Valid: Friday-Monday, Feb. 24 - 27, 2012 Issued: 3:00 pm, Friday, February 24, 2012

A cold front will drift slowly east south-eastwards across the Gulf of Mexico during the next 24 to 48 hours, stalling over the central Gulf and the Bay of Campeche on Sunday, then dissipating later on Monday. The approaching cold front will however, induce some showers and/or afternoon thunderstorms inland over Belize and Yucatan on Sunday afternoon and evening. The unstable airflow will favour a few showers on Monday, especially over central and northern districts of Belize.

Otherwise, the weather across the nation will continue seasonally dry and warm today through most of the weekend and Monday.

Daily rainfall totals will range from 0.01-0.10 of-an-inch on Friday and Saturday, increasing later on Saturday and Sunday, with daily accumulations ranging from 0.25-0.50 of-an-inch, especially over central and northern districts. Daily rainfall totals will decrease over all places during Monday through Tuesday of next week.

CLICK HERE for the full Belize Weekend Weather Report

Polling Stations, Links, Contact Information, and more!

UK Children's Advocate visits Liberty Children's Home
Mark arrived at Liberty just as the kids were coming in from School. He is very impressed with the campus and related how many people were waving and honking at him as he came into town.

Harvest cassava!
This is what we did Wednesday when the children had half day from school. Harvest cassava! Cassava is used in boil up, a popular Belizean dish; its used to make cassava bread, cassava cake, and even cassava chips! Today we killed 25 of our broilers chicken we bought in January. Six weeks and they are ready! Jesse our volunteer helped with killing them. Fi we pickni deh da fi we fucha! Our children are our future!

The February 26th, 2012 issue of The Independent is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Lived by the Gun: Ricky Valencia executed before historic first bench trial
  • Rhett Fuller Denied Bail
  • Detainee found dead in police custody! Family does not buy police story
  • SSB: Merlene Bailey resigned!
  • Editorial: Sycophants and criminals
  • Toledo is still the Forgotten District
  • Rhett Fuller - is this really his swan song? And is he Belize's quid pro quo?
  • Impartial View: Internationally instantaneously impactful
  • BLUE NOTES: Leadership vs Leadership
  • Financial Sense: Coping with Job Loss
  • ADDRESS TO BELIZE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PUP LEADER FRANCIS FONSECA: Back to Basics: Thinking Differently About Governance
  • State of the Arts: Youth Voices Ring Out
  • San Pedro Politics
  • San Pedro Beat
  • The People's Referendum
  • GG police driver stole First Lady's ATM card and withdrew thousands from account!

German Shepherd puppies for sale
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The San Pedro Sun

San Pedro Seadogs head to 2012 Premiere League of Belize Football Competition
The 2012 Premiere League of Belize (PLB) Football Competition, originally scheduled to commence on Sunday, February 5th was postponed and commenced one week later on Feb. 12th. Two games into the competition, the San Pedro Seadogs are going strong with one draw and one win. On Feb. 12th, the Seadogs travelled to the Cayo District where they went up against the Belize Defense Force (BDF) at the Norman Broaster Stadium. In this game, the boys played fearlessly and emerged with a draw. In the 12th minute of the game, Jesse Smith placed the Seadogs score board with the first goal. With Kenny Witzill scoring the second goal in the 22nd minute, Seadogs were confident of their win. This was, until Brian Waight managed to put the BDF on the scoring board in the 43rd minute of the game. In the 90+2 minute of the game, Harrison Tasher managed to score a second goal for the BDF, bringing the game to a tie.

Celebrating Carnaval 2012!
Following the dance presentations, it was time for the crowning of Miss Carnaval 2012-2013. With initially three young ladies vying for the title - the competition was cut when two stepped down, leaving one individual representing. Miss Carnaval 2012-2013, Miss Miriam Rodriguez Shortly after 9PM, reigning Miss Carnaval 2011-2012, Miss Ileny Aguilar, took to the stage for the official crowning of Miss Carnaval 2012-2013, Miss Miriam Rodriguez. As part of the block party celebration, booths also competed for three categories: best decorated, best Carnaval platter and best Carnaval drink. In the category for the best decorated booth; Bayside Bar and Grill took the prize, with their Carnaval theme and colorful decorations. Best Carnaval platter went to the Blue Hole Restaurant for their Pork Pibil and best Carnaval drink went to Nicti-Ha, with their concoction, dubbed the "Blue Sacrifice", a delicious combination of Vodka, lime, sugar and Gatorade.

Standard Bearers Debate Q&A: Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker residents say the feel forgotten, neglected and only remembered at elections time. Do you think this is true and how do you intend to change this perception?

Electorates to vote in People's Referendum on offshore oil drilling in Belize
Belizean electorates across the country will have the opportunity to vote on the issue of offshore oil drilling in Belize in a People's Referendum. The referendum date is set for Wednesday, February 29th and according to the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, it will be held in all 31 constituencies including Belize Rural South. There will be polling stations in every electoral division and for Ambergris Caye the polling stations will be at Central Park.Speaking on behalf of the Coalition, the Vice President of Oceana-Belize Audrey Matura Shepherd explained to The San Pedro Sun that the People's Referendum is in response to the call of the public. That call of the public is that action must be taken despite the disqualification of 8,000 of the 20,000 petition signatures initially collected from citizens requesting a referendum on oil exploration on offshore Belize.

Ambergris Today

AIDS Presentation by Std. V & VI Students of IBES
The Topic of AIDS/HIV is very difficult to discuss it is a subject that most rather not talk about because it has been tagged as a taboo subject. But the students of Isla Bonita Elementary School are not afraid to talk about this world wide pandemic, they have been educated about the subject and on Thursday, February, 23, 2012, Standard V & VI students held an open presentation at the school grounds to educate others about AIDS/HIV. Mrs. Sharon Hazel, teacher of IBES, explained to Ambergris Today that students are taught about sexuality and introduced to the topic of AIDS at the end of the third term at the class of Standard IV. The topic is then discussed at a more advanced level once they are in Standard V and VI.

