pointing out trees, and leaves, he was very good at this, I still don’t know how he did it all (my bet is still on magic). We cleared the pasture and arrived to a fork in the road, the guides then announced that we were in for a treat, they created a new trail and we would be the first to go on (I was overwhelmingly eager as you could imagine). We continued down the main trail and I saw a small break in the foliage, I knew immediately that this was the new trail. We turned into the tiny path which took us straight into the jungle. Upon entering, my Zorro fantasy went straight out the window, Luckily Indiana Jones walked through the door promptly to replace him, and I felt like a real jungle explorer. This new trail was awesome, Emil quickly pointed out an Agouti (which is a large jungle rodent, oddly adorable), and soon after we heard some weird deep moans, I knew exactly that was the Howler monkey. The horses knew too but weren’t at all bothered, the monkeys were high up in the canopy and moved quickly making their signature howls which can be deafeningly loud if heard from too close. They were eating the leaves of the Trumpet Tree, which turns out was also popular with the Mayas who used to smoke the leaves of the tree for the reportedly incredible high. The Mayan priests would smoke the leaves of the tree kind of like tobacco especially in religious ceremonies, the howlers seemed to be big fans as well.

    Why I Stand By Our “Crazy” Decision To Move to Belize
    When my husband Dave and I first visited Belize we were blown away by the island lifestyle and culture. We loved seeing swaying palm trees and white-sand beaches everywhere we looked. We loved seeing people actually enjoying their day, walking to get their groceries, the lack of materialism, and the fact that we could be outside 12 months a year. Although it’s difficult to pick my favorite things about living in Belize, here are some of the reasons I find it so special: 1. The diversity of this small country: From our home in Placencia we have beaches and the jungle just a short drive away. We can spend the morning on the beaches near our house and while away the afternoon deep in the tropical forests at the Jaguar Reserve. We can be looking at tropical birds and waterfalls, and sweeping mountains, winding rivers, and tiny rustic Mayan villages…and be back home in time for dinner and a drink at any one of the many bars and restaurants right on the Caribbean Sea. It really is the best of both worlds. 2. Everyday life is easy. The official language in Belize is English. Although the locals speak Kriol most of the time, they all speak English and you will never be at a loss for someone to help with directions or finding the best place to buy fresh local produce.

    Spot Lights to be installed at the Hon. Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex
    Thank you to Mr. Francisco Alvarado (not pictured) from Grand Belizean Island Company on the donation of two (2) large Spot Lights which will be installed at the Hon. Louis Sylvestre Sports Complex.

    5 Prime Belize Resorts for a destination wedding
    Truly a tropical paradise, the nation of Belize is one of the premiere wedding destinations in the world. Beautiful ceremonies held on a gorgeous beach or in a pristine rainforest setting make weddings in Belize truly special. Streamlined rules make it easy for foreigners to get married in Belize and stunning resorts allow newlyweds and their friends and family to make the most of a vacation to this Central American country. Couples wishing to marry in Belize must be in the country for three days before they can apply for a license. Permission is usually granted within 24 hours, and most couples take advantage of the many exciting jungle and sea adventures available in Belize before tying the knot. Located just a few hours’ flying time from destinations in the United States, it is easy and affordable for friends and family to join newlyweds for a dream wedding in Belize. Below are five of the best resorts in Belize to hold a destination wedding: Portofino Beach Resort, Victoria House, Yok Ha Island Resort, Chabil Mar, SunBreeze Hotel.

    Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize
    We opted for Caye Caulker because the bigger island, Caye Ambergris, sounded too crowded, touristy and expensive for our taste. And if you compare the costs of the dive trips there is actually no big difference from whichever island you go, both Caye Ambergris and Caulker offer day-trips to the ‘Blue Hole’ for similar deals. Caye Caulker is a bit more laid back than it’s bigger sister Ambergris. There are no cars on the island, people sell their arts and handicrafts on the street, you hear music but you can also enjoy peaceful tranquility if you stay away from the small town centre. When you walk the streets on Caye Caulker, you get the impression that there are a LOT of dive companies on the island. But actually there are only three dive shops that take you onto a Day-trip to the ‘Blue Hole’: Belize Diving Services, Frenchie’s Diving Services and Big Fish Dive Centre. All the other small shops that try to sell you their spots, refer you later on to one of these three companies. So, if you don’t want pay a commission on top of the regular price and see directly who you are going with, go straight to one of the above.

    International Sourcesizz

    DSU students to participate in Belize service-learning trip
    Kayla Sveen of Janesville, will be participating in the Belize service-learning trip with other Dakota State University students during spring break. The DSU College of Education students and faculty will spend two weeks at Victorious Nazarene Primary School in San Jose Succotz, Belize. They will focus their efforts on the Pre-K through 8th grade students at the elementary school. This year, one of their goals is to implement a small library in each classroom and expand a larger elementary library with donated, gently-used books. Service-learning is not only in relation to the gain of knowledge in the classroom, it also pertains to giving back to their global community while gaining leadership skills in the process.

    8 private islands you can rent on Airbnb that are cheaper than you think
    Private island getaways are no longer just for the rich and famous. If you’ve always envied Richard Branson and his getaway, Necker Island, jetting off to your own private island might not be as out of reach as you’d think. In fact, thanks to Airbnb, you can now play at being Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. Here are eight islands available to rent: 1. Bird Island, Belize It might not have a pool, but this small island – which can sleep four people – is inside a coral reef! You can swim in the clear shallow water, snorkel, fish, kayak, laze around in a hammock and potter around the colourful blue and orange wooden huts that will be your temporary home. Luckily, the island is only 20 minutes from the village of Placencia, Belize, so you’re not cut off from civilisation, even if it feels that way.

    Videos

  • Belize Dive Trip, 11min. Diving in Belize from aboard the Aggressor III, Jan 30th thru Feb 6th.

  • Cool lil video of a Macaw dancing at the Bird Fair., 2min. A must see...

  • Kamal: Week One, 2min. Wildtracks is rehabilitating a cute little spider monkey. "Kamal: Week One. Rescued by his namesake, Kamal, of the Belize Forest Department, this little scrap of neglected spider monkey arrived with good doses of scabies, fungal infections, lice, intestinal worms and an unhealthy level of malnutrition. Kamal is a Geoffroy's spider monkey. This species is globally endangered, and in Belize, its range is rapidly shrinking as forests are cleared. They are also targeted for the illegal wildlife trade, with the mothers being shot and killed to obtain the infants."

  • Belize Winter 2016, 5min. 10 of the best days of our lives!

  • Great Belize Cooking - Episode 2: Barbeque Deer Meat, 40min. Sean Kuylen travels to Burrel Boom to experience the painstaking process of making charcoal, and pays a visit to the proprietor of Marvilleous Sauces, Maria Villanueva.

  • An Old-fashioned Mennonite Sale Day at Carribean Tire (Belize), 2min. As seen on Greatest Places on Earth

  • Dolphins on the way back from Diving the Blue Hole of Belize, 1min. What a spectacular and joyful surprise on our way back from the Lighthouse Reef Atoll to Caye Caulker...the pod of dolphins would jump for ages next to our boat and made a perfect end to a perfect day.

  • Belize Video, 16min. Our Belizean adventure in January/February 2016! Music and chapters below: 0:13 Washed Out - Feel It All Around [Scuba Diving] 2:34 Hot Chip - Flutes [Crystal Cave] 3:50 The Knife - Silent Shout [Crystal Cave] 5:22 Calexico - Bullets and Rocks [Rio Frio Cave, Caracol & Rio on the Pools] 7:50 Quantic - Time is the Enemy [driving time lapse] 9:05 Washed Out - Don't Give Up [Cave Kayaking] 11:35 French Horn Rebellion - The Fire [Ziplining] 13:08 Retro Remix Revue - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Gerudo Valley [Cahal Pech & Photos]

    February 11, 2016


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    Specials and Events

    Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


    The San Pedro Sun

    CODICADER Meeting
    The Honourable Elodio Aragon, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Youths Sports and Culture received the visit of Her Excelllency, Ana Hazel Escrich, Secretary General of the Central American Social Integration Secretariat (SISCA). During the visit, Minister Aragon and H.E. Escrich discussed mutual areas of the SISCA Regional Agenda such as Regional Youth Development Programs and the proactive participation of Belize in CODICADER (Consejo del Istmo Centroamericano de Deportes y Recreación). In July 2016 Belize is slated to host the CODICADER Games in fives sports disciplines: Chess, Atlethics, Softball, Football and Basketall at the Primary level. SISCA has expressed its support to the Ministry in the area of sports equipment and technical expertise for the success of hosting the games. Minister Aragon expressed the continued political and technical support of his Ministry and seeks to enhance the cordial relations existing with SISCA.

