The Guardian

UDP sets date for National Convention
The United Democratic Party’s Central Executive met on Wednesday of last week at which a date for the National Convention was agreed to. Thereafter the National Party Council met on Saturday January 9 which ratified the decision to have the convention on Sunday March 20. The Convention will be held in Dangriga at the Ecumenical Auditorium where the positions of Party Leader, First Deputy Party Leader, Second Deputy Party Leader, National Chairperson and Vice Chairperson can be contested. Those persons who wish to challenge any of these positions can do so by submitting their applications to the UDP’s secretariat no later than 5p.m. on Friday January 29. If there are challenges to any of these positions, they will be settled by way of an election by the 560 delegates who are eligible to vote. That number is comprised of 15 delegates per constituency, along with 2 past leaders, 2 delegates each from the youth arm and the womens arm; 62 votes from elected mayors and councilors in the towns and cities as well as the 5 UDP senators. The rest of delegates who are eligible to vote are members of the Central Executive including the Secretary General. These are persons who form part of various committees within the party.

Birdman tells KREM he wants his land
For at least a year Ernest ‘Birdman’ Olivera has been calling Wave Radio’s Morning Show complaining that KREM Radio has a piece of land for him and they are refusing to give it to him. At the Guardian we decided to find out what Olivera’s gripe is about and found a very irate man who says he won a prize from KREM radio station for over a year now and they are yet to make good on their raffle. Olivera says that in November of 2014 he stopped by at the corner of West Canal and Regent Street West where there was some activity going on. When he inquired he was told that KREM Radio was having a raffle to celebrate their 25th anniversary and the prizes included 25 lots. Having no land in his name Olivera decided to put in his name and phone number in the hopes of being one of 25 winners to the raffle.

Maya Land Rights Commission appointed
The Caribbean Court of Justice has set April 30, 2016 as the date for Government and the Maya leaders to return before the Court and report on the implementation of a land tenure system that features customary rights in Maya Villages. This was after Government reached a settlement with the Mayas conceding their right to customary land. In order to comply with this order, the Government of Belize officially appointed the Members of Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission on January 11, 2016. The commission will be chaired by Lisel Alamilla and she will be joined by Noreen Fairweather and Crown Counsel Randall Sheppard as members. Anthony Ross, described by the Attorney General as “a highly regarded attorney with substantial experience in Indigenous Affairs”, has been assigned to the commission as an expert consultant.

Bowen and Bowen improves its facilities
Bowen and Bowen Limited, the only beverage company in Belize which produces and distributes Coca-Cola, as well as the Crystal Water, Crystal Juices, Belikin Beers and other flavors of beers, has invested 40 million dollars to construct a new bottling line. The new production plant was unveiled on Tuesday, January 13, at their factory in Ladyville. Prominent Ministers of Government, businessmen, politicians, and other VIP’s were present for the ceremony, which put on display just how powerful this new equipment is in the mass-production of beverages. The new line can produce 20 thousand bottles of beverages per hour, and the President and CEO of the company, Michael Bowen has commented to the press saying, “We can produce all of our capacity within one shift in one week.”

Hostel fire report to be released soon
A comprehensive report on the deadly fire at the Princess Royal Youth hostel on November 26 will be released to the public in the third week of January, says Hon. Anthony Martinez, Minister of Human Development. Elizabeth Mckoy, 14, Shadisha Arnold, 16, and Anna Carlos, 16, perished in a fire that started at the Youth Hostel after they were locked inside a building for misbehaviour. All three girls were locked inside the wooden building and the door was padlocked to prevent them from escaping. They were part of a group of four girls who escaped from the facility the day before but were captured by Hattieville Police and taken back. Initial investigations suggested that one of the girls managed to sneak a lighter past security check and she lit a pillow to force caretakers to open the door so they could escape again. Unfortunately, the fire quickly burst into an uncontrollable blaze. By the time the girls alerted those outside of the building, the fire was already burning a while. Then, for some still unexplained reason, the guard on duty could not get the locked door open. The three young girls were trapped inside a burning building, screaming in terror and pain as caretakers and other inmates tried desperately to get them out. The effort was not enough. The girls died, hopefully after passing out from smoke inhalation. The Ministry of Human Development reached out to Margaret Nicholas, Director of the National Committee for Families and Children and former Head of the Family Court to lead an independent investigation into the incident.

Aguacate village in Toledo receives new water system
The Government of Belize, steadfast in its continued commitment to address the basic needs of Belizeans, in the areas of water, sanitation and health; will expand and upgrade the Aguacate Rudimentary Water System for residents of Aguacate Village, Toledo District. In this regard, ground-breaking ceremonies to kick-off the water project were held in the village at 1:00 p.m. on 8 January 2016. The water project is financed by the Government of Belize at a cost of BZ$337,636.19 through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank; so that residents of Aguacate are provided with a continuous supply of reliable potable water to meet their daily needs such as drinking, washing, bathing and cooking.