BWS Clarifies Information on San Pedro Water Supply
Earlier this month Ambergris Today reported that the island might face water shortage during its busy season. The reported stated that according to the Consolidated Water Belize Limited (Water Company that sells water to Belize Water Services Limited who then distributes to consumers all over the island) the demand of water supply was barely being met and that water conservation was essential in order not to face water shortage during high tourist season. The manager of CWBL explained that it was essential to practice water conservation on the island until a new water production facility is placed on the island. In response to these allegations and information brought up by CWBL to the San Pedro Business Association and the public in general the Belize Water Services (BWS) sent the following Press Release in regards to the water supply situation on the island. - Belize Water Services (BWS) has recently been made aware of media coverage from San Pedro indicating a concern of a possible water shortage on the island during times of peak demand. BWS is committed by a contract agreement to purchase all water for distribution in San Pedro from Consolidated Water Belize Limited (CWBL). BWS has been requesting CWBL since 2005 to increase its capacity to adequately deliver water to the island based on growth projections.

Tropic Air Announces New Non-Stop Service Between Belize City And San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Tropic Air announced on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, that it will be inaugurating three times weekly non-stop Cessna Caravan service between Belize City International Airport and San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on March 12th, 2012. With the launching of this service and the opening of its new station there, Tropic Air will be the only airline to operate non-stop flights between the two countries. This service is a direct response to requests from its valued customers, and carries through on the airline's stated commitment to the people of Belize. It will not only serve to make travel between Belize and Honduras easier, but will allow for the expansion of trade and tourism between the two countries.


A GORGEOUS Day Sailing on the Rum Punch 2
Yesterday could not have been more perfect for sailing. Blue cloudless skies, warm and breezy, we set sail at about noon yesterday on the Rum Punch 2, a refurbished traditional Belizean sail boat. While waiting to board, I ran into this gentleman. Belizean Melody's newly relocated art gallery has certainly found a catchy new way to advertise. The Rum Punch motored up to the dock to pick us up. We started sailing north for a bit of snorkeling at Mexico Rocks. Not a bad view from the front of the boat.

a spectacular welcome to belize ("this is happiness")
I arrived in Belize in the late afternoon of February 6, in the lull between day and night. In the seaside town of San Pedro, dive shops closed up on the long, wooden piers and the last few boats zipped back to shore. High schoolers ended their soccer game on the beach, where frayed rope marked the goalposts. The orange sunset lit up sandy streets and wooden buildings painted in shades of pink, yellow and turquoise. As beautiful as it was, this isn't what sticks out in my mind when I think of Belize.

VIDEO: Hidden beauty on the reef, San Pedro
These are just a few things I love that we overlook while diving- Hope you enjoy as much as me. Marty O'Farrell

VIDEO: Japanese Commercial Shot In Belize
Richard Foster and Marty O'Farrell shot this commercial for iichiko last year. Very famous in Japan:) Catchy little tune. Underwater shots from Belize Barrier in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Belize

VIDEO: Wreck Diving Belize
Sunk In 1946, found again in 1999. The Myron L is a 120 foot cargo freighter sitting upright fully intact in 145 feet of water. This is a short 10 minute documentary to introduce the world to the first real shipwreck dive in Belize. Watch and then come dive it in person. It is an absolutely beautiful wreck.

Belizean artist Gerry Badillo ft Lucio Nunez with Ya No Quiero Verte Mas
Up and coming Belizean artist Gerry Badillo released his first music video today for "Ya No Quiero Verte Mas," featuring another local recording artist, Lucio Nunez, the vocalist behind the popular band, Beneath the Lies. This addicting track was produced and recorded by Derrick Banos from Absolute Rip'd Records and is a Spanish version of Joe Jonas' smash hit, "See No More." San Ignacio based fashion designer Joris Hendrik provided the dress for the model in the video-- a unique and edgy design made with film tape reel, a tie in to the video itself. Hendrik's designs are some of the most bold and expressive designs to come out of Belize, utilizing his love of Caribbean culture and a background in architecture.

Guatemala cruise Day 1: San Pedro to Placencia, Belize
On Day 1, we departed from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in northern Belize, and sailed down to Placencia in southern Belize The twin engines roared into life promptly at 4:30 (also known as o-dark-thirty) for our scheduled 5 am departure from the TMM dock in San Pedro. We had one of the two aft (rearward) cabins, situated on the port side of s/v Hope, and our bed pretty much sat right over (or beside) one of the 55 hp diesels. An alarm clock unlike any other! Struggling out of our comfy berth in total darkness, our excitement over what was to come quickly overtook thoughts of sleep. There would be plenty of time to nap later.