    Verge of Umbra independently releases debut album “V.O.U.”
    Belizean band Verge Of Umbra formally announces the release of their debut album, titled “V.O.U” on March 12th, 2016. The grand launch party and live performance will be held at Thirsty Thursday’s in Belize City. The album release is being done independently, and is now available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Led by vocalists Nello Player, Jenko Veli, Lowell Gillet on Bass, Andres Pineda on Guitar and Faith Madubuko on drums, the group is made up of an eclectic mix of talented Belizean artists.

    Jessie Adrewin Grey crowned Miss Fabulous Diva 2016-2017
    On Friday, February 5th, Amber Bar and Grill at Caribbean Villas Resort hosted a pageant like no other, with the presentation of the third annual Miss Fabulous Diva. Not even the inclement weather could keep spectators away from what promised to be a fierce show of glitz and glamour. The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) themed pageant had a great turnout, with six lovely contestants vying for the crown of Miss Fabulous Diva 2016-2017. After an amazing two-hour show, it was Caye Caulker’s Jessie Andrewin Grey who wowed the judges, taking the crown and title. Organized by DJ Debbie, in partnership with Amber Bar and Grill and Caribbean Villas Resort, the pageant commenced shortly after 9:30PM. In the first segments, the ladies took to the stage in their ‘pretty in pink’ dresses. Master of Ceremony Paul and Mistress of Cermonies Nicole introduced the six contestants to a cheering crowd. Vying from the title were Markisha Ling, Jimena Alexsandra Monterubio, Bianca, Markasha Monroe, Arianna Sheena Bowen and Jessie Adrewin Grey. Before announcing the winner, several other awards were issued out. Bianca took the prize for best introductory outfit, best swimwear and best evening gown. The best talent award went to Arianna, who portrayed a high school girl transitioning to a diva. Jessie was awarded the prize for the best Question and Answer. And taking the Miss Fabulous Diva 2016-2017 title and crown was Jessie Adrewin Grey, while Bianca was awarded first runner up.

    ‘El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro’ exhibit at San Pedro House of Culture
    The San Pedro House of Culture (SPHC) opened their Carnaval Photography Exhibition on Friday, February 5th. The exhibit is in honour of the traditional ‘El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro (The Great Carnival of San Pedro) which took place from Sunday, February 7th to Tuesday, February 9th. The exhibition depicts pictures of the ‘Good Old Carnaval de San Pedro.’ Unfortunately, due to a cold front blowing and a light rain, attendants enjoyed the showcased costumes and applauded the dances to the typical songs used in the traditional festivity.

    Residents and visitors join annual Cancer Walk
    On Thursday, February 4th, the San Pedro Cancer Society joined the millions around the world who hold events in honoring those who have lost their fight or overcome cancer. In celebration of the day, The San Pedro Cancer Society held their annual lighted candle walk which started shortly after 6:30PM from the Central Park. Residents and local business representatives on the island came out to join and support the solidarity walk. The procession made its way through the main streets of Town, all the way to the roundabout of the San Juan area and then headed down through Pescador Drive ending at the Central Park. Many of the participants in the walk have lost family members and friends to the disease. They carried their memories with them as they held lighted candles in their honor, along with printed pictures of their loved ones. Locals and visitors alike joined the walk and many passersby applauded the wonderful solidarity and unity of the community.

    Ambergris Today

    Carnaval Ends with a Bang, is Major Tourist Attraction
    “I love this so much, I want to do it every year,” commented San Pedro Carnaval Queen Melida Pereira about her participation in the Carnaval Comparsas (street dancing). “Why did I not know of all this fun.” Melida participated in the comparsas as part of her winning the Mrs. Reina del Carnaval pageant, now on its third year and a welcome staple to the Carnaval celebrations in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. And while Melida danced, performed and sang her heart out for three consecutive days, alongside four other comparsa groups, hundreds of tourists who visited the island during the festivities enjoyed the celebrations. We met first-time visitors who were thrilled about the painting and others who have been visiting the island for 20 years now, only during Carnaval because they love the tradition so much.

    Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

    San Pedro Police Department looking for George Martinez
    The San Pedro Police Department are asking for assistance in the capture of George Martinez. He is wanted for escaping from police custody over a month ago. Anyone with information that can lead to his arrest please contact 206-2022 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 0-800-922-8477.

    Free movement of labour workshop underway in Belize
    Twenty Belizeans from the private sector, public sector and union representatives are attending a two-day workshop on the free movement of labour in Belize City. The workshop opened with four key speakers that highlighted the history, present progress and the benefits of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Keynote speaker, CEO Kerry Belisle reiterated the commitment of the Labour Department to facilitate free movement and to reinvigorate domestic systems that would create greater efficiency and transparency. Dr Olivia Smith, deputy programme manager, free movement and labour, CARICOM Secretariat, CSME Unit, led an interactive workshop that gave an overview of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). She explained the rights associated with establishing a business in the CARICOM region, the benefits and challenges associated with living and working in the Caribbean. Legal research officer Deborah Barrow expounded on the legal implications and outcomes of key case studies and their link to the legal provisions in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that should guide member states compliance with the treaty.

    Security camera set for sale, Caye Caulker
    Security camera set for sale, $800 BZ. Come with cash to Kokomo Beach Suites office. New in box item. You can monitor using your cell phone from anywhere using this system.

    Paint Party Events
    Come join us this Thursday at the Crazy Canucks Bar where we will be painting the lovely "Stained Glass Mermaid". Please bring a sharpie marker along with you. Regular cost is $25 U.S. and there is a certainly discount for members. See you all there on Thursday! February 11, 2016, 2:00 PM

    Agreement between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) on Cooperation in Public Health and Medical Skills
    An agreement on cooperation in public health and medical skills was signed today, February 10, 2016, between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The agreement was signed by the Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health and H.E. Benjamin T.H. Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize. The objective of this agreement is to access technical support from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the area of public health and will include, but will not be limited to, health education, disease screening and clinical services. Another major aspect of this joint collaboration will be the capacity building of medical personnel in Belize. The agreement will apply to projects initiated jointly by both parties. The first major project, Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Renal Failure, will address the ever increasing number of patients with end stage renal failure. Activities within this project will include training for nurses in the hemodialysis procedure in Belize, training for hemodialysis technicians and Community Health Workers, as well as the development and production of public education materials. The aim of the project is also to strengthen the screening program for high-risk persons for kidney disease.

    The Free Movement Regime of the Caribbean Community
    Twenty (20) Belizeans from the private sector, public sector and union representatives attended day one of a two-day workshop on the Free Movement of Labour in Belize City at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina. The workshop opened with four (4) key speakers that highlighted the history, present progress and the benefits of the CSME. Keynote Speaker, CEO Kerry Belisle reiterated the commitment of the Labour Department to facilitate free movement and to reinvigorate domestic systems that would create greater efficiency and transparency. Dr. Olivia Smith, Deputy Programme Manager, Free Movement and Labour, CARICOM Secretariat, CSME Unit, led an interactive workshop that gave an overview of the CARICOM Community. She explained the rights associated with establishing a business in the CARICOM region, the benefits and challenges associated with living and working in the Caribbean. While Legal Research Officer, Ms. Deborah Barrow expounded on the legal implications and outcomes of key case studies and their link to the legal provisions in the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that should guide Member States compliance with the Treaty.

    CLOSURE OF THE LOBSTER FISHING SEASON
    The Fisheries Department takes this opportunity to inform fishers and the general public that the lobster fishing season will close on February 15th and it will remain closed until midnight of June 14th, 2016. Any person found in possession of lobster during the said closed season will be prosecuted in accordance to Fisheries Regulation 3 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize (2003). The Fisheries Department also reminds fishers that lobster traps should be removed from the fishing grounds during the closed fishing season. During the month of March 2016, Fisheries Officials will be visiting fishing camps and coastal fishing community to take stock of lobster traps owned by individual fishers in order to facilitate the registration of such lobster traps.

    Here are the Winners of the Comparsas!
    1st Place: San Pedro AIDS Commission, 2nd Place: Mrs. Flora Ancona's Group, 3rd Place: Black N White Charikanari Dancers.

    The race is one for preventing the agricultural expansion into Chiquibul
    Aerial reconnaissance shows 17 clearings already.

