Click for our Daily Tropical Weather Report.

Specials and Events

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

The San Pedro Sun

Introducing the San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps
Cadets are taught a variety of skills and techniques, including foot drills, team work exercises, life skills lessons, and sporting skills. The group has scheduled practices at the Isla Bonita Elementary School campus. “We want the children to learn respect and honor, but also humility. In the coming months we will have Kristina Romero from the National Drug Abuse Control Council to speak to the youth about drug abuse and how they can make a difference in the community against drug use,” said Gonzalez. In addition, the San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps will also be preparing to participate in the Annual National Youth Cadet Camp held every summer by the Belize Police Department. Cadet groups from across the country are invited to take part in sporting activities and educational sessions. On Friday, February 28th at 3:30PM an introductory meeting will be held for parents, members and the general public at the Reef View Education Center located on Barrier Reef Drive. The San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps is aiming to have 50 members, there are currently 35 available spaces. Anyone interested in having their child join the San Pedro Youth Cadet Corps can contact Shane McCann at 631-8366, PC Juan Chu at 607-9033, Freddy Gonzalez at 604-0949, or attend the meeting to learn more. Uniforms will be provided at no charge for all members.

Canoe Challenge: Boom to the City – powered by GUINNESS
This year’s Boom to the City Canoe Challenge – powered by GUINNESS, went from Henderson’s Bank to Riverside Tavern on February 22nd, 2014, and had a big turn out with 26 teams paddling for the pride. The Junior Division was won by Turd’z, Martin Gideon, Sergio Barrera and Glenford Sutherland, sponsored by Martin Woods. In second place was Unruley Wave sponsored by Belize Rural High School with Jeffery Seguro, Ashton Moody and Mathew Mask. The third place team was AFM with paddlers Mark Menez, Alexander Cruz and Feliz Neal. The Intramural Division was won by Wateva Boyz sponsored by D & D Consulting Ltd., and paddled by Sergio Lopez, Adrian Williams and Jesus Linarez. Second place went to Western Home Supplies paddled by Alfred Lopez, Byron Cruz and Armando Lopez. Our third place finishers, 3 Hours Later, had a female paddler, Ashley Pelayo, Shaheed Mai and Victor Valdez.

Four new officers join The San Pedro Police Formation
Four new officers have joined the San Pedro Police Formation, bringing the total number of island officers to 43. The new officers on duty include three Police Constables and one Woman Police Constable. The San Pedro Sun is pleased to introduce the new officers.

Ambergris Today

Belize Works in Improving Road Safety and Reducing Fatal Accidents
With the increase in number of fatalities caused by traffic accidents along the highways around the country, the Government of Belize is investing more in making roads safer. Progress seems slow, but people are the center of the efforts because of the nature to save lives on the roads. The Government of Belize, within the scope of the Belize Road Safety Project, last week officials conducted a monitoring exercise on Friday, February 21, 2014, along the demonstration corridor from Belize City to Belmopan. The Government of Belize is undertaking this project in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank with the hope to implement sound road safety measures that will contribute to saving lives on Belize's road system. This is a first phase of a long-term initiative by the Government of Belize to improve road safety in the country with an overall objective to reduce deaths and serious injuries associated with road traffic collisions/accidents along a demonstration corridor by 20% in 2016.

Dorian’s Angels Support Cricel Castillo at The Arnold Classic
Belizean Bombshell, 25 year-old, Cricel Castillo has been making headlines locally and international as she is one of the few Belizean figure competitors. Cricel has made her country proud every single time she competes both locally and internationally. This week Cricel is currently in Columbus, Ohio in the United Stated competing at the famous Arnold Classic Figure Competition. Cricel took the first place trophy in the Figure Competition at the Diamond Classic, Boca Ranton Florida in April 2013 and is Belize’s Ms. Body Figure 2013. She is a dance and fitness enthusiast and is very motivated and dedicated to figure competition. Cricel left Belize on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, along with Rigoberto Vellos to compete at the The Arnold Classic, renamed Arnold Sports Festival. The event is an annual multidisciplinary sports convention named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, focusing mainly on bodybuilding and fitness and figure competition.

Misc Belizean Sources

Bookkeeping Workshop
Bookkeeping is the heart of any business. Without it, we cannot hope to keep track of the most important part of any business; money. Gain excellent skills in using various accounting procedures and maintain your books efficiently and effectively for the success of your business. On completion of this course, you will have a sound knowledge about the basic steps and techniques used in bookkeeping, including Identify the differences between commercial environment. Workshop Date: March 6th, 2014 Time: 9am to 12pm LOCATION: University of Belize, Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, College Street, Belize City Tel: 223-3195 or email: [email protected]

Preliminary Estimates of GDP for 2013 and January 2014 Consumer Price Index

Private Citizen Wants to Take Hon Edmund Castro to Court
Go get'em, Trevor Vernon

An International day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and the United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day. Every year thereafter, World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 around the world. This year the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture, in collaboration with other Ministries and Departments, has taken the lead for the celebration of the annual World Water Day (WWD) event as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater.

