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

61 Teams start strong in first leg of La Ruta Maya River Challenge
61 teams started the first leg of the 16th Annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge at the foot of the historic Hawksworth Bridge. With excellent cool weather, the race kicked off on time at 7AM following a short ceremony. A multitude gathered for the kick off of the competition along the banks of the Macal River in the twins towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio. The first leg of the race will take paddlers from the Twin Towns, under the wooden bridge, along banks of rural communities such as Esperanza Village, Duck Run I and many more before coming to an end at Banana Bank Lodge.

Will Compol Allen Whylie charge Penner before statute of limitation kicks in?
The Belize Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ) Kenneth Benjamin has ordered the Commissioner of Police (Compol) Allen Whylie to immediately commence a criminal investigation against Former Minister of State Elvin Penner. The ruling came after CJ Benjamin granted the Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca the Writ of Mandamus against Compol Whylie. The top police commandant criminally investigates Penner for his role in the Belizean nationality and passport granted to South Korean criminal fugitive Won Hong Kim. One important element of the case had to do with a memorandum sent from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal to the Head of the Police National Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB), Assistant Superintendent of Police Julio Valdez. The memo, which was leaked to the media days before Writ of Mandamus was heard, shows that an investigation was started by the CIB office but was halted. The DPP’s memo said that in his statement, ASP Julio Valdez said “After the documents were examined it was observed that several nationalities were approved by Immigration to individuals without meeting the criteria for approval, yet they were processed and approved… this line of the investigation did not continue, due to instructions, no other follow [up] was made.” The DPP did not get a response as to who gave the “instructions” to stop the investigation.

Indulging and relaxing at Belize Ocean Club, Maya Beach
Maya Beach is a small community on the Placencia Peninsula, located about 7 miles north of Placencia village. It is a small community, mainly made up of small and luxury resorts, private homes and a few wonderful restaurants and bars. It is where Belize Ocean Club is located and where our weary heads would rest for the night. While walking around and taking in the breathtaking views from the main building being built to take complete advantage of said imagery, we were surprised with a refreshing beverage to cool us down. A cocktail at 10AM? Don’t ever say we’re not up for anything! We awoke refreshed after a great night’s sleep in our comfortable beds, ready to enjoy Belize Ocean Club’s amenities. Once again, the sun shone down on the green of the sea, and the great pool beckoned like the temptress she was designed to be. But first: breakfast! We enjoyed some fabulous eggs benedict on the beach while people watching, a warm breeze feeling blissful and tempting us to pull up to the sun loungers and be utterly lazy bums. This is what people do on vacation isn’t it? We go, go, go, GO all the time so when it’s time to relax, and an avenue presents itself, we can hardly figure out what to do with ourselves.

20,000 Strong Empowerment Rally inspires change
The women of San Pedro and Caye Caulker joined the rousing ranks of energetic marchers attending the Women’s Empowerment Rally and March in Belize City on Thursday, March 6th. Dressed in the power color of the day, bright tangerine and orange, small groups of friends from the cayes were joined by female students and teachers from San Pedro High School and Ocean Academy. They were a proud contingent sporting bright signs which carried the slogan, “R E S P E C T is the CAYE!” Busloads of women from all the districts of Belize emptied along Princess Margaret Drive, filling the area with energy and enthusiasm. The island groups were supported by sponsorships from Caye Caulker Water Taxi, San Pedro Red Cross, Manuel Heredia Jr., and Gecko Graphics. The event was organized by Belize’s Special Envoy for Women and Children and the National Women’s Commission (NWC). Under a searing sun, thousands of women settled into what shade was provided, or stood on the wide field of the 20000 Strong Women's Rally-22Marion Jones Stadium as poignant and empowering speeches commenced. Addressing the crowd as “sisters, mothers, daughters, tias and abuelas”, women from all walks of life took to the stage to rally the thousands. International business icon Marie Sharp encouraged women to follow creative and original ideas, take risks, and not to give up in the face of competition. A tearful 19-year-old Jennifer Lopez detailed her challenging life and road to empowerment; while growing up she received little support from her nuclear family and was threatened by sexual molestation at home. She struggled with much adversity before finding support services from a case worker at Family Services, enabling her to continue her education and nurture her young daughter. Musical artist Melonie Gillett led the thousands ladies in a strong sing-along rendition of Alicia Keyes’ “This Girl is on Fire” and singer Christelle Wilson rallied a danceable version of Chaka Kahn’s “I’m Every Woman.”