Notes from a Lobster Fishing Boat in Belize
A spiny lobster lurches out of the Caribbean, flies ten feet through the air, and lands with a sickening crunch into a pile of slowly suffocating crustaceans at my feet. It's opening day of lobster season on Ambergris Caye. For weeks I've been happily swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking off the coast of Belize's most-visited island without realizing the ocean floor is littered with lobster death traps. Now, I'm sitting in a tiny fishing boat with two seasoned fishermen on the biggest money-making day of their year. I'm pretty sure lobsters can bite. Raul and Garcia picked me up from the dock at dawn. I had packed my camera, sandwiches, and sunscreen. They had packed beer, spears, and snorkeling gear. Usually, when I'm nervous, I talk too much. Today was no exception. Raul revved the engine and we roared out towards Belize's Barrier Reef. Somehow, the guys knew exactly where in the wide waters their hundreds of lobster shades rested. In Belize, lobsters aren't trapped. Instead, fishermen construct handmade boxes, called shades, out of mangrove wood, and sink them to the bottom of the ocean. Lobsters are attracted to the shades as a source of protection from the sun and predators. Poor, stupid lobsters. Lobster diving requires at least two people: one person to drive the boat and one person to jump into the water, hold their breath, dive down to the lobster shades, pick up the lobster by hand, swim it to the surface, and chuck the terrified lobster into the bottom of the boat. Then repeat. Hundreds of times. Occasionally, Raul uses a spear hook, not his hand to grab the spiky delicacies. Lobster diving doesn't require I do anything but stay out of the way. On his first dive Raul comes up empty-handed.

Red Cross Belize
The Belize Red Cross (BRC) does a huge range of things across the country and are mostly known for their response in a disaster. However there's lots of other things that they do when there isn't an emergency going on: DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE Disaster Management involves preparation, response and recovery/rehabilitation. This is the largest field of work that the Belize Red Cross engages in throughout the year. The National Society assists the Government in all humanitarian aspects of disasters. As I'm sure you know flooding and hurricanes are the main disaster threat throughout the country. HIV/AIDS OUTREACH Belize has the highest prevalence rate of HIV in Central America. "Together We Can" is a regional methodology that has been adapted by the Belize Red Cross since January of 2004 and employs face to face peer education while providing young people with access to information and education. In gaining knowledge youth are in a position to develop life skills required to reduce their risk of contracting STIs and unplanned pregnancies.

Tales of a Maya Shaman
On Monday, Dr. Rosita Arvigo delivered a compelling presentation to more than 25 Chaa Creek Guests on her apprenticeship with Don Elijio Panti - Belize's last Maya Shaman. During her apprenticeship with Don Elijio, Dr. Arvigo learned an ancient Maya system of healing that employs medicinal plants, massage, acupuncture, herbal and sweat baths and prayers to effect cures on a wide range of maladies. Dr. Arvigo stated that Don Elijio studied under Maya curers in the jungles of Guatemala and Belize when he was a chiclero collecting sapodilla tree resin (the base for chewing gum) for companies such as Wrigley's and received international recognition for his vast body of knowledge and service to humanity with awards such as "Distinguished Contribution to Science" (The New York Botanical Gardens), and was made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Traveling from Belize to Mexico by Boat and Bus
Budget-traveling from Belize to Mexico is an eight-hour affair, and whether it's worth doing it that way also depends on your patience, your ability to stomach choppy seas, and the weather. The three ways to get to Mexico from Belize are: by plane by overnight bus from Belize City to Cancun, with the Mexican bus line "ADO" leaving from the Queen Square Market I'm told (which lands you in Playa del Carmen at 4 a.m. or Cancun at about 6 a.m.); or if you're leaving from one of the Cayes, first by water taxi to Chetumal (2 hours), followed by a five-to-seven hour ADO bus ride, depending on your final destination in Mexico. For example, it's 4.5 hours from Chetumal to Playa del Carmen. Buying the Water Taxi Ticket to Chetumal The day before leaving for Mexico, the lady at the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi office in Caye Caulker warned me. The boat leaves at 7 o'clock sharp, so make sure you show up on time, she said. I purchased my round trip ticket to Chetumal and lucky for me I knew my passport number by heart. You're supposed to bring your passport along when you get your ticket, so you can >> be registered on the SPBE's log of folks leaving Belize. The round trip ticket (and next time I'm only getting a one-way - see later in the story) cost me US $ 65 or $130 Belizean Dollars. Then I had to pay a separate US $5 (BZD $10) docking fee. Oh, and then I was told to expect another US $ 3.75 (or BZD $7.50) fee when going through immigration in San Pedro - a mandatory stop when heading to Mexico from the Cayes. Total so far: US $73.75 or BZD $147.5 from Caye Caulker.

Experience Belize Events like a Local
In Belize, there is no shortage of local events and if any traveller desires to fit in perfectly, they must pass the Eat like a Belize local test. Do you think you can pass it?

brain soup lust: The Entrance to the Mayan Underworld
Actun Tunichil Muknal cave in Belize is where the Mayan's made ceramic, stoneware, and human sacrifices to honor and appease their gods. They believed that it was the entrance to the Underworld, and would wade through it's chest-deep waters for almost two miles, sometimes under the influence of hallucinogenic plants, to reach the summit of dry cave bed where they would make their sacrifices.

VIDEO: A Good Day with The Sea Turtle
The Turtle is an Ancient Symbol, Representing Order, Creation, Endurance, Strength, Stability, Longevity, Fertility, and a Gentle Innocence. The Turtle also Offers Protection, Good Fortune , and Can Bring Forth Happiness and Good Omens.

Travels to Belize: Punta Gorda
My trusty wristwatch alarm started chirping at 5:45 AM. The rain hadn't let up one bit since the beginning of the night. Our river taxi was supposed to pick us up at 6 AM to take us upstream to a town called Livingston where a ferry departs only twice a week to Belize. Assuming the heavy rainfall would hinder these plans, I left Whitney to continue dreaming, and figured I'd go check to see if anyone was in the lobby anyway. I grabbed the flashlight to light my way, as Finca Titan only taps into their diesel supply for electricity a few hours a day, and made my way toward the river. To my surprise, a Guatemalan man in a poncho came walking up through the lobby leaving a trail of water in his path. It quickly became evident that nature is no match for a determined Guatemalan work ethic. Five minutes later, Whitney and I were packed and settling up our tab with Gaby. Most hostels we have come across, thus far, operate on a bit of a trust system. Throughout your stay, you are trusted to keep an ongoing tally of how many drinks you have taken, kayaks you have helped yourself too, meals you have ordered, etc

Channel 7

A Killing In the Capital
On Wednesday night - a notorious street figure - was executed in Belize City - and last night in Belmopan, a man was similarly shot to the head. But 25 year old Benito Mendoza was not any kind of notorious figure - in fact he was known to be an easy going person. So then why was she shot to the head as he was buying food last night? Monica Bodden went looking for answers: It happened outside this nightclub called The Junction situated at the junction of the Hummingbird Highway and Constitution Drive in Belmopan. The heap of sand in the parking lot covers the pool of blood where 25 year old Benito Mendoza fell after he was shot to the left side of his temple.