    Paradise Theatre Playing this Weekend!
    The Good Dinosaur, Secret In Their Eyes, The Night Before, Misconduct. Oscar De La O will be performing live in Room 1 this Saturday night at 9 .. There is limited space so Pre-Order tickets are available at Reef Radio .. Get them while you still can .. See Ya at the movies!

    Alleged Claim of Aflatoxin in Locally Produced Rice
    The Belize Bureau of Standards in consultation with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and the Ministry of Health, hereby submits a response on the alleged claim of aflatoxins in local rice as issued in a Press Release dated February 10th, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles of Extra House: In the first instance, the Bureau would like to categorically state that Mr. Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize. Notwithstanding this claim, the Bureau in collaboration with the competent authorities aforementioned concluded that the test results provided on February 1st, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles shows that none of the rice samples analysed contain detectable levels of aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health. The Bureau and the Government is committed to ensuring food safety and health in Belize and categorically rejects any suggestion that they are not so committed. It is regrettable that the commercial interests of one individual, veiled under the guise of food safety concerns, is being used in an attempt to erode the confidence in food safety which the people of Belize now enjoy.

    Work Progresses at Sarstoon Forward Operating Base
    Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar, accompanied by his cabinet colleague, Hon. Frank Mena, today, Wednesday, February 10th, visited the construction site of the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base in Toledo. Minister Saldivar was also accompanied by senior members of the Belize Defense Force (BDF), the Belize Police Department and Ministry of National Security officials. On site the delegation was able to appreciate the rapid pace at which the construction is proceeding. Elements of the BDF have set up temporary installations at the site as the work progresses. The Forward Operating Base at the mouth of the Sarstoon River is one of several initiatives being undertaken by the Government of Belize to safeguard and protect our national sovereignty. The Forward Operating Base, though modest in its beginnings, will establish a much needed presence and will serve to combat illicit activities such as drug, contraband and human trafficking, and weapons trading, which threaten Belize's national security.

    Solomon! By Abdulmajeed K Nunez
    Solomon said, “Great men are not always wise! “Ole people sometimes do foolish things” This time highly intelligent people got it mistaken BBA is now at centre stage Did they investigate to ensure they and Plus TV was on the same page? Was this decision made by the BBA INSTITUTION? Since you have the responsibility to draw the final conclusion Was a decision made out of malice or misinformation? Are you conspirators to close down fuh we Plus TV station? At the end of the day our taxes will pay attorneys In the final analysis our taxes will pay court fees Belize Broadcasting Association is being ridiculous Dehnya adults want to be mischievous By saying Plus TV is not on air This being the reason for not accepting license fees Geez! Are these are people with degrees? BBA please! You are being ridiculous! Your letter denying them licence is ludicrous BBA, you are insulting us! There is no suggestion of Plus TV breaking any laws This decision seems to be flawed We are hoping whoever made the decision made it while sleeping Or while dozing off Unaware of the chain reaction this is going to set off Dah noh who have the first laugh

    THE HISTORY OF BLACK BELIZEAN REVOLUTIONARIES AT HOME & ABROAD!
    Let's recall these black Belizean revolutionaries in the true sense of the word who have passed this way before and are no longer with Belize and Belizeans. They have stood up tall in the defense of Belize and Belizeans, and have posed the most succesful resistance against the destruction of the Belizean nation state. Learn about them this Black HIstory Month. If you don't know your history, you will be forced to repeat it.

    Channel 7

    Is Deadly Afla-Toxin Eating Your Rice? Importer Says Yes, Bureau Of Standards Says No
    Is there a deadly contaminant in your rice? Importer Jack Charles says there is! And he says he’s confirmed it with a top lab in the US. The contaminant is called Afla Toxin – which is carcinogenic, meaning it causes cancer, and it’s also linked to liver disease and other ailments. Today, after holding back for more than a week to get some response from Government, Charles sent out the test results, when it became clear that Government wouldn’t budge. They show three different brands of local rice, which he bought off the shelf and sent to Eurofins Laboratory in New Orleans, Louisiana. The test results for all three brands of rice show the presence of aflatoxins – but at less than two micrograms per kilogramme. The law – which is Statutory Instrument of October 2015, says, quote, “Rice shall be free of…contaminants…that is, aflatoxin which is created by improper storage. “

    Police Say He Robbed Tourists, And Put A Gun To Truck Driver's Head
    For the past two nights, we’ve been reporting on the robbery at the Tropical Education Centre, which left 2 Canadian tourists anxious to leave the country, and a man injured in the hospital after the thieves shot him for his pickup, which they used to flee the scene. Well today, the alleged gunman went to court. He’s 21 year-old Adolphus Palacio Jr., a resident of Mahogany Heights Village, and he’s at the Belize Central Prison tonight. He was taken before the Magistrate Court this evening with his arm heavily bandaged, the injury he allegedly suffered after he shot 52 year-old Jorge Lopez and tried to kill him for his vehicle. That’s also another loose end that police tied up. They found Lopez’s truck this morning in Mahogany Heights base don information passed to them by a concerned member of the public. It was found abandoned and parked in a wooded area.

    Guatemalan Perfume Vendor Found Dead, Decomposed Off Southern
    A Guatemalan woman was found dead in an orchard along the Southern Highway. Yesterday afternoon around 3:30, Dangriga police were called out to an orchard near miles 6 on the Southern Highway. They found the partially decomposed body of 39 year old Lydia Janet Garcia Giron. She was found wearing only a pair of short blue jeans pants. A black bra was found beside her. She was identified by her sister. The only recognizable features were Giron’s false teeth and a tattoo on her thigh. According to the police report, Giron went missing on January 19th – and her whereabouts had been a mystery until her body was found yesterday. She lived in Melchor but frequently traveled around Belize selling perfume. When we spoke with police today they told us they are still looking into the case to determine if she was murdered. Although the post mortem results say the cause of death is “blunt force trauma to the head” police say they can’t confirm that until the official forensic report is sent in. That will give police a better idea as to what exactly happened and when it happened. Police suspect she died or was killed a month ago. We will keep following on that case.

    Another Body On Southern Hwy
    While police are looking into Giron’s case, they are also following up on another suspected murder case. On Friday, January 29th around 6:45 in the morning, 30 year old Jose Pedro Menjivar Murcia was found in a semi-unconscious state in another orchard near miles 15 and 16 on the Southern Highway – this is in the Alta Vista Area. He had several injuries to his head. Police told us today that Murcia was out at Finas Bar the night before. He was hanging out with friends but he realized his bike had been stolen. Murcia got into an argument with another man at the bar but the bar owner chased him off. Police found him the next morning thrown in the orchard. He was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital then transferred to the KHMH. He fought for his life for a few days but died on February 6th. Police have questioned the man Murcia got into an argument with at the bar that Thursday night but they can’t confirm if he attacked Murcia.

    Moving Forward With The Base At Sarstoon
    This morning, we received word that a group of high-ranking military officers were heading to the Sarstoon River, and this evening, the Government Press Office confirmed why. National Security Minister John Saldivar, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Frank “Pawpa” Mena, and the top brass of the police and BDF went to the Joint Forces Forward Operating Base being built at the mouth of the Sarstoon River to check on progress. Seen here, the building’ frame was already constructed, and the contractors were moving apace with their work to complete it. A press release from the Government says, quote, “On site the delegation was able to appreciate the rapid pace at which the construction is proceeding. Elements of the BDF have set up temporary installations at the site as the work progresses.”

    Trash Fuels Fire At Country Foods
    There was a fire at Country Foods in Spanish Lookout this afternoon at 3:00. When we spoke to the manager this evening, he told us that one of his employees had lit a pile of garbage on fire in the yard but the wind carried the fire to a pile of expired rice, beans and eggs that was in front of the building. That's when the fire got out of control. The fire department is processing the scene right now. What you see here is a video taken from Facebook – in it , you can see the 2 piles of garbage on fire. The manager told us the fire caused more than $5,000 worth of damages.

    Haulover Collision
    There was a collision on the Haulover Bridge this afternoon. Just after 3:00, a Nissan X Terra was crossing the bridge from the direction of Ladyville to Belize City when the driver crashed into a oncoming dump truck. The impact sent the Nissan barrelling towards the left side of the bridge. The Nissan vehicle with handicapped plates extensive damages to its front end and the driver, 37 year old Hattieville resident Raquel Burke was rushed to the KHMH by a BERT ambulance. The extent of her injuries remains unknown. As for the driver of the truck 33 year old Christopher Gillett of Burrell Boom, police report that he received no injuries although the truck sustained damages to its control arms, hood, rear view mirrors and springs. Police cleared the road around 4:30 after the truck was removed.