Auditorium? Finally! A promise fulfilled!
Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage, “Since king hatchet was a hammer.” Then again you probably haven’t. In many conversations here in Dangriga, that saying is synonymous to the many promises of having an auditorium being built for the citizens of this southern town. In the research for this story, it is alleged by some well-informed individuals that this building has been in the proverbial pipeline for close to 30 years and has often been used as a political gimmick by the PUP to garner votes. Former Dangriga UDP Representatives, the late Russell “Chiste” Garcia and Arthur “Turo” Roches both made conscious efforts to get this project off the ground, but due to budgetary constraints, were unsuccessful. As alluded to, repeated PUP administrations had this project listed in their manifestos almost every election season. No sooner than they were returned to Belmopan as ruling government, the sweet promises became yet another bitter pill for the Dangriga constituents to swallow – No Auditorium! 2015 was an unprecedented year as it relates to Belizean politics. There were two bi-elections, one in the Cayo North Constituency in January, and six months later in July, the other was here in Dangriga, followed by the general elections in November, all won by the ruling UDP government. The Dangriga bi-election as you may recall, was a result of former PUP Representative Ivan “Macka” Ramos resigning from the PUP and vacating his parliamentary seat at the House of Representatives. The Dangriga bi-election was an overwhelming victory for the Honorable Frank “Papa” Mena. He obtained his ticket to the House of Representatives and became the Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security.

Supreme Court says NEAC fast tracked Norwegian Cruise Line Harvest Caye facility
Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel has ruled that the Department of Environment’s National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) took important shortcuts to have fast tracked Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) Harvest Caye Berthing facility in the south. The Committee, chaired by Chief Environmental Officer Martin Allegria, did not perform its full legal obligation to the public when it did not allow the general public enough time to digest NCL’s updated environmental impact assessment (EIA) on how it will responsibly develop Harvest Caye with minimal - if any - negative impacts to the environment which surrounds it. Readers will remember that 2 years ago in January 2014, the NCL representatives took quite a tongue lashing at the public meeting in Independence Village. That’s where members of the public got an opportunity to voice their concerns on the Environmental Impact Assessment document that the multinational’s environmental technicians prepared. For those readers who do not know what it is, an EIA is a study done by any developer in which extensive scientific measurements and observations are collected to prove to the Department of the Environment (DOE) that a project is feasible and should have minimal negative effects on the environment.

Cabinet denies Stake Bank exclusive contract
The Government of Belize has announced that it will not be giving the Stake Bank project any exclusivity. In a release it states that, “Cabinet at its meeting today, 12th January, 2016 considered a request from Michael Feinstein, principal of the proposed Stake Bank Development Project requesting consideration by the Government of Belize for a 25 year exclusive contract for the Stake Bank Project. Cabinet in its consideration recalled that in 2004, under the Musa administration, the Government of Belize had signed an agreement with the Fort Street Tourism Village (FSTV), giving the port exclusivity in the Belize District. Mr. Michael Feinstein was the main investor in FSTV at the time. Years later when Michael Feinstein sought to develop the Stake Bank Project which would be an additional port in Belize City, he ran into difficulties resulting from this 2004 agreement.

Belize Bank’s Very Charitable Christmas
The Christmas holidays are always a much anticipated time of year by everyone; the young, the old, the abled, the disabled, to name a few. It is also a time of year where people give back and grant wishes to families, loved ones and even strangers as they participate in sharing the spirit of the Christmas season. This year, the Belize Bank and its Belize Bank Santa’s Helpers were busy sharing in the Christmas spirit as it supported and participated in several social and community initiatives. Belize Bank provided a financial contribution totaling $30,000.00 in various initiatives with its partners; the Salvation Army, Hand-in-Hand Ministries, Stella Maris School and the Mercy Kitchen.

Arsonist arrested in Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda Police have arrested and charged a resident of the town for allegedly going on a sort of serial spate of arson. He allegedly set fire to property belonging to 4 different town residents. That accused arsonist is 22 year-old Kareem Chun, and he has been charged with 3 counts of arson. On January 10, at around 1:25 p.m., police responded to a report of a vehicle on fire on Cayetano Street. There they found fire fighters putting out a blaze engulfing the engine area of a 2005 Chevy Colorado pick-up truck. The owner, 39 year-old Merida Chan told police that she and her boyfriend made sure to check on their vehicle before going to bed, and some 3 hours later, they found it on fire. Just over an hour later, police had to respond to another fire at a house on Vernon Street. The home owner, 63 year-old Victor Caliz, told police that his family were awoken when they heard someone walking in their yard. A few minutes later, they found their bamboo chair, which was on the front verandah, engulfed in flames. Luckily, it was gotten under control before it could spread to the house and create a far worse situation.

Facing jail time for stealing beers
Businessman Ruhul Amin says that he was ambushed by a group of four men inside his shop on Saturday January 9, and one of the men stole six beers and one Smirnoff. That individual was caught on surveillance camera, according to police, and has been identified as Michael Anthony Usher, 25, of a Pinks Alley address. Usher is out on bail after he was arraigned in the Belize City Magistrates Court before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on Monday, January 11, for a single charge of theft. Amin, owner of Amin Supermarket at #16 Barrack Road, reported to police that four male person entered his shop and two came to the counter and ordered several items to keep him distracted. That is when Michael Usher, who he knows well, went to the back of the counter, took a beer and paid for it. All four then left the shop. After the men left the shop, Amin checked the surveilance camera and noticed that Usher took six other beers and one Smirnoff which he did not pay for.

