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The San Pedro Sun

Tourism Statistics for January – March 2015
Tourism statistics for the first quarter of 2015 show that overnight arrivals remained steady while cruise arrivals grew significantly over the same period in 2014. There was a 1.1% increase in overnight arrivals in March 2015, representing an increase of 424 tourists over March 2014. This increase followed two months of decreases that were similarly small in magnitude, being 1.0% and 1.1% in January and February, respectively. The major factor influencing the results in the overnight sector was weather conditions. There were severe snow storms that took place frequently during this period, resulting in cancellation of flights that affected travel from Canada, as well as the Central and Eastern United States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York City – some originating destinations for visitors to Belize. Cruise arrivals in 2015 have seen major increases in January and March, with 16.6% and 15.8% increase, respectively. February 2015 saw a slight decrease of 2.7% which resulted from the cancellation of two ships due to adverse weather conditions that made it impossible for tendering to take place.

SPTC to launch free Wi-Fi at Central Park
Residents of San Pedro Town will soon be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi service at the Central Park courtesy of The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and the Government of Belize. That’s because Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) is fine-tuning final technical works to launch the free Wi-Fi internet service. The service is part of the government’s commitment to the residents of the island. Wi-Fi is the name of a wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed internet and network connections. According to Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the dialogue to install the free internet service at strategic public areas on the island started prior to the March 2015 municipal elections. “The project is a joint effort between the SPTC working along with the Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. We approached the Prime Minister, who agreed to assist us. We are the first municipality in the country that the Prime Minister approved this free internet service to,” explained Mayor Guerrero.

SP Sports Committee hosts another successful Football Marathon
The San Pedro Sports Committee hosted a fun filled football marathon on Sunday, April 26th for young athletes under the age of 14. The marathon was divided into two categories, Under 10 and Under 14, and saw boys from across San Pedro forming teams named after the top football clubs of the world. Family and friends of those participating came out from 11AM to show their support and cheer on the young footballers. Four teams registered in the Under 10 category. After a series of matches, teams Manchester United and Bayern Munich advanced to the finals. After 30 minutes of play time, neither team had scored so the match went into a penalty shootout. In the end, Manchester United emerged victorious over Bayern Munich with a 5 to 3 point game. Trophies were awarded to both the first and second place finishers. Individual trophies were also given to Mikey Stefan for Best Midfielder and Andy Perez for Best Defense.

Dog trainers on cruise ship visit SAGA in San Pedro
30 dog trainers and dog owners from the United States and Canada who were on board a cruise ship made a port call to Belize on Thursday April 23rd. While in the country, the group visited San Pedro Town’s SAGA Humane Society as part of a course called Education at Sea, featuring dog trainer specialist Heather Beck. The course gave the trainers and dog owners the opportunity to perform hands on work with SAGA, who operates a shelter for local dogs commonly referred to as “potlickers. The cruise took the animal lovers to places such as Roatan in Honduras, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico over the course of seven days. According to Beck, while on the boat, the dog trainers participated in courses within three specific areas. “We did a course called ‘Clients Conversation’ to teach trainers how to build their business communication and how to talk to their clients. Another area we covered was ‘Head Hunters” which is a tool used for dog training, and the third area was ‘Rehab Reality.’ That is an area I am specialized in and we look at ways to deal with training difficult dogs.”

Ambergris Today

Salpicon The Other Belizean Ceviche!
A great reunion begins with good family members or friends. And a perfect reunion or social gathering must have a delicious “boca” appetizer. This is what this succulent pork smoked salpicon is all about. Ingredients 1 Large Tomato 1 Large Onion 1 Large Lime Cilantro 1 Strip of Pork Shoulder Steak Seasonings Salt Black Pepper Pepper Sauce or Habaneros Directions

Has the seaweed gone FOREVER!?
We were surprised to see a sargasso-free beach this morning. Maybe the cold front and change of wind/tide had something to do with it. Either way, it is a sight for sore eyes.

Miss Chiquitita Pageant Annouces Contestants For 2015
Organizers for the Miss Chiquitita Pageant are pleased to present to you the five beautiful and talented young girls they are: *Seydi Medrano - 8-year-old – Wild Mangos, *Iansy Gordon - 9-year-old – Foreva Fancy, *Adriana Briceńo - 8-year-old – Ashley's, *Killianie Sosa - 9-year-old – Gaby's Construction, *Alieah Moreira- 9-year-old – Lynn's Boutique. These lovely girls will take center stage on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at the Old Football Field and will be judged in several categories which include swimsuit, talent and modeling and formal wear. The girls will also be delighting the crowd with dance presentations. Come and witness as one lucky girl is crowned Miss Chiquitita 2015. Prizes for Miss Amity and Miss Photogenic will be awarded as well as all contestants will receive great consolation prizes.