Belmopan Active Youth High School Drug Free Rally
NDACC Director and Drug Educator, Belmopan participates in the launch of Belmopan Active Youth High School Drug Free Rally at Independence park today in Belmopan. The event was held under the theme, "Count on Me to Be Drug Free." (Ministry of Health) (7 photos)

(via Norris Hall) The most recent expose of sex tourism in the ever expanding tourism market in Belize, first came to light on Facebook and elsewhere, when people began to shout out loud about an advertisement by a company calling itself “Global Fantasies”, an online site advertising Belize as a sex paradise with offers of “Belize Adult Sex Vacations”. The first public reaction was to want to find out who is behind this one. It has the potential of becoming yet another scandal. It would appear that the Belize Tourist Board may, or may not, know something about this before the panties hit the fan. It was not until the public began to take notice and when Facebook began to flash, that the BTB, in typical reactionary fashion, blew some smoke from its rear end while snorkeling with its head in the toilet bowl. In a press release it warned hoteliers of the obvious: that under the Belize Hotel and Tourist Accommodation Act the advertising and sale of sex is unlawful.

Final figures for the 2013 tourism year
The final figures for the 2013 tourism year are in, and we are happy to report that Belize’s Overnight and Cruise arrivals are up! Last year Belize recorded 223,510 in PGIA arrivals. March 2013 saw the highest tourist arrivals at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) with 28,623 visitors; this is a 10.2% increase in comparison to March 2012. The month with the largest increase in 2013 was August, with a 10.5% increase when compared to August 2012. While there were 3% decreases for April and September, overall PGIA arrivals are up 5.5%.

In a media interview after his election victory, Ralph Huang, the newly elected standard bearer of the United Democratic Party for the Cayo South constituency admitted that he had received financial contributions from a foreign company headed by one Mr. Lord Neil Gibson. Media reports are that Huang openly paid for votes and promised resident of the constituency that he would improve their lot by building roads and bridges and providing medical facilities for them. These reports are extremely troubling for many reasons:

Yesterday at 11:15 pm Independence Police visited an area in the Maya Mountain Forest Nature Reserve where five male persons were detained for Unlawful Possession of Forest Product. They were in a Ford Tractor which was pulling a Trailer with about 1500 board feet of Rose wood. The five male persons are 38-year-old Pablo Ramirez, 25-year-old Ernesto Choc Guatemalan, 34-year-old Martin Coc, 18-year-old Javier Coc all of Trio Village and 26-year-old Shane Coleman of Independence Village were detained. The Blue Ford Tractor and the Rose Wood was Impounded at the Independence Police Station.

Jamaican government waives visa requirements for Chinese visitors.
In an effort to diversify and develop new markets for the tourism industry, the Jamaican government has waived the visa requirements for Chinese visitors. On Wednesday, Tourism Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeil, said China has been added to a list of countries including Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Hungary and Poland where visa requirements for travel to Jamaica have been relaxed. “Last year we attracted 2,420 Chinese tourists an increase of 15.1 % over the previous year the fact is that the numbers are small but the market has potential for significant growth . In all the efforts to ease the difficulties experienced and to harness the market potential of China, Cabinet has now approved the conditional waiver of visa requirements for nationals from China who travel to Jamaica for tourism purposes for periods of 30 days or less,” he said.

Profiting from a strong private sector – Part IV - Entrepreneurship and Innovation:
New ideas and products most often originate with the private sector. A perfect example, did you ask your waiter or waitress at lunch for Marie Sharp pepper sauce? Perhaps you clean your tools with a citrus degreaser. And while you’re watching that new TV show on a local channel, do you snack on plantain chips or Belizean made chocolate? Think about it.

BAY Basketball Tournament
The Belmopan Active Youths are having a basketball tournament tonight, Friday, February 28th, at Hilltop Court, at 6:00pm.

SHJC's Cancer Awareness Efforts
Sacred Heart Junior College had 3 days of fundraisers, from Monday to Wednesday, for the San Ignacio Cancer Society. They had bake sales, ribbon sales, a donation day, and a 'color your hair' fundraiser. SHC raised $1,000, and it was presented to the Cancer Society after Dr. Marvin Manzanero gave a great presentation on cancer and the benefits of early detection. "In an effort to promote cancer awareness and to assist cancer patients, SHJC students, faculty and staff engaged in a 3-day fundraising event that culminated with a session given by Mrs. Flora Usher - President of the Belize Cancer Society - San Ignacio Branch, and Dr. Marvin Manzanero... The Director of Student Services presented the monies raised by faculty and staff through the different efforts carried out over the course of the 3 days. We collected a total of $953.87 cash and our Student Gov't Association pledged the remaining $46.13 to make it a total donation of $1,000.00."