Cultivation of Cannabis in Benque
Benque Viejo Police visited a farm located off the Hydro Road on Thursday of last week, belonging to 56 year old Andres Valladarez. On arrival Police observed the Belizean farmer of Benque Viejo Town seated in a hammock under a thatch house. He was thereon informed that a search was going to be conducted for firearms, ammunition and illegal drugs. Benque Police found nothing illegal on him; however a search near the hammock area where he was lying lead to the discovery of a small transparent plastic bag which contained a green leafy substance suspected to be cannabis. It was shown to him and he was informed of the offence committed. A further search was conducted on the farm, which led to the discovery of three (3) plantation beds, each containing 3 cannabis plants, which were about 15 feet separated from each other. No one else was at the farm of Andres Valladarez at the time that the search was conducted by Benque police.

Police bust Bird with 7.1 grams of crack cocaine
Victoria Street fisherman, Rueben Herredia, 40, known on the streets as “Bird”, is out on bail after he was busted by police with 7.1 grams of crack cocaine on Monday, January 11. Police say they were on mobile patrol around 3 p.m. on Castle Street when PC Earl Hamilton saw Heredia walking in the opposite direction from them. Hamilton claims that he saw Herredia pick up something, pushed it into his pocket and began to act suspicious. The officers approached and informed him that a search would be conducted. Inside his pocket, police found a piece of toilet paper which contained a small transparent bag with four pieces of white substance suspected to be crack cocaine.

Arrest made for murder of Belmopan taximan Isidro Suar
Belmopan Police have made an arrest in connection to the murder of the first of 2 Capital City taxi drivers, 28 year-old Isidro Suar. On Friday, January 8, at around 11:15 p.m., Suar, a resident of Belmopan, was found lying on the side of a street in an area of the city known as Piccini. That’s in the vicinity of the Chon Saan Restaurant, and according to police, he had been shot several times to the head and body. Quick police thinking and mobilization allowed the cops to intercept a taxi in Ontario Village, shortly after Suar’s body was discovered. There were 3 occupants in the vehicle, but one of them escaped, and according to police they detained 2 Belmopan residents, 25 year-old Licoln Bejerano and a 17 year-old female. The officers searched both persons and the surrounding area, and they found a .22 pistol with 3 live rounds along with 12 live rounds of .38 ammunition. They were both arrested and charged with keeping unlicensed ammunition, keeping an unlicensed firearm, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery. The investigators think that they robbed Suar, of his valuables, killed him, dumped his body, and then tried to escape.

Jack Charles will export Guayana rice out of Belize
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is also the Minister of Finance, is giving Belize City businessman Jack Charles an opportunity to possibly get his imported Guyanese rice out of Belize. The Prime Minister is not obliged to assist Charles in trying to recoup some of his investment, but Barrow is extending an olive branch to the importer who has - by pronouncement of the Supreme Court - unlawfully imported rice into Belize without the proper permits from the Customs Department, and the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. Readers will remember that on Tuesday, January 5, the Customs Department - by way of an ex-parte hearing - got an Order of Forfeiture granted by Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. With the power of that order, Customs was legally authorized to take possession of Charles’ 3 containers of imported rice, all 75 tonnes of it, and destroy it. That was the intention, but Charles’ attorneys intervened just in time to get the Supreme Court to grant an interim injunction restraining customs from destroying the rice.

Leon Gentle faces charge for tour operators’ feud
Five of the six men accused of beating up the son of tour operator Vitalino Reyes Sr. have been cleared of all charges after Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser ruled that there is not sufficent evidence for them to face trial. The men were charged with dangerous harm upon Vitalino Reyes Jr. in June of 2014. Leon Gentle, Jimmy Cortez, John Frazer, Christopher Williams, Evan Williams and Keith Vairez were at Long Island Bar socializing with their boss Yhony Rosado, owner of Cavetubing.com, on Thursday, May 29, 2014 when they got into an altercation with Reyes Jr. whose father owns Cavetubing.bz. Reyes Jr. was socializing with his friend Yhony Vega. It is alleged that as Reyes and his friend were leaving, some of Rosado’s employees blocked the door and attacked Reyes and his friend. The beating on Reyes was so severe that he ended up in a coma. Yhony Rosado said that neither he nor his employees touched Reyes and his friend. He says there were other people in the bar and they may have been the ones who got into the fight.

Belmopan taximan Yoni Maas killed for no apparent reason
Yoni Maas, a 24 year-old Belmopan resident, was the second taxi driver from Belmopan to be found killed less than 3 days apart. Police continue to carry investigations into his murder, but at this time, no concrete leads have been discovered. On Sunday morning, January 10th, at around 10 o’clock, police were called out to the Mount Pleasant Road in the Cayo District. There, in an area about half a mile off a feeder road, which is close to a Belize Natural Energy oil well, they found Maas’ body in an advanced state of decomposition. He had been shot several times to the face and chest. Investigators have been trying to put together a timeline of events leading up to his death, but what they know for sure is that he was reported missing on Friday, January 9 by his common-law wife. They believe that he went to work as per normal on Thursday night at the Belmopan Bus Terminal, where clients can hire him. Police suspect that he may have spoken to his killer on the cellphone, after which, he was lured to his death.