Day 1 - 16th Annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge (13 photos)
The first leg of the 16th Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge has concluded after over 4 hours of paddling along the Mopan River. The challenge started at 7AM from the Hawksworth Bridge and saw Belize Bank Bulldogs (Armin Lopez, Armando Cruz and David Cruz) crossing the finishing line of day one at Banana Bank Lodge first at 4 hours, 46 minutes, 45 seconds. Coming in second was team NICH (National Institute for Culture and History): Oscar Cardona, Felix and Efrain Cruz. Third place was Wateva Boys (Jesus Linares, Sergio Lopez and Adrian Williams) and fourth went to BTL Cobbs Arms and fifth to Westrack Stingers. Saturday will see the second leg of the race continue from Banana Bank Lodge starting at 6:30AM. Paddlers will continue into Double Head Cabbage in the Belize District. The San Pedro Sun has teamed up with CAN Belize Network to bring you the latest on the 2014 Challenge.

Video: Along the Macal River for the Ruta Maya River Challenge Day 1

Video: More from the Ruta Maya River Challenge.

Ambergris Today

20,000 Strong Women Join Empowerment Rally in Belize City
The month of March in Belize is celebrated annually as National Women’s Month and as a result, the Special Envoy Office, in collaboration with the National Women’s Commission, staged the 20,000 Strong National Women’s Empowerment Rally on Thursday, March 6, 2014, from 10:00A.M. to 3:00P.M. at the Marion Jones Stadium in Belize City. In a press release sent out by the Roman Catholic Church in Belize, they acknowledged and stated that they celebrate the women of Belize during and beyond the month of March however, they did not endorse the 20,000 Women’s rally because to the Catholic Church the invitation did not speak to the complementarity role between men and women as taught by Christ through the Church. The release continued by stating that the National Women’s Commission promotes values that contradict Christian and moral teachings regarding respect for all human life, family, marriage and human sexuality as ordered by God . “The Roman Catholic Church strongly believes that the well being of women cannot be enhanced by advocacy that promotes abortion and so-called pseudo rights of men and women and same sex relationships,” stated the release.

Teen Talk: There is Nothing Wrong in Being Different
by Ryan Ancona - In today’s society we are all expected to have a similar personalities, clothing, likes, dislikes, opinions, etc. Some examples of these would be like seeing lots of guys wearing the same snapback caps with G-Shock watches and Jordan slippers; the girls would also all wear similar clothing. You will also observe that many people try to emulate the same personality that others portray. It’s like everybody is trying to copy each other or this one person they look up to. But then it seems like everyone has the same personality! So why do people do this? Well the obvious answer is to fit in. If we don’t follow everyone else then we are now outcasts and would be mocked by all of the “normal” people, right? Well what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way. You should find what fits you; be yourself. There is no reason that you have to follow one single style just to fit in.

ABC Pre-School Annual Spectacular Presentation
ABC Pre-School will once again be hosting its annual spectacular presentation. Join them on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium! Show starts at 7:00 p.m. bring out the family to this wonderful even and witness seing, Hananah Montana, Caullio, Batman, Superman and much more. Prices: Regular Seating Adults $10 and Children $5 Reserved Seating Adults $15 and Children $10

Condolences to the Family of the Late Jeffrey Eiley
It is with profound sadness that we take notice of the passing on of Jeffrey Eiley, who left this Earth at the tender age of 30. He is survived by his parents, Norman and Susana Eiley and by his siblings Olive Dominguez, Tracy Gomez, and Francis Eiley. Jeffrey will be missed immensely by a large family of Arceo’s and Eiley’s as well by his single daughter Valeria. Hundreds of friends shed tears for Jeffrey as well as hundreds applaud his life, achievements and his fun personality. Never a dull moment with Jeffrey! Always a pleasant memory to relive. He lived a short life, only 30 years, but a long life of excitement, camaraderie, and simple joy. Ambergris Today joins the community of friends in the Sanpedrano Farewell offered to Jeffrey Eiley. We are not ready to let you go but our farewell is not our choice, so we bid you good-bye letting you know that even though you are in a better place than us, we would still want you here. However, adios, and rest in peace in the Glory of God in Heaven.

Misc Belizean Sources

Teachers are holding a peaceful demonstration in Belmopan
Hundreds of teachers from all over the country have converged on Independence Hill in Belmopan for a peaceful demonstration. As the teachers demonstrate outside, inside the National Assembly Chambers, the Honorable the Prime Minister Mr Dean Barrow has introduced the Bill to appropriate certain sums of money for use by the Public Service for fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. The Honorable the Prime Minister is about to read the Budget Speech to the House. UPDATE: At the start of of the meeting of the House of Representatives members of the Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) took time out to show their support for the teachers who are demonstrating in Belmopan.

