The February 19th, 2012 issue of The Independent is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • The Shakron Sideshow
  • OCEANA to open "I Love My Reef" educational exhibit
  • State Of The Arts:The Imaginary Black Meets the Black Presence
  • Kaya Cattouse: multi-sport star dominating 2012 female cycling circuit
  • Stephen "DJ Scorpio" Hall dies in motorcycle accident
  • SSB Board tells Merlene Martinez to stay home
  • Standard Six student raped in Cayo primary school bathroom
  • Ghetto cupid shoots two on Valentine's Day
  • EDITORIAL: The Shakron Sideshow
  • Government Concedes to Conejo's Demands
  • Pretty promises, pointless pledges
  • VOIP: a political football and an economic dilemma
  • Impartial View: Belize City residents are intelligent voters
  • The voters are right - IT IS THE ECONOMY
  • A Sustainable Development Plan for Belize
  • UK minister to visit Falklands amid Argentina tensions
  • BTB: 4th quarter overnight and cruise arrival figures make history
  • Mystery kidney failure epidemic devastates Central American region
  • With roots in Carib the Afri-Garifuna Jazz Ensemble moves into new musical range
  • Financial Sense: The Greatest Love of All!!!
  • What to do with Belize's superbond
  • Grenada/Taiwan debt dispute threatens island airport
  • San Pedro Beat
  • San Pedro Politics
  • The Law Is Running Out of Gas in Belize
  • Capital police investigate two cases of carnal knowledge
  • Thirteen year old sexually assaulted in Billy White Village

The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Belize Express Football Tournament in Full Swing
The San Pedro Belize Express sponsored football tournament commenced on February 1, 2012. The competition, organized by Mr. Ernildo Jones, football player and long time resident of San Pedro, sees the participation of eleven teams. The competing teams are as follows: Club Latino, Joker Boys, Juventus, Shalom, Tuff E Nuff, Freelance FC, Blablazo Mechanics, Tropic Air, Arsenal, Caye Caulker and Haramouch. Gammes are being played weekly on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Salvadoran Community Celebrates 11 Years of Existence
The Salvadoran Community held its 11th anniversary gathering at Lily's Treasure Chest on Saturday February 11, 2012. The gathering was well attended with special guests: Salvadoran Ambassador to Belize, Ambassador Milton Parada; Miss Comunidad Salvadore�a Jessica Aguilar, and a host of Salvadoran Nationals living on the island. Music was provided by Rompe Raja and Belize's "El Buki Mayor". During the celebration, special awards of recognition were issued. The Otto Awards have been given out for three years now, in recognition of Dr. Otto Rodriguez and his many years of service to San Pedro.


Hotel Review: Changes in Latitudes Bed and Delicious Breakfast
I will admit it. I have a very soft place in my heart for this bed and breakfast. When I first visited in 2006 with a friend, we stayed with Cindy and Renita of Changes in Latitudes for a week. And when I left, I wanted to return immediately. In fact, as soon as I got back to NYC, I booked another solo trip returning just one month later. Screw getting a job! I wanted to go back to Belize. Five years later, the bed and breakfast is just as cute. Located about a quarter mile south of town, you have probably seen the bright blue wall and the sign. But have you looked inside?

Experience San Antonio Rio Hondo, Orange Walk District, Belize
A chance to experience the real Belize, and to asssit the villagers of the Northern District of the country. "...San Antonio Rio Hondo is for down to earth people who don't need bars, nightclubs, crowded beaches, but instead wish to stay comfortably at very reasonable costs in a small village to absorb the culture, have rewarding experiences, and enjoy the natural history, archeology, and the tantalizing Rio Hondo. San Antonio is off the tourist path. It is quiet and safe..."

Coastal highway from Monkey Bay to Dangriga?
Current information about one of the major unpaved roads in Belize. I do disagree with one of hte posters, the Coastal Road can be quite scenic. "...The road isn't bad except for two things. One, when it rains hard it can be pretty mucky and occasionally a wooden bridge washes out. If so, usually there will be a warning as you turn on the road..." Just happens that my friend and I drove up to Gales Point Manatee [coming in from the south off of Hummingbird Hwy] this past Thurs Feb 9th. It was quite the adventure as it had been raining in that area most of the day, and it was 6pm dark. Driving a Pontiac Torrent. [A 4X4 woulda felt a lot better!!] Didn't get 5 miles and the water was already rolling over the road. Should of been the 1st clue, but, it IS a solid [for the most part] hard packed road. [and, we had driven/or been on it several times before] Stopped a few times, walking in front of the rig to check the depth of the water..which never did get much higher than half way up the tires. Water poured over the road at Mullin's Creek Bridge. A pickup truck was stopped past the bridge, and a bigger truck was towing a yet smaller pick-up and they were stopped on the bridge. When they decided to move forward, we did as well. Scared the snot outta me as we came up out of the water on to that bridge! Not long later the lead pickup was in the mud ditch, we slowed to help, but the 3 guys waved us on. Lots more water over the road in places. We laughed when a water bird refused to budge from its prime fishing spot in the middle of the road. A couple spots of greasy mud were more of a concern than the water. Our friends in Gales Point were happy we made it in. Next day out, I was amazed at how fast the water had subsided.