Teachers and Public Officers Salary adjustment announced
Teachers and public officers will get a 5% salary adjustment over 3 years. This was confirmed this afternoon by the Honorable the Prime Minister Mr. Dean Barrow. The announced salary adjustments of 5% over 3 years for teachers and public officers will amount to $22 million. This is in addition to the annual 2.5% annual increments based on merits. Future adjustments are expected to be determined on a merit-based system.

Nest boxes in Paynes Creek National Park
TIDE is working to protect threatened yellow-headed parrots by installing nest boxes in Paynes Creek National Park. So far 30 boxes have made nesting much easier for this intelligent bird whose populations have been reduced through illegal export in the pet trade and loss of its pine savannah habitat.

The Phoenix hosts Angela Kinsey and Rashida Jones
The Phoenix is very proud to have been able to host Angela Kinsey and Rashida Jones, who teamed up with Oceana to help promote the importance of ocean conservation. Rashida and Angela are great people and we really appreciate them taking the time to help Oceana do its thing, protecting Belize's Barrier Reef, the Caribbean, and oceans across the globe. We hope our fans enjoy these pics from their stay and adventures along the reef. Thank you as well to Tony Rath for these wonderful under water photos of Angela and Rashida. (4 photos)

Junior 'I Have a Dream for Belize' Winner
Congratulations, Kyla Cuervas, for winning first place in the U.S. Embassy's Junior 'I Have A Dream for Belize' essay contest! In related news, tomorrow is the last day to nominate the Belize Woman of the Year. "Congratulations to Ms. Kyla Cuervas from Our Lady of Guadaloupe High School in Belmopan for winning first place in the Junior 'I Have A Dream for Belize' Essay Contest!!! On Wednesday, she and the other participants attended the U.S. Embassy's special award ceremony for all of the participants. As a first prize winner, Kyla recevied a tablet computer device, a book of Dr. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, and her essay will be published in the Amandala newspaper. Belize has a bright future in its youth!!!"

Junior Buddy's Big Birthday Bash
Junior Buddy had his 7th birthday this week, and The Belize Zoo threw a big bash for it. Happy birthday, Junior Buddy! In related news, there's now an action plan for the sustainable development of the Central Belize Corridor, which jaguars and many other animals use, and need. It's a great start, and you can read more about it on Panthera's or the zoo's sites. "As promised, Junior Buddy had a fan club of over 200 strong show up at the Zoo yesterday to wish him many more as we celebrated his 7th Birthday. Students, parents, and teachers from La Democracia and Mahogany Heights communities in the Belize District saw Junior diver headfirst into his pond to retrieve his delicious birthday bone, then proudly feast on it for the rest of the day while his admirers looked on. The entire school joined TBZ Director Sharon Matola in yet another rendition of the Junior Buddy song, while cameras rolled from Love FM and News 5 news stations. Games, prizes, snacks, facepainting and fun for all followed for a successful day in celebrating the magnificent jaguar species that still calls Belize its home, and will for many years to come!"

Reputation Week seeks good Belizeans
Public relations firm Nauta Vero, chaired by Niall Gillett is looking for a few good local men and women. Gillett told us today about his initiative to find five Belizean companies and individuals of whom the best can be said. Belizeans will have the opportunity to submit the names of a large company, a small business, an NGO, a politician – elected or aspiring; and an ordinary Belizean not otherwise nominated. Gillett says he took up the challenge when he did business with a foreigner who looked up Belize on the Internet following a family member’s visit and found things not to his liking, though that did not dissuade him.

Woman allegedly busted with marijuana at the northern border
Reports from Corozal say that a former Town Councilor has been busted with just a little less than one kilo of suspected marijuana. No official report has yet been put out by the police, but sources say that the bust happened on Wednesday at the northern border. Because no official charges have been laid against her as yet, the name of the accused woman is being withheld at this time. A source told has confirmed that the former town councilor was elected in 2009. More information will be posted as they are confirmed.

“Killa” Gentle murder verdict due March 5
Justice Adolph Lucas will rule next Wednesday, March 5, if 20 year old Corwin Bennett is guilty of the murder of reformed gang boss Raymond “Killa” Gentle. 34 year old Gentle, who had moved into sports and other community activities after renouncing his bad past, was shot 4 times while working on a house on Kraal Road on January 12, 2011. Bennett was tried without a jury and 13 witnesses testified including Gentle’s brother, Bevans, who recalled chasing the shooter unsuccessfully while narrowly dodging being shot himself, as the shooter’s gun misfired.