Tila Maria Comes to San Pedro for Night of Comedy and Entertainment
Tila Maria Sesto is a popular comedian from Merida. She appeals to a wide audience for her raw portrayal of the struggles that a Yucateca woman faces in a modern society where being true to the culture is perceived as odd behavior. The show is an adult show, due to explicit language, but it is important to note that this type of language is really part of the culture. This event is organized by Proud Mestizo Promotions in collaboration with the San Pedro House of Culture. Sponsors include Tropic Air Belize, San Pedro Sun and Ambergris Today.

Belize Tourism Statistics Show Steady Growth in First Quarter of 2015
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has released tourism statistics for the first quarter of 2015, which show that overnight arrivals remained steady, while cruise arrivals grew significantly over the same period in 2014. There was a 1.1% increase in overnight arrivals in March 2015, representing an increase of 424 tourists over March 2014. This increase followed two months of decreases that were similarly small in magnitude, being 1.0% and 1.1% in January and February, respectively. The major factor influencing the results in the overnight sector was weather conditions. There were severe snow storms that took place frequently during this period, resulting in cancellation of flights that affected travel from Canada, as well as the Central and Eastern United States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York City – some originating destinations for visitors to Belize.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

Foreign Correspondent Banking Relationships
Several large American and European banks have recently decided to cut ties with select institutions in small developing countries, a decision that appears to be correlated with the imposition of heavy regulatory fines for infractions associated with the recent global financial crisis and violations of geo-political embargoes. The new strategy of these institutions involves a reduction in the scope of global operations to minimize the probability of incurring further sanctions and fines, a process known as “de-risking”. This is the context within which Belize Bank Limited and Belize Bank International Limited are losing foreign correspondent banking relationships. The public is informed that Belize’s other domestic banks (ScotiaBank Belize Ltd., Atlantic Bank Ltd., First Caribbean International Bank Ltd. and Heritage Bank Ltd.), all of which are authorized by the Central Bank of Belize to deal in foreign exchange, have not been affected. The Central Bank has been working closely with the Bankers Association to manage the situation and to ensure that international banking services to the general public are not unduly hindered. The public is therefore advised that the aforementioned banks will continue to conduct foreign exchange transactions (including wire transfers, bank drafts, letters of credit and bank guarantees) and that Belize Bank Ltd. will be making its reserves of foreign exchange available to the Central Bank to ensure that the needs of its customers and that of the rest of the domestic system will be served. Belize Bank Ltd. has also provided an assurance that all its other banking services (including credit card issuance and merchant acquiring services) will be continuing as usual while it continues to seek ties with other foreign correspondent institutions.

Commentary: The court ruling on the Maya land case in Belize will also impact Garifuna
By Wellington C. Ramos. Long before the Europeans came to the Caribbean, Americas and other parts of the world, people and nations were living in peace in their respective territories on this planet earth. History tells us that it was not only the Europeans that were roaming this planet committing atrocities against other people and nations in the beginning but several other nations as well. However, when we examine the nature of the atrocities that were committed against people and nations before the new world order was established in 1945, they are guilty of the most genocide and violations of human rights. Many of these occurred during the colonization of the world, when they went to all the continents and established their brutal rule by force with no regard to the indigenous people and nations. The establishment of the United Nations, World Court and other international institutions, gives people and nations the opportunity to seek redress and reparations for all the atrocities committed against their people and nation. Some of these indigenous people and nations have sought redress in national and international courts but have been denied justice.

Letter: The biggest hoax in Garifuna history!
By Joseph Guerrero. We are all familiar with the story, off the coast or Yurumein (St Vincent and the Grenadines) two slave ships crashed in the years 1635 and 1675 or thereabouts. According to no less than Henry Louis Gates Jr, who is the Alphonse Fletcher University professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University according to Wikipedia, this story has its origin in a report made by William Young in 1795. Gates does not mention the shipwreck of 1635; he mentions only the supposed shipwreck of 1675. Many Garifuna (adjective) intellectuals have picked up on this story and have spread this story deep into the Garifuna population. Many, this writer included, for a long time believed this story, depending on the veracity of the research of our intellectuals. Prior to learning of this historical “report”, all I knew of Garifuna origins, and I suspect many other Garinagu (plural of Garifuna singular), is that we were from Yurumein, now called St Vincent and the Grenadines. We were told the British brought us to Central America because we fought against them. Never had we been told we arrived to Yurumein (St Vincent and the Grenadines) by way of slave ships that crashed on the reefs near Yurumein. The rest of the story goes the Africans intermixed with the local inhabitants and formed a hybrid culture today called Garifuna.

Walk for a Green Belize 2015 Statistics
The Department of the Environment has released the statistics from this year's Walk for a Green Belize campaign The highway cleanup netted some 2,363 bags amounting to over 8 tons. Wow, time to stop littering! Great job, everyone! The DoE got some pictures from the event. "Volunteers collected 2,363 bages of garbage or 16,541 pounds of garbage off the George Price, Phillip Goldson and Hummingbird Highways... Belize, next year let's make it be less!"

