February 5, 2012

No guilt, no pressure, just awareness!
We started planning a wedding in Belize with the help of the Toledo Ecotourism Association (TEA), we had contacted them via email and come into contact with Reyes Chun, the TEA chairman. It wasn't until we got to Punta Gorda (PG) and got to speaking with Reyes that we really realised the extent of the work that the TEA do in PG and the surrounding villages. It is thanks to Reyes and his enthusiasm for the project and helping the villages that this wedding was possible at all.

Travelwise: Belize's lessons in eco-tourism
Thirty-six percent of Belize's landmass enjoys protected status. Thirteen percent of its waters, including vast portions of the world's second largest coral reef system, are protected as well. With tourism being one of the country's top sources of revenue, Belize's livelihood depends on nature. And while it is never easy to balance tourism growth with environmental preservation, the small Central American country has long recognized that ignoring the latter means betraying the former.

Our first trip to Placencia - exploring the peninsula (day 2)
We woke up to a cloudy morning and headed into Placencia village on foot. We saw lots of birds along the way, so the walk was leisurely, with many photos taken -- stay tuned for a "Birds of Placencia" post to come later. We took in more sights of the town, which was very quiet at this time of day. Wish we'd had sunshine for better photos.

Meet your Councilor Candidates - Vasquez, Sanchez & Aguilar
With the municipal elections right around the corner, The San Pedro Sun takes this opportunity to present the Councilor Candidates to the San Pedro public. We have devised five questions which were disseminated to all candidates for their response. It is our hope that their response to these questions will assist you, the voting public in your decision making process come March 7, 2012. In this issue we feature response from two UDP candidates, two PUP candidates and one Independent Councilor Candidate.

The mystery of Lord Ashcroft and the paradise island business empire
Fresh revelations have raised a series of questions about the links between the former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft and a company responsible for luxury projects across a string of islands.

Caribbean Seminar Series: Decriminalising Homosexuality in the Caribbean (The Belize Case)
As part of the Caribbean Seminar Series of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Godfrey P. Smith, former Attorney-General of Belize, will present the seminar "Decriminalising Homosexuality in the Caribbean: The Belize Case in Commonwealth Perspective and Beyond." Mr. Smith is part of the legal team representing the Human Dignity Trust and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. His presentation on the Belize case and its implications will be followed by an informal question and answer session. This event will take place on February 3, 2012, 5:00-7:00pm, at the University of London in Room 264, Senate House (second floor) in London, UK.

What It's Like at an Athleta Photo Shoot
I've just returned from Belize. We'd been shooting our summer catalog for Athleta - an adventurous and inspiring experience. By the time I'd arrived, our photo crew had already been shooting for eight days. They've accomplished some spectacular work.

Jungle Surprises - Northern Belize, Chan Chich
The thing at Chan Chich isn't the luxury, though there's plenty of that. The lodge's 12 bungalows (plus one full house) are atmospheric and absolutely comfortably appointed with ample porches and yummy beds. The service is great. The pool is inviting. The food is superb. For more, read our full profile of Chan Chich Lodge for iTraveliShop. The real clincher at Chan Chich is the setting. Not just deep in the jungle (it is), Chan Chich was literally built amongst unexcavated Mayan ruins. Believed to have been inhabited as far back as 770 BC, the complex includes two large plazas, numerous courtyards and other structures including a ballcourt.

>A Complete Breakdown Of The 2012 Mayan Apocalypse
Did the Mayans predict the end of the world? That belief is very much in dispute. The Mayan "long count" calendar progresses using a cycle of approximately 394 years known as a baktun; the calendar ends after the 13th baktun, which closes on Dec. 21 of this year.

BDF recruits abused?
Belize Defence Force (BDF) may have yet another problem on its hands, as a report, which accuses BDF instructors of gross abuse of authority, has emerged from within its own ranks.

Referendum Petition dead on arrival!
The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage (BCSNH)'s referendum petition has shown itself to be dead on arrival. Some eight thousand and forty signatures did not pass the Elections and Boundaries Department's scrutiny, Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai told the media at a press briefing in Belmopan on Thursday, February 2.

Guatemalan claims BDF soldiers shot and killed his brother
A Guatemalan man is dead after Belizean soldiers allegedly shot him in the adjacency zone, and Guatemala's President, Otto P�rez Molina, says he wants answers and justice from the Government of Belize. The incident occurred on Saturday, January 29. According to reports, Guatemalan national, Juan Choc Chub, 29, died of the gunshot wound he received, while his brother, Daniel Choc Chub, who was also shot, is left with serious injuries.

PUC orders BWS to lower water rates
The Public Utilities Commission has ordered Belize Water Services Limited (BWSL) to lower its rates. Rates will change from the approved $18.41 average tariff for 1,000 gallons last year, to $17.87 per 1,000 gallons for this year, to an average tariff of $16.03 per 1,000 gallons for 2013, and to $15.98 per 1,000 gallons for 2014. Announcing the new rates at a press conference at the Radisson Hotel on Tuesday, January 24, PUC chairman John Avery said the new rates are based on an approved rate of return to BWS on its investment of 8%, which was reduced from 10%.