Private citizen wants Edmond Castro to answer for BAA funds
Earlier this week, we reported on Edmond Castro’s suit against a Belize Rural North resident who told the nation she worked with Castro to get hundreds of visa recommendations for Chinese nationals. Today the embattled area rep was the target, as former public servant and journalist Trevor Vernon of Burrell Boom wants him to answer for the more than $30,000 handed out by the former board of the Belize Airports Authority (BAA) for various personal and political fortunes. Vernon says he believes that Castro should repay the money as it was not his to legally receive. Vernon retained Philip Palacio for the case but the man standing beside him today was PUP Belize Rural North aspirant and attorney Arthur Saldivar, who insisted that Castro committed multiple violations of the law and particularly the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act.

CitCo to begin concreting 35 streets
The second phase of a city-wide infrastructure project in the old Capital begins next week and by September of this year, one in every three streets in Belize City will have been concreted. The list of selected streets include significant arteries and according to Mayor Darrell Bradley, were selected for their importance as bridges of connectivity to move traffic and goods around the Old Capital. The total cost of the project is $9.7 million including drainage. The first phase of works was funded with a $20 million municipal bond floated by the Council and saw 102 streets concreted, some of which are in their final stages of completion. The second will be funded by a $10 million grant from Central Government, in addition to $2.8 million allocated for immediate works in the aftermath of last year’s wet weather and a drainage project outlined by the Council.

Public servants getting $22 million more
$22 million over three years. Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed this evening that this is the total figure for how much more teachers and public officers will be paid, guaranteed, by the Government of Belize. It represents an adjustment, but really an increase of 5%, the minimum they asked for, and they will also get the standard 2.5% annual increment. Despite issues with poor economic growth, the Prime Minister stated that this increase is locked in permanently. It also means that the Belize National Teachers’ Union, Public Service Union and Association of Public Service Senior Managers have added responsibilities, as adverse effects to the Government such as a reversal of the takeover of the Companies and Ships Registries and lower profits for Belize Telemedia Limited may easily reverse the state of affairs.

Motorcycle and van collide; one man dies
A man died as a result of a road traffic accident this morning on the Hummingbird Highway in the Cayo district. The victim has been identified as 29 year old Jose Flamenco, a resident of mile 28 on the Hummingbird Highway. Police say that around 11:20 am today, they responded to reports of a fatal traffic accident between miles 43 and 44 on the Hummingbird Highway that involved a motorcycle and a van. Flamenco, according to police, was the driver of the motorcycle and he was carrying Juan Pau of Plancencia as a passenger.

KHMH NICU and parking lot improved
2013 was a year to forget for the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, chiefly because of the bacterial outbreak at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which claimed 8 lives before they had a chance to truly live. Since then money has poured in, both for renovations to the current unit and a new unit. Today public relations manager for KHMH Niall Gillett said renovations are coming along fine and size has been expanded. And from the inside to the outside, the hospital’s parking lot is the latest addition to Belize City’s concrete revolution. That is near completion, and when the installations are complete the hospital will implement its plans to charge for parking to all non-patients and staff and provide a slot for taxi operators to work in.

Cruise ship tourist overstays welcome
A 42 year old American from the U.S. state of Indiana says six hours is just too short a time to get to know the Jewel, so he stayed for a week. Bryan Rusk, a diesel mechanic, came to Belize last Thursday, February 20, aboard the Carnival Glory cruise ship but he failed to get permission to enter the country from either Immigration officers or the ship’s master. Once on Belizean shores he reportedly rented an apartment in the King’s Park area and spent a week sightseeing. But he ended his vacation on Wednesday when he turned himself in to the Fort Street Tourism Village. He pleaded guilty to failure to obtain permission to enter Belize and was fined $1,000, which he immediately paid.

Why is Belize the Perfect Destination for Retirees?
Those who will soon reach the retirement age, or have already started availing the benefits of a retiree, can better understand why saving is so important. Some may feel they should have started much earlier to end up with more dollar bills in their account. As you approach the retirement age, you want to save your accumulated wealth over decades and want it to last longer. Many single persons and couples want to settle down after retirement to a serene place where there is less traffic, life is relaxed and there is no race with time. For retirees, Belize, nestled in Central America, is the best place to relocate. Relocating to Belize is a great way to relax and save on your savings. Check out why Belize is the perfect destination for retirees:

Benefits of Retirement in Belize
QRP program give tax and residency breaks to foreigners with the status of a Qualified Retired Person (QRP). To be designated a QRP under the program, the applicant should be:

This is one of those WTF stories too salacious to pass up. To think it happened in Belize! Former Miss World Belize 2010 and Miss Earth Belize 2012, Jessel Lauriano has come forward with a rather bizarre story. According to the former beauty queen, who has been working at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City since December 2012, the terms of her employment have dramatically changed and has rendered her to life of servitude. According Lauriano, she was first hired as a DJ after she was trained by her employer. Things deteriorated when she was forced to strip and perform topless in the club. She was then forced to make out with other women portraying herself as lesbian, Lauriano said. A beauty queen, she is no more because Lauriano is now a man. That was the latest request of her employer, Lauriano said.