Two youths charged for the murder of Matthiew Klinck
Two youths from Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District have been jointly charged for the crime of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Nineteen year old Brandon Anderson, a resident of La Loma Luz Boulevard in Santa Elena as well as a sixteen year old male appeared before magistrate Albert Hoare in San Ignacio Town on Friday of last week and were remanded to prison until April 12, 2016. The body of 37 year old Canadian Film Director Matthiew Klinck was found on the night of January 4th lying face up about 15 feet away from his residence in Selena Village, at the outskirts of Spanish Lookout in the Cayo District. Already in a decomposing state, a post mortem conducted on site had revealed that the Aylner born, Quebec native’s death has been as a result of hypovolemic shock due to multiple stab wounds. A further examination of the body by experts also showed that there were some 14 stab wounds to the upper part of his body. Friends who were visiting Klinck on that Monday discovered the door to the house ajar and ransacked, but his precious camera and other electronic equipment had been left untouched.

Michael Arnold charged for robbery of Miss Pou
Michael Arnold, 23, also known as “Teetie”, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison for allegedly robbing 56-year-old Maria Pou of Pou’s Meat Pies on New Road. According to police reports, Maria Pou had just collected $500 rent from a tenant on Tuesday, January 5, when she was ambushed. The man tried to snatch the money away from her but she held on tight. He then threw her to the ground and dragged her as she refused to release the cash. Miss Pou could not keep up the fight long enough for help to arrive. The stronger male managed to take the cash away and ran away towards Pickstock Street where he was picked up by a vehicle. Miss Pou was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial where she was treated for a burst head and other minor injuries. She did not get a good look at the suspect but police were able to make an arrest based on eyewitness testimonies.

Punta Gorda man killed and dumped in a well
There was a fourth murder discovered during the weekend, this time in Punta Gorda Town, in the Toledo District. On Sunday, January 10, at around 8:30 p.m., PG police found a decomposing body at the bottom of a shallow water well in the New City area of the town. The body was later identified as 19 year-old Jarrel Edward Pop, and an on-site post-mortem certified that he was chopped and stabbed to death. Pop suffered multiple injuries to the neck, the abdomen area. Investigators are reluctant to release any further details at this time, but reports to the press are that 7 persons were detained shortly after Pop’s body was found.

Young female commits suicide in Cayo
On 12th January 2016 about 7:45 pm, information was received of a suspected suicide and as a result San Ignacio Police visited the Loma Luz Hospital, Santa Elena town, where the doctor showed the police the lifeless body a female on a bed motionless whose name was learnt to be Abigail Jeane Pott 15 years, Belizean student of San Ignacio Town. The guardian of Pott, Estella Pott 64-year-old Belizean of the same address, reported that on the 12th January 2015 about 6.00 pm she was at home preparing supper for her two granddaughters namely Abigail Pott and her sister Leila Pott. After preparing supper she sent Leila to inform Abigail that supper was ready; however Leila could not enter the room. A few minutes after Estella Pott’s older daughter Estella Pech knocked the room door as well, but again all her attempts were fruitless. Estella Pot then peeped through a window and saw Abigail Pott hanging from a white and blue rope tied to her neck, which was tied to a board that was placed in the attic. Immediately after the entire family forcefully got in the room and let the rope loose from Abigail Pott’s neck, but she was already motionless.

Supreme Court opens: same problems plaguing our judicial system
If justice delayed is truly justice denied then, based on the testimonies of the heads of both the Bench and Bar of Belize, there is no justice in this jurisdiction. As a country we must be extremely grateful that the Chief Justice’s courtroom is too small to fit the students who march out of their classrooms to see the Opening of the Supreme Court. If they were allowed to enter that chamber, they would leave as dull eyed, hopeless cynics. For those very fortunate individuals that make up the Bench and the Bar, it always seems like the justice system is a mansion built on top of stilts. The sky is always falling. What is worse about the addresses made at the Opening of the Supreme Court is that the problems facing the justice system of the country is always the other party’s fault. The Bench points out the problems caused by the Bar; the Bar points out the challenges caused by the Bench; the Bench and Bar express frustrations with Government and the Attorney General ends up scolding them both. Even at the opportune time for reflection on the state of the justice system, the individuals tasked with developing the system are too lawyerish to evaluate their own performance. The 2016 Opening of the Supreme Court was no different from those of recent years – a slightly different cast with the same roles, same punch lines and same cues.

Telemedia partners with SJC for computer program
The Belize Telemedia Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saint John’s College for the development of the Jesuit institution’s information technology program. On Tuesday, January 12, the Chairman of BTL’s Executive committee, Anwar Barrow, signed an agreement with the President of SJC, Allis Peralta, for a continued partnership between the prestigious learning institution and the local communications giant. The BTL-SJC marriage kicked off with the launch of the BTL Technology Lab that was opened for students at the beginning of this semester. The lab is the home of a new program that has been developed as a result of the partnership, Associate’s Degree Program in Computer Networking. Anwar Barrow said, “The technology lab is really part and parcel of the academic program which SJC is going to launch and that program is important to BTL because we are always looking for new talent to recruit into the company with the adequate training as well as to train our people who are already members of the team.”

Together
Out in the world, there are many different types of people who believe in different ideas and who seem to appear vastly different compared to us. Currently many people fail to comprehend that though we appear to be different, we share so many characteristics with these people around the vastly incredible world. We all perform very similar routines to carry out our daily lives, and most importantly all of us share similar thoughts. All 7 billion of us love to smile, laugh, and have someone to love who also loves us. We all want to be someone and find happiness and we all are human beings who share the desire to become more in life and succeed. We as a world society must never lose sight of this idea. But sadly, it is deteriorating because people are choosing to ignore these principles that every person in the world possess. We start to lose sight that everyone is a human being who wants to find happiness in another's love. We start to judge people by their race and belief and only associate one type of personality to a set group. Because humans act more on ignorance than understanding, we create differences amongst us in society, and in return, we create boundaries between ourselves that make us believe that we are very different from the other.