The Reporter

Schakron's nomination may be in trouble!
People's United Party Lake Independence standard bearer, Yolanda Schakron, has been delivered, a press release from the government announced on Thursday, February 16th, 2012. The release came just one day before Schakron is expected to be nominated as a candidate for the March 7th General Elections. It explained that the objection was "delivered to the Returning Officer, Mrs. P. Noreen Fairweather, by an elector of the Lake Independence Electoral Division."

BTB reports record highs
The number of overnight tourist arrivals in Belize has hit a record high. More than 58,000 visitors arrived in the 4th quarter of 2011. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announced the exciting news at its press conference held at the Phoenix Hotel in San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye on Wednesday, February 15. According to the BTB's Fourth Quarter Report, the numbers represent a 6.5% increase over the 4th quarter of the previous year, signalling a resurgence of tourism inflows to Belize.

32 candidates nominated for Belize City Council elections
Nomination Day for the March 7th Municipal Election, which will take place alongside the General Elections, was held across the country in all municipalities on Wednesday, February 15. In Belize City, a total of 32 candidates were nominated to contest the Municipal Elections for the next Belize City Council administration that will preside over the affairs of Belize City for the next three years.

George Street affiliates are suing government over alleged GSU abuse
George Street affiliates, who were allegedly beaten by the Gang Suppression Unit last week, will sue the Government of Belize. Attorney Phillip Palacio, who spoke to the media at a street-side press conference held near the Eastern Division Police Station on Monday, February 13, said that he is bringing the law suit on some of the victim's behalf. The GSU commander, Police Superintendent Marco Vidal, has denied that members of his unit were involved in the early morning assault on a rooming house at the corner of Dean and Plues Streets.

Boat capt. goes to jail for fondling girl, 13
A Belize City man has been sentenced to six years in jail, after he was convicted of fondling a 13-year-old girl on three separate occasions. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith found Patrick August, 45, a Belize City boat captain, guilty on three counts of indecent assault on Tuesday, February 14. The girl reported that August had fondled her in December 2010, and again in January and April 2011. Chief Magistrate Smith sentenced him to three consecutive years for the December 2010 and April 2011 incidents. He received another 3 years for the January 2011 offence. His sentences will run concurrently.

Independence High girls win national football championships
The girls of Independence High School won the championship finals of the National High Football Tournament organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by Nazarene High School at M.C.C. garden on Friday and Saturday, February 10 -11. The Independence girls came to the nationals as the Southern regional champions, and triumphed 3-1 over the northern regional champions, the girls of Orange Walk Technical High School, in a penalty shootout after the game remained a scoreless draw in regulation and overtime.

Mopan Tech boys win national football champs
The boys of Mopan Technical High School from Benque Viejo won the championship finals of the National High Schools Football tournament organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by Nazarene High School at the M.C.C. Garden on Friday and Saturday, February 10 -11. The Mopan boys reached the nationals as the Western regional champions, and triumphed 2-0 over the southern regional champions, the boys of Stann Creek Ecumenical College in the championship finals last Saturday morning.

Byron Pope, Kaya Cattouse & Deezan Spence win annual Valentine's Day classic
Byron Pope of Benny's Megabytes team won the annual Valentine Day cycling Classic, while Kaya Cattouse of the C-Ray team won the women's race, Deezan Spence of D&E Cycling team won the junior race and Luigi Urbina of Team Typhoon from Orange Walk won the Masters's category. Byron Pope completed the 80-mile ride from Leslie's Imports on the Western Highway to Ready Call at the Burrell Boom junction on the Northern Highway, returning to Hattieville and on to La Democracia before returning to the finish line in Belize City in three hours 20 minutes and 23 seconds to win the $150 first prize, a trophy and a Digicell package.

Get out and stay off Conejo's lands! GOB orders exploration company.
The Department of Geology and Petroleum is to order U.S. Capital Energy to halt all seismic work on Conejo's communal lands, remove all seismic markers from the trail the company has cut through the reserve lands of this Maya Indian village. Director of Geology and Petroleum, Andre Cho, made the commitment to Conejo's Alcalde, Eufemio Makin; Conejo's village Chairman, Enrique Makin and four other Conejo village councillors when they met in Conejo on February 9.