Channel 7

Teachers Will Get 5%, Not 4%
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow told the media that the teachers and the public servants could expect a 4% raise. But today - as his government gets ready to present its new budget next week - he said that figure has been revised. With economic growth coming in at less than one percent when 2.5 percent had been projected - you might expect that raise to go down by a point or two, but today the PM told the media today that it's actually going up!:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "We've just gone over the numbers this afternoon and I can tell you that it is clear that the teachers will get 5%; teachers and public officers. We keep saying teachers because they made the most noise - this is teachers and public officers will get by our reckoning 5%, in addition to the 2.5% annual increment. We are looking at 22 million dollars more in salaries to public officers and teachers and by our calculations that represents not less than a 5% salary increase."

COLA's Private Prosecution Of Penner
And while that 5% should provide some comfort to the teachers and public officers, on the political front government continues to hemorrhage politically for Elvin Penner's Citizen Kim affair. And the pressure is increasing as the 6 month statute bar draws near. As we've explained, those who say he committed a crime have to act before a 6 month statute bar prohibits them from trying to bring charges. The Kim stunt was pulled in early September, so the statute bar limitation kicks in next week, which is early March. That's why the PUP got their mandamus hearing tomorrow, and today we found out that COLA is also going for a private prosecution of Penner before the deadline. Their plan is very much a work in progress, but they say they have to get it in before the deadline. They explained at a press conference this morning at the Radisson that they have the intent but no attorney at this time:... Gilroy Usher Jr. - VP, COLA "At COLA we assert that Mr. Penner committed a crime against the integrity of this nation. Now where there exist a reluctance on the part of the state to take adequate action we the members of COLA through consultation with the people decided and will initiate a private prosecution against Elvin Penner."

PM to COLA: "Handle Yu Candle"
And since they say they got the idea from the Prime Minister, what does he think of it? He told the media today that he wishes them luck and he hopes that Penner will soon be in the UDP's rearview mirror:... Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Well I think they are exercising their rights as citizens and I would leave it there. I need to say that our party will soon start to announce the invitation for applications for standard bearer for the Cayo Northeast constituency and of course Hon. Penner - he is not going to be able to contest that convention and I don't think he is interested, but we will very shortly then have a properly elected declared standard bearer in Cayo Northeast and the continuing effort to hang Penner around the necks of the United Democratic Party will hopefully have to be rethought once that development occurs." Now the thing about a private prosecution is that the accuser must have first-hand knowledge and evidence of the crime. Sections 19 and 21 of the summary jurisdictions act says that anyone launching such an action must have the statement of the offence along with the accompanying documents relating to the offence. That's why the PUP balked at it, even though they have a slew of attorneys right in their own party. But COLA is rushing in where even a mass party dared to thread. As they freely admitted, they don't have the requisite documents. So will government help them get it? Here's what the Prime Minister said about that today:..

Ten Million For City Upgrade
They made it: in less than a year the Belize city council paved more than one hundred streets. And though there were major inconveniences for residents, things are starting to shape up now, and even the most hardened doubter would have to agree that the city is shaping up. The only problem is the other 420 streets that are in bad to terrible condition. The problem with those is that the city council has pretty much spent out the 20 million dollars it raised in a bond to pave those streets. So, to the rescue, here comes the government of Belize. Today Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Mayor Darrell Bradley outlined a plan for phase tow of the project. Here's how it will work:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "The absolutely splendid job that has been done - the way this city is being transformed, these are things that obliged the central government to partner with the mayor and hic city council in trying to move things forward and so my principal purpose for being here this afternoon is to say that with respect tp phase 2 of the street concreting program that the mayor and the city council have undertaken, central government is now going to contribute 10 million dollars."

Bradley Won't Run/Will Run/Won't Run": Say What?
But the one benefitting the most from that largesse is the Belize City Council. It’s an investment in the leadership of Darrell Bradley. But he’s told the media he won’t be leading for much longer. Bradley has said more than once that it’s one and done for him, meaning after one term, he’s moving on either to a division in the general election, or back to his law practice. The answer varies depending on whether you ask him on a good day or bad. But, today at a major press conference with his party leader, he changed up – and maybe that’s after the Leader Barrow gave him an endorsement:….