Prime Minister’s Statement on PetroCaribe
"Now I want to say something about PetroCaribe in view of the continuing attack of those that are opposed and would wish legally and politically to stop the program. The decibel level of the anti-PetroCaribe campaign reached some quite extraordinary heights last week, with some of those against using some of the most unreasoning, incendiary language imaginable. I am not going to respond in kind. Indeed, I make a clear distinction between those critics that are pure haters, so to speak, and those that are genuinely concerned and unsettled. Whether through misunderstanding or out of, for them, legitimate disagreements with some aspects of PetroCaribe, that latter group must be engaged and answered. So today I speak to those well-intentioned Belizeans that might be experiencing some PetroCaribe disquiet, and not to the shrill and strident few. I want to remind that from the outset there was never anything remotely secret or opaque about the ‪#‎UDP‬ restart of PetroCaribe. We always saw the program as a huge potential aid in the development of Belize, but one that had gone dormant under the misuse of the PUP (who only ever operated the program for the befit of their cooperants down South). So after we signed the new Agreements with Venezuela and ‪#‎APBEL‬, we proudly trumpeted our achievement and made much of the tremendous windfall we expected to get and spend on the Belizean people.

YAM youth leaders visit the Independence Public Clinic
As part of the Belize Youth Leadership Initiative project, IVLP Alumni Kenny White, recently lead the YAM youth leaders and visited the Independence Public Clinic. The U.S. Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission, Bruce Matthews, and other U.S. Embassy staff joined Executive Director of the Belize Family Life Association and the youth leaders in this outreach program. The purpose of the visit was to conduct six video interviews with teen moms for the compilation of teen pregnancy video diaries entitled "This is my story." They also took the opportunity to chat two nurses and a gynecologist to gain perspective on teen pregnancy in the Independence community. The video diary will be posted on social media to promote awareness on teen pregnancy by inviting teen parents who watch the video to leave a comment or tell them "which one is their story.

Parents' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Bill
The Ministry of Education in Belize is currently consulting with stakeholders on, amongst other changes in education legislation, a new Parents' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. "ALL PARENTS HAVE THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS:...... ....Parents have the right to:......d) have their child receive courtesy and respect from (sic) regardless of actual or perceived race, colour, religion, age, creed, ethnicity, national origin, alienage, citizenship status, special needs or weight:...... 3 b) be treated with courtesy and respect by all school personnel, and to be accorded all rights without regard to race, colour, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, ethnicity, alienage/citizenship status or disability"

Cayo District Spelling Bee
Congratulations, Benita Caal, for taking 1st place at the Cayo District Spelling Bee. Have fun in Corozal,and study hard. "Benita Caal of Kuxlin Ha was 1st and will represent the Cayo District at the National Contest to be held in Corozal in June"

April 19 - April 25 2015 Belize Fishing Report
Despite the wind the permit fishing was on fire! More permit this week than I have seen in a long time. Saltwater anglers have a love - hate relationship with wind. They hate casting in it, but they love the way it camouflages their presence. With lots of wave action and wave noise it is easier to get closer to a permit than the calm day we all hope for. An ideal wind here is 8-10 mph out of the east, it is a perfect compromise of having enough wind to hide your approach and not so much wind that you can't cast or the guide can't handle the boat

Status of ‪Petrocaribe‬ Financing

Channel 7

Despite Public Criticism: PM Not Dissuaded On Petrocaribe Loan Act
The Petrocaribe Loan Act – it’s already law – but the public debate about it continues – and opponents in the opposition and the say they are gaining steam. Well, today Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference to try and cool them off, and create his own momentum for the Petrocaribe funded programme of government spending. He did this at the Biltmore before the largest press conference crowd we’ve seen in years: about 110 people crowded into a conference room for an exceptionally long two hours 16 minute press conference. But while PM Barrow made the case for Petrocaribe inside, outside the opposition struck with a quickly organised protest. Tonight you’ll hear both sides of the story. But we start inside the press conference where the PM took a break from his usual swagger and appeared almost contrite when he explained why his administration never took the Petrocaribe borrowing to the House in the first place:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Hindsight is always twenty twenty, the move that completes now is that we never went to parliament right at the time we signed the restart. If a house wife is given credit by the shopkeeper for the groceries she receives.

Petrocaribe Funds Will Be Used To Buy Portions of Superbond Back
And to make what the UDP insists is a wholesome spending programme seem downright virtuous, the Barrow Administration is now going to use Petrocaribe funds for more than just lavish public spending on infrastructure: the PM wants to buy back Belize’s debt. Here’s how he explained it:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Petrocaribe last long enough, we fully intend to use it to buy back as much of the super bond as we can. Thus saving Belizeans very many millions in debt servicing. Let me go further, I commit today, that every penny collected from petrocaribe as of April 1st 2015, the start of this financial year through to March 31st 2016 will be left in the central bank. And there after, starting April 1st 2017 - and we fully expect the UDP to be here at that time; starting April 1st 2017, not less than half of every dollar to be collected from petrocaibe will be marked for the super bond buy back.”