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge underway
The banks of the Macal River in San Ignacio/Santa Elena was abuzz with activity early this morning. It was time for the start of the 16th annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge. Hundreds of paddlers suited up for the biggest canoe race in Belize which started from underneath the historic Hawksworth Bridge. The race will culminate in Belize City on Monday afternoon. The first leg of the race takes the paddlers from San Ignacio to Banana Bank.

Passion of the Christ Cast Call
The Passion of the Christ re-enactment in Benque will be on April 18th, and they are doing a casting call. If you're interested, contact Jimmy Leslie or Lorena Calderon, or call 823-2024. "A call to all youths who would like to be part of this year's cast for "The Passion of the Christ" dramatization 2014. For more information contact Lorena Melgar Calderón or Jimmy Leslie, if you would like to be part of this annual event and reminiscence of our Lord Jesus Christ in Calvary...where He laid His life for the sake of our salvation. The rehearsal dates to be announced soon. If you wish to help in anyway or make a donation to make this event bigger than ever visit Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Parish Office on Church Street in Benque Viejo del Carmen or call 501-823-2024."

La Ruta Maya Kick-Off
And they're off! The 16 annual La Ruta Maya. "Top 10 teams to the finish at Banana Bank are: 1: Belize Bank Bulldogs 2: NICH 3: Wateva Boys 4: BTL Cobb Arms 5: Westrac 6: Happy Cow Natius Wester Home Supply 7: Joseph & Taylor Steelers 8: Black Orchid Resort 9: Crime Fighters 2 10: D&A Hydroplaners"

Video: Hunting Lionfish in Belize

Video: Belize Tarpon
Tarpon caught at Long Coco Cay Feb,2014 on an 8wt Temple fork fly rod. 45 minute fight to boat. Fly rod broke as Martin was touching the leader.

From San Ignacio to Iguana Creek Bridge

Notice for National Agriculture and Trade Show Planning Meetings
The National Agriculture and Trade Show Committee is convening two meetings to discuss the new layout of the grounds, prices for concession holders and conduct of this year’s National Agriculture and Trade Show. All interested parties are urged to attend the following meetings: For prospective Alcoholic Bar Concessions holders on Wednesday, 12th March 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the Agriculture Showground Main Stage in Belmopan. For prospective Stall/Booth Concession holders on Tuesday, 18th March 2014 at 1:30 p.m. at the Agriculture Showground Main Stage in Belmopan. The general public is reminded to mark 2nd, 3rd and 4th May 2014 in their calendars. This is when all roads will lead to the biggest and best show in Belize, the 2014 National Agriculture and Trade Show.

Mr. Gabriel "Gaby" Nuñez elected Deputy Mayor
The San Pedro Town Council hereby informs the San Pedro residents that Mr. Gabriel "Gaby" Nuñez has been elected as the Deputy Mayor for 2014-2015.

San Pedro High School Science Fair
We invite everyone to come out to the San Pedro High School Science Fair 2014 taking place at the SPHS grounds from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Come check out the interesting projects the students have been working on for week!

First day of La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge completed
The first leg of the 16th annual La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge has ended at Banana Bank, in Roaring Creek village. According to the unofficial statistics, Belize Bank Bulldogs finished the first part of the race in a time of 4 hours 46 minutes 45 seconds. Coming in second was NICH with a time of 4 hours 50 minutes 30 seconds. Third place was Whatever Boys with a time of 4 hours 53 minutes 06 seconds. The race will resume on Saturday morning from Banana Bank.

Teachers march on Independence Hill
Approximately 800 members of the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) assembled on the plaza in front of the National Assembly building following a rally at the Belmopan Comprehensive School. The teachers marched along the ring road to Independence Hill. On their arrival at Independence Hill, the teachers told our reporters that they do not care if their pay is docked as threatened by the Honorable the Minister of Education Mr. Patrick Faber. The teachers say that Minister Faber is the problem. The teachers are also calling for the arrest of the Honorable the Member for Cayo Northeast Mr. Elvin Penner and the Honorable the Member for Belize Rural North Mr. Edmund Castro for corruption.