Police Minister Claims Cops Did No Wrong In Two Incidents
31 year old Miguel Martinez died in police custody on Monday - and yesterday a post mortem confirmed that the cause of death was lung failure, due to excessive alcohol and drug consumption. The long and short of that is that the police pathologist is saying that the police were not to blame for his death in the San Pedro holding cell. Police Minister Doug Singh told LOVE TV as much yesterday. Here's a portion of that interview. "The particular individual that died in custody in San Pedro was detained by police prior to that event because of complaints of him exposing himself in public, and other things that he was doing and he appeared to have been on something. The following week, there was a report that he was - I think - using a machete and banging on someone's house. When the police went there, he was nowhere to be seen; police went back and the hotel next door to that house called the police afterwards saying that he had a machete - this is the Phoenix hotel; this is the hotel that is ranked on trip advisors as the number 1 hotel in the world.

Business Owner Had Two Guns Put To His Head
This afternoon, at around 1:30, Auto Zone - the vehicle accessory store on cemetery Road in Belize City was robbed. Now, Auto Zone doesn't have a customary storefront - with a door - it's wide open. And two gunmen strode right in and when the owner Nigel Espat came from the back where he was having lunch - he ran straight into the barrel of a loaded weapon. He told us what happened next: Nigel Espat - Owner Robbed At Gunpoint "When I walked out of my office and got to the front of the store, there were 2 guys standing in here; one of them was pointing a gun in my face. The one pointing the gun held it to my head while the other one pulled behind the counter and he took what I had on me, took my chain, my phone, watch, wallet, some cash that was in my pocket, then he proceeded to take me back into my office, where the guy that had the gun initially - he went over on the other side of the building where black world Harley Davidson is and he pulled the employee that was sitting over there at the counter, brought her through the back door into my office as well, where they tied us up in the office, put us to lay on the ground tied us up, and robbed us everything that we had in there too - all the cash that was in the cash register, the laptops, they took my firearm, and we were left there, could have been maybe 10 minutes, at which point they left and I got up an managed to untie myself and untie the employee."

The Ice Cream Man Got Jacked
On Monday, two gunmen weren't so restrained with the driver of an ice cream truck. Patrick Ottley, a Blades Ice cream truck driver was with his common-law wife on Tigris street returning to the company compound. As he was reversing the truck into the yard, two men approached him. Then, one of the men hit him over the head with what appeared to be a firearm while the other stole the cash pan. It is unclear how much money the robbers got away with, but they ran down Dean St. The police are continuing their investigation.

Man Goes To Jail For A Year For Assaulting Child
In the last 4 weeks, we've reported on cases of men either charged with or found guilty of indecent assault. Tonight, we add another report to the growing list. This one involves 37 year-old Salvadoran National Jose Cortez, a resident of Lovely Lane, who was convicted in Magistrate's Court and sentenced to 1 year imprisonment. He was accused of assaulting a 10 year-old girl. According to the child, who testified in closed court, in August, she was at a home on Baghdad Street where she had gone to buy boiled corn. She went behind the house and encountered Cortez - who, she says exposed himself and was attempting to open her legs, when she screamed for help. There were adults who were nearby, and they came to her rescue. Cortez was then arrested by police and charged.

Another Accused Of An Indecent Assault
And while Jose Cortez will tonight spend the first night of his year in prison, another new case of indecent assault came to court today also. 46 year-old Dwayne Young, a stevedore residing in Mahogany Heights was arraigned for allegedly assaulting a 22 year-old woman. Young concealed his face at all the opportunities when he was outside of the courtroom. According to the police report, on Monday at Mahogany Heights, Young allegedly made unwanted advances toward the 22 year-old, who is a neighbor. He reportedly kissed her and touched her privates against her will.

Another Caught Smuggling Ganja Into Gaol
Last night, we told you about Justin Richards who was remanded for allegedly trying to smuggle weed into the Belize Central Prison. Today, another man is accused of trying to do the exact same thing; he is 28 year-old Clarence Grant, a laborer of Mahogany Heights. Police say that at around 3 p.m. yesterday, Grant was detained at the prison while the authorities searched 2 foam containers in his possession, which according him, contained only food. Officers eventually found about 2.96 ounces of marijuana in several small, clear plastic bags inside these containers. As a result, he was arrested, charged, and brought to court today.