Year in Review 2015 Pt 2
In the last edition of The Guardian, we reminded readers of the most important stories in the first part of the year. By that time, the United Democratic Party was coming off two very successful election cycles, and the party pushed full steam ahead with its national agenda. JULY In July, the Government had indicated that it would continue to tap into the resources afforded by the Petro-Caribe initiative to fund a number of infrastructure projects.

WORDS OF LIFE2015 was not an easy year for me. Yes, there were highlights. I was privileged to assist in the training of new pastors. I was invited to preach on some occasions. But there were challenges also! The plans that I had made for the last four months of the year were shattered, and the invitations ceased. There were also financial challenges, as I am sponsoring my Godson to attend CET in San Ignacio. I'm sure that many readers of this newspaper have also faced challenges and discouragements during the year, and even now. But then I remembered God's word in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Belize to host CADICA Championship in February
The Belize Athletics Association informs the general public that the Belize Athletics Association will be hosting the 10th Central American Cross Country Championship in Athletics. The championship is being sponsored by the Central American Track and Field Organisation (CADICA). The championship is scheduled for Saturday 20th February, 2016, at the Roaring River Golf Course in Roaring Creek Village, Cayo District. It is anticipated that the championship will bring together some 125 cross country athletes and officials from all seven Central American countries.

Canoe racing season opens in Burrell Boom
It’s open season for river water lovers. The Belize Canoe Association kicked off its 2016 canoe racing season on Sunday, January 10th at the Old market Area in Burrell Boom Village. The race featured paddlers from eighteen teams who assembled to make the river journey from Burrell Boom Village to Manatee Lookout located at Mile 9 on the Phillip Goldson Highway. At the sound of the whistle at 10:00am sharp, the canoes took off like speed motorboats each with a view to capturing the Burrell Boom Bridge $50.00 station prize. Koop Sheet Metal Male Team would prove the fastest and captured the prize five minutes and fifteen seconds later. The race consisted of six categories – Male (8), Female (2), Mixed (3), Masters (3), Intramural (1) and Pleasure (1). At the finish line the first teams from the male category made quite an impression on the spectators with a sensational finish sprint with the Belize Bank Bulldogs securing first place in a time of 1hour 19minutes and 24seconds. Hot on their stern was Team NICH who came in a second too late. The third place winner was team Guydis in the Male category.

Primary Schools National Competition Kick-off
The Primary Schools National Basketball Competition got underway today countrywide. In Belize City 9 primary schools fielded two teams each – male and female. The Minister of State with responsibility of Sports, Honorable Elodio Aragon was at the Bird’s Isle in Belize City for the launch of the competition. “You are our hope for a better Belize and it is up to you to carry on the legacy of sports our forefathers left for us” said Honorable Aragon. He went on to encourage the young children saying, “Sports is a good way to stay out of trouble and an excellent way to stay healthy.” The excited children listened keenly while Honorable Aragon spoke to them and after he declared the competition open it was time to get down to business. The young players adeptly displayed their skills much to the enjoyment of all present.

San Pedro Tigersharks to defend back to back national basketball title
The National Elite Basketball League (NEBL) will commence this Friday night, January 15, as the two time defending champions, San Pedro Tiger Sharks, will travel to Orange Walk Town to take on the Orange Walk Running Rebels. This game will tip off the 2016 season, and it will start at 9 p.m. at the Orange Walk Multi Purpose Complex. This year’s championship will be opened by the Hon. Elodio Aragon, Minister of State with responsibility for sports. The competition will then continue on Saturday night 16 January, with the other six teams taking to the court, as Cayo Western Ballaz will host the new franchise, Independence Thunderbolts, at the Sacred Heart College Auditorium at 8 p.m. Dangriga Warriors will travel to the old capital to take on Belize City No Limit at Bird’s Isle, in Belize City, with tip-off time set for 8 p.m. The final game of the opening weekend will be the battle of two teams with much improved rosters, where Belmopan Bandits will host Belize Hurricanes at the UB gymnasium in Belmopan at 8 p.m.

Football Federation of Belize names Electoral Committee
The Football Federation of Belize in its preparation for District Association Elections and Executive elections at the national level has named its Electoral Committee. The Football Federation of Belize General Secretary and the Electoral Committee members held their first meeting on Tuesday 5th January, 2016, to discuss matters leading up to the District and Executive elections. The members that were elected to serve on the Electoral Committee are as follows Jay Chavarria, Brian Castillo, Wilmore Staine, Winston Martinez, Luis Braddick, Alberto Lanza, Adrian Cowo, Keith Lino, Burnz Martinez, Gilroy Middleton, Fred Bryant, Miguel Gongora and Rosalie Gentle.

CYDP Peace Cup enters semi-final round
The Conscious Youth Development Programme on-going Peace Cup Football competition will play its semi-final round on Sunday 17 January, 2016, at the MCC Grounds with two games. On Saturday 9 January, 2016, in the first game played in the Quarter-Final round, Uprising Strikers eliminated Survivor United by the score of 6-1. The goals for Uprising Strikers were scored by Harold Thompson (3), Darrel Myvette, Brandon Myers and Naim Wilson. For Survivor United, the only goal of the game was scored by Sanjay Pitts. In game two, Kelly Street FC eliminated West Lake United by the score of 4-1. The goals for Kelly Street FC were scored by Francis Andrews, Steven Baizar (2), and Tyrone Muschamp. For West Lake United, its only goal was scored by Shannon Flowers.