Belize City Master Plan: Taiwan sends experts to assist
A technical team from Taiwan's International Cooperation Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF), with expertise in urban planning, heritage management, community-based project development, and eco-museum project development, has concluded a workshop for Belizean planners, professionals and academics at the House of Culture in Belize City. The four-day workshop ended on Thursday, February 16. It was a prelude to implementing the $11 million Belize City Master Plan Project proposed for downtown Belize City. The Belize City Master Plan came out of an urban development study of Belize City conducted by the Government of Belize with a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank in 2010.

Study finds 60 percent of Belizeans overweight! Urgent changes needed to improve diet.
The alarming statistic that more than 60% of adult Belizeans are either overweight or clinically obese has prompted the Ministry of Health to launch a number of food-based dietary guidelines, which the ministry's Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Peter Allen introduced at the House of Culture in Belize City last Friday, February 10. Weight problems can cause a number of chronic non-communicable diseases, even fatal health conditions such as diabetes, and arteriosclerosis. Weight problems also cause spinal injuries and even some forms of cancer. All of these can be prevented simply through proper diet and exercise.

August Pine Ridge gets new School
More than 400 students of the August Pine Ridge RC School, located in the Orange Walk District, are now benefiting from a newly rehabilitated school building and a sanitary block inaugurated on Friday, February 10. The Social Investment Fund implemented the project at a total cost of $298,000, which the Caribbean Development Bank financed under its Basic Needs Trust Fund 5. The BNTF is a program promoting poverty reduction through socio-economic initiatives and community empowerment and is jointly financed by the Caribbean Development Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency and nine beneficiary governments, including Belize.

St Joseph's School gets new cafeteria
The students of St Joseph's RC primary School in Belize City can now enjoy proper nutrition and well cooked meals, thanks to a new cafeteria building donated by the Rotary Club of Belize to the St. Vincent de Paul Society which runs the school's cafeteria. Belize City businessman Francis Woods presented the new building to Ms Marion Marsden, President of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and its other members on Friday morning, February 3. The new all-steel structure was built at a cost of some $16,000 and replaces the previous cafeteria, a wooden structure which had fallen into disrepair. It has a cooking and food sales area, as well as a well-ventilated eating area with wooden picnic tables and benches.

PUP's Yolanda Schakron has dual citizenship!
Yolanda Schakron, the Opposition People's United Party (PUP)'s new Lake Independence standard bearer, is a dual citizen and should not be eligible for public office. News of Schakron's dual nationality began to surface last week. It was revealed that apart from being a Belizean, Schakron, who was born in Guatemala, also holds a United States passport. The matter creates quite the dilemma for the PUP, because Section 58 of the Constitution of Belize expressly forbids persons with dual citizenship from sitting in the House of Representative. In order to qualify, the individual would have to give up the foreign nationality.

Belize gearing up for Tilapia bonanza, thanks to generous help from Taiwan.
In the future, Belizeans living in rural areas should have an ample supply of fish protein from tilapia in their diet, thanks to a five-year aquaculture development project being undertaken by the government of Belize with technical support from the Republic of China on Taiwan. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Ren� Montero signed an agreement to implement the project with the Republic of China's Ambassador in Belize, H.E. David Wu, at the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize City on Monday, February 13. The project will make small-scale tilapia farming a recognized and permanent feature of the agriculture sector in Belize. The agreement calls for a tilapia hatchery center to be built at Central Farm, to be completed this year.

PUP launches Women's Agenda 2012
The Opposition People's United Party (PUP)'s women's group launched its Women's Agenda 2012. The Women's Agenda 2012 is about, "Forging Partnerships, Impacting Lives," the Group's President Wendy Castillo said at a press conference held at the party's Independence Hall headquarters on Monday, February 13. Castillo said the agenda addresses the issues that impact women and their families, ranging from equality in the workplace and economic equity to international development. It also looks at affirmative action and women's role in parliament, education, and sports. It also addresses health issues that women face.

International Sources

Belize gets Support from Taiwan for Tilapia Project
In the future, Belizeans living in rural areas should have an ample supply of fish protein from tilapia in their diet, thanks to a five-year aquaculture development project being undertaken by the government of Belize with technical support from Taiwan. The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ren� Montero, signed an agreement to implement the project with the Republic of China's Ambassador in Belize, H.E. David Wu, at the Taiwanese Embassy in Belize City on Monday, February 13. The project will make small-scale tilapia farming a recognised and permanent feature of the agriculture sector in Belize. The agreement calls for a tilapia hatchery center to be built at Central Farm, to be completed this year. This initial phase of the project will increase production of tilapia fingerlings from 110,000 to one million units by the end of the five-year project period. It will produce 200,000 fingerlings in 2012; 300,000 fingerlings in 2013; 500,000 fingerlings in 2014; 700,000 fingerlings in 2015 and finally achieve one million fingerlings by 2016. This should also reduce the price farmers pay for the fingerlings by at least 20 per cent - from US$0.75 to US$ 0.60 a pound by the end of the five years. The second phase of the project will focus on increasing tilapia production throughout the country. The third phase will improve the marketing of tilapia.