How The Double Election Will Work
The double election is now only a week and a half away - and all over the country, all over the news - election campaigning is at a fever pitch. But on March 7th., the noise will stop when the voter gets into that booth for their secret, sacred transaction between the citizen and the ballot paper. In the general election, 178,054 (one-hundred and seventy-eight thousand and fifty-four thousand) registered voters are registered to vote for 74 Candidates in 31 constituencies at 315 polling stations. In the municipals, 97,979 voters will vote for 170 candidates at 168 of those polling stations. But for those in towns who wish to vote in two elections, how will it be done? Well, today Chief Elections Office Josephine Tamai explained the process in detail to 7news:

Lands Dept. Will Open On Saturday For Harmonyville Peeps
Tomorrow, the Ministry of Natural Resources will be opened to facilitate the residents of Harmonyville. That's right they'll be open on a Saturday to facilitate a special interest groups: specifically 367 residents who can get their land documents for a thousand dollars, and another 300 or so who will be signing their land leases. It's a special group being handled at a special time - but Petillo says the public interest and the common good demand it: Nigel Petillo - President, BGYEAH via Telephone "We have been aggressive. We have been behind the minister and the Government as far as when it comes to Harmonyville. When it comes to the Saturday event, yes, you know its not normal working hours but we had to dialog with the Government and the Minister of Natural Resources and see if they have time that they can put aside. And, the Ministry said right away, 'We don't mind open a Saturday Morning to facilitate you guys, providing that you have your numbers out there already, your people registered to do it one day.'

Street Art Festival Returns
Last year's first Street Art Festival was such a success, that NICH decided to make it an annual event. And so, back by popular demand, the festival that was "created to build a national forum for artists" will be staged tomorrow in downtown Belize City. According to Karen Vernon of the Institute of Creative Arts, the fest gives artists of all types an opportunity to showcase their talent and artwork while providing meaningful entertainment for the whole family. Karen Vernon - Theatre Director, NICH "Booths will be lined from Belize Bank all the way down just before Prince Street. we will have a stage which will be our first stage where entertainment will be from 2 until 7p.m on that stage. Another stage will be in the central park area and entertainment there will start from 7 and will go on until 10. We have all different sorts of artist in the booths: painters, sculptors, people doing jewelry, tattoo artists, make-up artists. People will be down there with that type of stuff, so you will be able to walk down Albert Street and see all the different stuff that the artists have to offer. There will also be, what we call street entertainment, which will be the Jan Canoe dancers moving through the crowd.

Channel 5

Murder in Capital City
There was a murder in the capital early this morning. It is the first in Belmopan since the beginning of the year and the community is in shock. The Roaring Creek resident and two others were purchasing food in front of a night club when he was shot and killed. An eyewitness says the suspect ...

2 elections one day; voter process explained
The 2012 elections are twelve days away and campaign gear can be seen on the streets and on the television. The songs, ads, speeches, and hundreds of promises in party manifestos will disappear along with most politicians the day after the March seventh double elections. The first double election was in 2003 and the Elections ...

Media regulations for March 7th
Earlier today Tamai met with stakeholders and the media setting down guidelines for coverage. Tamai says that tallying of votes will take place at the same time in the different constituencies to expedite the results. At least three thousand public officers will be working on the double elections. Jose Sanchez "How many registered voters are ...

Viewer poll not keen on U.D.P. 2nd term
Do you believe the current government deserves a second term in office? That was our question of the week and the results were fast and furious. Almost four thousand persons voted on our e-poll; the vast majority of them were against the Barrow administration. Ninety-two percent voted no to a second term in office for ...

Julius and Ramon in Cayo South Campaign
Over seven thousand voters are registered in the Cayo South division where both political parties have flooded the area with party colors and flags. First time aspirant who is also the national campaign manager for the P.U.P., Julius Espat, is hoping to unseat the incumbent, Ramon Witz. News Five's Andrea Polanco was in Roaring Creek ...

New Belize Ambassador to Mexico
There's a new Belize ambassador to Mexico. With the departure from Mexico of Rosendo Urbina Senior who is now running for office, Oliver del Cid today presented credentials to President Felipe Calderon at the National Palace in the Mexican capital. Del Cid was born in Belize City, but grew up in Orange Walk Town. He ...

Post Mortem results on man who died in police custody
Ricky Valencia, one of the most feared street figures in the city, was killed on Wednesday night as he drove his vehicle on Caesar Ridge Road. Tonight, Belize City police are tonight no closer to solving the murder of twenty-eight year old Valencia. Despite interviewing several residents in the area of the Cumberbatch Field following ...

Robbers intended to tie up a Priest
Saint Martin De Porres Parish was burglarized on February sixteenth. The incident was not reported previously, but it was the third recorded burglary at the compound since September 2011. The parish is led by members of the Jesuit community, who also occupy the living quarters to the rear of the church. In what can be ...

Salvadoran National assaulted 10 year old
A Salvadoran national was convicted today of Aggravated Assault of an Indecent Nature and he's going to jail for a year. The trial against thirty-seven year old Jose Cortez concluded just before noon in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith. He was found guilty following the testimony of the victim, a ten year ...

John Mariano arraigned for Obtaining Property by Deception
An ex-cop who was accused of swindling a doctor out of thousands of dollars got some good news in court today. The report was made back in August 2011 and after almost six months; forty-five year old John Mariano finally showed up in court to be arraigned for obtaining property by deception. In court this ...

Belize Elementary School goes green
Recycling efforts among primary school students are reaping big dividends. The go green program started a few years ago and has mushroomed into a campaign that has exceeded expectations at the Belize Elementary School where students are also learning the importance of conservation. News Five's Isani Cayetano reports. Isani Cayetano, Reporting Friendly competition amongst the ...

Is Elizabeth Gamez being forced to vote for the U.D.P.?
The date of the elections is drawing near and each day the requests for interviews and the topics become more unusual. Late this evening News Five received a call from a Cayo resident who alleges politics is splitting up her family. A relative apparently called social services to take away her child. Elizabeth Gamez admits ...

Quad Bike and Fundraising for Children's Home
Eleven Countries, One Goal� Make a Difference; it's the theme that is the driving force behind an ambitious project by British resident Marc Noonan. Using a quad bike, Noonan is moving through the region to raise awareness and funds for orphanages or related charities. His journey started in Mexico and he has reached the Liberty ...