PUP Protests Petrocaribe Press Conference
And while buying back Belize’s expensive commercial debt, with concessionary debt is a proposition that is hard to argue with, he’s not about to win over the opposition. They disagree fundamentally with the way the borrowing bypasses parliament – and today, while Barrow was praising Petrocaribe inside, outside, the PUP was pouring scorn on it with a hastily organised protest. They went to work in front of the Biltmore – and 7News was there: Daniel Ortiz Reporting…. Police officers restricted traffic on the road in front of the Biltmore Plaza Hotel by setting up a checkpoint and a barrier. The Biltmore compound was also secured by officers who restricted access to the hotel. They were responding to intelligence which said that the PUP intended to stage a protest outside the Prime Minister’s press conference. UDP supporters and contract officers were granted entrance without much difficulty while everyone else, well… They had to prove that they had a legitimate purpose to enter the compound, or else, they would be barred. Police were determined to keep order and didn’t want agitators or persons who would disrupt the press conference to go in.

Land Minister Discusses Caye Caulker Beachfront Dispute
And while Petro-talk dominated today’s very long and very news-heavy press conference, we did get to ask the Minister of Natural Resources about those parcels of land on Northern Caye Caulker. As we reported last week, two British retirees and the former chairman of Caye Caulker are among a group of at least 14 landowners who had beachfront property – only to find that new lots had been created on the beach and seabed in front of their properties. Those 14 landowners had retained an attorney – but after two years with no progress – they called in the media. Well, seems the matter was resolved faster than you can say “election di cohn!” Today at the prime minister’s press conference Lands Minister Gaspar Vega said that as many as 15 leases for beach land and seabed had been cancelled:… Hon. Gaspar Vega - Minister of Lands "There's 100 of people being affected by this act. This is something that started from 2004. So far, the people on the television complaining about they being disenfranchised of their beach front. That was not so, just that they did not come visit us, they either went to the media before they came to us. Because that was a case that was brought to us I think in 2011 and immediately the permission to survey was cancelled. They were some leases issued. I think they brought 7 cases to us and they were all cancelled - the leases.

Police Minister's Take On Bze City Murder Spike
And we return to the story I told you about before the break. That is the spate of murders in the Belize District between Saturday night andMonday morning. Today, the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar said that to curb the spree, it will take increased patrols and more importantly “social intervention.” Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of Police "Well, we know the spikes have become a routine every now and then we get an increase in the amount of murders and each time we do - we try to re-strategise. We look at the particular areas that are being effected, the particular gangs that are involved. We try to talk to them, council them but we also try to reconfigure our patrols and our strategies in those areas and that's best as we can do now. We must recognise thought that a lot of these murders are really confined to certain elements within the city and the police department itself I believe cannot be expected to know each and every time that these people are going to commit a murder. We don't have a police on every street corner. We just got to keep working with it in terms of our patrols. I believe that more social interventions and speaking with these people to see how they can resolve their conflicts differently."

Mr. Rigo's Suspected Killer In Detention?
Last night, we told you about the 42 year-old San Pedro taxi driver Jose Beltran who was found dead in his van with a gunshot in the head. Well tonight, more details are known since police have released the official details today. As we reported, police received information of an abandoned taxi van which was in a bushy section of the San Juan Area of San Pedro. The engine was still running and police found the well-known and well-liked taximan’s body inside. He had been shot into the head, his shirt was off, he was gagged and blindfolded, and his hands and feet were taped together.Beltran, knowna s Mr. Rigo – who was a law-abiding citizen – was most likely killed so that his assailants could use his vehicle in the commission of a crime. What investigators have been able to piece together is that shortly before his body was discovered, residents saw his van speeding to that area, and it appears that the person who was behind the wheel crashed it and left it there. Two men were seen exiting the van, and eyewitnesses observed when they jumped into a waiting vessel with other men inside.

San Pedro Police Caught Guns and Bulletproof Vest
San Pedro police also made a seizure of 2 handguns and a cache of ammunition yesterday. Acting on Special Branch intelligence, a team of police officers visited a section of the San Mateo area at around 5:30. They conducted a sweep and ended up finding a red and black string bag. Inside it, the officers found a 9mm pistol with an extended magazine, and another .45 pistol with a magazine of its own. Another black plastic bag was found with 40 live rounds of 9mm ammunition, and 11 live rounds of .45 ammunition. The officers also found a black bullet proof vest.