Government of Belize Press Office

BEL’s Electrical System Remains Stable Following Passage of Unstable Weather
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) advises customers that strong wind gusts and the passage of a lightning storm over sections of the country on Thursday, March 6 caused unplanned power interruptions throughout the country. These interruptions in power supply ranged between 23 minutes to approximately 2 hours in most areas. The first series of unplanned power interruptions experienced in Belize at 2:46 p.m. yesterday were as a result of bad weather passing over Quintana Roo, Mexico which tripped Comisión Federal de Electricidad’s (CFE) 230 kV transmission line that supplies Belize. This caused an interruption that affected Belize’s entire electrical system. Power supply was restored to all areas between 3:08 p.m. and 3:26 p.m.

Western Ballaz Beat No Limit
Congratulations, Western Ballaz, on winning another game. They defeated the Belize City No Limit in a great game that came down to 1 point. The final score was 74-73. "What a great game! The Western Ballaz defeated the Belize City No Limit by one point. 74-73."

20,000 Strong Rally
The 20,000 Strong Rally was a huge success. Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, the Special Envoy for Women & Children, uploaded some great pictures from the event. "Special thanks to all the WOMEN OF BELIZE who came out and made the 20,000 STRONG Women's Empowerment Rally a success! Thanks to all the businesses that supported by coming out as a group or giving your female employees the time to come out! Thanks to all the volunteers and persons who worked behind the scenes both on the day of and the days leading up to the rally! Thanks to those who couldn't make it out but wore your orange shirts in solidarity! I hope you will stay with us for the rest of this journey toward a truly equal Belize! The real work begins now. Thank you all once again!"

World Water Day in Cayo
The World Water Day Exhibition will be on Friday, March 21st, from 9:00am through 3:00pm, at the Bedran Hall in the SIRH. They'll have interactive exhibits, a water quiz, the awards presentations, info booths, and much more. Best of all, it's free.

Political supporters fight outside House
At the close of the House of Representatives meeting this afternoon, around 2:00 p.m., a fight broke out at the foot of the National Assembly between supporters of the major political parties. Police had to intervene almost immediately to separate the groups of PUP and UDP supporters who were nose to nose. It is not clear who threw the first punch, but a riled up Minister of Human Development Anthony “Boots” Martinez and PUP talk show host Vaughan Gill traded choice words while several others jeered at each other.

Video: Snorkeling Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye snorkeling offers exceptionally good visibility and a wide range of marine life encounters. While snorkeling Ambergris Caye, you may observe green sea turtles, nurse sharks, southern stingrays, spotted eagle rays, moray eels and typical reef fish.

Video: Beyond Belize
A first person chronicling of my journey through Belize.

Video: Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge 2014 (Race Start)
La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

Video: 2014 National Budget presented in the House of Representatives

Video: Scuffle Breaks out at the foot of the Assembly Building, Boots and Vaughn trade barbs

Video: 17th Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge kicks off in San Ignacio

Video: Rescued hawksbill sea turtle feeding on jellyfish (Belize)

Video: Belize handlining
Caught numerous fish handlining including a 20lb Barracuda and a 35lb King mackerel.

Channel 7

PM Barrow Presents Budget; Makes Bold Boasts
Budget Day in Belmopan is typically quite straightforward as the presentation of the revenue and appropriations bill takes center stage. But these days, there's always more stuff happening. So today, the teachers union staged its national rally and demonstration in Belmopan to coincide with the budget presentation - even if the centerpiece of that Budget was to give them a raise of pay - the teachers who went to Belmopan still aren't happy - and they made their presence felt all through the prime minister's speech as they sang and vocalized outside on the national assembly stairs. We'll have a full report on that shortly, but that wasn't the only distraction at today's House Meeting. At the end of the meeting, at least one blow was thrown right in front of the House - and right when the representatives were walking out. It was a dispute between the PUP's Vaughn Gill - who was all upset about Anthony Boots Martinez getting land for his constituents in Cayo south - where Gill is the PUP political officer. That got really heated - and we'll show you as much as we have of it later on.