Today is Universal Birth Registration Day and according to UNICEF this is the first right of a child. Today the emphasis is on sending out the message about how crucial birth registration is for a child. Adolescent Development officer for UNICEF, Shirleen Tablada explained that UNICEF along with the Government of Belize and other organizations have been on a campaign for over a year. Shirleen Tablada - Adolescent Development Officer "We've met much success and in 2011 in particular we've managed to register over ten thousand children in particular, in three District, in Corozal in Stann Creek and in Toledo District. Basically we find that up to ten to fifteen percent in some areas of children are unregistered. There are many many documents why children are not registered. In many instances, for example in Toledo, the issue has to do with distance. The system is literally centralized still, and so main registration points are found primarily in urban areas and so you find in districts where there are many rural communities a big issue with distance to actually come register children. Another problem which is now alleviated was cost. There was a cost to actually completing a late registration and so a lot of parents couldn't find the money sometimes, up to fifty-six dollars, and therefore parents didn't come out to register their children.

Twenty-eight year old Clarence Grant, a laborer of Mahogany Heights who allegedly tried to smuggle eighty four grams of cannabis into Belize Central Prison, was charged with drug trafficking when he appeared today in Magistrate's Court. Grant pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was denied bail and he was remanded into custody until February 29. The incident occurred around three p.m. yesterday. Prison Officer Silvano Cal reported that when he searched two foam plates with food that Grand had, he found three transparent plastic bags with cannabis in each plate. TH ecannabis amounted to eighty four grams. Cal called the police in Hattieville and handed over Grant to Police Constable Sandro McDougal.

Thirty-seven year old Salvadoran National Jose Cortez, charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a ten year old girl, was sentenced to one year today by the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. The incident occurred around one ten p.m. on August seventh, 2011 in a yard at number one Baghdad Street. The child, a primary school student, testified in camera that she went to the yard to buy boiled corn and while she was waiting for the corn to finish boiling, Cortez threw her down on her back and took out and exposed himself. The child said she screamed and some other persons who were in the yard came to her rescue. Cortez testified and denied he committed the offence. He said he was drunk and he was urinating against a fence. He claimed that when he turned around and was pulling up the zipper of his pants he saw the child in front of him.

Forty-six year old Dwayne Young, a stevedore of Mahogany Heights who allegedly committed a sexual assault on a twenty two year old woman, was charged with aggravated assault when he appeared today in the number two Magistrate's Court. Young pleaded not guilty to the charge. Senior magistrate Sharon Fraser offered him a bail of two thousand five hundred dollars and adjourned his case until April twenty fifth. The incident occurred on Monday, February twentieth at Mahogany Heights. The woman reported to the police that during the day whilst she was in her yard, young kissed her and fondled her private parts.

Patrick Jones reporting... "Hundreds of students from Primary School to University took to the streets of San Ignacio and Santa Elena this morning. The purpose of the peaceful demonstration was to draw attention to the community's intolerance of crime here, especially the sexual abuse of underage girls. The parade started from the Sacred Heart College Compound. Led by a marching band and with music blaring from loud speakers, the children carried placards that said: Stop abusing children; criminals should be in jail, protect children; stop children trafficking before it's too late; and I have a right to be safe. Organizers of today's demonstration are hoping that it will ignite the push to address this scourge on the Cayo community head on. While the size of the demonstration numbered in the hundreds of students, many more stood by the parade route in solidarity. Organizers say they expected a larger turn out; but still they believe that their message came across loud and clear today. And as the vice president of the student government Gilbert Andrews said at the end of the demonstration, if they need to do a hundred more to effect the necessary change, then so be it."

Over the past week there have been at least three different incidents involving police officers. One of them included the sudden death of thirty-two year old Miguel Martinez, a San Pedro resident who died earlier this week in the San Pedro Police Station holding cell. Love News spoke with Minister of Police, Doug Singh, about it. He said that there is no evidence to suggest that the police were at fault. Doug Singh - Minister of Police "I spoke with the officer in charge, Dennis Arnold, when the incident was reported and he assured me that there were no abuses to the individual and he gave me a history on it. The particular individual that died in custody in San Pedro was detained by police prior to that event because of complaints of him exposing himself in public and other things that he was doing and he appeared to be on something. He was issued medication by the hospital to calm him down and we held him for a while and released him. The following week there was a report that he was using a machete and banging on somebody's house, when Police went there he was nowhere to be seen. Police went back and the hotel next door to that house called the police afterwards saying that he had a machete and he was out there chopping at trees.

Fem Cruz reporting... "A shooting incident in Belmopan has left one person dead and a suspect on the run. We spoke to an eye witness who told Love News that sometime around 2:15 this morning, he was standing outside Piccini Night Club speaking with the person who was shot. He said the person walked about 35 feet from him when he heard the sound gunshot. He said he ran to the area and he saw the person lying on the ground face up in a pool of blood. About 15 seconds later he saw a car speed off from the area. Two police officers that were on duty at the time saw what happened and pursued the vehicle and the suspect fired several shots at the police. The suspect then escaped. The body was transported to the Western Regional Hospital. The person received a single gunshot to the left side of the temple. He was later identified as 23-year-old Benito Alberto Sosa, a resident of Roaring Creek Village."