Police Minister Discusses Controversial Seaman, Keyren Tzib
Earlier this month we reported on the shocking shooting incident at the Coast Guard headquarters. Coast Guard Keyren Tzib shot her colleague Kurt Hyde to the back and the bullet exited his cheek. Apparently she has a history of violent encounters with colleagues and as a result of this, coast guard officials sent in a disciplinary file to the Security Commission years ago but nothing was done about it and she remained in the rank of SEAMAN at the coast guard. Now could the shooting have been avoided if the commission had acted promptly? We asked Minister of National Security, John Saldivar today and here is what he had to say. Hon. John Saldivar - Minister of Police "I think first of all, we've got to acknowledge that the coast guard, the management of the coast guard did all that it could within it's power to deal with the situation prior to this. They took the matter to the commission but the commission made the decision that they made. We're currently reviewing what was done in terms of the placement of Ms. Tzib to keep her out of these sort of situation.

PM's Resolution for US Bank De-risking
At the top of the newscast, we told you about today’s press conference where much of the talk was about Petrocaribe. But the event last almost two and a half hours, and the Prime Minister spent the first 70 minutes going through a number of issues of public interest. Foremost among them is the Belize Bank – and the recent loss of its correspondent banking relationship with the Bank of America. That was the subject of a meeting the Prime Minister held with Bank officials in Miami this weekend – and today he told the media that the message coming out of those meetings is that the rest of the banking sector is stable:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "A part from the Belize Bank, there is none of those local banks which is in any danger of having Bank of America withdraw in corresponding banking relationship them. That was absolutely confirmed to me by all the officials with whom I met. There is not any sort of looming storm cloud in the horizon. I want to make clear, that Bank of America insists that it is nothing that the Belize Bank has done wrong.

How To Resolve FSTV/Feinstein Dispute Out Of Court?
The other issued discussed in Miami was the future of cruise tourism in the Belize District. The Fort Street Tourism Village has a contractually guaranteed exclusive until for the next decade or more, while Mike Feinstein has parliamentary approval for his Stake Bank project. In the middle of all this is Carnival Cruise line which brings in the most cruise ships to Belize annually. So whose side are they on? They told the Prime Minister they are good with Stake Bank:.. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "Carnival then, in essence is saying - by all means get the new cruise port built, we will encourage that, we're not saying to you if you can't, we stop coming. And secondly they are saying, in terms of who builds it, that's for the government and Mr. Feinstein and FSTV to work out. I have said to the FSTV principals just last week before I went to Miami - that there thought, that they could build the cruise port at stake bank is not going to fly. Mr. Feinstein has made plain that he's not going to sell his island. He doesn't mind their partnering with him but in a minority role. And in any case as they have made clear to me, even if they had the island and they could raise the financing to construct the facilities - they would require a government guarantee of some 80 ode million US dollars.

Gov't Does Not Accept Communal Rights Concept; Accepts Mayan Human Rights
And another issue of urgent public interest is Mayan Communal Land Rights. Last week, when the Caribbean Court of Justice met in Belize, Government agreed to respect those rights. The Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes’ Association took this as a victory – but today the Prime Minister qualified the government’s position:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "That consent order does not find or establish that the Maya have indigenous title. As I understand it, indigenous title is a term that carries a particular meaning in international law and practice. In effect, if the Maya had indigenous title, that would mean they would be entitled to communal land ownership. The consent order does not establish that. What we considered was that, there claim for property rights, there entitlement - we can see there is an entitlement to property rights.

PM Resisting Compensation To Mayans
But, the issue of compensation is also – by government’s argument – impermissible. Government has argued before the court that they don’t wish to pay such compensation and today the Prime Minister explained why:… Adele Ramos – Amandala Newspaer “Why is it that the Government resisted the Maya’s claim for damages? I understand that they aren’t asking for that much. It’s about 1.5 million. Can You explain?” Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “Because, Adele, it is not, to my mind, a claim rooted in law, and I believe, what I am told. The Judges of the CCJ who might have been inclined to be sympathetic sort of said to our attorney, ‘Well, maybe they haven’t made out a legal case for it, but in the spirit of reconciliation.’ Well, if I started doing that, when will I give to the Garifuna Council damages? When will I give the Kriol organisation damages? We are all historically oppressed people, you know.”

Petrocaribe Mother's Day Cheer For All Area Reps'
But oppression is not the word that comes to mind when the Prime Minister starts to boast about the largesse of the Petrocaribe funds. That will be on full display when Mother’s day rolls around in a few weeks and UDP area representatives will be sharing out fifty thousand dollars worth of cheer among their favoured female constituents. The PUP representatives – who have shared in cheer before – have taken the position that they will no longer do so on principle. But the PM today said at least one of them was looking to abandon that hardline:.. Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize May I tell you that I’ve been approached by a PUP representative asking for a share of the Mother’s Day Christmas Cheer?” Crowd “Which one?” Hon. Dean Barrow “I’m not calling any names. I’m not calling the man’s name. I told him, I can give you, but I have to make it public. Let me offer to all of them $25,000 each, as part of – Man, even though they are quarrelling with us, everybody must enjoy Petrocaribe, and their constituents, they have mothers too. They can get $25,000 for each representative, but they need to work that out with Francis and Julius.”