    The Sea Swallowed By Silt At Southern Foreshore?
    What’s happening to the sea on southern foreshore? It’s disappearing! That’s what residents have been telling is for the past two weeks – and we thought maybe it had something to do with the cold front and all the north winds playing tricks with the tides. But, that’s not it. The problem persists – and when we went there this morning, we saw that outside the seawall, there was a massive buildup of silt, so much so that where once there was only sea and waves rolling into the seawall, now there’s only a thick buildup of silt pushing against the seawall. Residents in the area say they have never seen it like this. Experts tell us it’s probably the result of siltation buildup in the Belize harbor – which is famous for that. They say it needs a proper dredging by the relevant authority. But who is that authority? Well, there’s an international port right across form this at the Fort Street Tourism Village. And the silt buildup will eventually affect the huge tenders that traffic to and from the village. As far as we know, it was to have been dredged by October of last year, but the sight we saw would suggest that didn’t happen.

    "Yabra", Can History Be Salvaged?
    Yesterday, we told you about the community planning experts from the American Planning Association who arrived in Belize to assist the Belize City Council in making improvements to the part of the City known as Yabra. The head of the delegation is Justin Moore, a professional who works with the New York City Department of City Planning. Today, Mayor Darrell Bradley was on the ground with the team touring the area to come up with the best strategy to revitalize a part of the city which played an important part in its history, but has been forgotten in the present. Daniel Ortiz reports: Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, his technical staff at the City Council, and the consultants from the American Planning Association spent most of morning touring the City. They then moved into the Yarborough Area to survey important aspects of the open space, such as the Football Field and Basketball Court, and the next door Wesley College Compound. The Mayor then hosted his consulting guests on a boat tour of the Yarborough Waterfront, to get a distant perspective of the coast line that “Yabra" occupies.

    Tackling Zoning Squarely At City Hall
    And while Yabra has been singled out for special attention, the truth is the city has been growing in a disorderly fashion for decades, without any plan or zoning considerations. Viewers may remember the public disagreement that residents of Palm Grove had with the City Council 2 years ago when they learnt that an apartment complex was approved for construction in their community. Well, despite protestations, that complex now towers above the residential area. Then, about a month ago, resident of Kings Park called us to complain about an apartment complex in their area. Today, the Mayor told us that these are all instances of an ad hoc attempts at zoning, and so, the council has decided to go all in on this policy but in consultation with the city residents: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "We are dealing with zoning and how we've dealt with it is in an ad hoc way. Recently I've had issues with residence in the Caribbean Shores area who wants a particular part of their area zoned. We recently dealt with zoning last year with the Palm Groves estate that was recently completed. We had zoning issues with Bella Vista, we've had the experience under Hon. Carlos Perdomo as it then was in terms of the Landivar area, so that zoning has really been an area that has been looked at in an ad hoc way but when you see all these issues coming to ahead, it really means that the city together with the central government partners need to take the bull by the horn, we need to lead the development of Belize City as opposed to like following up. If I'm investing in a particular area, I want to know the land use policy in that area for the next 30 years."

    Mayor Explains Paving Delay
    But, while Mayor Bradley is pushing zoning as the City moves to roll out the Master Plan, what about unfinished concrete streets like those in the area of Cinderella Plaza? The Mayor told us months ago that the reason this very trafficked intersection was not completed was because the Flood Mitigation Project in this area needed to be finished first. But flood mitigation looks to be finished in that area, and so we asked the Mayor why hasn’t the work hasn’t resumed on this much trafficked area?: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "It's not completed, it is going to be completed; the street is finished in terms of the section of Baymen Avenue and in terms of Cindarella Plaza. We have a councillor who sits on the steering committee for the mitigation project; he is involved in the discussions and so forth. I'm confident that we are pushing them in relation to completing that as soon as possible because it is a major woe for residence. The Cindarella Plaza is a major access way and we need that area to be repaired and to be fixed. I can't speak in relation to the specific timeline but I can say that it's going to be done."

    A Proliferation of Paving, Excluding Ebony
    And while Cindarella Plaza will get its pavement eventually, what about Ebony Street? Yesterday, we showed you the public plea from a resident who begged the City Council to work on his street because the dust has become unbearable. Well, when we asked the Mayor about it, and he said that while he hears the concern, the City doesn’t have the money to work on that street right now: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "I know that the street itself was improved, we've not focused a lot on the concreting projects but there has been a major improvement in remedial works carried out throughout Belize City so that I can't speak necessarily in relation to Ebony street because I don't look at individual streets; but I can speak on the reports that I get in relation to regular ongoing upgrades which are going on throughout Belize City and I'm satisfied that we are doing a good job. We don't deal with one off streets, so if somebody calls and say I the complain about the street, we don't run and do that. We have a work plan, we follow our master plan, we look at planning in terms of strategic areas."

    Duck Lane Denied "Sake-A Dalla Van"?
    Also, while we had the opportunity, we asked the Mayor about Duck Lane, which is the alley off Orange Street which the City’s Dollar Vans make use of while transporting passengers from Lake Independence to the down town area. A few weeks ago, the dollar van drivers told Yaya Marin Coleman on her Two Cents Cam series that the reason that this street is being neglected is because the City Council views them as a kind of nuisance. When we asked about that allegation, Mayor Bradley said that couldn’t be further from the truth: Daniel Ortiz: "I know that the dollar van persons have requested or have voiced their opinions publicly that they want the city administrators to pave Duck Lane. Have you all looked at that?" Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "I haven't heard that concern and I haven't looked at that." Daniel Ortiz: "Recently they aired their concern, we can only take it as their discontent on which it was on the WUB 2 cents cam in which they are suggesting that the city council is neglecting that particular alley because they see the dollar van as a nuisance. Is that the position of the city council in relation to that area?"

    Dauntless Darrell Disheartened?
    And apart from today, you might have noticed that Mayor Darrell Bradley has kind of gone under the radar since his defeat at the polls on November 4th. So has dauntless Darrell - that public official so determined to surpass the status quo of inefficiencies at the local government level – now bowed to business as usual status quo? We asked him about that today: Daniel Ortiz: "Why is it that pre-election and post-election Darrell Bradley seems to be less active?" Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "I don't know where that comes from. We are right now dealing with our collective bargaining agreement for the city council. We're dealing with; this morning I was talking to the director of local government about doing a presentation from the municipal authorities’ bill. I'm out here touring with some people from the American Association."

    Renal Relief With Taiwan Assistance
    Belize and Taiwan today signed an agreement to improve public health. The 2 million plus dollars form the Taiwanese will be used principally for a project targeting the Prevention and Control of Chronic Renal Failure – or what you might know as kidney disease. At the signing today, the Taiwanese Ambassador and the Minister of Health discussed the benefits of the project:.. H.E Benjamin Ho - Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize: "With this agreement, we are going to work together with medical professionals from countries to engage in cooperating of mutual assistant in promoting the so called chronical disease preventive contact cooperating."

    KHMH Explains Fee Hike
    As we told you last night, starting on Monday the 15 th of February the price for all non-emergency clinic services at the KHMH will increase to $25 dollars where it used cost $10 or $15 dollars per consult – between a 75% and 150% increase. Today we sat with the Financial Director of the KHMH, Norman Augustine Jr. who told us why the fees need to increase: Norman August Jr. - Director of Finance, KHMH: "There are several areas of services that we do here at KHMH. We have several wards, we have accident and emergency, we have specialties, we have radiology and we have of course when people come in and pay their 10 dollars accident and emergency, they get their service. As you have heard before for just one drip that we place on an individual, its 24 dollars, all they are paying is 10. Generally it cost us far more than what they are paying. At the clinic, which is the specialist clinic, there are one of two that they charge 10 dollars but most of our specialist clinics is at 15 dollars. Compare that to what you would pay at the private sector. It's important for you to understand that currently that fee that they pay; 15 to 10 dollars only represent 16% of what it cost us to run that entire specialist clinic. So we are asking the general public to bear with us and work with the government in their contribution because the government is still matching a significant amount. We are asking them to pay a little bit more at 25 dollars per visit and this is elective, this is not an emergency. So you know your appointment date, you can set aside your little funds and you come in and pay your 25 dollars; which then represents 32% more or less and the government is matching that, a total of 68%. So it's not a fact that we are after the public, it's just that we're asking them to work with us, to contribute a little of what it cost them."