Traffic Accident Claims The Life Of A Mennonite Man
A Mennonite man of the Ship Yard Community is tonight dead after he was involved in a traffic accident last night while heading back home. Reports are that around 8:30 last night, 38 year old Cornelio Elias of Camp 3 in the community of Ship Yard, was heading back home when he lost control of his brown Toyota Corolla car while traveling somewhere along camp one. As a result the vehicle overturned several times landing on its four wheels. Elias, we understand, was flung out of the vehicle and landed approximately 8 feet away from the vehicle. Elias sustained sever head and body injuries and died on the spot. The body of the 38 year old Cornelio Elias was transported to the Northern Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Gushanie Wagner Detained By Orange Walk Police
Yesterday the only thing that was known about the murder of 21 year old Abel Arturo Robinson is that police for looking for Gushanie Wagner aka Suga and Victor Anthony Luna aka Torrito who police believed would be able to assist in their investigations. Strong rumours were that Wagner was on the run and he was nowhere to be found in Orange Walk. But this morning around 10:00 the 22 year old was captured by police in Belize City somewhere around Taylors Alley. By the time Wagner was brought to Orange Walk Town it was highly rumoured that police had their main suspect in the murder of Robinson in custody. Reports are that on Friday morning Robinson left his home located on Crickstock Street in the company of Wagner and that was the last time his family saw him alive.

BNTU Disagrees With Governments Proposal For Salary Increase
This afternoon the Belize National Teachers Union Orange Walk Branch, held a meeting with its members at the Gala Lounge where the main topic of discussion was the Collective Bargaining Agreement which includes a salary increase. For the past four years B.N.T.U has been negotiating a teacher's salary increase with the present Government but has been unable to come to an agreement due to a number of reasons. The last time teachers received a salary increment was back in 2007 under the People's United Party. Today when we spoke to President of BNTU Orange Walk Branch, Otilio Munoz, he told us that BNTU has reached the end of the road and there will be no more negotiations. According to Munoz a recent proposal was made to BNTU by the Government of Belize but teacher's country wide are not in support of the proposal.

Students of Concepcion Presbyterian School Back in Class
On Monday the Concepcion Presbyterian School in the Corozal District heard the roar of concerned parents who were in protest of the school board's recommendation to demote Esther Mendez from her post as principal. As part of their protest, parents opted not to send their children to school. But late yesterday evening when we spoke to President of BNTU Corozal Rural Branch Mario Mesh, he told us that the children were back at school and that Principal Mendez had not been demoted from her post, at least for the time being. As mentioned on Monday, the schools Board of Directors headed by Ismael Vallejo, issued a letter to the Ministry of Education requesting that Mendez be demoted by the 31st of January on the grounds of insubordination, orchestrating the ousting of the board, lack of proper financial management, promoting division among staff members and obstructing the work of the board.

PUP Orange Walk Town Council Candidates Meet With Residents Of The Louisiana Area
With fourteen days before the Municipal and General Elections the PUP Town Council Candidates in the Orange Walk division are hard at work ensuring that the message of change reaches all registered voters of the community. That message is being spread through neighborhood meetings held in various areas across town. Last night the PUP 7 Team, headed by Mayoral Candidate Kevin Bernard, met with residents of Liberty Avenue and surrounding areas. For Bernard and the rest of the candidates it was an opportune moment to discuss the PUP Town Council Manifesto and at the same time make it clear that the PUP 7 team is ready to work hand in hand with the people.

PUP Corozal Town Council Slate Launches Manifesto
And while the PUP launched their National Manifesto yesterday, on Monday February 20th, the Corozal PUP Town Council slate launched their Manifesto for 2012 to 2015 entitled "PUP Delivers: New Life for Corozal". The manifesto entails various important factors that contribute to the positive development of Corozal Town. One of those major factors has to do with financing, which undoubtedly is needed to ultimately run the affairs of the town. Like many councils across the country, the finances and operations of Corozal Town Council have not been managed in an open, transparent and accountable manner. To solve that issue, the PUP Corozal Slate will among other things practice openness, inclusiveness and accountability by ensuring that the Council's financial records are publicly available.

Ash Wednesday Marks The Beginning Of The Lenten Season
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. It is a season of Penance, reflection and fasting which prepares Christians for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which redemption is attained. For those who might not be aware of the Catholic Church's practice on this holy day we took the opportunity to bring light to the matter.

PUP National Manifesto In Honor of Honorable George Cadle Price
verance For Belize, that's the title of the Peoples United Party Manifesto 2012/2016 launched yesterday in Belize City at the party's headquarters. The six page contract with the people of Belize is dedicated to the memory of the P.U.P's founder and Father of the Nation the Right Honorable George Cadle Price.


Mennonite farmer dies in RTA
A Mennonite farmer from the Orange Walk district was killed in a road traffic accident in Shipyard earlier this week. Thirty eighty year old Cornelio Elias lost his life when his Toyota Camry car went out of control and overturned while travelling along Camp One in the settlement. Love News understands that Elias was flung from the overturning vehicle and landed about 8 feet away from the wreckage. Elias sustained severe head and body injuries and died on the spot.

Autopsy on dead detainee released
The story made headlines earlier this week when a man detained at the San Pedro police station on Monday night turned up dead the following morning. Thirty one year old Miguel Martinez, a resident of the San Pedrito area of the town was found dead inside his cell around five thirty on Tuesday morning. Today, the police department released the results of the post mortem examination conducted on Martinez body. The police pathologist certified that Martinez died as a result of acute lungs failure brought on by high alcohol consumption and high drug consumption. In a moment, the Minister of Police and Public Safety Douglas Singh will comment on the case.

Santa Elena man hit with firearm charges
San Ignacio police have levied charges against one man in connection with the aggravated robbery of the home of former government minister Ainslie Leslie in that wester municipality earlier this week. Thirty four year old Owen Parham, a labourer with residence in Santa Elena, Cayo, has been charged for the offences of keeping a firearm and ammunition without a gun license. The aggravated burglary happened on Tuesday afternoon in the Kontiki area of San Ignacio Town. Love News understands that other charges may be pending against Parham who has been remanded to the Hattieville prison until his next court appearance.