Petrocaribe Funds Will Prop Up Citrus Industry
And there’s also some largesse to go around in the citrus industry where Petrocaribe funds are making three million dollars – and possibly more available to tide farmers over until their final payment comes in. The Prime Minister explained:.. Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “Government, out of Petrocaribe Funds – and the farmers at CPBL were told this – will provide a 2 million dollar working capital facility so that the farmers can get paid now what they are due. They actually need 4 million. We have gone – I have gone to Heritage Bank, and Heritage Bank says it will put up to the other 2. I believe Steve is a man – he has to go to his Board. But, if that doesn’t happen, we will give them the entire 4 million dollars. When I say give, they are not asking. It’s – CPBL will pay us back.”

Petrocaribe Funds Indirectly Pays For Teachers/Public Officer Increment
And the PM also made it clear that those same Petrocaribe loan funds – which the Trade Union Congress has said is being legitimized by dubious legislation – is also indirectly making it possible for teachers and public officers to get a 4% increment this year. He explained that while they are not being paid with Petrocaribe, Petrocaribe is creating the fiscal room for them to get their raise:… Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize "The plain truth is that without the flexibility for government to tap into petrocaribe for capital finances and other non recurring investments, we would have not been able to commit the portion of incremental revenue for salary adjustments that we have committed. Joe Waight, the financial secretary will tell you, that we're about to spend another 20-25 million dollars on further salary increases for the teachers and public officers this year. When do we do it Joe? July retrospective to April 1st. Petrocaribe directly enables us to be able to do that sort of thing.”

Petrocaribe Will Roll In Rural Areas
And Government as also recently signed off on contracts which will extend Petrocaribe spending on infrastructure form strictly urban to rural areas. The Prime Minister outlined the areas that will be getting attention:… Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “The rollout to the rural areas begins now. Mr. Gentle, the CEO of Works, is here to tell you about the contracts that we have just gotten through signing. There are these contracts signed for Petrocaribe projects in Belize Rural Central, Toledo East, Stann Creek West, Corozal Southwest, Cayo Northeast, Cayo North, Orange Walk East, and Orange Walk North. So Petrocaribe is coming to Trial Farm, Ladyville, San Narcisco, Bella Vista, Succotz, Independence, Esperanza, Bullet Tree, and Carmelita, and it I will not stop until every village constituency – not every village – every village constituency in the entire country would have received its fair share of Petrocaribe.” A fair share for villages, and even a Petrocaribe prayer for the churches. That’s one more petro powered initiative the PM discussed today:… Hon. Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize “I’m happy to see Pastor Howell Longsworth in the audience because I have a letter from Bishop Phillip Wright on Anglican Diocese of Belize Stationary, but writing on behalf of both the Belize Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association, as a follow up to our conversation - the conversation between him and myself – regarding the support of your administration for the construction of an Ecumenical Chapel on the grounds of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. That’s a consummation devoutly to be wished. The Government will finance the entirety of the construction out of Petrocaribe Funds. And the Churches know the source of the funding, and are comfortable.”

Why Police Haven't Taken Action For DJ Vintage's Alleged Assault
Last night we told you about Edison Usher, better known as DJ Vintage. HE says that a man pointed a gun at him at the Romy Badillo fundraising event that took place earlier this month. He has made an official police report but says the police aren’t doing anything about it. Today we asked Commissioner Whylie for his comment. Allen Whylie - Commissioner of Police "I can tell you that I first became aware of that situation I believe on Friday, when I had a call from the common law wife of the DJ. I spoke to the OCED, she gave me certain information in terms of the course of action that was being taken. My instructions to her was to get in the gentleman that made the complaint and to brief him in terms of where they are in the investigation and why is it that they have not reached the decision to charge Mr. Marin. And that is what I will respond to - but I'll definitely have OCED explain to you why is it - because I don't think the complainant is being forthright as he should be."

A Tornedo-Like Storm In Toledo?
In 2011, we told you about a storm which behaved like a tornado and tore up homes in Crooked Tree Village. Then another similar storm tore up homes in Maskall Village. In both instances, the National Met Service told us that these storms, though the behaved like tornadoes, are not that type of weather system, which are native to the US Midwest. Well yesterday, another very similar tornado-like swept through southern Belize and caused damages. We haven’t been able to confirm the number of communities affected, but our information says that a number of families had their thatch roofs blown off in San Antonio Toledo. Then, in PG Town, itself, a family’s house room was torn off last night. Then, this tree, which is over a hundred years old, was uprooted. We’ve been trying to reach NEMO personnel in Toledo, but we were unsuccessful. We did reach NEMO minister Godwin Hulse, who is currently abroad, and he told us that his ministry is aware of the situation.