Central Region high school’s football competition opens
The Central Region Secondary Schools Football Competition opened on Thursday 7 January, 2016. This year’s competition will see four schools in the female division which includes Gwen Lizarraga High School, Ladyville Technical High School, St. Catherine Academy and Wesley College. While in the male division the schools are Anglican Cathedral College, Belize High School, Gwen Lizarraga High School, Ladyville Technical High School, Maud Williams High School, St. John’s College and Wesley College. In the opening game which was played in the male competition, Wesley College defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 4-0. The goals for Wesley College were scored by Devon Davis (2) and Shemar Thompson (2). On Friday 8 January, in the female competition, St. Catherine Academy defeated Gwen Lizarraga High School by the score of 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Kelsey Rodriguez.

Report domestic abuse on first instance
A two day workshop on domestic violence under the guidance of the Child Development Foundation CDF was held at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan on both Thursday and Friday of last week. During the two days, domestic violence was a central focus given that it occurs at an alarming frequency and has deadly consequences. Participants came from many parts of Belize and involved social workers, nurses and other stakeholders. As explained by workshop facilitator Crystal Humes, from the CDF, domestic abuse is a pattern of abusive behavior that one partner uses to maintain power and control over their partner. For experts like Dr. Mercedes Ken, who was present at the workshop, women should report their first case of abuse whenever it occurs “…once it is one time, you have to report it, because in a relationship, once it happens one time, it can happen again.” However; explained Dr. Mercedes Ken, women are mostly unaware that it is domestic violence and mostly report bodily force and not emotional and psychological abuse.

Our Lady of Guadalupe High School’s celebration of academic achievement awards
On Tuesday, 12 January 2016, the Our Lady of Guadalupe High School (O.L.O.G) in Belmopan, celebrated the academic achievements of its students for the First Semester of the 2015-2016 school year. The celebration of academic achievements took place at O.L.O.G.’s basketball court. The program included the issuing of Certificates of Achievements to its 71 Honor Students. 71 students completed their First Semester with overall averages of 85% and above. Furthermore, in recognition of the dearth of Math Majors at the University of Belize, and of the need of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) majors and specialists to the Belizean Society and Economy, O.L.O.G. has created a Math Trophy, and issued Math medals as well.

PUP’s Thin Line between Love and Hate
In the 1960’s a well known group THE PRETENDERS did a song named “Thin line Between Love And Hate “ That song and the name of the group could now apply to the People’s United Party. There is only one change that needs to be made. The name of the song must be changed to “NO Line Between Love And Hate”. How could the members of that party have loved all it’s members so much just over two months ago, only to turn around to hate each other so much NOW? They must be the Pretenders indeed. This love / hate Facebook quarrel in the P.U.P is vicious and the Wassas and Bembes are not all women. It is mostly MEN playing the rolls as Wassa-women and Bembe-gyal. Sure there are a few women involved, but not too many. One woman whose name has been singled out for special attention is Kaila the puzzle lady. Apparently she supports Francis for leader and has taken to Facebook to campaign for him as is her right. Well that has not gone down well with some Johnny/Cordel supporters who are now calling her all sorts of names including CRAZY and PSYCHO.

When pigs fight
Pig fights by nature are very dirty. These fights usually take place in mud. That mud may not just be mud as we know mud to be. It may be a mixture of the natural soil; pig slop and pig excrement. Any which way we know it has a foul smell. That smell is left on the participants. When pigs fight the fights are never fair. These pigs use every dirty trick in the books and will stop at nothing to win. What we now are witnessing in the P. U. P is nothing short of s glorified pig-fight. The combatants appears to have thrown caution to the wind and have decided that anything goes. There are no rules in this fight. Old and young HOGS who may have been standing on the side have been dragged into the mud, even old and young SOWS have not been spared. This is a full range war and all members of the SUIDAE clan will be heard from. It is probably best that this fight is taking place after Christmas or we would not have any ham.

CARICOM accredits new Belizean envoy as ambassadors meet
As the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors met in Georgetown, Guyana, on Wednesday to engage on the Community Reform Process, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, accepted the Letters of Credence from H.E. Daniel Gutierrez, new Ambassador of Belize. In a short accreditation ceremony held in his office, Ambassador LaRocque told the newest member of the Committee that he will have the opportunity to help shape the future direction of the integration movement by advancing the implementation of decisions of Organs of the Community at the national level. He noted that during his recent engagement with the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize and Chairman of the Caribbean Community for the next six months, it was evident that the Prime Minister was keen on making an even stronger link between national and regional agendas.

Vehicle commandeered near Armenia
A mother and family had their vehicle commandeered near Armenia in Cayo. Thirty eight year old Melonie Popper Coc, a Belizean Manager of Ladyville, Belize District, reported that on Saturday, 2nd January 2016 about 7:15pm she was driving a blue-grey 2007 Isuzu D-Max, four door pickup, with license plate# BZ-C-43751 property of Puma Energy Limited. The businesswoman was travelling along with her mother and 4 other children from Belmopan to Pomona Village, Stann Creek District. Upon reaching the second bump in Armenia Village, she pulled over to the side of the highway to make a phone call where she exited the pickup and whilst on her phone she was approached by a male person of hispanic descent, slim built, about 5 feet 3 inches in height. The man had a low haircut and moustache, he was wearing a camouflage jacket and underneath the jacket was a plain white T- shirt, he also had on a dark cargo type short pants. After approaching Coc, he told her to give him her phone.