Hon. Finnegan Back Home, Back In Order
And while Bradley isn’t sure whether he’s coming or going, Micahel Finnegan is here to stay. The Mesopotamia incumbent and UDP Party Whip left Belize a month ago to get back surgery – his second in less than a year. During his absence baseless rumours circulated saying that he was in critical condition, and then today, another one took off saying that he’d died! Well he didn’t. And we can be sure of that because we found him back at his evening hang out spot today, right in front of Brad’s on Central American Boulevard. He told Monica Bodden he just returned and is feeling renewed:..

Cruise Tourist Liked The Place So Much, He Stayed
42-year-old American Tourist Brian Rusk came to Belize on a Cruise Ship, decided that a one day stay wasn't enough for him, and ended up being criminally charged for overstaying in the country. Rusk arrived on the vessel, Carnival Glory on last week Thursday, and he was supposed to leave when the ship took off. Instead he chose to stay in the country, where he ended up renting a room at an Apartment Complex on Lizarraga Avenue, where he was staying for the last 5 days. He was picked up by immigration yesterday, and when they found out that he didn't leave when he was supposed, to, the auto-mechanic from Indiana was charged with entering and remaining in the country illegally.

Hutchinson's Son Still Giving Trouble
UDP Caretaker for Belize Rural, Central Michael Hutchinson is preparing for an upcoming convention, but he will have to deal with his son's newest criminal charge will surely bring. 27 year-old Andre Hutchinson, who is mentally challenged, was remanded to prison for an allegation of indecent assault. His accuser is a 35 year-old woman who lives in Ladyville. She said that on Tuesday, she was walking on Scissors Tail Street when Hutchinson rode up behind her on bicycle and slapped her on the rear end. According to her, when she confronted him about it, instead of being remorseful, he allegedly laughed in her face and taunted her before riding off. Police arrested and charged him with aggravated assault of an indecent nature, and he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith today. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the Chief Magistrate remanded him to prison until March 24, so that he can get a psychiatric evaluation. Of important note is that in March of 2009, Andre Hutchinson pleaded guilty to exposing his person in public after he rode naked through Ladyville in broad daylight.

Escapee Rodney A Robber Too?
22 year-old Sherman Rodney, who was arraigned on Tuesday for allegedly escaping from police went back to court today for allegedly stealing jewelry from a woman. Amy Eligio reported to police that on Saturday, February 15, she was walking on Jane Usher Boulevard when she saw Rodney snatch her gold chain with a heart medal, valued at $218. He ran off, but police soon detained him, and charged him with theft. He was arraigned today before the Chief Magistrate, where he pleaded not guilty and was granted bail of $500. He must return to court on April 16, his next court date.

Man died In Traffic Accident
There was a terrible traffic on the Hummingbird Highway today, which claimed the life of a 29 year-old man. Just before midday, Jose Flamenco was on his motorcycle between miles 43 and 44 when he slammed into a van being driven by 33 year-old Manuel Simpson. Simpson was travelling with his passenger, Juan Pau, and they were heading toward Belmopan when he collided with Flamenco. The mother cycle hit the passenger side of the van and police believe that he died on impact, or shortly after he went crashing to the ground. Pau was injured, and had to be transported to the KHMH for treatment. Police continue to investigate.

Rosewood Still Rolling
The rosewood hustle continues, and tonight, Independence Police have detained 5 men who they say that caught in the act of illegally harvesting Rose Wood. Last night, at around 11:15, they visited an area of the Maya Mountain Forest Nature Reserve where they found these a ford tractor pulling a trailer with 15 hundred board feet of Rose Wood. Inside the tractor at the time were 38-year-old Pablo Ramirez, 25-year-old Ernesto Choc Guatemalan, 34-year-old Martin Coc, 18-year-old Javier Coc all of Trio Village and 26-year-old Shane Coleman of Independence Village. The men were immediately detained and escorted to the Independence Police Station where their Rose Wood cargo remains impounded along with their Tractor. It is expected that these men will be charged with unlawful possession of a Forest Product.

GOB Supports Maduro
In Venezuela, after two weeks of anti government protests, more than a dozen people have died – and the government’s only hope for things to calm down is that next week’s carnival will cool student protestors down with some rum and rumba. But the government of Nicolas Maduro remains very embattled. That’s the same Chavissimo government that has extended the Petrocaribe initiative to Latin America and the Caribbean – which is the source of so much recent government spending on infrastructure – including g the ten million committed to City Hall today. So where does this government stand? Today the Prime Minister said it is with Maduro:..