Teachers Rally: Tells PM To Put Salary Adjustment In Writing
But the teachers started their debate today - and they say it's about issues bigger than the budget or any raise of pay. They called today's event a rally on social issues, but they've also thrown in that for all the promises of a 5% salary increase, it has not been formally put to them. But, more than just social issues were driving today's event, and that's because Education Minister Patrick Faber warned on Wednesday that the teachers who attend the rally will get their pay docked for the day of lost classes. That - and the fact that the 5% raise is basically "in-pocket" had to have an effect on the crowd - which was not impressive for a BNTU National Rally; such an event usually draws thousands, today they had hundreds. But those that did appear were spirited and defiant. Daniel Ortiz was in Belmopan, and here's his report:

PM Reacts To Teacher's Rally
And while those 750 teachers railed and rallied outside, inside, in his budget speech, the Prime Minister talked about ingratitude and political agendas by some union leaders. In an interview after the budget presentation, he was more guarded in his choice of words, but still firm:.. Prime Minister Dean Barrow "It can't be done." Jules Vasquez "Yet still the teachers are across the way hollering at you incessantly for hours." Prime Minister Dean Barrow "Well I am not going to quarrel. I have said all that I have to say during the speech. The fact is though is that the Belizean public will surely make an assessment of the legitimacy of their protest in view of this wonderful largess that they are getting by way of salary increases. That also speaks for itself."

Opposition Leader Says Budget Doesn't Meet Anyone's Needs
But the former Education Minister Francis Fonseca was not impressed with the raise of pay that the Prime Minister was beating his chest over. Instead Francis Fonseca was chanting reggae lyrics:.. Hon. Francis Fonseca "The Prime Minister's budget presentation almost moves me to sound. I'm reminded of the Morgan Heritage tune "ends nah meet, dem ah seh dat tings di get betta, but we can't feel it, dem ah seh money di run, buy we can't see it," and I think that is the overwhelming response of the Belizean people to the flowery empty rhetoric we heard this morning. It is a budget divorce and disconnected from reality like this UDP government. That is my initial reaction to the budget, obviously we will pour into the details of the numbers and look at it and give a very comprehensive response at the time of the budget debate."

What Caused That Ugly Scene...
As we told you at the top of the news, there was an ugly episode in front of the House Of Representatives this afternoon. It happened around 1:30when the meeting was finished - and the representatives were leaving. But before we get to the fight where actual blows were thrown, we first have to give you the background. It all started with the member for Cayo South Julius Espat speaking on the adjournment. His matter of public interest was a parcel of land in Cotton Tree Village that has been set aside to allow for 254 lots to be given to Port Loyola residents. Espat said it disenfranchises villagers who cannot get land for themselves: Ok, so that should have been the end of it, right. Issues raised, solution proposed, and things move on…except they didn't. The House meeting adjourned right after that and that's when chaos unfolded. The media was interviewing the Prime Minister at the top of the House stairs when he saw something going on at the bottom of the stairs:..

Man Killed In Bar Brawl
Police say that 20 year-old Earl Baizar, a resident of Dangriga, was involved in a fight inside the club, and they were ejected. The altercation then flared up once again, and where Baizar was stabbed by the man he was fighting with. Today, the Deputy Commander of San Ignacio Police told us what investigators know at this time about this incident: Inspector Reymundo Requena - Deputy OC "Sometime around 12:50 this morning San Ignacio police received information of a male person who has allegedly been stabbed and rushed to the hospital. As a result police went to the hospital and on arrival they saw a male person receiving treatment for a stab wound under the left side of his chest, his arm and whilst undergoing treatment he succumbs to his injuries."

DPP Waiting On Full Penner File
Today word went out that a full file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions about police investigations in the Citizen Kim Passport Scandal. Viewers may remember that on Monday, the Supreme Court compelled the Commissioner of Police to investigate Elvin Penner for this passport scandal. Well, our check with the Director Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, has revealed that she has gotten some materials from the National Criminal Investigation's Branch, but the file is not complete. This evening, the DPP Vidal told us quote, "On my request, they copied certain statements and forwarded to me, but I have not been given a complete investigation file. As it is right now, I am working with what I have and what has already been in the public domain."

Prison Did Full Body Cavity Search
Last night, 7News told you about Natalie Hamilton who allegedly tried to smuggle weed into the prison. Well, the other woman who was caught in the act is 19 year-old Christy Ramclam, she was taken to court today. Ramclam was busted yesterday when she went to prison to visit inmate Anthony Carballo Jr. She was given a thorough body cavity search which resulted in the discovery of the cannabis wrapped in a piece of toilet paper and tucked in her private parts. Carballo Jr, who is remanded to prison on a charge of murder, is the father of Ramclam's child. She was arraigned before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton where she pleaded guilty to drug possession and was fined $500. She had to pay half of it upfront today, after which, she was released.

We often hear about shoplifting on the news but it gets quite interesting when a police officer is the accused shoplifter. According to the owner of Dibary Store on Church Street in Belize City, a woman police officer was caught red handed stealing a purse from out the store. The incident happened just before midday on Wednesday and we were told it was all caught on camera. The value of the purse is fifteen dollars. Reliable reports is that quite incredibly another woman constable was caught stealing in the store a few months ago. There are over 20 security cameras in the store.