American charged for accident on Phillip Goldson Highway
American national Stephen Howe was fined by Magistrate Carlos Mendoza for causing a vehicle accident on the Phillip Goldon Highway on Thursday, January 7. According to police report, just after 7 a.m. on Thursday morning Turkish national Cuneyt Kumsal, 41, was driving his grey Chevy SUV on the Phillip Goldson Highway and upon reaching in front of Low’s Supermarket a Kia Sportage collided into his vehicle. The Kia Sportage was being driven by American Stephen Howe. Howe was driving from a street adjacent to the supermarket and was entering the highway when he drove into Kumsal’s vehicle. Kumsal sustained abrasions to his left hand and forearm and bruises to the face and both hands. Stephen Howe walked away without injury.

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

Keyren Tzib faces preliminary inquiry on manslaughter charge
Coast Guard officer Keyren Tzib was back in the Magistrate’s Court today and has been told that she will face a preliminary inquiry in February for a manslaughter charge in the death of common-law husband Thytis Blancaneaux. Tzib, represented by Darrell Bradley, will return […]

Abou-Nehra home invasion accused wanted for not going to court
For the first time since the incident happened, 18 of the 19 persons charged in the sensational burglary and rape at the residence of Lebanon Honorary Consul to Belize Sarkis Abou-Nehra appeared at the Magistrate’s Court today. It had the feel of a high […]

John Briceno wants another chance to be People’s United Party leader
This week, Orange Walk Central area representative John Briceno has been speaking about his attempt to return to leadership of the People’s United Party (PUP), which he held from 2008 to 2011. Briceno had stepped down due to health issues, but back in fighting […]

Belize Defense Force reports successes in 2015 and plans for 2016
Brigadier General David Jones, Commander of the Belize Defense Force, flanked by Minister of National Security John Saldivar, spoke yesterday on the achievements of the local military in 2015 and how they plan to forge ahead in this New Year. According to General Jones, key successes for […]

BTIA court victory will not stop Harvest Caye; guidelines handed down for future projects
Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel on Wednesday handed down his decision on the case of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) versus the Department of the Environment (DOE) and National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC). BTIA’s suit, filed in 2014 and argued last year, accused […]

Daniel Gutierrez new Belize Ambassador to CARICOM
Belize has a new ambassador to the Caribbean Community or CARICOM. He is His Excellency Daniel Gutierrez, most recently communications officer for Belize Natural Energy. At his accreditation ceremony today, he said that the best years of the integration movement lie ahead for what […]

Telemedia makes investments in 4G technology
Executive Committee chairman of BTL, Anwar Barrow, says Tuesday’s announcement at SJCJC is the start of what is expected to be a productive year for the state-run telephone company; he projects an upturn in revenues after several years of decline, due to continuous upgrades to […]

San Ignacio police find pound of weed
Searches conducted30 a.m., officers searched the lot located on Peter August Street in Santa Elena Town, Cayo […]

Owners of illegal 9mm evade police capture
Two men escaped gun charges last week in Belize City after throwing away a nine-millimeter handgun on sight of police, then managed to use the cover of darkness to make their escape. At around 8:40 p.m. on Thursday, January 7th, officers conducting motorcycle patrol […]

First January hurricane since 1930s on the move
A low pressure system that was moving over the Eastern Atlantic has entered the history books by developing into a rare January hurricane, which has been given the first name on the 2016 list for the Atlantic Basin, ‘Alex’. Alex formed near the central […]

Blogs

Snapshots Around Belize From My Week and Others’ – Both Under & Over Water
My week (or so) has been pretty fantastic. From a trip to Belmopan on Jan 4th to renew my US passport (her pages were full) to Sleeping Giant Resort in Cayo to Estel’s BBQ on Ambergris Caye to snorkeling with a family of squid off South Water Caye. I’m headed back to Belmopan to pick up the aforementioned passport in about an hour…there and back in a day. Boat to the taxi to the bus to the taxi…I find it strangely relaxing. Here’s some of the past 10 days for me (and others) in Belize. Liam Gallagher of the band Oasis landed on our shores…or at least that was what he was cryptically telling us on Twitter. Based on his tweet of the Conch Shell phone – the one used to reach the front desk at Francis Ford Coppola’s resort Turtle Inn in Placencia – I think I tracked him. I also found a piece of “fool’s Ambergris” on the beach. Promising looking for sure – but really just a hunk of wax. It’s like Beach Powerball slipping through my fingers.

5 Best Things to Do in Beautiful Caye Caulker Belize
In Caye Caulker Belize, things are slower, informal and laid back Ambergris Caye Belizeeven in Caye Caulker hotels. Belize’s barrier islands carries more of a Caribbean island feel to it, instead of a Central American nation. People here are quite happy and friendly and they all speak English. After all, Belize retains the classification of being the only Central American county that has English as its national language. Seafood is mostly plentiful and usually inexpensive and hotels in Caye Caulker Belize is plentiful. There are no cars here because they’re not needed on this small island. There are 3 dirt streets extending along the Front, Middle and Back that are used by bicyclists, waters and golf carts. The lack of cars ensures the slow pace of the island so it’s more pleasant. There is so much construction of Caye Caulker Belize lodging and other facilities going on, so this is one of those places you have to go to so you can enjoy its charm before it becomes more built-up. Here are the top five things to do in Caye Caulker.