Police Training Academy Get New Facilities
In 2010, the then police Minister Doug Singh famously commented on the senior police officers with some senior pot bellies. Well, now the police department is doing something about getting its officers in shape. They’ve put together a gym and a track – and I found out more when I visited today:… Everything was funded through contributions from the business community, members of the Police Department and canteen funds at a total cost of Fifty-Two Thousand Dollars.

Poultry Industry's Continued Crisis
A week ago, we told you about the difficult situation facing poultry farmers of Spanish Lookout who had to kill off 60,000 of their birds which were infected with avian influenza. They agreed to basically dump 3 million dollars’ worth of investment out of an abundance of caution because they agreed that the general public shouldn’t be exposed to a potential public health risk. Well, that action has put a financial hurting on those farmers, and while we were in Spanish Lookout, we approached several farmers to speak with us about the difficulties of that decision to comply. They all directed us to the designated spokesperson, Orlando Habet, who up until a few days ago, was out of the country. Well, we finally got an opportunity to speak with Habet today at the PUP’s Petrocaribe protest, and he described to us the farmers’ perspective of this crisis they are trying to recover from:

No Helicopter Any Time Soon?
But one thing Petrocaribe isn’t paying for is the new helicopter that government announced 6 months ago. It still hasn’t appeared – and today we asked the Prime Minister about it – which led to a cold exchange:…

Channel 5

Derisking is Minor Setback to Belize’s Banking Sector
The Prime Minister took on a number of issues this morning at a press conference that started at ten and continued until about twelve-twenty. P.M. Dean Barrow spoke on a [...]

Belize Bank Fully Supported by G.O.B. and Central Bank Through Derisking Hiccup
Now for policy matters, the Bank of America has withdrawn as corresponding bank to the Belize Bank. The PM explained that there has been nothing awry and that the government [...]

Executive Chairman Says It’s Business As Usual for Belize Bank
In past three or four years, the large U.S. Banks and some European Banks have been facing some of the largest fines in the history of banking. Those fines, according [...]

P.M. Addresses Legalities of Petrocaribe Loan Act
At least half an hour of the two-hour long press conference this morning was dedicated to Petrocaribe, the controversial project which spawned the controversial Loans Act and Bill. The Opposition [...]

“Petrocaribe is Here to Stay” – P.M. Barrow
The matter of the illegality is still before the courts, but where the outcry from the Opposition, VIP, church, business sector and unions is concerned, the Prime Minister isn’t at [...]

Petrocaribe Rolls Out Countrywide…
Amidst all that was said about Petrocaribe this morning, there were only a couple things we hadn’t heard before. One is that those glorious monies will be rolling down south [...]

Citrus Farmers Receive Boost With… You Guessed It, Petrocaribe Funds
As we mentioned earlier, Petrocaribe monies will be used to bail out C.P.B.L.  It’s not the first time the company is being assisted, so to speak, by government. In fact [...]

…What Else Will It Be Spent On?
As you’ve noticed, where the government is concerned, Petrocaribe is the biggest thing, bar none. Politically, it’s been a game-changer for the United Democratic Party, especially since with the passing [...]

Does Petrocaribe Cover Health and Education Too?
As you can see, it’s a long list of projects which span the country, and it’s mainly infrastructure – from sporting complexes to the City Centre to million dollar roundabouts [...]

P.U.P. Protests Outside P.M.’s Press Conference
As early as six-thirty this morning, Police were on high alert at the Biltmore Plaza, putting up barricade and roping off a section of the parking lot. All that activity [...]

Details of P.M.’s Carnival Meeting Disclosed
The prime minister’s recent trip to Miami where he met with senior executives from the Bank of America, also included a meeting with Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Lines.  [...]

Carnival’s Two Cents on Stake Bank Development
During the meeting with the Carnival executive, several benefits, including distance and safety, were also outlined from use of the proposed Stake Bank project.  The issue of a causeway connecting [...]

What’s the P.M.’s Take on CCJ’s Maya Land Rights Ruling?
The Caribbean Court of Justice issued a milestone decision on the issue of Maya land rights a week ago.  Since then the ruling, as well as the consent order, has [...]

Upcoming Mother’s Day Cheer Extended to P.U.P. Area Reps
Today, the Prime Minister announced that all U.D.P. Area Representatives will be receiving fifty-thousand dollars to give out for the now annual Petrocaribe-funded Mother’s Day Cheer program. The P.U.P. has [...]

ComPol Whylie on Spike in Crime in Belize City
Our records show that in the first four months of the year, there have been forty-three murders; that is twelve more than in the same period in 2014. Our stats [...]

Carlos Cassanova Jr. Charged With Corozal Murder
Mark Edward Massam was hacked to death on December ninth, 2014 on College Road in Corozal Town allegedly by Carlos Cassanova Junior who was in turn shot by police.  He [...]

Police Training Academy Inaugurates Gym
A ribbon cutting ceremony for a newly constructed running track and gym at the National Police Training Academy was held today at its compound in the Capital. The facilities will [...]