    Keeping KHMH From Backsliding With Bad Debts
    And staying on the topic of KHMH’s past financial woes, the hospital was contending with unpaid bills amounting to 9 million dollars. But in his Independence Day speech the Prime Minister announced a debt relief for those unpaid bills at KHMH. Government then paid the hospital a distressed price for those bad debts. But what’s to stop that kind of receivables backlog form accumulating again – especially with the moral hazard that government wrote it off once, so the politicians might do it again. Augustine spoke to us about initiatives to discourage the same situation from repeating. Norman August Jr. - Director of Finance, KHMH: "What we have done in the past had a collecting agency some 3 years ago in an effort for KHMH to collect its money. That did not work out the way we had wanted it to work out. So we internally create our own collection unit that have a softer approach, a more assertive approach in meeting with the patient. If you are taking to an institution in Guatemala or in Merida, the first thing they do is to greet you with sir how are you going to pay for your bill. So we have taken a different approach and encouraging patients to put down something from the time they are admitted to put down their payment from the time they enter the institution."

    Life's a Beach At Caye Caulker
    Caye Caulker has a long history of trying to build beaches – only to have them reclaimed by the tides, or occupied by some developer. But, the island called “Carinosa” continues to push for a beach, and a beach it has. The Belize Tourism Board sponsored a project which reclaimed 1,883 linear feet of the beach with widths varying from 70 to 118 feet. It runs between the Sobre las Olas restaurant to Rainbow Restaurant, and then there are widths varying from 40 to 60 feet in areas between Blue Island pier to Len’s Guest House. The BTB reports that 22,000 cubic yards of material were pumped unto the beach. The project goes along with the establishment of an improved craft centre for local artisans in Caye Caulker.

    CODICADER Cometh!
    CODICADER is coming to Belize! If you don’t know what that means, CODICADER is the CENTRAL AMERICAN athletic championships. Belize will be hosting it for the first time this year, and the General Secretary of SISCA Anna Escrich was at the Biltmore hotel earlier today where she met with members of the sports council to work out the logistics of the tournament. National competitions will be played to decide who is going to represent the country in all 6 disciplines. Games are to be held in July.

    Central American Cross Country Championship For Belize
    But the CODICADER games are not the only Central American games that are going to be played in Belize this year. The 10th Annual Central American Cross Country Championship is also being hosted in Belize. This event is being sponsored by CADICA, the Central American Track and Field Organization. President of the Belize Athletic Association Deon Sutherland spoke to us about this upcoming event and what it means for Belize.

    Moving Ahead With MCC
    The last time we visited the MCC three weeks ago, workers were just about finishing up the works on the field. A couple of weeks before, the Ministry of Youth and sports, had jumped on a quick fix project to cover a large trench that surrounded the pitch. So now that the sports council has applied that quick fix, where does that put the original plan to build bigger and more up to standard stadium lights? Today we asked the Director of the National Sports Council Ritchel Dominguez just that.

    Channel 5

    Is Local Rice Contaminated With Poisonous Toxins?
    Belizeans consume about twelve thousand tons of rice annually. But is that rice contaminated with a poisonous chemical which causes cancer? Aflatoxins are produced by fungi found on agricultural products, [...]

    Importer Jack Charles Produces Lab Tests and Alleges Contamination
    The documents from Eurofins Lab were accompanied by a press release – the one to which Agriculture C.E.O. Jose Alpuche makes reference. In that release, Charles admits that he commissioned [...]

    Missing Guatemalan Woman Found Dead in Orchard off Hummingbird Highway
    Guatemalan Lydia Janet Garcia was reported missing on January nineteenth by her son, Alexander Enrique Garcia. He told Benque Police that his mother was last seen on January eighth when [...]

    Fire Rages at Country Foods, Spanish Lookout
    At news time tonight a fire is raging at a warehouse in the Spanish Lookout Community. Country Foods went up in flames around three this afternoon and police say that [...]

    Police Locate Stolen Pickup
    Since Sunday, Police have been on the lookout for a red 2001 Mazda pickup, stolen on the old Western highway from Jorge Lopez. Lopez was accosted by two men, one [...]

    SUV and Truck Collide on the Haulover Bridge
    There was an accident on the Haulover Bridge at around three-fifteen this afternoon, when the driver of a red SUV apparently lost control and crashed into a large truck. There [...]

    National Security Officials Visit F.O.B. Site at Mouth of Sarstoon
    This morning, Minister of National Security John Saldivar, with an entourage including Minister of State Frank Mena and representatives from the Ministry, Police and Belize Defence Force, visited the site [...]

    Ray Cattouse Weighs in on Cycling Controversy
    The firestorm caused by the threat to fine and suspend Kaya Cattouse to compete in races organized by the Belize Cycling Federation, has not subsided. The well known cyclist has [...]

    Senior Cyclist Claims the Sport Has Not Grown Under CFB
    According to Ray Cattouse, C-Ray is one of the only clubs in the history of cycling in Belize to annually field a junior team, a youth team, a female team, [...]

    C-Ray Cycling Club Owner Threatens Legal Action
    Cattouse is not taking lightly the threat made to Kaya by the Cycling Federation. He says he wants it removed from her record and if not, he is heading up [...]

    Shopkeeper Who Killed 2 Men is Free
    Fifty-three year old Edison Johnson, a resident of Carmelita, was freed on Tuesday and tonight he is home with his family.  The shopkeeper from Guinea Grass was behind bars since [...]

    Francisco Gomez Convicted for Sexual Assault of 11 Year Old
    While Johnson is free, a resident of Boston Village in the Belize District, Francisco Gomez, aka “Indiana” will be spending time behind bars. Gomez was convicted this morning of allegations [...]

    Mayor Bradley and Urban Planners Looking to Spruce Up Yarborough
    The Yarborough area of the City is poised to get a facelift that will be spurring economic activity. While the neighborhood boasts of many attributes, it does not have in [...]

    Bradley Says Perceived Inactivity Since Elections Is Unsubstantiated
    With general elections well behind, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, some believe, has been lying low as it relates to activities at City Hall. Earlier today when the media caught [...]

    Mayor Plans to Address Zoning in Specific Communities
    A hot-button subject coming up on which the Mayor will not be quiet about relates to zoning. Mayor Bradley says that in the past, the City Council had been dealing [...]

    No Timeline in Long Forgotten Cinderella Plaza Renovation
    Of the many infrastructure projects in the City that have become a nuisance to residents is the flood mitigation project which is only partially completed in the area of Cinderella [...]

    Ministry of Health and Taiwan Sign Cooperation Agreement
    The governments of Belize and Taiwan today penned an agreement to make way for cooperation in the public health sector.  The agreement was signed by the Minister of Health, Pablo [...]

    Stakeholders in CSME Free Movement Meet in Belize City
    Belize is preparing to host the CARICOM Heads of Government Intercessional next week. At least nine heads have already confirmed their attendance and will look at many issues including the [...]

    Belize Prepares to Host CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting
    As it relates to Belize, there has not been a swift movement of persons so the CSME Focal Point, Tricia Gideon spoke of what is being done to engage Belizeans. [...]

    CTV3

    Lobster Season 2015/2016 Comes To A Close
    The 2015- 2016 lobster Belize season is coming to a close. The season opened on June 1, 2015 and lasted for eight and a half months and is scheduled to close on February 15, 2016. The fisheries department issued a release today informing the general public of the closing of the lobster season which will remain closed until June 14, 2016. Fisheries and government officials place this moratorium on lobster fishing for 3 1/2 months to allow the species to spawn and replenish.

    Importer Jack Charles Says Local Rice Is Contaminated
    The rice saga between Importer Jack Charles and local producers continues and from all indications it won’t die anytime soon. Jack Charles’ latest move against rice producers comes in the form of a complaint alleging that the local rice is contaminated. The news first broke last week when reports suggested that Charles had informed the Ministry of Agriculture that the local rice was contaminated with some kind of fungus and that they should look into it. At that time both the Director of BAHA, Emir Cruz and the Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero denied having knowledge about the complaint and the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche did not even comment on the issue. Jack Charles though, persisted that Belize’s rice was contaminated but offered no proof. Today Charles continued with his quest as he issued a release which states that based on the Standards (Declaration of Compulsory Standard) Order 2015 Gazetted in October 2015 by the Bureau of Standards, he took the responsibility to test the locally produced rice to see whether it met the requirements of the new Standard.