Introduction to Belize
Belize is the smallest country of Central America’s seven nations. Roughly the size of New Jersey, USA or Wales, UK, Belize is located along the Caribbean Sea, wedged between Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south. Balize’s collection of tiny Caribbean islands and extensive reef system are probably the country’s most famous and certainly most astounding claim to fame. That’s due to the 700-mile-long MesoAmerican Reef, the world’s second largest barrier reef, which lies just offshore parallel-ing Belize’s entire coast. This reef is smaller only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on the other side of the globe. In the America’s the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef rules. Originating much further north at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, the Reef runs south along the entire Belizean coast, extending even further south past Guatemala and into Honduras.

From Mundane to Mayhem
I know it’s been a long time between posts, but there just hasn’t been anything all that interesting to blog about. We’ve spent the last number of weeks doing routine home maintenance. You know, things like reorganizing cupboards and closets, rearranging furniture, and scraping, sealing, painting exterior walls. All activities that needed to get done, but are about as exciting as watching paint dry. But come the end of this month, a bit of mayhem will be introduced to our lives. The reason? Well, we decided to have a pool and pool house built! And for those of you thinking we already have a pool, well, we did but the liner needed to be replaced. The UV rays here took their toll and we developed a pesky leak that was beyond patching. We looked into having a replacement liner shipped down from the States, but it would cost almost the same price of buying a whole new above-ground pool here. With that information in hand, it was only a small leap to decide we would go with having a pool and small house built. Here's a look at our floor plan (click on the image for a larger view):

International Sourcesizz

UK revealed as the top traveller destination worldwide
Belize is mentioned in here ... look for it! Hostelworld reveals top 20 traveller destinations. Movers and shakers reveal Myanmar, Belize and Albania in the top 10 of destinations to watch for millennial travel.

CARICOM Accredits New Belizean Envoy
Congratulations, Danny! He's the new Belizen ambassador to CARICOM. Great call on that one. "As the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors meets in Georgetown, Guyana, Wednesday to engage on the Community Reform Process, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque accepted the Letters of Credence from H.E. Daniel Gutierrez, new Ambassador of Belize."

Book: Jamaal meets Marcus Garvey
Jamaal meets Marcus Garvey introduces young readers to the famous Jamaican leader, Marcus Garvey. They will learn about his young life and his drive to establish the world’s largest black organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Using a combination of fiction and facts, readers, children and adults alike, will learn about Marcus Garvey, his early childhood, his teenage years and young adulthood as he traveled around the world and learned the plight of black people in the post slavery era. They will also learn how he was motivated to help all people of African descent and why it is important that we continue to use his philosophy in our daily lives.

A Traveler's Dream - Staying In A Treehouse in Belize City
Airbnb unveils top Wish Listed destinations and properties around the world. Airbnb, the world's leading community-driven hospitality company, today unveiled the most popular Wish-Listed locations and properties around the globe. Airbnb Wish Lists is a feature that lets travelers save and share their favorite Airbnb listings, whether a cabin in Cornwall or a villa in Bali. Each of the almost two million listings in 190 countries around the world on Airbnb is unique and staying in one offers a glimpse into a new neighborhood and lifestyle. Top 10 Highest Percentage of Homes Wish Listed in a Destinations Globally** 1) Belize City, Belize 2) Okinawa, Japan 3) Savannah, Georgia 4) Turks and Caicos 5) Mendocino, California 6) Kyoto, Japan 7) San Juan, Puerto Rico 8) Margaret River, Australia 9) Jervis Bay, Australia 10) Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Videos

  • Diving Placencia Belize, 10min. Visited Placencia in Belize over the New Year's Eve. Stayed at Laru Beya and went scuba diving and snorkeling at Silk and Pompion Caye with Splash Dive Center.

  • Costa Blu Resort, San Pedro, Belize, 1.5min.

  • Rick and Nora's World Trip - Beasty Belize, 3.5min. This is our 18th month of our world trip, entering our 22nd country Belize: A country of wilderness and jungles, beasts and bugs, fish and fun! It was like traveling back in time, when the world used to be ruled by nature, and men were respectful to all the beauty it gives. We danced our asses of on Caribbean rhythms together with the Garifuna people (descendants of Africa) and got in the shoes of Robinson Crusoe when we spent a week on a very remote and deserted island. Definitely worth visiting if you want to go back to basics and feel like beast!

  • Traveling Misfits In Belize 2015, 16min.

  • Scuba Diving Belize 2015, 11min.

  • Belize Season, 3min. Head down with us to Ambergris Caye off the caribbean coast of Central America. Experimental editing solutions for a weekend that ended too quickly. Sometimes when you look back and try hard to remember the past all you see are flickering moments, single second clips at a time

  • The Truth about Secret Beach Belize, 28min. Due to the tremendous response we've been getting from clients looking to invest in the Secret Beach area of Ambergris Caye I've put together this short slide show presentation complete with pictures, maps and property options that highlight some of the best investment opportunities while also exposing the truth on why some properties in this area might not be a good investment at this time.