Police Officers Transferred
Several transfers are in the pipeline for senior officers in the Police Department, says Commissioner Allen Whylie. The transfers are part of an annual process and effective July of this [...]

U.S. Embassy Recognizes Local Youth Groups
The U.S. Embassy recognized four youth groups for doing outstanding work in their communities. Today, the youth presented on the projects which included works to rehabilitate a center to provide [...]

LOVE TV

PM Returns From Business Trip in the US
As we mentioned earlier, the Prime Minister returned home today after travelling to the United States on Saturday to attend meetings with the Carnival cruise lines and members of the financial sector who are engaged in business with our local banks. We were at the airport when PM Barrow arrived and while he would not ...

Fonseca Sends Strong Letter to PM …. PM Says No Turning Back with PetroCaribe
The PetroCaribe Bill has stirred reaction from various corners of the country but more dominantly by the Opposition Party, particularly, Cayo South Area Representative, Julius Espat. Espat is supported by his party, the PUP and today, the Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca told the media that he would be sending a letter to the ...

A Look At Internal Affairs of the Belize Police
The Professional Standards Branch is an arm of the Belize Police Department that is tasked with weeding out the corrupt officers and bringing disciplinary actions against police officers when reports of abuse, extortion, or any other offenses are made against an officer. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Noel Leal is the officer heading that unit. Love ...

Wayne Rock Killed on Reggae Street
A shooting incident after seven o’clock last night claimed the life of 29-year-old Wayne Rock of a Jane Usher Boulevard address in Belize City. Rock was reportedly sitting in a van on Reggae Street when he was approached by a gunman who shot him multiple times. Superintendent Hilberto Romero spoke on this recent homicide. One ...

Engineer Killed While Socializing in Bar
Reports of a stabbing incident came to Love News just before ten o’clock on Saturday night where an engineer was stabbed to death, allegedly and ironically by a person who was hired at the location to maintain law and order. Superintendent Hilberto Romero briefed the media on the incident. Love News understands that Cisneros and ...

Man Shot Dead on His Way To Work
Violence claimed four lives over the last three days, all four murders recorded in the Belize District. The last murder was reported in Mahogany Heights this morning. Correspondent Harry Arzu has the story.

April Murders 12 and 13: Mark Medina and Tyrone Neal
The weekend murders in the Belize District have taken the body count for the month of April to about fourteen. Renee Trujillo followed the two city murders that occurred this past Sunday

PlusTV

Latest murder in Belize City claims life of 29 year old
The murder carnage in Belize City continues as gunshots were heard again in the Southside. This time it took place on Reggae Street around 7:20 Monday night and the target was a resident of Jane Usher Boulevard...

Shot taxi driver succumbs to injuries
He was shot on Sunday morning after dropping off a fare on Iguana Street. On Monday night, 55 year old taxi operator Egbert Hemmans of Central American Boulevard succumbed to his injuries in hospital...

PUP ready for street action over Petrocaribe
Elements of the opposition to the Petrocaribe Loan Act 2015 are prepared to take their frustration to the streets, a favorite tactic of dissent...

P.M. says hell no to Petrocaribe repeal
He is expected to address it further at Wednesday’s press conference but on the heels of the announcement by the Leader of the Opposition this morning Prime Minister Dean Barrow said not only no, but hell no to the prospect of any repeal of the Petrocaribe Loan Act, 2015. He explains why. Hon...

PUP file claim on 13th Senator
The United Democratic Party (UDP) made it a major plank of their campaign in 2008: the legislation to implement a thirteenth seat in the Senate for the non-governmental organization (NGO) community...

Guatemalan charged for unlawful Xate cultivation
In March 19th earlier this year, 18 young men joined the ranks of the Friends for conservation’s park rangers...

Gaspar Vega begs out of testimony in libel case
He was quick to demand an apology when it aired and even quicker to sue when he did not get one. But Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, who claims to have been libeled by a broadcast bought and paid for by the family of the late Ramon Cervantes, Sr., of Orange Walk Town last Novemberappears not a...

Partnering to address climate change issues
Today’s temperature in Belmopan was forecasted at 102 degrees Fahrenheit at its highest but weahter.com says it really will feel like 111 degrees in the capital...

Performance by Square Peg Players
The square peg players, a renowned performing group in Belmopan, formed in 1973, fell dormant after the group went through several leadership changes...

Blue House security guard charged with murder
Police have laid murder charges against one of the two security guards who stabbed 41 year old Wilmer Cisneros of Western Paradise to death on Saturday night at the Blue House Bar in Ladyville. He is Diarron Hamilton, also known as Percy...

Home owner chops man attempting break in
Andre Alvarez, a construction worker of Police Street, is accused of attempting to break into the Linda Vista residence of Steven Swasey, only to be met by the homeowner with a machete in hand...

Cold Front in April?
There will be a dramatic change in weather conditions this week. According to Accuweather.com while much of april is generally associated with dry weather conditions, this year temperatures soared well above normal...