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The San Pedro Sun

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

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

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

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

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

Ambergris Today

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

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

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

Misc Belizean Sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Channel 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Channel 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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