Salvadoran national guilty of indescent assault; gets jail sentence
Thirty-seven year old Salvadoran National Jose Cortez, charged with aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a ten year old girl, was sentenced to one year today by the Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith after he was found guilty of the charge. The incident occurred around one ten p.m. on August seventh, 2011 in a yard at number one Baghdad Street. The child, a primary school student, testified in camera that she went to the yard to buy boiled corn and while she was waiting for the corn to finish boiling, Cortez threw her down on her back and took out his penis and spread her legs. The child said she screamed and some other persons who were in the yard came to her rescue. Cortez testified and denied he committed the offence. He said he was drunk and he was urinating against a fence. He claimed that when he turned around and was pulling up the zipper of his pants he saw the child in front of him.


Man shot and killed outside Belmopan nightclub
A shooting incident in the City of Belmopan has left one person dead and many persons shocked. It's not often that ...

Decomposed body of Guinea Grass resident found in canefield
Reports reaching plus news is that the body of an 85 year old man from the village of Guinea Grass was found decomp...

Julius Espat hits the campaign trail in Roaring Creek
Julius Espat, the People's United Party Candidate for Cayo South, was also on the campaign trail this morning in th...

Ramon Witz on Cayo South campaign
Municipal and General elections are exactly twelve days away and candidates who are running for political office ar...

More concerns raised over change in Belmopan electoral process
As we reported earlier this week, Peoples United Party Candidate for the Belmopan Constituency, Dr. Amin Hegar, Ind...

MS-13 affiliate deported from Belize
A member of the notorious central American gang called MS-13, was deported from Belize yesterday. 26 year old Elmer...

Another man busted trying to smuggle weed into jail
Just yesterday, we reported on an incident where a visitor to the Belize Central prison was caught trying to smuggl...

New health centre inaugurated in Libertad
A new health centre was inaugurated this afternoon in Libertad Village. The new centre will serve the villages of L...

Armed robbers hold up Blades ice cream truck
Blades ice cream truck was robbed in Belize City. The driver for Blades Ice Cream reported that he was reversing th...

Salvadoran convicted of aggravated assault of an indecent nature
37-year-old Salvadoran national, Jose Cortez, was found guilty of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a 1...


Burglar attacks priest in bed
The thief took rope and duct tape into the room... St. Martin De Porres burglarized for the third time since September, 2011l.... St. Martin De Porres Primary School was burglarized last week Thursday, but this news somehow didn't reach our newsroom until today.

Governor General's driver charged with theft
Corporal Rayon Martinez helped Lady Young withdraw money from her account, then allegedly helped himself to $7,450 out of her account using the missing ATM card

Miguel Martinez's mystery death while in police custody
Miguel Martinez, 31, of San Pedro Town, died while in the custody of San Pedro police. At around 5:00 this morning, he was seen lying motionless on the floor in the holding cell.

Siblings beat murder charge
David Uk, 43, and Seidi Salazar, 32, acquitted of murder of Mario Chi, 40... Brother and sister, David Uk, 43, and Seidi Salazar, 32, have been acquitted of a charge of murder in the death of Mario Chi, 40, in Santa Elena Town in 2009.

Bert Vasquez to be tried for abducting minor, 16
Belize City businessman Bert Vasquez, 28, will stand trial for the alleged forcible abduction of a female minor, 16, in May of 2011 on Cemetery Road near the Pound Yard Bridge.

As Ricky lived, so did Ricky die!
Valencia was fatally wounded after he was shot multiple times last night around 9:30 while driving a car on Queen Charlotte Street. The attack took place not far from his home on Caesar Ridge Road, and both streets are in the vicinity of Cumberbatch Field.

Bredda leads Yabra to CYDP Peace Cup Championship 2011-2012
The 3rd Annual CYDP Peace Cup Tournament 2011-2012 concluded near midnight last night at the MCC Grounds, where a first half goal from a corner kick by Gilroy "Bredda" Thurton was enough to give Yabra a 1-nil victory, and the championship, over Fort George United. On Monday of this week, Yabra had won game 1 in the best-of-3 games championship series by a similar 1-nil score.

A chat with veteran footballer Gerald "Speedy" Henry - Part 2
Amandala (A): Oh, yes! (laughs) Now, you said the word!... I remember that name� from the annual track meet at the MCC Grounds. I remember "di Fly." (Lloyd Henry)

"Joe North" too strong for Buttonwood Bay Regatta, Baron Bliss Regatta is March 11 at BTL Park
Some 18 young sailors from the San Pedro (Ambergris) Sailing Club and 24 from the Belize Optimist Dinghy Association, comprised of sailors from Liberty Children Home, Hummingbird School and the Sea Scouts, gathered at the Seashore Restaurant on the Buttonwood Bay Belize City. With enthusiasm they readied their craft in anticipation of an exciting race day, one that would determine their first individual standings in the race to be a finalist in the National standings.

Cycling News - C-Ray's Full Throttle Saturday Race
The C-Ray Cycling Team held its weekly "C-Ray's Full Throttle Saturday Race" last Saturday, February 18, with the following results: Junior Category: 1st - Riis Cattouse (C-Ray), 2nd - Brandon Morgan (C-Ray), 3rd - Eldon Simmons (M&M's), 4th - Delawn Abraham (Unattached). Category 4/5: 1st - Ernest Meighan (Santino's), 2nd - Kenroy Gladden (Horizon), 3rd - Omar Gomez (Depredadores). Female/Youth Category: 1st - Delawn Abraham (Unattached), 2nd - Alejandro Manrique (Depredadores), 3rd - Kerah Eiley (C-Ray). Over 50yrs: 1

Last edited by Marty; 11/17/12 10:54 AM.