    Minor Plea Guilty To Cannabis Cultivation
    Two male minors and an adult were detained by Orange Walk Police for cultivation of cannabis. Yesterday at around 5:30 in the evening police searched a house located on San Narciso Street, Orange Walk Town where they discovered eight containers containing 24 cannabis plants measuring two inches in height. Present at the time of the search were the 2 male minors ages 16 and 17 and 36 year old Amir Correa who were all detained and charged for the offence of cultivation of cannabis. This morning all three individuals appeared before the Orange Walk Magistrates Court where the 16 year old minor pled guilty to the charge and was fined $500.00 or in default five months in prison.

    Missing Person Found Dead In Citrus Orchard
    Some weeks ago we reported on the story of Thirty nine year old Lidia Janet Garcia Giron, a Guatemalan national who was reported missing by her nineteen year old son, Alexander. Giron was last seen on Friday January 8th as she had left her home in melchor de Mencos and was headed to a Banana Farm located in the Stann Creek District in order to meet up with a male person known only as “El Nica”. Today the sad news was reported that Giron was found dead in an orchard in the vicinity of 6 miles on the Hummingbird Highway. Her body was found yesterday afternoon at around 3:30 and a post mortem examination conducted on her body certified the cause of death as “Blunt Force Trauma to the Head”

    Bureau Of Standards Responds To Jack Charles Allegation Of Rice Contamination
    Today the Belize Bureau of Standards responded to the alleged claim of Aflatoxins in local rice by Jack Charles. In the release Belize Bureau of Standards categorically states that Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize. Notwithstanding this claim, the Bureau in collaboration with the competent authorities aforementioned concluded that the test results provided on February 1st, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles shows that none of the rice samples analyzed contain detectable levels of Aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health.

    LOVE FM

    Jitandra Chawla Says Local Rice is Contaminated
    Jitandra Chawla better known as Jack Charles was last heard of in the recent rice saga when he attempted to have containers of Guyanese rice come onto the local market for a cheaper price than that of locally produced rice. It was a failed attempt as he was not granted the permit to do so. […]

    Missing Woman Found Dead
    Police in southern Belize discovered the body of a woman in an orchard yesterday just after three o’clock about six miles on the Hummingbird Highway. Investigations have found that the woman is a Guatemalan national who was reported missing by her teenaged son on January 16, 2016. Love News did a missing person’s report on […]

    Progress at the Forward Operating Base at the Sarstoon
    63 days ago, ground was broken at the mouth of the Sarstoon River where a Forward Operating Base is to go. The last few weeks saw some members of the public clamouring for answers as to when the construction would start. In a release sent out today by the Press Office, we learnt that the […]

    PUC and BEL Hold Public Consultation on Tariff Review
    Last night the Public Utilities Commission along with Belize Electricity Limited held a Public hearing at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. BEL submitted and presented on their Full Tariff Review proceeding which included regulated values, electricity rates, fees and charges. Senior Manager of Energy and Material Supply, Ernesto Gomez said that the package being presented was […]

    Sugar Production Low; Mud Extraction High
    The ninth week of the sugar cane crop has shown a decrease in the tons of sugar cane ground for the same period last year. Forty two thousand nine hundred and twenty four tons of cane was ground taking the total for the crop so far to three hundred and eight nine thousand two hundred […]

    Friends of Conservation Reports of New Clearings and Dwellings in the Chiquibul
    On Tuesday. Friends of Conservation and Development, FCD conducted an aerial reconnaissance along the western flank of the Chiquibul National Park with the intent of monitoring and documenting any expansion of the agricultural frontier. FCD says it recorded 17 new clearings and several dwellings. From the small Cessna airplane, large clearings of primary forest were […]

    Taiwan and Belize Enter Cooperation Agreement on Health
    The Ministry of Health today signed an agreement on cooperation in public health and medical skills with the Government of Taiwan. The objective of the agreement is to access technical support from Taiwan in several areas including health education, disease screening and clinical services. Minister of Health Pablo Marin tells us more. PABLO MARIN “It’s […]

    Bureau of Standards Responds to Allegations of Contaminated Rice
    Earlier in our newscast we told you of the allegation by businessman, Jitendra Chawla of the locally produced rice being contaminated with a cancer causing agent. Chawla says he sent out sample of the grain to be tested and had forwarded the results to several agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Belize Bureau […]

    CSME Workshop Begins in Belize City
    The CARICOM Single Market and Economy also known as CSME is a program that was built with the intention to provide improved standards of living and work and sustained economic development for the CARICOM member states. It came about on February 4, 2002 under a Protocol on the Provisional Application of the Revised Treaty of […]

    Debits and Credits of the Nat’l Referral Hospital
    Yesterday we brought you the interview with the Director of Finance, Norman Augustine Jr of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. In that interview, Augustine spoke of the rise in prices for the clinic consultations as well as the services of physiotherapy. The increases are sharp particularly for the majority of the hospital’s […]

    PlusTV

    Ill reputed murder scene
    The murder of 52 year old Zhi Jiang Zhang in Teakettle Village that occurred on Saturday was a gruesome one. Zhang was chopped multiple times by a man armed with a machete and a gun. This is after the gunman shot one of the female workers at the bar in the leg and robbed the cash register. Police ar...

    Belize City Mayor updates on bond, zoning issue
    The Belize City Council is hosting a special meeting on Thursday in the Kings’ Park area to discuss zoning issues. A six-story building being currently built on Princess Margaret Drive has raised concern from area residents and revived the zoning issue. Today we spoke with Mayor Darrell Bradley abou...

    Ministry of Health updates on ZIKA virus
    Today the Ministry Of Health held meetings at the Inspiration Center in Belize City with senior staff from across the country to discuss the Zika Virus. The virus has hit international attention recently when increased cases of microcephaly in newborn babies were linked to the disease in Brazil, and...

    Troy Hyde to go on trial for murder of Kareem Lopez
    The trial for Troy Hyde, accused of the murder of Kareem “Robbery” Lopez 13 months ago, has been fast-tracked for the April session of the Supreme Court. Lopez was shot multiple times on Central American Boulevard on the night of January 3, 2015 at around 10:30. He had just left his Jane Usher Boul...

    Second constable beats extortion case
    Tonight another interdicted police officer hailing from the San Pedro Police Sub formation is free from a charge of extortion after a San Pedro resident had accused him of extorting the sum of $400 from him back in July 2014 on San Pedro but failed to show up in court today for trial. Constable Elvi...

    Cannabis and ammunition found
    241.68 grams of cannabis and ammunition were found by police personnel. On Monday the 8th of February, police along with personnel from the Customs Department and the National K9 Unit conducted joint operation searches in Punta Gorda and the surrounding Villages. An abandoned lot on Papaya Street in...

    14year old reported missing
    14-year-old Doreen Rosa, a Belizean student of Punta Gorda has been reported missing. Doreen is of dark complexion, stands about 5ft 2 inches, weighs about 130 lbs, has black braids and was last seen wearing a yellow strapped blouse, gray short pants and a pair of white slippers. Rosa left home in t...

    Breaking Belize NewsPJ

    National Security Minister views progresses at Sarstoon Forward Operating Base
    Today Minister of National Security John Saldivar, flanked by senior members of his office, the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Police Department, visited the construction site of the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base at the mouth of the Sarstoon River in southern most part […]

    Jack Charles claims “cancer causing agents” in local rice; Government responds
    Importer Jack Charles is citing tests conducted by an American laboratory to argue that the major brands of Belizean rice, Circle R and Tropic, are not safe to consume. This is because according to a press release he issued today, the sampled brands contain low […]

    Pregnant woman injured in traffic accident
    Hattieville resident 37 year old Raquel Burke is in hospital tonight recovering from injuries sustained in a traffic accident this afternoon. This afternoon around 3:15 she was driving a Nissan Xterra from Ladyville to Belize City when, approaching the Northern approach of the Haulover Bridge, she lost control and […]

    Belize and China sign health agreement
    Health Minister Pablo Marin and H.E. Benjamin T.H. Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize, on behalf of their respective governments, today signed an Agreement on Cooperation in Public Health and Medical Skills. The Agreement will see the Republic of China (Taiwan) […]

    Old Northern Highway man jailed for assault on pre-teen girl
    39 year old Francisco Gomez, aka “Indian”, was sentenced to 3 years today by Chief Magistrate, Ann-Marie Smith, after she found him guilty of sexual assault on an 11 year old. She also found him guilty of common assault and using threatening words for which […]