CCIC Inviting B'zeans To Apply For Grants
There are international experts in Belize being hosted by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. These experts are from the Carribbean Climate Innovation Center, and they are here to promote their project to Belizean engineers. They're doing so by holding a contest where interested persons can win grants of up to $50,000 US to start projects that takes the effects of climate change into consideration. Today, the CEO of CCIC explained the contest to 7News. Here's how it will work: Interested entries will be assessed for their innovation under the categories of water management, resources use efficiency, energy efficiency, solar energy, and sustainable agriculture. We'll post a link on our website where interested Belizeans can apply to see if they qualify for one of these grants.

PROFILE: Emily Martinez-Palacio
So far teachers have been all over the news tonight. They got their raise in the headline story, and rallied for social issues in the second. But so much of the talk about teachers has been controversial and about money, that in the process, the art of pedagogy and the commitment to it seems to have been forgotten. And that's why the format of the I Am Belize Profile has been changed in timely fashion this year to look at teachers and the first episode features Emily Martinez-Palacio. She's been a teacher for 26 years, and she tells the Profile about some of the challenges she's face while trying to inspire young minds and lead students on the path to success: The profile will now be back on a regular basis.

SDA Sets Record Straight On Women Rally
And as we close tonight, the Women's Empowerment Rally is history - and while many are still trying to size it up - we've got some housekeeping to do. On Wednesday's news we reported that the Seventh Day Adventist Church had joined the Roman Catholic Church in its opposition to the march. We heard that informally, but we should have followed up - and we didn't. Turns out the SDA did no such thing. The SDA church sent out a statement saying our statement caused them distress and consternation because they said no such thing. Indeed, they didn't and we apologize for our error. And while the Seventh Day Adventist Church was not opposed to the march, the PUP seemed to have staged an unofficial boycott of the event. None of the party's prominent women leaders such as Area Rep Dolores Balderamos Garcia or Senator Lisa Shoman were there. But John Briceno was there in support of his wife who was a guest speaker. Also present was former PUP Representative Patty Arceo. Here's why she said it's bigger than politics:..

Channel 5

Is There a Warrant for Elvin Penner’s Arrest?
There is much to report in the news from inside and outside the national assembly, but first we turn tonight to former Minister of State Elvin Penner. News Five has [...]

COMPOL Whylie Fails to Update Francis Fonseca on Progress of Criminal Investigation into Passport Scandal
So while official verification of a warrant issued for Penner’s arrest is pending, his name was very much a part of matters in the House today. Following a writ of [...]

Scuffle Breaks Out At the Foot of Assembly Building, Boots and Vaughn Trade Barbs
Over the years, viewers have come to expect that behavior in the national assembly has generally been unbecoming and unruly. But earlier today that spill outside the national assembly where [...]

2014 National Budget Presented in the House of Representatives
The highlight of today’s news should have been the presentation of the 2014 – 2015 Budget but there was a lot else to get out of the way. So with [...]

Budget by the Numbers
The thrust of the Prime Minister’s budget presentation was on education, healthcare and infrastructure. And then Prime Minister Barrow turned to the real meat of the budget, the numbers contained [...]

Cheerless Response from Opposition Leader to 2014 Budget
It is customary to get a response from the Opposition Leader on any budget presented in the House. To our recollection, there has never been any occasion when that feedback [...]

P.M. Says Details of Salary Adjustment are being finalized
Prime Minister Dean Barrow prefaced his budget proposals section of the presentation today by stating that the priorities can be summed up in three words – Additional Social Protection. And [...]

D.P.P. finally presented with files on the investigation
Ten minutes ago News Five received an update from Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal via email. She confirmed that at five forty-three this evening investigators visited her office to [...]

Hundreds of Teachers Demonstrate on Independence Hill during Budget Presentation
The Prime Minister announced that a big slice of the 2014/2015 Budget will be spent on personal emoluments; that’s three hundred and thirty two million dollars. Teachers and public officers [...]

Dangriga Man Stabbed to Death in San Ignacio Following Argument inside Nightclub
San Ignacio police are tonight looking for Gabino Garnett Jr., whom they believe can assist with their investigation into the overnight murder of twenty year old Earl Baizar.  Reports are [...]