PM Doesn't Frown On Lord Gibson
Lord Neal Benjamin Gibson, his website says he’s a businessman, humanitarian and philanthropist. He is an international businessman with an interest in Belizean politics, specifically the UDP’s recently elected Cayo South standard bearer Ralph Huang. Hunag has called Gibson a great friend and says they work together on many projects. But, one of Gibson’s companies is blacklisted by the Central Bank, and other sources say that he’s more of an imaginer – than a real investor. Today we asked the Prime Minister about his influence on the UDP and Huang. It’s been all over facebook and in the media, but the PM was surprised to learn of it:…

Siarsha In Merida, But Still Not Out Of The Woods
Two days ago, we told you about on Siarsha Amri Alvarez - the 3 year old with the rare and terrible skin condition that is eating away her entire outer layer of skin. It is life threatening and her father Simeon Alvarez Jr rushed her to Merida for specialized treatment. He told us tonight that she is receiving very expensive medication which is helping but she is still in intense pain. He says his medical bill so far at the Clinica de Merida is ninety one thousand pesos. He says she has opened her eye but the doctors are not sure she IS seeing. He's returning to Belzie tonight to collect donations to see if he can pay off the bill that ahs accrued so far as Doctors there are saying they cannot continue unless the bills are paid. We'll have na update tomorrow.

No Arrest In case Of Man Hit In Head
Tonight, 22 year old Carlos Vargas is at the KHMH receiving treatment for injuries he sustained when he was hit in the head with an iron tube. It’s an assault that happened 2 weeks ago, but the family is getting frustrated with the investigating officers who haven’t arrested the person he claims clubbed him. 7News spoke with Vargas today on the hospital bed, and here is what he told us.

Cricel's Journey To Perfection, Will It Be Enough?
Last night, 7News told you about how Mr. Belize, Rigo Vellos and Ms. Belize Fitness, Cricel Castillo, are in Columbus Ohio to compete in prestigious Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Tournament. It started today, and will continue through to Saturday. Rigo is preparing for his preliminary round qualification which happens tomorrow, and at this hour, Cricel is competing to try to qualify for the competition. Rigo and Cricel are up against the elite bodybuilders in the world, but these two are no slouches themselves. Before she left, Cricel granted an interview, in which she explains her training regimen to be able to compete with other top class athletes abroad. Here's what she told us:

Bus Driver Admits His Bus Was Overloaded
Last night, 7News told you about 63 year-old Jose Elmer Villanueva, who tumbled out a moving overcrowded bus and ended up in a coma. Well it seems that the Traffic Department is taking that accident seriously, and today a bus driver was taken to Magistrate's Court for taking on too many passengers. 41 year-old Roman Chan was taken to the Belize City Traffic Court for the offence carrying passengers in excess of what his bus could safely seat. According to Traffic Officers, on last week Friday, he drove his Blue Bird Tillett Bus on the Northern Highway with 20 more passengers that bus could carry. He busted at a checkpoint at mile 8 on the Northern Highway, in front of Manatee Lookout. At the time, the officers stopped him and found out that he had over filled the bus.

Channel 5

Penner’s signed recommendation claims he knew Won Hong Kim for 3 years
The memo from the D.P.P. queries whether the police intends to proceed with an investigation to determine if anyone can be charged for immigration irregularities. News Five has also obtained [...]

Was Prime Minister Dean Barrow aware of the memo?
Shortly after receiving a copy of that damning memo, News Five contacted D.P.P. Cheryl Lynn-Vidal for comment. She was livid about the leak and had absolutely nothing to say about [...]

Teachers to get a 5% salary adjustment
Teachers and public officers will get a salary adjustment in July, retroactive to April. The increase has been the subject of heated discussion and intense negotiations, but it appears, at [...]

PM says nominal GDP growth for 2013 is no cause for worry
Prime Minister Barrow has stated that they are locked into the commitment, so even if revenues decrease next year, G.O.B. will still have to shin up. The next big issue [...]

COLA to file suit against Penner
This Friday, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will hear an application by the People’s United Party’s Leader Francis Fonseca on why Elvin Penner should be investigated by the Commissioner of Police [...]

Finnegan back in Belize following spinal surgery
Minister of Housing Michael Finnegan returned to the jewel this afternoon after a round of successful spinal surgery. Finnegan left Belize for the U.S. late last month and was treated [...]

The history of Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson; is it of concern?
Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson, Minister of Trade and Investment Erwin Contreras and novice U.D.P. politician Ralph Huang…those three names have dominated social media in recent weeks, intensifying after Huang was [...]

VIP says U.D.P. Cayo South standard bearer, Ralph Huang, treasonous
U.D.P. Cayo South standard bearer Ralph Huang, who was recently elected by voters in that constituency, has reportedly admitted to receiving financial contributions from a foreign business interest that has [...]

$10 Million to be spent on infrastructure in Belize City
As is traditional whenever Prime Minister Dean Barrow makes an appearance, he was bombarded with any number of issues. But his presence at the Radisson today was actually so he [...]