OAS to beef up Belize's security
Strengthening the education, police and justice system are but some of the ways that the Organization of American States OAS will be helping Belize create a more stable and secure environment, OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Ambassador Adam Blackwell, told the media at a press conference at the OAS Belize City office on Thursday, February 2. The OAS will help Belize strengthen its courts and legal system, as dealing with crime is not simply about arresting people. It must also re-educate them to help them become productive embers of society. This is the only way to create the secure environment that will assure investors the security of their investment, and so attract investors for the development of Belize's economy.

Two attorneys admitted to the Bar
Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington introduced a motion for the admission of two new attorneys to the Belize Bar, in the Supreme Court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, on Friday, January 27. Peta-Gay Hewitt, a Jamaican who has taken up residence in Belize, and Brian Neal, a Belizean, are the latest additions to Belize's ever expanding legal profession. Before the robes were placed on them, formally signalling that they are now members of the legal fraternity, Chief Justice Benjamin explained the need for them, as Ministers of Justice to approach the practice of law with integrity and good ethical practice.

Dr. David Hoy says PUP Caribbean Shores opening is "a call to duty."
An unprecedented event in post independence Belizean politics galvanized the Caribbean Shores constituency, when the Opposition People's United Party (PUP) candidate, Anthony Mahler, decided to step down as the party's standard bearer, citing "personal reasons." So for a few hours, Caribbean Shores, considered one of the most "savvy" constituencies in the country, was officially without a standard bearer, when on Tuesday afternoon, January 31, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that General Elections would be held March 7, 2012.

Two questioned in Concepcion kidnapping
Corozal Police have detained two men for questioning in their investigation of last Wednesday morning's kidnapping of Marleni Cawich, a 29-year-old mother of six, of Concepcion Village, who was rescued from her kidnappers by her neighbors. Reports are that Cawich had stepped out of her house to walk across to her kitchen to fix breakfast for her husband at 4:30 am on Wednesday, January 25, when she was ambushed by five men who came out of the darkness. Three of them grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth to muffle her cries for help and dragged her off into a nearby canefield.

Ariel Rosado Memorial Education Foundation established
The family and friends of renowned Belizean cyclist, the late Ariel Rosado, collaborated to establish the Ariel Rosado Memorial Education Foundation, which his father, Dr. Alvaro Rosado Sr., officially launched in a brief ceremony at the Radisson Hotel on Tuesday morning, January 31. Dr. Rosado explained that the Foundation has been established to raise and manage funds to provide high school scholarships and sporting opportunities for deserving young Belizeans. He said the Foundation, which does not have much funds, would be organizing an annual fund-raising ride from San Ignacio to Belize City some three weeks after the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic.

Belize reports success in meeting Millennium Development Goals
Belize has made significant progress in the last few years towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the "Belize Scorecard and Outlook Report 2010" has revealed. Minister of Economic Development, Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Protection, Hon. Erwin Contreras, presented the report at the University of Belize Central Campus in Belmopan on Monday, January 30. The scorecard and outlook report, which measures the country's levels of success as it relates to meeting the eight MDGs, showed that Belize has achieved several key milestones, including the zero maternal deaths in 2011.

Atlantic Bank Limited in Belize will have money for investors
Atlantic Bank in Belize City has announced that through financial collaboration with the IFC and the Canadian International Development Agency, the bank will have more than $15 million for onlending to small and medium development enterprises in Belize.

Medical Group From Canada Offers Free Services To Orange Walkenos
Yesterday a team of Dental and Medical experts from Canada arrived in Belize and headed straight to Orange Walk to offer a number of services to residents of the community. The team, which forms part of a Christian Ministry, is stationed at the Northern Regional Hospital and today when we paid them a visit we found them hard at work.

PUP Loses Another Standard Bearer, Cordel Hyde Steps Down
On Friday January 27th Anthony Mahler informed the P.U.P's Secretariat of his decision to step down as the party's Standard Bearer for the Caribbean Shores Division. In his letter Mahler explained that he was stepping down due to personal reasons. And today the P.U.P lost another of its Standard Bearers for the March 7th General Elections. In a press release issued this

Carmelita R.C. School PTA Holds Clean-up Campaign
Yesterday morning members of the Carmelita R.C School PTA conducted a cleanup campaign at the school grounds to create a healthier environment for students. The cleanup campaign began at 8:00am as the nine women chopped the over grown grass, cleanup the bathrooms and pruned the trees.

SACD Recieves Financing From PACT
The mission of the Protected Area Conservation Trust, PACT, is to contribute to the sustainable management and development of Belize's natural and cultural heritage. One method that the NGO employs in order to carry out its goal is to provide effective funding support to environmentalist groups. This past Tuesday the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development Organization received a grant from PACT. Our News team traveled to Sarteneja and spoke to members of the organization who told us more about the project they are engaged in.

Despite The Hurdles PUP Must Move Forward Says Party Leader
But as they say the show must go on and with only 33 days away from Municipal and General Elections the race is surely to become a heated one. March 7th is a day that some people are already calling the end of the U.D.P and the beginning of the P.U.P's reign. Again that is left up to the people. But according to Leader of the

Oceana Response To Chief Elections Officer
Yesterday via phone Oceana's Vice President Audrey Matura-Shepherd spoke to CTV3 News about the rejection of eight thousand and forty seven signatures by the Election and Boundaries Department concerning the referendum. According to Matura no reason was given as to why the signatures were not accepted. Well, yesterday Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai, held a press conference in Belmopan and made it perfectly clear on what grounds the signatures were rejected.

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