    Edison Johnson free on time served after manslaughter plea
    A Carmelita man who was accused of killing two men who were believed to have burglarized his home and which he caught in the act pleaded guilty to manslaughter, the lesser charge to murder, but is tonight a free man. 53 year old Edison Johnson was sentenced […]

    Country Food in Spanish Lookout reportedly burning
    Information reaching our newsroom is that the Country Food building in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District is on fire. Breaking Belize News was made to understand that fire fighters have already dispatched to the scene. This is a developing story. More will be posted shortly. Pictures […]

    Orange Walk man and two minors charged for weed cultivation
    Orange Walk police busted three people, including two minors, for growing cannabis at a house in that town. Police report that at about 5:30 on Tuesday, officers searched a house on #18 San Narciso Street and found eight containers that had a total of 24 marijuana […]

    Woman reported missing found decomposing
    Lydia Janet Garcia Giron was first reported missing 22 days ago on January 19th. Yesterday her decomposed body was discovered in an orchard in the vicinity of mile six on the Hummingbird Highway around 3:30 p.m. A post-mortem examination certified the cause of death as “blunt force […]

    Armed robbers strike again
    A string of armed robberies in Belmopan continue as authorities in that city have received another report of an incident that took place on Tuesday night. Police report that 22-year-old Gadiel Maldonado of Belmopan reported that he was held up around 7:00 p.m. yesterday. Maldonado says he was traveling […]

    Blogs

    Defining Community Problems in Sustainable Development
    It is time to translate the community’s goals for improvement and sustainable development into measurable, achievable terms, and this requires that you set objectives for progress you want to make toward rectifying the problems underlying the definition of the goals. Objectives toward sustainability become the sum of problems identified by community members. Attaining a community’s stated goals requires that stakeholders set realistic objectives toward achieving them. The community of stakeholders must define a process for identifying and understanding the variables at work in a particular problem system, and the influence they exert. Community members should pay careful attention to underlying trends in the problem analysis, which will help them to better understand the problem systems they are working to improve and thus establishing more reasonable objectives to accomplish. A community problem is an issue with six (6) dimensions: -it occurs frequently (frequency), -has lasted for a while (duration), -affects many people (scope, or range), -is disturbing, and possibly intense (severity), -it disrupts personal or community life – deprives people of legal or moral rights (legality), and -the issues are perceived as a problem (perception).

    I’m Leaving For Kerala India TODAY! What Did I Forget to Pack?
    I am amazed and kinda bursting with gratitude. Belize blogger wins trip to the other side of the world. To India, a country I’ve dreamed about visiting but one so overwhelming…culturally, historically, POPULATION WISE (1.25 BILLION people)…it just seemed daunting. A trip that would take intense planning, months and months of time to do it right and maybe a few guides…

    Colonial Education: A History of Education in Belize
    By Karla Lewis (Educational Policy Studies University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign) Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000). This paper discusses the education in Belize (formerly known as British Honduras) during the colonial era and the lasting impact of the educational foundation of the country. The paper examines the influence the British colonial educational system continues to have in. Belize, 20 years after independence. It gives an overview of the history of primary and secondary education in Belize. Although education existed in Belize well before the arrival of the British colonizers and developed among various cultures during colonization, these are not highlighted in the paper because of the limited impact they had on Belize in general once school attendance became compulsory.

    “Let’s Sell the House and Move to Belize”
    “Our day begins early, the local birds love to greet the sun and wake us up so we enjoy the sunrise over the water, too,” says Lynn Lawson. “Add a cup of fresh coffee and warm breezes, and we are totally relaxed. We take morning walks, greeting our neighbors and their pets. “Then we do whatever we want for the rest of the day. We enjoy spending late afternoons on the palapa covered dock stretching into the Caribbean Sea while the warm breezes circulate. No stress; no pressure here.” “During our first visit to Belize in March, 2014, Lynn wanted to move that very afternoon. I wanted to move when I retired in about four years,” says David. “As fate would have it, a year later, I was offered an early retirement package, which I took. On my first full day of retirement, I said to Lynn, “Let’s sell the house and move to Belize.” They traveled to Belize, exploring the coast around Placencia first, then moving on to Consejo near Corozal Town, with stops in Dangriga and Ambergris Caye. After renting a house in the Consejo Shores area, six miles north of Corozal Town, they knew they’d found the location that met their wish-list criteria.

    Honey Orange Fish Fillet
    Combine all ingredients except fillets and pour over fish in glass baking dish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. (You can also make this without marinating the fish; just broil it and brush with the marinade.) Remove fish and reserve marinade. Grill or broil fish 4-6" from heat source, turning once and brushing with marinade, until fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily when tested with fork, about 5 to 10 minutes. If the fish is less than 1/2" thick, you can broil it without turning, which makes the recipe much easier! Discard remaining marinade and serve immediately.

    Crispy Fried Fish Fillets in Sweet and Sour Sauce
    1. Sprinkle salt and pepper powder on the fillets. 2. Spread the maida on a plate and lightly dredge the fillets. 3. Place the fillets on a tray. 4. Dip the fillets in the egg and coat them with the breadcrumbs. 5. Keep aside for 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge. 6. Combine all the sauce ingredients and blend well. 7. Heat oil for frying in a large pan. 8. Cook the fish fillets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. 9. Remove and drain excess oil. 10. Drain water from the onions and pat fry. 11. Sprinkle over the fish and drizzle the sauce over. 12. Serve at once.

    International Sourcesizz

    IRS Remains Focused on Off Shore Tax Enforcement
    On January 27, 2016, the US Department of Justice announced that it had signed the final non-prosecution agreement with a Category 2 Swiss bank.22The DOJ-Swiss Bank Program, which began on August 29, 2013, provided a path for Swiss banks to resolve potential criminal liabilities in the United States. More than 80 Swiss banks voluntarily reported under the program and paid more than $1.3 billion in penalties to the United States. Under the Program, Swiss banks have revealed information on thousands of US accountholders, which has driven many of these taxpayers into the IRS voluntary disclosure programs. As last reported by the IRS, more than 54,000 taxpayers have participated in the voluntary disclosure program, and the IRS has collected more than $8 billion in taxes, penalties and interest. The IRS considered the Swiss program a success and is now looking beyond Switzerland to find additional US accountholders who may have engaged in offshore tax evasion. At the recent American Bar Association meeting held on January 29, 2016, the acting Attorney General for the tax division disclosed that the IRS and DOJ are now focusing bank investigations in Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, the Marshall Islands and Panama, to name a few. The government is pursuing both civil and criminal enforcement efforts to pursue taxpayers who continue to conceal foreign accounts and assets and evade their US tax obligations. The government has encouraged financial institutions and individuals who have engaged in criminal conduct to contact the DOJ to discuss their options. In September, the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida authorized the issuance of “John Doe” summonses to Citibank and Bank of America to produce records identifying US taxpayers with offshore bank accounts in Belize. The “John Doe” Summonses sought information regarding US persons who hold offshore accounts at Belize Bank International Limited and Belize Bank Limited (the “Belize Banks”). These summonses permit the IRS to seek records of the Belize Banks’ correspondent accounts at Bank of America, N.A. and Citibank, N.A.

    Mexico takes measures to protect Pope Francis from Zika virus ahead of visit
    Pope Francis is arriving in Mexico on Friday night for a five-day visit that will take him to remote corners of the country, including the states of Chiapas and Michoacán — where the Zika virus has been the most active for months now... Pope Francis is arriving in Mexico on Friday night for a five-day visit that will take him to remote corners of the country, including the states of Chiapas and Michoacán — where the Zika virus has been the most active for months now. The first local transmission of Zika by mosquito in Mexico happened in November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Monday, in an interview with Mexico City’s Universal newspaper, Jesús Felipe González Roldán, the head of the country’s National Center for the Control of Diseases and Preventive Programs (Cenaprece), laid out the steps that will be taken to protect the visiting pontiff from the disease. There are concerns for both the health of the 79-year-old Pope Francis, as well as preventing rapid transmission of the disease in the crowds via the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, known to carry Zika, Dengue virus and yellow fever. In order to “protect the public and the pope against Zika, among other things,” González Roldán told Universal, the country has begun aerial anti-mosquito spraying and will also conduct house-to-house fumigation in certain locales.