Woman who tries to take weed inside Belize Central Prison pleads guilty
Twenty-one year old Christy Ramclam, a resident of Tigris Street, was arraigned in the courtroom of Magistrate Leslie Hamilton today, where she was read a single charge of possession of [...]

Incoming Commander Discusses Future of GSU
Superintendent of Police, Linden Flowers is the new commander of the Gang Suppression Unit. The news broke this past Tuesday that the career officer was bumped up the chain of [...]

GSU Boss Says Officers Aren’t Above the Law
There are thirty officers in the Unit and Superintendent Flowers says that those who step out of bounds will be penalized; criminal elements will be dealt with and that the [...]

Sharon Ramclam is Appointed CEO in Ministry of Natural Resources
A new chief executive officer has been appointed to replace outgoing C.E.O. Jose Alpuche at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture.  Government has looked outside the public service and [...]

Grant for Climate Change Initiatives
C.E.O. of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center, Everton Hanson, is in country since Thursday; his mission is to sensitize and bring awareness to entrepreneurs on the availability of grants for [...]

17th Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge Kicks Off in San Ignacio
Crowds gathered this morning at the banks of the Mopan River in San Ignacio for the start of the annual Belikin La Ruta Maya River Challenge. More than sixty teams [...]


Rotary Corozal Donates Laptops To Schools In Rural Communities
Rotary International is an organization that supports global projects such as eradication of polio and education. Here at home Rotary Clubs mainly support projects that benefit the local community. Further up North, in the Corozal District, the first Rotary Club was established in 1974. Since then the club has done their fair share of community service assisting the community. In a most recent initiative, the Corozal Rotary Club issued 49 Panasonic Though Book laptops to seven primary schools. Earl Johnston – President Corozal Rotary “Mr. Frank he was a part time resident in Corozal has talked to a Canadian company and they had agreed to donate these computers here and actually he has donated seven, for seven schools that I have to go back and look for the list, but these are donated to the primary schools and we give at least five to each primary school that they can get internet if they don’t already have internet connection so these a basic computers so they can learn computer skills and they are internet capable so they can connect to the internet and can do homework and stuff for their computer labs.”

Celebrating Child Stimulation Month
As part of Child Stimulation Month today Rainbow Brite Pre-school, a pre-school that has been in operation for over 23 years, toured Corozal Town it might have been only in town limits but for the pre-schoolers it was very educational as they visited the various public buildings. Lourdes Marin – Director\Teacher “The tour started at the Town Hall, then we went to the post office and the police station and we are ending at the fire station and this is to have these children exposed to these community places because we dealt with the topic last month on community helpers and our community and so this is to reinforce what we taught and like how right now we are in stimulation month so we taking advantage of this month and thanks to the support of the parents we are out.” Under the umbrella of this year’s theme “Early Childhood Education; Where Our Future Begins” teachers decided to take the students to the police station for them to learn more about the laws of Belize and the consequences of breaking those laws. So what did they learn? We asked them that question and here is their response.


Teenage Mother Gets Fined for Attempted to Smuggle Weed to Boyfriend in Prison
Nineteen year old Christy Ramclam, a mother of one who tried to smuggle 12 grams of cannabis into Belize Central Prison was fined 500 dollars today by Magistrate Leslie Hamilton after she pled guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled drug. She was ordered to pay 250 dollars forthwith and the balance by April 30, in default six months imprisonment. She paid half of the fine and she was released. Magistrate Hamilton told her that she was lucky because the charge could have been drug trafficking for which the sentence would have been three years, ten thousand dollars or both fine and imprisonment. Ramclam was busted yesterday when she went to prison to visit an inmate. She was given a thorough body search which resulted in the discovery of the cannabis wrapped in a piece of toilet paper and tucked in her private parts. As a result, she was charged. Anthony Carballo jr. who is remanded to prison on a charge of murder, is the father of Ramclam’s child.

Fight in Night Club Leads to Murder
Police investigators of the San Ignacio Police Station are seeking answers into a murder that occurred last night in that municipality. The officers on duty were called out to Burns Avenue just after midnight with reports of a stabbing incident near the Atlantic Bank building. When police arrived at the scene, however, 17-year-old, Earl Baizar was already taken to the San Ignacio Town Hospital suffering from four stab wounds; one inflicted to the left side of his chest, his left hand, left under arm and his right thigh. Preliminary investigations into the incident have revealed that Baizar was involved in an altercation earlier that night inside the Blue Angels night club and that while he was on Burns Avenue he got met up with the same man he had a confrontation with earlier and as a result the stab wounds were inflicted. Baizar succumbed to the injuries at around 12:50am today. Police is looking for Gabino Garnett Jr who would be able to help them in their investigation.