1 man dead and another critical following accident on Hummingbird Highway
One man is dead and another remains in critical condition, following a road traffic accident this morning on the Hummingbird Highway. Just after eleven a.m., a van driven by thirty-three [...]

Independence Police uncover illegal logging operation
An illegal logging operation in South Stann Creek, carried out by a group of five men, has been uncovered by Independence police.  On Wednesday, shortly after eleven p.m., officers visited [...]

B.T.B. releases Tourism Stats for 2013
Tourism statistics for 2013 are out and the Belize Tourism Board is boasting a significant increase in the number of overnight and cruise arrivals.  There were a total of two [...]

PM speak on uprising in Venezuela
There is currently civil unrest which has resulted in numerous casualties in Venezuela, as troops mass to quell anti-government protests. Normally, while that would be cause for interest and commiseration [...]

Venezuelan Ambassador says uprising does not affect PetroCaribe
Violent protests continue to rock Venezuela, where the government is coming under heavy pressure from opposition parties. But according to news reports, even as the unrest continues, a rift between [...]

Healthy Living explains the basics of child stimulation
Child Stimulation Month is celebrated in March. This year’s theme is: “Where our future begins”.  Many parents are known to focus on the formal education of their children; but development [...]


Burglary At FarWorld Technology In Orange Walk Town
Orange Walk Police are investigating a burglary that occurred sometime last night at Far World Tech located at the corner of Cinderella and Fonseca Streets. According to owner of the computer store, Sylvino Riverol, he estimates that the break in took place after midnight. SYLVINO “A restroom from the back window, and we lost two laptops and we lost about four watches, some flash drives, DVD blue ray player, and a hundred dollars cash from the smart top-up.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “But from the way things happen you still have a lot of valuable that were actually left untouched?” SYLVINO “Yes, that is what I notice that the person that came in didn’t had knowledge that we had a lot of valuable stuff in the stores, for example we had a lot of wireless routers, speakers, we had Mac computers in the technician room and none of that was actually touched not even the brand new printer that we have for display so it seems that the person that came in just saw a laptop and couple watches and that is what they decided to take so it was a quick and probably somebody that; a sprang head I would say.”

Scotia Bank Observes Small Business Week
Scotia Bank continues to observe small business week and the branch in Orange Walk Town today held a seminar with small business owners in the district. Lourdes Gongora, Business Banking Manager says this is their way of giving special attention to small business entrepreneurs. Screen_Shot_2014-02-27_at_7.39.58_PMLourdes Gongora – “It is important because as we say small business is the engine to the growth of the economy and Scotia Bank has invested much time and effort for catering for this sector of the economy, we are highly interested in creating awareness amongst our business customers in order to continue nurturing that idea or that interest in continuing with the business or even to start a new business.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “How exactly is Scotia Bank doing that for this particular week?” Lourdes Gongora – “For this particular week we have engage into conducting a seminar which we are carrying out today and the primary focus of our seminar is talking about marketing because marketing is the most vital role that plays into building up your business and we here at Scotia Bank are interested in working along with our customers to be able to create that awareness for at the end of the day all of us would be happy and will have new businesses growing, establish business doing more business and that is the idea.”

Drug Lord "El Chapo Gusman" Captured In Mazatlan Sinaloa Mexico
After 13 years of successfully running away from the law, Drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán was unexpectedly arrested on Saturday in Mazatlán, a Pacific port city in Sinaloa, his home state. Supplied with U.S. wiretaps and surveillance technology Mexico was able to track El Chapo’s cell phone locations as he traveled from one safe-house to another through connecting secret tunnels and city sewers. The Mexican press reported that his journey between hideouts involved moving through stinky black water, dead rats and rotten garbage. As head of the Sinaloa Cartel, an international criminal organization with billions of dollars in revenues, El Chapo was the #1 supplier to the U.S. of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines. Guzmán and his associates have been indicted in New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas and California on charges of drug trafficking, racketeering, money laundry, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit homicide, among many others.

Mr. Belize To Compete At The Arnolds Sports Festival
Since 1989, the unparalleled Arnold Sports Festival has attracted fans across the world yearly to Columbus, Ohio, for a myriad sporting events like archery, fencing, and gymnastics, just to name a few. Of course, the reason bodybuilding fans love this time of year is the Arnold Classic. The world's best IFBB pro bodybuilders will come together gunning for the top coveted prize. This year's Arnold stage will see no shortage of incredible bodies from a variety of promising newcomers and established seasoned veterans. Two of those participants are no other than two of our very own Belizeans, Ms. Belize-Fitness Cricel Castillo and Mr. Belize Rigo Vellos. Cricel will compete in the Women’s Figure B Class among 40 competitors while Rigo will compete in the Light Heavyweight Men’s Bodybuilding Category among 22 competitors from all over the world.