    Gangs in Central America obstructing health officials' work against Zika outbreak
    Street gangs in much of Central America have near-total control over entire neighborhoods, tracking everyone who comes and goes — and that now includes the health workers struggling to contain the Zika virus. In El Salvador, the growing outbreak of the virus has been putting a lot of pressure on health crews, who sometimes are even denied access to crews by these gangs. "The state is absent" in such areas, said Carlos Carcach, a criminologist with the Superior School of Economics and Business in El Salvador. "The state is being replaced by the gangs." More than 7,000 suspected cases of Zika have been identified in El Salvador, where the government has launched a campaign against the Aedes aegypti mosquito relying on aggressive fumigation and the removal of standing water.

    Windows 10 Worst Secret Spins Out Of Control
    Back in November Microsoft confirmed Windows 10’s worst kept secret: its extensive telemetry (or ‘spying’ as it has been labelled) cannot be stopped. What no-one realised until now, however, is just how staggering the extent of this tracking really is… Blowing the lid on it this week is Voat user CheesusCrust whose extensive investigation found Windows 10 contacts Microsoft to report data thousands of times per day. And the kicker? This happens after choosing a custom Windows 10 installation and disabling all three pages of tracking options which are all enabled by default. The raw numbers come out as follows: in an eight hour period Windows 10 tried to send data back to 51 different Microsoft IP addresses over 5500 times. After 30 hours of use, Windows 10 expanded that data reporting to 113 non-private IP addresses. Being non-private means there is the potential for hackers to intercept this data. I’d argue this is the greatest cost to owning Windows 10. Taking this a step further, the testing was then repeated on another Windows 10 clean installation again with all data tracking options disabled and third party tool DisableWinTracking was also installed which tries to shut down all hidden Windows 10 data reporting attempts. At the end of the 30 hour period Windows 10 had still managed to phone home with data 2758 times to 30 different IP addresses.

    Belize celebrates its independence through art
    On Sept. 21, the Central American nation of Belize will celebrate the 35th anniversary of its independence from Britain. To mark the occasion, the Art Museum of the Americas invited Belizean-American artists Karl Villanueva and Santiago Cal to contribute to a new exhibition, “Belize 35,” open through March 13. Karl Villanueva was a 24-year-old photojournalist on that fateful day in 1981 when the former British Honduras was granted full independence (and became a member of the Commonwealth). His journalistic credentials allowed him to be wherever the action was, but he shot photos mostly for himself. “I tried to make sure I covered everything,” he says, “because I knew it was a historical event that would never happen again.” He covered the reactions of the general public as well as key moments in the official ceremony — it was a peaceful transfer of power — with George Cadle Price, leader of the independence movement, and the British royal family.

    How the Commodities Market is Pummeling Sugar Rights Holders
    Sugar. It’s such a labor-intensive crop that it drove the slave industry in the Caribbean for decades. Even in the two centuries since then, sugar has been at the center of allegations of forced labor, child labor and deadly working conditions. Belize is home to perhaps the world’s most ethical sugar supply chain. It is nearly 100% certified by Fairtrade, from seed planting through sugar refinement — and on to rum production and ice cream churning. Belize’s sugar industry is not without its issues, but the labor challenges, pesticide controls, and capital flows are being addressed. Legions of rights advocates from the local labor associations, to the sugar mill, to Fairtrade auditors, to Ben and Jerry’s, to the Government of Belize itself are working shockingly diligently to address these issues. No, here in Belize, the biggest threat to human rights is the commodities market.

    Videos

  • San Pedro Carnaval Day 3 Celebrations, 7.5min.

  • The joys of Carnaval - cracking an egg on your friends head!!, 7sec.

  • Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge, 46min. There is a video that can be purchased as a rental for $2.99US, or as a purchase for $9.99US. Here is their description: Experience a 300 mile journey into the depths of a historic civilization. The Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge (MMAC) has taken on a life of its own. What started as a typical adventure race production has developed into a testament of one of the last truly unspoiled corners of the world. On our first trip to Belize in February 2012, we were introduced to the beauty of the Maya Mountains and its people. When we returned, Friends of Conservation and Development (FCD) director, Rafael Manzanero, unlocked for us the secrets of the Chiquibul and the Mountain Pine Ridge and, with them, the possibilities they contained for epic adventure races highlighting the great Maya Mountains and Central America. The MMAC will take the 16 teams through a 200 mile journey across various types of terrain including the Maya Mountains and the Chiquibul National Park. 50 participants from around the globe will put to test their stamina, survival skills and endurance over a course of three days in a non-stop competition. The racers will bike, rappel, canoe and trek utilizing their orienteering skills with the limited use of a compass and a map to finish the race.

  • Belize trip, 4min. Shouts to Belize! Shouts to Costa Blu! Shouts to the Candyman! Shouts to the sharks and turtles!

  • Crossing Mexico to Belize by Bus, 2.5min. It's not a very complicated process. Just be sure if you are a US citizen, to have your airplane tickets printed out with the itemized fees stating you already paid the fee for entrance or exit.

  • Belize Hurricanes vs Dangriga Warriors3, 1min.

  • Belize Hurricanes vs Dangriga Warriors4, 1min.

  • BSI ASR CROP REVIEW 2016 - WEEK 9, 2.5min.

  • TOP SPELLERS COMPETE FOR A SPOT IN THE BOWEN AND BOWEN NATIONAL SPELLING BEE COMPETITION, 4min. Top spellers from across the country are preparing for the Annual Bowen and Bowen National Spelling Bee Competition. In hopes of winning a spot in the finals students from across the country are already learning how to spell every word in the dictionary as they take part in the zone eliminations marking the first step of the competition. This year zone eliminations kicked off here in Orange Walk and reporter Kyranie Anderson joined the participants as they took part in each round.

  • Corozal Community Hospital bid farewell to The New Horizons Medical Mission, 3.5min. The New Horizon Medical Mission has been in Belize conducting corrective surgeries as well as treating ear, throat and nose related conditions for almost two weeks now. The group arrived in the country on January 29th and was divided into two groups, one carried out basic medical duties and the second performed endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures. After tending to close to 3,000 patients the group is now ready to leave the country and in show of gratitude for their continued support to Belize, a small ceremony was held at the Corozal Community Hospital to bid the members farewell.

  • Carnaval 2016 San Pedro Belize, 2.5min.

  • Belize 2016, 6min. Belize 2016 - Diving with the Merrymans - complete with some fun Belizean Music

  • My cx20 night flight over Belize City, 7min.

  • Travel to San Pedro, Belize, 7min. Here are some highlights of the best that San Pedro, Belize has to offer. 1. Snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve 2. Snorkeling in Shark and Ray Alley (most tours do both together) 3. El Diablo Water Slide 4. Biking or taking a Golf Cart to "Truck Stop" food truck park 5. Breakfast at Estel's Dine by the Sea 6. Lunch at El Fogon 7. Fishing charter (very affordable) 8. Marco Gonzalez Mayan Ruins 9. Captain Morgan Casino 10. If time permits, take a day trip to mainland for cave tubing at ATM

  • Belize oldest sugar mill, 2min.

  • Glover's Reef Atoll, Belize, 1/2min. Snorkeling the house reef at the remote Glover's Reef Atoll in Belize.

  • Cave Tubing in Belize, Central America (2016) Part 1, 15min.

  • BELIZEAN SOFTBALL LEGENDS REUNION 2014!, 3min.The feature highlights the 2014 Reunion in Los Angeles, California of the legendary Belizean women of softball who won gold in the 1974 Central American & Caribbean Games and also won Bronze in the 1979 Pan American Games where they defeated the United States 2-1 in a spectacular match that placed the country Belize among the greats in sports, and demanded the attention of the international community. The celebratory event which marked 40 years of softball greatness in Belize and the Belizean diaspora, was graced by the attendance of the legendary Belizean softball players like Doreth Martinez, Margaret Usher, Bernadine McDougall, Joan Garbutt, Beulah Gillett, Elaine Smith, Beverly 'Bunny' Rhamdas, and Deborah Theus-Sanchez. An historic moment that saw these Belizean greats meet again for the first time since some 20 years ago.

  • WHEN WE WERE QUEENS: BELIZE SOFTBALL DOCUMENTARY!, 2min. Belizean Legends, the producers of the documentary film, When Were Queens, on the legendary Belizean women of softball gold, who won Belize's first ever gold medal in international sports in 1974, and who also beat the greatest softball team on planet earth at that time in 1979, the United States Orlando Rebels, is informing its viewers and readers that the film debut date has been moved from February of this year to summer of 2016. The film was to make its debut this year, but due to stringent production deadlines is pushed back for this summer. We hope to bring our Belizean audience this very important piece in Belizean sports history very soon God's willing. It's a story that has been told!


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