Opposition Leader Not Impressed by Proposed Budget
Opposition leader Francis Fonseca was asked for his initial view of the newly presented budget. HON. FRANCIS FONSECA “The Prime Minister’s budget presentation almost moves me to song. I am reminded of the Morgan Heritage tune, ends nah meet, them ah say that things the get better but we can’t feel it, we can’t feel it. Them ah say money the run but we can’t see it, we can’t see it. And I think that is the overwhelming response of the Belizean people to the flowery empty rhetoric we heard this morning. It is a budget divorce and disconnected from reality like this U.D.P. government. So that is my initial reaction to the budget, obviously we will pour into the details of the numbers and look at it and give a very comprehensive response at the time of the budget debate.” The budget will be debated on March 24 and 25.

Prime Minister Presents Budget for New Fiscal Year
Prime Minister Dean Barrow today presented his 2014/2015 budget under the theme “Bettering people, building Belize – a budget for all.” In his remarks the Prime Minister referred to the Caribbean Development’s Bank regional report for February 11, 2014. RT. HON. DEAN BARROW “For 2013 Tourism was down in the traditional powerhouses of the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines. In Belize it was up just under 6 percent in both the stay over and cruise sectors. Overall growth performance improved in Trinidad and Tobago and in Belize. This is in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the Community where economic activity was flat or actually contracted. Examples are Barbados, Jamaica, St Lucia, Antigua and the BVI. Average inflation in CARICOM was 2.5 percent while in Belize it is 0.5 percent. In the Bahamas the jobless rate, as measured in May of 2013, was 16.2 percent. In Jamaica it was 15.9 percent through July, and in St Lucia it reached a whopping 23.2 percent. Here it was down in September over 2 percent, from the previous year, to 14.2 percent. Foreign Reserves increased only in Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and the EC Currency Union. They fell in the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname. There are massive Public Sector layoffs in Barbados, and wage freezes in Jamaica, St Lucia and Grenada. Now compare that, Mr Speaker, to the paradisiac situation in our country where Teachers and Public Officers with this Budget, this Budget, Mr Speaker, are receiving the nectar of a not less than 5 percent salary increase on top of the annual 2.5 percent increment. Altogether this translates into around 34 million dollars more that this Government is finding, just this year alone, for its employees.”


Young Man Stabbed to Death in San Ignacio
A man was stabbed and killed early this morning in San Ignacio. Sometime after midnight 20-year-old Earl Baizar was on Burns Avenue in front of Atlantic Bank, when he got involved in an altercation with a person riding a 4 wheeler ATV. During that altercation, the driver of the...

Prime Minister Presents Fiscal Year Plan 2014-1015 Salary Increase Budget
The Budget for Fiscal year 2014-2015 was presented at the House of Representatives this morning by Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow. The budget speech was titled, “Bettering People, Building Belize – A Budget For All” . The Prime Minister started by comparing Belize to its Caribbean counterparts, saying that...

PM Dean Barrow Reflects Belize’s Debt Stewardship Into the Budget
The 1 billion dollar budget will begin to roll out on April 1st of this year with revenue and grants amounting to $956 Million. The deficit will be $57 Million or 1.7% of GDP but according to the Prime Minister, a further $70 Million has to be added to...

Belizean Killed in Honduras Massacre
A Belizean man was killed during a massacre in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. According to Honduran Media House El Heraldo, four people were murdered early Thursday and among them, is believed to be Mr. Mario Roberto Cocom, a Belizean. According to El Heraldo, police authorities believe that the four...

Highway Robbers Hit and Run Away With BZ$1,200
There was a highway robbery yesterday afternoon, Thursday March 6. The incident happened in the afternoon at about 3:30 pm on the Phillip Goldson Highway in Biscayne Village. A white Freight liner Truck was heading towards Orange Walk being driven by Mr. Mason Quiroz. Along with Quiroz was Salesman...

2014-2015 Budget Reading Includes More Infrastructure, Health and Education
At today’s budget reading, the Prime Minister addressed the infrastructural projects which he referred to as this administration’s “Herculean public works drive”. He said that it is one of the highest priorities of the Government. Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow- Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development “In...

Teachers Press for a Written 5% Increase Binding Response
While the House of Representatives met in session for the budget reading, members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) rallied outside, demanding respect from the Government and defying a reported threat of a pay cut for skipping school at the start of a three-day weekend. As PLUS News reporter Aaron...